Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Biologos is Not "One of Us"

Hast thou not known?
Hast thou not heard,
That the everlasting God,
The LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Fainteth not, neither is weary?
There is no searching of his understanding.
(Isaiah 40:28)


Lest there be any uncertainty, groups like the Biologos forum that deny the central Christian tenet of Creation are not "one of us." Their message is not the Christian message, indeed their message is contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture and is a direct attack on the fundamentals of the faith.

I realize that there can be saved people who are, for a time, deluded by various false teachers, and the men who are promoting theistic evolution at the Biologos forum are false teachers, teaching the traditions of men rather than the Word of God.

To those who do truly believe and accept the Word of God, hear this and depart from among the men of the Biologos forum!

Our gospel begins thus:

John 1:1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Our Bible begins thus:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Our God declares:

Isaiah 45:12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

Isaiah 42:5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:

Our God made us this way:

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Genesis 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

We labor under this curse:

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Ecclesiastes 3:20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

We pray to God with prayers like these:

Hebrew 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

He hears our Prayers:

Psalm 103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

1 Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Our fourth Commandment states:

Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Exodus 31:17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

And we preach this coming Judgment:

Revelation 10:6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

To those at Biologos who have abandoned the truths of Scripture, be warned! The judgment of Romans 1 is at your doorstep.

Who changed the truth of God into a lie,
and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator,
who is blessed for ever.
Amen.
(Romans 1:25)

-TurretinFan

99 comments:

Andrew Suttles said...

Amen

John Lollard said...

When did the historogrammatical method became the infallible Roman Catholic Magisterium? I mean, I admit that it's a really good hermeneutic, but it doesn't seem to be working so well on the issue of creation. Or maybe it's working fine and the universe is stubbornly defying God's word?

I don't mean to be confrontational, but apparently it's a big enough deal for you to break fellowship over it. But I guess if we were lying and suppressing the truth of God, it would be. At the least, we aren't lying.

Love in Christ,
JL

Neal said...

JL, Perhaps you will find this more convincing?

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2010/07/whither-enns.html

John Lollard said...

Find more convincing of what than what? I definitely found it interesting, so thank you for sharing it.

jimlas said...

Amen and Amen, brother.

Neal said...

You questioned whether it was worth breaking fellowship. With statements like that coming from Biologos, it would seem not an unreasonable thing to do.

Coram Deo said...

It's much better to have their ilk publicly exposed as being outside the camp of orthodoxy where they can do much less harm than if they were allowed to continue their efforts to destroy the foundations of the faith from within.

In Christ,
CD

Coram Deo said...

For TF's readers' edification:

Trojan Horse - Phil Johnson

Middle of the Road: R.I.P. Kermit - Phil Johnson

A Coda on the Week's Discussion / Summing Up - Phil Johnson/Dan Phillips

Essential Inerrancy - Kevin DeYoung

In Him,
CD

John Lollard said...

Hey Neal,

If it sounded like I was questioning whether it was worth it to break fellowship with the people at BioLogos, then I apologize, as that was not the intention of my post.

What I meant to ask is why TF is so certain that the historo-grammatical interpretation of Genesis is the true meaning of Genesis.

Maybe I am being rash, but when the outside world routinely fails to satisfy my expectations of how it should be, that is when I change my expectations of how the outside world should be.

Thank you for sharing that information about BioLogos. It was very informative about the current state of evangelical thinking. And God bless you.

Love in Christ,
JL

Turretinfan said...

John Lollard:

I don't mind you being confrontational, but I note that you don't actually have an argument - just an assertion. That's my problem with your comment.

Your assertions are premised, as we've noted to you before, on a system of interpreting the rocks (and so forth) using the hermeneutic of philosophical naturalism/physicalism.

- TurretinFan

Andy said...

There is so much more to this than can be addressed here but Biologos is not guilty of that which you accuse them of. For a start see Can an Evangelical Christian Accept Evolution?

Turretinfan said...

Andy:

Biologos promotes theistic evolution. That's what I'm accusing them of. That's a true accusation, as you will see if you check their website.

-TurretinFan

steve said...

John Lollard said...

"What I meant to ask is why TF is so certain that the historo-grammatical interpretation of Genesis is the true meaning of Genesis."

The contributors to BioLogos think that Gen 1-2 is wrong on what they themselves take to be the correct interpretation of the text.

So this is not a debate over the interpretation of Scripture, but over the inspiration of Scripture.

Tom Chantry said...

Very, very true. Why are we afraid to say this when it is so obvious?

Neal said...

"Maybe I am being rash, but when the outside world routinely fails to satisfy my expectations of how it should be, that is when I change my expectations of how the outside world should be."

Your comment could be easily applied to scientific consensus, although I doubt that is what you meant. Your comment seems to imply that modern science is the final arbiter of truth. But any cursory look at the history of science proves it serves as a poor final authority. "Settled" is an adjective that is inconsistent with science. Your argument about having the correct interpretation of scripture is well and good, but fails to take into account whether "science" has the correct interpretation of the physical evidence.

John Lollard said...

TF,

I actually didn't make any positive argument this time. Or an assertion. I actually just asked a question.

Is the historogrammatical hermeneutic an infallible interpreter of Scripture?

Love in Christ,
JL

mikeb said...

John, it is certainly much less fallible than the hermeneutic of philosophical naturalism/physicalism, is it not?

John Lollard said...

Hey Neal,

"Your comment could be easily applied to scientific consensus"

Yes, absolutely. When the outside world fails to behave in accordance with scientific consensus, then we need to update scientific consensus.

"Your comment seems to imply that modern science is the final arbiter of truth."

All truth is God's truth. Nature is one means by which God has revealed himself. So in that nature is a self-revelation of God and science is a very good method of understanding nature, science is definitely an arbiter of truth. Not the final, though.

"but fails to take into account whether "science" has the correct interpretation of the physical evidence"

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that current scientific analyses do not give the proper interpretation of the physical evidence. Well, YECism still doesn't explain the evidence.

One of my physics professors used to say that "all we know about physics, is that all of our equations are wrong".

The current body of scientific knowledge is not a final body of knowledge. Research is still going on in order to understand things better. In that sense 'science' doesn't have the "correct" interpretation, and probably never will this side of eternity. But the explanations that scientists give at present at least resemble the facts to a statistical degree of accuracy.

I will quickly be accused of holding some inconsistent presupposition like Darwinian naturalism that I don't actually hold, but let me just suggest that the modern theories of cosmology, astronomy, geology and biology are all the best understandings of the natural world that we can do at present, that YECism isn't even a understanding of the natural world, and that a biblical hermeneutic isn't as secure as all the verification, falsification, and correction that has been going on in these scientific fields for hundreds of years.

Love in Christ,
JL

John Lollard said...

"it is certainly much less fallible than the hermeneutic of philosophical naturalism/physicalism,"

Much less fallible, especially since philosophical naturalism is a self-refuting and -defeating philosophy. It's a good thing that I'm not a philosophical naturalist or a physicalist, then, isn't it?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Biologos is Not "One of Us""

Theistic evolution is severely aberrant teaching.

Hence, with regards to the Doctrine of Origins, Biologos is indeed, Not "One of Us."

Turretinfan said...

John Lollard:

You claim you're not arguing or making assertions.

Your claim is wrong.

You wrote: "I mean, I admit that it's a really good hermeneutic, but it doesn't seem to be working so well on the issue of creation. Or maybe it's working fine and the universe is stubbornly defying God's word?"

John Lollard said...

Hey TF,

You're right. I did make assertions/arguments.

Is the historogrammatical hermeneutic an infallible interpreter of Scripture?

