Jason Lisle debates Hugh Ross on the age of the Earth

I am re-posting this because people are searching for something on the Ken Ham vs Bill Nye debate. You can read a review of the Ham-Nye debate on J. W. Wartick’s blog. Another good review is from Evolution News, written by Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute. And Melissa Cain Travis has posted part 1 of her review.  In the meantime, your time would be more profitably spent listening to this debate. 

I found this radio debate about the age of the Earth on the Apologetics 315 Twitter feed.

Speakers:

Jason Lisle

Dr. Lisle graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University where he double-majored in physics and astronomy, and minored in mathematics. He did graduate work at the University of Colorado where he earned a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics. While there, Dr Lisle used the SOHO spacecraft to investigate motions on the surface of the sun as well as solar magnetism and subsurface weather. His thesis was entitled “Probing the Dynamics of Solar Supergranulation and its Interaction with Magnetism.” Among other things, he discovered a previously unknown polar alignment of supergranules (solar convection cells), and discovered evidence of solar giant cells. He has also authored a number of papers in both secular and creation literature.

Hugh Ross

At age seventeen he became the youngest person ever to serve as director of observations for Vancouver’s Royal Astronomical Society. With the help of a provincial scholarship and a National Research Council (NRC) of Canada fellowship, he completed his undergraduate degree in physics (University of British Columbia) and graduate degrees in astronomy (University of Toronto). The NRC also sent him to the United States for postdoctoral studies. At Caltech he researched quasi-stellar objects, or “quasars,” some of the most distant and ancient objects in the universe.

So both have impeccable scientific credentials.

The MP3 file is here. (This is the updated version that Brian Auten fixed to remove the commercials!)

I don’t always agree with Frank Pastore, (only 95%), but he knows the topic of the debate back to front, and guides the discussion in an incredibly useful, accurate way. This is a fine debate to listen to! You will learn a lot. And you will have fun learning.

The Bible and the early church fathers

Jason Lisle

  • we take Genesis literally
  • the starting point of YEC is Scripture
  • the plain meaning of Scripture is that the earth was made in 6 24-hour days
  • science has to be interpreted in a way that fits a plain reading of Genesis 1
  • the evidence for an old universe and old Earth must be rejected a priori

Hugh Ross

  • we take Genesis literally
  • the Hebrew word for day (yom) can mean 24 hours or a long period of time
  • there are multiple creation accounts in the Bible
  • interpreting yom as long periods of time harmonizes all the accounts
  • the Bible says that the seventh day is not even ended
  • we believe in a literal Adam and Eve living thousands of years ago

Jason Lisle

  • there’s only 1 account of creation in the Bible: Genesis
  • the normal view in church history is 6 24-hour days
  • there are some early church fathers who that the days are long
  • the other places where creation is discussed are not real accounts

Hugh Ross

  • the early church did not spend a lot of time talking about the age of the Earth
  • there is not unanimous agreement about the age of the Earth
  • there is no definitive statement on the age of the Earth until Isaac Newton
  • Newton strongly favored an old earth, hundreds of years before Darwin
  • there are other creation accounts, Job 38-39
  • Pslam 104 is a creation account

Jason Lisle

  • a Psalm is not written in the genre of historical narrative
  • Psalm 104 is not a creation account – it talks about ships, etc
  • it’s talking about the modern era, not a creation account

The evidence from science

Hugh Ross

  • both of us believe in an absolute beginning of time, space and matter
  • both of us believe that space is expanding now
  • stars form as matter coalesces during the expansion of the universe
  • star formation requires a universe aged on the order of billions of years

Jason Lisle

  • if you pre-suppose my interpretation of Genesis, then the universe is young

Hugh Ross

  • the speed of the expansion of the universe proves an old universe
  • the light emitted from the oldest stars also proves an old universe

Jason Lisle

  • if you pre-suppose my interpretation of Genesis, then the universe is young

Was the universe made with the appearance of age

Jason Lisle

  • any evidence for an old universe is wrong
  • stars didn’t form gradually, they were created by God instantly
  • stars have the appearance of age, but they’re actually young

Hugh Ross

  • God doesn’t lie in the Bible or in the book of nature
  • Scientists can look back in time by looking further out into the universe
  • Because light takes a long time to travel to the Earth, we can see the past
  • we can see a time when there were no stars yet
  • stars formed slowly over time, not instantaneously
  • we have photos of the universe before stars and after stars
  • we can see a history of the universe by looking closer and further away

Does nature provide us with knowledge about creation?

They discuss Psalm 19 now, so here’s Psalm 19:1-5:

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

Jason Lisle

  • nature isn’t a book
  • nature doesn’t provide knowledge about God
  • Psalm 19 doesn’t say that nature communicates to us
  • verse 3 says “There is no speech nor language”

Hugh Ross

  • If you read all of verse 3, it says the exact opposite of what you just said it says
  • Verse 1: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”
  • Verse 2: “Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”
  • Verse 3: “There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
  • Verse 4: “Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

Jason Lisle

  • You can’t take the Bible literally all the time

How important is the age of the Earth?

Hugh Ross

  • it’s a non-essential because it has nothing to do with salvation or inerrancy
  • both sides of the debate affirm the same views of salvation and inerrancy
  • professional scientists have multiple lines of evidence saying the universe is old
  • the only reason it matters is that young earth creationism is a barrier to faith
  • if you have to deny science to be a Christian, then it stops people from being saved
  • young earth opposition to science has been used by secularists to marginalize Christianity

Jason Lisle

  • there was no death in the Garden of Eden, animal or human, before the Fall
  • the Bible says that death was a consequence of Adam’s sin
  • so there was no death before the Fall, according to the Bible
  • old earth people believe in death before the Fall

Consider Romans 5:12:

12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—

Hugh Ross

  • Romans 5:12 says that Adam’s sin caused death to come to all men
  • old earth people believe that only animal death existed before the Fall, not human death
  • plant and animal death existed before the Fall – Adam and Eve were eating!

