Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In the Beginning ...

God created the heavens and the earth. It's the first doctrine of Scripture. It's one of the first doctrines of the so-called Apostles' Creed. God's title of "Creator" is found in both Old and New Testaments. Adam is in Christ's line and Adam's very real sin is central to the need for Christ's incarnation. That Adam and Eve were created by God as God claims is a matter of believing what God says. I'm disturbed that people think this doctrine is open to compromise.

Very briefly, the typical objections:

1) People used to think that the world was flat and/or the center of the universe.

Neither the flatness of the earth nor its gravitational relationship to the Sun is specifically a doctrinal matter. Some folks tried to make it a doctrinal matter, but they were mistaken in doing so.

2) You're just employing "God of the gaps"

No, we're not. God observed the creation of the universe and has accurately and truthfully reported it to us. Our conclusion that God created the world is based on his eyewitness testimony.

3) You're backward to accept Scripture over Science

The question of origins is an historical question, not a scientific question. We have the best possible historical source, the very word of God.

4) But you are ignoring Science!

Scientists who are employing philosophical naturalism always do and always will yield naturalistic conclusions. Expecting anything else is like hoping that the "X" key of your typewriter will occasionally provide an "O" on the paper. That's not how it works. If you press the "X" button, you get an "X".

Conclusion

Belief in special creation is a central tenet of the Christian faith.

Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

There is not room for compromise on this subject, just as there is not room for compromise on the virgin birth (which purely naturalistic science does not accept) or the resurrection (same objection from philosophical naturalism).

-TurretinFan

38 comments:

Pilgrimsarbour said...

God observed the creation of the universe and has accurately and truthfully reported it to us.

This statement seemed a bit odd to me. I'm sure you mean, based on everything else you said, that God observed His own creating act, right? It sounded like He was a passive observer from the outside that witnessed the act and reported it to us. I guess I was a little thrown by the "observing" thing, unless, of course, you're relating it as a term to science.

Pete Hoge said...

I never looked at it that
way; God giving us His word
on Creation through Genesis.
Reconciles the scientific
viewpoint with the sacred
view.

Pete.

Turretinfan said...

Pilgrim's Arbour:

Yes. To use the language of Scripture related to observation:

Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Gen 1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

- TurretinFan

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Ah, you are right, brother! I observe that you have responded excellently!

John Lollard said...

I hope you do not consider my objections to be of the form that you are backwards or denying science. Yet I do have objections, and I feel like this post was an invitation to further discussion of this topic.

Do you consider the word "day" here to refer to a 24-hour day? (I am pretty sure that you do). If you do, then do you hold to the view of unreal time?

If you do not believe "day" refers to a 24-hour day, but rather to an "era" (I do not believe this is your position), then for how long are we to believe plants existed on the earth before the sun came into existence, or for how long there was water and a sky before there was an earth? For how long were there flowers before there were bees to pollenate them? For how long were there carnivorous birds like falcons before there were animals for them to eat, and for how long were there insect-eating birds before there were insects for them to eat?

If you hold to the view of unreal time, or that a false appearance of age is an essential part of God's creation ex nihilo, then could you explain this belief a bit better?

Would you agree that past Christians who believed in a flat earth did so based on exegesis of the biblical text? If you do agree, could you point out from the Bible alone how such an interpretation is incorrect?

Since I presume that you believe in a spherical earth, would you say that you are denying God's ability to recount history as He has made it, or would you say that you are allowing scientific information to inform your understanding of God's revealed word? Or maybe you would say something else?

Is my belief that God's sovereign, active, purposed, direct wok of creating the heavens, the earth, all the life in it and lastly mankind in His own image was worked through the phenomena of a big bang, gravity, dark energy and evolution all really a denial of God as Creator? (That seems to be a thesis of yours). While I do not take this position, would a denial of any historical first man and woman to commit the original sin therefore require a denial of something immediately obvious just by observing living people? I do believe in a first man and woman who sinned in defiance of God, but even if I didn't, the human tendency to do and love evil is evidentially true, thus the need for regeneration is a living reality that I can see first without the account of Adam and Eve to explain it. In fact, as I recall, I think that I did perceive my need for Christ's regeneration before I knew who Adam and Eve were.

I know that it is a lot of questions, but I get the feeling that you would be glad to answer them. Thank you, brother, and thank you for your tenacity to teach and correct. Be blessed.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

John Lollard,

I'll pick up on a couple of your points, if you don't mind.

...for how long are we to believe plants existed on the earth before the sun came into existence, or for how long there was water and a sky before there was an earth? For how long were there flowers before there were bees to pollenate them?

The short answer is, I suppose, if God can do anything at all, He can certainly create things to be upheld by His hand until everything else is in place in nature to sustain things that way. Those arguments never made sense to me when dealing with the power of God.

Would you agree that past Christians who believed in a flat earth did so based on exegesis of the biblical text?

I would guess a poetic reference to "the four corners of the earth" (Rev. 7:1; 20:8) gave people certain impressions of the physicality of the earth. However, I would argue that passages like this:

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in (Is. 40:22)

might give the impression of a spherical shape for the earth.

The point is, none of this language is meant to be scientific, so taking it as such is hermeneutically hazardous.

Now on the historicity of Adam:

We run the risk of devolving the God-breathedness of the Scriptures entirely if we deny the historical Adam. The whole NT typology of Christ as the second Adam depends on the historicity of a literal Adam to explain the fall, sin and its effects. The need for a Saviour is placed in jeopardy on this crucial issue.

Blessings in Christ,

Pilgrimsarbour

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I meant to add that the poetic material in the Bible such as mentioned above is clearly that. The story of Adam is presented to us as historical narrative. I do not believe God meant for us to understand it metaphorically.

Coram Deo said...

JL,

I've thought about your comments all day since I first read through the discussion you and TF had over in the thread which evidently lead to this post very early this morning.

Honestly I feel very sorry for you. Please understand that this isn't a smug sort of "I'm more blindly faithful and holy than you are, DOUBTER!" sentiment, rather it grieves my spirit that you seem to profess faith in the Infinte Creator and Judge of the universe, yet you walk by sight and not by faith.

Your comments come across strongly, to me at least, as almost anguished. Maybe I'm reading too much into things because I fully realize that much is lost in translation when there's no tone of voice, inflection, and body language involved in the transmission of the message.

