Objecting to a biblical age for the earth
Published: 4 August 2012 (GMT+10)
NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring
I am a PhD physicist and also a committed Christian. Having read your article I am shocked at the effort that has gone into defending what I consider to be a quite unreasonable position. Perhaps you have seen the Wikepedia website that discusses the age of the earth? There you will see that the earth has been aged by a large number of techniques, and the accuracy of the result (4.54 billion years) has been established to an uncertainty of 1%. The earliest estimates of the age of the earth were made before radioisotopes were discovered or the theory of evolution was thought of. These estimates (based on techniques such as the rate of cooling of an initially molten earth and the layering of rock strata) varied between 75,000 years and 96 million years. These would be underestimates because they did not take into account the heat produced by radioactive decay. To my knowledge, no scientist has produced a peer-reviewed paper that measures the age of the earth in thousands of years. The references you quote are negative in that they strive to find reasons why the accepted methods should not be believed rather than make a positive contribution to the problem of measuring the age of the earth.
It is remarkable to see the extent to which humans can go to justify a preconceived notion. We have seen Christians make a stand on unjustifiable grounds before; for example when they believed that the sun orbited the earth and that the earth was the centre of the universe. The assertion that the earth can be reliably dated at 6000 years by biblical genealogy alone, and in the face of modern science, is surely rather childish, and it undermines the authority of the same folks who are trying to spread the gospel of Christ.
I am a firm believer in evolution. Evolution is a process, not an alternative to God. It is the process whereby life has progressed since its creation. Understanding the development of life is no reason to disbelieve in its originator, so I see no basis for Christians to see the theory of evolution as a threat to their faith. The first verse of Genesis is clear and factual. It states: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’. The following verses are an attempt to explain how it was done within the language and understanding of the time. It was not intended to be a scientific text for the present day. The same is true of the flood story where the intention was to convince of the power of God and his mercy. We do not need to believe that the flood covered the entire globe (it could not have because there is not enough water on the planet to do it), or that dinosaurs went into the ark (how did Noah catch two Tyranosaurus’s?) or that kangaroos went into the ark (Noah would have had a long trip to Australia and back?). We need to have a grown up view of the Bible and not to try to make God small enough to fit into a box of our own making. We must accept the conclusions of science that have come from the enquiring minds that God created within us.
Dr Laurence O.
CMI’s Dr Don Batten responds:
Thanks for your comments.
It does appear that the only article you have looked at on creation.com is the one on the 101 evidences for the age of the earth. As a Christian PhD biologist who once believed in evolution and the billions of years story (see Harvesting real fruit), I can understand how you could be a bit nonplussed by our stand if you are not aware of the arguments. However, I plead with you to do some more research on our website to understand why we take the stand that we do. I believe if you love Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour (and therefore you will also respect the Bible as His Word) that you will find that we are not troglodytes and not illogical or unscientific and you could even find our arguments liberating (as many have, including scientists with PhDs in physics, such as Dr Jim Mason). There are many PhD physicists like Dr Mason who agree with us.
Radiometric ‘dating’ is not an objective (rigorously scientific) process, but depends on a raft of assumptions.
We are well aware of arguments for an old age of the earth, and the other arguments you allude to, but it is clear that you are not aware of the arguments from a biblical creation point of view. I have never been impressed by the argument from ‘consensus’ as a sound argument because again and again the consensus (which ‘peer review’ protects) proves to be wrong. Michael Crichton wrote about this spurious argument of consensus. Science advances when people dare to question the consensus, not when they follow it like sheep. You need to show where our arguments are wrong, not hide behind ‘peer review’.
You raise many arguments that have been answered in detail on creation.com, which has over 8,000 articles, including many in-depth ones, so I am not going to repeat all those answers (one of the conditions of commenting is that you have made an effort to see if your points have been already answered on creation.com; clearly you have not done this). Articles linked from the one you read explore further as to why the 4.54 billion years (±1%) is not what it seems. A good overview of the history of the specific ‘dating’ of the earth is Dr Tas Walker’s Review of The Dating Game: One Man’s Search for the Age of the Earth by Cherry Lewis. This alone should cause you to wonder about your confidence in this ‘consensus’ about this matter. Clearly, radiometric ‘dating’ is not an objective (rigorously scientific) process, but depends on a raft of assumptions. By the way, it is incorrect that the earth has been shown to be 4.54 billion years old by “a large number of techniques”. For more on radiometric dating: Radiometric dating Q&A.and How old is the earth? - Dr. Jonathon Sarfati
“The earliest estimates of the age of the earth were made before radioisotopes were discovered or the theory of evolution was thought of.”
