From Creationist to Atheist to Reasonable Faith

Guest Blog by Ryan Ferguson

At the age of 6, I loved my family, my dog, my Lord Jesus, awesome flying kicks and Ankylosaurus. At the age of 6, this was considered perfectly normal and no one batted an eyelid.

At the age of 12, I was told I could love four of those five things, but when it came to the God who loves me and amazing ancient creatures, I had to choose.

Why? Because Ankylosaurus lived approximately 60,000,000 years ago, while the Bible “clearly” states that God created the world 6,000 years ago.

And, as the fundamentalists’ claims went, the Bible is inerrant, so if any of it is wrong, it’s all wrong.

In other words, if I’m not

sure that the world and life was created 6,000 years ago without evolution, I shouldn’t believe in Jesus, either. For the next six years I continually wrestled with a young earth worldview in light of so much evidence for an older earth.

At the age of 18, I couldn’t do it anymore. The answers I got from the Christians around me were: “We don’t need evidence – we have faith!” and “Who are you going to believe – scientists or God?”

Well, when the reason to believe God is “we have faith,” while the reason to believe scientists is “we have a large body of facts and data that reasonably point in a certain direction,” it’s quite sensible to feel backed into a corner where a reasonable man just wouldn’t choose God.

And that’s where I lamented being. I didn’t want to reject belief in God, I was pushed – both by the antitheists and the fundamentalists around me – to think I had no reasonable alternative but to reject belief in God. For a short period, I begrudgingly became an atheist.

It was at this point that my grandmother – a creative type like me, and a skeptic of both theism and atheism – was reaching the end of a long battle with cancer.

She had been a humanities teacher when she was younger, and so it should come as no surprise that she had an encyclopedic knowledge of the world from ancient times until the present, and her house was an unofficial library.

At the end of her life my dad and his siblings inherited her house, while my generation inherited her books. After years of being told by antitheists that there is no evidence for God, and by fundamentalists that we don’t need evidence for God, one specific book in grandma’s collection stood out to me: “God: The Evidence” by Patrick Glynn.[1]

Now, I’m not about to say that Glynn’s book is without problems or that the evidence he brings to the table makes a bulletproof case for God. It doesn’t.

But the fact that he brings forth evidence out of Big Bang cosmology (supporting a 14 billion year old cosmos, and implicitly a 4.5 billion year old solar system with life being found more or less when and where scientists suggest) did a couple things.

Firstly, it showed me that evidence of an old earth and cosmos does not distinctly point away from creation, despite what many had told me.

In fact, there are many features of the cosmos that are explained quite well through a theistic framework, with the odds running heavily against them if the cosmos is not designed.

Secondly, it prompted me to investigate further. If the cosmos itself is very likely the product of design, then what about life? It strikes me that despite decades of trying, abiogenesis has not been demonstrated in the lab.

And if it is ever demonstrated, it will most likely be because someone designed an experiment that went just right, the irony of which should be clear.

From there, I encountered the “irreducible complexity” argument. That is, living organisms operate systemically. There are some malleability within the various bodily systems, but there are some very complex systems in the body that, once broken down to a certain point, simply crash.

Like the keystone in a bridge, if you remove anything from the system, the whole thing fails. It is plausible that some of these systems are the result of other systems merging together, but that only moves the problem so that the same questions are raised of the former systems.

It also stretches the limits of plausibility that every system that appears irreducibly complex is the result of multiple simpler systems clicking into place together at the right time and in the right way so as to transition from function to function without catastrophic dysfunction landing between these steps.

This is especially difficult to sustain as plausible when subscribing to the position that evolution happens as the result of tiny copying errors in DNA over time.

Again, none of this is bulletproof. Happy accidents and functional coincidences happen all the time, and at the very edge of a bell curve, the least probable things do happen.

But ultimately it became clear to me that the atheism I had been told was scientifically proven wasn’t anything close to demonstrably true. A worldview held together by all of the least probable things happening without any guiding cause raising their probability is, well, exceedingly improbable.

To me, theism became monumentally more plausible than atheism, and it wasn’t in spite of evolution or Big Bang cosmology, it was through these streams of scientific inquiry.

It was still two more years before I became a full-fledged Christian. After all, looking at evolution in an old earth and seeing signs of a creator doesn’t directly indicate that this creator is a hyper-personal being (as is the case in the Triune God that Christians worship).

Nature itself doesn’t testify to a God who entered into his creation to bear the burden of human iniquity (as Jesus did by becoming a man and suffering public shame and execution on a Roman cross) and was then resurrected from the dead, assuring his followers that they, too, would join him in a future resurrection.

That involved actually reading Scripture, asking honest questions and receiving honest answers, and interrogating the evidence for or against any of the unique Biblical claims about God being true. But having the groundwork that nature points to a creator meant that I was able to come to Scripture open to the possibility that its big claims could be true.

Meanwhile, if the fundamentalists around me had had their way, I’d be stuck stumbling over cosmology and evolution.

Since then, my philosophical positions have evolved 🙂 and my reasons for believing in God are numerous. Consequently, even though Glynn got me started in looking into evidence for God, it is unlikely to impair my belief if further scientific discoveries falsify what was contemporary science at the time of writing.

That’s not to say I’ve become a fideist (one who subscribes to blind faith). Far from it. Rather, the philosophical landscape on the subject of God’s existence goes well and truly beyond Glynn’s writing, and there are other lines of reasoning I personally find far more compelling, all of which are perfectly compatible with evolution.

I now take the stance that the early chapters of Genesis primarily involve God speaking to Ancient Israelites through a worldview that was familiar to them, rather than God upgrading their scientific knowledge.

I agree with John Dickson’s proposition that Genesis critiques various ideas from surrounding cultures, with the 7-day account being a polarized twist on the 7-act Babylonian creation account, Enuma Elish.[2] Likewise, I agree (more or less) with John Walton’s reading that the beginning of Genesis is a temple account, more interested in the consecration of the world as God’s holy space to dwell with people than in absolute material origins.[3]

Bearing in mind that the early church fathers were as divided on how to read Genesis as Christians are today,[4] it appears quite likely that the Bible does not have an official stance on the scientific implications of Genesis.

That being the case, I feel comfortable to let Christ be Christ and let science be science, while knowing that at an essential level everything is created and sustained by God, regardless of how old the world is.

Do you have a similar story? Tell us by posting a comment below.

References

[1] Glynn, P. (1997). God: The evidence: The reconciliation of faith and reasons in a postsecular world. Ann Arbor, MI: Forum

[2] Dickson, J.P. (2008). The genesis of everything: An historical account of the Bible’s first chapter. ISCAST, 4. Retrieved from http://www.iscast.org/journal/articles/Dickson_J_2008-03_Genesis_Of_Everything.pdf

[3] Walton, J. (2014, May 9). Origins today: Genesis through ancient eyes [Video File]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/fR82a-iueWw

[4] De Beer, V. (2010). Genesis, creation and evolution. Retrieved September 30, 2016, from http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/view/de-beer-genesis-creation-and-evolution

 

173 Responses

  1. GARY SHEEDY says:

    Perry Marshall – having recently read your book, and accepting that it covered micro-evolution very well (Adaptation/Speciation/Variation, I am writing to ask again, what is the problem? Neither Christians (Creationists and Intelligent Design advocates) or secular scientists see micro-evolution as the ‘General Theory of Evolution, (macro-evolution – molecules to man) and hence have absolutely no problem with it.
    I now read that you are having your two bobs worth regarding creationists and the young earth belief (6-10,000yrs), throwing in the same old line as the evolutionists and atheists, that such a belief belies their credibility, and may even turn them away from Christianity. You are beginning to come across as a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing my friend. I am a Christian who has absolutely no time for evolutionary theory, based primarily on the science. However I am fully aware of literal interpretation of Genesis and have no problem believing g in a young earth if needs be, preferring to learn toward Jonathan Sarfati than your own thoughts. What evidence do you have (apart from evolutionist uniformitarian rubbish and radiometric dating assumptions, that the earth is not as young as YEC s suggest. I am quite prepared to wait and see on this matter rather than simply can creationists (the very people who first raised the Darwin dissent in contemporary times. Stop bagging them and seek some common ground as a Christian.

    • Gary,

      If you define even new species as “micro” evolution, then I’m not sure what the problem is.

      Please hear me on this – just the evolution that we observe and understand – new species in one generation, protozoans cutting their DNA into 100K pieces and re-arranging it – beggars the imagination in terms of its sophistication. No human technology begins to come close. If you want to back an atheist into a corner, stop objecting to evolution and start talking about what REALLY happens when things evolve. Show him the experiments. Show him the results and ask him to explain how emmer + goat grass = wheat in 1 generation happened through “random mutation and natural selection.”

      I hope you understand that when you say “uniformitarian rubbish” you are rubbishing the idea that God’s physical laws of the universe are consistent.

      First of all, rubbishing “uniformitarianism” cuts the legs completely out from under science. Galileo and Newton assumed uniformitarianism with respect to space thus unifying apples falling out of trees with orbits of planets, with gravity.

      I’m just not sure you realize what a mess you’re making of science by dismissing this, presumably in the preference of dispensational theology.

      And second, you are at least implying that God is inconsistent.

      It is telling that in order to embrace YEC, one has no choice but to discard perhaps THE most valuable axiom of science itself, which is that its laws are uniform. Because uniform assumptions do not testify to a young earth at all.

      So at that point you can believe just about anything you want to believe. You can make up anything you want because you have no idea what the laws used to be. You can discard any evidence you don’t like and rationalize it.

      But you can’t still call it science because to do so is dishonest. And I really mean that. Making up any kind of past law you want and calling it science is tantamount to lying.

      I am seeking common ground as a Christian and I would hope that even the astonishing capabilities of what you call micro evolution would unite us.

      Still, when something as simple as the speed of light clearly shows the universe is VERY old, and observing how many people lose faith because YEC tells them it’s either ancient dinosaurs or Jesus, I’m not going to stay quiet about it.

      • Steven Barnes says:

        I would ask you to consider when observing the speed of light and the apparent age which it presumes upon the age of the universe from the distance of observable stars, in relationship to the “Big Bang,” theoretical construct. Einstein theorized in his theory of relativity that as one approached the speed of light that one V shows and movies play havoc with this notion) But consider that if all of the mass of the universe essentially exploded outwards from a single event horizon the velocity at which it must travel to escape that event. A single collapsed star (black hole) can draw even light into its immense mass. How much more all the mass of the universe. To escape the gravitational well the velocity must have been enormous. Would that not signify that relative to the starting point that it would appear to be (in time) of immense age?

        I am not a physicist but just a simple curious questioner and curious how the math might take such a thing into account. I know the Bible relates that God “covers himself with light like a cloak and stretches out the heavens like the curtain of a tent” Psalm 104:2 and Isaiah 45:12
        “…My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.” Light and mass, describing the physical origins as manifestations of reality effected from a central location that stands outside those known laws by the one who created them.

        • It’s reasonable to say the big bang theory at large is a theoretical construct. However the speed of light itself is not. It is measurable, and it’s also found in MANY physics equations that we rely on to do very practical things. It’s in E=MC^2 for example. It’s in Maxwell’s equations. There are no known problems with either of those. In fact they work amazingly well.

          So if the speed of light is 300 million meters per second, and if a star is 100 million light years away, then how long ago did that light leave the star?

          • Thomas C Lorz says:

            In the Genesis account, light was created and existed three days prior to the sources of light which were not created until the fourth day. Dry land, Earth as we know it, and vegetation were created in the interim. The planets, stars, sun, and moon all came into existence on the fourth day “for times and for seasons, for days and for years.” One could say that the measurement of time did not begin until the fourth day.

            Are you familiar with the heavily peer reviewed study by Barry Setterfield and Dr. Trever Norman published in July of 1987 which showed that the speed of light had decayed as much as 7% since the 1700s?
            http://www.setterfield.org/accelanom.htm

            Since our concept of time is tied to the speed of light would this not affect theories of massive amounts of time?
            Is not time its self separate form the measurement thereof?

            Just some questions I have been playing with for some time.

            • I am not specifically familiar with this paper or this spacecraft issue.

              If I were to make a radical re-interpretation of physics and a new hypothesis which says the speed of light is changing, I would need much more data than anomalous measurements from spacecraft. A lot more. Note also that the paper itself never suggests that “c” is the problem; rather, the website linking to this paper says this, and that has not been subject to peer review.

              I certainly wouldn’t turn all of physics upside down based on one paper, and if this does suggest the speed of light is changing, this would still never get you from 13 billion years to a 6000 years history of the universe.

              I would invite you to consider that before day 4, the earth’s atmosphere was opaque, and on “day” four (days not being 24 hours) the sky cleared and these objects became visible in the sky. In that model modern science and the Bible match quite well.

              See http://cosmicfingerprints.com/genesis1/

            • Rick Whitford says:

              The spirit of God was upon the face of the deep. Water covered the existing earth. It was already here before the 6 days of creation. God seperated the dry land from the waters. The earth and universe are I’m sure at least billions of years old. Doesn’t shake my faith for a second. Whatever God created before Adam and Eve appears to have been destroyed by a worlwide flood.

          • Ron says:

            So if the “big bang” happened as scientists suggest, then , say 10 years after the big bang was stretching out, how long did it take light at that time to travel from one edge of the expanding universe to the other side?

          • Paul Robinson says:

            HOW can one make the assumption that the speed of light is constant when there is NO way to make that test?

            And If the White Hole theory is correct – and BOTH Christian and non- Christian scholarship are working on that issue, then the speed of light is definitely NOT an accurate measurement. IF a magnetic field can collapse over time, I think it is ASSUMPTION, NOT science, to claim that we know everything about light or its speed.

            • Paul,

              If you understand physics, light, electromagnetism – in short if you have an engineering degree or anything related – if you PRACTICE engineering for a living, and earn your paycheck based on designing things that obey physical laws – you understand that IF the speed of light is changing, everything in physics falls apart.

