Is Intelligent Design really just Old Earth Creationism?

I got this astute blog comment from Frank Morris:

“I was so impressed by your debate with Stephen Meyer that I finally bought your Evolution 2.0 book. I can’t wait to read it to see how it compares with my own journey getting kicked around by hostile Darwinians on blogs as I continued to question their seemingly crazy theory.

“Stephen Meyer, on the other hand, was profoundly disappointing. I rejected ID over 10 years ago, but I always thought that, in principle, the concept of ID accepted any form of intelligent cause, not just the God answer. The reality of cellular intelligence has forced the Discovery Institute to expose their bluff. Dr. Meyer seems to be trying to change it from ID to OD, a step up to Omniscient Design.

“He’s wrong. Omniscient means all-knowing. Cells, who are clearly rearranging their own genomes, are very intelligent, but not omniscient.

“Cells are not gods, as another responder suggested. They are intelligent little critters trying their best to survive, but they don’t simply know all things by omniscience. They use internal homeostatic systems, environmental monitoring systems and intercellular communication to establish their needs and responses to need. So they need to SEEK information about their external and internal status, which means they don’t just magically know all things. On top of that is the lack of the perfection one would expect of omniscience. Thanks for the article.”

I replied back to Frank:

Bingo, Frank, you hit it right on the head. YES YES YES YES.

You would think that “intelligent design” simply should have meant that the same principles employed in engineering, music, architecture etc. are also at work in living systems, so therefore life cannot be understood in purely reductionist terms. One would have thought that the ID crowd simply wanted the world to embrace an holistic understanding of nature. And that they would be happy for us to have done that.

The Discovery Institute people are NOT happy with my view of biology, where the intelligence resides in the cells. They consider that heresy.

What this debate shows is that Intelligent Design a la Discovery Institute is actually Old Earth Creationism. Also, my debates with Stephen Meyer have also made it clear to me that a large number of Discovery Institute supporters are actually Young Earth Creationists.

You are right on the money sir. This is why ID as it currently defines itself will never become accepted by the majority of scientists. A scientist must discover natural processes using the scientific method. That is his job. Otherwise, no paycheck.

One time I said to one of the Discovery Institute employees: “James Shapiro at the University of Chicago has a decent fighting chance of getting his view of evolution accepted by the academy, because his approach is entirely compatible with the scientific method. But your version will never be accepted by mainstream science. Ever.”

In November the Royal Society Meeting showed that Shapiro, Noble, Jablonka and the other Third Way scientists are making admirable headway in getting their program accepted by the mainstream.

But at the end of the day the Discovery Institute, instead of healing the war between science and religion, is actually perpetuating it.

Yes, Frank, your understanding of cells is very much the same as mine.

Thanks for buying Evolution 2.0, I believe you will enjoy it. Welcome to the blog and don’t be a stranger.

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155 Responses

  1. Mike Bay says:

    Magnetic field has reversed many times. What’s your point ???

  2. Mike Bay says:
    This concept of virtual history is totally bogus. This makes God out to be a grand deceiver. Why would the Creator God create a virtual history??? What’s the point??? The author just says it and assumes the reader will swallow it hook, line and sinker. Just unreal. The concept is unreal and blatantly false… That’s my opinion… Is there any point discussing anything with someone who believes in Virtual History???… All of your calculator jazz with the Grand Canyon sediment layers is meaningless. Do you suppose there is a time element in virtual history. Come on… Your comment: “Why in the world would you let people believe the truth for thousands of years before finally trying to deceive them only in modern times?” So why would God deceive? God didn’t! The Genesis record never was intended to be a historical time record. It wasn’t until very recently that we figured out that the earth might be very, very old. And modern science has put numbers on this… The Genesis record simply says that God brought forth all of creation. That was good enough for people for thousands of years. They trusted God’s revelation that God Himself did the job. If God had revealed in Genesis the details, no one would have understood it. What? Did you expect God to tell us all about DNA and geologic layers and light year distances and all about the billions and billions of galaxies which each have billions of suns? Explain a billion to Moses. He probably could count to a hundred. There is no deception here… Try this. Explain to a 2 year old the ice ages. Sorry. Don’t even try. It is impossible. You can talk all day to a 2 year old about the ice ages… yes many ice ages occurred… and that 2 year old will understand none of it. I taught science for years and it was hard enough explaining what a cell wall was to 8th graders. What if I tried to explain all of the membrane ion pumping machines to them? To us these things seem simple. To the untrained they will make no sense at all… If Moses were writing Genesis today, well yes, there might have been more detail… Get educated. Google COBE. COBI was a landmark scientific endeavor. Reminds me about how Pluto was discovered. The astronomers didn’t just stumble onto Pluto. They observed discrepancies in the orbits on the outer planets and calculated what could be causing that. They calculated what the planet would be and where it would be. They trained the telescopes on that location and eureka, they found Pluto… With COBI they calculated what the background radiation should look like and then they devised observational devices and eureka, what they found measured up with their predictions. Read it for yourself. COBI has established beyond doubt that the universe is billions of years old. This is NOT virtual history. It is recorded history. It is recorded in the heavens for all to see… And the progression of the species has also been recorded in our DNAs. The Human Genome Project has been another landmark endeavor. Get familiar with it. Anyone writing in this blog should get familiar with it. The creationists must get familiar with it… I will in due time add my own research review regarding DNA history. It is recorded in our DNA that we are blood related to the lower primates. That doesn’t mean we evolved in a neoDarwinian sense. It just means we are connected.

    • Tom Godfrey says:

      Mike Bay,

      Who brought up the Grand Canyon? It was you, right? You evidently did this because you considered Grand Canyon evidence as a great illustration of your claim that my approach does not “jive with the historical record,” right? Well, I took up your challenge, explained why the evidence there is irrelevant in an evaluation of the Aardsma Flood model but could be a problem for people who believe that it took millions of years for the layers there to be deposited. Your reply is long, but what did you include to continue a discussion of the Grand Canyon evidence? I found just one sentence: “All of your calculator jazz with the Grand Canyon sediment layers is meaningless.” That was easy, Mike. If told you, “All your COBE jazz is meaningless,” would you be convinced that I had a good point? Would you consider agreeing with me on this basis alone? Nonsense, right? You would want a more serious discussion with good reasons to change your mind, right? Well, if so, I am like you. Dodging my “calculator jazz” by simply dismissing it is no way to change my mind.

      You also had comments about virtual history, and I appreciate your taking some time to consider the concept, but you failed to explain your claim, “This makes God out to be a grand deceiver.” To convince me, you need to point to some truth and show that God lied about it, if indeed virtual history is a valid concept. You asked, “Why would the Creator God create a virtual history??? What’s the point???” The answers should be obvious. This is like asking, “Why did Renoir put his artwork on flat surfaces?” What’s the point? In other words, if God performs a miracle of creation that leaves behind physical evidence, which tempts atheists to interpret it under their no-miracle presupposition, then a virtual history is inevitably created in the process. If you disagree, then please explain, for example, how Adam could have been created without any virtual history at all. How tall would he be? Would he have any DNA? Would he have an intestinal tract, and if so, would it be completely empty (or not) at the time of his creation? You could just say, “This exercise is meaningless,” of course, or repeat your unsubstantiated claim that the virtual history concept “is unreal and blatantly false,” but you would only be dodging the hard questions.

      Most of the rest of your recent comments might be only red herrings to divert attention away from the Grand Canyon evidence and the concept of virtual history, but you do seem to be very interested in the COBE topic. Just in case you want to concede on the issue we were supposed to be discussing and move on, I am willing to try again with a new topic. Have you seen this?
      The part about COBE is near the end of the chapter. Note that CBR stands for Cosmic Background Radiation.
      You claimed, “COB[E] has established beyond doubt that the universe is billions of years old.” Can you explain how the COBE evidence does this? Please specify the assumptions involved and why you believe they must be true. I am particularly interested in whether you accept the no-miracle presupposition when this evidence is analyzed and interpreted to draw a conclusion about the age of the universe.