Love in Christ,
JL

Turretinfan said...

"Is the historogrammatical hermeneutic an infallible interpreter of Scripture?"

A "hermeneutic" is a method or approach. I am not sure how your question can be made to make sense with that fact in mind.

John Lollard said...

TF,

"A "hermeneutic" is a method or approach."

You're right. A hermeneutic is a method or approach.

Is the historogrammitcal hermeneutic an infallible method or approach for interpreting Scripture?

Love in Christ,
JL

Neal said...

JL: "Let's say, for the sake of argument, that current scientific analyses do not give the proper interpretation of the physical evidence. Well, YECism still doesn't explain the evidence."

YECism per se is not the issue here though. It is theistic evolution. One can be a YE creationist or an OE creationist and still regard evolutionism as false.

JL: "...let me just suggest that the modern theories of cosmology, astronomy, geology and biology are all the best understandings of the natural world that we can do at present"

"The best that we can do" hardly seems like an adequate reason to question the historical grammatical method, particularly when we know that "the best that we can do" is marred by sin.

JL: "YECism isn't even a understanding of the natural world"

I don't really get this claim. It is certainly an understanding of the natural world, even if it is a faulty one.

JL: "a biblical hermeneutic isn't as secure as all the verification, falsification, and correction that has been going on in these scientific fields for hundreds of years."

You speak of verification and falsification and correction over hundreds of years, but evolutionism is claimed to have occurred over millions of years, and is by its very nature resistant to verification and falsification. What passes for scientific research in this field amounts to little more than historical reconstruction. The desire to ride on the coattails of the hard sciences is understandable, but doesn't transform evolutionism from a metaphysical stance into anything resembling hard science.

Turretinfan said...

"Is the historogrammitcal hermeneutic an infallible method or approach for interpreting Scripture?"

It's the correct method/approach to interpreting. I'm not sure how a method or approach can be "infallible," as such.

-TurretinFan

John Lollard said...

Hey Neal,

"One can be a YE creationist or an OE creationist and still regard evolutionism as false."

Sure they can. And neither is an explanation of the natural evidence. When I say that they are not explanations, I mean that we have a bunch of facts about the universe and that YEC or OECism do not provide an explanation for why these facts are the way that they are, or why we have these facts and not other facts.

""The best that we can do" hardly seems like an adequate reason to question the historical grammatical method,"

Why? What is the historogrammatical method if not "the best we can do" in interpreting Scripture?

"What passes for scientific research in this field amounts to little more than historical reconstruction."

Yes, but at the same time, evolution is a theory, like YECism, that is capable of making predictions and we can test those predictions, and I will give one single example. Like "there exists a chain of intermediary forms between modern whales and quadrupedal land mammals" is one prediction evolution would make, and "whales have always existed as whales" is another prediction that YECism would make.

As we go down through strata in the earth, eventually, there aren't any whales. At all. There are still quadrupedal mammals, but eventually they disappear and it's all reptiles and birds, and then going down further still just reptiles, and then just amphibians, and then just fish. If whales had always existed "as whales", then I should expect to find something that looks like a whale in every single one of these strata. Or at least in any of these strata. But in fact I only find whales in strata above a certain level. Not only are there no whales, there are no mammals at all in some lower strata. This is what evolution predicts, this is not what creationism predicts.

If we go to the strata where there are whales and whale-like animals, evolutionists would expect to see in the fossil record a sequence of skeletons starting with horse-like creatures, then something kinda like a horse but kinda like a hippopotamus, and then something more like a hippopotamus, and then something less like a hippopotamus, and then something even less like a hippo and more like a whale, and then something even more like a whale, and etc., up to the point where we have modern whales. A creationist would expect to only ever have things classifiable as "whales" and things classifiable as "hippos" and things classifiable as "horses" with no intermediaries, and further a whale type, hippo type and horse type should all coexist with one another. What the fossil records indicates is something more fitting with the evolutionary theory than that of the creationism theory. Whale-like creatures only appear after the appearance of hippo-like creatures, but more importantly, there is a point where the difference between a "hippo" and a "whale" is not clearly defined, like is an ambulocetus a whale that walks or a hippo that swims? Likewise, there is a point where the difference between a "horse" and a "hippo" is not clearly defined. Tracking through time, we can see the legs in "whale" creatures gradually getting smaller and less useful until we have modern whales with only a tiny vestigial hind leg remaining. And I say "tracking through time" because modern whales never appear before or even during the time of whale-types like ambulocetus, and there is instead a well-defined progression of these whale forms from horse forms.

But that is just one example of whales with one means of evidence.

And even if evolution is completely false, these "hard sciences" you reference still indicate an age of the universe a factor of a million off from creationist claims.

Does that make sense? Even if you don't agree with it or accept it, can you understand how it could make sense?

Love in Christ,
JL

Turretinfan said...

The thousand self-contradictory reports of philosophical naturalism all failing to agree with Genesis don't cause me any special alarm. Why should they alarm anyone? Simply because they all reject the truth?

John Lollard said...

"The thousand self-contradictory reports of philosophical naturalism all failing to agree with Genesis don't cause me any special alarm."

Good. They don't cause me any alarm either, as philosophical naturalism is a self-defeating and self-refuting worldview.

Neither do I find cause for alarm in the facts that we see before us, because God is the absolute creator of every fact and the source of all truth.

What I do note, however, is that the facts of God are not consistent with a literal/historogrammatical approach to Genesis.

Love in Christ,
JL

Turretinfan said...

Your assertions still aren't persuasive.

John Lollard said...

Hey TF,

I honestly don't expect you to be convinced by my "assertions". Unfortunately, I am not a biologist and not one to offer a very rigorous defense of evolution. Even if I were, comments on a blog post is not a very good venue for one to do so. So I have to confess that my "assertions" probably aren't very convincing.

I'll just simply "assert" in passing that while my presentation is lacking, plenty of other individuals have provided much more concise and comprehensive explanations of evolution and how it explains the evidence.

If you know of a good creation science explanation of the evidence, then pass it along and I'll read it. I have never seen one. But I am willing to learn.

Love in Christ,
JL

Turretinfan said...

JL:

With all due respect, I think we've been over this. The explanation is: it was a miracle.

-TurretinFan

Neal said...

JL: "What is the historogrammatical method if not "the best we can do" in interpreting Scripture?"

You are comparing apples and oranges. "The best we can do" in interpreting scripture is a different enterprise than "the best we can do" in interpreting general revelation. Scientific theories come and go, whereas special revelation was given to correct our sinful distortions of the general revelation.

Your description of the fossil record is a good illustration of my point that evolutionary theory is an historical reconstruction, based on scanty fossil evidence and speculations built on assumptions about the geologic strata. As I'm sure you are well aware, there are YEC answers to the various challenges you raise (e.g. hydrologic sorting, etc.). I'm not saying everything coming from the YEC is correct, just that they have explanations that are just as plausible as anything coming from evolutionists. As an example, the rapid deposition of the rock strata seems to be a far more plausible explanation for the existence of fossils (which require rapid burial) than millions of years of gradual deposition of sediment.

JL: "And even if evolution is completely false, these "hard sciences" you reference still indicate an age of the universe a factor of a million off from creationist claims."

Granting this assertion for the sake of argument, what about Old Earth Creationists? What about Young Earth Creationists who admit the appearance of age? You should really read the essay "What Science Tells Us about the Age of the Creation" by Kurt Wise that is relevant to this point.

mike said...

