No, The Bible Doesn’t Say The Earth Is Only 6,000 Years Old

No, The Bible Doesn’t Say The Earth Is Only 6,000 Years Old March 16, 2017


Fundamentalists of the “young earth” variety will often claim that the earth is just 6,000 years old.

Their reasoning? The Bible says so.

In fact, I’ve been following Ken Ham lately, and some of the stuff being put out by Answers in Genesis (Ken has blocked me on Facebook, FWIW) to see if they’ve had any new arguments. I’m continually amazed at how the young earth view of the universe is considered a foundational bedrock of their Christian faith. In a house of cards built by their own hands, they will frequently claim that believing in a universe that is anything more than a few thousand years old is a threat to the entire faith system.

I suppose it goes like this: The Bible dates the earth = if you can’t trust the Bible on that one point, you can’t trust any of it = all Christian faith hinges on a young earth.

There’s only one, massive, glaring problem with that: The Bible doesn’t date the creation of the Universe. 

Dating the age of the universe isn’t a question the Bible deals with. It wasn’t even on the radar of the people who wrote it.

Here’s the round about way young-earth fundamentalists arrive at their young earth position:

The Bible does give detailed genealogies of the ancestors of Jesus, which include how long an individual was reported to have lived. When you add up the life spans of all those listed in the biblical genealogies, add 2,000 years since Christ, you get somewhere around 6,000 or so. And that is the entire argument of young-earth creationism.

While young-earth creationism is tragically flawed on multiple counts, its ultimate flaw is that it fails to take the Bible seriously, all while claiming a higher view of Scripture than anyone else.

You see, ancient genealogies such as those listed in Genesis are not absolute, never-skip-anyone, genealogies– because that’s not how ancient Hebrew genealogies even work. In fact, it is quite common to skip over folks who, for one reason or another, were not considered noteworthy in the specific genealogical context. Instead, those writing these family histories would often use the term “begat” to refer to anyone who is in your direct bloodline. Thus, if Joe was the dad of Frank, and Frank had a son named Larry, in an ancient genealogy it would be entirely normal to say, “Joe begat Larry” even though Joe is technically the grandfather of Larry.

We even see this in the New Testament where Jesus is called the “son of David.” Obviously Jesus was not the son of David, but in ancient language it was completely permissible to say so since Jesus did in fact come from the line of David.

That’s just how these things work.

But even if these genealogies were absolute, that still doesn’t date the earth– but we can get into those issues another time.

Unfortunately, those like Ken Ham and other young-earth creationists, not only fail to take science seriously– they truly fail to take the Bible seriously. Instead, they try to read and interpret the Bible through Western eyes, with modern questions, giving no thought to ancient language, context, ancient cultures, genre, or a host of other issues that biblical scholars deal with on a daily basis.

To quote Donald Trump, it’s “sad!” to see fellow Christians building their entire worldview on such a shaky premise, all while claiming theirs is the “sure foundation.” It gives people a false impression of Christianity, the Bible, and quite honestly, it makes us look silly.

In the end, the idea that the Bible teaches the earth is 6,000 years old is total nonsense– and those who take the Bible seriously would know that.

unafraid 300Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. 

Be sure to check out his new blog, right here, and follow on Facebook:

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  • mhelbert

    One of the other issues that Ham & Co. are afraid of is that if the Bible isn’t historically accurate, then there were no Adam & Eve, no temptation, no fall, and no need for redemption thru Christ. It’s a shallow theology, but it’s what they’ve got.

  • How to Create Atheists in 3 Easy Steps
    1. Drill into your youth that either the Earth is 6000 years old, or the Bible is completely false.
    2. Wait for your youth to discover the overwhelming landslide of evidence that the Earth is far, far older than 6000 years.
    3. Profit?

  • Stewart Felker

    // ancient genealogies such as those listed in Genesis are not absolute, never-skip-anyone, genealogies– because that’s not how ancient Hebrew genealogies even work. In fact, it is quite common to skip over folks who, for one reason or another, were not considered noteworthy in the specific genealogical context //

    What, you think that if the hypothetical “gaps” in the Biblical genealogies were filled out, it’d give us a full 200,000 years of human history? (That’d be especially surprising given that the genealogies also list the exact age at which the figures gave birth to their children — you know, “When Adam had lived 130 years, he became the father of [Seth],” etc.)

  • Herm

    Ben, Ben, Ben, Dr. Corey, don’t you know that nothing written in the entire Bible got written down until edited and passed verbatim from God, nothing? As versus the 1.6 billion Muslims who are all dead wrong to believe the exact same fact about their contradictory Quran.

    God/Allah administrates all His responsibilities of creation precisely by the revolutions of this earth’s sun and had it all written down in the Torah just over 2,500 years after all was created and then appended to that beginning in equally precise timing through the writings of the New Testament, and to those others’ writings of the Koran. Since then God has been silent to Christians at the end of the New Testament and to the Muslims at the end of the Quran. There, that should straighten up the sequence of things for even the weakest of believers.

  • john

    The Bible gives no age for the Earth. The genealogical assumptions are just that. The Bible is entirely historically accurate but some think they can deduce from it more than is there. That in no way invalidates the redemption story, trust the Bible not men.

  • What do you mean by “entirely historically accurate?” Are you saying that, whenever an event is described in a biblical writing, it objectively happened in a literal way that conforms to every detail of its portrayal?

  • otrotierra

    Ken Ham disagrees with you. Ken Ham wants you to trust Ken Ham’s un-biblical opinion of sentences typeset onto parchment.
    No thanks, I’ll stick with Jesus.

  • otrotierra

    Thank you Dr. Corey. Perhaps it is appropriate that others are left with “a false impression of Christianity” in response to Ken Ham’s un-biblical opinions, as Ken Ham’s un-biblical opinions are indeed false Christianity.

  • Don Every

    ‘Instead, they try to read and interpret the Bible through Western eyes,
    with modern questions, giving no thought to ancient language, context,
    ancient cultures, genre, or a host of other issues that biblical
    scholars deal with on a daily basis.’

    Meanings and usage of English have changed significantly in just thirty years, so how could they possibly make iron-clad declarations of truth from texts thousands of years old and ‘improved on’ all along the way? It beats me.
    Thanks for this Benjamin.

  • Completely agree.

    The earth is much, much older than 6000 years. The current age of the universe is now said to be 13.8 billion years. Man just can’t grasp that time frame.

    The bible and science do not disagree. If they do either science is wrong or the bible interpretation is incorrect. In this case it is clear that the 6000 year interpretation is incorrect.

    The better question is what happened during that spread of time from the creation of the universe to the creation of man.

  • Ashley Joyce Van Driel

    I use to believe that the earth was only about l2,000 years old and that dinosaurs were just made up creatures. Then I met my husband who was a real believer in those creatures, so after listening to him, I started thinking differently. Then, I came upon a TV program with Pastor Arnold Murrary from AR and he was explaining how the earth is millions of years old with 3 different earth ages. Now I don’t know everything or have total understanding of it all, but I know that my views on this matter is totally different that what I was taught in the Christian school and church that I grew up in.The Bible says to come, let us reason together and to study to show ourselves approved unto God. I guess everyone is studying out there in one or another, but depends on how and what references we are looking at like the original Greek, and so forth translations. Man cannot possibly know all there is to know about God and his creation. God is beyond our imagination. I praise God that I have an open mind to learn more and more about God.

  • ashpenaz

    What’s interesting is that all the materials and information needed for conscious life was there at the Big Bang. The universe unfolded according to laws which would at some point lead to beings which could think about the universe. Everything needed for Jesus to come into existence was there in the beginning–literally. Jesus was programmed into the cosmos. Every quark bouncing into every photon since the beginning of time led to us, the human race, and to Jesus. The first chapter of Genesis and the first chapter of John are a wonderful, poetic way of presenting the truth of the quantum universe.

  • Timothy Weston

    I grew up in a church that took the Bible literally. At that church, I suggested to one guy that the genealogies were more like ancestors rather than literal fathers and he replied with “You’re reading into it.” This was about 20 years ago. I would like to ask a literalist why God puts so much stock into an interpretation that is completely removed from the culture, time, and audience from when it was written.

  • mikeydidit

    The Genesis tells of the time when Adam man came to earth. Study scriptural chronology and see that Adam man came here 5.500 years before Christ. It is now 2017 so it totals 7517 years since the Genesis of Adam man who is the only one of his kind. The other races of people were here thgousands of years before Adam man.

  • Herm

    So that makes Adam late to the race? It is no wonder he needed a helper. Just ribbing you!

  • Herm

    You aren’t talking instant gratification, are you?

  • Herm

    As you are an example mankind is coming to grips with 13.8 billion years and trillions in national debt. At this rate it will most likely take to the end of eternity for mankind to grasp no beginning and no end. I calculated it out and that is an infinitely greater spread where Man was made in the image of God sometime after the big bang but before the end.

  • Chauffeur

    “On the first day….” The word “Day” in my dictionary includes the definition “a period of time”. (Do you remember back in the DAY when people used dictionaries?) Well anyway, that assumes the bible is limited to an English translation – which of course, it is not.

    But here’s a clue… After Cain killed Able, he fled to the “Land of Nod” where he built a city (Gen. 4:17). For whom?!? With whom??? (And who was his wife? His sister?!?!?) There were humanoids all over the place – but not all had “the breath of life” (soul) breathed into them. I call them “monkey people”. (Which makes me wonder about the ancestry of all the liberals around us today….but I digress…) Sort of explains how / why God allowed the Israelites to kill “every man woman and child” in some episodes.

  • Brandon Roberts

    as a nonchristian from what i remember the bible doesn’t mention the age of the earth. and even if it did doesn’t change the facts

  • Bones

    Yeah you’re pretty dumb.

    Obviously your Avatar is a selfie.

    And only a raving lunatic would see anything in Genesis as historical.

    It’s why Ken Ham left Australia.

    We don’t have many nutters like you to fall for his nonsense.

  • Bones

    My wife likes the bit about God cursing women with the pain of childbirth.

    If it wasn’t for Eve eating fruit, passing the equivalent of a coconut through the vagina would be as easy as taking a dump.

    On behalf of all the women whoever existed….

    Thanks God.

  • Jennny

    I first heard of creationism when a woman joined our church and, with evangelical zeal, promoted it. She arranged a conference to be addressed by prominent creationist speakers. She implied strongly that belief in a 6000yo Earth was as mandatory for salvation as belief in the gospel. It innoculated me against such thinking – like the man who told the church we weren’t truly christians if we weren’t vociferously pro-Israel.

  • Andy Warren-Rothlin

    Sorry, Ben, but this is a poor argument. There’s no evidence that any of the main biblical genealogies ever skip generations – all the cases we know of from other biblical stories are in fact father-to-son. The biblical texts surely do present these genealogies, within their own worldviews, as chronologies, though of course you’re right that that has little to do with the concerns of modern history or science.

  • Olaf Simons

    Hi Benjamin. I am – as a Historian of the Early Modern Period – not quite sure whether I should support your view and I feel it is theologically precarious. All my medieval and early modern scholars, theologians, historians, and (include astronomers like Isaac Newton) scientists, read the Bible as a historical source. You can of course claim that they all misunderstood the text – and that we have to get back to the true the allegorical reading. (That saves the Bible in a confrontation it is about to lose…) The problem is in this case, however, that you have to assume that all these people I have mentioned did not read the Bible properly. So? you might ask…Well, they tried, and they were convinced they did – the Bible had convinced them. Were they deceived by the Holy Scriptures? And are you in a better position because you have modern science enough to understand that this is not what the scriptures as truth can have said?

    I would actually follow my Early Modern authors as someone who is not interested too much in the question whether there is a God or not, and whether the Bible is right or not. I would follow them, because this was probably the greatest turn the Jewish nation could take when their authors wrote the Bible. They turned God into a historical agent and they turned their own national history into his privileged project of a contract God had supposedly offered them. The result was dramatic. History was from now onwards a divine project. Study history and you knew what God was up to – play your role and God would reward you, not only individually but as a nation… This is nothing any of the other religions around had dared to do and it is still outstanding. Christian History is rather bland – we are waiting for God’s second coming and it is taking a bit longer than expected, but Jewish history was altogether different: They recorded their history with an unprecedented openness to structural changes. They monitored how they developed from an archaic clan system of tribal dimensions into a modern nation. The history they wrote was aggressive – not exactly a history of a historical victory, it was rather constantly self critical. It was corrosive, however, in its attempt on all the surrounding histories. They loved mythical ages without any data. The Jewish history was different: it began after the flood in what is now 2300 BC right at a time when written documentations were beginning – it was highly rational and this is what my Early Modern scholars and scientists were ready to concede: Compared to all the rivaling histories – Roman, Greek or recently: Chinese – if you looked at the Bible this was rational, without mythical ages and a pantheon of Gods, the history of people under different historical conditions quite well chronicled. They understood what the authors of the Bible had in mind: their history was a counter project just as their universe was a counter project. Other nations had seen the sun and the stars as Gods – Jews saw them as what they were: lights God had given mankind, full stop.

    You reading turns the scholars of two millennia into fools who did not get it, it turns the Bible into a book that fooled them – and it turns the Bible in a new turn between the Milestones of Ken Ham and Bill Nye into a book of fable and allegory. I understand the honourable aim to save God’s word. But would it not have more grace to say that the Bible was science and history – and wrong as both, but at the same moment the best account the authors, believers could give? Can’t we accept the Bible as a statement of sincere – and propagandist – and often erroneous statements and cherish it as historical document?

    Does the Bible have to be God’s word and infallible – if necessary as an infallible allegory? Does that not mean that you remove the historical dynamite in an attempt to make it nice and fitting for you, the modern reader who has to act in a peculiar US-American conflict between parties that should not have this power? (I stated parts of the problem here: and here

  • Bones

    Dude, Early Modern authors didn’t even know about human conception, let alone dinosaurs, genetics or evolution.

    You may as well go back and believe beliefs of the Stone Age.

    The fools are those who read the Bible as history.

    In fact you turn the Bible into a complete laughing stock.

  • Bones

    Lol….the genealogies are nonsensical… the authors of Genesis had their birth certificates.

  • Andy Warren-Rothlin

    Not the point. How people choose to relate them to modern historiography or science is their own business (and fodder for internet trolls). I’m talking about literature and what the authors meant to say. Ben claims they didn’t mean ‘father-son’ or to relate genealogy and chronology. I disagree.

  • Ron McPherson

    I could be wrong so just speaking from memory, but doesn’t the genealogy presented in Matt 1 do that very thing (i.e. skip generations at times)?

  • Andy Warren-Rothlin

    Bones, you might want to show your ancestors the same respect you’d like to receive from your descendants! ;-)

  • Andy Warren-Rothlin

    I wasn’t thinking NT, but I’m happy to be proven wrong by some examples …

  • john

    Thanks Phil for such an obviously loaded question. I said that the Bible is entirely historically accurate. There is no archaeological or documentary evidence to to contrary but there is much supportive evidence. That is not the same thing as as saying, in a collection of 66 books that contain history, poetry, wisdom and allegory, that everything is to be taken literally. Nobody would realistically do that. For what it’s worth though I would go with the Creation account rather than evolution anyday

  • Tim

    One has to make some pretty massive jumps to conclusions to arrive at the notion that the biblical record even hints at the age of the earth. One big assumption that has to be made is that Adam and Eve were two literal, individual people (not just representative of an entire group) and that they were the absolute first (and only, at the time) humans ever on the earth. Even the biblical record belies this (the “Cain’s wife situation” in particular). The genetic evidence is also decidedly against this idea.

    Not to mention that the overall scientific evidence is overwhelmingly against a young earth.

  • That’s not what I asked. I asked if the -historical- sections are meant to be taken literally.

    Because, if so, there are serious archaeological and documentary problems with that, not the least of which come from the Bible itself.

    For instance, did David or Elhanan kill Goliath? Did Judas throw the thirty pieces of silver down in the Temple and go out and hang himself, or did he buy a field with that money and fall over in and burst apart? Did the Roman centurion at the foot of the cross say, “Surely this was a righteous man,” or “Surely this man was the son of God?” Did the sun stand still in the sky over Gibeon with the moon standing still over the valley of Aijalon during Joshua’s battle of five kings?

    Were plants created before man or was man created before plants? Did Jesus deliver the Beatitudes on a hill/mountain he had to ascend or a plain he had to come down to?

    Which of these did Jesus actually say?

    “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” (Mark 2:22)

    “Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” (Matt. 9:17)

    “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.'” (Luke 5:37-39)

    I do appreciate you clarifying about where you’re actually at with extrabiblical evidence though (i.e. it doesn’t matter).

  • pastoredsmith

    Actually, it is this article that is “total nonsense.” You ignore the obvious when you try to combine the “science” theories of man (evolution, Big Bang, etc) with Creation. Creation did just fine until a disgruntled preacher set out to prove the earth could have “evolved” without God in the picture; thus the “flawed anti-theology” of evil-ution. Accept the Bible. Ken Ham is spot on right.

  • Phil, please stop asking so many valid, uncomfortable questions. Just admit that you want to sin, and that’s why you insist on finding the discrepancies and contradictions in the inerrant, infallible word of God. After all, that’s the only reason anyone ever doubts that the Bible is 100% historically reliable in every detail.

  • Nick

    Where does the bible say how old the earth is? If it is as clear as you make it seem more of us would believe it.

    “evil-ution” This is a good catch phrase.

  • I’m not completely sure you are serious. Assuming you are though, what anti-theology exists in evolutionary biology that doesn’t exist in every other modern scientific endeavor? All science assumes methodological naturalism in order to function (though this doesn’t preclude divine activity outside the realm of science). If it didn’t, if science allowed for divine intervention as an explanation, then meteorologists would be interpreting God’s will through weather patterns along with making forecasts based on evidence.

  • Dude, you’re totally ruining this for me. I realize it looks like I’m just trying to understand the Bible on its own terms without projecting my own expectations onto it and take it seriously for what it is, but really, it’s just so I can continue with my sorcery, and I can’t let the Muggles find out.

  • Nimblewill

    For all we “know” we could have been created 6 days ago with the illusion of memories. We need to stop fighting over when and live like we were “created” and not accidents of some random occurrence.

  • Classic.

    “I’m not saying what you believe about creation is a salvation issue, but if you don’t believe in a literal 6 day creation, then you believe the Bible is false, and you’re pretty much going to Hell.”

  • john

    Now you have qualified your original question by adding “historical sections” which is not what you first asked. What you are actually doing is seeking to undermine the Scripture by pointing to apparent contradictions all of which have been picked over for centuries and I have no intention of explaining them again to you. Look them up, and while you are at it you can let me have your extra biblical contradictions.

  • I agree with your point, but I’m not sure Ben was trying to say what you’re criticizing. I think he was just pointing out one problem with claiming the genealogies give us insight into an unbroken line of history.

  • I’m not trying to “undermine the Scriptures,” although I’m not sure why you care since you obviously don’t take it very seriously.

    I’m trying to figure out what you mean by “entirely historically accurate,” because if you mean that whenever a statement appears in the Bible describing a past event, that event absolutely happened that way, I’d say that position is very unbiblical and disrespectful of the text, as well as being intellectually untenable.

    And yes, I’ve grown up my whole life reading the staggeringly idiotic and unlikely answers people have posed to those questions. I was hoping you could do better. That’s what I get for hoping. You’re just another parrot with a Bible in your head that has few connections to the actual one.

  • Al Cruise

    He believes in Ken Ham not the Bible. Much of fundamentalism works this way. Calvinists believe in Calvin not the Bible and the list goes on.

  • john

    Well Phil, now we know what spirit you are of. You are not interested in answers, only in your own opinion. You know nothing about me or about my knowledge and understanding of the Bible but that doesn’t stop you from offering your opinions and insults. No wonder you have little understanding

  • john

    They are not valid, they are the work of simpletons who lack the wit to understand the nature of the work. You are right though about the sin bit

  • Oh. You are either really deep in the fundamentalist bubble, or a magnificent poe. I admit I cannot tell.

  • Wes Edwards

    Yes we can make up scenarios that confirm our religious biases. That’s basically all man has been doing for ages, at least until the age of the internet. Does your concept of God include deliberately misleading information?

  • Yes, I have the spirit of someone supremely irritated with Christian LARPers who do not know Jesus, yet claim they have the truth. You guys are a bigger obstacle to the Kingdom than atheism.

  • john

    As I said you lack understanding

  • Wes Edwards

    Yes. Faith is defined as belief beyond reason. Science is based on evidence. If God were provable through science he’d be a part of the natural world and there would be no need for faith at all. In fact many of the things previously attributed to God have been proven to be a result of scientific processes.

  • john

    I confess you have me there. I have not the foggiest idea what you are talking about but I think I that you do not either.

  • You’re completely correct, in the narrow case of sussing out your intentions here. lol

  • Wes Edwards

    You have cognitive dissonance.

    1. You believe that the bible pretty much indicates that the earth is 6000 years old. You obviously don’t buy this so you seek to redefine the first day. Keep in mind that this story is not being told by God himself with a caveat for that first day. This story was told by and to our ancient man as truth who had no idea that a day was not a day nor a reason to believe that the the earth was older than that. If you believe in divine inspiration then why would God tell the story falsely?

    2. You have a problem with the OT God who sanctioned the killing of women and children among others and are filling in blanks with “monkey people”. Jesus Christ. If the bible says that they were women and children then they were women and children. Don’t give God a moral out by making up “monkey people”. Seriously, you are conflicted about what the bible says and you will not be satisfied until you adequately resolve this cognitive dissonance. Good Luck.

  • Wes Edwards


  • “In fact you turn the Bible into a complete laughing stock.”

    That’s probably one of the most aggravating things about all this for me. Instead of treating the Bible seriously (as we should all sacred texts and ancient literature), creationists and fundamentalists have made it an object of derision for educated people. They’ve associated the Bible unfairly with their ridiculous, impossible view of it. When I try to talk seriously about the Bible in my area of the country, the first thing intelligent people tend to summon to mind is the nearby Creation museum and Ark Encounter. It’s pitiful, because many of the writers of the Bible are worthy of study and reflection, and forward thinking for their time. (*For their time* being the operative phrase here, otherwise we risk judging them anachronistically.) Creationists have turned the Bible into a caricature of scientifically egregious errors which they demand we accept or risk damnation, rather than the interesting and important set of ancient near east religious writings it actually is.

    We really all (religious and non-religious) need to pry the Bible away from these people. It is/was too important to the development of Western civilization to allow them to control how it is interpreted and perceived in future generations.

  • Roberto Abril

    Phil, my respect for you. You make the difference. That’s the problem with Sola Biblia authoritarianism and the evasion of important questions that promote a better understanding and make it more coherent to the intellect. You are going to be insulted but you, as for me, are in the right track. Atheists use the ignorant christians as a laughingstock due to the incredible naivete and ignorance of so many uneducated Christians. Congratulations!

  • Wes Edwards

    Jesus, Muhammad, and David Koresh among others. God himself gives man free will to believe or disbelieve. Is this a diety that champions fate over free will? God is circumstance.

  • Matthew

    What gets me is this insistence on having to believe the creationist´s viewpoint regarding the Bible in order to be in right relationship with God.

    I have no idea how they can make such assertions.

  • Matthew, I think it’s because they’ve hooked up every fiber of their theology to being indispensable to the whole machine of their epistemology. Since all their doctrine is directly from God, compromise of any kind on any front is giving the devil a foothold. Every issue is a matter of the “gospel being at stake.” Forget about secular people or progressive Christians, just consider how conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists argue among themselves. That’s how such seemingly minor or even barely comprehensible doctrines become elevated to salvific significance and people’s faith and eternal destinations being called into question. (As an example, consider the recent kerfluffle conservatives got into over the doctine of the Eternal Submission of the Son – good luck sorting through that mess if you even cared to.)

    It’s also a matter of how these positions are rewarded for their utility in the culture wars. John Walton writing a nuanced book about unpacking the poetry of Genesis, and opening a conversation with scientific knowledge? Well, that sounds boring and compromising and liberal. But Al Mohler going forth and boldly declaring the Earth only appears ancient because it is “groaning?” Well, that’s courageous and conservative and he’s taking a stand for Jesus! What’s true or not doesn’t matter as much as whether or not the person in question is better at supporting the sacred values of the group.

    As the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has said, “Every group holds things sacred, and every group values the truth. And when the sacred and the truth come into conflict, every group throws the truth under the bus.” It’s something we all struggle with, but fundamentalism is an extreme strain of this blindness that we all possess to some degree.

  • Matthew

    Why does the Bible have to be 100% historically accurate in order for me to be 100% in relationship with God through Jesus Christ?

    Fundamentalists need to stop dying on these hills and focus on the essentials.

    (This comment was supposed to be for John … not Justin Conder — sorry)

  • Matthew

    What you say makes sense to me.

  • Wes Edwards

    It’s as if Donald Trump tweeted the bible in quotes. No, that was in quotes and I did not mean for you to take that story literally!

    The problem with Genesis is that it ties theology into the history of the earth and none of it can be corroborated as stated. You have to have original sin to convince people that they are fundamentally flawed and that they need Jesus. It’s the “this is why you need religion chapter.” It’s important and it should be believable as stated in the B-I-B-L-E -and it’s not.

    I expect more and more people to accept the creation story as an allegory. It really needs to be literal to prove that original sin is real though. It weakens the guilt mechanism used to drive conversion.

  • Wes Edwards

    Probably “They tried, they just didn’t know any better” is as much respect as any of us deserve.

  • Whenever I discuss the gospel of the kingdom with atheists, which is often, I have to jump the first hurdle of convincing them that Christians, by definition, are not raging idiots who do not actually care about logic, evidence, history, or reality in general. People like you have made this very difficult.

    Then, I have to jump the much larger hurdle of demonstrating that the contemporary evangelical narrative that they have rejected is only vaguely and loosely related to the actual Bible and the actual Jesus. Evangelicals love the Jesus in their heads that they believe in, and they believe the Bible they have written in their heads, but they know nothing about the Bible on its own terms and even less about what the actual Jesus thought or cared about. I have to spend a long time unspooling all the marketing you guys have done to make yourselves look like “real Christianity” when the truth is you reflect “real Christianity” in the same way Star Trek reflects NASA.

    Then, once we finally get around to talking about the -actual- Bible, we can actually start talking about its message, the faith it portrays, and the hope and vision there for the world. Some find that compelling; others do not. But the whole thing would be way easier if I didn’t have to cut through a ton of BS that John-Piper-Powered-Automatons like yourself masquerade as any kind of resemblance to what Jesus of Nazareth believed.

    I am a Christian, and Jesus Christ is my Lord, and I am glad evangelical churches are starting to bleed out, because maybe we can actually be about the work of the Kingdom without the milquetoast substitute you guys are offering. You are this age’s Pharisees who hold your traditions above the Word of God, and neither Christians nor non-Christians need you.

  • Thank you, Roberto. The encouragement means a lot.

  • Really great insight.

    We need a literal creation story so we can have original sin.

    We need original sin so we can have penal substitutionary atonement.

    We need penal substitutionary atonement so Jesus can be relevant.

    We need Jesus to be relevant because that’s how my tribe wins.

    That’s the story of Western theology in a nutshell.

  • Olaf,

    I reluctantly pulled your comment out of moderation because, near as I can tell, 90% of your comments are plugs for your own blog. I’m happy to have you participate in discussions, and of course there’s nothing wrong with referring to another blog, but I want to be clear this does not get to be a forum to drive traffic to your website, and your comment history shows a strong leaning in that direction.

    Having said that, per the substance of your post, I’d like to see the evidence that the most common understanding of Genesis 1 has historically been that it is literal historiography, and I assume you take into account the history of rabbinic tradition that long predates the early church fathers.

  • That’s how I see it, too. Last paragraph, dead on.

  • Lark62

    Chauffer said : “I call them “monkey people”. (Which makes me wonder about the ancestry of all the liberals around us today….but I digress…) Sort of explains how / why God allowed the Israelites to kill “every man woman and child” in some episodes.

    Wow. Humans always rationalize genocide by dehumanizing their victims. Conquistadors did it. Americans did it as we decimated Native Americans. Nazis raised it to an art form.

    This is nothing more than racist and ignorant horse shit.


  • Chauffeur

    You’re obviously a monkey person.

  • I’ve heard that sort of racist speculation about the “subhuman” nature of the massacres/killings of tribal people in the Old Testament before. As Wes indicated, cognitive dissonance takes over at a certain point to justify things and allow fundamentalists to still view themselves as holding the moral high ground. I had a conversation about this gruesome subject once with an evangelical and he doubled down, saying that – if anything – the Israelites hadn’t gone far enough in the massacres of pagan tribesmen/women and children, because if they had wiped out everyone around the Promised Land then there would be no trouble for modern Israel in the Middle East today. (I guess the implication being that the tribes that survived these purges are the modern inhabitants of countries surrounding Israel today.) That definitely left me with nothing more to say.

    After hearing something like that you have no trouble imagining how such people could be persuaded into being accomplices in genocide. To be honest, it all makes me sick to my stomach. But I guess that’s just the devil making me squeamish.

  • Lark62

    The age of the earth is 4.54 billion years, give or take a few. Creationists say the earth is 6,000 years old.

    The Continental US is approximately 2680 miles wide or 14,150,400 feet, depending on where one measures. An error of equal magnitude of 4.54 billion v 6,000 would put the Continental US at about 19 feet from coast to coast. 19 feet.

    Imagine teaching the Civil War, the Trail of Tears and westward expansion without ever acknowledging that the US is more than 19 feet wide. Imagine discussing baseball or football or soccer without mentioning that all those games are played on fields larger than 19 feet wide.