  3. Mike Bay says:

    Sorry, it’s COBE.
    This is a starting point. Everyone should get familiar with COBE.
    The creationism movement really should get familiar with COBE. It’s hard to change our paradigms. Many have been thinking 10,000 years for so long it’s hard hard hard to envision an old earth. But give it a try. In my early days I too thought creation was very recent. But the sheer weight of the evidence changed my thinking… The deep level problem with creationists caught up in the young earth thinking is this. If the earth is old, then they think that neoDarwinian evolution must be true. They think it’s either a young earth and virtual history and all that or it’s Darwin’s evolution or some kind of evolution… by chance… and without the involvement of God. It’s too much! They think that they will be casting aside the validity of God’s Word. For them it’s God’s Word and an early universe or it’s the unthinkable chance occurance of life without God. I do not blame them! I understand their predicament. There are many inbetween theories that some will fall upon. Evolution plus God in many permutations. Most of these theories rely on chance… The ID movement has broken this. ID asserts that chance alone can not explain our origins. ID does not attempt to name any origin author. That is unfortunate. But then again I understand where they are coming from. Our guest host of this blog asserts that the matter itself is self directing. It’s a stab at removing chance and giving some credit to the Creator God… I think there is another paradigm. God has given us the ability to create. We envision things and then build them. I am envisioning how God may have built this creation. Any harm in that? I know that God stepped into space-time in the person of Christ. God became a man and walked among us. He died in a manner to pay the price for our separation from God. Many of the readers understand the details. I’ll move on. If God walked among us in space-time, is it so unreasonable to think that God interacted with his creation in a space-time manner? I am not going to speculate what form if any God took on to interact. Maybe God took on no form. When God parted the Red Sea for Israel God took on no form other than the pillar of fire. The presence of God was in the fire. How so? We don’t know. But he was present and he parted the Red Sea. If God can move the waters, is it so unreasonable to think that God could move and rearrange and built genetic code and regulatory molecules in a living being? And if God could do it once, is it son unreasonable to think God may have done it many times? I assert that Adam had a parent. But Adam was a new species. I assert that God put that parent to sleep and fashioned Adam from that parent’s genetic makeup. Maybe this occurred in the parent’s womb. Maybe the womb was the hand of God. Who is to know. But what I do know is that Adam carried the genetic record of that parent. And how do I know this. Because we the offspring of Adam carry the genetic record of the prehumans and primates that preceded Adam. We are connected. They say that we are virtually identical to some of the primates. That isn’t proof. The creationists claim that God used a master plan and poof created Adam using the same plan… But there is a problem with that… The primates carried a host of altered genetic information. Time has changed the genetic coding in all of the species. If the changes are severe, the organism dies or does not reproduce. But many changes are not terminal. Some changes affect system efficiencies. Some changes to coding have no observable changes in function. You in the field know what I’m talking about… We can tract many of these changes through the so-called tree of life. Many of those changes in the design that we see in pre-humans are seen in our own genes. We carry those changes. Call them errors. We have them. And we are talking about thousands of instances. This is widespread in our genetic record… The similarity of our DNA to the chimps doesn’t mean we progressed by chance from some chimp line or pre-chimp line. And it doesn’t mean God used the same plan to poof. A poofing Adam creation would not employ the very same errors found in the ancestors. The creationists claim that those errors are part of God’s perfect plan. But this falls apart under scrutiny… This is not about junk DNA. That is a different subject. Beside much of the so-called junk is now found to be regulatory DNA. I’m talking about the point mutations and replications and non-functioning genes that are in tandem with functioning genes… I will in due time cite the research. It’s in progress now…

  4. Mike Bay says:

    What got me thinking about this was the Genesis record of the creation of Eve. God put Adam to sleep and extracted biological material to create Eve. We are given no other details. But what a strange record. Sleep and extraction. Eve was a special creation and the foundation was Adam’s creation. The duo Adam and Eve were that last pieces in God’s creative activity. They were the final act. They were unique. They could commune with the living God. We have no evidence that any other created being has that capacity. And they were created to be creative. No other created being has the capacity to create that we humans have. Some primates have some rudimentary creative ability but it’s nothing compared with Adam and Eve’s. And Adam and Eve had the capacity to live eternally. That’s written between the lines. I know of no other living being that has that capacity… The Genesis record does not tell us much about the Creation. But there are hints of the process that God may have used…

  5. Mike Bay says:

    The YEC premise: if everything were to be made grown.

    How did YECists get this idea??

    I don’t believe they grabbed it out of thin air.

    Tell us the source for the concept “if everything were to be made grown”

    • Tom Godfrey says:

      Mike Bay,

      Can you find the aforesaid premise in any creationist article? For those of us who believe Genesis, we have to admit that it does not say (and we therefore cannot know) how “grown” everything was when it began to be created and when its day of creation was over. I certainly do not need or even just want to presuppose that everything was grown, if you mean fully grown. I imagine that mature trees were created along with saplings, for example, and grown hens, along with some who already had chicks under their care. Since Genesis does not provide such details, we are free to speculate, but we should not be dogmatic.

      On the other hand, please imagine the opposite, if it is possible. Could God create everything so that nothing was grown even just a little bit? Are you imagining a seed in a soil that had undergone no weathering at all? What would a newly created chicken look like in this no-prior-growth scenario? This is the famous chicken or egg dilemma. One good guess may be all of the above. Maybe your imagination is better than mine, but the whole no-growth-at-all idea seems ridiculous to me, whether Genesis proves it wrong or not. If by the end of any given day, what God created on that day included recognizable individuals, regardless of their apparent age, I think we have to agree that their appearance would suggest a history that either did not actually take place or that somehow took place at a greatly accelerated pace. Again, we can speculate without being dogmatic.

      Those who accept the no-miracle presupposition evidently have to imagine a history that is even more bizarre, one that involves a universe and life on earth evolving out of nothing at all or perhaps only quantum fluctuations. What is the source of their concepts? Do they seem reasonable to you?

      By the way, don’t you have anything more to say about the Grand Canyon? Perry wants me to read a book about it. I have corresponded with Carol Hill, one of its co-authors, and she had little to nothing to say about what you called “calculator jazz” back in the day, so it will be interesting to find out whether the issue is even mentioned in the book. One easy way to deal with a challenging question is to dodge or ignore it. Oh, and then there is also Perry’s idea of requiring a book to be read. It may take more work, but there is an option to deal with it honestly the best you can. We can still discuss COBE evidence, if Perry will allow it.

  6. Mike Bay says:

    Tom Godfrey says “I imagine that mature trees were created along with saplings…”
    Yes, that is appropriate. Tell me the basis of your imaginations. How do you go from the Genesis account to the premise that trees were created mature…

    • Tom Godfrey says:

      Mike Bay,

      You evidently do not want to talk about either COBE or Grand Canyon evidence right now. Fine. We can talk about virtual history. Focus is good.

      To borrow a phrase from Rush Limbaugh, my imaginations are based on “common sense and intelligence guided by experience” in addition to what is reported in Genesis. Maybe this response was too easy, but now I have a challenge for you. What is the rational basis for the no-miracle presupposition in an investigation of origins?

      You also wanted to know how I “go from the Genesis account to the premise that trees were created mature,” but my imagination is not a premise. Look up the definition of premise for yourself. Please clarify your question. If what I imagine seems unimaginable to you, please try to understand how surprising it is to me that *you* find it strange. When you read about “trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds” in Gen. 1:12, what do you imagine, if not mature trees, newly created? Maybe clouds of hydrogen atoms hurtling through space away from the Big Bang? Or what? I’m interested.

  7. Tom Godfrey says:


    I have met your requirement that interrupted a discussion that began last summer. I hope this timeline helps us get it back on track. All dates are this year (2017), and all of them reference comments on this thread, where they do not necessarily appear in chronological order.

    July 12 at 4:39 pm — Mike Bay told me, “But your approach [does] not jive with the historical record,” and he went on the challenge me to explain Grand Canyon evidence.

    July 14 at 9:32 am — You accused me of trying to sidestep “the real issues” and added, “I’ve never heard a coherent response to such questions from YEC’s.” I have to assume that you were referring to Mike’s Grand Canyon questions.

    July 14 at 9:10 pm — I ignored your brief comment but responded to Mike with a long comment about the Grand Canyon in an honest attempt to address his questions.

    July 16 at 8:55 pm — Mike responded to me at length by dismissing my Grand Canyon remarks as meaningless “calculator jazz” and focused instead on virtual history. He did not demand that I read any book, but he did urge me at the end to get familiar with “landmark” scientific endeavors like COBE exploration and the Human Genome Project.

    July 16 at 9:38 and 9:44 pm — Mike contributed two more comments, one of them rather lengthy, but neither one of them had anything at all on the Grand Canyon issue.

    July 17 at 9:36 pm — At the end of my comment in a separate side discussion between us, I invited you to respond to my long Grand Canyon comment as if you had issued the challenge from Mike. I had not yet seen his July 16 replies, which were evidently still under moderation at the time.

    July 18 at 6:44 am — By now, having seen Mike’s July 16 replies, I reminded him that he was the one who brought up the Grand Canyon, chided him for dodging my “calculator jazz” challenge, addressed his virtual history issues, and even offered to move on to a discussion of COBE studies.

    July 22 at 11:07 am — You told me, “you’re not interested in researching the details of the life work of tens of thousands of scientists – people who know things that you don’t know. And that you refuse to know. You won’t even read my book,” and then said I had to read a book, for example yours or a particular book about the Grand Canyon, “or any other book that explores these issues in great detail.” You closed by saying, “But until you’re willing to read a book and engage with the evidence (which so far you have not been willing), we’re done with this argument.”