This is correct if Charles Darwin invented the idea of biological evolution, but it was thought of a long time before Darwin.
“These estimates (based on techniques such as the rate of cooling of an initially molten earth and the layering of rock strata) varied between 75,000 years and 96 million years.”
I wonder if you can see any assumptions (“preconceived notions”) that have to be made here to do this ‘dating’ and how they would affect the result? Note what the Bible says, that the earth was initially covered in water; it was not a molten blob (Genesis 1:2, 2 Peter 3:5). Does anyone know that the earth started as a molten blob? If it was covered in water to start with, then this ‘dating’ is worthless. As I pointed out in my article that has stimulated you to comment, all dating methods depend on assumptions about the history of the world (including the radio-isotope ones).
“The references you quote are negative in that they strive to find reasons why the accepted methods should not be believed rather than make a positive contribution to the problem of measuring the age of the earth.”
It is important to show that there is something seriously wrong with the widely accepted methods before anyone will consider an alternative, so I don’t see this as a valid criticism. You have to show that these criticisms are unsound, not just dismiss them because they are ‘negative’. But the list does include various ‘clocks’ that put upper limits to the age of the earth. And there are a number that give an actual estimate (such as the RATE research on helium and argon retention in zircons).
I will point you to some other key areas to begin to explore:
- Why believing in evolution is not an option for a Christian: Creation: why it matters—If you are consistent in your rejection of the historicity of Genesis, then you also undermine the basis of the Gospel.
- Creation compromises—why the various attempts to reinterpret the Bible to make it fit the secular view of the history of the world all fail.
- Genesis: the Bible’s authors believed it was history (not just the first verse). There is a serious problem with your attempt to regard Genesis 1:1 as factual but the following verses with the details to be some sort of myth/camp-fire story. Undoubtedly you do this to fit in with the modern secular view of history, but that secular view does not regard Genesis 1:1 as factual either. If Genesis 1:2ff is some sort of ‘myth’, why should anyone believe Genesis 1:1 is factual?
- Regarding the Flood, Jesus regarded it as a real event that “came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17). Was Jesus mistaken? The Apostle Peter also commented on it as a real historical event (2 Peter 3). See also: Genesis: Myth or History?
“It is remarkable to see the extent to which humans can go to justify a preconceived notion.”
Indeed so. The idea of the earth being old was not derived from data, but was a preconceived notion of opponents of the Bible like gentleman farmer James Hutton and lawyer Charles Lyell. Prior to their manipulation of data to fit their preconceived notions and its widespread acceptance, people from many nations believed the written historical records that put the earth’s history at less than 10,000 years.
Everything to do with historical interpretations is driven by presuppositions (preconceived notions) and the data does not ‘speak for itself’ but has to be interpreted in an existing framework of thinking (see “It’s not science”). For example: the completely unsupported conjecture that life made itself, or that the universe made itself via the big bang, or that the many incredible nano-machines made themselves (e.g., ATP synthase)—just physics and chemistry operating over eons of time (no intelligence allowed!). See more of the fundamental problems for biological evolution in 15 Questions for Evolutionists, which illustrate the uselessness of the ‘faith’ that flies as evolutionary science.
“I am a firm believer in evolution. Evolution is a process, not an alternative to God.”
Evolution is very much the process of how everything came to be without God. God is an unnecessary appendage to evolutionary thinking; that’s the whole point of it; to do away with the need for divine intervention. It is the atheists’ creation myth; that’s why atheists are so passionate about evolution (even forming organisations to defend it and protect it from criticism). As their ‘hero of the faith’ Richard Dawkins said, “Darwin enabled him to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” For atheists, evolution (everything made itself without the need for a Creator at any stage) is an axiom, a given. For them, evolution is all about God—all about dispensing with Him. Evolutionary philosopher of science, Michael Ruse admitted that evolution is an alternative religion to Christianity. It’s important for Christians to be aware of this connection so they won’t be hoodwinked or intimidated into thinking that this is a ‘science versus religion’ thing. As something that replaces and therefore opposes faith in Jesus Christ as Creator, Saviour and coming King, Christians should be opposing evolution, not accommodating it (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Christians who give ground on evolution to the atheists have eliminated one of the greatest apologetics tools there is, as per Romans 1:18ff. If evolution is true, then people do have an excuse because God’s attributes are not seen in creation (“evolution did it”).