    This is what teachers have to do when they are intimidated into remaining silent on the basic facts of the age of the earth and evolution. All over the country, teachers know they will get loud and sustained complaints to principals and school boards from creationists if they mention these topics.

    I live in a progressive area with excellent schools. My son is leaning about evolution this year – with materials that never once use the word “evolution.”

  • Lark62

    There is a site called Genocide Watch that lists the 10 stages that happen when a country moves toward genocide. It isnt just sobering, it’s terrifying.

  • Adrian S

    Seeking a single argument to demolish everything is the wrong approach though. The issues of christianity and the the bible are beyond logic to solve and you can’t dismiss everything by dismissing one aspect. Orthodox and catholic christians, for example, don’t care that much about “original sin”, even if they admit it might be allegorical, they still think people are flawed and that there was a need for Jesus’ sacrifice (they would say that people are sinners even if we can’t know all the details about creation).

  • Adrian S

    That is not how an argument from ignorance fallacy works. In this case, the author is debunking the arguments of someone else, who are responsible for making the proper argumentation. By showing just one example of how the logic of that argumentation fails (there could have been people, who were skipped, in the genealogical records), it is enough to dismiss it entirely as flawed. And it was a correct way to do it.

  • Well, that’s why I said it was the story of “Western Theology,” and I think you’ll find that Roman Catholicism is actually pretty big on original sin.

    I don’t know what you mean by “seeking a single argument to demolish everything,” though. I’m not trying to demolish anything, except maybe the artificiality of narratives that need the Bible to say certain things in order to prop them up.

  • Chauffeur

    Wes – My “Monkey People” story is mostly tongue in cheek. (Mostly.) But let me reply to your comments….
    1. I don’t know if the bible indicates the earth is 6,000 or 60,000 years old – but it’s certainly less that the millions of years established by our scientists. The problem with fundamentalists (and scientists) who interpret the bible with demanding precision is that they are missing the point. One sad thing about Divine Inspiration is that it passes through the filter of a human mind…. who does the best he can.
    2. Your premise that God sanctioning the killing men, women and children as a bad thing is presumptuous. Dying isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. Going to hell is. We’re here to die – nobody escapes. He can take us in whatever manner He pleases.

  • Well, considering we’re talking about people lost to the mists of Israel’s history, I don’t think anybody is going to be coming up with “proof” that a specific Old Testament genealogy has excluded specific people.

    But if you’re looking for evidence that ancient genealogies excluded people for various reasons, there are those. Matthew’s genealogy is an obvious one, for example.

    The Abydos King List ( is an Egyptian genealogy that skips Pharaohs that were apparently considered illegitimate as well as skipping entire dynasties, but they do come out with three rows of 38 kings (although the last row is entirely Seti I).

    For a more thorough treatment of the subject, you might enjoy K.A. Kitchen’s “Ancient Orient and Old Testament.”

    Ben isn’t trying to prove the genealogies have gaps. He’s trying to demonstrate why we can’t just build an airtight chronology off them and feel this is trustworthy. All he has to do is demonstrate one counter-example, and I just showed you two.

  • Right on, Pastored Smith!

    Like, remember when somebody set out to prove that rain comes from water evaporating and condensing? But Jesus said that GOD SENDS THE RAIN! We don’t need any of this godless water cycle propaganda in our schools! Keep fighting the good fight, brother!

    Also, I heard some schools were teaching that the Earth was round and revolved around the Sun! We are truly living in godless times.

  • gimpi1

    I appreciate this. The whole idea of the Bible as a science or literal history text is simply not realistic.

  • Marja Erwin

    When there were other branches of humanity, they were just as good or bad people as anyone else, not “monkey people.”

    The most extensive evidence is for Neanderthals, and La Chapelle aux Saints 1, and Shanidar 1, show the willingness to care for one another.

  • Marja Erwin

    “Other races”?

  • Reptoids. The same ones that have infiltrated the government.

  • As a Moderator, I feel like I should be doing something here, but I can’t tell if this is a subtle attempt to be racist or a very unsubtle demonstration of not knowing very much. Updates on this as it develops.

    But, as for the groundings of your exegetical theory, all creatures received the ruach (Gen. 6:17).

  • Um, no. The propositions:

    “This ancient Levantine genealogy has gaps in it” (which is something that would be virtually impossible to prove or disprove)


    “There is no reason to assume an ancient Levantine genealogy has not been shaped given the demonstrable instances of genealogies that have been so shaped”

    are actually different propositions and not two ways of saying the same thing. You are saying the assumption that the genealogy is a straight record should be our default. I’m saying there’s no reason that should be our default. Why should it be our default?

    For instance, many Jewish apocalypses explain that they are allegories and what the symbols represent. The book of Revelation rarely, if ever, does this. Does that mean our assumption should be that Revelation is a newsreel play by play? OR would it make more sense to interpret it in light of the other examples of the genre we have.

    Basically, what you’re asking us to do is treat Matthew, the Abydos King List, and other genealogies that demonstrably have gaps as aberrations, but the “standard” should be that they don’t.

    But on what basis could you possibly defend that being our default assumption? Given ancient historiographical practices, I feel quite comfortable assuming that every last bit of historical presentation in the Bible was shaped for theological purposes, and I would think it to be extremely weird to take our contemporary standards for historiography and insist that be our fundamental assumption when coming to these ancient authors.

    In other words, I’d say the aberration would be a genealogy that -didn’t- massage the data in some way. Why would my position require me to prove that out for every genealogical instance whereas yours can safely be assumed without any proof whatsoever as a given?

  • Ron McPherson

    Does this help? From (which offers other examples as well if you’re interested)
    “The omissions in the genealogy of our Lord as given in Matthew 1 are familiar to all. Thus in verse 8 three names are dropped between Joram and Ozias (Uzziah), viz., Ahaziah (2 Kings 8:25), Joash (2 Kings 12:1), and Amaziah (2 Kings 14:1); and in verse 11 Johoiakim is omitted after Josiah (2 Kings 23:34; 1 Chron. 3:16); and in verse 1 the entire genealogy is summed up in two steps, “Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Other instances abound elsewhere; we mention only a few of the most striking. In 1 Chronicles 26:24 we read in a list of appointments made by King David (see 1 Chron. 24:3; 25:1; 26:26), that Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was ruler of the treasures; and again in 1 Chronicles 23:15, 16, we find it written, “The sons of Moses were Gershom and Eliezer. Of the sons of Gershom Shebuel was the chief.” Now it is absurd to suppose that the author of Chronicles was so grossly ignorant as to suppose that the grandson of Moses could be living in the reign of David, and appointed by him to a responsible office. Again, in the same connection (1 Chron. 26:31), we read that “among the Hebronites was Jerijah the chief;” and this Jerijah, or Jeriah (for the names are identical), was, according to 23:19, the first of the sons of Hebron, and Hebron was (v. 12) the son of Kohath, the son of Levi (v. 6). So that if no contraction in the genealogical lists is allowed, we have the great-grandson of Levi holding a prominent office in the reign of David.

  • Ron McPherson


  • Ron McPherson

    Beautifully stated

  • pastoredsmith

    You prove your own point with your idiotic sarcasm, Phil. We live in godless times because people postulate crazy theories that make no sense and distort the truth. Dump the sarcasm. It really makes you look like a hateful bigot that hates Christianity.

  • Ron McPherson

    Funny how people like you and I draw different conclusions all while reading the same stuff. I don’t see Phil (or Ben for that matter either) presuming guilt or innocence either way, but rather merely seeking objective truth wherever that leads.

  • Ron McPherson

    “It really makes you look like a hateful bigot that hates Christianity.”

    Well I guess that depends on what version of Christianity you mean

  • pastoredsmith

    There are only two versions of Christianity. The real thing and #fakechristianity. I am in the real version. I believe God’s Word to be His Word….therein is the only real Christianity found.

  • Chauffeur

    HI Phil! Rarely do I have the honor of communicating with a Moderator! First off – as mentioned in another post – my posts are mostly tongue-in-cheek – primarily with the intent of developing a conversation. Certainly, I can’t claim any particular person is a “Monkey Person”. (How could I know?) (Even if there is such a thing.) But the topic deserves conversation based on the lack of detail provided in Genesis. The ruach is not mentioned in Gen.6:17, but is mentioned in Gen 2:7 regarding Adam – which can be assumed to apply to his rib (Eve) and his offspring (Cain, Able and Seth). The other animals and vegetation have life, but not the breath of (eternal) life. In almost all instances when Jesus speaks of “life”, he isn’t using the same definition we ordinarily mean.

  • Ron McPherson

    Did Jesus say Kingdom of Heaven as recorded in Matthew, or rather Kingdom of God as recorded in Mark and Luke? Was one of the magi truly named Melchior or was it…no wait, that was on The Little Drummer Boy…sorry, never mind

  • Ron McPherson

    Looks like Phil just turned some tables over in the temple

  • Ron McPherson

    If you’re referring to the Bible as you and I both know it, then that must have made it really difficult for the early Christians in the first several centuries since there was no assembled canon for them to use when separating the wheat from the Tares. Poor souls only had the Spirit so hopefully that was enough for them seeing as they did not have benefit of any leather bound parchments. Plus, the way you defined “real Christianity” seems to me a bit disingenuous to the gospel as defined by Jesus (the one we claim to worship), because he didn’t frame it on those terms (again because there was no assembled canon so to speak).

  • Um, yes it is. The Hebrew text of Gen. 6:17 ends with “ruah hayyim mittahat hassamayim kol aser baares yigwa.” In English, it’s usually rendered “every creature that has the breath of life in it, on earth and under heaven, shall perish.” In fact, one place the ruach is not mentioned at all is in exactly the verse you said it was – Gen. 2:17. There, it’s just “nismat” and “hayyim.” No “ruach” (spirit) whatsoever.

    The words in Genesis do not mean eternal life. They just mean “spirit,” “breath,” and “living.” What Jesus may have meant by those terms in any given passage is irrelevant to the usage in Genesis.

  • I don’t mean this as scornfully as it might sound, but do you have something wrong with your brain? What’s all this stuff about “trials” and being found “guilty” and whatnot?

    Ancient historiography does not write history like contemporary historians do. They write history to communicate truths about the subject, not a newsreel of the actual events. This is just the way ancient historiography works. There’s no guilt or deception involved. That would be like saying the Old Testament is being purposefully deceptive because it’s in Hebrew and not English.

    Obviously, you have adopted a lot of assumptions about the Bible that the Bible itself does not support. I hope someday you decide to actually become acquainted with the book and let it speak to you instead of forcing it into what you require.

  • What sarcasm? I’m totally on board! Anytime the Bible says God is behind something, that rules out any kind of naturalistic explanation, too. Can’t be both! So, the water cycle is obviously a Satanic lie. Either God sends the rain like Jesus said, or natural processes cause water to evaporate, condense, and fall as precipitation.

    Because if those aren’t our only two choices, that would imply that the Bible gives us theological or spiritual insight into why creation is the way it is, and not scientific explanations for it.

    But you and I know that’s just stupid, right?

  • Don’t even get me started on “God causes the sun to shine.” Some godless heathens say the sun shines because of nuclear fusion reactions.

  • Stewart Felker

    I don’t think he was conclusively saying it; but I think it was was pretty unambiguous that he questioning whether the original intention of Genesis was to offer “absolute, never-skip-anyone, genealogies.”

    (Though, again, what I pointed out above conclusively *excludes* even the possibility of that skepticism.)

  • Herm

    The Bible is not the word of God, it tells of the word of God as spoken by others filled by the Holy Spirit. The real disciples of Christ take only His instructions as shared with the Teacher in them; Jesus and His disciples. To believe God’s word is completely contained in the Christian Bible is belittling God and truly is anti a living and capable Christ with all authority in heaven and on earth today as has been true for the past 1,984 years without pause.

    So no, no matter what you think of yourself, by your fruit, you are not a disciple of Christ immersed in the Spirit of truth.

  • Bones

    I have no problem with my descendants thinking I was an antiquated ignorant dinosaur given I’ll be dead and all.

    In fact I hope they do.

    Otherwise humanity hasn’t progressed.

  • Bones

    Given they aren’t real individuals makes any point moot.

  • Bones

    Things haven’t changed from Augustine’s time.


    “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].”

  • Chauffeur

    Phil, are you Jewish? That would help me understand why our scriptures are different… as clearly they are. I believe the meaning of life is consistent in both the O.T. and N.T. And although we understand the meaning of life differently, I respect your interpretation. However, please consider the possibility that your verse refers only to “every creature that has the breath of life in it…” and not every creature.

  • Bones

    Because if God didn’t create the earth in 6 x 24 hour days then Jesus didn’t die on the cross…..

    So they say….

    You can’t defeat that logic…….

  • Bones

    Actually it’s you who undermines scripture and makes it difficult for the rest of us with your addled nonsense….


    “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].

  • Bones


  • Bones


  • Bones

    And Caiaphas won’t like it.

  • Bones

    Fundamentalism is a sign of massive immaturity and insecurity.

  • Bones

    It’s theology built on a house of cards.

    Take one card away and it all comes crashing down.

    That’s why they defend it against all reason, facts and logic.

    It’s really a survival mechanism.

    Quite ironic really given what Jesus had to say about building your house on sand.

  • Bones

    Some of us have grown up and become more secure in who we are.

  • Bones

    That’s why Ken Ham left Australia. Really he’s just a science teacher who wanted to teach his own curriculum.

    He simply wouldn’t be allowed to teach his creationist nonsense over here.

    He had to find some like minded sheep to buy into his stuff.

    So he migrated to the US.

  • I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said something along the lines of: “Instead of yelling at others that God is on our side, perhaps we should try carefully making sure that we are on God’s side.”

    I’m not a Christian, personally, but I understand that sentiment and happen to pretty much agree with it. Much division– particularly on issues such as the age of the Earth– are based on the narcissistic ‘I’m sure I’m right’ human impulse rather than people allowing themselves to truly listen. It’s frustrating, but then the quest to fight this impulse can and does often succeed.

  • Indeed.

  • That Ken Ham is this influential and well-liked celebrity in the U.S. really make me feel sad about this country, honestly.

  • It’s ironic that the notion of absolutist time and dating (i.e. “the Earth can only be X years old, and anybody who disagrees is an evil monster who we must hate”) is a very new and novel thing, historically speaking. St. Augustine and multiple other Christian figures over centuries have stated that even from an explicitly devotional perspective that Genesis should be viewed as an ethical and moral document rather than the subject of tea-leaves reading.

  • That’s brilliant. Whether Christian or non-Christian, it’s truly an interesting and compelling point.

  • Bones

    I see you’ve made a house of cards Phil.

    Pull the bottom one out and down it all falls.

  • Ron McPherson


  • Dan Davis

    Say what you will the young earth creationists will fight tooth and nail never giving an inch just like the Pentecostals that believe “speaking in tongues” make them more righteous than other Christians. That leads us to the snake handlers and Shouting Methodists in the 19th Century. All a bunch of hooey and hogwash. Just try not to argue with them since they will never change their minds. As long as they do not wish their beliefs become the rule of that land that seems to be on the march with this new administration.

  • No, I’m not and I’m referring to the Hebrew Masoretic text. If you have a Hebrew text that differs, feel free to post what you’ve got. I can crack open the ol’ Septuagint, if you’d rather.

    In the Septuagint, Genesis 6:17 uses “pneuma” for the breath (same word for spirit) “zoes” for life. In 2:7, it’s “pnoen zoes.”

    So, from a purely textual standpoint, there is no reason to think that the spirit/breath than man has is any different from the spirit/breath that animals have. We may theologically choose to interpret that they are different, but the text itself does not make that distinction.

    It’s a mistake to assume that the meaning of any term is consistent between OT and NT just as it’s a mistake to assume the meaning is consistent even between individual verses. We have to look at the context. For instance, in Jonah 2:6, Jonah prays and says that the earth’s bars closed on him “forever.” This is a translation of olam in the Hebrew (or aion in the Septuagint) and, in this case, means three days. When Jesus says he will be with his disciples to the end of the age (aion), he does not mean three days. Nor is this what is meant by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:11 when he says that the end of the ages has come upon the Corinthians. Same word, various meanings, all dependent on context.

    Even in English, we don’t use the same word the same way every single time. “I nailed that song” means something different than “I nailed that loose two by four.”

    I can consider that “every creature that has the breath of life in it” is a way of saying “only human beings,” but I find it unlikely. Hyperbole is usually meant to expand a concept, not narrow it down. When I say I waited at the grocery store forever, I don’t mean it was a very short span of time. But like I said, it’s an interpretive choice. The text itself does not support an understanding that the animus of a human being is different than the animus of a cow.

    Now, what -is- different in Genesis is that man is made in the image of God. In other words, mankind has the capacity to look like God on the earth. This is something a a cow is incapable of doing except maybe in the most abstract of senses. I think the Genesis account isn’t teaching us that human beings are made of something fundamentally different than other creatures; I think it’s teaching us that our very creational purpose is to reflect God in the created order – individually and corporately – and a reasonable amount of the biblical story presents the successes and failures of that.

  • Chauffeur

    Thanks for your reply Phil, but we have a fundamental difference in our understanding of bible basics. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. For me, I can’t accept that cows have souls like people or that God is not consistent. And the description of God breathing life is not hyperbole, as it is when Jesus told us to pluck out an eye or cut off a hand. In fact, we’re so distant on basic things that I don’t know where to begin. I feel like the conversation could only continue if we were able to step back and resolve more generalized basic things such as “God is Good” and “God loves us.”

    On the other hand, perhaps your comments are intended to be provocative rather than conclusive. (I’ve done that too.) If so, Bravo! – you fooled me!

  • john

    If Jesus is your Lord why do you find it necessary to be so vulgar and insulting? Basically, you have decided to adopt an understanding of the Bible that allows you to ignore it’s central message and gives you an excuse to embrace sinful behaviour in the guise of love and inclusivity. Hardly original, Satan has been helping folk do that for centuries

  • The description of God breathing life isn’t hyperbole, but the statement, “I’m going to destroy every creature under heaven that draws breath” is. It’s a grand, epic statement of the totality of the destruction, not a clinical description where God is delineating the specific categories of what varieties of creatures He will and won’t destroy. Once again, it’s an interpretive choice, but I think it’s more likely that the text is communicating that God will destroy every living thing than the text is communicating that God is declaring that He will only destroy certain kinds of human creatures. I could be wrong.

    I understand you can’t accept that cows have “souls” like people, although I didn’t say that. The text also doesn’t say the breath is a “soul” – that’s a theological conclusion that you are drawing. But what I was merely illustrating is that the texts under examination themselves do not differentiate in their wording between the breath of life of a human and the breath of life of all creatures. You may personally choose to differentiate between them for other reasons, but the words themselves do not make that distinction. That’s all I was saying, and that’s true. If you can produce a manuscript where the words do make that distinction in the texts we were examining, then obviously I’m wrong about that, too, and I would really like to know about those manuscripts because I am a huge Bible nerd.

    Having said all that, I agree that we are probably far apart on what we permit as basic assumptions when we come to a biblical text. I’m at a point in my life when I’m actively trying not to let my pre-existing theology be the controlling narrative for biblical texts (and not always succeeding), and that assumption all by itself is probably going to put us in different places.

  • No, I have adopted an understanding of the Bible that allows me to ignore YOUR central message. I am quite explicitly telling you what you believe is only vaguely related to the Bible. I thought I was clear on that.

    I have no idea what you mean by giving myself “an excuse to embrace sinful behavior in the guise of love an inclusivity.” I am not trying to be inclusive with your views. I am saying they are not biblical and we’d all be better off without them. I do not accept the evangelical story as a valid form of the biblical narrative.

    Most evangelicals may be legitimately members of the kingdom of God because God is not dependent on your theology, and the vast majority of evangelicals I know are trying to at some level do the kinds of things faithfulness entails. It is certainly not up to me to decide who is in or out of the kingdom. But I explicitly reject your narrative. I neither love it nor wish to include it.

    If your objection is that I’m being too mean for a Christian, well, there’s probably some truth to that. I am often meaner than I wish I were in retrospect. But at the same time, some things just need to be denounced.

  • Travel ban on Australia! Except for you, Bones. But no more Ken Hams. You can keep those spiders, too.

  • john

    Seems to me that out of your own mouth you demostate the failure of your theology. Your arrogance and pride in your own opinion is your undoing. A little humility would do you good.

  • Ron McPherson

    “I’m at a point in my life when I’m actively trying not to let my
    pre-existing theology be the controlling narrative for biblical texts…:”

    I’m there as well and have been for awhile. But can be difficult and frustrating when I’m discussing it with those who are not there yet. And I’m not even talking about with those on this blog. I have to proceed with caution within even my small group inner circle. Most seem to be reasonably opened to challenging their long-held traditional views. Others not so much, so as the small group facilitator I have to dole it out in small doses (as well as being respectful to not openly challenge the core beliefs endorsed by the church we all attend). I don’t want to use the group to shove my own agenda down their throat. Plus I’m trying to be sensitive given that I was once there myself, completely closed minded to anything challenging my ‘theology.’ In retrospect, it’s sort of funny. Previously, I only purchased books, studies, or commentaries that largely aligned with my beliefs. Talk about the epitome of confirmation bias. Looking back, I believe it amounted to nothing much more than fear on my part. And while there can still be some discomfort in stepping out of the box, ultimately it seems to actually give freedom to living under Jesus’ greatest commandment – at least for me. Why should we be afraid of the truth, right? Didn’t Jesus say the truth would set us free? But for others who aren’t there yet, I can understand, but still frustrates me greatly at times. The irony is that those who stress the sanctity of scripture the most are often the very ones who are unwilling to accept its text as written. Just another example that this Christ following thing is more of a journey than a sprint.

  • John, I tell people that I could be wrong all the time. I’m still trying to figure this out the same as anyone. Am I susceptible to pride and ego? Sure am. Do I have issues with my own self-worth that get assuaged a little if I feel like I perform admirably in random comments on the Internet. Yes. Those are defects of character.

    But you’ll note that one difference between you and me is I don’t go around to blogs I disagree with and, of my own free will, tell them how wrong they are and substantiate that accusation by repeating positions that I equate with The Truth to which all must submit.

    But that is what you have done, and your ilk do it all the time. “Well, you guys are twisting the Word of God and don’t care about what the Bible says, because the Bible clearly teaches INSERT MY OWN VIEWS HERE.”

    That makes me irritated and, often, angry. What’s more is that said views are often theological constructions that bear virtually no relation to the Bible or its world or show any level of engagement with it. It’s like, when people tell me I’m stupid, that’s annoying. But when a stupid person tells me I’m stupid, it’s intolerable. Another character defect, possibly.

    Another thing you have going against you, as I mentioned before, is that the evangelical version of all this stuff currently rules the roost in America where I live. So, I’m not just responding to you; I’m responding to Empire. And the reach cannot be overstated, as I pointed out, in all my conversations with atheists, we do not approach the Bible from any kind of level of objectivity; we approach it from the evangelical one. And I am just so so tired of this. I feel like someone has made a declaration that only Justin Bieber songs are true music and everything else is a fraud and a pretender. Bach cantatas? Harmful wastes of time that detract from the REAL, TRUE music of Justin Bieber. When the fact is that, while Justin Bieber songs are recognizable as music, they are incredibly bankrupt of the depth, complexity, and power that one finds when they engage in the historical revelation of music.

    Very popular, though.

    I guess all that is my long way of saying that, if your biggest problem with me is pride in my own views, maybe you’d better ask yourself what prompted you to comment in the first place.

  • Ron, that was great. Thanks for sharing that bit of yourself.

    And when the smoke clears, what you described is maybe why I react so strongly. Like you, I was brought up in evangelicalism, eventually migrating to the Reformed variety, and equated that with The Truth. It was a closed system that was coherent as long as I stayed inside the system. Other ways of looking at God or the Bible or whatever were not just interesting, they were threats. Threats to my immortality, really, truth be told.

    If someone wants to believe in a young Earth, fine. If someone wants to think the beast in Revelation is the Turner Broadcasting Network, fine. But let’s just be honest about the fact that we’re just doing the best we can and don’t mistake our imports or exports for the actual biblical text. We all struggle to find meaning in those texts and struggle even harder to bring that meaning into our present context, and if someone can pony up to that, I’ve got no real problems with them, even if I think they’re wrong.

  • Kendall Furlong

    They’ll never change. Our job is to cordon them off to the degree possible (even recognizing the limitation of this approach) and give their young the option of knowledge. It will take many, many generations, but they will eventually be reduced to today’s Flat-Earther status.

  • CRPC

    Dr Corey makes some good points but even he lets himself down by falling into typical fundamentalist errors. He states, “Obviously Jesus was not the son of David, but in ancient language it was completely permissible to say so since Jesus did in fact come from the line of David.” But there is an obvious problem here since the genealogy that is provided here is that of Joseph, not Mary. According to the biblical narrative, Joseph was merely Jesus’s step father. He was not a blood relative and therefore the genealogy is irrelevant.

  • Martin

    AS ALWAYS, OLD ARGUMENTS THAT HAVE LONG BEEN REFUTED, COOKED UP AGAIN AS IF THEY WERE NEW. Maybe we should cordon off those who just won’t take the Bible at face value, citing so-called science when science actually confirms the biblical assertions. But they won’t have it, nor will they ever change, will they?
    For anyone vaguely interested in knowing the truth about missing generations, here’s the answer:
    Seems those who want to add gaps to the genealogies (which actually don’t help a bit in this discussion since they would only add some years but never millions of them) are not those who study Old Testament exegesis but those who would like to eisegete their ideas about origins into the Scriptures.
    Why is it that Patheos keeps publishing such nonsense? Where are the editors? Why is nobody taking either the Bible or science seriously, as this blogger asserts we should?

  • Martin

    … (if I may add) and stop accusing your opponents of not taking the Bible seriously, ignoring all their past arguments, or branding them as anti-science when the same could be said about yourselves. Again, are there no editors who can prevent this from happening?

  • Kathy Ruth

    The Bible was written, and more importantly, TRANSLATED from NON-original documents by MEN.

  • David Peebles

    Please cite some biblical assertions that science confirms. And how does so-called science differ from real science? I really would like to know.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “evil-ution” Ha! I see what you did there.

    “Ken Ham is spot on right.” I have yet to see that happen once.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I am intrigued by the common argument retort that someone who disagrees with one “hates Christianity” or “hates Jesus.” I guess that comes from someone assuming one’s self to be THE emissary of Christ himself.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “like the man who told the church we weren’t truly christians if we weren’t vociferously pro-Israel.”
    You should check out the comments on Ben’s posts about that topic. They’re doozies!

  • Jeff Preuss


  • David Peebles

    Wow. That is the purest, most unmitigated example of outright arrogance that I have ever seen.

    But that suggests a challenge for other true believers: who can top pastor ed for sheer arrogance? I suppose someone could claim to have a direct line to god, or Jesus, and that they discuss this stuff with each other on a regular basis (2 way communication, of course.) Or, that the individual is god him/herself.

  • Ron McPherson

    i can’t figure out if it’s purely a defense mechanism against the fear of being wrong such that one’s entire faith structure might crumble, or the fear of being wrong due to pride. Dang, I’ve been wrong a lot and admit it. It sure doesn’t help the witness to Christ and his church, that’s for sure, because it makes it harder to overcome when others see that type of reaction. It goes something like this: “That goes against whatever I was taught and have believed my whole life. Therefore I feel threatened. And because I feel threatened means you’re not of God. Discussion over!”

  • Jeff Preuss

    Jesus and I text all the time.

  • pastoredsmith

    That is totally funny, David. You gave me a good laugh. You call me an example of “outright arrogance” that you say you’ve never seen. You lie to yourself. The true arrogance is you looking in a mirror.
    You don’t know me. You have no idea about anything about me except that I believe the Bible to be true and the accurate Word of God and you don’t? Arrogance is looking God straight in the face, declaring that you understand the Bible is given from God to man as a gift to him and spitting in His face as you decry your human babblings to be true instead.
    You cannot truly love people unless you first accept God’s gift of love, His resurrected Son, Jesus Christ. All other types of love are counterfeit without God.

  • There is a great deal of discussion taking place as to who is right and who is wrong on the issue. There are many who discredit the assertion that the genealogy lists in the bible should not be considered without gaps, that is to say some hold the position that these are exact records of Jewish history and as such are flawless. Others disagree.

    The only thing I take away from this article is that no one can say with certainty how old the earth is since no one but God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were present at the creation of said earth. A case could possible by made that Satan or Lucifer was present but that would be a stretch since he was a created being.

    Now then for those who hold that the genealogy in the bible proves that the earth is 6,000 years old you are making the assumption that human life was placed on earth right after the creation of the sphere. Those who hold this view point to the 6 days of creation and say see that the earth was only 6 days old when man showed up. EXCEPT the earth was VOID and darkness covered the face of the deep. That time frame could have been a millennium for all we know until God spoke and created light and started the recreation process or the preparations for the habitation on earth by man.

    So then I challenge any man alive today to offer definitive proof that the earth is X number of years old since, like I previously stated none of us or for that matter no man was present at the beginning.

    What does it matter in light of eternity how old the earth is anyway? The only reason it matters is there are those who postulate the lie that man sorta evolved from lessor organism over a very long period of time thus making it necessary for the earth to have been here for a very long time. Again they can not prove this definitively they can only speculate and theorize, and the only one who can prove them wrong is the one who created it all in the first place Jesus.

  • Bones

    Dude, you are threatened by and hate anything which doesn’t conform to your insane ramblings.

    Grow up and stop being so insecure.

