TWW Applauds SEBTS and Biologos: Attempting a Creation War Détente

“What can you ever really know of other people's souls – of their temptations, their opportunities, their struggles? One soul in the whole creation you do know: and it is the only one whose fate is placed in your hands” -CS Lewis

Dr Ken Keathley-SEBTS

On Friday, I attended a silent auction and saw a most unusual framed photo. It was a picture taken in the forest of a stand of trees. The trees were surrounded by purple hued sunbeams and barely visible ghostly images. The photographer told me he had taken it with a broken digital camera and this was the unusual result.

As I stared at it, I remembered a talk given by Dr Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe. He said that there were multiple dimensions (probably 11 with time being a 12th dimension but don’t hold me to it.) He then posited that perhaps heaven is the 13th dimension. This could mean that, although God is in heaven, He is also surrounding and within our dimension. The unusual picture was a sort of a hint of such a concept. That is my view of God. He is bigger and more complex than we can imagine yet He makes it part of His business to be involved in the people He has created.

As you know, I am very upset over the creation wars. I did not enter the fray until I encountered a rabid group of YEC who were experts in slyly questioning the salvation of those who believe differently. Since I am one of these, I have been the recipient of some rather crude and silly attacks.

This post is not to discuss my point of view. I have done so in many articles, including this one link, which got the highest number of comments ever at TWW.  Suffice to say that I lean towards evolutionary creationism (or theistic evolutionism). I know God as the Creator, plain and simple.

I believe that Ken Ham, a former high school biology teacher, and Answers in Genesis have been the raconteurs behind the creation wars. Frankly, I had given up hope that there could be any sort of rational discussion between evangelicals of differing opinions while this group existed. That is, until recently.

Last year, at this time, we discussed a couple of homeschooling conferences that had disinvited Ken Ham due to his noxious prattling about fellow Christians who are not toeing his young earth line. Here is our post,  I Do Not Like Green Eggs and (ken)Ham.

A couple of weeks ago, Deb called me and said, “You have got to see what is happening over at the Between the Times blog here.”

Dr. Ken Keathley wrote this startling and positive article.

"(Dr.)Francis Collins, a devout evangelical who headed the Human Genome Project, founded the BioLogos Foundation in 2007 for the purpose of advocating evolutionary theory as a viable option for evangelicals. When Collins stepped down from BioLogos to become the director of the Health and Human Services agency, (ed. note: His exact title is Director of the National Institutes of Health) Darrel Falk became president of the foundation.

At Falk’s request, a number of professors at Southern Baptist seminaries have submitted articles to the BioLogos forum to express our concerns about the foundation’s promotion of theistic evolution. These articles are part of a series entitled “Southern Baptist Voices” in which consists of each article paired with a response from a BioLogos fellow."

For background, here is an article we wrote on Dr Francis Collins who is considered one of the greatest scientists of our time. Collins was at the side of atheist Christopher Hitchens as he lay dying. One of Hitchens last articles extolled his friendship with Collins.

Keathley and Biologos’s Falk mapped out a series of questions and answers that satisfied both parties. These questions and answers are not long or drawn out and I urge our readers to read the full responses. The following are excerpts from that dialogue.

1. Ken Keathley to Biologos-Part 1
The first set of questions to Biologos here comes from Kenneth Keathley who “is Professor of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.”

“Concerns about theological method: Christians cannot do theology in a vacuum. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that theology is never done in a vacuum, and we should not pretend that it is. And the BioLogos Foundation is correct in arguing that evangelicals cannot ignore the latest advances in biology, geology, and other related fields. Our goal should be more than merely finding a way to reconcile Genesis with the latest discoveries in genetics. Rather, our task as pastors and theologians is to present a theology of Creation that provides a solid worldview for Christians to work in the natural sciences with integrity for the glory of God.

Genesis has only so much hermeneutical elasticity: Genre and hermeneutics (the science of interpretation) have always been difficult topics. In the early days of the church, from Basil of Caesarea to Augustine, scholars struggled with the proper way to understand the creation account in Genesis. Lately, however, the concordist and non-concordist approaches to the first 11 chapters of Genesis seem to be of unending and ever-increasing variety and complexity. Theistic evolutionists have contributed to the conversation. Certain evolutionary creationists ask us to accept more and more fanciful interpretations of Genesis.

The connection between natural history and salvation history: This seems to be a (maybe, the) major area of disagreement between evolutionary creationists and intelligent design proponents.”

William Dembski to Biologos -Part 2
The second set of questions here comes from William A. Dembski who is “Research Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Richard Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He is also a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, and directs the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design.”

“In part one of his essay, William Dembski laid out his assessment of the “non-negotiables” of both Christianity and Darwinism as follows:

Non-Negotiables of Christianity

(C1) Divine Creation: God by wisdom created the world out of nothing.
(C2) Reflected Glory: The world reflects God’s glory, a fact that ought to be evident to humanity.
(C3) Human Exceptionalism: Humans alone among the creatures on earth are made in the image of God.
(C4) Christ’s Resurrection: God, in contravention of nature’s ordinary powers, raised Jesus bodily from the dead.

Non-Negotiables of Darwinism:

(D1) Common Descent: All organisms are related by descent with modification from a common ancestor.
(D2) Natural Selection: Natural selection operating on random variations is the principal mechanism responsible for biological adaptations.
(D3) Human Continuity: Humans are continuous with other animals, exhibiting no fundamental difference in kind but only differences in degree.
(D4) Methodological Naturalism: The physical world, for purposes of scientific inquiry, may be assumed to operate by unbroken natural law.

In this second part of his Essay, he discusses the tensions between the two lists and explains his belief that Darwinism undercuts Christianity.”

3. Dr Darrel Falk for Biologos Responds-Part 1

Here is a small part of the first response by Dr Darrel R. Falk who is an American biologist. He is Professor of Biology at Point Loma Nazarene University and is the current president of The BioLogos Foundation

“It is not clear though, that supernatural activity would often be God’s chosen mode of action millions of years before humans had arrived. Thus, we should not assume with certainty that God would choose to use supernatural flurries of activity if his ongoing regular activity—that described through natural laws—would accomplish the same end, albeit over a longer period of time. For all we know, God may prefer slowness, even though we seem to be inclined to think that faster is better. After all, in the history of Israel and the church, God gave no new prophecy for 400 years before the coming of Christ, and it took the early church five centuries to come to a clear—albeit mysterious—understanding of the Trinity. Even now, two thousand years after Christ, we wait for his return.”

4. Dr Falk for Biologos- Part 2
Here is the second responseto Dembski by Biologos.

"1. I am skeptical that it is possible to develop testable scientific hypotheses for the activity of God. Carrying out a scientific test of a hypothesis depends upon having a “control” where the variable is removed. In this case, the variable would have to be God’s activity. But if God is always active—if all things hold together in Christ (Colossians 1:17) and if not one thing came into being without him (John 1:3)—then how does one test for the presence of Him who is never absent?
2. I do not agree that accepting the evolutionary creation view with its inherent emphasis on God’s natural activity in creation somehow makes belief in miracles less tenable. Miracles as outlined in Scripture have a special purpose: they are primarily a way that God uses to communicate and enter into relationship with humankind. It is not clear that they would be necessary to carry out God’s purposes before humans were here to observe them.
3. Although I remain skeptical that God’s activity can be put into a scientific formulation, I do not see that this in any way implies that God hides his activity. Put simply, I am every bit as inspired by Romans 1:20 and Psalm 19 as is Bill Dembski; I just don’t think these Scriptures imply that the activity of God can be formulated into scientifically testable hypotheses.

