The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Answers in Genesis conference — day 1

I went to an Answers in Genesis “special outreach” conference today. The speaker was Terry Mortenson, and the topic was “Was Darwin Right?” (though the AiG web site said the topic would be “The Age of the Earth & Why it Matters”).

Here are some things that stood out to me:

  • A common young-Earth strategy is to say that there are only two options: The AiG way (God’s Word is truth) or the anti-God way (man decides truth). They leave out a third way that is completely compatible with Scriptures, which is “all truth is God’s truth.”
  • I find the extreme literalism of the young-Earth creationists to be completely unimaginative (I’m not sure that is the word I want to use; I’ll try to come up with something else). Even though the Bible is full of symbolism, they leave no room for symbolism in the opening chapters of Genesis. I am not necessarily advocating an allegorical approach to the opening chapters of Genesis, but these guys leave absolutely no room for interpreting Adam being created from mud as a picture of humans being created from the same material as the rest of creation, or thorns as a picture of painful toil in the fields.
  • The speaker used quotes from prominent scientists in misleading ways. For example, he used quotes from geologist Derek Ager (author of The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record and The New Catastrophism) to try to support the YEC concept of flood geology. What Ager was advocating (I’ve read the first of these books) was that Lyell’s version of uniformitarianism—sediments deposited one grain at a time for millions of years—is not consistent with Earth history. The sedimentary rock record is made up of everything from slow deposition (e.g. mud in the bottom of lakes) to catastrophic episodes, such as deposits from hurricanes, tsunamis, 500-year floods (or larger dambursts such as the Lake Missoula/Scabland floods), landslides, asteroid impacts, and volcanic eruptions. The sedimentary rock record is still understood to be the result of ongoing processes that obey physical laws; this is a far cry from the flood geology of the young-Earthers. From the presentation, the audience would think that it was a short step from Derek Ager to Henry Morris.

I could say a lot more, but I’ll hold back.

Mortenson presented “Seven C’s of the Biblical World View.” As an old-Earth creationist I would agree with most of these:

  • Creation — As an old-Earth creationist I believe in a real creation from nothing by the triune God of the Bible. I don’t believe that the Bible specifies when “In the beginning” occurred.
  • Corruption — I believe in a real Fall into sin. The extent of the corruption is not clearly outlined in the Bible; the YECs say that it pervaded every aspect of creation, but this is not clear from Scriptures. Certainly the “curse” of Genesis 3 affected man’s relationship with nature, but the Bible does not say to what extent.
  • Catastrophe — The catastrophism of the young-Earth creationists simply does not work. The Bible does not say that Noah’s flood created the bulk of Earth’s sedimentary rocks, and doesn’t even require a global extent for this flood.
  • Confusion — The YECs claim that all nations and languages originated (with subsequent further diversification) at the Tower of Babel, even though the nations listed in Genesis 10 are mostly located in the Eastern Mediterranean/Middle East. Genesis 10 tells us nothing about the origin of Eskimos or Zulus.
  • Christ — I’m in complete 100% agreement. Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, and is God’s solution for the sin problem introduced in Genesis 3.
  • Cross — Christ died as our substitute on the cross, taking the penalty for sin that we deserved.
  • Consummation — Christ will come again as king and judge. The effects of Adam’s sin will be completely undone.

I asked one question in the Q&A session:

I am an old-Earth creationist who accepts the inerrancy of Scriptures. I reject young-Earth creationism because I believe it is Biblically unnecessary and scientifically unworkable. In your presentation, you had a slide that listed what you called “compromise positions” such as the progressive creation, framework, and gap interpretations. You said you rejected these because they all had one thing in common: death before the Fall. None of the passages used by young-Earth creationists to demonstrate that there was no animal death before the Fall—Genesis 3, Romans 5 and 8, and 1 Corinthians 15— actually say anything whatsoever about animals, so I don’t think you provided a firm Biblical foundation for rejecting these positions. Could you comment on this please?