  • pastoredsmith

    I’m fully grown up, mature and do not hate anyone. And, I am anything but insecure. Why is it that all you people would rather attack me when you know nothing about me rather than debate the issue?
    Oh, I get it. Atheists. Or at least atheist playing rules. Atheist rule #1: When you know you cannot win a debate, destroy your opponent through vicious slanderings.
    I will debate the topic only from this point forth. Spout your hate if you must…..You are officially “on ignore.”

  • Bones

    You have the mental cognisance of a child.

    And yes your posts show how incredibly insecure you are.

  • pastoredsmith

    Thank you for agreeing with me, atheist. Goodbye.

  • Bones

    I wish you people would be honest for once.

    We know you hate us.

    That’s why you came on here to insult us with your wonderful (il)logic.

    BTW I’m not an atheist though people like you make me want to be one.

  • Bones

    Fmd, these people can’t interpret or comprehend a basic post.

    No wonder their understanding of the Bible is so addled.

    They have no critical comprehension skills whatsoever.

  • Bones

    The writers of Genesis weren’t there either.

    Good point.

  • Bones

    Someone watched the old miniseries V and thought it was a documentary.

    I loved that show.

  • Bones

    That’s why all forms of systematic theology are a barrier to understanding the bible.

  • Is this too obvious? One of the sons of Ham is Mizraim. Mizraim is the Hebrew name for Egypt, or rather, since it is a gramatically dual form, the two Egypts, Upper and Lower, united under a Pharaoh whose name escapes me. So these genealogies refer to groups, not individuals, making the whole dating enterprise absurd.

  • Ron McPherson

    And often must make the text say something it really doesn’t say

  • David Peebles

    Is Jesus on facebook? (And I don’t mean a Spanish or Mexican guy named “Hey Zeus.)

    Does Jesus text in English? Oh, I guess he would have to, being god and all-knowing and everything.

  • No, Jeff, Sleestaks are fictional. Reptoids are a serious threat. Now, come over here and get one of my patented tinfoil-covered “Make America Great Again” hats.

  • Thank you I guess

  • Bones

    No problem.

  • Mishekae Chickwenotchk

    Corey is a flaming liberal deceiver. To start with here Ken Ham’s evidence for a young earth is not based solely on detailed genealogies of the ancestors of Jesus, added to 2,000 years since Christ. That is the straw man he raises to make an argument which has nothing to do with the truth. This is a tactic of an evil deceiver. Ken Ham’s own website, Answers in Genesis, which gives 6 scientific evidences of a young earth
    shows when we take Scripture as written, it’s clear that the earth can’t be more than a few thousand years old—and from a biblical worldview, the scientific evidence agrees! It then also explains why Christians shouldn’t accept millions of years, just some of the reasons btw,
    Dr. Corey shows he has absolutely no respect for the authority of Scripture, the character of God, the doctrine of death, and the very foundation of the gospel. If this comment is deemed not to be published I will be glad to publish it and that fact across the internet as irrefutable evidence of the intention to deceive readers of Patheos.

  • David Peebles

    Actually, there is a growing body of evidence that corroborates the evolution of man from an ancestral ape. That evidence is substantial, and is being continually, methodically added to all the time. It includes fossil hominids and DNA analysis among other things.

    The great age of the earth (an understanding that has grown to make the earth well over 3 billion years old) wasn’t posited in order to allow for man’s evolution. Rather, that great age was the inescapable consequence of a growing body of knowledge of historical geology and understanding of geological processes (sedimentation, volcanism, glaciation, plate tectonics, mountain building and erosion, etc.)

    It doesn’t bother me that this won’t square with your world view. I just wish you wouldn’t try to foist it onto public education. I also think it is sad that a lot of children grow up with a fairy tale as their understanding of the world.

    Anyhow, you state that Jesus is the only one who can prove the scientific view is wrong. So, how about it, Jesus? Let’s see some of that proof.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Actually, He texts in Aramaic, but because everything is inerrant and clear without any context necessary for clarity, I completely understand.

  • Jesus probably isn’t moved by your dare, but you may do well to refrain from mocking Him. That being said how do you know that the so-called science paints a picture of an earth billions of years old? You have to make assumptions in science and since NO ONE LIVING or who has LIVED can honestly tell you if you are right or wrong I could sit here and tell you that the earth is 55 billion years old, or 10,000 years old. I could then go on to write an exhaustive tome on all the reasons why my study of the data led me to that conclusion and if I make it sound authoritative enough and put enough Ph.D.’s behind my name many folks may believe me. In fact, I could talk about tectonic plate realignment and the heat and friction it causes which has a direct effect on the fossil record, and the stress caused aging of rocks and other sedimentary elements. Thus making the exact age of the earth hard to calculate because I would have to replicate the exact conditions caused by the tremendous force of these tectonic shifts which can not currently be replicated in a lab. Also, I could put forth a hypothesis that the glacier activity and the concurrent ice age also had an aging effect on the sedimentary rock and other elements and further distorts the aging process.

    You could argue the science, but you could not argue the age question since you nor I or anyone else really knows for sure. Therefore the best we can offer is a GUESS. An educated guess but a guess none the less. And who is it that can judge the veracity of the education? If we all believe a lie and we teach others the myth is true it does not change the lie into the truth. Therefore you have nothing to fear if you feel the bible is a myth and neither do I if I believe evolution is a myth. In the end, the only thing that will remain is TRUTH.

    And you nor anyone else can tell me the TRUTH of how old the earth is, so don’t bore me with lame attempts.

  • WayneMan

    There is zero science from Ken Ham and company. Everything he has tried to publish has been reviewed and deemed either pseudo science or fabrication. AiG is about the only place he can publish his trash, because the scientific community has laughed him out of all legitimate scientific publications. I mean the man believes the Flintstones Cartoon was an actual documentary. LOL His interests seem to have always been schemes to fame and making money.

  • Bones

    You’ve been deceived.

    No surprises there.

    AIG is a complete fraud which undertakes no science whatsoever.

  • David Peebles

    What myth believers don’t understand about science is that it is self correcting. When new evidence or better explanations come along, corrections are made. Plate tectonics is quite new. It was not even part of geology when I studied it in college (a long time ago, admittedly). The body of evidence has grown significantly supporting it.
    Scientific theories are replaced when a better explanation–i.e. one that explains the evidence more satisfactorily–is devised. That new or modified theory then goes through a lot of testing, in the lab, in computer modeling, etc. It is also rigorously examined and critiqued by all the scientists in the field.

    Myths, of course, are not self correcting. Because you can’t prove that a myth is true or valid, You just have to accept it. Which is why I call faith belief in the unbelievable.

    You seem comfortable with your myths. More power to you. I just don’t want public policy or education to be burdened with those myths.

  • Bones

    He’s mocking your nonsense.

    And yes we know how old the Earth is.

    “The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years (4.54 × 109 years ± 1%). This dating is based on evidence from radiometric age-dating of meteorite material and is consistent with the radiometric ages of the oldest-known terrestrial and lunar samples.”

    Your argument against this is……but the Bible says……

  • Bones

    Lol….someone’s crying out for censorship because people accept facts.

    Is that you, Donald?

  • David Peebles

    Actually, on an expedition in Baja, our driver was Jesus. And it was a miracle the way he could make that old beater of a van negotiate some really rugged roads.

  • john

    What have I said that you should so accuse me? You people are very quick with your condemnations but not so good at honest discussion. I wonder what makes you so touchy

  • john

    I set my Google News preferences to include religion, Christianity and the Bible so naturally headlines pop up and I read an article. In this case I merely commented that the Bible does not give an age for the Earth which is not a very controversial statement and then you came along with your entrapments and aggressive agenda. My understanding of the Bibles message is the same as the early church fathers, the reformers, Wesley and good old Billy Graham. I am saved, born again spirit filled and walking daily with my Lord and Saviour. I don’t go around insulting people on website s but I am happy to point out a falsehood when I seen one. It is obvious to me where your live from your mindset. Your way of thinking is merely a product of your culture and will not last long

  • David Munson

    This whole article, and many comments following, reminded me of 2 Peter. It’s about a fifteen minute read if you want to see what I mean. That being said, the root of the issue here is not genealogies, Ken Ham, or the young earth science community, it is the disparagement of Scripture. It is absolutely critical to Christianity that the Bible is inerrant. There is truth to the premise, Dr. Corey, that if you can’t trust a portion of Scripture, what or who determines the sections of the Bible that are to be trusted? The Bible is the Word of God, inspired by God, not based upon “the radar of the people who wrote it.” Frankly sir, to say there are “gaps” in Scripture is to question the very God who wrote it! Absolutes must exist for hope to be realized! To take the Bible seriously one must look at what IS there and not search for what MAY be missing. An objective and honest look at what is found in Scripture will prove science. If it does not, one of two things has happened: the observer is mistaken or the Creator is deceitful. No man has literary license over the Bible!

  • john

    Dan I was saved in a Pentecostal Church and I can tell you that they don’t think that speaking in tongues makes them more righteous than other Christians. Furthermore you are calling the gifts that St Paul spoke of hooey and hogwash – you are wrong about that too

  • Bones

    Oh poor John….he likes condemning others and gets all sooky when the torch gets applied to him.

    This is what your nonsense is like…..

  • Mishekae Chickwenotchk

    Well said David, but you can’t deny that Corey misrepresents Ken Ham and young earth scientists by focusing upon only one aspect of scriptural evidence for a young earth and ignoring that there is much scientific evidence for it. That is a calculated intellectual dishonesty and straight from the pit of hell.

  • Mishekae Chickwenotchk

    You are the fraud sir, if you claim to be a christian, and I doubt that you are.

  • Mishekae Chickwenotchk

    0 science? tell that to the noted scientists on staff. What are your scientific credentials? I am certain you have none.

  • Mishekae Chickwenotchk

    Real science? You mean like the man made global warming fraud scientists? Oh, you mean the science that denies that there is a God or any supernatural explanation of anything? That is not true science my friend and if you put all your stock in what says there is nothing beyond the natural and so denies Christ, the Bible, God, all Christianity you are not a Christian of any sort. If your God is such science, you are an atheist, and what could any atheist know about God? True science does not provide evidence there is no God, it points to evidence there has to be a creator.

  • Every last one of those 6 evidences you linked to are either extreme manipulations of the data or are outright false.

  • No, my argument is you don’t know but you think you know therefore because you say it’s so others are supposed to believe it BUT YOU CAN’T PROVE IT because NOBODY KNOWS. Oh but you say this mathematical formula proves without a doubt that the earth’s age is X because we know how old the meteorite is right? NO WE DON’T. Your own formula is off by give or take .5 billion years. Not exactly an exact date now is it? Nice try but no one knows not even bible scholars. Only God knows and He ain’t telling.

  • Mishekae Chickwenotchk

    Extreme manipulations of the data and outright false? Like climate gate? Well then you should be happy about it. And you are a Christian? What denomination may I ask.

  • I just don’t want public policy or education to be burdened with those myths.

    Neither do I, so stop saying you know something that no one can know for a certainty. Scientific theories are just that theories which change as new theories are postulated and experimented with but in the end, they are only theories. Jesus, on the other hand, is a FACT.

  • So, I owned up to my flaws in this discussion. You are laboring to justify your behavior. But I’m the one with the pride problem. Hokay, then.

    You didn’t “merely comment” that the Bible does not give an age for the Earth. You also said “The Bible is entirely historically accurate but some think they can deduce from it more than is there. That in no way invalidates the redemption story, trust the Bible not men.”

    If you recall, I jumped in regarding your dogmatic and thoroughly unproven statement that “The Bible is entirely historically accurate,” and I didn’t even start out disagreeing, but trying to determine what you meant by that.

    In response, you accused me of loading my question and concluded with, “For what it’s worth though I would go with the Creation account rather than evolution anyday”

    When I asked some questions that would pose problems for a theory of biblical historicity that you still had yet to clarify, you responded with:

    “What you are actually doing is seeking to undermine the Scripture by pointing to apparent contradictions all of which have been picked over for centuries and I have no intention of explaining them again to you.”

    So, let’s not play innocent, here. If you had just posted, “The Bible doesn’t give an age for the Earth,” I wouldn’t have even noticed. But you had to follow through with a fundamentalist view of biblical history (ironically, not shared by many of the parties with whom you claim to share understanding of the Bible).

    “My understanding of the Bibles message is the same as the early church fathers, the reformers, Wesley and good old Billy Graham.”

    That statement right there shows that you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. That would be like me saying I have the same vision for America as George Washington, Frederick Douglass, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump.

    “I am saved, born again spirit filled and walking daily with my Lord and Saviour.”

    I had no idea you were a member of renewed, first century Israel. Your health regime is impressive. Alternately, it’s possible you have no idea what those categories mean.

    “I don’t go around insulting people on website s but I am happy to point out a falsehood when I seen one.”

    Right. When you believe someone is wrong, you enjoy telling them. I would suggest that there is a difference between “something I believe is wrong about the Bible” and “a falsehood,” but once again, I realize the Bible you have made up in your head is more authoritative for you than the actual Bible.

    “Your way of thinking is merely a product of your culture and will not last long.”

    I know you’re not big on empirical evidence, but the empirical evidence would suggest otherwise. I guess we’ll see. If, in fifty years, the theory of evolution has fallen to the wayside in favor of a literal understanding of Genesis 1, I’ll let you have bragging rights. Don’t think things are going that way, though.

  • Wow. You seem to think you know a lot about me. Incidentally, are you aware of the tu quoque fallacy? Anyway, none of that changes that all this great argumentation you accuse Ben of not addressing are not actually valid arguments, and I don’t think he’s required to address that. He also doesn’t refute the idea that unicorns exist, for example. I wouldn’t expect him to spend time on the whole moon dust thing, either.

    I’m a member of the only true denomination. We’re the only ones that got the Bible right after thousands of years. Probably yours.

  • Name a single “noteworthy” biologist or geologist on AiG’s staff and by what criteria they are “noted.”

  • Two questions for you:

    1. On what basis would you declare the Bible to be “inerrant?” Not the actual text of it, I assume.

    2. Why can’t the Bible be trusted if it is not scientifically accurate or only presents history as is relevant to its concerns? Would you throw out a history textbook if it misstated the distance from the Earth to the Sun or included the story about George Washington and the cherry tree?

  • Hilarious.

    “AiG is packed with real science!”

    *shows actual data that destroys AiG’s scientific claims*

    “Oh yeah? Well… uh… global warming isn’t real! BENGHAZI!”

  • john

    Where do you stand on homosexuality Phil? On abortion? On the virgin birth? The resurrection? On “No one comes to the Father but by me”? On the deity of Christ? On your own salvation?

  • No one living was around when Julius Caesar was alive, either, but I hope we can all agree he was real, was emperor of Rome, etc. We know these things because of artifacts and testimonies left in the aftermath of the phenomenon.

    Early life on Earth also left artifacts and “testimonies” behind.

  • I love how that article says that multiple translators of the Septuagint make it less reliable. Yes, having more than one person check your translation is MUCH less reliable than one person doing it all on their own.

    Also, as we discover older versions of biblical manuscripts, like the Dead Sea Scrolls, we are finding that the Septuagint often had access to older texts than the Masoretic text of the Old Testament. Not always, of course. That’s why both sources are valuable.

    Anyway, it’s sad when a site like that can’t even get biblical scholarship right.

  • David Flynn

    Talk about missing the point. Bishop James Usher is the one that came up with that figure. He added the genealogies and arrived at a 6000 y/o earth. The big problem with his calculations​ is, the Bible has people living nearly a thousand years. Ken Ham is often fond of saying, who are you going to listen to the word of god or the word of Man, not realizing that’s​ exactly what he’s doing.

  • john

    And to know what you are like we need only read your sneering posts. What is your purpose here? It can’t be to win others to your point of view because nobody would like to end up like you.

  • Adam King

    Surely someone must have noticed that they were all wackaloons, and then made a note of it.

  • Adam King

    Jesus is “a fact,” huh? Stop saying you know something that no one can know for a certainty! Were you there?

  • WayneMan

    Oh yes, the “scientists” Ham employs that follow Ham’s philosophy of, “If the evidence or science is in conflict with the Bible, the evidence or science must be wrong.”. That view is absolutely not the view of a real scientist.

  • IconoclastTwo

    Plate tectonics is also clearly an observable. There is (or was) a laser array in California that measured how much different sides of the San Andreas fault slipped after each earthquake, as well as on a yearly basis.

  • You mean like the letters found in the Christian bible written by folks who were alive when Jesus walked the earth? None of them address the age of the earth though.

  • No but like another poster put forth archaeology has found artifacts and ancient writings from the time frame that Jesus was alive. No one alive today was alive when Julius Caesar was alive but yet there is evidence of his life from antiquities. The same is true of Jesus you just do not want to believe that science. It’s okay I forgive you for you know not what you do.

  • Correct on both counts. And this is why, when we find marks of the past that tell us the age of the earth, we can run with them instead of dismissing them out of hand because “we weren’t there.”

  • LOL! Ok, fair enough.

  • I have answers to all those questions, although I’m not entirely clear on what it means to have a “stand on homosexuality,” but what value would my answering those questions offer you?

    Would my answering those questions make you more self-critical or less dogmatic or more knowledgeable about the history you claim to represent? I have a feeling it would not.

  • john

    Well you claim to know what kind of Christian I am so lets find out what sort you are . Of course if you are ashamed to say well that’s understandable. It would also help to demonstrate how much more knowledgeable you are than the rest of Christendom so that we may all learn from you

  • Tom Hanson

    The idea of the difference between ancient historiography and our Western culture’s sense of history might be better explained at this point by a simple example from the Gospels.

    John does not mention the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness at all. Mark merely states that He was tempted there.

    But Matthew in Chapter 4 lists the temptations’ chronology as 1) turn stones to bread and eat., 2) drop off the parapet of the Temple and the angels will bear you up, and 3rd). look at all the nations of the earth, you will rule them if you worship me (the Tempter).

    And so does Luke, in his own Chapter 4. However Luke lists the chronology as 1) stones to bread, 2)rule the nations of the earth, and 3) jump from the Temple parapet.

    Under today’s historiography it means, for a certainty chronological error by either Matthew or by Luke as far as the words of Jesus are concerned. Alternatively you would have to believe that the same temptations occurred twice, the only known difference being the order of the same temptations. Among the problems with this is that of all three evangelists who mention it, each knows of only one occurrence, not two or more, of Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness. To do that is to harmonize without a shred of evidence, and without a single shred of evidence a real historian would be drummed out of the profession.

    “Big deal!” says anyone with a lick of sense. That is, Catholics can say it, because of our sense of inerrancy, as Dei Verbum puts it : Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching firmly, faithfully, and without error that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation”(3:11). It leaves leeway for us to say “big hairy deal” along with the ancients about us not being able to establish what the order of the temptations actually was, and instead work on understanding what that temptation in the wilderness teaches us for our salvation.

    I am pretty sure that people who pride themselves on being fundamentalists holding to the most extreme possible
    definition of scriptural inerrancy will not agree with my pragmatic sense about this issue. For fellow Catholics of a fundamentalist persuasion on inerrancy I would urge you to check out church history and discover what the Church Fathers actually thought about this problem. You will I think learn that scholarly saints like Saint Augustine and others do not fit your perception of inerrancy very well.

  • Dude, you just don’t get it. You equating your views with “the rest of Christendom” is exactly the problem. You think disagreeing with -you- and disagreeing with -God- are basically the same thing, because you think of your own views coming down to you in an uninterrupted chain from Jesus, himself.

    Look at how you said what you just did. You assume that because I might (potentially) think differently than you about the deity of Christ or abortion (like both of those two things are plainly spelled out in the Bible and of equal importance – it didn’t escape me that “homosexuality” and “abortion” led your list of orthodox issues, but Jesus was somewhere near the end), then I think differently about the rest of Christianity and my views are inherently superior.

    But this is what isn’t sinking in, because you won’t actually look. You and your evangelical friends are not a direct, unfiltered representation of biblical teaching. You aren’t even a direct representation of the Reformation, much less teaching that goes back further than that.

    But because I know you’ll read this and all you’ll hear is white noise because it requires you to examine the beam in your own eye, and you’ll promptly accuse me of being evasive or afraid because I am a liar like my father the Devil or whatever, here’s an article I wrote awhile back on where I’m at with Trinitarianism these days (SPOILER ALERT: I affirm it, but probably in a way that will still make you angry and accuse me of rebelling against you/the clear voice of God in the Scriptures).

    You know, there was a group in the Gospels that claimed to be the gatekeepers of the Scriptures and holy tradition, even as it escaped them that they had over time left those moorings to create an unquestionable tradition of their own. They were also notorious for delighting in pointing out everyone else’s failures of orthodoxy as they defined them as well as sins as they saw them, but they were equally notoriously unable to own up to any sins or flaws in themselves.

    Do you know what group that was? HINT: Not the followers of Jesus.

  • Lark62

    “An objective and honest look at what is found in Scripture will prove science.”

    Except pi does not = 3
    Bats are not birds
    The earth was created after the sun
    Land animals came after fish.
    The sun cannot remain stationary in the sky.
    The Bible says Adam was created last, after other animals and plants and first, before other animals and plants.

  • The only trouble is NO ONE actually knows we are all just guessing as to the age of the earth the best estimate has a variable of =/- .5 billion years. Not what I would call an exact science. Even the young earth folks are not sure if it is 6 or 10 thousand. Again not what I would call an exact science. Of course we all know the earth is at least 6 thousand years old but no one knows exactly how old the third rock from the sun is. Therefore anything between 6 thousand to ? would all be good guesses.

  • Lark62

    There is zero scientific evidence for a young earth.


    There is more evidence supporting the idea that the United States is 19 feet from coast to coast than there is supporting the idea that the earth is anything less than 4 and a half billion years old.

  • But we’re not guessing. You seem to be implying that if we don’t have an eyewitness account or some method of pinpointing an exact date that all claims about the age of the Earth are equally valid.

    But we don’t adjudicate anything that way. For example, we have no eyewitness accounts that the Colorado River carved out the Grand Canyon. Maybe some Native American tribes did it. Maybe aliens did it with lasers.

    But what we find are the irregularities and geological striations we would expect from a normal pattern of a continuous stream of erosion that also happens to match the flow of the Colorado River. We can use what we know about erosion and such to make estimates about how long the Canyon has been around and what it might have looked like at various points in history. Further, there is a pretty solid range of variation, with some people claiming the Canyon got to its present state over 6 million years and others as many as 70 million years, while others have suggested that the basic contours of the Canyon are 70 million years old, but the River only started flowing through it 6 million years ago and carved out what we see, today.

    But that doesn’t mean -all- such statements are “guesses” or that all claims are equally valid or uncertain. If someone suggested the Grand Canyon was carved a thousand years ago by industrious hordes of Pueblo Indians, would you say, “Hey, your guess is as good as any. Nobody alive today was there to see it, so I guess there’s no way to know?”

  • Lark62

    There are mulitple types of evidence that support the age of the earth. This evidence exists, is verifiable and is consistent between various branches of science.

    There are many forms of scientific evidence in addition to “eyewitnesses”.

  • BUT and it is a big BUT no one, not you or the most educated rocket scientist, KNOWS for a certainty how old the earth is we can only GUESS. Might come close or miss it by +/- .5 billion years. That is a HUGE MISS.

  • Lark62

    “Scientific theories are just that theories”

    Sigh. In a scientific context, theory does not mean guess. Anyone who can’t even use the word theory properly should not attempt to discuss scientific concepts.

  • Lark62

    There is not one thing written while Jesus was supposedly alive that mentions Jesus. There is not one archeological artifact that relates to Jesus.

  • Your conclusion is absurd. Your argument actually proves my position more than it proves yours. HOW LONG did it actually take to carve the grand canyon? 6 million or 70 million years? THAT is a huge margin of error proving once again YOU DO NOT KNOW. I do not know. I really do not care to be honest because I do not worship the created but the Creator who made it all and He has existed before time began.

    Did a glacier from the ice age carve out the Grand Canyon? If so that would not have taken millions of years. Did the great earthquake recorded at the time of Noah’s flood cause the schism? If so that would not have taken millions of years. We can only base our knowledge on what we know and can observe, the trouble is we are dealing with a creator that you can not see and who can make mountains out of mole hills over night… literally.

    Unless of course you do not believe in a creator God.

  • Lark62

    The possible variance is NOT +/- .5 billion.

    It is +/- .05 billion years.

    4.54 × 10 to the 9th power years ± 1%

    A 1% variance either way is not a huge miss.

    6,000 versus 4,540,000,000 IS a huge miss.

  • Well, but I know the Grand Canyon didn’t spring up from nothing a thousand years ago. That’s my point. I don’t know if Taylor Swift’s net worth is a million dollars, a hundred million dollars, or half a million dollars, but I know it’s not 25 cents.

    I would argue that, if you really believe what you’re saying – that only an exact quantity of something that can be established by eyewitness account is the only thing we can use to adjudicate between claims, and in the absence of that, all claims are equally valid, then you would have a very interesting life.

    If your child is covered in cookie crumbs, and you have an empty cookie jar, and he says, “Dad, bandits broke in here and stole all the cookies. I tried to stop them and that’s why I’m covered with crumbs,” would you shrug your shoulders and go, “Well, ok, I mean, there’s no way to actually know what happened?”

    I mean, just think of what the world would look like if we all operated that way.

    “What, you think I deleted those files just because I spent all night in the server room and the files have incriminating evidence against me and the computer logs all say I was the one who deleted them and my fingerprints are all over the mainframe and there’s a sticky note on my monitor that says “Don’t forget to delete all those files, tonight?” I mean, nobody saw me, so there’s no way to know. It could have just as easily been Chinese hackers. Guess I’ll see you, tomorrow.”

    “Here’s a deed that says your great, great grandfather bought this land in 1920, and here’s an old photo of your cabin in 1923, and we found a bunch of tools in a box labeled ‘Tools I Used to Build the Cabin in 1922.’ Sure wish I knew how this cabin got here.”

  • Dan Davis

    My father was a Baptist preacher for over 50 years. I witnessed a discussion between him and a Pentecostal family member about speaking in tongues. He was told by this person he was not filled with the spirit like those that speak in tongues. I found the argument to be foolish. I may be “wrong” about the gifts of St. Paul but I refuse to venerate a human to the stature of a Saint. In your belief system there cannot be anyone more holy that the Trinity. I am happy that your belief system sustains you but I prefer reason before faith. Thanks for the discussion. Wrong or right is only perception. Only when one harms another with fear and/ or violence is that person wrong. Right is believing in absolute truth not writings of misogynistic tribal elders.

  • Can someone say DEAD SEA SCROLLS?

  • So you don’t know the exact date the earth appeared but you are giving yourself 4.54 X10 to the 9th power that somewhere in that time frame the earth appeared. Okay, that narrows it down.

  • Okay, you got me on a technicality… I was speaking English using the general definition of theory, but you are technically correct, but I did not use the word theory incorrectly in context. But to be clear. Scientific discovery starts with a hypothesis…

    A hypothesis is an educated guess, based on observation.

    It’s a prediction of cause and effect. Usually, a hypothesis can be supported or refuted through experimentation or more observation. A hypothesis can be disproven, but not proven to be true.

    In layman’s terms, it is an educated guess based on observable data and can be replicated through repeated experimentation it can only be proven to be wrong, but it can not be proven to be entirely accurate.

    Which then leads to a Scientific Theory…
    A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. A theory is valid as long as there is no evidence to dispute it. Therefore, theories can be disproven. Basically, if evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, then the hypothesis can become accepted as a good explanation of a phenomenon. One definition of a theory is to say it’s an accepted hypothesis.

    In layman’s terms again a scientific theory is a summation of repeated hypothesizes that have withstood repeated testing, but the theory only holds up as long as no evidence disputes it. Therefore just because there is no evidence does not mean that the theory is correct it only holds that, up to now, that is all we know about a subject. SUMMATION… Scientific theory is accepted guesses that have not yet been disproven by current knowledge.

    In other words, THIS IS OUR BEST GUESS, and so far no one has disputed it. Therefore, it must be true or at least that is what we think.

  • Lark62

    Sure I can say Dead Sea Scrolls. But no matter how many times one says it, there is still not one word about Jesus in them

  • Ron McPherson

    Really the larger question here is whether Hobbes was a figment of Calvin’s imagination or actually real (but only came alive when he was with Calvin). I’m going for the latter but admit I don’t have all the answers.

  • pacman2076

    Dear phil. Are you athiest. Agnostic or? Do you have a religion? Faith in Jesus? Perhaps only the original manuscripts are correct. Or are they wrong also?they are in the Jerusalem musium.

  • pacman2076

    Agreed. These are just his opinion. Man on earth. Starting with Adam. 10-12,000 years. Again just a historic opinion.

  • Lark62

    Thanks, but it isn’t a technicality. A theory is stronger than what you describe. A theory is an explanation that accounts for all of the evidence and for which no contradictory evidence exists.

    Yes, a theory can be revised based on new evidence, but the updated theory must account for the new piece of evidence AND all existing evidence.

    A theory is not a best guess. A theory is a well thought out, well documented conclusion based on evidence.

    Atomic Theory
    Cell Theory
    The Germ Theory of Disease
    The Theory of Plate Tectonics
    The Heliocentric Theory of the Solar System
    The Theory of Evolution

    All of these are supported by evidence. While each of these are subject to revision based on new evidence, the existing evidence for each is so massive that new evidence is unlikely to overturn the entire theory. For example, we may learn more about the planets but there is essentially no chance that we will find evidence that the sun orbits our moon.

  • Artistree

    If it is important to God that we view the Bible as “inerrant” then why didn’t He perfectly preserve the Scriptures in their original form ? Why are there textual variants in text type families ? Why so many differences in the manuscripts ? For example, when Luke quotes the Old Testament genealogy leading up to the birth of Jesus, he is working from a different text type of Genesis which contains a number of differences and substantial age differences than what your English Bible is based on for the Genesis text. So if Luke were to have done the “math” to figure out “how old the earth was” in the time of his writing, he would have come up with a different “age” for the earth than the calculations of Bishop Usher based his assumptions on.

