Young Earth Creationism

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Book Review: “A Matter of Days” by Hugh Ross, Second Expanded Edition

amd-ross-2

Hugh Ross is one of the most influential Old Earth Creationists alive. The founder of Reasons to Believe, he has had a profound influence on putting forth Old Earth Creationism from a concordist–that is, the notion that the Bible and science will agree where they overlap [often including the notion that the Bible explicitly speaks on scientific issues]–perspective. A Matter of Days is perhaps the magnum opus of his position.

The book provides a huge amount of material for those wanting to interact with topics of creationism. Ross begins by surveying the contentious way the issue is often argued and noting that we as Christians ought to strive for more tolerant attitudes towards each other. Alongside this, he notes various statements by evangelicals allowing for some openness on the topic.

The book covers a massive range of arguments for and against young earth creationism, but the real meat of the text is dealing with various scientific arguments on either side. These are surveyed in a kind of question and answer or objection and rejoinder format in which Ross clearly explains a huge amount of scientific data for an ancient universe and deals with the major objections to such a position from the young earth creationist perspective.

Ross also confronts textual issues in a number of places, including much discussion on the concept of “day” and its meaning in Genesis 1. This, he covers from different perspectives including historic theology, exegesis, and science. He also puts forward a canonical view of how to see Creation in the Bible rather than limiting it simply to Genesis 1-2. There are a number of other texts that he argues also teach on creation.

Although he is an “Old Earth” believer, Ross is also clearly a creationist and puts forward several brief arguments about the faultiness of evolution. This is not a focus of the work, but through such arguments he establishes a clearer picture of his own position related to origins of both life and speciation.

One issue that might be raised with the book is whether the seemingly strict concordism Ross advocates is necessary. For example, rather than arguing that entropy and decay are spoken about in the Bible (100-102), could one not simply note that the human biblical author almost certainly had no concept of entropy and therefore was not addressing it? That is to say, a concept of divine condescension might be easier to hold to than one of future scientific knowledge revealed in the Bible.

The new edition is expanded and has noticeably featured references to some recent works as well as more arguments. It is a rather large re-write with much new information. Readers considering purchase should get this edition.

The Good

+Major point-by-point explorations of evidence for and against an old earth
+Strong defense of the Old Earth Creationist/Concordist position
+Many technical issues explained in understandable ways
+Charitable tone
+Excellent index
+Expanded arguments and new information for the new edition
+Really cool cover

The Bad

-Some questions about concordism remain
-Perhaps too brief on some objections

Conclusion

A Matter of Days remains a tour de force for old earth creationists. It is one of the broadest yet clearest defenses of the old earth creationist position which both answers young earth arguments and puts forth in brief an OEC perspective. Moreover, the updated edition is a true update rather than just having some corrections throughout. This is a book worth having for anyone interested in the controversy over origins in the Christian world.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy by the publisher. I was not required to write any sort of review whatsoever thereby. 

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Origins Debate– Read a whole bunch more on different views within Christianity of the “origins debate.” Here I have posts on young and old earth creationism, intelligent design, theistic evolutionism, and more!

Source

Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days (Covina, CA: Reasons to Believe, 2015).

SDG.

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The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Sunday Quote!- Does Concordism Fail?

ec-lamoureuxEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Does Concordism Fail?

Denis Lamoureux argues in his book  Evolutionary Creation against concordism–the view that there is correspondence between science and Scripture. His argument proceeds by tracing various difficulties found in the biblical text for those who want to argue that it is scientifically accurate. This argument is lengthy, so interested readers should go to the book itself, but he basically appeals to things like the apparent belief in a 3-tiered universe, the notion of the “firmament” as a solid dome across the sky, and more in order to try to demonstrate that the attempt to show that concordism must reinterpret these texts rather than allow them to speak to their background worldview.

After rather exhaustively making this point, he asserts:

It is obvious that scientific concordism fails. There is no correspondence between the conceptualization of nature in the Book of God’s Words and our common knowledge of the Book of God’s Works. (149)

Lamoureux’s argument is lengthy and challenging. I think it presents at least two major difficulties for concordists. First, his argument demands that we who are concordists take the texts seriously at what they are teaching. If we want to affirm that the Bible is scientifically accurate, then we cannot simply dismiss these apparent discussions of a three-tier universe, firmament, and more as “background understandings” of the ancients. Instead, for the sake of consistency, we must explain how these texts will be in concord with a right scientific understanding. This task is one I will not undertake, but I think some have done an admirable job in this regard, particularly groups like Reasons to Believe.

