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The History of Interpretation of Genesis 1–11

Refuting Compromise, Chapter 3 (plus part of Chapter 8), 3rd Edn

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Published: 18 January 2022 (GMT+10)

[Editors: we are publishing Chapter 3 and part of Chapter 8 online because we are still encountering fallacies by Hugh Ross and other strident opponents of biblical (‘young-earth’) creation and the global Flood. They assert, parroting the apostate historian Ron Numbers, that this belief began with Seventh-Day Adventists. A recent example is someone calling himself “Inspiring Philosophy”, who we have refuted previously. As usual, the book addresses just about all the claims about Genesis Interpretation before many people thought to make them].

Hugh-Ross
Hugh Ross

Genesis has been analyzed by theologians since the beginnings of the church. Ross often claims that they back his day-age interpretation, while few ever thought the days were 24 hours long. The opposite is true. Most believed that the days were 24 hours long, and the minority who dissented believed they were instantaneous, not long. Belief in a “young” earth was unanimous among those who commented. Ideas such as the day-age and gap theories arose in the early 19th century only in response to old-age “science”.

Why Is Church History Relevant?

Some may argue, “Isn’t the Bible all we need? Don’t you realize that interpreters can err?” Indeed, the correct view must be obtained from the Bible alone. But then, modern exegetes are not the first who have known about the original languages and cultures of the Bible. The onus is on those proposing a novel interpretation to prove their case.

There are two more reasons why it is instructive to analyze the history, which will be explained in detail in this chapter:

  1. Generally: If long-age interpretations had always been popular, then a case could be made for assuming that the Bible hints at this. But if they were absent until long ages became popular in “science”, it’s more likely that such interpretations were motivated by trying to reconcile the Bible with “science”.
  2. Specifically for Ross: he often claims that interpreters throughout history have allowed for long creation days. Since this is a book on his claims, it’s important to address evidence that he uses to overcome the charge that he’s motivated by “science” and not the biblical text.

Caution

“Traditional” churches such as Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches hold that the combined testimony of the church fathers is on a par with Scripture itself. A common argument is that they were closer to the Apostles than we, so they know better.

However, this doesn’t necessarily follow. Paul’s letters were written largely to correct error in churches founded by the Apostles themselves. Furthermore, as the church became primarily Gentile, knowledge of Hebrew diminished, so that even some of the leading church fathers knew no Hebrew at all, including the highly influential Augustine (see below for more on Augustine). Still, many of the fathers had tremendous wisdom, which showed in the battles against anti-Trinitarian heresies.

The main point of this chapter is to address Ross’s claims, and show that even by his own reasoning, we should accept 24-hour creation days.

Ross’s Claims

For example, in Creation and Time (C&T),1 chapter 2, Ross claimed:

A majority of those who wrote on the subject rejected the interpretation of the Genesis creation days as six consecutive 24-hour periods.

He listed 14 “church fathers”: Philo, Josephus, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Ambrose, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Lactantius, Victorinus of Pettau, Methodius of Olympus, Augustine, Eusebius, and Basil the Great.

For another example, Ross claims (in The Genesis Question (GQ),2,3 pp. 66–67):

Ante-Nicene4 scholars devoted some two thousand pages of commentary to the “hexaëmeron”, that part of Genesis 1 describing the six days of creation. No other portion of the Bible received nearly as much of their attention. Yet in all their pages of commentary only about two pages addressed the meaning of “day” or the time of creation [cited his own book C&T]. Their comments on the subject remained tentative, with the majority favoring the “long day” (typically a thousand year period)—apart from the influence of science. Not one explicitly endorsed the twenty-four hour interpretation.

And on the RTB website, he asserts:

Many of the early church fathers and other biblical scholars interpreted the creation days of Genesis 1 as long periods of time. The list of such proponents includes the Jewish historian Josephus (1st century); Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, apologist, and martyr (2nd century); Origen, who rebutted heathen attacks on Christian doctrine (3rd century); Basil (4th century); Augustine (5th century); and, later, Aquinas (13th century), to name a few.5

Another Ross claim is in C&T:24:

Perhaps most significant is that nearly all the key figures acknowledged that the length of creation days presented a challenge to their understanding and interpretation. Those that did not implied the same in their studious avoidance of any specific comment on the subject.

While the first sentence more or less summarizes the other claims, the second sentence betrays a methodological flaw in the way Ross and certain others use church history. It’s one thing to claim certain people supported his view, but another to claim support from those who never commented! This is obviously the fallacy of arguing from silence. A related error is misinterpreting a non-specific statement about creation as claiming that they didn’t have a position on the days and time frame. It’s worse when clear statements about the creation days and time frame are ignored in favour of non-specific ones. The correct practice is to interpret the non-specific passages by the specific ones.

Note that, by the same method, someone hundreds of years in the future could find articles by me or other CMI scientists that are not specific on days or the time frame and, by ignoring our clear statements elsewhere, claim that we don’t have any position on the issues!

The only way to settle this is by quoting the people in question in their proper context, to analyze what they actually say instead of what people claim they say. Ross rarely provides quotations himself, evidently expecting his readers simply to take his word for it. It’s a shame that too many people have accepted Ross’s word for it instead of checking them out. Sadly, we really must wonder if Ross has actually read the people he quotes, because the quotes below do not support his claims; rather, they contradict them. Therefore, I will cite a number of the authorities Ross invokes on both the days of creation and the age of the earth.

Van Bebber and Taylor have already quoted and documented the evidence that refutes Ross’s claims in their response to Ross’s book Creation and Time [VB&T:93–104].6 An obvious point is that Philo and Josephus were non-Christian Jews, not church fathers. If Ross was so careless in his historical research on this point, we should wonder about the rest of his statements, even before we investigate the Christians he claims in support. For a careful, thorough, and reliable survey of historical views on the days of creation, see the treatments by J.P. Lewis.7 One of the most thorough and extensive analyses of church fathers on Genesis is in a book by the Eastern Orthodox scholar Fr. Seraphim Rose.8 Also, J.L. Duncan and D. Hall make a strong case in their defense of literal Genesis in a book where Ross himself defends the day-age view and had a chance to interact with them.9 But Ross still keeps making the same claims.

Yet another contrary source is the well-known long-ager Davis Young (see chapter 2). Because he is a hostile (to YECs) witness, his testimony is even more powerful. And because he wrote before Ross, Ross has even less excuse for his false claims. Young writes:

The virtually unanimous opinion among the early Christians until the time of Augustine was that human history had lasted approximately fifty-five hundred years.10 It is also very probable that the age of the world was regarded as the same number of years, for the writings of the church fathers generally do not reveal any sharp distinctions between the initial creation and the creation of man. …

It is also generally necessary that the days of creation (Gen. 1) be regarded as ordinary days if one were to hold that the earth was only fifty-five hundred years old. We find absolutely no one arguing that the world is tens of thousands of years old on the grounds that the days are used figuratively for long periods of time. …

Many of the church fathers plainly regarded the six days as ordinary days.11

So let us turn now to examine the men that Ross uses in support of his views.

Flavius Josephus (AD 37–c. 101)

Josephus came from a distinguished priestly family and became a Pharisee, then became a general in the Jewish revolt against Rome (AD 66–73). But he barely escaped the massacre of his garrison in AD 67, and was captured and taken to the Roman general Vespasian. Josephus shrewdly prophesied that Vespasian would become emperor. When this came to pass in AD 69, he freed Josephus. Then he tried, at personal risk, to persuade the Jews to surrender Jerusalem, so was regarded as a traitor. But his efforts were in vain, and Jerusalem was captured violently in AD 70. Afterward, Josephus enjoyed the imperial patronage of Vespasian and his sons, Titus and the cruel Domitian, and he wrote some valuable works. The one most relevant to this book is Ioudaike Archaiologia (Jewish Antiquities a.k.a. The Antiquities of the Jews), comprising 20 books on the whole history of the Jews from the creation to the outbreak of the revolt in AD 66.

Ross claims (C&T:17):

Josephus, in writing a survey of the Genesis creation days, noted the need to explain the meaning of the expression “one day” and promised to offer an explanation, but he never fulfilled his promise. His comments suggest that he did not find this expression either easy or straightforward to interpret.

However, here is what Josephus said:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. But when the earth did not come into sight, but was covered with thick darkness, and a wind moved upon its surface, God commanded that there should be light: and when that was made, he considered the whole mass, and separated the light and the darkness; and the name he gave to one was Night, and the other he called day: and he named the beginning of light, and the time of rest, The Evening and The Morning, and this was indeed the first day. But Moses said it was one day; the cause of which I am able to give even now; but because I have promised to give such reasons for all things in a treatise by itself, I shall put off its exposition till that time. After this, on the second day, he placed the heaven over the whole world, and separated it from the other parts, and he determined it should stand by itself. He also placed a crystalline [firmament] round it, and put it together in a manner agreeable to the earth, and fitted it for giving moisture and rain, and for affording the advantage of dews. On the third day he appointed the dry land to appear, with the sea itself round about it; and on the very same day he made the plants and the seeds to spring out of the earth. On the fourth day he adorned the heaven with the sun, the moon, and the other stars, and appointed them their motions and courses, that the vicissitudes of the seasons might be clearly signified. And on the fifth day he produced the living creatures, both those that swim, and those that fly; the former in the sea, the latter in the air: he also sorted them as to society and mixture, for procreation, and that their kinds might increase and multiply. On the sixth day he created the four-footed beasts, and made them male and female: on the same day he also formed man. Accordingly Moses says, that in just six days the world, and all that is therein, was made. And that the seventh day was a rest, and a release from the labor of such operations; whence it is that we celebrate a rest from our labors on that day, and call it the Sabbath, which word denotes rest in the Hebrew tongue.12

This passage, as a whole, provides no hint that the days were anything but 24 hours long. Josephus compares them with the Sabbath command, says that the heavenly bodies were created on the fourth day, and that the seventh day is an ordinary day which has ended; both contrary to Ross. Furthermore, the heading of the book was:

Containing the interval of three thousand eight hundred and thirty-three years From the Creation to the death of Isaac.

As explained in chapter 9, Josephus used the Septuagint for his claims about the age of the patriarchs at the birth of their sons, but his chronology rules out any long creation days.

So Ross is grasping at straws to claim that Josephus’ enigmatic comment is proof of long creation days. Rather, it was a reference to the fact that day 1 has a cardinal number, “day one”; while the others have ordinals, “a second day”, “a third day”, as explained in chapter 2. This is actually reinforcement of the 24-hour view, as shown, and Basil the Great (next section) does explain what Josephus forgot to.

Basil the Great (AD 329–379)

en.wikipedia.orgBasil-the-Great
 St. Basil the Great

Basil is one of Ross’s alleged authorities for his day/age interpretation. His Christian credentials are excellent. He was bishop of Caesarea Mazaca, Cappadocia, from AD 370–379. He argued strongly against various heresies of the church of that day. In particular, he defended the vital biblical doctrine of the Trinity against the Arian heresy which denied the Deity of Christ, and later against the Sabellian (modalist) heresy which denied the distinctness of the three persons. Basil’s classic Trinitarian formula, that God is three persons (hypostases) in one substance (ousia), is still one of the best summaries of the biblical doctrine, and is accepted by all branches of orthodox Christianity.

This is all very well, but did Basil teach what Ross claimed? We can find out, because some of his sermon collections have been preserved, including the Hexaëmeron (= “six days”), nine Lenten sermons on the days of creation in Genesis 1. The following quotation from this shows that Basil believed that the creation days were ordinary days about 24 hours long:

And there was evening and there was morning: one day”. And the evening and the morning were one day. Why does Scripture say “one day” not “the first day”? Before speaking to us of the second, the third, and the fourth days, would it not have been more natural to call that one the first which began the series? If it therefore says “one day”, it is from a wish to determine the measure of day and night, and to combine the time that they contain. Now twenty-four hours fill up the space of one day—we mean of a day and of a night; and if, at the time of the solstices, they have not both an equal length, the time marked by Scripture does not the less circumscribe their duration. It is as though it said: twenty-four hours measure the space of a day, or that, in reality a day is the time that the heavens starting from one point take to return there. Thus, every time that, in the revolution of the sun, evening and morning occupy the world, their periodical succession never exceeds the space of one day [emphasis added].13

Ross even quotes part of this in C&T:21–22, but somehow omits the clear references to 24-hour creation days, again strong evidence of careless historical research. Hebrew scholar Steinmann concurred that the Genesis expression “day one” with the context of dark/light and evening/morning was defining the creation days as 24 hours,14 as we showed in the previous chapter.