  • Artistree

    We do not have the original manuscripts. They no longer exist. We only have copies of the originals and those copies differ from one another. The copies we have can be broken into various text type families and although there is substantial agreement in the manuscripts that we have, there are also significant differences and disagreements between the text types.

  • I’ll give you the Dead Sea Scrolls but there is written historical evidence of Jesus the Christ readily available.

    [N]either human effort nor the emperor’s generosity nor the placating of the gods ended the scandalous belief that the fire had been ordered [by Nero]. Therefore, to put down the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits and punished in the most unusual ways those hated for their shameful acts … whom the crowd called “Chrestians.” The founder of this name, Christ [Christus in Latin], had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate … Suppressed for a time, the deadly superstition erupted again not only in Judea, the origin of this evil, but also in the city [Rome], where all things horrible and shameful from everywhere come together and become popular. Tacitus

  • I am a Christian. I believe in what God did in Jesus Christ to save his people and, as a result, I follow that God best as I can figure out what it means to embody the world He intended.

    As to the original manuscripts, we do not have them. They have been lost to the ages, but every so often, a Bedouin kicks over some pottery and we end up with some very old manuscripts for portions of the Bible. Those would be the Dead Sea Scrolls which are in the Jerusalem Museum. As old as they are, though, they are not the original manuscripts.

    I don’t know what you mean by being “correct” or “wrong.” Since you’re responding to my questions for David, I’m guessing you’re asking if I think the original manuscripts are more scientifically accurate or historically detailed than the copies we have, today, and if that’s what you’re asking, then no, I don’t. I’d say the collective testimony of the many manuscripts we have today is not enormously different than the original sources. But I also haven’t seen the original sources, and neither has anyone else for centuries and centuries.

    But none of that speaks to whether or not the Bible is trustworthy for what it is, and I believe it is. But I do not consider it a document describing even ancient science, much less modern science. Nor do I believe any of the writings are meant to be journals or documentaries.

  • As to the theory as to the age of the earth, this can neither be proven nor disproven since no one knows nor can know with absolute certainty, so we take a stab at it and maybe will be close within a few million or billion or thousand years.

    That is all I am saying. No one will ever know unless God himself shows up and gives a scientific talk on the subject which is about as likely as me growing younger instead of older each year.

  • Nice try I get what you are trying to say but again the argument is HOW OLD IS THE EARTH… NO ONE KNOWS that is a fact. Now then during the course of known human history there is a trace and ancestral records one can access to determine who lived where and when. BUT NO ONE knows how old the earth is or how long it took to carve the grand canyon.

    The evidence is clear the EARTH is here. How long has it been here? Oh at least as long as recorded human history, perhaps longer but how long exactly no one knows. There is a huge canyon out west we all know it exists and canyons are usually carved by rivers that wear away the rock but how long did it take we are not sure but you can take our word on it that it took a LONG LONG TIME. REALLY? Are you absolutely sure of that? Could there be another explanation of how that canyon got there that does not require millions of years of river erosion? If so what are those other options?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Gotta tell ya, nothing says “Come to Jesus” like a “pastor” popping into the. comments to call everyone who disagrees with him an atheist. Good stuff.

  • If your criterion for knowledge is 100% indisputable certainty that no future evidence could ever contradict, there’s not much that we “know” in that sense, if anything. I don’t “know” that I’m not in the Matrix and a computer simulation is not feeding me sensory data that gives the illusion of me typing on a laptop, even though I’m really catatonic in a vat. I don’t “know” that the universe didn’t come into existence five seconds ago and we all have collective memories that are actually wrong. I don’t “know” that if I jump off the roof a hundred times and fall down that I’ll fall down on the 101st time.

    This is just one of the traits of inductive reasoning and empirical evidence. We go with where the probabilities take us based on what we observe. If someone asks me if I can jump off the roof and fly, I don’t say, “Well, there’s no way to know for sure. I can only offer my best guess.” I say, “No,” because the amount of observable evidence we have for such a hypothesis is so overwhelmingly negative and also involves well established mechanics of physics and weak forces that I am quite comfortable labeling that “knowledge.” If you aren’t, that’s fine, but just be aware that you’re going to have to kick out virtually everything we think of as knowledge and label it a “best guess.”

    So, sure, I can think of other explanations for the Grand Canyon besides erosion. I gave you some. Maybe a horde of Pueblo Indians carved it out and, for whatever reason, we just haven’t been able to find any of their tools, corpses, homes, or any other evidence that actually happened, and all the irregularities of the Canyon are by design.

    Maybe there are aliens and they carved out the Canyon with their advanced technology, and eventually a river ended up there.

    But what seems far more likely, since we can observe rivers eroding their way into canyons, and we can examine the rock of the canyon and see striations, and we can examine the deposited material downstream, and we know how long it takes for rivers to erode rock in a general range (which is not a constant rate), and we know within a certain range how much deposit we can expect to be carried away over a certain rate over time, and we find that the observable characteristics of the Grand Canyon comply with this, I do not consider the “space alien” theory (or the “we’re in the Matrix and there is no Grand Canyon” theory) to be an equally valid proposal.

    If someone were to offer a way the Canyon was formed other than our typical observations of how canyons are formed, I’d want to know what their basis was.

  • Lark62

    That is merely evidence of Christians, and a summary of what these Christians believed. It provides no evidence of any wandering Jewish preacher.

  • Lark62

    The age of the earth is based on multiple lines of evidence. It is solid within a variation of about 1% up or down. We may not known the exact age, but it is pretty close to 4,543,000,000 years. We are certain that it is nowhere near 10,000 years.

  • WayneMan
  • Ron McPherson

    I seriously sometimes wonder if people think they’re worshipping God when in reality they’re just worshiping the Bible without realizing it

  • Though I rather suspect Dr. Corey probably has read up on such research, one piece to add to the puzzle is that Matthew and Luke offer contradictory genealogies.

  • john williams

    Having read many similar articles and commentry on this topic of the age of the earth and the role of the Bible in this discussion it is clear that the purpose of the Biblial writers is not clealy understood.
    These questions need to be honestly answered.
    Is the bible a scientific document?
    The Bible does contain some textual parts that reflect the scietific understanding of things as it was at the time of the writer, but scientific understandings do chage with time.
    Is the Bible a historical document?
    The Bibe does contain some textual parts that reflect the historicl knowledge of the writer, sometimes accurate but some times inaccurate.
    Who were these writers?
    What was their purpose in writing?
    They are writers, some known, some unknown, some to whom the writing is attributed, with a paticular purpose of telling a rather unique story and like all stories it has a beginning, complications, resolutions and an eventual conclusion.
    It has two characters God and Humankind.
    It tells of the ups and downs of the relationship between these two characters over thousands of years.
    It tell of what strengthens that relationship and what breaks or harms that relationship.
    It also tells of the relationships between the members of Humankind and what stregthens and what breaks or harms these relationships.
    Throughtout its entirity it is consistent in the undelying principles that strengthen these relationships and break or harm these relationships. Herein lies its cositent truth.
    In as much as we are all part of Humankind, we are part of this ongoing story. It is our story. Each of us may be like the writers of this story, perons of deep faith and trust in all that the Bible tells that builds, firstly a strong and lasting reationship between God and Humankind and secondly strong and lasting relationships between the members of Humanhind or we can ignore it, as many have and do.
    An interesting question.
    Which Biblical personality would best reflect your personality?
    Just asking.

  • Herm

    … there’s too many bugs in the belfry … it just bats me to no end.

  • Herm


  • Herm

    There is truth to the premise, Dr. Corey, that if you can’t trust a portion of Scripture, what or who determines the sections of the Bible that are to be trusted?

    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

    John 16:12-15 (NIV2011)

  • Ron McPherson

    Ok Herm, if you’re gonna be Philip then I’ll be the Ethiopian eunuch
    : ))

  • BT

    TMI, man. TMI.

  • Lark62

    There are far more than those two possibilities.

    Of course, since God’s infallible book says Jesus was crucified both on Passover and on the day before Passover, accuracy may not be its strong point.

  • WayneMan

    And too often, without reading it.

  • WayneMan

    Here is a fun multiple choice quiz that illustrates contradictions. No matter what answer you pick, it is shown wrong based on alternative Biblical quotes.

  • Dave

    You forgot the one that has the most evidence for it – evolution.
    I admire your perseverance.
    OEW did not arrive at his position by using the scientific method, he used faith, Hebrews 11:1.

  • Dave

    Bald Eagle?

  • I’m not sure how the “profit” line fits the equation, but I did begin as fundamentalist, so I suppose your steps describe a very small part of my conversion to atheism.

    However, I became a liberal Christian before I became an atheist; and I have seen such steps lead to more liberal Christians than atheists. I’m not picky, as long as a little more reason wins the day.

  • Marja Erwin

    (1) While researchers try to avoid contamination at every step, people aren’t perfect, and it doesn’t take much as each technique approaches its limits. It wouldn’t take much modern carbon to make a sample with no radiocarbon seem like it had a barely-measurable fraction of radiocarbon. C14 works best over the past 13,900 years, where there’s more vestigial radiocarbon, and where there are tree-ring sequences to measure changes in atmospheric carbon. K-Ar works best beyond the past 100,000 years.

    (2) I don’t know enough about orbital mechanics to say whether the recession of the moon ought to slow down, or speed up, or stay the same.

    (3) Magnetic minerals in rocks record the strength and direction of the magnetic field when they formed. Many of these minerals indicate reversals. A simple gradual decay can’t explain reversals, though periods of decay and reformation can. Mainstream geologists now regard magnetic anomalies in the ocean floor as important evidence of continental drift, so I expect earlier geologists examined these and examined any other explanations during the controversies over continental drift.

    (4) Some articles suggest contamination of the T-Rex sample.

    (5) Now, the population’s expanding because of improving medicine, improving sanitation, increasing fertilizer supplies, and so on. In the past, populations have sometimes expanded, sometimes declined. If we can take urban area as a proxy of population, Roman Britain was far more populous than post-Roman Britain and early medieval England.

    (6) I’ve seen flash-flood deposits. If you’ve got rocky outcrops upstream, you get boulders at the bottom of the deposit, and then progressively smaller rocks towards the top, and then boulders at the bottom of the next flash-flood deposit. But you don’t get folded strata. Flood won’t created folded strata. Gradual pressure over very long periods might.

  • Dave

    If God is interventionist, which I would assume otherwise we would have no knowledge of Him, Jesus would never have existed, and prayer would be pointless, then these interactions with the natural world would be testable by the scientific method.
    When these interactions happened, and there could be no natural explanation, we would see a breakdown of the scientific laws that would be obvious to the observer.
    When that happens I will question my atheism.

  • Lark62

    Evolution is there. It is the last on the list.

    But you are correct that the last paragraph applies to Evolution as well. The evidence supporting evolution is massive and even if new info is found that necessitates an update to the theory, the revised theory must still account for every bit of the existing evidence.

    The creationist trick is to focus on one small detail and attack that detail in isolation, directing attention away from the mountains of evidence.

  • Lark62

    You do know I hope that 4.54 x 10 to 9th power is scientific notation for a specific number, not a range.

    It is the +/- 1% that creates the range. And that is a very reasonable range.

  • Bones

    I wonder who wins out of the Theory of Evolution or the Theory of Creation?

    I’ve got my money on Evolution.

    After all it’s saving our lives.

  • Lark62

    Yep. There is more to learn about the formation of the Grand Canyon. So? The answer will be arrived at by acquiring and reviewing evidence.

    But we do have enough evidence to show the Grand Canyon is at least 7 million years old. And the evidence is clear that it was not formed by a flood or a glacier or an earthquake. Because like all other geological processes and events, floods, glaciers and earthquakes leave evidence, and no evidence in support of any of those things is present.

  • Bones

    Kangaroos Originated in the Middle East?
    Another Inanity from Answers in Genesis.

    Most if not all of what passes for science in creationist circles is simplistic nonsense. Below is the latest example of this from Answers in Genesis (AiG) the web site of the “premium” creationist organisation. It was received in an e-mail from AiG under the heading, AiG- U.S. WEEKLY NEWS May 25, 2001 Answers in Genesis Ministries International. With illogical pap like this being force fed to AiG’s credulous followers it’s no wonder that many of our children are growing up with little or no understanding of science.

    “Q: Why are kangaroos found only in Australia?

    A: This may surprise lots of people, but that’s not the case.

    It’s interesting: at our Answers in Genesis seminars, we ask our audience:

    How many of you believe kangaroos once lived in the Middle East? No one puts up their hands. Then we ask: How many believe that Noah’s Flood was a real event? All hands go up.

    How many believe that Noah’s Ark was a real boat? Yes, they agree to that, too. How many believe that two of every kind of land animal, including kangaroos, went on the Ark? Yes, they accept that.

    Then we ask: How many people believe that the Ark landed in the Middle East? Up go the hands. How many people now believe that kangaroos came off the Ark after the Flood? They start to chuckle as they put their hands up.

    Then we say, how many believe kangaroos once lived in the Middle East? All the hands now go up.

    You see, when we think from a Biblical perspective, we know that all land animals must’ve once lived in the Middle East.”

    Apparently, that’s science…..

  • Lark62

    Yep. It’s kinda like trying to decide which is bigger – the Pacific Ocean or my drinking glass full of water. Sure people claim that ships take weeks to cross the ocean. And people in airplanes have seen vast expanses of water. And we can track WWII naval battles. And scientists have mapped the ocean floor. And. And. And.

    But how can we KNOW that the Pacific Ocean is larger than a drinking glass full of water? All of those people could be in on the giant conspiracy.

  • john

    No Phil It’s you that doesn’t get it. I read your article on the Trinity it’s verbose, full of false premises and your conclusion is utterly crass. In short, drivel. As I said at the outset you seek to undermine the Scripture and now to undermine the deity of Christ and to what end? To promote the cause of Christ? No, to allow you to excuse sin. You claim to be a Christian but I do not think you are. You are indeed, as you say, of your father the devil with your evasive answers and weasel words. This is my final comment to you, but ponder on my final question. Your own salvation?

  • john

    Did you also find Jesus’ instruction to his disciples to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit to be foolish too?

  • john

    Well Dago you seem to have edited your post. I preferred the earlier version. Such a glorious rant great fun. and confirmed my earlier comment Touchy lot aren’t you?

  • Bones

    Creationists do not do science.

    They take other scientists’ work and twist it to fit in with their ideology,

  • Bones

    Except this conspiracy has probably saved their asses more than once.

  • Bones

    That’s fine John….I’m not here to make you like me…I’m not like you. I’m here to confront your abject nonsense.

  • Bones

    I haven’t measured the distance to the Sun either…nor the diameter of Saturn….but I have a fair idea of what they both are.

  • Bones

    Nope….you and AiG are the frauds…..

  • Bones

    Yeah Jesus hates Phil because he doesn’t believe the same as you.

    That message is very clear.

  • Bones

    Lol…..who’s touchy???…..have you got over your sulk yet?

  • Bones

    Dan, there are no snake handling churches in Australia.

    We have the deadliest snakes here in the world.

    Pick a King Brown up and and not even Jesus will save you.

  • Ron McPherson

    Land of the Lost. Loved it

  • Well, I must have the Holy Spirit since I prophetically predicted your response. If I thought you had the slightest idea of what Jesus might think about me, I might take your opinion as worth something.

  • They just wanted the oil!

  • That was actually pretty good.

    If I had to pick a biblical personality, it might be the rich young ruler that Jesus instructed to sell all he had and give to the poor. I am trying very hard to respond differently than he did, not always successfully.

  • WayneMan

    Real science? You mean like the ridiculous flood story. There are so many issues it’s hard to know where to start. One point is simply water. An approximation finds that we need on the order of 4.5 trillion cubic kilometers to flood the whole earth past Mount Everest. The amount of water on the entire earth’s surface (all oceans and seas combined) is roughly 1.4 billion cubic kilometers. In case you’re not good with numbers, that’s over 1,000 times more water. If the ringwoodite in the earth holds only 3x the amount of water that’s on the surface, that’s not even close. The “science” Ken Ham quotes was either using extreme exaggeration, or they just didn’t do the math. It would have to rain 700 feet of water per day every day for the 40 days and nights. Absurd doesn’t even come close to how ridiculous this story is.

  • john

    Don’t worry about me worry about your blood pressure and sense of humour bypass

  • Realist1234

    I dont think youre in a position to say someone isnt a Christian simply because they do not believe the Earth is 6,000 years old. As Phil will tell you (!) I am not what one would call a ‘liberal’, but I dont accept either the Biblical or scientific evidence points us to that conclusion. You are on very shaky ground if you believe the genealogies in the Bible can be used to accurately calculate timescales.

    As far as I am aware, the scientific evidence points to a Universe of around 13.5 billion years old, with earth around 4.5 billion. Many, many Christians including evangelicals like myself accept that is what the evidence says. And I see nothing in either Old or New Testaments that contradict that. In fact, it seems to me such an ancient timescale fits with God’s character (‘Ancient of Days’)- being eternal in nature, He is not in any rush. Unfortunately humans, given their very limited life-span, often think in terms of a few generations and find it hard to imagine such eons of time (and for that matter space – do you realise just how BIG the universe is?! And its still expanding).

    But you have made the common mistake of arguing that either the Bible is right and science is wrong, or science is right and the Bible is wrong and therefore not trustworthy. But the truth is it is your understanding of the Bible, in this case specifically Genesis, that contradicts the findings of science. Thats quite different.

  • ButILikeCaves

    So, for the sake of argument, let us assume the earth is 6,000 years old.
    Just what the heck was god doing for the previous infinity?

  • Ron McPherson

    Would like to hear your thoughts on summarizing that event. Was it a test to see if he would give up all to follow Jesus? Or was it to show the young man that he really didn’t obey the commandments like he claimed (i.e. he didn’t love his neighbor as himself)? Was itt confined to the love of money and nothing else? Was it something else? Was eternal life in that context truly a reference like the traditional view of where he would spend eternity , or a reference to the kingdom at that very time. Hope I’m not hijacking the thread but would love to hear your thoughts.

  • We can’t stop here. This is bat country!

  • Huh, ok, I’ll take a crack at it. There are a few subtle differences between Matthew 19 and Mark 10, but they’re very close in most ways.

    So, the backdrop of this story is the notion that faithful Torah observance is what defines the faithful people of God and, generally speaking, it has up to this point – as long as by “faithful Torah observance” we keep in mind this, for God, primarily means things like doing justice, showing mercy, caring for the poor, etc. In fact, it’s Israel’s failure to do these things -despite- fastidious observance of the Torah in all its various details that is at the heart of a lot of prophetic indictments toward the end of the Old Testament, and that same prophetic indictment comes out of Jesus’ own mouth several times when speaking to the Israel of his day.

    This is important because, insofar as people believe God will deliver the faithful from their oppressors, you want to be “the faithful.” That’s who God will see through their disasters into the future.

    Now, Jesus isn’t completely against this idea. Faithfulness does look like and always has looked like being a certain kind of people in an immoral world (and by immoral, I mostly mean things like “corrupt” and “merciless” and not so much what kind of movies people watch), and Jesus runs through the more salient commandments from the Decalogue to this effect. As far as this sort of Torah observance goes, the man seems to be doing fine.

    But then, Jesus penetrates to the heart of the Torah – is this rich Israelite caring for the poor of Israel? And he hits this man with that cold reality. Yes, you may be a moral person even in some very important respects of Law-obedience, but are you truly doing what the Law says? If you have made yourself wealthy in this present age’s world system, how did that happen? And if you have managed to do this without becoming -part- of the present world’s system and your wealth is a gift from God, then what are you doing with it? Are you willing to become poor Israel yourself in order to care for poor Israel? Are you willing to throw in your lot with them even if it costs you all your wealth? The kingdom of God is worth any price, yes?

    Because this is a facet of what it means for the kingdom of God to have come – rich people sacrifice whatever they need to sacrifice to care for poor people (sorry, rich evangelicals). The young man cannot bring himself to do this and goes away sorrowful.

    I don’t think it makes sense to take Jesus’ words here and make a universal commandment out of them, such that everybody is required to sell everything they have and give it to the poor (although, in someone’s life, it may mean that). This principle may look different in different people’s lives – like Zacchaeus the tax collector who repaid everyone he had ever swindled four times what he took from them and forswore taking any extra tax money for himself. This probably had the effect of lowering his net worth significantly, as well, but the principle is the same – I’m going to become one of you to take care of you. I’m going to identify with you and not the rich and the powerful. That’s who God opposes, but God will be gracious to the humble.

    This is a dynamic that defines Jesus’ mission, but one could argue that it was the heartbeat of the Torah all along. Just maybe that heart had been covered up over the ages.

    Then, we come to the question of what it would mean for this man to inherit the life of the ages (zoen aionion in both Matthew and Mark – we translate it “eternal life,” but the Greek just says “life of the ages”). I think this has to be understood in light of Jewish expectations, especially in the first century. John the Baptist and Jesus have both been proclaiming that the great day looked forward to by the prophets was at hand. Positively, this means the Son of Man has come to claim his throne, and this means a faithful Israel whose fortunes are being restored – healing, forgiveness of sins, an end to their curse, a new era in their world with a new (renewed) relationship to their God. A people resurrected, to use Ezekiel’s imagery.

    Negatively, this means a coming judgement that will fall first on Judea and then roll out through the whole known world. That same group of people I just talked about will be brought safely through it, but the system that has oppressed that group of people will be overthrown. It will be a traumatic upheaval that will involve some very bad events.

    Jesus explicitly connects these two, because the man asked what he can do to inherit the life of the ages. Jesus responds with the idea that this life is something you “enter into,” and when the man leaves, Jesus follows this up with the parable about the rich and the eye of a needle to enter into the kingdom. All these things tie together for Jesus, and his most immediate definition is the impending events that God has presently brought to Israel in Jesus and are also about to happen in the near future.

    So, I don’t think the young man was asking, “How can I live forever?” or if he was, that’s not how Jesus answered him. I think he was asking, “How can I live in the ages to come?” Or, to put it another way, “How can I survive the judgement on this age and live in the new one promised to Israel?” This is definitely how Jesus answers him and also makes cogent sense of the parable.

    This also is behind the disciples’ amazement. If Jesus is talking about some spiritual conversion, there’s no particular reason why the disciples would ask, “Well, if the rich can’t be saved, who can?” That would make no sense. The poor would be far more likely to have a spiritual conversion than a rich person, but the disciples’ question clearly reveals that they are expecting it to be -easier- for a rich person to gain this life.

    If the primary idea is surviving the trauma to come and making it out ok into a prosperous new life on the other end, we might expect that a rich person would have a much easier time than a poor person. They have servants, food, buildings, a savings account, powerful friends – protection. Jesus says it will be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to make it into the life of the ages, and the disciples, naturally, respond with, “Well, if a rich person can’t make it through, then we’re all screwed.” And this is where Jesus turns them back to having faith in God for their salvation. This, in contrast to the faith in material possessions or power.

  • Ron McPherson

    This is excellent thanks. Going to have to digest this slowly. Will likely have a few follow up questions. Thanks so much for taking the time. On the surface makes me wonder if I’ve been reading much of Matthew incorrectly. I’ve done an enormous amount of study in it, taught it etc, but all from a traditional viewpoint, heavy confirmation bias, etc. The most “daring” thing I allowed myself was to at least consider that future judgments just MIGHT be 70AD destruction rather than some future tribulation period, causing an ultimate drift slowly away from dispensationalism. That alone caused some internal consternation that I had collapsed into outright apostasy ; )

  • C_Alan_Nault

    It may not say the Earth is 6,000 years old, but it DOES say:

    – there was light ( Genesis 1:3) BEFORE there were stars (Genesis 1:16)

    – there was night & day ( Genesis 1:4-6) BEFORE there was an Earth ( Genesis 1:9-10)

    – the flood covered the entire Earth (Genesis 7:17-19)… but somehow the people living in Europe, Asia, North & South America, Australia, and most of Africa didn’t notice it

    etc, etc, etc

    The point is, the age of the Earth isn’t the issue, the fact that the Bible is filled with ridiculous claims for which there is no evidence is reason enough to dismiss the Bible as anything other than a book of poorly written fables & myths…. most of which aren’t even particularly original, since similar accounts exist in older writings.

  • But do you know the age of either Saturn of the Sun? Do you know exactly when they both appeared? Not likely which is the topic of this conversation not the distance to the Sun or the diameter of a planet. And I am not contending that calculations have been taking giving science a number at which they say indicates the age of the earth but that is not exact because it can not be since no one knows when time began.

  • Fair enough at least we can agree that we really don’t know it all and there may be some questions we may never know the answer to.

  • Happy birthday planet earth what number should we put on the birthday cake? Don’t know so let’s add a few in case you are older than we think since you have no birth certificate. Oh, what is that you say you are insulted because we told everyone you are older than you actually are. My bad we had a range of ages we could choose from, so we picked one and ran with it. We did add the caveat of the possibility we were wrong by adding the +/- sign before the age. I hope mother nature is not sensitive about her age. :)

  • And I am certain it is not 4 billion years old. So science states with certainty that a 4.3 billion yr old earth resides in 4.6 billion yr old solar system in a universe that is 18.3 billions years old. The whole theory is based on a hypothesis that God did not create the earth and make the sun, moon and stars, and the grass and trees, the flowers and the bees, and you and me in 6 days. It is predicated on the theory that life evolved from nonlife over billions and billions of years. There was a BIG BANG and viola, there was a universe. Unless it didn’t happen that way.

    It matters what you believe and on what that belief is based.

  • Unless of course there were eyewitnesses of said Jewish carpenter-preacher. We’re told there was a man named Moses, and Abraham and Jacob and Isaac. There was King David and Solomon. There was a man named Nehemiah and Ezra. There were people called Christians in Antioch who got the name from some dude who was called THE CHRIST. This was written about by fishermen and physicians who lived and died. There was a man named Joseph who had a wife named Mary who had a Cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s husband was named Zechariah, and he worked in the Jewish temple. They had a son named John. John talked about Jesus. Jesus went around making disciples who testified that they KNEW JESUS. In fact, several of them wrote letters Peter, James, and John along with Matthew Mark and Luke.

    Later a man named Saul came along who was persecuting and arresting Christians for believing in ‘the way.’ He was feared until he lost his sight and changed his name to PAUL and began to preach and teach about Jesus. He wrote letters to groups of people like the Colossians who existed, Thessalonians who also lived, Philippians who lived and died and let us not forget the Romans. Many of these eyewitnesses died professing this Jesus Christ that some say never lived so there must have been some sort of mass hysteria happening.

    And then, of course, there is that whole genealogy thing which lists 42 branches of Jesus’ family tree all of which are known to have lived and died. Since Jesus does not have a sepulcher because he rose from the dead, we will not find a headstone engraved with his date of birth and death.

    Today we find folks talking about Jesus who have not lived during the time he walked the earth. Why is that? These people are very sincere in their belief of a man named Jesus who they say SAVED THEM and gave them PEACE and Love. How is this possible? Some of these folks lived villainous lives and suddenly changed overnight. What could possibly cause this change? If you ask them, they tell you they met Jesus.

    So yes Lark62 there is a Jesus. Have you met him? Can I introduce you to him?

  • – there was night & day ( Genesis 1:4-6) BEFORE there was an Earth ( Genesis 1:9-10)

    Actually, if you read the Hebrew, the Earth, covered with water, was already present before the events in Genesis occur. Genesis does not describe creation ex nihilo.

  • So let’s put forth the hypothesis that the Grand Canyon was formed in some other manner or a combination of factors and not mere river erosion. There are alternate explanations on this found all over the web. Unless we do not want to question the “settled science” since we all know the earth is the center of the universe and the sun revolves around it. Oh did I tell you the earth is flat? He said tongue and cheek.

    But all this talk does not change the basic fact. Not you, nor I know the age of the earth we are only stating that based on our own understanding of how we think things are and came to be the Earth is x years old. But we do not know we only believe that we know. So you say Potato, and I say poTAAto. Thanks, this was fun and enlightening.

  • Scary stuff!

    Keep in mind that I was kind of shooting from the hip, there, and always the possibility that the core premises are fundamentally wrong.

    But I think the overall direction needs to be focused on those first century concerns and demonstrable from the first century. For instance, I have heard explanations of that passage that basically boil down to “you can’t buy your way into Heaven.” Well, there’s not really evidence that a first century Jew even believed in Heaven as we think of it as a final, spiritual destination, and there’s even less that there was some school of thought that you could “buy your way” into it. And you can see how such an interpretation lets just about anybody off the hook. The issue now becomes an issue of doctrinal correction.

    But if it turns out that Jesus was pointing out a fundamental facet of the kingdom of God – that it’s not just about keeping up a certain moral standard, but self-sacrificially caring for those in need, then we all pretty much have to reckon with that. We don’t just get a pass because we don’t believe you can buy your way into Heaven, or we don’t love our money, or we don’t have a materialistic attitude, or any of the dozen or so things that take the teeth out.

  • There is actually a lot that we know with certainty. Gravity certainly exists and things falling from great heights go splat. Oxygen is and we would not exist without it. Trees, flowers, bears, how seeds grow when planted although we do not know how much fruit each seed is going to produce or if any particular seed will produce at all but we know if we want corn we do not plant wheat.

    The list is endless of things we know with certainty. The age of the earth is not one of them since no one knows. We base our decisions on what we can see but the earth was created and is held together by what can not be seen. Therefore the force that created it all could have made OLD rock from the get go since he made OLD COWS and GROWN man and woman in the beginning. If the earth’s crust was made using AGED rock that would certainly skew our calculations wouldn’t it?