Dr. Mortenson was very courteous and articulate in his response. I thought he was wrong on a number of his points, but I didn’t want to get into a debate. I asked primarily so the audience could see that perhaps there are Biblical problems with the young-Earth position. I’ve written my preliminary thoughts on death before the Fall elsewhere.

I’m planning on attending more sessions Sunday evening.

Grace and Peace

October 10, 2009 - Posted by | Age of the Earth, Apologetics, Creation in the Bible, Geology, Old-Earth creationism, Origins, Young-Earth creationism | ,

23 Comments »

  1. What was his explanation? I’ve not found an official AiG discussion of the topic, but rather their books and articles always assume the “no animal death before Fall” position, rather than explain how they come to it.

    I’ve had discussions with people who hold that position and heard their reasons, and I assume the reasons are going to be fairly similar, but I would be interested in knowing how the “official” (or at least semi-official as stated in a Q&A session) reasons go.

    The reasons I’ve heard are essentially “it doesn’t mention animals eating each other until after Gen 1”, and “God only told Adam and Eve they could eat of trees”. My “favorite” explanation was based on the “lamb and lion” verse from Isaiah.

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    Comment by WebMonk | October 12, 2009

  2. WebMonk:

    It’s been two days now, which exceeds my reliable memory capacity. I’ll give it a try:

    –He agreed that Romans 5 is specifically about humans, but stated that Romans 8 must include all of creation (even though the passage does not indicate the extent or ways in which the creation groans).

    –He stated that the church fathers and theologians throughout church history have traced natural evil (e.g. animal death, natural disasters) back to the Fall (he repeated this Sunday night in a Baptist church; one could use that same argument against believers-only baptism which was virtually unheard of through 3/4 of church history)

    –He pointed to the millenium/eternal state as you said — with the lion and lamb laying down together. (Nowhere in Scripture does it say that the eternal state is an exact copy of Eden)

    –He stated that “no death before the fall” flowed out of the character of God expressed in a very good creation. (Has he not read that God is glorified by predation (Ps 104)? I’m not sure that “natural evil” e.g. supernovas, volcanoes, earthquakes, and even animal death, don’t somehow glorify God).

    He may have made some other points, but I don’t remember them. I think the young-Earth creationists are stuck in a “God of cute and fuzzy things like bunnies and puppies” mentality on a lot of this. When Christ is depicted as the Lion of Judah, he is the King of Creation, able to tear his opponents to shreds. I don’t think a vegetarian Lion of Judah, grazing out in the field, is what the Bible has in mind.

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    Comment by geochristian | October 12, 2009

  3. The whole lion-lamb thing in Isaiah is sort of a funny thing to use because it is talking about Jesus’ arrival in the (future for them) first century. When they take that as a literal description of the state before the Fall, they also need to take it as a literal description of what it’s talking about – Jesus’ arrival in the first century.

    The “millenial” part is a weird sort of mish-mash that I suspect comes from a lack of comprehension of poetry. Since some people take Is 11 as literal description rather than poetry, they have to assume it must refer to the Millennium even though it is quite clearly referring to Jesus’ arrival as a baby.

    The “very good” and “good” descriptions have always seemed to be the weakest arguments, though they seem to be the most widely spread. The Bible says God said they were “good”.

    It’s easy to speculate about all sorts of things when looking for a precise scientific encapsulation of the word “good”, since there’s no description given in the Bible. Speculations can go all sorts of weird places.

    If I remember the RATE study correctly, they even talk about the “problem” of radioactive decay and how there could be “decay” in a “good” Creation. Talk about forcing one’s own views into what the Bible says!

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    Comment by WebMonk | October 12, 2009

  4. Sorry to be off-topic to the above discussion, but could I ask for clarification of a couple of points in your write-up please Kevin?

    “[T]hese guys leave absolutely no room for interpreting Adam being created from mud as a picture of humans being created from the same material as the rest of creation.”

    So, you don’t take that literally? What would be this ‘material’ from which everything else was created – simply atoms? And how would the text be signifying this, given that nothing else is said to be made from the dust of the ground?

