I Do Not Like Green Eggs and (ken) Ham

“They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that dislike it, heresy." Thomas Hobbes


Accusation of a Witch-PeabodyEssex Museum Salem MA.


When I first heard about the current Ken Ham fiasco, I thought: karma, kismet, providence, destiny, what goes around comes around, you reap what you sow, and on and on. Then, I confess, there was schadenfreude. For a minute I gloated that someone finally had the good sense to call this demeaning agitator on the carpet. But, then again, one should not take delight in the misfortunes of others, no matter how well deserved. Darn it.

At the end of this post, I will post both the Great Homeschool’s “disinvitation” to Ham and Ham’s response. I will also include a response from Biologos. Please click on the “rest of the story” link at the end of this post to see the letters. I especially thank the Unsettled Christianity blog for providing these letters all in one spot.



So, What’s the Skinny?

Ken Ham’s group, Answers in Genesis, has long held a lock on many of the homeschool conferences and groups in the United States. His materials are displayed and are given major play in the groups’ conventions and materials. I suppose it would be safe to say that the majority of “Christian” homeschoolers are Young Earth in perspective. However, that is changing as many people from differing Christian traditions, different faiths and even some atheists/agnostics are choosing this alternative to education.

This year, the Ohio Great Homeschool Conference, which is located very close to Ham’s Creation Museum, decided to let Dr. Peter Enns of Biologos (a real doctorate), the most visible and well-respected theistic evolution organization founded by the universally respected Dr Francis Collins (both a real doctorate, a real MD and contender for the Nobel Prize), was invited to display some homeschooling material that he had developed.

Ken Ham, in his tedious “Take No Prisoners” fashion, took to speaking out against Enns and his materials, even questioning why the Homeschool board would allow such shocking material in their conference. This Homeschool board, along with one other, incensed by Ham’s strident and condemning remarks about Enns, disinvited Ken Ham from speaking at their upcoming conference. Apparently, they (as well as your blog queens) believe that Ham has gone way too far in questioning the faith of others and they had had enough. I have heard that they have invited another YEC proponent to speak, showing it is their intent not to dismiss the YE view. Indeed, the board claims that the vast majority of the members continue to be YEC.

Ken Ham, along with many of his devotees, claims that he has never questioned the salvation of others, merely questioned their perspective. (I pause to pick myself up off the floor because of hysterical laughing). He then accuses one of the members of the board of a potential conflict of interest because one of her companies publishes Enn’s materials. (GASP). Update 4/7/11: I was under the mistaken impression that this person was a member of the board. She was merely an invited speaker which makes Ham's assertions even more petty.


So what are the issues?


He is NOT Dr. Ham

First, a clarification is in order. On far too many homeschool sites, Ham is referred to as DR. Ham. He is not a doctor of anything. He holds an undergraduate degree in applied science along with a diploma of education, which was necessary in order for him to teach in the public schools. He was a high school biology teacher. He has received a few honorary doctorates from some religious institutions. Christian leaders seem to have a penchant for receiving honorary doctorates and then for using Dr. in front of their names. Such pomposity invites the scorn of those who hold real doctorates in the sciences. Do you know how hard it is to get a doctorate in these fields?

Ham and his family profit from his AIG enterprise.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia. Link.

“During the 2008-2009 U.S. federal tax year, Ham received compensation and benefits of $176,018 from Answers in Genesis (up from $80,367 during the previous tax year) and also had three of his children and one son-in-law working on the Answers in Genesis payroll during the 2008-2009 federal tax year: Danielle Ham (staff member compensated at $27,170), Jeremy Ham (staff member compensated at $34,380), Renee Ham Hodge (staff member compensated at $31,395), and son-in-law David Hodge (staff member compensated at $51,978).

So, for Ham to accuse another individual of having a vested interest in Enns' materials is laughable. Ham has a vested interest in his materials being sold at these conferences because it represents a major income source for his little enterprise and his family members. In other words, his protest rings hollow.


Ham and YEC have co-opted the term “creationist.”

This is a subtle tactic that people like Al Mohler are buying into. Anyone who believes that God created the heavens and the earth IS a creationist. However, many Christians are running from the term because the dadblasted yammering of Ham and others have led many, outside the faith, to believe all creationists are YE. Francis Collins, Hugh Ross and I are creationists and I, for one, refuse to let the YE crowd define the term differently. Al Mohler has said that he intends to make creationism a main issue of the SBC this year. What he really means is that he is going to make sure that only YEC is allowed. Let the new witch trials begin! Ham is the new Cotton Mather.


Ham places himself into the position of arbiter of what constitutes Christianity.

As many of our readers know, I am an Old Earth creationist. Until a few years ago, I didn’t really care what people believed about this debate so long as they believed in God as Creator.

That changed when I was flattened by the YEC bulldozer. I watched a debate between Dr Hugh Ross (a real doctorate) and a gentleman, and Ken Ham (a pretend doctorate) who looked angry for the entire debate. There was stark contrast between the two in terms of demeanor. But what provoked me, and caused me to forever change my opinion of Ham, were his couched innuendos that Ross is a heretic. And he has been playing this game with Ross and others for years.

Ham has way of lobbing this heinous charge in a way to give plausible deniability. Even on his own site, he has an article that I wrote about in another post, which is titled, “It Isn’t About the Age of the Earth.” In it, he claims that Christians who do not see things his way are “in danger of denying the doctrine of the atonement.” This is blatant doublespeak. If a Christian denies the atonement, then he is no longer a Christian. Ham knows it and everybody with half a brain knows it.

I am amazed at the homeschoolers who have come to his defense, saying they have never heard him attack someone’s faith. Poppycock! They are being deliberately obtuse. Ham has led the heresy brigade for years and, in so doing, has been the direct cause of much pain in the faith. So much so, that as long as he is around, the possibility for any sort of unity between Christians of differing opinions in this area is virtually nil.


A recent example

Let me give you an example straight from his latest blog post. Here is how it’s done, Ham style. Ham does not allow for any extensive quoting from his site. I don’t blame him-the science presented is rather embarrassing. Link

Ham says that he received a copy of a correspondence between a Church of the Nazarene member and the “head office” of the Nazarene denomination. It is important to note that Ham had been on one of his rants about a couple of professors at a Nazarene seminary that didn’t believe in Ham’s version of Genesis. So, the crusade for purity now focuses on this denomination. A Nazarene member was apparently concerned because Ham had “exposed” the fact that the Nazarene Church does not take a stand on YEC. So he decided to write the headquarters and ask some questions. Here is part of the Nazarene response.

“It is important to understand that the Church of the Nazarene values personal conscience in matters of personal conviction. While some may be interested in establishing litmus tests, we have from the days of founder Phineas Bresee emphasized the statement: “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.


Now Ham pontificates. I have bolded certain phrases for emphasis.

“Sadly, this sort of compromise (or even much worse) is rife in church denominations, Christian colleges and seminaries, etc. across the nation (and around the world). Our new book Already Compromised (which will be available May 1) is going to shock the Christian world concerning compromise in Christian colleges. Yes, there is a culture war happening in our nation, but there is a much greater battle that needs to be fought—a battle to call the church back to an uncompromising position on the authority of the Word of God.”

Ham Assumption 1. If we don’t believe as he does, we are compromisers on the authority of the word of God.


What in the world is he saying? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary online defines "compromise" this way.

"1: a: settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions
b : something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things

2: a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial <a compromise of principles>

Synonyms accommodation, concession, give-and-take, negotiation"


Ham is accusing his Christian brothers and sisters of being willing to blend two differing belief systems together. In other words, they are rejecting the “pure” Bible. Carry this charge to its logical conclusions. We OEC are no better than the kings who blended pagan worship into the Jewish faith (syncretism). These kings were known for “doing evil in the sight of the Lord.” This ultimately caused the downfall of Israel. God punished them by banishing them into captivity.


I categorically state that we, OE and TE,  are NOT compromising. We believe that the Biblical text allows for such an interpretation. Ham, in his usual "take no prisoners” attack, is accusing everyone who is not a Hamite of being wicked. And what happened to those who compromised? It is time for rings through noses and a march into captivity for us, I guess. BTW, for emphasis, he adds the words "compromise (or even worse)." Now what, dear reader, is Ham saying here? What is worse than compromise? And you think he isn't conducting a modern version of the Inquisition???

Ham Assumption Number 2


If we are a part of the Christian world, then we will be shocked when he reveals that Christian colleges, such as Wheaton, allow professors who believe in OE or TE.

Take the next logical step. I support Christian colleges which allow for this. I have sent all three of my kids to this type of college. Therefore, I am not part of the Christian world because, instead of being shocked (the prerequisite to being part of the Christian world according to Ham) I am delighted. Ergo, I am not part of the Christian world. Nice guy, huh?


My view

I agree with the following statement from the Church of the Nazarene. “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.” There are “A” issues and “B”issues. The Christian world, especially in America, is devolving into a secondary issue faith. These then become the litmus test of a “real” Christian. These include, but are not limited to: Eschatology, Calvinism, Arminianism, Tithing, Baptism modes, Communion practices, use of alcohol, birth control, gender, etc.


Why do you think we are seeing the rise of atheism in this country? Why are we losing our young people? I believe it is because we claim to be a faith of love and instead we look like a bunch of thugs throwing punches at those who do not kowtow to our version of the  latest trend. When we put emphasis on secondary issues, and others see us not being able to agree with one another, they take the next logical step. They believe that  Bible is so confusing that serious Christians can’t even agree with one another. So why should they listen to us about the primary issues?


I believe that Ken Ham is one of the meanest, most divisive individuals in Christendom. I assert that he appears to believe that those who disagree with him are heretics but he says it in different words. The problem is, everyone, except his apologizers, gets it. And his sycophants are following suit.


Once again, I recount the time I arranged for a debate on YE and OE in a Sunday school class. I was excited about the possibility of a group of people, with profound differences, coming together in love and exploring our differences. Instead the class was invaded by a group of ugly, YE rabble-rousers whose sole cause was to “save” us from ourselves. Ham would have been so proud of his minions. However, they miscalculated. Until things change, I, for one, will be an opponent and I like to talk and write.


Ham has the dictator mentality down pat. One agrees with him or one is the enemy. He refuses to let the science on his site to be challenged, even by other Christians. What is he afraid of? Perhaps he is afraid that letting in some fresh air will cause his family business to be exposed for what it is. And what "that" is, I will leave up to the reader to decide.


I know that this decision by the Homeschool conference does not mean that his influence has changed significantly. But it does indicate a chink in the armor. Perhaps, a few people are beginning to get Ham’s real agenda. And that makes me really happy.


I make apologies to "Dr (should have a doctorate) Seuss" for the title. I couldn't resist.


Please click on "Read the Rest" below to view the letters.



These two letters were reprinted at the site called Unsettled Christianity. There was also a response by Biologos. Link


As you read these letters, contemplate which one demonstrates the love of Jesus Christ. I think it is quite obvious.


Letter to Ken Ham


After much prayer and deliberation over the weekend, Great Homeschool Convention’s Advisory Board has unanimously decided to disinvite Ken and AIG from all future conventions, including the Cincinnati convention next week. The Board believes this to be the Lord’s will for our convention and searched the Scriptures for the mind of the Lord and the leadership of the Holy Spirit before arriving at this decision. The Board believes that Ken’s public criticism of the convention itself and other speakers at our convention require him to surrender the spiritual privilege of addressing our homeschool audience. Please know that our Board is 100% young earth and we largely share AIG’s perspective from a scientific standpoint. That is why Ken was originally invited and treated so graciously and extremely generously in Memphis and Greenville (far beyond what we do for other speakers or their ministries). Our expression of sacrifice and extraordinary kindness towards Ken and AIG has been returned to us and our attendees with Ken publicly attacking our conventions and other speakers. Our Board believes Ken’s comments to be unnecessary, ungodly, and mean-spirited statements that are divisive at best and defamatory at worst.

One of the core values of our convention is that we believe that good people can disagree and still be good people. We believe that Christians do not need to personally question the integrity, the intelligence, or the salvation of other Christians when debating Biblical issues. Ken has obviously felt led to publicly attack our conventions and a number of our speakers. We believe that what Ken has said and done is un-Christian and sinful. A number of attendees are demanding explanations from our board and we must respond to them.

We believe that Dr. Ham is very intelligent and deliberate and that he decided that publicly slandering our conventions and defaming a number of our speakers is what he wanted to do. Whereas Ken chooses to conduct himself in a way that we believe to be unscriptural, we cannot countenance that spirit as we believe it would not honor the Savior whom we serve.

A public statement will be prepared for distribution at the convention explaining our Board’s decision. Anyone who inquires regarding Dr. Ham or AIG will be referred to that statement. We have no intention to defame or publicly slander Dr. Ham, the Creation Museum, or the work of AIG. Our Board would respectfully request that Dr. Ham and AIG prayerfully consider doing the same. Our Board takes seriously the admonition of Jesus in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Brennan Dean
Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc



Letter from Ken Ham

These are serious accusations. Are we really guilty of “public criticism of the convention itself and other speakers at our convention” that require Ken Ham “to surrender the spiritual privilege of addressing [their] homeschool audience”?

While Ken was highly critical of the compromises and teachings of one of the presenters at a previous convention that was organized by Mr. Dean, he certainly did not question anyone’s intelligence or salvation.

We won’t dwell much into the fact that another speaker, Dr. Jay Wile, made personal attacks on Ken on his blog before the convention, and his attack was supported by two other speakers, John Stonestreet and Susan Wise Bauer. Maybe Mr. Dean has talked with them already.

Ken did write Facebook and blog items sharing his concerns about the teaching of one of the speakers at the homeschool convention—Dr. Peter Enns. For a long time now, Ken has been alerting audiences to what Dr. Enns believes and teaches. Since he was there at the convention to promote a Bible curriculum to homeschoolers, Ken could not in good conscience speak without warning people about him. Also, the conference organizers were aware back in November that we would be talking about the beliefs of BioLogos at upcoming conventions. Because Dr. Enns of BioLogos was speaking at Mr. Dean’s conventions to promote a Bible curriculum to homeschoolers, which we consider very dangerous to the spiritual upbringing of kids, we wanted to make sure that people knew what he believed.

