Al Mohler’s Young Earth Rhetoric Heats Up

We build fences to keep ourselves from committing certain sins. Soon these fences – instead of the sins they were designed to guard against- become the issue. We elevate our rules to the level of God’s commandments.Jerry Bridges

courtesy of Hubble Telescope


Have you been following the recent internet dialog between Darrel Falk, president of The BioLogos Foundation, and Al Mohler Jr., President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary?

In its December 31, 2010 blog post, BioLogos featured an interesting article entitled “The Dawning of a New Day”, which you can read here. Here is the gist of Falk’s article:

“BioLogos and its impact on the evangelical scene was one of the top ten stories of 2010 as judged by both Christianity Today and The Gospel Coalition. This is good, I suppose. However, we have barely begun to deal with the issues in a substantive manner. The reason BioLogos made the “big ten” was because of the hype associated with personal interest stories. Bruce Waltke, the 80 year old much-loved biblical scholar chose to resign from his seminary position over the commotion created by a statement he made about evolution. Albert Mohler, among the most important evangelicals in the world, noticed us – then, like a giant annoyed by a buzzing little fly, attempted to squish us, not with a swat, but with a few delicately placed strokes on his keyboard.

BioLogos is not a little fly, however, and it is not going to go away. Dr. Mohler, giant as he is in fundamentalist/evangelical circles, represents a view that takes on the entire scientific enterprise. To this day, I have not been able to identify a single person who holds a science faculty position in any Biology, Geology or Physics Department at any secular research university in the world who would agree with Dr. Mohler’s view of creation. Not one, out of what I imagine are tens of thousands, including many who are strongly committed to living the Christian life in the context of fully orthodox Christian theology. If there is any such person, I urge them to contact us at I don’t want to overstate my case.


We live in a scientific age and that is not going to change. For hundreds of years now science has been successfully informing us about the natural world. The Church need not take the entire world of science on, and it must not allow itself to be led by those with enormous rhetorical skill and the keenest of intellects, even though they are sincere and love the Lord with all their hearts, souls and minds. These people, gifted as they are, are taking the Church down a dead end road. Scientific knowledge is not deeply flawed and we cannot allow ourselves to be led down this pathway any longer.


So can we in the BioLogos community pat ourselves on the back because evangelical Christianity may finally be starting to think about evolutionary creation? Absolutely not! The issues are enormous and the real task has barely begun.”

If you missed the news last April regarding Bruce Waltke’s resignation from Reformed Theological Seminary, you can read about it here

If you’re not familiar with the BioLogos Foundation, it was established in 2007 by Francis Collins, who served as its president until he was nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate as the Director of the National Institutes of Health in 2009. Collins is a geneticist who served as director of the extremely important Human Genome Project, which you can read about here.

The goal of the BioLogos Foundation is to “contribute to the public voice that represents the harmony of science and faith”. According to its website, which launched on April 28, 2009, BioLogos addresses both science and religion, stressing the compatibility of the Christian faith with what science has discovered about the origins of the universe. For more information, go here

Al Mohler, who was mentioned by Falk in his blog post, responded with his own blog post entitled: “No Buzzing Little Fly – Why the Creation-Evolution Debate is So Important”, which you can read here

Mohler begins the article with these words:

The folks at BioLogos ended the year 2010 by declaring “The Dawning of a New Day.” Darrel Falk, president of The BioLogos Foundation, wrote with both passion and anticipation as he reviewed the past year and the impact of BioLogos on the evangelical scene. If making a splash was their ambition, they certainly achieved it.”

Al Mohler then calls into question Falk’s contentions by writing:

“Those who oppose evolution “are taking the Church down a dead end road,” he (Falk) asserts. Then, after chiding the church for paying too much attention to anti-evolutionary voices, he offers a sentence which, taken seriously, represents a breathtaking intellectual commitment:


Scientific knowledge is not deeply flawed and we cannot allow ourselves to be led down this pathway any longer.


That is nothing less than a manifesto for scientism. Science, as a form of knowledge, is here granted a status that can only be described as infallible. The dangers of this proposal are only intensified when we recognize that “scientific knowledge” is not even a stable intellectual construct. Nevertheless, these words do reveal why BioLogos pushes its agenda with such intensity.”


“Pushes its agenda with such intensity”? We believe those words more aptly describe the Young Earth Crowd with whom Mohler rubs elbows. Of interest to us is the Creation Museum’s close proximity to Southern Seminary.

Mohler then includes the following excerpt from Falk’s article, which likely stirred him up:

“Will we ever be able to show the followers of Albert Mohler, John MacArthur and others that Christian theology doesn’t stand or fall on how we understand Genesis 1 or the question of whether Adam and Eve were the sole genetic progenitors of the human race? These are extremely critical issues to many and the task of showing in a convincing manner that evangelical theology doesn’t depend on the age of the earth, and it doesn’t depend upon whether Adam was made directly from dust will likely take decades before it will be convincing to all.”

Al Mohler concludes his response to Falk and BioLogos with these words (pay close attention to the first sentence):

“As I have stated repeatedly, I accept without hesitation the fact that the world indeed looks old. Armed with naturalistic assumptions, I would almost assuredly come to the same conclusions as BioLogos and the evolutionary establishment, or I would at least find evolutionary arguments credible. But the most basic issue is, and has always been, that of worldview and basic presuppositions. The entire intellectual enterprise of evolution is based on naturalistic assumptions, and I do not share those presuppositions. Indeed, the entire enterprise of Christianity is based on supernaturalistic, rather than merely naturalistic, assumptions. There is absolutely no reason that a Christian theologian should accept the uniformitarian assumptions of evolution. In fact, given a plain reading of Scripture, there is every reason that Christians should reject a uniformitarian presupposition. The Bible itself offers a very different understanding of natural phenomena, with explanations that should be compelling to believers. In sum, there is every reason for Christians to view the appearance of the cosmos as graphic evidence of the ravages of sin and the catastrophic nature of God’s judgment upon sin.


Dr. Falk ends his essay with a paragraph that includes this key sentence: “If God really has created through an evolutionary mechanism and if God chooses to use BioLogos and other groups to help the Church come to grips with this issue, then these three huge challenges will begin to melt away as God’s Spirit enables us to look to him and not to ourselves.” I will simply let that sentence speak for itself.


I do not believe that BioLogos is “a buzzing little fly.” To the contrary, I believe that it represents a very significant challenge to the integrity of Christian theology and the church’s understanding of everything from the authority and truthfulness of the Bible to the meaning of the Gospel. A buzzing little fly is only a nuisance. The theory of evolution is no mere nuisance — it represents one of the greatest challenges to Christian faith and faithfulness in our times.”

We believe the Young Earth Creationists, such as Al Mohler and Ken Ham, have made creationism a doctrinal issue. In other words, if you don’t believe just as they do – that the earth was created in six literal 24 hour days – then you are simply WRONG! This is legalism at its worst. It is incredible that Mohler “accepts without hesitation the fact that the world indeed looks old,” yet he insists on one view of creation – Young Earth.

Our upcoming post will provide extensive analysis on why we believe this kind of legalism is causing tremendous harm to the body of Christ.

Lydia’s Corner: Leviticus 11:1-12:8 Mark 5:21-43 Psalm 38:1-22 Proverbs 10:8-9


Al Mohler’s Young Earth Rhetoric Heats Up — 65 Comments

  1. Deb, Dee

    I found this and I think it is a great response to this post. I could never do any better, here is a paragraph (2) to whet your appetite…

    The overall question about Biblical contradiction goes back to the basic nature of the text. What sort of text is it? Is it a Sunday school book? A science text book? A history book? And how does inspiration work? The question about the nature of inspiration is the most crucial. This is because the basic notion of the fundamentalists is that of verbal plenary inspiration. If we assume that this is the only sort of inspiration than we have a problem. One mistake and verbal plenary inspiration is out the window. The assumption that every verse is inspired and every word is true comes not from the Church fathers or from the Christian tradition. It actually starts with Humanists in the Renaissance and finds its final development in the 19th century with people like J. N. Drably and Warfield.

