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YEC, facts and evidence

This post was originally written as a response to Barry’s recent post; however, Barry correctly pointed out that I had significantly mis-read him – I was reading much too fast. Apologies to Barry, and to those who read the earlier version of the post. I have now re-written it to not refer to (my careless misreading of) Barry’s position. I hope it still provides something helpful.

As a YEC, when listening to opposing positions, I sometimes hear a combination of criticism of the YEC framework, combined with talk of logic and evidence as an alternative to having an interpretative framework. This is philosophically very naive. It is talk which is especially prominent amongst the New Atheist crowd. Listening to them, you get to understand that they (alone!) are the exponents of logic and evidence; everybody else is blinded by their religion (which we might call, their ‘interpretative framework’). The reality is that everybody has an interpretative framework. The only difference is the degrees to which you are a) aware of it and b) consistent with it.

As a YEC, I believe that the correct use of logic is to honour God, who is the source and ultimate, perfect, exemplification of logic. He is a God of order and structure, and wishes his creation to be orderly and structured too. God is the ultimate grounding for logic. To frame the issue in terms of “these guys have an interpretative framework… whereas I use logic and evidence” is a statement right out of the phrase-book of positivism and scientism which should have no place on the side of those of us who oppose both of those as false and busted philosophies. We all have interpretative frameworks. Logic and evidence do whatever work they do, for all of us, within one of those frameworks.

This is not to retreat into a postmodern relativism – not all frameworks are equal, and neither can we simply abandon discussion and comparison of them as if they were all equally valid, or if comparison were impossible. Frameworks can easily be fundamentally false. Someone may believe that the YEC paradigm (which is, at root, that the Bible is the final authority, and that the correct interpretation of any one part of the Bible is provided by other parts of the Bible) is false; but he cannot simply say that it is false because some pile of uninterpreted evidence proves it to be so. There is no uninterpreted evidence. This would be to make the beginner’s mistake of believing that your framework is so obviously true, that it needs no explanation – that which counts as evidence within that framework ought to be evidence for all, because, hey, it’s just evidence!

In an earlier post on UD, I provided the beginnings of an explanation as to why I embrace the framework that I, as a YEC, do. This teases out some of these issues at greater length. On the issue of starlight and time, I am not a specialist, but have written on the reasons why simplistic appeals to uninterpreted evidence do not work on my own personal blog, here.

I’d like also to note in passing that one of the most common appeals to “simple evidence” isn’t quite as simple as it seems. It’s commonly accepted that the edge of the observable universe is approximately around 45 billion light years away; whilst the age is accepted as around 15 billion light years. That’s a 30 billion year difference. The difference in those two figures is explained within the Big Bang paradigm via the expansion of the universe itself. But, when you are in a context where that paradigm itself is being disputed, an appeal to it as the basis for interpreting your evidence is viciously circular. Personally, I see no logical or philosophical problem in appealing to a sequence of unique, extraordinary and unrepeatable events in creation week, and no ultimate conceptual difference compared with appealing to a sequence of such events in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang. The debate is not over to whether there were such events; just which ones. But keep your eyes on the ball: my point here is not to argue that this or that explanation is wrong, or that no plausible solution exists; I am not a cosmologist. Rather, it’s to point out that some kind of explanation is needed, and that explanation will need to rely on further assumptions, which may themselves be open to question. The evidence needed some interpreting, and plenty of nuance. The evidence is complex, not simple, and even in this ‘canonical’ example we can begin to see that.

Returning from that diversion to the basic and underlying issues, if you’ve got time to get your teeth into something longer, then this presentation from 6 years ago, whilst addressing a different audience, is less ad-hoc than my blog posts.

This all makes the debate more complex. Rather than being able to simply pose ‘logic/evidence versus interpretative frameworks’, you have to instead articulate more of your own framework, and to think about how to compare different frameworks, in ways that don’t simply beg the question. I don’t propose to do that now; but if we can at least consider these preliminary points, then it’ll be a good step towards mutual understanding in the camp.

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136 Responses to YEC, facts and evidence

  1. 1
    CentralScrutinizer

    I find Barry’s and your post interesting. I was formerly a YEC and am a YEC no longer. So I know what it’s like to be one, and not be one. And how it was like to shift from one paradigm to another in my view of the universe.

    “But, when you are in a context where that paradigm itself is being disputed, an appeal to it as the basis for interpreting your evidence is viciously circular.”

    True. However, some paradigms are more self-consistent given the evidence than others. This is reason why people shift from one paradigm to another. It’s why I did. Was a YEC and am a YEC no longer. I couldn’t help it… if I was to be honest with myself. An old universe paradigm seems to be more consistent given the evidence. I have found that objections to this POV are generally of a religious nature, using the Bible as an authority, as if the Bible itself was not under the same scrutiny as everything else.

  2. 2
    CentralScrutinizer

    …Having said that, I don’t judge people for holding fast to different paradigms of reality than I do. The conscious and subconscious factors that lead one to a given conclusion over other conclusions are extremely complicated and diverse. Individuals give certain ideas, evidence and explanations different “weight” based on all sorts of factors. Humans are weird. But in a good way. Well, at least an interesting way. :)

  3. In the end, what is the point in being a YEC? The bible doesn’t require that the Genesis “days” are 24 hours long.

    I’ve met many YEC’s who believe that day 4 is when the actual sun was created.

    Yet what is a day? A day is the length of time it takes for the earth to rotate a full revolution, and logically requires the sun for this measurement.

    Why would God measure his day by the arbitrary 24 hour day of the earth itself? The very object he was creating?

    The universe is full of planets and stars. Why would a day to God be the amount of time it takes for one of those planets to revolve around the sun?

    Sure, when he gave commands to humans, and used days, he used human days.

    But in the creation account, there were no humans. God sitting in a completely different realm as the physical earth and sun…why would he take 6 24-hour earth days to create the entire universe?

    Now is this possible? I suppose. But why force something that isn’t required. Why force a reading in the text that seems to fly in the face of all scientific and logical evidence?

  4. David Anderson,

    If everything is based on an “interpretative framework” that cannot be proven correct, what’s the point of debating anything? On what interpretative framework do you base your interpretation of the Genesis creation week? You wrote:

    the YEC paradigm (which is, at root, that the Bible is the final authority, and that the correct interpretation of any one part of the Bible is provided by other parts of the Bible)

    There is evidence within scriptures that the Genesis creation story and the account of Adam and Eve are at least partially metaphorical. For example, the book of Revelation, an obviously metaphorical treatise, uses some of the same metaphors:

    He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Rev 2:7

    There are many other similar examples in Revelation. In your opinion, which book is using “tree of life” and “paradise of God” metaphorically? If the literalists were not so adamant in their convictions and teachings, we would have made much faster progress in our understanding of scripture, in my opinion. As an example, at the risk of sounding like a heretic, I believe that the tree of life, should be taken to mean exactly what the Darwinists think it means: a hierarchical organization of living organisms. I even think the metaphor should be taken down to the smallest genetic component of life. This is why I believe that soon, we will find that the entire genome or every species is organized hierarchically, like a tree. A similar approach can be used with the tree of knowledge which would give us a better understanding of the organization of intelligence and knowledge.

    Unfortunately, this type of understanding is forever beyond the grasp of a literalist.

  5. shader: you’ve conflated the *measurement* of a period of time, with the period of time itself. There is no problem in viewing the sun as describing, rather than defining, the period of time which we have come to know as a day. Or put another way, if I lose my watch, then time doesn’t actually come to a standstill.

  6. 6
    CentralScrutinizer

    Mapou: If everything is based on an “interpretative framework” that cannot be proven correct, what’s the point of debating anything?

    I’ll answer: some frameworks are more consistent and require less assumptions given the evidence. Of course, that assumes that consistency and “Occam’s Razor” are important guiding principles for a given person, which is a “framework” itself. I can’t prove that this is the best path to take, but I happen to be built that way. I can’t help it.

    Do you have anything better to offer?

  7. I don’t understand why it took God six days. Couldn’t he have just said “let it be so” and “poof” there everything was all at one instant?

  8. Why can’t we have a POV that harmonizes YEC with other views such as OEC? In God’s timeless POV the Earth is very “new,” so the YEC position would be correct. After all, God was the only observer of His Creation – I’m speaking of the creation event itself. If God was the only observer, then perhaps the language found in Genesis is from God’s POV. If such is the case, this would render the meaning of “Day” quite different than how humans understand it as a literal 24 hour period. And even if it were a literal 24 hour period, from God’s POV, that 24 hour period could have lasted “a thousand years” or more, depending on what the measuring standard was. Our current standard is the rotation of the Earth. Could “Day” in Genesis have a different standard?

    I’m thinking that God experiences time aligned with ultimate relativity – sort of like how a black hole consumes everyting into nothing. God’s time is eternity; which has in it’s “nature” the absense of time. 24 hours, 1000 years, what are these to the Creator of the universe?

    I would rather perceive the Creation in terms of God’s perfect ordering of Creation events, so the particulars as to time are less important; but that’s just my own POV. :)

    Mung, in geological time I suppose it was an instant.

  9. CentralScrutinizer:

    Do you have anything better to offer?

    Yes. I have some suggestions. Don’t be adamant about doctrine. That’s what all the poof believers do. YECs are adamant about six-day creation story and the materialists are adamant about methodological naturalism. Both sides are equally wrong and unscientific, in my opinion.

    I say, keep searching and, eventually, you shall find. Nothing is handed down to us on a platter. If you think you already found everything you need to know, you have already failed. Above all, worship God. Don’t worship any book. That would be idolatry. The Bible is a research tool for gaining knowledge and it was written by many authors. It’s not infallible. Some of the books that should be in the Bible were excluded. Also, there are other sources of knowledge in the world. Even the Bible acknowledges that the Egyptians had accumulated a body of knowledge and that Moses was fully trained in the wisdom of the land of Egypt.

  10. 10
    CentralScrutinizer

    Mapou, not much there I can take exception with.

  11. 11

    Thanks for the revisions David. Ps 133:1

  12. Actually, mapou, everyone ultimately believes in poofs, no matter if you’re YEC or materialist. But the difference is that YEC believes the poofs were purposefully-miraculous and planned events in one week while materialists believe the poofs all happened by chance and over billions of years. These are the competing stories, but only one can be true….nothing else makes a lick of sense.

  13. 13
    CentralScrutinizer

    But the difference is that YEC believes the poofs were purposefully-miraculous and planned events in one week while materialists believe the poofs all happened by chance and over billions of years. These are the competing stories, but only one can be true

    YEC or (blind) materialism the only options?

    There’s at least one other possibility, an old universe that was purposefully made, and the creation of earth and life with direct intelligent manipulation at certain points, with periods of “niche”-searching evolution by the intelligently designed system during other periods of time, all of this done over long stretches of time.

    An intelligently designed system, that has direct invention (miracles) on rare occasion, but otherwise proceeds (evolves) according to the rules that were setup.

    I mean, really now, in our contemporary age, do you think God controls every single bolt of lightning? Every microscopic static discharge? Every flutter of a breeze? Or every flip of a coin? He doesn’t have to, if the system is designed “right.” Occasionally he might have to hop in to make sure something goes exactly right (because), like protecting someone from getting killed, or perhaps resurrecting the body of a Messiah.

  14. vh:

    Actually, mapou, everyone ultimately believes in poofs, no matter if you’re YEC or materialist.

    Well, I am a Christian and I am certainly not a poof believer. The scriptures teach me that everything was created via wisdom and understanding. IOW, an awful lot of planning went into creating the universe and life on earth. We were created in the image of the Elohim (the Gods) and if we need a brain to think, so do they. I realise there are many here who don’t believe we need our brains to think. I think that is pure unmitigated nonsense. We need both our brains and our spirits.

  15. I mean, really now, in our contemporary age, do you think God controls every single bolt of lightning? Every microscopic static discharge? Every flutter of a breeze? Or every flip of a coin? He doesn’t have to, if the system is designed “right.” Occasionally he might have to hop in to make sure something goes exactly right (because), like protecting someone from getting killed, or perhaps resurrecting the body of a Messiah.

    Well, it apparently interests Him to keep track of the number of hairs on everyone’s head, and to track the life of even small animals like the sparrow. He certainly doesn’t need to, but apparently he chooses to.

  16. I don’t think thee is such a thing as logic. I think logic like math is a human construction.
    Instead there are just accurate conclusions in relationship with other accurate conclusions. So logic may fit in this as a special case. However logic works fine even if wrong conclusions are drawn. This because logic works upon presumptions of facts. So logic is not a real thing of truth but only a coincedence if it works.

    YEC is based on belief in the bible as a memo from God and so origin facts are shown.
    then the evidence of nature will not contradict this memo.
    So YEC does two things.
    It debunks any manmade conclusions, based on claims of natures evidence, contrary to the bible and then it asserts conclusions, from the memo, we can’t or have not proven with natures evidence.

  17. CentralScrutinizer @ 1

    I find Barry’s and your post interesting. I was formerly a YEC and am a YEC no longer. So I know what it’s like to be one, and not be one. And how it was like to shift from one paradigm to another in my view of the universe.

    I was formerly a OEC and am no longer. So, I too, know what it’s like to shift from one paradigm to the other. :)

    An old universe paradigm seems to be more consistent given the evidence.

    This seems to reject the notion just presented in this and Barry’s blog posting. That we use an interpretive framework upon the evidence. And that evidence isn’t standing alone.

    Give an example of where evidence is objectively more consistent in an old universe uniformitarian framework. But keep in mind, you have to do so without presuming the uniformitarian framework to be objective. I think you will accept then that the framework is inescapable.

    So, if I misunderstood you then sorry, and if by more consistent, you mean you have fewer explanations around the framework in one paradigm verus another. Then, how do you rationalize without being more inconsistent, that there are more natural clocks that argue for a younger earth than an older one using uniformitarian assumptions? This would indicate actually less consistency in an old earth uniformitarian view, than having a young earth view where there are far fewer ‘uniformitarian interpretations’ of evidence. And in terms of which framework is more or less consistent, there is no other kind of evidence that really distinguishes the two paradigms in a scientific sense than age of the earth. So, in the only area that scientific differences counts – uniformitairan “ages” – the young earth creationist paradigm is actually the more consistent paradigm! ;)

    You’re welcome back to the YEC camp – in welcoming arms -anytime brother man. You shifted once… :D

  18. p.s. CentralScrutinizer

    You used the term “old universe paradigm”. I’d like to add that I personally prefer the terms ‘old earth’ and ‘young earth’ creationists. For the following reason:

    In a young earth creationist view, it is actually possible to have an old universe…. refer to White Hole Cosmology.
    In a nutshell: the earth and everything would be created in six days as observed/measured on earth. That is, six days in Earth Standard Time. ;)

  19. 19
    JourneytotheLight

    I think it’s important to keep in mind that that God gave to us. Humans.

