Why Does the Universe Look So Old? (Albert Mohler)

Posted by on Jun 25, 2013 in Audio, Creation | 87 Comments
Why Does the Universe Look So Old? (Albert Mohler)

The following video and transcript is from the 2010 Ligonier Ministries National Conference. R. Albert Mohler Jr. serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world. Mohler also hosts two programs on AlbertMohler.com: “The Briefing,” a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview; and “Thinking in Public,” a series of conversations with the day’s leading thinkers.

 

It is extremely assuring to see this room filled at this hour on a Saturday morning of people here to seek Biblical truth on any number of questions. This conference has hopefully drawn us to some of the most pressing questions that Christians face, the tough questions. It is an honor to be here as always with my dear friend Dr. R.C. Sproul, with so many others, all these speakers, and the dear colleagues in the fight of the faith in coming to understand the great truths of the Christian faith and how these might most helpfully be applied in the confrontation with the questions of contemporary life. For so many years Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul have demonstrated that you really can teach the deep things of the Christian faith to a church and to Christians in the late 20th and 21st centuries. We are indebted to a model of such faithful teaching and it is on the basis of that, it is driven by years and years of ministry, it is living in the surplus of all of that teaching that we are able to be here today in this conference to ask these questions. And our absolute confidence is that there is no question Christians need fear. There are only questions we need to learn how to answer. This is a tough one. My assignment: Why Does the Universe Look So Old?
Well, we have limited options. Number one: Maybe the universe looks so old because it is so old. Option number two: Maybe the universe looks very old, but it is not actually so old as it looks. There could be perhaps a third option or any number of derivatives in which you simply say, “We can’t answer the question.” Or there would be some who would say, “The question isn’t important.” Now I’m going to suggest to you this morning that the question is extremely important and that it is one for which we must be ready to give an answer.

I want to invite you to turn with me to Genesis chapter one. We dare not seek to answer this question without first looking to the Word of God. [Reads Genesis 1, 2:1-3]. This is the Word of the Lord. What we have here in Genesis 1:1 – 2:3 is a sequential pattern of creation, a straightforward plan, a direct reading of the text would indicate to us seven 24-hour days, six 24-hour days of creative activity and a final day of divine rest. This was the untroubled consensus of the Christian church until early in the 19th century. It was not absolutely unanimous. It was not always without controversy. But it was the overwhelming, untroubled consensus of the church, until the dawn of the 19th century.

Four great challenges to the traditional reading of Genesis have emerged in the last 200 years or so. The first of these is the discovery of the geological record. Early in the 19th century, building upon discoveries made in the late 18th century, there became an awareness of fossils that appeared to be telling a story especially in that period of time. In the wake of the enlightenment – when expeditions were going to far corners of the earth for the first time, in the discovery of so many things that were new and unknown – the knowledge of a fossil record and various strata of fossil deposits became known. And that knowledge began to prey upon the minds of those who had been raised in a Christian culture, been taught Christian truths, and who had assumed that Genesis is the great historical account of how the world came to be. The second great challenge was the emergence of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Coming at the midpoint of the 19th century, we need to be reminded that Darwin was not the first evolutionist. We need to be reminded that Darwin did not embark upon the Beagle having no preconceptions of what exactly he was looking for or having no theory of how life emerged in all of its diversity, fecundity, and specialization. Darwin left on his expedition to prove the theory of evolution. A theory that was based upon the fossil record and other inferences had already been able to take the hold of some in Western civilization. The dawn of the theory of evolution presents a direct challenge to the traditional interpretation of Genesis and, as we shall see, to much more. (10:55)

The third great challenge in terms of the traditional understanding of Genesis came with the discovery of ancient near eastern parallels to the Genesis account. Once these ancient parallels became known, the Enuma Elish, the Epic of Gilgamesh, scholars began to look at these documents and then to look at Genesis and begin to see Genesis as just one more of these ancient near eastern creation accounts.

The fourth great challenge to the traditional interpretation of Genesis was the development of higher criticism, and in particular the development of the documentary hypothesis—a hypothesis and an approach to the Old Testament, in particular to the Pentateuch, that sought to establish different strata, different sources and to take the text apart, treating it as a merely human document and seeking to look at dependence and borrowings and polemics and literary styles.

These four movements together were devastating in terms of the larger Western consciousness to the traditional interpretation of Genesis. When you add together fossils, Darwin, ancient near eastern parallels, and the documentary hypothesis, you have a brew for a massive shift in understanding. Now when we ask the question, “Why does the universe look so old?” we’re asking it over against these challenges, and to each of those we will return. But first we need to define some terms.

If we’re talking about why the universe looks so old we need to ask the question just how old supposedly does the universe look? It’s fascinating when you look at the historical development of this question, that the expanse of time has grown exponentially once persons began to ask this question and to detach it from the Biblical reality. Just on the basis of scientific of phenomenological observation the age of the earth has been getting older and older. The scientific consensus right now is that earth, planet earth and this particular solar system, is approximately 4.5 billion years old. That’s billion with a “b.” The age of the universe is now established by scientific consensus to be about 13.5 billion years old. The distinction between the age of the universe and the age of the earth having to do with the age of the universe being tracked back to the hypothetical emergence of the Big Bang and with the radiological data and with the physical extrapolation about the expansion of the universe, the assumption is that it would have taken 13.5 billion years to have created this universe looking at the radiometric data that is found here on the planet and in particular that has shifted amongst scientists now more towards the debris from meteorites rather than anything that was considered to have emerged from within the earth itself. The estimation is it’s 4.5 billion years old.

Now just to place ourselves in the historical and intellectual context of our question, here’s what we’re really looking at. The inference and consensus of the church, through all of these centuries, that the earth and the universe, the cosmos as a whole, is very young, talking about a limitation of only several thousand years by the time you take the book of Genesis and especially its first eleven chapters, and you look at the creation account and you look at the genealogy and you add it all together you’re looking at no more than several thousand years. We’re talking about a disagreement that is not slight. The difference between several thousand years and 13.5 billion years is no small matter and I would argue it comes with huge theological consequences.

One of the assumptions you need to have in mind in terms of the assumption about the age of the earth that the scientific assumption comes down to this: uniformitarianism. The assumption that is crucial to establishing the age of the earth is based upon an intellectual assumption that was made in the early 19th century by Charles Lyell and others called uniformitarianism which assumes that the way we observe processes now is a constant guide to how physical processes always have operated. Thus a steady state of understanding physical processes is what we’re talking about as the secular scientific assumption. We gauge these things and measure these extrapolated billions of years based upon the assumption, the scientists will tell us, that things as they are now are as they have always been in terms of physical processes.

Now with that as intellectual background, what’s the urgency of the question? Why are we here at this meeting asking the question “Why does the universe look so old?” Is this an urgent question? Is it one that calls us to account? The answer to that has to be yes. And there are some recent developments that indicate again and again and anew why it is so. The controversy concerning Bruce Waltke, who even in recent months became a focus of controversy after making a video where he argued that, unless evangelical Christians come to terms with accepting the theory of evolution, we will be reduced to the status of a theological and intellectual cult. The urgency of this question and the demand for an answer comes over against what is pressed upon us with the definition of the assured results of modern science. Constantly we are addressed with the fact that science has now presented us with a knowledge, with an assured confident knowledge, to which we must give an answer. William Dembski in a recent book, borrowing from Cambridge philosopher Simon Blackburn, speaks of our current mental environment defined in this way. He says, “Our mental environment is the surrounding climate of ideas by which we make sense of the world.” As professor Dembski makes clear in his argument, the current mental environment in which we move and live and speak and communicate and preach and bear witness to the Gospel, is a mental environment that is shaped by the intellectual assumption that the world is very old. To speak in confrontation to that current mental environment, it is implied, comes at a significant cost. The old earth, it is suggested, and old being 4.5 billion years old for the solar system and 13.5 billion years for the universe, is simply part of that mental environment.

An even greater urgency is pressed upon us by the emergence of the new atheism—Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, three of these four horsemen of the new atheism are scientists, two of them have made their reputation in the defense of the most extreme and yet now commonly held forms of evolutionary theory in terms of the scientific academy.

Richard Dawkins is the author of the book The Selfish Gene and it is Richard Dawkins who has suggested that Darwinism is what allowed him to become an intellectually fulfilled atheist. In their new argument very forcefully put forth, they are arguing that evolution is the final nail in the coffin of theism. And they are making the claim that the assured findings and conclusions of modern science make not only the book of Genesis, but theism, untenable. In his new book, The Greatest Show on Earth, Richard Dawkins goes so far as to suggest that deniers of evolutionary theory should be as intellectually scorned and marginalized as Holocaust deniers. Evolution, he says, is a theory only by arcane scientific definition. It is a fact—a fact he says no intelligent person can deny. We have the emergence of the evolutionary worldview and its hegemony in the larger intellectual elites.

The new atheism comes along with Daniel Dennett and his book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea suggesting that evolution is what he calls the universal acid. I have to tell you, every middle school boy knows exactly what he is talking about. Daniel Dennett talks about when he was in middle school and he imagined a universal acid. This is an acid that would be so powerful that nothing could contain it. You put the acid in the container, it consumes the container. You then find that it consumes the entire classroom as it breaks out of the laboratory. Then it consumes the entire school—every middle school boy’s dream! Then it continues to consume, and to consume, and to consume until eventually nothing remains. Daniel Dennett says that science has never discovered an actual acid with that physical property, but he suggests that Darwin’s theory of evolution is the intellectual equivalent of a universal acid. It destroys everything in its wake. It completely redefines every understanding of life and its meaning. And I would argue that in that sense he is right.

Darwinist evolution is the great destroyer of meaning. Not only the meaning of the book of Genesis, but of almost every dimension of life. The background of this is also panic among the cultural and intellectual elites. In the United States and increasingly in Great Britain and in Europe and beyond, the intellectual elites are absolutely frantic. They’re scratching their heads in incredulity. How is it that after the Darwinist revolution, after the hegemony of evolutionary theory in the sciences, a majority of Americans still reject the theory of evolution? It is driving them to distraction. My favorite illustration of this is from the year 2003 when Nicholas Kristof wrote an article about the virgin birth of Christ in his column in the New York Times. And he said—as I paraphrase him—I am absolutely frightened to live in a society where there are more people who believe in the historicity of the virgin birth than in the reality of evolution. Well “wake up columnist Kristof!” It’s not just in America. Creationism and the rejection of evolution is not losing ground in Britain and in Europe, it is gaining ground. And intellectual elites on both sides of the Atlantic are in sheer panic. How can these things be?(22:00)

It’s not just panic amongst the cultural elites in the secular world however. It is also panic among the theologians. There is the warning from Professor Waltke, that if we do not get with the program we will be marginalized as a cult. There are the warnings of people like Peter Enns, the website BioLogos—a movement started by Francis Collins, now the director of the National Institutes of Health under President Obama, formerly the head of the Human Genome Project, the author of the book The Language of God in which he makes his own argument that, unless we get with the program, we are going to be intellectually marginalized. And Francis Collins makes the point made by so many others that we will actually lose credibility sharing the Gospel of Christ if we do not shed ourselves of the anti-intellectualism, which is judged to be ours by the elite if we do not accept the theory of evolution.

And it’s not just in that circle as well. There are evangelical elites—the faculties of evangelical colleges and universities and seminaries. There are authors such as Karl Giberson and his book Saving Darwin; and then it goes back in terms of the evangelical movement to the emergence in the middle of the last century of the American Scientific Affiliation. Figures such as Bernard Ramm, a well-known evangelical theologian, who argued that there must be an acceptance of evolutionary theory amongst evangelicals.

In light of this, what are our major options? Thinking about the theories of the age of the earth, theories of the interpretation of Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, I’ll reduce the options to four. The first is the traditional 24-hour calendar day view. Now this is the most straightforward reading of the text. As we read and heard the text Genesis 1 through the first three verses of Genesis 2, the most natural understanding of the text would be that what is being presented here by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is a sequential pattern of 24-hour days. The pattern of evening and morning, the literary structure, all of these things would point in a commonsense manner to 24-hour days. These 24-hour days would reveal a sequence, increasing differentiation, eventually presenting in the climactic creation of man as the image bearer of God. Six days of active creation and one day of divine rest. (25:29)

The second option is what is known as the Day-Age view. In this view, what is argued over against the data that is coming to us that is claiming to represent a very old earth, what is presented to us is the option the Hebrew word Yom in this case need not always refer to a 24-hour calendar day but might actually refer to a much more indefinite presumably very long period of time. The Day-Age view, as held by most of its major proponents, would hold that what we have here is indeed a sequence. There’s a sequential understanding of creation towards greater differentiation, greater specialization pointing toward the creation of humanity as the image-bearers of God, but that these days, though sequential, are overlapping and not entirely distinct and are not to be taken as 24-hour chronological days, calendar days, as we know them.

The third option is what is most commonly known as the framework theory. The framework theory leaps over the question of the length of the days suggesting that it is only a literary framework and it also suggests it is a non-sequential ordering in the text. It is a literary way of telling a story about the providential ordering of creation by God. And thus there is theological content to be derived from Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, but in particular in Genesis 1 we are not to trouble ourselves with the question about the length of time, nor even about the ordering and sequence of the days, but rather to see that this is God providentially ordering his creation for his glory.

The fourth option is to take the first two chapters of Genesis, and actually far beyond the first two chapters, into at least the first 11 chapters, as being merely literary. Understanding that what we have here is a parallel near eastern text, in this case customized for the worship and the teaching of Israel. It is a creation myth, a mythological rendering that marks the beliefs of the ancient Hebrews.