Neither can Davis Young help but admit that “Basil explicitly spoke of days as a twenty-four-hour period”.15 So much for Ross’s claim that “not one explicitly endorsed the twenty-four hour interpretation” (GQ:67)! Furthermore, a detailed study of the Hexaëmeron shows that Basil had practically identical beliefs as CMI about Genesis.16

Ambrose of Milan (339–397)

Ambrose was a gifted orator and popular bishop of Milan who staunchly defended orthodoxy, and was partly responsible for the conversion of Augustine, whom he baptized on Easter AD 386. He’s another one claimed as an ally of Ross’s day-age view, and some have claimed support with the following quote:

Scripture established a law that twenty-four hours, including both day and night, should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent. … The nights in this reckoning are considered to be component parts of the days that are counted. Therefore, just as there is a single revolution of time, so there is but one day. There are many who call even a week one day, because it returns to itself, just as one day does, and one might say seven times revolves back on itself. Hence, Scripture appeals at times of an age of the world.17

But those who cite this (including Ross in C&T:22), especially the last sentence, as proof that Ambrose believed the day-age theory did not read attentively.18 Ambrose clearly states that the “law” established by Scripture was 24-hour days, and he’s referring to the creation week in Genesis 1. The other meanings are clearly stated to be secondary. The nearest Ross gets to admitting this is his grudging admission, “He appears to imply, though, that the creation days are twenty-four hour periods”. Furthermore, Ambrose said, in the same context:

God commanded that the heavens should come into existence, and it was done; He determined that the earth should be created in a moment, and it was created. … These things were made in a moment.19

Days as Types for Millennia

As shown in chapter 2, many people today use 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4, “one day is like a thousand years”, to argue for non-literal days. We noted there that this passage is teaching that God is outside time, not defining the length of creation days. But many early church writers cited this passage frequently, and this misunderstanding might explain how Ross and other detractors of a literal Genesis have asserted that they believed in thousand-year creation days.20

However, the detractors seriously err by failing to realize that the fathers used this passage to teach that the days of creation were types for the whole of world history. They believed the world would only last for six thousand years from creation before the return of Christ and the Millennium. In other words, each day of creation corresponded to (but was not equal to) one thousand years of subsequent earth history, which culminated in the Millennium (the thousand-year reign of Christ) that paralleled the seventh day (of rest), and the world as we know it would last no longer than seven thousand years. Long-ager Davis Young affirms:

But the interesting feature of this patristic view is that the equation of days and millennia was not applied to the creation week but rather to subsequent history. They did not believe that the creation had taken place over six millennia but that the totality of human history would occupy six thousand years, a millennium of history for each of the six days of creation.21

It’s possible that they based this on the fact that five verses before 2 Peter 3:8, the Apostle refers to both “His coming” and “from the beginning of creation”, so they made the connection between six literal creation days and six millennia from the beginning of time till the second coming.

Many rabbis had the same general idea, believing that the Messiah would come at the end of six thousand years; for example, the Talmud states:

Six thousand years shall the world exist, and (one thousand, the seventh), it shall be desolate, as it is written, “And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. …” It is also said, “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past”.22

Since the Fathers didn’t believe the days were thousands of years long after all, it’s totally illegitimate to claim that they would have regarded billions of years as supported by Scripture. What they actually said is shown by the following quotes.

Lactantius (240–c. 320)

One of the clearest teachings of this typological view was the Roman apologist Lactantius:

Therefore let the philosophers, who enumerate thousands of ages from the beginning of the world, know that the six-thousandth year is not yet complete. … Therefore, since all the works of God were completed in six days, the world must continue in its present state through six ages, that is, six thousand years. For the great day of God is limited by a circle of a thousand years, as the prophet shows, who says, “In thy sight, O Lord, a thousand years are as one day [Ps. 90:4]”23

Not only is the typology crystal clear, but it boggles the mind how Ross can cite Lactantius in support (C&T, chapter 2) when he stated so plainly “the six-thousandth year is not yet complete”. This can only mean that he believed the world was less than 6,000 years old, and he said that it would last for only 6,000 years. This is a clear indication of young-earth creation! And, obviously, if Lactantius really believed that the creation days were 1,000 years long, then he wouldn’t have said that the world was less than 6,000 years old, would he? He would have had to say at least 10,000 to take into account the alleged 6,000-year-long creation week plus the 4,000 years from creation to Christ. Actually, Lactantius relied on the inflated LXX chronology24 that would place the creation date before 5000 BC, meaning that he saw the present age coming to a close fairly soon, and Christ ushering in the new Millennium.

Irenaeus (125–202)

Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, who in turn was a disciple of the apostle John. Irenaeus became bishop of Lyons, and was an early apologist for the faith who became a martyr. He was also a clear exponent of the days-as-types-of-millennia interpretation, and also clearly believed that the world was less than 6,000 years old when he wrote:

For in six days as the world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. … For that day of the Lord is a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year.25

This must be considered when analyzing another passage, where Irenaeus analyzes Genesis 2:17:

And there are some again, who relegate the death of Adam to the thousandth year; for since “a day of the Lord is as a thousand years”, he did not overstep the thousand years, but died within them, thus bearing out the sentence of his sin. Whether, therefore, with respect to disobedience, which is death; whether [we consider] that, on account of that, they were delivered over to death, and made debtors to it; whether with respect to [the fact that on] one and the same day on which they ate they also died (for it is one day of the creation); whether [we regard this point] that with respect to this cycle of days, they died on the day in which they did also eat, that is, the day of the preparation, which is termed “the pure supper”, that is, the sixth day of the feast, which the Lord also exhibited when He suffered on that day; or whether [we reflect] that he (Adam) did not overstep the thousand years, but died within their limit. …26

Thus, Irenaeus was not applying the thousand years to the creation days, but to another occurrence of yôm in a totally different context, with the preposition be, in an attempt to solve a problem. This was a typical view of Jewish literature around that time. For example:

And at the close of the Nineteenth Jubilee, in the seventh week in the sixth year thereof Adam died, and all his sons buried him in the land of his creation, and he was the first to be buried on the earth. And he lacked seventy years of one thousand years; of one thousand years are as one day in the testimony of the heavens and therefore was it written concerning the tree of knowledge: “On the day ye eat thereof ye shall die”. For this reason he did not complete the years of this day; for he died during it.27

(The correct solution for the “problem” of “or in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” is given in chapter 2.)

Justin Martyr (c. 100–c. 165)

Justin converted from paganism in about 130, and became an early apologist and debater, wrote prolifically on the faith, and was martyred, hence the usual name. He applied similar reasoning above to Adam’s life span, and again, not to creation days:

Now we have understood that the expression used among these words, “According to the days of the tree [of life] shall be the days of my people; the works of their toil shall abound”, obscurely predicts a thousand years. For as Adam was told that in the day he ate of the tree he would die, we know that he did not complete a thousand years. We have perceived, moreover, that the expression, “The day of the Lord is as a thousand years”, is connected with this subject.28

So we see that none of these witnesses brought forward by Ross support his case.

The Alexandrian School

Ross continues on his internet article:

The significance of this list lies not only in the prominence of these individuals as biblical scholars, defenders of the faith, and pillars of the early church (except Josephus), but also in that their scriptural views cannot be said to have been shaped to accommodate secular opinion. Astronomical, paleontological and geological evidences for the antiquity of the universe, of the earth, and of life did not come forth until the nineteenth century.29

This is simply not true. Philo was a Hellenistic Jew in Alexandria, heavily influenced by Greek philosophy. He resorted to “an extensive allegorical interpretation of Scripture that made Jewish law consonant with the ideals of Stoic, Pythagorean, and especially Platonic thought”.30 Philo was clearly more concerned with harmonizing the Old Testament with Greek philosophy than with careful exegesis. Furthermore, his philosophical ideas and allegorical method had a direct impact on Christian theology through the “Alexandrian school”. This was founded by Clement of Alexandria, and was continued by Origen and Augustine.

It’s significant that the only exceptions to literal-day views are from the Alexandrian school. But an appeal to them proves far too much, because they allegorized almost everything in Scripture—far more than Ross or his conservative constituency would like!

Origen (182–251)

Origen was an outstanding thinker and textual scholar, and was one of the first to try to work out the doctrine of the Trinity from the Bible. But his tendency to allegorize the Bible led him into views bordering on heresy, though he unambiguously affirmed a “young earth”, as in this passage from his famous refutation of the anti-Christian writer Celsus:

After these statements, Celsus, from a secret desire to cast discredit upon the Mosaic account of the creation, which teaches that the world is not yet ten thousand years old, but very much under that, while concealing his wish, intimates his agreement with those who hold that the world is uncreated. For, maintaining that there have been, from all eternity, many conflagrations and many deluges, and that the flood which lately took place in the time of Deucalion is comparatively modern, he clearly demonstrates to those who are able to understand him, that, in his opinion, the world was uncreated. But let this assailant of the Christian faith tell us by what arguments he was compelled to accept the statement that there have been many conflagrations and many cataclysms, and that the flood which occurred in the time of Deucalion, and the conflagration in that of Phaethon, were more recent than any others.31

Augustine (354–430)32

Wikipedia.orgSaint-Augustine
As his theology matured, Augustine abandoned his earlier allegorizations of Genesis that old-earth creationists and theistic evolutionists have latched onto in an attempt to justify adding deep time to the Bible. Furthermore, he always believed in a young earth (painting by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1480).

Augustine was certainly one of the outstanding theologians of the early church. However, he was not an expert in the biblical languages by any stretch of the imagination. The Western (Roman Catholic) church at his time was using Latin. When Augustine started working on his Genesis commentary in 401, his knowledge of Greek was almost non-existent. Although he attained a modest ability to read Greek by the time he was an old man, he knew no Hebrew. His Latin Bible was a translation of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT), not the Hebrew Bible.33

In any case, he cannot remotely be used in support of old-earth beliefs. The reason is that he tried to compress the days into an instant, which is diametrically opposite to what long-agers claim! Because of Augustine’s lack of Hebrew knowledge, he may not have been aware that there was a perfectly good word available for “moment” or “instant” (ugr, rega‘), if that’s what God had intended to communicate, and it could have been combined with “time” or “day”. It is used of God’s activity four times in the Old Testament: Exodus 33:5, Numbers 16:21, 16:45 and Ezra 9:8.

Not only was Augustine’s error the opposite to Ross’s, he also explicitly taught what would now be called a “young” earth. In his most famous work, City of God, he has a whole chapter, “Of the Falseness of the History Which Allots Many Thousand Years to the World’s Past”, where he says:

Let us, then, omit the conjectures of men who know not what they say, when they speak of the nature and origin of the human race. … They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6,000 years have yet passed.34

Since he believed creation was in an instant, then in Augustine’s thinking, the time from Adam to the present was also the time from the beginning of creation to the present, which was less than 6,000 years. Furthermore, contrary to Ross’s assertion, Augustine wrote against a backdrop of evolutionary thinking in his time.35 He summarizes various proto-catastrophist and proto-uniformitarian theories this way:

There are others who think that our present world is not everlasting. Of these, some hold that, besides this one, there are a number of other worlds. The remainder, who admit only one world, claim that over and over again, it periodically disintegrates and begins again. In either theory, they are forced to conclude that the human race arose without human procreation, since there is no room here for the hypothesis that a few men would always remain each time the world perished, as was the case in the previous theory where floods and fires did not affect the whole world but left a few survivors to repeople it. For they hold that, just as the world is reborn out of its previous matter, so a new human race would arise from the elements of nature and only thereafter would a progeny of mortals spring from parents. And the same would be true of the rest of the animals.

There are some people who complain when we claim that man was created so late [i.e., recently]. They say that he must have been created countless and infinite ages ago, and not, as is recorded in Scripture, less than 6,000 years ago. …

It was this controversy [over the beginning of the things of time] that led the natural philosophers to believe that the only way they could or should solve it was by a theory of periodic cycles of time according to which there always has been and will be a continual renewal and repetition in the order of nature, because the coming and passing ages revolve as on a wheel. These philosophers were not sure whether a single permanent world passes through these revolutions or whether, at fixed intervals, the world itself dissolves and evolves anew, repeating the same pattern of what has already taken place and will again take place. …36

Once again we see that Ross has not done his historical homework.

