The Creedal Climate
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In chapter 5, Ross attempts to build a case that the ecumenical creeds produced by historical Christian counsels failed to include any mention of the importance of the Genesis 6 day creation account. He writes:
If all pre-Darwin Christians unanimously and unambiguously held one view on the length of the creation days, evidence for such a position would likely be found in the creedal statements written during the first 1700 years of church history.
What Ross fails to realize here is that one of the purposes of the early Christian creeds was to identify and resist heresies from becoming malignant in the church. Old Earthism, including death, suffering, thorns, and predation prior to the sin of mankind did not infect the culture or church until the 19th century. So, the authors of the creeds would have seen no need to protect the church from old earthism or its effects.
In both the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith and the The Westminster Confession of faith from 1643 the unambiguous message of chapter IV states:
“It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.” [emphasis mine]
If, like Ross and his disciples declare: death, disease, suffering, predation, and thorns were present in God’s good creation from the beginning (prior to the sin of mankind), what’s the big deal about God’s curse in Genesis 3? Adam could have heard god’s curse and said, “There’s already death, suffering and thorns. Looks like it’s not that big a deal” The Rossians must conclude that God intended death, suffering, predation, and thorns to be very good.
While death, disease, suffering, and predation prior to sin brings either God’s character or the plain meaning of goodness into question, the discovery of fossil thorns in rock layers that old earthers date prior to mankind brings their entire theory into jeopardy.
From the article A Thorny Issue:
To reiterate, Christians who accept the secular millions-of-years interpretation of the geologic layers and the fossils embedded within have to face up to the issue of thorns (and pain, death and suffering) before sin.
But with a correct (biblical) view of thorns, Jesus’ death on the cross takes on greater poignancy. On His head he bore the consequences of the first man’s rebellion against the Creator.
As Ross stated before, the Heidelberg and Belgic confessions did not address the issue of the age of the earth, but on p49 Ross points to Article 14 of the Belgic confession as having special importance. The Belgic Confession says:
“We know him [God] by two means: First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe, since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God”
Ross changes the phrasing of this section to build a doctrine onto which he constructs the framing of his old earthism
Belgic Confession: “We know him [God] by two means: First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe, since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God…All these things are enough to convict men and to leave them without excuse. Second, he makes himself known to us more openly by his holy and divine Word.” [emphasis mine]
Ross Confession: “believers are to treat nature’s record as a beautiful book with the same authority as the Bible.”
The authors of the Belgic Confession clearly did not have the same thing in mind as Dr. Ross. Dr Ross conjures up this doctrine with the claim that it was what the Belgic authors intended. As mentioned before, the creation (which according to Gen 3 & Rom 8) has been subjected to corruption, CANNOT be of the same authoritative supremacy as God’s Holy eternal word. Yet, over and over Dr. Ross elevates his “book of nature” over scripture and changes the definitions of words in scripture to be in accordance with the modern paradigm’s interpretation of observations.
To end this chapter, Dr. Ross does indeed mention the Westminster Confession of Faith. He attempts to discredit the “young-earth” views of most of the authors, but falls short of his intended smear. Knowing that he was fighting an uphill battle from a compromised foundation, on p51 Ross says,
In one sense, what the Westminster divines personally believed about the dates for creation remains immaterial.
Except they were clearly in disagreement with Ross’s old earthism
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.