    One of my major reasons for rejecting this model of revelation is because it is not true to the nature of transformation. Verbal plenary inspiration assumes that God uses authors like we use pencils or like businessmen use secretaries, to take dictation (that is). But why should we assume that this is the only form of inspiration? Only because we have been conditioned by American Christianity to assume that this must be the case. This comes from the Reformation’s tendency to see the Bible as epistemology rather than as a means of bestowing grace (see William Abraham, Canon and Criterion). Why should we approach the text with this kind of baggage? We should approach it, not assuming that Moses et al. were fundamentalist preachers, but that they experienced God in their lives through the transformative power of the Spirit and that their writings and redactions are a reflection of this experience.

    The full article can be viewed here…I truly think you’ll enjoy it

  2. Quote: ” We believe the Young Earth Creationists, such as Al Mohler and Ken Ham, have made creationism a doctrinal issue. In other words, if you don’t believe just as they do – that the earth was created in six literal 24 hour days – then you are simply WRONG! ”

    This may be true, however in the short time I have been reading this blog this statement could be equally applied to the Old Earth Creationists and many statements that have been made on this blog. They come across very dogmatic and mean-spirited at times. If anyone believes in Young Earth Creation then they are uninformed, unintelligent and a menace to the Christian community. Just saying……………………

  3. “We believe the Young Earth Creationists, such as Al Mohler and Ken Ham, have made creationism a doctrinal issue. In other words, if you don’t believe just as they do – that the earth was created in six literal 24 hour days – then you are simply WRONG! This is legalism at its worst.”

    I found that to be a curious statement, as creatonism is a doctrinal issue. I mean, if someone were to say that God did not create the world at all, – that he had no hand in it one way or another, wouldn’t that be a doctrinal issue? And this is no less than that, and so i don’t know why you can’t acknowledge that.

    As for the second point- why is it legalistic to say that a certain viewpoint is wrong? They both can’t be right. Either the earth is old or it is not. It is like other areas of doctrine or of christian ideas. If I said “premarital sex is wrong.” would you say that i am being legalistic?

  4. strawberryred

    Thank you for your input. I can well imagine why you thing the way that you do.I think a bit of history is in order.

    I used to believe that this was a two sided debate and let bygones be bygones. Until about 3 years ago, I believed there was the possibility to just get along. If you knew me, my history in several church demonstrates this including setting up Q+As for both sides, educating on the panoply of thought, making sure that people would be kind to one another, etc. I even let a YE group have a retreat at my beach house and didn’t charge them a dime.

    That has changed for me and perhaps the YE crowd ought to take a good hard look at themselves to find the reason why.

    I have watched as people get kicked out of Sunday school classes because they dared bring up the fact that the science being quoted was wrong. I have seen the likes of Ken Ham call good people like Hugh Ross “heretics”. I have read on AIG website how Ken Ham says that those of us who disagree with him are in danger of denying the doctrine of the atonement. I have seen nice people duped by shoddy science because the YE crowd will not allow both sides of the story. I had one YE advocate, who, after participating in a give and take dialogue, say he would never allow both sides to be talked about in church-note the word-never.However, I was supposed to kowtow to him and give him 50% of the time for his point of view in church which, I did.

    I watched as outsiders invaded a Sunday school class to “fight” for the “only Biblical view-YE. Fight they did. They were ugly, disruptive and I am sorry to say, not well-informed. They would interrupt so frequently that we had to stop taking questions during class.

    For better or worse, about one year ago, I came to the conclusion that many of the YE advocates are deeply harming the cause of Christ, driving scientists, young people and others, away from the faith because they make their own limited viewpoint a necessary part of being a “good” Christian. These people, Ham and others, are a menace and I think it is time to speak out against this form of legalism.

    As for uninformed, I have read all sides of this argument.In fact, I read most of the articles on AIG along with several books. Not so for many others. I have found that many of the YE proponents have a lock on some churches and many people don’t even know there are two sides of the debate. It is either atheist naturalism or “the Bible” which means YE. So, there are many uninformed because the debate has been defined by a small group of rabid individuals who are far more concerned about their point of view than the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    So, that is my reason and I am finally relieved to have a forum for my perspectives and experiences in this area. And I know that I risk readership by my thoughts. But,I think that speaking the truth in this situation is necessary. I think it is ridiculous that most people in this world think that Christians all think that the earth is young. In fact, most don’t and the vast amount of good scientists who are committed Christians do not as well. And many Christians are unaware of this. I am tired of having the likes of Ken Ham define the faith to the world.

    Maybe I will settle down one day. But, for now, I am still really miffed off about this. I think God had a reason for allowing me to see the underbelly of this issue.

  5. Dustin

    You are correct. Creationism is a doctrinal issue but what my counterpart was saying that it is considered an essential doctrinal issue-up there with christ’s death and resurrection. By creation she means, the age of the earth is considered part of this doctrine.

    And yes, it is legalistic to demand one view on this. Premarital sex is defined one way-sex before marriage. Not so for the creation accounts.I do not wish for this to devolve into interpretation of the Bible. That has been done ad nauseum on this blog. Suffice to say, there are great, conservative theologians on all sides of this debate so it is patently obvious that there is not a lock on this interpretation.

    The only thing that should be stated is that God created the heavens and the earth-that is essential doctrine. How He did and the length of time He did it in is not essential.

    Of course, one is free to believe what he wishes, But when this issue is used to divide the Christian community, then it becomes legalistic and destroys any hope of unity. If we think the world is impressed with our pontification on these extraneous issues, think agin. They are amazed at the number of denominations, etc.And the divide keeps getting wider and wider.

    Frankly the world does not perceive us as loving or unified yet that is what was supposed to happen with the church. We, both you and me, have failed miserably in this area. But, if we stick in our restricted little groups where everyone thinks lockstep, we can have a great time pretending that we are unified, and ,of course, right in all of our little rules.

  6. Dustin Germain said:
    “As for the second point- why is it legalistic to say that a certain viewpoint is wrong? They both can’t be right. Either the earth is old or it is not.”


    Could you please clarify your position on the age of the earth? Is it old or not?

  7. The issue for the church is to be faithful to Christ. Christ affirmed scripture as being true in the strongest possible way. So, the church should affirm the truth of scripture, as the Lord of the church did. This did not start with Darby and Warfield, but with Jesus.

    And one correction. Verbal plenary inspiration does not mandate a dictation approach. It never has. I believe in the verbal plenary inspiration of scripture, but reject a dictation theory.

    But – the issue of hermeneutics is still with us.

    I believe that Genesis 1 and all the rest of the chapters of the books in the Bible are true. But how to interpret them is another matter.

    It is accpetable, in my view, as an interpretation, to say that Genesis 1 should be interpreted figuratively in places because to do otherwise is to ignore basic scientific facts.

    It is also acceptable, in my view, to say that Genesis 1 should be read more literally, and that even though doing so contradicts known scientific facts, that God completely transcended natural reality, time space etc. to create all that we see.

    Evolution is not really a completely closed, completely explanable and perfect system, as I see it. There are many fundamental questions in the evolutionary theory that are not answered and probably never will be (e.g. where did the first matter come from?)

    Now either interpretation may have a certain number of followers etc. It is fine if they choose to argue with one another about which interpretation is better.