Now what do these have to do with the age of the earth? Well of all of these options, only the understanding of a 24-hour day creation necessitates a young earth. The rest of them all allow for, if they do not directly imply or assume, a very old earth. As we work backwards in terms of evangelical options, the idea that Genesis is merely literary has to be rejected out of hand as in direct contradiction to our understanding of the Bible as the inerrant and infallible word of God. That option, for any credible and faithful evangelical Christian, must be taken off the table. So then we are left with the framework theory, held by some prominent evangelicals but, I would argue, one of the least defensible positions when we understand that it is based upon the assumption, not only that there may be a very long period of time that is involved and incorporated in Genesis 1 and in the sequence of the days, but actually that the sequence does not matter. It simply is not credible, at least to me, that God gave us this text with such rich detail and sequential development merely that we would infer from it his providential direction without any specific reference to all the direct content he has given us within the text. It certainly seems by any common sense natural reading of the text that it is making historical and sequential claims.

The Day-Age view, working backwards, is much more attractive on theological grounds—much more attractive on exegetical grounds. It involves far fewer entanglements and issues, but as we shall see it involves issues that go even beyond exegeses. (30:24)

The first thing we need to note, as has been noted by even more liberal scholars such as James Barr, is that any natural reading of the text would indicate that the author intended us to take 24-hour days, calendar days, as our understanding. I am arguing for the exegetical and theological necessity of affirming 24-hour calendar days.

The first issue we note is the issue of the integrity of scripture. And we must concede that those who hold to a Day-Age view or its equivalent, who argue for an old earth, in so far as they are our colleagues in the evangelical movement affirming the inerrancy of scripture, are seeking to do so in a way that does not do violence to the inerrancy of scripture. But I would simply respond most quickly that there is no such need for strained defense when it comes to a 24-hour understanding of creation. But there are issues far beyond exegetical issues that are at stake here. And as time is brief, I want to suggest that what is most lacking in the evangelical movement today is a consideration of the theological cost of holding to an old earth. This entire conversation is either missing or marginalized in the evangelical world today. It is my purpose as I have this opportunity to speak to you about this question today to suggest to you that the exegetical issues are real. And the exegetical evidence based upon a reformation understanding of scripture and the proper interpretation of scripture would lead me to a natural understanding of 24-hour calendar day creation. But I would wish to allow, just as a matter of conversation and consideration, that it might be possible that we could be over-reading the text in that regard. It could be possible that we are actually coming to this with the presupposition that it must be a 24-hour day and thus we should hear the warning that comes to us from those that hold to an old age of the universe that we just might be creating an intellectual problem here in late modernity that is not necessary. So I’ve done my very best to consider the question from that vantage point. And when it comes to the exegetical issues I will tell you that I think the exegetical defense of a 24-hour calendar day is sufficient. In other words, the exegetical cost—the cost of the integrity and interpretation of scripture—to rendering the text in any other way, is just too high. But I want to suggest to you that the theological cost is actually far higher.

Think with me here. As we are looking at the Scripture, we understand it to be as it claims, the inspired and inerrant word of God. Every word inspired by the Holy Spirit. We believe that the speaking God speaks to us in this word. This is an inscripturated revelation of the one true and living God. But we also come to understand that this text is telling us a story, and that story, just in a redemptive historical framework, has to be summarized so that we know our accountability to the story and the narrative; the grand narrative of the Gospel can include no fewer movements than these: creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. We come to understand the grand narrative of Scripture, the redemptive historical narrative that is revealed in the unity of the Old and New Testaments in the consistent presentation of the revelation of God. And we come to understand that it begins with creation. It moves quickly to the fall. And then to redemption and consummation or new creation. We understand that the Bible presents a doctrine of creation that is more than merely an intellectual account of how the world came to be. It is a purposeful account of why the universe was created by a sovereign and holy and benevolent God as the theater of his own glory for the purpose of demonstrating his knowledge not only as creator but as redeemer. The doctrine of creation is absolutely inseparable from the doctrine of redemption. But it begins there in this story as is revealed in scripture. And thus we come to understand that what scripture makes clear is that God is revealed, how everything that is came to be, and why.

The second movement is of equal importance and that is the fall. Every worldview is accountable to answer the question “Why are things as they are? What is broken and how did this happen?” And the scripture so quickly takes us to Genesis 3 and to the fall and to human sinfulness and to the headship of Adam. And thus we come to Genesis 3; we come to understand that the world we know is the Genesis 3 world. The creation we observe is a Genesis 3 fallen creation. And we come to understand that if we had merely these first two movements in the redemptive historical narrative of scripture, we would be lost and forever under the righteous judgment and under the wrath of God. But thanks be to God.

These then take us, as scripture takes us, to redemption. And there we come to understand that God, before the universe was created, had a purpose to redeem a people through the blood of his son. And he does this. And we come to understand how the scripture presents this in terms of the person and work of Christ, the meaning of his atonement, and the richness of the Gospel. But the grand narrative of scripture does not leave us merely there. It points toward consummation, final judgment, new Jerusalem, new heaven, new earth. It points towards the reign of God demonstrated at the end of history and the conclusion of this age. It points us to a time when every eye is dry and every tear is wiped away—to a final judgment. To a dual destiny. Heaven and hell. It points us to a new creation, to a new heaven and a new earth that is not merely the reestablishment of Eden, but something far greater. For in the new creation, God is known not only as creator but as creator and redeemer. His glory being infinitely greater by our beholding, by the fact that we know him now as those who have been bought with a price, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

It’s important for us to remember our accountability in that narrative, because this raises some central questions—two in particular. The first is the historicity of Adam. In Romans 5:12 we read, “Therefore just as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin and so death spread to all men because man sinned.” Paul bases his understanding of human sinfulness and of Adam’s headship over the human race on a historical Adam. A historical fall. Adam may be—indeed I believe really is—the most pressing question: the historicity of Adam and Eve and the historicity of the fall. An old earth understanding has serious complications because the old earth is not merely understood to be old. The inference that it is old is based upon certain evidences that also tell a story. The fossils are telling a story. And the story they are telling is of millions and indeed billions of years of creation before the arrival of Adam. But the scientific consensus of the meaning of that evidence goes far beyond that to suggesting that there were hominids and pre-hominids and there were hundreds of thousands of hominids and there were, well let’s put it this way. It is possible to hold under an old age understanding to a historical Adam, to the special creation of humanity, but it requires an arbitrary intervention of God into a very long process, billions of years in which at some point God acts unilaterally to create Adam and Eve. Eve out of Adam.
(40:06)

It comes with very serious intellectual entanglements. It is actually difficult and that is reflected by the fact that the contemporary conversation in terms of the age of the earth is requiring a redefinition of who Adam was. Interestingly as I’ve looked at this question I’ve been surprised quite frankly to see how many older evangelicals had already seen this and come to terms with it. In his commentary on the book of Romans, John Stott actually suggests that Adam was an existing hominid that God adopted in a special way, and out of Homo sapiens God implanted his image, and made Adam particularly in his image by ensouling him, and creating in Adam not only Homo sapiens but Homo divinus. Let’s just imagine for a moment what that would theologically require. It requires that there were Homo sapiens who were not the image bearers of God. It requires an adoptionistic understanding of Adam, rather than special creation of Adam.

Denis Alexander in his new book Creation or Evolution Do We Have to Choose?, a fellow at Cambridge University suggests, and I quote here, that “God in his grace chose a couple of neolithic farmers to whom he chose to reveal himself in a special way, calling them into fellowship with himself so that they might know him as a personal God.” Now is that in any way a possible, legitimate exegetical reading of Genesis? That God chose a couple of neolithic famers? What haunts me about that book is not just the contents of the book but what is on its front cover, a blurb from J.I. Packer who says “Surely the best informed, clearest, and most judicious treatment of the question and title that you can find anywhere today.”

Do we not take into account what this means? Well, many others are taking it into account. For instance at the BioLogos website, now becoming the locus classicus for discussion, you find the argument made by Peter Enns very recently, just even in recent weeks in a series of articles entitled “Paul’s Adam,” I quote here, “For Paul, Adam and Eve were the parents of the human race. This is possible but not satisfying for those familiar with either the scientific or archeological data.” He goes on to suggest that we must abandon Paul’s Adam and suggests that Paul as far as he refers to Adam in Romans chapter five is limited by his dependence on primitive understandings.

Karl Giberson, Eastern Nazarene University, says this “clearly the historicity of Adam and Eve and their fall from grace are hard to reconcile with natural history.” He says this, “One could believe for example that at some point” – this dismisses the kind of Stott theory now just so you hear, what I want you to understand from this is that holding to this doesn’t even give you any advantage. In other words, if you’re trying to make peace with the modern secular mind and you’re trying to meet the intellectual elites halfway, guess what? They won’t meet you halfway. Listen to this: “One could believe, for example, that at some point in evolutionary history God ‘chose’ two people from a group of evolving humans, gave them his image, and put them in Eden, which they promptly corrupted by sinning. But this solution is unsatisfactory, artificial, and certainly not what the writer of Genesis intended.”

That’s not said by someone who’s defending the book of Genesis, but rather the theory of evolution, and trying to remove the possibility of the very kinds of things that some who identify themselves as evangelicals are trying to claim. An old earth understanding is very difficult to reconcile with a historical Adam as presented not only in terms of Genesis, but in terms of Romans. It requires an arbitrary claim that God created Adam as a special act of his creation and it entangles a good many difficulties in terms of both exegeses and a redemptive historical understanding of scripture.

That becomes clearer in view of the second great issue at stake here, which is the fall. We understand from Genesis 3 and from the entire narrative of scripture from texts like Romans 8 that what we know in the world today as catastrophe, as natural disaster, earthquake, destruction by volcanic eruption, pain, death, violence, predation—that these are results of the fall. We end up with enormous problems if we try to interpret a historical fall and understand a historical fall in an old earth rendering. This is most clear when it comes to Adam’s sin. Was it true that, as Paul argues, when sin came, death came? Well just keep in mind that if the earth is indeed old, and we infer that it is old because of the scientific data, the scientific data is also there to claim that long before the emergence of Adam—if indeed there is the recognition of a historical Adam—and certainly long before there was the possibility of Adam’s sin, there were all the effects of sin that are biblically attributed to the fall and not to anything before the fall. And we’re not only talking about death, we’re talking about death by the millions and billions.

Some who hold to an old earth in dealing with this question suggest that what Paul is actually talking about—what the scripture claims—is when sin came, spiritual death came. But I would suggest to you that is a very difficult claim to reconcile over against the totality of scripture. And the whole idea that before there could be humanity and certainly before there could be Homo sapiens and before there could be Adam and before there could be sin, there were all the effects of sin written backwards. Let me just point out in the first place that no Christian reading the scripture alone would ever come to such a conclusion, ever. And once you try to come to that conclusion, it’s very difficult to actually reconcile with the scriptures, with the grand narrative of the Gospel. What sense does it make to point to the kingdom and the consummation as when the lamb and the lion shall be together and lay together, if indeed there was predation before the fall. If the animosity between the lion and the lamb is simply a part of a very old story, a very old earth, that we picked up as some kind of symbolic illustration, the writers of scripture simply borrowing it in order to point towards the reality of a new creation, well how are we to understand the scripture at all?

There’s eschatological impact as well. And there is tremendous theological strain when it comes to trying to sever the doctrine of redemption from a straightforward understanding of the scriptural account of creation. We are reminded of how closely these are together. We are reminded that John Calvin teaches us that the knowledge of God is the knowledge of God as creator and as redeemer. The imperative that is presented upon us is not new. And much of the language that is used to confront Christians today on this question goes back all the way to Galileo. Galileo spoke of the two books as he defended himself. He spoke of the book of scripture and the book of nature suggesting that the believer ought to be accountable to both books. And that is a very attractive argument. It’s an attractive argument because we come to understand that the scripture itself tells us that there is a natural revelation, a general revelation. In Romans chapter one Paul goes so far as to tell us not only that God has revealed himself in nature, but that in nature even his invisible attributes should be clearly seen. There is a book of nature. We do learn much from it. We learn a lot of common sense observational truth from looking at the book of nature. We are not only licensed but as we are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, as we are those who by God’s grace have grown to know him as creator, we are given the intellectual responsibility to come to know this earth and this cosmos and all that is within what we might call the Book of Nature because we come to understand that God has revealed nature to be intelligible. But clearly there is a problem. And again we go back to the fall. Because Paul makes clear that, even though God has revealed himself in nature so that there is no one who is with excuse—given the cloudiness of our vision and the corruption of our sight—we can no longer see what is clearly there. The heavens are telling the glory of God, but human sinfulness refuses to see what is plainly evident. Calvin puts it this way in Book One: he says this knowledge is either smothered or corrupted partly by ignorance, partly by malice. The universe is telling a story and Christians have affirmed that the universe is telling a story. Herbert Butterfield, the great historian of science, points out that Christianity was the seabed of the rise of modern science because Christians were confident that God had created the world to be known in an intelligible manner. (52:40) But modern science, part of the modern project, as driven by forces such as Darwin and his heirs, is seeking to present to the western mind and indeed to a global mind, an intentional challenge to the Christian account of the meaning of things. An intentional alternative to the Christian worldview and to the Christian Gospel. Evolution is central to the great secular mythology. This is why it is cherished so much by persons such as Richard Dawkins who again said that it is Darwinism that allows persons to be intellectually fulfilled atheists. Now this is not to argue that all who hold to an old earth hold to evolution in any form. Nor to theistic evolution, which had I time I would suggest is the consummate oxymoron. But rather I would suggest that it is, that is an old age theory of the earth comes with theological and exegetical complications that I believe are in the end insurmountable.

It is not fair to say that an old earth position cannot hold to a historical Adam. It is to say that it cannot hold to a historical Adam without arbitrary intellectual moves and very costly theological entanglements. It is to say that this position seems to be at an insoluble collision with the redemptive historical narrative of the Gospel. The cost to the Christian church, in terms of ignoring this question or abandoning the discussion, is just too high. The cost of confronting this question is also costly. It can be very expensive because it can create intensity and conflict and controversy but I would suggest that the avoidance of this will be at the cost of our own credibility.

