The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

PCA 2013 General Assembly — The YECs get their turn

In 2012, two old-Earth Christian geologists gave a presentation at the General Assembly (annual meeting) of the Presbyterian Church in America. Gregg Davidson is a professor of geology at the University of Mississippi, and Ken Wolgemuth is an oil industry consultant, and their presentation was entitled “The PCA Creation Study Committee a Dozen Years Later: What Does Science Say Now?”

The PCA is a theologically conservative denomination, holding to biblical inerrancy, as well as conservative positions on a number of other issues. Like a majority of denominations that hold to biblical inerrancy, the PCA does not take a position on the age of the Earth. There are large numbers of scholars, pastors, and elders within the PCA who believe the Bible teaches a young Earth, and large numbers who believe the Bible does not require a young Earth.

In the 1990s, the PCA created a committee to address the issues surrounding origins, such as the age of the Earth and biological evolution. The committee released its Report of the Creation Study Committee in 2000. This is a fairly balanced document, outlining the biblical arguments in favor of young-Earth creationism alongside those for three old-Earth biblical interpretations.

However, some young-Earth creationists within the PCA were outraged that the denomination would include these old-Earth Christians at the General Assembly. There were those who were upset that any old-Earther would be give the floor in a General Assembly seminar, others who were angry because of perceived ties between the speakers and the theistic evolution (a.k.a. evolutionary creation) organization BioLogos, and others who merely asked why equal time was not given to young-Earthers.

I see that this year’s General Assembly has a YEC seminar, as well as a YEC exhibitor. Here’s the description for the YEC seminar:

Astronomy Reveals Creation
Seminar Speaker: Dr. Jason Lisle, Director of Research, Institute for Creation Research

Critics of the Bible have often attempted to use the methods of science to persuade others that the Bible is not trustworthy. We are told that the universe is a cosmic accident—a “big bang” followed by billions of years of evolutionary processes. However, these attempts to discredit biblical creation do not stand up to rational scrutiny. The science of astronomy confirms that the Bible is true. In this highly visual presentation, astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle shows powerful scientific evidence that confirms that our universe is not an accident, but has been designed and created by God as the Bible teaches in Genesis. The Christian can be encouraged that the Word of God is absolutely trustworthy on all matters. This includes not only matters of theology and morality, but matters of science and history as well.

The Institute for Creation Research will have a booth in the exhibition hall.

It appears that there are no old-Earth seminars or exhibitors.

I pray for unity, clarity, faithfulness, love, grace, and peace within the denomination in regards to this sometimes divisive issue.

Grace and Peace

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NOTES

If my recollection is correct, one of the presenters was unable to be at last year’s seminar, though he had been scheduled.

Davidson and Wolgemuth are available as speakers for seminaries, Bible schools, and other organizations through Solid Rock Lectures.

I wrote about the 2012 General Assembly here: PCA General Assembly includes a seminar on the age of the Earth. Here are some quotes and comments I found at the time from blogs advocating YEC-only within the PCA:

“there appears to be a move to kick Young Earth Creationists out of the PCA tent.”

“the assault on biblical creationism will most assuredly destroy your denomination.”

“After reading the description of the anti-YEC Seminar, I was so rattled spiritually and emotionally that I could barely concentrate for the rest of the day.”

“I won’t be attending the actual Seminar. I don’t trust my ability to be gracious and to play well with others in that setting, not to mention to keep my head from exploding.”

“Can someone invite a YEC scientist, with credentials, to attend the seminar and raise objections to the so-called “evidence” that will be presented?”

Davidson and seven other PCA geologists have written an article entitled PCA Geologists on the Antiquity of the Earth which was published in Modern Reformation magazine in 2010. YEC geologist and PCA church member John Reed wrote a response which is posted on the Answers in Genesis website.

