Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator. In most modern scientists this belief has died: it will be interesting to see how long their confidence in uniformity survives it. Two significant developments have already appeared—the hypothesis of a lawless sub-nature, and the surrender of the claim that science is true. We may be living nearer than we suppose to the end of the Scientific Age.’
Lewis, C.S., Miracles: a preliminary study, Collins, London, p. 110, 1947.
It is absolutely astonishing to me that so few people who attend these “limited view” churches understand how much in the minority they are. Old Bob, whom I mentioned yesterday, refused to accept the fact that most Christian scientists believe in an old earth. There are a great many statistics out there but most of them agree within a few points of the 1997 Gallup poll. This poll was for scientists only.
55% Old Earth, no God involved
40% Old Earth, God involved
5% Young Earth, God involved."
Here is a true story of one church that has close ties with my former church. I learned of this incident from a representative of the college and was told to keep the details private. A high school student whose family had limited financial means received a handsome scholarship to one of the major Christian colleges in the world. Her single mother was ecstatic and happily sent her off study there. Not long after, the mother received a call from the senior pastor to come to a meeting to discuss a serious matter. He told her that she should remove her daughter immediately from the college because her faith was in danger. Why? The pastor explained that the science department at this Christian college was made up of scientists who believed the earth was old! On this point he was correct. The faculty was made up, with exception of one or two, of Old Earth creationists. Do you see how this pastor linked the issue of salvation to the age of the earth? Where did he get such an idea?
Many people do not understand what constitutes a scientific background, which is generally respected by those in the profession. A simple PhD does not a scientist make…. After obtaining this high degree, a true scientist continues on in postdoctoral research programs. During this time, a solid scientist will develop his particular area of focus. He will study under an established mentor and should begin to publish extensively in his field. His work should be published in the great journals of science such Nature and Science or subspecialty journals such Cell or Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. These journals are peer reviewed which means that other scientists will review the data and procedures to ascertain their reliability. Bona fide scientists obtain funding through grants and go on to run their own labs as senior investigators. These are the real scientists. There are many Christians who have followed this path and are nationally and internationally acclaimed scientists.
When I was surviving the story I spoke of yesterday, I became aware of another bias among deliberately uneducated Christians. When I would speak of scientific evidence, I would often hear derisive comments being made about scientists. Words such as "lying", "godless", "anti-christian", and "deceptive" were common. Yet, each of these individuals had no problems utilizing the products of science such as chemotherapy, computers, polyester, clean water, flat screen TVs and food sources, etc. I believe that young earth proponents have largely contributed to this bias. Perhaps this is due to their poor reception on the halls of academia.
There is one other area of concern that bears noting. When someone appears on television to be interviewed by the Larry King’s of the world, he is not always being sought out because he has a message that is admired by those doing the interviewing. In many instances, such interviews are done because the media finds the person odd. In fact, the weirder the better in the ratings world. Unfortunately, many supposed Christians have proven this to be true. Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, and Joel Osteen are a few.
Before we begin to define young earth creationism, we felt that a definition of Intelligent Design Theory might be in line. We surmise (speculation for now) that a misunderstanding of this term may have led to the *ahem* resignation of Dr. Willim Dembski, from Southern Seminary. “Al Mohler announced Sept. 16, 2004 the establishment of the Center for Science and Theology along with the appointment of renowned philosopher of science William A. Dembski as its first director”. ((http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/bpnews.asp?ID=19115) Approximately one year later, Kurt Wise, one of the few well trained scientists from AIG, was appointed to fill the position after Dembski left.
We have a theory and you heard it here first. Dee was talking to one of her former pastors who was listing a bunch of intelligent design scientists. Knowing his affinity for the YE position, she told him that they were all believers in a very old earth and universe. He appeared stunned. Many of you saw the movie by Ben Stein called “Expelled”, which dealt with the creationism issue. Ben Stein is not a Christian, but he believes in intelligent design. So do Muslims, Jews, other faith groups and even the newly minted deist, formerly atheist, Anthony Flew.
“Intelligent design is the assertion that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a modern form of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, but one which avoids specifying the nature or identity of the designer."
So, do not assume an Intelligent Design proponent is a Christian and do not assume he is a young earth or old earth proponent.