    July 22 at 9:36 pm — I responded to you with a lengthy comment in which I protested your assessment of my participation in our discussion, mentioning that I wanted to read your book, but the local Virginia Tech libraries did not have it.

    July 22 at 10:21 pm — You repeated your earlier demand, refusing to engage me further on this until I met it, and added, “Read the grand canyon book, it has far more about the age of the earth than mine does.”

    July 23 at 12:08 am — Mike challenged me to elaborate on the concept of creation with the appearance of age in a very short comment.

    July 23 at 3:53 pm — I met his challenge and asked him again about the Grand Canyon issue, adding near the end, “Perry wants me to read a book about it. I have corresponded with Carol Hill, one of its co-authors, and she had little to nothing to say about what you called ‘calculator jazz’ back in the day, so it will be interesting to find out whether the issue is even mentioned in the book.”

    July 24 at 2:33 pm — Mike continued to ignore the Grand Canyon issue but commented briefly on creation with the appearance of age.

    August 15 at 10:26 am — I told Mike, “You evidently do not want to talk about either COBE or Grand Canyon evidence right now. Fine. We can talk about virtual history. Focus is good.” I closed by responding to his July 24 comment.

    On Nov. 9, having found that I could not check out the Grand Canyon book you recommended from either our local public library or any Virginia Tech library, I broke down and bought it from Amazon. You can find out for yourself whether it addressed what Mike called “calculator jazz” by reading the review I submitted yesterday.
    There is a link to reviews beside the stars under the title. Reviews are not necessarily in date order, so if you have trouble finding mine, here is a direct link to it.
    My review is abnormally long, but certainly far from book length. If you and Mike have both lost interest in the Grand Canyon or just want to sidestep the issues I wrote about in my review, no problem. We can move on to the other (still unidentified) “real Issues” that you accused me of sidestepping back on July 14, now that I have gladly met your demand. Was it a reasonable demand? Please imagine how you would have responded in this scenario if the tables had been turned. Was it fair to rebuke me for sidestepping but not Mike? You be the judge. By the way, I really am glad that I read the book. Thanks for challenging me to do this. Now the ball is back in your court.

    • Folks, take a look at Tom’s review and post your response.

    • Mike Bay says:

      Grand Canyon: Tom is obsessed with isotope dating… My question. Has Tom ever visited the Grand Canyon? I have. If so, he has probably also visited Zion and Bryce. There you can walk through the canyons. You can easily get up close to the layers. You can touch the layers. What I found interesting was the overlapping of layers. E.g. a 3′ thick layer set (having numerous thin layers) would curve up say 20 degrees and then it would be shaved off horizontally as if a road grator has plowed across it. Then on top of that you’d have another layer set running horizontally. Then on top of that another layer set that bends upwards 15 degrees but bends in the opposite direction. And higher up it get road grated. It’s like layer helter skelter. You see this all through those parks. So Tom, how do you ‘road grade’ wet Noahic flood sediment? Ever been to a flood zone? It’s a mess. There are no road graters there. I’ve photographed these layers. In my opinion they are unequivocal evidence against a one-time wet flood layering process.

  8. Tom Godfrey says:


    Thanks for picking up the Grand Canyon discussion again, but the interruption obviously wiped out your memory of where we left off last July. To see where I already answered your questions, you need to click on the Older Comments link below and find my July 14, 9:10 pm, reply to your original Grand Canyon challenge. You evidently assume that I have adopted the “flood geology” paradigm criticized in the book that I reviewed. As I explained last July, I do not. My preferred Flood model does not even attempt to account for worldwide geologic strata thousands of feet deep, but I am still interested to see what evidence might be found in the Grand Canyon or elsewhere for an appearance of billions of years of history.

    Does this interest indicate an obsession with isotope or radiometric dating? From my point of view, “obsessed” is too strong, or the word choice overstates my interest. Anyway, you did put your finger on what appears to be the only line of evidence mentioned in the book that can be interpreted to yield a specific age of many millions of years. How much confidence should one have in its accuracy? The justification offered in the book takes us far away from the canyon, all the way over to the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, the Atlantic verification test reaches back only about 180 million years, in theory (p. 94). Besides this, relevant studies that should tend to reduce confidence were ignored, as I explained in my review. Should I be impressed? Are you impressed? Did I overlook something important?

  9. Mike Bay says:

    Tom, you did not address the crux of my posting. The heater shelter layerings in the canyons… So you don’t accept the global Noahic flood paradigm??? If you area YEC, that sounds odd. How DO you explain the strata? Or is the strata a virtual reality. Maybe you believe God created all the strata to have the appearance of millions of years old, I have a really bad feeling about this. This is probably what you believe. Am I right or wrong? Respectfully, Mike Bay

  10. Tom Godfrey says:


    Your December 9 comment cleared moderation just this evening, so the delay is not all my fault.

    Did you find my July 14, 9:10 pm, reply to your original Grand Canyon challenge? Just in case you did not, here’s a relevant except from it (next paragraph only):

    “I understand that many creationists like the scenario you described, but the Aardsma Flood theory does not fit that mold at all. It calls for a global event that piled up mountain-covering water mainly in the Northern Hemisphere, draining oceans in the opposite hemisphere, in some cases down to their bottoms, leaving them dry until the piled-up water returned later. In this model, the Flood did not necessarily leave thick sediments everywhere, and certainly not up to 6,093 feet of sediments exposed at the Grand Canyon.”

    To be perfectly clear, I did not address the crux of your posting because I currently favor the model I described above, which does not even attempt to account for geologic strata in the Grand Canyon. It does not attempt to explain gravity either, but why should it? Naturally, there are tons of questions it does not answer. We can say this about any Flood model.

    I have Aardsma’s book on the Flood, and the Grand Canyon does not appear in its index, but the results of his computer modeling in Appendix E allow at least a rough estimate of the Flood depth there. The Grand Canyon is roughly 60 degrees from Iceland, the proposed center of the Flood, where water piled up the deepest. The depth from Day 40 to Day 150 for any location 60 degrees away from the center was calculated to be 2163 meters above sea level (p. 341).

    According to the book I reviewed, “Phantom Ranch, down at the river, is 2,460 feet above sea level” (p. 15), which converts to about 750 meters, so according to the Aardsma model, the surface of the Flood water would have reached about 1400 meters or 0.9 miles above that point in the course of the Colorado River. If the elevation of the North Rim visitor center is 8,200 feet above sea level (p. 15), this is about 2500 meters, so the spot might not have been flooded at all, remaining about 40 meters or 130 feet above the waves at the height of the Flood. I don’t know of anyone who has searched in the Grand Canyon area for signs of a Flood of the kind Aardsma has in mind. It is not even clear to me what kinds of deposits or erosion should be expected in the relatively tranquil scenario he has suggested, so a failure to find such evidence can hardly be a fatal blow to his theory.

    I also have back issues of Aardsma’s old newsletters (*The Biblical Chronologist*) along with a nice index, which does not list the Grand Canyon either. It did point me to an interesting paragraph about geology, though, found in Vol. 2, No. 6, p. 10 (Nov./Dec. 1996). I hope this qualifies as a “fair use” excerpt (next paragraph only):

    “As I see it, the Elk Lake [Minnesota] anomaly is the only legitimate geological link to the Flood which is known at present. I suggest that it embodies, in an embryonic but nonetheless real state, the long-sought intersection of Genesis and geology. If my experience in the past several years of working with the new Biblical chronology in relation to the Exodus and Conquest is any guide, then this newly discovered intersection will not remain in an embryonic state for long.”

    Aardsma updated his Flood model significantly after 1996, but he retained the Elk Lake anomaly as legitimate evidence of the Flood. Evidently, his expectation of adding more evidence of the same kind has not yet been realized, but I think this is understandable in view of his concentration on a longevity project, which still takes almost all of his time. You have to understand that he has no well-funded team of research assistants.

    To summarize, if you want your strata observations to be explained, you ought to be challenging someone else to do this. It still makes sense to ask what other physical evidence, besides the Elk Lake anomaly, he *has* found. This is no place for me to go into detail, but I can tell you that it has more to do with evidence that Genesis clearly suggests we should find. Notice that Genesis has nothing to say about geologic strata. The same goes for the whole Bible, actually. I certainly do accept *a* “global Noahic flood paradigm” if not *the* paradigm that you have in mind. You might also ask, “Does the Aardsma Flood model really qualify as a *global* flood model?” I will skip this until you ask and move on to the other questions that you did ask.

    I explain the strata as part of the earth that was created and later cursed without going into any more detail. One may wonder how plants could grow in soil only three days old, because it normally takes much longer for rocks to weather and turn into fertile soil, but from my perspective, the creation of soil was as miraculous as the creation of trees. I am under no obligation to explain how God did this through purely natural processes unfolding at currently observed rates. Any attempt to do this anyway would be an example of what might be called virtual history. I see no way to avoid this for the kind of miracle of interest. If you disagree, please explain. If you are just going to tell me that this would make God a liar, please tell me what you believe the truth is and where you found God telling the corresponding lie.