The two books. We need to recognize that disaster ensues when the book of nature or general revelation is used in some way to trump scripture and special revelation. And that is the very origin of this discussion. We would not be having this discussion today. This would not be one of those tough questions Christians ask, if these questions were not being posed to us by those who assume that general revelation and indeed the book of nature is presenting to us something in terms of compelling evidence, compelling evidence that is so forceful and credible that we’re going to have to reconstruct and re-envision our understanding of the biblical text.

We need to think more deeply about this. The BioLogos website has just even in recent days focused its attention on the direct rejection of biblical inerrancy. Understanding that any rendering of the bible as inerrant makes the acceptance of theistic evolution impossible. Certainly implausible. Kenton Sparks writing on that website suggests that, intellectually, evangelicalism has painted itself into a corner—that we have put ourselves into an intellectual cul-de-sac with our understanding of biblical inerrancy. He suggests that the Bible indeed should be recognized as containing historical, theological and moral error. Peter Enns, one of the most frequent contributors to the site, suggests that we have to come to the understanding that, when it comes to many of the scientific claims, historical claims, the writers of scriptures were plainly wrong.

Our only means of intellectual rescue, brothers and sisters, is the speaking God, who speaks to us in scripture, in special revelation. And it is the scripture, the inerrant and infallible word of God that trumps renderings of general revelation, and it must be so. Otherwise we will face destruction of the entire gospel in intellectual terms. When general revelation is used to trump special revelation, disaster ensues. And not just on this score. It’s not just on the question of the age of the earth. What about other questions? The assured results of modern science. There is so much that is packed in that mental category, that intellectual claim. Just remember first of all that science has changed and has gone through many transformations. The assured results of modern science today may very well not be the assured results of modern science tomorrow. And, I can promise you, are not the assured results of science yesterday.

In the New York Times just in recent days there’s been a major article about one particular fossil which is claimed to be a hominid and just about a year ago that same paper presented it as irrefutable proof of a certain trajectory of human evolution. Now you have scientists coming back saying we don’t even believe that it’s a hominid fossil. The assured results of modern science? What do the assured results of modern science say about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? What do the assured results of modern science in terms of the methodological naturalism that is absolutely essential to modern science, what does it say about the virgin conception of Jesus Christ? The assured results of modern science? Science is now claiming to tell us about sexual orientation in terms of a physicalist explanation. Is the Christian church going to make its understanding of human sexuality and sexual morality accountable to the assured results of modern science? Are we going to submit our cosmology, are we going to take the redemptive historical understanding of scripture and submit this to interrogation by the assured results of modern science? Let me suggest to you the end of that process is absolute (commercial interferes here) [..] of Scripture includes the claim that Scripture is norma normans normata. The norm of norms that cannot be normed. Any surrender of that on any question leads to disaster.

In conclusion, there is a head-on collision here. There are those that claim there is no head-on collision. Francisco Ayala, who just won the Templeton Award, says that science and religion cannot be in conflict because they’re answering two different questions. Science is answering the how, and religion is answering the who and the why. That is intellectual facile. The scripture is claiming far more than who and why and any honest reading of the modern scientific consensus knows that it too is speaking to the who and very clearly speaking to the why. Stephen J. Gould, the late paleontologist of Harvard University, spoke of what he called non-overlapping magisteria. He said science and religion are non-overlapping magisteria. Each has its own magisterial authority and its own sphere of knowledge and they never overlap. Well the problem is they overlap all the time. They overlap in Stephen J. Gould’s own writings. We cannot separate the who and the why and the what, as if those are intellectually separable questions. In his new book Why Evolution is True Jerry Coyne cites Michael Shermer at the very beginning who says this, “Darwin matters because evolution matters. Evolution matters because science matters. Science matters because it is the preeminent story of our age. An epic saga about who we are, where we came from, and where we are going.”

Now it sounds to me like he’s talking about the why, not just the when and the what. I want to suggest to you that when it comes to the confrontation between evolutionary theory and the Christian gospel we have a head-on collision. In the confrontation between secular science and the scripture we have a head-on collision. I want to suggest to you that it is our responsibility to give an answer when we are asked the question “Why does the universe look so old?” In the limitations of time, it is impossible that we walk through every alternative and answer every sub-question. But I want to suggest to you that the most natural understanding from the scripture of how to answer that question comes to this: The universe looks old because the creator made it whole. When he made Adam, Adam was not a fetus; Adam was a man; he had the appearance of a man. By our understanding that would’ve required time for Adam to get old but not by the sovereign creative power of God. He put Adam in the garden. The garden was not merely seeds; it was a fertile, fecund, mature garden. The Genesis account clearly claims that God creates and makes things whole.

Secondly—and very quickly—if I’m asked why does the universe look so old, I have to say it looks old because it bears testimony to the affects of sin. And testimony of the judgment of God. It bears the effects of the catastrophe of the flood and catastrophes innumerable thereafter. I would suggest to you that the world looks old because as Paul says in Romans chapter 8 it is groaning. And in its groaning it does look old. It gives us empirical evidence of the reality of sin. And even as this cosmos is the theater of God’s glory, it is the theater of God’s glory for the drama of redemption that takes place here on this planet in telling the story of the redemptive love of God. Is this compatible with the claim that the universe is 4.5 billion years old in terms of earth, 13.5 billion years old in terms of the larger universe? Even though that may not be the first and central question it is an inescapable question and I would suggest to you that in our effort to be most faithful to the scriptures and most accountable to the grand narrative of the gospel an understanding of creation in terms of 24-hour calendar days and a young earth entails far fewer complications, far fewer theological problems and actually is the most straightforward and uncomplicated reading of the text as we come to understand God telling us how the universe came to be and what it means and why it matters.

At the end of the day, if I’m asked the question “why does the universe look so old?” I’m simply left with the reality that the universe is telling the story of the glory of God. Why does it look so old? Well that, in terms of any more elaborate answer, is known only to the Ancient of Days. And that is where we are left.

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87 Comments

  1. Pastor Aaron Webb
    June 25, 2013

    Bingo! That is right on target. Thank you for this encouraging affirmation of biblical truth. I am encouraged to see there are many others who “have not bowed a knee to Baal.” May we remain faithful to our great God and His Word no matter what the world may say.

    Reply
  2. » The Age of the Universe
    June 25, 2013

    [...] we should believe in a young universe and young earth. The video and a transcript can be found here. It is well worth your attention. This entry was posted in Current Issues, Theology and tagged [...]

    Reply
  3. Ty
    June 25, 2013

    This is really pretty sad. It’s really just demonizing a bunch of evangelicals for something that is a non-essential difference. Plenty of great, very conservative, evangelicals are evolutionists. I know of only one denomination that says there is no latitude in this issue. Most hold that there is a great deal of latitude and embrace those with differing opinions. The sad part is that as someone who has worked in ministry towards atheists for the past 8 years, I see more former Christians driven away from their faith by other Christians telling them that evolution is not an acceptable option for them to believe. The problem is that most of them don’t realize that a great deal of evangelical’s are strong evolutionists based on their understanding of the Word of God, not just science!

    Reply
    • Phillip
      June 28, 2013

      Ty,
      Oxymoron, an interesting word.

      Reply
    • Mike
      June 28, 2013

      Evolution is the greatest hoax that has ever been perpetrated on mankind. There are 4000 books of 500 pages with 300 words per page in each cell. The idea that that could happen by accident is not science. It is religious faith.

      The idea that the universe looks old is also not true. The science says that it is much younger than 13.5 billion years. That age creates a number of problems for science. Those interested in the topic might begin with the work of Walt Brown at http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/

      Reply
    • Michael
      June 28, 2013

      Saying that you are a Christian and then stating that you believe in evolution is the equivalent of calling our God a liar. God is very clear on how He made all things in the first 2 chapters of Genesis and there is absolutely no room for evolution. May God open your eyes to true salvation and to a true understanding of His inerrant word.

      Reply
      • Chris P
        July 13, 2013

        Are you saying that a Christian who thinks that God created using evolution is not a Christian?

        Reply
    • Ray Killorn
      June 30, 2013

      Ty,

      I would suggest that you stop your ministry to atheists for a while a take a look at the clocks running independently of each other that suggest that the earth and this part of our galaxy got started about 10 thousand years ago.

      1. The sun’s energy source. For years now it has been assumed that the core of the sun is a fusion reactor with energy reserves capable of driving it for the many billions of years in the evolutionist narrative. The problem, scientifically, with that conclusion is that the sun does not appear to be dense enough to sustain a nuclear fusion reaction. The ongoing puzzle that ‘scientists’ have not found an answer to is the question; “Where are the missing neutrinos?” That is important because if the sun is, in fact a nuclear fusion reactor we should be seeing lots more neutrinos coming from the reaction.
      We have no conclusive, scientifically satisfying data that proves that the sun is billions of years old. We do have the self assured pontifications of ‘researchers’ that the missing neutrinos are an ‘anomaly’ that will be resolved and the sacred dictum of an old sun retained forever.
      If the sun is not a fusion reactor (cold fusion anyone?) the only alternative energy source would be coming from the mechanisms of gravitational collapse. That is ‘completely unacceptable’ because the sun, operating under that paradigm (model) would have had to begin its life about 10,000 years ago. [I seem to have encountered a number similar to that somewhere else in my reading.]

      2. The relative abundance of elements in the sun and its satellites. This idea throws another monkey wrench into the nuclear burn sun idea. We know that the mantle of the sun has the same ‘recipe’ of elements as the earth. We know that elements ‘burn’ under the extreme radiation bombardment and temperatures present in a hydrogen to helium reaction. In a reactor the size of the sun’s core hydrogen would not be the only nuclear fuel. The important thing to know here is that under such conditions some elements would tend to flip over to being different elements more readily than other elements. Under the extreme conditions at the sun’s core, if there is a nuclear fusion burn, some elements would be completely consumed in the matter of a few thousand years. The obvious question that the skeptic of evolution then asks is: If the earth and the sun started out with the same ‘recipe’ at the beginning, why is it the same now? It seems reasonable to withhold the conclusion of a great age for the sun until a question as basic as this is proven to be false. Maybe we should ask, “Why does the sun appear to be so young?”

      Of course a question that attacks the basic foundation of evolution is not likely to gain much traction in the mind of the partisan that is committed to the idea that evolution explains everything. Suppression of research is a phrase that readily springs to mind. In the meantime data points that deal with issues like this one are called anomalous and ignored with what I call, “agonizing finality.”

      Moving steadily along,

      3. Earth’s kinetic functions. What I am referring to here is the earth’s day/night cycle and magma movement in its core to produce its magnetic poles.

      The day/night cycle of the earth is known as a constant. In plain language what that means is that the rotation of the earth is slowing at fixed rate. The data we have on this phenomenon are [effectively] a straight line on log-log paper. Remember those clock adjustments that get announced when the new year trips over? The problem with this non zero aberration is that it accumulates with compound interest. The earth has no dynamo that is pumping its day/night cycle. This is a simple math problem that I will leave to the skeptic. The scientific data we have is voluminous, we know that we are dealing with constant here. The question is: “Given what we know about the effects of the earth’s rotation on its overall ecology, how many millennia are we permitted to go backwards in time before [theoretical] increased rotational speed creates over running tidal waves and massive cyclonic storms that make the earth completely uninhabitable?

      Requiring researchers to answer that question is scientifically reasonable. It should not require much additional research. We have studied meteorology pretty intensively as well as being able to come up with the dates when a specific [theoretical] rotational speed was extant.

      The next one is similar; we know that the earth’s core is an electromagnet. The magnetic field of the earth is created by the movement of earth’s core magma. This mode of operation is another of earth’s constants. Check it our yourself, the intensity of the earth’s magnetism is diminishing. ‘Scientists’ have been unsuccessful in uncovering a natural mechanism that would yield a steady, unchanging magnetic field, a permanent magnet, if you will.
      There is a predictable relationship between the velocity of the movement of magma and earth’s surface temperature. The faster the core is moving the more of the heat in the core is conducted to the earth’s surface. A simple example of this sort of thing is the fan in your car’s radiator. The higher the relative speed of the air moving over the radiator the more heat gets into that air.
      The higher the magnetic field the higher the earth’s average surface temperature. The scientifically reasonable question is: “How many millennia would we have to go back, based on surface temperature correlated to magnetic field intensity, before the earth was too hot to touch?”

      These few things that I have related to you should establish reasonable doubt in your mind as to the validity of the billions of years long ‘Goldilocks zone’ that the earth maintained its ecology in order to author life. If you would like to challenge the validity of my questions, feel free to do so. If you want to accuse me of gross lack of intelligence, I will ignore you.

      Humble yourself under the hand of God and He will lift you up.

      Reply
    • Jim
      July 1, 2013

      Ty, in my opinion, “Christians” who believe in Evolution are intellectually, scientifically, AND spiritually courting the religion of humanism. There
      are so many scientific reasons to reject evolution and the supposedly
      supporting theories, that I believe dishonest people at their core are
      looking for reasons to deny God and the veracity of the Genesis account.
      They will not have this sovereign holy God to rule over them. They are
      either ignorant or they are assuredly not Christians. A person believes
      because of a sovereign act of God. Unbelievers characteristically say,
      “has God indeed said…” (because they WILL not believe. There is no
      place for liberalism and compromise for believers. I share the gospel
      and God does the work. I am not recruiting for Christ’s army. It’s His
      work in His way, by His power, for His glory. Jesus died for my sins and
      if no one else believes that, it is not within my power to change that. As
      for this “science” that violates the second law of thermodynamics, assigns
      ages to rock strata, calibrates time calculations in radiometric dating to fit
      it’s own theory, ignores the glaring absence of transitional forms in the
      fossil record, bases it’s assumptions on variables and unknowns, and
      dogmatically states what cannot be proven, its’ adherents are as I said
      either ignorant or liars of the first degree. Gen 1:1 “In the beginning, God
      created the heavens and the earth.”

