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  • 1. Answering Common Young Earth Creationist Arguments Posted by J.W. Wartick June 11, 2012⋅ Filed Under age of the earth, bible, christian, Christianity, Christianity and Science, Genesis, Genesis 1, Genesis 1-2, man's fallible logic, meaning of day, old earth, Old Earth Creationism, perpiscuity of scripture, presupposition, the Bible, theology, yom, Young Earth Creationism The debate over the age of the universe is a hot issue for some Christians, and this unfortunately leads to a number of faulty arguments and even some name-calling. This post is not going to argue against young earth creationism specifically. Rather, I hope that it can be a resource for both young earth and old earth proponents in order to avoid faulty reasoning. Each argument’s topic will be in bold with the problem outlined and a response. [Image at head of post credit here.] Please see the end of the post for a response to an article linking back to this one. Perspicuity of Scripture- The Argument Some young earth creationists (hereafter YEC or YECs) argue that old earth positions undermine the perspicuity of Scripture. Perspicuity of Scripture is the notion that the central teachings of Scripture can be understood by any who come to the Gospel. The charge YECs make is that because it seems, on a surface level reading of the text, that Genesis 1 implies creation over the period of 6 literal 24 hour days, those who deny this undermine the Perspicuity/Clarity of Scripture. Response The Perspicuity of Scripture does not apply to all areas of Biblical doctrine. Rather, it is the notion that anyone can understand the plan of salvation as laid out in Scripture and come to right knowledge for faith. Think of it this way: read the book of Revelation. Do you understand everything in this book, or is the apocalyptic literature hard to discern? Throughout much of Christian history, there has been debate over the meaning of Revelation. There are a number of views, like preterism, idealism, dispensationalism, etc. But this doesn’t mean that what Scripture teaches in general is unclear. The clarity of Scripture in regards to salvific issues is absolute. Any reader can read and understand God’s plan for salvation. Addendum If the argument is pressed, again ask the YEC whether they are claiming they understand every
  • 2. single doctrine that the Bible teaches. Do you understand perfectly the Trinity, the atonement, the incarnation, the Lord’s Supper, the proper relation of Law and Gospel, etc.? If someone claims they do, they are essentially equating their understanding to God, rather than adhering to Scriptural teaching (1 Corinthians 13:12). The Meaning of Day The Argument The Hebrew word used in Genesis one, yom, means day. It literally means a 24 hour period. Often this argument is presented in a fairly demeaning and/or ad hominem way to the opponent: “Why do you insist on reading man’s fallible ideas into the text? It says day, it means day. I trust the Bible.” Response Actually, the Hebrew word yom has several different literal meanings. For example, according to Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Lexicon, yom can mean “day, time, or year”; day as opposed to night; a 24 hour day; a time or period of time; a year; an age. Thus, if someone reads the text and argues that in Genesis 1 the days mean “ages”, they are still reading the text literally. Evening and Morning The Argument When the Genesis 1 text refers to the days, it applies the terms “evening and morning” to each one of days 1-6, which means that each day is indeed a 24 hour period. That’s what evening and morning means. Response The delineation of time periods for days was not possible until the fourth day. As it is written, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth” (Genesis 1:14-15, I italicized “days”). Thus, the text itself tells us that the sun did not serve as a specific indicator of the length of days until the fourth “day.” The repetition of evening and morning is an indication of the metaphor for the work week used throughout Genesis 1. Notice that evening and morning are reversed from the order in which they occur in a 24 hour day. Day is not a long period of time The Argument Sure, there are other literal meanings of “yom” and in poetic literature it says that a day is like a
  • 3. thousand years for the LORD, but Genesis is a narrative and so the days mean literal 24 hour periods. Response Actually, in the very same account the word day is used in order to refer to the whole time of creation. As it is written, “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens” (Genesis 2:4). I used the ESV translation here because the NIV translation translates yom as “when” here. In this text, the word “day” refers to the entirety of God’s creative work. Thus, the text itself utilizes the same word, yom, to mean a longer period of time than a 24 hour period in the same context of creation. And because this is “narrative” it can’t be dismissed as “mere poetry.” Speaking of which… That’ Just Poetry The Argument Many of the verses that old earth proponents use are from places like the Psalms. For example, the verse about a day being like a thousand years is from Psalm 90:4. These verses are poetry and therefore not relevant to the actual age of the earth. Response Poetic literature still makes truth claims. Are you suggesting that nothing in the Psalms is true? To dismiss a text that is brought up in order to counter your position by saying “that’s just poetry” is tantamount to throwing God’s word out the window. One might wonder why it is that the YEC interpretation of Genesis 1 trumps every other passage in the Bible. Appearance of Age The Argument Sure, some scientific evidence may make it seem as though the earth is old, but it is not actually old. Instead, God made it in such a way that it would support life, and in order to do so, it had to look old. He created light already on its way to earth and the Flood explains sedimentation. Response Nature tells us about reality, though we cannot infallibly search it (Psalm 19); God does not lie; therefore, God would not make something which by all appearances would look old, but is not in fact old. Rebuttal But Adam looked old. He was created about 30 years [or some adult age] old! Similarly, the plants in the garden, etc. would have looked old, but been new.
  • 4. Response The text doesn’t actually say how old Adam was when he was created. But that’s a side issue. More importantly, we would be able to tell how old Adam was by looking at evidences like his teeth, his bones, and the like. All of these would show signs of age. Regarding the plants, this argument really just begs the question for YEC. As it is written, “And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food…” (Genesis 2:8-9a). The text clearly says that God planted a garden. While it says that God made plants spring up, it is prefaced by the notion of planting. The notion of planting implies growth over time. And suppose this is wrong; suppose the plants were grown instantly: we’d still be able to test them and see how old they actually were by looking at things like cell division and tree rings. The Argument This one is extremely common when one listens to/watches debates between YEC and old earth proponents. Essentially, the argument goes like this: “You are presupposing naturalism in order to come up with an old earth. I presuppose the Bible is true instead. The difference is I [the YEC] am aware of my presupposition.” Response Strictly speaking this argument is actually completely false. Naturalism is the philosophical position that only the natural world exists. The debates in which this argument is often brought up are very often between Christians of opposing views. Therefore, because they are both Christians, neither one is operating under the presupposition of naturalism. Rebuttal The YEC may press this objection, however, and say what they mean is that one is presupposing a naturalistic methodology as opposed to the entire worldview. Response Define “naturalistic methodology.” 1) If you mean assuming “uniformitarianism”: see the argument and response below. 2) If by “naturalistic methodology” you mean something else, show how that is the case. Uniformitarianism
  • 5. The Argument The only way to come up with an old earth is by assuming that everything has been uniform forever; in other words, the processes in place now are operating at the same speed they always have. Response Let’s apply this argument to one field: geology. Geology does come up with ages around 4.5 billion years old for the age of the earth. Now, the problem is that this is not due to uniformitarianism. Rather, geologists must take into account the fact that catastrophes do happen. For example, a huge meteor hitting the earth would change the geological landscape. Modern geology is neither catastrophist nor uniformitarian; rather, it must take both into account. And it still comes up with an “ancient” earth. The problem is that YECs go to the opposite extreme and actually assume that a catastrophe (or numerous catastrophes) can account for all geologic evidence. By citing specific examples of catastrophism, they then apply a catastrophic geology to the rest of the earth. It’s exactly the methodology YECs critique, but then they do it themselves. This is simply naive. Furthermore, the burden of proof here is upon the YEC to show that the rates could increase at such a monumental rate on such a monumental scale that everything we observe that looks ancient is, in fact, ‘young.’ They must make the argument. Rebuttal You’re just starting with man’s fallible ideas. I just use the text for my guide. Response See “Look, it’s what the Bible says” and “Man’s Fallible Ideas” sections below. Look, it’s what the Bible says The Argument I just read the Bible and agree with it. It says days, I say days; it gives genealogies, I add them together. All I do is take Genesis literally. You use man’s fallible ideas to distort the text. Response It has already been shown that the word “day” has several literal meanings. It has already been shown that “day” is used for a longer period than a “day” in the context of creation in Genesis. Thus, one could respond by saying “I just read the text literally too. On the first ‘age’, God created…. on the second age, God created…., etc.” Furthermore, the genealogies are incomplete. It can be demonstrated that a number of genealogies in the Bible skip people or operate in an inexact fashion. By assuming the
  • 6. genealogies are linear, one has read anachronistically a 21st century notion of a genealogy back onto the text. That would be one of man’s fallible ideas. Furthermore, the notion of an old earth proponent importing ‘man’s fallible ideas’ into the text can be equally applied to YEC. Who says that YECs are infallible? Would you claim you read the Bible perfectly and discern everything correctly? You weren’t there! The Argument You weren’t there at creation. Neither were these “scientists” you cite in your “evidence.” How do you know what happened? Response You weren’t there either, my friend. However, when we look at the stars, we are looking at the past. Furthermore, we can measure things like cosmic background radiation, sedimentation rates, volcanic activity, and the like in order to discern how old the earth is. Again, God tells us that nature gives us a record (Psalm 19), so one wonders why we are being told to doubt that record. Very Good The Argument God says that his creation was “very good”; how could there then be animal death, thorns, cancer, and the like. The world would have been beautiful, without death, and without any kind of evils. Think about it, you’re saying that God was calling cancer eating away at dinosaurs and the like a “very good” thing! [Image credit here.] Response First, it seems very often that when YECs use the phrase “very good” what they mean is “perfect” in their own eyes. Why think that animal death is necessarily bad? If animals didn’t die, ecosystems would collapse: all the plant-eaters would starve, insects would take over and eat all plant life, and any number of other “bad” things would happen. Animal death is part of a beautiful system of maintaining order in the world. Using the cancer example to try to argue that it couldn’t be “very good” is importing human emotions into creatures which are not moral agents. Simply put, an animal is not a moral agent. This doesn’t mean it is good to kill them, but it isn’t bad either. The harm comes when a moral agent intentionally brings unnecessary harm to an animal. I would like to see an argument for what “very good” means to YECs. Why should it mean absolute perfection?