Luke applies a historical-grammatical interpretation to the Genesis account in Luke 3:33-38. Paul does in 2 Timothy 2:13-14; so does Moses in Exodus 20:11. And Jesus, Who certainly knows how He created the world, uses a historical-grammatical description in Matthew 19:4-5. This is how the Genesis account is meant to be taken.

Coram Deo said...

JL,

So just to clarify, from your perspective were Adam and Eve the pinnacle of God's special creation, or were they merely the highest evolved level of hominid [up to this point assuming you believe they existed and were homo sapiens], or do you believe they were merely mythological archetypes?

Do you believe the Jesus Christ was the product of evolutionary processes?

In Him,
CD

John Lollard said...

Hey TF,

You're right. We have been over this. But thank you for giving me what you believe is the most reasonable explanation you have; it was a miracle.

I want you to understand, saying "it was a miracle" doesn't actually explain anything.

Stellar evolution inside of stars, a subset of the same nuclear physics that powers houses, explains the life cycle of starts of specific types in how they react the material inside of them into more complex forms of matter, and by monitoring the light produced by these stars through electromagntic devices, we can see the relative concentrations of reactants inside of the stars and from their makeup predict their age. Doing so, we see that almost every single star in existence has the appearance of being older than 6,000 years. It was a miracle.

Well, what was a miracle? Did God miraculously create these stars with the false appearance of being billions of years old? Why would he do that? If it was to make lights in the sky, new stars would have served just as well. Did God miraculously cause these stars to react at a millions times their normal speed? Why would he do that? He made the stars to be lights, and now he's getting rid of them faster. Did God miraculously cause the light from the stars or the electromagnetical processes in our machines to read a different frequency or a different material? Why on earth would he do that? That just seems deceptive. I don't know what you propose the miracle is; God miraculously caused almost the entire universe of stars to be billions of years into their life-cycles, appearing to standard nuclear physics to be a million times older than they are, for no reason, to no avail, accomplishing nothing. Well, accomplishing nothing besides tricking honest God-fearing scientists into believing a false age of the universe.

If you have a better explanation than "it was a miracle", like "it was a miracle that nuclear physics in the early universe operated in such a way in order for such a thing," I'd be a bit more satisfied with this conversation.

Do you have anything like that?

Otherwise, it's probably best if we just end this conversation between us.

Love in Christ,
JL

Turretinfan said...

Your pre-commitment to reject miracles is showing.

They explain things just fine. They just don't explain things in naturalist terms. It is for that reason that you don't count them as a legitimate explanation.

And, of course, since you refuse to count them as a legitimate explanation, you go around looking for a "better" explanation, your circular reasoning reinforcing the conclusion you inserted at the start.

Too bad for you!

-TurretinFan

John Lollard said...

Hey CD,

I think it is possible to understand Adam and Eve as allegorical figures, and I think it is more than possible that Paul and Luke and Jesus were also using them as allegorical figures. It's also possible that there was a historical first man and woman of the species homo sapiens who fell into sin, in a garden, at the bequest of the enemy disguised as a snake, by eating a piece of fruit.

If humans evolved from chimps, it does not mean that were were not specially created in God's image.

And your question about Jesus makes no sense to me. The eternal author of the universe, YHVH, the Existor, steps into creation, taking on flesh, becoming a baby, feeding, defecating, someone had to change His diapers, working manual labor, walking through nasty dirty streets in ancient Jerusalem full of waste and mud, and getting nailed to a cross, but it's going too far to suggest that the flesh he took on was in a creature sharing an ancient common ancestor with chimpanzees? To answer your question, Jesus Christ is the second person of the eternal YHVH, the absolute creator of everything, of every fact, the author of all truth and all salvation, eternally pre-existent, who took on human flesh and stepped into creation to save His people from their brokenness. He was not a product of evolution, but the mortal frame that he took on He had created through evolution.

Hope that answers your questions, and thanks for asking. About Adam and Eve, I'm not sure how literal or allegorical they are, and I'd rather not speculate.

Love in Christ,
JL

John Lollard said...

TF,

I'm a charismatic. I go to churches where people lay on hands and pray for healing. I have prayed for healings, and I've been sick and asked people to pray for healing. I was on the prayer team at my church and would constantly pray for miracles. I pray for them all the time, I've experienced a good number of them, and I actively expect them from the God who promised them.

If you talk to charismatics, then you probably know about the wave of uneven legs growing out. How did the legs grow out? It was a miracle. Why did it happen? Because God's people prayed and trusted in Him,and He honored our prayers. How did it happen? God somehow supernaturally caused bones the growth plates in the bones to re-open and the bones to grow out - or at least it looked that way as the growth was gradual over a period of a couple of minutes and not *poof* her leg's longer. That's an example where a miracle is an explanation. The nature of the miracle and the purpose are clearly laid out.

I don't rule them out from the start, but actually look from them at the start. The existence of the universe at all is a miracle. The creation of life is a miracle, God's providence in creation is a miracle, the exodus from Egypt is a miracle. I don't accept your version of how things happened not because it involves miracles, but because it doesn't explain anything and just sticks a big confusing miracle there, nature and purpose unknown, for us to baffle at. But I don't think a non-miraculous explanation for our existence can even make sense.

May God bless your ministry, and help you to understand where I'm coming from.

Love in Christ,
JL

Neal said...

JL: "I don't know what you propose the miracle is; God miraculously caused almost the entire universe of stars to be billions of years into their life-cycles, appearing to standard nuclear physics to be a million times older than they are, for no reason, to no avail, accomplishing nothing. Well, accomplishing nothing besides tricking honest God-fearing scientists into believing a false age of the universe."

Are you even being serious? You miss the entire point. God's purpose in creating had little to do with enabling man to determine the age of the universe, nor was it so that men could have a "satisfying explanation". God created because it pleased Him to do so. Complaining that the quality of appearance of age is "deceptive" and questioning why God would do it this way or that way strikes me as ingratitude of the highest order.

JL: "About Adam and Eve, I'm not sure how literal or allegorical they are, and I'd rather not speculate."

Why stop now? That's all you've been doing this entire thread! You're pre-occupation with "explaining the evidence" in naturalistic terms is one big exercise in speculation.

John Lollard said...

Hey Neal,

Thank you for taking an interest in the conversation, that our host TF has been kind enough to let us have in the comments on his blog.

I have heard of them, but they don't fit the data. They would suggest way more fossils than we have; we don't have a lot of fossils because the ideal conditions for them were so rare. But further they would suggest at least a semi-random assortment of fossils. They propose a turmoil of churning waters flooding the earth and every living creature scrambling in turmoil, and yet none of them, for instance, get caught under a falling tree branch and can't make it to higher ground in time? What are whales doing only in upper strata if fish appear all spread all over? Why are fish that can only live miles below the surface now at the top of the ocean? But even if the distribution of animal life was explained, the distribution of plant life is not. Why isn't there any pollen below a certain level, but then evenly distributed everywhere only in levels with flowering plants? How did flowering plants manage to make it to safety? Why are ambulocetus consistently a little lower down than modern whales? Might at least some of them have swum higher than whales, or at least some whales sum lower than them? Or even at the same level as them?

Don't get me wrong. It is a very well-thought out theory, it just doesn't account for what we actually see. But it is good thinking.

As to OEC, I think TF would actually agree with me that it is an inconsistent position. You don't really gain anything by saying that "day" could mean "billions of years", because the ordering is still inconsistent with cosmology and astronomy. If you say that the ordering isn't literal, then why take any of it literally? You might as well go the whole way and accept evolution, or go back and accept YEC, but OEC is a pretty arbitrary place to draw the line.

