A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod

Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk converted to Lutheranism, something we discussed at length not too long ago.  Many of us were dismayed that we went the route of the ELCA rather than the more conservative synods (LCMS, WELS, ELS). He addresses that, with reference to our discussions here, in a recent post entitled The Post-Evangelical Path and Wilderness Update.

One reason he said in that latter post is that he couldn’t join the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod because we insist on 7-day creationism and he has a different position.  I’ve heard that said by other folks who have a problem with that teaching and thus with the LCMS.  But that was new to me.  Where, I wondered, is that taught as a binding doctrine?

I found it in a document entitled “A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of he Missouri Synod,” which was put out in 1932.  Here is a link:  LCMS Documents.

The article on Creation does specify that we follow the Bible literally in its account of the creation, including that it happened in 6 days.  It does not, however, contrary to what I had heard, specify “24 hour days” or that this is a “young earth,” issues that came to the fore well after 1932.

I myself would have no problem subscribing to the “Brief Statement,” but I’m curious about its status and its authority.  The “Brief Statement” has lots of good stuff in it.  At the same time, I was surprised to see how much it leaves out.  There is a section on the means of grace, but I saw nothing specifically on the presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, and hardly anything  about Baptism.  Quite a bit on church & ministry, but nothing on worship.  It speaks of good works, but not vocation.  There is nothing on the Theology of the Cross.  It addresses Justification but not the Atonement.  There are sections on predestination and conversion that stress certain similarities of  Lutheranism to Calvinism.  In all, it seems to be a very Protestant document.

To be sure, it points to the Book of Concord as the definitive exposition of Lutheran theology, not in itself but only because it is derived from the Word of God, the only true authority.

Could someone who knows tell us a little about this document?  It can’t be on the level of the Book of Concord.  When we laypeople join the church we agree to the Word of God as confessed in the Small Catechism, as well as the confessions in the Book of Concord.  Does a layperson have to believe in everything in the “Brief Statement”?  Do pastors?

I believe the “Brief Statement” is one of those documents adopted by convention, along with other statements from the Commission on Theology & Church Relations and the like.  These too have an official status.  To what degree must a member of the LCMS subscribe to those?  (And do WELS, ELS, and other conservative Lutheran bodies–especially those in the old Synodical Council–also sign on to this?)

I agree that the church cannot just rest on its past confessions and must address new theological issues as they arise.  Should the LCMS come up with a rather less brief statement of its doctrinal position, setting forth Lutheran teachings more fully and dealing with recent theological controversies (the new perspective on Paul; the current questioning about justification and the atonement, the inerrancy of Scripture, etc.)?  Or is it better to stick with the historic confessions and leave some things open?

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.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    “The finite contains the infinite.”

    LCMS should get a better handle on that one. It will go a long way towards a better understanding of the Word, and the Bible.

    (Off to work, so I won’t be able to answer objections or further clarify, for a while)

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    “The finite contains the infinite.”

    LCMS should get a better handle on that one. It will go a long way towards a better understanding of the Word, and the Bible.

    (Off to work, so I won’t be able to answer objections or further clarify, for a while)

  • George

    I think if its not explicitly taught in the Book of Concord, it should not be binding on Lutherans and should not be used to break “concord” and communion between Lutherans.

  • George

    I think if its not explicitly taught in the Book of Concord, it should not be binding on Lutherans and should not be used to break “concord” and communion between Lutherans.

  • James Sarver

    My recollection is that the Brief Statement was intended by the LCMS to address current (as in late 1920s) controversies among American Lutherans as a framework for possible fellowship with other Synods (which did not happen). That would explain the limited scope.

  • James Sarver

    My recollection is that the Brief Statement was intended by the LCMS to address current (as in late 1920s) controversies among American Lutherans as a framework for possible fellowship with other Synods (which did not happen). That would explain the limited scope.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    A good place to begin to answer these questions would be the latest official LCMS Handbook. I’ve gone through the first 12 articles there and have found no mention of the Brief Statement so far. As I write it’s late and I need some sleep, so that’s as far as I’ll go (I’m ‘down under’ in the antipodes), so I’ll leave it to others to follow up. Personally, I’d have no problem assenting to the Brief Statement (and I’m not even LCMS!), but like you, Dr Veith, I’m curious as to its present status.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    A good place to begin to answer these questions would be the latest official LCMS Handbook. I’ve gone through the first 12 articles there and have found no mention of the Brief Statement so far. As I write it’s late and I need some sleep, so that’s as far as I’ll go (I’m ‘down under’ in the antipodes), so I’ll leave it to others to follow up. Personally, I’d have no problem assenting to the Brief Statement (and I’m not even LCMS!), but like you, Dr Veith, I’m curious as to its present status.

  • larry

    It depends. On the one hand Luther warned several times including some of his last words near the time of his death (and concerning his BOW is another place), that men teaching falsely would even basically take his words and “reshape them” toward their position. And indeed we see this all the time, especially with Calvinistic elements. In his last warning, which related to the sacrament of the altar and ultimately the Word of God (Sola Scriptura), he warned that if men would lie, deceive and teach falsely concerning the Word of God (the greater) how much more his own words (the lesser confessing the same greater). That principle can happen even to the Lutheran confessions. And also because heterodoxy, especially Calvinism, tends to and always has insinuate its way in. This is how the devil operates. Generally not in front and directly but with a subtle crafty “hath God really said…”. So, there’s nothing wrong with the confession as it faithfully (re) confess what Scripture actually states. So, sometimes it’s good to (re) word something to be plain and clear about what another thing is stating. However, there is an inherent danger in this if one is not careful to faithfully “exposit”, as it were, the confession and it may appear to be a “softening” of a position.

    But the problem arises when root definitions are not grasped, this Luther points out in his exposition of Romans that if one doesn’t have faith, grace, wrath and etc… understood, neither will Paul be and he will be read in a more or less overt or subtle “legal/works” way too. Melancthon, ironically who fell for the insinuations of Calvin, realized this when writing his early works in response to Rome. He had mustered, correctly, a number of Scriptural proofs but to no avail. The problem? He realized that behind their definition of faith was “formed love”, so that every time faith was read, even in the Scriptures, that was doctrinally/theologically in their background/interpretation. Thus, it would appear that both Rome and Luther confessed “yes why certainly by faith alone”. But Rome meant “faith (love formed) alone”. We see the same issue with Calvinism then and now even on this issue of faith, many Lutherans fall prey to it, “faith alone”, but they mean “faith (proved by love/fruit) alone”. We see the same things with the solas (e.g. sola scriptura), simul Justus et peccator, and so forth, whereby, on the surface it appears that we speak and say the same thing…but we do not and the sacraments always show this eventually. Luther realized that the sacraments will be despised of mean overtly or covertly because the Word of God (forgiveness of sin given) is put into them and not philosophical quibbles, the later only supports the former (i.e. the philosophical arguments are because of the despising, ultimately, of the Worded sacraments).

    So it all, ultimately gets down to what the Word of God says versus what experience and reason can comprehend. The later dares to judge scripture, hence the issue over the sacraments is the same over creation is the same as the issue over justification is the same as the issue over the Trinity, the two natures, the communication of attributes, regeneration, grace, faith, etc…

    However, subtle or overt compromising leads to further walking away from the faith. We see this among the Reformed/Baptist coalitions and “together for the gospel” movements in which at length even their own confessions are denied either overtly or implicitly, and at length the sacraments suffer increasingly as one moves from Calvin more toward Zwingli and at length even further than Zwingli envisioned unto the Baptist/Anabaptist doctrines on the issue.

    So I think clarification can be good and are necessary because of the insinuating nature of heterodoxy to say, “see not that different we are saying basically the same thing real presence…”, but only if they are strong in defending the doctrine and do not become “pathways” for compromise of that which it should be defending. I.e. they should not soften a position in order to make in more ‘palatable’ to false teaching, but just the opposite, hit just as hard so as to be clear. They should be a “no we have not changed our minds” and not worded such that they become pseudo invitations for false teachings to further insinuate inwardly. On the one hand we should and do desire for the despairing, hungering and thirsting for Christ to come, but on the other the confessions and Scripture are a fortress against all the false “hath God really saids”. We should never desire to “grow” first and thus the temptation to relinquish the doctrine (which is ultimately what heterodoxy has always done), rather to be faithful, rigidly, without relinquish and unflinchingly, and if God sees fit to grow us then great, if not, then great. After all, ALL articles of faith are exactly that Worded promises that are only believed and not visible or comprehended and that includes the existence of the church AND providence, often so much to the tune of “visibly, experientially, comprehendingly the opposite” (this makes room for faith alone in the Word alone).

    Thus, on one hand it sounds like good news that someone like Chaplain Mike’s move is great (and I only mean to use him as an example not personal at all), but we should be careful that we are not in ourselves secretly affirming our confessions because “so and so” converted over per se. Because we root ourselves in the Word Alone and not because some theological “celebrity” now makes it “cool” to be Lutheran (I state that bluntly only to make the point clear). Thus, if he ultimately refuses the doctrine, then so be it, the Word of God remains for ever in and of itself not because (fill in the blank with name). It’s a subtle temptation for all of us to have “X person” FINALLY convert over, but like winning the lottery, it can become a form of idolatry like Israel woofing down the quail God provided and then God became angry. Our doctrines and confessions are not to be confirmed or loved because of any man or his conversion, but because they confess the very Word of God Himself. Who would not love their certain family members to be orthodox confessing together with them, or their friends or their favored theologian? But that can become a great temptation to each and every one of us, including myself, I feel it ALL the time. But this is in part the reality of what Christ said concerning loving Him more, than brother, sister, mother, daughter…it’s a REAL not pretend temptation. It’s not something one can stand stoically outside of one’s self and say, “hey that’s temptation I shall avoid it” like Peter did. It’s a very real heart felt temptation that tempts one to finally “give way” the once for all handed down faith for the sake of brother, mother, daughter, etc…. (especially family members this is very tempting).

    Thus, any clarification would should push even harder and more clearly and not be a softened version that allows the entrance path for false teaching.

  • larry

    It depends. On the one hand Luther warned several times including some of his last words near the time of his death (and concerning his BOW is another place), that men teaching falsely would even basically take his words and “reshape them” toward their position. And indeed we see this all the time, especially with Calvinistic elements. In his last warning, which related to the sacrament of the altar and ultimately the Word of God (Sola Scriptura), he warned that if men would lie, deceive and teach falsely concerning the Word of God (the greater) how much more his own words (the lesser confessing the same greater). That principle can happen even to the Lutheran confessions. And also because heterodoxy, especially Calvinism, tends to and always has insinuate its way in. This is how the devil operates. Generally not in front and directly but with a subtle crafty “hath God really said…”. So, there’s nothing wrong with the confession as it faithfully (re) confess what Scripture actually states. So, sometimes it’s good to (re) word something to be plain and clear about what another thing is stating. However, there is an inherent danger in this if one is not careful to faithfully “exposit”, as it were, the confession and it may appear to be a “softening” of a position.

    But the problem arises when root definitions are not grasped, this Luther points out in his exposition of Romans that if one doesn’t have faith, grace, wrath and etc… understood, neither will Paul be and he will be read in a more or less overt or subtle “legal/works” way too. Melancthon, ironically who fell for the insinuations of Calvin, realized this when writing his early works in response to Rome. He had mustered, correctly, a number of Scriptural proofs but to no avail. The problem? He realized that behind their definition of faith was “formed love”, so that every time faith was read, even in the Scriptures, that was doctrinally/theologically in their background/interpretation. Thus, it would appear that both Rome and Luther confessed “yes why certainly by faith alone”. But Rome meant “faith (love formed) alone”. We see the same issue with Calvinism then and now even on this issue of faith, many Lutherans fall prey to it, “faith alone”, but they mean “faith (proved by love/fruit) alone”. We see the same things with the solas (e.g. sola scriptura), simul Justus et peccator, and so forth, whereby, on the surface it appears that we speak and say the same thing…but we do not and the sacraments always show this eventually. Luther realized that the sacraments will be despised of mean overtly or covertly because the Word of God (forgiveness of sin given) is put into them and not philosophical quibbles, the later only supports the former (i.e. the philosophical arguments are because of the despising, ultimately, of the Worded sacraments).

    So it all, ultimately gets down to what the Word of God says versus what experience and reason can comprehend. The later dares to judge scripture, hence the issue over the sacraments is the same over creation is the same as the issue over justification is the same as the issue over the Trinity, the two natures, the communication of attributes, regeneration, grace, faith, etc…

    However, subtle or overt compromising leads to further walking away from the faith. We see this among the Reformed/Baptist coalitions and “together for the gospel” movements in which at length even their own confessions are denied either overtly or implicitly, and at length the sacraments suffer increasingly as one moves from Calvin more toward Zwingli and at length even further than Zwingli envisioned unto the Baptist/Anabaptist doctrines on the issue.

    So I think clarification can be good and are necessary because of the insinuating nature of heterodoxy to say, “see not that different we are saying basically the same thing real presence…”, but only if they are strong in defending the doctrine and do not become “pathways” for compromise of that which it should be defending. I.e. they should not soften a position in order to make in more ‘palatable’ to false teaching, but just the opposite, hit just as hard so as to be clear. They should be a “no we have not changed our minds” and not worded such that they become pseudo invitations for false teachings to further insinuate inwardly. On the one hand we should and do desire for the despairing, hungering and thirsting for Christ to come, but on the other the confessions and Scripture are a fortress against all the false “hath God really saids”. We should never desire to “grow” first and thus the temptation to relinquish the doctrine (which is ultimately what heterodoxy has always done), rather to be faithful, rigidly, without relinquish and unflinchingly, and if God sees fit to grow us then great, if not, then great. After all, ALL articles of faith are exactly that Worded promises that are only believed and not visible or comprehended and that includes the existence of the church AND providence, often so much to the tune of “visibly, experientially, comprehendingly the opposite” (this makes room for faith alone in the Word alone).

    Thus, on one hand it sounds like good news that someone like Chaplain Mike’s move is great (and I only mean to use him as an example not personal at all), but we should be careful that we are not in ourselves secretly affirming our confessions because “so and so” converted over per se. Because we root ourselves in the Word Alone and not because some theological “celebrity” now makes it “cool” to be Lutheran (I state that bluntly only to make the point clear). Thus, if he ultimately refuses the doctrine, then so be it, the Word of God remains for ever in and of itself not because (fill in the blank with name). It’s a subtle temptation for all of us to have “X person” FINALLY convert over, but like winning the lottery, it can become a form of idolatry like Israel woofing down the quail God provided and then God became angry. Our doctrines and confessions are not to be confirmed or loved because of any man or his conversion, but because they confess the very Word of God Himself. Who would not love their certain family members to be orthodox confessing together with them, or their friends or their favored theologian? But that can become a great temptation to each and every one of us, including myself, I feel it ALL the time. But this is in part the reality of what Christ said concerning loving Him more, than brother, sister, mother, daughter…it’s a REAL not pretend temptation. It’s not something one can stand stoically outside of one’s self and say, “hey that’s temptation I shall avoid it” like Peter did. It’s a very real heart felt temptation that tempts one to finally “give way” the once for all handed down faith for the sake of brother, mother, daughter, etc…. (especially family members this is very tempting).

    Thus, any clarification would should push even harder and more clearly and not be a softened version that allows the entrance path for false teaching.

  • Carl Vehse

    For a historical background on “A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missourii, Ohio, and Other States,” adopted in 1932, one may read “The Historical Background of ‘A Brief Statement’,” by Carl S. Meyer (Concordia Theological Monthly 32, 1961: 403-428, 466-482, 526-542).

  • Carl Vehse

    For a historical background on “A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missourii, Ohio, and Other States,” adopted in 1932, one may read “The Historical Background of ‘A Brief Statement’,” by Carl S. Meyer (Concordia Theological Monthly 32, 1961: 403-428, 466-482, 526-542).

  • Danny

    larry,
    Are Calvinists heretics? They seem to be the enemy du jour for Lutherans. At least on the anymon-net.

  • Danny

    larry,
    Are Calvinists heretics? They seem to be the enemy du jour for Lutherans. At least on the anymon-net.

  • George

    Calvinists are like that brother you’re sick of being compared to all the time. “Well sure he’s my brother, but just because he’s my brother doesn’t mean I like cornbread too! We’re like, completely different people, you just don’t get it.”

  • George

    Calvinists are like that brother you’re sick of being compared to all the time. “Well sure he’s my brother, but just because he’s my brother doesn’t mean I like cornbread too! We’re like, completely different people, you just don’t get it.”

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I’ll bet the Brief Statement doesn’t address the Ordination of Cats, either.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I’ll bet the Brief Statement doesn’t address the Ordination of Cats, either.

  • Carl Vehse

    Here is a working link to “The Historical Background of
    ‘A Brief Statement’.”

  • Carl Vehse

    Here is a working link to “The Historical Background of
    ‘A Brief Statement’.”

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Most LCMS pastors I’ve dialoged with treat young-Earth creationism as if it were the only option. My position is that it is neither Biblically necessary nor scientifically workable, to put it mildly. This was enough for me to not seriously consider LCMS churches when we moved to a new community six months ago. ELCA churches weren’t an option either, so we are now in a Presbyterian (PCA) church and loving it.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Most LCMS pastors I’ve dialoged with treat young-Earth creationism as if it were the only option. My position is that it is neither Biblically necessary nor scientifically workable, to put it mildly. This was enough for me to not seriously consider LCMS churches when we moved to a new community six months ago. ELCA churches weren’t an option either, so we are now in a Presbyterian (PCA) church and loving it.

  • Dan Kempin

    Steve, #1,

    That statement goes back to the reformed axiom that the finite cannot contain the infinite. This is used as a a logical wedge to deny the real presence in the sacrament. The Lord’s true body is not given in the bread, though the Lord said just that, because it CANNOT be given in the bread. Therefore the Lord must have meant something else . . . etc. Thus we say of the bread, in direct response to this logical trap, that “the finite contains the infinite.” Though this may defy our logic, it is the logical inference of the Lord’s own words.”

  • Dan Kempin

    Steve, #1,

    That statement goes back to the reformed axiom that the finite cannot contain the infinite. This is used as a a logical wedge to deny the real presence in the sacrament. The Lord’s true body is not given in the bread, though the Lord said just that, because it CANNOT be given in the bread. Therefore the Lord must have meant something else . . . etc. Thus we say of the bread, in direct response to this logical trap, that “the finite contains the infinite.” Though this may defy our logic, it is the logical inference of the Lord’s own words.”

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    One way (over-simplified, I admit) to think of confessional statements like the “Brief Statement” is that they are authoritative, or even binding, in terms of fellowship, but not in terms of faith.

    Since synods are voluntary associations, by joining or retaining its membership a congregation is indicating its agreement with what the larger body has asserted as its beliefs. The same would be true of pastors, professors, administrators, and other called or representative servants of the church. If at some point a congregation or pastor were to find itself/himself no longer in agreement with the agreed-upon beliefs of the synod, and attempts to work change and/or come to new agreement have failed, the next step would be to recognize that the bonds of fellowship have been broken and give up that synodical membership. But those “left behind” would not necessarily be able to say “You’ve stopped being Christian” or “You can’t call yourself a Lutheran anymore” — not so long as the “dissidents” still accept Scripture’s authority and subscribe to the Book of Concord.

    What’s frustrating is the “cake and eat it, too” approach too many take today — and that denies the very thing they claim to want to preserve: “Well, we don’t believe or stand for the same things as the synod/denomination anymore, but it’s too much trouble to work for change and we really like being a part of the larger body, so we’ll just pretend we’re in fellowship when in reality that ended a long time ago.”

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    One way (over-simplified, I admit) to think of confessional statements like the “Brief Statement” is that they are authoritative, or even binding, in terms of fellowship, but not in terms of faith.

    Since synods are voluntary associations, by joining or retaining its membership a congregation is indicating its agreement with what the larger body has asserted as its beliefs. The same would be true of pastors, professors, administrators, and other called or representative servants of the church. If at some point a congregation or pastor were to find itself/himself no longer in agreement with the agreed-upon beliefs of the synod, and attempts to work change and/or come to new agreement have failed, the next step would be to recognize that the bonds of fellowship have been broken and give up that synodical membership. But those “left behind” would not necessarily be able to say “You’ve stopped being Christian” or “You can’t call yourself a Lutheran anymore” — not so long as the “dissidents” still accept Scripture’s authority and subscribe to the Book of Concord.

    What’s frustrating is the “cake and eat it, too” approach too many take today — and that denies the very thing they claim to want to preserve: “Well, we don’t believe or stand for the same things as the synod/denomination anymore, but it’s too much trouble to work for change and we really like being a part of the larger body, so we’ll just pretend we’re in fellowship when in reality that ended a long time ago.”

  • SAL

    I’m extremely skeptical of the dogma of “seven 24 hour day creation”. I cannot force myself to believe it and I find little in favor of that viewpoint.

    Does that mean I need to leave the LCMS for conscience sake?

  • SAL

    I’m extremely skeptical of the dogma of “seven 24 hour day creation”. I cannot force myself to believe it and I find little in favor of that viewpoint.

    Does that mean I need to leave the LCMS for conscience sake?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Thanks for the link to that article, Carl. The document indeed seems to relate to inter-Lutheran relations and to some issues unique to 1932.

    And yet isn’t it interesting that many in the general public assume that “the teaching of the LCMS is young earth 7-day creationism”? And that this is keeping people from joining us!

    That the “Brief Statement” affirms that the universe was created in 7 days (saying nothing about the age of the earth) would NOT prevent someone who does not hold this exact view from being accepted into membership of the LCMS. Right? What about a pastor? Could we have fellowship with another Lutheran body that would not go along with the Brief Statement?

    And, Larry, have you read the Brief Statement? Is it an example of standing strong against Calvinism, or is it instead an example of “crypto-Calvinism”?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Thanks for the link to that article, Carl. The document indeed seems to relate to inter-Lutheran relations and to some issues unique to 1932.

    And yet isn’t it interesting that many in the general public assume that “the teaching of the LCMS is young earth 7-day creationism”? And that this is keeping people from joining us!

    That the “Brief Statement” affirms that the universe was created in 7 days (saying nothing about the age of the earth) would NOT prevent someone who does not hold this exact view from being accepted into membership of the LCMS. Right? What about a pastor? Could we have fellowship with another Lutheran body that would not go along with the Brief Statement?

    And, Larry, have you read the Brief Statement? Is it an example of standing strong against Calvinism, or is it instead an example of “crypto-Calvinism”?

  • kenneth

    The reformed Lutheran divide is a bit like affirming both cat and dog about the same entity or hting. Like a cat, the reformed are always trying get an intellectual grip on the Lord’s Supper. A cat is likely to get a grip on an object and twist it into manageable shreds and not to strain the anology too far then reconstructs at a “higher level”.

    Now a L:utheran is like the loyal dog and is not likely to stray for love of the master over some logical structure that goes against Christ’s words “this my body”. Marburg apears to be the divide stated most clearly that God is “in, with and under the bread and wine”. Calvin and Melanchton both had it wrong trying to devise some theological system that better explains on an intellectual level when in fact there is’nt one. There is no better way to disern the difference that to hold fast to LCMS stance, “the infinite does indeed contain the finite” . Let the mystery stand with God’s Word and own up to Jesus own words+++

  • kenneth

    The reformed Lutheran divide is a bit like affirming both cat and dog about the same entity or hting. Like a cat, the reformed are always trying get an intellectual grip on the Lord’s Supper. A cat is likely to get a grip on an object and twist it into manageable shreds and not to strain the anology too far then reconstructs at a “higher level”.

    Now a L:utheran is like the loyal dog and is not likely to stray for love of the master over some logical structure that goes against Christ’s words “this my body”. Marburg apears to be the divide stated most clearly that God is “in, with and under the bread and wine”. Calvin and Melanchton both had it wrong trying to devise some theological system that better explains on an intellectual level when in fact there is’nt one. There is no better way to disern the difference that to hold fast to LCMS stance, “the infinite does indeed contain the finite” . Let the mystery stand with God’s Word and own up to Jesus own words+++

  • Danny

    Thanks for the insight Kenneth. Still sitting here trying not to reason.

  • Danny

    Thanks for the insight Kenneth. Still sitting here trying not to reason.

  • http://www.thisweconfess.wordpress.com Lucas Woodford

    I am curious as why the idea of a young earth would keep people from joining the LCMS? Do such individuals desire the possibility of an aged creation via evolution? I’m not sure what other desire there would be for an aged creation position other than to somehow legitimize the idea of macro-evolution? Thus, if this would indeed be the desire, do not such desires lead to the (unintentional or intentional) undermining of every major Christian doctrine? Created order(s), sin, redemption, new creation? Yes, I know Christians who hold to evolution and Christ, but if we are being honest, there are logical theological consequences to such a position. And I’m simply one who desires we be honest about those consequences. Thus I give Chaplain Mike credit for his honesty.

  • http://www.thisweconfess.wordpress.com Lucas Woodford

    I am curious as why the idea of a young earth would keep people from joining the LCMS? Do such individuals desire the possibility of an aged creation via evolution? I’m not sure what other desire there would be for an aged creation position other than to somehow legitimize the idea of macro-evolution? Thus, if this would indeed be the desire, do not such desires lead to the (unintentional or intentional) undermining of every major Christian doctrine? Created order(s), sin, redemption, new creation? Yes, I know Christians who hold to evolution and Christ, but if we are being honest, there are logical theological consequences to such a position. And I’m simply one who desires we be honest about those consequences. Thus I give Chaplain Mike credit for his honesty.

  • Jon

    “5. We teach that God has created heaven and earth, and that in the manner and in the space of time recorded in the Holy Scriptures, especially Gen. 1 and 2, namely, by His almighty creative word, and in six days. We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of creation as taught in Scripture. In our days it is denied or limited by those who assert, ostensibly in deference to science, that the world came into existence through a process of evolution; that is, that it has, in immense periods of time, developed more or less of itself. Since no man was present when it pleased God to create the world, we must look for a reliable account of creation to God’s own record, found in God’s own book, the Bible. We accept God’s own record with full confidence and confess with Luther’s Catechism: ‘I believe that God has made me and all creatures.’.”

    OK, so they don’t come right out and say it, seven 24 hour days 6 thousand years ago. But that surely is what is meant.

    And it leaves no wiggle room for others as “We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of creation as taught in Scripture.”

    Ergo, if you believe in millions and billions of years of death and carnage through a random chance, or even a intelligent semi-guided, process, then you are of a different spirit than us.

    I can see why someone who can’t heft this wouldn’t want to just stick around for the rest, caffeteria-style.

  • Jon

    “5. We teach that God has created heaven and earth, and that in the manner and in the space of time recorded in the Holy Scriptures, especially Gen. 1 and 2, namely, by His almighty creative word, and in six days. We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of creation as taught in Scripture. In our days it is denied or limited by those who assert, ostensibly in deference to science, that the world came into existence through a process of evolution; that is, that it has, in immense periods of time, developed more or less of itself. Since no man was present when it pleased God to create the world, we must look for a reliable account of creation to God’s own record, found in God’s own book, the Bible. We accept God’s own record with full confidence and confess with Luther’s Catechism: ‘I believe that God has made me and all creatures.’.”

    OK, so they don’t come right out and say it, seven 24 hour days 6 thousand years ago. But that surely is what is meant.

    And it leaves no wiggle room for others as “We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of creation as taught in Scripture.”

    Ergo, if you believe in millions and billions of years of death and carnage through a random chance, or even a intelligent semi-guided, process, then you are of a different spirit than us.

    I can see why someone who can’t heft this wouldn’t want to just stick around for the rest, caffeteria-style.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    And there we go: Thanks Lucas, you said it. We Christians, some of us Lutherans no less, who do not have a problem with evolution, and love our bretheren who thinks otherwise too, undermine all of Christianity, sacrifice kittens at the full moon, and listen to Lennon and McCartney. One day we are coming for you. Whahaha!!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    And there we go: Thanks Lucas, you said it. We Christians, some of us Lutherans no less, who do not have a problem with evolution, and love our bretheren who thinks otherwise too, undermine all of Christianity, sacrifice kittens at the full moon, and listen to Lennon and McCartney. One day we are coming for you. Whahaha!!

  • Grills

    It always stuns me that there are those who claim to accept by faith God becoming incarnate, the resurrection, the true body and blood of our Lord in the Sacrament and other sacred doctrines yet when it comes to the clear words of Scripture regarding creation they balk and turn to reason and science to explain that away. It comes then as no surprise that same one would be more at home in a Liberal Lutheran or nominally Reformed church where reason is appealed to so highly.

  • Grills

    It always stuns me that there are those who claim to accept by faith God becoming incarnate, the resurrection, the true body and blood of our Lord in the Sacrament and other sacred doctrines yet when it comes to the clear words of Scripture regarding creation they balk and turn to reason and science to explain that away. It comes then as no surprise that same one would be more at home in a Liberal Lutheran or nominally Reformed church where reason is appealed to so highly.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Perhaps we should correct Chaplain Mike when he states the LC-MS teaches a seven-day creation; a closer reading of the doctrinal position of the LC-MS is a six-day creation (which Genesis 1 records).

    To another point, the reformed axiom that the finite cannot contain the infinite has broader implications than just Holy Communion. If this position is true, (and since we’re still celebrating the twelve days of Christmas), I would be most interested in the Calvanist view of exactly who Mary gave birth. If the infinite Son of God is not present physically in the manager – perhaps they should consider the Jehovah Witness for that particular baby, born at that particular time in that particular place would be just another boy-child, incapable of saving myself, you or any other sinful being.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Perhaps we should correct Chaplain Mike when he states the LC-MS teaches a seven-day creation; a closer reading of the doctrinal position of the LC-MS is a six-day creation (which Genesis 1 records).

    To another point, the reformed axiom that the finite cannot contain the infinite has broader implications than just Holy Communion. If this position is true, (and since we’re still celebrating the twelve days of Christmas), I would be most interested in the Calvanist view of exactly who Mary gave birth. If the infinite Son of God is not present physically in the manager – perhaps they should consider the Jehovah Witness for that particular baby, born at that particular time in that particular place would be just another boy-child, incapable of saving myself, you or any other sinful being.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Eric

    I do find it quite interesting that the seven day creation statement by the LCMS was a deal breaker for him and not all of the heretical leanings of the ELCA! It seems more like straining the gnat and swallowing the camel! I still love his blog and hope his christian journey is fruitful!

  • Eric

    I do find it quite interesting that the seven day creation statement by the LCMS was a deal breaker for him and not all of the heretical leanings of the ELCA! It seems more like straining the gnat and swallowing the camel! I still love his blog and hope his christian journey is fruitful!

  • Grills

    Dennis,

    The Reformed view is that Christ, both God and Man, is present in the manger. For them, the incarnation is exactly why Christ cannot be physically present in Communion. Since the human and divine nature are united they cannot be separated, and since humans are not omnipresent Christ cannot be physically in the Sacrament in all these churches on Sunday. Therefore Christ’s body has ascended and stays in the heavens until the second coming.

  • Grills

    Dennis,

    The Reformed view is that Christ, both God and Man, is present in the manger. For them, the incarnation is exactly why Christ cannot be physically present in Communion. Since the human and divine nature are united they cannot be separated, and since humans are not omnipresent Christ cannot be physically in the Sacrament in all these churches on Sunday. Therefore Christ’s body has ascended and stays in the heavens until the second coming.

  • Jon

    @23, That’s just it though, I wonder if he’d agree that any of the other stuff in ELCA is “heretical.” Or just how much he’s down with all that, too. In other words, it seems to be pretty good fit from what I’ve read from him.

  • Jon

    @23, That’s just it though, I wonder if he’d agree that any of the other stuff in ELCA is “heretical.” Or just how much he’s down with all that, too. In other words, it seems to be pretty good fit from what I’ve read from him.

  • http://www.thisweconfess.wordpress.com Lucas Woodford

    Klasie,

    Sorry for the angst I seem to have caused. I meant no ill will. But my point is simply that there are serious theological inconsistencies and consequences for Christians who hold to evolution i.e. If God created via evolution, and evolution is perpetuated by the adaptation and mutation of species who die, but pass on their genetic traits that afford the survival of the fittest, at what point does sin enter the picture? And since scripture is clear the death came after sin, how do we square that with the idea of evolution? Would that mean that scriptures are wrong, incomplete, or insufficient? Would we really need a savior if perfection was never a part of God’s creation and sin only the natural result of it? And would that mean that God did then create sin? These are the types of theological issues that result and I think we need to honestly and respectfully dialogue about them.

  • http://www.thisweconfess.wordpress.com Lucas Woodford

    Klasie,

    Sorry for the angst I seem to have caused. I meant no ill will. But my point is simply that there are serious theological inconsistencies and consequences for Christians who hold to evolution i.e. If God created via evolution, and evolution is perpetuated by the adaptation and mutation of species who die, but pass on their genetic traits that afford the survival of the fittest, at what point does sin enter the picture? And since scripture is clear the death came after sin, how do we square that with the idea of evolution? Would that mean that scriptures are wrong, incomplete, or insufficient? Would we really need a savior if perfection was never a part of God’s creation and sin only the natural result of it? And would that mean that God did then create sin? These are the types of theological issues that result and I think we need to honestly and respectfully dialogue about them.

  • SKPeterson

    I’ve heard from one LCMS pastor that the earth may be both young and old at the same time. Try that paradox on for size.

  • SKPeterson

    I’ve heard from one LCMS pastor that the earth may be both young and old at the same time. Try that paradox on for size.

  • Jon

    Lucas, yes, and also the skeptical hermeneutic which is at work in this also tends to undermine these other areas as well. If you can compromise in the first chapters, it’s generally less difficult for you to do it in others also. They come at it from “how do I make it not say this,” and not the more important “why does it need to say this?”

  • Jon

    Lucas, yes, and also the skeptical hermeneutic which is at work in this also tends to undermine these other areas as well. If you can compromise in the first chapters, it’s generally less difficult for you to do it in others also. They come at it from “how do I make it not say this,” and not the more important “why does it need to say this?”

  • Rev Mathew Andersen

    I think we need a little clarification on what it means to subscribe to the confessions.

    Firstly, Synodical conventions do not “set doctrine.” (though that seems to have been fudged in recent years). Rather, through their vote at conventions, the LCMS synodical conventions proclaim adherence to and agreement with the clear doctrines of Scripture.

    The brief statement is not authoritative because it was voted on or accepted. Rather, in adopting it, the Synod has said, “this is clearly what Scripture teaches and, therefore, we accept it.

    This is also true of the confessions. When your pastor was ordained he subscribed to the confessions “as a true exposition of Scripture.” Before making that subscription he was expected to have thoroughly studied both the Scripture, in its original language no less, and the whole book of concord. It is only after doing so that he can be asked if he believes that the book of concord clearly proclaims the doctrines of Scripture. His Subscription to the book of concord has, as its foundation, his commitment to the truth of God’s Word in Scripture. This is why the LCMS asks its pastors to subscribe to the BoC AS a true exposition of Scripture which requires both an acceptance of Scripture as the true and inerrant Word of God and a thorough knowledge of the BoC rather than only IN SO FAR AS it is a correct exposition of Scripture (a phrase which allows for fudging both the interpretation of Scripture and the acceptance of the BoC). We in the LCMS are committed to the Lutheran Confessions because the Lutheran Confessions are themselves committed too and dependent upon Scripture alone.

    However, when you were confirmed, you did not, in fact, subscribe to the BoC. You only subscribed to the small catechism (check the confirmation vows and you will see that I am correct). This is because you had not studied the BoC and could not make the declaration that it is in fact a clear exposition of the Bible.

    So the LCMS denies evolution not because we have a document called “the Brief Statement” which tells us to do so but because the Bible proclaims a clear 6 day creation and the Brief Statement is our joint and united confession that we, in fact, are committed to the doctrine of Scripture on this specific point as we are committed to it on all points.

    The LCMS has never had a statement on the specific age of the earth, by the way, because the Bible simply does not say “here is how old the earth is.” While adding the dates in the genealogies gives a young earth we would have to assume that no generations were skipped and that the numbers as we have received them are all correct (numbers are notorious for being the most common location for mistakes in transcription when copying and the most difficult places to find and correct errors). However, it is clear that each of the six days had “an evening and a morning” precluding the interpretation that these were six ages rather than days.

    The other compromise position, that the first 2 chapters of Genesis are poetry and not to be taken literally is kind of silly. The argument is put that way simply to make it seem “intelligent and enlightened.” However, having taught literature for many years, I can say there is no license for “poetry” to be less factual than prose. This is especially true of ancient literature in which there is little distinction in form between poetry and prose. The real distinction is between “fiction” and “non-fiction.” So let’s be blunt – those who don’t want to accept a 6 day creation simply believe the early chapters of Genesis to be fiction.

  • Rev Mathew Andersen

    I think we need a little clarification on what it means to subscribe to the confessions.

    Firstly, Synodical conventions do not “set doctrine.” (though that seems to have been fudged in recent years). Rather, through their vote at conventions, the LCMS synodical conventions proclaim adherence to and agreement with the clear doctrines of Scripture.

    The brief statement is not authoritative because it was voted on or accepted. Rather, in adopting it, the Synod has said, “this is clearly what Scripture teaches and, therefore, we accept it.

    This is also true of the confessions. When your pastor was ordained he subscribed to the confessions “as a true exposition of Scripture.” Before making that subscription he was expected to have thoroughly studied both the Scripture, in its original language no less, and the whole book of concord. It is only after doing so that he can be asked if he believes that the book of concord clearly proclaims the doctrines of Scripture. His Subscription to the book of concord has, as its foundation, his commitment to the truth of God’s Word in Scripture. This is why the LCMS asks its pastors to subscribe to the BoC AS a true exposition of Scripture which requires both an acceptance of Scripture as the true and inerrant Word of God and a thorough knowledge of the BoC rather than only IN SO FAR AS it is a correct exposition of Scripture (a phrase which allows for fudging both the interpretation of Scripture and the acceptance of the BoC). We in the LCMS are committed to the Lutheran Confessions because the Lutheran Confessions are themselves committed too and dependent upon Scripture alone.

    However, when you were confirmed, you did not, in fact, subscribe to the BoC. You only subscribed to the small catechism (check the confirmation vows and you will see that I am correct). This is because you had not studied the BoC and could not make the declaration that it is in fact a clear exposition of the Bible.

    So the LCMS denies evolution not because we have a document called “the Brief Statement” which tells us to do so but because the Bible proclaims a clear 6 day creation and the Brief Statement is our joint and united confession that we, in fact, are committed to the doctrine of Scripture on this specific point as we are committed to it on all points.

    The LCMS has never had a statement on the specific age of the earth, by the way, because the Bible simply does not say “here is how old the earth is.” While adding the dates in the genealogies gives a young earth we would have to assume that no generations were skipped and that the numbers as we have received them are all correct (numbers are notorious for being the most common location for mistakes in transcription when copying and the most difficult places to find and correct errors). However, it is clear that each of the six days had “an evening and a morning” precluding the interpretation that these were six ages rather than days.

    The other compromise position, that the first 2 chapters of Genesis are poetry and not to be taken literally is kind of silly. The argument is put that way simply to make it seem “intelligent and enlightened.” However, having taught literature for many years, I can say there is no license for “poetry” to be less factual than prose. This is especially true of ancient literature in which there is little distinction in form between poetry and prose. The real distinction is between “fiction” and “non-fiction.” So let’s be blunt – those who don’t want to accept a 6 day creation simply believe the early chapters of Genesis to be fiction.

  • larry

    Danny,

    That’s a broad question, Calvinism is heretical doctrine of that there can be know doubt, and Calvin and Zwingli were teachers of said doctrine as are their teaching and preaching heirs. E.g. is it heretical to deny the body and blood of Christ in the sacrament, that baptism confers actual forgiveness, absolution, etc…all the “pro me” we say are in reality THE Gospel and its essence. The answer is a resounding yes, else we do not believe what we say WE preach, teach and confess and are hypocrites. I was reading Luther again last night on this very point he makes in his opening to Erasmus in BoW when he basically lays Erasmus low for this kind of “unsure” “uncertain” epicurean kind of thought, that not making assertion is in principle not Christian at all (content aside). Put another way, we’d be worse heretics than the Calvinism we confess against if we didn’t assert its heresy point blank, we would not even be in principle Christian but epicurean. As Luther points out there is nothing worse than no assurance.

    That’s different than the lay person. Luther makes a distinction between those that adhere to false doctrinal innocently/ignorantly versus those that do not.

    Dr. Veith, I have not read it all but parts and not digested it nearly as much as the confessions. But what I’ve read I’d say it is an example of standing strong against Calvinism. It’s a bit bigger and wordier than something as simple and straightforward as the Saxon Visitations appended to the BOC. The SV would be a good example of standing strong against Calvinism in a forward moved language of the day. In principle a document should confess strongly and certainly.

    The problem with insinuating language is it “sounds like” the same thing. I ran into this early on as a Calvinist looking into Luther. Because I wanted them to be the same, who wants differences after all they are quite uncomfortable. So when for example one would hear “real presence” that’s pretty broad. Sasse helped me pull that apart that the issue at Marburg was not “real presence” but the body and blood of Christ, that began to make me see the difference and the subtleness of the insinuating language.

    This kind of “fuzzy” language not only confuses orthodoxy and heterodoxy but even those within heterodoxy trying to make it work. E.g. just the other day I decided to pull down my old Louis Berkhof’s monumental treatment of the doctrines of the Reformed faith, only Charle Hodge’s three volume set on the same is on the same level as to a post-Calvin working of the Reformed theology; anyway under the discussion concerning the Lord’s Supper and real presence Berkof points out, even, that under Reformed dogma there’s confusion on this “what is meant by real presence” (with nebulous language even still). Some reformed see it as Calvin whereby “faith” is lifted up into heaven to commune with the body and blood of Christ, others adhere to the Spirit bringing this communing with the body and blood of Christ down on earth where the supper is going on. As if that’s not enough confusion as to where is Christ’s when I’m doing this, assuming one resolves this one way or the other say Calvin’s “up in heaven” version, other Reformed dogmaticians object to Calvin’s “lutheranesque” language concerning “body and blood” and a further sign/reprensentation/symbolic meaning to the already sign/reprensentation/symbolic of “is” by saying basically, “Well yes up in heaven as Calvin says but then by “body and blood” Calvin means further a virtual parting. Do you see what confusion compounded upon confusion occurs when you depart from God’s clear words, a sign/symbol on top of a sign/symbol (virtual), anything to keep Christ still yet a far. Does one commune on earth, in heaven, with what, etc… It dives deeper and deeper into shear gnosticism.
    “The finite cannot contain the infinite.” The irony of these words is that they do exactly what they say they speak against. It’s a philosophical, not theological, epistemology that dies on its own sword. The infinite must, now, conform and constrain to the finite philosophical epistemology of “The finite cannot contain the infinite”, such that the infinite is now contained by “The finite cannot contain the infinite.”

  • larry

    Danny,

    That’s a broad question, Calvinism is heretical doctrine of that there can be know doubt, and Calvin and Zwingli were teachers of said doctrine as are their teaching and preaching heirs. E.g. is it heretical to deny the body and blood of Christ in the sacrament, that baptism confers actual forgiveness, absolution, etc…all the “pro me” we say are in reality THE Gospel and its essence. The answer is a resounding yes, else we do not believe what we say WE preach, teach and confess and are hypocrites. I was reading Luther again last night on this very point he makes in his opening to Erasmus in BoW when he basically lays Erasmus low for this kind of “unsure” “uncertain” epicurean kind of thought, that not making assertion is in principle not Christian at all (content aside). Put another way, we’d be worse heretics than the Calvinism we confess against if we didn’t assert its heresy point blank, we would not even be in principle Christian but epicurean. As Luther points out there is nothing worse than no assurance.

    That’s different than the lay person. Luther makes a distinction between those that adhere to false doctrinal innocently/ignorantly versus those that do not.

    Dr. Veith, I have not read it all but parts and not digested it nearly as much as the confessions. But what I’ve read I’d say it is an example of standing strong against Calvinism. It’s a bit bigger and wordier than something as simple and straightforward as the Saxon Visitations appended to the BOC. The SV would be a good example of standing strong against Calvinism in a forward moved language of the day. In principle a document should confess strongly and certainly.

    The problem with insinuating language is it “sounds like” the same thing. I ran into this early on as a Calvinist looking into Luther. Because I wanted them to be the same, who wants differences after all they are quite uncomfortable. So when for example one would hear “real presence” that’s pretty broad. Sasse helped me pull that apart that the issue at Marburg was not “real presence” but the body and blood of Christ, that began to make me see the difference and the subtleness of the insinuating language.

    This kind of “fuzzy” language not only confuses orthodoxy and heterodoxy but even those within heterodoxy trying to make it work. E.g. just the other day I decided to pull down my old Louis Berkhof’s monumental treatment of the doctrines of the Reformed faith, only Charle Hodge’s three volume set on the same is on the same level as to a post-Calvin working of the Reformed theology; anyway under the discussion concerning the Lord’s Supper and real presence Berkof points out, even, that under Reformed dogma there’s confusion on this “what is meant by real presence” (with nebulous language even still). Some reformed see it as Calvin whereby “faith” is lifted up into heaven to commune with the body and blood of Christ, others adhere to the Spirit bringing this communing with the body and blood of Christ down on earth where the supper is going on. As if that’s not enough confusion as to where is Christ’s when I’m doing this, assuming one resolves this one way or the other say Calvin’s “up in heaven” version, other Reformed dogmaticians object to Calvin’s “lutheranesque” language concerning “body and blood” and a further sign/reprensentation/symbolic meaning to the already sign/reprensentation/symbolic of “is” by saying basically, “Well yes up in heaven as Calvin says but then by “body and blood” Calvin means further a virtual parting. Do you see what confusion compounded upon confusion occurs when you depart from God’s clear words, a sign/symbol on top of a sign/symbol (virtual), anything to keep Christ still yet a far. Does one commune on earth, in heaven, with what, etc… It dives deeper and deeper into shear gnosticism.
    “The finite cannot contain the infinite.” The irony of these words is that they do exactly what they say they speak against. It’s a philosophical, not theological, epistemology that dies on its own sword. The infinite must, now, conform and constrain to the finite philosophical epistemology of “The finite cannot contain the infinite”, such that the infinite is now contained by “The finite cannot contain the infinite.”

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

    “I’m extremely skeptical of the dogma of “seven 24 hour day creation”. I cannot force myself to believe it and I find little in favor of that viewpoint.”

    You know, I really, really like to understand things. However, for me there is a place where it is okay to believe without understanding.

    I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.

    Since most of the folks that I get along with are atheists or agnostics who are skeptical of virtually everything and can’t force themselves to believe anything, I would just point out that the 24/6 creation story is actually more believable than many of the other things in the Bible which are contrary to our actual experience. Since none of us were actually present at creation, it doesn’t violate our own observation of reality unlike many of the other miracles which are presented. Turning water into wine is harder for me to believe because I have experience with such things. Creation on the other had has not been adequately explained by science to my satisfaction to make it beyond a reasonable doubt that it happened as researchers contend. The water to wine, well, that there is pretty unbelievable.

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

    “I’m extremely skeptical of the dogma of “seven 24 hour day creation”. I cannot force myself to believe it and I find little in favor of that viewpoint.”

    You know, I really, really like to understand things. However, for me there is a place where it is okay to believe without understanding.

    I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.

    Since most of the folks that I get along with are atheists or agnostics who are skeptical of virtually everything and can’t force themselves to believe anything, I would just point out that the 24/6 creation story is actually more believable than many of the other things in the Bible which are contrary to our actual experience. Since none of us were actually present at creation, it doesn’t violate our own observation of reality unlike many of the other miracles which are presented. Turning water into wine is harder for me to believe because I have experience with such things. Creation on the other had has not been adequately explained by science to my satisfaction to make it beyond a reasonable doubt that it happened as researchers contend. The water to wine, well, that there is pretty unbelievable.

  • Jon

    Agreed, SG, on the scientific front. I am a skeptic of the science interpretive dogma “key to the past lies in forces we observe in present,” and this is not just on account of Scripture. Take the Bible out of it. Show me–demonstrate–the eons of a rock, or macro-evolution, or just life from non-life. Then I will be impressed by it.

  • Jon

    Agreed, SG, on the scientific front. I am a skeptic of the science interpretive dogma “key to the past lies in forces we observe in present,” and this is not just on account of Scripture. Take the Bible out of it. Show me–demonstrate–the eons of a rock, or macro-evolution, or just life from non-life. Then I will be impressed by it.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Lucas,

    Death coming with sin is the same as seperation from Christ, or spiritual death. When we are baprised, do we then stop physical death? No. Thus the death coming from sin, which is conquered by Christ, and whose victory we recieve and are baptised into (a lot of paraphrasing going on here…., don’t over analyse), is not the same as physical death.

    And you are not causing any angst.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Lucas,

    Death coming with sin is the same as seperation from Christ, or spiritual death. When we are baprised, do we then stop physical death? No. Thus the death coming from sin, which is conquered by Christ, and whose victory we recieve and are baptised into (a lot of paraphrasing going on here…., don’t over analyse), is not the same as physical death.

    And you are not causing any angst.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Rev Andersen, they are neither fiction nor non-fiction. They are what Tolkien/Lewis called – “True myth”. I once invented the term alethemythopoeia for these chapters – true myth making. Literalism was not even the de facto position in the early church. Read Origen, Augustine and others. Here’s St. Augustine:

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

    And here’s Origen (yes, I know the objections, put your hands down):

    What intelligent person can imagine that there was a first “day,” then a second and a third “day”—evening and morning—without the sun, the moon, and the stars? [Sun, moon, and stars are created on the fourth "day."] And that the first “day”—if it makes sense to call it such—existed even without a sky? [The sky is created on the second "day."]

    Who is foolish enough to believe that, like a human gardener, God planted a garden in Eden in the East and placed in it a tree of life, visible and physical, so that by biting into its fruit one would obtain life? And that by eating from another tree, one would come to know good and evil? And when it is said that God walked in the garden in the evening and that Adam hid himself behind a tree, I cannot imagine that anyone will doubt that these details point symbolically to spiritual meanings, by using an historical narrative which did not literally happen.

    (Taken from
    http://theologyandculture.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/patristic-writer-origen-literal-genesis-is-foolish/)

    And lastly, Clement of Alexandria (this is a good one):

    “And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist? . . . That, then, we may be taught that the world was originated and not suppose that God made it in time, prophecy adds: ‘This is the book of the generation, also of the things in them, when they were created in the day that God made heaven and earth’ [Gen. 2:4]. For the expression ‘when they were created’ intimates an indefinite and dateless production. But the expression ‘in the day that God made them,’ that is, in and by which God made ‘all things,’ and ‘without which not even one thing was made,’ points out the activity exerted by the Son” (Miscellanies 6:16 [A.D. 208]).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Rev Andersen, they are neither fiction nor non-fiction. They are what Tolkien/Lewis called – “True myth”. I once invented the term alethemythopoeia for these chapters – true myth making. Literalism was not even the de facto position in the early church. Read Origen, Augustine and others. Here’s St. Augustine:

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

    And here’s Origen (yes, I know the objections, put your hands down):

    What intelligent person can imagine that there was a first “day,” then a second and a third “day”—evening and morning—without the sun, the moon, and the stars? [Sun, moon, and stars are created on the fourth "day."] And that the first “day”—if it makes sense to call it such—existed even without a sky? [The sky is created on the second "day."]

    Who is foolish enough to believe that, like a human gardener, God planted a garden in Eden in the East and placed in it a tree of life, visible and physical, so that by biting into its fruit one would obtain life? And that by eating from another tree, one would come to know good and evil? And when it is said that God walked in the garden in the evening and that Adam hid himself behind a tree, I cannot imagine that anyone will doubt that these details point symbolically to spiritual meanings, by using an historical narrative which did not literally happen.

    (Taken from
    http://theologyandculture.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/patristic-writer-origen-literal-genesis-is-foolish/)

    And lastly, Clement of Alexandria (this is a good one):

    “And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist? . . . That, then, we may be taught that the world was originated and not suppose that God made it in time, prophecy adds: ‘This is the book of the generation, also of the things in them, when they were created in the day that God made heaven and earth’ [Gen. 2:4]. For the expression ‘when they were created’ intimates an indefinite and dateless production. But the expression ‘in the day that God made them,’ that is, in and by which God made ‘all things,’ and ‘without which not even one thing was made,’ points out the activity exerted by the Son” (Miscellanies 6:16 [A.D. 208]).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jon, show me that the universe is older than last Thursday. Demonstrate it.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jon, show me that the universe is older than last Thursday. Demonstrate it.

  • aletheist

    My understanding is that the Brief Statement is generally treated as a “doctrinal statement” as defined by paragraph 1.6.2.(b) of the LCMS Bylaws because it “set[s] forth in greater detail the position of the Synod especially in controverted matters.” This status is a bit hazy since a specific process for establishing doctrinal statements is now in place that requires adoption by a 2/3 majority convention vote and ratification by a 2/3 majority of the member congregations, which was not the case in 1932.

    Subparagraph (7) says, “Such adopted and ratified doctrinal statements shall be regarded as the position of the Synod and shall be ‘accepted and used as helpful expositions and explanations’ (FC SD Rules and Norm 10). They shall be honored and upheld (‘to abide by, act, and teach in accordance with’ [1971 Res. 2-21]) until such time as the Synod amends or repeals them.” I would interpret this to mean that members of the Synod – i.e., pastors, other church workers, and congregations; but not lay members of congregations – are required to adhere to it in their actions and teaching.

    At the same time, Article VII of the LCMS Constitution states, “no resolution of the Synod imposing anything upon the individual congregation is of binding force if it is not in accordance with the Word of God or if it appears to be inexpedient as far as the condition of a congregation is concerned.” This tends to be interpreted as giving wide latitude to pastors and congregations regarding whether and to what extent they comply with resolutions concerning doctrine and practice.

  • aletheist

    My understanding is that the Brief Statement is generally treated as a “doctrinal statement” as defined by paragraph 1.6.2.(b) of the LCMS Bylaws because it “set[s] forth in greater detail the position of the Synod especially in controverted matters.” This status is a bit hazy since a specific process for establishing doctrinal statements is now in place that requires adoption by a 2/3 majority convention vote and ratification by a 2/3 majority of the member congregations, which was not the case in 1932.

    Subparagraph (7) says, “Such adopted and ratified doctrinal statements shall be regarded as the position of the Synod and shall be ‘accepted and used as helpful expositions and explanations’ (FC SD Rules and Norm 10). They shall be honored and upheld (‘to abide by, act, and teach in accordance with’ [1971 Res. 2-21]) until such time as the Synod amends or repeals them.” I would interpret this to mean that members of the Synod – i.e., pastors, other church workers, and congregations; but not lay members of congregations – are required to adhere to it in their actions and teaching.

    At the same time, Article VII of the LCMS Constitution states, “no resolution of the Synod imposing anything upon the individual congregation is of binding force if it is not in accordance with the Word of God or if it appears to be inexpedient as far as the condition of a congregation is concerned.” This tends to be interpreted as giving wide latitude to pastors and congregations regarding whether and to what extent they comply with resolutions concerning doctrine and practice.

  • #4 Kitty

    I think some are trying to say that in order to be a Lutheran we must deny science. The Catholic Church has taken this stance in the past. It didn’t go well for them and I doubt it will go well for us either.

  • #4 Kitty

    I think some are trying to say that in order to be a Lutheran we must deny science. The Catholic Church has taken this stance in the past. It didn’t go well for them and I doubt it will go well for us either.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Thanks for the insight, aletheist (cool name, btw!).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Thanks for the insight, aletheist (cool name, btw!).

  • aletheist

    Science is great for telling us how the universe works right now. Its reliability is much more questionable when it comes to how the universe worked in the very distant past. There is an underlying assumption in play that the (so-called) “laws of nature” have not changed significantly over all that time. It is a reasonable approach to such matters, but not a verifiable one.

    Theologically, what are the implications if physical death took place for millions or billions of years before the first humans committed their first sins? Is physical death an integral aspect of God’s “very good” design, or an alien intrusion brought on by the Fall?

  • aletheist

    Science is great for telling us how the universe works right now. Its reliability is much more questionable when it comes to how the universe worked in the very distant past. There is an underlying assumption in play that the (so-called) “laws of nature” have not changed significantly over all that time. It is a reasonable approach to such matters, but not a verifiable one.

    Theologically, what are the implications if physical death took place for millions or billions of years before the first humans committed their first sins? Is physical death an integral aspect of God’s “very good” design, or an alien intrusion brought on by the Fall?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kitty- that is what both St. Augustine and Origen were warning against, effectively (much as I am wary agreeing with you, giving fodder to some here… :) )

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kitty- that is what both St. Augustine and Origen were warning against, effectively (much as I am wary agreeing with you, giving fodder to some here… :) )

  • Jon

    Klasie, I was there last Thursday, and I venture to say on faith, that you were there, too. Hence, the universe is imperically as old as last Thursday.

  • Jon

    Klasie, I was there last Thursday, and I venture to say on faith, that you were there, too. Hence, the universe is imperically as old as last Thursday.

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

    I don’t know that I agree with you at all Klasie, but nor do I agree with Lucas on this.
    It is not in any way clear that there was no death in the garden of Eden. That Adam and Eve were created to live, and live physically forever is clear. For the rest I don’t think it is so cut and dry. Already in the garden you have distinctions between wild animals and livestock, so evidently veganism wasn’t planned on…
    of course one can look to what is said of the recreation of heaven and earth, and you have the lion eating hay.
    But I would not over spiritualize the meaning of death in the garden.
    As for Lucas, Well I don’t agree with evolution myself. I think there are quite a few holes in the theories I have thus far been presented with. Lately all the pro evolution books I’ve been reading seem to be saying, well we know it happened, we just don’t exactly know how, yet I’m still supposed to believe it. Oh well. I can to a point go a long with some micro evolution. Klasie and I have gone the rounds on this a couple times. However, I don’t think it is fair to say the only reason one would want to be able to hold to an old earth belief is that they want to hold to macro evolution. I don’t think that is necessarily true at all. I think many are convinced by scientific data that at present point to the earth and the universe as being older than 6 to ten thousand years old. And as far as I’m concerned I could really care less how old the earth is. I believe God created it, I believe he did so in six days, I even go so far as to say six 24 hour days, the creation account fascinates me on many levels, but I don’t think that is necessarily incompatible with belief in an old earth.
    on the other hand as many times as I read the Encyclopedia Britannica article Klassie gives on the dating of rocks, I’m left scratching my head.

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

    I don’t know that I agree with you at all Klasie, but nor do I agree with Lucas on this.
    It is not in any way clear that there was no death in the garden of Eden. That Adam and Eve were created to live, and live physically forever is clear. For the rest I don’t think it is so cut and dry. Already in the garden you have distinctions between wild animals and livestock, so evidently veganism wasn’t planned on…
    of course one can look to what is said of the recreation of heaven and earth, and you have the lion eating hay.
    But I would not over spiritualize the meaning of death in the garden.
    As for Lucas, Well I don’t agree with evolution myself. I think there are quite a few holes in the theories I have thus far been presented with. Lately all the pro evolution books I’ve been reading seem to be saying, well we know it happened, we just don’t exactly know how, yet I’m still supposed to believe it. Oh well. I can to a point go a long with some micro evolution. Klasie and I have gone the rounds on this a couple times. However, I don’t think it is fair to say the only reason one would want to be able to hold to an old earth belief is that they want to hold to macro evolution. I don’t think that is necessarily true at all. I think many are convinced by scientific data that at present point to the earth and the universe as being older than 6 to ten thousand years old. And as far as I’m concerned I could really care less how old the earth is. I believe God created it, I believe he did so in six days, I even go so far as to say six 24 hour days, the creation account fascinates me on many levels, but I don’t think that is necessarily incompatible with belief in an old earth.
    on the other hand as many times as I read the Encyclopedia Britannica article Klassie gives on the dating of rocks, I’m left scratching my head.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Bror Erickson

    It is not in any way clear that there was no death in the garden of Eden.

    Agreed. I mean consider Adam eating a carrot (before The Fall); cells died.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Bror Erickson

    It is not in any way clear that there was no death in the garden of Eden.

    Agreed. I mean consider Adam eating a carrot (before The Fall); cells died.

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

    Ordination Vows say nothing of the Brief Statement. I think this is over all a good thing, as I don’t find the Brief Statement to be a very clear one…
    It’s been some time since I read it in entirety, we studied it at seminary, and actually I’m quite suspicious of a lot of things that come out of this era in our history, including anything translated by J. T. Mueller, or penned by him outright. He was a capable enough translator, which makes his errors in translating much more than errors. He was deliberately dragging LCMS into the fundamentalist camp and getting us embroiled into reformed debates we had previously stayed aloof of. That’s not to say we weren’t creationists before, we were, but that term was something that carried different weight it seems among confessional Lutherans hailing from the continent, than it did for the English speaking world.

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

    Ordination Vows say nothing of the Brief Statement. I think this is over all a good thing, as I don’t find the Brief Statement to be a very clear one…
    It’s been some time since I read it in entirety, we studied it at seminary, and actually I’m quite suspicious of a lot of things that come out of this era in our history, including anything translated by J. T. Mueller, or penned by him outright. He was a capable enough translator, which makes his errors in translating much more than errors. He was deliberately dragging LCMS into the fundamentalist camp and getting us embroiled into reformed debates we had previously stayed aloof of. That’s not to say we weren’t creationists before, we were, but that term was something that carried different weight it seems among confessional Lutherans hailing from the continent, than it did for the English speaking world.

  • Jon

    Yes, I’ve dated some real rocks, and there’s a lot that leaves you scratching your head. ;-)

  • Jon

    Yes, I’ve dated some real rocks, and there’s a lot that leaves you scratching your head. ;-)

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

    I find it tiring though, this avoid LCMS on grounds of minutia, and jumping over to churches that will allow for you to hold to the minutia, (because they don’t really stand for anything) even though in every other area that church body stands opposed to the gospel itself.
    So we have a debate going on in our ranks as to what the third use of the law is….
    So we allow vicars to preach before they are ordained….
    So we confess that “our churches teach”… and some of them emphatically don’t….
    So what then rather than suffering those debates, in typical theology of glory (a rather recently resurrected topic in Lutheranism, especially English speaking Lutheranism which wasn’t on the radar of J.T. Mueller) they go off looking for a shangrila. Hope you find it. Meanwhile most end up in churches that won’t take a stand on the resurrection much less Justification by Grace through faith. Which as far as the confessions are concerned are things of the utmost importance. Hell we’d be roman Catholic yet, if they just allowed us to preach justification by grace through faith…We lose proportion, we strain gnats and swallow camels!

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

    I find it tiring though, this avoid LCMS on grounds of minutia, and jumping over to churches that will allow for you to hold to the minutia, (because they don’t really stand for anything) even though in every other area that church body stands opposed to the gospel itself.
    So we have a debate going on in our ranks as to what the third use of the law is….
    So we allow vicars to preach before they are ordained….
    So we confess that “our churches teach”… and some of them emphatically don’t….
    So what then rather than suffering those debates, in typical theology of glory (a rather recently resurrected topic in Lutheranism, especially English speaking Lutheranism which wasn’t on the radar of J.T. Mueller) they go off looking for a shangrila. Hope you find it. Meanwhile most end up in churches that won’t take a stand on the resurrection much less Justification by Grace through faith. Which as far as the confessions are concerned are things of the utmost importance. Hell we’d be roman Catholic yet, if they just allowed us to preach justification by grace through faith…We lose proportion, we strain gnats and swallow camels!

  • EGK

    Creation (and six day creation) is an article of faith. If we believe that the universe as we know it will come to an end with the return of Christ (and orthodox Christianity demands that), why is it so hard to believe that it came into being by a declaratory word from God, at whatever time it might have happened?

  • EGK

    Creation (and six day creation) is an article of faith. If we believe that the universe as we know it will come to an end with the return of Christ (and orthodox Christianity demands that), why is it so hard to believe that it came into being by a declaratory word from God, at whatever time it might have happened?

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

    What’s wrong with a seven day creationism? John MacArthur has pointed out that there is absolutely nothing inconsistent with science when creation is properly understood.

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

    What’s wrong with a seven day creationism? John MacArthur has pointed out that there is absolutely nothing inconsistent with science when creation is properly understood.

  • http://www.thisweconfess.wordpress.com Lucas Woodford

    Here’s my point regarding sin and death: If we believe that scripture interprets scripture, as Lutherans are prone to do, then what do we make of Romans 5:12? “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” (ESV). And yes, I believe baptism does stop physical death. It buries us with Christ, spiritually, and also physically (Romans 6). And as he was raised from the dead, we believe, as the scriptures confess, that those who are buried with him will be raised from the dead. Thus we believe there is an actual, real reversal of (not just spiritual death) but physical death. Baptism brings our death to completion and then stops it altogether. “This sacrament not only signifies death and the resurrection at the Last Day, by which a person is made new to live without sin eternally, but also that it assuredly begins and achieves this;” Luther, AE 35:35

  • http://www.thisweconfess.wordpress.com Lucas Woodford

    Here’s my point regarding sin and death: If we believe that scripture interprets scripture, as Lutherans are prone to do, then what do we make of Romans 5:12? “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” (ESV). And yes, I believe baptism does stop physical death. It buries us with Christ, spiritually, and also physically (Romans 6). And as he was raised from the dead, we believe, as the scriptures confess, that those who are buried with him will be raised from the dead. Thus we believe there is an actual, real reversal of (not just spiritual death) but physical death. Baptism brings our death to completion and then stops it altogether. “This sacrament not only signifies death and the resurrection at the Last Day, by which a person is made new to live without sin eternally, but also that it assuredly begins and achieves this;” Luther, AE 35:35

  • Jon

    One man’s gnat is another man’s camel. Didn’t Rome see justification by faith as rather a trifle by the reformers, when Rome had so much more on offer?

  • Jon

    One man’s gnat is another man’s camel. Didn’t Rome see justification by faith as rather a trifle by the reformers, when Rome had so much more on offer?

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

    Lucas,
    I do believe scripture interprets scripture. I just happen to believe on that basis that the death talked about both in Romans and Genesis happens to be talking about death coming to man, not necessarily the rest of creation.

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

    Lucas,
    I do believe scripture interprets scripture. I just happen to believe on that basis that the death talked about both in Romans and Genesis happens to be talking about death coming to man, not necessarily the rest of creation.

  • kenneth

    Say Danny, Post# 17
    I hope your still on and trying with all your mind, body and strenght to understand mysteries that can be “insighted only” by God’s help. Never did he say not to reason, but to take off Shakespearan speech, to reason is to incline one to God’s thoughts, that reason might take flight.

    Missouri is no stick in the mud but it’s confession best spell out what we are to think about, namely, the Son incarnate. Nothing invigorates the reasoning mind like a mystery that is imposible for a finite mind to comprehend. Not to say without any comprehesion but reason in it’s proper place does well below God’s revelation in Holy Scripture!

