“Something close to a creationist” and “potentially evangelical”

A professor passed over for a job because he questioned evolution sued for religious discrimination.  The university has settled:

The University of Kentucky will pay $125,000 to an astronomy professor who sued the school for religious discrimination.

A motion filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Lexington said that both UK and C. Martin Gaskell, a research fellow at the University of Texas-Austin, now want the lawsuit thrown out. It had been scheduled to go to trial on Feb. 8.

The lawsuit had provided fodder for Internet news and blog sites discussing religious faith versus academic reasoning.

Gaskell claimed that he was passed over for a job as director of UK’s MacAdam Student Observatory three years ago because of his religion and statements that were perceived to be critical of evolution. He was being represented in the case by attorneys from the American Center for Law and Justice.

Gaskell was a top candidate for the job, according to court filings, but some UK professors called him “something close to a creationist” and “potentially evangelical” in department e-mail messages.

via UK settles religious-discrimination suit for $125,000 | Education | Kentucky.com.

I suspect Prof. Gaskell maintains his beliefs are scientific rather than religious, but surely the University was discriminating against him on the grounds of religion.  The very possibility that he was “potentially evangelical”  was enough for the school to blackball him.

HT:  Kirk

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.

  • WebMonk

    He’s definitely not young earth creationist, he has emphatically denied that.

  • WebMonk

    He’s definitely not young earth creationist, he has emphatically denied that.

  • WebMonk

    There’s more to this going on behind the scenes, I suspect. The lawsuit would have been for a lot more than $125K, but they settled for that.

    On the university’s side, I’m sure they were glad to settle it for less than what the lawyer fees would have been.

    On his side, I’m not sure why he settled for so little. Maybe after he paid his lawyers he wasn’t going to actually net more than $125K.

  • WebMonk

    There’s more to this going on behind the scenes, I suspect. The lawsuit would have been for a lot more than $125K, but they settled for that.

    On the university’s side, I’m sure they were glad to settle it for less than what the lawyer fees would have been.

    On his side, I’m not sure why he settled for so little. Maybe after he paid his lawyers he wasn’t going to actually net more than $125K.

  • John C

    Or, to put it another way.
    Would Patrick Henry College employ an athiest to teach comparative religion?

  • John C

    Or, to put it another way.
    Would Patrick Henry College employ an athiest to teach comparative religion?

  • WebMonk

    John C – different situation entirely, as PHC is strictly a private college, whereas the University of Kentucky is a public institution. The comparison isn’t valid.

  • WebMonk

    John C – different situation entirely, as PHC is strictly a private college, whereas the University of Kentucky is a public institution. The comparison isn’t valid.

  • Melissa

    I recommend the Ben Stein documentary, “Expelled” which brings to light the new indoctrination of higher learning. Basic re-cap: No longer is Academia a marketplace for new ideas, especially among the scientific community. Highlighted subjects; intelligent design, evolution, Richard Dawkins, academic criticism, et al.

  • Melissa

    I recommend the Ben Stein documentary, “Expelled” which brings to light the new indoctrination of higher learning. Basic re-cap: No longer is Academia a marketplace for new ideas, especially among the scientific community. Highlighted subjects; intelligent design, evolution, Richard Dawkins, academic criticism, et al.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    The issue concerns two things: first the right of an association to control its own information and language; second the public nature of the state university.

    As to the first, there is a tension that we should not take lightly, as we all believe that the University is obligated in some sense to exclude some kinds of information and language. We do not expect our children to go to college and hear a lecture by Larry the Cable Guy or George Noory. The question we must grapple with is not so much whether schools exclude, but what.

    The public university problem is a bit of a bigger issue. If a university is allowed to exclude someone because of their beliefs, is that in the best public interest? Most of us would probably not want to restrict people based upon beliefs, but we would want to restrict what they taught. Now it may not be correct, but “science” has always seen itself as the neutral language, and I am not sure we would want to change that. Would you like a wiccan teaching biochemistry? The answer, of course, would be something like “only if she were teaching actual bio-chemistry science”.

    The fact that the school settled demonstrates that there was some real discrimination going on here, but the larger conversation is complex.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    The issue concerns two things: first the right of an association to control its own information and language; second the public nature of the state university.

    As to the first, there is a tension that we should not take lightly, as we all believe that the University is obligated in some sense to exclude some kinds of information and language. We do not expect our children to go to college and hear a lecture by Larry the Cable Guy or George Noory. The question we must grapple with is not so much whether schools exclude, but what.

    The public university problem is a bit of a bigger issue. If a university is allowed to exclude someone because of their beliefs, is that in the best public interest? Most of us would probably not want to restrict people based upon beliefs, but we would want to restrict what they taught. Now it may not be correct, but “science” has always seen itself as the neutral language, and I am not sure we would want to change that. Would you like a wiccan teaching biochemistry? The answer, of course, would be something like “only if she were teaching actual bio-chemistry science”.

    The fact that the school settled demonstrates that there was some real discrimination going on here, but the larger conversation is complex.

  • Joe

    WebMonk – ALCJ works for free (or close too free). So their settlements tend too be lower – it is a larger net for the client than the normal situation.

  • Joe

    WebMonk – ALCJ works for free (or close too free). So their settlements tend too be lower – it is a larger net for the client than the normal situation.

  • John C

    Au contraire webmonk. The question raises the issue of academic freedom in public and private institutions.
    According to Wikipedia, Christianity Today gives “Expelled” a positive review while the New York Times described the film as a “conspiracy theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry”. In other words Melissa, this film is not to taken seriously. Nor should any institition that uses this documentary as part of its science curriculm.
    Science and religion are separate domains.

  • John C

    Au contraire webmonk. The question raises the issue of academic freedom in public and private institutions.
    According to Wikipedia, Christianity Today gives “Expelled” a positive review while the New York Times described the film as a “conspiracy theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry”. In other words Melissa, this film is not to taken seriously. Nor should any institition that uses this documentary as part of its science curriculm.
    Science and religion are separate domains.

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

    John C,
    Attending Concordia Irvine, Dr. Rosenbladt used to rattle professors of state universities telling them we can get an evolutionist to speak to our students can you allow a creationist to speak to yours?
    And I will say, that at least at Irvine, though the professors were creationists even in the biology department, they challenged many of the assumptions typically made by creationists, many thought they might be “something close to evolutionists” thankfully though they were thoroughly evangelical in the best sense of that word, which is to say they were staunch Lutherans.

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

    John C,
    Attending Concordia Irvine, Dr. Rosenbladt used to rattle professors of state universities telling them we can get an evolutionist to speak to our students can you allow a creationist to speak to yours?
    And I will say, that at least at Irvine, though the professors were creationists even in the biology department, they challenged many of the assumptions typically made by creationists, many thought they might be “something close to evolutionists” thankfully though they were thoroughly evangelical in the best sense of that word, which is to say they were staunch Lutherans.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Diversity is great until someone does something different.

    Academic thought police, ah, the post modern state-run, closed-minded academia.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Diversity is great until someone does something different.

    Academic thought police, ah, the post modern state-run, closed-minded academia.

  • WebMonk

    Melissa, “Expelled” has long since been exposed to have been … “exaggerated”. A more accurate term could be “fabricated”.

    John C, if you’re talking about the legalities of the situation, (and since this is about a lawsuit, it’s definitely about the legalities) there are huge differences between this happening at a public and private university.

    If you’re just talking about the societal concerns, then sure, they can be analogous to some extent.

    Bror, I highly doubt that Dr. Rosenbladt’s question actually “rattled” anyone. Public universities fairly commonly have creationists speak on their premises to their students – they’re brought on all the time by various Christian student groups.

  • WebMonk

    Melissa, “Expelled” has long since been exposed to have been … “exaggerated”. A more accurate term could be “fabricated”.

    John C, if you’re talking about the legalities of the situation, (and since this is about a lawsuit, it’s definitely about the legalities) there are huge differences between this happening at a public and private university.

    If you’re just talking about the societal concerns, then sure, they can be analogous to some extent.

    Bror, I highly doubt that Dr. Rosenbladt’s question actually “rattled” anyone. Public universities fairly commonly have creationists speak on their premises to their students – they’re brought on all the time by various Christian student groups.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    I think John’s statement above is the core of the issue.

    “Most of us would probably not want to restrict people based upon beliefs, but we would want to restrict what they taught. Now it may not be correct, but “science” has always seen itself as the neutral language, and I am not sure we would want to change that. Would you like a wiccan teaching biochemistry? The answer, of course, would be something like “only if she were teaching actual bio-chemistry science”.

    One would have to demonstrate that person X was going to go beyond the confines of the subject.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    I think John’s statement above is the core of the issue.

    “Most of us would probably not want to restrict people based upon beliefs, but we would want to restrict what they taught. Now it may not be correct, but “science” has always seen itself as the neutral language, and I am not sure we would want to change that. Would you like a wiccan teaching biochemistry? The answer, of course, would be something like “only if she were teaching actual bio-chemistry science”.

    One would have to demonstrate that person X was going to go beyond the confines of the subject.

  • Porcell

    John C Science and religion are separate domains. True, though in this case the “scientists” at the University of Kentucky apparently passed over a well qualified astronomer for a job on the basis of his religious views.

    Not a few evolutionary biologists and other scientists have attempted to smuggle philosophical and theological views into their “science.” A recent example of this would be Hawking and Mlodinow in Grand Design ,arguing that philosophy and natural theology had been made null from modern developments in physics, especially string theory.

  • Porcell

    John C Science and religion are separate domains. True, though in this case the “scientists” at the University of Kentucky apparently passed over a well qualified astronomer for a job on the basis of his religious views.

    Not a few evolutionary biologists and other scientists have attempted to smuggle philosophical and theological views into their “science.” A recent example of this would be Hawking and Mlodinow in Grand Design ,arguing that philosophy and natural theology had been made null from modern developments in physics, especially string theory.

  • Tom Hering

    I wonder if the problem with the teaching of science isn’t the way it’s taught, e.g., “Here’s the truth about such-and-such. Accept it.” Rather than, “Here’s what’s believed to be the truth about such-and-such. What supports this belief? What challenges it?”

  • Tom Hering

    I wonder if the problem with the teaching of science isn’t the way it’s taught, e.g., “Here’s the truth about such-and-such. Accept it.” Rather than, “Here’s what’s believed to be the truth about such-and-such. What supports this belief? What challenges it?”

  • Ryan

    Science and Religion are not strictly separate domains because they both operate in the realm of Truth, they just have different sources for Truth – Observational versus Revelational. In Christianity, Observational Truth is subservient to Revelational Truth- thus Theology was the queens of the Sciences (old term for ‘knowledge’) up until the modern age. This source of Truth divide does not effect the science classroom when responding to observational question like ‘What is this here’ but can having profound philosophical differences in responding to ‘Why is this here’ which can wander into the realm of Revelatory truth.

  • Ryan

    Science and Religion are not strictly separate domains because they both operate in the realm of Truth, they just have different sources for Truth – Observational versus Revelational. In Christianity, Observational Truth is subservient to Revelational Truth- thus Theology was the queens of the Sciences (old term for ‘knowledge’) up until the modern age. This source of Truth divide does not effect the science classroom when responding to observational question like ‘What is this here’ but can having profound philosophical differences in responding to ‘Why is this here’ which can wander into the realm of Revelatory truth.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    True, Porcell, there are some such folks with a Dawkins-like agenda, apparently. But I’ve yet to come across any of them. I think, despite the impressions generated from anecdotal evidence, that these fellows are in the relative minority.

    Tom: Science, when well taught, follows an approach similar to that being followed when teaching Euclidean Geometry – building blocks. So that by the time you reach some advance theories, you should have a pretty reasonable understanding as to what lies underneath, so-to-speak.

    As to challenges: There are many schools of thought surrounding many issues in Geology (for instance) – I witnessed many intense debates over something in my own fields, namely the mechanics of kimberlitic volcanism – magmatic or phreatomagmatic. Evidence was called discussed, even experiments done (btw, these where some of the coolest science experiments I’ve ever come across). It ain’t completey settled yet.

    In all the science lectures, debates, conferences, colloquia I have attended, questions and debate were welcomed and encouraged.

    The picture YEC’ists paint of science in general is just not true.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    True, Porcell, there are some such folks with a Dawkins-like agenda, apparently. But I’ve yet to come across any of them. I think, despite the impressions generated from anecdotal evidence, that these fellows are in the relative minority.

    Tom: Science, when well taught, follows an approach similar to that being followed when teaching Euclidean Geometry – building blocks. So that by the time you reach some advance theories, you should have a pretty reasonable understanding as to what lies underneath, so-to-speak.

    As to challenges: There are many schools of thought surrounding many issues in Geology (for instance) – I witnessed many intense debates over something in my own fields, namely the mechanics of kimberlitic volcanism – magmatic or phreatomagmatic. Evidence was called discussed, even experiments done (btw, these where some of the coolest science experiments I’ve ever come across). It ain’t completey settled yet.

    In all the science lectures, debates, conferences, colloquia I have attended, questions and debate were welcomed and encouraged.

    The picture YEC’ists paint of science in general is just not true.

  • DonS

    Good discussion.

    John C — a public institution has a Constitutional obligation to be non-discriminatory. It is not allowed to discriminate against a potential hire because of his religious beliefs. Period. Private institutions, such as PHC, have more leeway in that regard, particularly if they refuse to take any government funds, as PHC does. Even so, the discrimination must be directly related to the job function. In other words, as an example, my law firm cannot refuse to hire Jews because we don’t care for Jews. But, since PHC is a Christian institution, desiring to teach from a Christian perspective, it is allowed to limit its hiring to those professing Christian beliefs.

    Ryan @ 15 — Bravo. Well said. I grow tired of the saw that science and religions are separate domains, because our faith clearly teaches that God is the Author of everything, obviously including science. Moreover, I would argue strongly that one cannot truly understand science without the perspective of an understanding of its Author. Which is why, I believe, scientists get all snarled up when they attempt to extrapolate observational science to time periods far in the past or future, beyond their direct powers of observation.

    Tom @ 14: YES!!!!! Exactly! Teach theory as theory! What a concept. Most of this kind of stuff, like what happened to Gaskell at UK, would go away if scientists would just teach theory as theory, rather than egotistically teaching it as absolute unshakable truth.

  • DonS

    Good discussion.

    John C — a public institution has a Constitutional obligation to be non-discriminatory. It is not allowed to discriminate against a potential hire because of his religious beliefs. Period. Private institutions, such as PHC, have more leeway in that regard, particularly if they refuse to take any government funds, as PHC does. Even so, the discrimination must be directly related to the job function. In other words, as an example, my law firm cannot refuse to hire Jews because we don’t care for Jews. But, since PHC is a Christian institution, desiring to teach from a Christian perspective, it is allowed to limit its hiring to those professing Christian beliefs.

    Ryan @ 15 — Bravo. Well said. I grow tired of the saw that science and religions are separate domains, because our faith clearly teaches that God is the Author of everything, obviously including science. Moreover, I would argue strongly that one cannot truly understand science without the perspective of an understanding of its Author. Which is why, I believe, scientists get all snarled up when they attempt to extrapolate observational science to time periods far in the past or future, beyond their direct powers of observation.

    Tom @ 14: YES!!!!! Exactly! Teach theory as theory! What a concept. Most of this kind of stuff, like what happened to Gaskell at UK, would go away if scientists would just teach theory as theory, rather than egotistically teaching it as absolute unshakable truth.

  • Larry

    I think Ryan nails it because this does get into the discussion of revelatory based truth, sola scriptura, and expands to all articles of faith even unto the sacraments. Luther makes the argument that ultimately nothing trumps the scriptures and he well understood the circular nature of that, but then that goes back into paradox and “is reason servant to Christ or Scripture to reason”, the later in whatever fine pious form it finds itself is really unbelief.
    In this what Luther would say is that even more or less very “logical arguments” both deductive and inductive (the realm of science proper) should not at all be the basis for ones faith or assent to what the Scriptures say and that if one’s “faith” is rooted their, on the arguments, its really unbelief. The arguments are “good” in a negative sense, and quite often used enthusiast logic against them, but they are “good” in the negative sense in that they “cause a pause” by unhinging what one thinks is otherwise solid. Which in way might at least “grab one’s attention” like clearing your throat so as to then be heard and speak.

    Luther points out without exception that all articles of faith are rooted singularly upon the Word of God even and especially unto offense to reason. This applies to Creation, the Trinity, Justification, the two natures, the sacraments. The basic logic behind the denial of the sacraments is the same basic logic that denies creation, justification, the trinity…to wit they all say in some form in revealing their root reason for denying ANY or ALL articles of faith that, “this is offensive to all reason”, whether it’s a secular atheist denying creation, a Muslim denying the trinity, the pope denying justification or heterodoxy denying the sacraments. This principle is quotable and extractable from all their writings and for those that have them, from their written and professed confessions of faith.

    But one might say yes but the Word is not that clear. Luther again denies this, the problem does not lie in the Word but in the fallen soul, mind and reason of us men, the Word is actually crystal clear on such issues. To say the Word is not clear is really unbelief and condemning the Word of God. Which brings up the point that men really do display their fallenness by such. One has to remember Luther is functioning, as did Paul from the root basis that what Scripture and revelation has given is THE truth, not an option among many. E.g. Revelation says the law is written on EVERYONE’s heart (Paul in Romans). Here Luther would realize that even though men might face to face argue about what is the truth and put up a good front, but that the REAL reality is what Scripture stated, “their consciences constantly judging them or excusing them” due to the operation of the Law. In a word the Law operates whether you believe it does or not and proof of this is your conscience judging or excusing you. You can deny and argue that you don’t breath air, but your lungs exhibit a different fact in spite of your argument to the contrary.

    So when men complain, “Scripture is confusing who can the truth”, they are just exhibiting for all to see, for the record, not that scripture is indeed confusing but that in their darkness they refuse its plain and clear revelation. However, the confession of he/she who is stricken by the superiority of revelation via scripture OVER reason (and feelings and experiences of the senses) is like this, “I, I say I, don’t understand because I, I, refuse to do so.” That is to speak WITH the Word the situation, to finally at last send the cry out to the right address. It is that epiphany moment of “who I am, the man and the sinner, born in sin, dead and blind”, confessing God’s Words about myself at last and finally…a real and not pretend confession. A, “I sought and seek my own way, Lord.”

    It’s like when a certain famous atheist was posed with the question in a hypothetical, for him, reality he answered more correctly than do most Christians, “What if Christ DID rise from the dead”? His answer, “Well, that changes everything”. And INDEED it does about creation, the Trinity, justification, the two natures and the sacraments…NOW reason shuts up and becomes the servant and confesses, “Your word is truth even if I don’t understand, it is as you say Lord, amen.” This was the confession of Mary, she did not understand these things, but treasured them up in her heart.

  • Larry

    I think Ryan nails it because this does get into the discussion of revelatory based truth, sola scriptura, and expands to all articles of faith even unto the sacraments. Luther makes the argument that ultimately nothing trumps the scriptures and he well understood the circular nature of that, but then that goes back into paradox and “is reason servant to Christ or Scripture to reason”, the later in whatever fine pious form it finds itself is really unbelief.
    In this what Luther would say is that even more or less very “logical arguments” both deductive and inductive (the realm of science proper) should not at all be the basis for ones faith or assent to what the Scriptures say and that if one’s “faith” is rooted their, on the arguments, its really unbelief. The arguments are “good” in a negative sense, and quite often used enthusiast logic against them, but they are “good” in the negative sense in that they “cause a pause” by unhinging what one thinks is otherwise solid. Which in way might at least “grab one’s attention” like clearing your throat so as to then be heard and speak.

    Luther points out without exception that all articles of faith are rooted singularly upon the Word of God even and especially unto offense to reason. This applies to Creation, the Trinity, Justification, the two natures, the sacraments. The basic logic behind the denial of the sacraments is the same basic logic that denies creation, justification, the trinity…to wit they all say in some form in revealing their root reason for denying ANY or ALL articles of faith that, “this is offensive to all reason”, whether it’s a secular atheist denying creation, a Muslim denying the trinity, the pope denying justification or heterodoxy denying the sacraments. This principle is quotable and extractable from all their writings and for those that have them, from their written and professed confessions of faith.

    But one might say yes but the Word is not that clear. Luther again denies this, the problem does not lie in the Word but in the fallen soul, mind and reason of us men, the Word is actually crystal clear on such issues. To say the Word is not clear is really unbelief and condemning the Word of God. Which brings up the point that men really do display their fallenness by such. One has to remember Luther is functioning, as did Paul from the root basis that what Scripture and revelation has given is THE truth, not an option among many. E.g. Revelation says the law is written on EVERYONE’s heart (Paul in Romans). Here Luther would realize that even though men might face to face argue about what is the truth and put up a good front, but that the REAL reality is what Scripture stated, “their consciences constantly judging them or excusing them” due to the operation of the Law. In a word the Law operates whether you believe it does or not and proof of this is your conscience judging or excusing you. You can deny and argue that you don’t breath air, but your lungs exhibit a different fact in spite of your argument to the contrary.

    So when men complain, “Scripture is confusing who can the truth”, they are just exhibiting for all to see, for the record, not that scripture is indeed confusing but that in their darkness they refuse its plain and clear revelation. However, the confession of he/she who is stricken by the superiority of revelation via scripture OVER reason (and feelings and experiences of the senses) is like this, “I, I say I, don’t understand because I, I, refuse to do so.” That is to speak WITH the Word the situation, to finally at last send the cry out to the right address. It is that epiphany moment of “who I am, the man and the sinner, born in sin, dead and blind”, confessing God’s Words about myself at last and finally…a real and not pretend confession. A, “I sought and seek my own way, Lord.”

    It’s like when a certain famous atheist was posed with the question in a hypothetical, for him, reality he answered more correctly than do most Christians, “What if Christ DID rise from the dead”? His answer, “Well, that changes everything”. And INDEED it does about creation, the Trinity, justification, the two natures and the sacraments…NOW reason shuts up and becomes the servant and confesses, “Your word is truth even if I don’t understand, it is as you say Lord, amen.” This was the confession of Mary, she did not understand these things, but treasured them up in her heart.

  • Tom Hering

    K. Carlisle @ 19, to tell the truth ( ;-) ) I’m not sure if you’re asking me to comment as a member of the religious right. FYI, I’m not one.

  • Tom Hering

    K. Carlisle @ 19, to tell the truth ( ;-) ) I’m not sure if you’re asking me to comment as a member of the religious right. FYI, I’m not one.

  • Porcell

    Louis: True, Porcell, there are some such folks with a Dawkins-like agenda, apparently. But I’ve yet to come across any of them.

    A good friend of mine, Charles Townes, a Nobelist discoverer of the laser, and a fellow Congregationalist, tells me that a significant minority of scientists are atheists, most are agnostics, and a very tiny number are, like him, devout Christians or Jews. He, at one time a provost at M.I.T, was passed over to be president, very likely, at least in part, due to his orthodox Christian view.

    If you haven’t come across any atheistic scientists, I should suggest that you visit the Boston/Cambridge area where they are as thick as a mountain of moose manure.

  • Porcell

    Louis: True, Porcell, there are some such folks with a Dawkins-like agenda, apparently. But I’ve yet to come across any of them.

    A good friend of mine, Charles Townes, a Nobelist discoverer of the laser, and a fellow Congregationalist, tells me that a significant minority of scientists are atheists, most are agnostics, and a very tiny number are, like him, devout Christians or Jews. He, at one time a provost at M.I.T, was passed over to be president, very likely, at least in part, due to his orthodox Christian view.

    If you haven’t come across any atheistic scientists, I should suggest that you visit the Boston/Cambridge area where they are as thick as a mountain of moose manure.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Science is really about evidence. Skeptics look at evidence and ask questions and seek more evidence of relationships etc., that one can infer from the observational data. Then comes testing, theory, application and so on. When scientists are too in love with certain established frameworks, it limits their skepticism and ability to infer new and different interpretations from the data.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Science is really about evidence. Skeptics look at evidence and ask questions and seek more evidence of relationships etc., that one can infer from the observational data. Then comes testing, theory, application and so on. When scientists are too in love with certain established frameworks, it limits their skepticism and ability to infer new and different interpretations from the data.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell – I don’t mean atheistic scientists per se (know plenty of them), but militant, anti-religious, crusading (ironic use of THAT word here) scientists – and here I would also exclude the Social Sciences.

    There is a big difference between the average atheist / agnostic, and one who take the world, by force if necessary. My point was that many on the YEC front portray the vast majority of scientists as being of the second class. My experience tells me otherwise.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell – I don’t mean atheistic scientists per se (know plenty of them), but militant, anti-religious, crusading (ironic use of THAT word here) scientists – and here I would also exclude the Social Sciences.