    But if science admits that the earth and the universe are not billions and billions of years old then their whole theory of a gradual evolving of life would start to crumble.

  • There are other explanations for falling things besides gravity. For example, what if ghosts hold everything down? You don’t KNOW that they don’t, so both the Theory of Gravity and the Ghosts Pulling Things Down theory are equally valid guesses. I mean, planes go up, right? There is a wide range of objects that go up as well as go down. Hardly seems like precise science to me.

    Sure, God -could have- fooled everyone by making a planet that has every indication that it’s billions of years old, but actually is not. I’m not sure what that says about God’s character, but yes, he easily could have deceived everyone with the way He made the Earth. He could also have made it five seconds ago.

    But why would we possibly think something like that? If all the evidence we have – which is an overwhelming amount – points to an Earth that is far, far older than 6000 years, what possible motivation would we have for asserting that it’s much younger than that? What would that say about God as well as our God-given ability to understand the universe around us? I mean, if we can have all this evidence and still be so desperately wrong about the age of the Earth, we can easily be wrong about gravity, light, the properties of magnesium, etc.

  • Martin Luther said, “Making switches for people who ask stupid questions.” Calvin’s answer was similar, except he said “preparing Hell” instead of “making switches.” Probably captures their proclivities pretty well.

    But having said that, your question is really good. I mean, in what sense can we even talk about time before creation?

  • Lark62

    Seriously. There was also a boy named Harry whose parents were James and Lily. Vernon and Petunia were his uncle and aunt, and Dudley was his cousin. Sirius was his godfather and Ron, Hermione and Hagrid were his friends. And they KNEW Dumbledore. So?

    We have genealogies of Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker. So?

    Some of the followers of Jim Jones claimed he changed their lives. 900 died for him. So?

    I was a Christian for over 3 decades when I realized it was bunk. Blood sacrifice. Really? God came to earth as his own son and had a lousy weekend because that was the only way he could forgive people for being exactly like he created them. Nuts.

  • Herm

    … or the makeup of a quark, for that matter, or is that, “a quark for matter”, or “a quark for matter’s sake”, or “a quark, for heaven’s sake”, oh, heck, what does matter matter at the end of eternity?

  • C_Alan_Nault

    Genesis can’t even keep the creation of Adam & Eve straight. One story in Genesis 1, a different story in Genesis 2.

  • Ron McPherson

    I’ve read many interpretations of this account, one even framing it as the RYR failing a salvific ‘test’ so to speak – namely that he wasn’t willing to give up all to follow Christ and thus, forfeited everlasting life (i.e. heaven in the afterlife). Then the message from the evangelist/preacher in our day becomes individualistic to his hearers (i.e. “what is holding you back from coming to Christ”; or “what are you willing to give up for Christ?”). But to an OCD type personality (thinking of myself here), that message becomes a never ending cycle of self examination and doubt, never leading to real closure because it all centers around hypotheticals. Oh well, I digress

  • Ron McPherson

    However we do know the fate of the unicorns.

    “The ark started moving, and it drifted with the tide,
    And the unicorns looked up from the rocks and they cried.
    And the waters come down and sort of flooded them away,
    That’s why you never seen a unicorn to this very day.
    But you’ll see green alligators and long-necked geese,
    Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees.
    Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born,
    You’re never gonna see no unicorn!”

  • Peter_Rowney

    There are zero scientists working at AIG.

    All those who singed the statement of faith left their Phds at the door.

    Hypocritical, lying, deluded morons.

  • IconoclastTwo

    “No, my argument is you don’t know but you think you know therefore because you say it’s so others are supposed to believe it BUT YOU CAN’T PROVE IT because NOBODY KNOWS.”

    He just told you how he knew it: through radiometric dating.

    “Oh but you say this mathematical formula proves without a doubt that the earth’s age is X because we know how old the meteorite is right? NO WE DON’T.”

    Except that there are massive chains of logic with regards to observable repeatable evidence (that radioactive isotopes decay at a fixed rate, et cetera) that what he’s saying consists of reasonable extrapolations.

    “Your own formula is off by give or take .5 billion years. Not exactly an exact date now is it?”

    …but that’s a 1% margin of error. In comparison your ‘theory’ just postulates a totally arbitrary universe in which none of the observations that people have made (and when gradualism as a scientific notion was invented, a lot of the people who devised it were Christians) are in any way relevant.

  • john

    Don’t call me Dude and no he didn’t read for yourself. If you think that what he has to say abour Christianity is great then I pity you

  • Bones

    Lol…..someone give little johnny a cuddle….

  • Bones

    Phil, please please stop using facts, reason and logic….

    you’re upsetting some people.

  • Bones

    You know the worst one, Larky.

    I was there when my wife gave birth to our kids….

    She really wasn’t very thankful for God cursing her with the pain of childbirth…..

    Probably why she kept screaming out “God…..”

    Prior to God’s curse a coconut could easily fit through a 5cm hole…..

  • Bones

    Maybe he was crucified twice????

  • Bones

    Ah yes we need Absolutes….

    In which book is genocide commanded….the Bible…..

    In which book is slavery commanded….the Bible….

    In which book is ethnic cleansing commanded….the Bible….

    In which book are gay people commanded to be put to death….the Bible

    Yeah we need Absolutes……

    “It is absolutely critical to Christianity that the Bible is errant.”

    There….fixed that for ya….

  • Bones

    Holy hell….since when has the Jerusalem Museum had the original manuscripts?

  • Bones
  • Bones

    Yeah we have a pretty good idea…….

    It’s basic high school science….

  • Bones

    Because morons can’t make a living here…..

  • Bones

    Tin foil manufacturers must be booming in the US.

    Maybe I should get some shares in it.

  • Matthew

    So when do we move from “ages to come” to actual “eternal, eternal life”? John´s gospel?

  • Ron McPherson

    No doubt written in the KJV

  • Lark62

    That makes more sense than most Christian apologetics. Maybe you missed your calling?

  • BT

    It’s depressing that this conversation even exists.

  • Realist1234

    Like many atheists and fundamentalist Christians, you insist on understanding the first few chapters in Genesis as a literal scientific textbook, and then reject or accept it on that basis. It was not written that way, though it should be said the general flow of the narrative accords with scientific findings – beginning of the Universe (as opposed to the steady-state theory previously believed by many scientists), creation of the earth, development of plant and animal life, and finally mankind.

    The more I look at the text, the more I think it was written to negate some of the other near eastern creation stories from other peoples, where the sun and the moon for example are viewed as ‘gods’ to be worshipped – Genesis says NO, the sun and moon have a function, and are not to be worshipped.

    I think those chapters say alot about mankind’s relationship with God – how we ‘hide’ from God when we sin, how God pursues us despite our rebellion against Him, how we often listen to others’ twisted words about God resulting in a twisted view of Him (God is mean when in truth he is very generous), how from the offspring of humanity evil was going to be defeated.

    But then if you insist on the scientific textbook view, you’ll never learn from it.

  • Realist1234

    He was in relationship, hence the Trinity. But time as we understand it and experience it did not exist ‘before’ the big bang as space and time are interlinked. My head hurts.

  • Herro

    >”Ben isn’t trying to prove the genealogies have gaps. He’s trying to demonstrate why we can’t just build an airtight chronology off them and feel this is trustworthy. All he has to do is demonstrate one counter-example, and I just showed you two.”

    He says that the idea is “total nonsense”. So I think that he would need more evidence to discredit the “no-gap”-view.

    I would think that we woud need some evidence for specific gaps. I mean: “A was X years old when he begat B, he then went on to have other sons and dauthters and died at age Y.” surely sounds like it’s talking about a direct descendant and all the names in the list we can check are exactly that other places in the text.

  • Realist1234

    I doubt if its only evangelicals who are ‘rich’, and most of us are ‘working to middle class’. Personally I earn considerably less than the average UK salary.

    ‘This also is behind the disciples’ amazement. If Jesus is talking about some spiritual conversion, there’s no particular reason why the disciples would ask, “Well, if the rich can’t be saved, who can?” That would make no sense. The poor would be far more likely to have a spiritual conversion than a rich person, but the disciples’ question clearly reveals that they are expecting it to be -easier- for a rich person to gain this life.’

    – His Jewish disciples were confused because they assumed a rich person was already ‘blessed’ by God. Hence their worry if even the blessed rich find it near impossible to be saved, what will happen to us poor? I still think your understanding is too 1st century focused, concentrating on the future destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (as already prophesied by Daniel). Even if you insist that ‘eternal life’ is more ‘life of the ages’ there is no indication that that ‘life’ is limited and not everlasting.

  • Dean

    What’s really bizarre about this entire argument is that it is pretty obvious what Genesis is, all you have to do is know who wrote it. It’s the founding creation myth of the Jewish people. Every society has one, it’s not some sort of weird thing. It’s only weird because AMERICANS don’t, our country is less than 300 years old so that concept is totally foreign to us, but you go to the old world and most other countries do, and everyone knows what it is, but they don’t take it as some sort of literal history. Christians have co-opted Genesis for our own purposes, which is perfectly fine, but you can’t disconnect a story from where it first came from and why it was originally told. The idea that Genesis was written to scientifically explain how the universe was created for modern 21st century Christians is so beyond the pale that it makes it difficult to even engage with these people. It’s like we’re not speaking the same language.

  • Yes. I shouldn’t get too focused on the same time frame as the person who had the encounter or heard it. It’s much better to expand the focus to incorporate… uh… other time frames. For some reason. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • What sort of evidence would you suggest someone could provide? Comparison with another genealogy that differs? Like Matthew’s?

  • I don’t know that we ever do as far as the gospels go, but you’d have to point out what in John’s gospel you’re thinking of.

  • Apparently.

    Apparently, instead of looking at the Bible, seeing what it’s like, and making our statements about the Bible based on that, we should start with our statements about the Bible, then understand the Bible in a way that conforms to those.

  • One of my favorite Irish pub drinking songs. I know the motions and everything, but sometimes the “elephant” becomes a rude gesture, through no fault of my own.

  • swbarnes2

    So you would rather make your stand on the value of the Bible being in its very accurate portrayal of God’s moral character as portrayed in the Flood narrative, Numbers, and Job?

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Like many atheists and fundamentalist Christians, you insist on understanding the first few chapters in Genesis as a literal scientific textbook, and then reject or accept it on that basis.”

    Since the topic here is the age of the Earth & how old some religious people think the Earth is, can you tell me what Bible passages would be appropriate for determining that fact?

    Actually, if you read the Bible you can find ridiculous passages throughout the books.

    Like many apologist Christians, any time a ridiculous, contradictory, or just plain erroneous passage is pointed out, the quoted passage is relegated to one of the following categories:

    – that passage isn’t meant to be taken literally ( and luckily for these Christians, every passage they agree with is meant to be taken literally)
    – it’s a metaphor
    – it’s a parable
    – it’s a mistranslation

    and one of my favourites:

    – you are taking that passage out of context.

    Tell me, can you explain in what context it is moral to own another person as property? Both testaments of the Bible condone slavery & the new testament says Christians can own other Christians as slaves.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Genesis says NO, the sun and moon have a function, and are not to be worshipped.”

    It also compares the Moon to the sun & says the Moon is a light. This is incorrect.

    “I think those chapters say alot about mankind’s relationship with God – ”

    You can think whatever you like, but until it is proven that the Bible’s god exists & that the Bible is an accurate account, what you think about it can be dismissed.

  • Herm

    But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    Ephesians 2:4-10 (NIV2011)

    Matthew, I think Ephesians 2:7 (italicized) is understood better from the NIV than the KJV translation of the Bible. Please, note that just before ( in bold) is in past tense, as in already raised up with Christ. Eternal life begins now, or has already begun, for those alive on earth today who are immersed in the Holy Spirit.

  • Ron McPherson

    “I still think your understanding is too 1st century focused,”

    Well that’s kinda the point though. Since the very event in question occurred within the first century, should that not inform our understanding of the text? I can recite verbatim all the 21st century views, but since we’re two millennia removed from when those events actually occurred, I would submit that anything other than a first century focus could seriously undermine the true meaning of the text.

  • Ron McPherson

    Nailed it!

  • Matthew

    So what is your understanding of eternal life then? What — in your view — did Jesus mean when he talked about belief in him leading to eternal life?

  • Realist1234

    Oh ok what I think can just be dismissed. Thus speaks an atheist. No wonder Im not one.

  • Realist1234

    No its about understanding the text, which you clearly have no interest in.

  • Realist1234

    Sin has consequences. Judgement is real. Youre living in la la land if you think otherwise.

  • Realist1234

    Im not saying we shouldnt try to look at the text through 1st century Jewish eyes ( and Gentile for that matter), but that we shouldnt then assume the words apply ONLY to the 1st century, which Phil and others tend to do. Ultimately God is concerned with the whole world He created, not just 1st century Palestine, and that is what is shown in both Old and New Testaments.

  • A similar argument to YEC underpins Flat Earth ‘theory’. And it’s equally a load of bollocks.

  • Realist1234

    Its both, not either/or.

  • Can I be Frank?

  • Yep. Well put, Herm :)

  • I’d have to know what specific instance you were asking about to speak definitively. I’m very leery of absolutizing any particular concept and saying that this is always what is meant everywhere it was mentioned.

    But in general, when Jesus talks about believing in him to have the life of the ages, he means to believe his warnings and call to repentance and faithfulness so that you will survive the coming judgement and live through this age into the ages to come.

  • Herro

    Maybe some indication in the text that some of the persons in it were not direct descendents? From what I gather many of the persons in the lists are mentioned in another sections of the text and it’s always father/son.

  • Herm

    Oh, you are … in such a nice Way, thank you!

  • Ron McPherson

    Well I understand that’s the view of some. Not so much the view of others. To make both views fit requires that Jesus change audiences in midstream (but the problem with that view is that he’s addressing his disciples throughout). Doubtful his followers at that time would think, “Ok, Jesus is still looking at us while talking to us and what he said applied to us 30 seconds ago. But now he’s talking to people who will believe in him 2000 years later and this doesn’t really apply to us now even though he never tells us any differently.”

  • Right, but we do have examples of genealogies that do the exact same thing and definitely skip generations, such as Matthew’s genealogy or the Abydos Table. That’s why I’m curious as to what evidence you’d want to see. Genealogies that we know for a fact skip generations do not demarcate it in any way.

  • Ron McPherson

    Well I understand your point but for instance when Jesus told Peter to put up his sword he was talking to only Peter no? Now from that we can then get an idea that Jesus was against violence. Otherwise, to lift his words into a 21st century context can lead to all sorts misunderstanding. In fact, it gets more confusing. Some parts of Leviticus were written to Israelites at that time (well except the gay verses because that’s in concrete and is in effect throughout time immemorial , oh except the part about killing them). And then there are Paul’s writings. So yeah he told the Corinthians that women should keep silent and wear head coverings, but that only applied to his first century hearers in Corinth so we can ignore that one. But the clobber passages in I Corinthians (well really only that gay part) apply to everyone in every context in every century in every setting. To me, these are just a few examples of the perils we face when modernizing the text. I can speak to this because I was once so personally guilty of this myself. In fact, not adhering to a first century reading (e.g. NT) on a consistent basis could very well do an injustice to the text.

  • Sorry, Herm. That was an ‘in joke’, from Wayne’s World. ‘Garth, can I be frank?’ ‘Err, ok… as long as I can still be Garth’.

    Me a bad boy :)

  • Wow Bones, that’s fascinating…was that really Augustine? Around 400AD…and yet he could be describing religious people today. Wow, I am gobsmacked.

  • Herro

    I’m not sure the Mt genealogy is a good example. The genealogy contradicts the one we currently have in the OT. But it’s no way clear that the author intends that. Especially since he clearly says how many generations there are.

    Isn’t the Abydos king list a list of legitimate kings? Is it even a genealogy?

    But even if we have some example of skipping in some ancient genealogy, shouldn’t we need some specific reasons to think that this genealogy skips some?

    Seems to me like the “no-skip” view should be preferred. Especially since many of the pairs in the genealogies are said to be father/son elsewhere in the text.

    And I don’t see why it’s “total nonsense” to follow the “no-skip” interpretation.

  • Nina, I actually have no idea what you mean. I remember your comments about me being a self-hater and stuff – these are the only exchanges we have ever had – and I responded in (what I thought was) a jokey manner, by simply agreeing with you about being a parasite and a self-hater. And, that was without knowing whether you were serious or not, so thereby giving you the benefit of the doubt – kind of just like a Christian would/should do. I would have been perfectly happy for your comments to stay – in fact this is the first I have heard about this ‘ban’ anyway. So, have they deleted your comments? And banned you? You have my sympathy, and I mean that. Actually I was quite enjoying our little exchange, it was a refreshing change… Shall we start another one here? :) My Jesus welcomes debate too. I didn’t even know about this. And please don’t insult ‘faggots’ by likening me to them ;)

  • C_Alan_Nault

    Here’s the text, tell me what I am not understanding about it:

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 )

    Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2 )

  • C_Alan_Nault

    What you think can be dismissed if you cannot present any evidence to back it up.

  • Yes, and in its ridiculousness lies the joke. Everyone knows that there were no cameras in Jesus’s time; the idea was that *someone* had put a picture of Ewan McGregor up and (it appears) genuinely thought that it was a picture of Jesus. But of course a joke explained is a joke lost…and I am sorry that has happened here :)

  • …for those wondering what this is all about, I posted a picture on this thread:

    – and Nina didn’t like it. Fair enough.

  • And I see what you mean about your comments being removed. No, that
    wasn’t anything to do with me; in fact, mine have been removed too (but
    not the Obi-Wan picture). So, we’re even

  • Matthew

    Thanks Phil. So it´s eternal, but from one age to another, not simply a continuous eternity?

    You seem to be suggesting that humankind goes through a series of ages and ages — each having their own sort of judgements. What I´m talking about is the standard “living forever” after one dies idea for those who believe in Jesus Christ.

    Is there a difference? Are you simply saying the same thing in a different way?

  • apoxbeonyou

    Slavery was the norm, then; it was part of culture. Also, Paul was just a dude who wrote some stuff down. We don’t have to adhere to all his opinions about whatever, especially not 2000 or so years later.

  • Well, humankind goes through a series of ages and ages regardless of what anybody thinks about it. Time marches forward and all that.

    I don’t know that every age has its own set of judgements from God. In fact, I would be surprised to learn that was the case. I think potentially God’s people can face crises that vary from age to age, but I never meant to imply that God has this series of chronologically-dictated judgements.

    It’s just that, from the standpoint of the New Testament, the primary crisis in view is the prospective conflict with Rome, and the narrative frames this as a judgement from God. That event is over and done with and has been for a really long time, but at the time the New Testament was written, it was an imminent danger.

    The standard “living forever after one dies” is based on pretty scant textual evidence. There is, however, an expected resurrection, and a lot of New Testament hope is hung on that. I don’t think there’s anywhere that Jesus says something to the effect of, “If you believe in me, you’ll live forever,” but like I said, it’s hard to talk about these things apart from specific texts, and maybe there’s an instance where he does and I just can’t call it to mind.

  • Ron McPherson

    I wonder if part of this stems from the KJV translating it as everlasting rather than eternal? Though Jesus does say things like you’ll never die, I go to prepare a place for you, etc.

  • Ron McPherson

    You scared me. When you asked if you could be Frank I was afraid you were gonna be that Frank guy who comes on here at times and disses all LGBT folks : )

  • I know it’s not clear Matthew intends that because, once again, none of these genealogies include a list of their modifications or some kind of documentation of their criteria. Matthew doesn’t say, “I skipped some generations to get equal numbers between the pivotal figures in Israel’s history to get the math to work out just right to culminate in Jesus,” but it’s pretty obvious that’s what happened.

    For Egypt, the dynastic lists are genealogies and vice-versa. If you look at, for instance, the Genealogy of Pahsenor, it’s a dynastic list. But you are correct that the Table eliminates kings that the author possibly considered illegitimate, which illustrates that people are included and excluded based on the communicative purposes of the author. For instance, the same table has Seti I listed 30 some odd times.

    Why would the “no-skip” view be preferred? I think the overwhelming amount of examples we have from ancient literature is shaping the narrative of the past for whatever purpose is being communicated. Granted, you may have a genealogy that doesn’t intentionally skip generations, but why would that be our default? Maybe Ben’s language was a little hyperbolic with the “total nonsense” bit, but I think it’s a completely valid point that you can’t use an ancient genealogy as a bedrock-solid calculator for accounting for every year that passes.

  • How about this one, then – a bit more of a Sunday School theme to it:…

  • Herm

    What is your evidence that a quark exists?

  • Cappadino

    but the god of the bible supposedly “inspired” these passages no? at the very least god ‘chose’ paul to write down what he thought humanity should know, since of course he isnt coming down from heaven to clarify…
    what youre suggesting is that this gods morality is malleable and has changed over time.

  • Herro

    1. Regarding Mt: What is not clear to me is whether the author intends the reader to understand that something has been skipped or not. I would say that since he later gives us the exact number of generations, that means that the author clearly means the genealogy to be understood as complete (i.e. not any missing ones). In that case it would not be an example of a genealogy with missing gaps.

    2. “For Egypt, the dynastic lists are genealogies and vice-versa.” Is that really true? For example, one of the last names on the list are Horemheb and after him comes Ramesses the first. From what I understand Horemheb was childless and made his highest official Ramesses the sucessor.

    So I don’t see how this is supposed to be similar to the genealogies in Genesis, since this appears to me just to be a list of legitimate kings, and not a genealogy.

    3. “Why would the “no-skip” view be preferred?”


    a. The text seems to be pretty clear on the face of it (“A was X years old when he begat B, after that he begat sons and daugters.”)
    b. When we can “test” whether there are gaps or not, it’s always father/son in the text. (e.g. In Gen 4 Set is clearly the son of Adam and Enos is clearly the son of Set and so on)

  • Rеason0vеrHatе

    Dirty pedophile

  • apoxbeonyou

    I don’t think inspiration makes anything special. The only reference to it being ‘inspired’ (or God-breathed, whatever that means) is in a book whose author is not certain.

    I don’t suggest anything about God’s morality, or even that such a thing exists. The ‘bible’ is not a god; it’s a collection of letters and stories written by men.

  • Matthew

    Where are the souls of the faithfully departed kept until the resurrection?

  • Ah. I can see why that might be worrying :) Sorry about that. I was going to say that I don’t think I have run into him, but then I remembered I have. That would have been quite a reveal, wouldn’t it? The mild-mannered, conciliatory British Anglican turns out to be a secret identity for the scourge of the gay community on Patheos. I’m afraid I’m going to have to admit to being just plain old Tony…. ;)

  • I don’t know. Maybe some kind of intermediate state. Maybe they “sleep.” Maybe they aren’t kept anywhere because they are coterminous with our bodies and our consciousness is regenerated when our configuration of atoms is restored.

  • Realist1234

    That view assumes Jesus didnt think His words would be kept for future generations and are irrelevant to them, which of course we know to be untrue. Again, I am not saying that we shouldnt look at Jesus’ words through 1st century eyes, the opposite in fact, but that does not then mean that ALL of Jesus’ words and predictions ONLY APPLIED to the 1st century (sorry for using caps, italics dont seem to work).

    Indeed, using your argument, one could say when Jesus told His disciples they should love their enemies, that only applied to 1st century disciples. But Im sure you would disagree (I hope!).

  • 1. It’s the number of generations that tells you there’s an issue. There are 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David to Babylon, and 14 from Babylon to Jesus. This seems on the surface to be shaped. Is it possible Matthew did not realize he was messing with “real history” and was just astounded at the numerological coincidence? Possibly, but that seems unlikely to me at any rate.

    For instance, 1 Chronicles 3:4-19 lists 3 more successive generations from Joram (Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah) that Matthew omits, as well as Jehoakim between Josiah and Jeconiah. So, either one or both of these genealogies is wrong. Since Matthew comes out to three even sets of 14 and Matthew is missing people the Chronicler includes, it seems likely it’s Matthew.

    Was this intentional? To me, it seems highly likely, and the numbers of the generations illustrate it. It is, of course, possible that Matthew was completely unaware he was leaving anybody out, although one wonders what his source for the genealogy would have been, and he was just amazed at how everything worked out to three sets of 14.

    This is, in fact, similar to the Abydos table, which also presents three, even sets of kings, but has to skip some kings to do it.

    2. They’re interchangeable. If you look at, for instance, the Senakht-en-Re genealogy from the temple of Ptah and the Karnak King list, it’s a dynastic list that only incorporates “supporting characters” as they relate to the dynasty, not tremendously unlike Matthew’s genealogy, either, which includes an intriguing amount of mothers and brothers.

    I don’t know if any pure genealogies that do not trace through dynastic lines exist from ancient Egypt, but I’m open to correction. I’m not an expert. But to even say the Abydos Table is a list of “legitimate” kings means it was selectively given, especially to come out with the even sets of cartouches. Who gets to decide who the “legitimate” kings were? The dude who made the table, of course. It’s not like there’s a group of “illegitimate” kings everyone knows about.

    3. a. Clear by modern historiographical standards, sure. If someone gave us a genealogy with those characteristics that someone wrote last week, we would certainly assume it was not shaped by default. But would that have been clear to an ancient author or reader?

    b. Well, that’s hardly a test, though. Those are characters from deep in the mists of Israel’s proto-history. Those stories are probably where those parts of the genealogy came from.

    For example, another instance we can “test” like that is 1 Chronicles 3:19 placing Pedaiah as Zerubbabel’s father. Literally every other biblical reference (Haggai, Ezra, Matthew, and Luke) have Sheltiel being Zerubbabel’s father.

    Both Luke and Matthew identify Rhesa and Abuid as Zerubbabel’s sons, but 1 Chronicles does not mention them at all.

    Shealtiel’s father is also problematic, with Luke and Matthew listing different people. The Old Testament seems to back Jehoiachin, but he was cursed to die childless in Jeremiah.

    So, whether these lists reflect intentional shaping or just tons and tons of mistakes, the fact remains that they aren’t steady grounds for establishing an unbroken line of years by which to date the Earth.

  • Herm

    Matthew, please do not take this as meant in any way as condemnation.

    Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

    Matthew 16:23 (NIV2011)

    What is the heart – soul – strength – mind that is spoken of in Luke 10:27? Is God in any way physical? Is the image of God made in mankind, and no other known physical species of animal on earth, spirit, physical or both? Within what dimensions is God bound?

    I know that if you answer those questions for yourself you will know exactly where “the souls of the faithfully departed” are kept. To answer those questions you must have the concerns of God in mind based on the environmental constraints God lives in and not the constraints mankind lives in.

    There is an answer you can come to for certain.

  • I think both “everlasting” and “eternal” are probably misleading translations, but translators are also over a barrel.

    You could translate it “life of the ages,” but nobody knows what that means. Sort of like how you could translate kosmos as “system of things,” but translating John 3:16 as “God loved the present system of things in this way: He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believed in him would not perish but live in the ages to come,” even though dead-on accurate, doesn’t really communicate well.

    So, translators have to make choices of how to say things based on what they think will communicate, but also tradition is a very powerful force in this as well. Bibles to this day continue to translate “yam suph” as “Red Sea,” even though it’s wrong. People would burn your publishing company down with pitchforks if you translated it consistently as “Sea of Reeds” in the main text, so only a few edge translations do it, and the ones that bother to mention it at all usually do it in the footnotes.

    But, obviously the problem is that we perpetuate certain theological categories in this way instead of challenging them for rethinking.

  • Ron McPherson

    Yeah I get what you’re saying. It’s not that I believe his words given to first century hearers would necessarily , by default, NOT apply to us, his followers. I guess what I’m suggesting is that we first should understand the context of what his original hearers would have understood at that time and then go from there. Then from there we could glean, obviously through guidance from the Spirit, what those words MIGHT could mean for us in the 21st century. However, I think much of our traditional understanding has gotten it backwards though in that the text has been filtered thru a contemporary lens on the front end, which can lead to erroneous conclusions.

  • Ron McPherson

    Who would have thought ; )

  • Tom Hanson

    Astounding! Amazing! a long civilized and entertaining discussion on a highly controversial topic. Congratulations! You all have my admiration, for whatever it’s worth. I hoist my coffee cup to Phil Ledgerwood, John Williams, Ron McPherson, Realist1234, Matthew, Herm, and Tonycutty. My apologies to anyone I might have missed.

  • Matthew

    Thanks Phil. What about …

    “Absent from the body, present with the Lord?”

  • Bones

    You’re living in la la and if you think God curses humans.

  • Bones

    John wrote it….Jesus never said it.

  • Bones

    Certainly was…from his The Literal Meaning of Genesis.

  • Matthew

    Prove it :-)

  • Aye. I went and looked it up – fascinating reading, one of the best things I have seen all week. Thansk for that. Looks as if they had the same set of tosspots pontificating about things they hadn’t a clue about, even back then. And before the Internet ;)

  • Jeff Preuss

    Even though I am sure it’s part of your normal vernacular, I cannot help but picture you as a pirate every time you say, “Aye.”

    Please don’t ruin it for me by explaining it away – I’d prefer to continue mentioning my pirate friend Tony in conversations. Makes me seem cooler somehow.

  • Wow. How did you miss the part where the Genesis genealogies can be dated relative to one another… except on purpose? You know, that whole “And when this guy was x years old, he begat this guy”, etc. Didn’t they teach math at that college you went to, doc?

  • What about it? That statement could describe a number of scenarios, not the least of which being Paul’s belief that the martyrs would be resurrected – something he hoped to attain.