Jason Lisle

  • I interpret the Bible to say that plants aren’t living creatures

What about dinosaurs, the Flood, and Noah’s ark?

Jason Lisle

  • dinosaurs were created on the 6th day
  • dinosaurs lived alongside humans and were vegetarians before the Fall
  • dinosaurs were on the Ark – they’re not that big – just take baby dinosaurs
  • it’s a global flood

Hugh Ross

  • dinosaurs were created on the 5th day
  • they were extinct before before humans ever appeared
  • nobody in history ever wrote about dinosaurs until 200 years ago
  • it’s a local flood

55 thoughts on “Jason Lisle debates Hugh Ross on the age of the Earth”

  1. Are you picking on us young earthers? :-) I’m surprised, given his background, that Lisle didn’t get into the magnetic field paradox for old earthers, especially the one around Uranus.

  2. “nobody in history ever wrote about dinosaurs until 200 years ago”
    I know this is a paraphrase of Ross’ words, but is anyone really making this claim? Seriously???

  3. Hugh Ross:
    “It’s a local flood.”
    One must then wonder what God meant to say when He uttered the following:
    [Gen 9:14-15 NASB]
    4 “It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud,
    15 and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.”
    If He was making a promise that there would never be another local flood, I think both He and Hugh have some ‘splainin to do.
    If that wasn’t what he was promising, then exactly what WAS he promising?

  4. Ross: the Bible says that the seventh day is not even ended.

    I would like to see a reference for this notion. I’ve never seen such a passage in the Bible. It is certainly not found in Genesis 1, nor in Hebrews 4.

    1. I am just answering your question about why OECs might believe this:

      The seventh day lacks the concluding “evening/morning” refrain found in the narratives of the other creation days. This indicates God’s Sabbath rest is ongoing. Since God’s Sabbath rest is unending, the seventh day must be unending.98 The New Testament confirms the seventh day of God’s rest is an ongoing reality.99 For example in Hebrews, God invites us, present tense, to join Him in His Sabbath rest:

      For we who have believed enter that rest, as he said, ‘As I swore in my wrath, They shall not enter my rest,’ although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.’ And again in this passage he said, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’ (Hebrews 4:3-5, ESV).

      The English translation of Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and earth…” makes make it sound as though God created everything within the confines of six calendar-days. However, the preposition “in” does not appear in the original Hebrew.100 Rather, the verse is more correctly translated, “For six yôms the LORD made…” The addition of “in” originated with the King James Version translation and “played a significant role in the advocacy of the creation days being completed within 144 hours (6×24).”101 When the verse is correctly translated, it is clear the creation “days” could have been long time periods.

      The reference to the Sabbath in Exodus 20 seems to refer to the pattern of “days,” not their duration.102 The emphasis is on the pattern of work and rest, a ratio of six to one, not on the length of the creation days. Exodus 20:9 addresses the work-week of humans (seven 24-hour days); Exodus 20:11 addresses the work-week of God (seven time periods). Thus, as Hebrew scholar Gleason Archer notes: “By no means does this [Exodus 20:9-11] demonstrate that 24-hour intervals were involved in the first six ‘days,’ any more than the eight-day celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles proves that the wilderness wanderings under Moses occupied only eight days.”103 In Leviticus 25:4 the pattern of one out of seven is duplicated with six years of planting the land and one year of “Sabbath rest for the land.”104 This further demonstrates the analogy of our Sabbath to God’s Sabbath does not demand that the creation “week” consisted of seven 24-hour days.105

      Source:
      http://godandscience.org/youngearth/six_days_of_creation.html

      1. “The reference to the Sabbath in Exodus 20 seems to refer to the pattern of “days,” not their duration.102 The emphasis is on the pattern of work and rest, a ratio of six to one, not on the length of the creation days.”

        This would seem to be the case in only a very “loose” way. As I understand it, old earthers see each of the six “days” of creation as nebulous and undefined periods of time. However, unless each of the periods of time are exactly the same in length, the ratio idea is a stretch. If the length of any of the periods differs from the others, then it would be like saying six periods of varying numbers of hours (say, 2 hours 5 hours, 1 hour, 4 hours, 9 hours, 6 hours) equates to a 6:1 ratio with a seventh period of say 3 hours. Now if each of the creation days is an actual day (1 full rotation of the earth) then you would have an exact 6:1 ratio between them.

        As for the seventh day not having ended, I really don’t see how that is tenable. It is true that Genesis 2 says the following:

        [Gen 2:2 KJV] 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

        However the next verse adds more:

        [Gen 2:3 KJV] 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

        It is notable that the phrase “had rested” is Qal/Perfect. Perfect is used for something (God’s rest) that was completed.

        This is further confirmed by something Jesus said:

        [Jhn 5:17 NASB] 17 But He (Jesus) answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”

        Now it only stands to reason that if God rested on the seventh day, but He had at some point resumed working and was still working at the time of Jesus’ ministry, then the day of his rest (the seventh one) must have ended.

        That’s just my two cents on a couple of the issues I see here.

