The Flintstone Doctrine

Nobody's pushing me around. My decision stands! – Fred Flinstone.





In God’s perfect timing, I just received a postcard announcing “The Homeschool Event of the Year!” Please keep in mind that I stopped homeschooling in the spring of 1999, and both of my daughters have graduated from high school (one will graduate from college this May). Wow, this organization must have an incredible data base! It reminds me of some denominations that never purge the church rolls.

When I looked down the list of speakers, I found two names I immediately recognized: Ken Ham and Doug Phillips.

In case you would like to learn more about this conference which will be held in Greenville, South Carolina, here is the link.

Next March homeschooling families will be coming to hear Ken Ham promote young earth creationism and Doug Phillips laud patriarchy. I am praising God that during my four years of homeschooling I never came under the influence of these two men! God is good!!! I will be praying that the parents who attend this conference will have spiritual discernment.

I wonder how many of the families who plan to attend the “homeschool event of the year” have visited the creation museum — a high-tech facility which demonstrates that dinosaurs co-existed with humans. Who knew that The Flintstones could actually be true…

The Wartburg Watch is the home of such coined terminology as Calvinista, Redneck Theology, and Boutique Seminaries. The definitions can be found at this link to our blog. Today we coin a new phrase. Remember, you heard it here first. For those who actually believe that dinosaurs boarded Noah’s Ark two by two and that man and dinosaur cavorted side by side, we have established The Flintstone Doctrine.


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, I have a cave in Bedrock to sell you which comes with your very own Dino!!!


The Flinstones was one of my all-time favorite cartoons! I didn’t realize until very recently that Ken (F.F.) Ham and his creation museum actually promote much of The Flintstone Doctrine. BTW, “F.F.” stands for “Fred Flinstone”. We love Fred Flintstone. Who of our generation doesn't?So, here's a look back to our childhood. This closes our series on creationism.


Lydia's Corner: Genesis 32:13-34:31 Matthew 11:7-30 Psalm 14:1-7 Proverbs 3:19-20



The Flintstone Doctrine — 118 Comments

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    What a timely post. My daughter is having a rough experience in a public school which might result in us homeschooling in the next few weeks. I fear I will not fit into the Christian circles, both as a doubter and as a scientist, and I suspect I will have to only join the secular homeschooling groups. I was reading on one of the homeschooling boards how some Christian homeschoolers only want to their children to be friends with other Christians….I’m sure they would not want to be-friend me!

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    I think there are some folks at CHBC who are OE and home schoolers. They came to our class on faith and science. I might ask the leader of the Genesis study about their names. She would know.BTW there are a plethora of folks at that church that hold to that view as well.

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    I am praising God that during my four years of homeschooling I never came under the influence of these two men!

    I would include Bill Gothard in that group, too.

    Thanks for telling us what “F.F.” stands for. I’ve racked my brain and never would have come up with that.

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

    I’ve actually heard a SS teacher say this.

    Have you seen this?

    That’s at the Creation Museum. Man, this place is BIG BUSINESS!

    One visitor’s impression:

    The Museum’s cheerful placards matter-of-factly conclude that dinosaurs co-existed with humans. As a visual aid, a tiny animatronic velociraptor stands next to a giggling caveman child, a benevolent prehistoric pet. By rewriting the ancient past, Answers in Genesis could show that it was in the here and now. And rewrite they did. There were so many dinosaurs at the Creation Museum that I started to wonder whether they would appear with Christ on the cross.

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    I have enjoyed this website a lot. In spite of not agreeing with the position held here about creation, I’ve just avoided the current series–live and let live. I know this is a secondary issue. I studied it extensively recently and although I know what I believe, I can handle that other serious minded and deeply devoted believers might hold a different position. But this last post seems mean spirited and mocking of people who don’t hold your position. I’m sure I’ll check in from time to time because I have learned a lot from this site, but I’m disappointed with the tone on this one. I get that you are warning people about a heavy-handed approach by some “young earthers” but not all that hold that position are rabid about espousing it.

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    I was just accused on my blog of hating Creationists because I am not a Young Earther and I think they are destroying the faith of our young people with their false doctrine. So yep, according to the YE/CS crowd, if you don’t believe exactly like they do, they won’t even consider you a Christian. Sad.

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    I have a question for you. Who exactly is mean spirited? I have heard Hugh Ross called a possible heretic by Ken Ham. I have seen a teen thrown out of a Sunday school class because of his questions. I have seen a man thrown out of a Sunday school class for his questions. The heresy charges have crossed a major line in this issue. Ken Ham and his followers are causing scientists and bright people to refuse to consider the faith. Others are leaving the faith over this issue.

    So, instead of calling tit for tat, we have decided, in good humor, to invent the Flintstone Doctrine. In my opinion, it is far more light hearted teasing than the horrible actions of the YEC crowd. There is absolutely no equivalent.

    If you are concerned about this issue, I hope you have left a similar message over at Ken Ham’s AIG. There is far more than mean-spirited lines being crossed over there.

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    BTW, read shadowspring’s comment on this thread.

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    i love that comment. Wished I had put it in the post. It is big business and Ham has a bunch of sheep following his call. But, I would be called a heretic anyway so i don’t count.

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    Thanks for the laugh.

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    Anyone remember when The Flintstones ran in prime time and was sponsored by Winston? It started out as an adult comedy.

    IMO that show jumped the shark with the arrival of The Great Gazoo.

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    Ken Ham
    Meet “Doc” Ken Ham
    He’s a Doc without a Ph.D.
    He’s got
    Lots of science
    To convince you about Y E C
    Let’s go
    To his museum and we’ll see
    T. Rex.
    Having salad and green tea
    When you’re
    With “Doc” Ken Ham
    You’ll have a patriarchal time
    No atheists allowed time
    You’ll have young earth time!

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    You are a nut. BTW, i finished the book and enjoyed it. I am thinking about reviewing it in the next week along with Wil’s Bones. I am of the thinking that there is nothing that science will ever discover that will disprove one think essential to the faith. I found the responses of the people interesting. How quickly some gave up their faith. Perhaps some of us base our faith on something that is more external. Thanks for the good read.

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    Dee, glad you liked the book. I agree completely — too many base their faith on something other than Christ Himself and Christ alone. Apologetics and seeking to reconcile the Bible with science or history are all well and good, but only as testimonies to our faith, not as the basis of it. I can appreciate evidentalism without relying too heavily on it, but only because I’m a presuppositionalist. 🙂

    I can’t sing, but I’m sure you can figure out how my Ken Ham song fits the Flintstones theme in your head. It does in mine, anyway.

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    I just got it. I’m a bit slow tonight. But, it works!!! Now I am having a trouble getting it out of my head. I think they call it an ear worm. Too funny.

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    I got the jingle right away! That was very clever. Your gift of rhyme is very fine!

    Hope you’re doing well.

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    I gracefully agree with Bunny. Your tone is making fun of us YE and lumping us all together even though I feel I do not fit what you are saying.

    Upfront: I am a homeschooler who does it because the schools in our district have more guns than textbooks. We cannot afford private schools. Kids coming out of our schools district are severely under educated. Our friends are both public and private school people. We all get along fine. My son plays soccer for a private school that includes OE people. All is well. I dislike Bill Gothard and the fundies and think they are WAY off. I am somewhat socially liberal and conservative in my theology. I am young earth and could care less if you are OE. For me I have had OE crammed down my throat all my life by both the secularist and the Christian community I am involved within. I want my kids to at least have the option to consider both sides equally. Their faith in Christ does not depend on their view of the earth’s creation.

    I could careless about YE and OE as a primary topic or determiner of fellowship. That is wrong. I am so sorry that some have made you guys feel less than Christian and alienated you in saying you are less than Christian if you hold to OE. That is wrong.

    But to do the same back to YE is also wrong. You said “Others are leaving the faith over this issue.” I am sorry, I do not buy this statement. I do believe that Christ holds on to those who are His and never let’s them go. They may be mad over it but leaving the faith? I doubt that is the reason.

    I also understand this is a blog that is primarily opinion which I respect. I just feel as Bunny that you are doing what you are speaking against. You seem bitter about it and for that I am sorry. I realize it is a privilege to post here so I appreciate you allowing me to have my say.

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    Bunny said:

    “But this last post seems mean spirited and mocking of people who don’t hold your position. I’m sure I’ll check in from time to time because I have learned a lot from this site, but I’m disappointed with the tone on this one. I get that you are warning people about a heavy-handed approach by some “young earthers” but not all that hold that position are rabid about espousing it.”


    Satire is an extremely powerful communication tool! Have you read Animal Farm lately? I re-read it prior to writing this post.

    As you have discerned, the tenets of the Flinstone Doctrine are directed at militant YECers. Based on your comment, you appear to have a “live and let live” attitude toward those who believe the earth is very old. If all young earthers were like you, there would be no need for this discussion; however, there are those individuals like Ken Ham who DO NOT TOLERATE the OEC viewpoint.

    Can you imagine being in a church where you are thrown out of a Sunday School class for questioning the YE position? It happened more than once at a large church where I live. It troubles me that some have made creationism a primary issue. We are trying to alert our brothers and sisters in Christ that this is a stumbling block.

    I am grateful that you felt comfortable expressing your disagreement here at TWW. I can assure you that had you attempted to confront those for whom this satire was intended, you would have been quickly silenced and dismissed!

    We are on to new faith topics, and I hope you will continue to follow our blog. Blessings to you.

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    Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I hadn’t read your response prior to responding to Bunny, and my sentiments are directed toward you as well.

    It sounds as though you have never been exposed to militant YECers. I pray that as you continue to homeschool that will continue to be your experience.

    Once again, this satire was directed at those who hold to the tenets of The Flintstone Doctrine. It’s frightening to realize that there are those in the YE camp who sincerely believe such things, and they are bringing much harm to the cause of Christ.

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    Here is Ken Ham confronting William Dembski (who left SBTS and now teaches at SWBTS) in an AIG post entitled “Which Southern Baptist Professor Proposes / Teaches This?”

    Notice how Ham cleverly explains that believing in OEC is not a “salvation” issue but a “biblical authority” issue. While Ken Ham claims to be standing up for “God’s authoritative Word”, he is actually bringing much harm to the cause of Christ by making a secondary issue a primary one.

    I encourage you to read the entire post.

    “I also want to make sure people understand that we do not call the age of the earth a salvation issue, but it is an authority issue—and it is biblical authority that is being lost from the church and culture. And for all of these “academic” positions like Dembski’s that are pervading the church—look at the culture—something is dreadfully wrong. The church is not touching the culture like it used to because we have allowed the culture to invade the church, which in reality is what Dembski’s thesis so clearly illustrates in regard to training up the next generation of pastors/missionaries—no wonder we have such a mess in our world.

