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Creation  Volume 33Issue 3 Cover

Creation 33(3):41–43
July 2011

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Common errors made by deniers of a young Earth

by

coomon error

Jumping man ©iStockPhoto.com/eliandric Desert ©iStockPhoto.com/Mlenny

Since the rise of uniformitarian geology in about 1800, many in the church have capitulated to this new ‘science’. Thus they have rejected the traditional plain historical-grammatical interpretation of the creation and Flood accounts. They routinely resort to erroneous reasoning to support their compromising reinterpretation. Following are discussions of the three most common errors committed.

Appealing to the ‘purpose’ of the text

Old-earthers often appeal to the ‘purpose’ of the creation account, commonly claiming that it is primarily theological rather than historical. For example, Bruce Waltke, citing Charles Hummel, argues that Genesis 1–2 is not a purely descriptive account answering the ‘what?’ ‘how?’ and ‘what is?.’ Instead, it is prescriptive in that it answers the ‘who?’ ‘why?’ and ‘what ought to be?’.1 Thus, the Genesis account of creation and the Fall discusses general theological concerns rather than describing actual historical events. Similarly, Bernard Ramm states that Scripture “tells us emphatically that God created, but is silent as to how God created … . It informs us that the stars, and the flowers, and the animals, and the trees, and man are creatures of God, but how God produced them is nowhere a matter of clear affirmation in Scripture [emphasis in original].”2

The Genesis account describes exactly how God created, the order in which He created, and the timing of His creative acts.

However, such a view simply does not align with what the Scriptures actually state. As Walter Kaiser responds, “[this is] an obvious slighting of the phrase repeated ten times, ‘and God said’ … ”.3 Indeed, God’s creative activity is precisely described using the verbs ‘created’ ‘made’, ‘said’, ‘called’, ‘set’, ‘formed’, ‘caused’, ‘took’, ‘planted’, and ‘blessed’. Furthermore, these activities are described from start to finish, and spread out over a period of six days. In other words, the Genesis account describes exactly how God created, the order in which He created, and the timing of His creative acts—and was understood that way by the New Testament writers.4 If, on the other hand, all the author intended to communicate was that ‘God is the creator of everything’, then surely the first verse would have been enough.

Likewise, Bill Arnold claims: “The important lesson from Genesis 1 is that [God] did in fact create it, and that he made it orderly and good in every respect.” He adds: “If it were important to know how long it took God to create the world, the Bible would have made it clear.”5 Yet the creation account explicitly says that God took six days. Day One was followed by a second, then third, fourth, fifth and sixth days, when the creation was completed (Genesis 2:1–2). Exodus 20:11 confirms that God created “in six days”. What could be clearer?6

There is no doubt, of course, that Genesis makes a fundamental theological contribution, but to say that Genesis is primarily theological rather than historical is to set up a false dichotomy; history and theology are not mutually exclusive. “The fact is that the whole Bible presents its message as theology within a framework of history.”7 E.g. the Resurrection of Jesus is a foundational theological doctrine, but would be worthless unless it happened in history (1 Corinthians 15).

In any case, the Bible author’s intent and purpose for writing is surely expressed in the text itself. How else can a reader know the author’s intention apart from what the author actually states in the text? Otherwise, the meaning of the text would have to be discovered first, before there could be any hope of determining the author’s intent. Suggestions of intent and purpose which are not directly derived from the text itself can only come from the interpreter’s imagination. Therefore, ascribing an intent and purpose which is not directly derived from the text is to subordinate Scripture to the imagination of the interpreter.

When old earth creationists demand conformity with current scientific explanations they commit what philosophers call ‘a category mistake’—they employ inappropriate categories to describe supernatural events.

Demand for conformity to current scientific views

Old-earthers also demand that any interpretation must be consistent with currently accepted ‘scientific’ views.

However, old-earthers are themselves selective and inconsistent in their demand for scientific conformity. Although quick to chastise biblical (young-earth) creationists for advocating interpretations of the Genesis accounts of creation and the Flood that seem to go against current scientific views, many have no problem accepting literal interpretations of the virgin birth, Christ’s miracles, and the Resurrection—all of which seem to go against current scientific views! Take Christ’s miracle of turning water into wine (John 2:1–11) as an example of their inconsistency. Very few, if any, old-earthers who claim to be evangelicals with a high view of Scripture would doubt that Christ literally and miraculously turned water into wine. Yet, this act is scientifically impossible! Water simply does not have the carbon atoms that wine does. Even if we were to supply these in the form of sugar and yeast, the process of fermentation takes time (several weeks), yet the text indicates that this all occurred instantaneously. Why, then, do such old-earthers not reinterpret this (and other) accounts? Why accept some supernatural acts of God and not others?