YECists who admit the appearance of age are my favorite. I've read some arguments from them that I think are very well crafted, with a lot of thought put into them. I haven't read any really good ones that consistently account for everything that we see. To be perfectly honest, I would be much happier if Genesis were a literal historical work, so I would very much like to see a good, intelligent, honest, consistent, exhaustive explanation given by a YECist accounting completely for the universe and why it appears the way that it does.

Do you know of any? Is the work you suggest such an explanation?

Love in Christ,
JL

John Lollard said...

Hey Neal,

Emotions are getting kind of high here. Admittedly, I'm kind of annoyed, and I really hope we're not annoying TF.

I'm not complaining about the "appearance" of age. For one, because I have nothing to complain about. There is no appearance of age, there is simply age, which is in the billions of years. I could equally turn around now and say that complaining about how God chose to reveal His work in Creation and complaining that he made you in His image from a monkey instead of a handful of dirt is ingratitude in the highest order. Who are you to tell God how he has to reveal himself in Scripture? Let the potter have his way.

But I'm not complaining. I'm simply stating that it is inconsistent with God's character for him to do what you propose, that it would be really weird for him to consistently create everything with the false appearance of billions of years of age attested through multiple lines of investigation, and that if God had done this then all He has accomplished is pleasing Himself and confusing honest and God-fearing scientists. Which is why such an explanation is unsatisfying to me.

"Why stop now? That's all you've been doing this entire thread!"

No, the entire thread I've been trying to establish the evidence and how one theory accounts for the evidence and another does not. It kind of upsets me that you apparently haven't been paying attention.

But whatever. For we know in part and we prophesy in part ...

Love in Christ,
JL

Turretinfan said...

JL:

You wrote: "I don't accept your version of how things happened not because it involves miracles, but because it doesn't explain anything and just sticks a big confusing miracle there, nature and purpose unknown, for us to baffle at. "

Why would one baffle at it, rather than just accepting it?

-TurretinFan

Coram Deo said...

JL,

Thanks for your reply. I realize you don't want to speculate too much about certain matters, but I think it's important to think through our faith carefully in the light of scripture since there are implications to our respective worldviews.

So when God speaks of creating man in His image, according to His likeness, do you believe He was referring to the future species homo sapiens that He would "create" by the process of evolution, or do you believe that He was referring to a spiritual image and likeness that he imputed to the hominid homo sapiens, which thing was not imputed to less evolved hominids?

"Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth,” (Gen. 1:26, NASB).

Prior to the rise/imputation/actualization of "Godlikeness" in homo sapiens do you believe either "pre-Godlikeness" homo sapiens, or less evolved hominids sinned, or were judged for sin, or otherwise had souls? According to the Bible God will judge the soul that sins, so I'm sort of wondering where the soul came from in your worldview.

Perhaps prior to homo sapiens all hominids simply died like animals with no soul or judgment, but after the rise of homo sapiens God imputed a soul to a male and female ("Adam and Eve") and specially revealed Himself to them, after which they sinned, and subsequently they and their offspring fell under God's curse?

From your perspective would the very first homo sapiens have been given souls, or is it possible that untold generations passed before a male and female couple of homo sapiens were given souls?

In Christ,
CD

Neal said...

JL: "I have heard of them, but they don't fit the data. They would suggest way more fossils than we have; we don't have a lot of fossils because the ideal conditions for them were so rare."

If this is the case, why the cocksure attitude that this admitted slim evidence is proof of anything? It certainly undermines your earlier claims about the nature of the evidence for evolution.

JL: "As to OEC, I think TF would actually agree with me that it is an inconsistent position. You don't really gain anything by saying that "day" could mean "billions of years", because the ordering is still inconsistent with cosmology and astronomy. If you say that the ordering isn't literal, then why take any of it literally? You might as well go the whole way and accept evolution, or go back and accept YEC, but OEC is a pretty arbitrary place to draw the line."

I actually agree with this. If you reject evolution, there is no need to accept an old earth paradigm.

JL: "YECists who admit the appearance of age are my favorite. I've read some arguments from them that I think are very well crafted, with a lot of thought put into them. I haven't read any really good ones that consistently account for everything that we see."

"Everything we see" is currently existing species of animals, and some old bones that we've dug up that you have already admitted are rare. Coming up with a naturalistic explanation to consistently account for this slim evidence is once again an exercise in historical reconstruction that requires an awful lot of speculation, unquestioned assumptions, and filling in the missing details to make the case look more robust than it is.

JL: "I would very much like to see a good, intelligent, honest, consistent, exhaustive explanation given by a YECist accounting completely for the universe and why it appears the way that it does."

This is a standard that you don't even hold evolutionists to. Have they figured out the Cambrian explosion yet? Or why some fossils appear in the strata where they aren't supposed to be according to the evolutionists' narrative? Or found a way around the second law of thermodynamics?

JL: "Do you know of any? Is the work you suggest such an explanation?"

Only one way to find out. Read it. I wouldn't call it an "exhaustive explanation" by any means but it makes some common sense arguments about the appearance of age and how it is unavoidable that God would create the universe with the appearance of age.

JL: "I could equally turn around now and say that complaining about how God chose to reveal His work in Creation and complaining that he made you in His image from a monkey instead of a handful of dirt is ingratitude in the highest order."

Except that it runs afoul of what God actually said He did.

JL: "But I'm not complaining. I'm simply stating that it is inconsistent with God's character for him to do what you propose, that it would be really weird for him to consistently create everything with the false appearance of billions of years of age..."

Why? If God wanted to create a fully functional universe with an already existing ecosystem capable of sustaining man without taking billions of years to do it, why is it a problem if He just creates it ex-nihilo? I don't understand the objection. Should Adam have complained that God was deceiving him by creating him with the appearance of age?

JL: "No, the entire thread I've been trying to establish the evidence and how one theory accounts for the evidence and another does not. It kind of upsets me that you apparently haven't been paying attention."

I've been paying attention, I just don't buy your arguments or your claims about what the geologic record indicates. And your conceding that the actual evidence we have from it is slim underscores the point.

Rhology said...

JL, you appeal to "fossils".
Please prove that any fossil that has been found had children.

Thanks!

John Lollard said...

Hey TF,

"Why would one baffle at it, rather than just accepting it?"

God in the Bible does miracles all the time. Would you agree that he performs miracles for two main reasons; to reveal his power and authority over nature, and for the salvation of his people?

And yet you are proposing that God did a whole bunch of other miracles that do neither of these. You're suggesting that he did a whole bunch of miracles just 'cuz, making the universe look older than it really is. It doesn't display his authority over nature, because no one can be certain that it is a miracle and not actual age, and it doesn't bring about the salvation of his people, because all that it really does is confuse his people and cause division between his people and scientists trying to make sense of God's creation.

So I don't accept that stars being older in their life-cycles than they are (however it is that this occurred) is a miracle mainly because it is not in God's nature to perform such a miracle. It is something more befitting to Allah to make stars look older just 'cuz he wants to.

Love in Christ,
JL

Rhology said...

JL,

Wrt appearance of age, I don't think you're grappling nearly enough with the limitations of man.

In the case of the question of evolution, they have set out to take the equivalent of a 1,000,000-year-old auto accident, to disregard completely the testimony of the 100% trustworthy eyewitness who actually made the whole thing happen, and to send a forensics (CSI) team to the scene to dig around and find scattered pieces of car and glass, 1,000,000-year-old grooves and scratches, and not reconstruct but rather construct what happened in opposition to what the witness says he made happen.

Given that said CSI team has refused to listen to what the infallible eyewitness and performer of the creation incident has said about it and used its limited instrumentation, limited knowledge, limited wisdom, and limited methodology (not to mention disregarding its total lack of ability to observe what happened) to construct an alternative hypothesis, that you would find exactly what you were looking for (ie, anything other than evidence for a divine creation) wouldn't be surprising.