  • 7. Finally, one must wonder about the fact that God planted the garden in Eden and it is that creation which is “very good”. God planted this Garden, and it was the localized area in which Adam and Eve were placed. That’s what the text says. Nowhere does it say the whole earth was like the Garden. Compromise The Argument Unfortunately, this is one of the less subtle ad hominem types of arguments YECs employ. It basically goes like this: use a scare word like “evolution,” put in in context with an old earth proponent, and then call them compromisers. For example, “Wartick, who believes in a form of old earth creationism–really just a variety of theistic evolutionism–chooses to compromise the text to fit secular science.” Response Unfortunately, this very type of argument is used to discredit many fellow Christians. Rather than focusing on the issues at hand, it is indeed easier to just bash the opposition. For the record, I am not a theistic evolutionist. The point is that others who hold views similar to my own suffer from arguments like this against them. It’s dishonest. The most unfortunate thing to take from this type of argument is that the average Christian on the street is very affected by it. Recently, I recommended an article from an extremely prominent Christian philosopher to another Christian. Their response was that if this other believer thought evolution might be true, they were too biased and they would not read the article. That’s right, the effect of this type of argument is that it brings about a situation in which people won’t even read what other believers have to say about a topic. One must wonder, at least a little bit, about a position which discourages adherents to read the works of the opposition. Why not read and consider other viewpoints and take what is true? Plain and Obvious Meaning- or “I don’t need to twist the text.” The Argument Basically, the way this one goes is as follows: I just read the text for what it says. You have to do all kinds of things to interpret it. Why do you twist the text to fit your views? Response Actually, YEC is also an interpretation of the Biblical text. It is an inference from the textual data. You are also interpreting the text, and need to justify your hermeneutic. Given the mounting
  • 8. evidence against it in books like The Lost World of Genesis One by John Walton, the evidence in your interpretation’s favor needs to be pretty hefty. You’re Using Science to Change the Meaning of Scripture The Argument Old earth proponents may have a viable exegetical position, but why on earth would they pick old earth over young earth? It seems the only reason is because they are caving in to science. Response Science can give us a record of reality. When the church lines itself up with views that do not accord with reality, it is discredited. Consider the controversy over heliocentrism vs. geocentrism. This controversy resulted because the church lined itself up with a philosophical position that it thought was taught by the text of the Bible. Similarly, the young earth position is an interpretation of Scripture and its advocates must contend with the scientific evidence. Augustine issued a strong warning related to this objection [Literal Meaning of Genesis, Chapter 19, Volume 1]: “If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?” The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it The Argument This argument has a few varieties: 1) The Bible says the earth is not millions or billions of years. Why do you insist on changing God’s word for man’s fallible ideas? 2)The Biblical text entails a young earth. Why do you read it as a long period of time? Response 1) Where in the Bible does it say “the earth is not millions or billions of years old”? Where in the Bible does it tell me the date of creation? 2) Please show me: where in the Bible does it tell me the date of creation? Where does in the Bible does it specifically say YEC is true? If you can’t, then you’re using an inference. See “Plain and Obvious Meaning” above.
  • 9. Man’s Fallible Ideas The Argument Perhaps the most frequently used argument is of this variety. Too often, when threatened by exegetical or extra-biblical evidence that contradicts their position, YECs will fall back to this type of argument: “That’s just using man’s fallible ideas to interpret the text.” or “That’s using man’s fallible [geology, astronomy, physics, insert discipline] to alter the meaning of God’s word.” Response The Young Earth position is an interpretation of the text as much as any other. Thus, the argument could just as easily be turned around: “You’re just using man’s fallible interpretation to read a young earth onto the text.” But, to be honest, this argument just amounts to a subtle ad hominem, even if the one using the argument doesn’t realize it. Why? Because it suggests that the other side is a) wrong; and b) not thinking Biblically. A better response, therefore, would be to simply point out that the YEC position is also interpreting the text and that old earth proponents are looking at the whole body of evidence God has provided instead of just trusting what others tell them about the text. Response to article against this one: Over at “fortress maximus” the author offered a response to this article. I’ll not go point by point, but rather I listed a few areas of major contention. The most contentious point for me is that the author says I reject inerrancy, which is false. When I say “you” after this, I’m referencing his article. As of this point in time (January, 2013), he has not amended his article to remove the false claims made about me therein. Anyway, response: Thanks for your thoughtful response. I have a few comments, but I won’t be too lengthy because I don’t have time. 1) You wrote “the author fails his own claims by only outing the YEC arguments as faulty and then offering the OEC arguments as an unchallenged substitute.” The title of the post is “answering common YEC arguments.” I think that pretty much makes my intention clear. The stated purpose is that I’m not arguing specifically against the YEC position, which I don’t. I only answer many arguments. It’s a bit disingenuous to claim I’m doing
  • 10. otherwise. 2) You wrote, “Poetry in the Bible certainly is relevant, but only in revealing spiritual truths, not historic ones.” No historic truths in the Psalms, eh? I guess the Psalms by David when he was fleeing from his enemies don’t tell us anything about his situation? I would like to see an argument for this claim. 3) Regarding appearance of age, you wrote “I’ve never heard any serious YECer use these arguments. Old appearance has nothing to do with God’s creation and how it may appear. This stance is also unsupported scripturally, hence it is blatantly flawed. So, if you are a YECer and you used this argument, stop it!” I was once YEC and unfortunately used this argument myself, because almost every other YEC I knew used it as well. Thus, it’s an argument used by YECs, and I answered it. I agree, though: stop it! 4) You wrote “We’re finally getting to the greatest point of contention – this argument states that the Bible is inaccurate and as such flawed (“the genealogies are incomplete”). This goes against the premise that the Bible is the holy, inspired, infallible, written Word of God.” Wrong, absolutely wrong. Unfortunately, YECs tend to do this to me all the time: put words in my mouth. Please show me in a quote where I said the Bible is inaccurate and flawed. Show me. You literally say it right there: “this argument states that the Bible is inaccurate and as such flawed” But wait, the quote is actually: “the genealogies are incomplete” which we can demonstrate from the Bible. It’s not that they are inaccurate; it is that the modern notion of a genealogy stating one generation after another with no gaps is just that: a modern notion. I never stated the Bible is inaccurate, nor do I state it is flawed. I have been a staunch defender of inerrancy. Your statement here is extremely ad hominem; it is, in fact, so wrong and unsubstantiated by my blog that if I weren’t giving you the benefit of the doubt I’d think you’re just lying about me. I therefore ask you to retract it. 5) regarding dating methods: I hate to say it but anyone who reads non-YEC literature on this topic will not be convinced by these arguments. Yes, there are aberrations in the dating which are not covered up by secular or other scientists whatsoever: they state them in their works; no, they do not undermine the whole system. Resources Here is a list of resources for old earth perspectives. I will annotate it at some point. For now it’s just a list of amazon links. The Bible, Rocks and Time The Lost World of Genesis One More Than a Theory SDG.
