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Journal of Creation  Volume 21Issue 3 Cover

Journal of Creation 21(3):37–43
December 2007

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Six-Day Creation: Does it matter what you believe?
by Robert Gurney

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Journal of Creation  Volume 21 Issue 3 Cover

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Journal of Creation
21(3):37–43
December 2007

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Sloppy, lazy and dishonest

A review of Science and Faith: Friends or Foes by John Collins
Wheaton, IL, 2003

by

Book cover

This book is yet another in a long line of books that try to resolve the perceived conflict between science and faith. The author, C. John Collins, is Professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary and unlike many of the writers in this area, has both theological and scientific qualifications.1 Thus, this work is far more comprehensive than others (it is 448 pages long including indexes), and the arguments are far more sophisticated and nuanced.

The book is divided into four sections: (1) ‘Philosophical Issues’, (2) ‘Theological Issues’, (3) ‘Science and Faith Interact’, and (4) ‘Conclusion’. There are also three appendices containing (1) additional notes and comments which attack many young-earth creationist arguments and claims, (2) a list of additional resources including websites and journals, and (3) a review of Thomas Kuhn’s book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Defining science and faith

Collins presents distorted straw-man representations of young earth creationist arguments.

Given that this book is about science and faith, Collins rightly begins by defining what he means by those terms. For Collins, science is ‘a discipline in which one studies features of the world around us, and tries to describe his [sic] observations systematically and critically’ (p. 34). This definition, however, is far too loose. It does not reflect the qualitative nature of recording observations nor does it include the predictive element. Collins rejects the traditional view that science is the collection of empirical data, and the objective analysis, organization and generalisation of this data into ‘laws’ which allow prediction of future events, because it is ‘not true to what scientists do’ (p. 30). That may well be true, but that is an observation about the nature of scientists not the nature of science itself. When the average person hears the word ‘science,’ the traditional definition would nearly always come to mind.

With respect to ‘faith’, Collins acknowledges that it is used in two ways. Firstly, following C.S. Lewis, faith is ‘the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view you reason takes.’ Secondly, faith refers to ‘the set of truths that Christians believe’ (p. 38).

Nature of the Genesis account

Collins affirms that the creation account is historical, and that it can be both theological and historical. He also rightly acknowledges that Christian theology is built upon history.

Image Wikipedia.com

James Hutton

James Hutton (1726–1797), a deist, was the founder of the ‘new geology’ that argued that the earth was much older than a few thousand years, as the Bible says.

Although he believes in creation by fiat, he asserts that the text does not indicate how long it actually took to happen. However, this is just special pleading. The context and the use of the jussive form of the verb in the Hebrew, make it clear that it happened instantaneously or close to it.2 Each day’s creative activities were apparently completed on that day.

Collins rejects the young-earth creationist ordinary day view, and argues that this view is not the ‘literal’ reading. This is, of course, strictly speaking, correct, and is why informed defenders of the young-earth creationist view refer to it as the ‘plain’ reading, or historical-grammatical interpretation, the term I prefer.

On several occasions, Collins presents distorted straw-man representations of young-earth creationist arguments. For example, he presents an argument for ordinary creation days as follows: ‘since the vast majority of readers in the history of the church have held that the days are ordinary, so should we’ (p. 79). He rightly rejects this line of argument because the ‘vast majority’ are not always right, and the reasons for holding a particular view are more important. But this totally misunderstands the argument for ordinary days based on the history of interpretation. It is not a matter of how many believed this or that view. Rather, it is matter of: (1) how those who were closer to the original audience in time and space and culture read the account, (2) the relative lateness of other interpretations, (3) the reasons why other interpretations were adopted, and (4) the YECs were replying to errant claims by a prominent progressive creationist that the historical understanding was long creation days. When God speaks, He means to be understood. Therefore, God’s word—the Bible—was meant to be understood. In history there was no question of what the account meant. Yet the triumph of modern naturalistic science has intimidated modern biblical interpreters to perform hermeneutical gymnastics and reinterpret the days, or the account as a whole, so that it is no longer required to correspond to actual historical days.

