The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Mixed marriages and the age of the Earth

I received a letter from a friend with questions about the age of the Earth, and how to raise children in a family where one parent is an old-Earth creationist, and the other is a young-Earth creationist. Here is my response, with the name changed and some of the letter changed as well:

Dear Joe,

I appreciate your desire to work through the intellectual and theological issues that surround the issues of the age of the Earth and evolution. Note that I list these as two separate issues. The vast antiquity of the Earth was settled in the mind of geologists well before Darwin published The Origin of Species, and many of the geologists who came up with the idea of the geologic column were committed Christians. Some old-Earth creationists are comfortable with the concept of biological evolution, and others are not.

I won’t go into the vast scientific evidence for the Earth being about 4.5 billion years old. As a Christian geologist, I find these arguments to be compelling, and the arguments by young-Earth creationists to be weak. In fact, I view most of the young-Earth arguments to be obstacles to apologetics and the proclamation of the Gospel among scientists.

It is important to point out that there are hints in the opening chapters of Genesis that open the doors for old-Earth interpretations. Here are a few:

  1. The meaning of the Hebrew word “yom” (day). Young-Earth creationists make a big deal about the literalness of the 24-hour days in Genesis 1-2, but ignore the fact that yom is used in a non-literal sense at least once within this passage. The middle of 2:4 literally reads, “In the day [yom] when God made the earth and the heavens…” Here, yom clearly refers to the entire period of creation, not just to a 24-hours time period.
  2. The amount of activity on day six hints at this being something other than a 24-hour day. Think about everything that happens: God creates land creatures, God makes Adam, Adam names the animals, God gives Adam a command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam discovers that none of the animals is suitable as his companion, and God creates Eve. Then Adam says, “At long last, this is it!!!” This fits better with a passage of time that is longer than just a few hours.

There is, of course, much more to the Biblical argument for an old Earth, and you have probably read some of this. My point is that old-Earth creationism isn’t just an accomodation to “secular” science, but is consistent with the Bible. That the following Christians support an old age for the Earth is significant:

  • C.S. Lewis
  • Francis Schaeffer (philosopher/apologist)
  • Charles Spurgeon (19th century preacher)
  • William Lane Craig (philosopher/apologist)
  • J.P. Moreland (philospher/apologist)
  • Norman Geisler (philosopher/apologist)
  • Gleason Archer (professor of OT at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)
  • Walter Kaiser (professor of OT at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)
  • Charles Hodge (theologian, mid-1800s)
  • B.B. Warfield (theologian in late 1800s, strong defender of Biblical Christianity)
  • C.I. Scofield (Dallas Theological Seminary, Scofield Study Bible author)

These are all prominent, highly respected, orthodox theologians and apologists, many of whom have/had a good grasp of the languages and cultural setting of the ancient Near-East.

The authors of the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy purposefully left the question of the age of the Earth as an open question. The vote among Biblical scholars on this was almost unanimous.

There is, of course, more than one old-Earth interpretation. There are the day-age, analogical day, framework, gap, and revelatory day interpretations. I haven’t made a firm commitment to any of these (I lean towards the first three) but I don’t think one has to have all of the theological answers in order to reject the literal calendar-day interpretation as not Biblically necessary.

Your main question, of course, wasn’t about defending the old-Earth interpretation of Scripture, but how to best interact in a marriage where one is an old-Earther, and the other is a young-Earther, and how to raise children in this context. If the young-Earther looks at the old-Earther as a pagan, or if the old-Earther looks at the young-Earther as an ignoramus, then there would be problems. But it seems that you are talking about a situation where there is humility and mutual respect, and so I don’t think this is an issue for you. I don’t think you have to be in complete agreement with each other in order to raise godly children with a firm commitment to the truth of Scripture. The approach I would recommend is to teach your children that there is a range of viewpoints on origins: that some Christians hold that the Bible requires a young age for the Earth, and some Christians don’t believe the Bible requires this. You can then introduce the Biblical and scientific arguments for both sides. There are challenges with this approach, especially with younger children, but I think it would be a good course in your situation.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask me questions; I’ll make the time to answer them.