Historical revisionism

It is difficult to find worse examples of the rewriting of history than that done by many old-earth evangelicals with respect to the historical views of the Church concerning the creation account.8 These erroneous historical views have been refuted in detail elsewhere.9 The plain young-earth reading of the creation account has been the traditional mainstream view of the Church throughout its history up until the ascendancy of ‘enlightenment’ thinking in the 18th Century.10 As David Hall laments:

“The record of history is abundantly clear on this; yet, it is like extracting molars to convince some theologians to surrender an opinion that is in conflict with actual history. One has to question the tenacious resistance, especially when it is confronted with so much factual information. Why, I asked, would fine and godly theologians fight against history with so much energy when the case against it was so clear?”11

Manuscript via wikipedia.org Sand dunes after ©iStockPhoto.com/thumb

Frederick 1, Holy Roman Emperor as crusader, holding an orb, representing the earth, with a cross on top symbolizing Christ’s overlordship. Miniature from a manuscript from 1188, Vatican Library.

Frederick 1, Holy Roman Emperor as crusader, holding an orb, representing the earth, with a cross on top symbolizing Christ’s overlordship. Miniature from a manuscript from 1188, Vatican Library.

Other examples of historical revisionism by old-earth evangelicals include the Church’s alleged treatment of Columbus and Galileo. Old-earthers claim that these ‘scientists’ were right but the dogmatic Church was wrong, and we should be careful not to make the same mistakes today.

Such conclusions are based on a common belief that before he made his historic voyage in 1492, Christopher Columbus appeared before a crowd of dogmatic theologians and ignorant inquisitors, all of whom believed that Scripture taught the earth was flat. Columbus then set out to prove them all wrong and sailed around the globe. While it is true that there was a meeting at Salamanca in 1491, this common understanding of what happened does not contain a shred of truth. Historian Jeffrey Burton Russell identifies Washington Irving (1783–1859), a noted American historical fiction writer, as one of the primary sources of this ‘folktale’.12 Irving created a fictitious account of a nonexistent university council and let his imagination run wild.13 The whole story is “misleading and mischievous nonsense.”14 [Including the idea that Columbus circumnavigated the globe, incidentally—he did not.--Ed.] Russell has demonstrated that with very few exceptions, from the 3rd century BC onwards, all educated people in the western world believed the earth was a globe. It is thus no accident that medieval kings were presented with an orb (sphere), representing the earth, as a symbol of their power (see picture, left).

Likewise, it is commonly believed that Galileo’s observations and arguments offered overwhelming support for Copernicus’ theory (that the earth orbited the sun), but the stubborn, dogmatic, ignorant theologians in the Catholic Church wanted to silence Galileo lest their interpretation of Scripture be shown to be in error. This was for fear it would nullify the Church’s claim as the authority in biblical interpretation. But as Thomas Schirrmacher has demonstrated: “The depiction of the process against Galileo as a heroic scientist standing up against the narrow-minded dogmatism of the Christian church is based entirely on myth, not on historical research.”15,16

The disagreements between scientists and theologians at the time reflected not a conflict between Christianity and science, but a conflict between Aristotelian philosophy and science.17 Galileo was a scientist who was convinced of the truth and accuracy of Scripture. He was well regarded by the Church and his first defence of the Copernican system, Letters on Sunspots (1613), was well received and no criticism was raised. Indeed, Cardinal Barberini, who later became Pope Urban VIII and who would sentence him in 1633, was among those to congratulate Galileo on his publication.18 Thus, Galileo’s greatest enemies were not in the church but rather among his colleagues and fellow scientists, most of whom denied the Copernican system,19 and who were afraid of losing their position and influence.20 De Santillana writes: “It has been known for a long time that a major part of the church’s intellectuals were on the side of Galileo, while the clearest opposition to him came from secular ideas.”21

The irony in all of this is that it is the old-earth believers who need to learn the lesson of the Galileo affair.22 Galileo came to the right conclusion while believing totally in the Bible’s accuracy, whereas his fellow scientists came to the wrong conclusion based on the current scientific consensus (Aristotelianism)! The Church has been painted as an enemy of science, when, in actual fact, Galileo’s scientific peers and colleagues were the greater enemies of true science.