Yet as TF has hinted already, it isn't a "blind leap of faith" to take God at His Word, it's the most reasonable, rational, and logical thing imaginable.

Science itself, at least good science, is impossible apart from the God Who Is. It's only by God's special revelation that the natural revelation may be properly understood.

This is not to say that an atheistic scientist cannot make true and factual observations about the created order, clearly they can, but they are only able to do so because God created the kind of universe that He did, and equipped man with the (usually) reliable noetic equipment that He's provided.

Sadly the natural (sinful) man suppresses the truth in unrighteousness, and therefore he reaches corrupted conclusions about his findings which he bases upon his sinfully corrupted reasoning powers.

In other words when one begins with the presupposition that there is no God, the ultimate end result is always and everywhere foolishness, irrationality, and error.

Even when one wishes to begin on so-called "neutral" grounds, one has already ceded God and His special revelation, and therefore ultimate conclusion is predetermined to futility.

Again, this doesn't mean that 2+2 equals something different to an atheist than it does to a Christian, unless one or the other is insane or a liar, but the atheist and the Christian have totally different worldviews which are opposed at every point about how and why they can agree that 2+2 equals 4.

One arrives at his conclusion rationally, and one irrationally.

In Christ,
CD

Ryan said...

I think too much emphasis is placed on the ontological elements of Genesis 1-3. I dare say that the intent of the author of Genesis was not to cause a hubbub about the historicity of OT figures (even though such discussion has its place). Lately, however it seems that Christians have forgetten that protology encompasses far more important elements, like the concept of the covenant or Christology:

http://unapologetica.blogspot.com/search/label/Fesko

John Lollard said...

"Science itself, at least good science, is impossible apart from the God Who Is. It's only by God's special revelation that the natural revelation may be properly understood."

Amen. Glory to God. :)

Yes, CD, there is a lot of anguish about this for me. The situation does, in fact, pain me. Not to the point that I weep for my dearly beloved brothers and sisters, but it does hurt. What pains me is that the very most I can say of you in your defense - a defense I long to give - when I hear you ridiculed in the classroom is that you are being consistent to the written word of God. Which, as you might imagine, doesn't function as a defense at all on any academic level, and rather just opens you up to more ridicule. While I am sure you would be willing to take the scorn of arrogant men, I cannot stand to hear it. Especially when I consider myself to ALSO be faithful to the word of God. If I'm faithful to the word of God (which I would argue in the classroom and here) then your version of being faithful does seem to be somewhat silly and superfluous.

I assure you, CD, that there are plenty of the redeemed working in the fields of science who revere God as Creator and Judge. Unless you mean to imply that even those who the Spirit is sanctifying wish to suppress the revelation of God, then there should be more than what we have. I will admit that I tend to wickedness apart from the grace of God, but I don't think that will work to explain my conclusions.

I am not a weird case. There are people like me who me who begin with the presupposition that God is the ultimate reality, the eternal Logos behind all of creation, the author and source of 2+2 = 4 and e^(πi)+1 = 0, and the One who inspired the saints who wrote the Bible, and conclude based on the evidence that evolution is true and the world is older than a surface reading of Genesis suggests. I promise, I did not begin with an anti-supernatural bias, I in fact began studying science because I was so awed by God's authorship in mathematical physics, and I would be thrilled if tomorrow a rock-solid scientific case for fiat creationism fell into my lap. I would publish it forthright, to the glory of God and the encouragement of the saints.

CD, I appreciate very much your feeling pain on my behalf. Please pray for me, if you have the time, and that the enemy will find no cause to use my statements to weaken the faith of the saints.

Pilgrimsarbour, I apologize that space leaves me unable to respond to you.

And TF, thank you for your hospitality here.

John Lollard said...

Thanks for praying for me, whoever it was that did! Definitely made a difference. I ended up reading the first few chapters of 1 Corinthians.

"Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" - v. 20

And thanks again everyone for a very irenic discussion. I'm sorry if my initial comments were rather flustered.

Turretinfan said...

"I hope you do not consider my objections to be of the form that you are backwards or denying science."

Thank you.

"Yet I do have objections, and I feel like this post was an invitation to further discussion of this topic."

Yes, it is.

"Do you consider the word "day" here to refer to a 24-hour day? (I am pretty sure that you do). If you do, then do you hold to the view of unreal time?"

Yes, the kind of day that consists of an ordinary cycle of one period of darkness and one period of light or "evening" and "morning" as the text puts it.

Unreal time? What do you mean?

"If you do not believe "day" refers to a 24-hour day, but rather to an "era" (I do not believe this is your position), ... "

Correct - that's not my position. I'm certainly not insisting that the day had to be exactly 24 and not 23 or 25 hours long, but essentially a regular day the kind that has one evening and one morning.

"If you hold to the view of unreal time, or that a false appearance of age is an essential part of God's creation ex nihilo, then could you explain this belief a bit better?"

I'm not sure what you mean. However, to take one example, I believe Adam was created from the dust of the earth as a man, not as an embryo, fetus, or newborn. So, looking at him, one might wrongly conclude that he was 20 years old or so.

"Would you agree that past Christians who believed in a flat earth did so based on exegesis of the biblical text?"

Some possibly did. I can't recall any off hand, but it is possible.

"If you do agree, could you point out from the Bible alone how such an interpretation is incorrect?"

I'm not sure I can prove it wrong from the Scripture alone. There are lots of things that the Bible doesn't clearly address. The exact shape of the earth may be one of them.

There are, however, at least two verses that fit better with a spherical, orbital earth model than with a flat-earth model:

Job 26:7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

Isaiah 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

[cont'd in part 2]

Turretinfan said...

[cont'd from part 1]

"Since I presume that you believe in a spherical earth, would you say that you are denying God's ability to recount history as He has made it, or would you say that you are allowing scientific information to inform your understanding of God's revealed word? Or maybe you would say something else?"

I'd say that precise shape of the earth and its gravitational relationship with the other celestial bodies isn't a topic of any significant discussion in Scripture.

The Bible essentially doesn't address those topics, although - as noted above - it briefly alludes to them.

"Is my belief that God's sovereign, active, purposed, direct wok of creating the heavens, the earth, all the life in it and lastly mankind in His own image was worked through the phenomena of a big bang, gravity, dark energy and evolution all really a denial of God as Creator? (That seems to be a thesis of yours)."

