Why I am Not a Young Earth Creationist

John_F._MacArthur_Jr

John MacArthur, ally of Young Earth Creation

I grew up in an ultra-conservative, 4 1/2 point Calvinist, expository Bible teaching church. When I was in high school, my church in Lincoln Nebraska brought in a special speaker, the Young Earth Creationist and Bible teacher John C. Whitcomb. He gave a series of talks about science and the Bible.

It was FASCINATING. Ten times more interesting than the usual Sunday Biblical exegesis. A six-part series, a multi-day, power packed tour de force of creation science.

Whitcomb delivered a scorching exposé

of the fallacies of carbon dating; he described the worldwide flood; the Genesis account, the deterioration and de-evolution of the human genome; the tower of Babel.

He explained how Noah’s flood accounted for geological anomalies which secular scientists misconstrued as “millions of years;” and how the earth is actually 6,000 years old. He explained how we know that from the Biblical genealogies. I was captivated.

Whitcomb was a pivotal figure in the Young Earth Creation movement. He and his co-author Henry Morris created an entire field known as “Flood geology.” A weekend seminar similar to that one still appears at a church near you multiple times a year. My church growing up was very similar to John MacArthur’s. He’s pictured above.

When I was seven, I had a dinosaur book I wore out from total fascination. It described dinosaurs living 65 million years ago. My 2nd grade teacher taught me how to handle that:

“Just laugh at it.”

So I did.

Origins didn’t come up much in high school or college. Once I had a conversation about Jesus around the water cooler at work. I offered a pretty convincing case for the resurrection, and a co-worker admitted as much.

But he said, “There’s no way you’re going to convince me that all of humanity is the result of two naked people, an apple and a snake.” I didn’t have a comeback.

I professionally subscribed to a publication called Sensors Magazine. It struck me how technologies – especially sensors, from cameras to ultrasonics to devices most folks have never imagined – are greatly inspired by sensors in the human body and animal kingdom. As an engineer I intuitively sensed a tremendous level of design in nature.

I also knew there were a LOT of questions I couldn’t answer. I wasn’t exactly seeking opportunities to debate.

One day I heard up talk by astrophysicist Hugh Ross called “New Scientific Evidence for the God of the Bible” and it set my mind on fire. This guy explained how the Big Bang was first proposed by a Catholic priest in 1931, scorned for years, then reluctantly accepted in the mainstream. Why? Because evidence for a single discrete beginning 13.8 billion years ago had become overwhelming, despite secular bias against it.

He showed, verse by verse, how modern cosmology and the opening verses of Genesis match exceedingly well. All that was needed was a shift in perspective, a few very elegant assumptions.

So long as you assume a “day” is a period of time, and take the story as being told from an earthly vantage point (which is established in Genesis 1:2), it all fits – tit for tat. Ross described the extreme fine tuning required for gravity, the expansion rate of the big bang, forces, constants etc – physics facts Electrical Engineers are quite familiar with. Wow. That was a mind-blower.

Guess what – no conflict between mainstream cosmology and Genesis after all.

I sent Ross’s tape to a physics professor friend of mine. He wrote back with a rebuke: “David Hume dismantled the ‘design argument’ 200 years ago.”

His reply didn’t contain much actual substance, however. He did nothing to explain the fact that no plausible re-configuration of any of those interdependent constants would result in any kind of coherent universe. Nothing more than a hand-waving dismissal.

I plowed forward, happy to now have a general cosmology that matched the Biblical one – but on a much grander scale. Guess what, those dinosaurs really did live 65 million years ago and it’s not a problem.

The story I’ve told so far will make Old Earth Creationists quite happy – and Young Earth Creationists unhappy. The reason it makes YECs unhappy is… YEC is brittle. Any change to the story forces them to disassemble quite a number of theological shibboleths and re-assemble them.

Go down this road and you’ll soon find major Biblical engine parts scattered around on the shop floor. For awhile may not feel quite sure if they’re going to go back together.

This is anathema to a traditional evangelical. Especially where I came from. Our systematic theology was a vast spreadsheet of theological exact answers and precision-formed parts, carefully engineered and fine-tuned like a NASCAR drive train.

To a traditional evangelical, this comes down to an issue of authority. “Are you going to believe godless secular scientists? Or are you going to believe God’s word?” This is how Answers In Genesis frames the question. It’s either/or, black-and-white.

There’s little dance or interplay between science and theology. You take the plain sense literal reading of Genesis, you eschew those “liberals” who “compromise” God’s Holy Word.

Any apparent disagreement with science is obviously a science problem. Not a theology problem. Not an interpretation problem.

When I was in high school I had debates with my pal Pat, who belonged to a traditional strand of Church of Christ. COC interpreted not a few, but MANY things differently than my home team. I saw that as they rotated their theological Rubik’s cube, they matched some pieces much differently than we did. As I became familiar with other protestants and Catholics, I saw that the re-configurations of Christian theology can be almost endless.

The central pillars of Christianity are quite solid. It’s pretty hard to come up with anything much different from the Apostle’s Creed, for example, without butchering the Bible. But once you get to secondary and tertiary issues, there are many ways to work the puzzle.

I was a pastor’s kid. As Biblically educated as anybody’s likely to get short of seminary. And already by age 20 I viewed the 10-decimal precision and proclaimed certainty of reformed evangelical theology with a jaundiced eye.

I noticed that theologians fiddle with interpretations for their entire lives, and do clever sleight of hand with each other (with plenty of petty name calling, posturing, shaming and shunning) to win debates and protect egos. I knew too much about the Bible to crown one single, rigid, Ken Ham interpretation as king – or anybody else’s for that matter.

Don’t get me wrong, I embrace the inspiration and authority of the Bible. I believe in the lifelong pursuit of truth and discernment. But I believe the value and experience of twisting the Rubik’s cube itself is actually more important than the particular Rubik’s configuration your cube happens to land on today. Nuances of theology are squishy. That’s a fact.

I also think the capacity to dialogue with people who disagree with you, and still love them without losing your cool, is much closer to the “point” of Christianity than whatever doctrines we abstract from the stories and texts.

Also:

As an Electrical Engineer, I found some things in science are not squishy at all. Like the speed of light. It’s the “c” in Einstein’s “e=mc^2.” That “c” appears all over the place in physics. It’s in Maxwell’s equations, which define light’s essential behavior; “c” cements the relationship between electric fields and magnetism, and we can measure it with ten decimals of precision. 299,792,458 meters per second.

There is nothing remotely controversial about this in science. (Contrast this to Darwinism, for example, which has been plagued with endless problems and conflicting data for 150 years.)

The speed of light, so far as I know as an electrical engineer, is a constant in physics. Sure, light’s speed changes in a prism, but as a physical constant it does not budge. It doesn’t even shift with the speed of objects. As far as we can tell it’s an absolute barrier.

Q: If a star is 100 million light years away, when did that light leave the star?

A: 100 million years ago.

All kinds of YECs have tried to dodge that question and that answer. None have succeeded. If they were right, physics itself would be a complete mess. But it’s not. Physics works like a precision-built Swiss watch, thank you very much.

Therefore… in the alleged authority battle between science and the Bible… for me, speed of light won.

Once I began seriously considering this, I realized that if the Bible actually intended to say the universe is 6,000 years old, then it could not even be inspired by God.

The universe is old. Period.

But upon further study, I’m not convinced anything in the Bible contradicts that. Rather, YECs have been reading a young earth into scripture for 100 years.

Yes, you can explore whether the speed of light is changing, whether God made the universe to LOOK old even though it’s actually young. I invite you to research to your heart’s content. Personally I’ve been down those trails and I caution you that any of those positions will back you into a corner that you cannot get out of.

Our often-squishy theology needs to make room for verifiable facts. Like the speed of light.

Any honest apologist or thinking Christian surely has to admit that quality of evidence comes into play. The Bible is FULL of history-based truth claims (which is not the case with other religions, like Hinduism and Buddhism).

For example: the honest Christian should be able to say that IF someone really did produce the body of Jesus, if they proved that Jesus didn’t actually rise from the dead, then Christianity is therefore not true. And then we are truly “above all most to be pitied” as St. Paul said.

Is it not true that Christians criticize Mormons for believing in entire civilizations in South America that left nary a trace? For believing that American Indians are actually a lost tribe of Jews, even though DNA evidence contradicts this?

Is it not true that Christians criticize Jehovah’s Witnesses for predicting the end of the world multiple times, and being wrong?

So if Christianity is historical, shouldn’t it be falsifiable as well?

Why does YEC get a free pass in making up its own version of history, yet Mormonism doesn’t?

We should be willing to abandon Christianity if we find it’s not true. By the same token we can shout it from the rooftops if we find that it IS true. That’s the position the apostles took in the book of Acts.

And yes, we can and should use verifiable scientific facts to judge between competing theologies.

Oh, and by the way…. most people at this point would pile on a litany of other problems with YEC. Most articles like this one sport a list of 10 major problems or more.

I don’t need all those. I only need one. Speed of light. It’s exact, you can measure it in the comfort of your own home and you can do the math. Math doesn’t lie.

The other problems with YEC are more fuel for the fire.

We know the earth is old. If that’s true, what theological dominoes fall?

The first domino is the notion that there was no animal death before the fall. Nothing in the fossil record suggests a death-free world before man showed up.

THIS is the lynch pin of YEC. It’s not the word “Yom” (day) in Hebrew, it’s not something else. It’s the issue of death before the fall. Let me explain.

The central cornerstone of YEC is belief that 1) earth was a perfect paradise, 2) God could not make any world that was less than perfect and pristine, and 3) “Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin” (Romans chapter five.) For YECs, that means ALL death, not just men, not just men’s spirits.