    “The YECs claim that all nations and languages originated (with subsequent further diversification) at the Tower of Babel, even though the nations listed in Genesis 10 are mostly located in the Eastern Mediterranean/Middle East. Genesis 10 tells us nothing about the origin of Eskimos or Zulus.”

    Do you then hold that some people today are NOT descended from Noah’s family? If so I conclude that you’re out of step with e.g. Hugh Ross who accepted as a result that the ancestors of the Aborigines couldn’t have got to Australia as long ago as 40,000 years back (or a lot more, depending on who you ask!). So there’s at least one uniformitarian consensus date he rejects because of Scripture.

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    Comment by Dan | October 14, 2009

  5. A key verse the YECs use, which hasn’t been discussed here, is Genesis 1:29-30 – “Then God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plan yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food’; and it was so (NASB).” Ken Ham and other YECs say this indicates the animals were vegetarians. I noticed these verses don’t mention sea animals, so presumably it was o.k. for tunas to eat sardines before the fall.

    Recall also that earth is a modern translation of “erets” – which means ‘land.’ People like John Sailhammer point out that erets was intended to mean the promised land of the Hebrews. We pour our modern understanding of a spherical planet earth into our interpretation of the word.

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    Comment by Tim Helble | October 14, 2009

  6. Dan:

    Genesis 2:7 says, “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (ESV). It may be “over-literal” to interpret this as God taking a glob of mud, forming it into a human figure, and giving it mouth-to-nose resuscitation. Likewise, when we read that all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16), we don’t have to picture God blowing on the parchments as the prophets and apostles moved their pens.

    What does it mean that we are created from the dust of the earth? Perhaps Genesis 3:19 can help:

    By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
    till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
    for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.” (ESV)

    What becomes of our bodies when we die? Aside from all of the preservatives we Americans pump into corpses—which only delay the inevitable—we decompose back into organic compounds and minerals, the same stuff as all the rest of creation. The same goes for animals (Gen 2:19).

    All the Scriptures are saying by “the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground” is that we are formed of the same stuff as the rest of creation. We are both part of creation (being made of the same stuff) and over it (being made in the image of God). The young-Earth insistence that everything in Genesis 1-3 must be “literal” is imposing an unnatural burden on the text.

    In regards to the Table of Nations in Genesis 10, again the young-Earthers are imposing something on the text that may not be there. The nations listed are local: ones that the Hebrews/Western Semitics had contact with or were familiar with. The furthest nations listed are Tarshish, near the Strait of Gibraltar; the tribes of of the southern Arabian Peninsula and Red Sea, such as Ophir and Sheba; and Magog, perhaps in the Caucasus region. All of these were familiar to to the Hebrews through long-distance trade (or perhaps in the case of Magog through stories of barbarians on the fringe of civilization). These were the descendants of Noah according to the Scripture. The young-Earth creationists have to use a hermeneutic technique called “stretching” in order to make this cover the Celts, Incas, Aborigines, and Mongols.

    Yes, this interpretation (which I am not 100% committed to myself) is out of step with Hugh Ross, and would mean that not all humans are physically descended from Noah. I don’t see this as a problem for salvation history or the historicity of the flood, nor do I see it as necessarily in conflict with the universal statements in Genesis 6-9 (which may be what Tim Heble is referring to in comment #5; reading eretz as “land” rather than “earth” gives the flood account a totally different feel).

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    Comment by geochristian | October 14, 2009

  7. Tim:

    You cite Gen 1:29-30 without indicating how OEs can cope with it. So instead of asking YECs why there couldn’t have been (land) animal death before the Fall, let’s first ask how OEs can still say in light of these verses that fossil evidence of land animal carnivory is all pre-Adamic.

    It is frankly comical for Sailhamer or anyone else to refer [i]eretz[/i] in Gen 1 to the Promised Land when the Hebrew nation doesn’t even begin to come into the picture until chapter 10 or 11, and the first promise of that land isn’t until chapter 12. The terms of Gen. 1-11 are (until the very last bit) entirely universalist, and this is intrinsic to the grandeur of the opening narrative. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the promised land”? I don’t think so.

