Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 21

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A Clear “Day” Interpretation

Dr. Ross sent me his book almost a year ago and I finished reading it and annotating it within a few months. So, as I have gone back and read through the chapter again for the book review, I am not really finding anything new. From beginning to end, I have found that Dr. Ross although he claims that the Bible is his highest authority, he sees the modern academic paradigm as the highest interpretive authority and conforms his reading of the Bible to accommodate it. 

In his personal testimony, we see evidence of this

I did not converse with a Christian about spiritual matters until I was 27. Studies in science consumed all my time and eventually convinced me, at age 15 that a transcendent God must exist. At the time, I doubted that a God who created a hundred billion trillion stars would care much about frail humans on an insignificant planet…In my first reading of Genesis 1, I saw indications that the creation days were long periods of time

If you teach people that the universe is billions of years old, by the time they are almost 30 years old (as Ross admits that he was) and have been indoctrinated by this mantra, they will try to fit everything they see into that worldview…including the Bible. 

These are the parts of the text that Dr. Ross felt there was plasticity which would allow him to redefine the scriptures to accommodate the modern academic paradigm

The timing of Eve’s creation

He does not explain specifically here why he thinks this allows for creation days to be very long periods, but we can infer from a paragraph on the previous page why he thinks this is plausible. “Eve was created on the same day as Adam (the sixth) but not until after Adam took care of several large tasks.

This sounds like the easily refuted argument that he used from chapter 7, when he claimed that Adam had four careers so the text could not possibly have been talking about a single day. His personal incredulity and injection of outside influence completely discounts Ross’s wild claim

The lack of an evening and morning for the seventh day

Clearly, Dr. Ross sees the importance of the evening/morning pattern when God revealed his creative works for 85% of the creation week. What’s not clear is why Dr. Ross takes the single example of missing morning/evening pattern and creates a rule for it. Dr. Ross’s shallow reading of the text ignores the deeper context and exegesis of Exodus 20 when the days are clearly defined with unmistakable 24 hour boundaries.

The Genesis 2:4 usage of the word “day” in reference to the entire creation week

So, at best, Ross can only say that the Hebrew word for day (yom) can have the colloquial understanding of a week of time…not the billions and billions and billions of years necessary to accommodate the modern academic paradigm. Biblical creationists agree that there is flexibility in the Hebrew word ‘yom’, but exegetically, it must fit the context, and in the context of Genesis 1, we can easily conclude from the text that it is signifying days as we know them today (24 hours).

I was especially intrigued by God’s creation hiatus following the six prolific creation periods.

We should all be intrigued by God’s creation hiatus, but it would be wildly bizarre to assume there were suddenly billions of years injected into the text from that thought

Finally, here was an explanation for the fossil record enigma

There are three things to keep in mind when interpreting scripture: context, context and context. When we view the scripture in context there was unquestionably a global flood that adequately (and more correctly) explains the fossil record…so the enigma is for the old earthist, who must redefine a world-consuming flood to mean a minor middle eastern rain storm and then create epicycles to explain both the text and modern observations

Dr. Ross continues at the bottom of pg242 and top of pg243 with the strange explanation for what it means to love the LORD with all of your mind

Loving God with “all your mind” means looking beyond the most simplistic interpretation of a given text, especially if that interpretation leads to complications and convolutions of other texts…Yet, ironically, a 24-hour creation day interpretation of Genesis 1 (and 2) complicates and convolutes at least aspects of God’s creation story – the sequence of events, the meaning of Adam’s work and words, and the speed of biological development.

Speaking of irony-> Just above Dr. Ross admitted that after almost 30 years of indoctrination in the modern academic paradigm, on his 1st reading of Genesis, his simplistic interpretation was that God created over billions of years…just as he’d been taught his whole life. So, clearly he’s only against OTHER people’s simplistic interpretation of Genesis 1. 

Regarding his claim that the biblical creationist’s interpretation of Genesis 1 complicates and convolutes the aspects of the creation story, Dr. Ross AGAIN upholds the modern academic paradigm and demands that the Bible’s reading be conformed to those assumptions. 

And as was shown in Chapter 4 and chapter 5 reviews when Dr. Ross attempted to claim that ALL of church history believed in old earthism, he was WRONG. Old earthism is a modern concoction that attempts to dissolve the modern academic paradigm into biblical interpretation, but as we see, they are like oil and water with no ability to mix.

On p244 Ross asks the question 

How Did Adam Do So Much?…Similarly, for Adam to have named all of Eden’s animals within a few hours would seem to shrink not just the size but also the bounty of Eden…species

While I already covered Ross’s misunderstanding of scripture in my review of chapter 7, it doesn’t hurt to quickly address his repeated conflation of species and kinds. Kinds ≠ Species. The biblical kind is defined in Genesis 1 simply denoted a creature’s ability to reproduce at the time of creation. Since there have been many mutations, many creatures that were formerly able to reproduce lost the ability to reproduce. This does not mean they were not originally created as the same kind. But what this means is that Kind is more synonymous with the modern scientific distinction of family

This means that Adam did not have to name millions of species as is claimed by Ross. Adam could have take care of his divinely-appointed job of naming the animals much more quickly by naming animals in groups

At the bottom of p244 Dr. Ross says

Young-earth creationists see as the futility of attempting to integrate Genesis with the scientific paradigm arises from a subtle error in applying a basic interpretive principle “Begin by establishing [not assuming] the point of view.” The result is a scientifically implausible order of creation events”

A few of things with this quote. Dr. Ross projects his own shortcomings in interpretation onto biblical creationists. Firstly, He conflates science with the modern academic paradigm as he has done throughout his book. Young earth creationists have no interest in trying to integrate Genesis with the modern academic paradigm. The observations of today are completely in accord with what we read in scripture. It is the old earthers like Ross, who have undertaken the mission of trying to integrate the modern academic paradigm with scripture. Secondly, the error is on the side of old earthers, who inject their assumptions from the modern academic paradigm into their biblical interpretation. Biblical creationists rather start with the basic interpretive principle that what God revealed in his word is true, so what we observe today is in accord with what He revealed in the Bible. Regarding his quote about the implausible order of creation events, you can see that Ross rejects the order of creation events that God revealed in scripture in order to accommodate naturalist assumptions.

On pg247-248 Ross unsuccessfully attempts to push the inconsistencies of his biblical interpretations with the observations onto biblical creationists. 

A few purported conflicts between the Bible [old earth interpretations] and the fossil record have arisen…

The conflicts arise only for the old earther since the catastrophic worldwide flood is the only sufficient explanation for the observations. For the old earther, it is assumed that fossils were buried in the order that the soil-of-the-time was exposed as the top soil and that there were epochs when certain creatures did not exist. Dr Ross believes this imperative, but there are out-of-place (for the old earther) fossils that are discordant with those assumptions

Genesis 1 gives the order of God’s creative works, but in both Dr. Ross’s posted timeline, which he posted years ago and on p249 we can see that Dr. Ross tries very hard to inject the modern academic paradigm into scripture

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There are several problems with his chart, but I want to point out a particularly grievous problem in rows 9 and 10. Ross tells us that God’s last creative work was Adam and Eve, but just prior in row 9, Ross tells us that the Australian aboriginals emerged prior to Adam and Eve. This is both a terrible assumption and racist. Now, I do not believe Ross is a racist, but his views of the modern academic paradigm as an authority over scripture has resulted in a view that has racist implications.

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

Back to the Table of Contents

What is Presuppositional Apologetics?

OakwoodSunsetThis week I saw in my Twitter feed this claim from an atheist

Presuppositional Apologetics is conversational violence

Some of the subsequent discussion helped me to see that most people, like this skeptic, do not understand the what the term means. Many people think it means one of the following

  • I’m right, you’re wrong, that’s the end of it
  • I have blind faith in the deity of my family/culture/choice so I’m right
  • I don’t have any evidence, so I just assume God

This leads many skeptics to wrongly think they have defeated a presuppositional argument with the following fallacies

  • “You have faith in your sky-daddy, but I have evidence”
  • “Your blind faith is simply a result of you being born into a Christian family in America. If you were born in India, you’d be a Hindu”
  • “You have no evidence, so you have to resort to word games”
  • “Presup (presuppositional apologetics) is conversational violence”
  • “I assume FSM/Sasqatch/Allah is the true god, so that has as much validity as your biblegod.”
  • “That’s just word salad. It doesn’t mean anything.”

Definitions – The Place to Start

Those are misconceptions that I’d like to try to clear up in this blog post. Let’s start as basic as we can. What is a presupposition? The Google dictionary says it is

a thing tacitly assumed beforehand at the beginning of a line of argument or course of action.

Presuppostion

A synonym for presuppositions is worldview. A worldview is the way a person sees reality and how they justify it. One’s worldview typically provides answers to these fundamental questions.

  • Where did I come from? What is the origin of the universe/earth/life?
  • Where are we headed? What does the future hold?
  • What is my purpose?
  • How should I behave? What is moral? Is justice/forgiveness possible?
  • How do I know things (epistemology)? What is truth?

We’ll answer these below in analyzing worldview.

What is apologetics?

reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine

So, the merging of the two lends one to say that presuppositional apologetics is

In defense of the truth of Christianity, before the argument begins, the Christian assumes Yahweh to be the Source of reasoning, logic, & knowledge as was revealed and justified by his Word, in creation, and in Jesus

Presuppositional apologetics is distinct from other main types of apologetics like

While these methods of apologetics have value to Christians to edify and build up the church, they are not as effective as tools for persuading the skeptic for the 4 reasons shown below. To be clear, there is overwhelming evidence and philosophical corroboration for the truth of God’s revelation, but since God is the Source of truth, no evidence or philosophical authority can refute or be the substantiation for God. God and his revelation are the ultimate authority.

Someone, like me, who thinks presuppositional apologetics gets to the heart of the issue quickly, will not present classical or evidential arguments to a skeptic because

  1. Everyone interprets evidence according to their worldview. So, it is a futile effort to throw evidence back and forth because in an argument since everyone has access to the same evidence. All evidence proves God
  2. We have all been infected by the curse of sin. Even a person’s reasoning is corrupt
  3. God is the ultimate authority. There is no higher authority by which to confirm/refute what He has chosen to reveal.
  4. The skeptic is not the judge of what’s true or false. God is the judge, and presenting evidence to the skeptic makes him/her the judge of whether they think the evidence is sufficient to convince them. This puts the sinner in the judge’s box and God in the place of the defendant.