    He did not write the book for Himself, in which case it might make sense that 1 day might not be what he know as 1 day, IE 24 hours, 1 revolution of the earth etc.

    I think standard rules of interpretation are also important. Best way I have to describe this is with an example : If I ask you for a cup of coffee, you are not going to interpret that I am asking for a cup made of coffee beans, I am asking for a drink.

    “All that I have seen and all that has been revealed to me, teaches me to trust the Creator for all that I have not seen” – Source unknown.

  20. 20
    JourneytotheLight

    *correction to previous post :

    I think it’s important to keep in mind that that God gave *the Bible* to us. Humans.

  21. Shader @ 3

    In the end, what is the point in being a YEC? The bible doesn’t require that the Genesis “days” are 24 hours long.

    I’ve met many YEC’s who believe that day 4 is when the actual sun was created.

    I’m one of those.

    Yet what is a day? A day is the length of time it takes for the earth to rotate a full revolution, and logically requires the sun for this measurement.

    An earth day only requires rotation, and perhaps a source of light. But even by that stricter definition, light already existed from the start.

    Recall on day 1: Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

    Why would God measure his day by the arbitrary 24 hour day of the earth itself? The very object he was creating?

    From that perspective, any number or concept would be just as arbitrary. An earth day would have to be some period of time. And we divide it into 24 hours. You can call it 100 hours if you like, just redefine the hour to mean about 15 minutes.

    Read the first few versus of Genesis chapter 1:

    1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” – NASB

    Note the key verse 5. After light was already created on this first day: Light is called Day. Darkness is called Night. Then it says in the same verse, the evening and morning are day one. It doesn’t get much clearer than that.

    If one thinks ‘day one’ is some metaphor for millions or billions of years, then he/she MUST conclude that the terms evening and morning are each metaphors for day and night. And even more awkwardly, that the use of day and night here are also metaphors, but for light and darkness. One question: Are light and darkness, the result from God separating the light from darkness, also such metaphors? And then the light itself is a metaphor? But for what? So, you end up with a metaphors that are metaphors of metaphors, that are metaphors of other metaphors that are divided up from a original metaphor of something that isn’t described. Awkward isn’t it? But, if light means literally light. Then all those words that follow logically indicate a literal earth day.

    The universe is full of planets and stars. Why would a day to God be the amount of time it takes for one of those planets to revolve around the sun?

    You mean rotate on it’s axis. First answer the question. Why would it be a problem for humans if God said that is what a day is?

    Sure, when he gave commands to humans, and used days, he used human days.

    But in the creation account, there were no humans. God sitting in a completely different realm as the physical earth and sun…why would he take 6 24-hour earth days to create the entire universe?

    Why would God take 15 billion years to create the universe?
    Does He NEED that time? No. God is eternal/timeless.

    Did God have to give a revelation how the universe was created? No. Then why? I think a simple answer is for human benefit. To know. And why six days? Because He established how WE should live. It serves as a model for us, not because it was a constraint upon God. God could have created everything instantaneously! Also, I have a hypothesis that I have some softness for, in that the six days act as a model/map of all time… but I would not teach that as biblical, just moreso an opinion that is reasonably possible given a creation week.

    Now is this possible? I suppose. But why force something that isn’t required. Why force a reading in the text that seems to fly in the face of all scientific and logical evidence?

    But it reads best this way, imo, and it actually doesn’t fly in the face of logic or scientific evidence. I think Barry in the other blog article and the author of this above article already established that point solidly enough.

    Explain this in the old earth view:
    http://www.creationresearch.or.....Helium.htm

    If you can not. Then you must explain it away in the old earth view. By doing so, you would then be inconsistent with the uniformitarian framework. There are many examples like this one where the old earth framework will have to explain away why the uniformitarian appaorch was wrong. But they are complicated expalanations. Much more complicated on a much simpler and better understood process (e.g. gas diffusion rates), than the explanation young earthers give about a much more complex and less understood process (the nature of light speed and radioactive decay). And most of the clocks the young earthers use are using better understood process. Processes that we can manipulate and experiment with in labs much easier than we can with the nature of light speed in deep space and in the unobservable past(for example).

  22. p.s. I wrote “And most of the clocks the young earthers use are using better understood process. Processes that we can manipulate and experiment with in labs much easier than we can with the nature of light speed in deep space and in the unobservable past(for example).”

    To be clear. YEC don’t think of these as actual “clocks”. They are described as “clocks” to show how the old earth view has inconsistencies using it’s guiding uniformitarian framework.

    And my point above was that there are scientific principles & physical process that are very well understood or understandable. Such as macroscopic physics descriable with Newton’s Laws or basic chemistry, such as diffusion rates of gases or erosion rates of earth by water. And then there are those that are not understood as well, such as the speed of light in the past and in deep space, or the subatomic mechanisms of radioactive decay.

    From applying uniformitarian framework to physical processes as “clocks”:
    The YEC model has DOZENS (if not hundreds) of BETTER UNDERSTOOD “clocks” refuting an old earth view.

    The OEC model has a COUPLE of the LESSER UNDERSTOOD “clocks” refuting a young earth view.

    From this, if I were to choose the paradigm that had the fewest “scientific problems”, the obvious choice would be the young earth model.

  23. Mapou @ 4

    There is evidence within scriptures that the Genesis creation story and the account of Adam and Eve are at least partially metaphorical. For example, the book of Revelation, an obviously metaphorical treatise, uses some of the same metaphors:

    There is quantitative evidence that Genesis creation account is more of a historical narrative:

    http://www.icr.org/article/24/

    But my personal opinion on figurative and literal views is different. I think that some things are BOTH literal and figurative.

    For example, I believe the sun (used to give light to the earth) created on the fourth day is literal. But I personally think it is ALSO a metaphor of Jesus (the light to the world) appearing four thousand years after creation week.

    Seeing that God uses redundant/overlapping techniques with information in the genome, I consider finding multiple non-contradictory messages as simply a characteristic of the same Creator. Consider it as a forensic type of fingerprint. ;)

  24. @ Mung #7

    I don’t understand why it took God six days. Couldn’t he have just said “let it be so” and “poof” there everything was all at one instant?

    Mung, if you just read your Bible, you will find the answer. God tells us very clearly exactly why He did this in Ex. 20:8-11.
    “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

    We all know where we get the concept of a year, a day, and a month, but there is no basis in astronomy for our concept of 7 days = a week.

    Ex. 20 tells us why we have a 7 day week and thus why God took 6 days to create the universe when He could have, like you said, created it all in an instant.

  25. Mung @ 7

    I don’t understand why it took God six days. Couldn’t he have just said “let it be so” and “poof” there everything was all at one instant?

    Yes.

    So…

    I wouldn’t say “it took God six days”
    I would say “God used six days”…

    The answer is simple. It serves as a model for us. It’s even been argued that people live best with a seven day week. Some nations have even tried five day weeks, six day weeks or ten day weeks. But they are back to seven day weeks.

  26. Mapou @ 9

    I say, keep searching and, eventually, you shall find.

    Are you still searching to figure out if there is a God? If not, why not? If you can’t trust the Bible, how do you know there is a God? And even if there is one, how can you know anything about Him?
    Keep searching and hopefully eventually you will find, right?

    Nothing is handed down to us on a platter. If you think you already found everything you need to know, you have already failed.

    Actually, there are certain things that are handed down to us on a platter. And we can find those things in the Bible, which Jesus called “truth”.
    When you say that nothing is handed down to us on a platter, does that mean you don’t believe anything in the Bible?

    Above all, worship God. Don’t worship any book. That would be idolatry.

    And every single YEC would agree wholeheartedly with you on that statement! But you seem to be insinuating that simply because we believe what the Bible says we are worshipping it.

    Let me ask you a question.

    Do you think God wants us to believe His Word? Why or why not?

    Hint: You might want to take these verses into consideration before you answer.
    Speaking of Moses’ writings which you seem to reject, Jesus said this in John 5:47:

    “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

    And this in John 14:6

    “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    And this in John 14:10

    “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.”

    So what do you think Mapou? Does Jesus expect us to take Him at his word when He tells us that He is the way, the truth, and the life and the only way to the Father?

    Mapou, how would you describe worshipping a book?
    Have you ever seen a YECer praying to the Bible, touching it to get special power? bowing down before it and/or praying to it? It is true that we submit to it’s authority and allow it to correct us, guide us, teach us, and give us wisdom.

    But I’m afraid that you fail to distinguish between believing the Bible and worshipping the Bible. We simply think that God expects us to take Him as His Word. Why do you interpret that as worship?

    What Mapou says:
    The Bible is a research tool for gaining knowledge and it was written by many authors. It’s not infallible. Some of the books that should be in the Bible were excluded.

    Thank you for your opinion, but please don’t be offended if not everyone takes your opinion as trustworthy. Some of us prefer to take Jesus as His word.

    What God says:

    John 17:17 “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” Jesus

    II Tim. 3:16-17 (words of Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit)
    “ All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[b] may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

    II Peter 1:20-21 (words of Peter inspired by the Holy Spirit) “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

    And how about Ps. 19:7-11?

    The law of the Lord is perfect,[c]
    reviving the soul;
    the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
    8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
    the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
    9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever
    ;
    the rules[d] of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
    10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
    sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
    11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.

    I could go on, but it seems pretty clear that at least the biblical teaching is that yes, the Bible is infallible – in the original documents which we no longer possess. However, even though it has been copied many times, we can still be assured of extreme accuracy.

    You are free to believe the Bible is fallible, but then you have the very difficult job of figuring out what is true and what is not true in the Bible. If you are right, then I don’t think anyone can ever really know if anything in the Bible is trustworthy or not.

    If the Bible is nothing more than a research tool for gaining knowledge, it is no different than your science textbook or the Koran. In fact, it might even be less trustworthy than your science textbook.

    True, humans actually wrote the Bible, but if they were not inspired by God, then either they were lying about some/all of the things they wrote or they were really deceived in which case we have no idea whether anything they wrote is true. We have no standard of truth against which to compare other claims against.

    Also, there are other sources of knowledge in the world. Even the Bible acknowledges that the Egyptians had accumulated a body of knowledge and that Moses was fully trained in the wisdom of the land of Egypt.

    Excellent point. But a strawman because no one argues against that. The problem is, when two different sources make contradicting truth claims, how do we know which one is right? Sometimes there are ways to figure it out if the claims can be tested, but if they cannot be tested, then how do we know? We don’t. That is where the Bible comes in. It is the standard against which we measure all truth claims. So when Muslims tell us that Allah is God and that Jesus never really died on the cross, we reject that claim because it does not measure up to the truth of God’s Word. God’s Word is our standard.

    By the way, Moses may have been trained in the wisdom of Egypt, but no one claims that wisdom is authoritative or trustworthy. He was simply trained in the “wisdom” of that time, some of which I’m sure was both true and false. It is interesting that Moses rejected much of that wisdom in his writing of the law. Why? Because God revealed His truth to him through the Holy Spirit.

  27. @13 Central

    YEC or (blind) materialism the only options?

    There’s at least one other possibility, an old universe that was purposefully made, and the creation of earth and life with direct intelligent manipulation at certain points, with periods of “niche”-searching evolution by the intelligently designed system during other periods of time, all of this done over long stretches of time.

    An intelligently designed system, that has direct invention (miracles) on rare occasion, but otherwise proceeds (evolves) according to the rules that were setup.

    There are countless other possibilities. You could postulate the blind spaghetti monster as a creator if you want. Sure, what you say is also a possibility – more of a possibility than the monster thing, but whether it fits with God’s Word is another thing. I really think that God expects us to believe what He tells us.

    He tells us He created the whole universe in 6 days.
    Jesus tells us that God created the first male and female at the beginning of creation.
    Jesus obviously believed in the worldwide flood from his references to it.
    He implies that the original creation was “very good” but that later it was cursed because of Adam’s sin.
    So there seems to have been no death before sin in spite of your interpretation of the fossil record(which YECers see as evidence for the worldwide flood).

    But then you used to believe all that I guess when you were a YECer.

    May I ask you a question? Has your view of the Bible changed at all since becoming an OECer?
    How have your principles of interpretation changed since becoming an OECer?
    It would seem like there would have to be a change in your approach to Scripture and how you interpret in order to make the change you made.

    (I realize this could be interpreted as me accusing OECers of having a low view of Scripture or something like that. I know many would say they believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God so please be assured, I am not insinuating that at all. I am simply asking if anything has changed for Central. For some people, unfortunately, these things do change.)

  28. @Mapou #14

    I am a Christian and I am certainly not a poof believer. The scriptures teach me that everything was created via wisdom and understanding. IOW, an awful lot of planning went into creating the universe and life on earth. We were created in the image of the Elohim (the Gods) and if we need a brain to think, so do they. I realise there are many here who don’t believe we need our brains to think. I think that is pure unmitigated nonsense. We need both our brains and our spirits.

    Mapou, how can the scriptures teach you anything if, to you, they nothing more than a research tool? How do you know when to believe what they say and when to reject what they say? Are you the judge of what is right and wrong in the Bible?

    Do you think God gave us a brain so we could set up ourselves as a Judge of His Word and decide what is true and false? Somehow, that’s not the picture I get of God.

    I always thought that He is God and that He expects us to believe His Word and obey Him.

    And yes, sometimes it means believing even when it seems counter intuitive.

    Prov. 3:5-6
    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
    6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.”

    I would paraphrase the above like this. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and even when what He says is hard to understand or contradicts the current in vogue scientific beliefs, do not lean on your own understanding. When God’s Word is clear. Trust it. Believe it.”

    Or how about I Cor. 1:20-25
    “20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

    It would seem that there are times when we need to go against the wisdom of this world. In my opinion, that would be when the wisdom of this world contradicts God’s standard of truth.

    There have been various instances of people claiming the Bible is wrong on a particular historical or geographical point, but then later new information has come to light that verified the Bible. If you had gone with the current day in vogue wisdom of the secular world, you would have been wrong. One example is the Hittites. Archeologists used to claim the Bible is wrong because there was no evidence for the existence of these people. But then they had to eat their words when the evidence was found. Anyway, I simply choose to take God at His word, believing this is what honors Him the most and that in the end, His Word will always be found to be true.