As for our views impeding evangelism, see: Biblical creation impedes evangelism? We find again and again that Christians who give ground on evolution to the informed non-believer get ‘shot down’. We have seen this recently with Dawkins debating prominent church leaders. He makes the obvious point that no one should want to worship a god who was so cruel to use evolution as a means of creation. See: The god of evolution is diabolical. He refuses to debate anyone who is competent to go toe-to-toe with him on evolution because he knows that he already has a huge advantage in a debate with a theistic evolutionist. See Some questions for theistic evolutionists and ‘progressive creationists’. Philosophically, if you accept ‘scientific’ naturalism, the difference between what you believe and what an atheist believes is only that you have added an unnecessary hypothesis (God); see What all atheists have to believe.
Surely that is what God expects of us: to respect His revelation (the Bible) enough to believe what it says, rather than trying to make it fit the prevailing godless world-view of the day.
The objections from the church of the day to the earth orbiting the sun arose not because of the Bible but because the science of the day had been taken captive by the prevailing philosophy of the day, which was Aristotelian/Ptolemaic (Greek/pagan), coming from the Jesuit academics. It is a lesson for theistic evolutionists to heed, to not make the Bible captive to the currently fashionable (pagan) evolutionary worldview (‘science’). See the real story of Galileo:
Your objections to the Flood (and many others) have been answered: Flood Q&A.
Your objection that we are putting God in a box of our own making is, I believe, misplaced. We are constraining our thinking to what God has told us in the Bible (which we can know from the well-established principles of hermeneutics). We strive not to make God fit anything of our own making; that is idolatry. Surely that is what God expects of us: to respect His revelation (the Bible) enough to believe what it says, rather than trying to make it fit the prevailing godless world-view of the day.
“We must accept the conclusions of science that have come from the enquiring minds that God created within us.”
If you are going to be consistent in applying this approach (hermeneutic) to what you believe in the Bible, you will believe nothing of the miracles, such as Lazarus rising from the dead (‘impossible’ according to your science) or even the resurrection of Jesus. Is this what it means to have a “grown up view of the Bible”?
I think I have given you enough to get you started. I hope you will make the effort, as I have to help you get going.
With kind regards,
Don, thank you. Your response was not only gentle and Christ-like – something we should all aim for – but you went right to the heart of the matter. Personally, I have stumbled over how to respond to this kind of challenge and in one article you show how it can be done. It greatly encourages me, and I hope it encourages many other folks too, especially the theistic evolutionist who took the time to write to CMI in the first place. Thank you once again for this.
It never ceases to amaze me how anyone can call themselves a devout Christian and at the same time reject the teachings of our Lord regarding how and when the Universe, including life itself was created. I do hope one day he and others like him do study the vast amount of information on the creation web site and realise the errors of his ways.
Great response, Dr Batten ! If Dr O. is truly 'born again' he will accept your answer with humility and grace, and start researching, with Jesus as his guide. The rest of us 'lesser mortals', whose knowledge is less than perfect, will also heed what you have said and continue our studies devotedly.
Thanks Cecily. None of us knows much compared to what there is to know; what God knows. In 1 Corinthians 13:12 the apostle Paul said, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” As we work together in fellowship we can help make up for deficiencies in one another's knowledge.
"... an attempt to explain how it was done within the language and understanding of the time"?
In other words, "Not true."
In other words, "LIES!" From the God of truth? How does Dr O NOT see this fundamental inconsistancy?
Fantastic, gracious reply, Don.
One (perhaps minor) point is that I'm not sure the good doctor will see his blindness and whether the 'obviousness' of him clearly not researching our site might need to be pointed out more clearly.
It's clear to me as well as he raises such furphies as Noah travelling all the way to Australia to pick up the kangaroos. He doesn't seem to be aware what the Bible says on this issue either.
Anyway, I am praying that your excellent reply is used of God to open his eyes.