(We will be providing a detailed critique of the Bible curriculum in the near future. For the moment, you should be aware that Dr. Enns makes it clear that sin should not be discussed with young children because it will cause problems with their view of God. He also doesn’t believe in a literal Adam and literal Fall. Yet he sometimes describes Adam and the Fall in a way that he appears to believe in them, but only later do you understand he merely uses these words metaphorically.)

Ken Ham did mention Peter Enns by name in one of his five talks at an earlier South Carolina convention in Greenville organized by Mr. Dean. Ken showed two video clips of Dr. Enns, done in the context of showing how some modern Christian speakers are compromising God’s Word in Genesis. Ken did say that Dr. Enns was also speaking at the conference and had connections to another convention speaker, Susan Wise Bauer. In another talk about a common Christian viewpoint that compromises Genesis, Ken briefly mentioned that one of the speakers at this convention took that view.

You can read for yourself what Ken wrote in his blog and Facebook (by the way, we are not at all ashamed of what we have done to warn Christian families, and we would do it all over again):

• http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2011/03/15/another-compromiser-speaking-at-homeschool-conventions/

• http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2011/03/19/teaching-the-truth-amidst-a-sea-of-lies/

Also, we have written prior blogs posts showing photos of convention resources to warn parents about compromising materials distributed at homeschool conventions:
Ken’s main Facebook entry is the following: http://www.facebook.com/notes/ken-ham/warning-all-homeschoolers/186020768110064

Our Creator and Savior, the Word, the Lord Jesus, certainly confronted compromisers publicly. He taught, “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42).
In Jude we read, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).

We at AiG are burdened before the Lord that parents may choose to use the Bible curriculum from Dr. Enns, without being aware of the destructive teachings in it. The church is already losing two-thirds of our young people. Someone needs to stand against the compromise that is pouring into the church from many directions.
Interestingly, the Great Homeschool Convention’s website states the following:

While are Christians – gratefully and unapologetically so – and whereas this helps to guide how we structure the convention, we do not require that an attendee, speaker or exhibitor “affirm” their agreement to our own Statement of Faith. Neither do we require that you PAY to join our organization (we don’t have one) or any other organization in order to receive a discounted admission to the convention. Further, if you elect to PAY to join a homeschooling-related group of some sort that you saw at our convention – – – we do NOT receive commissions on your membership fees.

Similarly – – – whereas we may not schedule a speaker or approve an exhibitor that is specifically “anti-Christian” – – – we do have Speakers and Exhibitors that are not specifically “Christian” but that DO provide knowledge, information and/or curriculum that is applicable and valuable for homeschoolers, both Christian and non-Christian alike. Accordingly, you should note that we do not necessarily endorse everything you may find in the Exhibit Hall or that you may hear in a Seminar or Workshop session.

Because this is an education forum, we do not propose to “filter” everything–allowing you to see or hear only what “we” have approved. We believe that you, as parent educators, are very capable of judging and making intelligent decisions for yourself and for your family. Our conventions are designed to help a broad spectrum of homeschoolers and people considering homeschooling. They are not, however, denominational meetings to formulate unity of belief and practice.

Isn’t a “forum” a place where various competing views have a place to speak their position? Well, despite their rhetoric, it seems that Answers in Genesis has been filtered! Because we publicly exposed one of their speakers and his curriculum because his beliefs clearly undermine the authority of Scripture, we apparently come under the heading of “anti-Christian” in our actions.

In the homeschool board’s email to Ken they stated the following:

We believe that Christians do not need to personally question the integrity, the intelligence, or the salvation of other Christians when debating Biblical issues.

I certainly questioned a person’s stand on Scripture, but I did not question his integrity, intelligence, or salvation. My focus was upon the error of his teaching, not his personal relationship with Jesus Christ or his character. Furthermore, we are unaware of anything said or done at previous a convention that could be viewed as an attack on the conference itself. That certainly was not our intention, and if we attacked the conference or our hosts, we would want to fix that problem. After appearing at two recent conferences now, we note that not one person we have met at the conferences or who has written to us later has suggested we attacked the conference. Instead, what AiG did was to attack ideas—ideas being represented at the conference that are clearly outside the pale of orthodox Christianity. If the conference organizers were sincere in their concern for Christian charity, why did they make no effort to talk to us before unilaterally disinviting AiG? And to confront us first and have some dialogue? Is this really about Christian charity, or something else altogether?

We should also add that many months before Ken spoke, AiG made it quite clear to the leader of this convention that we speak against those who compromise Scripture, including those who might be speaking at his convention. AiG’s CCO, Mark Looy, had a very frank but cordial discussion with Mr. Dean about this BioLogos/Dr. Enns matter in November. Mark took notes during the phone conversation; here are excerpts from his summary:

Since I know Brennan a little, I called him a few weeks ago and told him our deep concerns about BioLogos [being at the convention]—but informed him we will not be pulling out.
He told me that many h.s. conventions are becoming “less Christian”—that they will have vendors there to cater to the secular and even Jewish families that are becoming good-size segments within the h.s. movement . . . . Brennan made it sound as if he might avoid BioLogos in 2012 and beyond, but he did not promise that. I told him that Ken would still mention compromise in the church, and might bring up BioLogos by name in his keynotes, and Brennan replied: “I would expect nothing else from AiG.”

Ken and I decided that we will just live with BioLogos there. At least we can counter their compromise messages with solid teaching from Ken.

We often find today that if we speak against someone’s theological compromise, we are accused of being “un-Christian” or “unloving.” This is a bigger topic for another time, but for the moment let us state that we need to understand what the Bible means by “love.” It does not mean one doesn’t publicly stand against error.
Being kicked out of these conventions is sad, but AiG notes this is not the major issue here. What is troubling is more and more churches have been infiltrated by academics who compromise God’s Word, and many Christians are simply unaware of the danger. This is the saddest part of all: a convention that will attract thousands of parents wanting direction in their choice of materials and information to give their children may be led astray and end up unwittingly undermining the faith of their children—children whom they want to train to serve the Lord.

We at Answers in Genesis are on a crusade—a mission. We continue to move ahead to call the church and culture back to the authority of God’s Word.
It is sad that a speaker and ministry, which stand boldly and uncompromisingly on the authority of God’s Word, are eliminated from a homeschool convention. Yet speakers and exhibitors who obviously undermine the authority of God’s Word are welcomed.

Incidentally, have you ever noticed individuals at BioLogos and elsewhere cry the loudest for what they call tolerance and free speech, but tend to be the most intolerant and censorious of others? The position of Answers in Genesis is that when it comes to biblical truth, there is only one truth, and we are called to be intolerant of all other opposing claims of truth. AiG is, therefore, at least willing to admit our “intolerance” in this area. Those who have joined together in a harmony of accusations against AiG over this homeschool convention incident have one thing in common: a double standard. At the end of the day, they are censors. They claim to want open debate and discussion, but when we engage them in the battle of ideas, they launch invectives and ad hominem arguments, and then seek to exclude AiG from the debate. In our view, there is nothing “Christian” about that.

In the convention’s email to us, it was stated, “Please know that our Board is 100% young earth and we largely share AIG’s perspective from a scientific standpoint.” We have made this point over and over again: we recognize that Christians who believe millions of years, evolution, Adam is a metaphor, etc. are undermining the authority of God’s Word. The issue comes down to one of authority.

This sad situation clearly illustrates a massive problem in our churches today about the authority of God’s Word.


Response from Biologos

Please pray for Mr. Ham and his ministry during these days. Pray that on matters surrounding this highly divisive issue of how best to seek harmony between God’s two books we might all draw closer to God and to each other. Pray that Mr. Ham’s great fear—that BioLogos will damage the integrity of Scripture as the fully inspired Word of God—will never be realized. We understand his fear and sympathize with his concerns. Please pray that we at BioLogos might always seek the wisdom which is from above, and that we not give into the temptation to advocate a compromise purely for the sake of appearing wise.


I Do Not Like Green Eggs and (ken) Ham — 126 Comments

  1. “Once again, I recount the time I arranged for a debate on YE and OE in a Sunday school class. I was excited about the possibility of a group of people, with profound differences, coming together in love and exploring our differences.”

    You WERE warned. 🙂

  2. Lynn

    I know, I know. I was naive, stupid and guilty of having been around lots of Christians in the past who spoiled me. I still remember you warning me. I thought you were being a bit paranoid. Now it is I who is most likely the paranoid one in a room. I humble beg your forgiveness and bow at your superior intellect. Sigh….. Wait a minute. It was that stuff that spawned this blog so, all’s well that ends well.

  3. Many yrs ago my studies both thological and secular led me to think that the earth is far older than 10,00 yrs. old. And it is not only because i believe in the gap theory of Genesis Chap 1 vs 1-2. even the hams of the world will admit God ie eternal and timeless but insist that there was nothing on this planet before Adam and Eve. I am somewhat of a renegade baptist because i don’t buy into some of the single-minded thinking I see. What is most troublesome is that so many are so wrapped up in their own ideas that they get angry when someone disagrees. To be my friend you don’t have to believe only what i believe. I can discuss with out recrimination.

  4. Don’t forget AiG’s revisionist history, noted by John Holtzmann whose curriculum was blackballed from a Colorado homeschooling convention (influenced by those affiliated with Vision Forum). Holtzmann believes in teaching both young and old earth theory to homeschooled kids.

    Ken Ham’s intolerant homies did the same thing to Holtzmann a couple of years ago that the GHC group has done to Ham, but Holtzmann never spoke an ill word against anyone in the way that Ken apparently did.


  5. “However, that is changing as many people from differing Christian traditions, different faiths and even some atheists/agnostics are choosing this alternative to education.”

    While there is a large segment of the current homeschooling movement that is identifiable as conservative Christian (or whatever is the best way to describe it), historically (as in the 1970’s and onward) home education has been supported by a diverse group of people.

    Dr. Raymond Moore, who was an educator in the 1960’s and onward, who did a lot of research on home education and is widely credited with helping to start the modern home education movement described it as a “Movement which shares without regard to race, color, creed, or national origin.” http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/extras/WhitePaper.htm

    Home education is not exclusively conservative, Republican, Christian, patriarchal, reformed, Calvinist, etc. It might seem that way since certain organizations of that style like to think of themselves as the voice of home education. They are but one voice in a large crowd.

  6. Cindy

    I am still reeling from my nomination into the Stylish Blogger Hall of Fame. I am working on my acceptance speech. I will wear my Star Trek t shirt on the red carpet since it has elicited such acclaim.

    I believe that Ham has imposed on the goodness of most Christians who try to respond with kindness to his atrocious antics. Anyway, I have decided to speak out against him. He is harming the cause of Christ, both in the US and abroad. I look forward to reading about the Holtzmann story. Perhaps we can write about it as well.

  7. Wow. Seems to me that Ham and his entire “ministry” need to take a corporate Xanax. I guess it’s his way or the highway.

  8. Dee,

    don’t wear one of the red security uniforms … they always got killed off on the first away mission.

  9. They have made comp a litmus test for salvation for the last 30 years. If you notice, they focus on the B issues almost exclusively. I am also increasingly concerned for what I see is the true meaning behind what is termed a “Christian world view” which reeks of dominionism when you analyze it. This world is NOT our home.

    We must ask ourselves….why are these things front and center for so much of Christendom?

  10. Ham said “Dr. Enns makes it clear that sin should not be discussed with young children because it will cause problems with their view of God. He also doesn’t believe in a literal Adam and literal Fall. Yet he sometimes describes Adam and the Fall in a way that he appears to believe in them, but only later do you understand he merely uses these words metaphorically.”

    Are Ham’s claims accurate?

  11. Dee,

    I reeling at the fact that as I get ready to address a topic here of late, either with Jocelyn Andersen or on my own, you’re also talking about the same things here. (I wasn’t going to bother with the Ken Ham thing, though.) Funny how this stuff works. I did get an email from the Great American Homeschooling Convention though, and I sent a copy of it to you and Deb. They are apparently quite proud that they did not turn Ken away. They’re more Christian than the other group, apparently. You know. “I am of Paul. I am of Apollos. I am of Ken Ham. I am of the group that lets Ken come to our convention. I am of the group that rejected Holtzmann.” It’s ridiculous to me, though it apparently makes sense to some folks out there.

    Some people believe that if science observes a truth in the material world, and that tested fact is accepted as truth, if there is not a readily apparent spiritual truth that goes along with the scientific info, they will reject the science. Those people prefer accepting truth as coming only from spiritual principle first (foundationalists), and they often call people who accept truth from the material world (coherentists) “materialists,” “antinomians,” and all sorts of other insulting things. I think that Ken is one of those kinds of folks who calls Enns and Wile materialists and considers them sub-Christian for accepting things as true that are outside of Ken’s system of axioms. (It is the same kind of conflict that was behind the presuppositionalists Clark and VanTil from days past.) No one style of validating truth is right or wrong, but if we get out of balance, we can fall into this trap that Ken and his cohorts have. Rather seeing everything as having a spiritual aspect, they overspiritualize EVERYTHING, even when it is a banal matter. Basically, it reduces to spiritual pride and a lack of love.

    I think that on a human level, though, Ken is likely threatened that other people have conflicting ideas. Unity is not uniformity, but it is understood as uniformity in the circles that Ken moves in these days. 🙁

    I’m glad that you’re honored by the Stylish Blogger award! I couldn’t wait to feature the photo with the Pearl tubing! 🙂

  12. Oh Kermit, you will love this.

    Ken’s teachings all depend upon a young earth creation. Dr. Wile (the primary threat that Ken has identified) is a young earth guy, but he is also a scientist and engages and respects the merits of the science that appears to show evidence for an old earth (that it took longer than 6 days for creation).

    Ken says that if you don’t believe in a young earth, the whole of the gospel has no meaning. Salvation is meaningless. There is no fear of God and people cannot really acknowledge God’s Lordship because they deny the foundational principle which he contends is creationism, and it’s young earth creationism to boot.

    Teaching anything other than the approved facts about a young earth to young kids — according to Ken — teaches them to reject God’s authority and Lordship. It will cause a person to reject Jesus as their Savior, ultimately. Atheism is the gateway to all evil, and old earth creationism is just a capitulation to atheistic ideas. It is the beginning of the end.

    If people start believing Enns (and if they see Wile appearing “soft” on Enns), it will result in the beginning of the loss of their eternal souls.