    There is a big difference between the average atheist / agnostic, and one who take the world, by force if necessary. My point was that many on the YEC front portray the vast majority of scientists as being of the second class. My experience tells me otherwise.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg @ 23 – exactly.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg @ 23 – exactly.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    K. Carlisle – although I’m not in the US (I’m a South African-Canadian), I think you are right, insofar as the “culture warriors” have co-opted that specific debate (YEC vs evolution), and frankly speaking, it has become in their financial* and political interest to keep it going. This created a really bad atmosphere, and hardened people on both sides of that debate.

    *Witness the “Ark experience” that Ken Ham & co are apparently going to develop with the co-operation of the State of KENTUCKY. As one wag quipped – as soon as the penny in Ken Ham’s coffer rings, a soul from Liberalism springs! KENTUCKY is also the home of AIG’s Disneyesque Creation museum.

    The evidence seem to support your thesis, it seems.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    K. Carlisle – although I’m not in the US (I’m a South African-Canadian), I think you are right, insofar as the “culture warriors” have co-opted that specific debate (YEC vs evolution), and frankly speaking, it has become in their financial* and political interest to keep it going. This created a really bad atmosphere, and hardened people on both sides of that debate.

    *Witness the “Ark experience” that Ken Ham & co are apparently going to develop with the co-operation of the State of KENTUCKY. As one wag quipped – as soon as the penny in Ken Ham’s coffer rings, a soul from Liberalism springs! KENTUCKY is also the home of AIG’s Disneyesque Creation museum.

    The evidence seem to support your thesis, it seems.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I would like especially Louis’s and Tom Hering’s comments on this, but I think the US religious right’s demonization of science is paying sad dividends.”

    Could we please stop perpetuating the stereotype of religious folks as anti science? Just because the media labels religionists as demonizing science doesn’t make it so. The religious right criticizes the unethical use of technology and the unethical censuring of religiously based values by atheists hiding behind science. That is not demonizing science. It is criticizing about bad behavior.

    Religionists are fulfilling their duty as citizens when the question the ethics of atheists hiding behind science and behaving unethically.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/aug/26/doctors-religious-beliefs-terminally-ill

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I would like especially Louis’s and Tom Hering’s comments on this, but I think the US religious right’s demonization of science is paying sad dividends.”

    Could we please stop perpetuating the stereotype of religious folks as anti science? Just because the media labels religionists as demonizing science doesn’t make it so. The religious right criticizes the unethical use of technology and the unethical censuring of religiously based values by atheists hiding behind science. That is not demonizing science. It is criticizing about bad behavior.

    Religionists are fulfilling their duty as citizens when the question the ethics of atheists hiding behind science and behaving unethically.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/aug/26/doctors-religious-beliefs-terminally-ill

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg – I think the key word in K. Carlisle’s sentence is “right”, as in “religious right”. And while it is certainly a generalisation, my personal experience in churches, with friends, colleagues, on blogs etc etc would certainly support the apparent validity of such a statement. I used to be one of them, long ago.. :).

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg – I think the key word in K. Carlisle’s sentence is “right”, as in “religious right”. And while it is certainly a generalisation, my personal experience in churches, with friends, colleagues, on blogs etc etc would certainly support the apparent validity of such a statement. I used to be one of them, long ago.. :).

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 28 I am skeptical. Plenty anti science positions on the left. Feminism is the most glaring. Evidence from evolutionary psychology certainly doesn’t support the left wing feminism position.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 28 I am skeptical. Plenty anti science positions on the left. Feminism is the most glaring. Evidence from evolutionary psychology certainly doesn’t support the left wing feminism position.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg – true. But we are not talking about the facts here. The question had to do with the public perception / climate. Which is important and real, even if it is (partially) misinformed. It’s called sad reality.. :(

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg – true. But we are not talking about the facts here. The question had to do with the public perception / climate. Which is important and real, even if it is (partially) misinformed. It’s called sad reality.. :(

  • Tom Hering

    K. Carlisle @ 21, I’m sure that scientists who are Christians “of a certain stripe” cannot achieve positions of authority in certain scientific institutions, but they can (I hope) still do science, which – if it withstands falsification – is real scientific authority (posthumous?).

    [ I'm dying to know. Does the "K." in your handle stand for Kitty? ]

  • Tom Hering

    K. Carlisle @ 21, I’m sure that scientists who are Christians “of a certain stripe” cannot achieve positions of authority in certain scientific institutions, but they can (I hope) still do science, which – if it withstands falsification – is real scientific authority (posthumous?).

    [ I'm dying to know. Does the "K." in your handle stand for Kitty? ]

  • Porcell

    K. Carlyle, those Christians of a certain stripe that you disdain are often serious scientists who are, also, devout Christians. The truth is that able scientists who are openly devout Christians or Jews are often persecuted, or at best barely tolerated within the confines of academia.

    One of the favored tactics of secular religious folk is to lump any devout Christian or Jew with despised Christian “fundamentalists.” Just now, those who oppose Francis Collins, former head of the Genome Project, now head of the National Institute of Health, who is an evangelical Christian who disfavors abortion, get off disdaining him as a “fundamentalist” Christian. Actually , any serious Christian or Jew , whether fundamentalist or rational orthodox gets to be called an odorous Christian “of a certain stripe.”

  • Porcell

    K. Carlyle, those Christians of a certain stripe that you disdain are often serious scientists who are, also, devout Christians. The truth is that able scientists who are openly devout Christians or Jews are often persecuted, or at best barely tolerated within the confines of academia.

    One of the favored tactics of secular religious folk is to lump any devout Christian or Jew with despised Christian “fundamentalists.” Just now, those who oppose Francis Collins, former head of the Genome Project, now head of the National Institute of Health, who is an evangelical Christian who disfavors abortion, get off disdaining him as a “fundamentalist” Christian. Actually , any serious Christian or Jew , whether fundamentalist or rational orthodox gets to be called an odorous Christian “of a certain stripe.”

  • Porcell

    K. Carlisle: Do you know what “Porcell” means in Latin?

    Having attempted to study Latin for six-years in school and two in college, I’m rather well aware of what Porcell means.

    I’m a member of a college club, known as Porcellian, whose founders were fond of pork dinners and who were well aware of the irony of the exclusivity of the club and its name. At one point in its history the club blackballed FDR, to be sure a dubious distinction.

  • Porcell

    K. Carlisle: Do you know what “Porcell” means in Latin?

    Having attempted to study Latin for six-years in school and two in college, I’m rather well aware of what Porcell means.

    I’m a member of a college club, known as Porcellian, whose founders were fond of pork dinners and who were well aware of the irony of the exclusivity of the club and its name. At one point in its history the club blackballed FDR, to be sure a dubious distinction.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    You have to notice the vicious cycle of not hiring Christians in science or keeping them out of the various science clubs. Then the secularists can keep saying there are hardly any Christians in the sciences which proves that Christians are against science or can’t or won’t pursue it.

    It is like keeping blacks out of the major league sports and then claiming they must not be good because none are in the majors.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    You have to notice the vicious cycle of not hiring Christians in science or keeping them out of the various science clubs. Then the secularists can keep saying there are hardly any Christians in the sciences which proves that Christians are against science or can’t or won’t pursue it.

    It is like keeping blacks out of the major league sports and then claiming they must not be good because none are in the majors.

  • Trey

    How has the movie Expelled been refuted? Do we have facts or just rhetoric? Furthermore, a truly open-minded university would allow for all views to be presented and equally not just the popular one. Evolution in the sense that all humans and animals came from the same organism has never been proven, so let’s dispense with the assumption that it has.

  • Trey

    How has the movie Expelled been refuted? Do we have facts or just rhetoric? Furthermore, a truly open-minded university would allow for all views to be presented and equally not just the popular one. Evolution in the sense that all humans and animals came from the same organism has never been proven, so let’s dispense with the assumption that it has.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Trey (@37), surely you see the fallacy in suggesting that “a truly open-minded university would allow for all views to be presented and equally not just the popular one.” Should they give equal time to Holocaust deniers in history courses? Should flat-earthers get to teach half the semester in geology? Who would want to attend a university where a bunch of false information is given equal time? Would there be time to actually learn anything in such a university?

    Please note that I’m not actually addressing the issue of whether evolution or creationism or whatever is correct.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Trey (@37), surely you see the fallacy in suggesting that “a truly open-minded university would allow for all views to be presented and equally not just the popular one.” Should they give equal time to Holocaust deniers in history courses? Should flat-earthers get to teach half the semester in geology? Who would want to attend a university where a bunch of false information is given equal time? Would there be time to actually learn anything in such a university?

    Please note that I’m not actually addressing the issue of whether evolution or creationism or whatever is correct.

  • Larry

    “a truly open-minded university would allow for all views to be presented and equally not just the popular one.”

    This kind what appears to sound good and pious blather always amuses one. It equates “truth” with “open mindedness”, in fact that is the sole truth it asserts. It is the spirit of our age whether it be “be open minded” from secular to inside the church, or “be open minded about doctrine” between heterodoxy versus orthodoxy. The principle is the same no matter how much one puts lip stick on it, “the truth is there is no truth”. So one ends up with either luke warm believers about to be vomited out, or baptized epicureans saying Pilate, “what is truth”. It is the real spirit and delusion of our age, in fact it is the dominant one of the false spirits out there and it deludes many.

    The search for “truth” becomes the all encompassing search itself but never to arrive there. And if you have arrived at the truth, then “the search for truth” epistemological engine says, “well then a sure sign you have not found the truth is that you say you have found the truth, thus surely you have not found the truth”. Thus, the “search for the truth” becomes “the truth” but having actually found the truth is sure sign you have not found the truth, in this way “the search for truth” reasserts itself as “the truth”.

    So it really does no good to point out logical inconsistencies to unbelievers, for by their reasoning they have built up an argument for why God is not and particularly why Christ is not the only way and even more particularly against the pure orthodox doctrines. With these fluffy arguments they defend their un belief and feel quite comfortable. But faith must answer resoundingly and trust the Law is written on the hearts of men, that, “No this and this alone is the truth, that God was crucified for the sins of the world…baptism, flesh and blood of God, etc…”, and let the shear terror of this strike against the unbelievers fortress of reasoning as. As the prophet Isaiah says the understanding of this message will bring shear terror.

  • Larry

    “a truly open-minded university would allow for all views to be presented and equally not just the popular one.”

    This kind what appears to sound good and pious blather always amuses one. It equates “truth” with “open mindedness”, in fact that is the sole truth it asserts. It is the spirit of our age whether it be “be open minded” from secular to inside the church, or “be open minded about doctrine” between heterodoxy versus orthodoxy. The principle is the same no matter how much one puts lip stick on it, “the truth is there is no truth”. So one ends up with either luke warm believers about to be vomited out, or baptized epicureans saying Pilate, “what is truth”. It is the real spirit and delusion of our age, in fact it is the dominant one of the false spirits out there and it deludes many.

    The search for “truth” becomes the all encompassing search itself but never to arrive there. And if you have arrived at the truth, then “the search for truth” epistemological engine says, “well then a sure sign you have not found the truth is that you say you have found the truth, thus surely you have not found the truth”. Thus, the “search for the truth” becomes “the truth” but having actually found the truth is sure sign you have not found the truth, in this way “the search for truth” reasserts itself as “the truth”.

    So it really does no good to point out logical inconsistencies to unbelievers, for by their reasoning they have built up an argument for why God is not and particularly why Christ is not the only way and even more particularly against the pure orthodox doctrines. With these fluffy arguments they defend their un belief and feel quite comfortable. But faith must answer resoundingly and trust the Law is written on the hearts of men, that, “No this and this alone is the truth, that God was crucified for the sins of the world…baptism, flesh and blood of God, etc…”, and let the shear terror of this strike against the unbelievers fortress of reasoning as. As the prophet Isaiah says the understanding of this message will bring shear terror.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    I have found the following page looking at the issues regarding the “Exposed” movie:
    http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    I have found the following page looking at the issues regarding the “Exposed” movie:
    http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth

  • Trey

    @ Todd #36

    I am suggesting that publicly funded universities allow for all points of views to be presented. Teachers should not be teaching which view to ascribe to, but rather give students evidence and allow them to decide based upon facts. I think a pithy saying for this axiom is that teachers are to teach students not what to think, but how to think. The current issue is that if you are not an evolutionist then your view is excluded. This is a publicly funded school, which should represent all citizens and views. I think a truly enlightened culture would allow all views even those that are clearly wrong (i.e. holocaust deniers, 9/11 conspirators, etc.). You actually would learn more as you would be thinking and not being told what to think.

    @ Larry #39
    Nice rant, but I am talking about universities not the church. In regard to the church, I agree completely. Too bad you were arguing against a straw man.

    @ Louis #40
    Thank you. I will check it out and get back to you.

  • Trey

    @ Todd #36

    I am suggesting that publicly funded universities allow for all points of views to be presented. Teachers should not be teaching which view to ascribe to, but rather give students evidence and allow them to decide based upon facts. I think a pithy saying for this axiom is that teachers are to teach students not what to think, but how to think. The current issue is that if you are not an evolutionist then your view is excluded. This is a publicly funded school, which should represent all citizens and views. I think a truly enlightened culture would allow all views even those that are clearly wrong (i.e. holocaust deniers, 9/11 conspirators, etc.). You actually would learn more as you would be thinking and not being told what to think.

    @ Larry #39
    Nice rant, but I am talking about universities not the church. In regard to the church, I agree completely. Too bad you were arguing against a straw man.

    @ Louis #40
    Thank you. I will check it out and get back to you.

  • Trey

    Louis,

    Many of the sites rebuttals do not address the points made by Expelled, but instead uses fallacious reasoning. For example, in the section about Evolution it says that Intelligent Design is not part of the scientific community because “intelligent design hasn’t made a scientific case that its proposals help us understand nature, and the ideas have not generated the sort of research which led Woese’s ideas to wide acceptance….The burden of proof is upon intelligent design advocates to show through scientific research that intelligent design is a useful scientific proposition. If they did, the science-funding agency review panels would gladly fund such research. As things stand now, intelligent design can be considered neither scientific nor useful for understanding nature.”

    The above quote commits the logical fallacies of appealing to popularity and might. Also, it is circular logic. It is assumed that if IE is true then the establishment will agree. The experts do not say IE is useful. Thus it is not science. In addition, it assumes naturalistic materialism, which IE does not so it already reaches its conclusion without a hearing for IE.

    The section on evolution and eugenics has some points about the movies quotes. However, the point that perhaps Expelled does not do a good job on is that Darwin’s ideas about mankind and animals led to eugenics. Veith wrote about this before:
    http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/social-darwinism/

    Darwin does call blacks a degraded and savage in Descent of Man. Nonetheless, this does not show evolution to be wrong. What is clear is that such a view that humans and animals are the same makes the treatment of the former similar to the treatment of the latter. In the end, evolution’s blindness, apathy, and meaningless gives sinners a blank check to act selfishly and to harm their neighbor.

  • Trey

    Louis,

    Many of the sites rebuttals do not address the points made by Expelled, but instead uses fallacious reasoning. For example, in the section about Evolution it says that Intelligent Design is not part of the scientific community because “intelligent design hasn’t made a scientific case that its proposals help us understand nature, and the ideas have not generated the sort of research which led Woese’s ideas to wide acceptance….The burden of proof is upon intelligent design advocates to show through scientific research that intelligent design is a useful scientific proposition. If they did, the science-funding agency review panels would gladly fund such research. As things stand now, intelligent design can be considered neither scientific nor useful for understanding nature.”

    The above quote commits the logical fallacies of appealing to popularity and might. Also, it is circular logic. It is assumed that if IE is true then the establishment will agree. The experts do not say IE is useful. Thus it is not science. In addition, it assumes naturalistic materialism, which IE does not so it already reaches its conclusion without a hearing for IE.

    The section on evolution and eugenics has some points about the movies quotes. However, the point that perhaps Expelled does not do a good job on is that Darwin’s ideas about mankind and animals led to eugenics. Veith wrote about this before:
    http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/social-darwinism/

    Darwin does call blacks a degraded and savage in Descent of Man. Nonetheless, this does not show evolution to be wrong. What is clear is that such a view that humans and animals are the same makes the treatment of the former similar to the treatment of the latter. In the end, evolution’s blindness, apathy, and meaningless gives sinners a blank check to act selfishly and to harm their neighbor.

  • Niall

    Big Evolution Discovery !

    British professor Nigel Swiggerton of Chapsworth College has recently found a missing link in the evolution/creation debate. Everyone is familiar with the “stages of man” chart found in textbooks which begins with a naked, hairy, bent over, grunting Neanderthal type which over millions of years finally learns how to stand erect while sporting a 1930s-style haircut. Well, Dr. Swiggerton discovered that someone accidentally reversed the negative. It turns out that the first man was actually standing erect with a short haircut but has been descending over the years until he has finally reached the last stage – the stage at any rock concert filled with naked, hairy, bent over, grunting Neanderthal types!

  • Niall

    Big Evolution Discovery !

    British professor Nigel Swiggerton of Chapsworth College has recently found a missing link in the evolution/creation debate. Everyone is familiar with the “stages of man” chart found in textbooks which begins with a naked, hairy, bent over, grunting Neanderthal type which over millions of years finally learns how to stand erect while sporting a 1930s-style haircut. Well, Dr. Swiggerton discovered that someone accidentally reversed the negative. It turns out that the first man was actually standing erect with a short haircut but has been descending over the years until he has finally reached the last stage – the stage at any rock concert filled with naked, hairy, bent over, grunting Neanderthal types!

  • Larry

    Trey,

    Not a rant, not at all, you mis-characterize me.

    You make the point right it is IN the church (we agree) but should not be in the public universities (we disagree). Secular universities should not be required to present “all points of view”, they cannot nor should we expect them to, nor should we desire them to.

    In fact throughout the history of Scripture the foreign nation in which Israel or the church belonged did not mingle their educational or philosophical centers at all. Rather Israel or the Christians served in and among. Daniell is a perfect example of this. He learned enough to function in their superstious “science” but drew the line at bowing down to their gods. Same here, every single day I have to know the geologic systems per uniformatarianism in order to “just function” in my vocation, but I don’t have to bow down to that god, nor will I.

  • Larry

    Trey,

    Not a rant, not at all, you mis-characterize me.

    You make the point right it is IN the church (we agree) but should not be in the public universities (we disagree). Secular universities should not be required to present “all points of view”, they cannot nor should we expect them to, nor should we desire them to.

    In fact throughout the history of Scripture the foreign nation in which Israel or the church belonged did not mingle their educational or philosophical centers at all. Rather Israel or the Christians served in and among. Daniell is a perfect example of this. He learned enough to function in their superstious “science” but drew the line at bowing down to their gods. Same here, every single day I have to know the geologic systems per uniformatarianism in order to “just function” in my vocation, but I don’t have to bow down to that god, nor will I.

  • WebMonk

    Trey,
    The “all the evidence” is a backhanded way which YEC (which in reality includes ID) organizations try to get YEC/ID “evidence” taught in public universities.

    The problem is that the evidence for those views is so incredibly warped and twisted that everyone outside the self-congratulation club that makes up YEC “science” properly laughs off the proposed evidence as no more valid than aether physics, geocentrism, and other claims that have “evidence”.

    You don’t claim that geocentrism should be taught as part of “presenting all the evidence”. People who are inside the YEC community feel that the YEC evidence is real, just like people in the aether community, or unlimited-power-through-fancy-magnet-configurations, or geocentrist communities feel they have valid evidence.

    There is a very good reason that all those viewpoints are not presented in science courses – if a course tried to cover all the “evidence” (even just to show how ridiculously wrong it is) that every fringe “science” group asked for, they would never have time to teach actual science.

    For example, AIG has a “research journal” and here are just two of its biggest bits of research summarized – radiometric dating is properly done, but God miraculously accelerated decay rates in certain ways that just happen to make everything look like it is millions of years old, and starlight is infinitely fast in directions toward Earth but only half c moving away from Earth but this is impossible to detect. (it’s actually not impossible to detect if it were happening – but that’s beside the point) This is the level of “evidence” the YEC scientists generate – no better than infinitely dense plenum ether.

    Universities are “teaching the evidence” when it comes to astronomy, geology, and biology.

  • WebMonk

    Trey,
    The “all the evidence” is a backhanded way which YEC (which in reality includes ID) organizations try to get YEC/ID “evidence” taught in public universities.

    The problem is that the evidence for those views is so incredibly warped and twisted that everyone outside the self-congratulation club that makes up YEC “science” properly laughs off the proposed evidence as no more valid than aether physics, geocentrism, and other claims that have “evidence”.

    You don’t claim that geocentrism should be taught as part of “presenting all the evidence”. People who are inside the YEC community feel that the YEC evidence is real, just like people in the aether community, or unlimited-power-through-fancy-magnet-configurations, or geocentrist communities feel they have valid evidence.

    There is a very good reason that all those viewpoints are not presented in science courses – if a course tried to cover all the “evidence” (even just to show how ridiculously wrong it is) that every fringe “science” group asked for, they would never have time to teach actual science.

    For example, AIG has a “research journal” and here are just two of its biggest bits of research summarized – radiometric dating is properly done, but God miraculously accelerated decay rates in certain ways that just happen to make everything look like it is millions of years old, and starlight is infinitely fast in directions toward Earth but only half c moving away from Earth but this is impossible to detect. (it’s actually not impossible to detect if it were happening – but that’s beside the point) This is the level of “evidence” the YEC scientists generate – no better than infinitely dense plenum ether.

    Universities are “teaching the evidence” when it comes to astronomy, geology, and biology.

  • Larry

    Evidence, per se, doesn’t work well with articles of faith which by definition are only apprehended by faith that is rooted in the Word that says X.

    One can argue epistemologically that all dating methods are based on a presupposition of uniformatarianism, which is neither verifiable or testable itself, it is a base philosophy assumed true. From this presupposed base dating method, as the term uniformatarianISM means, assumes that all things today were as they’ve always been (it’s really an old ancient religion that manifest itself in many ways, like Mormonism, modern science, Hinduism, gnosticism, etc…). Now some well meaning young earth apologist try to force square evidence into a round holes like accelerated decay and so forth. But this is entirely unnecessary, it is sufficient to point out the root epistemology of all such methods is an assumed uniformitarianism denying creation ex nihilo, another root epistemology. In such we simply recognize apologetically the two positions, if one is true then that changes everything. If Christ was resurrected, that changes everything, if he was not (as Paul allowed to make the point) then we are the most foolish of all men and still lost in our sin.

    Evidence does not work with articles of faith which are contrary to reason, by design, and rooted in a spoken nude Word from God alone (theology = God speaks). The disaster of attempting to give evidence concerning articles of faith is revealed in the churches history. For example transubstantiation, memorial meal, and non-presence. One can give no “evidence” of body and blood of Christ there other than His Word that it is. Only faith “sees” this, reason is utterly blind and dead to it when it attempts to grasp it. Reason can only transport the Word, subservient to that Word but it cannot apprehend, comprehend or grasp it. Same thing with the Trinity, Baptism, the two natures, the virgin birth, the incarnation, the resurrection, creation, etc…

    This is why the church, not the university of the state, teaches, confesses and proclaims, alone, the articles of the faith. And the secular universities the sciences but not articles of faith. Yet the two have a tendency to continually cross, that is to say sin, against their offices, especially the state.

    I’m a scientist and I belief, confess a young earth but not based upon evidence or some contorted concepts to make it fit, but on the Word alone – even all the while my reason tempts me, particularly as a scientist well versed and practiced in such to believe otherwise.

    In revelation it is forecast that great delusion will be sent so that men will not believe. We forget that power far above our ability to grasp or understand them hypnotize, as it were our minds into believing against the Word. The real battle is greater than we realize.

  • Larry

    Evidence, per se, doesn’t work well with articles of faith which by definition are only apprehended by faith that is rooted in the Word that says X.

    One can argue epistemologically that all dating methods are based on a presupposition of uniformatarianism, which is neither verifiable or testable itself, it is a base philosophy assumed true. From this presupposed base dating method, as the term uniformatarianISM means, assumes that all things today were as they’ve always been (it’s really an old ancient religion that manifest itself in many ways, like Mormonism, modern science, Hinduism, gnosticism, etc…). Now some well meaning young earth apologist try to force square evidence into a round holes like accelerated decay and so forth. But this is entirely unnecessary, it is sufficient to point out the root epistemology of all such methods is an assumed uniformitarianism denying creation ex nihilo, another root epistemology. In such we simply recognize apologetically the two positions, if one is true then that changes everything. If Christ was resurrected, that changes everything, if he was not (as Paul allowed to make the point) then we are the most foolish of all men and still lost in our sin.