I don't think that's your intention. I do think that it is the effect, despite your contrary intention.

"While I do not take this position, would a denial of any historical first man and woman to commit the original sin therefore require a denial of something immediately obvious just by observing living people?"

I'm not sure what this question means. There can't be any men or women without first ones, unless one wishes to suggest an eternal succession of humans, which is should be self-evidently absurd.

"I do believe in a first man and woman who sinned in defiance of God, but even if I didn't, the human tendency to do and love evil is evidentially true, thus the need for regeneration is a living reality that I can see first without the account of Adam and Eve to explain it."

The problem of evil is solved by reference to the historical reality of the garden events.

"In fact, as I recall, I think that I did perceive my need for Christ's regeneration before I knew who Adam and Eve were."

I don't deny that God gives revelation of the need for repentance through the light of nature (such as the conscience).

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"I think too much emphasis is placed on the ontological elements of Genesis 1-3. I dare say that the intent of the author of Genesis was not to cause a hubbub about the historicity of OT figures (even though such discussion has its place). Lately, however it seems that Christians have forgetten that protology encompasses far more important elements, like the concept of the covenant or Christology ... "

I'm not sure that those things are more important, but they are also important and shouldn't be neglected.

The intent of the historical sections of Scripture is not to cause hubbub over their historicity, of course. Nevertheless, they are historical.

Indeed, while Adam is an important person for Christology and covenant:

1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

He is most frequently mentioned specifically as an historical figure, see Genesis 5, 1 Chronicles 1:1, and Luke 3:38, for example.

- TurretinFan

John Lollard said...

Unreal time was a notion discussed briefly in he Omphalos article that Steve posted. I understand that Adam was made fully grown, not as a fetus, and that he was probably made to already have pre-digested food in his stomach so that he wouldn't immediately starve to death, and he was probably made to have calluses on his feet so that walking wouldn't be so painful. That sort of reasoning makes sense, and that is what the article calls unreal time.

What doesn't make sense, to me at least, is why the universe would need to have billions of years of false history. Why would Adam need to have a false pedigree going through apes, monkeys, lemurs, and shrews? Having orchard trees already in bloom and producing fruit makes total sense as it immediately lends itself to the survival of God's creation, but how do the billions of years of false history of expansion and cooling of the universe and of gradual genetic drift lend themselves necessary aspects of Adam's creation? What is the purpose of making it look as though all things - not just tree rings and lunches, but everything - had a single origination (as opposed to a bunch of originations) billions of years ago when they did not?

Is it somehow a necessary thing that creation ex nihilo LOOK as though it happened in the manner claimed by scientists, even if it was really enacted in the way described by Genesis? That is, is there something intrinsic about a big bang that necessitates the image of it to appear in God's work of creation?

Finally, and this is the crux, you have agreed that you might not be able to argue a spherical earth on Scripture alone. (It would definitely be pretty easy to argue a circular earth from Scripture alone, but a flat circular earth is still flat). That is, you hold to a belief about the universe not immediately justifiable in God's word, while a flat-earther would have a large library of passages that I could see them using to argue their case. Apparently, you are okay with this conundrum of your rejection of the obvious Scriptural interpretation of the shape of the earth because the shape of the earth is not essential to salvation.

I agree that it isn't, but I'm not sure how a literalist interpretation of Genesis is essential to salvation either. I agree that acknowledgement of God as Creator who made all things by the power of His Word out of nothing is essential, that Adam and Eve were made equally in His image is essential, that Adam and Eve were one man and one woman is important for doctrine of Christian marriage, as is the Fall essential for Christian soteriology.

I do not see how belief in the sky and water coming one day before the earth, and then plants coming a day before the sun and two days before birds and fish, and then animals and then mankind, all about six or ten thousand years ago, is at all essential to doctrine or salvation.

Would you agree that, if it were the case that all of these particular minor details in interpretation (how long it took, the order things were made, the way things were made) were not essential - and maybe they are totally essential, but if not - then would you agree that it is not a big deal if one interprets these events and processes in light of the information available to us from the sciences?

That seems to be what you said for the shape of the earth. That is what I am going to say for God's act of creation.

I look forward to your response.

steve said...

John Lollard said...

"If you hold to the view of unreal time, or that a false appearance of age is an essential part of God's creation ex nihilo, then could you explain this belief a bit better?"

The adjective "false" is tendentious and invidious.

Strictly speaking, I don't think physical objects present the appearance of age.

Rather, we date objects based on our experience of the aging process. Not the discrete object alone. Not a snapshot, but a motion picture.

Because we're used to seeing the effects of time on physical objects, because we compare earlier stages with later stages, we acquire a sense of what's older or newer. So it isn't just the object. Rather, it's the object in time. Our perception of time. The "passage" of time. Watching things age and die or age and decay. Pass through the life-cycle. That sort of thing.

"Would you agree that past Christians who believed in a flat earth did so based on exegesis of the biblical text?"

That's a serious overstatement:

http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/library/russell/FlatEarth.html

"If you do agree, could you point out from the Bible alone how such an interpretation is incorrect?"

As scholars like Gregory Beale have documented, the Bible uses architectural metaphors to portray the world as a cosmic temple.

steve said...

John Lollard said...

What doesn't make sense, to me at least, is why the universe would need to have billions of years of false history. Why would Adam need to have a false pedigree going through apes, monkeys, lemurs, and shrews? Having orchard trees already in bloom and producing fruit makes total sense as it immediately lends itself to the survival of God's creation, but how do the billions of years of false history of expansion and cooling of the universe and of gradual genetic drift lend themselves necessary aspects of Adam's creation? What is the purpose of making it look as though all things - not just tree rings and lunches, but everything - had a single origination (as opposed to a bunch of originations) billions of years ago when they did not?

Is it somehow a necessary thing that creation ex nihilo LOOK as though it happened in the manner claimed by scientists, even if it was really enacted in the way described by Genesis? That is, is there something intrinsic about a big bang that necessitates the image of it to appear in God's work of creation?

**************************

i) I wouldn't invoke prochronic time to explain everything you cite.

ii) However, you're taking for granted a complete package of assumptions. I'd unpack the package and discuss the individual assumptions.

steve said...