Was Augustine a Flat-earther?

Long agers such as the Christadelphian Alan Hayward (1923–2008) have tried to paint Augustine as a flat-earther,37 glibly parroting 19th century humanists Draper and White (see chapter 1). However, as the historian Jeffrey Burton Russell showed, he never disputed the roundness of the earth. Here is what he actually said:

As to the fable that there are Antipodes, that is to say, men on the opposite side of the earth, where the sun rises when it sets on us, men who walk with their feet opposite ours, there is no reason for believing it. Those who affirm it do not claim to possess any actual information; they merely conjecture that, since the earth is suspended within the concavity of the heavens, and there is as much room on the one side of it as on the other, therefore the part which is beneath cannot be void of human inhabitants. They fail to notice that, even should it be believed or demonstrated that the world is round or spherical in form, it does not follow that the part of the earth opposite to us is not completely covered with water, or that any conjectured dry land there should be inhabited by men. For Scripture, which confirms the truth of its historical statements by the accomplishment of its prophecies, teaches not falsehood; and it is too absurd to say that some men might have set sail from this side and, traversing the immense expanse of ocean, have propagated there a race of human beings descended from that one first man.38

This shows that Augustine disputed a totally different concept, that of the Antipodes, although wrongly. But this is not the same as disputing the round earth, as opposed to something that doesn’t necessarily follow from this. As Russell explains:

Christian doctrine affirmed that all humans must be of one origin, descended from Adam and Eve and redeemable by Christ, “the Second [sic 1 Cor. 15:45 says “last”] Adam”. The Bible was silent as to whether antipodeans existed, but natural philosophy had demonstrated that if they did, they could have no connection with the known part of the globe, either because the sea was too wide to sail across or because the equatorial zones were too hot to sail through. There could be no genetic connection between the antipodeans and us. Therefore, any alleged antipodeans could not be descended from Adam and therefore could not exist.39

It’s especially inexcusable for Hayward to quote this passage and not even realize that it says nothing against a round earth. In fact, in another place, Augustine explicitly called the earth a “globe”.40

Summary: The Length of the Days of Creation According to Patristic Writers

Table 3.141 shows that the majority of those who commented on the days believed they were ordinary days.

However, as shown above, Irenaeus really did teach literal days. And despite putting “unclear” in this table, Bradshaw agrees:

So Irenaeus seems to have seen no contradiction here. For him the days of Genesis were 24 hours long and served as a pattern for the history of the world.42

About the other “unclear” ones, Bradshaw says:

We cannot be sure of the views of most writers for a variety of reasons already mentioned above. My own view based upon the style of exegesis of other passages of Scripture would lead me to think that the vast majority of those listed as having an unclear view would opt for 24 hours had they discussed the subject. The shortage of references does not mean that they thought the issue of the age of the earth was unimportant. On the contrary it was clearly a contentious issue in the early church, because the Greeks believed that the world was extremely ancient.43

Table 3.2: Specific Statements Made by Writers of the Early Church Age Concerning the Age of the Earth44

Writer Date Date of Creation of Adam (BC) Reference
Clement of Alexandria c. 150–c. 215 5,592 Miscellanies 1.21
Julius Africanus c. 160–240 5,500 Chronology, Fragment 1
Hippolytus of Rome 170–236 5,500 Daniel 4
Origen 185–253 < 10,000 Against Celsus 1.20
Eusebius of Caesarea 263–339 5,228 Chronicle
Augustine of Hippo 354–430 < 5,600 City 12.11

Medieval Church

Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225–1274)

Public domainThomas-aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, leading medieval theologian/philosopher

One of the best known theologians in the medieval church was Thomas Aquinas, and his greatest work was Summa Theologica (or Theologiæ). [Note: Thanks to the late Gerry Keane of Melbourne, Australia, for this information.]. This work shows that he agreed with six-day creation:

Thus we find it said at first that ‘He called the light Day’: for the reason that later on a period of twenty-four hours is also called day, where it is said that ‘there was evening and morning, one day.’45

Nothing entirely new was afterwards made by God, but all things subsequently made had in a sense been made before in the work of the six days. Some things, indeed, had a previous experience materially, as the rib from the side of Adam out of which God formed Eve; whilst others existed not only in matter but also in their causes, as those individual creatures that are now generated existed in the first of their kind.46

Whether all these days are one day?

On the contrary, It is written (Genesis 1), ‘The evening and the morning were the second day … the third day,’ and so on. But where there is a second and third there are more than one. There was not, therefore, only one day.

I answer that, On this question Augustine differs from other expositors. His opinion is that all the days that are called seven, are one day represented in a sevenfold aspect (Gen. AD lit. iv, 22; De Civ. Dei xi, 9; AD Orosium xxvi); while others consider there were seven distinct days, not one only. Now, these two opinions, taken as explaining the literal text of Genesis, are certainly widely different.

Reply to Objection 7. The words ‘one day’ are used when day is first instituted, to denote that one day is made up of twenty-four hours. Hence, by mentioning ‘one’, the measure of a natural day is fixed. Another reason may be to signify that a day is completed by the return of the sun to the point from which it commenced its course. And yet another, because at the completion of a week of seven days, the first day returns which is one with the eighth day. The three reasons assigned above are those given by Basil (Hom. ii in Hexaem.). 47

Reformers

Ross claims [C&T:25]:

Throughout the Dark and Middle Ages, church scholars maintained the tolerant attitude of their forefathers toward differing views and interpretations of the creation time scale.

Ross fails to back up this bald assertion. In any case, any non-literal views of the “forefathers” (if such actually existed) were vestiges of the Alexandrian school. This changed with the Reformation, which rejected their allegorizing tendency and returned to the grammatical-historical approach. This can be shown by its leading figures.

Martin Luther (1483–1546)

wikipedia.orgMartin-Luther
Martin Luther (1483–1546)

Luther is credited with launching the Protestant Reformation, when he nailed his famous “95 Theses” on the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1517. Not only did he rediscover the biblical doctrines of Scripture alone and salvation by grace through faith alone, he also returned to the plain meaning of many scriptural passages as opposed to allegorization. This applied to Genesis as well, where he clearly reveals himself to be a staunch young-earth creationist:

He [Moses] calls “a spade a spade”, i.e., he employs the terms “day” and “evening” without Allegory, just as we customarily do … we assert that Moses spoke in the literal sense, not allegorically or figuratively, i.e., that the world, with all its creatures, was created within six days, as the words read. If we do not comprehend the reason for this, let us remain pupils and leave the job of teacher to the Holy Spirit.48

The “days” of creation were ordinary days in length. We must understand that these days were actual days [his Latin text reads, veros dies], contrary to the opinion of the holy fathers. Whenever we observe that the opinions of the fathers disagree with Scripture, we reverently bear with them and acknowledge them to be our elders. Nevertheless, we do not depart from the authority of Scripture for their sakes.49

Luther also affirmed that the world was “young”:

We know from Moses that the world was not in existence before 6,000 years ago.50

Was Luther a Geocentrist?

Some try to dismiss Luther’s powerful testimony on the days of creation by dismissing him as a geocentrist. For example, Hayward irresponsibly resorts to a secondary citation from History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896) by the strident anti-Christian polemicist Andrew Dickson White (see chapter 1, under “Galileo”).51 However, White misleadingly failed to mention that, far from a sustained strong opposition, Luther’s only recorded comment on the issues is a single off-hand remark (hardly a concerted campaign), during a “table talk” in 1539 (four years before the publication of Copernicus’ book). The Table Talk was based on notes taken by Luther’s students, which were later compiled and published in 1566—20 years after Luther’s death. Luther actually said:

Whoever wants to be clever must agree with nothing that others esteem. He must do something of his own. This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down. Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth [Josh. 10:12].

Hayward failed to cite the parts I have italicized. These show that a major reason for Luther’s objection was Copernicus’s challenging the establishment and common sense for its own sake (as Luther saw it). At the time, there was no hard evidence for geokineticism. And Kepler, a devout Lutheran, saw no conflict between the Bible and Lutheran theology. He showed how Joshua 10:12 could be explained as phenomenological language, using Luther’s own principles of biblical interpretation! See chapter 1 for more on geocentrism.

John Calvin (1509–1564)

Calvin was a French lawyer and theologian, and one of the most influential of the Reformers. He became leader of Geneva (Switzerland), which became a refuge for 6,000 Protestants. Calvin founded the University of Geneva in 1559, which attracted many foreign scholars, and still does today. His monumental Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) proclaimed the grace of God and salvation in Jesus Christ. He was also a skilled commentator on books of the Bible, including Genesis. His teachings influenced many confessions, catechisms, preachers, leaders of modern Christian revivals, and were brought to America by the Pilgrim Fathers.52

It’s very interesting that on every point on which CMI disagrees with much of modern Christendom, Calvin took our side.53 For example, Calvin believed that God created in six consecutive normal days:

Here the error of those is manifestly refuted, who maintain that the world was made in a moment. For it is too violent a cavil to contend that Moses distributes the work which God perfected at once into six days, for the mere purpose of conveying instruction. Let us rather conclude that God himself took the space of six days, for the purpose of accommodating his works to the capacity of men.54

I have said above that six days were employed in the formation of the world; not that God, to whom one moment is as a thousand years, had need of this succession of time, but that he might engage us in the contemplation of his works.55

For it is not without significance that he divided the making of the universe into six days, even though it would have been no more difficult for him to have completed in one moment the whole work together in all its details than to arrive at its completion gradually by a progression of this sort.56

Calvin, like Luther, also believed in a “young” earth, and was steadfast although he knew it could come in for ridicule:

They will not refrain from guffaws when they are informed that but little more than five thousand years have passed since the creation of the universe.57

Haak Bible (1637)

The Haak Bible58 was produced by the Dutch Staten Vertaling with a commentary written by Reformed theologians of the Netherlands in the 1600s. Their comments on Genesis in the heyday of the Reformation showed that the leading Reformed scholars maintained the literal meaning of Genesis 1, that the days were 24 hours. The comment on Genesis 1:5, translated into English, reads:

AND GOD CALLED THE LIGHT DAY, AND THE DARKNESS HE CALLED NIGHT; THEN IT HAD BEEN EVENING, AND IT HAD BEEN MORNING THE FIRST DAY. (Heb. ONE DAY. But it is very usual with the Hebrews to put ONE for FIRST, as Genesis 8:5, Numbers 29:1, Matthew 28:1, 1 Corinthians 16:2. The meaning of these words is that night and day had made up one natural day together, which with the Hebrews began with the evening {the darkness having been before the light} and ended with the approach of the next evening, comprehending twenty four hours.)

The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)

After the Bible itself, this is one of the major statements of faith for many Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Statement 4:1 is unambiguous:

It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create or make of nothing the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good.

However, there are certain revisionists, including Ross, who claim (in the face of all the evidence) that when the Reformed Confessions were written, the church did not consider the length of the days, but only that God created. That is, because the text did not explicitly state that the days were 24 hours, they were allowing for the possibility of long days.

However, the Westminster Confession’s statement clearly follows the language of Calvin (above), saying “in the space of six days”. There is no room in the language of either Calvin or the WCF for anything other than normal-length days. There was no need to state the obvious—an employee asking his boss for six days vacation doesn’t have to explain that they are 24-hour days and not long periods of time! Calvin, the Haak Bible, and the WCF reflect the normal orthodox view of the Reformed faith.