    Evidence does not work with articles of faith which are contrary to reason, by design, and rooted in a spoken nude Word from God alone (theology = God speaks). The disaster of attempting to give evidence concerning articles of faith is revealed in the churches history. For example transubstantiation, memorial meal, and non-presence. One can give no “evidence” of body and blood of Christ there other than His Word that it is. Only faith “sees” this, reason is utterly blind and dead to it when it attempts to grasp it. Reason can only transport the Word, subservient to that Word but it cannot apprehend, comprehend or grasp it. Same thing with the Trinity, Baptism, the two natures, the virgin birth, the incarnation, the resurrection, creation, etc…

    This is why the church, not the university of the state, teaches, confesses and proclaims, alone, the articles of the faith. And the secular universities the sciences but not articles of faith. Yet the two have a tendency to continually cross, that is to say sin, against their offices, especially the state.

    I’m a scientist and I belief, confess a young earth but not based upon evidence or some contorted concepts to make it fit, but on the Word alone – even all the while my reason tempts me, particularly as a scientist well versed and practiced in such to believe otherwise.

    In revelation it is forecast that great delusion will be sent so that men will not believe. We forget that power far above our ability to grasp or understand them hypnotize, as it were our minds into believing against the Word. The real battle is greater than we realize.

  • WebMonk

    Larry, that you recognize scientific evidence shows an old universe but reject it without warping it because of your interpretation of the Bible, has orders of magnitude more respect (in my view, anyway) than the people who warp facts to get them to fit their view.

    Now, I think you have a poor method of interpreting scripture that generates a 6000-year-old universe out of the Bible, but that is more respectable than purposefully warping facts to fit ones view.

    I’m also a bit worried that you conflate believing in a young earth interpretation with believing in Christ – “In revelation it is forecast that great delusion will be sent so that men will not believe.”

    But, you’re a Lutheran and so I expect the poor theology. Now, those Pentecostals, they have awesome theology, so they don’t have any excuses!

    (and just to make it absolutely clear – that last paragraph is JOKING)

  • WebMonk

    Larry, that you recognize scientific evidence shows an old universe but reject it without warping it because of your interpretation of the Bible, has orders of magnitude more respect (in my view, anyway) than the people who warp facts to get them to fit their view.

    Now, I think you have a poor method of interpreting scripture that generates a 6000-year-old universe out of the Bible, but that is more respectable than purposefully warping facts to fit ones view.

    I’m also a bit worried that you conflate believing in a young earth interpretation with believing in Christ – “In revelation it is forecast that great delusion will be sent so that men will not believe.”

    But, you’re a Lutheran and so I expect the poor theology. Now, those Pentecostals, they have awesome theology, so they don’t have any excuses!

    (and just to make it absolutely clear – that last paragraph is JOKING)

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Trey: What webmonk said. As a geologist, I’ve yet to see any geological evidence presented by AIG/ICR etc that contradicts any of the current understanding of earth’s geological history. There simply is none.

    Larry: That is a dangerous road to venture on, one that ends in sophistry. I know, it was my first reaction after beginning to actually study the evidence. It ends with us being to forced to say that God is a big Deceiver, who willfully leads us astray. Uniformitarianism is not some idol we as geologists have to bow before when exercising our craft. No, it is a interpretive principle, and one that is loosely held. We operate much more like CSI detectives, going where the evidence leads us.

    Webmonk: somedau we should have a conversation abouth Lutheranism – as I’m a non YEC/ID Lutheran, and orthodox in my Lutheranism too. Yet I wasn’t born thus. Said in seriousness, but not wanting to detract from your humour…

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Trey: What webmonk said. As a geologist, I’ve yet to see any geological evidence presented by AIG/ICR etc that contradicts any of the current understanding of earth’s geological history. There simply is none.

    Larry: That is a dangerous road to venture on, one that ends in sophistry. I know, it was my first reaction after beginning to actually study the evidence. It ends with us being to forced to say that God is a big Deceiver, who willfully leads us astray. Uniformitarianism is not some idol we as geologists have to bow before when exercising our craft. No, it is a interpretive principle, and one that is loosely held. We operate much more like CSI detectives, going where the evidence leads us.

    Webmonk: somedau we should have a conversation abouth Lutheranism – as I’m a non YEC/ID Lutheran, and orthodox in my Lutheranism too. Yet I wasn’t born thus. Said in seriousness, but not wanting to detract from your humour…

  • Larry

    Louis,

    I am very familiar with uniformatarianism and it is in fact a philosophical speculation right out of the gate.

  • Larry

    Louis,

    I am very familiar with uniformatarianism and it is in fact a philosophical speculation right out of the gate.

  • Larry

    WM,

    I take it in good fun as joking. However, I am scientist and understand intimately, meaning theory and operation, dating methods. I’m no layman by any stretch. That means I know their limits and how background can be properly or improperly interpreted and used in further interpretation (i.e. one’s presupposition).

    I don’t attach a time in specific to the age of the earth but do subscribe to the generic “young”. Calculating is foolish.

    Having actually been an atheist and actually believed that philosophy I’m also intimately aware that not many, and that includes theologians in particular (esp. of heterodoxy), recognize that it is by their (atheist) arguments, not necessarily the content of their arguments but the argument and rationalizations in and of themselves they use and build up this false wall as a denial of the God that is. In the words of a Lutheran theologian, “…Atheists think that by their speculation about the God they say they don’t believe in has completely disproved the existence of God. Eg, they ask if God can build a wall so high that He can’t climb over it. I believe the answer of faith to such a question is not to show its logical inconsistency, but to simply confess Yes, our God can do all things. Let the simple yes of faith terrify the heart of even the atheist before the God who most certainly exists. “The understanding of this message will bring sheer terror.” Is28v19.

    Here is a tremendous use of the Law few recognize leaving men to die in hell, by evading it to preserve their pride and merit (they think) in their own personal acumen. To sustain their pride in their acumen they evade the Cross of laughter (persecution) and thereby witness not to the Cross but to their works (their wisdom/acumen) and at the same time sustain unbelievers in their unbelief. Their hearts are hardly “for the lost”.

    Reason should be so terrorized that God is eternally higher than it is, it should utterly terrorize one to so toy with God and dare to think that by their speculation they may circumscribe God even his revelatory Word, and come to that conclusion about one’s self, i.e. I’ve sought to be my own god.

    When the communist atheist came to what is now the former Soviet Block countries to expel the Christianity there they had many strong arguments for evolution and such. The child like faith of the common believer could not fend this off with counter arguments but only confessed, “But He is risen”. Their reward will be great in heaven. For nothing is stronger and better in the eyes of Christ than the infant/child faith that against great speculation, reason and other machinery of fallen minds who simply nakedly trusts “but He is risen”.

    I would in fact throw away all my advanced learning and experience as Paul would say as “shit” in exchange for nothing other than the infant’s faith.

    Heremenuitics won’t save this and one can bend them however one wishes, what must be recognized is the concept of the hidden God. What God has revealed about Himself in Scripture, we can know and believe and no where else. And without exception every single article of faith is against human reason period. In this way the Muslim both denies and thinks himself safe in the denial of the Trinity, the Pope of justification, and of Calvin the real presence. The cry is always the same, “this is contrary to all reason”, this verifiable in all such false confessions, and they do not really mean Sola Scriptura.

    This was Luther’s specific reason for using the terminology the theology of the cross (the Cross alone is our theology) as opposed to the theology of glory which is nothing more than human speculation about God that was rampant in the middle ages and continues much in the minds of people to this very day. In fact it is the great delusion of our day and age. Atheism is the perfected fallen religion of speculation and fallen reasoning. Men cannot help but to speculate about God apart from revelation, even mingling the two and thus produce their idols. But by the theology of the cross Luther points out that here alone on the cross we can learn about God; we can learn what God is like nowhere else (and this reaches back to the fall of man). If you want to know what God is like, then look to Jesus, for He is the only God there is.
    In the end Luther would point out, correctly, that “faith” that comes about due to arguments, even young earth ones, is really unbelief. Scripture itself is the sole source of revelation and faith. It is crystal clear, it is the fallen mind of men that makes it unclear. Luther indeed at the end of the day functioned under the truth of Scripture as the reality in reality and not the hypothetical. The Law is ultimately written on every single human heart our consciences accusing and excusing us, whether we speculate to believe it or not, no man will have an out in the end, no man whatsoever.

    I do confess with Luther that I’d rather be deceived by God than told the truth by men’s speculation. Not that God deceives, one has to grasp what Luther meant there, in other words: My children trust me without exception as their true father and I love them as my true children, they may misinterpret me at times but they trust even if they so misinterpret me. Thus, I will protect and love them with all my being, but a stranger, even he/she interprets me right and correctly over my children, them I do not know and will cast them away and not recognize them in the least. Same thing with Christ, “…I never knew you…”. Even if the true children sin and the strangers do great righteousness, the former are saved and the later damned eternally.

  • Larry

    WM,

    I take it in good fun as joking. However, I am scientist and understand intimately, meaning theory and operation, dating methods. I’m no layman by any stretch. That means I know their limits and how background can be properly or improperly interpreted and used in further interpretation (i.e. one’s presupposition).

    I don’t attach a time in specific to the age of the earth but do subscribe to the generic “young”. Calculating is foolish.

    Having actually been an atheist and actually believed that philosophy I’m also intimately aware that not many, and that includes theologians in particular (esp. of heterodoxy), recognize that it is by their (atheist) arguments, not necessarily the content of their arguments but the argument and rationalizations in and of themselves they use and build up this false wall as a denial of the God that is. In the words of a Lutheran theologian, “…Atheists think that by their speculation about the God they say they don’t believe in has completely disproved the existence of God. Eg, they ask if God can build a wall so high that He can’t climb over it. I believe the answer of faith to such a question is not to show its logical inconsistency, but to simply confess Yes, our God can do all things. Let the simple yes of faith terrify the heart of even the atheist before the God who most certainly exists. “The understanding of this message will bring sheer terror.” Is28v19.

    Here is a tremendous use of the Law few recognize leaving men to die in hell, by evading it to preserve their pride and merit (they think) in their own personal acumen. To sustain their pride in their acumen they evade the Cross of laughter (persecution) and thereby witness not to the Cross but to their works (their wisdom/acumen) and at the same time sustain unbelievers in their unbelief. Their hearts are hardly “for the lost”.

    Reason should be so terrorized that God is eternally higher than it is, it should utterly terrorize one to so toy with God and dare to think that by their speculation they may circumscribe God even his revelatory Word, and come to that conclusion about one’s self, i.e. I’ve sought to be my own god.

    When the communist atheist came to what is now the former Soviet Block countries to expel the Christianity there they had many strong arguments for evolution and such. The child like faith of the common believer could not fend this off with counter arguments but only confessed, “But He is risen”. Their reward will be great in heaven. For nothing is stronger and better in the eyes of Christ than the infant/child faith that against great speculation, reason and other machinery of fallen minds who simply nakedly trusts “but He is risen”.

    I would in fact throw away all my advanced learning and experience as Paul would say as “shit” in exchange for nothing other than the infant’s faith.

    Heremenuitics won’t save this and one can bend them however one wishes, what must be recognized is the concept of the hidden God. What God has revealed about Himself in Scripture, we can know and believe and no where else. And without exception every single article of faith is against human reason period. In this way the Muslim both denies and thinks himself safe in the denial of the Trinity, the Pope of justification, and of Calvin the real presence. The cry is always the same, “this is contrary to all reason”, this verifiable in all such false confessions, and they do not really mean Sola Scriptura.

    This was Luther’s specific reason for using the terminology the theology of the cross (the Cross alone is our theology) as opposed to the theology of glory which is nothing more than human speculation about God that was rampant in the middle ages and continues much in the minds of people to this very day. In fact it is the great delusion of our day and age. Atheism is the perfected fallen religion of speculation and fallen reasoning. Men cannot help but to speculate about God apart from revelation, even mingling the two and thus produce their idols. But by the theology of the cross Luther points out that here alone on the cross we can learn about God; we can learn what God is like nowhere else (and this reaches back to the fall of man). If you want to know what God is like, then look to Jesus, for He is the only God there is.
    In the end Luther would point out, correctly, that “faith” that comes about due to arguments, even young earth ones, is really unbelief. Scripture itself is the sole source of revelation and faith. It is crystal clear, it is the fallen mind of men that makes it unclear. Luther indeed at the end of the day functioned under the truth of Scripture as the reality in reality and not the hypothetical. The Law is ultimately written on every single human heart our consciences accusing and excusing us, whether we speculate to believe it or not, no man will have an out in the end, no man whatsoever.

    I do confess with Luther that I’d rather be deceived by God than told the truth by men’s speculation. Not that God deceives, one has to grasp what Luther meant there, in other words: My children trust me without exception as their true father and I love them as my true children, they may misinterpret me at times but they trust even if they so misinterpret me. Thus, I will protect and love them with all my being, but a stranger, even he/she interprets me right and correctly over my children, them I do not know and will cast them away and not recognize them in the least. Same thing with Christ, “…I never knew you…”. Even if the true children sin and the strangers do great righteousness, the former are saved and the later damned eternally.

  • Larry

    “It ends with us being to forced to say that God is a big Deceiver, who willfully leads us astray”

    Louis you miss the point tremendously, it does not lead that way, it leads that way for a faith built upon a sand pile. And only false faith could interpret it that way, it the only conclusion it can draw. It leads the way Luther said it does, that God has shut down all avenues in finding Him, savingly, excepting one at the suffering Cross. A faith that is built upon or supported by such speculation, which is the true sophistry, is false faith and utter unbelief. God hides himself in general revelation so as NOT to be found, except only in wrath, and then hides himself in the indignant suffering of the Cross so as TO be found unto salvation.

    It is one thing to know there is a God, another to know He is for you.

  • Larry

    “It ends with us being to forced to say that God is a big Deceiver, who willfully leads us astray”

    Louis you miss the point tremendously, it does not lead that way, it leads that way for a faith built upon a sand pile. And only false faith could interpret it that way, it the only conclusion it can draw. It leads the way Luther said it does, that God has shut down all avenues in finding Him, savingly, excepting one at the suffering Cross. A faith that is built upon or supported by such speculation, which is the true sophistry, is false faith and utter unbelief. God hides himself in general revelation so as NOT to be found, except only in wrath, and then hides himself in the indignant suffering of the Cross so as TO be found unto salvation.

    It is one thing to know there is a God, another to know He is for you.

  • WebMonk

    Louis, I really don’t think they’re/you’re bizarrely messed up theologically; it is strictly in jest. Creationism doesn’t factor into the details over which I would differ with Lutheranism.

  • WebMonk

    Louis, I really don’t think they’re/you’re bizarrely messed up theologically; it is strictly in jest. Creationism doesn’t factor into the details over which I would differ with Lutheranism.

  • WebMonk

    I’ll leave this one to you, Louis. Enjoy.

  • WebMonk

    I’ll leave this one to you, Louis. Enjoy.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Larry – It depends on how you take uniformitarianism – as an all-over arching philosophy, or an interpretive principle. Most geologists don’t really consider it all that much – for us it is a much more “follow the evidence” thing.

    With regard to your second email – I don’t think you understand what I’m saying: I actually agree with you that “Luther said it does, that God has shut down all avenues in finding Him, savingly, excepting one at the suffering Cross. ” That is, all other avenues will not lead to Christ at all. Including YEC’ism, because it is simply put, false. What I am saying is that the way these debates are generally framed is that there are only two options, namely literalism, or atheism. That is nonsense. Scriptures are meant to take us and make us commit to that leap. They are not a guide to the physical universe, nor are they a guide to a moralistic life, in fact, they acknowledge the impossibility of the latter, and they frame reference to the former sometimes in a historical, sometimes in an allegorical, and somethimes in a mythopoeic way, especially if we read it through the eyes of its first readers. This is not to deny the Incarnation or the Resurrection, no it affirms that. I hope you understand what I’m trying to say – it is not some Barthian neo-Orthodoxy either.

    That being said, I refer you to quotes by Origen and Augustine I often employ in discussions like these – http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com/2010/11/augustine-and-origen-on-literalism.html

    Webmonk: Good.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Larry – It depends on how you take uniformitarianism – as an all-over arching philosophy, or an interpretive principle. Most geologists don’t really consider it all that much – for us it is a much more “follow the evidence” thing.

    With regard to your second email – I don’t think you understand what I’m saying: I actually agree with you that “Luther said it does, that God has shut down all avenues in finding Him, savingly, excepting one at the suffering Cross. ” That is, all other avenues will not lead to Christ at all. Including YEC’ism, because it is simply put, false. What I am saying is that the way these debates are generally framed is that there are only two options, namely literalism, or atheism. That is nonsense. Scriptures are meant to take us and make us commit to that leap. They are not a guide to the physical universe, nor are they a guide to a moralistic life, in fact, they acknowledge the impossibility of the latter, and they frame reference to the former sometimes in a historical, sometimes in an allegorical, and somethimes in a mythopoeic way, especially if we read it through the eyes of its first readers. This is not to deny the Incarnation or the Resurrection, no it affirms that. I hope you understand what I’m trying to say – it is not some Barthian neo-Orthodoxy either.

    That being said, I refer you to quotes by Origen and Augustine I often employ in discussions like these – http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com/2010/11/augustine-and-origen-on-literalism.html

    Webmonk: Good.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Larry, btw, so that I can understand were you are coming from, what kind of a scientist are you? What is your familiarity with dating?

    I’m a geologist as stated before, and have worked in mining & exploration for more than a decade. I have co-authored papers, and more to the point, I ran an Ar-Ar Geochronology laboratory for some years. My current field is the modelling of ore deposists. I’ve spent many hours doing petrography, core logging and looking at mineral chemistry results.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Larry, btw, so that I can understand were you are coming from, what kind of a scientist are you? What is your familiarity with dating?

    I’m a geologist as stated before, and have worked in mining & exploration for more than a decade. I have co-authored papers, and more to the point, I ran an Ar-Ar Geochronology laboratory for some years. My current field is the modelling of ore deposists. I’ve spent many hours doing petrography, core logging and looking at mineral chemistry results.

  • Larry

    I am a geologist, 20+ years. I do understand, completely what you are saying.

    I use uniformatarianism as I need to, as you say an interpretative principle, I well understand it but it is not my base philosophical principle. That’s a big difference. And no I disagree with it always boiling down to atheism or literalism, that is the nonsense, it does boil down to it in the sense of ad homenim attacks, that I agree to. People toss out literalism when any article of faith comes up, including the sacraments. I do realize that the Bible is not meant to be “science” book, you are telling me nothing new.

    I’m not rigid on an exacting calculation of the age of the earth, which is a waste of air and time, but I adhere to, that is faith confesses the literal narrative of Genesis, that is NOT literalism any more than is confessing that “This is My body/blood” is NOT literalism.

    Put another way if I died tonight and stood before God, my answer to creation is nothing more than a simple Amen to Genesis, and a denial to uniformatarianism as principle of truth. If I’m wrong then my confessions is, “I only wish to take You at your word forgive my ignorance”. Thus, my child analogy.

    My faith is not based on the agreement or disagreement of geologic principles, they were not crucified for me. It is nothing more than a paltry vocation for which I work diligently while here. I put no weight in it, and would give it up tomorrow, even though I am moderately good at it (i.e. I’ve been loaned some gift in that area/field for the specific purposes I’ve worked these many long years).

  • Larry

    I am a geologist, 20+ years. I do understand, completely what you are saying.

    I use uniformatarianism as I need to, as you say an interpretative principle, I well understand it but it is not my base philosophical principle. That’s a big difference. And no I disagree with it always boiling down to atheism or literalism, that is the nonsense, it does boil down to it in the sense of ad homenim attacks, that I agree to. People toss out literalism when any article of faith comes up, including the sacraments. I do realize that the Bible is not meant to be “science” book, you are telling me nothing new.

    I’m not rigid on an exacting calculation of the age of the earth, which is a waste of air and time, but I adhere to, that is faith confesses the literal narrative of Genesis, that is NOT literalism any more than is confessing that “This is My body/blood” is NOT literalism.

    Put another way if I died tonight and stood before God, my answer to creation is nothing more than a simple Amen to Genesis, and a denial to uniformatarianism as principle of truth. If I’m wrong then my confessions is, “I only wish to take You at your word forgive my ignorance”. Thus, my child analogy.

    My faith is not based on the agreement or disagreement of geologic principles, they were not crucified for me. It is nothing more than a paltry vocation for which I work diligently while here. I put no weight in it, and would give it up tomorrow, even though I am moderately good at it (i.e. I’ve been loaned some gift in that area/field for the specific purposes I’ve worked these many long years).

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Larry, I understand where you are going, and I appreciate your candour, but I still do not see how your approach is not sophistry: The analogy with the Elements of the Lord’s Supper doesn’t work, because we are, as Lutherans, not transubstantiationists – we simply say that He is truly present, and the actual mode is a mystery. There is no scientific test you can run for God’s Presence. If we were transubstantiationists, we could not say thus, because we would have to confess that it is actual blood and flesh, miraculously transformed by the words of the Priest. Thus Confessing the Real Presence does not violate reason or experience at all. It transcends it.

    With the literal understanding of Genesis (1-11), we have an entirely different question, one which even the Church Fathers (such as Origen and Augustine on the one hand, and Tertullian and Theophilus on the other) wrangled with. Interestingly, even the great Jewish Theologian of the time, Philo of Alexandria, follows a non-literal approach here.

    When reading Scripture, we ought to read not like modernists, or like scientists, but from the starting point of the soul in need of a Saviour, keeping in mind that it’s primary audience would have been ancient. Thus context. As such, it is entirely sensical that a Creation myth, and I mean “true myth” would have been used – Genesis is, in my words, alethemythopoeia – True myth making. Thus we can confess it as truth, but not in a modernist sense, yet something more than the neo-orthodox approach of Barth et al.

    I do find the disconnect from reality that you seem to be agitating for quite dangerous, in that the facts are clearly there – many km’s of successions, with a fossil record very clearly indicating evolving life, all fitting together quite nicel with chemical and physical evidence (radioactive decay, istopic changes, reducing to oxidising environements, newer DNA analyses – the list goes on and on. ) What you are asking for is to turn your back in the face of all the facts, and say – yet not so. It borders on a theology of a spiritualsing God, a sophist Deity which disconnects from the physical – that is the road to Gnosticism. A real God, interacting with a real, physical universe, His creation, sometimes directly (Incarnation), sometimes mystically (Real Presence), who teaches us as we best learn, through story and history.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Larry, I understand where you are going, and I appreciate your candour, but I still do not see how your approach is not sophistry: The analogy with the Elements of the Lord’s Supper doesn’t work, because we are, as Lutherans, not transubstantiationists – we simply say that He is truly present, and the actual mode is a mystery. There is no scientific test you can run for God’s Presence. If we were transubstantiationists, we could not say thus, because we would have to confess that it is actual blood and flesh, miraculously transformed by the words of the Priest. Thus Confessing the Real Presence does not violate reason or experience at all. It transcends it.

    With the literal understanding of Genesis (1-11), we have an entirely different question, one which even the Church Fathers (such as Origen and Augustine on the one hand, and Tertullian and Theophilus on the other) wrangled with. Interestingly, even the great Jewish Theologian of the time, Philo of Alexandria, follows a non-literal approach here.

    When reading Scripture, we ought to read not like modernists, or like scientists, but from the starting point of the soul in need of a Saviour, keeping in mind that it’s primary audience would have been ancient. Thus context. As such, it is entirely sensical that a Creation myth, and I mean “true myth” would have been used – Genesis is, in my words, alethemythopoeia – True myth making. Thus we can confess it as truth, but not in a modernist sense, yet something more than the neo-orthodox approach of Barth et al.

    I do find the disconnect from reality that you seem to be agitating for quite dangerous, in that the facts are clearly there – many km’s of successions, with a fossil record very clearly indicating evolving life, all fitting together quite nicel with chemical and physical evidence (radioactive decay, istopic changes, reducing to oxidising environements, newer DNA analyses – the list goes on and on. ) What you are asking for is to turn your back in the face of all the facts, and say – yet not so. It borders on a theology of a spiritualsing God, a sophist Deity which disconnects from the physical – that is the road to Gnosticism. A real God, interacting with a real, physical universe, His creation, sometimes directly (Incarnation), sometimes mystically (Real Presence), who teaches us as we best learn, through story and history.