Conclusion

Don’t let those who deny the plain reading of the creation account get away with raising these kinds of fallacious arguments. If you hear people raise such arguments, challenge them to justify their position, and point out—gently—their errors of fact and logic.

References and notes

  1. Waltke, B.K., The first seven days, Christianity Today 32:45, 1988. Return to text.
  2. Ramm, B., The Christian View of Science of Scripture, Paternoster, London, 1955, p. 70. Return to text.
  3. Kaiser, W.C., Legitimate hermeneutics; in: Geisler, N.L. (ed.), Inerrancy, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1980, p. 147. Return to text.
  4. Cosner, L., The use of Genesis in the New Testament, Creation 33(2):16–19, 2011, creation.com/nt; Sarfati, J., Genesis: Bible authors believed it to be history, Creation 28(2):21–23, 2006, creation.com/gen-hist. Return to text.
  5. Arnold, B.T., Encountering the Book of Genesis, Baker, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, p. 23. Return to text.
  6. Genesis is written as history, not poetry. See the interviews with OT scholar Dr Robert McCabe, Creation 32(3):16–19, 2010; and Hebrew scholar Dr Ting Wang, Creation 27(4):48–51, 2005, creation.com/wang. Return to text.
  7. Goldsworthy, G., Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, IVP, Leicester, 2000, p. 24. Return to text.
  8. See in particular Hugh Ross (Creation and Time, NavPress, Colorado Springs, 1994, pp. 16–24; (with Gleason Archer) The Day-Age Response; in: D. G. Hagopian, D.G., (editor), The Genesis Debate, Crux Press, Mission Viejo, California, 2001, pp. 68–70), Don Stoner (A New Look at an Old Earth, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1997, pp. 117–119), and Roger Forster and Paul Marston (Reason, Science and Faith, Monarch, Crowborough, East Sussex, 1999, pp. 188–240). Return to text.
  9. Kulikovsky, A.S., Creation and Genesis: a historical survey, Creation Research Society Quarterly 43(4):206–219, 2007. Return to text.
  10. See the list of calculated creation dates in Batten, D., Old-earth or young-earth belief; which belief is the recent aberration? Creation 24(1):24–27, 2001, creation.com/old-young. Return to text.
  11. Hall, D.W., The evolution of mythology: classic creation survives as the fittest among its critics and revisers; in: Pipa, J.A. and Hall, D.W. (eds.), Did God Create in Six Days? Southern Presbyterian Press, Taylors, SC, 1999, p. 276. Return to text.
  12. The other originator was Antoine-Jean Letronne (1787–1848), an anti-religious academic, who published On the Cosmological Ideas of the Church Fathers (1834). See Jeffrey Burton Russell, Inventing the Flat Earth, Praeger, London, 1997, pp. 49–51, 58–59. Return to text.
  13. Russell, ref. 12, pp. 40–41, 52–54. Return to text.
  14. Russell, J.B., The Myth of the Flat Earth, Unpublished paper presented at the American Scientific Affiliation Conference, Westmont College, August 4, 1997; www.veritas-uscb.org. He notes that this was listed as among the top few historical myths some years back by the Historical Society of Britain. Return to text.
  15. Schirrmacher, T., The Galileo Affair: History or Heroic Hagiography? Journal of Creation 14(1):91–100, 2000. Return to text.
  16. Sarfati, J., Galileo Quadricentennial; myth vs fact, Creation 31(3):49–51, 2009, creation.com/gal-400. Return to text.
  17. Ramm, ref. 2, p. 36. Forster and Marston, (Reason and Faith, 293) agree that it is inaccurate to present the Galileo affair as a case of science vs religion. Return to text.
  18. Schirrmacher, ref. 12, p. 92. Return to text.
  19. Indeed, the vast majority of scientists at that time rejected the Copernican system. See Barber, B., Resistance of scientists to scientific discovery, Science 134:596–602, 1961; Custance, A.C., Science and Faith: The Doorway Papers VIII, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984, p. 157. Return to text.
  20. Schirrmacher, ref. 15; Drake, S. (editor and translator), Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo, Doubleday, New York, 1957. Return to text.
  21. de Santillana, G., The Crime of Galileo, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1955, p. xii. Return to text.
  22. Grigg, R., The Galileo ‘twist’, Creation 19(4):30–32, 1997, creation.com/gal-twist. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments
Trevor S., Australia, 27 August 2012

Thank you!

This is a most helpful article.

Over years I had heard both of these myths, it is great to read (and see evidence) that both myths are untrue.