Influence of Darwinism

The triumph of modern naturalistic science has intimidated modern biblical interpreters to perform hermeneutical gymnastics and reinterpret the days, or the account as a whole, so that it is no longer required to correspond to actual historical days

Collins rejects the view that reinterpretation of the Genesis account came about as a result of Darwinism, because all the reinterpretation came about before Origin of Species was published in 1859. He argues that the big factor was the new geology that began in the late 1700s that appeared to prove the earth was much older than a few thousand years, and he is right.3 But he claims that those who developed the new geology were mostly devout Christians (which he admits does not make them right) and therefore cannot be accused of being naturalistic. But this view of events is not true in several respects. Darwin did not invent evolutionary theory—all the key ideas had been around in one form or another for centuries—so the date of publication of Darwin’s book is a moot point.4 The two men most responsible for the new geology were James Hutton and Charles Lyell and both were deists not devout Christians, and had little interest or respect for the Scriptures. On the other hand, the so-called Scriptural geologists (who really were devout Christians) objected to the new geology on both biblical and scientific grounds, but their objections and arguments were never answered, just ignored.5

The initial creation event

Collins argues that the first day of creation begins at Genesis 1:3. Verses 1–2 describe the initial creation event as background material, and this initial event occurred at ‘some unspecified time before the beginning of the first day’ because ‘each day begins with “and God said … ”’ and that ‘verse 3 is the first place the normal Hebrew narrative tense appears’ (p. 82). The gap theory is making a comeback (but in a different place)! He goes on to assert:

‘ … the fact that 1:1–2 is not part of the first day tells us that we don’t have to take the creation week as the first “week” of the universe … the purpose of the creation story [is] to describe how God prepared the earth as the ideal place for humans to live, love, and serve … This means that, however we interpret the days, we have no obligation to read Moses as claiming that God began his creative work of the first day at the very beginning of the universe—or even at the very beginning of the earth’ (p. 83).

Gesenius’ Hebrew grammar states: ‘One of the most striking peculiarities in the Hebrew consecution of tenses is the phenomenon that, in representing a series of past events, only the first verb stands in the perfect, and the narration is continued in the imperfect.’ This is exactly what we see in Genesis 1:1–3.

Not only does this assertion beg the question, it stands against the grammar of the Hebrew text and against Jesus’ statement that male and female were made ‘from the beginning of creation’ not ‘some unspecified time’ beforehand (see section ‘From the beginning … ’ below).

In the case of Genesis 1:1–2, verse 1 is the independent clause and verse 2 makes parenthetical statements concerning the earth in its initial state just after God brought it into existence. Verse 2 contains three circumstantial clauses describing the apparent result of God’s initial act of creation. Verse 3, then, resumes the narrative by describing the creation of light. This indicates that the first day began not with the creation of light but ‘in the beginning’, with God’s very first creative act in verse 1.6 Note also that Gesenius’ Hebrew grammar states: ‘One of the most striking peculiarities in the Hebrew consecution of tenses is the phenomenon that, in representing a series of past events, only the first verb stands in the perfect, and the narration is continued in the imperfect.’7 This is exactly what we see in Genesis 1:1–3. Verse 1 employs the perfect tense (or qatal) form of the verb (as do the three parallel circumstantial clauses in verse 2), whereas verse 3 employs the imperfect (or wayyiqtol) form. This is a clear and objective marker of historical narrative in Hebrew and indicates that the narrative begins in verse 1 not verse 3.

Analogical days

Collins also rejects the day-age view and the literary framework view. He labels his interpretation as ‘analogical days’ but in reality it is somewhat eclectic. Like the literary framework view, he holds to parallels between the first three and second three days: Days 1–3 describe the creation of locations, and Days 4–6 describe the creation of inhabitants of these locations:

Creation days

The problems with this scheme are that light (and dark) are not locations; the expanse was created on day 2, not the sea and sky; and birds and other flying creatures live on the earth not in the sky (they merely fly across the sky).

Like the literary framework advocates, Collins does not deny that the days refer to ordinary days—he just denies that they correspond to actual historical days. Nevertheless, with respect to the common young-earth creationist argument that when the Hebrew word יום (yôm day) is modified by a number, it always refers to a normal day, he responds that this argument is an unsound use of statistics. It must be demonstrated why modification by a number must imply a reference to an ordinary day. In other words, one must explain why the number, apart from any other contextual factors, constrains the meaning of yôm to a 24-hour day.