Everyone has presuppositions. The Christian presuppositions are shown above. The skeptic presupposes that “the cosmos is all there is, ever was or ever will be.” The skeptic is bound by particles

Worldview Test – Presuppositional Scrutiny

So, rather than comparing one’s interpretations of evidences (as an evidential apologist would do), it is more incisive to compare presuppositions/worldviews. A worldview should be both internally consistent and externally consistent. When I say internally consistent, I mean that it should not contain contradictions in trying to provide rational answers to the worldview questions. For example, if someone claims that the flying spaghetti monster is the creator of all things, but then realizes that Sicilians invented spaghetti in about the 12th century, there is an internal contradiction. They cannot both be true because the FSM is made of matter and is supposed to be the source of matter. Internal contradiction. Being externally consistent would mean that the worldview has to account for all of the reality.

Secondly, when looking to test presuppositions, one should look for arbitrariness. Is a claim within a worldview arbitrary? For example, secular humanists claim that morals should be defined by empathy (To be clear, empathy is a good thing and should be considered. Christians can justify empathy by referring to Matt 22:39 2nd greatest commandment.) But considering their worldview, which says that humans are simply accidental aggregations of stardust in a blind pitiless indifferent cosmos, why did they arbitrarily choose empathy as a standard for morality? It is arbitrary, because they could have chosen setting morality to the strongest or smartest or prettiest or cleanest or tallest or fastest…Arbitrary.

When doing presuppositional analysis, test each claim for consistency and arbitrariness.

Testing the Presuppositions of Naturalism

  • Where did I come from? – The cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. The belief is that at the big bang all matter sprang forth and over billions of years dust coalesced to produce stars, galaxies, planets, life, and humans. It is inconsistent to claim that particles can produce consciousness, justice, logic, math, beauty…
  • Where are we headed? – Ultimately, there is just death and collapse of the cosmos through entropy
  • What is my purpose? – Richard Dawkins says “There is at bottom no design, no purpose, no good no evil just blind pitiless indifference.” There is no purpose in the cosmos. There are internal contradictions here because people act with purpose. People strive to achieve purpose, but since the cosmos cannot provide purpose, it is a quixotic quest to conjure up purpose.
  • How should I behave? What is moral? – Everyone recognizes morality, but in a cosmos made only of particles, it is arbitrary and inconsistent to claim that some behaviors are good and others bad. At end, the naturalist can claim only to prefer one set of behaviors to another since there are no binding morals.
  • How can I know what is true? – For the naturalist, all “knowledge” is provisional. At any moment the current learned paradigm can be replaced by new findings, so there is no path to certainty. A person’s senses and reasoning can only be validated by a person’s senses and reasoning, which is viciously circular. There is also no valid reason to trust one’s senses and reasoning to provide truth since according to naturalism, senses and reasoning were produced by accidental natural forces for survival. It is an internal contradiction then to expect survival tools to provide truth.

Building a Positive Case for Christian Presuppositions

  • Where did I come from? – Genesis 1 explains the origins of the universe and humanity
  • Where are we headed? – Because of sin and because of what God revealed about the punishment of sin, those who do not repent of their sin and humbly submit to the authority of Jesus will face condemnation
  • What is truth? – Truth is what conforms to the mind of God
  • How should I behave? – According to God’s morals. Because humans have been created in God’s image, we should reflect his character. When we fail to accurately represent God, there is punishment. But God, who is rich in mercy, has made a way to find forgiveness and abundant life through turning away from sin and trusting Jesus, who died and defeated death on our behalf.
  • How can we know the truth? Because God (who know everything and is eternally faithful) has revealed some things so that we can know them for certain, knowledge is possible. He has revealed Himself in creation, in the Bible, and in Jesus. These revelations are interdependent and self-authenticating.
    • Jesus is the Creator of all things as attested in the Bible
    • The Bible claims to be the Word of Almighty God. The prophetic claims in the Bible have come true. The Bible claims that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” and “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are in Christ” and “God is the foundation of wisdom and knowledge”. One does not have to believe the Bible to know things, but because people can know things, we know God’s revelation is true. The Bible is the justification for knowledge.
    • God is revealed in creation. Romans 1:18-20
  • How can I know what is true? – Christians do not know everything, but we know One, who does know everything. Because the One, who knows everything and is eternally faithful, has revealed some things in his word, we can be certain that those things are true.

The skeptic may not LIKE the Christian presuppositions, but since they provide both internal and external cohesiveness (and Christianity claims exclusivity), it is the only justified source for knowledge, reason, and logic.

Addressing the Claim of Biblical Contradictions

The skeptic many times says, “But the Bible is full of contradictions!” Let’s see if this is true.

As we have already pointed out, the skeptic has no grounds to complain about contradictions because naturalism cannot coherently justify laws of logic the misuse of which produces contradictions. What is a contradiction? Dictionary.com defines it as “assertion of the contrary or opposite, a statement or proposition that contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruous, direct opposition between things compared; inconsistency.

Most skeptics think that the following is a logical contradiction in the Bible

Who was Jesus’ paternal grandfather?” But as shown in the link, it is not a contradiction for several reasons.

The skeptic should familiarize oneself with the nature of contradictions, and before accusing the Bible of being filled with them, be familiar with the reasons why there are no contradictions in the Bible.

The skeptic can look here for a primer on mistakes they make when claiming contradictions in the Bible

The skeptic can look here for a list of resolutions for common claims of biblical contradictions

The skeptic could purchase the book, Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason by Dr. Jason Lisle, who addresses the 400 most common claims of biblical contradictions.

Is Presup Conversational Violence?

In the conversation that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the claim was made that presuppositional apologetics is conversational violence. I responded to him with the questions “Why is conversational violence wrong from the atheist perspective? Doesn’t violence help drive conversational evolution, so that only the fittest arguments persist to the next generation?”

Conversational violence would be expected from the naturalist point of view to be a pressure for selection to weed out bad arguments

He responded

You may be onto something here…An evidential apologist is like the soldier, they ostensibly address legitimate topics like providing evidence for their SN claims. A presup has figured out they can’t play on this field so they instead try to frustrate and weaponize fear (shut mouths like Sye, cause confusion with obscure philosophical conundrums…)

It’s not a terrible analogy, but the conclusion is wrong. Let’s continue the analogy. If truth is the ground being fought over and the bullets are arguments, the presup is doing the opposite of creating conversational violence. Presuppositional analysis is a way to disarm the naturalist because all of his “bullets” require the great Designer. The Christian presuppositional apologist is showing the skeptic that by using his “bullets” to form rational arguments, he is confirming that there are unchanging, abstract, absolute standards like laws of logic, truth, morality and induction which only the unchanging transcendent, absolute Eternal Monarch can justify. Naturalism completely fails to provide sufficient justification for the assumptions needed to create arguments.

Presup disarms the skeptic and causes them to be skeptical of their own claims. A Presuppositional apologist should be ready to share the gospel of repentance and submission to the King when the skeptic’s worldview collapses. Preach the word. Read your Bible and believe your Bible so that the Word pours forth in every conversation. Let the Holy Spirit use the preaching of the Word to convict of sin and of the need for forgiveness through Jesus.

Romans 10:17 “Consequently faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.”

For additional resources and greater depth, see

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 19

SunsetEnochStomp

Narrow Time Windows

If you haven’t had a chance to see the first 18 chapters of this book review, let me encourage you to go back to the table of contents and browse your way through

This is a shorter chapter from Dr. Ross, and in it he makes the claim that naturalistic assumptions are necessary for the age of the universe, the age of galaxies, and the age of planets to support life. 

A universe and a galaxy must reach a particular age before they can support life. Only when a star and a moon are of a particular age is life possible near them. And only when a planet is of a particular age is life possible on it. For intelligent life, the time limitations are dramatically more constrained.

While Dr. Ross has said that he does not hold to biological evolution as taught by the likes of Richard Dawkins, his statements above endorse the naturalistic ideas of 

  • cosmic evolution 
  • chemical evolution
  • galactic evolution 
  • stellar evolution 
  • planetary evolution
  • lunar evolution 
  • terrestrial evolution 
  • environmental evolution 

As we read scripture, we see that none of these naturalistic ideas are compatible with God’s revelation. These evolutionary theories are simply naturalistic mechanisms proposed IN PLACE OF what God did with his supreme power. It’s not that God could not or has not used natural processes to produce results (He has!). The problem is that Dr. Ross has re-interpreted what God actually said He did in the creative process of Genesis 1 to mean something else.

Age Window of the Universe

For biochemical processes to operate, the universe can be neither too hot nor too cold. As the universe expands from the creation event, it cools, like any other system obeying the thermodynamic laws (the greater volume or surface area, the less heat energy there is to go around.)…These conditions must be just right for liquid water to form and remain in significant quantities in just-right locations. As a result, there are only a few billion years in history if the universe’s expansion when a suitable habitat for primitive life is even possible.

The built-in assumptions that the universe has to be a particular age keeps him from being able to view the Bible from the author’s intended message. We see him make these claims about the age of the universe, but he has no other universes or other billions of years of history with which to compare. How can he possibly calibrate his assumptions since there are no other universes when he’s bound by less than 100 years of experience?

I’m particularly critical of the statement above regarding Ross’s assumption of the formation of liquid water. In scripture we read that once God created water out of nothing, the rest of the universe was formed out of that water. But Dr. Ross assumes that water is just another one of the things that nature formed during its chemical/cosmic evolution. In the past, I’ve asked Dr. Ross about why he feels that the flood of Genesis 6-9 is a minor local flood, and he always (irrationally) points me to 2 Peter 2. Sadly, he joins the skeptics when his assumptions keep him recognizing the creative works and the worldwide judgment of those works in 2 Peter 3 “But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.”

So, you can see that Dr. Ross’s claims that water formed naturalistically and that the flood was just a minor local event in the middle east are NOT permitted by scripture as a whole – but particularly by 2 Peter 3:5-6

In addition to the scriptural problems with water, Dr. Ross must somehow overcome the observational problems with his assumptions about water in relation to the moon. The moon could not have formed by any of the naturalistic proposals put forth AND contain H₂O. Yet, the moon contains frozen H₂O

On p230, Dr. Ross makes claims about the chemical evolution

The fusion of most life-essential heavy elements must await the gravitational collapse of gas clouds into giant stars…In fact, two generations of such stars must burn up in order to build a density of heavier elements sufficient to make life chemistry possible.

At best, these are guesses and at worst wild claims since no one has ever observed the process of a star from birth to death let alone TWO generations of stars from birth to death or the effects on elements of these generations. 

Because of the exothermic nature of the heavy elements in chemical formation, there is not a suitable resolution for the evolution of elements with a higher atomic weight than Iron (Fe) at 26.

Notice the superlatives and uncalibrated assumptions in the quote below:

Only in galaxies can the density of heavy elements become great enough to support life chemistry. But even in galaxies the appropriate density of life-essential elements is achieved only at one particular time. When the galaxy is too young, not enough heavy elements have been made in its stars for life chemistry to be possible. When the galaxy is too old, star and planet formation have ceased, and no stars and planets young enough for life chemistry will exist. Life is possible only in galaxies older than about 10 billion years and younger than about 20 billion years.