Just another reason to believe the Bible.

Jack C., Australia, 27 August 2012

I can understand how atheists reject the Biblical explanation of how young the earth is. After all they reject the whole Bible. However, what is sad is to see so many Christians also rejecting the young age, especially when they are so willing to accept the various other miracles documented throughout the Old and New Testaments. Oh well, let's pray one day they all realise the error of their ways.

Graham D., Australia, 27 August 2012

Their dismissal of Adam & Eve may be contradictory (e.g. No fall no need to repent), but at least in a sense, it is intellectually honest. At least they are admitting that the evidence of an old earth renders some scriptures questionable and/or obsolete. Unlike young-earth creationists whose only reason is an appeal to authority (God says it, that settles it) and deny evidence of an old earth right off the bat.

Young earth creationists who embrace beliefs that require faith, yet seek evidence (which is usually fraudulent) is also a contradiction. Why seek evidence for something that is meant to be believed on faith?

By the way, one off-topic point. You should really allow people to post comments and THEN moderate them. Not the other way around...

Carl Wieland responds

Obviously, you haven't read much on this site, Graham otherwise you would hardly be able to suggest that we are not interested in the evidence, but purely fideistic (God said it, etc.) Which is quite different from our presuppositional approach, namely interpreting the evidence relating to the past by asking, (pre)suppose God's Word is true, what would this mean for our understanding of the evidence, is it consistent? This is an argument which even a non-believer can follow, to see how it stacks up. Also, those who are familiar with the huge volume of evidence on these pages would find it (dare I say) pathetic for you to suggest dismissively that this 'is usually fraudulent'--it smacks of intellectual laziness, not to mention dishonesty. Finally, your comment "Why seek evidence for something that is meant to be believed on faith?" reveals an unfamiliarity with the faith required of Christians in the Bible, which is never a blind, dumb faith but rather one which is consistent with the evidence. The early church grew like topsy precisely because the Apostles were able to point to the reasonableness of the evidence for the Resurrection; the Roman and Jewish authorities would have produced the body if they could have, the eyewitnesses were still around to talk to, and there was the undeniable fact that these formerly timid disciples were now willing to die for something that if it were based on a lie, they would know it to be so.

If evidence interests you, as opposed to being able to 'diss' a position you find uncomfortable, welcome to creation.com.

Cheers...

Jeff W., Canada, 27 August 2012

May God free us all from blindness and deceit. I recall sitting in casual conversation with Prof. Waltke when he testified to the same views you ascribe to him here. His stature alone persuaded me then to formally accept that view, which I subsequently held for about a decade. I am so grateful to have eventually been delivered from that mistaken perspective. The catalyst was a conviction that Scripture stands above me, not me above Scripture. I don't evaluate Christ's claims or words; his claims and words evaluate me. I don't demand that God's word conform to my notions, God's word demands that my notions confirm to God's word. As such the 'long ages', Genesis 1 as hymn not history, gap theory and so on fade like mist. The clear reading of the text is not ambiguous unless we cloud our own eyes with folly.

Chandrasekaran M., United Kingdom, 27 August 2012

In my thought experiment I was wondering what Jesus would do if He were to be among us in this day and age physically just as He was about 2000 years ago and hear the myths for long age universe.

Sadducees, in Jesus days, could not reconcile resurrection and married relationships before death in their thought experiments which of course were peer reviewed by Sadducees.

Jesus did not change or redefine the scripture to accommodate their thought experiment results and He is the same today too in terms of character and principles. Jesus does not mutate and select as time passes to accommodate thought experiment results of educated people.

John T., Canada, 28 August 2012

The claim that “old-earthers are themselves selective and inconsistent in their demand for scientific conformity” because they deny six-day young earth creationism but accept other “scientifically impossible” miracles (turning water to wine, the resurrection) is off the mark. This charge would only be correct if old-earthers denied 6-day YEC because they considered anything “scientifically impossible” to be impossible for God to do. This is not their position at all; they accept that God can do “scientifically impossible” miracles, including turning water into wine, raising the dead, and, yes, creating the world in six 24-hour days. The problem is that they believe (wrongly) that there is scientific evidence that proves not that God COULDN’T create the world in six 24-hour days but that He DIDN’T do so. (There is no corresponding putative countervailing evidence against the water/wine miracle or the resurrection.) Their error, then, is not inconsistency but putting the claims of fallible men above the clear meaning of the inerrant word of God.

kyle B., Australia, 28 August 2012

Hello

I noticed Carl Wieland's response to Graham, in which he says "you would hardly be able to suggest that we are not interested in the evidence" i.e. Carl is saying that CMI is interested in evidence. Doesn't this contradict CMI's statement of faith which reads "By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record"? How do you reconcile these two statements? Am I missing something here?