    By the way, God is a spirit and has no brain, at least in a literal sense like us. Sure He planned the world, but being omniscient and all powerful, that could have been done in a tenth of a second!

  29. I could go on, but it seems pretty clear that at least the biblical teaching is that yes, the Bible is infallible – in the original documents which we no longer possess. However, even though it has been copied many times, we can still be assured of extreme accuracy.

    An honest question from a non-Christian: why should we think that the passage in Psalms is referring to the Bible, or anything in writing that existed at the time?

  30. Sorry, forgot to put the first paragraph in blockquote.

  31. Jguy,

    I don’t think I expressed myself very well.

    I think we are both in agreement that an earth day is 24 hours. But why does Genesis demand an earth day to be used when creating the earth?

    You might “feel” that it does. But why? 2 Peter 3:8, whether you feel it’s a simile or not, shows that God’s timeframe and ours is different.

    Whether you feel that the bible reads best with 24 hour days is not really important. The truth is that none of us can go back in time and see exactly how God created the earth.

    So when a person dogmatically sticks to a particular rendering, that flies in the face of scientific evidence, (and it does!), that to me seems a bit silly.

  32. 32
    CentralScrutinizer

    Mapou: We were created in the image of the Elohim (the Gods) and if we need a brain to think, so do they.

    Where did “the Gods” get their brains?

  33. 33
    CentralScrutinizer

    JGuy: This seems to reject the notion just presented in this and Barry’s blog posting. That we use an interpretive framework upon the evidence. And that evidence isn’t standing alone.

    No, I don’t reject Barry’s main point. And it’s a bit suprising that anyone would think so given what I said. I embrace it wholeheartedly. Yes, I do use an interpretive framework for assessing evidence. I changed my framework because, given all of the empirical data that I have in my possession thus far, the paradigm and framework I now hold is more consistent and requires less assumptions. It is subject to change. It has changed before and it could change again. I don’t see it on the horizon, however. Some compelling new evidence would be required.

  34. 34
    CentralScrutinizer

    JGuy: Give an example of where evidence is objectively more consistent in an old universe uniformitarian framework.

    Light coming from galaxies at that edge of our of light horizon. When we see this light, what are we seeing? Galaxies as they were 6000 years ago?

    See Sal’s thread on this subject for more grist.

    But keep in mind, you have to do so without presuming the uniformitarian framework to be objective. I think you will accept then that the framework is inescapable.

    You’re assuming I can’t think outside the box of my accepted paradigm. I can consider different frameworks and access the evidence in those frameworks and see which is more consistent and requires less assumptions. What else can anyone do?

    So, if I misunderstood you then sorry, and if by more consistent, you mean you have fewer explanations around the framework in one paradigm verus another.

    More consistency, coherence, and less assumptions.

    Then, how do you rationalize without being more inconsistent, that there are more natural clocks that argue for a younger earth than an older one using uniformitarian assumptions?

    Which natural clocks “argue” for a younger earth?

    I’m sure you can find evidence that you think is more consistent with a YEC view. However, for me what’s important is the consistency and coherence of all the available evidence. No paradigm is without its difficulties. But (naturally) I think the one I hold presently is the best one.

  35. 35
    CentralScrutinizer

    tjguy: There are countless other possibilities. You could postulate the blind spaghetti monster as a creator if you want. Sure, what you say is also a possibility – more of a possibility than the monster thing, but whether it fits with God’s Word is another thing. I really think that God expects us to believe what He tells us.

    You assume you know what “God’s word” is. It’s useless to argue from putative scriptures until there is common ground about what is authoritative. I’m sure you and I do not agree about what constituents “God’s word.”

    May I ask you a question? Has your view of the Bible changed at all since becoming an OECer?

    I reject “the Bible” as “one book” handed down from God from “on high.” I consider it a collection of writings from various authors, with various motives, and various levels of credibility. I think there are good things therein, and some downright nonsense.

    So, the better question to ask is, have I changed my view of the Hebrew and Christian scripture over the years. Yes, I have. But that was not the result of being a OEC. It’s the other way around. My view of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures changed because of much scholarly study and soul searching. So, quite naturally, not any long accepting the Genesis story as any sort of literal creation account, I have no reason to continue to try and prop up the YEC view, which I tried to do for many years.

    It all makes much more sense to me now.

  36. In a nutshell: the earth and everything would be created in six days as observed/measured on earth. That is, six days in Earth Standard Time. ;)

    That is a good point to bring up, because per special relativity, there is no universal standard time.

  37. tjguy @28:

    Mapou, how can the scriptures teach you anything if, to you, they nothing more than a research tool? How do you know when to believe what they say and when to reject what they say? Are you the judge of what is right and wrong in the Bible?

    Right or wrong, I am the judge of everything I believe in. I will not allow either you or the materialists/Darwinists to make any of my religious decisions for me. It’s between me and God and that’s it. The scriptures have taught me stuff that none of you doctrinaires can even begin to imagine.

    PS. I consider YECs to be as much a hindrance or threat to my faith as the materialists. I’m sorry but I always tell it like I see it.

  38. I find B Arrington’s frequent writings regarding YECism as profoundly hypocritical.

    BA and UD in general constantly laments the fact that evolutionists in the media rarely present the arguments for ID accurately. Yet, every time I read BA discussing YEC I find he displays an equal ignorance of the most up-to-date arguments presented for YEC. Starlight? Read Hartnett before commenting on this topic. Incidentally, the old age of the universe also has a starlight travel problem…review the horizon problem. Hartnett presents a very reasonable solution to both along with dark matter to boot.

    Uniformitarianism? YEC actually look at what we see around us and realize, you know what, fossils are not forming now. Rock layers are not forming around us, they are eroding away. Blood cells really don’t stay in tact for 65 million years. Strata actually can form in a short time span. It is unreasonable to ask why there are marine fossils on the tops of every mountain range in the world? Why are land creatures fossilized in close proximity to aquatic creatures? Day old lava from a Hawaiian volcano really does date at hundreds of thousands of years. Why is there carbon14 present in most all diamonds and coal? Why is there still helium in zircons? I could go on and on..

    That there may be refutations to these arguments is not the point. These are all EVIDENCES from what we OBSERVE in nature, not the Bible. It would APPEAR from what we know (or should admit) about erosion, deposition, and fossilization that the world was once engulfed by a massive flood, it APPEARS that way. Even secular geologists now now admit that most all fossils could only be formed by catastrophic water-borne burial.

    So, while Barry points out how TEs deny what appears to be around them (design), he plays the same game, ignores that which does not fit his worldview, argue against straw men, and talk down from the “cool kids” table.

  39. tjguy:

    Mung, if you just read your Bible, you will find the answer. God tells us very clearly exactly why He did this in Ex. 20:8-11.

    Or you could avoid making unwarranted assumptions and consider that perhaps it was a rhetorical question.

    The point is that the Gen narrative is not a strict scientific description (just the facts ma’am), but that it is part and parcel of a much larger narrative. Do you think that God wrote down the creation account in Genesis and handed it to Adam and said here, hand this down to your kids?

    So we’re to work six days and rest one day, just like God worked six days and rested one day. And funny how on another thread here at the same time we have another discussion of how like or unlike God human were created.

    Now if it had been me, I would have worked one day and taken the next off, and then worked the third day and taken the fourth day off. Or, I would have worked all seven days to meet a deadline. Good thing I’m not God or the Israelites would have been working all the time!

  40. So according to God’s master plan there will be seven literal one thousand year periods, the last one will last for a thousand years and Jesus will be on earth ruling from Jerusalem and Satan will be bound, and this started when?

    2004?

  41. Mapou: We were created in the image of the Elohim (the Gods) and if we need a brain to think, so do they.

    Where did “the Gods” get their brains?

    In my opinion, some, like Yahweh, created their own brains. Others, like Lucifer and humans, were given a brain (and body) created and designed by other Gods.

    The skeptics will ask, how can you create your own brain if you don’t exist yet? To which I will reply, spirits exist in the spiritual realm where nothing is created or destroyed. Some spirits have creative powers.

    Some other skeptics will retort, God has always existed and his brain is made of transcendental spirit stuff. To which I will say, phooey! The brains and bodies of the Gods are just as much physical as our brains. It’s just that they are made of a different type of physical matter.

    And by the way, we, humans, are gods too.

  42. 42

    Frampton71 @ 38: “I find B Arrington’s frequent writings regarding YECism as profoundly hypocritical . . .”

    And I find your comment to be representative of the strident and uncharitable attacks against their interlocutors (I would hardly say “opponent” in my case) that are, lamentably, all too typical of many in the YEC camp. In my post I took great pains to treat YECs with charity and respect. Indeed, I specifically stated that, for all I know, YECs might be right. In return I get attacked for being a hypocrite. It makes me sad.

  43. For some reason, I suspect that some of the people who comment on UD are not what they claim to be.

  44. I also don’t see all that many threads here that are created to challenge or defend Young Earth Creationism. It’s not like it’s under constant attack here at UD like Darwinism and materialism are.

    And I don’t think it’s right the castigate Barry for not keeping up with the latest ad hoc add-on to the theory trying to explain why the evidence ought to be interpreted in some other way.

    I’m guessing that for Barry it’s not so much about each bit of evidences for or against YEC so much as a recognition that the entire framework is faulty.

  45. Jguy,

    I don’t think I expressed myself very well.

    I think we are both in agreement that an earth day is 24 hours. But why does Genesis demand an earth day to be used when creating the earth?

    John 3:12 “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” – NASB

    Question: If (somehow) it was inescapably plain to you, that it MUST be a literal earth day, would you then reject the scripture, or would you reject your uniformitarian interpretation of the evidence? Would you stop leaning on your own understanding and instead trust in God’s Word?

    It appears the only reason you (and other OEC) think that it is figurative is that you think the scientific evidence demands long ages because you ultimately feel the uniformitarian framework is some monolithic filter of true/real knowledge. But that is not the case. Everything we humans think we know about scientific matters, is highly subject to change. So, there is no demand going on here from science, unless one is committed to uniformitarianism.

    To be clear, I’m not saying you are committed to as such. I’m just throwing out some ideas to ponder.

    You might “feel” that it does. But why? 2 Peter 3:8, whether you feel it’s a simile or not, shows that God’s timeframe and ours is different.

    I agree time has no meaning in the precense of God. But why do you feel God would give an account understood from His perspective alone? Especially, when He describes the first day as evening and morning and those two as light and darkenss. All of these combined are far more literal than figurative. This is not a feeling, this is logical reading.

    I suppose, if someone wants to, they can read all those as nested Russian dolls, where the dolls are even metaphors of metaphors that are metaphors of metaphors etc… They can do so, but it’s not a logical reading.

    There are a list of other objective reasons why it should be read as a literal day. While the primary reasoning for it being figurative is trusting the human notion of an absolute uniformitarian framework.

    Whether you feel that the bible reads best with 24 hour days is not really important. The truth is that none of us can go back in time and see exactly how God created the earth.

    I agree. What we feel is not important. What God said is important. And if I depart from leaning on my own feelings, it reads as literal. The only reason I would move towards figurative is if I relied on my understanding outside of the bible.

    Answer this question. Why do you FEEL it is figurative? Well, I think you answered tht. You think it flies in the face of scientific evidence. Again. That is not the case.

    So when a person dogmatically sticks to a particular rendering, that flies in the face of scientific evidence, (and it does!), that to me seems a bit silly.

    I’ll have to disagree with you. Overall, scientific evidence does no such thing. Even more, our ideas in science are always subject to change. God’s word is not.

  46. @Barry…

    …I read your piece a couple times, and your charity always seems very backhanded (ie..paraphrase..they may well be right, of course this isn’t backed up by the evidence).

    My “attack” if you want to call it that isn’t at you personally, I respect you very much, but like IDers get frustrated at their positions being labeled anti-science, or anti-evidence, they rarely extend that very same latitude to YEC…see Mung’s statement above…no knowledge of the material, just write it off as “ad hoc”. That’s like saying “specified complexity” is just an “ad hoc” idea. It shows a lack of respect. For those who think that YEC are simply Bible clutching science deniers, you should give the material an honest go. You may disagree with it, but if you’re intellectually honest, you’ll see that its based heavily on natural observation.

    My YEC belief may be ultimately incorrect, but it is reasonable.

  47. 47

    Frampton71 @ 38: “I find B Arrington’s frequent writings regarding YECism as profoundly hypocritical . . .”

    Frampton71 @ 46: “My ‘attack’ if you want to call it that isn’t at you personally.”

    God help me if you ever decide to get personal.

    You should read the “update” at the top of the OP and my response to the OP in its original form that prompted the update here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-anderson/

  48. You obviously have thinner skin than I do. You took greater offense on a personal level than I intended. I was merely pointing out what I perceive as an inconsistency between what you expect from evolutionists, and what you give to YEC. If it came off overly harsh, I apologize. Having read your recommended link, its seems I’m not alone in interpreting your writing differently from the intended thesis.

  49. Is anyone aware of any reviews of The Privileged Planet from a YEC perspective? I’d really like to read them.

    Framtpon71,

    Ad hoc is a Latin phrase meaning “for this”. It generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, non-generalizable, and not intended to be able to be adapted to other purposes

    If God created the universe and the earth and living things on earth to appear as if they are more than 6000 years old who are we to tell Him He can’t do that? And if He did that, why does it matter that carbon dating or any other dating method appears to confirm that appearance of age?

    Surely God could have kept the illusion of age consistent.

    Right?

    The alternative, as I see it, is that God did not make the universe and the earth and living things appear like they have been around longer than 6,000 years and every bit of evidence to the contrary is just not being interpreted correctly.

    Now let the ad-hoccery begin.

    Otoh, the simplest explanation is “it looks old because it is old.” imo

  50. 100 million years is not even a blink of an eye if you have an eternity to live.

  51. Mung @ 49

    If God created the universe and the earth and living things on earth to appear as if they are more than 6000 years old who are we to tell Him He can’t do that? And if He did that, why does it matter that carbon dating or any other dating method appears to confirm that appearance of age?

    Surely God could have kept the illusion of age consistent.

    Right?

    The alternative, as I see it, is that God did not make the universe and the earth and living things appear like they have been around longer than 6,000 years and every bit of evidence to the contrary is just not being interpreted correctly.

    Now let the ad-hoccery begin.

    Otoh, the simplest explanation is “it looks old because it is old.” imo

    Another alternate ad hoc option:

    The appearance of age is a delusion from being indoctrinated from childhood from watching too many episodes of the Flintstones.