    Your question about “the appearance of millions of years old” is one that interests me greatly. I suspect that strata appear to be millions of years old only to those who accept the no-miracle presupposition and ignore any physical evidence that fails to mesh with preconceived ideas about the age of the strata. Did you read the book review I wrote for Amazon?

  11. Mike Bay says:

    Tom, I have no problem with your Noah flood conversation. There record days there was a massive flood do I would expect we would find the physical evidence… I do have a problem with how you read the data. Let’s say you find some layering that is Noahic flood created. I find some layering that supposedly predates that because it lies underneath… Your world view says the Noahic flood layers were caused by the waters. But my layers underneath were not because they were virtually created. By what criteria do your flood layers differ from the virtual layers? In your world view God created the earth around 4000BC. Or maybe it was 6000 BC. Whatever. All earth layers that predate 4000BC are virtual. They were created as we see them now with adjustments due to erosion and earth movement of course… They look old and dating shows them old but it is an illusion because they were created with the appearance of age. The layers were created simultaneously. The 6000 feet of layers at the Grand Canyon were created instantaneously in the 24 hour day of creating the earth. I’ll be generous and say 48 hours… God created us to be creative. It’s our nature to ask questions. He knew this. He knew we would try to read our history. When you see 6000 feet of strata that has the appearance of being laid down by water you are going to try to figure out how it happened. But it is virtual. This is what I call the Great Deception. God could have created the earth as a solid ball of nickel and surfaces it with 3 feet of top soil. If so, I could accept the instantaneous creation of the earth. But that is not what we have… You have read the Genesis record, made some assumptions and have concluded with an absurd proposition. God did not say he created everything instantaneously. God did say he created everything. And he did it in a sequential manner. And did it over time. There is disagreement on what the Day is. It is not a rock hard 24 hour day. It could be an eon. The message was not about how God did it but simply that he did it. The scientists over the centuries have been figuring out the How. God has recorded his creative acts in 2 different ways. The Genesis record and the historical record. Both are solid. Both can be read and studied and interpreted. Both reveal the existence of God… I encourage you to also read the historical record. And now we have the historical genetic records that we can read. This is a new window into our history. We are beginning to see God’s fingerprints here, too… My studies were in molecular biology, University of Washington. I earned 2 degrees there.

  12. Tom Godfrey says:


    Here’s one quick correction to my previous comment. The North Rim visitor center should have been about 337 meters or 1106 feet above the Flood at its peak. Sorry for the goof. I used the wrong number in my earlier calculation. Anyway, my original point still holds. It makes no sense to say the Flood dropped all of those Grand Canyon strata according to the Aardsma model.

    • Mike Bay says:

      Tom, you are avoiding my question. I will repeat the question using your Aardsma model. You and Aardsma accept the Noahic Flood. Fine. I have no problem with Aardsma. I presume Aardsma has observed the flood layers… somewhere. Maybe somewhere in Utah 1106′ below the North Rim. Maybe within the Canyon 1106′ below that rim. Maybe the flood eroded some of the canyon below the rim… 1106′ and lower.
      Ok, how does Aardsma distinguish the flood sediments from the Canyon sediments??? How does Aardsma identify flood erosion??? If all the layer appear water sedimentation or erosion, how do you distinguish the Flood geology from the virtual geology. I believe you and maybe Aardsma believe the Canyon layers were created instantaneously on a 24-hour day of creation about 6000 years ago. And if the Flood only reached up to within 1106′ of the North Rim then it follows logically that the Canyon was there before the Flood. Or maybe you believe all the uplifts in Utah and Arizona were caused by the Flood. That is a real stretch. But maybe you believe that. Tell us… And if the Canyon and Zion and Bryce and all of the SW layers and canyons were there before the Flood then that means that God created them as we see them today… So back to my question… again. If I’m standing in one of those canyons 1106′ below the elevation of the North Rim and if I’m looking at layers HOW DO I KNOW IF THOSE ARE THE EXACT LAYERS CREATED 6000 YRS AGO OR IF THEY WERE DISRUPTED BY THE NOAHIC FLOOD. It’s a simple question. It is a relevant question. Please, answer the question as best you can.

  13. Tom Godfrey says:


    Stuff sometimes gets stuck in moderation, so I just saw your previous two comments today, both of them after I posted my brief correction two days ago. Even after I see your comment, it may take some time for me to find enough time to give it the consideration it deserves. Please be patient.

    By what criteria do flood layers differ from virtual layers? The simple answer is that any event in history dated before the date of creation according to biblical chronology has to be virtual history, according to the Aardsma model. A better answer has to be a bit more complicated. Imagine modern experts examining the leftover food in twelve baskets after the miracle reported in John 6:1-13. They could surely imagine stories about fishing trips, countless cycles of sowing and harvesting barley, and unobserved processes of preparing grain and other ingredients to be served as food for humans in the form of bread. Thousands of years of their history would be after the 5176 B.C. date of creation, but it would all be virtual history, which is just history that has been reconstructed based on an interpretation of physical evidence but never actually took place.

    You seem to assume that if a geologic stratum was not formed within the past few thousand years, as dated by modern geologists, then Aardsma is committed to the idea that it must have been created instantaneously (or at least suddenly) during the week of creation. You are forgetting about the Fall of Adam, not to mention the time between those events recorded in Genesis and modern times, and you are assuming that the dates proposed by geologists have to be accepted as correct. They don’t, as you ought to know. A given stratum could have formed naturally but was erroneously dated to be millions of years old. We may not be able to tell you how or when a given stratum was deposited. The Bible does not even attempt to cover this kind of detail, and no one, not even a geologist, is under any obligation to tackle this assignment either. If it turns out that dates proposed by geologists are greatly exaggerated, I doubt that this would have any practical impact on anything that really matters to us, like exploration for fossil fuels, for instance.

    You may still be wondering how someone could look at a layer of rock (whether in the Grand Canyon, beside a highway, or somewhere else) and tell whether it got there through natural processes or by some miraculous act of God instead. I think this is about the same kind of mystery that might have faced people enjoying the fish and bread that Jesus provided miraculously, thanks also to the faith and generosity of one unnamed boy. Did all of the food look exactly like what this boy originally brought to the disciples? Would there have to be a way for them to tell the difference? We are not told, so we can only speculate, but my working hypothesis is that there might not necessarily be any way to tell the difference. If there is a way, the difference could be quite subtle and easy to miss.

    Think about those strata in the Grand Canyon, for example. You or a trained geologist may well be able to imagine a scenario that could account for everything you observe, but a history ought to include some dates too, and these are not nearly so clear. If you hold in one hand a rock that is only 1000 years old and in the other hand a rock of the same type that is supposed to be a billion years old, how can you tell the difference, assuming neither rock has any fossils in it? You can’t tell any difference, right? You would need to run expensive tests and make assumptions, one of which would be that no supernatural intervention was involved in the creation of either rock. Now we are talking about assumptions that cannot be proved, or else they would not be assumptions at all.

    I have pondered your question myself and wondered whether there might be some kind of miracle marker that could be present in physical evidence. Maybe it could be some feature that would be hard to explain apart from a miracle. For example, the baskets of leftover food might have contained fish with only five different kinds of DNA, since presumably, the miraculous fish all came from five different natural fish. I am not proposing that this must have been the case, but you see where my imagination has taken me. In the case of geologic strata, you may have people using radiometric dating to arrive at dates in millions of years while others study preserved dinosaur soft tissue to arrive at different dates in thousands of years, suggesting that the true dates may not be amenable to any reliable method of dating known to science.

    Regardless of the true answer to your question, one thing should be obvious. Anyone truly committed to the no-miracle presupposition will refuse to countenance any reconstruction of history that calls for a miracle, even if mysteries remain unexplained. Genesis clearly has God doing plenty of work during creation week, so I think we are talking about miracles, even if the word is not used.

    You outlined what you read about creation in the Genesis record, but you left out the part about finishing in six days. If the goal is to reconcile the Bible with a tentative history proposed by atheists and scientists committed to rejection of miracles, this is one place where any attempt to do this falls flat. Their history will include no date of completion of a very good creation and no later curse or fall from this beginning condition at the end of week one. Simply interpreting “day” as an eon will not solve this problem. I reject the day=eon solution anyway, because if this interpretation were even just one of multiple options for the Israelites, the Sabbath commandment would have been quite unenforceable. See Exodus 20:8-11 and 31:17-18.

    You accused me of concluding “with an absurd proposition” without stating what it is. Please clarify the charge. We agree that God did not say he created everything instantaneously. Did I ever say he did? Genesis does tell us what God did without telling us how he did what he did in scientific terms. This much is not controversial.