    I see Mohler as capitulating on the science. He does not appear to be arguing that the facts don’t show what they appear to show (I know, there are particular points where those issues rage), not on the whole at least. He is arguing simply that the evidence that we have (and what we could acquire) does not leave adequate explanation for God’s transcendant activity. I have also seen him, rightly, raising theological issues that are affected by how Genesis 1 is interpreted.

    So, I believe that there is room for robust argument. And I think that we can leave off with name calling.

    The one thing that we cannot do, which too many of our Christian forefathers did (in my opinion), is conclude that the Bible is simply an ancient book with some good ideas, but that there is nothing really divine about it. The example of our Lord and our calling to follow and model Him does not leave us with that option.

    It’s all inspired. It’s all God’s word. But we have the hard task of interpreting, which is made all the more difficult by the nature of this debate and the questions being asked, the answers to many of which are probably unknowable.

  8. Anonymous,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I absolutely agree that God’s Word is inspired and not just “an ancient book with some good ideas”.

    That being said, do you believe a theistic evolutionist like Francis Collins is truly a Christian? Does Al Mohler believe it’s possible?

  9. Can the atheist chime in?

    While I agree with those who would read the Bible based more on the literary style of the writers, i.e. some parts are clearly storytelling, others meant to be read as history and still others using metaphors and symbolism to communicate more important ideas and concepts.

    I also have to say, that the ultra-conservatives, who demand a strict verbal plenary view do have a case to make. If you view the Bible as literature and must make determinations at each point as to what is historical and what is literal and what is neither, then you effectively make each believer into an interpreter of what God intended, the result of which can have from mild to devastating effects on major theological points, not necessarily directly, but by implication for sure.

    The common rebuttal is that God’s spirit can guide the reader, maybe in a similar fashion to how he guided the original writers, but then you need to explain the incredibly diverse viewpoints of every born-again Christian who reads the Bible with the Holy Spirits assistance…who’s correct?

  10. or the question of whether Adam and Eve were the sole genetic progenitors of the human race

    I wonder what exactly Falk means by this.

    Is he saying that there may have been proto-humans, and that God selected the bodies of two individuals (Adam and Eve) from that “race” and infused them with souls (i.e., “breathed life” into them and thus gave them His image)? Or is he stating that not all current human beings are direct physical descendants of those two individuals

    If he means the former, while such a view would not be satisfactory to YE proponents, is not completely incompatible with Scripture, if one takes a “non-literal” approach to interpreting the creation accounts in Genesis 1 & 2.

    But if he means the latter, then his view is outside of Christian orthodoxy, as such a position cannot be defended from any interpretation Scripture, only by denying what the Bible unequivocally teaches. (I don’t know what he means, and I hope it is not the latter, but by implying that Adam And Eve were not the “sole genetic progenitors” makes me wonder.)

    The belief that that Adam and Eve were literal people from whom all human beings are directly, physically descended is an “A” doctrine. The mechanics are “B”.

  11. Junkster

    I disagree that a literal Adam and Eve as the only people from whom we are all descended. Where did Cain find his wife, who was not his sister?

  12. Hi, Arce,
    Who said Cain’s wife was not his sister? That she was his sister is the most reasonable assumption.

    To deny that all humans are direct physical descendants of Adam and Eve does damage to essential Christian doctrine. You can believe it as you wish, as I’m sure there are genuine Christians who do likewise. But one can only do so by denying very direct teachings in the Bible. It is one thing to differ on biblical interpretation, and say “I don’t believe the Bible is saying what you think it is saying”; it is quite another to discard Scriptural teaching altogether and say, “I know that’s wht the Bible teaches, but the Bible is wrong”.

  13. See,

    This is exactly the issue I mentioned earlier…if Adam and Eve were not the people that everyone descended from, it has serious theological issues…i.e. then there are some people who did not inherit a sinful nature and there do not require salvation.

  14. Junkster

    He does mean the former at least from what my husband tells me.

    Secondly, Arce raises an interesting point. Incest is spoken about as a serious sin in the Scriptures. If Cain married his sister, then there are some things to think about. Did God change His mind about incest? Did He think it was a sin but had no alternative to offer?


  15. Maybe he saw what a hottie Cain’s sister was and figured he’d never be able to resist anyway.

  16. “Secondly, Arce raises an interesting point. Incest is spoken about as a serious sin in the Scriptures. If Cain married his sister, then there are some things to think about. Did God change His mind about incest? Did He think it was a sin but had no alternative to offer? ”

    Sin started right away so why do we think God should have stopped it? He did not stop patriarchy. He eventually regulated sin through the law. In fact, the sin became so bad God flooded the earth. Who did Noah’s grandchildren marry? Their cousins?

  17. Well, I had a nice response composed but it went away somehow when I was researching some little bit. I hate the way these web editors will just wipe out what you are working on if something happens to decide to want to use the web browsers for something else.

    Anyway, maybe later I’ll compose something more complete than this. But in a nutshell, the Young Earth crowd primarily has this debate framed as “those that believe the Bible” – that would be the Young Earth crowd – and “those the don’t” – the rest of us.

    Since believing what the scriptures tell us is fundamental to being Christian, the Young Earth crowd all but relegates anything but Young Earth to unbelief. This leaves little room for discussion, little room for give and take. And this is the problem. They are hypocritical in that they gladly accept what Galileo brought to the table, and will willingly take their medicine to help with sickness, but anything implied by science that crosses up their particular take on Genesis 1 becomes an evil atheist conspiracy and anyone that looks twice is a doubter, and anyone that asks what should be done with a fact that doesn’t jive with AIG is in danger of living outside the gate, and anyone who thinks man might have evolved is in danger of hellfire.

    Until that changes, this topic will always be difficult to engage in a polite and friendly fashion.


  18. Zeta,

    I just can’t see much difference between their position and yours other than which miracles you draw the lines around. They believe in a literal Genesis account, in spite of what science says is possible, and you believe in a literal bodily resurrection and virgin birth. You both hand-wave science away when it crosses your beliefs, the only difference I see is that your miracles are the core of Christianity while theirs are not required beliefs for salvation.

  19. Anonymous

    “Sin started right away so why do we think God should have stopped it?” Here is a question. Something is a sin because one makes a choice and picks the wrong thing. So, if one is forced to choose one’s sister, why is it a sin since there is no other choice? Was it a sin then as well? Is a sin always a sin?

    I promise everyone that I am not trying to be flippant. I find this topic fascinating and am trying it to figure it out.

  20. OB/Zeta

    I got tired of them saying that OE was being just as ornery as the YE. Here is why that is not true. The worse thing you can call a Christian is a heretic. This essentially means you are not a Christian. I have never heard one OE ever accuse a YE of heresy. That is a common tactic of Ken Ham, the patron saint of rabid YE types. I believe that this is an evil tactic and I, for one, refuse to sit back and pretend it is kumbaya time.

  21. Hi Karl

    You have made the point that Christianity is based on faith-the evidence of things not seen. Both sides agree that God is creator and that sometimes intervenes in the natural process that He designed. Nature cannot remove the penalty of sin; Jesus could. We Christians accept that miracle.

    However, not everything has to be what you term as a miracle. The sun warms the earth, gravity holds us here. But, to us, those things are part of the overall miracle. Some things can be explained-like gravity. Yet, just because they can be explained, does not mean that they are any less a miracle.

    Darn, I need to answer you about the captivity in Egypt. I’ll try to do it in the morning. I promise I am not avoiding it. My brain is scattered.

  22. Anonymous 1:36pm

    Could you please tell me which theological problems develop, as defined by, quite rightly by Mohler, when one interprets Genesis 1 as OE that have not been adequately answered by OE theologians?