  • kenneth

    Say Danny, Post# 17
    I hope your still on and trying with all your mind, body and strenght to understand mysteries that can be “insighted only” by God’s help. Never did he say not to reason, but to take off Shakespearan speech, to reason is to incline one to God’s thoughts, that reason might take flight.

    Missouri is no stick in the mud but it’s confession best spell out what we are to think about, namely, the Son incarnate. Nothing invigorates the reasoning mind like a mystery that is imposible for a finite mind to comprehend. Not to say without any comprehesion but reason in it’s proper place does well below God’s revelation in Holy Scripture!

  • WebMonk

    Jon 41, no your memories (and mine) are only artificial artifacts. The world wasn’t around last Thursday. Please demonstrate that the universe existed last Thursday.

  • WebMonk

    Jon 41, no your memories (and mine) are only artificial artifacts. The world wasn’t around last Thursday. Please demonstrate that the universe existed last Thursday.

  • kenneth

    Larry, Post #30;

    Thanks very much for your exposition of the big difference between a calvinist_reformed conception of how God takes on human flesh. I agree that they always end up in a confusion of human capability in regards understanding the depth of God’s love for us. Especially in regards to our being joined with Christ in spirit to be transformed at last into His likeness.

    It is an increasing into infinity that is greatly to be appreciated, a likeness unto the Eternal God+++ Indeed a mystery that the “new heavens and earth” are to be populated with enfleshed people!

  • kenneth

    Larry, Post #30;

    Thanks very much for your exposition of the big difference between a calvinist_reformed conception of how God takes on human flesh. I agree that they always end up in a confusion of human capability in regards understanding the depth of God’s love for us. Especially in regards to our being joined with Christ in spirit to be transformed at last into His likeness.

    It is an increasing into infinity that is greatly to be appreciated, a likeness unto the Eternal God+++ Indeed a mystery that the “new heavens and earth” are to be populated with enfleshed people!

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk converted to Lutheranism, something we discussed at length not too long ago. Many of us were dismayed that we went the route of the ELCA rather than the more conservative synods (LCMS, WELS, ELS).”

    Some folks wouldn’t be dismayed at all. If someone chooses a Lutheran denomination that chooses to ordain gays over a denomination that has a brief statement in a brief statement about God creating the world in seven days, then some folks wouldn’t want such people with such lousy thinking to join their denomination.

    They might say something like, “Thank God they went elsewhere!”

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk converted to Lutheranism, something we discussed at length not too long ago. Many of us were dismayed that we went the route of the ELCA rather than the more conservative synods (LCMS, WELS, ELS).”

    Some folks wouldn’t be dismayed at all. If someone chooses a Lutheran denomination that chooses to ordain gays over a denomination that has a brief statement in a brief statement about God creating the world in seven days, then some folks wouldn’t want such people with such lousy thinking to join their denomination.

    They might say something like, “Thank God they went elsewhere!”

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    It all depends on what you believe, an assumption or a written testimony.

    Scientific dating methods are based on semi educated assumptions and not observed data points. They assume a fairly steady logarithmic decay in using radioactive dating. They assume a set original concentration of isotopes. They assume a fairly steady rate of expansion when using astronomical data. That is a lot to assume. Too much, in fact, to be considered reliable.

    On the other hand, young earth dating assumes much also. One, is a question of what is the more consistent and safer assumption. Are the 6 days of creation 24 hr days or some other length? Considering the text does give a time reference “there was morning and then there was evening…” it is a safer assumption to set a 24 hr time period as there is no textual evidence that the rotational speed of the earth changed. At the same time, young earthers assume that the Genesis account is a complete chronological history and thus can be used to calculate the beginning of time. However, that is not a safe assumption as it has been demonstrated that genealogies can be selective in who they include.

    From what I have seen, LCMS scholars generally take neither position. They do take a 24 hour, six day creation position, but do not give age to the earth (see the explanation of dates in The Lutheran Study Bible). There are a few outliers who while vocal are mistaken. I fall into the camp of six 24 hour day creation but no known age. In addition, as one who confesses the fall, I think scientific cosmology is a waste of time and little more than speculation. So really I see no need for reconciliation of the two claims.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    It all depends on what you believe, an assumption or a written testimony.

    Scientific dating methods are based on semi educated assumptions and not observed data points. They assume a fairly steady logarithmic decay in using radioactive dating. They assume a set original concentration of isotopes. They assume a fairly steady rate of expansion when using astronomical data. That is a lot to assume. Too much, in fact, to be considered reliable.

    On the other hand, young earth dating assumes much also. One, is a question of what is the more consistent and safer assumption. Are the 6 days of creation 24 hr days or some other length? Considering the text does give a time reference “there was morning and then there was evening…” it is a safer assumption to set a 24 hr time period as there is no textual evidence that the rotational speed of the earth changed. At the same time, young earthers assume that the Genesis account is a complete chronological history and thus can be used to calculate the beginning of time. However, that is not a safe assumption as it has been demonstrated that genealogies can be selective in who they include.

    From what I have seen, LCMS scholars generally take neither position. They do take a 24 hour, six day creation position, but do not give age to the earth (see the explanation of dates in The Lutheran Study Bible). There are a few outliers who while vocal are mistaken. I fall into the camp of six 24 hour day creation but no known age. In addition, as one who confesses the fall, I think scientific cosmology is a waste of time and little more than speculation. So really I see no need for reconciliation of the two claims.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jon – What Webmonk said at 53. Also, when and how did you date rocks? I happen to have run an Ar-Ar lab, written papers and reports on Ar – Ar dating (biotite, phlogopite, cpx, and other minerals), Rb -Sr (mostly phlogopite), U-Pb SHRIMP dating on zircons, and other dating methods.

    Even the guys at ICR came to the conclusion that the methodology and reasoning behind radiometric dating is sound, hence their insistence on some ad-hoc theory of universal decrease in all rates of radioactive decay – something, btw, which would have completely fried the earth. So sorry, please explain your little remark.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jon – What Webmonk said at 53. Also, when and how did you date rocks? I happen to have run an Ar-Ar lab, written papers and reports on Ar – Ar dating (biotite, phlogopite, cpx, and other minerals), Rb -Sr (mostly phlogopite), U-Pb SHRIMP dating on zircons, and other dating methods.

    Even the guys at ICR came to the conclusion that the methodology and reasoning behind radiometric dating is sound, hence their insistence on some ad-hoc theory of universal decrease in all rates of radioactive decay – something, btw, which would have completely fried the earth. So sorry, please explain your little remark.

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

    They might say something like, “Thank God they went elsewhere!”

    I would say, “Thank God, he isn’t teaching Sunday school to my kids.”

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

    They might say something like, “Thank God they went elsewhere!”

    I would say, “Thank God, he isn’t teaching Sunday school to my kids.”

  • Jon

    Web and Klasie, youare are always trying to shift the burden. I won’t bite. The BOP is yours for millions and billions.

  • Jon

    Web and Klasie, youare are always trying to shift the burden. I won’t bite. The BOP is yours for millions and billions.

  • Jonathan

    I’m guessing that Chaplain Mike checks this blog every so often, reads the comments, and then lets out a long sigh of satisfaction over having chosen to avoid the LCMS, WELS, etc.

    Just sayin’.

  • Jonathan

    I’m guessing that Chaplain Mike checks this blog every so often, reads the comments, and then lets out a long sigh of satisfaction over having chosen to avoid the LCMS, WELS, etc.

    Just sayin’.

  • Joe

    Just as Adam and Eve were created as man and women (not children), couldn’t earth have been created with the markers of age?

    Because God created something at a set point in time does not mean he created an immature earth. Thus, the earth can be young and appear, seem or be old at the same time.

  • Joe

    Just as Adam and Eve were created as man and women (not children), couldn’t earth have been created with the markers of age?

    Because God created something at a set point in time does not mean he created an immature earth. Thus, the earth can be young and appear, seem or be old at the same time.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    SG, #58: “I would say, “Thank God, he isn’t teaching Sunday school to my kids.””

    That’s right.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    SG, #58: “I would say, “Thank God, he isn’t teaching Sunday school to my kids.””

    That’s right.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Like Chaplain Mike, young-Earth creationism in the LCMS was a barrier I could not overcome when we were looking for a church in a new community last year. Unlike Mike, however, we did not consider the ELCA (the denomination I grew up in) as an alternative, so we ended up in a Presbyterian church (PCA) and are very happy there.

    This is not a matter of the reasoning of Calvinists vs. the simple faith of Lutherans, but a matter of looking at what the Bible actually says and doesn’t say. Consider the following questions:

    What is the relationship between Genesis 1:1 and the rest of Genesis 1?

    What is the genre of Genesis 1? In what ways is it different from typical Hebrew historical narrative? (I agree it is not poetry, but it has some features that distinguish it from typical historical narrative).

    What is a “day” to God?

    What is a “day” without the sun and moon?

    What does “day” mean in Genesis 2:4?

    What is the relationship between Genesis 1 and 2?

    Are both Genesis 1 and 2 chronological? If not, which one is chronological, and which one isn’t?

    Are there any symbolic elements in the opening chapters of Genesis?

    What did Moses, the author of Genesis, mean when he wrote, “a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by?” (Ps 90, NIV84)

    Does Genesis 3 say that there was no animal death before Adam’s sin?

    Does Romans 5 say that there was no animal death before Adam’s sin?

    Does Romans 8 say that there was no animal death before Adam’s sin?

    Does 1 Cor 15 say that there was no animal death before Adam’s sin?

    If the Bible does not say that there was no animal death before the fall, then why do YECs hold this up as a standard of orthodoxy?

    Is God glorified by predation? (Ps 104:21; Job 38:29)

    What was the purpose of the Tree of Life? Would it have been necessary for Adam and Eve to eat this fruit in order to live forever? In order to live forever, would they have needed a single bite, or would they have needed it on an ongoing basis (Rev 22:2)?

    Was the Garden of Eden the entire Earth, or a specific location in Mesopotamia as described in Genesis 2?

    Was the land outside of Eden a wild place that needed subduing (Gen 1:28) or was it a gentle “bunnies and daisies” world (YECs)?

    Does reproduction “each according to its kind” place limits on biological change? If so, at what level? Species? Genus? Family? Order? Class? Phylum? (The Bible does not say).

    Did people from all nations come to Joseph to buy grain? Zulus? Eskimos?

    Did Ahab look for Elijah in every nation on Earth? England? New Zealand?

    Did all kings of Earth seek Solomon’s wisdom?

    Did the flood cover all the Earth?

    Are you sure you know the answers to all of these questions and that old-Earthers have the wrong answers to all of them?

    You should read Genesis 6-8 with the following in mind:
    One can replace “earth” with “land”
    One can replace “heavens” with “sky”
    One can replace “mountains” with “hills”
    The passage takes on a very different feel when read with these legitimate substitutions. Go ahead and take a few minutes to read the flood account again.

    I accept an old Earth and local flood because I see the young-Earth creationist alternative as Biblically unnecessary and scientifically unworkable. Everything I have written here consists of a Biblical case for allowing any age of the Earth, any extent of the flood, and death starting either before or after the fall. As long as the LCMS sticks to young-Earth creationism as dogma (can you point me to any LCMS pastors or seminary professors who advocate an Earth that is billions of years old?) it is going beyond what the Bible teaches.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Like Chaplain Mike, young-Earth creationism in the LCMS was a barrier I could not overcome when we were looking for a church in a new community last year. Unlike Mike, however, we did not consider the ELCA (the denomination I grew up in) as an alternative, so we ended up in a Presbyterian church (PCA) and are very happy there.

    This is not a matter of the reasoning of Calvinists vs. the simple faith of Lutherans, but a matter of looking at what the Bible actually says and doesn’t say. Consider the following questions:

    What is the relationship between Genesis 1:1 and the rest of Genesis 1?

    What is the genre of Genesis 1? In what ways is it different from typical Hebrew historical narrative? (I agree it is not poetry, but it has some features that distinguish it from typical historical narrative).

    What is a “day” to God?

    What is a “day” without the sun and moon?

    What does “day” mean in Genesis 2:4?

    What is the relationship between Genesis 1 and 2?

    Are both Genesis 1 and 2 chronological? If not, which one is chronological, and which one isn’t?

    Are there any symbolic elements in the opening chapters of Genesis?

    What did Moses, the author of Genesis, mean when he wrote, “a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by?” (Ps 90, NIV84)

    Does Genesis 3 say that there was no animal death before Adam’s sin?

    Does Romans 5 say that there was no animal death before Adam’s sin?

    Does Romans 8 say that there was no animal death before Adam’s sin?

    Does 1 Cor 15 say that there was no animal death before Adam’s sin?

    If the Bible does not say that there was no animal death before the fall, then why do YECs hold this up as a standard of orthodoxy?

    Is God glorified by predation? (Ps 104:21; Job 38:29)

    What was the purpose of the Tree of Life? Would it have been necessary for Adam and Eve to eat this fruit in order to live forever? In order to live forever, would they have needed a single bite, or would they have needed it on an ongoing basis (Rev 22:2)?

    Was the Garden of Eden the entire Earth, or a specific location in Mesopotamia as described in Genesis 2?

    Was the land outside of Eden a wild place that needed subduing (Gen 1:28) or was it a gentle “bunnies and daisies” world (YECs)?

    Does reproduction “each according to its kind” place limits on biological change? If so, at what level? Species? Genus? Family? Order? Class? Phylum? (The Bible does not say).

    Did people from all nations come to Joseph to buy grain? Zulus? Eskimos?

    Did Ahab look for Elijah in every nation on Earth? England? New Zealand?

    Did all kings of Earth seek Solomon’s wisdom?

    Did the flood cover all the Earth?

    Are you sure you know the answers to all of these questions and that old-Earthers have the wrong answers to all of them?

    You should read Genesis 6-8 with the following in mind:
    One can replace “earth” with “land”
    One can replace “heavens” with “sky”
    One can replace “mountains” with “hills”
    The passage takes on a very different feel when read with these legitimate substitutions. Go ahead and take a few minutes to read the flood account again.

    I accept an old Earth and local flood because I see the young-Earth creationist alternative as Biblically unnecessary and scientifically unworkable. Everything I have written here consists of a Biblical case for allowing any age of the Earth, any extent of the flood, and death starting either before or after the fall. As long as the LCMS sticks to young-Earth creationism as dogma (can you point me to any LCMS pastors or seminary professors who advocate an Earth that is billions of years old?) it is going beyond what the Bible teaches.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Supposing the Book of Concord did in fact teach YEC and that it is binding on prospective members to subscribe to the Book of Concord. Furthermore, suppose that the ELCA says that the ordination and blessing of active homosexuals is established ELCA dogma and that it is binding on prospective members to subscribe to this ELCA dogma.

    What is worse?

    A Lutheran YEC or a Lutheran Ordination and Blessing of Active Homosexuals?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Supposing the Book of Concord did in fact teach YEC and that it is binding on prospective members to subscribe to the Book of Concord. Furthermore, suppose that the ELCA says that the ordination and blessing of active homosexuals is established ELCA dogma and that it is binding on prospective members to subscribe to this ELCA dogma.

    What is worse?

    A Lutheran YEC or a Lutheran Ordination and Blessing of Active Homosexuals?

  • SAL

    So is it dishonest of me to be a member of an LCMS congregation (w/ my wife and kids) when I don’t hold to the “six 24 hour day” creation.

    I’ve not gotten a clear answer if this viewpoint is dogma that one must hold for communion or whether it is a matter open to interpretation within the LCMS.

    This issue never came up in catechism and I’d prefer to avoid the issue if it’s not a matter that automatically breaks communion.

  • SAL

    So is it dishonest of me to be a member of an LCMS congregation (w/ my wife and kids) when I don’t hold to the “six 24 hour day” creation.

    I’ve not gotten a clear answer if this viewpoint is dogma that one must hold for communion or whether it is a matter open to interpretation within the LCMS.

    This issue never came up in catechism and I’d prefer to avoid the issue if it’s not a matter that automatically breaks communion.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @ Kevin N #63

    You are trying to sound smart but are coming off as ignorant. The day questions show you haven’t read the Genesis narrative or have overlooked/forgotten the phrase “there was evening and morning.” In addition, Genesis 2 has long been held as a zoomed in view of the creation account, not something to be held in opposition to the first chapter.

    The argument from silence is always a poor argument, particularly when one asks “Is death good?”

    The reproduction question is a gross miss use of scripture and will therefore always be rightly ignored.

    Genesis 6-8, do you really think replace words is even a valid argument? Seriously? Then how do you explain ” destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.” Seriously, how could everything be wiped out if it only covered a portion of the earth and only the hills.

    England? Really? New Zealand? You can’t be serious?

    Would you at least be honest and admit you trust human reason more than God?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @ Kevin N #63

    You are trying to sound smart but are coming off as ignorant. The day questions show you haven’t read the Genesis narrative or have overlooked/forgotten the phrase “there was evening and morning.” In addition, Genesis 2 has long been held as a zoomed in view of the creation account, not something to be held in opposition to the first chapter.

    The argument from silence is always a poor argument, particularly when one asks “Is death good?”

    The reproduction question is a gross miss use of scripture and will therefore always be rightly ignored.

    Genesis 6-8, do you really think replace words is even a valid argument? Seriously? Then how do you explain ” destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.” Seriously, how could everything be wiped out if it only covered a portion of the earth and only the hills.

    England? Really? New Zealand? You can’t be serious?

    Would you at least be honest and admit you trust human reason more than God?

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Laymen don’t join denominations. They join congregations. When they join a congregation, they are asked to subscribe usually to the Small Catechism or the Small Catechism and the Augsburg Confession. I know of no place where they have bound themselves to denominational pronouncements.

    Pastors are on the rosters of denominations. Their burden of subscription is greater. But some of their decisions are not based on what gets set onto paper or voted on, but on how they see the body run in a given location. Is there opportunity for good ministry? Is the congregation free to do what it sees as right? Congregations are mentioned in Scripture. Denominations aren’t. So making decisions of affiliation primarily on a denominational basis seems odd. We have much more counsel for how to treat the former.

    This talk of “dogmas” is not how Lutherans have generally spoken in this area.

    And the ELCA statements on sexuality are clearly not meant as dogmas. They recognize four contrary positions, including one pretty conservative one, as validly held in the denomination. The most conservative one is stated as follows: “On the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are convinced that same-gender sexual behavior is sinful, contrary to biblical teaching and their understanding of natural law. They believe same-gender sexual behavior carries the grave danger of unrepentant sin. They therefore conclude that the neighbor and the community are best served by calling people in same-gender sexual relationship to repentance for that behavior and to a celibate lifestyle. Such decisions are intended to be accompanied by pastoral response and community support.” This is not the kind of statement a church body would make if it thought it was issuing dogmas. And none of this is likely in the conversation when someone joins one parish or another.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Laymen don’t join denominations. They join congregations. When they join a congregation, they are asked to subscribe usually to the Small Catechism or the Small Catechism and the Augsburg Confession. I know of no place where they have bound themselves to denominational pronouncements.

    Pastors are on the rosters of denominations. Their burden of subscription is greater. But some of their decisions are not based on what gets set onto paper or voted on, but on how they see the body run in a given location. Is there opportunity for good ministry? Is the congregation free to do what it sees as right? Congregations are mentioned in Scripture. Denominations aren’t. So making decisions of affiliation primarily on a denominational basis seems odd. We have much more counsel for how to treat the former.

    This talk of “dogmas” is not how Lutherans have generally spoken in this area.

    And the ELCA statements on sexuality are clearly not meant as dogmas. They recognize four contrary positions, including one pretty conservative one, as validly held in the denomination. The most conservative one is stated as follows: “On the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are convinced that same-gender sexual behavior is sinful, contrary to biblical teaching and their understanding of natural law. They believe same-gender sexual behavior carries the grave danger of unrepentant sin. They therefore conclude that the neighbor and the community are best served by calling people in same-gender sexual relationship to repentance for that behavior and to a celibate lifestyle. Such decisions are intended to be accompanied by pastoral response and community support.” This is not the kind of statement a church body would make if it thought it was issuing dogmas. And none of this is likely in the conversation when someone joins one parish or another.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    p.s. Even if you replace heaven with sky, sky covers a lot. You know, like the whole earth.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    p.s. Even if you replace heaven with sky, sky covers a lot. You know, like the whole earth.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jon, rubbish. you asserted it is nonsense. I have through various arguments here tried to illustrate why…. but you have simply refused to even see them. I have referred to an explanation of radiometric dating (twice in recent threads)- have you read it? I have referred to a clear and simple explanation of the geological column on Kevin’s blog – have you read it?

    Obviously not. But this is simply the pattern – with two, maybe three exceptions (Todd, Bror, one or two others), most Creationist-types don’t want to discuss – they assert pompously, and then strutt off with arrogant noses in the air, thinking that bluster=proof. Withput answering even a simple question – like where the devil did you date any rocks (your statement above). Methinks you lied, and are trying to cover. Well, bleh.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jon, rubbish. you asserted it is nonsense. I have through various arguments here tried to illustrate why…. but you have simply refused to even see them. I have referred to an explanation of radiometric dating (twice in recent threads)- have you read it? I have referred to a clear and simple explanation of the geological column on Kevin’s blog – have you read it?

    Obviously not. But this is simply the pattern – with two, maybe three exceptions (Todd, Bror, one or two others), most Creationist-types don’t want to discuss – they assert pompously, and then strutt off with arrogant noses in the air, thinking that bluster=proof. Withput answering even a simple question – like where the devil did you date any rocks (your statement above). Methinks you lied, and are trying to cover. Well, bleh.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Laymen don’t join denominations. They join congregations. … So making decisions of affiliation primarily on a denominational basis seems odd.”

    Is that right?

    Kevin N. in #63 would seem to disagree with you.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Laymen don’t join denominations. They join congregations. … So making decisions of affiliation primarily on a denominational basis seems odd.”

    Is that right?

    Kevin N. in #63 would seem to disagree with you.

  • WebMonk

    Joe 61. That’s a view that people periodically put forward.

    It’s also a position that every YEC group from AIG to ICR to even the really stupidly silly groups like “Dr. Dino” have rejected.

    I think that position could have a barely tenable existence as God-made-a-universe-that-works-and-we-misinterpret-it-as-age.

    However, groups like AiG have rejected even that sort of approach – instead they have begun to posit an every-growing set of miracles that just happened to have created all the “age”.

    Infinite-speed light toward Earth while it is only 1/2 speed moving away from earth, miraculously sped up radioactive decay, miraculous volumetric cooling, miraculous heating, miraculous beneficial mutations, etc, etc, etc.

    AiG is jumping through some really nutty hoops to avoid God creating the universe with apparent age. Why? Because they so firmly believe that God did not create the universe with apparent age, and it is beyond ridiculous to them that the apparent age is merely mistaken interpretation.

    They have several pages which very firmly decry any suggestion that God created things with apparent age. You can go check out AiG’s website.

    If you want to suggest that God created the universe with apparent age, you’re going to have to disagree with EVERY other young earth creation group out there.

    Sorry.

  • WebMonk

    Joe 61. That’s a view that people periodically put forward.

    It’s also a position that every YEC group from AIG to ICR to even the really stupidly silly groups like “Dr. Dino” have rejected.

    I think that position could have a barely tenable existence as God-made-a-universe-that-works-and-we-misinterpret-it-as-age.

    However, groups like AiG have rejected even that sort of approach – instead they have begun to posit an every-growing set of miracles that just happened to have created all the “age”.

    Infinite-speed light toward Earth while it is only 1/2 speed moving away from earth, miraculously sped up radioactive decay, miraculous volumetric cooling, miraculous heating, miraculous beneficial mutations, etc, etc, etc.

    AiG is jumping through some really nutty hoops to avoid God creating the universe with apparent age. Why? Because they so firmly believe that God did not create the universe with apparent age, and it is beyond ridiculous to them that the apparent age is merely mistaken interpretation.

    They have several pages which very firmly decry any suggestion that God created things with apparent age. You can go check out AiG’s website.

    If you want to suggest that God created the universe with apparent age, you’re going to have to disagree with EVERY other young earth creation group out there.

    Sorry.

  • SKPeterson

    I don’t have a copy in front of me, but doesn’t Augustine lay out several different theories of origins in his Confessions on the section on Time? It’s been awhile, but I think he laid out 3 or 4 plausible explanations of the Genesis account.

    Now, I have heard some argue that the first part of Genesis is “poetic” language, but this has been shown to an erroneous explanation. However, I have also heard it argued that it is liturgical language in its rhythms and cadence here:
    http://www.ocabs.org/journal/index.php/jocabs/article/viewFile/43/18

  • SKPeterson

    I don’t have a copy in front of me, but doesn’t Augustine lay out several different theories of origins in his Confessions on the section on Time? It’s been awhile, but I think he laid out 3 or 4 plausible explanations of the Genesis account.

    Now, I have heard some argue that the first part of Genesis is “poetic” language, but this has been shown to an erroneous explanation. However, I have also heard it argued that it is liturgical language in its rhythms and cadence here:
    http://www.ocabs.org/journal/index.php/jocabs/article/viewFile/43/18

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Laymen don’t join denominations. They join congregations. When they join a congregation, they are asked to subscribe usually to the Small Catechism or the Small Catechism and the Augsburg Confession.”

    [If you *had* to choose] Who would you rather have teach parish members and their children about the Small Catechism, the Augsburg Confession, and the Bible:

    A YEC Lutheran or an Active and Openly Homosexual Lutheran?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Laymen don’t join denominations. They join congregations. When they join a congregation, they are asked to subscribe usually to the Small Catechism or the Small Catechism and the Augsburg Confession.”

    [If you *had* to choose] Who would you rather have teach parish members and their children about the Small Catechism, the Augsburg Confession, and the Bible:

    A YEC Lutheran or an Active and Openly Homosexual Lutheran?

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

    Yes Kevin N. the LCMS is going far beyond what the Bible teaches, because many of our pastors and professors remain skeptical concerning evolution and a billions year old earth…. of course the PCA doesn’t do this anywhere, when considering things like limited atonement or unconditional election, persevereance of the saints, or that Jesus is not present in the bread and wine, baptism doesn’t save. or a host of many other questions that actually deal with salvation, and actual articles of the faith. Thing is you are the one and not the LCMS making the age of the earth an article of faith, and it seems for you it is “the” article upon which the church stands or falls, seeing as you are willing to put up with all sorts of false doctrine, but unwilling to to allow others even for skepticism concerning the age of the earth.
    This is what I mean by straining Gnats and swallowing camels.

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

    Yes Kevin N. the LCMS is going far beyond what the Bible teaches, because many of our pastors and professors remain skeptical concerning evolution and a billions year old earth…. of course the PCA doesn’t do this anywhere, when considering things like limited atonement or unconditional election, persevereance of the saints, or that Jesus is not present in the bread and wine, baptism doesn’t save. or a host of many other questions that actually deal with salvation, and actual articles of the faith. Thing is you are the one and not the LCMS making the age of the earth an article of faith, and it seems for you it is “the” article upon which the church stands or falls, seeing as you are willing to put up with all sorts of false doctrine, but unwilling to to allow others even for skepticism concerning the age of the earth.
    This is what I mean by straining Gnats and swallowing camels.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “I agree that the church cannot just rest on its past confessions and must address new theological issues as they arise.”

    Sounds wise.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “I agree that the church cannot just rest on its past confessions and must address new theological issues as they arise.”

    Sounds wise.

  • Trey

    I like the brief statement and am thankful it has dissuaded those who do not agree with it from joining the LCMS. Logically one cannot harmonize evolution and creation as they are mutually exclusive. Moreover, evolution is not demonstrated by science as it is historical science not operational. I challenge any evolutionist to prove it. Let’s see the amoeba spawn other species! I won’t hold my breath. If one can get past Genesis 1:1 the rest to is easy to believe and not doubt. Sola Scriptura!

  • Trey

    I like the brief statement and am thankful it has dissuaded those who do not agree with it from joining the LCMS. Logically one cannot harmonize evolution and creation as they are mutually exclusive. Moreover, evolution is not demonstrated by science as it is historical science not operational. I challenge any evolutionist to prove it. Let’s see the amoeba spawn other species! I won’t hold my breath. If one can get past Genesis 1:1 the rest to is easy to believe and not doubt. Sola Scriptura!

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Dr. Luther #66,

    Evening and morning — Again, what is a “day” to God, especially when there is no sun or moon?

    Genesis 2 — I did not say that they are in opposition, but that at least one of them is non-chronological. There are plenty of example in both the OT and NT of non-chronological historical narratives.

    Is death part of the “good” creation at the beginning? I don’t know, but nowhere does the Bible teach that there was no animal death before Adam’s sin. It does, however, teach that predation is part of how God provides for some animals.

    You say you can ignore the reproduction questions and then accuse me of ignorance? Exactly at what level does the Bible (not AiG) say is the limit to natural variation?

    Are you saying that “everything” always means “everything” in Genesis? It very clearly does not. Unless you think people from Bali came to Joseph to buy grain.

    I believe the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. I just don’t believe Answers in Genesis or the Institute for Creation Research — fallible men interpreting the Bible to say more than what it actually says and then holding their interpretation up as the standard of orthodoxy for the rest of us.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Dr. Luther #66,

    Evening and morning — Again, what is a “day” to God, especially when there is no sun or moon?

    Genesis 2 — I did not say that they are in opposition, but that at least one of them is non-chronological. There are plenty of example in both the OT and NT of non-chronological historical narratives.

    Is death part of the “good” creation at the beginning? I don’t know, but nowhere does the Bible teach that there was no animal death before Adam’s sin. It does, however, teach that predation is part of how God provides for some animals.

    You say you can ignore the reproduction questions and then accuse me of ignorance? Exactly at what level does the Bible (not AiG) say is the limit to natural variation?

    Are you saying that “everything” always means “everything” in Genesis? It very clearly does not. Unless you think people from Bali came to Joseph to buy grain.

    I believe the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. I just don’t believe Answers in Genesis or the Institute for Creation Research — fallible men interpreting the Bible to say more than what it actually says and then holding their interpretation up as the standard of orthodoxy for the rest of us.

  • Joanne

    I love dinosaur shows on TV. I think the theory of plate techtonics is fascinating; it explains so much about the shape and placement of the continents. I enjoy reading about prehistory and how and when animals were domesticated. I enjoy scientific exploration and discovery. I believe in science to make life better today. I go to doctors when I’m sick; I buy light bulbs that are more efficient to save energy use. I believe that science is indicating hugh periods of time in the development of the earth as we know it today. I believe that science as it continues to investigate the existing cosmos, including the earth, will have many surprises for us.

    Therefore science knowledge is always uncertain because there is always more to know. I take every statement of scienific research with a grain of salt because more research will make differences. There is always more to know in science. I would never make my eternal salvation dependent on the current level of scientfic knowledge.

    Still, I find it curious that in our times it pleases God to tell us so much more about his creation than he has ever told other generations. Today God is telling us how to cure diseases and even has allowed us to eradicate some that have killed us for thousands of years. Is it a miracle that some bacteria kill pathologic bacteria? Is the existance of stem cells a miracle and then by God’s grace revealed to us through the tool of science?

    Why is God being so good to us now through his merciful gift of scientific knowledge? Is our sinful nature going to ruin this brave new world for us? The potential for our science filled world to fly apart in great acts of human intentional destruction is very real and we all feel it in our bones. At any moment, science could turn against us and become a destroying angel of God. Dystopia could be just around the corner; isn’t that what we hear everyday in the news?

    God says, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy. He owes no man mercy. He says that his grace is the only hope we have. He says that because he is gracious to us, he creates faith in us. His saving grace is the gift of faith in his Son. So, of what good to us is Jesus atonement if God is not merciful and gracious to us?

    If, inspite of all the PBS science documentaries, you still have faith in the Word of God, it is the gift of God through mercy and grace. Is it a miracle that you can enjoy the fascinating knowledge about the creation and yet still believe the Word of God? Yes.

  • Joanne

    I love dinosaur shows on TV. I think the theory of plate techtonics is fascinating; it explains so much about the shape and placement of the continents. I enjoy reading about prehistory and how and when animals were domesticated. I enjoy scientific exploration and discovery. I believe in science to make life better today. I go to doctors when I’m sick; I buy light bulbs that are more efficient to save energy use. I believe that science is indicating hugh periods of time in the development of the earth as we know it today. I believe that science as it continues to investigate the existing cosmos, including the earth, will have many surprises for us.

    Therefore science knowledge is always uncertain because there is always more to know. I take every statement of scienific research with a grain of salt because more research will make differences. There is always more to know in science. I would never make my eternal salvation dependent on the current level of scientfic knowledge.

    Still, I find it curious that in our times it pleases God to tell us so much more about his creation than he has ever told other generations. Today God is telling us how to cure diseases and even has allowed us to eradicate some that have killed us for thousands of years. Is it a miracle that some bacteria kill pathologic bacteria? Is the existance of stem cells a miracle and then by God’s grace revealed to us through the tool of science?

    Why is God being so good to us now through his merciful gift of scientific knowledge? Is our sinful nature going to ruin this brave new world for us? The potential for our science filled world to fly apart in great acts of human intentional destruction is very real and we all feel it in our bones. At any moment, science could turn against us and become a destroying angel of God. Dystopia could be just around the corner; isn’t that what we hear everyday in the news?

    God says, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy. He owes no man mercy. He says that his grace is the only hope we have. He says that because he is gracious to us, he creates faith in us. His saving grace is the gift of faith in his Son. So, of what good to us is Jesus atonement if God is not merciful and gracious to us?

    If, inspite of all the PBS science documentaries, you still have faith in the Word of God, it is the gift of God through mercy and grace. Is it a miracle that you can enjoy the fascinating knowledge about the creation and yet still believe the Word of God? Yes.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Trey #76

    Moreover, evolution is not demonstrated by science as it is historical science not operational. I challenge any evolutionist to prove it. Let’s see the amoeba spawn other species!

    You’ve never heard of speciation ?

  • #4 Kitty

    @Trey #76

    Moreover, evolution is not demonstrated by science as it is historical science not operational. I challenge any evolutionist to prove it. Let’s see the amoeba spawn other species!

    You’ve never heard of speciation ?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Trey, #76: “I like the brief statement and am thankful it has dissuaded those who do not agree with it from joining the LCMS.”

    Chaplain Mike is happy to be an ELCA Lutheran. And LCMS Lutheran Trey is happy that Chaplain Mike chose to be an ELCA Lutheran.

    Let’s start another round of Kum-bay-yah!

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Trey, #76: “I like the brief statement and am thankful it has dissuaded those who do not agree with it from joining the LCMS.”

    Chaplain Mike is happy to be an ELCA Lutheran. And LCMS Lutheran Trey is happy that Chaplain Mike chose to be an ELCA Lutheran.

    Let’s start another round of Kum-bay-yah!

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @77 Kevin

    Why would we assume there is a difference in the amount of time between evening and morning? Is there any reason to assume otherwise? Also, first day, God created light and dark and separated them calling them night and day. The question of how do you have evening and morning with no moon or sun is moot considering in the very beginning a demarcation is established. So again why assume they changed? Because of an unsubstantiated mathematical formula based on assumptions?

    If death is the result/wage of sin, how could death ever be good? I can’t believe you are even trying to make this argument.

    Well yes, I am going to accuse you of ignorance while ignoring your questions for only ignorance would attempt to use the Scripture as it was not meant to be. In your case, the attempt to make it fit with in our phylogenetic definitions.

    Are you saying that “everything” always means “everything” in Genesis? It very clearly does not. Unless you think people from Bali came to Joseph to buy grain.

    How is it clear? Because it doesn’t make sense to you? You are trying to insert yourself over scripture. You claim it doesn’t make sense to me therefore it must mean something other than what it says. I say why not?

    @74 Bror, fairly well said. I may have strong convictions, but this is not the article by which the Church stands and falls. I haven’t kicked anybody out because of a mistaken belief they think the earth is older than I do.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @77 Kevin

    Why would we assume there is a difference in the amount of time between evening and morning? Is there any reason to assume otherwise? Also, first day, God created light and dark and separated them calling them night and day. The question of how do you have evening and morning with no moon or sun is moot considering in the very beginning a demarcation is established. So again why assume they changed? Because of an unsubstantiated mathematical formula based on assumptions?

    If death is the result/wage of sin, how could death ever be good? I can’t believe you are even trying to make this argument.

    Well yes, I am going to accuse you of ignorance while ignoring your questions for only ignorance would attempt to use the Scripture as it was not meant to be. In your case, the attempt to make it fit with in our phylogenetic definitions.

    Are you saying that “everything” always means “everything” in Genesis? It very clearly does not. Unless you think people from Bali came to Joseph to buy grain.

    How is it clear? Because it doesn’t make sense to you? You are trying to insert yourself over scripture. You claim it doesn’t make sense to me therefore it must mean something other than what it says. I say why not?

    @74 Bror, fairly well said. I may have strong convictions, but this is not the article by which the Church stands and falls. I haven’t kicked anybody out because of a mistaken belief they think the earth is older than I do.

  • Joanne

    cont. from 78.

    What did God expect of Adam and Eve in the garden? Love me, trust me, believe my words, do what I tell you to do. And, unlike us, God had given Adam and Eve the ability to say yes to God’s will for them. Still, he set two trees in the garden that were denied to Adam and Eve by His word, his will.

    Was there something intrinsically wrong with these particular two trees? Was their physical fruit bitter, or rotten. Would the fruit cause our first parents to vomit, was the fruit poisonous? Did God comand that the animals could not eat from these trees?

    It’s possible that these two trees were normal, ordinary fruit trees just like all the other trees in the garden. What made them different and consequential was the addition of God’s special word, just as in the sacraments. Eating the forbidden fruit did not kill them that same day as a poisonous fruit might have done, but the breaking of God’s Word which had been added to this fruit did bring death. Humans die because of what happened in that garden and Adam and Eve lost the ability to say yes to God.

    And the Tree of Life is the cross of Christ who is the Life. God set an angel with a flaming sword between Adam and Eve and the Tree of Life to prevent them from taking salvation by force.

    The New Testament writers and Jesus take God’s creation account at face value. They believe it. The Hellenes found that account and pretty much all of the plan of salvation to be a scandal. The Hellenes great philosophical knowledge (we call much of it science), convinced them that the world simply does not agree with God’s account.

    From day one, Christians maintained the creation account against the erudite Hellenes. As the quotes from Origen so clearly indicate, highly educated Hellenes who converted to Christianity were deeply embarrassed by its simplicity and its simple Greek. Surely, collating Christian belief with Hellenic philosophy, what we would call science today, would greatly improve Christianity in the eyes of the wise.

    By which I mean to say that the unbelievers have always been modern and wise in the knowledge of this world. It was not in their nature to believe miracle stories or simplistic accounts of creation. In every age the believers are a stumbling block to the Jews and a scandal to the Hellenes.

    And God’s simple message just might be, “believe my simple stories and you will live with me forever.”

  • Joanne

    cont. from 78.

    What did God expect of Adam and Eve in the garden? Love me, trust me, believe my words, do what I tell you to do. And, unlike us, God had given Adam and Eve the ability to say yes to God’s will for them. Still, he set two trees in the garden that were denied to Adam and Eve by His word, his will.

    Was there something intrinsically wrong with these particular two trees? Was their physical fruit bitter, or rotten. Would the fruit cause our first parents to vomit, was the fruit poisonous? Did God comand that the animals could not eat from these trees?

    It’s possible that these two trees were normal, ordinary fruit trees just like all the other trees in the garden. What made them different and consequential was the addition of God’s special word, just as in the sacraments. Eating the forbidden fruit did not kill them that same day as a poisonous fruit might have done, but the breaking of God’s Word which had been added to this fruit did bring death. Humans die because of what happened in that garden and Adam and Eve lost the ability to say yes to God.

    And the Tree of Life is the cross of Christ who is the Life. God set an angel with a flaming sword between Adam and Eve and the Tree of Life to prevent them from taking salvation by force.

    The New Testament writers and Jesus take God’s creation account at face value. They believe it. The Hellenes found that account and pretty much all of the plan of salvation to be a scandal. The Hellenes great philosophical knowledge (we call much of it science), convinced them that the world simply does not agree with God’s account.

    From day one, Christians maintained the creation account against the erudite Hellenes. As the quotes from Origen so clearly indicate, highly educated Hellenes who converted to Christianity were deeply embarrassed by its simplicity and its simple Greek. Surely, collating Christian belief with Hellenic philosophy, what we would call science today, would greatly improve Christianity in the eyes of the wise.

    By which I mean to say that the unbelievers have always been modern and wise in the knowledge of this world. It was not in their nature to believe miracle stories or simplistic accounts of creation. In every age the believers are a stumbling block to the Jews and a scandal to the Hellenes.

    And God’s simple message just might be, “believe my simple stories and you will live with me forever.”

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Bror #74,

    I totally agree that the age of the Earth is a secondary matter compared to the core doctrines of the faith.

    Just as one does not have to fully subscribe to the BOC to join an LCMS church, one does not have to fully subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith to join a PCA church. I have been pretty strongly influenced by Lutheran theology, but not enough to say that is where I have to be. I am happy to be in a church that teaches justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It doesn’t teach the absence of Christ in the bread and the wine, nor does it teach that baptism is irrelevant in regards to salvation. It does teach limited atonement and perseverence of the saints, and I think the Lutheran interpretation is better on these, so I will probably never be an elder in the church. But I wouldn’t fit 100% in an LCMS congregation either.

    I am perfectly willing to allow others to be skeptical about the age of the Earth, as the young-Earth interpretation is certainly possible Biblically. What I get tired of is the dogmatism of many young-Earthers who insist that everyone conform to their dogmas or go elsewhere (as several have stated in the comments here).

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Bror #74,

    I totally agree that the age of the Earth is a secondary matter compared to the core doctrines of the faith.

    Just as one does not have to fully subscribe to the BOC to join an LCMS church, one does not have to fully subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith to join a PCA church. I have been pretty strongly influenced by Lutheran theology, but not enough to say that is where I have to be. I am happy to be in a church that teaches justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It doesn’t teach the absence of Christ in the bread and the wine, nor does it teach that baptism is irrelevant in regards to salvation. It does teach limited atonement and perseverence of the saints, and I think the Lutheran interpretation is better on these, so I will probably never be an elder in the church. But I wouldn’t fit 100% in an LCMS congregation either.

    I am perfectly willing to allow others to be skeptical about the age of the Earth, as the young-Earth interpretation is certainly possible Biblically. What I get tired of is the dogmatism of many young-Earthers who insist that everyone conform to their dogmas or go elsewhere (as several have stated in the comments here).

  • #4 Kitty

    @Joanne #82

    Is it a miracle that you can enjoy the fascinating knowledge about the creation and yet still believe the Word of God?

    It’s not a matter of believing the word of God. It’s a matter of believing in a certain (literal) interpretation of the God’s word. It’s almost like we earn extra points for being crass literalists. Or was metaphor a product of our fallen nature? Or perhaps it’s the handiwork of the devil?

  • #4 Kitty

    @Joanne #82

    Is it a miracle that you can enjoy the fascinating knowledge about the creation and yet still believe the Word of God?

    It’s not a matter of believing the word of God. It’s a matter of believing in a certain (literal) interpretation of the God’s word. It’s almost like we earn extra points for being crass literalists. Or was metaphor a product of our fallen nature? Or perhaps it’s the handiwork of the devil?

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Dr. Luther #81,

    So you do believe that people came from China to buy grain from Joseph? “I can’t believe you are even trying to make this argument.”

    The Bible clearly states that human death (spiritual first, then physical) came through Adam’s sin. Where does it say that animal death came through that same sin?

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Dr. Luther #81,

    So you do believe that people came from China to buy grain from Joseph? “I can’t believe you are even trying to make this argument.”

    The Bible clearly states that human death (spiritual first, then physical) came through Adam’s sin. Where does it say that animal death came through that same sin?

  • J. Dettmann

    All Synod members and congregations pledge themselves to Brief Statement. Evolutionist Missouri Synod churchworkers are manifest hypocrites. If they wanted to be honest with themselves, they would leave the Missouri Synod instead of trying to propagate their ideas to those who have been taught to regard them as doctrinally sound.

    All synod members sign a statement which acknowledges their subscription to the Constitution of the Synod. By subscribing to the Synod Constitution they pledge themselves to the doctrinal statements of the Synod passed by the convention and the Synod’s member congregations.

    There is a procedure to dissent from such a heterodox statement. It is specified in the Bylaws, but in general it is a private affair. They are supposed to ask their fellow synod members about clarification and work to change the statement through official channels, such in a synod convention.

    All synod members are required to pledge themselves to all doctrinal statements “until such time as the Synod amends or repeals them.” These doctrinal statements are guarded by the Constitution with the following kinds of phrases:

    Doctrinal statements, once adopted…
    “shall be regarded as the position of the Synod”
    “shall be ‘accepted and used as helpful expositions and explanations’ (FC SD Rules and Norm 10)”
    “shall be honored and upheld (‘to abide by, act, and teach in accordance with’)”

    So even a synod member that privately dissented from a doctrinal statement is still to “abide by, act, and teach in accordance with” with” it. Since Brief Statement was adopted in 1932 and reaffirmed in the late 50s, everyone who becomes a synod member voluntarily binds themselves to it.

  • J. Dettmann

    All Synod members and congregations pledge themselves to Brief Statement. Evolutionist Missouri Synod churchworkers are manifest hypocrites. If they wanted to be honest with themselves, they would leave the Missouri Synod instead of trying to propagate their ideas to those who have been taught to regard them as doctrinally sound.

    All synod members sign a statement which acknowledges their subscription to the Constitution of the Synod. By subscribing to the Synod Constitution they pledge themselves to the doctrinal statements of the Synod passed by the convention and the Synod’s member congregations.

    There is a procedure to dissent from such a heterodox statement. It is specified in the Bylaws, but in general it is a private affair. They are supposed to ask their fellow synod members about clarification and work to change the statement through official channels, such in a synod convention.

    All synod members are required to pledge themselves to all doctrinal statements “until such time as the Synod amends or repeals them.” These doctrinal statements are guarded by the Constitution with the following kinds of phrases:

    Doctrinal statements, once adopted…
    “shall be regarded as the position of the Synod”
    “shall be ‘accepted and used as helpful expositions and explanations’ (FC SD Rules and Norm 10)”
    “shall be honored and upheld (‘to abide by, act, and teach in accordance with’)”

    So even a synod member that privately dissented from a doctrinal statement is still to “abide by, act, and teach in accordance with” with” it. Since Brief Statement was adopted in 1932 and reaffirmed in the late 50s, everyone who becomes a synod member voluntarily binds themselves to it.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Dr. Veith:

    “I believe the “Brief Statement” is one of those documents adopted by convention, along with other statements from the Commission on Theology & Church Relations and the like. These too have an official status. To what degree must a member of the LCMS subscribe to those?…

    ….I agree that the church cannot just rest on its past confessions and must address new theological issues as they arise.

    … is it better to stick with the historic confessions and leave some things open?” (end quote)

    I’m posting this without having the chance to read everything above…..

    As regards the last statement, my understanding of Creeds is not so much that they unite those who believe the same (what the “moderates” at Seminex said), but they exclude those who believe and practice foundation-destroying errors. In other words, no one should want to add to the confessions for reasons other than these….

    But we may need to, right? (Dr. Veith’s position to, I think) In which case here are my thoughts: if a person or congregation in Walther’s day violated the Synod’s original charter (preconditions to membership) they would be disciplined, and if need be, excommunicated. I wonder if persons or congregations would have been disciplined if they had also violated “new” documents like the Thirteen Theses of 1881 (predestination) as well (I’m guessing yes). After all, the Synod saw itself as acting like the one true visible Church (again, which Walther talked about), and they did not act like many do in the Synod today insofar as many now tend to think that all of these different denominations aren’t so bad….

    In which case, that implies that the Brief Statement (which I always took to be a clear reference to 24-hour days – why would you assume otherwise) would also be able to be used for doctrinal disciplinary purposes as well, regardless of its original intent.

    But then there’s that whole Synod is only an “advisory body” thing….

    Just thinking aloud here….

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Dr. Veith:

    “I believe the “Brief Statement” is one of those documents adopted by convention, along with other statements from the Commission on Theology & Church Relations and the like. These too have an official status. To what degree must a member of the LCMS subscribe to those?…

    ….I agree that the church cannot just rest on its past confessions and must address new theological issues as they arise.

    … is it better to stick with the historic confessions and leave some things open?” (end quote)

    I’m posting this without having the chance to read everything above…..

    As regards the last statement, my understanding of Creeds is not so much that they unite those who believe the same (what the “moderates” at Seminex said), but they exclude those who believe and practice foundation-destroying errors. In other words, no one should want to add to the confessions for reasons other than these….

    But we may need to, right? (Dr. Veith’s position to, I think) In which case here are my thoughts: if a person or congregation in Walther’s day violated the Synod’s original charter (preconditions to membership) they would be disciplined, and if need be, excommunicated. I wonder if persons or congregations would have been disciplined if they had also violated “new” documents like the Thirteen Theses of 1881 (predestination) as well (I’m guessing yes). After all, the Synod saw itself as acting like the one true visible Church (again, which Walther talked about), and they did not act like many do in the Synod today insofar as many now tend to think that all of these different denominations aren’t so bad….

    In which case, that implies that the Brief Statement (which I always took to be a clear reference to 24-hour days – why would you assume otherwise) would also be able to be used for doctrinal disciplinary purposes as well, regardless of its original intent.

    But then there’s that whole Synod is only an “advisory body” thing….

    Just thinking aloud here….

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

    “You’ve never heard of speciation ?”

    Most folks, including those who claim to believe in evolution, couldn’t tell you anything about how it actually works, nor how selection works. It isn’t exactly explained very well in school. But hey, why include more stuff in the curriculum for students to flunk? Students are just taught to believe it, which is probably why relatively few Americans do believe it. According to the GSS only 91% of atheists and agnostics believe humans evolved from other animals. 78% of skeptics and 32% of firm believers go for evolution.

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

    “You’ve never heard of speciation ?”

    Most folks, including those who claim to believe in evolution, couldn’t tell you anything about how it actually works, nor how selection works. It isn’t exactly explained very well in school. But hey, why include more stuff in the curriculum for students to flunk? Students are just taught to believe it, which is probably why relatively few Americans do believe it. According to the GSS only 91% of atheists and agnostics believe humans evolved from other animals. 78% of skeptics and 32% of firm believers go for evolution.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    To clarify for other readers, what J. Dettmann said about synod members in #86 is true. But it might not be clear to them that most laymen in the LCMS are not synod members. (Dettmann didn’t claim they were, but the typical outsider might assume they were until told otherwise.)

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    To clarify for other readers, what J. Dettmann said about synod members in #86 is true. But it might not be clear to them that most laymen in the LCMS are not synod members. (Dettmann didn’t claim they were, but the typical outsider might assume they were until told otherwise.)

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

    Kevin N.
    Well I think we have gotten somewhere then. I will have to say though, I see glaring descrepencies between Calvinist views on Predestination and grace alone, the two for all the huff and puff of calvinists to the contrary are not compatible. The dirty secret, It was this teaching with in Roman Catholocism that drove Luther to become Lutheran. Read, “Luther discovers the Gospel” if you want a full account. And quite frankly it matters little what you personally believe in regards to the supper. If your church by its public profession of faith states clearly as the Westminster Confessions do, that the bread and wine are not the body and bloodof Christ, than you are eating and drinking nothing more than bread and wine when you commune at that altar, and believing differently than they on such things essential as that, you aren’t even communing with them, much lest Christ.

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

    Kevin N.
    Well I think we have gotten somewhere then. I will have to say though, I see glaring descrepencies between Calvinist views on Predestination and grace alone, the two for all the huff and puff of calvinists to the contrary are not compatible. The dirty secret, It was this teaching with in Roman Catholocism that drove Luther to become Lutheran. Read, “Luther discovers the Gospel” if you want a full account. And quite frankly it matters little what you personally believe in regards to the supper. If your church by its public profession of faith states clearly as the Westminster Confessions do, that the bread and wine are not the body and bloodof Christ, than you are eating and drinking nothing more than bread and wine when you commune at that altar, and believing differently than they on such things essential as that, you aren’t even communing with them, much lest Christ.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Rick Ritchie, #89: “But it might not be clear to them that most laymen in the LCMS are not synod members.”

    Is this a proper understanding: “LCMS lay members are not automatically LCMS synod members, and in fact, most of them are not.”

    And that LCMS lay membership is an entirely different thing than LCMS synod membership.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Rick Ritchie, #89: “But it might not be clear to them that most laymen in the LCMS are not synod members.”

    Is this a proper understanding: “LCMS lay members are not automatically LCMS synod members, and in fact, most of them are not.”

    And that LCMS lay membership is an entirely different thing than LCMS synod membership.

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

    On the one hand we have some who understand rock dating, evolution, etc. arguing that folks who don’t understand it should believe it. On the other hand we have some arguing that it is okay to believe the Genesis account as literal word for word truth despite understanding the not insignificant evidence for greater age, speciation, etc.

    I tell my son that there is considerable evidence for age, but one can choose to believe something on faith while still operating with a framework that uses the current models, like say at work or something. It is okay to say, yes, I understand the evidence, methods etc, currently used and what they imply and no, I can’t reconcile them, but I still believe on faith the Bible account as truth, and perhaps someday it will be reconciled with human understanding. I don’t know everything and can’t know everything. And then, just move on. People sure can handle paradoxes when they want to.

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

    On the one hand we have some who understand rock dating, evolution, etc. arguing that folks who don’t understand it should believe it. On the other hand we have some arguing that it is okay to believe the Genesis account as literal word for word truth despite understanding the not insignificant evidence for greater age, speciation, etc.

    I tell my son that there is considerable evidence for age, but one can choose to believe something on faith while still operating with a framework that uses the current models, like say at work or something. It is okay to say, yes, I understand the evidence, methods etc, currently used and what they imply and no, I can’t reconcile them, but I still believe on faith the Bible account as truth, and perhaps someday it will be reconciled with human understanding. I don’t know everything and can’t know everything. And then, just move on. People sure can handle paradoxes when they want to.

  • kerner

    I have avoided commenting here because the science involved is far above my pay grade. Yet, I have a few questions.

    Kevin, you seem to be debunking not only the literalist interpretation of creation, but also that of the great flood (suggesting that the flood was only a local event). Do the mass extinctions that took place at the end of the Pleistocene Age, which aparently coincided with the wiping out of the so-called “Clovis Communities”(whatever those are) of humans in North America, have any bearing on this? At one time, the theory of a world wide cataclysmic event was seriously entertained by the non-creationist scientific community:

    http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2007/09/ice-age-extinctions

    And creationists appear to have jumped all over this.

    But more recently, this theory has been questioned, although not ruled out:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412100017.htm

    The point being, that scientists do not understand what happened at the end of the Pleistocene Age, but a cataclysmic global flood is certainly possible, and allowing for errors in dating rocks by a few thousand years, you can get a lot closer to a fairly literal interpretation of Genesis 6 without conflicting with anything that scientists know for sure than you seem to be willing to admit. Is there any special reason for that?

    Klasie, I have a lot of respect for you opinions, even when I disagree with them (which is not all that often), and I understand that geology is part of your vocation. I realize I could look all this up or take a few courses in geology at a local University, but would you be willing to expound a little on how dating the ages of minerals works? I mean, how do you do that, and in your professional world, what difference does it make how old the rocks are?

    Webmonk, you came down pretty hard on Joe for advancing an “apparent age” theory, but I think that almost your entire comment was a “straw man argument”. By which I mean you spent paragraphs asserting that all the major creation science organizations have rejected the “apparent age theory”, substituting instead a complicated theory of successive miracles (which you think are far fetched). But so what? Like Joe, I see nothing inherently erroneous with a theory that God created an apparently old universe, much more recently than is, well, apparent. I couldn’t care less whether a number of groups I have never heard of agree with it or not. I grant you that such a theory basically side-steps scientific inquiry, but once again, so what? Besides, from what little I know of theoretical science, its purpose is not to conclusively prove historical facts so much as it is to generate rules that allow us to predict outcomes in useful ways. For example, Einstein’s theory that nothing can go faster than the speed of light has proven to be a solid foundational rule upon which we have been able to accurately explain and predict a lot of practical phenomena. In other words, the observable universe works as though Einstein’s theory were fact. Except that it isn’t. Recently, scientists have discovered a particle that travels faster than light. So, the foundation of most of what we “know” is wrong. The irony of that is that Einstein’s theory, even though wrong, is still useful, because it does accurately predict phenomena in ways that we can put to practical use.

  • kerner

    I have avoided commenting here because the science involved is far above my pay grade. Yet, I have a few questions.

    Kevin, you seem to be debunking not only the literalist interpretation of creation, but also that of the great flood (suggesting that the flood was only a local event). Do the mass extinctions that took place at the end of the Pleistocene Age, which aparently coincided with the wiping out of the so-called “Clovis Communities”(whatever those are) of humans in North America, have any bearing on this? At one time, the theory of a world wide cataclysmic event was seriously entertained by the non-creationist scientific community:

    http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2007/09/ice-age-extinctions

    And creationists appear to have jumped all over this.

    But more recently, this theory has been questioned, although not ruled out:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412100017.htm

    The point being, that scientists do not understand what happened at the end of the Pleistocene Age, but a cataclysmic global flood is certainly possible, and allowing for errors in dating rocks by a few thousand years, you can get a lot closer to a fairly literal interpretation of Genesis 6 without conflicting with anything that scientists know for sure than you seem to be willing to admit. Is there any special reason for that?

    Klasie, I have a lot of respect for you opinions, even when I disagree with them (which is not all that often), and I understand that geology is part of your vocation. I realize I could look all this up or take a few courses in geology at a local University, but would you be willing to expound a little on how dating the ages of minerals works? I mean, how do you do that, and in your professional world, what difference does it make how old the rocks are?

    Webmonk, you came down pretty hard on Joe for advancing an “apparent age” theory, but I think that almost your entire comment was a “straw man argument”. By which I mean you spent paragraphs asserting that all the major creation science organizations have rejected the “apparent age theory”, substituting instead a complicated theory of successive miracles (which you think are far fetched). But so what? Like Joe, I see nothing inherently erroneous with a theory that God created an apparently old universe, much more recently than is, well, apparent. I couldn’t care less whether a number of groups I have never heard of agree with it or not. I grant you that such a theory basically side-steps scientific inquiry, but once again, so what? Besides, from what little I know of theoretical science, its purpose is not to conclusively prove historical facts so much as it is to generate rules that allow us to predict outcomes in useful ways. For example, Einstein’s theory that nothing can go faster than the speed of light has proven to be a solid foundational rule upon which we have been able to accurately explain and predict a lot of practical phenomena. In other words, the observable universe works as though Einstein’s theory were fact. Except that it isn’t. Recently, scientists have discovered a particle that travels faster than light. So, the foundation of most of what we “know” is wrong. The irony of that is that Einstein’s theory, even though wrong, is still useful, because it does accurately predict phenomena in ways that we can put to practical use.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    J. Dettman: “All Synod members and congregations pledge themselves to Brief Statement.”

    Rick Ritchie: “But it might not be clear to them that most laymen in the LCMS are not synod members.”

    Q: Can a LCMS congregation not be a member of an LCMS synod?

    Q: If no, i.e., all LCMS congregations are automatically members of a LCMS synod, then is it the case that a LCMS parish member is not automatically a LCMS synod member for the two are separate membership procedures and processes?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    J. Dettman: “All Synod members and congregations pledge themselves to Brief Statement.”

    Rick Ritchie: “But it might not be clear to them that most laymen in the LCMS are not synod members.”

    Q: Can a LCMS congregation not be a member of an LCMS synod?

    Q: If no, i.e., all LCMS congregations are automatically members of a LCMS synod, then is it the case that a LCMS parish member is not automatically a LCMS synod member for the two are separate membership procedures and processes?

  • #4 Kitty

    @sg #92

    It is okay to say, yes, I understand the evidence, methods etc, currently used and what they imply and no, I can’t reconcile them, but I still believe on faith the Bible account as truth, and perhaps someday it will be reconciled with human understanding.

    I totally respect this approach. Why not cultivate a sense of Negative Capability and wrestle with the issue over a life time?

  • #4 Kitty

    @sg #92

    It is okay to say, yes, I understand the evidence, methods etc, currently used and what they imply and no, I can’t reconcile them, but I still believe on faith the Bible account as truth, and perhaps someday it will be reconciled with human understanding.

    I totally respect this approach. Why not cultivate a sense of Negative Capability and wrestle with the issue over a life time?

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    kerner #93

    I don’t think there is any relation between Noah’s flood and the end of the Clovis culture.

    Most young-Earth creationists would look at Pleistocene events (extinctions, ice age, Clovis people) as post-flood events, not as something related directly to the flood.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    kerner #93

    I don’t think there is any relation between Noah’s flood and the end of the Clovis culture.

    Most young-Earth creationists would look at Pleistocene events (extinctions, ice age, Clovis people) as post-flood events, not as something related directly to the flood.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner, thanks for the question. Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of time tonight. I’ll try and answer you tomorrow, but here is a hint to wet your appetite: Why does a detective need accurate forensic evidence?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner, thanks for the question. Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of time tonight. I’ll try and answer you tomorrow, but here is a hint to wet your appetite: Why does a detective need accurate forensic evidence?

  • kerner

    Klasie:
    Because he is trying to match it with something he is searching for.
    Good hint.

  • kerner

    Klasie:
    Because he is trying to match it with something he is searching for.
    Good hint.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner, just work the word “story”, or “series of events” or “history” into your answer – but more later.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner, just work the word “story”, or “series of events” or “history” into your answer – but more later.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Just one comment regarding Chaplain Mike. If I am not mistaken, his background is part fundy baptist, or something akin to that. Having come from a form of fundamentalism myself, I fully understand what I take to be his emotional aversion to anything that even smells remotely like it. If you haven’t personally suffered under real fundyism, you will not know of what I speak. And although the LCMS isn’t fundy, some of its members, including some that come here, often sound that way. And strong insistence on certain secondary matters can be so off-putting that you are prepared to overlook a whole bunch of stuff just to get away from it.

    I am not saying he is right (don’t shoot, I’m LCC). I’m explaining the psychological phenomenon, if Chaplain Mike will forgive my boldness in doing so..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Just one comment regarding Chaplain Mike. If I am not mistaken, his background is part fundy baptist, or something akin to that. Having come from a form of fundamentalism myself, I fully understand what I take to be his emotional aversion to anything that even smells remotely like it. If you haven’t personally suffered under real fundyism, you will not know of what I speak. And although the LCMS isn’t fundy, some of its members, including some that come here, often sound that way. And strong insistence on certain secondary matters can be so off-putting that you are prepared to overlook a whole bunch of stuff just to get away from it.

    I am not saying he is right (don’t shoot, I’m LCC). I’m explaining the psychological phenomenon, if Chaplain Mike will forgive my boldness in doing so..

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Truth Unites… and Divides@94
    Q: Can a LCMS congregation not be a member of an LCMS synod?
    A: No. All LCMS congregations are members of the LCMS. The synod is a group of churches.

    Q: If no, i.e., all LCMS congregations are automatically members of a LCMS synod, then is it the case that a LCMS parish member is not automatically a LCMS synod member for the two are separate membership procedures and processes?

    A: A congregation of the synod is by definition a member of the synod. That is what makes it such. An LCMS parish member is not automatically a member of synod. In fact, many members of LCMS congregations are not qualified for membership in the synod.

    Here it is from the LCMS Synod Handbook from 2010:

    “Article V Membership
    Membership in the Synod is held and may be acquired by congregations,
    ministers of religion—ordained and ministers of religion—commissioned, such as teachers, directors of Christian education, directors of Christian outreach, directors of family life ministry, directors of parish music, deaconesses, parish assistants, and certified lay ministers of the Evangelical Lutheran Church who confess and accept the confessional basis of Article II.”

    Part of the trouble here is that it is common to speak in kind of a shorthand. Lay members of congregations in the LCMS might themselves imagine they are members of synod, and even those who understand this right will speak of being part of the Missouri Synod, though technically they are not. Also, when you read statistics, people will list all congregational members as members of the LCMS. That’s a shorthand way of saying how many members there are in the member congregations. But not all of these people are themselves members of the synod. Most of them are not.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Truth Unites… and Divides@94
    Q: Can a LCMS congregation not be a member of an LCMS synod?
    A: No. All LCMS congregations are members of the LCMS. The synod is a group of churches.

    Q: If no, i.e., all LCMS congregations are automatically members of a LCMS synod, then is it the case that a LCMS parish member is not automatically a LCMS synod member for the two are separate membership procedures and processes?

    A: A congregation of the synod is by definition a member of the synod. That is what makes it such. An LCMS parish member is not automatically a member of synod. In fact, many members of LCMS congregations are not qualified for membership in the synod.

    Here it is from the LCMS Synod Handbook from 2010:

    “Article V Membership
    Membership in the Synod is held and may be acquired by congregations,
    ministers of religion—ordained and ministers of religion—commissioned, such as teachers, directors of Christian education, directors of Christian outreach, directors of family life ministry, directors of parish music, deaconesses, parish assistants, and certified lay ministers of the Evangelical Lutheran Church who confess and accept the confessional basis of Article II.”

    Part of the trouble here is that it is common to speak in kind of a shorthand. Lay members of congregations in the LCMS might themselves imagine they are members of synod, and even those who understand this right will speak of being part of the Missouri Synod, though technically they are not. Also, when you read statistics, people will list all congregational members as members of the LCMS. That’s a shorthand way of saying how many members there are in the member congregations. But not all of these people are themselves members of the synod. Most of them are not.

  • kerner

    Kevin:

    Thank you. But I couldn’t care less what “most young earth creationists” think. I’m not even sure I am one.

    I do, however, believe that Genesis 6 appears to be describing a cataclysm that would have to be world wide, mostly because there would seem to be little reason to repopulate a localized area by building a huge ark. Why not just tell Noah to leave (and take any animals he might need with him), like Lot was told to leave Sodom? Also, the account of the flood mentions the mountains of Ararat, which are a real place and could hardly be described as “hills”. Also, the text seems to indicate that God was disappointed with mankind in general, not just the locals in Mesopotamia, or wherever Noah lived.

    Therefore, historical data, however sketchy, indicating a cataclysmic event that wiped out numerous species and an entire human culture a mere few thousand years (as opposed to millions) away is worth considering.

    One other thing. A lot of ancient religions, not particularly related to one another, have flood myths, in which a single virtuous person (or a few such) nis picked by God, or a god, or the gods, to survive and repopulate the world after everyone else is drowned for being wicked.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manu_(Hinduism)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deucalion

    and here’s a comprehensive site:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.html

    Notice how cultures as diverse as pagan Lithuanians, Massai tribesmen of Kenya, various Asians have stories that are very similar to Gen. 6 (there are also a lot of flood stories that are unrelated or have characters that are animals or something).

    That can mean a number of different things.:

    1) All these cultures somehow communicated their “God drowns the world but a few virtuous people and a lot of animals are saved by God who either tells them to build (or just gives them) a big boat” story to one another and they all liked it so much they adopted it into their local mythology.