Second, it provides a direct attack at the roots of the concordist position: can the concordist justify their position through the Bible rather than falling into the danger of misrepresenting what the Bible actually teaches and what the authors’ understanding actually was?

I do not take these challenges as insurmountable, but they do provide food for thought. I am wary of arguing the Bible should be anything like a science textbook, and particularly wary of thinking that it might have some kind of prophetic 21st century science written into the background. However, I am equally wary of acting as though the Bible has nothing to say about the natural world and that we can just blithely dismiss anything it might say as background understanding.

What are your thoughts? Does concordism fail? What is the best way to treat the interplay between Christianity and science?

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Source

Denis O. Lamoureux, Evolutionary Creation (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2008).

SDG.

Really Recommended Posts 3/13/15- Fantasy, Feminism, and Formations, OH MY!

postIt feels like summer! It’s in the 60s here in Minnesota and it’s gorgeous. I’ve been taking Luke on walks all over. But fear not, dear readers! That does not mean I’ve neglected my sworn duty to you to provide the best reading on the web. Here’s a great and diverse list for your reading pleasure!

On Being a Jesus Feminist– My wonderful wife has been published over at the Junia Project with her thoughts on being a “Jesus Feminist.” A what? Read on and find out.

A Ranking of 1980s Fantasy that would please Crom himself!– I love fantasy books and movies but was distressed to see this list and realize I’ve only seen two movies on it! WHAT? Thus, I have embarked on a quest to watch the rest of them. Check out my quest, and check the list yourself to see your 80s fantasy knowledge.

Creationism and the Grand Conjectural Canyon– Were you there? Can we know the history of the Grand Canyon? Was it formed at some point in the last 6-10 thousand years because of Noah’s Flood?

Modern Idolatry (Comic)- What is it that we are dedicating our lives to? It’s too easy to get caught up in the multi-tasking of the “everyday” and neglect the God who made us. Check out this poignant reminder.

The Last Man on Earth: Becoming the Person We Hope to Be– A look at the new TV series “The Last Man on Earth” as it stands so far, written from a worldview perspective. I very much recommend you follow Empires and Mangers–the site this link is on! It’s fantastic.

Really Recommended Posts 3/6/15- Graphic Novels, going to church, and more!

snowl-owl-post-arpingstoneHello, dear readers! I hope you’ll enjoy the lineup I have for you from the frozen North. I realized the other day I must truly have acclimated because I walked outside in 5 degree (Fahrenheit, AKA -15 Celsius) weather and had to remove my hat because I was warm. Wow. Anyway, some diverse reading for you, which includes posts on a graphic novel reviewed from a Christian perspective, some analysis of Flood Geology, reasons to go to church, an upcoming book I’m super excited for, and how to be a Christian on Facebook.

A Sneak Peek at What’s Inside My New Book– Natasha Crain at “Christian Mom Thoughts” is one of my favorite bloggers. She constantly has great advice for Christian parents and how to integrate apologetics into young lives. This is something extremely valuable. She’s also writing a book! I cannot wait for it. Check out this sneak peek at the book and be sure to follow her site.

Review: Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang– I love graphic novels but it is hard to find those which I’m willing to invest time into. After reading this review and commentary on worldview, I think I may have to pick these two up from Gene Luen Yang.

To Church (COMIC)- Why even bother going to church? Here’s a pretty interesting look at some reasons why it is a good thing for Christians to go!To Church (COMIC)- Why even bother going to church? Here’s a pretty interesting look at some reasons why it is a good thing for Christians to go!

Jesus Christ and Mr. Spock– Was Jesus a myth, like Spock? Some mythicists have been running with  this absurdity since the death of Leonard Nimoy. Check out this post which acts as a piece of tribute to Spock while also refuting the ludicrous claims of Jesus mythers.

How to be a Christian Presence on Facebook– Some good advice on interacting on Facebook.

Forams and Diatoms: Testing Young Earth Flood Geology Hypotheses– Does Flood Geology–the Young Earth Creationist’s scientific answer to most questions–succeed when tested? Check out this post for just one test it fails.