    I think this notion of “appearance of age” is itself misguided. How would one logically say that anything looks 1,000,000 years old. I mean, I can understand if someone says that this particular car looks German. Because we are know from observing things that are made in Germany. But we can’t time travel before our lives began. So, to say this any particular thing looks any age older than we have lived our own life is using a basis outside of actual experience. Especially, if one claims something looks millions or billions of years old.

    Another ad hoc possibility:

    The universe is 6000 years old as measured by time on earth. However, the further from earth you get, the faster clocks tick.

    On carbon 14. Why is it that diamonds that are 500 million years old by old earth models, have detectable C-14, indicating an age less than 50,000 years old?

    Why do old earthers seem to brush these things under the rug with ad hoc explanations??? Yet, STILL claim science defies youth and indicates old ages? This is VERY inconsistent if you ask me.

    Thus, the old earth view must make ad hoc explanations. There are only two arguments that YEC wrangle with old earthers on:

    radioactive decay and star light

    Yet, old earhers should recognize far more examples to wrangle with. For example they even have radioactive decay problems, like C14 in diamonds. And basic physics problems with the helium diffusion rates in zircons – which refute old ages. These are brushed under the rug with unsatisfying ad hoc explanations.

    Another… basic chemistry problem… the salinity of the oceans. Why is the ocean as salty as the Dead Sea? Teh rivers continually pup in salt from the continents. Again, old earthers must use unsatisfying ad hoc explanations, or ignore this.

    The list goes on, old earthers have more ad hoc explanations than old earthers are willing to recognize as inconsistencies in their model.

    Simplest explanation, imo:
    Everything was created in six earth days 6000 years ago. Earth is young. And the universe beyond earth may or may not have experienced more time effects. But again all was created from earth perspective 6000 years ago, and in six literal earth days.

    White Hole Cosmology makes more sense in this regard.

  52. correction, I wrote:
    “Why is the ocean as salty as the Dead Sea? Teh rivers continually pup in salt from the continents.”

    It should read:
    “Why isn’t the ocean as salty as the Dead Sea? The rivers continually pump in [dissolved] salt from the continents.”

  53. Simplest explanation, imo: Everything was created in six earth days 6000 years ago. Earth is young. And the universe beyond earth may or may not have experienced more time effects. But again all was created from earth perspective 6000 years ago, and in six literal earth days. White Hole Cosmology makes more sense in this regard.

    A minor quibble: 6,000 years is quite old. It’s certainly young relative to the other age numbers being thrown around, but it’s a few orders of magnitude longer than any human can expect to live.

    Expecting accurate age estimations from 30~100 years of samples/observations is also a bit of a foolish endeavor IMO.

  54. JGuy:

    Simplest explanation, imo:
    Everything was created in six earth days 6000 years ago.

    That’s not an explanation, it’s a statement of faith.

  55. Mung: Granted.

    Yet, keep in mind, I’m discussing this as if I’m speaking with old earth creationists and young earth creationists.

    From there… I think after one identifies the inconsistencies with the old earth paradigm. The young earth paradigm would be the most consistent model – thus the simplest explanation (among creationist peers). imo

  56. Greetings to all of you. Just some comments on some comments. I will also like it if Barry Arrington also detects where I am possibly wrong.

    Shader @ 3

    I’ve met many YEC’s who believe that day 4 is when the actual sun was created.
    Yet what is a day? A day is the length of time it takes for the earth to rotate a full revolution, and logically requires the sun for this measurement.

    Not really. If the Creator decided a day is Earth’s 24 hrs, then on day 4, a plan could be constructed to make sure that the creation of the other objects in space will not violate Earth’s 24 hrs for a day.

    Why would God measure his day by the arbitrary 24 hour day of the earth itself? The very object he was creating?

    Because God started creating. Creating something that has never existed before will require to be initiated with time t = 0. Time here represents the beginning of something. Now, it is up to the Creator to decide whether 1 day = 24 hrs with Earth as the frame of reference, or any other frame of reference.

    Mapou @ 14

    Well, I am a Christian and I am certainly not a poof believer. The scriptures teach me that everything was created via wisdom and understanding. IOW, an awful lot of planning went into creating the universe and life on earth. We were created in the image of the Elohim (the Gods) and if we need a brain to think, so do they.

    I don’t know much about duration of planning when it concerns the Creator. But suppose the Creator has the power to make things appear the moment He wants it. If it took Him eternity past to think on how to create the universe, it does not mean a “poof” cannot occur in the implementation of the plan. Unless I misunderstand the “poof” idea. I am thinking “poof” to mean “Be – And it was” (If I borrowed correctly from the Quran). Simultaneous causation.

  57. How much time did God spend planning the Creation?

  58. Greetings, Mung.

    Just in case the question is directed at me at post 57,

    How much time did God spend planning the Creation?

    I do not know.

  59. Mung:

    How much time did God spend planning the Creation?

    It took eons, of course. There are many processes that are inherently sequential and cannot be computed instantly (using, say, a super parallel computer) by anybody, not even the Gods. The only way to find out how they turn out is to set them in motion and wait. But the Gods have plenty of time on their hands.

  60. The only way to find out how they turn out is to set them in motion and wait.

    Unless, of course, one is not bound by time and can see the end from the beginning.

    But the Gods have plenty of time on their hands.

    Then they must have been in an awful hurry if they rushed to create the Earth and everything outlined in Genesis in 6 24-hour Earth days. :)

    (Not saying that is your position, just pointing it out.)

  61. Eric Anderson:

    Unless, of course, one is not bound by time and can see the end from the beginning.

    Which would be nonsense, in my opinion.

    Then they must have been in an awful hurry if they rushed to create the Earth and everything outlined in Genesis in 6 24-hour Earth days. :)

    (Not saying that is your position, just pointing it out.)

    It’s not but it’s funny the way you put it. I like it.

  62. Mung @ 57

    How much time did God spend planning the Creation?

    How do you measure time with God – an eternal being?

    2 Peter 3:8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.

  63. 63
    CentralScrutinizer

    <blockquote<Mapou: In my opinion, some, like Yahweh, created their own brains. Others, like Lucifer and humans, were given a brain (and body) created and designed by other Gods. The skeptics will ask, how can you create your own brain if you don’t exist yet? To which I will reply, spirits exist in the spiritual realm where nothing is created or destroyed. Some spirits have creative powers.

    What makes you think there is more than one of these “spirits” that has the ability to “create brains” without having a brain? I.e, what makes you think there is more than one “Most High God”?

  64. William Murray

    An honest question from a non-Christian: why should we think that the passage in Psalms is referring to the Bible, or anything in writing that existed at the time?

    OK, I’ll give you that one. To be more precise, David’s words here are referring specifically to the Mosaic Law or the first 5 books of the Bible, but the same principles apply to all of God’s words as the NT reiterates.

  65. Central @ 63

    What makes you think there is more than one of these “spirits” that has the ability to “create brains” without having a brain? I.e, what makes you think there is more than one “Most High God”?

    Central,this is the result of not allowing God’s Word to have its rightful place in his life. Mappou says he views the Bible as a research tool, not as God’s truth like Jesus teaches. So this allows him to pick and choose what he likes and dislikes. He believes whatever he wants to believe, which is fine of course, but that method renders the Bible meaningless by making it subject to the “wisdom” of fallible finite fallen man. It robs the Bible of all authority and sets up the reader as the final authority.

    When a person’s view of the Bible is messed up, this is the kind of thing that often happens.

    I can’t understand why he even chooses to follow Jesus when he has no idea what is true or false. ID love to know on what basis he picks what to believe and what to reject. questions much of what He said. He might as well just start his own little Christian cult.

  66. Eric @ 60

    Then they must have been in an awful hurry if they rushed to create the Earth and everything outlined in Genesis in 6 24-hour Earth days.

    Eric, this is silly. Of course God is not bound by time, but creating everything in 6 days when He could have just as easily done it all in an instant does not mean He was in a hurry. What is important here is not whether you think something is fast or slow, but what God Himself tells us.

    I’ve never heard of anyone thinking that God rushed to create the universe and it is not a fair evaluation of that point of view.

    Perhaps you were kind of joking, but God wrote with his own finger in the rock He gave to Moses that He created the heavens and the earth in 6 days and rested the 7th. This was a direct word from God – not something that Moses Himself told the people or wrote himself and it was etched in the rock there for all to see.

    I think they knew exactly what He meant!

  67. Mung @ 49

    You said you wanted to see a review of the Privileged Planet from a YEC perspective.

    Here is one that you might want to check out:

    http://creation.com/images/pdf....._58-60.pdf

  68. CentralScrutinizer @ 34

    Which natural clocks “argue” for a younger earth?

    I’m sure you can find evidence that you think is more consistent with a YEC view. However, for me what’s important is the consistency and coherence of all the available evidence. No paradigm is without its difficulties. But (naturally) I think the one I hold presently is the best one.

    I’ll give you six here, one for each literal earth day of creation activity :):

    1. Salinity of Oceans. With a net input of salt into the oceans via rivers, coastal runoff, hydro-thermal vents, submarine volcanoes for a billion years. Why is the ocean not as salty as the dead sea? Current salinity levels indicate oceans are less than 62 million years old. If it were a billion years old, there would be no life in it, it would be too toxic.
    http://creation.com/salty-seas.....oung-earth

    2. Erosion. One analysis indicate conservative erosion rates would level continents in 50 million years. Why are continents not eroded to sea level? It can’t be due to uplift, since fossils of land creatures (e.g. dinosaurs) are radio-isotope dated to ~70 million years ago.
    http://www.icr.org/articles/view/6309/264/

    3. Receding Moon. The moon recedes from earth. If the earth moon system were a billion years old, the moon would have been in contact with the earth 1.4 billion years ago (far younger than secular theory 4.5BYO).
    http://creation.com/the-moons-recession-and-age

    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....eated-moon

    4. Helium in Zirons. Too much left over helium in zircons with uranium decay products. It should have diffused out. Why hasn’t it? …also.. Diffusion rates were predicted using a young earth model and competed against an old earth model. After diffusion rates were determined, the young earth model fit perfectly. The old earth model failed by six orders of magnitude. Why did the old model fail and the young fit perfectly?
    http://www.creationresearch.or.....Helium.htm

    5. Dinosaur Soft Tissue Soft stretchy tissue extracted from a t-rex fossil. Still in large molecular form as evident by stretchy/elastic tissue and testing for proteins. Well understood science rejects this. Why is it there if it’s 70 milion years old?
    http://creation.com/dinosaur-s.....nfirmation

    http://creation.com/still-soft-and-stretchy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbdH3l1UjPQ

    6. Carbon-14 in “500MYO” Diamonds. Diamonds extracted from strata claimed to be 500 million years old are dated using Carbon-14 dating and indicate the diamonds are ~50k years old. If the earth is old, why is there carbon 14 in these diamonds? There shouldn’t be even one atom of C14, and diamonds resist contamination. Bonus: The same problem is with dinosaur fossils.
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....n-diamonds

    More could be provided. The end point is this. Old earthers come up with two arguments using uniformitarian assumptions to argue against young earth. Radio-active decay and Starlight. I’ve provided you with six. In fact, one of the six involve radio-active decay problems. And it’s important to note that most of these involve physical and chemical processes that we very well understood. In contrast, the nature of light speed and radio-active decay are not well understood.

    If you’re concern is, as you said, ‘consistency and coherence of all the available evidence’, then I would not expect you to brush under the rug these inconsistencies & incoherence with the old earth paradigm. But keep them in an view as the enigmas with the old paradigm that they are.

  69. jguy, the point is that you are being dogmatic. There is no need for that.

    I personally have no idea how old the earth is. It could be 6k like you believe, it could be billions of years old. Either case doesn’t really affect the bible in any way.

    The bible is full of figurative language and full of literal language.

    It is my OPINION that the use of the word “day” in Genesis is figurative. Just as the sun doesn’t literally set, the day doesn’t have to literally be 24 hours.

    There are many reasons for this, which I have outlined above. I could probably go on and on, but it doesn’t seem you are going to do anything but dogmatically stick to the beliefs you feel you must.

    The point is that when all of science seems to point to the earth and especially the universe being older than 6k years old, does it really hurt to say “possibly so”?

    Why the need for drama when the bible doesn’t require it? If God revealed to you in some way that the word day/evening/morning were not 100% literal, what would you do? You’d realize that you wasted a lot of effort debating and studying something that really doesn’t matter that much.

    It makes perfect sense to me, that God wouldn’t be constrained by an “earth day” while he was creating the earth. But maybe I’m wrong. I certainly admit that is a possibility.

    I think you are wasting your time, to be honest, over something that isn’t all that important, when compared to the rest of the bible.

  70. 70
    CentralScrutinizer

    tjguy: Central, this is the result of not allowing God’s Word to have its rightful place in his life. Mappou [sic] says he views the Bible as a research tool, not as God’s truth like Jesus teaches. So this allows him to pick and choose what he likes and dislikes.

    Well, I’ll let Mapou answer for himself.

    As for you, do you claim to not “pick and choose?” Are you saying that you don’t pick the Bible over the Qur’an or the Bhagavad Gita?

    He believes whatever he wants to believe

    So do you. That you pick the Bible over other putative “words of God” doesn’t make you any different.

    which is fine of course, but that method renders the Bible meaningless by making it subject to the “wisdom” of fallible finite fallen man.

    And somehow you are infallible in your choice of which words to accept as the “words of God”?

  71. CentralScrutinizer:

    What makes you think there is more than one of these “spirits” that has the ability to “create brains” without having a brain? I.e, what makes you think there is more than one “Most High God”?

    Yahweh is the big Kahuna, the God of all Gods. He said so himself. He said that the other Gods all came after him.

    And we’ve all read how the Gods (Elohim) of Egypt had a certain amount of creative powers. They could turn sticks into serpents and water into blood, among other things. The Bible acknowledged that there were many other Gods besides Yahweh. It seems that the Gods came down to earth and picked different nations for themselves. Yahweh chose the house of Israel. Yahweh was a jealous God and he was apparently very hurt when the people Israel turned their affection toward the Gods of the Assyrians.

    It is very clear that the Gods looked at the nations of the world as men look at women. They wanted wives. It was definitely a sexual/love thing to them. They think we’re hot. :-) It’s in the Bible. Yahweh eventually divorced the house of Israel but remained married to the house of Judah.