This is a disingenuous response. Although the occurrence of yôm with a modifying number referring to an ordinary day may fail as a strictly grammatical argument, the pattern does form a solid contextual argument. In other words, in a context where yôm is modified by a number it always, without exception, refers to a literal 24-hour day, and never refers to anything like a long period of time. Numbers 7:10–84 and 29:12–35 also describe numbered sequences of days, and no one doubts that they clearly refer to normal 24-hour days.

This kind of argument is not uncommon in biblical studies. For example, the Granville Sharp Rule in Greek grammar, after the famous anti-slavery activist, is based on a contextual argument. This rule states that when the definite article is followed by two singular, non-proper, substantives separated by καὶ (‘and’), the two substantives always refer to the same thing or person.8

Day 4

In a context where yôm is modified by a number it always, without exception, refers to a literal 24-hour day, and never refers to anything like a long period of time. Numbers 7:10–84 and 29:12–35 also describe numbered sequences of days, and no one doubts that they clearly refer to normal 24-hour days.

Regarding the creation of the lights on Day 4, Collins argues that this does not mean that the lights did not exist prior to this time, but rather, that they simply came into view. So where were they all this time? Collins does not say.

Collins thinks ‘seasons’ in Genesis 1:14 refers to ‘appointed times’ when special worship celebrations were to be held as in Exodus 13:10. In other words, God is merely ‘appointing the heavenly lights to mark the set times for worship on man’s calendar’ (p. 91). But man did not exist at this point, and the commands to regularly commemorate various times and events would not be given until the time of Moses—around two thousand years later. Also, the exact same verb form is rendered ‘let there be’ in many other places in Genesis (including Genesis 1:3), and implies coming into existence rather than mere appearance.

Day 6

Regarding the sixth day, Collins brings up that old canard about the day’s events taking longer than 24 hours to complete. However, the only activity that could have potentially taken up significant time would have been the naming of the animals. I have previously shown the fallacy of this argument elsewhere.9

The Sabbath commandment

Collins argues that the Sabbath commandment in Exodus 20:11 does not support the ordinary day view because God’s creative work is totally different to ours, and therefore our work week is only like God’s—not identical:

‘The point of similarity, the analogy, is the fact that during the creation week God was “working on” the earth to make it just right for man to live on … In his Sabbath he is no longer doing this, but now keeps it all in being … It follows from this that length of time has no bearing on the analogy’ (p. 86).

This is utter nonsense. If the purpose of the analogy has nothing to do with time, then what is its purpose? If it is just to ‘set a pattern for the human rhythm of work and rest’ (p. 89) and the length of time has no bearing, then why mention the days at all? And are we to work for six hours, six days, six weeks, six months, or six years before stopping to observe the Sabbath ‘day’? Collins’ objection is nothing more than special pleading. It is abundantly clear that the primary purpose for the analogy was to set the length of time!

Collins also argues that, because Day 7 is analogical, the other six days must also be analogical. This argument makes no sense at all. An analogy, by definition, uses something in the real world to explain some abstract concept. The author is using the real historical Creation Week to set a pattern and duration for mankind’s working week. If the days are not real historical days then there is no analogy, and the verse is meaningless drivel.

Because it had not yet rained …

Time line

Collins misses the easily identifiable referent to ‘from the beginning’ in Mark 10:6 is ‘of creation’ and not just ‘human history’.

With respect to Genesis 2:5–7, Collins holds to another obscure interpretation. He believes the passage describes

‘… a time of year, when it has been a dry summer, so the plants aren’t growing—but the rains and the man are about to come, so the plants will be able to grow in the “land”.’

For Collins, this is a reference to ordinary providence (i.e. according to common natural processes) and

‘… the cycle of rain, plant growth, and dry season had been going on for some number of years before this point—because the text says nothing about God not yet having made the plants … if we are to follow the lead of the way Moses has narrated these details—especially the bit about the cycle of seasons going on for some time—then we have to say that the length of the creation week could not have been an ordinary week: it must have been longer’ (pp. 88–89).

