I’ll break out of my semi-monastic lifestyle for a few moments to pass on some good GeoChristian kinds of links…
Old-Earth Classical Christian Middle School Earth Science Textbook — Novare Science and Math, a relatively new Christian curriculum publisher, has announced that they will publish an old-Earth middle school Earth science textbook in time for the 2015-2016 school year. Does anyone want to guess who is writing that much-needed textbook?
Ken Ham Rejects Entering Into “Gracious Dialog” With Old-Earthers — Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis and the world’s foremost promoter of young-Earth creationism, has turned down a dinner invitation from the president of BioLogos, the world’s foremost promoter of evolutionary creation (i.e., theistic evolution).
Part 1 — The invitation — Ken Ham, We Need a Better Conversation (Perhaps Over Dinner?) — BioLogos president Deborah Haarsma, concerned about the level of acrimony among Christians over the topics of evolution and the age of the Earth, invited Ken Ham to have dinner with herself and Reasons to Believe head Hugh Ross:
“All three organizations are also concerned about the departure of young people from the church over origins issues. Each tends to think that the positions of the others are contributing to the problem! But studies have shown that it is the acrimony over this issue that drives young people away. We respect the commitment that Reasons to Believe has demonstrated to gracious dialogue with those of other positions. We completely agree with Hugh Ross that “If we Christians can resolve this issue in a peaceful way it’s going to attract non-Christians to enter into dialogue with us. But if we continue to fight…it turns them off.” Perhaps Ken Ham could join Hugh Ross and me for a friendly conversation over dinner? My treat.”
Part 2 — The rejection — Should I Have Dinner With BioLogos? — Ken Ham compared himself to Ezekiel, warning the people of God against compromise, and Nehemiah, who refused to be distracted by the enemies of God’s people, though he added that he doesn’t consider Hugh Ross to be a personal enemy, only an enemy biblical authority.
“We at AiG are busy “rebuilding a wall.” We are equipping God’s people to defend the Christian faith, and I believe we are doing a great work for God. We are busy being “watchmen”—warning people of those who undermine the authority of the Word of God.”
Ken Ham later wrote that Answers in Genesis “will not, however, send out such a kumbaya message,” by fellowshipping with compromisers.
Part 3 — Hugh Ross responds — Ambassadors for Reconciliation — Hugh Ross is a gracious man, but is obviously disturbed by the discord sewn by those who villainize old-Earth Christians.
“One way we can help people receive our message of reconciliation with God is by modeling reconciliation among ourselves. John 13:35 says, “All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” And yet, although creation beliefs hold a core position in our Christian faith (Hebrews 11:6), no other subject exposes a greater lack of love among believers. Some creationists treat fellow believers with ugly, disparaging disdain.”
“Enough is enough. There are mission fields still to be reached. How can we ask nonbelievers to dialogue with us if we cannot graciously dialogue with one another, if we treat one another as enemies? Unless we make some progress in reconciling our differences, how can we expect to help reconcile a skeptical world to Christ? We are commissioned by God to be His ambassadors. It’s time for us to start behaving as ambassadors.”
It seems strange that someone like Ken Ham can interact graciously with Christians who disagree with him on issues such as eschatology, predestination, baptism, or spiritual gifts without condemning those who disagree with him as “compromisers,” and yet when it comes to a secondary issue such as the age of the Earth (which is an issue of interpretation, not biblical authority), he cannot even have dinner with those who differ from him.
I must add that my limited personal interaction with Ken Ham has been cordial: Do Old Earthers and Young Earthers Agree On Anything?
A Hundred Inverted Smiley Faces — I had moderate success viewing today’s partial solar eclipse with a shoebox pinhole camera and by projecting the eclipse onto the patio with my binoculars. But when I walked back into the house, I was welcomed by hundreds of solar eclipse images on the floor, steps, and walls. Gaps in our horizontal blinds acted as pinhole cameras and projected a multitude of eclipse images:
16 thoughts on “Around the Web 10/23/2014 — Old Earth textbook, No Ham for dinner, inverted smileys”
“I know! I know!” – to answer your first question. :)
I find it strange that you would condemn Ken for not engaging with those who disagree with his position on origins and I also believe you have misrepresented his stance. I am no friend of Ken and disagree with his approach in other areas, but not here.
