Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 9

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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.

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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, does anyone know what animals the following animal skulls are from?

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 full 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 did yet even clearly tell him to work the garden…just the Adam was put in the garden to take care of it. 
  • 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.
  • 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.”

Ross’s case against the clear reading of scripture is based on his personal incredulity, misunderstanding of the text, 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.

 

Back to the Table of Contents

Presuppositional Apologetics Grounds Acumen

man wearing gray and red armour standing on the streets

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels.com

#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”.

The Hubris of Dawkins

I just finished watching this video, so you don’t have to. Contained in it is a motley collection of unsubstantiated claims, irrational homage to ignorance, and an impressive display of hubris by one Professor Dawkins

 

Watching the video, I tried to take some notes for discussion. While I captured some of the quotes from Dawkins, there’s more than enough irrational rubbish spouted by the good doctor to fill up a shelf at the local library with his contradictions. Dr. Dawkins’ words are highlighted in red.

As you read through this (or watch the video) keep in mind Dawkins signature quote,

The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference

It is a bold and unsubstantiated claim, but THAT is his epistemic foundation. From this purposeless universe, Dawkins somehow conjures up purpose. From this amoral universe, Dawkins somehow judges religion as arrogant. From this pitiless universe, Dawkins manages to create meaning in empiricistic efforts, and from the indifferent universe, he produces eloquence and courage and a TON OF MONEY from his speaking fees.

Interesting note, one can join the Dawkins’ groupie cult with an annual donation of a cool half million American greenbacks $$$$$$$$$$$

Dawkins begins his diatribe by lumping all theism into a single category and throughout the video calls them “arrogant, hubristic, full of presumptuous precision“.

An understanding of modern Darwinism should arm us with courage to fight (what I shall demonstrate) is the hubris of faith

During the Q&A time, I would have loved to have asked Dr. Dawkins, “For the accidental aggregation of stardust in a purposeless universe, with no good, no evil, just blind pitiless indifference, WHAT is arrogance? What is hubris?” There’s just no coming back from his starting point to him giving a rational answer.

We don’t yet have an agreed theory of how the evolutionary theory began in the 1st place.

No kidding. Yet throughout, he tells us the science is settled…and “Those questions have now been definitively answered once and for all by Darwin and his successors

Nobody knows how the universe must have began

He follows up these quotes with “Theologians invoke the God-of-the-gaps at every opportunity” without realizing how he was firing blanks from his own naturalism-of-the-gaps firearm.

Without letting up on the hypocrisy, Dawkins mocks Islam from 4:40-9:10 and with the sweeping generalization fallacy declares all religion as pointless

How can people bear to live their lives bound by such insanely specific and bossy yet manifestly pointless rules?

Those were magnificently rich words coming from the guy who says the universe is purposeless.

Dawkins then leaves his perceived area of safety, biology, and stumbles blindly into philosophy and morality by saying

It’s not hubristic to state known facts when the evidence is secure. Yes, yes, philosophers of science tell us that a fact is no more than a hypothesis which may 1 day be falsified, but which has so far withstood strenuous attempts to do so. Let’s by all means pay lip service to that philosophical incantation. But muttering at the same time in homage perhaps to Galileo’s [LATIN] the sensible words of Stephen J Gould “In science fact can only mean confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional ascent.”

So, what is a fact? He claims it to be like phlogiston, and flat earth, and blood letting, and geocentrism…the current best guess. It’s clear that Dawkins does not understand that science is built upon the philosophy of logic, truth, morality, and induction. These foundational entities are unchanging, abstract, and universal. If like Carl Sagan said, “The cosmos is all that is, or was, or ever will be” then how does the naturalist justify unchanging abstract absolutes? They cannot. To do so, they would have to reject their own presuppositions and argue like a Christian, who can substantiate unchanging abstract absolutes with the immutable, transcendent, absolute Creator. Continuing, Dawkins quotes Gould, who invokes the idea of perversity. How does one determine something to be perverse in a universe with no good and no evil? The contradictions are building up!

But that does not stop him from declaring, without reservation, irrefutable facts:

The universe began between 13-14 billion years ago

Really? What calibration techniques (besides presumptuous extrapolation) can one use to verify this claim? What about recent claims that the universe is now over TWO billion years younger than Dawkins’ FACT claim? Uh-oh. Now that there are competing FACTS. To which arbiter of truth do these naturalists turn in order to solve their 2,300,000,000 year disagreement?