  • Larry

    Then perhaps you do not understand sophistry. Oh no Louis we do not argue about the actual mode being a mystery, you could not be further from confessional truth on this. Now I see why you say what you say regarding Genesis, Sasse makes this point very clear (on the LS), that’s Calvinist entrance language in which they argue “we agree with the real presence we just disagree with the mode”. No we do not, we believe that the mode is plain, the very flesh and blood of Christ is present. Make no mistake about it, the debate between Zwingli and Luther was not about differing modes of presence, but the very flesh and blood of Christ. We do not spiritualize the text, which is precisely what you are doing with both text. Transubstantiation is not mode of presence but poor rationalized attempt to explain the mystery of the mode, and the mode, which is not a mystery, but rather very clear the real and very body and blood of Christ.

    Luther opposed confidently the rather symbolic interpretations that Augustine allows himself (Augustine’s neo platonic philosophy is well documented, in fact it was the lynch pin difference between him and Luther’s tower experience concerning the meaning of “the righteousness of God”). To Luther, Genesis is written by Moses, and it is a straightforward account of how creation was orchestrated: “Moses spoke in the literal sense, not allegorically or figuratively,” Luther states. Those who had other views, Luther regarded as childish or outright stupid.

    The LCMS posts its thoughts on the matter thus:

    The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod does not have an official position on the precise “age of the earth,” since the Bible itself does not tell us how old the earth is. Nor is it the Synod’s position that everything in the Bible is to be understood “literally.” There is much in the Bible that clearly purports not to be understood literally–but this must be determined by the Bible itself, not by science or human reason. There is nothing in the Bible itself to suggest that the creation account is not meant to be taken literally.
    The Synod has affirmed the belief, therefore, based on Scripture’s account of creation in the book of Genesis and other clear passages of Scripture, that “God by the almighty power of His Word created all things in six days by a series of creative acts,” that “Adam and Eve were real, historical human beings, the first two people in the world,” and that “we must confess what St. Paul says in Romans 5:12″ about the origin of sin through Adam as described in Genesis 3 (1967 Synodical Resolution 2-31). The Synod has also, therefore, stated that it rejects “all those world views, philosophical theories, exegetical interpretations and other hypotheses which pervert these biblical teachings and thus obscure the Gospel” (1967 Synodical Resolution 2-31).
    At the same time, the Synod firmly believes that there can be no actual contradiction between genuine scientific truth and the Bible. When it comes to the issue of the age of the earth, several possibilities exist for “harmonizing” Biblical teachings with scientific studies (e.g., God created the world in an already “mature” state, so that scientific “data” leads one to the conclusion that it is older than it actually is, etc.)

    What you are basically telling me is if science, not scripture, finds evidence to the contrary, then and only then, might you change your mind concerning Genesis. Your last paragraph exhibits this. In fact what you ask for is the very gnosticism and spiritualizing of the text that you deny. To quote you, “sometimes mystically (Real Presence)” (=gnosticism). God acting in his creation ex nihilo and creating “as is” is hardly gnosticism, no more than Christ’s miracle of turning water into wine, without the PROCESS of fermentation. Not to mention the incarnation which involved no process whatsoever, nor is God breathing into man the breath of life, again without the due process uniformatarianism pretends must happen. Uniformatarianism reads everything through its rationalized philosophy, what is has always been, not through the revelation of Scripture.

    You hardly understand sophistry, gnosticism and spiritualization and your comments on the LS could not prove it better.

  • Larry

    Then perhaps you do not understand sophistry. Oh no Louis we do not argue about the actual mode being a mystery, you could not be further from confessional truth on this. Now I see why you say what you say regarding Genesis, Sasse makes this point very clear (on the LS), that’s Calvinist entrance language in which they argue “we agree with the real presence we just disagree with the mode”. No we do not, we believe that the mode is plain, the very flesh and blood of Christ is present. Make no mistake about it, the debate between Zwingli and Luther was not about differing modes of presence, but the very flesh and blood of Christ. We do not spiritualize the text, which is precisely what you are doing with both text. Transubstantiation is not mode of presence but poor rationalized attempt to explain the mystery of the mode, and the mode, which is not a mystery, but rather very clear the real and very body and blood of Christ.

    Luther opposed confidently the rather symbolic interpretations that Augustine allows himself (Augustine’s neo platonic philosophy is well documented, in fact it was the lynch pin difference between him and Luther’s tower experience concerning the meaning of “the righteousness of God”). To Luther, Genesis is written by Moses, and it is a straightforward account of how creation was orchestrated: “Moses spoke in the literal sense, not allegorically or figuratively,” Luther states. Those who had other views, Luther regarded as childish or outright stupid.

    The LCMS posts its thoughts on the matter thus:

    The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod does not have an official position on the precise “age of the earth,” since the Bible itself does not tell us how old the earth is. Nor is it the Synod’s position that everything in the Bible is to be understood “literally.” There is much in the Bible that clearly purports not to be understood literally–but this must be determined by the Bible itself, not by science or human reason. There is nothing in the Bible itself to suggest that the creation account is not meant to be taken literally.
    The Synod has affirmed the belief, therefore, based on Scripture’s account of creation in the book of Genesis and other clear passages of Scripture, that “God by the almighty power of His Word created all things in six days by a series of creative acts,” that “Adam and Eve were real, historical human beings, the first two people in the world,” and that “we must confess what St. Paul says in Romans 5:12″ about the origin of sin through Adam as described in Genesis 3 (1967 Synodical Resolution 2-31). The Synod has also, therefore, stated that it rejects “all those world views, philosophical theories, exegetical interpretations and other hypotheses which pervert these biblical teachings and thus obscure the Gospel” (1967 Synodical Resolution 2-31).
    At the same time, the Synod firmly believes that there can be no actual contradiction between genuine scientific truth and the Bible. When it comes to the issue of the age of the earth, several possibilities exist for “harmonizing” Biblical teachings with scientific studies (e.g., God created the world in an already “mature” state, so that scientific “data” leads one to the conclusion that it is older than it actually is, etc.)

    What you are basically telling me is if science, not scripture, finds evidence to the contrary, then and only then, might you change your mind concerning Genesis. Your last paragraph exhibits this. In fact what you ask for is the very gnosticism and spiritualizing of the text that you deny. To quote you, “sometimes mystically (Real Presence)” (=gnosticism). God acting in his creation ex nihilo and creating “as is” is hardly gnosticism, no more than Christ’s miracle of turning water into wine, without the PROCESS of fermentation. Not to mention the incarnation which involved no process whatsoever, nor is God breathing into man the breath of life, again without the due process uniformatarianism pretends must happen. Uniformatarianism reads everything through its rationalized philosophy, what is has always been, not through the revelation of Scripture.

    You hardly understand sophistry, gnosticism and spiritualization and your comments on the LS could not prove it better.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Larry – The Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, nowhere do I deny this – because I used slightly different language than you, you immediately assume I’m saying that it is symbolic. No. It is not. The exact modus is not known to us, since we do taste bread and wine. Thus the presence is Real, but not in terms of physical measurements. Thus to call it mystery is hardly gnostic obfusification, but a recognition as to the limit of our understanding.

    Luther himself had rather funny views on science and reality at times – have you ever read his explanation as to where the swallows go during winter? This does not detract from the centrality of Law and Gospel, Incarnation and Resurrection.

    I still do not see how you can confess a 6000 year old earth, in spite of obvious evidence, and yet not descend into sophist explanations. The “God created a mature earth, complete with fossils indicating an evolutionary development etc” is a nasty red herring – so instead of questioning your interpretation of the text, you substitute a God who excells in the most elaborate deception of all? No thank you.

    But I’m a bit short of time to respond to you here (and your response indicates that you think I’m a heretic, btw). However, my friend John Halton over in the UK has some posts on his blog regarding a Lutheran approach to these questions – here are some links:

    http://www.confessingevangelical.com/?p=1851
    http://www.confessingevangelical.com/?p=1836

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Larry – The Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, nowhere do I deny this – because I used slightly different language than you, you immediately assume I’m saying that it is symbolic. No. It is not. The exact modus is not known to us, since we do taste bread and wine. Thus the presence is Real, but not in terms of physical measurements. Thus to call it mystery is hardly gnostic obfusification, but a recognition as to the limit of our understanding.

    Luther himself had rather funny views on science and reality at times – have you ever read his explanation as to where the swallows go during winter? This does not detract from the centrality of Law and Gospel, Incarnation and Resurrection.

    I still do not see how you can confess a 6000 year old earth, in spite of obvious evidence, and yet not descend into sophist explanations. The “God created a mature earth, complete with fossils indicating an evolutionary development etc” is a nasty red herring – so instead of questioning your interpretation of the text, you substitute a God who excells in the most elaborate deception of all? No thank you.

    But I’m a bit short of time to respond to you here (and your response indicates that you think I’m a heretic, btw). However, my friend John Halton over in the UK has some posts on his blog regarding a Lutheran approach to these questions – here are some links:

    http://www.confessingevangelical.com/?p=1851
    http://www.confessingevangelical.com/?p=1836

  • Larry

    See this is where you blindly follow your presupposition in circular fashion: “I still do not see how you can confess a 6000 year old earth, in spite of obvious evidence, and yet not descend into sophist explanations. The “God created a mature earth, complete with fossils indicating an evolutionary development etc” is a nasty red herring – so instead of questioning your interpretation of the text, you substitute a God who excells in the most elaborate deception of all? No thank you.”

    You are doing a little geologic slight of hand here that a layman may not pick up on, the layers and thus fossils are not the bases for dating, radiometric methods and so forth are. The fossils and sedimentary layers then follow the established dating base. Thus, the presupposition of uniformitarianism.

    The issue of creation ex nihilo, that Adam and Eve are historical and not evolution are not issues of science, but strictly articles of faith. As Paul well points out comparing the first Adam with the second Adam, namely Christ. He is not comparing a myth Adam, through which all men fell and are born in sin, with a real Christ. Creating a mythos of Genesis denies the very original sin of man that Christ, “behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John was not pointing to a real Christ taking away a mythological real original sin from a mythological Adam), for which Christ came and suffered. Which in turn implicates justification and all the rest of the articles of faith, including the LS, baptism, the incarnation, etc… So, yes, it is an issue, especially evolution, an article of faith of which you clearly weight on the side of science, the entire point of a theology of glory that speculates, rather than the word of God, not on issues in sciences realm but on issues in faiths realm. Thus, you conflate the two kingdoms on top of it all.

    And your continued recklessness of “a God who excels in the most elaborate deception of all” is a conclusion that only unbelief can make. Unbelief ‘assumes’ that is the conclusion to be draw. It is not. When in fact God hides himself via nature from speculation, theology of glory, for the very fact that He will not be found, savingly, this way but by the way of suffering and humility on the Cross, the Cross is our theology.

    The presence is not just “real” but the real and very flesh and blood of Christ, “ask them what it is that they put into your mouth” said Luther. The mode is not of question, how this happens is the mystery, transubstantiation was a poor human way of attempting to explain that which is above us, not the mode. Rome doesn’t deny the mode, it’s the real flesh and blood of Christ, though they attempt to deny the tension between the elements (not unlike sacramentarians). Both Sasse and Chemnitz go to great lengths in explaining this, I suggest you read them.

    Luther’s views on science are up grabs, he would say that, and you are correct it does not detract from the Law and Gospel, incarnation, resurrection. However, “God created a mature earth, complete with fossils indicating an evolutionary development etc” is a nasty red herring, etc…” which denies the historicity of creation, Adam and Eve and thus original sin directly does and its obvious to all.

    Error is not heresy, defending error is.

  • Larry

    See this is where you blindly follow your presupposition in circular fashion: “I still do not see how you can confess a 6000 year old earth, in spite of obvious evidence, and yet not descend into sophist explanations. The “God created a mature earth, complete with fossils indicating an evolutionary development etc” is a nasty red herring – so instead of questioning your interpretation of the text, you substitute a God who excells in the most elaborate deception of all? No thank you.”

    You are doing a little geologic slight of hand here that a layman may not pick up on, the layers and thus fossils are not the bases for dating, radiometric methods and so forth are. The fossils and sedimentary layers then follow the established dating base. Thus, the presupposition of uniformitarianism.

    The issue of creation ex nihilo, that Adam and Eve are historical and not evolution are not issues of science, but strictly articles of faith. As Paul well points out comparing the first Adam with the second Adam, namely Christ. He is not comparing a myth Adam, through which all men fell and are born in sin, with a real Christ. Creating a mythos of Genesis denies the very original sin of man that Christ, “behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John was not pointing to a real Christ taking away a mythological real original sin from a mythological Adam), for which Christ came and suffered. Which in turn implicates justification and all the rest of the articles of faith, including the LS, baptism, the incarnation, etc… So, yes, it is an issue, especially evolution, an article of faith of which you clearly weight on the side of science, the entire point of a theology of glory that speculates, rather than the word of God, not on issues in sciences realm but on issues in faiths realm. Thus, you conflate the two kingdoms on top of it all.

    And your continued recklessness of “a God who excels in the most elaborate deception of all” is a conclusion that only unbelief can make. Unbelief ‘assumes’ that is the conclusion to be draw. It is not. When in fact God hides himself via nature from speculation, theology of glory, for the very fact that He will not be found, savingly, this way but by the way of suffering and humility on the Cross, the Cross is our theology.

    The presence is not just “real” but the real and very flesh and blood of Christ, “ask them what it is that they put into your mouth” said Luther. The mode is not of question, how this happens is the mystery, transubstantiation was a poor human way of attempting to explain that which is above us, not the mode. Rome doesn’t deny the mode, it’s the real flesh and blood of Christ, though they attempt to deny the tension between the elements (not unlike sacramentarians). Both Sasse and Chemnitz go to great lengths in explaining this, I suggest you read them.

    Luther’s views on science are up grabs, he would say that, and you are correct it does not detract from the Law and Gospel, incarnation, resurrection. However, “God created a mature earth, complete with fossils indicating an evolutionary development etc” is a nasty red herring, etc…” which denies the historicity of creation, Adam and Eve and thus original sin directly does and its obvious to all.

    Error is not heresy, defending error is.

  • WebMonk

    “And your continued recklessness of “a God who excels in the most elaborate deception of all” is a conclusion that only unbelief can make.”

    Yup, there it is.

    Louis, you are an unbeliever because you don’t interpret Genesis the same way he does.

  • WebMonk

    “And your continued recklessness of “a God who excels in the most elaborate deception of all” is a conclusion that only unbelief can make.”

    Yup, there it is.

    Louis, you are an unbeliever because you don’t interpret Genesis the same way he does.

  • WebMonk

    Oh, and Louis, you’re also a heretic.

    “Error is not heresy, defending error is.”

  • WebMonk

    Oh, and Louis, you’re also a heretic.

    “Error is not heresy, defending error is.”

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Well, Larry, since you have confined me to perdition theologically, I’ll leave that aside, except to note that you import meanings to the text the original authors seemingly did not – ie, you read through literalist, modernist glasses, when it is by no means certain that the original authors did so. Hence my quoting the variable readings by the fathers, to demonstrate that a non-literal reading was common even then. I am not sure that Lutheran theology conforms to your own very specific joth and tittle approach either, but being but a very part-time amateur, I’m not about to persue this matter.

    Your little canard about dating and uniformatarianism is just that – misleading. Why? Because the progression in evolutionary development is evident even if you take the relative ages only (this layer on top of that layer etc etc). Absolute ages confirm this, but it is evident without them. I would refer readers to my own blog and my series on the Geology of Southern Africa, of which there are unfortunately only two posts up at this stage.

    Also Larry, you mention 2 decades of geology – would you care two give some more detail, as I did? It helps to put perspective to the debate.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Well, Larry, since you have confined me to perdition theologically, I’ll leave that aside, except to note that you import meanings to the text the original authors seemingly did not – ie, you read through literalist, modernist glasses, when it is by no means certain that the original authors did so. Hence my quoting the variable readings by the fathers, to demonstrate that a non-literal reading was common even then. I am not sure that Lutheran theology conforms to your own very specific joth and tittle approach either, but being but a very part-time amateur, I’m not about to persue this matter.

    Your little canard about dating and uniformatarianism is just that – misleading. Why? Because the progression in evolutionary development is evident even if you take the relative ages only (this layer on top of that layer etc etc). Absolute ages confirm this, but it is evident without them. I would refer readers to my own blog and my series on the Geology of Southern Africa, of which there are unfortunately only two posts up at this stage.

    Also Larry, you mention 2 decades of geology – would you care two give some more detail, as I did? It helps to put perspective to the debate.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@61), if you want to bring hurt feelings and sweeping statements into this discussion, perhaps you’d also like to address how you and Louis have both accused Larry and I (here and elsewhere) of believing in a “deceptive” (@59) God.

    So it’s too far to accuse a particular belief of coming from “unbelief” (or, as you say, of being “heresy”), but it’s apparently nothing to accuse someone of worshipping a liar (and what’s more, by appeals to science, implying that the deceptive God that Larry and I worship isn’t the real God, since he created the universe as you and Louis believe).

    All of which to say, maybe there’s not a lot of value in acting shocked at the implications of a theological disagreement. Especially when you’re dishing it out equally.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@61), if you want to bring hurt feelings and sweeping statements into this discussion, perhaps you’d also like to address how you and Louis have both accused Larry and I (here and elsewhere) of believing in a “deceptive” (@59) God.

    So it’s too far to accuse a particular belief of coming from “unbelief” (or, as you say, of being “heresy”), but it’s apparently nothing to accuse someone of worshipping a liar (and what’s more, by appeals to science, implying that the deceptive God that Larry and I worship isn’t the real God, since he created the universe as you and Louis believe).

    All of which to say, maybe there’s not a lot of value in acting shocked at the implications of a theological disagreement. Especially when you’re dishing it out equally.

  • DonS

    I’ve been watching this discussion with a sense of deja vu, but I guess I’ll go ahead and wade in a bit, with a few observations.

    1) The argument that if God created the earth to appear aged then He is necessarily deceptive is a strange one. We know that He created Adam and Eve as adults. Or at least, that appears to be the case based on scriptural context. So, was He deceptive in doing so, and leading Eve to believe that having a kid would be a snap? Or was He simply giving Creation a jump start, kind of the way a developer sometimes plants mature trees to give the development an established look? I mean, let’s face it, it wasn’t just Adam and Eve. The trees, plants, bushes, etc. all were mature, presumably. We weren’t talking about the Garden of Saplings here. All a big fake, I guess.

    Or, here’s an alternative. God created a mature earth, because He wanted it to be an enjoyable and beautiful place in which Adam & Eve could live. He wasn’t worried about whether Adam would start digging through the soil layers and say “hey, this looks old”, and start concocting theories of origin, because He was right there by Adam’s side to explain it all to him. It was man who messed up, not God. Once messed up, we know from Scripture that man’s wisdom is foolishness. It’s self-deception, not God’s deception. It’s not God’s problem if man, in his haste to write God out of the creation equation, misinterprets the evidence. I’m not saying this is the case. But it could be. And good scientists don’t dismiss what might be, unless they have conclusive evidence to the contrary. And I guarantee that you don’t have that conclusive of evidence.

    2) Science is observational. Good scientists are famous for saying, in the face of incredible circumstantial evidence pointing in a certain direction, that there is not enough evidence to be conclusive about a conclusion or theory. EXCEPT in the area of origin science, where they pretend to know conclusively what happened because of extrapolations based on scraps of evidence observed over a century or so, in the context of billions of years. A lot of assumptions are involved, especially when it comes to dating methods. But yet, no expressions of doubt? Hmm. That’s a red flag to me, and I have quite a bit of science training, with an engineering degree.

    3) By no means should a university have to teach everything, from every perspective. There is a curriculum, assembled by experts in the field, which necessarily focuses on the best evidence and theories in that field and discards other less supported ideas. So that is clearly not what is meant when one says that the university should be a laboratory of ideas. Rather, what is meant is that others, including students, should be free to share their thoughts, ideas, and questions, without fear of being shouted down or suppressed. These things should be rationally discussed and dealt with. And, by all means, as new evidence is introduced or discovered, the teaching community should be open to incorporating that into their curriculum. No closed minds, especially in the scientific community.

    4) With the above in mind, concerning the UK and Dr. Gaskell, as long as Dr. Gaskell is willing to fairly teach the prevailing biological theories, he should not be discriminated against because of his religious beliefs. By “fairly teach”, I mean he needs to present the curriculum fully, without extensively editorializing and undermining the science being taught. By “extensively editorializing”, I mean he should be sabotaging or undermining the presentation of material so that the students aren’t gaining a fair and unvarnished understanding of the theory being taught. There is no requirement that he be dogmatic about it, however. Science and dogmatism do not mix very well, especially when one is teaching a theory. So, he should certainly be allowed, over the course of the semester, to discuss his own views on the evidence and the theories, and to present any evidence that is credible and might tend to vitiate or cast some doubt on those theories. That is the essence of the scientific method.

    5) Which brings me to my final point. To the extent that any biologist at the UK or in academia is teaching scientific theories dogmatically as fact, THEY are the ones who should be disqualified from their posts. Students should be clearly aware of the difference between theory and established scientific principles. A good curriculum teaching a theory necessarily teaches alternative theories or at least makes the student aware that there is dissent regarding the particular theories. They should be taught that theories about what happened prior to the modern age, or what will happen in the future necessarily involve extrapolation well beyond our capability to observe evidence, and thus cannot ever be regarded as absolute truth. Sadly, this is where our science departments fall well short of the mark today, often in the quest of political considerations and applications for research funding.

  • DonS

    I’ve been watching this discussion with a sense of deja vu, but I guess I’ll go ahead and wade in a bit, with a few observations.

    1) The argument that if God created the earth to appear aged then He is necessarily deceptive is a strange one. We know that He created Adam and Eve as adults. Or at least, that appears to be the case based on scriptural context. So, was He deceptive in doing so, and leading Eve to believe that having a kid would be a snap? Or was He simply giving Creation a jump start, kind of the way a developer sometimes plants mature trees to give the development an established look? I mean, let’s face it, it wasn’t just Adam and Eve. The trees, plants, bushes, etc. all were mature, presumably. We weren’t talking about the Garden of Saplings here. All a big fake, I guess.

    Or, here’s an alternative. God created a mature earth, because He wanted it to be an enjoyable and beautiful place in which Adam & Eve could live. He wasn’t worried about whether Adam would start digging through the soil layers and say “hey, this looks old”, and start concocting theories of origin, because He was right there by Adam’s side to explain it all to him. It was man who messed up, not God. Once messed up, we know from Scripture that man’s wisdom is foolishness. It’s self-deception, not God’s deception. It’s not God’s problem if man, in his haste to write God out of the creation equation, misinterprets the evidence. I’m not saying this is the case. But it could be. And good scientists don’t dismiss what might be, unless they have conclusive evidence to the contrary. And I guarantee that you don’t have that conclusive of evidence.

    2) Science is observational. Good scientists are famous for saying, in the face of incredible circumstantial evidence pointing in a certain direction, that there is not enough evidence to be conclusive about a conclusion or theory. EXCEPT in the area of origin science, where they pretend to know conclusively what happened because of extrapolations based on scraps of evidence observed over a century or so, in the context of billions of years. A lot of assumptions are involved, especially when it comes to dating methods. But yet, no expressions of doubt? Hmm. That’s a red flag to me, and I have quite a bit of science training, with an engineering degree.

    3) By no means should a university have to teach everything, from every perspective. There is a curriculum, assembled by experts in the field, which necessarily focuses on the best evidence and theories in that field and discards other less supported ideas. So that is clearly not what is meant when one says that the university should be a laboratory of ideas. Rather, what is meant is that others, including students, should be free to share their thoughts, ideas, and questions, without fear of being shouted down or suppressed. These things should be rationally discussed and dealt with. And, by all means, as new evidence is introduced or discovered, the teaching community should be open to incorporating that into their curriculum. No closed minds, especially in the scientific community.

    4) With the above in mind, concerning the UK and Dr. Gaskell, as long as Dr. Gaskell is willing to fairly teach the prevailing biological theories, he should not be discriminated against because of his religious beliefs. By “fairly teach”, I mean he needs to present the curriculum fully, without extensively editorializing and undermining the science being taught. By “extensively editorializing”, I mean he should be sabotaging or undermining the presentation of material so that the students aren’t gaining a fair and unvarnished understanding of the theory being taught. There is no requirement that he be dogmatic about it, however. Science and dogmatism do not mix very well, especially when one is teaching a theory. So, he should certainly be allowed, over the course of the semester, to discuss his own views on the evidence and the theories, and to present any evidence that is credible and might tend to vitiate or cast some doubt on those theories. That is the essence of the scientific method.