  72. … but God wrote with his own finger in the rock He gave to Moses that He created the heavens and the earth in 6 days and rested the 7th.

    How many fingers per hand does God have?

  73. JGuy:

    Current salinity levels indicate oceans are less than 62 million years old. If it were a billion years old, there would be no life in it, it would be too toxic.

    How does this argue for a 6,000 year old earth?

  74. Mung @ 73

    How does this argue for a 6,000 year old earth?

    I’m not certain it’s even possible to make a confident conclusion on a specific ages of the earth based on analysis of the world around us – whether it be 6kyo or 4.6byo or some other number.

    The point in referencing the salinity levels indicates – using a uniformitarian measure – that things aren’t AS OLD as the old earth paradigm asserts. It was in response to CentralScrutinizer’s position that the uniformitarian framework was more consistent and coherent.

    Indeed, he said all frameworks have problems. But I’m arguing that the old earth framework has more problems. It needs to explain more uniformitarian clocks that are problematic to the paradigm than the young earth paradigm. Thus, all other things being equal among creationists, it seems the young earth framework wins at being more consistent. Not to mention that it’s more consistent with a creation account that reads more literal than figurative.

  75. p.s. The salinity puts an upper limit on the age of the ocean. Not a specific age or lower limit. Young earth model has the global flood (with more turbulent and warmer waters) to account for increased salinity since the original creation ~6000yo.

  76. Mung @ 74.

    Yeah, there are those extremophiles and/or their slimy cousins.

    But I still wouldn’t bring a fishing pole with me if I went to visit the Dead Sea.

  77. Shader @ 69

    I don’t actually make it a major point with fellow Christians on the age of the earth. Christian brothers I know and respect are old earthers, on the fence or indifferent on that topic.

    But I am persuaded that the scripture reads literal days. You can call it an opinion if you like. And I would change my position if it was clearly figurative, but it doesn’t come off to me that way at all. Yet, I won’t judge you or any other Christians that think it’s figurative.

    I don’t feel God is constrained to a literal earth day at all. Just like I don’t think God is constrained to billions of years. I never suggested that there was a constraint – in fact, I think I alluded to the opposite in one of my above comments.

    Regarding being dogmatic, I will accept whatever the bible reads on this matter and stick to it, regardless of pure uniformitarian ‘clocks’. Call it dogmatic if you like, I’d prefer to call it believing what God appears to have revealed. Besides, the uniformitarian methods don’t have the consistency you imagine. Consider more closely the problems I noted in one of the above comments.

    All that said. I think Christian worldview, in general, gives us reason to believe there is a uniformity of nature. This doesn’t mean we must be dogmatic with things that people call constants. Especially with catastrophism playing a role in nature. Furthermore, we already know things promoted by uniformitarian models can change… e.g. radioactive decay rates can be influenced to be faster.

  78. 79
    CentralScrutinizer

    JGuy @76: It was in response to CentralScrutinizer’s position that the uniformitarian framework was more consistent and coherent.

    Where did I say that uniformitarianism was more consistent? I said OEC is more consistent than YEC. OEC is not the same thing as uniformitarianism.

  79. mung @ 57

    “How much time did God spend planning the Creation?”

    It is not possible for God to spend time.

  80. CentralScrutinizer @ 79

    Fine enough, you didn’t say that exactly or explicitly…

    …but if the basis for your claim – that OEC then is more consistent – is not from it’s high reliance on the uniformitarian framework, then on what other interpretive framework is OEC more internally consistent?
    ..or..
    Why would one choose OEC if it wasn’t that one had the view that things appeared old. And how does one come to that view , of things appearing old, without an appeal to uniformitarianism?

  81. 82
    CentralScrutinizer

    jguy,

    “Uniformitarianism” by itself is an imprecise term.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniformitarianism

    However, with regards to basic physics, i.e, the speed of light, the mass of an electron, etc, I have to assume that they are constant and have been such since the Beginning. Christians should agree. For how could Paul’s appeals to the creation as a testimony to God’s agency be of any value if the nature of things were subject to change? Where is the solid bedrock from which to make an assessment?

    If the basic physical framework of the universe has not been constant, we have no basis for any judgements about it.

    I predict you’ll say something like: the sure foundation of the assessment is in the Bible. But that assumes you’re wise enough to understand the Bible properly, even assuming it is “the word of God.”

    The bottom line is, we all have to search and do the best we can with the evidence, experience, and psychological baggage that we have. If there’s a God, he’s judge me in due time. I’m in his merciful hands.

    Now, while your bothering about all that, be sure to remember to love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on that. It’s the Prime Directive… that is, if you believe Jesus was the Messiah.

  82. JGuy:

    I’m not certain it’s even possible to make a confident conclusion on a specific ages of the earth based on analysis of the world around us – whether it be 6kyo or 4.6byo or some other number.

    My point is that young earth creationism relies upon ad hoc rationalizations. You actually appear to agree with me.

    So lets take another tack. What would a 6,000 year old universe, earth, and history of life look like?

    If you can’t say, then how do you say this or that observation is consistent or inconsistent with a creation event of six literal days 6,000 years ago? And how would it be tested?

  83. The eternal Son not only created all things by His omnipotent Word (Psalm 33:6; Hebrews 11:3) but is now “upholding all things by the Word of His power.”

    http://www.icr.org/books/defenders/8271/

    I will not dishonor my covenant, because I will not change what I have spoken.

    Sounds like a Biblical basis for uniformitarianism to me!

    :)

  84. Mung:

    My point is that young earth creationism relies upon ad hoc rationalizations. You actually appear to agree with me.

    So lets take another tack. What would a 6,000 year old universe, earth, and history of life look like?

    If you can’t say, then how do you say this or that observation is consistent or inconsistent with a creation event of six literal days 6,000 years ago? And how would it be tested?

    There are two things going on here on how old something looks. In one aspect, by experience, we can know how old something looks by looking at it – if it’s within the duration of our life experience. We can say a person looks old, or a house because we know what old houses and people look like. And we can often guess the ages of each within a decade or two of accuracy. But we don’t know what old rocks look like from experience. Yet, even these can be wrong. Never-the-less, in that sense of how old something looks, pretty much everyone has that ability.

    Then there is the how old something looks based on assumptions and deductions. And those are typically uniformitarian assumptions. This is also accessible by all people – including young earth creationists such as myself. :)

    So, if we assume uniformitarian measures, then anyone can say how old something “looks” (measures) in that sense. But that really does nothing for us, but tell us what uniformitarian assumptions lead to in a calculation.

    So, as far as anyone knows, that I know of, there are only two ways people can attempt to know how old something is outside of the duration of their experience:
    (1) historical records (relies on trustworthy witness)
    (2) “clocks” (relies on uniformitarian assumptions)

    But only (1) is reliable, if the witness was there and is trustworthy of the facts.

    As for ad hoc rationalizations. YEC do not rely just-so explanations. YEC primarily rely on the bible. My guess is that YEC generally arrive at their postion from one of either two ways.
    1. They find the literal nature of the Genesis creation account as compelling, and rely on scripture as a guide.
    2. They were either indifferent about the age of the earth or OEC that finally realized the contradictions when using ALL of the uniformitarian “clocks”. That is, they did not rely on just clocks that agreed with OEC paradigm, but considered all. And found a uniformitarian framework is self refuting for reliability.

    That said, there are some uniformitarian clocks that do or would give ages suggesting 6000 years. e.g.
    Helium Diffusion in Zircons – to a high degree.
    Mitochondrial Eve – when using fast observed mutation rates.

    So, it’s easy for a YEC to hold his/her position and consider his/her position as more consistent. Especially, if the rendering of the scripture best rads literal – which I’d argue does.

    A final note: In the current scientific climate, dominated by old earth views, I find it exciting knowing that the very risky young earth paradigm is only found to be of the Christian faith. So, when/if the world of physics is rocked by the right new discovery or revelation… :)

  85. Sounds like a Biblical basis for uniformitarianism to me!

    2 Peter 3:3
    Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

    And this sounds like people relying on uniformitarianism, but forgetting about the flood/catastrophe. :)

    I’m not opposed to using uniformitarian methods in sceince. Just relying on them as a final authority, especially when I find literal earth days as the plain, to me, from reading scripture.

    And I do think, as I said above, that the Christian faith at least has the, perhaps the only, basis for thinking there is a uniformity of nature. But this doesn’t mean things can’t change at some level… e.g. floods can change the appearance of things…and planetary rotation can slow down… etc.. density of space/time may vary some as you go deeper or further away from the earth. How might this affect the speed of light in deep space? or The rate time appears to tick in deep space, far from earth? etc…

  86. 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

    9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

    10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

    11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

    ….

    Question for Old Earth Creationist:
    Does the above mean we must work for six ages or six million years, before we can finally rest? :/

  87. Wow! this thread (and the previous one) just keeps expanding. It’s hard to keep up.

    First, I would like to thank Barry Arrington, and especially StephenB, for their consideration of Young Earth Creationism. Yes, you both said some things that rubbed some creationists the wrong way. We creationists then need thicker skin, and more empathy. What did we expect, to have Barry and Stephen to say that the scientific evidence supported us? Then they would be YEC’s too, wouldn”t they. Give them a break.

    Second, the most difficult to answer question for many YEC’s is that of distant starlight. There are 5 different ways to deal with this that I know of.

    1. God created the starlight in place. We just think we are seeing galaxies. There does not seem to be any testable way to determine the truth or falsity of such a premise. I personally have trouble with it.

    2. There is a process that allows light to slow down with time. This idea is currently most closely associated with Barry Setterfield. It is a fascinating theory, but at present unfortunately makes no testable predictions that are different from standard theory. I have a little less trouble with it, but am not willing to endorse it at this time.

    3. The universe and earth have different time scales. The universe looks old because it is old, but the earth is still only some 6,000 years old. Again, this makes no obvious or stated predictions that are not true for standard cosmology, once you get outside the solar system. It is a little more attractive.

    4. The rest of the universe is old, but life on earth is young. The earth itself may be either old our young, but if old, on the first day of creation week, it was covered with water. There are three subtypes: old earth, young life (YLEC), old solar system, young earth (and life), and young solar system. I find the last most attractive, but have changed my mind before and could again. It is important to realize that YEC does not necessarily mean YUC (young universe creationism). This set of proposals is not disturbed by the starlight problem.

    5. Life on earth is old. There are multiple variations on this theme. All of them appear to require death before human sin, and see radiometric dating as their chief support.

    I find radiometric dating not to be that convincing, partly because carbon-14 dating (an area that I have personally worked in) seems to point in the opposite direction, partly because of JGuy’s (#68) point number 4, and partly because of inconsistencies in their use. See the appendix to Marvin Lubenow’s book Bones of Contention, describing the circus around the dating of Skull 1470, for one example. See the redating of Triassic shore bird tracks, which had originally been dating by the most advanced variation on potassium-argon dating, argon-argon dating (along with an index fossil!) when it became apparent that they really were shore birds and not bird-like dinosaurs. Apparently radiometric dating only counts when it gives the “right” answers. And finally, note that radiometric dating can apparently speed up or slow down for currently unknown reasons.

    Two other observations. In #3, shader gives an argument that can be traced back at least to Augustine. He says,

    I’ve met many YEC’s who believe that day 4 is when the actual sun was created.

    Yet what is a day? A day is the length of time it takes for the earth to rotate a full revolution, and logically requires the sun for this measurement

    But does it? For Augustine, who believed in a round but stationary earth, it made no sense for the light from the first day to go around the earth. But with modern solar system theory, if God started out creating unidirectional light, it would automatically create day and night as the earth turned. So a day does not “logically require the sun for this measurement”, contrary to the objection.

    The second comment also goes back to Augustine. In #7, Mung states,

    I don’t understand why it took God six days. Couldn’t he have just said “let it be so” and “poof” there everything was all at one instant?

    Mung, you will be encouraged to know that Augustine asked the same thing. It seemed to him that a perfect God had to act instantly; otherwise the creation on days 1-5 (or is it 1-6?) would be imperfect, as it still needed finishing touches, and God, being perfect, couldn’t do anything imperfect.

    Of course, that’s not the way the Genesis account reads. After several creative acts, the text says wayyar’ ‘elohim ky tob (And God saw that it was good). Then on day six, it says that wayyar’ ‘elohim ky tob me’od (and God saw that it was very good, implying degrees of goodness. Apparently, all that God does, does not have to be perfect at every stage, at least in the Platonic way of defining perfection.

  88. CentralScrutinizer @ 82

    However, with regards to basic physics, i.e, the speed of light, the mass of an electron, etc, I have to assume that they are constant and have been such since the Beginning. Christians should agree. For how could Paul’s appeals to the creation as a testimony to God’s agency be of any value if the nature of things were subject to change? Where is the solid bedrock from which to make an assessment?

    If the basic physical framework of the universe has not been constant, we have no basis for any judgements about it.

    Psalm 102
    25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.

    26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:

    27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.

    —-

    Romans 8 (Paul)

    22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

  89. Mung @ 74

    How many fingers per hand does God have?

    Good point. God has none. This is figurative language because God is a spirit, but the point remains unchanged. God wrote this Himself, not Moses.

  90. Central @ 70

    As for you, do you claim to not “pick and choose?” Are you saying that you don’t pick the Bible over the Qur’an or the Bhagavad Gita?

    He believes whatever he wants to believe

    So do you. That you pick the Bible over other putative “words of God” doesn’t make you any different.

    which is fine of course, but that method renders the Bible meaningless by making it subject to the “wisdom” of fallible finite fallen man.

    And somehow you are infallible in your choice of which words to accept as the “words of God”?

    Central, I hope you can see the flaw in your reasoning here. Yes, I pick and choose from among the religious books of the world, but I don’t pick and choose from within the book I have chosen. That is because I believe the Bible, the whole Bible, to be God’s Word.

    Am I infallible in my choice? No, but I believe God is infallible in what He says and that is why I believe the Bible.

    But Mapou, he only thinks it is a research tool. So, with a low view of the Bible like that, he can feel free to elevate himself above it and act as Judge upon it. He can justify picking and choosing whatever he wants. He decides what is true and what is false.

    The Bible says though that there is only one Law giver and Judge and that is God meaning that we are to submit to the Law that God gives us. James 4:12

    Central, do you think this is what God intended when He gave us the Bible?

    The Bible was given to teach, reprove, correct, train & equip us, and reveal God to us. If we pick and choose what we want to believe and discard, we are making up our own God and have no rational basis for what we believe outside of personal preference. Personal preferences of a finite fallen human are sure to be a far cry from the truth!