  13. Lydia,

    You’re up on my soapbox of late.

    Both complementarianism and young earth/special creationism have been understood as intramural issues in Christianity. The core of the faith, the essentials are the gospel: Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus was raised from the dead, and you will be saved. By grace we are saved through faith. It is God’s gift and works cannot earn this gift.

    What both comps and guys like Ham do is insert these issues into the essentials of the faith. It is no longer adequate to just believe in Jesus by faith, but you have to confess complementarianism and young earth creationism to be saved, too.

    Those who don’t comply are treated like Enns and men like Wile who embrace Enns as a brother in Christ through agreement in the Gospel are rejected as unbelievers.

    When you read Holtzmann’s blog, you will learn that even Spurgeon didn’t measure up to Ken’s standards.

  14. Jesus taught in parables, stories created to teach a truth, sometimes extremely great truths. I accept those truths without any doubt, even though I do not believe it necessary that the story of the parable is something that literally happened. Cf. “preacher stories”.

    The book of genesis was written down during the Babylonian exile from the creation stories passed down verbally over many years. I believe that the writers were divinely inspired and that the fact of God creating, etc., are great truths. However, that belief is not dependent upon believing that the stories of Genesis are literal. By comparison, the Narnia stories teach great truths and are entirely fictional.

    As a scholar earlier in my career interested in epistemology and what we mean by “truth” and since as an attorney, being invested greatly in understanding the truth of witness statements and testimony, I can say that to require something spiritually true to also be literally true is do demean and obfuscate (and put at risk understanding of) the spiritual truth thereof.

    Five witnesses telling exactly what they saw of an event will tell different, and sometimes apparently contradictory, stories that then have to be integrated with each other in a way to make one story that contains the truth in all of their stories. Sometimes that is very hard to do, but good trial practice requires it. One helpful strategy, in addition to issues like point of view (position from which the observation was made), is to consider the background, biases and motivation of each witness.

    We need to keep those things in mind with respect to those who wrote in exile in Babylon.

    I believe in creation by God. Over a long billions of years, with majestic and incomprehensibly complex results. And I believe in the Bible, particularly what it teaches about Jesus and salvation. It is true in what it teaches us about God, ourselves, and how we should live. And it is inspired and inspirational. But please, please do not degrade the truths that are there by insisting on some low concept of the truth thereof by insisting on it being “literal”.

    Perhaps we should introduce Ham to Driscoll (Genesis vs. Song of Solomon — literal????)

  15. By adding to the faith, Ham et al. are denying the words of our Lord and Savior, and of the writers of the epistles in the NT regarding what is required for salvation and sinning by not living a life of love for other followers of Jesus.

  16. Arce,

    What you have said is hard for many conservative Christians to embrace. Thus, for many Enns treatment of the story of Adam and Eve is beyond what they can accept as being Biblical.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be), it is very difficult to integrate the scripture and an evolutionary perspective on the history of life (the Biologos stance) without moving to a more metaphorical reading of the story of Adam and Eve. This does not mean that Adam and Eve are necessarily ONLY metaphor, but some aspects of the story must become symbolic rather than literal because an evolutionary history of man means man (adam) must in some sense also be (adam) mankind. Species do not evolve as individuals, they evolve in groups. This means mankind historically has always been a plural people, a group that evolved.

    Most OEC’s can face the issue of death in animals before the fall. But most OEC’s reject evolution, at least for mankind, for this very reason. OEC leaves the origin of mankind miraculous to some degree, so a literal single pair, Adam and Eve, form the physical and spiritual beginning of mankind.

    Biologos presents a view of scripture that accepts even an evolutionary origin for mankind. This is Francis Collins’ position. I believe it is also Enns position. This will be seen as Biblical compromise by many in the evangelical circle.

    Now I say that to say this: We can’t always have what we want. The Bible is what the Bible is, and I believe it is exactly what God intended it to be. But that does not mean that what I think it is, or what I think it ought to be, is what it is.

    The evidence is that mankind evolved, along with every other creature on this planet. This is true despite what you might read on AIG’s website (we could fill a terabyte drive with what is wrong with the ‘science’ you can find there). We could ask how much direct involvement was required by God in the process (this is what the ID movement focuses on), but that has little effect on what the evidence itself implies in terms of the path life took becoming what it is today, or how long it took. And in the end, it is that history that takes center stage in these debates.

    But I also believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, in every critical element of the faith as defined by any historical creed of the Church. Those two coupled together forces me to reconsider some of our traditional beliefs concerning the literality of certain passages. But I am convinced that regardless of what the truth is concerning these issues, the Bible itself is the Word of God. That being the case, what a lot of this boils down to is people disagreeing on what the Bible must be for it to be the Word of God.

    And many many conservative Christians believe that for the Bible to be legitimately the Word of God, then there must be some real, literal mapping of Genesis 1-11 to the real history of the world. And that is why so many follow Ham, and why so many reject Biologos.

    Yet what Ham offers is a placebo. Sugar water. His reconciliation of scripture with science is a fantasy. It’s the ‘blue pill’ in the movie the Matrix. Feels good, but there is nothing real there. OTOH, to take the ‘red pill’, to face the truth of what the evidence implies, leads to an uncomfortable reality where one is always having to face a kind of ugliness that is hard to understand. But isn’t reality where we are supposed to live out the Christian life? Are we not supposed to ‘count the cost’ and see if our army of 10,000 can defeat the enemies 20,000? And are we not to be the ‘blessed who, though they have not ‘seen’, still believe’?

    I don’t think reading Ken Ham Sci-fi and teaching it to our kids quite qualifies as standing in faith. It feels like it to many folks, but its a cheap imitation. The real deal is having the gun to your head and still shouting out “He is Risen Indeed!!!”


  17. “and bow at your superior intellect.”

    Naw. It was that I had looked behind the curtain before you knew there was a curtain. Much less someone back there. 🙂

  18. “What both comps and guys like Ham do is insert these issues into the essentials of the faith. It is no longer adequate to just believe in Jesus by faith, but you have to confess complementarianism and young earth creationism to be saved, too.”

    I’m sorry but I have to take issue with the above quote. This is a fallacy – I believe “part to whole”. Because some Comp. and YE people MAY seem to do this – everyone that believes in Comp. and YE does! Really??

    So many times I read this blog and there are broad statements made about groups of people, Mean-spirited quotes and negative words about others – not done in love or with compassion at all. It is great to expose what is going on, but let’s not be guilty of responding the same way that those we are “exposing” act.

  19. Anonymous…I don’t think there’s a “MAY” involved. Many of these people actually DO add to the simple gospel of Christ. Ham, for instance, believes it takes both Jesus and his own personal and narrow interpretations of scripture to truly be saved. Otherwise he wouldn’t have made the statements he has in this issue, nor would he be so concerned over what Enns is teaching. It’s a “Jesus and….” gospel. That’s apostasy any way you slice it.

  20. Anon:

    On the ‘guys like Ken Ham’ side of things the statement is accurate. Ken Ham and the folks who hang on his every word put YE up there with the resurrection. They will not admit it, but that’s basically where they go – that is what their rhetoric implies, as Dee pointed out in the article. And many (though of course not all) who follow these folks follow them on their view of its importance. More than many would expect. Our experience with the Sunday School class that tried to present both sides in our former church really puts a fine point on it.

    Hugh Ross has had to endure disruptions at his conferences. This home school group is likely to learn the hard way just how hostile these folks can get.

    I’ll tell you what anonymous, if your church membership leans more or less to the YE side of things, why don’t you set up a meeting at your church and I’ll come share my views on the creation evolution debate, and we’ll see how charitable your own church folk are over the issue. I would love for you to prove me wrong, but I predict that if your church’s YE contingent don’t go nuts over me coming, they’ll string you up for inviting me.


  21. You should see the kool aid they were giving the youth… I’ll admit I got a little feisty and told my “teacher” that I didn’t believe that the Bible was a geological textbook and as such should not be used as one.

    Yeah I got a few concerned looks for that one…

    But the most amusing part is my brilliant friend (now a student of MIT) was sitting there going “the math/science isn’t right!” with a horribly confused look on her face.

  22. Wow, I did not realize the conservative Nazarene church was open to Old Earth interpretations, I’ll have to check that denomination out.
    How ironic that Mr. Ham has been growing facial hair that makes him look like a monkey, you would think he’s an evolutionist!

  23. The ‘Jesus + ‘ crowd will never leave it alone. There always has to be at least one thing that should, must, or ought be doing (or feeling) in addition to that cross.

    Lord have mercy.

  24. Anonymous 12:41

    “What both comps and guys like Ham do”. Although I don’t claim to know what is in someone’s heart, I actually read this differently. i believe this writer was conveying that those who are like Ham do such a thing. And that is a fact. If you need to know more, I have lots of little comments by Ham about his wife which we have written about in the past.

    Also, what do you mean that some YE and comps may SEEM to do this. There is no question that some DO this. We, at this site, and many other blogs have documented many, many incidents.

    Ken Ham is a mean man-plain and simple. I know that we are supposed to pretend that we all are kind and good to one another. We are not. Ham is one of those individuals who have brought a darkness into the faith and far too many people carry his water because they are clueless about the supposed “science” he pushes and deep down inside they like it when he accuses good men and women of “being in danger of denying the doctrine of the atonement.”

    Ham needs to be met on his own terms. He doesn’t get the gentlemanlike behavior of people like Ross and Collins because he is a petty man and I, for one, am tired of it. I have seen ugly YE going for my jugular and I have had it.

  25. I believe in the resurrection. I do not believe in a literal Adam and Eve, but I do believe in the theological and anthropological truth of Genesis (God created, man is sinful). There are lots of reasons for not believing in a literal Adam and Eve. As I said earlier, there is great truth in the story (or stories) in Genesis that is denigrated and degraded by insisting on it being literal. Its literality is not a necessary condition for my belief in a Creator God, nor in the fact that man is sinful, nor in the resurrection of Jesus and His ability to bring about my resurrection because I believe in Him.

  26. Zeta,
    I did not see the Matrix, though I was able to imagine the correlations in your post. Others who may have only read recent posts may need a refresher? Dee, Zeta?

  27. ok sure.

    For those not familiar with the move “The Matrix”, the premise is that mankind has forced into a computer simulation that is reading/being fed directly into everyone’s brains. Some people have escaped and they regularly make incursions into the this simulation (called ‘The Matrix’) looking for this special person that can actively control the simulation due to some special capabilty they have. The ‘blue pill/red pill’ analogy comes from the critical moment in the story were Neo (who does indeed happen to be the special person they are looking for) is given a choice. They’ve told him about the Matrix, but he is still hooked into it. They give him two choices. One is to be returned to his position of being blissfully unaware of this contradiction in what he perceives to be reality (the ‘blue pill’), the other is to be removed from the matrix and tossed into reality – a reality he can barely comprehend at this point in the story (the ‘red’ pill).

    I would liken Ken Hams ‘creation science’ to the Matrix. An attempt to build up an explanation that ties the most superficial and literal reading of theGenesis text to reality. Only its a fake. The science used is bogus, and anyone that has more than a passing familiarity with what the evidence actually is knows this. But the folks caught in Ham’s matrix are basically clueless. They only look at what Ham presents to them. The real world of science is full of scheming evil atheist scientists that actively suppress what he presents as ‘the truth’.

    A person locked into Ham’s world then has two choices. They can keep reading Ham’s organizations take on the world (the ‘blue’ pill) or they can look for themselves at what is really out there (the ‘red’ pill). The choice is fantasy vs. reality, but some prefer the fantasy.

    My personal journey out of Ham’s matrix has been hard, but I really do believe God is not afraid of the truth. And If what I believe about Christ is true, it must be true when faced with the real state of the universe, not some imagined reality. If the text of Genesis 1 is meant to be taken on its most superficial level, if the geneologies are complete and can be used to derive the age of the Earth (assumptions Ham takes as fundamental to true faith), then the reality would be that God made the world so that it looks like it took 13.7 billion years to form, and He made it so that all the t’s are crossed and all the i’s dotted for that history, with literally nothing out of place. But no matter how you interpret scripture itself, Ham’s illusion that we can see this presumed 6000 year old age of the universe and Earth in the physical evidence, that we can ‘scientifically’ see the world and universe is only 6000 years old, is nothing more than that, an illusion. An illusion Ham is willing to literally sell to you.


  28. Hi guys, I saw this and thought it would make some good reading for all of us. It’s by a Jewish fellow and really takes to task some assumptions made by those ‘critical scholars’ that form the primary foil of the YE world in terms of Biblical interpretation. It’s a tad off topic, so no intent to derail, but I think all sides might find his point of view interesting.


    Now his conclusion maybe needs some work, but I really like what he has to say about those that think they can conclusively prove one thing or another about the text of scripture just by cogitating on some perceived glitch in the text.


  29. Arce,

    What portion of the Adam and Eve storyline, in your mind, is real and which parts are allegorical?

    1. Adam and Eve were real physical persons
    2. Adam and Eve were literally the first man and woman
    3. Did sin have a beginning (Adam, the fruit, Eve listening to serpent) or are all people naturally sinful and the story is just allegorical.

  30. I put the story in the same category as the parables. It is a divinely inspired story that tells greater truths than the literal meaning of the words. I put it above the usual meaning of allegory or moral fable. BTW, I put Job into the same category.

  31. Zeta/all

    Great summary. I highly recommend that everyone view this movie-especially the first one. A few years ago, I decided to take the red pill. It was hard but dealing with reality is worth it. I think the reason so many people cannot tolerate finding out that their particular leader is a sinner is because they have swallowed a blue pill that has nothing to do with truth. It has to do with wished for truth. Since leaving, I understand the Scriptures so much better. My journey is documented in what I write at TWW.

  32. Arce
    I would have been threatened by what you have said many years ago. Not so any longer. I believe the true story of creation is far above what I am able to understand with my limited brain. God created it, that I understand. The mechanism and the order I do not understand. How does a limited brain contemplate eternal, omnipotent, and creation ex nihilo?

    In fact, the more I read and contemplate, the more frustrated i become with those who insist on a wooden, literal interpretation. As Lewis well said “he is not a tame lion.”