    5) Which brings me to my final point. To the extent that any biologist at the UK or in academia is teaching scientific theories dogmatically as fact, THEY are the ones who should be disqualified from their posts. Students should be clearly aware of the difference between theory and established scientific principles. A good curriculum teaching a theory necessarily teaches alternative theories or at least makes the student aware that there is dissent regarding the particular theories. They should be taught that theories about what happened prior to the modern age, or what will happen in the future necessarily involve extrapolation well beyond our capability to observe evidence, and thus cannot ever be regarded as absolute truth. Sadly, this is where our science departments fall well short of the mark today, often in the quest of political considerations and applications for research funding.

  • DonS

    In point 4 of my diatribe @ 65, “I mean he should be sabotaging” should, of course, read “I mean he should NOT be sabotaging”.

  • DonS

    In point 4 of my diatribe @ 65, “I mean he should be sabotaging” should, of course, read “I mean he should NOT be sabotaging”.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Todd: Insofar as Larry said that God could have created a mature earth, which means that he created old dead things that actually weren’t, sediments from oceans that never existed, an evolutionary progression that ain’t, volcanoes that never erupted, and and – yes, insofar as that possibility (he mentioned it as such, though did not commit to it), yes, in that I still maintain that for that to be true, God must have intentionally gone out to deceive.

    DonS: My time is limited, but I’ll attempt to answer your questions/diatribe later tonight/tomorrow.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Todd: Insofar as Larry said that God could have created a mature earth, which means that he created old dead things that actually weren’t, sediments from oceans that never existed, an evolutionary progression that ain’t, volcanoes that never erupted, and and – yes, insofar as that possibility (he mentioned it as such, though did not commit to it), yes, in that I still maintain that for that to be true, God must have intentionally gone out to deceive.

    DonS: My time is limited, but I’ll attempt to answer your questions/diatribe later tonight/tomorrow.

  • WebMonk

    tODD, to my mind anyway, accusing someone of having a skewed view of God is several orders of magnitude different than accusing someone of being an unbeliever and a heretic.

    On one hand, I’m saying you and Larry have a warped and faulty view of God, but in no way say you are outside God’s saving grace. (I suspect you guys believe the same about me since I don’t believe infant baptism is an accurate interpretation of scripture)

    What Larry and many other YEC enthusiasts frequently do is say that anyone who disagrees with YEC is not even a Christian – an unbeliever and a heretic are what I believe Larry called Louis.

    Louis can certainly stand up for himself, and I doubt he will lose any sleep over Larry’s view of him, but it is still something about which Larry should be chided.

  • WebMonk

    tODD, to my mind anyway, accusing someone of having a skewed view of God is several orders of magnitude different than accusing someone of being an unbeliever and a heretic.

    On one hand, I’m saying you and Larry have a warped and faulty view of God, but in no way say you are outside God’s saving grace. (I suspect you guys believe the same about me since I don’t believe infant baptism is an accurate interpretation of scripture)

    What Larry and many other YEC enthusiasts frequently do is say that anyone who disagrees with YEC is not even a Christian – an unbeliever and a heretic are what I believe Larry called Louis.

    Louis can certainly stand up for himself, and I doubt he will lose any sleep over Larry’s view of him, but it is still something about which Larry should be chided.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@68), it occurs to me that there may be some semantic issues here, among other things, in your saying, “accusing someone of having a skewed view of God is several orders of magnitude different than accusing someone of being an unbeliever and a heretic.”

    Larry has written quite a lot here, so maybe I missed it, but has he actually called you (or Louis) an “unbeliever”? Or has he said that your ideas proceed from unbelief? Can you see that there’s a difference?

    For my purposes, an “unbeliever” would be someone who does not believe in Jesus Christ as his savior, and so would be “outside God’s saving grace”, as you say. However, “unbelief”, to borrow from Merriam-Webster (I find their definition adequate) is “incredulity or skepticism especially in matters of religious faith”. In other words, doubt. While unbelievers necessarily possess unbelief, it is not true that all possessing unbelief are unbelievers. And that is because we who by grace are saved still doubt.

    As to “heresy” and “heretic”, I again find Merriam-Webster adequate: “adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma” and “a dissenter from established religious dogma”. Please note that a heretic is not necessarily an unbeliever. But heresy (aka false teaching) proceeds from unbelief and can create unbelief in others.

    All that to say that both sides here appear to think that the other side has “a warped and faulty view of God”, at least as far as his history goes, and what this reveals about his intents. And, to the degree that God is being (mis)represented, contrary to Scripture, there is heresy and unbelief.

    This is the nature of any theological disagreement over Scripture. Is it possible to accuse someone of being wrong about what Scripture says (at the very least when it comes to God and what he has done) without also accusing them of heresy and unbelief? You seem to think so, but I think that’s just soft-peddling the accusation, attempting to be polite in spite of what you’re really saying. I say let’s just be honest about the nature of our disagreement, even as we rejoice that everyone here, as per their confession, has faith in Jesus in their savior, which faith is not predicated on their having a perfect understanding of God, or else faith would rely on us, and not on Jesus.

    That doesn’t mean that false teaching isn’t a danger and shouldn’t be addressed and labelled. Which is why we’re having this discussion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@68), it occurs to me that there may be some semantic issues here, among other things, in your saying, “accusing someone of having a skewed view of God is several orders of magnitude different than accusing someone of being an unbeliever and a heretic.”

    Larry has written quite a lot here, so maybe I missed it, but has he actually called you (or Louis) an “unbeliever”? Or has he said that your ideas proceed from unbelief? Can you see that there’s a difference?

    For my purposes, an “unbeliever” would be someone who does not believe in Jesus Christ as his savior, and so would be “outside God’s saving grace”, as you say. However, “unbelief”, to borrow from Merriam-Webster (I find their definition adequate) is “incredulity or skepticism especially in matters of religious faith”. In other words, doubt. While unbelievers necessarily possess unbelief, it is not true that all possessing unbelief are unbelievers. And that is because we who by grace are saved still doubt.

    As to “heresy” and “heretic”, I again find Merriam-Webster adequate: “adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma” and “a dissenter from established religious dogma”. Please note that a heretic is not necessarily an unbeliever. But heresy (aka false teaching) proceeds from unbelief and can create unbelief in others.

    All that to say that both sides here appear to think that the other side has “a warped and faulty view of God”, at least as far as his history goes, and what this reveals about his intents. And, to the degree that God is being (mis)represented, contrary to Scripture, there is heresy and unbelief.

    This is the nature of any theological disagreement over Scripture. Is it possible to accuse someone of being wrong about what Scripture says (at the very least when it comes to God and what he has done) without also accusing them of heresy and unbelief? You seem to think so, but I think that’s just soft-peddling the accusation, attempting to be polite in spite of what you’re really saying. I say let’s just be honest about the nature of our disagreement, even as we rejoice that everyone here, as per their confession, has faith in Jesus in their savior, which faith is not predicated on their having a perfect understanding of God, or else faith would rely on us, and not on Jesus.

    That doesn’t mean that false teaching isn’t a danger and shouldn’t be addressed and labelled. Which is why we’re having this discussion.

  • WebMonk

    I’ll let Larry correct me if I’m wrong and you’re right, but tODD, you’re stretching pretty far there. Heretic certainly does have the technical meaning of what you’ve described, but that’s not how it is used or meant 99% of the time – people were burned at the stake and sent to prison for being heretics. Heretics, as used by the RCC from which the term originated, very clearly referred to those outside the faith and damned.

    As for unbelief, you’re right that it could mean that lesser sense of the word, but Larry’s paragraph is pretty clear that he isn’t using it that way. Just a line later he clearly states that via unbelief, “[Christ] will not be found, savingly, this way”.

    That also goes to support the more severe meaning of heretic when he used it later.

    Maybe Larry didn’t mean what he said and was just carried away, overstating, imprecise, or whatever. But, from what it seems to me, he was pretty clearly saying Louis is outside God’s salvation because of his view of Genesis.

  • WebMonk

    I’ll let Larry correct me if I’m wrong and you’re right, but tODD, you’re stretching pretty far there. Heretic certainly does have the technical meaning of what you’ve described, but that’s not how it is used or meant 99% of the time – people were burned at the stake and sent to prison for being heretics. Heretics, as used by the RCC from which the term originated, very clearly referred to those outside the faith and damned.

    As for unbelief, you’re right that it could mean that lesser sense of the word, but Larry’s paragraph is pretty clear that he isn’t using it that way. Just a line later he clearly states that via unbelief, “[Christ] will not be found, savingly, this way”.

    That also goes to support the more severe meaning of heretic when he used it later.

    Maybe Larry didn’t mean what he said and was just carried away, overstating, imprecise, or whatever. But, from what it seems to me, he was pretty clearly saying Louis is outside God’s salvation because of his view of Genesis.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis (@67) said,

    Insofar as Larry said that God could have created a mature earth, which means that he created old dead things that actually weren’t, sediments from oceans that never existed, an evolutionary progression that ain’t, volcanoes that never erupted …

    called things that are not as though they were? ;)

    Okay, if it is true that creating things with apparent age is “deceptive”, then I wonder how you address two Biblical stories. The first, of course, is that of Adam and the Garden of Eden. I’ll just focus on Adam. According to you, how was Adam created? Purely through evolution (perhaps merely the first instance of Homo sapiens), or as a special case in line with the literal reading of Genesis? If the latter, did God create him with apparent age? I don’t see how he could not have, but then, I’m not sure what you believe about Adam (etc.), so I’ll let you fill me in before I reply. Moving on…

    How do you read Jesus’ actions at the wedding at Cana? He created wine, if not ex nihilo, then by transforming water into wine. The reaction of the banquet master implies that the wine had appearance of being well aged — as that’s typically what is considered “the best”. But even if one argues that Jesus had created some very fine Beaujolais nouveau, it’s still true that the wine had the appearance of age, in spite of being newly created. All wine is necessarily several months old, right (you’re the winemaker, you tell me)? So did Jesus deceive the wedding guests?

    In fact, should the guests have been angry at Jesus? “Why did you make this wine that appears to be older than it is? Deceiver! You should have served us grape must!” I’d like to think that, had I been there, I would have merely marvelled at the miracle, thankful that Jesus had created wine with apparent age, as that made it all the more enjoyable (and, frankly, functional). And, I’m arguing, that should be our response to an apparently-aged creation, as well: to view it with thankfulness and awe, not anger.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis (@67) said,

    Insofar as Larry said that God could have created a mature earth, which means that he created old dead things that actually weren’t, sediments from oceans that never existed, an evolutionary progression that ain’t, volcanoes that never erupted …

    called things that are not as though they were? ;)

    Okay, if it is true that creating things with apparent age is “deceptive”, then I wonder how you address two Biblical stories. The first, of course, is that of Adam and the Garden of Eden. I’ll just focus on Adam. According to you, how was Adam created? Purely through evolution (perhaps merely the first instance of Homo sapiens), or as a special case in line with the literal reading of Genesis? If the latter, did God create him with apparent age? I don’t see how he could not have, but then, I’m not sure what you believe about Adam (etc.), so I’ll let you fill me in before I reply. Moving on…

    How do you read Jesus’ actions at the wedding at Cana? He created wine, if not ex nihilo, then by transforming water into wine. The reaction of the banquet master implies that the wine had appearance of being well aged — as that’s typically what is considered “the best”. But even if one argues that Jesus had created some very fine Beaujolais nouveau, it’s still true that the wine had the appearance of age, in spite of being newly created. All wine is necessarily several months old, right (you’re the winemaker, you tell me)? So did Jesus deceive the wedding guests?

    In fact, should the guests have been angry at Jesus? “Why did you make this wine that appears to be older than it is? Deceiver! You should have served us grape must!” I’d like to think that, had I been there, I would have merely marvelled at the miracle, thankful that Jesus had created wine with apparent age, as that made it all the more enjoyable (and, frankly, functional). And, I’m arguing, that should be our response to an apparently-aged creation, as well: to view it with thankfulness and awe, not anger.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Todd:

    Regarding Adam – I’m not 100% sure how I’m handling the story – note that we are dealing with 2 sepoarate, discordant Creation Tellings in Genesis 1 and 2.

    Regarding the Wine at Cana: This is a bad example, after all, here is Jesus, doing a miracle in front of their eyes. There is no way that is a deception – it is clear and defined. If you really wanted an anaology along those lines, in modern parlance, I would say that it would have been a different case if Jesus produced 2 cases of dusty old bottles of a ’68 Constantia, with the receipt from the vineyard attached, and a delivery van outside. :) That is what I’m objecting against, if I could stretch the analogy beyond breaking point…

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Todd:

    Regarding Adam – I’m not 100% sure how I’m handling the story – note that we are dealing with 2 sepoarate, discordant Creation Tellings in Genesis 1 and 2.

    Regarding the Wine at Cana: This is a bad example, after all, here is Jesus, doing a miracle in front of their eyes. There is no way that is a deception – it is clear and defined. If you really wanted an anaology along those lines, in modern parlance, I would say that it would have been a different case if Jesus produced 2 cases of dusty old bottles of a ’68 Constantia, with the receipt from the vineyard attached, and a delivery van outside. :) That is what I’m objecting against, if I could stretch the analogy beyond breaking point…

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    DonS,

    Your first point. I think you just have no idea as to the mountains of evidence involved. I invite you to read my Geological Journey series at my own blog, and hopefully we can talk again at a later stage. Same with your second point. I will write something about radiometric dating at a future point on my blog – it is not as tenuous as you think.

    As to your other points – at least in my case critical thinking was encouraged at university. Fact is, there hasn’t been one credible theory from Creationists, at least in geology, which could withstand even elementary review.

    Should the UK deny somebody tenure because of their religious view – absolutely not.

    BTW, in my experience, engineers know just enough science to make them dangerous… ;)

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    DonS,

    Your first point. I think you just have no idea as to the mountains of evidence involved. I invite you to read my Geological Journey series at my own blog, and hopefully we can talk again at a later stage. Same with your second point. I will write something about radiometric dating at a future point on my blog – it is not as tenuous as you think.

    As to your other points – at least in my case critical thinking was encouraged at university. Fact is, there hasn’t been one credible theory from Creationists, at least in geology, which could withstand even elementary review.

    Should the UK deny somebody tenure because of their religious view – absolutely not.

    BTW, in my experience, engineers know just enough science to make them dangerous… ;)

  • WebMonk

    Oo! Oo! Can I answer the wine at Cana part of the question? I especially like this one! I heard this somewhere. ;-)

    Creating anything in our universe has some aspect in which it has “age” as measured by physical means – that is the nature of existence. However, the manner by and nature of that which is created is what causes the deceptiveness.

    Now, if Jesus had created the wine, and also created a shipping slip for the wine from somewhere, and created scrape marks on the floor where the movers would have dragged the urn, and removed money from the host’s purse, and added money into a winemaker’s purse, and created memories in some laborers’ minds of having moved said urn, etc, etc, etc – recreating every detail just as if they wine had actually been purchased rather than created, that would be a deception.

    That is analogous to what God would have done with the universe if the YEC view is correct. Every tiny little detail shows not only age, in the sense that something has existed, but also age in that we can see things, with which by every possible examination appear to have happened in the far ancient past.

    God hasn’t just created the Earth (and Adam) with apparent age (analogous to wine which needs to have aged), but he has also created the shipping slips, the drag marks, the money changing purses, the memories of the movers, the missing wine from a wine seller, the tiredness of the horse that pulled the wagon with the wine urns, the tracks from the wagon, etc.

    That is why I say if God really did create the universe on the order of 6000/10000 years ago, then God must have done a deception.

  • WebMonk

    Oo! Oo! Can I answer the wine at Cana part of the question? I especially like this one! I heard this somewhere. ;-)

    Creating anything in our universe has some aspect in which it has “age” as measured by physical means – that is the nature of existence. However, the manner by and nature of that which is created is what causes the deceptiveness.

    Now, if Jesus had created the wine, and also created a shipping slip for the wine from somewhere, and created scrape marks on the floor where the movers would have dragged the urn, and removed money from the host’s purse, and added money into a winemaker’s purse, and created memories in some laborers’ minds of having moved said urn, etc, etc, etc – recreating every detail just as if they wine had actually been purchased rather than created, that would be a deception.

    That is analogous to what God would have done with the universe if the YEC view is correct. Every tiny little detail shows not only age, in the sense that something has existed, but also age in that we can see things, with which by every possible examination appear to have happened in the far ancient past.

    God hasn’t just created the Earth (and Adam) with apparent age (analogous to wine which needs to have aged), but he has also created the shipping slips, the drag marks, the money changing purses, the memories of the movers, the missing wine from a wine seller, the tiredness of the horse that pulled the wagon with the wine urns, the tracks from the wagon, etc.

    That is why I say if God really did create the universe on the order of 6000/10000 years ago, then God must have done a deception.

  • WebMonk

    Oh blast it. Louis beat me to it, and even demonstrated that he is the original inspiration for how I phrased it. I had always tried to explain that to people before, but had never come up with a good way to say it until I saw Louis phrase it the way he did at some point.

  • WebMonk

    Oh blast it. Louis beat me to it, and even demonstrated that he is the original inspiration for how I phrased it. I had always tried to explain that to people before, but had never come up with a good way to say it until I saw Louis phrase it the way he did at some point.

  • WebMonk

    DonS – don’t knock radiometric dating. All the top YEC scientists have now swung around and say radiometric dating is valid and accurate measurement and interpretation.

    They say the dates are off because God did a miracle to speed up all the radiation rates in just the right way to make all the radiometric dates show million/billions of years instead of the thousands.

    (and they say he must have also miraculously removed all the heat from those sped up reactions, and removed all the radiation damage to the Ark’s inhabitants, and localized the effect to just the Earth and Moon (for some reason), and, and, and)

  • WebMonk

    DonS – don’t knock radiometric dating. All the top YEC scientists have now swung around and say radiometric dating is valid and accurate measurement and interpretation.

    They say the dates are off because God did a miracle to speed up all the radiation rates in just the right way to make all the radiometric dates show million/billions of years instead of the thousands.

    (and they say he must have also miraculously removed all the heat from those sped up reactions, and removed all the radiation damage to the Ark’s inhabitants, and localized the effect to just the Earth and Moon (for some reason), and, and, and)

  • DonS

    Louis @ 73 (and Webmonk — you two seem to be tracking pretty well here :-) )

    It’s worse than me just being an engineer. I’m a n0n-practicing engineer ;-)

    Still and all, the last I heard, origin theories are just theories, no matter how compelling the evidence seems to be. They should be presented that way. There is always a doubt when you are extrapolating beyond what you can directly observe and measure. This is not an area of science which should be populated by dogmatists. Nor should biologists who believe the literal Biblical account of creation be excluded from the field. There are plenty of ways they can still contribute

    The deception argument really bothers me, beyond even what I discussed in point 1) of my post 65. Because if you are going to argue that the theory that God created an “aged” earth cannot possibly be true because it would mean He was “deceptive”, then the flip side of that is that the Bible is “deceptive” since it does not hint at a randomized evolutionary natural creation process. Why did He allow so many millions of believers to be duped into an understanding that creation was a literal six day process, directly supervised by Him, if it is not true? Should He not at least have hinted in Scripture at the truth of evolution? I realize the Bible is not a science text, per se, but the creation story seems pretty duplicitous if origin science theory is true.

    It makes more sense to me that God would allow those to be deceived who, using human wisdom, seek to develop and support a creation theory which can easily be interpreted to exclude the supernatural. The Bible actually talks of that.

  • DonS

    Louis @ 73 (and Webmonk — you two seem to be tracking pretty well here :-) )

    It’s worse than me just being an engineer. I’m a n0n-practicing engineer ;-)

    Still and all, the last I heard, origin theories are just theories, no matter how compelling the evidence seems to be. They should be presented that way. There is always a doubt when you are extrapolating beyond what you can directly observe and measure. This is not an area of science which should be populated by dogmatists. Nor should biologists who believe the literal Biblical account of creation be excluded from the field. There are plenty of ways they can still contribute

    The deception argument really bothers me, beyond even what I discussed in point 1) of my post 65. Because if you are going to argue that the theory that God created an “aged” earth cannot possibly be true because it would mean He was “deceptive”, then the flip side of that is that the Bible is “deceptive” since it does not hint at a randomized evolutionary natural creation process. Why did He allow so many millions of believers to be duped into an understanding that creation was a literal six day process, directly supervised by Him, if it is not true? Should He not at least have hinted in Scripture at the truth of evolution? I realize the Bible is not a science text, per se, but the creation story seems pretty duplicitous if origin science theory is true.

    It makes more sense to me that God would allow those to be deceived who, using human wisdom, seek to develop and support a creation theory which can easily be interpreted to exclude the supernatural. The Bible actually talks of that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis said (@72), “I’m not 100% sure how I’m handling the story” of Adam. I find this a bit surprising, given that you’re rather sure of how it shouldn’t be read. I’m trying to think of another situation where someone has told me what a Bible passage didn’t mean while being unable to tell me what it did, but I can’t. It might be one thing if your assurance was based on other passages of Scripture, but it is not.

    “We are dealing with 2 sepoarate, discordant Creation Tellings in Genesis 1 and 2.” So I am often told, though usually by atheists, not orthodox Christians. Anyhow, I don’t see any discordance there. Care to outline it for me?

    “Regarding the Wine at Cana: This is a bad example, after all, here is Jesus, doing a miracle in front of their eyes. There is no way that is a deception.” Hmm. Read the account again:

    The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

    The guy who tasted the wine and was amazed at its quality didn’t know where the wine came from, much less that it had been created miraculously. He was, it would seem, deceived.

    Anyhow, I find the rebuttals here less than convincing. “Oh, it would have been deceptive if this, that, and thus-and-so, but as it was, it was not deceptive!” This is purely subjective argument. No objective standard is offered by which to judge when supernatural creation miracles are “deceptive” and when they are not. All I see is claims that making water from wine is not deceptive, but various add-ons to the story would, for some reason or other, somehow qualify as deceptive.

    And while we don’t have any of Jesus’ wine today, nor does John concern himself with the details of the miracle (which would be missing the point), it seems obvious that, had we been there with all our fancy modern chromatographs and whatnot, we could have compiled all sorts of scientific evidence that Jesus’ wine had not been created mere minutes ago. After all, the banquet master’s sense of taste and smell alerted him to the presence of all manner of chemicals that implied not just age but the origin of the wine and what had happened to it. There would have been various levels of anthocyanins hinting at how long the wine had been aged. Except the apparent age implied by them would be a lie. If it was like the rest of contemporary Israeli wine, there would have been dead yeast in the wine jugs — yeast that apparently never actually died, but were just created dead in the wine. There would be certain levels of pyruvic acid, as if produced by the yeast when converting sugar into alcohol, except that such a process never happened — Jesus created the alcohol and pyruvic acid ex nihilo. And, of course, the various flavor compounds would have suggested a varietal and terroir that were completely not true, as the wine was not made from grapes, nor were those nonexistant grapes grown in a certain soil and growing conditions.

    All hypothetical, of course. I suppose you could come up with a reading of that miracle in which those weren’t true, though I don’t see how such a reading would be any less “deceptive”.

    In short, you’ve done nothing to convince me of your approach to determining when ex nihilo miracles are “deceptive” and when they aren’t.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis said (@72), “I’m not 100% sure how I’m handling the story” of Adam. I find this a bit surprising, given that you’re rather sure of how it shouldn’t be read. I’m trying to think of another situation where someone has told me what a Bible passage didn’t mean while being unable to tell me what it did, but I can’t. It might be one thing if your assurance was based on other passages of Scripture, but it is not.

    “We are dealing with 2 sepoarate, discordant Creation Tellings in Genesis 1 and 2.” So I am often told, though usually by atheists, not orthodox Christians. Anyhow, I don’t see any discordance there. Care to outline it for me?

    “Regarding the Wine at Cana: This is a bad example, after all, here is Jesus, doing a miracle in front of their eyes. There is no way that is a deception.” Hmm. Read the account again:

    The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

    The guy who tasted the wine and was amazed at its quality didn’t know where the wine came from, much less that it had been created miraculously. He was, it would seem, deceived.

    Anyhow, I find the rebuttals here less than convincing. “Oh, it would have been deceptive if this, that, and thus-and-so, but as it was, it was not deceptive!” This is purely subjective argument. No objective standard is offered by which to judge when supernatural creation miracles are “deceptive” and when they are not. All I see is claims that making water from wine is not deceptive, but various add-ons to the story would, for some reason or other, somehow qualify as deceptive.