      Reply
  4. Dr Don Batten
    June 27, 2013

    @Ty: did you actually listen to all of what Dr Mohler said (or read the transcript, which is quicker)? I don’t see how you could and then comment as you have.
    Many of these evangelicals have not thought through the consequences. Many are ignorant of the hugely conjectural nature of historical science, which is the secular story of the history of everything. Operational science (studying how the world works today) has given us many benefits and we can speak in terms of ‘fact’ in this context. But there are no experiments possible on history, so science has little real authority in this area. It is sad that any theologian thinks that he has to kowtow to such conjectures. In contrast, the Bible purports to be inspired by God, who was the only witness of the events of creation. Furthermore, the events following were witnessed also by the people mentioned and records handed down.
    Atheists are made from church attenders when the church fails to consistently believe ‘the Book’ and fails to defend it with intellectual rigor; that is the testimony of many atheists today, not that Christian leaders have failed to embrace evolution, which, as Dr Mohler shows, destroys any basis for the Gospel of the last Adam dying to undo the work of the first Adam. See also: http://creation.com/Did-god-create-over-billions-of-years.

    Reply
  5. Brad
    June 27, 2013

    The author did not really answer the question of why the universe looks so old, but simply that it looks old because of sin. So basically he argues that the created world (along with logic, rationale, and laws of Nature) described in the Bible inspired by the Holy Spirit are deceiving us. If followed to its logical conclusion, he is saying had there not been any fall, the earth and universe would still appear young (no mountains, fossil fuels, starlight, radioactive dating would suggest young rocks, and there would be much fewer geological layers). To me this is much greater theological problem than the so called problem of death before Adam. Also, there are two camps to the Day-Age theorist that often get lumped together, thus one can dismiss one camp by attacking the other. There are Day-Age creationists and Day-Age evolutionists. One cannot dismiss old-earth creationists by simply attacking evolution. However, I do appreciate not being demonized by conceding that the Day-Age (creationists) view “does not do violence to the inerrancy of scripture”, this is often not the case with young-earthers.

    Reply
    • LeeAnn
      June 28, 2013

      Brad, Mohler gave 2 reasons why the Earth looks old. You only cited one. He said the Earth looks old because God created a mature earth, just as He created a mature Adam & a mature Eve & tall trees & large leaves. After the Creation the Earth ages rapidly because of the effects of sin. It makes sense & it is certainly a better alternative than acquiescing to scientists who are constantly changing their minds about the age of the Earth and everything in it. I am placing my bet on God’s Word, not human “wisdom.”

      Reply
    • Roy
      June 28, 2013

      Granted that LeeAnn correctly notes that Mohler gave 2 reasons (cf 3rd paragraph from end). I think his last two paragraphs hide that antipenultimate paragraph. Too bad.

      Instead he should have made your point, Brad. Not responded to it, but made it in answering the question heading the entire speech.

      The universe looked old to Adam. Every part of the universe had exactly the characteristics appropriate to that part. From an Eve of exactly the right age to be a help suitable for Adam to light from stars thousands of light years away yet visible to Adam’s unaided eye. God don’t make junk. Everything fit.

      Of course the universe looks old (and huge)! How else would it look and give any hint of a Creator unbound by time or space? He is far vaster than those billions of light years of expanse (I can write the numbers, but not really fathom the size), more ancient than those billions of years (billions of human generations, again something I can calculate but not wrap my mind around).

      Reply
  6. Kenny Blair
    June 27, 2013

    The author of this article wants us to take scripture at face value but not the book of nature. I suggest looking at the arguments for geocentrism that where put forth by the church several hundred years ago. They sound very similar to the young earth arguments. The bible does not contain all knowledge, only all redemptive knowledge. We try to make the bible say things that it is not even addressing. I have yet to find the verse that states how old the earth is.

    Reply
    • Pat
      June 28, 2013

      I personally don’t think the universe DOES look old. People assume this because of the speed of light and the alleged distances between stars and galaxies. But it’s nothing more than an assumption. Jumping to conclusions doesn’t lead to accurate conclusions.

      Reply
  7. BA
    June 27, 2013

    Not an argument against an old-earth view, but rather a case again Macro evolution from an old-earth perspective. So 99% of his argument has no impact on someone who holds to an older earth view (meaning someone who gets that it reads as 24-hour days in English, but in the Hebrew, things are not as clear cut, easily leaving room for a non-24-hour interpretation). His ONLY argument that is related to a biblical older-earth view is death before Adam. But nowhere does he mention 1) the notion that no life existed for an expanse of time while the earth/universe was formed and 2) a separate notion that the Bible is speaking of human death after the Fall, since that’s what would be relevant to His special creation. It is not a violation of scripture to say that animals and plants died before the fall. In fact, biblically, it provides an explanation for why we have the existence of bacteria/organisms that feed only on dead flesh. That’s important because they could not have been created after/during the Fall (creation had already ceased) – they would have already existed before the Fall. Likewise, you have the issue of animals created with carnivorous attributes (spiders with webs to catch prey, etc). Those carnivores could not have been created after the Fall. These (and numerous other arguments) are not death blows to a young earth view in the least (in fact some of them can be explained away withing a young earth construct) – BUT when a non-heterodox explanation of the original Hebrew text is offered in reference to this subject, an older earth view must, at the very least, be welcomed as a plausible explanation for “why the Earth looks so old.” Unfortunately, in this article, the view is mischaracterized and paired with evolution – creating and destroying a straw man that does not resemble the biblical older earth view that numerous Christians hold.

    Reply
    • Linda Redondo
      June 27, 2013

      The Hebrew word used in Genesis is the same word used in other parts of the scripture where it means without a doubt 24 hours.

      Reply
      • Ty
        June 29, 2013

        Watch out, Genesis 2:4 says that the World was created in one day (yom)! Common misunderstanding.

        Reply
    • LeeAnn
      June 28, 2013

      How long would a night be if the daylight was longer than 12 hours? How long can plants live in darkness? If the consequences of the Fall was death, then how could millions of things be dying before the Fall? A literal reading of Genesis is the only interpretation that gives answers to ALL of the questions. If Man were the last creature created, then, based on the biblical Fall, it means that nothing could die for all that time between animals’ and Man’s creation. Logically, only a literal reading of Genesis is acceptable if one wants to accept the Bible as inerrant. Read carefully through Genesis 1 & 2. An old earth cannot fit into this story. You have to discard too much of very detailed, carefully recorded text to make it fit an old earth theory.

      Reply
  8. Krutawn
    June 27, 2013

    I just lost a lot of respect for Al Mohler. While I do not believe in evolution, the evidence used to support evolution is far stronger than the literary and theological trickery performed here. What a joke! You can’t explain the laws of the universe by throwing around huge theological concepts. Physical laws are physical laws. If your theology doesn’t jive with them, then you either dont understand physics, or your theology is wrong.

    Reply
    • LeeAnn
      June 28, 2013

      Who created the physical laws? When did they begin, before or after Creation?
      “I am the potter & you are the clay.” –God
      He can do what He wants, & He did, & then He only revealed part of the story to us:
      “My thoughts are higher than your thoughts, My ways are higher than your ways….” –God

      Reply
    • Steve
      June 28, 2013

      What if the understanding of physics based on the inherent assumptions (naturalist and old-earth as they are) are incorrect? Along with that, evolution is a worldview, it is not only based on the evidence provided. The scientists that view the world with the young-earth in mind have the same evidence as the evolutionists. They just hold to a stronger Biblical Worldview and therefore choose to view it as is plainly stated in the Bible. Evidence is not the problem. Worldview is the problem.

      The big problem seems to be that a person would jettison their understanding of God in favor of their understanding of the material things around them. Romans 1:16-32 speak to the creation of the world (things that have been made) and says that God has made it plain to them so that men are without excuse. If we look carefully, it can be readily applied it to this creation question.

      Let’s rest in the fact that God’s creation power and created physical realm is meant to enhance our understanding of Him rather than serve to deny an understanding of Him.

      Reply
    • Pat
      June 28, 2013

      Evolution is not logical or plausible. The evidence used supports creation better than it supports evolution. Don’t conflate evidence with conclusions. If you stop and think about it and realize this, you have no reason to lose respect for Al Mohler.

      Physical laws don’t support evolution, either. On the contrary.

      Reply
    • Jim
      July 1, 2013

      Apart from the scriptures, evolution theory is junk science. In other
      words, you don’t have to be a Bible believer to see the flaws in this so called
      scientific observation! See what I wrote above. It’s a load of assumptions
      and an intricate adult fairy tale! Evolution theory is based on Uniformitarian geology which only exists for a few days or years at most. Geology predicts, analizes, and observes catastophism on a world wide scale and even in local areas such as the Tsunamis, Earthquakes, Volcanos, floods, and rapid canyon building which have taken place in areas like Mt St. Helens in the 80′s.

      Reply
  9. Jake
    June 27, 2013

    This article is perpetuating an increasing movement that spreads misinformation amongst the American population, and is all to often quickly accepted in order to preserve peoples world views. The reality is that people who are already very convinced of their political and religious ideologies are all too often willing to accept a perspective that merely attempts to confuse or distort the realities of science in order to help confirm their beliefs. Creationism is not a position of healthy skepticism, nor is it derived from peer reviewed, objective measures of analysis. Instead it has taken the form political movement, which relies on lobbying, influencing legislation, and creating policies which reflect the large masses of uninformed, and politically charged Americans who let the passion of their evangelical fervor prevail over empirical realities that face no real controversy, such as evolution. Political action can often give radical, uninformed groups of people a platform to attack and undermine the processes of biological science which have a set of objective processes that are separate from populous political influence. Accepting the realities that evolution presents is a humbling concept, and claiming that secular viewpoints only serve to rid the world of meaning and a moral duty to making a positive change in the world is insulting and deterministic.

    Reply
    • LeeAnn
      June 28, 2013

      Jake, due to the pride found in your comment, it is hard to believe that you honestly believe that “accepting the realities that evolution presents is a humbling concept.” Accepting those realities didn’t seem to humble you, nor your opinions. When you talk about how claims that “secular viewpoints only serve to rid the world of meaning & a moral duty to making a positive change” are insulting, do you not agree that evolution takes away from our purpose as humans as given to us by God? Does not evolution ultimately prove that we who are writing these comments are really nothing more than highly evolved animals? And if so, how do highly evolved animals come to possess any moral duty if we have not been given one specifically, as Adam was by God?

      Reply
      • Jake
        July 2, 2013

        LeeAnn,

        when i say evolution brings about a sense of humility to those who understand that the basic tenants of all of modern biology and biochemistry are derived from a fundamental understanding of macro and micro evolution, it doesn’t necessarily mean i shouldn’t critique a line of thinking that is perpetuated by blind faith and a rejection of scientific realities that conflict with narrow minded viewpoints. Religion is more often than not willing to accept the empirical world for the way it is. It is a viewpoint of complacent conformity, and i emphasize complacent because it does not encourage new scientific discovery that may conflict with the theological explanation of creation. The Christian community (the catholic church to be fair) once claimed that the earth was the center of the universe and that any other viewpoint of our solar system was blasphemous and rid the world of moral absolution, much like you claim about evolution. The more you look at the empirical world through a scientific frame, the more you realize the world we live in is one plagued with biological inconsistencies, flaws in the human design (the eye is flawed and not a shinning beacon of intelligent design that is so often used as an example), the precarious existence of the human race lies on the thread of asteroids, famine, volcanic eruption, solar flares, global famine, pandemics, land that often is barren and desolate amongst 2 thirds of uninhabitable sea water, with all varieties of species being wiped into extinction with the slightest changes in average temperature. How does any of this reflect a perfect creators vision of life? Of course your response is that the sinful nature of man is the reason, but it still answers no real questions. And you might claim that this means that life is void of purpose and absolute morality if I accept this but that simply isn’t the case. Many people like you still value human life, selfless love, giving, and compassion as a top priority but derive it not from man made texts that have proven inconsistent on countless levels, but rather from the obvious collective instinct that we all should behave in the way we wish to be treated. This isnt a patented concept by the Christian faith, but is widely promoted by people of all different faiths and viewpoints. Likewise destructive behavior and mistreatment has been promoted by christians throughout human history in the same way that atheistic groups like the Nazis and Soviets have promoted the same things. Humility is the concept that at the end of the day you are no different from anyone else, and should act accordingly. But the human mind is capable of fooling itself into righteous indignation and moral superiority and absolute acceptance of a world that is riddled in confusion. An opiate for the masses my friend.

        Reply
    • Roy
      June 28, 2013

      Hmmm. You argue, Jake, that creationists are biased so badly that they cannot honestly examine data.

      Post Watson and Cricke we have some hint of the complexity of any given DNA molecule. Turns out the probability of any one of them happening by chance is incomprehensibly larger than the number of cubic micrometers in the known universe (empty space, interior of stars, the whole bit, no matter that DNA could neither exist nor function there) multiplied by the number of picoseconds supposed since the start of that known universe. Now to get from one these DNA molecules to another, gotta have the same chance calculation again (no appeal, says you, to outside intervention making a selection).

      Who do you suppose has the faith contrary to fact, a faith so biased it makes a monkey of the one holding that faith?

      Of course I realize I have done no more than advance a more sophisticated, even somewhat esoteric version of the “argument from design”. And I know it won’t persuade you to question much less abandon your faith. But I point it out anyway.