Dembski thinks that if God created humankind through the process of common descent, it diminishes the uniqueness of human qualities associated with being created in God’s image. I respectfully disagree: of the several ways of understanding what it means to bear the image of God, I find the most important aspects to be relational—they are derived from our being in relationship with God."

5. Dr Falk for Biologos-Part 3

Here is the final response to Dembski.

“The fact that we are made of the same stuff and by the same processes as the animal world says nothing that denies human exceptionalism. Humans and animals alike have DNA as our genetic material. We all have transfer RNA, messenger RNA, various proteins, mitochondria, and lysosomes. On the other hand, the material is clearly arranged in a different way in humans than it is in the great apes; one glance in the mirror will tell you that. Furthermore, we are endowed with capacities—notably, our moral, aesthetic, cognitive and linguistic ones—that are different from those found in the rest of the animal world. How did they come to be different? As I argued before, it can only have happened through God’s activity because even “ordinary” processes are God’s own, too. But how did God bring that to pass? Did it happen in an instant, or did it happen over a long period of time? If Dembksi thinks it more god-like for it to happen in an instant, why?

Considering that I’m the advocate for the validity of mainstream biology, I find it ironic that Dembski has placed so much emphasis on the power of science, even as he tries to purify it from materialist ideologies that I, too, find incompatible with a full understanding and appreciation of God’s creation. Science is an amazingly successful set of tools that—when coupled with the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)—leads us to a truer understanding of ourselves and a greater view of God. With this end in mind, perhaps Dr. Dembski and I can find still more common ground than we already have, agreeing that biology and geology and cosmology can be trustworthy, even though only at their best when the hearts and lives of those who study them are redeemed. If we are to see the natural world as it really is, we must be united in Christ, using our reason and our faith to understand what God is telling us in his world and his Word. Though we don’t agree on everything, I thank Dr. Dembski for being a partner in that pursuit.”
I have only given a taste of the longer essays involved. However, the points of the debate are not my main emphasis. My wish is to demonstrate how Christians of good will can debate this subject in a respectful, non-hysterical, give and take format. After all, aren’t we supposed to be known by our love?

Respect and Hope
The following exchange on Keathley’s introduction at Between the Times shows the heart of Dr. Keathley. I applaud his response.

A reader:
Can we really consider Francis Collins a “devout evangelical” in light of his views on evolution, and his work in promoting such a view? 
Thanks for your paper Dr. Keathley!

Here is Keathley’s response: 
 “Hi Thomas. I don’t question Dr Collins’ devotion to Christ or to the gospel. In that respect he is very much a devout evangelical. I would use the same expression to describe Tim Keller, Alister McGrath, or J I Packer, who all appear to hold to positions similar to Collins. Even though I have serious disagreements with Collins, I believe he is a brother in Christ. 
Blessings, Ken Keathley

That response by Dr Keathley gives me great hope. Could it be that there is the possibility for détente in this war? It is possible so long as the people who join the discussion are people who value the unity of the Body of Christ. However, for some folks, secondary theology trumps the love of Christ. I want everyone to notice who was left out of this conversation. Ken Ham was not invited to this party. Could it be that his absence contributed to the good will of this discussion? I  fear that Ham will now attempt to interfere with this process. If he does, things could get a bit ugly.

In June there will be further discussions between these two groups and I hope the entire Christian community will take notice of this unusually civil give and take. May it be a model for all of us as we approach divisive issues within the body of Christ.

This past week, I found myself stuck on the song, Home, by Dierks Bentley. It is a touching ode to America. However, there are many words in this song that apply to us as Christians. As mad as I get with some on the Body of Christ (a feeling that I am sure is returned with much vigor), the universal church is still my home and will be for eternity. Sometimes I feel like running away but something or Someone draws me “further in” and “deeper still.” Perhaps that is one reason that I find this song so compelling.

I dedicate this song to Darell Falk, Ken Keathley and William Dembski (and all the others) who are paving the way of love in a difficult arena. Thank you.


Lydia's Corner: Daniel 1:1-2:23 1 Peter 3:8-4:6 Psalm 119:65-80 Proverbs 28:14


TWW Applauds SEBTS and Biologos: Attempting a Creation War Détente — 116 Comments

  1. Dee,

    I have been convinced of the role of God in creation, as well as the role of God-created natural laws and processes, including evolution. Until fairly recently, the great minds in the scientific community believed both in God and in evolution and that we know what we know about each through different means.

    I know that sulfur in the atmosphere makes for a beautiful sunset, but I credit God for that beauty, for he is the first cause of all that is, including the sun, the sulfur, and the clouds on which those vivid colors play, and I thank Him for giving me eyes to see what He has created. There is no conflict for me between a Creator God, and eons of time over which His creation was crafted and refined, including humanity.

  2. That response in particular and the general discussion was really encouraging to read. I’m a scientist (PhD student), environmentalist and feminist, which sometimes seems to be made out to be the unholy trinity, so reading this sort of discussion, where those involved are able disagree but do so without questioning the other’s faith is incredibly refreshing.

  3. Dee,

    Let’s hope the dialogue continues. I thought I would share The Flintstone Doctrine for those who weren’t around when we posted it back in October 2010.

    The Flintstone Doctrine

    – The heavens and earth were created in 6 literal 24-hour days.

    – Yom must only be interpreted as a literal, 24-hour day although it has around 58 meanings.

    – The earth is 6,000 years old. (Radical Young Earthers may stretch the age of the earth to a whopping 10,000 years old!)

    – Death of animals is a moral equivalent of death of men. Therefore, animals couldn’t die until Adam let sin enter the world.

    – All dating methods are flawed and are off by billions of years.

    – If the flood didn’t screw up the fossil record, Satan probably planted the fossil evidence.

    – God created the universe to look old. Despite the obvious, God is not trying to trick us.

    – All science research done by YE is true. All scientific research done by anyone else is part of a vast conspiracy to suppress the truth.

    – Christians who are part of the scientific establishment are doing it for money and tenure and are sell-outs and cowards. They know that YE is true and are actively involved in deceiving their Christian community.

    – Dinosaurs boarded Noah’s Ark two by two and survived the flood.

    – Dinosaurs played with children while mom did the dishes (See example in creation museum)

    – Prior to the fall, all carnivorous dinosaurs were herbivores, even though God created them with GYNORMOUS teeth.

    – Wives are strictly “helpmeets” to their husbands. They must role model Mrs. Ham who is not only submissive, but very, very submissive. When dinosaurs roamed the earth (prior to their extinction) they may have been domesticated to help with household chores (aka the Dino theory).

    – Men are not merely men but patriarchs.

    – One is a heretic and most likely not a Christian unless all criteria above are met.

    – All evolutionists are atheists. Therefore, Francis Collins is not a Christian no matter what he says.

    And if you believe The Flinstone Doctrine, we have a cave in Bedrock to sell you which comes with your very own Dino!!!

    🙂 I do hope both sides can dialogue and when necessary agree to disagree respectfully.

  4. Deb
    Did you know that the post on the Flintstone Doctrine continues to get regular hits? Yabba dabba dooooo.

  5. Sergius
    I am waiting for your comment in the form of a post. Please note David C’s comment. He has your type of humor!

  6. “Prior to the Fall, all carnivorous dinosaurs were herbivores, even though God created them with GYNORMOUS teeth.”

    Somewhere in my house there is a kids’ book about dinosaurs and the flood. It has a picture of a T-Rex gnawing on a watermelon and explains it by pointing to monkeys that have large fangs and eat fruit. I’m still going back and forth on old earth vs. young earth, but I must say: how come the T-Rex is equipped with huge legs built for running if it ate fruit? Did fruit have legs in Bible times? Maybe VeggieTales was truer than we all thought.