    And while we don’t have any of Jesus’ wine today, nor does John concern himself with the details of the miracle (which would be missing the point), it seems obvious that, had we been there with all our fancy modern chromatographs and whatnot, we could have compiled all sorts of scientific evidence that Jesus’ wine had not been created mere minutes ago. After all, the banquet master’s sense of taste and smell alerted him to the presence of all manner of chemicals that implied not just age but the origin of the wine and what had happened to it. There would have been various levels of anthocyanins hinting at how long the wine had been aged. Except the apparent age implied by them would be a lie. If it was like the rest of contemporary Israeli wine, there would have been dead yeast in the wine jugs — yeast that apparently never actually died, but were just created dead in the wine. There would be certain levels of pyruvic acid, as if produced by the yeast when converting sugar into alcohol, except that such a process never happened — Jesus created the alcohol and pyruvic acid ex nihilo. And, of course, the various flavor compounds would have suggested a varietal and terroir that were completely not true, as the wine was not made from grapes, nor were those nonexistant grapes grown in a certain soil and growing conditions.

    All hypothetical, of course. I suppose you could come up with a reading of that miracle in which those weren’t true, though I don’t see how such a reading would be any less “deceptive”.

    In short, you’ve done nothing to convince me of your approach to determining when ex nihilo miracles are “deceptive” and when they aren’t.

  • WebMonk

    tODD, maybe I failed to be clear. Let me retry.

    What is the difference here, is that God never tries to hide his miracles. They may surprise and puzzle people (such as the wine at Cana), but God never hides the fact that he has done a miracle by creating along with the miracle a multitude of other miracles which make the original one look like it happened through natural means.

    God is never, ever recorded as doing a miracle and then doing a bunch of other miracles to make it seem like the first miracle wasn’t actually a miracle. (oh, and making more miracles to hide all the obscuring miracles, and more miracles to hide those miracles, ad infinitum)

    Does that explain why the wine at Cana isn’t deceptive, and yet the creation of the world in 144 hour while hiding all the evidence of having done so by making mountains of evidence that show long eons passing would be deceptive?

  • WebMonk

    tODD, maybe I failed to be clear. Let me retry.

    What is the difference here, is that God never tries to hide his miracles. They may surprise and puzzle people (such as the wine at Cana), but God never hides the fact that he has done a miracle by creating along with the miracle a multitude of other miracles which make the original one look like it happened through natural means.

    God is never, ever recorded as doing a miracle and then doing a bunch of other miracles to make it seem like the first miracle wasn’t actually a miracle. (oh, and making more miracles to hide all the obscuring miracles, and more miracles to hide those miracles, ad infinitum)

    Does that explain why the wine at Cana isn’t deceptive, and yet the creation of the world in 144 hour while hiding all the evidence of having done so by making mountains of evidence that show long eons passing would be deceptive?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    What webmonk said.

    Todd, I am pressed for time, but I’ll be taking up your comments at some future stage. Note that the two-Creation story account is very common, I have heard from many in the Church, many of which were orthodox.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    What webmonk said.

    Todd, I am pressed for time, but I’ll be taking up your comments at some future stage. Note that the two-Creation story account is very common, I have heard from many in the Church, many of which were orthodox.

  • Larry

    WM and Louis,

    You all are just flat out falsely accusing and running far with it no less. I wouldn’t even bring it up further but you keep leveling this obvious false accusation against me. I never said once that Louis was an unbeliever or heretic. I simply quoted Luther on the matter to show that was NOT what I was doing, Luther said (paraphrase), “error is not heresy, but defending it is”. We all fall into error. So who is running with their gidding emotions and who is not? Just to be clear, I’m not angry, and never have been I’m very cool about it all. This stuff doesn’t bother me that much anymore, but I will make my confession crystal clear.

    And just to be clear your disagreement is not just with me but with Luther and many of the blessed father’s of the church. I don’t even know what denomination WebMonk for that matter, Louis seems to have revealed he confesses Augsburg and that’s all I actually know.

    Secondly, your entire argument based on the assertion, “”And your continued recklessness of “a God who excels in the most elaborate deception of all” is a conclusion that only unbelief can make.””

    Kind of makes Luther’s entire point about a theology of Glory that thinks it finds God in speculation versus a theology of the Cross which finds God only in revelation (savingly). I mean this is confessed quite clearly in all Lutheran confessions and writing, not to mention hymns, especially the primarily known Lutheran Hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” in which around the third stanza it is sung, “…and there is no other God (=theology of the Cross = Christ alone is the revelation of God)”.

    In fact don’t you find it extremely odd that your taking finding God “better” supposedly in general revelation via science, than in the Scriptures. It is utterly specious to say that I’m displaying a God who is deceptive and cannot be known when I attack that God is hidden in natural revelation (which we confess), but then he is alone found in His own Word (HIS REVELATION OF HIMSELF TO US) when He says, “Let there be…”, “this IS My body/blood”, “this baptism saves you”. Yet, you say, no in science is the root of faith and revelation and if I can’t have it the way my speculation has done so via nature, then the God Larry speaks of must be untrustworthy and unknown.

    Yet nothing is more clear, this is the way the heathen and pagans and unbelievers (no that’s not saying you are an unbeliever, yes it is saying you hold to something they do – believers can do that, hence “error is not heresy, defending it is – M. Luther), this is the way they grope around for God and never find him.

    And nothing could be more clear than you are requiring that the very clear words of Scripture, that even children can clearly understand, bow down to the speculation of science, yes, you are putting your fallen reason above revelation. That is not faith, faith hangs resiliently to the Word especially when reason is offended, reason wanting to usurp the Word. Yea, that’s a temptation, I feel it in my own self a lot but I have to put reason to death as Luther says, subdue it to Christ.

    This is how men are led astray from Christ revealed. The irony is this is true enthusiasm, disconnected from the Word, original sin, man becomes inwardly curved and by his speculation he seeks God where God is hidden and only in wrath. The irony is that in principle this is no different than charismatic Pentecostalism in which by their speculation they look for signs and wonders, more rationalistic folks tend to look for in principle “signs and wonders” (e.g. in geology) so that they may “sure up” what they think is faith. Yet, both are built not upon the revelation of God, theology of the Cross, but upon some kind of theology of glory that has speculated, “here is god, there is god”. Christ warns against this. It’s a house of card, bogus theology, pure speculation.

    It may be seen this way as I’ve often told my wife: If one day you are in church about to receive the true and real body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of your sin and in rushes an out of breath credible person saying, “Come see the stars in the sky have aligned to form a cross, surely here is God.” Should you go? No, Christ has given us his Word, THIS IS MY BODY/BLOOD, take the inglorious Cross laden sacrament, there is Christ and there alone is God. Similarly, if in runs the greatest scientist and says, “Look I’ve found a whale fossil in Mississippi deposits, surely this proves God is”, don’t run after it as for your faith, stay at the Sacrament, there in the Word and Sacrament ALONE is God for you.

  • Larry

    WM and Louis,

    You all are just flat out falsely accusing and running far with it no less. I wouldn’t even bring it up further but you keep leveling this obvious false accusation against me. I never said once that Louis was an unbeliever or heretic. I simply quoted Luther on the matter to show that was NOT what I was doing, Luther said (paraphrase), “error is not heresy, but defending it is”. We all fall into error. So who is running with their gidding emotions and who is not? Just to be clear, I’m not angry, and never have been I’m very cool about it all. This stuff doesn’t bother me that much anymore, but I will make my confession crystal clear.

    And just to be clear your disagreement is not just with me but with Luther and many of the blessed father’s of the church. I don’t even know what denomination WebMonk for that matter, Louis seems to have revealed he confesses Augsburg and that’s all I actually know.

    Secondly, your entire argument based on the assertion, “”And your continued recklessness of “a God who excels in the most elaborate deception of all” is a conclusion that only unbelief can make.””

    Kind of makes Luther’s entire point about a theology of Glory that thinks it finds God in speculation versus a theology of the Cross which finds God only in revelation (savingly). I mean this is confessed quite clearly in all Lutheran confessions and writing, not to mention hymns, especially the primarily known Lutheran Hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” in which around the third stanza it is sung, “…and there is no other God (=theology of the Cross = Christ alone is the revelation of God)”.

    In fact don’t you find it extremely odd that your taking finding God “better” supposedly in general revelation via science, than in the Scriptures. It is utterly specious to say that I’m displaying a God who is deceptive and cannot be known when I attack that God is hidden in natural revelation (which we confess), but then he is alone found in His own Word (HIS REVELATION OF HIMSELF TO US) when He says, “Let there be…”, “this IS My body/blood”, “this baptism saves you”. Yet, you say, no in science is the root of faith and revelation and if I can’t have it the way my speculation has done so via nature, then the God Larry speaks of must be untrustworthy and unknown.

    Yet nothing is more clear, this is the way the heathen and pagans and unbelievers (no that’s not saying you are an unbeliever, yes it is saying you hold to something they do – believers can do that, hence “error is not heresy, defending it is – M. Luther), this is the way they grope around for God and never find him.

    And nothing could be more clear than you are requiring that the very clear words of Scripture, that even children can clearly understand, bow down to the speculation of science, yes, you are putting your fallen reason above revelation. That is not faith, faith hangs resiliently to the Word especially when reason is offended, reason wanting to usurp the Word. Yea, that’s a temptation, I feel it in my own self a lot but I have to put reason to death as Luther says, subdue it to Christ.

    This is how men are led astray from Christ revealed. The irony is this is true enthusiasm, disconnected from the Word, original sin, man becomes inwardly curved and by his speculation he seeks God where God is hidden and only in wrath. The irony is that in principle this is no different than charismatic Pentecostalism in which by their speculation they look for signs and wonders, more rationalistic folks tend to look for in principle “signs and wonders” (e.g. in geology) so that they may “sure up” what they think is faith. Yet, both are built not upon the revelation of God, theology of the Cross, but upon some kind of theology of glory that has speculated, “here is god, there is god”. Christ warns against this. It’s a house of card, bogus theology, pure speculation.

    It may be seen this way as I’ve often told my wife: If one day you are in church about to receive the true and real body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of your sin and in rushes an out of breath credible person saying, “Come see the stars in the sky have aligned to form a cross, surely here is God.” Should you go? No, Christ has given us his Word, THIS IS MY BODY/BLOOD, take the inglorious Cross laden sacrament, there is Christ and there alone is God. Similarly, if in runs the greatest scientist and says, “Look I’ve found a whale fossil in Mississippi deposits, surely this proves God is”, don’t run after it as for your faith, stay at the Sacrament, there in the Word and Sacrament ALONE is God for you.

  • Larry

    And WebMonk,

    I just read this and was unaware of it heretofore your issue on infant baptism, I assumed you were Lutheran, I mis-understood your joke, I apologize for that misunderstanding. I am not a YE enthusiasts but I do hold to the revelation of Scripture. I don’t cast my faith by YE science. THAT is the mistake you and Louis are making. Look at it this way; even if all the YE arguments were proven folly and utterly false, I would still believe the age of the earth is young, creation ex-nihilo, etc… I do not base my faith on YE science, good or bad, nor OE science, good or bad, but the clear revelation of Scripture on the issue. If that flies in the face of one or the other, so be it.

    It is inconvenient for you that the Words of Christ (this is My body/blood) don’t speak your doctrine, that “this baptism saves” don’t seem to state clearly believers baptism, or that “Let there be” don’t speak of process. And that is the point concerning all articles of faith.

    Now you appear to be saying you are a baptist/rebaptizer, now I understand your harangue and pity party thinking I’ve accused you (or Louis) of not being a believer.

    Doctrinally speaking, and heresy speaking, the issue of baptism is of greater weight, yes our confessions both affirm that infants are to be baptized, it regenerates and yes “this baptism saves”, and simultaneously condemn as heresy and false what you know as believers baptism, the doctrine (not the actual baptisms themselves).

    Does that mean you adhere to heresy? Yes it does, by your very own confession. Does that necessarily mean you are an unbeliever through and through? All I can say, which you cannot to me (your doctrine on baptism does not allow it) is that you are baptized and thus as far as I can know a Christian. What you actually believe and confess within your heart, we Lutherans don’t read hearts, is left alone to the judgment of God who alone knows.

    You do need to know this, even if you hate me for it.

  • Larry

    And WebMonk,

    I just read this and was unaware of it heretofore your issue on infant baptism, I assumed you were Lutheran, I mis-understood your joke, I apologize for that misunderstanding. I am not a YE enthusiasts but I do hold to the revelation of Scripture. I don’t cast my faith by YE science. THAT is the mistake you and Louis are making. Look at it this way; even if all the YE arguments were proven folly and utterly false, I would still believe the age of the earth is young, creation ex-nihilo, etc… I do not base my faith on YE science, good or bad, nor OE science, good or bad, but the clear revelation of Scripture on the issue. If that flies in the face of one or the other, so be it.

    It is inconvenient for you that the Words of Christ (this is My body/blood) don’t speak your doctrine, that “this baptism saves” don’t seem to state clearly believers baptism, or that “Let there be” don’t speak of process. And that is the point concerning all articles of faith.

    Now you appear to be saying you are a baptist/rebaptizer, now I understand your harangue and pity party thinking I’ve accused you (or Louis) of not being a believer.

    Doctrinally speaking, and heresy speaking, the issue of baptism is of greater weight, yes our confessions both affirm that infants are to be baptized, it regenerates and yes “this baptism saves”, and simultaneously condemn as heresy and false what you know as believers baptism, the doctrine (not the actual baptisms themselves).

    Does that mean you adhere to heresy? Yes it does, by your very own confession. Does that necessarily mean you are an unbeliever through and through? All I can say, which you cannot to me (your doctrine on baptism does not allow it) is that you are baptized and thus as far as I can know a Christian. What you actually believe and confess within your heart, we Lutherans don’t read hearts, is left alone to the judgment of God who alone knows.

    You do need to know this, even if you hate me for it.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Larry, I’m going to step away from this argument – once you start using words like “Bowing down to science” etc etc. I don’t think there is any good to come by taking this discussion further.

    God bless.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Larry, I’m going to step away from this argument – once you start using words like “Bowing down to science” etc etc. I don’t think there is any good to come by taking this discussion further.

    God bless.

  • Larry

    And by the way WM who loves to accuse me of crying that Louis is an unbeliever and considerations of heresy. Louis professes the confession of the Lutheran church, that’s what I understand (correct me if I’m wrong), so don’t you realize that he must say that you not believing in baptizing infants believe in heresy. I assume you don’t hold to the true body and blood of Christ being given in the LS and hold a more or less memorial meal (I’m assuming you are baptistic based one what you said, I don’t know your official confession of faith though), if that’s true he has to affirm that you hold to heresy, yes heresy, according to the confessions he holds to.

    So we have a rather odd allegiance here. Louis may agree with you on OE, but he must say you hold to heretical false doctrines concerning the sacraments. So if you are going to start this emotional rant defense of “poor me, Larry’s calling me a heretic”, at least be consistent and intelligent about it and realize you’ve already arrived there far before YE/OE even comes to issue.

    You are all over the maps on this utter confusion. Louis appears to think I’m calling him an unbeliever, not necessarily for his comments on OE versus YE, but on his statements regarding the LS (which he states). Now is this not laughable. Here we have WM who supposedly holds to a memorial view that by Louis’s confession is heresy, whose (Louis’s) confession in turn concerning the LS (along with infant baptism) by WM’s confession must also be called heresy. So we have WM defending Louis who thinks I’m calling him heretical in that he doesn’t adhere to the real flesh and blood being put into our mouths during the LS but a more or less memorial meal, which WM actually believes in (and non-infant baptism). Now either Louis has got say, “WM with friends like you who needs enemies”, or confess that he believes what WM believes, or say, “Larry you misunderstood me I affirm this, WM you are wrong and it is true to deny this would be heresy”.

  • Larry

    And by the way WM who loves to accuse me of crying that Louis is an unbeliever and considerations of heresy. Louis professes the confession of the Lutheran church, that’s what I understand (correct me if I’m wrong), so don’t you realize that he must say that you not believing in baptizing infants believe in heresy. I assume you don’t hold to the true body and blood of Christ being given in the LS and hold a more or less memorial meal (I’m assuming you are baptistic based one what you said, I don’t know your official confession of faith though), if that’s true he has to affirm that you hold to heresy, yes heresy, according to the confessions he holds to.

    So we have a rather odd allegiance here. Louis may agree with you on OE, but he must say you hold to heretical false doctrines concerning the sacraments. So if you are going to start this emotional rant defense of “poor me, Larry’s calling me a heretic”, at least be consistent and intelligent about it and realize you’ve already arrived there far before YE/OE even comes to issue.

    You are all over the maps on this utter confusion. Louis appears to think I’m calling him an unbeliever, not necessarily for his comments on OE versus YE, but on his statements regarding the LS (which he states). Now is this not laughable. Here we have WM who supposedly holds to a memorial view that by Louis’s confession is heresy, whose (Louis’s) confession in turn concerning the LS (along with infant baptism) by WM’s confession must also be called heresy. So we have WM defending Louis who thinks I’m calling him heretical in that he doesn’t adhere to the real flesh and blood being put into our mouths during the LS but a more or less memorial meal, which WM actually believes in (and non-infant baptism). Now either Louis has got say, “WM with friends like you who needs enemies”, or confess that he believes what WM believes, or say, “Larry you misunderstood me I affirm this, WM you are wrong and it is true to deny this would be heresy”.

  • Larry

    Louis,

    As you wish, you came to me, not I you. And please no I’m not angry nor hold any ill will toward you, and I know you don’t toward me either.

    Grace and peace to you, and take care,

    Larry

  • Larry

    Louis,

    As you wish, you came to me, not I you. And please no I’m not angry nor hold any ill will toward you, and I know you don’t toward me either.

    Grace and peace to you, and take care,

    Larry

  • WebMonk

    Larry, after three rambling and extremely disjointed posts right in a row, I got a massive kick out of your statement “You are all over the maps on this utter confusion,” which was made even more awesome by the fact that the sentence itself was confusing.

    I think you implied in your posts that you don’t consider Louis to be outside the Christian faith, and I’m guessing that you are using heresy to mean just any faulty belief (though I couldn’t decipher that for sure), and not a belief that sets one outside a saving faith in Christ.

    If so, I misunderstood what you wrote and was obviously wrong in saying you considered Louis to not be a Christian.

    Beyond that, though, your posts were 90% incomprehensible, and I’m not even going to attempt trying to unravel out what you tried to communicate. If you want to take another shot at communicating I’m glad to continue the conversation, but if you could stick to one topic instead of forty-two, I would appreciate it.

  • WebMonk

    Larry, after three rambling and extremely disjointed posts right in a row, I got a massive kick out of your statement “You are all over the maps on this utter confusion,” which was made even more awesome by the fact that the sentence itself was confusing.

    I think you implied in your posts that you don’t consider Louis to be outside the Christian faith, and I’m guessing that you are using heresy to mean just any faulty belief (though I couldn’t decipher that for sure), and not a belief that sets one outside a saving faith in Christ.

    If so, I misunderstood what you wrote and was obviously wrong in saying you considered Louis to not be a Christian.

    Beyond that, though, your posts were 90% incomprehensible, and I’m not even going to attempt trying to unravel out what you tried to communicate. If you want to take another shot at communicating I’m glad to continue the conversation, but if you could stick to one topic instead of forty-two, I would appreciate it.

  • Larry

    WM,

    Thanks,

    Larry

  • Larry

    WM,

    Thanks,

    Larry

  • WebMonk

    Good start!

  • WebMonk

    Good start!

  • DonS

    Hmm. Well it seems as if this has somehow become a one-sided discussion on baptism. Funny how that happens on a Lutheran blog ;-)

    At the risk of diverting the topic back to creationism and science for a second, the reason I re-joined this discussion lately was to address this issue of “deception” as a reason to dismiss out of hand the idea of God creating an earth having apparent age. As I said above, that is a terrible argument. And Webmonk, what you said @ 79 doesn’t make it any better or clearer. tODD made a good point, in that articulate and thorough way he has. Someone could have arrived on the scene of the Cana party, after the fact, and sworn that the miraculously created wine was years old, and formed using fermented grapes. Yet, they would be utterly wrong, despite the correctness of their vaunted scientific analysis, dating methods, and the like. Because the Bible says that is not the case — it was a miracle, performed by Jesus, using only water.

    You argue that this example is not deception, because the Bible states clearly that it was a miracle. Nothing was hidden. True enough.

    But then, you argue that creation somehow is different, because if the earth is young, then God hid his original miracle with other miracles. Or something. Not sure I followed the logic. But the fact of the matter is that Genesis clearly states that God created the earth. In six days. The account is explicit in that respect, just as explicit as the Gospel account of the Cana miracle. So I am really unclear as to how, if one believes in a young earth, one necessarily must assume that God acted deceptively. Just because His creation was mature. Those who are deceived on this issue are deceived because they want to be. Because they want to believe there is no power higher than man.

    As you know, I am not an adamant young earther. I am just as skeptical of the dogmatism of Ken Ham and Duane Gish as I am of old earth geologists. NO ONE has the right or the evidence to be dogmatic in this field. We simply don’t know how God performed His creation. Science is not equipped to understand our origins, because they are not capable of being observed. The only thing we can be dogmatic about is that the Genesis account is true, as far as it goes. I will stand on that.

    As for biological evolution, I cannot believe that. Genesis is too explicit that God formed Man in His own image, out of the dust of the earth, and breathed life into him, personally. Then He took the rib of Adam to form his helpmate, Eve. If the science cannot support this account, or at least allow for its truth, then I adamantly don’t believe the science.

    The bottom line on these things is that scientists have chosen to define science as excluding any regard for the supernatural. Fine. I can understand why a field of discipline which only accounts for things it can personally observe would necessarily have to exclude the supernatural as a part of that field, since, by definition, the workings of the supernatural cannot be observed by mortal man. However, most secular scientists go well beyond this limitation. They further insist that the supernatural must be categorically excluded from consideration when they present their theories. In other words, they become atheistic in their outlook and deny the possibility of the supernatural. They forget their initial caveat, which was that they won’t account for the supernatural because of the limitations of the scientific method, and substitute a view that the supernatural cannot exist because it can’t be observed. In essence, they forget that science is limited (a vestige of the Enlightenment?). Which, of course, makes them utterly wrong in their entire analysis of the things they observe, since we know with certitude that the supernatural was indeed the cause of our existence.

  • DonS

    Hmm. Well it seems as if this has somehow become a one-sided discussion on baptism. Funny how that happens on a Lutheran blog ;-)

    At the risk of diverting the topic back to creationism and science for a second, the reason I re-joined this discussion lately was to address this issue of “deception” as a reason to dismiss out of hand the idea of God creating an earth having apparent age. As I said above, that is a terrible argument. And Webmonk, what you said @ 79 doesn’t make it any better or clearer. tODD made a good point, in that articulate and thorough way he has. Someone could have arrived on the scene of the Cana party, after the fact, and sworn that the miraculously created wine was years old, and formed using fermented grapes. Yet, they would be utterly wrong, despite the correctness of their vaunted scientific analysis, dating methods, and the like. Because the Bible says that is not the case — it was a miracle, performed by Jesus, using only water.

    You argue that this example is not deception, because the Bible states clearly that it was a miracle. Nothing was hidden. True enough.

    But then, you argue that creation somehow is different, because if the earth is young, then God hid his original miracle with other miracles. Or something. Not sure I followed the logic. But the fact of the matter is that Genesis clearly states that God created the earth. In six days. The account is explicit in that respect, just as explicit as the Gospel account of the Cana miracle. So I am really unclear as to how, if one believes in a young earth, one necessarily must assume that God acted deceptively. Just because His creation was mature. Those who are deceived on this issue are deceived because they want to be. Because they want to believe there is no power higher than man.

    As you know, I am not an adamant young earther. I am just as skeptical of the dogmatism of Ken Ham and Duane Gish as I am of old earth geologists. NO ONE has the right or the evidence to be dogmatic in this field. We simply don’t know how God performed His creation. Science is not equipped to understand our origins, because they are not capable of being observed. The only thing we can be dogmatic about is that the Genesis account is true, as far as it goes. I will stand on that.

    As for biological evolution, I cannot believe that. Genesis is too explicit that God formed Man in His own image, out of the dust of the earth, and breathed life into him, personally. Then He took the rib of Adam to form his helpmate, Eve. If the science cannot support this account, or at least allow for its truth, then I adamantly don’t believe the science.