              Physics is most definitely not falling apart and we see consistency of measurements not only on fiber optic cables but billions of light years of space.

              I understand that you feel you are being faithful to the word of God by discarding the speed of light. And I appreciate that. Really I do. But it is your interpretation of scripture that needs to be examined with greater care, not all of modern physics and engineering. (Scripture itself is just fine and I do not believe the Bible teaches that the earth is young.) If the speed of light were changing your internet connection wouldn’t work.

              If you have credible evidence that the speed of light is changing, present it. To date, no one who has ever brought this up actually understands the math or physics involved.

              • Perry,

                In the interests of being charitable to folks like Paul here, I’m curious if there is a range in which the speed of light could deviate before practical stuff like operating an internet connection would fail.

                In any case, if we were to take Genesis 1 literally in light (heh) of current astronomy, and if we were to assume that all the visible stars in the night sky were *instantly* visible, then we would conclude that stars were created with their light already in sufficient motion to be immediately interacting with earth. After all, our nearest neighbour is Alpha Centauri, which is ~4 light years away, and not many YECs would argue that humans had been around for 4 years before anyone saw a single star in the night sky.

                This doesn’t really resolve things for YEC, though. It just trades one problem for another. If we get YEC off the hook with regards to the speed of light using this solution, we invoke the Omphalos hypothesis (or Last Thursdayism). By removing the obstacle of scientific evidence to the contrary of a 6,000 year old world, we also remove the obstacle of scientific evidence to the contrary of a 6 minute old world. That creates an impasse in which no specific view can be demonstrated to be more credible than any other view.

                • Good points you make here. As for speed of light, it would depend entirely on the specific devices used. If speed of light were to change some routers and switches would probably be OK and others would not. Some long connections would fail and other short ones would be just fine. Please keep in mind that even the maximum length of a USB cable (ever seen one 10 feet long? There’s a reason why not) is based on the speed of light.

              • Jeff K. says:

                “Your interpretation of Scripture” is something you said. And me being a person who believes firmly in the inerrancy, authority, inspiration, and God-breathed Scripture, I have to applaud this. I think the fight is really over interpretation of Scripture. CS Lewis taught that Science is a friend of God because it helps us understand how to best interpret Scripture. (The key word is Science, not an interpretive camp).
                -Good stuff here. Great discussion.

          • Sandy Watts says:

            Perry, you asked “if the speed of light is 300 million meters per second, and if a star is 100 million light years away, then how long ago did that light leave the star?” In order to answer that question I think we’d need a whole lot more information, wouldn’t we? First, how big is the star and does it or has it always emitted the exact same amount of light from the exact same area? Surely we would have to know the speed at which the star is moving and in which direction relative to the observer of that light and were both those things constant over the period of time that the light was ‘traveling’ to the observer? And are we assuming there is no dark matter between the source and the observer and that no other light source has ever crossed the path of the light between the source and the observer? And are you speaking of light waves or particles? since if I remember correctly, light can be both. Just curious. I’m no where near as smart or informed as you and other commenters appear to be, so forgive me if I’m asking silly questions.

            • Short answer: All those questions have been asked every which way you can imagine. And again the short answer is, all this is very well understood in physics and despite many attempts, the Young Earth community has never produced a reasonable way to resolve the problem.

              • Tom Godfrey says:

                Perry and Sandy,

                Maybe I can help. I think this is the syllogism that some have used:
                1. According to astronomers, eclipsing binary stars in the Andromeda galaxy are currently about 2,520,000 light-years from earth (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy#Distance_estimate).
                2. Assume that the speed of the light emitted by those stars has never varied significantly as it traveled to earth. After all, it would take a miracle to cause this speed to vary significantly as it moved through a near vacuum almost all of the way.
                3. Assume that space itself has never been expanding at a rate significantly different from the rate currently proposed by the experts. After all, it would take a miracle to cause this rate to vary significantly, possibly making those stars much closer in the distant past.
                4. Many other stars can be observed that astronomers also report to be at least two and a half million light-years away.
                5. Assume that no miracle has affected the evidence in question.
                Therefore: The stars mentioned in propositions 1 and 4 could not have been created miraculously on Day Four of creation week only about seven thousand years ago. They must have begun to shine at least two and a half million years ago and probably much longer ago than that.

                Did I get any of this wrong? If so, I hope someone who likes the conclusion can help me understand the logic by correcting the assumptions and propositions. On the other hand, if what I put down is an accurate statement of the argument, can anyone spot a problem with the logic? I think this argument could be greatly simplified as follows, as far as the implication for the proper interpretation of Genesis is concerned:

                1. Assume that stars were not created miraculously on Day Four of creation week only about seven thousand years ago.
                Therefore: Stars were not created miraculously on Day Four of creation week only about seven thousand years ago.

                Of course, this conclusion is not really a conclusion at all. It is only a restatement of a presupposition. If we were to grant the assumption in 5, all of the extra stuff about stars and any other physical evidence would become entirely irrelevant. We would simply be assuming that Genesis is wrong whenever it claims that God created anything miraculously, stars included. In this case, physical evidence would not matter at all. If I am wrong about this, someone, please help me understand where I went wrong. If I am right, can I get an amen?

                • I believe I more or less agree with your #1-5.

                  The stars became visible on day 4. They were already there as implied by the following verses:

                  3 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.

                  Stars becoming VISIBLE on Day 4 solves all of the above problems.

                  If God created stars 6000 years ago then the apparent otherwise extreme CONSISTENCY of astronomical observations means that God made a universe that appears to be old but is young.

                  And Tom if that’s the case, I can’t see how you can fault anyone for seeing the appearance of nature and taking it to be what really did happen.

                  • Tom Godfrey says:

                    Perry,

                    Thanks for confirming that you “more or less agree” with a syllogism that I thought should be close to your own logic. Do you agree that it involves a fallacy (begging the question)? If you accept 5 as true, how can you rationally reject the first sentence in the conclusion? You would have to accept this much regardless of any physical evidence, astronomical or otherwise, right?

                    I concede that you may need 1 – 5 for the second sentence of the conclusion. Evidence ought to be studied and interpreted to construct a credible but still tentative rewrite of Genesis, but if the big question is whether Genesis reveals true history or not, I think 5 is all you need to reject it as myth or legend. Do you admit this? I not, please explain. If it is just too embarrassing to admit it here, you can simply ignore my challenge, of course.

                    You stated, “The stars became visible on day 4.” If you had stopped there, I would have found nothing controversial about it, but the way you continued confirms what I thought you have been claiming all along, that stars *first* became visible from some perspective at least four billion years before the appearance of trees on Day Three. Obviously, a lot depends on the perspective that is relevant.

                    This question reminds me of Gen. 8:5 and the report there that the tops of the mountains became visible as the waters receded. Ps. 139:8 suggests to me that this could not be a report from God’s perspective. I conclude that it is quite reasonable to assume that it was written from Noah’s perspective, but what about the relevant perspective in Genesis 1? There was not supposed to be any human observer until Day Six and evidently no creature with eyes until Day Five.

                    Job 38:4-7 suggests that there were angelic witnesses to the events of Genesis 1, not to mention the Creator himself. What was their perspective? It seems unreasonable to me to suppose that they had no clear view of the heaven until Day Four, especially in view of the lack of rain reported in Gen. 2:5. You clearly believe that your interpretation solves problems, but all kinds of nonsense can be considered reasonable if only you ignore the problems with it. What problem with my position might I be sweeping under the rug?

                    You pointed to Gen. 1:3-5 as support for your position on the appearance of stars, but these verses have nothing to say about stars, and no starlight is required to have an evening, morning, day, or night. Those verses are all about light and darkness. I think you are assuming that the light in question has to be sunlight, perhaps filtering down through clouds, which are not mentioned there either. Gen. 1:17 makes it rather clear to me that the stars were put in place on Day Four and not a day earlier. All it takes to have day and night is an adequate source of light. Somehow providing a provisional light source distinct from the sun should have been no problem at all for God.

                    I suspect that your position on the timing of the first appearance of stars has nothing to do with an acceptable exegesis of anything in Genesis. It is based instead on your confidence in an interpretation of astronomical observations that appear to you to be extremely consistent. However, the consistency may be imaginary, an illusion caused by ignoring any inconsistency. For example, what do you have to say about this?
                    http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/cosmos/W/Winding+Problem
                    https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/cosmology/galaxies-unexplained-spirals/

                    I do not fault anyone for accepting the no-miracle presupposition in a study of nature and the laws of nature as currently observed. Obviously, some people want to maintain it even in the context of origins. On the other hand, if miracles actually were involved, then any account of what really did happen that is based strictly on “the appearance of nature” is bound to be misleading at best. I don’t see any way around it. It seems rather obvious to me that either Genesis or the presupposition has to be rejected, and people can take their pick. It is futile to hope that clever exegesis might allow a rational reconciliation.

                    • Tom,

                      A college student says to you, “The universe is 13 billion years old. We calculate that based on red shift of stars, size of the universe based on telescope observations, trajectories and speeds of galaxies etc.”

                      You say, “With all due respect, young man, you have no way of knowing that. It was actually created 6,000 years ago by God, miraculously, with the appearance of history (“virtual history”) making it APPEAR 13 billion years old.”

                      What’s to keep his friend from coming right back atcha and saying “Your Bible, which you believe was written 2,000 to 3,500 years ago, only appears to have been written that long ago. Actually we were all created in 1996, the year I was born, and everything before that is just virtual history. Including your Bible and everything in it.”

                      He continues: “I would tell your brother that he does not actually see “6000 years of Biblical history.” No one else does either. People may study archaeology, read the scripture, interpret it based on certain assumptions, and imagine a long story about what happened, but this is a far cry from literally seeing 6000 years of history. Has he actually seen even 65 years of history? We can see the pyramids and other distant objects that are supposed to have been there for thousands of years, but only a tiny fraction of this theoretical history has actually been observed.”

                      How would you argue against him?

                      How do you argue against anyone who says of history “Oh that history is not what it APPEARS to be. And besides, practically every field of science, geology included, may have both a synchronic component (what can be observed now) and a diachronic component (reconstruction of history based on available evidence), but I think you will find that the latter component is of relatively little interest and contributes little or nothing to technological advances. Think of physics, medicine, and chemistry as some excellent cases in point.”

                      Well Tom I sharply disagree that the diachronic component is of relatively little interest. EVERYTHING in astronomy, including theories about how stars are formed, where metals and heavier atomic elements came from, and just about everything in geology is heavily dependent on our interpretations of history.

                      History is very important in science when you’re talking about radioactive elements with decay times. It’s very important when you’re describing the life cycles, birth and death of stars. Which I believe we understand quite well at this point in time, because we can literally observe stars at every stage and age in the night sky.

                      A person could just as well say ‘the history in the Bible doesn’t really matter at all, the only thing that matters is the golden rule and the ten commandments and the admonitions to love one another in the epistles. After all, only THAT stuff affects how we live. And of course all those miracles don’t matter, because the point of Jesus feeding the 5000 was simply that we’re supposed to share food with each other.’

                      You would NEVER agree with that.

                      You claim your right to your Biblical history — but you deny a secular person a right to scientific history. You’re actually thumbing your nose at them saying it’s relatively unimportant.

                      What gives you the right to do that?

                      You said:

                      “It might help if you explained to me how a miraculous creation of stars could possibly leave behind evidence that would lead modern, atheist astronomers to conclude that the universe is only a little more than 7,000 years old after they have investigated its age under the no-miracle presupposition.”

                      If the universe was 6,000 years old I would never expect it to be 46 billion light years across and I would never expect to be able to see stars that are 1 billion light years away. I would assume those would be invisible to me. From the standpoint of earth being livable, I can’t think of any reason I would NEED to see those stars if the sun can adequately keep the earth warm all by itself, if stars only 100 light years away would be sufficient to light the night sky.

                      If the universe was really 6,000 years old I would never expect to see a star exploding right now, when we know that star to be 100 million light years away, realizing that the star was not actually there, and nothing was there back then at all… even though I am seeing it so it has every appearance of having happened 100 million years ago.

                      I would not expect to see evidence of an earth with grass and wildlife and history stretching back millions of years, with every evidence that sunlight was shining on the earth all that time.

                      I would expect to find human bones and dinosaur bones together. In fact I would expect to find human remains inside the stomachs of dinosaurs. I would not expect to find evidence that dinosaurs went extinct millions of years before humans showed up.

                      I would not expect to see fossils that are 500 million years old in a 6000 year old earth.

                      Now if you want to tell me that God just made all of this LOOK like this, then what do you say to a person who says “OK then you’re admitting it LOOKS like Genesis is lying?”

                      I see this as a giant problem.

                      This problem can be resolved very simply and easily if you make some very elegant assumptions. Like day is a period of time and the story is told from an earth POV.

                      We all have to recognize that EVERY Biblical interpretation involves assumptions that you cannot support from the text. Yours included.

                      Most YEC exegesis assumes that scripture means what an ancient person in that time and place would have thought it to mean. First we don’t know that this filter is the correct one in the first place (all kinds of mysteries could be wrapped in scripture, and we are still uncovering them now, that’s how I see it) and second you have to make all kinds of assumptions about what those people would have or could have known or what they thought 3000 years ago. How could you possibly know that? I think this entire premise is shaky.

                      But the point is, every view makes assumptions which are outside of scripture.

                      That’s my answer to your piece about which physical perspective we should use when we read Genesis 1.

                      I choose the perspective that makes the most facts fit together with the least number of assumptions. I seek parsimony.

                      I’d assume it was told from the POV of the bottom of the ocean if that made the story make the most sense.

                      You seem to think the Sabbath command in Exodus, and the wee little bit of wiggle room that appears to create for a person who says “But wait, a God-day is not 24 hours so why does that apply to me?” – you seem to think that little textual wrinkle creates a bigger problem than everything I just listed.