  33. Dee,
    I was there once as a young man and it led me away from the church during college and after. Because I read and studied science and philosophy, and became interested in and studied how humans come to understand and “know” what we think we know. Then cam a reformation BTCOG. So I went and read and studied, including in depth study of how we came to have our Bible, alternative ideas that Christians have had over the centuries about it, etc. And I began to see greater truth there than constraining its meaning to the literal would allow. Then came a car wreck and lots of time to read and study again, fb law school and working with people about expert testimony (I was an expert once!) and about how to conduct depositions and court questioning of witnesses to really get to the bottom of the story. etc. I have also read much of my spouse’s books during her seminary study and have attended some lectures at the seminary.

    All of this leads me to the conclusion that, while we see through a smoky glass, some things are clear. First, God IS beyond our understanding, and all we can do is assume he is bigger, better, more loving, more compassionate, and more powerful than we can even imagine. Second, his major command to us is to love as he has loved us, sacrificially. Third, He is not the author of lies, so that the two books, the Bible and nature, must agree — we must accept both and use our intellect to find a way that these sources of truth do agree.

    I also understand that, when it was written, the Bible was put into terms that could be understood by the first readers. So that it was limited in what could be said so that the truths therein would not be rejected out of ignorance. Imagine 2000 years ago any talk about genes, evolution, big bang, microorganisms, atoms and molecules, etc., and how it would be rejected.

    So, back to your post. I think the statement by CSL was truncated. He should have added:
    “But he is a benevolent one.”

  34. Question…

    A Lie: is communicating something which you know is not true, regardless of the reason or ultimate goal of the communique, and includes the implying of a truth by withholding pertinent facts (a lie of omission).

    Would most of you agree that this is a fair definition of the word (and of the sin)?

  35. “I’m sorry but I have to take issue with the above quote. This is a fallacy – I believe “part to whole”. Because some Comp. and YE people MAY seem to do this – everyone that believes in Comp. and YE does! Really??

    So many times I read this blog and there are broad statements made about groups of people, Mean-spirited quotes and negative words about others – not done in love or with compassion at all. It is great to expose what is going on, but let’s not be guilty of responding the same way that those we are “exposing” act.”

    We are usually speaking of the leaders of these movements who are very public and teach them as salvic.

    We have to take responsibility for what the leaders of these doctrines teach publicly. It is for this reason I am extremely reluctant to become a part of any “egal” group. Some teach things I totally disagree with and I have taken them on in many forums. I still have to applaud them for allowing dissent.

    I wish more comps would do that, too. But usually comp blogs and or public comp leaders
    do not allow for dissent or disagreement.

  36. “theological and anthropological truth of Genesis (God created, man is sinful). There are lots of reasons for not believing in a literal Adam and Eve.”

    The NT scriptures write of Adam as a real human being.

    Romans 5: Sin entered through ONE man…

    1 Corin 15: So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” ; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit

    There are others but you get the point. Scripture speaks of him as a real human being. A literal person.

  37. Karlton:

    No – your definition isn’t quite right. In the course of what one might call ‘normal’ conversation it may apply. But not in the sense of the kinds of communication we have in scripture. For example, by your definition, when Jesus told Nicodemus he needed to be ‘born again’, He was lying, and that is absurd. Communication intended as metaphor or other symbolic form will typically have an interpretation or ‘level or rendering’ in which it could be considered untrue, yet OTOH, and the the point, also an interpretation or rendering in which it communicates truth. Scripture has a LOT of that kind of language in it.


  38. From the GHC Cincinnati Convention

    from Doug’s Blog by Doug Phillips

    Hundreds of gracious, respectful home educators are at the GHC convention wearing buttons communicating their support for Ken Ham. My speeches have been full with them. It is impressive to me that so many can express their grief and disapproval of the treatment of Ken in such an honorable manner.

    Are we surprised?

  39. Not a stepford

    Thank you for that info. Surpise? Is you asked the average attender to assess the science on AIG, it would be worthy of a comedy.

  40. Lydia

    I agree that at one point, God infused a man with the spirit (God breathed life into Adam) and thus began what is known as humanity.That first soul being was Adam.

    Now, how did God do that is the question. Did he, at one point, take a hominid and then breathe the image of God into Him? Was the homind part of a process that God used in developing the body? At one point, by breathing the Spirit into man, did God mark that as the distinguishing between man and nonman?

    The Mormons make the mistake of defining “in the image of God” as He looks like us-hands, feet, etc. Obviously that is not the image of God. So, it must be the soul. It said God took Adam and infused Him with the breath of life and thus began the immortal soul. Are we, as Adam’s descendants , so called by direct physical descent or by shared humanity. Just as we are born of Christ in spirit, are we born of man in spirit as well-the fallen nature? I will admit, I do not know but i contemplate this stuff all the time.

    Very interesting.Beyond me, I think but I am trying.

  41. This tends to get complicated and hard to explain but my point was not the process but the fact that even the NT refers to male “Adam” as a real literal person. Not a “metaphorical” one.

    As to what happened via Gen 1 and Gen 2, In at nutshell, I have an opinion based upon the text as I understand it. Adam means “human” and in Gen 1 we have God giving information to the “created human” who is not yet formed. In Gen 2 we see them “formed” into Ish then Isha. I do agree that the image of God is not the dirt “Adam” was formed from. I wish someone would tell Bruce Ware that since he claims that”women are not made in the direct image of God but are a “derivative”. Yes, he really claims that.

    I see both “Created” in Gen 1 and then the sexes from the “created human” are “formed” in Gen 2. I think the Hebrew bears this out.

  42. notastepfordsheep shared the following from Doug Phillips’ blog regarding last weekend’s homeschooling convention in Cincinnati:

    “Hundreds of gracious, respectful home educators are at the GHC convention wearing buttons communicating their support for Ken Ham. My speeches have been full with them. It is impressive to me that so many can express their grief and disapproval of the treatment of Ken in such an honorable manner.”

    I’d venture to guess that Doug Phillips encouraged his army of Ham supporters who attended last weekend’s GHC to visit the Creation Museum (located nearby). Oh, and in case they forgot to buy their Vision Forum materials at the convention’s book fair, they could purchase them at the museum. Here are just some of the VF items the Creation Museum offers. What a racket!!!


  43. Zeta,

    Stop getting ahead of me 🙂

    So, if I tell my daughter a “story” about a girl that I knew when I was a child who didn’t listen when her father told her to always come home before dark, and that poor little girl, one night when she stayed out passed dark without permission, was never heard from again and no one knows what happened to her.

    Is not a lie, by your definition because the point of the story was a parable, or because the intent was to teach about being obedient and not a history lesson about some other young girl?

  44. Karlton,

    The same story, but without alleging direct personal knowledge, would not be a lie, since those kinds of events have happened. That is the distinction between a parable and a lie. I could tell that story and it would not be a lie, because, when I was a teenager it happened in our town.

  45. My apologies to Karlton who I somehow called Kermit (though I cared for a hospice patient for many months who was named Kermit, and I adored him, so it is a complement),

    The trouble with the theories of origins is that we have only theories. We weren’t there to observe and document, so we have to take our beliefs by faith either way. No matter what you decide, you have to develop a presupposition about what happened. Along the way, on both sides of the debate, we will find information (or a presentation thereof) that seems to support one idea or the other. But we are creatures that are given to confirmation bias, and we can feel threatened, depending on how secure and mature we are.

    So are we telling lies, or are we interpreting events from our perspective. One man’s perspective is not going to match another’s because we don’t stand in the same place. We also might not share the same basic ideas. If perspective and interpretations don’t match, are those statements lies? Every bit of info we get from someone else is colored, effected and influenced by perspective, no?

    I’d urge people to be careful not to confuse a true belief and following earnest ethics as opposed to scrambling around to defend oneself when threatened or willfully lying about things. Ken comes to us with some history of the latter. If he’s the type to say “I don’t believe _____ because it’s not in the Bible” and then outright denies reasonable and veracious facts, then that is entirely different.

    Bad ethics differ from differences in epistemology (how we know and validate reality and truth) the implications of something like the presuppositional apologists’ ideas about multiperspectivalism.

    Ken isn’t a good case to look at as a true example of a true believer who is absolutely ethical and true to belief, but his belief might be off a bit. I can be honest if I tell you that I believe that the moon is made of green cheese, and I can defend my position without lying (though I expect that I’d rely on some rough logic or lack thereof in the process). I might be entirely ethical, though I’m very misguided. That’s what makes the discussion of these matters so difficult sometimes.

    I think that Ken is a true believer in his message, but there are some ethical issues with Ken that have nothing to do with his belief in his core message. There are several problems that I know about with Ken, apart from this discussion and apart from the science of it.

  46. Lydia
    I do not pretend to deeply understand this. My friend, Zeta, is well versed on this. But, I look at the story as saying that Eve, too, was given that special essence, the image of God. In some respects, the imagery of using the “rib” of Adam,could be looked at as using the very essence of the structure of the soul and giving it to Eve.

    In other words, the rib is metaphorical and represents something far more complex. That complexity could be the spirit/soul, something that is quite difficult to understand. Eve was truly given the Image of God and I reject that she was derivative. Notice how Genesis speaks of the animals-male and female, He created them. Not the female was created out of the male dog.I think that a point was being made that man and woman are closely created and share this image of God via soul and have the ability to deeply relate on a level that the animals cannot.

    I don’t see God forming man like Playdough. I think that was done via the DNA (dust of the earth) through a God directed process. Don’t get me wrong. I believe God intended for man to be man just as he intended this world to be filled with a variety of species. It is the process that I struggle with.

    I guess I better stop before I am hauled up before the Ham Inquisition.

  47. Spiritually abusive groups have to appear elite. They always, always, always pick some minor matter of doctrine and make it a major one. Steve Maritin above (is this Steve from Wellspring???) said that people will want “Jesus +”. That is a classic finding in spiritual abuse and cultic behavior.

    They don’t necessarily deny central doctrine, but to demonstrate that they are special and a bit better than every other person in their religion, they will pick a matter of intramurals, making it the central point of their message until it eclipses the core and central message.

    I believe wholeheartedly and can demonstrate via statements about doctrine and about how people should live that both the complementarians and those discussed here as involved with this young earth business have fallen into this lack of balance by advancing intramurals as essentials. And they are far from charitable, and I know this well from both reports of others and my own personal experience with leaders in both groups.

    I don’t believe that these groups have any intent to create a gospel eclipse and would rebuke those who make the claim that they do. But this is exactly what they do, and it’s not just through behavior. They teach and say these things. They are not broad or sweeping statements made glibly or without a great deal of documentation to support the specifics that would make your eyes and ears bleed.

    We need unity, not uniformity of thought. We need a culture of love and liberty, not one of fear about ideas that might challenge us. I have faith that God can take anything that others can throw at him (in terms of my faith). It is a pity that all these groups choose not to affirm their unity in Christ through belief in the Gospel with brethren different from them while contending passionately for their different beliefs in productive and respectful debate. That’s not what we see happening on the larger scale and with the people discussed here.

    People have turned this into a zero sum game of competition rather than working together as brothers with love for one another in an effort to discover the truth while living ethically. It’s a pity.

  48. Arce to Karlton,

    The same story, but without alleging direct personal knowledge, would not be a lie, since those kinds of events have happened. That is the distinction between a parable and a lie. I could tell that story and it would not be a lie, because, when I was a teenager it happened in our town.

    You’ve got to include the context and the level of understanding of the listener. What is the intent of the communicator and the situation faced by the listener. My parents read “The Goat and the Seven Kids” to me when I was little, but goats do not speak or use needle and thread. Did that mean that they lied to me? But even as a child, I knew that the story was just a medium for communicating a truth to me.

    If you use a bad analogy and make causality errors by comparing two things that are wrongly related, that also might not be a lie but just ignorance. (It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its consequences, though.)

    Or you could willfully choose to play it loose and fast by deceiving people with a false analogy which does not concern epistemology but is an ethical issue.

  49. Arce, Cindy….

    You see, I have no problem with treating the Bible in a literary framework, like any other book, parts are meant to be taken as written while other sections might be allegorical, or metaphors, etc.

    I would agree with Arce, that if you told that story, and never claimed first hand knowledge, but simply assumed that it probably did happen to someone at sometime it would not be lying, at least not directly.

    When you look at a story that is allegorical, the “facts” used to construct the stories are typically not true, and that’s normal, I have no problem with that and even though the “facts” of the story may not be literally true, as Arce pointed out, if the storyteller isn’t aware that those facts are actually not true…then no lie.

    The problem comes when an omniscient God is the author of those stories and you hold to a verbal plenary inspiration of scripture. Then you must concede that He is aware of the falsities in the story and told them communicated intentionally, whether to make a point or not…this is especially true when the inaccuracies of the stories have little or no bearing on the “truth” being communicated.

    So, if God is omniscient, then are we to assume that telling lies is justified when it’s for the greater good? Is there some special banner than God operates under which makes telling a falsehood (for any reason) to not be sinful?

    Second thought,

    Dee (and others) have repeatedly pointed out that the Hebrew word for “day” which is used in the Genesis creation stories can, and does, have many varying meanings in terms of length of time.

    I can agree with that, but my question is then, would you argue that each time the word “day” is used in the creation account it refers to a different period of time? In other words would you be alright with, say, day 1 being 24 hours, and day 2 being 10 years and day 3 being a week and day 4 being indeterminate and day 5 being 1000 years and day 6… etc.?

    The reason I pose the question is that on the fourth day God created the sun and moon and stars… (assuming that the sun, moon and rest of the universe is the same age…cough, cough), and on day 5 He created the birds of the air. We can now calculate the approximate length of a “day”. Since our solar system is roughly 4.6 billion years old and birds didn’t show up until the Jurassic period (200-145 million years ago) then either day 4 or day 5 was approximately 4.4 billion years long!

    So either…

    1. The YECs are correct and everything was brought into existence that same literal week.
    2. Genesis is allegorical, and the times are not meant to be taken literally. (Why couldn’t God have told the story accurately, it wouldn’t have changed the meaning..and He got the order wrong)
    3. It is literal, but the Hebrew word “day” changes length each time it is used.
    4. Science is wrong and the earth is actually 7 times older than we think!! 4.4 billion * 7 days

    Is there any reason to believe that the other uses of the word “day” used in the same story have a longer or shorter period associated with them?

  50. In my Grandpa’s day . . . Day can mean era or eon, time periods that are not commensurate — not measured in standard units of time.