      Reply
      • Jake
        July 2, 2013

        LeeAnn and Roy,

        when i say evolution brings about a sense of humility to those who understand that the basic tenants of all of modern biology and biochemistry are derived from a fundamental understanding of macro and micro evolution, it doesn’t necessarily mean i shouldn’t critique a line of thinking that is perpetuated by blind faith and a rejection of scientific realities that conflict with narrow minded viewpoints. Religion is more often than not willing to accept the empirical world for the way it is. It is a viewpoint of complacent conformity, and i emphasize complacent because it does not encourage new scientific discovery that may conflict with the theological explanation of creation. The Christian community (the catholic church to be fair) once claimed that the earth was the center of the universe and that any other viewpoint of our solar system was blasphemous and rid the world of moral absolution, much like you claim about evolution. The more you look at the empirical world through a scientific frame, the more you realize the world we live in is one plagued with biological inconsistencies, flaws in the human design (the eye is flawed and not a shinning beacon of intelligent design that is so often used as an example), the precarious existence of the human race lies on the thread of asteroids, famine, volcanic eruption, solar flares, global famine, pandemics, land that often is barren and desolate amongst 2 thirds of uninhabitable sea water, with all varieties of species being wiped into extinction with the slightest changes in average temperature. How does any of this reflect a perfect creators vision of life? Of course your response is that the sinful nature of man is the reason, but it still answers no real questions. And you might claim that this means that life is void of purpose and absolute morality if I accept this but that simply isn’t the case. Many people like you still value human life, selfless love, giving, and compassion as a top priority but derive it not from man made texts that have proven inconsistent on countless levels, but rather from the obvious collective instinct that we all should behave in the way we wish to be treated. This isnt a patented concept by the Christian faith, but is widely promoted by people of all different faiths and viewpoints. Likewise destructive behavior and mistreatment has been promoted by christians throughout human history in the same way that atheistic groups like the Nazis and Soviets have promoted the same things. Humility is the concept that at the end of the day you are no different from anyone else, and should act accordingly. But the human mind is capable of fooling itself into righteous indignation and moral superiority and absolute acceptance of a world that is riddled in confusion. An opiate for the masses my friend.

        Reply
  10. Ron
    June 27, 2013

    Brothers – wake up. Do some honest study here. Dr.Mohler has presented a very compelling case. I have noticed that none of you who disagree actually presented any evidence to the contrary.
    Need more ? http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/why-christians-shouldnt-accept-millions

    Disagree – fine. But please support with some scripture – please.

    Reply
  11. Why Does the Universe Look So Old?
    June 28, 2013

    [...] Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world. Mohler also hosts two programs on AlbertMohler.com: “The Briefing,” a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview; and [...]

    Reply
  12. The Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ » Proclaim & Defend
    June 28, 2013

    [...] Creation: Why Does the Universe Look So Old? (Albert Mohler) [...]

    Reply
  13. Links I like | Blogging Theologically
    June 28, 2013

    [...] HT: Credo Mag [...]

    Reply
  14. Diane Orcutt
    June 28, 2013

    All of the dissenters commenting above just prove the central truth of Mohler’s comments, which is every person is going to be predisposed to go the way of whomever or whatever he or she worships and holds as an authority. If you worship and hold to the wisdom of men, you will naturally bend toward any theory that science presents. If you do not want to submit to the authority of God and His word, then you will, as Adam and Eve, listen to and pursue the voices that speak against Him and His word. It is really that simple. I believe the “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” tone of Mohler’s essay is exactly correct. And, yes, the issues are highly politicized, but that is because the stakes are so high, as Mohler points out also.

    Reply
  15. Response to Al Mohler’s defense of young-earth creationism | Apoblogia
    June 28, 2013

    [...] Baptist Theological Seminary, at the 2010 Ligonier Ministries National Conference (available online HERE and HERE). The title of the speech was, “Why Does the Universe Look So Old?” In it, Mohler [...]

    Reply
  16. Response to Al Mohler’s defense of young-earth creationism (Part 1) | Apoblogia
    June 28, 2013

    [...] Baptist Theological Seminary, at the 2010 Ligonier Ministries National Conference (available online HERE and HERE). The title of the speech was, “Why Does the Universe Look So Old?” In it, Mohler [...]

    Reply
  17. GDC
    June 28, 2013

    R. Albert Mohler Jr. IS IGNORANT, STUPID, ILLITERATE, ILLOGICAL, IRRATIONAL, UNSCIENTIFIC, INCOMPETENT, NEGLIGENT, DERELICT, DELUSIONAL and SERIOUSLY MENTALLY SICK!!! PSYCHOTIC!!! And so are ALL those who believe his DELUSIONS!!!

    The belief in God/s IS a BIZARRE DELUSION and Religion IS a PSYCHOSIS!!! ALL those that believe in such things MUST be put on ANTI-PSYCHOTIC medications for the safety of Society!!!!

    Reply
    • Mike
      June 28, 2013

      So let’s see, is it Albert who sounds IRRATIONAL, or you? Exactly

      Reply
  18. Curt Deckert
    June 28, 2013

    If one were to assume that God created the materials for the heavens and the earth and put them in place millions of years prior to day 1 of the preparation for life then we could meet the requirements of an old earth without any life— and have new 6 day creation of life. When the books of the Bible were written there was no appreciation for the speed of light and the complexity of life—so God could have created all the stars so that the light would reach the earth at the appointed time–this is no more complex for God than the creation of life. At the time of the flood water could have diffused old earth elements with the new to make them appear old. There has to be a better way of communicating this to the present scientific population so the gospel message is communicated with more reason and logic.

    Reply
  19. robert
    June 28, 2013

    Quantum physics has taken the smallest particles exotics and discovered they are here or there and nowhere at the same time they pop up across great distances without traveling there. When we push a car down hill it travels and takes time to get to point b from a.
    Exotics just pop up there already. Could it be when GOD spread out the heavens they popped up where they are at without traveling there and are expanding out after that?
    Every time science tries to disprove glory of God they find proof instead.

    If time started on Earth as in the Bible and you draw a time line radiating out from us, 1 year orbit near the earth but the time line radiates out farther from us and travels a farther longer distance?
    Try it on a piece of paper you will see near the pivot point the line travels less so measured faster 10″ out travels farther appears to travel longer and again and again etc.

    Reply
  20. Philote
    June 28, 2013

    To quote from the article:
    “…The universe looks old because the creator made it whole. When he made Adam, Adam was not a fetus; Adam was a man; he had the appearance of a man. By our understanding that would’ve required time for Adam to get old but not by the sovereign creative power of God. He put Adam in the garden. The garden was not merely seeds; it was a fertile, fecund, mature garden. The Genesis account clearly claims that God creates and makes things whole.

    Secondly—and very quickly—if I’m asked why does the universe look so old, I have to say it looks old because it bears testimony to the affects of sin. And testimony of the judgment of God. It bears the effects of the catastrophe of the flood and catastrophes innumerable thereafter. I would suggest to you that the world looks old because as Paul says in Romans chapter 8 it is groaning. And in its groaning it does look old. It gives us empirical evidence of the reality of sin.”

    Thank you Mr. Mohler, for recognizing and stating so clearly these basic truths.

    God’s creation testifies to His invisible attributes and almighty power. He created everything in place, fully formed and fully functional. Just as He said. He also created the laws of biology, physics, and quanta to define and determine the operation and continuation of His creation. As we OBSERVE all that happens, and realize how intricate it is, no matter how far “out” nor how far “in” we look, we learn of God’s infiniteness.

    Only a heart which rejects God would miss His handiwork. And left without a creator we need increasingly longer periods of time and catastrophe to try to explain how, randomly and by total chance, all of this came from nothing at all. The heart without God has a misplaced faith and serves futility and chaos as the gods of its religion.

    Reply
  21. Henry Smith
    June 28, 2013

    Dr. Mohler once again does an excellent job with this issue. All the objections in the comments section are, once again, proof that all the Old-earth (OEC) arguments hold no water. All forms of OE creationism are exegetically suspect, theologically monstrous, hermeneutically flawed, and scientifically refutable. Many arguments can be advanced to support the 6-day view, recent creation view. Perhaps one that is often undervalued is the testimony of Paul in Romans 8:18-23. I have yet to see any proponent of OEC even begin to show how this passage is compatible with Old earth creationism. It only makes sense in light of a recent creation and cosmic fall of Adam.

    For more, see: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/file.axd?file=Cosmic+Death+in+Romans+8.pdf

    Henry B. Smith Jr.
    Associates for Biblical Research

    Reply
  22. Wayne
    June 29, 2013

    You missed one final bit of evidence. The final answer to the age of the universe lies in Luke 2: 21

    21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

    Jesus was born into the world on the dawn of the eighth day of creation … a day in which we all still live.

    I believe that this day ends when the light of the Holy Spirit leaves the world – taking with it all of the Saved … the Rapture, after which we fall into the darkness of the night of 9th day and the Apocalypse.

    Reply
  23. eric jones
    June 29, 2013

    I wholeheartedly congratulate Dr Mohler on his excellent article,this is why his Seminary is so great ,because of the Integrity of the man .When Our Lord turned the water into wine was it a wee bit like grape juice .Toastmaster said “this is the best Plonk saved to the last”.,Age built into it .I get material from several Top notch Bible Teachers ,Charlie Clough ,Arnold Frutchenbaum {Ariel Ministries }, Israel my Glory ,John McArthur .the late Charles Lee Feinberg { messianic Rabbi },countless others .Without exception all believe in a Literal 24 hr creation motif .I well respected Scientist and Cosmologist has written an excellent book about “light and time”,he concludes Light may have been “infinitely faster” than as present”,and concluded the Universe was Younger than thought .If there were long ages all the flowers and fruit would not be Pollinated and would have died out because the “Bees ” had not arrived for a million years .I stand with Dr Mohler

    Reply
  24. Earl Kirkpatrick
    June 29, 2013

    I have ALWAYS thought GOD was infinite! Why are we (mankind) limiting HIM to 24 hour days? HE can have a “day” as long as HE wants it! (GOD’s “day”: 24 hours? 100 years? a thousand years? A billion years?)

    Reply
  25. DaveZ
    June 29, 2013

    Matthew 7:12 is the heart of God’s law. There is nothing which men desire more than to be told the truth. Lying, deceit and obfuscation are the works of the adversary who must conceal truth for his own purposes. but a loving God will never leave you uninformed.

    And for this purpose, we have scripture. And if that is not enough, scripture gives us James 1:5. And even beyond that, we have the most important element of revelation, which is faith, the evidence of things unseen and by extension, things not understood.

    So, to those who love God, the issues regarding evolution, age of the earth, etc, are not a crisis. It is good to have answers when someone asks the basis of your faith, but the simple answer, “God did not reveal that to me yet” can be sufficient as well.

    We are all in the process of being redeemed, so it is not an issue of pride to be slightly ahead or behind someone else in this process. The most important element of your testimony is not your knowledge level, but your utter delight and thankfulness to God that you are in the process at all.

    I don’t feel obligated to change any of this based on the fickle understanding of men, and I don’t feel obligated to believe my lying eyes, even when the actual thing I see in front of me contradicts my understanding, as revealed to me personally by God at this point in my journey towards redemption.
    Faith rules over all of this, so I can concentrate on repentance and thankfulness, which give me much greater joy than knowledge.

    I think that all this science is Satan’s way of destroying faith, so I would think the best defense against it, is not to join it or fight it, but counter it by strengthening faith, though that is hard to do in a secular world where “blind faith” is seen as ignorance. But if Jesus Christ was willing to be nailed to a cross for me, then I ought to be willing to bear being called ignorant by professing “blind faith” in Him. And so that is what I will continue to do.

    Reply
  26. Tony
    June 29, 2013

    Adam was how how when God created him?

    20? 25? 30?

    Adam was created with “age” he was not created as an infant, but
    as a full gorwn man. Why therefore is it so hard to believe that God
    created the Universe with “age” ? He is God, he can do whatever he wants to do,
    and if he wanted to make the Universe look 10 Billion years old, or 10, 000 years old
    it is His choice.
    Very simply God created the Earth and Universe with “age” just as he created
    Adam with “age”.

    Reply
  27. Denis O. Lamoureux
    June 29, 2013

    Are we to believe that the ravages of sin caused radioactive materials to sort themselves out in a clear pattern with the greatest decay at the bottom of the fossil record going through to the least at the top?

    The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not a God of deception. This article is evidence that the words of Bruce Waltke are sadly being fulfilled. The irony is that the Christians who claimed to be so “Biblical” are those who least understand the Holy Spirit’s process of inspiration in the creation of the Word of God.

    In Christ,
    Denis

    Reply
    • Todd
      June 29, 2013

      Dennis, fossil-bearing sedimentary layers are not dated in any way like what you are assuming in your statement. There is no radiometric sequence resembling your imaginary materials sorting “themselves out in a clear pattern with the greatest decay at the bottom of the fossil record going through to the least at the top.” Where in the world did you get such an erroneous idea?

      Radiometric dating methods can only be applied to a relatively few igneous intrusions into sedimentary layers; and even with that, be very skeptical . . .

      I would suggest that you begin a serious study of non-conformist (creationist) literature critical of establishment propaganda often perpetrated in the name of pure “science,” but actually infused with its own political, philosophical and theological agenda.

      You can begin with this comment on Woodmorappe’s book “The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods”
      http://creationwiki.org/The_Mythology_of_Modern_Dating_Methods

      “. . . close examination of the isotopic dating methods instead shows a colossal manipulation of data . . . [closely associated with]. . . an elaborate Orwellian cover language. Once the radiometric dating methods are examined in their geologic context, it soon becomes obvious that the ages they indicate cannot be taken seriously. This book is the product of 3 years research, and is supported by nearly 500 references from the geologic literature, almost all of which date from 1980-1999, and most of which are from the 1990′s. The book is thoroughly indexed, and includes a list of study questions.”