                      Well Tom, I think instead of debating me, you should go talk to a non-Christian person who knows a lot about science and see how far you can get with your version of the Genesis story.

                      You should take your YEC to the laboratory of reality and apologetics. Take it to the streets. Start witnessing to real people. Like I’ve been doing online since 2003.

                      I predict you’ll be able to get somewhere with an old-earth interpretation of the story.

                      I suspect you’ll not get far with YEC.

                      I challenge you to actually do this. You can do it with people who come and comment on this very blog. I already spent my advertising money to get them here so you don’t have to. Explain to them why they should believe the earth is 6000 years old.

                      This by the way has a LOT to do with the positions I take. I simply have never been able to find a way to defend YEC with empirical fact-based people. I could never try to convince someone about “virtual history” and keep a straight face.

                      As it is, I can defend my position very competently even with people who have zero interest in believing the Bible. Even they do grudgingly admit that the Genesis story can be made to fit modern astronomy and geology surprisingly well, and that this cannot be done with any other ancient creation story.

                      I believe interpreting Genesis ONLY based on exegetical considerations, and not including what we know from science as well, is simply ignoring half of God’s revelation of Himself through nature. It’s tying one arm behind your back.

                      I have some other questions for you. In your faith community:

                      1) Do people heal peoples’ diseases?
                      2) Do people speak in tongues?
                      3) Do people prophesy?
                      4) Do people perform miracles?

                      Why or why not?

      • Steve Wood says:

        Perry, it seems you always hang your hat on the speed of light proving an old universe, but what about the law of entropy, that everything goes from order to disorder, or in other words, winding down. Through the years, beginning in 1677, the speed of light has been measured more than 150 times. Roemer measured it at 307,600 +/-5400km/sec. In 1875 Harvard measured it at 299,921 +/- 13 km/sec. In 1983 Bureau of Standards measured it at 299,792.4586 +/- 0.00003km/sec. All of these measurements were slower than the previous and outside the margins of error. This would seem to be evidence that entropy may apply to the speed of light.

        • Given the distance of 108 years and knowing what we know about technology, I am far more given to attribute a 0.04% difference to measurement error than to entropy. Especially considering that if the speed of light is changing, conservation of matter and energy go out the window and we suddenly have MAJOR problems with the laws of physics. Problems that empirically do not seem to be problems at all.

          Old-school Neo-Darwinian evolution is not only disputed by Christian young earth creationists; it’s disputed by people of every imaginable background, as a quick look at the literature will show – atheists, hindus, agnostics and everything else. In contrast, speed of light is, to my knowledge, only questioned by YECs, for a very peculiar set of reasons. It’s not in serious dispute in any other field of science. Therefore I think the problem is with YEC not with speed of light.

          I find it far easier to be flexible in my Biblical exegesis than to look for loopholes in the speed of light. The alternatives for interpretation are many.

          • Steve Wood says:

            Perry, I’m not a mathmatician nor a physicist, just someone seeking truth. I know there are those smarter than I that have proposed alternatives to speed of light being constant from the beginning to now, from any point of reference, such as Humphries. The measurements I listed above seem to add doubt. As far as that possibility creating major problems with the laws of physics, isn’t it a rule of thumb that the more we learn, the more we learn what we don’t know? I know that there were recent experiments measuring the speed of nuetrinos traveling faster than light. Gravity seems to work the same way all the time but aerodynmics can change it’s affect on a body with the right characteristics. With 10 or more dimensions, most of which we can’t measure or interact with, I wouldn’t be so sure the world is more than a few thousand years old. There is way too much evidence to the contrary in other fields of science that can be observed and measured. Radiometric dating of rocks of known age (from volcanoes) being wrong by orders of magnitude. Recent reevaluation of ice core ages by Hebert. Preserved protein in supposedly 80 million year old bones. Evidence of “modern man” in the same geologic layers as dinosaurs. The rate of human DNA mutation from generation to generation if extrapolated would take us back just a few thousand years. There’s much more, but usually the question is, who do you believe. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life. He talked about the flood and “the beginning”.

            • Steve,

              Please understand that I mean no insult by this, but most of what you have described here are things that only a person not sufficiently educated in math and science will be willing to accept. The list you have given here mostly fringe science. There is no conflict between an old earth and Jesus at all – it only requires a moderately different interpretation of some parts of Genesis and there is no dilemma.

              I have covered much about the age of the earth elsewhere on this website and I encourage you in any case to keep seeking truth.

              • Steve Wood says:

                Perry, no offense taken, but all the arguments I listed against an old earth came from very smart highly educated people with credentials in math and science. So, as I said before, what a person believes usually boils down to WHO you believe. We may both be surprised when we meet our creator.

                • Robin Boom says:

                  Steve. You have taken the assumption God wrote Genesis. God did not write Genesis. Some unknown scribe or scribes compiled the book of Genesis. As a literal interpretation of Genesis can be proven to be errant, in insinuating God was the author of Genesis you make God out to be a liar. If you are someone who is genuinely seeking truth as you claim, then you need to put the same amount of scrutiny into you truth assumptions as you do in criticizing main stream science.

                  As for the age of the Earth, I have worked in the field of soil science for over quarter of a century and there are some young recent soils, and others which have seriously weathered away over tens of thousands of years. Also rocks such as granite which is a very hard rock, yet one can find granites which are so weathered over hundreds of thousands of years which I can literally crush in my own hands. God doesn’t make tricks to make the world just appear old, and scientists just don’t pluck numbers out of the sky to come up with figures such as the age of the earth etc. God is not a liar or a trickster, yet YEC make Him out to be, suggesting the Earth and the universe is made to look old yet is only 6000 years old.

                  • Steve Wood says:

                    Robin, please don’t put words in my mouth. Of course the Bible was written by men except for the tablets of stone on Mt Sinai and the writing on the wall, interpreted by Daniel. Also, there are quotes from Jesus throughout the new testament. However, those men were inspired by God or talked directly to The Lord, as surely, Adam did. On the contrary, old earth evolutionists are the ones making God out to be a liar. Quoting Jesus, Mark 10:6 “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” Mt. 24:38-39 “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the flood came and took them away; so shall also the coming of the son of man be.” While it is true that we don’t yet know how light reached us from far away stars, one day we will. Your problem is that you start with erroneous presuppositions, such as one piece of granite being very hard and another not so much must be because of age. I simply cited several examples of empirical data showing the unreliability of those presuppositions. I’d be very curious as to what you consider to be errant in God’s Word.

                    • Robin Boom says:

                      Steve. The empirical evidence is that the Earth and universe are very old. There is no empirical evidence of a young universe or Earth. As for evidence of a global flood there is none. Certainly there is evidence of regional floods. Richard Dawkins in his book The Greatest Show on Earth, says all you need to disprove evolutionary theory is find a modern mammal fossil in the Cretaceous period or Cambrian period. Just one fossil. Surely if there was a global flood we would find fossils of dinosaurs, donkeys and dogs all at the same layer. They aren’t.

                      As for weathered soils and rocks, modern science does not start from erroneous suppositions. Science is neutral and has no vested interest in the age of things. Some scientists may well have a particular bent, and certainly YEC scientists skew everything to fit within their paradigm, but by and large their science and reasonings are dishonest and sometimes straight laughable.

                      There is nothing inerrant in God’s Word, but the Bible is not God’s Word. It may contain inspired writings, but there are also hyperboles and allegories which are factually incorrect such as in Psalm 19 the famous ‘The heavens declare…’ Psalm YEC use we read of the sun racing across the sky and going to its tent at night. We know the sun doesn’t race across the sky, neither does it go to a tent God has made for it at night, but for king David it may well have appeared to do so as he was not aware that the Earth spun on its axis and circles the sun rather than vice versa. You may accept this as hyperbole and allegory, so why not also consider Genesis 1 which is poetic and was also possibly sung in song by the early Hebrews as just allegorical? As for pointing out a whole heap of glaring errors in the Bible, there are a huge volume of them but this is not what this discussion is about. We are focussing on how to rightly interpret the creation story. Some of the factual errors of Genesis 1 have already been discussed here.

          • Paul Robinson says:

            SO man’s incomplete knowledge trumps God’s statement on the issue – GOT it!!

            NOT one experiment I am aware of verified the incoming speed of light towards earth, as Jason Lisle has pointed out.

            We have based many concepts on incomplete and erroneous assumptions over history. I fear your dependence on the assumed speed of light is simply another that WILL be replaced as knowledge grows.

      • Tom Hov says:

        Perry Marshall,
        Thank you for this excellent explanation. Thank you too for your graciousness. I was an anthropology major in college at one time. My professor, on the first day of class said that due to time restraints and simplicity he would only use one of the two theories of existence. I immediately thought to myself, “What? There is another theory?” Months later I became a Christian and wondered how I was going to balance the Genesis account and dinosaurs. To me, the answer became, “God can do whatever he wants.” It wasn’t ’till later that I realized that science and Creation can easily co-exist for the very reasons you, Perry, share here. Thank you again.

      • Ed Bodker says:

        Ryan has written a brief memoir of his experience with faith doubt and reason. It stands for itself. Many others have found their own views about reason and faith confounding and leave main line religious affiliations because they find little room there to be honest about it. And when they try, some religious agenda is often administered to set them straight. The helping hand strikes again and the Bible becomes the weapon. Some respond by defending their views with competitive and prolonged debates with believers and doubters, arguing over scientific evolution and Biblical authority. We all want our personal experience heard but this competition also seeks winners and losers and eventually becomes so very boring. Many other’s stay in the church as passive listeners to an authoritarian dispenser of dogma and platitudes. “Amen pastor,” superficial beyond any self reflection, don’t know and don’t want to know. But there is a rare and fascinating attitude about faith as a verb to be without a direct object in certainty, an attitude of not having to get it right, allowing Jesus to come down from the cross.

        Humility is no small matter.

        • I really appreciate the post, Ed.

          It truly is unfortunate that so many aren’t given the space within their religious context to be honest about their attempts to piece faith and reason together, or about their doubts. When it comes to the more controversial topics (the age of the earth being one such topic) so much of the conversation is about persuasion rather than an honest, humble pursuit of the truth. For the record, I’m not pointing fingers in any specific direction, there. I’m just as susceptible to the temptation to win rather than understand as the next person.

      • Randy Priest says:

        Fascinating stuff. I suppose it’s just written into the script, so to speak, that we can’t seem to hardly ever make any sort of stand for our beliefs without stepping on someone’s [bro/sis or opponent’s] toes.

        Fwiw, I was saved in June of 1980. Somewhere around the turn the of the century, I was able to discern one thing that was near to driving me absolutely nuts–the speed of light.

        I’m not a lettered person, frankly, quite the opposite.. but I can read. And, in my own inimitable way, I can sort of think.

        I was dispensational in theology, and a young earth creationist, by virtue of that being the only form I’d ever heard of to assimilate what I thought the Bible said [with regard to origins] and whatever I was aware of with regard to scientific inquiry to the same.

        Now that I know more of big bang cosmology, and more of Biblical theology [to include a wee bit of church history with regard to origins], I’m very [very] happy with the speed of light.

        But, that isn’t the point of my post–it’s the dispensational part. Fwiw, I’m more than ever dispensational in my own understanding of the Word.

        Even though many YEC are dispensational, the two things are not at all the same. Many persons in that YEC/dispensational camp equate the two in an argument that requires a literal [grammatical] and historical [contextual] hermeneutic [i.e., the claims of dispensational theology] to render a 6,000 (perhaps 10,000) year old universe.

        Which is an errant application of dispensational theology. A dispensational systematic doesn’t require any such thing. A robust dispensational template doesn’t require the traditional seven dispensations, nor any similar overview.

        A simple, consistent delineation between Law and Grace accomplishes the goals of dispensational theology. Which might be said [in part] to be something like keeping the eternal promises to an national, ethnic Israel intact, and avoiding the antisemitic [replacement] theologies which signify a weakness in traditional Reformed theology.

        So, to provide a clear distinction between Law and Grace, and a consistent teaching of prophecy throughout both the Old and New Testaments [Covenants], accomplishes the goals of dispensational theology. This is necessary in order to keep Israel’s [eternal] promises intact.

        Lastly, I would argue that part of the strength of a dispensational systematic, is it’s malleability in this regard. [To repeat, that nothing more (and nothing less) than a simple and consistent delineation between Law and Grace, renders a robust dispensational template].

        Dispensational theology does argue for a literal grammatical and historically consistent context, especially with regard to prophecy. ‘Course, Reformed theology makes those same assertions…

        but when it comes to ‘who is Israel,’ only one of the two can be right. And, given the weight of biblical prophecy and inerrancy, I’m sure you agree, it’s a pretty important thing.

        And, on a personal level, it can make the whole difference for a person, whether they spend most of their Christian pilgrimage trying to be acceptable to God [Law] or, finding invaluable peace of being able to rest in His acceptance of us in the Beloved, even though we struggle with sin.

        I hope this post is coherent.

      • Chris says:

        One problem I have is that so much of theology rests on unsubstantiated assumptions.

        In this case, why should inconsistency bother you? Where does it say that God has to be consistent? If you accept the Bible as the Word of God, how else do you explain that it has worse “continuity” (internal self-consistency from one story to the next) than the average 1970s Superman comicbook, put together by mere men? Either the Bible isn’t the Word of God, or God has the power of being inconsistent if He so chooses. Who are you to put limits on Him?

        By the same token, why assume that God wants to be worshipped? Maybe it was okay when there were just Adam and Eve – – only two voices speaking quietly to Him – – but now that there are millions or billions maybe it’s just an annoying whine in his ear, like a cloud of mosquitoes, and he just wishes we’d shut up and let Him think straight. I know that would annoy the heck out of me if I were God. Or maybe it’s as simple as “stop wasting time praying and expecting Me to step in and fix things – – get out there and take practical action and fix them yourselves!” You have people who blame everything from hurricanes to AIDS on God being pissed off by human behavior such as daring to accept gays; what if its true that God is pissed off, but what he’s actually pissed off about is the incessant praying?