    The bottom line on these things is that scientists have chosen to define science as excluding any regard for the supernatural. Fine. I can understand why a field of discipline which only accounts for things it can personally observe would necessarily have to exclude the supernatural as a part of that field, since, by definition, the workings of the supernatural cannot be observed by mortal man. However, most secular scientists go well beyond this limitation. They further insist that the supernatural must be categorically excluded from consideration when they present their theories. In other words, they become atheistic in their outlook and deny the possibility of the supernatural. They forget their initial caveat, which was that they won’t account for the supernatural because of the limitations of the scientific method, and substitute a view that the supernatural cannot exist because it can’t be observed. In essence, they forget that science is limited (a vestige of the Enlightenment?). Which, of course, makes them utterly wrong in their entire analysis of the things they observe, since we know with certitude that the supernatural was indeed the cause of our existence.

  • Larry

    There are a couple of things at issue here that become confused, which I don’t think was anyone’s intent, not mine or WMs or others.

    Don has covered very nicely the issue of the limits of science versus the supernatural, and Todd’s example of the miracle of the water to wine was excellent.

    Then there is the issue of YE versus OE and that little tit for tat battle the two often have. What is missed in that is that adhering to a Genesis account of things literally as scriptures speak plainly is not at all the same as being a YE proponent arguing the science against the OE proponents. Luther’s point is that Scripture is King above all and would say that even the YE folks who make, good or bad, arguments from science in order to “believe” (more/better/stronger???) is still at the end of unbelief and a theology of glory. E.g. let’s say for the sake of argument that in the future a number of scientific findings turns everything on its head (just of the sake of argument) and YE is verified by what appears to be undeniable science…it becomes the “norm” of even the “secular” world and it says, “ah, there must be a Creator, no evolution, more or less younger earth than previously considered (by magnitude)…etc… That is NOT faith, nor does that support Scripture, in fact that is nothing else than another theology of glory and unbelief. That’s Luther’s point, its not just the gross ‘theologies of glory’ but even the very ‘pious’ ones that are unbelief.

    WM did bring up, tangentially, an observation, that helps see this. YE folks, by the powers of their science do say that if you are not a YE person you must not be a believer. However, and here’s the major point Luther makes about all theologies of glory, unbelief, fallen religion, fallen speculative religious principle – strictly speaking if the YE person is making that claim just because the OE person does not adhere to some of their absurd explanations (some are completely off, some not so bad, the same goes with OE science) as to science they are unbelievers, the irony is if their “faith” is mostly built on the YE explanations IT IS UNBELIEF.

    That’s why I can function in OE science systems, understand it very well but its not at all what I believe. My faith, nor should anyone’s be, is not built upon the science but the naked/nude Word of God. That’s what Luther means that faith stands on the Word ALONE even and especially when reason is offended. All articles of faith offend human reason, that’s why and the connection to every other article of faith be it the Trinity, the two natures, the incarnation, the true and real flesh and blood of Christ in the LS, baptism does save, etc…

    The principle becomes at length that Scriptures are not ultimately chief to the believer, no matter how lip service one gives to sola scriptura, but in practice the Word becomes subservient to reason and speculation (i.e. unbelief).

    This, Luther points out, was original sin. Many today don’t truly understand “enthusiasm” (god within-ness). Satan disconnected Adam and Eve from the Word, ‘hath God really said’, once disconnected, their faith, literally had no Word from God and must then rely on itself, especially its reason that speculates based upon what its sense ‘pick up’ (inwardly turned = sin). Without the Word to trust, now, the fallen creature is left to try to save itself, we lost our nudity, thus we turned into our own self for resource, to become like God and our own god ultimately (a god is, true or false, that which one expects all good from, and in which one flees during distress and trial). The enthusiasm is always the same, Satan tempts with a form of “hath God really said”: “hath God really said…let there be and there was, you shall be with child from the Most High, this is My body/blood, baptism saves, etc…”. The devil never really moves from his original temptation. Thus, unhinged from the Word the man/woman turns inward to the self, to reason and speculation that can only detect via its senses, the original “be like God…be one’s own god”, god within-ness (enthusiasm). Now, without the Word, he seeks to find God, assurance, that he saved/elect/reborn/converted, etc…not in the external Word of God from which Satan has tempted him away, but now in whatever his senses can pick up and his speculating reasoning can must up by the same. The Word has been disconnected and no longer can he trust Genesis, the Sacrament, absolution, baptism, the incarnation…ALL having the Word but his/her own speculation (theology of glory).
    Such a one “gropes” for God or a god with his speculation that can only “see” what his senses detected. Faith is, rather, the “eyes” that sees what does not exist to reason otherwise, Creation, the Trinity, the incarnation, the sacraments, etc…

    Thus, the YE who builds his faith upon his arguments of science is no less exercising unbelief (in the Word) than is the OE person who is attempting to bend the Word in his direction. Neither one really trust the Word as is; for the YE is not satisfied with the Word Alone and the OE is changing it (equally not satisfied with what it says plainly).

    The sacraments make a clear example of this same principle operating, why depart from the plain words of Christ? Same thing with all the articles of faith. At length you will find that the answer is the same every single time some form of “this is offensive to all human reason”. This is the cry Islam makes of the Trinity, the Pope of justification and Calvin of the Sacrament and the baptist of the sacraments.
    All of these lean and begin moving in the direction of the world’s fallen religion, the theology of glory. Atheism, true consistent atheism, is at the end of the day the ultimate quintessential and archtype fallen religion or theology of glory to which all these other begin to decline into. A baptist who may adhere to evolution or an OE view is, honestly, a more consistent baptist because he/she already is denying the Word Alone in the sacraments, and this is simply one more step in the direction of denying more articles of faith. At length if one stayed consistent out would the Trinity, the incarnation, the two natures, the resurrection and so forth. Luther saw this almost prophetically post Zwingli and Marburg which was in particular over the sacrament of the altar, he said (paraphrasing) that this false teaching would create a razing of the entire countryside in which at last no man would no God and deny Him ultimately, and that was centuries before Darwin.

    Atheism is the perfected child (or Frankenstein if you wish) conceived by Medieval RC scholastic thought and later day sacramentarian nurturing. It is perfected enthusiasm.

    Many don’t see or forget that the issue of the sacraments, especially of the altar, was and is an issue inseparably linked to true sola scriptura and ultimately the Gospel thereof.

    That’s why arguments for or against YE or OE are at the end of the day worthless and of no use concerning articles of faith nor are they of any real value. If a YEer could be convinced of an OE position, he/she really was not exercising faith in the Word in the first place and simply moved from one form of unbelief to another (the principle of theology of glory that speculates). Faith is alone bound to the Word, nakedly, sans even reason, but reason as a servant to faith is a wonderful gift of God and says, “if Christ said ‘this is My body/blood’, if the Spirit said, “let there be” and there was, God that is God is surely both able and willing if He said so.

    OE and YE arguments is really just boxing in the air.

    I’ll bow out now because I’ve exhausted myself;-)

    Todd and Don thank you so very much for your superb points and help. It’s always good to have one’s own faith encouraged, as Paul said, by a fellow brother (building each other up). I appreciate that more than you may realize, truly!

  • Larry

    There are a couple of things at issue here that become confused, which I don’t think was anyone’s intent, not mine or WMs or others.

    Don has covered very nicely the issue of the limits of science versus the supernatural, and Todd’s example of the miracle of the water to wine was excellent.

    Then there is the issue of YE versus OE and that little tit for tat battle the two often have. What is missed in that is that adhering to a Genesis account of things literally as scriptures speak plainly is not at all the same as being a YE proponent arguing the science against the OE proponents. Luther’s point is that Scripture is King above all and would say that even the YE folks who make, good or bad, arguments from science in order to “believe” (more/better/stronger???) is still at the end of unbelief and a theology of glory. E.g. let’s say for the sake of argument that in the future a number of scientific findings turns everything on its head (just of the sake of argument) and YE is verified by what appears to be undeniable science…it becomes the “norm” of even the “secular” world and it says, “ah, there must be a Creator, no evolution, more or less younger earth than previously considered (by magnitude)…etc… That is NOT faith, nor does that support Scripture, in fact that is nothing else than another theology of glory and unbelief. That’s Luther’s point, its not just the gross ‘theologies of glory’ but even the very ‘pious’ ones that are unbelief.

    WM did bring up, tangentially, an observation, that helps see this. YE folks, by the powers of their science do say that if you are not a YE person you must not be a believer. However, and here’s the major point Luther makes about all theologies of glory, unbelief, fallen religion, fallen speculative religious principle – strictly speaking if the YE person is making that claim just because the OE person does not adhere to some of their absurd explanations (some are completely off, some not so bad, the same goes with OE science) as to science they are unbelievers, the irony is if their “faith” is mostly built on the YE explanations IT IS UNBELIEF.

    That’s why I can function in OE science systems, understand it very well but its not at all what I believe. My faith, nor should anyone’s be, is not built upon the science but the naked/nude Word of God. That’s what Luther means that faith stands on the Word ALONE even and especially when reason is offended. All articles of faith offend human reason, that’s why and the connection to every other article of faith be it the Trinity, the two natures, the incarnation, the true and real flesh and blood of Christ in the LS, baptism does save, etc…

    The principle becomes at length that Scriptures are not ultimately chief to the believer, no matter how lip service one gives to sola scriptura, but in practice the Word becomes subservient to reason and speculation (i.e. unbelief).

    This, Luther points out, was original sin. Many today don’t truly understand “enthusiasm” (god within-ness). Satan disconnected Adam and Eve from the Word, ‘hath God really said’, once disconnected, their faith, literally had no Word from God and must then rely on itself, especially its reason that speculates based upon what its sense ‘pick up’ (inwardly turned = sin). Without the Word to trust, now, the fallen creature is left to try to save itself, we lost our nudity, thus we turned into our own self for resource, to become like God and our own god ultimately (a god is, true or false, that which one expects all good from, and in which one flees during distress and trial). The enthusiasm is always the same, Satan tempts with a form of “hath God really said”: “hath God really said…let there be and there was, you shall be with child from the Most High, this is My body/blood, baptism saves, etc…”. The devil never really moves from his original temptation. Thus, unhinged from the Word the man/woman turns inward to the self, to reason and speculation that can only detect via its senses, the original “be like God…be one’s own god”, god within-ness (enthusiasm). Now, without the Word, he seeks to find God, assurance, that he saved/elect/reborn/converted, etc…not in the external Word of God from which Satan has tempted him away, but now in whatever his senses can pick up and his speculating reasoning can must up by the same. The Word has been disconnected and no longer can he trust Genesis, the Sacrament, absolution, baptism, the incarnation…ALL having the Word but his/her own speculation (theology of glory).
    Such a one “gropes” for God or a god with his speculation that can only “see” what his senses detected. Faith is, rather, the “eyes” that sees what does not exist to reason otherwise, Creation, the Trinity, the incarnation, the sacraments, etc…

    Thus, the YE who builds his faith upon his arguments of science is no less exercising unbelief (in the Word) than is the OE person who is attempting to bend the Word in his direction. Neither one really trust the Word as is; for the YE is not satisfied with the Word Alone and the OE is changing it (equally not satisfied with what it says plainly).

    The sacraments make a clear example of this same principle operating, why depart from the plain words of Christ? Same thing with all the articles of faith. At length you will find that the answer is the same every single time some form of “this is offensive to all human reason”. This is the cry Islam makes of the Trinity, the Pope of justification and Calvin of the Sacrament and the baptist of the sacraments.
    All of these lean and begin moving in the direction of the world’s fallen religion, the theology of glory. Atheism, true consistent atheism, is at the end of the day the ultimate quintessential and archtype fallen religion or theology of glory to which all these other begin to decline into. A baptist who may adhere to evolution or an OE view is, honestly, a more consistent baptist because he/she already is denying the Word Alone in the sacraments, and this is simply one more step in the direction of denying more articles of faith. At length if one stayed consistent out would the Trinity, the incarnation, the two natures, the resurrection and so forth. Luther saw this almost prophetically post Zwingli and Marburg which was in particular over the sacrament of the altar, he said (paraphrasing) that this false teaching would create a razing of the entire countryside in which at last no man would no God and deny Him ultimately, and that was centuries before Darwin.

    Atheism is the perfected child (or Frankenstein if you wish) conceived by Medieval RC scholastic thought and later day sacramentarian nurturing. It is perfected enthusiasm.

    Many don’t see or forget that the issue of the sacraments, especially of the altar, was and is an issue inseparably linked to true sola scriptura and ultimately the Gospel thereof.

    That’s why arguments for or against YE or OE are at the end of the day worthless and of no use concerning articles of faith nor are they of any real value. If a YEer could be convinced of an OE position, he/she really was not exercising faith in the Word in the first place and simply moved from one form of unbelief to another (the principle of theology of glory that speculates). Faith is alone bound to the Word, nakedly, sans even reason, but reason as a servant to faith is a wonderful gift of God and says, “if Christ said ‘this is My body/blood’, if the Spirit said, “let there be” and there was, God that is God is surely both able and willing if He said so.

    OE and YE arguments is really just boxing in the air.

    I’ll bow out now because I’ve exhausted myself;-)

    Todd and Don thank you so very much for your superb points and help. It’s always good to have one’s own faith encouraged, as Paul said, by a fellow brother (building each other up). I appreciate that more than you may realize, truly!

  • WebMonk

    DonS – the Bible is explicit that the sky rests on pillars. Hopefully you don’t take that as a scientific explanation. For that, I assume you interpret what are clearly non-scientific descriptions as non-scientific descriptions. But, you toss that out when it comes to Genesis. Genesis 1 has just as many marks of poetic and epic design as any of the Psalms – extreme stylization, heavy repetition, internal form structures, poetic phrases, strong vocal cadence, etc. Heck, it has more poetic structure than some of the Psalms. Yet, somehow the YEC movement insists that it absolutely must be taken as a literal and scientific descriptions, and that is the only way it may be taken if one is to believe the Bible at all.

    Back to the Cana wine example, if someone came afterward and tested for the miracle, they would have found that there were no shipping labels, scrape marks on the floor, memories of laborers, etc. God didn’t tell people it was a miracle, and then create a billion evidences for every possible method of examination to show a false history of the event.

    That’s part of the purpose of miracles – to demonstrate God’s power. Sure, someone can come along and squint one eye while standing on his head and deny that it was a miracle, but a purpose of miracles is to demonstrate God’s power. Doing a miracle and then making it totally, completely, and absolutely impossible to tell there was a miracle through any means whatsoever completely goes against everything God is shown to do in the Bible.

    God never hid his miracles. He never did a miracle, and then follow-up with a nigh-infinite number of hidden miracles to create a false history of the original miracle to make it not look like a miracle.

    It’s one thing to do a miracle and have someone deny it. It is a categorically different thing to do a miracle and then make it absolutely impossible to tell there was a miracle at all – that’s what God would have done if He had created the universe only 6000 years ago.

    Heck, even AIG and ICR specifically deny that view. If we really want to scrape the bottom of the barrel, even CSE denies that view!

  • WebMonk

    DonS – the Bible is explicit that the sky rests on pillars. Hopefully you don’t take that as a scientific explanation. For that, I assume you interpret what are clearly non-scientific descriptions as non-scientific descriptions. But, you toss that out when it comes to Genesis. Genesis 1 has just as many marks of poetic and epic design as any of the Psalms – extreme stylization, heavy repetition, internal form structures, poetic phrases, strong vocal cadence, etc. Heck, it has more poetic structure than some of the Psalms. Yet, somehow the YEC movement insists that it absolutely must be taken as a literal and scientific descriptions, and that is the only way it may be taken if one is to believe the Bible at all.

    Back to the Cana wine example, if someone came afterward and tested for the miracle, they would have found that there were no shipping labels, scrape marks on the floor, memories of laborers, etc. God didn’t tell people it was a miracle, and then create a billion evidences for every possible method of examination to show a false history of the event.

    That’s part of the purpose of miracles – to demonstrate God’s power. Sure, someone can come along and squint one eye while standing on his head and deny that it was a miracle, but a purpose of miracles is to demonstrate God’s power. Doing a miracle and then making it totally, completely, and absolutely impossible to tell there was a miracle through any means whatsoever completely goes against everything God is shown to do in the Bible.

    God never hid his miracles. He never did a miracle, and then follow-up with a nigh-infinite number of hidden miracles to create a false history of the original miracle to make it not look like a miracle.

    It’s one thing to do a miracle and have someone deny it. It is a categorically different thing to do a miracle and then make it absolutely impossible to tell there was a miracle at all – that’s what God would have done if He had created the universe only 6000 years ago.

    Heck, even AIG and ICR specifically deny that view. If we really want to scrape the bottom of the barrel, even CSE denies that view!

  • WebMonk

    Holy priceless collection of Etruscan snoods, Batman Larry! Do you consider that to be more concise and on topic??? There were at least 5 different topics there, and I was trying to lump things together as much as possible.

  • WebMonk

    Holy priceless collection of Etruscan snoods, Batman Larry! Do you consider that to be more concise and on topic??? There were at least 5 different topics there, and I was trying to lump things together as much as possible.

  • Trey

    For the record, I never said that all views be taught rather they be presented and discussed. I concur with DonS point 3 post 65.

    @Webmonk

    God has performed miracles we are not aware of. John 20:30 affirms this:
    “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

    While God has made this world searchable it must be looked through His revealed Word, meaning He created it by His Word in the time frame He tell us. We have the same evidence as the evolutionist, yet we come to a different conclusion about the origins of animals and humans. We affirm we have a common Creator not a common ancestor God does not tell us everything we want to know, but what we need to know (Romans 11:33). In all cases, God does miracles mainly to authenticate His message or to protect His people, but not to show His power.

    Also, your view demonstrates that you are foisting a prior standard (evolution) on the Creation account in Genesis. It reads like a historical narrative not like the Song of Solomon! Furthermore, God tells Moses that the Israelites should rest on the sabbath (Exodus 20:11). Why? God stated because he rested on the 7th day. Jesus also affirms a literal view in Matthew 19. Moreover, the word for day in Hebrew, yom, never means more than a 24 hour period. I am going to go with the exegetes on this and not someone who is reading evolution into the text. Not only is this absurd (Theistic Evolution) logically (designed by chance), but if God is the one behind death and not the result of sin then God has lied to us and we die not because of sin but because this was His design. This hits at the goodness of God. However, the natural reading the Scripture places death at the foot of mankind not God. Thomas Huxley had it right as does main who truly affirm evolution and reject the Bible. It is an either or proposition not a both and. How can one honestly hold this view without questioning the goodness of God and what He has done on the cross for all people? Why did Jesus die if death was natural?

    Trey

  • Trey

    For the record, I never said that all views be taught rather they be presented and discussed. I concur with DonS point 3 post 65.

    @Webmonk

    God has performed miracles we are not aware of. John 20:30 affirms this:
    “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

    While God has made this world searchable it must be looked through His revealed Word, meaning He created it by His Word in the time frame He tell us. We have the same evidence as the evolutionist, yet we come to a different conclusion about the origins of animals and humans. We affirm we have a common Creator not a common ancestor God does not tell us everything we want to know, but what we need to know (Romans 11:33). In all cases, God does miracles mainly to authenticate His message or to protect His people, but not to show His power.

    Also, your view demonstrates that you are foisting a prior standard (evolution) on the Creation account in Genesis. It reads like a historical narrative not like the Song of Solomon! Furthermore, God tells Moses that the Israelites should rest on the sabbath (Exodus 20:11). Why? God stated because he rested on the 7th day. Jesus also affirms a literal view in Matthew 19. Moreover, the word for day in Hebrew, yom, never means more than a 24 hour period. I am going to go with the exegetes on this and not someone who is reading evolution into the text. Not only is this absurd (Theistic Evolution) logically (designed by chance), but if God is the one behind death and not the result of sin then God has lied to us and we die not because of sin but because this was His design. This hits at the goodness of God. However, the natural reading the Scripture places death at the foot of mankind not God. Thomas Huxley had it right as does main who truly affirm evolution and reject the Bible. It is an either or proposition not a both and. How can one honestly hold this view without questioning the goodness of God and what He has done on the cross for all people? Why did Jesus die if death was natural?

    Trey

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Trey, I would answer your question thus: Did Luther die? Did the apostles die? In fact, we all die. Yet Christ conquers death. Now, you might say it is not yet complete. But the Scriptures also say that He has conquered death (past tense). Is it not fairly obvious that there are 2 sense here – in Adam, we all died spiritually, became dead in our sins, became corpses, and that Christ defeated that death?

    Thus the argument that one has to have a very literal reading of Genesis, otherwise the Death and Resurrection of Jesus becomes meaningless does not hold water.

    I anticipate that you might retort – yes, but why then physically die? And I would answer – there is no logical requirement that states that if we (only) died spiritually in Adam, Christ would not have to die physically.

    So that line of reasoning doesn’t really work.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Trey, I would answer your question thus: Did Luther die? Did the apostles die? In fact, we all die. Yet Christ conquers death. Now, you might say it is not yet complete. But the Scriptures also say that He has conquered death (past tense). Is it not fairly obvious that there are 2 sense here – in Adam, we all died spiritually, became dead in our sins, became corpses, and that Christ defeated that death?

    Thus the argument that one has to have a very literal reading of Genesis, otherwise the Death and Resurrection of Jesus becomes meaningless does not hold water.

    I anticipate that you might retort – yes, but why then physically die? And I would answer – there is no logical requirement that states that if we (only) died spiritually in Adam, Christ would not have to die physically.

    So that line of reasoning doesn’t really work.

  • WebMonk

    Trey 93. There is a fundamental difference between God doing miracles of which we aren’t aware and God purposefully hiding miracles by making it completely impossible to tell there was ever a miracle at all.

    We have the same evidence as the evolutionist, yet we come to a different conclusion about the origins of animals and humans.
    If you are coming to a different conclusion about the origins, it is only by dismissing the physical evidence as completely inaccurate.

    [Genesis] reads like a historical narrative not like the Song of Solomon!

    Really? You haven’t actually thought about that, have you?

    Every phrase starts with the same words – poetic form. Every phrase ends with the same words – poetic form. Every phrase follows the same pattern – poetic form. The days are grouped into two sets of three – poetic form. The cadence of words is highly lyrical – poetic form. (though this doesn’t come across very well in some/most translations)

    Compare that to, let’s say 1 Kings. Does anything about the form and structure in 1 Kings 1 even vaguely resemble Genesis 1? No.

    Let’s look at the structure of Song of Solomon and compare with that of Genesis 1. They’re extremely different topics, but you can look at the structure of the passages without comparing the topics. Here we go:

    High level of cadence? In both.
    Formal structure within phrases? Lots in Genesis 1. Only some in SoS.
    Overarching patterns across the passages? In both.
    Same words beginning each phrase? In Genesis. Not in SoS.
    Same words ending each phrase? In Genesis. Not in SoS.
    Passages grouped together to form cohesive themes? In both.

    Genesis 1 is just as highly poetic in form as SoS and the Psalms. And yet, you insist on interpreting Genesis 1 like you would interpret 1Kings 1.

    Moreover, the word for day in Hebrew, yom, never means more than a 24 hour period.
    That claim really blew me away. That is absolutely and completely false. I have no clue where you got that “fact” from. Go look in any Hebrew dictionary, Strong’s for example. Examples of ‘yom’ not being 24 hours: Gen 2:4, Gen 4:3, Deut 10:10, Is 30:8. There are hundreds, possibly thousands more examples where ‘yom’ doesn’t mean a 24-hour day.

    And that is the quality of the rest of your objections – based entirely on false facts or poor interpretation. As you are so blatantly wrong with something so simple as the meaning of the word ‘yom’, I’m not going to go into detail on the rest of your objections beyond stating they have the same validity as your claim of the meaning of ‘yom’.

  • WebMonk

    Trey 93. There is a fundamental difference between God doing miracles of which we aren’t aware and God purposefully hiding miracles by making it completely impossible to tell there was ever a miracle at all.

    We have the same evidence as the evolutionist, yet we come to a different conclusion about the origins of animals and humans.
    If you are coming to a different conclusion about the origins, it is only by dismissing the physical evidence as completely inaccurate.

    [Genesis] reads like a historical narrative not like the Song of Solomon!

    Really? You haven’t actually thought about that, have you?

    Every phrase starts with the same words – poetic form. Every phrase ends with the same words – poetic form. Every phrase follows the same pattern – poetic form. The days are grouped into two sets of three – poetic form. The cadence of words is highly lyrical – poetic form. (though this doesn’t come across very well in some/most translations)

    Compare that to, let’s say 1 Kings. Does anything about the form and structure in 1 Kings 1 even vaguely resemble Genesis 1? No.