Ken made it clear that there has been extensive dialogue and his position is very clear. I thought his response was very reasonable considering his position, and can only be considered unreasonable to those who think his position is wrong. But that needs to be established, and has not. What point can there be to this dialogue? If RTB and BioLogos wish to moderate the acrimony, let them show it!
Calling Hugh Ross gracious is an exaggeration. He does have the demeanour, but does not appear to have the graciousness to actually read and study what he condemns. He cries when YEC advocates tear his illogic to shreds but also does not respond except to keep repeating the same lies (e.g. that the church fathers supported an allegorical interpretation of Genesis (the truth is, it was very rare and they overwhelmingly supported the six day creation position and a “young” earth, i.e. about 4000BC)).
For completeness here, I will also quickly deal with those who say that they did not know what we know about science. So, God and His Holy Spirit are less able to lead us into truth than modern day secular science that pretends to know about history? Ha!
Ken does some foolish things. Refusing a disingenuous attempt at “unity” has not been one of them.
The second gripe I have here is saying that Ken is happy to treat other issues as secondary. Quite so. But then you say this is a secondary issue. It does not seem to be so for you and all those engaged in the issue treat it as though it is not secondary. It is a vital issue. For those of us on the YEC side, it is vital because it involves the authority of God’s word, accurate exegesis and the issue of hermeneutics. If Genesis cannot be understood as what it has meant to all honest readers until the rise of uniformitarian geology and secularism within science, and especially in relation to historical science, then we cannot trust or understand the bible in anything. It then becomes a “pick and choose”. Why then believe the virgin birth? Or the resurrection? Or even God?
And those who disagree with our position also see it as vital. We are fighting against science. We are being anti-intellectual. So they say. If it was not important, why do you speak about it so much?
Secondary? Well, in the sense that it doesn’t directly determine whether we belong to Christ, sure. But whether people should trust Christ is questioned by many who accept secular science. And we greatly differ over why that is. And only one of us can be right.
Jesus said that if we love one another, the world will know we are Jesus disciples. Quite so. I pray that you and I can do that despite our significant differences.
And I believe that in defending (what I believe to be) the truth, I am operating in the love of God. Not only in that God’s love must align with truth (for God is love and truth), but that it must be done graciously.
I know that Ken Ham accepts people like Hugh Ross as Christians, but what he hammers at day after day is that if one doesn’t believe in YEC, they are a compromiser who doesn’t really believe the Bible. But…
What one believes about baptism is a question of interpretation, not a question of whether or not one really believes the Bible.
What one believes about the end times is a question of interpretation, not a question of whether or not one really believes the Bible.
What one believes about spiritual gifts is a question of interpretation, not a question of whether or not one really believes the Bible.
What one believes about church government is a question of interpretation, not a question of whether or not one really believes the Bible.
What one believes about the age of the Earth is a question of interpretation, not a question of whether or not one really believes the Bible.
Ken Ham and other YECs have not made a solid case for why their interpretation of Scripture is so certain compared to the range of interpretations that is allowed on these other critical doctrines.
Kevin and Grahame,
I’ve almost come to despise the word interpretation when it’s used in conjunction with discussion about the scriptures. So many times very little interpretation is necessary. And people like to use the false idea the Bible is wide open to interpretation as an excuse to believe what they want.
Kevin, if it’s true what you list above is a matter of interpretation only, there is logically no truth within any of these biblical topics. Just believe whatever you want about them, and it’s all good. It’s all truth. But the law of non contradiction in logic says otherwise.
In other words, if you believe you should be baptised after receiving Christ, you believe the Bible. If you believe infants should be baptised to cleanse original sin and save the infant in case of death, you do not believe the Bible. To believe infant baptism is needed is to not understand the gospel correctly. Or sanctification. Or what? An adult who has sinned grievously against God is saved through sheer grace and mercy by faith, but an infant who has never sinned needs grace, mercy, plus a religious ritual? No.