        I know these are odd corner cares, but still : do we Raju know, or do we simply assume? Life, the world, and the speakings of Authority Figures both secular and religious, are filled with unspoken assumptions. I myself am very sensitive to these, and they bother me a lot, constantly pricking at me like walking barefoot on cat litter on carpet. That’s a big reason I’m drawn to science: the whole point is to question assumptions, and do everything possible to nail them down and replace them with facts or at least observations *en route* to forming explanations. I may have more to say about that, elsewhere on this page.

        As for theology, I think of it as an early attemot at science by people who didn’t yet have rigorous habits of logical thought, and who weren’t yet quite on solid ground Wh the idea that the workings of the world were regular or comprehensible. The best they could do was draw analogies to their own lives: the sun rises and sets on a regular basis for the same reasons the flocks go to pasture in the morning and back inside the fence at night, i.e. some superior being is directing them. Lightning appears at random and is a moment of destructive punctuation in the midst of violent weather – – like an angry patriarch perhaps suddenly smashing a piece of crockery to punctuate a fearsome, angry rant. So, clearly, there is an invisible, powerful being, who can become angry at unpredictable intervals and stir up wind and throw lightning. Let me know when this starts to sound familiar.

        The Greeks did slightly better. Yeah, they still had an individual god for this, that, and the other thing, but they also had a start on math and logic. Unfortunately, they relied *entirely* on logic, and felt that checking their conclusions against actual reality was somehow unworthy of their intellectual edifice. Unfortunately, this allowed them to go badly wrong on many simple principles. (Gravity springs to mind. They concluded that heavy objects fell faster than lighter ones, which is easy to disprove, once one *bothers to try*.

        Once someone did finally combine logic and mathematics with expetiment, a thousand-or-two years later, Man’s ability to master the physical world took off like a rocket, and here we are. I, for one, am grateful to live in an era when so many things are understood, many more are on the verge, and new frontiers of learning abound at every turn.

      • Mikki says:

        It is important to know–Bible is a ‘Book of history made up by Pharisee sitting in a cave after 325 BC after Persian-soldiers lost the Empire to Alexander the Great’. Then, came the Man educated in India with the knowledge (Veda)–Pharisee + Romans quickly ‘got-rid off the Man, made him son-of-god (as if rest of Men were not), and sold the Bible to get rich and make Greeks/Romans as new-soldiers’. Here, we are confused and arguing or fighting accepting Pharisee (Jew) is the chosen (Q: who chose whom?).
        By the way, Creator is Reality–otherwise, DNA or Genes would have no Power to act, and become a dead-matter, like dead-body or dirt: hope it makes sense?

    • Ianoș says:

      > apart from evolutionist uniformitarian rubbish and radiometric dating assumptions

      Your personal ignorance is the problem. Actually there are many dozens of independent dating methods and they are all converging to the same results. This wiki page sumps the most important methods:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronological_dating

      • Full name from now on, please.

      • Steve Wood says:

        Actually old earth assumptions and dating methods are falling apart. Things like soft tissue inside supposedly 68 million year old dinosaur bones, radiometric rock dating of known aged rocks being off by orders of magnitude, color pigment in dinosaur fossil eggs, the predictable number of mutations in our DNA per generation, (virtually always harmful) should have decimated mankind long ago if we’d been here over a million years, etc. etc. etc.

        • Paul Robinson says:

          NOT to mention detectable C14 in Hells Creek specimens – making their MAX age ~60,000 years.

          These directly contradict the alleged old ages of the earth.

          Population stats come to almost exactly 6000 years, and that bothers me, for I am NOT a 6000-year Creationist, and do NOT accept that the Hebrew genealogies provide that date.

    • steven says:

      even the bible says 1 day is the same as 1000 years to God. keeping that in mind it begs the question of how long was a day. the world was created in 6 days on the 7th God rested. how long was a day than?

      • Aarno Aapro says:

        The Mathematics of Genesis
        Or the Unified Field Theory?
        By Johannes

        Reference to KJV Genesis 1:1
        In the beginning God created the heaven and earth.
        Reference to KJV Genesis 1:2
        And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
        Interpretation.
        In the very beginning of everything, a creator (God) caused space (heaven) and the ingredient that mass is made up of to come into existence.
        According to this interpretation; there are only two basic ingredients in the universe, one is space, in other words, a volume that has absolutely nothing in it, this volume is called “heaven” in Genesis of the Bible and the other is the ingredient that mass is composed of, that ingredient in today’s scientific language is called the Higgs field and it is called “earth” in the Bible.
        Reference to Genesis 1:2
        The volume of space was filled and evenly distributed with the ingredient of mass, known today as Higgs field. The said Higgs field had no motion or vibration in the volume of the space.
        The depth of the space was totally without light because the ingredient that makes up light and mass was motionless, in other words, no frequencies or vibrations could exist under such conditions.
        The implication here is that all energy that exists in the universe is nothing more than the motion or frequency of the ingredient that composes mass; Higgs field in other words.
        Reference to Genesis 1:3
        Then the creator caused motion and vibrations in and on the space/mass ingredient, frequencies of these vibrations ranged from extremely low to extremely high, which includes the bandwidth of light that we can see. (Motion within the motionless Higgs field was created) (Motion = Energy)
        The combination of space and the mass ingredient can be compared to water, because water is also composed of two ingredients, namely hydrogen and oxygen.
        Reference to Genesis 1:3
        The motion that was caused, created a changing density in the s/mi, (space/mass ingredient) so that there was a higher density and many frequencies (light) in one area and lower density and low or no frequencies (darkness) in the surroundings, this density of s/mi then became greater and more dense until it could not become any denser, at which point the s/mi reversed its motion and began to decrease in density. This event would be called inflation or big bang in today’s terminology.
        Reference to Genesis 1:4
        This first expansion event flung the s/mi far away from the center of the expansion event, the center part became emptier and darker, the emptiness created an enormous amount of potential energy within that volume, that in turn caused some of the s/mi to begin moving back towards that spot of expansion. Kinetic energy is in the motion of the Higgs field or mass, potential energy is in the emptiness of the space.
        Reference to Genesis 1:5
        Since some of the s/mi was left behind so that it did not start returning to the spot of expansion, the totality of space was not as dark as it was when it was created. ( No ”Night” ) only evening and morning.
        The “first day” mentioned in the Bible happened before and during the scientific big bang or inflation event, it is the epoch where space, mass, and energy, was created. How long such a “day” was, is anybody’s guess, only the creator knows.
        Reference to Genesis 1:6
        Since some of the s/mi was moving away from the point of event where the expansion happened and another part of the s/mi was going towards that point, the s/mi volume between the opposing movements crated a density of s/mi where the photons would move at a constant speed.
        Reference to Genesis 1:7
        Once the distance was large enough then the s/mi density would be such that the photon propagation would be constant in that volume. (firmament)
        The “firmament” represents a density of the Higgs field, it represents the midpoint in the compression or expansion of the field density, it is also the density of the field where the photons propagate at a constant speed, represented by “C” in math formulas.
        The firmament can also be considered as the density level that separates the emptiness of space from the density of mass. It is somewhat comparable to a zero reference point on the Celsius temperature scale.
        The reciprocal of a constant is zero.

        To transcribe the information into mathematical formula; only the concepts that can be addressed by quantities need to be considered.
        In Genesis 1:1 space and Higgs field were created, further reading reveals that empty space has the potential for energy, empty space is a force and the Higgs field, when in motion, contains kinetic energy.
        In other words, the empty space can be represented by the letter U, indicating the potential for energy.
        The Higgs field can be represented by the letter k for kinetic energy.
        Mass as we know it is a combination of U and k. ( potential and kinetic energy )
        Genesis 1:7 indicates the presence of an area of Higgs field density where the photons propagate at a constant speed, this can be represented by the letter c.
        If we want to know the total energy that mass can release, we need to take the constant and multiply it by the square of the mass that is under consideration, then we need to divide that result by the kinetic amount that is the same as the amount of mass, then the result must be multiplied by the constant in order to get the maximum amount of energy.
        The formula then becomes E= (U/k) c
        To see if this matches the results in Einstein’s formula, we can do some simple calculation, using the same values of mass and the constant that is used with Einstein’s formula.
        In order to simplify the expression of the desired concept I will omit the descriptive additions such as, distance per unit of time, etc., if more extensive information is needed then these additions can be included.
        The concepts are what we are comparing, so the numbers will be approximate; the speed of light is 299,792,458 meters/second, but in order to simplify the calculation further I will use 300,000 kilometers/second as the approximate speed of light.

        Formula derived from the Bible.
        M= (U/k)/C
        E= (U/k)*C
        U= 300,000*m^2
        k=m

        If m=2 then 2^2 = 4*300.000 = U = 1,200,000 = amount for potential energy.
        If m=2 then k=2 = quantity of Higgs field in the form of mass.
        Then U/k=1,200,000/2 = 600,000 = Intrinsic potential energy of mass quantity * 300,000 = 180,000,000,000 = Total energy contained within specified units of mass when accelerated to the speed of light.

        If m=4 then 4^2= 16*300,000 = 4,800,000
        If m=4 then k=4
        Then U/k=4,800,000/4 = 1,200,000 * 300,000 = 360,000,000,000

        Einstein’s formula
        E=MC^2 = (C*C)*m= E,
        C*C=300,000*300,000=90,000,000,000
        If m=2 then 300,000*300,000=90,000,000,000*2=180,000,000,000
        If m= 4 then 300,000*300,000=90,000,000,000*4=360,000,000,000
        The result is the same in both calculations and the “speed” does not need to be squared in the Bible calculation.
        In order to simplify the calculation of larger numbers and still keep it very simple, I will remove 3 more zeroes from the approximate constant, so that the c is represented by 300 instead of 300,000 km/s

        300*300=90,000
        90,000*15 = 1,350,000 in Einstein’s formula with 15 units of mass. = E

        15^2 = 225
        300*225 = 67,500 =U
        67,500/15= 4,500
        4,500 * 300 = 1,350,000 = E in Bible formula with 15 units of mass.
        The Bible formula gives the same result as the Einstein’s formula.
        I understand the Bible formula better, because the mass is squared instead of the constant (or speed. ) I can relate to square pieces of matter but square speed is unfamiliar to me.
        Squaring the constant does give the correct answer and there is a reason why it was done that way, but I still like the other way of doing it better.
        Is the Bible formula right or wrong; is there a way to determine that through experiments?
        The formula indicates that emptiness contains potential for energy, it also indicates that mass is a combination of kinetic and potential energy and that all forms of energy is derived from the motion of the material that mass is composed of, in other words: Higgs field, if it is in some form of motion, is the ingredient that makes up all energy and mass in the universe.
        The implication also is that light propagates at a constant speed in the Higgs field that is at a certain density, meaning that the propagation speed of light is determined by the density of the medium that it goes through.
        We can speculate on that concept; if we could reduce the density of the Higgs field in space, or in front of a space ship, then faster than light speed would be possible.
        According to this interpretation there is only the Higgs field, in various densities and frequencies of vibrations, within space that gives rise to all other fields, such as the magnetic field, the gravitational field and the so called electromagnetic frequencies, besides composing the mass that we are familiar with. This formula then represents the unified field theory that scientists have been looking for.

    • Michael Meyer says:

      Luke chapter 3 shows the genealogy from Adam ( created on day 6 ) to Jesus Christ , naming the father and son for each generation. What more could God do to convince you that the Earth is only a few thousand years old? Jesus said if they would have believed Moses, they would have believed me . Apparently , you believe neither

      • Jeff K. says:

        I think it was Usher who set up a 4400 year old time line, based on the geneologies. However, some of these geneologies have gaps (which is fine because the focus of the geneologies is not a timeline but a family line, namely that Jesus is from the line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Benjamin, David, Mary, Joseph.). The geneologies purpose specifically is to show that Jesus, the Messiah!! Is the very specific one that all the Scriptures point to. It is incredible! Almost as amazing as how many Jewish people have missed their own Messiah (and I am partially Jewish). There is NO DOUBT that Jesus is God’s anointed one, The Messiah.
        Now that being said, according to Evangelical scholars, there are some generations missing from the chronologies. Not an error, but for a purpose.
        If you would like an example of one man who was left out (a wicked king). To repeat, this is in no way an attack on Scripture’s inspiration, authority, inerrancy. Rather, me mentioning this helps us to better understand Scripture and the riches of God’s word.
        Email me if you would like to find out the wicked king who was left out and why. There is a wonderful explaination on this.

    • Paul Robinson says:

      Excellent thoughts. The old age folk are working on PRESUMPTION, not science – and ignoring the PLAIN teaching of scripture – that GOD CREATED, exnihlo, in 6 days. Stated plainly in Genesis, repeated in Exodus along with the law, and confirmed by the very words of Jesus.

      How much simpler can it be for those who presume to claim Christ as their Savior?

      Science is coming more and more into line with the Biblical account. Seady state cosmology has given way to the Scriptural expanding cosmos concept; information in DNA was made the evolutionary “from nothing to something” concept impossible, and C14 in the Hells Creek dinosaurs, not to mention soft tissue and decayed blood and DNA products, all make the long ages of evolution impossible and anti-scientific.

  2. Bill McClymonds says:

    Based on your comment about abiogenesis Ryan, I thought you might be interested in this video by synthetic organic chemist James Tour PhD, if you have not seen it. Dr. Tour essentially says chemists are collectively clueless when it comes to abiogenesis at this point in time. He does allow for the possibility that an answer might be discovered in the future, as any good scientist must do to maintain academic credibility. On the other hand, he has not been shown any evidence for abiogenesis by even highly credentialed chemists that is convincing to him that abiogenesis could occur.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zQXgJ-dXM4

    Even though the video is over an hour in length, you can get the essential message in the first 20 minutes. He does get into some more complex chemistry after that. He is one of the few people in the world who has built molecular Nano cars so he is extremely knowledgeable in synthetic organic chemistry.