    Where England is today spiritually (it is all but dead), the USA will be tomorrow if we keep heading in this direction. Christian leaders representing the church need to stand up in this nation and condemn the compromise with the pagan religion of the age (millions of years/evolution—the pagan religion of the age to explain life without God) and stand for God’s authoritative Word. Only then will we see God’s blessing on the church and the resulting change in the culture that is so needed. Of course, we don’t question whether such scholars are Christians, but we still need to point out their compromise of accepting man’s opinions over God’s Word.”

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    As a long-time home school parent, I urge you to use caution in what you teach your students. Often, it seems, we parents think we are teaching one thing, while our students absorb our words in entirely different ways than we intended.

    I thought I was teaching YE as one of many possible interpretations of the beginnings of life. And I would still maintain I was never dogmatic about it, as I myself was unconvinced. Still, I wanted to be open-minded and have my children understand the plethora of belief here in Christendom.

    My oldest daughter, who does not care much for science, heard something quite different. You see, not only was she hearing the YE point of view in her Christian school science textbooks in elementary school, the vacation Bible school, AWANA, and various Christian home school support groups were throwing it in wherever possible. Unfortunately, it was not science for the most part, but ridicule and paranoia. “Evolutionists” was a term on par with “wicked atheist”. Even as a small child it was clear to her that this was a bad person. So no one taught her why carbon dating was important or why anyone relied on it to tell them things about how long something had been in existence; she was only told it was flawed logic that bad “evolutionists” used to bamboozle people.

    Having had an evangelistic atheist biology professor in college (OSU 1986, botanist, don’t remember his name) I never really challenged this reactionary YE movement. This professor didn’t teach science either, not in the freshman classes anyway. He taught against Christianity, spending gobs of time railing on and on about the history of European Christianity, specifically Catholicism. So it really didn’t bother me that the Christian community was giving tit for tat. It was a non-essential issue. I mostly ignored it.

    But my daughter did not ignore it. She grew up with a chip on her shoulder toward science and scientists. I really didn’t realize how serious of a problem this was until she was in college and her brother, who is very interested in science, made some comments that challenged her beliefs. That’s when I saw how seriously the sneering attitudes that YE had towards scientists had infected my daughter’s (shall we use one of their favorite terms?) “world view”.

    I personally have my faith built firmly on the “bedrock” (sorry, couldn’t resist) that all truth is God’s truth. The heavens declare the glory of God and the earth shows His handiwork. The things we learn about this natural world (speed of light, fossil record, DNA, existence of black holes, etc.) all point to an amazingly intelligent Creator who is so far above and beyond all we can think or imagine. It amazes me, and were I trained in science, the question on my mind always would be, “how did You make this work, God?” Finding out that stars are millions of light-years away never shook my faith. It enhanced my sense of awe.

    Since I have been home schooling for 14 years now, I can tell you that home schooled students ARE walking away from the faith. No one talks about these students at the conventions. If it is brought up in a conversation among parents, it is always the student that is the problem- “rebellious” I think is the common pejorative. Mostly these walk-aways though are relegated to oblivion. People dispense with their existence. If you didn’t know the family for a long time, you would never know they HAD older children.

    I will agree that the fact that YECS doesn’t stand up to the evidence of reality is not the only disillusion that turns these students away, but it is certainly one large nail in the coffin.

    The many other disputable matters that dogmatic fundamentalist home school parents insist upon also shares responsibility. For more than one of my acquaintances, it was the parent’s dispensing of the existence of the “wayward” oldest that started the questioning. For others, it was the insistence on patriarchy, courtship, strict dress codes, and other demands for strict conformity of belief and practice. For another, it was the horrible farce of their parents’ crappy home school marriage that turned her off of her family’s faith.

    For all ( and I know several who claim to now be atheists, and several who say they don’t know what they believe anymore) these tertiary doctrines were taught as essentials to the faith. It all comes down to an inerrantist reading as literal every word of their English translations (usually KJV) that they want to take as literal, and dispensing of what doesn’t fit their paradigm just like they dispense of the existence of other Christian’s faith. Just like they dispense with the existence of billions of years of starlight.

    Children think this way already. Everything is black or white, this or that, in a child’s understanding. So, someone tells your child that God created the world 6000-10000 yrs ago in 6 days. They then add “that’s what the Bible says” and maybe a slogan like “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.”

    Teachers then go on to talk about atheists who believe in evolution. To the child, the equation is simple: Believe in God,=believe in the Bible= YECS. Don’t believe in YECS=don’t believe in God. Good people believe in God, therefore good people believe in YECS. Evolutionists=atheists=bad people.

    Still skeptical? Ask your children to tell you what kind of people believe in evolution, then sit back and listen. My experience shows they will use the word atheist. I sincerely doubt they have considered that devout Christians who love Jesus and live by His words would ever be anything other than a YECS adherent.

    The problem occurs when they leave home and they find out that the sound bites they were taught in their YE science seminars don’t stump their professors. If they have a thoughtful professor who will patiently explain how looking at the facts led to this scientific discovery, then the YECS student will be stumped. If this kindly, intelligent evolutionist turns out NOT to be evil personified, but reasonable, patient and more importantly, have facts on their side, that YECS student will rightfully begin to question what he/she was taught as a child.

    If YECS was presented as an essential of the faith, and that student fully bought into that view, then in their mind Christianity and evolution can not both be true. If the facts convince them evolution is true, and/or the earth is much older than they were told “the Bible plainly teaches” then they will conclude that they can not be Christians.

    Christ holds on those that are his? Absolutely. If the child’s faith was genuine and not merely demanded by outward pressure of an isolated fundamentalist paradigm, then that child will return to Christ at some point. But not necessarily to the organized religion of Christianity.

    The Barna group did a recent study that revealed that 61% of evangelical Christian youth leave the church as adults. Half of those are predicted to eventually return to organized Christianity as they age.

    I am open to questioning home school graduates, so they are talking to me after they leave home. I am basing all my advice/opinion on the realities with which I am personally acquainted. Your experience may very well be different, K.M., but that may only be because your children are still young. Keep your eyes open, and watch closely the families with children older than yours.

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating, no? So the proof of the soundness of Christian home school social mores is in the lives of the older graduates. Ask around delicately, and I think you will find that my experience is not atypical.

    Best wishes for a long, satisfying, mutually supportive relationship between you and your children even after they have graduated and gone out into the big wide world outside of your home and school, SS

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    Bunny and K.M.,

    May I post a question? Do you believe, as Ken Ham does, that dinosaurs boarded Noah’s Ark two by two?

    In his article “What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs”, Ham writes:

    “God commanded Noah to build a very large boat into which he would take his family and representatives of every kind of land-dwelling, air-breathing animal (that God himself would choose and send to Noah – Gen. 6:20). This must have included two of each kind of dinosaur.”

    “Also, it must be remembered that Noah’s Ark was extremely large and quite capable of carrying the number of animals needed, including dinosaurs.”

    You can read the entire piece at this link:

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    Thanks for your thoughtful comment to K.M. I am grieved over how many young Christians are leaving the faith due to the dogmatic teachings of the militant YE crowd. Shame on them for not acknowledging that there are Christians who believe in intelligent design and theistic evolution.

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    Dee wrote to Bunny:

    “If you are concerned about this issue, I hope you have left a similar message over at Ken Ham’s AIG. There is far more than mean-spirited lines being crossed over there.”


    Bunny cannot leave a similar message over at the AIG blog because COMMENTS ARE NOT ALLOWED!!!

    Oh those Calvinistas…only their theological positions matter. There is no room for disagreement in their legalistic world, unlike TWW where dissenting opinions (even those of atheists) are allowed and even encouraged.

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    You seem to be an educated man but perhaps you have not researched the devastating effects of an insistence on YE. I would suggest that you spend some time on and see the reasons people give for leaving the faith. You will find that this issue is raised in over 50%of the cases.

    Also, have you read the entire series? Perhaps you did not catch the fact that my own daughter’s friend left the faith over this issue. Ham likes to tell everyone that people leave because of other issues. That is a lie. Also, it is quite easy to say “Well, its not my fault” when someone leaves the faith. That is a copout. There are many who have walked away from the faith due to the actions of Christians who have not represented Christ well. I would highly suggest pondering the book Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer. This book was written to those who have been disillusioned by the faith. Some have actually walked away, and some over this issue, in spite of your protestation to the opposite.

    Secondly, my husband has been in the scientific community and is published. He personally knows the number of scientists who will not look at the faith because of this issue. Ham has done a great job of making this a primary doctrine. Is my husband stupid?

    You claim to know about this issue. I would imagine, then, you have read Hugh Ross’s Reasons to Believe site. As you know, he started this site to help scientists who refused to look at the faith over this issue. Is he wrong? Then why has he become so successful? Why have scientists flocked to his site? The reason is that YE radicals have driven away bright people who cannot ignore the scientific evidence. Or is Hugh Ross just nuts?

    I have no problem with Bunny and you believing in a YE so long as it is not based on scientific evidence from Ham. That science is deeply flawed. It is not peer reviewed. Christian scientists are overwhelmingly OE. Why? Are they just dolts? The scientific evidence for an OE is incontrovertible.Ham has done a yeoman’s job in demonizing the many good men and women in the science world, many of whom are your fellow Christians.

    Since you don’t believe me about people leaving the faith, might I state that I do not believe that OE people (Christians) have jammed that theory down your throat. I can believe that scientists might since there is no scientific evidence for a YE. I have only seen radical YE people who are making this an issue and that includes Ken Ham who I categorically state, along with others, is damaging the cause of Christ.

    As for the word, bitter, that is a classic textbook tactic that is used to marginalize those who might raise a legitimate concern. We have written extensively about this on this blog and I hope you will think long and hard about dismissing your brothers and sisters using such silly tactics. Frankly it is unbecoming, dismissive and quite boring. We are personally pushing the word mordant because it has a similar meaning but at least show some thought.

    I did see some radical YE people who are Hamites attack good people in a previous church. However, I am now in a church in which the leadership hold to OE and I am in the majority.

    I have decided that I will not remain silent on this issue any longer. I used to believe that we can all “just get along.” That was until I met a group of Hamites who were hell bent on destroying anyone who came into their sights. And let me say that these are good Hamites who worship the ground he walks on. They have appropriated his mean demeanor and take no prisoners approach.