This holds YEC in place. It’s a theodicy (account of evil despite a perfect God) that many Christians are comfortable with. Throw that out and you have to start over with your theodicy. You’ll need a more complex picture of God.

If earth is old, if bears were eating salmon 50 million years ago, if alligators always had sharp incisors, then God fashioned an extremely inefficient universe where conflict was baked in from the word go.

Cancer and bacteria and weeds and parasites have been around as long as there have been plants and animals.

That, to the traditional Christian mind, is too much to stomach. (Though the same Christian seems to have no quibbles with various other cruelties, both in the past and future.)

My late colleague Michael Marshall asked, “Which is more dangerous? A world with pathogens like viruses and bacteria? Or a world where the 2nd most powerful being in the universe is a serial killer boiling with rage, salivating for an opportunity to devour everyone?”

Did you ever notice that in the Adam and Eve story, God doesn’t even warn them them about what’s coming, or who? He certainly doesn’t do what any normal parent would do.

Nevertheless God declared the world to be very good. Despite the fact that peril was built in to the picture before man ever showed up.

In Genesis 1:31, when God says “And God saw all that he had made and it was very good,” do you know what the Hebrew word for “Good” means in the original Hebrew?

It means “Good.”

It does not mean “Perfect.”

I can still label planet earth a “good” world. I cannot label it “perfect.” I don’t have to like all of it. I can still agree with God that it was good. Exuberant parents bring newborn babies into this good world with joy every single day.

The assertion that God would never make anything “imperfect” flies in the face of not only science, but Biblical theology. And good luck coming up with a coherent definition of “perfect” that aptly describes any created thing.

What did God say to Moses in Exodus 4? “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

This raises even more questions that I’m not going to answer in this article. Some of those are:

Who was the first man? Who was Adam?
Was Noah’s flood global or local? How does known Middle Eastern history overlap with the Biblical story?
Is “death” in the fall physical death, or something else? Does it apply to animals?
How do you read Genesis 1 from an old-universe perspective?
Was the Grand Canyon formed by the flood?
What about evolution? Is evolution Biblical?

You can follow the links above for more on these questions. Meanwhile, basic facts of science which are now beyond reasonable doubt call YEC into question.

God wrote two books: the book of scripture, and the book of nature. I do not believe there is any conflict between the two. But our understanding of both will never cease evolving.

And that is why I am not a Young Earth Creationist.

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419 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    Good discussion. When it comes down to it, for me, I believe what Jesus believed. He believed it was -history-. I take the word of a guy who was brutally murdered in plain sight of his peers, buried by his friends, and -miraculously- resurrected three days later and appeared to over 500+ peeps than over any scientific explanation. So, was Jesus a YEC? Don’t know. But, he was God-in-the-flesh. I would kinda call him…an authority on the subject.

    One final thought, and this we do know from Genesis 1: If you believe God created man, fully grown, fully mature, fully capable of reproductive activity as as an adult….why, why, why is it so hard to grasp the concept that He may have made the universe in a similar manner? Hmmmmm?

    Have a great day, and don’t strain to hard…mentally. “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children…” Matt 18:3
    Don’t miss it.

  2. Don Bales says:

    What does the phrase “He stretches out the heavens like a curtain” mean to you? It appears many times in scripture! If God created light and stretched it out, and he is no longer stretching it, could it be possible that the speed of light has not always been constant?

  3. Grace says:

    The comments by you guys are making are truly amazing. God has given you great minds and I enjoyed reading through this conversation. And I mean that in the kindest way possible. However, why is it that we think we can categorically “figure” or “explain” God in scientific terms? Not to say that His character is not explainable or that His works are not illuminated in scripture, because He is and they are. Bottom line for me is that He alone is God. He is sovereign. He created us. He loves us. He is good. We are created beings. Psalm 90:2-4 says, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turned man to destruction; and said, Return, you children of men. For a thousand years in Your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” In other words, a day to God is different with no space/time continuum. And there are things we won’t know until we are with Him on the other side of the veil. And even then, we probably won’t care. All of this, in light of the worlds woes is “so what?”. With the history of man coming to an end, to me this is foolish speculation. I love a good debate as much as the next person. It can be a fun pursuit of thoughtful debate, however it only serves to feed the ego and wastes valuable (and ever-shortening) time. Instead God’s people should be serving His Church and loving the broken and lost, directing them to Jesus. That is why we are encouraged by apostle Paul, “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Cor. 2:1-5. Joy and peace, Grace

    • Gordon Sun says:

      I disagree! Natural theology is a gateway to God’s special revelation. No, it alone won’t save a man. But It helps Christians to engage atheists and remove intellectual barriers that prevent them from seeing the truth of Christianity and redemption in Christ.

      • Grace says:

        I agree Gordon. Believers must contend for the faith. I wasn’t disputing the amazing revelation of God through scientific fact or the need to make a defense through natural theology. I was simply saying that we must be willing to concede that our finite minds cannot fathom an infinite God. Not completely. And our ability to exegete scripture about His creation in the natural will not bring people to a saving faith in Jesus. But one plants, one waters and the Holy Spirit grows us up. We get glimpses of God’s creation, but we still see through a dark glass dimly. Point in fact, myself being a very ‘average’ scientific thinker, I was engaged in a taxing 2-hour debate this Thanksgiving. The debater, my 30 year old unbelieving son, sequestered me in the kitchen. He has great questions, but he is also a guy who has been known to switch from agnostic to atheist in the course of a discussion, if you get my drift. He engaged me in this exact topic. As I struggled to address his “logic” about the appalling ignorance in Christian scientists, I found myself calling upon the Holy Spirit for wisdom, humility and patience as I spoke the truth to him in love. And in a Spirit-led moment, what appeared to stop him in His tracks, wasn’t my latest scientific findings. It was when I began speaking about the character of God. Gods love for Him, and His desire to see him walking in his design. My son is in emotional bondage, an unhappy PTSD veteran who longs for peace. He is looking for peace “out there” in the universe (anywhere but to God), and he is always bewildered by my unshakable faith to believe in an “unseen” God who loves us, and the power of a resurrected Jesus who died for him on the Cross. It always comes back to the Cross. Like Paul said, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Cor 2:2. My original comment was questioning a lack of balance (the hope in Jesus) in relationship to natural theology. I see it often in the scientific mindset where there seems to be a lack of attention on the character of Who God is and Why He created. This component is critical to understanding science. Facts, without relationship, can take us from faith to fear (which can often look like puffed up knowledge or pride). Logic can become just as obsessive and out of balance as emotionalism. In our ability to think – the “thought process” and ability to choose – this is truly praiseworthy and truly marvelous, we have left out the bigger purpose of this knowledge. To praise and worship the Creator. I applaud the thinking ones. The “How” question – how He creates -will apparently be up for debate until Jesus returns. Thanks for reading my two cents. Blessings and peace to you.

        • Gordon says:

          Hi Grace, appreciate the follow-up. I too have a family member who reject the gospel because of the incoherence of YEC. However, once I removed the barrier of 6,000 year old earth, his atheistic response was at best an opinion without any refutation prowess.

  4. Allen says:

    I am often amused when seince comes out with “new findings”. It is sad that many impressionable youths were pryed away from faith when sceince presented fossils that were said to be proof of intermediate species between man and ape. Now we are told that Lucy really was pure ape and Neandrathal was pure human. Then there was a time when science claimed that everything that is,- has always been. This contradicted Genesis and many left the faith over it. But then, the Hubble Telescope and Einstein, and the law of thermodynamics and now science does support a “beginning”, but to not look too much like Genesis, they call it a ” BIG BANG”. But Evolutionists need lots of time so they convince our youth that it happened Millions and billions of years ago. So our youth are still being convinced that the faith of our fathers is lacking integrity.
    I think the question of the distance of stars from the earth as measured in light years is not yet fully understood. Keep in mind that a “llight year” is a measure of DISTANCE not TIME. Though it may be true that the speed at which the light travels is constant, does it mean that the light that is reaching us right now is millions of years old? Let me explain.
    We can make some assumptions about day 6 of creation. When God created plants and animals and birds and fish, he created them in great numbers. So Adam witnessed herds and flocks and forests of every kind. Some will ask “What age were they? How old was Adam? Did Adam have a belly button? Which came first ” the chicken or the egg?”. (Yes some questions can distract us from meaningfully thought).
    However I think that it is fair to assume that in the herds, there were adults and young. In the flocks there must have been adults, chick’s and even eggs. The forests would have had impressively huge Redwoods and freshly germinating seeds with every stage between. BUT NONE WERE FEEBLE OR SICK.
    Did the large trees have more rings the the young ones? Perhaps, but there is no way to prove it. Does it matter?
    When God took the 7th day off, I believe the night sky would have been lit up with our moon and as many stars as we have today perhaps more because some have died since the fall
    If God did create full grown trees and animals, and stars millions of light years away, Why wouldn’t God also created the light for Adam to see them.
    Gen 1:3 God created light (God apparently doesn’t need suns to make light)
    Gen 1:4 God separate light from the darkness.
    First day
    Gen 1:14-19 God makes planets and stars.
    Forth day. (3days after he created light and separated it from darkness)
    I’ll not change my understanding of God’s record of history because of man’s limited understanding of What or how God did it.

    • Gordon Sun says:

      The trouble with this opinion is that we don’t have Adam’s skeletal remains to examine. However we have distant stars to observe and study, with known physical laws governing them.

  5. Brian says:

    Mary Schweitzer and other paleontologists have discovered soft tissue in dinosaur bone. Schweitzer, to appease the many struggling with the idea that soft tissue couldn’t possibly survive for 65 million years to fossils couldn’t be very old, said iron, whether from blood or elsewhere, may have entered and preserved it. Mark Armitage, an electron microscopist, has demonstrated that the iron molecule Schweitzer pointed to was too large to enter where it must in order to do the work she credits it.