    • Hi Bill,

      That certainly does touch on some interesting issues. Very technical (biology and chemistry lecturers, amirite?), but it does do a good job at circling around some of the problems with abiogenesis to the extent of current scientific investigation. Thanks for sharing 🙂

      • Bill McClymonds says:

        Thanks for the reply Ryan. The reason I find the information provided by Dr. Tour so helpful is because it addresses the origin of biological life on the Earth from the perspective of a synthetic organic chemist. Anyone who believes in a naturalistic or atheist position must first have a reasonable explanation for the origin of life. Unless some reasonable naturalistic explanation can be provided, there is no point in discussing the issue beyond that point. It doesn’t matter what other evidence is provided for naturalistic evolution if the naturalist can’t account for the origin of life.

        Dr. Tour pointed out that he cannot even imagine a reasonable chemical pathway from available chemicals on the early Earth to the first life form. This process had to happen prior to the availability of natural selection. There is no reproduction prior to the first life form and therefore no possibility for natural selection to influence the process. Dr. Tour was primarily addressing the chemical prebiotic assembly of molecules into a cell. He barely touched on the brilliant informational content (DNA) that would have had to be present by at least the time of the first reproductive bacteria.

        Starting with a naturalistic position means starting with zero intelligence. Only rocks, chemicals and gasses were present on the early Earth. From that starting point of zero intelligence, the naturalist has to rapidly (from a naturalistic perspective) produce the most complex information coding system (DNA) that we know about. Not even a simple coding system, like the Morse code was present prior to the development of the DNA code. It is the first information coding system known to have been present on the early Earth. Since that time humans have developed many information coding systems, but none of them approach the brilliance of the DNA information coding and processing system.

        In order to account for abiogenesis, the naturalist must account for two extremely complex processes. One is the chemical assembly of the first life form. Two is the infusion of extremely complex biological information into the chemically assembled cell. The difficulty for the naturalist is that there is no intelligence of any kind to either initiate the process of building an organism from scratch or to aid in the construction process of the first life form.

        Without external intelligent input, the naturalist or atheist position is dead in the water before it can even get started. No life form equals no reproduction and no possibility for an evolutionary process of any kind. Realistic odds against the formation of an organism containing the informational content of DNA occurring by chance are astronomically prohibitive. Starting from a position of absolutely no intelligence and rapidly going to brilliance without any good, reasonable explanation is logically unrealistic and inconsistent with the espoused naturalist or atheist position of being logical and scientific.

  3. Marcwolf says:

    Still sounds to me of someone desperately seeking a larger hammer to belt the square block of faith into the round hole of scientific reason.
    It might just fit.. but not easily

    • Marc, there certainly are specific religious beliefs that are incompatible with the current body scientific work. But it doesn’t follow that faith and science are incompatible or can only be fitted together by forcefully deforming one (or both).

      Are you aware that you are reinforcing the very problem being criticised in this article?

      • Paul Robinson says:

        The CURRENT body of “science” has NEVER been complete, accurate or satisfying, and as long as it continuously changes, the Bible, and TRUTH, will never agree with it.

        IF “science” was correct it would NOT constantly change. IF the Bible EVER agrees with man’s opinions of science it would NO longer be God’s word.

        TRUE science and the Bible are hand in glove. Evolution and long ages has led to untold scientific dead ends, and will continue to do so.

        AS several scientists (Patterson, Eldridge, etc) have admitted in quiet moments – evolution is anti-science.

        • Hi Paul – just a quick comment to say that your damning of science is true in particulars but not in concept. You are right that science is often wrong and always changes. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT SCIENCE DOES. Science works at the edge of knowledge. who would fund research to investigate what is already known? The idea is silly. Because science works Like this we sometimes learn things that don’t fit with current understandings so we change our minds. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT SCIENCE DOES. That you point out the self correcting nature of science as a flaw tells me that you don’t understand what science even is. You will learn much by reading some real science. Your Inner Fish is a good model for good science. I seriously doubt that this or another book will change your mind but it will expand your thinking about how science approaches the world.

  4. Bob Helm says:

    Anyone who says we don’t need evidence for God is a fideist, and fideism is a heresy.

  5. John Conrad says:

    I found your article refreshing. It will be the prevalent view of believers in the future, I just don’t know how long it will take. Jesus said “everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Our problem is we allowed evolutionists and atheists to back us into the corner (with our total acquiescence) saying it was either evolution or creation–totally mutually exclusive competing theories. We are believing a 7 24 hr day creation story when in our story the determinant of length of day and thus hours shows up on the 4th day of creation. Your comment about the laws of nature not changing is significant. Laws represent God and his character. “I the Lord do not change, therefore, you, O Israel are not consumed.” This nonsense about the speed of light changing to account for silly theories making our earth, solar system and universe very young contradict God’s nature. It will take a while but I am looking forward to the day believers welcome any truth because it speaks to and explains God’s character.

    • As an aside, one of the arguments I’ve heard supporting the notion of 7×24 hour days is that in Revelation, there’s no sun, because God himself provides the light. Therefore, as the argument goes, the sun isn’t needed for a 24 hour day of darkness and light.

      Sounds plausible enough, but given the thrust of the Genesis account and of Revelation, it doesn’t seem to fit. The point in Revelation is that God is better than the sun and will make it obsolete (if indeed we are to take that imagery literally). In Genesis, the motion is from “empty and formless” to “good” to “very good” to “holy.” Therefore, the three days without the sun are less good than the days with the sun, so thematically it doesn’t add up to have God as the light for the first three days.

      So long as “any truth” means “anything that’s true” and not “anything people could accept as truth,” I think I agree.

  6. Ted Southworth says:

    Please address the recent discovery of soft tissue found in dinosaur bones, a scientific impossiblity if dinosaurs are millions of years old. Also please address the man and dinosaur combined fossil foot prints found in Plano,TX.

    Why is it not plausible for the radiometic decay rate to have been more rapid during the fall of man and to now be slowing down? You will never know what the origional rate of radiometric decay was since you and all the scientists in the world were not there and you very well could be making a seriously wrong assumption in your dating calculations of the earth.

    Big bang theory has a massive problem since there is not enough time in the supposed age of the Universe to account for the uniform temperature of the universe. Unless you believe God speed up the big bang and the slowed it down to the current rate of perfectly balanced expansion. BB is a ludicrous theory and needs to be scrapped.

    What about the plethora of Comets in the Solar system? They should be long gone since they last only 10,000 years and dissipate each time around the sun? I have no problem going with God’s account and stated age of the earth since He was there.

    • Hi Ted,

      As the author of this article, I’ll freely admit that the specifics of your post are mostly beyond my scope to comment on. But here’s what I can say:

      1) I’m unaware of any facts that would make such old soft tissue remains impossible. I know that it was presumed for a long time that this simply didn’t happen, but I don’t know of anything saying it couldn’t ever happen. Having said that, I’m also not very familiar with the work that indicates it has happened. I’ve heard of it, but haven’t researched the issue enough to have an opinion on the matter.

      2) Radiometric decay rates are calculated using chemical laws. Reaction rates often happen along a curve, so they often do start out rapid and slow down with time. However, these curves are predictable according to known chemical laws. There are factors that can speed up or slow down reaction rates, for example a change in temperature. In my experience, the great flood is often pointed to as an explanation here, however I don’t know of any way in which that would influence the reaction rate.

      3) If God did speed up and then slow down the Big Bang, that would conform perfectly to the theory of inflation, which is in the most conventional model of the Big Bang.

      4) I’m unaware of anything saying comets only last 10,000 years. But if they do, I don’t see the problem. If the whole universe is teeming with comets, what’s to stop a constant influx of comets into the solar system?

  7. Larry W says:

    Scientists today and for over a hundred years Or more, Can not be trusted. They have this religion called evolution and that is what it is, A bunch of lies, And this is why, Since the late 1800’s many Inventors, invented many wonderful inventions that always seemed to get suppressed. A couple names here. Nathan Beverly Stubblefield (November 22, 1860 – March 28, 1928) Stubblefield pretty much invented a wireless telephone it could reach a mile if not more. Nikola Tesla 10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) Tesla had over a thousand patents by the time he passed away. A lot of people don’t even know who he is. He is one of the greatest inventors ever. He had a device that could run the electric in your home and would never stop, There have been many inventors who have made this claim and have done so. Most have been murdered, Or payed off. Fuel, since the 30’s there have been over 1,000 patents for better MPG and clean burning carbs, The shell opel car got up to 376mpg There are many who claim Shell even got up to 1,000 Miles Per Gallon from a car they made. This was in the 70’s. Thomas Ogal in the 70’s had a v8 4,500 pound car that got 100mpg, He was murdered in his 20’s. Stan Myers in the 80’s made a car run on water. He was offered 25 billion from Exxon moblil. He refused, He was later murdered. So my point is, If they can hide all these wonderful inventions, And about 90% of them are true I know this for a fact. Then they can sure can make up a story about a dinosaurs being millions of years old, When in fact they have cut open bones of dinosaurs and they are only thousands of years old. And any one who believes a so called Scientists just because they say they are a Scientists, They need to wake up. There have been many archaeological digs that prove this silly religion is nothing but lies. Most of those good folks got fired. The same goes for health, There have been many cures for cancer. For over 70 years if not more. Do some research yourself, Instead of relying on someone who calls there self a Scientists, And tell’s you what they are paid to tell you.

  8. wendell read says:

    Gary: uniformitarianism in science can be understood in two distinct ways. Darwin’s theory advanced the proposition that evolution occurred in very small steps. Natural selection pruned out the bad ones and kept the good ones. Thus evolution proceeded in a ‘uniform’ manner with no noticeable ‘jumps’. There are many counterexamples of this form of uniformitarianism, it is not true. The other form of uniformitarianism, the bedrock of science, says that the laws of physics we discover on earth are valid everywhere; the moon, distant quasars, and everywhere in between. No counterexamples have ever been found. It also states that the laws do not change as a function of time. There are a few scientists which challenge the last point, claiming that perhaps the laws of physics themselves evolve over a long period of time (billions of years)

    A 6000 year old earth/universe is impossible without discarding the very foundations of all of modern physics. The experimental evidence validating modern physics is extensive, and for those who have studied it, very persuasive. Look at the technological advances that have been made in the last century of so. It all validates our understanding of modern physics.

    • Paul Robinson says:

      I think you ignore the fact that the big bang itself is a violation of the laws of physics, and upon that error, all other evolutionary errors rest.

      No possible way could all the mass of the universe be compressed into the alleged singularity.

      AT some point there WAS an intervention by GOD. And IF that is true, it is JUST as likely that that intervention took the form of Genesis 1 as any other.

      ” It all validates our understanding of modern physics.”

      Really? I would say that most of the “magic Physics” upon which evolution was founded in the 1800’s has been debunked. And MORE almost daily. Planets are NOT as old as once assumed. They have not cooled as predicted ie Io, and lack the expected impact craters.

      C14 either last for multiple millions of years or evolution is false based on the hells Creek specimens.

      Soft Tissue either completely escapes after 200000 years, as was the rule for collagens, OR it survives millions of years – ALL these are direct contradictions based on MODERN physics that destroy the outdated physics upon which Evolution is based.

  9. Been watching these posts for several days now. Even the first one, which was about an argument that supposedly took place at a conference of biologists, had the odor of a religion pitch about it. As the days have passed, that odor has become increasingly strong. Now, here it is. Nice to see that some Christians are trying to say that religion and science are not the same thing, never were, never will be. Not sure the approach described here, to the extent it is described, is much more useful, though. I have a religion, too, and it also involves gods. Lots of them, in fact. But what stories involving gods do is tell you something about what they are *like*, nothing at all about what they *are*, and only a little about what they *do*. A more useful approach to the science/religion issue is to see that gods are something *very* different from their mythic descriptions, and that myth and history are simply disjoint sets with different purposes. Design? Design is a big part of what I do for a living, and design is what I *don’t* see when I look at nature. Design is a complex survival strategy employed by humans. Our language, and therefore our thought processes, are preemptively design-oriented, which can make it hard to talk about, or even think about, the true nature of what is seen in nature. Gods are useful, and powerful, and deserve their own space in our thinking.

  10. Peter Smartt says:

    Please answer just one question. Using a bit of amateur formal logic – we have two propositions:
    a: God created the world around 6,000 years ago
    b: Ankylosaurus lived approximately 60,000,000 years ago

    Clearly, a and b cannot both be correct (as you correctly observed when you were about 12 years old). So when we have two mutually exclusive propositions, how do we decide between a and b (or neither)? You seem to have just jumped to proposition b, and subsequently built your philosophy, your theology, and virtually your life on it, without providing any justification as to why you chose (and continue to choose) b instead of a. Are you able to put your finger on your starting assumptions? How often do you critically examine them? Have you paid serious attention, as an adult, to the arguments of those who start with different axioms?

    • Hi Peter,

      I’m no expert in any specific field of science (I did study science at a tertiary level, but even that is still barely scratching the surface of anything). So if you asked me for explicit proof of an old earth or evolution, I would not be able to provide anything more than the generic recognition that it is strongly agreed by scientists who do specialise in the relevant areas that an old earth is the case. I think it is sufficient to go with the prevailing scientific understanding of things until proven false, and doing so does not constitute simply “jump[ing]” to a proposition.

      In saying that I “seem to have just jumped to proposition b,” you seem to be overlooking the 6 years I spent deliberating over this issue as a teenager and making certain assumptions about whether or not I’ve continued to think about this since my return to Christian faith as an adult.

