Geologists are not biased?
Despite sound scientific and theological refutation, why do Christians still believe in the millions of years?
Published: 10 May 2014 (GMT+10)
Did it take the Colorado River millions of years to carve canyon valleys, or were they carved by rapid catastrophic processes?
Most readers and commenters to this site generally agree with and use CMI’s arguments for refuting evolution. However, whenever articles are published that specifically deal with the age of the earth issue, many Christians seem only too willing to accommodate an old-earth view without really understanding where the idea of millions of years comes from. Why do we think that they don’t understand? Because most times they fail to engage with the actual content of a ‘young-earth’ article, but instead defer to a type of belief that the age of the earth is settled or somehow proven scientifically. In essence, they defer to or trust in scientists who believe this. Suprisingly, they still prefer to do this even after the theological reasons are carefully laid out as to why the millions of years damage the actual Gospel, meaning they actually defer to secular science.
I had a few problems with some of your arguments. First, the assertion that OEC’s have a problem in believing that God is powerful enough to take only six days is false. Every single Christian I’ve read or heard that believes in OEC believes that God is quite capable of creating the universe in six 24-hour days.
Then one should ask why they don’t simply take God at His Word, otherwise one is being inconsistent from the get go? It’s a lot easier than trying to reinterpret Scripture based upon the ever-changing views of fallible scientists, considering they cannot actually perform any scientific test to tell us such things such as the age of the earth. The interpretations of data are the key to understanding this issue. Elsewhere on this site a reader commented:
“An experienced geologist, and writer of over 100 geological papers, WB Hamilton, wrote these words in 2002.
‘Most geoscience is done by interpreting the parts in terms of the assumed whole. Basic assumptions often are so entrenched that practitioners are unaware that there might be little or no evidence behind them. Data, narrowly sought and interpreted, fill the space between starting assumptions and conclusions required by them. … Grant-giving agencies require this method in proposals, and peer reviewers of proposals and manuscripts commonly enforce it, thereby ensuring that most advances are small. The method is no stronger than the premises at issue and hence impedes major advances, for adaptation to incompatible data is made by increasing complexity of assumptions rather than by seeking alternatives.’”1
Since I was at school the (secular) age of the universe has constantly changed. The original article laid out the problems with secular science being your authority instead of the Word of God. As such, one could never be sure of the truth. That is, if we are to interpret God’s Word based upon current conventional thought, then one can never be sure that we truly understand what we read. This is because we might have to change our views based upon some new ‘discovery’ tomorrow that ‘enlightens’ us to the meaning of God’s Word. And just when one thinks we understand the Bible correctly, along comes another scientific view to show us we had it wrong all along!
Playing the “God coulda done it this or that way” card
The fact that God is quite capable of doing it otherwise is also true.
If anything goes then what is the truth? This only really applies if you have a low view of Scripture and fail to trust Him at His Word. I say this because it is not really a relevant argument to say that “God could have done it this way or that way” etc. Using emotional pleading/argumentation means one can invoke anything you like. For example, I could say that God created fairies at the bottom of my neighbour’s garden, because he said he saw them. We don’t read about fairies in Scripture but there might be a strong cultural belief out there that such things are true so we try to insert them in Scripture. Thus, my neighbour becomes an authority over something that is clearly not gleaned from God’s Word alone and thus is absent from it (like millions of years). The issue is: is Scripture authoritative or not when it comes to working out the age of Creation? In short, as I wrote to someone else at the bottom of the original article, it’s about what God said He actually did. Not what he coulda, woulda, shoulda done! As I have stated before, you would not gain the idea of a billions of years old universe or earth from reading the Scripture alone. Your argumentation comes from outside the Bible to impose something that clearly the Bible does not support. The hermeneutical principle is to interpret Scripture with Scripture, not with secular science.
Personally, it is far more impressive and places far more intrinsic value into the universe for God to have taken his time creating. Second, the assertion that to believe in millions of years necessitates evolution is wrong.