    Armitage unearthed a triceratops, processed the fossil like Schweitzer and likewise discovered soft tissue. Lots of it. He was able to do a medical chem-20 lab on it, and carbon date it. Turned out to be 27,000 years old. What do you say to that?

  6. Brian says:

    Geologist, Steve Austin, after the Mt. St. Helens eruption, was the foremost expert for a period, if not still. He documented the formation of strata, trees fossilized in a very short time…polystrate fashion, and canyons carved out in days, if not weeks. Provided a different framework with which to interpret sedimentary geologic features.

    Research from this event, and other projects, have served to start the neo-catastrophist school of thought in geology. The Grand Canyon has been re-dated to be about 12,000 years old, and there is plenty of evidence, using the present to interpret the past.

    What’s your take?

  7. Charles says:

    You made a lot of good points in this article and I agree with almost everything you said. I especially liked how you discussed the evidential nature of Christianity and how people need to be willing to admit that given the right evidence, Christianity could be false. In many cases, it seems like people are more interested in protecting their preconceived notions than examine the evidence to follow what is true.

    I disagree with two main points from the article. First, while the fact of evolution may have had more debate surrounding it over the years than say, the speed of light, it has not been plagued with conflicting data and endless problems. Life sciences are necessarily more complex than physical constants. Innumerable converging lines of evidence indicate that evolution happened, so I would say that while leaving Young Earth Creationism behind was a step in the right direction, it seems you haven’t gone quite far enough.

    The other thing I disagree with is the whole notion of concordism, (that the Bible can in some way be reconciled with modern science, a la Hugh Ross). Check out Denis Lamoureaux on this. Concordism implies that the Biblical authors were given super-advanced knowledge beyond what they could have known at the time and which really wouldn’t have served any real purpose. The Bible is full of ancient cosmology and as John Walton frequently says, “you can’t get there from here”. I’d recommend reading “The Meaning of Creation” by Conrad Hyers, “Paradigms on Pilgrimage”, by Smith and Godfrey, and looking into Biologos more in depth (I assume you already know it exists).

    • Tim Rider says:

      Microevolution is an ingenious design feature that allows organisms to adapt to ever an changing environment and surface. It takes place within a species. To extrapolate that to speciation, is a leap not supported by evidence.

      If Scripture is inspired by God, it will be consistent with his creation. The writers do not have to necessarily have special knowledge. When God’s Word is in agreement with His works, what is the point in rejecting it?

  8. Bill McClymonds says:

    Perry – When it comes to the discussion of old Earth vs. young Earth creation it seems that there are very intelligent people on each side of the issue. I know for sure that God created, but I’m not certain how long the time was that He took to create. One of the things that has influenced me to believe in shorter periods of time than the millions of years proposed by many in the scientific community is the recent findings of soft tissue in supposedly ancient animal remains – including dinosaurs. I didn’t use the word fossilized because some of the tissue findings were soft and stretchy.

    Dr. Mary Schweitzer has been a leading researcher in this field. When she first reported soft tissue findings in dinosaur bones it sent the evolutionary community into an uproar. Dr Schweitzer received a considerable amount of criticism because of the obvious implications of her findings. Everyone in the evolutionary community knew that soft stretchy tissue with cellular elements, including what looked like nucleated red blood cells, could only mean one thing. Dinosaurs were not millions of years old. Dr Schweitzer has been extremely gracious in fending off criticism of her work. She has shown clearly that her findings are correct beyond any reasonable doubt. Others in the scientific community also found soft tissue in supposedly ancient animal remains, including dinosaurs, when they started looking for it.

    In addition to defending her work, Dr Schweitzer has also proposed a possible method of preservation for soft dinosaur tissue. I have not seen any criticism at all in the evolutionary community of that result even though I think her conclusions are highly questionable. She concluded that a few years of preservation in ideal laboratory conditions equated to millions of years of preservation in natural settings. I think that is an extremely questionable conclusion. If even a one percent degradation of the soft tissue she has tried to preserve occurred in a hundred years it would mean the tissue could not last millions of years. Again, I think her conclusions about possible methods of preservation for millions of years are highly questionable.

    The other source you might want to investigate is a blog by Dr Jay Wile. Dr Wile is a nuclear chemist who tries to follow the scientific evidence to the best of his ability. Dr Wile was once an atheist who was convinced by the evidence that Christianity was more likely correct than atheism. At this point I believe he has still concluded that a younger Earth is more likely than an older one. His blog is called Proslogion and you can search the blog for articles on dinosaur soft tissue or any other scientific subject you may have an interest in researching. Dr Wile is extremely knowledgeable and is usually very willing to have discussions with anyone who holds a view that is different from his.

    • Bill McClymonds says:

      I did not see the comments by Brian when I composed my comments. Perhaps I missed them or perhaps they were posted while I was composing my comments and I did not refresh my screen before posting. Whatever the case may be, Brian is correct that Mark Armitage and others in the young earth community have criticized the work of Mary Schweitzer in which she showed possible iron preservation of soft tissues and concluded that the tissues could be preserved for millions of years by that process. I was referring to the mainstream naturalistic scientific community when I wrote about those who had not criticized her work. Mark Armitage in particular has express some very strong objections to the conclusions Dr Schweitzer has drawn from her iron preservation experiment. Unfortunately most of the young earth creationist objections seem to have been ignored by mainstream naturalistic scientists. They seem unwilling to question an experiment that has provided a possible way for them to escape from the difficult position they faced when soft tissue was found in supposedly million plus year old animal remains.

  9. Andrew Rule says:

    You should be careful about how settled even ‘hard’ science is, and making presumptions about calculating the age of the Universe based on the speed of light. If you watch this, and if need be skip to the 23:30 mark on the fictionalizations on the speed of light.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0waMBY3qEA4

    This is a very interesting discussion on the dogmas of Scientism vs. Science. And, given that you are an Electrical Engineer, you should find the Electric Universe model interesting.

  10. Sam Roberts says:

    Because God’s superobjective in creating the universe was not to provide its inhabitants with a totality of available knowledge that would make them self-sufficient apart from Him, but rather to demonstrate that His authority does not derive merely from the extent of His omnipotence, but from His goodness; along with providing God with the justification for permanently removing the optional choice of sin. The whole of human history serves as a witness that rebellion against God is a destructive choice, in exhaustive detail. Without this evidence as justification, removal of the human capacity to rebel and act in a self-centered, self-destructive way would be mere mind control.

    That is the point of Creation, not satisfying your need for epistemological reliability.

  11. Apropos of the constant speed of light, perhaps it is worth mentioning that there is at least some (admittedly marginal) debate over the question. The general contours of the debate can be found here:

    http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/examination-of-sheldrakes-claim-the-speed-of-light-is-not-constant.1295/

  12. Apropos of the bodily resurrection of Jesus and the falsifiability of Christianity, any appeal to Paul’s remark, “that if Christ be not raised, [our] faith is in vain” falls flat as far as I am concerned — as if that requires an empty tomb — especially when we consider Paul’s remarks concerning resurrection, in general, that we “do not sow the body that shall be” but that “it is raised a spiritual body” (I Corinthians 15:17, 37, 44). Just what, after all, is the point of continuity between the new life and the old that requires the physical transformation of these earthen vessels once the life has been snuffed out of them? And while one may certainly argue that something of the sort is implied in Paul’s writings, is it not strange that he seems to have no knowledge of the women at the tomb and other rather important details found in the Easter narratives? No, to my mind the Easter narratives are symbolic and need not be accepted as history. The important point is that he lives!

    https://jwayneferguson.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/i-am-the-resurrection-and-the-life/

    p.s. One can only laugh at the outrageous notion that Paul would intentionally “air-brush” the women out of the story (as has been suggested by N.T. Wright and/or some of his followers).

  13. Mike says:

    On an old-earth view, how do you reconcile the “the beginning of creation” reference Jesus uses in Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6 to describe when God created Adam and Eve with billions of years of earth history prior to Adam? This would put Adam and Eve in relatively recent history and not “at the beginning of creation” as the 6th literal day sensibly does.

    “And [Jesus] answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female…’” (Mat. 19:4)
    “But from the beginning of creation, God ‘made them male and female.’” (Mark 10:6)

    This is not the only place where Jesus (who was present at creation and not likely mistaken) seems to assume a young creation, or at least the presence of mankind near the beginning of it:

    “For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never.” (Mark 13:19) – Here Jesus references suffering initiated in Genesis 3 with the sin of Adam and Eve, presumed to be at “the beginning of creation.”

    Also: “For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.’” (Luke 11:49-51) – The human blood shed includes Adam’s son Abel’s, beginning a history of violence “since the foundation of the world.”

    Paul also seemed to be a young earther in his General Revelation statement in Romans 1, taking for granted that “since the creation of the world”, humans have been around to see the evidence of God’s work in nature:
    “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:20)

    Thank you!

    • How is “day 6” the beginning of creation, if the point is to take all these scriptures as literally as possible?

      • Mike says:

        Perry, I appreciate the response. I don’t think the point is to be “as literal as possible”, but to be reasonable. Assuming YEC, if Jesus was speaking these words 4,000 or so years after day 6 of creation, something like 1.5 million days had elapsed since. Anything that occurred in the first literal week of that amount of time would be considered “the beginning” by any reasonable author or reader. Just like the first 10 or 20 miles of your drive across the country would be considered the beginning of your trip. Likewise, the blood shed by first generation from Adam, out of at least 42 generations from Adam to Christ, would also reasonably be considered “the foundation of the world,” if that world didn’t include billions of years before Adam. Similarly, the “foundation” of America as a nation involves more that just the first day we colonized, the first day of declared independence from Great Britain, our first president, or Washington’s first day in office, etc. Suggesting that we can’t see a literal day 6 as “the beginning” relative to Jesus’ time is a hyper-literal approach that would render virtually anything in the Bible or any other piece of literature incomprehensible.