Even more importantly, we have more explicit statements from the WCF’s framers themselves! The Westminster Annotations is a five-volume set of annotations on the Scriptures, first printed in 1645—right in the middle of the sitting of the Westminster Assembly. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia explains the later editions of the Westminster Annotations (emphasis added):

In 1657 there was published Annotations upon All the Books of the Old and New Testament. … Wherein the text is explained, doubts resolved, Scriptures paralleled, and various readings observed by the labor of certain learned divines thereunto appointed and therein employed, as is expressed in the preface, 2 vols., London, 1657. This work is usually called the “Assembly’s Annotations”, from the circumstances of its having been composed by members of the Westminster Assembly.59

In particular, they commented specifically on Genesis 1:5, explicitly teaching that the creation days were 24 hours long:

V. 5. God called (Or, decreed it to be so called: for contrary things must be called by contrary names, Isai. 5:20, the light, day) The word day, in the former part of the verse, noteth the day artificial from morning till night, Exod. 16:12, 13, which is the time of light, measured out to twelve hours, John 11:9. Matt. 20:3, 6, which were not more nor fewer, but longer or shorter according to the different proportion of the days in Summer and Winter: the first began with the Sun-rising, and the last ended with the Sun-setting; which division was in use, not only with the Jews, but with the Romans, Cal. Rohdig. Lib. 2. Antiq. Lection, chap. 9, but in the latter part of the verse, the word day, is taken for the day natural, consisting of twenty four houres, which is measured most usually from the Sun-rising to the Sun-rising; or, from the Sun-setting to the Sun-setting: for the use of the word day in this sense, compare Exod. 12:29 with Num. 3:13 & 8:17 the first day.

In the Hebrew, it is one day in number, not expressly the first in order; the like expression we find in Gen 8:5, Numb. 29:1 and it is followed in the Greek, Matth. 28:1, Joh. 20:1, I Cor. 16:2.

This first day consisting of twenty four hours had (as some think) for the first half of it the precedent darknesse, and for the other the light newly created: the night they take to be meant by evening a part of it, and the day by the morning, which is a part of it also: and according to this the Sabbath, (being as large a day as any of the rest, and so containing twenty four hours) is measured from even to even, Leviticus 23:32, the Romans, and other Western Nations, reckon the twenty four hours from mid-night to mid-night; the Egyptians contrariwise from mid-day to mid-day.

Yet it may be with good probability, thought that at the first (according to the Chaldean account, which is quite contrary to the Jewes fore-cited, measuring the day from Sun-rising to Sun-rising) the day natural began with the light: for Even is the declining light of the fore-going day; and the Morning may as well be called the end of the night past, as the beginning of the day following: and so divers of the Learned by the Evening understand the day, as the end thereof, and by Morning the night, at which time it is at an end: for denominations are many times taken from the end, because thereby the thing is made complete; for the whole week is called by the name, Sabbath, Leviticus 23:15 and Luke 18:12. because with it the week is made up and fully finished.

James Ussher (1581–1656)

Ussher was archbishop of Armagh, the highest position in the Irish Anglican Church, a product of the Reformation in England. He was also a noted historian and Hebrew scholar. In 1650, he published his magnum opus, The Annals of the World,60 a 1,600-page tome in Latin on a history of the world covering every major event from the time of creation to AD 70. In this, he calculated the date of creation at October 23, 4004 BC, and this is what he is best known for today.61 But John Lightfoot (1602–1675), vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, was the one responsible for the more precise claim that Adam was created at 9:00 a.m. on October 23. Today, Ussher is widely scoffed at, including by Ross, who wrote (C&T:26–27):

Both Lightfoot and Ussher ignored Hebrew scholarship and assumed that no generations were omitted from mention in the biblical genealogies. They also assumed, based on the wording of the King James Version, that the numbered days of the Genesis creation account could only be six consecutive 24-hour periods.

Ross was even more inflammatory in a RTB comic book he co-authored for kids.62 This disrespectfully portrayed the godly bishop as a fool with dunce-cap-like headgear (see cartoons).

However, Ussher’s date was in the typical ballpark for calculations of his day. He even had good reasons for the October 23rd date,63 although creation hardly stands or falls on such precision. (Note that Ross couldn’t even get that date right on the cartoon, saying October 3.)

And as we have seen, it was the almost universal view of Christendom that the world was only a few thousand years old, the days 24 hours long, and there were tight chronologies in Genesis 5 and 11. So it’s historically absurd to blame this belief on the KJV wording in Genesis, which is followed by nearly all other English translations today. In any case, both these scholars wrote exclusively in Latin! (Besides, the translators of the KJV were no amateurs when it came to the proper translation and interpretation of Genesis, either. They too were convinced young-earth creationists.)

It’s also highly improper for Ross to claim that they ignored Hebrew. Lightfoot was an expert in Hebrew, including the Old Testament, and later Jewish writings called the Talmud and the Midrash, as well as being skilled in Latin and Greek. Ussher was recognized as one of the greatest scholars of his time, being an expert on Semitic languages and ancient history. He was one of only six theologians allowed to address Parliament and the king. In 1628, King James I of England (James VI of Scotland) appointed him to his Privy Council in Ireland. Ussher was critical of Oliver Cromwell’s rebellion against James’s son and successor, Charles I. However, Cromwell also held Ussher in great esteem. When Ussher died in 1656, Cromwell held a magnificent funeral for him and had him buried in Westminster Abbey.

It’s a well-kept secret that some great scientists also calculated creation dates very close to Ussher’s. For example, Johannes Kepler (1571–1630), who formulated the laws of planetary motion, calculated a creation date of 3993 BC (See chart of creation dates below.) Also, Sir Isaac Newton (1643–1727), widely regarded as the greatest scientist of all time, developed the laws of motion, gravity, and calculus. But he wrote more on biblical history than science, and he, too, vigorously defended a creation date of about 4000 BC. According to Cambridge archaeologist and historian Colin Renfrew, as far as Newton was concerned:

For an educated man in the seventeenth or even eighteenth century, any suggestion that the human past extended back further than 6,000 years was a vain and foolish speculation.64

By contrast to Ross’s derogatory treatment of Ussher, famous evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould (1941–2002) treated Ussher very fairly.65 While obviously Gould thought that “Ussher could hardly have been more wrong about 4004 BC”, he argued, “his work was both honorable and interesting—therefore instructive for us today”, and showed that Ussher used the best scholarship available in his day:

I shall be defending Ussher’s chronology as an honorable effort for its time and arguing that our usual ridicule only records a lamentable small-mindedness based on mistaken use of present criteria to judge a distant and different past. …

Ussher represented the best of scholarship in his time. He was part of a substantial research tradition, a large community of intellectuals working toward a common goal under an accepted methodology. …

I close with a final plea for judging people by their own criteria, not by later standards that they couldn’t possibly know or assess”.66

It’s a sad indictment on an ostensibly Christian ministry like RTB that an atheist treated Ussher with the respect he deserves, instead of mockery. One must wonder if we can also look forward to a new comic from Ross, portraying Kepler and Newton as dunces, since they agreed with a creation in about 4000 BC!

Later Conservative Exegetes

John Wesley (1703–1791)

This great evangelist and founder of Methodism never wrote extensively on creation or the Flood, but he explicitly stated his belief that the various rock strata were “doubtless formed by the general Deluge”67 and that the account of creation, which was about 4,000 years before Christ, was, along with the rest of the Scriptures, “void of any material error”. In several published sermons, he repeatedly emphasized that the original creation was perfect, without any moral or physical evil (such as earthquakes,68 volcanoes, diseases,69 weeds or animal death), which both came into the world after man sinned.

Many other conservative commentators, right up till the time of the rise of old-earth “science”, also supported a straightforward understanding of Genesis. Dr Terry Mortenson, in his Ph.D. thesis on the history of geology,70 documents the young-earth views of a number of commentaries in use in the early 19th century.71

Young’s Concordance

This is a well-regarded 19th-century concordance and Bible dictionary. In the entry on creation,72 Young cites a study by Dr Hales,73 which is tabulated below, on the creation dates calculated by a number of authorities.74 As can be seen, they are all around a few thousand years bc, with no hint of millions or billions of years. The differences within biblically based calculations are mainly due to the Old Testament texts and the date assigned to Abraham.

How Interpreters Responded to the Long-Age Challenge

It is very instructive to note how various theologians responded to the challenge to Genesis, first by theories of long ages, then by evolution. As shown, before the rise of these ideas, long ages were not even thought of by conservative exegetes. This is strong evidence that they are not in the text at all.

But when long-age ideas became popular, there were three broad types of responses:

1. Challenging the “Science”

There has always been a remnant who stood firm on Genesis and challenged the long-age conjectures. These included the 19th-century scriptural geologists. They have been largely forgotten, but knowledge of these important figures has been revived by Dr Terry Mortenson’s Ph.D. thesis.75

The Scriptural Geologists

Dr Mortenson identified about 30 scriptural geologists, mainly in Great Britain, but there was never a formal group. They included clergymen and highly trained scientists, and they raised some formidable biblical and geological arguments against long ages. Most of their biblical arguments are still cogent today, and if they had been heeded, much of the church’s capitulation towards Darwinism and liberalism would have been avoided.

According to Dr Mortenson, four of the most geologically competent scriptural geologists were the Scotsmen George Young, George Fairholme, John Murray and William Rhind. Their writings show that they were up to date with the scientific (especially geological) literature of their day, and they extensively investigated in the field as well.

Source of Creation Date Authority Date BC
Alfonso X (Spain, 1200s) Muller 6984
Alfonso X (Spain, 1200s) Strauchius, Gyles76 1632–1682 6484
India Gentil, French astronomer c. 1760 6204
India Arab records 6174
Babylonia Bailly, John Silvain (French astronomer, 1736–1793) 6158
China Bailly 6157
Diogenes Laertius (Greece 3rd Cent.) Playfair 6138
Egypt Bailly 6081
Septuagint (LXX) Albufaragi 5586
Josephus (1st Century Jew) Playfair 5555
Septuagint, Alexandrine Scaliger, Joseph (French classical scholar,1540–1609) 5508
Persia Bailly 5507
Chronicle of Axum, Abyssinian Bruce (1700s) 5500
Josephus Jackson 5481
Jackson 5426
Hales 5411
Josephus Hales 5402
India Megasthenes,77 Greek historian (c. 340–282 BC) 5369
Talmudists Petrus Alliacens 5344
Septuagint, Vatican 5270
Bede (673–735) Strauchius 5199
Josephus Univ. Hist. 4698
Samaritan computation Scaliger 4427
Samaritan text Univ. Hist. 4305
Hebrew (Masoretic) text 4161
Playfair and Walker 4008
Ussher, Spanheim, Calmet, Blair, etc. 4004
Kepler (Astronomer, 1571–1630) Playfair 3993
Petavius (France, 1583–1652) 3984
Melanchthon (Reformer, 1500s) Playfair 3964
Luther (Reformer, 1500s) 3961
Lightfoot 3960
Cornelius a Lapide Univ. Hist. 3951
Scaliger, Isaacson 3950
Strauchius 3949
Vulgar Jewish computation Strauchius 3760
Rabbi Lipman (1579–1654) Univ. Hist. 3616

George Young (1777–1848)

After his training in science and theology, he faithfully served for 42 years as pastor of a Presbyterian church in Whitby, Yorkshire (England), where a great percentage of the so-called “geological column” was exposed in the mines and on the sea coast. He helped found the Whitby museum and was the coastal representative of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society (which focused on natural science), collecting rock and fossil samples. He gave the most thorough analysis of the geological record of any scriptural geologist. Three of his 21 books dealt with geology: Geological Survey of the Yorkshire Coast, Whitby, 1822, with expanded 2nd edition in 1828; Scriptural Geology, London, 1838; and Appendix to Scriptural Geology, London, 1840. He also published geological articles in scientific journals.

George Fairholme (1789–1846)

He was a self-educated wealthy landowner who traveled extensively in Britain and Europe studying geology, geography, fossils, and living creatures. He wrote two large books on the subject of geology: General View of the Geology of Scripture (1833) and New and Conclusive Physical Demonstrations of the Mosaic Deluge (1837), and several science journal articles. These were based on reading, experimentation, and field investigations, and showed him to be a careful observer and thoughtful interpreter of nature. His study of the valley systems of England and Europe along with the erosion of sea coasts and some major waterfalls in Germany and America led to his conclusion that Noah’s flood had occurred about 5,000 years ago. See also chapter 8, under “Scientific Evidence for a Global Flood”.

John Murray (1786?–1851)

Murray attained M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in science, becoming well known and highly regarded throughout Great Britain as a traveling lecturer on physics and chemistry. He developed an impressive breadth of knowledge in many subject areas of both science and literature, but he contributed much to chemistry and mining in particular. He had nearly 20 scientific inventions (including a miner’s safety lamp) which came into practical use. His 28 books and 60 science journal articles addressed subjects in chemistry, physics, medicine, geology, natural history, and manufacturing. He was also a prominent anti-slavery activist, writing a pamphlet strongly arguing for the end of slavery in the colonies. He wrote two books which directly related to geology and the Bible, The Truth of Revelation (1831, expanded edition 1840) and Portrait of Geology, London, 1838.

