Origen Called Ken Ham Foolish

Origen Called Ken Ham Foolish January 24, 2014

Via God of Evolution. This nicely complements the quote from Augustine I shared earlier.

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  • Whether Origien elsewhere rejected the idea of a historical Adam and first sin, I do not know. However, he did not do so in this quote, which makes the two quotes a false comparison and the chart a cheap shot.

    Another thing I do not know is whether Ken Ham is right or wrong on the science. What I do know is that he is taking a stand for the authority of God’ word. That unbelievers would mock him for doing so is no surprise to me, but that a man who self-identifies as a Christian would do this to his Christian brother is very unsettling. Even if you think Ken is wrong on the science, and even if you think his zeal for the Lord is based on a false understanding, do you have to hold him up to shame and ridicule before unbelievers? Do your ties of service to a common Lord mean nothing to you?

    Remember that when Joseph thought Mary had cheated on him, he desired to “put her away secretly.” He did not seek to shame her publicly for her sin.

    • Daniel Webb

      Mr. Gantt, should the loyalty of a christian be to truth? Or to another christian? Protecting someone who is promoting fallacy and false dichotomy does not benefit the christian cause.

      • The loyalty of a Christian should always be to the truth, of which Jesus Himself is the fullest expression.

        If James and Ken both agree with the truth that Jesus is Lord, but disagree on how He fashioned His creation, then is not what they disagree on less important than what they agree on?

        • Daniel Webb

          Of course, but Mr. Ham is not content to leave it there. He claims that believing anything different than a literal six-day creation is an embracing of man’s authority (though this is entirely based on his interpretation). He has drawn a line in the sand whereby someone like Mr. McGrath is told that he doesn’t uphold god as the final authority–which Mr. Ham is wholly unqualified to say.

          • Leaving their differing interpretations of Gen 1-2 aside, I think James would agree with Ken that the latter believes the Bible to be God’s word while the former does not.

          • Daniel Webb

            Perhaps that’s because Mr. McGrath recognizes that the bible is often held to a standard that it wasn’t really meant to be. Mr. McGrath can still hold god as the ultimate authority, without trying to impose an infallible stamp on something that can be shown to have flaws if taken literally. He is certainly able to believe that jesus is his savior without also believing that it’s ok to own another person like Leviticus 25:44-46 would condone. His salvation is no more in question because of that, nor would be his belief that god-not a book edited by church councils-is the authority.

          • While I don’t know enough about science to choose between James and Ken, I do side with Ken when it comes to the Bible being God’s word. You say that James upholds God’s authority without believing that the Bible is God’s word, but if the Bible is not God’s word then how can we be sure what He wants?

            From a practical standpoint, a mute God has no more authority than a non-existent one.

          • Daniel Webb

            Well, if you’re to believe that god is the creator, than his creation speaks for him. It’s not to say that the bible doesn’t contain revelation from god–but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the bible is also the infallible word of god or that genesis is meant to be taken literally. The message of genesis wouldn’t be erased if we looked at it in a similar way that we look at the parables of Jesus. Does the example of the Good Samaritan have nothing to teach us even though he never existed?

          • Jesus used parables to teach God’s truth, so you are right that fictions, as well as facts, can be used to teach God’s truth. What’s relevant here, however, is that Adam and Eve are presented as the progenitors of the human race not just in Gen 1-2 but elsewhere in the Old Testament and in the New Testament as well. If God’s prophets and apostles present this couple to us as a fact, do we have the right to say they are fiction?

          • Daniel Webb

            Do they present it as fact? Or do they merely just refer to it as a common concept that the Jews and Gentiles could relate to? Consider Job’s recounting of god fighting the leviathan. Does that mean god is of human form and literally fought a sea monster?

            We can actually learn quite a bit by examining what the Orthodox Jews have passed on about the interpretation of the Torah and it’s expanded on quite a bit in the Talmud. Much of the Torah, especially in terms of the creation story, was/is simply a story with deeper meanings that don’t depend on a literal reading of the text.

          • To compare the numerous and varied references to Adam and Eve as real people to a fleeting reference to God and Leviathan in Job hardly seems appropriate. I’m surprised you would attempt to equate the two.