John Lollard said...

"What doesn't make sense, to me at least, is why the universe would need to have billions of years of false history. Why would Adam need to have a false pedigree going through apes, monkeys, lemurs, and shrews?"

Of course, you're only giving one side of the argument. As Gee pointed out, even on evolutionary terms it isn't possible to simply read off an evolutionary pedigree for man from the fossil record. For it's not as though the fossils are neatly arranged in an evolutionary sequence. Rather, as Gee explains, an evolutionary biologist is using an evolutionary narrative to arrange the fossils in an evolutionary sequence. So the exercise is circular.

And Gee is a Darwinian! That's even before you get around to critics of macroevolution, such as Dembski and Wells in The Design of Life (to cite just one example).

John Lollard said...

I know you're not going to believe me, but we do not need a fossil record to establish evolution. If there were no fossils of anything ever, biochemical and molecular research or presently living organisms are sufficient to point out biological lineage and trace back the generations to a common ancestor. However, we are so blessed that we do have a fossil record, and it is pretty astounding how closely that which is suggested by the fossil record correlates to that which is suggested by biochemical investigation.

I don't mean to sound dismissive, Steve, but I am only giving "one side" of the argument because so far as I can tell there is only one side. I am not saying this in a mocking way, but the only answer I seem to be getting from you and others is that sometimes scientists are wrong and some things we don't understand, and maybe things just look older than they are and maybe scientists are lying to try and deny God. I hope you do not feel insulted when I say that that sort of explanation is hardly intellectually satisfying.

I am only pursuing this because I would like an explanation from a creationist that I feel is intellectually satisfying, that does not require me to deny what appears to be reality as only an impression that we get based on our subjective understanding of time.

If you know of another side - a side that is not there mere acknowledgement of the imperfection of the fossil record or the limitations of science, or the acknowledgement that this topic is one mainly of historicity, or an apparent gap in explanation left from an evolutionary model - and a side that IS a collection of evidences that point not away from a conclusion you disagree with but towards the conclusion you are proposing and a side that accounts for all of the evidence that exists, or for all of the evidence that at least appears to exist, then I will be satisfied.

However, after a long time of reading creationist writings, I am of the opinion that scientific creationism does not offer any consistent and completed understanding of the universe that is based on evidence. Please, if you know of any writings that will prove me wrong, then I am open to reading them, I am merely stating that I have yet to find them, and I have looked.

Turretinfan said...

JL:

Steve has already said this to you, but let me take a shot at it. The methodology of establishing common ancestry genetically is flawed in at least this regard: it is circular.

The method assumes common ancestry then develops clades based on genetic similarity. The clades are then presented as evidence of common ancestry.

As you may know, the use of genetics to create the clades required some revision to the clades that were based on prior techniques.

Additionally, the genetic-based clading techniques only work on those animals (and plants, etc.) that we find living or relatively recently deceased.

So, no ... genetics hasn't established common ancestry of all things that encode genetic information using GATC - and it cannot. It can only help to create a speculative tree based on the assumption that common ancestry is true.

-TurretinFan

steve said...

John Lollard said...

"I know you're not going to believe me, but we do not need a fossil record to establish evolution. If there were no fossils of anything ever, biochemical and molecular research or presently living organisms are sufficient to point out biological lineage and trace back the generations to a common ancestor."

I'm aware of that argument. Dembski and Wells discuss that type of appeal in The Design of Life (among other things they discuss).

However, there's a deeper problem with your responses. On the one hand, you raise intellectual objections to special creation. On the other hand, you take intellectual shortcuts.

Constructive dialogue is difficult when you when you raise intellectual objections, only to evince intellectual impatience when I try to offer intellectual replies.

For instance, if you're going to bring up conventional dating schemes, then you really can't avoid philosophical debates about the nature of time, the perception of time, and the metric of time.

Likewise, you can't have an intelligent discussion of the scientific evidence if you choose to simply opt out of longstanding and ongoing debates over scientific realism v. antirealism.

But when I respond on your own terms, you act as though you can't be bothered with that sort of thing.

So before I attempt to proceed any further, I think we need to clarify the ground rules. As it stands, I find you careening between rationalism and anti-intellectualism. Sometimes you talk like a physics student, but other times you talk like a naive realist.

Do you want to have a high-level, intellectually rigorous discussion of the issue or not?

John Lollard said...

Steve, I apologize if you found me dismissive, or exuding an attitude that I cannot be bothered with your replies. I can be bothered with them (obviously, since I'm supposed to be working on a lab project right now), I am just not finding them satisfying.

With the permission of our gracious host TF, yes, I would like an academically rigorous discussion of this issue.

I am sorry that you see me careening between two positions. I will try and be more consistent in my replies. I am also sorry that you view my replies as impatient. Hopefully I will improve my tone in this remark.

First, let me insist that I actively practice a belief in the supernatural and in God's ongoing sovereignty in creation. I actively practice intercessory prayer and I actively rely upon the miracle of Christ's birth and Resurrection every day as my hope in life. I do not presume a denial of all supernatural events and neither do I conclude a denial of all supernatural events. I conclude God's divine providence.

Since I know how popular presuppositional apologetics are in these circles (and I for one am a fan), let me insist that my presuppositions about the universe are that it tends to behave in accordance with rationalistic principles, principles whose root is derived from YHWH, the Eternal Logos, who Himself is Truth, that YHWH is free to intervene in whatever way He sees fit in his created world, that the Bible is divinely inspired of the Spirit (who is also YHWH) to reveal to us the truth of right behavior and relationship and the saving faith in Jesus, the Logos, who is also YHWH. An additional presupposition that I have is that the universe can and does explain itself to us, that it can and does inform us of God's character, nature, and behavior (Romans 1:20), that it can and does speak of YHWH's glory, sovereignty, beauty, love, and power as well as the actual things that YHWH has done throughout history. Those are my presuppositions, and you are welcome to challenge them as you see fit.

Here is what I am looking for: I am looking for a scientific explanation of the evidence that we have that relates to life on earth and the origin of the universe. I am not looking for a philosophical explanation for why we can discard the evidence that we have, or for why we can discard the conclusions that we draw from it. If you can explain to me how and why the evidence looks the way it does given a strict interpretation of Genesis - and I mean things like the redshifting of the CBR or the calcium deposits around volcanoes in the Mediterranean or the proportions of iron fusion in distant stars - then I will be satisfied.