    Let’s look at the structure of Song of Solomon and compare with that of Genesis 1. They’re extremely different topics, but you can look at the structure of the passages without comparing the topics. Here we go:

    High level of cadence? In both.
    Formal structure within phrases? Lots in Genesis 1. Only some in SoS.
    Overarching patterns across the passages? In both.
    Same words beginning each phrase? In Genesis. Not in SoS.
    Same words ending each phrase? In Genesis. Not in SoS.
    Passages grouped together to form cohesive themes? In both.

    Genesis 1 is just as highly poetic in form as SoS and the Psalms. And yet, you insist on interpreting Genesis 1 like you would interpret 1Kings 1.

    Moreover, the word for day in Hebrew, yom, never means more than a 24 hour period.
    That claim really blew me away. That is absolutely and completely false. I have no clue where you got that “fact” from. Go look in any Hebrew dictionary, Strong’s for example. Examples of ‘yom’ not being 24 hours: Gen 2:4, Gen 4:3, Deut 10:10, Is 30:8. There are hundreds, possibly thousands more examples where ‘yom’ doesn’t mean a 24-hour day.

    And that is the quality of the rest of your objections – based entirely on false facts or poor interpretation. As you are so blatantly wrong with something so simple as the meaning of the word ‘yom’, I’m not going to go into detail on the rest of your objections beyond stating they have the same validity as your claim of the meaning of ‘yom’.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sorry for the late reply. Hope you all are still around, namely WebMonk and Louis. Anyhow, diving back in …

    WebMonk said (@79), “What is the difference here, is that God never tries to hide his miracles.” A remarkably similar claim to Louis’ “Regarding the Wine at Cana: This is a bad example, after all, here is Jesus, doing a miracle in front of their eyes. There is no way that is a deception” (@72), to which I already replied (@78).

    Again, the very example I have asked us to consider, the wedding at Cana, is a miracle that was, per the text, hidden from some people (“[The master of the banquet] did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew”). In a sense, Jesus did not, as such, try to “hide” this miracle, and yet it was hidden from people, all the same. Of course, it wasn’t hidden from those for whom it was purposed: “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” That is also why it was recorded for us: “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

    Anyhow, WebMonk continues, “God never hides the fact that he has done a miracle by creating along with the miracle a multitude of other miracles which make the original one look like it happened through natural means.” This is a matter of framing, and I question yours, obviously. I have already explained that Jesus’ water-to-wine miracle contains any number of sub-miracles, if one chooses to think of them piecemeal: the miracle of ex nihilo creation of (dead) yeast, of pyruvic acid, of anthocyanins, and so on. “Ah, but that is all part and parcel of the miracle of the wine creation!” one might say. Indeed. But then, all the “multitude of other miracles” to which WebMonk refers to in the YE view are merely part and parcel of the miracle of Creation. If it doesn’t make sense to consider the miracle of dead yeast (that never were actually alive) in wine, then how does it make sense to consider the miracle of photons in mid flight (among other things) as a separate miracle from the miracle inherent in a literal reading of Genesis 1?

    In short, I don’t see why you insist on separating out all the various apparent-age aspects of Creation from the act of Creation itself, except of course, that you reject the notion of Creation with apparent age in the first place. But then we’re back where we started, and I don’t see your claims in this discussion really taking us anywhere.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sorry for the late reply. Hope you all are still around, namely WebMonk and Louis. Anyhow, diving back in …

    WebMonk said (@79), “What is the difference here, is that God never tries to hide his miracles.” A remarkably similar claim to Louis’ “Regarding the Wine at Cana: This is a bad example, after all, here is Jesus, doing a miracle in front of their eyes. There is no way that is a deception” (@72), to which I already replied (@78).

    Again, the very example I have asked us to consider, the wedding at Cana, is a miracle that was, per the text, hidden from some people (“[The master of the banquet] did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew”). In a sense, Jesus did not, as such, try to “hide” this miracle, and yet it was hidden from people, all the same. Of course, it wasn’t hidden from those for whom it was purposed: “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” That is also why it was recorded for us: “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

    Anyhow, WebMonk continues, “God never hides the fact that he has done a miracle by creating along with the miracle a multitude of other miracles which make the original one look like it happened through natural means.” This is a matter of framing, and I question yours, obviously. I have already explained that Jesus’ water-to-wine miracle contains any number of sub-miracles, if one chooses to think of them piecemeal: the miracle of ex nihilo creation of (dead) yeast, of pyruvic acid, of anthocyanins, and so on. “Ah, but that is all part and parcel of the miracle of the wine creation!” one might say. Indeed. But then, all the “multitude of other miracles” to which WebMonk refers to in the YE view are merely part and parcel of the miracle of Creation. If it doesn’t make sense to consider the miracle of dead yeast (that never were actually alive) in wine, then how does it make sense to consider the miracle of photons in mid flight (among other things) as a separate miracle from the miracle inherent in a literal reading of Genesis 1?

    In short, I don’t see why you insist on separating out all the various apparent-age aspects of Creation from the act of Creation itself, except of course, that you reject the notion of Creation with apparent age in the first place. But then we’re back where we started, and I don’t see your claims in this discussion really taking us anywhere.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    One more thing before I throw you guys a bone. WebMonk seems to think that all miracles require direct observation for them to be a miracle. I certainly don’t see this as a requirement, personally, nor can I see a scriptural case for it.

    For one thing, none of us has seen any of the miracles described in Scripture ourselves, obviously. We only read about them. In that light, Creation is no different from any of the miracles in the Gospels. For another thing, I can think of at least one fairly major miracle that was not observed by anyone and was completely indistinguishable from natural processes (i.e. “absolutely impossible to tell there was a miracle at all”). The Virgin Birth. You know there were more than a few people who didn’t believe Jesus was born of a virgin. All signs pointed to the normal human reproductive process. And yet, God’s Word tells us otherwise. He says “miracle!”, and we believe. Well, at least in the case of the Virgin Birth, we all do.

    All that to say, I find WebMonk’s argument along that line, once again, unconvincing. What’s more, WebMonk appears to be arguing along the lines of “miracles must fulfill these qualifications”, based on descriptions (not prescriptions) of miracles in the Bible — well, some of them, as I have noted. And then goes on to say “See, Creation doesn’t fit those properties, ergo, it’s to be understood as (largely) natural, not miraculous.” But this only begs the question: Why did you not consider Creation to be miraculous in the first place, such that it was numbered among your list of miracles from which we can derive the properties of miracles? See how that’s circular? That is to say, if Creation is a supernatural miracle account (as Larry, DonS, and I surely believe), then you couldn’t even begin an argument with “He never did a miracle [as you guys are reading Creation].”

    Okay, the “bone”. As I’ve mentioned in past conversations, I recognize and agree that there is some line we all draw when reading Scripture between literal and metaphoric, and that line is informed by our understanding. No Christian (or at least no orthodox Christian) that I know of draws this line on either end of the spectrum — that is, no one denies every miraculous account as merely metaphor, nor do they take such passages as WebMonk alluded to (“pillars” and all that) as literal.

    And in all this, it is very hard to separate cause and effect when it comes to our reading. Does our knowledge of science cause us to find the notion of literal “pillars” ridiculous, and so force us to see such passages as necessarily literal, or are the passages of themselves obviously poetry/metaphor? I don’t really know, honestly. But it does seem to me that if one held it as an unquestionable given that the universe and Earth were very, very old, then one could only read Genesis as metaphor and see it as poetry. Assuming one believed it were Scripture and wanted to believe it as true, at some level.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    One more thing before I throw you guys a bone. WebMonk seems to think that all miracles require direct observation for them to be a miracle. I certainly don’t see this as a requirement, personally, nor can I see a scriptural case for it.

    For one thing, none of us has seen any of the miracles described in Scripture ourselves, obviously. We only read about them. In that light, Creation is no different from any of the miracles in the Gospels. For another thing, I can think of at least one fairly major miracle that was not observed by anyone and was completely indistinguishable from natural processes (i.e. “absolutely impossible to tell there was a miracle at all”). The Virgin Birth. You know there were more than a few people who didn’t believe Jesus was born of a virgin. All signs pointed to the normal human reproductive process. And yet, God’s Word tells us otherwise. He says “miracle!”, and we believe. Well, at least in the case of the Virgin Birth, we all do.

    All that to say, I find WebMonk’s argument along that line, once again, unconvincing. What’s more, WebMonk appears to be arguing along the lines of “miracles must fulfill these qualifications”, based on descriptions (not prescriptions) of miracles in the Bible — well, some of them, as I have noted. And then goes on to say “See, Creation doesn’t fit those properties, ergo, it’s to be understood as (largely) natural, not miraculous.” But this only begs the question: Why did you not consider Creation to be miraculous in the first place, such that it was numbered among your list of miracles from which we can derive the properties of miracles? See how that’s circular? That is to say, if Creation is a supernatural miracle account (as Larry, DonS, and I surely believe), then you couldn’t even begin an argument with “He never did a miracle [as you guys are reading Creation].”

    Okay, the “bone”. As I’ve mentioned in past conversations, I recognize and agree that there is some line we all draw when reading Scripture between literal and metaphoric, and that line is informed by our understanding. No Christian (or at least no orthodox Christian) that I know of draws this line on either end of the spectrum — that is, no one denies every miraculous account as merely metaphor, nor do they take such passages as WebMonk alluded to (“pillars” and all that) as literal.

    And in all this, it is very hard to separate cause and effect when it comes to our reading. Does our knowledge of science cause us to find the notion of literal “pillars” ridiculous, and so force us to see such passages as necessarily literal, or are the passages of themselves obviously poetry/metaphor? I don’t really know, honestly. But it does seem to me that if one held it as an unquestionable given that the universe and Earth were very, very old, then one could only read Genesis as metaphor and see it as poetry. Assuming one believed it were Scripture and wanted to believe it as true, at some level.

  • WebMonk

    tODD,
    I moved to the opinion that Genesis was not meant to be literally understood based on the nature of Genesis, and that was VERY counter to what I believed (at that point in my life) science said. When I started moving away from a literal interpretation, I was still very strongly of the opinion that science proved the Earth was only 6000 years old. Cognitive dissonance was a tame description for my conflicting beliefs – I believed science said the Earth was young, but the Bible wasn’t backing that up. Finally my science got straightened out and I didn’t have the conflict between science and the Bible, but it was my science that gave way.

    I really do find it rather amazing that one can look at Genesis and deny that Genesis 1 is extremely poetic (coughTreycough), just as poetic as any of the Psalms. Now, one can say that it is poetic and still intended to be understood literally, but one needs to have a very, very good reason why the poetry in Genesis 1 needs to be taken as scientific fact accurate to the tiniest detail whereas the poetry in the rest of the Bible is not taken that way.

    On to miracles:

    No, miracles don’t need to be observed to be miracles. We are using very different meanings to the word ‘hidden’ here. I think you are using it to mean something like “done out of sight of someone”. I am using it to mean “actively concealed” or perhaps more accurately (though more verbosely) “generating total physical proof by any possible way we could ever hope to investigate, that the miracle wasn’t a miracle”.

    (Side bar: please note, I did say “one of” and “a purpose of” when talking about why miracles happen.)

    Yes, Jesus did a whole series of miracles that were out of sight of anyone, like you said. But, he didn’t conceal the fact that there were miracles. Someone may not see, notice, or directly witness the miracle, but I see a very fundamental difference between that, and God generating evidence that a miracle wasn’t actually a miracle.

    I don’t have any problem with the Virgin Birth – it was a miracle. God never tried to conceal it. If someone back then had immediately accounted for every moment of Mary’s life for the last nine months, they would have found no evidence of hanky-panky. God would not have concealed the fact of Jesus’ miraculous birth by generating evidence that Joseph sneaked over to Mary’s house that one night. (or however God could have generated evidence that the miracle was actually not a miracle)

    What we see in the universe around us is total and complete evidence, by every possible way we have to investigate, that the universe was not made 6000 years ago. God has done the most perfect cover-up possible, generating a billion different details even in the tiniest and most inconsequential things, that point to a LONG history to the universe – each and every detail is pointing to something that never happened, and it is fundamentally impossible for mankind to ever hope to see any evidence of a recent creation because every possible evidence in the universe points to a very old creation.

  • WebMonk

    tODD,
    I moved to the opinion that Genesis was not meant to be literally understood based on the nature of Genesis, and that was VERY counter to what I believed (at that point in my life) science said. When I started moving away from a literal interpretation, I was still very strongly of the opinion that science proved the Earth was only 6000 years old. Cognitive dissonance was a tame description for my conflicting beliefs – I believed science said the Earth was young, but the Bible wasn’t backing that up. Finally my science got straightened out and I didn’t have the conflict between science and the Bible, but it was my science that gave way.

    I really do find it rather amazing that one can look at Genesis and deny that Genesis 1 is extremely poetic (coughTreycough), just as poetic as any of the Psalms. Now, one can say that it is poetic and still intended to be understood literally, but one needs to have a very, very good reason why the poetry in Genesis 1 needs to be taken as scientific fact accurate to the tiniest detail whereas the poetry in the rest of the Bible is not taken that way.

    On to miracles:

    No, miracles don’t need to be observed to be miracles. We are using very different meanings to the word ‘hidden’ here. I think you are using it to mean something like “done out of sight of someone”. I am using it to mean “actively concealed” or perhaps more accurately (though more verbosely) “generating total physical proof by any possible way we could ever hope to investigate, that the miracle wasn’t a miracle”.

    (Side bar: please note, I did say “one of” and “a purpose of” when talking about why miracles happen.)

    Yes, Jesus did a whole series of miracles that were out of sight of anyone, like you said. But, he didn’t conceal the fact that there were miracles. Someone may not see, notice, or directly witness the miracle, but I see a very fundamental difference between that, and God generating evidence that a miracle wasn’t actually a miracle.

    I don’t have any problem with the Virgin Birth – it was a miracle. God never tried to conceal it. If someone back then had immediately accounted for every moment of Mary’s life for the last nine months, they would have found no evidence of hanky-panky. God would not have concealed the fact of Jesus’ miraculous birth by generating evidence that Joseph sneaked over to Mary’s house that one night. (or however God could have generated evidence that the miracle was actually not a miracle)

    What we see in the universe around us is total and complete evidence, by every possible way we have to investigate, that the universe was not made 6000 years ago. God has done the most perfect cover-up possible, generating a billion different details even in the tiniest and most inconsequential things, that point to a LONG history to the universe – each and every detail is pointing to something that never happened, and it is fundamentally impossible for mankind to ever hope to see any evidence of a recent creation because every possible evidence in the universe points to a very old creation.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Excellent answer, Webmonk.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Excellent answer, Webmonk.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    If anybody is still reading this, I STRONGLY recommend the following post from Biologos. I also wish to draw their attention specifically to the following paragraph:

    As Wilkinson states in his correction of comments by Coyne, it is simply not the case that ‘liberals’ interpret the early chapters of Genesis metaphorically whereas ‘evangelicals’ interpret them in a wooden literalistic kind of way. The most conservative readings of the texts, be they from the Early Church Fathers, early Jewish commentators, or the reformer Calvin, have always taken these chapters to express theological truths using figurative and metaphorical language. The modernistic tendency by young earth creationists to read the texts as literalistic history, or even as scientific texts, is particularly characteristic of the late twentieth century, and it is surely no accident that the enthusiasm by many Muslims to find science in the Qu’ran has come to prominence over the same period. One could, indeed, blame positivism for this tendency. If the only “real” truths are scientific truths, then presumably my holy book must contain science, otherwise its status is somehow lowered, or so the thinking goes. Such thinking is a typical product of modernism.

    The article can be found here:

    http://biologos.org/blog/a-response-to-coyne-macdonald-ruse-and-wilkinson/

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    If anybody is still reading this, I STRONGLY recommend the following post from Biologos. I also wish to draw their attention specifically to the following paragraph:

    As Wilkinson states in his correction of comments by Coyne, it is simply not the case that ‘liberals’ interpret the early chapters of Genesis metaphorically whereas ‘evangelicals’ interpret them in a wooden literalistic kind of way. The most conservative readings of the texts, be they from the Early Church Fathers, early Jewish commentators, or the reformer Calvin, have always taken these chapters to express theological truths using figurative and metaphorical language. The modernistic tendency by young earth creationists to read the texts as literalistic history, or even as scientific texts, is particularly characteristic of the late twentieth century, and it is surely no accident that the enthusiasm by many Muslims to find science in the Qu’ran has come to prominence over the same period. One could, indeed, blame positivism for this tendency. If the only “real” truths are scientific truths, then presumably my holy book must contain science, otherwise its status is somehow lowered, or so the thinking goes. Such thinking is a typical product of modernism.

    The article can be found here:

    http://biologos.org/blog/a-response-to-coyne-macdonald-ruse-and-wilkinson/

  • Larry

    I have no desire to “re-enter” this debate but I did read something quite incidently today that is apropos from Luther. As more often than not Luther’s foresight was far more than his opponents on such matters. It’s not as if modern dating methods via “modern science” is the first science that brings about these questions. And I’m not at all surprised Calvin is being evoked in this debate from the other side, it goes to why all that I said is not a bunch of disconnected discussion but a single issue under differing masks.

    As Becker’s editor states in the opening of his book “The Foolishness of God”

    “The world in its wisdom did not know God.” (1 Cor. 1). In passing his verdict on reason, Luther agrees with the Apostle Paul and opposes the wisdom of men like the Prophet Mohammed, Pope Paul III and John Calvin. On the same grounds, namely, that it is contrary to reason, Mohammed ridiculed the doctrine of the Trinity, Paul III condemned the doctrine of Justification by faith alone, and John Calvin rejected the doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.

    Whether in the robes of academia or in the garb of common sense, reason, “the devil’s bride,” is dressed to go into battle against the gospel of Christ. And since the time of Ain, the most appealing theologians, apologists, philosophers and scientist (in short, the world’s best and wisest men) have rallied to her side, suported her cause and worshiped at her altar.

    Yet that faculty of the human mind called reason is a great, yes, God’s “greatest and most important,” gift to man and “a most useful servant in theology”. Reason as such has by no means been abolished from the Christian church. But before it can enter there, it must be converted from a judge into a penitent, from a master into a servant, from a professor into a pupil – or, more precisely, from a pagan into a Christian.

    It is true that the Bible teaches many things which oppose the evidence otherwise available to reason through the senses. (How many of us have personally witnessed the revitalization of a man four days dead?) Still the doctrines of the Bible do not “tear reason apart.” Reason can apprehend the message, which the Bible conveys in the understandable form of ordinary human language. The fault, the, lies not with the message, but with fallen man, who rejects it precisely because he understands it. Therefore, reason, if it is to become a servant of God, must yield to faith.” (John Trapp, Editor)

    And From “What Luther Says” regarding the creation of Woman: (one sees the insight linked to the sacrament of the altar when he responded resoundingly to Zwingli ‘These Words Still Stand’)

    “The creation of woman. But to all these consideration we reply with the word: “God said,” This word settles all these arguments. For what need is there to argue as to whence God took the rest of the material for Eve’s creation, since He can do and create everything with one word? But these questions arise in philosophy and medicine, where men argue about the works of God without the Word and thereby lose the glory of Holy Scripture and the majesty of the Creator. Therefore, letting alone these disputes, we simply stick to the history as it is recorded by Moses: that Eve was formed out of the rib of Adam and that the place from which it had been taken was closed again with flesh, as Adam was made out of the dust of the ground and I was made out of a drop of my father’s blood. But how my mother conceived me, how I was formed in the womb and grew there, all this I leave to the glory of my Creator. For though it is truly incredible that a man should be born from a drop of blood, yet it is the truth. If, then, this Power can create a human being from a drop of blood, why not also from a piece of earth? Why not from a rib?”

    A few paragraphs earlier Luther grants that on rational grounds the creation of Eve is a story that is incredible.

    “A story that seems monstrous to reason. But so far as this story is concerned, what, I ask you, could be more like a fable to human reason? For would there be anyone to believe this story about the creation of Eve if it were not recorded in such a straightforward way in Scripture? For in all the other creatures you see the opposite. For whatever living creature is generated, is generated from male and female and is brought to the light of day by the female. But here woman herself is created from the man by a creation no less marvelous than that by which Adam was made into a living would from a piece of earth. If you set aside the authority of Scripture and follow the judgment of reason, these would be the greatest and most monstrous lies and fables.”

    “God reveals himself through the Word. I fear that more of these enthusiasts will come, confused, wrapped up in their own foolish thoughts, foolish, stubbornly clinging to their own view, and despising the Word of God. This is why I have always with the greatest diligence exhorted men to read Scripture and to hear the spoken Word that we may deal with the God who has revealed Himself and is speaking to us, and may in every way avoid the God who is silent and hidden in majesty.”

  • Larry

    I have no desire to “re-enter” this debate but I did read something quite incidently today that is apropos from Luther. As more often than not Luther’s foresight was far more than his opponents on such matters. It’s not as if modern dating methods via “modern science” is the first science that brings about these questions. And I’m not at all surprised Calvin is being evoked in this debate from the other side, it goes to why all that I said is not a bunch of disconnected discussion but a single issue under differing masks.

    As Becker’s editor states in the opening of his book “The Foolishness of God”

    “The world in its wisdom did not know God.” (1 Cor. 1). In passing his verdict on reason, Luther agrees with the Apostle Paul and opposes the wisdom of men like the Prophet Mohammed, Pope Paul III and John Calvin. On the same grounds, namely, that it is contrary to reason, Mohammed ridiculed the doctrine of the Trinity, Paul III condemned the doctrine of Justification by faith alone, and John Calvin rejected the doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.

    Whether in the robes of academia or in the garb of common sense, reason, “the devil’s bride,” is dressed to go into battle against the gospel of Christ. And since the time of Ain, the most appealing theologians, apologists, philosophers and scientist (in short, the world’s best and wisest men) have rallied to her side, suported her cause and worshiped at her altar.

    Yet that faculty of the human mind called reason is a great, yes, God’s “greatest and most important,” gift to man and “a most useful servant in theology”. Reason as such has by no means been abolished from the Christian church. But before it can enter there, it must be converted from a judge into a penitent, from a master into a servant, from a professor into a pupil – or, more precisely, from a pagan into a Christian.

    It is true that the Bible teaches many things which oppose the evidence otherwise available to reason through the senses. (How many of us have personally witnessed the revitalization of a man four days dead?) Still the doctrines of the Bible do not “tear reason apart.” Reason can apprehend the message, which the Bible conveys in the understandable form of ordinary human language. The fault, the, lies not with the message, but with fallen man, who rejects it precisely because he understands it. Therefore, reason, if it is to become a servant of God, must yield to faith.” (John Trapp, Editor)

    And From “What Luther Says” regarding the creation of Woman: (one sees the insight linked to the sacrament of the altar when he responded resoundingly to Zwingli ‘These Words Still Stand’)

    “The creation of woman. But to all these consideration we reply with the word: “God said,” This word settles all these arguments. For what need is there to argue as to whence God took the rest of the material for Eve’s creation, since He can do and create everything with one word? But these questions arise in philosophy and medicine, where men argue about the works of God without the Word and thereby lose the glory of Holy Scripture and the majesty of the Creator. Therefore, letting alone these disputes, we simply stick to the history as it is recorded by Moses: that Eve was formed out of the rib of Adam and that the place from which it had been taken was closed again with flesh, as Adam was made out of the dust of the ground and I was made out of a drop of my father’s blood. But how my mother conceived me, how I was formed in the womb and grew there, all this I leave to the glory of my Creator. For though it is truly incredible that a man should be born from a drop of blood, yet it is the truth. If, then, this Power can create a human being from a drop of blood, why not also from a piece of earth? Why not from a rib?”

    A few paragraphs earlier Luther grants that on rational grounds the creation of Eve is a story that is incredible.

    “A story that seems monstrous to reason. But so far as this story is concerned, what, I ask you, could be more like a fable to human reason? For would there be anyone to believe this story about the creation of Eve if it were not recorded in such a straightforward way in Scripture? For in all the other creatures you see the opposite. For whatever living creature is generated, is generated from male and female and is brought to the light of day by the female. But here woman herself is created from the man by a creation no less marvelous than that by which Adam was made into a living would from a piece of earth. If you set aside the authority of Scripture and follow the judgment of reason, these would be the greatest and most monstrous lies and fables.”

    “God reveals himself through the Word. I fear that more of these enthusiasts will come, confused, wrapped up in their own foolish thoughts, foolish, stubbornly clinging to their own view, and despising the Word of God. This is why I have always with the greatest diligence exhorted men to read Scripture and to hear the spoken Word that we may deal with the God who has revealed Himself and is speaking to us, and may in every way avoid the God who is silent and hidden in majesty.”


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