One day is like a thousand years

I’ve been on the road, and the church I attended Sunday had as part of its Scripture reading this text: “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).

I had always thought of the last part of the verse as a good description of what it must be for God to be outside of time. But this time the first part hit me: “One day is as a thousand years.” God, in His eternity, lavishes attention on every moment. Just think how much is going on in a day. Not just in your life–maybe it seems like not much has happened on some days–but in all of the lives of millions of people, all of whom have their own stories. God lingers. This is how He can attend to the prayers of everyone, every one of whom He loves. Throw in the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. And galaxies and nebula.

That one day is like a thousand years to God expresses the minuteness of His care and attention. For each of us and all of us, He has all the time in the world.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    I’ve often wondered whether this verse might be of some applicability in the creation-evolution debate. The idea that, at the time that man was created, all of the other created things would have had the appearance of age – in some cases quite a lot (maybe hundreds of thousands of years) of age.

  • Pete

    I’ve often wondered whether this verse might be of some applicability in the creation-evolution debate. The idea that, at the time that man was created, all of the other created things would have had the appearance of age – in some cases quite a lot (maybe hundreds of thousands of years) of age.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Pete@1,
    That’s a very logical conclusion to make, and it’s something that evolutionists tend to forget. When Adam was created on the sixth day, he was not created as a fetus. If you had shown up in the Garden of Eden on the 8th day, you would have met Adam as a man with the appearance of having a mature age (say, 30 yrs. old, for sake of argument) as opposed to meeting a 2 day baby.

    The actual verse that Dr. Veith cited is told in relation to final judgment, and that unbelievers were scoffing at the notion of a cataclysmic final day in which God will judge the world: past, present, and future. It’s further expounded on by verse nine, referring to God’s longsuffering in awaiting the repentance of the elect. If I recall correctly, Peter is taking it from one of the Psalms (Psalm 90 is coming to mind: I need to get my Bible out and check it later on).

    There is a sense in which God is not bound by time, and yet He interacts within it. By definition of His title, He cannot be bound by it, otherwise He would not be sovereign.

    (BTW, on a sidenote, it’s good to be able to talk about these things with others. My wife HATES hearing me bring this up, as she has a difficult time wrapping her mind around the concept of eternity, and it keeps her up at night :D )

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Pete@1,
    That’s a very logical conclusion to make, and it’s something that evolutionists tend to forget. When Adam was created on the sixth day, he was not created as a fetus. If you had shown up in the Garden of Eden on the 8th day, you would have met Adam as a man with the appearance of having a mature age (say, 30 yrs. old, for sake of argument) as opposed to meeting a 2 day baby.

    The actual verse that Dr. Veith cited is told in relation to final judgment, and that unbelievers were scoffing at the notion of a cataclysmic final day in which God will judge the world: past, present, and future. It’s further expounded on by verse nine, referring to God’s longsuffering in awaiting the repentance of the elect. If I recall correctly, Peter is taking it from one of the Psalms (Psalm 90 is coming to mind: I need to get my Bible out and check it later on).

    There is a sense in which God is not bound by time, and yet He interacts within it. By definition of His title, He cannot be bound by it, otherwise He would not be sovereign.

    (BTW, on a sidenote, it’s good to be able to talk about these things with others. My wife HATES hearing me bring this up, as she has a difficult time wrapping her mind around the concept of eternity, and it keeps her up at night :D )

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    J. Dean
    You do realize we will meet Adam on the Eighth Day right?

    Now, I’m one to think that evolutionists often forget that their would have been some age to the earth, or appearance of it when it was created. However, I also believe that creationists sometimes take that too far.
    Last saturday I went Chukar hunting in one of my favorite local Mt. Ranges. The Lake Side Mountains, which over look the last remains of Lake Bonneville, these remains being the Great Salt Lake. The lake side Mountains were once a huge coral reef in Lake Bonneville. As you walk through the broken up limestone you get to see the fossilized remains coral and shell fish. I’ve done some fossil hunting in the same area, grabbing some nice specimens.
    Now some creationists I run into will argue that there never was a Lake Bonneville and the fossils etc were just put there to make the place look like it had age. I can’t go along with that. I don’t think God would deceive in such a fashion. But then I don’t think it takes millions of years to drain a lake and fossilize a coral reef either so…
    It’d be fun to take Kevin N. on one of these hunts and see what his thoughts were.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    J. Dean
    You do realize we will meet Adam on the Eighth Day right?

    Now, I’m one to think that evolutionists often forget that their would have been some age to the earth, or appearance of it when it was created. However, I also believe that creationists sometimes take that too far.
    Last saturday I went Chukar hunting in one of my favorite local Mt. Ranges. The Lake Side Mountains, which over look the last remains of Lake Bonneville, these remains being the Great Salt Lake. The lake side Mountains were once a huge coral reef in Lake Bonneville. As you walk through the broken up limestone you get to see the fossilized remains coral and shell fish. I’ve done some fossil hunting in the same area, grabbing some nice specimens.
    Now some creationists I run into will argue that there never was a Lake Bonneville and the fossils etc were just put there to make the place look like it had age. I can’t go along with that. I don’t think God would deceive in such a fashion. But then I don’t think it takes millions of years to drain a lake and fossilize a coral reef either so…
    It’d be fun to take Kevin N. on one of these hunts and see what his thoughts were.

  • Tom Hering

    “The idea that, at the time that man was created, all of the other created things would have had the appearance of age …” – Pete @ 1.

    The “appearance of age” is the result of aging, which is decline. And decline is something that came into the world with the Fall. I think Creation aged/declined drastically in the moment when man sinned. So that today, when a scientist examines Creation, he finds something billions of years old. When it’s really only thousands of years old. In short: the scientist is right about what his evidence tells him, while the biblical timeline tells the true story.

    I’m not arguing that God tricks the scientist (because He likes to mess with people who reject a literal understanding of Genesis). I’m saying that the Earth and the Universe really did age/decline drastically in the Fall.

    That Adam and Eve and other creatures only began to age/decline after the Fall is a tremendous example of God’s mercy toward the living things He made and loves.

  • Tom Hering

    “The idea that, at the time that man was created, all of the other created things would have had the appearance of age …” – Pete @ 1.

    The “appearance of age” is the result of aging, which is decline. And decline is something that came into the world with the Fall. I think Creation aged/declined drastically in the moment when man sinned. So that today, when a scientist examines Creation, he finds something billions of years old. When it’s really only thousands of years old. In short: the scientist is right about what his evidence tells him, while the biblical timeline tells the true story.

    I’m not arguing that God tricks the scientist (because He likes to mess with people who reject a literal understanding of Genesis). I’m saying that the Earth and the Universe really did age/decline drastically in the Fall.

    That Adam and Eve and other creatures only began to age/decline after the Fall is a tremendous example of God’s mercy toward the living things He made and loves.

  • Arfies

    Wow! I really appreciated Dr. Veith’s comment; I had not thought of that aspect previously. But I am also intrigued with the contributions that have followed. God’s timelessness (his stance outside of time) has been a continuing subject for my thoughts, though I cannot claim to have reached any startling new insights. Nevertheless, I hope that the contributions will continue; it will be interesting (and enlightening, perhaps) to see what develops.

  • Arfies

    Wow! I really appreciated Dr. Veith’s comment; I had not thought of that aspect previously. But I am also intrigued with the contributions that have followed. God’s timelessness (his stance outside of time) has been a continuing subject for my thoughts, though I cannot claim to have reached any startling new insights. Nevertheless, I hope that the contributions will continue; it will be interesting (and enlightening, perhaps) to see what develops.

  • http://www.spaceagelutheran.blogspot.com/ SAL

    #3, Correct me if I’m wrong but our church body (LCMS) doesn’t have an official stance on the age of the Earth does it?

    I know there’s a stance supporting a literal Six-Day Creationism but I don’t think it extends to a specific age of the Earth.

  • http://www.spaceagelutheran.blogspot.com/ SAL

    #3, Correct me if I’m wrong but our church body (LCMS) doesn’t have an official stance on the age of the Earth does it?

    I know there’s a stance supporting a literal Six-Day Creationism but I don’t think it extends to a specific age of the Earth.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Bror, I’m no YEC (ie, in the same camp as Kevin, more or less). I’m starting a series on my own blog regarding the issue, but one that will take the reader through a journey, using Southern African stratigraphy as an example (and attempting to explain a multitide of Geological terminology, processes etc in terms a layman can understand). It is just taking some time in writing, as I’m a bit snowed under (literally and figuratively).

    The simplistic way Creationists (who are also scientists of some sort or other) approach the data is shameful – they have to put their fingers in their ears and shout lalalalala to a large proportion of the data. I don’t find that to be a mature Christian atitude at all.

    Anyway, the first two posts are out:

    http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com/2010/10/reason-faith-and-evidence-or-why-i.html

    and

    http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com/2010/10/geological-journey-part-1.html

    Of course, anybody interested in the topic should read Kevin’s blog – he’s been at it for much longer than I have.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Bror, I’m no YEC (ie, in the same camp as Kevin, more or less). I’m starting a series on my own blog regarding the issue, but one that will take the reader through a journey, using Southern African stratigraphy as an example (and attempting to explain a multitide of Geological terminology, processes etc in terms a layman can understand). It is just taking some time in writing, as I’m a bit snowed under (literally and figuratively).

    The simplistic way Creationists (who are also scientists of some sort or other) approach the data is shameful – they have to put their fingers in their ears and shout lalalalala to a large proportion of the data. I don’t find that to be a mature Christian atitude at all.

    Anyway, the first two posts are out:

    http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com/2010/10/reason-faith-and-evidence-or-why-i.html

    and

    http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com/2010/10/geological-journey-part-1.html

    Of course, anybody interested in the topic should read Kevin’s blog – he’s been at it for much longer than I have.

  • WebMonk

    And just to offer the positions of the 800-lb-gorillas on the YEC side of things, both AiG and ICR specifically and emphatically reject the idea that God made things to just look old when they weren’t (beyond the minimum needed for functionality, that is – Adam was an adult, trees were grown, etc).

    They are definite that there were no layers created by God that indicate past geological history at the Creation, and that the light from stars actually came from stars and aren’t just long lines of photons created en-route.

  • WebMonk

    And just to offer the positions of the 800-lb-gorillas on the YEC side of things, both AiG and ICR specifically and emphatically reject the idea that God made things to just look old when they weren’t (beyond the minimum needed for functionality, that is – Adam was an adult, trees were grown, etc).

    They are definite that there were no layers created by God that indicate past geological history at the Creation, and that the light from stars actually came from stars and aren’t just long lines of photons created en-route.

  • Booklover

    This post reminded me of a GK Chesterton quote:

    ” Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore. “

  • Booklover

    This post reminded me of a GK Chesterton quote:

    ” Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore. “

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I’ve thought it would be interesting to go on a hike with Kevin, for some time now. Bror, perhaps someday he’ll visit us here in Utah. I would enjoy that with any of you, surely. And I’ve thought something along the lines of what Tom says for a little while that perhaps it could be that the cataclysm of the fall itself is what wiped out the dinosaurs and changed the earth to one of decay and death. No way to know that for sure though.

    Excellent thoughts, Veith, regarding the Lord’s daily vocation.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I’ve thought it would be interesting to go on a hike with Kevin, for some time now. Bror, perhaps someday he’ll visit us here in Utah. I would enjoy that with any of you, surely. And I’ve thought something along the lines of what Tom says for a little while that perhaps it could be that the cataclysm of the fall itself is what wiped out the dinosaurs and changed the earth to one of decay and death. No way to know that for sure though.

    Excellent thoughts, Veith, regarding the Lord’s daily vocation.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    And that’s a great quote, Booklover. Thanks!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    And that’s a great quote, Booklover. Thanks!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    There’s some newer fossil beds uncovered down in Southern Utah which I had the privilege of seeing not too long ago. What struck me were the perfectly preserved footprints of tiny insects in the sand, right along side of the footprints of the dinosaur beasts which boggle the imagination. It looked to me that they were preserved in less than an instant. Weird. How does that happen? I have no idea, but it seems I’m not alone – I haven’t heard a viable scientific explanation for it either. Perhaps Kevin or Louis could point me in a good direction here.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    There’s some newer fossil beds uncovered down in Southern Utah which I had the privilege of seeing not too long ago. What struck me were the perfectly preserved footprints of tiny insects in the sand, right along side of the footprints of the dinosaur beasts which boggle the imagination. It looked to me that they were preserved in less than an instant. Weird. How does that happen? I have no idea, but it seems I’m not alone – I haven’t heard a viable scientific explanation for it either. Perhaps Kevin or Louis could point me in a good direction here.

  • Stephen

    “That one day is like a thousand years to God expresses the minuteness of His care and attention. For each of us and all of us, He has all the time in the world.”

    I had this sense driving up into the Colorado Rockies a few months ago. We think of God’s creation rightly as an expression of His majesty and glory. From our perspective, it certainly is. But for God, it is supreme humility. In Dr. Veith’s quote there is a sense of this, and I see it most fully expressed in the person of Jesus himself, emptied of divinity on the cross for us. Everything, all of creation, declares this same cosmic reality. That is the power of the love of God revealed in Gospel.

  • Stephen

    “That one day is like a thousand years to God expresses the minuteness of His care and attention. For each of us and all of us, He has all the time in the world.”

    I had this sense driving up into the Colorado Rockies a few months ago. We think of God’s creation rightly as an expression of His majesty and glory. From our perspective, it certainly is. But for God, it is supreme humility. In Dr. Veith’s quote there is a sense of this, and I see it most fully expressed in the person of Jesus himself, emptied of divinity on the cross for us. Everything, all of creation, declares this same cosmic reality. That is the power of the love of God revealed in Gospel.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I think it was fairly inevitable that the conversation inspired by Veith’s blog post here would go where it has gone. And I’m inclined to follow it there.

    But I do want to take time to say that I liked what you had to say, Dr. Veith. I think that, all too often, people completely miss the “one day is as a thousand years” part, preferring to skip to the next phrase and treat it like some sort of decoder ring for some completely different part of the Bible.

    I think Stephen captured your thoughts well (@13), too. Just to piggyback on his comment, it’s mind-blowing to look at the vastness of creation and to think — to realize, rather — that God did this for us, for me! Which culminates in God giving himself for me, on the cross, and giving himself for me — to me — in the Lord’s Supper. He’s not above sweating the details, as it were, for my sake.

    And while I’m not sure if it’s the same thought, I really loved Booklover’s Chesterton quote (@9), too. Dangit, I’m gonna have to read him some day, it would seem.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I think it was fairly inevitable that the conversation inspired by Veith’s blog post here would go where it has gone. And I’m inclined to follow it there.

    But I do want to take time to say that I liked what you had to say, Dr. Veith. I think that, all too often, people completely miss the “one day is as a thousand years” part, preferring to skip to the next phrase and treat it like some sort of decoder ring for some completely different part of the Bible.

    I think Stephen captured your thoughts well (@13), too. Just to piggyback on his comment, it’s mind-blowing to look at the vastness of creation and to think — to realize, rather — that God did this for us, for me! Which culminates in God giving himself for me, on the cross, and giving himself for me — to me — in the Lord’s Supper. He’s not above sweating the details, as it were, for my sake.

    And while I’m not sure if it’s the same thought, I really loved Booklover’s Chesterton quote (@9), too. Dangit, I’m gonna have to read him some day, it would seem.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Time is such an enigma. You have all the time there is in the world right now. We forget that. I’m always scrambling, I try to slow down, and then I try to make time. Ever wonder about that phrase? Make time. We can’t make time. God makes time. We do though have some choice as to what to do with this time that God gives us. Taking time to enjoy life a bit, that might be nice, I think even the God pleasing thing to do.
    To him a day a thousand years. It is crazy to think about.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Time is such an enigma. You have all the time there is in the world right now. We forget that. I’m always scrambling, I try to slow down, and then I try to make time. Ever wonder about that phrase? Make time. We can’t make time. God makes time. We do though have some choice as to what to do with this time that God gives us. Taking time to enjoy life a bit, that might be nice, I think even the God pleasing thing to do.
    To him a day a thousand years. It is crazy to think about.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Bryan, tracks etc are called trace fossils. Here the wikipedia article is not bad: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trace_fossil

    Imagine walking over muddy flats, for instance, or a sandy river bank, and watching your tracks. If the river rises, carrying sediment with it, or if a windstorm blows up and covers the footprint, and it stays covered long enough to eventually harden into rock, you would have formed a trace fossil. Eventually, through erosion, it might get exposed again.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Bryan, tracks etc are called trace fossils. Here the wikipedia article is not bad: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trace_fossil

    Imagine walking over muddy flats, for instance, or a sandy river bank, and watching your tracks. If the river rises, carrying sediment with it, or if a windstorm blows up and covers the footprint, and it stays covered long enough to eventually harden into rock, you would have formed a trace fossil. Eventually, through erosion, it might get exposed again.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But the problem with posting fascinating, beautiful thoughts like yours on a blog — as you have here, Dr. Veith — is that they’re not necessarily given to spurring conversation. There’s only so many ways people can say, “Good observation!” or “Me too!” Which isn’t to say that you shouldn’t keep posting things like this — you should — but nor should you be surprised if your insight nonetheless gives way to some hackneyed debate. Because hackneyed debates can always use one more comment! ;) Speaking of which …

    2 Peter 3:8 has got to be one of the more abused Biblical texts in the creation/evolution debate. As anybody who reads it in context can tell, this is not an aside from Peter to the reader saying, “Jesus is coming, be sure of it. Oh, and, psst! You know the creation account in Genesis? Here’s what it means: each ‘day’ is actually a thousand years! And, if scientific theories require more time than that, then you can subsequently understand each ‘day’ in every thousand ‘years’ as also being equal to a thousand years. Repeat until your understanding of the Bible lines up with the consensus scientific estimate.”