  • Tim

    Augustine did have some pretty intelligent things to say at times (such as this one), although I dislike where he went with some of his theology later on in his career, particularly with regard to soteriology.

  • Herro

    1. Sure the author of MT might very well messed with his sources and just shaped them to fit his numerological needs. But that’s different from what Corey (and others argue for). This would just be something like saying that ancient genealogies are unreliable because the authors had other motives than just genealogical accuracy. That’s true, and of course the genealogies in Genesis are all made up nonsense.

    But the argument in this post isn’t that the Genealogies are in error. The argument is that the author never intended them to be understood as “gapless”. The fundamentalists are just misunderstanding the authorial intent (according to Corey).

    So when Matthew messes with his sources, but then says “There are X generations between A and B”, then it seems to me that Matthew didn’t intend his readers to infer that there were more than X generations between A and B, even if he had to mess with his sources to get that number.

    2. Sure. Who is a legitimate king is a very political subject. I mean, if I were to ask someone to give a list of the kings of England I would probably get a lot of different lists. But I don’t know why this king list should be taken as the same as a genealogy, since it clearly isn’t. :l

    3a. I don’t know of any ancient person who interpreted these genealogies as having gaps in them. In the New testament it talks about Enoch being the “seventh from Adam” (Jude 1:14). That author clearly assumes that there are no gaps in there.

    I just looked up in the Antiquities of the Jews and Josephus says this: “And thus was Noah, with his family, preserved. Now he was the tenth from
    Adam, as being the son of Lamech, whose father was Mathusela; he was the
    son of Enoch, the son of Jared; and Jared was the son of Malaleel, who,
    with many of his sisters, were the children of Cainan, the son of Enos.
    Now Enos was the son of Seth, the son of Adam” (Book 1, Chapter 3:2)

    This ancient educated jew thought that Noah was the “tenth from Adam”.

    Can you or Corey point to any ancient jew who saw these gaps?

    3b. I’m not sure why these characters being somewhat important in the narrative makes it less of a test. We have something like 20 instances of “A begat B when he was X years old, after that he begat sons and daughters.” Corey argues that some of those A-Bs aren’t father/son. In the very same text we have more information about some of those pairs, and in every instance it’s a father/son.

    How would these characters being “from deep in the mists of Israel’s proto-history” make it unlikely that something like a grandfather/grandson pair would be mentioned elsewhere in the text?

    I don’t see how is it a similar “test” when different books in the bible give contradictory information about Zerubabbel’s (or whoever) father and sons.

    >”So, whether these lists reflect intentional shaping or just tons and
    tons of mistakes, the fact remains that they aren’t steady grounds for
    establishing an unbroken line of years by which to date the Earth.”

    Ok. I’m fine with attacking YEC-ism by pointing out that the bible is full of mistakes and unreliable. But claiming that YEC is wrong because the Bible “properly interpreted” is totally OK with evolution and old earth is in my view wrong-headed. It’s similar to claiming that the story of Noah is actually talking about a local flood.

  • Oooookay. I think I understand the nature of your objections better. You’re basically asking if any ancient reader would have in their heads, “Obviously this genealogy isn’t meant to be taken at face value.”

    That’s a good point. On one hand, it seems like an obvious conclusion. When someone reads 1 Chronicles and Matthew 1, and there are differences, and Matthew omissions allow him to end up with even groups of 14, you’d think that would be an obvious inference. But to your point, do we have evidence?

    I’m not sure how much I could produce without really digging in. I did look up a few things, for example, Rashi on the genealogy in Exodus 6:14 says:

    “Since [Scripture] had to trace the lineage of the tribe of Levi as far as Moses and Aaron-because of Moses and Aaron-it commenced to trace their [the Israelites’] lineage in the order of their births, starting with Reuben. (In the Great Pesikta [Rabbathi] (7:7) I saw [the following statement]: Because Jacob rebuked [the progenitors of] these three tribes at the time of his death (Gen. 49:4-7), Scripture again traces their lineage here by themselves, to infer that [even though Jacob rebuked them] they are of high esteem.”

    This is interesting because it points out that this particular genealogy re-traces Reuben and Simon’s genealogies -here- to show that they were in high esteem, which implies that were that not necessary, they wouldn’t have been there, or at least nobody could figure out why they were there, and in fact, the reasons behind the inclusion of these sons also show up in a few medieval rabbis as well. Granted, none of them say, “Of course this genealogy isn’t accurate,” but there is no small debate over why these guys are included. This at least tells us, “Because a straight up reading of genealogical history requires it” was not a satisfactory explanation in midrashim.

    I tried to find some stuff on why Noah is a descendant of Cain in one genealogy and why Seth in another. The midrash has him as a Cainite, but by the time it shows up in the Haggadah, there’s a real concern that he not be affiliated with Cain. If I spend more time, I’ll pull the specific passages together for you.

    Here is Rashbam’s explanation of Exodus 6:14 –

    “this is explained in the Mechilta as a reference to the three (potential) tribes Reuven, Shimon, and Levi, whom Yaakov had chastised on his deathbed. At this point the Torah enumerates their genealogy to demonstrate their importance in the fabric of Jewish nationhood. According to the plain meaning of the text, the Torah had to provide details of the tribes’ genealogy as far as Moses and Aaron, whereas it also had to provide details as far down the line as Korach, and the sons of Uziel; as well as Pinchas all of whom are mentioned by name and deed in the Torah later on. If we had not heard about their roots in this chapter we would not have known who these people had been.”

    Which is interesting, because this genealogy at the level of the three brothers is a repetition. Rashbam is an 11th century Rabbi and not an ancient reader, and this is the same century where we start to see rabbis opting for more literal views of Genesis 1. While looking at his commentary, there, I read this:

    “Rather, this is its essential simple meaning: it is the way of Scripture to anticipate and explain something which is not strictly necessary for the sake of something mentioned further on in another place. As it is written, “Shem, Ham and Yefet”, and it is written, “Ham is Kena’an’s father” – for since it is written further on, “cursed is Kena’an”, yet it didn’t explain first who Kena’an is, we wouldn’t know why Noach cursed him. Or: “And he laid with Bilhah, his father’s concubine and Yisrael heard” – why is it written here “and Yisrael heard”? Behold, it isn’t written here that Ya’akov spoke with Re’uven at all? Rather, since at the time of his passing, he said “Unstable as water, you will not have excellence; because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it–he went up to my couch”, therefore, it wrote first the passage “And Yisrael heard”, so that you should not be surprised when you see that he reproves him regarding this at the end of his days.”

    Once again, that speaks more to the debatable purpose of a genealogical text than the accuracy of the genealogy, but I thought it was interesting.

    I’ll skim around and see if I can find any rabbinical commentary that just flat out says, “This genealogy has been modified” or something to that effect. Probably the debates on Noah’s origins will yield something, since it is a clear and early modification in the face of a rather old tradition.

  • IconoclastTwo

    Yes, it is. I can’t even remember when I first learned that the planet was this old although I must’ve been really young. Paleontology wasn’t one of the fields I was most interested in growing up compared to botany or chemistry.

  • IconoclastTwo

    “Neither do I, so stop saying you know something that no one can know for a certainty.”

    This in its own way is also a strawman argument. Since scientific results are statistical aggregations in many ways you can use this as an attack against the idea that scientists know anything, no matter how broadly repeatable or falsifiable their experiments and hypotheses are-while since you have no obligation to anything scientific whatsoever you can essentially say whatever you want and call it ‘true’.

    “Scientific theories are just that theories which change as new theories are postulated and experimented with but in the end, they are only theories. Jesus, on the other hand, is a FACT.”

    There seems to be less physical evidence for the existence of a Jesus than there is for an Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan.

    The issue of evidence overturning theories has already been discussed-but then would any evidence ever convince you that you were wrong on this point or any other where similar…logic is involved?

  • IconoclastTwo

    No, the problem is that not only is this kind of crazy theory taken seriously (young earth creationism), but that people aren’t taught well enough to know the difference between crazy theories and good ones and so fall for other types of crazy theories.

    Especially in politics.

    I also wouldn’t exactly call these godless times either.

  • apoxbeonyou

    That was already covered. Did you not read the article?

  • Guy Norred


  • C_Alan_Nault

    As soon as I claim quarks exist you can ask me what evidence I have for their existence.

    Since I have never claimed quarks exist, your question can be dismissed.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Slavery was the norm, then; it was part of culture. ”

    Correct. And according to both the old and new testament, slavery was OK.

    That being the case, the Bible can be dismissed as a good guide for what is & is not moral.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    Sin is defined as a transgression of a divine law.

    Unless you first prove a deity exists, THEN prove what that deity’s laws are, the word sin has no intrinsic meaning.

  • Herm

    … as you dismiss God by any name!

  • pastoredsmith

    Creation, as taught in the Bible, is not a theory. Evil-ution has been called a theory, remains a theory and is filled with fairy tales and delusion. There is no basis of truth as to where matter originated, no basis of truth that any evolution is taking place now or ever did (produce the “ape man,” and show me one in existence today since there are apes and men, there would be a combination still around), these theories are man-made and postulated on facts that are incomplete, skewed, or otherwise flawed. Godless? Homosexuality rampant and “accepted” by society? People pretending to be the opposite sex and being “accepted” by society? Sick perversions that take the place of truth and fantasy becomes reality. Yes, this is a Godless world……

  • Bones

    Is that Charlton Heston?

  • Bones

    Yeah – Jesus likes homophobic gay slurs…….


  • I thought it was Burt Lancaster….

  • Ron McPherson

    Ah yes, “godless” always has to come back to the LGBT community in some way doesn’t it? The following defines a “godless” society:

    “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.”
    ‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭16:49‬ ‭

    America may go down in flames one day but it may not be for the reasons you think. So
    how about focusing instead on the things Jesus was passionate about? Love God, love others, be merciful, refrain from judgment, stand up for the marginalized, seek justice for the oppressed, abide in the spirit of the law (not the letter of it), avoid any semblance of hypocritical self righteousness, reject religiosity. We could spend an eternity and then some just focusing on these things alone.


  • pastoredsmith

    And be certain to tear those pages out of the Bible because they get in the way of your “tolerance.” As to the charges you make against me in your ignorant post, they are false. I love people more deeply than you could imagine. But, I love people enough to tell them the truth. The truth, according to the very words of God, will set you free. Doing the things you speak of is well and good, so long as you don’t ignore sin and its consequences.

  • Ron McPherson

    Ok this has to be a joke right? You call Tony “a total faqqot (assuming you meant faggot), accuse him of crying “like a little girl” only to then appeal to “My Jesus”. I almost fell for it at first, so that was a good one : )

  • Ron McPherson

    Where did I “charge ” you with anything? I outline what Jesus Himself focused on and you call it an ignorant post. Who/what do you worship? Jesus or the Bible? We can claim to be Christ followers and abide in His Spirit, or we can choose to be biblicists instead. But understand choosing the latter is a slippery slope.

  • Ron McPherson

    It strikes me as both odd and sad when others can come on here condemning entire people groups in the name of God and that’s somehow not harassing and bullying. But yet others somehow become a bully for standing up for those same people groups and challenging those who condemn them to instead focus on the things Jesus was passionate about. Okey dokey

  • Ron McPherson

    You came on here with both fists flying accusing a guy of being a “faggot” who was totally innocent and invoked the name of Jesus to do it. Geez

  • Ron McPherson

    Ok seriously. I’m either on candid camera or in the twilight zone

  • Ron McPherson

    Obviously LOL

  • Ron McPherson

    Well I’m not really sure how one can twist the word “faggot” but whatever. Glad you worked it out and apologies for being a “rabble rouser”. Peace

  • Ron McPherson

    I’ll have to chew a little on that one. Your point is duly noted. I think the big thing with me is when I see people condemn others in the name of God. I don’t see Bones doing that. At any rate, the one thing I absolutely don’t want to be is a hypocrite.


  • Ron McPherson

    Ok peace

  • Herro

    >”Oooookay. I think I understand the nature of your objections better.
    You’re basically asking if any ancient reader would have in their heads,
    “Obviously this genealogy isn’t meant to be taken at face value.””

    Yes. If it was known that you could just freely skip and change genealogies (like Corey seems to me to argue), then surely that would be the common understanding and the understanding that the author wanted the reader to have. Right?

    If this was the case, and this was known in the ancient world, then why do we see ancient writers treat these genealogies as “no-gap” father-son genealogies? If it was known that genealogies don’t work that way, then we wouldn’t expect them to do this. And I think we would expect someone say something like “Now, we know that there are generations missing, so… yada-yada”. I don’t think we have anything like that.

    From what I gather this gap theory originated in the 19th century. Since I think it’s very flimsy, I suspect that it originated and perpetueates because it’s useful for biblicists to defend the bible against accusations of contradicting modern science

    Anyway. Good luck with finding evidence for this view. If there is any it would probably be mentioned in scholarly articles on the subject. And thanks for the discussion. Very informative and nice. If only more of the discussions in comment sections were like this :)

  • Ron McPherson

    I suppose we see the motivations differently then. Which is worse? One coming on here intolerant and condemning of those who do not toe their religious line, or the one who stands up to those same people for doing it?

  • Matthew

    Will it ever end? Conservatives and liberal/progressives thinking each one is intolerant of the other.

  • Matthew

    Well Phil … you certainly have said a lot about this topic. I have had much to chew on. Thanks again.

    That said, for all the interesting practical aspects of the historical-narrative hermeneutic, I still think trying to link absolutely everything to a first century context (like the sayings of Jesus for example) is a bit one sided and limiting.

    Things like “absent from the body, present with the Lord” (I read the verse(s) and the immediate context yesterday — it doesn´t appear Paul is contextually talking about martyrs per se but actually an eternal home), “today you will be with me in Paradise”, “I´m going to make a place for you”, “my father´s house has many rooms”, the great cloud of witnesses, etc. all — to me at least — seem to point to something more eternal and everlasting than what this interpretative technique allows and suggests.

    That´s just my take at least, but do understand that I too see the problems with the typicaly evangelical rendering of the gospel. I guess I´m with Realist here … I see a both/and rather than an either/or construct in this (and of course other) theological paradigms.

  • Ron McPherson

    Probably not till we’re all sitting at the same table in the afterlife ha. Then we’ll all be shocked we’re all together heehee

  • Jeff Preuss

    It’s interesting that she thinks we’ve “attacked” Nina. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

  • Ron McPherson

    Ok peace

  • How about, “She is not dead, but merely sleeping?” Or the resurrections of Tabitha or Eutychus? Did Paul and Peter yank people out of heaven? Paul says, in the very passage you quote, that we all must stand before the judgement seat of Christ. Does he also mean this happens immediately after we die? If so, what happens in the final judgement? Everyone gets pulled out of Heaven and Hell to get sent back there?

    There just isn’t a cohesive picture given to us as to what happens when we die. The Bible is just not very interested in that. We are, and so we take our neo-platonic philosophy about souls and read it into all these passages just as our theological forefathers did. I just think it’s interesting that you’re willing to choose your hermeneutics based on how well they answer your question of where we go when we die.

    What the New Testament says a lot more about is a resurrection and a new heavens and new earth, and that is clearly the locus for a future hope.

  • Maybe. That’s what I’m curious about. If a given genealogical hermeneutic is just a common assumption, I don’t know that I’d expect writers to just specifically say that every time they commented on a genealogy.

    But we’d at least expect someone to -operate- that way in their commentary, so I’m interested in seeing if there are clearer pictures of that. But, yes, I agree with what you said – there doesn’t seem to be evidence that early readers assumed genealogies would be incomplete. But then, on the other hand, I’m not sure how they worked through the obvious contradictions, so that’s where I want to look and see what they said about things like Noah’s origins, etc.

  • Matthew

    Who knows … ???

    Maybe after I die I get to go to my father´s house and wait there until the resurrection and final judgement.

    I guess you are right Phil, there isn´t a clear picture about the afterlife … just verses and words here and there.

    What is the Bible interested in teaching us Phil?

  • Jeff Preuss

    “please gfy. There is no need to continue unless you can be civil.”
    Irony, thy name is Nina.

    EDIT: “It’s like rai-i-ain, on your wedding day! It’s a free-ee ri-i-ide, when you’ve already paid! It’s the good advice, you just didn’t take!”

  • Jeff Preuss

    I believe her only intent is to get a rise out of everyone. Probably best ignored.

  • Ron McPherson

    I used to filter practically everything in the Bible as dealing with a heaven/hell issue. Talk about twisting myself in theological knots.

  • Realist1234

    Do you deny the earth receives light from the moon at night, particularly a full moon, even if it is reflected light? Genesis does not say the light is generated by the moon.

  • Matthew

    How did you untie the knots Ron?

  • Realist1234

    Craig Keener has made some valid points on slavery in Paul’s day:

    ‘Paul addressed a different kind of slavery: he wrote to urban congregations, hence addressed urban, i.e., household, slaves. Ancient Mediterranean household slavery was unjust, yet it differed from the slavery usually practiced in the Americas, which was more like the plantation slavery. The category “slavery” included high-status slaves. Some aristocratic women even married into slavery by marrying high-class slaves, thereby improving their own social status; the most powerful slaves of Caesar wielded more power than free aristocrats. More often, household slaves could save money on the side, sometimes buying their freedom and sometimes even buying other slaves (sometimes even while still slaves themselves).

    More importantly, a significant proportion of ancient household slaves became free (though partly so slaveholders would not have to keep supporting them). Slaves of Roman citizens freed after age 30 became Roman citizens themselves, and the former slaveholders were responsible to provide them legal, political and financial help. Hereditary aristocrats complained that some of these freedpersons became the “social climbers” of their era. Without exaggerating differences, it should be noted that the range of experiences in ancient Mediterranean slavery differed from that practiced in the Americas.

    American slaveholders’ knowledge of ancient slavery was undoubtedly limited. More inexcusably, however, the slaveholders ignored Ephesians’ own context, which went on to demand that slaveholders treat their slaves in the same way! Paul expected believing slaves to take advantage of freedom when they had that opportunity (1 Cor 7:21-23); he also wanted Philemon to free the recently converted Onesimus to help Paul in ministry. But even in our very passage, Paul says that slaves and slaveholders share the same heavenly Lord (Eph 6:9).

    Sometimes we are annoyed that Paul did not attack slavery more directly. But we should not forget that these few sentences were not meant to address the institution of slavery itself. Pastors do not counsel someone struggling in their marriage by discussing weddings or marriage-related laws in society. We do not counsel someone struggling with drugs by discussing the legality of drugs, the international sources of drugs, and so forth; we try to help the person deal with their drug problem. Larger structural issues matter, but they are not the immediate subject of our counseling. In the same way, Paul’s letters to real congregations addressed slaves in the situation they were in. These letters do not reveal Paul’s views on the larger question of slavery. Ephesians may, however, imply his views.

    Paul not only believes here that slavery is against nature; he calls for Christian ethics that ultimately subvert it. After Paul calls slaves to submit to slaveholders, he calls on slaveholders to “do the same things to them” (Eph 6:9). This is how he expects Christian mutual submission (Eph 5:21) between slaves and slaveholders. One wonders what such instructions would ultimately do to slavery, if anyone paid attention to them. Who would invest money to buy a fellow master? Latching on to principles in Paul and other biblical writers, Christian abolitionists, both black and white, later in history forcefully demanded the end of slavery. Some devoted entire manuals to biblical arguments against slavery.’

    It is hardly a coincidence that the leading voices against African slavery were Christians.

  • What we know in fixed form as “the Bible” is an aggregated stream of writings. Someone would produce a writing that was other original or aggregated traditions or other sources (or all of the above), and the community would find that aggregation useful. These were collected over time in various collections of various compositions until, like most things, someone decided we needed to settle this issue and, in the fourth century, we closed the canon.

    So, it’s difficult to present a totally monolithic picture of “what the Bible teaches” because it functions more like an anthology than a single book. It’s an aggregation of writings that were, on their own, useful for the people of God.

    But if I were to sum it up, I’d say the Bible gives testimony to the ups and downs of the ongoing relationship between God and Israel, and understanding that story is useful to us both in terms of understanding how we got to this point, highlighting circumstances that continue to affect us today, and also as a tool for understanding our own experiences by way of analogy. The New Testament use of the Old Testament is replete with that, for example, showing that this way of understanding past biblical writings is well-attested.

    By way of (loose) analogy, imagine how useful knowledge of World War II is to a contemporary German. Even though the historical particulars are long gone, it enables him to understand better the state Germany is in, today, as well as be on the lookout for how their present experiences might be informed by or relate to the historical events that happened to them 70 years ago. The past explains our present, also has an impact on our present, and educates us about our present so we can figure it out based on lessons from the past.

  • Matthew

    Thanks Phil. You always get the wheels turning. I like that :-). Are you a teacher?

  • Realist1234

    Though many would argue the ‘Sea of Reeds’ still refers to the Red Sea, or at least part of it. So I dont see an issue there.

  • Realist1234

    Matthew, although I agree the New Testament is not clear on the subject of what specifically happens to us when we die, I would suggest that, at least for believers, we continue in some form with God, either consciously or unconsciously. I am not against the view that when you die, that truly is the end of you until the final resurrection, but I just find too many passages that at least imply our continued existence with the Lord.


  • If by “many” you mean “a tiny handful of fundies who are more interested in confirming their prejudices than letting the Bible just say what it says,” then yes. No surprise that’s the camp you agree with.

  • I consider that a very high compliment, so thank you.

    I’m not a teacher professionally, no. Well… I’m not formally a teacher, professionally, but my job involves a lot of teaching. At church I do the odd Sunday School here and there.

  • Matthew

    A Sunday school class like no other I bet :-)!

  • Ron McPherson

    Often I couldn’t.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I’ll give you this – the Trumpian levels of “I’m not lying, you’re lying” hypocrisy are intriguing.

  • Ha! Both fans and critics would say that, I guess.

    I attend a relatively conservative evangelical church in America, and Sunday School has always been fun for that reason.

  • Matthew

    They tolerate your theological views?

  • Matthew

    I think I know what you mean Ron.

  • Sure. Well, I don’t know if every individual would tolerate every one of my views, but one of the advantages of having these discussions in community is that, not only can you take the time to make sure you understand each other, you’re also having the discussion in the context of community life and worship. Even the people who consistently disagree with me know where my heart is and what that looks like in practice, and vice-versa. It provides a level of context (and priorities) for theological discussions that the Internet doesn’t really provide.

    So, the people who know me tolerate my views, and some of them find them interesting, adopt them, or at least enjoy an environment where we can talk through these difficult issues without someone accusing someone else of heresy or just beating on the party line instead of having a discussion.

    The people who don’t know me very well probably wouldn’t be as charitable, but it’s not like I go around intentionally trying to stir things up. And it’s good for me, too, to be confronted with things that I think are just ridiculous sometimes, but they’re coming from people I love who are genuinely trying their very best to be faithful to God in service. I can worship with these people and serve with these people and we can still be worlds apart, theologically.

    If the congregation were more inwardly focused and mostly interested in, like, culture wars and not serving, or conservative Republicanism were preached from the pulpit, I probably wouldn’t hang around, but that hasn’t been an issue so far.

  • IconoclastTwo

    “Creation, as taught in the Bible, is not a theory.”

    Of course it is in the strictest definition of logic sense (not that creation actually is logical). It has assumptions (that god exists, that god is activist, et cetera) and proceeds from them.

    It’s a very bad theory but it’s still a theory.

    “Evil-ution has been called a theory, remains a theory and is filled with fairy tales and delusion.”

    Except for the books and books filled with evidence for it…Oh, and if you think evolution doesn’t happen the next time you get an infection why don’t you tell the doctor that you want penicillin to treat it? After all, since bacteria don’t evolve there should be no such thing as antibiotic resistant bacteria, right?

    “There is no basis of truth as to where matter originated, no basis of truth that any evolution is taking place now or ever did (produce the “ape man,” and show me one in existence today since there are apes and men, there would be a combination still around),”

    This? Really? Scientists have found lots of fossils that are intermediary between the predecessor primates to humans and people.

    “these theories are man-made and postulated on facts that are incomplete, skewed, or otherwise flawed. ”

    The only way that you get to pretend (albeit, and to this group’s credit not very successfully) that your ‘facts’ are anything _other_ than incomplete is because you DEFINE your ‘facts’ as being exactly what you want in the first place (contrary to what scientists actually do). Whenever you actually have to use science’s real standards notions like yours utterly collapse and they’ve done so for centuries.

    I also suppose you also think that the Bible sounds great in the original English…

    “Godless? Homosexuality rampant and “accepted” by society? People pretending to be the opposite sex and being “accepted” by society? Sick perversions that take the place of truth and fantasy becomes reality. Yes, this is a Godless world……”

    No, it’s a troubled world (admittedly) but much of its problems have come from people who think like you, who exhibit more or less every single behavior that turned me and millions of other people off of your religion-and when or if those problems do get solved it’ll be done by people who are willing to do what you’re not willing to do. Namely think.

  • Shawnie5

    I think Jesus was calling the rich young man to join His inner circle of disciples — of course he couldn’t do that and drag all his possessions on the road with him. This wasn’t the first such instance. Jesus called others as disciples but was refused because of the ties of property, family, etc.

    The point is that nothing is supposed to come before our loyalty to Christ and whatever work He calls us to do.

  • Ron McPherson

    Yes, that’s a popular evangelical viewpoint. But to arrive at that meaning for us takes some spiritual speculation I would say. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.

  • BT

    I grew up being taught young earth views. Even when I was 8 or 10, I remember thinking “Well that’s just silly. “

  • Realist1234

    Youre just confirming your own prejudices by using such words. No surprise there.

  • Realist1234

    ‘ I guess I´m with Realist here…’ Oh dear, you shouldnt have said that. Phil will not be amused.

  • Show me the bible scholars who believe the Sea of Reeds is actually the Red Sea.

  • Bones

    After the Synagogue pissed John off.

  • Bones

    Nina’ll like that. I heard Burt liked batting left-handed.

  • Bones

    Good, then piss off.

  • Saw that one coming… ;)

  • Lol

  • Ron McPherson

    Why is it when so many are challenged about their beliefs it ultimately ends up about homosexuality? I can practically replay before it even happens:

    1) Ben pens article challenging one to question the validity of a long held belief
    2) Initial responses vary but somewhat along the lines of, ‘thanks for this Ben, it’s something I’ve always wondered about as well and this is a challenging perspective for me to consider’
    3) Someone jumps into the fray and says something like ‘the author’s views are typical liberal hogwash’
    4) Someone responds with ‘then provide a biblical reason for your charge’
    5) response is ‘because the Bible clearly says this and this’
    6) response to that is, ‘but we have solid evidence that your view doesn’t align with real life etc so perhaps the biblical intent is to inform us in a way that doesn’t conform to your long held beliefs’
    7) response to that is ‘well you’re obviously anti-God’
    8) response to that is, ‘how am I anti-God for seeking truth’?
    9) response to that is, ‘what do you think about homosexuality’ which is largely a default response because that topic essentially draws a line in the sand; it’s when I no longer want to engage in discussion because I’m uncomfortable that my beliefs (based on what someone taught me and continues to teach me) could be severely challenged; so rather than engaging in honest
    dialogue I must convince myself that you’re of the devil, not a real Christian, so that gives me a justifiable reason to cut the discussion off. It’s just easier to do that because I don’t want to do the hard work, the challenging work, the often uncomfortable work. And what results is I go on living a life of confirmation bias. So it’s easier to just dismiss one who challenges my assertions. So when I feel threatened, I hunker down and equate that to the other person rebelling against God because they don’t believe my version of the truth. In other words, I believe it so it must be of God. Others who believe differently must not be of God, because if they were, then I could be wrong.

    How anyone thinks this helps the cause of Christ is beyond me. Thanks again Phil. I love reading your stuff because it forces me to think and doesn’t let me off the hook on my own confirmation bias.

  • Yes, you laid out the typical sequence of events very well.

    I find that it’s extremely common for evangelicals who post here to follow up any kind of challenge with an orthodoxy quiz. Like we can’t even discuss the issues until they have satisfied themselves that I’m a Real True Christian as they define it, and if I can’t pass the test, then they won’t discuss what they said with me.

    Which seems to indicate they’re only interested in discussing their views with people who already generally agree with them (or agree enough) and aren’t posting to have an honest discussion about opposing viewpoints, but to proclaim The Truth(tm).

  • Realist1234


    But I am open to other understandings, but I do find it strange that Solomon would build ships on a lake.

  • Bones

    No. They come to preach and tell us how much they hate us.

    Then they run away.

    Deleting their posts as they go

  • Ok, so when you said “many would say,” you meant this one guy. Fair enough.

    This is some of the most selective usage of data I’ve seen in a while. I like how he goes on about the third century Septuagint uses “erythra thalassa,” but then completely drops the Septuagint for his point about Solomon’s ships – probably because the Septuagint does not use “erythra thalassa” for his keystone argument, but rather “eschatos thalasses” – the Last Sea. I wonder where all his bluster about the importance of using the Septuagint went? Anyway, if you want to check it, yourself, just remember that 1 Kings is 3 Kings in the Septuagint, and you can see for yourself that “yam suph” is not consistently translated his way in the Septuagint.

    I also appreciate his labors to show that it could refer to the Gulf of Aqaba, which I think is quite possible since it is near Edom and Edom means “red,” which is where the Septuagint could be taking its cue in Exodus, but that’s hardly the Red Sea. And he’s further undermined by his conclusion when he basically says, “It’s the Gulf of Aqaba. It’s also the Gulf of Suez. It’s also the Red Sea.” Nicely done.

    But whatever body of water the Israelites did or did not cross, my point was that most English translations translate “yam suph” as “Red Sea,” and that is not the translation. It is “Sea of Reeds.” If you think the Sea of Reeds is the Gulf of Aqaba, fine, but “yam suph” does not translate to “Red Sea.” It just doesn’t. At all. But English translators translate it that way for traditional reasons.