    For that very reason, so that we can know what the truth is, God gave us the Bible. Isn’t that how you understand it?

  91. Central @ 70

    This is your view of the Bible:

    I reject “the Bible” as “one book” handed down from God from “on high.” I consider it a collection of writings from various authors, with various motives, and various levels of credibility. I think there are good things therein, and some downright nonsense.

    Well sure, God used human authors to write the books in the Bible, but they are all inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore trustworthy and authoritative.

    Central, in essence, you do the same thing as Mapou – set yourself up as Judge over God’s Word deciding what to accept as true and what looks like nonsense and needs to be rejected. So I’m not sure why you were questioning his views here.

    Do you ever allow God’s Word to correct you or do you always sit in judgment of God’s Word and reject it when you/ scientists / anthropologists / sociologists / psychologists / etc. disagree with it or claim it is wrong?

    Once you lower your view of God’s Word, then sure, why be a YECer? There is no need. Human wisdom, knowledge, & science is surely more trustworthy that the Bible – if it is the kind of book you think it is.

    But if it is, how do you know that anything in the Bible is true? When you set yourself or other fallible fallen and finite men up over God’s Word as Judge, you reduce the Bible to just another book among millions in the world. It loses all authority.

  92. tjguy @ 90

    Mung @ 74

    How many fingers per hand does God have?

    Good point. God has none. This is figurative language because God is a spirit, but the point remains unchanged. God wrote this Himself, not Moses.

    God is spirit, but Jesus is God made flesh (John 1:14). And Jesus has fingers. So, a literal view is not a problem in that regard.

    Unless, the scripture says otherwise. Moses, it seems, could have encountered a theophany in Jesus on top of and/or in the smoke on Mt Sinai.

    So, my answer to Mung, five! :D

    Flashback: Genesis 3:8 “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

  93. 94

    (1)

    It seems to me that if one takes the Bible as a unit, written by one author working through tens of agents over hundreds of years, then the Bible does indeed indicate that the early chapters of Genesis are to be read mostly literal and that the days of Genesis 1 are literal solar periods (e.g. Gen 6-9; Ex 20:7; Matt 19:4; Isa 45:18; Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 15:45ff). It’s not just Genesis that must be considered. But even in Genesis 1, it’s hard to get away from the definition of a day as being one period of dark and light. As I understand it, there is no other Hebrew word that is more precise than “yom’ for “day”, so one must look to the context, and the Biblical context as a whole leans heavily toward the Genesis days being literal days.

    On the other hand, if one takes the Bible as a man-collected set of various works, then one has less compulsion to let one part of the Bible inform another part, and more freedom to dismiss the early chapters of Genesis as something other than literal history.

    (2)

    With the discovery only in this last century of ancient clay tablets from the Middle East, similarities have been found between these ancient documents and the structure of Genesis, such that it now begins to appear that Moses used ancient documents as his source material for Genesis, basically stitching together discrete individual family records into a coherent storyline.

    This “Tablet Theory” (or “Wiseman Hypothesis”) differs from the Documentary (or JEDP) Hypothesis in that the latter has Genesis being a “melting pot” of various traditions over centuries, whereas the former has Genesis being a deliberate collection of intact ancient records into a cohesive whole.

    In this Tablet Theory, Genesis One and Genesis Two are indeed two separate creation accounts, but the first chapter is from God’s viewpoint, perhaps written by God’s very finger (number of fingers on the hand notwithstanding) and given to Adam, whereas the next few chapters are Adam’s record. Attached to each patriarch’s record is a “toledoth” – “these are the records of Adam”, “these are the records of Noah”; “these are the records of Seth”, etc.

    The nearer to Moses’ time, the more detailed the records get.

    We even find the word “book” attached to the end of Adam’s record, in Genesis 5:1 (although not all English translations make that clear) – “This is the book of the generations of Adam” (ESV).

    This is just like in other places of the Bible wherein the compiler cites his source code (e.g. Josh 10:13; 1 Chron 29:29).

    We even see that the records of a certain patriarch cover the events which that patriarch would know about, but not about other events outside of that partriarch’s life. For example, after Jacob reunites with his brother Esau after decades of absence, Jacob’s story takes a brief break to fill the reader in on the family tree of Esau, introduced by the phrase, “These are the family records of Esau” (Gen 36:1 HCSB). Some of the variations in the Flood story may be a result of Moses compiling the remembrances of four different witnesses (Noah and his three sons) into one story (Gen 6:1 & 10:1), just as four witnesses to a traffic accident will give varying details to their accounts, or as four witnesses to the life of Jesus give varying details (a much stronger mark of authenticity than four identical accounts, which would indicate collusion or mere copying). Likewise the variances in the two creation accounts – one from God’s perspective, one from Adam’s.

    If this theory is correct, we have actual written records dating all the way back to the creation period, the first of which may be from the Creator himself – “These are the records of the heavens and the earth, concerning their creation at the time that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens” (Gen 2:4).

    (3)

    It is my understanding that the ancient age of the earth is founded on a uniformitarian view of the rocks on the earth’s surface, and that the radiometric dating is merely icing upon that interpretive framework.

    In other words, the geological ages are not determined by radiometric dating, but rather by the assumption of evolution applied to piecing together this strata with that strata using these assumptions. When radiometric dating is used, it’s more of a “well, this date fits, so we’ll publish it as ‘proof’ of the age we already ‘know’”.

    When a rock is to be dated, the method used will be determined by the results desired. This makes sense – you wouldn’t measure the length of an inchworm with a yardstick, nor the weight of the Titanic with a postage scale. But it belies the assumptive nature of radiometric dating. This is why mainstream geologists don’t look for carbon-14 in diamonds – it shouldn’t be there.

    And yet, it is.

    When you look more rigorously at how the old age of the earth is derived, you discover that the methods are not nearly as rigorous as the party line would insist you believe.

    (4)

    In looking at the age of the Earth, a global flood is out of the question within mainstream thinking. Yet the Bible insists that a global flood occurred. If the Bible is correct on this point, then the mainstream thinking of geological history is completely worthless.

    Any interpretation of earth history which denies a global flood is suspect. And to me, I just don’t see how a geologist can deny a global flood when they see continent-wide scouring all over the world, followed by continent-wide sedimentation processes (“”widespread continental denudation during the Neoproterozoic followed by extensive physical reworking of soil, regolith and basement rock during the first continental-scale marine transgression of the Phanerozoic.” – http://crev.info/2013/10/globa.....utionists/).

    The old earth view is dependent on there not having been a global flood. I believe that view is faulty.

  94. Question for OEC:

    OEC typically believe that the days in creation week were actually ages. Probably, with a low of 700 million years to 2 billion years average per ‘day’.

    Here are some fact wells established by scripture:
    Adam was created on the sixth day of creation week.
    Adam was the first literal man.
    Adam lived 930 years.
    Adam apparently did not sin or die on the sixth day.
    —–
    So, if one hold that the creation days are not earth days, but rather extremely long epochs…

    Then Adam either died in the seventh day/epoch, or after the seventh epoch. But if the seventh epoch was like the other epochs, it would last as long as the average 700 hundred million years (the minimum average vice 2 billion years). In that case, Adam could not have died AFTER the seventh epoch, since he lived only 930 years in comparison to the immense duration of the average epoch. So, for OEC to be consistent, they must argue that Adam died in the seventh epoch. And perhaps, hold that the present time is still the seventh epoch.

    Anyway, here is a descriptive map of the sixth day.

    ~699,999,071 years pass into the sixth day, then man is created in the last 929 years (earliest) – figures used are meant to be accurate, but close enough for a perspective of proportions.

    If the epoch were proportioned to a 24 hour day, then man was created at about the 23rd hour 59th minute 59.89th second.

    Is this a fair/rough description of the position of the OEC reading this?

  95. correction: “figures used are [NOT] meant to be accurate”

  96. another correct to my post @ 95

    Adam apparently sinned after the sixth day, but before his son Cain was born. Seth was born after Cain when Adam was 130 years old. So, in the hypothetical epoch day scenario, that would put Adam being created within 129 years of the seventh epoch (disregarding the age Cain lived before he killed Abel). That is ~699,999,871 years gone by and 129 years max left for Adam to the seventh epoch. So, Adam was created no earlier than: 23rd hour 59th minute 59.984th second. (even closer if we could factor in Cains age)

    I know, what’s a tenth of a second when it’s already that close. :P

  97. Were plants in epoch/’day’ 3 waiting hundreds of millions of years for the sun in epoch 4?

  98. Also, were plants in epoch/’day’ 3 waiting an even longer time, over a billion years, for the bee’s and other pollinators of epoch 6? :P

  99. 100
    CentralScrutinizer

    JGuy,

    Some OECs, like me, don’t think Genesis has anything at all to do with the actual creation. There are a lot of Jews and Catholics who see it the way I do. So I would not say OECs typically try to harmonize Genesis with reality. More often than not, they don’t (in my experience.)

  100. DebianFanatic:

    Thanks for your post! I found it very informative and reasonable.

    JGuy:

    Were plants in epoch/’day’ 3 waiting hundreds of millions of years for the sun in epoch 4?

    I think that most OEC would not say that the sun was created on day 4. Rather, they would tend to believe that the creation of the heavens and earth in Genesis 1:1 would include the creation of the sun. From this perspective, it is the visible appearance of the sun that God causes to occur on day 4. Thus, diffused sunlight fueled photosynthesis in plants during day 3 before the sun was visible.

    Also, were plants in epoch/’day’ 3 waiting an even longer time, over a billion years, for the bee’s and other pollinators of epoch 6?

    Though I cannot speak for OEC and don’t really self-identify as one myself, my expectation would be that the appearance of bees and other pollinators on day 6 would allow plants to expand and diversify beyond merely relying on wind for pollination. In a similar way, I imagine that the appearance of insects allowed the birds of day 5 to expand and diversify into insect-eaters.

  101. Since Young Earth Creationism is obviously true, if one is to believe anything at all in the Bible, what has evidence got to do with it?

    Unless Young Earth Creationism is true, Jesus never existed.

    Unless Young Earth Creationism is true, Jesus never died on the cross.

    Unless Young Earth Creationism is true, Jesus never died on the cross for our sins.

    Is it in fact the case that nothing in Scripture is true if Young Earth Creationism is false?

  102. To all my YEC brethren.

    I often propose questions that in my mind are rhetorical.

    They invite you to think. They invite you to consider what sorts of assumptions you’re making.

    They point that that Young Earth Creationism is based upon a certain hermeneutics of Scripture to which all else (including science) is subjected.

    They point out that your “literal” interpretations are not all that literal. And that your “science” is not therefore all that “scientific.”

    This is a major disconnect between ID and YEC.

    Most of us in the ID camp allow for following the evidence where it leads. In the YEC camp, the evidence can only lead to one conclusion.

  103. Paul Giem:

    The second comment also goes back to Augustine. In #7, Mung states,

    “I don’t understand why it took God six days. Couldn’t he have just said “let it be so” and “poof” there everything was all at one instant?”

    Mung, you will be encouraged to know that Augustine asked the same thing. It seemed to him that a perfect God had to act instantly; otherwise the creation on days 1-5 (or is it 1-6?) would be imperfect, as it still needed finishing touches, and God, being perfect, couldn’t do anything imperfect.

    Of course, that’s not the way the Genesis account reads. After several creative acts, the text says wayyar’ ‘elohim ky tob (And God saw that it was good). Then on day six, it says that wayyar’ ‘elohim ky tob me’od (and God saw that it was very good, implying degrees of goodness. Apparently, all that God does, does not have to be perfect at every stage, at least in the Platonic way of defining perfection.

    My question was rhetorical, and tjguy basically provided the answer. The “creation week” was patterned after “the sabbatic week.”

    Unless, of course, Moses was not the author of the book of Genesis or Leviticus.

    Of course, that’s not the way the Genesis account reads.

    So Augustine was wrong?

    IMO, all ‘acts’ of God are instantaneous.

    God does not engage in ‘planning’ if by planning we mean “the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve a desired goal.”

  104. 105
    CentralScrutinizer

    FWIW, I don’t believe in a “timeless” reality. I don’t know what it means. What does it mean to say a “timeless being” creates and/or interacts with a time-based system? I find that when I hear people talking about such things, nothing in particular registers in my thinking.

    The essence of time is change of relationship between two (or more) objects or properties. How does a “simple” and “timeless” being create objects that are not part of itself, such that it can relate to them, AND yet remain timeless?

    Meaningless.

    The Classic God idea is bunk.

  105. The essence of time is change of relationship between two (or more) objects or properties. How does a “simple” and “timeless” being create objects that are not part of itself, such that it can relate to them, AND yet remain timeless?

    Meaningless.

    Is time a physical property of the universe or an illusion?

    If it’s a physical property, then timelessness might be, from THAT experience, meaningless (if not just a problematic concept) within physical realities. It could be that timelessness exists in a nonphysical reality and is to us incomprehensible. e.g. A 3rd dimension is incomprehensible to a 2 dimensional being.

    If time is just an illusion, then your statement about meaninglessness of a timeless reality would be automatically meaningless.

  106. Mung @ 104

    God does not engage in ‘planning’ if by planning we mean “the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve a desired goal.”

    Does God engage in planning? It’s a good question, Mung.

    The Bible speaks of God making plans and having a plan.

    Why would you assume that God has no desired goal or that He would not organize activities that are required to reach that desired goal?

    It is clear that He had a plan of salvation for the world and that He organized activities to bring that plan to fruition, just like He prophesied through the prophets ahead of time.

    Speaking of this divine plan, Paul says this in Ephesians 3:8-10.

    To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in[a] God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

    And in Isaiah 25:1 It says this:

    “O Lord, you are my God;
    I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
    for you have done wonderful things,
    plans formed of old, faithful and sure.”

    So Mung, I’m inclined to believe that God actually does have a desired goal and that He does orchestrate events to bring about His plan in His time. Just as He sent forth Jesus in the fulness of time, He will bring this world to an end at just the right time according to His plan.

  107. Mung @ 103

    To all my YEC brethren.

    I often propose questions that in my mind are rhetorical.

    They invite you to think. They invite you to consider what sorts of assumptions you’re making.

    They point that that Young Earth Creationism is based upon a certain hermeneutics of Scripture to which all else (including science) is subjected.

    They point out that your “literal” interpretations are not all that literal. And that your “science” is not therefore all that “scientific.”

    This is a major disconnect between ID and YEC.

    Most of us in the ID camp allow for following the evidence where it leads. In the YEC camp, the evidence can only lead to one conclusion.