  • 11. http://jwwartick.com/2012/06/11/yec-args/—— About J.W. Wartick J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels. The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from citations, which are the property of their respective owners) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.http://jwwartick.com/2012/06/11/yec- args/http://jwwartick.com/2012/06/11/yec-args/ ----------------------------------------- Evaluating Old Earth Responses to Young Earth Arguments [1] http://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/evaluating-old-earth-responses-to-young-earth-arguments-1/ Posted on May 1, 2014 Introduction I’ve been wanting to interact with a post I was directed to on this blog since maybe last October, but Strange Fire related matters got in my way. Now that those embers have cooled down a bit, I thought I’d jump in, Answering Common Young Earth Creationist Arguments That article is an attempt to answer and refute all of the common, biblical and theological arguments young earth creationists use, not only in defense of their view, but also as a challenge to deep time, old earth creationists. Even though it is nearly two years old, I thought the points raised in the article were worth evaluating. The author, J.W. Wartick, is a graduate from the BIOLA apologetics program. I couldn’t find anything specific about his theological and biblical training, though I would think that if he has a MA from BIOLA’s apologetics program, he would be exposed to some Bible and theology, so I
  • 12. just assume he is versed in those subjects. Looking over his personal blog, he seems like a well-read individual. He’s certainly written on a number of subjects the last few years. Under his “About” page, he says he affirms that “the Bible is the Holy and Inerrant Word of God and the sole source of pure Christian Doctrine.” That’s all well and good, but the question I have is, does his old earth creationism he so ardently defends, which appears to be the Reasons to Believe/Hugh Ross variety, sync consistently with his personal affirmation of inerrancy? I say that it does not, as will be fleshed out over the course of my responses. His post interacts with 16 typical questions/challenges young earth creationists (YEC) raise against old earth creationist (OEC). He defines the argument and then offers his response. I’ll try to organize and group together the similar arguments and address them as individual posts. That way my little series can be short and to the point. So with that background in mind, let me tackle the first argument/response, The Perspicuity of Scripture Wartick writes, The Argument Some young earth creationists (hereafter YEC or YECs) argue that old earth positions undermine the perspicuity of Scripture. Perspicuity of Scripture is the notion that the central teachings of Scripture can be understood by any who come to the Gospel. The charge YECs make is that because it seems, on a surface level reading of the text, that Genesis 1 implies creation over the period of 6 literal 24 hour days, those who deny this undermine the Perspicuity/Clarity of Scripture. Response The Perspicuity of Scripture does not apply to all areas of Biblical doctrine. Rather, it is the notion that anyone can understand the plan of salvation as laid out in Scripture and come to right knowledge for faith. Think of it this way: read the book of Revelation. Do you understand everything in this book, or is the apocalyptic literature hard to discern? Throughout much of Christian history, there has been debate over the meaning of Revelation. There are a number of views, like preterism, idealism, dispensationalism, etc. But this doesn’t mean that what Scripture teaches in general is unclear. The clarity of Scripture in regards to salvific issues is absolute. Any reader can read and understand God’s plan for salvation. Addendum If the argument is pressed, again ask the YEC whether they are claiming they understand
  • 13. every single doctrine that the Bible teaches. Do you understand perfectly the Trinity, the atonement, the incarnation, the Lord’s Supper, the proper relation of Law and Gospel, etc.? If someone claims they do, they are essentially equating their understanding to God, rather than adhering to Scriptural teaching (1 Corinthians 13:12). The idea of “perspicuity” is that the Bible is sufficiently clear in and of itself for believers to understand it. As Wartick points out, it is true that the doctrine of “perspicuity” primarily focuses upon the clarity of the Gospel message and the plan of salvation, meaning that anyone from anywhere can clearly understand the Gospel message, believe it, and be saved (I’m of course assuming the regenerating work of the Spirit in the life of the sinner). The WCF 1.7 begins by stating, “All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation…” His mistake, however, is that he restricts the doctrine of perspicuity only to the clarity of the Gospel message and not to ALL of Scripture. Historically, the vast majority of Christian preachers and teachers believed perspicuity applied to the whole of Scripture. One of the early church fathers, John Chrysostom, called the doctrine of perspicuity the “condescension of Scripture.” He believed that the revelation of God in Scripture allows for all men, regardless of their education or lack of education, the ability to understand it. William Webster, in the second volume of Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, notes that the idea of the “condescension of Scripture” is a recurring theme in the writings of many church fathers including such men as Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, Hilary of Poitiers, Augustine, Isidore of Pelusium, Athanasius, Lactanius, and Theodoret [Webster, 194-201]. That doctrine of “condescension” or perspicuity, was picked up and articulated by the theologians of the Reformation like Luther and Calvin and eventually affirmed in the historical creeds like the Westminster Confession and the London Baptist Confession. Now Wartick argues, and in a way, rightly so, that not all doctrine in the Scripture is immediately clear to everyone. For instance, he mentions about eschatology and how many folks disagree with each other as to how the book of Revelation is to be interpreted. Or the doctrine of the Trinity or atonement. Though I would agree with him that new Christians may not immediately grasp a full understanding of such doctrines as Christ being the second person of the Trinity, those hard to understand doctrines are not kept from a new convert. That convert, by reading the Bible and developing his understanding of those clearer doctrines he does understand, can then come to clearly understand those more difficult, or unclear doctrines. Both the WCF and the LBC state in 1.9,
  • 14. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly. So in other words, any unclear doctrine can be known by the clearer doctrine of Scripture. The point further being is that a Christian can come to a full understanding of biblical doctrine, by reading the Bible alone over time, because it is meant to be clear, or perspicuous. Yet even more importantly than being taught by church fathers, Reformers, and in the historical Protestant confessions, the doctrine of perspicuity is articulated in the pages of the Bible itself. For example, in Deuteronomy 30:11, God says, “For this commandment which I command you today, it is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off.” The word “mysterious” having the idea of being “too difficult to understand,” or basically, “unclear.” If God commands His people, He reveals His revelation so that it can be clearly understood. No one can say, “I wasn’t entirely sure what God wanted because the interpretation of that revelation was difficult and hard to understand.” The same idea is seen in Psalm 19:7-9 where the attributes of Scripture are highlighted. Coming to the NT, Peter tells brand new Christians who are considered “babes in Christ” to, “desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” If the Scriptures were not perspicuous, or clear, so that a new Christian had to find some outside interpreter to tell him how to understand them, Peter’s exhortation would be meaningless. Probably the clearest example of the perspicuity of Scripture is found in Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 which says, “All Scripture (not just the Gospel message) is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” How can a person profit from Scripture so as to be reproved by it, corrected by it, and instructed in righteousness by it, if it was so unclear he had difficulty understanding it? Now just so I am not misunderstood, I am not diminishing the role God has for godly, mature teachers in the lives of younger believers, [Titus 2]. The Bible exhorts us to hear the teaching of sound doctrine and warns against itching ears that seeks to hear what they want to hear, [2 Timothy 4:3-4]. However, anyone who is saved, who has the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit in his life, can take up the Scriptures and though there be difficult things to understand, can come to understand them with steadfast study.