    Geo:

    “Theopneustos” recalls the Holy Ghost, not human breath.

    Gen 3:19 actually reinforces the literal view of 2:7 – I’ve heard Ken Ham make this point, quipping: “What ape-like creature do we return to when we die?!”

    Given your uncertainty about the manner of Adam’s creation, I can’t resist going on to ask you what you make of the manner of Eve’s creation. I know, we all like citing that line about God making Eve not from Adam’s head or foot, etc., but the originator(s) of that saying (Matthew Henry?) definitely saw the theological lesson as emerging from the historical fact, not divorced from it as too many moderns make it.

    A well-known evangelical scholar recently began his answer to this very question (after a lecture) as follows:

    “I don’t know what one ought to say about the biology of it; I only know what it’s right to say about the theology of it.”

    Now, if he’d said the like about say the Virgin Birth, he’d have been marked down right away as a liberal. (In both cases, the theology stems directly from the biology: Gen 2:23-24, Luke 1:34-35.) Such is the cleavage and theological schizophrenia which seems entrenched in many circles these days.

    Now, as to Gen 10: yes, the nations named are such as the Hebrews would have contact with at one time or another, just as the empires of Dan 2 are ones which would impact their national life as the time of the Messiah drew ever nearer. But the clear implication is that these nations spread out into areas left uninhabited by the Flood. Now a Flood that could cover land from Iberia to Parthia and beyond, was most definitely global. If you wish to keep it confined to Mesopotamia (despite all the great textual difficulties this entails), you’ll also have to explain how it was that Europe, North Africa and the Middle East were somehow not populated whereas the Americas and Australasia were!

    You haven’t explained (here – maybe elsewhere on the blog?) how the Flood narrative can be read as NOT wiping out all mankind bar Noah’s family. Even when local-flood ideas began to spread, I don’t think such a concept caught on right away, as it’s even more far-fetched than the other. The only pre-19th-century Christian suggesters of a non-global flood (Poole and Stillingfleet – any others?) were 100% clear that all mankind bar eight perished in it. I’m not clear when the partia-mankind view first arose, but it’s obviously an even more recent invention than old-earthism itself.

    No wonder that at least Dr Ross is pretty orthodox in placing the Flood around 5,000 years ago and reasserting that it erased all people bar eight – from which he must needs conclude that at least SOME secular dating methods are significantly wrong. He also as I understand it places Adam at around 10,000 years ago, which again YECs wouldn’t grumble at – not 200,000 years ago or whatever.

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    Comment by Dan | October 15, 2009

  8. Hi Dan,

    As I recall, Sailhammer says “heavens and earth” in 1:1 is something called a merism (sp?), which means everything in existence. In other words, erets in that verse doesn’t just mean the promised land. Regarding its use the rest of the time, Genesis was originally written to be a history for Hebrews so they would know where they came from, so I don’t have much problem with erets meaning “land.” Certainly the early Hebrews didn’t know about a spherical earth.

    I think Sailhammer is still alive, and last I heard he was teaching at Dallas Theological Seminary – not exactly a liberal bastion, and you have to be pretty smart just to get admitted there as a student. I’m pretty sure he knows a lot more about theology than you or I.

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    Comment by Tim Helble | October 15, 2009

  9. Dan:

    I agree that Sailhammer (and Snoke in A Biblical Case for an Old Earth) don’t make a convincing case for eretz meaning the Promised Land. For one thing, the flood narrative is clearly set in Mesopotamia, not in what later became Israel. It could mean “land” rather than “earth” but that land is not Israel.

    In regards to Gen 2:7 and 3:19 I think Ken Ham completely misses the point. When we die, man returns to the stuff of earth (Heb. adam comes from adama, Lat. humans come from humus). Genesis teaches us that are intimately related to the creation; a point that we moderns often forget.