I am right now convinced that either God did not create in the exact manner described in Genesis 1 but rather in the manner described in science textbooks, God did create in exactly the manner described in Genesis 1 but made it to look like he created in the manner described in science textbooks, or else God did not create. The last is a logical contradiction, so we really have the first two. You are welcome to challenge either.

If you would like to argue about the evidence and the conclusions we can draw from it, then I will also be glad to discuss that. But I am going to need more than a mere rebuttal of some specific explanation for some specific thing, and I will need an actual affirmation from the evidence for your thesis in a literal Genesis 1.

Anything less, I feel, would be arguing with the same type of argumentation that Muslims use to deny the Resurrection of Christ.

I really hope that I did not come off as impatient or rude in this post. I understand that this is a very touchy subject, and I hope that my calm tone will be carried through the text.

Be blessed, brethren, and I await a reply.

Turretinfan said...

"I am looking for a scientific explanation of the evidence that we have that relates to life on earth and the origin of the universe."

Since you are looking for a scientific explanation you will either get:

a) a purely naturalistic explanation; or

b) no explanation.

That's just the nature of scientific inquiry.

A secondary question you asked is: "If you can explain to me how and why the evidence looks the way it does given a strict interpretation of Genesis - and I mean things like the redshifting of the CBR or the calcium deposits around volcanoes in the Mediterranean or the proportions of iron fusion in distant stars - then I will be satisfied."

There doesn't *appear* to be anything specifically in Genesis 1 that would tell us about those three things. Is there some reason you think we should be able to give an explanation of those things based on Genesis 1?

- TurretinFan

natamllc said...

What interesting discussions go forth in here!

Here's a couple more, more defined by Jesus Himself.

It is my purpose here to portend that you will find no nonsense from these two portions of Scripture. Have a look see and imagine "what" Jesus establishes by them, then:::>


Luk 11:39 And the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
Luk 11:40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also?

Here we learn Christ nicely puts our imagination in context with all overt science established by observations, the scientific method.

Now, here's the really really deep one, which in my view, blows this sort of discussion around a bit like a tornado blows things around and around as it touches them:::>

Joh 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.


Notice, Christ doesn't say, "Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you just moments before, by the overshadowing power and purpose of the Holy Spirit upon the womb of the virgin and I united with her embryo" set on a course of birth as a man into creation".

Nor does He say, "Father, glorify me with the glory I had at the time I left you to visit Abraham and ate with that patriarch of the Faith once delivered to the Saints".

Nor does He say, "Father, glorify me with the glory I had at the time just following the expulsion of Satan and his angels from Our Glory, Mine, Yours and the Holy Spirit's, afterwards the world was then created"!

No, He doesn't pray for any past time in God's Glory but at a specific time in Eternity when there was GLORY with Creator and all creations existing then.

In this very insightful prayer that Jesus prays, He is "looking back to", "perceiving" and "imagining" a time in Eternity when the Glory They all shared together with Themselves and all Their creatures in Eternity was GLORIOUS, Holy, True, by and between Creator and creature in a knowledgable Holy relationship.

What a wonderful thing, this sort of holy relationship Our Creator had, with creation, then?

I portend to say that there is coming a time, soon, perhaps, when this "GLORY" will be known again by and between Them and us, those remaining in Eternity; Our Triune God and Their creatures, who were appointed to Eternal Life, as suggested by these verses, too:::>

2Pe 3:11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,
2Pe 3:12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!
2Pe 3:13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

It is my opinion that the "GLORY" Jesus prays to Our Heavenly Father about, there in John 17, is a state of PURE GLORY, sinless GLORY and GLORY complete again, which affected creation in Their Righteousness.

After Satan's turning and the subsequent casting him out of "this GLORY", there then was and now is, a certain expectation of both ill and good to come, by all of God's creatures and creations.

Science, when used wisely can never establish these truths because of the nature of science.

Why?

Because they are recognized subjectively, as Jesus was teaching there in Luke 11, cited above.

Christ, the Creator of all overt scientific fact, indeed does establish these truths in context with the "gift" of Eternal Life to certain men!

I do not understand why some men do not accept the Gospel?

Oh, don't you want to get on board with the Apostle Peter, then and "hasten" the day of His coming?

steve said...

John Lollard said...

"Here is what I am looking for: I am looking for a scientific explanation of the evidence that we have that relates to life on earth and the origin of the universe. I am not looking for a philosophical explanation for why we can discard the evidence that we have, or for why we can discard the conclusions that we draw from it."

I can't comply with arbitrary restrictions on intellectual discourse. You take the "evidence" as a given, then require that I respond to the "evidence."

Now, up to a point, I don't object to responding to the "evidence."

However, what you call the "evidence" is a very theory-laden intellectual construct. It isn't something that is just "out there."

So why should I be forced to take your stipulative starting point as the correct starting point when, in fact, that disregards some preliminary issues which are quite fundamental to the conclusion?

"If you can explain to me how and why the evidence looks the way it does given a strict interpretation of Genesis - and I mean things like the redshifting of the CBR or the calcium deposits around volcanoes in the Mediterranean or the proportions of iron fusion in distant stars - then I will be satisfied."

There are YEC writers like Kurt Wise, John Byl, and Jonathan Sarfati who go into that sort of thing. I don't even know who you've already read.

BTW, I'd suggest that read some of the online articles by John Byl at:

http://www.csc.twu.ca/byl/

"I am right now convinced that either God did not create in the exact manner described in Genesis 1 but rather in the manner described in science textbooks, God did create in exactly the manner described in Genesis 1 but made it to look like he created in the manner described in science textbooks, or else God did not create."

"Made it look like" misses the point. You might as well say that God made it look like the earth is flat and the sun moves around the earth. And, in a sense that's true, right? That's what it "looks like" to an earthbound observer.

Or you might as well say that God made it look like I'm seeing a star the way it is when I view it through the telescope–even though astronomy actually tells us that I'm seeing an image that traveled billions of light-years to reach the earth. In that case I'm not seeing the star as it is, but as it was.

On any position you take, whether Archbishop Ussher or Ed Witten, there is going to be a discrepancy between appearance and reality.