Since these theistic evolutionists reject the first few chapters of Genesis as historical, I have yet to find one who can give me a definitive answer as to where exactly God stops lying to us in the Bible.
I'll go out on a limb and posit a hypothesis: there is no Christian PhD physicist in the UK named Laurence O. and the comment was left by someone with a high school education level. I base that hypothesis on:
1) Searching for physicists named Laurence O. in the UK.
2) The word usage in the email
3) The grammar and sentence structure
4) That the writer did no research at all on his topic or CMI's website before writing his email, a mistake that people at the PhD level, or a Christian, shouldn't be making. Not a simple error, but a complete lack of the one thing scientists should do - research.
A corollary to my hypothesis is that the writer is someone who often "trolls" on Christian websites to attempt to undermine the faithful.
Well, Don, people like Dr. O. are examples of the value of CMI's hard work. I hope he will read this comment, because he is exactly at the point I was as a one-year-old Christian in 1970. I was a grad student in physics then, two years before I received my Ph.D. I, too, had Dr. O's naive attitude toward the uniformitarian science establishment. I believed in the billions of years, and I still had vestiges of theistic evolutionism. Most importantly, I believed that if there was evidence for a young world, I would be reading about it in the science journals and textbooks. As it turned out, that was a misplaced faith.
When at that time I began to encounter scientific evidence for a young world, it was a huge shock. I became angry because my teachers and the journals had not pointed out that evidence. When I submitted my first articles pointing to some young-world evidence to secular science journals, I found out why. The editors and reviewers of those journals absolutely refuse to publish such articles. They would publish other articles of mine, but none with young-world evidence. Every creationist scientist has found this out for himself.
In my physics career at a National Laboratory, I found out that most scientists have never encountered such evidence. It turns out that most scientists believe the earth is old because they believe that most other scientists believe the earth is old!
So I exhort Dr. O. to abandon his faith in the science establishment and dig into the evidence for himself. The good news is that he will then find he can take the Scriptural declarations of a young world at face value. That will open up the Bible to him, and enable him to know the God of the Bible much more closely.
When people say evolution is compatible with God, for me that's a little bit like saying, "we know that our pet mouse will not take to our new pet cat, but the cat is not an alternative to the mouse."
Well, the cat soon will be an alternative to the mouse, when the cat kills and eats it!
Evolution, and it's implications, effectively take away all of the glory from God, the evolutionists do not say that by wisdom he created the heavens and earth but reality shows us that to create the universe, you require the greatest designer in history. Photosynthesis, the various laws, DNA-density, and the diverse designs in nature, ad infinitum, do not show us to have an "unreasonable" position, they show us that we hold the only position that can possibly be held, the only position that matches with reality.
Now let's see what evolution shows?
Do we see a universe coming about? No. Do we see stellar evolution happening? No. Do we see organic evolution happening? No. 100% of the induction of evidence shows that life comes from life. Do we see biological evolution happening? No. Do we even see micro-evolution happening? (the macro-evolution of bacterias) No.
So what is "real" about evolution?
What is real about the creation that God made? Everything - so carry on not giving God the glory if you want, meanwhile, we will give Him the glory to the bitter end because of the wonderful creation He had made. He is God, and should be given the praise and glory, and credit, and He will be given it, by those who truly have believed everything He has said.
Kind regards, mike. (MTwiz)
It is clear the ones presuppositions and peer pressure drive their beliefs. If everyone in this discussion stayed with facts, truth would reign. I also know PhDs who have dropped old earth theories, but many others cannot because of job security. Scientific facts and truth is not the goal of the science departments of most universities. Sadly, consensus and peer pressure now reign.
There are lots of fellow born again Christians that believe hype, what's popular, progaganda. Don't like to broach politics but how do the majority believers in our church throw their ballot with candidates that promote abortion and blatant anti-Christian policies? They just do. Anyway, we also have credentials and they are higher than PhD, the indisuptable Truth of Scripture.... unless PhD qualifies one to rewrite the Bible? Colleagues may all be on board but a word to the wise, discuss it up with God first, see if you can convince Him how He actually created the earth, Adam and Eve, and print a retraction. Seriously!