It’s like saying Adam was too young to speak and name all the animals on the day he was created because only humans older than 2 years old can speak in complete thoughts, and only humans older than ten would be creative enough and with a vocabulary large enough to name all the animals. Ross fills his book with unjustified assumptions at the expense of revelation from God. He continues this pattern into the next paragraph

For life on a planet to be possible, the planet must be warmed by a star that burns at a near-constant brightness and color. For intelligent life to be possible, the star’s flaring activity and X-ray radiation must be minimal…In the first 50 million years after a star as massive as the Sun begins to shine, it burns far too erratically to maintain temperatures suitable for life on an orbiting planet. For the next 500 million years, the X-ray emission is too intense. After that, the flaring activity continues to subside until it reaches a minimum, when the star is 4.6 billion years old.

As if he witnessed and documented this process from beginning to end. But the scriptures tell a different story. On the fourth day God made the sun, moon, planets, and stars. So, Ross’s book is not only in conflict with the Bible, but he has ignored the scientific impossibilities of his yarn about the naturalistic formation of the Sun. The sun would not have been bright enough to provide sufficient heat on the earth a billion years ago when life is thought (by the naturalists) to have emerged. It’s a paradox for old earthists that has no coherent resolution.

Ross’s closing thoughts for the chapter on p233 reveal again his commitment to the modern academic paradigm as his interpretive authority instead of scripture being in the highest place.

A timescale for the universe and Earth of only a few thousand years also contradicts nature, which shows how and why astronomical bodies must be at least a half billion years old to be ready for life.

Ross never concerns himself with conflicts with scripture since he feels free to re-interpret the Bible’s actual text based on the fashionable paradigm that is currently accepted and promoted by the secularists.

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

 

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 18

IMG_4899Physical Reality Breaks through the Fog

Ross jumps headfirst into both the sweeping generalization fallacy and the strawman fallacy to open ch 18

Many young-creationist leaders declare that their view is reality and that virtually all of what has been discovered in the hard sciences is not what scientists think it is. This apparent antiscience position obscures physical reality in a dense fog

You will notice how Ross equivocates (again) the modern academic paradigm (MAP) with “hard science” and how the MAP is authoritative for him and his ilk.

Virtually all of what has been discovered” ?!?!?!? Ross literally said that biblical creationists have ignored virtually all of what has been discovered. Ross has virtually ignored all of what God has revealed in his word about the global flood, what Jesus said in Mark 10:6, and what Moses etched in stone from the voice of the Almighty in Exodus 20 that the days of Genesis 1 are literal days. 

Galaxies, stars, fossils, dinosaurs, Neanderthals, and many other subjects of scientific inquiry remain cloaked in mystery, supposedly lacking satisfactory explanation. This refusal to acknowledge established data causes many people to dismiss belief in creationism as either complete idiocy or downright deception.

If he had been referring to old earthism, I would agree with him. Old earthism cannot sufficiently explain 

According to geology professor Ian Plimer…Michael Ruse…Murray Gell-Mann

According to Ian Plimer’s wikipedia page: “He has been a critic of creationism…In his book Telling Lies for God: Reason vs Creationism (1994), Plimer attacked creationists in Australia.

According to Michael Ruse’s wikipedia page: “Ruse takes the position that it is possible to reconcile the Christian faith with evolutionary theory. Ruse is an atheist.”

According to Murray Gell-Mann’s wikipedia page: “As a humanist and an agnostic, Gell-Mann was a Humanist Laureate in the International Academy of Humanism.”

Why would Dr. Ross cite these three God-haters in order to support his old earthism? Ross doesn’t say, but it does not help build a positive case for his old earthism. It is simply more of the same types of shallow attacks against which Ross has spoken. But Ross cares only that these kinds of attacks not be directed at him, not so much when the attacks are directed against his enemies: biblical creationists.

Still on the opening page of ch18, Ross continues:

The age-old power struggle between creationists and scientists began long before Galileo, but in some ways resembles the current conflict..In the early 1600s, Roman Catholic authorities refused Galileo’s invitation to look through his telescope…But the Roman Catholic prelates were afraid that laypeople might follow Galileo’s example and begin to publicly challenge biblical interpretations once taught only by priests, bishops, and cardinals. Laypeople were strongly discouraged from even reading the Bible.

Ross is correct that the struggle between biblical creationists and the modern academic paradigm continues to this day, but again, he has confused the protagonists and the antagonists. Those who hold the academic/political/cultural power are the old earthers like the Romanists of old. And those, who trust God’s Word and are willing to stand solidly thereon are the biblical creationists alongside Galileo. See, Galileo was not persecuted by the Romanists for his views on astronomy; Galileo was harassed by the (then) modern academic/religious paradigm for speaking out against the political/religious power of the day: the Pope. And in much the same way, “how DARE the biblical creationists for speaking out against the academic/cultural powers of today by questioning old age assumptions!!!” 

Of note, the Romanists of today are old earthers. They teach both old earthism and biological evolution, and while Dr. Ross does not openly support biological evolution; he has subjected himself to the modern academic paradigm and demands the same of biblical interpretation.

The idea of a long history of plant and animal decay and death is difficult for some to face. Integrating such a seemingly harsh reality with that of a loving, omniscient, omnipotent God can present a significant emotional and spiritual challenge.

Dr. Ross’s old earth assumptions of millions of years of animal suffering and death has been resoundingly dealt with in ch9 of this book review. So, Christians are not struggling with the integration of animal suffering/death and a loving God – Christians are struggling with the integration of old earthism into the Bible. 

Christian orthodoxy must, however, remain alert to this denial of physical  history and its implications

It’s rich that Dr. Ross would accuse others of denying history when his entire business model is built upon the OUTRIGHT denial of the global flood that is recorded in Genesis 7-9. Dr. Ross is even warned against denying the global flood in 2 Peter 3 when alongside his skeptic allies he is notified: “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come…But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

Ross whines that old earthers are “persecuted” by biblical creationists but by the comments from earlier in the chapter, he is fine with attacking those who hold God’s Word as the highest authority. By his reasoning (anyone, who claims to be a Christian should be allowed to speak/teach the Bible) we should allow Jehovah’s Witnesses, Romanists, and non-Trinitarians to teach the Bible just because they claim to be Christians?

ch18p223

Doctrine does not divide; Bad doctrine divides

On pg 224 Dr. Ross makes several errors about biblical creationists

According to young-earth creationists leaders…coal, oil, gas, and topsoil are not the remains of thousands of previous generations of life. Nor do coral bands and ice layers demark real years past. Nor does erosion of craters and mountains on Earth, other planets, and moons result from real ongoing natural processes. All these things must be illusions, according to a young-universe creationist perspective.

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! These things are not illusory. All of those (except the other planets/moons) are the result of the worldwide flood as God described in Genesis 6-9. Dr. Ross shows yet again that rather than making a case against what biblical creationists actually believe and teach, he is content to build up strawman arguments of his enemies and then burn them down with acrimony all while crying that he is the victim of young earth persecution.

He then ratchets up the rhetoric and instead of insisting that young earth creationists have rebelled against just the latest scientific assumptions, he says

The fear that incites such a strong denial of physical reality and cosmic history implications must be addressed.

Now biblical creationists deny physical reality?!?!? 

On pg225 he continues:

If we take the Bible seriously and literally, not basis for such fear (fear that old earthism is true) exists.

What? Literally? He says to take the Bible literally, although he advocates billion year long days, death/disease/thorns prior to sin, a minor flood in the Mesapotamian river valley, and interpretations of the corrupted creation has authority over the eternal word of God. This is why I have trust issues with old earthers. “LITERALLY” he says.

Inigo-Montoya-Meme

Again on pg225 we find that Dr. Ross elevates the interpretations of observations above God’s Word

To question and challenge scientists’ interpretations of new findings may seem intimidating, but it can be done respectfully, on the basis of facts.

No! On the basis of God’s Word. God’s revelation through his eternal Word is the justification for knowledge (Prov 1:7, Hosea 4:6, Isaiah 33:6, Col 2:3). The facts will always support what God has revealed in his Word, but we must remember that your ultimate authority matters!

Perhaps the most tragic aspect of denying nature’s scientifically established characteristics…

Do you see again how he puts the modern academic paradigm as the authority which Ross elevates over scripture? He continues to conflate the interpretations of the modern academic paradigm with actual science.

Four examples of observations and interpretations on which the community of research astronomers and physicists agree are given as follows. Each carries enormous theological significance, which the majority of scientists also acknowledge.”

Let me acknowledge the enormous theological significance of Ross’s interpretations too. And before I share Ross’s 4 examples, let me say that even though we’ve already covered the main theological significance of Ross’s assumptions, I can’t say it enough:

Ross assumes that death/suffering/corruption/thorns are all part of God’s “very good” creation even though they most are specifically mentioned as the RESULT/CURSE of the sin of mankind. Let’s add cancer, disease, pathogenic actions of bacteria/viruses, and predation since we find all of these in the fossil record, which Ross denies is a result of the global flood as recorded in Genesis 6-9. The tragedy for old earthers like Dr. Ross is that they are willing to accept the curses of sin death/suffering/thorns as part of God’s very good character even though they are shown throughout scripture to be the opposite of good.

  1. Science says: The universe is billions of years old
  2. Science says: The universe can be traced back to a single, ultimate, simultaneous origin of matter, energy, space, and time.
  3. Science says: The universe, our galaxy, and the solar system exhibit more than 500 different characteristics requiring exquisite fine-tuning  for life’s possible existence
  4. Science says: Life in complex forms with an optimized ecology originated on Earth suddenly, UNDER HOSTILE CONDITIONS without the benefit of a prebiotic soup or a prebiotic mineral substrate. <bold, capitalization added by book reviewer>

Regarding all four of his examples, science does not say anything. This is a the reification fallacy. He’s given personal or concrete qualities to a concept or process, which is fallacious.

Item 1 cannot be true because of the arguments we have already discussed in scripture and current observations. Item 2 is a hyperbolic overstatement that disregards Genesis 1:1, since God made the Earth at the beginning. I do not have a critique of item 3, but I want you to pay particular attention to the BOLDED and CAPITALIZED phrase in item 4. This phrase is incongruous with and hopelessly opposed to Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”

It’s hard to state more clearly that Ross’s ideas and assumptions, while he claims them to in agreement with scripture, are opposed to what God has revealed in his Word.