      Reply
      • Denis O. Lamoureux
        June 29, 2013

        Dear Todd,
        You are in error because you simply do not have
        the scientific facts right.

        I am more than aware of young earth creationism.
        I walked out of medical school to become a creation
        scientist. The plan collapsed in seminary when I
        realized YEC is un-biblical.
        Blessings,
        Denis Matt 22:29

        Reply
    • Ron
      June 29, 2013

      Denis – we are studying scripture together here – iron sharpening iron. Help us out – please provide the scripture to support your objection to Dr. Mohlers article.

      thanks in-advance
      R

      Reply
      • Denis O. Lamoureux
        June 29, 2013

        Dear Ron,
        This is a HUGE question that can’t be answered
        in one email message.

        To give you an idea of where I’m coming from,
        let me beginning by underlining that the Bible
        is the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God. This
        is a non-negotiable belief for me.

        However, the challenge is how to we interpret the Word.

        My basic interpretive principle is that I believe the Holy Spirit
        accommodated to the level of the ancient authors and allowed
        them to use their understanding of nature (ie ancient science).

        Here’s a chapter entitled “Ancient Science in the Bible”
        from my book _I Love_Jesus_&_ I Accept_Evolution (2009):

        http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/ilj_ancient_science.pdf

        In Christ,
        Denis

        Reply
  28. Ron
    June 29, 2013

    Denis – we are studying scripture together here – iron sharpening iron. Help us out – please provide the scripture to support your objection to Dr. Mohlers article.

    thanks in-advance
    R

    Reply
  29. Jim
    June 29, 2013

    Stop attacking the Bible Denis – this guy called you out on your mistakes with regard to errors in scripture.
    You sir are the sheep in wolves clothing right before our eyes.

    http://www.emperorswithoutclothes.com/index.html

    Dr. Denis O. Lamoureux, the University of Alberta’s “expert on origins”, claims to have “overwhelming evidence”1 for evolution… but this emperor refuses to show us his clothes. Why doesn’t he publish or post on his web site a description of the experiment that proves evolution? Why doesn’t he overwhelm us with his evidence instead of promoting evolutionism by attacking the Bible?

    This little website is here to point out to Dr. Lamoureux’s students and lecture audiences that he is unwilling and unable to present evidence that can withstand scrutiny. With several examples, we will show that Dr. Denis O. Lamoureux uses devious techniques of argument to promote his evolutionist philosophy.

    Also, his attempts to undermine the credibility of Scripture cannot go unchallenged. So even though we know that they are “red herring” arguments intended to distract us from his evolutionist agenda, we will respond to his examples of imagined errors in the Bible.

    Notes:

    With apparent sincerity Dr. Lamoureux often insists that he has “overwhelming evidence” for evolution. But like the fabled emperor of old, his earnestly delivered assertion attempts to obscure an embarrassing deficiency …

    Reply
    • Denis O. Lamoureux
      June 29, 2013

      Dear Jim,
      Let me give you an update on the website.

      I invited the author, Mike Biehler, to speak
      to my creationisms seminar a few years ago.

      Students asked him scientific questions, and
      Mike repeated his little mantra:
      “I don’t know, I’m just a high school shop teacher.”

      Needless to say, Mike was a complete bust and waste
      of time. I’ve never invited him back.

      Best,
      Denis

      Reply
  30. Steveo
    June 29, 2013

    Denis Lamoureux says “This article is evidence that the words of Bruce Waltke are sadly being fulfilled”

    I say “This article is evidence that the words of Jesus Christ are sadly being fulfilled.

    Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, – Jesus Christ – author of Scripture

    From the article -”The first thing we need to note, as has been noted by even more liberal scholars such as James Barr, is that any natural reading of the text would indicate that the author intended us to take 24-hour days, calendar days, as our understanding. I am arguing for the exegetical and theological necessity of affirming 24-hour calendar days”

    Reply
    • Dan
      June 30, 2013

      The reading may be natural to 21st century Western people who are products of the Enlightenment. We are people uncomfortable with words we can’t “nail down.” That’s why poetry has disappeared as an art form in our time. A natural reading by Hebrews 3000 years ago would have been quite different.

      Reply
  31. Ty
    June 29, 2013

    Read all of the above comments. Grace is missing. This is not a theological issue, it’s a political one. Some people want control over what Genesis 1-2 say. Whenever a brother in Christ treats another brother in Christ with no respect or kindness, one should question what is causing said reaction. It’s usually fear by the way.

    Reply
  32. Dan Stewart
    June 29, 2013

    I have no problem accepting that the earth is billions of years old, nor in accepting the 6 day creation. Twenty four hour days apply only to earth, when GOD started creation, the earth did not exist. I think the 6 days are GOD days, which could equal billions of years in earth time. To GOD, a second is as a thousand years, or a thousand years is as a second. The only thing I am sure of, is that GOD did create the universe, which, of course includes the earth.

    Reply
  33. PuritanD
    June 30, 2013

    Reading through the comments, one cannot help but note that one group desires to explain Scripture through a lens of “historical science” and not vice-versa. They go to the geocentric as an example without acknowledging that Galileo had the advantage of actually proving his understanding through actual experiments (a.k.a. documentation, seeing it via telescope, etc). That is a huge difference from what “scientific methods” are trying to do with Gen. 1 & 2. Unless someone is hiding something, I have yet to see or hear of an experiment proving that YEC is false, never mind an actual theological and hermeneutical argument.

    Never mind that in Exodus 20, we see God directly speaking to Israel and speaks clearly in verse 11 that He made all things in 6 days, and what days would Israel would be thinking when directly listening to Him? Right, the “longest days” of all time: Good grief! The hermeneutical hoops one has to jump through to make YEC an erroneous reading is a tough one to hoe.

    Reply
  34. Dan
    June 30, 2013

    Everythingthing evolves and everyone believes in evolution. YOU evolved from a single cell into the person you are now. The issue here is that the evidence for an old earth is simply overwhelming, and the evidence of pre-homo sapien hominids is undeniable. Scientists like Dawkins take that evidence and leap to non-scientific conclusions.

    Dawkins argument runs like this: we took black moths and bred them with white moths. In a few generations we had grey moths. Therefore there is no God. Dawkins knows good and well that science does not and cannot address the issue of God’s existence and that it does not even claim to address the issue. He is simply disingenuous.

    Nothing that humans touch in inerrant. The notion of an “infallible” Bible is historically recent, a Protestant over-reaction to the doctrine of the infallibility of the pope. Mohler has no understanding of literary conventions or styles. We simply do not read texts the same way Hebrews 3000 years ago read texts. Mohler insists on a vulgar, literalistic flattening of a rich and expansive text. He reads the Bible as if it were a municipal zoning code, despite his liberal use of the word “narrative.”

    What’s important is the main declaration, that the universe is God’s handiwork. The sun, moon, and earth are not themselves gods worthy of worship. The Hebrews were surrounded by pagan tribes, and this declaration was vital to their religion and identity.

    I am awed by a God who works through the unfolding potentiality and diversity of life. A God who works in this manner is far more awe-inspiring than a God who magically creates everything at once. I’m joined by millions of Christians when I say that evolution, far from being a threat to my faith, is in fact an enhancement. Evolution points to a God who is more sublime and remarkable than either the fundamentalists or the militant atheists imagine.

    Reply
    • Denis O. Lamoureux
      June 30, 2013

      Dear Dan,
      What a BRILLIANT post! Not sure if you identify yourself as an Evolutionary Creationist. But this Christian view of origins believes the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created the universe and life, including humans, through an ordained, sustained, and intelligent design (traditionally defined) reflecting evolutionary process.

      My only quibble is that I’m not sure Dawkins realizes how philosophically naive he is. Here’s a short video clip where he attempts to trash me. But in reality he only exposes how painfully ignorant he is of the most basic philosophical concepts:
      http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/dawkins_and_lamoureux.html
      Blessings,
      Denis

      Reply
  35. Steveo
    June 30, 2013

    Dan – great article. I did not see any evidence to support your opinion – but great job grammatically. Your opinion is welcome – however if you are trying to refute Dr. Mohlers article – please provide something other than your opinion to support it. Some ( any ) scripture would be a great start.

    steve

    Reply
  36. Steveo
    June 30, 2013

    Denis – what you are saying is you accept scripture as Gods word. You know what God said in it – but you want to explain to everyone what he actually meant?

    Cant have it both ways.

    Cut to the chase – Denis – please provide your best evidence for evolution within the framework of scripture.

    s

    Reply
  37. Henry Smith
    June 30, 2013

    All “old earth” interpretations of Scripture fail to adequately grapple with the historical and theological affirmations of Paul’s teaching in Romans 8:19–23. OEC views affirm a corrupted physical world and animal kingdom prior to Adam’s fall, creating the following insurmountable problems:

    1 – ignoring Paul’s cosmic views concerning death
    2 – undermining the principle of Adam’s kingship over creation
    3 – destroying the meaning of Jesus’ redemption of all things
    4 – giving us a corrupted and death-filled creation disconnected from Adam’s fall
    5 – ruining the parallel between man’s and creation’s redemption
    6 – entailing death in the human chain of ancestry, disconnected from sinfulness and rebellion against God
    7 – laying the futile and harsh realities found in creation squarely at the feet of God instead of man
    8 – absolving man of his responsibilities before God concerning both sinfulness and death

    No form of old earth creationism is compatible with Romans 8:19–23, or the broader creation-fall-restoration framework of Scripture. It is high time Christian scholars and laymen alike jettison these biblically untenable, exegetically indefensible, scientifically refutable, and theologically incoherent constructs of cosmic history.

    Reply
    • Henry Smith
      June 30, 2013

      It must be emphasized here that long-age cosmic history necessarily entails the evolutionary development of man from lower creatures. This fact often escapes OEC proponents who want to try to accept long ages of death-filled cosmic history, but want to try to deny human evolution from lower life forms. The whole package of long, evolutionary ages in the fossil and archaeological record includes human evolution from lower forms of life prior to Adam’s existence. The OEC interpretation of the fossil record, which is used to justify the alleged millions/billions of years of history, is bursting with a record of death, part of which necessarily includes human death prior to Adam’s transgression.

      The long-age argument necessitates eons of death in the entire chain of human ancestry, a state of affairs completely antithetical to Scripture’s teaching on death with respect to mankind (Rm 5:12–21). Such a position divorces death from any sinful acts in man’s relation to God, severely undermining the coherence of the Gospel. It also undercuts man’s responsibility for his own death, for he is no longer responsible for the fact that he dies. God, in effect, has made him this way. In any OEC construct, death is not “the last enemy,” but death becomes a normative part of human experience.

      Each and every “old-earth” construct DESTROYS the theological coherence of the Gospel. Proponents of OEC constantly squawk at the notion, but they are, in effect, operating with cognitive theological dissonance. One can certainly be saved while having such confused theological reasoning. But proponents of the YEC position don’t question the salvation of old-earth creationists, we question their theological reasoning, their exegetical rigor, and their hermeneutics. We also rightfully should question whose authority they ultimately accept as it relates to cosmic origins: the mind of fallible unregenerate sinners with an axe to grind against the one true God, or His infallible, inerrant and incorruptible revelation deposited in the Bible. Our old-earth brethren can whine about this all they want, but this, in fact, is why they get so angry at those of us who hold to a recent origin for the cosmos. It’s time for many OEC proponents to, quite frankly, grow up.

      Reply
  38. Don N. Page
    July 1, 2013

    Albert Mohler said that a crucial assumption leading to belief in an old earth is uniformitarianism. If he means methodological uniformitarianism, the working hypothesis of science that the laws of nature are uniform, the same everywhere, then I agree. However, it would be very hard to come to any form of knowledge without assuming something like this.

    We do not have any direct observations of the past, whether of the nearly 14 billion years ago at which science leads many of us to believe the universe (or at least its current phase) began, of two thousand years ago when history leads many of us to believe Jesus lived, of the time when our personal documents may lead us to believe that we were born, or even of five seconds ago that we think we can remember. Instead, we make the uniformitarian assumption that the past is correlated with present records (e.g., with cosmic microwave radiation impinging upon the earth, with written records about Jesus, with birth certificates, and with short-term human memory). By testing these records against each other (Does the pattern of radiation seen by the Planck Satellite agree with what was seen by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe? Does what the Gospels say about the events during Jesus’ lifetime agree with what secular records say about that same period? Does my birth certificate agree with when I remember that my parents told me I was born? Do two people agree about just hearing a knock at the door?), we can gain evidence about the reliability of the records.

    In this way we have to assume something like methodological uniformitarianism even to get started with deducing anything about the past (or almost anything else), but once we assume this, we can find, in highly analogous ways, that there is strong evidence that our phase of the universe began nearly 14 billion years ago, that Jesus lived two thousand years ago, that each of us was born on such-and-such a day (well, there are exceptions: our family does not really know the precise dates in which our two adopted daughters were born in Haiti, as their birth certificates were made up years later), and that sometimes we do indeed hear a knock at the door. One cannot categorically reject the evidence for an old universe and earth by dismissing uniformitarianism without also thereby throwing out the evidence for the life of Jesus, for the dates of our births, and even for what we remember as happening just a few seconds ago.

    Reply
    • Henry Smith
      July 1, 2013

      Dear Mr. Page,

      The argument you have posed here is totally and absolutely erroneous. The life of Jesus or a person’s birth date is verified by EYEWITNESS testimony, not the illegitimate extrapolation of the rate of present natural processes into the alleged distant past. Conversely, there is one and only one witness to the creation of the cosmos, and that is the triune God of biblical revelation. And He has told us exactly when and over what period of time He created the cosmos: thousands of years ago over 6 normal 24-hour days. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are witnesses of the creation events, and the recent time of those events are found in Genesis One and supported by the broader creation-fall-redemption framework of the Bible.