I’m not sure how one could think that God is being impressive by acting massively inconsistently with what He wrote, unless you think that the Bible is not the Word of God as many theistic evolutionists like Biologos believe. If that’s the case then we are simply talking past each other because we have different starting points as our authority. Respectfully though, despite your claim to the contrary, your previous comment demonstrates, as I suspected, that you have not understood where the idea of millions of years comes from and you did not read or comprehend the article properly. I need to clarify my comment for the benefit of other readers as it displays a common trait mentioned at the beginning of this article. So often, we receive what appear to be ‘knee jerk’ responses to articles that express an opinion. But they fail to engage with the carefully constructed arguments in the article (as is the case here). The article that you are commenting on was a lengthy treatise showing the huge theological problems with deep time, and there is not a single rebuttal to any of those points. This is understandable in one sense, because most of us have been educated into the secular framework of interpreting our world. Because of this, many simply never stop to, or simply refuse to, consider a young-earth or biblical creationist viewpoint. It is dismissed a priori based on a preconceived belief that ‘all the world’s (secular) scientists can’t be wrong’ and the desire not to be out of step with conventional (man’s) wisdom.
In addition, God exists outside of our physical timespace universe. Time itself is a created entity that began with the creation of the physical universe. So you are using an anthropomorphic argument by using human reasoning and applying it to God. God could have also created in six seconds if He wanted to, but the Word says He took six earth rotation days to do it. This is also supported by Exodus 20:11 which clearly states the timeframe. The Exodus passage is one of the Ten Commandments which were inscribed by God’s finger in tablets of stone (rather authoritative one would think). Or perhaps we should interpret those commandments allegorically also?
Sedimentary layers. Millions of years of slow, gradual deposition or a result of Noah’s Flood.
Deep time = death!?
While many Christians are only too keen to reconcile secular geologic ages with Scripture, it does violence to the Gospel itself (something that the commenter summarily dismisses later in this article). The age of the earth is derived from the geologic layers we see all over the earth. They are presumed to be millions and billions of years old. These same layers contain fossils that must have recorded death, disease and suffering over millions of years. According to the lineage of Christ in the New Testament, this would put death and suffering long before Adam and the Fall. The age of the earth cannot be separated from the evolution of life on earth—even if Christians try to insert gaps into Genesis or revert to day-age theory and so on. If you don’t believe the rock layers represent billions of years then there is no need to try to insert such timeframes into Scripture in the first place. But if you do defer to the secular interpretation of those rock layers (instead of believing the Bible’s history and that most of them are Flood deposits) then you must also defer to the death they contain. If not, you are not only being unfaithful to Scripture but also to the secular idea of the age of the earth to which you defer in the first place.
There are many problems with evolutionary theory, which I’m sure you are well informed about. Adding millions of years does not get rid of these problems.
I am not even sure what this means except to repeat that millions of years is actually a corollary to evolution.
Is all geological science a case of misinterpretation?
Third, to dismiss geological science as simply a misinterpretation, or worse misrepresentation, is silly.
I don’t recall doing that (a straw man argument). CMI employs and works with many creation geologists like former mining geologist Jim Farquhar. It’s not the science we have an issue with. Again this is a misunderstanding and mischaracterization on your part of what science is; what we mean by science, or the limitations of science in determining such things, or the fact that we employ many scientists who engage in real science. Moreover, we can document how evolutionary beliefs have actually harmed science. May I suggest you read chapter one of Refuting Evolution (freely provided via the link) as it will help you understand what we are talking about here? Evolution has little to do with the way a geologist goes about his work. For example, if he is looking for gold he might try to look for quartz-bearing rocks. How those rocks got there or how old they are is irrelevant to such field work. His conclusions about their age is a predetermined belief that is not derived from the facts alone. This must be the case; otherwise, how can creationary and evolutionary scientists look at the same facts and come to differing conclusions? Moreover, this is borne out by the fact that many evolutionary geologists also disagree with each other over models. But don’t believe me, take it from one of your old-earth spokesmen—the famous evolutionary paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, who said:
“Facts do not ‘speak for themselves’; they are read in the light of theory.”2
Geologists are just as concerned with being correct as anybody, and come up with many different ways to independently test their conclusions.
Ah, thanks for making my point that their conclusion is in place before they even conduct any tests. All scientists start out with a hypothesis that they are seeking to prove.
Can there be bias? Of course. But to claim that their entire field is completely tainted and falsified by bias is simply not true.