William Rhind (1797–1874)

Rhind originally trained to be a surgeon and practiced medicine for several years before devoting the rest of his life (most of it spent in Edinburgh) to scientific research, lecturing and writing, primarily in the areas of botany, zoology, and geology. He published six scientific journal articles in the areas of biology, medicine, and geology. Many of his books reflected his strong commitment to seeing good science textbooks made available for the education of children aged 10–18 years. His magnum opus discussing living and fossil plants was his 700–page History of the Vegetable Kingdom (1841), which went through eight editions up to 1877. Three of his adult-level books dealt with geology. Two were purely descriptive and praised by geologists for their accuracy. The Age of the Earth (1838) presented his biblical and geological reasons for rejecting the old-earth theories.

Leupold

Another who stood firmly on Scripture was Dr Herbert Carl Leupold, who lived long after the scriptural geologists. He was a Hebrew scholar and professor of Old Testament theology at Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He refused to be intimidated, recognizing the biases behind uniformitarian geology. In his two-volume commentary on Genesis (1942), he wrote about Genesis 1:5, and rejected the day-age theory. It’s notable that Leupold countered arguments which were hardly any different from what Ross uses today. This was instructive in noting how the lexical support for the day-age theory has always been non-existent. However, this doesn’t stop long-age compromisers from raising the same tired old canards as if no young-earth creationist had ever addressed them. Leupold wrote:

There ought to be no need of refuting the idea that yôm means period. Reputable dictionaries like Buhl,78 Brown–Driver–Briggs, or K.W.79 know nothing of this notion. Hebrew dictionaries are our primary source of reliable information concerning Hebrew words. Commentators with critical leanings utter statements that are very decided in this instance. Says Skinner: “The interpretation of yôm as aeon, a favorite resource of harmonists of science and revelation, is opposed to the plain sense of the passage and has no warrant in Hebrew usage”. Dillmann remarks: “The reasons advanced by ancient and modern writers for construing these days to be longer periods of time are inadequate”. There is one other meaning of the word “day” which some misapprehend by failing to think through its exact bearing: yôm may mean “time” in a very general way, as in 2:4 beyôm, or Isa. 11:16; cf. BDB p. 399, No. 6, for numerous illustrations. But that use cannot substantiate so utterly different an idea as “period”. These two conceptions lie far apart. References to expressions like “the day of the Lord” fail to invalidate our contentions above. For “the day of the Lord” as BDB rightly defines, p. 399, No. 3, is regarded “chiefly as the time of His coming in judgment, involving often blessedness for the righteous”.

Other arguments to the contrary carry very little weight. If it be claimed that some works can, with difficulty, be compressed within twenty-four hours, like those of the third day or the sixth, that claim may well be described as a purely subjective opinion. He that desires to reason it out as possible can assemble fully as many arguments as he who holds the opposite opinion. Or if it be claimed that “the duration of the seventh day determines the rest”, let it be noted that nothing is stated about the duration of the seventh. This happens to be an argument from silence, and therefore it is exceptionally weak. Or again, if it be claimed that “the argument of the fourth (our third) commandment confirms this probability”, we find in this commandment even stronger confirmation of our contention: six twenty-four hour days followed by one such day of rest alone can furnish a proper analogy for our laboring six days and resting on the seventh day; periods furnish a poor analogy for days.

Finally, the contention that our conception “contradicts geology” is inaccurate. It merely contradicts one school of thought in the field of geology, a school of thought of which we are convinced that it is hopelessly entangled in misconceptions which grow out of attempts to co-ordinate the actual findings of geology with an evolutionistic conception of what geology should be, and so is for the present thrown into a complete misreading of the available evidence, even as history, anthropology, Old Testament studies and many other sciences have been derailed and mired by the same attempt.80

2. Conservative Capitulation

Nigel Cameron81 and Doug Kelly82 have documented how most conservative commentators were intimidated by “science”. It is only after the rise of science that we see the invention of ways to add millions of years to the Bible. The conservative exegetes were trying to preserve Scripture this way, but in adopting these hermeneutics, they were in effect placing science in authority over the Bible. In chapter 1, we showed this to be true also for modern conservatives who oppose literal days.

In this category, there are two main views, concordism and discordism. Concordism tries to preserve Genesis as history and reinterprets certain passages. Discordant views regard Genesis as non-historical, and tend towards full-blown theistic evolution.

Concordism

The following are the two most widespread compromise concordist views. They have already been discussed in more detail in chapter 2. This chapter is giving the historical perspective, to show that they are aberrations of church history.

Gap Theory

The idea of a gap of millions of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 was virtually unknown until Thomas Chalmers (1780–1847), founder of the Free Church of Scotland and popular evangelical preacher, started promoting it. As a very young pastor in 1804 (seven years before he became an evangelical), he startled his congregation by telling them that millions of years was compatible with Scripture. In response to Cuvier’s catastrophist theory in 1813, Chalmers began to argue against the day-age view and for the gap theory and persuaded many Christians.83 The idea of a gap was “canonized” for some Christians when C.I. Scofield included it in the footnotes of the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909. But many gap theorists admit explicitly that their motivation (as it was for Chalmers) is to find a place in the Bible to fit millions of years.

Day-Age

This is Ross’s view, which makes him a concordist. As we have seen, his attempts to find this view in early church fathers fall flat. In fact, a respected evangelical Anglican theologian in the 1820s, George Stanley Faber, was the first theologian to use this interpretation of Genesis 1 to harmonize the Bible with the supposed millions of years of geological ages.84 This view was not widely accepted in the church (the gap theory was preferred by most compromisers) until the Scottish geologist and professing evangelical, Hugh Miller (1802–1856), abandoned the gap theory and started promoting the day-age view in his book Testimony of the Rocks. This was published in the year after his untimely death (by suicide). He speculated that the days were really long ages. Miller held that Noah’s flood was a local flood and that the rock layers were laid down over long periods of time.

Discordism

There is one main view in this camp if one wants to maintain any semblance of conservative Christianity (the alternative is liberalism, which denies the authority of Scripture completely):

Literary Framework Hypothesis

This view is popular among compromising evangelical academics who can see the futility of day-age and gap theory compromises. But it’s strange, if it were the true meaning of the text, that no one interpreted Genesis this way until Arie Noordtzij in 1924. Actually, it’s not so strange, because the leading framework exponents, Meredith Kline and Henri Blocher, admitted that their rationale for a bizarre, novel interpretation was a desperation to fit the Bible into the alleged “facts” of science (see chapter 1, “Authority”).

3. Liberal Theologians

In contrast to conservatives, the liberals saw no need to try to preserve biblical authority. So the liberals saw no need for the conservative rationalizations. Rather, it suited their purpose that the “facts of science” undermined biblical authority. But they gave not the slightest credence to the compromise views, because they could see that such views didn’t line up with the grammar of Scripture. They could also point out that the compromise views were novelties and not thought of before the rise of long-age “science”. Here are two exemplars, one from the 19th century and one from the 20th.

Marcus Dods (1834–1909)

Dods was a Scottish theologian and author, who became professor of New Testament exegesis and then principal of New College, Edinburgh. He wrote:

If, for example, the word “day” in these chapters does not mean a period of twenty-four hours, the interpretation of scripture is hopeless.85

James Barr

James Barr was a leading Hebrew scholar, and Oriel Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture, Oxford University, England. His studies on Hebrew word meanings were a milestone, overthrowing the faulty methodology of trying to derive meaning from etymology (derivation), or the “root fallacy”. While he would be on the liberal side of any liberal/conservative divide, he would be more properly regarded as a neo-Orthodox interpreter. So he does not believe Genesis, but he understood what the Hebrew so clearly teaches:

… probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that:

  1. creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience,
  2. the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story,
  3. Noah’s flood was understood to be worldwide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark.86

Some try to avoid the force of Barr’s argument by pointing out that Barr was an avowed enemy of inerrancy, but they miss the whole point. That is, he is a hostile witness, which of course makes the case even more strongly. He knows what Genesis really means, even though he doesn’t believe it.

Another counter is to try to claim that by “world-class university” he means one where the faculty accepts the same rationalistic view as Barr. There are genuine Hebrew scholars, such as Walter Kaiser, Gleason Archer, C. Laird Harris, and Bruce Waltke, who disagree. But they make it clear that they agree that the plain meaning is as Barr says, and they disagree because of so-called “science”. And Barr was talking about leading Hebrew scholars at universities widely recognized as leading, such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, etc.

Interpreters Bible

This is a standard commentary for liberal “scholarship”, and it continued the liberal tradition of accepting the way that “day” has been understood throughout church history:

There can be no question that by day the author meant just what we mean—the time required for one revolution of the earth on its axis.87

Response to Such Evidence by a Ross Disciple

Don Stoner is a B.S. (B.Sc.) physicist who, likewise, places “science” above the Bible and defends an old earth. Hugh Ross wrote the foreword to his book A New Look at an Old Earth. But Stoner tacitly acknowledged, unlike Ross, that long-age interpretations were almost absent until the last two centuries. He explained this away by, astonishingly, invoking passages stating that God sometimes hides the truth.88 For example, he noted that Matthew 11:25 says:

At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank you, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes”.

But as the Reformed Baptist theologian John Gill (1697–1771) pointed out in his extensive commentary:

because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent. The “things” he means are the doctrines of the Gospel; such as respect himself, his person, as God, and the Son of God; his office, as Messiah, Redeemer, and Saviour; and the blessings of grace, righteousness, and salvation by him. …

The persons from whom these things were hid, are “the wise and prudent”; in things worldly, natural, and civil; men of great parts and learning, of a large compass of knowledge, having a considerable share of sagacity, penetration, and wisdom; or, at least, who were wise and prudent in their own conceits, as were the Scribes and Pharisees … who thus applaud themselves at the eating of the passover every year, and say … “we are all wise, we are all prudent, we all understand the law”.

… babes; foolish ones, comparatively speaking, who have not those natural parts, learning, and knowledge others have, that wisdom and prudence in worldly and civil things; and are so in their own account, and in the esteem of the world; and who are as babes, helpless, defenseless, and impotent of themselves, to do or say anything that is spiritually good, and are sensible of the same: now to such souls God reveals the covenant of his grace, Christ, and all the blessings of grace in him, the mysteries of the Gospel, and the unseen glories of another world.89

Therefore, Stoner completely misconstrues this passage—the “wise” were those proud of their own worldly wisdom, while the “babes” were those humble enough to rely on God’s grace. The application to a later age would mean that the “wise” were those who despise biblical revelation in favor of human “reason”, while the “babes” were those who allow themselves to be instructed by biblical truth. However, it is the former who invented long-age ideas, while it was never dreamt of by those who relied on the Bible alone. A logical implication of Stoner’s argument, and probably the most disturbing aspect of his book, is that God deliberately hid the alleged “truth” of long ages from the most devout and knowledgeable exegetes in Christian history. Instead, God revealed that supposed truth to deists, agnostics, and atheists—who then used this “truth” to mock the Bible! How any professing Christian can think this way about God and truth is mystifying.

Conclusion

Despite Ross’s attempts to claim that his day-age view has been held by exegetes throughout the ages, this claim backfires on him. Rather, the vast majority of exegetes, from the early church fathers through the Reformers and up to the early 19th century, believed that the creation days were 24 hours long. Even those who did not accept literal days erred in the opposite direction from Ross, by allegorizing the six days into an instant. Furthermore, those who commented on the age of the earth, whether taking the six days allegorically or literally, affirmed that the earth was less than 10,000 years old at the time they wrote—most said it was less than 6,000 years.

Analyzing the reactions of commentators to billions of years and evolution is instructive. The liberals, not caring about biblical authority, were and are happy to affirm that it meant what people had always thought it had meant and that it was simply wrong because “science” is always right. However, conservative commentators have tried to preserve biblical inerrancy by reinterpreting Genesis to fit with long-age “science”. The fact that these views were unknown before the rise of uniformitarian “science” is strong evidence that these views are not grounded in the biblical text itself but are a (misguided) reaction to this “science”.