    What exactly did God do to create Eve? I don’t know, and quite frankly you don’t either. I believe he did it; I just don’t know the entire process. I don’t know in the early chapters of Genesis how “literally” to read certain things. How did God create Christ in Mary’s womb? Did he start with one of Mary’s eggs? Did he create a set of 23 chromosomes within that egg to match the 23 that were already there? I don’t know—nobody knows—but I do believe in the virgin birth. I don’t think this is theological schizophrenia; it is just that I am not making Genesis say more than what it is in fact saying.

    In regards to Hugh Ross and the timing of the flood — yes, some YECs would grumble at placing Adam at 10000 years ago. The AiG folks are pretty adamant about creation being 6000 years ago and the flood being 4300 years ago, despite the historical and geological problems this introduces.

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    Comment by geochristian | October 15, 2009

  10. For one thing (about the Flood being around 2300 BC) you have Abraham setting out on his travels about three hundred years after the Flood.

    He runs across a powerful and well-developed Egyptian empire. There is also the other empires that are going at the same time: Akkadian, Chinese, and Indian (not American) empires. All set up and established in less than 400 years (according to the Biblical timeline generated by YEC proponents) from the original three families starting in the middle east somewhere.

    Now THAT is impressive!

    Snarkiness aside, that is an area I would like to hear a knowledgeable YEC person discuss. How the Egyptian, Akkadian, and Hindus valley civilizations all started before the Flood and lasted right through it.

    Obviously, they have to say they were strictly post-Flood, however, there are mountains of evidence the YEC person has to account for at that point. The pyramids alone…. There are really solid chains of rulers, empires, and their pyramids stretching back from extremely solidly planted dates long into the post-Flood era to well before the 2300 BC Flood date.

    Anyone know of someone or some resources that deal with those problems? I’d love to see what they are.

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    Comment by WebMonk | October 15, 2009

  11. And before the recommendation comes in, yes, I have read the AiG website pages on the topic, and they are horribly, horribly self-contradictory and even more far-fetched than the things I wrote above.

    For example, they state that Joseph arrived in Egypt some time in the 12th dynasty, and that Moses was born before it ended. That is supposed to cover 430 years, but AiG itself says the 12th dynasty only lasted around 200 years!!! (1660-1445 BC)

    That’s just one of dozens of examples. For another quick one, they say Joseph came in the 12th Dynasty, (which they say started less than 700 years after the Flood, 600 years after Babel) but each dynasty lasted hundreds of years and had many rulers. AiG doesn’t even bother to deny this, and instead just totally ignores it.

    These aren’t based on something AiG considers shaky, like radiometric dating. These are written records of the rulers and empires of Egypt. They list 70+ rulers over those previous 11 dynasties, and many of those rulers are listed as having ruled for many decades.

    Ok, getting off my soapbox.

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    Comment by WebMonk | October 15, 2009

  12. I may not have perfectly represented Sailhamer’s case as presented in his book “Genesis Unbound.” A good summary of the book can be found at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/8449/genesis.html

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    Comment by Tim Helble | October 15, 2009

  13. Tim:

    I haven’t read Sailhamer yet, but have Genesis Unbound is on my wish list. Thanks for the link to the summary; I’ll try to read it this weekend.

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    Comment by geochristian | October 15, 2009

  14. Comments on several points: Dr. Hugh Ross would place the Flood further back than 10,000 years, since he interprets the “dividing in the days of Peleg” as referring to the land bridges between continents breaking up (sea level rise after the last ice age) so that people who had spread to different continents after the tower of Babel couldn’t all join together again. That’s 15-20,000 years ago, I think.

    Given the current stance of AiG and ICR on the Flood being 3-4000 years BC, it’s interesting that in the classic “Genesis Flood” book by Morris and Whitcomb that there’s a whole appendix devoted to why there has to be more time in there, partly because of archaeological evidence, and the Flood placed further back (5-6000 years BC.)