            I think the best interpretation we have of the Torah is the New Testament, and there you will see that Adam and Eve were regarded as historical, not mythical.

            I don’t for a moment suggest that Jesus and the apostles took the entire Bible literally. They did, however, regard Adam and Eve as real people. Squaring that with evolution is not easy, and I don’t blame Ken Ham for siding with Scripture when he felt a choice had to be made.

          • Just Sayin’

            Early Hebrews also thought there was a hard canopy above the sky. Does that oblige you to do the same? It’s well past time that you got past these baby-arguments and off your beloved fence-post.

          • Why do you insist on taking them literally regarding a hard canopy? I thought you were against taking the Bible literally.

          • Just Sayin’

            Creationists like you are supposed to be the literalists. Highly selective ones of course.

          • Daniel Webb

            How could you suggest that the Talmud, which was much more contemporary to the Torah and written by Jews to Jews about the Jewish tradition in the Torah as being less pertinent to the Torah than the New Testament which was primarily written to Gentiles?

          • The leadership of the church was decidedly Jewish in New Testament days. What we call Christianity was called “a Jewish sect” in those times. The New Testament is as Jewish a collection as the Old Testament.

            Yes, the Gentiles were invited to partake of the New Testament, but you must remember that they were also invited to partake of the Old Testament.

            Besides, if your faith is in Christ, that faith is dependent on the New Testament and not the Talmud.

          • Daniel Webb

            Ehh not so much. That is largely correct for during the time between Jesus’ death and the destruction of the temple 40 years later–but the Christian church expanded outside Jewish held areas pretty quickly with Paul and was popularized by the Gentiles living in all the areas between Rome and Jerusalem that Paul and the other apostles traveled too.

            However , that’s not the point I raised. The point was, that Jews themselves did not consider the creation story of the Torah to be a literal and historical narrative. These were their campfire legends, much like the greecians had of their gods. If the Orthodox Jews didn’t view the genesis story as literal history before Jesus even set foot on earth–why should we? This is an excellent article that actually walks you through how Jews actually viewed their heritage from the words of Hebrew scholars contemporary to biblical times–and you can see how young earth creationists have just cherry-picked what they wished to embrace. http://www.scienceandchristianbelief.org/download_pdf_free.php?filename=SCB+12-2+Marston.pdf

          • I skimmed the 24-page pdf to which you linked. I take th author to be arguing that Jewish interpretation of Gen 1-3 during the Second Temple period was not purely literalistic. However, I did not take him to be arguing that such interpretation disallowed an actual Adam and Eve from which the human race was descended.

            It is one thing to say that traditional Jewish interpretation of Gen 1-3 saw figurative as well as literal elements in Gen 1-3. It is quite another to say that Jews viewed Adam and Eve as ahistorical and not the ancestors who all of us as human beings have in common.

          • Daniel Webb

            I would go back and read the conclusion. The early Jewish fathers also were not, for the most part, supportive of a literal Adam and Eve. They even consider a “second Adam” as a parallel figure–as well as his supposed first wife–Lilith.

            At any rate, you can see from the early Jewish perspective that Mr. Ham is attempting to burden a passage of the bible with literal elements that the primary interpreters, readers, and teachers during biblical times did not actually embrace–and to them, it didn’t also mean they were placing their authority over god’s. At that point, it wasn’t a question that the Torah was a literal and infallible revelation–that’s why it was supplemented by the Talmud and the Talmugrin. It was only in more recent times after thumping 2 Timothy 3:16, that Christians believed they were holding the direct words of god.

          • The conclusion was one of the sections I read word for word the first time. Yet, because you are emphasizing here, I just went back and read it again. I do not see what you are seeing. On the contrary, the author says “even when dealing with the text on a historical level,” indicating that Jewish thought did not consider Gen 1-3 to be devoid of history just because it included symbolic elements. In the same vein, he says Hebrew scholars have taken Gen 1-3 “to contain significant elements of symbolic language,” which, of course, means that there are non-symbolic elements as well.

            Ken may well be taking too much as literal in Gen 1-3 when compared with the views of Second Temple Judaism, but until you show me otherwise, it appears he is unified with them on the point that Adam and Eve were real people through whom God launched the human race.