May 29, 2013 Posted by | Age of the Earth, Apologetics, Astronomy, Geology, Old-Earth creationism, Origins, Theistic evolution, Young-Earth creationism | , , , , , | 18 Comments

Dinosaur quiz — part 3

Yesterday on the Answers in Genesis website, Ken Ham encouraged people to take “the dinosaur quiz” and to let him know on his Facebook page how we have used this quiz to help “rescue our kids.” I guess I took him seriously, so I posted a comment on his Facebook page:

AiG_4thgradequiz

This morning, my comment was gone.

I am sure Answers in Genesis has to delete many comments from their Facebook page — obscenity, mocking, false accusations, and so forth. My comment was certainly in none of those categories. Nor was it self-promotion; there are plenty of other comments pointing people to YEC websites.

I guess AiG does not want respectful dialog. Perhaps they do not want their flock to see alternative biblical answers in Genesis from someone else who believes the Bible from the very first verse.

Grace and Peace (especially to all my young-Earth creationist brothers and sisters in Christ)

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P.S. I previously wrote about the dinosaur quiz here: More on the Answers in Genesis 4th grade dinosaur quiz.

May 24, 2013 Posted by | Apologetics, Christianity, Creation in the Bible, Geology, Old-Earth creationism, Origins, Young-Earth creationism | , , | 17 Comments

More on the Answers in Genesis 4th grade dinosaur quiz

Last week I wrote about A 4th grade quiz on dinosaurs that the teacher would have given me an “F” on. A Christian school in South Carolina had used an Answers in Genesis quiz entitled “Dinosaurs, Genesis and the Gospel,” and the atheist and skeptic blogs were abuzz about how goofy this quiz was in their eyes.

I posted my answers to the quiz in last week’s post, and tried to grade it as a young-Earth creationist would have graded it. My grade was an “F.”

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, wrote about this quiz today, and posted the entire quiz (the copy that was circulating around the internet was missing a few questions).

Ken Ham’s blog — The Science Quiz the Atheists Hate — Let’s Take it Ourselves!

AiG website — Families: Let’s Use the Recent Atheist Attack to Teach More Kids the Truth!

The full quiz — 4th Grade Science Quiz

Here are my answers for #8-10 (I gave my answers to the rest of the questions on the previous post). Again, I have place a red X next to the answers a YEC teacher would mark wrong.

Quiz08

X  Yes — The Bible simply does not say whether or not non-human animals died before Adam sinned. If one looks at the most frequently cited passages which are given in support of “no death before Adam’s sin” position, none of them say anything whatsoever about animal death (See Gen 3, Rom 5, Rom 8, 1 Cor 15). External evidence tells us that animals have been dying for a long time, so their death is not part of the curse given in Genesis 3.

Quiz09

False — Humans are animals, but we are more than “just an animal.” According to Genesis, we are made of dust, that is, the same stuff as the rest of creation, and were created at roughly the same time as the rest of land animals in the Genesis outline of events. But we are special animals, in that we are created in the image of God, bearing his resemblance, rationality, and ability to have relationships. As animals we are embedded in the creation, but God has also placed us in a position of dominion over the creation (and dominion is a very different concept than domination).

Quiz10

1/2 X — No. Scientists sometimes get things wrong. For example, some Christian scientists twist science in order to come up with a “Biblical” interpretation about dinosaurs or ice ages, even though neither are mentioned in the Bible.

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Adding these three answers to my previous total makes my new grade (from a YEC perspective) 6/18 = 33%. That is a bit of an improvement, but still quite solidly an F.

A few additional thoughts:

  • My answers for the questions were largely based on the Bible, not on science. I am not reading science into the Bible.
  • It is amazing how Answers in Genesis pushes their speculations as absolute truth, when so much of what they say is not found in the Bible.
  • It should not be surprising that the atheists and skeptics (many of them are anything but “freethinkers”) are mocking the quiz. It is also not surprising that AiG is painting this as another atheist attack against Christianity. But the YECs have, as a result of a decades-long history of bad science and Scripture stretching, given the skeptics a very easy target. As I have said numerous times, let it be the “foolishness” of the the crucified and risen Jesus that confronts the world, not our own human foolishness.
  • Bad apologetics is harmful to our youth, adults, and witness to the world.
  • The small Christian school in this controversy was struggling financially and has received numerous donations in the past few weeks. Despite teaching YEC sciences, many of these small Christian schools are doing a fantastic job of providing a Christian education for our youth, and so I am thankful they have received these gifts.

