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Feedback archive Feedback 2012

Is nature clearer than written language?

Published: 20 October 2012 (GMT+10)

Is nature clearer than written language

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Nils J. from the United States writes in response to No death before the Fall?, with comments from CMI’s Lita Cosner interspersed:

I find such arguments very disappointing. It should be evident that the Universe is very large and therefore needed time to form.

What makes you think that just because the universe is huge, God must have taken a long time to make it? God is omnipotent, and is not constrained by natural laws (He created them!).

For those who believe in a young universe, they are forced to say that God created it complete and so it only looks old.

God created a mature universe, with some things that look older if we assume only naturalistic processes

Actually, we would say that God created a mature universe, with some things that look older if we assume only naturalistic processes, simply because using naturalistic processes, it takes time for things to mature. For instance, the trees in Eden were full-grown and produced fruit—but those trees were created on Day 3. Adam was able to look up at the stars—but those stars are many light-years away, so if we were constrained to naturalistic processes, we would think that the stars had to exist for millions of years just for the light to be able to reach earth (but see this article on creationist cosmology that accounts for starlight travel). Adam and Eve were created on Day 6, but they were mature—if we were able to see what they looked like, we might assume they were in their 20’s, but in reality they would be hours old.

But there are certain things that certainly do not look old—certainly not millions of years old. We see all sorts of species, humans included, being more and more susceptible to diseases that come about from mutations that are passed from generation to generation. But if these copying mistakes had been occurring for much longer than the biblical time frame, our genomes should already be hopelessly mutated. From the rate at which spiral galaxies ‘unwind’ to the rate the continents are eroding, there are many indicators that show that the earth cannot be billions of years old.

They also are forced to rationalize the creation of light before the sun was created on the fourth day. Why are they forced to do this?

Because the Bible says that light was created on Day 1, and the sun was created on Day 4. We believe that the Bible is a reliable record, including this.

Because some expert says that the Bible says that the earth is young.

Is nature clearer than written language

No, because the Bible says that the earth was created in 6 days, that there was no death before the Fall (so the fossil record cannot be a record of billions of years), and because we can tell from the various chronogenealogies that the earth is around 6,000 years old, if the Bible’s records are accurate (and we believe that they are, and this is corroborated by every piece of relevant archaeological evidence we’ve found yet).

If they didn’t have the Bible to refer to, they would never have come to such a conclusion I am sure.

That’s not a very intelligent criticism. If you didn’t have Origin of the Species, I’m sure you wouldn’t come to the conclusion that you’re related to corn plants, bluebottle flies and German Shepherds. Very few conclusions are genuinely original, and most of those that are aren’t very good.

So the question is not whether Science disagrees with the Bible, it is rather a matter of some expert who is disagreeing with science based upon another science called linguistics which is based upon the science of Archaeology which is supported by many physical science applications.

So close, but not quite. It’s a matter of experts using the same evidence to come to different conclusions about history. For instance, creationists and evolutionists have the same dinosaur bones, some of which have soft tissue still present, including blood vessels with red blood cells! Creationists look at this and say, “Soft tissue complete with blood cells can’t last for millions of years, therefore the dinosaur to which this bone belonged must have died fairly recently.” Evolutionists look at the same bone and say, “We know that dinosaurs died out around 70 million years ago, so there must be certain conditions where soft tissue can survive that long.”

How come the so-called expert relies so much on an intangible and almost entirely subjective science like archaeology and not the physical sciences that rely on experimental facts? It is hard to say. However, it sure takes a lot of courage to rely so heavily on such a subjective science like linguistics and archaeology. I am not sure what the experts will say if suddenly they discover the words they are wrangling about have completely different meanings.

Nature is not able to make propositional statements, so the facts can’t ‘disagree’ with something, they can only be interpreted in favor of or against a certain theory.

Completely different? Not likely, except perhaps in the case of some very rare ones that only turn up once in the Hebrew text (but these are most likely very technical terms, and wouldn’t radically affect any doctrine). If our understanding of some words is improved by new discoveries, I don’t know anyone who would be less than thrilled by that. All the same, it’s not like we would find out that Deuteronomy was actually a manuscript for 1000 Delicious Locust Recipes.

I think the wiser course is not so much dogmatism and a little more generalization in these areas where the facts disagree with the opinions of some language expert.

Nature is not able to make propositional statements, so the facts can’t ‘disagree’ with something, they can only be interpreted in favor of or against a certain theory.

I also notice that the conversation has now drifted toward a “salvation” issue. If it becomes a salvation issue, though I do not think it is, it works both ways.

We’ve said many times that CMI does not believe this is a salvation issue (although we do believe that it is very important). We haven’t censored these views from the comments, but you’ll notice in a response we did say that it’s not a salvation issue in our view, and linked to an article. Here’s one, and another, and another.

It could be that those who believe in the “young earth” concept have ignored God’s natural creation and what it reveals and have instead supstituted [sic] disputes over words and their meaning. You have to be very careful when you start interpreting words that seem to go contrary to both common sense and factual information.