Epilogue: Quiet Retraction on Dr Ross’ Website

At some time after my book was published, the quote on pp. 106–107 disappeared from his website. Instead, we have this admission:

Mook also takes aim at Dr. Hugh Ross’ claims on this subject.90 Ross’ earliest statements claim that Irenaeus, Origen, Basil, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas taught that the creation days were long periods of time, which Mook rejects as incorrect. In later books, Ross has backed away from many of those claims but still argues that Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and several others taught that the days of creation were 1,000 years each. Mook concludes that while Ross become [sic] more nuanced in his claims, he remains substantially wrong.

Unfortunately, few old earth creationists have written about the church fathers and what little they have written is often poor quality (with Stanley Jaki as a notable exception). This scarcity of solid resources is part of what motivated me to research this issue for myself.

Based on my own research, no early church father taught any form of a day-age view or an earth older than 10,000 years. In fact, the first people that I can clearly identify as teaching the old-earth view are Isaac Newton and Thomas Burnet in the late seventeenth century. This seems like a fatal blow to old-earth creationism and a strong vindication of Mook’s position but closer examination shows otherwise.91

As above, the author admits that Ross has retracted his claims, and tacitly admits that his research was “poor quality”. But then the rest of his paper tries to explain why the the Church Fathers don’t matter after all, although Ross had claimed that they mattered a lot—if they backed him!

Table 3.1: Specific Statements Made by the Writers in the Early Church Age Concerning the Days of Creation

Writer Date 24 hrs Figurative Unclear Reference
Philo c 20 BC–c AD 50 X Creation 13
Josephus AD 37/38–c 100 X Antiquities 1.1.1 (1.27–33)
Justin Martyr c 100–c 165 X
Tatian 110–180 X
Theophilus of Antioch c 180 X Autolycus 2.11–12
Irenaeus of Lyons c 115–202 X
Clement of Alexandria c 150–c 215 X Miscellanies 6.16
Tertullian c 160–c 225 X
Julius Africanus c 160–240 X
Hippolytus of Rome 170–236 X Genesis, 1.5
Origen 185–253 X Celsus 6.50, 60
Methodius d. 311 X Chastity 5.7
Lactantius 240–320 X Institutes 7.14
Victorinus of Pettau d. c 304 X Creation
Eusebius of Caesarea 263–339 X
Ephrem the Syrian 306–373 X Commentary on Genesis 1.1
Epiphanius of Salamis 315–403 X Panarion 1.1.1
Basil of Caesarea 329–379 X Hexaëmeron 2.8
Gregory of Nyssa 330–394 X
Gregory of Nazianzus 330–390 X
Cyril of Jerusalem d. 387 X Catechetical Lectures 12.5
Ambrose of Milan 339–397 X Hexaëmeron 1.10.3–7
 John Chrysostom 374–407 X
Jerome 347–419/420 X
Augustine of Hippo 354–430 X Literal, 4.22.39

History of interpretation about the Flood

History of interpretation about the Flood
(Extract from Ch. 8)

One of many areas of inconsistent reasoning on Ross’s part involves the selective citing of Church Fathers. As shown in the chapter ‘History of Interpretation’ [above], Ross alleges that most of the Church Fathers believed that the Days in Genesis 1 were long periods of time. I showed that Ross’s claim is false. So let us see if he is any better on the Church Fathers’ attitudes towards a local flood—a position which Ross completely endorses (GQ chs. 17–18). It turns out that most of the Church Fathers, notably Tertullian, Pseudo-Eustatius, and Procopius, as well as those in the table below, accepted a global Flood.92 Many of them strongly reacted against local flood ideas held by all the Greek philosophers (including Plato) except for Xenophon. Only Pseudo-Justin seems to have supported a local flood.

Table 8.1: The opinion of ancient writers concerning the extent of Noah’s Flood93

Writer Date Extent of Flood Reference
Local Global
Philo c.20 BC – c.AD 50 X Abraham, 41–44
Josephus AD 37/38–100 X Antiquities, 1.3.4 (1.89)
Justin Martyr c.100–c.165 X Dialogue, 138
Theophilus of Antioch Wrote c.180 X Autolycus, 3.18–19
Tertullian c.160–c.225 X Pallium, 2; Women, 3
Gregory of Nazianzus 330–390 X 2nd Theol. Orat. 18
John Chrysostom 374–407 X Genesis, 25.10
Augustine of Hippo 354–430 X City 15.27

So, if Ross were to be consistent in his use of Church Fathers as authority figures, he, too, would feel obligated to support a global Flood.

Calvin94 is another who supported a global Flood:

And the flood was forty days, &c. Moses copiously insists on this fact, in order to show that the whole world was immersed in the waters.95

Ross (GQ Ch. 11) emulates anti-creationists such as the apostate Ron Numbers,96 in claiming that flood geology is a recent aberration invented by George McCready Price (1870–1963). Price was a Seventh-Day Adventist who wrote a number of books in the 1910s and 20s criticizing evolution and long ages and defending a global Flood. Ross criticizes Whitcomb and Morris97 for ostensibly not giving sufficient credit to Price for his ideas on flood geology (GQ:89), despite the fact that he is mentioned a number of times in their text. Ross goes even further, attributing biblical creationism and flood geology to ‘the visions of an Adventist prophetess [Ellen White]’ via George McCready Price.

Ken Ham pointed out that he had never even heard of Price at the time he helped found CSF/AiG, and that he adopted six-day creation and a global Flood because of the biblical teaching.98 I likewise became a YEC on biblical grounds long before hearing of Price.

But as Dr Terry Mortenson demonstrated in his Ph.D. thesis, early 19th-century Scriptural geologists presented such ideas well before Price (see above). Furthermore, Price and White were simply taking Genesis 1–11 as literal history just as the Scriptural geologists and virtually all earlier Christians had done. So even if Ross were right about Price, he is wrong to think that discrediting Price is enough to refute creationism—this is a classic case of the genetic fallacy.

With such serious logical fallacies in Ross’s book, it is astonishing that it was endorsed by Christian philosopher J.P. Moreland, who is usually very astute at spotting such fallacies. (One might wonder whether he actually read it?)

Hugh Ross also appears to have different expectations of other authors, as opposed to him, when it comes to giving proper bibliographic credit for predecessors’ ideas. But when Ross discusses the alleged evidences (GQ Ch. 18) for a local flood in his own book, the reader is given the impression that the ideas originated with Ross himself. No mention at all is made of the fact that all, or virtually, all, of the arguments advanced by Ross could have been copied from 19th-century local-flood advocates.

One of the most influential was the evangelical Congregationalist theologian, John Pye Smith (1774–1851). In the late 1830s, he wrote two books advocating that the Flood was restricted to the Mesopotamian Valley (essentially modern-day Iraq).99,100 Evangelicals rightly decried this at first, but eventually yesterday’s heresy became today’s orthodoxy, an all-too-familiar story in Church history. Local flood advocates have repeated Pye Smith’s arguments without much refinement to this day.

James Hutton (1726–97)

The Scotsman James Hutton is often called ‘the Founder of Modern Geology’. He was the originator of the doctrine of slow and gradual changes over vast eons of time. He was actually not trained as a geologist, but in medicine. He turned to farming for many years before eventually becoming interested in geology. In his Theory of the Earth (1795), he proposed that the continents were gradually and continually being eroded into the ocean basins. These sediments were then gradually hardened and raised by the internal heat of the earth to form new continents, which would be gradually eroded into the ocean again. With this slow cyclical process in mind, Hutton said that he could see ‘no vestige of a beginning’ to the earth.

Hutton’s bias was clear. In 1785, before examining the evidence he proclaimed:

the past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now … No powers are to be employed that are not natural to the globe, no action to be admitted except those of which we know the principle (emphasis added).101

Hutton’s principle for interpreting the rocks is a not a refutation of the biblical teaching of creation and the Flood, but a dogmatic refusal to consider them as even possible explanations.

Charles Lyell (1797–1875)

Hutton’s view became geological dogma through the work of the lawyer Charles Lyell in the 1830s, due to his three-volume Principles of Geology in 1830. Lyell built on Hutton’s ideas,102 and insisted that the geological features of the earth can, and indeed must, be explained by slow gradual processes of erosion, sedimentation, earthquakes and volcanism operating at essentially the same rate and power as we observe today. He rejected any notion of regional or global catastrophism. He assumed that earthquakes, volcanoes and floods in the past were no more frequent or powerful on average compared to those in the present. By the 1840s, his view became the ruling paradigm in geology.

Even some modern evolutionists acknowledge that Lyell was biased and unscientific, driven by antibiblical philosophical assumptions, whereas the ‘catastrophists’ of his day (who believed in a Flood catastrophe) were more empirically based followers of the scientific method (though most of them did not believe that the global Flood was responsible for most of the sedimentary rock layers and did also believe in an earth much older than the Bible teaches).103 Stephen Jay Gould (1941–2002), himself a leading evolutionist, wrote:

Charles Lyell was a lawyer by profession, and his book is one of the most brilliant briefs published by an advocate. … Lyell relied upon true bits of cunning to establish his uniformitarian views as the only true geology. First, he set up a straw man to demolish. In fact, the catastrophists were much more empirically minded than Lyell. The geologic record does seem to require catastrophes: rocks are fractured and contorted; whole faunas are wiped out. To circumvent this literal appearance, Lyell imposed his imagination upon the evidence. The geologic record, he argued, is extremely imperfect and we must interpolate into it what we can reasonably infer but cannot see. The catastrophists were the hard-nosed empiricists of their day, not the blinded theological apologists.104

The biblically faithful, early 19th century ‘Scriptural geologists’ were even more empirical than the old-earth catastrophists (see above). But being an atheist, Gould did not care to mention them or was perhaps even ignorant of their existence.

One infamous example of Lyell’s bias was his decision to ignore eyewitness accounts of the rate of erosion of Niagara Falls, and publish a different figure to suit his purpose.105

The label ‘uniformitarianism’ was coined by the great historian and philosopher of science, William Whewell (1794–1866), who also invented the term ‘catastrophism,’ the old-earth theory dominant just prior to Lyell.

Uniformitarian bias prophesied by the Apostle Peter

The a priori rejection of global catastrophes is just what the Apostle Peter prophesied would happen. 2 Peter 3:3–7 states:

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and with water. By water also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

Hutton was probably a deist,106 i.e. he believed that there was a god who created, but then never intervened later in his creation in any miraculous ways. His god was much like a watchmaker who makes a watch, winds it up and then lets it run according to the way that he made it to operate. As a reviewer of two recent Hutton biographies wrote:

The Scottish 18th-century natural philosopher James Hutton was a deist whose theology allowed his mind “to grow giddy looking so far into the abyss of time.”

So, consistent with Peter’s prophecy, Hutton didn’t deny a creation,107 but said that things had been going on at a constant rate since a creation in the unknowable past. Hutton’s decree fulfilled Peter’s prophecy of the scoffers who ‘deliberately forget’ about the past judgment by water.

Some Ross supporters like Dr James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, evidently believe the overwhelming biblical evidence for a global Flood, but fail to see the inconsistency of this position with billions of years. A global Flood would have laid down a vast thickness of fossil-bearing sedimentary rock in a year, which would nullify much geological ‘evidence’ for billions of years. This is precisely what Hutton and his followers were trying to avoid, and the millions of years was a corollary of denying the Flood. Therefore, accepting that the fossil record was formed over billions of years eliminates any evidence for the Flood. Ross is more consistent, and believes the Flood was restricted to Mesopotamia.

Evolutionary geology inspired evolutionary biology

In order to better understand why Hugh Ross denies the global nature of the Noachian Deluge, for ostensibly scientific reasons, it’s important to examine his thought process when it comes to the earth’s past. Too often misguided believers focus only on organic evolution and fail to appreciate how conventionally accepted geologic evolution thwarts the Scriptures just as much. In fact, old-earth geology provided the foundation for Darwin’s theory.

Darwin and uniformitarian geology

One of the greatest influences on Darwin, for example, was a book he took on the Beagle voyage, Principles of Geology, by Charles Lyell, which pushed the idea of slow and gradual geological processes occurring over millions of years, and denied the global Noachian Flood.