Grace and Peace

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Notes:

I have previously written briefly about Death before the fall — an old-Earth Biblical perspective.

I have also written about supposed references to dinosaurs in the book of Job.

May 23, 2013 Posted by | Age of the Earth, Apologetics, Creation in the Bible, Evolution, Geology, Origins | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Google Crisis Map — Moore, Oklahoma tornado

Google has a crisis map showing the extent and severity of the damage from the May 20, 2013 tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma. This demonstrates the tremendous power not only of the tornado, but also of geospatial technologies.

mooreOK_crisismap

 

Grace and Peace

May 23, 2013 Posted by | Geographic Information Systems, Maps, Natural Disasters | , , , , | Leave a comment

Book recommendations

I’m doing a little house cleaning on The GeoChristian. I’ve updated the “Book Recommendations” section on the sidebar, and here they are:

book_esvsb The ESV Study Bible is the most comprehensive, theologically conservative study Bible on the market. Whether you are looking for historical backgrounds, maps, various viewpoints, commentary, or help with difficult passages, the ESV Study Bible is an excellent tool.

The ESV Study Bible offers a balanced view on origins issues, such as the age of the Earth or the extent of Noah’s flood. As such, this would be an excellent gift to give to your young-Earth creationist friend or family member. More than any other book, this one might help them to see that one can be a faithful Christian without being committed to the bad science and questionable Biblical interpretations of the young-Earth creationist movement.

Amazon — available in many editions, ranging from a paperback for $19, to various leather-bound editions costing as much as $230.

Crossway — buy direct from the publisher and they get a larger slice of the pie.

 book_reasonforgod  The Reason for God by Timothy Keller is the best book on apologetics (defense of the Christian faith) available for a general audience today. Some have said that The Reason for God is the 21st century’s equivalent of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. That might be true.

Like most leading Christian apologists, whether at the popular or higher levels, Keller does not include young-Earth creationism as part of his message. Why not? Because Keller recognizes that YEC is neither Biblically necessary nor scientifically feasible.

Amazon

 book_genesis1-4  Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary, by C. John Collins.An excellent commentary on the opening chapters of Genesis by a respected Old Testament scholar who holds to Biblical inerrancy. Collins is a leading advocate of the “analogical days” interpretation of Genesis 1. This book might be a difficult read for some, but most should be able to grasp the concepts with some work. Knowledge of Hebrew is not required.

I wish he would write a commentary extending this work through Genesis 11.

Amazon

 book_7days  Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science, by John Lennox, is a short book but is packed with good stuff. This is the book I would give to someone who wants an overview of origins issues and how they relate to the Bible.

Amazon

 book_rocks  The Bible, Rocks and Time, by Davis Young and Ralph Stearley, gives an overview of the historical development of Christian views on geology and time, and an in depth look at why geologists (including most Christian geologists) believe the Earth is billions of years old.

Amazon

 book_pollution Pollution and the Death of Man may be Francis Schaeffer’s most neglected work. Evangelicals love his other books, but have ignored Schaeffer’s warning that the ecological problems facing our society are real, and that Christians have been and continue to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution. But he also makes a strong case that Christian theology can provide a stronger foundation for care for our environment than either pantheism or secularism.

If you read only one book on why Christians should care about nature, this should be it. I have written a review here.

Amazon

 book_beauty1 For the Beauty of the Earth by Steven Prediger-Bouma provides a comprehensive “Christian vision for creation care.” Rather than being a book on “how to be green,” this book faces a number of Biblical and theological problems head on, laying a strong Biblical foundation for creation care.

I have written a summary of the first edition of the book here.

Amazon

 book_generousjustice I’ve read a number of books on “social justice” (because I want a world where the poor, widows, orphans, and immigrants matter), but Generous Justice by Timothy Keller is the best by far. It calls us to serve, but doesn’t confuse serving with the gospel. It has plenty to make both political conservatives and liberals uncomfortable.