To believe in, say, theistic evolution is to not believe the Bible. Are there severe ramifications to such a belief? Absolutely. 1Cor 11:8 is a lie. And that’s only the beginning. We’re told in scripture God is not a man that He can lie. It’s impossible for him to lie as His holy nature will not allow it to the point He can’t even be tempted to do so. Likewise, His holy nature cannot create through evolution. To believe in theistic evolution is to believe in a God who is cruel, calloused, and indifferent towards His creation. Even vicious.
To say He created sub human hominids who were being preyed upon by other carnivorous animals, is not the God of the Bible. Why did they die? God had relationship with them? He didn’t? They had sin? No, no sin until Adam. God is okay with death? No, He says it is His enemy. He didn’t care they grew old, diseased, and suffered before death? He couldn’t create man in His image without evolution? Please. And don ‘t give me an unbiblical graph about immature creation ->deep time-> perfection.
Theistic evolution is a demonic lie meant to undermine the authority of God’s Word and to denigrate and malign His Holy character. As well as make fools of Christians who believe it. I believe it is an embarrassment to God some of us believe this lie. Those Christians who believe in it need to repent.
Sure, what you believe is a matter of how you understand a scripture. Or interpret it. But, that doesn’t mean you have believed the Truth. God’s Word is Truth. Truth is not held hostage to our unwillingness to believe God as we subjectively interpret the Bible so we can do what our sinful nature wants. And if we superimpose a false filter over the Word and “interpret” it incorrectly, then though we are reading the Word, we do not believe Truth.
Multiple contradictory interpretations are not allowed. Or else God accommodates lies. There is such a thing as heresy.
I apologize for the lengthy post. However, these important matters can’t be reduced to sound bites.
Scott — so only your interpretations are correct? Do you “read the Bible” but everyone else “interprets the Bible?” If someone else accepts a position different from you, do you say things like, “Infant baptism is a demonic lie meant to undermine the authority of God’s Word?”
Well, I’m either right, or, I’m wrong. If I believe what the Bible says, I’m right. When I accept God’s definitions, I’m right. Either we can understand plain speech, or we can’t. When Peter says baptism doesn’t wash away the filth of the flesh, either what he’s saying is incomprehensible, and sprinkling a kid with water really does remove sin or…… it doesn’t. And yes, what I’m saying is, some people read the Bible and don’t believe what it says.
You seem to be saying everyone’s opinion, no matter how contradictory to what the Bible says, should be respected. Do you really believe the Bible is meaningless? Cause if everyone get’s an interpretation that has to be respected, it is. I’m pretty sure God only had one truth in mind when he had His Word recorded. Are you saying it’s impossible to know it. That would make His divine revelations useless. This is how heresy gets started.
Have you ever read how vigorously Paul attacks those who sought to yoke the law with grace. There were those who had an opinion and interpretation about circumcision. Paul didn’t sit around saying, “Well, can’t other peoples interpretations be respected?” And the Holy Spirit didn’t let him. He attacked a lie that was undermining the gospel. Infant baptism may not be as serious in it’s undermining of the gospel, but that’s what it does. It’s very akin to the circumcision issue. As well as sets aside a commandment from the Lord Himself. Billions of years and theistic evolution undermines faith, the gospel, and maligns God.
Jesus criticized the pharisees for making the Word of God to be of no effect. They had their interpretations you see. But the Word was clear. Wasn’t it? Jesus thought so.
We really aren’t talking about interpretations. We’re talking about lies and truth. Some want the lies and are stubborn to receive the truth. Jesus said God the Father wants us to worship in spirit and in……truth. It can, therefore, be known.
Other issues, such as the time thing I briefly discussed with Grahame in the other thread, may have very little scripture to support them. Thus interpretations and opinions can be respected and we don’t have to get dogmatic. Especially when, like with the time issue, there doesn’t appear to be any impact on key doctrines. But other issues such as deep time and theistic evolution have profound affects on our faith and how we view God. As well as impacting understanding (or misunderstanding) of other scriptures and the authority of The Word. At least if we’re not intellectually lazy and investigate where these beliefs logically and inevitably lead. But I’m not saying you’re intellectually lazy.
Also, we’re told by James not many of us should seek to teach because those who teach shall receive a stricter judgment. This means God is very protective of His people and will hold people accountable for teaching lies. Looking at what you and I believe about these issues, I’m much more comfortable with standing before God based on my stand on God’s Word. If I were you, I’d take seriously what I’m saying here. I do say it out of brotherly love and concern.