  7. “Wait — there is a Richard Land Center for Cultural Engagement?

    I have no comment at this time.”


  8. I find Mr. Ross’s idea on heaven being a dimension right in our midst but occupying different space fascinating. It makes me think of “the kingdom of God is at hand” in a special way.

    I also am encouraged by the respectful debates on this subject. I personally am an old earth, semi evolution, all creation kinda gal. This, after a few years of tiptoeing on the edge of buying into the earth is at the center of the universe type of thinking.

    I think my best argument why I am a creationist as regards human kind has nothing to do with the ins and outs of biology, but rather, the existence of music, art, and so many things that we could survive without in a utilitarian and uninspired way. I have told my kids that I believe in God’s creation of man because there is more evil in the world than there should be but more good than there has to be. These are the things that suggest purposeful design to me rather than a pragmatic system of survival and modification through natural selection. Just a thought from a decidedly un-scientific person.I see it as comparing a machine made object with a hand made one. Machine made does the job, but the hand made has the detail that raises it to an art form.

  9. Dee and Deb the Ken Ham’s of the church are in every facet of it. I wrote about my friend who was fired from her job as a youth and family life minister. No one will say it is because she is a woman but, it is. She told me that the church is now trying to become elder led. This is an SBC church plant. She also said her pastor told her he wasn’t a calvinist but it “intrigued” him. I will keep you posted. Please pray for this woman because as of August she will be out of a job.
    The pastor seems to be remorseful for asking her to leave but it seems some people are pulling some serious strings and this guy is nothing but a calvinista puppet.

    Lord have mercy!

  10. I believe in a young earth, I believe that evolution is a lie, and iI belive it takes more faith to belive in evolution than that God simply created it the way it reads in Genesis. That being said, it really bothers me if someone were to question someone elses’ salvation regarding these beliefs. I personally believe there will be a rapture, but if you don’t, I will still love you anyway. If you believe in evolution, I belive you are wrong, but I still welcome you as a believer, though if we had a long discussion I would try to convince you otherwise. Salvation is a gift of Christ, based on His substitutionary atonement. I hate it when really fundamental Christians have a “God said it, I believe it, that settled it” kind of mentality. There are so many things that are controversial and I hate empasizing them to the point of excluding persons who disagree with me.

    When I see a newborn baby, though, I stand in amazement at his/her design and previous growth in only 40 weeks. I can only see God in that, and not some process that was random. At any rate, I still love you guys anyway.

  11. Okay, got it.

    Well, he’s definitely right about the conferences. And really, that’s what Vacuous Consensus 2012 is all about. (Late registration is still available, BTW).

    I think Piper actually spoke about Maximimzing Your Korean-ness for the Glory of Christian Hedonism, er, uh, God, back in 2005 (but I could be wrong). Next up: the keynote at an NBA Christian Players’ Retreat.


  12. @Eagle

    I know a voice-over actor in Philly who could make music out of that script. Just add sinister sound effects & simmer.

    BTW, speaking of simmering, I was just reading your angry rant over at iMonk from yesterday. Gotta love those angry bird graphics on that piece! You rock, my friend.


  13. Arce,

    You said “There is no conflict for me between a Creator God, and eons of time over which His creation was crafted and refined, including humanity.”

    I agree with you. Remember the Almighty asks Job “where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (Job:38:4)

    My answer is “I was not there and I do not know the age of the earth. Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you.”

    Whether you believe in a young earth or an old earth, you are still my sisters and brothers in Christ because this matter is a secondary issue.

    In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.

  14. I will agree differences will always be there. In the midst of trying to see God in what I was going through almost 17 years ago I came across the book Darwin’s Black Box. Prior I held to a big bang Creation evolution idea. After reading Darwin’s Black Box I became convinced that God can be actively involved in time and space to create the earth in six days. Something else I could not wrap my head around around was in thinking how plants need CO2 that animals emit. I deducted that it is feasible that it was done in six days by evidence. Whose to say it could not? All of Christ’s miracles could not fill the books of the libraries in Alexandria, Egypt. Whom am I, to say?

  15. Rachel’s article was great. Unfortunately many of the responses have been incredibly childish and snarky.

  16. One thing I will say for my parish church: on this issue we have all shades of opinion from young-earth to theistic evolution, but the ministers have never taken sides and people treat one another generously on the issue even when we have dialogue/discussion on it. It has been a blessing in that area.

  17. Casey

    You can believe what you like. We have read Darwin’s Black Box along with with most of AiG and other stuff. We have come out pom the other end of the spectrum from you and are evolutionary creationists, having started the journey not accepting evolution. As with you, who I am to say that God didn’t use evolution?

  18. Sergius
    Your stuff is so good, I would like to reprint them over here. I have an idea and will talk with you as you blow through NC.

  19. justabeliever
    I don’t believe the process was, at its essence, fully random. That is why this discussion is necessary. Ken Ham has hurt the dialogue and many people who follow his stuff have no idea what others really think. I hope you will follow the discussion.

  20. Robin
    Your friend is a victim on the new legalism that has crept into the church. The problem is with those in the pew who are too busy and self absorbed to actually spend some time understanding the theology and questioning the assumption. I am so sorry for your friend. Some day, these guys will stand before god and explain why the caused so much pain over this issue.

  21. Laura
    What a beautiful explanation. I, too, am an unscientific person living with a science kind of guy.He, along with some friends, explain the stuff to me in a way the is understandable. So, I then explain to others like me. You are needed in this debate. So many people fear the topic and do not know how to analyze the info that is being thrown at them.

  22. Hester
    Thank for the veggie Tales comment. That is classic! Sergius, are you reading this????

    I would suggest that you look at the Answers in Creation site. It goes through the stuff on Answers in Genesis and counters it with science and Bible teaching.

  23. hello, justabeliever.

    “If you believe in evolution, I belive you are wrong, but I still welcome you as a believer, though if we had a long discussion I would try to convince you otherwise.”

    What are your reasons for making the effort to try to convince otherwise?

  24. “Hester makes a great point. The fruit also could have been of the “high-hanging” sort, and may have required great jumping ability.”

    …and probably had weapons.

  25. “Random” and “chance” are possibly terms that need defining in this debate. I believe Dennis Alexander’s book Creation and Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? discusses this point. We are really dealing with the age-old question of God’s providence and sovereignty vs the freedom of his creatures/creation.

    I have never heard any Christian, of whatever persuasion in this argument, say that God “needed” millions of years to create mankind, or that he could not have created everything within a nanosecond. The question is not whether God was incapable of creating withing a short timeframe, but rather why he might have chosen a certain length of time to do so (even if we may never know this side of heaven!).

  26. I enjoyed reading this.

    I suspect that the answers to these questions are too wonderful for us to truly understand and grasp, but we should keep trying.

    The theory of relativity is still a head scratcher for me. I get it, but how Einstein came up with that against all the previous theories and science of physics is beyond me. But Einstein was always talking about phenomena as it exists – now.

    Trying to understand origins, before all that we see existed, is truly complex beyond belief.

    It is impossible, in my opinion, not to believe in God when pondering those questions.

  27. Here’s what I want to know:

    If men were patriarchs, what about male dinosaurs? Did female T Rexes have to “submit” to male T Rexs?

    Seems like a bloodbath in the making to me. 😉


    Other thought (not exactly original!): If important concepts about the literary genres in the Bible were taught, people would likely not get so hung up on the 1st couple of chapters of Genesis.

    It really does help to be able to read it as poetry…. (imo, anyway).