    2) People really really like flood stories about God drowning the world but saving a few virtuous people and animals (and birds, which the people use to find out if the flood waters are receding), such that they independently made up these stories.

    3. There have been a lot of little floods that have caused a lot of very diverse cultures to think that the whole world was being drowned, but they still came up with the bit about the virtuous people in the big boat with the animals and the bird method of finding land independently.

    4. Or, there really was a great flood that wiped out most of the life on earth, but a few people and a lot of animals survived in a big boat, and their descendants all have (frequently embellished, but basically similar) accounts of it.

    Based on the evidence we actually have, I don’t know that we can say that any one of these explanations is particularly more or less probable than the others. But, I’m pretty sure that the Bible teaches Number 4. I’m not sure what to make of that, if the story isn’t true.

  • kerner

    Kevin:

    Thank you. But I couldn’t care less what “most young earth creationists” think. I’m not even sure I am one.

    I do, however, believe that Genesis 6 appears to be describing a cataclysm that would have to be world wide, mostly because there would seem to be little reason to repopulate a localized area by building a huge ark. Why not just tell Noah to leave (and take any animals he might need with him), like Lot was told to leave Sodom? Also, the account of the flood mentions the mountains of Ararat, which are a real place and could hardly be described as “hills”. Also, the text seems to indicate that God was disappointed with mankind in general, not just the locals in Mesopotamia, or wherever Noah lived.

    Therefore, historical data, however sketchy, indicating a cataclysmic event that wiped out numerous species and an entire human culture a mere few thousand years (as opposed to millions) away is worth considering.

    One other thing. A lot of ancient religions, not particularly related to one another, have flood myths, in which a single virtuous person (or a few such) nis picked by God, or a god, or the gods, to survive and repopulate the world after everyone else is drowned for being wicked.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manu_(Hinduism)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deucalion

    and here’s a comprehensive site:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.html

    Notice how cultures as diverse as pagan Lithuanians, Massai tribesmen of Kenya, various Asians have stories that are very similar to Gen. 6 (there are also a lot of flood stories that are unrelated or have characters that are animals or something).

    That can mean a number of different things.:

    1) All these cultures somehow communicated their “God drowns the world but a few virtuous people and a lot of animals are saved by God who either tells them to build (or just gives them) a big boat” story to one another and they all liked it so much they adopted it into their local mythology.

    2) People really really like flood stories about God drowning the world but saving a few virtuous people and animals (and birds, which the people use to find out if the flood waters are receding), such that they independently made up these stories.

    3. There have been a lot of little floods that have caused a lot of very diverse cultures to think that the whole world was being drowned, but they still came up with the bit about the virtuous people in the big boat with the animals and the bird method of finding land independently.

    4. Or, there really was a great flood that wiped out most of the life on earth, but a few people and a lot of animals survived in a big boat, and their descendants all have (frequently embellished, but basically similar) accounts of it.

    Based on the evidence we actually have, I don’t know that we can say that any one of these explanations is particularly more or less probable than the others. But, I’m pretty sure that the Bible teaches Number 4. I’m not sure what to make of that, if the story isn’t true.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Thank you Rick Ritchie. That’s a very helpful clarification.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Thank you Rick Ritchie. That’s a very helpful clarification.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    #100: “Having come from a form of fundamentalism myself, I fully understand what I take to be his emotional aversion to anything that even smells remotely like it. If you haven’t personally suffered under real fundyism, you will not know of what I speak. And although the LCMS isn’t fundy, some of its members, including some that come here, often sound that way. And strong insistence on certain secondary matters can be so off-putting that you are prepared to overlook a whole bunch of stuff just to get away from it.”

    Is the ordination and blessing of actively open homosexuals a “secondary matter” that biblical Christians should overlook?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    #100: “Having come from a form of fundamentalism myself, I fully understand what I take to be his emotional aversion to anything that even smells remotely like it. If you haven’t personally suffered under real fundyism, you will not know of what I speak. And although the LCMS isn’t fundy, some of its members, including some that come here, often sound that way. And strong insistence on certain secondary matters can be so off-putting that you are prepared to overlook a whole bunch of stuff just to get away from it.”

    Is the ordination and blessing of actively open homosexuals a “secondary matter” that biblical Christians should overlook?

  • Trey

    Dr. Joel Heck, exegesis expert of the OT, has written a great book regarding “Creation From God’s Perspective” and specifically Genesis 1, which refutes most if not all Kevin’s questions, which do not prove anything as they are an appeal to ignorance, so he can justify old earth creation.

    Speciation only shows minor changes never new species nor does it show humans and animals came from the same organism.

    What is more is that we do not absolutely need a young earth, the evolutionist does. I don’t know the age of the earth, but I know that the a day does not need the sun or the moon to cover 24 hours since God also sustains it with His Word.

  • Trey

    Dr. Joel Heck, exegesis expert of the OT, has written a great book regarding “Creation From God’s Perspective” and specifically Genesis 1, which refutes most if not all Kevin’s questions, which do not prove anything as they are an appeal to ignorance, so he can justify old earth creation.

    Speciation only shows minor changes never new species nor does it show humans and animals came from the same organism.

    What is more is that we do not absolutely need a young earth, the evolutionist does. I don’t know the age of the earth, but I know that the a day does not need the sun or the moon to cover 24 hours since God also sustains it with His Word.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Thanks Rick Ritchie and J Dettmann for shedding some light on the question of the present status of the Brief Statement via the Synod Handbook.

    No-one really broached the topic of ‘open questions’ as raised by Dr Veith though, which has historically been a heated one. From memory this was one of the issues the Missouri and Iowa synods never agreed on. What happened on this matter in the brief period when the LCMS & ALC were in fellowship? What is the present position?

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Thanks Rick Ritchie and J Dettmann for shedding some light on the question of the present status of the Brief Statement via the Synod Handbook.

    No-one really broached the topic of ‘open questions’ as raised by Dr Veith though, which has historically been a heated one. From memory this was one of the issues the Missouri and Iowa synods never agreed on. What happened on this matter in the brief period when the LCMS & ALC were in fellowship? What is the present position?

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Trey (#104):

    I have heard Dr. Heck on Issues Etc. and wasn’t convinced.

    I have not read Heck’s book, but from several summaries and reviews on the internet it appears that he primarily writes against the day-age interpretation. Perhaps I am wrong on this, but if this is correct, then the book does not contain a very thorough argument against old-Earth interpretations.

    Asking questions of the text is not “an appeal to ignorance,” but an important part of hermeneutics. Does the Bible say that animals did not die before the fall? Show me where. Does “all the earth” always mean “all the earth?” You can join Dr. Luther in advocating that Eskimos trekked to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph. Are there alternative ways to translate earth, heaven, and mountain in the Flood account? I haven’t read any Hebrew scholar who says this cannot be done, even if they prefer the traditional translation.

    I am sure Dr. Heck gives answers to many of these questions, but that doesn’t mean that his answers are the best ones. I’m willing to say the same about my answers to the questions.

    I’ve been focusing on the Biblical case that the Bible doesn’t require a young Earth. The scientific problems with young-Earth creationism are enormous, and it should not be used as Christian apologetics.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Trey (#104):

    I have heard Dr. Heck on Issues Etc. and wasn’t convinced.

    I have not read Heck’s book, but from several summaries and reviews on the internet it appears that he primarily writes against the day-age interpretation. Perhaps I am wrong on this, but if this is correct, then the book does not contain a very thorough argument against old-Earth interpretations.

    Asking questions of the text is not “an appeal to ignorance,” but an important part of hermeneutics. Does the Bible say that animals did not die before the fall? Show me where. Does “all the earth” always mean “all the earth?” You can join Dr. Luther in advocating that Eskimos trekked to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph. Are there alternative ways to translate earth, heaven, and mountain in the Flood account? I haven’t read any Hebrew scholar who says this cannot be done, even if they prefer the traditional translation.

    I am sure Dr. Heck gives answers to many of these questions, but that doesn’t mean that his answers are the best ones. I’m willing to say the same about my answers to the questions.

    I’ve been focusing on the Biblical case that the Bible doesn’t require a young Earth. The scientific problems with young-Earth creationism are enormous, and it should not be used as Christian apologetics.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Here is a paper that I delivered at a Winkle two years ago. It was followed by heated but friendly discussion.
    Biblical Interpretation and the Age of the Cosmos
    Phil Spomer, Epiphany 2010
    Introduction
    As Orthodox Lutherans, it has always been our task to chart a righteous path between extremes, resisting both cultural currents, and our own fallen nature, using the Bible and the Confessions as our compass. Doing this, requires faith in God’s revelation, discernment in its interpretation, and at times humility to suspend judgment where God’s witness calls us to do so.
    In examining the topic of the age of the world, my focus is not primarily on a conclusion, but on method. Method is often more important than conclusion. If I, by chance, reach a good conclusion by means of a bad method, that bad method will remain to give me bad conclusions latter on. However, if by using a good method I, by reason of my frailty, or lack of good information, reach a bad conclusion, that good method will remain to rectify my error.
    There may be a number of good conclusions to the interface between God’s revelation in his Word and His revelation in His creation. Some we may see now, for others, me may have to wait. In introduction, I ask that you suspend judgment on conclusion as we examine method.

    The Utility of Empirical Evidence in Interpreting God’s Word

    Let us begin with an appraisal of the use of empirical evidence. Since God is One, Omnipotent, and the Creator of all things, the empirical evidence which we find in creation is His evidence and it belongs to us, reasoning beings made in His image. Certainly our reason is prone to error, but that error can and must be identified and accounted for. Affirming our fallen nature is not the same as an agnostic view of human knowledge. I.e. throwing up one’s hands and saying, “Well, you never can tell.” To treat it thusly would be to fall into the Devil’s trap, and to participate in the very sophistry which both reason and revelation liberate us. Faith surpasses evidence but it is no enemy of evidence. God has not called us to live in a fantasy world which is sealed off from science.
    Empirical evidence can enhance our understanding of God’s Word. Let me provide examples. The apostles had messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. They recognized Jesus as the Messiah. Peter confessed, “You are the Christ.” And Jesus said that that was shown to him by our Father in Heaven. Yet, they didn’t fully understand what this meant. Moments after his confession, Peter tries to dissuade Jesus from dying on the cross. After the Transfiguration, as they were descending from the holy mount, Peter, James and John were still discussing what “rising from the dead meant.” The resurrected Christ was empirical evidence presented to them. The resurrection, along with faith, illuminated the Old Testament. Faith and evidence are used in harmony by the disciples, both in their own understanding and in their later witness of the risen Christ. Thomas is a prime example of God using empirical evidence. “Touch me and see”, said Jesus. One can’t get more empirical than that. Peter in his Pentecost sermon illuminates Bible passages with present evidence i.e. the tomb of David and the crucifixion witnessed by his hearers.
    In the book of Joshua, Joshua prays that the sun stand still that he may have time to pursue his enemies. In its historical context that description is truthful and accurate. Our encounter with evidence that it is the movement of the earth, not the sun that is involved, does not compromise the truth of scripture, but it does enhance our understanding of the miracle that took place on that day.
    If you had a member of your congregation that thought that he had to choose between Biblical inerrancy and a sun centered view of the solar system, you could certainly provide him with more than those two alternatives. If this member were influenced by fundamentalism, he may suspect you of compromising with the modernist world view. He may suspect you of employing the same Historical Critical method that has lead mainstream denominations down the road to apostasy, and he would not do so without some justification in recent history. This leads us back to the issue of discernment with which I began.

    What is popularly called the Historical Critical method is antithetical to Confessional exegesis, in that its premises contradict revealed Faith. Yet, it does not therefore follow that a faithful and judicial understanding of historical context, and more importantly the Christocentric, and incarnational understanding of scripture (by which I refer to the fact that God spoke and speaks in a way that is comprehensible to His hearers.) is in any way an expression of disbelief. On the contrary, inerrancy properly understood requires an understanding of what God is saying and to whom He is speaking. Despite addressing people with fallen minds, the Psalmists and the Apostle Paul portray the natural witness of the heavens as a reliable witness to God’s creative act.

    The Evidence Itself

    What then, does the empirical evidence indicate regarding the age of the earth? Although scientific theories can be complex, incomplete, and subject to human prejudice, we do have examples of age that are fairly accessible to laymen such as ourselves and most of our parishioners. These examples have little dependence on the opinions of the observer.

    The most direct evidence of an ancient universe comes from astronomy. The distance of the stars and galaxies coupled with the speed of light indicate great age.

    The distance of some of the closer stars can be measured with the parallax method which is the same way our two eyes give us a three dimensional image of distant objects. A star’s location relative to its background is measured on one evening. Six months later, when the Earth is on the opposite side of the Sun, it’s measured again, and triangulation gives its distance. This method works out to about 3, 500 light years.

    Having thus a population of stars of known distance, it has been discovered that some are variable stars that pulsate with regularity. These stars have a knowable absolute luminosity. We can identify such stars in more distant locations, and since their brightness is known, their distance can be calculated. Just as when you see a distant light bulb and if you know that it is a hundred watt bulb then you can tell its distance by its apparent brightness. This method can be tested within 3,500 light years and can be used on more distant stars several hundred million light years’ away.

    Some stars have exploded leaving large rings of expanding gas. The Doppler Effect can be used to measure the speed of this gas as it goes away from us and as it comes toward us. We then know the speed of the expanding ring in a lateral direction. Seeing then that they are expanding at great speed we can tell that they are large distant objects and not small nearby objects.

    If the universe is only say 10,000 years old then every star, galaxy and nebula that we see is in a sphere, at most, 20,000 light years across. The few parallax-view stars are in a sphere 7,000 light years in diameter leaving a very small space into which we must stuff all those stars and galaxies. If that were so the night sky would blaze like a furnace.

    Back on Earth, there are compelling witnesses to great age. Tree rings betray the age of a tree, but the oldest trees (redwoods, Joshua trees) are only a few thousand years old. However, there are other phenomena which indicate age in a similar way. The Great Barrier Reef off Australia grows as generations of coral live and die. In doing so it bears layers indicating the number of cycles. By counting these layers we can tell that the reef is a few million years old.

    Under the Atlantic Ocean there is a central ridge where the earth’s crust moves outward as hot lava rises, cools, and solidifies. When the iron in the lava is liquid it aligns with the earth’s magnetic field. When it solidifies, it becomes fixed leaving stripes like the rings of a tree. These move a few inches a year and are mapable for hundreds of miles providing evidence for millions of years of continental drift.

    Two Objectionable Responses: Modernist and Fundamentalist

    How shall we respond then to the abundance of evidence that creation is billions of years old? There are a number of ways, some right, some wrong some that must remain for a time in suspension pending more evidence and understanding.

    There are some ways that are obviously unacceptable. These fall within two general methods. One violates the witness of God’s Word, the other violates the witness of God’s world. The first are those which modernism and liberal theology offer us. These are varied, but they share the belief that the Bible is a product of human minds which at best dimly reflect the truth of God and reject that “all of scripture is God breathed.” One reason this is done, is the mistaken belief that what God revealed in His Word, and what God revealed in nature, are irreconcilable. Our confession of God as the sole creator of all things connotes that these two witnesses of God are, ultimately, not only reconcilable, but mutually affirming, a conclusion that is increasingly supported by the natural sciences, as they reveal a universe that has been exquisitely tuned to be a place where it is possible for human beings to exist and worship.

    One of the greatest influences of the Christian world view is our understanding that nature is not a chaos but the product of one all powerful God who has made a stable, comprehensible world which can be, and has been systematically studied. Modern science is the result of, and evidence for the God of the Bible. This can be illustrated both historically by studying the work of Christians like Roger Bacon, Galileo, and Kepler also philosophically, by understanding the metaphysical assertions which are definitively necessary for the performance of science.

    No scientist, no matter his verbal assertions to the contrary, can act like an atheist and still perform science, because science requires that, and acts on, the beliefs that truth is exclusive, the world is kept in order by invisible laws which light and matter obey and that reason has a ridged correspondence in the external world. Each of these is an expression of Incarnation Monotheism. If an atheist actually acts like an atheist he must act as a sophist or as we now call it a postmodernist.

    The second response, that which violates the witness of God’s world, is one used by some Fundamentalists. Though they are well intentioned, they have over reacted to modernism, and an over reaction is a bad reaction.

    In some cases, they use poor evidence to oppose good evidence, such as asserting that human footprints and dinosaur footprints are found together. Whatever vagaries the fossil record may have, it indicates a great separation between human beings and Jurassic animals.

    More problematically, there are cases where they abandon the Biblical understanding of the cosmos in favor of an understanding that is chaotic, such as asserting that the speed of light changes over time. If this were the case, the world would be extremely different from the one we see. Remember E=mc2. If we change the value of “c” then mass and energy change, and that would result in a world that would not work.

    Perhaps most importantly, the young earth creationist approach sacrifices a fundamental Biblical witness (A stable Creator of a stable creation) for a derivative witness (a particular age of the Earth). This is particularly pertinent in this moment in history because God has given a powerful witness of Himself through western science. The order and shape of the cosmos, which science has discovered affirms the God of the Bible.

    As confessional Lutherans we must again take up our God appointed task of affirming truth between the different extremes. As we rejected Rome on one hand and Zwingly on the other, we must chart a course between humanism and Protestant fundamentalism using the world and the Confessions as our North Star.

    Suggested Responses

    Let me suggest some Lutheran responses to the relationship between the witnesses of Word and the world.

    • Pronouncements by the broad scientific community must never be accepted uncritically. As recent events in the global warming issue show, scientists can be practitioners of group-think, and prejudice, especially where science is operating on the edge of its understanding on matters that are far from settled. On the other hand, we must not indulge in pseudo science, which abandons the careful, systematic search of the truth, which has so benefitted humanity, and which Christian theology has made possible.

    • God’s Word is Truth talking to man. Science is man imperfectly seeking truth. Science is therefore always under construction. Our future understanding of nature will open up new possibilities for understanding the relationship between the Bible and nature. Established theories, like Relativity, and new theories, like String Theory, with it’s many dimensions may change the intellectual landscape concerning questions of time.

    • The purpose of the Bible is Christ and Him crucified. This does not warrant a Gospel reductionism, but it is an understanding indispensible to any hermeneutic.

    • God wrote the Bible, not in one piece, but as a conversation with His audience (the Church) over thousands of years. Each sentence was written both to a particular people at a particular time, as well as to all subsequent generations. It is necessary that these subsequent generations (ourselves) take into account the situation of the original hearers.

    • The Bible is true in the simple sense of the word, but that does not mean that it is always simple. Biblical interpretation is an art. A nuanced understanding of Scripture should not be regarded as a capitulation to unbelief. Problems arise, but that is always the case with a text that is non-fiction. A sure sign of a cult is that it has all the answers and there is no place for Deus absconditus.

    • We must be careful not to engage in a reactionary hermeneutic, where our interpretation of the Bible is indirectly guided by our opponents.

    • Remember God works through means, “where and when He wills”. This in no way means that He is not the Actor. When something is scientifically explained, it is not explained away, rather the means (or masks) of God have been partly revealed.

    • Alternative interpretations are not necessarily reductions to mere metaphor. Where metaphor is asserted, it need not apply to all contexts. In other words, one change does not bring down the Bible like a house of cards. To suggest that the word “day” may mean something other than 24 hours in one context, does not follow that that use of the word “day” has the same such meaning in all contexts. For example, Christ asserts, “Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Mt. 12:40) when according to our Western way of speaking it would be closer to 36 hours (Friday night to Sunday morning.) The particular context presented in the Gospels gives the word definition.

    • Finally, I offer as a template for this analysis the Lutheran approach to predestination. God’s word proscribes parameters around the question of why are some saved but not others. 1) God is all powerful. 2) He wants all to be saved. 3) Not all are saved. 4) All who are saved are done so by the work of Christ on the Cross, and touched through His means of Grace.

    We do not, like the Calvinists on the one hand, or the Arminians on the other, take an additional step which violates God’s parameters. We are wise enough to say, “I don’t know.” Likewise, we affirm that God’s Word is true. It gives us Christ. God’s world is true, declaring His glory. Our understanding of Him is certain where He gives us that certainty. It is both patient and curious where He hides His hand and bids us to discover.

    As confessional Lutherans we must again take up our God appointed task of affirming truth between the different extremes. We must chart a course between humanism and Protestant fundamentalism using the Word and the Confessions as our North Star.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Here is a paper that I delivered at a Winkle two years ago. It was followed by heated but friendly discussion.
    Biblical Interpretation and the Age of the Cosmos
    Phil Spomer, Epiphany 2010
    Introduction
    As Orthodox Lutherans, it has always been our task to chart a righteous path between extremes, resisting both cultural currents, and our own fallen nature, using the Bible and the Confessions as our compass. Doing this, requires faith in God’s revelation, discernment in its interpretation, and at times humility to suspend judgment where God’s witness calls us to do so.
    In examining the topic of the age of the world, my focus is not primarily on a conclusion, but on method. Method is often more important than conclusion. If I, by chance, reach a good conclusion by means of a bad method, that bad method will remain to give me bad conclusions latter on. However, if by using a good method I, by reason of my frailty, or lack of good information, reach a bad conclusion, that good method will remain to rectify my error.
    There may be a number of good conclusions to the interface between God’s revelation in his Word and His revelation in His creation. Some we may see now, for others, me may have to wait. In introduction, I ask that you suspend judgment on conclusion as we examine method.

    The Utility of Empirical Evidence in Interpreting God’s Word

    Let us begin with an appraisal of the use of empirical evidence. Since God is One, Omnipotent, and the Creator of all things, the empirical evidence which we find in creation is His evidence and it belongs to us, reasoning beings made in His image. Certainly our reason is prone to error, but that error can and must be identified and accounted for. Affirming our fallen nature is not the same as an agnostic view of human knowledge. I.e. throwing up one’s hands and saying, “Well, you never can tell.” To treat it thusly would be to fall into the Devil’s trap, and to participate in the very sophistry which both reason and revelation liberate us. Faith surpasses evidence but it is no enemy of evidence. God has not called us to live in a fantasy world which is sealed off from science.
    Empirical evidence can enhance our understanding of God’s Word. Let me provide examples. The apostles had messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. They recognized Jesus as the Messiah. Peter confessed, “You are the Christ.” And Jesus said that that was shown to him by our Father in Heaven. Yet, they didn’t fully understand what this meant. Moments after his confession, Peter tries to dissuade Jesus from dying on the cross. After the Transfiguration, as they were descending from the holy mount, Peter, James and John were still discussing what “rising from the dead meant.” The resurrected Christ was empirical evidence presented to them. The resurrection, along with faith, illuminated the Old Testament. Faith and evidence are used in harmony by the disciples, both in their own understanding and in their later witness of the risen Christ. Thomas is a prime example of God using empirical evidence. “Touch me and see”, said Jesus. One can’t get more empirical than that. Peter in his Pentecost sermon illuminates Bible passages with present evidence i.e. the tomb of David and the crucifixion witnessed by his hearers.
    In the book of Joshua, Joshua prays that the sun stand still that he may have time to pursue his enemies. In its historical context that description is truthful and accurate. Our encounter with evidence that it is the movement of the earth, not the sun that is involved, does not compromise the truth of scripture, but it does enhance our understanding of the miracle that took place on that day.
    If you had a member of your congregation that thought that he had to choose between Biblical inerrancy and a sun centered view of the solar system, you could certainly provide him with more than those two alternatives. If this member were influenced by fundamentalism, he may suspect you of compromising with the modernist world view. He may suspect you of employing the same Historical Critical method that has lead mainstream denominations down the road to apostasy, and he would not do so without some justification in recent history. This leads us back to the issue of discernment with which I began.

    What is popularly called the Historical Critical method is antithetical to Confessional exegesis, in that its premises contradict revealed Faith. Yet, it does not therefore follow that a faithful and judicial understanding of historical context, and more importantly the Christocentric, and incarnational understanding of scripture (by which I refer to the fact that God spoke and speaks in a way that is comprehensible to His hearers.) is in any way an expression of disbelief. On the contrary, inerrancy properly understood requires an understanding of what God is saying and to whom He is speaking. Despite addressing people with fallen minds, the Psalmists and the Apostle Paul portray the natural witness of the heavens as a reliable witness to God’s creative act.

    The Evidence Itself

    What then, does the empirical evidence indicate regarding the age of the earth? Although scientific theories can be complex, incomplete, and subject to human prejudice, we do have examples of age that are fairly accessible to laymen such as ourselves and most of our parishioners. These examples have little dependence on the opinions of the observer.

    The most direct evidence of an ancient universe comes from astronomy. The distance of the stars and galaxies coupled with the speed of light indicate great age.

    The distance of some of the closer stars can be measured with the parallax method which is the same way our two eyes give us a three dimensional image of distant objects. A star’s location relative to its background is measured on one evening. Six months later, when the Earth is on the opposite side of the Sun, it’s measured again, and triangulation gives its distance. This method works out to about 3, 500 light years.

    Having thus a population of stars of known distance, it has been discovered that some are variable stars that pulsate with regularity. These stars have a knowable absolute luminosity. We can identify such stars in more distant locations, and since their brightness is known, their distance can be calculated. Just as when you see a distant light bulb and if you know that it is a hundred watt bulb then you can tell its distance by its apparent brightness. This method can be tested within 3,500 light years and can be used on more distant stars several hundred million light years’ away.

    Some stars have exploded leaving large rings of expanding gas. The Doppler Effect can be used to measure the speed of this gas as it goes away from us and as it comes toward us. We then know the speed of the expanding ring in a lateral direction. Seeing then that they are expanding at great speed we can tell that they are large distant objects and not small nearby objects.

    If the universe is only say 10,000 years old then every star, galaxy and nebula that we see is in a sphere, at most, 20,000 light years across. The few parallax-view stars are in a sphere 7,000 light years in diameter leaving a very small space into which we must stuff all those stars and galaxies. If that were so the night sky would blaze like a furnace.

    Back on Earth, there are compelling witnesses to great age. Tree rings betray the age of a tree, but the oldest trees (redwoods, Joshua trees) are only a few thousand years old. However, there are other phenomena which indicate age in a similar way. The Great Barrier Reef off Australia grows as generations of coral live and die. In doing so it bears layers indicating the number of cycles. By counting these layers we can tell that the reef is a few million years old.

    Under the Atlantic Ocean there is a central ridge where the earth’s crust moves outward as hot lava rises, cools, and solidifies. When the iron in the lava is liquid it aligns with the earth’s magnetic field. When it solidifies, it becomes fixed leaving stripes like the rings of a tree. These move a few inches a year and are mapable for hundreds of miles providing evidence for millions of years of continental drift.

    Two Objectionable Responses: Modernist and Fundamentalist

    How shall we respond then to the abundance of evidence that creation is billions of years old? There are a number of ways, some right, some wrong some that must remain for a time in suspension pending more evidence and understanding.

    There are some ways that are obviously unacceptable. These fall within two general methods. One violates the witness of God’s Word, the other violates the witness of God’s world. The first are those which modernism and liberal theology offer us. These are varied, but they share the belief that the Bible is a product of human minds which at best dimly reflect the truth of God and reject that “all of scripture is God breathed.” One reason this is done, is the mistaken belief that what God revealed in His Word, and what God revealed in nature, are irreconcilable. Our confession of God as the sole creator of all things connotes that these two witnesses of God are, ultimately, not only reconcilable, but mutually affirming, a conclusion that is increasingly supported by the natural sciences, as they reveal a universe that has been exquisitely tuned to be a place where it is possible for human beings to exist and worship.

    One of the greatest influences of the Christian world view is our understanding that nature is not a chaos but the product of one all powerful God who has made a stable, comprehensible world which can be, and has been systematically studied. Modern science is the result of, and evidence for the God of the Bible. This can be illustrated both historically by studying the work of Christians like Roger Bacon, Galileo, and Kepler also philosophically, by understanding the metaphysical assertions which are definitively necessary for the performance of science.

    No scientist, no matter his verbal assertions to the contrary, can act like an atheist and still perform science, because science requires that, and acts on, the beliefs that truth is exclusive, the world is kept in order by invisible laws which light and matter obey and that reason has a ridged correspondence in the external world. Each of these is an expression of Incarnation Monotheism. If an atheist actually acts like an atheist he must act as a sophist or as we now call it a postmodernist.

    The second response, that which violates the witness of God’s world, is one used by some Fundamentalists. Though they are well intentioned, they have over reacted to modernism, and an over reaction is a bad reaction.

    In some cases, they use poor evidence to oppose good evidence, such as asserting that human footprints and dinosaur footprints are found together. Whatever vagaries the fossil record may have, it indicates a great separation between human beings and Jurassic animals.

    More problematically, there are cases where they abandon the Biblical understanding of the cosmos in favor of an understanding that is chaotic, such as asserting that the speed of light changes over time. If this were the case, the world would be extremely different from the one we see. Remember E=mc2. If we change the value of “c” then mass and energy change, and that would result in a world that would not work.

    Perhaps most importantly, the young earth creationist approach sacrifices a fundamental Biblical witness (A stable Creator of a stable creation) for a derivative witness (a particular age of the Earth). This is particularly pertinent in this moment in history because God has given a powerful witness of Himself through western science. The order and shape of the cosmos, which science has discovered affirms the God of the Bible.

    As confessional Lutherans we must again take up our God appointed task of affirming truth between the different extremes. As we rejected Rome on one hand and Zwingly on the other, we must chart a course between humanism and Protestant fundamentalism using the world and the Confessions as our North Star.

    Suggested Responses

    Let me suggest some Lutheran responses to the relationship between the witnesses of Word and the world.

    • Pronouncements by the broad scientific community must never be accepted uncritically. As recent events in the global warming issue show, scientists can be practitioners of group-think, and prejudice, especially where science is operating on the edge of its understanding on matters that are far from settled. On the other hand, we must not indulge in pseudo science, which abandons the careful, systematic search of the truth, which has so benefitted humanity, and which Christian theology has made possible.

    • God’s Word is Truth talking to man. Science is man imperfectly seeking truth. Science is therefore always under construction. Our future understanding of nature will open up new possibilities for understanding the relationship between the Bible and nature. Established theories, like Relativity, and new theories, like String Theory, with it’s many dimensions may change the intellectual landscape concerning questions of time.

    • The purpose of the Bible is Christ and Him crucified. This does not warrant a Gospel reductionism, but it is an understanding indispensible to any hermeneutic.

    • God wrote the Bible, not in one piece, but as a conversation with His audience (the Church) over thousands of years. Each sentence was written both to a particular people at a particular time, as well as to all subsequent generations. It is necessary that these subsequent generations (ourselves) take into account the situation of the original hearers.

    • The Bible is true in the simple sense of the word, but that does not mean that it is always simple. Biblical interpretation is an art. A nuanced understanding of Scripture should not be regarded as a capitulation to unbelief. Problems arise, but that is always the case with a text that is non-fiction. A sure sign of a cult is that it has all the answers and there is no place for Deus absconditus.

    • We must be careful not to engage in a reactionary hermeneutic, where our interpretation of the Bible is indirectly guided by our opponents.

    • Remember God works through means, “where and when He wills”. This in no way means that He is not the Actor. When something is scientifically explained, it is not explained away, rather the means (or masks) of God have been partly revealed.

    • Alternative interpretations are not necessarily reductions to mere metaphor. Where metaphor is asserted, it need not apply to all contexts. In other words, one change does not bring down the Bible like a house of cards. To suggest that the word “day” may mean something other than 24 hours in one context, does not follow that that use of the word “day” has the same such meaning in all contexts. For example, Christ asserts, “Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Mt. 12:40) when according to our Western way of speaking it would be closer to 36 hours (Friday night to Sunday morning.) The particular context presented in the Gospels gives the word definition.

    • Finally, I offer as a template for this analysis the Lutheran approach to predestination. God’s word proscribes parameters around the question of why are some saved but not others. 1) God is all powerful. 2) He wants all to be saved. 3) Not all are saved. 4) All who are saved are done so by the work of Christ on the Cross, and touched through His means of Grace.

    We do not, like the Calvinists on the one hand, or the Arminians on the other, take an additional step which violates God’s parameters. We are wise enough to say, “I don’t know.” Likewise, we affirm that God’s Word is true. It gives us Christ. God’s world is true, declaring His glory. Our understanding of Him is certain where He gives us that certainty. It is both patient and curious where He hides His hand and bids us to discover.

    As confessional Lutherans we must again take up our God appointed task of affirming truth between the different extremes. We must chart a course between humanism and Protestant fundamentalism using the Word and the Confessions as our North Star.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Trey #104

    Speciation only shows minor changes never new species …

    Sorry Trey but you’re wrong. Here are several links defining speciation as an “evolutionary process by which new biological species arise”.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Trey #104

    Speciation only shows minor changes never new species …

    Sorry Trey but you’re wrong. Here are several links defining speciation as an “evolutionary process by which new biological species arise”.

  • JacobC

    @Pastor Spomer #108
    Dear Pastor Spomer, I appreciate your balanced approach. I think there are paralells to how how many people treat the book of Genesis and the book of Revelation. For example, both orthodox Lutherans and liberals reject dispensationalism, although the Lutheran would take the text seriously while the liberal would not take the text so seriously. But a fundamentalist would think the orthodox Lutheran is a “liberal” for not having a literalistic view of the book of Revelation. This even though the Lutheran is taking the text seriously if not in a wooden literal way, while the liberal can afford to dismiss the text as being allegories or myths. One could argue that the orthodox Lutheran has a higher view of the text than the fundamentalist because the Lutheran is taking care not to “read in” anything into the text.

    I see a similar situation in how people read the book of Genesis. Here the liberal can dismiss it as myths that might have a vague, “spiritual” meaning, but the text should not be taken very seriously. On the other hand, just as the fundamentalist reads the events in Revelation as happening in a literal chronological order and then reads in things like the millennium, the fundamentalist also reads into Genesis things like a 6000 year old universe.

    I think we need to beware of how fundamentalism can take what seems like a high view of Scripture but it then sometimes unneccessarily reads into the text things that are not there. I think we, unlike the liberals and fundamentalists, can be secure enough to reject atheistic naturalism on the one hand and yet take science seriously on the other hand. I also think while we have avoided the liberal traps that are undermining the ELCA, we have to watch out for fundamentalist traps. One such trap is having to believe in a 6000 year old earth because a young earth fits in with the fundamentalist eschatology and the fundamentalists’ false use of numerology. I know the LCMS does not explicitly claim the earth is 6000 years old and it clearly rejects dispensationalism and some other fundamentalist baggage, but really there is often the view that if you have no problem with the idea that the universe was created a long time ago you must be some sort of liberal. I am worried that “Fundamentalism Lite” is creeping into the LCMS if many say you cannot be a consistent Christian and not believe in a young earth.

  • JacobC

    @Pastor Spomer #108
    Dear Pastor Spomer, I appreciate your balanced approach. I think there are paralells to how how many people treat the book of Genesis and the book of Revelation. For example, both orthodox Lutherans and liberals reject dispensationalism, although the Lutheran would take the text seriously while the liberal would not take the text so seriously. But a fundamentalist would think the orthodox Lutheran is a “liberal” for not having a literalistic view of the book of Revelation. This even though the Lutheran is taking the text seriously if not in a wooden literal way, while the liberal can afford to dismiss the text as being allegories or myths. One could argue that the orthodox Lutheran has a higher view of the text than the fundamentalist because the Lutheran is taking care not to “read in” anything into the text.

    I see a similar situation in how people read the book of Genesis. Here the liberal can dismiss it as myths that might have a vague, “spiritual” meaning, but the text should not be taken very seriously. On the other hand, just as the fundamentalist reads the events in Revelation as happening in a literal chronological order and then reads in things like the millennium, the fundamentalist also reads into Genesis things like a 6000 year old universe.

    I think we need to beware of how fundamentalism can take what seems like a high view of Scripture but it then sometimes unneccessarily reads into the text things that are not there. I think we, unlike the liberals and fundamentalists, can be secure enough to reject atheistic naturalism on the one hand and yet take science seriously on the other hand. I also think while we have avoided the liberal traps that are undermining the ELCA, we have to watch out for fundamentalist traps. One such trap is having to believe in a 6000 year old earth because a young earth fits in with the fundamentalist eschatology and the fundamentalists’ false use of numerology. I know the LCMS does not explicitly claim the earth is 6000 years old and it clearly rejects dispensationalism and some other fundamentalist baggage, but really there is often the view that if you have no problem with the idea that the universe was created a long time ago you must be some sort of liberal. I am worried that “Fundamentalism Lite” is creeping into the LCMS if many say you cannot be a consistent Christian and not believe in a young earth.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Pastor Spomer, as with last time you posted this – Amen!

    Jacob C – Absolutely, and nice analogy. Also, your fundamentalism lite comment dovetails nicely with my observation about the likely psychology of Chaplain Mike’s decision not to join the LCMS.

    Good to see I’m not alone… (In Lutheranism here, I mean. There is Webmonk, but he is imperfect, not being Lutheran ;) ).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Pastor Spomer, as with last time you posted this – Amen!

    Jacob C – Absolutely, and nice analogy. Also, your fundamentalism lite comment dovetails nicely with my observation about the likely psychology of Chaplain Mike’s decision not to join the LCMS.

    Good to see I’m not alone… (In Lutheranism here, I mean. There is Webmonk, but he is imperfect, not being Lutheran ;) ).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner,
    You asked a pretty big question there yesterday, and as you hinted at in your comment, it might be difficult to distill 4 years of undergraduate education (at the very least, to become a geologist), as well as many years of experience (13+ in my case) into a comment on thread at a blog post. People do not always appreciate that. Thank you.

    But as per my analogical hint yesterday, think of geology as detection work, including forensics, and as mineral deposits as the culprits (In most non-academic cases. There is also engineering geology, associated with civil engineering, especially on the large scale, but let’s leave that for another day.) To get at the culprit, and to get at all his crimes, you need as full and as accurate a story as possible. To stumble upon a crime, and then to try and convict somebody on that hearsay evidence, won’t cut it. You need evidence; you need to be able to tell the story, to describe the events from A to Z. You want the jury to convict. Now a jury of 8 or 12 or so men and women can be convinced partly on fact, partly on emotion. But for you to convince a “jury’ of shareholders / investors to part with hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars, is an entirely different prospect, and not so easy at all. Therefore you need to get your story straight. And for that you need cohesive forensic evidence. You need to stick to what the data tells you. And you need to know that it fits together like a puzzle, knowing that from time to time, because we work with nature, some pieces can be missing, and you might make a mistake. Therefore, especially in geology, you like to use multiple approaches, multiple lines of evidence, and if they all gel together, you know you are on the right track.

    Unfortunately for my critics here, exhaustive research and analysis worldwide have yielded a framework for a giant saga, into which millions of separate stories, and culprits, generally fit quite well. And we look at multiple lines of evidence for that. For instance, earlier I made mention of an explanation of the geological column that exists on Kevin N’s blog. Very well written for the layman. I also mentioned radiometric dating, which is entirely separate from that. We know the decay equations work from short-lived isotopes. We know that radioactive decay releases heat. We can infer constant decay, because a rapid rise in the decay rate, as DrLit21C as would like to postulate (without evidence, btw), would have completely fried all life on earth. We find climatological records in the rocks – records of ice ages, warm periods etc etc. We find the fossil record, with a general progression, from lower layers containing only very simple life forms like cyanobacteria, to much more complicated life forms later on. Now we can debate about some of the mechanisms of those changes, and those debates are the ones that are throwing someone like Bror off, but the simple fact remains that we have a very nice record, forensic evidence, of an evolutionary progression in the rocks, over a long time. Oh, and more note about radiometric dating. Not only do we have records now from the radioactive decay from radioactive elements in certain minerals themselves. Over the last two decades or so, we have found that we can track the influence of “cosmogenic isotopes” – isotopes that are created when high-energy cosmic radiation interacts with material close to the surface. And guess what? They fit into the puzzle as well!

    And where we find pieces that seem at odds, we look for more data, and re-examine existing data, and the theories about the data. And generally, we find more indications of something that was either missed, or something new etc., and the overall picture still looks +- the same.

    So if I return to my own vocation in a more direct way again. I need to be able to have an accurate story about a geological scenario, so that the team of which I am a member can present an accurate model, on which decision about further drilling (for instance) can be taken – core drilling are over $50 000 a pop, and large diameter drilling is much, much more. Then further analysis is required, and millions upon millions are spent, and before each step is taken, available information is pooled, re-assessed, and the story/evidence/series of events updated. Eventually you might even be able to go to the Securities Exchange and release documentation about your deposit, so that you can raise money to further develop it. For that process, you need a geologist with “professional status”, who have written ethical exams etc., to underwrite the veracity of the data, the story etc etc., You put your career on the line each time you do that. A number of countries have special standards of reporting which must be complied to if you want to publish your data, your evidence. In Canada, it is called the 43-101 standard, which was created after the Bre-X scandal in the ‘90’s. In Australia they have the JORC standard, and in South Africa the SAMREC and SAMVAL codes.

    The cavalier attitude with which some here seem to regard science, and the sciences impacted by evolution and an old earth is disdainful, and ignorant. The amount of vetting and testing going on exceeds most other areas of life, especially because in geology, enormous amounts of money rests on decisions made on these theories. Money talks harder than conviction for most people. And the results of that rigorous process are everywhere. There is almost nothing that you touch that is not directly or indirectly dependant on mining and geology.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner,
    You asked a pretty big question there yesterday, and as you hinted at in your comment, it might be difficult to distill 4 years of undergraduate education (at the very least, to become a geologist), as well as many years of experience (13+ in my case) into a comment on thread at a blog post. People do not always appreciate that. Thank you.

    But as per my analogical hint yesterday, think of geology as detection work, including forensics, and as mineral deposits as the culprits (In most non-academic cases. There is also engineering geology, associated with civil engineering, especially on the large scale, but let’s leave that for another day.) To get at the culprit, and to get at all his crimes, you need as full and as accurate a story as possible. To stumble upon a crime, and then to try and convict somebody on that hearsay evidence, won’t cut it. You need evidence; you need to be able to tell the story, to describe the events from A to Z. You want the jury to convict. Now a jury of 8 or 12 or so men and women can be convinced partly on fact, partly on emotion. But for you to convince a “jury’ of shareholders / investors to part with hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars, is an entirely different prospect, and not so easy at all. Therefore you need to get your story straight. And for that you need cohesive forensic evidence. You need to stick to what the data tells you. And you need to know that it fits together like a puzzle, knowing that from time to time, because we work with nature, some pieces can be missing, and you might make a mistake. Therefore, especially in geology, you like to use multiple approaches, multiple lines of evidence, and if they all gel together, you know you are on the right track.

    Unfortunately for my critics here, exhaustive research and analysis worldwide have yielded a framework for a giant saga, into which millions of separate stories, and culprits, generally fit quite well. And we look at multiple lines of evidence for that. For instance, earlier I made mention of an explanation of the geological column that exists on Kevin N’s blog. Very well written for the layman. I also mentioned radiometric dating, which is entirely separate from that. We know the decay equations work from short-lived isotopes. We know that radioactive decay releases heat. We can infer constant decay, because a rapid rise in the decay rate, as DrLit21C as would like to postulate (without evidence, btw), would have completely fried all life on earth. We find climatological records in the rocks – records of ice ages, warm periods etc etc. We find the fossil record, with a general progression, from lower layers containing only very simple life forms like cyanobacteria, to much more complicated life forms later on. Now we can debate about some of the mechanisms of those changes, and those debates are the ones that are throwing someone like Bror off, but the simple fact remains that we have a very nice record, forensic evidence, of an evolutionary progression in the rocks, over a long time. Oh, and more note about radiometric dating. Not only do we have records now from the radioactive decay from radioactive elements in certain minerals themselves. Over the last two decades or so, we have found that we can track the influence of “cosmogenic isotopes” – isotopes that are created when high-energy cosmic radiation interacts with material close to the surface. And guess what? They fit into the puzzle as well!

    And where we find pieces that seem at odds, we look for more data, and re-examine existing data, and the theories about the data. And generally, we find more indications of something that was either missed, or something new etc., and the overall picture still looks +- the same.

    So if I return to my own vocation in a more direct way again. I need to be able to have an accurate story about a geological scenario, so that the team of which I am a member can present an accurate model, on which decision about further drilling (for instance) can be taken – core drilling are over $50 000 a pop, and large diameter drilling is much, much more. Then further analysis is required, and millions upon millions are spent, and before each step is taken, available information is pooled, re-assessed, and the story/evidence/series of events updated. Eventually you might even be able to go to the Securities Exchange and release documentation about your deposit, so that you can raise money to further develop it. For that process, you need a geologist with “professional status”, who have written ethical exams etc., to underwrite the veracity of the data, the story etc etc., You put your career on the line each time you do that. A number of countries have special standards of reporting which must be complied to if you want to publish your data, your evidence. In Canada, it is called the 43-101 standard, which was created after the Bre-X scandal in the ‘90’s. In Australia they have the JORC standard, and in South Africa the SAMREC and SAMVAL codes.

    The cavalier attitude with which some here seem to regard science, and the sciences impacted by evolution and an old earth is disdainful, and ignorant. The amount of vetting and testing going on exceeds most other areas of life, especially because in geology, enormous amounts of money rests on decisions made on these theories. Money talks harder than conviction for most people. And the results of that rigorous process are everywhere. There is almost nothing that you touch that is not directly or indirectly dependant on mining and geology.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Some other comments:

    SKP @ 72: Liturgical language is a good description, I think. Of course, liturgy can encompass poetry, so “Genesis as poetry” is not wrong, merely insufficient. I also like “True myth”, although that is also insufficient. Liturgy comes closer, I think.

    SG, Kerner & Kevin on Pleistocene, Clovis etc.: first, (Kevin didn’t follow up on this), but the Peistocene era is taken as being from 1.8 0.8 Ma (million years) ago. The Clovis culture first appeared in North America around 11500 years ago. Big difference.

    But there were a number of major flooding events towrads the end of the last ice age. Locally, there was the event(s) that created the Washington Scablands, which was the emptying of Lake Missoula, a glacial lake in what is today Montana. Then there was the much, muc bigger events that accompanied the emptying of Lake Aggasiz, at least twice, one of which would have raised sea levels accross the planet, possible even flooding large areas of the Persian Gulf. Recent archeological finds give tanatalising hints as to this, and it is theorised that a huge, mega flooding event decimated civilisations in this area, covering all the land, as far as you can see – land which would have been very fertile (Hint! Hint! :) ). Then, towards the end of the last ice age, there was also the breaking through of the Bhosporus, in one or more events, some of them likely catastrophic. We know there are Neolithic sites now covered by the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey…..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Some other comments:

    SKP @ 72: Liturgical language is a good description, I think. Of course, liturgy can encompass poetry, so “Genesis as poetry” is not wrong, merely insufficient. I also like “True myth”, although that is also insufficient. Liturgy comes closer, I think.

    SG, Kerner & Kevin on Pleistocene, Clovis etc.: first, (Kevin didn’t follow up on this), but the Peistocene era is taken as being from 1.8 0.8 Ma (million years) ago. The Clovis culture first appeared in North America around 11500 years ago. Big difference.

    But there were a number of major flooding events towrads the end of the last ice age. Locally, there was the event(s) that created the Washington Scablands, which was the emptying of Lake Missoula, a glacial lake in what is today Montana. Then there was the much, muc bigger events that accompanied the emptying of Lake Aggasiz, at least twice, one of which would have raised sea levels accross the planet, possible even flooding large areas of the Persian Gulf. Recent archeological finds give tanatalising hints as to this, and it is theorised that a huge, mega flooding event decimated civilisations in this area, covering all the land, as far as you can see – land which would have been very fertile (Hint! Hint! :) ). Then, towards the end of the last ice age, there was also the breaking through of the Bhosporus, in one or more events, some of them likely catastrophic. We know there are Neolithic sites now covered by the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey…..

  • larry

    I’m not picking on Kevin here but what he said really brings out the problem so I’m going to humbly borrow his statement for a moment:

    “Like Chaplain Mike, young-Earth creationism in the LCMS was a barrier I could not overcome when we were looking for a church in a new community last year. Unlike Mike, however, we did not consider the ELCA (the denomination I grew up in) as an alternative, so we ended up in a Presbyterian church (PCA) and are very happy there.”
    First, in the broad discussion here over old Vs. new earth as proved or disproved, either one by the other, via science, however one inlays the details of either, it speaks volume to speculation either way versus an article of faith that lays aside either and believes the Word versus making the Word a trope or symbolic or other some such.
    Second, new earth science, relying upon it to “boost faith” can be just as much unbelief as is old earth science. The point of any article of faith, ANY, is that it is not experienced, measured, comprehend, understood by logic (e.g. the finite cannot be contained by the infinite, etc…). In fact every article of faith is absurd to reason by design to “make room for faith” alone, i.e. to the point that faith stand nakedly toward whether it is the trinity, two natures, sacraments, etc… Thus, the creation narrative is taken just like “this is My body” just as spoken by God and by faith alone. To “believe” it based on even young earth science or rooted therein, is in reality not belief or faith alone in the Word alone, but a false faith in sight/experience and subsequent reasoning. Put another way “young earth science” only tags itself with “god” and “bible” language, in reality it could be “young earth science” via secularism, agnosticism or even atheism. It’s the difference in Word alone via faith alone, and experimental/experience/rationalizing via reason parading around as faith.
    Finally, take note what has happened here, keep in mind what the sacraments actually mean from our Lutheran perspective, they are quite literally the Gospel and eternal life itself and variations only lead men astray (one has to keep this essential perspective); a person has actually given up on the sacraments, which is what a move from Lutheran orthodoxy to Reformed/PCA heterodoxy actually is when we speak honestly and forthrightly and not couching our language. Put another way a person has given up, perhaps in innocent ignorance, the sacrament and thus “Take eat/drink…this is My body/blood…given into death/shed…for you”. Now one cannot read a person’s mind on this but it cannot help to be seen that giving up on the Word in Genesis is linked once again to the same giving up on the Word in the Sacrament(s). Ultimately it is this same fallen principle that all of us men are tempted to do and the same as to why the Pope denied true justification by faith alone (an article of faith), the Arian heresy (an article of faith), any and all heresies around the two natures (an article of faith), anti-Trinitarians (an article of faith), Zwinglin and Calvin’s heresy on BOTH sacraments (articles of faith), more personally and individual even our own wrestlings with the providence of God in our lives especially when things are going bad (also an article of faith, not seen or felt, hence during severe times it is faith alone in the Worded promise alone, not the experience going on).

    One will easily note the same principle here of symbolism/signism/tropes/etc…argued about Genesis as in all the issues concerning the sacraments, justification, the Trinity, and the two natures. It boils down to not taking the Word spoken, on articles of faith, as is, even against understanding “how this is” (to make room for faith alone), to explain away the spoken Word where alone is assurance. All these are basically the original sin via original temptation, “hath God really said”, then the symbolisms/signage and such theories look appealing to the eye and good for food that gives life, and to make man wise…and so we bite again.

  • larry

    I’m not picking on Kevin here but what he said really brings out the problem so I’m going to humbly borrow his statement for a moment:

    “Like Chaplain Mike, young-Earth creationism in the LCMS was a barrier I could not overcome when we were looking for a church in a new community last year. Unlike Mike, however, we did not consider the ELCA (the denomination I grew up in) as an alternative, so we ended up in a Presbyterian church (PCA) and are very happy there.”
    First, in the broad discussion here over old Vs. new earth as proved or disproved, either one by the other, via science, however one inlays the details of either, it speaks volume to speculation either way versus an article of faith that lays aside either and believes the Word versus making the Word a trope or symbolic or other some such.
    Second, new earth science, relying upon it to “boost faith” can be just as much unbelief as is old earth science. The point of any article of faith, ANY, is that it is not experienced, measured, comprehend, understood by logic (e.g. the finite cannot be contained by the infinite, etc…). In fact every article of faith is absurd to reason by design to “make room for faith” alone, i.e. to the point that faith stand nakedly toward whether it is the trinity, two natures, sacraments, etc… Thus, the creation narrative is taken just like “this is My body” just as spoken by God and by faith alone. To “believe” it based on even young earth science or rooted therein, is in reality not belief or faith alone in the Word alone, but a false faith in sight/experience and subsequent reasoning. Put another way “young earth science” only tags itself with “god” and “bible” language, in reality it could be “young earth science” via secularism, agnosticism or even atheism. It’s the difference in Word alone via faith alone, and experimental/experience/rationalizing via reason parading around as faith.
    Finally, take note what has happened here, keep in mind what the sacraments actually mean from our Lutheran perspective, they are quite literally the Gospel and eternal life itself and variations only lead men astray (one has to keep this essential perspective); a person has actually given up on the sacraments, which is what a move from Lutheran orthodoxy to Reformed/PCA heterodoxy actually is when we speak honestly and forthrightly and not couching our language. Put another way a person has given up, perhaps in innocent ignorance, the sacrament and thus “Take eat/drink…this is My body/blood…given into death/shed…for you”. Now one cannot read a person’s mind on this but it cannot help to be seen that giving up on the Word in Genesis is linked once again to the same giving up on the Word in the Sacrament(s). Ultimately it is this same fallen principle that all of us men are tempted to do and the same as to why the Pope denied true justification by faith alone (an article of faith), the Arian heresy (an article of faith), any and all heresies around the two natures (an article of faith), anti-Trinitarians (an article of faith), Zwinglin and Calvin’s heresy on BOTH sacraments (articles of faith), more personally and individual even our own wrestlings with the providence of God in our lives especially when things are going bad (also an article of faith, not seen or felt, hence during severe times it is faith alone in the Worded promise alone, not the experience going on).

    One will easily note the same principle here of symbolism/signism/tropes/etc…argued about Genesis as in all the issues concerning the sacraments, justification, the Trinity, and the two natures. It boils down to not taking the Word spoken, on articles of faith, as is, even against understanding “how this is” (to make room for faith alone), to explain away the spoken Word where alone is assurance. All these are basically the original sin via original temptation, “hath God really said”, then the symbolisms/signage and such theories look appealing to the eye and good for food that gives life, and to make man wise…and so we bite again.

  • http://concordiaandkoinonia.wordpress.com/ Rev. Mark Schroeder

    Dr. Veith,
    From the LCMS, there is more than one statement on the doctrinal understanding of the creation. I direct your attention to the Commission on Theology and Church Relation’s 1970 statement, Creation in Biblical Perspective: http://www.lcms.org/page.aspx?pid=683. I have found it helpful over the years in teaching in this quick summary of it: Science asks the question “How?” regarding creation and the Scriptures the question “Why?”, i.e. the Lord’s purpose in creating. Here are two germane quotes from the document:
    “As Luther’s explanation of the First Article suggests, our formulation of the doctrine
    of creation should not consist of an attempt to provide
    an explanation of an empirical understanding of the
    process of how things came to be, but should rather
    offer the assertion that the relationship of the world and
    of ourselves to God is that of creature to Creator. Our
    formulation also needs to include the observation that,
    by having called the world into being, God has also
    given it a purpose which is to be fulfilled between creation
    and the consummation of all things.”

    Then at the end of the statement:

    “From the early chapters of Genesis the church
    has drawn those articles of faith which they are manifestly
    intended to teach, namely, God’s creation of all
    things in perfection, the special creation of man in the
    image of God, the corruption of the creature world
    through sin, and the assurance of redemption in Jesus
    Christ. The church has wisely refrained, however, from
    establishing an official interpretation of every exegetical
    detail in these chapters.”

  • http://concordiaandkoinonia.wordpress.com/ Rev. Mark Schroeder

    Dr. Veith,
    From the LCMS, there is more than one statement on the doctrinal understanding of the creation. I direct your attention to the Commission on Theology and Church Relation’s 1970 statement, Creation in Biblical Perspective: http://www.lcms.org/page.aspx?pid=683. I have found it helpful over the years in teaching in this quick summary of it: Science asks the question “How?” regarding creation and the Scriptures the question “Why?”, i.e. the Lord’s purpose in creating. Here are two germane quotes from the document:
    “As Luther’s explanation of the First Article suggests, our formulation of the doctrine
    of creation should not consist of an attempt to provide
    an explanation of an empirical understanding of the
    process of how things came to be, but should rather
    offer the assertion that the relationship of the world and
    of ourselves to God is that of creature to Creator. Our
    formulation also needs to include the observation that,
    by having called the world into being, God has also
    given it a purpose which is to be fulfilled between creation
    and the consummation of all things.”

    Then at the end of the statement:

    “From the early chapters of Genesis the church
    has drawn those articles of faith which they are manifestly
    intended to teach, namely, God’s creation of all
    things in perfection, the special creation of man in the
    image of God, the corruption of the creature world
    through sin, and the assurance of redemption in Jesus
    Christ. The church has wisely refrained, however, from
    establishing an official interpretation of every exegetical
    detail in these chapters.”

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    TUAD @ 104: All that I’m saying is that the experiences of fundamentalism, especially of some Baptistic / evangelical kind (no, not all Baptists / evangelicals are fundies, I am NOT saying that) leaves very, very deep scars. And I will leave it at that.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    TUAD @ 104: All that I’m saying is that the experiences of fundamentalism, especially of some Baptistic / evangelical kind (no, not all Baptists / evangelicals are fundies, I am NOT saying that) leaves very, very deep scars. And I will leave it at that.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Just one small point: Joanne earlier commented on Origen being “embarrased” by the Genesis account, sort-of. That is reading alot of stuff into things. But would it help to note that the non-literal readings of Gesis was also known not only in the early Church, but amongst their Jewish contemporaries as well?

    A summary of discussion of Philo of Alexandria’s work can be found here: http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/philo/book1.html

    A short extract:

    A Book of Laws, says Philo, is fitly prefaced by a Cosmogony. The theme dealt with by a Cosmogony is, indeed, too lofty for adequate treatment. In Moses’ treatment of it, two salient points at once meet the eye. The world’s origin is ascribed to a Maker, who is Himself unoriginate, and who cares for what He has made.

    By “six days” Moses does not indicate a space of time in which the world was made, but the principles of order and productivity which governed its making.

    Before the emergence of the material world there existed, in the Divine Word or Reason, the incorporeal world, as the design of a city exists in the brain of the designer.

    The efficient cause of the universe (we must remember) is Goodness; and Goodness, to be attained by it as its capacity permits, is its final cause.

    The incorporeal world may be described as “the Word of God engaged in the act of creating.” And the Word is the Image of God. In that, man (the part), and therefore the universe (the whole) was created.

    Note the similarity with the quote from Clement I posted yestrday.

    Of course the point is not that Philo, or any other sage, (including Luther), is equal with Scripture. The point is that those who were contemporaries with the Gospel writers, and the early Church councils who combatted the early heresies, and who decided on the Canon of Scripture itself, was well aware of the possibility of the dual treatment of Genesis, and did not consider it an important matter at all. Yet today, it is raised, even by many here, as an acid test of faith, while many other heresies, identified as such even by the early Church, even by those deciding the Canon, are tolerated and even advanced. What is more, this acid test chases many away from the Church. This is a sad, sad state of affairs, ladies and gentlemen.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Just one small point: Joanne earlier commented on Origen being “embarrased” by the Genesis account, sort-of. That is reading alot of stuff into things. But would it help to note that the non-literal readings of Gesis was also known not only in the early Church, but amongst their Jewish contemporaries as well?

    A summary of discussion of Philo of Alexandria’s work can be found here: http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/philo/book1.html

    A short extract:

    A Book of Laws, says Philo, is fitly prefaced by a Cosmogony. The theme dealt with by a Cosmogony is, indeed, too lofty for adequate treatment. In Moses’ treatment of it, two salient points at once meet the eye. The world’s origin is ascribed to a Maker, who is Himself unoriginate, and who cares for what He has made.

    By “six days” Moses does not indicate a space of time in which the world was made, but the principles of order and productivity which governed its making.

    Before the emergence of the material world there existed, in the Divine Word or Reason, the incorporeal world, as the design of a city exists in the brain of the designer.

    The efficient cause of the universe (we must remember) is Goodness; and Goodness, to be attained by it as its capacity permits, is its final cause.

    The incorporeal world may be described as “the Word of God engaged in the act of creating.” And the Word is the Image of God. In that, man (the part), and therefore the universe (the whole) was created.

    Note the similarity with the quote from Clement I posted yestrday.

    Of course the point is not that Philo, or any other sage, (including Luther), is equal with Scripture. The point is that those who were contemporaries with the Gospel writers, and the early Church councils who combatted the early heresies, and who decided on the Canon of Scripture itself, was well aware of the possibility of the dual treatment of Genesis, and did not consider it an important matter at all. Yet today, it is raised, even by many here, as an acid test of faith, while many other heresies, identified as such even by the early Church, even by those deciding the Canon, are tolerated and even advanced. What is more, this acid test chases many away from the Church. This is a sad, sad state of affairs, ladies and gentlemen.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Continued from 117: In fact, embarrasment, or no embarrasement, the “prophecy” of St Augustine have come true, today, in the LCMS and elsewhere:

    If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Continued from 117: In fact, embarrasment, or no embarrasement, the “prophecy” of St Augustine have come true, today, in the LCMS and elsewhere:

    If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?

  • Pingback: God incarnate, Balaam’s ass, the book of Genesis, and faith like a child « theology like a child

  • Pingback: God incarnate, Balaam’s ass, the book of Genesis, and faith like a child « theology like a child

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    I just wrote a post for my blog based on this one. Here it is:

    Although the Christian rejoices to confess the Nicene Creed, for example, he rejoices to hear the Biblical narratives even more. After all, the primary purpose of theological truth extracted from Scriptures in Creeds and Confessions is to fight error when it becomes necessary.

    Hence, when Arius denies that the Son of God always was, the Church, in keeping with the Rule of Faith, goes back to the Scriptures to confirm the truth they have known, however explicitly – that Jesus was the Son of God. Likewise with the other Christological controversies.

    We live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. His words are Spirit and life. We treasure every word of the Word. We rejoice in every jot and tittle of the whole.

    In regards to this, Luther said something to the effect that it would even be unacceptable to deny that Balaam’s ass spoke.

    Of course, there is a difference here in denials. If one says that Jesus was not God, this directly undermines the foundation of the Christian faith. One believing such a thing can have no confidence that such a Jesus is strong enough to save them. Denying that Balaam’s ass spoke does not seem as if it would undermine confidence in the same way.

    And yet – it is easy to see how such a denial could have implications as well (this is not to deny that there are not “open questions”, which the LC-MS has never denied [though not all questions purported to be “open” really are….]). When one picks at one thread, it does not take long for all of it to come apart…. If a “Balaam’s ass did not speak” movement arose and gained momentum, it seems to me that such a notion might need to be addressed in the Church’s confession.

    Very interesting here are the comments of Origen (c.185-254 A.D.), commentating on Genesis 1-3 (found here: http://theologyandculture.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/patristic-writer-origen-literal-genesis-is-foolish/):

    What intelligent person can imagine that there was a first “day,” then a second and a third “day”—evening and morning—without the sun, the moon, and the stars? [Sun, moon, and stars are created on the fourth "day."] And that the first “day”—if it makes sense to call it such—existed even without a sky? [The sky is created on the second "day."]

    Who is foolish enough to believe that, like a human gardener, God planted a garden in Eden in the East and placed in it a tree of life, visible and physical, so that by biting into its fruit one would obtain life? And that by eating from another tree, one would come to know good and evil? And when it is said that God walked in the garden in the evening and that Adam hid himself behind a tree, I cannot imagine that anyone will doubt that these details point symbolically to spiritual meanings, by using an historical narrative which did not literally happen. (p.71)

    Cited from Origen’s “De Principiis“ 4.1.6, translated by Marcus Borg, “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But Not Literally“ (2001).

    Hmm. What does it mean to be child-like? Childish? (literalistic)

    On this thread, which inspired this post, one woman said the following

    Joanne, at comment #82

    The New Testament writers and Jesus take God’s creation account at face value. They believe it. The Hellenes found that account and pretty much all of the plan of salvation to be a scandal. The Hellenes great philosophical knowledge (we call much of it science), convinced them that the world simply does not agree with God’s account.

    From day one, Christians maintained the creation account against the erudite Hellenes. As the quotes from Origen so clearly indicate, highly educated Hellenes who converted to Christianity were deeply embarrassed by its simplicity and its simple Greek. Surely, collating Christian belief with Hellenic philosophy, what we would call science today, would greatly improve Christianity in the eyes of the wise.

    By which I mean to say that the unbelievers have always been modern and wise in the knowledge of this world. It was not in their nature to believe miracle stories or simplistic accounts of creation. In every age the believers are a stumbling block to the Jews and a scandal to the Hellenes.

    And God’s simple message just might be, “believe my simple stories and you will live with me forever.”

    On the other hand, another, Kitty at comment #84, said this:

    “It’s almost like we earn extra points for being crass literalists. Or was metaphor a product of our fallen nature? Or perhaps it’s the handiwork of the devil?”

    The whole thread is worth reading, I think.

    What does it mean to be child-like? Childish? And what do we make of the fact that Luther evidently believed animals died before the fall (see comment #2 and this for more)

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    I just wrote a post for my blog based on this one. Here it is:

    Although the Christian rejoices to confess the Nicene Creed, for example, he rejoices to hear the Biblical narratives even more. After all, the primary purpose of theological truth extracted from Scriptures in Creeds and Confessions is to fight error when it becomes necessary.

    Hence, when Arius denies that the Son of God always was, the Church, in keeping with the Rule of Faith, goes back to the Scriptures to confirm the truth they have known, however explicitly – that Jesus was the Son of God. Likewise with the other Christological controversies.

    We live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. His words are Spirit and life. We treasure every word of the Word. We rejoice in every jot and tittle of the whole.

    In regards to this, Luther said something to the effect that it would even be unacceptable to deny that Balaam’s ass spoke.

    Of course, there is a difference here in denials. If one says that Jesus was not God, this directly undermines the foundation of the Christian faith. One believing such a thing can have no confidence that such a Jesus is strong enough to save them. Denying that Balaam’s ass spoke does not seem as if it would undermine confidence in the same way.

    And yet – it is easy to see how such a denial could have implications as well (this is not to deny that there are not “open questions”, which the LC-MS has never denied [though not all questions purported to be “open” really are….]). When one picks at one thread, it does not take long for all of it to come apart…. If a “Balaam’s ass did not speak” movement arose and gained momentum, it seems to me that such a notion might need to be addressed in the Church’s confession.

    Very interesting here are the comments of Origen (c.185-254 A.D.), commentating on Genesis 1-3 (found here: http://theologyandculture.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/patristic-writer-origen-literal-genesis-is-foolish/):

    What intelligent person can imagine that there was a first “day,” then a second and a third “day”—evening and morning—without the sun, the moon, and the stars? [Sun, moon, and stars are created on the fourth "day."] And that the first “day”—if it makes sense to call it such—existed even without a sky? [The sky is created on the second "day."]