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 17

time lapse photography of waterfalls during sunset

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Scientific Case for a Young Cosmos

In this chapter, Dr. Ross lays out 12 well known arguments from biblical creationists that are used and that were used in the past to refute old earthism. He then gives a reply to all twelve in an attempt to preserve old earthism. In the first sixteen chapters (and the introduction), I have shown that he has failed to build a congruent case for old earthism from both scripture and science. Let’s see how he does responding to these dozen claims for a young cosmos

Exhibit A: The continents erode too quickly for Earth to be old

Essentially the case for a young earth is measuring the erosion rate of the continents, and this extrapolation gives a time limiting factor of only 16 million years.

Reply: This challenge focuses on one side of the equation only. It fails to acknowledge that lava flows, delta and continental shelf buildup (from eroded material), coral reef buildup, and uplift from colliding tectonic plates occur at rates roughly equivalent to, and in some cases far exceeding, the erosion rate.

I’m not a geologist…neither is he. But neither of us need to be a geologist to identify the GIGANTIC problem in his rescue device. The short answer is that fossils exist, so his reply is impotent.

The long answer, will take a little explaining and maybe a few pictures. While Dr. Ross is not a biological evolutionist he agrees with their interpretation of fossil layers since he rejects the worldwide flood account of Genesis 6-9. While he says he believes the Bible, he thinks instead that the account in Genesis is a local flood.

Let’s start with the picture below, which is a picture of what Ross is describing, but clearly not what is found. To begin with, I disagree with the ages that have been assigned to each layer for both biblical and scientific reasons, but for the sake of argument, we’ll use Dr. Ross’s understanding of the fossils to refute his rescue device. As wind and water erosion takes off the top level, Dr. Ross has claimed that uplift from tectonic plates replaces the levels that are lost to erosion. As stated earlier, and clearly an extrapolation with which Dr. Ross agrees, the continents could have been COMPLETELY ERODED AWAY were it not for continental uplift. The continental uplift replaces the eroded layers, but the erosion would have removed the fossils completely in at most 16 millions years. But there are fossils. The fossils that are dug from the earth are clear evidence for a worldwide flood about 4500 year ago, just as the Bible tells us.

ErosionDestroysFossils

In “Exhibit B: Lunar dust accumulates too quickly to allow for an old earth” Ross mentions a contention that biblical creationists abandoned more than two decades ago, so there’s no need to go into this one.

Exhibit C: Earth’s magnetic field decays too rapidly to allow for an old Earth

Reply: Earth’s magnetic field does not undergo steady weakening but rather a variable alteration

Dr. Jonathan Sarfati and Dr. Jason Lisle have built cases for the steady exponential decline of the earth’s magnetic field such that the earth must indeed be young instead of Dr. Ross’s claims.

https://creation.com/the-earths-magnetic-field-evidence-that-the-earth-is-young

https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/the-age-of-the-universe-part-2/

Exhibit D: The Sun burns by gravitational contraction, so it cannot be billions of years old

Reply: This argument overlooks significant data.

This is another obsolete argument for biblical creationists…however, the resolution with which Dr. Ross replies turns out to have its own serious shortcoming. It is so bad in fact, that it’s been given the name: The Faint Young Sun Paradox. Essentially, since the sun provides energy by nuclear fusion, it is getting brighter. So, billions of years ago, the sun would have been so dim that there would not have been enough energy reaching the frozen earth to sustain any kind of life. The older that old earthers think the sun/earth combination is, the worse the problem gets for them

Ch17FaintYoungSunParadox

 

Exhibit E: Galaxy clusters would be more widely dispersed if the universe were old.

Reply: This argument rests, first, on an incorrect assumption. It assumes that all the mass within galaxy clusters is luminous.

First of all, it is rich that Dr. Ross would accuse someone else of incorrect assumptions when we’ve seen over and over how he assumes the creation, which has been corrupted by sin, is on equal authoritative grounds with God’s revealed and eternal Word. We’ve also seen him incorrectly assume that the modern academic paradigm is the same as science. But on to his reply

Dr. Ross’s reply depends upon the non-scientific concept of dark matter/energy. He also resorts to dark ordinary matter (brown dwarfs, planets, asteroids, rocks, dust, and cold gas) as being four and a half times more mass than luminous matter. However, this is the special pleading fallacy since our own solar system, which is the best place for measuring matter and mass shows that the sun has 99.9% of the mass. He’s got to assume all of the other solar systems (which are much harder to get accurate measurements) are not just different from the one we inhabit but so different as to make them completely unrecognizable

Exhibit F: The crystal halos that arise from radioactive polonium decay indicate that the earth is young.

Reply: If the granite crystal halo evidence proves reliable, it simply indicates rapid formation of certain rocks, not the entire planet.

This argument takes the form that since polonium-218 has a half life of 3 minutes and the halos that record their decay still exist in granite, that the granite did not take millions of years to cool. Ross’s reply is utterly deficient, even to the point of a concession:

Even if Gentry’s granite crystal halos do result from polonium-218 decay, Gentry has merely exposed a phenomenon that requires further study, a phenomenon that geologists’ current understanding does not explain.

So deep has old earthism got its hooks in Dr. Ross that he cannot see the clear evidence for biblical creation.

Exhibit G: Rapid sedimentation and peat deposition following the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption demonstrate that geological processes are rapid, not gradual. So earth could be young.

Reply: The problem lies in what rhetoricians call the “either-or” fallacy – the assumption that all geological processes occur either gradually or rapidly. The young-earth versus old-earth debate is pictures in this context as a battle between the principles of uniformitarianism and the principles of catastrophism, with one significant difference…Evidence of rapid geological processes, such as those resulting from the Mount St. Helens eruption, fail to support the notion that every structure in Earth’s crust formed quickly and simultaneously.

Yet, isn’t science supposed to make observations and see if it supports or falsifies a theory? The evidence resulting from the Mt St Helens eruption are directly comparable to what one would expect during the worldwide flood of Noah’s day if scaled up appropriately. So, rather than taking what has been observed to create hundreds of layers, Ross rejects observations and instead inserts an unobserved mechanism to preserve old earthism. His attempt to refute Exhibit G is a disastrous mess as shown in these videos below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjdZ3Gs-PTk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4a6oWZQ2ok

https://youtu.be/W4vK6NaSLBg

 

Exhibit H: Given that a spiral galaxy’s spiral structure winds up and disappears after just three of four rotations of the galaxy, spiral galaxies must be relatively young.

Reply: Young earth creationists would be correct about spiral arms windup if the arms were material structures, But they are not. As first explained in 1964…galaxy arms are density waves.

Astrophysicist Jason Lisle tells us the postulating density waves as a rescue device for old earthers creates more problems than it solves.

Ch17DensityWaves

Exhibit I: Trails of human footprints beside or crossing over dinosaur prints prove that dinosaurs were contemporaneous with humans, not millions of years old.

Reply: The dinosaur prints at the discovery sites have been identified as belonging to tridactyls, three-toed carnivorous dinosaurs.

There are many such evidences that have been put forth as dinosaur and human footprints. And it’s likely that some or most have been refuted. But there are still some fossils that have merit.

See the virtual tour of the creation museum in Glen Rose, TX 

Here is the personal testimony of the evolutionist-turned-creationist who excavated one of the Paluxy tracks

Even if those particular tracks turn out not to be human footprints, the evidence for humans and dinosaurs co-existing is overwhelming

MarcoPoloDinosaur

Not specifically about dinosaurs and humans living together but that dinosaurs lived in the recent past, here is an updated list of fossils that old earthers contend should be old but are shown to be young

Thinking that dinosaurs was a stronghold of old earthism, Dr. Ross included this exhibit in his book, but as you can see, the evidence is clearly on the side of biblical creation since dinosaurs lived recently enough to be seen and documented alive by mankind

Exhibit J: Since a comet’s average life span is only a few thousand years and the supply of new comets is limited, the existence of comets today proces the solar system cannot be more than several thousand years old.

Reply: …estimates of average comet longevity made prior to 1980 leaned heavily on the low side.

Dr. Ross declares with certainty that there are at least three sources for comets because he knows that comets would have disintegrated if they were truly billions of years old

Today, the existence of Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud comets is no longer based solely on theoretical calculations. In addition to finding the two distant comet clouds, astronomers have found a third distant comet repository, “the scattered disc.”

But a quick internet search reveals that Ross’s assertions of evidence are vacuous

 

Exhibit K: The lack of greatly expanded supernova remnants (SNRs) proves that such remnants have been expanding for no more than (probably less than) a few tens of thousands of years.

Reply: The mere existence of SNRs says that our galaxy and other galaxies are old…Observational difficulties, rather than an actual deficiency of SNRs, lie at the core of this cosmic age challenge.

It seems enormously hypocritical that Ross would declare the Oort cloud, which is unobservable, is irrefutable evidence, but SNRs which are thousands of light years across and visible from hundreds of thousands of light years away have “observational difficulties” and are therefore moot

For astronomers who are biblical creationists, the expectation is that if the Milky Way is about 6K-7K  years old, there should be about 125 visible Stage 2 supernova remnants. Conversely, for those who (like Ross and Bill Nye and Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson) believe in billions of years, would expect there to be about 2300 stage 2 SNRs. When actually looking into the Milky Way, we observe about 200 SNRs. So, you can see from the chart below that the evidence strongly supports biblical creation and is discordant with old earth assumptions. The problem gets even worse for those choosing to compromise God’s Word in favor of naturalistic assumptions when considering stage 3 SNRs.

SuperNovaRemnants

 

Exhibit L: Backward-rotating planets and backward-revolving moons in the solar system demonstrate that the solar system cannot be very old.

Reply: The standard model for our solar system’s formation does not predict, as this challenge assumes, that all solar system bodies will rotate and revolve in the same direction as the sun.

The standard nebular model for planetary formation is saturated with galaxy-sized problems:

“The formation of planetesimals is the biggest unsolved problem…The formation of giant planets is another unsolved problem…Another problem of giant planet formation is their migration…different rotation between the inner and outer parts of a ring could not allow condensation of material.”

But these are all of the questions that the nebular theory is supposed to EXPLAIN, so it can’t explain the formation of planets if THAT’s the biggest problem!

Regarding the backward-rotating planets, Astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle has this to say

“Secularists (and other old earthers including Dr. Ross) do not have a good explanation for the backward rotation of Venus. In the secular scenario, the solar system is supposed to have formed from the collapse of a rotating nebula. The natural expectation of this would be that all planets would rotate in the same direction at about the same rate, and they would all have very little axial tilt. Venus is the worst offender to this concept, since it rotates exactly the opposite of what the evolutionary models require. But we expect such diversity in the biblical view.”

Dr. Ross does not specifically include this next YEC point as an exhibit for a young cosmos, but he does include this as a sidebar on a full page.

Does Lunar Recession Refute an Old Earth?