Thanks,

Kyle

Carl Wieland responds

Yes, it seems likely you are missing something, Kyle. We are presuppositionalists in our approach as a ministry, as that section you quoted above from our statement of faith (SOF) makes clear. (Note that at least our presuppositions are clearly and explicitly stated ‘up front’ as it were, unlike the implicit but rarely stated assumptions of naturalism/materialism that guide most evolutionary understandings and interpretations).

The statement that Graham cited (“God said it ... that settles it”) is not in the same ballpark as the section from our SOF—it is fideist not presuppositionalist. Fideism, which is not our position, puts its head in the sand, saying in effect that the evidence is unimportant and does not need to be engaged in, because no matter what it indicates, we will believe it anyway.

Neither are we evidentialists, whose beliefs are swayed back and forth by whatever one's latest understanding of the evidence might be, and that is a major reason for the inclusion of that statement in our SOF.

A presuppositionalist in this origins debate (and there are degrees of presuppositionalism, I might add, from mild to radical, which latter is not us, see shortly) presupposes the truth of the Bible in interpreting and understanding the evidence. We regard the evidence as extremely important and needing to be engaged with, because at the end of the day the validity of the presupposition itself means that where the Bible teaches things that relate to the evidence, it needs to square with the evidence. To ignore the evidence would therefore be opposed to the presupposition itself. (There is fascinating stuff on our site and also available in material written by secular thinkers as to how the presuppositions of science itself arose from biblical ones.)

To clarify further, I indicated that CMI in general does not consist of radical presuppositionalists. Our position is perhaps best described as a subset of presuppositionalism called critical realism. The facts matter, reality matters, the evidence matters. Thus, a staff scientist with CMI might in principle change their presupposition, and could do so on the basis of their understanding of the evidence. They would then cease to be a biblical creationist, of course. However, the ministry itself could not do so without ceasing to be what it is, a ministry built around the presupposition of the inerrancy of Scripture. Hence the ‘set in stone’ nature of that presupposition in our SOF. Consider: people may be driven to do science from a naturalistic presupposition, even a passionate one to increasingly seek to explain the universe without God. And it may even be good (historical) science, albeit constrained in its possible outcomes by its presuppositions. They would be operating in a framework in which it would not matter what the evidence showed, it would not be valid if it denied naturalism. Thus the glaring evidence for a supernatural creation of the information in life’s message codes cannot be taken at face value, but the search needs to continue for ways to explain its origins materialistically, unless there is a willingness to ‘jump ship’ in terms of one’s presupposition. To have that as an analogy with CMI, assume that the person concerned were working in an institution committed to such a material explanation of origins. If it stated this up front, that would be explicit and honest. The scientist concerned could change their presupposition, but could no longer represent that institution in that case, hence the institution can make such a firm statement of its position while the individual operating within it is more 'open-minded' due to that in principle possibility of changing thhe individual's presupposition.

For more, this response by our Dr Sarfati is helpful, see http://creation.com/presuppositionalism-vs-evidentialism-and-is-the-human-genome-simple

Also see our Q and A section on apologetics, and also on philosophy. Finally, this response I gave some time back fleshes things out in more detail in regard to the philosophy of science, see http://creation.com/if-you-are-truly-scientists-there-will-be-skeptics.

Sincerely, Carl W.

Lucas R., United States, 28 August 2012

Using the bible to disprove scientific consensus is like trying to cut a diamond with chocolate.

Carl Wieland responds

Let me see; using scientific arguments, reason and logic to show that the facts can be interpreted in a manner that shows they are consistent with the Bible is not appropriate, and 'consensus' is the only key to scientific truth? I can understand better now how Semmelweiss must have felt when his efforts (to get medical students who had just dissected corpses to wash their hands before delivering babies) were howled down with laughter by his peers (despite him having demonstrated that this slashed the rates of women dying of childbed fever). After all, the learned professors had the scientific consensus to show that the germ theory of disease was nonsense. No wonder that he failed to prevail in his time. It must have been as hard for him to fight this attitude as, um, trying to cut diamond with chocolate?