  23. Dee,

    I would argue that you are misusing the term. When most people speak of a “miracle” in the Biblical sense they are referring to an event which seems to occur in violation of the known laws of nature, by a supernatural agent, i.e. God.
    The gospels wouldn’t have been nearly as compelling if they said “See the Sun in sky and feel the warmth in your hair…that’s Jesus!”, it took stories of water to wine, raising the dead, moses parting the sea, etc. etc.

    Either way, creation in 6 days, man from dust, the resurrection, a virgin birth are all miraculous. So, again, why are the YECs put on trial, so to speak, for accepting the benefits of science and then ignoring science when it conflicts with their theology, and the OE people are spared that ridicule, when they do the same thing…but just have a different set of sacred cows?

    You are using it in a completely different sense, more like a synonym for amazing or improbable.

  24. oops that last line squeaked through the editor…ignore. When do we get “edit” capability, or would that require a miracle? 🙂

  25. Karlton:

    You have great insight into some faith matters and you have identified a difficult issue for Christians. To believe any of the miraculous accounts in the Bible is to believe something that is, at its root, unscientific.

    The scientists have a problem, however, in that everything that exists is not explainable in purely scientific terms. One must start with assumptions that preexist, and then apply the science. And even after that, the questions are not answerable (e.g. the jump from non-life to life. Dawkins has suggested that aliens brought life to earth. But where did aliens come from?)

    Dee (or Deb), I do not think that Mohler would question whether Collins is a believer. I think that he would question whether Collins is being faithful to the text of scripture.

    I don’t know how OE Christians handle original sin. I am not saying that there are not answers. I just know that sometimes interpretations have broader implications, and some of Mohler’s articles mention those. I do not know how all of those are handled.

  26. Karl
    I will bug the “guy behind the curtain.” We were supposed to meet last Friday but I had to cancel. Getting me to a meeting is nothing short of miraculous.

  27. Anon,

    I agree, we do not, at the moment, understand everything, but science doesn’t make assumptions that are not in line with what we already know about the universe.

    Even when you talk about how life might of began, there are hypothesis, but they do not violate what we already know, they stay within those confines.

    Religion on the other hand, presumes the existence of the supernatural without any legitimate supernatural evidence, once it is assumed, it is easy to assign things we don’t understand to God, but the initial assumption that there is a God, does not follow from natural events, whether we understand the mechanics of how it works or not.

    BTW, a fascinating video which details a viable explanation for the beginnings of life, using nothing more than simple chemistry.

  28. Karlton,

    It is always interesting to me how similar the YEC and atheist view of the Bible is 😉

    That is, I do not know how many times a YEC has told be that by accepting an old earth I am not believing that God can create the universe in 6 days, or that I am allowing science to dictate what is possible for God.

    The reason I accept the Resurrection and not a 6 day creation 6000 years ago has nothing to do with what I believe God CAN do. But it has everything to do with what I believe the evidence indicates God DID do. I started out YEC. I believed in a 6 day creation, a global flood. And if it were not for the evidence that shows me – not that it could not have happened – but that is DID not happen, I might still believe it (except for the textual issues – those still remain in either case).

    You could tell me all day long stars don’t form naturally in a day, or that there is not enough water to flood the Earth and I would still believe in it IF the physical state of the world supported that as an actual possible history for the world.

    To state it using a different example. Science tells me blind eyes don’t suddenly decide to see again. But if a man came to me and claimed he was healed by God and could see, and his medical records indicated he was indeed blind and this of physical cause (damage to he nerves, cateracts, detatched retina etc), and if he demonstrated he could indeed see, I would believe in the miracle. But, if he came up to me and claimed he was blind and now could see, but his medical records showed he was never really blind, or if I examined him and discovered he could not in fact see, then I would not believe in the miracle.

    A claimed miracle must first not have direct evidence against the actual event. A miracle of any sort is by definition impossible by natural cause. So we can’t define the plausibility of any claimed miracle by what is possible due to natural causes. But we can examine the evidence and see if A) there is evidence it did not happen B) there is evidence it did happen.

    Now consider this a moment. Evidence of type B does not prove the miracle did happen (or rather, that the event was a miracle) but the absence of B does not prove the miracle did not happen. On the other hand, the absence of allows the possibility of the miracle to remain open, but the Presence of A immediately nullifies the miracle.

    In the case of Christ – as far as I am concerned there is sufficient evidence to believe that the disciples really did believe Jesus rose from the dead. There is also no evidence that directly shows it did not happen. (B is small to empty) The typical ‘explanations’ (swoon/ disciples carried the body away etc) do not make sense given the facts. And there is no body, no bones in a grave. There is nothing that prohibits that claim of a miracle from being true (A is empty). Therefore, overall, the case for the miracle of the Resurrection tips in the positive direction. There is nothing that disproves the claim.

    In the case of the claim the Bible teaches the Earth is very young (<10,000 years), there are reasons to expect that this is an interpretation based on a great many assumptions about the text and God's intent for it, assumptions that need verification outside the text. There is almost NO evidence that supports the claim. And, most importantly, There is OVERWHELMING evidence from outside text the Earth is, in fact, many billions of years old. (A is HUGE). That is – the assumptions made about the text are contradicted on almost every turn by what God actually made. Therefore there is almost no chance the claim that God made the world in 6 days 6000 years ago is true. And further, it is almost 100% certain the reasons for interpreting the text that way are themselves flawed.

    It has nothing to do with what I think is possible or impossible. All things are possible for God. It has to do with what the evidence is for what actually happened.


  29. I understand your points, however I think your logic is flawed at one point. Unless you already assume miracles can occur, in which case we are outside the realm of logic and reason.

    Let’s take the resurrection…you are correct in saying that there is no direct evidence against it, no one saw the body stolen, there is no record of the Roman soldiers hiding it, and for the sake of argument we’ll say there is no reason for the NT writers to have fabricated the event…so far, so good.

    But science can and does tell us there there no way for a human to come back to life 3 days after their heart ceases to beat, their brain activity stops and their body begins to decay. We know that is contrary to how life works. So even in the absence of direct contrary evidence to the event in question, without an a priori belief in miracles and the supernatural you have no other explanation except to re examine the event for a natural cause.

    Now, as for the bind man seeing, if I could absolutely prove, that this guy couldn’t see before and I could verify through physical exam that the correcting event (reattached retina, regeneration of optic nerve, etc) had never occurred naturally and was in fact impossible from everything that we know…that would certainly be cause to examine the case further….I still wouldn’t jump to supernatural, it may be in our examination that we learn of some peculiar condition that existed in this man which allowed the regrowth of nerve, or we might learn, by doing some experiments after that…maybe…long periods of low level radiation causes regeneration of the scera…who knows.

    But taking an historical case, where you cannot examine the evidence, you cannot talk to the witnesses or writers, and where much more likely events could explain the mystery…it is inappropriate to treat that historical evidence and give it the weight of scientific evidence.

  30. Karlton, we essentially agree. My post primarily addresses the issue of why I believe in the Resurrection and not a 6 day creation 6000 years ago. That I have specific reasons why and I am not just ‘picking and choosing’ which science to believe in and which science to reject.

    A miracle is by definition a violation of natural law, by definition an event for which science can have no capability to predict or define the possibility of. Science can only do two things for us in the case of a claimed miracle:

    1) Science can examine the physical evidence and determine if it is consistent with the claim the event took place. This is where YEC breaks down.

    2) Science can tell is if the event could have a known natural cause. As you pointed out, science can tell us 3 day old dead bodies don’t come back to life due to natural causes.