    What I find controversial is your claim, “God has recorded his creative acts in 2 different ways. The Genesis record and the historical record. Both are solid.” As far as I am concerned, the Genesis record *is* the first part of the true historical record. An alternative history that scientists tentatively propose, based on their interpretation of currently available physical evidence under their no-miracle presupposition, is far from solid and certainly not a direct word from God. Like any other scientific conclusion, it is subject to revision at any time as more is learned, and if a miracle truly was involved, the resulting history is almost guaranteed to be misleading anyway.

    We can at least agree that physical evidence of creation ought to lead everyone to recognize God’s handiwork (Ps. 19:1-4a) and his “eternal power and divine nature” (Rom. 1:18-20). If this same evidence leads anyone to conclude that God is a liar, I’m going with Rom. 3:3-4 and disagreeing with the human conclusion. Will you join me? If not, please point me to any clear statement made by God that you call a “Great Deception.” You must realize that even a nickel globe covered with three feet of wind-blown topsoil would be a not-so-good global desert that might tempt an alien visitor to imagine a virtual history behind the formation of the planet.

    Aardsma associates one anomalous sediment layer at Elk Lake with the Flood of Noah by relying on radiocarbon dating at about 3520 B.C. in a context where the sediments have evidently not been disturbed since their time of deposit. I think this context is rarely found among those that are well studied. (If you are puzzled, please read about bioturbation.) His approach stands in sharp contrast to the more popular one preferred by most creationists, who hesitate to pin themselves down to a specific Flood date.

    If I have overlooked any important question that remains, please try again. My own background (four degrees in four different fields) isn’t geology either. Should we be talking about molecular biology?

    • The scripture doesn’t describe the creation events as miracles. Certainly not in the same way as it describes the NT healings and resurrections. Which are, after all, described as “signs, wonders, and miracles” – events clearly understood as being outside of normal experience.

      I’ve seen such events with my own eyes, so I have personal experience as a reference point.

      Virtual history is a cop-out, an admission that YEC lacks supporting evidence.

      If you’re going to interpret geology as virtual history because you believe that 99.9% of the earth’s past is history in appearance only, then you can make up absolutely anything you want to about what really happened long ago. And no one can refute you.

      Thus, Tom, I’m afraid we have no basis on which to have any further factual discussion.

    • Mike Bay says:

      Tom says, “An alternative history that scientists tentatively propose, based on their interpretation of currently available physical evidence under their no-miracle presupposition, is far from solid and certainly not a direct word from God”
      God says, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the earth shows his handiwork”. The sounds like God has sent us a message. When we see the heavens and earth we learn that the creation is awesome and that the creator is even more awesome. The artist is always greater than the art. And the art says something about the artist. Great people create great art…

      If we all lived on an asteroid, we would not be witnessses to all the wonderful designs in nature. We would not see the millions of species. We would not experience the water cycle or the movement of the massive plates or the details of a spider… We would not know that the creator God cares not only for the awesome magnitudes in space but also in the microscopic details of invisible life forms like bacteria… If you were homesteader on an asteroid, you’d miss all this.

      The gallery of planet earth is a showcase of the mighty creator God. It shows his handiwork. Intelligent design is an understatement.

      We can read God’s verbal communication in the Bible. It is literally the spoken word of God. And there is another Expression of God in the person of Christ. He who had seen Christ has seen God. One and the same. The Word of God… the Word made flesh in Christ… and there is a 3rd revelation which is the created heavens and earth. They tells us that the creator God is immeasurable. He is more expansive than his creation. The creation has intricate design. Everything is in balance. It speaks of intelligence at the highest level. If there were no heavens we would have no idea as to how great God is. We would be clueless. We would think Hod is like us in breadth and scope…

      So yes, the heavens and earth are revelatory. And we would be foolish not to understand that. God created us with rational thinking. We can observe, imagine and create things never seen before… kind of like God but on a very small scale compared with God’s creativity.

      Great scientists of old realized that there is a God… the creator God of the Bible. And they studied the heavens and earth with the premise that that were created by the creator and had objective design. They believed they could find ordered laws. Mathematics ruled the day by describing the relationships between most everything…

      So yes, the heavens and earth are a testament for the creator God. They don’t tell us the names of God. That’s in the written revelation. But they tell us about the greatness of God. We can see the evidence. The Bible can say Hod is great and it does! But the heavens and earth declare it in an explosive manner. The thunder is loud. Only the fools are blind to it.

      So what I see in the earth has value. It is real. God is real. The surface and all the subsurface layers are real. It’s all real. That’s why I asked you how Mr A would differentiate a virtual set of thousands of feet of layers from the most recent layers put down in the last 6000 years. Your answer was not an answer. Mr A has no answer. There is no difference because they are all real. There is no marker for a virtual artifact. If so, we would have found it centuries ago… Maybe Mr A thinks Christ was virtual. He existed before 4000 BC. I think your God is too small. Your God is expressed in a 6000 year window. There would have been no time before 4000 BC. My God was at work for billions of years fashioning the heavens and earth. My God fashioned multitudes of species over hundreds of millions of years. My God is the Master Artist. He has fashioned new designs on the platform of simpler life forms. And one platform led to another. Multiple platforms. I think God did it out of sheer joy. I am a photographer and enjoy my own work. Even more so the creator God! I can get a glimpse of his joy in creating it all…

      Don’t get bogged down with radio dating. It has flaws. What is apparent is things around here are really, really old. Check out the COBE project. It has established the beginning of our universe around 15 billion years ago. It was rock solid science. It has yet to be debunked.

      The virtual history concept is a figment of Mr A’s imagination. There is no evidence for it, it is a fairy tale. I think the moderator would agree that the discussion of Mr A’s virtual history should be terminated. It is a waste of time to talk about it until you or Mr A can offer evidence showing it’s truthfulness.

      If I am wrong, do be it. At least I sided with the premise that the Creator God is truly awesome and great beyond measure. And I also will go with the premise that he takes the time to deal with the smallest of details. God does not consider my small stature to be insignificant. In fact God consider 1 life to have more value than the entire Earth. In fact we have so much incredible value to the all powerful and eternal God that he went to the considerable effort to become like us in Christ and to experience our death to give us life like his. Incredible. My God is so much greater than the God of a virtual universe…

  14. Tom Godfrey says:


    Please help me understand what you are saying. Nearly five months ago, you told me, “… until you’re willing to read a book and engage with the evidence (which so far you have not been willing), we’re done with this argument.” Ten days ago, after I documented that I had read the book you recommended and engaged with the evidence in it, you wrote, “Folks, take a look at Tom’s review and post your response.” So far, only Mike Bay has responded to your request, and we have been discussing geological evidence. Now you break in to say, “…I’m afraid we have no basis on which to have any further factual discussion.” Your stated reason appears to be based on misunderstandings, but your key issue with me appears to be that I consider creation events to be miracles with an inevitable virtual history while you disagree. Have I misunderstood you? Is your eagerness to break off discussion not a cop-out in itself?

    Let me first attempt to clear up what looks like two key misunderstandings right there in your next-to-last paragraph.

    (1) I never said that I “interpret geology as virtual history,” and I am not going to do this either. To the extent that geology is a true science and not an attempt to write a history of what took place in the unobservable past based on a study of physical evidence interpreted under the no-miracle presupposition, I maintain that none of geology is any kind of history, virtual or otherwise. My kind of geology has practical uses, for instance, a search for fossil fuels. It is all about understanding the nature and structure of the earth, as the name implies. I do not deny that many geologists like to take off their scientist hat and put on their historian hat, but this has no impact on the nature of the science. If some biologists misunderstood their mission to be the writing of a history of life on earth, not studying and understanding the nature and structure of living organisms, as currently observed and as the word *biology* implies, would we have to rewrite our definition accordingly? Nonsense, right?

    (2) I do *not* believe “that 99.9% of the earth’s past is history in appearance only.” I believe that 100% of “the earth’s past” is real history, what actually took place. I *could* “make up absolutely anything [I] want to about what really happened long ago,” of course. Anyone can do this, you included, and anyone can attempt to refute any proposed history thought to be in error, but doing this ought to involve “further factual discussion,” not a cop-out.

    You have provided an excellent and relevant case study in your comment. You said, “I’ve seen such events [clearly understood as being outside of normal experience] with my own eyes, so I have personal experience as a reference point.” This is a claim about history, so the big question arises right there. Is this something that you just made up to try to fool readers of your blog, or were you honestly fooled yourself by a clever illusionist, or is the alleged miracle something that really happened after all?

    If we are to make any progress here, I think we need to agree on a good answer. I maintain that the only way we can come to believe that a miracle took place in real history is through revelation, personal experience, or acceptance of testimony deemed credible. We could never trust a scientist to report that a miraculous event occurred if all he had to go on was a study of physical evidence left behind after a true miracle, which he interpreted under his usual no-miracle presupposition. If he did, his report would be immediately branded as unscientific. Scientists are never supposed to appeal to a miracle or any kind of supernatural intervention as the true explanation for anything, so if you go this route, you know what the answer will be even before you ask. This is no cop-out. It is just the way science works.