"But I am going to need more than a mere rebuttal of some specific explanation for some specific thing, and I will need an actual affirmation from the evidence for your thesis in a literal Genesis 1."

i) I've not been arguing for the literal interpretation of Gen 1. I'm merely evaluating your objections to the literal interpretation.

ii) Whether or not, or to what degree, we interpret Gen 1 literally, is an exegetical question, not a scientific question.

iii) Your objections clearly go beyond YEC. From what I can tell, you find OEC equally problematic. So there's no point in my discussing the pros and cons of YEC in particular.

iv) I also don't share your confidence in what can be known about the world apart from divine revelation. There's an ironic sense in which science undercuts scientific realism.

Take the science of sensory perception. Science tells me that I don't directly see a tree. All I really "see" is encoded information. Electromagnetic information which is converted to electrochemical information.

But if I accept that scientific analysis of perception, then in what respect does my mental representation of the extramental object correspond to the extramental object?

Short of divine revelation, we have no intersubjectival check on perception. So I regard divine revelation as a necessary underpinning for sense knowledge and scientific knowledge.

steve said...

Cont. "Anything less, I feel, would be arguing with the same type of argumentation that Muslims use to deny the Resurrection of Christ."

The truth or falsity of Islam doesn't rise or fall on direct realism or scientific realism. It doesn't turn on a particular theory of qualia, viz. Is the grass *really* green?

To take just one example, Muhammad destroyed his credibility when, early in his career, he told his followers that his oracles were a continuation and confirmation of the Bible.

As time went on he came to realize that his message was in contradiction to the former revelations. But by then it was too late to take his words back.

Really, you don't have to go any further than that to disprove Islam. Islam disproves itself.

Turretinfan said...

Steve wrote: "'Made it look like' misses the point. You might as well say that God made it look like the earth is flat and the sun moves around the earth. And, in a sense that's true, right? That's what it 'looks like' to an earthbound observer."

This is an excellent point ... which we could extend to the world having an appearance of operating by the laws of Aristotelean Physics (at least until that 500 years).

Another way of expanding on this that the rocks and background radiation, and so forth don't say "the earth is 4 billion years old" or "the universe is 14 billion years old." They emit and/or reflect radiation. People detect the radiation and draw inferences.

To say "God made it look like the world is flat" or "God made it look like the world is old" is to ascribe the inferences we make to God. Here an analogy may help.

Suppose a man hands you a book and says "I produced this book in my basement yesterday." Now, if the book doesn't look new to you, you might wonder why he made it to look old, or you might doubt his word.

Assuming we don't doubt the guy, the next question might be ... why is the binding so battered and why do the pages look like parchment?

If the guy is not around, we might try to guess why those features might be present in the book - perhaps it is a replica of a book that had sentimental value to him, or perhaps the "battered book" look is the "in" thing.

This area of discussion used to be more common in biology. It used to be alleged that there were useless vestigal organs that proved evolution. However, generally speaking, the use of all those organs was eventually discovered.

There is a reason we have the moon orbiting the Earth. It provides the tides, helps us keep time, and so forth. Some things in the heavens have purposes we may not have discovered yet. The fact that we haven't discovered the purposes isn't particularly troubling to us.

But this brings us back to your original proposal. Your original proposal seems to be asking us to explain the reason for things like the temperature of the CBGR in terms of its origin, rather than in terms of its function. It's possible that you may be asking the wrong question.

-TurretinFan

John Lollard said...

natamllc, bless your heart, but I rarely know what you are talking about. Jesus is YHWH and was with YHWH in the beginning, by whom and through whom and for whom all things were made, and through Him all things hold together. I don't think that I've ever hinted a denial of that.

TF, you said "Is there some reason you think we should be able to give an explanation of those things based on Genesis 1?"

According to you, near as I can tell, the universe is no older than several thousand years. All of those things that I mentioned suggest very strongly, when examined based on the mathematical and physical principles that govern the universe and that it seems everyone here agrees are rooted in YHWH, that the universe is older than that. I would like to know why so much of the created order, I daresay all of it, when examined based on those same principles rooted in YHWH, suggests to us an age of the universe that is older than several thousand years.

Do you have anything that suggests an age of the universe of no more than a million years? I am only asking because I have plenty of things that suggest an age of the universe older than a billion years, and I cannot find anything to contradict this. I only ask out of curiosity, that maybe you have found something.

No doubt yours and Steve's response will be to ask why I think there should be any such thing or why I think the question can be answered in this way. Since apparently I can't say anything right, then why don't both of you just go ahead and say whatever you find to be the most compelling argument for creationism. Present as full an argument as you think sufficient to convince someone with a supernaturalist worldview.

Since whatever impositions I place will be considered faulty and part of a biased worldview, then I will merely allow you to present what you feel your strongest case, and I will read it. I will also allow you to determine the restrictions on the intellectual discourse, if any, to ensure that they are not arbitrary, and not me demanding I have the correct starting point.

All I am going to say is, that if it does not satisfy scientific scrutiny, then it does not really assist me in any way, and it will not be intellectually acceptable to me. Maybe that is the result of a biased worldview I hold that seeks to suppress the knowledge of God so that I can continue to thrive in my sin, but in my own mind it seems to be because of a disdain for special pleading and special crafted philosophical worldviews for the sake of avoiding an intellectual issue. Maybe the illusion of that motive in my mind is also part of my desire to suppress the knowledge of God.

Anyway, have at it, and I anticipate your presentations!

Turretinfan said...

"According to you, near as I can tell, the universe is no older than several thousand years."

Well ... according to Genesis 5 and a few other passages.

"All of those things that I mentioned suggest very strongly, when examined based on the mathematical and physical principles that govern the universe and that it seems everyone here agrees are rooted in YHWH, that the universe is older than that."

Actually, they might not either strongly or at all suggest an older age. However, for the sake of the argument we may say "Assuming nothing supernatural happened, they suggest an older age. But something supernatural happened."

"I would like to know why so much of the created order, I daresay all of it, when examined based on those same principles rooted in YHWH, suggests to us an age of the universe that is older than several thousand years."

(with the caveats as above) The reason why is that the miraculous is being examined as though it were not miraculous.

"Do you have anything that suggests an age of the universe of no more than a million years?"

Scripture.