      Methodological uniformitarianism has nothing whatsoever to do with the eyewitness accounts of history, and has everything to do with unwarranted lone-age assumptions rooted in philosophical naturalism and atheistic Darwinism.

      Sincerely,
      Henry Smith

      Reply
  39. Don N. Page
    July 2, 2013

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    We believe in eyewitness testimony for essentially the same reasons of methodological uniformitarianism (or of Occam’s razor, or of the simplicity of the hypotheses, or of whatever one might call it) that we believe in scientific evidence such as from geology and astrophysics: To believe that eyewitness testimony is often correct about what it reports seems to be the simplest and most uniform hypothesis to explain the agreement that often occurs between different eyewitness testimony. We assume a uniformitarian hypothesis that eyewitness accounts hundreds of years ago have a similar character to accounts about events within our lifetimes. Few people would say it is an illegitimate extrapolation of the accuracy of current eyewitness accounts to believe further that there is also truth value in eyewitness accounts from hundreds of years ago.

    So I would challenge anyone to say precisely what is fundamentally different about eyewitness testimony and other types of records from the past. Saying there is something fundamentally different about a human eyewitness seems too ad hoc to be plausible. (Furthermore, if one rigidly stuck just to eyewitness testimony, one would have to reject the second- and third-hand accounts we have of almost all ancient history, including all the Gospel events, but of course most of us also place weight on second- and third-hand reports and edited compilations of them when we have further non-eyewitness evidence for their reliability.)

    Sincerely,

    Don Page

    Reply
    • Henry Smith
      July 2, 2013

      Dear Mr. Page,

      Processes that occur in the natural world in the present are extrapolated into the past, and assumed to have occurred at the same rate and under the same general conditions. This is a philosophical assumption not based on evidence, but a worldview assumption based on certain a priori presuppositions: i.e. the presupposition of evolutionary naturalism. It also precludes against the miraculous and the catastrophic right from the start. These natural processes from the past do not “speak” nor can they be investigated by historical methods to determine their veracity. They must be interpreted, and human beings who make such interpretations have very strong a priori philosophical commitments.

      Natural processes that allegedly occurred at uniform rates in the past cannot be subject to the empirical scientific method. “The question of origins is plainly a matter of science history—not the domain of applied science. Contrary to the unilateral denials of many evolutionists, one’s worldview does indeed play heavily on one’s interpretation of scientific data, a phenomenon that is magnified in matters concerning origins, where neither repeatability, nor observation, nor measurement—the three immutable elements of the scientific method—may be employed. ”

      To compare natural processes of the distant past which no one was around to witness, record, measure or observe to historical accounts witnessed and recorded by human beings (or God Himself in the case of the creation) and which can be tested by the rigors of historical investigation is utterly absurd.

      Henry Smith

      Reply
  40. Links | Phoenix Preacher
    July 2, 2013

    [...] Why does the earth look so old?…very weak in my opinion, but here you go. [...]

    Reply
  41. Don N. Page
    July 2, 2013

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    There isn’t the initial assumption that processes are “assumed to have occurred at the same rate and under the same general conditions,” but rather that the basic laws of nature have remained the same. However, by comparing different radioactive decay rates in the past, we can find that they are consistent with the assumption that each rate was very nearly constant. (The theoretical explanation for this observation, using what we know of the laws of nature, is that the nuclei are so small and energetic in comparison with the electrons in an atom that the detailed electronic configuration, which can change somewhat if the atoms bind with different other atoms, that the electronic configuration has only a very tiny effect on the nuclear decay rates, which is indeed what is observed.)

    Of course, one can arbitrarily say that all clocks ran at a particular different rate in the past to get whatever age for anything that one wants, but the simplest hypothesis, which is consistent with the data, is that different radioactive decay rates each had their own constant values, independent of how long ago it was and of the chemical conditions that have only very tiny effects on the rates. It is highly nontrivial for different nuclear decays to give the same time (i.e., it would be highly improbable if there were not some explanation such as constant decay rates, just as it would be improbable for different historians to give the same dates for some historical event if there were not some explanation such as having access to the same records or to agreeing records), but there are millions of cases in which they do. (Of course, there are also cases in which something has gone wrong and they disagree, just as I have often noticed clocks that disagree with my watch, such as after a power outage, but the huge number of cases of agreement require an explanation; I don’t think that all clocks give nonsense information just because many do that I have seen.)

    For the origins (or at least very early stages) of the universe and the earth, we indeed do not have repeatability for the events, but we do have observations and measurements (e.g., of the angular distribution of the cosmic microwave background radiation, or of the ratios of nuclear isotopes in rocks), and these observations are repeatable with different samples. The same is true of historical events, which are also not repeatable, but for which we have the observations of historical records and some repeatability from examining alternative records of such events. Scientists might point out that we have far more bits of data about the cosmic microwave background radiation to compare and analyze than we do about almost all past events within human history, but qualitatively the criteria for extracting information about the historical past and about the cosmic past are fundamentally the same.

    Sincerely,

    Don Page

    Reply
    • Henry Smith
      July 2, 2013

      Mr. Page,

      “The observations and measurements” we possess are solely in the present, not the past. Cosmic background radiation, et. al., can only be seen and measured now. To assume these phenomena were taking place at the same rate, and without disruption in the distant past, is an unprovable philosophical assumption. Cosmic background radiation and radioactive decay are not the same as the “laws of nature”. This is an illegitimate conflation in your argument.

      Additionally, the so-called “laws of nature” cannot be explained within an evolutionary framework. They are non-material descriptions of order being imposed upon the universe. Law implies a lawgiver. Very Poythress states this well: “Scientists in practice believe passionately in the rationality of scientific law. We are not dealing with an irrational, totally unaccountable and unan­alyzable surd, but with lawfulness that in some sense is accessible to human understanding. Rationality is a sine qua non for scientific law. But, as we know, rationality belongs to persons, not to rocks, trees, and subpersonal creatures. If the law is rational, which scientists assume it is, then it is also personal.”

      The evolutionary worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. It cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes.

      It seems very clear to me that your commitment is first and foremost to the claims and authority of the scientific establishment, which consists almost solely of men and women with an axe to grind against their Creator.

      Bowing down at the altar of scientific materialism is, of course, ultimately your choice. We all serve a high priest of one sort or another. I choose to follow Christ and His infallible Word.

      Regards,
      Henry Smith

      Reply
      • Denis O. Lamoureux
        July 2, 2013

        In response to Dr. Page, Mr Smith states:

        “Bowing down at the altar of scientific materialism is, of course, ultimately your [Dr Page] choice. We all serve a high priest of one sort or another. I choose to follow Christ and His infallible Word.”

        Mr. Smith, Dr. Page is an wonderful evangelical Christian. Making a charge of scientific materialism is shameful. I suggest that you register in a remedial reading course at some two year community college this fall.

        Comments by Mr. Smith are the primary reason why most professional academics will not waste their time on forms like this.

        Respectfully, Mr. Smith you should be a lurker, not a contributor.

        In Christ,
        Denis

        Reply
  42. Don N. Page
    July 2, 2013

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    I agree with you that the observations and measurements we possess are solely in the present, which was one of the points of my first posting at this site. I also agree that the cosmic background radiation and radioactive decay are not themselves laws of nature, and I did not make this conflation, but I assume that they are governed by laws of nature (which I interpret to be scientific summaries of how God usually runs His universe He creates and sustains). By assuming that these laws are the simplest possible that explain the observations, we have been able to deduce partial laws of nature that do seem to be fundamentally extremely simple and elegant. It is by no means trivial that this works, since we combine both an unproven assumption of simplicity (Occam’s razor) and a fit to observations, which does rule out many logically possible simple laws (such as the possibility that nothing exists).

    But when we follow the scientific procedure of assuming laws as simple as possible but requiring them to fit the observations, we find fairly simple laws for the cosmic background radiation and for radioactive decay that fit very well with observations and allow us further to deduce that the universe is about 13.8 billion years old and that the earth is about 4.6 billion years old. The whole picture fits together remarkably well with other observations, whereas there is no other similarly precise set of ages given by any other set of assumptions that agrees well with other observations. One can deny that the ages are anything close to 13.8 and 4.6 billion years respectively, but until one finds an alternative model that can explain as many observations as the current standard scientific model for the universe, scientists are not going to see much reason to give up the standard model.

    I’m not saying that the laws of nature can be explained within an evolutionary framework. In my view, evolution would be a consequence of the laws of nature God chose for our universe, not the other way around. I do believe that the laws of nature are given by God. But that is no reason why God cannot use His laws of nature to produce evolution, even if evolution does not produce the laws.

    I am thankful that you are a Christian brother who chooses to follow Christ and His infallible Word. I too choose to follow Christ and His Word. However, I also believe that God wants us to study the beautiful world He has created (Psalm 111:2) and accept the enormous amount of evidence He has given us within it, even if it goes against certain unprovable pre-conceived philosophical assumptions of how Scripture is to be interpreted.

    Yours in Christ,

    Don

    Reply
  43. Lynn Otto
    July 3, 2013

    TheEcclesialCalvinist (William B. Evans) posted a response to Mohler’s lecture that’s worth reading:
    http://theecclesialcalvinist.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/al-mohlers-literal-six-day-young-earth-creationism-and-the-state-of-the-question/

    Reply
  44. Steveo
    July 4, 2013

    Dear Denis,

    You have been asked to contribute by providing for us your best evidence for evolution.
    It appears you choose to “contribute “with ad hominem instead.

    pity

    Reply
  45. Al Mohler’s Literal Six-Day Young-Earth Creationism and the State of the Question
    July 5, 2013

    [...] Look So Old?” at the Ligonier Conference.  A transcript of that lecture was recently posted here on the Credo Magazine on-line site, with a portion of it picked up [...]

    Reply
  46. Dr DeRidder
    July 8, 2013

    As a Christian, I hold to the verbal plenary innerancy of the Bible as the Infallible Word of God in the original autographs of Biblical Hebrew and Koine Greek.. This is how I derive my personal theology from the exegesis of Special Revelation, the Bible. As a scientist I study God’s General Revelation, creation, to understand science.

    I have never seen General Revelation reprove Special Revelation. But I have seen both bad theology and bad science comming from fallible man.

    Reply
    • Rayburne F. Winsor
      August 29, 2013

      In response to Dan’s comment: “I am awed by a God who works through the unfolding potentiality and diversity of life. A God who works in this manner is far more awe-inspiring than a God who magically creates everything at once. I’m joined by millions of Christians when I say that evolution, far from being a threat to my faith, is in fact an enhancement. Evolution points to a God who is more sublime and remarkable than either the fundamentalists or the militant atheists imagine.”

      Reply: “David Hull (non-Christian philosopher of science) wrote; “The problem that biological evolution poses for natural theologians is the sort of God that a Darwinian version of evolution implies…..The evolutionary process is rife with happenstance, contingency, incredible waste, death, pain and horror….Whatever the God implied by evolutionary theory and the data of natural history may be like, He is not the Protestant God of waste not, want not. he is also not the loving God who cares about His productions. he is not even the awful God portrayed in the book of Job. The God of the Galapagos is careless, wasteful, indifferent, almost diabolical. he is certainly not the sort of god to whom anyone would be inclined to pray”.

      No, Dan, a God who works in this way (through millions of years of struggle, death and bloodshed) is not more awe-inspiring than a God who supernaturally creates everything at once.

      Reply
  47. David Palmer
    July 11, 2013

    OK, everyone has left by now, but I only came across this transcript 2 days ago.

    I have carefully read Dr Mohler’s article and I don’t find it particularly compelling. But first my position – I am an undogmatic old earth creationist who is willing to concede some place to evolution, though at the micro level. I think without being terrible certain about it that the framework view of the creation days is the best understanding on offer. I note Dr Mohler wants to argue that according to the framework view the sequence of the days doesn’t matter – that’s not the way I learnt it from Henri Blocher: Days 1, 2 and 3 are clearly sequential matched to Days 4,5,6 as particular furniture fits in particular rooms.

    He is not correct to reference six days of creation and one day of rest unless you want to scrub Hebs 4. As someone noted in the comments yom (day) in Genesis 2:4 covering the 6 days of creation clearly goes against any notion of yom always equating to a single 24 hr day. And my word just how busy was Adam naming all the animals in a single 24 hr day and just how many animals did Noah fit into the Ark given 5 million known species today (though you can take out the fish). More likely in my opinion is to understand the six days as a literary device, to view the author’s intention as to bring out certain themes (e.g. the perfection of creation and glory, majesty and power of the creator God) and to provide a theology of the Sabbath rather than to supply a chronology of events (though there is order in the progression through the days).

    I notice the old canard surfacing in the comments that if you don’t believe the Bible teaches the 6 day/24 hr interpretation, you don’t believe Bible and maybe you are not even a Christian! Thankfully Dr Mohler acknowledges that adhering to an old earth doesn’t preclude one from being an inerrantist in regard to Scripture. This old earth creationist is more than willing to affirm historical Adam and Eve and is not fazed in the slightest at not knowing precisely this, that or the other thing about death being or not being in the world before Adam.