    Who is foolish enough to believe that, like a human gardener, God planted a garden in Eden in the East and placed in it a tree of life, visible and physical, so that by biting into its fruit one would obtain life? And that by eating from another tree, one would come to know good and evil? And when it is said that God walked in the garden in the evening and that Adam hid himself behind a tree, I cannot imagine that anyone will doubt that these details point symbolically to spiritual meanings, by using an historical narrative which did not literally happen. (p.71)

    Cited from Origen’s “De Principiis“ 4.1.6, translated by Marcus Borg, “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But Not Literally“ (2001).

    Hmm. What does it mean to be child-like? Childish? (literalistic)

    On this thread, which inspired this post, one woman said the following

    Joanne, at comment #82

    The New Testament writers and Jesus take God’s creation account at face value. They believe it. The Hellenes found that account and pretty much all of the plan of salvation to be a scandal. The Hellenes great philosophical knowledge (we call much of it science), convinced them that the world simply does not agree with God’s account.

    From day one, Christians maintained the creation account against the erudite Hellenes. As the quotes from Origen so clearly indicate, highly educated Hellenes who converted to Christianity were deeply embarrassed by its simplicity and its simple Greek. Surely, collating Christian belief with Hellenic philosophy, what we would call science today, would greatly improve Christianity in the eyes of the wise.

    By which I mean to say that the unbelievers have always been modern and wise in the knowledge of this world. It was not in their nature to believe miracle stories or simplistic accounts of creation. In every age the believers are a stumbling block to the Jews and a scandal to the Hellenes.

    And God’s simple message just might be, “believe my simple stories and you will live with me forever.”

    On the other hand, another, Kitty at comment #84, said this:

    “It’s almost like we earn extra points for being crass literalists. Or was metaphor a product of our fallen nature? Or perhaps it’s the handiwork of the devil?”

    The whole thread is worth reading, I think.

    What does it mean to be child-like? Childish? And what do we make of the fact that Luther evidently believed animals died before the fall (see comment #2 and this for more)

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Whoops.

    What does it mean to be child-like? Childish? And what do we make of the fact that Luther evidently believed animals died before the fall (see comment #2 here: http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2010/05/thanks-for-responses.html and this for more: http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2010/05/response-to-george-some-notes-of.html)

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Whoops.

    What does it mean to be child-like? Childish? And what do we make of the fact that Luther evidently believed animals died before the fall (see comment #2 here: http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2010/05/thanks-for-responses.html and this for more: http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2010/05/response-to-george-some-notes-of.html)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    In the one ear, and out the other. Or since this is a blog, can we say “eye”?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    In the one ear, and out the other. Or since this is a blog, can we say “eye”?

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Klasie Kraalogies,

    Thanks for your explanation above. I appreciate the smarts you bring to this. I hope to have time to read it more thoroughly and maybe ask you some more questions, if you are willing.

    I am wondering if you are familiar with Dr. Terry Mortenson, and what you might think of his work?

    Also, have you read this?: http://www.reasonablehope.com/node/117 (from a man with a PhD in geology who evidently does not agree with you).

    My knowledge of geology is slim (the article above seemed sensible to me as a non-expert…)

    +Nathan

    Here is more of what I’ve written on all this stuff, if intersted: http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/blank-slates-babies-and-beyond-of-evolution-and-epistemology-part-viii-of-viii/

    Yes, that quote from Augustine is worth pondering…

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Klasie Kraalogies,

    Thanks for your explanation above. I appreciate the smarts you bring to this. I hope to have time to read it more thoroughly and maybe ask you some more questions, if you are willing.

    I am wondering if you are familiar with Dr. Terry Mortenson, and what you might think of his work?

    Also, have you read this?: http://www.reasonablehope.com/node/117 (from a man with a PhD in geology who evidently does not agree with you).

    My knowledge of geology is slim (the article above seemed sensible to me as a non-expert…)

    +Nathan

    Here is more of what I’ve written on all this stuff, if intersted: http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/blank-slates-babies-and-beyond-of-evolution-and-epistemology-part-viii-of-viii/

    Yes, that quote from Augustine is worth pondering…

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Klasie,

    Clarification: were you referring to me? I read up to comment #112, composed my remarks, posted them, and then saw all the other stuff, but if you were referring to me, I am not clear how my missing all the other comments post-#112 would lead you to comment as you did.

    I am trying to keep an open mind here – really. Ever since I learned that Luther believed animals died before the fall, I have become more interested in this question.

    Thanks.

    +Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Klasie,

    Clarification: were you referring to me? I read up to comment #112, composed my remarks, posted them, and then saw all the other stuff, but if you were referring to me, I am not clear how my missing all the other comments post-#112 would lead you to comment as you did.

    I am trying to keep an open mind here – really. Ever since I learned that Luther believed animals died before the fall, I have become more interested in this question.

    Thanks.

    +Nathan

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Nathan, I have generally stopped arguing with “Creationist” science, because every single argument has been effectively disproven. I would encourage you to read Kevin N’s blog, the Geochristian, and especially his section, referenced on the front page “best of the Geochristian”. Most, if not all of the so-called geological objections raised in your link are answered soundly there. (http://geochristian.wordpress.com/)

    Other, general objections are met at Answers in Creation, a bunch of folks that specialize in answering the arguments of folks like those at ICR, AIG and others. (http://www.answersincreation.org/).

    The “facts” of the movie “Expelled” have also been thoroughly examine at the following site – http://www.expelledexposed.com/ and found to be seriously wanting.

    A general observation about the article is that it references a lot of a small group of folks that are already “converts” so to speak – Sproul and others, plus a number of guys at ICR, some of whose ideas have already been rejected by ICR itself (Humpreys for instance). It also is entirely inconsistent, in that it grabs at all straws, jumping from radiometric dating is false to science actually shows things are young to apparent age is ok arguments. It reads like a crank’s publication – it reminds me of those Antroposophic and homeopathic type writings I once slightly indulged in (never could quite buy it though, the force was to strong with me :) ). Hopefully that doesn’t offend you.

    PS (ref #123): General comment – people will read, and miss it all. Thus it happens, 995 of the time. I do appreciate your honest enquiry though. Ask away.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Nathan, I have generally stopped arguing with “Creationist” science, because every single argument has been effectively disproven. I would encourage you to read Kevin N’s blog, the Geochristian, and especially his section, referenced on the front page “best of the Geochristian”. Most, if not all of the so-called geological objections raised in your link are answered soundly there. (http://geochristian.wordpress.com/)

    Other, general objections are met at Answers in Creation, a bunch of folks that specialize in answering the arguments of folks like those at ICR, AIG and others. (http://www.answersincreation.org/).

    The “facts” of the movie “Expelled” have also been thoroughly examine at the following site – http://www.expelledexposed.com/ and found to be seriously wanting.

    A general observation about the article is that it references a lot of a small group of folks that are already “converts” so to speak – Sproul and others, plus a number of guys at ICR, some of whose ideas have already been rejected by ICR itself (Humpreys for instance). It also is entirely inconsistent, in that it grabs at all straws, jumping from radiometric dating is false to science actually shows things are young to apparent age is ok arguments. It reads like a crank’s publication – it reminds me of those Antroposophic and homeopathic type writings I once slightly indulged in (never could quite buy it though, the force was to strong with me :) ). Hopefully that doesn’t offend you.

    PS (ref #123): General comment – people will read, and miss it all. Thus it happens, 995 of the time. I do appreciate your honest enquiry though. Ask away.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Nathan, my answer to you is awaiting moderation – too many links. Be patient.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Nathan, my answer to you is awaiting moderation – too many links. Be patient.

  • Tom Hering

    Where can one find the Luther quote about animals dying before the Fall? Just curious.

  • Tom Hering

    Where can one find the Luther quote about animals dying before the Fall? Just curious.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Tom,

    I admit that I don’t know (hence the qualifier “evidently”, which I did not put in the second time….) Dr. Jack Kilcrease probably does though:

    http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2010/05/thanks-for-responses.html (comment #2)

    Klasie,

    No prob. I won’t be commenting again today (need to catch up now).

    +Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Tom,

    I admit that I don’t know (hence the qualifier “evidently”, which I did not put in the second time….) Dr. Jack Kilcrease probably does though:

    http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2010/05/thanks-for-responses.html (comment #2)

    Klasie,

    No prob. I won’t be commenting again today (need to catch up now).

    +Nathan

  • kerner

    Klasie:

    Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed comment. As you know, I am an attorney and I am frequently called upon to cross-examine (i.e. try to out smart) experts in fields which I have not studied extensively. I am going to try to resist the temptation to play that game here. First of all, I don’t think I can (not if I want to get any work done today, anyway). But more importantly, I don’t think it would be productive in this forum.

    But I would like you to address one point which I put to Webmonk @93 (the same comment that you responded to), to which Webmonk never responded. I said:

    Besides, from what little I know of theoretical science, its purpose is not to conclusively prove historical facts so much as it is to generate rules that allow us to predict outcomes in useful ways. For example, Einstein’s theory that nothing can go faster than the speed of light has proven to be a solid foundational rule upon which we have been able to accurately explain and predict a lot of practical phenomena. In other words, the observable universe works as though Einstein’s theory were fact. Except that it isn’t. Recently, scientists have discovered a particle that travels faster than light. So, the foundation of most of what we “know” is wrong. The irony of that is that Einstein’s theory, even though wrong, is still useful, because it does accurately predict phenomena in ways that we can put to practical use.

    Let me elaborate. (But before I do, I must concede that the research on the velocity of the neutrino is ongoing, as it should be). But on a larger scale, what I was talking about was this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory

    COnsider these exerpts. First from Steven Hawking:

    Echoing the scientific philosopher Karl Popper, Stephen Hawking in A Brief History of Time states, “A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations.” He goes on to state, “Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.” The “unprovable but falsifiable” nature of theories is a necessary consequence of using inductive logic.

    And next from Isaac Asimov:

    “. An assumption according to Asimov is…

    …something accepted without proof, and it is incorrect to speak of an assumption as either true or false, since there is no way of proving it to be either (If there were, it would no longer be an assumption). It is better to consider assumptions as either useful or useless, depending on whether deductions made from them corresponded to reality. … On the other hand, it seems obvious that assumptions are the weak points in any argument, as they have to be accepted on faith in a philosophy of science that prides itself on its rationalism. Since we must start somewhere, we must have assumptions, but at least let us have as few assumptions as possible.

    The point being, that all scientific theories are unproveable in the absolute sense. What matters often is not whether they are true, but whether they are, as Asimov says, “useful”. Take the example of you, working in the mining profession. The various scientific theories used to conclude that the earth is very old are useful to you. If you assume them to be true, they help you reliable find oil, thus enriching your employers and yourself (a theory can’t get more useful than that).

  • kerner

    Klasie:

    Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed comment. As you know, I am an attorney and I am frequently called upon to cross-examine (i.e. try to out smart) experts in fields which I have not studied extensively. I am going to try to resist the temptation to play that game here. First of all, I don’t think I can (not if I want to get any work done today, anyway). But more importantly, I don’t think it would be productive in this forum.

    But I would like you to address one point which I put to Webmonk @93 (the same comment that you responded to), to which Webmonk never responded. I said:

    Besides, from what little I know of theoretical science, its purpose is not to conclusively prove historical facts so much as it is to generate rules that allow us to predict outcomes in useful ways. For example, Einstein’s theory that nothing can go faster than the speed of light has proven to be a solid foundational rule upon which we have been able to accurately explain and predict a lot of practical phenomena. In other words, the observable universe works as though Einstein’s theory were fact. Except that it isn’t. Recently, scientists have discovered a particle that travels faster than light. So, the foundation of most of what we “know” is wrong. The irony of that is that Einstein’s theory, even though wrong, is still useful, because it does accurately predict phenomena in ways that we can put to practical use.

    Let me elaborate. (But before I do, I must concede that the research on the velocity of the neutrino is ongoing, as it should be). But on a larger scale, what I was talking about was this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory

    COnsider these exerpts. First from Steven Hawking:

    Echoing the scientific philosopher Karl Popper, Stephen Hawking in A Brief History of Time states, “A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations.” He goes on to state, “Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.” The “unprovable but falsifiable” nature of theories is a necessary consequence of using inductive logic.

    And next from Isaac Asimov:

    “. An assumption according to Asimov is…

    …something accepted without proof, and it is incorrect to speak of an assumption as either true or false, since there is no way of proving it to be either (If there were, it would no longer be an assumption). It is better to consider assumptions as either useful or useless, depending on whether deductions made from them corresponded to reality. … On the other hand, it seems obvious that assumptions are the weak points in any argument, as they have to be accepted on faith in a philosophy of science that prides itself on its rationalism. Since we must start somewhere, we must have assumptions, but at least let us have as few assumptions as possible.

    The point being, that all scientific theories are unproveable in the absolute sense. What matters often is not whether they are true, but whether they are, as Asimov says, “useful”. Take the example of you, working in the mining profession. The various scientific theories used to conclude that the earth is very old are useful to you. If you assume them to be true, they help you reliable find oil, thus enriching your employers and yourself (a theory can’t get more useful than that).

  • kerner

    continued:

    But before you absolutely conclude (from the fact that these theories are insttrumental in vocation of any mining professional) that the earth is, without question, very old, please consider the following. Another exerpt:

    An example of how theories are models can be seen from theories on the planetary system. The Greeks formulated theories, which the astronomer Ptolemy recorded. In Ptolemy’s planetary model, the earth was at the center, the planets and the sun made circular orbits around the earth, and the stars were on a sphere outside of the orbits of the planet and the earth. Retrograde motion of the planets was explained by smaller circular orbits of individual planets. This could be illustrated as a model, and could even be built into a literal model. Mathematical calculations could be made that predicted, to a great degree of accuracy, where the planets would be. His model of the planetary system survived for over 1500 years until the time of Copernicus. So one can see that a theory is a “model of reality” that explains certain scientific facts; yet, the theory may not be a satisfactory picture of reality. Another, more acceptable, theory can later replace the previous model. For example, compare the early Ptolemaic theory, with its circles within circles, fine adjustments, and numerous ad hoc assumptions, to the Copernican theory; the former is overly complex, while the latter is simple and parsimonious. Or a new theory can be used to modify an older theory as when Einstein modified Newtonian mechanics (which is still used for computing planetary orbits or modeling spacecraft trajectories) with his theories of relativity.

    The Ptolemaic scientific theory of astronomy enabled astronomers to accurately predict the location of the planets for 1,500 years before it was disproven. If we wanted to, we could still use it for that purpose today. How do you know that our modern scientific theories, which enable you to reliably find oil, are any more true than the ancient scientific theories that enabled Ptolemy to accurately locate planets and stars? The fact is, you don’t. But you, and your fellow mining professionals are not concerned with that possibility, because it is irrelevant to your goal (finding oil).

    Another good example of this is Newton’s Law of Gravitational Motion, which allow humans to accurately describe and predict mechanical phenomena in the physical universe (such as humans had the ability to observe it in that time) for centuries. Until it was superceded by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Now, if the scientists are correct, Einstein may be superceded by something new after a mere century or so.

    The point is, the fact that you can use modern scientific theories to reliably find oil every day does not make them (or the conclusion that the earth is very old) true. It merely makes those theories true enough to be useful.

  • kerner

    continued:

    But before you absolutely conclude (from the fact that these theories are insttrumental in vocation of any mining professional) that the earth is, without question, very old, please consider the following. Another exerpt:

    An example of how theories are models can be seen from theories on the planetary system. The Greeks formulated theories, which the astronomer Ptolemy recorded. In Ptolemy’s planetary model, the earth was at the center, the planets and the sun made circular orbits around the earth, and the stars were on a sphere outside of the orbits of the planet and the earth. Retrograde motion of the planets was explained by smaller circular orbits of individual planets. This could be illustrated as a model, and could even be built into a literal model. Mathematical calculations could be made that predicted, to a great degree of accuracy, where the planets would be. His model of the planetary system survived for over 1500 years until the time of Copernicus. So one can see that a theory is a “model of reality” that explains certain scientific facts; yet, the theory may not be a satisfactory picture of reality. Another, more acceptable, theory can later replace the previous model. For example, compare the early Ptolemaic theory, with its circles within circles, fine adjustments, and numerous ad hoc assumptions, to the Copernican theory; the former is overly complex, while the latter is simple and parsimonious. Or a new theory can be used to modify an older theory as when Einstein modified Newtonian mechanics (which is still used for computing planetary orbits or modeling spacecraft trajectories) with his theories of relativity.

    The Ptolemaic scientific theory of astronomy enabled astronomers to accurately predict the location of the planets for 1,500 years before it was disproven. If we wanted to, we could still use it for that purpose today. How do you know that our modern scientific theories, which enable you to reliably find oil, are any more true than the ancient scientific theories that enabled Ptolemy to accurately locate planets and stars? The fact is, you don’t. But you, and your fellow mining professionals are not concerned with that possibility, because it is irrelevant to your goal (finding oil).

    Another good example of this is Newton’s Law of Gravitational Motion, which allow humans to accurately describe and predict mechanical phenomena in the physical universe (such as humans had the ability to observe it in that time) for centuries. Until it was superceded by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Now, if the scientists are correct, Einstein may be superceded by something new after a mere century or so.

    The point is, the fact that you can use modern scientific theories to reliably find oil every day does not make them (or the conclusion that the earth is very old) true. It merely makes those theories true enough to be useful.

  • kerner

    Continued:

    I read Kevin’s post on the geological column, and I noticed that he was unmoved by the discovery of a living coelocanth in the Indian Ocean. He said that it would require the discovery of a mastodon in the Devonian period to shake his faith. A living coelocanth was a “little thing”. I have to respectfully disagree. How is it a “little” thing that coelocanths not only exist in our own time, but have existed for about 66.4 milion years without leaving any foscil record at all? What does that say about the completeness of the data yielded from foscil records, if a species can apparently survive for 66.4 million years and leave no foscil record at all?

    What I think it must say, is that the formation of foscils is not a regularly occuring event. If the formation of coelocanth foscils is something that seems to occur a few times, and then not happen at all for 66.4 million years, then the conditions that form foscils must be such that they don’t happen very often, and the data they DON’T record is exponentially much much more than the data that they DO record.

    The point here is that conclusions about the past based on data (the coelocanths we know about) that must be a miniscule fraction of the actual data (all those billions, or more, of living coelocanths going unnoticed down through the ages), are not of much value as conclusions about the past.

    This remains true, even if the assumptions derived from that miniscule sliver of data ARE useful to enable modern men to reliably find oil.

  • kerner

    Continued:

    I read Kevin’s post on the geological column, and I noticed that he was unmoved by the discovery of a living coelocanth in the Indian Ocean. He said that it would require the discovery of a mastodon in the Devonian period to shake his faith. A living coelocanth was a “little thing”. I have to respectfully disagree. How is it a “little” thing that coelocanths not only exist in our own time, but have existed for about 66.4 milion years without leaving any foscil record at all? What does that say about the completeness of the data yielded from foscil records, if a species can apparently survive for 66.4 million years and leave no foscil record at all?

    What I think it must say, is that the formation of foscils is not a regularly occuring event. If the formation of coelocanth foscils is something that seems to occur a few times, and then not happen at all for 66.4 million years, then the conditions that form foscils must be such that they don’t happen very often, and the data they DON’T record is exponentially much much more than the data that they DO record.

    The point here is that conclusions about the past based on data (the coelocanths we know about) that must be a miniscule fraction of the actual data (all those billions, or more, of living coelocanths going unnoticed down through the ages), are not of much value as conclusions about the past.

    This remains true, even if the assumptions derived from that miniscule sliver of data ARE useful to enable modern men to reliably find oil.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    kerner,

    Stopping in real quick. Those gmail alerts always get me…. : )

    Good points.

    This is what I argued in my first post of the series I linked to above (to Klasie):

    http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/blank-slates-babies-and-beyond-of-evolution-and-epistemology-part-1/

    (see last couple paragraphs)

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    kerner,

    Stopping in real quick. Those gmail alerts always get me…. : )

    Good points.

    This is what I argued in my first post of the series I linked to above (to Klasie):

    http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/blank-slates-babies-and-beyond-of-evolution-and-epistemology-part-1/

    (see last couple paragraphs)

  • kerner

    Thanks, Nathan, but I notice I spelled both coelacanth and fossil incorrectly. argh.

  • kerner

    Thanks, Nathan, but I notice I spelled both coelacanth and fossil incorrectly. argh.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner, I’ll try and answer you here, but really this is a conversation for a table, two easy chairs, spicy snacks and good supply of beer…..

    Ok. I fully understand your concern, and it is one I have “toyed with” in the past. So I’ll attempt to answer it using your Newton-Einstein example, noting that geology is a lot more “concrete” than physics :)

    Einstein’s relativity, Special or General, did not supercede Newton. Newton is still true. We still used Newton to place Neil Armstrong on the moon. Newton merely became special case of Einstein. Any engineer (that is, Civil, Mechanical, Aeronautical and similar derivatives) today uses Newton all the time. Not Einstein. And while the jury is still out on the new discoveries (hasn’t been definitively declared as violating Relativity), I’m not commenting on that, yet.

    So, with relativity out there, we do not say – If I through this rock, it will not land here , but on the other side of the planet, since Newton is wrong. Not at all.

    But in Geology we are talking, and I tried to stress that, not about one “witness”, but about several indepenadant, but corroborating witnesses. A whole big puzzle in fact.

    If you go back to you role as attorney, think of it like this: Sure we have the suspect on the CCTV (let’s say this is radiometric dating). But we also have fingerprints, DNA, fabric stands, particles from under their shoes – a whole CSI fiesta. All from independant labs, all telling the same general story.

    We are not taking about one theory superceding, or creating a special case out of another. We are talking about so many strands of evidence and theory, we have a veritable Persian Carpet here.

    Furthermore, on a personal level, I told myself – ok let’s presume the theories are all wrong, or mistaken. Can we fit the evidence into a literal Genesis narrative? And the answer would be like – can we prove that King Richard Lionheart rose from the dead, charged over the grassy knoll and shot JFK? Hmmm, let me think about that one. Honestly, I somehow have doubts….. Or, can we prove that, ah well, i think you get the idea. No matter of contortion, either with the data, or with logic, is going to work. Of course, that doesnt mean that I as a geologist is/can afford to be cocksure about what I say – never. And very few are. Of course you do find the occassional Dawkins and co. But he is a popularizer. And popularizers cannot afford to appear thoughtful / doubtful / generous – it is not good for business.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner, I’ll try and answer you here, but really this is a conversation for a table, two easy chairs, spicy snacks and good supply of beer…..

    Ok. I fully understand your concern, and it is one I have “toyed with” in the past. So I’ll attempt to answer it using your Newton-Einstein example, noting that geology is a lot more “concrete” than physics :)

    Einstein’s relativity, Special or General, did not supercede Newton. Newton is still true. We still used Newton to place Neil Armstrong on the moon. Newton merely became special case of Einstein. Any engineer (that is, Civil, Mechanical, Aeronautical and similar derivatives) today uses Newton all the time. Not Einstein. And while the jury is still out on the new discoveries (hasn’t been definitively declared as violating Relativity), I’m not commenting on that, yet.

    So, with relativity out there, we do not say – If I through this rock, it will not land here , but on the other side of the planet, since Newton is wrong. Not at all.

    But in Geology we are talking, and I tried to stress that, not about one “witness”, but about several indepenadant, but corroborating witnesses. A whole big puzzle in fact.

    If you go back to you role as attorney, think of it like this: Sure we have the suspect on the CCTV (let’s say this is radiometric dating). But we also have fingerprints, DNA, fabric stands, particles from under their shoes – a whole CSI fiesta. All from independant labs, all telling the same general story.

    We are not taking about one theory superceding, or creating a special case out of another. We are talking about so many strands of evidence and theory, we have a veritable Persian Carpet here.

    Furthermore, on a personal level, I told myself – ok let’s presume the theories are all wrong, or mistaken. Can we fit the evidence into a literal Genesis narrative? And the answer would be like – can we prove that King Richard Lionheart rose from the dead, charged over the grassy knoll and shot JFK? Hmmm, let me think about that one. Honestly, I somehow have doubts….. Or, can we prove that, ah well, i think you get the idea. No matter of contortion, either with the data, or with logic, is going to work. Of course, that doesnt mean that I as a geologist is/can afford to be cocksure about what I say – never. And very few are. Of course you do find the occassional Dawkins and co. But he is a popularizer. And popularizers cannot afford to appear thoughtful / doubtful / generous – it is not good for business.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner – did not see your third post. There is no reason to assume that an organism HAS to go extinct, merely that the chances are very high. So, we have coelacanths, but also crocodiles. And my oh my, we still have stromatolites today, most notably on the coast of Western Australia – over 2.7 billion years after the first absolutely confirmed stromatolite of microbial origin.

    The idea that something (completely) changes into something else as a description of evolution is a common misconception. Think of it as tree branches, with divergence etc. Sometimes, some early branches just go on surviving.

    And I do hope that the little side issue is not the main thing you are taking away from Kevin’s very good explanation….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner – did not see your third post. There is no reason to assume that an organism HAS to go extinct, merely that the chances are very high. So, we have coelacanths, but also crocodiles. And my oh my, we still have stromatolites today, most notably on the coast of Western Australia – over 2.7 billion years after the first absolutely confirmed stromatolite of microbial origin.

    The idea that something (completely) changes into something else as a description of evolution is a common misconception. Think of it as tree branches, with divergence etc. Sometimes, some early branches just go on surviving.

    And I do hope that the little side issue is not the main thing you are taking away from Kevin’s very good explanation….

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Rick Ritchie, J. Dettman, et al,

    Can a parish’s LCMS pastor(s) not be a member of the synod?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Rick Ritchie, J. Dettman, et al,

    Can a parish’s LCMS pastor(s) not be a member of the synod?

  • kerner

    Klasie:

    Someday I shall visit Saskatchewan in a vehicle filled with spicy snacks and beer, if you will provide the easy chairs and table. Or perhaps, vice versa, you should visit Wisconsin. :D

  • kerner

    Klasie:

    Someday I shall visit Saskatchewan in a vehicle filled with spicy snacks and beer, if you will provide the easy chairs and table. Or perhaps, vice versa, you should visit Wisconsin. :D

  • kerner

    TU&D@ 134
    no.

  • kerner

    TU&D@ 134
    no.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner – it is a date – someday. Note though, I brew my own, and my wife is a an excellent baker/chef, plus she gets a staff discount at the European-style deli/bistro where she works. Plus summer evenings here can get very long (twilight lingers till 11 or so). So, with those multiple strands of data, my theory is that you visiting me is a better idea ;) ;)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner – it is a date – someday. Note though, I brew my own, and my wife is a an excellent baker/chef, plus she gets a staff discount at the European-style deli/bistro where she works. Plus summer evenings here can get very long (twilight lingers till 11 or so). So, with those multiple strands of data, my theory is that you visiting me is a better idea ;) ;)

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Logical deduction from Kerner in #136: All LCMS pastors are members of the LCMS synod.

    J. Dettman, #86: “All Synod members and congregations pledge themselves to Brief Statement. Evolutionist Missouri Synod churchworkers are manifest hypocrites. If they wanted to be honest with themselves, they would leave the Missouri Synod instead of trying to propagate their ideas to those who have been taught to regard them as doctrinally sound.

    All synod members sign a statement which acknowledges their subscription to the Constitution of the Synod. By subscribing to the Synod Constitution they pledge themselves to the doctrinal statements of the Synod passed by the convention and the Synod’s member congregations.”

    Several questions arise:

    (1) Is it obligatory for a LCMS pastor (who is also a synod member) to teach his parish members (either directly or indirectly) the contents of the 1932 LCMS doctrinal statements?

    (2) Suppose a parish member (who’s also a synod member) realizes that his LCMS pastor teaches doctrine contrary to the 1932 LCMS doctrinal statements. Eg., the LCMS pastor teaches theistic evolution that lasted much longer than 7 days, what should the parish member do?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Logical deduction from Kerner in #136: All LCMS pastors are members of the LCMS synod.

    J. Dettman, #86: “All Synod members and congregations pledge themselves to Brief Statement. Evolutionist Missouri Synod churchworkers are manifest hypocrites. If they wanted to be honest with themselves, they would leave the Missouri Synod instead of trying to propagate their ideas to those who have been taught to regard them as doctrinally sound.

    All synod members sign a statement which acknowledges their subscription to the Constitution of the Synod. By subscribing to the Synod Constitution they pledge themselves to the doctrinal statements of the Synod passed by the convention and the Synod’s member congregations.”

    Several questions arise:

    (1) Is it obligatory for a LCMS pastor (who is also a synod member) to teach his parish members (either directly or indirectly) the contents of the 1932 LCMS doctrinal statements?

    (2) Suppose a parish member (who’s also a synod member) realizes that his LCMS pastor teaches doctrine contrary to the 1932 LCMS doctrinal statements. Eg., the LCMS pastor teaches theistic evolution that lasted much longer than 7 days, what should the parish member do?

  • Jon

    If s/he’s not down with it, too, then s/he should go find a different church. I doubt that the district or synod would censure the pastor over this because it is a “gnat” not a “camel.”

  • Jon

    If s/he’s not down with it, too, then s/he should go find a different church. I doubt that the district or synod would censure the pastor over this because it is a “gnat” not a “camel.”

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “If s/he’s not down with it, too, then s/he should go find a different church. I doubt that the district or synod would censure the pastor over this because it is a “gnat” not a “camel.”

    Okay.

    But I’m unclear as to why a LCMS pastor breaking his Synod’s Constitution should be considered a “gnat.”

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “If s/he’s not down with it, too, then s/he should go find a different church. I doubt that the district or synod would censure the pastor over this because it is a “gnat” not a “camel.”

    Okay.

    But I’m unclear as to why a LCMS pastor breaking his Synod’s Constitution should be considered a “gnat.”

  • Jon

    Me, too. Maybe Bror can explain.

  • Jon

    Me, too. Maybe Bror can explain.

  • kerner

    Maybe Bror can explain better than I, but I’m pretty sure that the autonomy that LC-MS congregations enjoy will have a lot to do with it. In the LC-MS, we could have a rigid, top down, hierarchy of authority, as some other Lutheran Synods do, but that is not our polity. It is very difficult to remove a “member” pastor or congregation from fellowship without clear evidence that the member has adopted an heretical position that conflicts with the Lutheran Confessions. On an issue outside the scope of the Lutheran Confessions, but merely adopted by the synod in convention, the accuser would first have to show that the accused was violating a Biblical principle. If the accused were to show in reply that his position was within a grey enough area such that it could be open to interpretation, the accused would not be removed from fellowship. It isn’t that hard to stay just on the safe side of not directly contradicting a resolution adopted in convention, but only questioning and debating it. Pinning down an accused pastor would be difficult, and an accuser would have to feel very strongly and have a pretty strong case before he would even attempt to assert such an accusation. Plus, if the pastor’s congregation likes him, the synod would be in a position of telling a congregation how to relate to its pastor. And that would be difficult too.

  • kerner

    Maybe Bror can explain better than I, but I’m pretty sure that the autonomy that LC-MS congregations enjoy will have a lot to do with it. In the LC-MS, we could have a rigid, top down, hierarchy of authority, as some other Lutheran Synods do, but that is not our polity. It is very difficult to remove a “member” pastor or congregation from fellowship without clear evidence that the member has adopted an heretical position that conflicts with the Lutheran Confessions. On an issue outside the scope of the Lutheran Confessions, but merely adopted by the synod in convention, the accuser would first have to show that the accused was violating a Biblical principle. If the accused were to show in reply that his position was within a grey enough area such that it could be open to interpretation, the accused would not be removed from fellowship. It isn’t that hard to stay just on the safe side of not directly contradicting a resolution adopted in convention, but only questioning and debating it. Pinning down an accused pastor would be difficult, and an accuser would have to feel very strongly and have a pretty strong case before he would even attempt to assert such an accusation. Plus, if the pastor’s congregation likes him, the synod would be in a position of telling a congregation how to relate to its pastor. And that would be difficult too.

  • larry

    “To another point, the reformed axiom that the finite cannot contain the infinite has broader implications than just Holy Communion.”

    Dennis you are precisely on the mark it is much broader than most realize than simply the sacrament and this Luther realized at Marburg. Someone once told me that Dr. Rosenbladt was talking with his friend Dr. Sproul, and Dr. Sproul said, “surely you don’t believe that the finite can contain the infinite”. Dr. Rosenbladt replied, “Sure I do, the incarnation”. And I’m paraphrasing what I was told.

    Few words but an extremely deep point! And this even goes further into the entire issue of communication of attributes, which in turn plays out in the very imputation of our sin to Christ and His righteousness to us, and thus in reality to truly “justification by faith alone”. And this, ultimately, overthrows Aristotle that was, as my good brother and friend Frank has often said, ‘the baptism of Aristotle’ (his philosophy) into church doctrine (doctrines retained by Zwingli and Calvin and successors). Many see and grasp in Luther’s HD the first theological thesis but, and Lutherans too, they miss the weight of his consecutive philosophical thesis in the same that start out by a stunning “one should be thoroughly foolish in Christ before engaging Aristotle to the danger of his soul” (my paraphrase). And he doesn’t mean just formerly those who study and engage in Aristotle the man formerly but the fallen heathen principles of philosophy which are quite natural to fallen man. Luther also stunningly makes what appears to be disconnected statements in those philosophical thesis, but that’s because by large and far the issue on communication of attributes has been lost and hence imputation. So, he seems to go in the direction of Laws of nature about Aristotle and Plato and the universe. But laws of nature and laws of (we’d say) morality kind are not unlike or unlinked, and these are the way natural fallen man sees religion, even (falsely) the Christian religion. The damnable damage of Aristotle has plagued the church well beyond Rome and into the sacramentarian churches (and some Lutherans). In a sense, Zwingli, Calvin and their successors and connected heirs and eschew heirs (e.g. baptist) were nothing more than the deformalized and deregulated, if you will, schools of theology under the rule of Rome before hand. They basically retained in various forms Aristotle baptized and being released from the “rule of Rome” have more perfected it.

  • larry

    “To another point, the reformed axiom that the finite cannot contain the infinite has broader implications than just Holy Communion.”

    Dennis you are precisely on the mark it is much broader than most realize than simply the sacrament and this Luther realized at Marburg. Someone once told me that Dr. Rosenbladt was talking with his friend Dr. Sproul, and Dr. Sproul said, “surely you don’t believe that the finite can contain the infinite”. Dr. Rosenbladt replied, “Sure I do, the incarnation”. And I’m paraphrasing what I was told.

    Few words but an extremely deep point! And this even goes further into the entire issue of communication of attributes, which in turn plays out in the very imputation of our sin to Christ and His righteousness to us, and thus in reality to truly “justification by faith alone”. And this, ultimately, overthrows Aristotle that was, as my good brother and friend Frank has often said, ‘the baptism of Aristotle’ (his philosophy) into church doctrine (doctrines retained by Zwingli and Calvin and successors). Many see and grasp in Luther’s HD the first theological thesis but, and Lutherans too, they miss the weight of his consecutive philosophical thesis in the same that start out by a stunning “one should be thoroughly foolish in Christ before engaging Aristotle to the danger of his soul” (my paraphrase). And he doesn’t mean just formerly those who study and engage in Aristotle the man formerly but the fallen heathen principles of philosophy which are quite natural to fallen man. Luther also stunningly makes what appears to be disconnected statements in those philosophical thesis, but that’s because by large and far the issue on communication of attributes has been lost and hence imputation. So, he seems to go in the direction of Laws of nature about Aristotle and Plato and the universe. But laws of nature and laws of (we’d say) morality kind are not unlike or unlinked, and these are the way natural fallen man sees religion, even (falsely) the Christian religion. The damnable damage of Aristotle has plagued the church well beyond Rome and into the sacramentarian churches (and some Lutherans). In a sense, Zwingli, Calvin and their successors and connected heirs and eschew heirs (e.g. baptist) were nothing more than the deformalized and deregulated, if you will, schools of theology under the rule of Rome before hand. They basically retained in various forms Aristotle baptized and being released from the “rule of Rome” have more perfected it.

  • Jon

    It may not conflict with the BoC, but only because there was never any dispute over the creation account. I don’t think you can argue from BoC’s silence that it is a gnat.

    But at any rate, the brief statement is a confession of the synod, is it not? “We (Our churches) teach…six days. We reject…?”

    I agree a person can certainly obfuscate enough to get around it, but to call it a gnat?

    Besides, Truth’s hypothetical has a pastor pronouncing clear theistic evo, not 24/6–no obfuscation. Yet, they won’t not (?) go after him for not upholding a biblical principle or violating a syondical confession, but because it is a gnat.

  • Jon

    It may not conflict with the BoC, but only because there was never any dispute over the creation account. I don’t think you can argue from BoC’s silence that it is a gnat.

    But at any rate, the brief statement is a confession of the synod, is it not? “We (Our churches) teach…six days. We reject…?”

    I agree a person can certainly obfuscate enough to get around it, but to call it a gnat?

    Besides, Truth’s hypothetical has a pastor pronouncing clear theistic evo, not 24/6–no obfuscation. Yet, they won’t not (?) go after him for not upholding a biblical principle or violating a syondical confession, but because it is a gnat.

  • kerner

    Maybe Truth’s hypothetical has a pastor pronouncing pure theistic evolution, but I think that such a thing happening in real life is unlikely.

    Take Pr. Spomer’s paper presented at his circuit meeting @108

    (And I am NOT, repeat, NOT, accusing Pr. Spomer of obfuscation or any other bad behavior)

    @108 appears to be a serious inquiry, attempting to rely on orthodox Lutheran principles, into this issue, but questioning whether a strict 24/6 interpretation is necessary.

    Pr. Spomer says it was met with heated but friendly debate, which I’ll bet it was. Such an inquiry is simply not the sort of thing that is going to trigger proceedings to expel anybody. In this Synod, we try to hash most of this stuff out by debate, not expulsion, whenever possible. And that is by design, not by accident. That is not to say that issues like this one aren’t important (i.e. not a gnat, necessarily). It just means that we are willing to talk a lot of things through among ourselves, hoping that God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit operating through it, will guide us to the truth. I can imagine circumstances in which a LCMS pastor basically flipped a big middle finger at a doctrine adopted in convention and got disciplined or expelled for it. I just can’t imagine it happening very often. But I’m just a naive layman; what do I know?

  • kerner

    Maybe Truth’s hypothetical has a pastor pronouncing pure theistic evolution, but I think that such a thing happening in real life is unlikely.

    Take Pr. Spomer’s paper presented at his circuit meeting @108

    (And I am NOT, repeat, NOT, accusing Pr. Spomer of obfuscation or any other bad behavior)

    @108 appears to be a serious inquiry, attempting to rely on orthodox Lutheran principles, into this issue, but questioning whether a strict 24/6 interpretation is necessary.

    Pr. Spomer says it was met with heated but friendly debate, which I’ll bet it was. Such an inquiry is simply not the sort of thing that is going to trigger proceedings to expel anybody. In this Synod, we try to hash most of this stuff out by debate, not expulsion, whenever possible. And that is by design, not by accident. That is not to say that issues like this one aren’t important (i.e. not a gnat, necessarily). It just means that we are willing to talk a lot of things through among ourselves, hoping that God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit operating through it, will guide us to the truth. I can imagine circumstances in which a LCMS pastor basically flipped a big middle finger at a doctrine adopted in convention and got disciplined or expelled for it. I just can’t imagine it happening very often. But I’m just a naive layman; what do I know?

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

    Because we aren’t Donatists.
    Listen, what another pastor teaches is important to all of synod and if it is in error it needs to be addressed, but it is not a reason in itself to break fellowship with synod. When I say it is straining gnats and swallowing a camel, I am referring to how illogical it is to say I disagree with the LCMS concerninc creation, so though I agree with them on all these other points: Holy Scripture being God’s word, Election, Baptismal regeneration, the Lord’s Supper, and the rest of the Catechism; I’m going to go join this other church that agrees with me on creation and not these other things.
    And Kerner is right about the rest.

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

    Because we aren’t Donatists.
    Listen, what another pastor teaches is important to all of synod and if it is in error it needs to be addressed, but it is not a reason in itself to break fellowship with synod. When I say it is straining gnats and swallowing a camel, I am referring to how illogical it is to say I disagree with the LCMS concerninc creation, so though I agree with them on all these other points: Holy Scripture being God’s word, Election, Baptismal regeneration, the Lord’s Supper, and the rest of the Catechism; I’m going to go join this other church that agrees with me on creation and not these other things.
    And Kerner is right about the rest.

  • kerner

    Klasie:

    Saskatoon is 1000 miles from Milwaukee or more, but your home brewed beer sounds great (can you make an unfiltered wheat beer?).

    I myself grill my own meat and grow my own herbs, but brewing is beyond me. But together we could do wonders.

    A final note. I hear your statements that the evidence is like a woven tapestry, etc, but here is where I suggest caution. We have a lot more evidence that we had a few centuries ago, but I think it is a mistake think we have all, or even most of the data. The significance of the coelacanths that (from your perspective) lived undetected for 66.4 million years (while others think they may have been unseen for a mere few thousand) is that there are huge gaps in our data. You don’t have a tapestry, you have a bunch of dots, which can be connected according to a theory that supports a very old earth. But what occupies the much greater areas of blank space on the page represents the unknown. Even if our ancestors had only .001% of the data, and you have 1000 times as much as they, that’s still only 1%. I’m not at all convinced that’s enough to be as sure as some here are.

    But I can’t tell you what the evidence I don’t know about would look like, because I don’t know about it.

    Our jury instructions state that a reasonable doubt comes not only from evidence, but from a lack of evidence.. I am not convinced there is near enough. I leave you with this cautionary tale, warning us of drawing firm conclusions based on incomplete evidence:

    http://www.noogenesis.com/pineapple/blind_men_elephant.html

    Just a silly rhyme, I know, but I see it all the time in my vocation.

  • kerner

    Klasie:

    Saskatoon is 1000 miles from Milwaukee or more, but your home brewed beer sounds great (can you make an unfiltered wheat beer?).

    I myself grill my own meat and grow my own herbs, but brewing is beyond me. But together we could do wonders.

    A final note. I hear your statements that the evidence is like a woven tapestry, etc, but here is where I suggest caution. We have a lot more evidence that we had a few centuries ago, but I think it is a mistake think we have all, or even most of the data. The significance of the coelacanths that (from your perspective) lived undetected for 66.4 million years (while others think they may have been unseen for a mere few thousand) is that there are huge gaps in our data. You don’t have a tapestry, you have a bunch of dots, which can be connected according to a theory that supports a very old earth. But what occupies the much greater areas of blank space on the page represents the unknown. Even if our ancestors had only .001% of the data, and you have 1000 times as much as they, that’s still only 1%. I’m not at all convinced that’s enough to be as sure as some here are.

    But I can’t tell you what the evidence I don’t know about would look like, because I don’t know about it.

    Our jury instructions state that a reasonable doubt comes not only from evidence, but from a lack of evidence.. I am not convinced there is near enough. I leave you with this cautionary tale, warning us of drawing firm conclusions based on incomplete evidence:

    http://www.noogenesis.com/pineapple/blind_men_elephant.html

    Just a silly rhyme, I know, but I see it all the time in my vocation.

  • J. Dettmann

    Rev. Mark Schroeder,

    Regardless of the 1970 study document written by some who would go on to join the Seminex movement in 1973, the most significant document has yet to be mentioned. The synod resolution I am thinking of is Resolution 2-08A, which was adopted at the 2004 LCMS convention. If it was actually enforced, a substantial number of LCMS churchworkers, including some I personally know, would lose their positions. They were seriously concerned when it passed, but were relieved when they were told it wouldn’t be enforced.

    Resolution 2-08A: To Commend Preaching and Teaching Creation
    Overtures 2-24-25, 5-43-45 (CW, pp. 151-152, 237).

    WHEREAS, The Scriptures teach that God is the creator of all that exists and is therefore the author and giver of life; and

    WHEREAS, The hypothesis of macro, organic, and Darwinian evolution, including theistic evolutions or any other model denying special, immediate, and miraculous creation, undercut this support for the honoring of life as a gift of God; and

    WHEREAS, Any teaching that advocates the transition from one species to another, as opposed to maintaining the distinction of species “according to their kinds” (Genesis, Chapter 1), rejects the clear teaching of Scripture; and

    WHEREAS, It is the church’s duty to produce followers of Christ who not only know the fundamentals of the Christian faith, but also are “prepared to give an answer…for the hope that you have” (1 Peter. 3:15); therefore be it

    Resolved, That all educational agencies and institutions of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod including early childhood programs, elementary schools, high schools, colleges, universities, and seminaries continue to teach creation from the Biblical perspective; and be it further

    Resolved, That no educational agency or institution of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod *tolerate* *any* teaching that contradicts the special, immediate, and miraculous creation by God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as an explanation for the origin of the universe; and be it further

    Resolved, That the Synod’s educational agencies and institutions properly distinguish between micro and macro evolution and affirm the scriptural revelation that God created all species “according to their kinds”; and be it finally

    Resolved, That The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in convention remind its pastors and teachers to increase emphasis to the doctrine of God as the creator and the author of life in their preaching and teaching.

  • J. Dettmann

    Rev. Mark Schroeder,

    Regardless of the 1970 study document written by some who would go on to join the Seminex movement in 1973, the most significant document has yet to be mentioned. The synod resolution I am thinking of is Resolution 2-08A, which was adopted at the 2004 LCMS convention. If it was actually enforced, a substantial number of LCMS churchworkers, including some I personally know, would lose their positions. They were seriously concerned when it passed, but were relieved when they were told it wouldn’t be enforced.

    Resolution 2-08A: To Commend Preaching and Teaching Creation
    Overtures 2-24-25, 5-43-45 (CW, pp. 151-152, 237).

    WHEREAS, The Scriptures teach that God is the creator of all that exists and is therefore the author and giver of life; and

    WHEREAS, The hypothesis of macro, organic, and Darwinian evolution, including theistic evolutions or any other model denying special, immediate, and miraculous creation, undercut this support for the honoring of life as a gift of God; and

    WHEREAS, Any teaching that advocates the transition from one species to another, as opposed to maintaining the distinction of species “according to their kinds” (Genesis, Chapter 1), rejects the clear teaching of Scripture; and

    WHEREAS, It is the church’s duty to produce followers of Christ who not only know the fundamentals of the Christian faith, but also are “prepared to give an answer…for the hope that you have” (1 Peter. 3:15); therefore be it

    Resolved, That all educational agencies and institutions of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod including early childhood programs, elementary schools, high schools, colleges, universities, and seminaries continue to teach creation from the Biblical perspective; and be it further

    Resolved, That no educational agency or institution of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod *tolerate* *any* teaching that contradicts the special, immediate, and miraculous creation by God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as an explanation for the origin of the universe; and be it further

    Resolved, That the Synod’s educational agencies and institutions properly distinguish between micro and macro evolution and affirm the scriptural revelation that God created all species “according to their kinds”; and be it finally

    Resolved, That The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in convention remind its pastors and teachers to increase emphasis to the doctrine of God as the creator and the author of life in their preaching and teaching.

  • Jon

    Curious who said it wouldn’t be enforced? Their institution/church? Or was this a pronouncement that came along from synod, or by the convention?

  • Jon

    Curious who said it wouldn’t be enforced? Their institution/church? Or was this a pronouncement that came along from synod, or by the convention?

  • J

    Whenever this issue comes up I think of the “Jefferson bible.” He took out all the miracles and set forth Jesus as only a man. One cannot fetter the infinite and this is what I think of when this issue comes up. Those who don’t hold to the 6 day creation seem to me to be, for the most part unknowingly, trying to fetter the infinite. The Creator cannot be fettered by human reason.

  • J

    Whenever this issue comes up I think of the “Jefferson bible.” He took out all the miracles and set forth Jesus as only a man. One cannot fetter the infinite and this is what I think of when this issue comes up. Those who don’t hold to the 6 day creation seem to me to be, for the most part unknowingly, trying to fetter the infinite. The Creator cannot be fettered by human reason.

  • J. Dettmann

    With Resolution 2-08A, I am not sure who it was who assured them they would not be expelled from synod. I was never given names as to who it was that gave this assurance. I was told all of this firsthand on several separate occasions, both by one of the ones who was concerned and one of the people who they contacted in an attempt to determine what would happen next. None of them have had any proceedings against them, and all of them still believe about this issue exactly as they did back in 2004.

  • J. Dettmann

    With Resolution 2-08A, I am not sure who it was who assured them they would not be expelled from synod. I was never given names as to who it was that gave this assurance. I was told all of this firsthand on several separate occasions, both by one of the ones who was concerned and one of the people who they contacted in an attempt to determine what would happen next. None of them have had any proceedings against them, and all of them still believe about this issue exactly as they did back in 2004.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Oh, Kerner, I am well aware of the elephant tale. But I would really invite you to do an undergrad course in say geology, so that you can have the tools to evaluate the data with. But that is a bit unrealistic, sure. Maybe more, another time.Good discussion though. Always nice to discuss something with a decent, intelligent fellow, who knows what he does know, and also what he does not know. Would that others follow your example.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Oh, Kerner, I am well aware of the elephant tale. But I would really invite you to do an undergrad course in say geology, so that you can have the tools to evaluate the data with. But that is a bit unrealistic, sure. Maybe more, another time.Good discussion though. Always nice to discuss something with a decent, intelligent fellow, who knows what he does know, and also what he does not know. Would that others follow your example.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Oh, no… Not that stupid blind men and the elephant thingy…

    Because, we’re all blind except for YOU, Mr. Story Narrator. How did you get to be in such a privileged position?

    And besides, the Elephant has told us what He is like, anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Oh, no… Not that stupid blind men and the elephant thingy…

    Because, we’re all blind except for YOU, Mr. Story Narrator. How did you get to be in such a privileged position?

    And besides, the Elephant has told us what He is like, anyway.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    J, when a man attacks Reason, I know his arguments are bankrupt. It is the last refuge of the insecure. And don’t quite Luther at me, taking his comments about “sinful reason” within their context, one finfd that what is referred is not Reason as in logic etc.n but more feeling and psychology.

    Without Reason, language itself ceases to exist, and you cannot even read, nor comprehend, Holy Scripture. Pascal, and indeed CS Lewis in “The Pilgrim’s Regress” say that there is a limit to Reason. In the ultimate sense, the final limit is the last great question, the one which I, in a discussion with Cincinnatus 2 weeks ago dubbed the UOQ, the Ultimate Ontological Question.

    But simplistic attacks on “Reason” are the tactics of an intellectual coward.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    J, when a man attacks Reason, I know his arguments are bankrupt. It is the last refuge of the insecure. And don’t quite Luther at me, taking his comments about “sinful reason” within their context, one finfd that what is referred is not Reason as in logic etc.n but more feeling and psychology.

    Without Reason, language itself ceases to exist, and you cannot even read, nor comprehend, Holy Scripture. Pascal, and indeed CS Lewis in “The Pilgrim’s Regress” say that there is a limit to Reason. In the ultimate sense, the final limit is the last great question, the one which I, in a discussion with Cincinnatus 2 weeks ago dubbed the UOQ, the Ultimate Ontological Question.

    But simplistic attacks on “Reason” are the tactics of an intellectual coward.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Anyway Kerner, the elephant story doesn’t apply. If you had many more blind men, all investigating the object, comparing notes, putting all their data together, and then get sopme blind men to ddo the same, and see if the second set can disprove the first set, and then even a third set, and then go on repeating for 2 centuries till you have a good picture – you get the idea.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Anyway Kerner, the elephant story doesn’t apply. If you had many more blind men, all investigating the object, comparing notes, putting all their data together, and then get sopme blind men to ddo the same, and see if the second set can disprove the first set, and then even a third set, and then go on repeating for 2 centuries till you have a good picture – you get the idea.

  • J

    @ Klasie.

    I would like to think that my post wasn’t an attack on reason. It was addressing the very specific issue we are discussing here. Do I think one can be a Christian and not believe in the 24 hour days via Creation? Yes. Also, with respect I would ask that you not accuse someone of intellectual cowardice based on a few sentences and on a single post, too many differing view points are quick to accuse of such a character flaw via comment boxes and this isn’t beneficial to the discussion.

  • J

    @ Klasie.

    I would like to think that my post wasn’t an attack on reason. It was addressing the very specific issue we are discussing here. Do I think one can be a Christian and not believe in the 24 hour days via Creation? Yes. Also, with respect I would ask that you not accuse someone of intellectual cowardice based on a few sentences and on a single post, too many differing view points are quick to accuse of such a character flaw via comment boxes and this isn’t beneficial to the discussion.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    J. Dettman, #149: “The synod resolution I am thinking of is Resolution 2-08A, which was adopted at the 2004 LCMS convention. If it was actually enforced, a substantial number of LCMS churchworkers, including some I personally know, would lose their positions. They were seriously concerned when it passed, but were relieved when they were told it wouldn’t be enforced.

    A rather toothless doctrinal resolution then, seemingly almost only for show.

    It would be quite amusing (and more honest) if they were to put into the body of Resolution 2-08A that there would be no enforcements against violators of Resolution 2-08A.

    Suppose another generation of LCMS leadership decided to actually enforce Resolution 2-08A. Is there anything to say that they can’t enforce it?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    J. Dettman, #149: “The synod resolution I am thinking of is Resolution 2-08A, which was adopted at the 2004 LCMS convention. If it was actually enforced, a substantial number of LCMS churchworkers, including some I personally know, would lose their positions. They were seriously concerned when it passed, but were relieved when they were told it wouldn’t be enforced.

    A rather toothless doctrinal resolution then, seemingly almost only for show.

    It would be quite amusing (and more honest) if they were to put into the body of Resolution 2-08A that there would be no enforcements against violators of Resolution 2-08A.

    Suppose another generation of LCMS leadership decided to actually enforce Resolution 2-08A. Is there anything to say that they can’t enforce it?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    J, I will not back down. I would suggest you think before you write sophistry, and suggest, between the lines, that all who think differently worship Reason, and are unbelievers. Because, J, that is exactly what you are implying. And I will not stand for such arrogant, ignorant nonsense. I am not going to take this crap anymore. I don’t mind serious discussions. I do mind BS.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    J, I will not back down. I would suggest you think before you write sophistry, and suggest, between the lines, that all who think differently worship Reason, and are unbelievers. Because, J, that is exactly what you are implying. And I will not stand for such arrogant, ignorant nonsense. I am not going to take this crap anymore. I don’t mind serious discussions. I do mind BS.

  • mabel

    May I ask a question? Since I’m neither a theologian nor a scientist I’m sure this has been addressed before, but I’m curious. When Jesus turned water into wine, it was said to be the best wine. Does that mean it was aged? Or that it simply tasted as if it were an aged wine? If one performed tests on the wine would it be similar to those that were known to be aged? Could not an omnipotent God create an aged world as easily as an aged jar of wine?

  • mabel

    May I ask a question? Since I’m neither a theologian nor a scientist I’m sure this has been addressed before, but I’m curious. When Jesus turned water into wine, it was said to be the best wine. Does that mean it was aged? Or that it simply tasted as if it were an aged wine? If one performed tests on the wine would it be similar to those that were known to be aged? Could not an omnipotent God create an aged world as easily as an aged jar of wine?

  • J

    @ Klasie. My friend I’m to simple for a word like sophistry. I’m a layman adding my own two cents and not claiming to be all knowing. For example I don’t even know the Luther quote you mentioned in your first response. I’m not asking you to back down, this is an awesome forum where lot’s of awesome discussion takes place. You seem to be much more knowledgeable then me overall and I say that wholeheartedly. I didn’t call you an unbeliever, I posted my thoughts on this issue and I enjoy readings your thoughts and the thoughts of others as well. I wouldn’t ask you to back down and would ask that no one’s post be referred to in such terms as I don’t think your posts are what you say mine are.

  • J

    @ Klasie. My friend I’m to simple for a word like sophistry. I’m a layman adding my own two cents and not claiming to be all knowing. For example I don’t even know the Luther quote you mentioned in your first response. I’m not asking you to back down, this is an awesome forum where lot’s of awesome discussion takes place. You seem to be much more knowledgeable then me overall and I say that wholeheartedly. I didn’t call you an unbeliever, I posted my thoughts on this issue and I enjoy readings your thoughts and the thoughts of others as well. I wouldn’t ask you to back down and would ask that no one’s post be referred to in such terms as I don’t think your posts are what you say mine are.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Mabel, that is the “apparent age” argument. Todd and I agreed to not debate each other on it, because we came to a complete standstill. Essentially, Todd says fine. I say – not fine. Why?

    1. It makes everything, or nearly everything a miracle. Essentially, the earth would be like a 720 000 page book of miracles, followed by 1 page of mostly non-miracles. If everyhing is a miracle, then nothing is a miracle. The point of biblical miracles, like at Cana, was specifical pedagogical, non-hidden phenomena. This would not be the case in the Apparently old earth scenario.

    2. It makes God into a deceiver, setting up an elaborate universe, complete with light photons “frozen in space” of galaxies futher away than say 6000 light years, millions of dead animal remains of creatures that never lived, climatological cycles (ice ages, tropical ages etc) that never were but left detailed records – etc etc. Once here I made the analogy, using mythology, that those who prefer this God seems to prefer Loki, while I prefer Prometheus, the one who suffered for man’s sake (said carefully, of course).

    I do not want to rehash this argument at all. But there is rhe essence of my objections. It does not fit the nature of LOVING god to mislead/deceive his creations thus. One should not have to jettonise what we know of God’ character, to keep a specific Human interpretation of His word.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Mabel, that is the “apparent age” argument. Todd and I agreed to not debate each other on it, because we came to a complete standstill. Essentially, Todd says fine. I say – not fine. Why?

    1. It makes everything, or nearly everything a miracle. Essentially, the earth would be like a 720 000 page book of miracles, followed by 1 page of mostly non-miracles. If everyhing is a miracle, then nothing is a miracle. The point of biblical miracles, like at Cana, was specifical pedagogical, non-hidden phenomena. This would not be the case in the Apparently old earth scenario.

    2. It makes God into a deceiver, setting up an elaborate universe, complete with light photons “frozen in space” of galaxies futher away than say 6000 light years, millions of dead animal remains of creatures that never lived, climatological cycles (ice ages, tropical ages etc) that never were but left detailed records – etc etc. Once here I made the analogy, using mythology, that those who prefer this God seems to prefer Loki, while I prefer Prometheus, the one who suffered for man’s sake (said carefully, of course).

    I do not want to rehash this argument at all. But there is rhe essence of my objections. It does not fit the nature of LOVING god to mislead/deceive his creations thus. One should not have to jettonise what we know of God’ character, to keep a specific Human interpretation of His word.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    J, reason is what we use to interpret word. Luther reasoned when he discovered that there was a disparity between Rome and Romans. Without reason, there is no theology. Without reason, there is no -ology. You might not be an intelectual, but an attack on reason is an intelectually cowardly act. You might think you are not sophisticated enough for such sophistry :) , but an attack on reason is the ultimate sophist act.

    Do not consider it again. It is highly unbecoming, I will have to chastise again ;)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    J, reason is what we use to interpret word. Luther reasoned when he discovered that there was a disparity between Rome and Romans. Without reason, there is no theology. Without reason, there is no -ology. You might not be an intelectual, but an attack on reason is an intelectually cowardly act. You might think you are not sophisticated enough for such sophistry :) , but an attack on reason is the ultimate sophist act.

    Do not consider it again. It is highly unbecoming, I will have to chastise again ;)

  • kerner

    Mike Baby! @154:

    That was my point! The Elephant HAS told us what he is like. It is WE who are blind and groping, but for His word. But somebody has to narrate the story…

  • kerner

    Mike Baby! @154:

    That was my point! The Elephant HAS told us what he is like. It is WE who are blind and groping, but for His word. But somebody has to narrate the story…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner, we are drifting now. Are we talking about knowing God, or His creation? Who/what is the elephant? Kind of a big difference.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner, we are drifting now. Are we talking about knowing God, or His creation? Who/what is the elephant? Kind of a big difference.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    T U… a D@158
    Given the LCMS polity, it is important to distinguish the ideas of enforcement against church workers versus enforcement against pastors. This is a bit like American Federalism. Church workers in the colleges are kind of like Federal workers. The rules are written to apply to them. Given the polity, though, these rules don’t easily get applied to congregations, because congregations, like states, have a certain amount of autonomy.

    Article VII of the Synod Handbook explains:
    “In its relation to its members the Synod is not an ecclesiastical government exercising legislative or coercive powers, and with respect
    to the individual congregation’s right of self-government it is but an
    advisory body. Accordingly, no resolution of the Synod imposing anything upon the individual congregation is of binding force if it is not
    in accordance with the Word of God or if it appears to be inexpedient
    as far as the condition of a congregation is concerned.”

    That seems to make most resolutions “toothless” at the congregational level. But there are still many members of synod, such as teachers at synodical institutions, where such resolutions do have force.

    Now, a synodical college will also likely place some value on academic freedom. I think a resolution might well be used against egregious violators. But there would be a sense of proportion. A teacher who said the earth was 4.5 billion years old would likely not face any trouble. A teacher who said there was no historic Adam likely would. (Those are guesses on my part.) The first doesn’t necessarily contradict Biblical teaching—aside from whether it is right or wrong. There are ways of framing those teachings such that they do contradict. But contradictions are funny things. We aren’t always good at knowing what teachings contradict each other. Ever see a skeptic argue for contradictions in Scripture because he or she cannot quickly see a resolution? Cooler heads know that good resolutions take time and don’t worry. Neither do they feel like they have to give up one or the other passages until they can see how they fit together. Why should it be different with the Bible and nature?

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    T U… a D@158
    Given the LCMS polity, it is important to distinguish the ideas of enforcement against church workers versus enforcement against pastors. This is a bit like American Federalism. Church workers in the colleges are kind of like Federal workers. The rules are written to apply to them. Given the polity, though, these rules don’t easily get applied to congregations, because congregations, like states, have a certain amount of autonomy.

    Article VII of the Synod Handbook explains:
    “In its relation to its members the Synod is not an ecclesiastical government exercising legislative or coercive powers, and with respect
    to the individual congregation’s right of self-government it is but an
    advisory body. Accordingly, no resolution of the Synod imposing anything upon the individual congregation is of binding force if it is not
    in accordance with the Word of God or if it appears to be inexpedient
    as far as the condition of a congregation is concerned.”

    That seems to make most resolutions “toothless” at the congregational level. But there are still many members of synod, such as teachers at synodical institutions, where such resolutions do have force.

    Now, a synodical college will also likely place some value on academic freedom. I think a resolution might well be used against egregious violators. But there would be a sense of proportion. A teacher who said the earth was 4.5 billion years old would likely not face any trouble. A teacher who said there was no historic Adam likely would. (Those are guesses on my part.) The first doesn’t necessarily contradict Biblical teaching—aside from whether it is right or wrong. There are ways of framing those teachings such that they do contradict. But contradictions are funny things. We aren’t always good at knowing what teachings contradict each other. Ever see a skeptic argue for contradictions in Scripture because he or she cannot quickly see a resolution? Cooler heads know that good resolutions take time and don’t worry. Neither do they feel like they have to give up one or the other passages until they can see how they fit together. Why should it be different with the Bible and nature?

  • Apocryphon

    Not to jump into the evolution vs. creationist fray, but back to what Chaplain Mike actually wrote (bolding mine)-

    For example, seven day-creationism is the official position of the LCMS. I think you know what I think about that. That is not equivalent to the homosexual issue in the ELCA, which is an issue of practice and left to the discretion of each local congregation. In the LCMS my ability to teach the Bible according to my beliefs would be constrained at the outset.
    I think, on the other hand, that I could affiliate with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, understanding that it too is flawed and that there will be many aspects of the group with which I disagree. But I also believe that it is a legitimate expression of the Lutheran tradition and one in which I could serve freely, retaining freedom of conscience to teach the Scriptures and participate in the life of the church.

  • Apocryphon

    Not to jump into the evolution vs. creationist fray, but back to what Chaplain Mike actually wrote (bolding mine)-

    For example, seven day-creationism is the official position of the LCMS. I think you know what I think about that. That is not equivalent to the homosexual issue in the ELCA, which is an issue of practice and left to the discretion of each local congregation. In the LCMS my ability to teach the Bible according to my beliefs would be constrained at the outset.
    I think, on the other hand, that I could affiliate with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, understanding that it too is flawed and that there will be many aspects of the group with which I disagree. But I also believe that it is a legitimate expression of the Lutheran tradition and one in which I could serve freely, retaining freedom of conscience to teach the Scriptures and participate in the life of the church.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sorry, Klasie (@162), but I feel compelled to respond, if only for the sake of Mabel (@160) and others who may be thinking similarly. Regarding the idea of a universe being created with “apparent age”, you said:

    It makes everything, or nearly everything a miracle.

    Quite simply, I disagree, and I do not understand why you keep asserting this. All I am insisting on with this argument is that Creation itself is a miracle — not everything that happened since then. Even if one believes in a very old universe consistent with the most recent mainstream scientific theories, I would presume that, if one is also a Christian, he must believe that Creation is still a miracle, being ex nihilo by the Word of God, and so on. But if both the “old” and “young” arguments agree — at least among Christians — that Creation is a miracle, then your critique by which “everything” is then a miracle doesn’t hold.

    The point of biblical miracles, like at Cana, was specifical pedagogical

    And I have shown that Scripture appears to uphold Creation itself as a pedagogical miracle (cf. Romans 1:20). Which would argue against your assertion here that Creation is, well, not of itself pedagogical. You may well ask “But why did God then create the universe to look so much older than it actually was?” Of course, one may look to the end of the book of Job for one potential answer to those questions. But one may equally ask “Why did God create wine to look so much older than it was?” But those who hold to the “old” argument never seem to ask themselves that. Some miracles involving “apparent age” get a pass, others do not. And I have no idea why that is true for you.

    It makes God into a deceiver, setting up an elaborate universe…

    This appears to be the main argument used by you and WebMonk (i.e. by those holding both to the modern scientific consensus and yet also to some variant of evangelical Protestantism). That miracles constitute deception, and since God cannot deceive, then miracles cannot have happened.

    Of course, I broadened it there beyond the miracle of Creation — something to which you will almost certainly object (though, again, I don’t know why, and you didn’t answer me on this last time). Because, much in the same way that you reject my position as “it makes everything a miracle”, I feel that your position ultimately boils down to “there can be no miracles”.

    Because a miracle is, by definition, supernatural. It goes against the laws of physics that otherwise seem to serve us so well in various scientific and engineering pursuits. So when the master of the banquet in Cana used his perfectly functional senses, he detected wine — and not only wine, but fine wine, presumably that had been aged. He did not know this wine had been water a short time before. And yet, like all wine, it had the chemical traces of grapes — grapes that never existed! Fermented by yeast that never existed! Presumably, there were dead yeast cells in the jars of wine that never were actually alive.

    What then, to make of all this? Some might see it as evidence of Jesus’ power, of his being God. But others, apparently, would see it as nothing so much as deception on Jesus’ part.