Grace and Peace

January 11, 2009 - Posted by | Age of the Earth, Apologetics, Creation in the Bible, Geology, Young-Earth creationism |

34 Comments »

  1. I don’t think I’d put C.I. Scofield under “orthodox” theologians…. but maybe I’m just really biased against him because of his “gap theory” and dispensationalism….

    I grew up in a Scofield Reference Bible church, and I knew something was wrong. It took me 25 years to figure out most of it, and I’m sure I’m still working on it.

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    Comment by havoc | January 11, 2009

  2. Havoc:

    Thanks for your comment.

    The point is that Bible-loving Christians from a variety of backgrounds—I listed Presbyterians, Baptists, Anglicans, Evangelicals, and others—have accepted an old age for the Earth. These aren’t Jesus Seminar, UCC, or liberal Episcopalians; they believe the Bible, and they believe in the truth of Christianity.

    Scofield is orthodox in his acceptance of the truthfulness of Scriptures, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, and the need for faith in Christ. I disagree with his dispensationalism, but don’t view that as something that puts him outside of Christian orthodoxy.

    The gap theory doesn’t have nearly as many advocates as it did at one time, but again, it doesn’t place Scofield outside of the boundaries of Christian orthodoxy.

    I would use the Nicene and Apostle’s Creeds as the standards for orthodoxy, not young-Earth vs. old-Earth, or dispensational vs covenant theology, or other secondary matters. There are other creeds that I respect and largely agree with, such as the Westminster Confession of Faith, Book of Concord, or the doctrinal statement of my denomination, the Evangelical Free Church of America, but I’m willing to have a somewhat broader definition of orthodoxy than what is defined by these denominational statements.

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    Comment by geochristian | January 11, 2009

  3. I would agree with you that arguing endlessly over secondary matters of doctrine is counterproductive in all but the most scholarly of settings. For the most of us, what matters most is beliving the Gospel and living it.

    I have come to the conclusion that it is moot also, if God can make a rock, why can’t God make a rock that is already old? Thus, while it may be useful to classify rocks by age when exploring for oil, coal, or gas, we don’t really know (and don’t really need to know) when God made them. God created that 4 billion year old rock, and could have created it 5000 years ago, if He chose to do so.

    TRex

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    Comment by TRex | January 12, 2009

  4. Not being a geologist, I have little to no knowledge of what the science of geology suggests. I do know astrophysics though and the Young Universe “science” in that area is fully as sketchy and suspect as how you described the geological science.

    For TRex, there are mountains of facts in astronomy that absolutely depend on the veracity of light that has been traveling for billions of years. We see light that shows every appearance of being bent by a the gravity of a galaxy billions of lightyears away. From that bending, we can figure out roughly how much matter is in that galaxy. By knowing about how much matter is in that galaxy, and the wavelengths of the light from that galaxy, and the brightness of that galaxy, we can figure out what sort of stars make up that galaxy. We can figure out what sorts of gasses are between us and that galaxy by what sorts of wavelengths have been blocked at some point between us and that galaxy. We can find out all sorts of information and data about the stars in that galaxy, and a million other things besides.

    God could have made a beam of light “in transit” that LOOKS like it was bent by gravity a billion lightyears away (and a billion years ago) and passed through various gas clouds in between, but was actually created just 6,000 ly away from Earth. However, that means God created a faked show of stars and galaxies. There wouldn’t actually be galaxies billions of lightyears away, and our own galaxy wouldn’t actually exist – it would all be nothing but a pretend lightshow. Even Answers in Genesis tends to disagree with that idea.

    Could God do that? Absolutely. Does that fit with what I can see of God in the Bible? Not really. Most of my coworkers are not Christians, and it can be a challenge at times to get them past the opinion that Christians believe God just pretended to make the universe. It seems supremely silly/stupid to them that God would create everything to look old just to fool us all. Several have gotten past that opinion and are a bit more open to conversations about God.