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    Comment by Virginia Peterson | October 15, 2009

  15. AiG and ICR place the flood around 2300 BC, give or take a dozen years.

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    Comment by WebMonk | October 15, 2009

  16. Right – I’m confusing 4000 years ago with 4000 BC.

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    Comment by Virginia Peterson | October 15, 2009

  17. Thanks for all your contributions folks – especially in response to mine ;)

    Hello Tim:

    “Regarding its use the rest of the time, Genesis was originally written to be a history for Hebrews so they would know where they came from, so I don’t have much problem with erets meaning “land.””

    As you know, Genesis consists of Gen 1:1-2:3 plus ten toledoths, of which four (those of the heavens and earth, of Adam, of Noah and of Shem) are non-Hebrocentric. That is, five of the 11 natural divisions of Genesis aren’t specifically for the Hebrews, although certainly they’re useful to them.

    “Certainly the early Hebrews didn’t know about a spherical earth.”

    ‘Certainly’, Tim? Whence does your ‘certainty’ about this derive? How often have you heard Isa 40:22 referred to as a contrary example? However I fail to see what this has to do with the first point – do enlighten me ;)

    “I think Sailhammer is still alive, and last I heard he was teaching at Dallas Theological Seminary – not exactly a liberal bastion, and you have to be pretty smart just to get admitted there as a student. I’m pretty sure he knows a lot more about theology than you or I.”

    I daresay in general, yes – although I’m not a dispensationalist so might dispute some aspects! However, that doesn’t mean that he has a better explanation of things in every area – and in this for one, I think YEC exposition bests him. He and indeed every serious OE should avail themselves of the recently-published symposium “Coming to Grips with Genesis” – 14 authors with scholarly but readable essays on all key aspects of the age-of-the-earth controversy.

    Hi again Geo:

    “The flood narrative is clearly set in Mesopotamia, not in what later became Israel.”

    “Clearly”, Kevin? Whence does your “clarity” on this derive? The said narrative has no geographical reference bar Ararat, in NE Turkey – about equidistant from Jerusalem and Babylon I’d say. I’d rather say that the Babel incident is set in Mesopotamia; there we’re on solid ground. Now there’s yet another area in which you can declare your position – but wait, let me guess – you don’t think all modern language groups are ethnologically descended from those founded at the confusion there, just as you don’t believe all people groups are descended from those who spread out from Babel. Pardon me if I’ve guessed wrong, but you’ve got to admit it’s a reasonable extrapolation from things you’ve expressed so far.

    And while we’re on this theme, given that you don’t think all people today are descended from Noah, can you say whether all today are descended from Adam? Thanks in advance!

    “Genesis teaches us that are intimately related to the creation; a point that we moderns often forget.”

    Now here’s a real irony: OEs are constantly reminding YECs not to forget to read Genesis according to the questions ANCIENTS would have asked, and issues THEY faced. Well then: what ancient could have forgotten their close relation to nature?

    “What exactly did God do to create Eve? I don’t know, and quite frankly you don’t either. I believe he did it; I just don’t know the entire process. I don’t know in the early chapters of Genesis how “literally” to read certain things…. it is just that I am not making Genesis say more than what it is in fact saying.”

    The question, though, is whether you make it say LESS than what it says. Do you accept at least that God caused Adam to sleep, took material from his side and made Eve from it? That seems to be the very minimum to be accepted, never mind chromosomes and all that.

    “In regards to Hugh Ross and the timing of the flood — yes, some YECs would grumble at placing Adam at 10000 years ago. The AiG folks are pretty adamant about creation being 6000 years ago and the flood being 4300 years ago, despite the historical and geological problems this introduces.”

    Not much changed by extending a few thousand years though? Anyway as someone notes below (and as I noted I believe elsewhere on this blog), the classic TGF did indeed allow a looser chronology, albeit since then YECs have tightened it.

    @WebMonk:

    “For one thing (about the Flood being around 2300 BC) you have Abraham setting out on his travels about three hundred years after the Flood.

    “He runs across a powerful and well-developed Egyptian empire.”

    May I ask all you Americans how long it took for the USA to become powerful and well-developed?