    Oh, I know you don’t think that. What I don’t get is why. You always try to say that, in order for it to rise to the level of deception, there’d have to be more clues — receipts and tire tracks and whatever. But such is an argument of degree, when the real question here is one of kind. In other words, you still haven’t convinced me why, from your framing of things, I shouldn’t see the miracle at Cana as essentially deceptive, even if it’s not as deceptive as it apparently could have been.

    And then, of course, every other miracle, too — why aren’t they deceptive? Physical laws were broken, and things were declared by God to be (and thus, were) which previously had not been. Blind men saw, their optic systems now apparently “deceptively” hiding the fact that, mere moments ago, they hadn’t been functional. And so on, and so on.

    In short, if we are to reject the miracle of Creation, why not equally reject all miracles? Or, on the other hand, if you accept (some) miracles in the Bible as being literally — and not merely mythically — true, then why can Creation not also fit into this scheme?

    You’ve never really answered my questions on this, that I can tell. Do you, Klasie, believe in the supernatural, in miracles? That is to say, not merely spiritual happenings, but the spiritual interacting with the physical in a way that is contrary to the laws of nature?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sorry, Klasie (@162), but I feel compelled to respond, if only for the sake of Mabel (@160) and others who may be thinking similarly. Regarding the idea of a universe being created with “apparent age”, you said:

    It makes everything, or nearly everything a miracle.

    Quite simply, I disagree, and I do not understand why you keep asserting this. All I am insisting on with this argument is that Creation itself is a miracle — not everything that happened since then. Even if one believes in a very old universe consistent with the most recent mainstream scientific theories, I would presume that, if one is also a Christian, he must believe that Creation is still a miracle, being ex nihilo by the Word of God, and so on. But if both the “old” and “young” arguments agree — at least among Christians — that Creation is a miracle, then your critique by which “everything” is then a miracle doesn’t hold.

    The point of biblical miracles, like at Cana, was specifical pedagogical

    And I have shown that Scripture appears to uphold Creation itself as a pedagogical miracle (cf. Romans 1:20). Which would argue against your assertion here that Creation is, well, not of itself pedagogical. You may well ask “But why did God then create the universe to look so much older than it actually was?” Of course, one may look to the end of the book of Job for one potential answer to those questions. But one may equally ask “Why did God create wine to look so much older than it was?” But those who hold to the “old” argument never seem to ask themselves that. Some miracles involving “apparent age” get a pass, others do not. And I have no idea why that is true for you.

    It makes God into a deceiver, setting up an elaborate universe…

    This appears to be the main argument used by you and WebMonk (i.e. by those holding both to the modern scientific consensus and yet also to some variant of evangelical Protestantism). That miracles constitute deception, and since God cannot deceive, then miracles cannot have happened.

    Of course, I broadened it there beyond the miracle of Creation — something to which you will almost certainly object (though, again, I don’t know why, and you didn’t answer me on this last time). Because, much in the same way that you reject my position as “it makes everything a miracle”, I feel that your position ultimately boils down to “there can be no miracles”.

    Because a miracle is, by definition, supernatural. It goes against the laws of physics that otherwise seem to serve us so well in various scientific and engineering pursuits. So when the master of the banquet in Cana used his perfectly functional senses, he detected wine — and not only wine, but fine wine, presumably that had been aged. He did not know this wine had been water a short time before. And yet, like all wine, it had the chemical traces of grapes — grapes that never existed! Fermented by yeast that never existed! Presumably, there were dead yeast cells in the jars of wine that never were actually alive.

    What then, to make of all this? Some might see it as evidence of Jesus’ power, of his being God. But others, apparently, would see it as nothing so much as deception on Jesus’ part.

    Oh, I know you don’t think that. What I don’t get is why. You always try to say that, in order for it to rise to the level of deception, there’d have to be more clues — receipts and tire tracks and whatever. But such is an argument of degree, when the real question here is one of kind. In other words, you still haven’t convinced me why, from your framing of things, I shouldn’t see the miracle at Cana as essentially deceptive, even if it’s not as deceptive as it apparently could have been.

    And then, of course, every other miracle, too — why aren’t they deceptive? Physical laws were broken, and things were declared by God to be (and thus, were) which previously had not been. Blind men saw, their optic systems now apparently “deceptively” hiding the fact that, mere moments ago, they hadn’t been functional. And so on, and so on.

    In short, if we are to reject the miracle of Creation, why not equally reject all miracles? Or, on the other hand, if you accept (some) miracles in the Bible as being literally — and not merely mythically — true, then why can Creation not also fit into this scheme?

    You’ve never really answered my questions on this, that I can tell. Do you, Klasie, believe in the supernatural, in miracles? That is to say, not merely spiritual happenings, but the spiritual interacting with the physical in a way that is contrary to the laws of nature?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    And there you have Todd’s response too, Mabel. And that is all I’m going to say about that :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    And there you have Todd’s response too, Mabel. And that is all I’m going to say about that :)

  • J. Dettmann

    “Suppose another generation of LCMS leadership decided to actually enforce Resolution 2-08A. Is there anything to say that they can’t enforce it?”

    Think of the LCMS as a conglomeration of many little fiefdoms. In the absence of one, overriding loyalty to any one belief system, you instead have a balkanization. Different people, usually men (the one woman I know who attempted a run at power burned out pretty quick), figure out a way to control others they perceive as being beneath them. The LCMS isn’t a cult, because the control factor isn’t absolute. Usually, the control factor is only about the things that the ad hoc authority cares about.

    Different fiefdoms have different rules. The fiefdom complex can make an appearance different levels: a synodical board, an entire district, an entire university or high school or just a department, an elementary school, or a mission organization. I have personally witnessed it at most of these levels. Some fiefdoms reward family connections. Others reward those with similar ideology and punish those who don’t agree. Still others are assembled over time by people who secure calls only for those who they went to college with. The LCMS can’t enforce anything across the entire synod because each of the little powers that be wouldn’t want to give up their ability to ensure that their own sphere of influence is the way they want it to be.

  • J. Dettmann

    “Suppose another generation of LCMS leadership decided to actually enforce Resolution 2-08A. Is there anything to say that they can’t enforce it?”

    Think of the LCMS as a conglomeration of many little fiefdoms. In the absence of one, overriding loyalty to any one belief system, you instead have a balkanization. Different people, usually men (the one woman I know who attempted a run at power burned out pretty quick), figure out a way to control others they perceive as being beneath them. The LCMS isn’t a cult, because the control factor isn’t absolute. Usually, the control factor is only about the things that the ad hoc authority cares about.

    Different fiefdoms have different rules. The fiefdom complex can make an appearance different levels: a synodical board, an entire district, an entire university or high school or just a department, an elementary school, or a mission organization. I have personally witnessed it at most of these levels. Some fiefdoms reward family connections. Others reward those with similar ideology and punish those who don’t agree. Still others are assembled over time by people who secure calls only for those who they went to college with. The LCMS can’t enforce anything across the entire synod because each of the little powers that be wouldn’t want to give up their ability to ensure that their own sphere of influence is the way they want it to be.

  • J. Dettmann

    Can’t believe I didn’t mention congregational dynamics in the list above. That would be a no-brainer.

  • J. Dettmann

    Can’t believe I didn’t mention congregational dynamics in the list above. That would be a no-brainer.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, actually, I will answer you. But I will formulate a careful response, trying to be as clear as possible. Hang in there.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, actually, I will answer you. But I will formulate a careful response, trying to be as clear as possible. Hang in there.

  • larry

    Mabel,

    Aged or not, wine making is normally a time driven process, hence aged or not the conversion of water to wine “skipped” the aging (time) process.

    “If everything is a miracle, then nothing is a miracle.” is a false dilemma. This can only be stated viewing from the position of fallen man and his finitude. By definition creation ex nihilo out of a Word spoken of God is miraculous and nothing that was made that was not spoken and did not come through the Son of God (Gen. 1 and John 1). This is where gnosticism and Platonism enters the fray. It always makes this break between “things created” and this “ideal”. Part of worship, and before the fall, is related in this dialectic between the Creator and creature through His worded creatures/creation, nothing exists that God did not think of and thereby speak into being. Thus, God expressed his love for us in our creation and all things created. And man in return gives praise and thanksgiving to his good God (who and what really is to His creature) who spoke miraculously ex nihilo to and for His creature of which the primary is man. Al l things are created for the love of the other, not just man to man or man to animal as creatures but even inanimate things. As Luther points out the stomach was not created for itself but for the other parts of the body, the sun was not created for itself but for the other creatures and so forth. Thus, God expresses his miraculous love in everything created that is created to love the other and not the self.

    This Paul points out in Romans 1:18 is where the root of the fall and idolatry occurred. How? Man sought God “in the nude” as Luther often put it, without his “Worded creatures”. He fell seeking God through, around, above His Worded creatures, an immediate Word of God if you will as opposed to His mediated Worded things (e.g. like sacraments, now you begin to see the gnosticism of Calvin for example among many others, who speaks of the elect assured via “the inner word” as opposed to the outer word (worded creature)). Man sought God in the nude by going past His Worded creature when we bit into the fruit and then to know good and evil for ourselves, to be over God having Him reduced as it were to a more or less mathematical or all encompassed and contained “logic” (like the finite cannot contain the infinite). To do this to anything is to have it and rule over it. To fully grasp and understand a thing is to have rule over it and ultimately manipulate it (this is where works righteousness fits in, it seeks to manipulate God in all its forms overt or subvert). Ultimately to “be like God” and to be one’s own god. Thus, no longer trusting (faith) the Worded creatures, i.e. distrust/despising, and seeking God in the nude to rule over Him. Luther points out that the reason baptism and the sacraments are ultimately despised (and that means not adhering to them as truly what they say and do) is because the Word is put into them. Thus, it is no wonder the sacraments are always raged against, the Word, the promise is in them, and just like Christ the Satanic fallen world and flesh must of necessity constantly cast fury at their death instrument. And also the bearers of the promise, this is why for example Lutheranism, like Abraham, Jacob, Israel in the desert, etc… is really a very lonely way and always “fleeing” and despised, just like the sacraments, just like Christ.

    That the earth appears old is not the fault or deception of God, the Word is clear and always truthful, the entire idea of “appearance of age” itself can only be stated from a fallen position defending its blindness. I.e. The blind man says, “Well if I can’t see it, then it must be a deception”. It’s not that God created with the “appearance of age”, God created time too not just space. Rather it misses the point of what Paul later says right after Romans 1:18, when idolatry is committed (i.e. turning away from His Worded creatures where worship occurs in the dialectic between loving Creator and His creatures receiving this Worded thing issuing up thanksgiving and praise to seeking to own God in the nude), what then happens? God, in wrath by the way, Himself turns them over to their folly. They seek blindness thinking it is “light” and so in wrath God turns them over to what they seek further, the continued degrading blindness. As Paulson points out, “What does wrath feel like? It feels like freedom of the will”. And freedom of the will goes well beyond its crass version in formal arminianism to what most call post conversion of the spirit, it in essence becomes “baptized free will” calling itself the spirit and grace. Thus, man speculates and speculates from original sin about God in the nude and tries to explain (e.g. old or young earth) how God reduced to math and logic works holistically. Outside of nude utterly passive trust in the Word (alone we say), man gropes blindly in all directions quite literally lost in everyway, grasping at straws for “where is God”. This includes false Christianity, other religions and rank atheism, this grasping blindly of God in the nude, the atheist just doesn’t use the formal term “god”, but he is de facto grabbing for god when he seeks to explain the universe and all things that are, why and how.

    So, you make a good point but I would guide it away from “the appearance” of age, because that is not what happened. Rather Christ (God) Worded a gift, and He can manipulate the elements of time as He wills to produce the end product He wishes ex nihilo, and it is a miracle no less than all that is created is. Only fallen man in his blindness would attempt to explain it away with “the appearance of age” on one hand or “that would be deception” on the other hand. In this particular miracle He gave it to His creatures and what happened? They gave thanks and praise, worshipped Him. Remember Peter and the fish when Jesus told Him go back out, Peter’s confession afterward, “Lord do not look upon me I am a sinner”, it broke him (as it does us) our distrust in God we are blind to. And this is what happens in the sacraments in particular, forgiveness and promise is given miraculously in Worded creatures, received by faith and then praise and thanksgiving is given. This is why we sing the Agnus Dei and Nunc Dimittis around the sacrament of the altar (i.e. the Lord’s Supper). Now we see why Baptism actually gives what it states, contra Calvin and other heterodox doctrines and worship occurs with these Worded Creatures.

    Hopefully, though a mouth full, that is helpful.

  • larry

    Mabel,

    Aged or not, wine making is normally a time driven process, hence aged or not the conversion of water to wine “skipped” the aging (time) process.

    “If everything is a miracle, then nothing is a miracle.” is a false dilemma. This can only be stated viewing from the position of fallen man and his finitude. By definition creation ex nihilo out of a Word spoken of God is miraculous and nothing that was made that was not spoken and did not come through the Son of God (Gen. 1 and John 1). This is where gnosticism and Platonism enters the fray. It always makes this break between “things created” and this “ideal”. Part of worship, and before the fall, is related in this dialectic between the Creator and creature through His worded creatures/creation, nothing exists that God did not think of and thereby speak into being. Thus, God expressed his love for us in our creation and all things created. And man in return gives praise and thanksgiving to his good God (who and what really is to His creature) who spoke miraculously ex nihilo to and for His creature of which the primary is man. Al l things are created for the love of the other, not just man to man or man to animal as creatures but even inanimate things. As Luther points out the stomach was not created for itself but for the other parts of the body, the sun was not created for itself but for the other creatures and so forth. Thus, God expresses his miraculous love in everything created that is created to love the other and not the self.

    This Paul points out in Romans 1:18 is where the root of the fall and idolatry occurred. How? Man sought God “in the nude” as Luther often put it, without his “Worded creatures”. He fell seeking God through, around, above His Worded creatures, an immediate Word of God if you will as opposed to His mediated Worded things (e.g. like sacraments, now you begin to see the gnosticism of Calvin for example among many others, who speaks of the elect assured via “the inner word” as opposed to the outer word (worded creature)). Man sought God in the nude by going past His Worded creature when we bit into the fruit and then to know good and evil for ourselves, to be over God having Him reduced as it were to a more or less mathematical or all encompassed and contained “logic” (like the finite cannot contain the infinite). To do this to anything is to have it and rule over it. To fully grasp and understand a thing is to have rule over it and ultimately manipulate it (this is where works righteousness fits in, it seeks to manipulate God in all its forms overt or subvert). Ultimately to “be like God” and to be one’s own god. Thus, no longer trusting (faith) the Worded creatures, i.e. distrust/despising, and seeking God in the nude to rule over Him. Luther points out that the reason baptism and the sacraments are ultimately despised (and that means not adhering to them as truly what they say and do) is because the Word is put into them. Thus, it is no wonder the sacraments are always raged against, the Word, the promise is in them, and just like Christ the Satanic fallen world and flesh must of necessity constantly cast fury at their death instrument. And also the bearers of the promise, this is why for example Lutheranism, like Abraham, Jacob, Israel in the desert, etc… is really a very lonely way and always “fleeing” and despised, just like the sacraments, just like Christ.

    That the earth appears old is not the fault or deception of God, the Word is clear and always truthful, the entire idea of “appearance of age” itself can only be stated from a fallen position defending its blindness. I.e. The blind man says, “Well if I can’t see it, then it must be a deception”. It’s not that God created with the “appearance of age”, God created time too not just space. Rather it misses the point of what Paul later says right after Romans 1:18, when idolatry is committed (i.e. turning away from His Worded creatures where worship occurs in the dialectic between loving Creator and His creatures receiving this Worded thing issuing up thanksgiving and praise to seeking to own God in the nude), what then happens? God, in wrath by the way, Himself turns them over to their folly. They seek blindness thinking it is “light” and so in wrath God turns them over to what they seek further, the continued degrading blindness. As Paulson points out, “What does wrath feel like? It feels like freedom of the will”. And freedom of the will goes well beyond its crass version in formal arminianism to what most call post conversion of the spirit, it in essence becomes “baptized free will” calling itself the spirit and grace. Thus, man speculates and speculates from original sin about God in the nude and tries to explain (e.g. old or young earth) how God reduced to math and logic works holistically. Outside of nude utterly passive trust in the Word (alone we say), man gropes blindly in all directions quite literally lost in everyway, grasping at straws for “where is God”. This includes false Christianity, other religions and rank atheism, this grasping blindly of God in the nude, the atheist just doesn’t use the formal term “god”, but he is de facto grabbing for god when he seeks to explain the universe and all things that are, why and how.

    So, you make a good point but I would guide it away from “the appearance” of age, because that is not what happened. Rather Christ (God) Worded a gift, and He can manipulate the elements of time as He wills to produce the end product He wishes ex nihilo, and it is a miracle no less than all that is created is. Only fallen man in his blindness would attempt to explain it away with “the appearance of age” on one hand or “that would be deception” on the other hand. In this particular miracle He gave it to His creatures and what happened? They gave thanks and praise, worshipped Him. Remember Peter and the fish when Jesus told Him go back out, Peter’s confession afterward, “Lord do not look upon me I am a sinner”, it broke him (as it does us) our distrust in God we are blind to. And this is what happens in the sacraments in particular, forgiveness and promise is given miraculously in Worded creatures, received by faith and then praise and thanksgiving is given. This is why we sing the Agnus Dei and Nunc Dimittis around the sacrament of the altar (i.e. the Lord’s Supper). Now we see why Baptism actually gives what it states, contra Calvin and other heterodox doctrines and worship occurs with these Worded Creatures.

    Hopefully, though a mouth full, that is helpful.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    1. The Miracle at Cana, and miracles in general
    At first, the fellow was mistaken about the event, thinking it was “natural” wine, and good wine at that. But as soon as he looked into it he discovered the opposite – namely that it wasn’t natural, but miraculous. That is the design of the miracle – namely it is designed to be”found out” as such – for pedagogical reasons. Webmonk, in some private correspondence, highlighted this for me again – all miracles that God did, and that have been recorded, such as the wedding at Cana, the multiplying of the bread and fish etc., are specific pedagogical events. Investigating them even superficially leads to the discovery of their miraculousness. I have no problem with such miracles, as described in Scripture. Note how they are set – miraculous wine after lots of other wine is finished, new food after the lack of other food, healing of a sick person to restore him to health. Basically, miracles are “normalizing” events, restorations if you will. But for a restoration to occur, for something to be normalized, the normal state has to exist, the desired condition must be known.

    2. All Creation as Created fiction
    Your desire to have creation as appearing miraculously old etc etc., is an argument out of, dare I say it, profound ignorance. Even a very superficial knowledge of biology (let’s choose genetics here), astronomy, paleontology, archeology and geology, the latter being my specialty, indicates a long and protracted history of this planet, and the cosmos within which it exists. Sure, one cannot ever be 100% sure of anything. But at the same time, facts are facts, and even the most generous interpretation cannot remotely indicate a young history for anything. It is impossible, period. I refer back to my analogy of the 720 000 page book of fiction, followed by 1 page of mostly history (and that refers just to this planet, btw). That is what you want. You want a world in which essentially nothing really happened, nothing in your genetic history can really be trusted as having happened, the archeological history, which stretches back further than 4004BC is somehow made up, all those fossils are just for fun, even though they tell an exact and precise story to no end at all. The photons from even 90% of our galaxy was placed in space, telling stories that never happened, never mind any other galaxies (and there are many, many of them). Genetics tells us how long ago species split, how this and that is related etc etc. Except, in your world, they aren’t really, it is all just “made up”. The DNA of dead things, things dead sometimes for tens of thousands of years is just there for fun, because they never existed in the first place. It is all just a fun / deceptive miracle.

    Do you understand why I gravitate towards the Loki description? There is a vast, vast difference between a miracle, done by a benevolent God in a specific place, at a specific time, to show a specific person or group of people Who He is, and that they should Trust Him / Obey Him / Fear Him depending on the situation. The miracle was there to teach the person/people, the miracle itself is never the point – the latter is the foolishness of Pentecostalism.

    If all Creation, or referring again to only this planet, 0.000138% of it is fictional, why, I might just become a last Thursdayist, or some kind of Sophist after all. Because at the end of the day, that is all what this line of arguing is boiling down to – sophistry. And you are better than that, Todd.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    1. The Miracle at Cana, and miracles in general
    At first, the fellow was mistaken about the event, thinking it was “natural” wine, and good wine at that. But as soon as he looked into it he discovered the opposite – namely that it wasn’t natural, but miraculous. That is the design of the miracle – namely it is designed to be”found out” as such – for pedagogical reasons. Webmonk, in some private correspondence, highlighted this for me again – all miracles that God did, and that have been recorded, such as the wedding at Cana, the multiplying of the bread and fish etc., are specific pedagogical events. Investigating them even superficially leads to the discovery of their miraculousness. I have no problem with such miracles, as described in Scripture. Note how they are set – miraculous wine after lots of other wine is finished, new food after the lack of other food, healing of a sick person to restore him to health. Basically, miracles are “normalizing” events, restorations if you will. But for a restoration to occur, for something to be normalized, the normal state has to exist, the desired condition must be known.

    2. All Creation as Created fiction
    Your desire to have creation as appearing miraculously old etc etc., is an argument out of, dare I say it, profound ignorance. Even a very superficial knowledge of biology (let’s choose genetics here), astronomy, paleontology, archeology and geology, the latter being my specialty, indicates a long and protracted history of this planet, and the cosmos within which it exists. Sure, one cannot ever be 100% sure of anything. But at the same time, facts are facts, and even the most generous interpretation cannot remotely indicate a young history for anything. It is impossible, period. I refer back to my analogy of the 720 000 page book of fiction, followed by 1 page of mostly history (and that refers just to this planet, btw). That is what you want. You want a world in which essentially nothing really happened, nothing in your genetic history can really be trusted as having happened, the archeological history, which stretches back further than 4004BC is somehow made up, all those fossils are just for fun, even though they tell an exact and precise story to no end at all. The photons from even 90% of our galaxy was placed in space, telling stories that never happened, never mind any other galaxies (and there are many, many of them). Genetics tells us how long ago species split, how this and that is related etc etc. Except, in your world, they aren’t really, it is all just “made up”. The DNA of dead things, things dead sometimes for tens of thousands of years is just there for fun, because they never existed in the first place. It is all just a fun / deceptive miracle.

    Do you understand why I gravitate towards the Loki description? There is a vast, vast difference between a miracle, done by a benevolent God in a specific place, at a specific time, to show a specific person or group of people Who He is, and that they should Trust Him / Obey Him / Fear Him depending on the situation. The miracle was there to teach the person/people, the miracle itself is never the point – the latter is the foolishness of Pentecostalism.

    If all Creation, or referring again to only this planet, 0.000138% of it is fictional, why, I might just become a last Thursdayist, or some kind of Sophist after all. Because at the end of the day, that is all what this line of arguing is boiling down to – sophistry. And you are better than that, Todd.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    So Larry, you somehow avoid using Logic to understand God’s word altogether? Reason plays no role when you have the Text in front of you?

    Do you just absorb the truths by chanting it like some kind of Buddhist, repeating it over and over?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    So Larry, you somehow avoid using Logic to understand God’s word altogether? Reason plays no role when you have the Text in front of you?

    Do you just absorb the truths by chanting it like some kind of Buddhist, repeating it over and over?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    J. Dettman, #170: “Think of the LCMS as a conglomeration of many little fiefdoms. In the absence of one, overriding loyalty to any one belief system, you instead have a balkanization.”

    This is very helpful. Seeing the LCMS as balkanized is a helpful realization.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    J. Dettman, #170: “Think of the LCMS as a conglomeration of many little fiefdoms. In the absence of one, overriding loyalty to any one belief system, you instead have a balkanization.”

    This is very helpful. Seeing the LCMS as balkanized is a helpful realization.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Klasie,

    Thanks. I’ve subscribed to GeoChristian.

    Very curious: what do you think of the paleontologists who postulate that a bone with fresh dino blood and vessels is 65 million years old based on their understanding of radiometric dating methods, the geological column, taxonomy, and sequences of “index” fossils? Anything to doubt here?

    From my perspective, with your devotion to the scientific method and what it is able to tell us about reality and the history thereof, it is you who are putting reason in a straight-jacket. I suggest that you are ignoring the fullness of it and that you are the one being unreasonable. And if I may say, a tad arrogant.

    I could be wrong. I know I need to listen to you respond.

    You see, I don’t believe in “the laws of nature”. At all. But I don’t think that this makes me unreasonable at all. I fully understand what persons mean when they talk about the “laws of nature” and I reject it totally. Does this make me unreasonable? Hardly. I give you reasons for my views. The “Laws of Nature” are a “useful fiction” and nothing more: http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/blank-slates-babies-and-beyond-of-evolution-and-epistemology-part-iv-of-viii/

    It seems to me that Todd (168) and Larry (173) are right on….

    And it seems to me that this remark from Kerner:

    “A final note. I hear your statements that the evidence is like a woven tapestry, etc, but here is where I suggest caution. We have a lot more evidence that we had a few centuries ago, but I think it is a mistake think we have all, or even most of the data. The significance of the coelacanths that (from your perspective) lived undetected for 66.4 million years (while others think they may have been unseen for a mere few thousand) is that there are huge gaps in our data. You don’t have a tapestry, you have a bunch of dots, which can be connected according to a theory that supports a very old earth. But what occupies the much greater areas of blank space on the page represents the unknown. Even if our ancestors had only .001% of the data, and you have 1000 times as much as they, that’s still only 1%. I’m not at all convinced that’s enough to be as sure as some here are.

    But I can’t tell you what the evidence I don’t know about would look like, because I don’t know about it.

    Our jury instructions state that a reasonable doubt comes not only from evidence, but from a lack of evidence.”….

    …is logically devastating for you in its truth… how can you disagree with it?

    Further, it is not only YEC who question the confidence you put in the scientific method’s ability to tell us about history:

    What is the benefit of pretending that science provides the same high levels of certainty in historical theories of origins (species, universe, solar system) as the more objectively and repeatably testable quantum electrodynamics and classical mechanics (within their well-established areas of applicability)?

    “http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0812/0812.4932.pdf

    (The second half of this show is helpful: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vhhjm – and who can deny its truth?)

    You know why I primarily think there are stars in the sky? Do you know why I primarily think there are supernovas we can be observed?

    Because kids love fireworks. Not because God puts natural laws into effect that lead to star death.

    I have been listening to people in this debate from all perspectives for years… I hear young earth scientists talk about how the evolutionary and old age theories make little difference in their practical work. I show my distrust in them when I doubt this (as I do – I acknowledge that evolutionary and old earth models could and even do serve as “useful fictions”). I appreciated your account of your work and how money is a better indicator of what’s true than convictions. Is there a way that you could make all of what you said there more concrete for me? (if not, I understand – time is a luxury).

    Peace to you in Christ,
    Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Klasie,

    Thanks. I’ve subscribed to GeoChristian.

    Very curious: what do you think of the paleontologists who postulate that a bone with fresh dino blood and vessels is 65 million years old based on their understanding of radiometric dating methods, the geological column, taxonomy, and sequences of “index” fossils? Anything to doubt here?

    From my perspective, with your devotion to the scientific method and what it is able to tell us about reality and the history thereof, it is you who are putting reason in a straight-jacket. I suggest that you are ignoring the fullness of it and that you are the one being unreasonable. And if I may say, a tad arrogant.

    I could be wrong. I know I need to listen to you respond.

    You see, I don’t believe in “the laws of nature”. At all. But I don’t think that this makes me unreasonable at all. I fully understand what persons mean when they talk about the “laws of nature” and I reject it totally. Does this make me unreasonable? Hardly. I give you reasons for my views. The “Laws of Nature” are a “useful fiction” and nothing more: http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/blank-slates-babies-and-beyond-of-evolution-and-epistemology-part-iv-of-viii/

    It seems to me that Todd (168) and Larry (173) are right on….

    And it seems to me that this remark from Kerner:

    “A final note. I hear your statements that the evidence is like a woven tapestry, etc, but here is where I suggest caution. We have a lot more evidence that we had a few centuries ago, but I think it is a mistake think we have all, or even most of the data. The significance of the coelacanths that (from your perspective) lived undetected for 66.4 million years (while others think they may have been unseen for a mere few thousand) is that there are huge gaps in our data. You don’t have a tapestry, you have a bunch of dots, which can be connected according to a theory that supports a very old earth. But what occupies the much greater areas of blank space on the page represents the unknown. Even if our ancestors had only .001% of the data, and you have 1000 times as much as they, that’s still only 1%. I’m not at all convinced that’s enough to be as sure as some here are.

    But I can’t tell you what the evidence I don’t know about would look like, because I don’t know about it.

    Our jury instructions state that a reasonable doubt comes not only from evidence, but from a lack of evidence.”….

    …is logically devastating for you in its truth… how can you disagree with it?

    Further, it is not only YEC who question the confidence you put in the scientific method’s ability to tell us about history:

    What is the benefit of pretending that science provides the same high levels of certainty in historical theories of origins (species, universe, solar system) as the more objectively and repeatably testable quantum electrodynamics and classical mechanics (within their well-established areas of applicability)?

    “http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0812/0812.4932.pdf

    (The second half of this show is helpful: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vhhjm – and who can deny its truth?)

    You know why I primarily think there are stars in the sky? Do you know why I primarily think there are supernovas we can be observed?

    Because kids love fireworks. Not because God puts natural laws into effect that lead to star death.

    I have been listening to people in this debate from all perspectives for years… I hear young earth scientists talk about how the evolutionary and old age theories make little difference in their practical work. I show my distrust in them when I doubt this (as I do – I acknowledge that evolutionary and old earth models could and even do serve as “useful fictions”). I appreciated your account of your work and how money is a better indicator of what’s true than convictions. Is there a way that you could make all of what you said there more concrete for me? (if not, I understand – time is a luxury).

    Peace to you in Christ,
    Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Klasie,

    Here’s one for your blogreader, if its not already in there:

    http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/2009/10/nature-of-science.html

    (probably one of the most nuanced and sophisticated YEC I have come across).

    Also, you seem to assume that God wants us to solve a mystery or something and has definitely made it possible for us to do this. (174). What if he doesn’t? What if he just wants us to use the scientific method to be useful to our neighbor, not to figure out the history of the universes? Hasn’t he already revealed what we need to know about the history of the universe – for our salvation and for our general human curiousity? Here is how I see it:

    In my view, this all has to do with trust. First of all, I think historians, more than scientists, are the experts when it comes to telling me about the past. Further, I think that prehistory, or history before human writing, is only able to “tell” us so much. In short, I think what cosmologists, archaeologists, geologists and paleontologists do is more limited in scope than what is often assumed, because complex interpretation, involving all manner of assumptions and presuppositions are involved (this is not to say that they cannot tell us some very important things definitively, or that their methods are altogether without value – hardly) – i.e. this is “model” stuff (see above). Historians certainly make assumptions as well, but historians have an advantage: they really deal not with “prehistory” but history, meaning the writings of people who were really there. Here, we are dealing with people who left writings that can be of great assistance in helping us to interpret the evidence we uncover. Their writing can “testify” to the truth. Although there is no doubt that the remains of bones, statues, buildings, pottery and arrowheads may certainly illuminate historical texts, I think that, generally speaking, historical texts illuminate the remains of these things even more. In short, the value of this recorded human communication for helping to discern the truth about the past is inestimable and irreplaceable. Then, for me, the question simply comes down to which historians I am going to trust – and here of course, we get into questions of character, wisdom and knowledge. Historians don’t just tell us what happened, but what they think probably happened, why things happened like they did, and to a greater or lesser extent, what they think it all means.

    With that said, I will shut up. I need to get to work.

    By the way, I mean to be a friendly adversity. Don’t get me wrong – there is no anger driving this (although I don’t deceive myself in thinking that I am purely driven by a passion for truth either).

    -Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Klasie,

    Here’s one for your blogreader, if its not already in there:

    http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/2009/10/nature-of-science.html

    (probably one of the most nuanced and sophisticated YEC I have come across).

    Also, you seem to assume that God wants us to solve a mystery or something and has definitely made it possible for us to do this. (174). What if he doesn’t? What if he just wants us to use the scientific method to be useful to our neighbor, not to figure out the history of the universes? Hasn’t he already revealed what we need to know about the history of the universe – for our salvation and for our general human curiousity? Here is how I see it:

    In my view, this all has to do with trust. First of all, I think historians, more than scientists, are the experts when it comes to telling me about the past. Further, I think that prehistory, or history before human writing, is only able to “tell” us so much. In short, I think what cosmologists, archaeologists, geologists and paleontologists do is more limited in scope than what is often assumed, because complex interpretation, involving all manner of assumptions and presuppositions are involved (this is not to say that they cannot tell us some very important things definitively, or that their methods are altogether without value – hardly) – i.e. this is “model” stuff (see above). Historians certainly make assumptions as well, but historians have an advantage: they really deal not with “prehistory” but history, meaning the writings of people who were really there. Here, we are dealing with people who left writings that can be of great assistance in helping us to interpret the evidence we uncover. Their writing can “testify” to the truth. Although there is no doubt that the remains of bones, statues, buildings, pottery and arrowheads may certainly illuminate historical texts, I think that, generally speaking, historical texts illuminate the remains of these things even more. In short, the value of this recorded human communication for helping to discern the truth about the past is inestimable and irreplaceable. Then, for me, the question simply comes down to which historians I am going to trust – and here of course, we get into questions of character, wisdom and knowledge. Historians don’t just tell us what happened, but what they think probably happened, why things happened like they did, and to a greater or lesser extent, what they think it all means.

    With that said, I will shut up. I need to get to work.

    By the way, I mean to be a friendly adversity. Don’t get me wrong – there is no anger driving this (although I don’t deceive myself in thinking that I am purely driven by a passion for truth either).

    -Nathan

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Nathan, thanks for the post. Read through Kevin’s archives, especially his “best of the Geochristian” section. Good stuff.

    Frankly speaking YEC is absoulte bunk. That might sound arrogant, but there is not a single one of their ideas which have held water for any amount of time. To the layman, I can understand how it might sound convincing though. But there is a number of other blogs out there which I can refer you to that go through there stuff – I will attempt to find them and post the references. As I said, I don’t do much of that anymore.

    As to Kerner’s comments: He is a laywer, not a scientist that works with natural processes. We know an enourmous amount about nature. And here’s the kicker – the more the learn the more the story is enhanced, not radically changed. The radical changes which Bror gets so excited about are changes in understanding of the processes, in how things work. but the essential order of earth’s history hasn’t changed. Furthermore, we are still in relatively early days in early cosmology, and ther is more speculation there, sure – so I’m less concerned about that, for instance.

    As to Larry – he has to answer my question @ 175.

    (I’ll tell you a secret: I started out as YEC’ist. Then the evidence became too much. Then I retreated into sophistry like Larry and J and others. Then I realised what I was doing. Then I became honest, and confronted reality. It wasn’t an easy journey. Been there, done that, got all the scars. Took me about 15 years or so.)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Nathan, thanks for the post. Read through Kevin’s archives, especially his “best of the Geochristian” section. Good stuff.

    Frankly speaking YEC is absoulte bunk. That might sound arrogant, but there is not a single one of their ideas which have held water for any amount of time. To the layman, I can understand how it might sound convincing though. But there is a number of other blogs out there which I can refer you to that go through there stuff – I will attempt to find them and post the references. As I said, I don’t do much of that anymore.

    As to Kerner’s comments: He is a laywer, not a scientist that works with natural processes. We know an enourmous amount about nature. And here’s the kicker – the more the learn the more the story is enhanced, not radically changed. The radical changes which Bror gets so excited about are changes in understanding of the processes, in how things work. but the essential order of earth’s history hasn’t changed. Furthermore, we are still in relatively early days in early cosmology, and ther is more speculation there, sure – so I’m less concerned about that, for instance.

    As to Larry – he has to answer my question @ 175.

    (I’ll tell you a secret: I started out as YEC’ist. Then the evidence became too much. Then I retreated into sophistry like Larry and J and others. Then I realised what I was doing. Then I became honest, and confronted reality. It wasn’t an easy journey. Been there, done that, got all the scars. Took me about 15 years or so.)

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    I see I mentioned “model” stuff – since I copied and pasted this from elsewhere.

    Here is what I mean:

    I am not a practicing scientist (though I have a biology and chemistry degree) but think it is reasonable to classifiy “scientific things” in terms of observations, hypotheses, theories, and models. For example, theories, in my view, are stated ideas of varying complexity about observable, testable, and replicable regularities, including the thing(s) that causes these regularities – and these theories have more or less wide impact and applicability when it comes to practical problem-solving (explaining data, making predictions, or implying things about the world that we may not yet have observed). Models, on the other hand, are hypothetical guesses about how many [or all!] things work together based on the best and most complete use of what is believed to be reliably known, and which, strictly speaking, cannot be reproduced/replicated by scientific methods of investigation. This would not be to knock models as scientific explanations (i.e. all scientific explanations, in order to be these, need to correspond with what we observe in the world around us – the evidence, or data, corresponds to, or is consistent with, a theory or model), but simply to make what I think is a reasonable distinction. Although evolutionists may indeed be able to predict some things on the basis of their explanation – and then find confirmations of things that confirm their predictions – I would say that because of Evolution’s inescapable historical component (note the large E, meant to illustrate evolution as a master idea that helps us to explain things throughout history), it is more of a model than a theory. I recognize that different disciplines would have different ideas about what a theory or model consists of, but I think overall, my definitions above can be useful when it comes to scientific ideas in particular. Further, I do not believe that I am denigrating science when I state these things, but rather simply reminding us to be humble when we think about our scientific explanations.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    I see I mentioned “model” stuff – since I copied and pasted this from elsewhere.

    Here is what I mean:

    I am not a practicing scientist (though I have a biology and chemistry degree) but think it is reasonable to classifiy “scientific things” in terms of observations, hypotheses, theories, and models. For example, theories, in my view, are stated ideas of varying complexity about observable, testable, and replicable regularities, including the thing(s) that causes these regularities – and these theories have more or less wide impact and applicability when it comes to practical problem-solving (explaining data, making predictions, or implying things about the world that we may not yet have observed). Models, on the other hand, are hypothetical guesses about how many [or all!] things work together based on the best and most complete use of what is believed to be reliably known, and which, strictly speaking, cannot be reproduced/replicated by scientific methods of investigation. This would not be to knock models as scientific explanations (i.e. all scientific explanations, in order to be these, need to correspond with what we observe in the world around us – the evidence, or data, corresponds to, or is consistent with, a theory or model), but simply to make what I think is a reasonable distinction. Although evolutionists may indeed be able to predict some things on the basis of their explanation – and then find confirmations of things that confirm their predictions – I would say that because of Evolution’s inescapable historical component (note the large E, meant to illustrate evolution as a master idea that helps us to explain things throughout history), it is more of a model than a theory. I recognize that different disciplines would have different ideas about what a theory or model consists of, but I think overall, my definitions above can be useful when it comes to scientific ideas in particular. Further, I do not believe that I am denigrating science when I state these things, but rather simply reminding us to be humble when we think about our scientific explanations.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    BTW, I know about Todd Wood, read some of his stuff, not impressed, but he is more decent than most.

    Sorry Nathan, been around the block on this topic…. ;)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    BTW, I know about Todd Wood, read some of his stuff, not impressed, but he is more decent than most.

    Sorry Nathan, been around the block on this topic…. ;)

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    “As to Kerner’s comments: He is a laywer, not a scientist that works with natural processes.”

    Which is why I trust him more. : )

    “Sorry Nathan, been around the block on this topic”

    Most of us have not evidently – which is why I think addressing at least a couple of my points above might be helpful (again, this is not a demand – time….).

    OK, now really starting work!

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    “As to Kerner’s comments: He is a laywer, not a scientist that works with natural processes.”

    Which is why I trust him more. : )

    “Sorry Nathan, been around the block on this topic”

    Most of us have not evidently – which is why I think addressing at least a couple of my points above might be helpful (again, this is not a demand – time….).

    OK, now really starting work!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Another good blog out there, in addition o Kevin’s, is this one: http://questioninganswersingenesis.blogspot.com/

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Another good blog out there, in addition o Kevin’s, is this one: http://questioninganswersingenesis.blogspot.com/

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    As to your model thing sure (as a geologist, I am 100% with you on that one) – but facts fit certain models, and not others, no matter how many contortions you try. You know what my next statement is going to be….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    As to your model thing sure (as a geologist, I am 100% with you on that one) – but facts fit certain models, and not others, no matter how many contortions you try. You know what my next statement is going to be….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Apocryphon @ 167 – that is what I also got – it is also Balkanized, just in a different way. Connect that with my fundamentalism comments way back at #100, and you get the picture…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Apocryphon @ 167 – that is what I also got – it is also Balkanized, just in a different way. Connect that with my fundamentalism comments way back at #100, and you get the picture…

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Google alerts! Sigh…

    Klasie,

    You overestimate me.

    +Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Google alerts! Sigh…

    Klasie,

    You overestimate me.

    +Nathan

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Nathan – to quote Pooh: Think! Think! Think!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Nathan – to quote Pooh: Think! Think! Think!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Larry makes a point (eh, sort of? I think?) I half forgot to make (@173): that it is ridiculous to accuse God, in the creating of a universe with “apparent age” (or through any other miracle that goes against the laws of nature) of “deception”, at least if one takes into account what God tells us through Scripture about that miracle.

    That is to say, we may look at the Cana wine and say, “Well, it certainly looks like old wine that was made from grapes and yeast that actually existed months or years ago, so if you’re saying that that isn’t what happened, then we have been deceived by God!” But then, how can we claim to be deceived if God himself gave us an account of what actually happened?

    Unless, of course, we allow the physical account to take precedence over the Scriptural account. If we do that, then yes, we would be deceived along with the banquet master.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Larry makes a point (eh, sort of? I think?) I half forgot to make (@173): that it is ridiculous to accuse God, in the creating of a universe with “apparent age” (or through any other miracle that goes against the laws of nature) of “deception”, at least if one takes into account what God tells us through Scripture about that miracle.

    That is to say, we may look at the Cana wine and say, “Well, it certainly looks like old wine that was made from grapes and yeast that actually existed months or years ago, so if you’re saying that that isn’t what happened, then we have been deceived by God!” But then, how can we claim to be deceived if God himself gave us an account of what actually happened?

    Unless, of course, we allow the physical account to take precedence over the Scriptural account. If we do that, then yes, we would be deceived along with the banquet master.

  • kerner

    J. Dettmann @170-171 and TU&D @176:

    I think the term “balkanization” is a little unnecessarily cynical, but I can see how it would be used. This is a fallen world, and we in the LC-MS are fallen (albeit redeemed, hopefully) people. Looking at our organizational structure purely as a human organization filled with people acting out their sinful natures, you could call it “balkanized”. But I think it is better to think of it as a federal republic with a weak central government and power diffused among a lot of local authorities that act as checks and balances. Our theology, as well as our polity, recognize the local congregation (wherever 2 or more are gathered in My name…) as where the Church may be found. The Church (Capital “C”) is not found in organizational institutions. Therefore, the authority any organizational structure can be allowed to have over the Church must be limited.

    That’s the theory, anyway, but I do think it’s a better principle than to give a centralized administrative structure too much power, because that’s how you end up with the Pope to deal with.

    But, since any organization operated by humans is subject to sin and its abuses, at its worst, the LC-MS can appear “balkanized”.

    But the practical effect of such a structure is that is difficult for any one seat of our widely distributed authority to enforce its will upon all the rest. Right or wrong. It forces the authorities to get everybody else to go along more or less voluntarily.

  • kerner

    J. Dettmann @170-171 and TU&D @176:

    I think the term “balkanization” is a little unnecessarily cynical, but I can see how it would be used. This is a fallen world, and we in the LC-MS are fallen (albeit redeemed, hopefully) people. Looking at our organizational structure purely as a human organization filled with people acting out their sinful natures, you could call it “balkanized”. But I think it is better to think of it as a federal republic with a weak central government and power diffused among a lot of local authorities that act as checks and balances. Our theology, as well as our polity, recognize the local congregation (wherever 2 or more are gathered in My name…) as where the Church may be found. The Church (Capital “C”) is not found in organizational institutions. Therefore, the authority any organizational structure can be allowed to have over the Church must be limited.

    That’s the theory, anyway, but I do think it’s a better principle than to give a centralized administrative structure too much power, because that’s how you end up with the Pope to deal with.

    But, since any organization operated by humans is subject to sin and its abuses, at its worst, the LC-MS can appear “balkanized”.

    But the practical effect of such a structure is that is difficult for any one seat of our widely distributed authority to enforce its will upon all the rest. Right or wrong. It forces the authorities to get everybody else to go along more or less voluntarily.

  • J. Dettmann

    If there were more checks and balances against local abuses, I wouldn’t have been forced out of the LCMS over my refusal to deny 6-day creation and accept evolution. Some of you might want more details on this. I am sorry that I am not in a position to give my life story out on the internet, but am fine discussing anything with any of you should you wish to meet in person. When I told Rev. Otten about it once (when staying at a relative’s place in his part of Missouri), he immediately understood. Nearly the same thing happened to him, too.

  • J. Dettmann

    If there were more checks and balances against local abuses, I wouldn’t have been forced out of the LCMS over my refusal to deny 6-day creation and accept evolution. Some of you might want more details on this. I am sorry that I am not in a position to give my life story out on the internet, but am fine discussing anything with any of you should you wish to meet in person. When I told Rev. Otten about it once (when staying at a relative’s place in his part of Missouri), he immediately understood. Nearly the same thing happened to him, too.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    J. Dettman, #190: “I wouldn’t have been forced out of the LCMS over my refusal to deny 6-day creation and accept evolution.”

    Whaa-aaa-at? Wait. Let me understand this correctly.

    You’re a creationist who properly and honestly subscribed to the 1932 Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the LCMS… and yet you were forced out of the LCMS because you refused to accept evolution????

    Are these the facts? And have I understood them properly?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    J. Dettman, #190: “I wouldn’t have been forced out of the LCMS over my refusal to deny 6-day creation and accept evolution.”

    Whaa-aaa-at? Wait. Let me understand this correctly.

    You’re a creationist who properly and honestly subscribed to the 1932 Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the LCMS… and yet you were forced out of the LCMS because you refused to accept evolution????

    Are these the facts? And have I understood them properly?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd – but does He? He says he is the Creator, Amen! But reading what even the Early Church had to say about it, and if you go back to Rev Spoomer, and to Kevin N earlier, don’t you see that you would also have to justify your own overt literalist reading (of the how and the when – ie, you read the story/history as literal, instead of as inidicative or liturgical). The question is NEVER denial about Genesis. It is about overt, simplistic readings of Genesis (especially 1 – 11), it is about the kind of text the first chapters of Genesis actually is , etc etc.

    Of course, I normally get accused of bringing certain assumptions to the text. But Nobody comes assumptionless to the text.

    I get accused of following Reason rather than the text. But you cannot even Rean nor comprehend, nor interpret, the Text without Reason, or Logic.

    The text doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The text was written in a context, within a cultural, linguistic context, even a mythological context.

    As I have told Grace in the past, the Text did not fall from Heaven like some Mormon book.

    All these things are important. Kevin and Pastor Spoomer refers to them, directly and indirectly. Thus we do not absorb the text like some Buddhist chant. It is not that kind of religious text. Even within Scripture, we see how God uses what is already present to reveal Himself – like the Athenian altar to the Unknown God.

    The exhortation from the likes of Larry to close our mids when Scripture is opened is the first step to heresy. Why do I say that? Because I grew up in a heretical sect, and that is EXACTLY HOW IT HAPPENS! That is why the glorification of ignorance, starting with the likes of Billy Sunday etc., has had greater negative results in the Church than all the heterodox scholoars put together. That, and pietism, which tends to go hand-in-hand with sophistry.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd – but does He? He says he is the Creator, Amen! But reading what even the Early Church had to say about it, and if you go back to Rev Spoomer, and to Kevin N earlier, don’t you see that you would also have to justify your own overt literalist reading (of the how and the when – ie, you read the story/history as literal, instead of as inidicative or liturgical). The question is NEVER denial about Genesis. It is about overt, simplistic readings of Genesis (especially 1 – 11), it is about the kind of text the first chapters of Genesis actually is , etc etc.

    Of course, I normally get accused of bringing certain assumptions to the text. But Nobody comes assumptionless to the text.

    I get accused of following Reason rather than the text. But you cannot even Rean nor comprehend, nor interpret, the Text without Reason, or Logic.

    The text doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The text was written in a context, within a cultural, linguistic context, even a mythological context.

    As I have told Grace in the past, the Text did not fall from Heaven like some Mormon book.

    All these things are important. Kevin and Pastor Spoomer refers to them, directly and indirectly. Thus we do not absorb the text like some Buddhist chant. It is not that kind of religious text. Even within Scripture, we see how God uses what is already present to reveal Himself – like the Athenian altar to the Unknown God.

    The exhortation from the likes of Larry to close our mids when Scripture is opened is the first step to heresy. Why do I say that? Because I grew up in a heretical sect, and that is EXACTLY HOW IT HAPPENS! That is why the glorification of ignorance, starting with the likes of Billy Sunday etc., has had greater negative results in the Church than all the heterodox scholoars put together. That, and pietism, which tends to go hand-in-hand with sophistry.

  • J. Dettmann

    Yes. I was told that I was “doctrinally incompatible with Modern Missouri”. The opposition I faced was also sealed by an official paper.

    I had come to the creationist position years earlier by carefully studying scientific articles and textbooks before realizing that evolution as I had learned it was untenable. I could have fought it in several ways, but didn’t. I knew I wouldn’t have the district president’s support, anyway.

    In other places in the LCMS, one could get thrown out for being an evolutionist. I don’t think most would care too much about it, though.

    God works all things to the good of those who love him. Because of it all, I later got to know a scientist who was thrown out of the UW Madison PHD program (at the end of it, too!) for refusing to sign a paper affirming belief in evolution. I’ve had very meaningful experiences since then that God wouldn’t have granted me had I gone along with it all.

  • J. Dettmann

    Yes. I was told that I was “doctrinally incompatible with Modern Missouri”. The opposition I faced was also sealed by an official paper.

    I had come to the creationist position years earlier by carefully studying scientific articles and textbooks before realizing that evolution as I had learned it was untenable. I could have fought it in several ways, but didn’t. I knew I wouldn’t have the district president’s support, anyway.

    In other places in the LCMS, one could get thrown out for being an evolutionist. I don’t think most would care too much about it, though.

    God works all things to the good of those who love him. Because of it all, I later got to know a scientist who was thrown out of the UW Madison PHD program (at the end of it, too!) for refusing to sign a paper affirming belief in evolution. I’ve had very meaningful experiences since then that God wouldn’t have granted me had I gone along with it all.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to Klasie’s other points (@174):

    At first, the fellow was mistaken about the event, thinking it was “natural” wine, and good wine at that. But as soon as he looked into it he discovered the opposite – namely that it wasn’t natural, but miraculous. That is the design of the miracle – namely it is designed to be”found out” as such – for pedagogical reasons.

    Well, no. That’s not what John says. What translation are you reading from, because you very much appear to be reading your “pedagogical” requirements into the account. Here’s what the 1984 NIV says (though I’m happy to use a different translation) with my emphasis:

    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.”

    Nowhere are we told that the banquet master ever learned of the wine’s provenance. The only people we’re explicitly told that knew of the miracle (besides Jesus) are the servants. The text implies that the disciples learned of this miracle, as well.

    So yes, the miracle had a point, but Scripture only records that the point was for the disciples, who “put their faith in [Jesus]“. There is no reason to believe that the banquet master (much less any of the other guests) ever learned that he was, as you say, “deceived” — except that a preconceived external framework makes such a reading necessary.

    All miracles that God did, and that have been recorded, such as the wedding at Cana, the multiplying of the bread and fish etc., are specific pedagogical events. Investigating them even superficially leads to the discovery of their miraculousness.

    I would argue that these statements apply perfectly well to a recent Creation! Such (pedagogically) demonstrates God’s eternal power and divine nature, and it is prima facie miraculous.

    That said, I’m a little hesitant to accede to the notion that miracles must be “pedagogical”, simply because this appears to be a rule you’ve constructed, rather than one given in Scripture (that is, you are making something prescriptive that was only given to us as descriptive).

    Of course, Scripture does usually tell us that miracles were there to make a point — to point those seeing the miracle to the message of the one present — but in requiring miracles to be “pedagogical”, we cannot thereby require that all miracles submit to our own understanding. That is to say, we cannot say “Well, I don’t see the lesson here, so ipso facto it’s not a miracle.” That reduces God’s miracle-working power to our own comprehension.

    Given that Scripture seems to indicate that the banquet master did not learn from Jesus’ miracle at Cana, one could therefore argue, according to your claim, that said miracle wasn’t pedagogical, and, therefore, wasn’t a miracle. “But!” you might reply, “Some people did learn from that miracle!” Indeed. And, I would reply in kind, some people see a pedagogical lesson in a recent Creation. So where does that leave us?

    Basically, miracles are “normalizing” events, restorations if you will.

    Again, you go from the descriptive to the prescriptive. God, it would seem, must be bound by your assertion that, if it is not “normalizing”, then it is not a miracle, or didn’t really happen like it seemed to.

    Of course, you still have yet to answer my question of whether you think your understanding of Creation was still a miracle. I have to conclude, though, that you do not, since a miraculous creation does not seem to meet your requirements of being “pedagogical” and “normalizing”. So what, then, to make of a non-miraculous ex nihilo creation by God’s speaking? Does that even make sense?

    Anyhow, I will give you a list of miracles from the Bible. Can you tell me if they are “normalizing” or not?
    The flood. The confusion of languages at Babel. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot’s wife turned into salt. The burning bush. Aaron changing his rod into a serpent. The ten plagues in Egypt. The crossing over the Red Sea. … Honestly, need I go on?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to Klasie’s other points (@174):

    At first, the fellow was mistaken about the event, thinking it was “natural” wine, and good wine at that. But as soon as he looked into it he discovered the opposite – namely that it wasn’t natural, but miraculous. That is the design of the miracle – namely it is designed to be”found out” as such – for pedagogical reasons.

    Well, no. That’s not what John says. What translation are you reading from, because you very much appear to be reading your “pedagogical” requirements into the account. Here’s what the 1984 NIV says (though I’m happy to use a different translation) with my emphasis:

    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.”

    Nowhere are we told that the banquet master ever learned of the wine’s provenance. The only people we’re explicitly told that knew of the miracle (besides Jesus) are the servants. The text implies that the disciples learned of this miracle, as well.

    So yes, the miracle had a point, but Scripture only records that the point was for the disciples, who “put their faith in [Jesus]“. There is no reason to believe that the banquet master (much less any of the other guests) ever learned that he was, as you say, “deceived” — except that a preconceived external framework makes such a reading necessary.

    All miracles that God did, and that have been recorded, such as the wedding at Cana, the multiplying of the bread and fish etc., are specific pedagogical events. Investigating them even superficially leads to the discovery of their miraculousness.

    I would argue that these statements apply perfectly well to a recent Creation! Such (pedagogically) demonstrates God’s eternal power and divine nature, and it is prima facie miraculous.

    That said, I’m a little hesitant to accede to the notion that miracles must be “pedagogical”, simply because this appears to be a rule you’ve constructed, rather than one given in Scripture (that is, you are making something prescriptive that was only given to us as descriptive).

    Of course, Scripture does usually tell us that miracles were there to make a point — to point those seeing the miracle to the message of the one present — but in requiring miracles to be “pedagogical”, we cannot thereby require that all miracles submit to our own understanding. That is to say, we cannot say “Well, I don’t see the lesson here, so ipso facto it’s not a miracle.” That reduces God’s miracle-working power to our own comprehension.

    Given that Scripture seems to indicate that the banquet master did not learn from Jesus’ miracle at Cana, one could therefore argue, according to your claim, that said miracle wasn’t pedagogical, and, therefore, wasn’t a miracle. “But!” you might reply, “Some people did learn from that miracle!” Indeed. And, I would reply in kind, some people see a pedagogical lesson in a recent Creation. So where does that leave us?

    Basically, miracles are “normalizing” events, restorations if you will.

    Again, you go from the descriptive to the prescriptive. God, it would seem, must be bound by your assertion that, if it is not “normalizing”, then it is not a miracle, or didn’t really happen like it seemed to.

    Of course, you still have yet to answer my question of whether you think your understanding of Creation was still a miracle. I have to conclude, though, that you do not, since a miraculous creation does not seem to meet your requirements of being “pedagogical” and “normalizing”. So what, then, to make of a non-miraculous ex nihilo creation by God’s speaking? Does that even make sense?

    Anyhow, I will give you a list of miracles from the Bible. Can you tell me if they are “normalizing” or not?
    The flood. The confusion of languages at Babel. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot’s wife turned into salt. The burning bush. Aaron changing his rod into a serpent. The ten plagues in Egypt. The crossing over the Red Sea. … Honestly, need I go on?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    J. Dettman, #193,

    Wow. An amazing journey, indeed. Thanks for providing a brief account.

    Based on your account, then seeing the LCMS as a balkanized denomination is a rather accurate assessment, and not unnecessarily cynical.

    If you don’t mind, what church (or denomination) do you attend now?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    J. Dettman, #193,

    Wow. An amazing journey, indeed. Thanks for providing a brief account.

    Based on your account, then seeing the LCMS as a balkanized denomination is a rather accurate assessment, and not unnecessarily cynical.

    If you don’t mind, what church (or denomination) do you attend now?

  • http://www.thisweconfess.wordpress.com Lucas Woodford

    Klasie,

    I continue to read your posts and respect your broad intellectual acumen. However, my concern, at least with how I’m understanding your presentation of things, is that you are subjecting Scripture, (and God) to the limitations of reason in a way that also limits the nature and purpose of the Scriptures. Be assured I am no fundamentalists. But the feeling I get when reading your perspective is one very similar to when I interviewed a number theologians and exegetes who were part of the 1974 LCMS “walk out” — the central issue where the use of the historical critical method in biblical interpretation tore the synod apart (of which creation and evolution were most certainly a part).

    In one interview with the renowned Greek exegete, Fred Danker, I asked him about Genesis and about the miracles of Jesus i.e. Jesus walking on the water, etc. His response: “A literal seven days of Genesis is really a metaphor for Gods care for us… The writer is not intending to give us a ‘geological’ account… I would teach others that Jesus is at the center of Genesis one.” And regarding the miracle of Jesus walking on the Water he tended to side step the historicity of such miracles with things like; “To be sure, such an event would have been grand, and had a camera been there to document it, it would have surely broke while taking the picture.”

    Now you may not be advocating such an approach to Scripture. However, when reason is portrayed as the ultimate trump card, (but please note I agree reason is used in interpretation) the danger of reducing the Scriptures, and their content, to the outcome of our finitude becomes very real. I’m not saying that is what you are doing. I’m saying that’s how I tend to read your perspective.

  • http://www.thisweconfess.wordpress.com Lucas Woodford

    Klasie,

    I continue to read your posts and respect your broad intellectual acumen. However, my concern, at least with how I’m understanding your presentation of things, is that you are subjecting Scripture, (and God) to the limitations of reason in a way that also limits the nature and purpose of the Scriptures. Be assured I am no fundamentalists. But the feeling I get when reading your perspective is one very similar to when I interviewed a number theologians and exegetes who were part of the 1974 LCMS “walk out” — the central issue where the use of the historical critical method in biblical interpretation tore the synod apart (of which creation and evolution were most certainly a part).

    In one interview with the renowned Greek exegete, Fred Danker, I asked him about Genesis and about the miracles of Jesus i.e. Jesus walking on the water, etc. His response: “A literal seven days of Genesis is really a metaphor for Gods care for us… The writer is not intending to give us a ‘geological’ account… I would teach others that Jesus is at the center of Genesis one.” And regarding the miracle of Jesus walking on the Water he tended to side step the historicity of such miracles with things like; “To be sure, such an event would have been grand, and had a camera been there to document it, it would have surely broke while taking the picture.”

    Now you may not be advocating such an approach to Scripture. However, when reason is portrayed as the ultimate trump card, (but please note I agree reason is used in interpretation) the danger of reducing the Scriptures, and their content, to the outcome of our finitude becomes very real. I’m not saying that is what you are doing. I’m saying that’s how I tend to read your perspective.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And continuing with Klasie’s comment (@174):

    Your desire to have creation as appearing miraculously old etc etc., is an argument out of, dare I say it, profound ignorance.

    Well of course I appreciate the ad hominem comment, mainly because I really think it both bolsters your argument and adds to the overall discussion.

    Even a very superficial knowledge of biology (let’s choose genetics here), astronomy, paleontology, archeology and geology, the latter being my specialty, indicates a long and protracted history of this planet, and the cosmos within which it exists. Sure, one cannot ever be 100% sure of anything. But at the same time, facts are facts, and even the most generous interpretation cannot remotely indicate a young history for anything.

    Come on. It’s like you don’t even understand what my position here is, even as you keep insisting you do. That paragraph makes no sense as a reply to an “apparent age” claim. The whole point of an “apparent age” argument is to say that, yes, scientific investigation will bear out “a long and protracted history of this planet”. I mean, come on! The position I’m arguing for may be foolish, it may be dead wrong, but at least meet me where I’m coming from.

    Let me be clear: I am not arguing that use of scientific methods will make it obvious that the universe is thousands of years old.

    And though I feel that I’m repeating myself here, let me apply your objection to the miracle at Cana:

    Even a very superficial knowledge of biology and chemistry indicates a long and protracted history of that wine. Sure, one cannot ever be 100% sure of anything. But at the same time, facts are facts, and even the most generous interpretation cannot remotely indicate that said wine was generated minutes ago from water.

    Would that have been a reasonable response for the people at Cana to give? “I’m a professional winemaker, and never in all my years have I seen wine generated from water like you’re claiming. Facts are facts.” No! It misses the whole point of what it means to be a miracle!

    You want a world in which essentially nothing really happened, nothing in your genetic history can really be trusted as having happened, the archeological history, which stretches back further than 4004BC is somehow made up, all those fossils are just for fun, even though they tell an exact and precise story to no end at all.

    Again, you go too far. I’m not arguing that nothing can be trusted. I’m arguing that, where God tells us otherwise in Scripture, we cannot trust (if you will) our physical senses, precisely because God tells us how he acted outside of the laws of physics. Don’t you believe that God can do that? Don’t you believe that God did that? But Klasie, if God ever once acted supernaturally, per your own argument, you can trust nothing!

    Also, you elevate your own understanding too much when you say “to no end at all”. Again, read the end of Job.

    The DNA of dead things … is just there for fun, because they never existed in the first place. It is all just a fun / deceptive miracle.

    This, at least, comes closer to showing an understanding of my argument. But, again, it is equally an argument for why the miracle at Cana never truly happened. And, I argue by extension, an argument for why no miracle ever truly happened.

    There is a vast, vast difference between a miracle, done by a benevolent God in a specific place, at a specific time, to show a specific person or group of people Who He is, and that they should Trust Him / Obey Him / Fear Him depending on the situation.

    I have no problem applying this sentence to Creation itself.

    If all Creation, or referring again to only this planet, 0.000138% of it is fictional, why, I might just become a last Thursdayist.

    Well, if cries of “Last Thursdayism” are troubling to you, then perhaps you should stop believing in any miracles. Because if you hold to but one, that criticism will stick.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And continuing with Klasie’s comment (@174):

    Your desire to have creation as appearing miraculously old etc etc., is an argument out of, dare I say it, profound ignorance.

    Well of course I appreciate the ad hominem comment, mainly because I really think it both bolsters your argument and adds to the overall discussion.

    Even a very superficial knowledge of biology (let’s choose genetics here), astronomy, paleontology, archeology and geology, the latter being my specialty, indicates a long and protracted history of this planet, and the cosmos within which it exists. Sure, one cannot ever be 100% sure of anything. But at the same time, facts are facts, and even the most generous interpretation cannot remotely indicate a young history for anything.

    Come on. It’s like you don’t even understand what my position here is, even as you keep insisting you do. That paragraph makes no sense as a reply to an “apparent age” claim. The whole point of an “apparent age” argument is to say that, yes, scientific investigation will bear out “a long and protracted history of this planet”. I mean, come on! The position I’m arguing for may be foolish, it may be dead wrong, but at least meet me where I’m coming from.

    Let me be clear: I am not arguing that use of scientific methods will make it obvious that the universe is thousands of years old.

    And though I feel that I’m repeating myself here, let me apply your objection to the miracle at Cana:

    Even a very superficial knowledge of biology and chemistry indicates a long and protracted history of that wine. Sure, one cannot ever be 100% sure of anything. But at the same time, facts are facts, and even the most generous interpretation cannot remotely indicate that said wine was generated minutes ago from water.

    Would that have been a reasonable response for the people at Cana to give? “I’m a professional winemaker, and never in all my years have I seen wine generated from water like you’re claiming. Facts are facts.” No! It misses the whole point of what it means to be a miracle!

    You want a world in which essentially nothing really happened, nothing in your genetic history can really be trusted as having happened, the archeological history, which stretches back further than 4004BC is somehow made up, all those fossils are just for fun, even though they tell an exact and precise story to no end at all.

    Again, you go too far. I’m not arguing that nothing can be trusted. I’m arguing that, where God tells us otherwise in Scripture, we cannot trust (if you will) our physical senses, precisely because God tells us how he acted outside of the laws of physics. Don’t you believe that God can do that? Don’t you believe that God did that? But Klasie, if God ever once acted supernaturally, per your own argument, you can trust nothing!

    Also, you elevate your own understanding too much when you say “to no end at all”. Again, read the end of Job.

    The DNA of dead things … is just there for fun, because they never existed in the first place. It is all just a fun / deceptive miracle.

    This, at least, comes closer to showing an understanding of my argument. But, again, it is equally an argument for why the miracle at Cana never truly happened. And, I argue by extension, an argument for why no miracle ever truly happened.

    There is a vast, vast difference between a miracle, done by a benevolent God in a specific place, at a specific time, to show a specific person or group of people Who He is, and that they should Trust Him / Obey Him / Fear Him depending on the situation.

    I have no problem applying this sentence to Creation itself.

    If all Creation, or referring again to only this planet, 0.000138% of it is fictional, why, I might just become a last Thursdayist.

    Well, if cries of “Last Thursdayism” are troubling to you, then perhaps you should stop believing in any miracles. Because if you hold to but one, that criticism will stick.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Lucas, that is not my perspective. But I would caution against my the miracle the fcus. That is why I think the actual recording of miracles (ie the camera breaking) is always fuzzy – because God doesn’t want the “magic” to be the focus, but Himself. For the rest of your concerns – see my following comment to Todd.

    Todd – I really don’t want to go at this with you again. A miracle could be defined as something which cannot be explained by the normal natural process – such as water being turned into wine instantaneously. Creating the universe (thus creating space-time, as well as matter. all the forces etc etc) would, by that definition, not be a miracle, because “before” space-time, there are no natural processes.

    As to your Cana comments – I do not think they violate my thesis. We can go many more rounds there, but I don’t think it is going to avail either of us.