You are building a straw man argument again, because I never suggested that the entire field of geology is tainted by bias. The only area in which I suggest this is happening is with the age of the earth (for the aforementioned reasons). But you are actually displaying your own bias, which is a pre-belief that secular scientists only deal with facts and are not biased. In short, your bias is actually based upon the bias of others rather than independent inquiry.
There are very good reasons why geologists, and subsequently other “scientists,” believe the earth is old.
Yes, it’s tied into being taught and exposed to only one side of the argument and being trained to only interpret facts (including radiometric dating) within a fixed paradigm, and to the exclusion of all others. If this is not the case then one would need to explain why geological articles by people who are simply known as Biblical Creationists are excluded from scientific journals for no good scientific reason, but purely on a philosophical basis. It’s actually a form of censorship. As evolutionist Dr Scott Todd from Kansas State University once wrote:
“Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.”3
Or the famous quote by atheist Richard Lewontin is revisited in full here:
“Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
“It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
“The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that Miracles may happen.” (Emphasis mine).
So much for not being biased! The last part is pertinent because I’m not sure if you are aware that your appeal to naturalism is actually no better than this outright atheist.
If a Young Earth view is correct, Young earth creationists should be able to explain what we find in the world.
We do and we have. This site contains some 35 years of creationist research. Sadly, such a comment reveals that you have not availed yourself of much of it and reveals a lot of naïvety about the creationist position.
I have yet to see any credible evidence that modern science is completely wrong on things like radiometric dating, ice layers, geological strata, and physics in general. I have seen many attempts, but they have been easily refuted.
Really? That’s news to us. It’s ironic that you seek to lecture us about our mistakes and ignorance on ‘real science’, faith and the authority of Scripture, but you clearly are not well read on what creationists believe. Here’s a challenge. Take one of our articles on radiometric dating, and attempt to falsify our premises using facts rather than ‘hurling elephants’ at us. Just to use one of your own authority arguments such as radiometric dating. If it so infallible as you believe then why do so many radiometric methods conflict with each other, or give wrong ages of things we know the date of? Or why do we consistently find carbon 14 in objects supposedly millions and even billions of years old? I hope you take the time to read the links I’ve provided in this response. Especially dealing with your claims about ice layers and physics in general (you would need to be more specific on what problems we allegedly have with physics though). And I am sure CMI’s physicists would be able to help you.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
There are hundreds of articles on our site dealing with these exact issues. See the Q and A section for starters or specifically 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe. Like many who respond in such a manner it appears that you believe (your own bias) that somehow the evidence is overwhelming in favour of millions of years without really bothering or even wanting to hear evidence to the contrary. Perhaps concerned about academic prestige rather than being a ‘fool for God’.
Finally, to assert that animal death is evil is to malign the character of God. Take Job 38:39–41. To say that predators are a result of the curse is to completely miss the beauty of creation.
Aha, now your true position is revealed, most likely as an adherent of the false teachings of Hugh Ross, who has been shown to be less than truthful with the facts supporting his case. He attempts to separate animal and human death with the latter only being a result of the Fall. But the Bible is clear that both humans and animals were originally created vegetarian (Gen. 1:29–30). As our Dr Jonathan Sarfati says:
“As pointed out in the Exposé of Ross’s book: The Genesis Question, Dr Ross accepts that these verses teach human vegetarianism before the Fall, but he is inconsistent in denying the original animal vegetarianism taught in exactly the same words in exactly the same context. We explained this further in this reply to an old-earther.”4
Also, if you are deferring to the views of progressive creationist Hugh Ross, then he, in turn, defers to interpretations of secular geologists. Also, because he thinks that Noah’s Flood was a localized event, no consideration will ever be given to believing that the massive geological formations we see all over the earth could have been laid down catastrophically and quickly.
Death is beautiful?