    Finally, you state that you teach your kids both sides. You also state that you don’t like my tone.Since you seem to be a nice guy who wants everyone to make nice, I would imagine that you have been over to Ken Ham’s site and have asked him to cease and desist from his campaign to call good Christians suspect and to claim they are bordering on heresy. That, to me, seem a far sight worse that a lighthearted satire on the Flintstones. Why do I get the feeling that you have done no such thing?

    However, I will give you props. You have come onto a new blog and stated your case thoughtfully. For that, I thank you. KM, i would implore you to look beyond your own biases and see what this radical crowd is doing. The science is flawed, the theological interpretation, while a valid option, is not the only option.

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    Here’s an article I have found most helpful — “Old-Earth Creationism: A Heretical Belief?” by Greg Moore.

    It begins as follows:

    “Ken Ham is an ardent young-earth creationist. As president of Answers in Genesis, he generates a steady stream of articles critiquing the old-earth view. Although I disagree with most of his assertions, I respect his right to express them. However, Ham’s article, “The god of an old earth,”1. crosses the line of amicable debate. By declaring “the god of an old earth cannot be the God of the Bible” and “the god of an old earth destroys the Gospel,” he is accusing old-earth creationists of heresy.”

    I encourage our readers to educate themselves about the YE/OE controversy by reading it. Here’s the link:

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    We are highlighting your comment in a guest post special today. You are awesome!

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    Hey guys, Thanks for the comments and the feedback. I mean that. Dee, by no means was the use of the word “bitter” meant as a tactic. Not sure I have any tactics. Simply an observation and a poor choice of words. Please forgive.

    I appreciate the encouragement to read and will do that. I have heard of Ken Ham, read something 15 years ago from him, and that is about it. I have not run into his disciples as it seems you guys have. No one should treat a fellow believer in such a way as it sounds they have treated you guys. Simply wrong.

    I do believe that followers of Christ should and can get along even with different theologies and ideologies. I also realize that the natural tendency is to complomerate together with like minded people.

    I am not a scientist but do live in a NASA laden community. I have asked the YE/OE question to several of the Phd’s running around here who are believers. None are geologist or palentologist. They are usually aeronautical types. I have found several on both sides.

    Again, thanks for the feedback and appreciate the chance to comment. K.M.

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    Once again, I give you props You are not one of the drive by shooters that we often encounter here. I would ask you to please visit Reasons to Believe, Answers in Creation, Biologos, and the American Scientific Affiliation. Did you know that over 95% of Christian who are scientists ( in all fields) are OE? Once again, thank you for your comments.

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    I also commend you. Thank you for understanding that I communicate purely out of real concern for home school students, including yours. It’s important that all of our students receive an education that prepares them for success in life, and for most that means college.

    As a Christian parent, totally apart from home schooling, it is important that we teach our children that God is the author of life and truth, that Jesus Christ is God incarnate making the way for us to live in communion with God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    It is a great tragedy any time a Christian home school parent winds up estranged from a child, an even greater tragedy should the child grow up estranged from God. May that never be the case for you, K.M., or any family in your home school circle.

    Peace and good will, SS

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    Hi Deb, (RE: Wed, Oct 27 2010 at 10:56 am)

    Although I cannot agree with Moore’s theodicy which has a decidedly reformed (Calvinist) theological flavor to it, I still applaud him for his stance on intellectual freedom regarding the non-negotiable items of the faith. To me, theodicy is more of an art form than it is a science. No matter how many claims are made for the Bible as its starting point, it all boils down to how one interprets Scripture. OEC is no more a heresy than is open theism. When we let ideologies or particular interpretations of Scripture aside from the essentials of the faith dictate how we treat other human beings, we become Crusaders and Templars rather than agents of genuine change in a world of darkness.

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    That is a absolutely correct. There is a coarseness that has invaded the church which overshadows the true message of the Gospel. The church has incorporated the values of the world. He who speaks the loudest and the meanest wins, be it Driscoll or Ham. This is not what I expected within the faith and over the past few years it has startled me. My experience, until recently, had been in situations in which these secondary positions existed merely for interesting discussions not as a source of division. Times have changed.

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    OEC isn’t heresy, but I’m pretty sure open theism is. But who can be completely sure? 🙂

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    Junkster, have you read Gregory A. Boyd’s God of the Possible? Believer’s who hold to an Open View of the future (called Open Theism by their detractors) have their faith squarely centered on the Word of God. I recommend you do a bit of research on your own before you go throwing out the H word.

    I say that with all humility and respect. The Open View of the future not only fits better with actual scripture, in my honest assessment, it glorifies God more than traditional theology does. The God of the Open View is amazingly intelligent, far above any imagination of man or limitation of man.

    The god of Calvin is merely the player of a giant game of Sims, a quite unfair one at that, in which most of the people populating his created world burn for all eternity quite at the whim of the creator. The god of Arminianism, in my opinion, is not much better, if (as I understand it) he merely foreknows which of his Sims will wind up burning for all eternity, knows they are a huge majority of mankind, and goes ahead with his game play anyway.

    The god of the Open View, however, is vastly superior in intelligence and not nearly as bored or as boring. This god (I am continuing using lower case not because I don’t believe this is a true representation of God but to be fair, since I lower-cased the other theologies) created a universe busting with potential, foreknew every possible outcome of every possible cross-reacting event and decision of every possible human who might come into existence by recombinant DNA and sexual reproduction, loves infinitely every one of his creatures and dynamically interacts with all of us. This god is powerful enough to directly intervene in any way necessary to achieve his greater purposes (fulfilled prophecies), but for the most part is delighted (and sometimes dismayed, as in repenting he made mankind in Noah’s day) to experience the unfolding of a million decisions and interacting natural forces along with us.

    In my opinion, a god who already foreknows everything would be the most bored being in all of existence, and a god who divinely ordains everything that ever happens is cruel and dualistic and cannot be reconciled with the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.

    Some theologian somewhere got to define the omniscience and omnipotence of god as meaning that god could not create a dynamically interactive universe with any open-ended potential at all and still remain all-knowing and all-powerful. I respectfully reject this limitation, which makes god in our image, denigrating his morality to that of a double-minded human and limiting his intelligence to that of a human as well, since the smartest of us can’t think more than eight moves deep on a chess set with a mere 32 interacting pieces on a finite board of 64 squares.

    I think the god of open theism is way more intelligent than any god who foreknows the future as only every possibly happening one way, is abounding in infinitely more good will and love, and solves many theological puzzles that traditional theologians relegate to the “not allowed to think about” bin.

    Further, with the invention of the Sims game and this next generations familiarity with “playing God”, I think traditional explanations (or non-explanations as the case may be) for why God created the world the way he did or why even bother with life at all- existence being so boring if he foreknows or even already decided every outcome- are not going to be sufficient for deeper thinkers today. Or even for the less deep who have played Sims and gotten bored within a few mere weeks. 🙂

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    I read a bit about Open Theism but could use some clarification. It would seem to me that scripture paints a pretty good picture of an omniscient God (i.e. Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”) and many other verses like this.

    How is the knowledge of God different in Open Theism?

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    I refer anyone interested in learning more about the Open View of the future to the book God of the Possible by Gregory A. Boyd. That will get you started and I’m sure your internet book seller will make more suggestion based on that purchase. 🙂

    The answer to your specific question, Karlton, can be found on pages 39-42.

    I wonder if our illustrious blog queens are still okay with reposting one of my comments as the main event, given I am “open” (heh heh) to non-traditional views of theology?

    I am humbly hopeful that their respect for me as a sister in Christ and a home school mom are not diminished by my view of time/nature of creation as dynamic and interactive.

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    I think this is a pretty good example of what Mohler would argue…if you concede the authority of Scripture on the issue of creation, you are well on your way to such a low view of Scripture that you can end up calling the God of historical Christianity a giant Sims player.

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    LOL You know not what manner of spirit you are of, Joey! I *do not* consider God a giant Sims player- that would be a Calvinist stance. :p

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    How dare you make assumptions about believers who know that the science proves the earth is old. I am a committed Christian who takes the Bible very seriously. As for low views of Scripture, I dare you to ask the average YE believer in any given church to describe the Trinity. I guarantee you that heresies will fly so fast your head will spin.

    I don’t really care what Mohler says. The debate is over. The science proves the earth is old and Christians will need to learn to deal with this. I refuse to ignore the scientific evidence in order to force the Scripture into a mold that is open to interpretation.The inability to look at truth is harming the cause for Christ. If Christians are not careful, they will be relegated to cult like status like the church that persecuted Galileo.

    You have fallen for the Hamite misinterpretation that belief in an OE is a denial of the doctrine of the atonement. This is foolish.

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    See, I’m pretty sure he just meant that *I* have a low view of scripture, not all people who are OE Creationists. My practical use of a common video game to explain what I see unbelievable about the predestination view of reality is what offended him.

    Though thank you for taking the position that when one member of the body suffers, we all suffer. I appreciate that kindness very much. 🙂

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    Could you give me a synopsis…might be a while till I can order and read the book 🙂


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    While I would have held the same position as you when I was a Christian, Joey’s statement is not without merit. You would dismiss a young earth because it is not in line with science yet you would profess faith in a virgin birth, which I’m pretty sure scientifically would fall into the same category. On what basis do you make that decision, it still seems a bit arbitrary to me…

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    My own religious roots began in Lutheranism. One of the things I’ve held onto out of this faith tradition is the articles of faith embodied in the Nicene Creed. Let’s be frank, even though Constantine was the prime mover behind the Creed, his motive was mainly to acquire both political and military power. He was also a monster who had his son executed and his wife boiled alive.

    One of the grand ironies to come out of this brutal birthplace of the Creed, is that fact that it captures the immediate essentials of the Christian faith while at the same time granting a wide latitude of human freedom and inquiry. But here’s the problem:

    Many faith traditions in American Protestantism are leery of creeds not so much for what they affirm, but more so for what they do not affirm. For example, how does one tack on no women in the pulpit, or the doctrine of total depravity unless supplements to the Creed are made under the rubric of say “biblical authority” or “inerrancy”?

    Open theism is just another divide in Christendom that shouldn’t really be a divide at all because it violates none of the salient conditions for Christian faith. I concur with shadowspring that every one should read the pros and cons for open thesim and decide for themselves rather than letting someone else decide for them with slogans and circular reasoning.

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    I read a Wikipedia article on Open Theism a few moments ago. I must say, my first impression was, wow, God meets Quantum Mechanics – Prayer Collapses the Wave Function!