    Imagine trying to explain creation to some tribe that has no knowledge of science, without having microscopes, etc. Then imagine them passing that by word of mouth for 25 generations or more. How accurate do you believe what they would know be in comparison to what they had been told. Ever play the telephone game???

    The inerrantists believe that the “original autographs” were without error. Of course, no one has those! So what we have are copies of copies of copies, etc. Less iterations of the NT books, but many many of the OT books. I do have a friend who believes that the transcription errors and all translations result from God’s will and inspiration, but that is a very rare and odd belief even in extreme Calvinist groups.

  51. Consider the following:

    God calls Moses in to His office. He says, “hey Moses, I’d like you to take the Egyptian creation story and ‘fix’ it so all the gods of the Egyptians are shown to be what they are: things I made. Oh, and also, make sure it shows that it was my intent to make man, you guys are not some accident. Oh no – you folks are the crown of my creative work. Here, let me give you a few important points . . . but you know Moses, I work though my followers too, so I’m giving you permission to do some of the arranging and composition yourself. Just make sure that this story is close enough to what they already know that the changes will pop out each time they hear it read, and they will be reminded of how different I am from their pagan gods, and how different they are in My eyes from how they are in their false gods eyes.”

    Moses then goes out a writes Genesis 1, 2 and 3.

    Is Genesis a ‘lie’? Is it uninspired? Does it lack God’s authority? Is it not the Word of God?


  52. Zeta,

    That’s all well and good….but then you do not believe in verbal plenary inspiration.

    Works for me…

    Now, please explain how you know which versus God inspired and controlled and which versus He didn’t.

  53. Consider my scenario:

    What makes you think God did not inspire Moses as he followed God’s instructions?


  54. Zeta,

    I sounds like you are using the word “inspire” like a painter feels inspiration (or motivation) to paint, which is somewhat different from the concept I was addressing…

    Verbal Plenary Inspiration means that God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture that, without waiving their intelligence, their individuality, their personal feelings, their literary style, or any other human factor of expression, His Complete and Coherent Message to mankind was recorded with perfect accuracy. The very words bearing the Authority of Divine Authorship.

    Verbal meaning, the Bible in its original languages, from first to last (Autograph), is an exact record of the Mind and Will of God as He intended it to be.

    Plenary meaning, that the entire text of the Bible is equally from God.

    And Inspiration referring to, 2 Tim 3:16’s “God-breathed” (theopneustos), that just as God breathed into Adam’s nostrils and thus created a living soul, so also God’s breathing of the Word into the Scripture writers produced an ‘exhale’ of Canon, without waiving any of their own personal attributes.

    It also includes the concepts of innerrency and infallibility. Infallible being, incapable of error; and Inerrant meaning totally free from error.

    It is necessarily inerrant and infallible if it proceeds from the mind of God, who is by definition, perfect, holy, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.

  55. “I do not pretend to deeply understand this. My friend, Zeta, is well versed on this. But, I look at the story as saying that Eve, too, was given that special essence, the image of God. In some respects, the imagery of using the “rib” of Adam,could be looked at as using the very essence of the structure of the soul and giving it to Eve. ”

    Gen 1 Says He made them ‘male and female’ in His own Likeness. That is even before they were formed out of dirt and adam’s side. Of course Eve was created in the image of God. So they existed in some way or another before they were formed.

    As to the animals…They are a perfect example of why creation order has no merit when it comes to “roles” and authority. It would means cows take precedence over women in order of importance or authority.

    Adam was given the task to name them, he would see them all having corresponding partners…”a mate”…. and then Adam was elated when God “formed” a partner comparable to himself. (Which is what Ezer Kegnado really means)

    Cheryl Schatz has done extensive research on the Hebrew in Gen 1-5 and has some excellent blog articles on this and on her Women in Ministry DVD.

  56. Karlton,

    You said:

    “Verbal Plenary Inspiration means that God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture that, without waiving their intelligence, their individuality, their personal feelings, their literary style, or any other human factor of expression, His Complete and Coherent Message to mankind was recorded with perfect accuracy. The very words bearing the Authority of Divine Authorship.”

    I know that, and so I ask again, considering my scenario,

    What makes you think God did not inspire (as defined above) Moses as he followed God’s instructions?


  57. Karlton, you said:

    “I(t) sounds like you are using the word “inspire” like a painter feels inspiration (or motivation) to paint, which is somewhat different from the concept I was addressing…”

    for clarity:

    No, I’m using it in terms of what you defined.


  58. Zeta,

    Well then to answer your question .. whether Moses penned the words or God penned the words Himself, they are still God’s words, therefore there can be no lies, there can be no errors, there can be no imperfections.

    If the order of creation is contrary to what we know from science, then you must choose which is correct.

    What you cannot say is that God “allowed”, under the guise of literary license, for the writers to be “incorrect”, misleading or anything else which is outside the character of God.

  59. Karlton,

    you said:

    “Well then to answer your question .. whether Moses penned the words or God penned the words Himself, they are still God’s words, therefore there can be no lies, there can be no errors, there can be no imperfections.

    If the order of creation is contrary to what we know from science, then you must choose which is correct.”

    I am simply amazed at your own double standard. You can agree that a story that is told as a metaphor or a parable by a man need not contain necessarily factual information yet still be ‘true’ in terms of its purpose or intent. Why it may well communicate the intended truth far more effectively than a perfectly factual story (Its very contradiction with known reality makes it far easier to remember and makes the story stand out in the mind of the hearer, causes the hearer to want to remember it) Yet you can then turn around and say that if God tells a parable that contains information that is not necessarily factual, it makes Him a liar, or means He really didn’t tell the story after all.

    But lets look closer at your approach. I would say that by taking the tack you have, not only have you presented a double standard in your judgment of God’s chose mode of communication, you are doing the equivalent of the following.

    A man asks the paradoxical question. “Can God make a rock to big for him to move”.

    If I answer ‘no’, then he will say: “Well then, how can he be God, because God can do anything.”

    But if I answer ‘yes’, then he will say: “Well then, how can he be God, because God is omnipotent”.

    The correlation is as follows: You have said that:

    “God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture that conveys the words of God, without waiving their intelligence, their individuality, their personal feelings, their literary style, or any other human factor of expression, His Complete and Coherent Message to mankind was recorded with perfect accuracy.

    You then claim that the word of God, to be the word of God must

    “therefore …(have)… no lies, there can be no errors, there can be no imperfections.”

    (alteration to ‘have’ for readability as the continuation of my sentence above)

    This is a paradox Karlton, just like the rock to big too move. If God uses me to convey a message and does not interfere with my intellect, my style, my personality, my way of thinking, then it will necessarily be imperfect in some sense of the word. because I am imperfect.

    Indeed, there is yet another factor here Karlton. God must by necessity bring His word to us in a way that is understandable to us. Is it not logical to say that there are likely aspects of a being that is outside time, omnipotent etc etc that just can’t really be expressed in a way that is perfectly accurate when making it understandable to finite beings like ourselves? As such, His word to us MUST then be accommodated to us in order to communicate to us.

    Any such filtering renders the text in one sense or another ‘imperfect’. Calvin recognized this, as have many others.

    Basically then you can’t have your cake and eat it too. God has chosen to work in certain ways, and his communication to us is through people, inspired by him, but also necessarily mixed with who they were in time and culture. It is His perfect message to us yes, it bears his authority, his perfection, and it is without error in the important sense what it is saying to us, but not every possible sense of the word. It simply can’t be, because in choosing to speak through us as He does, a paradox is created.

    But what God can do, and what is emphasized in scripture, is He can indeed accomplish His perfect purpose in spite of our weakness and imperfection. And so the Word of God to us is then indeed His perfect word to us.

    And that is the point of my scenario Karl. If God decided that the PERFECT way to communicate the truth of His creative act was to emphasize that All things are created through him by having his servant alter an existing pagan story of creation, then it is necessarily HIS PERFECT WORD. You or I don’t get to tell God he was wrong not to fix the technical aspects, and we can’t judge its authenticity as the Word of God based on that, because that was never its purpose in the first place.

    See, I don’t think the purpose of Genesis was EVER to tell us HOW God made the world. It’s purpose was to tell us THAT God made the world. And to do so in a way that would resonate throughout ALL TIME (not just the 21st century). I mean – we are going to eventually figure out the details of how the world came to be on our own – right? So gee, if the first 10 chapters of Genesis read like a modern physics text, that would be amazing I suppose (to us), but it would have been absolutely useless to the 3000+ years of human history that preceded us, and likely would have been dismissed as the babblings of the insane long before we ever got here.

    Showing us the common things of the world were made by Him and are not meant to be worshiped, along with some interesting subtexts that hint at certain physical realities of His creation that could be seen by later generations makes much more sense, and is certainly of far more use to humanity as a whole over the centuries – at least if there is indeed a real God that we need to understand how to relate to.

    The story of Christ is of God lowering Himself to be one of us. To face all we face as one of us, to be in an imperfect form and fight imperfect desires, yet be perfect in the spiritual sense, and then to allow the imperfect world to kill him and suffer the fate of the imperfect world so we could then inherit His perfection. This is who the Word of God is, and I dare say it is also what the Word of God is. Part of following God is accepting and submitting ourselves to His will, and that includes His choices in terms of HOW and WHEN He chooses to reveal Himself.


  60. Zeta,

    There is no double standard…

    When a man tells a parable or something by analogy I am perfectly content to acknowledge that the “details” may be inaccurate or even outright fabrications (i.e. lies). The difference is that I have no problem with lying for that purpose. In my mind there is nothing wrong with it.

    But when you put those lies or fabrications in God’s mouth you have a real problem theologically. By definition, God is incapable of lying or sinning, else He ceases to be perfect and holy. I didn’t make that one up, the Christians did. 🙂

    So, to be logically consistent…if there are lies or inaccurate information on the Bible, you are left with only one of a few possible explanations…

    1. God is not the author of the Bible (or did not exercise control over all parts of it).

    2. God is not the perfect being we have defined Him to be (or that is described in the Scriptures)

    3. All the apparent inconsistencies can be explained and resolved in the light of translational errors, or by denying what we currently know via science and history and claiming that the Bible’s correctness will ultimately be vindicated.

    Your assertion that “it is without error in the important sense what it is saying to us, but not every possible sense of the word”, is simply not in line with a verbal plenary interpretation. That’s why I went to so much trouble defining verbal plenary, it does not mean that God perfectly communicated concepts or ideas , it asserts that each and every word is God breathed and as such MUST be correct pure and holy, it just cannot be accepted as “false or inaccurate” and at the same time claim God’s authorship and control.

    Of course, as an atheist I have a much easier time explaining the Bible…it was written by men, it is not holy, magical or the result of some mystical process involving supernatural beings and spirits. It is a book, and comes with all the frailties, mistakes, lies, truths, politics, philosophies and agendas of every other book, both before and after.

  61. On the other hand…zeta….you have the possibility that any truth and/or rational thought comes from the primordial ooze or evolved from apes. :o)

  62. Beautiful thoughts to consider.

    Let me throw this into the mix.

    In a pluralistic society, some or many of us may decide to believe magical things, and if we are mature enough and have a sense of moral intelligence, we can tolerate one another and respect one another in spite of some of those ideas we don’t share (or don’t respect).

    Another level of this involves whether those magical ideas are harmful or not. Do they do good things? Do they do evil things.

    Since no individual is ever truly representative of any group, it is also important to look at whether an individual’s magical ideas are harmful. Does an individual’s beliefs pose harm or do mostly good?

    Can we agree to disagree. I always hold out hope that we can, yet still have respect and warm regard for people we might think are believing lies or fairytales. I’m living in the US, and I embrace the idea that our liberties can be balanced. So long as we each have personal liberty in terms of belief and practice and it doesn’t impinge upon someone else’s, we can work around our differences.

    (Now, this church stuff ought to be similar, but we have the greater burden to love those who are fellow Christians.)

  63. Cindy,

    Well said, I would add that as an atheist I think there is a difference between the tenets of a religion and those that hold it. For example, I think Islam, as a religion is very dangerous to the idea of living together in a peaceful society (as are most monotheistic religions, Christianity included).

    But while I think those religions pose a very real threat, I know people who hold to those beliefs and I find them to be loving, kind and rational (in all other areas), and believe that they make good friends and neighbors.

    I also think that their ability to be functioning members of a global society is directly related to their ability to compartmentalize and soften their beliefs and not allow them free reign. To believe that when we all die we go to a place of bliss or not, and to believe that in the afterlife those who deserve it might receive some type of justice, presents no particular danger or problems here on earth. On the other hand to believe that you are in communication with the God of the universe, to believe you have actual conversations (two-way) with Him and to be willing to give your life in His service (as soon as you figure out what he wants), presents a very real danger..not only to the believers but those around them, and to ignore that danger…is maybe the worst danger of all.

  64. Karlton,

    you said:

    “When a man tells a parable or something by analogy I am perfectly content to acknowledge that the “details” may be inaccurate or even outright fabrications (i.e. lies). The difference is that I have no problem with lying for that purpose. In my mind there is nothing wrong with it.”

    Karlton, I’m sorry you feel you are telling lies if you tell a parable, but that is some odd quirk with your own conscience. If I am telling a story that everyone knows is a story, then there is no one is going to call me a liar or think I am lying unless I first claim the story is true.

    Consider again my proposal. Do you suppose that ANY of the Israelites would have had even the slightest misunderstanding concerning what Moses had done in constructing the creation narrative? The fact that over time the memory of the correlation was lost does not make the creation narrative suddenly become a lie – does it? Now, we have been able to uncover and discover enough information about those cultures and the creation itself to put that narrative back in its proper perspective. But that still doesn’t make it some kind of lie. It does mean we lost track of what its purpose was.

    And, to put another spin on it, I do think that there is a way of looking the text that is accurate at least to a certain level of precision. But then your particular mindset would say it wasn’t from God because it wasn’t accurate to all levels of precision. And round and round we go. Again, you’ve manufactured a paradoxical question and then determined God can’t be God because either side of the paradox shows a contradiction. But that is your problem and has nothing to do with the reality of whether we should expect this text to be technically accurate.

    Jesus had a comment about this kind of mindset. He said (paraphrased), John came to you fasting, eating locusts and honey and you thought he was crazy, I came to you eating and drinking and you call me a sinner and a drunkard.