  • 15. Now, how exactly does this impact our understanding of Genesis 1? I take it by Wartick’s response he seems to believe the creation week of Genesis is one of those “difficult” portions of Scripture. One that falls into the category of figuring out the Trinity or interpreting the book of Revelation. But that is silliness if he believes such things with Genesis chapter 1. The text itself is not “difficult” to understand; the language is quite clear and straight- forward. As a first year Hebrew student in seminary, our prof. had us translate it. Anyone who reads the narrative of the creation week will conclude that it is saying that God created the world and all that is therein in the space of six, consecutive days. The “difficulty” Wartick has in mind comes in the worldview shattering meaning of what the text conveys. It is teaching the true history of origins and how life began upon the earth and that narrative radically departs from what is commonly taught by the “enlightened elite” and what is expected to be believed by the masses. Hence, the difficulty is not with the language of the Genesis narrative itself, nor is it with the history that it conveys. The real “difficulty” is with whether or not a person will believe what it is saying over and against the consensus of evolutionary deep-time advocates. Its a matter of which authority one submits to, not if the text is clear or unclear. My guess is that Wartick places a high premium upon the opinions of modern day scientists who say the universe is millions of years old because he has a misunderstanding of the value of general revelation, you know, things like nature and stuff. He probably likens it as being a 67th book of the Bible (a favorite saying of Hugh Ross), believing it is self-authenticating and must be considered when interpreting the Bible, especially the creation narrative. Such however, has nothing to do with perspicuity, but has all to do with authority. Evaluating Old Earth Responses to Young Earth Arguments [2]In "Biblical Studies" Article XII and The Age of the EarthIn "Christians and Culture" Apologetic DissonanceIn "Apologetics and Evangelism" This entry was posted in Biblical Studies, Evolution-ID-Creationism, Theology Matters and tagged J.W. Wartick by fivepointer. Bookmark the permalink. I I would just add that the two objections you raise about the days and no sun and the so- called never ending 7th day are strawman arguments. They have been answered in full detail by a number of individuals, say for instance Douglass Kelly, Andrew Kulikovsky, Jonathan Sarfati in his massive review of Hugh Ross’s apologetics and hermeneutic, both the ministries of AiG and Creation.com and my pastor did a detailed exegesis of Genesis chapter 1 that can be found online at the Grace to You radio ministry website. My questions would simply be, have you consulted the responses of these various resources, and how exactly do they NOT provide you
  • 16. an answer and rebuttal? It sounds to me like he was/is trying to make Spaghetti. Do or say what ever he has to, to make his preconceived views of scripture stick. Old Earth teaching is never based on scripture but folded into it. This issue is my line in the sand. Those that say the Bible isn’t true in the beginning have no real basis to accept the rest as written either. The precedent has been established. I have no doubt that is how the Episcopal Church’s sad slide toward oblivion started. Reply ↓ First, the doctrine of perspicuity changed during the Reformation period. As I [very] briefly point out in my post on sola scriptura in the Reformation (http://jwwartick.com/2012/10/15/who- interprets-sola/), this was because the Reformers realized there was genuine disagreement over certain passages of Scripture. Second, there are some issues within Scripture which are genuinely unclear. If you want to deny that, I would suggest you basically have to ignore the text of Scripture. There are a number of issues: for example, underdeterminiation. One looks in vain to find the amount of detail we often wish we had on people that are listed in the genealogies, for example. More concrete examples would be the question of the meaning of certain words, lining up some apparent differences in the Gospels, etc. For example, would you say that Matthew 28:1-7 is unclear? Ah, but it says there is one angel there who speaks to the women. But then is Luke 24:1-8 unclear? But it says there are two angels! I bring up this example not to say there is an actual contradiction (after all, it seems that Matthew just reports the one who talks), but rather to show the appeal to clear verses does not always solve the apparent difficulties. Unless you want to say that either Matthew or Luke are unclear, you have an apparent contradiction which is not solved by a “clearer” text. It is solved by thoughtful reflection and looking more deeply into the backgrounds, the way oral tradition was passed along, and the like. But your post suggests we can simply cast about for a “clearer” text to figure out the unclear. Tell me, which is unclear, Matthew or Luke? Third, your view of perspicuity seems to mean that we only learn from being spoon fed easy truths, the exact opposite of the difference between milk and meat that Paul suggests. For example, you wrote: “Probably the clearest example of the perspicuity of Scripture is found in Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 which says, ‘All Scripture (not just the Gospel message) is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly
  • 17. equipped for every good work.’ How can a person profit from Scripture so as to be reproved by it, corrected by it, and instructed in righteousness by it, if it was so unclear he had difficulty understanding it?” Have you never learned anything by being confronted with a difficult problem and striving to understand it? I suspect that you have. I suspect you’ve struggled with specific portions of the text and come out better for it when you came to reconcile the text through other observations, insights, and reflection. If you haven’t I certainly have, and I know many others who have as well. Regarding this text, I’d also simply point out that the interpretation of it is quite forced. Is the intent of the text teaching us that all of Scripture is inspired and profitable, or is it teaching us we can just expect to understand everything? Finally, I firmly affirm and defend inerrancy and any suggestion to the otherwise should be withdrawn. Difference of opinion over interpretation should not be taken as denying inerrancy. Rather than misrepresent your Christian brother, you should stand beside me in a defense of inerrancy. We differ on interpretation of certain texts. Unless you take your interpretation to be itself inerrant and the word of God, I ask you to stop slandering me by implying I deny the doctrine. Evaluating Old Earth Responses to Young Earth Arguments [2] Posted on May 9, 2014 I began evaluating the responses put forth in this lengthy post. The author, J.W. Wartick, attempts to provide old earth creationist responses to arguments made by young earth creationists. I gave a brief introduction with my first post, so I would encourage folks to read it in order to get the gist of what I am wanting to accomplish. Wartick outlines 16 or so responses to YEC arguments that I will group together in categories so as to help keep my evaluation focused. With this second entry, I want to look at what he claims regarding the meaning of yom, or “day” in Genesis 1 and 2. The Exegesis of “Day” in The Creation Week One of the more frustrating experiences I have when engaging OEC is their woeful lack of interaction with the exegesis of the Hebrew text in Genesis 1. Even more is when YEC provide their exegesis, the OEC either ignore it, or dismissively wave it off, and rarely, if at all, offer any meaningful response as to why the YEC exegesis of Genesis 1 is incorrect, or mistaken, or whatever. And keep in mind here I am talking about exegesis of the language. That’s a bit different than interpreting what the exegesis is communicating, though I recognize that there is overlap between exegesis, hermeneutics, and interpretive conclusions. Because there are a number of online resources in which YEC have provided full studies of
  • 18. Genesis 1, I will merely keep my responses short and specific and direct readers to a hand full of articles that provide more specialized detail regarding the meaning of yom in Genesis. My exhortation, especially to my critics, is to please avail yourself of these articles. You must be informed with what YEC believes rather than just repeat cliched strawmen arguments about what YEC doesn’t believe. How Long were the Creation Days of Genesis 1? – Russell Grigg The Days of Creation: A Semantic Approach – James Stambaugh A Summary of Evidence for Literal 24-Hour Days in Genesis 1 – Andrew Kulikovsky A Defense of Literal Days in the Creation Week – Robert McCabe Echad as an Ordinal Number and the Meaning of Genesis 1:5 – Andrew Steinmann Answering Dr. Norman Geisler’s Comments on Genesis [Part 1] [Part 2] - Jason Lisle Now with that in mind, let me move to what Mr. Wartick writes, The Meaning of Day The Argument The Hebrew word used in Genesis one, yom, means day. It literally means a 24 hour period. Often this argument is presented in a fairly demeaning and/or ad hominem way to the opponent: “Why do you insist on reading man’s fallible ideas into the text? It says day, it means day. I trust the Bible.” Response Actually, the Hebrew word yom has several different literal meanings. For example, according to Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Lexicon, yom can mean “day, time, or year”; day as opposed to night; a 24 hour day; a time or period of time; a year; an age. Thus, if someone reads the text and argues that in Genesis 1 the days mean “ages”, they are still reading the text literally. He is correct in that the Hebrew word yom, translated as “day,” does have a number of meanings other than just a 24-hour day, or what would be better understood as one rotation of the earth on its axis, day time to night time and day time again, or sun rise to sun rise. Where this response errs is with failing to consider what yom means in the context of Genesis 1. He commits the error that D.A. Carson has termed an “Unwarranted expansion of an expanded semantic field” [Carson, Exegetical Fallacies, p. 60]. In other words, while it may be true that a particular word has different meanings in other contexts and those contexts maybe can shed
  • 19. light upon its meaning elsewhere, what is important is determining the word’s meaning in the immediate context under examination. Certainly yom can mean “a period of time” as in “back in my father’s day,” or “in the days of Noah,” but is that what it means in the context of Genesis 1? The point is that we don’t rush off to other instances where a word may mean something different, and then bring that definition back to the passage we are studying and assume that different definition has any relevance to our study. Other exegetical factors in the immediate context must be weighed to determine what the proper definition may be. In the case of Genesis chapter 1, there are a number of those exegetical factors that narrow the definition of yom down to meaning an ordinary, 24- hour day. Moving along to the next point, Evening and Morning The Argument When the Genesis 1 text refers to the days, it applies the terms “evening and morning” to each one of days 1-6, which means that each day is indeed a 24 hour period. That’s what evening and morning means. Response The delineation of time periods for days was not possible until the fourth day. As it is written, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth” (Genesis 1:14-15, I italicized “days”). Thus, the text itself tells us that the sun did not serve as a specific indicator of the length of days until the fourth “day.” The repetition of evening and morning is an indication of the metaphor for the work week used throughout Genesis 1. Notice that evening and morning are reversed from the order in which they occur in a 24 hour day. With this response, Wartick seems to miss the main point of what is being presented. The fact that Moses marks the passage of days by saying the “evening and the morning” X day, only solidifies the ordinary, calendar view of yom. Whether or not there was a sun that rose and set is irrelevant. He also concludes his comment by saying “notice that evening and morning are reversed from the order in which they occur in a 24-hour day,” but so, what? It is still indicating an ordinary, calendar day. Modern descriptions of a 24-hour day with the sun rising and then setting is of no matter. He also appeals to a typical argument raised by OEC by saying “The sun and moon weren’t created until day 4, so this isn’t a normal day.” But again, so, what? Is the presence of the sun necessary for one to know about the passage of time and to count off one day, two days, etc.?