    It seems to me, at least initially an like an explanation that runs counter to the precept of Occam’s razor. A complicated, although intriguing, explanation for some of the logical problems inherent with an omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God. A simpler explanation and one that seems to agree with our day to day experiences is that God is simply a creation of our minds, a tribute to our ability to fantasize and create that which doesn’t exist.

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    While I’m sure Dee has her own answer to why believe in the virgin birth but not young Earth, for me the difference can be defined by the following.

    If a man came to me and claimed he once was blind and now can see, and that this was the result of a miracle, then I could conduct a few tests.

    First and foremost I could quickly check out his claim that he could see. If He could not see, then I would reject the claim of a miracle.

    … This is the YEC situation

    But assuming he could see, I would then try to find out if he once was blind. Passing that test, I would now know he was not a fraud. IOW, at this point, it is possible, though perhaps unlikely, that he is telling me the truth.

    I could then try to determine if there is any evidence that supplies me with a physical cause for his new found sight. I perhaps could consult his personal physician, I could even talk to the people that were perhaps at whatever place it was he began to see. If I found out that not only was there no medical procedure or other known physical cause that restored his sight, but that he was indeed at a private prayer meeting when He began to see, then the chances this is truly a miracle have just greatly increased.

    Now, having fully investigated, I come to the following. If I believe in miracles, I would likely say this was a miracle. If, OTOH, I was a skeptic and did not believe in any sort of supernatural or miracle, I would probably continue to reject the miracle hypothesis.

    As a Christian, as a believer in God and the supernatural, I accept the possibility of the miraculous. I do not reject the claim of a miracle just because of it being a miracle. But neither do I accept any old claim of a miracle. In the case of YEC, we have multiple possible interpretations of the scripture from which the claim is derived. That is, while the creation is a miracle, the scripture’s there are written in such a way that there are many possible mechanisms by which that miracle could have unfolded, including what we now accept in mainstream science. Further we have mountains of evidence that it simply did not happen the way in which the YEC interpretation would lead us to believe.

    But in the case of the virgin birth, we have no physical evidence that proves it did not happen. We are not even sure it is impossible physically, (nature has many examples of organisms that self-fertilize). Further, there are not a great many options in terms of how to interpret the scriptures which make that claim. And finally, my experience as a Christian gives me no reason to doubt that claim, seeing as how I believe in the possibility of miracles and have seen God do some pretty amazing things just as part of my own meager existence.


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    God reveals himself in two fashions-natural revelation (science, nature) and spiritual revelation (supernatural). You have absolutely no idea where the “stuff” came from. To you it is sensible to assume that everything is natural-that which we can prove. However, miracles are those which exist outside of our ability to test and examine. Somehow, to you, it makes more sense to conceive of an infinite universe with infinite parallel universes than it does to consider the possibility of an Uncaused First Cause. I’m not sure what sounds more fantastic.

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    You better be careful you have an atheist agreeing with your Biblical interpretation!

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    But what I am asking Dee, is how to decide which is which … You scoff at YE interpretations of genesis because it is in conflict with science and at the same time hold on to belief in a virgin birth which is equally in conflict with science. You assume the virgin birth is a miracle and at the same time reject a miraculous interpretation of creation.

    I don’t see any consistency in your line of reasoning. On what basis is one a miracle and other is not? Hey Joey, feel free to chime in here bud 🙂

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    Thanks for the response. I wonder though, one of your reasons for not believing YEC is that there are alternative explanations for the event which do not defy nature, hence you find believing in a naturalistic interpretation more palatable. But don’t we have the same in the case of the virgin birth, there is an alternative explanation, one which plays out every day in the world around us … she lied!

    Given the fact she faced possible stoning to death for not being a virgin on her wedding night or at the very least ostracism from family and tribe. Given she was probably young 12,13,14 or so I think it is way more likely, just like with creation, that the natural explanation of she was scared so she made up the story, is the truth.

    But there is another point I think, and that is, even in the case of the person who claims being miraculously cured from blindness. If you examine all the possibilities you can and nothing helps you find an answer or reason for the return of his sight, isn’t it still far more likely that you just can’t find the cause because it is gone, you lack the required tools or expertise or resources required, than to jump to a miraculous conclusion?

    I work as a programmer, and while on occasion a programmer will come to me and say, I didn’t change anything in the code…it just seems to work now… it’s a miracle! … we all chuckle but no one seriously believes God intervened in our software development process. If someone were to ask me why not, I guess I would say there are millions of software bugs fixed everyday around the world, for 98% of them we know what the cause was….because we couldn’t find a cause this time doesn’t need to imply divine intervention. While I might not care enough to find the real cause, or track down who might not be telling the truth about something it is a safe assumption to believe it had a naturalistic origin.

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    I do not deny the miracle of creation. Joey and I agree that God did the creating. We simply disagree regarding the time frame. Frankly, it is miraculous whether it was done in 6 days or 15 billion years.

    I think I understand Occam’s Razor to be the simplest solution is usually the best explanation.I believe that man has a problem which causes him to make bad choices or, to use a word that atheists hate, sin. It seems to me that the solution offered in the Scripture makes sense.It deals with the problems in this world, it gives an explanation for creation, it offers a reason why men and women seek for God, it gives hope for eternity,etc. It seems to me to be a simple explanation for a complex question.

    Secondly, why s a miracle an unnatural explanation. If there is a God who exists outside our space/time continuum, we might interpret the natural abilities of this God as miraculous when, in fact, such acts are quite natural for such a being. What if what we claim is supernatural is natural but we cannot explain it because we are limited by our three dimensional world.

    If God created the heavens and the earth, it would seem to me to be quite easy for Him to enter our dimension and make some accommodations to carry out a plan.Interestingly there a books in the Bible which seem to indicate that a Savior would come and certain things would take place when He came.I know that atheists blow this off by saying that Jesus structured His life after the prophecies but i disagree.Could it be the simplest explanation is He is who He said He is?

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    Karlton said:
    “You assume the virgin birth is a miracle and at the same time reject a miraculous interpretation of creation.”


    Regardless of how creation happened, I consider it to be a miracle. As a Christian, I see God as the originator of science.

    It’s funny that you provided a link to the 12 days of Christmas. I treated my daughter to lunch today at one of our malls, and they are already decorating for Christmas!!! We couldn’t believe it.

    Just want you to know that I enjoy reading your comments.

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    I loved the music. If I didn’t know better, I would say there is still a little soft spot for your former faith. The boys were incredible. I also loved the arrangement of the 12 Days of Christmas-very, very clever. I recommend that everybody go to Karl’s link at his blog for a treat. He’s not so bad for an atheist! 🙂

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    When I think about the Virgin Birth, I am awestruck by how all of those OT messianic prophecies were fulfilled by the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s a mathematical impossibility that all of them would come true. This is just one of the reasons why I never doubt the existence of God.

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    Thank you. I try very hard to not throw out the baby with the bathwater. The Church and those in it possessed of faith have given to the world some of the most beautiful music, art and architecture owned by man. They have inspired great deeds and great sacrifices.

    I do not, nor would I ever want to minimize their contribution. I can listen to Ave Maria or Silent Night without end, I can watch a sunset and weep for its beauty. I have held a child’s hand while he died and wished, as he passed, with all my heart that he could go to a better place. Hoping, wishing, faith is as natural a part of the human experience as is love.

    I do not believe that sterile atheism is the right answer, science without love, logic without compassion? I do not wish to live in that kind of world. There is a fusion out there waiting to happen, a synthesis, a new liturgy waiting in the wings of humanity. I believe we are on the cusp of discovering it and it’s form. I hope I can be a part of that discovery.

    For me, I do not think it should include the supernatural, I hope it includes all the richness of our past, our faith, our compassion and our reason.

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    You know, my own daughter suffered with a malignant brain tumor. For me, there was comfort in knowing she would go to a better place if she dies. I understand the atheist argument that one cannot believe in something simply because you wish it were true. How do you, as an atheist, cope with the idea that there will be no justice or comfort at the end of this life? Take a child who is abused and dies. This life is all there is according to an atheistic worldview.So life is awful and then you die?

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    If I am right about there being nothing once a person dies, then all I can do, is my best to improve myself in this lifetime. To love those around me, to care for my family, to help others enjoy their life and to contribute to humanity’s progress. To try and leave a positive mark on the world I am going eventually to leave behind.

    Justice…for those who have had a bad life, all I can do is try to provide love, maybe give them a smile or a good memory to hold on to, hold their hand so they feel connected to humanity and loved.

    For those who have caused pain to others through their action, I don’t think punishment is ever the answer. The people who do evil things are also in pain, separated from everyone else, they need help as much as those they have hurt.

    I wouldn’t want to live for eternity, it is my mortality that gives me purpose, compassion and a love for life…it is pain that allows me to appreciate pleasure, sadness that gives me the capacity for joy.

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    You said: “I wonder though, one of your reasons for not believing YEC is that there are alternative explanations for the event which do not defy nature, hence you find believing in a naturalistic interpretation more palatable.”

    Actually, this is not quite right. It is not that YEC requires a miracle to be true. I believe in miracles, and the miraculous nature of a 6 day creation is not the problem. The problem is that the universe simply did not come into existence in 6 days as we count them today.

    This issue I find hard to explain to both Atheists and Believers. And I go back to my blind man example. A man telling me he once was blind but was healed by God and now can see is a story I am willing to believe – provided there is not evidence to the contrary.

    Not evidence merely that it is impossible by natural means. That is not it at all. Again, I believe in miracles.

    Provided there is no evidence He is not telling the truth. That is, provided he can indeed now see, and he was indeed blind, and as far as anyone can discern, no natural process could have restored his sight.

    I am a believer in Christs resurrection. I believe in miracles. So, looking at the Genesis text, I know that Christ regarded what we call the Old Testament as scripture, holy and inspired by God. So I believe also, because He believed, and I believe in Him.

    BUT – and this is a big issue. The text of Genesis lends itself to many possible interpretations, many possible renderings. The idea that there is only one way to read the text, sola scriptura, is itself flawed. Long before anyone knew about the apparent history of the heavens and the Earth, theologians wondered about the ‘days’ of Genesis. Further, we can see all across scripture that when the text is describing the natural world, God allows the writer to use colloquial terms, terms consistent with the understanding of the writer as regards nature. So applying some kind of interpretive paradigm that demands this text be directly conformable to some 21st century scientific explanation ignores the text more than it conforms to the text.

    To at best YEC is a hypothesis based on one particular idea of how the text should be read. A hypothesis that fails utterly when put to the test. The Creation of God Himself tells us loud and clear that is NOT a valid rendering of the text, unless one is willing to deem scripture merely the writings of ancient men and thus flawed.