    In other words, It really doesn’t matter how God reveals Himself – a person seeking God will find Him and follow Him. A person bent on rejecting Him will find fault with the message and reject it.

    The truth is that if Genesis 1 has some direct correlation to the how of creation, it is something which must be carefully extracted though careful study and meditiation, it is not on the surface. And that is because Genesis 1 likely never had the primary purpose of telling is the how or when of creation. Its purpose was to show us that God created all that is, with a purpose. And that mankind was the crown of that creation. And the target of the purpose was to dispel certain pagan notions about creation and about God’s relationship with mankind. And that is exactly what it does.



  65. Lydia said:

    “On the other hand…zeta….you have the possibility that any truth and/or rational thought comes from the primordial ooze or evolved from apes. 😮 )”

    Not sure your point Lydia. A possibility is itself an abstraction. What is … is (at least above the quantum scale). Our rational thoughts have an origin, and ultimately that capability was given us by God or it was random. And what we chose to believe concerning that does not change the reality of what the actual origin is.

    OTOH, if this was a joke and I just totally missed it – sorry 😉


  66. Zeta,

    The point I am trying to make is that when someone tells another person something which the teller knows is not true, and the teller realizes that the listener believes what he is being told .. it is a lie .. it’s simply a definition of the world….I am not attaching any moral or ethical implications to it…it is what it is.

    Is it reasonable to assume that the Jews of antiquity believed the creation story as written? Is it reasonable to assume that God both knew that they believed it and that He Himself knew it to be inaccurate? Then it was a lie … I don’t see how you can get around it.

    Spin it however you like, but if God tells you something that he knows is not true, and if He knows that you believe it as true (because God said it)…then how is not a lie?

    enlighten me.

  67. One of the greatest minds of the 19th cent. was Bernhard Riemann. His father was a Lutheran pastor. In his youth, he tried by way of formal proof to show that the Genesis account is true. The evidence is only apocryphal and historians can only surmise that Riemann abandoned the effort because nothing concrete from that period has survived.

    Later on in his academic career, he gave geometric meaning to the definite integral as we know it today, namely that the widths of the rectangular strips under a curve do not all have to be equal in order to approximate the area under a curve when added together.

    What if time itself is as malleable as Riemann’s sub-interval widths? If it is, it would generate a different vantage point on the 6 days spoken of in the Genesis account. It would argue that the universe is old (or young) only with regard to the measuring grid imposed on it. Whether it’s the atomic tick-tock of the finest cesium clocks or the cycle of shadows on a sundial face, it’s still an imposed grid.

    I can see the eyes rolling already, what’s the point Muff? Simply this, I am not ready to throw out the six-day scenario yet, because science always lends itself to revision. Please note also that I am no supporter of Ken Ham and that this is NOT the same thing as throwing out what we can currently measure and conclude from.

    So far as Scripture goes, I believe the tenets of the Nicene Creed as non-negotiable, the rest in my opinion is largely conjecture. For example, I reject the doctrine of original sin and hell as a literal place. I see no justice and reason at all in the proposition that a Chinaman who spits in the laundry deserves the same fate as Josef Mengele. Why warehouse the worst of the worst like spent fuel rods from a reactor instead of just winking them out of existence?

    One reason why I like TWW is that even drunken (metaphorically of course) old sots like Muff can get a fair hearing so long as they’re civil.

  68. Muff

    No eyes rolling. My good friend, Zeta, has a theory that means it could be both a young earth and an old earth and it has something to do with all sorts of time doohickeys that make no sense to this women who struggled with derivatives in Calculus.

    However, being a fan of Star Trek, Fringe and other such shows, I can imagine it even if I can’t understand it.

    Your questions and feelings are normal and anyone who is honest would admit to struggling with them. Well, there are a few that have no trouble but they have no heart.

    You are not a drunken old sot. Well, even if you are, you are a valued friend at TWW.

  69. Karlton said:

    “Is it reasonable to assume that the Jews of antiquity believed the creation story as written? Is it reasonable to assume that God both knew that they believed it and that He Himself knew it to be inaccurate? Then it was a lie … I don’t see how you can get around it.”

    Which Jews, of which antiquity. The question is what was the ORIGINAL understanding of the text. We don’t know that. Frankly, as close as this narrative parallels both the Egyptian and Babylonian cosmologies and creation stories, I don’t see how they could NOT have been aware of its connection to them.

    Nevertheless, we do know that the Law and the books of Moses were lost and rediscovered by Israel at least once. We also know that the knowledge of how to pronounce the name of God was also lost. These losses and potentially some others where not God’s fault, and any information that was lost during these dark times of rebellion by Israel is also not God’s fault. You can spin it any way you want, but we simply do not know enough about the precise circumstances under which the original text was received to know for sure if they were aware of its apparent close ties to its Egyption and/or Babylonian counter parts. But see as they lived in Egypt before the exodus, and in Babylon, why do you suppose they wouldn’t?

    Be that as it may, we can’t determine the thing you must know to pronounce this text a ‘lie’ (assuming it was God breathed).

    All the information we have indicates that the purpose was never to provide a technical manual on how creation was made. God did likely know that people would misunderstand His intent for that text over time, but that does not make it a lie. People misunderstood God’s purpose for Messiah’s first coming in spades, but that does not mean the scriptures that describe Messiah as a King are lies.

    A text whose purpose is to convey a spiritual truth in symbolic form is not a lie, regardless of the physical reality of the symbols.

    A text whose purpose is to convey a truth using the language of the culture is not a lie, no matter how crude or inaccurate the language of that culture is.

    And a text whose purpose or symbolic language is misunderstood for centuries or even millenia is also not a lie, though its truth may well have been hidden for a long time.

    Most of what we deal with in Genesis is the fact that people believe it OUGHT to be telling us how creation was made, and people have thought that is what it was saying for a very, very long time.

    But that does not make it a lie. It makes the people that thought it was telling us how creation was made wrong.

    Again, it is our responsibility to seek God to understand His truth. And we have to realize that sometimes we are going to miss His purpose in what He has said. And sometimes we may never fully understand a passage. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us (those of us that are Christians), but even then, our prejudices, biases, limited intellect, ‘hardness of heart’ and sin all get in the way. So it does not surprise me we misunderstood what God has said in Genesis for so long. And it does not surprise me people would rather call God a liar that admit they were wrong about what they thought the text said.

    But the truth is, the responsibility to figure out what God is saying lies on us. And when we recognize we just can’t figure it out, the responsibility to ask Him for help understanding it also lies on us. God has given us his Word, and it is sufficient to lead us to Him, IF we have faith. IF we seek Him. IF we choose to follow Him.

    But if we puff ourselves up and proclaim the flaw lies in Him … well then we’ll never understand till it is too late.


  70. Muff,

    Yes, how old the universe is is greatly a matter of perspective. And there are indeed frames of reference in which it would appear to have existed only a few thousand years based on that frames flow of time.

    I think most of the problems with a concordist approach to Genesis 1 aren’t so much how much time has passed, but the order in which various things are created. I personally think that its symbolic nature gives a good bit of credence to the idea Genesis 1 actually contains a relatively accurate description of the order of creation if we recognize that the 6 days can be seen as 2 parallel 3 day accounts. The first three days describes the construction of the basic elements of the cosmos from the perspective of our ancient near east writer, and the second set of 3 days describe the filling of that structure. In this view, the time element is different in each 3 day segment and overlapping. The days then represent units of work or epochs of varying length.

    But this is very broad brush. Folks like Karlton will be quick to point out the ‘order’ of creation for the animals is still ‘wrong’. He will not accept that in describing the animals in terms of the created element the fill (water/firmament/land), the time element is irrelevant.

    But you see again, what is important here is not the mechanical or the temporal, but the domain and dominion of the creature. You see the creation described as 3 primary domains created from the chaos, the waters, the firmament, and the land. And then the animals are made in terms of the domain they fill.

    Again, looking at these correlations it is obvious the primary purpose of this book was not to fulfill the 21st century need for technical physical and temporal information. The language of the text is that of the Ancient Middle Eastern writer, it is targeting his culture and his way of looking at the world, and it is first communicating to him that these things his contemporaries worship (sea/sky/land) are created things, as are the things which fill them (sun/moon/stars/animals/fish/birds). To try to map this into a 20th century science text is folly, and to call God a liar because He chose to communicate these truly important spiritual truths through the language of the culture is heresy.


  71. Zeta,

    Sorry I can’t agree with you. If the Bible had said something to the effect of “God created all that we see and experience, the lights in the heavens, the birds of the air, all manner of living things, the rocks and mountains and oceans and He took special loving care in His creation of man and woman.”

    THEN I would agree that it was symbolic, He was simply trying to convince them of His creative ability and love. But that is NOT what He did. He wrote a detailed timeline, On the first day..On the second day…etc. and the timeline is incorrect. He created man from the dust of the ground and woman from one of his ribs. The order and the days are not needed to convey His creative ability, therefore one must assume they are present, because we are meant to believe they are accurate and true.

  72. The great truth of Genesis 1 and 2 for the people of Israel, from whenever they first heard it (do we even know when that was?) until the coming of the Christ is this:

    Everything anyone else worshiped, sun, moon, stars, sex, trees, mountains, seas, etc. etc., was created and put into place by YHWH, the God of the Israelites. I include sex because there were several fertility religions that caused great trouble, and Genesis 1 and 2 clearly include God’s command to reproduce, hence sex.

    We also need to keep in mind that the ancient Hebrew script did not have vowels and did not include spaces between the words, so that translation is an interesting task — you have to figure where to break the words and what vowel to insert and where. And the choice by the translator is ALWAYS influenced by his or her preconceptions of the text and goals of translation. Hence the KJV is very hierarchical and patriarchal, as the translators were employed by and beholden to a divine right king.

  73. Dee, or Deb:

    Do you have a link or an address where I can find the Hugh Ross v. Ken Ham debate?



  74. Karlton,

    In general, there is no reason for an atheist to think any statement in scripture that references the ancient cosmologies of the day is nothing more than men speaking what men think. You do not believe God was behind the text, and so seeing things like this (of which there are many) does nothing but confirm your conception of the Bible as being written by men.

    But many evangelical Christians accept that God spoke to the people of the day often in the context of their culture, even allowing the use of common idioms and expression that on a superficial level communicate some technical falsehood to gain direct access to the target audience in a way the communicates clearly the targeted truth. This is the concept of accommodation, and while it perhaps results in a bit of a sticky conundrum for the most extreme definition of inerrancy, it does not imply there is falsehood in the scripture itself or God’s message to us. And it does not imply Scripture is not Gods inspired Word. It simply means we need understanding in terms of how God has chosen to reveal His message to us.

    What I have been trying to do is get you to acknowledge that from the perspective of faith, that there is no reason to think that such references necessarily imply God was not involved. And I think I have laid out a fairly good explanation or set of possible renderings of the text that allow them to be God’s intention as they are without them being some kind of ‘lie’.

    To this point you will not acknowledge the validity of those views given an a priori starting point of faith, and I have to wonder if there isn’t more here going on than just an issue of logic. You seem very intent on painting these scriptures as either necessarily lies or texts not God breathed – and I am telling you there are many other possibilities that those stark two positions.

    But your position IS the same position as those that rabidly promote Young Earth. They think exactly as you do, and that is why they are willing to twist science to the degree they do to try as hard as they possibly can to show Genesis 1 is a literal description of how God made the universe.

    But I don’t buy it from either of you folks. There is no reason to assume that Genesis 1 must necessarily be some kind of science text or it is false. Further, I think on some level you must acknowledge that too, because the basic questions I asked at the beginning of our conversation remain unanswered. If God intended for this text to be about what ARCE above articulated, and not a science text, and if the original audience understood that directly, then you have no case at all. This is painfully obvious, but something you have yet to admit.

    Now understand I would not expect you to admit the text necessarily is as I’ve described it (though it seems pretty obvious those elements are all there) – proof of such a thing would be difficult if not impossible. But you should at least be able to admit that IF that was God’s original intent, the text would not be some kind of lie.

    But I think that admission would be troubling to you, and that is why I can’t extract it. If such a thing were reality, then there is no reason to abandon faith over Genesis 1. Why not just accept that? Why not come back to faith as a result 😉

    And yes Karlton, I do hope you one day return to the faith. And I do sincerely hope our discussions may play some small part in facilitating that. Know that even though we disagree, I respect your points, your discussion, your reasoning power. And though it can be frustrating at times – likely for both of us – I do not regard our disagreements as personal in any way.


  75. This is a great comment thread… I just want to thrown in the notions of paradoxes (which I think Zeta has already mentioned) and capital-m Mystery, as Roman Catholics and other high-church folks (like yours truly) sometimes refer to essentials of the faith – thus stating that we believe certain things that are beyond our ability to fully understand or reason out…(thus implying that we are limited and finite, and that neither God nor the universe in which we dwell is fully comprehensible by “reason” alone.)

    Is anyone here a fan of Flannery O’Connor’s writing, by any chance? She’s helpful to me, in that she deals so much in paradoxes and Mystery. I think that sometimes allusive and poetic language is the only thing serves us well, in terms of trying to make sense of life, faith and more. (Also that this is true for all people, no matter what they believe or don’t believe.)

    I’m also not certain why monotheism per se is necessarily more prone to abuse (etc.) than polytheism, animism, Buddhism (in all its forms), Jainism, and other religions/types of religions that I’m leaving off the list here. While I don’t want to get into that debate here, I do think it’s worth mentioning, for the simple fact that people of *all* faiths (and none) seem to have used religion as a means to harm and oppress – even enslave and kill – other human beings. World history makes me skeptical about monotheistic religions being inherently “worse” in that respect – when we decide that we need justification for war, conquest, slavery and all other forms of oppression, we’re all pretty good at coming up with reasons that justify our actions. (cf Bob Dylan’s song “With God on Our Side.”)

  76. P.S.: I’d like to note that I’m including political systems (like fascism and certain kinds of Soviet political beliefs – Stalinism in particular) under “religion,” if only because belief in these systems produced what the Soviets so aptly named “cult(s) of personality.” (The leader – Hitler, Stalin, whoever – becomes a kind of deity to his/her followers.)

  77. Great discussion here by all. It’s nice to be given a chance to think and be challenged in matters of substance.

    Kudos to you, Deb & Dee, for fostering such an environment.