          • Daniel Webb

            I apologize–it’s actually covered most heavily on pages 6-7 of that PDF under the the discussion of Philo’s writings, and them again covered under some of Josephus’ writings on page 9 or 10 I believe.

          • I went back and read in detail these pages, but, again, I think you are trying to make Marston’s paper do work for which it was not intended. His point is that traditional readings from Jewish sources of Gen 1-3 do not interpret those texts as literally as YEC folks like Ken Ham do – and, more specifically, that Gen 1-3 is not trying to convey creation science. This is a point, by the way, on which I generally concur. That is, I do not believe the Bible is trying to teach science (which is why it puzzles me when some folks say that the ancient Jews believed the earth was covered by hard dome or canopy – which would be to put scientific, or proto-scientific, descriptions of creation in the mouths of the ancients).

            Old Testament scholar John Walton makes a similar point to Marston’s when he portrays Gen 1-2 as following the pattern of other ancient Near Eastern creation narratives. That is, Walton sees the six-day creation as a literary motif, not a time log. While I don’t know if Walton uses the word “myth,” yet that’s the upshot of his thesis. Nevertheless, Walton holds to a historical Adam.

            To sum up, you seem to suggest that the ancient Jewish view was that the only history we can take from Gen 1-2 is that “God did it” with nothing else in those chapters being historically reliable (and maybe you don’t even want to concede that “God did it”). If you want to invoke an authoritative source to make that point, however, you’ll need to cite one other than Marston or Walton as neither of them shows willingness to go that far.

          • Daniel Webb

            What you’ve concluded here is exactly the point I raised earlier: believing in something other than a literal six day young earth creation story a la Ken Ham does not mean that you’ve replaced the basis for authority. It’s simply placing an unbiblical burden on both the text and the intended message of the text as understood by the people it was intended for.
            We can be, and indeed are, on different pages on whether or not the ancients believed in a literal Adam and Eve–the imagery and folklore, particularly surrounding the “second adam” from the other creation story which would suggest allegory and not literal Adam and Eve to me–but the foundation of this conversation has been on whether or not a literal six day young earth creation story is true and whether acceptance or lack of acceptance means you’ve placed man’s authority above god’s. I think it’s clear by studying history and science that we can see this is a false dichotomy–and as I originally stated–Ken Ham does a disservice to the Christian cause by placing that barrier and creating division over an entirely unnecessary battlefield.
            I don’t think that the ancient Jewish view is the only way that genesis can be read–but Ken Ham absolutely does state that the literal six day story is the ONLY god-honoring way it can be read. Do you disagree?

          • I agree with you that interpreting “day” in Gen 1 as something other than a 24-hour period does not in and of itself constitute a rejection of the authority of God’s word – but that’s not what’s been at issue in this discussion, at least not from my point of view. Go back to the original post. Ken is arguing for a historical Adam and a historical Fall, and he is saying that rejection of those two concepts puts one on a slippery slope toward doubting other history in the Bible. I cannot disagree with that statement. That’s why the desirable alternative is for someone to step forward with an explanation about how a historical Adam and historical Fall fits with evolution. Can you be that person?

          • stewart

            Are you equally concerned about people doubting a flat earth and a geocentric universe? What about Matthew 13: 31-32?

          • No. That’s because it’s easy to reconcile a spherical earth and geocentricity with Bible. The Bible is not a book of science. It uses the visible aspects of creation to explain the invisible (i.e. spiritual) aspects. Nothing about the visible aspects of creation changed when Copernicus and Galileo came along. Meteorologists today still tell us when the sun rises and the sun sets. What we see with telescopes and microscopes does not impinge on the Bible. The Bible is merely using physical creation as a set of audio-visual aids; it’s not trying to help humanity foresee what telescopes and microscopes would one day reveal.

            Evolution is different, though, because it seems to require us to accept a different historical account of the human race that what we are given in the Bible. Christian faith is rooted in history – if Christ did not rise from the dead, our faith is in vain. The age of the earth is a secondary issue. The age of the human race, however, is quite important. Both Old and New Testaments present Adam and Eve as historical. How do you correlate that with a human race that evolved from lower life forms over billions of years?

          • stewart

            I don’t accept the premise that the Old and New Testaments present Adam and Eve as historical as unquestionably true; rather I consider the balance of the internal evidence to be to the contrary.