    Your other miracles / “miracles”:

    Flood : I covered this earlier (obliquely, and Kevin obliquely referred to this, and Rev Spoomer’s comments apply as well.

    Babel: See Kevin, Rev Spoomer.

    Sodom: We know of a major geological event in that area, in that timespan. god can use natural events timed for His own use. Lot’s wife – could be miraculous, or part of the aforementioned. Doesn’t change the message at all, or the meaning at all, since God control everything.

    Burning Bush: Singularity – again, miracle quite likely, but if a natural explanation is found, why need I sweat?

    Aaron: By all accounts miraculous. So?

    Red Sea: Either way – and either way, God is responsible – same with the rest of Exodus etc.

    The early parts of Genesis is written in a very clear fashion, a sort mythopoeic writing that also has some Liturgical elements to it. And yes, Late Jewish sages, like Philo of Alexandra, as well as early christians saints, like Clement, and later Origen, and Augustine, reads these writings as non-literal tellings of God’s creation of the world. Especially Clement and Philo. Keep in mind, AT THAT VERY TIME, the Church was busy sorting out the Canon, AND sorting out the KEY heresies of the time – gnosticism, pelagianism, etc etc. The veracity of Scripture, the message of the apostles, the purity of the Gospel, all these things are at the forefront. No where, and I mean, no where does this, the literalness of Genesis, become an issue. That tells us something. For without these people, we DO NOT have the witness of the very Book we hold in our hands. Without them, your average Lutheran does not have a doctrine of the Church, and thus is not left alone with Scripture, but is left alone with nothing. This is THE SAME CHARGE I levelled against Grace in previous debates, long ago. I take this very seriously.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Lucas, that is not my perspective. But I would caution against my the miracle the fcus. That is why I think the actual recording of miracles (ie the camera breaking) is always fuzzy – because God doesn’t want the “magic” to be the focus, but Himself. For the rest of your concerns – see my following comment to Todd.

    Todd – I really don’t want to go at this with you again. A miracle could be defined as something which cannot be explained by the normal natural process – such as water being turned into wine instantaneously. Creating the universe (thus creating space-time, as well as matter. all the forces etc etc) would, by that definition, not be a miracle, because “before” space-time, there are no natural processes.

    As to your Cana comments – I do not think they violate my thesis. We can go many more rounds there, but I don’t think it is going to avail either of us.

    Your other miracles / “miracles”:

    Flood : I covered this earlier (obliquely, and Kevin obliquely referred to this, and Rev Spoomer’s comments apply as well.

    Babel: See Kevin, Rev Spoomer.

    Sodom: We know of a major geological event in that area, in that timespan. god can use natural events timed for His own use. Lot’s wife – could be miraculous, or part of the aforementioned. Doesn’t change the message at all, or the meaning at all, since God control everything.

    Burning Bush: Singularity – again, miracle quite likely, but if a natural explanation is found, why need I sweat?

    Aaron: By all accounts miraculous. So?

    Red Sea: Either way – and either way, God is responsible – same with the rest of Exodus etc.

    The early parts of Genesis is written in a very clear fashion, a sort mythopoeic writing that also has some Liturgical elements to it. And yes, Late Jewish sages, like Philo of Alexandra, as well as early christians saints, like Clement, and later Origen, and Augustine, reads these writings as non-literal tellings of God’s creation of the world. Especially Clement and Philo. Keep in mind, AT THAT VERY TIME, the Church was busy sorting out the Canon, AND sorting out the KEY heresies of the time – gnosticism, pelagianism, etc etc. The veracity of Scripture, the message of the apostles, the purity of the Gospel, all these things are at the forefront. No where, and I mean, no where does this, the literalness of Genesis, become an issue. That tells us something. For without these people, we DO NOT have the witness of the very Book we hold in our hands. Without them, your average Lutheran does not have a doctrine of the Church, and thus is not left alone with Scripture, but is left alone with nothing. This is THE SAME CHARGE I levelled against Grace in previous debates, long ago. I take this very seriously.

  • WebMonk

    tODD, this is a long-running discussion between yourself and Klasie (and even me in the past), and I doubt that it’ll be resolved anytime soon.

    But, I’ll toss in my two cents on the specific topic of the Cana wine.

    The Cana wine is a poor analogy for what you’re discussing. Yes, people can and do misunderstand miracles to be of natural development. (the host saw the wine and falsely assumed there was a natural process that developed the wine) From that you argue that we are misunderstanding the miraculous creation to be of natural development. (we see the universe and assume that it was of natural development)

    But, the two are drastically different situations. We look at the universe, examine it, poke it, study it, and see incontrovertible evidences that it has developed naturally. Of course, the “incontrovertible evidences” could be the product of miracles, as you suggest.

    Let’s apply an equivalent example of our study of the universe to the Cana situation and see how the Cana situation is so different that it doesn’t apply.

    The host would take the barrel of wine and start to study and examine it – look for the person who bought it, ask the servants where it came from, see if the seal had just recently been broken, etc.

    Some things he could study, let’s say he studied the temperature and constitution of the wine, might fit with a natural development. (the wine is the right temperature and is of a local vintage taste) However, there would be LOTS of other things that would very clearly show the wine didn’t come from natural developments.

    A person can think the result of a miracle comes from natural causes. That’s certainly no deception on God’s part.

    However, if Jesus had added to the miracle at Cana – he miraculously created a person who delivered the barrel of wine, he created a seal on it with the stamp of a local vineyard, he created a bill of purchase for the wine and deducted the coins from the purse, etc. In short, he created a bunch of other miracles that mimicked all the natural development steps so that it is completely impossible for the investigator to tell that a miracle happened.

    That would be purposeful deception. That goes very counter to God’s nature.

    YEC theologians have thought about this topic themselves, and universally, without exception, EVERY major YEC organization has denounced the idea that God created the universe with an appearance of age. In fact I’ve never heard ANY significant figure in EVER support that position.

    I realize that a person (such as myself, Klasie, or KevinN, and others) who believe the universe is billions of years old might have a bias to want to believe that position. However, certainly no such bias could be laid at AiG’s or ICR’s feet. And yet, they have both devoted many words declaring the “appearance of age” argument is a slander against God’s character.

    I’ll go track down some links to a few of those articles in which major YEC figures specifically refute your position. I doubt that they will convince you, but at least you’ll see that it’s not just an “old-earth-denying-the-bible” view that insists that the appearance of age argument is fallacious.

    The post with links will probably go into moderation, so you might keep an eye out for it. I’ll try to keep it down to just a few.

  • WebMonk

    tODD, this is a long-running discussion between yourself and Klasie (and even me in the past), and I doubt that it’ll be resolved anytime soon.

    But, I’ll toss in my two cents on the specific topic of the Cana wine.

    The Cana wine is a poor analogy for what you’re discussing. Yes, people can and do misunderstand miracles to be of natural development. (the host saw the wine and falsely assumed there was a natural process that developed the wine) From that you argue that we are misunderstanding the miraculous creation to be of natural development. (we see the universe and assume that it was of natural development)

    But, the two are drastically different situations. We look at the universe, examine it, poke it, study it, and see incontrovertible evidences that it has developed naturally. Of course, the “incontrovertible evidences” could be the product of miracles, as you suggest.

    Let’s apply an equivalent example of our study of the universe to the Cana situation and see how the Cana situation is so different that it doesn’t apply.

    The host would take the barrel of wine and start to study and examine it – look for the person who bought it, ask the servants where it came from, see if the seal had just recently been broken, etc.

    Some things he could study, let’s say he studied the temperature and constitution of the wine, might fit with a natural development. (the wine is the right temperature and is of a local vintage taste) However, there would be LOTS of other things that would very clearly show the wine didn’t come from natural developments.

    A person can think the result of a miracle comes from natural causes. That’s certainly no deception on God’s part.

    However, if Jesus had added to the miracle at Cana – he miraculously created a person who delivered the barrel of wine, he created a seal on it with the stamp of a local vineyard, he created a bill of purchase for the wine and deducted the coins from the purse, etc. In short, he created a bunch of other miracles that mimicked all the natural development steps so that it is completely impossible for the investigator to tell that a miracle happened.

    That would be purposeful deception. That goes very counter to God’s nature.

    YEC theologians have thought about this topic themselves, and universally, without exception, EVERY major YEC organization has denounced the idea that God created the universe with an appearance of age. In fact I’ve never heard ANY significant figure in EVER support that position.

    I realize that a person (such as myself, Klasie, or KevinN, and others) who believe the universe is billions of years old might have a bias to want to believe that position. However, certainly no such bias could be laid at AiG’s or ICR’s feet. And yet, they have both devoted many words declaring the “appearance of age” argument is a slander against God’s character.

    I’ll go track down some links to a few of those articles in which major YEC figures specifically refute your position. I doubt that they will convince you, but at least you’ll see that it’s not just an “old-earth-denying-the-bible” view that insists that the appearance of age argument is fallacious.

    The post with links will probably go into moderation, so you might keep an eye out for it. I’ll try to keep it down to just a few.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd – referring to your argument at #197: You simply do not understand what I am saying. I KNOW that you are saying that scientific investigation will not show the earth etc to be only 1000′s of years old. But what you are NOT getting is that, if the world is only +-6000 years old, and the rest is being “made to look old”, (the apparent age argument) we have a problem. Because, “The rest” literally is 99.99999999% of everything. Not just some things.
    Let me say that again:

    “THE REST” IS LITERALLY 99.99999999% OF EVERYTHING. NOT JUST SOME THINGS.

    AND SINCE THAT REST TELLS US STUFF, 99.99999999% OF WHAT WE ARE BEING TOLD AIN’T SO.

    That is why I say you are arguing out of ignorance. Because you have, up to know, not been able to realise that.

    Whereas, a God that occassionaly performs a mircale, for somebodt to tell him something, is simply not analogous to that at all. The two situations are simply not the same.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd – referring to your argument at #197: You simply do not understand what I am saying. I KNOW that you are saying that scientific investigation will not show the earth etc to be only 1000′s of years old. But what you are NOT getting is that, if the world is only +-6000 years old, and the rest is being “made to look old”, (the apparent age argument) we have a problem. Because, “The rest” literally is 99.99999999% of everything. Not just some things.
    Let me say that again:

    “THE REST” IS LITERALLY 99.99999999% OF EVERYTHING. NOT JUST SOME THINGS.

    AND SINCE THAT REST TELLS US STUFF, 99.99999999% OF WHAT WE ARE BEING TOLD AIN’T SO.

    That is why I say you are arguing out of ignorance. Because you have, up to know, not been able to realise that.

    Whereas, a God that occassionaly performs a mircale, for somebodt to tell him something, is simply not analogous to that at all. The two situations are simply not the same.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Recently, at the Huffington Post, Paul Wallace wrote an article on ID and mentioned Kepler, everyone’s favourite Lutheran astronomer. A quote:

    In October 1604 Johannes Kepler was living in Prague and was deeply into his work on Mars that would later reveal the planets’ elliptical orbits. He was sidetracked from this study to comment on a new star, or nova, that appeared that month a few degrees north of Scorpius. In his short work De stella nova, published in 1606, he wondered what could have caused such an event. He considered a number of possibilities, but on this question his own astronomical theory was silent.

    He began to consider special creation: a deliberate, separate act of God unconnected with any other natural event, direct and special tinkering by the divine hand. But in the end he withdrew from that conclusion, writing “before we come to [special] creation, which puts an end to all discussion, I think we should try everything else.” Over 400 years ago, Kepler understood that to claim special creation is to put an end to scientific inquiry.

    Kepler did not reject special creation because he put limits on God. Nor did his rejection flow from a desire to push God out of his work. Instead, it sprung from his conviction that God’s creation is not founded in obscurity, darkness, and confusion. He believed, in a way that far outstripped his contemporaries, in the comprehensibility of God’s creation, because it was God’s creation. Kepler’s fundamental axiom may be stated:

    The universe has been designed; therefore it must be comprehensible.Jump forward now to 1996, arguably the heyday of ID. That is the year Michael Behe came face-to-face with his own difficult scientific problem: the evolution of the bacterial flagellum, a tail-like rotor that aids in cellular locomotion. The complexity of the flagellum led Behe to conclude that it could not have evolved through any of the standard mechanisms of evolution.

    Whether or not this is true is not important for my purpose. What is important is that, unlike Kepler, Behe went on to claim special creation. He had the flagellum in mind when he wrote in Darwin’s Black Box, “It is a shock to us… to discover, from observations science has made, that the fundamental mechanisms of life cannot be ascribed to natural selection, and therefore were designed.” Behe has led us to the fundamental axiom of ID, a sharp contrast to that of Kepler:

    The universe is incomprehensible; therefore it must have been designed.

    Read the rest here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-wallace/intelligent-design-is-dea_b_1175049.html

    Then how’s this for a quote from Aquinas:

    “7. Nature is nothing but the plan of some art, namely a divine one, put into things themselves, by which those things move towards a concrete end: as if the man who builds up a ship could give to the pieces of wood that they could move by themselves to produce the form of the ship.
    (Commentary on Physics II.8, lecture 14, no. 268) ”

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Recently, at the Huffington Post, Paul Wallace wrote an article on ID and mentioned Kepler, everyone’s favourite Lutheran astronomer. A quote:

    In October 1604 Johannes Kepler was living in Prague and was deeply into his work on Mars that would later reveal the planets’ elliptical orbits. He was sidetracked from this study to comment on a new star, or nova, that appeared that month a few degrees north of Scorpius. In his short work De stella nova, published in 1606, he wondered what could have caused such an event. He considered a number of possibilities, but on this question his own astronomical theory was silent.

    He began to consider special creation: a deliberate, separate act of God unconnected with any other natural event, direct and special tinkering by the divine hand. But in the end he withdrew from that conclusion, writing “before we come to [special] creation, which puts an end to all discussion, I think we should try everything else.” Over 400 years ago, Kepler understood that to claim special creation is to put an end to scientific inquiry.

    Kepler did not reject special creation because he put limits on God. Nor did his rejection flow from a desire to push God out of his work. Instead, it sprung from his conviction that God’s creation is not founded in obscurity, darkness, and confusion. He believed, in a way that far outstripped his contemporaries, in the comprehensibility of God’s creation, because it was God’s creation. Kepler’s fundamental axiom may be stated:

    The universe has been designed; therefore it must be comprehensible.Jump forward now to 1996, arguably the heyday of ID. That is the year Michael Behe came face-to-face with his own difficult scientific problem: the evolution of the bacterial flagellum, a tail-like rotor that aids in cellular locomotion. The complexity of the flagellum led Behe to conclude that it could not have evolved through any of the standard mechanisms of evolution.

    Whether or not this is true is not important for my purpose. What is important is that, unlike Kepler, Behe went on to claim special creation. He had the flagellum in mind when he wrote in Darwin’s Black Box, “It is a shock to us… to discover, from observations science has made, that the fundamental mechanisms of life cannot be ascribed to natural selection, and therefore were designed.” Behe has led us to the fundamental axiom of ID, a sharp contrast to that of Kepler:

    The universe is incomprehensible; therefore it must have been designed.

    Read the rest here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-wallace/intelligent-design-is-dea_b_1175049.html

    Then how’s this for a quote from Aquinas:

    “7. Nature is nothing but the plan of some art, namely a divine one, put into things themselves, by which those things move towards a concrete end: as if the man who builds up a ship could give to the pieces of wood that they could move by themselves to produce the form of the ship.
    (Commentary on Physics II.8, lecture 14, no. 268) ”

  • WebMonk

    Here you go:
    Answers in Genesis: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/01/18/feedback-appearance-of-age

    Dr. Dino: http://www.drdino.com/other-starlight-issues/

    Creation Ministries International: http://creation.com/how-can-distant-starlight-reach-us-in-just-6000-years

    CMI’s article has a bunch of stuff in it, but here is a quote that is on our specific topic:

    One idea which has been put forward to address this problem is that God created the information about such events in the ‘light’ beam on its way to Earth. However, this would imply a deceptive act by God if the event had never actually occurred. Most creationists would not support this idea. (See Alex Williams and John Hartnett, Functional creation and the appearance of age, pages 168–173 in: Dismantling the Big Bang.)

  • WebMonk

    Here you go:
    Answers in Genesis: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/01/18/feedback-appearance-of-age

    Dr. Dino: http://www.drdino.com/other-starlight-issues/

    Creation Ministries International: http://creation.com/how-can-distant-starlight-reach-us-in-just-6000-years

    CMI’s article has a bunch of stuff in it, but here is a quote that is on our specific topic:

    One idea which has been put forward to address this problem is that God created the information about such events in the ‘light’ beam on its way to Earth. However, this would imply a deceptive act by God if the event had never actually occurred. Most creationists would not support this idea. (See Alex Williams and John Hartnett, Functional creation and the appearance of age, pages 168–173 in: Dismantling the Big Bang.)

  • Jon

    I think you guys are going way overboard on the Cana miracle and whether it’s deception at work or not. Of course it’s not deception. Jesus, author of the universe, simply created the fine wine. The observer gave the account, and the historian took it down. If you studied the wine and you concluded that it had taken years to produce under the best methods available, would you be wrong? No, you wouldn’t be. Would Jesus be deceiving you if he told you exactly the same thing you discovered, that this wine took the master vintner x number of years to create using the highest methods of production, only, by the way, I just now spoke it into existence like I did the cosmos, earth, and everything in it? No, He wouldn’t either.

    I think the decption would be if the event didn’t actually happen like it was recorded; that it only matters insofar as it has a teaching point. (cf. 1 Cor 15:14.)

  • Jon

    I think you guys are going way overboard on the Cana miracle and whether it’s deception at work or not. Of course it’s not deception. Jesus, author of the universe, simply created the fine wine. The observer gave the account, and the historian took it down. If you studied the wine and you concluded that it had taken years to produce under the best methods available, would you be wrong? No, you wouldn’t be. Would Jesus be deceiving you if he told you exactly the same thing you discovered, that this wine took the master vintner x number of years to create using the highest methods of production, only, by the way, I just now spoke it into existence like I did the cosmos, earth, and everything in it? No, He wouldn’t either.

    I think the decption would be if the event didn’t actually happen like it was recorded; that it only matters insofar as it has a teaching point. (cf. 1 Cor 15:14.)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jon, I think you are missing the point of the debate. Todd is trying to say that making the universe appear old, when it isn’t, would just me a miracle, and I say no, it would be a deception. He then tried to tell me that I’m calling miracles deceptions, and I’m trying to tell him that you cannot equate the “apparent age theory” with a miracle. Cana is just the example Todd used. Nutshell.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jon, I think you are missing the point of the debate. Todd is trying to say that making the universe appear old, when it isn’t, would just me a miracle, and I say no, it would be a deception. He then tried to tell me that I’m calling miracles deceptions, and I’m trying to tell him that you cannot equate the “apparent age theory” with a miracle. Cana is just the example Todd used. Nutshell.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Oh, Jon, and just for reference, I’m right and he’s wrong. Just in case you weren’t clear on that :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Oh, Jon, and just for reference, I’m right and he’s wrong. Just in case you weren’t clear on that :)

  • Steve Drake

    @J. Dettmann #193,
    Bless you brother for standing strong in the faith. Your creationist position is indeed the correct one, notwithstanding the theistic evolutionary, old earth advocates who are there in sycophantic idolatry of the thing created, and not the Creator.

  • Steve Drake

    @J. Dettmann #193,
    Bless you brother for standing strong in the faith. Your creationist position is indeed the correct one, notwithstanding the theistic evolutionary, old earth advocates who are there in sycophantic idolatry of the thing created, and not the Creator.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    “Sycopanthic Idolatry”. You know, I’ll add that one to my collection. Haven’t experienced THAT accusation before. God bless you to, brother.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    “Sycopanthic Idolatry”. You know, I’ll add that one to my collection. Haven’t experienced THAT accusation before. God bless you to, brother.

  • Steve Drake

    @TUAD #191 referring to J. Dettmann:
    ‘You’re a creationist who properly and honestly subscribed to the 1932 Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the LCMS… and yet you were forced out of the LCMS because you refused to accept evolution????’

    Truly unbelievable. The Church is continuing her long compromise position with secular science’s prognostications on the origins debate. It started in the 1800′s with the Gap Theory, Day-Age theory and so on, and continues today with the Framework Hypothesis and Analogical Day views and even one novel viewpoint that God’s time is not our time by W. Dembski (‘The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World’).

  • Steve Drake

    @TUAD #191 referring to J. Dettmann:
    ‘You’re a creationist who properly and honestly subscribed to the 1932 Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the LCMS… and yet you were forced out of the LCMS because you refused to accept evolution????’

    Truly unbelievable. The Church is continuing her long compromise position with secular science’s prognostications on the origins debate. It started in the 1800′s with the Gap Theory, Day-Age theory and so on, and continues today with the Framework Hypothesis and Analogical Day views and even one novel viewpoint that God’s time is not our time by W. Dembski (‘The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World’).

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

    Quite frankly, I think every day is a miracle. I try to live with that thought too. What’s Natural? What would it mean that the world developed naturally as opposed to God created it?
    God created light first, then the sun. I keep trying to think about that, then Klasie says God would be deceiving because he put frozen photons in place so we would see stars billions of light years away, But I think that is exactly what God said he did!
    I mean one thing that fascinates me about he creation account is it strikes me as something man just wouldn’t have the sense to make up on his own. I mean when man comes up with a divine creation story it has to do with gods jacking off, or the sweat of a giant’s armpit melting a glacier and freeing a cow. God says, I created light, and as an afterthought I thought the sun might be kind of nice for regulating it.

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

    Quite frankly, I think every day is a miracle. I try to live with that thought too. What’s Natural? What would it mean that the world developed naturally as opposed to God created it?
    God created light first, then the sun. I keep trying to think about that, then Klasie says God would be deceiving because he put frozen photons in place so we would see stars billions of light years away, But I think that is exactly what God said he did!
    I mean one thing that fascinates me about he creation account is it strikes me as something man just wouldn’t have the sense to make up on his own. I mean when man comes up with a divine creation story it has to do with gods jacking off, or the sweat of a giant’s armpit melting a glacier and freeing a cow. God says, I created light, and as an afterthought I thought the sun might be kind of nice for regulating it.

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie #206,
    You adhere to too much of your own self-importance. I wasn’t referring to you, but if you took it that way, what’s the saying, “If the shoe fits…”

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie #206,
    You adhere to too much of your own self-importance. I wasn’t referring to you, but if you took it that way, what’s the saying, “If the shoe fits…”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@198), what can I say? You appear to be ending the discussion again, and I still don’t feel I understand where you’re coming from. And, I’ll be honest, I don’t see you actually replying to the points I’m making, even if you do tell me that you understand me perfectly.

    I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. Not that I expected this to end with us both agreeing on everything, but I did (and do) hope that it would end with us both understanding each other’s positions. Oh well.

    Rounding out the rest of your comments here…

    Your response (@198) to my list of Old Testament miracles makes me pretty sure that you’ve ignored the context in which I mentioned them. Remember that you had claimed that “miracles are ‘normalizing’ events, restorations if you will”. It was in response to that claim that I mentioned “The flood, the confusion of languages at Babel,” and so on. None of those miracles seem anything like “normalizing” or “restorative”, and thus I question your asserted, prescriptive rule.

    As to the early church fathers, I’m simply not terribly well informed about them. That doesn’t mean I deny their importance (thank you very much), but nor would I say that one needs to be able to cite them extensively. But from what little I do know, it seems a bit disingenuous for you to point to the few that you have, as if the early church fathers all held the same view on this topic. Best I can tell, they don’t. And you are well aware of the problems with some of the people you cite. In short, this debate will not be resolved by such an appeal to authority, precisely because it will then become a debate about which authorities to appeal to, based on our presuppositions.

    As to your next comment (@200):

    But what you are NOT getting is that, if the world is only +-6000 years old, and the rest is being “made to look old”, (the apparent age argument) we have a problem. Because, “The rest” literally is 99.99999999% of everything.

    Um, what? I certainly will admit to not understanding this paragraph. You are distinguishing between “the world” and “the rest”? Can you explain that more? Or is there even any value to my asking?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@198), what can I say? You appear to be ending the discussion again, and I still don’t feel I understand where you’re coming from. And, I’ll be honest, I don’t see you actually replying to the points I’m making, even if you do tell me that you understand me perfectly.

    I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. Not that I expected this to end with us both agreeing on everything, but I did (and do) hope that it would end with us both understanding each other’s positions. Oh well.

    Rounding out the rest of your comments here…

    Your response (@198) to my list of Old Testament miracles makes me pretty sure that you’ve ignored the context in which I mentioned them. Remember that you had claimed that “miracles are ‘normalizing’ events, restorations if you will”. It was in response to that claim that I mentioned “The flood, the confusion of languages at Babel,” and so on. None of those miracles seem anything like “normalizing” or “restorative”, and thus I question your asserted, prescriptive rule.

    As to the early church fathers, I’m simply not terribly well informed about them. That doesn’t mean I deny their importance (thank you very much), but nor would I say that one needs to be able to cite them extensively. But from what little I do know, it seems a bit disingenuous for you to point to the few that you have, as if the early church fathers all held the same view on this topic. Best I can tell, they don’t. And you are well aware of the problems with some of the people you cite. In short, this debate will not be resolved by such an appeal to authority, precisely because it will then become a debate about which authorities to appeal to, based on our presuppositions.

    As to your next comment (@200):

    But what you are NOT getting is that, if the world is only +-6000 years old, and the rest is being “made to look old”, (the apparent age argument) we have a problem. Because, “The rest” literally is 99.99999999% of everything.

    Um, what? I certainly will admit to not understanding this paragraph. You are distinguishing between “the world” and “the rest”? Can you explain that more? Or is there even any value to my asking?

  • J. Dettmann

    Truth Unites… and Divides,

    Thank you for your supportive posts. May the Lord’s continuing grace enable you to similarly build up those around you. At first I switched to WELS. Later I joined an ELS church when I moved because of work.

  • J. Dettmann

    Truth Unites… and Divides,

    Thank you for your supportive posts. May the Lord’s continuing grace enable you to similarly build up those around you. At first I switched to WELS. Later I joined an ELS church when I moved because of work.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Bror Erickson: “I mean when man comes up with a divine creation story it has to do with gods jacking off”

    LOL!

    Some pewsitters might start drifting off during a sermon on Genesis 1, but if you were to use those words with that turn of a phrase Rev. Erickson, they’d probably perk up real quick.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Bror Erickson: “I mean when man comes up with a divine creation story it has to do with gods jacking off”

    LOL!

    Some pewsitters might start drifting off during a sermon on Genesis 1, but if you were to use those words with that turn of a phrase Rev. Erickson, they’d probably perk up real quick.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@199), let me get this part out of the way first. You said:

    YEC theologians have thought about this topic themselves, and universally, without exception, EVERY major YEC organization…

    I’ll stop you right there. I have said this many times to you, but I DO NOT CARE what this or that “YEC organization” says or believes. You are the one that is so invested in what they say. I am not. You are the one who has read — and apparently still reads — what those organizations have to say. I have read maybe a few pages of theirs that have popped up in Google searches I’ve done over the years.

    So please. STOP bringing them up. They are an artifact of your personal journey on this topic. They are important to you, but not to me. And, best I can tell, the only reason you’re still listening to them is that they’ve now come around to your position, if only in a small way.

    I’ll be honest: I feel like you and Klasie, rather than responding to what I’m writing here, are, more often than not, re-fighting battles in your intellectual past. How else can I explain the fact that, every time this topic comes up, you haul out the old “but even the major YEC groups agree with me on this one” trope? I have never cared about those groups. You, on the other hand, apparently used to hang on their every word. So they still carry a lot of psychic impact for you.

    But NOT FOR ME. So please, do not track down “a few of those articles in which major YEC figures specifically refute [my] position”. I will read those articles right after I read all those articles in which Mormons refute my religious beliefs. Which will be right after I attempt to read Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake again. Which is never.

    Stop confusing me in the present for you at whatever point in the past you cared about “major YEC figures”. Please. Now. It is, as you may have noticed, really annoying.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@199), let me get this part out of the way first. You said:

    YEC theologians have thought about this topic themselves, and universally, without exception, EVERY major YEC organization…

    I’ll stop you right there. I have said this many times to you, but I DO NOT CARE what this or that “YEC organization” says or believes. You are the one that is so invested in what they say. I am not. You are the one who has read — and apparently still reads — what those organizations have to say. I have read maybe a few pages of theirs that have popped up in Google searches I’ve done over the years.

    So please. STOP bringing them up. They are an artifact of your personal journey on this topic. They are important to you, but not to me. And, best I can tell, the only reason you’re still listening to them is that they’ve now come around to your position, if only in a small way.

    I’ll be honest: I feel like you and Klasie, rather than responding to what I’m writing here, are, more often than not, re-fighting battles in your intellectual past. How else can I explain the fact that, every time this topic comes up, you haul out the old “but even the major YEC groups agree with me on this one” trope? I have never cared about those groups. You, on the other hand, apparently used to hang on their every word. So they still carry a lot of psychic impact for you.

    But NOT FOR ME. So please, do not track down “a few of those articles in which major YEC figures specifically refute [my] position”. I will read those articles right after I read all those articles in which Mormons refute my religious beliefs. Which will be right after I attempt to read Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake again. Which is never.

    Stop confusing me in the present for you at whatever point in the past you cared about “major YEC figures”. Please. Now. It is, as you may have noticed, really annoying.

  • Steve Drake

    @TUAD#212,
    Yeah, and if we were in Rev. Erickson’s church, I’d expect we’d be joining the dear pastor and others on a annual hunt for Bighorn Sheep and talking about the beauty of God’s creation. We’d most certainly discuss the aftermath of the global, universal Flood, and it’s effects upon the Utah geography, maybe doing a little fossil hunting while sheep hunting. Thanks to Rev. Erickson for his comments.

  • Steve Drake

    @TUAD#212,
    Yeah, and if we were in Rev. Erickson’s church, I’d expect we’d be joining the dear pastor and others on a annual hunt for Bighorn Sheep and talking about the beauty of God’s creation. We’d most certainly discuss the aftermath of the global, universal Flood, and it’s effects upon the Utah geography, maybe doing a little fossil hunting while sheep hunting. Thanks to Rev. Erickson for his comments.

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

    I actually do have quite a fossil collection, and I do believe they were all living at one point…. of course I live in the middle of what used to be Lake Bonneville. What its relation to the world wide flood, I don’t know. But as I remain skeptical of anyone’s ability to date rocks, I also remain skeptical of a flood lasting 80 some days being able to leave coral reef fossils at 10,000 feet.
    One day I will win the Big Horn hunt Lottery, and go into severe debt to shoot one and have it mounted, in the meantime, I mostly hunt upland game.

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

    I actually do have quite a fossil collection, and I do believe they were all living at one point…. of course I live in the middle of what used to be Lake Bonneville. What its relation to the world wide flood, I don’t know. But as I remain skeptical of anyone’s ability to date rocks, I also remain skeptical of a flood lasting 80 some days being able to leave coral reef fossils at 10,000 feet.
    One day I will win the Big Horn hunt Lottery, and go into severe debt to shoot one and have it mounted, in the meantime, I mostly hunt upland game.

  • Steve Drake

    Bror,
    The global, universal Flood of Noah actually lasted more than a year, not just 80 days, the fullness and the precision of the dates given in Genesis. I’m sure you’re aware of this from your studies on the matter.
    Or am I misunderstanding your position?

    May you have that chance, dear pastor, for a BigHorn lottery ticket, and may you exult when that day comes, that God has blessed you so.

  • Steve Drake

    Bror,
    The global, universal Flood of Noah actually lasted more than a year, not just 80 days, the fullness and the precision of the dates given in Genesis. I’m sure you’re aware of this from your studies on the matter.
    Or am I misunderstanding your position?

    May you have that chance, dear pastor, for a BigHorn lottery ticket, and may you exult when that day comes, that God has blessed you so.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Truth Unites… and Divides,

    Thank you for your supportive posts. May the Lord’s continuing grace enable you to similarly build up those around you. At first I switched to WELS. Later I joined an ELS church when I moved because of work.”

    You’re quite welcome J. Dettman.

    Of a secondary nature, I’ve noticed four different Lutheran denominations mentioned in this post/thread: LCMS, ELCA, WELS, and ELS.

    I’ve also noticed the terms “fundamentalists” and “fundys” on this thread. I’m not a “fundamentalist”, but if one of the defining marks of “fundamentalism” is that it tends towards separatism, well, it then seems that there are aspects of fundamental separatism extant in Lutheranism as well.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Truth Unites… and Divides,

    Thank you for your supportive posts. May the Lord’s continuing grace enable you to similarly build up those around you. At first I switched to WELS. Later I joined an ELS church when I moved because of work.”

    You’re quite welcome J. Dettman.

    Of a secondary nature, I’ve noticed four different Lutheran denominations mentioned in this post/thread: LCMS, ELCA, WELS, and ELS.

    I’ve also noticed the terms “fundamentalists” and “fundys” on this thread. I’m not a “fundamentalist”, but if one of the defining marks of “fundamentalism” is that it tends towards separatism, well, it then seems that there are aspects of fundamental separatism extant in Lutheranism as well.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m falling behind here, but nominally replying to WebMonk (@199), who said:

    The Cana wine is a poor analogy for what you’re discussing. … The Cana situation is so different that it doesn’t apply.

    That’s more or less the key points of your argument, to me.

    Because in the Cana miracle — to which you and Klasie apparently hold as being an actual, physical miracle — I see the same thing that you decry in “my version” of Creation. Namely, physical facts hinting at a past that simply never was, owing to a recent miraculous creation.

    Of course, the scales are vastly different. But that’s just a question of degree, not of kind. As such, if an “apparent age” Creation is deception, then so is the miracle at Cana. If Cana is not deception, then neither is an “apparent age” Creation — at least, not necessarily. This is my point. Your protestations that, oh, you just can’t compare those events! have so far failed to impress me.

    I mean, at some point you have to ask yourself, what is wine? Merriam-Webster’s definition is as good as any: “the alcoholic fermented juice of fresh grapes used as a beverage”. Okay, but there never were any grapes. The wine at Cana would have tasted like a certain varietal, would have contained hints of a certain terroir from a particular region — but none of it would have existed. And the fermentation, how is that achieved? With yeast, of course. But there never were any live yeast! Now, there might have been dead yeast cells floating around in the wine, but those would have just been, well, false relics, as it were. I could go on, but the whole point is that the wine itself pointed to a false history of events, events that never happened. Perceiving that wine in any physical way, with whatever tools you had on hand from the whole of human history, would not have told you the true story of where that wine came from, and in fact would lead you to different conclusions.

    And we’re all okay with that and say it’s not “deception”. It would seem. But try to apply that to a larger scale, and your arguments all change. I simply don’t get why. Instead, I get arguments like this from both you and Klasie:

    If Jesus had added to the miracle at Cana – he miraculously created a person who delivered the barrel of wine, he created a seal on it with the stamp of a local vineyard, he created a bill of purchase for the wine and deducted the coins from the purse, etc. In short, he created a bunch of other miracles that mimicked all the natural development steps so that it is completely impossible for the investigator to tell that a miracle happened. That would be purposeful deception.

    See, this is an attempt to make a question of degree into one of kind. It doesn’t work. What you’re saying is that, as far as it apparently went, the physical “deception” of the wine at Cana was fine: the apparent grapes that never existed, the apparent rainfall that made them grow, the apparent yeast that fermented it all over a period of apparent months or years. All that, you imply, is hunky-dory. Oh, but had Jesus tacked on a miraculously-created receipt, well! That would be going too far!

    But why? WHY? What is your rubric for what qualifies as deceipt? We have already established that the banquet master was deceived! He didn’t need all that other stuff to be convinced that this was normal (if exceptional) wine, not what had very recently been water.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m falling behind here, but nominally replying to WebMonk (@199), who said:

    The Cana wine is a poor analogy for what you’re discussing. … The Cana situation is so different that it doesn’t apply.

    That’s more or less the key points of your argument, to me.

    Because in the Cana miracle — to which you and Klasie apparently hold as being an actual, physical miracle — I see the same thing that you decry in “my version” of Creation. Namely, physical facts hinting at a past that simply never was, owing to a recent miraculous creation.

    Of course, the scales are vastly different. But that’s just a question of degree, not of kind. As such, if an “apparent age” Creation is deception, then so is the miracle at Cana. If Cana is not deception, then neither is an “apparent age” Creation — at least, not necessarily. This is my point. Your protestations that, oh, you just can’t compare those events! have so far failed to impress me.

    I mean, at some point you have to ask yourself, what is wine? Merriam-Webster’s definition is as good as any: “the alcoholic fermented juice of fresh grapes used as a beverage”. Okay, but there never were any grapes. The wine at Cana would have tasted like a certain varietal, would have contained hints of a certain terroir from a particular region — but none of it would have existed. And the fermentation, how is that achieved? With yeast, of course. But there never were any live yeast! Now, there might have been dead yeast cells floating around in the wine, but those would have just been, well, false relics, as it were. I could go on, but the whole point is that the wine itself pointed to a false history of events, events that never happened. Perceiving that wine in any physical way, with whatever tools you had on hand from the whole of human history, would not have told you the true story of where that wine came from, and in fact would lead you to different conclusions.

    And we’re all okay with that and say it’s not “deception”. It would seem. But try to apply that to a larger scale, and your arguments all change. I simply don’t get why. Instead, I get arguments like this from both you and Klasie:

    If Jesus had added to the miracle at Cana – he miraculously created a person who delivered the barrel of wine, he created a seal on it with the stamp of a local vineyard, he created a bill of purchase for the wine and deducted the coins from the purse, etc. In short, he created a bunch of other miracles that mimicked all the natural development steps so that it is completely impossible for the investigator to tell that a miracle happened. That would be purposeful deception.

    See, this is an attempt to make a question of degree into one of kind. It doesn’t work. What you’re saying is that, as far as it apparently went, the physical “deception” of the wine at Cana was fine: the apparent grapes that never existed, the apparent rainfall that made them grow, the apparent yeast that fermented it all over a period of apparent months or years. All that, you imply, is hunky-dory. Oh, but had Jesus tacked on a miraculously-created receipt, well! That would be going too far!

    But why? WHY? What is your rubric for what qualifies as deceipt? We have already established that the banquet master was deceived! He didn’t need all that other stuff to be convinced that this was normal (if exceptional) wine, not what had very recently been water.

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

    Steve,
    Yeah, It seems by my calculations it took less than a year for the flood and the waters to dry upon the earth. but still. I mean I walk on the Lake Side Mountains, which is nothing more than a fossilized coral reef, and I can’t imagine it was the result of the flood and formed in a year. But then I’m no bioligist with degrees in coral reef study. I suppose it is possible that the coral fossilized as red horn coral, did grow at greater speeds then those known today. and it is entirely possible that lake bonneville was formed as the flood waters retreated. I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure.

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

    Steve,
    Yeah, It seems by my calculations it took less than a year for the flood and the waters to dry upon the earth. but still. I mean I walk on the Lake Side Mountains, which is nothing more than a fossilized coral reef, and I can’t imagine it was the result of the flood and formed in a year. But then I’m no bioligist with degrees in coral reef study. I suppose it is possible that the coral fossilized as red horn coral, did grow at greater speeds then those known today. and it is entirely possible that lake bonneville was formed as the flood waters retreated. I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Naturally, WebMonk managed to post his links (@202) to articles by “major YES figures” before I asked him not to (@214), but I only found them in the moderation queue after I wrote that.

    So I skimmed them, WebMonk. That’s now infinitely more “Dr. Dino” or Creation.com articles than I have ever read in my life. And probably a good percentage of all the AiG articles I’ve ever read, too.

    Still, the argument in each is the same: some aspect of an “apparent age” Creation transgresses some unexplained boundary in the author’s mind to become “deception”, and from there it’s a simple question of proof-texting to show that God would never deceive us, and, ipso facto, “apparent age” arguments are never to be considered again. QED.

    A more cynical person than me might suggest that “creation science” groups like that are averse to “apparent age” arguments because it wouldn’t give them much to talk about. They’d much rather try out any and all scientific arguments that are much easier to fill books and websites with. Because, at the end of the day, the “apparent age” argument is philosophical, not scientific. That is, it’s not falsifiable. Quite simply, not much to say about it.

    However, this would imply a deceptive act by God if the event had never actually occurred.

    As WebMonk quotes one YEC article arguing. But, again, did the fermentation of wine ever actually occur at Cana? Did the grapes ever actually grow? Were the yeast ever actually alive? You see? Sometimes a miracle is deceptive, according to you, and sometimes it is not.

    You have yet to explain how you make that distinction.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Naturally, WebMonk managed to post his links (@202) to articles by “major YES figures” before I asked him not to (@214), but I only found them in the moderation queue after I wrote that.

    So I skimmed them, WebMonk. That’s now infinitely more “Dr. Dino” or Creation.com articles than I have ever read in my life. And probably a good percentage of all the AiG articles I’ve ever read, too.

    Still, the argument in each is the same: some aspect of an “apparent age” Creation transgresses some unexplained boundary in the author’s mind to become “deception”, and from there it’s a simple question of proof-texting to show that God would never deceive us, and, ipso facto, “apparent age” arguments are never to be considered again. QED.

    A more cynical person than me might suggest that “creation science” groups like that are averse to “apparent age” arguments because it wouldn’t give them much to talk about. They’d much rather try out any and all scientific arguments that are much easier to fill books and websites with. Because, at the end of the day, the “apparent age” argument is philosophical, not scientific. That is, it’s not falsifiable. Quite simply, not much to say about it.

    However, this would imply a deceptive act by God if the event had never actually occurred.

    As WebMonk quotes one YEC article arguing. But, again, did the fermentation of wine ever actually occur at Cana? Did the grapes ever actually grow? Were the yeast ever actually alive? You see? Sometimes a miracle is deceptive, according to you, and sometimes it is not.

    You have yet to explain how you make that distinction.

  • Steve Drake

    Bror,
    The calculations for the flood are 371 days. More than a year. This is from Genesis 6-9. There were 40 days upon which the rain fell, 110 days in which the waters continued to rise (total 150 days here), 74 days in their ‘going and decreasing’, 40 days before Noah sent out the raven, 7 days before Noah sent out the dove, 7 days before Noah sent out the dove the second time, 7 days before the third sending, 29 days from the point in Gen. 7:11 to 8:13, then from the removing of the covering of the Ark to the end of the experience was another 57 days. Total 371.

    The global, universal Flood of Noah is recorded in Scripture as an actual, historical account of God’s judgment upon mankind, with Noah, his wife, and three sons, as being the progenitors of the human race today. No doubt about it. The fossils in sedimentary layers all over the earth are testimony to this great cataclysmic disaster.

  • Steve Drake

    Bror,
    The calculations for the flood are 371 days. More than a year. This is from Genesis 6-9. There were 40 days upon which the rain fell, 110 days in which the waters continued to rise (total 150 days here), 74 days in their ‘going and decreasing’, 40 days before Noah sent out the raven, 7 days before Noah sent out the dove, 7 days before Noah sent out the dove the second time, 7 days before the third sending, 29 days from the point in Gen. 7:11 to 8:13, then from the removing of the covering of the Ark to the end of the experience was another 57 days. Total 371.

    The global, universal Flood of Noah is recorded in Scripture as an actual, historical account of God’s judgment upon mankind, with Noah, his wife, and three sons, as being the progenitors of the human race today. No doubt about it. The fossils in sedimentary layers all over the earth are testimony to this great cataclysmic disaster.

  • Jon

    Yes, Steve Drake, andI’m still waiting for an explanation of 65 MYO squishy-centered dino bones.

    And for Steve Martin’s explanation about the finite/infinite he promised waaay back at the start. Maybe it can shed some light on the miracles and apparent age?

  • Jon

    Yes, Steve Drake, andI’m still waiting for an explanation of 65 MYO squishy-centered dino bones.

    And for Steve Martin’s explanation about the finite/infinite he promised waaay back at the start. Maybe it can shed some light on the miracles and apparent age?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Bror, really? Everything a miracle? See, here I lift my hand. It is a miracle! There, that Fellow raises the guy from the dead. Also a miracle! It is the same! So why is His miracle so special?

    See? You are becoming totally ridiculous.

    Todd, you are simply not seeing the argument I am making. Another ceasefire is in order, I think.

    Bror, again: Draining floodwater and all that. Just don’t. You are a nice guy and I like you. So please don’t.

    Steve Drake: When are you starting heresy proceedings against LCMS pastors, on this very thread, that disagree with you?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Bror, really? Everything a miracle? See, here I lift my hand. It is a miracle! There, that Fellow raises the guy from the dead. Also a miracle! It is the same! So why is His miracle so special?

    See? You are becoming totally ridiculous.

    Todd, you are simply not seeing the argument I am making. Another ceasefire is in order, I think.

    Bror, again: Draining floodwater and all that. Just don’t. You are a nice guy and I like you. So please don’t.

    Steve Drake: When are you starting heresy proceedings against LCMS pastors, on this very thread, that disagree with you?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Oh Jon, maybe you could tell us where you dated rocks then?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Oh Jon, maybe you could tell us where you dated rocks then?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Btw, Steve is actually on your side (I think). He was referring to the Real Presence. Don’t get your knickers in a knot.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Btw, Steve is actually on your side (I think). He was referring to the Real Presence. Don’t get your knickers in a knot.

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#224,
    You’ve got to start referencing to which post you are referring. Your #224 post is a mish-mash. Totally incoherent.

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#224,
    You’ve got to start referencing to which post you are referring. Your #224 post is a mish-mash. Totally incoherent.

  • Steve Drake

    Reference your posts. Use a number.

  • Steve Drake

    Reference your posts. Use a number.

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

    Steve,
    I don’t think it matters much, but many of the numbers you hit upon actually overlap with each other the way I read them. Because the flood starts in the second month of the six hundreth year of Noah’s life. and the waters are dried on the first day of the first month of the sisthhundred and firs year( of Noahs’ life) which if we were to use a twelve month calendar, makes it eleven months. Reference Gen. 7:11, and 8:13. any way you are right, longer than 80 days, but I wasn’t trying to be technical then.

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

    Steve,
    I don’t think it matters much, but many of the numbers you hit upon actually overlap with each other the way I read them. Because the flood starts in the second month of the six hundreth year of Noah’s life. and the waters are dried on the first day of the first month of the sisthhundred and firs year( of Noahs’ life) which if we were to use a twelve month calendar, makes it eleven months. Reference Gen. 7:11, and 8:13. any way you are right, longer than 80 days, but I wasn’t trying to be technical then.

  • Steve Drake

    Bror,
    No problem, buddy. The Word of God can stand in it’s own right. Authoritative, Self-attesting. Self-authenticating.

  • Steve Drake

    Bror,
    No problem, buddy. The Word of God can stand in it’s own right. Authoritative, Self-attesting. Self-authenticating.

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

    Krasie,
    The thing I am getting at, is that creation is not a one time event in the past, in which God winds up a clock. Everyday that creation remains is a day in which God is actively sustaining it. So it is in him that everything moves and has its being as it were. Nature, is not as separate from God as we like to think of it as being. Of course, I do miss use the term miracle when I say everything is a miracle. Miracles technically are signs, i.e. resurrection. Something abnormal that happens to show that Jesus is the Christ, specifically. But that these things are abnormal, does not mean that the normal running of the earth and day to day humdrum is any less dependent on the intervention of God.

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

    Krasie,
    The thing I am getting at, is that creation is not a one time event in the past, in which God winds up a clock. Everyday that creation remains is a day in which God is actively sustaining it. So it is in him that everything moves and has its being as it were. Nature, is not as separate from God as we like to think of it as being. Of course, I do miss use the term miracle when I say everything is a miracle. Miracles technically are signs, i.e. resurrection. Something abnormal that happens to show that Jesus is the Christ, specifically. But that these things are abnormal, does not mean that the normal running of the earth and day to day humdrum is any less dependent on the intervention of God.

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

    Sorry, Klasie…
    I really am sorry. i did not mean to imply you were crass. But it would be a compliment if i did.

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

    Sorry, Klasie…
    I really am sorry. i did not mean to imply you were crass. But it would be a compliment if i did.

  • Jon

    @225 Klasie,
    Back in high school, and in college dating days. Or should I have winked twice to make it obvious? ;-) ;-) Get it? Dated some real “rocks”? As in “___ as a box ‘o”?

  • Jon

    @225 Klasie,
    Back in high school, and in college dating days. Or should I have winked twice to make it obvious? ;-) ;-) Get it? Dated some real “rocks”? As in “___ as a box ‘o”?

  • Steve Drake

    @Jon#223,
    Agreed. Actually, the red blood cells and red blood vessels found in T.Rex by Mary Schweitzer are a powerful argument against a 68-million year old dating of this fossil. Who would a thunk they could last that long? Wow, not the evolutionists. Had to remake the storyline somewhat.

  • Steve Drake

    @Jon#223,
    Agreed. Actually, the red blood cells and red blood vessels found in T.Rex by Mary Schweitzer are a powerful argument against a 68-million year old dating of this fossil. Who would a thunk they could last that long? Wow, not the evolutionists. Had to remake the storyline somewhat.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve @ 228. In #224, I was referring to, 209, then 211, then 220, then back to 208 (in a general sort of way). And as to your “shoe fits” commment in 210: Sure it fits.I have essentially been argiung for what some call Theistic evolution allthrough this thread.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve @ 228. In #224, I was referring to, 209, then 211, then 220, then back to 208 (in a general sort of way). And as to your “shoe fits” commment in 210: Sure it fits.I have essentially been argiung for what some call Theistic evolution allthrough this thread.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    The preservation mechanism of the protein remnants in those bones have been described here:
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0013334

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    The preservation mechanism of the protein remnants in those bones have been described here:
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0013334

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#235,
    As to theistic evolution, this is to your detriment. God did not use the wasteful, inefficient, and thoroughly ineffectual theory of evolution as His means of creation.

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#235,
    As to theistic evolution, this is to your detriment. God did not use the wasteful, inefficient, and thoroughly ineffectual theory of evolution as His means of creation.

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#236,
    From your link:
    Results of the study indicate that the crystallization of microbial biofilms on decomposing organic matter within vertebrate bone in early taphonomic stages may contribute to the preservation of primary soft tissues deeper in the bone structure.’

    Whoooo! Crystallization of microbial biofilms on decomposing organic blood cells and blood vessels of a T. Rex bone sample contributes to the preservation of a 68 million year old fossil with elastic blood vessels. Stretch them out and they snap back. Now that’s a real good ad hoc answer, isn’t it?

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#236,
    From your link:
    Results of the study indicate that the crystallization of microbial biofilms on decomposing organic matter within vertebrate bone in early taphonomic stages may contribute to the preservation of primary soft tissues deeper in the bone structure.’

    Whoooo! Crystallization of microbial biofilms on decomposing organic blood cells and blood vessels of a T. Rex bone sample contributes to the preservation of a 68 million year old fossil with elastic blood vessels. Stretch them out and they snap back. Now that’s a real good ad hoc answer, isn’t it?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve @238 – right on target. Your reaction was 100% what I thought it might be. Creationists are so ruddy predicatable….

    Jon @ 233: Missed that completely. I’m so used to all sorts of claims in these debates, that I took it for another. Sorry. :)

    Steve @ 222: Wonderful flood that. You know, that sorts out fossils with the least developed at the bottom (stromatolites), corresponding to old radiometric dates, with progressively more evolved ones higher up, with correspondingly younfger radiometric dates.
    Fish in a barrel…..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve @238 – right on target. Your reaction was 100% what I thought it might be. Creationists are so ruddy predicatable….

    Jon @ 233: Missed that completely. I’m so used to all sorts of claims in these debates, that I took it for another. Sorry. :)

    Steve @ 222: Wonderful flood that. You know, that sorts out fossils with the least developed at the bottom (stromatolites), corresponding to old radiometric dates, with progressively more evolved ones higher up, with correspondingly younfger radiometric dates.
    Fish in a barrel…..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Pardon the obvious typo’s in #239…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Pardon the obvious typo’s in #239…

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    Klasie, I’m trying hard not to read anything into which conversations you will engage in, and which you won’t. But it does seem like you rather enjoy “shooting fish in a barrel” or otherwise mocking “ruddy” creationists, but explaining yourself to those honestly trying to understand where you’re coming from? Not so much.

    One would think that my “profound ignorance” would also merit interaction from you, but I guess not.

    Until the next time this topic comes up, I guess…

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    Klasie, I’m trying hard not to read anything into which conversations you will engage in, and which you won’t. But it does seem like you rather enjoy “shooting fish in a barrel” or otherwise mocking “ruddy” creationists, but explaining yourself to those honestly trying to understand where you’re coming from? Not so much.

    One would think that my “profound ignorance” would also merit interaction from you, but I guess not.

    Until the next time this topic comes up, I guess…

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Regarding soft tissue in Cretaceous T-rex bones — The impulsive creationist response is “impossible.” The right thing to do is to determine if there are conditions in which tissues can be preserved almost indefinitely. There are hypotheses on this, but nothing definitive as far as I know. I cannot think of a reason that would preclude the formation of long-term sterile, anoxic pockets in fossils where no appreciable decay occurs.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Regarding soft tissue in Cretaceous T-rex bones — The impulsive creationist response is “impossible.” The right thing to do is to determine if there are conditions in which tissues can be preserved almost indefinitely. There are hypotheses on this, but nothing definitive as far as I know. I cannot think of a reason that would preclude the formation of long-term sterile, anoxic pockets in fossils where no appreciable decay occurs.

  • Jon

    Kevin, how about 65my as a reason why not? Organic compounds remaining insitu? Really? Without completely breaking down into soot? Poppycock! Ask the best preserved 2500 yr old Egyptian mummy how that’s working for him.

  • Jon

    Kevin, how about 65my as a reason why not? Organic compounds remaining insitu? Really? Without completely breaking down into soot? Poppycock! Ask the best preserved 2500 yr old Egyptian mummy how that’s working for him.

  • Joanne

    I’ve said this before, but our problem is with time, the temporal dimention. Take out the temporal dimention from all that has been said above, and what do we have?

    God created and maintains all that exists. If he stops maintaining the evil angels, they stop existing. If a man has a hand and God stops maintaining it, it stops existing. If God stops maintaing health, health stops.

    But I can’t talk without reference to time. God created temporal beings. God created not only light, but by separating light from dark, he created time, days, mornings, evenings. God uses his created time as he relates to his creation, but God is not temporal. He has not subjected himself to time, except through his son.

    His Son came into time as an infant that must spend a lifetime growing. Adam and Eve came into the world fully grown. The sun and the moon came into creation fully formed. God is the Lord of time; it is to him a tool.

    If I had taken a walk with God through the Garden of Eden to visit with Adam and Eve, what assumptions would I make? I see mature fruit trees laden with fruit, I see two adult humans, and I see the familiar sun and the moon. I’d certainly assume that it had all been there last week. I would be wrong and God would chuckle.

    A man who plants a vinyard must have time. He cannot get grapes and then wine without time. He produces his food by the sweat of his brow, because a man who had never been a baby and a woman who had never been a child, ate forbidden fruit that had never been a seed, with adult teeth, their baby teeth never existed.

    What a difference time and sin has made for us. I cannot talk to you without temporality. God goes to great lengths to relate to us within temporality so that we might understand him. Still he wants us to know he is timeless and is not limited by his creation.

    Now, here’s the question. If our scientists were to find the remains of Adam and Eve in a fairly well preserved state, would they be able to tell that Adam and Eve had never been children? I think they would.

  • Joanne

    I’ve said this before, but our problem is with time, the temporal dimention. Take out the temporal dimention from all that has been said above, and what do we have?

    God created and maintains all that exists. If he stops maintaining the evil angels, they stop existing. If a man has a hand and God stops maintaining it, it stops existing. If God stops maintaing health, health stops.

    But I can’t talk without reference to time. God created temporal beings. God created not only light, but by separating light from dark, he created time, days, mornings, evenings. God uses his created time as he relates to his creation, but God is not temporal. He has not subjected himself to time, except through his son.

    His Son came into time as an infant that must spend a lifetime growing. Adam and Eve came into the world fully grown. The sun and the moon came into creation fully formed. God is the Lord of time; it is to him a tool.

    If I had taken a walk with God through the Garden of Eden to visit with Adam and Eve, what assumptions would I make? I see mature fruit trees laden with fruit, I see two adult humans, and I see the familiar sun and the moon. I’d certainly assume that it had all been there last week. I would be wrong and God would chuckle.

    A man who plants a vinyard must have time. He cannot get grapes and then wine without time. He produces his food by the sweat of his brow, because a man who had never been a baby and a woman who had never been a child, ate forbidden fruit that had never been a seed, with adult teeth, their baby teeth never existed.

    What a difference time and sin has made for us. I cannot talk to you without temporality. God goes to great lengths to relate to us within temporality so that we might understand him. Still he wants us to know he is timeless and is not limited by his creation.

    Now, here’s the question. If our scientists were to find the remains of Adam and Eve in a fairly well preserved state, would they be able to tell that Adam and Eve had never been children? I think they would.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Steve Drake (#222) said, “The fossils in sedimentary layers all over the earth are testimony to this great cataclysmic disaster.”

    Where does the Bible say that the Flood created the sedimentary rock record?

    Young-earth creationism is bad apologetics. It has a track record of using bad arguments in the past (moon dust, dinosaur and human footprints together, thrust faults…) and continues to use bad arguments (for example: Six bad arguments from Answers in Genesis).

    There are two serious consequences of this:

    – Scientists and scientifically-literate people are driven away from the Gospel. Not because of what the Bible actually says, but because of what YECs say it says. Let it be the foolishness of the cross that drives people away, not the foolishness of our bad apologetics.

    – Our youth are given a poor foundation for trusting in the truthfulness of the Scriptures. Some of them will eventually learn that accelerated nuclear decay as proposed by YECs would melt or vaporize Earth’s crust or that the rock record is too complex to have formed in a year. Because they have been taught that if the Earth is older than 6000 years the Bible isn’t true, they will quite possibly throw away their Christianity along with their AiG/ICR/Dr. Dino videos.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Steve Drake (#222) said, “The fossils in sedimentary layers all over the earth are testimony to this great cataclysmic disaster.”

    Where does the Bible say that the Flood created the sedimentary rock record?

    Young-earth creationism is bad apologetics. It has a track record of using bad arguments in the past (moon dust, dinosaur and human footprints together, thrust faults…) and continues to use bad arguments (for example: Six bad arguments from Answers in Genesis).

    There are two serious consequences of this:

    – Scientists and scientifically-literate people are driven away from the Gospel. Not because of what the Bible actually says, but because of what YECs say it says. Let it be the foolishness of the cross that drives people away, not the foolishness of our bad apologetics.

    – Our youth are given a poor foundation for trusting in the truthfulness of the Scriptures. Some of them will eventually learn that accelerated nuclear decay as proposed by YECs would melt or vaporize Earth’s crust or that the rock record is too complex to have formed in a year. Because they have been taught that if the Earth is older than 6000 years the Bible isn’t true, they will quite possibly throw away their Christianity along with their AiG/ICR/Dr. Dino videos.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Jon (#243):

    A 2500-year old Egyptian mummy is still composed primarily of organic compounds, and still has recognizable tissues and organs. The question is: How long can these features be preserved? 2500 years? 25000 years? Are there conditions where tissues can be somewhat preserved for even millions of years? One can approach this in two ways. One can take the YEC approach of saying “poppycock,” or one can do research.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Jon (#243):

    A 2500-year old Egyptian mummy is still composed primarily of organic compounds, and still has recognizable tissues and organs. The question is: How long can these features be preserved? 2500 years? 25000 years? Are there conditions where tissues can be somewhat preserved for even millions of years? One can approach this in two ways. One can take the YEC approach of saying “poppycock,” or one can do research.

  • fws

    I have read with interest all of theses posts.

    I would not that no one here is denying the Genesis text. And I would love to have every one of you in my congretation so I could throw parties and have my newly christian catechetes see the wide diversity on all this that is possible to those who hold to the Lutheran Confessions.

    Bless you all. Especially Klassie. Be patient Klassie. If Todd does not get your point then he has not rejected it. And so your work here is not done. you need to learn maybe to explain your point in a way that he would understand it . That would be a valuable service to your neighbor!

  • fws

    I have read with interest all of theses posts.

    I would not that no one here is denying the Genesis text. And I would love to have every one of you in my congretation so I could throw parties and have my newly christian catechetes see the wide diversity on all this that is possible to those who hold to the Lutheran Confessions.

    Bless you all. Especially Klassie. Be patient Klassie. If Todd does not get your point then he has not rejected it. And so your work here is not done. you need to learn maybe to explain your point in a way that he would understand it . That would be a valuable service to your neighbor!

  • Steve Drake

    @KevinN#245
    ‘Where does the Bible say that the Flood created the sedimentary rock record?

    Scripture claims that the Flood was universal:
    And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the whole earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered (Gen. 7:19-20)

    The extent of the actions of the rising Flood waters is readily evident to any reader. Even if only one high mountain had been covered with water, to say nothing of all the mountains, the Flood would have been universal, simply because water must seek its own level and it does so very quickly.

    It is also an inescapable conclusion that as a result of the Flood “all flesh died that moved upon the earth” (Gen. 7:21), “all in whose nostrils was the breath of life…died” (Gen. 7:22), “every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground…and they were destroyed from the earth” so that “Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the Ark “(7:23).

    Scripture references ‘the fountains of the great deep bursting open’ (Gen. 7:11). Do you think this little geological detail bears any significance?

    Would a universal, global Flood not leave vast thicknesses of water-transported sediments now found as rock layers containing countless billions of fossils?

    Our youth are given a poor foundation for trusting Scripture as the Word of God, when they can read it for themselves and see what it says, and yet are told by Christian compromisers that God used evolution as his means of creation, Adam and Eve were not created as our first parents but came from a stock of preexisting hominids, the sin-death causal connection is just illusory, the flood local and not a worldwide judgment of God upon all living save Noah and those with him in the Ark, and oh by the way, yes, Jesus still died for your sins on a cross and resurrected himself, and you must still believe this, contrary to what science says about it. There’s a fundamental dichotomy in believing the miracle for the latter, and yet not the former.

  • Steve Drake

    @KevinN#245
    ‘Where does the Bible say that the Flood created the sedimentary rock record?

    Scripture claims that the Flood was universal:
    And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the whole earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered (Gen. 7:19-20)

    The extent of the actions of the rising Flood waters is readily evident to any reader. Even if only one high mountain had been covered with water, to say nothing of all the mountains, the Flood would have been universal, simply because water must seek its own level and it does so very quickly.

    It is also an inescapable conclusion that as a result of the Flood “all flesh died that moved upon the earth” (Gen. 7:21), “all in whose nostrils was the breath of life…died” (Gen. 7:22), “every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground…and they were destroyed from the earth” so that “Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the Ark “(7:23).

    Scripture references ‘the fountains of the great deep bursting open’ (Gen. 7:11). Do you think this little geological detail bears any significance?

    Would a universal, global Flood not leave vast thicknesses of water-transported sediments now found as rock layers containing countless billions of fossils?

    Our youth are given a poor foundation for trusting Scripture as the Word of God, when they can read it for themselves and see what it says, and yet are told by Christian compromisers that God used evolution as his means of creation, Adam and Eve were not created as our first parents but came from a stock of preexisting hominids, the sin-death causal connection is just illusory, the flood local and not a worldwide judgment of God upon all living save Noah and those with him in the Ark, and oh by the way, yes, Jesus still died for your sins on a cross and resurrected himself, and you must still believe this, contrary to what science says about it. There’s a fundamental dichotomy in believing the miracle for the latter, and yet not the former.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Stevie, I love how you ignore the obvious problems I highlighted…

    Todd – “fish in a barrel” referred to Steve, not you.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Stevie, I love how you ignore the obvious problems I highlighted…

    Todd – “fish in a barrel” referred to Steve, not you.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Steve at 237
    “God did not use the wasteful, inefficient, and thoroughly ineffectual theory of evolution as His means of creation.”

    But He does use the wastefull, inefficcient, and thouroughly divided Church to spread the Gospel.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Steve at 237
    “God did not use the wasteful, inefficient, and thoroughly ineffectual theory of evolution as His means of creation.”

    But He does use the wastefull, inefficcient, and thouroughly divided Church to spread the Gospel.

  • Steve Drake

    Good to see you around, Pastor Spomer. At least if you’re the same Pastor Spomer that was blogging at First Things from time to time. I pray that you are still enjoying good health and the blessings of our Almighty God.

    Yes, God does use the divided Church to spread the Gospel. Why is that so? He does it in spite of our sin natures, no? And how do we know we have a sin nature? Where is the account of sin and its entrance into humanity? What happened, how did it arise? Why did it arise, and why do you and I have problems with it? How is it resolved? Maybe, something about a Promised Seed to come, no? And where does it talk about this Promised Seed? Why should you and I believe it? I think you can see where I’m going with this. If there was no Genesis with an historical Adam and Eve who fell in disobedience in space-time, with a resultant historical Curse, then there is no Promised Seed to come who in fulfillment of this promise, enables you and I to put our sin natures to death through faith in what He did on the Cross.

  • Steve Drake

    Good to see you around, Pastor Spomer. At least if you’re the same Pastor Spomer that was blogging at First Things from time to time. I pray that you are still enjoying good health and the blessings of our Almighty God.

    Yes, God does use the divided Church to spread the Gospel. Why is that so? He does it in spite of our sin natures, no? And how do we know we have a sin nature? Where is the account of sin and its entrance into humanity? What happened, how did it arise? Why did it arise, and why do you and I have problems with it? How is it resolved? Maybe, something about a Promised Seed to come, no? And where does it talk about this Promised Seed? Why should you and I believe it? I think you can see where I’m going with this. If there was no Genesis with an historical Adam and Eve who fell in disobedience in space-time, with a resultant historical Curse, then there is no Promised Seed to come who in fulfillment of this promise, enables you and I to put our sin natures to death through faith in what He did on the Cross.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve – you are still ignoring the issues I highlighted. Also – as FWS said – NOBODY here (well, I’m not sure about Kitty) is denying Genesis. Read through the thread, and you will see many things, but not denial.

    Todd: as Frank said, you are misunderstanding my argument. That is why I’m shutting it down, precisely because I’m not seeing it go anywhere, and like I hinted in my last comment to Bror (#224), I don’t want to damage relationships.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve – you are still ignoring the issues I highlighted. Also – as FWS said – NOBODY here (well, I’m not sure about Kitty) is denying Genesis. Read through the thread, and you will see many things, but not denial.

    Todd: as Frank said, you are misunderstanding my argument. That is why I’m shutting it down, precisely because I’m not seeing it go anywhere, and like I hinted in my last comment to Bror (#224), I don’t want to damage relationships.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Now a general comment: There are at least 3 different ways people who do not want to accept an old age for the earth / non-literal Genesis 1 – 11 react, and all 3 are present here:

    1. The YEC, pseudo-scientific response: These people try to be rationalist. They try and arrange evidence and data to scientifically prove Genesis. This effort fails miserably, because it isimpossible. the data and the evidence is against them, overwhelmingly, no matter which way you look at it. People on this thread: Steve, Jon, Nathan(?).