Even human death aside, one wonders how compromised or blinded has become if one sees animals being ripped apart, eaten alive, or suffering agonizing pain through venomous bites or stings, as beautiful. I suggest this requires an acute desensitization to the horrors of suffering in the animal kingdom and to God’s Word. For even Christ reminded us that the Heavenly Father cared about the sparrows. It would also be an insult to believing readers of this article who have grieved through the loss of their pets due to cancer or disease and to call this the beauty of God. The Apostle Paul wrote that “the last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26). He was reminding us of our fallen state and that death would be done away with one day when God restores things at the end of time. If this restoration did not apply to animals also then will He restore His fallen Creation back to millions of years of suffering in the animal kingdom? We also see cruelty in the animal kingdom and the fossil record. To suggest that God is the originator of this actually maligns the good nature of God.
Overall, that one can resort to such untenable positions that are clearly not supported by Scripture and the Gospel’s big picture, shows that although some profess to believe in God’s Word, the reality is they don’t, instead preferring to defer to the beliefs of secular scientists.
“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8).
References and notes
- creation.com/same-data-different-interpretations. Return to text.
- Stephen Jay Gould, The Validation of Continental Drift, Ever Since Darwin, Burnett Books, 1978, pp. 161-2. Return to text.
- Todd, S.C., correspondence to Nature 401(6752):423, 30 Sept. 1999. Return to text.
- creation.com/the-fall-a-cosmic-catastrophe. Return to text.
As always a great article. We need to put Scripture as the ultimate authority and take God at His word. Millions of years mythology dates back to ancient times a couple of thousand years before Lyell and Hutton, tied in with evolution in several of its guises. Greeks believed in millions of years and evolution for example, The fact is there never has been any evidence for millions of years and evolution- Lewontin is at least being honest to admit why he and his fellows believe in myths and fairy stories- they do not want to be accountable to God.These myths undermine the Gospel. Not only is the Bible the ultimate authority, history does not go back beyond the biblical timescale worked out by Bishop Ussher. By adding up the ages of the people in the Bible at the time of the birth of their firstborn or first mentioned son or daughter up to the time of Jesus provides a basis of the chronology. I used to at one time think adding up the ages the patriarch were when they died was the basis but I now understand how it's done. For a Christian to believe in millions of years is an inconsistency and at odds with Biblical truth- you can't have it both ways-it's like serving two masters. In any case an earth aged 60 centuries is not young by any means, unless compared to the mythological millions and billions of years.You notice too they never say dinosaurs died out 65,213,229 millions of years ago which again proves they're telling a myth. Truth is accurate- you get an accurate statement, not some wild guess. Dinosaurs were on Noah's ark anyway- ancient called them dragons.
Paul M. makes the suggestion that the universe has far more intrinsic value because God took a long time making it. Paul, how do you measure "intrinsic value"? The supreme intrinsic value within creation is Man, created in God's own image. Created for fellowship with God. In Christ, redeemed from sin for restored fellowship with God. But according to the fanciful evolutionary deep time scenario, Man is nothing, arriving on the scene in the last 0.0003% of time. "Deep time" despises what God values.
Yesterday, we had to have one of our cats euthanised for cancer. We'd had her for 17 years and it was horrible to have to let her go. Some animals, and cats especially, are demonstrably created by God as human companions (perhaps in the New Earth this number might be expanded dramatically when He re-creates the animals). Many people are almost as or even occasionally more upset at the death of a devoted pet as a fellow human. Death - of ALL nephesh chayyah - is demonstrably an intruder. All death of nephesh chayyah is a reminder that God hates sin. We can only praise Him that He has compassion on all that He has made and one day death shall be done away. That day can't come soon enough.
Hi, Did the fall of Adam mean that God in some way had no other choice but to curse the world? Also did God choose what the consequences of the fall would be and if so why did he choose Physical suffering? I find it difficult sometimes to reconcile a God who cares so much for our well being on the one hand with what to us can seem like unnecessarily cruel disease and affliction that we have in the world. I hope my questions seem reasonable, I really would like to know your thoughts on these matters.