The claim isn't that the world came into being by naturalistic forces 10,000 years ago.

There are scientific papers that report observations that are inconsistent with the prevailing view of the age of the universe. One of those is the evidence that the universe appears to be experiencing accelerated expansion (example).

- TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

My presentation for a date of 10,000 years or less is based on Scriptural exegesis, with which I understand you are already familiar. I won't waste your time by providing it again here.

natamllc said...

Ah, John, I was just being a bit nutty at your expense! Please overlook it. I apologize if you were offended?

However, I was thinking about these verses too, especially after reading your acknowledgement to my fruity reply to the thread, oh, before I paste the additional citations, I would note, my wife says that about me all the time! :)

From Job:::>Job 38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
Job 38:2 "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Job 38:3 Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.
Job 38:4 "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.
Job 38:5 Who determined its measurements--surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?
Job 38:6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone,
Job 38:7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Job 38:8 "Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb,
Job 38:9 when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band,
Job 38:10 and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors,
Job 38:11 and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed'?
Job 38:12 "Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place,
Job 38:13 that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it?




From Psalms:::>Psa 50:1 A Psalm of Asaph. The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Psa 50:2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
Psa 50:3 Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest.
Psa 50:4 He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
Psa 50:5 "Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!"
Psa 50:6 The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah
Psa 50:7 "Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God.
Psa 50:8 Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me.
Psa 50:9 I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds.
Psa 50:10 For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
Psa 50:11 I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.
Psa 50:12 "If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.
Psa 50:13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?
Psa 50:14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,
Psa 50:15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."

Just disregard my comments before, if it is so troubling to you? But, what say you about those two above?

It seems to me, preaching this Gospel of the Kingdom is of more delight than answering questions no one as yet has been able to answer on their own!

steve said...

“Since apparently I can't say anything right, then why don't both of you just go ahead and say whatever you find to be the most compelling argument for creationism. Present as full an argument as you think sufficient to convince someone with a supernaturalist worldview.”

A Blogger combox is hardly an adequate venue to sift through all of the technicalities of the debate. That’s why I’ve referred you to various literature on the subject.

For example, the red shift and cosmic expansion are discussed by Byl and Wise.

“But in my own mind it seems to be because of a disdain for special pleading and special crafted philosophical worldviews for the sake of avoiding an intellectual issue.”

Really?

Creation ex nihilo is a prescientific doctrine. It’s not some ad hoc conjecture which 19-20C Christians concocted to save appearances.

So are you suggesting that even if we rightfully believe in creation ex nihilo, and even if that doctrine might have a bearing on the appearance of the world, that we should simply bracket our belief as though it had no relevance to the issue at hand?

Likewise, scientific antirealism isn’t a face-saving position which desperate Christian apologists invented on the fly. So are you saying that even though many secular philosophers of science have been proposing various versions of scientific antirealism, Christians should bracket the relevance of that position to the creationist/evolution debate?

Likewise, how is it special pleading for me to mention the debate between temporal metrical conventionalism and temporal metrical objectivism? Doesn’t dating presuppose a temporal metric? You know…the measurement of time? And if there’s a persistent debate about whether or not our temporal metric is intrinsic or extrinsic to time, then isn’t that directly germane to the actual age of the universe?

Or if you object to “unreal time,” and I bring up the specter of alternate histories in quantum mechanics, how is that special pleading? Isn’t that responding to you on your own terms? Didn’t you say you’re a physics student?

With all due respect, it seems to me that you’re the one who’s been avoiding intellectual issues, not me. For example, I notice that you haven’t attempted to disprove anything I said. You haven’t tried to show that my reasoning is fallacious, or show that my premises are probably false.

A word of advice: I think it might be a good idea for you to take some time out to read the materials I’ve referred you to and mull over some of the arguments that we’ve presented.

John Lollard said...

natamllc - you are such a goofball. Please keep being a goofball. (Acts 2:15)

TF, I read the article you linked about the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. I am not sure if you read it, as the article explicitly states several times an age of the universe of the order of 10^9 (1,000,000,000) years. That is off from your estimates by a factor of a million (1,000,000). If you are suggesting that the article means something other than an age for the universe on the order of 10^9, like an age of the universe on the order of 10^3, then I am going to need you to explain it to me.

Which brings me to a difficulty that I am having with both you and Steve. I can't figure out what y'alls exact position is on anything. Steve has asked me to consider the arguments presented. Maybe this is a problem with my reading comprehension, but I am really not sure what your argument IS.

Do you believe that physics is capable of telling us the age of the universe, or do you not? That is, do you believe that honest and godly physicists will eventually discover the true age of the universe?

Or do you believe that physics in intrinsically incapable of measuring the age of the universe because the earth will necessarily appear to be older than it looks?

Do you believe that the evidence DOES state the universe to be billions of years old, but it is irrelevant because it was supernaturally made to look that way?

Do you believe that the evidence DOES NOT state the universe to be billions of years old but some other age, and that age is the true age of the universe?

Can I EXPECT there to be evidence for fiat creationism? Should I even bother looking for it?

I am honestly asking because I honestly cannot tell. What I fear is that the answer to these questions is that we are supposed to apply the "strongest" scientific perspective and hermeneutic that still leads to the truth in a literal interpretation of Genesis 1.

What is the "historogrammatical" equivalent in science? I would like one that I can use in all situations. Right now the one that I use is to assume a rationalistic universe that behaves according to natural and mathematical principles as ordained and sustained by YHWH. I use it in all of my scientific inquiry and apply it consistently. I use it when examining miracles (in which I believe and for which I pray) and I use it when examining quantum phenomena. I use it when considering how the lame man was able to stand up and carry his mat, and I use it when considering how a particle goes through two slits at once when we're not looking.

Maybe I am ignorant and not understanding you, but that is how I see you interpreting science - in such a way that your understanding of Genesis remains intact. If I am wrong, then please tell me your consistent hermeneutic for understanding science. Please.

Do apologize my replies being short and far between. This is a busy week for me, I'm about to graduate, and I don't have much time to read. This may be the last reply I can make for the next two weeks, so I wanted to make it before the topic got cold. Honestly, seriously, aside from believing that Genesis 1 is literally true, I STILL am not sure what it is either of you is claiming. Can you please tell me what you are claiming, in as clear of terms as you can make it?