Amazon

Grace and Peace

May 19, 2013 Posted by | Books, Christianity | Leave a comment

GeoScriptures — Genesis 6-9 — Reading the account of Noah’s (local) flood

Some scholars within Christianity insist that the only way to understand the account of Noah’s flood in Genesis 6-9 is that it describes a worldwide flood, which at its climax covered even the highest mountains on the planet. They point to apparently universal statements in the passage, such as where it says that the flood covered all the earth, or that the mountains themselves were covered by the floodwaters.

But is that what the Bible really says to us about the extent of Noah’s flood?

The Hebrew text of Genesis is considerably more ambiguous than are our English translations, as the vocabulary of Biblical Hebrew is not as precise as that of modern English. In English, for example, we distinguish between “hill” and “mountain,” whereas in Hebrew the same word can mean either hill or mountain. The translator has to make a decision how to translate the word, often based on the context. Sometimes the context makes it clear how to translate an ambiguous term; in other cases it is not so obvious.

There are three ambiguous words in the flood story that I would like to highlight.

  • The word traditionally translated as “earth” could be just as legitimately translated as “land.”
  • The word traditionally translated as “mountains” could be just as legitimately translated as “hills.”
  • The word traditionally translated as “heavens” could be just as legitimately translated as “sky.”

Making perfectly valid substitutions, Genesis 6:17 changes from

I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. (NIV)

to

I am going to bring floodwaters on the land to destroy all life under the sky, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on the land will perish.

When reading the text with these modifications, the account of Noah’s flood sounds considerably less like a global cataclysm, and more like a flood that was vast from Noah’s perspective, but still possibly of a limited geographic extent.

I encourage you to read the passage with these substitutions in mind. In the parallel translations below, I have highlighted the changes, and made one other change based on the NIV footnote to 7:20. The NIV text of 7:20 reads

The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits.

The NIV footnote says that the verse could also be translated as

The waters rose more than fifteen cubits, and the mountains were covered. [And one could substitute “hills” for “mountains”]

The first translation makes it sound like the highest mountain on Earth was covered by at least 15 cubits (about the draft of the Ark), whereas the second translation says that the water was at least 15 cubits deep. Either translation works fine in the context of a local flood; all it is saying is that the Ark did not scrape bottom during the flood.

Here is the alternative translation of the flood account in Genesis, with the modified translation on the left, and the unmodified NIV to the right.

New International Version, with valid translation substitutions in bold

6:1 When human beings began to increase in number on the land and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

4 The Nephilim were on the land in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the land, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the land, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the land the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

9 This is the account of Noah and his family.

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

11 Now the land was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the land had become, for all the people on the land had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the land is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the land. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the land to destroy all life under the sky, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on the land will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

7:1 The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the land. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the land every living creature I have made.”

5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the land. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the land.

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. 12 And rain fell on the land forty days and forty nights.

13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.

17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the land, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the land. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the land, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the land, and all the high hills under the entire sky were covered. 20 The waters rose more than fifteen cubits, and the hills were covered. 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the land, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the land was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the land. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

24 The waters flooded the land for a hundred and fifty days.

8:1 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the land, and the waters receded. 2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the sky had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water receded steadily from the land. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the hills of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the hills became visible.

6 After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the land. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the land; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the land. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the land. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the land was completely dry.

15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 17 Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the land and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”

18 So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19 All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another.

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

22 “As long as the land endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”

9:1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the land. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the land, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.

6 “Whoever sheds human blood,
by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
has God made mankind.

7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the land and increase upon it.”

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on the land. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the land.”

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the land. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the land and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the land.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the land.”

New International Version (2011), without modifications

6:1 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

9 This is the account of Noah and his family.

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

7:1 The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”

5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.

13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.

17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.

8:1 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. 2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.

6 After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.

15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 17 Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”

18 So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19 All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another.

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

22 “As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”

9:1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.

6 “Whoever sheds human blood,
by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
has God made mankind.

7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Conclusion: Genesis 6-9 is ambiguous as to whether the flood covered all of the Earth, or was limited to a smaller area.