    Maybe nobody here is saying that, but man, have I heard that too many times! Peter clearly tells us what he means in verse 9, which doesn’t get nearly as much play these days: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise [in this context, Jesus' return], as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But the problem with posting fascinating, beautiful thoughts like yours on a blog — as you have here, Dr. Veith — is that they’re not necessarily given to spurring conversation. There’s only so many ways people can say, “Good observation!” or “Me too!” Which isn’t to say that you shouldn’t keep posting things like this — you should — but nor should you be surprised if your insight nonetheless gives way to some hackneyed debate. Because hackneyed debates can always use one more comment! ;) Speaking of which …

    2 Peter 3:8 has got to be one of the more abused Biblical texts in the creation/evolution debate. As anybody who reads it in context can tell, this is not an aside from Peter to the reader saying, “Jesus is coming, be sure of it. Oh, and, psst! You know the creation account in Genesis? Here’s what it means: each ‘day’ is actually a thousand years! And, if scientific theories require more time than that, then you can subsequently understand each ‘day’ in every thousand ‘years’ as also being equal to a thousand years. Repeat until your understanding of the Bible lines up with the consensus scientific estimate.”

    Maybe nobody here is saying that, but man, have I heard that too many times! Peter clearly tells us what he means in verse 9, which doesn’t get nearly as much play these days: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise [in this context, Jesus' return], as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But, fine, as to this whole question of age and appearance of age … I really don’t get the whole argument exemplified by Bror’s statement (@3) that “I don’t think God would deceive in such a fashion” — that is, “the fossils etc were just put there to make the place look like it had age.”

    WebMonk makes this argument too (@8), of course, as he has in the past — in fact, we’ve had this discussion at least once before. I don’t know why, WebMonk, you care why “both AiG and ICR specifically and emphatically reject”. I guess you’re trying to persuade along the lines of “even these YEC nuts agree with me!”, but if their reasoning is otherwise suspect, I don’t know why we should trust it when it agrees with you. In summary: I don’t believe they actually are “the 800-lb-gorillas” here, except inasmuch as they agree with you.

    But the question of God “deceiving” us is an interesting one.

    No one (at least among those arguing for some form of creationism) seems to disagree that God created things with apparent age — as WebMonk himself states, “Adam was an adult, trees were grown, etc.” And nobody seems offended by this or inclined to accuse God of “deceiving” us. WebMonk gives us his reason for not feeling thus deceived: such apparent age was “the minimum needed for functionality”.

    But do you see the problem here? The arguments for what needed” to look old at Creation necessarily stem from our understanding of the world and how it works. “We know (i.e. reason) that God could not have made things without apparent age because it wouldn’t have worked” — again, according to our present understanding of how things work.

    Ah, but indications of “past geological history at the Creation”, or the light from stars — these are not necessary, goes the argument. Thus, for God to have created a young universe such that starlight appeared to be vastly older than was actually so, that would be deceptive! God would be lying to us!

    Do you see how the argument boils down to us telling God what he can and cannot do based on what we understand? “I get why Adam was created an adult, God, so I’ll let that reading stay, but I cannot grasp why you would think it necessary to create starlight photons in mid-flight, so I’m afraid I’ll have to put a kibosh on that reading.”

    But then, these arguments from what is “necessary” tend to only involve scientific necessity. They tend to completely overlook what is necessary in God’s overall plan. But who can tell God about that? Who can tell him that, if the earth is indeed young, then the fossils were completely unnecessary, and that was a bad move?

    After all, if the Bible is God’s revelation to us of how he orders history — and the things of creation — for our salvation, such that he cares about all details, even the hairs on our head … well, who are we to tell him that “Yeah, but the fossils were too much, weren’t they?” Or, unwilling to say that to him, to argue that the fossils must then be proof that God didn’t make the earth with an appearance of age, because he couldn’t have — we would’ve felt deceived!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But, fine, as to this whole question of age and appearance of age … I really don’t get the whole argument exemplified by Bror’s statement (@3) that “I don’t think God would deceive in such a fashion” — that is, “the fossils etc were just put there to make the place look like it had age.”

    WebMonk makes this argument too (@8), of course, as he has in the past — in fact, we’ve had this discussion at least once before. I don’t know why, WebMonk, you care why “both AiG and ICR specifically and emphatically reject”. I guess you’re trying to persuade along the lines of “even these YEC nuts agree with me!”, but if their reasoning is otherwise suspect, I don’t know why we should trust it when it agrees with you. In summary: I don’t believe they actually are “the 800-lb-gorillas” here, except inasmuch as they agree with you.

    But the question of God “deceiving” us is an interesting one.

    No one (at least among those arguing for some form of creationism) seems to disagree that God created things with apparent age — as WebMonk himself states, “Adam was an adult, trees were grown, etc.” And nobody seems offended by this or inclined to accuse God of “deceiving” us. WebMonk gives us his reason for not feeling thus deceived: such apparent age was “the minimum needed for functionality”.

    But do you see the problem here? The arguments for what needed” to look old at Creation necessarily stem from our understanding of the world and how it works. “We know (i.e. reason) that God could not have made things without apparent age because it wouldn’t have worked” — again, according to our present understanding of how things work.

    Ah, but indications of “past geological history at the Creation”, or the light from stars — these are not necessary, goes the argument. Thus, for God to have created a young universe such that starlight appeared to be vastly older than was actually so, that would be deceptive! God would be lying to us!

    Do you see how the argument boils down to us telling God what he can and cannot do based on what we understand? “I get why Adam was created an adult, God, so I’ll let that reading stay, but I cannot grasp why you would think it necessary to create starlight photons in mid-flight, so I’m afraid I’ll have to put a kibosh on that reading.”

    But then, these arguments from what is “necessary” tend to only involve scientific necessity. They tend to completely overlook what is necessary in God’s overall plan. But who can tell God about that? Who can tell him that, if the earth is indeed young, then the fossils were completely unnecessary, and that was a bad move?

    After all, if the Bible is God’s revelation to us of how he orders history — and the things of creation — for our salvation, such that he cares about all details, even the hairs on our head … well, who are we to tell him that “Yeah, but the fossils were too much, weren’t they?” Or, unwilling to say that to him, to argue that the fossils must then be proof that God didn’t make the earth with an appearance of age, because he couldn’t have — we would’ve felt deceived!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, and one more thing. What we understand about creation — and therefore, how “deceived” we would feel about apparent age in creation — changes through the ages. We have the scientific knowledge now to tell God, “Okay, the 30-year-old Adam and the grown trees get to stay”, along with any number of scientific facts we might have about ecological dependencies. But previous generations knew less about such dependencies, meaning … that we would be less “deceived” by apparent age than they would have been? And what does that say about the “deception” argument for an old earth?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, and one more thing. What we understand about creation — and therefore, how “deceived” we would feel about apparent age in creation — changes through the ages. We have the scientific knowledge now to tell God, “Okay, the 30-year-old Adam and the grown trees get to stay”, along with any number of scientific facts we might have about ecological dependencies. But previous generations knew less about such dependencies, meaning … that we would be less “deceived” by apparent age than they would have been? And what does that say about the “deception” argument for an old earth?

  • Tom Hering

    So, God can, in an instant (six-to-ten-thousand years ago), create an Earth (and a Universe) that is already billions of years old, and filled with fossils. The way some watercolorists leave their pencil sketching visible in the finished work. Because it’s a joy to see a record of the artist’s thought process in the finished work. Hmm. Sure. Why not?

  • Tom Hering

    So, God can, in an instant (six-to-ten-thousand years ago), create an Earth (and a Universe) that is already billions of years old, and filled with fossils. The way some watercolorists leave their pencil sketching visible in the finished work. Because it’s a joy to see a record of the artist’s thought process in the finished work. Hmm. Sure. Why not?

  • utahrainbow

    Yes, Louis, that’s exactly what doesn’t add up to me in preserving the tiniest insect prints across the sand – sand I say – with no hint of any erosion at all! – in sand! That’s why I mentioned how it appears to have been preserved in less than an instant. I don’t know how that happens with tides, winds, or anything of that sort. They are crazy specimens. Still very puzzled by them. Thanks for the link though. And tODD. I sure like the way you argue here. Who are we, indeed.

  • utahrainbow

    Yes, Louis, that’s exactly what doesn’t add up to me in preserving the tiniest insect prints across the sand – sand I say – with no hint of any erosion at all! – in sand! That’s why I mentioned how it appears to have been preserved in less than an instant. I don’t know how that happens with tides, winds, or anything of that sort. They are crazy specimens. Still very puzzled by them. Thanks for the link though. And tODD. I sure like the way you argue here. Who are we, indeed.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    post 21 is from me, not my wife.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    post 21 is from me, not my wife.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Well as I said, I don’t know how old the earth has to be for there at one time to have been a huge lake that drained and created a coral reef fossil bed. I really don’t. And I find many of the arguments trying to convince me that it took a long time to be well unconvincing.
    At the same time the evidence suggests that there used to be a lake here, and the coral reef I now use as chukar hunting grounds was infact once a living coral reef. And I see no reason to contest that they were real. I do debate the time line. But tend to think that the geological record is leaving behind a record of things that actually happen.
    Sure God could have put dinasaur bones in sandstone for fun. But No I think that they were once living on this earth and man next to them. And it wasn’t just part of God’s creative spirit to put them in the sediment.
    At the same time, I never did get the part about the stars that webmonk brings up. I mean if Adam needed to be a mature adult and there needed to be trees etc, and so we except that the earth had maturity, then why not think the same thing about the stars? We are dependent upon the sun, and the tides etc are governed by the moon. This is apparent to us. Perhaps we don’t know the need for stars, yet. Perhaps God just wanted there to be stars. The God who says let there be light and there is light, doesn’t have to wait a billion years for that light to reach earth from stars. In fact I’ve always found it curious that that story has light being separate from the sun, and the stars and the moon. they were created after light not before it.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Well as I said, I don’t know how old the earth has to be for there at one time to have been a huge lake that drained and created a coral reef fossil bed. I really don’t. And I find many of the arguments trying to convince me that it took a long time to be well unconvincing.
    At the same time the evidence suggests that there used to be a lake here, and the coral reef I now use as chukar hunting grounds was infact once a living coral reef. And I see no reason to contest that they were real. I do debate the time line. But tend to think that the geological record is leaving behind a record of things that actually happen.
    Sure God could have put dinasaur bones in sandstone for fun. But No I think that they were once living on this earth and man next to them. And it wasn’t just part of God’s creative spirit to put them in the sediment.
    At the same time, I never did get the part about the stars that webmonk brings up. I mean if Adam needed to be a mature adult and there needed to be trees etc, and so we except that the earth had maturity, then why not think the same thing about the stars? We are dependent upon the sun, and the tides etc are governed by the moon. This is apparent to us. Perhaps we don’t know the need for stars, yet. Perhaps God just wanted there to be stars. The God who says let there be light and there is light, doesn’t have to wait a billion years for that light to reach earth from stars. In fact I’ve always found it curious that that story has light being separate from the sun, and the stars and the moon. they were created after light not before it.

  • trotk

    Augustine (Confessions, Book XI) argues that there is no time without created things, and also that God, in the beginning, knew the heaven and earth in their fullness.

    It is then not deception for God to bring forth, the fullness of His creation, which he has known in fullness for all eternity.

    He is eternally “now.” His name is forever the present tense. For Him to be subject to our time is to mistake Him for a created being.

    The discussion about whether or not something was at the beginning or whether it happened since creation is to see things exclusively from our perspective. From God’s perspective, all things are present, because He is no more constrained by time than He is by space.

    Past is only recollection, future is only expectation. We cannot act in the past or the future, and the microsecond that we are in at any moment is the only thing we can be in.

    God is, in His fullness, in all moments, at all times, acting always, being always. He is above time.

    And yet He, in seeing all eternity in the present tense, is focused minutely on every one of our present tenses. Each moment is an eternity, and eternity is a moment, to Him.

    And so all eternity of His love and essence is focused in this moment, and it all encompasses the entire time-line of history.

  • trotk

    Augustine (Confessions, Book XI) argues that there is no time without created things, and also that God, in the beginning, knew the heaven and earth in their fullness.

    It is then not deception for God to bring forth, the fullness of His creation, which he has known in fullness for all eternity.

    He is eternally “now.” His name is forever the present tense. For Him to be subject to our time is to mistake Him for a created being.

    The discussion about whether or not something was at the beginning or whether it happened since creation is to see things exclusively from our perspective. From God’s perspective, all things are present, because He is no more constrained by time than He is by space.

    Past is only recollection, future is only expectation. We cannot act in the past or the future, and the microsecond that we are in at any moment is the only thing we can be in.

    God is, in His fullness, in all moments, at all times, acting always, being always. He is above time.

    And yet He, in seeing all eternity in the present tense, is focused minutely on every one of our present tenses. Each moment is an eternity, and eternity is a moment, to Him.

    And so all eternity of His love and essence is focused in this moment, and it all encompasses the entire time-line of history.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    one of my favorite passages from Augustine Trotk.
    But sorry. I still think the fossilization of dinosaurs etc happened post creation, and not as part of creation.
    Of course the conundrum is one could argue everyday is part of the creation event for God. But I’m sure you understand what I am saying here.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    one of my favorite passages from Augustine Trotk.
    But sorry. I still think the fossilization of dinosaurs etc happened post creation, and not as part of creation.
    Of course the conundrum is one could argue everyday is part of the creation event for God. But I’m sure you understand what I am saying here.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Ok, I’m going to be curmudgeonly, but the fact is that one can follow processes happening today back through time: Sedimentary processes, animals breeding, dying, pooping, volcanoes erupting, climate changing, atmospheric content changing, iron rusting, isotopes decaying etc etc.

    I’m finding that a lot of these arguments are leaning dangerously toward sophistry, desperately trying to explain away the plain and obvious. I know, because I also did it, trying to through doubt on logic and reason to the extent of incorporating stuff like Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems etc in creating a Sophist-Christian world view. Bottomline – it ain’t necessary.

    Yes Augustine didn’t hold to a literal interpreatation of Genesis 1 – 11. Origen, Irenaeus and others also didn’t. As Bouteneff points out in “Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives” (and here I’m quoting from someone else’s discussion (http://frontierorthodoxy.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/monday-morning-priest/), I don’t have the book yet:):

    Already by Origen’s day, Christians versed in cosmology were faced with a choice: either suspend their belief in nature as they observed it, or suspend their insistence on the literal or scientific interpretation of Genesis 1-3″ (118).

    In my experience, once one enters the sophist stage, we are into the endgame.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Ok, I’m going to be curmudgeonly, but the fact is that one can follow processes happening today back through time: Sedimentary processes, animals breeding, dying, pooping, volcanoes erupting, climate changing, atmospheric content changing, iron rusting, isotopes decaying etc etc.

    I’m finding that a lot of these arguments are leaning dangerously toward sophistry, desperately trying to explain away the plain and obvious. I know, because I also did it, trying to through doubt on logic and reason to the extent of incorporating stuff like Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems etc in creating a Sophist-Christian world view. Bottomline – it ain’t necessary.

    Yes Augustine didn’t hold to a literal interpreatation of Genesis 1 – 11. Origen, Irenaeus and others also didn’t. As Bouteneff points out in “Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives” (and here I’m quoting from someone else’s discussion (http://frontierorthodoxy.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/monday-morning-priest/), I don’t have the book yet:):

    Already by Origen’s day, Christians versed in cosmology were faced with a choice: either suspend their belief in nature as they observed it, or suspend their insistence on the literal or scientific interpretation of Genesis 1-3″ (118).

    In my experience, once one enters the sophist stage, we are into the endgame.

  • trotk

    bror, I tend to believe that all the fossilization happened after creation, simply because I can’t imagine why God would have done it as a part of creation, but either why, I have to acknowledge that I am trusting my own reasoning which might be faulty.

    And so I will leave the issue alone by saying that God can do as He pleases, and His creation is wonderful.

  • trotk

    bror, I tend to believe that all the fossilization happened after creation, simply because I can’t imagine why God would have done it as a part of creation, but either why, I have to acknowledge that I am trusting my own reasoning which might be faulty.

    And so I will leave the issue alone by saying that God can do as He pleases, and His creation is wonderful.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@20), I’m afraid I don’t get your comment. Help me out.

    Bryan (@22), thanks — and now I know who your wife is! Or, at least, (1) that you have a wife and (2) what handle she uses to comment here. So that’s something. I feel like we’re old friends now. “Oh, Bryan Lindemood? Yes, yes, I know him. He has a wife.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@20), I’m afraid I don’t get your comment. Help me out.

    Bryan (@22), thanks — and now I know who your wife is! Or, at least, (1) that you have a wife and (2) what handle she uses to comment here. So that’s something. I feel like we’re old friends now. “Oh, Bryan Lindemood? Yes, yes, I know him. He has a wife.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bror (@23), it’s not so much the idle speculation I have problems with as drawing boundaries for God that he himself has not revealed to us. I don’t claim to know the actual age of the Earth, myself. I don’t even think I can rule out a very old earth along the lines of the current scientific consensus, not that I’m personally sympathetic to it.

    I do think it’s dangerous to subjugate one’s understanding of Scripture to the current scientific understanding — which, I believe, is generally how people arrive at “old earth” creationism. Of course, such people will generally point back that no Christian is immune to such scientific subjugation to some degree, at which point they’ll refer to some of the more poetic accounts in the Bible. I can’t really speak to how people of the past interpreted such passages, really, so I don’t know. But I also know that all Christians draw the line somewhere as to how much we allow science to influence our understanding of Scripture — how can you be a Christian and argue that Christ didn’t really rise from the grave (because that would go against science as we understand it!)? So it seems that we’re all arguing not for a black-and-white understanding, but rather taking stances on different shades of gray. The question I find interesting is: what, then, is informing our positions? What is the rule, the logic behind why we allow science to shape our view of some parts of Scripture, and not others? I have to honestly say, for my part, that I don’t know. But I wish we were talking more about that. Maybe no one else knows, either.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bror (@23), it’s not so much the idle speculation I have problems with as drawing boundaries for God that he himself has not revealed to us. I don’t claim to know the actual age of the Earth, myself. I don’t even think I can rule out a very old earth along the lines of the current scientific consensus, not that I’m personally sympathetic to it.

    I do think it’s dangerous to subjugate one’s understanding of Scripture to the current scientific understanding — which, I believe, is generally how people arrive at “old earth” creationism. Of course, such people will generally point back that no Christian is immune to such scientific subjugation to some degree, at which point they’ll refer to some of the more poetic accounts in the Bible. I can’t really speak to how people of the past interpreted such passages, really, so I don’t know. But I also know that all Christians draw the line somewhere as to how much we allow science to influence our understanding of Scripture — how can you be a Christian and argue that Christ didn’t really rise from the grave (because that would go against science as we understand it!)? So it seems that we’re all arguing not for a black-and-white understanding, but rather taking stances on different shades of gray. The question I find interesting is: what, then, is informing our positions? What is the rule, the logic behind why we allow science to shape our view of some parts of Scripture, and not others? I have to honestly say, for my part, that I don’t know. But I wish we were talking more about that. Maybe no one else knows, either.

