GeoChristian most-read posts in 2013

Things have been rather quiet here on The GeoChristian lately, but people from around the world have still been finding things to read. Here are the most-read posts in 2013 (a number of which were written before 2013):

#10 — A young-Earth creationist magmatic model for the origin of evaporites — This is my preliminary analysis of a YEC hypothesis that evaporite layers, such as halite and gypsum, were formed by crystallization from igneous melts rather than by precipitation from aqueous solutions. I’m working on a longer refutation.

#9 — PCA 2013 General Assembly — The YECs get their turn — There are people in the Presbyterian Church in America (my current denomination) who would be very happy if us old-Earthers would just go away.

#8 — The stratigraphic column — not a figment of geologists’ imaginations — Fossils appear in the stratigraphic column in a specific order, which is the basis for designating rocks as Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, etc. Some YECs call this an invention of God-hating geologists, while other YECs come up with all sorts of mechanisms for explaining how Noah’s flood could have produced such an orderly arrangement.

#7 — John Piper and the age of the Earth — What? John Piper is an old-Earther? He must not really believe the Bible. Just kidding. Dr. Piper is firmly committed to the truthfulness of God’s Word, and accepts an old Earth.

#6 — Stegosaurus in Cambodian temple? — The answer, of course, is no.

#5 — Did Ann Coulter really say “Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours”? — Why do people listen to this woman?

#4 — Six bad arguments from Answers in Genesis (Part 1) — There are more than six bad answers from Answers in Genesis, but this series examined “Six main geologic evidences for the Genesis Flood.”

#3 — John MacArthur on the age of the Earth and theistic evolution — I really like John MacArthur, but he sometimes makes things black and white that are not black and white.

#2 — Augustine: The Literal Meaning of Genesis — 1600 years ago, Augustine recognized that perhaps the best way to read Genesis 1 is not the “literal” way as 21st century YECs would see it.

#1 — Dr. Dino still in prison — Ever since I wrote this in 2009, it has been the most-read post on The GeoChristian. Popular YEC speaker “Dr.” Kent Hovind is still in prison on income tax-related charges, and is scheduled for release in 2015.

Grace and Peace

Around the web 1/5/2013

EARTH IS JUST ONE PLANET OUT OF 100 BILLION — From Astrobiology.com: 100 Billion Planets May Populate the Galaxy. Not only could there be 1011 planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone, there are an estimated 1021 stars in the universe. This seems to make Earth, and the humans who inhabit it, seem rather insignificant. But consider this quote from John Piper:

Sometimes people stumble over this vastness in relation to the apparent insignificance of man. It does seem to make us infinitesimally small. But the meaning of this magnitude is not mainly about us. It’s about God… The reason for ‘wasting’ so much space on a universe to house a speck of humanity is to make a point about our maker, not us.” –John Piper, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ.

YOU ARE JUST ONE DOT OUT OF 341,817,095 — An online map showing over 340 million dots, one for each person in the 2010 United States and 2011 Canadian censuses.

Census_dots

Zoom in and individual dots can be resolved. My dot is somewhere in the middle of here:

Census_dots_zoomed

Does being just one dot out of 340,000,000 (or one dot out of roughly 7,000,000,000 on Earth today) make the individual dots insignificant? Not at all. The same God who created the universe with its 1021 stars, or the galaxy with its 100 billion planets, has this to say about you as an individual:

For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16 ESV

DANGEROUS SCIENCE?7 scientists killed by their experiments — Marie Curie, and six others.

COLDER THAN COLD? — According to one report (Science gets colder than absolute zero), temperatures colder than absolute zero are possible.

Absolute zero is often thought to be the coldest temperature possible. But now researchers show they can achieve even lower temperatures for a strange realm of “negative temperatures.”

Oddly, another way to look at these negative temperatures is to consider them hotter than infinity, researchers added.

This unusual advance could lead to new engines that could technically be more than 100 percent efficient, and shed light on mysteries such as dark energy, the mysterious substance that is apparently pulling our universe apart.

——————————————

Temperature is linked with pressure — the hotter something is, the more it expands outward, and the colder something is, the more it contracts inward. To make sure this gas had a negative temperature, the researchers had to give it a negative pressure as well, tinkering with the interactions between atoms until they attracted each other more than they repelled each other.

Or perhaps this is in the same category as last year’s report of particles going faster than the speed of light. Interesting, but not true.

Grace and Peace

Most-read articles on The GeoChristian, 2012

There are still a few days left in the year, but here are the ten most-read articles on The GeoChristian for 2012. Only one of them was written this year.

  1. Dr. Dino still in prison — This has consistently been the most-read article on The GeoChristian since I wrote it almost four years ago. Kent Hovind, a.k.a. “Dr. Dino,” is a favorite of many young-Earth creationists, but is wrong about just about everything, from geology to law to a number of conspiracy theories.
  2. Stegosaurus in Cambodian temple? — Is there really a dinosaur engraved at Ta Prohm? Nah.
  3. Augustine: The Literal Meaning of Genesis — St. Augustine rips into those who use bad science to prop up their Christian faith.
  4. The stratigraphic column — not a figment of geologists’ imaginations — Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian… YEC flood geology doesn’t explain this.
  5. John MacArthur on the age of the Earth and theistic evolution — I like John MacArthur as a Bible teacher, but…
  6. Dinosaur footprints part 3 — Why dinosaur footprints are powerful evidence against YEC flood geology.
  7. John Piper and the age of the Earth — One of many thoroughly orthodox Bible teachers who believes that Earth could be billions of years old.
  8. Seeing God in nature — A quote from author Philip Yancey on the value of God’s creation.
  9. Death before the fall — an old-Earth Biblical Perspective — The Bible does not teach that animals did not die before Adam’s sin.
  10. Young-Earth creationism and the intensity of volcanism — My analysis of a really bad age-of-the-Earth argument from the Institute for Creation Research.