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    Comment by WebMonk | January 12, 2009

  5. I have a question about C. I. Scofield’s view of an old earth. If he accepted an old earth, how come the Scofield Bible I have prominently displays Ussher’s chronology in the center margin? I had always assumed he was a Young Earther.

    We have a similar situation as “Joe” in that our daughter’s Christian school teaches Young Earth and we are Old Earth (and comfortable with evolution as the mechanism God may have used). We do not want to undermine her teachers’ authority, but we don’t want her to accept all she is taught blindly either. We try to explain to her that orthodox, believing Christians are not in complete agreement and that someone should not be demonized because of their position in this area. We also emphasize the distinction between authentic science and the theological and philosophical extrapolations that are called science that both sides engage in, to the detriment of both science and religion.
    Along the way, we’ve had to debunk some Young Earth prejudices such as equating an “evolutionist” with a godless atheist who believes the earth is old. (The term popped up in their moon unit in 4th grade. “‘Evolutionists’ believe the moon is billions of years old.” That may be true, but evolution tells us nothing about with the age of moon.)

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    Comment by Carol | January 12, 2009

  6. TRex and WebMonk:

    Thanks for your comments.

    I agree with WebMonk that the “appearance of age” argument is full of theological and philosophical difficulties. god is not a liar or deceiver. Not only is the geological column full of what really appears to be a record of the Earth’s history, but the alternative presented by young-Earth creationists does a very poor job of explaining that record.

    There are young-Earth creationists who advocate the appearance of age argument rather than the flood geology model of organizations like Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research. An example is Marcus Ross (PhD in paleontology and professor of geology at Liberty University). From geology, Ross knows that flood geology doesn’t work. But because he’s convinced that the Bible teaches a young Earth, he falls back on the appearance of age argument. At least I think that’s where he’s coming from.

    I don’t think this is necessary, as I don’t think the Bible directly addresses the age of the Earth.

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    Comment by geochristian | January 12, 2009

  7. Carol:

    Thanks for your comment.

    Scofield is cited in many places as being a strong advocate of the gap theory (example: Reasons to Believe’s Notable Christians Open to an Old-universe, Old-earth Perspective). I don’t have a Scofield Study Bible, so I can’t check the 4004 BC notes. For a period of time, most KJV Bibles uncritically included Ussher’s date of 4004 BC in the margin, and it may be that this came into the Scofield Study Bible as part of the KJV tradition rather than as part of Scofield’s notes. I’m shooting from the hip.

    I run into the same thing as you: our daughter is in a Christian school that we really like, but they teach young-Earth creationism. She places a high value on what her teacher says, and I struggle with how to present my own views to her without confusing her.

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    Comment by geochristian | January 12, 2009

  8. So do you tell her that Jesus was the product of evolution?

    –Sirius Knott

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    Comment by Sirius | January 12, 2009

  9. No. Why would I?

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    Comment by geochristian | January 12, 2009

  10. Do you tell her Adam was the product of evolution?

    –Sirius Knott

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    Comment by Sirius | January 13, 2009

  11. Sirius:

    Your question is a good one, and one that needs to be thought through in terms of what old-Earth parents (and schools) tell their children.

    As I said, one can be an old-Earth creationist without making a firm commitment to one OEC position or another. Some old-Earth creationists, such as Hugh Ross at Reasons to Believe, hold to the separate creation of Adam independent of any evolutionary lineage.

    On the other hand, I know many Evangelical Christians who are theistic evolutionists. They still hold to a real Adam in a real garden committing a real sin breaking a real commandment from a real God with real consequences leading to a real separation from God, and that the only solution for this sin is the substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross, and that this is received by us by grace alone through faith alone.

    Acceptance of old-Earth creationism—or even of theistic evolution—doesn’t automatically make one deny any essentials of the Gospel. Likewise, adherence to young-Earth creationism isn’t necessarily a safeguard against deviations from Gospel truths, nor does teaching it guarantee in any way that one’s children will stay in the Faith.

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    Comment by geochristian | January 13, 2009

  12. I think the answer depends upon how you first answer this:

    Was Adam a literal, historical figure and did the Fall literally happen as Genesis records it?