I am amazed how a "committed Christian" like Dr Laurence O. can come up with something like "how did Noah catch two Tyranosaurus’s?"? Genesis does not talk about Noah catching animal at all. But I guess when you twist the Bible a little bit it's ok to do it little bit more, is it? I am sympathetic with Dr Laurence O. because I believed that evolution can somehow be forced into the Bible until I listened to one of CMI's speakers, and that changed my view.
Thanks CMI for being a blessing for many truth seekers.
A very concise response indeed. I have great difficulty understanding a christian needing to accept an evolutionary explanation for anything. I rather think a theistic evolutionist to be something of a misnomer, and certainly a contradiction; to believe a Great God, such as we worship, would start a process, and sit back to see how it works and make adjustments on the run. This would surely make Him one very small and unreliable god, much like the ones of Greek mythology.
Love your work and ability to take the fight to the unbelieving.
As with P.G., also suspicious, but to give benefit of doubt, & uncertain of Dr. O gender, maybe PhD reference is to the somewhat higher accreditation common in our church circle: Pentecostal Hair Doo.
or Post Hole Digger? or ...?
Creation.com is a useful website for deprogramming people from the dogmas that most of us have endured throughout our years of public school and universities. Continue your patient service in teaching individuals the difference between assumptions and facts, and the like.
Without commenting on the quality of your responses, may I commend your organisation for publishing Dr Laurence's comments.
Thank you Don for such a wonderful response.
In this day and age, sadly I see so many Christian's compromising their faith by accepting the theory of evolution and the big bang and in turn going against everything that the Word of God teaches us.
His Creation showcases the glory of our Lord and reveals that He will be compared to no other.
He reigns over all.
I thank God that he delivered me from the naive and frankly embarrassing belief system that was once evolution.
Thank you to all at Creation Magazine for continuing to help open our eyes wider and wider to the Glory of our King with all of your in-depth research.
You're a blessing to us all.
Thank you for a great response article. I will keep it handy for a ready refernce. Scientific method seems to go out he window when beliefs are being massaged. I remember in my undergraduate days I wrote a paper on the "Creation Evolution controversy" and referenced an article in the Age newspaper by Dr Ian Plimer then a professor at Melbourne University, where he stated that there could not be any sheep left because Noah sacrificed at least one of them when he got out of the Ark leaving the other to procreate on its own. This I pointed out was lack of scientific method ie researching the source documents (in this case the Bible) for oneself. If he had of done so he would have read there were seven of the sacrificially used clean animals - it seems he has since read about the seven clean animal kinds as he mentions them in more current articles. The point being he was in print trying to refute a creationist position with false/incorrect information which would not be allowed in a "scientific setting'. Needless to say I had to 'balance' my paper with comments of fundamentalists arguing from science and not faith only, to get a pass. Arguing with passion is fine as long as the passionate argument is accurate.
Professor Plimer also had whales flopping up a gangplank into the ark!
BTW, the Hebrew almost certainly indicates 7 pairs of each of the clean animals.
While it may not be appropriate for me to intervene in a debate between two Christians, I think much of the scientific data you debate with Dr O. is secondary. You state the fundamental difference early on:
'I believe if you love Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour (and therefore you will also respect the Bible as His Word)...'
That link between believing in Christ and believing in the absolute truth of the Bible is put forward without support.
Certainly you cite articles that explain why it may be dangerous not to believe that it's true (under 'Creation: Why it Matters'), but not positive evidence for why it is true.
The Bible was not not written by God, or even Christ. It was written by a large number of men and edited by further men. You may believe that those men were inspired by God, but I have never seen anything like a good case that every one of those men was acting entirely under the influence of God. I wonder if you could direct me to such a resource.
Assuming Lawrence O is both a PhD and a Christian as claimed, one can only wonder where the basic teaching in the church has come to if a supposedly educated Christian cites Wikepedia as being authoritative and the Bible as not.
Ditto to Roger B's comment. Also tend to agree with PG from United States about Lawrence O
Thanks Don - for your response to questions from enquirers
I was, from education, fully indoctrinated into and a complete believer in evolution. That belief, while not causing me to completely abandon a belief in God, did require a personal and different interpretation of what and who god is and was. When I became a Christian, it was not easy to give up evolution, so I became a theistic evolutionist. Although that viewpoint is fraught with difficulties, I continued on in that deception for many years. It was only after someone (a Christian) asked me to provide proof of evolution. Since I had been steeped in it for so many years, I accepted the challenge, knowing it would be very easy to provide the proof the gentleman wanted. In the following five years, I found a total of "zero" proofs to support evolution. Everything, it turned our, was theory and interpretation. The actual evidence fell far more heavily to the side of creation and a young earth and universe. Our school system had actually been instrumental in keeping me from becoming a Christian for many years and to accept false beliefs for many years after my final humble acceptance of the need for a savior.