          • Could you then quick answers to how you reconcile the following internal evidence – that is, short list of problem passage for that view:

            – Inclusion of Adam in genealogy with known historical people in 1 Chr 1-2 and Luke 3

            – abbreviated genealogical references to Adam in Gen 5:1-5 and Jude 1:14

            – references to Adam and the fall in Job 31:3 and Hos 6:7

            – allusion to Adam as the first human being and the source for Eve in Acts 17:26

            – comparison of Adam to Christ in Rom 5, including reference to Adam as the means by which sin and death entered creation

            – reference to Eve coming from Adam and the entire human race coming from Adam and Eve in 1 Cor 11

            – mention of Adam in 1 Cor 15:21-22 and 45-49

            – reference to the serpent’s deception of Eve in 2 Cor 11:3

            – reference to the creation and fall of Adam and Eve in 1 Tim 2:13-14

          • stewart

            In general references to Adam and Eve in post Genesis books can be read as metaphorical. I’ll note that in some of your verses (e.g. Acts 17: 26) you have to stretch the reading to even see a reference to Adam and or Eve. (I assume the citation to Job is erroneous.)

            I note also that the genealogy in Luke 3 is inconsistent with the other genealogy of Jesus.

          • I take it that the biblical witness is not that important to you because that was a casual dismissal of some significant issues.

          • Sean Garrigan

            One thing that I find puzzling about some liberal Christians is that, on the one hand, they are quite ready to declare that the Bible is the error-ridden word of man, yet they struggle — in vein, I think — to maintain that the writers of the relevant documents that comprise that collection of writings did not mean to teach that Adam was a historical person.

            I have to wonder if this sometimes stems from apologetic concerns involving something no more meaningful than a desire to win arguments with creationists.

            How does one avoid inventing a Christianity in his own image when one views the writings from which it emerged to be a hodgepodge of misconceptions?

          • Yes, they are quite sure that we cannot be sure of anything God might be saying through these “very human and fallible” documents – unless it is something unflattering to the cause of Christ (e.g. belief in a “hard canopy” over the earth or alleged harsh and inappropriate treatment of the Canaanites) in which cases they are completely sure of what the Bible says.

            For example, you’ll often hear them talk about corruptions and emendations of the text, but such talk strangely ceases when they come upon a “contradiction” between two different books of the Bible. In such cases, the respective passages become “textually inerrant” for them because the contradiction must stand.

          • Daniel Webb

            A slippery slope…perhaps. But that is not all Ken Ham is saying, nor is he just arguing for a literal adam and a literal fall. He is arguing for a literal genesis. Consider this quote:

            “To attempt to “fit” millions of years into the Bible, you have to invent a gap of time that almost all Bible scholars agree the text does not allow—at
            least from a hermeneutical perspective. Or you have to reinterpret the “days” of creation as long periods of time (even though they are obviously ordinary days
            in the context of Genesis 1). In other words, you have to add a concept (millions of years) from outside Scripture, into God’s Word. This approach puts man’s fallible ideas in authority over God’s Word.

            As soon as you surrender the Bible’s authority in one area, you “unlock a door” to do the same thing in other areas. Once the door of compromise is open,
            even if ajar just a little, subsequent generations push the door open wider. Ultimately, this compromise has been a major contributing factor in the loss of biblical authority in our Western world.” http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v6/n1/gospel-young-earth
            He is clearly stating that any interpretation other than one that supports a literal six day creation is supporting man’s authority over god’s authority–a claim which he is wholly unqualified to make.

          • I think the stronger case is the one he makes in the original post above.

          • Daniel Webb

            It is, but only because it isn’t his complete case. His complete case is a literal genesis, not just a literal Adam and a literal fall.

          • Just Sayin’

            The Bible is God’s Word and Hamster is a harmful, deceitful charlatan who must be denounced. How hard is that for you to grasp?

          • Just Sayin’

            If you took high school science you know enough about the science. Stop trying to squirm out of admitting the obvious.

        • Just Sayin’

          Hamster is doing incalculable harm to the Christian cause and you want to spend your time chastising a blogger for a supposed lack of winsomeness?

          • How do you define “the Christian cause”?