      I have personally worked through the theological, philosophical and scientific ramifications of a young earth and an old earth. As it stands, following the evidence and arguments where they lead, it presents to me that there is a good case for belief in a deity, there is a good case for belief in Jesus as that deity, and a good case for an old earth with old life.

      Due to constantly engaging with would-be presuppositional apologists (who are, by and large, YEC and fundamentalists), I don’t have the option not to be aware of my bottom-tier philosophical positions, and I certainly do critically examine them. Again, so long as I engage with presuppositionalists, I don’t really have the option not to. Do you critically examine yours?

      In an argument, an axiom is defined as a mutually agreed upon premise treated as uncontroversial (at least for the argument’s sake), so by definition I don’t have interlocutors with different axioms. So, unless you change your closing question, it’s unanswerable in its current form.

      • Peter Smartt says:

        Hi Ryan,

        From the fount of all truth, Wikipedia [chokes and splutters]:

        “The term has subtle differences in definition when used in the context of different fields of study. As defined in classic philosophy, an axiom is a statement that is so evident or well-established, that it is accepted without controversy or question. [3] As used in modern logic, an axiom is simply a premise or starting point for reasoning.”

        I’m happy to go with your definition and change “axiom” to “premise”. However, having said that, I think we need to deal with your statement “I think it is sufficient to go with the prevailing scientific understanding of things until proven false”. I am trying to understand when would you decide that “the prevailing scientific understanding” had been proved false? (In my mind, and in the minds of most YECs, it has been proved false over and over again – its just that the evidence is hardly ever given a fair hearing.)

        Is there some specific hypothetical evidence that might at least give you pause, or would it just be a matter of falling in behind the mob? Do you have a picture in your mind of how you think the world should look (differently to how it actually does look) if it was as young as a straight-forward reading of the Bible (particularly the early chapters of Genesis and the chain of genealogies) indicates?

        If you care to answer, feel free to discuss anything that is observable – geology, biology, human nature, the biblical text itself, human society – anything.

        • I appreciate you sprinkling your post with light humour, Peter. It definitely helps to keep my inner keyboard warrior at bay 😛

          So, with regards to engaging with different premises, I do my best to approach things honestly. If I don’t agree with a premise, I’ll ask myself why not, and I’ll ask my interlocutor why I should agree with their premises. I have been known to change my mind, although obviously personal bias is a thing, so I don’t claim to be perfectly consistent in this area (really, who is?). Naturally, to go any further with that, I’d need to know what premises you bring to the table if we were to discuss at that level where we agree, where we disagree, and why.

          In the experience discussed in the OP, there wasn’t any hearing given to the evidence by those with a YEC position. My experience prior to my return to faith was very much that YEC positions are upheld by ignoring evidence and denying it, rather than engaging with it and bringing evidence to the table.

          However, once I returned to Christianity when I was 20, I did find that many YEC’ists did actually interact with the body of evidence available. But what I found was not new evidence brought to the table that challenged an old earth view, but rather reading a young earth view into the evidence — often, but not always, with an emphasis on people not having been there to observe alleged old earth events.

          There are some evidences I’ve been presented with that have already given me pause, all of which are specimens among the fossil record that supposedly don’t fit. However, some of these have been demonstrated to be red herrings and entirely fitting, while the rest I haven’t investigated sufficiently to hold a position (you can look at the comments between Ted Southworth and I a little further up the page for some examples).

          When you refer to a “straight-forward reading of the Bible,” I immediately have to call into question: straight-forward to who? It has been my experience that there are many things we are trained to see as obvious in the text, which really aren’t all that obvious.

          For example, many believe that the straight-forward ramification of the second day is that there are clouds in the sky. But I’m quite thoroughly convinced that when the author (presumably Moses) says “waters above,” he literally means waters above — flowing, liquid water: something akin to a visible ocean suspended above the sun, moon and stars in the sky (cf. the fourth day, when God places the “lights” in the vault of the sky — this vault being the space between the waters above and the waters below).

          Without an understanding of modern cosmology, this is a very intuitive way to make sense of the sky. And this may be supported by the Book of Enoch which, though not considered canon by protestants, gives a lot of insight into the way Ancient Israelites saw the world. And that’s how I think the world would probably be if the world were how it’s literally described in Genesis.

          With that being the case, here’s a rough argument outline:

          P1. The Bible, including Genesis 1, is true.
          P2. The sun passes through the earth’s atmosphere, causing the sky to appear blue, rather than being suspended underneath blue waters above.
          P3. This places a contradiction between the physical descriptions of Genesis 1 and known cosmology.
          C. The truth of Genesis 1 is not in its physical descriptions.

          You’ll note that this argument really isn’t concerned with evolution or the age of the world. But if all the premises are true and the conclusion follows, then it also follows that the what/when/where/how questions are not questions that Scripture aspires to answer when it comes to creation.

        • Paul Richmond says:

          With regards to the statement ““I think it is sufficient to go with the prevailing scientific understanding of things until proven false” . . . if ever a prevailing scientific understand of things is proven false, it will no longer be the prevailing scientific understanding of things. So how can one ever hope to use such a “rule” in deciding about things?

    • Paul Robinson says:

      Interesting that many of these alleged 60,000,000 year old fossils still contain soft tissue (max ~200,000 years) and C14 (max life ~60,000 years)

    • Peter – this one is easy. That joker god makes Anky appear old just to fool people who hate him anyway. Then he has a good excuse to use them as logs in the fires of hell!

  11. Robin Boom says:

    Great story from Ryan. He had it drilled into him by the fundamentalists that it was either Genesis or the modern science story, not a harmonisation between the two.

    Another claim by the fundys is that you must accept every jot and tittle as the ‘infallible Word of God’. Its either All or Nothing. This idea of Biblical infallibility and inerrancy is a relatively modern phenomenon and is easy to falsify. The Bible is not to be Deified or worshipped as such, and the problem is Christians end up having a relationship with a book, rather than the living God. Jesus is the living Word of God and as such we engage with Him through the Holy Spirit, and to deflect the title of the Word of God (Divine Logos) onto a book is idolatrous. It is not ‘For God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten book!’ God is Spirit and seeks those who worship Him in Spirit and Truth.

    The first couple of chapters of Genesis are obviously a collation of different oral traditions brought together by some unknown author. Chapter one is poetic Hebrew verse, where God is ‘Elohim’, a male plural God, and in chapter two God is referred to as ‘Jahweh’, the Israelite God, a post Moses term, which is proof that chapter two and the rest of Genesis were put together either by Moses as is commonly believed, or it was written after Moses which is more likely, as it is a blending of oral traditions. Why the fundys don’t critically examine their own assumed infallible beliefs, is because its safe believing All of the Bible as being God breathed as Paul declared to Timothy, so you’ve got to accept it as such. The problem is such a belief is full of massive holes, and there is also a difference in the meanings of ‘inspiration’ and ‘infallibility’. The letter of inerrant fundamentalism kills, but the Spirit of Truth brings life, and God is no liar or deliberate deceiver. Therefore God cannot have been the author of every jot and tittle found in the Bible as we know it. As such we need to be brave and rightly divide the Bible into what are His genuine truths and what may be merely symbolic, allegorical, or just plain wrong.

    • Steve Wood says:

      Robin, you say there’s no empirical evidence for a young earth? Mitochondrial DNA passed down from mothers show 3 basic trunks in all humanity. (Noah’s 3 daughters in law) Also the number of mutations in the DNA has been shown to be about 1 in every 6 generations. This extrapolates right back to Genesis. (Dr Nathaniel Jeanson) Mud core from hundreds of meters below the sea floor have been examined and found to contain DNA probably from algae, but at that depth they should be millions of years old and could not have survived if indeed the core was that old. (Brian Thomas, M.S.) Metal tools and bells have been found in supposedly 300 million year old coal. I’ve seen pictures of fossilized trees that have grown up through supposedly tens of millions of years of strata. You claim that scientists have no hidden agenda to color their findings. That really is laughable. Given the dominance of atheistic evolutionists in academia, it takes some guts for anyone to challenge the status quo. and money talks. I trust “mainstream science” on this issue about as much as I trust the mainstream media to tell the truth. (it was the video) I know we’ll probably never agree because I do believe The Bible is God’s Word and you don’t. God holds His Word even above his Name Ps. 138 and Jesus said heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away.

      • Steve,

        You might also want to consider that for a ministry like AIG to change their position about the age of the earth would be financial suicide.

        Furthermore, I know an owner of a home school curriculum company who was once threatened by Ken Ham. Ham said, effectively, if you endorse Old Earth, we will blackball your ministry.

        Look at the numbers – AIG is big business. The Ark museum cost $100 millon. The money argument cuts both ways.

        Your accusation “we’ll probably never agree because I do believe The Bible is God’s Word and you don’t” fails to make the distinction between God’s word vs. your interpretation of God’s word. I hear this all the time from YECs and it’s simply an assertion of the superiority of your views over his, using religious language.

        All you need to know to be sure the universe is old is the speed of light. If a star is 100 million light years away, how long ago did the light leave the star?

        • Steve Wood says:

          Perry, I’m willing to take justified criticism, but I think you may have missed Robin’s own words: “There is nothing inerrant in God’s Word, but the Bible is not God’s Word.”

      • Robin Boom says:

        Steve. When it comes to mitochondrial DNA of women, Mitochondrial Eve is calculated to be 100,000-250,000 years old and there are actually seven ‘daughters’ of this mitochondrial Eve, and not 3. The average age for a mitochondrial mutation to appear is calculated to be on average every 3500 years and not one in every 6 generations (200 years). A quick google search on the topic will show you this.

        As for fresh DNA found in millions of year old rock, it might be like the DNA found on the shroud of Turin, ie recent contamination in the sample collected. I am unaware of this claim, but like a lot of YEC claims I have observed over the years can have completely logical explanations.

        I can’t comment on the coal, but I do know under certain conditions coal and fossils and petrification can happen quickly in less than 100 years which can give weight to YEC claims, but it can also take hundreds of thousands of years.

        I do trust mainstream science. I work in it and regularly attend conferences in my field of expertise – soil science. I can assure you there is no hidden agenda and think your comment of likening mainstream science to mainstream media an ignorant statement.

        I agree that Jesus words will not pass away but are here for good, and God’s truth is eternal.

        Tell me. Did Judas throw the 30 pieces of silver into the temple and hang himself as Matthew states, or did he callously take the money and buy a field, falling over and dying from disembowelment as Luke stated? I think Matthew’s version is the correct one, and Luke’s is what the Christian community made up through demonising Judas over the following decades.

        • Steve Wood says:

          Robin, why would it be a stretch to believe the accounts of Judas in both Matthew and Acts? He indirectly purchased the field and perhaps a tree branch broke off, disemboweling him when he fell.

          • Robin Boom says:

            Steve. My point is that Matthew wrote of a ‘repentant’ Judas who could not live with himself anymore and goes to the Jewish hierarchy with the 30 pieces of silver and says Jesus is innocent, but they say its of no concern to them so he throws the money into the temple and kills himself. Matthew of course being around at the time is most likely to have got the story right.

            When Luke gets to write his gospel account 30 years later, Judas has likely been demonised in the Christian communities, and the story changes to a callous Judas who blatantly takes the money and purchases the potters field, but God sorts him out by making him trip over and Judas dies from disembowelment. Like you, I used to try and keep the integrity of infallibility in the Bible I made up an elaborate story trying to reconcile the differences, but in the end I had to accept that it was dishonest and there were irreconcilable differences between the accounts, so one was right and one wasn’t. Interestingly if you ask most evangelical Christians who you believe have the Holy Spirit in their lives how Judas died, they will tell you Matthew’s gospel account of throwing money into the temple and hanging himself.

            Also the two contradictory accounts actually show that the early Christians who would have been aware the accounts were contradictory did not change the texts to make them the same, so when skeptics claim that there have been a whole lot of interpolations in the Bible, I actually use this example to show them that this claim is largely bogus, and what we have are the authentic writings as it contains warts and all.

            • Steve Wood says:

              Robin, you can read it that way if you must, but think for a minute. What’s more likely? That Judas fell down when he tripped, and his bowels spilled out, or that he was up in the air, probably dead, and someone cut him down from some height and his bowels spilled out when he hit the ground? To me the latter seems much more likely, and not to likely that that simply came out of someone’s imagination.

      • Steve,

        Your final statement caught my attention. Where in Psalm 138 (or anywhere else) does God declare that he holds his word above his name? (Heaven and earth are not God’s name, and no one here is arguing that God’s words have or will pass away, so the citation from Matt 24:35/Mark 13:31/Luke 21:33 doesn’t really advance the point in any direction.) Here’s Psalm 138; please show us where you’re getting your ideas from in here:

        Psalm 138
        Of David.

        1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
        before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
        2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
        and will praise your name
        for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
        for you have so exalted your solemn decree
        that it surpasses your fame.
        3 When I called, you answered me;
        you greatly emboldened me.
        4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
        when they hear what you have decreed.
        5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
        for the glory of the Lord is great.
        6 Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
        though lofty, he sees them from afar.
        7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
        you preserve my life.
        You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
        with your right hand you save me.
        8 The Lord will vindicate me;
        your love, Lord, endures forever—
        do not abandon the works of your hands.

        • Steve Wood says:

          Ryan, not sure which translation you’re using but from the KJV Ps. 138:2 ” I will worship toward the holy temple,and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”

          • I was quoting from the NIV. I primarily use NIV and ESV, along with Mounce Interlinear for the NT. I just looked up an array of different translations to compare side-by-side here: http://biblehub.com/psalms/138-2.htm The KJV isn’t alone its translation of this verse, but the majority of translations on the list don’t agree with the KJV. Interestingly, the Geneva Bible (which was contemporaneous with the KJV) translates it like this:

            Psalm 138:2 — 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

            2 I will worship toward thine holy Temple and praise thy Name, because of thy loving-kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy Name above all things by thy word.

