From the rocks to reincarnation
The Bible is our final authority and reliable guide
Published: 30 October 2011 (GMT+10)
Jonathan B. from the United States writes in response to the article Long age geology or Genesis?:
After reading the original article in Modern Reformation and J.K. Reed’s response, I stumbled upon this article. I must say, however, that the response here is quite rash, showing some ignorance of the geological principles behind Campbell et al’s arguments. To put it briefly:
1) Flood geologists also defer to science to interpret their history (in this case, the creation/flood accounts), using geological principles to refine the story where it is silent (e.g. cause of a post-Flood ice age).The difference is in their literary understanding of that history.
2) You have entirely missed the point of Campbell et al’s examples. It does no good to reference articles on individual cases where these dating methods yield anomalous results. You must rather prove why within a Flood geology model, these data are internally consistent. How does the Flood model predict, for example, that thousands of radiometric dates across the ocean floor should get systematically older toward the continents (away from ridges)?
3) No geologist believes mid-ocean ridges have been spreading at the same rate for the last 180 million years. We use a combination of dating methods and geochemical proxies to constrain how that rate has changed over time. Nonetheless, modern spreading rates predict an age similar to the results of radiometric dating techniques. This is the sign of a good (robust) scientific model, as any scientist can tell you.
Let us aim for the truth, that we may glorify God by it. Campbell et al. have presented a solid case out of a love for the truth. When science revealed a universe much larger than we had imagined, God was glorified in it. Now that we find a universe much older than we had imagined, why are we so frightened?
J.B., M.S. Geology
CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati responds:
Dear Mr B.
You have unfortunately missed the main point of our article: what is our final authority? That is, is it the infallible written Word of God, or deist-spawned uniformitarian ‘science’? You could simply never derive millions of years from the biblical text; this must be read into it with incredible hermeneutical gymnastics.
The Bible, as God’s written word, should be non-negotiable.
This leads to the corollary of this: ministerial v magisterial use of science. Dr Reed’s article was an example of the ministerial use of science. In contrast, the magisterial use of science, practised by all compromisers on Genesis, overrules the clear teaching of the Bible to come up with a meaning inconsistent with sound hermeneutics. Instead of the Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), this is Scriptura sub scientia (Scripture below science). To explain:
The Bible, as God’s written word, should be non-negotiable. Its teachings are propositional truth, and must be the foundation for all our teachings, including about the Flood. This applies not only to explicit statements, but to anything logically deducible from these statements.1 In fact, Jesus Himself endorsed the Flood as a real event, the Ark as a real ship, and Noah as a real person (Luke 17:26–27), so how can any of His professing followers deny it? No scientific model that overrules these clear teachings is acceptable.
But where the Bible is genuinely silent, we are free to use science to help build models to help elucidate the clear teachings of Scripture. But these models are just man-made—they must never be given the same authority as Scripture. In any case, science is always changing, so being married to a model today will probably result in being widowed tomorrow. Worse, if the Bible is too tied up with a model later discarded, many will think that the Bible itself was refuted (cf. the church’s adoption of Aristotelian cosmology v Galileo2,3 ).
Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D.
Casey P. wrote:
I have a question. Apparently people are making a big deal about something in the human body known as DMT which is supposed to have been associated with religious experiences. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind answering this objection.
[Casey was referring to the below which she forwarded in her email from a web item.]
“Infinite in scope means that not only the perceivable systems of galaxies within solar systems exist, but on a whole other ‘plane’ of existence alternate realities are simultaneously manifest. When we dream, it is the result of a chemical known as DMT, which is continually released in small amounts in our brain. Dreams are in fact the transference of our consciousness—’Soul’, if you prefer—to one of these alternate realities or another. When we do not dream it is because our consciousness is yet in between two levels of reality. Do not mistake; simply because you do not remember your dreams does not mean that you are not dreaming, it simply means you have not attuned your waking version of reality to accept memories or visions from other planes. You can train yourself to do so by keeping a dream journal, and even begin to participate in lucid dreams with enough practice. In a lucid dream, not only your consciousness but also your functionality is transferred across the planes, and you can often bend things to your will, simply by choosing which version of reality to move forward with. In other words, every conceivable outcome in every scenario, and every unconceivable outcome will inevitably occur on some level of reality. In some dimension, if you will. In a lucid dream, you can choose the path that leads to whichever reality you wish to experience in the context of that dream.