    The story of the virgin birth is NOT at all like the text of Genesis 1. First of all, there are a large set of Messianic Prophecies that Christ needs to fulfill. One of those is “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and call His name Emmanual, God with us”. So Mary being a virgin is fulfillment of prophecy. Further, Mary’s story is not merely her own. Joseph was thinking much as you are and wanting to put her away quietly, yet an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him this child was of God, and he was to marry Mary. And so on.

    Now, if one is predisposed to dispense with the supernatural, to find a natural cause to explain any and all miracles declared in the Bible, then I suppose your explanation is as good as any. But to me, as a believer, I don’t see things that way at all. The virgin birth would be some kind of miracle. But it is not a miracle that has evidence crying out against it, as does a 6 day creation. I am not debating there is huge amounts of direct evidence for it, I am simply saying nothing says it did NOT happen (as IS the case for YEC). And as a believer in Christ as Messiah, I have every reason then to accept that story as valid, and few if any reasons to reject it.

    Moving on, you also said: “But there is another point I think, and that is, even in the case of the person who claims being miraculously cured from blindness. If you examine all the possibilities you can and nothing helps you find an answer or reason for the return of his sight, isn’t it still far more likely that you just can’t find the cause because it is gone, you lack the required tools or expertise or resources required, than to jump to a miraculous conclusion?”

    A valid question. IF I did not believe in a God who answers prayer then your approach would be a logical one. But I DO believe in a God who answers prayer. Sometimes through natural mechanisms, sometimes miraculously. As a result, the fact this fellow was praying to God and was at that time healed, the fact he was blind, the fact he now can see, then even if we could find some natural cause for the restoration of His sight, I would still attribute that to a miracle of God.

    A fundamental mistake those of the YEC persuasion make is that they think, as perhaps do many of the Atheistic persuasion, that God is only involved if one can show the miraculous. I do not believe that way at all. The scriptures tells us God causes ALL things to work together for the good of those who love Him, who are the called according to His purpose. This means I can and do see God working both in the natural and the miraculous.

    Thus I am not disillusioned if there is a ‘natural’ explanation or the parting of the Red Sea (sea of reeds), or even for the virgin birth (provided, of course, Mary was indeed still a virgin to whatever extent implied by the OT prophesy)
    They are still miracles. Acts of God purposefully caused by God to fulfill His purposes.

    My guess is this is troubling to you. What then can shake my faith, what could convince me my faith is an illusion? How can I consider myself a man of reason if there is nothing that could challenge my faith?

    Well, the truth is there are things that could undermine or challenge my faith. Finding irrefutable evidence Christ did not rise from the dead would be one such thing. In fact, I am challenged often. But in the end, I have much in my life that confirms my faith, and so it would be difficult for me to be persuaded it was not real.

    Did you ever see the Jodi Foster movie “Flightplan”? This is the story of a mother who is on a flight and her child vanishes. No one on the flight acknowledges ever seeing the child, and she comes very close to being convinced she is delusional, that her child never boarded the plane. But she is after all the mother, and though all that she knows her child was with her.

    Trying to convince me there is not a God, that Jesus was not His son and did not die for my sins would be a lot like trying to convince that mother her child did not exist – and for similar reasons.

    In the end, of course, she was right. And in the end, I think I will be too. 😉


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    The website gives short answers to many objections to Open Theism. If you have only a passing interest, that is the place to go.

    I am not personally interested in persuading you or any one else of the validity of my beliefs. I have been in sales myself, so I know well the technique of feigning interest and asking questions merely as a pretext to launch into a sales pitch. Even Christian evangelists have availed themselves of this proven way of setting up the pitch. (EE anyone?)

    This may not be your purpose at all. It’s possible you may truly be interested in understanding Open Theism, rather than merely setting up your next pitch for atheism. But I confess I am jaded, and not that interested either way. I am not looking to convince you nor in being convinced by you. Sorry.

    This probably makes me a bad person to dialogue with. Dee, Deb, and Orionsbelt are all more gracious, patient and better at explaining themselves than I am. I humbly defer to them.

    Good thing I believe my worth is built on God’s love for me and not on my performance as an apologist ! 🙂 I would be worth very little if that were the case. As it is, I am adored, cherished, treasured by God and the feelings are mutual. Peace and good will, SS

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    Whoa! Sorry I missed out on a lot of good convo. I did not mean to offend, though I can see how my short comment could be taken as terse. I was merely pointing out that Mohler’s point (and I know he is not popular here) about creation being a “biblical authority issue” as he would call it, seems to find merit when those who take the old earth position then also take a open theism position, or any other position that seems to deny what the Bible clearly teaches.

    Where my point somewhat coincides with Karlton is that there does seem to be an arbitrary nature to what old earth proponents allow Scripture to speak authoritatively on. Karl Giberson over at Biologos for instance has said “Empirical science does indeed trump revealed truth about the world as Galileo and Darwin showed only too clearly.” This type of statement should alarm Christians. If empirical science trumps revealed truth…well then the virgin birth out, so is the resurrection, and any other miracle. After that there isn’t much left of Christianity. The trend “seems” to be that those who place a premium on science are the quickest to dismiss biblical authority. That was my point. I realize it is not popular and I am not accusing anyone of not personally having a high view of Scripture (except for Karlton of course :)…I don’t know anyone’s heart. And there are plenty of OE creationists with a very high view of Scripture, and are far smarter and more godly than me. I don’t mean to say the YE = high view of Scripture and OE = low view.


    Would you argue that open theism could be compatible with historic Christianity?

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    SS – I don’t understand why you are so defensive, I didn’t ask you to persuade me about the validity of your beliefs, I only asked for a summary of something that I hadn’t heard of before. But I’ll respect your wishes and talk with the others instead.

    Orion – I understand what you’re saying, that you consider a miracle to be a “normal” part of daily life, if God decides to intervene, and thus you treat evidence for the possibility of a miracle just like you would verify any other type of naturalistic claim that was made.

    I was more playing devil’s advocate with my questions. I was posing it as someone who might believe in a verbal plenary interpretation of the scripture, not as an atheist. In either case you did a great job of explaining your position.

    I don’t think Dee has enough hard drive space on her blog server for us to get into the validity of messianic prophecy and the NT writer’s penchant for making the NT storyline seem to fit into them…so I’ll leave that one alone 🙂

    I agree with you, your blind man logic is sound, but only so once you grant the premise of an omnipotent God who intervenes in our space/time. This obviously is a premise I myself do not agree with.

    Just curious, I live in Maine, where is everyone else from? – Maybe we can get together some Saturday for a coffee shop debate 🙂

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    I don’t think the word “defensive” applies. I am not in a battle, you are not attacking, and therefore I am not protecting, or defending, anything. 🙂

    I am just not interested in the marketplace of ideas at this point, so I am disengaging.

    Peace and good will, SS

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    Open Theism is more than merely compatible with the Bible. It fits better both the actual Word of God, the revealed character of God and the nature of reality than anything ever offered by theologians before. The antiquity of an idea does not make it more true. The very notion that older=better is laughable. Reminds me of these people:

    Stating that Open Theism “seems to deny what the Bible clearly teaches” doesn’t make it so. Nice try, though.

    I am not the least bit interested in debating you. There are plentiful sources for you to explore the actual Scriptural support for Open Theism, or as it is more accurately described, an Open View of the future. If you really seek an accurate understanding of the idea then it will be no problem finding valuable sources from which to learn.

    And I can give kudos to Al Mohler for one thing: he opened my world to the existence of Christian yoga. Yippee!

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    Joey (Karl’s new best buddy :))

    I am not sure you fully got the point I was making. I am still recuperating from surgery and had to take a pain pill so I was a bit fuzzy last night.

    I made a point that, if you were to question YE believers about the Trinity, you would get a whole bunch of answers that would most likely be heresy within the strict doctrinal definitions of the faith. I know, I have asked this question of a wide variety of people in the faith.

    If I were to limit my question to YE believers, I would then be inclined to say that YE leads Christians to a low view of Biblical authority and doctrinal understanding. Oh, oh, that goes against Mohler’s contention, doesn’t it?

    This is a category error and is illogical. One view does not need to lead to the next.

    So, let’s get back to the open theism question. I, for example, do not believe in open theism. I had a lengthy discussion years ago, with Mark Bailey, President of Dallas Theological Seminary and a friend. He convinced me that it does not fit closely defined orthodox Christianity.

    However, I want to commend shadowspring. She is working out her faith with fear and trembling. So many people sit in church, mouth the doctrines but never let it get into their hearts. When you question the average pew sitter, you will find many of them an inch deep and a mile wide. Shadowspring is asking hard question and reading more deeply than many Christians I know. She has an open heart and an open mind and I have no doubt that God will guide her in her search. God loves those who try to understand HIm.

    Also, I would assume that someone who likes Mohler is an ardent Calvinist. Do you not think that God is in the moment, guiding Shadowspring?

    I have attended many churches in which the average pew sitter believes much of the nonsense of “name it and claim it.” I once asked a pastor to deal with this in his sermons. His response was naive. He claimed that it people listened to what he was preaching over a period of time they would realize that such a belief was not correct. However, I knew a bunch of people, some who were in leadership, that believed this stuff. BTW, this pastor is a Mohler boy and worships the ground he walks on.

    Joey, in the end, I would rather have 100 shadowsprings in my church than 100 average pew sitters who swallow it up, rarely process, and never ask the hard questions. The average pew sitter today is a zombie. That is one reason I started this blog.

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    Deb and I live in North Carolina. However, I have a brother who lives in Massachusetts and has a home in Milton NH. I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. I hope to be in your area next summer. I don’t do cold winters anymore. If I come up there, I will let you know and we could do dinner. BTW, if you ever come our way, let us know. You would be most welcome and we could introduce you to NC barbecue.

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    PS I desperately miss lobster rolls and clam chowder.

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    Piedmont, mountains or coastal plains?

    Also, when I posted that link about a Geocentric convention I was pretty sure it was a hoax, Only I just called the hotel, and it is actually happening!

    *incredulous shock, jaw dropping disbelief, followed by laughter*

    No joke! These people are serious! The end result of Creation Science? Oh. my.

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    Piedmont-the trees are beginning to change and it is lovely. Are you from around here?

    I know about the geocentric stuff. Some of my dear friends have told me about this stuff. I couldn’t believe it either. Dud you know that there is a Flat Earth Society? Google it.

    These geocentric folks and other oddballs stress the “conspiracy” theory explanation. It is the only way to get around the obvious proof against them.