    How you handle the blind man case illustrates the difference between faith and non-faith. But perhaps in a way you don’t fully realize. If a man prayed to be healed of blindness and was then healed and could see, for me, it would not matter if there ultimately was found to be a natural causation behind the miracle. As far as I am concerned it was the prayer and a direct response from God which produced the healing. That God took a potentially novel natural course in producing the miracle is of no consequence in a situation like that – though it could prove useful in extending the good effect of that particular miracle 😉


  31. Anonymous 10:26

    Sorry about using the time but sometimes I get confused which anonymous is which.

    Here is the problem with Al Mohler. He states his issues, his problems, his theology without giving a nod to those theologians, who, in my opinion are just as capable and committed as he (a heresy in some circles), have thoroughly answered all of the issues that he has raised.

    It frustrates me when Mohler is quoted by folks who have never read the other side, as if Mohler has a lock on the discussion. I believe that is potentially destructive to any hope for unity and contributes to the YE rhetoric. He is a supporter of Ken Ham and seems to have little comprehension (or refuses to comprehend or actually supports) about the damage Ham is, and will be doing, in this arena.

    For example, the Noah’s Ark, which is being built by Ham and supported by Mohler, could ultimately be shown to be a fool’s errand for those who believe in YE. Ham and others have so insulted the science establishment that there will be a push back. Here is my prediction. Scientists will prove that all of the animals in the world could not have fit on the ark as described in the OT.This will cause even more to reject the faith based on an unbiblical legalism that insists that real Christianity=YE creationism.

    And this makes me sad. I believe, with all of my heart, that God created the heavens and the earth, I have thought through all of Mohler’s and Ham’s objections and have come to believe in an OE. This insistence on YE will lead many to totally reject the faith as the evidence that Orion’s Belt speaks of becomes difficult for even the YE folks to ignore.

    You say you don’t think Mohler would question Collins’ faith. I say that he does this in very subtle ways. His wholehearted support of Ken Ham who constantly calls those who disagree with him as tending towards heresy shows Mohler’s intent. Just as his support of CJ Mahaney gives tacit approval to the hyper-authoritarian and painful processes inherent in the SGM enterprise.

    Mohler is an ideologue who masquerades as the “smartest man in the world”. He may be smart but he is a divisive man who does not know when to build bridges and when to stop the war. And if you think I am compromiser, you have read this blog long enough. However, if you are a YE ideologue, you probably think that I am.

  32. Karlton:

    You are correct in describing the differences between religious presuppositions and the presuppositions that a non-religious person might have with regard to matters of origins and science, generally.

    But the presuppositions of non religious people are no small matter. They are made on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.

    And come to think of it – many times they DO conflict with facts that we know.

    For example, there is no explanation of life developing from non-life. Yet naturalistic evolutionists presuppose that and say it must have happened in some natural way, we just don’t know how yet. I believe that is a presupposition that does contradict all scientific facts as we know them. You are right, in that it is an argument from the absence of other explanations. But it is completely contrary to anything that we can and have observed. So, the presupposition is contrary to known scientific facts.

    The same thing can be said of the first matter. A naturalist simply assumes it was there and moves on. But that assumption is as big a presupposition as any that a religious person makes.

    And, again. That presupposition also contradicts scientific fact. Matter is not show to be eternal. Matter is not show to simply appear or be self created.

    I am sure that smarter minds than I have wrestled with this over the years. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this.

    I do agree, however, with your general observation. Religious people have to be careful in what they deny to fit their dogma.

    For Christianity, the resurrection is an absolute. And it’s as non-scientific as it goes. Your point, that it is silly for certain Christians to crow about what great scientific minds they are for not being YE, but believing in the resurrection, is a wise observation.

  33. Dee,

    I has long been known there is no way to put all the existing animals on the ark as described in the Bible, especially if one then wants to include all existing and fossilized animals (e.g. dinosaurs) as the YEC’s do. There are additional problems, not the least of which is how 7 people can feed and get rid of the refuse (poop) of all these millions of animals.

    This is why AIG proposes more that only representative species where placed about the ark, and that God did some kind of hyper-evolution after the flood to bring the species count back up to what we see in the world today. (They also have Kangaroos swimming the pacific to get back to Australia after the flood – either that or Australia surfing magma to make the trip over to where it is now before the modern world discovered it) It all gets very silly.


  34. Anonymous 1/13/8:32

    You said:

    “For Christianity, the resurrection is an absolute. And it’s as non-scientific as it goes. Your point, that it is silly for certain Christians to crow about what great scientific minds they are for not being YE, but believing in the resurrection, is a wise observation.”

    No one is crowing about being a ‘great scientific mind’ As a matter of fact, it requires one to be essentially ignorant of science to think there might be a strong scientific case FOR a universe that has existed <10,000 years. As a matter of fact, in my own case, I remember lamenting that I simply did not have the mental faculties to stand against the kind of mental power represented by YEC's like Russell Humphreys or John Baumgardner. But then I was reminded that it is essentially impossible, even for intellects of their caliber, to construct a perfectly consistent alternative 'interpretation' of the data. Whereas all I had to do was let the data speak for itself – God had already dotted the i's and crossed the T's for me by creating a universe that is absolutely consistent within itself with its actual, real history!

    The real issue, the reason I even worry about the YEC issue, as indeed we are all brothers in Christ, is that there is a very great danger in teaching folly in the name of Christ – it creates an unnecessary stumbling block for the non-Christian. The Cross, the Resurrection, is sufficient as a stumbling block for the Jews and folly for the Gentiles. We need not add to it with certifiable foolishness that is easily rebutted. Keep in mind, there is no physical evidence against the resurrection. The issue with the resurrection is not that we have the bones of Christ and must believe in spite of the evidence against it. It is that we simply must believe God did a miracle. In the case of the YEC age of the Earth, not only must we believe in a miraculous creative effort, we must believe it in spite of literally libraries of evidence that is simply NOT what happened.

    It is as Aquinas said:

    “In discussing questions of this kind two rules are to observed, as Augustine teaches. The first is, to hold the truth of Scripture without wavering. The second is that since Holy Scripture can be explained in a multiplicity of senses, one should adhere to a particular explanation, only in such measure as to be ready to abandon it, if it be proved with certainty to be false; lest Holy Scripture be exposed to the ridicule of unbelievers, and obstacles be placed to their believing.

    I personally believe God gives grace and faith those seeking to get beyond the
    natural impossibility of the resurrection. I don’t think that extends to foolishness we derive on our own from an ignorant reading of scripture.


    PS: Please keep in mind that the ‘miracle of creation’, the idea God created the universe, is not in question here for the Christians of various origins beliefs. We all believe God created. Were we differ is on the actual time frame and underlying mechanism. Did God create a universe that unfolded according to its pre-assigned properties, perhaps intervening as suited Him along the way, over a period of some 13.7 billion years, or did he manufacture all we see in a literal 6 days as we count days here on Earth.

  35. I should note that I have it on good information from a friend of mine, former YEC fairly high up in the organization (Glenn Morton) that YEC’s like Baumgarnder and Humphreys know about the scientific problems with their position. But they choose to essentially ignore the issues because they believe there is no other option if one is to retain the ability to trust the scripture as authoritative. The only high level YEC to openly admit the problems with their position I know of is Kurt Wise.


  36. In regards to Noah’s Ark, I’ve always found it amusing that someone in Noah’s family must have had Syphilis or Gonorrhea since they can only survive in a human host, along with many other forms of parasitic or symbiotic life.