A couple of things to remember. God foreknew the Fall so he knew what the physical consequences needed to be and would be. Also, God has to judge consistently with his nature as He cannot allow sin to go unpunished. Why physical punishment? Remember that everything was perfect, so if that had been allowed to continue while man was spiritually separated from God then the eternal consequences would have been even worse than the situation now. This is because mankind would not have noticed anything wrong with Creation, and thus, would not have realized their separation from God. The fact that we ponder our mortality (and indeed the very reason why you are noticing that bad things happen and are questioning why they are allowed by God), should cause us ask to realize that something is wrong with Creation. None of us are reconciled with death (Read Understanding death. The big problem we would have faced if God had not introduced death as a punishment is that we would have been eternally separated from God (worse than death). Now, only through death can we be reconciled back to God if we believe in Jesus Christ and His ability to save us. Think about this: If someone committed a murder but was just allowed to continue living a normal life with no consequences of his/her actions, how would he/she/we ever be able to judge that it was wrong. The greatest disaster in the history of the universe was the Fall of man because it affected the creation so greatly.
Jesus performed many miracles, none of which were scientifically explainable. My favorite is when He fed over 5000 people. He clearly created fish and bread instantly. Those fish that he created had the appearance of age and they clearly had not been the product of any evolution. How do Christians, who insist on believing in an old earth and evolution deal with this particular demonstration of instant creation?
Thanks. We understand what you mean by 'the appearance of age' but one needs to be a little careful in even saying the earth looks old (if that 's what you meant). We would say that the earth actually looks consistent with a 6,000 year age if one looks at the data with biblical glasses. A good article on this is The earth; How old does it look?
I am a big supporter of the work you are doing and you have all helped me enormously with many questions I have had. I believe that God created us without the use of evolution, but that said, I would like to point out what I believe to be a mistaken assumption you are making with regards to Genesis 1. It starts with "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth", and goes on to describe the earth as "formless and void, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters". God then says "Let there be light" and after seeing that it is good he proceeds to START the first earth day by separating light from darkness (planetary rotation?). This means that BEFORE the first day starts God has created: space (the heavens), hydrogen and oxygen (and combined them as water), one can assume the other elements as land has been created (although still under the "deep"), there must be a source of heat (the water is not ice), etc. Light (the stars?) are also created before the first day, and the important thing to note is that until the light is separated from the dark (the earth starts spinning?) no time period is given! God then uses six earth days to make the planet habitable and create all life, but the text does NOT say how long the earth or the universe has been in existence. This would explain why stars billions of lightyears away can be seen today: a planet of unknown age made recently habitable in a universe of unknown age. This is not in conflict with the text as I see it (including day four which can be read either as God creating the sun, moon and stars or as God making them visible on earth). Genesis 1 ends by saying that God was finished with creating "by" or "on" the 7th day, not that he used 6 days to create! What are your thoughts on this? God bless you all.
Mike, respectfully all these questions have been answered on our site. So I think you need to take the time to research the site otherwise I would have to repeat it all here (actually the feedback rules you checked asked you to do this before submitting questions). I will link you with some articles on this, but one thing to keep in mind is that God does not exist in time (as we know it). Before the universe existed there was God (Genesis 1:1). Time is a created entity which began when the universe began (even the secularists believe this). See If God created the universe, wo created God? Moreover, what you are describing is a kind of gap theory or even a 'soft gap' to allow for billions of years. But the big question is why are you trying to find places in Scripture to add billions of years anyway? You cannot deduce these long periods of time just from reading the text alone. They come from outside, secular sources that believe in evolution. So, as a Christian one has to decide what authority are you going to use to interpret our world. A secular interpretation of science or God's Word? Another comprehensive article that covers all sorts of views to add long ages is An ‘old-earth’ answer provides only problems. Thanks and I hope you will take the time to read the links and that you find them helpful.