          • Just Sayin’

            The cause of Christianity. It’s not difficult, anymore than exposing the bogus claims of the charlatan Hamster. You just don’t want to do it because you have a sneaking admiration for “Ken” as you call him.

          • You are defining “the Christian cause” as “the cause of Christianity”?

            I was hoping for something more elucidating than that. I would like to understand what you mean when you use those phrases.

          • Just Sayin’

            You say that you’re a Christian but you don’t know what the cause of Christianity is and have to have me define it for you? Really?

            As I say, give up these baby arguments about defining the obvious and get that email off to Hamster, complaining about his lack of winsomeness and loss of irenic spirit. If you’re not to be exposed as a specious time-waster yourself, you know you have to do it.

            Let us know how you get on with Hamster.

          • I already know what I believe the cause of Christianity to be. Since you’re the one who brought up the term, I’m asking what you believe it to be.

            Is there some reason you don’t want to reveal what you think about this?

          • Just Sayin’

            Yeah, I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole you’re enticing me towards. Baby arguments and endless semantics don’t interest me. What does interest me is why you continue to pester this blogger and ignore the Hamster’s behaviour — one of the most infamously UNirenic and LEAST winsome Christians in the Western world!

            So when are you emailing Hamster about this? Come on, at least show a tiny smidgen of consistency.

    • Just Sayin’

      You missed science in high school then?

      Should we hold Hamster up to ridicule? Of course.

      A Pharisee says to Jesus: “Did you really have to hold those money-changers up to ridicule?”

      And why are you attacking Dr. McGrath when you could be doing something winsome instead?

      • I’m not attacking James; I’m pleading with him.

        • Just Sayin’

          Go and plead with the Hamster, who is not exactly renowned for his irenic spirit, to put it very mildly.

          But you won’t, will you? Of course not. You prefer to sit on the fence-post and strain at gnats.

    • stewart

      Ken Ham confuses his interpretation of the Bible with God’s word. The only authority Ken Ham is standing up for is Ken Ham’s.

      Christian’s are supposed to believe that the world is the work of God. As such I would expect them to place more weight on the evidence of the world (the work of God) than on the words of men (the Bible, and especially interpretations of the meaning the Bible).

      • How then do you integrate your understanding of evolution with your understanding of the Bible? Specifically, do you think Adam and Eve were the first humans?

        • stewart

          I don’t claim to understand what the Bible means. Biblical inerrantism, apart from being idolatrous, is not a productive doctrine – it doesn’t much matter whether or not the Bible is inerrant if we can’t identify what it meaning is.

          What we can conclude, unless we adopt a nihilist epistemology such as omphalism, is that Genesis cannot be both inerrant and a historical account,

          • Who said anything about inerrancy?

            If you are not a Christian, I do not expect you to regard the Bible as authoritative.

            If you are a Christian, what is the source of your faith in Christ if not that which is written in the Bible?

          • stewart

            It seemd to me by praisiing Ken Ham for “taking a stand for the authority of God’ word” you were implicitly adopting a position of inerrantism and literalism; if you’re not an inerrantist I don’t understand why you’re defending Ken Ham taking a stand for the authority of Ken Ham’s word.

          • The Bible is full of both literal and figurative expressions. Literalism is not a tenable interpretive approach.

            Inerrancy discussions typically lead to majoring on minor issues. The important point is that those who wrote the Bible claimed to be speaking on behalf of God. Unless they lied, the Bible is therefore authoritative.

            Do you not consider the Bible authoritative?

          • stewart

            What I think is irrelevant. Whether the Bible is authoritative is also pretty much irrelevant. The question at issue is your claim that treating the Bible as authoritative requires treating Adam and Eve (and how many other figures from Genesis?) as historical, and also specifically rejecting an evolutionary origin for humans.

            Evolution is a fact. By insisting that the Bible is authoritative and describes a historical Adam and Eve, you are implying that the Christianity is false. If you are worried about the slippery slope towards unbelief you would be best advised to stop greasing the slope.

          • “Whether the Bible is authoritative is also pretty much irrelevant.”

            I take it you don’t self-identify as a Christian.

  • Craig Wright

    Paul had no problem in denouncing Peter publicly when he thought that Peter was acting in a divisive and dangerous manner. Paul, also, named other people publicly who were causing trouble in the church.