  • 20. Of course not. During the winter in Alaska the sun doesn’t rise for a number of weeks. The same during the summer when it never sets. Are days being experienced when that happens? All that is needed is a light source, which in the case of the first three days of creation could very well had been the Lord Himself. Genesis 1 is clear that on day 4 God created the luminaries, or light holders, into which the light was gathered and those luminaries took over the function as serving as the light source for the earth. Those luminaries came into existence on day 4 and did not exist prior to that day. Moving along to a third point, Day is not a long period of time The Argument Sure, there are other literal meanings of “yom” and in poetic literature it says that a day is like a thousand years for the LORD, but Genesis is a narrative and so the days mean literal 24 hour periods. Response Actually, in the very same account the word day is used in order to refer to the whole time of creation. As it is written, “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens” (Genesis 2:4). I used the ESV translation here because the NIV translation translates yom as “when” here. In this text, the word “day” refers to the entirety of God’s creative work. Thus, the text itself utilizes the same word, yom, to mean a longer period of time than a 24 hour period in the same context of creation. And because this is “narrative” it can’t be dismissed as “mere poetry.” Again, as I already noted in the first response above, there are other meanings for the word yom. In the case of Genesis 2:4, the context would make the yom speak to the whole creation week. But, once again, Wartick is ignoring the earlier context when yom specifically described events that took place on one calendar day. So yom can mean a longer period of time than 24- hours like in Genesis 2:4, but yom means 24-hour day in the creation week because the immediate context demands it. Share this: Evaluating Old Earth Responses to Young Earth Arguments [1]In "Biblical Studies" Evaluating Old Earth Responses to Young Earth Arguments [3]In "Biblical Studies" Apologetic DissonanceIn "Apologetics and Evangelism" This entry was posted in Biblical Studies, Evolution-ID-Creationism, J.W.Wartick by fivepointer. Bookmark the permalink.
  • 21. You say Genesis is to be interpreted in a literal sense, so this means that Genesis must make sense in a literal way not literal as in pertaining to the type of literature but according to the grammatical historical system.The problems with this view are so clear that you may not even see them, for instance. Moses says “evening and morning the X day” well this is only night, even if you are in Alaska. Wouldn’t a literal 24 hour period be described as “there was evening and morning and then evening again” that’s a day and a night. You may not appeal to a Hebrew way of looking at the text because that is not in your interpretive system. The “7 days of creation” isn’t even literal in your system by your definition God worked nights too. The context of “yom” is “morning and evening” not a description of a full 24 (23hr 56min 4.1sec) hour day. Either the Bible is inerrant or it is not, if you believe in a literal / grammatical / historical interpretive system of Genesis you can’t believe in inerrancy and be consistent. Augustine and Calvin didn’t view Genesis as literal in your sense because, they viewed Genesis as allegorical, reasoning that God through Moses made Genesis understandable for the people of that time. Donavan. I think you wildly overestimate the ability of your so-called defeater point here. I’d encourage you to take the time to thoughtfully read through the links I supplied. The concept of “evening and morning” is found in numerous places in the OT and it means just as I state, a normal, chronological calendar day. I seriously don’t think you are understanding what it is you are criticizing. If we take your thinking here about historical-grammatical exegesis, then we can say Jesus really didn’t rise from the dead after 3 days, because days are just long periods of time. That the resurrection isn’t really a bodily resurrection, but was a metaphor for Jesus rising in the hearts of the apostles who made a story about a real Jesus so as to communicate to those who wouldn’t understand. Your view does havoc upon a real, historical Adam, upon the early history of Genesis, a global flood, and the tower of Babel, which are all historical events the NT makes reference to as being real. I really wonder if you have thought about the ramifications of your argument here. Augustine believed creation happened in one day and the the 6 days equated to 6 thousand years, which he believed would come to an end in the year 1,000 when the millennium would start. So there really is no help for you there. Calvin, if you would take the time to read him, taught a literal, historical Genesis and that creation happened in 6 days. That was the view of all the Reformers that was eventually affirmed in the WCF. Reply ↓
  • 22. Fred I admire you because you stick to your view without even a hint of bending, someday maybe. Look just a bit closer at what I wrote above I didn’t say Calvin didn’t believe in ” God using the space of 6 days to create” I said he held a non literal view, he stated that “Moses adapts himself to the ordinary view” , Calvin did not believe God created ex nihilo he believed that for instance God created the animals out of “that shapeless and confused mass” from pre existing materials, fish on the other hand were created ex nihilo because “the waters were in no way sufficient or suitable for their production are nevertheless resorting to rationalization”. He would get in trouble for such non literal views on your blog. More important than that Calvin says that Moses described creation for for those on a low intellectual level. Knowing this fact allows you to see the bigger story the cultural history and polytheism that the Hebrews has just come from in Egypt. Your literal system does not allow this. Audience relevance is most shot down in “Sunday School” passages like the creation story. Calvin “God has stretched out his hand to us to give us the splendor of the sun and moon to enjoy. Great would be our ingratitude if we shut our eyes to this experience of beauty! There is no reason why clever men should jeer at Moses’ ignorance. He is not explaining the heavens to us but is describing what is before our eyes. Let the astronomers possess their own deeper knowledge. Meanwhile, those who see the nightly splendor of the moon are possessed by perverse ingratitude if they do not recognize the goodness of God.” ========================================== Evaluating Old Earth Responses to Young Earth Arguments [3] Posted on May 16, 2014 I have been making my way through this post by J.W. Wartick, offering my responses to his responses. This is my third installment. Part 1 will provide a bit more background, and of course there is Part 2. With that in mind, let’s chug along forward, That’s Just Poetry The Argument Many of the verses that old earth proponents use are from places like the Psalms. For example, the verse about a day being like a thousand years is from Psalm 90:4. These verses are poetry and therefore not relevant to the actual age of the earth. Response
  • 23. Poetic literature still makes truth claims. Are you suggesting that nothing in the Psalms is true? To dismiss a text that is brought up in order to counter your position by saying “that’s just poetry” is tantamount to throwing God’s word out the window. One might wonder why it is that the YEC interpretation of Genesis 1 trumps every other passage in the Bible. I should have included this point at the end of my second post because it ties in nicely with the overall theme I was addressing about the exegesis of the word “day.” But, oh well. At any rate, the response provides us another illustration of how OEC many times mix the context of biblical passages. If one were to read Psalm 90:4 the verse does not say anything about a “day” being a thousand years. In the NKJV, the text reads, For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night. In fact, none of the major English translations say a day is being likened unto a thousand years. What is probably in mind is Peter’s summary citation of Psalm 90:4 in his second epistle that reads in 2 Peter 3:8, But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Yet even with Peter’s words, nothing that he writes is defining the word “day” in such a manner that we can now re-read Genesis chapter 1 and conclude that a “day” equals a vast number of years. So I would agree with Wartick when he writes that poetic literature makes truth claims, but with Psalm 90:4, the psalmist is making truth claims only about God’s attribute of eternality, not about how the word “day” is meant to be understood in Genesis 1. Appearance of Age The Argument Sure, some scientific evidence may make it seem as though the earth is old, but it is not actually old. Instead, God made it in such a way that it would support life, and in order to do so, it had to look old. He created light already on its way to earth and the Flood explains sedimentation. Response Nature tells us about reality, though we cannot infallibly search it (Psalm 19); God does not lie; therefore, God would not make something which by all appearances would look old, but is not in fact old. Rebuttal But Adam looked old. He was created about 30 years [or some adult age] old! Similarly, the plants in the garden, etc. would have looked old, but been new. Response