    Against the necessity of linking Biblical fidelity to the 6 day/24 hr interpretation, the classical Reformed view on the place of the Scriptures is that the sufficiency of Scripture is for “faith and life” (WCF 1.6). More particularly regarding life in the world and its right understanding, Scripture establishes the general theological principles (e.g. the divine attributes, the Creator/creature distinction, the cultural mandate, love of God and neighbour) that become the lens through which we interpret and apply the knowledge found in general revelation. General revelation provides the scientific particulars that enable us to better understand the world in order that we might fulfil the cultural mandate of Genesis 1:26f. In other words, the Scriptures, while being the infallible and inerrant revelation of God’s saving work in human history, are not a textbook for the various disciplines of botany, zoology, geology, astronomy, mathematical computation nor a manual for architects, parents, mechanics or school teachers. To learn the age of the universe is properly the study of geology, astronomy and cosmology. The unequivocal testimony of such study is that the universe and the earth are very old, even billions of years old. (I know some creation scientists are trying scientifically to demonstrate a young earth, and good for them trying, but it does indicate some at least acknowledge that natural/general and special revelation must be in harmony)

    A couple of other points: first the failure of proponents of the 6 day/24 hr view to acknowledge the way God accommodates himself to the immediate audience being addressed. In this regard there is the more general point as Calvin expresses it that the mode of accommodation that God employs in His Word is for Him to represent Himself not as He is in Himself, but as He seems to us (Institutes I.XVII.13) or even more to the point Calvin likening God’s speech to us as ‘lisping’ much as a mother to her child, by which Calvin means God in His Word finds it necessary to accommodate the knowledge of Him (including by extension His creative work) to our slight capacity – to do this, says Calvin, He must descend far beneath His loftiness (Institutes I.XII.1).

    Second, Dr Mohler’s statement that the 6 day/24 hr view was “the untroubled consensus of the Christian church until early in the 19th century” glosses over the considerable discussion that existed over Genesis 1&2 in the early and later church. To point to Calvin again, it is worth noting that in the one chapter in Calvin’s Institutes (Institutes 1.14) where Calvin references God’s work of creation “in six days” and an age of the world extending back 6,000 years, he also states that God “could have made (the world) very many millenniums earlier” (fancy that).

    Not only so, but Calvin offers a very positive view of human competence in art and science: “…if the Lord has willed that we be helped in physics, dialectics, mathematics, and other like disciplines, by the work and ministry of the ungodly, let us use this assistance. For if we neglect God’s gift freely offered in these arts, we ought to suffer just punishment for our sloths”. (Institutes 2.2.16)

    The very least we can say is that whilst Calvin affirmed creation in six days and 6,000 years for the age of the world during his lifetime, we are not entitled to say that would be his view if he lived today.

    I could say more, but this will do for now.

    Reply
  48. Steve Vanciel
    July 13, 2013

    I often appears to me that both the evolutionists and the creationists make the same errors in logic and argumentation that they accuse the opposite camp of making. Each assumes that our current understanding of natural phenomena enables us to make absolute statements rather than admitting that our observations and interpretations are often flawed and subject to ongoing correction. The crux of the matter is the war between spiritual realms where deception is the tool of the enemy against the Truth of God.

    It is often argued that we should read Genesis literally. OK, it speaks of light and dark being created distinct from specific sources of light (created day four). How then were those first three “24 hour days” measured?
    There is also reference to “waters” which were separated to create a “sky” (day 2) and an earth (day 3).
    These waters are not specifically identified as being created on day 1 or 2. So what do we suppose those waters to be? Where are they today?

    The Genesis account also refers to the “earth bringing forth” plant life on day 3 prior to creating the sun (day 4). Is there something inherent in the created substances of “earth” that can generate life on command?

    It is often noted that there is significant similarity between human physiognomy and various other mammalian life forms. The very modern study of DNA may be pointing us to a very specific “dust of the earth” that the Creator used to form Adam.

    My questions do not shake my faith in an almighty creator God whose thoughts are far above mine. Rather they remind me of how little I understand today and look forward to the day when I will know even as I am known by a God whose Love, Grace and Mercy are unfathomable.

    Reply
  49. Rayburne F. Winsor
    July 18, 2013

    I appreciate the article by Dr. Mohler. I would recommend that posters read “Refuting Compromise: A Biblical and Scientific Refutation of ‘Progressive Creationism’ (Billions of years) , as popularized by Astronomer Hugh Ross” because I believe that the real issue today regarding the age of the earth in respect to biblical authority, inspiration, and accuracy is not “from the goo, through the zoo, to you” macro-evolution but the double deception of theistic evolution, particularly the day-age theory and progressive creationism (billions of years) embraced by well meaning, but mislead Christians today, despite the clear, straightforward, plain meaning of scripture (even to them), especially Genesis 1. In it, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D in physical chemistry, author of the best selling “Refuting Evolution (1 and 2) and “The Greatest Hoax on Earth: Refuting Dawkins on Evolution” has produced a comprehensive and biblically-based refutation of progressive creationism. He addresses such issues as:

    (1) Death, bloodshed, and disease existed before Adam and Eve. True?

    (2). Noah;s flood was only a local event. Really?

    (3). Man-like creatures existed before Adam and Eve, but had no spirit, and thus no salvation. Evidence?

    (4). Six days or six ages? What does the biblical text actually say?

    Reply
  50. Rayburne F. Winsor
    July 19, 2013

    Those who attempt to marry the days of creation in Genesis 1, with evolutionary teaching of eons of millions/billions of years (I.e. Astronomer Hugh Ross ) have one bring problem, as I have already shown–the two just don’t fit. There are many major differences between the Word of God and evolutionary teachings.

    Evolutionary biology claims that sea-going mammals (whales, sea elephants, dolphins) evolved after land animals, indeed evolved from land creatures, going from the land back into the sea. The Bible says every living creature, including the monstrous ones, were created on day 5 of Creation Week, before the land creatures.

    Many evolutionists claim that birds evolved from dinosaurs–quite late in the evolutionary tree. The Bible teaches that birds were created on Day 5 at the same time as the sea creatures–before dinosaurs and any other land dwellers.

    Evolution-based teaching says the moon was smashed from the earth in a cataclysmic collision, whereas the Bible says the moon was made on the 3rd day into Earth’s creation. It does not seem sensible (or scientific) for God to finish His work shaping the earth (on day 3) and then superheat and demolish it to make the moon.

    Evolutionary anthropology says that man has risen from the apes, and before that a rodent-like ancestor. The Bible teaches that God made man in His own image as a special creation, from dust. Evolutionary teaching here enters the area of sacrilege–what then is God’s image? When God walked among us in the Person of Christ, His image was a man. I could give many more examples, but I believe the aforementioned are a difficult enough juggling act, even for the likes of astronomer Hugh Ross, when it comes to harmonizing the plain language and meaning of scripture with evolutionary teaching.

    All the founding “fathers” of evolution, with the exception perhaps of Asa Gray, a Harvard professor of Botany who became Darwin’s promoter, ambassador, and apostle in the United States, rejected theistic evolution, as history clearly shows. When Gray tried to persuade Darwin to adopt his position of theistic evolution, Darwin quickly saw through the fallacy of Gray’s argument and rejected it outright. In a letter written to Charles Lyell in 1861, he said, “The view that each variation has been providentially arranged seems to me to make Natural Selection entirely superfluous, and indeed takes the whole case of the appearance of the new species out of the range of science.” Not only was Asa Gray’s theistic evolution rejected by Darwin, but also was never seriously considered by any of the other

    Reply
  51. Rayburne F. Winsor
    July 19, 2013

    Re: David Palmer:

    Any analogy or direct correspondence between the days of creation and those of our ordinary week showing that people work and rest in the same way that God does is itself just another straw-dummy argument and is irrelevant unless one can show that “day” (Hebrew “Yom”) in each of the days of Genesis 1 is not an ordinary 24-hour day and the plural “days” (Hebrew “yamin”) in verse 11 of Exodus 20:8-11, referring to the creation days of Genesis 1, do not mean an ordinary 24-hour day, but eons or ages equivalent to millions/billions of years. Moreover, you would have to refute world acclaimed Hebrew scholarship to do so, and also need to show that such interpretation based on reading millions/billions of years into the text is coherent and consistent with the rest of the biblical text–quite a task, for anyone (and that includes Astronomer Hugh Ross).

    Reply
  52. Rayburne F. Winsor
    July 19, 2013

    The issue of concern is not what fallible men believed, including John Calvin, but rather what does the Bible tell us about the meaning of “day” in Genesis 1?

    A word can have more than one meaning, depending on the context. For instance, the English word “day” can have perhaps 14 different meanings. For example, consider the following sentence: “Back in my grandfather’s day, it took 12 days to drive across the country during the day.”

    Here the first occurrence of “day” means “time” in a general sense.
    The second “day,” where a number is used, refers to an ordinary day, and the third refers to the daylight portion of the 24-hour period. The point is that words can have more than one meaning, depending on the context.

    To understand the meaning of “day” in Genesis 1, we need to determine how the Hebrew word for “day,” yom, is used in the context of Scripture. Consider the following:

    A typical concordance will illustrate that yom can have a range of meanings: a period of light as contrasted to night, a 24-hour period, time, a specific point of time, or a year.

    A classic, well-respected Hebrew-English lexicon (a dictionary) has seven headings and many subheadings for the meaning of yom—but it defines the creation days of Genesis 1 as ordinary days under the heading “day as defined by evening and morning.”

    A number and the phrase “evening and morning” are used with each of the six days of creation (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).

    (1) Outside Genesis 1, yom is used with a number 359 times, and each time it means an ordinary day. Why would Genesis 1 be the exception?

    (2) Outside Genesis 1, yom is used with the word “evening” or “morning” 23 times. “Evening” and “morning” appear in association, but without yom, 38 times. All 61 times the text refers to an ordinary day. Why would Genesis 1 be the exception?

    (3). In Genesis 1:5, yom occurs in context with the word “night.” Outside of Genesis 1, “night” is used with yom 53 times, and each time it means an ordinary day. Why would Genesis 1 be the exception? Even the usage of the word “light” with yom in this passage determines the meaning as ordinary day.

    (4) The plural of yom, which does not appear in Genesis 1, can be used to communicate a longer time period, such as “in those days.” Adding a number here would be nonsensical. Clearly, in Exodus 20:11, where a number is used with “days,” it unambiguously refers to six earth-rotation days.
    There are words in biblical Hebrew (such as olam or qedem) that are very suitable for communicating long periods of time, or indefinite time, but none of these words are used in Genesis 1. Alternatively, the days or years could have been compared with grains of sand if long periods were meant.
    In like manner, nineteenth century liberal Professor Marcus Dods, New College, Edinburgh, said,
    If, for example, the word “day” in these chapters does not mean a period of twenty-four hours, the interpretation of Scripture is hopeless. Dr. James Barr, formerly Oriel Professor of Hebrew interpretation at Oxford University, stated openly and honestly what the language of Genesis meant, based on his competence and expertise in Hebrew, particularly the days of creation in Genesis 1. What he meant by professors of Hebrew at world-class universities was leading universities like Princeton, Harvard, Berkeley, Cal. ,etc. He said what he meant and meant what he said–that the writers of Genesis 1 intended the days of creation to be understood to mean ordinary 24-hour days, though there are die-hards today who will try to convince you otherwise.

    Reply
  53. Rayburne F. Winsor
    July 19, 2013

    I have not posted this before:

    The issue of concern is not what fallible men believed, including John Calvin, but rather what does the Bible tell us about the meaning of “day” in Genesis 1?

    A word can have more than one meaning, depending on the context. For instance, the English word “day” can have perhaps 14 different meanings. For example, consider the following sentence: “Back in my grandfather’s day, it took 12 days to drive across the country during the day.”

    Here the first occurrence of “day” means “time” in a general sense.
    The second “day,” where a number is used, refers to an ordinary day, and the third refers to the daylight portion of the 24-hour period. The point is that words can have more than one meaning, depending on the context.

    To understand the meaning of “day” in Genesis 1, we need to determine how the Hebrew word for “day,” yom, is used in the context of Scripture. Consider the following:

    A typical concordance will illustrate that yom can have a range of meanings: a period of light as contrasted to night, a 24-hour period, time, a specific point of time, or a year.

    A classic, well-respected Hebrew-English lexicon (a dictionary) has seven headings and many subheadings for the meaning of yom—but it defines the creation days of Genesis 1 as ordinary days under the heading “day as defined by evening and morning.”

    A number and the phrase “evening and morning” are used with each of the six days of creation (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).

    (1) Outside Genesis 1, yom is used with a number 359 times, and each time it means an ordinary day. Why would Genesis 1 be the exception?

    (2) Outside Genesis 1, yom is used with the word “evening” or “morning” 23 times. “Evening” and “morning” appear in association, but without yom, 38 times. All 61 times the text refers to an ordinary day. Why would Genesis 1 be the exception?

    (3). In Genesis 1:5, yom occurs in context with the word “night.” Outside of Genesis 1, “night” is used with yom 53 times, and each time it means an ordinary day. Why would Genesis 1 be the exception? Even the usage of the word “light” with yom in this passage determines the meaning as ordinary day.

    (4) The plural of yom, which does not appear in Genesis 1, can be used to communicate a longer time period, such as “in those days.” Adding a number here would be nonsensical. Clearly, in Exodus 20:11, where a number is used with “days,” it unambiguously refers to six earth-rotation days.
    There are words in biblical Hebrew (such as olam or qedem) that are very suitable for communicating long periods of time, or indefinite time, but none of these words are used in Genesis 1. Alternatively, the days or years could have been compared with grains of sand if long periods were meant.
    In like manner, nineteenth century liberal Professor Marcus Dods, New College, Edinburgh, said,
    If, for example, the word “day” in these chapters does not mean a period of twenty-four hours, the interpretation of Scripture is hopeless. Dr. James Barr, formerly Oriel Professor of Hebrew interpretation at Oxford University, stated openly and honestly what the language of Genesis meant, based on his competence and expertise in Hebrew, particularly the days of creation in Genesis 1. What he meant by professors of Hebrew at world-class universities was leading universities like Princeton, Harvard, Berkeley, Cal. ,etc. He said what he meant and meant what he said–that the writers of Genesis 1 intended the days of creation to be understood to mean ordinary 24-hour days, though there are die-hards today who will try to convince you otherwise.

    Reply

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