    • You are right that there is a time and place for confrontation between Christian brothers, but I wish you could also see that there are some important differences between the Paul-Peter disagreement and the James-Ken disagreement. I’ll dash off just a few of them quickly:

      – Paul opposed Peter to his face. He did not establish a long-running publishing campaign seeking to discredit him.
      – Paul offered his rationale to Peter and Peter was persuaded by it. James, by his own admission, says that he trusts the scientists since he is not credentialed in that arena. He does not offer his own rationale that could persuade Ken. Ken may have fewer academic credentials in science than his critics would like him to have, but it seems he has more than James does.
      – Paul did not mock and ridicule Peter.
      – Paul did not give aid and comfort to Peter’s and Christ’s enemies in the process of correcting him.

      • Daniel Webb

        Paul wrote letters concerning his rebuke of Peter and others. These are not letters written directly to individuals–these were intended for reading by whole churches. The analogy by Mr. Wright is correct–the message is just written on a blog instead of read out loud to people who were largely illiterate.

        • Paul’s letter to the Galatians in which he mentioned the dispute with Peter was of a resolved dispute between men who respected each other – not an ongoing campaign of mockery and ridicule.

          • Daniel Webb

            You just raised the point yourself why this is different. It hasn’t been resolved–and it won’t be when Ken Ham continually uses his massive platform to promote that false dichotomy. Mr. McGrath is not questioning which authority Ken Ham relies on–but Ken Ham continues to state that those who don’t agree with a young earth worldview are substituting the authority of man for the authority of god. Why should Mr. McGrath yield when the antagonist here is clearly Ken Ham?

          • I honestly do not know whether Ken or James better deserves the title of antagonist. I found this on Ken’s web site: http://bit.ly/KWpriX I suppose each man might feel like the other threw the first stone.

            By the way, I had to smile when I read your reference to Ken’s “massive platform.” That guy has practically the entire worldwide scientific, academic, and educational communities arrayed against him. Practically every educated adult in the United States of America was taught for years a theory that Ken is opposing from his donor-supported, struggling-at-times outpost in Kentucky that most of those adults have never even heard of. This sounds like the lion complaining that the fight’s unfair because of the mouse’s “massive platform.”

          • Daniel Webb

            Massive platform amongst Christians…are you denying that young earth creationism is not a huge movement? The issue that we are addressing now is one that is dividing Christianity; outside opinion is largely settled on the matter.

          • I do know that recent Pew Religion Research reports that 2 of 3 white evangelicals believe that “humans have existed in their present form since the beginning” while 1 of 3 believe that “humans have evolved over time,” but I don’t know how many of the 2/3’s consider themselves YEC’s or even know who Ken Ham is.

            My perception of Ken Ham and the YEC’s is that they are generally considered a fringe group by the majority of Christians, and certainly by more educated Christians,, which probably explains why James feels he can bully the YEC”s with impunity.

          • Just Sayin’

            So what did Hamster reply when you chastised him for his massive lack of winsomeness and failure to be irenic?

            Let me guess: you haven’t quite got around to that yet.

          • Daniel Webb

            There aren’t 27 million dollar museums dedicated to old earth creationism. They’re hardly a fringe group–until very recently Mr. Ham and AiG had almost complete control on the majority of homeschool science curriculum. This is an organization that was able to spend large quantities of money to advertise in Times Square. I don’t think we can argue that they’re a fringe group within the Christian subculture. They are a fringe group amongst the entirety of American society but the young earth creationism worldview undoubtedly has huge influence.

          • “There aren’t 27 million dollar museums dedicated to old earth creationism.”

            I don’t know how much museums run for these days, but I would imagine that almost all of them are worth more than $27M each – and most of them much more than $27M. And practically all of them are devoted to idea that the earth is much older than Ken thinks it is.

            Nevertheless, if you wish to view James as the courageous individual “speaking truth to power,” then so be it.

          • Daniel Webb

            Again, I’m not speaking to secular museums like the smithsonian. I’m speaking specifically to the role of young earth creationism inside the Christian sect. For instance, Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe, an old earth creationism organization, doesn’t have anywhere near the outreach that Answers in Genesis does. The creation museum has had well over a million visitors since it opened. Would you consider a million people to be a decent sized platform?