        1. Hi JMG, I hope you don’t mind me adding my two cents to this conversation.

          The best way to understand what the Hebrew word “yom” means (that is translated as “day” in english) is that it’s referring to a finite period of time. Hebrew only has 3000 nouns, whereas English has 4million. English has several words to specify every finite time period there is, but Hebrew only has one word: “yom”.
          So for YECs, they believe the Creation days were 24hrs long. OECs believe they were longer than 24hrs. So, each creation “day”/”yom” could have been a week, month, year, decade, century, millenium, epoch, age, etc.
          The main point to make, from the OEC perspective, is that they believe they were finite in length and longer than 24hrs.
          Creation week (days 1 to 6) applied to the God’s transforming of the earth which was created at some time earlier (“In the beginning…” Gen 1:1-2).
          From all the geological evidence measured using dozens of radiometric dating methods (not including Carbon-14!), we know that earth’s earliest lifeforms suddenly appeared 3.8 billion years ago. Adam and Eve are dated to ~50,000 years ago (mytacondrial DNA, and Y-chromosonal analysis), so each of the days of creation totalled 3.8 billions years. If they’re identical in length, then I guess that would make them approximately 600 million years long each.
          I don’t know of any OEC position that says categorically that each of the “days” of creation have to be exactly the same length.
          As for the 7th day, it is currently ~50,000 yrs long… I doubt, that it’ll take another 599.5 million years until Jesus returns, which will signal the end of it and the beginning of day 8.
          Therefore, I think it would be illogical to assume that the days are the same length. I’ve heard Dr Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe (www.reasons.org) suggest that day 6 would have had to be at least a few years long in order to give Adam time to tend the garden, name all the animals (at least 30,000 different species), become lonely which prompted God to say “It’s not good for man to be alone. I will make him a companion), have God perform surgery and take a biopsy from him so that He could create Eve for him.
          When God brings Eve to Adam, what does he say? “At long last!”. That alone tells me that day 6 was a lot longer than 24 hrs. BTW: Look up the names of the animals which Adam calls them: they have Hebrew meanings which describe how they hunt their prey (www.godandscience.org has an article that lists several of them).

          1. Just a quick note about Adam naming the animals. There wouldn’t have been 30,000 species to name. There is no reason to think the *kinds* of animals described in the Bible have any correlation to the modern species concept. In fact, there is good evidence that new species do form and that the Biblical kind (referred to as a baramin in YEC circles) is a much broader category more akin to a family or genus (though it can vary in different organisms). For example, the dog kind is thought to be a single baramin which includes many species of wolves, coyotes, domestic dogs, dingoes, foxes, etc. There has been much diversification within each baramin since creation to form the many species we have today. Thus the number of species is far larger than the number of original kinds. The number of original created kinds is not known, but is an area of active research within the YEC field. While there are most likely several thousand original created kinds (which each contained a lot of originally-created diversity), Adam did not name all of them (only the cattle, birds, and large land animals) and thus it is quite possible that all of this took place in a single ordinary day.

            As for Adam’s exclamation of “At long last,” this does not necessarily refer to a long period of time. It is much more likely that this was a result of looking at a couple thousand animals and rejecting all of them as a suitable mate and then finally seeing Eve, who was obviously the perfect mate for him. It was more a case of “After seeing all these creatures who are not right for me…” rather than “After all this time of being single…”

          2. Just to add my two cents in this excellent discussion: it is my understanding that when “yom” is used with an ordinal elsewhere in the OT, it always means 24 hour days. Doesn’t prove anything, but does give one advantage to the “clear meaning” types.

            When I first became a Christian, I was OEC. (I was a Darwinist right before.) I applied an exponential age-duration distribution to each of the Creation days and found that this lined up almost perfectly with what secular science was saying about the durations of cosmological / geological ages. This was one of the things that really got me into the Bible in a hard-core way.

            I lean YEC now, but I respect OEC (strong reservations about theistic evolution, however, and certainly anti-Darwinism.)

          3. Do you believe that the bible is infallible? That when it says “Every word of God proves true” (Proverbs 30:5) that it is what it says it is? Or do you think that the only parts of the bible that are true are what you want them to be? Because if you believe that only certain parts of it are true, you set yourself up for a position where you are constantly asking yourself “which parts of the bible do I believe?” and frankly, when you deny the creation story, what’s to stop you from denying the exodus, or even the resurrection?
            Well that’s my view on the matter.

          4. If you make a distinction between what your beliefs are, and what you can demonstrate with evidence, then it makes sense. Christians believe that the Bible is all true, but when demonstrating the truth to others, we must use arguments and evidence. Some things just have more accessible evidence than others. This is a different approach than, say, Mormons, who just assume that their Bible is true. There are some Christian “presuppositionalists” who do this as well, and that’s just because like Mormons, they don’t want to have to deal with evidence.

      2. One problem I have with the day-age theory and the idea that we’re still in the 7th day is that Hebrews 4:3 says that the works God rested from (i.e. creating) “were finished from the foundation of the world.” Not thousands or millions of years later. The Bible is pretty clear that God finished His creation at the very beginning.

        Hebrews 4 is using the 7th day of creation (a literal day) as a picture of the rest we will have in heaven. One day we will be able to rest from our labors as God rested from His. God is already in that rest that we will one day experience, because a key element of that rest (heaven) is the presence of God. The Sabbath day was always a picture of the rest and worship that will be present in heaven. While the 7th day had a practical aspect as well (people do need a day out of every 7 to rest, physically speaking), the primary purpose of the Sabbath was to remind the children of Israel of the life to come. Just as they had feasts and customs that looked forward to the coming of the Messiah and His redemption, they had a Sabbath ordinance to remind them of heaven. But using the Sabbath as a picture of a rest to come does not mean that the original 7th day was not a literal day anymore than having a Passover feast that looked forward to Christ meant there was no actual day when the death angel passed over.