  • They don’t want an echo chamber. They want to instruct the heathen.

  • I just noticed you cut off the last part of what I wrote when you quoted me. I ended with “, but to proclaim The Truth(tm).”

    Are you people just dishonest with every text you read or what? Is it a brain thing?

  • pastoredsmith

    People who “think like” me are people who simply believe the Bible and realize that man’s “proof” is nothing more than speculation and conjecture. If “science” would just report the facts and forget the fairy tales, man could easily find the truth. This is a godless world…..a world that rejects God and postulates theories to try and explain Him away. It won’t work. You and those in this thread can try to shred me all you wish. Go ahead, call me names if it makes you think that proves your point. But, you have NOTHING that countermands the Bible.

  • Realist1234

    Phil, how about both of us cut down on the sarcasm? Its not good for either of us. Agree?

    I didnt say the text doesnt refer to the ‘Sea of Reeds’ rather than the Red Sea. It clearly does. The question is – where is this ‘Sea of Reeds’. The scholar I quoted gave one possibility. I think the Gulf of Aqaba as it is termed today is certainly viable, and if you look at a map, it is clearly part of the Red Sea, not separate from it, which is the other point I was making. It does not refer to some inland lake etc. At its widest, this stretch of water is around 30km wide, though significantly narrower at other points. That sort of distance,or less, might fit with the length of time it took the Hebrews to cross. Just a thought.

  • No, that’s not the question. It was never the question.

    The question was whether or not “yam suph” means “Sea of Reeds” or “Red Sea.” It means “Sea of Reeds.” Even the article you linked to said that. My whole point before you piped up was that translators have difficulties choosing good translations, one factor in which is tradition. My point had nothing to do with whether or not Exodus 14 happened or where it happened. It was entirely about translation and the choices translators make.

    You, for reasons I can only begin to guess, decided to snipe at this point. Apparently, not only does your theological tradition have to be infallible, but even an English translation choice that conceivably has the potential to cast doubt on your tradition has to be infallible as well. You are just very, very interested in protecting your traditions rather than having discussions, and I’m not up for it.

  • IconoclastTwo

    “People who “think like” me are people who simply believe the Bible and realize that man’s “proof” is nothing more than speculation and conjecture. If “science” would just report the facts and forget the fairy tales, man could easily find the truth.”

    Science has been discovering facts for the last couple hundred years with regards to these types of issues. It isn’t science’s fault that you boxed yourself into an ideological corner where you committed to a notion of existence that bears no resemblance whatsoever to what actually happened and forces you to pretend that absolutely nothing that scientists have discovered lends itself to any reasonable inferences with regards to biology or geology. It’s yours.

    “This is a godless world…..a world that rejects God and postulates theories to try and explain Him away. It won’t work.”

    And yet the political stranglehold of Christians who think like you remains in the United States.

    “You and those in this thread can try to shred me all you wish. Go ahead, call me names if it makes you think that proves your point. But, you have NOTHING that countermands the Bible.”

    Except for (as a start):

    1) Every single piece of real evidence contradicts the idea of a young earth creation.

    2) There’s no evidence for a global recent flood.

    3) There’s no evidence for the plagues in Egypt.

  • pastoredsmith

    Christianity is not a political stranglehold. It is simple truth of the Gospel of Christ. The teachings of the Bible that have disproved #fakescience for thousands of years. Your “scientific theory” is nothing more than man’s fairy tale definitions of skewed facts garnered by people whose grants from corporate America or the Federal government that depend on specific outcomes. If the FACTS of science were considered apart from man’s fairy tales, true science will emerge. Science, in its unaltered form does not disagree with the Bible.Your “proofs” for no young earth creation, a global flood or plagues are among the most absurd of the man made theories I speak of. You have no proof; only speculation. You cannot disprove the Bible. Period.

  • Herm


    You are duped! You don’t understand metaphor and you certainly don’t realize the earth was fully populated 9,000 years ago when mankind first began to settle in cities and became dependent on farmers (Cain) and ranchers (Able).

    You don’t know to be with and in the Teacher, the Instructor or the Father and They in you. The Bible taken any more than an inspired book chronicling the relationship between God and mankind is ignoring the Spirit of truth made available to all by Jesus when the veil was torn top to bottom.

    The Christian Bible is purely a compilation of letters and testimony edited under the sponsorship of Constantine. I disproved a literal translation of the Bible when I was filled by the Holy Spirit forever more without pause.

    If you wish to become a disciple of the Messiah directly then this you must do in all humility:

    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

    Luke 14:26-27 (NIV2011)

    This means you have to hate enough to forsake all the traditions taught by mankind to learn solely under the master.

  • Bones

    Genesis is neither a history book nor a science book.

    It is totally disproven as both.

  • Bones

    Good to have you around troll.

  • Bones

    They’re both dead…… doubt Jesus is proud of you….

  • Bones

    I had a feeling you’d get that.

  • wolfeevolution

    No no… not the MusEum, you Australian nincompoop. The MusIum, with an *I*. You know, that place where all the athiests go.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Party on, Garth.

  • apoxbeonyou

    You can dismiss it; there is still some good stuff in there, IMO. You have to understand how to read it.

  • Party on, Wayne.

  • Steve Buckley

    Hi Ben.
    I think you’ve missed the real points of when the earth/cosmos was created.
    While I agree that it’s the geneaologies whence we obtain the age of the earth, there are far earlier issues which first must be dealt with.
    The creation narrative itself for starters.
    1- God created the heavens and the earth.
    2- There was dark and emptiness/void upon the face of the deep, as God’s Spirit hovered over (brooded) it.

    3- God said, “Let there be light”, and it was so.

    4- first day……

    There appears to be implied— but not clearly so– that there’s a gap of some sort between the initial creation of the cosmos, and the creation of the earth’s contents. Whatever took place, the earth was without form and empty when the 6 days of creation began taking place.

    We then enter chapter 2, and Adam, apparently alone, names all the animals.

    It’s at some point in the naming of the animals, where God says— It’s not good that man should be alone. I will make a help-meet suitable for him. How long was Adam at this, before Eve was created?

    We then have what appears to be an issue of— when did Adam’s age start being accounted? Was it at the fall, from the day of his being created out of the dust?
    The bible strikes me as being rather vague here. It’s readily assumed that it was from the day of his creation, but as I’ve looked at it over the years, it’s simply not stated, and therefore ambiguous at best. The only thing we do know is that Adam was 105 years when Seth was born. Everything before that is not clearly defined, agewise. We have no age for when Adam and Eve started having children. We don’t know when Cain, and Abel lived.

    So, what we do know?
    God created the heavens and the earth at some non-descript time in ancient past.

    God then set aside 6 days for creating light, plants, trees, sun, moon, stars, critters, animals, livestock, and man. He then takes a day off.

    We then read what some like to call the levitical description of creation, and see that Adam named the animals, over some non-descript length of time.

    Following this, we enter the garden’s interaction between Eve, and the serpent.

    As I’ve pondered this over the years, I’ve found a question that arises in my mind.

    how long did the serpent have to study the man, and his interactions, life, etc…. before he figured out that he had to get to the woman, to make it a once for all, end-game to accomplish his goal of separating man from God?

    How long did it take to get the woman to interact with the serpent, and to gain her trust? She obviously trusted the serpent to some high-level, because she sat there listening to it, in spite of her knowing what Adam told her about the fruit.

    Innocence does not mean lacking in intelligence. And I’m not entirely sure it means naivete either. It could, but not inherently necessary.

    It further strikes me that in order for the serpent to succeed in his plot against God, and man, he needed to get to man, at the first generation. Failure to get to Adam, meant he’d have to do it to an increasing number of people, exponentially making his job more complicated, and at higher likelihood of failure. Thus, it had to be Adam.

    Getting at Eve was a rather ingenious plot actually. Its success would depend entirely on how much Adam had come to love Eve. What was the cost Adam would be willing to bear to keep her? Would he be willing to die with her, lose his fellowship with God, to keep her? It was a high-stakes gamble, which, sadly for us, paid off. I say sadly, because humanity is the cash that the devil bargains with, and trust is the collateral. Trust God and live? OR trust anything, anyone else, and die?

    Remember— Adam was the one whom God told— you shall not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day you eat thereof, dying, you shall die.

    Two questions arise here for me.
    1- what is— dying, you shall die? I’ve always been taught that Adam died spiritually that day, and his spiritual death, resulted ultimately in his physical death. Hence, Jesus’ statement of— unless you are Born again, you cannot enter or see God’s Kingdom. John 3:3-5, as well as the description in Ezekiel 36:25-27.

    2- what is the impact to the rest of humanity?

    Thus, We have to consider that in order to get to man, the serpent had to get to Eve first. She had to be the one to eat the fruit in order for the serpent to get at man.

    Thus, we have the fall of man.

    So, from creation, to Seth, is it in fact, 105 years? We don’t have ANYTHING which definitively shows when Adam’s age is defined by, or based upon. We can assume all day long, but that doesn’t mean that’s the correct delineator.

    So, while I understand that you think challenging the geneaological record will support your claim that the earth isn’t necessarily 6000 years old, I think your logic is flawed in doing so. You’re claiming a level of knowledge that none of us actually possess, because we simply were not present during the era in question. We didn’t know Moses. We don’t know EXACTLY what Moses did for those 80 days on the mountain with God, so these things alone would knock us off the rail in our attempts to make claims of knowledge regarding genealogical history. Granted, I’m in the same position with my ideas too, which is why the questions I’ve asked. It’s also why I’ve prayed, asking God for one thing when I get home to Jesus—- may I please be taken back through history (from the eternal perspective), and observe history unfold?

    I think if you really want to get back to the age of the earth being called into question, you have to start before then.
    Start with the first 3 chapters.

    Was there, and if so, how long, a gap in time, between Genesis 1:2, and 1:3?
    How long did it take for Adam to name the animals?

    How long did Adam live before Eve was created?
    From what point did Adam’s age get defined, the fall, or the creation (6th day)?
    Answer these, without assumptions, and you’ll be closer to how old the earth is. Until then, it strikes me that we’re still in exactly the same boat as we were before we were born.

    The 6000 years age is based on Bishop James Ussher’s calculations. We can corroborate his claims, but in doing so— we must assume the items I’ve noted.

    To call into question the geneaological listings just places you in the undesirable position of claiming that God is incapable of keeping an accurate record in the text he inspired (2 Tim. 3– that the bible is “God-breathed”). I.e., on some level that means calling God a liar. Do you REALLY want to do that?

    Do you REALLY want to make those assumptions to make the record fit whatever notions you have?

    My notions aren’t entirely better, but they are sticking with the written items in the bible.

    My ideas are still questions. Questions which could be answered in the bible, but having been reading it for a long time, several times now, I’ve still not found those answers.
    Which leaves me in the position of—- whom shall I believe?

    My own intellect’s capacity for ferreting these things out? The world’s capacity for calling God a liar (Has God REALLY said? which is exactly what the serpent did to Eve.)?
    Or do I, like everyone else has to choose….. Believe God, even though there are questions I have? Can I, will I, let God decide when those questions are best answered?

    What’s more important….. that I know what no one else knows? Or that I trust God, place my faith in Jesus, and follow him, letting him decide the right timing to answer such questions, even if that means I have to wait until after I die, or enter eternity?

    Especially when I…. indeed ALL Jesus followers— are promised that we will one day know as we are known. 1 Cor. 13:12.

    Indeed an interesting article, but I think you’re on the wrong track to claim more than 6000 years. As Jews claim October 4004 BC, we’re already at 6020+. Although, their calendar is 5777, so go figure. Arguing with Jewish history places you on a bad footing to begin with.

    If you ever get a time machine, I’ll go with you. I have several stops I’d like to make, and I think you’d agree upon explanation.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    I dismiss all the claims of a god & of miracles.

    Sure, there is some good stuff in it, but the good stuff is good because it’s good, not because it happens to be in the Bible.

    The fact is there is also a great deal of bad stuff in it ( ie: a long list of reasons to kill people such as adultery, working on the Sabbath, cursing your parent, being homosexual).

    I have to UNDERSTAND how to read it????

    Tell me, what does your UNDERSTANDING tell you when you read these passages:

    “you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.”

    “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.”

    “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. ”

    “Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.”

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Craig Keener has made some valid points on slavery in Paul’s day”

    I am talking about slavery as it is described & condoned in the Bible.

    “More importantly, a significant proportion of ancient household slaves became free”

    The important thing is that the Bible ( both testaments ) condones owning people as property in the first place.

    If they were later freed, or if they were treated well as slaves isn’t relevant.

    “American slaveholders’ knowledge of ancient slavery was undoubtedly limited.”

    A moot point since I am talking about what the Bible itself says, not what American slaveholders might have though.

    “It is hardly a coincidence that the leading voices against African slavery were Christians.”

    And some of the leading voices in support of African slavery were ALSO Christians.

    The difference is the Christians supporting slavery had the Bible on their side.

    ” you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. Leviticus 25:44-45

    “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. Exodus 21:20-21

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Ephesians 6:5

    Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. 1 Timothy 6:1-2

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Slavery was the norm, then; it was part of culture. ”

    And until god supposedly passed down his commandments ( there are 613 of them) so was working on the Sabbath, adultery, homosexuality, wearing clothing made of more than one type of fabric, planting different crops beside each other etc.

    But ( according to the Bible) god took the time to tell us homosexuality was wrong ( and they should be killed), working the Sabbath was wrong ( and they should be killed), adultery was wrong ( and they should be killed), wearing clothing made of more than one type of fabric was wrong, and planting different crops right beside each other was wrong.

    Also ( according to the Bible) god took the time NOT to say slavery was wrong, or even slavery should be avoided. Instead, he condones it & hands down his rules for selling, buying, and owning slaves ( you can beat them to death without any repercussions as long as they don’t die from their beating for a couple days.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    The Moon is a light as much as a mirror with a light shining in it is a light ( in other words, it isn’t a source of light, it’s reflecting a light.

    But the Bible doesn’t say the Moon reflects light, it says the Moon is a lesser light to rule the night… despite the fact that the Moon is often visible during the day & is sometimes not visible at night.

    The Bible also says there was light BEFORE the sun, moon, and stars existed.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    I dismiss god ( as I dismiss all fantastic claims) until I see evidence for it’s existence.

    Do you have any evidence for the existence of god?

  • pastoredsmith

    (Buzzer sounds) Wrong! I haven’t seen your “proof.” The only “proof” I’ve seen is based on the manmade fairy tales I’ve been talking about. Science (facts) do not refute the Bible….only man’s ideas and theories about the facts does that and is nothing more than Hansel and Gretel Fairy tales.

  • Herm

    Yes, evidence more sure and personally proven than a quark that is within all that we know as physical. Much more evidence to God’s existence than yours.

  • apoxbeonyou

    Yes, you have to understand it. It’s an ancient text written by different people, to other people, about some pretty random stuff. Just like any other ancient text you have to understand how to read it. Context, context, context.

  • apoxbeonyou

    God never said anything. Men attributed things to God but that doesn’t mean he had anything to do with it. God didn’t write the Bible; men did.

    Also, the word ‘homosexual’ didn’t exist until 1868. The Greek terms translated into ‘homosexual’ mean different things; one of them is temple prostitution, so not the same as a loving monogamous relationship between two people of the same sex.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “God didn’t write the Bible; men did.”

    Sure. And since the Bible has so many immoral laws, the Bible can be dismissed as a source for moral guidance.

    “Also, the word ‘homosexual’ didn’t exist until 1868.”

    The Bible says ““If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.”.

    I decided to say the Bible tells us to kill homosexuals rather than quoting a long sentence from the bible that says the same thing.

    It’s too bad you were not aware that ““If a man lies with a male as with a women” means homosexual behaviour.

    You forgot to present your reasons why slavery ( as defined by the Bible) is moral.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    ” Context, context, context.”

    Proponents of the Bible claim it contains god’s laws ( the commandments… 613 of them, not just 10).

    Can you give the context where the following actions could be considered moral?

    “you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.”

    “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.”

    “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.”

    “Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.”

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Much more evidence to God’s existence than yours.”


    Now instead of simply claiming it exists, present some of this evidence that proves god exists.

  • Unknown Origins

    Science says that the universe is around 14 billion years old. Now pause for a moment. According to modern quantum physics the closer you get to a massive amount of gravity, the slower time will move for you relative to someone trillions of miles away. With that valuable piece of quantum mechanics, I will assume that the universe was created 14 billion years ago. The reason is that I will be using the big bang theory’s biggest flaw, which is:

    “where did the massive amount of energy in the big bang come from in the vast expanse of empty space?”

    Think of God living near a Ultrasupermassive black hole, and somehow he was able to transport the singularity of a smaller black hole into a different area of space. If the black hole has nothing to absorb it will eventually explode due to the lack of matter around it. It will turn its weight against itself. Kind of like a Prince Rupert drop. The outer shell of the black hole (event horizon) acts as the delicate string of glass that trails behind the indestructible main part. If you were somehow able to crack the shell, you would have an explosion of energy.

    Now, seeing as God is near a ultrasupermassive black hole, depending on how far away from the black hole the package was before it exploded, it would determine the time differential between God and Earth. One day for God is 2 billion years for earth.

    So about the description of how the earth was made… Its not all about earth.

    “God divided the light from the darkness.” the separation of matter. Dark matter that is. It isn’t physically separating the matter, just putting it into categories.
    The firmament- the planet’s and stars, the heavens
    The waters- energy and space
    The rest is a little out of order, but imagine trying to scientifically describe the birth of a new universe to… Say… An 8 year old. It’s pretty difficult, and to describe one thing that happens, they’ll ask how, so you have to explain what caused the thing to happen.

    I’m not trying to infringe on anyone else’s beliefs, but if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to have a discussion about the topic at hand, feel free to contact me through my personal email:

    I am a Christian and have a firm testimony of Jesus Christ our Lord and savior. I am also a beginning scientist, so if you would like to talk to me on either subject, feel free to contact me. I may not be immediately available to reply because of high school, but I will get back to you as soon as possible.

  • Herm


  • C_Alan_Nault

    Can you? I doubt it.

  • Herm

    Perhaps you misunderstood my question. Why should I present some evidence to you that God exists? If you are not receptive or are spiritually challenged I would be wasting my time and frustrating your time.

    If God exists then They would be much more capable of relating to you than I. If God does not exist then why are you wasting your time pursuing Them? The good news is that you can question, dare and challenge Them all by yourself while you determine when enough is enough and you go back to what you know for certain.

    As you should be able to tell I know that I am not wasting my time. I am not in any way threatening you in your environment as you attempt to intimidate and manipulate me (us) in my (our) well defined environment that we are drawn to to share what we each know. You know nothing and seek to keep it that way.

    I do not owe you anything especially if I am not invading your sanctuary as you are mine.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Why should I present some evidence to you that God exists?”

    Why aren’t you willing to present some evidence that god exists? Do you already know that what you are talking about isn’t actually evidence?

    “If you are not receptive”

    If I was not receptive to examining your evidence I wouldn’t have asked you to present some evidence. I AM curious why you would be so ready to claim “Much more evidence to God’s existence than yours” and yet be reluctant to present evidence for your claim.

    “or are spiritually challenged”

    Can you define clearly what you mean by “spiritually”

    “clearly I would be wasting my time”

    In other words, you claim to have evidence but it won’t be accepted as evidence unless I am ready to accept it?

    Apparently you do not know the definition of evidence.

    “and frustrating your time.”

    That’s OK, I don’t mind, it’s my time. Go ahead and present “Much more evidence to God’s existence than yours”.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “As you should be able to tell I know that I am not wasting my time. ”

    In other words, you know it would be a waste of your time trying to present evidence for the existence of god because you know you don’t have any evidence for god.

    Apparently you prefer wasting your time dishonestly making extraordinary claims & then when asked to present evidence for your claims you won’t.

  • LUX

    I think Fundamentalism and its unscientific, unacademic approach to theologies are causing people to abandon their faith in God and creating more atheists. (Fortunately I took the opposite direction.)

  • Herm

    There is no dishonesty here and all things are extraordinary when the full dimensions are realized. It is not my responsibility to prove or disprove anything for you. It is my responsibility not to lie to myself and I am not. You are not ready for the truth. You have no sense of spirit relative to physical. You show us no awareness of infinity or eternity. The only thing here that truly saddens me is that I know for sure that the only One who can answer your questions is exactly the One you cannot see with your heart and mind in His image.

  • Bones

    Science completely refutes the Bible – in astronomy, anthropology, biology, astronomy, geology, geography, genetics,…..Most probably every scientific discipline.

    Your nonsensical rant is just hysterics and hysterical.

  • Bones

    Lol……..and you came on here to show how much of a prick you are.

    Well done….

  • pastoredsmith

    You poor deceived fellow. I pray that the scales fall from your eyes and you realize that your “science” is man made fairy tales. The only source of absolute truth is the Bible.
    Say, are you an atheist? You certainly sound like one.

  • Bones

    Dude, the only one deceived here is you.

    There isn’t a skerrick of historical or scientific support for creation.

    It’s all myth.

  • pastoredsmith

    I thought so. Goodbye.

  • apoxbeonyou

    I guess, then, that I am not a ‘proponent of the Bible’. I don’t think it’s ‘God’s Word’. I take it for what it is; a collection of books written by men for different reasons. Some historical, some myth, some poetry, etc.


  • apoxbeonyou

    You don’t understand what you are reading, but that’s fine. I’m not here to change your opinion, and you aren’t here to change mine. I have researched the verses in question (re: homosexuality) and they do not refer to what you think they refer. You are reading an English translation, but the original words do not mean the same thing.

  • apoxbeonyou

    You keep bringing up slavery, but it was the norm then. We know better, now.

    Your problem is that you read the Bible *literally*, like so many fundamentalist Christians. You take offense to a literal reading whereas they would honor it no matter what. Both approaches are flawed, because the Bible is a collection of stories with a connected theme, not a historical or scientific (absurd) text to be read literally.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “It is not my responsibility to prove or disprove anything for you.”

    Correct. But if you are going to make extraordinary claims & claim there is a lot of evidence to prove the claims but you refuse to present any of the alleged evidence, I am going to reject your claim & assume you are lying when you say there is evidence.

    “It is my responsibility not to lie to myself and I am not.”

    Again, you are making a claim but not proving the claim.

    “You are not ready for the truth. ”

    LOL. A crude childish argument you are employing as an excuse to not present evidence for your claims.

    If you won’t prove your claims, there is no reason anyone should believe your claims.

    “You have no sense of spirit relative to physical.”

    Since you won’t define what you mean by “spirit” ( or earlier, by “spiritually”), I can dismiss your statement as gobbledygook masquerading as deepity.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “You show us no awareness of infinity or eternity. ”

    They are terms invented by humans to define concepts.

    “I know for sure that the only One who can answer your questions”

    Let me guess, this is the one you claim exist & claim there is lots of evidence for, but you refuse to present the evidence.

    “is exactly the One you cannot see with your heart and mind in His image.”

    No one can see with their heart, the heart has no sensory organs for visual use. As usual, you hide a lack of fact or knowledge under a cloud of vague poetic inanity.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “You keep bringing up slavery, but it was the norm then. We know better, now.”

    Yes, WE do. According to the anonymous writers of the Bible, god didn’t know better.

    “because the Bible is a collection of stories with a connected theme, not a historical or scientific (absurd) text to be read literally.”

    Sure. But you could have said that this way: the Bible is a collection of poorly written fables and myths espousing behaviour and actions we would consider immoral, with a connected theme.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “You don’t understand what you are reading, ”

    I understand it perfectly, but on the off chance I am mistaken, perhaps you can enlighten me & explain these passages so I will ( according to you) understand them correctly:

    “you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.”

    “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.”

    “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. ”

    “Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.”

    ” You are reading an English translation, but the original words do not mean the same thing.”

    A moot point, since we have no original documents to use for comparison so there is no way to know if the translation means the same thing or not.

  • Herm

    C_Alan_Nault, why does there have to be a beginning and an end? How far does the macrocosm or microcosm reach before they end? What is beyond each? Would you give me conclusive evidence to support your answer, please.

  • Herm

    Correct. But if you are going to make extraordinary claims & claim there is a lot of evidence to prove the claims but you refuse to present any of the alleged evidence, I am going to reject your claim & assume you are lying when you say there is evidence.

    That is just fine with me, reject my claim and be on your merry way. Provide conclusive evidence that my claims are invalid and then we can discuss the validity of both our claims.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    Who said there has to be a beginning and an end? I didn’t.

    Who asked “How far does the macrocosm or microcosm reach before they end?” and “How far does the macrocosm or microcosm reach before they end? What is beyond each?”? I didn’t

    “Would you give me conclusive evidence to support your answer, please.”

    If I had made those claims you would be justified in asking me for the evidence I have to prove or support those claims.

    Since I never made those claims, asking me for evidence of them is just your extremely clumsy attempt to move the discussion away from what was actually being discussed.

    Namely, your claims & your refusal to present the evidence you claim you have.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    LMFAO!!! How old are you, 9? You are using one of the most OBVIOUS and childish logical fallacies, shifting the burden of proof.

    Here’s a definition for you:

    “You said that the burden of proof lies not with the person making the claim, but with someone else to disprove.

    The burden of proof lies with someone who is making a claim, and is not upon anyone else to disprove. The inability, or disinclination, to disprove a claim does not render that claim valid, nor give it any credence whatsoever”

    I have no burden of proof to prove your claim isn’t valid, YOU made the claim, YOU bear the burden of proof to prove your claim… IF you want someone else to accept it as a valid claim.

    The fact that you have made the claims & claimed you have evidence that proves the claims BUT you refuse to present the alleged evidence shows everyone reading these posts how likely it is that your claims are valid.

  • Herm

    “You show us no awareness of infinity or eternity. ”

    They are terms invented by humans to define concepts.

    All words are invented to define concepts and each speaker’s relationship with that concept. I have used the words invented for us in this forum to share our relationship with God among ourselves. The first ingredient was to have a relationship in common that those words express the special differences of perspective. You accept none of those words because you have no relationship that those words would convey any meaning to you. There are no other words to convey infinity or eternity so those words are only relevant to those who have a relationship with eternity and infinity.

    All claims I have made in this forum were supported by those who have common relationships. I am not the one in the minority here who is without a relationship with God. It is you who is held responsible for proving what you cannot comprehend because you have an insufficient relationship to begin from. All evidence that I have to be shared has always been dependent upon a like relationship in spirit that you reject. Like a relationship with infinite and eternal if you cannot relate to each first there are no words that will be sufficient evidence to their reality.

    Why do you need so much for us to provide evidence that God exists? If you sincerely and humbly ask God and there is not an answer for you why not simply go on with your life the best you can? Why are you wasting your valuable short period of human awareness here? Are we here in any way a threat to you?

  • Herm

    It is you who take the role of childish bully. I have absolutely no burden of proof that I owe you, none, zero, zilch. I see what you do not, simple as that.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    ” I have used the words invented for us in this forum to share our relationship with God among ourselves. ”

    This would be the god you claim exists & that you claim you have lots of evidence for, but you refuse to present your evidence.

    “All claims I have made in this forum were supported by those who have common relationships. I am not the one in the minority here ”

    Not relevant to whether the claims are valid or whether your evidence for the claims is valid.

    You are employing the logical fallacy of the bandwagon. Here’s a definition for you:

    “You appealed to popularity or the fact that many people do something as an attempted form of validation.

    The flaw in this argument is that the popularity of an idea has absolutely no bearing on its validity. If it did, then the Earth would have made itself flat for most of history to accommodate this popular belief.”

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “All evidence that I have to be shared has always been dependent upon a like relationship in spirit that you reject.”

    Since you won’t define what you mean by the word “spirit”, I have no choice but to reject it, since I have no idea what you mean.

    ” Why do you need so much for us to provide evidence that God exists?”

    I don’t need it. I just find it extremely dishonest for a person ( in this case, YOU) to make claims, claim they have evdience to prove their claims, and then when asked to produce the alleged evidence they refuse to do so.

    Evidence you won’t show anyone is as valid as non-existent evidence.

    “If you sincerely and humbly ask God and there is not an answer for you why not simply go on with your life the best you can? ”

    I am asking YOU, the person who has said they have evidence to prove their claims.

    Obviously, your reluctance & refusal to present this alleged evidence indicates you in fact do NOT have evidence to prove your claims.

  • Herm

    God is all that is relevant here. This was never established as a forum to establish whether God is or is not. This is what you are totally missing in your self indulgent quest. If you want to debate God is or is not then there are forums expressly set up for that. Why do you attack those who know something you do not as though this warrants proof?

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Why are you wasting your valuable short period of human awareness here?”

    I don’t consider this a waste of my time. It gives me a chance to spotlight people such as yourself making claims but when called on to prove their claims using every excuse they can think of to not present their claimed evidence.

    It shows the other people reading these posts how intellectually dishonest you are.

    ” Are we here in any way a threat to you?”

    When you try to have religion taught in public schools, you are.
    When you try to have creationism taught in science classes you are.
    When you try to have laws & legislation tailored to meet your religious views, you are.
    When you place religious displays on public land & then hypocritically complain & fight when other religions want to do the same, you are.

    The Washington Post has this to say about a threat from religion: We give religions more than $82.5 billion a year.

  • Herm

    the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul.
    “we seek a harmony between body and spirit”
    synonyms: soul, psyche, (inner) self, inner being, inner man/woman, mind, ego, id; pneuma
    “harmony between body and spirit”
    those qualities regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character of a person, nation, or group or in the thought and attitudes of a particular period.