Lunar recession refers to the Moon’s movement away from Earth due to the transfer of angular momentum from Earth to Moon as a consequence of the tidal interaction of the Earth-Moon system…the Moon could not have been receding from the Earth for more than 1.4-2.3 billions years.

Ross’s rescue device is:

The conflict is resolved if the Moon’s tidal torque was less forceful in the past than it is now. In 1982, Kirk Hansen showed that the number, sizes, shapes, and geographical placements of the continents and their accompanying continental shelves hugely impact the Moon’s tidal torque on Earth.

 But we can clearly see that this is special pleading. There’s no evidence that the moon’s tidal torque was less forceful in the past. It relies both on a special (unobserved) amount of matter in a special (unobserved) arrangement of matter for a special (unobserved) amount of time.

Dr. Henry from Creation.com had this to say regarding the secular origins of the moon and moon recession

“Over the approximately 6,000 years since the creation of the universe, the lunar recession rate has been essentially constant at the present value. However, assuming a multi-billion year age, lunar recession rates would have been much higher in the distant past than now. The currently accepted parameters indicate that the moon would have required 1.3 Ga to move from its origin at the Roche limit to its present position. This is the moon’s upper-limit age and shows that the conventional chronology is incorrect. If the solar system were actually 4.6 Ga old, the moon would have receded to a distance from earth approximately 20% beyond its present position. There is a widespread belief that the impact theory of lunar origin has neutralized these dilemmas for conventional chronology”

Ross’s special rescue device is insufficient to preserve old earthism. 

To finish the chapter, Dr. Ross writes:

John Morris, a geological engineer and current president of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), once acknowledged in a radio interview that he has never met (or heard of) a scientist who became convinced on the basis of science alone that the universe or Earth is only thousands of years old.

In the footnotes, it is noted that the question that was asked to John Morris was

Have you or any of your colleagues ever met or heard of a scientist who became persuaded that the universe or Earth is only thousands of years old based on scientific evidence without any reference to a particular interpretation of the Bible?

That is not the stance of most biblical creationists, but for sake of argument, let’s grant this and suggest this change to the question:

“Have you ever heard of a scientist who became convinced that a person could be dead for three days and then return to life based only on peer-reviewed evidence rather than reading it in the Bible?”

This is why proper biblical hermeneutics is so important. The question could be formed in such a way as to make those reading Dr. Ross’s work think that this is a case-closed argument. Here are a few examples of scientists who HAVE been convinced of the scientific evidence for biblical creation that led them to Christ and that contradict Ross’s implication:

 

As you can see from the above responses to Dr. Ross’s 13 replies to young earth arguments, he has fallen far short of refuting them, but he did not even attempt to tackle the other 100 arguments presented  by creation.com

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 9

cheetah on top of brown tree branch

Photo by Michael M on Pexels.com

Good God, Cruel World

If there is a more distinct separation between the views of biblical creationists and old earthers, than death before sin, I don’t know what it would be. Ross agrees in his opening of chapter 8

One emotional lightning rod stands taller than all others in the creation day controversy: “Allowing for the millions of years for the fossil layers means accepting death, bloodshed, disease, and suffering before Adam’s sin.” The idea of death before the fall (of Adam and Eve) sparks heated debates. Young-earth spokespersons say an ancient fossil record “documents death, disease, suffering, cruelty, and brutality. It is a very ugly record.”? How can such “ugliness” be compatible with a powerful, loving Creator? Young-earth scholars say it cannot. Most people believe death is bad.

The Bible would agree with “most people” in this instance. I Corinthians 15:26 “The last enemy to be defeated is death.” Death is not just some benign operation that cleans up the gene pool; death is the enemy!

Let’s talk a little bit about what death means. Dr. Ross would say that anything that today’s academic paradigm declares as “alive” can experience death. So he has a BROAD range of things that can die: humans, animals, fish, insects, plants, fungus, bacteria, cells…When any of the items on that list ceases to function, he would say it dies. From his definition of death, one could make a reasonable case that there was death before the sin of mankind. Plants no longer germinating or growing. Bacteria expiring. Even the death of cells Dr Ross would consider death that would invalidate biblical creationism.

But is that what the Bible is talking about when God’s revelation refers to death? The Bible talks about creatures which possess the breath of life as being alive. Hebrew scholars realize the plants are not referred to as being alive in the original Hebrew

In Genesis 1, God specifically mandates that humans and animals are to eat only plants, seeds, and fruit. Carnivory is not permitted by God in Genesis, so to assume there was predation and carnivory is something that old earthists BRING TO the text. God does not allow human carnivory until 1500 years later…after the flood. But getting back to Dr. Ross’s claim that plants are alive is a misunderstanding of the biblical understanding of plants. A better description of plants would be that they are a self-replicating food source. The Hebrew word for living things (that could feasibly die AFTER sin entered the world) would be nephesh (H5315).

So, clearly plants, cells, and bacteria would not be considered “alive” by the author of Genesis, and while they might have come to a point prior to the fall that they failed to reproduce or persist, they would not have been seen as having “died”.

Dr. Jonathan Sarfati has this to say about death before sin

However, creationists have often pointed out that ‘no death before sin’ applies to what the Bible calls death, which is not always the way modern biologists use it. The
Bible doesn’t talk about plants dying, even though modern biologists do. Rather, the Bible talks about plants withering, for example. What is the difference? Answer: the creatures affected by death were those the Bible calls nephesh chayyâh. When it refers to man, it is often translated ‘living soul’, but, of other creatures, including fish, it is often translated ‘living creature’. However, it is never applied to plants or
invertebrates. Therefore, there is a qualitative difference between the deaths of the (vertebrate) animals called nephesh chayyâh and plant death. This is further  supported by the account of the Flood and Ark. The living creatures (nephesh chayyâh) intentionally rescued on the Ark did not include plants (or invertebrates).

When, at the bottom of pg 89, Ross speaks of the biblical creationist understanding the death came after sin, he seems ignorant of much of scripture:

At the heart of such comments lie profound questions about the advent of evil and God’s response to it. Does the blame for all ills fall rightfully on Adam’s shoulders? …In this case, Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God in the garden of Eden must be responsible for all death and extinction experienced in nature. Such a view of Adam’s sin, however seems to imply that God meted out sudden punishment on plants and animals who did nothing to deserve His wrath, or that He couldn’t or wouldn’t protect the rest of creation from man’s offense. Either possibility called God’s character and power into question.

Ross is in effect saying that the rebellion of humans CANNOT have effects beyond themselves, which is not supported by scripture. Below are many of the places in scripture where mankind’s wickedness is judged directly by God against creation, other people, animals, and plants

  • Gen 3:17-19 “Cursed is the ground because of you (Adam)”
  • Ex 7:21 Fish cursed for Pharaoh’s sin
  • Ex 8:13 Frogs cursed for Pharaoh’s sin
  • Ex 9:6 Livestock cursed for Pharaoh’s sin
  • Ex 9:10 Animals cursed for Pharaoh’s sin
  • Ex 9:25 Animals cursed for Pharaoh’s sin
  • Ex 12:29 Firstborn cursed for Pharaoh’s sin (NOTABLE: Pharaoh’s ancestor killed the Hebrew boys (Ex 1:16). Vengeance is the Lord’s, and his judgment is just.)
  • Jer 7:20 Animals/trees/fruit burned for man’s wickedness
  • Jer 9:10-12 Land cursed from sin. Animals cursed from sin
  • Jer 12:4 Land parched and animals/birds perish due to man’s wickedness
  • Jer 14:4-6 Ground, deer, jackals suffering from drought due to man’s wickedness
  • Jer 21:6 Because of Israel’s sin, God judges men and animals
  • Jer 36:29 Man and animals cut off because of wickedness
  • Isa 24:1-6 Earth punished for man’s wickedness
  • Ezekiel 36:34 Land desolate because of Israel’s wickedness
  • Rom 8:20-21 Creation subjected to frustration and in bondage to corruption because of sin

So, we can clearly see that although Ross thinks it’s unjust for other people, animals, plants, and even the ground to experience repercussions from the sin of mankind, Ross’s claims are contrary to what scripture has revealed

Just two pages previous to this one, Dr. Ross hypocritically lectures about not attributing things to God that are not scriptural. But that doesn’t stop him from attributing false characteristics to God based on his misunderstanding of scripture.

If death of any kind in any context is evil, then a loving God would never design His creatures to die.

On pg91 Ross continues

The death Adam experienced is carefully qualified in the text as being visited on “all men”-with no reference to plants and animals.

Yes, when we read Genesis 3, the curse of sin is far reaching, and Paul’s elaboration on the curse of sin shows it to be even broader.

Romans 8 “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”

ALL of creation has been subjected to the bondage of corruption by Adam’s sin. It is extra-biblical to think there was death in the creation that God called “very good” since God called death “the last enemy” in I Corinthians 15. Sin was a crushing blow to all of creation

Thankfully, the curse of sin will end: Revelation 22:3 “No longer will there be any curse.”

On page 93 Dr. Ross again engages in eisegesis to protect old earthism. For old earthers there HAD to be carnivory since the emergence of predators. But since this is counter to what the Bible teaches in Genesis 1, Dr. Ross and others have to manipulate the text to make it say something more palatable.

Ch9p93

Some young-earth creation scholars dismiss the teeth, jaws, and claws of carnivores as inadequate evidence that they always killed prey.

Evidence? Dr. Ross, what evidence do you possess that can overturn what God revealed in Genesis 1 when God said that only plants are to be used for food?

Secondly, biblical creation scientists and scholars do NOT dismiss current evidence.

Thirdly, from which animals are the following skulls?

fruit-bat-skull2

The 1st is a fruit bat and the second is a panda. Both vegetarians…but you wouldn’t know that from the bones. Dr. Ross claims he knows the behavior and food preferences of all animals prior to the fall, contrary to scripture just from looking at bones or extrapolating from today.

Ross digs his giant hole even deeper with:

In the wild, carnivores actually help herbivores maintain their health and minimize their suffering…Thanks to carnivores, herbivore health is maximized and death rates minimized

Wait! Earlier, you said animal suffering & death was “very good”. Why would there be a case to be made that animal suffering and death needing to be minimized? Are you backing off the claim that animal suffering and death is “very good”? Why?

It’s a hard pill for us to swallow that the LORD of glory, who describes Himself as good would also declare suffering & death with the same Hebrew word for good, towb H2896

The Bible says carnivores receive their prey from God’s hand Psalm 104:21

Dr. Ross again takes this verse out of context. In the same Psalm, we also see the author say “But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more.”

So, we know that the Psalm was both written AFTER the fall and describes the circumstances of carnivory & wickedness after the fall. 

Humans are the beneficiaries of the remains of millions of generations of plants and animals that preceded us.