D. S., United States, 29 August 2012

Hmmm. Scientific consensus doesn't need to be proved or disproved because it's usually plainly articulated in scientific journals and textbooks. Also, like a diamond, scientific consensus is often treated as Immutable Truth until new discoveries, after a bitter fight, arise to take its place as the new Immutable Truth, never to be questioned except by permission of the Keepers of the Consensus. Chocolate, on the other hand, is yummy and sharpens your powers of observation to a keen edge, perfect for discerning a critical tetrahedral plane! ;-)

George H., Canada, 29 August 2012

Thank-you Carl, for your answers to Graham, Kyle, and Lucas. In the church in which I am a member (where biblical young earth creation is accepted by almost everyone) we frequently have to deal with those who feel creationists such as CMI are trying to "prove the Bible". I have to frequently point out that creation scientists are merely examining God's work from a biblical starting point. I can refer to your comments for additional support.

May God continue to bless your work!

Roger W N., United States, 31 August 2012

I think you're confusing different groups of people with the term "old earthers."

Someone who thinks that the purpose of Genesis 1 is more important than the words {your example) is different than one who thinks that the "days" are thousand of years long. And they're probably different than the the old earthers who believe in miracles. Or those {like me) who think that the literal 6 days of creation occured a few billions years AFTER the creation of the universe.

I read one of your previous that seemed to say neither the Universe nor angels or anything else occured before Genesis 1. (On which day of the week did Satan rebel?) You also seemed to imply that not only was Adam immortal, so were animals!

I personally believe in the "gap theory." It makes the most sense to me. (And yes I did read your article on it.) But there are a lot of positions between the "young earth" and evolution. Don't lump them all together. Otherwise this is a good column. Thanks!

Carl Wieland responds

Apart from the other huge problems with the Gap Theory (death and bloodshed and cancer before sin, the waw dysjunctive in Hebrew ruling it out, etc.) it's hard to understand why anyone would want to deny the plain powerful summary statement in Exodus 20:11 that everything in the universe (Hebrew merism 'Heaven and earth') was made in those six days. Especially when the 'gap' theory (no disrespect) served no purpose in solving the scientific issues. It did not arise from reading the Bible, but from trying to solve the 'problem' of geology's alledged millions of years. All it did historically was to put the church to sleep, thinking they had a good answer, but of course when Christian youth went to uni, they found that it did not 'work' to solve the problem of the 'geological ages'. As to asking on which creation day Satan fell, the answer is clear from the fact that after the Six Days, God declared everything He had made to be not just "good" but "very good"--i.e. Satan could not have fallen prior to that time, but it had to happen before the temptation of Eve, of course. Perhaps a prayerful 're-read' of that article would be in order, Roger - I presume you mean the chapter from the Creation Answers Book, see the free resources on the front page.

Ikechukwu O., United Kingdom, 31 August 2012

5.. For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day... - 2 Peter 3: 5-8

Question: What is a day from God's perspective?

Question 2: What does Scripture mean by the Day of the Lord? Does it mean one Earth day, or a period of time? Food for thought...

Carl Wieland responds

For a discussion as to why the 'thousand years' cannot be a formula giving us the length of "God's days" as some have claimed (hint 1: Jonah was not in the belly of the great fish for 3,000 years. Hint 2: 1,000 years "is as" or "is like", not "is" or "is equal to"), see http://creation.com/2-peter-38-one-day-is-like-a-thousand-years or for a comprehensive discussion on six days, the relevant chapter of CMI's The Creation Answers Book, at http://creation.com/cab2.

As in English, ('in my father's day'), the word 'day' in Hebrew can mean an indefinite period of time - but that is always clear from the context, also as in English. For example, "In my father's day it took six days to drive across Australia." No one would see the first 'day' as anything other than an indefinite period of time (as in 'the Day of the Lord'), and conversely, no one would see the 'six days' as six indefinite periods of time, neither in Hebrew nor in English, as for one thing that would be nonsense, since it is no different from one indefinite period of time. The language in Genesis and in Exodus 20:11 is remarkably clear about the length of the day, which is even defined by a day-night cycle in Genesis 1. Which helps explain why even top Hebrew experts who don't believe in Genesis as factual are certain about what it was meant to communicate concerning the days of Creation Week - see http://creation.com/barr. (God even juxtaposes them with the days the Israelites were told to work and rest).

Bruce S., United States, 1 September 2012

In reference to the statement near the beginning of the article where some atheist makes the comment that no where in scripture does it state how God created everything, I must call the person a deceiver. Psalm 148:1-5 covers what God created and how he did it.

King James Version

Psalm 148

1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.

2 Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.