    That is why i have always gotten my nose out of joint when Christians forward urban legends like “Proctor and Gamble executives worship Satan.” So many people in this world are gullible and too lazy to do any reading. That is why they fall prey to the nonsense that there is science to prove the earth is young.
    What is sad is when seminary professors fall for this as well. Perhaps they do not teach logic in such schools.

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    We live in the Piedmont – specifically the Research Triangle area, which is where I grew up. It’s a great place to live, and I’m glad Dee made it here.

    Years ago I gave her a framed saying. It goes: “I’m not from North Carolina, but I got here as fast as I could!”

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    I understand that you have no desire to debate, which is fine. However, simply saying “Open Theism is more than merely compatible with the Bible. It fits better both the actual Word of God, the revealed character of God and the nature of reality than anything ever offered by theologians before” doesn’t make it true 🙂

    Dee, I will pop in and respond in a bit.

    Karlton, glad to see we are buddies.

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    You mean the Flat Earth Society is not a hoax? They are serious about their ideas? Now my head is really spinning.

    I agree with you about the gulliblity factor. Yesterday I was talking with my pastor and an elder about YECS, and the elder said something along these lines: “God could do anything. He could create everything just like it is right now, down to the every nail and brick in each building, all the people on it complete with all of memories even though we just now came into being.”

    I laughed, “Sure, he could. But he didn’t.” Elders response “How do you know?”

    At this point I just started laughing. I told him that then we couldn’t know anything and life would be meaningless, through my giggling. I kept thinking on stoners sitting around in the 60s positing that what if we were all just a butterfly’s dream?

    My pastor wasn’t much better, as he said maybe things just look old when they’re not and the laws of the universe weren’t always the same as they are now. My problem with that is that it appears to put God in the category of intentional deceiver. There is no evidence anywhere in all of creation for fluctuations in the laws of physics. Everything we know , everything ever built or invented is based on the immutability of the laws of physics.

    I wish he had just stuck to the old stretching out of time theory. Which I must say, is way more thoughtful than “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” or “how do you know anything is real?” LOL

    It has the benefit of my not being able to refute it, since I am a novice on the nature of time and the theory of other dimensions. All I know about time is linked with the rotation of the solar system around the sun and the long-term effects of gravity on my skin. =p

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    There is a dangerous consequence to the “God created the earth to look old.” This makes God out to be a cosmic trickster and negates our ability to know anything about anything. So, God made things look old, changed the speed of light, etc. For what reason? Bait and switch. It just goes to show that pastors get no training whatsoever in understanding science and get poor training about the nature of God.

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    In fact, let me argue their point. Hey, pastor, you are only 10 years old. I don’t care what you say, God created you to look old and even gave you memories. He did this to everyone. Prove that I am wrong.

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    I am still struggling to see how I committed a category error. If someone accepts science as “trumping” revealed truth then it is logical to assume they have a lower view of Scripture than someone who believes that the Bible never lies. Now we can argue all day about what the Scripture actually teaches about creation, because it may very well be that Gen 1 and 2 are allegorical and don’t say anything about the age of the earth. But that’s different than saying that science trumps scripture. My logic goes this way:

    Now, if someone believes that the Bible erred in matters of science, they would be more likely to believe that the Bible erred on the nature of God (open theism) than someone who believes that the Bible never errs.

    I made the mistake of lumping shadowspring in with folks like Giberson, when perhaps shadowspring doesn’t believe the Bible erred about creation, but like you, believes that it is basically silent on the issue of age, and therefore it isn’t that science trumps the Bible.

    Anyways like I said, my intent wasn’t to offend.

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    That’s a pretty big statement to say that proponents of the Open View believe the Bible is in error anywhere. Quite the opposite. The Open View is soundly grounded in scripture. I don’t believe the Bible is in error anywhere about the nature of god.

    I Believe Calvinists are very much in error, though. 🙂

    To Dee, I am in the Southern Piedmont, a long way from the triangle. If I ever get up that way I’ll let you know I’m in the area. I’d love to thank you in person for this blog and the respect you have shown to me and my beliefs as a sister in Christ.

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    Science can never trump the Bible. Next week I am going to review a fictional book in which a “discovery” causes people to question their faith. I think deep down inside many people are afraid that one day science may disprove the Bible. However, true faith believes that will never happen.

    There are a few things in the Bible which seem to contradict science. The sun does not revolve around the earth and the earth is not fixed in the sky on pillars. Of course, you will have no problem with those verses because you know that it is based on allegory or the understanding that the people of those day had. The Bible was never meant to be a science textbook. It is a book that unerringly point people to faith in God.

    Perhaps you made an assumption that most OE Christians do not have a high view of the Scripture. That is a tale that Ken Ham likes to tell and others like Mohler accept as fact. I can tell you that it is false. Those who hold to this point of view hold Scripture in high esteem and you would find most quite conservative. In fact you might find these folks reject the nonsense of the prosperity Gospel more than many in the church.

    Ham has been successful in building a divide in the Christian community that I believe Satan uses as a tool. Science has proven the age of the universe to be very very old.The only ones who believe differently are a vast minority of people, most of whom have little understanding of the subject. One day, when even these folks accept the age of the earth, which will happen as surely as we know the earth revolves around the sun (in apparent contradiction of Scripture if you are a total literalist), we will go onto the next thing to fight about.

    BTW you do know that the mustard seed is not the smallest seed in nature, don’t you? And I bet you have been taught that Jesus said that because the farmer’s of that area know nothing about the lily seed that grows in the Amazon. Why cannot we use the same logic for the age of the earth?

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    Come on north and I’ll treat you to lunch.

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    I found this a while back and laughed and laughed…it refers to YE creationists of course…I hope you enjoy the quote…

    “Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon; it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.”

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    I agree with you. The Bible is not a textbook, and should not be treated as such. My point was never that the OE position in incompatible with a high view of Scripture.

    I am sorry that you have had bad experiences with the YE folks. I have not, and my church is open to both views. My brother leans toward the OE view, I lean towards a YE (one of those minority of people, most of whom have little understanding of the subject)…though neither one of us thinks it is nearly as important an issue as holding to a view of a historical Adam and Eve.

    Yes I had heard the mustard seed wasn’t the smallest in nature 🙂

    I didn’t make the assumption based on Ham, I have never listened to him speak, or read anything he has written. I was making it based on reading Biologos for the past year or so.

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    You nut! Would you consider amending your definition of creationism to include OE, YE and theistic evolution? We have some agreement until we get back to the Big Bang. I say the stuff for the bang came from God; you would say that it arose naturally.

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    I have a question for you. Is your view based solely on Scripture? I can accept that more easily than I can accept it being based on Scripture and science. I understand if people want to just read the Bible and interpret it from that. What worries me is when folks base it on the supposed science of the YE crowd which is not peer reviewed for accuracy.

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    I would say that everything is based on natural events, whether I understand those event or not is another matter.Once you allow for the miraculous, you are outside the realm of reality and reason.

    At the moment I am holding a little USB memory stick in my hand. I know every time I drop it from my hand it will fall to the floor. I know this because, at least above the atomic level, we live in a deterministic universe. This is how we test scientific principles and make discoveries. We depend on that consistency.

    If miracles actually occur, if God intervenes into our dimension and can, at will, subvert the laws of physics, gravity, chemistry, biology and anything else. If I am unable to predict, with any certainty, the actions of this God, then I have lost any basis to understand the reality that surrounds me.

    Maybe God will suspend the USB the next time I drop it, or maybe the USB device doesn’t exist in my hand at all. I know that I am using silly examples, but the concept is still valid.

    I rely on a deterministic universe to be able to learn, to make predictions based on past behavior and to test ideas by repeating the same circumstances over and over and having colleagues do the same.

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    I sent you an email on your gmail account.

    Could you explain to me how you view the universe, how it started, if it is eternal, is it infinite, etc? Sometimes I have a hard time following the atheist view on the start or infinite, never starting universe.Of is there one view? How does one test this based on past behavior? Where did the stuff come from?

    There seems to be only two logical explanations to me however, i am not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Either the universe is eternal, unknowable fully, and the Uncaused First Cause or this is an Uncaused First Cause Designer that we call God.

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    I don’t even know where to begin, most days I am preoccupied trying to understand things on a smaller scale, like why I have two different colored socks on my feet.

    I doubt there is anything like an “atheistic” view. Remember an atheist is simply someone with a lack of belief about God, it says nothing about what other views he or she may hold. I definitely disagree with many atheists on many topics.

    I guess, what is know as M-theory seems to me to be logical (I have no qualifications that allow me to pass judgement on it) and in line with what I thought before reading about it.

    That our universe, its dimensions and corresponding behaviors is just a bubble or a membrane that erupted (big bang) from a vast (eternal?) sea of energy or
    potential. There may be other, possibly many other universes with behaviorist (laws), and dimensions vastly different.

    Keep in mind that if the dimension of time exists or began in our little bubble, then it’s possible that time itself does not exist in this vast sea (doing a lot of speculation here, I know). But if that is true, then the whole notion of causality and beginnings, would have no meaning outside of our universe. You couldn’t even talk about it in terms of “eternal” or “infinitely old” , such concepts only have meaning if time exists. Boggles the mind, huh?

    Most of the laws of physics as we understand them seem to break down once you get to the initial point of the big bang, scientists are working on mathematical models that can take us through that point to what lays beyond. They may be successful someday, they may not.

    What I think is important is that our universe is deterministic, everything forward from the big bang seems trapped by time, every cause has an effect. At least above the sub-atomic level.

    I don’t think our universe is eternal, it seems that it, like everything else, will run down. Some believe it is like a large rubber band and at some point will contract to a single point again, others think it will simply continue to expand until it reaches maximum entropy and then just stop.

    They are interesting questions to ponder, for the sake of mental gymnastics, at least for me. I won’t be here when it happens.

    Watch these two first as a base

    Double Slit

    Then this great series… on String and M-Theory


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    I have enjoyed reading your thoughtful and honest comments, as you present an atheist’s perspective. Most of all, I appreciate your attitude.

    Many atheists hold to a world view which makes them appear unhappy about life and generally unfriendly. This is not terribly persuasive in the public square.

    Recently, however, a band of “happy atheists” have surfaced. They seem more content with their views. However, they are not always particularly friendly (sometimes, even intentionally arrogant).

    By contrast, you come across as both happy and friendly (ie a “friendly atheist”).

    This demeanor is refreshing. Most Christians can relate to such a humble approach.

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    Dr. Jon,

    Thank you very much for the compliment!