  28. I dated someone who told me in an angry kind of way once that I was deluded and he felt sorry for me because I believe in pure evolution. Apparently to some people, it’s perfectly reasonable and sane to believe that all the wars and deaths and sexual assaults that have ever happened, happened because a snake offered a lady a piece of fruit – but it’s totally deluded to believe that an all-powerful God could use evolution as a means of creating what He chose to create. At least I don’t claim to have all the answers about the intersection of the spiritual and the natural worlds, unlike so many young earth creationists.

    I’ve been told by young earthers that I ‘follow a crazy religion’ (evolution) and I’m taking ‘a bigger leap of faith’ by believing in old-earth evolution than they are. It’s quite irritating.

    People can believe what they like; I only wish they’d stop acting like it’s the only way to interpret the Bible and stop teaching it to their kids as the only acceptable belief. But then I suppose the only reason they believe in young earth creationism as described in the Bible, is because they don’t imagine that other ways of interpreting the Bible are feasible.

    I’d still quite like to visit the Creation Museum, if only for its immeasurable kitsch value.

  29. Here’s a quote from ‘The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age’, a book co-authored by by Karl W Giberson that is heavily critical of Ken Ham:

    “And what of Ham’s credentials? He last brushed up against science at the high school level in Australia before the Cold War ended. He has never published a scientific paper nor written a single sentence for a scholarly journal. He writes for uneducated readers and children, and gives his book titles like ‘D is for Dinosaur’ or ‘The Answers Book’. He has no stature within the scientific community and his work, such as it is, has been solidly refuted”.

  30. Numo,

    “Other thought (not exactly original!): If important concepts about the literary genres in the Bible were taught, people would likely not get so hung up on the 1st couple of chapters of Genesis.”

    Yes, I think the church fails in its responsibility to explain the Bible to new Christians. I mean, churches tell us to believe the Bible, but no one actually ever explains what the Bible IS. Or what it ISN’T (ie, a science manual or big book of rules).

    When Genesis was written, there was no such concept as historical writing as we know it today. Today we strive for total accuracy regarding the past but in ancient times, history writers would compete to see who could write the best speeches to put into the mouths of kings and leaders.

  31. A few ‘graphs on views of cosmology in OT and NT times helps a *lot,* I think…

    Also the awareness that there are many literary genres in the Bible; often, in one book (like Genesis).

    I think it’s difficult for many to understand that scripture was written by human beings – *inspired* human beings, mind you, but still – it’s not as if God made them do with spiritualists refer to as automatic writing.

    Every single word in the book(s) comes out of particular cultural frameworks and understandings of the world. Sometimes they are starkly juxtaposed, as in segments of the NT. (Where Gentiles and Jewish people – religious and not – are interacting, for example.)

    This all comes from a very small region in the Middle East, touched though it was by larger powers and empires (Babylon, the Assyrians, the Persians, Greco-Roman culture etc.). If we start checking out how Paul was educated – fluent in Greek lit and culture (with Roman overlays) as well as intimately familiar with Jewish sacred writings, a different picture begins to emerge… one that fundamentalists don’t like and/or have tremendous difficulty accepting.

    The ME was – still is – a huge cultural crossroads, due to trade routes. Goods – and ideas – flowed through there pretty freely in ancient times, and they still do. (Cairo and Istanbul are two of the Western world’s most cosmopolitan cities.)

  32. Speaking of historical accuracy, have you ever read this book?

    It’s *very* possible to have lots of actual facts about a period or person or event but still come to conclusions that are totally off the mark – whether the readers and historians making those conclusions are aware of it or not.

    We all interpret things through our own personal “cultural framework,” starting with the spoken and written language that we use… I am truly amazed by the way that the little I know of languages other than English brings me to have to look at a lot of basic things in a different way. It can be something as simple as learning to tell time, or to talk about day and night, evening and morning and everything in between.

  33. Sophie
    Believe in the Bible is a loaded term which usually means to believe the exact way I believe in the Bible. We must not forget that centuries ago, those who interpreted the Bible literally believe that the earth stood on pillars. So, now we have evolved (pun intended) to know such a things is not true in its literal form but true in the abstract. We say we do not let science affect our understanding of Scripture but in that particular case, we did so.

    So, what’s the problem with the age of the earth. It is the current “belief” of the literal interpretation of the Bible. There is much schizophrenia in this subject.

  34. Sophie
    So many people call him “Dr Ham.” That is a joke. His science has been refuted but many people do not understand that and so believe that his site is 100% correct. I urge people to visit sites like Answers in Creation or Reasons to Believe that refute the science while at the same time maintaining a Christian view of Scripture.

  35. dee,

    As you well know I am a perrenial skeptic here at TWW. We’ve gone round and round over this before. I am as skeptical of the Pauline texts as I am with OE and TE. The point is that I’m glad to see that there are those in this ideological conflict who have seen that detente is indeed far better than going to war over differing ideas.

  36. Numo,

    Re your amusing point, I can testify that lizards at least are largely patriarchal in that the male tends to be dominant, but interestingly, when courting, male Komodo Dragons tread very careful and are quite attentive wooers for fear of the damage and mayhem that could ensue.

    Also in some other classes/species, esp among invertebrates, the female tends to be the dominant, or at least longer-lived, one (think of spiders, for example).

    All of which I suppose points out that one has to be wary of drawing parallels with the rest of the animal kingdom for one’s views on certain issues 😉

  37. Re YECs, although I am not one myself, I think one has to recognise that there is a range of opinions and, sorry to say, credibility among them. I don’t want to name names, but I think Kurt Wise is the more reputable in that at least he gained a proper PhD (and that under Stephen Jay Gould).

    I worked once with a YEC and I still recognise him as an honest man who didn’t conform to the Flintstone stereotype, although I disagree with his views on the age of the earth.

  38. Got a fantastic book by Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe, called ‘Why the Universe is the Way it is’. It was a very complicated book for somebody as scientifically illiterate as me. I don’t agree with what he says about the creation process but I certainly respect him and his views. What I understood of the book was really fascinating, because it was all about the fingerprints of God that Ross believes can be seen in cosmology. I think that perhaps a lot of the aggressive literal creationist types would feel less threatened by evolution if they read that book.

  39. How true Sophie, yet I know it is a temptation that all of us have fallen prey to in the course of making an argument. Apart from the moral argument, of course, as I pointed out, behaviours of one species can contrast with behaviours of another, so at the end of the day it’s pretty much hard to prove a thing one way or another from that sort of argument.

    Re patriarchal lizards, it might interest you to know that there are some species that are all-female.

  40. Sophie
    I had the privilege of meeting Hugh Ross. He is an awesome gentleman who has graciously put up with a whole bunch of codswallop from rabid YEC who will not be named. He is a deeply committed Christian and unlike many strident voices (mine can be included) is a soft spoken, kind man. I highly recommend his website Reasons to Believe.

  41. Kolya
    I am quite familiar with Kurt Wise. His major hangup started in his teens when he was told that he must read the Bible literally. He was told he could not believe God and believe evolution and that he must agree with the Genesis account as written. Interestingly, he does not believe the earth stands on pillars but that is another subject for another day.

    He has categorically said that he would believe literally even if all the scientific evidence points toward evolution. Richard Dawkins applauds him because he is building Dawkins’ case against Christianity and the Bible. Wise is no longer an academic in research in a serious way.One cannot be a scientist and say that the evidence must support “x” or i will refuse to believe it.

    I wish he had met a Collins or a Ross as a young man.Things may have turned out differently. In some respects, I feel sorry for him.

  42. I didn’t know that about the lizards, Kolya, that’s amazing. Nature is amazing.

    Dee, you said ‘One cannot be a scientist and say that the evidence must support “x” or I will refuse to believe it.’ To me that’s a very important point. I haven’t studied science a lot and I am not hugely familiar with the arguments for or against evolution. And I know I probably wouldn’t understand them, or that I’d read them one day and they’d be refuted the next.