    Have I said anything here that is controversial? Let’s apply what I just said to an actual example, say to a claim that a deaf man was miraculously healed. How might an honest person come to believe that this really happened? Did I leave out any valid way in my list above? Suppose this man was taken to a scientist (with relevant expertise) for a physical examination, and further suppose that this scientist did not witness the miracle himself and would not trust any other actual witness, who, after all, could have been tricked by a clever illusionist. If the miracle was in fact real, would you trust the scientist to say that it was a miracle in his peer-reviewed write-up?

    Now we are back to your first paragraph. We agree that “scripture doesn’t describe the creation events [in Genesis 1 and 2] as miracles” in the trivial sense that the word *miracle* is required. Strong’s concordance shows the first occurrence of the key words of interest.
    sign (in the sense of a miracle) — Ex. 4:8
    signs (in the sense of natural means for telling time) — Gen. 1:14
    signs (in the sense of miracles) — Ex. 4:9
    wonder (in the sense of a miracle) — Deut. 13:1
    wonders (in the sense of miracles) — Ex. 3:20
    miracle — Ex. 7:9
    miracles — Num.14:22

    So much for the trivial sense, but does Genesis describe creation events as miracles in a nontrivial sense, say as something “outside of normal experience”? After all, the story of Daniel’s friends and the fiery furnace (Dan. 3) does not include any of those key words either. The text reports that Nebuchadnezzar gave glory to God for the rescue (Dan. 3:28-29) without actually stating that God was directly responsible for it. Nevertheless, we should all agree that an impressive sign, wonder, or miracle was actually described in the passage anyway, and we naturally give the credit for it to God alone.

    Now let’s consider Gen. 1:1. Would it seem miraculous to a scientist to claim that the earth was created in the beginning, specifically, the same beginning in which the first heavenly body began to exist? I think they would say that we must be talking about at least two beginnings, one about 13.8 billion years ago and one about 4.5 billion years ago. That’s a huge difference! About two thirds of the entire alleged history of the universe separates those two beginnings, in theory. Notice that our Lord evidently endorsed the Gen. 1:1 single-beginning claim over in Matt. 19:4. The rest of Genesis 1 tells us about plenty of acts attributed to God and not to purely natural processes requiring no supernatural intervention, so I do not understand how these cannot be reasonably allowed as miracles too, regardless of how *day* is interpreted. Besides this, how can the story of the creation of a woman from a part of a man (Gen. 2:20-22) be reasonably excluded from the same category of miracles?

    You said, “Virtual history is a cop-out, an admission that YEC lacks supporting evidence.” Where have I ever said or implied that a specific claim about the age of the earth or the universe lacks supporting evidence? You should know that negatives are notoriously difficult to prove, but this is really beside the point. An appeal to virtual history always involves claiming that a proposed history is actually in error, regardless of how convincing it may seem, based on evidence interpreted under the no-miracle presupposition. This has nothing to do with “an admission” that some other idea about the true history lacks supporting evidence. If a true history involved a miracle, I think the required supporting evidence has to be in the list I gave above. I don’t recommend just asking a scientist what he thinks. You know what he will say up front, so why bother him?

    As I see it, the creation events were clearly miracles. Do you still disagree? If so, please explain. If you ever get around to it, please also explain why your speed of light issue cannot be resolved by saying that God stretched out the heavens (Is. 51:13,16) miraculously in the beginning. Even atheist or agnostic scientists are convinced that the edge of the observable universe is much too far away for its light to reach us during the alleged time it has existed, considering the observed speed of light, unless we take into account the theoretically natural expansion of space. You are free to sidestep all of my concerns, of course, and so is Mike, but I hope you will at least allow him to continue to take a stab at them anyway. I still don’t know whether anyone else has even read the book review I posted on Amazon.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Mike Bay says:

      Tom is confused.

      On one hand he seems to be saying creation occurred just a couple thousand years ago. Then he lends credence to a 14 billion year old universe. Which is it????

      On miracles… I think we have all gotten this mixed up. Let’s say I walk into an empty room with a canvas, oils and brushes. I close the door. You can’t see what’s happening inside. Let’s add some food and water to the rooms. And a restroom. I go in and lock the door. I turn on the lights and go to work. You are outside and see nothing… Later I come out holding a finished work of art. It looks like the Mona Lisa. It is wonderful. Awesome. One of a kind…

      Here’s the question. Hiw long was I in the room???

      You’ve been waiting outside but you can’t see the sun and you have no clock. You really don’t know how much time has passed. You look at the Mona Lisa and pronounce how long I was in the room. Yes, I painted the picture. How long???

      Factors. I am a human so I can only do brush strokes do fast. You might have counted the brush strokes and calculated the time. Maybe you know artists who have done similar works and you use that time. You didnMt fall asleep so you figure it must have taken no more than 36 hours.

      Could I have painted it in 10 hours? 5 hours? What about 1 hour? Oh, that’s not possible. Really?

      What if I should you a secret clock and the recorded time was only 1 hr and 37 minutes. You are shaking your head. Maybe. Not likely…

      We can agree that I was in the room for a period of time. It is questionable how long. But it wasn’t instantaneous. It wasn’t 10 minutes or 30… But not zero. Ok.

      Let’s change this up a bit. Let’s say the almighty Creator God walked into that room with the canvas, oils and brushes. And closed the door. 3 seconds later God walks out with a finished rendition of the Mona Lisa. God says, “I painted it.”

      How did that happen???

      Here’s the answer in my humble opinion. God dwells outside of time. He is all present, God Was, Is and Will Be. That is the literal interpretation of the name Jehovah. God dwell in all time all of the time. God is just as present in 1,000,000 BC as he is present now and equally present in 10,000 AD. God is living in those times right now. God does not see the future. God is there right now….

      The room… Ftom God’s vantage he is in the room for 7 weeks. He is patiently applying the brush strokes. He is scraping off bits of oil and redoing some elements of the picture, he stands back and stares at it. He smiles. He keeps on working. He paints methodically. There is a start and end. He can see the end picture because he dwells 7 weeks in our future. He knows what it will look like. He studies the end project carefully. He continues to work the oils until he completes the picture…

      From our perspective God was in the room 3 seconds. We call the painting a miracle. IT IS NOT A MIRACLE. It is the result of God working methodically and intelligently and with passion in his own realm of being present. From God’s perspective it is NOT A MIRACLE.

      We are trapped in time so for us it looks like a miracle. We really don’t know what it is. All we know is WE CAN’T DO THAT.

      I think God fashioned life in this way. NO MIRACLES. Simply God at work. I can envision God getting down into the atomic level and moving around the molecules to create new biological dedigns. All the while God sees and experiences the end product in real Presence. God may have monkeyed with hemoglobin for what seemed s lifetime to get it the way he wanted, If we were observing it would have looked like 1.5 seconds had passed.

      Our biggest problem is our perception of God is too small. We think God is like us. We Vzn not fathom the depth of the greatness of God. We need to get out of our tiny confining boxes. We need to think with an entirely new paradigm. Then maybe we will start to comprehend just exactly what the Creator God has done and how he did it.

  15. Tom Godfrey says:


    Thanks for your reply. I did not see it before I responded to Perry this morning. I appreciate his letting us continue our discussion, even though he already decided that “we have no basis on which to have any further factual discussion.” You may have agreed with him about this before you read my morning comment, but I hope you will reconsider. You can still easily dodge my points no matter what, but I hope I can encourage you to adopt a position that you can defend with confidence, even if it means that you have to change your mind. Maybe the feeling is mutual.

    Much of your latest comment appears to be based on an imaginary contrast between your conception of God and mine. You quoted part of my comment and then Ps. 19:1, but in the very next paragraph of my comment after the part you quoted, I said, “We can at least agree that physical evidence of creation ought to lead everyone to recognize God’s handiwork (Ps. 19:1-4a) and his “eternal power and divine nature” (Rom. 1:18-20).” We agree that “the heavens and earth are revelatory.” The heavens and the earth naturally declare the glory of God through their display of his handiwork, and this normally happens without people trying to imagine a detailed origin story with ages measured in millions or billions of years. We just give God all of the credit and stand amazed. The “scientific” response to the wonders of creation seems to be a mostly modern phenomenon.

    Most of the other things you said along the same lines are not controversial either, as far as I am concerned. What you failed to address was the next part of my paragraph: “If this same evidence [seen in the creation] leads anyone to conclude that God is a liar, I’m going with Rom. 3:3-4 and disagreeing with the human conclusion. Will you join me? If not, please point me to any clear statement made by God that you call a ‘Great Deception.’” I am still interested in your answer to this, but you are free to dodge or sidestep it again, of course.