This statement assumes that Genesis was incorrect when it describes the worldwide flood. The flood created the conditions necessary for biodeposit resources. 

On pg 97 Ross perpetuates a long refuted idea that layers in ice are annual

If Antarctica and Greenland had tropical climates before and during the flood, then the models to which global flood proponents adhere would allow only 4,300 to 5,000 years for all of Antarctic ice is more than 4,770 meters

I’m sure Dr. Ross is familiar with the P-38 Lightning aircraft that had to crash land in Greenland in 1942. Only 50 years later, these aircraft were recovered buried under more than 250 feet of ice and snow. The men who recovered the aircraft say there were hundreds of layers of ice, so we know that ice layers are NOT annually deposited counter to the modern academic paradigm that is the foundation of Dr. Ross’s claims.

People tell me all the time that the “age of the earth question” is a side issue and does not relate to the gospel. For the most part, I agree with them about the age of the earth. There are some areas though where the “age of the earth question” and the gospel intersect. Here are 2 of them

  • What does scripture teach? It is important that we trust what God has revealed in scripture. As I have shown and will continue to show, old earthers are forced to redefine the words and texts in scripture to accommodate their mantra. When, to accommodate modern academic paradigms, they insert billions of years, death, suffering, thorns, and bloodshed into scripture, it sullies the nature of the gospel. Jesus came to save sinners and defeat the curses of sin.
  • On p98 Dr. Ross teaches that Satan (not Adam) should be blamed for sin. But this is discordant with the Gospel revealed in scripture. Jesus became a human in the line of Adam to save sinners. His form as a man allowed Him to be a kindred redeemer. Satan is not eligible for redemption because there is no means for which Satan’s sins could be atoned. Romans 5 and 8 tells us that all of creation was cursed because of the sin of Adam, which Jesus is able to redeem by his sacrifice. 

Ross titled this chapter “Good God, Cruel World”. He tries to dilute the what goodness means:

In Genesis 1, the creation is called “good” and “very good” but not “ultimate perfection.”

God DOES reveal in Genesis 1 that his creation is very good. Twenty-nine times God also reveals that HE is good using the same Hebrew word with which He describes his creation prior to sin. But Dr. Ross believes and teaches that death/corruption/suffering/thorns were in creation prior to the sin of mankind. But it’s likely that Ross would inconsistently/arbitrarily flinch from attributing death/corruption as being part of the character of the Holy One. But this is the natural progression of thought into which he is bound. 

In the next paragraph, the inconsistencies of Dr. Ross continue:

In the Old Testament times, the Israelites shed animal blood as part of their worship. These sacrifices illustrated the horror of sin and the price that must be paid to undo its consequences.”

But according to Dr. Ross, animals have been dying for millions of years. To him, bloodshed is ubiquitous, common, and valueless. So, why would the death of animals somehow now be a “horror” with terrible consequences? He tries to have it both ways that animal death is both endlessly common and a horror. It’s inconsistent.

At the bottom of pg102, I find a very serious implication for the old earth view that Hugh Ross is teaching. Regarding Romans 8, Dr. Ross says

The human effect on the environment is analogous to sending a two-year-old child to clean up a closet. Just as one must wait for the two-year-old to grow up before expecting him to fully comprehend and bring order to the problem, so too God waits for the human race to mature enough to understand and obey God’s “care instructions” for the new creation.”

This is certainly incompatible with the teaching of total depravity. Ross is essentially saying that man can learn to overcome the corruption that plagues this age with greater learning and science. This again, is a terrible problem for the old earth dogma. The only hope for reversing the curse of sin’s corruption is Jesus. 

Chapter 9 ends on a very sad note as Dr. Ross continues his praise of death

A kernel of wheat cannot fulfill its destiny to become a plant bearing many seeds of wheat unless it falls to the ground and dies. Similarly, humans gain eternal life in the new creation through dying. The message of the New Testament epistles is that the pathway to life everlasting is through physical death. Why, then, should any believer in God look upon death as something that is fundamentally bad in all contexts and counter to the will of God? Only through death can evil be conquered. Death for the Christian is in one sense a gift.

It’s mind-numbingly callous to look into the eyes of a child who’s lost his mother or even the family pet and say: “death is a gift!” But this is the progression of thought for Dr. Ross.

The Bible tells a different story. Death is a result of sin. I Corinthians 15:26 “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

Death is the enemy, and the Lion of Judah who defeated death Himself will ultimately crush the final enemy to redeem his creation from corruption.

UPDATE: Here’s what scientist and apologist Dr. Jason Lisle had to say about animal death prior to the sin of mankind

As biblical creationists, we praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 7 (part 2)

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Anchored in Scripture 

Either Dr. Ross was verbose in chapter 7, or he wrote quite a bit that needs reviewing and correcting…maybe a little bit of both

Having viewed many videos of Dr. Ross and even interacting with him online, he ties his old earthism to a unique understanding of Jeremiah 33 and the consequences of immutable physical laws. He discusses this on pg 70 after he discusses the perceived problems of the order of creation. Dr. Ross says that it would have ruined all of God’s creation had (as Genesis 1 reveals) the Creator made Earth first and then on day 4 created the sun/moon & planets. He brushes aside the fact that the Creator of the universe would actually have had no problem with Dr. Ross’s proposed physics conundrum

As a way around these enormous complications, some young-earth creationist leaders suggest that God could have radically altered physics.” While no Christian would doubt that He could have, both biblical texts and astronomical observations support the conclusion that He did not. For example, Jeremiah 33:25 explicitly refers to “the fixed laws of heaven and earth,”

Dr. Ross seems to be saying that “the fixed laws of heaven and earth” actually bind God not to do things that would be considered outside the bounds of physics, chemistry, or biology. 

Let’s look at what Jeremiah 33 is actually talking about.

The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “Have you not observed that these people are saying, ‘The LORD has rejected the two clans that he chose’? Thus they have despised my people so that they are no longer a nation in their sight. Thus says the LORD: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth, then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.”

So, in the context of God declaring his faithfulness to his chosen people, He references a covenant with the day and night. Might we be able to find in scripture the origin of this covenant?

About 1,500 (actual; not old earther) years after the creation of the moon (when Dr. Ross says there were all sorts of physics problems), God makes his covenant with day and night:

Genesis 8:22 “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

So, even if Dr. Ross’s wild interpretation of Jeremiah 33:25 is correct (which I will show next that it is not) then the covenant God made with the night and day was not even enacted until a millennium and a half AFTER there might have been perceived problems of physics that would have bound God from doing anything because of the “fixed order/patterns of heaven and earth.” 

But Dr. Ross is not correct that God cannot suspend the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology for his glory. We see examples all throughout scripture that God can and does uphold all things for his glory rather than being bound by laws of physics, chemistry, or biology:

  • Gen 19:24, 26 (physics)
  • Gen 21:2 (biology)
  • Gen 30:41 (biology)
  • Ex 3:2 (physics)
  • Ex 7-12 (physics, chemistry, biology)
  • Ex 14:21-28 (physics)
  • Num 17:8 (biology)
  • Num 21:8-9 (biology)
  • Num 22:28 (biology, ethology)
  • Josh 6:20 (physics)
  • Josh 10:12-14 (physics, astrophysics)
    • Interestingly, the point of the passage in Joshua 10 when God stopped the movement of the sun for about one full day is that ONLY the Almighty could perform such a miracle. The Rossians have this to say about the specific instance in Joshua 10
    • “God could have brought about such effects through a supernatural meteorological event that blanketed the region with heavy darkness or refracted or reflected extra light into the desired location”
  • Judges 6:36-40 (physics)
  • I Kings 17:1-6 (physics, biology)
  • 2 Kings 4:5 (physics, chemistry)
  • 2 Kings 4:35 (biology)
  • 2 Kings 6:6 (physics)
  • Isaiah 38:7-8 (physics, astrophysics)
    • As in the Joshua 10 passage, ONLY God could perform such a miracle. Why would the Rossians continue to insist that there is a naturalistic explanation for something that ONLY God could have done? It is because they start with the wrong presuppositions…that somehow, God is bound by natural laws. Here’s what the Rossians say about Isaiah 38
    • “It is hard to imagine, however, God manipulating meteorological conditions so that sundials over the entire region between Jerusalem and Babylon would have their shadows shifted by 40 minutes without bringing about far more disturbing meteorological consequences. Alternatively, God could have temporarily shone some kind of transcendent light, like His Shekinah glory, into the cities of Jerusalem and Babylon or even upon the entire region between Jerusalem and Babylon.”
    • Not once do they even consider what the actual text says… “So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.”
  • Jonah 2:10 (biology)
  • Matt 8:3 (biology)
  • Matt 9:25 (biology)
  • Mark 4:39 (physics)
  • Luke 5:20-26 (biology) My favorite Bible story. Jesus is God who can forgive sin. But to validate in their eyes, his ultimate authority He also healed the man’s most obvious physical needs. And everyone praised God!
  • Luke 24:6 (biology)
  • John 11:44 (biology)

Doubtless, Dr. Ross would backpedal when confronted with this argument since he probably does believe in miracles recorded in scripture. Why then would he arbitrarily choose the examples in Genesis 1 & 7 during creation & the worldwide flood to hold God accountable for Ross’s interpretation that the fixed laws of heaven and earth cannot be broken? It seems rather fallacious to me.

Ross ends this section of the book with the quote

This exegetical approach not only arises from a modern understanding of the structure of and formation of stars and planets, but also dates back to at least the 1680s.

First, Ross is NOT using an “exegetical approach”. The previous 2 paragraphs are full of quotes like 

  • “2 parts in 10,000,000,000,000,000…”
  • “past 12 billion years”
  • “Thus research confirms”
  • “God transformed Earth’s atmosphere from translucent to transparent”

Exegesis is using scripture to interpret scripture, and none of those quotes are in scripture. Dr. Ross is bringing his outside sources as authorities to interpret scripture, which is called eisegesis

Secondly, Dr. Ross is saying that for the full extent of human history until the 1680s…or more likely until he wrote A Matter of Days (2nd edition) that the people of God understood God’s revelation of origins incorrectly. (sarcasm font) Thanks Dr. Ross for revealing God’s meaning to THIS generation. Too bad all other generations missed out. (close sarcasm font). We’ve already covered in Chapter 4 of the review that Dr. Ross is incorrect when he claims that the church has ALWAYS thought the creation took billions of years. Instead the church has historically held that the Bible is true in what it proclaimed throughout – God created the universe in 6 literal days. 

In the next 2 sections, Dr. Ross critiques the views of biblical creationists’ understanding of the 6th and 7th days. With great personal incredulity, he declares that Adam could not possibly have done the things described in Genesis 2 on a single day:

Considered together, many weeks, months, or even years worth of activities took place in this later portion of the sixth day:

  • Adam engaged in four different careers, or apprenticeships, on the sixth creation day (gardening, studying animals, naming animals, and learning how to relate to Eve).