        And, of course, the usage of the word “day” (yom) with a number or the phrase evening and morning always refers to an ordinary day. There is no textual reason to suppose that the days of creation were anything other than an ordinary day.

        1. Hi Lindsay,
          The notion that there was only one “kind” of dog that entered the ark, and after that all the other species of dog (wolves, dingoes, coyotes, foxes, and all dog types) implies evolutionary change (a theistic evolutionary interpretation).
          I heard Ken Ham make that argument when he debated Bill Nye last week and I was shocked.
          DNA conclusively shows that wolves, coyotes, dogs (in all their forms), and foxes, are not mutations of one another. They are different kinds.
          Of course, YEC has to make all the world’s land and air animals fit into the ark (including dinosaurs!), so this theory of theirs (completely refuted by modern science) is not surprising to me.
          OEC rejects Darwinian Evolution completely, and believes Noah’s flood was localised to the Mesopotanean plain (modern day Saudi Arabia and Iraq – including the Persian Gulf), and therefore the only kinds Noah needed to save were those that were indigenous to that region (dinosaurs were extinct long beforehand, so no extra room needed for them).

          To conclude, modern scientific consensus is that there were 30,000 kinds of animals that Adam would have needed to name in that region of the world around the time of Noah: 40,000 – 60,000 years ago.

          1. “The notion that there was only one “kind” of dog that entered the ark, and after that all the other species of dog (wolves, dingoes, coyotes, foxes, and all dog types) implies evolutionary change (a theistic evolutionary interpretation).”

            It does no such thing.

            What it does show is that when God created the DNA for dogs, he included a range of attributes that would equip differing resulting breeds with various combinations of properties to accommodate to a wide variety of environments that would eventually characterize the earth following the changes in climate, etc. that took place at the time of the flood. To make the claim that this somehow has to imply evolutionary change would require the original pair of created dogs to have a single, rigid set of DNA characteristics for a single size, shape, color, etc. and that every single change in that original available DNA combination would have to be added as a result of mutational change. I find that idea more wishful thinking than anything else. Environment can select various attributes and traits as superior to others, but it can only select traits that are already options in the DNA, it cannot create new options that don’t already exist in the DNA.

            OEC’s frequently speak of scientific evidence as the main support for their views. Yet if one is going to be honest, it must be admitted that evidence doesn’t really “say” anything. Evidence is subject to interpretation. Just as the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ by itself doesn’t prove anything until the meaning of that evidence is hashed out to show that the evidence when examined from all angles leaves only one viable option, that being that the resurrection was truly a real, historical event.

            I have heard Hugh Ross on many occasions and I really don’t find his arguments convincing at all. After hearing him talk about Jesus being able to appear and disappear at will following his resurrection because he was using some type of extra-dimensional channel to enter and exit various places, his credibility took a major blow in my view.

          2. “What it does show is that when God created the DNA for dogs, he included a range of attributes that would equip differing resulting breeds with various combinations of properties to accommodate to a wide variety of environments that would eventually characterize the earth following the changes in climate, etc. that took place at the time of the flood.”

            You’re implying that one set of DNA from one kind of dog, combined with a wide variety of environments bred all the various kinds of dogs we see today. That is the same argument Darwin made for the theory of evolution, only he said it took place over millions of years. You’re suggesting that it only took a few thousand (at most)!

            EVERY dog kind in existence today has DNA differences far too great to be a plausible explanation.

            “OEC’s frequently speak of scientific evidence as the main support for their views. Yet if one is going to be honest, it must be admitted that evidence doesn’t really “say” anything. Evidence is subject to interpretation. Just as the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ by itself doesn’t prove anything until the meaning of that evidence is hashed out to show that the evidence when examined from all angles leaves only one viable option, that being that the resurrection was truly a real, historical event.”

            This statement of yours is self-refuting. To say that evidence doesn’t really say anything, and then in the following sentence say that it can is contradictory.

            Psalm 19 states that “the Heavens declare the glory of God. Day after day they pour forth speech; night and night they display knowledge”.
            1 Thess 5:21 says “test all things and hold fast that which is good [true]”.

            The Bible says that we can know the truth, and that His creation reliably describes His character and motives. We can indeed see our Creator by looking at His creation, and He cannot lie, so using your argument this leaves only one viable option: Science = study of God’s creation (which can be determined) results in us KNOWING the Truth.

            “I have heard Hugh Ross on many occasions and I really don’t find his arguments convincing at all. After hearing him talk about Jesus being able to appear and disappear at will following his resurrection because he was using some type of extra-dimensional channel to enter and exit various places, his credibility took a major blow in my view.”

            The point Dr Ross is making is that Jesus, as the Word become flesh, the Son of God, and the Creator of the Universe, can perform miracles (that defy the laws of physics) including moving between space-time dimensions if he so choosers that would allow him to walk through doors. Did Jesus not appear in the upper rooms out of thin air where his disciples were without them seeing him enter?
            Did he not walk of water and not sink? Did he not raise Lazarus from the grave four days after he died? Is not Jesus capable then of passing between different dimensions?