3 Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.

4 Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.

5 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.

Plain and simple God spoke everything into existence. I know atheists find this to simple an explanation. They think all answers have to be hard to come by. Their theory of evolution takes far more faith than to believe in God the creator of all. I pity such a lack of reasoning on their part and pray that they all come to the salvation that is Christ Jesus.

Bob S., United States, 2 September 2012

I admire your enthusiasm but not your connection with reality. Wouldn't it be a lot easier to simply go where the science points?

Carl Wieland responds

Bob, your reputation as the atheist that loves discussing Christian apologetics precedes you. But if you spent time carefully researching on this site with its more than 8,000 articles, you would hopefully gain some enlightenment on the philosophy of science, especially when it comes to studying past events. Who knows, you would possibly learn not to make such embarrassing statements as the above rhetorical 'question', which implies that where science 'points', one should blindly follow. This is only one step removed from the naive belief that facts 'speak' for themselves in the absence of interpretation. Happy reading... O, I just noticed your email address and its pointed reference to Galileo, so a good start might be with busting the common myths about him. Just type "Galileo" into the search engine, see the first four items that come up...

Cath J., Australia, 9 September 2012

Wow. Just....wow. In policing & investigations, we call it "fitting the evidence to the theory". No doubt responses (if any) to my comment shall be nothing more "scripture in quotation marks". This would be hysterical, if it weren't so funny!! I am guessing that the majority of the young earthers have never stepped outside their own country. You'd best get back to your bible, before the 'liberal communist atheists' come for you!!

I'll pray for you all. That God grants you intelligence!

Jesse M., United States, 3 October 2012

Jeff W., Creation.com has written MANY articles about how Genesis is HISTORY, not hymn, which you have clearly not read. Also, in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17, God Himself declared that He created in six days.

Cath J., the evidence does NOT speak for itself; it must be interpreted. BOTH SIDES interpret the evidence according to some set of presuppositions. Us Biblical creationists interpret the evidence according to the Bible. The so-called "scientific consensus" interprets the evidence according to the presuppositon of uninformitarianism (i.e. no divine intervention such as the Great Flood). Therefore, nether side is truly neutral.

We are not "fitting the evidence to a theory", we are interpreting it according to God's infallible eyewitness. To do otherwise is blasphemy against Him.

Charlotte B., United States, 8 October 2012

I'm a Christian, but what about the fossil record....? One can plainly see that the Earth is billions of years old. What about radio carbon dating? Radio carbon dating can date specimens as old as 50,000 years. And how does one explain dinosaurs? Dinosaur bones are in the stratigraphy of the earth that dates back millions of earth--the further down the stratigraphic layer, the older it is. These beliefs are based on a literal interpretation of the Holy Bible. Shouldn't you give the Word of God more credit than a literal story with no deeper meaning or understanding? Sorry to say this, but the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, and the universe is 14.8 billions years old. As a fun fact, the original Hebrew script of the Torah has encoded that the age of the universe is billions of years. Pray, prove with hard core scientific data and the Word of God that the Earth is 6,000 years old.

Carl Wieland responds

Dear Charlotte; Where to start, given this seeming total unawareness of not only the biblical but the scientific evidence relevant to this whole thing? The first question to ask is, what is your authority source, ultimately; and isn't the issue whether Genesis was meant to be straightforward history or not, so I would turn it back on you--what possible reason would you have from the text itself to take it as anything but? (Leave aside the fossil record for the moment, which is easy to see as the record of the global Flood recorded in Genesis history itself, and attested to as fact by the Lord Jesus? And there is the rub... you proclaim that you are a Christian, and you may well be, but then does that not have a bottom line involved, i.e. should you not then at least believe as Christ himself so obviously taught and believed? See eg. Jesus and the Age of the Earth. See also Genesis and the NT. How is your approach giving the Word of God any credit at all? And this site is full of information supporting this biblical understanding, including by PhD scientists who have no difficulty with it, and who are well aware of all the relevant 'hard core scientific data'. No, neither you nor we can 'prove' anything about the unrepeatable, unobservable past, but you are making massive assumptions. What do you do with the data of C14 consistently found in diamonds supposedly billions of years old, or the repeated identification of soft tissue and recognizable proteins (that should have decayed away long ago if they were their alleged age) in fossils of dinosaurs? That can't 'prove' the biblical position, either, but hopefully it will mean that you come at this with more humility and a willingness to openly consider the case with the presupposition that the Bible might just be given the credit for meaning what it so clearly says (see creation.com/barr). BTW, I didn't spend much time on this whole largely discredited notion that there are some sorts of mysterious codes in the Hebrew; using the same approach, one can find a message that Jesus is not the Messiah, e.g. - and various 'truths' can be deduced or confirmed from the text of e.g. Moby Dick. See this article (and the one it links to just below the main text on Bible codes). I wish you would stop, think, and prayerfully reconsider (and thus carefully research, from all angles) the seriousness of what you are, no doubt inadvertently and well-meaning, doing to the logical integrity and consistency of the very Christian message of which you stand as a representative.