    I enjoy speaking with people here and there is one major reason why…their beliefs are thought out and reasoned. There is a good mixture of faith and logic and although I may disagree with some of the opening assumptions and occasionally the “correctness” of the logic (oh boy, I’m in trouble now!). The one thing I have found is that the folks here hold their beliefs in good faith, they are being honest and not simply repeating the company line, so to speak, without any thought of their own.

    I have a great deal of respect for people that take the time to critically examine their beliefs and are ready no only to state their doctrines but to, as Peter said, “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…”

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    “What I think is important is that our universe is deterministic, everything forward from the big bang seems trapped by time, every cause has an effect. At least above the sub-atomic level.”

    de·ter·min·is·tic [ di tùrmi nístik ]


    1. relating to determinism: relating to the doctrine or belief that everything, including every human act, is caused by something and that there is no real free will

    2. of knowable outcome: having an outcome that can be predicted because all of its causes are either known or the same as those of a previous event

    If by a deterministic universe you mean the second definition, I can agree with you with no adverse affect on my faith at all. I simply allow that that in this deterministic universe something called God exists, a Being responsible for all that exists, a Prime Cause. I see proof of that existence in myriad ways, including the testimony of people who claim to be in spiritual connection with that Being. The life of Jesus is unique in that He was that Being in human flesh.

    Further, like Dee and many others before (I think it was you dee, could have been deb)me, I propose that things we call “miracles” now are simply God being God, a Being far superior to anything we personally experience whose attributes exist in all dimensions. If we were to fully understand the laws of these other dimensions, things we call miracles might seem completely rational and predictable given the nature of the Being of God. =)

    In other words, yes, there is a cause for everything. God is no trickster. He created an orderly universe and knowing and learning is possible because of the immutability of the laws by which the universe exists. The heavens declare the glory of God and the earth shows his handiwork. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; it is the glory of man to find it out. =)

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    For those of you NOT in Maine … it is officially snowing, and snowing HARD!

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    Free will is an illusion…a short example

    I have in front of me a cup of tea. I am deciding whether to take a moment please……..I did not take one. It seems like free will in action, but in truth it was only the illusion of free will. The electrical impulses between the synapses in my brain are based on strict electrical/chemical properties. My feeling of “choosing” what do do is the result of those impulses not the cause of them.

    There is nothing in us that makes those impulses travel one way or the other except the chemical and electrical properties that exist at that precise moment in time. I have no control over those properties.

    Because we lack the knowledge to predict what appears to be a random event, does not make it random. I could not have chosen to drink that tea, not if we rolled the universe back to its beginning a thousand times over. Given the same starting conditions I would have passed on taking a drink each and every time. The universe would have played out exactly the same each time.

    But just like an invisible God whom I cannot see, cannot test for His existence, who apparently interacts only by following his own laws of nature and whom I cannot control…the fact that I have no real “free will” becomes irrelevant and I simply continue on with my life as though determinism wasn’t true.

    Are we far enough down the rabbit hole yet?

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    I don’t see how you can have an uncaused cause (God) intervene in the chain of causes from the beginning of the universe and at the same time claim that it is natural.

    If God intervenes at all, it is obviously to change what would be the natural course of events, otherwise why intervene. The fact that He causes the change without violating the laws of nature is irrelevant. It is still not what would have happened if He had done nothing.

    Secondly, If God knew that change would be required then why did He not kick off the who chain of events (the universe) so it would play out that way in the first place?

    If He did in fact kick off the chain events to account for, whatever this thing is, then by definition He didn’t intervene at all.

    Another beer anybody?

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    Your comments about free will are your belief, not actual fact. consider quantum uncertainty. Their is no way to determine with absolute certainty the outcome of the future based on the current state of the universe, or (absolutely) what the actual state of the universe was at some point in the past. Within that there is plenty of room for elements of the makeup of the universe that could create the ‘will’, the ability to become and change from what we are now to what we wish to become in the future.

    And then, there is the element of events into this universe which are not strictly the result of natural causes – the ‘super’natural. If God exists and can influence the way history unfolds, he can, in the hidden quantum world, do this if He wishes undetected. Further, He also can chose to cause an event independent of the natural course that is detectable, and the effect of THAT event may well have influence upon us and upon which we can then react, based on who we are, and ‘chose’ to become better or worse.

    Further, as a Christian, I believe in the ‘regenerating’ work of Christ. What is to say this is not a resetting of some basic component of who we are at the quantum level whose end is a markedly different person than what we would be without it?

    Anyway, some things to ponder I suppose.


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    Zeta, a few comments…

    It is in fact my opinion, but it is still in line with our best understanding of how the universe works at the moment.

    Quantum fluctuations have no effect on the macro world which is deterministic. In fact scientists have discovered that even within quantum fluctuations the statistical probabilities are highly deterministic.

    Even if you allow for quantum fluctuations to affect the macro world, it still has no effect on the existence of free will, it simply means that you could not predict whether I will take a sip of my tea each time, but it doesn’t imply that that choice is any less deterministic. In other words even if quantum fluctuations exist and can affect your thoughts, you have no control over those fluctuations, thus no free will.

    As I mentioned before, you cannot have divine intervention, the suspending or changing of the laws of causality in this world without losing completely the ability to learn, make predictions based on knowledge and to test ideas or hypothesis or for that matter to even differentiate reality from non-reality.

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    That is why we moved south.

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    My computer will not let me link to your picture. Darn
    I am enjoying those videos you suggested. I’m a bit slow but thy are making sense.

    What if God created the universe to behave in certain way but then gave people choice that might cause them to change the outcome and gave the universe variability to respond to the choice of people. Take pollution. God programmed the earth to function well with small amounts of pollution yet men have the ability to pollute further so that they cause profound changes in the function.

    God allows men the free will to change things, yet intervenes wen things go too far. Fish have perfect freedom to function in water. But, it the fish were to jump out of the water, they would die. So the owner puts them back in the water to allow them to live.He intervenes but steps back once the fish is in the water except for making sure that some parameters are met-oxygen levels, cleanliness, food, no predator fish to be added, etc.

    Why would my intervention for the fish be unnatural?

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    Karl, your position that there is no free will is in the same camp the Calvinists inhabit.

    While circumstances of one’s birth, including the natural world we inhabit and of which our bodies are made, certainly creates limits on our choices, it does not rule out autonomous action on our parts. It’s one of the factors the Open View of the future takes into strong consideration. And please don’t ask ME again to explain the theology here. If I were that good at taking a book and condensing it into a paragraph I would be getting paid for it! =D

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    Hmm, treading into murky water .. looking for flashlight .. ahh here it is ..

    What I say deterministic I do not mean what Calvin meant, I am not talking about predestination by God, i.e. the pre election of the saved. I am talking about it in the scientific sense that every “effect” has a direct and corresponding “cause” and that there is an unbroken chain of cause/effects back to the beginning of the universe.

    When I say that there is no free will, again I am not referring to Calvin, but more to the behavior of our brain, our thoughts if you will, in light of the paragraph above. What is a thought is not the result of electrical and chemical states in the brain? What we think, what we perceive as “choice” is simply the result of electrical impulses flying from synapse to synapse in our brains. Those impulses, like everything else in the universe are driven by cause and effect.

    Think of it like a player piano, remember the ones where you have a roll of paper with holes punched in it which cause the piano to play certain notes? We function just like that. Maybe its a function of language (my pet theory), that gives us this “reflective” ability to hear or think about our own thoughts as though we were in control of them, but in reality I believe the player piano is analogy is closer to the truth. in a nutshell…

    When I hear the words in my head “should I take a sip of my coffee?” I feel like I created that thought, but in reality, the chemical and electrical impulses must have already occurred, because they ARE the thought. I am simply perceiving and articulating with language, those electrical impulses after the fact.

    Overall I think the idea of free will and the idea of cause/effect are related, but also they can be discussed separately. If our idea of an unbroken chain of cause/effect events is correct it would preclude the intervention of a divine being except as a primary first cause. Since God is not directly and unequivocally subject to us (in other words we cannot be the “cause” for God’s “effect”…there is nothing we can do to make Him jump the same way each and every time we push the same button) then if He intervenes in our universe at all, He is breaking that chain of events and we now live in a completely unpredictable world where we cannot rely on anything and we become unable to distinguish reality from magic.

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    Totally new thing here .. I happened upon this yesterday. It is the coolest video from the guy who invented CAPTCHA (ya know, when you create a facebook or Google mail account, at the end you need to type in those squiggly hard to read words on the screen).

    It turns out they have a real purpose behind them besides determining that you are a person … its a fascinating and funny video … its short I think you’ll enjoy it!!

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    Sorry I am just now answering your question. It is based on my understanding of Scripture. I understand the consensus among the vast majority of scientists is that the age of the earth is much greater than anything around 10,000 years. The consensus among the vast majority of scientists is also that man has descended from long line of animals. I disagree halfheartedly with the age of the earth, and completely and wholeheartedly with the evolution of man.

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    On what basis do you disagree with the overwhelming evidence for descent with common ancestry?

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    On the basis that it is incompatible with Scripture.

    I am not a scientist, and would not claim to be able to argue compellingly with any scientist in regards to evolution.

    In college I took a few science courses where evolution was taught, and actually wasn’t particularly impressed with all the “overwhelming” evidence. Micro evolution, survival of the fittest, these concepts made sense, and you can observe them in nature. Macro evolution, not so much. For instance the peppered moths that are so often cited as an example of natural selection…are definitely a great example of micro evolution. However, in the two hundred years they have been studied…there hasn’t actual been any change in genetics. The darker ones have thrived, and the lighter ones have died off due to a change in the environment…survival of the fittest…but no change in genetics.

    Again, I am in business…not a scientist…so I know I am a novice in these matters.

    For fun, check out:

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    I think you are wrong about quantum fluctuations having only deterministic input on the macro scale. For example, quantum tunneling in electronics. This is when to conductors are so close to each other that electrons will randomly decide to be in both wires at once. This can result in observable effects that are not necessarily predictable, especially if the two conductors are so close that random environmental effects can induce the tunneling sometimes and not others.

    Another example would be radioisotope decay. While the distribution of decay is such that for, say c14, after 5300 years or so (IIRC) half the original population will be gone, it is impossible to predict when any individual atom will decay. So any effect an individual atomic decay might have on its environment would be completely random, and could have unique, non-deterministic effects on its local environment due to the inability to define what its local environment will be when it decays.

    The point being, what it is that ‘controls’ the quantum world is unknown to us. We know that overall, it all works out and conforms to certain average behavior on the macro scale, but I tend to think this provides a capability for God to work to accomplish his purpose within the ‘rules’ He has established.