    Mung, that is a pretty good definition of YEC. True, our interpretation of the Bible is based on a specific hermeneutic. If we don’t have the proper hermeneutic, then we can make the Bible say whatever we want it to say. It becomes a fluid book and loses authority.

    The traditional conservative hermeneutic is the historical grammatical method. It takes into account the intent of the original writer and prevents too much spiritualization and reading double meanings into the text that no one can really verify. It prevents us from reading into the text what we want to see and allows the text to inform us rather than vice versa.

    This is the big difference and it is a key point.

    The problem with ID is that it ignores what the Bible says and interprets the evidence simply from a scientific point of view.

    But there is information in the Bible that we need to factor into the equation in order to make accurate interpretations of the scientific evidence that we have. Take for example the global flood.

    If we did not know a global flood took place, we would tend to think the rocks were laid down over millions of years based on current day observations of geological processes.

    You claim that “our “literal” interpretations are not all that literal. And that our “science” is not therefore all that “scientific.””

    I guess that depends on what you mean by “scientific”. You criticize us for making assumptions, but everyone makes assumptions and then interprets the evidence through their worldview/assumption filter. IDers are no different.

    For instance, you assume that radiometric dating is accurate and trustworthy. Implicit in this assumption is that you know the amount of elements present in the original rock and that the decay rate never varied.

    You assume that there was no global flood and that the basic ideas of uniformitarianism are trustworthy and provide a generally accurate model for interpreting the rocks. etc etc

    But the evidence really doesn’t support uniformitarian principles. From crev.info:

    Catastrophic geology: In Darwin’s day, Lyell and other uniformitarian geologists proposed slow-and-gradual processes accounting for all the world’s structures – the same processes visible in the present. We’ve reported many extremely large scale rapid changes over the years (see links on Geology and Dating Methods; one good example from 6/27/2003). Here are a few more recent findings:

    A relatively rapid formation of the current Grand Canyon by a dam breach (Science Daily)

    Catastrophic erosion of a large canyon by huge dam-breach megafloods in the eastern Himalayas (Geology).

    Rapid erosion of rocky mountains by lightning (Science Daily: “proving that mountains are a lot less stable than we think”) – see also good summary on Live Science about the unexpected rapidity of this process.

    Discovery of a large “paleo-megalake and paleo-megafan in southern Africa… 90,000 km2, larger than Earth’s most extensive freshwater body today” (Geology), a possible post-Flood remnant.

    PhysOrg reported a spectacular earth rupture after one 7.2-magnitude earthquake in the Philippines on October 15th made a 10-foot high rocky wall that stretches for miles. Imagine what larger earthquakes and volcanic eruptions could do.

    (like what probably happened during the global flood)

    http://crev.info/2013/10/findings-that-comport-with-genesis/#sthash.ldjDVSpZ.dpuf

    These are not odd exceptions to the rule either. Just because it looks old does not mean that it is old. Geology can easily fool us. We found that out after the Mt. St. Helens volcanic eruption.

    The geological formations that appeared in days and weeks after that catastrophic eruption looked millions of years old and yet we know unquestionably that they are only a few years old. Radiometric dating proved inaccurate there as well telling us the rocks were over a million years old. A few years vs. a million + years. What order of magnitude would that be?

    The point is that our paradigm effects how all of us interpret the evidence.

    But it is nice to be able to be post here on this ID site. I know not everyone appreciates the YEC posts, but it is good to know that we can agree to disagree and talk about our disagreements in a healthy cordial manner.

  108. tjguy:

    The problem with ID is that it ignores what the Bible says and interprets the evidence simply from a scientific point of view.

    I don’t think that ID “ignores what the Bible says.” Though I believe that the Bible can provide insight even for purely scientific endeavors like ID, it isn’t a science book, and tying science to a specific interpretation of Scripture would seem problematic.

    The traditional conservative hermeneutic is the historical grammatical method. It takes into account the intent of the original writer and prevents too much spiritualization and reading double meanings into the text that no one can really verify. It prevents us from reading into the text what we want to see and allows the text to inform us rather than vice versa.

    While I would agree that the intent of the original writer is paramount, it isn’t always clear what that intent was. I’m not at all sure that Moses had in mind to give a scientifically rigorous account of creation in Genesis. Are you?

    Further, hermeneutics are themselves subject to interpretive frameworks. One of the most dense and difficult to understand books I read in college (or ever) was The Hermeneuitical Spiral. I’ll never forget the moment it dawned on me that I had a much better shot at picking up the Bible and understanding what I read than understanding the textbook that was supposed to explain how to interpret the Bible. Perhaps it would have been different if I’d had the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment when reading the textbook the same way I do when reading the Bible. More seriously, it would do us well to remember that the Bible was God-breathed, but The Hermeneuitical Spiral was not. Said another way, the truth of Scripture cannot be ascertained via interpretive formulas, no matter how erudite the approach.

    The short of it for me? General Revelation is never wrong any more than Special Revelation is. Where the two appear to be at odds, it isn’t the revelation that is faulty. Rather, there’s probably something that I don’t understand as well as I think I do. What that “something” is remains to be seen, but I will humbly continue my search for truth in the meantime.

  109. http://www.icr.org/article/24/

    excerpt:
    _________
    “Conclusion

    The distribution of preterites to finite verbs in Hebrew narrative differs distinctly from that in Hebrew poetry. Moreover, a logistic regression model fitted to the ratio of preterites to finite verbs categorizes texts as narrative or poetry to an extraordinary level of accuracy. With its probability of virtually 1, Genesis 1:1-2:3, therefore, is a narrative, not poetry.

    Three major implications from this study are (1) it is not statistically defensible to read Genesis 1:1-2:3 as poetry; (2) since Genesis 1:1-2:3 is a narrative, it should be read as other Hebrew narratives are intended to be read as a concise report of actual events, couched to convey an unmistakable theological message;13 and
    (3) when this text is read as a narrative, there is only one tenable view of its plain sense: God created everything in six literal days.”

  110. JGuy:

    (2) since Genesis 1:1-2:3 is a narrative, it should be read as other Hebrew narratives are intended to be read as a concise report of actual events, couched to convey an unmistakable theological message;

    I don’t have a problem with reading Genesis 1:1-2:3 as a narrative. I don’t have a problem with reading it as a report of actual events, to a certain extent. I do have a problem with ignoring the possibility that these actual events are taking place in a context that has its own unique challenges to writing narratives.

  111. Mung:

    Is it in fact the case that nothing in Scripture is true if Young Earth Creationism is false?

    I believe that everything in Scripture is true, it’s just a matter of how it is true. For me, the question is whether Young Earth Creationism is in Scripture, or just in certain understandings of Scripture. For me, it is an open question.

  112. Your #71, mapou

    I believe it is held by mainstream Christian churches that the subordinate ‘gods’ Moses referred to, when they chose to associate themselves with idols, were, in fact devils, members of Lucifer’s troops. (if not, such idols were just dumb, blind and mute, inanimate objects…. ‘and their makers will become like them.’)

    This is fully consistent with what we know about the extraordinary powers given to angels, both good and evil, as evidenced in their recorded apparitions to certain patriarchs, judges and Apostles and disciples. Just assuming human form and then de-materialising back to pure spirits, would have required powers beyond our imagination.

  113. @CentralScrutinizer, #105

    FWIW, I don’t believe in a “timeless” reality. I don’t know what it means. What does it mean to say a “timeless being” creates and/or interacts with a time-based system? I find that when I hear people talking about such things, nothing in particular registers in my thinking.

    The essence of time is change of relationship between two (or more) objects or properties. How does a “simple” and “timeless” being create objects that are not part of itself, such that it can relate to them, AND yet remain timeless?

    IMO, computer simulations hint at what “timeless” might look like, if such a thing does exist. Time in the simulation is independent of the time in the reality that is running the simulation.

    For every 1 second of real time, the simulation time increments an arbitrary number of time units. It can be anything – a picosecond, a second, a year, a century – there is no natural law directly limiting the ratio between “real time” and “simulation time”. (though it is limited by computing power and the detail of the data that is desired)

    One can even run a simulation “backwards” in time. (whether playing a simulation backwards, or simulating possible causal events of a result)

    I think most references to God being timeless are trying to describe his independence from human time – which I think mirrors the independence of simulation time to “real” time.

  114. SirHamster,
    Yeah, the questions about timelessness are difficult to grapple with. It reminds me of how problematic it would be for a two dimensional being in a two dimensional reality to try to imagine a third dimensional reality.

    William L. Craig talks about this topic in one interview here:

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....rence-kuhn

  115. SirHamster,

    Do you suppose if our “simulation” were running backwards, we would conclude that gravity is what causes things to go up? And that the bat attracted the baseball and then sent it to the pitcher to catch? Seems like an interesting idea for a sci-fi novel.

  116. JGuy, have you ever seen or read “Flatland?”

    The ancient jews had this idea that God lived in a timeless realm and that when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies in the temple he entered that timeless realm. And perhaps Moses was there when he saw his vision of the creation. Makes you wonder what he meant by “day.”

  117. Do you suppose if our “simulation” were running backwards, we would conclude that gravity is what causes things to go up? And that the bat attracted the baseball and then sent it to the pitcher to catch? Seems like an interesting idea for a sci-fi novel.

    For correct “backwards” time, effects happen before their causes, and everything regresses. You pop out of a grave as a senile old man, become a competent middle-aged man, then a hotshot young dude, then an annoying teenager, all the way to becoming a toddler and then popping into someone’s womb.

    Memories, rather than being added to, would become “undone” and lost. (And everyone would be walking/driving backwards …)

    It would make for an interesting sci-fi novel if you picked a subset of the effects. The Big Bang becomes the Big Suck. Almost sounds like a black hole.

  118. Collin @ 117

    The ancient jews had this idea that God lived in a timeless realm and that when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies in the temple he entered that timeless realm. And perhaps Moses was there when he saw his vision of the creation. Makes you wonder what he meant by “day.”

    Not really. His choice of the word “yom” used along with numbers and the words morning and evening make it pretty clear. It’s not as hard as everyone makes it out to be.

    Even Jesus supports the young earth view when He says that God made male and female “at the beginning of creation”(as opposed to man appearing in the last 99.999% of world history when the evolutionary long age story brings him into the picture.)

    I’ve never read this book called flatland, but do you really think Moses had this idea in mind when he edited the records left behind by Adam? Moses was more of an editor than a writer of the history that preceded him. And don’t forget, the Holy Spirit guided all Scripture writes. God wrote the Bible so it could be understood. That was His intent.

    If people choose to read into Scripture the conclusions of modern day scientists who base their interpretation of nature on uniformitarian ideas and methodological naturalism, then that is not God’s problem. He is not responsible if we choose to get creative in our interpretation and come up with a wrong conclusion. I wonder how He could be any clearer. Often Jesus said to the Pharisees something like this: “Have you not read ….” meaning that they should know what He was saying because they have read the Scriptures.

    Really, if He meant to say that He created the universe in 7 24 hour days, how could He have made it any clearer? He even told us why He did it this way in Ex. 20:11.

    It seems that most people had no trouble understanding this until Lyell, Hutton, & Darwin began telling their stories about the unobservable, untestable, unrepeatable past.

  119. 120
    CentralScrutinizer

    SirHamster: IMO, computer simulations hint at what “timeless” might look like, if such a thing does exist. Time in the simulation is independent of the time in the reality that is running the simulation.

    But in such simulations, the simulator/computer is still in a time domain. Yes, it is different time domain than the one being simulated, but it is still time-based.

    God may exist in a different time domain, but to say God doesn’t exist in a time domain at all is meaningless to me.

  120. CS:

    God may exist in a different time domain, but to say God doesn’t exist in a time domain at all is meaningless to me.

    Of course it is. Things for which people have no frame of reference are always going to be meaningless to them. As long as they recognize that this hardly prevents such things from existing in reality, I’ve no problem with someone saying that something is meaningless to them.

  121. I don’t think that ID “ignores what the Bible says.” Though I believe that the Bible can provide insight even for purely scientific endeavors like ID, it isn’t a science book, and tying science to a specific interpretation of Scripture would seem problematic.

    OK, that was poorly worded. It doesn’t always do this, but there are times when IDers do ignore what the Bible says in order to fit certain “scientific facts” into the Bible. For instance, when it comes to a global flood, I think it does simply ignore the Scriptural record.

    While I would agree that the intent of the original writer is paramount, it isn’t always clear what that intent was. I’m not at all sure that Moses had in mind to give a scientifically rigorous account of creation in Genesis. Are you?

    True. We don’t always know for sure what the author’s intent was but the proper method of interpretation is to first look for this. And there are probably a lot of things that we can rule out by this principle. If God did not mean a 24 hour day, His choice of the word day and the way it is written would be enough to accuse Him of misleading/deceiving people for thousands of years.

    Another important principle for Scriptural interpretation is to let Scripture interpret Scripture. Often other passages in the Bible will shed light on a particular passage and give us the meaning of it. Ex. 20:11 is just such a passage that does this for Genesis 1. Mark 10:6 could also be considered to be such a passage.

    Yes, we all know that the Bible is not a scientific textbook, but creationists believe that where it touches on science that it is accurate and trustworthy. God is the Creator and He would know better than anyone how He created the universe. It may not be a scientifically rigorous account that Moses wrote, but that does not mean that a day does not = 24 hours. He used numbers and the words morning and evening along with the word which makes it even more plain. He told us in the 10 commandments clearly that He did it all in 7 days to provide a pattern for the work week.

    Further, hermeneutics are themselves subject to interpretive frameworks. One of the most dense and difficult to understand books I read in college (or ever) was The Hermeneuitical Spiral. I’ll never forget the moment it dawned on me that I had a much better shot at picking up the Bible and understanding what I read than understanding the textbook that was supposed to explain how to interpret the Bible. Perhaps it would have been different if I’d had the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment when reading the textbook the same way I do when reading the Bible. More seriously, it would do us well to remember that the Bible was God-breathed, but The Hermeneuitical Spiral was not. Said another way, the truth of Scripture cannot be ascertained via interpretive formulas, no matter how erudite the approach.

    So you seem to be insinuating that because of the issue of interpretation that there is no way to really know what the Bible is saying. And yet God chose to communicate with us through words. And He holds us responsible for what it says so it seems that He feels at least the basics of Scripture necessary for salvation can be understood. Fortunately we do not need to understand The Hermeneutical Spiral in order to figure out the Bible!