  • 24. The text doesn’t actually say how old Adam was when he was created. But that’s a side issue. More importantly, we would be able to tell how old Adam was by looking at evidences like his teeth, his bones, and the like. All of these would show signs of age. Regarding the plants, this argument really just begs the question for YEC. As it is written, “And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food…” (Genesis 2:8-9a). The text clearly says that God planted a garden. While it says that God made plants spring up, it is prefaced by the notion of planting. The notion of planting implies growth over time. And suppose this is wrong; suppose the plants were grown instantly: we’d still be able to test them and see how old they actually were by looking at things like cell division and tree rings. cslewisI have dealt with the the “appearance of age” defeaters in another post when I was interacting with theistic evolutionary arguments, On Matters of Age I’ll refer people to it; but to offer a few comments in response to Wartick’s response. The idea of an “appearance of age” is not to say God created something in a deceptive fashion to give it the appearance of being old when in fact it was but merely a few hours old. No. It is better to say God created His creation to be fully functional. The earth and all that was therein was created fully functional for man’s use. Fruit trees already bearing fruit, birds all ready flying, animals already grown and fully able to do what animals were created to do. The same can be said about the stars. Though from our extremely limited perspective they appear to be light-years old, they were in fact only a two days when Adam saw them. God made them to be as such. How God did that may be open for debate. It could be that everything was divinely accelerated so that they gained their full function instantaneously. Whatever the case, His revelation is His revelation and I believe it as it is written. There is no deception and the OEC wrongly assumes deception would be taking place. I noted this in my article I just linked. Take for example Christ’s miracle feeding the five thousand. The fish and loaves were obviously created in just mere moments, but the fish never swam. They were never eggs that grew into baby fish that in turn grew over the course of a year or more to become fish ready to be netted, prepared, and consumed as a meal. The same is with the loaves. They did not come from wheat that was planted, that grew over the summer, that was harvested, threshed, turned to flour, and then made into bread to be eaten. A process which would take several months. Both the fish and the bread had “an appearance of age,” or better, was fully functional to perform the purpose of what they were created to do: feed 15,000 people or more.
  • 25. For those who may have read it, consider for a moment The Magician’s Nephew, the first book in C.S. Lewis’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Lewis, who by the way is a favorite thinker among BIOLA trained apologists, describes Aslan’s creation of Narnia. Aslan, a majestic lion who represents Lewis’s Christ figure throughout his series, walks back and forth across the world of Narnia singing his beautiful song. As he goes along singing, everything in Narnia comes into existence almost at once. Lewis’s description is powerful. Now certainly Lewis is telling us a story, but in his story he could very well have captured what truly happened at creation. There is no reason to doubt such happened when we are talking about the Almighty God of Scripture. Presuppose Naturalism The Argument This one is extremely common when one listens to/watches debates between YEC and old earth proponents. Essentially, the argument goes like this: “You are presupposing naturalism in order to come up with an old earth. I presuppose the Bible is true instead. The difference is I [the YEC] am aware of my presupposition.” Response Strictly speaking this argument is actually completely false. Naturalism is the philosophical position that only the natural world exists. The debates in which this argument is often brought up are very often between Christians of opposing views. Therefore, because they are both Christians, neither one is operating under the presupposition of naturalism. Rebuttal The YEC may press this objection, however, and say what they mean is that one is presupposing a naturalistic methodology as opposed to the entire worldview. Response Define “naturalistic methodology.” 1) If you mean assuming “uniformitarianism”: see the argument and response below. 2) If by “naturalistic methodology” you mean something else, show how that is the case. naturalismStrictly speaking, he is correct with regards to his definition of naturalism. However, is the YEC wrong for leveling the charge of “presupposing naturalism” against the OEC? It probably would be helpful to re-phrase the argument to say how the OEC is unwittingly embracing a naturalistic hermeneutic when he engages the issue of origins. What Wartick goes on to state in his second response as a naturalistic methodology.
  • 26. Now, he challenges the YEC to demonstrate what he means by “naturalistic methodology.” I would argue that what is in play here regarding “naturalistic methodology” is the faulty view of general revelation that OEC advocate in their overall apologetic. The OEC typically claims nature is a second source of divine truth that serves as an authority regarding God’s creation. Hugh Ross always likens nature as a secondary testament or God’s 67th book of revelation. It is argued that both special revelation, the Word of God, and general revelation, nature, are revealed by God and because both realms have their origin with God, then both cannot contradict each other. There is, however, a problem with this notion of a realm for special revelation and a realm for general revelation that allegedly never contradict each other because they both come from the Creator. Simply put, what the Bible reveals about the history of the world and what nature supposedly reveals about the history of the world, obviously conflict with each other. It is the reason why we have YEC and OEC in the first place and Wartick was compelled to write up his initial post. But the Bible is not in conflict with general revelation, or nature. What is in conflict are the interpretive presuppositions OEC bring to studying nature and Scripture, or the so-called methodology they utilize that attempts to reconcile them. It is assumed by the OEC, that because God is the creator, that nature is self-defining and authoritative. Hence, the OEC believes what the men who study nature, i.e., scientists from the various fields of science, conclude about nature needs to be considered the correct way to understand the nature. So, for the OEC, when the scientist concludes that nature is telling us the universe is billions of years old and life developed (evolved) over millions of years upon the Earth, they are not necessarily wrong about their views of history of origins on our planet. The OEC then weighs their conclusions against what Scripture teaches. The interpretation of “nature” that brings an OEC to the conclusion that the earth is old was determined by unbelieving individuals who presuppose strict naturalism. So when the YEC says the OEC is operating from a position of naturalistic philosophy or whatever, that is what he has in mind. There truly are now two conflicting authorities supposedly telling us two entirely different stories regarding where the world came from, where life came from, and where this world is going. From the vantage point of the YEC, the OEC doesn’t seem to take that presupposition into consideration. Uniformitarianism The Argument The only way to come up with an old earth is by assuming that everything has been uniform forever; in other words, the processes in place now are operating at the same speed they always have.