Grace and peace

——————————————————————————–

Notes

The 2011 NIV text for Genesis 6:1 to 9:17 is from BibleGateway.com.

The Hebrew word that can be translated either as “earth” or “land” is ‘erets. According to Unger and White, ” ‘Erets does not only denote the entire terrestrial planet, but is also used of some of the earth’s component parts. English words like land, country, ground, and soil, transfer its meaning to our language. Quite frequently, it refers to an area occupied by a nation or tribe.” (from Nelson’s Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament entry for “Earth”)

The Hebrew word that can be translated either as “heavens” or “sky” is shamayim. Unger and White (in their entry for “Heavens”) state that “shamayim is the usual Hebrew word for the ‘sky’ and the ‘realm of the sky.’ This realm is where birds fly.” They go on to list other meanings of shamayim, such as the higher atmosphere where rain and snow come from, the realm of the sun, moon, and stars; and the dwelling place of God. The combination “heavens and the earth” in Genesis 1:1 refers to the entirety of creation.

The Hebrew word that can be translated either as “mountains” or “hills” is har. Henry Morris, in The Genesis Record (p. 200) states that ” ‘hills’ and ‘mountains’ are the same word in the original.”

There is more to a Biblical case for a local flood that just these minor translation changes.

I have written previously about making these modifications to the Flood passage of Genesis: The YEC “Did God really say…?” tactic.

My alternative translation given here is only a thought-provoker. I am not saying that each and every instance of ‘erets in the passage should be translated as “land” rather than “earth,” and so forth.

May 19, 2013 Posted by | Creation in the Bible, GeoScriptures | , | 19 Comments

A 4th grade quiz on dinosaurs that the teacher would have given me an “F” on

Here is a quiz on “Dinosaurs: Genesis and the Gospel” given to fourth graders at a South Carolina Christian school:

quiz_1

quiz_2

The quiz was based on material from Answers in Genesis.

Atheists and skeptics, of course, have made much of this quiz since it was first posted on the internet a few weeks ago. Christians are obviously a bunch of morons, liars, brainwashers, idiots, and so forth. For a couple of examples, read Intolerant Atheists Viciously Attack Christian School by PZ Meyers or South Carolina creationist science quiz is real on Daily Kos.

And predictably, Answers in Genesis has replied with a “Christianity under attack” response (here and here).

The atheists are wrong; Christians are not idiots. But Answers in Genesis is wrong as well, in that young-Earth creationism gives the skeptics a tragically easy reason to reject Christian truth.

Here’s how I would answer the 4th grade quiz, with red X‘s on the answers the teacher would have marked as incorrect:

quiz01

X — True. The opening statement of the Bible — “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” — is not necessarily included in the six days of creation, so the earth could have been created in 4000 B.C., 4,000,000 B.C., or 4,000,000,000 B.C.

quiz02

X — True. Dinosaurs went extinct about 66 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

quiz03

1/2 X — The 6th day. But is God’s day the same as our day? Moses himself indicates flexibility on this question in Psalm 90.

quiz04

X — False. The Bible does not say that dinosaurs lived with people, and there is plenty of geological evidence that they did not.

quiz05

X — The Bible says that animals and humans in the Garden of Eden ate plants, but states that the world outside of the garden was a wild place in need of subduing. Carnivores outside of the garden ate meat.

quiz06

X — None of the above. Maybe a hippopotamus. A brachiosaurus wouldn’t have fed on grass like an ox, and could not have hidden in the lotus plants and reeds in the marshes along the Jordan River.

quiz07

False.