    So the issue that most convinces me of the greater validity of evolution than young earth creationism is the fact that scientists who believe in evolution are testing a theory. They may have a lot of faith in the theory and some may have an axe to grind but ultimately they are free to adjust, modify or throw out the theory altogether as evidence arises. Meanwhile, YEC researchers are constrained to stick with their theory no matter what, and work backwards from there.

  43. Dee,

    I’m sorry to hear that about Wise. He obviously had the intelligence and application to get a proper PhD rather than go for some of the honorary doctorates by unaccredited institutions that some people seem to like.

    Sophie, Dee has hit on an important point. I believe I read that scientists working for the Institute of Creation Research have to (or at least had to) sign an agreement not to do anything that would undermine creation (as they understood it). Perhaps Dee can correct me here. Anyway, as she says, one cannot do science that way. Interestingly the Soviets under Stalin tried this approach by trying to force science into a Marxist-Leninist mould, which led to a debacle in genetics and I believe also held them back in cybernetics – two areas that were to prove of crucial importance later in the 20th century. With science you just have to look at the evidence, run with it and (crucially) offer your findings up to other scientists to see if they make sense or are accurate. This is one reason perpetual-motion machines have never received a patent, and why cold fusion (the Holy Grail of nuclear power, if it ever works) has still not taken off.

  44. Here is an interesting exposé written by Timothy Heaton who worked with Kurt Wise under Stephen Gould. He wrote about his Visit to the New Creation “Museum”

    “However, I was pleased to learn that Kurt Wise — a less propaganda-oriented creationist — was hired as a scientific consultant for the museum and played a major role in designing the exhibits. Kurt Wise and I were both graduate students under Stephen Jay Gould, and we have remained friends over the years despite our different perspectives.”

  45. Sophie/Kolya

    I have great faith in the God of all creation. There is nothing that will ever be discovered that will disprove Him. But things may be discovered that might surprise us about this incredible creation. ICR and others start with the premise of a literal interpretation of Genesis. That will limit their potential for discovery. Can you imagine if they started with the premise that the earth stood on pillars? They should, shouldn’t they? I say to trust God and go for the truth!

    Ken Ham at one time (perhaps he still does) claims he has his science “peer reviewed.” What that means is he only lets those who agree with him review the “science.” That is perfectly silly.

    My husband says that, if there was solid proof for a young earth, then you would have young earth atheists. You don’t. If a scientist could prove the earth is young, he would win the Nobel prize and there are many who would walk on their mother’s grave to do so.

  46. RE: numo on Tue, May 22 2012 at 02:37 pm:

    You wrote: “…It’s *very* possible to have lots of actual facts about a period or person or event but still come to conclusions that are totally off the mark…”

    You just might be a skeptic and not know it yet. ===> (smiley face goes here)

  47. Koyla
    “Sophie, Dee has hit on an important point. I believe I read that scientists working for the Institute of Creation Research have to (or at least had to) sign an agreement not to do anything that would undermine creation (as they understood it). Perhaps Dee can correct me here. ”

    Google AIG statement of faith and read the last few items. They basically state what you say. And you can’t work for them unless you agree to the statement of faith.

  48. Haha, yes peer reviewed is one of those buzzwords that sounds so good but doesn’t necessarily have to mean anything substantial. Like ‘fat-free’ desserts. That’s a really good point about there being no young earth atheists.

  49. … there also aren’t any ‘evolution museums’. Because they’re just called ‘museums’.

    The ‘Visit to the Creation Museum’ link isn’t working.

  50. @ elastigirl Tue at 12:09 pm

    “If you believe in evolution, I believe you are wrong, but I still welcome you as a believer, though if we had a long discussion I would try to convince you otherwise.” – justabeliever

    “What are your reasons for making the effort to try to convince otherwise?” – elastigirl

    Excellent question elastigirl! I wish I had asked myself that question years ago about a couple of my doctrinal convictions!

  51. It is interesting how the enemy of our faith often tries to get us arguing between ourselves about non-essential issues. Frankly, I don’t care how old the Earth is. I have studied both sides of the argument and found truth and falsehood in both.

    My view is a very simple view. In the beginning God created…He created plant life, animals, birds…He formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed life into him. Simplistic? Yes. Scriptural? Yes. Understandable? Only to a point.

    Frankly, if I could completely understand the works of God, He wouldn’t be much of a God.

  52. MM/elastigirl

    “What are your reasons for making the effort to try to convince otherwise?” – elastigirl” There is a reason and it is seen in today’s elevation of secondary issues to “almost” primary importance. These “almost, but not quite” issues are treated, in practice, as primary issues. Deep down inside, these folks may not believe we are going to hell (a few do) but they feel we are skirting on the edges.

    Here is my bottom line on the issue. Science, which is practiced by Christians as well, has, without a doubt, shown that the earth is very old, on the order of billions, not thousands. The vast majority of scientists who are Christians know this and so adhere to old earth or creationary evolutionism. There is no science proves that the earth is young. (be careful about using any science touted at AiG-compare it to Answers in Creation or Biologos or Reasons to Believe.)

    Unlike Kurt Wise, I believe that God reveals Himself in the order of this world, spinning a marvelous story of His complexity. In the ancient stars, I see the Ancient of Days and I rejoice in Him. Just like our ancestors were wrong to believe the earth stood on literal pillars, we will discover things that might nuance the Scripture, giving it deeper and more complex meanings.The Bible is not wrong in these instances, just as it was not wrong to say the earth stood on pillars. It just means something different than we thought. But God is still Creator and what a Creator He is.

  53. I just have to post this in regards to comments about scientific credibility as it relates to Ken Ham. I am not speaking of Ham, but of other actual scientists. There are 187 current, living PhD’s who believe in the literal account of Genesis………….with degrees in…I am reading off the list….physics, molecular biology, immunology, biochemistry, geophysiology, theoretical chemistry, microbiology, medical research, aeronautical engineering, paleontology, electromagnetics, plant physiology, botany and genetics, among others. I don’t think this issue is as “cut and dry” as some may think. The list is from the Creation Ministries website, if anyone is interested. Let’s pull Ken Ham out of the debate if there is an attitude problem, and maybe look at it from a little different perspective.

  54. justabeliever
    So, there are 187 really smart scientists and the hundreds of thousands of others, many of whom are Christians, are just blowing smoke? Kurt Wise speaks for those 187. He has said that he will not believe any science that appears to contradict his view of the absolute literal view of the Bible? This is a most important point and I am glad that you raise it. These men and women have been indoctrinated by pastors into believing that one cannot be a committed believer in the Bible without taking Genesis literally. That is their bias and so they must stuff everything into that small box.

    I knew a brilliant Mormon who has a strong background in engineering. When I showed him a statement by Brigham Young in which he said that there are people living on the moon who look just like Amish people, he was surprised. When I showed him the response by scientists at BYU, he was even more surprised. They said “Well, we haven’t seen all of the moon, yet.”He was stunned but blew it off.

    There will always be hard core believers no matter the faith. 187 is a spit in the bucket.

  55. randall
    You are correct. One interesting thought that has been bandied about. Could the “dust” of the earth mean the essential building blocks- DNA?

  56. Randall,

    I agree with your comment. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. God is the creator, but we don’t know how He created because He doesn’t tell us. I doubt we could even understand it if He tried.

  57. I don’t even try to make sense of it. That’s what FAITH is all about, correct?

    I’m a woman of faith and science. I do believe the two can successfully co-exist in life.

  58. justabbeliever,

    I would truly be interested in hearing your reasons for trying to convince otherwise (on this creation/evolution debate).