        That said, we can assume Jesus wasn’t trying to deceive His listeners. Was He simply mistaken about the age of the earth? Were these texts interpreted wrong?

        Thank you.

        • When I read Matthew 19:4 (lots of translations at http://biblehub.com/matthew/19-4.htm )
          I don’t find anything about this passage that even begins to suggest the age of the earth – much less arguing for a young earth.

          The word “beginning” means
          https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G746&t=KJV

          beginning, origin

          the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader

          that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause

          the extremity of a thing

          of the corners of a sail

          the first place, principality, rule, magistracy

          of angels and demons

          Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)
          ἀρχή archḗ, ar-khay’; from G756; (properly abstract) a commencement, or (concretely) chief (in various applications of order, time, place, or rank):—beginning, corner, (at the, the) first (estate), magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule.

          • Mike says:

            The age of the earth is not explicitly expressed in any of the 5 passages, but in all 5 it is reasonably inferred. Jesus’ point in Mat. 19:4 and Mark 10:6 is the male and female created order in response to a question about marriage and divorce. In Mark 13:19 Jesus teaches about tribulation. In Luke 11:49-51 Jesus talks about bloodshed. Paul’s point in Romans 1:20 was the work of God evident in creation. None purpose to teach that world is young, but they all imply it as Jesus and Paul are assuming the human conditions described in the passages existed from the past, in close proximity to the creation of the world, by the use of “from the beginning” or “since the foundation of the world” as a point of reference. I don’t think the age of the earth needed to be expressed in the first century because there likely was no doubt about it, at least by Jesus or Paul.
            Of the 25 different translations at BibleHub.com, all render the point of reference the same way. Not a single one states anything close to “from the beginning *of mankind*, the creator made them male and female.” Likewise, none of translations for Mark 10:6 include anything like “at the beginning of the creation *of humans*, God made them male and female.” That would be an easy helper to insert if ANY scribe or translator thought it was a possible meaning. Meanwhile, it would be awkward, inefficient and largely pointless for Jesus or Paul to use the creation of man as a reference point for the creation of man.
            Strong’s lists many possible definitions for “beginning” throughout scripture, but we can rule out most using the creation context of these particular passages and the fact that the Mat.19/Mk.10 passages quote Genesis 2, which also includes no reference of a vast earth history before Adam.
            That’s where this argument intersects with others presented, but I’m mainly interested in these words spoken by Jesus and Paul as I’ve yet to find a strong argument reconciling them with an OEC position. I appreciate your time. 🙂

            • I don’t see a case for the earth being young in any of these verses.
              And if it does literally mean “at the beginning of all of creation” then scripture is contradicting itself because they were made on the 6th day not the first.

              I don’t find this line of argumentation convincing.

              • Mike says:

                I’m curious, where does the exact phrase “the beginning of all of creation” come from? By a phrase search, it’s not in any of the 5 passages in any of the 25 translations on Bible Hub.

                Mark 10:6 is somewhat close: “…from the beginning of creation, God made…” but this doesn’t restrict the creation of man to the beginning of creation week. “Ktiseōs” (creation) can mean either the act or the product of creation (http://biblehub.com/greek/2937.htm). Since we know scripture does not contradict itself, and given the way Matthew renders the same statement (“He who created them from the beginning”), we should assume “the beginning of creation” means the beginning of all that God has created (not the 1st day of creation week). If I got a job on January 6th, I can refer back to that as “the beginning of the year” and no one would argue that it doesn’t make sense unless I’m talking about January 1st. That’s even more true given the thousands of years that had passed before Christ came. I don’t see how a reasonable and straightforward view does’t allow that an event in the first week of several thousand years can’t be “the beginning of creation,” unless one has a pretty deep prior commitment to OEC.

                Thanks again. I’m enjoying the other comment discussions here too.

    • Gordon Sun says:

      This “beginning”, in context, speaks of human origin, not an absolute origin of the universe.

      • Mike says:

        Hi Gordon. In all 5 verses, “from the beginning”, “since the beginning”, “since the foundation of the world” and “since the creation of the world” are time references for the origin of man or the activities of man. But a reference is only useful if it refers to something else. For example, does it make more sense that Mat. 19:4 describes the origin of man in relation to some other standard (like the creation the world), or that man was created since the creation of man? That’s awkward, and a bit like saying, “Since I sat down, I’ve been sitting.” To be useful, we’d say, “I’ve been sitting since 3PM (or whenever).”

        The word for “beginning” (arxḗ, Strong’s 746) in Matthew 19:4 is the same word used in John 1:1, “in the beginning was the Word”, which clearly describes a time before humans. “World” in Luke 11:50 is the Greek “kósmos” (Strong’s 1889) meaning “something ordered”, properly, an “ordered system” (like the universe, creation).

        Considering both word choice as well as context, it’s far more parsimonious to assume that these 4 statements, spoken at different times and in Paul’s case by a different person, place man’s origin or activities in reference to something other than man’s origin or activities, especially since none of them include anything like “the beginning of mankind” or the “creation of civilization”.

  14. Ognyan Dimitrov says:

    If the information on Wikipedia for the stones from Ica, Peru (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ica_stones) is not fake than there is a question : How did peruvians knew what the dinasours look like if they did not see them with their eyes ( asuuming that they lived xx millions of years before peruvians)? They either digged them up and reconstructed the muscles on the bones to get the propper picture or they lived with them and they were able to observe them. If they did actually lived with them and their culture is only several thousand years old can we assume that the dinosaurs did not dissapear so long ago as thought? If they lived side by side not so long ago then is it possible for the Earth to be not so old?

  15. Brian Reas says:

    Please consider the theory put forth by Dr Russell Humphries in Starlight and Time — an excellent work which has withstood extended peer review. He gives a very satisfying answer to your “speed of light” problem based on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. His cosmology shows how it is possible to have a very short time span on earth with vast millennia in the universe.

  16. TroyG says:

    The issue does seem to cause some theological consternation in the areas of death and sin. IMHO, simply embracing a “BIG” view of God and His authority over time, space and matter, not to mention the laws He established and sustains to govern all life, the idea of God creating an “instantly mature” universe is not a huge leap! Why do so many try so hard to put an infinite God with the realm of finite understanding? The Mormon comparison is a straw-man? And a bad one at that. There is, wait for it, EVIDENCE, to contradict that fictional account. No matter how you slice this pie, there will be no way for man to ever know how it all began, exactly. So I will simply embrace a big view of God and take the Bible at its Word!

  17. Jim Stearns says:

    It amazes me that there is such a confidence from many that the death of both man and animals resulted from the fall of man into sin when Genesis 3 does not indicate this at all. God expelled Adam and Eve from the garden because if they stayed, they (alone) would eat also of the tree of life and live forever.

  18. Tom Godfrey says:

    Perry, your blog just showed up on Facebook, and I found it interesting. I would like to comment on a number of your points, but what seems most urgent is the speed of light issue, so let me start with this. I think you have oversimplified it. Recall your Q&A where you answered that light left a star 100 million years ago if it is 100 million light years away. Why did you choose 100 million? Would one million have done just as well? Since we are talking about the age of the universe, why not go all the way out to the very edge of the observable universe?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe#Size

    If I properly understand the Wikipedia article, your Q&A could have gone like this instead.

    Q: If a source of radiation is at the edge of the observable universe, now 46.5 billion light-years away, when did the radiation start its journey toward earth?

    A: 13.8 billion years ago.

    Assuming you agree that I read the article right, are you surprised by this answer? The distance seems to be 32.7 billion light-years more than the maximum possible, right? Did the speed of light vary? Are scientists invoking a miracle? The article explains it all in terms of pure naturalism. Well, if scientists committed to philosophical naturalism can believe this Q&A without a problem, how hard should it be for those of us who believe the creation account in Genesis to suppose that God miraculously arranged for Adam to see a night sky about the way we do tonight even back on Day 6? If we cannot explain this miracle scientifically, are we therefore obligated to conclude that the Bible must not be inspired by God?

    Please think about science and miracles. Scientists observe nature and natural phenomena, study them to discover natural laws, and apply them to make predictions. They have earned a lot of respect doing this kind of work well. Do they have any use for miracles? Suppose we put these scientists to work on a different kind of challenge, using physical evidence to develop a story about our origins or the origin of the universe. Can their story possibly invoke a miracle? In the context of forensic science where no testimony to a miracle is in view, whatever story they report is bound to exclude miracles, but what do they do when they need to explain what appears to be a huge violation of the first law of thermodynamics—a hot universe springing out of nothing at all?

    I accept the testimony in the Bible as the basis for my belief that no physical object is older than the earth and that its age is about 7,000 years. You and many others evidently believe that the earth is relatively young compared to the oldest galaxies.

    An origins story based on ancient testimony is by nature stable. An origins story based on scientific speculations about physical evidence are guaranteed to be wrong, if in fact a miracle was involved. In any case, such a story is necessarily tentative, subject to change as new evidence comes to light and new investigations are completed and announced.