            I’ve been fairly specific that I’m speaking about the role of YEC inside the Christian subculture and not inside of all of American culture–so I’d appreciate if you didn’t try to introduce red herrings into the conversation.

            Do you deny that Ken Ham has a significant voice? He’s got 64000 people following him on Facebook–and whenever he drops a blog–he has at least five to six times the amount of feedback that McGrath gets.

          • Well, I agree that it sounds like Ken has a much larger personal following than James does. When James mocks Ken, however, James does not in doing so aligning himself with Hugh Ross or even with the ID folks (many of whom themselves are skeptical of Ken). Rather, James aligns himself with the worldwide scientific and academic consensus – that is, the Smithsonians of the world. In James’ attacks, therefore, the “we versus they” is pretty much the whole world against Ken and his relatively minuscule tribe. That’s the way James frames the argument.

            Therefore, you can’t have it both ways – saying on the one hand that James is outgunned by “the massive platform” of Ken Ham while simultaneously on the other saying that James speaks for the established position of science.

            All that said, if you want to continue believing that James is David and Ken is Goliath, go ahead. It’s a secondary issue and I don’t wish to dispute it further.

          • Daniel Webb

            Again, I refer you back to the point that I initially raised–that Ken Ham has created the “we vs they” false dichotomy by consistently stating that a literal interpretation of genesis is the only way to keep god’s authority foremost–and that anything resembling “millions of years” be it evolution or old earth creationism is just replacing it with man’s authority.

            I never raised the idea that this is a David vs Goliath situation. You raised that by trying to make Ken the David vs the secular world as Goliath–a point which I never implied or inferred and consistently had to remind you of that. This whole portion of the conversation began because I asserted that Ken has a massive platform by which he promotes young earth dogma within the Christian sect. I believe I’ve showed adequate evidence of that.

            I liked RC Sproul’s comments on the whole matter. I think they frame this debate very well–and indicate exactly why it’s an issue that organizations like AiG have taken such a divisive and unsupported stand on a non-salvation issue. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NIwHT_b72Bk

          • I liked R.C. Sproul’s comments as well, but I don’t see how they’re helpful to our discussion. For all he really said was that he didn’t know how old the earth was.

            The question of how to mesh evolution with the biblical account of creation is an extremely important one in our age. The reason many people give for rejecting their faith in Christ is their belief in evolution and, consequently, their view of the Bible as an untrustworthy source of history. I would be very interested in supporting an integration of evolution with the Bible because it would remove this stumbling block. But I have been unable to find anyone who can show a clear path to doing this. Say what you will about Ken Ham, he at least gives a direct answer to that question (even if it is a cut-the-Gordian-knot kind of answer).

            Therefore, I continue to look for a Christian who believes that evolution is God’s work as much as the Bible is and can show how the two are not in conflict. I had hoped James would be that person, as he has sufficient knowledge in both fields to do that, but he has been unwilling. Until someone can show me how evolution fits with the Bible, I cannot accept evolution. If that puts me in the ranks with Ken Ham, Hugh Ross, the ID guys, and other “uncool” people, then so be it.

          • Daniel Webb

            They’re helpful because they illustrate from a theologian’s point of view that what people like Ken Ham have planted their flag on is not the proven biblical answer nor should it be presented as such. Ken Ham isn’t suggesting that he doesn’t know. He’s stating that he does know, and that he knows because god revealed that it is exactly a literal six day young earth creation–and anyone who disagrees with Ham isn’t disagreeing with just Answers in Genesis and Ken Ham–they’re disagreeing with god and his authority.

            Giving a direct answer to a question is not admirable, in and of itself, especially if the answer you give is asserted to be true without knowledge of it actually being true–regardless of sincerity of belief. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that.

          • Again, you are departing from the argument of the original post. The question is, do you have a way of integrating evolution with a historical Adam and historical fall?

          • Daniel Webb

            I think perhaps you’re referring to a different conversation, because the original post was not over integrating evolution with a historical adam and a historical fall. The original post on this thread was in regards to disagreement over authority–and your opinion was that McGrath was handling it and his “rebuking” of Ham incorrectly. That’s when we started discussing the idea of whether or not a false dichotomy has been raised and why the division caused by the false dichotomy is the true harm.