Grace and Peace

John Piper and the age of the Earth — part 2

The Bible does not teach that the Earth is only 6000 years old.

It isn’t just me and others who have a science background who are saying this.

It isn’t just theological liberals who deny the inspiration and authority of the Bible who are saying this.

A number of Bible believing Christian scholars and pastors are saying this. Like John Piper, the popular Baptist pastor and author.

I’ve written about Piper’s views on the age of the Earth before. What I had read at that time led me to write

“I am not saying that John Piper accepts either an old Earth or evolution,  just that he doesn’t consider the age of the Earth or evolution (apparently) to be issues in terms of Christian orthodoxy.”

I was wrong. Piper clearly states that he accepts an old age for the Earth, and that this is completely compatible with Genesis 1. Read what Piper has to say:

“When it comes to the more controversial issues, such as how to construe Genesis 1 and 2, about how God did it, and how long it took him to do it, there I’m totally sympathetic with a pastor who is gonna lay his view down, having studied it, and is gonna say to his people, “Here’s my understanding of those chapters, these six days, there can’t be any other understanding of 6 literal days, and so that’s how long God took to do it, and this earth is about ten or fifteen thousand years old, or this universe is. And though it looks old, that’s the way God made it, He made it to look old, or something like that.”  Or, he might take another view that these days are “ages.”  Or he might take Sailhammer’s view, which is where I feel at home, namely, that all of creation happened to prepare the land for man in verse 1. (In the) beginning, he made the heavens and the earth, that’s everything, and then you go day by day and He’s preparing the land. He’s not bringing new things into existence, He’s preparing the land and causing new things to grow, separating out water and earth, and then when it’s all set and prepared, He creates and puts man there.  And so that has the advantage of saying that the earth is billions of years old, if it wants to be, and whatever science says it is, it is.” (Video transcription from Sola Sisters: Dr. John Piper Okay With “Old Earth?”)

Watch for yourself (YouTube: John Piper – What should we teach about creation?):

Grace and Peace

Three Piper quotes

Here are some quotes from pastor and author John Piper:

Sheer existence is, perhaps, the greatest mystery of all.

What God has made is like a toy compared to the complexity and depth of who God is. All the sciences that scratch the surface of the created universe are mere ABCs compared to Christ’s exhaustive knowledge of the created universe.

Hatred for the truth is not easily defeated by facts.

From Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, pp. 27, 60-61, 68

Grace and Peace

P.S. Piper takes no position on the age of the Earth, and elders within his church are free to accept an old Earth. When I wrote about this last year, some commenters were sure that I was twisting Piper’s words, and they twisted his words to prove it to me.

Obama’s education speech

I’m rather embarrassed by the reaction many conservatives have had to the upcoming Obama address to students in America’s schools. The topic will be the importance of education, and giving a speech like this is a very fitting role for the president of the United States.

Read pastor John Piper’s perspective:

I am stunned at the outcry against the President of the United States speaking to the youth of this nation about the importance of education.

I am embarrassed by the governor of my home state saying, that the president’s plan to address them is “disruptive . . . uninvited . . . and number three . . . I don’t think he needs to force it upon the nation’s school children.”

This speech seems, for me, to be an answer to a prayer that I have prayed for the president repeatedly.

Father, the condition of our schools and families is so broken that nothing seems to be working, especially for the poor in our urban centers. Help our president to have the courage to use his amazing place of influence to speak into this situation in such a way that boys and girls would take their studies seriously and put school above sport and homework above hiphop and graduation above gangs.

O, Lord, create a culture where it is not cool to fail. Give our President the courage to call all children, especially ones who feel hopeless about academic work, to fight for knowledge the way gangs fight for turf.

And as the President plans his speech, help him to feel as helpless as he really is to meet the greatest needs of the children, so that he turns to Jesus who alone has the answer for the ruin and the wrongs of our cities. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I hope my daughter hears the speech.

From Desiring God: I Hope My Daughter Hears the President’s Speech

Grace and Peace

John Piper and the age of the Earth

To repeat a common theme of The GeoChristian blog: One can be a committed Christian with a very high view of the Bible, and yet hold to a 4.5 billion year-old Earth and evolution.

John Piper is pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, and is a leading author and speaker within the Evangelical and Reformed Christian communities. He has a very high view of Scripture, and yet his church takes no position on the age of the Earth or evolution. Here are three aspects of the doctrine of creation that elders at Bethlehem Baptist must affirm:

  1. A real Adam and Eve fairly recently in history.
  2. God created the universe out of nothing.
  3. God’s creation is good.

Piper’s statement specifies that there is no commitment at his church to a recent six literal day creation (e.g. Answers in Genesis or Institute for Creation Research). There is also no statement requiring elders to not believe in evolution.

Despite the vocal insistence of the young-Earth creationists, there are perfectly valid understandings of Genesis that allow for an old Earth. These interpretations are not forced on the Hebrew text, but actually flow out of the text.

John Piper: What do you have to believe about creation in order to be an elder at Bethlehem?

HT: Internet Monk

Grace and Peace

P.S. I am not saying that John Piper accepts either an old Earth or evolution,  just that he doesn’t consider the age of the Earth or evolution (apparently) to be issues in terms of Christian orthodoxy.