Turretinfan said...

JL:

Creation is an example of God showing his power, and God telling us about Creation is one way He establishes his authority.

The remainder of your argument attributes to God the faulty conclusions of observers who ignore what He said about what He did.

-TurretinFan

John Lollard said...

Hey CD,

I'm pretty sure that the "image and likeness" of God has always been understood not as a physical likeness, but as the abilities of reason, sentience, and recognition of the Creator. When those features first appeared in our ancestry, I have no idea, but it didn't necessarily have to be with Homo sapiens sapiens. I believe that it was with Homo sapiens sapiens. If this feature evolved or was specially imputed I also have no idea, but in either case it was given intentionally by God to us.

Prior to there being an image of God in man, I don't think it makes sense to say there was no "soul", just not the sort of soul that would live after death and face the judgement. I don't think it would make sense to talk about sin at this point.

Your description of the arise of both souls and sin is very possible and is typically the view that I hold to. When you talk about "the very first homo sapiens", it necessarily is a question that won't make a lot of sense. In biology, animals are classified into species, which makes sense when you're running a zoo, but doesn't make sense when looking at evolutionary history. Every generation is of the same species as its parents. Every generation is as different from its parents as you are from your parents and as a litter of kittens is from its mother. So between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens there are millions of generations, each one "just like" the one before it, and yet at some point you can't keep saying that you're looking at Homo erectus anymore. As you keep going, eventually you have to say that you're looking at humans, but when exactly is a really wavey, watery thing to talk about. For that matter, why couldn't Adam and Eve have been Homo erectus? Or why not earlier than Homo erectus? I mean, we give these species names, but they're just to help us out in classifying - H. erectus could have been every bit as much in the spiritual likeness of God as we are. If we had met one, we might want to bring him to church with us. That said, I think it makes much more sense for Adam and Eve to have been relatively "early" into the Homo sapiens part of the spectrum of development, less than 100,000 years before the coming of Christ.

All this, of course, is literally speculation and me trying to make sense of Biblical revelation in light of what God has revealed through nature. Admittedly, it is difficult to do, but the difficulty doesn't mean that you reject it - as you yourself would probably say in exegesis of Romans 9.

You asked where the soul comes from. Like everything, it comes from God.

Love in Christ,
JL

John Lollard said...

Hey TF,

Creation absolutely was a miracle. I have never denied that God created miraculously. I denied that God created miraculously and then further went along miraculously making everything look older than it really is.

Love in Christ,
JL

John Lollard said...

Hey Rho,

I appeal to fossils because they're the easiest things to appeal to. I don't have to appeal to fossils. I could appeal to embryology, to DNA sequencing, to the geographical dispersion of modern animals, or to the homomorphology of modern animals. I appealed to fossils because it's easy to appeal to fossils.

I realize that creationists don't like fossils so much, so I'm not sure why I did. Creationists love DNA, so I really should have appealed to DNA. Creationists probably also love embryology, so I should have appealed to embryology. Sadly, I'm not much of a biologist, so I don't know enough to give a very good demonstration of evolution's predictive power through these venues.

To answer your question, though, the actual organism that left the fossil wasn't some lone, bewildered creature with no brothers, sister, mother, or father. And it didn't just have a mother and father, but an entire species of animals with similar bone structure. Even if that organism didn't ever reproduce, the rest of its species that didn't fossilize would have.

Thanks for asking, though.

Love in Christ,
JL

Turretinfan said...

"I denied that God created miraculously and then further went along miraculously making everything look older than it really is."

Who said God did?

John Lollard said...

Hey Rho,

Thanks so much for appealing to a car accident! That's great!

Imagine that you find a car accident. There's an infallible witness to the accident. The witness tells you that on the last full moon, old coyote was running from brother bear, and to escape went hitch hiking on this road, when he was picked up by the car's driver. Coyote further decided to trick the driver into getting out of the car wearing a fox suit to throw brother bear off his tracks, and afterwards coyote realized he couldn't drive and wrecked the car.

One CSI investigator looks, and the last full moon was yesterday, so he determines that the accident happened yesterday.

A second CSI investigator looks at the oil deposits in the engine or something, and thinks that they look much more like the deposits of an accident happening twenty years ago.

Then say they want to look at blood from the accident. At this point, each CSI investigator makes a prediction. The first one says, "we should expect the blood to be this color" and the second one says "we should expect the blood to be that color". And suppose they look and the blood is that color.

And suppose they decide to look at the air bag, and the first CSI guy says "we should expect the airbag to be in this state" and the second one says "we should expect the airbag to be in that state", and it's in that state.

How many times do we have to do this before you decide that the infallible witness wasn't speaking literally? How much like a 20-year-old wreck does the accident have to be before you decide that it's not a day old?

Love in Christ,
JL

John Lollard said...

Hey TF,

Can you explain the appearance of age in your own words?

In Christ,
JL

Turretinfan said...

You guess (various ways - but not by looking to what God actually says) what age it is. You're wrong. You blame God for this, in the event that the earth is not as old as you think it is. God laughs, because you guessed rather than just taking Him at His word.

Neal said...

JL: "A second CSI investigator looks at the oil deposits in the engine or something, and thinks that they look much more like the deposits of an accident happening twenty years ago."

Of course, this assumes that said CSI investigator has the requisite experience to determine what 20 year old oil deposits look like.

John Lollard said...

Hey Neal,

In reality, and not the allegory, we do know what "20-year oil spills" look like. The principles that we use to investigate the age of the earth are principles that we use to do things like power our houses and blow up Japan. We understand the principles very well, they work very well, and using them we can see a universe billions of years old.

Thanks for bring it up!

Love in Christ,
JL

John Lollard said...

TF,

We don't guess. In some cases, we actually and literally measure the age of the universe. The measurements read an age in the billions. We accept the measurements.

You come and say that God just made things so that we'd measure wrong. That doesn't make any sense, so we reject it as a possibility.

We keep measuring, and you keep saying that God made everything so that we'd measure wrong. The entire universe was made so as to have its age improperly measured.

I'm sorry, but I can't accept something like God just making every thing in existence to look older than it is for no reason. You can call it arrogance or distrust all you want.

Love in Christ,
JL

John Lollard said...

Hey TF,

I just realized that you meant that as an explanation of the appearance of age.

No, I mean like offer a mathematical formula to explain radioactive decay. Radioactive decay is just one of the many, many obstacles you need to argue around, but we'll start there. Mathematically, the amount of a radioactive substance that decays is proportional to the amount of the substance, this gives us a differential equation that we can solve to give a really easy model of exponential decay. Using this model of radioactive decay, we get millions of things screaming apparent ages older than 6,000 years. Apparently this is wrong, so can you offer a better model of radioactive decay that can account for the appearance of advanced age in a 6,000-year-old universe?

Thanks,
JL

Turretinfan said...

JL:

"We don't guess."

I don't know which "we" you're referring to. But, if you are trying to infer age from things like red shift in starlight, you're guessing.

"In some cases, we actually and literally measure the age of the universe."

Actually, one typically tries to calculate the age of the universe based on various assumptions applied to observations about measurable things, like wavelengths of light.

- TurretinFan

Rhology said...

JL,

I appeal to fossils because they're the easiest things to appeal to...To answer your question, though, the actual organism that left the fossil wasn't some lone, bewildered creature with no brothers, sister, mother, or father.

Prove it, don't assume it, please. I'm waiting.



I could appeal to embryology

What? The long-debunked ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny? Please!