Sunday Quote!- Is Adam Necessary for Christianity?

ec-lamoureuxEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Is Adam Necessary for Christianity?

Not long ago, I wrote a post about the historical Adam in which I asked whether it was a “Gospel” issue. Unsurprisingly, there were many different voices raised talking about it, and I quite enjoyed the discussion. I also shared a different Sunday Quote! on how the doctrine of Adam is interwoven with others. I often read books that I know will challenge what I believe, because I think it is important to test your beliefs constantly in order to strengthen them and correct what is wrong. I read through Denis Lamoureux’s book, Evolutionary Creation and found it quite challenging and insightful on many points.

His central thesis is particularly striking:

Adam never existed, and this fact has no impact whatsoever on the foundational beliefs of Christianity. (367)

This thesis is very strongly worded, and I think there are a few problems with it. Key, of course, is the question of what is meant by “foundational” beliefs. Lamoureux does dive into that earlier in the book, but I think in some ways he doesn’t hit all the points he needs to. For example, the notion of original sin is one which is “foundational” in some theological traditions. Thus, for them, Adam’s non-existence would be extremely problematic. Lamoureux, however, does try to offer ways to even accommodate these traditions in the book. However, he ultimately has to settle for a “reformulation” of the doctrine in which:

[T]he entrance of sin was not a punctiliar event committed by two individuals. Instead, original sin was manifested mysteriously and gradually over countless many generations… (292).

I think this “reformulation” is unsatisfying. Moreover, as I have argued briefly elsewhere, federal headship seems to be a possible way around this for the evolutionary creation (read: theistic evolution) advocate. So, ultimately, I’m not convinced that Lamoureux’s central thesis can be carried. In fact, I think it is unnecessary for advocates of his position to even put forward.

What are your thoughts? How might we engage Lamoureux in a winsome way? What theological challenges might be offered to his position?

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Is the historical Adam a “Gospel” issue? – I discuss what impact it has on Christianity if Adam is not a historical person.

Source

Denis O. Lamoureux, Evolutionary Creation (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2008).

SDG.

 

Really Recommended Posts 2/27/15- Egalitarian Black Women, Diatoms, and more!

snowl-owl-post-arpingstoneOne day, my child will let me sleep again. It is not this day. 5 months of almost no sleep starts to make you a bit crazy! What year is it? Why do I walk on the ground and not the ceiling? Why did I put a picture of a Snowy Owl on this post? Anyway, I got myself coherent for long enough to assemble this great group of posts for your reading pleasure, dear readers! Read enough about 50 Shades? So did I, until I ran into the post I share below. It sets quotes from the book alongside definitions of abuse and stalking to some dramatic effect. We also have a great look at some egalitarian black women, young earth creationism, apologetics, and women in fiction. Check them out, and let me know what you thought! Be sure to also let the authors know!

5 Black Women Every Egalitarian Should Know– This is just a fantastic post that outlines the lives and impact of 5 black women who are major voices for egalitarianism (and other issues).

Issues of Abuse and Consent in 50 Shades of Grey– Here’s an excellent post that has specific quotes from 50 Shades alongside the definitions of abuse and stalking and the like. It’s quite disturbing to realize what’s in the book, and I wouldn’t have personally thought to write a post like this myself. This is a good resource to have on hand. There is some ADULT CONTENT in this link, which the author does a good job of warning beforehand.

Life in a Glass House: Diatoms Shatter Young Earth Flood Geology– What do diatoms tell us about the plausibility of young earth creationist models? Can Flood Geology really stand up under scrutiny?

The New Frontier in Apologetics: An Open Letter to the Apologetics Community– How do we move towards a broader integration of the Christian worldview into the culture and perhaps move back to the direction that Christianity is where the intelligentsia operate?

Oh No She Didn’t: The Strong Female Character Deconstructed– What does it mean to have a “strong female character”? Do we need to have specific tendencies for such characters? Can women just be women? Check out this interesting post from sci-fi publisher “Tor”‘s blog.

Really Recommended Posts 2/20/15- Egalitarian Marriage, Ken Ham, Kids, and more!

snowl-owl-post-arpingstoneAnother sleep-deprived Really Recommended Posts here! Also, did you know that you can still have allergies when it is -10 degrees Fahrenheit and snowy? I’ve mastered that. Anyway, this week we have posts about Ken Ham, egalitarian marriage, teaching kids critical thinking,

6 Things Egalitarian Marriage is Not– Too often, people who critique the egalitarian position argue that egalitarian marriage means men and women are assumed to be exactly the same or that it is unbiblical. Here are some answers to some misconceptions about egalitarian marriage.