I get the impression that Paul M. has been indoctrinated by the secular media into believing that secular geologists have wrapped geological science into a nice neat little bow, with no significant questions left unanswered, and that anyone who claims otherwise is just ignorant. If this is the case, I would recommend that he read "Flood by design" by Mike Oard. He will get the shock of his life when he finds out that secular geologists have no idea how numerous prominent geomorphological features on Earth's surface came into existence. Take pediments, for example. Oard quotes geologists from their own published papers to show they don't have a clue how they formed. (They are clearly a remnant of the Genesis flood, and can be explained no other way.) And this is but one of many documented examples. Paul M.'s faith in the long-ageist conclusions of secular geological science is faith in a science that is biased by secular reasoning and that encompasses gigantic holes in these geologists' understanding of Earth's surface features, not to mention their own misplaced faith in various radiometric dating interpretations that provide ages of rocks that contradict one another and are millions of years off the known ages of recently formed rocks. For years, I was conned into believing that these geologists understood far more than they actually do. In fact, modern secular geology is one of the best examples of science fostering religious faith in long ages simply because they have been able to put out the word to the secular humanist media that they have figured it all out, when in fact, if the truth were known, they have very little idea how the present surface of the Earth came to be as we see it today. I hope Paul M. will get Oard's excellent book and read it with an open mind
As a livestock producer, I fail to see any way in which animal death can be seen as 'beautiful'. If you have ever seen the panic and terror displayed by a sheep that has been separated from the flock (because it knows it has become defenseless and a prime target for predators) I don't think you would call that beautiful. Worse, if you had ever seen an animal that has been ripped apart by predators, you would have to be sick indeed to call that beautiful. Although our animals are primarily raised for meat production, we go out of our way to ensure that they experience the least possible amount of stress at market time. One wonders why...if death is such a beautiful and natural part of life...every living thing struggles to avoid it so. Death may be necessary in our fallen state, but it is far from beautiful. God has taken something meant for evil (death) and made it into something good (a source of food), but this is only temporary. I can't wait for the day when there will be no more death in all His holy mountain (Isaiah 11).
Apologies for a second comment on this article, but I feel compelled to reply to Michael G., regarding the length of time stipulated by Scripture for the creation of the universe. Not all the information is given in Genesis. For example, Exodus 20:11 states, "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is...". This verse clearly states the time frame for creation, and it includes the creation of "heaven", which includes the universe. I hope this helps to clarify this issue for Michael and also prompts new questions that will lead him to further studies in the Bible and creation science.
I fully agree with Paula S. There is nothing good or beautiful about any death, the last enemy. Death before the fall kills evolution and long ages as demonstrated again by Gary in another great article, and we all look forward to the day when there will be no more death.
Death is always an enemy... We will be raised from the dead (an enemy). We will have victory over death (an enemy). Death the last enemy will be no more. But Paula, think hard about the other sheep and goats (those from Matthew 25) and multiply the horror a thousand million times for those “goats”, many our friends and family. Think about the sparrow and think hard of the horror of the traditional view of death when the unjust are tormented endlessly in the second death. To quote Gary ”To suggest that God is the originator of this actually maligns the good nature of God.” & “Think about the sparrow” and God's strange act of judgment. This is utterly horrible (and purposeless), and death (either as endless separation or endless suffering) is not really conquered and destroyed in this traditional view. Is this “very” good? In closing, is there other biblical interpretation of death, when death and all its horrors is really conquered, with no more death to mar the perfect very good re-creation? I and many other evangelicals believe scripture says so – but you need a change of glasses to interpret symbolic texts like Rev and Luke 16, and need to see that an eternal punishment could be either endless torment or a change for the rest of eternity (like getting an eternal mark or being punished with something like Pinocchio’s nose for the rest of eternity).
Blessings, and looking forward to seeing many of creation.com converts in the "very" "very" good re-creation, when death is no more.
I thank God for CMI and for your faithfulness and patience. Largely because of the internet, I think, we are besieged with people who will not read and carefully process detailed information. Yet since they skim lots of 'technical' articles and look at the pictures, they fully consider themselves to be informed and understanding. How hard it is today to get people to think with you. How challenging to continue to respond courteously. So many people today are glib and condescending, yet it is obvious that they do not really understand the issues. I only write to thank you for your wonderful and godly ministry, and to let you know that you are a great encouragement and example for all who are holding out the gospel in these days.
God notices when a sparrow falls to the ground (Matt 10:29). Correct me if I'm wrong, but the context seems to suggest that He is saddened when this happens.
Of course God is saddened. Jesus cried at the tomb of His friend Lazarus even though He had the power to raise him from the dead. It's an apt demonstration of how sin corrupted God's perfect creation.