          3. “You’re implying that one set of DNA from one kind of dog, combined with a wide variety of environments bred all the various kinds of dogs we see today. That is the same argument Darwin made for the theory of evolution, only he said it took place over millions of years. You’re suggesting that it only took a few thousand (at most)!”
            Please read what I said again. I am implying nothing of the sort. What I said was that environment can select only traits that are ALREADY in the DNA. Environment did not “breed” or cause traits to be added to the DNA that were not there in the first place. Look at it this way. You have a wardrobe of clothes. You have fur parkas, Bermuda shorts, jeans, etc. The environment can make a particular outfit more suitable for life on a particular day or in a particular place, but environment cannot add any new clothes to your wardrobe.. Likewise, the first two dogs that were created had from the very beginning a range of DNA options for size, hair length, hair color, sensitivity of smell, etc. Environment can certainly make a particular combination of traits advantageous over the others for a particular place (cold, hot, dry, etc.). This is proven out quite well through human breeding of dogs. Humans have been able to cross breed various kinds of dogs to produce a breed with a particular set of traits that are desirable for a particular purpose (ex. herding sheep, pulling snow sleds, etc.). However, neither environment nor human manipulation has ever added a new trait to any breed of dog that was not already resident either actively or dormantly in dog DNA.
            This is not at all what Darwin proposed. Darwin postulated that environment could filter DNA mutations, selecting only mutations that in some way were a benefit to the organism (in this case dogs). Darwin postulated that environment was a driver in adding new DNA information (beneficial mutations) to the existing DNA pool. My point is that this is incorrect. Environment (or human manipulation) can only select advantageous DNA traits that are already existent in the DNA options and can add nothing new to the DNA. There is a flexibility to traits, but the is a unchangable limit to the options that are available. The limit is the range of information resident in the DNA from day one.
            Can you now see what I am saying?
            “EVERY dog kind in existence today has DNA differences far too great to be a plausible explanation.”
            Incorrect. DNA pools can lose information through isolation and in-breeding. It is notable that cross-breading of dogs with differences in DNA is perfectly capable of restoring DNA information that was lost by one breed from DNA retaining that information in another breed. The fact that all dog breeds are capable of breeding with others producing offspring that are not sterile argues for the common ancestry of all dogs.
            “This statement of yours is self-refuting. To say that evidence doesn’t really say anything, and then in the following sentence say that it can is contradictory.”
            Again, you are missing my point. What I said was that raw data (evidence) does not in and of itself “say” anything. All data / evidence must be interpreted to determine what it means. Both skeptics and believers look at the same evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, correct? Yet, for one reason or another their interpretation of that data / evidence brings them to different conclusions. Now certainly one side is correct and the other is not (either Jesus bodily rose from the dead or he did not), but the determiner is not the raw evidence itself but the manner in which one evaluates the evidence. My point is that yes the OECs can point to evidence (just as YECs can), but it should be honestly admitted by all that the OEC interpretation of the evidence is not the ,only interpretation that is possible, and not necessarily the correct one.

        2. Lindsay, God rested on the 7th day from creating. That’s why we haven’t see any new species coming into existence at all in recorded history.
          6 days of work, and 1 of rest is a pattern for us, yes. Not so for the agricultural land (6 years tilled, 1 year of rest).
          “yom” followed by a numeral does NOT automatically mean 24 hrs. There is no such rule in Hebrew! Hosea 6:2 contradicts this anyway. Furthermore, the phrase “there was evening and there was morning” cannot mean 24 hrs. Evening begins when? Sunset. Morning begins when? Sunrise. The hrs between both are only ~12hrs. There are a handful of passages in the OT that use the word “yom” followed by “evening to evening” or “morning to morning”, in which case you can imply it’s referring to a 24 hr period.

          The days of creation (as far as Hebrew Scholars like Norman Geisler, Walter Kaiser, Gleason Archer, etc) are concerned believe that the word “yom” in Genesis 1 cannot be translated as 24 hr periods because it would contradict the other 3 creation accounts in the Bible: Proverbs 8, Psalm 104, and Job 38-9. Please read these and see for yourself.

          1. The claim that we have never observed the formation of a new species is absolutely false. There are many documented cases of new species formation.
            Of course, the Bible doesn’t ever say that species are fixed. It says that organisms will reproduce after their kinds. The species is a man-made concept and is often rather vague. It doesn’t take a lot of difference to be considered a new species – mostly because the biologists studying these organisms have every incentive to discover a new species and therefore every reason to inflate the importance of even minor differences.
            What it comes down to is that there is very good evidence that some groups of species did in fact have a common ancestral pool. This does not mean that evolution is true. Not all organisms have a common ancestor. The original kinds were created, not evolved. And, for the most part, much of the variation that led to different groups was likely created and not due to mutation. However, mutation and natural selection do play a role in the current diversity of organisms. They just aren’t a creative force as evolution says.
            There is also good evidence for directed mutations – i.e. not random, but controlled and repeated under specific circumstances. Some mutations are random, but some many actually be designed mechanisms that allow an organism to change its DNA in order to adapt to its environment.
            What it comes down to is that there is no reason to think that there was one perfect DNA sequence for every original kind and that all individuals had the same sequence initially. It is quite likely that the original creatures were quite different from each other, even when they belonged to the same kind. This view, of large initial variety, allows for the initial population to be divided into subsets that may eventually look and act differently, and may even no longer be able to interbreed, even if they could initially. These different groups, while they were initially from one group, would then be considered different species.
            This view of change over time is not at all like evolution. Evolution claims that all genetic information originated through random processes that built it up over time. The YEC view is that the complexity of living things was created, but that the original creatures had a lot of initial variability and the ability to adapt to their environment. We also believe that kinds are fixed, but that variation within a kind is possible and has led, in some cases, to multiple species within a kind.
            There is a lot of evidence for this in science and none of it contradicts what the Bible says. For example, since we’re talking about dogs, there are many of the dog kind that can still interbreed. Wolves and domestic dogs can interbreed, even though they are classified as separate species, different species of wolves or foxes occasionally interbreed, etc. There is good evidence, when you consider interbreeding, to consider all the dogs to be of one created kind, even though modern science considers them separate species. How can an OEC who believes in fixity of species answer this? Do you think that red wolves and grey wolves and coyotes and dingoes are all separate species that God created? Then how is it that they can interbreed? That would seem to contradict what the Bible says about organisms only reproducing according to their kinds (if kinds and species are the same thing). It makes much more sense to consider them one kind, but different species.