How I’m Teaching my 6-Year-Olds to be Critical Thinkers– Natasha Crain continually writes awesome posts for teaching apologetics in family settings. Here, she shares some tips for teaching critical thinking to your youngsters.

Ken Ham Ascribes Motive to Your Crime– Psychoanalysis of opponents on hot issues is not something we should engage in. Unfortunately, Ken Ham, a prominent Young Earth Creationist, continually assigns motives to those with whom he disagrees.

If Humans Evolved from Apes, Why Do Apes Exist Today? – Look! I can agree with Answers in Genesis, the prominent young earth creationist group, on something! This is a really bad argument that I have, unfortunately, seen many Christians using. Don’t do it.

Eclectic Theist– Did you know I have another web site? I do! On it, I review books, talk about Star Trek, food, tennis, economics, (and more!), and dive into all kinds of random interests. Check it out!

Really Recommended Posts 2/6/15- Attack on Titan, Prophets, and More!

postSleep training a baby? Not the easiest thing in the world, believe it or not. I peel apart my eyelids to present to you, dear readers, this latest round of Really Recommended Posts. Topics include egalitarianism/complementarianism, the Messianic Prophecy in Deuteronomy 18, young earth creationism, and Attack on Titan (with cultural apologetics). I’d say that’s a pretty good set of links, if I do say so myself. Let me know your thoughts in the comments here, and be sure to let the authors know what you thought as well.

Confusing Equality with Sameness: A Complementarian Misconception– Often, those who argue that women should be excluded from leadership roles in the church and home argue against those of the egalitarian position by asserting that egalitarians do not allow for gender differences. Is that true?

Attack on Titan (Empires and Mangers)- Anthony Weber presents a worldview-level analysis of the anime, “Attack on Titan” along with some brief comments and definitions related to anime itself. This is a fantastic post for Christians interested in the show or anime in general, or those who would like to familiarize themselves with those categories in order to interact at a cultural apologetic level. I highly recommend you follow his site as well.

A Look at Messianic Prophecy: Who is the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:15-18? [Part One] – Hint: it’s Jesus. This three-part series offers a solid look at reasons to believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy, not Muhammad (as some Muslims claim) or some other prophet. Here’s another post arguing more specifically against the Muslim claim.

Man’s fallible opinions vs. God’s perfect Word: Who wins?– The notion that the origins debate is set up in this dichotomy is often presented by young earth creationists. Here is an insightful analysis of this argument. I highly recommend you follow “Age of Rocks” as it is an excellent site providing much analysis of the young earth position.

That’s no beaver– Young earth creationists often make claims about species being similar and so showing that they came from the Ark, or that certain fossils in the past somehow throw off the sequence of fossils demonstrating an old earth. Here, an analysis is presented of one young earth claim to this effect.

 

Really Recommended Posts 1/23/15- Creationism, Gender Jokes, and more!

postHere’s a set of awesome posts for your to peruse, dear readers. We have topics that range from all over the board, including some new details on the fragment of Mark’s Gospel that was found a few years ago, a difficult challenge for young earth creationism, discussion of gender based jokes, and a parenting challenge. Let me know what you think in the comments here, and be sure to let the authors of the articles know your thoughts as well! Thanks for reading.

Earliest Fragment of Mark’s Gospel Apparently Found– Scholars who argue that the Gospels couldn’t be earlier than 200AD have already been shown to be wrong by discoveries of fragments from earlier dates. Now, a fragment of Mark’s Gospel has been found which apparently dates to pre-90AD. Frankly, this exposes the fraudulent argument about how the Gospels were apparently written so late no one could have known about the events. If this is but an early fragment, how many other copies were there, and how much earlier was the original? Wintery Knight also sums up some information from various sites about the find in his post on some new details.

The Lost World of South American Ungulates: A YEC Ungulate Problem– Can the YEC paradigm adequately account for the diversity of species? It may be easy to simply hypothesize God built in adaptability, but when it comes to examination of individual species, does it succeed?