Jesse M., United States, 23 October 2012

@Cath J, what is truly hysterical is the amount of prejudicial conjecture that your comment is loaded with. You say "I am guessing that the majority of the young earthers have never stepped outside their own country". What is your basis for making that statement? Just because we disagree with your old-earth views does not mean that we have not considered them. Perhaps we have considered it and we can see flaws that you cannot? In fact, many "young earthers" (we are really BIBLICAL CREATIONISTS) including myself, are former evolutionists or old-earth creationists. We ARE able to consider the evidence from other perspectives, but we have had our eyes opened up to how scientifically and theologically unsound those positions really are.

"You'd best get back to your bible, before the 'liberal communist atheists' come for you!!"

We don't say that all atheists are communists. However, we do have documented evidence that many anti-creationists in the education system are working double-time to suppress any dissent with the evolutionary paradigm so that people would be indoctrinated into atheism on the false pretense that the Bible and science are at war, when in reality, there is no conflict at all since evolution is NOT science. See the articles 'Enemy Revealed' and 'Government school classrooms: temples of humanism?'. Thus, we are NOT paranoid when we say that many atheists are after people to proselytize them.

"I'll pray for you all. That God grants you intelligence!"

No thanks, we are already blessed with intelligence. Isn't it possible that our dissent on old-earth views is because we understand them better than you?

Cath J., please read through Creation.com with an open heart, and find out more about what we believe. May God open your eyes to the truth of His Word.

Jesse M., United States, 26 October 2012

Jeff W., I also wanted to point out that at least 14 prominent Christian leaders and Bible scholars have come forward and admitted that a clear exegesis of Genesis teaches six 24-hour days, and that the only reason they reject such a plain exegesis is because of the "science" of billions of years. (Billions of years is NOT real science as CMI has demonstrated many times.) Go to Answers In Genesis's website and check out the article 'Why Don’t Many Christian Leaders and Scholars Believe Genesis?' You are in great error when you say that Genesis is obviously a hymn. If you were truly using Scripture to interpret Genesis, you would not see it is a hymn. You only "see" that because you are interpreting Genesis by ideas foreign to Scripture, which is not proper exegesis.

D.S., you got things back-to-front. As CMI has reported in the article 'Creationism, Science and Peer Review', the scientific consensus is often established a priori, and contributions to science journals are either published or rejected according to how they line up with that consensus. As a result, if an article is submitted that challenges the consensus, editors will often reject the article unfairly in order to protect the consensus. Therefore, what is published in scientific journals does not determine the consensus; on the contrary, the consensus determines what will end up in the journals. Therefore, the scientific consensus DOES need to be proved because it is arbitrary and anti-scientific to suggest that scientists stick to a consensus if it may not even be correct.

DS, I encourage you to read the thousands of articles on this site and get a good taste of what the "side of Creation" has to offer. You may be surprised at how reliable the Bible is when it comes to science and history.

R. M., United States, 1 November 2012

I disagree with every thing you say.Ihave believed in evoluion since I was 12 years and i am very interested in paleontology and historic geology and find your logic circular and meaningless and totally ignorant

Jesse M., United States, 13 January 2013

"I disagree with every thing you say."

You are entitled to your opinions, but what good does it do CMI if you express disagreement and do not tell CMI what you disagreed with? That is not at all constructive to them, and it makes you nothing me than a "clanging cymbal" as the Bible says.

"Ihave [sic] believed in evoluion [sic] since I was 12 years and i am very interested in paleontology and historic geology"

Oh, so we should just agree with all your opinions, even if you don't substantiate them?

"and find your logic circular and meaningless and totally ignorant"

You have not provided a single example of CMI using any bad logic, and quite frankly, with such an unsubstantiated allegation, I am surprised that CMI let your comment through.

R. M., there was absolutely no point in the comment you left, and it looks to me like you could not refute their arguments. R. M>, either leave constructive comments, or don't comment at all. Got it?

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