    “There is also the other empires that are going at the same time: Akkadian, Chinese, and Indian (not American) empires. All set up and established in less than 400 years (according to the Biblical timeline generated by YEC proponents) from the original three families starting in the middle east somewhere.”

    Could you all please reflect on how the balance of power among the world’s nations has been transformed beyond recognition during the last 400 years?

    “Now THAT is impressive!”

    But hardly unique, as a moment’s reflection as above will show. In fact their migration and development would have been easier than that of e.g. white Europeans in N America because they would have had no conflicts with aboriginals to impede them. Unless Geo will now step in and say that he doesn’t think Europe was uninhabited after the Flood, etc.

    “Snarkiness aside, that is an area I would like to hear a knowledgeable YEC person discuss….

    “And before the recommendation comes in, yes, I have read the AiG website pages on the topic, and they are horribly, horribly self-contradictory and even more far-fetched than the things I wrote above.

    “For example, they state that Joseph arrived in Egypt some time in the 12th dynasty, and that Moses was born before it ended. That is supposed to cover 430 years, but AiG itself says the 12th dynasty only lasted around 200 years!!! (1660-1445 BC)”

    Paul states (Gal 3:17) that 430 years elapsed from God’s covenanting with Abram (when he was 75 years old) to the Exodus.

    Abraham had Isaac 25 years later when he was 100; Isaac had Jacob and Esau when he was 60; Jacob was 130 when Joseph was 39 (he became PM at 30 and seven years of plenty and two of famine elapsed before Jacob answered Pharaoh’s rude question!), therefore Jacob was 108 when Joseph went to Egypt at age 17. So from the 430 years we must subtract 25, 60 and 108, leaving 237 years – within passing range of the 215 years you cite AiG as assigning to the 12th Egyptian dynasty.

    That hardly qualifies for your epithets of “horribly, horribly self-contradictory and even more far-fetched”, does it?

    “That’s just one of dozens of examples.”

    I hope you’ve got better ones than that.

    “For another quick one, they say Joseph came in the 12th Dynasty, (which they say started less than 700 years after the Flood, 600 years after Babel) but each dynasty lasted hundreds of years and had many rulers. AiG doesn’t even bother to deny this, and instead just totally ignores it.”

    Er… don’t they say that some of the dynasties were co-regent in different parts of the kingdom, or something like that?

    Virginia:

    “Comments on several points: Dr. Hugh Ross would place the Flood further back than 10,000 years, since he interprets the “dividing in the days of Peleg” as referring to the land bridges between continents breaking up (sea level rise after the last ice age) so that people who had spread to different continents after the tower of Babel couldn’t all join together again. That’s 15-20,000 years ago, I think.”

    Okay, I stand to be corrected. But don’t uniformitarians place the deglaciation more recently than this? E.g. Britain is said to have been separated from France c. 8000 years ago.

    Of course even 15-20 kya is still too recent for Ross to be able to accept a uniformitarian date of 40 kya for the aborigines in Australia, let alone the 70 kya fed my little daughter the other week.

    Thanks for pointing out TGF’s view of this!

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    Comment by Dan | October 16, 2009

  18. Dan, you managed to quote the AiG pages almost verbatim without thinking about what they mean. Note which king they say Moses was born under: Amenemhat III.

    AmIII ruled until 16 years before the end of the 12th dynasty, and since they say he fled during the same guy’s reign (not a problem since AmIII reigned for 46 years), it means Moses arrived at least 56 years before the 12th dynasty ended. Now, if Joseph went to Egypt in the very first year of the 12th dynasty, he was 17 and his family arrived 10-15 years later. That leaves (a maximum of) 159 years between Jacob’s arrival and Moses’ birth. (215-46-10=159)

    That leaves only 159 years for the Israelites to grow from a hundred or two to a million or two. Not bloody likely, to say the least.