  • 27. Response Let’s apply this argument to one field: geology. Geology does come up with ages around 4.5 billion years old for the age of the earth. Now, the problem is that this is not due to uniformitarianism. Rather, geologists must take into account the fact that catastrophes do happen. For example, a huge meteor hitting the earth would change the geological landscape. Modern geology is neither catastrophist nor uniformitarian; rather, it must take both into account. And it still comes up with an “ancient” earth. The problem is that YECs go to the opposite extreme and actually assume that a catastrophe (or numerous catastrophes) can account for all geologic evidence. By citing specific examples of catastrophism, they then apply a catastrophic geology to the rest of the earth. It’s exactly the methodology YECs critique, but then they do it themselves. This is simply naive. Furthermore, the burden of proof here is upon the YEC to show that the rates could increase at such a monumental rate on such a monumental scale that everything we observe that looks ancient is, in fact, ‘young.’ They must make the argument. Here we have an unfortunate display of ignorance. I don’t expect our author, who is a BIOLA trained apologist who has been influence by deep time views of history by Reasons to Believe, to have a working knowledge of geology. I don’t have a “working” knowledge of the ins and outs of geology. But, with what I do know, even from a secular education in high school and college, he is honestly more naive as he claims his YEC detractors are. I’d encourage him to actually read what geologists believe about uniformitarianism. A commenter left two book recommendations in the comments under my second article, “Bursting the Limits of Time: the Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Revolution” by Martin J.S. Rudwick, and “The Man Who Found Time: James Hutton and the Discovery of the Earth’s Antiquity” by Jack Repcheck. Both books are written by men who are experts in their fields, who adhere to deep time perspectives of the earth, and present the history of the earth as gradual uniformitarianism. It is important to note also that both books, within their working titles, recognize how geology challenged the biblical history advocated by Christians up until that time which was a 6,000 year old history. I would also encourage Wartick to read on the subject from a creationist perspective. Roger Patterson’s book on earth sciences [Available on-line HERE] which examines and evaluates all of the major high school texts books on the subject of earth sciences, would be a good place for a basic start. Then I would recommend reading through Terry Mortenson’s doctoral thesis on the history of geology that is also available on-line HERE. Suffice it to say, the uniformitarian argument is an important one, because those naturalistic scientists we just discussed presuppose it in a lot of their research and conclusions. For Wartick to just sort of wave off this objection as if YEC are idiots and don’t know what they are talking about, displays someone who is profoundly out of touch with how naturalism and uniformitarianism have been historically related.
  • 28. Related Evaluating Old Earth Responses to Young Earth Arguments [1]In "Biblical Studies" Evaluating Old Earth Responses to Young Earth Arguments [2]In "Biblical Studies" Peer Review and Tin-foil Hat TheologyIn "Michael Heiser fan club" This entry was posted in Biblical Studies, Evolution-ID-Creationism, J.W.Wartick by fivepointer. Bookmark the permalink. 5 thoughts on “Evaluating Old Earth Responses to Young Earth Arguments [3]” Donavan Dear on May 18, 2014 at 6:08 pm said: The appearance of age There was a fairly recent supernova discovered on Jan 22, 2014 in a galaxy called M82, it is about 12 million lightyears from earth, so the light that was observable from earth showed the supernova took 12 million years traveling at a rate of about 186 thousand miles per second. But if God made the universe with the appearance of age God made the image of the star exploding in-between the Earth and the star, since the YEC people say the Earth is less than 7,000 years old. The star didn’t really explode at all, in fact the elements that were shown expanding around the exploding star are just an “fake movie” also, In fact every star you see in space is not really the light from that star it is just an “image” or in the case of the supernova a “pretend show” because the star never really exploded it was just Gods “light image” explosion that he created to just look like the star went super nova. This is deceptive? I would ask, what is a lie? Answer, a lie is a statement that has a deliberate intent to deceive. If the YEC says theses distances are incorrect then he would have to say that mathematics and logic are also incorrect because we know enough now to calculate the distance of stars, by simply using math with no theoretical guesses at all. The speed of light is so constant that the standard of distance is no longer a platinum-iridium alloy meter stick but the distance light travels in 1/299 792 485 of a second. Saying that there was a super expansion of the universe is arbitrarily and extraBiblical a way to try to fit science into Genesis. The problem with math and YEC is important because only the Christian world view can explain math logic and Truth. YEC has a problem here in my opinion. Reply ↓ burrito34 on May 21, 2014 at 12:21 pm said: Are you not aware that these objections were considered some time ago and rejected by Biblical Creationists?
  • 29. “Saying that there was a super expansion of the universe is arbitrarily and extraBiblical a way to try to fit science into Genesis. The problem with math and YEC is important because only the Christian world view can explain math logic and Truth. YEC has a problem here in my opinion.” So do the secularists. I’ve read that problems also exist with Big Bang version of the expansion of the universe the Big Bang and that model is no less arbitrary. You would do well to familiarize yourself with current BC argumentation so as not to present straw men arguments as these. Burrito I realize this is not a new argument, I’ve read about -White Holes- and all kinds of rationalizations to fix this problem scientifically but I think the real problem is the newspaper literalism view of Genesis. Forget about science just understand that this literalist approach forces a “false history” for anything in space farther than 7,000 light years. Sure YEC people don’t want to talk about it but the fact remains that God does not deceive he would not make fake super novas that show an explosion that never happened. BTY you never want to discredit the education of someone you don’t know, simply bad form. Also Just today 5/26/14 a research paper came out showing problems with the Big Bang. Things always change in science, but I think God would not design fake images of fake explosions and set them at a fake distance from us to see his glory in space. Reply ↓ burrito34 on May 29, 2014 at 10:08 am said: First off, I apologize for assuming that you had not read up on other arguments. It just seemed that way to me. However, no recent Biblical Creationist scientists I’ve read claim that God made “fake supernovas”, and they would agree that yes, those objects in space are that far off, and disagree that a normal reading of Genesis “forces” anything. Yet God Himself is quoted in Exodus 20:11 and Exodus 31:17 as saying, “in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.” How exactly that happened remains to be discovered. Because of God’s words in Exodus that reinforce the Genesis 1 and 2 narratives, I remain confident that the six day creation account and distant astronomical bodies are in some way compatible with one another. Also, one cannot dismiss consideration of the miraculous; even
  • 30. OEC’s will admit that time, space, matter and energy just weren’t going to start themselves without a Divine push. At some point we must appeal to mystery. Reply ↓ Pingback: Evaluating Old Earth Responses to Young Earth Arguments [4] | hipandthigh ============================= Evaluating Old Earth Responses to Young Earth Arguments [4] Posted on June 2, 2014 I’d like to return to my evaluation of a post I came across within the last few months that outlines what are meant to be OEC responses to YEC arguments. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 will bring folks up to speed. Continuing along with our next set, Look, it’s what the Bible says The Argument I just read the Bible and agree with it. It says days, I say days; it gives genealogies, I add them together. All I do is take Genesis literally. You use man’s fallible ideas to distort the text. Response It has already been shown that the word “day” has several literal meanings. It has already been shown that “day” is used for a longer period than a “day” in the context of creation in Genesis. Thus, one could respond by saying “I just read the text literally too. On the first ‘age’, God created…. on the second age, God created…., etc.” Furthermore, the genealogies are incomplete. It can be demonstrated that a number of genealogies in the Bible skip people or operate in an inexact fashion. By assuming the genealogies are linear, one has read anachronistically a 21st century notion of a genealogy back onto the text. That would be one of man’s fallible ideas. Furthermore, the notion of an old earth proponent importing ‘man’s fallible ideas’ into the text can be equally applied to YEC. Who says that YECs are infallible? Would you claim you read the Bible perfectly and discern everything correctly? kidsbibleIt is with this response that our author, J.W. Wartick, becomes redundant with his arguments, at least with the first response concerning the word “days.” Let me interact a bit with his statements here: First, as I pointed out in my second article, the word “days” has a specific meaning as defined by