As a science student entering my senior year (having taking Evolution and personally seen evolutionary mutations take place in bacteria), it disheartens me that people claim that my "faith is compromised" or that I'm "reject[ing] the Bible" because I believe in evolution. Or to put it more accurately, I believe God used evolution to create the truly awesome diversity of life on this planet.
I see no disparity between evolution and the sovereignty of God. Yes, it requires taking a non-literal view of a portion of Genesis, but to claim that that diminishes my view of my Lord and Savior is ridiculous. To me, it makes a lot of sense for the writer of Genesis to use the terms "days" to allow people of the time to begin to wrap their minds around Creation. But as we know, to God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day. Because God is outside of time (He created time!) there are no restrictions.
Yes, I can accept that God could've created the earth 6000 years ago. He's all-powerful; he could create the universe like it is this very moment in an instant if he wanted to. But I believe that would require Him to create the appearance of age. I see no reason, however, for God to do that, in fact, it seems almost misleading to me, and the God that I serve doesn't seem like that type, haha!
I admit, I haven't read very many of the articles here, but one common argument I've noticed is the Biblical lack of death until the fall of man. To me, the counterpoint is simple: the death that's referred to is spiritual death, which would be unable to be present until God placed the soul into man.
Another argument is that theistic evolution doesn't allow for evolution. I disagree. The universe can be considered a closed system (science!), and is subject to the Laws that created within. However! When God chooses to interact with the system, he is able to manipulate those laws.
In conclusion, there are open handed issues (evolution, transubstantiation, denominational differences, etc.) and close handed issues (God exists, is sovereign, and created the universe, Jesus is the only begotten son of God and came to earth and died for all our sins, that belief in Jesus Christ as Savior is the only way to heaven, etc.). We can disagree on the open handed issues all we want, but agreement on the close handed issues is what really matters. I started subscribing to theistic evolution a few years ago, but Jesus has been my Savior since I was little, and I'm just as firm in my belief in Him, if not more so.
If you guys care to debate on any of these or other points, I'm all for it.
I'm glad that you acknowledge Jesus as your Savior, as the only way to heaven. That's good. I once thought like you do, but I had not really thought through the implications. See my story.
All the doctrines you call "close handed" (essential) are actually impacted strongly by what Genesis teaches as the history of the universe (and, I might add, Jesus accepted as history).
You wrote: "I haven't read very many of the articles here". That is clear, because all the objections you raise have been answered over and over on creation.com.
For example, you wrote: "but one common argument I've noticed is the Biblical lack of death until the fall of man. To me, the counterpoint is simple: the death that's referred to is spiritual death, which would be unable to be present until God placed the soul into man." This contradicts Genesis 3:19, where God told Adam that he would return to dust, as well as the clear teaching of 1 Corinthians 15:12–58 that the punishment must have included physical death—hence Jesus ("the last Adam") died physically on the cross and rose physically from the dead. See: Animal suffering and western sensibility.
Please prayerfully consider the following articles:
By the way, you might well have seen mutations in the lab, but you have not seen anything that supports goo-to-you transformism as opposed to mere change. It appears that you have been duped by the old bait-and-switch (equivocation) trick that is used to indoctrinate evolution. See: Mutations Q&A. See also: Plant geneticist: "Darwinian evolution is impossible".
If somebody doesn't believe what the Bible (God) says is true, why than 'doctor' and 'doctor' on the text? Do they want to change it to be right, to be correct?
Shouldn't our two brain halves work at the same time?
Leave it alone if you don't like or accept it, ok?
I couldn’t agree more with Dr Batten. People are so intimidated by scientific consensus, while there is quite often nothing more stifling to scientific progress than just that. Unfortunately, people are deceived to think that they are intellectually superior because they hold to a majority view, i.e. secular consensus which is always wrong where it contradicts the plain reading of the Bible.
Here is somebody boasting with his Ph.D. and falls for the first and oldest deception Satan used: Did God really say....?