DNA sequencing

Which tells you nothing outside of your evolutionary assumption than that two organisms share similar DNA. Doesn't say anything about the past.


to the geographical dispersion of modern animals

What does that tell you, precisely?


homomorphology of modern animals.

Which tells you nothing outside of your evolutionary assumption than that two organisms share similar morphology. Doesn't say anything about the past.


I realize that creationists don't like fossils so much,

Yawn.


And it didn't just have a mother and father, but an entire species of animals with similar bone structure.

That it had (a) parent(s) is irrelevant.
And I'd like you to prove that there existed "an entire species of animals with similar bone structure", not assume it.
Thanks!


There's an infallible witness to the accident. The witness tells you that on the last full moon, old coyote was running from brother bear, and to escape went hitch hiking on this road, when he was picked up by the car's driver.

Which is, um, hardly analogous to the Bible.
See, I knew if we did enough digging, you'd show your true colors as a scoffer at the Bible. Your condemnation is well-deserved.



The principles that we use to investigate the age of the earth are principles that we use to do things like power our houses and blow up Japan.

Prove it, don't assume it.
Trouble is, I have no idea how you'd go about proving it. I just figure that you wouldn't be so intellectually dishonest as to make completely made-up claims on a topic of this magnitude, so I'm giving you a chance to prove it.


You come and say that God just made things so that we'd measure wrong.

Not at all. You get it wrong b/c you're measuring the wrong way. Hardly God's fault.

Peace,
Rhology

Turretinfan said...

"can you offer a better model of radioactive decay"

This is one of the "easy ones." The equations used to calculate the age of something based on its current radioactivity make an assumption about the initial state of the rock. If that assumption is incorrect, the data will be wrong. The assumption may very well be incorrect.

Another assumption is that radioactive decay has operated the same way in the past. There's really no way to know this - it's just a guess. If it's wrong, that explains why the model yields results that are wildly wrong (such as results in the millions of years).

-TurretinFan

John Lollard said...

Hey TF,

"Actually, one typically tries to calculate the age of the universe"

I think it was CD or steve who pointed out once that we can't really directly measure time. Like when you use a watch, you aren't really measuring time, you're roughly measuring the rate of your battery to release electric charge. The watchface is just a complicated device to calculate time based on that rate.

When we take something like the theory of nuclear fusion and use it to measure time, it is very similar methodologically to if we were using an hourglass to measure time. But I think you would agree that using an hourglass to measure time, while technically just measuring the fall of sand, is still measuring time.

Love in Christ,
JL

John Lollard said...

Hey Rho,

"Not at all. You get it wrong b/c you're measuring the wrong way. Hardly God's fault."

Then give us a right and consistent way to measure.

Thanks, and still waiting.

In Christ,
JL

Turretinfan said...

JL:

That's why God gave us the sun's rise and set and the moon's waxing and waning - to help us measure time.

-TurretinFan

John Lollard said...

You know, I was thinking. Apply any of the arguments you guys have been using to the manuscript evidence of the Bible, and you get Dan Barker and the Jesus Seminar.

"This dates to the second century"
"No, it can't because there was no Bible in the second century. People didn't make it up till the third century! You're just measuring wrong"

"We can trace this typo through the manuscript tradition to see how it has been passed on, and based on its form and dispersion, conclude that these all originated in one typo in this area."
"No, we can't, you're just assuming all of this, it's all speculation, we don't know that these manuscripts themselves were ever copied, we don't have enough intermediary forms, they don't show that because it didn't happen and you only think so because you've ruled out a late and mythical origin of the Bible ahead of time."

"The story of the woman caught in adultery only appears in later manuscripts, at after a certain point we do not see it at all."
"That doesn't mean anything, you're just assuming, it was there all along but we just never found any."

I mean, really. Please be consistent. You would never allow someone in debate with Dr. White to throw out excuses like these. Apply the same methods of textual criticism to the fossil record.

Thanks,
JL

Turretinfan said...

JL:

I'm just asking you to take God at his word rather than second guessing him based on your own assumptions.

Looked at that way, my arguments are nothing like Dan Barker's.

-TurretinFan

Neal said...

JL: "Then give us a right and consistent way to measure."

What if there isn't one? Have you considered that possibility? BTW the problems with radiometric dating methods have been dealt with pretty extensively by creationists.

John Lollard said...

TF,

You do not take God at his Word when it describes a flat earth, or an earth at the center of the universe. Or if you do take him at his Word, you interpret it that he was speaking figuratively. You do so because the evidence for a round earth orbiting the sun, itself a minor and remote outlier in a massive galaxy is overwhelming. I don't accuse you of scoffing at God's word or denying him or distrusting him when you deny the literalness of these parts of Scripture.

So why does Scripture describe a flat earth? I propose that God chose to communicate to his people in terms that they would understand. I likewise think Genesis is written in terms that the human creature can understand, after the genre of other creation stories, and that the people to whom they were delivered would have understood them as creation stories and not sober history.

So while I take God at his Word, when the natural world keeps looking less and less like my understand of God's Word, I don't deny either, I just reformat my understanding of God's Word to accommodate my knowledge.

Love in Christ,
JL

Rhology said...

Then give us a right and consistent way to measure.

Um, the Bible. Hmmm, that was not at all difficult.
(And what Neal said.)
Now, the many questions I asked you?

John Lollard said...

Hey Neal,

"What if there isn't one? Have you considered that possibility? "

I have. If the universe is just a big jumble of confusing stuff doing whatever it wants, aging however it wants, then there goes the transcendent argument for God, there goes presuppositional apologetics, and we're back to "all things have a cause". But I further propose that if stuff just acted inconsistently according to no rules, it further serves as an argument against the existence of God, or at least the existent of the Christian God. I would expect a godless universe, or a universe created by a deity more like Allah, to run without any recourse to laws and principles.

So yes, I have considered that possibility.

What I really meant, however, is that creationists use radiometric dating techniques all the time. Except when these techniques indicate ages older than 6,000 years. Then they're wrong. But as long as they don't suggest stuff that's too old, then they work fine. It isn't consistent.

Love in Christ,
JL

John Lollard said...

Hey Rho,

"Um, the Bible. Hmmm, that was not at all difficult."

Haha! I knew you were going to say that. "The Bible" isn't a way to interpret the proportions of elements inside of distant stars. It isn't a way to interpret the layers of calcium deposits from mollusks. It isn't a way to interpret the proportion of uranium in rocks. What am I supposed to do with all of this stuff?

You recommend that I "Bible" it all, but what does that even mean? The Bible offers no guidelines for understanding any of this stuff, which isn't a complain against Scripture, I'm just pointing out that Scripture does not serve the purpose for which you are trying to use it.

Gosh, Rho, this is really getting frustrating to me, because it's starting to appear like you guys don't even care about what I'm saying. None of the things that you are proposing are explanations for any of the phenomena going on. I'll accept miraculous explanations, I'll accept naturalistic explanations, just please explain to me why in the world there would be stars billions of years into the radioactive synthesis of iron. How did they get that way, why did they get that way, how am I supposed to understand it's previous state in light of its current state, how can I understand its future state in light of its past states? Just please, do not tell me the Bible says it's 6,000 years old so however I understand it I've got to believe it's 6,000 years old or else I'm a scoffer.

Sigh.

Actually, don't bother. I'm done. You guys win. The Bible says so. Game over.

Love in Christ,
JL

Turretinfan said...

"You do not take God at his Word when it describes a flat earth, or an earth at the center of the universe."

a) The Bible doesn't say "the Earth is flat." The Bible does say, "in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth."

b) The Bible doesn't say "the earth is at the geographic center of the universe." The Bible does say that "God rested on the seventh day."