5 Reasons Not to Use Gender-Based Jokes in the Pulpit– Here’s a fascinating post and it really applies to more than simply “from the pulpit.” I’d suggest this applies just in general to gender jokes. A follow up post shares some thoughts that the readers of this first post responded with.

How to Get your Christian Parenting Priorities Right– What do you think of when asked what you want for your kids? Here’s a challenging post to rethink our parenting priorities for our kids.

 

“Leave it to the Early Church”- A Young Earth challenge

3vce-mrIt’s no secret: I consume just about any book I can get my hands on related to the debate over the duration and means of creation within Christianity. Recently, I read through Three Views on Creation and Evolution, part of the Zondervan Counterpoints series. The young earth creationists (John Mark Reynolds and Paul Nelson) in this volume were more even than many I have read, and I appreciated their contribution in many ways and even found myself agreeing with portions of it. However, they did make a few remarkable claims, one of which will be my focus here. Namely, they suggested we leave interpretation of Genesis behind us and just assume the early church got it right.

Here is the quote:

Our advice, therefore, is to leave the issues of biblical chronology and history to a saner period. (100)

Why should we do that, you ask? Well, before offering this advice, Reynolds and Nelson argue:

Whatever the truth of the matter may be in regard to biblical history, we are… least likely to find it. Nothing about the education of most moderns leaves them disposed to be sympathetic to traditional readings of the biblical text… The almost overwhelming temptation is to “trim” [the portions of text which may be hard to swallow]. Suddenly, new ways of reading the text of Scripture are discovered, which to no one’s surprise allow for accommodation between at least some of the reigning paradigms and traditional religion. (99-100)

I find this simply astonishing! There are a number of reasons to reject this entire line of reasoning immediately. First, it is, in effect, poisoning the well. Second, it abandons any notion that new evidence can challenge established traditions. Third, it begs the question. Fourth, it undermines the need for the church to be semper reformanda – always reforming. We’ll examine these briefly in order.

Poisoned Well

The way Nelson and Reynolds present their argument poisons the well against any who would disagree with them. The insinuation is that the only reason anyone would come to a different conclusion is either because they don’t have an “educational” background which allows them to consider traditional readings or because they are in such a hurry to compromise the text to align with science. Although it is certainly possible that many readings come from these motivations, to suggest that we must put a ban on any future looks at the interpretation of Genesis shows the authors seem to think these motivations apply to all novel interpretations.

New Evidence

To put an interpretation of Genesis on an indisputable pedestal and say “that came from a ‘saner’ time and so we must follow it” undermines any possibility for new evidence to challenge established readings. Yet the fruit of research in many areas of biblical interpretation continues to yield great insight into the biblical text. Moreover, to make an interpretation like that indisputable is to perhaps set up stumbling blocks for future generations, who may in good faith find more evidence which challenges that interpretation.

Question Begged

By saying we need to leave the interpretation of Genesis to the past, Reynolds and Nelson have begged the question by assuming this interpretation is correct. In fact, they seem to assume it is so obviously correct that they don’t even bother to defend it. But of course this is not how theology ought to be done. We should not just relegate interpretations to the ecclesial past because we don’t want to face the challenges of today. Rather, we should explore the new evidence and new interpretations to see if they might in fact better match God’s revealed truths. By simply assuming we can leave an interpretation of Genesis as is, Reynolds and Nelson just assert their view is obviously correct without argument.

Semper Reformanda

The notion that the church needs to continually be reforming seems to be correct. When we find truths revealed in God’s natural revelation, we should be prepared to realize this may not align with our established paradigms. We need not reject these discoveries merely because the historical church didn’t know about them. Instead, we should realize that as an imperfect church waiting for our Lord’s return, we may get things wrong. We are always going to need to reform.

Conclusion

Thus, I think that any young earth creationist who simply asserts we must hold to the historic understanding of the text of Genesis is mistaken. Of course, I would also point out that the “historic” understanding is hardly what the modern young earth creationist would believe (such as the duration of the entire universe only lasting 6000 years in order to align with the creation days, etc.), but that is a matter for a different post. For now, it should be acknowledged that we should not just abandon attempts to understand God’s revelation in Genesis.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Origins Debate– Check out all my posts on the discussion within Christianity over the duration and means of creation.

Source

Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds, “Conclusion” in Three Views on Creation and Evolution edited by J.P. Moreland & John Mark Reynolds (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999).

SDG.

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The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

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