          2. I should also point out that Proverbs 8, Psalm 104, and Job 38-39 are not creation accounts. They allude to creation, but they do not outline any kind of chronological timeline or series of events. They also refer to other events besides creation, such as the flood.

            In addition, these passages are not written as historical accounts but as poems. They are very obviously poetic and figurative with lots of metaphors and other figures of speech. This is not the case for Genesis 1, which is written as a historical narrative.

            And, finally, these passages provide no contradiction with a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 or of creation in 6 ordinary days.

          3. flanders777 said: “we haven’t see any new species coming into existence at all in recorded history.”

            In addition to Lindsay’s response, let me add that ring species offer excellent evidence of speciation.

            I find it interesting that you are willing to defend a position that the Bible does not actually take (fixity of species), but are unwilling to defend a position that the Bible actually does take (i.e. that creation occurred just a few thousand years ago).

            Now, please don’t get me wrong. I recognize that you believe that those Biblical passages which point (in plain language) to a YEC chronology do not mean what they plainly say. I understand that you believe that these passages mean something other than what they actually say. However, I find it ironic that you are willing to defend something that Bible does not say, but are unwilling to defend what it actually does say (instead believing that it must mean something else).

            To make matters worse, there is good scientific evidence that speciation does in fact happen, but all things considered, there is no good compelling scientific case to be make against the validity of YEC.

      3. “The seventh day lacks the concluding “evening/morning” refrain found in the narratives of the other creation days. This indicates God’s Sabbath rest is ongoing. Since God’s Sabbath rest is unending, the seventh day must be unending.98 The New Testament confirms the seventh day of God’s rest is an ongoing reality.99 For example in Hebrews, God invites us, present tense, to join Him in His Sabbath rest:”

        Nonsense. Evening & morning was not appended to Day 7 because there was no discussion of Day 8. Granted, the appearance of that phrase with each of the first 6 days shows that these days were ordinary days, each with a daytime period and a nighttime period separated by those evenings and mornings. Thus, this phrase indicates that the days of creation were not long ages. However, the absence of that phrase with Day 7 does not mean that Day 7 has not ended. It’s sort of analogous to the observation that “Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence.” In other words, “evening & morning” shows that a day is an ordinary day and that it has ended, but the lack thereof does not mean that the day in ongoing. That is an illogical jump which is not supported by the text.

        Hebrews does indicate that God is still resting from creating things, but it in no way indicates that Day 7 is ongoing. In other words, God did not resume creating things on Day 8 or thereafter. So He is still “resting” in that sense – even though many days have passes since Day 7 ended. Again, one must make an unsubstantiated jump to conclude from Hebrews 4 that Day 7 is ongoing. Specifically, one must make the assertion that God only rests on Day 7 and not thereafter. The Bible does not make that claim, and so it is unsubstantiated.

        As I said in my original comment, there is nothing in the Genesis account of creation or in Hebrews 4 which indicates that Day 7 has not yet ended. That notion is not based on any Biblical text in either of these passages (or any other that I’m aware of). Instead, it is based on a conclusion which does not logically follow from the statements made in these Biblical passages.

        1. What I find amazing is how often those who support YEC quote Ken Ham verbatim (even when they don’t realise it).
          His arguments are so seriously flawed both biblically and scientifically, and have been demonstated time and time again to be wrong, yet we still have to listen to the same redundant viewpoints…

          Conversely, OECs (or Day Age Creationists like Dr Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe ministries) continue posting the latest scientific evidences for the God of the Bible.

          I recommend people watch the debate between Ken Ham, Hugh Ross, and others on the TBN broadcast a year or so ago. You can find it on Youtube.
          There are edited versions which go for 67 mins, but there is an unedited version that goes a bit longer.
          When I watched it again last night, I noted just how many times Ken Ham scowled at the audience when they applauded Dr Ross, how many times he tried to call Dr Ross a compromiser of Biblical Authority, how he held the Bible and repeatedly opened it partially as if to say that everything he said came from there but not once did he read from it, and how often he interrupted Dr Ross mid-sentence and changed the subject.
          You can disagree with someone’s opposing view to your own without behaving so unprofessionally. Even many YECs thought he was rude.

          Dr Ross, on the other hand, was respectful and calm towards Ken Ham and Eric Hovind throughout. To be fair, Eric Hovind (son of Kent Hovind, Dr Dino – who is even ruder than Ken Ham) was very respectful towards Dr Ross, whilst disagreeing. I applaud his demeanour.

          I cannot stand listening to Ken Ham anymore. He defended his position without citing any scientific evidence, and the bible passages he quoted were used to condemn Dr Ross’s position and Dr Ross personally, in an attempt to blame him for helping lead young people away from Christianity.