I don’t know what happened to #8-10. I probably would have gotten them wrong.

quiz11

God.

quiz12

X — There are multiple history books of the universe. The Bible tells us about the origin of the universe, but it doesn’t give us much in the way of details. What it tells us is true, but what it tells us and what the young-Earth creationists tell us that it tells us are two different things. For example, Genesis 1 tells us that God made the stars, but it doesn’t tell us anything about the processes he used to accomplish this act. For that, I would turn to books about astronomy and nuclear chemistry. Genesis 1 also tells us that God said “Let the land produce living creatures,” which implies some sort of process without stating what that process was. I would turn to books about biology and geology to learn about the history of those living creatures and the processes by which they came about. (I apologize, Teacher, that this answer did not fit on the little line).

quiz13

An ark.

quiz14

False. I think just about everyone would agree that Noah’s ark didn’t look like that.

quiz15

X — I took Vertebrate Paleontology a long time ago at Montana State, but I would really have had to guess on this one. I would have had guessed b. rhino.

quiz16

X — None of the above. The Bible does not say that Noah’s Flood deposited the sedimentary rock record along with its fossils. None of the other answers are things that in themselves would produce fossils.

quiz17

X — Fossils are the remains or traces of organisms from the past that are preserved in Earth’s crust. There are patterns in how they are preserved that indicate that they were not produced by one, brief, cataclysmic process.

quiz18

X — I agree that Earth is billions of years old. To say that it is only 6000 years old is neither Biblically necessary nor scientifically feasible.

————————————————————————————–

My grade from a YEC’s perspective: 4.5/15 = 30%. F

Conclusion: With a Biblical and scientific foundation like this, no doubt some of these kids are “Already Gone.”

Grace and peace

For an update, including my answers to the missing quiz questions, see More on the Answers in Genesis 4th grade dinosaur quiz

May 17, 2013 Posted by | Age of the Earth, Apologetics, Christianity, Evolution, Geology, Origins, Young-Earth creationism | , , , | 6 Comments

Around the web 5/17/2013 — A Christian leader who is really a Baal worshiper, Old-Earth Christian homeschooling, and more…

TO REJECT YEC IS LIKE BAAL WORSHIP? — If you don’t agree with Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham, you are a compromiser. You might even be a closet Baal worshiper. Mr. Ham recently singled out Hank Hanegraff (who is “The Bible Answer Man” on the radio) as a compromiser because he doesn’t believe that leviathan and behemoth (in Job 40-41) were something like a plesiosaur and a brachiosaurus, respectively. Ham equates Hanegraff’s “compromise” with the Israelite’s worship of Baal, and states that The Bible Answer Man is attacking and undermining the authority of God’s infallible word by accepting an old Earth and rejecting the YEC reading of dinosaurs into the Bible.

I’m not making this up. If you don’t believe that dinosaurs are in the Bible, you are a compromiser.

I’ve written about the YEC “dinosaurs in the Bible” invention previously: The ESV Study Bible on creation — Dinosaurs in Job?

THE NEED FOR OLD-EARTH HOMESCHOOLING — From Christianity Today: A New Creation Story: Why do more homeschoolers want evolution in their textbooks?

“Many homeschool parents contact me or show up at my office and quietly say, ‘Is there anything besides [YEC]?’ ” said Kenneth Turner, a theology professor at the traditionally YEC [Bryan] college who homeschools.

(It is interesting that Bryan College is a YEC school, while William Jennings Bryan was an old-Earther).

GLOBAL WARMING AND JESUS’ SECOND COMING — Climate Change Study: Religious Belief In Second Coming Of Christ Could Slow Global Warming Action. This doesn’t surprise me, given the “disposable Earth” attitude toward the environment of many conservative Evangelicals. Like young-Earth creationism, this attitude towards the Earth is neither Biblically correct nor scientifically valid.

SAUDI ARABIA ON MY DOORSTEP — The Bakken is booming. Companies line up to drill after survey shows Dakota oil, gas fields far bigger than believed.

“These world-class formations contain even more energy resource potential than previously understood, which is important information as we continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of oil,” newly confirmed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Tuesday in a statement.

The new U.S. Geological Survey estimates there are 7.4 billion barrels of oil, 6.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 0.53 billion barrels of natural gas liquids in the Bakken and Three Forks Formations in the Williston Basin Province of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

May 17, 2013 Posted by | Age of the Earth, Apologetics, Around the Web, Christianity, Environment, Young-Earth creationism | , , , , , | 7 Comments