But Lyell convinced Darwin, who eventually linked slow and gradual geological processes with slow and gradual biological processes. For example, he said that mountains were the products of thousands of small rises. The PBS television series Evolution, Episode 1, portrays Darwin saying, ‘Time, unimaginable tracts of time, is the key’, and arguing that if small changes over ages can throw up mountains, so small changes accumulating over ages in animals can produce new structures.

Since Hutton was the inspiration for Lyell, Darwin was thus indirectly influenced by him as well. Also, Hutton probably had a more direct influence on Darwin’s biology as well, by anticipating the idea of natural selection as a creative force.

Not only Darwin, but also many prevailing churchmen of his day, such as John Pye Smith (above), had capitulated to uniformitarian ideas. Even some leading ‘anti-evolutionists’ had capitulated to long ages, for example Adam Sedgwick (1785–1873), professor of geology at Cambridge and Darwin’s mentor, and William Buckland (1784–1856), his counterpart at Oxford. It was worse that they were ordained clergymen, so the public tended to trust these men who betrayed their confidence.

Evolutionary geology influences Ross

It soon becomes obvious that Ross openly cites the conclusions of conventional evolutionary geology as ‘evidences’ against a global Flood (GQ ch. 18).

Throughout The Genesis Question, Hugh Ross lists the conventional isotopic dates used by geologists as if they were gospel truth, and then constructs his theological speculations around them. The unsuspecting reader does not even get a glimpse of the countless flaws, contradictions, selective usage,108 etc., involved on a widespread scale109,110 whenever these dating methods are applied in practice (see also ch. 12).

In chapter 1, I noted how Ross wants to eat his scientific cake and have it, too. I.e. he argues against YECs by appealing to majority opinion about ‘science’ when it comes to vast ages in astronomy, but he contradicts majority opinion among biologists about biological evolution. This also applies to Ross’s acceptance of conventional evolutionary historical geology. While claiming to reject the transformation of one life-form into another (evolutionary biology), Ross clearly accepts the evolutionary interpretation that the fossil sequence represents a succession of life forms appearing over millions of years. Then he attempts to weave the events of Genesis 1 around it. In doing so, Ross ends up, ironically, performing the very thing which he condemns (GQ:16):

But, because the Bible does have the capacity to communicate to all generations of humanity, many Bible interpreters are tempted to read into the text far too much of the science of their time.

Note, from the ensuing quotations, that Ross unquestionably believes in a slowly-evolving Earth, a sequential appearance of life-forms on Earth over long periods of time, and sequential disappearance (extinction) of the same:

The erosion rate changes as the land masses increase and Earth’s rotation rate decreases (rotation has slowed as a consequence of tidal interactions between the earth and the sun and the moon by a factor of about three during the past four billion years) (GQ:27).

Earth’s geology testifies that marine life did indeed arise before all other life-forms (GQ:29).

In this respect, Ross’s position is no different from that of the standard evolutionist. And when it comes to origin-of-life theories, only the rather vague ‘God-was-behind-it’ concept otherwise separates his view from that of the standard atheistic evolutionist:

Between 3.5 and 3.86 billion years ago, dozens of life-exterminating bombardment events took place (for example, collisions with enormous asteroids). Apparently, life originated and reoriginated as many as fifty times within the 360-million-year time span (GQ:40).

Clearly, the position held by Ross is a hybrid of what is usually considered theistic evolution and progressive creation.

Now, Ross insists that he literally accepts the Genesis account, although, as noted, he has a non-literal way of using the word ‘literal’ (GQ:86). But, if one is to be a biblical literalist, one wonders where in Genesis 1–2 one can read about the ‘3.5 and 3.86 billion years ago’ and the ‘… life originated and re-originated as many as fifty times within the 360 million-year time span.’

What kind of literalism is that? Someone could just as easily suggest that life arose on Earth when a magic supergiant spider came from Mars. Unfortunately, one of its legs broke off, but then this leg subsequently diversified into all the life-forms found in the Cambrian strata, then some time afterwards, another leg broke off and diversified into other life forms that appear ‘later’. Following Ross’s logic, a proponent of this theory would be just as much a biblical ‘literalist’ as Ross claims to be.

Considering his acceptance of evolutionary geology as unassailable truth, Ross ends up actually mixing interpretations with facts. The reader of Ross’s book gets only one side of the story. Nowhere does the reader get even an inkling of the amount of interpretation that goes into the construction of fossil sequences in conventional evolutionary geology.

The reader is not told, for instance, that only a fraction of the superposed fossils can be found at any one location on Earth,111 or that, in terms of ‘time’, fossils tend to overlap more than one geologic period.112 And even this does not include the many fossils found in ‘wrong’ strata113—which must be explained away as redeposited (whether justified by independent evidence or not). In ch. 12, I show how much other alleged old-earth ‘proof’ fits best under a biblical Creation/Fall/Flood model.114

Ross asserts that fossiliferous marine deposits predate the Noachian Deluge by many millions of years (GQ:154). This is the very crux of the matter! Ross must necessarily try to relegate the Flood to a local or regional event because of the fact that his acceptance of evolutionary geology, and its timescale, prevents him from admitting that the Flood could have been a major cause of the fossiliferous deposits that are underneath our feet in most parts of the world!

No doubt Ross believes that the local-flood position makes the Bible more credible to scientists and other intellectuals. He has also resorted to guilt by association—Ross complains that a TV documentary about the alleged discovery of the ‘Ark’ gave the sceptics an easy target (GQ:165–167). The obvious implication is that it’s all the fault of global Flood proponents, although the major global Flood organizations have repudiated such claimed discoveries.115 Many global Flood proponents even agree with Ross that the Ark is unlikely to be found because its timber would probably have been used for construction. So this is not an insight unique to local-flood proponents.

Instead, the opposite is correct. Trying to make the Bible teach a local flood draws the contempt of unbelievers, who are prone to see it an evasion of the plain meaning of the biblical text to try to make the Bible rationally acceptable to sceptics.116 And as stated, the compromises failed in Darwin’s day, so there is no reason to expect a better fate today.