It is also very important to point out that the majority of Christian scientists hold to an old earth position. Our guess is Al Mohler did not understand this distinction and discovered that Dembski held to an Old Earth perspective. Can you imagine Mohler's horror the day he realized this fact? An OE heretic had invaded the hallowed halls of the literal, Baptist Calvinista Southern Seminary!!!
So, what is young earth creationism? The first group believes that the Bible’s account in Genesis must be interpreted absolutely literally. This means the earth is approximately 6,000-10,000 years old and God created the earth in 6 literal 24 hour days. The science for this position is done from an a priori assumption that, since the Bible says that it is true, it must be proven to be true.
A second group believes that when the sun and moon were created to give a 24 hour cycle, the clock for 24 hour days started a that time.
The final group, which John Piper claims is a viable theory, believes that time began to be measured at the time of man’s creation. So, man is about 6,000-10000 years old, but the earth and universe could be a lot older.
The Young Earth position is a statement of belief in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, The Evangelical Reformed Church, and the Protestant Reformed Churches in America.
It is important to realize, however, that the dominant YE belief is the first group. However, our readers may be surprised to learn that the age of the earth is not the main concern. This group sincerely believes that the belief in the Bible is at stake. They claim that the Bible must be read literally in the account of Genesis. They believe that the Second Coming of Jesus is tied to the redemption of not only man, but of the fallen earth. In some way they link the doctrine of the atonement to more than just man. When Jesus died, He died for the redemption of everything (think animals and rocks and trees). During the debate mentioned yesterday, Ken Ham flung the accusation about the denial of the doctrine of the atonement at Dr. Hugh Ross, who is an Old Earth creationist. Ross became upset, as would I, when he realized that Ham was politely calling him a heretic for not believing in Ham’s interpretation of the atonement.
This is not the first time Ham has accused those who believe in OE in danger of “heresy.” In fact, this is a common tactic of the Answers in Genesis (AIG) crowd. If others criticize their science, Ham accuses those folks of being Biblical liberals, believing in a Godless evolution. Ham knows that this is not true but continues to use these tactics, knowing that few in his audience will realize the truth.
Ken Ham is the highly controversial founder of Answers in Genesis and revels in having others call him a creation “scientist” or even better, Dr. Ham. Here is his version of his biography taken directly from his website called Answers in Genesis.
Ham holds a bachelor’s degree in applied science (with an emphasis on environmental biology) which was awarded by the Queensland Institute of Technology in Australia. He also holds a diploma of education from the University of Queensland so that he could teach high school science.
He has been awarded two honorary (these are unearned) doctorates: a Doctor of Divinity (1997) from Temple Baptist College in Cincinnati, Ohio and a Doctor of Literature (2004) from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Since moving to America in 1987, Australian Ken Ham — president and founder of Answers in Genesis (US) and the new Creation Museum (with over 719,000 visitors in its first two years)— has become a conference speaker and has made numerous television appearances. (Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor and Fox and Friends in the Morning; CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, ABC’s Good Morning America, the BBC, etc.).
It is valuable to note what Ham's declared mission involves. “Answers in Genesis is a catalyst to bring reformation by reclaiming the foundations of our faith which are found in the Bible, from the very first verse”. This is a group that my husband calls “the package” Christians. One must adhere to a strict, 6 day, 6000 year creation, a worldwide flood, and a premillenial kingdom, as well as a pretribulation rapture of the church prior to the Second Coming. If the package is in place, you are a “real” Christian. If not, you are viewed with deep suspicion and may not be saved. In other words its Jesus+6 days+premil+rapture or the highway to hell – got it?"
They view a literal translation of the Bible but they get to pick and choose what “literal” notion they will follow. For example, none of their women keep their heads covered except the always well-turned out Mrs. Paige Patterson who will definitely be in heaven with all of her hats on display.
There is a definite tie to the odd, and previously discussed, Vision Forum with Doug Philips at the helm. http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/8133507.html
He (Ham) is also a pal of Al Mohler, which should speak volumes as to his philosophy. In fact, Ham is showing up in all the right places particularly in the reformed circles. Hmmm, could there be a connection?
Well, Ham helps us with this question himself. In one of his biographies it is stated, “He is married to Marilyn ("Mally") (who he describes as a "very, very submissive, supportive wife".)