            In any case, as Christians we would affirm that, in the truest sense, Jesus Christ himself is the Word of God, and it is Jesus Christ who the Father exalted to the highest place and gave the Name above all names (implying equality in both nature and status between the Name of God and the Word of God). Add that God’s word in Psalm 138:2 could be Big W Word (meaning either Jesus or Scripture) or little w word (meaning the integrity of God’s promises, or even meaning literally anything God communicates to anyone for any reason), and that Middle English is more nuanced than thee, thou, thy and thine. Take all of these factors into account, and even assuming that the KJV gets this verse right, it remains tenuous to say that God places the Bible above his Name.

    • Paul Robinson says:

      IF there is any wrong in the Bible, HOW can it come from a perfect GOD?

      And since JESUS verified every jot and tittle of the OT – including many specific references to the Creation story, I don’t think that I have time to follow a liar or someone who is mistaken in is beliefs.

      Sry – that’s just me. And for GOD to insert His 6 day mistaken recollection into the Exodus giving of the law – well, he CERTAINLY must have been confused.

      As for your rightly dividing the Word of God – I think that the serpent tried the same thing . . .

      • I am not saying the Bible is wrong. I am questioning your interpretation. There may be other valid ways to read the text.

        I’d also like to remind you that many things in the Bible are written in poetic language. For example nowhere in scripture will you find a statement that we think with our brain. Bible verses speak of the heart as where thoughts come from. That is obviously a poetic way of talking and as such it is fine. But it’s not literally scientifically accurate.

        I find it curious that most people I encounter who insist on an absolutely simplistic literal interpretation, at the same time

        1) do not speak in tongues
        2) do not pursue prophecy
        3) do not heal
        4) do not anoint people with oil when they’re sick
        5) do not visit people in prison

        (even though scripture explicitly commands all the above)

        and they take the following statements to be poetic not literal:
        6) gouge their eyes out when it causes them to sin
        7) cut their hand off when it causes them to sin

        Why the inconsistency?

  12. Richard Alexander says:

    When an authoritative, “mainstream” fundamentalist says that the Bible is inerrant, he means the doctrines, not necessarily specific details of an account or errors in printing or translating. Of course, a lot of non-experts and fringe preachers include more than just the doctrines as infallible.

    • There’s a complex discussion to be had right there.

      Let’s assume that a situation exists in which we have the literacy to read a copy of the Bible that is free of all errors and perfectly represents the original text. So, there are no faults in translation or printing.

      In such a situation, we can then draw up two columns. The first column is headed: “Scripture Says.” The second column is headed: “Scripture Teaches.” In the first column, we have Scripture verbatim. The question becomes: how similar or dissimilar will the second column be compared to the first?

      If it is true that a ‘”mainstream” fundamentalist’ is referring to the second column and not the first in his/her doctrine of inerrancy, then s/he has a doctrine of inerrancy that Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Lutherans, Arminians and Calvinists all agree on. Yet, even after accounting for the higher volume of content in the first column for RCC and EOC, all of the above have different content in the second column.

      So, we find ourselves in a sticky situation. We all agree that the true doctrines of Scripture are inerrant, yet we prove ourselves to be errant in discerning what those doctrines are. The RCC gives ascent to what the Pope places in the second column; the EOC gives ascent to what the 7 Ecumenical Councils place in the second column; the Lutheran gives ascent to what Martin Luther placed in the second column; the Arminian gives ascent to what Jacob Arminius placed in the second column; and the Calvinist gives ascent to what John Calvin placed in the second column. Obviously, those who identify with such titles don’t necessarily give full ascent in these ways (in fact, many deviate dramatically from the second columns they claim to subscribe to), but you get the idea.

      In my personal experience, one of the prevailing stated views of fundamentalists is that the “plain reading” of Scripture is what should go in the second column. This has some very obvious problems that go with it, chiefly: “Plain according to whom?” If what is plain to one person is not plain to the next, then at least one of them is getting their second column wrong, whether it be by missing a teaching that is there or ascribing a teaching that isn’t. How would we discern what should or shouldn’t be placed in the second column using this method?

      Exegesis. Can’t live with it; I don’t recommend trying to live without it.

    • Paul Robinson says:

      I think your comment is pure fantasy. They do NOT mean the doctrines – for there is much debate about them. Its the WORD of God – that is the basis for those doctrines – that is infallible in every detail.

      I would be interestingly where you get that concept from. It’s NOT based on any reality I am aware of . . .

      • It’s the referent of the words of Scripture, not the words themselves, that are authoritative. If it were the words themselves that are authoritative, then all interpretations would be equally valid and we wouldn’t be having this debate.

        • Standing from the outside it’s patently clear to me that all interpretations ARE equally valid. Hindi, santeriist, Christian – none has any claim that is exclusive. This is the fundamental difference between science and religion – science argues about fact, religion about faith. Facts are measurable. One faith is as proveable as the next.

          • Dennis, let’s actually assume for argument’s sake that all religious texts are purely human works and are unanimously wrong in their spiritual claims. If that were the case, authorial intent would still be a thing. Most authors of most works are still trying to convey a very specific message with what they write, so there really are right and wrong ways to read it, even if what the author intends to convey happens to be incorrect.

            It appears to me that there’s actually a pretty big body of evidence for the Christian faith compared to other religions. That’s not akin to a mathematical proof, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say that one faith is as proveable as the next. (For the record, I’m also not saying that Christianity is the only religion with any evidence to support it at all.)

            • So:

              Writers might intend to convey something when they write. Agreed.

              And

              There is lots of evidence for the Christian faith compared to other religions making it inaccurate to say that one faith is as proveable as the rest.

              Don’t agree. If all faith claims are unprovable (e.g. Mormon married people die to be god’s of their own world) then how can any be ‘more proveable’?

              • Robin Boom says:

                Dennis, I think you can definitely say some faiths are more ‘proveable’ from a historical context, such as the historical Jesus and the historical Muhammad, even though the four first century biographers of Jesus were followers, does not disprove their historicity as the Hadiths in relation to the life and teachings of Muhammad being written by his followers does not discount their validity.

                You cited a Mormon belief, yet the life of Moroni found in the book of Mormon have no historicity, as one could argue the same about Krishna, yet there is historicity relating to Buddha, his life and his teachings.

                How one examines biographical accounts as being valid is another point. Clearly the four gospels of Jesus are written by four individuals as the writing styles are different and there are contradictions which would indicate there was no collusion going on between the authors, although one could accept that Matthew and Luke probably wrote their accounts based on the theme found in Mark. The four accounts give a fuller picture of Jesus.

                Similarly with Socrates, although the accounts from his students Xenophon and Plato are quite different, does not mean one is right and one is wrong, both painted a historical picture of Socrates as they remembered their teacher, though Plato paints a nice Socrates than Xenophon.

                I do however admit when it comes to faith, that the power of belief is very strong. As you can read in the posts of YEC adherents, their belief in Biblical literalisms and infallibility trumps all else. Therefore any science that violates their narrow interpretation is dismissed. As Bertrand Russell stated: ‘Science tells us what we can know, but what we can know is little, and if we forget how much we cannot know we become insensitive to many things of great importance. Theology, on the other hand, induces a dogmatic belief that we have knowledge where in fact we have ignorance, and by doing so generates a kind of impertinent insolence towards the universe. Uncertainty, in the presence of vivid hopes and fears, is painful, but must be endured if we wish to live without the support of comforting fairy tales.’

                For me the proof of the pudding has been found in the eating. I committed my life to Jesus, and I had a God encounter which changed my life as a teenager. A dramatic vision which lasted a few seconds. It is subjective and I cannot prove anything to a sceptic, but there is life outside of our three dimensional universe. I have worked in science in the field of agronomy for some 35 years, although my scientific pedigree is no where near as vast and wide as yours, I embrace all that science has to offer, but also embrace the spiritual life given to me by God.

                • Robin. Thanks for a nice post. Though an unbeliever, I respect faith. My grandfather – a lovey and active Christian – held a somewhat similar view. When asked, he would say that he couldn’t reconcile parts of scripture with what the moderns had to say but that would never trump the relationship he had with his savior. I believe he was wrong but respected him for his position.

                  I agree that historical claims by religions can be measured and compared. My guess is that Joseph Smith patently made up his golden plates and glasses. (Though I think my very senile mother truly believes that she is a child living in Slovakia and that the police are after her for killing her best friend. It’s possible that many religious leaders were in some stage of senility.) i also think that the putative fact of the existence of Jesus as an actual human is up for grabs but can be examined historically.

                  When I talk about the inability to say if one religion is better than another your story in your last paragraph is exactly what I refer to. I have no doubt that you believe this to be true. But so does every other person I’ve met from every other religion. And nary a one of you can offer any evidence. That’s why they call it faith. And that’s why I prefer facts.

              • Dennis, you aren’t engaging with the claim that there is evidence for Christianity at all. Instead you’re just falling back on the assertion that all religions are equally unproveable, taking the assertion as a given, and expecting us to go along with your assertion. If we were to break down your point formally, it would look like this:

                1. Premise.
                2. Therefore, premise.

                In saying that there is a body of evidence supporting the central claims of Christianity, I’m pushing back against your premise, and your response remains: Premise, therefore premise.

                • There is evidence that people in the later decades of the first century called themselves Christians. If one could prove that the Jesus of the Christian Bible was a real person that would prove a historical context. Which is important since Christians need a real man for their story. But this IN NO WAY lends any proof to statements about things outside of nature. He is reported to have said “No man comes to the Father except through me.” This is a religious statement that cannot be proven or disproven.

                  I don’t know what your ‘central claims of Christianity’ are – CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity? – but they are unprovable. And probably nonsensical to billions of people who grew up under different religions.

                  Thanks

  13. Guy Nelson says:

    when you consider that God, as stated in the bible, has no beginning and no end and isn’t bound or constrained by the 24 hour day as we are … you can easily answer science for any length of time necessary (what is 450 billion years anyway? a measure that we count based on our 24 hour day) … The 7 day week is for US and the stars were placed for times and seasons … all God’s doing for our understanding only God created it and is not constrained by it. 2nd Peter 3:8 – But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

    Times and seasons play a very important part in biblical prophecy …

    As for dinosaurs and layers of earth … you ever wonder why or how dinosaurs fossils happen? a catastrophic event such as a major flood would cause them to be preserved when they settle and all of the material disturbed by the event would fall around them … yes a comet or whatever could do the same but take a good look at the fossils found and the POSITIONS they are found in … bent necks and odd twisted positions make more of an argument for a flood then asteroid dust raining down on them …

    otherwise, when large animals die they are mostly ripped apart by scavengers so there wouldn’t be anything left to discover buried in rock …

    why is the oldest LIVING thing on this planet on 5,000 yrs old? Methuselah a tree in CA … you can say that coral or a rainforest is millions of years old … but nothing is LIVING beyond that … even if all things must die, you would think that something organic may be 7 or 10 thousand years old somewhere …

    evidence of a world wide flood.

    I love the fact stated earlier about DNA … very complex … no way it just “Happened”

    I also find it funny that science places all humans to one common ancestor … can anyone say “ADAM and EVE” … or even Noah? … even the origins of humans on every continent all related … but that isn’t enough for atheists …

    For life to be possible, and creation logical … the order of Genesis is perfect. But even atheistic bio-evolutionist would have to agree because they claim things appeared in the same exact order …

    I think young earth Christians should back up and consider Genesis 1-3 and think about how big our creator is … and quit putting him in a box or equating him on our terms. It completely negates the one thing science loves to taught and mock Christians with …

    just my opinion.

    • Paul Robinson says:

      I think you are very confused about Gen 1 -3. The ORDER of Genesis is NOT “scientifically” supported as plants were created before the sun. One day is NO problem – your mythical thousands or millions of years ARE.

      So what about Genesis 1 – 3 would even ALLOW, let alone endorse, anything other than a strict 6-day creation? And what scientific, as opposed to “scientific”, evidence is there to allow or support millions of years. MY opinion is NONE at all. There is NO science that PROVES long ages – long ages are based entirely on opinion and presupposition.

      God, himself, again, took the time to reiterate, again, His 6-day creation in the middle of giving the law to Israel in the desert – Ex 20:11. God reinforced the SINGLE day of creation of land animals, AGAIN, in Job. I think GOD wanted us to KNOW how long it took.

      Think about the EVIDENCE – we have c14, soft tissue and blood products in Hells Creek fossils. max possible age 200,000 years FROZEN. Scientific data age – less than 40,000 RC years. (NOT 40,000 solar years).

      We have tidal erosion that is OBSERVABLE. go back in time 500,000 years and the ties would be sweeping over any possible mountains with every rotation of the earth due to the accumulated precession. BUT “science” says the moon would shatter before that happened due to the drag of the earth’s water.

      Think of the length of time that is often claimed – there would be thermal equilibrium, except near stars. Small planets without internal fusion would gradually cool – the small ones first. Yet Io is STILL recycling itself through vulcanism every few years. Pluto is nowhere as old as postulated – EVIDENCE had destroyed mythology.

      There are so many more examples.

      • Sir,

        I recommend the book “A Biblical Case for an Old Earth” by Snoke. Very detailed and thorough. Also search this site for the word “genesis.”

        All you need to know to be absolutely certain the universe is very very old is the speed of light. Search this site for that phrase as well.

      • Paul, I’ve been observing various others making the same argument. I’m curious, why do you (among many others) assume that scientists must have gotten it right when they estimated 200,000 years as the limit?

        When we find evidence of soft tissue in something that appears to be <200,000 years old, it means EITHER it's under 200,000 years old despite appearances, OR 200,000 years is not the limit for how long soft tissue can last. Without further information on how the age of the specimen and the maximum duration of soft tissue is calculated, it could go either way.

        For the record, I don't know how they calculate the maximum duration of soft tissue or blood, but I know that C14 is an issue of half-life, not absolute expenditure, and there is no point at which absolute expenditure is predicted. Past the half-life, it isn't that C14 either stops reacting or ceases to exist, but rather its reaction rate slows to a point of being increasingly unreliable as a metric for the age of the specimen, so other methods are used.