The sun and the planets orbiting it (including ours) condensed out of a rotating disk of gas, dust and debris about 4.5 billion years ago

Really? What calibration techniques (besides presumptuous extrapolation) can one use to verify this claim? What about all of the evidence that limits the earth to being younger than 100,000 years?

We know the shape of the continents and where they were at any named time in geological history and we can project ahead and draw the map of the world as it will change in the future

I’d be very interested in hearing how he would confirm this claim? He speaks of the hubris of religion, but verifying a claim of this magnitude reeks of…what did Dawkins say earlier? Presumptuous precision. It was easy for him to cast this judgment on those with whom he disagrees, but when he invokes presumptuous precision in his own claims, he feels irrationally justified.

As a reminder, Dawkins claims

The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference

But he persists on in his inconsistency and word-smithing with:

Yet somehow the emergent power of our evolved brains has enabled us to develop the crystalline edifice of mathematics by which we accurately predict the behavior of entities that lie under the radar of our intuitive comprehension

Emergent power? Is that science or story-telling? What mechanism drives and fuels emergent power? Why does Dawkins expect the discovered properties of mathematics to be unchanging, abstract, and absolute in a constantly changing chaotic cosmos made only of matter? Adding to the irrational difficulties of the evolved brain which Dawkins praises, Charles Darwin (in his autobiography) was much less trusting of the reasoning power of the brain if it did indeed evolve from non-reasoning of the “lowest animals”

DarwinAutobiography

We are not arrogant not hubristic to celebrate the sheer bulk and detail of what we know through science. We are simply telling the honest and irrefutable truth. And honest as I’ve said is the frank admission of how much we don’t yet know

Whoa! Dawkins, you’ve straying outside your naturalistic boundaries again into the uncharted waters of philosophy and morality.  “Honest and irrefutable truth” ????!?!?! Didn’t you remind us earlier that facts are simply the best guesses or today that will undoubtedly be panned by future scientists? And what is honesty for the evolved descendants of algae? He’s now singing the praises of ignorance, but he irrationally has said in other speeches that Christians are the ones, who should be mocked.

What are the DEEP Problems for us:
How does the brain physiology produce subjective consciousness?
Where do the laws of physics come from?
What set the fundamental constants and why do they appear fine tuned to produce us?
Why is there something rather than nothing?

Those are deep problems for naturalism indeed. For those with a Christian worldview, these issues are not problems at all, because God has revealed Himself in creation, in the Bible, and in Jesus. So since the One, who know everything and is eternally faithful, has revealed some history to us, we can be certain of the answers to the questions that his revelation answers. No interpretations of modern paradigms have higher authority that God’s revelation.

The human mind (including my own) rebels emotionally against the idea that something as complex as life and the rest of the expanding universe could have just happened. It takes intellectual courage to kick yourself out of your emotional incredulity and persuade yourself that there is no other rational choice…Which is more probable, the impossible has really happened or that he conjurer has fooled you. You don’t have to understand how the trick was done in order to take the courageous leap of reason and say hard as it is to swallow, I know it’s only a trick. The laws of physics are secure.

The human mind rebels in several ways:

  • The human mind rebels against the Creator. Being born into sin, the human mind wants very much to be its OWN authority in the rightful place of the Supreme Monarch, Jesus! But through humble repentance, the human mind can instead embrace reality and worship the Creator rather than the created.
  • The human mind does indeed rebel against the idea that the universe, life, and consciousness emerged from nothing. Dawkins joins Richard Lewontin in refusing to accept the mountains of evidence for God and instead choosing philosophically to suppress the knowledge of God. Confirmation of Romans 1

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism…Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door – Richard Lewontin

Finally, Dawkins claims that even though he cannot justify the very foundations of science, scientism is the ONLY means for answering deep questions:

If science…can’t answer the deep questions, then nothing can

If you interact with atheists long enough, and you’ll hear them say, “Atheism makes no claims. It’s not a worldview. It is simply: a lack of beliefs in a God.”

To that, I have a few things to say: A rock as a lack of belief in God. Algae has a lack of belief in God. So, it means nothing to say that atheism is a lack of beliefs in a God.

Secondly, Romans 1tells us that everyone has knowledge of the Creator, but in their unrighteousness, they suppress the truth.

And thirdly, the high priest of Darwin, Richard Dawkins claims atheism to be a worldview:

The contrast between religion and atheism: I want to argue that the atheistic worldview has an unsung virtue of intellectual courage. 

