The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Home in Montana

I have a new home and a new job in a new state. It is good to be back home in Montana.

And it is good to be able to enjoy snow in June. Here I am as close to Beartooth Pass on the Montana-Wyoming border northwest of Yellowstone National Park as we could get by car last weekend.

The snowpack is exceptionally deep and long-lasting this year, which should lead to additional flooding as it all begins to melt in the upcoming weeks. According to the Billings Gazette, snowpack across Montana stands at 257% of normal for this time of year.

I hope to get a little more active on The GeoChristian in the upcoming weeks.

Grace and Peace

June 10, 2011 - Posted by | Montana

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Kevin,

    I trust you’re all settled in in Montana. Our “Prayer at the Pole” was not quite the same without you. As I said in an email, none of the women have been back to the Bible Study since you’ve left. Except Amy did come today. Nichole had a little boy the other day and I think she named him Ezekiel. You and your family are still remembered when we pray on Wednesdays.

    I ran across this article on Ravi Zacharias and what he believes about the age of the earth. I thought you might find it interesting.

    Young Earth by Ravi Zacharias

    ‘Do you take the Bible literal that it was not only a 6 day creation, but the earth is young (6 to 7,000 years in age)?

    Guy, Let me just affirm to you that I am and always have been a six day creationist, as stated and reaffirmed in the Scriptures. Indeed, I see my contact with scientists such as David Block as an opportunity to move them to the conservative position and to what is considered the historical, grammatical interpretation of the Scriptures in conservative exegesis.

    I deeply appreciate your concern over the theistic evolutionary position, and I want to assure you that I not only share the same concern, but I am equally puzzled by Christian scholars who hold to such a view. So rather than refuting that errant view, let me answer the basic question you have raised and the implication of that question: how do I relate to the theistic evolutionists of this world?
    First of all, I personally have always held to the literal six day creation as stated in the biblical narrative. Further, I believe in fiat creation ex nihilo, man created in the image of God, immediately capable of understanding the moral nature of reality. Thus, there is no room for evolution in any form leading to man. Beyond this, on the basis of the genealogical accounts in the Old and New Testaments I am firmly committed to a young earth. That, I believe, is also sustainable by a serious anthropological study, starting with the present generation and going back on the basis of known data for generation lengths, right down to the first human.

    All these are givens for me as I am totally committed to the inerrancy of the Scriptures in the historico¬grammatical method of exegesis. I am an arch conservative from politics to theology. The question then arises, what we do with Christian voices that have capitulated to “scientific absolutism,” and in the process, court serious danger with a worldview that mocks the Scriptures?

    There is a multifaceted response that I must make. You and I are well aware of the fact that there are very few scholars in the leading universities who would openly subscribe to a young earth. The reason for that is simple. If they did, they would immediately lose their positions. The fact is that some scholars who are popular in the church circuit are not equally respected in their context on a secular campus. This is understandable, but what is disconcerting are the comments that I often hear. I was in Berkeley shortly after one had been in the area and a Christian professor shook his head in disbelief, saying that he actually felt this noted evangelical scholar was not only false in his data, but had manipulated it. That was not a pleasant verdict. Frankly, as I read the Arkansas trial sheets, Dr. Gentry’s argument for a young earth was very powerful, but not well capitalized by the attorney for the creation position. In short, what I think best represents the whole scenario is the statement made by Doctors Morris and Parker in their book on creation science; science alone cannot prove an old or young earth.

    What then do I perceive as the tension point for us of the old earth theory, if indeed we do subscribe to a young earth but do not buttress it by all of the sciences? The principal failure, as I see it, is the philosophical weakness of many notable scientists. The problem these scientists who are Christians face is no different to the problem Christian philosophers face. I refer in particular to the malady Rene Descartes posed when struggling between the poles of rationalism and empiricism. Descartes, of course, a convinced rationalist, tried to provide an escape hatch and make room for empiricism by saying that God would not deceive our senses, and therefore, there is a legitimacy to our sense perception, too. This “non¬deceptive” theory is extrapolated by the sciences when applying the speed of light as an absolute on the basis of which to establish the age of the stars, etc. What is so basic and so easily forgotten is that there is no deception involved if the creator has revealed, along with the created object, the appearance of age though instantaneously created, As I said to David Block after our open forum, “If you believe that the earth could not be created without the appearance of age while not having actually existed for that chronological span, then you must also believe that Adam was not created as a self aware adult capable of being instructed by God.” In other words, the first human was conceived in a non human. Is that not an insurmountable obstacle to all Christian theology? This challenge neither David Block nor Louw Alberts were able to handle in our round table discussion with other guests after the open forum. This is the crux of the problem. As Einstein said, “Most scientists make poor philosophers.”

    Taking that reality then, we need to reposition the dilemma. That the earth is indeed young is tenable on the basis of philosophical arguments that demonstrate the existence of an intelligent first cause, and not on the basis of pure scientific data. I am keenly aware that there are dating methods etc., that conservatives like to debunk, but I have also seen them look pretty bad in the academic lion’s den.
    This leads me to my whole struggle on how I am to relate to these “old earth protagonists” without compromising my position. In South Africa I faced a complete surprise. I had never met Louw Alberts or David Block before, and did not know of their position until they presented it. The whole debate on the floor was “The Cosmos Design or Accident.” All of a sudden, in the open forum there was obviously a difference in our position. The audience had already inferred that from some of my earlier comments, but to debate it off the cuff, without giving my opponents fair warning on their own university campus, may have won a small battle but lost the war for the principal assertion. The many skeptics in the audience would have delighted to see two Christians get into a serious disagreement rather than face up to the primary thrust of the open forum.

    To further exacerbate the situation, that very morning in the Johannesburg newspaper there was a lead article on some unknown populist preacher who had spoken out against science, and argued for a young earth position in what was clearly a poorly stated argument, making it all a faith position. The academic community scorned the whole dogma much to the media’s delight. My choice was very clear: either to get sidetracked and make a complete defense of the epistemological base for a six day creation, which would undoubtedly have shifted, rather startlingly, the whole theme, or else to stay with the subject matter and argue for God’s existence.

    Following the forum we went out for lunch and I challenged both Alberts and Block, while several of the organizers were present. We had a clear and cordial discussion, and I told them that my future presentations would have to identify my position as drastically different to theirs in the whole scheme of creation. Any teaming up we do will state the two positions of a theistic framework. Each case will present its particular defense.

    That is where I stand and I am trying to do my best to get the gospel to be heard. If, in each presentation, I can move a person at least one step closer to the obvious biblical Position, I feel something has been accomplished. If, on the other hand, we refuse to come on the same platform, we end up speaking to those who already agree with us, and little evangelism is done.

    To that end I am committed and as passionately as you, I do soundly reject the theistic evolutionary position. It is clearly false. But somewhere in my heart I believe that the question, “What must one believe to be a Christian?” requires a different answer than “What must one believe to teach in a seminary?” The higher the responsibility, the greater the need for a pure doctrine. Maybe some who hold to the theistic evolutionary position are in need of a higher teaching of pure doctrine, and the only way I know to effect that is to interact with them and present the case one step at a time. The battle is truly difficult, and we need God’s wisdom and boldness.

    Thank you again for your letter. I hope this helps clarify my position in some way.

    Ravi Zacharias

    Jay

    Comment by Jay Chaikowsky | July 11, 2011


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