  • 31. context. So while it is true that “days” can mean at times the idea of “age,” that is not the case in Genesis 1. I’ll refer the readers back to what I already wrote regarding “days” rather than retreading it here. Secondly, it is also true, as Mr. Wartick notes, that not all of the genealogies are complete nor were they meant to be a precise record of all of biblical history. However, we do know there is some tight precision with the genealogies from the creation of Adam to the time of Noah as noted in Genesis 5 because of the manner in which the genealogical lists are compiled. For instance, the name of the father, the age of father when the next important link was born, and then the age of the father when he died. Moreover, 1 Chronicles 1-9 and Luke 3 mirror each other and it is implied that Luke’s list is accurate, without the presence of long gaps, from the birth of Jesus back to the creation of Adam. Where “gaps” may exist in the genealogies there are not many of them, nor are they lengthy, thousands of years of gaps that will give the OEC the deep time he needs for his view. A good example is Genesis 10 and 11 because the Tower of Babel incident would have hampered the ability of people groups to maintain records at least until the divine scrambling of languages settled down. You weren’t there! The Argument You weren’t there at creation. Neither were these “scientists” you cite in your “evidence.” How do you know what happened? Response You weren’t there either, my friend. However, when we look at the stars, we are looking at the past. Furthermore, we can measure things like cosmic background radiation, sedimentation rates, volcanic activity, and the like in order to discern how old the earth is. Again, God tells us that nature gives us a record (Psalm 19), so one wonders why we are being told to doubt that record. The point of this argument, if we can call it that, is to show that no one human being was there at creation. As far as “scientists” go, they live in the present and are merely building models of Earth’s history past and then drawing conclusions from those models. But YEC argue, and rightly so, that we do have a creator who was there, because He created, and He told us how he created, and the length of time it took Him to create. CBR, sedimentation rates, volcanic activity, and the like are not self-authenticating evidences; It’s data that must be interpreted. It is assumed, at least since the time of the Enlightenment, that biblical history has no relevance when considering such data, and that data has to be interpreted on its own merits and under its own “set of rules,” as it were. Historic creationists, however, have understood that the natural world does not stand alone apart from God, because
  • 32. it is God’s creation. Thus, we don’t treat our evaluation of it in a neutral fashion, but must evaluate it in light of what God has certainly revealed. Very Good The Argument God says that his creation was “very good”; how could there then be animal death, thorns, cancer, and the like. The world would have been beautiful, without death, and without any kind of evils. Think about it, you’re saying that God was calling cancer eating away at dinosaurs and the like a “very good” thing! Response First, it seems very often that when YECs use the phrase “very good” what they mean is “perfect” in their own eyes. Why think that animal death is necessarily bad? If animals didn’t die, ecosystems would collapse: all the plant-eaters would starve, insects would take over and eat all plant life, and any number of other “bad” things would happen. Animal death is part of a beautiful system of maintaining order in the world. Using the cancer example to try to argue that it couldn’t be “very good” is importing human emotions into creatures which are not moral agents. Simply put, an animal is not a moral agent. This doesn’t mean it is good to kill them, but it isn’t bad either. The harm comes when a moral agent intentionally brings unnecessary harm to an animal. I would like to see an argument for what “very good” means to YECs. Why should it mean absolute perfection? Finally, one must wonder about the fact that God planted the garden in Eden and it is that creation which is “very good”. God planted this Garden, and it was the localized area in which Adam and Eve were placed. That’s what the text says. Nowhere does it say the whole earth was like the Garden. Here we find J.W. making some regrettable and embarrassing remarks about what YEC believe about the phrase, “very good.” What he has written here demonstrates clearly that he hasn’t seriously engaged the YEC literature, let alone the text of Genesis. Let me consider a couple of his comments. First, he implies that when Genesis 1:31 states that God’s creation was “very good,” that to suggest it means “perfect” or “flawless” is something of a silly notion. But that only shows his ignorance of the biblical text here in Genesis, because that is exactly what it does means. The word translated as “good” is tob and it is followed by meob, that is translated as “very” or “exceedingly.” Together, here in the context of the creation week, the point that the author is making is that God’s creation is so good that it cannot possibly be improved upon. It has been
  • 33. made in the exact way God had intended it to be made and to function. Higher critical, Lutheran OT scholar, Gerhard von Rad, who is not particularly known for his evangelical, YEC views, wrote in his commentary on Genesis these comments about “very good:” Verse 31 contains the concluding formula of approval for the entire work of creation. This formula ‘Behold, it was very good’ is of great importance within the terse and plain language of the author. It could also be translated ‘completely perfect,’ and rightly refers more to the wonderful purposefulness and harmony than to the beauty of the entire cosmos. [von Rad, 61] deathBut I can already hear J.W. say that he clarified his “perfect” comment by connecting it to the concept of animal death. Animal death, according to him, is a beautiful system that maintains the order of the world. But that is not how the Bible sees death. Death is an intrusion into God’s creation. Adam’s sin brought a curse not only upon the entire human race, but also upon the creation itself, including animals. Creation longs for redemption and will experience in the eschaton (1 Corinthians 42-58). Moreover, Scripture defines “living” as the concept of a breath of life. Genesis 1:28, 30 describes animals as “living things” or “living creatures” because they had the breath of life. That is confirmed in the flood narrative in Genesis 7:22, 23. And further, contrary to what J.W. states in his response, animals did not prey on each other in the original creation, but were given vegetables and fruits to eat just like man was (Genesis 1:29, 30). One cannot distinguish between “moral” creatures, mankind, from “non-moral” ones, brute animals, when it comes to death. What makes man distinct from all the other animals is the fact that he was created in the image and likeness of God. That is what makes him unique. However, both man and animals are described in Scripture as living and their death was never a part of God’s original creation. I have an article on this subject that goes into more detail that can be read here. Compromise The Argument Unfortunately, this is one of the less subtle ad hominem types of arguments YECs employ. It basically goes like this: use a scare word like “evolution,” put in in context with an old earth proponent, and then call them compromisers. For example, “Wartick, who believes in a form of old earth creationism–really just a variety of theistic evolutionism–chooses to compromise the text to fit secular science.” Response Unfortunately, this very type of argument is used to discredit many fellow Christians. Rather than focusing on the issues at hand, it is indeed easier to just bash the opposition. For the
  • 34. record, I am not a theistic evolutionist. The point is that others who hold views similar to my own suffer from arguments like this against them. It’s dishonest. The most unfortunate thing to take from this type of argument is that the average Christian on the street is very affected by it. Recently, I recommended an article from an extremely prominent Christian philosopher to another Christian. Their response was that if this other believer thought evolution might be true, they were too biased and they would not read the article. That’s right, the effect of this type of argument is that it brings about a situation in which people won’t even read what other believers have to say about a topic. One must wonder, at least a little bit, about a position which discourages adherents to read the works of the opposition. Why not read and consider other viewpoints and take what is true? neanderthalCertainly I can understand J.W.’s frustration with being labelled a compromiser when he otherwise affirms Christian orthodoxy (his Molinism tendencies, aside). That stated, however, he needs to face the raw reality that in order to maintain the deep-time constructs of Earth’s history he has embraced as genuine fact and so doggedly defends, he has to also adapt a lot of secular, evolutionary interpretation to how one reads the Bible. A strict creationism, even if one believes the Earth is old, does not sync at all with the philosophy of evolution, which has as one of its key pillars, the concept of deep-time. Old earth creationists place a premium upon the research and findings of secular, evolutionary scientists, because they trust that those scientists are reading the data properly (millions of years of earth history), but are just drawing wrong conclusions about that data (that a divine designer wasn’t involved in the process). And because OEC do believe secular views of deep- time are accurate for the most part, when there are evolutionary “findings” that allegedly conflict with the classic reading of the creation account, the OEC are then obligated to accommodate the Bible to those “findings.” The problem, though, is that those “findings” can play havoc upon historic, Christian theology, say for example the idea of death before Adam’s sin as I noted above. Millions of years of death and struggle existed before the biblical history of Genesis even supposedly took place, and because OEC are certain about deep-time, the fossils have to be explained somehow and so death is redefined and alternately explained than what has been the traditional view of the subject. That accommodation can also become a problem when previously trusted “findings” of secularists are changed because of newer findings and more precise data. Take for instance the concept of a pre-Adamic race of men. In order to uphold the secular view of man’s ancient history, Hugh Ross, progressive creationist and old Earth promoter, has argued that all of the examples of so-called ape-men who allegedly lived in the millions of years prior to Adam were soulless hominids. Young earth creationists, however, have understood those “hominids” as
  • 35. being either extinct apes or in the case of Neanderthals, extinct ethnic groups that were fully human and died out after the flood. Ross and his Reasons To Believe apologetic ministry have chided YEC for many years for believing Neanderthals were fully human, insisting instead that they were soulless, pre-Adamic hominids. However, when in 2010 it was announced that DNA findings show that Neanderthals inter-bred with modern humans, that caused a dilemma for RTB and OEC in general. Whereas YEC reiterated that those findings proved their contention about Neanderthal’s all along, Fuz Rana, apologist with RTB, went forth claiming that those finding proved that bestiality took place and hence one of the reasons for the prohibitions in Leviticus 18 and 20 and thus ignoring a major theological problem adopting such a weird view has for his Christian apologetics. That is the sort of compromise the argument has in mind, and I believe it is one that is nowhere near being ad hominem as J.W. claims it is and one that both he and all OEC need to take to heart.

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