Scott — You are coming across as saying “Scott’s interpretations = God’s truth.”
I think the difference between you and I is that you have a long list of primary doctrinal issues, whereas my list is shorter. Your list includes the age of the Earth and biological evolution, my list does not.
There is no “undermining the gospel” in accepting an old Earth. I believe in a real Adam, committing a real sin, with real consequences for all of humanity, and in Jesus as the solution for humanity’s sin problem.
Well, I haven’t erected a web site attacking YEC positions. So now, who’s coming across as their interpretations = God’s truth.
You say you believe in a real Adam and a literal fall. Yet, you have posted the link to BioLogos as if it’s an organisation worthy of our attention. If you believe what people at BioLogos say, you can’t possibly believe what you say. BioLogos doesn’t. And have publicly stated they believe we have all descended from, what, almost 10,000 humans who simultaneously evolved into homo sapiens. They do not believe in a literal fall, or literal Adam and Eve, or inerrancy of the original scriptures. They are heretics. You should remove their link from your site if you truly honor God’s Word.
http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/11/09/no-pass-from-theological-responsibility-the-biologos-conundrum/ Here, Dr. Albert Mohler, president ot The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary exposes BioLogos for the heretics they are. But, at least BioLogos is honest about their beliefs and know the logical inevitable conclusion of theistic evolution is no literal Adam and no literal fall. If this is true, the foundation of the gospel is destroyed. What need of a saviour? God created it all this way.
So emphatically, YES, old earth beliefs and theistic evolution do undermine the gospel. Again, you should really remove the link to BioLogos if you want to honor God’s Word and not harm the gospel.
Also this: http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/08/22/false-start-the-controversy-over-adam-and-eve-heats-up/ I believe shows quite accurately and truly that old earth beliefs undermine the gospel beyond any shadow of doubt.
I do not hold up my interpretations as the only way to understand Genesis. I have respect for my YEC brothers and sisters in Christ, and for their interpretations of the inerrant Word of God. I don’t agree with them about either Genesis or science, and I attempt to state why I disagree with gentleness and respect. I undoubtedly fall short of this at times.
Biologos as an organization does not take a position on the historical Adam and Eve. Some people, such as Francis Collins, do not believe in a historical Adam and Eve who were the only people at one time, and who were the ancestors of all humans who have ever existed. I make a distinction between heretic and “less than orthodox,” so I am hesitant to use the word heretic in these cases. Francis Collins believes that God is the creator of everything, and in real human sin requiring a real divine savior, Jesus Christ. This puts him in the same category as C.S. Lewis, who I would not hold up as the picture of orthodoxy in all things, but nonetheless was a genuine believer in Christ and who continues to have a tremendous impact for the gospel in the lives of many people.
Others who have written for Biologos, such as Timothy Keller and C. John Collins, do accept a historical Adam.
Being that you are wary of promoting old-Earth heresy, I suggest that you never again use the Answers in Genesis web site. They have published all of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons, and Spurgeon was clearly a heretical old-Earther, a fact that AiG once tried to cover up.
Yes, I have heard of Spurgeons belief on this matter. I didn’t know about what AIG did however. Thanks for pointing that out. Well, shame on them. Spurgeon has alot of good stuff however, and I guess AIG didn’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But if AIG at times is guilty of bad apologetics, at least they teach sound doctrine. And Spurgeon didn’t believe in evolution. I wouldn’t call an old earth belief with no evolution heresy. I do call theistic evolution heresy.
teampyro.blogspot.com/2011/12/spurgeon-on-evolution.html For Spurgeons view. [link edited by The GeoChristian]
Believing in a God who created everything, and in real human sin requiring a savior does not necessarily qualify as “less than orthodox”. I refer you to Jehovahs Witnesses and Mormons for examples of this who are heretics. Or the Catholic Church for that matter. Yes, there’s plenty of heresy at BioLogos. I don’t apply that word easily, nor for all error.