Therefore, in a blatant denial of biblical inerrancy, he claims that Genesis 1:1–2:3 cannot be harmonised with 2:4–25 ‘because it cannot account for the way Genesis 2:5 says the plants hadn’t grown since it hadn’t yet rained’ (p. 91).

However, there were actually two reasons why these certain shrubs of the field and certain plants of the field had not yet appeared: (1) God had not yet caused it to rain, and (2) there were no humans around to cultivate the ground. The initial conditions may have been adequate for many wild plants, but at least some of the plants of the field required either natural rainfall and/or man’s attention in order for them to grow. Similarly, some shrubs of the field such as thorns and thistles appeared only when Adam began to work the ground after his rebellion against God and the subsequent cursing of the ground (Gen 3:17–19). In this sense, the shrub of the field in Genesis 2:5 anticipates the more detailed explanation in Genesis 3:18. These shrubs do not appear in the fields until after humanity’s creation and fall.10 Not until Adam was expelled from the garden did he begin working the ground (Genesis 3:23). Thus, the absence of rain and the absence of humans to irrigate and cultivate the ground would mean that these kinds of plants would have not yet appeared.

From the beginning …

Young-earth creationists often cite Mark 10:6 and Matthew 19:4, 8 as evidence that human beings were created at, or close to, the very beginning. Collins responds:

‘If there is any kind of gap between the initial creation and the beginning of the creation week [as Collins proposes], or if the week itself lasts much longer than an ordinary week [which Collins suggests is most probable], then we must conclude that Jesus was mistaken (or worse, misleading), and therefore he can’t be God’ (p. 106).

Collins goes on to state:

‘If this argument is sound, I’m in trouble … But the argument is not sound. It finds its credibility from the way the English “from the beginning” seems so definite; but the Greek is not so fixed in meaning … When you find it without any qualification [which Collins alleges is the case in Matt 19], you have to ask, “beginning of what?”’ (p. 106).

Therefore, Collins argues that this and Mark 10:6 refer to the beginning of the creation of human beings, not the absolute beginning of creation.

But this conclusion is absurd in light of the context. Matthew 19:4 is clearly a parallel passage to Mark 10:6, which explicitly refers to the ‘beginning of creation’ with no other qualifiers.11

Another passage with ‘from the beginning’ is Mark 13:14–19:

‘When you see “the abomination that causes desolation” standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again.’

However, Collins states that ‘since the context is about unprecedented tribulation, we are justified in seeing this as covering all of time—or at least all of the time in which humans have been around to experience tribulation.’

But Collins is inconsistent. This passage explicitly refers to the creation of the world, not the creation of humans. However, it is also referring to human suffering and tribulation as Collins acknowledges, so the absolute beginning of creation is ultimately irrelevant (as Collins also subtly acknowledges) and the reference to it here makes no sense if it occurred long before God created man. We would only be justified in seeing this reference as covering all of time if the creation of man was days after the absolute beginning. Thus, there can be no gap between the initial creation and the Creation Week, so Collins is, by his own admission, ‘in trouble’!

Genesis genealogies

Collins claims the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 are not strict chronologies because the Hebrew dylwh (hōlid) can also refer to a later descendant rather than a son, and other biblical genealogies have been shown to have gaps. Yet, other biblical genealogies do not have the same formula as those of Genesis 5 and 11:

‘When P had lived X years, he became the father of Q. And after he became the father of Q, P lived Y years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, P lived X+Y years, and then he died.’

Regardless of whether there are gaps, the specification of ages when the descendant came into being, and when the progenitor died, provide precise reference points upon which to calculate a chronology.12 Collins responds to this argument by nitpicking irrelevant details and appealing to other authorities without explaining why the extra detail in Genesis 5 and 11 does not provide enough information to construct an accurate chronology.

Big bang

Regarding big bang cosmology, Collins writes:

‘Since I am not a cosmologist, I have no way of knowing whether the technical details of the Big Bang theory are sound or not. My own reading of Genesis means that I have no problem with the amount of time the theory calls for’ (p. 233).