  • Adam and Eve learned how to manage Earth’s resources for the benefit of all life. To be meaningful and beneficial, such important education and training could not have been crammed into only a few hours.

 

Careers? Four career? Let’s analyze what the text of Genesis 2 actually tells us about Adam’s four “careers”

  • Gardener – Gen 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die.” There doesn’t seem to be a mention of a career there. From the actual text, we see that God clearly told him to work the garden…but the text does not say that Adam worked the garden for weeks, months or years before Eve was created. For Dr. Ross to believe this requires him to inject his presuppositions INTO the text. That’s called eisegesis, and it’s a no-no.
  • Zoologist – Dr. Ross said Adam had a career of studying animals, but I couldn’t even find a verse in Genesis 2 that would remotely describe Adam as a zoologist. But didn’t Dr. Ross title this chapter: Anchored in Scripture? Looks like AGAIN, Dr. Ross brought his own interpretations into the text. Dr. Ross is indeed an Eisegesis Ninja
  • Zoonominalogist – This is a career? A Quick internet search shows that approximately 0% of humanity is employed as a zoonominalist. When we read Gen 2:19-20, it’s clear that God brought the beasts of the field and the birds to Adam for him to name. But someone might ask, “Aren’t there millions of species on Earth? How could Adam name millions of animals in a single day.” It’s a fair question, but the (false) assumption is that Adam named each SPECIES. Adam could have taken care of his God-given task in seconds by saying “Mammal, reptile, amphibian, behemoth, birds, and those accursed Philadelphia Eagles.” Perhaps another tactic Adam could have taken would have been to identify them by their locomotion, “quadruped, bipedal, tree-swingers, flighted birds, flightless birds, and those evil Philadelphia Eagles.” This article from creation.com describes how easily Adam could have named the animals in as little as an hour. Again, we see Dr. Ross forcing his views into scripture to accommodate his old earthism. Kinds ≠ Species
  • Husband – Hardly a career, but truly one of the most rewarding experiences in life is loving one’s wife with God’s love. From the text, again it is clear that Adam was not expected to know everything or be perfectly harmonious with his wife on their 1st day together. I’m not sure where Dr. Ross gets his expectation that Adam had a career’s worth of knowledge in dealing with his wife from the short text of their introduction such that it “could not have been crammed into only a few hours”, but it’s likely a continuation of his eisegesis.

Ross’s case against the clear reading of scripture is based on his personal incredulity, misunderstanding of the text, purposeful conflation of kinds/species, and his commitment to old earthism.

Of the seventh day, Ross writes:

While each of the first six creation days is marked by a beginning (“morning”) and an ending (“evening”), no such boundaries are assigned to the seventh day, neither in Genesis 1 and 2 not anywhere else in the Bible. Given the parallel structure in the narration of the creation days, such a distinct omission from the description of the seventh day strongly suggests that this day has (or had) not yet ended.

Ross appears to be saying that since the Bible never explicitly defined the end of day 7, that day 7 persists from then to now and beyond. So, he makes the connection, that since he can interpret “day” 7 to be very long, then he can interpret the other “days” to be epochs. 

Let’s analyze that first claim about day 7 not having an ending. Is it reasonable to say “Since the Bible did not explicitly state something, then it did NOT happen” ? The Bible never explicitly said that Eve ever slept. Are we to conclude that Eve never slept? Of course not, but this is the progression of thought that Ross is employing here. Secondly, we know that the United States declared its independence from England on July 4th, 1776, and the United States is still a country. Does this mean that it’s been July 4th ever since that time? Again, Ross’s logic is flawed. We can verify this by looking in scripture in Exodus 20:9,11 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” 

If as Ross contends, the LORD made the heavens and earth in six epochs and then rested (and continues to rest) for the 7th epoch, were God’s people expected to work continuously for millions and billions of years until God gives them 7th epoch rest? 

We can notice from the passage that God’s pattern is clear: Just as He worked 6 days, his people are to work for 6 days. And just as He rested on the 7th day, his people are to rest on the seventh day. The expectation is that the weekly cycle resets after the 7th day, but Ross’s theory fails to consistently address this continual reset.

An inset on pg 74 tries to explain the fossil record from an old earthist perspective. Ross proposes that new species “came into existence” in previous millennia, but he doesn’t say how. If we exegete Ross’s writings, we know he favors naturalistic evolution for the emergence of space, stars, galaxies, planets, moons, asteroids, comets, chemicals, water…One has to wonder that although he states his distaste of Darwinism, why he breaks from his naturalistic evolutionary dogma of the cosmos when it comes to biology (?)

Also, instead of using the biblically defined biological categories of kinds, Ross joins Darwinists in his description of the emergence and extinction of life by species, which are not the same as kinds. We’ll show how Ross’s interpretation of the fossil record is full of epicycles and just-so-stories rather than the biblical explanation of the global flood in future chapter reviews. Suffice it to say now that the worldwide flood of Noah’s day accurately accounts for the layers, fossils, and age of the earth in much greater accord than Ross’s incongruent theory.

Ross closes out Chapter 7 with a section titled Biblical Clocks. His idea is that one should be able to grasp the billions of years of history from the texts below:

Bible writers often compared God’s eternal existence to the longevity of the mountains or the “foundations of the earth.

  • Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God. (Psalm 90:2)

  • When there were no oceans, I [wisdom] was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world. (Proverbs 8:24-26) 

  • Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever….All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again….It was here already, long ago. (Ecclesiastes 1:4,7,10)

  • Hear, O mountains, the Lord’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. (Micah 6:2)

All these passages depict the immeasurable antiquity of God’s presence and plans. The brief span of a 3,000-year terrestrial history

But 3,000 years IS A LONG TIME! Only from Ross’s old earthist perspective is 3,000 years just a blink. But for the writers of scripture, 3,000 years is 150 generations. From David’s and Solomon’s and Jeremiah’s perspectives, the earth and it’s mountains were ancient. From our perspective today, the 1,000 year old castles of Europe are almost unfathomably ancient. Several times, Ross used translations of Hebrew words like everlasting, which modern translations (ESV) show as “enduring”. 

What’s even more interesting to me, is if when Adam and Noah and Moses were given their accounts of creation, why God did NOT choose to refer to the Earth or mountains as ancient from their perspective. Since for Ross, 3,000 years is just a blink, why did God not communicate to Adam that the Earth was ancient? It’s because, as God confirms in Mark 10:6, Adam was formed at the BEGINNING of creation…not the end.

Praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. As Christians, we do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

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Scripture Corroborated

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This writer offers an excellent analysis of the argument between a local and global flood. Old earthers argue that if there even was a flood, it was a minor local flood in the Mesopotamian valley. You can see from the critique below, that this local flood view is in direct conflict with scripture and the evidence seen today

The Noachian Deluge: Does Scripture Say Global, or Local?

 

From the article:

In sum, believe the local flood theory faces many more practical issues than the global view, not the least of which is the lack of support from Scripture.

Any support found for the local view seems to be based on spurious hermeneutics and fallacious exegesis, and the same is true of passages leveled against the global view. Further, as we saw, the local view faces what I think to be insurmountable difficulties both Scripturally and scientifically, and the assumptions involved are the real crux of the matter.

Once we abandom uniformitarian assumptions, the global view is not only possible, but seems to best and most reasonably explain the data from science, Scripture, and even culture.

I therefore conclude that, with respect to the Noachian Deluge, Scripture emphatically says “global!”

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 4

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Wisdom of the Ages

In this chapter, Dr. Ross laments the idea that biblical creationists have published saying that for the balance of church history, the church has taught and believed in a recent creation. Dr. Ross gives examples of scholars from the 1st – 4th centuries that had doubts of the six day creation.

  • Philo – “It is quite foolish to think that the world was created in six days or in a space of time at all.”
  • Justin Martyr- Dr. Ross mentions Martyr, but not why he believes Martyr questioned the teachings of scripture.
  • Hippolytus – from Dr. Ross “most of his writings have been lost. What scholars have recovered gives no explicit indications of what he believed about the duration of the creation days or about the dates for creation beyond his statements that humans have resided on Earth for only several thousand years
  • Eusebius – from Dr. Ross “However, nowhere did Eusebius address the universe’s or Earth’s creation dates or the length of the Genesis days.
  • Ambrose – “Scripture established a law that twenty-four hours, including both day and night of one day should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent.”

If those are the scholars upon which Ross is relying to build a case that the church has historically held an old earth view in contradiction to the “young earth” view, he is sorely lacking in having built a case to favor his view. Instead of constructing an airtight case that the church has historically held to an old earth view, his outliers didn’t really help his case. 

In deafness to his own plea from chapter 1 not to be disrespectful to those Christians with whom he disagrees, on p42 Dr. Ross is disrespectful to those with whom he disagrees:

Now what man of intelligence will believe that the first, and the second, and the third day, and the evening and the morning existed without the Sun, Moon, and stars?

For an astronomer and astrophysicist, I would have expected Dr. Ross to know that the definition of a day is simply “a single rotation of the Earth on its axis”, but instead he mocks biblical creationists for their understanding of scripture’s teaching that there were days prior to the creation of the sun. This is not a problem at all for biblical creationists. From looking through scripture (2 Cor 4:6, Isa 60:19, Micah 7:8, Rev 21:23), it is not a stretch to say that God provided the necessary light until on day 4, He placed his created light sources in the heavens to bring Him glory. 

The problem is for the old earthers, who must account for billions of years prior to the sun/earth standard for defining a year.

  • How do the old earthers calibrate a year without the emergence of the sun/earth pair that defines a year?
  • What were time units called before the sun/earth combination?
  • How do they know there were almost 10 billion years…or ambiguous time units prior to the stellar objects necessary for the definition of a year actually existed?
  • They have a genuine problem with time, whereas the biblical creationist does not. 

A few pages later on p45, Ross continues his analysis of the early church fathers when he writes:

They wrote long before astronomical, geological, paleontological evidence for the antiquity of the universe, Earth, and life had been discovered.

Since he is trying to build a case that the universe is old instead of young, rather than actually building a case here, he simply states it. This is the fallacy of affirming the consequent.

Chapter 4 was both short in length and short on compelling arguments for Dr. Ross.

 

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Presuppositional Apologetics Grounds Acumen

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#PAGA

You think this hashtag will begin trending? Probably not 

When I first started hearing about presuppositional apologetics several years, ago, I’ll admit, it took me a while to get the concept. It’s not a way of thinking that I was taught growing up.