    Also, in order to get their AiG dates for the 12th dyn. (1660-1445 BC) they have to adjust the 12th dynasty’s normally derived dates by over 300 years, and change the lengths of all the internal pharaoh’s rules. The 12th dynasty is one of the more firmly planted dynasties – it was a relatively calm dynasty and there are plenty of remains with lineages and the LENGTHS of the reigns. Not only that, but there are events of solar happenings of the 12th dynasty written down which can be correlated to give a VERY firm date to the rulers. Beyond even that, there are records of trade between the dynasty and other empires of the time, which can be correlated to yet other firmly established dates.

    These all point very strongly to a 12th dynasty existing from the 1990s BC to the 1800s BC. (give or take 4 or 5 years) So, the whole discussion of Joseph and Moses existing in the 12th dynasty is nonsensical, and yet AiG claims it. Self-contradictory and far-fetched.

    And you talk about 400 years for an empire to develop and compare it to the USA. You forget, we came from already existing empires (PLURAL!) already consisting of millions! We didn’t grow through population nearly as much as we grew by immigration.

    After the Flood they didn’t have that option: in 300 years (292 years from Flood to Abraham’s birth), the originating six people had to populate many, many millions and spread out to China, India, Egypt, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, AND develop empires in all those places.

    And don’t forget, those pyramids were being built long before Abraham was around. Even with AiG’s “interesting” date shifting, those pyramids were still built many hundreds of years before Abraham, which means the great pyramids were being built IMMEDIATELY after the Flood. (technically before the Flood, but that can’t be!)

    Babel was about a hundred years after the Flood, so they only had 200 years do spread out, form empires, and build dozens of pyramids for scores of different rulers! Wow! Those Egyptians must have really been cranking to build dozens of pyramids that quickly!

    Yes, some of those dynasties overlap, but it’s not like scholars are unaware of that. They still manage to date most of them through correlating events and written records. Those previous 11 dynasties have lots of records (some dynasties more or less than others) and as a whole, it is extremely clear that they existed for MANY hundreds of years before the 12th dynasty. Remember, all those records have to be shifted 300 years later by the time the 12th dynasty rolls around, and the previous eleven dynasties have to be compressed in time from existing for over 1000 years to lasting less than 540 years before the 12th dynasty begins.

    Good luck with that.

    I realize that if you just read AiG’s webpages and books without really considering their ramifications, they paint a vaguely coherent picture. But, when they start getting into the details and comparing them with the real world, they start breaking apart VERY quickly.

    Like

    Comment by WebMonk | October 16, 2009

  19. My apologies for the long post. I didn’t mean to stop the conversation, but it is hard to condense without leaving stuff out.

    Like

    Comment by WebMonk | October 20, 2009

  20. WebMonk: no need to apologize; it wasn’t even all that long.

    Dan: I appreciate your input as well. Same to you, Tim and Virginia.

    I’ve been traveling (to Montana, the true location of the Garden of Eden) so haven’t been able to respond. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to read your comments in more detail and perhaps respond later today.

    Kevin

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | October 20, 2009

  21. WebMonk,

    AiG changed Charles Spurgeon from a gap-theorist to a modern YEC. (See the article Why Doesn’t Answers in Genesis Tell You the Truth? at my website. Click on my name below.) If they are that blatant with their revisionist history of things that happened recently, why expect them to be forthright about ancient history or science?

    Like

    Comment by JL Vaughn | November 11, 2009

  22. Yes, I am very familiar with what they did to his sermons. I think there were a couple blog postings here on that topic. They’re buried pretty deeply. My opinion of AiG is starting to move toward my opinion of Disney’s legal department.

    :-D

    Like

    Comment by WebMonk | November 11, 2009

  23. John Holzmann, Tim Martin, and I broke the story two weeks before it happened on John’s blog.

    The morning AiG did what we predicted on the day we predicted it, we broke the story again. The second time, it got real traction.

    Mark Looy of AiG even sent an official response. Pretty much, How dare you say such a thing in public. You are dividing the Church.

    The people at AiG are so smug that even when warned that they are about to step into a hornets nest with their falsehoods, they do so anyway. Then they blame you for noticing and warning them.

    Blessings.

    Like

    Comment by JL Vaughn | November 11, 2009


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