References and notes

  1. Ross, H.N., Creation and Time, Navpress, Colorado Springs, 1994. Return to text.
  2. Ross, H.N., The Genesis Question, Navpress, 1998 (hardcover). References to this book will generally use the pagination of his second (paperback) edition, 2001. Return to text.
  3. Sarfati, J.D., Exposé of NavPress’s new Hugh Ross book: The Genesis Question, J. Creation 13(2):22–30, 1999; creation.com/ross_gq. Return to text.
  4. This refers to people before the First Ecumenical Council of the Catholic (universal) Church at Nicaea in Bithynia (now Isnik, Turkey) in AD 325. It was called by the Roman Emperor Constantine and attended by over 300 bishops. It resulted in the condemnation of the Arian heresy that taught, as do modern Jehovah’s Witnesses, that Jesus was a created being, and led to the Nicene Creed, a summary of true Christian doctrine accepted by Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. Return to text.
  5. “Biblical Evidence for Long Creation Days”, reasons.org/resources/apologetics/longdays.html, accessed 1 Dec 2002, apparently withdrawn since this book was first published. Return to text.
  6. Van Bebber, M. and Taylor, P.S., Creation and Time: A report on the Progressive Creationist book by Hugh Ross, Eden Productions, Mesa, AZ, 1994. Return to text.
  7. Lewis, J.P., “The Days of Creation: An Historical Survey of Interpretation”, JETS 32(4):433–455 (December 1989). Return to text. See also Kulikovsky, A.S., Creation and Genesis: An Historical Survey, Creation Research Society Quarterly 43(4), 14–20, March 2007.
  8. Rose, S., Genesis, Creation and Early Man (Platina, CA: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2000). Mortenson, T., “Orthodoxy and Genesis: What the Fathers Really Taught”, [review of Rose, entry above], J. Creation 16(3):48–53 (2002); creation.com/seraphim. Return to text.
  9. Duncan, J.L. and Hall, D., “The 24-Hour View”, in Hagopian, D.G., The Genesis Debate: Three Views on the Days of Creation (Mission Viejo, CA: Crux Press, 2001), p. 21–66, 95–119. Return to text.
  10. This figure comes from the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the OT, c. 250 BC However, this is demonstrably inflated. For a defense of the primacy of the Masoretic text versus the Septuagint (LXX) and Samaritan Pentateuch, see P. Williams, “Some Remarks Preliminary to a Biblical Chronology”, J. Creation 12(1):98–106 (1998); creation.com/chronology, and Cosner, L. and Carter, R., The Masoretic text of Genesis 5 and 11 is still the most reliable, creation.com/smith-response, 4 Jun 2019. Return to text.
  11. Young, D.A., Christianity and the Age of the Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982), p. 19, 22. Return to text.
  12. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 1(1):1, in W. Whiston, tr., The Works of Josephus (Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, n.d.), p. 25; numbers rendered in numerals; ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-1.htm. Return to text.
  13. Basil, Hexaëmeron 2:8, AD 370, newadvent.org/fathers/32012.htm. Return to text.
  14. A. Steinmann, Echad as an Ordinal Number and the Meaning of Genesis 1:5”, JETS 45(4):577–584 (Dec 2002). Return to text.
  15. Young, D.A., Christianity and the Age of the Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982), p. 22. Return to text.
  16. Batten, D., “Genesis Means What It Says According to Great Church Father, Basil of Caesarea (AD 329–379)”, Creation 16(4):23, creation.com/basil. Return to text.
  17. Ambrose, Hexaëmeron, AD 393; as cited by the Roman Catholic website; catholic.com/library/Creation_and_Genesis.asp. Return to text.
  18. The webmaster of the site in the previous footnote, much like Ross, claims this and other patristic quotes as proof that “There was wide variation of opinion on how long creation took. Some said only a few days; others argued for a much longer, indefinite period”. However, they do nothing of the kind, as shown here. This webmaster makes it clear that a major motivation is to avoid conflicts with “modern cosmology”. Return to text.
  19. Ambrose, Hexaëmeron 1.10.3–7, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 10:187–188. Return to text.
  20. Forster, R. and Marston, P., Reason, Science and Faith (Crowborough, East Sussex: Monarch Books, 1999). See also Kulikovsky, A.S., “Fostering Fallacy: Review of Forster and Marston”, review of above book, J. Creation 16(2):31–36, 2002; . Return to text.
  21. Young, D.A., Christianity and the Age of the Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982), p. 20. Return to text.
  22. Talmud, Sanhedrin 97a and 97b. Return to text.
  23. Lactantius, Divine Institutes 7:14. Return to text.
  24. Williams, P., Some remarks preliminary to a Biblical chronology, J. Creation 12(1):98–106 (1998); creation.com/chronology. This shows that the Masoretic text is likely to be the original. See also Cosner, L. and Carter, R., The Masoretic text of Genesis 5 and 11 is still the most reliable, creation.com/smith-response, 4 Jun 2019. Return to text.
  25. Irenaeus, Heresies 5.28.3 (Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:557).Thomas Holsinger-Friesen, Irenaeus and Genesis, Eisenbrauns, IN, 2009. Return to text.
  26. Ibid., (1:551–552). Return to text.
  27. Book of Jubilees (c. 105–153 BC) 4:29. Return to text.
  28. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with the Jew Trypho, 81 (Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:239–240). Return to text.
  29. “Biblical Evidence for Long Creation Days”, reasons.org/resources/apologetics/longdays.html, accessed 1 Dec 2002 , apparently withdrawn since this book was first published. Return to text.
  30. Philo, in Paul J. Achtemeier, editor, Harper’s Bible Dictionary (San Francisco, CA: Harper and Row, 1985). Return to text.
  31. Origen, Contra Celsum (Against Celsus) 1.19, Ante-Nicene Fathers 4:404. Return to text.
  32. See also Zuiddam, B., Augustine: young earth creationist—theistic evolutionists take Church Father out of context, Reformatorisch Dagblad (Reformed Daily), 15 Apr 2009; creation.com/augustine. See also Cosner, L. and Sarfati, J., Non-Christian philosopher clears up myths about Augustine and the term ‘literal’, J. Creation 27(2):9–10, 2013; creation.com/augustine-myths-debunked. Return to text.
  33. See J.H. Taylor’s introduction to St. Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Taylor, J.H., transl. (New York: Newman Press, 1982), 1:5. Return to text.
  34. Augustine, De Civitate Dei (The City of God), 12(10). Return to text.
  35. The early 20th century evolutionist director of the American Museum of Natural History, Henry Fairfield Osborn, showed in his book From the Greeks to Darwin (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1929) that all the essential ideas of Darwin’s theory can be found in the writings of the ancient Greeks long before Augustine or even Christ. Return to text.
  36. Augustine, The City of God, Books VIII–XVI, Walsh, G.G. and Monahan, G., transl. (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1952), p. 265, 267. Return to text.
  37. Hayward, A., Creation and Evolution: The Facts and the Fallacies (London: Triangle, SPCK, 1985), p. 70. Return to text.
  38. Augustine, The City of God 14:9. Return to text.
  39. Russell, J.B., Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians (New York: Praeger, 1991). Return to text.
  40. Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Taylor, J.H., transl. (New York: Newman Press, 1982), 2.13.27. Return to text.
  41. From Robert Bradshaw’s in-depth study, Genesis, Creationism and the Early Church, chapter 3; robibradshaw.com, 13 Aug 2003. Return to text.
  42. Bradshaw, R., Genesis, Creationism and the Early Church, chapter 3; robibradshaw.com, 13 Aug 2003. Return to text.
  43. Ibid. Return to text.
  44. Ibid. Return to text.
  45. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, First Part, Question 69: On the Work of the Third Day, 1265–1274. Return to text.
  46. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, First Part, Question 73. The things that belong to the seventh day. Return to text.
  47. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, First Part, Question 74, All the seven days in common. Return to text.
  48. Martin Luther in Pelikan, J., editor, Luther’s Works, Lectures on Genesis (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1958), chapters 1–5, 1:6. Return to text.
  49. E.M. Plass, What Martin Luther Says: A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1959). Return to text.
  50. Martin Luther in Pelikan, J. editor, Luther’s Works, Lectures on Genesis (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1958), p. 3. Return to text.
  51. Hayward, A., Creation and Evolution: The Facts and the Fallacies (London: Triangle, SPCK, 1985), p. 71, 213(n). Return to text.
  52. Packer, J.I., “John Calvin and Reformed Europe” in Great Leaders of the Christian Church, J.D. Woodbridge, editor (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1988), p. 206–215. Return to text.
  53. Sarfati, J., “Calvin Says: Genesis Means What It Says”, Creation 22(4)44–45 (September–November 2000); creation.com/calvin. Return to text.
  54. Calvin, J., Genesis, 1554 (Edinburgh, UK: Banner of Truth, 1984), p. 78. Return to text.
  55. Ibid., p. 105. Return to text.
  56. Calvin, J., Institutes of the Christian Religion, J. T. McNeill, editor (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1960), 1.14.22. Return to text.
  57. Ibid., 2:925. Return to text.
  58. Thanks to Rev. Chris Coleborn of Victoria, Australia, for bringing this to my attention. Return to text.
  59. “Bibles, Annotations, and Bible Summaries”, New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia 2. Return to text.
  60. Actually, this title, by which it is best known, was of a posthumous English edition, published in 1658. Volume 1, published in 1650, was entitled Annales veteris testamenti a prima mundi origine deducti (The Annals of the Old Testament, Deduced from the First Origin of the World). Volume 2 was published in 1654, two years before he died. Larry and Marion Pierce have published Ussher’s work in modern English (Green Forest, AR: Master Books 2003). Return to text.
  61. See Pierce, L., “The Forgotten Archbishop”, Creation 20(2):42–43 (March–May 1998); creation.com/ussher, for a summary of Ussher’s method and an outline of the life of this brilliant scholar; and “Archbishop’s Achievement: Jonathan Sarfati Interviews Larry and Marion Pierce about Their New Ussher Translation”, Creation 26(1):24–27 (December 2003 – February 2004). Return to text.
  62. Ross H. and R. Bundschuh, R., Destination: Creation, Reasons to Believe Comix, 1997, p. 5. Return to text.
  63. Pierce, L., “The Forgotten Archbishop”, Creation 20(2):42–43 (March–May 1998); creation.com/ussher. Return to text.
  64. Newton, I., The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, published posthumously, 1728, cited in Renfrew, C., Before Civilization (UK: Penguin Books, 1976), p. 22–23. Return to text.
  65. Gould, S.J., “Fall in the House of Ussher”, Natural History 12(11):12–21 (1991). Return to text.
  66. Ibid., p. 14, 16, 21. Return to text.
  67. Wesley, J. The Works of the Rev. John Wesley (1829–1831) IV:54–65, 1829–1831. Return to text.
  68. Ibid., VII:386–399 (The cause and cure of earthquakes). Return to text.
  69. Wesley, J., “On the Fall of Man”, 1872, available from gbgm-umc.org/umhistory/wesley/sermons/serm-057.stm. Return to text.
  70. Mortenson, T.J., British Scriptural Geologists in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century, Ph.D. thesis, Coventry University, England, 1996. This is available from the British Library Thesis Service either on microfilm for loan or on paper for purchase at; bl.uk/services/document/brittheses.html. Chapters of this work are also available at creation.com/mortenson. Return to text.
  71. Mortenson, T., “Commentaries in the Early Nineteenth Century”, creation.com/commentaries. Dr Mortenson later published his work In book form In The Great Turning Point, 2004. Return to text.
  72. Young, R., Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible, 1879, 8th edn (London: Lutterworth Press, 1939), p. 210. Return to text.
  73. Hales, A New Analysis of Chronology and Geography, History and Prophecy 1:210, 1830. Return to text.
  74. Batten, D., “Which Is the Recent Aberration? Old-Earth or Young-Earth Belief?” Creation 24(1)24–27 2002; creation.com/old-young. Return to text.
  75. See creation.com/mortenson. Return to text.
  76. Brevarium Chronologicum Book IV, 3rd edition, 1699, in English. Return to text.
  77. A Greek historian from Iona, he was Ambassador to India for King Seleucus I. He published Indika in four books. Return to text.
  78. Buhl, F., Gesenius’ Hebräisches und Aramäisches Handwörterbuch über das Alte Testament (Leipzig, Germany: Vogel, F.C.W., 1905). Return to text.
  79. Koenig, E., Wörterbuch zum Alten Testament, 2nd and 3rd edn (Leipzig, Germany: Dieterich, 1922). Return to text.
  80. See Leupold, H.C., Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1942), 1:57–58. Return to text.
  81. Cameron, N.M.deS., Evolution and the Authority of the Bible (Exeter, Devon, UK: Paternoster, 1983). Return to text.
  82. Kelly, D.F., Creation and Change: Genesis 1:1–2:4 in the light of changing scientific paradigms, Mentor (Christian Focus Publications), Ross-shire, UK, 1997. Later, a greatly updated 20th anniversary edition was published. See Cosner, L., A classic celebrates 20 years, 29 March 2018. Return to text.
  83. Compare “Chalmers, Thomas, D.D. (1780–1847)”, Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1917), Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., III:1358 and Francis C. Haber, The Age of the World: Moses to Darwin (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins Press, 1959), p. 201–203. Return to text.
  84. See, for example, chapter 3 in volume 1 of his Treatise on the Genius and Object of the Patriarchal, the Levitical, and the Christian Dispensations (1823). William Whiston was a young-earth creationist and successor to Newton’s chair of mathematics at Cambridge, but he argued that each day was one year long in his A New Theory of the Earth (1697). The French scientist Comte de Buffon (probably a deist or secret atheist) suggested a day-age interpretation in his Epochs of Nature (1779) but was forced to recant under pressure from Catholic authorities. André DeLuc, a Swiss Calvinist geologist, wrote An Elementary Treatise on Geology in 1809. He was troubled by and opposed the vast antiquity of the earth advocated by James Hutton, but he also suggested a figurative day-age interpretation. Return to text.
  85. Dods, M., The Book of Genesis, Armstrong, NY, 1907, p. 4. Return to text.
  86. Barr, J., letter to David C.C. Watson, 23 Apr 1984. Return to text.
  87. Interpreters Bible (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1952), p. 471. Return to text.
  88. Stoner, D., A New Look at an Old Earth (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1997), p. 37–41. Return to text.
  89. John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, Online Bible; available from; onlinebible.net. Return to text.
  90. Mook, J., “The Church Fathers on Genesis, the Flood, and the Age of the Earth”, in Coming to Grips with Genesis, eds. T. Mortenson and T.H. Ury, Green Forest, AR: Masters Books, 2008. Return to text.
  91. Millam, J., Coming to Grips with the Early Church Fathers’ Perspective on Genesis, Part 1 (of 5), reasons.org, 8 Sep 2011; emphasis added. Return to text.
  92. Woodmorappe, J., Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study, ICR, p. xi, 1996. Return to text.
  93. From Robert Bradshaw’s in depth study, Genesis Creationism and the Early Church, Ch. 6; robibrad.demon.co.uk/Chapter6.htm, 13 Aug 2003. Return to text.
  94. Sarfati, J., Calvin says: Genesis means what it says, Creation 22(4)44–45, 2000; creation.com/calvin. Return to text.
  95. Calvin, J., Genesis, 1554; Banner of Truth, Edinburgh, UK, p. 272, 1984. Return to text.
  96. See the review of Numbers’ historically unreliable (perhaps due to his anticreationist bias) book The Creationists, by Andrews, E., Origins 8(20):21–23, 1995. Numbers was raised in an Adventist home but now regards himself as agnostic. Return to text.
  97. Whitcomb, J.C. and Morris, H.M., The Genesis Flood, Baker Book House, Michigan, 1961. Return to text.
  98. Ham, K., Demolishing ‘straw men’, Creation 19(4):13–15, 1997; creation.com/demolishing-straw-men. Return to text.
  99. Smith, J.P., Mosaic Account of Creation and the Deluge illustrated by Science, London, 1837. Return to text.
  100. Smith, J.P., On the Relation Between the Holy Scriptures and Some Parts of Geological Science, London, 1839. Return to text.
  101. Hutton, J., ‘Theory of the Earth’, a paper (with the same title as his 1795 book) communicated to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and published in Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1785; cited with approval in Holmes, A., Principles of Physical Geology, 2nd edition, Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., UK, pp. 43–44, 1965. Return to text.
  102. Reid, J. St Hutton’s Hagiography, J. Creation 22(2):121–127, 2008; creation.com/st-huttons-hagiography. Return to text.
  103. Catchpoole, D. and Walker, T., Charles Lyell’s hidden agenda—to free science “from Moses”, creation.com/lyell, 19 Aug 2009. Return to text.
  104. Gould, S., Natural History, p. 16, February 1975. Return to text.
  105. Pierce, L., Niagara Falls and the Bible, Creation 22(4):8–13, 2000; creation.com/niagara. Return to text.
  106. Palmer, D., Old Father Time, New Scientist 179(2402):50, 5 Jul 2003. Return to text.
  107. Some of his contemporaries suspected that he was really an atheist, largely because of his ‘no vestige of a beginning’ claim. But it was not culturally acceptable to be an atheist in Britain at that time. So, if he was an atheist, he may have disguised the fact with occasional allusions to a creator. Return to text.
  108. Woodmorappe, J., Studies in Flood Geology, 2nd Edn, ICR, 1999. See pages 147–175 for scientific reasons why no one should take the dates seriously. Return to text.
  109. Woodmorappe, J., The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods, ICR, California, 1999. This book demonstrates, among other things, that, contrary to the claims of apologists for isotopic dating, discrepant dates are the rule, not the exception, and that there are no truly reliable means of distinguishing ostensibly ‘good’ from ‘bad’ dates. Return to text.
  110. Vardiman, L., Snelling, A.A. and Chaffin, E.F. (Eds.), Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth [RATE]: Results of a Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative, (2 volumes), ICR, 2005. Return to text.
  111. Woodmorappe, Ref. 92, pp. 46–47. Return to text.
  112. Woodmorappe, Ref. 92, pp. 25–28. Return to text.
  113. Woodmorappe, Ref. 108, pp. 87–94. Return to text.
  114. See also Morris, The Young Earth: The Real History of the Earth—Past, Present, and Future, 2007. Return to text.
  115. Snelling, A.A., Amazing ‘Ark’ Exposé, Creation 14(4):26–28, 1992; creation.com/arkfraud. Return to text.
  116. Woodmorappe, Ref. 92, p. xii. Return to text.

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