I was first introduced to the philosophy by Jason Lisle’s book, The Ultimate Proof of Creation. Dr. Lisle builds a strong case for the layman to understand, but I was unsure how or when to ask questions. I watched videos from Sye Ten Bruggencate, James White, Jeff Durbin, and Greg Bahsen. Each time I learned a little more, and after practicing with in my own interactions online, I feel more comfortable with sharing the gospel through presuppositional apologetics.

How does one start? Ten Bruggencate puts it this way: “Read your Bible and believe what it says.”

Recently, I had an interaction with a skeptic on twitter, and I want to play it out here to help those who may be working to better understand how think biblically and speak the gospel with the authority it deserves.

I want to do it in 2 parts to show why I think presuppositional apologetics is such a powerful tool for the gospel. 

  1. Expose the irrational/arbitrary/inconsistent thinking of the skeptic since their epistemology (theory of knowledge) has no logical foundation
  2. Build a positive claim for the truth of God’s revelation in scripture, so that people will face the decision to repent or continue in their rebellion

 

Expose Skeptic Thinking

About a year ago a skeptic with the username, Haywood and I interacted for a few days. Haywood is friendly and has not resorted to mockery or ad hominem attacks in our interaction, so I have continued to discuss with him.

This past week, he accused me of cognitive dissonance and failing to back up my claims. So, let’s walk through the process of showing how Haywood’s claims (step 1 from above) are impotent since his theory of knowledge (epistemology) is insufficiently justified.

SkepticEpistemology

Haywood explains that his epistemology or worldview needs only reality, his senses and his reason. This is where as an apologist, we can check to see if the skeptic’s worldview has either internal or external consistency. So, we ask questions about his claim to see if his worldview makes sense.

  1. How do you know what is real?
    1. “What my senses and reasoning tell me is real.”
      1. How do you KNOW that your senses and reasoning are valid?
      2. It is inconsistent to assume both that humans progressed from non-reasoning stardust to reasoning human beings via natural processes AND that reasoning is then trustworthy.
    2. “I don’t know. I could be trapped in the matrix.”
      1. This is a retreat into absurdity. Haywood chose this retreat instead of answering the question. This is the point, when the apologist can say: You can put your trust in Jesus or retreat into absurdity (solipsism)
  2. Why do you think your senses are reliable?
    1. “That’s all I have to work with”
      1. Fallacy of assuming the consequent
    2. “What my senses tell me is in agreement with what other people’s senses tell them”
      1. Fallacy of ad populum
      2. One would still need their own sense and reasoning to determine that other people’s senses and reasoning are in agreement. So, that argument is also the fallacy of vicious circularity
    3. “I don’t know”
      1. Fallacy of ad ignorantium
      2. Then, it is not knowledge since knowledge is justified true beliefs
  3. Without God, you’re left to conclude reasoning came about by natural causes. What reason do you have to trust your reasoning if it came from a non-reasoning source?
    1. “I don’t know”
      1. Are there people who reason incorrectly? How could you know if you were one of them?
      2. Fallacy of ad ignorantium
    2. “Because it works”
      1. Fallacy of assuming the consequent

I want to spend some time on his last comment: “the Bible is still wrong.”

Here, Haywood assumes at least four things:

  1. There is an objective standard by which something can be shown to be wrong
    1. How does the purposeless, blind, pitiless, indifferent cosmos produce standards whereby something could be determined to be right/wrong?
    2. Is-ought fallacy
  2. That standard has greater authority than the Bible
    1. Why do you think such a standard has higher authority than the Bible, which God revealed as true? As an example of this, Author A could say that based on historical documents the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt. Author B claims that based on historical documents, the Hebrews were not enslaved in Egypt. Which author or historical documents have the highest authority by which something can be said to be true. In the worldview of any skeptic, all knowledge is provisional and leads to an infinite regression of necessary provisions. In the case of claims against the Bible, there are no standards that have higher authority than revelation from the One who knows everything and is eternally faithful.
  3. There are unchanging, abstract, absolutes like laws of logic, morality, and induction by which to determine truth
    1. How does a chaotic cosmos made only of matter produce unchanging, abstract absolutes?
  4. The Bible is not revelation from God
    1. To know this for certain, one would need to have all knowledge

 

Later, I asked Haywood what he knew for certain, and this was his reply:

Certainty

So by claiming that he cannot be certain of anything, it follows that he does not KNOW anything. His worldview lacks the pre-conditions of intelligibility. Anything that could conditionally be known is just tentative. For Haywood (or other skeptic), some future discovery could be made that would refute any current provisional evidence. So, any claim that the skeptic makes can be refuted with “but since you are only tentatively knowledgeable about this and don’t know anything for certain, you could be wrong.”

The Christian is not burdened with this cumbersome epistemology. As we will discuss in the next section, God (who has all knowledge) has revealed some things, so the Christian can have certain knowledge of those things. 

That section exposed the impotence of skeptics to refute Christianity because of their deficient worldview. In this next section, I want to show how we can build a positive case FOR The truth of Christianity

 

Build a Positive Case

Haywood made a recent claim that presuppositional apologetics doesn’t present a positive case for Christianity.

PositiveCase
Is this true? Let’s see.

The Christian theory of knowledge (epistemology) is built on God’s revelation. God has revealed Himself in creation, in the Bible and in Jesus. 

  • Creation: Romans 1:18-20 says “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Part of the revelation of God is that there is sufficient evidence in creation for everyone to know that God exists.
  • Bible: All throughout scripture, we see the claim that the Bible is the Word of God. These claims include prophecies that were foretold hundreds or even thousands of years prior to their fulfillment
    • Genesis 12:3 “all nations on earth will be blessed through you.”
      •  2000 years later Jesus fulfilled this prophecy as someone from Abraham’s line that brought salvation to all nationalities
    • Psalm 22:16,18 “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they pierce my hands and my feet…They divide my garments among them and case lots for my clothing.”
      • 1000 years later Jesus’ hands and feet were pierced on the cross while soldiers cast lots for his clothing
    • Isaiah 44:28 “who says of Cyrus ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jersalem “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’
      • 150-220 years later Cyrus (prophesied BY NAME) released Hebrews from Babylonian captivity and declared that Jerusalem and their temple be rebuilt
  • Jesus: Jesus is the ultimate revelation as God. Jesus is the Creator, so creation confirms his divinity. Jesus claimed to be God several times and his claims were confirmed when He rose from the dead (as prophesied in Psalm 16:10). Lastly, these self-authenticating revelations are confirmed in Jesus by Colossians 2:3 “All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ Jesus.”

The things God has revealed in the Bible can know for certain because they were revealed by the One (Jesus) who knows everything and is eternally faithful. 

  • Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge”
  • Proverbs 2:6 “For the LORD gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding”
  • Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”
  • Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”
  • Isaiah 33:6 “The LORD will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge. The fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.”
  • Colossians 2:2-3 “Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”

A common objection to the Bible being a justified source for knowledge is that it contains contradictions. Sadly, nearly all skeptics do not know what a contradiction actually is and have only read in online memes that the Bible is full of contradictions. But there are no contradictions in the Bible, because it is from God. 

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/frequent-mistakes-skeptics-make-with-alleged-bible-contradictions/

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/collection-of-posts-responding-to-bible-contradictions/

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2019/07/05/100-alleged-bible-contradictions-answered/

So, when the skeptic accuses God or a Christian about injustice or foolishness or contradictions in the Bible:

  1. Test the claim of the skeptic, to see if his theory of knowledge can account for justice, logic, truth, reason, or induction. Undoubtedly, any attempt to explain will be inconsistent, arbitrary and/or irrational
  2. Give them the gospel of Jesus, because it is true as shown above

Here’s how I would answer some of the recent accusations from Haywood

ProvisionalTheory

Haywood had claimed that he had refuted by epistemology, so I had asked him, “what provisional theory makes you think you have refuted by epistemology?”

So, putting PAGA into effect:

  1. Test the claim
    1. Skeptics cannot justify knowledge, so I questioned his provisional theory and why he thinks it can refute what I am saying
    2. He has previously mentioned a hypothetical situation (how can you prove you’re not in the matrix?) which he thinks refutes Christianity…or at least presuppositional apologetic. I’ve responded to him, that this hypothetical is a retreat into absurdity, because if he is in the matrix and nothing is real, then his question does not even make sense. It’s ridiculous, so the choice of the skeptic is repentance or absurdity
    3. He also makes the claim that “it was incorrect.” Any “it” he might be talking about would have to be compared against absolute truth, which his worldview cannot justify. So, any claim he might say that was incorrect, cannot be justified.
  2. Give them the gospel
    1. So, a good response to this claim (after exposing it’s impotence) would be “Your thinking and your future can be redeemed by repentance for your rebellion against the Creator. Jesus paid the penalty for the crimes of those who repent.”

ZeroPhilosophers
Test the claim:

    1. “We are debating…” – How do you know what is real? You’ve already admitted that you could be in the matrix or that some future knowledge could change what you think you know now. So, you can’t claim to know anything
    2. “Validity of your version of Christian presuppositionalism, which is held by approximately 0% of professional philosophers.” Again, testing his claim of knowledge to show, that he cannot justify it as knowledge. It is also the fallacy of ad populum: the fallacy that says something is true because most/all people believe it. 
  1. Give the gospel
    1. Truth is not determined by percentage. Truth is determined by revelation from God. 

WrongAboutEverything
Test the claim:

    1. “I can…randomly spit out a hypothetical that shows your epistemology is invalid.” Remember, all “knowledge” from the skeptic, is provisional, so his claim cannot be justified. He makes a particularly grievous claim there, that is clearly false, since because of his epistemology, he could never know or justify such a claim.
    2. Since Haywood cannot justify his own epistemology, he cannot show that any other epistemology (specifically Christianity) is either right/wrong
  1. Since my epistemology is true, we do not have to retreat to absurd hypotheticals or “random spit outs”. Jesus came to redeem reasoning along with creation

 

Many times, the skeptic wants to know from the Christian “Give me proof” or “What proof validates Christianity”

This desire from the skeptic assumes that there is some authority (usually scientism) that has higher authority than revelation from the Almighty. But there is no higher authority than God and his eternal word. Have scientists ever been monumentally incorrect? How could the skeptic be certain that their faith in the current academic paradigm isn’t going to be mocked as ridiculous in the future? Since they cannot be sure of this, why do they insist on bludgeoning Christians with their provisional beliefs?

As Christians, we know there is no higher authority than God, so that desire of the skeptic to try to validate God’s revelation with a higher authority is irrational. But as expected, all evidence does indeed is in accord with what God has revealed in the Bible and in Jesus.

We can trust God with what He has revealed about history, so He is trustworthy with our future.

 

P.S. Please be polite to online skeptics (and skeptics face-to-face). Give the gospel rather than trying to win “debates”.