  37. Anonymous, up in your post written on Wed, Jan 12 2011 at 01:36 pm you made some really great points!

    It seems to me (as if anyone would be that interested) that there is no way in heck ANYONE is ever going to understand the things of God. We just ain’t. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” If people enjoy science or theology and want to discuss things all day long, go for it. No skin off my nose. I don’t think I am ever going to know the things that are un-knowable (at least in my lifetime), but if you enjoy those kinds of debates go for it. (Wake me up after it’s over, though. Most science or theology discussions make me want to shoot myself in the head to escape the boredom. Now if you want to start talking math or history, this dork is all in.)

    BUT the minute these discussions cross the line of love, that’s another matter all together. I don’t think for one cotton pickin’ second that God is pleased in the least, no matter how hard someone thinks they are “defending” either God or truth or anything else. Seems to me that since Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and the second was to love your fellow man, then the moment we step outside of those boundaries, no matter how “right” we are, we’re wrong.

    I know that everyone here knows this stuff, but it seems to me that that is the whole point of what Dee was saying way up high. Mohler missed the mark of love in trying to prove a point. And if he missed the mark on love, heck, even if he talks in the voice of angels, but has not love, what is he (or any of us?)

  38. Karlton,

    There are so many reasons that the ark as traditionally interpreted (fully global flood) doesn’t work it would be almost impossible to list them. Nevertheless, the story of the flood is common in that region and likely has a real source event, some sort of massive flooding event that produced the story of the flood as we have it recorded. So there is good reason to believe in the event, just not a good reason to take the extent of it beyond the local country or land in which the affected people live.

    Something to keep in mind – we are in the latter half of the 20th century and on into the 21st century really just beginning the scope of the natural disasters that have plagued our planet’s past. It is conceivable to me that there are yet undiscovered massive floods that are the ancient source of this story. We know of Massive flooding as the world moved out of the last Ice age, indeed, the latest estimates put the sea level rise from 17,000 BC to 4000 BC at some 400 feet. And we also now know that even moderate meteor impacts into large bodies of water can and have produced massive tidal waves that could fully inundate and wipe out and entire coastal civilization.

    So the idea that in relatively recent time (but possibly before 4000 BC) there may have been a fellow warned by God to build a boat to escape a coming flood that was to judge his civilization is indeed something not excluded by what we know of the history of the Earth. There are mechanisms available that could have produced just such a flood.


  39. Good point stunned. Keeping these Creation/Evolution discussions in the civil range can get very difficult. For some, the idea the world is old is the same as saying the Bible is not true, and that puts a lot of folks on edge. Alternatively, for others saying the world is <10,000 years old is the rough equivalent of denying the moon landing or being a member of the flat earth society.

    When what one believes with all ones heart appears to be threatened, it is hard to stay calm. That is the humanity of it. It therefore takes a good bit of self-control on all sides to keep things civil. Do we even teach self-control anymore … sorry – rabbit hole.


  40. Zeta,

    No argument from me, and yes, almost all ancient cultures have some type of flood myth in their stories.

    Broke out my calculator just for fun. Given a 13,000 year span and 400′ rise in ocean levels, it comes out to a rise of 0.04 inches over a 40 day (Noah’s flood) period, Noah’s flood itself would have required a global rise in water level of 16,954 feet in 40 days just to cover Mt Ararat!

  41. Zeta, I know of which you speak when you say that it’s hard to stay calm. I can be the least calm person in the room in many situations. Not something to be proud about, I assure you. I just don’t want anyone thinking that I am telling everyone else to be loving. Nope, I am definitely preaching to myself. I can so easily lose the thread of love and whig out on someone, slicing them apart and putting my sword back away before I even knew I had unsheathed it. I don’t want to be like that, but I can be. That’s why I’m often trying to stay focused on the love thing. I just need to hear it for myself.

  42. yes, the 400 ft rise would not give a deluge, excepting that as part of the process natural dams and especially large ice dams gave way. One example being the channeled Scablands in the state of Washington. I believe another was somewhat recently dicovered in india at the base of the Himalayas. There is also some evidence there may have been a large impact in the Indian ocean that would have sent 1000 foot tidal waves into the entire coastline. And over here in North America there is some evidence a large impact may have wiped out the large mammals and the Clovis peoples around 13000 years ago (though some new evidence has cast doubt on that possibility).


  43. dee says:
    Wed, Jan 12 2011 at 06:24 pm
    Secondly, Arce raises an interesting point. Incest is spoken about as a serious sin in the Scriptures. If Cain married his sister, then there are some things to think about. Did God change His mind about incest? Did He think it was a sin but had no alternative to offer?


    Yes, incest is named as a sin in Scripture. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was always a sin. We know that some things are defined as God by sin in some settings or at some points but not others. For example, the Israelites were given a host of laws that applied only to them as God’s chosen people. We may be able to determine good reasons for some of them (such as not eating pork, which was not a particularly healthy food, especially in days before modern hygiene and sanitation); for others we may not know exactly why they were listed as sins (such as wearing clothes made of wool blended with linen).

    Likewise, there could be reasons why incest was defined at a certain point as sin, when that was not originally the case (such as the cumulative effects of genetic mutation on human DNA over time). But any time we speculate as to why God says something is a sin, or why He said it was a sin for one group of people but not for others, we have to recognize that we’re just guessing. We don’t even know why God said it was sin to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Eden. We just know that it was sin because God said so.

    I don’t mind not having definitive answers to things about which God has not spoken definitively. And I don’t mind someone having a different understanding of what God has said than I do — one or both of us could be wrong in our understanding. But I do have a problem with flat out denial of things which God has said. As I said before, it’s one thing to say that I think God’s Word means something other than what you think it means; it is entirely another to say that we know what it says, but we just don’t believe that what it says it is true.

    I am not saying that other Christians commenting here are claiming that God’s Word isn’t true, just that we must be careful, when we grapple with these issues, to hold fast to the belief that the Bible is accurate (even though we may differ in our opinions of what it means), and not fall into the error of denying Scripture’s truth.

  44. Junkster said:

    “I am not saying that other Christians commenting here are claiming that God’s Word isn’t true, just that we must be careful, when we grapple with these issues, to hold fast to the belief that the Bible is accurate (even though we may differ in our opinions of what it means), and not fall into the error of denying Scripture’s truth.”

    Just for the record, I’ll point out we agree. The places where this gets especially difficult is when the wording in our translations appears very clear-cut, but the wording in the Hebrew is more general than would appear. Take for example the subject of Noah’s flood. Here the hebrew word translated “Earth” means the land or the country. And while there are certain other contextual elements that certainly seem to imply a flood of hertofore unknown proportions, the bottom line is that its exact extent can’t actually be derived from the text.

    There are other issues too. Cultural convention often drives how a story is written or communicated, and what is the norm for one culture may feel like a lie in another. For example, we have texts in the OT that speak of a famine covering ‘all the Earth’. Yet we know that does not mean ‘the entire planet Earth’, it just means all the world that the writer knew about. To our technologically driven, scientifically minded world it feels like a lie to say “all the Earth’ and not mean all of planet Earth. But clearly in the time the OT was written, that was not the case.

    Finally we have the issue of accommodation, a subject brought to the forefront by none other than John Calvin. This is the idea that God speaks through the language and culture of the writer and does not necessarily intrude and fix the natural understanding of the writer. We see this come up in all sorts of ways, the long day in Joshua being described as the ‘sun and moon stopping in the sky’ and so forth.

    All these issues and more must be taken into account when one is talking about the accuracy and truth of a text of scripture. What one must never do is just assume our cultures understanding of a statement is necessarily what God intended when the statement was written. This is why we must approach the scripture in humility and in prayer – asking God for wisdom and understanding as we read it.