So, your accusation of inconsistency is a false accusation.


-TurretinFan

Rhology said...

"The Bible" isn't a way to interpret the proportions of elements inside of distant stars.

Didn't claim that. How is it relevant?


It isn't a way to interpret the proportion of uranium in rocks.

Didn't claim that. How is it relevant?


You recommend that I "Bible" it all, but what does that even mean?

Read it and interpret it properly in context. it deals with creation - I suggest you read it.


The Bible offers no guidelines for understanding any of this stuff, which isn't a complain against Scripture

Sure it does - read it.


Gosh, Rho, this is really getting frustrating to me, because it's starting to appear like you guys don't even care about what I'm saying.

Or maybe we've seen it all before a million times, mostly from atheists, and identify your participation and (perhaps inadvertent) collusion with them.


please explain to me why in the world there would be stars billions of years into the radioactive synthesis of iron

Please explain to me why in the world there would be animals, plants, fish, and a man and a woman created decades into their normal aging processes.


How did they get that way, why did they get that way, how am I supposed to understand it's previous state in light of its current state, how can I understand its future state in light of its past states?

Thru science. Just recognise how far back you can go and go no further. Why is that too much to ask?


o not tell me the Bible says it's 6,000 years old so however I understand it I've got to believe it's 6,000 years old or else I'm a scoffer.

You're a scoffer b/c of your ridiculous "analogy". But feel free to retract it.


Actually, don't bother. I'm done. You guys win.

You offer nothing and so we lose nothing through your withdrawal. I note (again) that you didn't even attempt to deal with my questions. Why can't your failure to be able to deal with them get you to see that your worldview is badly flawed?

Wishing you loved Christ enough to believe Him,
Rhology

Neal said...

JL: "If the universe is just a big jumble of confusing stuff doing whatever it wants, aging however it wants, then there goes the transcendent argument for God"

You seem to be jumping to conclusions. How does "the universe is just a big jumble of confusing stuff" follow from the premise that there is no reliable and consistent dating method available to us?

JL: "What I really meant, however, is that creationists use radiometric dating techniques all the time"

They don't when such methods are based on faulty assumptions and unverified reliablity.

Coram Deo said...

Despite all the high-falutin' philosophical terms and theological wrangling in this thread, the fact remains that there's one reason for rejecting the plain and simple face-value meanings of the words of scripture - unbelief.

You can put lipstick on a pig, put it in a nice dress, and call it "Sally", but it's still just a pig.

I personally find militant atheists like Richard Dawkins much more consistent in their epistemology (irrational as it is) than professing believers who hold to secular humanist, rational material views such as evolution while claiming to believe the "spiritual" parts of the Bible.

To me this is the height of folly, and pinnacle of illogical thinking.

I say this because the Genesis account is so clear and unambiguous that even a child can easily understand it.

Equally clear are the Biblical warnings against double-mindedness; such a man is unstable in all his ways. Why? Because man cannot serve two masters.

Those who try to keep one eye on heavenly, spiritual things while attempting to maintain one eye on worldly, material things have double vision. They can't see clearly, and they fall into a pit.

The Lord God Almighty, the infinite Creator and Judge of the universe demands wholehearted love and obedience from His creatures. Half-hearted love and obedience is as abominable and damnable to Him as outright hatred and disobedience.

"But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep." - John 10:26

Ultimate authorities are pesky things, and if one's ultimate authority is something other than the inspired Word of God, then one is in the wrong epistemological camp.

In Christ,
CD

Coram Deo said...

Providence!

I just stumbled across the following quote over at Dan Phillips place:

The difference between fearing God, and trying to be God

It only surfaces when God crosses your will, or your preferred way of thinking.

The God-fearer says, "God differs from me; I must be wrong, and I must change."

The God-wannabe says, "God differs from me; He must be wrong, and I must change Him."


Love me some Pyro!

In Him,
CD

Srnec said...

Despite all the high-falutin' philosophical terms and theological wrangling in this thread, the fact remains that there's one reason for rejecting the plain and simple face-value meanings of the words of scripture - unbelief.

Anybody who says that man is justified by faith alone is "rejecting the plain and simple face-value meanings of the words" of James 2:24: "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." James says explicitly that man is not justified by faith alone. There are no uncertain terms here.

I always knew us Protestants were closet unbelievers...

Turretinfan said...

Srnec:

There's more than one sense to the word "justify."

-TurretinFan

Coram Deo said...

Correct, TF.

There's also something called comparing scripture with scripture.

Instead of sniping perhaps Srnec can cite scripture that unfolds the fuller sense of the text, and gives us an clearer understanding of God's creative fiat than is contained in Genesis account?

In Christ,
CD

Rhology said...

Srnec,

Fail.

Srnec said...

There's more than one sense to the word "justify."

I will take this as an affirmation of my point. Even if one of those senses could be identified as the "plain and simple face-value meaning" of the word, then unless the Scriptures use the word only in that sense, there is at least one passage in Scripture where the "plain and simple face-value meaning" of the text is not the correct meaning.

There's also something called comparing scripture with scripture.

But why would we need that if we have the "the plain and simple face-value meanings of the words of scripture", for which, as Coram told us, there is only one reason for rejecting?

Instead of sniping perhaps Srnec can cite scripture that unfolds the fuller sense of the text, and gives us an clearer understanding of God's creative fiat than is contained in Genesis account?

No promises with regards to future sniping, but I will certainly oblige the request.

Hebrews 4:6 says, "It still remains that some will enter that rest." The rest referred to began on the seventh day (as the preceding verses make clear). If it still remains that some will enter the rest that began at the culmination of the creation of the world (as the anonymous writer to the Hebrews says), then it follows that that rest is ongoing and was not a twenty-four hour rest.

In the same chapter of Hebrews we learn that "God again set a certain day, calling it Today" and that there remains "a Sabbath-rest for the people of God". This suggests that the week of seven twenty-four hour days with six days of work and a seventh and final day of rest is not an imitation in terms of timescale of the six days of Creation. This is because the "certain day" which is for rest is not a twenty-four hour period at all: it is "Today", i.e., right now. The Sabbath-rest which is God's and into which we may enter is not, as we have seen, a twenty-four hour period to begin with, so this is unsurprising, but the way the words "day" and "today" are used to refer to something other than a period of twenty-four hours in a passage which is so tightly linked to the seventh day of Creation suggests that the inspired author saw no incongruity.

Nothing in the above should be regarded as an argument against a literal six-day creation, but rather an argument that such a position requires just as much argumentation as any other theory of creation. In other words, "plain and simple face-value meaning" of "day" is not "period of twenty-four hours".

Fail.

Rhology, I think you missed the point. My comment was directed at Coram Deo's absurdity. TurretinFan demonstrated the absurdity in his reply. Nothing more than TF's response is needed to save James from heresy. I knew that before I posted.

If you mean only that my argument that James teaches that men must work for their justification fails, then I agree. It was supposed to fail so obviously that those at home nodding in agreement with Coram would suddenly see his simplicity. So it seems you failed.

Coram Deo said...

Srnec,

Since words are apparently either incomprehensible, or else may mean something other than what they actually say, would it be okay with you if I read your prior comment as a wholesale agreement with the position that I hold regarding the literal six 24-hour day creation fiat described in Genesis?

In Him,
CD

Turretinfan said...

"I will take this as an affirmation of my point."

That's not a good start. You should go back and re-think. The rest of your discussion goes downhill from there.

-TurretinFan

Coram Deo said...

"I will take this as an affirmation of my point."