          • You’re right that my initial comment to James was about his tone, but that a historical Adam and historical fall are at the heart of the original post can be determined simply by scrolling up and reading the graphic.

          • Daniel Webb

            Fair enough.

          • Neko

            Therefore, I continue to look for a Christian who believes that evolution is God’s work as much as the Bible is and can show how the two are not in conflict.

            You can’t have looked very far. The Roman Catholic Church accepts evolution. You could read Ratzinger’s In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, for example.

          • I appreciate the suggestion, but I wish you had read my statement more carefully.

            There are indeed plenty of books like the one you recommended. The BioLogos Foundation has an entire web site dedicated to the same vein. Even James himself offers the same sort of rationalization. The reason all these resources fall short of what I am seeking is that their commitment to current scientific consensus is greater than it is to the various biblical texts that conflict with that consensus. I’m looking for someone who is equally committed to both. That is, I’m looking for someone who believes that God’s word is as infallible as God’s work.

            (It’s ironic that we have Christians like James who insist that the Bible isn’t infallible but that evolution is.)

            Evolution says that we human beings exist because of random mutation and unguided natural selection. The Bible says God intentionally made us in His image.

            Evolution says that everything reproduces after one kind (common ancestor). The Bible says everything reproduces after its own kind.

            Evolution makes it hard, if not impossible, to believe the biblical testimony about Adam and Eve as the first humans.

            Evoution makes it hard, if not impossible, to believe the biblical testimony about how sin and death entered the world.

            Evolution makes the Bible’s genealogies untrustworthy.

            Evolution leads one to conclude that Jesus, Paul, and others in the New Testament ignorantly accepted Genesis “myths” as history.

            These are the kinds of conflcts that have to be resolved if someone is to regard both evolution and the Bible as true.

          • Neko

            The Pope Emeritus isn’t a pious enough Christian for you? OK.

            I’d think Jesus’s apocalyptic predictions would be more vexing that his rhetorical use of the Genesis allegory. Were Jesus and Paul alive today they might accept the world as it is instead of how it was perceived over 2500 years ago. But I don’t wish to pursue the argument further. The reconciliation you seek is not to be had, and you know it.

            Have a good day.

          • Just Sayin’

            “Ken”, you buddy obviously, has a multi-million dollar commercial enterprise and the whole of American fundamentalism behind him. Dr. McGrath has this blog.

            But you prefer to strain at gnats while ignoring (actually succouring and commending) the elephant in the room.

          • Butler University is a multi-million dollar enterprise, too. Does that mean it must be up to no good?

          • Just Sayin’

            Don’t be silly, give up these baby-arguments. Dr. McGrath is an employee of Butler; Hamster is the major domo of a multi-million dollar Creationist Museum, an extremely large Creationist organization, a publishing arm where he can self-publish all the crap he desires, all of American fundamentalism cheering him on, fence-sitters like you equivocating and giving him credence, etc., etc., etc.

            But you prefer to attack the gnat and ignore the elephant.

            Stop obfuscating with these baby-arguments and get off that fence-post at long last. Don’t be scared. The ground is quite firm.

          • Just Sayin’

            Hamster deserves zero respect, he’s a charlatan.

          • You keep making those sorts of accusations, but you don’t ever back them up with evidence? Are we supposed to condemn someone just because you do?

            Can add no more value to this conversation than to call Ham names?

          • Just Sayin’

            Is the ocean wet, is the sky blue? Is Hamster a charlatan?

            You know the answer as well as anybody else with a high school education.

          • Just Sayin’

            Here’s someone else you can pester about not being irenic enough (like the irenic Hamster, hah, hah!):


      • Just Sayin’

        Hamster is neither Paul nor Peter, he’s equivalent to one of the early Gnostic heretics that the Church had to deal with. Read the polemic that orthodox Christians laid on those heretics and follow suit with Hamster.

  • mikeW

    Part of the problem with modern fundamentalism is that protestants don’t read the early church fathers. for them the canon of worthy books ends stops at revelation and picks up again at Martin Luther, or ~~groan~~Billy Graham.

  • Thanks for sharing, James!