Wait, you’re arguing that nature is clearer than written language? Just because the language happens to be dead and there are a few technical terms we don’t completely get doesn’t mean that it’s completely incomprehensible. If you’re going to argue that it’s not clear, you have to argue precisely where.

The teeth of meat eating animals and their dependence upon protein for good health indicates that they were created that way. It is true that God could change meat eating animals to vegitarians [sic], but then they would not be the same animal and Isaiah’s prophecy about Lions eating with sheep would be incorrect. Instead of a Lion, as we know it, a completely different animal along with a different digestive system and physical atributes [sic] such as sharp claws etc. etc. would have to be substituted. That defys [sic] common sense in my opion [sic]. Just a concluding thought, right off the top of me head, as the Gieco Gecko would say.

Teeth are a notoriously unreliable indicator of diet. For instance, new evidence suggests that many theropods were vegetarians. It’s well within acceptable variation within a created kind for a species’ diet to specialize.

It seems that you haven’t spent a lot of time researching our site. If you’re going to argue against a position, you should want to be as informed as possible about it.

Sincerely,

Lita Cosner

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Readers’ comments
H. G., Australia, 20 October 2012

"....not the physical sciences that rely on experimental facts?". Unfortunately, evolution does not fall into "physical sciences that rely on the experimental facts". Not convinced? Please watch "Richard Dawkins demonstrates the evolution of the eye" on youtube. Notice how many "perhaps", "may", etc he used. So many for the so called "experimental facts".

Josef L., United States, 20 October 2012

“For those who believe in a young universe, they are forced to say that God created it complete and so it only looks old.”

The universe “looks old”? Is that really a logical claim? The word “old” is relative. I can say that a person may look “old” because I generally know what a young or middle-aged person looks like. But we only have one universe that I know of, so when you say the universe “looks old” that really doesn’t make any sense unless you have a young universe to compare it to. How do you know the universe doesn’t actually look young?

Lita Cosner responds

We agree. See for instance The earth: how old does it look?

Jesse M., United States, 20 October 2012

"If you didn’t have Origin of the Species, I’m sure you wouldn’t come to the conclusion that you’re related to corn plants, bluebottle flies and German Shepherds."

You read my mind Lita, I couldn't have said it better myself. I have heard testimonies of little kids who had heard Creation, and then heard of amoeba-to-man evolution, and they judged amoeba-to-man absurd, seeing the folly of it straightaway. God has written it on our hearts and that He is, and that the heavens and the earth declare His mighty works. It's no wonder that people like Eugenie Scott are trying to cut off any access to any teaching of Creation; they know the moment a child hears any alternative to amoeba-to-man evolution, he/she will see amoeba-to-man evolution for what it really is: a vain imagination of those who suppress the innate knowledge of God. Of course, people like Scott cannot tolerate that, for they seem to see the science classroom as a place to make proselytes to the pagan religions of humanism and relativism.

Paula S., United States, 20 October 2012

"They also are forced to rationalize the creation of light before the sun was created on the fourth day. Why are they forced to do this?" A popular argument that would only hold water if the sun were the only source of light in the universe, which of course it isn't. It makes sense that God would create the wave/particle first before creating the highly efficient source of light for this planet. Kind of like how radio waves had to be discovered before radios could be built to recieve and transmit the waves.

Also I'm surprised you didn't link to the vegetarian lion article in response to the last part of Nils comment.

Lita Cosner responds

Yes, as many noted, we've published articles about vegetarian lions before: see The lion that wouldn't eat meat and Lea, the spaghetti lioness.

Kathy P., United States, 20 October 2012

A vegetarian lion wouldn't be a lion? CMI has an article about a lion what wouldn't eat meat, so this woman's statement is factually incorrect.

Susan W., United States, 20 October 2012

Thank you for your kind rebuttal of this letter. I find the first statement by the author about the universe being very large and needing time to form very interesting. How do they explain where this "very large" universe came from in the first place? Isn't it obvious that it is beyond human comprehension? Our God is great and deserves our respect and worship, not an easy superficial explanation of His incredible creative powers. Thank you at CMI for all you do to show just how great and awesome He is!

Michael M., United States, 20 October 2012

I wonder if someone could comment on "Each after its own kind". It seems to me that seed of animal or plant is indicative of a plan of continuance. While I do believe in men becoming like the angels, we also have many scriptures that speak of the creation and time being like a garment to be rolled up, and as John Sanford has stated, entropy is clearly presented in the scriptures. Thus it seems part of the plan of God to use entropy for His purpose of revealing His Glory.

Jonas E., Sweden, 20 October 2012

Vegetarian lions do actually exist. I know of at least two examples, Little Tyke, from the US, and Lea, the "spaghetti lioness", from Great Brittian. So Isaiah's prophecy about vegetarian lions can be taken as it is, lions will eat grass in the future.

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