  78. Zeta

    You made the statement in your post that:

    “This is the concept of accommodation, and while it perhaps results in a bit of a sticky conundrum for the most extreme definition of inerrancy, it does not imply there is falsehood in the scripture itself or God’s message to us. ”

    What exactly is an “extreme definition of inerrancy”, it sounds very much like people who describe their girlfriends as “a little bit pregnant” or “almost a virgin”. Either the book is inerrant (no mistakes) or it isn’t…there isn’t a middle ground.

    J.N.D. Kelly, Principal of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, England, an acknowledged international authority on patristic Christian thought has said in his book on Early Christian Doctrines:

    “The greatest of Latin exegetes, Jerome, though in his later days he became suspicious of allegorism, accepted Origen’s three senses of Scripture, deeming that recourse to the spiritual meaning was made necessary by the anthropomorphisms, inconsistencies and incongruities in which the Bible abounded…so in other words, had Scripture been inerrant Jerome probably wouldn’t have accepted an allegorical hermeneutic.”

    I am not alone in my persistance, here is a section of an article published in the Concordia Theological Quarterly (Volumn 47:1 1977).

    There is nothing to suggest that Genesis 1-3 is an illustrative story or that its main terms are symbolical. There is no suggestion that what happens in this section of Genesis repeats itself or can be repeated by or in the hearer. This is the case with some parables. Some parables are analogies of once-and-for-all time experiences. The killing of the son of the owner of the vineyard by the vineyard workers is a case in point. But behind every such analogy there is a clear and somewhat extensive historical account. In the case cited, it would be the crucifixion of Jesus and the promise of the destruction of Jerusalem. This is hardly the case with Genesis 1-3. If it is suggested that Genesis 1:3-2:25 is a parable based on the fact recorded in Genesis 1:1-2, then this would be a case where God appears as God in the record of the fact and in the parabolic interpretation. But where is such an approach used elsewhere in the Scriptures? Compare the vineyard workers who kill the son. God is not mentioned by name in that case. If Genesis 3 is an illustrative story about the fall into sin, then where is the fact that forms the basis for the alleged parable? If the fact behind the alleged parable of Genesis 3 is the sinful condition of every person, then what about the person who has no first-hand experience of sin in his life?

    It will also hardly do to consider the terms in Genesis 1-3 to be symbolical as is typical with most parables. If “day” and “serpent” are symbols, then there is no reason for not considering “God” a symbolical term. “God” then would be a symbol for a great truth behind the word “God.” This option has already been taken by some. Paul Tillich would say that the word “God” is the symbol for ultimate reality and that symbols can and do and should change. To focus on the symbol “God” without going behind it to the true reality, the ultimate reality, is idolatry. Schubert Ogden says that “God” is as much symbol, here defined as myth, as are the miracles or any part of Scriptures. We are now faced with an either-or situation. Either the entire account is symbolical, including the reference to God, or the account is historical or real, not only in the section referring to God but also the section dealing with the serpent. At this point it would be easier to take a grand leap of faith and say “all or nothing.” This might satisfy those who are committed to historical revelation, but will it satisfy anyone else? If we bring in faith here as judge, have we not surrendered the historical mooring for our position? The question should be answered on the basis of Genesis 1-3, if at all possible.

    Genesis 1:1-2:3 contains references to things that were real or factual in the time of the ancient Hebrews and which continue to be real down to our time. Light, darkness, day, night, sun, moon, stars, seasons, birds, fish, male, female, all have real-and not symbolical existence. Paul’s sermons to Gentiles (Acts) are based on the fact of creation, as is Jesus’ theological explanation of marriage. In Paul’s sermons he assumes that his hearers agree with him that there is a creation. He then argues back to the creator God. Paul’s arguments for morality and belief in God in Romans 1-2 make this same assumption. Here we are getting into a more profound subject. But let it be said simply that theology depends on history. Paul’s call to conversion and belief in God, i.e., theology, is based on a historical creation, e.g., Genesis 1:1-2:3. The creation we experience today is the same creation as that of Genesis l. If our world is real, then so (must be) the one in Genesis 1.

    The same consideration must be given Genesis 2:4-3:24. Five verses, 2:10-14, give us geographical information about Eden. But in an allegorical or other type of illustrative story this information would have no place because illustrative stories do not happen in geographical places but only in the mind of the storyteller. The author’s clear intent is that we should consider this section also as being historical. Reference could also be made to the genealogies which provide the literary skeleton of the book of Genesis. Thus, the Jews in Egypt (Genesis 50 – Exodus 1) have a direct historical connection to Adam and Eve and they in turn to heaven and earth. It is impossible that genealogies should connect history and symbolical existence.

    The larger problem still to be explored is that of determining the use of history and illustrative story in Hebrew literature in general. Responding to this problem would involve a comparison of the myths of Baal with the accounts of the real historical involvement of God with Israel. Elijah’s sarcastic jabs at Baal’s vacation seem to be a protest against the use of myth in theology. Our immediate concern, however, is with Genesis 1-3. Using the usual literary yardsticks to distinguish history from illustrative stories, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that we are dealing with anything else than a purely historical account.

  79. Hi, Karlton,
    Yes, Virginia, there are different definitions of “inerrancy”. I think most people would make a distinction between an error and an incomplete fact. One can say that the value of pi is 3.14, which is an incomplete fact (an approximation, and thus not precisely true), but not what one usualy thinks of as an error. If someone states that the sky is blue, we don’t consider it an error that they have not expounded on the technical aspects of the refraction of specific wavelengths of light and how that is perceived by the human optical system. When we say that the sun rises in the east, it would be a mistake to consider it an error just because we’re communicating in phenomenological terms rather than in scientific terms. It would also be a mistake to accuse a speaker of lying just because he knew that the hearer did not have a full grasp of information which was (perhaps intentionally) not communicated by the speaker.

    Much of human communication is imprecise and can be considered “untrue” or “erroneous” when additional information or perspectives are taken into account, which leads some to the conclusion that all “truth” is relative. From this we could get into epistomoligcal considerations, which can lead to endless regression without ultimate conclusion. So rather than focus on what the meaning of “is” is, I think it would be helpful to step back and look at the truths being communicated by the Bible in terms of their historical and cultural context, as Zeta has been doing.

    As one who takes the Genesis accounts as conveying both general spiritual truths and actual historical reality (at least in some form), I agree with most of the comments you quoted from the Concordia Theological Quarterly article. But I also concur with Zeta’s assessment that the order and categorization of the events outlined in the creation days are intended to convey a comparison and contrast to the gods of the Egyptions and other near Eastern peoples. I see nothing in the literal wording of Genesis nor the cultural/ligngustic context that necessitates the creation days be taken as chronologically sequential. As Dee and others have intimated, when dealing with an omnipotent being that created and transcends our notions of space-time, the mechanics and specifics may be a conglomeration of perspectives about which we simply do not currently possess enough knowledge.

    We each have to make sense of things according to the dictates of our own conscience, and I commend you, Zeta, and everyone here for putting so much thought into these matters.

  80. Karlton,

    You last post will likely require more time than I have tonight to address. In this post I’m just going to bite off one small piece:

    From your quoted source: Concordia Theological Quarterly (Volumn 47:1 1977)

    “There is nothing to suggest that Genesis 1-3 is an illustrative story or that its main terms are symbolical.”

    I could not disagree more. There are indeed a host of elements in Genesis 1 that cry out ‘symbolism’, but they are not necessarily based on the apparent literary genre. IOW, the author of your article has assumed that one should be able, from the text alone, to discern its proper categorization. And I think Genesis 1 is one of the texts in scripture that tosses that assumption on its head.

    The text of Genesis 1 slams itself up against reality in a way that demands we read it differently than as literal history. But we discover that only by understanding the cultural context in which it was written, and by understanding the nature of the physical reality of the universe itself. It can’t be derived from the text alone.

    Take, for example, the early description of God dividing the waters from the waters and creating a firmament which separated the waters above from the waters below. Recognizing the way the people of the time understood the cosmos to be, and recognizing the real structure of the universe and the Earth’s placement in it, we must accept one of two options: God is speaking through the cultural imagery of the time in describing creation, or this books is not inspired at all and simply represents a human attempt to explain creation.

    Further, when we look at how the entire text is constructed we can see plainly that it very nicely parallels certain Babylonian and Egyptian creation narratives. This opens up an entirely NEW possibility for this text – that is was a polemic against those same narratives and the polytheistic systems they supported. That it is a new creation narrative with ties to the old in a sense of being familiar to what was already understood, but antithetical to them on every point, pointing the reader AWAY from the pagan religions of their past and toward a completely new way of conceptualizing God and the created order.

    But we don’t get there in our time without first understanding the culture and the nature of the universe itself. Those two key elements must be in place before we can pick out this key connection.

    And so the problem with your source is that its basic assumption is just obviously, painfully false. If God communicates to us through phenomenal text, if he allows his truths to be communicated through the language and idioms of a culture, without violating the personal integrity and knowledge of the writer, then, especially in literature describing things totally outside the scope and knowledge of the writer himself, we must clearly understand the culture and knowledge of the writer so we can translate what has been said into our own culture and knowledge base.

    And I think this basic issue is fundamental to resolving this issue in the church. As long as people think they should be able to ignore these obvious issues and figure out from the text alone how it should be interpreted, we will have fertile soil for the Ken Ham’s of the world to sell their fantasy pseudo scientific literature. And fertile soil on the other side of the ballpark for the Dawkins’ of the world to convince people the scripture is not Divinely inspired.


  81. Just finished reading this entire thread. Very interesting stuff and enjoyable read. As a YECer (though see it as definitely a secondary issue) I find this whole debate fascinating.

  82. If God had wanted to write a technically accurate description of how he created the universe, the Bible would have had to start with a number of volumes of math, then Physics, etc. which very few people could understand, and to what end?
    He wants us to know that He did it. He gave us a poetic description of how he did it. (Yes, I know some people want to say it is not poetry… it is CERTAINLY NOT prose.) This form is used to give descriptions of things that are not easily understood – in metaphor, etc.

  83. Junkster,

    You said, ” I see nothing in the literal wording of Genesis nor the cultural/ligngustic context that necessitates the creation days be taken as chronologically sequential.”

    I do not understand…how can “On Day 1, Day 2 Day 3, etc. NOT be considered chronological. What possible other purpose could there be in specifying what happened on which day?

  84. Joey

    Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a nice YEC in the presence of us OE/TE. I was beginning to lose hope. You made my day.

  85. Junkster

    Thank you for your encouraging words. Frankly, I needed that. I have gotten a couple of emails that have not been, shall we say, gracious. I pray that Christians will learn what not to fight about.

  86. Junkster
    Tell your family to give Bill a call one day and let him know that they are related to he one and only Junkster!

  87. Junkster

    PS-Im enjoying The Event since its return. Its a little more action and a lot less “remembering.”

  88. Dee,

    Glad I could cheer you up!

    As a side note Karlton, you should reconvert to Christianity, you would make a good YECer.

    Zeta, you have clearly thought about this a lot more than me and I appreciate your thorough answers to Karlton. Obviously I side with the perspective that it would pretty tricky of God to state something (through flawed humans, but nonetheless state something) that the original recipients would have had no way of knowing that it didn’t mean what it seemed. In other words, if God had wanted to communicate the actual order of creation, and the actual timeframe with which he created…how could he have done so more clearly (other than have the human author add “and this refers to an actual day, it is not a vague indicator of the passage of some timeframe unknown. And the order I am writing for the days was the actual order”)? It just seems far fetched to me, but like I indicated before, this is certainly not an area of expertise for me. And your comments about the other creation accounts of the time have me wanting to do some research.

  89. Joey

    I prefer to state I am a Christian and give a few heresy hunters a run for their money.

    Wait until you read Zeta and the explanation for the days. You will rarely get to talk with someone as well-versed as he on this debate.

  90. Joey,

    Thanks for the compliment, i think 🙂

    I actually think the YEC movement has more going for it in terms of logical consistency when reading the Bible than the more moderate or liberal theologies…even if the end result is a scientific absurdity.

  91. RE: @ Dee says:
    Sat, Apr 02 2011 at 09:17 pm

    No worries Dee, Muff is just my nom de plume from Twain, it could just as well have been Stymie or Spanky (not from Twain).

    So you struggled with differentiation (integration can get even nastier) huh? Trust me, you are NOT alone, we all did. I perceive that you are a very intelligent soul and that much of your struggle with derivatives was NOT from lack of talent, but rather the direction that Mathematics education has taken over the last 45 yrs.

    I know it’s a bit off topic, but indulge me for just a moment here. Math education has gone down a path of ever increasing abstract rigor at the expense of actual how-to-do algorithms. Even at the secondary level, students receive precious little on the actual how-to’s of Math but are inundated with the why’s and where fore’s. By the time they get to upper division Math courses required for their undergrad majors, they are ill prepared for what awaits them. Factor in everything else they have to do, as many as 3 papers, and God knows how many lab reports to complete; and it’s no wonder that many students wind up like the Wehrmacht at Stalingrad by the time 3rd semester Calculus rolls around.

    Am I suggesting that we abandon rigor in favor of an algorithmic approach to Math education? Perish the thought! Abstract rigor forms the bedrock of modern Mathematics. What I am saying however is that we need to readjust our fulcrum between the two. End of rant.

  92. No response to my comment about the original Hebrew writing — no vowels and no spaces???? Therefore a lot of human thinking in the translation process, subjecting it to all of the things to which human thinking is prone: preconceptions, biases, etc., etc..

  93. Joey

    One thing I like about this blog is that folks like Zeta and a few others have read extensively all of the actual science studies on Ham’s site and can explain why they are easily disproven. That is why Ham does not allow for outside review. The sad thing about AIG is that it attracts a lot of people who do not understand why the science is poor. They then use these studies to debate in the outside world (OH-outside Ham) and are shocked when the studies do not stand up to scientific scrutiny. So then they have to accuse people of “hiding evidence that the earth is young.” Conspiracy theories are the only way to fall back.

    Sadly, they do not know that one can still be a believer when one is OE/TE.So they begin to defend Ham like they are defending Jesus and the evidence for Scripture. They become scared that the faith goes if the studies go. That is a false paradigm set up by Ham and few others. That is a misrepresentation of the faith and causes needless pain. Like the time my Sunday school class got invaded by a bunch of people who fit into the above category.