    It has never been considered dishonest when evidence has been provided that another rejects from lack of experience.

    If it suits you then I am not uncomfortable for you to feel that I just do not have the evidence that you can deal with. There is no reluctance on my part but there is no common ground between us as there is for all that this forum was established for.

  • Herm

    You have come to the wrong forum if you believe there is an agenda such as threatens you.

    When you try to have religion taught in public schools, you are.
    When you try to have creationism taught in science classes you are.
    When you try to have laws & legislation tailored to meet your religious views, you are.
    When you place religious displays on public land & then hypocritically complain & fight when other religions want to do the same, you are.

    I can speak absolutely honestly I have never supported any of those efforts. You really don’t understand the “formerlyfundie” part of this blog. You waste your time here!!!

  • Bones

    Bye bye, fruitcake.

    I take it you’re still taking leeches for cures.

  • Lark62

    Keep learning and keep reading.

    I like
    Why Evolution is True by Coyne,
    Your Inner Fish by Shubin and
    The Story of Earth by Hazen.

    The original Cosmos series with Carl Sagan is amazing.

    There are lots of other great books and videos on science out there.

    And keep asking questions!

  • C_Alan_Nault

    You waste your time here ( and display your dishonesty) when you claim god exists, claim there is lots of evidence for god’s existence, but when asked refuse to present the evidence.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “1. the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul.”

    OK, you have now presented your working definition for spirit.

    The next step is to prove we have a “nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character”.

    Go ahead, present evidence for a nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character.

    “It has never been considered dishonest when evidence has been provided that another rejects from lack of experience.”

    True. BUT it IS dishonest to CLAIM you have evidence but then refuse to present it when asked to present it.

    You seem to have forgotten that you have NOT provided any evidence.

    1) “

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “God is all that is relevant here. ”

    OK. Which one? Yahweh? Odin? Zeus? Bacchus? Ganesh? Shiva? Osiris?

    “This was never established as a forum to establish whether God is or is not.”

    This is a public forum, not a private conversation. If someone doesn’t want their beliefs challenged, dismissed, etc they should not present them in a public forum.

    What has been established is that you are dishonest, since you claim there is lots of evidence for god’s existence but when asked to present it you refuse to do so.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “I have absolutely no burden of proof that I owe you, none, zero, zilch. ”

    While it is true you have no burden of proof unless you want to convince others your beliefs/claims are valid, your claim to have evidence for god’s existence but refusal to present it when asked demonstrates that you are dishonest.

    ” I see what you do not, simple as that”

    And of course you have no way to demonstrate that what you see ( that I don’t see) is not a hallucination or delusion.

    “The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.”
    ― Delos McKown

  • apoxbeonyou

    God didn’t write the bible, men did. And yes, they didn’t know better. And I can see you continue to espouse the same bad argument over and over with no real end in sight. I think I’m done. Thanks!

  • Herm

    That’s what you can’t understand when you don’t have the instrument, or the ability to read that instrument, that allows you to know God who is spirit only. There is no name given God for to know Them, to be one in Them, requires an awareness and exercise of what you have, and reject, that is made in Their image. Could you even begin to imagine the hard copy necessary to document by name and lineage a familial relationship without end? No, you could not because you can’t even begin to imagine how to recognize such a relationship possibly exists. You can’t even recognize the scope of your beginning and your end much less exercise a life awareness with no beginning and no end. I honestly don’t know to recognize any life by name but I do by essence using both my developing physical senses and my developing spirit senses made in the image of God.

    The world is a public forum but bullies attempting to demean others by gotchas are not welcome in any group of supportive individuals. If you wish to learn from what we have to offer you need to follow our advice; first baby step followed by each succeeding strengthened step. If you wish to badger to achieve instant self gratification within any public forum you are only an unwelcome irritant.

    I know how to build an oscilloscope beginning from the earth’s available elements. To provide evidence to a non technically trained individual, who rejects that an oscilloscope could possibly exist within those bare earth elements, is an impossible task without first going through the long journey resembling the first baby steps I took followed by each succeeding step until I reached this point of proven certainty that an oscilloscope is a tool of reality that allows me to see beyond the physical representation of life that my eyes see alone can see.

    I am not dishonest for I do see God one with me and I with Them from the barest of elements given to all of mankind in the image of God; each of our spirit hearts, souls, strengths and minds that is our makeup of unique individuality recognizable as the reflective image of God. Apparently the awareness of the spirit elements within you has been stunted in growth from lack of exercise.

    You are refused nothing except instant gratification.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “God didn’t write the bible, men did.”

    I never claimed god wrote it.

    “And yes, they didn’t know better.”

    And since the Bible says what it does, if the god of the Bible DOES exist either god also didn’t know better or god did know better but the Bible is wrong; in either case the Bible can be dismissed as a source for moral guidance.

    “And I can see you continue to espouse the same bad argument over and over with no real end in sight. ”

    My argument is that the Bible ( both testaments) condones slavery and so the Bible can & should be dismissed as a source for moral guidance.

    Unless you can present a good argument why this is not the case, my argument isn’t bad.

  • Unknown Origins

    Absolutely, I am always working to expand my understanding on both the evolutionary and creationary sides of the argument and trying to find a sound theory that makes sense and is acceptable to both sides.

  • David Christian Dalton

    Fascinating how few people understand what language is and how it is used! Baffling.

  • apoxbeonyou

    Wow. This…I’ve been looking for a succinct explanation about what the Bible really is, and now I have to steal it. Well, borrow it. I’ll be sure to cite your name. :)

  • Heh, well, you don’t need to do that, but please fix the typos when you do.

  • Stewart Felker

    Super old comment I know, but actually the article doesn’t cover it. When we read things like Genesis 5, we find

    // 3 When Adam had lived one hundred thirty years, he became the father of a son … and named him Seth. . . . 6 When Seth had lived one hundred five years, he became the father of Enosh. . . . 9 When Enosh had lived ninety years, he became the father of Kenan. . . . 12 When Kenan had lived seventy years, he became the father of Mahalalel. //

    If we have the exact age at which they gave birth and the exact name of their sons, all in a linear sequence, then there’s no room to suggest “it is quite common to skip over folks who, for one reason or another, were not considered noteworthy in the specific genealogical context.” (Or, rather, that suggestion is *irrelevant* here: the Genesis text couldn’t be more unambiguous that it’s not skipping anyone, but is presenting a back-to-back lineage.)

  • apoxbeonyou

    Except that there is no way to *know* that Genesis is an exact historical record. You are assuming that the author had 100% knowledge of everything. Chances are that they did not. You are treating Genesis as literal fact. Chances are, it is not.

  • Stewart Felker

    Where did I say that Genesis is an exact historical record, or a reliable one at all? (In fact I believe just the opposite, and am neither a Jew nor a Christian myself.)

    The main issue is that, regardless of whether you assume Genesis is historical or just fictional garbage, Benjamin’s argument about the Biblical authors having intended to leave gaps in the genealogies is just an erroneous one.

  • apoxbeonyou

    “If we have the exact age at which they gave birth and the exact name of their sons, all in a linear sequence…”

    This is erroneous.

  • JGC

    “The Bible is entirely historically accurate…”
    Uh, no: it’s not. It includes depictions of events that we know can not have happened as depicted (for example, a catastrophic global flood reducing the human population of the earth to a mere eight individuals).

  • Sean McNally
  • john

    Hi JGC I take it that you and your associates (since you refer to yourselves as “we”) have some new knowledge on this subject that the rest of us are unaware of. If so perhaps you would share it. But if you just have the same old objections to a story that appears in almost all ancient cultures then perhaps you should say that you just don’t believe it, not that you know it didn’t happen

  • john

    I take it that you and your associates (since you describe yourselves as “we”) have some new knowledge of this subject. If so I would be grateful if you would share it. If on the other hand you just have the same old objections then I suggest you just say that you don’t believe it rather than it didn’t happen.

  • JGC

    My use of the phrase “we know” was meant to convey that it represented common knowledge. There’s a large body of physical evidence which demonstrates a catastrophic global flood as described in Genesis cannot have occurred at anytime during the geologically recent past–i.e., at any time during the past 20 million years (consider, for example, the Green River and lake Suigetsu varve formations).

  • Stewart Felker

    *Literarily* speaking, it’s not erroneous at all. *Historically* speaking, we can — and should — dispute whether this is *accurate*, or whether it’s anything other than fiction at all (it isn’t).

    But in terms of original literary intention, the linear sequential aspect here is entirely clear and uncontroversial. This is partly why, among all the Biblical commentators from pre-Christian times through to the later 19th century, you don’t see anyone ever even mention the prospect of something otherwise.

  • pacman2076

    You need to go to the Jerusalem museum and tell them that.

  • pacman2076

    Human historical documentation reveals the true age of man and this planet. Not from the bible.

  • pacman2076

    You have to have connections to know the truth. Go there and see.

  • pacman2076

    Wow. Long reply. I will leave yall with the Holy Spirit to contend with. May He enlighten your minds and faith in Jesus. Love you

  • pacman2076


  • Bones


    More tin foil hat stuff.

  • pacman2076
  • Bones

    So no original manuscripts then.

    Just ‘early’ ones.

  • Steven Waling

    Why is the only alternative to it being factual fictional ‘garbage’? Couldn’t it be fictional and still true on a symbolic/poetic scale? Why the black and white thinking of true or false?

  • I did. It wasn’t. (I don’t count handwaving)

  • apoxbeonyou

    The rest of us understood. Sorry you did not. I wish you luck in the future.

  • I find the whole thing strange. The YEC literature that I read when I was
    young admitted this about the genealogies and had an age of at least
    12.000 years, which seems too much thinking already for Ham and Co. At
    least they tried to make sense and be intellectual honest, which doesn’t seem the case at all here.

  • Terry

    I was reading this blog seeking facts concerning the age o the earth, instead all i got was the author criticizing anyone who believed in the young earth theory and no proof or fact to support otherwise. It is obvious you don’t believe in this theory so tell us why, what evidence you use to support your positions instead of demeaning those who oppose your view.

  • Herm

    What evidence do you use to support your positions? I am intrigued.

  • Terry

    I don’t have a strong belief either way, I was seeking evidence on both positions, more than “the Bible doesn’t date the creation of the universe”

  • Herm

    Then you accept that the Bible does not date the creation? … or does?

  • rtgmath

    You are right that the Bible doesn’t say the earth is 6000 years old, and that genealogies are not exact.

    However, the Hebrews were not a scientific people, and they did not understand eons of time. To them, the creation of the world and events in the past were meant to lead to them. Therefore the Bible doesn’t teach that the earth is old.

    That isn’t a problem if you don’t think the Bible is or was meant to be accurate on these matters or inerrant. They are stories. There was no literal Adam and Eve. No literal garden, either.

  • Mel

    The bible only says that mankind has existed for 6000 years. It doesn’t say how long the earth has existed for. The earth wasn’t created in six 24 hour days, the “days” represent time periods. What’s fascinating is science has proven that water is the oldest thing on this earth, and it’s what was created on the first day in the bible.

  • Mr. James Parson

    He was quoting the underpants gnomes in South Park.

  • Mr. James Parson

    No talking snakes? No talking donkeys?

    What about the flat chested chick in a box? Is she not real?

  • Mr. James Parson

    Didn’t men write down the Bible? Didn’t men translated it?

  • john

    Yes James, so what’s your point?

  • Patricio Calero Bravo

    Well, mankind has not existed only for 6000 years either. Mankind has between 150 000 and 2 million years old, depending of what you call “mankind”…

    Science has proven that water is the oldest thing on this earth? When? Who? What scientist?

  • One problem I have with that argument is, if Adam and Eve are not real, the garden is not real, then Cain, Abel, their sons, daughters, their sons and their daughters are not real either. Was Abraham real then? Was Moses? If they are real people, anyone before Abraham are fables and then after Abraham they are all real? Is that the premise of your argument?

  • Then also, how do you, or BLC for that matter interpret what Jesus himself said to the pharisees about divorce, “In the beginning, it was not so…” If the story of Adam and Eve is a fable, then at best Jesus is fibbing and completely misleading his followers at the worst.

  • Katherine Heasley

    Except that the Bible never says mankind is 6,000 years old. If you actually read what Benjamin says here, the genealogies Young-Earth Creationists use for dates skip generations.

    As for water being the oldest thing on the planet, what? Who says that? Current scientific thinking is that most of Earth’s water came from the Late Heavy Bombardment (i.e., a bunch of comets) after the planet cooled enough to keep it liquid.

  • Katherine Heasley

    Or he’s using the stories of his people to teach truth. He was good at that. It’s a very narrow view to say that truth exists only in facts, and that is certainly not something the ancient Hebrews believed. That’s a very modern point of view.

  • Katherine Heasley

    Ben’s blog isn’t about science. If you’d like some good scientific information regarding Creationism and current scientific thinking, try here:

  • rtgmath

    If your approach to faith is based on lies, don’t be surprised when people reject it. You wouldn’t buy a nice modern building if the foundations were rotten.

  • Consider that there are no absolutes. Everything is fluid. “Truth” is in a constant state of flux and will never be fully known. Theories that are now held as absolutes, will, in time, be proven wrong. I guess the important thing is to enjoy the journey of learning.

  • OK, I could see that. I’m not saying Jesus only taught truth using facts, that’s clearly not true since he used so many parables, but then again, immediately before the statement “it was not so” he said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female”. Again, I do not believe I have any reason to interpret these words as allegorical because I see a pattern when Jesus uses parables, stories and allegories that seem not to be present in this statement.

    He’s validating the reason for no divorce by using scripture, the first book of the canon, the first story of the canon, by saying “in the beginning” and pointing back to the fact that God designed mankind this way.

    That is why I have a hard time believing in the allegory idea. I do concede though that biblical writers are not concerned with science and scientific matters, and that they are more worried about poetically explaining how God brings order from chaos in the course of a week, and I understand all that, but at the same time, I believe that God could have created the earth in six days just like he said he did.

  • Colin Smith

    Genesis is a Creation Myth. Like many other Creation Myths it attempts to convey A Truth through a fabulous narrative. The earth is not 6,000 years old and there was no Adam and no Eve; nevertheless, the Bible does have something to say about man’s relationship with the divine.

    It’s like Aesop’s Fables. We learn a truth from each fable, but we don’t believe an actual tortoise ever raced a hare.

    This is Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams, one-time head of the Anglican Church, discussing Creationism, I.D. and evolution.…/archbishop_backs…/

    And for anyone who wants a quick tour of Creation Myths around the world.

    Believing in the literal truth of Genesis doesn’t make you a better Christian: quite the opposite; you have spurned the the gifts you believe your God gave you and retreated to narrow dogmatism.

  • Random Watcher

    Actually, molten rock/metals (IIRC correctly, we have an iron core, don’t we?) and space dust were the first things ‘on earth’. Water didn’t come until much later, when rocks cooled and became solid and an atmosphere that could support water and it’s formation gathered into place.

  • Colin Smith

    What’s belief got to do with a scientific understanding of physical evidence?

    Evidence for an Old earth and Old Universe comes from the combined sciences of cosmology, physics, paleontology, geology, astronomy, biology, genetics, and archaeology,

    Evidence for a Young Earth and Young Universe comes from a single text whose author is unknown and who left no instructions on how the book should be understood.

  • rtgmath

    Your problem is that you see “truth” as “fact.” They are different. The Scriptures speak “truth” about the human condition through the means of story and metaphor. Jesus spoke parables. Parables were not facts.

    That you may not know any more about the ancients than the oral traditions that were eventually edited and written down shouldn’t harm your faith, that is, if your faith is in God and not in Adam or Cain or even Abraham. “The Scriptures were written for our learning,” not for a history book and not for facts you can recite. The meaning of the stories is more important than whether those stories are facts.

  • My question still stands. Are Moses and Abraham real or not? Did they exist literally or not? At what point do I pick up the bible and accept the stories of people in it as real and at what point do I believe they are fables to teach lessons? Was Jesus real?

  • Joshua Branch

    atheistic idiot

  • Colin Smith

    Gosh, you’re a charmless individual aren’t you.

  • Herm


  • Colin Smith

    I don’t really know what atheistic means. Is there such a thing as Christianistic?

  • Colin Smith

    You’re a charmless individual, aren’t you.

    As it happens, I do reject the idea of a personal God, but I am not your typical atheist. I am also far from being an idiot.

    The real point is that both the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church broadly accept evolution. They argue that evolution, despite its step-by-step process and very long time scale, is the process by which God creates (which I disagree with) but at least their approach is consistent with the scientific evidence.

    All Young Earth Creationism requires a myopic ignorance of self-evident truths.

  • Herm

    I would guess it wholly depends upon what god one believes in?!?!

  • Colin Smith

    And given there’s more than one in the Bible it makes life tricky.

    The sad thing is the (relatively) few Christians who cling to the canard of a Young Earth discredit the rest of their faith. Mainstream Christianity has moved on.

  • Herm

    I guess worshiping a God that is spirit, with no beginning and no end, is a little overwhelming to those guaranteed no more than 120 revolutions of awareness around their puny little sun. It really has been freeing to accept the law of give and take, carnally and spiritually, is summed up in everything do to others as I would have others do to me, first.

    I certainly do not want people throwing out epithets, with constructive or destructive affect, at me without supporting reason that I can work with. I know too little about most of my species to make judgments regarding each individual’s degree of relationship with God/Allah/Deity.

  • Colin Smith

    The evidence for an Old Earth is literally everywhere. You are cherry-picking scientific findings and making them fit a Biblical narrative.

    Let me put it this way, if the evidence for an Old earth was so flimsy, why is it the Scientific Consensus?

    You wanted some evidence.

  • Colin Smith

    It’s not a fence. Frankly, discussing Young Earth Theory with any seriousness is like discussing alternate realities with a lunatic.

  • Colin Smith

    I am aware carbon dating is flawed. It’s also useless for dating anything beyond a few thousand years. Maybe that’s why the article isn’t about carbon dating.

    I suggest you look at it again.

  • Colin Smith

    Scientists have never thought the earth was flat.

  • Colin Smith

    The article doesn’t even include the word Carbon.

  • Colin Smith

    Lots of facts here

    You have no facts at all. You have a fairy story.

  • Colin Smith

    Err, still no. Some pre-Socratic philosophers believed the earth was flat, as shown here, but philosophers had worked out it was a sphere by around 500 BC.

  • Mike French

    Atheistic idiot as opposed to Christianistic idiot, aka, sanctimonious fool.

  • MarciaX

    What I don’t get about people like Ken Ham is how they can reject deep time while accepting deep space (i.e., they don’t claim that all the stars in the observable universe are at most just a few thousand light-years away from earth, as a “young-earth” cosmology would dictate). That’s like saying length is a real dimension but width isn’t.

  • Chris Gains

    I to found this blog looking for answers. I believe in a one true creator. An eternal one (which I still can’t conceptualise through human understanding). But I can’t accept that we began 6000 years ago. Their is a lot more that’s been and gone. I did come across a video I saw today which had and explanation.

    Genesis 1:1

    In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    In the beginning
    Beginning = time
    Past, present and future

    God created the heaven
    Heaven = space
    Length, width and height

    And the earth
    Earth = matter
    Solid, liquid and gas

    I was a Catholic but find it constraining. I see myself now as spiritual. I do believe that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. I use that as my guide to God. And by holding to those words I show the love that God gave me through choice. I hope the next evolutionary step we take is one that helps us be closer to God in ways we have never thought of.

  • To understand the epic of evolution one must see the Genesis Creation Narrative as allegorical and same case with the Noah Flood. I laid into Eric Hovind for preaching the dinosaur-human coexistence myth.

  • I believe in God and as I know Christ died for me but I don’t take the Genesis narrative as literal — I am a theistic evolutionist as I will explain how the earth is 4.5 billion years old and God used evolution to mold the world over a huge period of time as The Big Bang emerged as a Catholic Church coin by a priest who was an astronomer.

  • Jaebez Bleah

    No matter what, The Comment section is always a nightmare.

  • Clayton Gafne Jaymes

    Nope, it certainly doesn’t. Though the existence of humans on this earth hasn’t been all that much longer than that time period.

  • jonrgrover

    Genesis 1 is correct in Hebrew and incorrect in English. The Bible is written in Hebrew and Greek, and then translated (in this case incorrectly) into English. The real Bible is in Hebrew and Greek. Genesis 1 was written in Hebrew and uses the Hebrew word ‘yom’ which means either ‘day’ or ‘period of time’. The rest of the Bible shows that the ‘period of time’ meaning is correct, not ‘day’. Ecclesiastes, Jeremiah, Psalms, and Peter all indicate this. If I may paraphrase these four: Ecclesiastes says that men are but beasts. Jeremiah say that the earth was without form and void and yet had mountains. Psalms says that the word of the Lord is right and all of his works are done in truth. This means that the Earth is not young and yet appears old; this would be a lie of God since he created the Earth. The Earth therefore both is old and appears old. All of God’s works are done in truth. Peter says that a day to God is as to a thousand years. This is an expression meaning a long period of time.

    The theory of Young Earth Creationism is unbiblical.

  • Cynthia Brown Christ

    Awesome answer! Anybody who is interested in deepening their understanding can gain from it. Again Wow!

  • rtgmath

    But why should six days – or not – have the power to destroy your faith? Is your faith in the interpretation you have of the Bible, or is your faith in God?

    Mind you, a lot of people can’t tell the difference. Ultimately, their faith is only in themselves, which is a pretty sad place to be. The scientist can go where the evidence takes him without difficulties because it is better to understand than to demand the final answers all at once.

    Think of it this way. You have a final exam in a tough course. You are offered a cheat sheet with all the answers on the test. Do you take the cheat sheet? Or do you study the material for yourself so you understand it and can do it on your own. That is the difference between fundamentalist literalism and actually studying the Scriptures, the cultures, and the world around us.

  • Benjamin Ganser

    Actually six days or billions of years both answers are right. People should concentrate on saving souls and not petty arguments over creation. Einstein showed us that Time is relative through theory of relativity. The clock at the start of the Big Bang ticked a lot differently than the clock ticking now. We are probably still on day seven if you go by the original clock. Don’t pretend to know Gods methods if you weren’t there when he did it… thing remains for certain. He is all knowing and all powerful. And in this realm of free will I choose the only God. Faith always comes first. And our imperfect human science should always be questioned. The more you study creation the more you realize how great God truly is.

  • Joshua Branch

    You do not follow God

  • Joshua Branch

    Evolution is anti God liar. You are just confused if you have no intention of lying.

  • Joshua Branch

    one thing is for certain evolution is bullshit

  • Uh no; let me ask this — if you realize those who are young earth creationists are an American phenomenon. I believe in God just see things a little differently, I’ve seen the Good Neighbor parable play up in the streets of Oak Lawn, Illinois, but I don’t adhere to a literal view of Genesis as I was quiet about my old earth view when I was 17. I became vocal when I wrote Lake Fossil as I became part of the forefront of the theistic evolution side of the argument.

  • Let me point this out from my own author page as this turns all the young earth creationist claims on their head. I want you to also check this out on Wattpad. Formerly Fundie I hope you don’t mind me sharing this as I am going to link up my piece. If those of you want to sign in and comment you’re more than welcome, better yet you can even pin it to your boards and invoke the dialog.

  • Were you a Florida Baptism? The church that attributed to me working with African-Americans were two churches. This church is well versed in humanities as they didn’t discuss the age of the earth debate because a few of them might not be prepared for it — my knowledge of evolution as a kid was the evolution of sharks. I have seen the infamous tract This Was Your Life, as I found myself refuting the entire Independent Baptist Establishment with one single blog entry. I have Amos 5:10 in the copyright page of my first namesake project when I re-issued it as I used the Message version of this as Issue Five when I reissued this I had the MEV version of The Good Neighbor Parable formatted without the numbers in the editor’s lounge of my magazine.

  • Let me show you something one of my contributors did this as an illustration of what the Evangelicals stress on writers with the creative straitjacket. I’ve seen the Good Neighbor parable play up in the streets of Oak Lawn, Illinois. I managed to produce one of my most enduring and brooding pieces that became a strong display of citizen journalism in print. Let me show this link to you. I suggest you pick up The Ethereal Gazette: Issue Five and keep an open mind to what’s written in the pages of that project. Formerly Fundie I give you an open invitation to come to The Book Patch and pick this up — one may realize with this some of my guys were portrayed in a film called Spotlight.   &nbsp   Are you a King James Onlyite? Or a Ruckmanite? I suggest you take a close look at this and have with the modern translations handy to compare them. I did the blog entry known as King James Only Examined as The Pattern Of Diagnosis became more potent because of this. There is a PCP who has a blog where he was explicit — a Priest saying the word “Shithole” and having an critical analysis of those who are fundie. I pinned the fucking thing as I had taken direct aim at Patriot Bible University calling them a diploma mill. I discuss some about my contributor’s short story in the issue here

  • I am going to feature a documentary here..

    Formerly Fundie do you mind if I park this? Those of you who are YECs might not realize the history of First Nations is older than the first writings of Genesis. Keep Amos 5:10 in mind when one studies this documentary.

  • Bones

    Lol….another religious extremist shouts yells at the stars……..

  • Melany Van Every

    you might want to stop sharing your sleepsack fetish with the world nicky it makes you look like a creepy old pervert.

  • Are you a King James Onlyist and young earth creationist? I guess you should sit down and study this meme. Then check out the short story Thing That One Finds. Formerly Fundie if you want to retweet this to your masses; you have my permission. I bet you never tried preaching Ephesians to a monkey who doesn’t understand English but it sure the hell understands sign language.

  • Melany Van Every

    And Nicky you just showed the world you have no idea how the hell memes work.

  • Melany Van Every

    you really are coming across more and more like a creepy pervert. How come you never show men wrapped up? it’s always women.

  • BrianKeene

    So you have a mummy fetish?

  • Joshua Branch

    Its definitely not millions. I think its 60 000 years and around up from that number.

  • Okay that’s where you’re dead wrong bub. Don’t be a piss-drinker and shit out Col 2:8 at me when I do this, as I will show you my real exchanges with another young earth creationist. I suggest that you read Lake Fossil and read of the young earth creationist-evolutionist debates that went down in 1990 and in 1994 in the era as that gives Lake Fossil it’s science fact as I am going to park this one right here too. This is from a Ph. D in Philosophy of Evolutionary Biology. You can get to Lake Fossil on my fiction board via; the collective that’s Issue Five was the embodiment of the House Divided speech.

  • Melany Van Every

    They should read Fossil Lake instead they’ll enjoy it a hell of a lot more!

  • Okay piss-drinker; let’s see you read up on this piece then chime in on here as my guess you’re a young earth gerbilist who tries to submit his shit to The New Republic to back up their arguments from fellow piss drinkers.

  • Melany Van Every

    are you really so stupid that you think that anyone will take your advice on what to read after you call them horrible things?

  • Clayton Gafne Jaymes

    it definitely doesn’t say that. But it does indeed say that creation
    was ‘six days’ and that God rested… on the 7th (Sabbath) ‘day’. To
    the best of my knowledge we are still in the ‘7thday’ though hings took
    place on this day that weren’t to take place. That, or course, being the
    ‘sin’ that Adam and Eve brought into this world and subsequently passed
    on to the rest of us humans.

  • This is something I shared on reddit if you don’t mind me sharing this here. I have an idea and need help form the entire community to help pass this out and I have one more thing I need help getting as the place doesn’t take American Express.

  • Melany Van Every

    again with wrapping up a woman tight so she can’t move…talk about creepy. Why is it always a woman? Why not a man?

  • Melany Van Every

    why do you only want to wrap up women Nicky? talk about creepy. why not men?

  • In 2014, I had done the blog entry which is strong language laced known as The Science Gospel where I bleeped out Ken Ham’s name as implying his name was vulgar language. I had linked every entry from their collective media where I could take aim at them all in the tumblr entry I did. I hope I can park this here as it does relate to what you recently did as I can’t believe you got that many responses to this.

  • I am going to leave this right here. Greg of Old Earth Ministries was more accurate of being Purdom’s Method.

  • I have something in mind that challenges this one’s sense of research as one can see my portable document file I enclosed; this one famously blocked my profile and page from commenting so my idea well came from searching a website as I will mention this one is part of geek culture some.       My suggestion is to grab this for her and while done up like Deborah was then watch Dark Documentaries. I got her a few things in the name of research from a website a contact was overseeing for research and suggested she’d be done up like that while watching documentaries on real science and history then use a voice to text program to do her narrative.       I invited her to challenge the research that the roster of Issue Five of my literary mag did as one of them operates in the field of computer science and each of alumni of my imprint over the years. Appeared on as one of them was my underwater consultant as he is a certified lake diver .        The riplinger got me TOSsed from Twitter because my retorts saying she was mocking researchers like Professor Kara Cooney who was Deborah Di Paulo’s photo consultant for the shoot she did under my close research and notes..

  • Melany Van Every

    since your idea of research is just on horror and fake documentaries on sharks you’re a big joke. And still wrapping up women tight? you are one sick person. enough with your perverted kinks.

  • sheckyshabaz

    Nailed it!!! I’ve never held to the idea that the world is 6000 years old, not have i believed the universe to be billions of years old. There are flaws and misunderstandings on both sides, but you brought out good points. The bible is an eastern book written in a completely different mindset than western philosophy. Good job.

  • sheckyshabaz

    God does not rest. An omnipotent being does not get tired. The entire creation account is referring to grace and christ. The “days” teaching is not literal.

  • sheckyshabaz

    The number 1000 was never meant as literal, but rather “a long period of time”. I’m glad you understand the hebrew. Good job

  • Don’t miss the chapter on Genesis 1 in Marlowe’s book “Other Voices in OT Interpretation” (Wipf and Stock, 2019)