  • WebMonk

    tODD, I think AiG and ICR are using really bad interpretation to support the YEC view, similar to the interpretation to generate Left Behind. I think a LOT of what they put out is fundamentally flawed on multiple levels. The same thing with Left Behind.

    Do I think that AiG has a valid sort of interpretation to say that some things God created maturely functional, other things He created young-looking, and other things He created with apparent age?

    No.

    But, if someone admires AiG and thinks they are reputable Biblical interpreters, I don’t mind using AiG’s statements to demonstrate things to those who trust AiG.

    I would disagree with Bror, not so much on the exact things he said, but on the general view of creating things to look old and mature for utilitarian purposes. (I’ll bet everyone is surprised to hear I disagree with Bror about something!!! :-D )

    Creating all the galaxies out to the very edges of where we can detect with carefully adjusted red-shifted light, and carefully calibrated levels of different elements, and just exactly the right types of stars, etc, stretches the concept of creating the starlight “mature” for some utilitarian reason well past the breaking point. At least for me.

    However I will agree with Bror on something (I think I’ve only said that two or three times, ever, on this board), that quote from St. Augustine is one of my favorites by him. Lots and lots of concentrated excellence in there.

    Thank you trotk.

  • WebMonk

    tODD, I think AiG and ICR are using really bad interpretation to support the YEC view, similar to the interpretation to generate Left Behind. I think a LOT of what they put out is fundamentally flawed on multiple levels. The same thing with Left Behind.

    Do I think that AiG has a valid sort of interpretation to say that some things God created maturely functional, other things He created young-looking, and other things He created with apparent age?

    No.

    But, if someone admires AiG and thinks they are reputable Biblical interpreters, I don’t mind using AiG’s statements to demonstrate things to those who trust AiG.

    I would disagree with Bror, not so much on the exact things he said, but on the general view of creating things to look old and mature for utilitarian purposes. (I’ll bet everyone is surprised to hear I disagree with Bror about something!!! :-D )

    Creating all the galaxies out to the very edges of where we can detect with carefully adjusted red-shifted light, and carefully calibrated levels of different elements, and just exactly the right types of stars, etc, stretches the concept of creating the starlight “mature” for some utilitarian reason well past the breaking point. At least for me.

    However I will agree with Bror on something (I think I’ve only said that two or three times, ever, on this board), that quote from St. Augustine is one of my favorites by him. Lots and lots of concentrated excellence in there.

    Thank you trotk.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis (@26), I was hoping you’d reply. I think my line of commenting here is liable to exasperate WebMonk at some point, so I’m glad to have an “opponent” I can bounce ideas off of.

    I’m assuming that your comment that “a lot of these arguments are leaning dangerously toward sophistry” refers, in part, to me, and I’m okay with that, but I don’t think that such labeling actually tells me anything. Perhaps you’re referring to capital-S Sophism and not merely labeling my argument as lowercase-S sophism (“subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation”), which would be nice. I don’t know. The word means more to you than it does to me.

    I mean, look, I’m not the most well-read person — I couldn’t tell you much about Augustine, and I certainly couldn’t begin to tell you anything about Gödel. I like to discuss more than I like to read. Call it a failing, if you like, but I don’t set aside enough time for reading the Bible, much less the Confessions, much less all the other books I would like to read but don’t because I’m having interesting conversations online with the likes of you people.

    And sure, appealing to earlier, more authoritative Christians is always interesting, though I think it’s only ever done when their views agree with ours, so it’s never an argument clincher, either way.

    But your statement that “the fact is that one can follow processes happening today back through time” is the real point, right? Kinda depends on what you mean by “follow”, I guess. Certainly we can observe the state things are in today, including the processes currently in motion. Certainly one can extrapolate these processes backwards and make inferences about what happened in the past. Certainly one can correlate other observations in the present and see that one’s expectations are met according to one’s extrapolations. Sure. But that’s not really the same as what I think you mean by “following processes back through time”.

    But at some point, you have to assert that you know that these processes have always been present exactly as they are now (or, failing that, that you know when they changed in the past). Which rigid extrapolation will leave no room (naturally ;) ) for any supernatural interruptions. It’s a crude metaphor, but if you see a ball in flight, you can do all the physics analysis you want on its trajectory and tell me where that ball likely was at any point in the past, but your equations are never going to tell me that it was thrown by someone, and when and where. If I want to figure that out, I’ll have to ask the pitcher himself.

    So we’re not really discussing the (current) processes themselves, but rather, how reasonable it is to keep taking them backwards through time, and whether or not God might have been involved at some point outside of what is detectable (though arguably not outside of what is knowable, but here I refer to divine revelation, not science).

    Maybe I’m an idiot, but if so, you’ll have to explain it to me in terms I can understand.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis (@26), I was hoping you’d reply. I think my line of commenting here is liable to exasperate WebMonk at some point, so I’m glad to have an “opponent” I can bounce ideas off of.

    I’m assuming that your comment that “a lot of these arguments are leaning dangerously toward sophistry” refers, in part, to me, and I’m okay with that, but I don’t think that such labeling actually tells me anything. Perhaps you’re referring to capital-S Sophism and not merely labeling my argument as lowercase-S sophism (“subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation”), which would be nice. I don’t know. The word means more to you than it does to me.

    I mean, look, I’m not the most well-read person — I couldn’t tell you much about Augustine, and I certainly couldn’t begin to tell you anything about Gödel. I like to discuss more than I like to read. Call it a failing, if you like, but I don’t set aside enough time for reading the Bible, much less the Confessions, much less all the other books I would like to read but don’t because I’m having interesting conversations online with the likes of you people.

    And sure, appealing to earlier, more authoritative Christians is always interesting, though I think it’s only ever done when their views agree with ours, so it’s never an argument clincher, either way.

    But your statement that “the fact is that one can follow processes happening today back through time” is the real point, right? Kinda depends on what you mean by “follow”, I guess. Certainly we can observe the state things are in today, including the processes currently in motion. Certainly one can extrapolate these processes backwards and make inferences about what happened in the past. Certainly one can correlate other observations in the present and see that one’s expectations are met according to one’s extrapolations. Sure. But that’s not really the same as what I think you mean by “following processes back through time”.

    But at some point, you have to assert that you know that these processes have always been present exactly as they are now (or, failing that, that you know when they changed in the past). Which rigid extrapolation will leave no room (naturally ;) ) for any supernatural interruptions. It’s a crude metaphor, but if you see a ball in flight, you can do all the physics analysis you want on its trajectory and tell me where that ball likely was at any point in the past, but your equations are never going to tell me that it was thrown by someone, and when and where. If I want to figure that out, I’ll have to ask the pitcher himself.

    So we’re not really discussing the (current) processes themselves, but rather, how reasonable it is to keep taking them backwards through time, and whether or not God might have been involved at some point outside of what is detectable (though arguably not outside of what is knowable, but here I refer to divine revelation, not science).

    Maybe I’m an idiot, but if so, you’ll have to explain it to me in terms I can understand.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Todd, be patient, I’ll attempt to answer later today. I now have to make my home through the tail end of the first winter storm of the season.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Todd, be patient, I’ll attempt to answer later today. I now have to make my home through the tail end of the first winter storm of the season.

  • WebMonk

    If it makes you feel any better tODD, I didn’t really follow Louis’ comment about sophistry either.

    I’m sure he’s right and you’re wrong (at least if he’s agreeing with me) but I didn’t follow it. :-)

  • WebMonk

    If it makes you feel any better tODD, I didn’t really follow Louis’ comment about sophistry either.

    I’m sure he’s right and you’re wrong (at least if he’s agreeing with me) but I didn’t follow it. :-)

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I just have to ask Webmonk where it is that I said God only created things maturely for the purpose of functionality or utilitarian reasons?
    I argued that he may have done that with the stars, and they may have some utilitarian use for the earth we are not yet aware of. I did not argue that it was necessarily so. In fact my point about light not being dependent upon stars, sun or Moon, was to bring that point out. But I don’t rule out that they are not some how necessary to the world either.
    And this coming from the guy who accuses me of needing reading comprehension classes.
    Oh Well.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I just have to ask Webmonk where it is that I said God only created things maturely for the purpose of functionality or utilitarian reasons?
    I argued that he may have done that with the stars, and they may have some utilitarian use for the earth we are not yet aware of. I did not argue that it was necessarily so. In fact my point about light not being dependent upon stars, sun or Moon, was to bring that point out. But I don’t rule out that they are not some how necessary to the world either.
    And this coming from the guy who accuses me of needing reading comprehension classes.
    Oh Well.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@30), you know more about and read more from AiG, et al., than I ever have, so I really don’t care to continue that line of discussion. Suffice it to say that, if I ever did read their work, I’m pretty certain I’d feel they were vastly overstating their case, even as they accuse others of doing the same. Meh.

    And I think I’d miscontrued some of the things you said (@8) as being your position, when you were merely telling us what AiG thinks, so some of my earlier comments may not make sense.

    But here is the crux of your argument, I believe:

    Creating all the galaxies out to the very edges of where we can detect with carefully adjusted red-shifted light, and carefully calibrated levels of different elements, and just exactly the right types of stars, etc, stretches the concept of creating the starlight “mature” for some utilitarian reason well past the breaking point. At least for me.

    I mean, doesn’t that kind of boil down to, “I’m sorry, but I can’t believe it; it’s all too much.” And by “believe”, I don’t mean to question your faith. But it’s a highly subjective basis for your argument. I mean, it’s not all too much for me, I have no problem believing God could have made the universe like that, so what does that mean?

    And again, what I want to know is: why is it too much for you? The universe as we observe it is clearly inconsistent with what you would expect God to have made if he had made a young earth. Okay, but what would you have expected? How does the current universe differ from what a young-earth universe should look like, in your thinking?

    And I’m fully aware of how my line of thinking can be reductioed ad absurdum (cf. “Last Thursdayism”), but I’m at peace with that (I think that epithet is humorous, actually).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@30), you know more about and read more from AiG, et al., than I ever have, so I really don’t care to continue that line of discussion. Suffice it to say that, if I ever did read their work, I’m pretty certain I’d feel they were vastly overstating their case, even as they accuse others of doing the same. Meh.

    And I think I’d miscontrued some of the things you said (@8) as being your position, when you were merely telling us what AiG thinks, so some of my earlier comments may not make sense.

    But here is the crux of your argument, I believe:

    Creating all the galaxies out to the very edges of where we can detect with carefully adjusted red-shifted light, and carefully calibrated levels of different elements, and just exactly the right types of stars, etc, stretches the concept of creating the starlight “mature” for some utilitarian reason well past the breaking point. At least for me.

    I mean, doesn’t that kind of boil down to, “I’m sorry, but I can’t believe it; it’s all too much.” And by “believe”, I don’t mean to question your faith. But it’s a highly subjective basis for your argument. I mean, it’s not all too much for me, I have no problem believing God could have made the universe like that, so what does that mean?

    And again, what I want to know is: why is it too much for you? The universe as we observe it is clearly inconsistent with what you would expect God to have made if he had made a young earth. Okay, but what would you have expected? How does the current universe differ from what a young-earth universe should look like, in your thinking?

    And I’m fully aware of how my line of thinking can be reductioed ad absurdum (cf. “Last Thursdayism”), but I’m at peace with that (I think that epithet is humorous, actually).

  • Tom Hering

    tODD @ 28, I was just musing. Not even trying to be biblical or scientific. But the thought was: we have fossils; it’s reasonable to conclude they’re records of what once existed; but it isn’t necessary to come to that conclusion. (It’s only necessary if God doesn’t exist.) Fossils may just be the scattered pages of God’s sketchbook, left lying about the Earth to declare His powers of creativity.

    As I said, I was just musing. And it doesn’t really hold up. Because some of the fossils record flesh-eating creatures. Which would make them records of creatures that belonged to a post-Fall world. Or a post-Flood world, after the eating of flesh was permitted. So how did they get the physical traits necessary for flesh-eating in the short amount time allowed by the biblical accounts? Did God change their bodies so they could act on the permission He granted? Or is the evolutionary process instantaneous – or at least very fast?

    Well, speculation is fun. But it’s just speculation. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    tODD @ 28, I was just musing. Not even trying to be biblical or scientific. But the thought was: we have fossils; it’s reasonable to conclude they’re records of what once existed; but it isn’t necessary to come to that conclusion. (It’s only necessary if God doesn’t exist.) Fossils may just be the scattered pages of God’s sketchbook, left lying about the Earth to declare His powers of creativity.

    As I said, I was just musing. And it doesn’t really hold up. Because some of the fossils record flesh-eating creatures. Which would make them records of creatures that belonged to a post-Fall world. Or a post-Flood world, after the eating of flesh was permitted. So how did they get the physical traits necessary for flesh-eating in the short amount time allowed by the biblical accounts? Did God change their bodies so they could act on the permission He granted? Or is the evolutionary process instantaneous – or at least very fast?

    Well, speculation is fun. But it’s just speculation. :-)

  • Abbie

    How endearing that “God lingers” around “I, a poor, miserable sinner”….That’s MERCY! Thanks for sharing the Chesterton quote.

  • Abbie

    How endearing that “God lingers” around “I, a poor, miserable sinner”….That’s MERCY! Thanks for sharing the Chesterton quote.

  • http://simdan.com SimDan

    Mind you also that in a Biblical context that “thousand” is often used metaphorically in the same sense we might say, “there’s a gagillion stars out there.” “Thousand” was a huge number to most people back then and most people probably would not have understood what you meant by “million” or “billion.”

    That is to say, an unimaginable long time is like a day and a day is like an unimaginable long time.

    Even this verse wasn’t true, God is omnipresent, omniscient and all-powerful, he doesn’t need some sort of time-dialation to get His work done.

  • http://simdan.com SimDan

    Mind you also that in a Biblical context that “thousand” is often used metaphorically in the same sense we might say, “there’s a gagillion stars out there.” “Thousand” was a huge number to most people back then and most people probably would not have understood what you meant by “million” or “billion.”

    That is to say, an unimaginable long time is like a day and a day is like an unimaginable long time.

    Even this verse wasn’t true, God is omnipresent, omniscient and all-powerful, he doesn’t need some sort of time-dialation to get His work done.

  • Tom Hering

    “… most people probably would not have understood what you meant by ‘million’ or ‘billion.’” – SimDan @ 38.

    “They blessed Rebekah and said to her, ‘May you, our sister, become thousands of ten thousands, and may your descendants possess the gate of those who hate them.’” (Genesis 24:60.)

    1,000s x 10,000s = 1,000,000s. “Thousands of ten thousands” is just another way of saying you understand what “millions” means. It’s a huge mistake to think that ancient peoples were less intelligent than us. They accomplished more than a few things that we haven’t been able to figure out yet. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    “… most people probably would not have understood what you meant by ‘million’ or ‘billion.’” – SimDan @ 38.

    “They blessed Rebekah and said to her, ‘May you, our sister, become thousands of ten thousands, and may your descendants possess the gate of those who hate them.’” (Genesis 24:60.)

    1,000s x 10,000s = 1,000,000s. “Thousands of ten thousands” is just another way of saying you understand what “millions” means. It’s a huge mistake to think that ancient peoples were less intelligent than us. They accomplished more than a few things that we haven’t been able to figure out yet. :-)

  • Porcell

    It’s hard for we humans in the midst of ephemeral time and place to understand an eternal being along with his integral son and spirit, as well as the how the quality of the life we lead might affect our eternal being.

    As to profound mythopoetic biblical material, Augustine almost two millennia ago warned foolish Christians of embarrassing interpretations of the Bible. In his book on genesis, he remarked:

    Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]

  • Porcell

    It’s hard for we humans in the midst of ephemeral time and place to understand an eternal being along with his integral son and spirit, as well as the how the quality of the life we lead might affect our eternal being.

    As to profound mythopoetic biblical material, Augustine almost two millennia ago warned foolish Christians of embarrassing interpretations of the Bible. In his book on genesis, he remarked:

    Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, technically, Tom (@39), 1,000 x 10,000 = 10,000,000, but I think your point stands all the same. :) I also just noted that the ESV has it as “thousands of ten thousands”, while the NIV goes with “thousands upon thousands”. Hmm.

    Perhaps SimDan (@38) was making the more narrowly accurate observation that, back then, most people literally would not have understood what you meant by “million” or “billion”. Because they didn’t speak English. ;)

    Also, I agree with you (@36) that “Speculation is fun. But it’s just speculation.” I don’t think we all agree on that, though.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, technically, Tom (@39), 1,000 x 10,000 = 10,000,000, but I think your point stands all the same. :) I also just noted that the ESV has it as “thousands of ten thousands”, while the NIV goes with “thousands upon thousands”. Hmm.

    Perhaps SimDan (@38) was making the more narrowly accurate observation that, back then, most people literally would not have understood what you meant by “million” or “billion”. Because they didn’t speak English. ;)

    Also, I agree with you (@36) that “Speculation is fun. But it’s just speculation.” I don’t think we all agree on that, though.

  • Tom Hering

    “… how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven …” – Porcell/Augustine @ 40.

    By grace through the gift of faith. By the Holy Spirit, who alone makes spiritual understanding of the Scriptures possible for men.

  • Tom Hering

    “… how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven …” – Porcell/Augustine @ 40.

    By grace through the gift of faith. By the Holy Spirit, who alone makes spiritual understanding of the Scriptures possible for men.

  • Paul

    With regards to the original post, what significance might there be in the understanding of 1,000 as 10 x 10 x 10 or 103; i.e., 1,000 being the Hebrew equivalent of infinity?

    Next, I have been told that true ‘science’ is limited to what can actually be observed. They can only hypothesize about that which they cannot observe; it is merely a theory which cannot be proven until it can be tested in some observable way. Meanwhile, they have not yet observed the beginning of anything. So far, they haven’t found the ends or even the edges of space/matter/time. Therefore, such theories cannot as yet be ‘scientific’ but only clues to where they might look (observe) next.