    However, I have no problem if YE is what people want to believe. But when they start slinging charges of heresy or other epithets at wonderful, deeply committed Christians, then they have gone off message and harm, needlessly, the cause of Christ. Then they get people like me mad and then I have to write blogs on Ham instead of dealing with other more important issues like James Dean 🙂

  94. Joey,

    Here we have the scientific Christians…they only believe in virgin births, coming back from the dead, walking on water and turning water into wine..not all that silly non-scientific stuff.


  95. Joey,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I think the question that needs asking is why would the Israelites, who spent 400 years in Egypt, NOT have recognized a poetic creation epic that paralleled the pagan religions they just left behind but taught them all the pagan deities where things YHWH made as being a polemic against what they just left behind?


  96. @ arce: Yep on the no vowel markings. I have heard this from Jewish friends who are very Hebrew-literate

    And honestly, translation of anything is a difficult process, full of pitfalls for the unwary… and I’m talking about my (very limited) experience with *ad copy* here!

    Poetry is infinitely more difficult; cannot really imagine what it must be like to attempt to translate ancient languages (or more ancient forms of current languages) into contemporary vernacular in a way that makes sense.

    As an aside, the late novelist Reynolds Price published his own superb “reading” (for narrative0 translations of the snyoptic Gospels under the title “Three Gospels.” I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in language, Scripture – and in a literate yet “easy read” translation of some of the Gospels. (Price was not a “believer” per se but was brought up in church and loved the Bible – as text, as narrative, as literature and – I think – as more than that.)

  97. Arce

    Thank you for weighing in on this subject. Your information is very important for dogmatic YE to consider. I understand that so many of them want to be faithful to the Scriptures. However, what Ham has effectively done is to create a them/us situation. Hamites are faithful/we who think differently are not.

    What makes me so sad is that these folks actually believe, with their whole heart and soul, that people like us are destroying the faith. They do not see the joyful, deep and thoughtful faith of those who think differently.

    Isn’t this the way of mankind? We form factions and fight because we want to think that we are the “real”Christians. In some respects some of these folks are working for their salvation. If they can prove to God how faithful they are, they will be favored children.

    I see God as big and mysterious. His creation is beyond anything than I can fully comprehend. I know He did it but I know I will never be able to explain it. However, science is a window into small aspects of his creation. WhO would have thought that ugly mold would hold penicillin? But, just because we have discovered penicillin does not mean we understand fully this creation.

    I think God smiles as we grow and discover new and different things of His universe. It is too bad when some people think they need to limit what He did based on a few words that have many meanings. But, life is like this. There are those who literally view the word and then there are those who see the poetry. I prefer those who see the poetry.

    Oh, for all those literalists out there who think I compromise the Word, you couldn’t be further from the truth.

  98. Junkster,

    There is a difference between precision and accuracy. Giving out the number Pi as 3.14 is accurate, but not precise. You wouldn’t be wrong or it would not be considered to be a lie to say Pi equals 3.14, however if you were to say that Pi equal 3.14158 you WOULD be wrong, even though more precise because it is actually 3.14159

    In the same way, if God says “I created all things in heaven and earth”, it is not a very detailed description, but it is not necessarily incorrect , however when He lists things in chronological order, and that order is, as far as anyone can tell, incorrect…then He is wrong.

  99. Karlton,

    It is not necessarily HIM being wrong. But, specifically for the Pentateuch (and, to some extent, the early historical books), the process from the initial inspiration, through generations of oral tradition, into writing while in exile in a language without vowels or spaces between words (so that meaning depends on where you put the spaces — determining which words are in the old text — and what vowels you insert — further interpreting which words are there), thence from what must be considered a presumed Old Hebrew text, then translation into a more modern language, all the while heavily influenced by the Septuagint translation into Greek, thence into Latin, thence to the KJV, which has influenced all subsequent translators. And further, considering the total lack of scientific knowledge by all but the most recent translators, so that the terminology was limited to that available to primitive peoples.

    So, if the details of the message we have today does not match the science, perhaps it has to do with all the filtering and translating, language limitations, transcription errors, etc., and not with the original message.

    BTW, not all evangelical Christians believe in Plenary Dictational Inspiration (my term for that concept) or any other form of dictation-like inspiration of the scripture. But I still hold a high value on the truth of the Bible — theological truth, not literal.

  100. Arce,

    While things can be lost in translation, they are rarely “added”, especially when you consider the how important this job of copying was to the Hebrews…this was God’s word. I find it impossible to believe for example, that the daily chronology of creation was added via translation error.

    Also keep in mind that when we speak of the “inspiration of scripture” we are talking about when it was first committed to writing…not the oral tradition that preceded it.

  101. Arce: exactly. There are MANY issues here. Too many to declare the text either a lie or uninspired. There are issues, but none so start as that.

    Plenary inspiration, as I have said, has its own problems. It is itself a paradox. How does God not violate the intellect of the writer writing about something the writer doesn’t know anything about without direct dictation?


    Ok – time for a reality check.

    This text looks very much like it was adapted from an Egyptian or Babylonian creation epic, but with significant shifts which rip apart the associated pantheon and puts those pagan gods in their rightful place as created things, man as Gods crowning achievement, and God as creator of it all. This then is likely its primary purpose. But you are all concerned about the technical details along the way. So here is where the rubber meets the road.

    Now we know that God allows for phenomenal writing, writing from the observed perspective of the writer. Joshua’s long day is the classic example, sun and moon are described as stopping, accurate observation, but no insight into the mechanism. We also know God does not tend to inject special knowledge of nature into His revelation, He allows the use of cultural idioms in the description of nature, even if they are perhaps not accurate. So, when the creation of the heavens and earth are described in this polemic, they will be described in terms of the phenomenal, cultural understanding of what they are – firmament/waters above/below etc. So no ‘lie’ or ‘ divine error’ there.

    So that leaves the time aspect, days. But we know time is not a constant. certain frames of reference exists that could easily see various epochs of the universe which in our reference frame are billions of years long simply as a ‘day’. God being outside time can rightly chose any or multiple time frames from which to describe His work. The Jewish word Yom can mean anything from a part of a day to a full day. So, no ‘lie’ involved in the arbitrary choice of ‘day’ as a unit of work, and further, given that God in Exodus uses this choice to help us understand HOW we should structure our own work according to OUR reference frame, it makes perfect sense.

    And now to the order of creation. Even plenary (the most restrictive) inspiration allows the writer to be poetic in his descriptions, so ordering the creation account as a parallel account where days 1 to 3 created the perceived cosmos (phenomenally rendered) and days 4-6 fill it, is well within the stylistic freedom allowed by God in His inspired writer. So no ‘lie’ there.

    And so we get to the ‘order’ issue of fish and birds and land animals. Well Karl, in terms of ‘phenomenal’ or ‘stylistic’ rendering we really have two options. One (stylistic) is that the order isn’t so much the point to the AME mindset, as it is the filling – fish fill the waters, birds fill the sky, animals fill the land. (PLants bridge the order in that they are alive but do not move/are structural, so they appear at the end of day 3 bridging into day 4). The second is phenomenal, in that the created life is described in time order but in terms of its living representative: fish -> fish, dinosaurs -> birds, mammals -> land animals. Not precise, but accurate. And of course, Man is last – which again is accurate.

    So Karlton – please show me where the ‘lie’ is in Genesis 1.


  102. I think that the act of writing the oral tradition down was inspired, but the inspiration of content was the original, primordial story. Otherwise, any relationship between the oral tradition and the first written content would suggest yet another influence inimical to 100% fidelity to the inspired content. And we know that there are many, many transcription errors that occurred during the time the monks were scrivening copies of the bible in Latin, and they believed they were copying the inspired Word of God.

    Please don’t push human transcription and translation errors into a necessity that God misreported creation. There are too many alternate theories of how we came to have an account that does not reflect scientific knowledge, most of which leave God innocent of any fault for the discrepancy. Further, the purpose of the text at the time given was not scientific accuracy, but theological, including the idea that everything everyone ever worshiped, other that the God of the Israelites, was created by the God of the Israelites.

  103. correction – yom can mean anything from a part of a day to an ‘epoch’ (I said ‘full day’, oops)

    Arce – where you addressing any specific comment or post in your last post above or was it just a general comment?


  104. I think the whole idea of “time” itself is something we need to think about here – nobody had atomic clocks back then, or watches with second hands, or… so I have to wonder if our current (cultural) understanding of time as both linear and divisible was something ancient peoples believed in?

    I kinda think “not,” but that’s just me… 😉

  105. Numo

    I went to a class in which African Christians explained their concept of time. They believed life was a circle, constantly renewing and repeating itself. I am so linear that I didn’t get it. I bet you would, however. All you math whiz types out there can probably explain it. I just accept what they said.

  106. @ Dee: Ha! A “math whiz” I’m not – I had awful difficulty with arithmetic (after “the new math” curriculum was introduced in the mid 60s) and don’t even know how to do fractions.

    I do get – on a very, very simplistic level – the idea that time could be cyclical (not linear = not in a straight line), though. I guess it’s all those sci-fi TV shows I’ve been watching since I was a kid – time (and all that jazz) seems to come up pretty regularly in the storylines.

  107. @ Dee again: meant to ask above – where did the African folks come from? There are so many cultures over there – really mind-boggling!

  108. RE: numo says: @ Tue, Apr 05 2011 at 02:31 pm:

    Germane to the discussion, PBS had an excellent special on the mysteries of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. What had been dismissed for many years by some academics as merely the religious buildings of the ancient Pueblo Peoples, has recently been shown to be a very sophisticated astronomical observation complex based on lunar & solar cycles.

    The precision with which it was laid out is astonishing, and forces us to re-evaluate what we give the ancient Meso-American peoples credit for knowing.

  109. There is a place in west Texas called Paint Rock, which is a very small town, somewhat near San Angelo. There, along a rock bluff, are rock paintings that correlate to the equinoxes and solstices, with images like a dagger of sun that touches the figure of a man only on the particular day. Highly accurate. I have not been there in 7 or 8 years, but there was a woman there who could tell you about it, demonstrate how the colors were made, etc. The paintings are pre-columbian.

  110. Muff

    I worked for the Navajo Tribe for 2 years. I know Chaco Canyon like the back of my hand. Even back then, I heard stories from some of the locals who said that it was a place that combined the spirituality of their pagan faith with the stars. The Navajos are excellent trackers via the heavens. I used to hike and do picnics at Chaco Canyon on weekends.It was about an hour from my apartment. You had to access it on a dirt road. I bet its paved now. The areas we used to walk in are off limits since it has become more protected. Good, good memories.

  111. Navajo (and other) carvings + Chaco Canyon: wow!

    What I was trying to say was less about this kind of thing (observation of sun, moon and stars) and more about thinking of time as a straight line versus time as being cyclical.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but when I visualize time passing (in my head), I think of second and minute hands on a clock or watch. Guess that tells you how old I am, more or less! 😉

  112. numo
    I am your age and I think of time in the same way. I do not remember which African tribe I heard speak but, for some reason, I think it was in Kenya.

  113. Sandra

    Thank you for your kind comment. I am a big Hugh Ross fan! He is a true gentleman and puts me to shame with his soft spoken, kind demeanor. I heard him speak at Lattimer House in Birmingham last May. I even got to ask him a question!

  114. I recently had some dealings with a follower of Ken Ham. It reminded me of the saying “a fundamentalist is someone who is afraid of the truth”. The thing that really gets me is the way they disparage those who don’t agree with them and make YEC the foundation on which everything rests. I’m pleased that Ham was given the boot – it’s good that the organisers have shown some courage and integrity.

  115. Peter

    Welcome to the club of those abused by the YEC crazies. Talk about a cult!!! Ken Ham is responsible for setting up this climate. Shame on him.

  116. Hi Dee, I tend to avoid such people as they don’t respond to reason. KJV-only is a similar “cult”.

    Reading your post again, I note that Ham has taken the same approach of many other christian “entrepreneurs” – start a “ministry”, and use it as a (very large) meal ticket for yourself and your family. There’s hundreds of similar things – preachers, TV networks, churches, publishers, etc etc. It really worries me, not just because of the lack of accountability and nepotism, but also because ministry becomes money-driven, and that brings about corruption.

    One could say this about SGM – it’s a business that exists for the benefit of the pastors.

  117. Peter

    I think the basic problem is the church’s attitude towards CHristians, especially pastors. Not one of us has given up our propensity to sin, no matter how long we have been Christians. Yet, it appears people are “shocked” when pastors molest, view porn, and use the ministry as a personal bank. And pastors and Christians leaders have solidified this position by pointing to the sin outside the church, thereby engendering cries of hypocrisy when the sin eventually percolates to the top. I am going on a rant about this in today’s post.

    Christians should be the FIRST to acknowledge our sin problem and put checks and balances into the system in order to spot the problem as it develops, and it WILL develop.

    Bite your tongue on the KJVO folks. They occasionally bombard this blog with their nonsense. Unlike the YEC folks, they will go away if you insult them.The yRC people cry crocodile tears if you respond strongly because they are the only ones allowed to insult everyone else. It is part of the Flintstone Doctrine.

  118. I just want to pick up on your mention of “checks and balances”. This is essential. I’ve recently been looking into Mark Driscoll and, quite apart from his language and sexism, he’s created an authoritarian church structure that basically gives him a job for life and the accountability of a third-world dictator. You know, I could never be in a church where the people who give their time and money do not have some say in who their leaders are and what decisions are made.

  119. Peter

    We have written several posts on Mark Driscoll. His demeanor, Scriptural interpretation, and arrogance are most disconcerting. I think he was beat up by some kids growing up and he is getting his revenge. What astonishes me is the attention he garners from the Calvinistas. I guess so long as you agree with all 5 Points, are a radical complementarian, and ask John Piper to autograph your Bible, you are OK in their book.

    Forget his ridiculous exegesis of the Song of Solomon, his foul mouth, his pugilistic demeanor, his derogatory view of those who disagree with his mandates regarding women, and his rather bizarre controlling behavior of his wife (self admitted). So long as guys with tattoos who up at his church, he is doing the work of the Lord.

    Here is my prediction. Driscoll is going to do something majorly wrong one day and the Reformed crowd will pretend to be shocked.