    • I believe your first question is answered here:
      http://www.space.com/33306-how-does-the-universe-expand-faster-than-light.html

      As for the actual age of the universe, take a look at this and tell me what you think:
      http://evo2.org/bible-science-reconciled/

      • Tom Godfrey says:

        Perry,

        Thanks for replying. My first question was, “Why did you choose 100 million?” I read the article you linked but did not find an answer to this question, but maybe it doesn’t matter. I gather that you are more interested in “the actual age of the universe” than a detailed discussion of the speed-of-light angle, and most of my other questions can be taken as rhetorical anyway, so let’s move on to consider how science and the Bible can be reconciled. The second link you gave me lacks focus, so let’s zero in on this in particular.
        http://evo2.org/genesis1/

        This is where you claim, “A modern *literal* interpretation of Genesis 1 matches modern cosmology, geology and the fossil record… exactly.” You went on to list “three simple assumptions,” but I think you left out one that is key.

        4) Assume that secularists will ignore every inconsistency not mentioned in the reconciliation and be amazed that ignorant shepherds in ancient times got so many guesses right.

        If you honestly believe that Genesis 1 matches exactly, let me see if I can help. These examples are keyed to a verse number in your two-column chart.

        2. Can you find any secularist who believes that “the earliest life forms” (microbial mats) evolved while the surface of the earth was too dark for daytime to be distinguished from nighttime and before the water cycle began or clouds condensed to form the ocean on what Genesis calls Day 2?

        9. Can you find any secularist who believes that Pangea represented the first appearance of dry land out of a global, shoreless ocean? Or if Genesis actually refers to some earlier geological event, will any secularist agree that a shoreless ocean must have existed before any dry land appeared in the overall history of the earth as a whole, as implied in Genesis?
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pangaea

        11. Does any secularist agree that plants, like the ones described in Genesis, appeared on land before animal life appeared in the oceans? If so, the dates provided in this article are off by about 100 million years.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_history_of_life#Earliest_history_of_Earth

        14. Who agrees with you that seed-bearing terrestrial plants appeared before a “thick and opaque” atmosphere ever cleared enough for the sun, moon, and stars to become clearly visible?

        This could go on and on, of course, but I think you can already see my point. Some readers may be fooled into thinking that science has the correct story of origins based on a careful study of physical evidence, and if anything in Genesis is inconsistent with this story, then this only confirms that the Genesis account of creation is nothing more than an ancient myth. In reality, no study of physical evidence is required. Such a study is actually irrelevant.

        The first chapter of Genesis mentions God frequently. God is supposed to be a supernatural being. If he is portrayed in Genesis 1 as only a passive observer, then the secularist may or may not be impressed by some elements of the Genesis account, but can you and I agree that God is actually portrayed there as the Creator who issues commands that nature immediately obeys, more along the lines of the story in Mark 4:35-41? If so, it follows immediately that the origins story proposed by “modern science” is thoroughly incompatible with Genesis. Who cares about the evidence?

        Science works on the presupposition that no supernatural agents are at work. This presupposition makes sense when scientists are wearing their scientist hat and are investigating observable nature and attempting to understand the laws of nature. When they put on their historian hat and write a history of our origins, then their speculation, based as it is on the same presupposition, will necessarily conflict with any narrative in the Bible that describes a miracle.

        In my view, Genesis 1 describes many miracles of God. If the aftermath of those miracles, underneath the aftermath of the miracles of the curse covered in Genesis 3, cannot be used by modern scientists to uncover a reconcilable history, then no one should be surprised. It would be like the dilemma faced by the Pharisees when they investigated the healing of the blind man in John 9. Would a scientific study of his eyes or eyesight have led an atheist scientist to conclude that he had been born blind and lived practically all of his life as a blind man? The truth mattered to the blind man, and it ought to matter to us too, even if it means that we ought to believe in miracles.

        • Any number larger than 10,000 light years will do.

          I don’t know whether the first cells needed light. Maybe the first life appeared at the time of verse 3.

          Reasons To Believe offers a very reasonable Genesis + paleontology timeline at

          http://www.reasons.org/articles/creation-timeline

          I think it will answer most of your questions.

          You call people “secularists.” That very terminology sounds judgmental to my ears and it suggests that you automatically assume that people who study the earth’s natural history without the Bible are inherently at odds with the Bible.

          No; they are at odds with Ken Ham. Not the Bible. Unfortunately they don’t know that the Biblical timeline is quite compatible.

          I don’t agree that Genesis 1 is describing the same kinds of miracles that we see in the NT with the same kinds of timelines.

          What if Genesis describes a process ordained by God and not a series of miracles?

          • Tom Godfrey says:

            Perry,

            Since 46.5 billion light-years will do, let’s consider what modern science concludes from the existence of objects so far away from us now. It evidently does not mean that we have to account for 46.5 billion years of universe history. We can get by just fine with a stunning 32.7 billion years less, right? And this circumstance can be explained without any appeal to a miracle. So can you explain why it should be problematic for me to accept only about 13.8 billion fewer years of universe history than what is reported to be the true age of the universe if I also believe that the universe was actually created miraculously?

            As you know, miracles can impact physical evidence. For example, when a blind man has his sight restored miraculously, the aftermath in terms of physical evidence may not lead investigators unaware of his past to guess his true history as a man who was born blind. If what is seen now got that way because of a miracle, believers are under no obligation to explain scientifically how the same result could have been achieved through the normal operation of natural processes. This applies to all miracles—Genesis, Old Testament, New Testament, or what have you.

            The problem with suggesting that the first cells came to life in the dark is not that this would be impossible, since we know that lots of living things thrive in total darkness. The question is whether “modern science” accepts your suggestion that those cells evolved while the surface of the earth was too dark for daytime to be distinguished from nighttime. Even if this *is* considered plausible, could this have happened also before the water cycle began or clouds condensed to form the ocean on what Genesis calls Day 2? See your interpretation of Gen. 1:6.

            You hoped that the creation timeline proposed by Hugh Ross would answer most of my questions in my short list of Genesis/Science discrepancies, so let’s review.

            2. You suggested that this verse hints “that the earliest life forms began in the ocean ~3.5 billion years ago” (before Day 1). Ross lists “Isotopic evidence for life” at ~3.85 bya, but he does not chart the time when the water cycle began or clouds condensed to form “the ocean.” He does indicate that oceans (plural) “became permanent” ~50 million years later, but this is still ~300 million years before your date for the earliest life forms, a date that matches the one Ross gave for stromatolites and microfossils. So does your analysis match the “modern science” story “exactly” or not? There is evidently quite a bit of wiggle room for you and Ross here, but Genesis says nothing explicitly about the kind of life you are talking about.

            9. Ross offers no help at all on this point. He did not chart the first appearance of dry land and of a shoreless ocean. Does he believe there ever was a shoreless ocean? Or what about a global dessert? However, I think you will find that the Genesis account is at odds with “modern science” in this regard. You can conveniently leave this discrepancy out of your chart, of course, but am I the only one who will notice what you did?

            11. Maybe Ross does support you on this point, assuming that microscopic eukaryotes do not count as animal life and the claim, “Some scientists believe first land plants arrive,” counts as good enough for you. As you know, skeptics could point out that some scientists believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Otherwise, if we insist on hard, clear evidence, Ross dates the first fish at ~543 mya and the earliest fossil land plant spores ~23 million years later, the same order as the Wikipedia article I posted but the wrong order according to Genesis.

            14. Ross again gives you no comfort, since the events of interest are not on his chart.

            I called people “secularists” because you did in the first sentence of your article (“A Closer Look at Genesis 1”), and I intended to use it in the same sense you did. You evidently remain convinced that “the Biblical timeline is quite compatible” with secularist beliefs about early earth history. All kinds of nonsensical ideas can be believed wholeheartedly if one can ignore or dismiss the problems with it. Let’s look at another point in your analysis.

            You said, “The phrase ‘There was evening and there was morning’ is an ancient Jewish expression of completion” (verse 3), but if you accept this interpretation in Genesis 1, then you ought to see an especially glaring inconsistency with “modern science. “ Let’s suppose Day 3 was the extended period of time during which plants first appeared and began to evolve. When did this process come to a completion? It hasn’t yet, has it? It must follow that the Day 3 of Genesis is still in progress, in spite of the claim (on your own interpretation) that it was completed. Well, what about Day 4? If it refers to only the appearance of stars after clouds have cleared, then this still happens in our time. If it refers to the “birth” of stars, then secularists undoubtedly see this as an unfinished process as well. This day is not over either. Ditto for Day 5 and Day 6. In short, the creation is far from finished or completed, according to secularists, evenings and mornings and Gen. 2:1-3 notwithstanding.

            Speaking of Genesis 2, you did claim, “We are living in the 7th day now,” and this reminds me of a point I wanted to make about your second assumption. You already know about Ex. 20:11 in the Ten Commandments, but let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that your interpretation of “day” (Hebrew *yom*), as used in Genesis 1 and in Ex. 20:11, was accepted back in the day as one legitimate alternative, perhaps along with an ordinary 24-hour day as another.

            Do you realize how this circumstance would have rendered the commandment unenforceable? Image a Hebrew father telling his son to get out of the shade and start working, but the son answers, “No way, Dad. That would be breaking the Sabbath, which has had no evening or morning, according to Genesis 2:1, so it must still be in progress.” Or what if the priests found someone working his fields on the Sabbath? “This may be *your* Sabbath, but *my* work week began when I was born, and for me, each day lasts for 15 years. I’m still working on Day 2.” Let your imagination run wild, but then, when you are finished, I hope you will agree with me that the days in question must have been like days in an ordinary work week, and that first week was full of miracles leading to a completed creation, later cursed.

            If “Genesis describes a process ordained by God and not a series of miracles,” then has this process ever come to an end? If it has not, then we have an inconsistency with Gen. 2:1-3. Regardless of when it ended, if it was merely a natural process without miracles, then why is God so involved as an agent in the story? What do we do with Ex. 20:11 and Ps. 33:6-9? Can you point a secularist to any convincing physical evidence that some natural process is “ordained by God”? What would convince you that a natural process is not so ordained?