A very interesting article indeed. As a layman I don’t have a Ph.D. to make a stance from. However, as a person who accepted Christ some 33 years ago who took the time to READ and STUDY God’s word for himself almost daily since then, I do have a position to make a statement from. It is called spiritual discernment.
My experience with atheists with their all powerful hate for God and their desperation to come up with any story of any kind to support their stance has taught me to not trust anything they say. Sad to say so many secular scientists are of this persuasion, and more and more I am rejecting what the scientific community has to say because of their atheistic bias. But the world is being taken in by them hook, line and sinker. It’s a just sign of the times.
When a true born again Christian doesn’t accept the biblical account of creation and wants to mix it with secular atheistic teachings, it is either because they are babes in Christ, or over the years they haven’t come to KNOW their Savior and realize how satan is deceiving the world.
Physicist or not, Dr Laurence O. has written a masterpiece in intellectual laziness and spiritual blindness. How can anybody call himself a 'devout' Christian and pay no respect nor attempt to submit to God's written revelation?
And how on earth should you parrot the same tired, uninformed and dismantled atheistic objections without testing their legitimacy, at least, on a logical level?
But thanks to Dr Don Batten for his wise and gracious reply.
Interesting conversation. However, I would like to know what to do with the fact that there are two creation stories, one in which man is created after the plants, the other in which man is created before. I'm not necessarily trying to refute you, just interested to know how creationism deals with this issue. Surely you can't take both accounts literally because they are incompatible if both taken literally.
A reminder to all would-be commenters: a condition of commenting, agreed to by all who comment, is that the website has been checked for answers to objections/questions that the commenter wants to raise. This matter is answered here: Genesis contradictions? In Genesis chapter 2 the order of creation seems to be different to that in chapter 1 with the animals being created (2:19) after Adam (2:7). Doesn’t the Bible contradict itself here?
Excellent reply Dr. Don to a spiritually doubtful "believer". All the physics equations when taken to the "nth" degree come up with INFINITY as the final answer to man's wisdom about origins of the universe. We then enter the not very scientific realm of string theory, parallel universes etc. When the answer is so plain and so clear that a small child can understand that GOD simply "stretched out the heavens" in an instant as only GOD can do. Mans fallen logic and wisdom simply can't handle ETERNITY which after all is what INFINITY is. Dr. Carl Wieland's August C.M.I. update is one of the most encouraging pieces of literature I have read in a long time... Please avail yourselves of it. God bless your ministry.
Your article is a first-class, informative response done in such a gracious way. It is so helpful for people to point to the truth and let it speak to them. I find your arguments and points very sound in logic and wise in their compassion toward those who do not believe (yet).
One thing I do find interesting here is that there is no reply yet from Dr. O. Perhaps Dr. O. is an M.D. Most Ph.D.s I know rarely steer away from an argument and continue to pursue discussions. I happen to know because I am one. And I hold firmly to a young earth, 7 day creation history of earth based on faith and consistent evidence.
K.K. Ph.D. Physical Chemistry
Thanks for your expression of appreciation.
There was no reply from Dr O., who is indeed a Ph.D. physicist (he provided his full name and I checked). Perhaps he is mulling over the matter; I hope so.
I think you ought to reconsider your stance towards Dr. Laurence. You mock him in your statements that he is a 'believer' as though he is in fact not. How dare you judge him. If you really do believe the bible, stop looking at the speck in his eye!
I can't see anywhere where I have mocked Dr O., so I assume this comment is a response to a couple of the commenters who have doubted if a) this man is a PhD physicist b) a Christian.
However, the Scripture about not judging is misapplied here. See: Judgmentalism.
It is an excellent response by Don Batten and one I think that I shall print out for my fellow ministers in my town who tend to "fudge" and thus avoid the issue of the age of the earth. I have to say however that I am with P.G.(USA)in his view. May I ask whether Don has verified the existence of Dr. Laurence O (i.e. did he give his full name and details as I have had to do in making this comment?)
Yes, Dr O. provided his full name. Although I saw no reason to doubt it, I checked his bona fides and he is genuine; a PhD physicist (worked with radio antennae, I believe).
Laurence O. responded:
Thank you for your kind response to my original article. I have followed it through and looked at your references, but I am sorry to say that I do not agree with most of them.