Now, he still cannot account for courage, intellect, or the laws of logic by which he could contrast religion and atheism, but he understands that atheism is a worldview. It’s just a bad one.

 

Dawkins has heard the gospel of Jesus, but he has rejected it. He now leads the deception of others that naturalism can account for reality in the rightful place of the Holy One. He is to be pitied.

Since we can trust what God has revealed to us about history (and HE has confirmed his historical revelation in the person of Jesus), we can be sure of what God has claimed about the future: hope, peace, and rest for those who humbly repent of their rebellion against the Holy One. Praise God for his amazing grace!!!

Why Old Earthism Divides

The debate on the age of the earth has been ongoing for epochs…or at least for 150 years since Charles Lyell worked to “free the science from Moses.” I’ve addressed this particular issue many time before, and while not an issue of salvation, it has great importance for Christians in the area of biblical interpretation. So, while people can still be redeemed and not understand the intricacies of biblical hermeneutics, it is still important for maturing Christians to learn to correctly understand the revelation of God as intended.

hermeneutics

So, if the age of the earth is not an issue of salvation, why does it seem to bring such division? The division comes from how to interpret the Bible. If the Bible is the Word of God, then it should be the epistemic authority. Typically, it is those that are identified as youth earth creationists or biblical creationists that take this view. The Bible is authoritative, and outside sources are subject to what God has revealed. If the Bible is just a collection of loosely-affiliated religious writings then there can be other authorities (culture, scholarly paradigms, other historical documents) that can OVERRULE biblical texts. This is typically how old earth believers tend to view the Bible. They typically say, “We believe the Bible to to true” but then they immediately say, “Genesis needs to be interpreted differently than written because science proves it to be wrong.” See what happens there? They hold interpretations of evidence in authority over scripture, so that the Bible gets re-interpreted when the materialist assumptions of the foundation of the current scholarly paradigm. Below is an example.

Recently, I came across a blog that attempted to build a case that God’s Word can somehow accommodate billions of years and even evolution.

Sadly, this blog post starts out with an equivocation fallacy, and it’s a very common one, so the author, Candice Brown (CB hereafter) is probably just quoting from someone else who uses this particular mantra.

I remained convinced that science and religion were not compatible

The equivocations are that
1) science = old earth or evolution
2) religion = young earth

Bart_Conflate_Science_Evolution

However, science is the systematic study of nature through observation & experiment. So, science is a method, not an entity. Science measures evidence. Evidence is analyzed by people with presuppositions. The combination of presuppositions and science can be used to make conclusions. Someone who has the presupposition that the universe is old will use the tool of science to conclude that the universe is old. How would someone get the assumption that the universe/earth is old? For the last century, all universities have taught that the universe is old because of the work of Lyell, whose stated purpose was to “free the science from Moses”. This quote is a mutiny from the clear teachings of the Bible, which Lyell hated. So, all of today’s professors have been taught that the universe is old. Should someone raise doubts about this, they are figuratively and well as (sometimes) literally expelled from employment and teaching/learning at university.

The forensic scientists at Creation Ministries International, The Institute for Creation Research, and Answers in Genesis understand from God’s revelation in the Bible that God intended for the audience to see his handiwork in history, and the scientific studies seen today confirm this in every respect.

CB continues in her blog post with the idea that the Earth appears to be very old. She’s not wrong. It does look to be thousands of years old. That is a REALLY long time, and the maximum time that can be historically verified. Were the earth to be millions of years old (or older), the mountains would, at the very least, be rounded smooth by wind/water erosion. And if the earth were more than 10 million years old, the continents would have been ground into the sea by wind/water erosion based on current erosion rates.

A common response to the erosion problem by old earthers is “Well, you forget about the concept of continental uplift. As continents collide, the continents are being continually recycled up.” There are reasons that show why this does not help the old earther:

  1. This concept has already been factored into the erosion rates
  2. The fossils are still there. Since the rate of continental erosion limits their age to (at most) 10s of millions of years, then the fossils would have long ago been eroded along with the rest of the sedimentary layers if the recycling of uplift has renewed the continents. Since there are still fossils, the continents are young. Old earthism is falsified.