            Have you honestly faced the fact that atheists classify any story about what God has done as a myth, legend, or superstition, regardless of what we may have to say about physical evidence? Gen. 1:1 tells them all they need to know to classify the whole account. The speed of light and the age of the universe are entirely beside the point. Have you adopted the no-miracles presupposition for your study of earth history?

            • 1. If the universe is 46.5 billion light years across, isn’t that a problem in a 13 billion year old universe?

              A: No, because space can expand faster than the speed of light. We cannot see the opposite side of the universe because light cannot travel fast enough to reach us.

              I have no problem with the answers that you cited.

              2. What do you believe about miracles?

              A: I have no inherent problem or objection to miracles. See http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/miracles. You could well call the healing of the deaf man and woman a “God of the gaps” event and I would be just fine with that.

              In principle I am not opposed to God reaching out his hand and creating anything that we see. However the YEC assumes that plants animals etc. miraculously appeared, i.e. suddenly a fully formed Zebra appears on savanna eating grass. But what do the scriptures say? “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.”

              It says the earth brought these forth at God’s command. It doesn’t say the hand of God caused animals to appear. I see a natural process obeying God’s command.

              That is scriptural.

              You also have to define a miracle. You are well aware of my MS-DOS evolving into Windows analogy. That’s a bigger miracle than anything Microsoft does. Evolution is a living miracle, it’s even more impressive than the ordinary operation of life itself, which we can ALL agree is flat out amazing. And nobody really understands why it works.

              3. Did living things grow up in total darkness before day 4?

              A: No. What does scripture say?

              And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

              So there is light there.

              4. Isn’t there a lot of wiggle room in these timelines?

              A: Of course there is. A poetic document like Genesis does not tell the story with six decimal digits of precision.

              5. If you have questions for Hugh Ross you should direct those to him.

              6. Does Yom render the Sabbath commandment unenforceable?

              A: Of course not. Everyone understood that Saturday was Saturday and the pattern was six parts work one part rest.

              7. Why is God so involved as an agent in the story?

              A: Because all is sustained by his command and the word of his power. And events happen because he commands them. But to then impose the additional supposition that you know exactly what these events looked like, that zebras suddenly appeared eating grass, is going far beyond what the scriptures say.

              8. Why have you adopted a no-miracles position?

              A: We can SEE the history of the universe in our telescopes. We can compute the history of the solar system. This can be made to fit Genesis 1 very comfortably with a few simple assumptions. God wrote two books, the book of scripture and the book of nature. I listen to both. Each informs the other.

              9. With Genesis reinterpreted to fit the worldview of the secularist, who needs it?

              A: You do not grasp how I as a Christian read it. You think I’m imposing atheism on the scriptures. I am not. It stands as enormously valuable and it imparts meaning to otherwise cold physical facts. And the fact that with three simple assumptions that the book of nature and scripture match, shows the prophetic authority of the author of Genesis.

              10. Should a Christian seriously entertain the idea of virtual history?

              A: Show me another precedent of unmistakable virtual history reported and described as such elsewhere in scripture. Where does God ever make the appearance of an event that He indicates never actually happened?

              11. Did you ever get a copy of *Creation Research Society Quarterly* (Vol. 52, No. 4)

              A: Yes I did and I wrote a response to the editor. It will be published in the next issue. I can’t help but wonder if the author of the article even read my book at all. If he did, he didn’t read it closely. You haven’t read it either, unfortunately. I believe the whole thing will make more sense if you do, than getting it in bits and pieces on my blog.

              I suggest you request Evolution 2.0 at your local library.

              • Tom Godfrey says:

                Perry,

                Your January 24, 2017, reply to my August 19, 2016, email just came to my attention. Sorry it took me so long to notice it and respond. I suppose we are both rather busy these days. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

                1. Your recap of my challenge to you in the first paragraph of my August comment missed the point. I already understood that you have no problem believing that objects can be 46.5 billion light-years away in a universe that is only about 13.8 billion years old. I already understood that you can explain this “because space can expand faster than the speed of light.” I already understood that this requires no miracle. The real challenge for you, if you choose to accept it, is to explain why it should be a problem for anyone to accept a miraculous expansion of space or some other miraculous intervention that would allow distant starlight to be visible to Adam by the end of creation week, even if the entire universe was created only days earlier, around 5175 B.C. I realize that this requires rejection of the no-miracle presupposition, but this is no problem at all for those of us who believe that God can and does perform miracles.

                2. Is there really any conflict between these two teachings?

                (a) “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds … And it was so. God made … all the living creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. … And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” (Gen. 1:24-31)

                (b) Plants and animals “miraculously appeared.” For example, “suddenly a fully formed zebra appears on savanna eating grass.”

                You seem to feel that these ideas are necessarily inconsistent. If so, what exactly is the problem here? We agree that Genesis 1 has nothing to say about the “hand of God.” This is where we read that God made all the living creatures that move along the ground on Day 6. We read about the works of God’s hands over in Ps. 8:6 and 92:4, so why should anyone doubt that “the hand of God caused animals to appear”? We agree that God’s commands were obeyed throughout creation week. We also agree that a process was involved. Where we part company is on your suggestion that this was a “natural process.” If it was, then it was a natural process never observed by scientists. I believe the creation process must have involved many glorious miracles performed as special exceptions to natural laws that had been established in the beginning. I believe *this* position is scriptural. Can you find a problem with it?

                Yes, we agree that “the ordinary operation of life itself … is flat out amazing.” You may believe that evolution is “a living miracle” that is “even more impressive,” but did the kind of evolution you have in mind ever take place? If it did not, if that kind of evolution is purely imaginary, then we should agree that it does not matter how impressive it would have been if it had actually happened. Of course imaginary things can be impressive.

                I am delighted that you disagree with people like Richard Dawkins on the *mechanism* of evolution, but you and all of those people, many of them atheists, are evidently in close agreement on the timing and history of evolution, and you join them in rejecting the history of life on earth as widely understood from reading the Bible. I know, you believe that your beliefs about earth history are consistent with Genesis, provided a few simple assumptions are made, but I maintain that this claim is a sham that can be maintained only by ignoring discrepancies. For example, Genesis claims that the creation was finished and later cursed. The mainstream view, which I assume you share, is that it is still ongoing, with no curse or any other divine intervention at any time since the Big Bang billions of years ago, perhaps not counting the few miracles that you have specifically recognized.

                3. Your recap of my challenge to you in my paragraph on Gen. 1:2 also missed the point. Of course we believe that there was light before Day 4, and this belief is clearly scriptural. What you need to defend is your idea that Gen. 1:2 hints “that the earliest life forms began in the ocean ~3.5 billion years ago” (before Day 1), while the surface of the earth was too dark for daytime to be distinguished from nighttime.

                4. Why do you suggest that Genesis is poetic? What reputable scholar agrees? The idea that someone expects “six decimal digits of precision” in Genesis is a straw man. On the other hand, a discrepancy of 300 million years out of about 4.5 billion seems significant enough to me to reject the idea that your story aligns “exactly” with Genesis.

                5. Hugh Ross probably has no interest in my questions. They are extremely easy to dodge. Your questions may be another story. Do you think you know how he would answer mine if he cared about them? If so, should we be satisfied with those answers?

                6. Your response to my challenge regarding the proper interpretation of *yom* in Genesis 1 and in references to the creation account in Exodus looks like a dodge to me. The law was not “six parts work one part rest,” as though Israelites had an option to work six decades solid without a Sabbath and then take the seventh decade off for rest. It was six *days* of work just as God worked for six *days* finishing his creation. I think my point stands. The proper interpretation of *yom* must have been the same in both places. Your interpretation of *yom* in Genesis 1, if it was even just one acceptable interpretation among several others, would have rendered the Sabbath commandment unenforceable, as I explained.

                7. Did I ever say that I “know exactly what those events looked like”? Did I ever say that “zebras suddenly appeared eating grass”? Well, no, I did not, but I suppose straw men can be useful in any discussion like this.

                8. The history we see in our telescopes spans only the time that we have been looking. We have not been looking through telescopes for billions of years. If you think you see billions of years of history there, you are imagining things. I buy the idea of two books, but the book of scripture reveals a history that included miracles. The book of nature can tell us nothing about the history of any physical evidence that was actually the result of a miracle. This other “book” is quite useful in a scientific study of natural laws and natural phenomena that involves making the no-miracle presupposition.

                9. As far as the broad overview of history of life on earth is concerned, does Genesis add anything at all to the story that you would believe if all you had to base it on was a scientific study of “the book of nature”? Would it be that trees actually came before fish? Or what? As explained earlier, you have not yet established (to my satisfaction) your claim that “with three simple assumptions … the book of nature and scripture match.” The “prophetic authority of the author of Genesis” is not in dispute.

                10. You want me to show you “another precedent of unmistakable virtual history reported and described as such elsewhere in scripture”? Another? Elsewhere? Did I already show you one? I thought I explained to you that the term “virtual history” was invented by Gerald Aardsma, but the concept behind it is quite reasonable. It is a natural consequence of any miracle that leaves behind physical evidence, evidence that would not exist if the miracle had not been performed. Two examples are the wine that had been water and twelve baskets of leftover food, not to mention the universe. You can look at such evidence and imagine how it might have come into existence through natural processes to your heart’s content, but if it actually came into existence miraculously, then your imaginary story is bound to be wrong or misleading. Of course, people can still insist on believing such a false story regardless. If you do not like Aardsma’s “virtual history” term, you can propose one you like better, but I think the underlying reality is undeniable.