    –Sirius Knott

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    Comment by Sirius | January 13, 2009

  13. Sirius:

    I think I answered your question already, when I wrote about a “real Adam in a real garden committing a real sin…”

    You may be so certain that an old-Earth creationist cannot have an orthodox view of the bad news of sin and the good news of salvation in Christ that no matter what I say, you’re sure that I mean something else.

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    Comment by geochristian | January 13, 2009

  14. Not really. I didn’t presume anything. I just wanted clarification.

    Next question: Did Man come about by evolution or a special act of Creation?

    –Sirius Knott

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    Comment by Sirius | January 14, 2009

  15. Sirius, may I answer your question number 14?

    Yes.

    That’s a fully serious, non-joking answer.

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    Comment by WebMonk | January 14, 2009

  16. WebMonk,

    The answer is 42, not yes.

    If I get to a 14th question, it’s all yours.

    There’s a logical reason for and progression to these probing questions. I don’t like presuming someone’s opinions and I certainly don’t want to put words into anyone’s mouth. I’ve no interest in either tilting at windmills or beating the thatch out of straw men of my own creation.

    Neither have I any interest in simply asking endless questions. I have a life.

    So again, geochristian, Did Man come about by evolution or a speciaql act of Creation?

    –Sirius Knott

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    Comment by Sirius | January 14, 2009

  17. Sirius:

    Thanks again for your participation in the dialog.

    I thought WebMonk’s answer of “yes” was legitimate. Even a theistic evolutionist (and I’m not trying to put words into WebMonk’s mouth) who believes that God took a pre-human hominid and placed a soul in him can believe that Adam was in some way a special creation of God, created from the same material as the rest of the creation as it says in Genesis, i.e., from the dust of the Earth. Additionally, this theistic evolutionist can believe in real sin from a real fall that leads to the need for a real savior.

    I guess your answer of “42” is in reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy???

    My point in this post is not to take a position on a specific old-Earth position, whether it be day-age progressive creationism or theistic evolution. The point is that there are a variety of options, one of which is probably pretty close to being the correct one. I rule out the literal six consecutive 24-hour day position as not being required by Scriptures, not necessary for a correct understanding of sin, and as an unfortunate obstacle to apologetics and the proclamation of the gospel to scientists.

    Some old-Earth creationists reject biological evolution almost as strongly as young-Earth creationists. An example of this would be astronomer Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe, who advocates Adam being created by scratch in a separate creation act, independent of biological evolution. He has the same viewpoint of the entire geological column, with occasional creation events followed by adaptive radiation to fill various ecological niches.

    I have no basic problem with biological evolution from a Biblical standpoint, and am content to leave it as a scientific issue. The case some make against evolution based on passages such as in Genesis 1 where organisms reproduce after their “kinds” is really reading more into the passage than what it actually says.

    The issue comes down not to evolution (which is separate from the main topic of my post, which was the age of the Earth), but specifically to the evolution of humans. I have no problem at this point with taking a Hugh Ross approach here, saying that Adam was created from scratch, and represents all of humanity in his test in the Garden of Eden (which was a place, not the entire Earth). This is the direction I lean, but I won’t say that the theistic evolution scenario is by necessity wrong.

    To summarize: A real Adam, created by God, committing a real sin, and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross being the only solution for that sin.

    Grace and Peace

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    Comment by geochristian | January 14, 2009

  18. Sirius – Argh! I can’t believe I missed an opportunity to quote from THGTTG!!!

    “42” is one of my favorite answers to almost any question.

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    Comment by WebMonk | January 16, 2009

  19. “There is, of course, more than one old-Earth interpretation. There are the day-age, analogical day, framework, gap, and revelatory day interpretations. I haven’t made a firm commitment to any of these (I lean towards the first three) but I don’t think one has to have all of the theological answers in order to reject the literal calendar-day interpretation as not Biblically necessary.”

    I wholeheartedly agree. Thanks for sharing. Both the post and the comments have been a delight to read.