  45. Perhaps some people can answer some questions for me. I’ve read both YE and OE views on Noah’s flood, but I’ve yet to see fully satisfactory answers to these questions. My questions are mainly based on this excerpt of the story (Genesis 7:13-23)

    13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.
    17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

    Questions for the YE (global flood) position:
    (1) About how many “kinds” of animals were aboard the ark, and how does that number match up with the number of animal species known today?
    (2) Which animals were considered “clean” (which required 7 pairs of each, according to 7:2) and which were “unclean” (which required only 1 pair)? (Keeping in mind that the Jewish dietary Laws regarding clean and unclean animals did not come along for another 900 years.)
    (3) Where did all the water come from necessary to rise about 25 feet above the highest mountain peaks on earth (and where did it go afterward)?

    Questions for the OE (local flood) position:
    (4) How can the words “the earth”, “all”, “entire ”, “every”, and “all”, be interpreted in such a way to mean something less than universal?
    (5) If the flood was localized, how could every animal and person besides those on the ark have been wiped from the earth?
    (6) What would be the point of building an ark to rescue men and animals from a localized flood, rather than just telling Noah and his family and the animals to move away?

  46. Orionsbelt/Zeta,
    THose are good points, and very important to keep in mind so as to avoid the assumption that someone is denying the Bible when it may well be that it is our understanding (or theirs) that is in error.

    I’m aware that the Hebrew for “Earth” (erets) can mean “land”. But I think the contextual clues in the account of Noah’s flood seem to go beyond implying a “a flood of hertofore unknown proportions”. I’ve yet to see an interpretation by local-flood adherents that accepts the fundamental veracity of the text and answers the questions I raised above. To me, “I don’t know” is an acceptable (even if not particularly satisfying) answer, but “the Bible got it wrong” is not.

  47. Junkster

    I fully agree with you. I don’t believe that the Bible has it wrong. Never have, never will. The older I get, the more difficult I have trying to figure out the answers to the questions becomes. I used to have pat answers. Now, I ask the questions that I didn’t think to ask in the past.

    My husband and I were talking about the difficulty with incest and genetic problems last evening. He said that sin entered the world through Adam and Eve and now the problems start with the genetic code. That is why they were going to suffer physical death-their genes could not hold out for eternity. Once the possibility that death occurs, one must cope with the probability that the gene pool was now corrupted.If one does a gene tree with intermarriage occurring, the genetic problems arise very rapidly. For example, the Amish people have many known gene difficulties due to a short time of intermarrying close relatives.

    One would presume that the prohibitions against incest were for protection against genetic issues. Just like the prohibition against shellfish was for health purposes in those days. Why such a prohibition was not spoken of earlier is curious to me.There was certainly punishment and prohibition of killing another human.

    BTW, the mixed thread garment thing was most likely to prevent unscrupulous businessmen selling such cloth which warped and tore easily. People did not have lots of clothes in those days and buying cloth was a big deal. Cloth that tore could not be easily replaced.

  48. OB

    I heard another “explanation” on how animals got around the world from a YE proponent. They claim that all the trees destroyed in the flood floated around on the water for centuries. The animals hitched rides on floating logs and that is how they got around. Obviously, this is silly. I smile thinking of a elephant riding to China on a log. However, it would make for a cute Dr. Suess story-Horton Hitches to a Log with a Frog and a Hog.

    Thanks for reminding me of the hyper-evolution thing after the flood. I forgot about it. Wouldn’t such a thing be easily disproven by the fossil record? Or is Satan in charge of the fossil record as well?

  49. Stunned

    You got it!!! Clapping occurring in NC for you. That is the issue. i was shocked by the anger and divisiveness that I experienced at an ex-church over this issue. Until that time, I had never bumped up against such ugliness. I thought we could smile and get along. But that is now impossible so long as Ken Ham and followers are around. They claim heresy, denial of the doctrine of the atonement and generally link YE to the only true way to be a Christian.

    That is not the way it is supposed to be. And I got sideswiped by something I never knew existed. It is one more form of legalism that is causing disunity. That is why non-Christians cannot understand why we say we are unified in Christ and preach love. It just ain’t happening and we are so adamant in our positions that we throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  50. Orion’s Belt:

    Good points. I am not a YE, but It is not beyond reason that things that may appear contradictory are not because there are factors that we cannot see. That being said, however, the appraoch you quoted by Aquinas is great!


    Good points, also. The thing I fear is not that anyone will really be hurt in this debate. I believe they are all big boys, so to speak.

    My concern is actually that people plant their feet to firmly in positions that cannot be maintained, and that it will actually hurt those people. Not others.

    Having said that, and all of what I have written, Jesus’ approach to all of these issues is not to try and answer questions that we can never answer. But to approach all of the narratives as true without spending as much as one second on trying to divide up how to interpret one passage from another.

    And I don’t buy the “Jesus was a man of his day…” or “Jesus was speaking to men who would not have understood…”

    I believe that Jesus knew everything, and I believe that the ancients were quite capable of grasping the concepts that we are discussing. They could very easily have grapsed Jesus saying, “Well, Adam and Eve are representative and this part of Genesis is a poem etc.”

    The truth taught in the passage remains the same regardless of how one interprets the narrative.

    It’s just that Jesus treats it as true and doesn’t get bogged down in these questions.

    I think that the best we can to is to say that there are different ways of looking at it, but that it’s all true and move on from there.

  51. Deb,
    Thanks for the link. It doesn’t really attempt to answer my questions 4 & 5, but it does take a stab at 6 (though not in a detailed way). But it was still interesting.

  52. Junkster,

    I always find your question 3 interesting/difficult:

    “(3) Where did all the water come from necessary to rise about 25 feet above the highest mountain peaks on earth (and where did it go afterward)?”

    because, for the most part, the scripture does tell us where they came from. But the explanations is difficult. It tells us the windows or sluices of heaven opened up along with the fountains of the deep.

    The problem with this explanation is that it goes back to the Genesis 1 description of the Cosmos, where the heavens are descibed as waters divided by a firmament, with the waters above restrained or separated from the waters below by this divider the firmament. This in turn points directly back to the ancient view of the cosmos as essentially a flat or domed earth with a domed sky that beneath and above are ‘waters’ and which is also surrounded by waters . The early church fathers had a lot to say trying to figure this out.

    Most modern readers, and some modern translations, basically sort of ignore this bit of strangeness by chalking this text up to some unknown metaphor, or some kind of strange language we just aren’t sure of because it is so foreign to our conception of the world, yet this language fits perfectly, directly and literally the typical conception of the cosmos found in Ancient Egypt and Babylon.

    Further, as we have waters pouring through the sluices (hebrew) or waterfalls (greek in septuigent) in this firmament or heavens, and up from the ‘fountains of the deep’, it then tends to tell us the ancient writer saw the flood as a breach of the protective structure holding back the waters, allowing the earth to simply be covered over by those early primeval waters of creation. In essence, it very clearly is implying the Earth is being recreated by this flood judgment.

    And this concept once against appears in the new testement as it speaks of the Earth and Heavens being destroyed by fire, recreated so as to make way for the new heavens and the new Earth.

    It is this language that causes writers such as Paul Seely to take a very strong tack toward accommodation, in many ways stronger than I myself am comfortable with. The idea being that God did not at all override the natural conception of the writer in His inspiration of the writer, even to the point of allowing technical error to make its way into the text, at least as regards the structure of the cosmos.

    The YEC MUST of course map this water source from the heavens and the fountains of the deep into some literal, ‘correct’ physical construct and this has led to many fanciful conceptualizations of how the flood itself proceeded. The older concept was that of a water vapor ‘canopy’, that existed in the past around the Earth. This served a dual purpose. One was to rid us of the nasty implications of potential error in the text as regards the conceptualization of ‘waters above’ in the Genesis 1 text, and to provide us with an answer for where the substance of the flood waters came from.