    2. The ad-hoc response: There are a couple of these options – the apparent age theory is the most common. These folks do not doubt the scientific evidence or consensus, but they place an ad-hoc “lens” in front of the evidence “to make things work” – such “it was all a miracle” or “God stretched time out before” or something like that. Examples on this thread: Todd, Mabel.

    3. The pure sophist response: This group doesn’t attempt to deny the scientific evidence or data either. They take refuge in a postmodern denial of human reason, and call it faith. This is a very, very weak response, because denial of reason is self-defeating, in that in the absence of reason, no knowledge is possible at all, including knowledge of Scripture in the first place. Example on this thread: Larry

    I’m not saying these are the only options, but they are the most common.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Now a general comment: There are at least 3 different ways people who do not want to accept an old age for the earth / non-literal Genesis 1 – 11 react, and all 3 are present here:

    1. The YEC, pseudo-scientific response: These people try to be rationalist. They try and arrange evidence and data to scientifically prove Genesis. This effort fails miserably, because it isimpossible. the data and the evidence is against them, overwhelmingly, no matter which way you look at it. People on this thread: Steve, Jon, Nathan(?).

    2. The ad-hoc response: There are a couple of these options – the apparent age theory is the most common. These folks do not doubt the scientific evidence or consensus, but they place an ad-hoc “lens” in front of the evidence “to make things work” – such “it was all a miracle” or “God stretched time out before” or something like that. Examples on this thread: Todd, Mabel.

    3. The pure sophist response: This group doesn’t attempt to deny the scientific evidence or data either. They take refuge in a postmodern denial of human reason, and call it faith. This is a very, very weak response, because denial of reason is self-defeating, in that in the absence of reason, no knowledge is possible at all, including knowledge of Scripture in the first place. Example on this thread: Larry

    I’m not saying these are the only options, but they are the most common.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    I’ve been subscribed to this comment feed because I responded to Dr. Veith’s actual question way back at comment 13, but have found this back and forth … illuminating. Though I’ve been tempted to intrude many times with a question or observation, I don’t have time to take part in the discussion (which obviously has been going on for quite some time, before this thread ever got started).

    I will, however, give in to “temptation” and ask one question — recognizing that it asks for supposition and not certitude — but it’s something I’ve been curious to have answered by those who hold to and/or promote ” an old age for the earth / non-literal Genesis 1 – 11 “:

    If it was not meant to be taken as a literal, historical record of the origins of the world and mankind, why do you believe God the Holy Spirit gave us Genesis 1-11 (or at least 1-3) in the form that he did?

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    I’ve been subscribed to this comment feed because I responded to Dr. Veith’s actual question way back at comment 13, but have found this back and forth … illuminating. Though I’ve been tempted to intrude many times with a question or observation, I don’t have time to take part in the discussion (which obviously has been going on for quite some time, before this thread ever got started).

    I will, however, give in to “temptation” and ask one question — recognizing that it asks for supposition and not certitude — but it’s something I’ve been curious to have answered by those who hold to and/or promote ” an old age for the earth / non-literal Genesis 1 – 11 “:

    If it was not meant to be taken as a literal, historical record of the origins of the world and mankind, why do you believe God the Holy Spirit gave us Genesis 1-11 (or at least 1-3) in the form that he did?

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Jeff Samelson (#254):

    “Old Earth” does not mean “non-literal,” unless one is talking about the extreme version of literalism that leaves absolutely no room for symbolism in the text. Most old-Earth interpretations would claim to be “literal” in that they attempt to take the Word at face value and recognize the opening chapters of Genesis as some sort of historical narrative. The day-age interpretation and the analogical days interpretation both fall in this category. Most adherents to these positions believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, creation from nothing, a real Adam and Eve, a real fall into sin that affects us all, and in Jesus Christ as the only solution to our sin problem.

    As a Christian who accepts an old Earth, my answer to your question is the same as what most young-Earthers would give: The Holy Spirit gave us Genesis 1-11 in the form he gave it to us in order to lay a true foundation for everything that happened later.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Jeff Samelson (#254):

    “Old Earth” does not mean “non-literal,” unless one is talking about the extreme version of literalism that leaves absolutely no room for symbolism in the text. Most old-Earth interpretations would claim to be “literal” in that they attempt to take the Word at face value and recognize the opening chapters of Genesis as some sort of historical narrative. The day-age interpretation and the analogical days interpretation both fall in this category. Most adherents to these positions believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, creation from nothing, a real Adam and Eve, a real fall into sin that affects us all, and in Jesus Christ as the only solution to our sin problem.

    As a Christian who accepts an old Earth, my answer to your question is the same as what most young-Earthers would give: The Holy Spirit gave us Genesis 1-11 in the form he gave it to us in order to lay a true foundation for everything that happened later.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jeff, I have two minutes before I have to leave to go somewhere, so here is a quick answer (or the beginningof an answer).

    1. First, we are not the primary audience – the primary audience, ie, the first recipients of Genesis 1 – 11, lived 3000+ years ago, possibly even more. The Genesis narrative is similar to othewr Ancient Near-East narratives. Of course some claim that this means the latter is derived from the former. However that might be, the primary audience is not modern man – he is a near east dwelling, semi-namidc tribesman. he lives by stories. He tells and communicates by stories. what better way to communicate the Great Truth of all truths to him than by…. ? Because what do the early chapeters of Genesis tell us? that god is the Creator, the Originator of the Cosmos (in the Greek sense of the word). That everyhting flows from Him. But man rebelled, and keeps on rebelling – and god saves – but from the beginning of the story of Man god held forth the Promise of a Saviour. And He repeats that promise, through story, History, type and Archtype, till the Saviour, He Himself in the Person of Christ, steps into space-time, some 2000 years ago.

    I have to go now, hope that helps….

    Last word: Think of early Genesis as the introductory Liturgy to the history of God’s dealings with Man. And that Liturgy takes an alethemythopoeic form……

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jeff, I have two minutes before I have to leave to go somewhere, so here is a quick answer (or the beginningof an answer).

    1. First, we are not the primary audience – the primary audience, ie, the first recipients of Genesis 1 – 11, lived 3000+ years ago, possibly even more. The Genesis narrative is similar to othewr Ancient Near-East narratives. Of course some claim that this means the latter is derived from the former. However that might be, the primary audience is not modern man – he is a near east dwelling, semi-namidc tribesman. he lives by stories. He tells and communicates by stories. what better way to communicate the Great Truth of all truths to him than by…. ? Because what do the early chapeters of Genesis tell us? that god is the Creator, the Originator of the Cosmos (in the Greek sense of the word). That everyhting flows from Him. But man rebelled, and keeps on rebelling – and god saves – but from the beginning of the story of Man god held forth the Promise of a Saviour. And He repeats that promise, through story, History, type and Archtype, till the Saviour, He Himself in the Person of Christ, steps into space-time, some 2000 years ago.

    I have to go now, hope that helps….

    Last word: Think of early Genesis as the introductory Liturgy to the history of God’s dealings with Man. And that Liturgy takes an alethemythopoeic form……

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Steve Drake (#248):

    Perhaps rather than refering to old-Earth Christians as “compromisers,” (Ken Ham has set a rather bad example in this), you should refer to us as “brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I disagree over a secondary matter.”

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Steve Drake (#248):

    Perhaps rather than refering to old-Earth Christians as “compromisers,” (Ken Ham has set a rather bad example in this), you should refer to us as “brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I disagree over a secondary matter.”

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Steve Drake (#248):

    You should do what I suggested at the end of comment #63. The following is a perfectly legitimate translation of Genesis 7:17-24.

    For forty days the flood kept coming on the land, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the land. The waters rose and increased greatly on the land, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the land, and all the high hills under the entire sky were covered. The waters rose more than twenty feet, and the hills were covered. Every living thing that moved on the land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the land, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the land was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the land. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. The waters flooded the land for a hundred and fifty days. (Modified from NIV84).

    You really ought to go back and read the entire passage, keeping in mind that earth can be translated as land, heavens can be translated as sky, and mountains can be translated as hills. I am not saying that the passage has to be translated as I have written it, but that it can.

    In regards to all the mountains, it is clear that all often means something other than all in the Old Testament. I gave some examples of this back in comment #63.

    In regards to ‘the fountains of the great deep bursting open,’ I am not sure what this is refering to. But neither is anyone else. I’m not too impressed with the YEC hydroplate or catastrophic plate tectonics interpretations of this verse; they don’t work geologically and they certainly are not required by the passage.

    A universal, global Flood would leave a chaotic mess, not a geological record that contains order, intact ecosystems, footprints, reefs, terrestrial deposits, soil layers, freshwater lake deposits, thin volcanic ash layers, massive lava flows, raindrop impressions, mud cracks, and igneous intrusions.

    While there are old-Earthers who reject core teachings of Genesis, such as about Adam or the fall, most do not. Take a look at my Creation Creed. Likewise, believing in young-Earth creationism is no guaranteer of orthodoxy; just look at the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    You are drawing a false dichotomy: I believe in the miracles of Genesis, and I believe in the miracles of Jesus, including his resurrection. I just don’t believe Answers in Genesis.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Steve Drake (#248):

    You should do what I suggested at the end of comment #63. The following is a perfectly legitimate translation of Genesis 7:17-24.

    For forty days the flood kept coming on the land, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the land. The waters rose and increased greatly on the land, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the land, and all the high hills under the entire sky were covered. The waters rose more than twenty feet, and the hills were covered. Every living thing that moved on the land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the land, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the land was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the land. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. The waters flooded the land for a hundred and fifty days. (Modified from NIV84).

    You really ought to go back and read the entire passage, keeping in mind that earth can be translated as land, heavens can be translated as sky, and mountains can be translated as hills. I am not saying that the passage has to be translated as I have written it, but that it can.

    In regards to all the mountains, it is clear that all often means something other than all in the Old Testament. I gave some examples of this back in comment #63.

    In regards to ‘the fountains of the great deep bursting open,’ I am not sure what this is refering to. But neither is anyone else. I’m not too impressed with the YEC hydroplate or catastrophic plate tectonics interpretations of this verse; they don’t work geologically and they certainly are not required by the passage.

    A universal, global Flood would leave a chaotic mess, not a geological record that contains order, intact ecosystems, footprints, reefs, terrestrial deposits, soil layers, freshwater lake deposits, thin volcanic ash layers, massive lava flows, raindrop impressions, mud cracks, and igneous intrusions.

    While there are old-Earthers who reject core teachings of Genesis, such as about Adam or the fall, most do not. Take a look at my Creation Creed. Likewise, believing in young-Earth creationism is no guaranteer of orthodoxy; just look at the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    You are drawing a false dichotomy: I believe in the miracles of Genesis, and I believe in the miracles of Jesus, including his resurrection. I just don’t believe Answers in Genesis.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@252), I appreciate your concern for “damaging relationships”. That said, I’d like to at least imagine that I have a fairly tough skin about such things, such that we could throw down here and yet still be chummy on a different topic or different day.

    That said, if you really are concerned about how your words affect me, I’ll let you know that you occasionally adopt a patronizing tone. (Is my tone flawless? Not in the least, though I’m more aware of losing my temper with other commenters more than you.)

    For instance, here you tell me (@252), “you are misunderstanding my argument”. And in previous comments, you have insisted that, while I’m not understanding your point, you understand mine perfectly well. On top of all that, you call my argument (@174) one out of “profound ignorance”.

    Well! How do you think all that comes across, Klasie? I’d far rather go round after round, flogging a dead horse and “not seeing it go anywhere”, than revisit those particular tactics!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@252), I appreciate your concern for “damaging relationships”. That said, I’d like to at least imagine that I have a fairly tough skin about such things, such that we could throw down here and yet still be chummy on a different topic or different day.

    That said, if you really are concerned about how your words affect me, I’ll let you know that you occasionally adopt a patronizing tone. (Is my tone flawless? Not in the least, though I’m more aware of losing my temper with other commenters more than you.)

    For instance, here you tell me (@252), “you are misunderstanding my argument”. And in previous comments, you have insisted that, while I’m not understanding your point, you understand mine perfectly well. On top of all that, you call my argument (@174) one out of “profound ignorance”.

    Well! How do you think all that comes across, Klasie? I’d far rather go round after round, flogging a dead horse and “not seeing it go anywhere”, than revisit those particular tactics!

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Steve @251
    Thanks for the response. Yes, I’m the same pastor Spomer.
    “If there was no Genesis with an historical Adam and Eve who fell in disobedience in space-time, with a resultant historical Curse, then there is no Promised Seed to come who in fulfillment of this promise, enables you and I to put our sin natures to death through faith in what He did on the Cross.”
    Indeed, I fully affirm that Adam was as real as a Colt .45. I meant to point out that God can act in a way that we humans would consider inefficient. He does, act through means in many ways, whether in spreading the Gospel, or watering the earth, or making babies. Since God is all powerful, His acts reflect His will, not His abilities. The Bible itself is an inefficient thing if one were to compare it to God directly informing each mind what He wants it to know and think.
    Last year the Concordia Theological Review (published by the Ft. Wayne Sem.) had a nice article by the sainted Australian Lutheran theologian Herman Sasse, where Sasse describes how, although all the words of Bible are true, they are spoken in a manner that condescends to the first (as well as subsequent, I would add) hearers. It is part of the incarnation that God speaks to man in a humble way that man can understand. I don’t regard this fact as some free ticket to read whatever one wants into the Text, or to compromise it with whatever the current world view is. But there is an important distinction between two men debating what the Bible means as a particular verse, and two men debating whether or not the Bible is true and inerrant.
    God bless.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Steve @251
    Thanks for the response. Yes, I’m the same pastor Spomer.
    “If there was no Genesis with an historical Adam and Eve who fell in disobedience in space-time, with a resultant historical Curse, then there is no Promised Seed to come who in fulfillment of this promise, enables you and I to put our sin natures to death through faith in what He did on the Cross.”
    Indeed, I fully affirm that Adam was as real as a Colt .45. I meant to point out that God can act in a way that we humans would consider inefficient. He does, act through means in many ways, whether in spreading the Gospel, or watering the earth, or making babies. Since God is all powerful, His acts reflect His will, not His abilities. The Bible itself is an inefficient thing if one were to compare it to God directly informing each mind what He wants it to know and think.
    Last year the Concordia Theological Review (published by the Ft. Wayne Sem.) had a nice article by the sainted Australian Lutheran theologian Herman Sasse, where Sasse describes how, although all the words of Bible are true, they are spoken in a manner that condescends to the first (as well as subsequent, I would add) hearers. It is part of the incarnation that God speaks to man in a humble way that man can understand. I don’t regard this fact as some free ticket to read whatever one wants into the Text, or to compromise it with whatever the current world view is. But there is an important distinction between two men debating what the Bible means as a particular verse, and two men debating whether or not the Bible is true and inerrant.
    God bless.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Question for the old-earthers: how do you know if a miracle happened in a literal, physical fashion as described in the Bible?

    Because the impression I get, especially from Klasie’s expouding (@198) on various Old Testament miracles, is that the rubric is to try and see if a non-miraculous/supernatural explanation can be found, in keeping with known scientific principles. If one exists (or can be supposed to exist), then the event in Scripture is to be read in that light.

    So all the language about the Flood is read “artistically” because of the existence of one or more floods of some extent in the Near East at some point far back. And presumably the Plagues of Egypt can also be explained away as natural occurences, too

    But if we go down that road, why not be consistent about it and also assume that many of the dead or sick that Jesus healed weren’t really all that dead or ill? Because science doesn’t know about the dead being raised, but it can tell us of instances where people were thought to be dead (say, in a coma), and then came to. To quote Klasie (@198), “if a natural explanation is found, why need I sweat?”

    Or are there some miracles that really need to have supernatural explanations in order for Scripture’s integrity to be maintained?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Question for the old-earthers: how do you know if a miracle happened in a literal, physical fashion as described in the Bible?

    Because the impression I get, especially from Klasie’s expouding (@198) on various Old Testament miracles, is that the rubric is to try and see if a non-miraculous/supernatural explanation can be found, in keeping with known scientific principles. If one exists (or can be supposed to exist), then the event in Scripture is to be read in that light.

    So all the language about the Flood is read “artistically” because of the existence of one or more floods of some extent in the Near East at some point far back. And presumably the Plagues of Egypt can also be explained away as natural occurences, too

    But if we go down that road, why not be consistent about it and also assume that many of the dead or sick that Jesus healed weren’t really all that dead or ill? Because science doesn’t know about the dead being raised, but it can tell us of instances where people were thought to be dead (say, in a coma), and then came to. To quote Klasie (@198), “if a natural explanation is found, why need I sweat?”

    Or are there some miracles that really need to have supernatural explanations in order for Scripture’s integrity to be maintained?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Another question for old-earthers. Kevin N (@255) mentions “day-age interpretation and the analogical days interpretation”. I’m not terribly familiar with these schemes, but here’s my question:

    Let’s say that one holds to the modern scientific consensus in all things in the distant past. If one takes the Genesis account to somehow refer to this scientific reality, if with artistic license, how does one explain that the order of things in Genesis is all wrong?

    That is to say, on the “third day”, Genesis has “plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds” coming forth. Best I can tell, spermatophytes, or seed plants, don’t show up in the scientific account until the end of the Paleozoic era — with some kind of seed plants showing up maybe 360 million years ago, though I believe fruit trees didn’t show up till the Triassic period (250-200 Mya).

    But then Genesis has the next “day” involving the creation of the sun, moon, and stars. Which, scientifically, happened waaay before plants ever appeared, obviously, maybe 4.5 billion years ago. Never mind the older stars.

    And then on the “fifth day”, God makes sea creatures (even though science tells us fish started showing up at least around 480 Mya, well before the seed plants) and birds on the same “day”, though the earliest bird one could argue for was about 150 Mya, though most birds came much later (ca. 50 Mya).

    And finally, on the “sixth day”, God makes land animals, even though, as you’re presumably aware, the first footprints on land date to 530 Mya.

    In short, whatever reading you have of Genesis, it seems you have to abstract it well out beyond a mere “‘day’ means a much longer period” argument, as the order of Genesis bears no resemblance whatsoever to the order that science gives us.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Another question for old-earthers. Kevin N (@255) mentions “day-age interpretation and the analogical days interpretation”. I’m not terribly familiar with these schemes, but here’s my question:

    Let’s say that one holds to the modern scientific consensus in all things in the distant past. If one takes the Genesis account to somehow refer to this scientific reality, if with artistic license, how does one explain that the order of things in Genesis is all wrong?

    That is to say, on the “third day”, Genesis has “plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds” coming forth. Best I can tell, spermatophytes, or seed plants, don’t show up in the scientific account until the end of the Paleozoic era — with some kind of seed plants showing up maybe 360 million years ago, though I believe fruit trees didn’t show up till the Triassic period (250-200 Mya).

    But then Genesis has the next “day” involving the creation of the sun, moon, and stars. Which, scientifically, happened waaay before plants ever appeared, obviously, maybe 4.5 billion years ago. Never mind the older stars.

    And then on the “fifth day”, God makes sea creatures (even though science tells us fish started showing up at least around 480 Mya, well before the seed plants) and birds on the same “day”, though the earliest bird one could argue for was about 150 Mya, though most birds came much later (ca. 50 Mya).

    And finally, on the “sixth day”, God makes land animals, even though, as you’re presumably aware, the first footprints on land date to 530 Mya.

    In short, whatever reading you have of Genesis, it seems you have to abstract it well out beyond a mere “‘day’ means a much longer period” argument, as the order of Genesis bears no resemblance whatsoever to the order that science gives us.

  • kerner

    Kevin N:

    Well, O brother in Christ with whom I disagree on a secondary matter, I’m with you @257, but I can’t agree with you @258. Your idea sounds great when you use it selectively, but there are passages where it just doesn’t work. Such as

    Genesis 8:3-5
    New International Version (NIV)

    “3 The water receded steadily from the land. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the hills of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the hills became visible. ”

    Mount Ararat is 16,854 feet above sea level, it, and the Armenian plateau around it can hardly be described as hills, and certainly the Armeian highlands are one of the highest points of land for thousands of miles in any direction.

    I am not convinced that choosing between your position and the text is a false dichotomy at all. While your position is more arguable as to Genesis 1, I think you really have to stretch to maintain it when you get to Genesis 7 and 8.

    As an attorney, and not a scientist, I may not know as much as you and Klasie do about geology, but I DO know about words, how people use them, and what they mean. The account of Noah and the ark is an historical narrative, which mentions a number of specific details about how, and from what, it was constructed, when it happened (using Noah’s birthdate as a reference point, and mentions at least one real place.

    I raised a lot if questions about your approach to translation of scripture @102, and you never responded to me. Would you care to address any of them now?

    I really do think your position, to be maintained, requires writing off most of Genesis1-11 as mythology, or at best, legends, tall tales about real people. Maybe you are prepared to do that, but let’s not pretend that it isn’t where your argument takes us, because you really can’t get away from that. Not unless you close your eyes.

  • kerner

    Kevin N:

    Well, O brother in Christ with whom I disagree on a secondary matter, I’m with you @257, but I can’t agree with you @258. Your idea sounds great when you use it selectively, but there are passages where it just doesn’t work. Such as

    Genesis 8:3-5
    New International Version (NIV)

    “3 The water receded steadily from the land. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the hills of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the hills became visible. ”

    Mount Ararat is 16,854 feet above sea level, it, and the Armenian plateau around it can hardly be described as hills, and certainly the Armeian highlands are one of the highest points of land for thousands of miles in any direction.

    I am not convinced that choosing between your position and the text is a false dichotomy at all. While your position is more arguable as to Genesis 1, I think you really have to stretch to maintain it when you get to Genesis 7 and 8.

    As an attorney, and not a scientist, I may not know as much as you and Klasie do about geology, but I DO know about words, how people use them, and what they mean. The account of Noah and the ark is an historical narrative, which mentions a number of specific details about how, and from what, it was constructed, when it happened (using Noah’s birthdate as a reference point, and mentions at least one real place.

    I raised a lot if questions about your approach to translation of scripture @102, and you never responded to me. Would you care to address any of them now?

    I really do think your position, to be maintained, requires writing off most of Genesis1-11 as mythology, or at best, legends, tall tales about real people. Maybe you are prepared to do that, but let’s not pretend that it isn’t where your argument takes us, because you really can’t get away from that. Not unless you close your eyes.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Kerner:

    Sorry that I didn’t get to addressing what you wrote back in #102, so here it goes…

    The Flood was certainly a large event, and from Noah’s perspective, it would have seemed to cover all of the Earth. In that case, it would have been appropriate for him to describe it as covering all the Earth, even if technically that wasn’t correct. One sees this sort of language in the New Testament as well. In Romans 1:8, Paul writes, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.” (ESV) If we take this “literally” do we have to believe that the faith of the believers in Rome was known among Polynesians and Incas? Of course not.

    Why would an Ark be needed if the Flood were merely local? Because God wanted to do it that way. It does nicely illustrate that it wasn’t Noah who saved himself, by walking a few hundred miles, but God.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Kerner:

    Sorry that I didn’t get to addressing what you wrote back in #102, so here it goes…

    The Flood was certainly a large event, and from Noah’s perspective, it would have seemed to cover all of the Earth. In that case, it would have been appropriate for him to describe it as covering all the Earth, even if technically that wasn’t correct. One sees this sort of language in the New Testament as well. In Romans 1:8, Paul writes, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.” (ESV) If we take this “literally” do we have to believe that the faith of the believers in Rome was known among Polynesians and Incas? Of course not.

    Why would an Ark be needed if the Flood were merely local? Because God wanted to do it that way. It does nicely illustrate that it wasn’t Noah who saved himself, by walking a few hundred miles, but God.

  • Joanne

    All humans have the natural knowledge of God because the creation itself bears witness to the Creator God. That’s why atheists are so angry; they cannot escape knowing that there is a God. Atheists are in denial.

    Reason is a tool and a servant. Luther, at the 1521 Reichstag at Worms, demanded to be convinced from Scripture and pure reason before he would recant any of his writings.

    Luther used reason as a tool to understand the mechanics of Biblical translation. He used reason to understand Greek and Hebrew and the best German way to say what the Greek and Hebrew texts said. He had no qualms about the use of practical reason.

    But there were many of his acquaintance who maintained that a kind of philosophical use of reason could be used to explain life and the meaning of the texts of the Bible. On occassion, Luther taught classes on Aristotle, and some have discribed Luther as having a love-hate relationship with Aristotle’s ideas, reasonings.

    Luther was open to a better Hebrew scholar explaining to him why a certain passage could not be translated the way he thought, but Luther was not open to the idea that reason should be used to determine the meaning of those passages. If scripture proclaims an account of reality that human reason cannot fathom, it is the fault of corrupted human reason as of course caused by the fall into sin in the Garden of Eden.

    Reason, like fire, is a faithful servant but a deadly master.

  • Joanne

    All humans have the natural knowledge of God because the creation itself bears witness to the Creator God. That’s why atheists are so angry; they cannot escape knowing that there is a God. Atheists are in denial.

    Reason is a tool and a servant. Luther, at the 1521 Reichstag at Worms, demanded to be convinced from Scripture and pure reason before he would recant any of his writings.

    Luther used reason as a tool to understand the mechanics of Biblical translation. He used reason to understand Greek and Hebrew and the best German way to say what the Greek and Hebrew texts said. He had no qualms about the use of practical reason.

    But there were many of his acquaintance who maintained that a kind of philosophical use of reason could be used to explain life and the meaning of the texts of the Bible. On occassion, Luther taught classes on Aristotle, and some have discribed Luther as having a love-hate relationship with Aristotle’s ideas, reasonings.

    Luther was open to a better Hebrew scholar explaining to him why a certain passage could not be translated the way he thought, but Luther was not open to the idea that reason should be used to determine the meaning of those passages. If scripture proclaims an account of reality that human reason cannot fathom, it is the fault of corrupted human reason as of course caused by the fall into sin in the Garden of Eden.

    Reason, like fire, is a faithful servant but a deadly master.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    tODD (#262):

    Your question about the order of events (e.g. plants before the sun) have been addressed very well by Hugh Ross. I could do some copying and pasting, but instead I refer you to my summary at day-age time chart.

    Rather than being a “contradiction” between Scripture and nature, it could be that the order of events is an amazing confirmation of the truthfulness of Genesis 1.

    Maybe. I’m not ready to endorse Ross’s presentation of the day-age interpretation, but there are some intriguing possibilities.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    tODD (#262):

    Your question about the order of events (e.g. plants before the sun) have been addressed very well by Hugh Ross. I could do some copying and pasting, but instead I refer you to my summary at day-age time chart.

    Rather than being a “contradiction” between Scripture and nature, it could be that the order of events is an amazing confirmation of the truthfulness of Genesis 1.

    Maybe. I’m not ready to endorse Ross’s presentation of the day-age interpretation, but there are some intriguing possibilities.

  • FWS

    pastor spomer @ 260

    we should be sparing I think in thinking that a lutheran brother is questioning plenary inspiration. To think that light was created before sun and moon begs for a poetic understanding of gen 1 is not to deny plenary inspiration.

    I personally dont have a problem with a naive reading of the text in a literal sense. If I were a geologist maybe I would have huge problems. Why does this matter?

    klassie takes the biblical text in an extremely serious way. he is not denying the inspiration of scripture as far as I can see, but he also is not willing to put his brain in park when 99.9% of the information he knows can only fit into a certain predictive model.

    I dont see my own faith threatened in any way by that. It would make for interesting cocktail conversation and in fact, might attract those I am catechising now who have certain assumptions about christians based upon what they know about evangelicals with their “flat bible” assumptions.

  • FWS

    pastor spomer @ 260

    we should be sparing I think in thinking that a lutheran brother is questioning plenary inspiration. To think that light was created before sun and moon begs for a poetic understanding of gen 1 is not to deny plenary inspiration.

    I personally dont have a problem with a naive reading of the text in a literal sense. If I were a geologist maybe I would have huge problems. Why does this matter?

    klassie takes the biblical text in an extremely serious way. he is not denying the inspiration of scripture as far as I can see, but he also is not willing to put his brain in park when 99.9% of the information he knows can only fit into a certain predictive model.

    I dont see my own faith threatened in any way by that. It would make for interesting cocktail conversation and in fact, might attract those I am catechising now who have certain assumptions about christians based upon what they know about evangelicals with their “flat bible” assumptions.

  • kerner

    Kevin:

    I guess Noah’s point of view would have been significant, if he had written Genesis. And that must have been some local flood that raised the Ark higher than the Armenian plateau.

  • kerner

    Kevin:

    I guess Noah’s point of view would have been significant, if he had written Genesis. And that must have been some local flood that raised the Ark higher than the Armenian plateau.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    kerner (#263 & 268):

    In regards to Mount Ararat: We have to pay attention to what the text actually says. Genesis 8:4 says that the Ark came to rest “on the mountains of Ararat,” not on Mount Ararat. This covers a very large area, especially when considering that the area known as Ararat (or Urartu) covered all of the uplands between northern Mesopotomia and the Black Sea. Biblically, there is no reason to insist that the Ark ended up on the almost 17000 foot summit of Mount Ararat. The resting place could have been anywhere in this area, ranging from the foothills to higher elevations.

    I read almost all of Genesis 1-11 as some sort of historical narrative. It describes events that really happened. I do not read it as mythology or legends. God created the universe from nothing. Adam was real. There was a garden in Mesopotamia (YECs deny this). Eve was Adam’s wife. Adam and Eve sinned. Cain killed Abel. Noah’s flood really happened. Groups spread out from Babel and populated the Eastern Mediteranean and Near East (the text doesn’t say where Zulus or Eskimos came from).

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    kerner (#263 & 268):

    In regards to Mount Ararat: We have to pay attention to what the text actually says. Genesis 8:4 says that the Ark came to rest “on the mountains of Ararat,” not on Mount Ararat. This covers a very large area, especially when considering that the area known as Ararat (or Urartu) covered all of the uplands between northern Mesopotomia and the Black Sea. Biblically, there is no reason to insist that the Ark ended up on the almost 17000 foot summit of Mount Ararat. The resting place could have been anywhere in this area, ranging from the foothills to higher elevations.

    I read almost all of Genesis 1-11 as some sort of historical narrative. It describes events that really happened. I do not read it as mythology or legends. God created the universe from nothing. Adam was real. There was a garden in Mesopotamia (YECs deny this). Eve was Adam’s wife. Adam and Eve sinned. Cain killed Abel. Noah’s flood really happened. Groups spread out from Babel and populated the Eastern Mediteranean and Near East (the text doesn’t say where Zulus or Eskimos came from).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kevin (@266), hmm.

    Ross’ theory isn’t exactly compelling. It seems to ignore the fact that Scripture wasn’t written by man, but rather through him. Which means that, while Scripture will employ human idioms, it will not actually be limited by human understanding or point of view.

    What’s more, how does it make sense to posit a human point of view in a scenario where there were no humans? It’s not like humans were around to witness the unveiling of this hypothetical “translucent atmosphere” that obscured the sun until the third “day-age”, so of what value was it for it to be written like that?

    That is to say, it makes sense to explain away apparent scientific inconsistencies from a human point of view when actual humans are there to, well, view things. The most common example being of the sun “rising” and “setting”. We still say those things — even those of us who know very well what the scientific truth is.

    But it makes no sense to attempt to explain away the sun’s apparent creation after plants already existed due to how things looked on an earth that contained no humans.

    Also, forgive me, but the “translucent atmosphere” bit reminds me too much of the famous YEC authors that you old-earthers revile so much. If we’re going to reject Bible-based speculation that is not found in the modern scientific consensus, let’s be consistent about it, shall we? Unless you want to point me to a non-Christian source that holds to this “translucent atmosphere” conjecture for reasons other than explaining Genesis.

    But there’s more. The day-age hypothesis still massively fails to explain the would-be chronological inconsistencies in Genesis from a scientific standpoint. How would even a human point of view explain away the Bible’s claim that fish and birds arrived on the same “day”, before land animals? Even that pretty chart you linked me to from Reasons admits that birds came well after many of the “creatures that move along the ground”.

    And I see nothing to explain the repeated phrase “and there was evening, and there was morning”, either. So no, I don’t find that a compelling hypothesis.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kevin (@266), hmm.

    Ross’ theory isn’t exactly compelling. It seems to ignore the fact that Scripture wasn’t written by man, but rather through him. Which means that, while Scripture will employ human idioms, it will not actually be limited by human understanding or point of view.

    What’s more, how does it make sense to posit a human point of view in a scenario where there were no humans? It’s not like humans were around to witness the unveiling of this hypothetical “translucent atmosphere” that obscured the sun until the third “day-age”, so of what value was it for it to be written like that?

    That is to say, it makes sense to explain away apparent scientific inconsistencies from a human point of view when actual humans are there to, well, view things. The most common example being of the sun “rising” and “setting”. We still say those things — even those of us who know very well what the scientific truth is.

    But it makes no sense to attempt to explain away the sun’s apparent creation after plants already existed due to how things looked on an earth that contained no humans.

    Also, forgive me, but the “translucent atmosphere” bit reminds me too much of the famous YEC authors that you old-earthers revile so much. If we’re going to reject Bible-based speculation that is not found in the modern scientific consensus, let’s be consistent about it, shall we? Unless you want to point me to a non-Christian source that holds to this “translucent atmosphere” conjecture for reasons other than explaining Genesis.

    But there’s more. The day-age hypothesis still massively fails to explain the would-be chronological inconsistencies in Genesis from a scientific standpoint. How would even a human point of view explain away the Bible’s claim that fish and birds arrived on the same “day”, before land animals? Even that pretty chart you linked me to from Reasons admits that birds came well after many of the “creatures that move along the ground”.

    And I see nothing to explain the repeated phrase “and there was evening, and there was morning”, either. So no, I don’t find that a compelling hypothesis.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Moreover, Kevin, you appear to be, in a literal sense, a fundamentalist.

    In your Geochristian article, you say:

    Old-Earth creationists, such as advocates of these various positions, accept all of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith: The Bible is God’s true revelation of himself, God is the creator of the universe and life, a real Adam, a real fall into sin, real consequences of that sin, and in the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross as the only answer to our sin problem. They may differ on the details, but acceptance of an old age for the universe is compatible with the Scriptures, and doesn’t lead to error in any core doctrines of the faith.

    In an earlier comment, you said (@83):

    I totally agree that the age of the Earth is a secondary matter compared to the core doctrines of the faith.

    (My emphases.)

    It’s not clear to me on what basis or authority you’ve outlined which doctrines are “core”, and which are “secondary”, given the fact that God apparently saw fit to communicate the lot of it to us.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Moreover, Kevin, you appear to be, in a literal sense, a fundamentalist.

    In your Geochristian article, you say:

    Old-Earth creationists, such as advocates of these various positions, accept all of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith: The Bible is God’s true revelation of himself, God is the creator of the universe and life, a real Adam, a real fall into sin, real consequences of that sin, and in the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross as the only answer to our sin problem. They may differ on the details, but acceptance of an old age for the universe is compatible with the Scriptures, and doesn’t lead to error in any core doctrines of the faith.

    In an earlier comment, you said (@83):

    I totally agree that the age of the Earth is a secondary matter compared to the core doctrines of the faith.

    (My emphases.)

    It’s not clear to me on what basis or authority you’ve outlined which doctrines are “core”, and which are “secondary”, given the fact that God apparently saw fit to communicate the lot of it to us.

  • kerner

    “Biblically, there is no reason to insist that the Ark ended up on the almost 17000 foot summit of Mount Ararat. The resting place could have been anywhere in this area, ranging from the foothills to higher elevations.”

    So, the ark comes to rest in the foothills of Ararat, on the 17th day of the 7th month, but it is not until the 1st day of the 10th month that the tops of the surrounding 17,000 foot mountains become visible? Can you explain the physics of that?

  • kerner

    “Biblically, there is no reason to insist that the Ark ended up on the almost 17000 foot summit of Mount Ararat. The resting place could have been anywhere in this area, ranging from the foothills to higher elevations.”

    So, the ark comes to rest in the foothills of Ararat, on the 17th day of the 7th month, but it is not until the 1st day of the 10th month that the tops of the surrounding 17,000 foot mountains become visible? Can you explain the physics of that?

  • kerner

    oops, that last was directed to Kevin.

  • kerner

    oops, that last was directed to Kevin.

  • Jon

    Also, let’s not forget that God wanted to wipe out all of mankind and everything that had the breath of life. Unless you can prove that mankind and animal life was localized only around Noah’s area, then a worldwide cateclism seems to be required. Oh, wait, the fossil record exists globally.

  • Jon

    Also, let’s not forget that God wanted to wipe out all of mankind and everything that had the breath of life. Unless you can prove that mankind and animal life was localized only around Noah’s area, then a worldwide cateclism seems to be required. Oh, wait, the fossil record exists globally.

  • Steve Drake

    @KevinN #257,
    Unfortunately Kevin, the age of the earth is not secondary in that it affects a whole suite of theological issues. It directly attacks the Word of God, God’s character, and His ability to communicate truth to us. If one understands the history of modern geology, where the idea of ‘deep time’ came from as it relates to the age of the earth and by who, and how the Church began to walk the precipitous road to compromise during this period in trying to shoehorn millions and billions of years into Genesis 1, then you will see it is of no little significance.

  • Steve Drake

    @KevinN #257,
    Unfortunately Kevin, the age of the earth is not secondary in that it affects a whole suite of theological issues. It directly attacks the Word of God, God’s character, and His ability to communicate truth to us. If one understands the history of modern geology, where the idea of ‘deep time’ came from as it relates to the age of the earth and by who, and how the Church began to walk the precipitous road to compromise during this period in trying to shoehorn millions and billions of years into Genesis 1, then you will see it is of no little significance.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    tODD:

    #270 — I said I wasn’t endorsing Ross or the day-age position, just explaining it as one possibility.

    #271 — I’m not sure what you are getting at with the label “fundamentalist.” By the original meaning, a fundamentalist was one who held to certain fundamentals, such as the inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ, and his atoning death. These were outlined in a series of booklets called “The Fundamentals.” Now the meaning of the word is something like a narrow-minded religious fanatic.

    My authority isn’t the Book of Concord, but it doesn’t address the age of the Earth or the extent of Noah’s flood, the issues we are talking about. What authority would you use to elevate these two issues up to the level of primary? They certainly are not up there with justification or the incarnation, unless you have been reading too much stuff from Answers in Genesis.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    tODD:

    #270 — I said I wasn’t endorsing Ross or the day-age position, just explaining it as one possibility.

    #271 — I’m not sure what you are getting at with the label “fundamentalist.” By the original meaning, a fundamentalist was one who held to certain fundamentals, such as the inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ, and his atoning death. These were outlined in a series of booklets called “The Fundamentals.” Now the meaning of the word is something like a narrow-minded religious fanatic.

    My authority isn’t the Book of Concord, but it doesn’t address the age of the Earth or the extent of Noah’s flood, the issues we are talking about. What authority would you use to elevate these two issues up to the level of primary? They certainly are not up there with justification or the incarnation, unless you have been reading too much stuff from Answers in Genesis.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    kerner (#272):

    Mount Ararat is not visible from most of the region of Ararat. Sort of like you cannot see Pike’s Peak from all of Colorado.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    kerner (#272):

    Mount Ararat is not visible from most of the region of Ararat. Sort of like you cannot see Pike’s Peak from all of Colorado.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Jon (#274):

    So “all” has to mean “all”? Are you with Dr. Luther in the 21st Century (comments #81, 85) in believing the Bible requires that Eskimos and Zulus came to Joseph to buy grain? (At least I think that is what he was saying).

    Some old-Earthers believe that all humans were killed by the flood, others take it as a figure of speech. I am undecided. The table of nations outling the descendents of Noah in Genesis 10 only lists nations in the eastern Mediterranean and Near East, which would indicate that these are all God had in mind. YECs may be stretching what the text itself says when they extend this to cover people in the Americas, east Asia, south Africa, and so forth.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Jon (#274):

    So “all” has to mean “all”? Are you with Dr. Luther in the 21st Century (comments #81, 85) in believing the Bible requires that Eskimos and Zulus came to Joseph to buy grain? (At least I think that is what he was saying).

    Some old-Earthers believe that all humans were killed by the flood, others take it as a figure of speech. I am undecided. The table of nations outling the descendents of Noah in Genesis 10 only lists nations in the eastern Mediterranean and Near East, which would indicate that these are all God had in mind. YECs may be stretching what the text itself says when they extend this to cover people in the Americas, east Asia, south Africa, and so forth.

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

    Some here seem to thing that the global availability of fossils is proof of a world wide flood. I’d just like to say that this is really faulty reasoning. I’m a rock hound and fossil collector, and someday i’d really like Klassie to come down and go on one of my expiditions through the West Desert, great basin, it would be great to pick his brain. But I have collected fossils in various different places, and not all fossils are the result of floods. In fact most incasing say dinasaurs seem to be the results of volcanic activity, earth quakes and other such disasters.
    I believe in a world wide flood, probably to the chagrin of Klassie, but I do. I think it is more or less a completely different issue than one related to the age of the earth though. I also tend to think the fossils we have can predate the flood, and can also post date the flood, others might be the result of the flood. They occur in many places where there is evidence of local catastrophes that may or may not have anything to do with a flood. Quite frankly, I don’t know that the world today looks anything like it did pre or post flood. It is what it is today, and evidence suggests it didn’t always look like this either.

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

    Some here seem to thing that the global availability of fossils is proof of a world wide flood. I’d just like to say that this is really faulty reasoning. I’m a rock hound and fossil collector, and someday i’d really like Klassie to come down and go on one of my expiditions through the West Desert, great basin, it would be great to pick his brain. But I have collected fossils in various different places, and not all fossils are the result of floods. In fact most incasing say dinasaurs seem to be the results of volcanic activity, earth quakes and other such disasters.
    I believe in a world wide flood, probably to the chagrin of Klassie, but I do. I think it is more or less a completely different issue than one related to the age of the earth though. I also tend to think the fossils we have can predate the flood, and can also post date the flood, others might be the result of the flood. They occur in many places where there is evidence of local catastrophes that may or may not have anything to do with a flood. Quite frankly, I don’t know that the world today looks anything like it did pre or post flood. It is what it is today, and evidence suggests it didn’t always look like this either.

  • Steve Drake

    Borther Bror,
    When one studies the fossil record, does it provide evidence for long ages of evolutionary development, or evidence for a catastrophic global and universal watery event as described in Scripture? Is fossil formation a slow process that takes long periods of time?

    The global, universal Flood of Noah is directly related to the age of the earth. Think about it just a minute, pastor. Why do you think old earth advocates argue against it so vociferously, despite the clear implications in both the Old and New Testaments that it was just such a global, universal judgment?

  • Steve Drake

    Borther Bror,
    When one studies the fossil record, does it provide evidence for long ages of evolutionary development, or evidence for a catastrophic global and universal watery event as described in Scripture? Is fossil formation a slow process that takes long periods of time?

    The global, universal Flood of Noah is directly related to the age of the earth. Think about it just a minute, pastor. Why do you think old earth advocates argue against it so vociferously, despite the clear implications in both the Old and New Testaments that it was just such a global, universal judgment?

  • kerner

    This is just me speculationg without whole lot of the facts, but it seems to me that a lot of the events bror talks about could have pre-dated a cataclysmic flood. Or that a great deal of the what is now North America could have already been under water when the flood occurred, but some seusmic event allowed the entire basin to drain or dry up afterward. The Caspian Sea is really an inland lake (it does not empty into an ocean) like Utah’s Salt Lake. Who knows when or how it was formed.

    Somewhere up this thread someone mentioned that scientists believe that there were numerous “Flood events” occurr fairly close together chronologically (yet they balk at the idea of one world wide flood). Scientists acknowlwdge the possibility that a large number of species were wiped out (and frequently frozen) at roughly the same time the Clovis colonies were wiped out.

    If rock dating is less exact than some of us here think, perhaps a case could be made that all that happened at the same time.

    I can imagine a lot of different scenarios, but at the moment, I’m forced to admit that “imagining is pretty much what I’m doing, because I don’t have the time right now and I’ve never had the training to collect all the data to determine what events would fit such a theory and which ones would not.

    Kevin@277

    Maybe, but still quite a stretch. I’m pretty sure that the high peaks of the Armenian plateay are visible from most places on the plateau.

    http://www.garanttour.am/en/page/about_armenia

    http://www.photosot.com/tag/armenia/

    http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0PDoYAr7wlP5xEAW5SJzbkF?p=armenia+mountains&fr=chr-hp-psg&ei=utf-8&n=30&x=wrt

  • kerner

    This is just me speculationg without whole lot of the facts, but it seems to me that a lot of the events bror talks about could have pre-dated a cataclysmic flood. Or that a great deal of the what is now North America could have already been under water when the flood occurred, but some seusmic event allowed the entire basin to drain or dry up afterward. The Caspian Sea is really an inland lake (it does not empty into an ocean) like Utah’s Salt Lake. Who knows when or how it was formed.

    Somewhere up this thread someone mentioned that scientists believe that there were numerous “Flood events” occurr fairly close together chronologically (yet they balk at the idea of one world wide flood). Scientists acknowlwdge the possibility that a large number of species were wiped out (and frequently frozen) at roughly the same time the Clovis colonies were wiped out.

    If rock dating is less exact than some of us here think, perhaps a case could be made that all that happened at the same time.

    I can imagine a lot of different scenarios, but at the moment, I’m forced to admit that “imagining is pretty much what I’m doing, because I don’t have the time right now and I’ve never had the training to collect all the data to determine what events would fit such a theory and which ones would not.

    Kevin@277

    Maybe, but still quite a stretch. I’m pretty sure that the high peaks of the Armenian plateay are visible from most places on the plateau.

    http://www.garanttour.am/en/page/about_armenia

    http://www.photosot.com/tag/armenia/

    http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0PDoYAr7wlP5xEAW5SJzbkF?p=armenia+mountains&fr=chr-hp-psg&ei=utf-8&n=30&x=wrt

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Steve Drake (#275):

    To consider the Earth to be old is not an attack on the Word of God, his character, or his ability to communicate.

    I believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. It says what he wants it to say, and does so truthfully.

    I’m not even sure what you are getting at when you say I’m attacking God’s character.

    God communicates clearly. That does not mean that all sections of Scripture are equally clear. It does not mean that we shouldn’t dig deeper into the Word. It doesn’t mean that we should not reconsider certain interpretations. What I have attempted to show is that there are Biblical reasons to question the standard YEC dogmas.

    I think I understand the history of geology pretty well, and how the concept of millions of years developed. It had nothing to do with biological evolution. To say that geologists came to the conclusion that the Earth is many millions of years old because of evolution or Darwin is like saying that Abraham Lincoln came to oppose slavery through listening to Martin Luther King. It just isn’t so.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Steve Drake (#275):

    To consider the Earth to be old is not an attack on the Word of God, his character, or his ability to communicate.

    I believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. It says what he wants it to say, and does so truthfully.

    I’m not even sure what you are getting at when you say I’m attacking God’s character.

    God communicates clearly. That does not mean that all sections of Scripture are equally clear. It does not mean that we shouldn’t dig deeper into the Word. It doesn’t mean that we should not reconsider certain interpretations. What I have attempted to show is that there are Biblical reasons to question the standard YEC dogmas.

    I think I understand the history of geology pretty well, and how the concept of millions of years developed. It had nothing to do with biological evolution. To say that geologists came to the conclusion that the Earth is many millions of years old because of evolution or Darwin is like saying that Abraham Lincoln came to oppose slavery through listening to Martin Luther King. It just isn’t so.

  • Apocryphon

    As the Gospel of John ends (21:25) – Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

    The Bible itself acknowledges that it does not claim to express about everything in the world, even the activities of Christ. Surely this must be an indication that while we hold that its contents to be true, there is no need to expect it to equally cover every single topic in creation? As such, I don’t really hold much esteem in trying to extract the age of the world by using Scripture. It seems awfully like Dispensationalism in reverse.

  • Apocryphon

    As the Gospel of John ends (21:25) – Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

    The Bible itself acknowledges that it does not claim to express about everything in the world, even the activities of Christ. Surely this must be an indication that while we hold that its contents to be true, there is no need to expect it to equally cover every single topic in creation? As such, I don’t really hold much esteem in trying to extract the age of the world by using Scripture. It seems awfully like Dispensationalism in reverse.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    “It seems awfully like Dispensationalism in reverse.”

    Quote of the century.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    “It seems awfully like Dispensationalism in reverse.”

    Quote of the century.

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

    Steve,
    My name means brother, so you need not address me as such, Bror is just fine. Quite frankly, I don,t know what the ” fossil record” records. I’m not even sure if there is such a thing. I see fossils, Nd the different locations in which they are found all record something different as far as I’m concerned. Someof them might be related to the flood, some are most definitely not. If you had read my comments you would see that I don’t think it, whatever it is, counts as evidence for either a massive flood, which I do believe in, or a young, or an old earth. It just is.

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

    Steve,
    My name means brother, so you need not address me as such, Bror is just fine. Quite frankly, I don,t know what the ” fossil record” records. I’m not even sure if there is such a thing. I see fossils, Nd the different locations in which they are found all record something different as far as I’m concerned. Someof them might be related to the flood, some are most definitely not. If you had read my comments you would see that I don’t think it, whatever it is, counts as evidence for either a massive flood, which I do believe in, or a young, or an old earth. It just is.

  • Steve Drake

    @KevinN #282,
    ‘I think I understand the history of geology pretty well, and how the concept of millions of years developed. It had nothing to do with biological evolution. To say that geologists came to the conclusion that the Earth is many millions of years old because of evolution or Darwin is like saying that Abraham Lincoln came to oppose slavery through listening to Martin Luther King.’

    I know it might seem easy to jump to conclusions and put words in my mouth, but read my #275 post again. It said nothing about biology, evolution or Darwin. I did not say that geologists came to the conclusion of millions of years because of evolution or Darwin. That might be something you’re saying, but if you are, it would be the wrong conclusion. The beginnings of modern geology and ‘deep time’ preceded Darwin. Darwin’s theory of evolution would not have gotten off the ground if he didn’t have the ‘deep time’ that secular geologists had already started to postulate and publish theories about. Evolution ‘needs’ this deep time for the theory to have any possibility of working; Darwin himself pushing the boundaries of deep time even further than the then geologists were willing to go.

    We need to be mindful of dates in history, Kevin. The Church stood on the belief of a young earth, young universe, not then even 6000 years old, for almost 18 centuries until the advent of modern geology and it’s notions of ‘deep time’. Yes, you can cite some church fathers who may have argued for allegorical views, and I can cite others who believed just as strongly in a 6-day creation and young earth literal translation, but the predominant and almost unanimous view of the Church until the advent of modern geology in the late 1700′s and early 1800′s was an earth not then even 6000 years old and a six-day creation. It was the Church’s acceptance and acquiescence(nee compromise) during the 1800′s that then led to the attempt of shoehorning millions and billions of year into Genesis 1 with such concepts as the Gap Theory, Day-Age Theory, Local Creation Theory, and Days of Revelation or Pictorial-Day Theory. Today we have the ‘literary framework view’, ‘analogical-day view’, and even a new one by W. Dembski that God’s time is not our time (End of Christianity: A Good God in an Evil World).

  • Steve Drake

    @KevinN #282,
    ‘I think I understand the history of geology pretty well, and how the concept of millions of years developed. It had nothing to do with biological evolution. To say that geologists came to the conclusion that the Earth is many millions of years old because of evolution or Darwin is like saying that Abraham Lincoln came to oppose slavery through listening to Martin Luther King.’

    I know it might seem easy to jump to conclusions and put words in my mouth, but read my #275 post again. It said nothing about biology, evolution or Darwin. I did not say that geologists came to the conclusion of millions of years because of evolution or Darwin. That might be something you’re saying, but if you are, it would be the wrong conclusion. The beginnings of modern geology and ‘deep time’ preceded Darwin. Darwin’s theory of evolution would not have gotten off the ground if he didn’t have the ‘deep time’ that secular geologists had already started to postulate and publish theories about. Evolution ‘needs’ this deep time for the theory to have any possibility of working; Darwin himself pushing the boundaries of deep time even further than the then geologists were willing to go.

    We need to be mindful of dates in history, Kevin. The Church stood on the belief of a young earth, young universe, not then even 6000 years old, for almost 18 centuries until the advent of modern geology and it’s notions of ‘deep time’. Yes, you can cite some church fathers who may have argued for allegorical views, and I can cite others who believed just as strongly in a 6-day creation and young earth literal translation, but the predominant and almost unanimous view of the Church until the advent of modern geology in the late 1700′s and early 1800′s was an earth not then even 6000 years old and a six-day creation. It was the Church’s acceptance and acquiescence(nee compromise) during the 1800′s that then led to the attempt of shoehorning millions and billions of year into Genesis 1 with such concepts as the Gap Theory, Day-Age Theory, Local Creation Theory, and Days of Revelation or Pictorial-Day Theory. Today we have the ‘literary framework view’, ‘analogical-day view’, and even a new one by W. Dembski that God’s time is not our time (End of Christianity: A Good God in an Evil World).

  • Steve Drake

    Bror@#285,
    ‘Someof them might be related to the flood, some are most definitely not.’

    No one is saying that every single fossil that has been found or will ever be found was laid down by Noah’s global, universal Flood. The vast majority of them were however. The fact that we have fossils in deposits of rocks on both a regional and continental scale speak starkly of the global, universal judgment of death by God in Gen. 6-9.

    ‘If you had read my comments you would see that I don’t think it, whatever it is, counts as evidence for either a massive flood, which I do believe in, or a young, or an old earth. It just is.’

    So what is ‘it’, then? The reason old earth advocates vociferously deny the global Flood of Noah is that it washes away the millions of years and thus by definition an old earth. They postulate a local flood to hang on to an old earth. Do you see the connection? I will assure you that most old earth advocates do.

  • Steve Drake

    Bror@#285,
    ‘Someof them might be related to the flood, some are most definitely not.’

    No one is saying that every single fossil that has been found or will ever be found was laid down by Noah’s global, universal Flood. The vast majority of them were however. The fact that we have fossils in deposits of rocks on both a regional and continental scale speak starkly of the global, universal judgment of death by God in Gen. 6-9.

    ‘If you had read my comments you would see that I don’t think it, whatever it is, counts as evidence for either a massive flood, which I do believe in, or a young, or an old earth. It just is.’

    So what is ‘it’, then? The reason old earth advocates vociferously deny the global Flood of Noah is that it washes away the millions of years and thus by definition an old earth. They postulate a local flood to hang on to an old earth. Do you see the connection? I will assure you that most old earth advocates do.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve:

    Since you persist in emphatic statments, how about this: If a person takes all the available water on the surface of the earth, and “stir-in” all the sediments of all the sedimentary successions (ignoring volcanic, magmatic and metmaorphic rocks), you get mud. No fish or aquatic animal could survive.

    Here where I sit, about 1km down, we find the Prairie evaporite units, rich, potash layers within Devonian carbonate sequences. These formed, as the term “evaporite” suggests, when a salt-rich inland sea dried-up. The sea itself was tropical, andwas the origin for the carboinate platform. The evaporties are found at the very top of the carbonate platform. Carbonate rocks, like this, form in clear tropical waters – today, you can go and see it happen, right before your eyes, in the Bahamas.

    In South Africa, where I learnt my trade, we find a much older Carbonate platform within the Transvaal Supergroup (up to 15km thick). It contains a very thick Carbonate sequence, complete with those primiteve algal trace fossils I mentioned earlier, stromatolites. Evidence of clear, quiet, tropical water. Lower down the stratigrapgy, we find a sequence rich in volcanic rocks, the Ventersdorp Supergroup. Even below that, a very thick sedimentary sequence (8km – it has been tilted at a high angle), the Witwatersrand supergroup, world famous for its Gold . It consists of fluvial (derived from rivers) sediments, and alluvial fans (such as when a river suddenly exists a mountain onto a dry plain, Bror would know about those). The sediments itself come from a source we are not 100% sure about. Still older than that are the basement rocks and greenstone belts, the latter being complicated successions of sediments and volcanic rocks, often subaqueous (ie from under the sea) – forming pillow lava’s. Modern-day equivalents would be Island arc’s like Indonesia or New Caledonia or that region. After the Transvaal Supergroup we had other sedimentary dpositions – and then the intrusion of a massive, Intrusive magmatic complex, the Bushveld Igneous Complex, today containing the world’s richest Platinum and Palladium mines.

    Still later (and I’m skliipping some major sedimentary sequences here), we had massive events, such as the Dwyka glaciation, which kicks off the beginning of the Karoo Sediments – a package of sediments 12 km thick, which was deposited from the late Carboiferous to the early Jurassic, and show a progression from glacial, to marine to terrestrial (fluvial) and eventually aeolian (desert) sedimentation. It is capped of by a 1.2km thich flood basalt, which poored out over the land surface…..

    Yet that was not the end…. Still more sedimentation and events followed. We had multiple vlovacine events, like the famed kimberlites that punched their way through and formed maar-diatreme volcanoes, some of which bringing dimaonds with them. These happened on dry land, and happened periodically. We can date them, not only absolutely, but also relatively, since we can see which sediments cover them, which rocks where included as xenoliths (foreign pieces) in them, etc.

    Lastly, we had the Kalahari succession, recent sediments covering large parts of the Souther African interior.

    You see, With very clear, very unambigious evidence for very different kinds of depositional environments (rivers, marine – especially the clear, tropical, idyllic kind, deserts, volcanoes, flood basalts etc.), there is no way you can fit a short-term cataclysmic flood in. Nevermind how the radiometric results fit in with the successions. And the fossil record as well. (A short word about the latter. In Africa for instance – we find those extremely primitive fossils in the Transvaal SG, early-dinosaurs in the Karoo, etc etc. – it absolutely fits in. A global flood would have left a mangled mess. That is most emphatically NOT what the evidence is. Same with radiometric dating. We would constantly be finding super young ages in archean rocks. We do not. I know – see my short post earlier at #112).

    The fact is that if one wants to postulate a global flood, one absolutely have to stick your head into the sand with respect to the majority of the evidence out there. That is dishonest, and I cannot bring myself to do it.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve:

    Since you persist in emphatic statments, how about this: If a person takes all the available water on the surface of the earth, and “stir-in” all the sediments of all the sedimentary successions (ignoring volcanic, magmatic and metmaorphic rocks), you get mud. No fish or aquatic animal could survive.

    Here where I sit, about 1km down, we find the Prairie evaporite units, rich, potash layers within Devonian carbonate sequences. These formed, as the term “evaporite” suggests, when a salt-rich inland sea dried-up. The sea itself was tropical, andwas the origin for the carboinate platform. The evaporties are found at the very top of the carbonate platform. Carbonate rocks, like this, form in clear tropical waters – today, you can go and see it happen, right before your eyes, in the Bahamas.

    In South Africa, where I learnt my trade, we find a much older Carbonate platform within the Transvaal Supergroup (up to 15km thick). It contains a very thick Carbonate sequence, complete with those primiteve algal trace fossils I mentioned earlier, stromatolites. Evidence of clear, quiet, tropical water. Lower down the stratigrapgy, we find a sequence rich in volcanic rocks, the Ventersdorp Supergroup. Even below that, a very thick sedimentary sequence (8km – it has been tilted at a high angle), the Witwatersrand supergroup, world famous for its Gold . It consists of fluvial (derived from rivers) sediments, and alluvial fans (such as when a river suddenly exists a mountain onto a dry plain, Bror would know about those). The sediments itself come from a source we are not 100% sure about. Still older than that are the basement rocks and greenstone belts, the latter being complicated successions of sediments and volcanic rocks, often subaqueous (ie from under the sea) – forming pillow lava’s. Modern-day equivalents would be Island arc’s like Indonesia or New Caledonia or that region. After the Transvaal Supergroup we had other sedimentary dpositions – and then the intrusion of a massive, Intrusive magmatic complex, the Bushveld Igneous Complex, today containing the world’s richest Platinum and Palladium mines.

    Still later (and I’m skliipping some major sedimentary sequences here), we had massive events, such as the Dwyka glaciation, which kicks off the beginning of the Karoo Sediments – a package of sediments 12 km thick, which was deposited from the late Carboiferous to the early Jurassic, and show a progression from glacial, to marine to terrestrial (fluvial) and eventually aeolian (desert) sedimentation. It is capped of by a 1.2km thich flood basalt, which poored out over the land surface…..

    Yet that was not the end…. Still more sedimentation and events followed. We had multiple vlovacine events, like the famed kimberlites that punched their way through and formed maar-diatreme volcanoes, some of which bringing dimaonds with them. These happened on dry land, and happened periodically. We can date them, not only absolutely, but also relatively, since we can see which sediments cover them, which rocks where included as xenoliths (foreign pieces) in them, etc.

    Lastly, we had the Kalahari succession, recent sediments covering large parts of the Souther African interior.

    You see, With very clear, very unambigious evidence for very different kinds of depositional environments (rivers, marine – especially the clear, tropical, idyllic kind, deserts, volcanoes, flood basalts etc.), there is no way you can fit a short-term cataclysmic flood in. Nevermind how the radiometric results fit in with the successions. And the fossil record as well. (A short word about the latter. In Africa for instance – we find those extremely primitive fossils in the Transvaal SG, early-dinosaurs in the Karoo, etc etc. – it absolutely fits in. A global flood would have left a mangled mess. That is most emphatically NOT what the evidence is. Same with radiometric dating. We would constantly be finding super young ages in archean rocks. We do not. I know – see my short post earlier at #112).

    The fact is that if one wants to postulate a global flood, one absolutely have to stick your head into the sand with respect to the majority of the evidence out there. That is dishonest, and I cannot bring myself to do it.

  • fws

    klassie @ 288

    “That is dishonest, and I cannot bring myself to do it.”

    That is the mark of a christian full of faith and trust in his dear Lord Jesus and in the resurrection Klassie. The truth does not threaten God or our Lutheran and christian faith. how could it?

    But to not be honest about this could very well turn someone away from that one Truth that they desperately need.

    And we are to trust in the Truth and know that it is his job to sort it all out at the end of the age.

    You have had an interesting journey eh? Mine was similar , but along a different route….

    Bless you dear friend.

  • fws

    klassie @ 288

    “That is dishonest, and I cannot bring myself to do it.”

    That is the mark of a christian full of faith and trust in his dear Lord Jesus and in the resurrection Klassie. The truth does not threaten God or our Lutheran and christian faith. how could it?

    But to not be honest about this could very well turn someone away from that one Truth that they desperately need.

    And we are to trust in the Truth and know that it is his job to sort it all out at the end of the age.

    You have had an interesting journey eh? Mine was similar , but along a different route….

    Bless you dear friend.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    I know Frank. You realise that I just changed my pseudonym, do you? :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    I know Frank. You realise that I just changed my pseudonym, do you? :)

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#288,
    And where within these nice, impressive observations, Klasie, do you speak to age? I’m not sure I see any evidence within all that you wrote about Prairie evaporites, the Transvaal Supergroup, Bushveld Igneous Complex, Karoo sediments, and Kalahari Succession that you speak to how you ‘know’ that these are millions or billions of years old. Where is your evidence for ‘age’? How do you know that you know? Where is the ‘evidence’ for ‘age’?

    You have a nice list of geological observations; sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rock formations, but nowhere do you speak to how ‘age’ is determined. How do you ‘know’ anything about the rock formations in terms of absolute age in years, in the same way that you and I know how old we are in terms of years?

    You deny the global, universal Flood of Noah in contradistinction to the clear testimony in both the Old and New Testaments, yet demand that we accept your premise for an old earth without clearly defining the presuppositional basis for how you ‘know’ it took millions and billions of years in the first place?

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#288,
    And where within these nice, impressive observations, Klasie, do you speak to age? I’m not sure I see any evidence within all that you wrote about Prairie evaporites, the Transvaal Supergroup, Bushveld Igneous Complex, Karoo sediments, and Kalahari Succession that you speak to how you ‘know’ that these are millions or billions of years old. Where is your evidence for ‘age’? How do you know that you know? Where is the ‘evidence’ for ‘age’?

    You have a nice list of geological observations; sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rock formations, but nowhere do you speak to how ‘age’ is determined. How do you ‘know’ anything about the rock formations in terms of absolute age in years, in the same way that you and I know how old we are in terms of years?

    You deny the global, universal Flood of Noah in contradistinction to the clear testimony in both the Old and New Testaments, yet demand that we accept your premise for an old earth without clearly defining the presuppositional basis for how you ‘know’ it took millions and billions of years in the first place?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Nice way to circumvent the evidence, Steve. I presented the evidence, showing that one cannot fit it into a Noahic flood model. You choose to ignore that clear fact completely, instead ranting about “knowing about billions of years” etc. Please respond to the evidence, namely that the eivdence is clear that there could not have been a worldwide flood. After your response, then I will address the age question.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Nice way to circumvent the evidence, Steve. I presented the evidence, showing that one cannot fit it into a Noahic flood model. You choose to ignore that clear fact completely, instead ranting about “knowing about billions of years” etc. Please respond to the evidence, namely that the eivdence is clear that there could not have been a worldwide flood. After your response, then I will address the age question.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    BTW – you keep on saying that I contradict the OT & NT, after i had clearly said that it is NOT a matter of contradiction, but a matter of (overt) literalism vs non-(overt) literalism. Of how you read the text, not of ignoring the text. Please be so kind as to give as to at least acknowledge that.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    BTW – you keep on saying that I contradict the OT & NT, after i had clearly said that it is NOT a matter of contradiction, but a matter of (overt) literalism vs non-(overt) literalism. Of how you read the text, not of ignoring the text. Please be so kind as to give as to at least acknowledge that.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    For those still reading this, here is a very interesting blog reference on reading Genesis 1 – 3: http://questioninganswersingenesis.blogspot.com/2011/11/on-reading-genesis-as-literature.html#comment-form

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    For those still reading this, here is a very interesting blog reference on reading Genesis 1 – 3: http://questioninganswersingenesis.blogspot.com/2011/11/on-reading-genesis-as-literature.html#comment-form

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#292&293,
    Nice way to deflect my question about ‘age’ Klasie. The evidence is clear that there ‘was’ a worldwide flood, your denials to the contrary. God’s Word preempts your ‘supposed’ scientific understanding. It is sola scriptura, not scriptura sub scientia. Answer the question about ‘age’, how it is determined, and maybe we can continue.

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#292&293,
    Nice way to deflect my question about ‘age’ Klasie. The evidence is clear that there ‘was’ a worldwide flood, your denials to the contrary. God’s Word preempts your ‘supposed’ scientific understanding. It is sola scriptura, not scriptura sub scientia. Answer the question about ‘age’, how it is determined, and maybe we can continue.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    This IS fun. I give the evidence, Steve asserts the contrary, CONTRA the evidence, without ANY evidence, throws in an insult, and then demands an answer to HIS question, which he asked after I asked mine.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is how Christian Young Earth Creationists typically act. They cannot argue, therefore they deflect, insult, and change the subject.