    Like

    Comment by airtightnoodle | January 24, 2009

  20. My answer would be pretty simple. After telling the children that good, committed Christians have differed on this for centuries, I would tell them that the more important question is not how it got here, but what we were supposed to do with it. If kids learn how important it is to care for creation, they won’t be sidetracked by one of the most divisive debates in the church–to the great delight of the Enemy below. Going out to clean up a creek bed with mom and dad will be a lot more significant to the kids’ upbringing than this tired old debate. (Ok, maybe the debate is not tired. But I sure am tired of it!)

    I appreciate geologists like Jeff Greenberg and others who consistently preach that message.

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    Comment by deanohlman | February 5, 2009

  21. Dean,

    I get tired of it too, but it isn’t going to go away. I appreciate your approach.

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    Comment by geochristian | February 5, 2009

  22. Thanks Kevin for approaching this firing line with care and thoughfulness.

    The shell game of imaginary universes/light aside…I wonder about the statement from Webmonk that creating an old earth doesn’t fit with the God we see in the bible. I wonder, Why not?

    Three observations –
    1) The bible clearly depicts Adam as created with age.
    2) The bible seems to indicate that the Earth was created as a pleasurable place to be (Gen 2:8) and how we react to our environment seems to interest God (2:19).
    3) The bible only elliptically references why God did any of it.

    These observations seem to indicate that it is not out of character for God, but in fact we are left to struggle with the why’s on purpose, and thus give meaning to our relationship with Him.

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    Comment by Matt Strid | February 7, 2009

  23. err, I’m not sure why the editor in the word processor put a smiley face in place of the 8…but that was supposed to read Gen 2:8

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    Comment by Matt Strid | February 7, 2009

  24. Regarding your January 14 post above (#17)—- You say you have no basic problem with biological evolution and are content to leave it as a scientific issue, yet you (and Hugh Ross) support the special creation of Adam. This is confusing and raises red flags—confusing because hominids (pre- and post-Adam) were obviously biological entities subject to the same rules of nature as other organisms that reproduce, mutate genes, and respond to selection pressures, and red flags because if true, some serious questions need to be addressed. I presume you would think of Adam as a relatively modern version of Homo sapiens (or not??), something which anthropologists tell us have been on earth for about 150,000 years. I also imagine you would agree that Australopithicus, Homo habilus, and Homo erectus are older and more primitive hominids from which Homo sapiens ultimately evolved. So if Adam were created by God from scratch, i.e., not a reconstituted existing Homo sapiens, are we then to think that Adam was really the first Homo sapiens and that the Australopithecus-H. erectus lineage became extinct at that moment of Adam’s creation? Or should we think that Adam’s descendents and non-Adam-descended H. sapiens continued to evolve side-by-side to the present? I shudder to think of the implications of that second choice, viz, two lineages—- one started by Adam, the other the product of pre-Adam evolution! Racists would have a field day with that. Comparative DNA analysis inform us that chimpanzees (our closest cousins) and modern humans diverged from a common ancestor about 6 million years ago… do you see a place for Adam in that assessment? If so, he would need to have been created with the same DNA as other H. sapiens of his time, but different from contemporary humans.
    I think the Catholic Church makes it easier for its followers— accept human evolution, but consider Adam to represent the moment in which H. sapiens was infused with a soul. That may be easier than accepting both evolution and a created Adam. But the most plausible explanation for me is that Adam and Eve are symbolic figures and certainly not the first humans.
    Finally, a rejoinder to posts #20 and 21 regarding “divisive debates”— these are almost always instigated by anti-evolutionists attacking evolution, not science against religion.

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    Comment by Norm Smith | February 7, 2009

  25. Norm:

    Thanks for your comment, which brings up points that I want to take very seriously.

    As a Christian, I need to think this through both theologically and scientifically. My statement that I lean towards the idea of Adam being a separate creation is primarily based on theology, and not science. I’ll admit it. It is also a position that I hold tentatively (Good theology is like good science in this sense, in that ideas have a tentative nature. Some theological ideas are unlikely to be overturned by further study, just like certain scientific ideas are unlikely to overturned).