He also states that ‘the model is quite compatible with the Biblical doctrine [of creation]’ (pp. 246–247). This clearly shows that not only does Collins not understand the Genesis account, he does not understand the big bang theory.

Scientific data and evidence

In dealing with the great lengths of time required by geology and cosmology, Collins suggests there are four options: (1) we can choose to be either realists or anti-realists in regard to scientific evidence, (2) evidence from the natural world demonstrates that the earth and universe are young provided we interpret the evidence properly, (3) the Bible teaches the earth and the universe are young, but historical inferences from the natural world are unreliable, or (4) the Bible teaches the earth and the universe are young, but were created with an appearance of age.

Regardless of whether there are gaps [in the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies], the specification of ages when the descendant came into being, and when the progenitor died, provide precise reference points upon which to calculate a chronology.

Collins notes that anyone who accepts the scientific method is a realist, and therefore he argues that this implies that option (3) is ultimately an anti-realist position. But this does not follow. Historical inferences are not strictly scientific. They involve conjectures based on assumptions which may or may not be accepted as valid. In any case, he asserts that young-earth creationists must hold to either option (2) or option (4). Option (4)—the appearance of age—is clearly problematic, and is not held by any reputable mainstream young-earth creationist proponent or organisation.

Regarding option (2), Collins cites young-earth creationist proponents John Mark Reynolds and Paul Nelson as admitting that their view is implausible on scientific grounds, and concludes that they give ‘a fair account of the current state of the evidence [for a young earth]’ (p. 240). This is a colossal distortion of the truth. Firstly, despite their contribution to Zondervan’s Counterpoints series as advocates of the young-earth creationist position, Reynolds and Nelson are not active young-earth creationist proponents/defenders (they have published nothing in Journal of Creation or Creation Research Society Quarterly (CRSQ)). They are a philosopher and a biologist primarily involved in the Intelligent Design Movement, and clearly have a very shallow grasp of young-earth creationist research, especially in the key fields of geology and cosmology. I have severely criticised their weak defence of the young-earth creationist view elsewhere13 and will not repeat it here.

If Collins was interested in truth and fairness (which, as an evangelical Christian, he most certainly should be), he would have made himself familiar with the contents of Journal of Creation, CRSQ, ICR’s Impact articles, and the proceedings of the International Conference on Creationism—all of which offer a great deal of scientific support for the young-earth creationist view. Indeed, why did he not cite the RATE research? This has been a high profile young-earth creationist project for a number of years, and preliminary studies had been completed by the time this book was published in 2003. This is another example of Collins’ biased and selective presentation of the facts.

Steve Austin and the Grand Canyon lava flows

Collins essentially accuses Steve Austin—geology researcher at ICR—of incompetence in regard to his dating of the Grand Canyon lava flows. He relies on G. Brent Dalrymple, a vehement anti-creationist who works for the U.S. Geological Survey and has authored a book on radiometric dating methods. Dalrymple claims that Austin erred in his sample selection, because his samples were not cogenetic and actually indicate the age of the source rocks rather than the lava flows themselves.

Collins acknowledges that ‘There are plenty of technical details on both sides’ and that he does not ‘pretend to know how to assess them’ (p. 250). Yet this does not stop him taking Dalrymple at his word and concluding: ‘It therefore doesn’t look to me like Austin’s claim to call into question radiometric dating should carry much weight with us’ (p. 250).

Of course it would appear that way to Collins—he is not a geologist and by his own admission is not competent to assess either Austin’s or Dalrymple’s claims. Would it not be reasonable then for Collins to contact Austin and ask for an explanation or clarification? If so, he would have been told that Austin knew exactly what he was doing and that his samples were selected using the same method used to date the lava flows at the base of the canyon which clearly came from the same source as the lava flows at the top of the canyon. This meant that the date obtained from the two sets of flows could be legitimately compared, and show that the source of the flows at the top of the canyon date much older than the source of the flows at the bottom of the canyon even though both sets of flows came from the same source! Thus, Austin’s research stands up and Dalrymple is just being disingenuous in order to cover up this obvious inconsistency. Again, this is another example of Collins’ sloppy and lazy research.