    With regard to the artist’s pencil sketch, I might say that art frequently creates the impression of something beyond what is actually observed: a river coming into the painting out of nowhere or heading off the edge of the canvas; a statue gazing off toward nothing.

    Finally, would not a perfect creation be without limit in every direction/dimension? If we could find the edges of space or of time, would we, the creature, not create for ourselves ideas of what more God should have done? In the same way, if God had described for us the literal characteristics of heaven, would we not be seeking to improve on His perfection? The beginning and end are not times and places, but Christ. I think that I read that somewhere.

  • Paul

    With regards to the original post, what significance might there be in the understanding of 1,000 as 10 x 10 x 10 or 103; i.e., 1,000 being the Hebrew equivalent of infinity?

    Next, I have been told that true ‘science’ is limited to what can actually be observed. They can only hypothesize about that which they cannot observe; it is merely a theory which cannot be proven until it can be tested in some observable way. Meanwhile, they have not yet observed the beginning of anything. So far, they haven’t found the ends or even the edges of space/matter/time. Therefore, such theories cannot as yet be ‘scientific’ but only clues to where they might look (observe) next.

    With regard to the artist’s pencil sketch, I might say that art frequently creates the impression of something beyond what is actually observed: a river coming into the painting out of nowhere or heading off the edge of the canvas; a statue gazing off toward nothing.

    Finally, would not a perfect creation be without limit in every direction/dimension? If we could find the edges of space or of time, would we, the creature, not create for ourselves ideas of what more God should have done? In the same way, if God had described for us the literal characteristics of heaven, would we not be seeking to improve on His perfection? The beginning and end are not times and places, but Christ. I think that I read that somewhere.

  • Paul

    Sorry, I must not have gotten the superscript tag done correctly. That “103″ should have been 10 to the third power.

  • Paul

    Sorry, I must not have gotten the superscript tag done correctly. That “103″ should have been 10 to the third power.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Ok, I’m back.

    Beginning of rant:

    My sophistry remark is thus intended: What often happens is that people import some sort of argument, view or statement into a debat to make things fit, but that argument, view or statement has no real grounds in either text nor observation, and cannot be seen as a reasonable (as in the use of logic) conclusion or deduction from either. Tom admitted such about his initial “doodling” argument.

    Furthermore, if I were to abandon the conclusions of sound reason, then why use this technology (for instance) at all? Why not just surrender to the (extremist) post-modern argument that all truth, and therefore all language, is relative, and reality merely a pipoe dream? Sure someone would say, reason is a bad servant, and we should not trust what the scientists say, blah blah blah. Except, nobody believes that. You believe from observation and experience that if you throw a rock, it will sail through the air and land over there. That if you leave the cake too long in the oven thast it will burn. That the Phytagorean theorem works. OK. but why then stop at an arbitrary point, because it does suit your current understanding. That as soon as reason leads to something you don’t like, to decry it, or to i9nvent all sorts of arguments to say – not this, but that?

    Sure, reason is corrupted by sin. but everybody, or almost everybdy, trusts it enough to, for instance, risk life and limb in a mchine that rides the skies, because the brother Bernoulli worked out an equation?

    So why not the very carefully crafted theories and data put together, by tens of thousands of scientists (in this case, geologists), over many decades, who have discarded theories when necessary etc etc.

    Some would say – but then why not be an atheist? Well, from an epistemological pov, there are few things as idiotic as atheism. And the whole thing about faith, is that it is beyond reason. We have surrendered to the semi-pelagian crap that fws warns against so often – that faith is a work, which binds it to reason, which means it is not faith. That is the philosophical basis of ICR, AIG and all those falks, imho.

    Rant over.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Ok, I’m back.

    Beginning of rant:

    My sophistry remark is thus intended: What often happens is that people import some sort of argument, view or statement into a debat to make things fit, but that argument, view or statement has no real grounds in either text nor observation, and cannot be seen as a reasonable (as in the use of logic) conclusion or deduction from either. Tom admitted such about his initial “doodling” argument.

    Furthermore, if I were to abandon the conclusions of sound reason, then why use this technology (for instance) at all? Why not just surrender to the (extremist) post-modern argument that all truth, and therefore all language, is relative, and reality merely a pipoe dream? Sure someone would say, reason is a bad servant, and we should not trust what the scientists say, blah blah blah. Except, nobody believes that. You believe from observation and experience that if you throw a rock, it will sail through the air and land over there. That if you leave the cake too long in the oven thast it will burn. That the Phytagorean theorem works. OK. but why then stop at an arbitrary point, because it does suit your current understanding. That as soon as reason leads to something you don’t like, to decry it, or to i9nvent all sorts of arguments to say – not this, but that?

    Sure, reason is corrupted by sin. but everybody, or almost everybdy, trusts it enough to, for instance, risk life and limb in a mchine that rides the skies, because the brother Bernoulli worked out an equation?

    So why not the very carefully crafted theories and data put together, by tens of thousands of scientists (in this case, geologists), over many decades, who have discarded theories when necessary etc etc.

    Some would say – but then why not be an atheist? Well, from an epistemological pov, there are few things as idiotic as atheism. And the whole thing about faith, is that it is beyond reason. We have surrendered to the semi-pelagian crap that fws warns against so often – that faith is a work, which binds it to reason, which means it is not faith. That is the philosophical basis of ICR, AIG and all those falks, imho.

    Rant over.

  • Tom Hering

    Louis, why such a strong reaction to others’ trust in the Genesis account?

    “You believe from observation and experience that if you throw a rock, it will sail through the air and land over there.”

    Yes, I do. But I’ve never observed or experienced evolution. So that which I believe and that which I don’t believe aren’t “arbitrary” choices. As for abandoning reason when it leads me someplace I don’t like, well, it leads me someplace like that several times every day. And I conclude from experience and observation that things are what they are, like it or not.

    “So why not the very carefully crafted theories and data put together, by tens of thousands of scientists (in this case, geologists), over many decades, who have discarded theories when necessary etc etc.”

    Why not? Because I’ve never been brainwashed by members of “The Church Of Christ, Geologist.” :-) I can, however, provide exit counseling for those who have been. If you’re interested. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Louis, why such a strong reaction to others’ trust in the Genesis account?

    “You believe from observation and experience that if you throw a rock, it will sail through the air and land over there.”

    Yes, I do. But I’ve never observed or experienced evolution. So that which I believe and that which I don’t believe aren’t “arbitrary” choices. As for abandoning reason when it leads me someplace I don’t like, well, it leads me someplace like that several times every day. And I conclude from experience and observation that things are what they are, like it or not.

    “So why not the very carefully crafted theories and data put together, by tens of thousands of scientists (in this case, geologists), over many decades, who have discarded theories when necessary etc etc.”

    Why not? Because I’ve never been brainwashed by members of “The Church Of Christ, Geologist.” :-) I can, however, provide exit counseling for those who have been. If you’re interested. :-)

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom, let me put it to you this way. There is an Encyclopedia Britannica of geological knowledge out there. Creationists find a couple of sentences of which the grammar is a little off. Therefore, they throw away the whole encyclopedia.

    BTW, are you a geocentrist? (loaded question?). Or do you believe the earth is set on pillars (even more loaded)? Shall I continue?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom, let me put it to you this way. There is an Encyclopedia Britannica of geological knowledge out there. Creationists find a couple of sentences of which the grammar is a little off. Therefore, they throw away the whole encyclopedia.

    BTW, are you a geocentrist? (loaded question?). Or do you believe the earth is set on pillars (even more loaded)? Shall I continue?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom, have you seen the electrons around an atom? Strands of DNA? Have you seen the earth go around the sun?

    But I do encourage you to read the links to my blog I gave earlier – there I have started to go into the geological evidence.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom, have you seen the electrons around an atom? Strands of DNA? Have you seen the earth go around the sun?

    But I do encourage you to read the links to my blog I gave earlier – there I have started to go into the geological evidence.

  • Tom Hering

    “… are you a geocentrist?”

    Yes, the Earth is the center of God’s Creation.

    “… do you believe the earth is set on pillars …?”

    I’ll turn that around and ask: Do you equate trust in the Genesis accounts with a belief that the Earth is set on pillars?

    “… have you seen the electrons around an atom? Strands of DNA? Have you seen the earth go around the sun?”

    No and no and no. Do you equate advances in scientific knowledge with an advance of the Christian faith?

  • Tom Hering

    “… are you a geocentrist?”

    Yes, the Earth is the center of God’s Creation.

    “… do you believe the earth is set on pillars …?”

    I’ll turn that around and ask: Do you equate trust in the Genesis accounts with a belief that the Earth is set on pillars?

    “… have you seen the electrons around an atom? Strands of DNA? Have you seen the earth go around the sun?”

    No and no and no. Do you equate advances in scientific knowledge with an advance of the Christian faith?

  • Tom Hering

    As long as I’m asking questions in return, Louis, let me also ask:

    Is a Christian free to believe the Genesis accounts?

    Further:

    Is it loving to call such a Christian backwards?

  • Tom Hering

    As long as I’m asking questions in return, Louis, let me also ask:

    Is a Christian free to believe the Genesis accounts?

    Further:

    Is it loving to call such a Christian backwards?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis (@45), whoa, whoa, whoanice shootin’, Tex!

    I don’t know at whom you’ve directed your rant, but it doesn’t seem to be a reply to anything I’ve actually said here. It appears to be a well-reasoned critique of an argument written by an anti-science straw man, who is unfortunately unavailable for comment. :p

    I do have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and I married a woman who now has her master’s in chemistry, as well as teaching the subject to high school students. I mean, I realize these aren’t real science credentials (for me, at least), but come on!

    And, while I’m a little hindered by the typos in fully understanding this comment of yours, I think it’s interesting:

    But why then stop at an arbitrary point, because it does[n't?] suit your current understanding. That as soon as reason leads to something you don’t like, to decry it, or to i9nvent all sorts of arguments to say – not this, but that?

    I have several replies to this question, one of which I’ve already given (@29). In that comment, you’ll note that I basically asked the same question from the opposite direction — i.e., since all Christians believe in at least some supernatural intervention, what is it that causes us to draw the lines at various points in our reading of Scripture to allow (as it were) some miracles to be miracles, but force other ones to be subject to the laws of science? You’ll also note that I admitted, for my part, that I don’t know the answer, really.

    Of course, another answer as to “why stop [believing science/reason] at an arbitrary point” is: because that’s where Scripture has something to say about the matter, and Scripture trumps reason. But I have no issue deferring to the scientific consensus for any topic on which Scripture is silent.

    An additional answer, and one to which I am sympathetic, is to say that science is all very good when it is predicting the future, as it were; when it is replicatable. But when science tries to tell me what happened in the past, based on what it can observe in the present, it has its limits.

    Anyhow, my point here, and one that I feel I’ve already made (though I have a concurrent private discussion with webMonk going, so I may be forgetting what I’ve said where), is that this isn’t really a discussion about science. It’s a discussion about religion, or epistemology, or something like that: why do we believe what we believe or how do we know what we know? As such, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of use for anti-science (or anti-anti-science) rants.

    On a final note, Bernoulli didn’t really work out so much an “equation” as a principle, and it’s important to remember not just Bernoulli’s, but also Newton’s contribution to lift in airplane flight (to say nothing of Euler, Navier, and Stokes). But now I’m just trying to win back some scientific cred in your eyes. ;)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis (@45), whoa, whoa, whoanice shootin’, Tex!

    I don’t know at whom you’ve directed your rant, but it doesn’t seem to be a reply to anything I’ve actually said here. It appears to be a well-reasoned critique of an argument written by an anti-science straw man, who is unfortunately unavailable for comment. :p

    I do have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and I married a woman who now has her master’s in chemistry, as well as teaching the subject to high school students. I mean, I realize these aren’t real science credentials (for me, at least), but come on!

    And, while I’m a little hindered by the typos in fully understanding this comment of yours, I think it’s interesting:

    But why then stop at an arbitrary point, because it does[n't?] suit your current understanding. That as soon as reason leads to something you don’t like, to decry it, or to i9nvent all sorts of arguments to say – not this, but that?

    I have several replies to this question, one of which I’ve already given (@29). In that comment, you’ll note that I basically asked the same question from the opposite direction — i.e., since all Christians believe in at least some supernatural intervention, what is it that causes us to draw the lines at various points in our reading of Scripture to allow (as it were) some miracles to be miracles, but force other ones to be subject to the laws of science? You’ll also note that I admitted, for my part, that I don’t know the answer, really.

    Of course, another answer as to “why stop [believing science/reason] at an arbitrary point” is: because that’s where Scripture has something to say about the matter, and Scripture trumps reason. But I have no issue deferring to the scientific consensus for any topic on which Scripture is silent.

    An additional answer, and one to which I am sympathetic, is to say that science is all very good when it is predicting the future, as it were; when it is replicatable. But when science tries to tell me what happened in the past, based on what it can observe in the present, it has its limits.

    Anyhow, my point here, and one that I feel I’ve already made (though I have a concurrent private discussion with webMonk going, so I may be forgetting what I’ve said where), is that this isn’t really a discussion about science. It’s a discussion about religion, or epistemology, or something like that: why do we believe what we believe or how do we know what we know? As such, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of use for anti-science (or anti-anti-science) rants.

    On a final note, Bernoulli didn’t really work out so much an “equation” as a principle, and it’s important to remember not just Bernoulli’s, but also Newton’s contribution to lift in airplane flight (to say nothing of Euler, Navier, and Stokes). But now I’m just trying to win back some scientific cred in your eyes. ;)

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Todd: It was a rant, so nameless attacks and typos are to be expected :) ! Having seen too much of this kind of thing, I tend to get out the shot gun rather than the hunting rifle, so please accept my apologies.

    But I think that in my responses to Tom we are getting somewhere, maybe. Also, I find Genesis literalism starnge – why that, and not in cosmology? (As in my questions to Tom). Methinks it is a matter of not being aware of the evidence – as opposed to being aware of the astronomical evidence, ever since Sputnik.

    Epistemology can come and bite you in the rear, because it has a habit of showing upo the inconsistencies. By this I mean, that having studied the evidence, to deny that it does not point to YECism, is of the same order as to deny the findings of medical science, for instance. This might sound drastic to the laymen, but lets take the following example:

    You are investigatin a crime, and you follow evidence piece A, which leads to B, then C then D – then you first find G, then later E and F. But because there is no security camera, everybode denies all your evidence, in spite of the fact that 100 other people independantly came to the saem conclusion. And the more you show people the evidence, the more they stick their fingers in their ears and shout lalalala!!!. Wonder why I get frustrated?

    As to Biblical epistemology, would you agree that it is remotely possible that a specific reading of a text is at fault, as opposed to the text? Certain discussions on this blog recently springs to mind :)

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Todd: It was a rant, so nameless attacks and typos are to be expected :) ! Having seen too much of this kind of thing, I tend to get out the shot gun rather than the hunting rifle, so please accept my apologies.

    But I think that in my responses to Tom we are getting somewhere, maybe. Also, I find Genesis literalism starnge – why that, and not in cosmology? (As in my questions to Tom). Methinks it is a matter of not being aware of the evidence – as opposed to being aware of the astronomical evidence, ever since Sputnik.

    Epistemology can come and bite you in the rear, because it has a habit of showing upo the inconsistencies. By this I mean, that having studied the evidence, to deny that it does not point to YECism, is of the same order as to deny the findings of medical science, for instance. This might sound drastic to the laymen, but lets take the following example:

    You are investigatin a crime, and you follow evidence piece A, which leads to B, then C then D – then you first find G, then later E and F. But because there is no security camera, everybode denies all your evidence, in spite of the fact that 100 other people independantly came to the saem conclusion. And the more you show people the evidence, the more they stick their fingers in their ears and shout lalalala!!!. Wonder why I get frustrated?

    As to Biblical epistemology, would you agree that it is remotely possible that a specific reading of a text is at fault, as opposed to the text? Certain discussions on this blog recently springs to mind :)

  • Tom Hering

    Louis, you don’t have to convince me that you reject a literal reading of Genesis, or that you reject it because of your knowledge of the Earth sciences. Obviously, it does no harm to your trust in Jesus Christ. So knock yourself out – you’re free in Christ to do so.

    But what if pushing your view causes some of your fellow Christians to doubt? Is that okay?

    What drives you to re-educate Christians you consider backwards? Why not rather just accept that they, too, are free in Christ – free to trust the Genesis accounts?

  • Tom Hering

    Louis, you don’t have to convince me that you reject a literal reading of Genesis, or that you reject it because of your knowledge of the Earth sciences. Obviously, it does no harm to your trust in Jesus Christ. So knock yourself out – you’re free in Christ to do so.

    But what if pushing your view causes some of your fellow Christians to doubt? Is that okay?

    What drives you to re-educate Christians you consider backwards? Why not rather just accept that they, too, are free in Christ – free to trust the Genesis accounts?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom – of course they are free. But by far the majority of them would tell me I’m a denier of the faith, heretic and possibly liberal ;) . Because they continue to provide unnecessary fodder to those who would malign the name of Christ.

    To repeat my analogy – how would react feel if A group of Christians took over the flat-earth society, claimed that that is the definitve message of the Bible, that all others are compromisers, and set themselves up as the spokespeople for the Church?

    YEC’ists are very, very fond of making this debate one that affects Salvation – webmonk has many references handy if you want any. It alienates their Christian brothers like myself no end. Guess I’m a bit touchy though….

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom – of course they are free. But by far the majority of them would tell me I’m a denier of the faith, heretic and possibly liberal ;) . Because they continue to provide unnecessary fodder to those who would malign the name of Christ.

    To repeat my analogy – how would react feel if A group of Christians took over the flat-earth society, claimed that that is the definitve message of the Bible, that all others are compromisers, and set themselves up as the spokespeople for the Church?

    YEC’ists are very, very fond of making this debate one that affects Salvation – webmonk has many references handy if you want any. It alienates their Christian brothers like myself no end. Guess I’m a bit touchy though….

  • Tom Hering

    “… A group of Christians took over the flat-earth society …” – @ 54.

    Once again, you’ve compared apples with oranges, as you did when you asked about pillars supporting the Earth. Neither pillars nor flatness are asserted by Scripture.