Genesis categorically denies theistic evolution. As do other scriptures such as I Cor. 11:8. I do uphold special creation with no evolution as the only truth we Christians should believe in. Nothing in scripture agrees with evolution, or testifies to it. Then there is the subsequent undermining of the Gospel. BioLogos isn’t willing to concede an Adam and Eve created with apparent age. If some writers there don’t want to relinquish belief in a literal first couple and the Fall, they are deluding themselves thinking this agrees with evolution. It doesn’t, and other writers at that organisation are honest enough to observe this and write of what are only the logical and inevitable conclusions of theistic evolution.
I find it difficult to believe that a man as intelligent as you, who has studied Genesis for so long, has not grasped all the implications of theistic evolution which require radical reallignment of Christian theology.
When you say that you consider theistic evolution to be heresy, are you referring to biological evolution of plants and animals as being heresy, or just biological evolution of humans to be heresy?
I just read Spurgeon’s reasons for rejecting biological evolution of animals. Like modern creationists, I think he read more into the phrase “after their kinds” than is warranted by the Scriptures themselves.
Genesis 1 tells us that plants and animals are created to reproduce after their “kinds.” The Bible does not define “kinds” for us, and there is no reason to limit this definition to the modern scientific concept of “species.” The Bible does not say that there can be no variation within populations of the kinds, nor does it say that gene frequencies cannot change from generation to generation, or that mutations cannot occur that will lead to new traits. I think most YECs would agree with everything I have said in this paragraph (with perhaps the caveat that many would say there were not mutations before the fall, though the Bible does not address the topic of mutations).
The YEC biologist will tell us that some “microevolution” has occurred within the “horse kind”
Horse kind –> Shetland, clydesdale, zebra, etc.
Many will go further and acknowledge that this goes back to the entire horse series:
Hyracotherium –> Mesohippus –> Merychippus –> Pliohippus –> Equus
(though how they fit the evolution of all these genera into a few hundred years after the flood is baffling to most of us).
But where do we draw the line? Isn’t it rather arbitrary to draw the line between any of these, or before Hyracotherium? Or why not at some stage before Hyracotherium? If there is a limit to biological change within the kinds, the Bible is silent on the matter. We should be silent too, at least as far as our Biblical exegesis goes.
I think this is just one more example of YECs over-reading the Scriptures, and then holding forth their interpretation as a standard of orthodoxy.
I apologize for the delay in responding. I have been preoccupied with personal matters.
Of course, the standard horse evolution scenario with its very neatly defined linear progression from smallest horse type to the modern horse is very problematic. I’d say atheists were a little over exuberant in their quest to provide a horse evolution scenario, and good science took a back seat to their desire for achievement. But I’m not going to get into listing the problems.
Where do we draw the line? I’m not sure, and I don’t have the education or expertise in genetics to comment intelligently on it. But, obviously, there is a line. Creatures reproduce according to their kinds according to God. So, for instance, I’d hazard to say a reptile could not ever become a bird. Like in the current popular evolutionary scenario. And, according to Genesis 1, that’s impossible as it would change God’s revealed order of creation.
Allegory and metaphor are never sufficient mechanisms to bridge the gap between the evolutionary scenario and God’s revealed order of creating. Either Genesis is true, or evolution is true, but they can’t both be true.
Don’t you realize that merely by creating birds first before land dwelling animals God effectively has destroyed the notion of Darwinian evolution and has shown it to be a demonic deception? That an atheist raging against His Word imagined it should be a rather large red flag for us. See Eph 2:2.
Evolution never was man’s attempt to explain how God created life. Neither was it man inadvertently stumbling upon His method. It was atheists raging against the Creator and attempting to provide themselves with an answer concerning the origin of life, while denying God. As Richard Dawkins has said, Darwin enabled the atheist to be intellectually fulfilled. Again, see Eph 2:2.
Over-reading the scriptures? If God created through Darwinian macro evolution, where are Adam and Eve’s parents? They didn’t sin. They did? No sin through Adam then. Didn’t they have eternal life? They died? Why? Did they have a spirit and soul as we do, or were they animals with only a soul? Adam and Eve popped out of the womb of animals? Is there such a thing as 90% human? 99? 80%? No, soulish creatures are either animal or human. No part humans. So, Adam and Eve’s parents were human? Then Adam and Eve weren’t the first humans. Eve had a mother? Then Eve wasn’t the mother of all living. Also, 1Cor 11:8 is a lie.