One-sided

Appendix B lists other resources minus key young-earth creationist ones. In the websites section it leaves out the Creation Research Society (www.creationresearch.org) and the International Conference on Creationism (www.csfpittsburgh.org/icc.htm), and in the journals section it leaves out Journal of Creation, CRSQ, and the Seventh Day Adventist journal, Origins.

Thomas Kuhn

Curiously, Appendix C is a review essay of Thomas Kuhn’s book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. This is, in many respects, a clever move by Collins because Kuhn’s ideas have become very influential, and undermine the logical positivism and perceived indefeasibility of ‘scientific fact’ which many evolutionists and old-earth creationists (including Collins) adhere to. He asserts that Kuhn’s book is something that ‘everyone praises but few have read’ (p. 421). As someone who owns a copy of Kuhn’s book and has read it carefully, I wonder whether Collins himself is guilty of this charge. If he has read it, he certainly did not understand it! Collins claims that Kuhn holds to a postmodernist view of science, and that his work is neither exhaustive nor deep. To say that Kuhn has a postmodernist view of science is absurd. He never denied the possibility of absolute truth, he just denied that certain communities had achieved it. Moreover, Kuhn’s research behind the book was indeed virtually exhaustive. His work was the culmination of 15 years of contemplation and he taught history of science for almost a decade. He deliberately limits himself in regard to what he discusses in the book for good reasons:

‘My decision to deal here exclusively with [the history of physical science] was made partly to increase this essay’s coherence and partly on grounds of present competence’ (p. xi).14

Photo by John Hartnett

Grand Canyon

Collins fails to properly deal with Austin’s arguments regarding the dating of the Grand Canyon lava flows.

Collins also accuses Kuhn of not dealing with counter examples and asserts that comparative philology in Old Testament studies is an instance of a counter example. But Kuhn’s research was on the history of the so-called ‘hard sciences’ (physics, chemistry, geology, biology etc). He recognised differences in the way the ‘soft sciences’ (psychology, sociology, history, linguistics, etc.) progressed, and while he drew ideas from these disciplines, he never claimed his views were necessarily applicable to them.

Collins also asserts, without any supporting evidence, that Kuhn fails to recognise a hierarchy of pre-commitments, e.g. that above all paradigms there are assumptions that the world is rational and that mathematics is valid. But Collins’ assertion is total nonsense! Kuhn’s acceptance of these things is apparent throughout the book.

Collins cites Kuhn:

‘When paradigms enter, as they must, into a debate about paradigm choice, their role is necessarily circular. Each group uses its own paradigm to argue in that paradigm’s defense.’

Collins claims that Kuhn is saying that no rational critique of rival paradigms is allowed. This simply does not follow from this quote, and is one of the most appalling examples of reading incomprehension I have ever come across. Nowhere in this quotation (or anywhere else in the book) does Kuhn deny the possibility of critique. Kuhn is simply saying that two people who have different and mutually exclusive presuppositions are unlikely to persuade each other precisely because they do not share the same presuppositions. For example, I can critique Richard Dawkins’ materialistic evolutionary worldview, but I am not likely to persuade him that God created the universe because he rejects a priori the very notion of a supernatural God.

Likewise, he will not convince me that I am merely rearranged pond scum because I presuppose that human beings are also spiritual beings created by God. However, Collins notes that missionaries have indeed done this in cross cultural missions and persuaded people to adopt ideological positions. But Kuhn does not claim that persuasion cannot happen, only that it will not happen while those incompatible presuppositions are held. Kuhn does not deny the possibility of people altering their presuppositions. Indeed, when people do alter their presuppositions, he calls it a ‘conversion experience’! (see Kuhn pp. 150–151, 158).

Collins accuses Kuhn of being anti-realistic because he argues that revolutions do not necessarily guarantee a new paradigm that is actually (‘ontologically’) closer to what really happens in nature. But this does not mean that Kuhn is anti-realistic. Kuhn is not talking about simple observations but complex and sophisticated theories which rely on unverifiable assumptions. Although a new paradigm explains more data or solves more problems, this does not necessarily mean it is closer to what really is. Kuhn adds: ‘Though the temptation to describe that position as relativistic is understandable, the description seems to me wrong’ (Kuhn, p. 207).