    “[Young Earth Creationists] are very, very fond of making this debate one that affects Salvation …” – @ 54.

    But it does have an impact on the faith of some. Perhaps of many. In a meat-or-vegetables-only kind of way.

  • Tom Hering

    “… A group of Christians took over the flat-earth society …” – @ 54.

    Once again, you’ve compared apples with oranges, as you did when you asked about pillars supporting the Earth. Neither pillars nor flatness are asserted by Scripture.

    “[Young Earth Creationists] are very, very fond of making this debate one that affects Salvation …” – @ 54.

    But it does have an impact on the faith of some. Perhaps of many. In a meat-or-vegetables-only kind of way.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom, I’d like to ask why? Why are there so many people whose faith will be negatively impacted?

    I’d also like to answer that question: It is because of the fundamentalist evangelical movements that bloomed since the 1920′s especially. It is because of preachers making YEC a prerequisite for being an orthodox Christian, or often, for being a Christian at all! It comes with the same package of ideas as descisionism, liver shivers, prohibitionism, chiliasm, etc etc., while disregarding the Sacraments etc.

    Unfortunately, it has made the jump to more orthodox theologies as well.

    It is more pronounced here on this continent than anywhere else – I have heard the comment many times from Christians from elsewhere that they were totally floored by the emotionalism and shrillness of very specifically, the YEC lobby, its power, and the level to which that belief has been raised.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom, I’d like to ask why? Why are there so many people whose faith will be negatively impacted?

    I’d also like to answer that question: It is because of the fundamentalist evangelical movements that bloomed since the 1920′s especially. It is because of preachers making YEC a prerequisite for being an orthodox Christian, or often, for being a Christian at all! It comes with the same package of ideas as descisionism, liver shivers, prohibitionism, chiliasm, etc etc., while disregarding the Sacraments etc.

    Unfortunately, it has made the jump to more orthodox theologies as well.

    It is more pronounced here on this continent than anywhere else – I have heard the comment many times from Christians from elsewhere that they were totally floored by the emotionalism and shrillness of very specifically, the YEC lobby, its power, and the level to which that belief has been raised.

  • Tom Hering

    “It is because of the fundamentalist evangelical movements that bloomed since the 1920′s especially.” – @ 56.

    Okay. What led to those movements? Was it the challenge to Creationism, by Evolutionists and liberal Christians, that began decades before? Was it the characterization of Creationists, by Evolutionists and liberal Christians, as backwards? You know, movements are just people of like beliefs coming together for a reason. You say the Creationist movement led to people believing in Creationism. I say belief in Creationism led to the Creationist movement. (And if anyone even tries to make a chicken-or-the-egg argument in response, I’m going to … well, it won’t be pretty. :-) )

  • Tom Hering

    “It is because of the fundamentalist evangelical movements that bloomed since the 1920′s especially.” – @ 56.

    Okay. What led to those movements? Was it the challenge to Creationism, by Evolutionists and liberal Christians, that began decades before? Was it the characterization of Creationists, by Evolutionists and liberal Christians, as backwards? You know, movements are just people of like beliefs coming together for a reason. You say the Creationist movement led to people believing in Creationism. I say belief in Creationism led to the Creationist movement. (And if anyone even tries to make a chicken-or-the-egg argument in response, I’m going to … well, it won’t be pretty. :-) )

  • Tom Hering

    “It comes with the same package of ideas as descisionism, liver shivers, prohibitionism, chiliasm, etc etc., while disregarding the Sacraments etc.” – @ 56.

    Do you see what you’re doing, Louis? Lumping Creationists together with Enthusiasts, etc. To make your case that Creationists are both wrong and primitive.

    And you don’t know a single Creationist with a right understanding of the Sacraments? Really?

    “Unfortunately, it has made the jump to more orthodox theologies as well.”

    No, it made the jump from orthodox belief.

  • Tom Hering

    “It comes with the same package of ideas as descisionism, liver shivers, prohibitionism, chiliasm, etc etc., while disregarding the Sacraments etc.” – @ 56.

    Do you see what you’re doing, Louis? Lumping Creationists together with Enthusiasts, etc. To make your case that Creationists are both wrong and primitive.

    And you don’t know a single Creationist with a right understanding of the Sacraments? Really?

    “Unfortunately, it has made the jump to more orthodox theologies as well.”

    No, it made the jump from orthodox belief.

  • Tom Hering

    Louis, would you agree that Christians who hold to Evolution and an old Earth are, as an historical group, johnny-come-lately to the Christian faith? And as such, are rightly the ones who must prove their views line up with Scripture?

  • Tom Hering

    Louis, would you agree that Christians who hold to Evolution and an old Earth are, as an historical group, johnny-come-lately to the Christian faith? And as such, are rightly the ones who must prove their views line up with Scripture?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom, the question is not evolution, but a literal vs figurative (not the right word) interpretation of Genesis 1 – 11. As such, the more figurative view was strongly present from the start – Irenaeus, Augustine, Origen….. as was the literal view – Tertullian, Theophilus – the former (ie Tertullian) didn’t like learning and philosophy in general, so it sort of fits. Incidentally, Philo of Alexandria was not a literalist either.

    Quote:
    “4.3.1 Now what man of intelligence will believe that the first and the second and the third day, and the evening and the morning existed without the sun and moon and stars? . . . I do not think anyone will doubt that these are figurative expressions which indicate certain mysteries through a semblance of history and not through actual events.”
    Origen, On First Principles 4.3.1

    Also, although you do not like my examples, as a geologist I’m not primarily arguing from biological evolution, but from the record of processes governed by the laws of physics – ie mechanical and chemical processes. The record is always open to interpreation, true, but to fit a YEC picture, one would have to disregard reason and physical laws as observed in nature – thus underining, in this regard, all of science and Logic. Now, faith is beyond logic, not contra logic. This is a mistake many make, and Chesterton loved to point it out.

    Kevin quoted the following on his blog, way back in March last year. It is by St Augustine:

    Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of the world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion [quoting 1 Tim 1:7].

    (The Literal Meaning of Genesis, written in about AD 415. Noll, pp. 202-203, from the John Hammond Taylor translation of 1982)

    Thus non-literalism, specifically of Genesis 1-11, was common early in the History of the Church. My comments re the connection with what you might call Protestant Fundamentalism was seriously meant, in that MODERN YEC’ism is often (NOT always) very closely realted to anti-intellectualism and the disregard for the History of the Church (akin to the folks that beleive the Church disaapeared of the face of the earth between AD 80 and 1517 /1777 / 1820, pick your date). I’m very defintely not saying that this staement applies to anyone here, but it is a general observation.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom, the question is not evolution, but a literal vs figurative (not the right word) interpretation of Genesis 1 – 11. As such, the more figurative view was strongly present from the start – Irenaeus, Augustine, Origen….. as was the literal view – Tertullian, Theophilus – the former (ie Tertullian) didn’t like learning and philosophy in general, so it sort of fits. Incidentally, Philo of Alexandria was not a literalist either.

    Quote:
    “4.3.1 Now what man of intelligence will believe that the first and the second and the third day, and the evening and the morning existed without the sun and moon and stars? . . . I do not think anyone will doubt that these are figurative expressions which indicate certain mysteries through a semblance of history and not through actual events.”
    Origen, On First Principles 4.3.1

    Also, although you do not like my examples, as a geologist I’m not primarily arguing from biological evolution, but from the record of processes governed by the laws of physics – ie mechanical and chemical processes. The record is always open to interpreation, true, but to fit a YEC picture, one would have to disregard reason and physical laws as observed in nature – thus underining, in this regard, all of science and Logic. Now, faith is beyond logic, not contra logic. This is a mistake many make, and Chesterton loved to point it out.

    Kevin quoted the following on his blog, way back in March last year. It is by St Augustine:

    Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of the world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion [quoting 1 Tim 1:7].

    (The Literal Meaning of Genesis, written in about AD 415. Noll, pp. 202-203, from the John Hammond Taylor translation of 1982)

    Thus non-literalism, specifically of Genesis 1-11, was common early in the History of the Church. My comments re the connection with what you might call Protestant Fundamentalism was seriously meant, in that MODERN YEC’ism is often (NOT always) very closely realted to anti-intellectualism and the disregard for the History of the Church (akin to the folks that beleive the Church disaapeared of the face of the earth between AD 80 and 1517 /1777 / 1820, pick your date). I’m very defintely not saying that this staement applies to anyone here, but it is a general observation.

  • Tom Hering

    “… the question is not evolution, but a literal vs figurative (not the right word) interpretation of Genesis 1 – 11.”

    Yes, the non-literal view has been put forward since the 2nd century, at least. But we’re not really arguing about theologians of the ancient world either, are we? We’re discussing Scripture, and the understanding of Genesis that was itself from the beginning. That is, how did the authors of the rest of Scripture treat Genesis? How did Our Lord treat Genesis? It seems to me that if we want to understand Genesis correctly, we should employ the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture. Where do you find support for the non-literal view in the biblical texts?

    As for the Augustine quote, which is primarily concerned with witness, conversion, and stumbling blocks, it was already quoted here by Porcell @ 40, with my response @ 42.

  • Tom Hering

    “… the question is not evolution, but a literal vs figurative (not the right word) interpretation of Genesis 1 – 11.”

    Yes, the non-literal view has been put forward since the 2nd century, at least. But we’re not really arguing about theologians of the ancient world either, are we? We’re discussing Scripture, and the understanding of Genesis that was itself from the beginning. That is, how did the authors of the rest of Scripture treat Genesis? How did Our Lord treat Genesis? It seems to me that if we want to understand Genesis correctly, we should employ the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture. Where do you find support for the non-literal view in the biblical texts?

    As for the Augustine quote, which is primarily concerned with witness, conversion, and stumbling blocks, it was already quoted here by Porcell @ 40, with my response @ 42.

  • Porcell

    Tom, at 59, the Bible was never intended to be a scientific document in the present sense of the word “science” Modern theoretical and empirical scientists have no obligation to prove that their ideas line up with the Bible. Of course, the ethical use of science to, say, destroy an embryo is another matter.

    Francis Collins, a leading genetic scientist who headed the Genome Project in his book, The language of God wrote that in his view the genome structure is part of the language of God, though he makes no attempt to tie this in with any Biblical language.

    If any group is a “Johnny come lately” it would be those contemporary Christians who argue that the Bible somehow contains scientific truths. Augustine about two millennia go wrote that Christians who contradict scientists on biblical grounds are an embarrassment to serious Christendom.

  • Porcell

    Tom, at 59, the Bible was never intended to be a scientific document in the present sense of the word “science” Modern theoretical and empirical scientists have no obligation to prove that their ideas line up with the Bible. Of course, the ethical use of science to, say, destroy an embryo is another matter.

    Francis Collins, a leading genetic scientist who headed the Genome Project in his book, The language of God wrote that in his view the genome structure is part of the language of God, though he makes no attempt to tie this in with any Biblical language.

    If any group is a “Johnny come lately” it would be those contemporary Christians who argue that the Bible somehow contains scientific truths. Augustine about two millennia go wrote that Christians who contradict scientists on biblical grounds are an embarrassment to serious Christendom.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom, I would content that the difference in reading Genesis 1-11 as either literal, or figurative, or (my preference, and please don’t misunderstand the phrase) True Mythopoeia, would make little to no difference in our reading of how St Paul, or our Lord, use the same texts.

    One of the reasons I give some credence to how the early Church interpreted the text, was that they were near contemporaries of the authors, thus less likely to bring preconceived notions, or a different epistemology / ontology (Todd, wake up :) ) to the text. Thus they would much easier recognise mythopoeia, for instance that we would. And such seems to be the case.

    Though I do note that Tertullian and others leaned more to literalism, I would content that the overt literal reading is more a modern phenomenon, and more dangerous, precisely because we have little in common with the original target audience, which, in case of the NT, where first century folk, and the OT, much earlier people. While I do not give the same credence to the Fathers as say the Orthodox do, for tthis reason, amongst others, I think it prudent not to disregard them either. This does not mean Scripture is subject to the fathers – it is still the prime Witness and authority. IE, it is related to the difference, as Douglas Jones put it, between Sola Scriptura and solo Scriptura.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom, I would content that the difference in reading Genesis 1-11 as either literal, or figurative, or (my preference, and please don’t misunderstand the phrase) True Mythopoeia, would make little to no difference in our reading of how St Paul, or our Lord, use the same texts.

    One of the reasons I give some credence to how the early Church interpreted the text, was that they were near contemporaries of the authors, thus less likely to bring preconceived notions, or a different epistemology / ontology (Todd, wake up :) ) to the text. Thus they would much easier recognise mythopoeia, for instance that we would. And such seems to be the case.

    Though I do note that Tertullian and others leaned more to literalism, I would content that the overt literal reading is more a modern phenomenon, and more dangerous, precisely because we have little in common with the original target audience, which, in case of the NT, where first century folk, and the OT, much earlier people. While I do not give the same credence to the Fathers as say the Orthodox do, for tthis reason, amongst others, I think it prudent not to disregard them either. This does not mean Scripture is subject to the fathers – it is still the prime Witness and authority. IE, it is related to the difference, as Douglas Jones put it, between Sola Scriptura and solo Scriptura.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    “True Mythopoeia”? That doesn’t make any sense.

    How about Alethepoeia? Would seem more in line with the Lord’s revealed purposes in breathing out new realities.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    “True Mythopoeia”? That doesn’t make any sense.

    How about Alethepoeia? Would seem more in line with the Lord’s revealed purposes in breathing out new realities.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Or, I mean, how would you have me understand the phrase, “True Mythopoeia”?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Or, I mean, how would you have me understand the phrase, “True Mythopoeia”?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Bryan – I’m not familiar with the term (and neither is google). Did you mean ethopoeia?

    The “true myth” thing has been around for a long time – Tolkien used it.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Bryan – I’m not familiar with the term (and neither is google). Did you mean ethopoeia?

    The “true myth” thing has been around for a long time – Tolkien used it.

  • Tom Hering

    “… the Bible was never intended to be a scientific document in the present sense of the word “science.” – Porcell @ 62.

    I absolutely agree with that, Porcell. Where have I argued otherwise? My main point @ 4 and since (fun speculations aside) is that scientists can only study things that exist in the here and now. (Hat tip to tODD.) So their studies can only tell them what the Earth and the Universe have been like after the Fall: deeply corrupted in every way. Their studies cannot tell them anything about the Creation, nor the Earth and the Universe before the Fall.

    “Augustine about two millennia ago wrote that Christians who contradict scientists on biblical grounds are an embarrassment to serious Christendom.” – Porcell @ 62.

    So by Augustine’s time, they were arguing things in the present sense of the word “science”? Hmm.

    “One of the reasons I give some credence to how the early Church interpreted the text, was that they were near contemporaries of the authors …” – Louis @ 63.

    Why turn to near contemporaries at all, Louis, when we can turn to the biblical authors themselves, as well as to the words of Our Lord, for their understanding of Genesis? I repeat: Scripture interprets Scripture.

    “… we have little in common with the original target audience, which, in case of the NT, were first century folk, and the OT, much earlier people.” – Louis @ 63.

    Ah! The “ignorant ancients” defense. Again. So God in His revelation, and Christ in His ministry, talked down to us. Are there any other matters in which we should be careful not to take the Almighty too seriously? Eh?

  • Tom Hering

    “… the Bible was never intended to be a scientific document in the present sense of the word “science.” – Porcell @ 62.

    I absolutely agree with that, Porcell. Where have I argued otherwise? My main point @ 4 and since (fun speculations aside) is that scientists can only study things that exist in the here and now. (Hat tip to tODD.) So their studies can only tell them what the Earth and the Universe have been like after the Fall: deeply corrupted in every way. Their studies cannot tell them anything about the Creation, nor the Earth and the Universe before the Fall.

    “Augustine about two millennia ago wrote that Christians who contradict scientists on biblical grounds are an embarrassment to serious Christendom.” – Porcell @ 62.

    So by Augustine’s time, they were arguing things in the present sense of the word “science”? Hmm.

    “One of the reasons I give some credence to how the early Church interpreted the text, was that they were near contemporaries of the authors …” – Louis @ 63.

    Why turn to near contemporaries at all, Louis, when we can turn to the biblical authors themselves, as well as to the words of Our Lord, for their understanding of Genesis? I repeat: Scripture interprets Scripture.

    “… we have little in common with the original target audience, which, in case of the NT, were first century folk, and the OT, much earlier people.” – Louis @ 63.

    Ah! The “ignorant ancients” defense. Again. So God in His revelation, and Christ in His ministry, talked down to us. Are there any other matters in which we should be careful not to take the Almighty too seriously? Eh?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom – I have absolutely no idea how you get to “ignorant ancients defense”. I do not hold to that theory, but I also understand that epistemology and ontology arew not absolutes in themselves, but are wrapped in language and culture. Thus to look towards the man of the time, reading the text, in an effort to better understand the text, is not an unprofitable exercise.

    Tom, we all come to the Text within a certain cultural-linguistic-historical context. Other than the postmoderns, I do believe in truth, but i realise that expressions of truth is wrapped within such a context. Of course, most often we remain oblivious to our own cultural-linguistic-historical “spectacles” if you will. Thus it is important to be as aware as we can of our own predispositions, presuppositions etc. It is my understanding, contrary to popular belief, maybe, that the literalist reading has profitted by the enlightenment, in that the modernist mindset would be more predisposed to such literalism, and thus produce the conflict between the literalists and the realists, thus setting literalism on a collision course with both modernity and postmodernity. It sounds complicated, I know.

    Scripture interprets Scripture, but the reader interprets both.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom – I have absolutely no idea how you get to “ignorant ancients defense”. I do not hold to that theory, but I also understand that epistemology and ontology arew not absolutes in themselves, but are wrapped in language and culture. Thus to look towards the man of the time, reading the text, in an effort to better understand the text, is not an unprofitable exercise.

    Tom, we all come to the Text within a certain cultural-linguistic-historical context. Other than the postmoderns, I do believe in truth, but i realise that expressions of truth is wrapped within such a context. Of course, most often we remain oblivious to our own cultural-linguistic-historical “spectacles” if you will. Thus it is important to be as aware as we can of our own predispositions, presuppositions etc. It is my understanding, contrary to popular belief, maybe, that the literalist reading has profitted by the enlightenment, in that the modernist mindset would be more predisposed to such literalism, and thus produce the conflict between the literalists and the realists, thus setting literalism on a collision course with both modernity and postmodernity. It sounds complicated, I know.