    Do you feel one’s eternal destiny is at stake?

    Do you feel it is dishonoring to God or the Bible to seemingly “dismiss” Genesis, etc. as not “worthy” of a literal understanding? Is it a matter of defending honor?

  59. justabeliever,

    or, is it a matter of concern about change from tradition? Fear of change concerning something sacred?

  60. I’m still wondering how anyone could think – today, that is – that there is a “firmament above.”

    There are some great books on ancient Near Eastern views of cosmology, and I think they would be good required reading in classes on Genesis…

  61. For me, the takeaway is this: if God is truth embodied, what am I afraid of? If I pursue the truth diligently I will be sure to meet God on the other end of it. The second question I ask myself is, why am I afraid? I have no reason to fear anything as a child of God, least of all the truth.

    This particular debate is not a huge issue for me (I agree with Randall’s take on it) but there are other hotly contested issues that I have been very invested in, and thus I’ve had to ask myself these questions over and over. They help me get a little more sane. 🙂

  62. I’m still wondering how anyone could think – today, that is – that there is a “firmament above.”

    …but it’s a wonderful use of english.

  63. René – it is indeed, but I think it’s also important to understand *why* that phrase was used. (Ancient NE beliefs in primordial waters both above and below and etc.)

  64. Also… I remember asking my mom about the “firmament above” when I was a small child, since I’d encountered the idea somewhere (probably in Vacation Bible School).

    She answered honestly and said that she didn’t know what was meant, and that sparked my curiosity…

  65. Numo, there is so much I don’t know! And it’s all fascinating.

    (Goes off to research ancient NE beliefs in primordial waters…)

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  67. Two issues of language:

    (1) The ancients believed in multiple heavens. The lowest started on top of the soil, etc. Depending on the local religion and mythology (sometimes the same thing and sometimes not), there were 7 or 9 heavens, progressively higher, which were considered invisible firmaments (aka physical places where one could walk around) where the stars and planets were hung.

    (2) On Truth. As a scientist who has studied how we “know” things, as a practical theologian who has studied the Bible and a large library of writings about it, and as an attorney who must deal with people who hold contradictory “truths” about the same event, I say the following:

    a. Literal truth does not exist, except in theory, and is a very low form of truth.

    b. Conceptual truth, that is, the truth that underlies an idea, is a higher form of truth.

    c. The highest forms of truth that can be derived from any statement, concept or idea is spiritual truth — what the statement, concept or idea teaches us about God and about humans and their relationship to God.

    Example: Jesus told stories, known as parables, to teach us about God. It is not necessary to believe that the stories were literally true, that there was a rich man and a Lazarus who begged at his gate, for example, to get the real spiritual truth that God has a higher standard of justice and that humans are called on in life to follow God and serve those who are the least in this world.

    I feel similarly about Genesis. That is, it is a group of stories, inspired by God, to teach us some ideas about God and ourselves. It includes two creation stories that are a bit at variance with each other, but both posit God as the force behind creation and everything was created by God, including all the things people have ever worshiped other than God. It includes the idea that trying to be equal with God is a sin with devastating consequences. It includes stories about terrible evils. etc.

    BTW, I also put much of the history in the Pentateuch and in the balance in the OT in the same light. Some of the stories may or may not be literally true, but there are lessons to be learned from them. Some may be mostly factual, but with the elaboration and enlargement that comes in oral traditions about clan history. Some may be attributing to God things that would otherwise seem unjustifiable, like wiping out whole populations including women and infants. But all of them are useful to study and profitable for learning how to live in service to a God who is Creator, Savior and Sustainer.

  68. Re the 187 scientists that justabeliever cites (a list which often appears in these debates, btw) I am not saying they are not intelligent people – if they have got legitimate qualifications in their areas of expertise then obviously they’re very intelligent in those areas.

    However I also want to draw people’s attention to some of the areas listed in which some of the 187 specialise. The crux of the debate is about the age of the earth (geology), the age of the universe (astronomy) and whether evolution is a valid theory (biology, zoology and botany). With all due respect to the people in those areas, I don’t see how, eg, aeronautical engineering or psychology are relevant to those areas.

  69. Re Sophie’s observations on peer-review earlier, peer-review has had its critics, but I think the general principle is correct. For example if I were a car mechanic I would want my work checked by other car mechanics or people who at least understood car maintenance, not by someone, however clever, who knew nothing about the subject. In the same way if I ever became a zoologist 😉 I would want any work I did on lizards peer-reviewed by other zoologists, or at least people who weren’t likely to get salamanders and lizards muddled up 🙂

  70. A further thought – I think we need to consider the use of words like “literal” and “spiritual”. I understand what some people are saying here regarding “literal” readings of a passage that ignore its context or genre, etc, but I have sometimes been suspicious of that word “spiritual” or “spiritualise” as well, which can mean all things to all men (or whatever you want it to, if you’re being cynical). I remember years ago an old lady asking me if I had ever read the Gospels in a “spiritual” sense, and had the feeling she meant some sort of Hegelianism, which to my reading can’t be forced on to the Gospels no matter how much you “spiritualise” them 😉

  71. numo,

    Skepticism is a good thing. It affords us means of internal checks and balances by which we can weigh the claims made by others (insert your favorite Gurus here) and decide whether or not they are valid for each of us as individuals.

  72. (Another random thought!) Of course, further to Dee’s point, “peer review” could mean “selectively reviewed from within one’s own circle”, which is an ever-present danger with such a process. I would suggest that if scientists putting forward young-earth arguments are serious, or wish to be taken seriously, they should let their work be peer-reviewed by people within their own disciplines (eg geology) but outside of the ICR/AIG circles.

  73. If you look at my earlier post, you will see that i said it upsets me when Christians divide on this issue regarding salvation. it is rediculous to judge anyone’s salvation and put this issue as central. i also stated that if Ham is rejected for his lack of science expertise, that there ARE others with advanced degrees who DO believe in a literal Genesis account. my own dad has a masters in science and believes in theistic evolution, and i have not made this a huge issue with him either…so maybe…..YOU FOLKS who do NOT believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis could perhaps respect those of us who do. that is my point…….. i think that this issue can cut both ways. i am not judging anyone who disagrees with me. i am not a scientist. i get angry when people who believe as i do get hostile or demeaning to those who don’t. that is my point.

  74. Justabeliever,

    I hope you saw my earlier post on this where I spoke about my work colleague who was a YEC. I know sometimes people get a bit excited on here but it doesn’t mean that I don’t respect you any the less as a Christian, just as I respect the brothers and sisters in my own church, some of whom are also old friends, who hold YEC views. Nor am I going to say that I am totally right – I hold my views because I think they’re correct, but I hope God gives me the humility to recognise that even if I don’t know it now, I might one day be found barking up the wrong tree, as I have done on things in the past.

  75. If I got together with another Christian who believed differently than me on an issue, I don’t think I would want to make it an issue at all, or try to convince them to see things my way. If the specific issue did come up, I think I would be more interested to hear their thoughts on the subject rather than try to convince them of my perspective. Sometimes its almost nicer to get together with unbelievers where you know you’re not going to get an onslaught of theological questions regarding your view on certain things. It’s as if Christians with different perspectives can’t just sit down and have a cup of coffee and ask how they are doing and what’s going on in their life. Conversations turn into debates and we miss the fellowship and caring for one another part.

  76. I just want to note here that I didn’t mean to knock peer review – however as it’s one of those things that establishes credibility, it’s the kind of phrase that will no doubt be abused by the same people who would have you believe that Ken Ham is an authority.