          Dr Ross made it clear what his position on most of the issues discussed were (unless Ken Ham rudely interrupted him and changed the subject multiple times, preventing him doing so), and yet Ken Ham continues to misquote Dr Ross to this day.

          http://www.godandscience.org
          http://www.reasons.org

          I prayerfully encourage all YECs reading this to go with an open mind and read up on the opposing view to you: OEC.
          I was YEC once, but thanks to ministries like Reasons to Believe, my faith has never been so strong. My desire to witness to those who reject Jesus and the Bible on scientific grounds is very strong.

          Please YEC brothers and sisters, understand the OEC view so that you can rebut it without misquoting them as Ken does.

          1. One of the reasons why I am an OEC is because of the tone of OEC debaters in their debates. They seem very comfortable with the Bible and with the evidence. But I just saw Jason Lisle debate at the SES National Apologetics conference in Charlotte last year, and Lisle was so arrogant that after a while it didn’t really matter what he was saying. If a person is attacking their debate opponent with all kinds of insinuations and innuendos, and trying to equate OECs with Darwinists and atheists, that is too much. If they are willing to lie about that, then they can’t be trusted on anything. But I will say that there are honest, respectful YECs like Paul Nelson and Marcus Ross, so I am open to being convinced. Just not by Ham and his ilk.

          2. WK,

            As I pointed out elsewhere in this discussion, I do not believe that Dr. Lisle is actually arrogant at all. He does not seem at all arrogant in person. That said, I would like to point out some very poor behavior on the part of many old earth creationists so that you can see that this sort of things happens on both sides of this issue.

            As you know, William Lane Craig has referred to pastors who are YEC as “embarrassing,” and many times we see others who are old earth creationists engage in similar insulting behavior toward other creationists. For instance, I can’t count the number of times that we have been referred to as idiots, unscientific, anti-intellectual, and so on. I’ve seen that sort of thing right here in these comments.

            These are clearly baseless charges and more than that, these are good examples of ad hominem. From my perspective, these comments seem very arrogant. Wouldn’t you feel the same way if Craig had referred to you as an “embarrassment”? What if others continually referred to you as an idiot or as anti-intellectual, or continually suggested that your position was not supported by actual science (when you knew that was not the case)?

          3. Look I was there in person at the SES debate. On an arrogance and misrepresentation of your opponent scale, this guy was a 9. Were you there? I was. He really is is not a gentleman. He really tries to poison the well by misrepresenting what OECs believe. And he really does attack the personal character of the person he is debating.

            And anyway, I listed out Lisle’s credentials. No one could say anything bad about his credentials, that’s why I listed them. Also, I specifically mention YECs who I think are winsome and collegial, e.g. Paul Nelson and Marcus Ross.

          4. That’s really funny, Doug, considering that you’ve put these ad hominem words into my mouth.
            I never said you were an idiot, an anti-intellectual, or other such personal attack.

            I respectfully disagree with you on these issues, but I would never question whether Jesus Christ is your Lord and Saviour.

            Personally, I can live with being called such things that you’re accusing me of calling you, but I cannot tolerate it when YECs call me a heretic, a compromiser of the Bible, and someone who destroys the gospel message with my old earth views, as I have been labelled repeatedly (not by you, but by many in my church).

            I would never judge you on whether you are a Christian, whether you’re going to heaven or hell, or other serious charges. To do so would be un-Christian.

            If you can reach the unsaved with the gospel of Jesus Christ using your YE views to assist you, then I’d be the first to congratulate you. I desire to save the lost who reject God on scientific grounds, and then share the gospel with them, as I’m sure you do.

            You’ve repeatedly called me arrogant, and stated that my scientific viewpoints are baseless (anti-intellectual).

            I think we both need to tone down our remarks on this blog and go back to a more civil discussion, don’t you?

          5. fladers777:
            “That’s really funny, Doug, considering that you’ve put these ad hominem words into my mouth.
            I never said you were an idiot, an anti-intellectual, or other such personal attack.”

            I never said that you called me personally an idiot or anything else. However, you did say this:

            “Thanks to YEC ministries like AiG, ICR and CMI, the secular world thinks we Christians and our Bibles are idiots.”
            (1/12/14 at 1:18am).

            This is the sort of condescending attitude that I was talking about here.

            fladers777:
            “I respectfully disagree with you on these issues, but I would never question whether Jesus Christ is your Lord and Saviour.

            “Personally, I can live with being called such things that you’re accusing me of calling you, but I cannot tolerate it when YECs call me a heretic, a compromiser of the Bible, and someone who destroys the gospel message with my old earth views, as I have been labelled repeatedly (not by you, but by many in my church).

            “I would never judge you on whether you are a Christian, whether you’re going to heaven or hell, or other serious charges. To do so would be un-Christian.”

            I agree, and have never said anything of this sort to you or anyone else.

            fladers777:
            “You’ve repeatedly called me arrogant, and stated that my scientific viewpoints are baseless (anti-intellectual).”

            Apparently, that’s addressed to me. So I am genuinely confused. I have never said anything of the sort. Please show me a quote.

            fladers777:
            “I think we both need to tone down our remarks on this blog and go back to a more civil discussion, don’t you?”

            I honestly do not know what you’re talking about. I have not said a single thing to you or anyone else that was not civil and professional.

            WK:
            “Doug, please try to be collegial in your disagreement.”

            Have I ever been otherwise?

          6. Doug, you asked me for a quote from you that you implied I was arrogant. Here it is:

            “For instance, I can’t count the number of times that we have been referred to as idiots, unscientific, anti-intellectual, and so on. I’ve seen that sort of thing right here in these comments.”

            That last sentence pretty much sums up my argument.