    Scripture interprets Scripture, but the reader interprets both.

  • Tom Hering

    It does indeed sound complicated, Louis. :-)

    “Scripture interprets Scripture, but the reader interprets both.”

    That’s not a hopeless exercise, because the principle is sound.

  • Tom Hering

    It does indeed sound complicated, Louis. :-)

    “Scripture interprets Scripture, but the reader interprets both.”

    That’s not a hopeless exercise, because the principle is sound.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom – indeed. But unless the reader is aware of his own interpretive framework and context (as in my previous post), that principle will not safeguard against “undesireable” results. I know of a variety of people holding on to that principle, with widely differen theologies resulting. Other than picking one and calling all the others dishonest liars, I think I can say – QED.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom – indeed. But unless the reader is aware of his own interpretive framework and context (as in my previous post), that principle will not safeguard against “undesireable” results. I know of a variety of people holding on to that principle, with widely differen theologies resulting. Other than picking one and calling all the others dishonest liars, I think I can say – QED.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I know Tolkien used the term “Mythopoeia” (there’s a poem, right?) for what he was doing in LOTR. But where did he speak of “True Mythopoeia”? I think that would be an extrapolation from later discussions by Lewis.

    I made up “Alethepoeia.” That would be Truthmaking.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I know Tolkien used the term “Mythopoeia” (there’s a poem, right?) for what he was doing in LOTR. But where did he speak of “True Mythopoeia”? I think that would be an extrapolation from later discussions by Lewis.

    I made up “Alethepoeia.” That would be Truthmaking.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Bryan – I created the term (not the words) – from True myth, which Tolkien used as I said at #66, and mythopoeia, which actually means mythmaking, and refers to a certain genre, of which Tolkien (and Lewis) could rightly be said to be the modern masters, although I like your mentioning of poetry in that context.

    What about Alethemythopoeia – True Myth Making? :) I kind of like that – try and say it quickly!

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Bryan – I created the term (not the words) – from True myth, which Tolkien used as I said at #66, and mythopoeia, which actually means mythmaking, and refers to a certain genre, of which Tolkien (and Lewis) could rightly be said to be the modern masters, although I like your mentioning of poetry in that context.

    What about Alethemythopoeia – True Myth Making? :) I kind of like that – try and say it quickly!

  • Tom Hering

    “… unless the reader is aware of his own interpretive framework and context …” – @ 70.

    How aware does one have to be in order to see, quite accurately, how the rest of Scripture treats Genesis 1-11? And you never answered my question @ 61, Louis: Where among the authors of the biblical texts do you find support for the non-literal (“true myth”) view of Genesis?

  • Tom Hering

    “… unless the reader is aware of his own interpretive framework and context …” – @ 70.

    How aware does one have to be in order to see, quite accurately, how the rest of Scripture treats Genesis 1-11? And you never answered my question @ 61, Louis: Where among the authors of the biblical texts do you find support for the non-literal (“true myth”) view of Genesis?

  • Leif

    If ya’ll don’t mind the tangent here goes:

    I didn’t want to comment but then stumbled across this link: Scientists Identify Antivirus System in Host Cells. In short, certain viruses developed the capability (long ago) to deceive our immune system and thus take far more advantage of us than if they didn’t. Nothing terribly new here but the concept struck me hard in light of the above convo.

    Had the viruses never developed such capability we, theoretically, wouldn’t be harmed by them. Or, phrased differently, had our immune system not been deceived the virus we wouldn’t succumb to them.

    I find it curious, especially in the sphere of what happened after mankind fell. Death, toil, etc had to be introduced and if creation was made perfect what had to happen that would make it…unperfect? Above we could see a situation where the system created to protect us had to be bypassed.

    —–

    Now, a hard switch of gears:

    What sort of meaning can we draw from the Tower of Babel? Man’s actions caused further confusion (ie. God switching up the languages on us, scattering people, etc.) but couldn’t that be argued the same as “why would God plant fossils to deceive us?” with “why would God purposely confuse us?”

    Sorry for being tardy to the party on this one, but the above two just struck me.

  • Leif

    If ya’ll don’t mind the tangent here goes:

    I didn’t want to comment but then stumbled across this link: Scientists Identify Antivirus System in Host Cells. In short, certain viruses developed the capability (long ago) to deceive our immune system and thus take far more advantage of us than if they didn’t. Nothing terribly new here but the concept struck me hard in light of the above convo.

    Had the viruses never developed such capability we, theoretically, wouldn’t be harmed by them. Or, phrased differently, had our immune system not been deceived the virus we wouldn’t succumb to them.

    I find it curious, especially in the sphere of what happened after mankind fell. Death, toil, etc had to be introduced and if creation was made perfect what had to happen that would make it…unperfect? Above we could see a situation where the system created to protect us had to be bypassed.

    —–

    Now, a hard switch of gears:

    What sort of meaning can we draw from the Tower of Babel? Man’s actions caused further confusion (ie. God switching up the languages on us, scattering people, etc.) but couldn’t that be argued the same as “why would God plant fossils to deceive us?” with “why would God purposely confuse us?”

    Sorry for being tardy to the party on this one, but the above two just struck me.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m not really sure if I can get back into this conversation, as it’s moved on quite a bit since I last left a comment, and I still had things I wanted to say about what we were talking about then. Forgive me for going back to the deep past of this morning, but …

    I still feel no one’s addressed the spectrum of interpretations when it comes to Bible text vs. science, and what’s going on there. On the one hand, we have poetic passages much like Louis refers to (“pillars” of the earth, etc.) which, as far as I know, no one interprets literally — in fact, I’d like to hear from someone knowledgeable as to whether readers through time of such passages ever took them literally. On the other hand, you have supernatural events like Jesus’ miracles — and, especially, his resurrection — which no Christian I know takes as anything other than a literal, accurate description (indeed, I don’t see how a Christian could deny the resurrection), in spite of the overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. And then, in the middle, you’ve got the beginning of Genesis, where approaches vary.

    My point in bringing this up is that any argument that stresses only one of these two approaches — reading informed by and subjugated to scientific understanding on the one hand, and reading that adheres only to the literal words of Scripture on the other — is perhaps a bit disingenuous, at least for those involved here. Those on “both” sides of this conversation can say to the other side: “why do you only go this far with that approach?”

    I also am unpersuaded by these appeals out of concern for others, if only because they so closely mirror the interests of the person making the appeal. Making it more personal, I am not worried that Tom’s argument is going to discredit Christianity to his friends by making Christians look like yahoos, nor am I worried that Louis’ argument is likely to cause any of his friends doubt the truth of Scripture.

    And, though I think I already said this, I don’t really find appeals to Church Fathers all that persuasive, either, precisely because we pick and choose from them based on whether they agree with us. Might as well appeal to Luther on the matter — which, indeed, we do … when he agrees with us, or us with him. About the only thing you can really prove with an appeal to a Church Father is that your idea isn’t all that new (or original). None of this should be seen as disparaging learning more about them or what they wrote, by the way. But they are not our norm for understanding Scripture.

    I’ll cut this comment off here and start anew in replying to subsequent points in this conversation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m not really sure if I can get back into this conversation, as it’s moved on quite a bit since I last left a comment, and I still had things I wanted to say about what we were talking about then. Forgive me for going back to the deep past of this morning, but …

    I still feel no one’s addressed the spectrum of interpretations when it comes to Bible text vs. science, and what’s going on there. On the one hand, we have poetic passages much like Louis refers to (“pillars” of the earth, etc.) which, as far as I know, no one interprets literally — in fact, I’d like to hear from someone knowledgeable as to whether readers through time of such passages ever took them literally. On the other hand, you have supernatural events like Jesus’ miracles — and, especially, his resurrection — which no Christian I know takes as anything other than a literal, accurate description (indeed, I don’t see how a Christian could deny the resurrection), in spite of the overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. And then, in the middle, you’ve got the beginning of Genesis, where approaches vary.

    My point in bringing this up is that any argument that stresses only one of these two approaches — reading informed by and subjugated to scientific understanding on the one hand, and reading that adheres only to the literal words of Scripture on the other — is perhaps a bit disingenuous, at least for those involved here. Those on “both” sides of this conversation can say to the other side: “why do you only go this far with that approach?”

    I also am unpersuaded by these appeals out of concern for others, if only because they so closely mirror the interests of the person making the appeal. Making it more personal, I am not worried that Tom’s argument is going to discredit Christianity to his friends by making Christians look like yahoos, nor am I worried that Louis’ argument is likely to cause any of his friends doubt the truth of Scripture.

    And, though I think I already said this, I don’t really find appeals to Church Fathers all that persuasive, either, precisely because we pick and choose from them based on whether they agree with us. Might as well appeal to Luther on the matter — which, indeed, we do … when he agrees with us, or us with him. About the only thing you can really prove with an appeal to a Church Father is that your idea isn’t all that new (or original). None of this should be seen as disparaging learning more about them or what they wrote, by the way. But they are not our norm for understanding Scripture.

    I’ll cut this comment off here and start anew in replying to subsequent points in this conversation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Of course, I’m sympathetic to Tom’s position here, even as I believe — somehow ;) — that Louis is a Christian.

    But I’m confused by Louis’ saying that “One of the reasons I give some credence to how the early Church interpreted the text, was that they were near contemporaries of the authors, thus less likely to bring preconceived notions, or a different epistemology / ontology [... zzzz ...] to the text.” The early Church was several millenia removed from the author of Genesis, so I assume you’re referring to Jesus or St. Paul’s references to Genesis, which is a bit indirect, of course.

    Why not travel all the way to Exodus 20 (hey, same author!) to read

    Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

    Moses certainly seems to take a “literal” interpretation of his previous book.

    Heck, for that matter, let’s look a few verses before the passage (2 Peter 3) that started this whole conversation and find Peter saying that

    [Scoffers] deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

    Again, he appears to be directly referring to the literal descriptions of Genesis.

    I’m not saying these passages can’t be understood figuratively. Of course they can. But I don’t see any evidence from within Scripture itself for that. Apparently, you have to jump to the early Christians for that. But were they truly “less likely to bring preconceived notions, or a different epistemology / ontolozzzzzzzz to the text”? Weren’t there a few heresies floating around the early Church? We certainly don’t give credence to them just because they’re early!

    “We have little in common with the original target audience”, sure, but arguably, so did Peter and those to whom he was writing. And yet, his terms mirror those of Moses.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Of course, I’m sympathetic to Tom’s position here, even as I believe — somehow ;) — that Louis is a Christian.

    But I’m confused by Louis’ saying that “One of the reasons I give some credence to how the early Church interpreted the text, was that they were near contemporaries of the authors, thus less likely to bring preconceived notions, or a different epistemology / ontology [... zzzz ...] to the text.” The early Church was several millenia removed from the author of Genesis, so I assume you’re referring to Jesus or St. Paul’s references to Genesis, which is a bit indirect, of course.

    Why not travel all the way to Exodus 20 (hey, same author!) to read

    Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

    Moses certainly seems to take a “literal” interpretation of his previous book.

    Heck, for that matter, let’s look a few verses before the passage (2 Peter 3) that started this whole conversation and find Peter saying that

    [Scoffers] deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

    Again, he appears to be directly referring to the literal descriptions of Genesis.

    I’m not saying these passages can’t be understood figuratively. Of course they can. But I don’t see any evidence from within Scripture itself for that. Apparently, you have to jump to the early Christians for that. But were they truly “less likely to bring preconceived notions, or a different epistemology / ontolozzzzzzzz to the text”? Weren’t there a few heresies floating around the early Church? We certainly don’t give credence to them just because they’re early!

    “We have little in common with the original target audience”, sure, but arguably, so did Peter and those to whom he was writing. And yet, his terms mirror those of Moses.

  • Tom Hering

    Leif @ 74, I don’t see any deceit in God breaking up man’s language. Confusing someone doesn’t have to involve deceit. You can, for example, confuse them with facts – the way Louis does with me. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Leif @ 74, I don’t see any deceit in God breaking up man’s language. Confusing someone doesn’t have to involve deceit. You can, for example, confuse them with facts – the way Louis does with me. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    “I still feel no one’s addressed the spectrum of interpretations when it comes to Bible text vs. science, and what’s going on there.” – tODD @ 75.

    I think you did – right in the same paragraph. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    “I still feel no one’s addressed the spectrum of interpretations when it comes to Bible text vs. science, and what’s going on there.” – tODD @ 75.

    I think you did – right in the same paragraph. :-)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@78), I laid it out, yes, but I’m still not sure why we — including myself — fall where we do on that spectrum.

    Like me, you believe the “pillars” passage to be self-obviously metaphor, and the creation account to be (almost all?) literalism. But why? Why do we reject the notion that the earth has pillars? Does “self-obvious” actually mean “informed by outside sources, like science”?

    And Louis, not to be insulting, but (assuming you do) why do you believe in the literalism of accounts of miracles in the Bible?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@78), I laid it out, yes, but I’m still not sure why we — including myself — fall where we do on that spectrum.

    Like me, you believe the “pillars” passage to be self-obviously metaphor, and the creation account to be (almost all?) literalism. But why? Why do we reject the notion that the earth has pillars? Does “self-obvious” actually mean “informed by outside sources, like science”?

    And Louis, not to be insulting, but (assuming you do) why do you believe in the literalism of accounts of miracles in the Bible?

  • Tom Hering

    “But why? Why do we reject the notion that the earth has pillars?”

    Because the Earth is big and heavy, and it would require a lot of pillars to support it.

    Too many for the Sun to pass through as it goes around the Earth.

  • Tom Hering

    “But why? Why do we reject the notion that the earth has pillars?”

    Because the Earth is big and heavy, and it would require a lot of pillars to support it.

    Too many for the Sun to pass through as it goes around the Earth.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, so even your silly(?) reply (@80) relies on logic and reason (i.e. science) to inform your interpretation of Scripture.

    Why is that okay for that passage, but not in Genesis 1?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, so even your silly(?) reply (@80) relies on logic and reason (i.e. science) to inform your interpretation of Scripture.

    Why is that okay for that passage, but not in Genesis 1?

  • WebMonk

    tODD, it’s a bit of stretch to use Ex 20 to say that the only way Moses viewed Genesis 1 was as a 144 hours. That statement fits just as well if the days of creation are a literary device – that’s the form with which Creation is described, and using that same form as support for a 7 day week is perfectly valid.

    And don’t forget that Deut 5 uses the captivity in Egypt as the reason for the Sabbath and makes exactly zero references to the 7th day of Creation. This shows that (at the very least) the reason for the Sabbath is not entirely based on the need for 6, 24-hour days in the Creation.

    And then there is also the Sabbath year – every seven years is explicitly tied to the seven day week, which Moses had just a little bit earlier described as being based on the six days of the Creation account. The seven-year cycle of the Sabbath year is just as strongly based on the Creation Week as the seven day cycle of the week. The seven year cycle can only be taking a symbolic basis from the Creation week, but yet it has the exact same support as the seven-day cycle of the week.

    It gets a person on shaky ground (at best) to say that by using the Creation week once as the basis for the 7-day week means that Moses had to have viewed the Creation week as a literal description, when he used the exact same Creation week as also the support for the seven year cycle of the Sabbath Years, and elsewhere used an entirely separate reason for the existence of the Sabbath day than the Creation week.

    None of that does anything like proving the Creation Week is non-literal, but it very solidly demonstrates that Ex 20 certainly doesn’t require that Moses must have viewed the Creation Week as literal.

  • WebMonk

    tODD, it’s a bit of stretch to use Ex 20 to say that the only way Moses viewed Genesis 1 was as a 144 hours. That statement fits just as well if the days of creation are a literary device – that’s the form with which Creation is described, and using that same form as support for a 7 day week is perfectly valid.

    And don’t forget that Deut 5 uses the captivity in Egypt as the reason for the Sabbath and makes exactly zero references to the 7th day of Creation. This shows that (at the very least) the reason for the Sabbath is not entirely based on the need for 6, 24-hour days in the Creation.

    And then there is also the Sabbath year – every seven years is explicitly tied to the seven day week, which Moses had just a little bit earlier described as being based on the six days of the Creation account. The seven-year cycle of the Sabbath year is just as strongly based on the Creation Week as the seven day cycle of the week. The seven year cycle can only be taking a symbolic basis from the Creation week, but yet it has the exact same support as the seven-day cycle of the week.

    It gets a person on shaky ground (at best) to say that by using the Creation week once as the basis for the 7-day week means that Moses had to have viewed the Creation week as a literal description, when he used the exact same Creation week as also the support for the seven year cycle of the Sabbath Years, and elsewhere used an entirely separate reason for the existence of the Sabbath day than the Creation week.

    None of that does anything like proving the Creation Week is non-literal, but it very solidly demonstrates that Ex 20 certainly doesn’t require that Moses must have viewed the Creation Week as literal.

  • http://simdan.com SimDan

    @Tom Hering 39

    No, that that they were dumb. But that most people then did not encounter or discuss things numbered beyond a few thousand in their day to day life. Therefore, they had little need to think in such ways or have the vocabulary to communicate it. Even in your Scripture citation, “millions” is expressed in terms of “thousands.”

    Today most people are familiar with “millions” from millionaires and cities and nations with populations in the millions, etc. They know “billions” from the income of the Fortune 500, the number of people on the planet and debates about the age of the planet. They are likely to know “trillions” from the GDP, the federal budget and the national debt.

    “Quadrillion” and beyond is likely something you will need to explain to the average Joe nor is it something that many are likely to use on their own (your mileage may vary). Not because they can’t grasp the concept, but because it is not something commonly encountered in life or discussion. And so you will find things today expressed as a “billion billion” or “million trillion.”

  • http://simdan.com SimDan

    @Tom Hering 39

    No, that that they were dumb. But that most people then did not encounter or discuss things numbered beyond a few thousand in their day to day life. Therefore, they had little need to think in such ways or have the vocabulary to communicate it. Even in your Scripture citation, “millions” is expressed in terms of “thousands.”

    Today most people are familiar with “millions” from millionaires and cities and nations with populations in the millions, etc. They know “billions” from the income of the Fortune 500, the number of people on the planet and debates about the age of the planet. They are likely to know “trillions” from the GDP, the federal budget and the national debt.