    We also agree on your point about God, the surface of the earth, and its subsurface layers all being real. What made you think that I might believe they are virtual or imaginary? Perish the thought. I think you got confused because I used the term “virtual layers” in my paraphrase of your question. I also left unchallenged your use of the term “virtual geology” in an earlier comment, so you may have thought I was okay with the concept of virtual artifacts and a “virtual universe” (terms I never used). Let me try to clarify.

    If something is seen and touched, it is quite real, all right, and it would be silly for anyone to deny this. Who in the Christian world believes in a virtual Christ? Perish this thought too. An eternal, supernatural being will not have any virtual history unless someone just makes one up out of thin air. Aardsma certainly does not do this.

    History is another matter entirely. Just because you study a geologic stratum and imagine a history of its formation does not mean that your tentatively proposed *history* must therefore be just as real as what you touch. History is abstract, speculative, and full of words, the product of analysis and interpretation of currently available information. It involves assumptions that may or may not be true. A stratum is concrete, stable, and wordless. Big differences. A stratum has absolutely nothing to say directly about its current specific age. The age question takes us back to history. Please do not get confused.

    No, my God is at least as big as yours is and certainly not limited to “a 6000 year window.” It’s not just that you forgot that 5176 B.C. is the date of creation according to Aardsma. We agree that God is eternal, not only having no future expiration date but also having no past date of first existence (John 1:1-5; 8:58). Of course, it is about more than just time. We also agree that God created the universe. We have not yet probed its absolute outer fringe, but we already know that we are talking about a huge volume of space, and our omnipresent God made it all. There is certainly nothing small about our God, even if we accept biblical chronology and reject an alternative chronology developed by atheists and others committed to the no-miracle presupposition. I see no difference in our ideas about the measure of our God in any dimension.

    I don’t know why you thought I might be bogged down with radiometric dating. If you say it has flaws, I am not disputing this at all. It may indeed be “apparent” to some that “things around here are really, really old.” This is another point where we agree. In my worldview, there is nothing in all of creation that is older than the earth itself (Gen. 1:1). So far, you have left me the impression that you believe the earth is young compared to the oldest objects in the universe, some of which are widely supposed to be about three times older than the earth. We can move on to the COBE project later, but let’s finish with historical geology and your Grand Canyon challenge first.

    I hope we will not terminate discussion of virtual history while you have such a basic misunderstanding of what it is. It certainly is *not* a fairy tale. Most fairy tales have only a floating (“once upon a time”) chronology or none at all, so any history associated with them is understood to be fictional and not to be taken seriously. A virtual history *could be* a figment of anyone’s imagination, all right, but it is typically the result of a tremendous amount of field work and expert analysis of collected data interpreted under the no-miracle presupposition by dedicated and highly qualified scientists. Nevertheless, it is almost guaranteed to be wrong if the physical evidence behind it actually has a true history that involved a miracle. The evidence itself is just as real as the food eaten by the multitude described in John 6:1-14, but any virtual history based on this evidence alone is just another story.

    You want evidence showing the truthfulness of virtual history, but virtual history is not truthful. It may only seem to be true to the people who proposed it. They can flood you with the evidence they used to develop it. If you really meant only that the concept itself is bogus or meaningless, then you ought to take up my earlier challenge. Suppose Jesus Christ fed a multitude, and the disciples took the leftovers to a qualified expert who would study it without consideration of testimony and write up their analysis in a peer-reviewed journal. Would their story say that the food was provided miraculously? No, of course not. It would be all about ordinary fishing trips and natural means of producing bread. Their false story would be what Dr. Aardsma calls virtual history, regardless of how true it might seem.

    If you prefer a different terminology, go for it, but I don’t think you can successfully defend your idea that the concept behind the term is bogus or worthless. It allows believers to keep the faith when scientists make claims contrary to Genesis. Instead of thinking that Genesis has to be wrong or needs to be reinterpreted, one can realize that they are honestly upholding methodological materialism and tentatively proposing a virtual history based on an invalid assumption that we as believers can honestly reject. No problem. Move on.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Mike Bay says:

      It has been an interesting discussion. Let me try to undersysnd you. In your view the earth was created about 6000 years ago. Yes or No. The Universe was created a couple days earlier. Yes or no. All of earth is solid with layers etc and is real and not virtual. Yes or No. The layers have the appearance of age from our perspective if we presume they were laid down by water and erotion. Yes or No. The appearance of age is the virtualness. Yes or No. dating methods have assumptions and may lead us to think the earth is billions of years old. Therefore the earth has the appearance of being old but it is only 6000 years old. Yes or No. The appearance is what is meant by virtual age. Yes or No.

      Let’s keep it simple. Do all of us a favor and answer these questions so that everyone knows what you are talking about.

  16. Tom Godfrey says:


    Your December 19, 2017, 6:38 pm, comment evidently was a response to my reply to Perry before you saw my reply to you. You asserted that I am confused about the date of creation, but you are wrong. You are not reading what I wrote carefully enough.

    If you reread the comment to Perry more carefully, you should see that I wrote 13.8 billion years (which you rounded to 14 billion years) in a purely hypothetical scenario. I did not present that age of the universe as one I personally accept. It is just what some scientist might give you.

    Back in my December 16, 2017, 5:52 pm, comment addressed to you, I wrote, ”Thousands of years of their history would be after the 5176 B.C. date of creation, but it would all be virtual history, which is just history that has been reconstructed based on an interpretation of physical evidence but never actually took place.” Can you explain to me why you grossly distorted my clear statement only three days earlier to “On one hand [Tom] seems to be saying creation occurred just a couple thousand years ago.”? Just to be clear, the date of creation according to Aardsma’s biblical chronology, which I tentatively accept, is 5176 B.C. plus or minus 26 years. This year, that would be about 7,200 years ago, not “just a couple of thousand years ago” (about the time Jesus Christ was born). I guess your goof was due to carelessness, not a sloppy attempt to set up a straw man argument.

    You went on to suggest that we have all been “mixed up” about miracles. You presented an interesting theory, but can we possibly know whether it is correct? Is there any way to test it? I have no problem with your imagining that God fashioned life without performing any miracle, because this is America. You can imagine to your heart’s content, of course.

    From the point of view of a scientist, any appeal to a miracle or to supernatural intervention is excluded from any explanation that is supposed to be considered scientific. This is called methodological materialism or what I have been calling their no-miracle presupposition. If you say God had something to do with the creation of life on earth, even if you are sure he did this without working any miracle or violating any law of nature, you have rejected methodological materialism by allowing “a Divine Foot in the door.” Have you seen this?

    Frankly, you have failed to convince me that I am mixed up about miracles. You have evidently tried to imagine how God might accomplish what seems impossible, given our understanding of the laws of nature, but from my perspective, scientists are under no obligation to explain how God performs miracles. Their job is to understand and describe nature and the laws of nature, not to write histories or to speculate about the activities of supernatural beings. If a miracle really happened, it is enough for me to wonder, be amazed, and stand in awe of the Miracle Worker.

    • Mike Bay says:

      Perry had been very patient to allow this conversation to continue. I am trying to bring some closure to it. Tom, would you please answe my questions. See Dec 19th post. 7 questions. Easy. Yes or No.

  17. Tom Godfrey says:


    I like your idea of keeping it simple. Just in case it helps, I’ll put my answers all together right here. We can get back to my questions later.

    1. No. I believe that God created the earth about 7,200 years ago, and nothing in all of creation is evidently older than this.

    2. No. I believe that God created the universe (the heavens and the earth) in the six days called “the beginning” in the first verse in our Bible. The sun, moon, and stars were created on Day 4 of this week. If you are wondering about galaxies or any other object in the universe not mentioned specifically in Genesis, I can only speculate, but I would guess that those were also created the same day.

    3. No. All of earth is not solid. Much of it certainly is quite solid, but it also has components that are gas or liquid. In theory, the interior of the earth consists partly of liquid material that can be highly viscous. None of the components that can actually be observed are “virtual” or imaginary, and I specifically include visible geologic strata. They are all quite real, but of course, most of the bulk of the interior of the earth is inaccessible to direct observation. If a theory about the nature of those parts, perhaps based on studies of seismic waves or other physical evidence, happens to be in error, it could involve imaginary features or components of the earth.

    4. Yes or no, depending on what you mean by “appearance of age from our perspective.” I understand that you are asking about layers of sedimentary rocks. In a trivial sense, any rock will appear to have at least an age corresponding to the length of time it has been observed. In the context of our discussion, I think you want to know whether a given sedimentary rock will appear to be millions of years old or at least some age that puts its origin much earlier than the date of first observation. These sedimentary rocks may appear to have an unknown age, considering all of the time since either deposit or lithification. An estimated age could still be obtained through a study of index fossils it contains, if any, or radiometric dating. Either way, this would involve assumptions that may or may not be valid. From some perspectives, having just an estimated but uncertain age could suffice to claim “the appearance of age.”