I honestly want to understand your argument, and it seems that I still do not even know what it is.

steve said...

John Lollard said...

“Which brings me to a difficulty that I am having with both you and Steve. I can't figure out what y'alls exact position is on anything.”

I can’t speak for Tfan. I can only speak for myself. He may or may not take the same position that I do.

“Do you believe that physics is capable of telling us the age of the universe, or do you not?”

I do not.

“Or do you believe that physics in intrinsically incapable of measuring the age of the universe because the earth will necessarily appear to be older than it looks?”

i) I think it’s misleading to speak of chronological appearances one way or the other. A physical object qua object doesn’t present any chronological appearance. Rather, that is something we judge in relation to other things, viz. the passage of time. And where physics is concerned, that goes well beyond the appearance of physical objects. Rather, that’s a theoretical construct based on various inferences and assumptions.

ii) But even if I accepted your terminology, I don’t have any antecedent position on whether the universe would *necessarily* appear older than it looks.

“Do you believe that the evidence DOES state the universe to be billions of years old, but it is irrelevant because it was supernaturally made to look that way?”

I don’t think there is any objective evidence for the age of the universe, in part because I don’t think it’s possible to establish an intrinsic temporal metric. For details, see the analysis of van Fraassen and Le Poidevin (in the works I’ve referenced).

“Do you believe that the evidence DOES NOT state the universe to be billions of years old but some other age, and that age is the true age of the universe?”

I don’t think we can use physical evidence to date the universe–in terms of absolute chronology. We can use conventional metrics to establish a relative chronology, although that, too, bumps up against another imponderable (fiat creation).

“Can I EXPECT there to be evidence for fiat creationism?”

I think you’ve bundled two questions into one:

i) Cosmological and teleological arguments, if sound, could establish the fact of fiat creation.

ii) However, given fiat creation, you can’t simply extrapolate time backwards along a linear continuum from the present to a point of origin in the past. And that’s because fiat creation doesn’t range along a continuum. To go from nothing to something is essentially discontinuous. So you can infer a cause, but not a continuum.

iii) Put another way, I don’t think science can ever get behind appearances. But it can draw inferences about what (or who) is producing the appearances.

steve said...

Cont. “What is the ‘historogrammatical’ equivalent in science? I would like one that I can use in all situations.”

i) The objective of scientific realism is to reduce our indexical, first-person impressions of the physical world to an objective, third-person description. In other words, science tries to depict things as they really are, and not merely as they appear to be (to the human observer). But I don’t think that’s possible, for a scientist is ultimately just another percipient.

ii) We need to distinguish between the view from above (i.e. a God’s-eye view) and the view from within (i.e. a man’s-eye view).

God has designed us to perceive reality from within, viz. using our sensory relays (I’d also make allowance for ESP in some cases). And there is nothing wrong with that indexical perspective. For that is how God made us. It is reliable, but reliable according to the parameters that God intended.

By contrast, God views the world from above (as it were). He has exhaustive knowledge of the physical world because he knows his plan for the world. In creation, God instantiated his complete concept of the world.

There’s an ineluctable gap between appearance and reality which only God’s revelation to man can fill–to the degree that God chooses to disclose the details. By divine revelation, the view from above can enter the view from within. They intersect, although they don’t coincide. And that’s the only external check we have on our sensory perception of the world.

So it’s not a choice between science or revelation. Apart from revelation, science is flying blind.

(You might ask how I’m in any position to posit a gap between appearance and reality. Other issues aside, science itself posits such a gap, and then endeavors to close the gap it postulated.)

Turretinfan said...

JL:

I cited the article using this: "There are scientific papers that report observations that are inconsistent with the prevailing view of the age of the universe. One of those is the evidence that the universe appears to be experiencing accelerated expansion (example)."

I'm not sure whether you read that before you perused the article, because your response was essentially that the article doesn't show that the world is only thousands of years old - a true but completely irrelevant fact.

"Which brings me to a difficulty that I am having with both you and Steve. I can't figure out what y'alls exact position is on anything. Steve has asked me to consider the arguments presented. Maybe this is a problem with my reading comprehension, but I am really not sure what your argument IS."

I'm not sure why you are having difficulty following, perhaps you are expecting a line of argumentation that differs from the line presented?

"Do you believe that physics is capable of telling us the age of the universe, or do you not?"

Physics doesn't speak, scientists speak. Atrophysicists obviously do provide assertions regarding the age of the universe. Those assertions are premised on a lot of assumptions, some of which are incorrect (most notably the assumption that no miracle happened).

"That is, do you believe that honest and godly physicists will eventually discover the true age of the universe?"

As men, of course, they can read the Bible and learn history. Measuring starlight's not the path to the answer of how old the Universe is.

"Or do you believe that physics [is] intrinsically incapable of measuring the age of the universe because the earth will necessarily appear to be older than it looks?"

That's just one reason. The bigger reason is that physics assumes an absence of miracles.

"Do you believe that the evidence DOES state the universe to be billions of years old, but it is irrelevant because it was supernaturally made to look that way?"

No. Scientists say things, Scripture says things, but the rocks and stars don't say things.

"Do you believe that the evidence DOES NOT state the universe to be billions of years old but some other age, and that age is the true age of the universe?"

See above. Incidentally, different scientists come to a variety of different conclusions from evaluating the evidence. That's true both at the current time and, of course, comparing the current era to history.

"Can I EXPECT there to be evidence for fiat creationism? Should I even bother looking for it?"

You mean aside from the evidence in the form of eyewitness testimony from a truthful, infallible observer?

What kind of "evidence" would one expect as a result of an ex nihilo creation miracle?

"Right now the one that I use is to assume a rationalistic universe that behaves according to natural and mathematical principles as ordained and sustained by YHWH."

Actually - you go beyond that. Not just "behaves" ... but "has always behaved" (note the tense). And that assumption runs directly contrary to miracles. There's your problem. Do you see it?

-TurretinFan

The Puritan said...

>natamllc - you are such a goofball. Please keep being a goofball. (Acts 2:15)

Someone who posts Scripture as apt as what natamllc has been posting is hardly being a goofball. Did you read the Job verse? Did it speak to you in any convicting way? To any degree?

The Puritan said...

Make that Job passage rather than singular verse. Such detail is necessary to correct, methinks, in this particular case...