        • This is not precisely true: the half-life of any isotope remains constant at any concentration. Indeed it is one of the most fundamental and secure physical laws. The reason that isotopes become less effective as a dating tool is simply that their concentration drops so low as to be virtually gone. A rule of thumb – this is used in regulations for medical isotopes – is that an isotope is generally gone after 7half lives.

          • I appreciate the correction.

            I was unaware of this rule of thumb. What I was taught is that the rate of decay is effectively halved with each half-life, so that the remaining supply of the isotope approaches zero, but doesn’t necessarily reach zero. And the closer an isotope gets to that point, the less precisely we can use it.

            • Rates of decay don’t change. It’s the amount of an isotope (radioactive element) that changes. Imagine that you have ten pounds of tritium. It has a half life of just over 12 years. In 12 years you will only have 5 lbs left. In another 12 years you will have 2.5 pounds left. So you can see that you loose a lot fast but you never reach zero. So it’s often consider that “0” occurrs after 7 half lives in it’s actually just under 1%.

  14. John Dickson says:

    Lovely to read this, and a nice surprise to see my name.
    Indeed, given that many ancient Fathers – in the pre-scientific, pre-problematic period – held a less-than-concrete view of Genesis 1, it is important for believers today to be gracious toward one another when we arrive at different readings of this beautiful part of God’s word. Blessings.

  15. Josey Fergel says:

    Wow! I’ve read the entire thread and I must say that there are a heck of a lot of ten dollar words throughout. (Not that I don’t understand $10 words, I just feel that they preclude the average Joe -pun intended- from participating in the conversation.) That being said, I don’t necessarily subscribe to “organized religion”, but I do go to worship regularly as I believe our “Creator” appreciates communion. I, like Perry was very much a sponge of information at a young age, and absorbed quite a bit of literature by the age of 12; having learned to read at age 2. Especially Anthropology, Paleontology, and Paleo-anthropology. (My grade school librarian brought books on those subjects to me from the local high school and college, as I had consumed everything in the elementary library by the age of 8.) Consequently, I’ve never really practiced any “faith” concerning the theory of evolution, for obvious reasons. Also, I too fell away from God (having been raised in the Church) when I joined the military at the tender age of 17. Though when I realized the unrelenting reality of Satan in the following few years, I went looking for the God I knew existed too. (to be continued)

  16. Josey Fergel says:

    (I don’t know how many characters these boxes will hold 🙂 )
    Before I came to the humiliating realization that you don’t “find” God, God “finds” you, I trudged through all the mud of religion that presented itself throughout the history of the world; beginning logically with the earliest examples I could find. Suffice it to say, I have a fairly “working’ knowledge of most religions from early Mesopotamian, Annanuki, Sumarian, etc., up to the fledgling religions exemplified in Christianity and islam. Surprisingly, this knowledge does not prohibit me from believing that our Creator might at some point in history, send an emissary to redeem us from our natural proclivity to make bad decisions. Again, like Perry I am not adverse to “changing my mind” about certain issues, considering I am approached with a sense of open mindedness and logic that outweighs my current perception. However, knowing what I feel to be true (which is certainly my very own, exclusive religion) I have settled on Christianity with a Buddhist attitude. (LOL! here,if you feel it is appropriate) Now that all that is out of the way, I must say that I feel that most formally educated Scientists, Theologians, Philosophers, etc. spend a whole lot of time over thinking this stuff.
    For instance, I was reading Einstein’s theories on “Time and Relativity” while during the same span reading Holy Scripture when I was about 20-21 and it suddenly (like a bolt of lightening) dawned on me that “corporeal” time was not created until the 4th day of creation. This realization went a long way in explaining (IMO) how God’s relative perception of time didn’t have to conform to the relative perception God bequeathed us with on he 4th day. Not only does this explain (metaphorically, or not) how God can be at the beginning of time, the end of time, or anywhere in time all at the same time and we can’t, it might explain how the first 3 days of creation might have been any length of time because God was the light and a day began when God opened God’s eyes and ended when God slept (13.5 billion years even). Nor can we wrap our minds around that concept. (Though Einstein may have :)) Needless to say, Einstein hammered any Theologian’s argument that every day of creation had to be 24 hours. It just stands up to reason and you can’t debate reason. Another thought is, “the water in the sky” (firmament) pretty much means that before it was divided, our planet was a “greenhouse”. Meaning a mean temperature of between 70 and 90 degrees, a total lack of disease (in the beginning), and endless food sources. I believe I’ve seen somewhere, or another that amphibians, reptiles, fish, and possibly a few other species have no set life span or body size given a perfect environment. We still have dinosaurs. Great white sharks, Anacondas, Crocodiles, Tortoises, and the list goes on; but no real “behemoths” since that time. Doesn’t that stand up to reason too?
    I haven’t seen any “science” that would disprove that theory. Have you?
    The scripture is riddled with science, if one will only realize that God does not speak to us as if we were also God. God, I would assume speaks to us like we were human. In other words, would an omnipotent being attempt to communicate with humans using an omnipotent language? Who does that make sense to? I think (analogous, or not) the scripture, the first 4 or 5 books of which were handed down through verbal “story telling” (duh), is “bay talk”. How could it be anything else? I think the smarter “man” thinks he is, the less he actually realizes. Of course the scripture is analogous, anything otherwise defies logic.

  17. Josey Fergel says:

    As to the debate about the origins of life? I think the most humorous and simple example of faith in “evolution theory” was given most eloquently by an author named Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ) when he wrote (and I’m paraphrasing here) “To believe in evolution is to believe that your Great, Great, Great, Great………,Great Grandfather was a rock.”
    Funny to say the least, but true none the less.
    More seriously though, I watched a presentation given by a scientist named Stephen J. Meyer called “The Signature in the Cell” (which can easily be found on the “You Tube”) that rang very logical with me. It lasts about an hour and a half and is chocked full of those $10 words, but I’m sure that the bunch I see here in this thread would have little problem keeping up. You should peruse it just for kicks. It has several loaded magazines of ammo that can be used in a fire fight with an Atheist. (BTW, I have decided that the best definition of an Atheist is someone who believes in one’s self and nothing else.)
    But I digress. When you take a long step back and look at the big picture, science has done very little to answer the questions of origin. We think we know a lot, but we know very little (considering).
    Another thought, “Original sin”.
    When the “serpent” approached Eve in the garden and tempted her with the fruit of the Knowledge of good and evil she succumbed to the higher intellect of the serpent and ate. (And I still LMAO about this one) Adam stood right there and watched the whole thing (where else would he be?) and didn’t say squat. I guess he figured “What the heck?” and took a bite too. They were “enlightened” and ran to hide, clothed themselves, slinked out when God called for them, and then tried to lie about the whole thing. Adam even had the gall to blame God because God had made the woman. (You can’t make that stuff up. which is further proof to me how true it probably is.)
    Okay, before original sin God came regularly to the garden and interacted with Adam and Eve. God was physically in their presence and they did not disintegrate. (Moses aged from a young man to an old man and he was hiding behind a rock wall in the presence of God). After the “expulsion” from the garden, God only appeared as a burning bush, a pillar of fire, a pillar of cloud, or something else disembodied, (or sent an Angel), etc…
    It is said (by scientists) that we use maybe 10% to 29% of our brain capacity. We’re finding all the time that we can improve our physical capacity (to a point). What were we before God took away a lot of what we were and kicked us out? If we were beings that could exist in the presence of God, I believe we were much more than we are now.
    And along with all of the other “consequences” that came with original sin, one of those consequences was to be made less than we were intellectually and physically. To me it is common sense because of the simplicity of the scripture.
    I have many other thoughts about many other things, a lot of which tie into other literature and lore. And it all fits when you take into account how infantile we human beings truly are.
    Also, I have been close to death on many levels, many times. And I have been dead twice. All I can say is, there is more under the heavens than we are able to understand with the crude tools we have thus far. I have some favorite quotes, but I don’t go memorizing scripture; my story is life and what I can see with my eyes, hear with my ears, and touch and taste and feel. I believe there is GOD and God loves us so much that God cannot bring God’s self to annihilate us for our bad choices. That love motivated God to create “hell” in order that we could live forever even though we might choose to live forever without God BECAUSE God doesn’t have the heart to destroy us. And I imagine hell to be a very cold and very lonely place.

    • Robin Diamaduros says:

      Josey…. I think I have found a kindred spirit! Keeping it real with the $2 words. 😉 Bless you for having a voice for us who can understand them but don’t use them daily……for obvious reasons. I find most of these threads to be very condescending to the common Joe or Jill, who have done their own individual soul searching & mind bending in the sciences and theology. I thank you!

      • Josey Fergel says:

        My privilege. And keep in mind that you have to cut the “eggheads” (no offense intended) some slack when it concerns scientific debate. I don’t believe they are being intentionally condescending anymore than I believe they realize they might be doing it. There are different levels of formal education, e.g. there are different levels of linguistic usage. It’s not far removed from finding yourself in a theological discussion with clergy, or a conversation about human physiology with a medical doctor. Would you expect them to hear anything but greek when you are explaining the operation of the pumps and spider gears in an automatic transmission, or fillet, vertical, or horizontal welds on a crane chassis jig? How about polling, cutting, nutting, separating, and droving cattle? We must take care in exercising great understanding and patience when attempting to communicate with others (especially in an anonymous fashion, on a faceless place like an internet forum). Many people are easily offended and the limits imposed on fashioning a clear idea through the written word are extensive to say the least. I do get where you’re coming from though, and I am flattered to have received such a compliment. Always keep the courage to jump in and give your “two cents” regardless of the fear of ridicule. At a minimum you will either learn something you didn’t fathom previously, or learn something about other people. Either way you’re a winner.

    • Whew. What a mess. Meyer is a historian who wishes he were a scientist. Strobel is a Christian apologist who imposes his apology on science. “Scientists” do not say that we use 10% of our brains. You are able to string words together in coherent sentences- good for you! Now learn a bit about what you rail against. If needed , I can help you with a reading list. Cheers!

  18. Andy Harris says:

    Steve: How about the concurrence of continental drift measurements derived the ‘old’ way (radioactive dating of matching formations and measuring separation) with the ‘new’ way (direct measurements with laser and GPS)? Are you suggesting that tectonic plates moved much faster in the past and this exactly matched the change in the speed of light needed to affect radioactive dating?

    • Steve Wood says:

      Andy, I’m really not well read on continental drift, except to say I think The continents we have now are probably a result of the cataclysm of the world wide flood of Genesis when the fountains of the deep were broken up. Look at how the Americas seem to match coast lines with Europe and Africa. The Hawaiian Islands that secular scientists claim is millions of years old based on radiometric dating are apparently quite young. If you look at the rate of erosion from the sea. It has been measured at about .4 feet/yr. The Islands should be long gone from erosion, ( waves and rivers ) and subsidence of the sea floor.

  19. Hector Campbell says:

    supposing science proves we live on a young earth we still will not believe unless GOD gives you that gift of believing, he is the creator of all the universe and when you believe in him ,the bible he gave us becomes alive

  20. Nathan Radtke says:

    1) There are 2 important Words that are always left out of anything “Science”. The First is “material”. The Second is “Yet”. ALL of what we call “Science” today is actually only “Material Science.” It has to involve “Matter”. The Scientific Method of discovery can only work on Matter. And after all theories are tested, tried and peer reviewed, it stands as an accepted Theory because it hasn’t been disproven “YET.” I have seen 1000’s of Scientific “facts” bite the dust when “YET” arrives.
    2) Ships and Planes are required to have Manifests of how many Passengers and how many Souls are on board. Passengers are paying customers and Souls include crew members and unpaid humans (children who can sit in their mother’s lap and the unborn child too) I happen to be a human being who agrees with this policy since I believe we are both Body and Soul, physical and spiritual, brain and ideas, Material and Immaterial. Science cannot make any comment on the start of Human Life without stepping ENTIRELY OUTSIDE its realm of expertise because Human Life includes NON-MATERIAL components. So also, trying to explain a Universe devoid of NON-MATERIAL components will leave you short of the full explanation. Ask a Modern Day Scientist, “What is the magnitude of power found in a spirit” and he/she cannot honestly answer from a Scientific point of view which requires testing on … something material. Devoid of the Power of the Spirit/Non-Material aspects in our Universe, an explanation of its origin, its function and its changes over time cannot be complete.
    3) How Old was the Universe (all Matter) 1,000 yrs before the Big Bang? If you looked at the matter back then, could you tell? If all that matter spontaneously appeared 5 Trillion years before the Big Bang, did all that matter take on a new age because of the Big Bang? Or are we only going to measure time back to the Big Bang because the Scientific Community established that as our Birthday?… since by the Theory they came up with, they cannot go back beyond that point without opening up a big can of worms of the “we can’t experiment on it” variety?
    4) Science has segregated itself off into the cold world of soulless molecules and will someday have to come to the conclusion that it’s not looking at everything involved.
    5) Thank God for the Breath of Life, a spirit, the heart and soul of my being, the only aspect of me that can connect with others in meaningful relationships built on Love an Trust… just the way God Wanted it. Science will never discover that… and anything else that is immaterial in this universe (angels, demons, God) May we appreciate Science for what it discovers about our material world, medicine and helpful inventions. May we also know when Science is outside its realm of expertise and ability AND when it’s trying to eliminate God, souls and all things spiritual.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Nathan. Welcome to our strange little planet :^)

    • Fred McGalliard says:

      Nathan, I think you commit a serious error here. Science means you get to say whatever you want if it can be disproven. All models of the world can be accepted to the extent they yield provable results. I suspect the big bang relies too strongly on our limited grasp of super energetic particle physics, but the last few billion years follows our current physics with few obvious limits. Care.

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