One of the base problems arises because we assume that people can, in and of themselves, occupy a truly objective position; or, at best, that an sincere, continually refined attempt to occupy said truly objective position is at least a good start. However, the reality is that people are intrinsically and necessarily "biased" in the sense that starting assumptions - based on Choice - simply must be made or human logic cannot even begin. And therein is the "objectivity problem" - it's not actually possible. Hence, the assertion of "bias" is not so much an accusation of ignorantly or deliberately "bending" an interpretation to suit preferred position; but instead a necessary part of human thought. It is, then, about with which "bias" (starting assumptions) to be biased with; NOT, will there be bias...as preferred starting assumptions are inherently necessary and unavoidable (and, no, you cannot test your actual fundamental starting assumptions, as you end up just deferring implicitly to the starting assumptions built into the testing method!). Hence, sincerity and personal honesty are different issues to the starting assumptions selected to interpret/describe a scenario - in the latter sense, "bias" is truly unavoidable. And this article is rightly concerned with the latter.
Come to think of it, there is ample evidence that God is saddened by the death of animals. After the flood God, said that he would never again kill every living thing. He evidently had a problem with that. Animal sacrifice, while pleasing to God in its effect, could not be pleasing to God in its substance, or it wouldn't be considered sacrificial (unless the sacrifice is in people giving up something of value, but it seems to me that the focus is on the death and the shedding of blood, rather than on the loss of the physical value of the animal). The allowance to kill and eat animals was clearly a concession. God appears to have been the first to kill an animal (to provide skins for Adam and Eve). This was in the context of covering sin, which had now caused its first death. Hardly likely that God didn't care about that. In Revelation, we read about the lion laying down with the lamb. Why would this be important if God didn't care if the lion killed the lamb? Further to the above, a nature program on TV once showed a hippopotamus saving a young antelope form a crocodile. Is it likely that a hippo would care more about the life of an antelope than would God? If God cares about the life of animals, he could not have thought that the death of animals, which would have inevitably occurred over millions of years had creation taken that long, was 'good'. Hence, creation must have occurred quickly, as is so often pointed out on this site.
Hi Geoff, thanks for the comment and the point is well made. However, just a small correction if I may? The book of Revelation doesn't mention the lion and the lamb passage. It actually comes from the book of Isaiah, which reads:
"The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox" (Isaiah 11:6-7). The reason I mention this is there is not universal consensus among Christian as to whether this is 'New Heavens and Earth' reference, or part of the earthly millennial reign of Christ reference. Also, the latter (the millennial idea) is a distinctive that is also not universally agreed upon in the church. I thought it necessary to mention this as these are areas outside of our ministry's purview. Thanks.
I notice that in the comments above, the question is raised of how light from stars millions of light years from earth has managed to become visible in only 6,000 years. This is a question that I have seen mentioned before on your site, when it was stated, as I recall, that no fully satisfactory explanation had yet been offered for this "light problem." My suggestion may be beside the point or in some other way invalid, but this is how it seems to me: God created mature soil and water, fully grown plants and trees, adult animals of all kinds, and Adam and Eve not as newborns, but as fully grown humans. Why should he not have already -- on the first day -- have created light, so to speak, fully mature? Why should there not be such a thing as mature and immature light? We know already about its strange dual existence as both wave and particle, and the fact that gravity -- whatever that is -- causes it to swerve. Perception affects many things. Not to out-Berkely the bishop, but maybe light, to be fully mature, needs to be perceived. Might that hypothesis solve the light problem?
Respectfully, if you say you have not seen the distant starlight issue satisfactorily answered already, then I honestly don't think you have searched enough. Creationists have multiple models on that and we also have books and DVDS covering the subject in our store.
Here you go for a sample:
And if you type 'distant starlight' into our search engine and also the one on our webstore, you will see a plethora of articles and resources on the topic.
The problem with the seeming solution you provide is that it would make God out to be a deceiver. We see starts that have turned into supernovas millions of light years away. To create the appearance of age in the universe means we would be seeing events that did actually not happen. When it comes to the earth, its age is derived by interpreting the geologic layers around the earth in a uniformitarian fashion. As those layers contain fossils it would mean that death existed before Adam therefore violating the Gospel. I urge you to read the following two articles please, to see the problems.
Thanks for the correction, Gary. I wondered later whether I had that right. It's an interesting reference, too, from the point of view of a lion eating straw. If it will be able to do that in the perfect future (sound like a grammatical tense), why couldn't it have done it in the perfect past?