Some readers are doubtful of my authenticity, so I would like to add one further and final comment.
I made my Christian commitment as a child and I was encouraged to take literally every word in the Bible. My first graduate job was with the Ontario Cancer Foundation where I was a clinical physicist responsible for radiation dosimetry using a number of radioisotopes. My PhD at Cambridge was on the design of electron microscope lenses. I worked in metrology for the National Physical Laboratory and then on electromagnetic topics with the Ministry of Defence (details not in the public domain).
As Austin W states in his response on 10 August, which coincides exactly with my views, this discussion hangs on whether or not you take a purely literal interpretation of the Bible. Incidentally, I would be interested to know how one takes Psalm 114 verse 4 literally. I am sorry that my views on the Bible have been misinterpreted. In no way am I saying that the Bible is telling us lies. My Bible says nothing about the age of the earth; the 6000 years is incorrect interpretation. The Bible says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. We do not need to know when. I believe that the planets were formed from molten stellar material, which is why they are spherical and have hot cores. When our planet had cooled sufficiently, obviously after a very long time, it was ready for the creation of life. This took place on a ‘God day’ timeframe. We do not need to know how long a God day was.
I continue to wonder at the creation of life and the emergence of consciousness - whether it was done spontaneously in a form not dissimilar to what we see today, or whether it was achieved through a slow process of adaption. It is a miracle either way.
May the wisdom of the risen Christ be with you all.
I thought I adequately defended your academic credentials.
I confess that this is a very disappointing and frustrating response. It is as if nothing I said or provided by way of argument made any impact. You have basically re-stated the position you outlined originally, with some extra misunderstandings added.
You are right that this discussion hinges on our approach to the Bible. Is it the Word of God, or a collection of camp-fire tales of desert nomads?
It is not about taking a "purely literal interpretation of the Bible". This incredible statement forces me to wonder if you read anything much in my response. I referred you to The Bible and hermeneutics, for example.
I venture to say that your childhood teachers did not teach you that "The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs" (Psalm 114:4) was meant to be understood in wooden literal fashion (Hebrew uses figures of speach, especially in poetry, song and apocalyptic writing).
You also re-stated your belief, in concert with the materialistic view of the origin of the universe (which has no room for God at all), that the earth was originally a molten blob that cooled. I also dealt with that and showed that the Bible in both Genesis 1 and 2 Peter 3 expressly contradicts that notion. Furthermore, the people in 2 Peter 3 who deny that the world was originally covered in water are called 'scoffers' and are clearly classed as enemies of the gospel.
You assert that 6,000 years is an incorrect interpretation, but you have failed to show where any of the arguments for the biblical age are wrong. God created everything in six of our earth days; He said so in Exodus 20:1-11:
Verse 1: And God spoke all these words, saying, ...
Exodus 20:8-11 (God is speaking) "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."
So God (not Moses, God) says He created everything in six days, ceasing to create on the seventh day, the basis of our seven-day week. You can't change the meaning of 'day' half way through God's argument. Lawrence, are you going to believe God, or not?
The creation week (Genesis 1) combined with Genesis 5 and 11 give most of the historical data for the 6,000 year time-frame. And hardly anyone doubted it until recent times. See Biblical chronogenealogies and related reading at the end of the article. Archbishop Ussher, a scholar of sholars, was just one of many chronologers who clearly understood that Genesis was written as history and meant to be understood as history. Isaac Newton understood it. The first edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica showed that the scholars who produced it understood it and believed it.
It reflects obtuseness in the extreme to say that the Bible says nothing about the age of the earth.
Furthermore, all schemes that deny the biblical timeframe in favour of deep time put death and suffering, as embodied in the fossil record as interpreted according to your deep time belief, before people came on the scene and actually ushered death and suffering into God's "very good" creation (as he pronounced it at the end of the creation week). This undermines the gospel at its roots.
Lawrence, you might choose to disbelieve the clear testimony of the Bible, but please don't pretend that you are honouring God in doing so. Jesus authenticated the Old Testament, including the framework for understanding the OT that we present on creation.com. Furthermore, Jesus said that He only said things that the Father told him to say (John 12:49,50). So, if you deny what Jesus said, you are also denying what God said.
This is a dangerous position to be in and you need to repent of it (as I had to).
I pray that you will do it.