                11. Great! Thanks for the suggestion.

                • Tom Godfrey says:

                  Perry,

                  The latest issue of the *Creation Research Society Quarterly* (vol. 53, no. 2) arrived recently, and your letter was published on pages 163-64, running about one and 2/3 pages in length. Next was “Response to Perry Marshall” by Keven Anderson and Jean Lightner on pages 164-67, running about two and 1/2 pages, including 18 references. Maybe you and other bloggers would be interested in my comments on your exchange of views.

                  You opened with a quotation of an earlier editorial by Anderson and Lightner and said, “One wonders whether the authors of this statement actually read *Evolution 2.0* …” That would have made sense if you had continued by pointing to something in the editorial that was incorrect or misleading, possibly because of something in your book that was overlooked. I could not find anything in your letter that refuted anything in the editorial. If other readers have the same impression, it may make more sense for one to wonder how much of the writings of Anderson, Lightner, and other members of the Creation Research Society (CRS) *you* have read.

                  Nevertheless, I am delighted that your letter was published. Instead of refuting comments in the editorial, you gave a synopsis of your position on origins, presumably as detailed in your book, exposing it to fellow CRS members who otherwise might have learned about it only from people who disagree with you. Now we have it described succinctly straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Once you read the response, I think you will agree that it was balanced, thoughtful, germane, and not entirely negative.

                  You were initially challenged to defend your belief in what Anderson and Lightner called “the unnecessary and untenable baggage of universal common descent.” You may have forgotten, if you ever knew, what CRS members have read to convince us that the tree-of-life idea is nothing more than “conjecture and very poor conjecture at that.” You evidently hoped that information about “genetic tools” (what you also described as a “Swiss Army Knife”) would convince us to change our mind and agree with you that they “are, at least in principle, capable of getting you anywhere on the tree of life to anywhere else” (p. 163).

                  Years ago, Robert Burns wrote (in his poem, “To a Louse”), “O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us / To see oursels as ithers see us!” You may want to try to see yourself as a CRS member might see you after you said, “Genome data strongly suggest that a hybridization event got us from invertebrates to vertebrates, when two tunicates merged to create a hagfish,” went on admit, “We are not able to go back and observe tunicate 1 + tunicate 2 = hagfish, of course. But the genetic data is greatly consistent with such a hypothesis” (p. 164), and ended up feeling comfortable with your aforementioned anywhere-to-anywhere-else claim, evidently on the basis of nothing more than modern experiments and questionable speculation of the same kind. I still have no good reason to reject Genesis and believe in universal common descent instead.

                  If it could be demonstrated that something similar to a hagfish can result from the hybridization of two tunicates, this would be convincing proof that one can get from a tunicate to a hagfish through this “genetic tool” in our modern environment. It would not prove that this explains the true origin of hagfish, because, as you admitted, we cannot go back and observe it, of course. The hypothetical demonstration would also fall far short of what you need to convince us that even the whole “Swiss Army Knife” could get us from anywhere to anywhere else. What on earth gave you this idea? It certainly looks to me like “conjecture and very poor conjecture at that.” In general, modern studies suggesting what might have been possible in theory in the beginning are a far cry from telling us the true story of origins.

                  It has become obvious to me that all kinds of nonsense can be believed if only if all of the problems with it can be ignored, dismissed, or otherwise rejected. I think this explains why you can teach that the origins story developed by scientists under the no-miracle presupposition is consistent with a reasonable interpretation of Genesis. It would explain why you focus on “Let the land produce vegetation …” (Gen. 1:11) and “Let the land produce living creatures …” (Gen. 1:24), possibly supporting the idea of evolution, while ignoring explicit mentions of supernatural involvement (Gen. 1:25, 27; 2:19, 21-22) and testimony that the work was finished in a day in each case (Gen. 1:12b-13; 1:31). It may also explain why you ended your letter by saying, “I do not understand why *CRSQ* is arguing against macroevolution when the biblical account requires it.” I don’t suppose you would understand this if you are blind to reasons CRS members may have for doubting that the biblical account requires it.

                  By the way, you may be happy to note that Anderson and Lightner did not see fit to resort to any explicit *ad hominem* comparison of their knowledge of science (or their credentials in a field of science) with yours. This may encourage you to answer their respect for your ideas with mutual respect for their feedback.

                  • Tom,

                    I subscribed to CRSQ and have received perhaps one issue. The one you refer to never made it to me, despite me notifying their office of sporadic delivery. So unfortunately I have not seen what you refer to.

                    Perry

                    • Tom Godfrey says:

                      Perry,

                      Reading CRSQ is an excellent way to keep abreast of the latest thinking among modern creationists, especially those who have accepted the Flood model as developed by Henry Morris and others. You might not find there any recent discussion of Gerald Aardsma’s Flood theory, but we should not be too pessimistic. I believe he may be on the cusp of publishing another book with yet another reason to believe that his Flood theory holds water.

                      Many readers, even those who believe that Genesis is historically accurate, probably consider its genealogies quite boring and almost useless, parts that ought to be skimmed over. Aardsma may soon explain to the world not only how they build trust in the Genesis record but also gave him the clues he needed to solve a profound mystery, eventually leading him to a great discovery, one with a potential for a wonderful practical benefit to all of mankind in our time. This is where the rubber of biblical chronology meets the road of everyday life in a fantastic manner. I am excited about the prospect of observing the reaction of people who have reinterpreted Genesis to try to force it into the mold built by atheistic evolutionists.

                      You did not say when your CRSQ subscription began, but you should not expect to receive any back issues automatically. Your letter to the editor appeared in the Fall 2016 issue. If the first issue you received is later, then you may want to order the appropriate back issue. New issues come out only once every three months. The Q in CRSQ stands for quarterly. I have subscribed since around 1981 and never had any trouble with sporadic delivery.

                    • Tom Godfrey says:

                      Perry,

                      This past weekend, I attended the Creation Research Society Conference, which was held this year at Bob Jones University. While I was there, I chatted with Kevin Anderson and mentioned that I had alerted you to the mention of your book in a CRSQ article that he coauthored along with Jean Lightner. If you have not already purchased the back issue (Vol. 53, No. 2, Fall 2016) with your letter to the editor and a reply to your letter, he told me that he will send you a copy free of charge. Just send him your request using the same address that you used to submit your letter. I gathered that he was delighted to have that dialog with you in the CRSQ.

                    • Tom Godfrey says:

                      Perry,

                      I have not forgotten that you did not want to participate in any more interaction with *me* until I have read at least one of two books you specified. Even though I have not yet met your condition, you should be interested in the following news. My July 6 comment said that Gerald Aardsma ”may be on the cusp of publishing another book with yet another reason to believe that his Flood theory holds water.” He actually did publish it on August 1, and as a service to mankind, he has made it available as a free download to anyone in the world with Internet access and a way to read a PDF file. This book explains how he used biblical life span data to discover a vitamin, the natural supply of which was interrupted by the Flood of Noah. According to his theory, the loss of this vitamin resulted in the gradual reduction in life spans reported in Genesis. You and other visitors to this blog should find this research report both fascinating and highly encouraging. Here’s the link.
                      http://www.biblicalchronologist.org/products/Aging_book.php

  19. Esly Carrero says:

    Why are you using a photograph of “John MacArthur” with your titled claim underneath it? Why don’t you use a photograph of YOURSELF?

    I’ve had a few people contact me saying that he was the one saying this all cause of your ridiculous post. Stop messing up other people’s reputation for your personal gain dude.

  20. Josh Reyes says:

    Perry,
    Before I post my main comment I want to thank you for the time you’ve taken to research and share so much on these subjects that point toward a Creator to strengthen the apologist in his/her defense of the Christian faith. While much of this seems to remain in research and discovery mode, it can at least keep the lines of communication open when in discussion with someone who holds a naturalistic worldview, and for that I am grateful. I’m currently reading your “Evolution 2.0” book and it is a great work! I have found it to be a great balance between a technical paper and an autobiography of sorts, which makes it interesting to read and still understandable. Now on to my comment…
    I’ve been discussing your YEC article with a Christian brother who is YEC. He further discussed with his pastor who offered some interesting thoughts that I that you would like to read. I’ve read through all the comments on this post and from what I could tell, didn’t recall seeing similar content. He writes,
    “I have heard this argument before and have read both sides of the argument. However, I would like to suggest my understanding of Genesis 1. In verse 1, God created everything. Created is the word bara, which means to create and is used to express God creating something from nothing. Then in verse 2, we read that the earth was without form and void. These words are tohuw and bohuw. They mean a place of chaos and emptiness, and void, waste, an undistinguishable ruin. This gives us the picture that God made everything in verse 1 and when we read verse 2, nothing was fashioned and formed yet. It was just a big lump of clay and now the Potter will begin to form out of that clay everything we see now. This is what you see happening in this chapter as He divides, separates and fashions. God spoke all light into existence in verse 3 and then in verse 14, He begins to give light its distinguishable shapes, ie. sun, moon and stars. This is further understood by the word “made” in verse 16. This word is not the aforementioned bara, it is a different Hebrew word; asah. This word means to do, to fashion. It is used of God fashioning something that already exists into a distinguishable object. Therefore, it is not that God created the stars, but rather fashioned them out of the light that already existed. This blows the speed of light theory out of the water. Because, rather than the stars being created at a measurable distance from earth and then having to calculate the amount of time (in years) that it would take to reach earth, light began from the central location of where earth is and God separate the light into stars and moved them away from that central location of earth. If I take a flashlight and hold it up to a wall and shine it, the light will have reached the wall almost instantaneously, and if I pull the flashlight away from the wall, it will not have mattered how slow or how fast I distanced the flashlight from the wall, for the light originated at the wall and moved out from there. You see, science is presupposing that the star was created at a great distance away from planet earth and therefore emanating light from that distance. However, the Biblical picture is that the star was fashioned relatively close to the center of the universe, which is where planet earth is and then being moved away from the earth. Therefore, it would surmise, that light began at earth and no time would have had to elapse at all! It is hard for me to get this thought out on email. I pray it is understandable.”