“Other chemicals and compounds, some natural, some man made, can have a similar effect of freeing up your consciousness, however, with waking drug induced experiences consciousness is retained in the body, in most cases, and other planes of reality are merely superimposed upon your perception of this reality. Exceptions include such chemicals as DMT and Salvia, which can, at high enough doses, essentially sever your mind from your body and fling it vividly and unforgivingly into unfamiliar dimensions of reality.
“Death is simply the final release of your consciousness from your body, however it goes neither to heaven nor hell. Instead, it drifts through the planes until a being is born that you can incarnate. In doing so, the substance of your consciousness must adapt to the new form of life, and little or no memory survives beyond infancy, except in some extremely rare cases. However, you live again. And the cycle continues. Fear of death is simply fear or change—it is adolescent and counterproductive.”
I don’t know exactly what to call this, but I was wondering if you had an answer. I would greatly appreciate it as it does not appear to have been answered anywhere else on your website.
God bless and Shalom,
Dr Carl Wieland replied:
Thanks for your email. DMT is Dimethyltryptamine, a hallucination-producing drug found ‘naturally’ in many plants, and used sometimes as part of pagan-type religious ‘ecstasy’ experiences as in shamanism. I.e. it is really just another chemical used for ‘tripping out’, and all of that New Age/mystical/neo-pagan/reincarnation stuff you have quoted is really so much hogwash (as far as its truth content is concerned—and in addition, of course, by encouraging people not to fear death, it is deceptively leading them away from the gospel).
To someone of my age group (a teenager in the 1960s) it is reminiscent of when Harvard professor Timothy Leary used to urge people to take similar mind-altering drugs as part of some sort of religious experience. Many lives have been ruined or even ended by drugs, of course. For example, apparently a teenager fell to his death in 20024 while his brain chemistry was giving him an ecstatic experience that involved the illusion that he could fly.
Any thoughts produced during such abuse of one’s brain chemistry (including musings on death) are hardly reliable insights into the nature of some cosmic truth
The chemical structure of DMT is very similar to serotonin, which is used by the body to transmit nerve impulses, and that is why it has ‘brain’ effects. It is found in the human body in small amounts, though its function is unknown; it probably acts as a secondary neurotransmitter. But that hardly makes it ‘natural’ to abuse one’s body by introducing additional doses. There are illegal drugs which similarly cause mind-and-mood-altering ‘highs’ by promoting the release of the human body’s own neurotransmitters, which causes the ‘high’ (and their subsequent depletion causes the post-high ‘crash’, thus leading to a craving and thus a cycle of dependency with all the disasters that causes).
Obviously, just because a chemical is found in the human body, as part of a beautifully designed and finely balanced system, is no mandate for using it to abuse/overload that system in most ‘unnatural’ ways. I recall when hippies in the 1960s in the rainforests of Queensland, Australia, strapped for cash, would lick the back of a cane toad to get a ‘high’ from its deadly venom. Others used various mushrooms, or even the deadly ‘angel’s trumpet’ flower. If they survived the experience (which more than a few did not, apparently), they might also think they had profound insights. Any thoughts produced during such abuse of one’s brain chemistry (including musings on death) are hardly reliable insights into the nature of some cosmic truth any more than the teenager mentioned above who thought he could fly, or the person who decides they are a chicken while under such influences.
I hope that helps.
Kind regards in Christ,
- Sarfati, J., Loving God with all your mind: logic and creation, Journal of Creation 12(2):142–151, 1998. Return to text.
- Schirrmacher, T., The Galileo Affair: history or heroic hagiography, Journal of Creation 14(1):91–100, 2000. Return to text.
- See Sarfati, J., The Galileo quadricentennial: myth vs fact, Creation 31(3): 49–51, 2009. Return to text.
- Teenager on LSD thought he could fly. (2002). www.bedfordtoday.co.uk/bed-news/Teenager-on-LSD-thought-he.284605.jp Return to text.
- Reed, J.K. (2010). A Response to the Old-Earth Advocacy of Modern Reformation. www.reasonablehope.com/node/117 Return to text.