    The whole problem of interpretation is also something that God knew about ahead of time and yet Jesus held his listeners responsible for correctly understanding the OT. Remember all these verses that begin with phrases like this:
    Whether he is speaking to scholars or untrained common people, Jesus’ responses always assume that the blame for misunderstanding any teaching of Scripture is not to be placed on the Scriptures themselves, but on those who misunderstand or fail to accept what is written. Have you ever noticed how often Jesus answers questions with His own questions? Questions like these:

    “Have you not read what David did . . . ? Or have you not read in the Law . . . ?” (Matt 12:3, 5).

    “Have you not read . . . ?” (Matt 19:4).

    “Have you never read in the scriptures . . . ?” (Matt 21:42).

    “Have you not read what was said to you by God . . . ?” (Matt 22:31).

    “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice’” (Matt 9:13).

    “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?” (John 3:10).

    “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matt 22:29).

    On the road to Emmaus, he rebuked two disciples: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25).

    So the blame for failing to understand is almost always on the reader, never on the Scriptures themselves. Jesus himself, in his teachings, his conversations, and his disputes, never responds to any questions with a hint of blaming the Bible for being unclear. Even while speaking to first century people who were removed from David by about one thousand years and from Abraham by about two thousand years, Jesus still assumes that such people are able to read and to understand rightly the OT. So although interpretation does present a challenge, it is not nearly as difficult as many make it out to be. Rather the problem lies more in the fact that we don’t want to accept what it says.

    The short of it for me? General Revelation is never wrong any more than Special Revelation is. Where the two appear to be at odds, it isn’t the revelation that is faulty. Rather, there’s probably something that I don’t understand as well as I think I do. What that “something” is remains to be seen, but I will humbly continue my search for truth in the meantime.

    I agree. Well spoken. The problem does not necessarily lie with you. It is very likely that scientists don’t understand things as well as they think they do too. General revelation is never wrong, but our interpretation of it is often wrong. Notice how many times – how often – science textbooks are changed because of new discoveries or new information. I think special revelation is much more dependable than general revelation and it is much more specific as well. We all need to keep searching and learning, but when God makes something clear in Scripture, it is OK to stop the searching. In fact, it is not only OK, but this is what God expects of us. He wants us to believe His word.

  122. TJGuy,

    my comment was worded poorly in that I made it sound like the book/movie Flatland was related to the rest of the comment.

    Flatland is a somewhat silly story about a sentient circle that lives in a two dimensional land that gets visited by a sphere from a three dimensional land. Then they both take a visit to a one dimensional land. I was responding to JGuy at 115 who I just realized is not the same person as you. :)

  123. tjguy:

    I’ve never read this book called flatland, but do you really think Moses had this idea in mind when he edited the records left behind by Adam? Moses was more of an editor than a writer of the history that preceded him. And don’t forget, the Holy Spirit guided all Scripture writes. God wrote the Bible so it could be understood. That was His intent.

    Actually, Flatland addresses the concept that JGuy brought up @115 of being trapped in a 2D reality and trying to imagine what it is like to live in a 3D reality. Since it is easier for us to conceptualize fewer dimensions, the author asks us to imagine ourselves in a 2D reality with no concept of what it would mean to live with a third dimension. Through this exercise, we can then extrapolate how higher dimensions than our three might confound our notions of reality.

    As an example, if you draw a square on a sheet of paper and try to draw a continuous line with a pencil from outside the box to inside it without crossing one of the lines, this is impossible. But when you add a third dimension (the ability to life the pencil from the paper), it is trivial to go from outside to inside the square without crossing one of the lines. In the same way, in a 3D world, we know it is impossible for someone to move from outside of a locked and secured room to inside the same room without passing through the doors or making a hole in the walls or finding some other way through the walls. But if we had access to a 4th dimension, we could simply go around the walls in the same way we can pick a pencil up off the paper and hop over a 2D line. It would be trivial to do so.

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio…

    My take away is that my own understanding is very, very limited. This leads me to a couple of conclusions about the creation narrative:

    1) God can probably do lots of things that defy my ability to understand or to reconcile His methods with what I think I know based on my limited access to the historical data.

    2) Moses and other writers, when faced with God’s indescribable power and inscrutable methods may well have had to fall back onto more colloquial language to communicate that which was beyond understanding.

    For me, either one of these could account for the apparent contradictions between what I think I understand about the universe and what I think I understand about the Bible. Fortunately, I’m quite comfortable admitting that I just don’t know without feeling that either science or my faith must be sacrificed. God and the universe He created are big, and my intellectual arms are rather short. If I ever feel I have my intellectual arms wrapped all the way around both with my fingers interlocked on the other side, I’m probably not holding what I think I am.

  124. 125
    CentralScrutinizer

    Phineas: As long as they recognize that this hardly prevents such things from existing in reality, I’ve no problem with someone saying that something is meaningless to them.

    Even this statement is meaningless, because the “such things” have no meaning in the first place. What do you mean when you say that a meaningless thing can “possibility exist”? You could just as well say “blah blah blah possibly exists” and it would convey the same meaning. Such statements are “true”, but hardly worth saying.

  125. tjguy:

    So you seem to be insinuating that because of the issue of interpretation that there is no way to really know what the Bible is saying.

    Not at all. I’m just trying to point out the primacy of the Spirit’s work in revelation from start to finish. It is the Holy Spirit that ultimately provides a way to really know what the Bible is saying, not a particular hermeneutical framework or any other formulaic approach. It would make me very comfortable to be able to shove a section of God’s word into a particular hermeneutical formula and have perfect understanding shoot out the other side. It would seem very convenient to me to then be able to pick up that perfect understanding in order to perfectly demonstrate to other brothers and sisters the errors of their ways. But God doesn’t always choose the methods that seem particularly comfortable or convenient to me.

    And yet God chose to communicate with us through words.

    Agreed. And He chose nature to reveal things to us as well, as Romans 1 clearly states. He also gave us five physical senses that, I’ll be honest, have never really seemed up to the challenge of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching Him directly. And he gave us a mind to grapple with all the different data from all the different inputs. He gave us logic and reason and empirical methods. Why would He give us all these things if only reading and the proper hermeneutic were required for perfect understanding?

    Which biblical student, when seeking to better understand a passage, will not research historical information about the culture to inform their study? Perhaps my biggest concern with the approach some take toward understanding Scripture is that they would throw out or otherwise ignore scientific data or evidence in the process. Ignoring what has been revealed, even through science, will never help anyone understand anything better, will it? I’d rather see people humbly grapple with the evidence while admitting that they just aren’t quite sure what it all means or how all the information can be reconciled.

    And He holds us responsible for what it says so it seems that He feels at least the basics of Scripture necessary for salvation can be understood.

    Please forgive my adding my own emphasis above. I think this is a very important point. In fact, I’d say that the Bible helps us understand much more than simply the basics necessary for salvation. But there are still some places where, if I am being completely honest, I struggle to understand. I’m not sure I completely understand the sovereignty vs. free will issue. I’m pretty sure I don’t completely understand the Trinity. After years of reading and trying to understand the Bible, I’ve realized that the closer the Bible gets to trying to describe God or the edges of time and space, the more likely I am to struggle to understand. But is this really that unexpected?

    So, I find myself holding some truths rather loosely, or perhaps understanding that I’m only hanging onto a scriptural handle that is attached to something much bigger. With my short intellectual arms, it sometimes seems that I have to let go of one scriptural handle in order to grasp another, and I cannot figure out a way to hang onto them both at the same time, but this just reaffirms to me that the truth is bigger than my ability to fully understand. This can be uncomfortable, but in some ways it is also reassuring. For me, Genesis 1 is one of those edges-of-time-and-space-nature-and-power-of-God kind of places where I hang onto some things more loosely and use every piece of information available to me to try to understand the best I can.

    Does that make any sense?

    Fortunately we do not need to understand The Hermeneutical Spiral in order to figure out the Bible!

    Indeed!

  126. CS:

    Even this statement is meaningless, because the “such things” have no meaning in the first place. What do you mean when you say that a meaningless thing can “possibility exist”?

    If you don’t switch from meaningless-as-in-beyond-my-limited-understanding to meaningless-as-in-rationally-paradoxical, you might find it less meaningless. ;)

  127. CS:

    Said another way: For me, the notion that there does not exist in reality that which appears meaningless to humans seems so unlikely as to be practically meaningless.

  128. I haven’t read the origin of the comic story from the authors perspective, but it almost seems like there has been subtle hints of these biblical themes being borrowed & skewed for the Superman comic. The bad guys (General Zod and his crew) of Superman’s world were imprisoned in an alternate dimension prison of sorts (talk of Flatland reminded me of this). Perhaps, General Zod is a wannabe god, like Satan. His crew, that rebelled, are then demons. And they were cast out of their world like the devil and his angels cast out of heaven for rebelling. … Superman’s name is Kal-El and his father is Jor-El… Hebrew “El” refers to deity… might be some kind of attempt to play him as kind of Jesus. Superman get’s his power from the light of the sun (of course) and takes on the purpose of protecting/saving people on earth from disasters & extinctions etc… anyway.. just a random side note there. The comic might act as some kind of cheering on for those that want to believe origin stories like Prometheus (the movie) to explain life’s origin on earth – the belief of alien intelligent designers as the origins of life on earth. Anyway, not a very well constructed line of thought there..but you guys get the gist.

    Anyway.. the phantom zone (the prison for Zod) reminded me of this. Especially how it was depicted in the 80′s version of Superman (with Christopher Reeve as the ‘man of steel’).

  129. I do not like interpretive frameworks because one can choose to force an interpretation onto the facts no matter how badly the facts contradict the framework. One will feel free to invoke any ad hoc explanation to make the story fit the facts. I don’t like it one iota.

    If God made the world such that we can reconstruct history from the facts at hand without outside testimony, then all the better. We see through the glass darkly, and in time, if He wills, we will see all that He intends for us to know.

    IMHO, difficulties over the literal interpretation of Genesis rank a little lower than other passages in the Bible — like say the abundant practice of Genocide by the children of Israel, the human sacrifice by David of the sons of Saul, the punishment of children for their father’s sins, etc.

    Follow the evidence where it leads means we abandon interpretive frameworks.

    That said, I think the evidence is:

    1. Darwinism is false
    2. Life was specially created by miracles
    3. Humanity is recent
    4. The age of the fossils is seriously in doubt
    5. The Big Bang cosmology has serious difficulties
    6. Maybe the stars and planets were specially created
    7. Long Term, Intermediate term radioactive dating still poses a serious problem for YEC even though short term (C-14) favors it
    8. The distant starlight problem is a nasty problem, although the homogeneity of structures the farther we look into the past suggest a mechanism for rapid transit of light — the mechanism isn’t understood

    Is “I’m not sure, I have my doubts” such a heretical thing to say. Let’s wait and see, no need to force interpretations on the facts. Follow the evidence where it leads, and if we don’t have enough evidence now, we might get it later.

    I was an old earth Darwinist once upon a time, I self identify today as doubting Thomas YEC. The YEC case has serious difficulties and invoking “interpretive frameworks” doesn’t inspire confidence in its truth. YEC needs more facts, less insistence on dogma. Thankfully, the facts have been trickling in, but maybe patience is in order.

  130. Hi Sal.

    Follow the evidence where it leads means we abandon interpretive frameworks.

    That said, I think the evidence is:

    Maybe we have different ideas on what an …interpretive framework… is. But how do you determine what you think… the evidence says…? It may be that you use a framework, but maybe you just don’t consider it a special one – like those that espouse uniformitarian or biblical creation (young or old). Yet, if you could define how it is that you determine the statements evidence are saying, then you would have then arrived at or defined what your framework is… don’t you think? Call it the scientific methodism if you like :P

  131. Speaking of gathering more evidence before rushing to judgement:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ion-years/

  132. 133
    CentralScrutinizer

    Phineas: If you don’t switch from meaningless-as-in-beyond-my-limited-understanding to meaningless-as-in-rationally-paradoxical, you might find it less meaningless.

    Which category does “blah blah blah” fall into? :D

    I think there’s a third category:

    Meaningless-as-in-devoid-of-any-meaning-whatsoever

    What it really asserts is a negative: We experience the flow of time, i.e, sequential events. God does not experience this, yet God still interacts with the timeline of entities that do experience time. If we genuinely have free will, then I don’t think this is one of those “beyond my limited experience” but rather one of the “genuinely meaningless” sort of things. If we don’t have free will, then I really can’t justify any opinion on the matter at all.

  133. CS:

    Perhaps the Flatland analogy would help in (not) understanding this and other things.

    Consider someone trapped on a 2D plane of existence. Now, consider another entity in a 3D world of which the 2D plane is a subset. 3D could hold its finger just off the 2D plane, a fraction of an inch away from 2D and rightly claim to be closer to 2D than anything in 2D’s own world. But 2D could not access or interact with 3D. If 3D somehow managed to communicate just how close 3D was to 2D, it would be meaningless to 2D. 3D could poke its finger into 2D-space and it would appear to 2D that the finger spontaneously appeared out of nowhere. Telling 2D that the finger existed all along and was in fact always nearby would be meaningless to 2D.

    If we genuinely have free will, then I don’t think this is one of those “beyond my limited experience” but rather one of the “genuinely meaningless” sort of things.

    How could you possibly know the difference between the two? If your limited experience provides you know frame of reference from which to find meaning for a real concept, how would you be able to tell the difference between this concept and a “genuinely meaningless” one?

    If we don’t have free will, then I really can’t justify any opinion on the matter at all.

    LOL! Well said.

  134. Err…provides you no frame of reference even.

    Good grief. Sometimes I think my fingers just choose to type something that sounds close.

  135. 136
    CentralScrutinizer

    Phinehas, flatlanders, etc…

    That’s a good attempt, however, the only reason why it makes sense to me is that I live in 3D land. :D

    Unfortunately, it’s of no value when trying to understand the issue. The 2D vs 3D mapping is not analogous to a temporal vs non-temporal relation. At least I don’t see how it is.

    That there are mysteries, I do not deny. I don’t understand how my own consciousness exists, yet I know that it does.

    Maybe God does exist timelessly, whatever that may mean. But the idea makes no sense to me. Like a square without sides. And it’s a “mystery” that lacks immediacy. My consciousness is impossible to deny, and it is a mystery. On the other hand, I have no reason to believe God lives timelessly. There is nothing sensory or immediate to my consciousness that demands I consider such an “idea.” I don’t even know what it means. It’s nonsense to me.

    Hope that helps

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