    I would like to hear your (and others) thoughts on this; thanks!

    • Because of the speed of light and the expanding universe, we are able to see through telescopes what some parts of the universe looked like more than 13 billion years ago. What we do actually observe does not match the description above. So Biblically the story here might make sense, but it doesn’t match empirical data.

      What we see empirically does match Genesis 1 based on this interpretation: http://evo2.org/genesis1/

    • Mike Tisdell says:

      Josh Reyes,

      I am glad you are asking questions. Some of the things your friend and his pastor presented are, unfortunately, nothing more than myths have become popular in some YEC circles. They are not supported by biblical Hebrew scholarship (even by scholars who hold YEC viewpoints).

      You said, “In verse 1, God created everything. Created is the word bara, which means to create and is used to express God creating something from nothing.”

      This is inaccurate. ‘bara’ is used to describe God’s creation of man (vs. 27) which Scripture tells us was from the dust of the earth, and it can also be used with men as the subject (Joshua 17:15). And additionally, Jer. 10:12 tells us God made (asah) the earth by his power; if, as some claim, ‘bara’ means “creation from nothing” but ‘asah’ means “creation from something” then we have a significant contradiction in Scripture. To be clear, I do believe these scriptures are in harmony with one another; however, I also recognize that Hebrew scholarship does not support the meanings that were proposed above. The conflict only exists when we insist on a meaning that is not supported by good biblical scholarship.

      http://hamilim.netronix.com/2011/12/11/does-the-use-of-%d7%91%d7%a8%d7%90-bara-in-genesis-1-prove-ex-nihilo-creation/

      —————————————————————

      You said, “Then in verse 2, we read that the earth was without form and void. These words are tohuw and bohuw. They mean a place of chaos and emptiness, and void, waste, an undistinguishable ruin. This gives us the picture that God made everything in verse 1 and when we read verse 2, nothing was fashioned and formed yet. It was just a big lump of clay and now the Potter will begin to form out of that clay everything we see now. This is what you see happening in this chapter as He divides, separates and fashions. “

      A majority of Hebrew scholars see Vs. 1 & 2 as a summary of the Creation account and not the first part of a chronology. Victor P. Halmilton, in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament – The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, notes that “In sum, the position taken here is that v. 1 is an opening statement functioning both as a superscription and as a summary. As such, it is the functional equivalent to the colophon “these are the generations of,” which is the introductory sentence to each of the remaining major divisions of Genesis.”

      You said, “God spoke all light into existence in verse 3 and then in verse 14, He begins to give light its distinguishable shapes, ie. sun, moon and stars. This is further understood by the word “made” in verse 16. This word is not the aforementioned bara, it is a different Hebrew word; asah. This word means to do, to fashion. It is used of God fashioning something that already exists into a distinguishable object. Therefore, it is not that God created the stars, but rather fashioned them out of the light that already existed. This blows the speed of light theory out of the water. Because, rather than the stars being created at a measurable distance from earth and then having to calculate the amount of time (in years) that it would take to reach earth, light began from the central location of where earth is and God separate the light into stars and moved them away from that central location of earth. If I take a flashlight and hold it up to a wall and shine it, the light will have reached the wall almost instantaneously, and if I pull the flashlight away from the wall, it will not have mattered how slow or how fast I distanced the flashlight from the wall, for the light originated at the wall and moved out from there. You see, science is presupposing that the star was created at a great distance away from planet earth and therefore emanating light from that distance. However, the Biblical picture is that the star was fashioned relatively close to the center of the universe, which is where planet earth is and then being moved away from the earth. Therefore, it would surmise, that light began at earth and no time would have had to elapse at all! It is hard for me to get this thought out on email. I pray it is understandable.”

      There are two significant problems with this proposal. First, the words are used as synonyms in Ge. 1 (see notes above). For example, in vs. 26 the word ‘asah’ is used to describe what God will do when he makes man, but in vs. 27 the word ‘bara’ is used to describe what God did when he made man (and as mentioned before, this is also an example where ‘bara’ is used when creation wasn’t ‘something from nothing’). Second, the biblical narrative neither describes a distance, nor does it suggest that the light was fashioned into the sun, moon, and stars; this is highly imaginative.

      You said, “In verse 1, God created everything. Created is the word bara, which means to create and is used to express God creating something from nothing.”

      This is inaccurate. ‘bara’ is used to describe God’s creation of man (which Scripture tells us was from the dust of the earth), and it can also be used with men as the subject (Joshua 17:15). And additionally, Jer. 10:12 tells us God made (asah) the earth by his power; if, as some claim, ‘bara’ means “creation from nothing” but ‘asah’ means “creation from something” then we have a significant contradiction in Scripture. To be clear, I do believe these scriptures are in harmony with one another; however, I also recognize that Hebrew scholarship does not support the meanings that were proposed above.

      http://hamilim.netronix.com/2011/12/11/does-the-use-of-%d7%91%d7%a8%d7%90-bara-in-genesis-1-prove-ex-nihilo-creation/

      —————————————————————

      You said, “Then in verse 2, we read that the earth was without form and void. These words are tohuw and bohuw. They mean a place of chaos and emptiness, and void, waste, an undistinguishable ruin. This gives us the picture that God made everything in verse 1 and when we read verse 2, nothing was fashioned and formed yet. It was just a big lump of clay and now the Potter will begin to form out of that clay everything we see now. This is what you see happening in this chapter as He divides, separates and fashions. “

      A majority of Hebrew scholars see Vs. 1 & 2 as a summary of the Creation account and not the first part of a chronology. Victor P. Halmilton, in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament – The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, notes that “In sum, the position taken here is that v. 1 is an opening statement functioning both as a superscription and as a summary. As such, it is the functional equivalent to the colophon “these are the generations of,” which is the introductory sentence to each of the remaining major divisions of Genesis.”

      You said, “God spoke all light into existence in verse 3 and then in verse 14, He begins to give light its distinguishable shapes, ie. sun, moon and stars. This is further understood by the word “made” in verse 16. This word is not the aforementioned bara, it is a different Hebrew word; asah. This word means to do, to fashion. It is used of God fashioning something that already exists into a distinguishable object. Therefore, it is not that God created the stars, but rather fashioned them out of the light that already existed. This blows the speed of light theory out of the water. Because, rather than the stars being created at a measurable distance from earth and then having to calculate the amount of time (in years) that it would take to reach earth, light began from the central location of where earth is and God separate the light into stars and moved them away from that central location of earth. If I take a flashlight and hold it up to a wall and shine it, the light will have reached the wall almost instantaneously, and if I pull the flashlight away from the wall, it will not have mattered how slow or how fast I distanced the flashlight from the wall, for the light originated at the wall and moved out from there. You see, science is presupposing that the star was created at a great distance away from planet earth and therefore emanating light from that distance. However, the Biblical picture is that the star was fashioned relatively close to the center of the universe, which is where planet earth is and then being moved away from the earth. Therefore, it would surmise, that light began at earth and no time would have had to elapse at all! It is hard for me to get this thought out on email. I pray it is understandable.”

      There are two significant problems with this proposal. First, the words are used as synonyms in Ge. 1 (see notes above). For example, in vs. 26 the word ‘asah’ is used to describe what God will do when he makes man, but in vs. 27 the word ‘bara’ is used to describe what God did when he made man (and as mentioned before, this is also an example where ‘bara’ is used when creation wasn’t ‘something from nothing’). Second, the biblical narrative neither describes a distance, nor does it suggest that the light was fashioned into the sun, moon, and stars; this is highly imaginative.

    • Gordon Sun says:

      The problem with believing that the earth is the center of the universe is that there isn’t a “center” of the universe (think of the universe as the surface of a basketball).

      • Tom Godfrey says:

        If it makes sense to think of the universe this way, then what should we expect to observe? If our telescopes are pointed anywhere away from the inside of the basketball-shaped universe, we should see no galaxies at all. If we point them toward its center, what we see should depend on how big the “basketball” is and how powerful our telescopes are. We might not see any galaxies in that direction either. In fact, tons of galaxies can be observed. (Pardon the understatement.) It should be easy to locate the center through observation of the visible galaxies, which should be concentrated almost entirely along the “basketball” horizon but fading away in the direction of the inside. Now what do we actually observe?
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe#Size

        This article claims, “The comoving distance from Earth to the edge of the observable universe is about 14.26 gigaparsecs (46.5 billion light years or 4.40×10^^26 meters) in any direction.” Evidently, the actual edge of the universe has not been found, and it might not even be theoretically possible to find it. If so, I think it follows that scientists are in no position to conclude that the universe has no center or that we must not be located at or near its center. This should remain an open question. Can we even know whether the universe actually has an outer boundary or not?

        But why does any of this matter? If we are interested in knowing whether the account of origins in Genesis is true or not, our choice is actually quite simple. Modern scientists do not even need to study physical evidence or figure the true age or size of the universe. The very first very verse in the book proves to them that it is a myth. For them, any story about miracles and supernatural agents doing things is automatically a myth. End of story. They simply presuppose that nature accounts for everything, period. How do they know that their presupposition is correct? By faith in their god, Time/Chance/Evolution. It is up to the rest of us to decide whether to adopt their presupposition or to put our faith in the God of Genesis instead. If we go with God, then we should forget about trying to learn the true story of our origins through a study of nature alone. Instead, we believe the testimony of witnesses deemed credible. We walk by faith too. I recommend believing God.

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