    QED.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    This IS fun. I give the evidence, Steve asserts the contrary, CONTRA the evidence, without ANY evidence, throws in an insult, and then demands an answer to HIS question, which he asked after I asked mine.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is how Christian Young Earth Creationists typically act. They cannot argue, therefore they deflect, insult, and change the subject.

    QED.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    As to your question in #295: Radiometric dating – which even ICR have admitted is flawless, bar some ad hoc change of the laws of physics, which would have fried the earth, because of the heat release (radio active decay – release of heat), is the main source – different methods, different minerals etc etc. But I mentioned this earlier the thread, and you obviously didn’t believe it then.

    But also sedimentation rates, as per style of sedimentation, as per my comments earlier in #288 – but I doubt you will believe that either.

    BTW, what I’m saying in #288 is that even not considering absolute ages (as in radiometric ages), the data still doesn’t say what you want it to say. Explain that.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    As to your question in #295: Radiometric dating – which even ICR have admitted is flawless, bar some ad hoc change of the laws of physics, which would have fried the earth, because of the heat release (radio active decay – release of heat), is the main source – different methods, different minerals etc etc. But I mentioned this earlier the thread, and you obviously didn’t believe it then.

    But also sedimentation rates, as per style of sedimentation, as per my comments earlier in #288 – but I doubt you will believe that either.

    BTW, what I’m saying in #288 is that even not considering absolute ages (as in radiometric ages), the data still doesn’t say what you want it to say. Explain that.

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#296,
    This “is” fun, yet it’s as fun as the ambulance ride to the hospital when you’re having a heart attack. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how old earth advocates deny and twist Scripture to fit their old earth paradigm. You’ll notice that Klasie has now backed himself into a corner, avoiding the ‘age’ determination question and impugns me and all those others on this thread who have taken a contrary view to his on the age of the earth. They cannot back up their claims with Scripture, which as Christians, we should of an a priori necessity begin.

    See, Klasie, how easy that was? You’re acting like an adolescent teenager, with a ‘niener, niener, niener’ approach. Address how ‘the dating game’ was devised, Klasie, how ‘age’ is determined, otherwise I think I’ll move on.

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#296,
    This “is” fun, yet it’s as fun as the ambulance ride to the hospital when you’re having a heart attack. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how old earth advocates deny and twist Scripture to fit their old earth paradigm. You’ll notice that Klasie has now backed himself into a corner, avoiding the ‘age’ determination question and impugns me and all those others on this thread who have taken a contrary view to his on the age of the earth. They cannot back up their claims with Scripture, which as Christians, we should of an a priori necessity begin.

    See, Klasie, how easy that was? You’re acting like an adolescent teenager, with a ‘niener, niener, niener’ approach. Address how ‘the dating game’ was devised, Klasie, how ‘age’ is determined, otherwise I think I’ll move on.

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#297,
    Are radiometric dating and sedimentation rates your only determinators for ‘absolute’ age? Just want to make sure I allow you to rethink this a bit if you need to.

    Also, what is it in your post#288 that you wish to use as an ‘absolute’ age determinator?

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#297,
    Are radiometric dating and sedimentation rates your only determinators for ‘absolute’ age? Just want to make sure I allow you to rethink this a bit if you need to.

    Also, what is it in your post#288 that you wish to use as an ‘absolute’ age determinator?

  • Jon

    To say that ICR accepts the radiometric dating results is a bit of a stretch, isn’t it? I just did a quick search on K-Ar dating and ICR’s article laying out their problems with it was one of the first to come up. I mean, unless you have something from them saying that they now accept the radiometric dates, when such an admission would pretty much put them out of business.

    I think they would probably say they don’t dispute the science/mechanics behind the parent-daughter concentrations being measured and the basic decay rate, no more than a person could dispute the findings of a breathylizer test.

    However, I think the reasonable doubt in radiomtric dating comes into play like the accused drink-driver, that either the rock or the surrounding earth “belched” during the test and threw off the result, or whether it didn’t exactly metabolize at the expected rate of most rocks. But in the breathylzer case, most holes are poked on cross-examination, when you get the cop to admit that he wasn’t there to observe that part of the test and doesn’t know if this accused has a different alcohol processing rate; all he can say is that he calibrated the breathalyzer machine and that it was functioning normally, and he read the result of the BAC. Like Kerner said, you get reasonable doubt from what the evidence doesn’t say.

    So, now the cop may have to resort to other subjective observation tests to bolster the result, like HGN test, and other indicators that are subjective, and then you get into just how slurred was his speech? Did he stumble a lot or a little? Was it cold outside that night? Do you know how long he had been awake that day or if he was taking amy medications? Which stuff is kind of analogous to a geologist’s interpretations about where the rock was found, how far down the column it was, what it was found with, and so on, in order to adjust or confirm the date.

    That’s why I think your CCTV analogy was a bit over the top, too. When, it’s more like a police lineup, or a sketch artist’s composite rendering of the accused perpetrator, some subjectivity needed to fill in the resolution on that fuzzy CCTV.

  • Jon

    To say that ICR accepts the radiometric dating results is a bit of a stretch, isn’t it? I just did a quick search on K-Ar dating and ICR’s article laying out their problems with it was one of the first to come up. I mean, unless you have something from them saying that they now accept the radiometric dates, when such an admission would pretty much put them out of business.

    I think they would probably say they don’t dispute the science/mechanics behind the parent-daughter concentrations being measured and the basic decay rate, no more than a person could dispute the findings of a breathylizer test.

    However, I think the reasonable doubt in radiomtric dating comes into play like the accused drink-driver, that either the rock or the surrounding earth “belched” during the test and threw off the result, or whether it didn’t exactly metabolize at the expected rate of most rocks. But in the breathylzer case, most holes are poked on cross-examination, when you get the cop to admit that he wasn’t there to observe that part of the test and doesn’t know if this accused has a different alcohol processing rate; all he can say is that he calibrated the breathalyzer machine and that it was functioning normally, and he read the result of the BAC. Like Kerner said, you get reasonable doubt from what the evidence doesn’t say.

    So, now the cop may have to resort to other subjective observation tests to bolster the result, like HGN test, and other indicators that are subjective, and then you get into just how slurred was his speech? Did he stumble a lot or a little? Was it cold outside that night? Do you know how long he had been awake that day or if he was taking amy medications? Which stuff is kind of analogous to a geologist’s interpretations about where the rock was found, how far down the column it was, what it was found with, and so on, in order to adjust or confirm the date.

    That’s why I think your CCTV analogy was a bit over the top, too. When, it’s more like a police lineup, or a sketch artist’s composite rendering of the accused perpetrator, some subjectivity needed to fill in the resolution on that fuzzy CCTV.

  • Joanne

    The question is not how old the earth is, but when did God create it and how.

    Then the question is how do we know when and how God created the cosmos. The Lutheran answer is, of course, the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures.

    Then the issue becomes hermeneutical — how do we understand the Scriptures.

    When someone says a text from the Bible is allegorical and another says that the same text is a simple statement of historical fact, we apply the rules of hermeneutics to determine which is the proper approach to the text.

    I could say that the central Lutheran hermeneutic is that Scripture interprets Scripture. And, that the default position is that the simplest, statement of fact is where we start. One accepts the obvious, clear statement if there is one. One does not seek allegory unless Scripture itself indicates the need for a non-literal approach.

    When Scripture indicates the need for an allegorical approach it mentions that the one recounting is having dreams and visions. Then we know, not literal. Think Eziekel, Daniel, the Revelation of John. Scripture clearly indicates when we shift gears from literal to poetic or prophetic imagery.

    So, the hermenical default on the creation account is literal unless Scripture (not human systems of reason) indicates it. If the substantially established scientific evidence is the reason for choosing allegory over literal, that breaks our first rule of biblical interpretation. The pertinent question is, what does Scripture need or indicate.

    The age of the earth has nothing to do with it.

  • Joanne

    The question is not how old the earth is, but when did God create it and how.

    Then the question is how do we know when and how God created the cosmos. The Lutheran answer is, of course, the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures.

    Then the issue becomes hermeneutical — how do we understand the Scriptures.

    When someone says a text from the Bible is allegorical and another says that the same text is a simple statement of historical fact, we apply the rules of hermeneutics to determine which is the proper approach to the text.

    I could say that the central Lutheran hermeneutic is that Scripture interprets Scripture. And, that the default position is that the simplest, statement of fact is where we start. One accepts the obvious, clear statement if there is one. One does not seek allegory unless Scripture itself indicates the need for a non-literal approach.

    When Scripture indicates the need for an allegorical approach it mentions that the one recounting is having dreams and visions. Then we know, not literal. Think Eziekel, Daniel, the Revelation of John. Scripture clearly indicates when we shift gears from literal to poetic or prophetic imagery.

    So, the hermenical default on the creation account is literal unless Scripture (not human systems of reason) indicates it. If the substantially established scientific evidence is the reason for choosing allegory over literal, that breaks our first rule of biblical interpretation. The pertinent question is, what does Scripture need or indicate.

    The age of the earth has nothing to do with it.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Steve (#291) asks how Klasie knows that these rocks are millions of years old. This is the kind of argument that will lead nowhere. Steve, being that the Bible doesn’t say anything about the formation of sedimentary strata, how do you know that these rocks were produced by the Flood? Or going a step further, how do you know that George Washington was the first president of the United States? This sort of thinking will quickly take one to postmodernism.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Steve (#291) asks how Klasie knows that these rocks are millions of years old. This is the kind of argument that will lead nowhere. Steve, being that the Bible doesn’t say anything about the formation of sedimentary strata, how do you know that these rocks were produced by the Flood? Or going a step further, how do you know that George Washington was the first president of the United States? This sort of thinking will quickly take one to postmodernism.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Like Klasie, I was a YEC at one time. Because I take the Scriptures seriously, I did not abandon YEC in the face of overwhelming geological evidence until I took the time to look closer at what the Bible actually says and doesn’t say about creation and the flood. In most of my comments I have written about what the Bible says, not about what geology says. This is because I still place a priority on the Bible; it is not scriptura sub scientia as Steve Drake (#295) accuses us of.

    There are three Biblical “pillars” of young-Earth creationism: a young Earth, a global flood, and no death before the fall. If one looks closely at what the Bible actually says and doesn’t say, each of these turns out to be somewhat ambiguous rather than the my-way-or-the-highway approach that many YECs take.

    1. Young Earth — Back to my questions in comment #63: What is the relationship between Gen 1:1 and the rest of the passage? What is the relationship between Gen 1 and Gen 2? What is a “day” to God? What is a day without the sun? Scholars were not even thinking about these questions until they were forced to. This helps to explain why no one gave much thought to the age of the Earth before the 18th century.

    2. Global Flood — Again, ambiguity. How does one translate certain words in the passage? Is “all the Earth” figurative (like in most places in the Bible) or literal? The Bible does not say.

    3. No death before the fall — Where does the Bible teach that animals did not die before the fall? It quite simply doesn’t.

    If the Bible is ambiguous on these issues, why should we be dogmatic one way or the other? Or if the Bible is ambiguous, why can’t we use external evidence to help us figure it out?

    And where is the “compromise” that we are accused of? God is Creator, humans are uniquely made in his image, Adam still sinned, we are still under the condemnation of death (physical, and more significantly, spiritual), and Christ, the incarnate Word of God, is still savior.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Like Klasie, I was a YEC at one time. Because I take the Scriptures seriously, I did not abandon YEC in the face of overwhelming geological evidence until I took the time to look closer at what the Bible actually says and doesn’t say about creation and the flood. In most of my comments I have written about what the Bible says, not about what geology says. This is because I still place a priority on the Bible; it is not scriptura sub scientia as Steve Drake (#295) accuses us of.

    There are three Biblical “pillars” of young-Earth creationism: a young Earth, a global flood, and no death before the fall. If one looks closely at what the Bible actually says and doesn’t say, each of these turns out to be somewhat ambiguous rather than the my-way-or-the-highway approach that many YECs take.

    1. Young Earth — Back to my questions in comment #63: What is the relationship between Gen 1:1 and the rest of the passage? What is the relationship between Gen 1 and Gen 2? What is a “day” to God? What is a day without the sun? Scholars were not even thinking about these questions until they were forced to. This helps to explain why no one gave much thought to the age of the Earth before the 18th century.

    2. Global Flood — Again, ambiguity. How does one translate certain words in the passage? Is “all the Earth” figurative (like in most places in the Bible) or literal? The Bible does not say.

    3. No death before the fall — Where does the Bible teach that animals did not die before the fall? It quite simply doesn’t.

    If the Bible is ambiguous on these issues, why should we be dogmatic one way or the other? Or if the Bible is ambiguous, why can’t we use external evidence to help us figure it out?

    And where is the “compromise” that we are accused of? God is Creator, humans are uniquely made in his image, Adam still sinned, we are still under the condemnation of death (physical, and more significantly, spiritual), and Christ, the incarnate Word of God, is still savior.

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

    Kevin N,
    Not that I don’t think you have somewhat of a point here. but really, it is not Steve Drakes thinking that brings one to Post Modernism. Actually quite the contrary it is the belief that evolution is some how true that has brought about the greatest epistemological problem of the twentieth, and possibly the 21st century which has resulted in postmodernism, because if evolution is true, logic goes out the window. As Ludwig Boltzman the Austrian Physicist says concerning how the theory of evolution effects logic “What then will be the position of the so-called laws of thought in logic? Well, in the light of Darwin’s theory they will be nothing else but inherited habits of thought.” Quoted from “What Darwin Got Wrong” And so you go round and round. If Darwins theory is true, you can’t know that anything is true, including Darwin’s theory…

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

    Kevin N,
    Not that I don’t think you have somewhat of a point here. but really, it is not Steve Drakes thinking that brings one to Post Modernism. Actually quite the contrary it is the belief that evolution is some how true that has brought about the greatest epistemological problem of the twentieth, and possibly the 21st century which has resulted in postmodernism, because if evolution is true, logic goes out the window. As Ludwig Boltzman the Austrian Physicist says concerning how the theory of evolution effects logic “What then will be the position of the so-called laws of thought in logic? Well, in the light of Darwin’s theory they will be nothing else but inherited habits of thought.” Quoted from “What Darwin Got Wrong” And so you go round and round. If Darwins theory is true, you can’t know that anything is true, including Darwin’s theory…

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    A few more thoughts:

    Geologists do not believe the Earth is old because of radiometric dating, which was not used until the early 20th century. Radiometric dating merely gives us a way to pin down some dates.

    Through their RATE study, ICR concluded that for the most part the science behind radiometric dating is sound. As Kasie has stated, what they now state is that during the flood the rates of decay were dramatically accelerated (just like the Bible says!). I’m not sure how the rates of very different processes—alpha, beta, positron, electron capture, spontaneous fission—all changed at the same rate to keep most radiometric dates in good agreement with each other. Nor am I sure why the flood waters didn’t evaporate as the crust melted. I guess these are minor issues to the YECs.

    Geologists came to the conclusion that Earth is old because of the extreme complexity of the rock record, represented by a variety of rock types (sedimentary, volcanic, magmatic, metamorphic), depositional environments (deep marine, shallow marine, near shoreline, shoreline, lagoonal, delta, river, alluvial fan, glacial, salt flat, desert sand, etc.), and the features contained in rocks from those environments (ancient soils, root casts, footprints and other traces of life, delicate fossils, mudcracks, ripple marks, etc.).

    I see the idea that Earth is billions of years old as no more of a problem Biblically than heliocentrism or atomic bonding theory.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    A few more thoughts:

    Geologists do not believe the Earth is old because of radiometric dating, which was not used until the early 20th century. Radiometric dating merely gives us a way to pin down some dates.

    Through their RATE study, ICR concluded that for the most part the science behind radiometric dating is sound. As Kasie has stated, what they now state is that during the flood the rates of decay were dramatically accelerated (just like the Bible says!). I’m not sure how the rates of very different processes—alpha, beta, positron, electron capture, spontaneous fission—all changed at the same rate to keep most radiometric dates in good agreement with each other. Nor am I sure why the flood waters didn’t evaporate as the crust melted. I guess these are minor issues to the YECs.

    Geologists came to the conclusion that Earth is old because of the extreme complexity of the rock record, represented by a variety of rock types (sedimentary, volcanic, magmatic, metamorphic), depositional environments (deep marine, shallow marine, near shoreline, shoreline, lagoonal, delta, river, alluvial fan, glacial, salt flat, desert sand, etc.), and the features contained in rocks from those environments (ancient soils, root casts, footprints and other traces of life, delicate fossils, mudcracks, ripple marks, etc.).

    I see the idea that Earth is billions of years old as no more of a problem Biblically than heliocentrism or atomic bonding theory.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Bror (#304):

    I don’t know to what degree biological evolution is “true.” I see a lot of obstacles in the way of a “natural” origin to life. I see gaps in the fossil record at the higher levels of taxonomy, i.e. phyla.

    At the same time, the Bible doesn’t place a limit on biological change; Genesis 1 does not present “kinds” as taxonomic units, and to say that “reproducing after one’s kind” means that the kinds cannot vary over time is reading a lot into the text. So if there are problems with biological evolution, they are scientific problems, not Biblical ones.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Bror (#304):

    I don’t know to what degree biological evolution is “true.” I see a lot of obstacles in the way of a “natural” origin to life. I see gaps in the fossil record at the higher levels of taxonomy, i.e. phyla.

    At the same time, the Bible doesn’t place a limit on biological change; Genesis 1 does not present “kinds” as taxonomic units, and to say that “reproducing after one’s kind” means that the kinds cannot vary over time is reading a lot into the text. So if there are problems with biological evolution, they are scientific problems, not Biblical ones.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jon, as to ICR and the K-Ar dating test, I think you should read the following examination thereof: http://questioninganswersingenesis.blogspot.com/2011/01/has-answers-in-genesis-debunked-k-ar.html

    Bit if a different light, I would say.

    Also, as someone with a background in Ar-Ar dating I would like to emphasise that K-Ar dating as rarely used nowadays, because of some inherent difficulties, Ar-ar being more reliable / easy. But when geochronologists determine ages, they do not simply take the first age that comes along – not at all. First one tries for unaltered minerals, from unaltered rock samples. Then repeatable results from the same mineral grain (intra-grain repeatability), where possible, inter grain repeatability, and inter sample repeatability. Lastly, if there is agreement between different studies, using different dating methods, the degree of reliability rises further. What I’m trying to say – it takes a long time for the geochronology of a deposit / area to be sorted out, and to be generally accepted as such. Even then, new studies are constantly done.

    It is not the “cowboy” science YEC’ists want you to believe…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jon, as to ICR and the K-Ar dating test, I think you should read the following examination thereof: http://questioninganswersingenesis.blogspot.com/2011/01/has-answers-in-genesis-debunked-k-ar.html

    Bit if a different light, I would say.

    Also, as someone with a background in Ar-Ar dating I would like to emphasise that K-Ar dating as rarely used nowadays, because of some inherent difficulties, Ar-ar being more reliable / easy. But when geochronologists determine ages, they do not simply take the first age that comes along – not at all. First one tries for unaltered minerals, from unaltered rock samples. Then repeatable results from the same mineral grain (intra-grain repeatability), where possible, inter grain repeatability, and inter sample repeatability. Lastly, if there is agreement between different studies, using different dating methods, the degree of reliability rises further. What I’m trying to say – it takes a long time for the geochronology of a deposit / area to be sorted out, and to be generally accepted as such. Even then, new studies are constantly done.

    It is not the “cowboy” science YEC’ists want you to believe…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Actually, Kevin in #302 touches on something else that this thread highlighted for me more than ever before: How most of the opposition to an old age for the earth etc etc, devolves to either denialism (of the obvious evidence, as in YEC), or in sophism / postmodernism.

    Because how many times in this thread have I recounted evidence, sometimes km’s of it, and all I seem to hear is “lalalalalala” and then some other irrelevancy, because they cannot answer it, and therefore ignore it.

    Or, arguments that in the final analyis boil down to a denial of knowledge / rationality / etc, that are thus self – defeating, but with the authors of these arguments not being able to see how terribly self-defeating the arguments actually are.

    Is this really the depths to which “conservative” Christianity have sunk? Is this the faith once delivered to the saints? A faith that requires either denialism, or sophistry?? Really people? A faith that trains its members to view with suspicion, if not outright hate and condemn, those who dare have a different view – a view that doesn’t violate any of the Ecumenical creeds, nor the book of Concord, nor the 7 Ecumenical councils of the church, and that wasn’t even foreign amongst the fathers of the church?

    Really??

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Actually, Kevin in #302 touches on something else that this thread highlighted for me more than ever before: How most of the opposition to an old age for the earth etc etc, devolves to either denialism (of the obvious evidence, as in YEC), or in sophism / postmodernism.

    Because how many times in this thread have I recounted evidence, sometimes km’s of it, and all I seem to hear is “lalalalalala” and then some other irrelevancy, because they cannot answer it, and therefore ignore it.

    Or, arguments that in the final analyis boil down to a denial of knowledge / rationality / etc, that are thus self – defeating, but with the authors of these arguments not being able to see how terribly self-defeating the arguments actually are.

    Is this really the depths to which “conservative” Christianity have sunk? Is this the faith once delivered to the saints? A faith that requires either denialism, or sophistry?? Really people? A faith that trains its members to view with suspicion, if not outright hate and condemn, those who dare have a different view – a view that doesn’t violate any of the Ecumenical creeds, nor the book of Concord, nor the 7 Ecumenical councils of the church, and that wasn’t even foreign amongst the fathers of the church?

    Really??

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

    Kevin N.
    I agree whole jeartedly with what you said above. But that doesn’t quite address at all whet I had said in my previous post, as you will notice nothing I said there tried yo pin the problems with evolution on the Bible, but to point out that ” post modernism” as you were demonizing is actually the bastard child of evolution, especially as it fornicates with s identification natuuralism, or materialism.

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

    Kevin N.
    I agree whole jeartedly with what you said above. But that doesn’t quite address at all whet I had said in my previous post, as you will notice nothing I said there tried yo pin the problems with evolution on the Bible, but to point out that ” post modernism” as you were demonizing is actually the bastard child of evolution, especially as it fornicates with s identification natuuralism, or materialism.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Bror Erickson
    You said that if evolution is true then logic goes out the window. How is evolution illogical?

  • #4 Kitty

    @Bror Erickson
    You said that if evolution is true then logic goes out the window. How is evolution illogical?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Bror, how on earth is postmodernism the bastard child of evolution??? Sophism has been present since Greek times (although, to be fair, we only know them by the words of their opponents, the latter ranging from Socrates to Plato to Aristotle), and postmodernism is just the latest expression of that same tendency.

    But the postmodern expression of this endency specifically arose out of the

    critique of the of the “modernist” scientific mentality of objectivity and the progress associated with the Enlightenment.

    As such science and scientists, including and especially natural and physical scientists frequently deride postmodernists, as in the Sokal affair, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair )

    Granted, there are a few academics toying with postmodern evolution and who knows what – just as there are postmodernist theologians. The existince of a few weirdo’s and grant-seeking numbskulls doesn’t change the fact that 99.99% of all scientists hold postmodernism in absolute derision, and that 99.99% of all postmodernists would have difficulty in distinguishing the most basic of rational scientific concepts as (back to the Sokal affair).
    Your attempt to latch postmodernism to evolution (in general) is without any real grounds whatsoever. You can certainly do better than that.

    Interesting, if one googles “postmodernism and evolution”, a great number of links that come up are attempts by creationists to link the two. Guilt by association arguments? Hmmm……… Most of the rest are by philosophy types that use the word “evolution” in a non – scientific context. Then there are also one or two news items using the word postmodern in its non-philosophical sense, and hillariously enough, a creationist article trying to use one of these, misquoting it, and then trying to make creationist hay out of it. Tsk tsk. Oh, and a few anti-postmodernist scientific articles/blogposts too.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Bror, how on earth is postmodernism the bastard child of evolution??? Sophism has been present since Greek times (although, to be fair, we only know them by the words of their opponents, the latter ranging from Socrates to Plato to Aristotle), and postmodernism is just the latest expression of that same tendency.

    But the postmodern expression of this endency specifically arose out of the

    critique of the of the “modernist” scientific mentality of objectivity and the progress associated with the Enlightenment.

    As such science and scientists, including and especially natural and physical scientists frequently deride postmodernists, as in the Sokal affair, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair )

    Granted, there are a few academics toying with postmodern evolution and who knows what – just as there are postmodernist theologians. The existince of a few weirdo’s and grant-seeking numbskulls doesn’t change the fact that 99.99% of all scientists hold postmodernism in absolute derision, and that 99.99% of all postmodernists would have difficulty in distinguishing the most basic of rational scientific concepts as (back to the Sokal affair).
    Your attempt to latch postmodernism to evolution (in general) is without any real grounds whatsoever. You can certainly do better than that.

    Interesting, if one googles “postmodernism and evolution”, a great number of links that come up are attempts by creationists to link the two. Guilt by association arguments? Hmmm……… Most of the rest are by philosophy types that use the word “evolution” in a non – scientific context. Then there are also one or two news items using the word postmodern in its non-philosophical sense, and hillariously enough, a creationist article trying to use one of these, misquoting it, and then trying to make creationist hay out of it. Tsk tsk. Oh, and a few anti-postmodernist scientific articles/blogposts too.

  • Steve Drake

    @KevinN#303,

    ‘There are three Biblical “pillars” of young-Earth creationism: a young Earth, a global flood, and no death before the fall. If one looks closely at what the Bible actually says and doesn’t say, each of these turns out to be somewhat ambiguous rather than the my-way-or-the-highway approach that many YECs take.’

    ‘I love the way strawman arguments are presented by old earth, local-flood advocates in almost every conceivable fashion to malign what Scripture so clearly teaches about a young earth and key Biblical doctrines in order to hold on to their millions and billions of years beliefs.

    Maligning the fact that the Church has believed in a young earth, young universe for almost 18 centuries, and the extremely gifted scholars who came before us who wrote on the subject and whose writings we still have today, old earth, local-flood advocates present their straw-man of three Biblical pillars, as if these are the only things supporting the view held by the church and most of the scholars within the church through those 18 centuries, and as if once those are shot down, their old earth theories are proven correct.

    This is naive at best, dishonest at worst. It shows a simplistic understanding of Scripture and an utter lack of historical knowledge about the key thinkers and writers who played major roles throughout those 18 centuries.

  • Steve Drake

    @KevinN#303,

    ‘There are three Biblical “pillars” of young-Earth creationism: a young Earth, a global flood, and no death before the fall. If one looks closely at what the Bible actually says and doesn’t say, each of these turns out to be somewhat ambiguous rather than the my-way-or-the-highway approach that many YECs take.’

    ‘I love the way strawman arguments are presented by old earth, local-flood advocates in almost every conceivable fashion to malign what Scripture so clearly teaches about a young earth and key Biblical doctrines in order to hold on to their millions and billions of years beliefs.

    Maligning the fact that the Church has believed in a young earth, young universe for almost 18 centuries, and the extremely gifted scholars who came before us who wrote on the subject and whose writings we still have today, old earth, local-flood advocates present their straw-man of three Biblical pillars, as if these are the only things supporting the view held by the church and most of the scholars within the church through those 18 centuries, and as if once those are shot down, their old earth theories are proven correct.

    This is naive at best, dishonest at worst. It shows a simplistic understanding of Scripture and an utter lack of historical knowledge about the key thinkers and writers who played major roles throughout those 18 centuries.

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

    Klasie,
    Richard Rorty, more or less “the postmodernist” cites the logical out come of evolutionary theory as being the source of his logical skepticism. But he is not alone, other philosophers see the problems, this is one of the reasons, Thomas Nagel, who though an Atheist, is extremely suspicious of the claims concerning evolution made from a position of Scientific Naturalism. Popper, too, had his qualms, as did Wittgenstein. Now there is Fodor. I’m sure the list could be expanded. But it need not be. When we speak of Postmodernism, we speak not of Sophism, but perhaps its “modern” counterpart.
    Of course, you are the one who keeps trying to cite “but the Greek Philosophers believed it to” yes some of them did, of course they believed all sorts of crazy things, but they did believe evolution was a possibility, at about the same time sophism was born….

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

    Klasie,
    Richard Rorty, more or less “the postmodernist” cites the logical out come of evolutionary theory as being the source of his logical skepticism. But he is not alone, other philosophers see the problems, this is one of the reasons, Thomas Nagel, who though an Atheist, is extremely suspicious of the claims concerning evolution made from a position of Scientific Naturalism. Popper, too, had his qualms, as did Wittgenstein. Now there is Fodor. I’m sure the list could be expanded. But it need not be. When we speak of Postmodernism, we speak not of Sophism, but perhaps its “modern” counterpart.
    Of course, you are the one who keeps trying to cite “but the Greek Philosophers believed it to” yes some of them did, of course they believed all sorts of crazy things, but they did believe evolution was a possibility, at about the same time sophism was born….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Bror – I notice that you do not quote any scientists, who, as a rule, are extremely dismissive of postmodernism. Postmodernists will say anything to sound relevant, in my experience. Again, refer to Sokal.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Bror – I notice that you do not quote any scientists, who, as a rule, are extremely dismissive of postmodernism. Postmodernists will say anything to sound relevant, in my experience. Again, refer to Sokal.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve, when will you actually interact with facts and arguments, with text and data, and stop sloganeering and maligning? You do realise that you are not serving your side of the argument AT ALLK by those tacticts, do yo??

    Again and again and again, onthis thread, Kevin or I lsit evidence, or references, or explanations, and once done, we can virtually here the tumbleweed go by…… followed by yes but, and then some other forray into a side issue. then we deal with that, and then some more tumbleweed,…… then another yes, but, but – and maybe an insult from Steve, and then…..

    This is getting really, really tiresome.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve, when will you actually interact with facts and arguments, with text and data, and stop sloganeering and maligning? You do realise that you are not serving your side of the argument AT ALLK by those tacticts, do yo??

    Again and again and again, onthis thread, Kevin or I lsit evidence, or references, or explanations, and once done, we can virtually here the tumbleweed go by…… followed by yes but, and then some other forray into a side issue. then we deal with that, and then some more tumbleweed,…… then another yes, but, but – and maybe an insult from Steve, and then…..

    This is getting really, really tiresome.

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

    Krasie,
    The father’s of bastards are usually quite dismissive of the bastards. What’s your point?
    That said, I don’t know of many scientists that deal with epistemology. Where Koonin touched upon it in his book “The logic of chance” he acknowledged Popper’s qualms as being quite valid. of course, Popper used to malign the scientific community as being for the most part too stupid to really think at all about the results of their studies to any great degree. Brilliant at measuring crap though… Its actually half the reason we are where we are at, the scientists don’t have enough of a philosophical background, or training in epistemology to see that something as crucial to Darwinism as “Natural Selection” is tautological, meaningless, and incapable of being a driver of Evolution. You need Fodor to point it out. And BTW, Fodor, and his co-author, actually are scientists, so… get the book from your library already.

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

    Krasie,
    The father’s of bastards are usually quite dismissive of the bastards. What’s your point?
    That said, I don’t know of many scientists that deal with epistemology. Where Koonin touched upon it in his book “The logic of chance” he acknowledged Popper’s qualms as being quite valid. of course, Popper used to malign the scientific community as being for the most part too stupid to really think at all about the results of their studies to any great degree. Brilliant at measuring crap though… Its actually half the reason we are where we are at, the scientists don’t have enough of a philosophical background, or training in epistemology to see that something as crucial to Darwinism as “Natural Selection” is tautological, meaningless, and incapable of being a driver of Evolution. You need Fodor to point it out. And BTW, Fodor, and his co-author, actually are scientists, so… get the book from your library already.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Claiming evolution is the father of the bastards is not the same as proving it. Words are cheap – that’s why being a philosopher is easy, but being a scientist takes research data, tests, experiments, more tests, analysis, blah blah blah. And a simple reductio applied more than just the science can show you that very soon, the only alternative is postmodernist hubris. If we do not believe the facts before us, we cannot believe the text before us, the meaning of the words before us, the meaning of language before us, etc etc. The same epistemological filters between us and wide world out there that limit our scientific understanding, limits all our understanding.

    As I said, just try a simple reductio.Because, I once grasped at EXACTLY the same philosophical straws that you mention. Tried to make as if evolution and science in general, therefore (because you cannot seperate the one from the other, that is a complete and utter fabricated fallacy) had an epistemological problem. till I realised, when I got honest with myself, that that same philosophical argument reduced everyhting to nothing, and I was left in a postmodernist nothingness. It leads to emptiness, and that is all.

    Which is really ironic, because the result is jst what you are warning me evolution leads to.

    But how about all the km’s of data in the meanwhile…..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Claiming evolution is the father of the bastards is not the same as proving it. Words are cheap – that’s why being a philosopher is easy, but being a scientist takes research data, tests, experiments, more tests, analysis, blah blah blah. And a simple reductio applied more than just the science can show you that very soon, the only alternative is postmodernist hubris. If we do not believe the facts before us, we cannot believe the text before us, the meaning of the words before us, the meaning of language before us, etc etc. The same epistemological filters between us and wide world out there that limit our scientific understanding, limits all our understanding.

    As I said, just try a simple reductio.Because, I once grasped at EXACTLY the same philosophical straws that you mention. Tried to make as if evolution and science in general, therefore (because you cannot seperate the one from the other, that is a complete and utter fabricated fallacy) had an epistemological problem. till I realised, when I got honest with myself, that that same philosophical argument reduced everyhting to nothing, and I was left in a postmodernist nothingness. It leads to emptiness, and that is all.

    Which is really ironic, because the result is jst what you are warning me evolution leads to.

    But how about all the km’s of data in the meanwhile…..

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#315,
    Every theory (OEC, YEC) should have some evidential support and they do. The point is that evidential support can support any number of theories. Theories are under-determined by data.

    So with competing theories on the age of the earth, what is one to do? As Christians, we begin with the propositional statements as revealed in Scripture. We are biased ‘for’ Scripture. The evidence properly interpreted through the lens of Scripture supports God’s ex nihilo creation of all that is in six days approximately 6000 years ago. The Church has believed it, the Creeds confirm it.

    What is tiresome and very sad, Klasie, is that old earth, local-flood advocates, along with their theistic evolutionary brethren and thinking, are destroying the very foundations of their own faith. They’re cannibalizing themselves and obliterating the very epistemic basis for the Christian faith in the first place.

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#315,
    Every theory (OEC, YEC) should have some evidential support and they do. The point is that evidential support can support any number of theories. Theories are under-determined by data.

    So with competing theories on the age of the earth, what is one to do? As Christians, we begin with the propositional statements as revealed in Scripture. We are biased ‘for’ Scripture. The evidence properly interpreted through the lens of Scripture supports God’s ex nihilo creation of all that is in six days approximately 6000 years ago. The Church has believed it, the Creeds confirm it.

    What is tiresome and very sad, Klasie, is that old earth, local-flood advocates, along with their theistic evolutionary brethren and thinking, are destroying the very foundations of their own faith. They’re cannibalizing themselves and obliterating the very epistemic basis for the Christian faith in the first place.

  • Jon

    Klasie 307/308.
    I read the article. I understand the Ar-Ar methodology, and also accept Kevin’s explanation of how the dates are arrived at. But I’m still skeptical about what the numbers actually mean. At the end of the day, it’s requiring assumptions about original concentrations and constancy of rates, etc. And like Kevin explains, you have to interpolate because you rarely get the same number out of a series. So I don’t doubt the methodology or the pursuit of methods to ensure integrity of the number, etc. Just how the number came to be that remains in doubt for me. It’s like trying to stamp the “Born On” date on a can of Budweiser when you’re weren’t the brewmaster for that batch and you have to make some very reasoned but possibly incorrect assumptions about what his original recipe was. And I try to remove this skepticism out of the Biblical hermeneutic as much as I can take it out of that, though there may be some of that bias in there just as anyone has bias. But certainly there is no hate in this from me. I totally respect what you do, even admire you for it. So, if I have seemed hateful then I apologize. I just think there is a lot more to be learned on the subject than we give ourselves credit for. Ultimately, there is only One who knows it all and who has spoken to us.

  • Jon

    Klasie 307/308.
    I read the article. I understand the Ar-Ar methodology, and also accept Kevin’s explanation of how the dates are arrived at. But I’m still skeptical about what the numbers actually mean. At the end of the day, it’s requiring assumptions about original concentrations and constancy of rates, etc. And like Kevin explains, you have to interpolate because you rarely get the same number out of a series. So I don’t doubt the methodology or the pursuit of methods to ensure integrity of the number, etc. Just how the number came to be that remains in doubt for me. It’s like trying to stamp the “Born On” date on a can of Budweiser when you’re weren’t the brewmaster for that batch and you have to make some very reasoned but possibly incorrect assumptions about what his original recipe was. And I try to remove this skepticism out of the Biblical hermeneutic as much as I can take it out of that, though there may be some of that bias in there just as anyone has bias. But certainly there is no hate in this from me. I totally respect what you do, even admire you for it. So, if I have seemed hateful then I apologize. I just think there is a lot more to be learned on the subject than we give ourselves credit for. Ultimately, there is only One who knows it all and who has spoken to us.

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

    Klasie,
    Listen, that the philosophy known as postmodernism has come about because of the epistemological implications of evolutionary theory, and especially in this regards, as espoused by Darwin, is an historical fact, akin to the fact that Plato is the father of Idealism. I don’t say that the evolutionists themselves hold to postmodernism, which seems to be what you think I am saying, (and that only goes back to what I was saying above about scientists…). I’m saying that there theories, whole heartedly accepted, more I believe for aesthetic reasons than for any actual evidence, has given birth to postmodernism whether they want to accept it as their child or not.
    But I see this is going about as far as it ever does. Just realize, these “strawmen” you accuse me of, are not thoughts I have come upon on my own, but thoughts I have stumbled upon while reading atheists, who have no bias for the Bible. And you might yourself do better for reading them yourself and cutting your teeth a bit there. This isn’t about science verses belief in the bible, or being incompatable, with philosophy or anything else. This is about one theory, that is coming under increasing scrutiny. More to the point though, different disciplines play by different rules, and that one discipline demands one thing, and another demands a different one, doesn’t necessarily make the one harder or easier than the other, and being harder is not any measure of truth, it is harder to stick a square peg in a round hole than it is to stick a round peg in that hole…. Unless maybe the hole is much large in diameter than the square peg, but I’m sure you get the idea.

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

    Klasie,
    Listen, that the philosophy known as postmodernism has come about because of the epistemological implications of evolutionary theory, and especially in this regards, as espoused by Darwin, is an historical fact, akin to the fact that Plato is the father of Idealism. I don’t say that the evolutionists themselves hold to postmodernism, which seems to be what you think I am saying, (and that only goes back to what I was saying above about scientists…). I’m saying that there theories, whole heartedly accepted, more I believe for aesthetic reasons than for any actual evidence, has given birth to postmodernism whether they want to accept it as their child or not.
    But I see this is going about as far as it ever does. Just realize, these “strawmen” you accuse me of, are not thoughts I have come upon on my own, but thoughts I have stumbled upon while reading atheists, who have no bias for the Bible. And you might yourself do better for reading them yourself and cutting your teeth a bit there. This isn’t about science verses belief in the bible, or being incompatable, with philosophy or anything else. This is about one theory, that is coming under increasing scrutiny. More to the point though, different disciplines play by different rules, and that one discipline demands one thing, and another demands a different one, doesn’t necessarily make the one harder or easier than the other, and being harder is not any measure of truth, it is harder to stick a square peg in a round hole than it is to stick a round peg in that hole…. Unless maybe the hole is much large in diameter than the square peg, but I’m sure you get the idea.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve – as demonstrated over and over – there is absolutely no need to assume that a non-literal reading of the early chapters of Genesis “torpedoes the faith”. that is AIG propoganda – and they need to pump it out, because it keeps the money rolling in. Considering their new amusement park plans, all doubts should be removed as to the fact that they are essentially all about the $$$$. And what better way to keep it rolling in, than to hype the fear factor.

    And, btw, the Creeds say nothing about the actual age of the earth. Nothing. The Creeds say God created the Cosmos (to use the Greek term denoting everything) out of nothing. Which neither myself, nor Kevin, nor any other Theistic evolutionist/ old earther etc doubts/questions.

    And as I demostrated, without as much as a peep from you, there is no way you can with any amount of contortions fit a young earth / flood geology model into the data/evidence. It is impossible. No matter which way you look at it. (Believe me I tried — as i said earlier in this thread, I started out as a YEC’ist, and gave it up very, very reluctantly, over a very very long time, first for the veyr postmodenrist apporoach a now deride for a very good reason, and then later to accept the facts as they are).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve – as demonstrated over and over – there is absolutely no need to assume that a non-literal reading of the early chapters of Genesis “torpedoes the faith”. that is AIG propoganda – and they need to pump it out, because it keeps the money rolling in. Considering their new amusement park plans, all doubts should be removed as to the fact that they are essentially all about the $$$$. And what better way to keep it rolling in, than to hype the fear factor.

    And, btw, the Creeds say nothing about the actual age of the earth. Nothing. The Creeds say God created the Cosmos (to use the Greek term denoting everything) out of nothing. Which neither myself, nor Kevin, nor any other Theistic evolutionist/ old earther etc doubts/questions.

    And as I demostrated, without as much as a peep from you, there is no way you can with any amount of contortions fit a young earth / flood geology model into the data/evidence. It is impossible. No matter which way you look at it. (Believe me I tried — as i said earlier in this thread, I started out as a YEC’ist, and gave it up very, very reluctantly, over a very very long time, first for the veyr postmodenrist apporoach a now deride for a very good reason, and then later to accept the facts as they are).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jon – about the assumptions – there are ways around that. But now we are getting into the nitty – gritty. For Ar-Ar, you have to read Dalrymple’s famous book – now slightly dated, but still the best out there. For other dating methods, google the word “isochron”. Give the poor scientists more credit than that. I too was sceptical in the beginning, till I actually worked with the stuff for a number of years for myself to test it. Give me some credit there.. :)

    And I was referring to you when I used the term hateful, btw.

    And, as I have tried to say, it is about much more than just radiometric dating. There is a tsunami of evidence, and its heading your way…. ;)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jon – about the assumptions – there are ways around that. But now we are getting into the nitty – gritty. For Ar-Ar, you have to read Dalrymple’s famous book – now slightly dated, but still the best out there. For other dating methods, google the word “isochron”. Give the poor scientists more credit than that. I too was sceptical in the beginning, till I actually worked with the stuff for a number of years for myself to test it. Give me some credit there.. :)

    And I was referring to you when I used the term hateful, btw.

    And, as I have tried to say, it is about much more than just radiometric dating. There is a tsunami of evidence, and its heading your way…. ;)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Bror: Don’t cop out. Explain the data. Explain why we see a progression of fossils, from less evolved low in the geological coloumn, to highly evolved high up.

    Explain the geological column, using my examples yesterday, for instance.

    Explain why the radiometric dates fit the geological column.

    IE, instead of jumping back to a cop-out argument about epistemology, explain the data I’m laying at your feet.

    Theories change – because, as good scientists, we are constantly revising, retesting, finding new evidence, new methods etc. But the interesting thing is that the overall picture hasn’t changed. I happened to have read various reviews on some of the books you have recommended, vs your own – unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to read them myself. The intersting thing was that there seemd to be quite a divergence in the reviews, and it was quite apparent hat everybody read into it what they want to read into it. For instance, the aforementioned Fodor, whose book, I gather, focus on the idea of adoptionism within Natural Selection, gets three kinds of reviews. Those of atheist laymen, who don’t like him, those of Crationst laymen – like yours, who adore him, but ascribe to his thesis much more than what he actually seems to be saying, and behaves as if he destroyed Darwinism (a term only Creatonists seem to use, as Kevin notes), and then the few educated reveiwers, who have mixed, slightly negative reviews, staing that the book is a bit overhyped, attacking strawmwne that no biologist really says in some areas, and in other areas not bad. but certainly not earth shattering, and probably more useful for evolutionary psychology.

    Hmm – seeing what one wants to see? But again, quibbling about theories, is one thing. What about the hard data in front of us? And the obvious fact that it cannot fit 6000 years, global flood etc. ? No matter if adoptionsim is true or not. No matter what your epsitemology is. At that stage epistemological arguments become refuges from reality. As I said – been there, done that.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Bror: Don’t cop out. Explain the data. Explain why we see a progression of fossils, from less evolved low in the geological coloumn, to highly evolved high up.

    Explain the geological column, using my examples yesterday, for instance.

    Explain why the radiometric dates fit the geological column.

    IE, instead of jumping back to a cop-out argument about epistemology, explain the data I’m laying at your feet.

    Theories change – because, as good scientists, we are constantly revising, retesting, finding new evidence, new methods etc. But the interesting thing is that the overall picture hasn’t changed. I happened to have read various reviews on some of the books you have recommended, vs your own – unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to read them myself. The intersting thing was that there seemd to be quite a divergence in the reviews, and it was quite apparent hat everybody read into it what they want to read into it. For instance, the aforementioned Fodor, whose book, I gather, focus on the idea of adoptionism within Natural Selection, gets three kinds of reviews. Those of atheist laymen, who don’t like him, those of Crationst laymen – like yours, who adore him, but ascribe to his thesis much more than what he actually seems to be saying, and behaves as if he destroyed Darwinism (a term only Creatonists seem to use, as Kevin notes), and then the few educated reveiwers, who have mixed, slightly negative reviews, staing that the book is a bit overhyped, attacking strawmwne that no biologist really says in some areas, and in other areas not bad. but certainly not earth shattering, and probably more useful for evolutionary psychology.

    Hmm – seeing what one wants to see? But again, quibbling about theories, is one thing. What about the hard data in front of us? And the obvious fact that it cannot fit 6000 years, global flood etc. ? No matter if adoptionsim is true or not. No matter what your epsitemology is. At that stage epistemological arguments become refuges from reality. As I said – been there, done that.

  • Jon

    Kevin @ 303
    You question whether “all the earth” in regard to the waters really means it covered the entire earth.

    Gen 6: 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

    17 “For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.” ESV

    From this context it is not a localized place on earth; the Almighty’s intent was to wipe out all life on the earth because all had been corrupted. So if there were Aleuts or Australians, they got killed, too.

    This may indeed be different from the context of all the peoples of the earth coming to buy grain from Joseph meaning all over the known world. But then again, you are presuming there were Alaskans or Australians at that time, based on the scientific anthropology time scale/record.

  • Jon

    Kevin @ 303
    You question whether “all the earth” in regard to the waters really means it covered the entire earth.

    Gen 6: 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

    17 “For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.” ESV

    From this context it is not a localized place on earth; the Almighty’s intent was to wipe out all life on the earth because all had been corrupted. So if there were Aleuts or Australians, they got killed, too.

    This may indeed be different from the context of all the peoples of the earth coming to buy grain from Joseph meaning all over the known world. But then again, you are presuming there were Alaskans or Australians at that time, based on the scientific anthropology time scale/record.

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#321,
    Think about what you’re saying, dear brother. It is not AIG propaganda, but simple deductive logic. Do you honestly think that all philosophers and biblical scholars are AIG propagandists? That the ideas concerning epistemology, and epistemic certainty concerning Scripture have not been grappled with for centuries? I think it might be your fear factor that is raising it’s head.

    Yes, the age of the earth is not mentioned in the Creeds, but both the Westminster Standards and Baptist Confession of Faith mention ‘in the space of six days’. What do those words mean, Klasie, and what do you think the Church understood them to mean for almost 18 centuries?

    You said:

    ‘And as I demostrated, without as much as a peep from you, there is no way you can with any amount of contortions fit a young earth / flood geology model into the data/evidence. It is impossible.’

    You’re grasping at straws, Klasie. See my post#318. Evidential support can support any number of theories. Theories are under-determined by data. There is plenty of literature available that show evidential support for a young earth and global, universal Flood.

    ‘Believe me I tried — as i said earlier in this thread, I started out as a YEC’ist, and gave it up very, very reluctantly, over a very very long time, first for the veyr postmodenrist apporoach a now deride for a very good reason, and then later to accept the facts as they are).’

    What has that got to do with anything? Many others have started out as evolutionists, old earth advocates and because of the lack of evidence for evolution and an old earth, and the utter failure of evolutionary theory and uniformitarian principles to give credible explanatory principles for what is observed, have come to a young earth, global Flood view as clearly stated in Scripture. You prove nothing by that statement.

  • Steve Drake

    @Klasie#321,
    Think about what you’re saying, dear brother. It is not AIG propaganda, but simple deductive logic. Do you honestly think that all philosophers and biblical scholars are AIG propagandists? That the ideas concerning epistemology, and epistemic certainty concerning Scripture have not been grappled with for centuries? I think it might be your fear factor that is raising it’s head.

    Yes, the age of the earth is not mentioned in the Creeds, but both the Westminster Standards and Baptist Confession of Faith mention ‘in the space of six days’. What do those words mean, Klasie, and what do you think the Church understood them to mean for almost 18 centuries?

    You said:

    ‘And as I demostrated, without as much as a peep from you, there is no way you can with any amount of contortions fit a young earth / flood geology model into the data/evidence. It is impossible.’

    You’re grasping at straws, Klasie. See my post#318. Evidential support can support any number of theories. Theories are under-determined by data. There is plenty of literature available that show evidential support for a young earth and global, universal Flood.

    ‘Believe me I tried — as i said earlier in this thread, I started out as a YEC’ist, and gave it up very, very reluctantly, over a very very long time, first for the veyr postmodenrist apporoach a now deride for a very good reason, and then later to accept the facts as they are).’

    What has that got to do with anything? Many others have started out as evolutionists, old earth advocates and because of the lack of evidence for evolution and an old earth, and the utter failure of evolutionary theory and uniformitarian principles to give credible explanatory principles for what is observed, have come to a young earth, global Flood view as clearly stated in Scripture. You prove nothing by that statement.

  • Jon

    I’ve got my paddle board ready. But the minute that tsunami turns to macroevolution for support of geologic time scales you get zero cred, my friend.

  • Jon

    I’ve got my paddle board ready. But the minute that tsunami turns to macroevolution for support of geologic time scales you get zero cred, my friend.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Hey – just popping in to say that I don’t have time to read or contribute now, but I plan on doing so later. I love it when people debate and keep on going…. rounds and rounds are my thing. : ) (just not enough time)

    +Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Hey – just popping in to say that I don’t have time to read or contribute now, but I plan on doing so later. I love it when people debate and keep on going…. rounds and rounds are my thing. : ) (just not enough time)

    +Nathan

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve @ 325:

    Creeds: I do not hold to Westminster , and most certainly not to the Baptist confession of 1689 :( ! But none of the Ecumenical creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, Athanasian, Chalcedon) hold it thus, and neither does the Shorter Cathechism, which I am required to hold as a Lutheran.

    Data & theories: “Evidential support can support any number of theories.” Only as long as the theories actually fit the data, my friend. Otherwise your off to lala – land.

    “and the utter failure of evolutionary theory and uniformitarian principles to give credible explanatory principles for what is observed”: Please, please demonstrate.

    Now a short coment as to AIG and their influence: AIG and the the modern Creationist movement is the grandchild of Henry Morris, the hydrological engineer, who published his famed book, The Genesis Flood, in 1961. At this stage, anti-evolutionism was a very minor trend in American Protestant Christianity. He himself was heavily inflenced by George McCready Price, who, as a devoted deisciple of Ellen G White, who saw in a vision (yes, THAT Ellen White) that the Gnesis Flood covered all the earth, dug up some old ideas desicarde long ago, and re-invented Flood Geology. Incidentally, Flood Geology was finally put to rest by a clergymen, Rev William Buckland, in 1836 (he was also the originator of the Gap Theory, btw). He wrote back then

    “Some have attempted to ascribe the formation of all the stratified rocks to the effects of the Mosaic Deluge; an opinion which is irreconcilable with the enormous thickness and almost infinite subdivisions of these strata, and with the numerous and regular successions which they contain of the remains of animals and vegetables, differing more an more widely from existing species, as the strata in which we find them are older, or place at greater depths.”

    But Ellen G White claimed to have seen in one of her visions all the strata containing all the being formed. And thus, indirecly, built upon the spurious viosions of a false prophtess, the modern Creationist movement got built. Of course, it being 1961, one only had to say that them evil Soviets were evolutionists, and very soon, them bad liberal hippie academics too, and it became a politcal-psychological imperative for “good bible-believin’ Christian folk” to reject what was common accepted not a decade earlier, and follow the fruits of Adventism.

    Yes, I do understand the immense psychological burden laid upon a person by contemplatin the possibility of an old earth etc. Would my faith crumble? Would I go to hell? Etc. Etc.? Therefore one grasps at everything justifying it intellectually, to satisfy the inner anxiety. And then call it faith.

    I grew up in extreme sectarian fundamentalism. I went through the same anxiety just wondering about taking my first sip of alcohol, buying my first TV set etc. It is not really all that different. Especially if you understand where it comes from.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Steve @ 325:

    Creeds: I do not hold to Westminster , and most certainly not to the Baptist confession of 1689 :( ! But none of the Ecumenical creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, Athanasian, Chalcedon) hold it thus, and neither does the Shorter Cathechism, which I am required to hold as a Lutheran.

    Data & theories: “Evidential support can support any number of theories.” Only as long as the theories actually fit the data, my friend. Otherwise your off to lala – land.

    “and the utter failure of evolutionary theory and uniformitarian principles to give credible explanatory principles for what is observed”: Please, please demonstrate.

    Now a short coment as to AIG and their influence: AIG and the the modern Creationist movement is the grandchild of Henry Morris, the hydrological engineer, who published his famed book, The Genesis Flood, in 1961. At this stage, anti-evolutionism was a very minor trend in American Protestant Christianity. He himself was heavily inflenced by George McCready Price, who, as a devoted deisciple of Ellen G White, who saw in a vision (yes, THAT Ellen White) that the Gnesis Flood covered all the earth, dug up some old ideas desicarde long ago, and re-invented Flood Geology. Incidentally, Flood Geology was finally put to rest by a clergymen, Rev William Buckland, in 1836 (he was also the originator of the Gap Theory, btw). He wrote back then

    “Some have attempted to ascribe the formation of all the stratified rocks to the effects of the Mosaic Deluge; an opinion which is irreconcilable with the enormous thickness and almost infinite subdivisions of these strata, and with the numerous and regular successions which they contain of the remains of animals and vegetables, differing more an more widely from existing species, as the strata in which we find them are older, or place at greater depths.”

    But Ellen G White claimed to have seen in one of her visions all the strata containing all the being formed. And thus, indirecly, built upon the spurious viosions of a false prophtess, the modern Creationist movement got built. Of course, it being 1961, one only had to say that them evil Soviets were evolutionists, and very soon, them bad liberal hippie academics too, and it became a politcal-psychological imperative for “good bible-believin’ Christian folk” to reject what was common accepted not a decade earlier, and follow the fruits of Adventism.

    Yes, I do understand the immense psychological burden laid upon a person by contemplatin the possibility of an old earth etc. Would my faith crumble? Would I go to hell? Etc. Etc.? Therefore one grasps at everything justifying it intellectually, to satisfy the inner anxiety. And then call it faith.

    I grew up in extreme sectarian fundamentalism. I went through the same anxiety just wondering about taking my first sip of alcohol, buying my first TV set etc. It is not really all that different. Especially if you understand where it comes from.

  • Jon

    Not to butt into Bror’s, but here is how I possibly see the observational data, admittedly with some of what the historian has recorded.

    Global flood rising then prevailing over a year, fountains open, land masses wrent, rising and falling = ginormous amounts mud/silt. What we see by today’s processes of erosion and sedimentation are speeded up to warp factor 9. Layers and layers and layers laid down from that mud silt over the course of the flood year. The simplist stuff gets wiped out first in the flood, buried deepest. The ones with better coping skills get wiped out later, buried higher up in the resulting column.

    Tsk, tsk, Jon, you simpleton.

  • Jon

    Not to butt into Bror’s, but here is how I possibly see the observational data, admittedly with some of what the historian has recorded.

    Global flood rising then prevailing over a year, fountains open, land masses wrent, rising and falling = ginormous amounts mud/silt. What we see by today’s processes of erosion and sedimentation are speeded up to warp factor 9. Layers and layers and layers laid down from that mud silt over the course of the flood year. The simplist stuff gets wiped out first in the flood, buried deepest. The ones with better coping skills get wiped out later, buried higher up in the resulting column.

    Tsk, tsk, Jon, you simpleton.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Your last sentence, Jon, indeed….. :) But I do admire the effort. Your the only one that tried. You are ignoring the other km’s of data (refer to some number earlier, I’m too lazy too look anymore…), , the need for clear troipcal water….. and the fact that you assume that more primitive means “can’t cope with one flood”. Big assumption.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Your last sentence, Jon, indeed….. :) But I do admire the effort. Your the only one that tried. You are ignoring the other km’s of data (refer to some number earlier, I’m too lazy too look anymore…), , the need for clear troipcal water….. and the fact that you assume that more primitive means “can’t cope with one flood”. Big assumption.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Also Jon, one would assume in your story that at least some of even the better coping ones would die along the way. Such a clear differentiation, of animals that did not make it into the ark (another point, btw), is also quite remarkable)…. :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Also Jon, one would assume in your story that at least some of even the better coping ones would die along the way. Such a clear differentiation, of animals that did not make it into the ark (another point, btw), is also quite remarkable)…. :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    And actually Bror, since you like your philosophers, how about this interview with Alvin Plantinga (though I wish one could read it with out the utterly obnoxious glitzy ads): http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/december/conflictresolution.html?start=1

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    And actually Bror, since you like your philosophers, how about this interview with Alvin Plantinga (though I wish one could read it with out the utterly obnoxious glitzy ads): http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/december/conflictresolution.html?start=1

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Steve Drake (#312):

    What is my “straw man” argument? I know YEC Biblical and scientific arguments quite well, and I don’t think I have misrepresented anyone.

    Where have I maligned the Scripture?
    –I have pointed out that the Hebrew text for the Flood account is much more ambiguous than the English translations are. Unless you are a KJV-only person, I would think this would carry some weight.
    –I have asked questions of Genesis 1, such as “What is the relationship between 1:1 and the rest of the chapter?” Is it wrong for me to ask questions? Is it somehow a violation of Christian orthodoxy to tentatively conclude that perhaps 1:1 refers to the initial creation ex nihilo rather than being a summary of the passage?
    –I have pointed out that none of the passages YECs use to show that there was no animal death prior to the Fall (Gen 3, Rom 5, Rom 8, 1 Cor 15) say anything whatsoever about animal death. So am I distorting the Scriptures when I conclude that the Bible does not require us to believe this YEC dogma?

    I know the history of the interpretation of Genesis 1. I know that the young-Earth view prevailed. I also know that the scholars involved were never forced to take a second look at the opening chapters of Genesis. Is it wrong to take a closer look at what the Bible actually says? If we cannot question our interpretations, then we would still be stuck in geocentrism. Even worse, the Reformation would have never happened!

    I am not saying that I understand everything, either Biblically or scientifically. When I look at what the Bible actually says and doesn’t say, however, I see no reason to affirm the YEC dogmas.

    Where am I being naive?

    Where am I being dishonest?

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Steve Drake (#312):

    What is my “straw man” argument? I know YEC Biblical and scientific arguments quite well, and I don’t think I have misrepresented anyone.

    Where have I maligned the Scripture?
    –I have pointed out that the Hebrew text for the Flood account is much more ambiguous than the English translations are. Unless you are a KJV-only person, I would think this would carry some weight.
    –I have asked questions of Genesis 1, such as “What is the relationship between 1:1 and the rest of the chapter?” Is it wrong for me to ask questions? Is it somehow a violation of Christian orthodoxy to tentatively conclude that perhaps 1:1 refers to the initial creation ex nihilo rather than being a summary of the passage?
    –I have pointed out that none of the passages YECs use to show that there was no animal death prior to the Fall (Gen 3, Rom 5, Rom 8, 1 Cor 15) say anything whatsoever about animal death. So am I distorting the Scriptures when I conclude that the Bible does not require us to believe this YEC dogma?

    I know the history of the interpretation of Genesis 1. I know that the young-Earth view prevailed. I also know that the scholars involved were never forced to take a second look at the opening chapters of Genesis. Is it wrong to take a closer look at what the Bible actually says? If we cannot question our interpretations, then we would still be stuck in geocentrism. Even worse, the Reformation would have never happened!

    I am not saying that I understand everything, either Biblically or scientifically. When I look at what the Bible actually says and doesn’t say, however, I see no reason to affirm the YEC dogmas.

    Where am I being naive?

    Where am I being dishonest?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kevin, I tried and tried, but I only get back more assertions as answers. Maybe you have more success.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kevin, I tried and tried, but I only get back more assertions as answers. Maybe you have more success.

  • Jon

    “[T]hat you assume that more primitive means ‘can’t cope with one flood’. Big assumption.”

    Um, not “primitive”. Created critters, to me. You may think them primitive, less developed. I’m simply saying the immobile, the small ones, the ones already at the bottom of the oceans, the water dwellers. It only makes sense that you’d find water dwelling small stuff at the bottom even of the pre-existing waters anyway, right? And, that type of stuff covers about 90% of the fossil record, no? Next the bigger ones, more mobile, the ones that could get to higher ground, had enough strength and fortitude to last a bit longer over the year, or what you attribute to be more sophisticated, recent ones.

    “Such a clear differentiation, of animals that did not make it into the ark (another point, btw), is also quite remarkable)…. ”

    Not following your objection there. As I I said, the bulk of the record as I understand it is the small stuff, water dwellers. That’s what I’d expect to find at the bottom whether it got covered by natural processes or a catastrophe. I would think that most big stuff that died and sank beforehand is more likely to be scavenged than get covered naturally. The other 10% in the record has all the other taxonomies represented though, no? Whales, insects, arachnids fish, birds, reptiles, apes, small and large mammals, marsupials, amphibians, what have you. Are you saying there is some other unique taxonom(ies) that didn’t make it onto the Ark? Noah only had to take a pair of every animal kind. Did he miss some that he should have taken?

  • Jon

    “[T]hat you assume that more primitive means ‘can’t cope with one flood’. Big assumption.”

    Um, not “primitive”. Created critters, to me. You may think them primitive, less developed. I’m simply saying the immobile, the small ones, the ones already at the bottom of the oceans, the water dwellers. It only makes sense that you’d find water dwelling small stuff at the bottom even of the pre-existing waters anyway, right? And, that type of stuff covers about 90% of the fossil record, no? Next the bigger ones, more mobile, the ones that could get to higher ground, had enough strength and fortitude to last a bit longer over the year, or what you attribute to be more sophisticated, recent ones.

    “Such a clear differentiation, of animals that did not make it into the ark (another point, btw), is also quite remarkable)…. ”

    Not following your objection there. As I I said, the bulk of the record as I understand it is the small stuff, water dwellers. That’s what I’d expect to find at the bottom whether it got covered by natural processes or a catastrophe. I would think that most big stuff that died and sank beforehand is more likely to be scavenged than get covered naturally. The other 10% in the record has all the other taxonomies represented though, no? Whales, insects, arachnids fish, birds, reptiles, apes, small and large mammals, marsupials, amphibians, what have you. Are you saying there is some other unique taxonom(ies) that didn’t make it onto the Ark? Noah only had to take a pair of every animal kind. Did he miss some that he should have taken?

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

    Krasie,
    seriously, can I ask you to read a bit more closely regarrding what I write? I am not debating with you over the age of the earth ahem I say evolution, scientific naturalism, and materialism, pose severe epistemological problems. These are things that have next to nothing to do with the age of the earth, something I couldn’t st this point give more than two loads about. The world could be 8billion years old, evolution would still.pose this epistemological.problem, and to be honest it would do nothing in hiving biologist an appropriate theoryas to how “all” of life ebbed from something akin to an algae.
    I still don’t t understand completely how rocks are dated, where they come up with notions concerning even distribution of uranium etc. But that is not currently what I am discussing. So come off of it. Look at the problem for what it is.

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

    Krasie,
    seriously, can I ask you to read a bit more closely regarrding what I write? I am not debating with you over the age of the earth ahem I say evolution, scientific naturalism, and materialism, pose severe epistemological problems. These are things that have next to nothing to do with the age of the earth, something I couldn’t st this point give more than two loads about. The world could be 8billion years old, evolution would still.pose this epistemological.problem, and to be honest it would do nothing in hiving biologist an appropriate theoryas to how “all” of life ebbed from something akin to an algae.
    I still don’t t understand completely how rocks are dated, where they come up with notions concerning even distribution of uranium etc. But that is not currently what I am discussing. So come off of it. Look at the problem for what it is.

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

    Sorry my typos suck worse than normal, aregular keyboard is bad enough, but this kindle thing is worse.

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

    Sorry my typos suck worse than normal, aregular keyboard is bad enough, but this kindle thing is worse.

  • Jon

    “[I]t would do nothing in h[a]ving biologist [give] an appropriate theoryas to how ‘all’ of life ebbed from something akin to an algae.”

    I’d be even easier to convince. Just start at the start, show me life from non-life. Demonstrate the algae, or whatever the simplist life form is.

  • Jon

    “[I]t would do nothing in h[a]ving biologist [give] an appropriate theoryas to how ‘all’ of life ebbed from something akin to an algae.”

    I’d be even easier to convince. Just start at the start, show me life from non-life. Demonstrate the algae, or whatever the simplist life form is.

  • Joanne

    The first sin in the Garden of Eden was when a woman listened to a talking snake who asked her: Has God really said, afterall it really doesn’t make any sense. The second sin was when the woman responded by a garbled quote of what God had told Adam about the forbidden tree, when Eve was’t even there yet.

    Eve spoke to the talking snake by misquoting her husband and then by adding something that the account between Adam and God discussing the forbidden tree does not contain. From the Garden of Eden right through to this blog sequence today, it’s the same problem: What did God say and what does it mean.

    When both Eve and Adam stopped to recall what God had said and what it really meant, they doubted the clear and simple meaning, “don’t eat from that tree.”

    Now, if Adam and Eve had been following good rules of the interpretation of God’s word, they would have decided to ask God himself what he meant by his clear and simple command. God would be by later for his pleasure walk within his perfect garden; it would be just as easy to ask Him as it is for us today who have the whole council of God available in his written word.

    The events that took place in Eden indicate that if we get what God tells us wrong, all Hell will take place. People die when what God says to them is disprised. Especially the clearest and simplest things he says to us: don’t eat from that tree.

    We are loathe to think evil of God. Job tried his best to make excuses for God’s cavalier game with Satan that resulted in so much suffering and the death of his whole family. We would be loathe to even consider why God would put a talking snake, one obviously representing the interests of the Prince of the Fallen Angels into his perfect garden. As the fall of the evil angels tells us, God’s perfect creation had already gone awry when the angels went to war. How tenuous is the mercy of God! Again, he is the potter, he will have mercy on whom he pleases.

    In my best PolyAnna way, I’d like to imagine that God put a bubble of divine protection and ho