That's not a good start. You should go back and re-think. The rest of your discussion goes downhill from there.

LOL, TF!

One is left wondering if your guest is familiar with the concept of "context".

In Christ,
CD

Coram Deo said...

WHY THEISTIC EVOLUTION DOESN'T WORK

Srnec said...

That's not a good start. You should go back and re-think. The rest of your discussion goes downhill from there.

There is nothing here but bare assertion. So I re-read what I wrote and I stand by everything. But perhaps you just don't understand what I'm saying.

One is left wondering if your guest is familiar with the concept of "context".

No, I'm wondering if you are. If we have the "the plain and simple face-value meanings of the words", what do we need context for?

Since words are apparently either incomprehensible, or else may mean something other than what they actually say, would it be okay with you if I read your prior comment as a wholesale agreement with the position that I hold regarding the literal six 24-hour day creation fiat described in Genesis?

You may read me as saying that your position is reasonable and not repugnant to the Word of God, yes. You may not read me as saying that words are "incomprehensible". Of course words can't mean other than what they actually say, but than how do words say anything at all is the underlying question you wouldn't even think to ask. And that is what I'm getting at.

That Genesis 1-2 is not historical narrative is to me frankly obvious, but I understand if it is not obvious to others. It therefore needs an argument. I won't give one here, but I will say that not being a historical narrative no more makes it historically inaccurate than not being historical narrative makes the Psalms inaccurate wherever they touch on history. I have no beef with young earth creationism, but too many young earth creationists have a dismissive attitude towards Christian evolutionists, an attitude that is often also scientifically ignorant or just plain inconsistent. In this case there is serious inconsistency between Coram Deo's treatment of James' explicit text and his reference to the apparently un-analysable-ly simple text of Genesis 1. (Which, let me make clear, lest I be misunderstood again, does not make his interpretation of Genesis 1 wrong.)

Coram Deo said...

Srnec,

I'll try using your words to avoid confusion.

Assertion: In this case there is serious inconsistency between Coram Deo's treatment of James' explicit text and his reference to the apparently un-analysable-ly simple text of Genesis 1.

Reply: There is nothing here but bare assertion. So I re-read what I wrote and I stand by everything. But perhaps you just don't understand what I'm saying.

Well said!

Anyway, I'll just prayerfully take God at His Word and adjust my worldview to His infallible, inspired revelation as opposed to attempting to conform Him to my image based on my sinfully corrupted reasoning powers, which thing is a form of idolatry.

The passage in James you're railing about means exactly what it says, and in the context of scripture (the whole counsel of God) we are given the fuller context in which to comprehend the fullness of James' meaning, praise the Lord for His perfect self-revelation!

My point, which you've tenaciously avoided dealing with, is that one interprets scripture with scripture. The less clear portions of scripture are understood in the light of the more clear portions of scripture. Since God is the author of all of scripture, as well as the author of creation (and hence reality) we ought to take Him at His Word.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. - Job 38:4

The answer? We didn't exist. Therefore we are able, by the Holy Spirit, to submit ourselves to the Lord and accept His infallible eyewitness testimony of His creation fiat.

Christian evolutionist is a contradiction in terms. This is true because man cannot serve two masters. We know this because the Bible shows us that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. A "Christian evolutionist", therefore, cannot accept scripture at face-value.

Therefore the fact remains that there's one reason for rejecting the plain and simple face-value meanings of the words of scripture - unbelief.

This was my earlier point, and I stand by my assertion. What else do you call it when someone doesn't believe the simple face-value meanings of the words of scripture?

An example of the product of such double-minded unbelief is Peter Enns at BioLogos.

I watched a video of him speaking last night where he attributed first century ignorance of the human genome sequencing project to the Apostle Paul's affirmation of a literal Adam. Poor Paul was simply under first century delusions about the historicity of Adam, and so he went with the flow when he wrote.

Mind you, Enns went to painful lengths to attempt to protect Paul from being an outright liar, he simply wrote as a first century man who believed certain myths were true facts, but of course at the end of such an argument we still find an overt assault on the inspiration of scripture.

Either Paul was writing infallible truth as he was carried along by the Holy Spirit, or he was mixing some analogical/allegorical "truths" with some of his own personal mistaken assumptions, having believed and inscripturated the cleverly devised fables of men contra 2 Peter 1:16.

You really can't have it both ways, either God's Word is true, all of it, or it isn't. Abandoning the historical-literal hermeneutic leads to unbelief.

It's simply a question of ultimate authorities.

In Christ,
CD

Turretinfan said...

"If we have the 'the plain and simple face-value meanings of the words', what do we need context for?"

This seems like confirmation (if we needed any) that the original comment was part of an attack on a straw man position.

Does he really think we don't believe we need to look at the context to discern the plain meaning of things?

-TurretinFan

Coram Deo said...

TF,

The really delicious part is that he called my comment an absurdity, and followed that up with his best Gold Hat" impersonation.

"Context? We ain't got no context. We don't need no context! I don't have to show you any stinkin' context!"

Fantastico, mi amigo!

en Cristo,
CD

Anonymous said...

"Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men."

"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? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion."

- St Augustine.

At least people of Biologos make an effort. Fundamentalists seem to be living in their own world, which is about 1,000 years behind the rest of the planet.

Turretinfan said...

We're still teaching the same teaching we taught when Adam and Eve explained things to Seth.

Coram Deo said...

Anon said: At least people of Biologos make an effort. Fundamentalists seem to be living in their own world, which is about 1,000 years behind the rest of the planet.

Augustine was rebuking ignorant and unlearned professing believers who taught error and misused the scriptures to support their false assertions, being in error on both accounts [both natural and special revelation].

What is the proposed connection between Augustine's statement, BioLogos, and Fundamentalists?

Are you suggesting that BioLogos is in the Augustinian tradition in its manifest efforts to undermine, and instill doubt about, the reliability of the Holy Bible?

Are you suggesting that "Fundamentalists" [presumably people who actually believe what the Bible says] are guilty of misunderstanding/misinterpreting both the Bible and natural revelation?

In Christ,
CD

Anonymous said...

I’m trying to understand something, so maybe someone can help me with this.

Someone please explain to me how this statement (or any other statement from Biologos) denies “the central Christian tenet of Creation”: “We also believe that evolution, properly understood, best describes God’s work of creation.”

In Christ,
Ben

Anonymous said...

Oops. I'm sorry. I forgot to indicate where my quote from Biologos's website came from: http://biologos.org/about.

In Christ,
Ben

Turretinfan said...

Yes, it denies it the same way that saying "We believe in the resurrection of Christ" would be negated by a follow-up comment that says "where resuscitation from a swoon is the way that Christ was resurrected."

Just as swoon theories of the crucifixion and resurrection are naturalistic alternatives to the miracle of the Resurrection, so also evolution theories of Creation are naturalistic alternatives to the miracle of Creation.

-TurretinFan

Anonymous said...

I believe theistic evolution is wrong and am an inerrentist. I think the main reason many people go to Biologos is because they are fed up with the anti-intellectualism of much of American Christianity--THE EARTH IS OLD. Yes, I have studied the dating methods and there are no "naturalistic" assumptions in most if not all of them. God is not trying to fool us.
Check out reasons.org.

Turretinfan said...

Anonymous:

I'm glad to hear that you are not a theistic evolutionist.

You are mistaken about the dating systems. Here's a simple test: how many allow for the possibility that a miracle - a change in the laws of nature - occurred between the present and the date they are trying to obtain?

Of course, the answer is that none of them do. None of them even can. It wouldn't be fair to ask them to do so. They are not tools for investigating the supernatural, but only the natural.

-TurretinFan