And then there is the small issue of the character of God. If evolution is true, He created through a wasteful process resulting in the death and suffering of untold numbers of creatures before arriving at…. what? What He initially envisioned? Why!? Is He cruel, calloused, and indifferent towards the creatures He creates? Yes! If evolution is true. There is no escaping this. Evolution maligns the true character and nature of God! Can you imagine the sub human hominids we allegedly descended from being hunted and torn apart by other animals? Growing old, becoming diseased, suffering and dying before sin? And all the while God saying ” Ah, that’s good!” Major, major, major changing, corrupting, and adding/subtracting to/from scripture necessary for this.
I don’t and can’t believe it. I don’t know God perfectly, but what He has revealed through scripture as well as in my personal relationship with Him doesn’t match up with the god who created through evolution. No over-reading scriptures here. You can’t see God’s true character through the lie you’re believing. I don’t want that lie to be in you.
So….. just what kind of God are you believing in? Don’t ignore these issues concerning the character of God. Think about it.
The point about the horse series is not whether or not it is a simple straight-line progression or not. The point is that the Bible does not tell us where to draw the line, or even say that there is a line. If God hasn’t stated a limit to biological change, we should not insist that there is one.
“Either Genesis is true, or evolution is true, but they cannot both be true.” — If by “evolution” you mean materialistic naturalism, then of course I would have to agree with you. But if by “evolution” you mean variation of genetic frequencies from generation I would have to disagree with you. Maybe there are limits to biological change, maybe there are not; the Bible does not say. I really do think the YECs are overreading Genesis 1 by saying it places limits on variation.
Birds before land animals — “Birds” are “flying things,” and in an old-Earth scenario, some flying things (insects) appear before land vertebrates. That is how a progressive creationist such as Hugh Ross would explain this verse. If there are non-chronological aspects to Genesis 1, as other scholars suggest, then this isn’t an issue at all.
I have never said that I believe Adam and Eve were produced through biological evolution, but I haven’t entirely ruled it out either. Either way, they are created from the dust of the Earth, and are God’s representatives on Earth, and fell into disobedience, which has consequences for all of humanity.
Your argument about God being cruel and wasteful if he used evolution as part of his creation process is almost identical to the argument used by atheists and skeptics about suffering and evil in the world today. If God is good and omnipotent, then why is he taking so long to deal with evil in today’s world? He must, therefore, “be cruel, calloused, and indifferent towards the creatures He creates,” to use your wording. As Christians, we have answers to this sort of question, but in the end, a big part of our answer has to be “we don’t know.”
I believe in a God who is good and omnipotent. I also cannot put him into a box. I believe that he is the creator of all that is seen and unseen, and that he has sent his Son to be the savior of the world.
I know there is biological change within species. That’s why we have many different breeds of dogs, cats, etc. And apart from animal husbandry there is genetic drift. We humans are a good example of that. But when you say the Bible doesn’t tell us if there is a line, I have to disagree. If God commanding every living creature to reproduce “after it’s kind” isn’t a line, I don’t know what is. I admit my understanding of the word “kind” in the Hebrew needs educating, but I do believe that God is here showing us a reptile will not over time evolve into a bird for instance. Two different “kinds”.
I also think it’s going to be impossible to separate the philosophy of materialistic naturalism from Darwin’s brand of evolution seeing as it’s the worldview he had when developing his hypothesis.
I thought you did believe Adam and Eve were produced through biological evolution. I apologize for mischaracterizing you. But you did seem to give this impression.
I am attempting to get the possible applications for the word “tzipor” which is translated bird in Genesis 1 from a Hebrew web site.
Concerning my argument about God being cruel and wasteful if He used evolution: It’s really not like atheists arguments at all. If He created that way, He really is cruel and wasteful. And all before sin entered the creation. At present, God is dealing with a fallen world after sin. Atheists overlook the intense grief He endures because of sin while working out his plan of redemption for us. As well as the incredible mercy and love He shows in saving some. No, creating through a cruel wasteful process before sin is not the same as suffering long with humanity after it has fallen into sin in order to save as many as He will.
Darwinian evolution and a God who is good are two mutually exclusive ideas that can never be harmonized.