    “Quadrillion” and beyond is likely something you will need to explain to the average Joe nor is it something that many are likely to use on their own (your mileage may vary). Not because they can’t grasp the concept, but because it is not something commonly encountered in life or discussion. And so you will find things today expressed as a “billion billion” or “million trillion.”

  • WebMonk

    tODD 81 – just an example (not in Genesis) of one of the most egregious examples of taking one verse as literal and another verse as non-literal for exactly no good reason is in Psalm 104. (also Is 34 and echoed in Rev 6)

    There are numerous books produced by AiG and ICR which use Psalm 104: 2b (“he stretches out the heavens like a tent”) and Isaiah 34:4 (“…and the heavens rolled up like a scroll….”) as the basis to say that the Big Bang happened because those verses are describing heaven “expanding” – a scientific fact hidden away in the text.

    However, no one (except geocentrists) take Ps 104:5 (just 3 verses after the tent-stretching verse) as any sort of scientific detail (“He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.”) Likewise no one takes Is. 34:9 as scientific fact either (“Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch, her dust into burning sulfur;”).

    In the exact same manner, the days in Genesis 1 are required to be 24-hour days, but two verses later in Genesis 2:2 and again in 2:4 no one believes those days to be 24-hour days. (and the ordinal+day-always-equals-24-hour-day is completely bogus – a demonstrably false claim)

  • WebMonk

    tODD 81 – just an example (not in Genesis) of one of the most egregious examples of taking one verse as literal and another verse as non-literal for exactly no good reason is in Psalm 104. (also Is 34 and echoed in Rev 6)

    There are numerous books produced by AiG and ICR which use Psalm 104: 2b (“he stretches out the heavens like a tent”) and Isaiah 34:4 (“…and the heavens rolled up like a scroll….”) as the basis to say that the Big Bang happened because those verses are describing heaven “expanding” – a scientific fact hidden away in the text.

    However, no one (except geocentrists) take Ps 104:5 (just 3 verses after the tent-stretching verse) as any sort of scientific detail (“He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.”) Likewise no one takes Is. 34:9 as scientific fact either (“Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch, her dust into burning sulfur;”).

    In the exact same manner, the days in Genesis 1 are required to be 24-hour days, but two verses later in Genesis 2:2 and again in 2:4 no one believes those days to be 24-hour days. (and the ordinal+day-always-equals-24-hour-day is completely bogus – a demonstrably false claim)

  • Tom Hering

    tODD @ 81: Seriously (yes, I was being silly): “The pillars of heaven tremble and are amazed at His rebuke.” (Job 26:11.)

    I don’t see any pillars in the sky. Obviously, then, “pillars” is OT metaphor. And nothing in Scripture says my conclusion is wrong.

    Why not Genesis 1? Matthew 19:4-6, “And [Jesus] answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.’” So Jesus quotes Genesis 1:27, and precedes the quote by saying that the presence of man and woman on the Earth goes all the way back to the beginning of Creation. Now, why is He saying more than He has to about Genesis to make His point about marriage, unless He’s first reminding His hearers of the authority of Genesis – as God’s own trustworthy words about the beginning of all things?

  • Tom Hering

    tODD @ 81: Seriously (yes, I was being silly): “The pillars of heaven tremble and are amazed at His rebuke.” (Job 26:11.)

    I don’t see any pillars in the sky. Obviously, then, “pillars” is OT metaphor. And nothing in Scripture says my conclusion is wrong.

    Why not Genesis 1? Matthew 19:4-6, “And [Jesus] answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.’” So Jesus quotes Genesis 1:27, and precedes the quote by saying that the presence of man and woman on the Earth goes all the way back to the beginning of Creation. Now, why is He saying more than He has to about Genesis to make His point about marriage, unless He’s first reminding His hearers of the authority of Genesis – as God’s own trustworthy words about the beginning of all things?

  • WebMonk

    Tom, you’re playing fast and loose with what Jesus said, aren’t you? God didn’t create Man in the beginning; He made Man at the very end of the Creation. And he didn’t make them male and female – he made man and then later at some point made woman.

    In saying that you’re taking Jesus’ words literally, you’re actually only taking them partially literally. To fit Jesus’ words with Genesis, you have to say that Jesus was speaking with a fair bit of looseness when it comes to the details, and that is hardly something that matches an interpretation that says Jesus is restating/confirming scientific facts. Combine that with the “one flesh” which no one considers to be a scientific statement, and you’ve got quite a few non-literal parts in there mixed all in with the stuff claimed to be literal.

    Why are certain things taken as literal scientific facts being given and others not? Because the view that Genesis is describing a YEC view. The position that Jesus is taking Genesis as literal history is based on the position it is supporting – that Genesis 1 is literal history. A tidy little bit of circular support. It fits if Genesis 1 is literal, but it can’t be used to prove that Genesis 1 is literal.

    But there’s something else to consider – what if Genesis were not scientific in description? Would Jesus’ words still fit? Sure they would.

    “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning ‘made them male and female,’”

    That fits just as well with a non-literal view of Genesis 1. Did God create Man? Yes. From the beginning did He make them male and female? Yes. Fits in perfectly well with the non-literal view of Genesis 1.

  • WebMonk

    Tom, you’re playing fast and loose with what Jesus said, aren’t you? God didn’t create Man in the beginning; He made Man at the very end of the Creation. And he didn’t make them male and female – he made man and then later at some point made woman.

    In saying that you’re taking Jesus’ words literally, you’re actually only taking them partially literally. To fit Jesus’ words with Genesis, you have to say that Jesus was speaking with a fair bit of looseness when it comes to the details, and that is hardly something that matches an interpretation that says Jesus is restating/confirming scientific facts. Combine that with the “one flesh” which no one considers to be a scientific statement, and you’ve got quite a few non-literal parts in there mixed all in with the stuff claimed to be literal.

    Why are certain things taken as literal scientific facts being given and others not? Because the view that Genesis is describing a YEC view. The position that Jesus is taking Genesis as literal history is based on the position it is supporting – that Genesis 1 is literal history. A tidy little bit of circular support. It fits if Genesis 1 is literal, but it can’t be used to prove that Genesis 1 is literal.

    But there’s something else to consider – what if Genesis were not scientific in description? Would Jesus’ words still fit? Sure they would.

    “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning ‘made them male and female,’”

    That fits just as well with a non-literal view of Genesis 1. Did God create Man? Yes. From the beginning did He make them male and female? Yes. Fits in perfectly well with the non-literal view of Genesis 1.

  • Tom Hering

    “… you’re playing fast and loose with what Jesus said, aren’t you?”

    Thank you for striking the first low blow in this conversation.

  • Tom Hering

    “… you’re playing fast and loose with what Jesus said, aren’t you?”

    Thank you for striking the first low blow in this conversation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@82), I worry that I’ve opened a Pandora’s Box with my replies, as I’m pretty certain my comment here will only expand on your already expansive comment. And then the Fisking will begin in earnest.

    “It’s a bit of stretch to use Ex 20 to say that the only way Moses viewed Genesis 1 was as a 144 hours. That statement fits just as well if the days of creation are a literary device.” I didn’t actually say anything about “the only way”, but I do think my reading is by far the most obvious from the text itself: “Six [common, 24-hour] days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh [common, 24-hour] day is a sabbath to the LORD your God …. For in six [?] days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh [?] day.” Now, if you want to argue from the Hebrew that the latter use of “day” is distinct from the former, that’s fine, but otherwise you have to argue that the word means one thing in verse 9, but something else in verse 11. What’s more, you’ll notice the word “for” there, implying a reason: since God made the earth in six days… Ah, but now look at Deuteronomy 5:15. Is the fact that they “were slaves in Egypt” given as a reason for the institution of the Sabbath day? No. It’s just something they’re supposed to remember on the Sabbath day, which gets to the real reason behind the Sabbath.

    I have to go watch TV and eat cookies with my wife. I’ll respond to subsequent points later … maybe.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@82), I worry that I’ve opened a Pandora’s Box with my replies, as I’m pretty certain my comment here will only expand on your already expansive comment. And then the Fisking will begin in earnest.

    “It’s a bit of stretch to use Ex 20 to say that the only way Moses viewed Genesis 1 was as a 144 hours. That statement fits just as well if the days of creation are a literary device.” I didn’t actually say anything about “the only way”, but I do think my reading is by far the most obvious from the text itself: “Six [common, 24-hour] days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh [common, 24-hour] day is a sabbath to the LORD your God …. For in six [?] days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh [?] day.” Now, if you want to argue from the Hebrew that the latter use of “day” is distinct from the former, that’s fine, but otherwise you have to argue that the word means one thing in verse 9, but something else in verse 11. What’s more, you’ll notice the word “for” there, implying a reason: since God made the earth in six days… Ah, but now look at Deuteronomy 5:15. Is the fact that they “were slaves in Egypt” given as a reason for the institution of the Sabbath day? No. It’s just something they’re supposed to remember on the Sabbath day, which gets to the real reason behind the Sabbath.

    I have to go watch TV and eat cookies with my wife. I’ll respond to subsequent points later … maybe.

  • Jonathan

    nebulae is the plural.

  • Jonathan

    nebulae is the plural.

  • Tom Hering

    “That fits just as well with a non-literal view of Genesis 1. Did God create Man? Yes. From the beginning did He make them male and female? Yes. Fits in perfectly well with the non-literal view of Genesis 1.” – @ 86.

    Sure it does. Yet Jesus used Genesis as an authoritative text, to answer the Pharisees in the matter of divorce. And when the Pharisees appealed to Moses – the great prophet of God, and giver of the Old Testament laws – Jesus used Genesis authoritatively again!

    Now, what Pharisee would accept the argument that one of the myths written by Moses trumped one of the lawful permissions given by Moses – and this in a matter of great personal importance to them, and in which they believed they were being absolutely faithful to God?

    I believe Jesus would only have used Genesis to make His point if He knew his hearers considered Genesis to be something other than a myth. And I further believe that Jesus, being the True Truth-Teller, would not have used Genesis authoritatively if He Himself knew it to be a myth.

    And He, being God, would know. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    “That fits just as well with a non-literal view of Genesis 1. Did God create Man? Yes. From the beginning did He make them male and female? Yes. Fits in perfectly well with the non-literal view of Genesis 1.” – @ 86.

    Sure it does. Yet Jesus used Genesis as an authoritative text, to answer the Pharisees in the matter of divorce. And when the Pharisees appealed to Moses – the great prophet of God, and giver of the Old Testament laws – Jesus used Genesis authoritatively again!

    Now, what Pharisee would accept the argument that one of the myths written by Moses trumped one of the lawful permissions given by Moses – and this in a matter of great personal importance to them, and in which they believed they were being absolutely faithful to God?

    I believe Jesus would only have used Genesis to make His point if He knew his hearers considered Genesis to be something other than a myth. And I further believe that Jesus, being the True Truth-Teller, would not have used Genesis authoritatively if He Himself knew it to be a myth.

    And He, being God, would know. :-)

  • Paul

    I’m just an M.Div. I wish we had an Old Testament ThD contributing here. But my recollection of the basis for our view that God created in six literal days and rested on the seventh is that we have no basis from the Old Testament to interpret a ‘day’ as anything but literal. The “Day of the Lord” will be a literal day – an event which will occur on a given day. Noah experienced rain “for forty days” and forty nights. Et. passim.

    To attempt to break down the word “day” in Scripture is to leave the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture. Neither the accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 nor anywhere else in Genesis gives us license to interpret the six “days” of creation as anything other than what we normally consider a ‘day.’ It is true, without sun and moon, how would we measure the first day? That is a gap in our understanding from Scripture which Scripture itself does not fill. And for us to attempt to “fill in the gap” with a scientific or literary device would make Scripture subject to our reason or understanding.

    So, since God alone was present at the creation and He hasn’t chosen to reveal to us the ‘how’ or to explain to us the gaps in our understanding, we must merely stay with what God has revealed to us and leave the rest to ask Him later. This is the approach which Scripture itself takes as well as the Apostles and Fathers of the early Christian Church and theologians since. We see a gap in our understanding. We dare not fill it with things that God has not said.

    The original post asks if “a day is as of a thousand years” etc. could be taken to inform the Genesis account. It cannot. Because (a) that is not the purpose it is trying to serve, and (b) the original hearers of those verses would not have taken it to do that. Once again, we must stay with our hermaneutical principles. What was the genre of the section in question? What is its context? How would the first recipients have received this message? [e.g., there's no way that the Israelites at the foot of Sinai would have used God's Word in Genesis 1 and 2 to weigh the merits of the Big Bang theory.]

    I wish I could provide a reference/link to basic Lutheran/LCMS hermaneutical principles. Perhaps someone else here can.

    So what can or should we take from the Genesis account of creation? Well, let’s see: God created – the universe is not eternal but God is its cause. God provides the definition and understanding of the universe – He gave the light which allows us to understand and study it. God says that He did this in six ‘days’ and gives us no basis in His Word to redefine a ‘day.’ In this cosmos, God created a safe, beautiful place where He Himself dwells in and with His most precious creation: man and woman who bear His image. He charges them to continue his creative work on His behalf. So: we are not here by chance, but by the loving purpose and activity of God. Sin and Law came into the world by our disobedience, but it was not that way from the beginning or by God’s design. Later, God created a micro-safe-place for Noah and his family called an “ark”. When He removed His protective care, the waters of the earth and the waters of the heavens came rushing in once again. When the waters receded, the earth had been purged of the wicked.

    We must remember our hermaneutics: when was this written, to whom, and for what purpose? To make the text serve a purpose that wasn’t there when it was revealed and written (e.g., to answer the apparent disconnect between contemporary science and Scripture) is to go too far. This was the church’s error at the time of Copernicus. We should be careful not to make the same error as I believe the YEC and those who wish to use a different meaning for “day” in Genesis 1 and 2 both make.

  • Paul

    I’m just an M.Div. I wish we had an Old Testament ThD contributing here. But my recollection of the basis for our view that God created in six literal days and rested on the seventh is that we have no basis from the Old Testament to interpret a ‘day’ as anything but literal. The “Day of the Lord” will be a literal day – an event which will occur on a given day. Noah experienced rain “for forty days” and forty nights. Et. passim.

    To attempt to break down the word “day” in Scripture is to leave the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture. Neither the accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 nor anywhere else in Genesis gives us license to interpret the six “days” of creation as anything other than what we normally consider a ‘day.’ It is true, without sun and moon, how would we measure the first day? That is a gap in our understanding from Scripture which Scripture itself does not fill. And for us to attempt to “fill in the gap” with a scientific or literary device would make Scripture subject to our reason or understanding.

    So, since God alone was present at the creation and He hasn’t chosen to reveal to us the ‘how’ or to explain to us the gaps in our understanding, we must merely stay with what God has revealed to us and leave the rest to ask Him later. This is the approach which Scripture itself takes as well as the Apostles and Fathers of the early Christian Church and theologians since. We see a gap in our understanding. We dare not fill it with things that God has not said.

    The original post asks if “a day is as of a thousand years” etc. could be taken to inform the Genesis account. It cannot. Because (a) that is not the purpose it is trying to serve, and (b) the original hearers of those verses would not have taken it to do that. Once again, we must stay with our hermaneutical principles. What was the genre of the section in question? What is its context? How would the first recipients have received this message? [e.g., there's no way that the Israelites at the foot of Sinai would have used God's Word in Genesis 1 and 2 to weigh the merits of the Big Bang theory.]

    I wish I could provide a reference/link to basic Lutheran/LCMS hermaneutical principles. Perhaps someone else here can.

    So what can or should we take from the Genesis account of creation? Well, let’s see: God created – the universe is not eternal but God is its cause. God provides the definition and understanding of the universe – He gave the light which allows us to understand and study it. God says that He did this in six ‘days’ and gives us no basis in His Word to redefine a ‘day.’ In this cosmos, God created a safe, beautiful place where He Himself dwells in and with His most precious creation: man and woman who bear His image. He charges them to continue his creative work on His behalf. So: we are not here by chance, but by the loving purpose and activity of God. Sin and Law came into the world by our disobedience, but it was not that way from the beginning or by God’s design. Later, God created a micro-safe-place for Noah and his family called an “ark”. When He removed His protective care, the waters of the earth and the waters of the heavens came rushing in once again. When the waters receded, the earth had been purged of the wicked.

    We must remember our hermaneutics: when was this written, to whom, and for what purpose? To make the text serve a purpose that wasn’t there when it was revealed and written (e.g., to answer the apparent disconnect between contemporary science and Scripture) is to go too far. This was the church’s error at the time of Copernicus. We should be careful not to make the same error as I believe the YEC and those who wish to use a different meaning for “day” in Genesis 1 and 2 both make.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    To continue, WebMonk (@82), I think I’ve already shown (@88) that you are wrong to say that “Deut 5 uses the captivity in Egypt as the reason for the Sabbath”. I think you are also incorrect to say that the Sabbath year “is explicitly tied to the seven day week” — assuming you are referring to Exodus 23. I mean, the command for the Sabbath year is followed by a repeat of the Sabbath day law, yes, but again there is no “because” or “therefore” to say that the two are causally related. (Obviously, there is a correlation between the two.)

    Anyhow, way back when (@79), I had asked those here (you would be on Louis’ side, Webmonk) why they fell where they did on the spectrum of literal/metaphorical interpretations. For my part, you’re responding to the wrong texts in your comment (@84). I get why you don’t believe in literal pillars or a literal sky rolling up and all that. What I want to know is why you (or any OEC) believe in the miraculous accounts in the Bible. Why does your scientifically-informed Bible reading stop there, and not also explain those away? Say, the ten plagues, for example. You certainly can explain those away, either as pure metaphor (Yahweh’s power over the local Egyptian gods), or quasi-scientifically (“it wasn’t blood, it was silt”, etc.) I don’t actually know what you believe about the plagues themselves, but I’m pretty certain you believe in at least some of the Bible’s miraculous (i.e. un/non-scientific) accounts. So: why?