    5. No. In Aardsma’s theory, the term “virtual” may apply to a history but not to an age, appearance, or any solid object. If a sedimentary rock is estimated to have been deposited after the date of creation, it can have the appearance of age, and its proposed history can be entirely real, not virtual. A proposed history is virtual only to the extent that it covers events that never actually happened, regardless of plausible speculation based on appearances.

    6. No. According to biblical chronology as clarified by Aardsma, the earth is about 7,200 years old. This should be close to its true age for anyone who trusts what the Bible has to say about it. I would rephrase the first part of your question slightly. Some people think the earth is about 4.5 years old based on measurements and dating methods that involve critical assumptions that may or may not be valid. They tend to ignore, dismiss, or reject any dating method that might indicate much less age. For example, they might give no weight to age estimates for rocks that contain dinosaur soft tissue that can also be dated to be only thousands (not millions) of years old. The same people evidently have no interest in the faint young sun paradox, even though it should at least reduce confidence in any earth history lasting 4.5 billion years.

    7. No. See number 5.

  18. Mike Bay says:

    I give up. Conversing withTom is like nailing Jell-O to a wall. Maybe we should try plate tectonics. We know where the plates are today. We know how fast they are moving. We see what happens when they move. We can backtrack to figure out where they were 7200 years ago and lo and behold we can figure out where they were 100,000 years ago. But Tom can not enter that discussion because according to Tom and Mr A there was no history before 7200 years ago. There was nothing. No Universe. So we can see where the plates moved over 100,000 but it’s all an illusion because there was no Earth then… It has been estimated that the last great ice age ended 15,000 years ago, you know, before the Earth was created. That ice age left a huge boulder in my back yard. It was out there by the ice. Probably drug down from the Olympics. And there were many ice ages before that. They leave their marks. But then again, it’s all an illusion because there was no Earth then. Our DNA carried pseudogenes. Thousands of them. They are non-lethal errors. We know they are errors because they are in sets of active identical genes. Occasionally one in a set of many gets damaged yet the life form continues to live and reproduce. We can trace these pseudo genes down through the ancestral line of primates. Dine of the identical errors are found in our past ancestors. This does present a huge problem for the YEC movement! Their premise is God created all life within a couple recent days. God used a master plan. But the hard evidence says the plan is riddled with errors… Do Ivwant to get into a conversation with Tom over this. Tom believed all of the genetic code was created 7200 years ago. He’ll just say that God wrote in the errors as part of the plan. Or that it’s just a miracle and leave it at that. Sorry. Not going there… Tom, before you write me again go do some analysis of the COBE project. It is definitive proof for an old Universe with a beginning. It is not an illusion. It really did happen long ago. Read it. Get up to speed. Btw I was a YEC in my early days. I was a fan of Henry Morris. COBE was one of the pivotal points in my thinking. It was emotional very difficult to admit to myself that I was simply wrong all those years. That was hard. I was wrong. Take the challenge, It won’t hurt you.

    • Tom,

      I concur with what Mike said here.

      You read the Grand Canyon book but you didn’t engage with the detail of its contents. Not at all.

      Instead you abdicated to “Oh, but that’s virtual history, not real history.”

      I too refuse to try to nail jell-o to the wall.

  19. Tom Godfrey says:


    This is rich. You told me just yesterday, “It has been an interesting discussion. Let me try to unders[ta]nd you.” Then you listed seven yes/no questions to help everyone know what I am talking about. My answer to practically all of your questions is no. Less than a day later, I responded with a detailed comment to explain my own position more positively. Your reaction was to ignore my answers, complain that conversing with me “is like nailing Jell-O to a wall,” and pepper me with four new topics (plate tectonics, ice ages, pseudogenes, and COBE). Wow!

    Remember that you started this whole conversation by challenging me with Grand Canyon issues. I tried to continue the conversation, but you dismissed my contribution as nothing but “calculator jazz” and changed the subject. Perry refused to engage me any further until I read a specific book about the Grand Canyon with arguments for the earth being 4.5 billion years old. (By the way, I am sorry I wrote “4.5 years” instead of “4.5 billion years” in my answer 6. Typo.) After I met Perry’s requirement, he invited folks to read my review. Evidently, nobody did. Not even Perry.

    At least you were interested in talking about virtual history instead, until your last comment, where you finally gave up. I have to assume that it was because you have nothing substantive to add to the discussion. I certainly have no reason to feel guilty about being uncooperative or non-responsive, so I have to assume that your Jell-O remark was simply a face-saving strategy with no connection to reality. You really just want to dodge the issues we have been discussing and move on to another, where you may feel more comfortable, right? You could have just told me that and picked one new topic.

    Well, okay then, let’s move on to COBE. I already did some reading about this earlier, and so far, I have no idea why you claim, “It is definitive proof for an old Universe with a beginning.” The idea that the universe had a beginning is uncontroversial, as far as we are concerned. It is consistent with Genesis and even with what most mainstream cosmologists believe, so I assume your reason for interest in COBE is really just the age angle. If this is not the case, let’s not waste our time on it. We could choose a more controversial topic.

    You found the interpretation of COBE evidence so convincing that you called it “one of the pivotal points” in your thinking. If you are serious about wanting to discuss this honestly and patiently in an atmosphere of mutual respect, and if you really know what you are talking about, please explain your COBE argument in your own words. Here are two background articles for reference. I suggest scrolling down to the section entitled “The CBR” in the second one, or you could just search for “COBE” (Ctrl-F).

    • Mike Bay says:

      The Universe is about 14 billion years old. It is not 7200 years old. One can not have an intelligent discussion with someone who thinks the Universe is 7200 years old. That was the point of bringing up tectonic plates, the ice age and DNA errors. I am not changing the subhect. I am making a point. Any topic like these is meaningless to discuss because they deal will real time that goes back long before 7200 years ago. Maybe you are just playing around with my head. If so, congratulations. You are doing it well 🙂

  20. Tom Godfrey says:


    How do you know I read the Grand Canyon book? It looks as though you just took my word for it. Have you read that book yourself? More to the point, how do you conclude that I “didn’t engage with the detail of its contents”? Did you even read the book review that I posted for Amazon customers? I certainly did engage with the contents and took pages of notes. What gave you the idea that I “abdicated to ‘Oh, but that’s *virtual* history, not real history’”? It certainly could not have been my review, because virtual history is not even mentioned in it, and only one paragraph refers to Dr. Aardsma’s work. I guess you got the idea just by reading Mike’s comments.

    If you took time to read mine too, you evidently had nothing substantive to add to the discussion either, except to encourage a quick end to it. At least Mike had questions for me. Can you point to any of your comments for me with a substantive contribution to a discussion of his original Grand Canyon issue? You concurred with his Jell-O remark, but do you agree with my analysis of it in my comment to him last night? If not, can you explain it to me?

    Before you decide to quit engaging with me, I wonder whether you can tell me the page numbers in your book where you explain how Genesis can be reinterpreted to harmonize with what atheists say about the origin of the universe, life on earth, the concept of a very good and completed creation, and especially the first female human being (Eve). If you really do not go into all of this in your book, do you have any other reason why I might be interested in buying it? After all, you have already exposed me to many of your main ideas through a letter to the CRSQ editor and through comments, chapters, or articles that you have posted here on your website.

    I have to assume that you really do not want to let it sink in and admit publicly that a study of physical evidence interpreted under the no-miracle presupposition is a terrible way to investigate origins, unless you have decided that the Bible cannot be trusted in this area. If you do reject Genesis, then what alternatives do you have? You really do not want to acknowledge that physical evidence is bound to be misleading if it is the result of a miracle, right? Okay, you can just sweep it under the rug, so to speak, along with the faint young sun paradox, my edge of the observable universe challenge, and anything else inconsistent with your established and published position on origins. What could possibly go wrong? Of course, you always have an option to switch over to a new position that you can defend with confidence, as I once did.

    Let’s sidestep all of that troublesome stuff and move on to something that ought to be more interesting to you in light of your brother’s recently posted testimony. The first link here is an article, and the second is a video clip that covers essentially the same points with some additional commentary, just in case you like talk better than print. If you dare, please also consider the material in the third (print) or fourth (talk) link. I hope that Mike will dare to do this too.

    • Tom,

      If I am misunderstanding you and you are not advocating virtual history then you need to explain.

      But based on what I think I understand, I am not operating under a “no miracle” presupposition. I am operating under a “no fake history” presupposition. God doesn’t make appearances of exquisitely detailed history that never actually happened.

      Even the miracle of the resurrection did not erase the REAL HISTORY of scars on Jesus’ side and hands. Which is a very important clue about how miracles work.

      So if your presupposition is that we cannot reliably judge history from science (because God faked elaborate history in inscrutable ways), and if some portion of geological and astronomical data is virtual history, I don’t see how there is anything meaningful for us to talk about. We are each judging based on 100% incompatible premises.

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