CB also quotes Reasons To Believe (an old earth organization) saying that humans emerged somewhere around 150 thousand years ago. This number is counter to the biblical genealogies in Genesis 5, against the population growth statistics, and against the latest research in genetics, which show an increase in entropy. The latest work in genetics confirms exactly what the Bible revealed in the biblical genealogies that have been repeated in 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3. The human genome accumulates hundreds of mutations in each generation that natural selection cannot remove since natural selection works on the phenotype level and not the genetic level. Since humans have not gone extinct, old earthism is falsified.

CB continues with:

In order to dispute this evidence, Christians must make several leaps, such as believing dinosaurs and humans co-existed

The evidence is strongly in favor of humans co-existing with dinosaurs, but most people are unaware of the evidence. The links below are not comprehensive, but provide strong justification for the facts that dinosaurs and humans co-existed in the past.

  1. Dinosaur cave paintings
  2. Brass Dinosaur on Bishop Bell’s tomb
  3. Stegosaurus in Cambodia
  4. While not necessarily man with dinosaur, soft-tissue being found in dinosaur bones falsifies the mantra that the dinosaurs went extinct 65 millions years ago. At most, the bones are only a few thousand years old. The link of this text shows over 100 “ancient” bones that contain soft tissue. Old earthism is falsified again
  5. Historical accounts

MarcoPoloDinosaur

CB goes on to dispute the clear teaching of the days in Genesis to be of the 24-hour variety.

Much like the English word love has five meanings in ancient Greek, the Hebrew word yom יום (translated day in Genesis) has four meanings, one of which indicates not a twenty-four hour period, but an age of time

Biblical creationists are well aware of this meaning of the Hebrew word yom, and there are several reasons why the context of Genesis 1 demands they be literal days, and not figurative ones.

  1. The author intended his audience to see the Genesis days as literal days
  2. The days have boundaries (ordinals and morning/evening)
  3. Other scriptures confirm literal days
  4. God spoke to Abraham using analogies for incredibly large numbers, so it’s not that Hebrews were simple people and could not understand numbers greater than 10 as old earthers would contend. Gen 22:17 “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore.” To describe a more consistent way that God would have communicated the many epochs of days, were old earthism to be true, would be for Him to have used language where He already shows His intention to communicate large numbers. But He did not. God instead chose to perform his creative works in 6 days as He said.
  5. There are contexts (plurality, modifying words, suffixes) in Hebrew for yom to mean more than a day, but none of these contexts are present in Genesis 1.
  6. There are 2 Hebrew words (zeman – H2165 and eth H6256) for epochs or long indefinite period of time, BUT THESE WORDS ARE NOT USED IN GENESIS 1

The biggest obstacle that old earthers must overcome to inject their biases into the biblical text is to somehow justify the curses of sin (death, suffering, and thorns) as being present in creation PRIOR to the rebellion of mankind. When they insist on this, it becomes an issue about the gospel. Invariably, when I ask old earthers to justify their position on this, I get either “well, it’s only spiritual death” or “I just interpret the Bible differently than you.”

  1. God declared his creation “very good.” Since creation is very good, there could not have been disease, bloodshed, and harm. Isaiah 11 and 65 confirm this. Harm, disease, and bloodshed prior to sin is unbiblical and therefore old earthism is falsified
  2. In Genesis 3:17-19 God said to Adam “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree…to dust you will return.” The curse of sin resulted in both spiritual and physical death. Both Romans 5 and 1 Cor 15 are strong confirmation. So the debate is: Did death bring mankind into the world (old earthism) or did man bring death into the world (YEC). The Bible clearly answers that man’s sin brought death into the world. Death before sin is unbiblical and therefore old earthism is falsified
  3. One of the curses is thorns. Jesus took the crown of thorns upon Himself at the cross to complete taking the curses of sin as our punishment. But if thorns existed prior to mankind as old earthism demands, then what was the curse of sin? There are fossil thorns buried in layers that old earthers “date” as having been made prior to mankind. This view is unbiblical and therefore old earthism is falsified

Biblical interpretation is not an arbitrary function. When people interpret the Bible to mean whatever is popular in culture (homosexuality, old ages, contrary historical documents), then the body of Christ is divided and suffers.

Christians should be united. And the unity should center around God’s revelation in scripture and its fulfillment in Jesus. Jesus confirmed the testimony of Moses (Luke 16) and confirmed the historical nature of Genesis (Mark 10:6). So, God’s people should not be divided about the age of the earth. They should be united around a healthy understanding of the Bible, so that Jesus can be glorified.

We can trust God with our future because we can trust his revelation about the past.