    I also still don’t get your obsession with AiG/ICR, but I’ll cover that in a private discussion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    To continue, WebMonk (@82), I think I’ve already shown (@88) that you are wrong to say that “Deut 5 uses the captivity in Egypt as the reason for the Sabbath”. I think you are also incorrect to say that the Sabbath year “is explicitly tied to the seven day week” — assuming you are referring to Exodus 23. I mean, the command for the Sabbath year is followed by a repeat of the Sabbath day law, yes, but again there is no “because” or “therefore” to say that the two are causally related. (Obviously, there is a correlation between the two.)

    Anyhow, way back when (@79), I had asked those here (you would be on Louis’ side, Webmonk) why they fell where they did on the spectrum of literal/metaphorical interpretations. For my part, you’re responding to the wrong texts in your comment (@84). I get why you don’t believe in literal pillars or a literal sky rolling up and all that. What I want to know is why you (or any OEC) believe in the miraculous accounts in the Bible. Why does your scientifically-informed Bible reading stop there, and not also explain those away? Say, the ten plagues, for example. You certainly can explain those away, either as pure metaphor (Yahweh’s power over the local Egyptian gods), or quasi-scientifically (“it wasn’t blood, it was silt”, etc.) I don’t actually know what you believe about the plagues themselves, but I’m pretty certain you believe in at least some of the Bible’s miraculous (i.e. un/non-scientific) accounts. So: why?

    I also still don’t get your obsession with AiG/ICR, but I’ll cover that in a private discussion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@85), your reply to me was that “I don’t see any pillars in the sky. Obviously, then, ‘pillars’ is OT metaphor.” But, again, your reply is based on something outside of Scripture: what you can see. That is deferring to logic, reason, and empirical observation! Which is what you and I are complaining about, to some degree. One could easily imagine a “true believer” saying, yes, you can’t see the pillars, they’re invisible, or some-such argument, if such were inclined to ignore everything but the text.

    Obviously, I’m not arguing for literal pillars here. I just think that we’re not as opposed to reason informing our Bible reading as we might like to believe.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@85), your reply to me was that “I don’t see any pillars in the sky. Obviously, then, ‘pillars’ is OT metaphor.” But, again, your reply is based on something outside of Scripture: what you can see. That is deferring to logic, reason, and empirical observation! Which is what you and I are complaining about, to some degree. One could easily imagine a “true believer” saying, yes, you can’t see the pillars, they’re invisible, or some-such argument, if such were inclined to ignore everything but the text.

    Obviously, I’m not arguing for literal pillars here. I just think that we’re not as opposed to reason informing our Bible reading as we might like to believe.

  • SAL

    I’m not particularly bothered by some Christians privately holding to YEC, OEC or (Flat-Earthism and Geo-centrism for that matter).

    However I certainly think it’s best to hide such tangential and controversial views from the broader public and focus instead on the essence of the faith of Christ.

    I also would prefer that teachers in the Church not try to peddle such theories to my daughters when they attend Sunday School/Confirmation.

  • SAL

    I’m not particularly bothered by some Christians privately holding to YEC, OEC or (Flat-Earthism and Geo-centrism for that matter).

    However I certainly think it’s best to hide such tangential and controversial views from the broader public and focus instead on the essence of the faith of Christ.

    I also would prefer that teachers in the Church not try to peddle such theories to my daughters when they attend Sunday School/Confirmation.

  • Tom Hering

    “That is deferring to logic, reason, and empirical observation! Which is what you and I are complaining about, to some degree … I just think that we’re not as opposed to reason informing our Bible reading as we might like to believe.” – @ 93.

    No, I don’t think we are opposed to reason informing our Bible reading, tODD. After all, God has said, “Come now, and let us reason together.” I only start complaining when the “together” part is forgotten by others, and the reasoning is man’s alone – setting science high above revelation. In other words, when God’s revelation is not allowed to inform man’s reason.

  • Tom Hering

    “That is deferring to logic, reason, and empirical observation! Which is what you and I are complaining about, to some degree … I just think that we’re not as opposed to reason informing our Bible reading as we might like to believe.” – @ 93.

    No, I don’t think we are opposed to reason informing our Bible reading, tODD. After all, God has said, “Come now, and let us reason together.” I only start complaining when the “together” part is forgotten by others, and the reasoning is man’s alone – setting science high above revelation. In other words, when God’s revelation is not allowed to inform man’s reason.

  • WebMonk

    Lots and lots of things have been brought up, way too many to touch on them all, unfortunately. I’m just going to pick the low-hanging fruit here, as the other things need longer discussions – long enough that a single post with them all would be truly massive.

    Tom 87, my opening phrase in 86 should have had a smiley face after it or something. It was intended in jest. Sorry about not making that clear.

    #90 “I believe Jesus would only have used Genesis to make His point if He knew his hearers considered Genesis to be something other than a myth.”
    Not even remotely true. There are Jewish writings from well before the time of Christ which show a non-literal understanding of Genesis 1. Jewish scholars didn’t take Genesis as a myth, but neither did they necessarily take it as literal description either.

    #88 tODD. Ex 20:8-11 already has an interspersion of 24-hour and non-24-hour days, even with a YEC understanding. God resting on the 7th day isn’t a 24-hour day referenc. Everyone I know, YEC/OEC/TULIP/WWJD/FTW/whatever, all take that as a non-literal day which still continues. Even the YEC understanding of that verse picks certain days to be 24-hours and others to be non-24-hours.

    (and as a jesting aside, since when has theology EVER gone with a simple reading of anything?!? Arminianism, Calvinism, Lutheranism, Catholicism, and all the other -isms don’t take verses just by their straightforward reading!!)

    re: Deut 5:15 “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.”
    Why did God command them to observe the Sabbath? Because of God’s work in Egypt. (that, of course, would be the straightforward reading! :-) )

    I agree with @91 that 1000 years = day = 1000 years doesn’t directly impact on Genesis 1 – it’s just such a tempting thing to use that it gets pulled into the conversation regardless of validity.

    @91 I would argue that scriptures indicate that Genesis 1 should not be taken literally, just based on scripture. That’s how my move from YEC to OEC began. I think I mentioned how there are already certain days in Gen 1&2 that even the YEC interpretation recognizes as non-24-hour days.

    (this will also speak some to tODD’s questions in @92 about why I don’t have any trouble accepting other miracles in the Bible)

    The format of Genesis 1-2 is extremely stylized, chiastic, poetic, and epic. It follows almost every major form of Hebraic poetry. It has a chiasm built into it. It uses highly repetitive phrases. It has the overall narrative following patterns. It doesn’t follow a strictly chronological pattern.

    Those are all basic facts that everyone, YEC and OEC, recognize and acknowledge. However, the YEC view insists that it is still intended to be a literal, camcorder-like recounting of events.

    If this passage were transfered, verbatim, into the Psalms, it would fit very nicely. In fact there are Psalms which use fewer literary techniques than Genesis 1&2.

    That is why I don’t have any issue saying that Genesis 1-3 is not a literal description of events, while Jesus’ rise from the dead is. The two types of literature are wildly, drastically different. One is clearly intended to tell people of particular events that happened in a very precise way. The other is a highly stylized and epic description of God’s power and actions, not intended to convey scientific details.

    But then, you need to take what I believe with a grain of salt. I think that the Lutheran interpretation which extracts infant baptism out of the Bible stretches things well beyond what is said. Obviously I’m deranged. :-D

    My “obsession” with AiG and ICR is that they are to whom most YEC people in the look for YEC resources – I’m discussing the largest body of YEC teaching to which the vast majority of YEC people ascribe. Put those two together and you have over 90% of the YEC market of produced materials and activity. They’re sort of hard to ignore.

  • WebMonk

    Lots and lots of things have been brought up, way too many to touch on them all, unfortunately. I’m just going to pick the low-hanging fruit here, as the other things need longer discussions – long enough that a single post with them all would be truly massive.

    Tom 87, my opening phrase in 86 should have had a smiley face after it or something. It was intended in jest. Sorry about not making that clear.

    #90 “I believe Jesus would only have used Genesis to make His point if He knew his hearers considered Genesis to be something other than a myth.”
    Not even remotely true. There are Jewish writings from well before the time of Christ which show a non-literal understanding of Genesis 1. Jewish scholars didn’t take Genesis as a myth, but neither did they necessarily take it as literal description either.

    #88 tODD. Ex 20:8-11 already has an interspersion of 24-hour and non-24-hour days, even with a YEC understanding. God resting on the 7th day isn’t a 24-hour day referenc. Everyone I know, YEC/OEC/TULIP/WWJD/FTW/whatever, all take that as a non-literal day which still continues. Even the YEC understanding of that verse picks certain days to be 24-hours and others to be non-24-hours.

    (and as a jesting aside, since when has theology EVER gone with a simple reading of anything?!? Arminianism, Calvinism, Lutheranism, Catholicism, and all the other -isms don’t take verses just by their straightforward reading!!)

    re: Deut 5:15 “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.”
    Why did God command them to observe the Sabbath? Because of God’s work in Egypt. (that, of course, would be the straightforward reading! :-) )

    I agree with @91 that 1000 years = day = 1000 years doesn’t directly impact on Genesis 1 – it’s just such a tempting thing to use that it gets pulled into the conversation regardless of validity.

    @91 I would argue that scriptures indicate that Genesis 1 should not be taken literally, just based on scripture. That’s how my move from YEC to OEC began. I think I mentioned how there are already certain days in Gen 1&2 that even the YEC interpretation recognizes as non-24-hour days.

    (this will also speak some to tODD’s questions in @92 about why I don’t have any trouble accepting other miracles in the Bible)

    The format of Genesis 1-2 is extremely stylized, chiastic, poetic, and epic. It follows almost every major form of Hebraic poetry. It has a chiasm built into it. It uses highly repetitive phrases. It has the overall narrative following patterns. It doesn’t follow a strictly chronological pattern.

    Those are all basic facts that everyone, YEC and OEC, recognize and acknowledge. However, the YEC view insists that it is still intended to be a literal, camcorder-like recounting of events.

    If this passage were transfered, verbatim, into the Psalms, it would fit very nicely. In fact there are Psalms which use fewer literary techniques than Genesis 1&2.

    That is why I don’t have any issue saying that Genesis 1-3 is not a literal description of events, while Jesus’ rise from the dead is. The two types of literature are wildly, drastically different. One is clearly intended to tell people of particular events that happened in a very precise way. The other is a highly stylized and epic description of God’s power and actions, not intended to convey scientific details.

    But then, you need to take what I believe with a grain of salt. I think that the Lutheran interpretation which extracts infant baptism out of the Bible stretches things well beyond what is said. Obviously I’m deranged. :-D

    My “obsession” with AiG and ICR is that they are to whom most YEC people in the look for YEC resources – I’m discussing the largest body of YEC teaching to which the vast majority of YEC people ascribe. Put those two together and you have over 90% of the YEC market of produced materials and activity. They’re sort of hard to ignore.

  • Tom Hering

    “… my opening phrase in 86 … was intended in jest.” – WebMonk @ 96.

    I’ll buy that. :-)

    “Jewish scholars didn’t take Genesis as a myth, but neither did they necessarily take it as literal description either.” – @ 96.

    My point wasn’t so much that they didn’t take Genesis as myth, as it was that Jesus, in Matthew 19:4-6, used Genesis (1:27, 5:2, 2:24) in an authoritative way. But who, then or now, would see “poetry” as more authoritative than law?

  • Tom Hering

    “… my opening phrase in 86 … was intended in jest.” – WebMonk @ 96.

    I’ll buy that. :-)

    “Jewish scholars didn’t take Genesis as a myth, but neither did they necessarily take it as literal description either.” – @ 96.

    My point wasn’t so much that they didn’t take Genesis as myth, as it was that Jesus, in Matthew 19:4-6, used Genesis (1:27, 5:2, 2:24) in an authoritative way. But who, then or now, would see “poetry” as more authoritative than law?

  • WebMonk

    Do you ever see anything in Psalms as authoritative? In Revelation? Job? Proverbs? The Magnificat? The Beatitudes? Parables? Prophets in the OT?

    Just because something doesn’t come out of a history tome doesn’t make it non-authoritative or untrue.

  • WebMonk

    Do you ever see anything in Psalms as authoritative? In Revelation? Job? Proverbs? The Magnificat? The Beatitudes? Parables? Prophets in the OT?

    Just because something doesn’t come out of a history tome doesn’t make it non-authoritative or untrue.

  • Tom Hering

    So are we talking poetry? Or history and prophecy with a poetic style?

    But wait. It just occurred to me. There are a multitude of pure poems in the world whose content is made up of literal facts, history, and biography.

    So, yeah – you’re right. Poetry can be authoritative.

    Maybe the fiction / non-fiction thing isn’t so clear cut after all.

  • Tom Hering

    So are we talking poetry? Or history and prophecy with a poetic style?

    But wait. It just occurred to me. There are a multitude of pure poems in the world whose content is made up of literal facts, history, and biography.

    So, yeah – you’re right. Poetry can be authoritative.

    Maybe the fiction / non-fiction thing isn’t so clear cut after all.

  • WebMonk

    So the only thing that can be authoritative is something that is based on historic fact, whether it be in verse format or not?

    I think Jesus would have some issue with that. After all, in Matt 22 Jesus uses Psalm 110 as something to stump the Pharisees. It was certainly a poetic passage without historical recounting, but both Jesus and the Pharisees accepted it as an authoritative statement.

    There are scores of other places where Jesus and the other authors of the NT use Psalms and other completely figurative passages as perfectly authoritative.

    Non-historical statements can be just as authoritative as any other. That’s demonstrated dozens of times all over the NT.

  • WebMonk

    So the only thing that can be authoritative is something that is based on historic fact, whether it be in verse format or not?

    I think Jesus would have some issue with that. After all, in Matt 22 Jesus uses Psalm 110 as something to stump the Pharisees. It was certainly a poetic passage without historical recounting, but both Jesus and the Pharisees accepted it as an authoritative statement.

    There are scores of other places where Jesus and the other authors of the NT use Psalms and other completely figurative passages as perfectly authoritative.

    Non-historical statements can be just as authoritative as any other. That’s demonstrated dozens of times all over the NT.

  • Tom Hering

    “… in Matt 22 Jesus uses Psalm 110 as something to stump the Pharisees. It was certainly a poetic passage without historical recounting, but both Jesus and the Pharisees accepted it as an authoritative statement.”

    David was an historical figure, and the quoted Psalm was attributed to him. So I’m not sure what you mean.

  • Tom Hering

    “… in Matt 22 Jesus uses Psalm 110 as something to stump the Pharisees. It was certainly a poetic passage without historical recounting, but both Jesus and the Pharisees accepted it as an authoritative statement.”

    David was an historical figure, and the quoted Psalm was attributed to him. So I’m not sure what you mean.

  • WebMonk

    The statement “The Lord said to my Lord …..” is not something that has a historical basis. God the Father didn’t have a conversation with God the Son saying Psalm 110:1. Yet all the same, it is accepted as a completely authoritative description of Jesus and David and God.

  • WebMonk

    The statement “The Lord said to my Lord …..” is not something that has a historical basis. God the Father didn’t have a conversation with God the Son saying Psalm 110:1. Yet all the same, it is accepted as a completely authoritative description of Jesus and David and God.

  • Tom Hering

    “The statement ‘The Lord said to my Lord …..’ is not something that has a historical basis. God the Father didn’t have a conversation with God the Son saying Psalm 110:1.”

    But Jesus says that David spoke these words in the Spirit, which means David prophesied, which is something that a person who really lived really did. So Psalm 110:1 is authoritative, in part, because it’s a record of something God performed in history.

  • Tom Hering

    “The statement ‘The Lord said to my Lord …..’ is not something that has a historical basis. God the Father didn’t have a conversation with God the Son saying Psalm 110:1.”

    But Jesus says that David spoke these words in the Spirit, which means David prophesied, which is something that a person who really lived really did. So Psalm 110:1 is authoritative, in part, because it’s a record of something God performed in history.

  • WebMonk

    By that definition, everything is “literal” in the Psalms. David spoke the words in the Spirit, meaning David prophesied, which is something that a person who really lived really did. So all of Psalms is authoritative, in part, because it’s a record of something God performed in history.

    That doesn’t actually narrow anything down – the “pillars” are just as authoritative with your concept of the Psalms as everything else because the “pillars” qualify as David speaking the words in the Spirit, prophesying, and that is something that a person who really lived really did.

    And if you get technical about it, your concept of that would make a figurative Genesis just as authoritative as a literal Genesis, since Moses spoke the words in the Spirit, which means they are something that a person who really lived really did – even a figurative Genesis qualifies as fully authoritative according to the way you just classified it. “Pillars” and “immovable earth” and “spread the heavens like a tent” would all be just as authoritative as Ps 110:1, so, where are the pillars?

    It’s not just Ps 110:1 either, but all of Psalms which is used throughout the Bible as authoritative even though it’s not literal history accounts.

  • WebMonk

    By that definition, everything is “literal” in the Psalms. David spoke the words in the Spirit, meaning David prophesied, which is something that a person who really lived really did. So all of Psalms is authoritative, in part, because it’s a record of something God performed in history.

    That doesn’t actually narrow anything down – the “pillars” are just as authoritative with your concept of the Psalms as everything else because the “pillars” qualify as David speaking the words in the Spirit, prophesying, and that is something that a person who really lived really did.

    And if you get technical about it, your concept of that would make a figurative Genesis just as authoritative as a literal Genesis, since Moses spoke the words in the Spirit, which means they are something that a person who really lived really did – even a figurative Genesis qualifies as fully authoritative according to the way you just classified it. “Pillars” and “immovable earth” and “spread the heavens like a tent” would all be just as authoritative as Ps 110:1, so, where are the pillars?

    It’s not just Ps 110:1 either, but all of Psalms which is used throughout the Bible as authoritative even though it’s not literal history accounts.

  • Isiaah fedur

    If one day is like a thousand years to God, then how much is one minute to God?

    I really dont know how to do the calculations.

  • Isiaah fedur

    If one day is like a thousand years to God, then how much is one minute to God?

    I really dont know how to do the calculations.

  • http://www.bibletimeline.co.za Philip Swart

    Go in on Google and enter above web address then click on website with heading: 2Pet.3:08. Study, enjoy and let me know what you think.
    Phil.

  • http://www.bibletimeline.co.za Philip Swart

    Go in on Google and enter above web address then click on website with heading: 2Pet.3:08. Study, enjoy and let me know what you think.
    Phil.


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