    There are Evangelicals who, like the majority of Roman Catholic scholars, have no problem with evolution, including evolution of humans. I think that is a legitimate possibility; I’m just not completely there yet. A recent book on this is Perspectives on an Evolving Creation, edited by Keith Miller, a geologist at Kansas State University, and a member of a church in my denomination.

    If Adam and Eve were products of evolution in whom God implanted a soul—the Catholic position—it doesn’t necessarily follow that they were symbolic figures rather than real people. But that is a theological issue, not a scientific one. In this case, they would be representatives of all of humanity, even those who are not physically descended from them. There is Biblical precedent for this, as people are counted as children of Abraham by faith, even if they are not his physical offspring.

    Respectfully,
    Kevin

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    Comment by geochristian | February 8, 2009

  26. Norm:

    In regards to the divisiveness in these sorts of issues, I see it coming from both sides.

    Some Christians are diplomatic about origins, others put it in terms of “evilution” and equate all evolutionists as Stalins and Hitlers.

    I see the same coming from some scientists. Some are diplomatic; others, such as some of the “new atheists” who have written bestsellers in recent years, are filled with bitterness and invectiveness. I’ve seen plenty of “all Christians are morons” stuff on sites like richarddawkins.net.

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    Comment by geochristian | February 8, 2009

  27. Kevin and Norm,

    I concur with your resonse Kevin. As you have argued in other posts, both sides have been equally confrontational on this subject. As an evangelelical I have heard those in our line of reasoning equated with flat-earth ideologues.

    Superior lines of reasoning do not evolve from name calling, yet both sides of the argument often and regularly degrade to that level of the discussion.

    Regarding the H-erectus discussion. There seems to be a disconnect at a foundational level on this matter. The presupposition of religion is that if God exists it is quite possible that he can circumvent the natural order (since he himself is by definition outside that order) to accomplish his purposes. Now, religious people perhaps cry “mystery” to rapidly without going to work to find if it is truly so, and that puts us into a bad light as poor thinkers.

    However the presupposition of science is that there can only be natural forces at work. Therefore the possibility of God is ruled out without ever being considered, and even if he exists he must be bound by all natural laws, there is no other option. If we dont understand an event, it isn’t because it is miraculous, but only because we haven’t yet unearthed the natural principles that make it possible. But if we enter any scientific endeavor excluding half the options then we will always only find those answers we find acceptable and we will always only exclude those answers we find unacceptable. Which is poot thinking. There should be room for more than one option, naturalism or supernaturalism.

    Then again, I’m certainly biased…

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    Comment by Matt Strid | February 9, 2009

  28. Matt, I quite agree with your point about the presuppositions of religion vs science. In his efforts to promote intelligent design as a counter to evolution, Phillip Johnson has tried mightely to make this same case, viz, that science should permit the possibility of supernatural explanation. This of course would undermine the very essence as well as definitions of science, which is equipped to deal with only phenomena of the natural world. So it is not poor thinking to exclude supernaturalism as possible explanations of observed events or features; it is merely the rules that science has adopted. Science does not deny the existence of God or the validity of explanations beyond nature; it simply doesn’t go there. Science itself is agnostic, but scienTISTS can be anything and are— fundamentlists to atheists. I think both you and Kevin would agree with this. So when scientists are demonized by creationists as tools of Satan simply because we think and teach that evolution is science’s best explanation for the history and diversity of life, it is not surprising that some of them react. Most would be quite content to just do their research and teaching. So I still would say that most of the conflict arises from people who, for religious reasons, are uncomfortable with evolution and want it gone, especially as it regards teaching their children in the schools.

    On the issue of Adam— either Adam was a real person or he wasn’t. If he was a real person, either he was the first human or he was one of many living at the same time. The record of hominid fossils and artifacts supports the notion that Homo sapiens is the product of slow progressive evolution from smaller and more primitive hominids, and that they were numerous and widely dispersed. So if we accept the special creation of Adam, or Adam as the first human with a soul, we have the question of how all the other human contemporaries of Adam fit into the picture. A possible answer is that all contemporaries of Adam were likewise infused with souls at some moment, which then leaves Adam as a symbol, or at best a representative, but not a creation from dust because he was just one of many.