    Likewise considering the realm of chaotic systems, systems which conform to some statistical average behavior, but at the individual level are unpredictable in the long term. The weather would be an example. There is a great deal of room for God to work through the weather without creating any result that would stand out statistically or scientifically. More importantly, in any sequence of events, there is a point where the state information required to be known at the beginning to predict the next step in the process is simply unknowable because it drops into the quantum realm. So what I will be 20 years from now in terms of say personality simply can’t be predicted because some of the events that will influence that final result will be random in the sense of occuring at the quantum level. IOW, who/what I am now is only knowable to finite degree, likewise who/what I will become. I believe the soul/will exists in this unknowable realm.

    If God desires to work within our individual lives yet wishes the universe to conform to a generalized deterministic nature, what better way than to create a system that is predictable on one scale, yet essentially unpredictable on another, where the unpredictable scale statistically has no effect on the deterministic scale yet specifically – per instance – it can and does affect individual events on the macro scale.


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    First, let me say I am impressed with your questions. I know I have been a bit hard but that is a function of being fed up to my nose with the radical YE crowd. I have become less tolerant of those who would call others heretics and it is kind of fun to have a blog to say what I want to say.You have been most gracious and thoughtful. Thank you.

    I found out that we share about 47% of our DNA with a banana. Does that mean we are descended from a banana? Here is how I picture this. God created this wondrous universe along with a marvelously efficient structure called DNA. He uses His creation of DNA to put all sort of living things together. It is infinite diversity expressed in astounding ways all bound together by this awesome building block.

    What makes a human essentially human? The Bible tells us that God created man out of the dust of the earth, breathed life into him and placed him in the Garden. The Mormons make the mistake of saying that we are like God and God is like us. In other words, we look like Him-two arms, two legs. Yet the Bible says God is spirit.

    I say that we are uniquely human because of the spirit breathed into us which forever differentiates us from the animals. It is not our bodies, it is our soul/spirit. I don’t think it is particularly concerning how out bodies came into being. I think it is vital how our soul came into existence. This is the differentiating factor.

    There is much to wonder about in the creation story. For example, what was the “dust” of the earth? Could it be the DNA, the elements? I could see God using this one structure over and over because it is so marvelously efficient.

    Then, why did He place man in the Garden? It was a set aside place. What was going on outside of the Garden in the rest of the world? We are not told. My guess is that lots was going on outside and that is why God isolated the man in order for the great drama of man’s choice to occur, uninterrupted.

    I do not see man being at all like the chimpanzee because we have a soul which makes us uniquely different. So what if we share 98% of this efficient DNA with that species? We are man and they are not. Just like we are not bananas.

    I, too, am not a scientist and I have struggled to understand these things. This I know (sorry Karl of the snowy backyard), I am a unique creation and there is purpose in this universe. I trust God for the process and am not at all threatened by any science. Science, to me, demonstrates just how complex this universe is and reflects the greatness and glory of our Creator. (Poor Karl, he is having apoplexy as he reads this :))

    I think there are some who fear science because, deep down, they are concerned that somehow science might disprove God. Here is where my faith sits. I trust God and know that nothing science discovers will ever disprove the existence of God.I see God’s hand in each receptor cell that is discovered and in each picture of Mars. I find science exciting because it exposes more and more of God’s creation and it excites me, even though i understand very little of the science.

    I had planned to review a fictional book that Junkster, a commenter, recommended to me. However, due to some new information, I need to expose some nonsense by one of my ex-pastors. But I will review it next week. You might be interested in it. It is called “A Skeleton in God’s Closet.” Jesus’ bones are discovered and many in the world lose their faith. But, there is a surprise ending. I think this book does a good job of exposing the fear that Christians can have of the scientific establishment.It also exposes how faith can be based on something other than true belief.

    Here’s the deal. There are scientists and there are philosophical naturalists. I respect Karl, our atheist friend, who has joined in on some discussions. I have even asked him to write a post about why he left the faith and is now an atheist. Karl let’s us know, up front, where he is coming from. There are a few scientists who hide under the cloak of science and pretend that their science and belief structure is one and the same Those type of scientists are just like our YE “scientists”. It is not science for the sake of discovery. It is science for the sake of an agenda.

    True science exists to observe and learn and document.The majority of scientists seek the truth and that is why I respect the profession. Beside which, I dated scientist types. from MIT and RPI primarily because they tell the best jokes. I even married one!

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    The electrons are obviously sub atomic particles. When you say that “…random environmental effects can induce…” you are implying a causal factor. The fact that the environmental factor is random, would seem to imply that it is also different from time to time (possibly not), if that is the case it would follow logically that the tunneling event would also be random. Other people believe that the wave function itself is reality (rather than probability of classical coordinates), in which case quantum mechanics can be said to be deterministic.

    Radioactive decay could also simply be do to a hidden variable, some as of yet undetermined event.

    In any case, at least for me, there is no compelling reason to insert a divine entity into our view of the universe, certainly no positive evidence that would force us to accept the supernatural as an explanation.

    A final question, If God is omniscient in the classical use of the term (not open theism), what logical purpose would be served by creating the universe in such a way that it would require an infinite number of constant quantum adjustments when God could just have easily created it so that it rolled out exactly the way He would need it to be?

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    I understand where you are coming from…it’s easy for me to be gracious when I am talking about things that are over my head 🙂

    Thanks for the reply, it was very helpful.

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    You make my point so beautifully, I’m seriously considering hiring you as my writer. Faith and science are mutually exclusive domains. Science will never disprove God, you are correct but only because science will never disprove the existence of anything, that’s not how science works.

    An atheist does not lose out on having an awe inspiring, majestic universe to live in, nor does he have to think of himself as less unique or special. Our focus is squarely on this world and making a better place to live, we are not looking to be raptured out, we are not looking for salvation from the skies when this planet runs out of resources, we do not need to worry about truth because we have no dogmas or theologies to protect, we are free to follow our discoveries where ever they take us. We are free to live using the logic and reasoning skills we were born with and never need to put what they tell us into a dark corner because we don’t want to hear their voice. I am orders of magnitudes happier and enjoy life more now than I ever did during my 20 or so years as a born again Christian.

    – A Happy Atheist –

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    Hi Karl-The Happy Atheist

    Now that would send shock waves resounding through both worlds-atheism and Christianity. A Christian hired on as a blog writer at an atheist site. That would be one for the ages.

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    I am glad you are happy. 🙂 Most sincerely, SS

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    I do not wish to mislead you. I am not trying to offer an explanation of how God operates in the world. I am simply calling to task your statement there can be no such thing as a free will. We simply don’t know enough to make that statement. The proposals I have made highlight two areas primarily:

    A) There are areas in our universe where causality as we understand it is not in play. Further, that these elements can have unique effects on specific events. If an event can occur that I can’t predict from the current state of the universe, AND that event can effect the future direction of some component or subset of the universe, no matter how small, then strict determinism is denied.

    B) That even within what we can derive deterministically there are strict limits to the extent to which we can 1) predict the future and 2) determine the precise past. These limits are defined by the fact that we can only measure the current state of the universe to finite precision. At some point, we run into to limiting factors. One is that defined by the exclusion principle. That is, I can only know one of two factors. For example, if I want to know precisely where an electron is, I can’t know when it was there, and vice versa. The other is the random nature of certain quantum events, such as those which determine the time a which an atomic nuclei will decay. I simply can’t predict when a given atom of C14 will become an atom of C12, or perhaps more importantly, when a given atom of U238 will become Th234, releasing an alpha particle which can then go on to collide with some other atom.

    IOW, The universe is only deterministic on average. We can never know enough to predict the future fully, or fully determine the past.

    So, basically, all I am saying is that free will can’t be ruled out because the universe is deterministic, because in reality the universe isn’t deterministic in such a way as to fully account for all variables.

    But I am not trying to say God fiddles at all times (or even ever) at the quantum level. I am just saying that If God wanted to fiddle, He could and we’d never know about it. That is, we just don’t know enough to rule out the existence of God. He can be there, and He can be quite active if He wants to, and we’d not be able to detect it in any way at this time – if that was His goal.


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    oops, my apologies to Karl and the readers, I managed to mix up Pauli exclusion and Heisenberg Uncertainty.

    hmmm … I wonder which of them caused me to do that 😉


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    OK this officially over my head so I will need to really do some reading.

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    I agree, I think we are debating two points here at the same time.

    #1 – I agree with you that there have been experiments which seem to indicate that quantum fluctuations can affect the macro world, but still on a very very small scale. I tend to agree with one of the comments made in the following article, that it is probably a gradation under certain extremely difficult to control conditions, but I would not drive your car into a brick wall hoping it will just tunnel through to the other side…least not just yet 🙂

    #2 – Even if you allow for quantum fluctuations to wreak havoc in the macro world it doesn’t affect the concept of no free will. A thought is the result of an electrical chemical state or transition. What mechanism would you propose to “think a specific thought”, to have the thought at all implies, as far as we know, that the electrical signal has already reached its destination. There is no separate, independent machine inside the machine and even if there was, then you would need a machine inside of that machine….and endless set of mirrors.

    A thought is the result of an electro-chemical state. If the thought “Should I sip my coffee” occurs to me, it’s because the “thought” has already occurred, otherwise I wouldn’t be having that thought. When I “decide” YES I will sip it, the “YES” is again, just a thought…it as already occurred.

    #3 – No one should be allowed to discuss quantum fluctuations or the inner workings of neural synapses without having a sip of coffee…therefore…waiting for it….there it is – I will have some coffee now …. more later


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    Hi Karl,

    nice article, makes my point well 😉

    Again though, remember I am not proposing a mechanism for ‘free will’, but rather calling into question your reason for rejecting the concept of a ‘free will’, absolute determinism in the universe.

    So, in fact, I am not saying quantum effects impacting the macro scale imply the existence of free will or are the mechanism behind it. I am saying your reason for rejecting the possibility of a free will is not valid.

    Once we agree that the universe can’t really be considered absolutely deterministic in a way that would rule out free will, we can then speculate as to how such a thing may or may not exist.

    Also, I’m not trying to be coy here. Often the divide between science and faith derives from one side or the other overstating their case and being unwilling to admit the possibility something from the other side might be true. So I pursue to point in that vain. We really don’t know if there is or is not a free will. We do know that many things sometimes thought to be of a spiritual nature are at least partially of physical origin. That plays in your favor, but does not make your case.


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    Someone, I think it was you, had asked me as an atheist how I view my place in the universe. I recently came across a video that does an excellent (better than I could of) job of this. Feel free to move this post if you feel there is a better place for it.

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    I am thinking about making this a guest post next week.

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    Should I clean it up and add some more content then?