Ironically, Collins ends his critique of Kuhn with the following:

‘ … a scientific paradigm, like a worldview, plays an important role in the forming of an inference: they both enter into premises, and generally affect the definition of terms; and they thus will affect what data are observed or counted as relevant. But there are several mistakes to avoid: for example, conflating “paradigm” and “worldview”; supposing that all data are paradigm-relative; thinking that exposure of an underlying paradigm or worldview in itself constitutes refutation of an argument.’

Firstly, anyone who had read Kuhn’s book could not possibly conclude that he conflates paradigm and worldview, nor could they conclude that all data is paradigm relative. And Kuhn talks about the development of new paradigms, not ‘exposing’ old ones. Secondly, Collins’ point about the effect of paradigms on definitions and selection of data echoes one of the key points of Kuhn’s book!

Conclusion

Of course there really is no conflict between science and faith, and even if there was, this book would not resolve it. Collins simply allows ‘science’ to trump faith in virtually all instances. The real conflict is between those—like Collins—who hold to, or unquestioningly accept—the truth claims of a naturalistic worldview and its attendant empiricism and logical positivism, and those who hold to a supernatural view with God as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

There is a great deal of distortion in this work and it is hard not to conclude that it is deliberate. The young-earth creationist arguments are presented in their weakest or a distorted form, and some of the strongest arguments are not presented at all. In essence, this work is the result of lazy, sloppy, and dishonest research, which is unforgivable in a book that purports to help people resolve the challenges presented by modern naturalistic science to biblical interpretation.

Recommended Resources



Related Articles

Further Reading

References

  1. Collins has a B.S. and M.S. from MIT. Return to text.
  2. See Fouts, D.M., ‘Selected Lexical and Grammatical Studies in Genesis One’, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Colorado Springs, 2001. Return to text.
  3. Mortenson, T., Philosophical naturalism and the age of the earth: are they related? The Master’s Seminary Journal (TMSJ) 15(1):71–92, Spring 2004; <creation.com/naturalism-church>. Return to text.
  4. See Kulikovsky, A.S., Creation and Genesis: An historical survey, Creation Research Society Quarterly, 43(4):14–20 March 2007. Return to text.
  5. See Mortenson, T., The Great Turning Point, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2004. Return to text.
  6. This view is also favoured by E.J. Young (Studies in Genesis One, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, p. 89, 1964). In addition, the rabbinic interpreters believed that ten things were created on day one: heaven and earth, tohu and bohu, light and darkness, wind and water, the duration of the day and the duration of the night (Chag. 12a) which implies that they also understood day one as beginning with verse 1. Return to text.
  7. Kautzsch, E., Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, 2nd edition, translated by Cowley, A.E., Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 132–133, 1910. Original emphasis. Return to text.
  8. Sharp, G., Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article in the Greek Text of the New Testament: Containing many New Proofs of the Divinity of Christ, From Passages which are Wrongly Translated in the Common English Version, 3rd edition, B.B. Hopkins and Co., Philadelphia, 1807. Two theologically significant instances of this construction, which refer to the deity of Christ, are Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. Return to text.
  9. Kulikovsky, A.S., How could Adam have named all the animals in a single day? Creation 27(3):27, June 2005. Return to text.
  10. Hamilton, V.P., The Book of Genesis 1–17, NICOT, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, p. 154, 1990; Cassuto, U., A Commentary on the Book of Genesis Part One, translated by Israel Adams, Magnes Press, Jerusalem, p. 102, 1961; Sailhamer, J., Genesis Unbound, Multnomah Books, Sisters, OR, p. 40, 1996. Return to text.
  11. Mortenson, T., But from the beginning of … the institution of marriage? 1 November 2004, <creation.com/beginning>. Return to text.
  12. Freeman, T.R., The Genesis 5 and 11 fluidity question, Journal of Creation 19(2):83–90, 2005; Sarfati, J., Biblical chronogenealogies, Journal of Creation 17(3):14–18, 2003. Return to text.
  13. Kulikovsky, A.S., A balanced treatment? Journal of Creation 14(1):23–27, 2000. Return to text.
  14. Kuhn was a graduate student in theoretical physics before he began studying and teaching the history science. Return to text.

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