    It turns out that such a canopy would result in such pressure and heat on the Earth as to make our planet unlivable if it were to provide all but the very smallest amount of waters (a few feet at most). As a result it is an all but abandoned concept in the YEC world. It lives on the AIG ‘do not use’ argument list.

    The next, and currently still somewhat popular concoction is the idea that originally the continental plates rested on a water layer which at the initialization of the flood collapsed spewing massive steam geysers into the atmosphere and outer space and providing the majority source of the waters from the ‘fountains of the deep’. It also allows the continents to skate about quickly providing the motion from the single continental Pangea (in keeping with the earth surrounded by waters) to the current continental configuration in the time frame of the flood itself.

    The problem here is heat generated by the enormous amounts of energy required to accomplish all this in so short a period of time. Sufficient heat to boil the oceans in fact. No small problem.

    So the YEC’s are left with no viable solution to a literal rendering of the text, and the rest of us struggle with the broader implications of a non-literal rendering of the text.

    It is no small problem I think.

    Personally I struggle with this one a bit. But for me it seems to almost have no solution other than to accept that God did not ‘fix’ the natural conceptualization of the cosmos as the writers wrote these early chapters of Genesis. And if not (accepting this texts as the inspired word of God), then that would tend to mean God’s purpose in these Early chapters was not to convey physical truth about the cosmos (something we eventually would grow to be able to do ourselves) but rather to give us spiritual truths about ourselves and our relationship with Him. The first (Genesis 1) serving more as a polemic against the idea there is a pantheon that populates creation. That is, that all the things worshiped by the Eqyptians from whom they had been delivered (earth/waters/sky/sun/moon/stars) are merely the creations of the one true God. And further that this text is given us in a form that mirrors the ancient creation tale of the Egyptians, likely to provide easy access to the message to the average Israelite infinitely familiar with those teachings having lived all their lives there up to the time Moses brought them out.

    Sorry to be more a definer of the true nature of the problem than a bringer of a solution, but I believe God is not afraid of the truth, and we are better off facing the issues than hiding from them.


  53. “Yes, incest is named as a sin in Scripture. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was always a sin. We know that some things are defined as God by sin in some settings or at some points but not others.

    Good point, Junk. After all, who were Adam and Eve’s children going to marry if there had been no fall? After fall, we have corrupted bodies and as dee mentioned above with corrupted genetic code, etc.

    I go to a basic conservative sBC church and my daughter asked the pastor if Cain married his sister. The pastor said no. I was a bit stunned. He believes there were other people in fertile crescent of the Nile during this time and Cain married into those.

    He is an expository teacher and has even taught at SBTS as adjunct and I was a bit shocked to find out he believes there were other people around that did not descend from Adam and Eve. But Russell Moore at SBTS believes that Christians should not be cremated…so there are all kinds of weird beliefs out there…you never know…I find it interesting to discuss them.

  54. Lydia

    Thanks for the comment. Here is what I wonder, and I am sure smarter readers than I will have some thoughts.

    What makes us human, as opposed to animals? The Bible said that God breathed the breath of life into us and that is what made us unique. That is our soul or spirit that is immortal. Could there be other humanoid life forms but only those with the spirit are uniquely human, created in the image of God?

    The Mormons make the mistake that man is made in the image of God so that means God looks just like us, including our physical form. We know that God is spirit and so could it be that our image has nothing to do with human form and is actually the immortal sprit that dwells within us?

    Could it be that God breathed this life into Adam and Eve and made them our representatives in the great drama that unfolded in the Garden? After the Fall, could it be that He breathed this life into all the other humanoid forms? Adam and Eve would still be the representatives and the first man and woman of the race and the lineage Jesus surely came from them.

    Now, if anyone out there thinks I am doing anything other than wondering let me assure you, I am not. I am just musing. And I am willing to be proven “all wet.”

  55. dee says:
    Could it be that God breathed this life into Adam and Eve and made them our representatives in the great drama that unfolded in the Garden? After the Fall, could it be that He breathed this life into all the other humanoid forms?

    It’s interesting to think through and speculate, and anything’s possible, I suppose. But this doesn’t seem likely. The life breathed into Adam and Eve was untainted by sin. If that same life were breathed into other humanoid forms, wouldn’t it also have been sinless? Unless God breathed sinful life into them, which doesn’t seem very theologically appealing.

    But, along the same line of thought, I suppose it’s possible that there were multiple humanoids that God breathed life into at the same time as He did so with Adam and Eve. And that Adam and Eve were just two of many, chosen as representatives of the whole group. And that perhaps when Adam sinned it somehow affected the spiritual and physical makeup of the whole group, rather than just his own. (Not a totally unprecedented concept — after all, Jesus’ righteousness is imputed to all of us by divine action and decree, even though we bear no physical relationship to Him.)

    Nonetheless, the Bible makes direct connections between sin and death, and particularly between Adam’s sin and the death of all humanity. I personally feel that the some of the fundamental truths of Christianity are most in keeping with the idea that Adam and Eve were the physical progenitors of all humans, so I’m comfortable with sticking with that belief, even if I don’t have answers to all the specifics.

  56. Junkster

    God is the One who creates us each in His own image, even today. So, when we are created in His image, we are still affected by sin and are born with our fallen nature. So, is the soul sinful as it proceeds from the Father into a new life? Or does it become tainted with sin upon entering out body or am I going too far with this line of thought and maybe I should stop and eat dinner and watch in old Star Trek.

    BTW I am quite comfortable with your conclusion. I am just one of those folks who always asks far too many questions.

    I was asking my daughter a bunch of questions yesterday about a new system she is working with as a student nurse. This old nurse is trying to figure out all these new fangled things. My son said, “Why do you always ask us so many questions?” So, I’m afraid it is part of my nature.

  57. Dee,
    I am told I ask too many questions, too. But I don’t plan to stop. 🙂

    There are different theories on where the soul comes from. One view is Creationism (not to be confused with creationism in reference to the origin of the universe), which teaches that God divinely and directly creates the soul of each individual, just as He did with Adam. (This seems to be the view you’ve described.) Some holding this position would say that the soul is created free from sin and remains that way until an individual chooses to sin. (That is, they deny the concept of people being born with a sinful nature. This is a minority view in Christianity.) Others would say that the soul is created innocent and becomes corrupted upon infusion into the body, and still others would say that God creates the new soul already corrupted. (The two possibilities you proposed.)

    Another view of the origin of the soul is Traducianism, which is the idea that the soul originates through natural generation (procreation) along with the body. In this view, the soul is created as part of the biological process of conception.

    A third view (closely related to and a variation of the second) is Generationism, which is the idea that, as part conception, the soul of the offspring originates from the parental soul — that is, just as each of us inherits a portion of our parent’s DNA (physical component), each of us inherits a portion of their soul (non-physical component).

    Each view has its merits and problems, and theologians debate them, sometimes vigorously. Most non-theologians see such debates as akin to speculating about how many angels can dance on an electron.

    But the point is that one could apply the same ideas to creation of the souls of any humanoids present at the time of Adam and Eve, I suppose. Or there’s still the possibility (as I mentioned earlier) that God placed souls into a group of hominids at the same time as he did so with Adam & Eve, and Adam’s Fall plunged them all into a sinful state. The Bible does seem to indicate that all of creation was impacted by Adam’s sin in some way. (Does that mean that Betazoids and Klingons and Romulans and Vulcans and Ferengi all became sinners upon Adam’s Fall? Hmmmmm….that would explain a lot!)