Mally isn’t just submissive but very, very submissive. How well does this fit into the concerns that we have previously raised about a new agenda within the Calvinista movement? For the uninitiated, Calvinistas (our term) take Calvinism (a viable belief system) and raise the bar even higher. Much of their current literature surrounds dialing back the role of women within the church to more, here we go again, “Biblically sound” gender functions. We have covered this subject in depth and look forward to our new blog, which will have easily accessible links.
Ken Ham has gathered a cadre of scientists to publish scientific claims on his site that purportedly “prove” the earth is young. This is a link to scientists who adhere to a young earth perspective and are part of Ken Ham’s crowd. I would urge you to click on these links and see how many of these folks fit the above criteria. The results might surprise you.
Ken Ham has been sued by his previous organization in Australia claiming misuse of funds. It is important to realize that this organization generates a large amount of money. The Creation Museum cost $27 million.
“May 2007, Creation Ministries International (CMI) filed a lawsuit against Ham and AiG in the Supreme Court of Queensland seeking damages and accusing him of deceptive conduct in his dealings with the Australian organization. Members of the ministry were "concern[ed] over Mr Ham's domination of the ministries, the amount of money being spent on his fellow executives and a shift away from delivering the creationist message to raising donations."
At my former church, I had provided proof that kids were leaving the faith due to an unhealthy allegiance to young earth creationism. I wrote the "head banging" pastor and sent him a testimony from exChristians.net in which a young man claimed that it was the scientific proof that the earth was old that caused him to leave Christianity. In fact, at that site, the vast majority of the posts by people leaving the faith mention, in one form or the other, the insistence on a 6,000 year old earth as one of the reasons. Said pastor sent me an email that said his “3 years of research” did not uncover such a fact! He simply refused to discuss the simple proof I sent him. His “research” is still unpublished and his answer left me “banging my head.” I begged the church to consider presenting the kids with an OE view just to give them a possible “out” when confronted in science classes. Alas, to no avail. Remember, in this church, secondary issues outweigh helping our students.
However, Ken Ham has a new resource called Already Gone. In this book he makes the claim that our kids are leaving the faith precisely because we don’t emphasize a young earth literalist view. It seems to me that he took the head banging pastor’s “research” and ran with it. I believe this view is unconscionable. To believe that we can teach our kids enough YE science to stand up under the onslaught of proof that will be throw at them in college is highly questionable.
Finally, I will give three examples from AIG to demonstrate their viewpoint on various issues. Tomorrow, I will counter them with the views of some old earth creationists. There are other well-known groups such as the Institute for Creation Research but we focused on AIG because it is widely recognized as the major player in the YE debate.
1. When Ken Ham is challenged about his view about the history of life, he often answers, “Were you there?”
Young Earth creationists claim that there was no death before the fall of Adam and Eve. Therefore, animals could not have died. This fact alone proves that the earth must be young because the animals could not have died before Adam and Eve sinned. Tomorrow we will provide a rebuttal to this from an OE site. Please refer to the following link for his complete summary of this point.
This is an AIG article by Andrew Snelling that deals with the chalk layer and the flood. Warning: this is a detailed scientific analysis. Tomorrow, we will provide a rebuttal by Answers in Creation, an old earth group.
When we did the debate in Sunday School, we tried very hard to present an unbiased viewpoint of all of the groups. However, our effort was not only ignored, but we were treated in a discourteous, boorish fashion. So, this is our blog and our bias. It is said that the world will know we are Christians by our love for one another. Anyone observing the goings on with this issue in my former church would not describe it as having anything to do with “love.”
We conclude with a comment by “Elaine”, who apparently went to my previous church. Maybe someone in that church will take this unsolicited comment and do something besides make excuses.
My son, not mentioned above, was also asked not to return to Sunday School when he began to question what was being taught during one of the mandatory creation studies. The teacher went so far to say to my son that if he even considered any view other than YE that he probably wasn't saved. My son was deeply wounded. I wish I could tell you that we lived happily ever after, but that would not be true. What transpired in this church changed my son. He loves Christ, but is very mistrustful of any church or church leaders. Praise God we have found a new church with a pastor who is gently reaching out to bring my son back into a loving church family.
How many other high school students at my former church have either been banned from this Sunday School class teaching YE creationism or suffer in silence for fear of inciting the teachers and pastors?