    It was mentioned earlier about the 187 creation-believing scientists having PhDs in fields such as aeronautical engineering – yet people will still point to said PhD holder and say ‘well, HE believes in young earth creation so it must have some merit!’ as an appeal to authority(I’m not referring to justabeliever here because I understand that he/she was making a different point when mentioning these people). I think that the term ‘peer review’ can be used that way, too.

  77. “Really Smart Scientists Just A’ Blowin’ Flaming Smoke?”

    HowDee YaAll, 

    “…So, there are 187 really smart scientists and the hundreds of thousands of others, many of whom are Christians, are just blowing smoke? Kurt Wise speaks for those 187. He has said that he will not believe any science that appears to contradict his view of the absolute literal view of the Bible? This is a most important point and I am glad that you raise it. These men and women have been indoctrinated by pastors into believing that one cannot be a committed believer in the Bible without taking Genesis literally. That is their bias and so they must stuff everything into that small box.” -Dee

    All come on! -sincker- enough already… everyone knows the Sun revolves around the earth… (snark)

    geocentric…my dear Watson!



    Desperation Band – “Revolve”

  78. Peer review can be abused. Within SGM we heard that phrase a lot. You thought it meant something, but it really didn’t. Shouldn’t an academic peer review be done by another academic in the same field who is at another location and whom the thesis author does not have any ties to in any way?

  79. “For all we know, God may prefer slowness, even though we seem to be inclined to think that faster is better.”

    Wow, I LOVE this. I’ve never thought about evolution and God’s character this way. One thing I love about studying art history is the beginnings of modern art and especially the futurist movement in the early 20th century. I’m fascinated by the way we SEE things changes as we found speeds of movement increasing. Hurry is such a modern phenomenon. I’ll be spending the afternoon reeling in the glory of God’s magnificent PATIENCE and meditating on a Savior who will not be hurried in His setting of all things right! Hallelujah!

    Thank you for posting this, friends! It has increased my capacity to worship!

  80. Justabeliever
    … so maybe…..YOU FOLKS who do NOT believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis could perhaps respect those of us who do. that is my point …

    But that is NOT the position taken by Ken Ham, AIG, and many others. We must teach our kids YEC in Sunday School and claim that science is behind it. If you disagree remove your kids from Sunday School.

    That’s what many of us have run into.

    Ken Ham even had some talks on YouTube (now pulled) that were about how we must make the kids believe YEC or else they will not grow up to be Christians.

    Your position is the correct one IMHO. But it does not appear to be a majority position. Or at least not amongst people who speak out and with many pastors who believe in YEC.

  81. Is there a parallel here?


    Remember, Galileo’s championing of heliocentrism :

    -was controversial within his lifetime, when most subscribed to either geocentrism:

    or the Tychonic system:

    “He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism due to the absence of an observed stellar parallax.”

    [The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, and they concluded that it could only be supported as a possibility, not as an established fact.]

    “Galileo later defended his views in “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”, which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII and thus alienated him and the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point.”

    “He was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.”

    (Hence, he challenged the authorities of the then prevailing governing system, and was forced to play with the pencils for the remainder of his natural born life.) 

    But “it was while Galileo was under house arrest that he wrote one of his finest works, “Two New Sciences”. (Here he summarized the work he had done some forty years earlier, on the two sciences now called kinematics and strength of materials.) ”

    Wartburg, do you expect a similar fate? (house arrest) 

    Thank-you for the much stimulating discussion.

    Any bloody noses yet?


  82. Kolya
    Bingo. I wanted someone else to say it. “I don’t see how, eg, aeronautical engineering or psychology are relevant to those areas.”

  83. justabeliever
    Why did you need to divide us into “YOU FOLKS who do NOT believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis could perhaps respect those of us who do. that is my point” I noticed the caps which usually means shouting in blog language. Why are you shouting when we say that 187 “scientists” are not necessarily a proof of the scientific validity of such a point?

    Here is my bottom line. if you want to make a nonscientific argument for the YEC, that is fine. However, once science enters the discussion, it is open for concern about the method of science used.

    I made a point at the beginning of this discussion. Until about 5 years ago, I ignored the debate. To each his own was my motto. When I got attacked by rabid YEC I decided to enter the fray. And it is my observation it is the YEC that are making the claims of Bible light on the OE/TE. I know you do not but many of your peers do so.

  84. justabeliever,

    Take heart. Nobody here at TWW is ridiculing your views. I myself lean toward YE but it should also be noted that “leaning toward” IS NOT the same thing as full endorsement of it.

    Brilliant minds can be wrong. Numo has pointed this out above in her comment on the interpretation of observable data.

    Case in Point:

    From the 2nd cent. until the time of Copernicus and Kepler, Ptolemy’s Almagest reigned supreme in any discussion of astronomy and cosmology. Its mathematical rigour was unassailable and it was the defacto standard for instruction in all of Europe’s great medieval universities.

    Kepler began to notice that Ptolemy’s model could get very complicated and even produce what he felt were absurd results. So he set out to see if there was a simpler model based on observable data and he found one. And the rest is as they say, history.

    Science is and always has been a harsh and fickle mistress who has no qualms whatsoever about cutting both ways.

  85. Ah Dee! For you the chains could be made fast for only a season. There would ample time for you to recant and be absolved to do pennance. For me, and since I deny the doctrines of orginal sin and penal substitution, he would order the pyre be made ready immediately.

  86. justabeliever – I agree completely with Muff’s comment to you (above).

    Nobody here is attacking you… and I was YE-leaning myself until recently.

    But some people here (including one of our lovely bloggers) *have* been attacked and marginalized for espousing a different view.

    I refer you to David Macaulay’s book “Motel of the Mysteries” (mostly pics, and very funny ones), which is all about misinterpretation of objects found on an archaeological dig… (He attacks no-one, but he certainly does get his points across! And you’ll be relieved to know that it has nothing to do with YE, OE or anything related to that subject.)

  87. Hi Dee,

    On a lighter note, did you mean geckos as in “all females”? There are a very few gecko species who fall into that category – two of which have managed to spread far and wide across the Pacific as a result, including entering the USA.

    If you didn’t mean that, give me a prod, I’ve just come back to the laptop after a few hours 🙂

  88. Dee, you said: “Ken Ham has hurt the dialogue and many people who follow his stuff have no idea what others really think.”

    Absolutely right on the second part – my family and I, my church, and my friends are all avidly supportive of Ken Ham and I have never read/heard anything like the dialogue and comments above. Never. I assumed all Christians were young earth creationists with very, very few exceptions. Always was taught that those (few) who try to combine Creation/Evolution were intentionally mocking and undermining Scripture. Which clearly you are not trying to do here and I’m not about to accuse you (or anyone else here) of it.

    My mind is sufficiently boggled for the day. (It’s been boggled a lot reading this blog). I’m not about to give up on young earth creationism but my mind is having quite a debate with itself right now (after going back and intently reading the first 5 chapter of Genesis)! If you could read my journal right now you’d probably be amused. 🙂

    Question: How has Ken Ham hurt the dialogue? What’s the story here? I remember the shock and outrage in my community when he was banned from homeschool conferences but I never actually heard what happened. I’m starting the wonder if I should know – kind of scared to ask though. :-/

    In any case, I think the conversation going on between these men is great and I look forward to hearing updates! I am a firm believer that Christians should be capable and free to discuss differences civilly. (A fairly recent development in my spiritual growth – comes, ironically, with greater security and confidence in one’s faith I think, as opposed to insecurity which breeds only arrogance).

  89. Hey numo,

    Do you remember that interactive link you posted awhile back that cleverly demonstrates the vast distances involved in the cosmos?

    I forgot to log it away in favorites. It was fantastic! Could you post it again? Many thanks!