    I realize there may be no real answers to this, but I hold that there is value in thinking through the dilemmas posed by science.

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    Comment by Norm Smith | February 9, 2009

  29. Norm,

    Thank you for that response. I hope that I am as cogent in mine.

    I concur that demonization is not helpful to the dialogue, and Christians opened the battle with stupid laws which should have been fought (Beginning with the Scopes Trial). But when Scientists wont allow creation arguments to be taught in the classroom as a possible option (for, after all, no one was there that is teaching today – although my freshman Biology Prof was certainly a fossil! ;-) ) aren’t they committing the same aggregious error?

    Like

    Comment by Matt Strid | February 11, 2009

  30. Matt,

    Scientists won’t allow creation arguments to be taught in the SCIENCE classroom because any explanation of the natural world involving a supernatural god is no longer science. We have no objection to it being taught in non-science classes, but that is not what creationists want. They want it taught in science classes in order to weaken the teaching of evolution, an idea developed, tested, and demonstrated by the activity of science. I think this is motivation is very clear.

    The “nobody was there” argument does not wash. Powrful arguments can be and are made from circumstantial evidence in the absence of direct observations. People are imprisoned and even excecuted on the basis such indirect evidence. Because something happened in the past does not preclude our abilities to arrive at reasonable and correct interpretations of such events using the methods of science.

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    Comment by Norm Smith | February 11, 2009

  31. Norm,

    Well-worded response to Matt. That’s exactly what I was thinking as I read Matt’s post.

    Like

    Comment by airtightnoodle | February 11, 2009

  32. […] Mixed marriages and the age of the Earth […]

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    Pingback by Third anniversary of The GeoChristian « The GeoChristian | March 15, 2009

  33. The meaning of the Hebrew word “yom” (day). Young-Earth creationists make a big deal about the literalness of the 24-hour days in Genesis 1-2, but ignore the fact that yom is used in a non-literal sense at least once within this passage. The middle of 2:4 literally reads, “In the day [yom] when God made the earth and the heavens…” Here, yom clearly refers to the entire period of creation, not just to a 24-hours time period.

    This sounds almost silly to me. If you were to ask when I got my dog, and I told you “the day after you got yours,” you are obviously going to know it was the 24 hour time period after you got your dog. You aren’t going to think about “day” meaning 48 hours, that’s just dumb. I don’t know how Hebrew works, but from that quote, I only hear a poor attempt to satisfy desires.

    The amount of activity on day six hints at this being something other than a 24-hour day. Think about everything that happens: God creates land creatures, God makes Adam, Adam names the animals, God gives Adam a command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam discovers that none of the animals is suitable as his companion, and God creates Eve. Then Adam says, “At long last, this is it!!!” This fits better with a passage of time that is longer than just a few hours.

    The 2nd old-Earth Creationist claim only questions God’s power.

    Good post, and God bless.

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    Comment by Garrett Oden | May 9, 2009

  34. This is an interesting site. I agree with much that has been said about young vs old is trivial compared to the gospel, and yet poor science in the name of God is vital to avoid.

    In response to a comment from three years ago (ha!) in which geochristian states “I agree with WebMonk that the ‘appearance of age’ argument is full of theological and philosophical difficulties. god is not a liar or deceiver” – I have to point out that deception is not beyond God. When Jesus appeared to many after His resurrection, they did not recognize Him. How do you suppose Mary mistook him for a gardener? The most likely explanation is that He disguised Himself or blinded (in a way) Mary to see something that was not as things really are.

    There is a time He tells His companions He is not going to a feast and He sends them on ahead of Him – then later He shows up at the feast.

    These examples aren’t proof of YEC, certainly, but I don’t think it’s consistent with scripture to say flatly that God does not deceive. It’s an ugly word, sure, but would you not agree that God sometimes confuses us for His good pleasure?

    Like

    Comment by Peter | May 30, 2012


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