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  91. Muff – uh oh! I got it from someone’s Facebook feed… not sure I have it bookmarked. (And this blog’s search engine doesn’t “look” at comments, only blog posts.)

    Will see what i can rustle up…

  92. How has Ken Ham hurt the dialogue? What’s the story here? I remember the shock and outrage in my community when he was banned from homeschool conferences but I never actually heard what happened. I’m starting the wonder if I should know – kind of scared to ask though.

    For a while you could find him talking on YouTube about how his way was the only way. No questions or other options allowed or the kids would be lost. These seem to have all been removed.

    Plus he is very adamant that the AIG reading of Genesis is the only proper reading. And if it’s not a KJV then well that could be your problem.

    But the biggest issue for me is the AIG statement of faith. Basically it says that there can be no discoveries which will contradict the AIG interpretation of Genesis. Period. If you think you know of such facts or information then you’re wrong in your interpretation and will be proven wrong at some point. This leads to all kinds of wild theories to explain what’s going on in the “real” world. Theories that when examined closely don’t hold up. And many times not even closely.

    To many of us AIG and Ken Ham are holding their hands over their ears while making nonsense noises to drown out things they don’t want to hear.

    I can accept people who say the earth is 10,000 or so years old but I don’t know how to explain it, God must have done some miracles. I’ll think you are mistaken but I’ll move on. But when people start lecturing me with their “bad science” when they typically don’t even understand, I tend to try and shut them up. Politely if possible. Or just move on.

  93. Jan, I don’t know about the Ken Ham homeschool thing, but to my mind the damage that Ken Ham has wrought is the fact that he has absolutely no credentials yet claims to be pretty much the only honest and correct voice in all of science. All these incredible researchers are wrong and he is right, yet he doesn’t have the integrity to back it up by gaining a PhD in a relevant field and then continue conducting genuinely peer-reviewed research. Why? Because he knows it doesn’t matter to the majority of his core audience whether or not he has the credentials; he knows that if he says the right things and makes it sound good then he will have a popular Christian audience, and it has absolutely nothing to do with whether he is telling the truth. But truth is important, not least to God. There are Christians (not you, obviously) who will satisfy themselves with the creationist argument and then refuse to engage with any counter-argument. I had a friend who wrote an argument against evolution and posted it online, and it showed a profound misunderstanding of the very concept of evolution. I wrote a response correcting her and offered to lend her a book, ‘The Language of God’ by Francis Collins, but she dismissed both my answer and my offer of a book. Evolution is a crazy religion, and I’ve seen enough videos online and read enough on creationist/ID websites that nothing will change my mind, she told me.

    I can see that you are a humble person and even if you continue to believe in YEC for the rest of your life, that’s fine by me because you are willling to look at other perspectives.

  94. ….just to clarify that when I said ‘There are Christians (not you, obviously) who will satisfy themselves with the creationist argument’, I didn’t mean that you weren’t a Christian! I mean that you don’t satisfy yourself with creationist arguments then refuse to hear any rebuttals.

  95. Jan/Sophie

    Jesus said that he was the Way and in Him we will not fear. You see, no matter what is discovered about the creation, He is still the author and sustainer, holding it all together. That is why I have no fear in talking with atheists and those who believe differently. The faith holds up quite well under scrutiny. Let me show you how something in science at first appeared bad, but now easily bolsters the Christian position.

    Did you know that the Big Bang theory, which used to be vilified by some Christians, was not well accepted by some atheist researchers? Why would that be? The Big Bang means that at a certain point, some stuff, terribly small and under pressure, exploded and the universe burst into existence.Think about Genesis. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The Word was with God and was God. The Word spoke and the very universe leapt into existence.This universe had a beginning-just like the Bible says. Science and the Bible converge at this point.

    I love to contemplate the man discoveries, both archaeological and scientific, because I am convinced that they only reveal to us the incredible glory and complexity of God’s creation. And if creation is complex, can you imagine how much more so is He? Yet this God deigned to live amongst us, showing us that, the very Word that spoke the heavens into being, actually loved being with His people. Mind boggling!

    The homeschooling conferences had the audacity to have offer some material by Peter Enns who is associated with Biologos. Ham had a hissy (I guess only his materials should be offered and certainly not anything from anyone who does not kiss the ground he walks on) and made some statements about Enns that were perceived as quite condemning (surpass, surprise). Finally, some people who are actually more on the YEC side of things had enough and said Ham was not treating a fellow Christian with respect, something Ham does regularly, in my opinion. (See my post on Hugh Ross).I gave the homeschooling group a standing ovation in my kitchen.

  96. Lynn, Sophie, and Dee:

    Yay I can finally comment and thank you all for responding to my questions! Having done some reading and Bible study/meditation (can’t seem to get this topic off my mind lately) since my last comment, I have come to the conclusion that I am now decidedly undecided about what I believe on this topic. It is kind of a scary place to be. Right now I am just trying to journal my way through the first chapters of Genesis with all these questions on my mind – and I am finding that when I come to the Bible with questions rather than answers, it comes alive. Things I never noticed before are jumping off the page at me. Maybe I’ll share sometime.

    Right now, though I am staying on the YEC side of the fence (it feels safer – every single Christian I know, my husband included, is avidly YEC), I am accepting that I have questions which I’ve long ignored. I think I will just hold on to a wait-and-see approach. Will be looking forward to any thing else you post on this with interest (while at the same time continuing to read everything at the AiG site).

  97. Oh, and Dee, your thoughts on the Big Bang were interesting. I know very, verrrrry little about this theory (even after 4 years of public high school and 4 more in non-Christian college), but what little I do know, I have always thought sounded oddly… familiar to me. Something out of nothing – both sides affirm this. (Right?) The difference is that one side affirms a cause (God), the other denies it. Hmm.

    Did you watch the debate on TBN last week between Hugh Ross and Ken Ham and the 4 other men (can’t remember their names)?

  98. Jan
    Read everything at the Answers in Creation site as well. It is important to understand the issues with the science presented at AiG.

  99. Dee: Yep, I’ve been reading lots there too. Are Answers in Creation and the same?

  100. If you Google Answers in Creation you wind up at and any references to take you to

    And then there’s this:

    Sounds like they are the same and AIG wants him to go away.

    Now remember we’re only hearing one side of this story but it is an interesting item. Plus he links to the letters sent to him by AIG.

    To be honest I feel AIG is at a minimum full of people who are willing to be self deceived because they cannot contemplate that they might be wrong. A fairly strong case of cognitive dissonance in my opinion. Some people I know think AIG is an out and out fraud with the leaders in it for the money. I’m not there unless some real evidence shows up but they certainly turn a blind eye to anything that doesn’t fit their proscribed vision.

  101. Jan
    Thank you for bringing me up to date. It is now called I bet they were tired of people wandering onto their site looking for a Ham redux. Also, Hugh Ross, a man I admire greatly has a well regarded site called Reasons to Believe (

    Hugh is a real scientists, not only getting a PhDin astrophysics but doing what good scientists do. He did a post doc,published extensively and then worked in the field. He became deeply concerned that many scientists were refusing to consider the faith because young earth was made a requirement.We wrote an article on him here

    Ken Ham has unwisely insulted Ross demonstrating his arrogance considering the fact he has no degrees worth mentioning (high school biology). It was Ham’s attitude towards Ross that made me realize what an ugly man he is. Ross, on the other hand is a living example of the word “gentleman.” I had the pleasure of shaking his hand and telling him so.

  102. Lynn 12:42
    Thank you for linking to those comments. That is a post in the making. Our poor readers need to bear with me. My two hot button issues are pedophilia and insistence on YEC. Bet you knew that. 🙂