            I don’t mind being called arrogant, if that’s what you think I am being. I prefer to regard myself as boldly passionate.

            So, in the spirit of unity and charity, I apologise to you my brother in Christ for any offence I have caused you or others who hold to a YEC viewpoint.

            From personal experience, once my friends in church learned I was an Old Earther (who rejects Darwinian evolution), along the lines of Hugh Ross and RTB, I became increasing marginalised, shunned, back-stabbed, labeled as a compromiser of God’s word, a heretic, a blasphemer, an underminer of the Atonement of Christ, et al.

            Creation is a taboo subject in our Biblestudy, social discussions, and other public occasions because of me and my “extremist” views. We OECs are definitely in the minority in the modern day church and YEC is taught to my kids in all Youth ministries.

            The Youth and Children’s Coordinator threatened to remove me as a Leader of Boys Brigade because I wanted to show the boys what God did and why he did it (Creation). I kept age of the earth out of it, just presenting the scientific evidence.

            Many of the parents (who are YEC) really enjoyed it, but it didn’t matter what I did, she said many things to the parents which weren’t true, until they saw for themselves what I was showing their children, and they offered me a lot of support.

            I’ve lost friends over this issue, but I’ve also gained many more – half of them are YEC.

            Let us focus on the things we agree on, and move forward from here. We’ll have to agree to disagree, I think.

            Afterall, isn’t our goal the same: To bring people to salvation with the gospel?

          7. Flanders777,

            No. I asked you for a quote to back up this statement of yours (which was apparently directed to me):

            “You’ve repeatedly called me arrogant, and stated that my scientific viewpoints are baseless (anti-intellectual).”

            As you can see, you stated that I “repeatedly” called you “arrogant.” Apparently, all you can come up with is this quote from me:

            “For instance, I can’t count the number of times that we have been referred to as idiots, unscientific, anti-intellectual, and so on. I’ve seen that sort of thing right here in these comments.”

            Clearly, I did not identify you in this quote nor in the context from which it was taken. Second, I clearly did not call anyone “arrogant” in this quote. Third, you said that I repeatedly called you arrogant. That means that you believe that I did so more than once. However, you have not presented even one quote to that effect, much less multiple quotes. It is obvious that you overstated your case.

            “So, in the spirit of unity and charity, I apologise to you my brother in Christ for any offence I have caused you or others who hold to a YEC viewpoint.”

            Apology accepted.

            “From personal experience, once my friends in church learned I was an Old Earther (who rejects Darwinian evolution), along the lines of Hugh Ross and RTB, I became increasing marginalised, shunned, back-stabbed, labeled as a compromiser of God’s word, a heretic, a blasphemer, an underminer of the Atonement of Christ, et al.”

            They should not have done that. Please do not assume that all YEC’s are so divisive.

            Hopefully, you recognize that when YEC’s are referred to as an embarrassment, or as idiots, unscientific, anti-intellectual, and so on, we take offense at that the same way that you naturally would. Of course, these “charges” (if you wish to call them that) often do not show up in the form of one particular OEC calling one particular YEC an idiot or an embarrassment or whatever. Instead, this is often just a pattern of insulting behavior directed at YEC in general. Regardless, these are all baseless ad hominem charges (when they are verbalized as such) and this attitude reveals a significant lack of knowledge and understanding of the YEC science and the various YEC models.

  5. I realize that this is outside of OEC versus YEC, but I thought there was a distinction between theistic evolution and Darwinism? My problem with theistic evolution was more Scriptural than secular science. But, are you saying that theistic evolutionists are merely theists who are clinging to Darwinism?

    1. @WorldGoneCrazy. Theistic evolutionists still believe in the God of the Bible as the Creator of the Universe, but they accept biological evolution for how God created life, including us humans.

      1. Theistic evolutionists and atheists agree on everything that science can discover about the universe. When it comes to the natural world, theistic evolutionists and atheists agree: God did nothing in nature. And nature can be fully explained by natural mechanisms, without appealing to any intelligent causation for things like the origin of life or the Cambrian explosion.

        What theistic evolutionists add is personal preferences and feelings and hymn-singing and church attendance. Stuff that has nothing to do with science.

        1. Here, here!
          Jason Lisle (who is on AiGs payroll) is incredibly arrogant. Even more astonishing is the fact that he’s the only astronomer I know of who misrepresents his chosen field of study so vehemently and inaccurately.
          His knowledge of the Bible is even more shocking…

          I have no idea how Dr Hugh Ross can be so civil to them men who say the most unchristian remarks about him, his credentials, and his ministry which is bringing countless souls to faith in Jesus Christ.

          Thanks to YEC ministries like AiG, ICR and CMI, the secular world thinks we Christians and our Bibles are idiots.

          I spoke briefly to a YEC who was standing with his CMI booth at a Youth Ministries conference last weekend, and his knowledge of even the YE view was greatly lacking. He’d heard of minisitries like Reasons to Believe and Dr Hugh Ross, but proceeded to demonise and discredit everything it stood for. When I probed him for specific views he disagreed with, the typical list of 3 were mentioned: The days of Genesis 1 are 24hrs long, Noah’s flood was global, and that evolution is wrong. I told him that RTB and Dr Ross rejected evolution, but he tried to tell me he did! He quoted Ken Ham verbatim, as most do…

          Seriously, Ken Ham believes humans not only lived at the same time as dinosaurs, but they would ride on them like horses as well!!

          Brothers and Sisters in Christ, please open your eyes to this nonsense. There is a mountain of scientific evidence supporting the God of the Bible, and over 200 passages where God speaks in great detail about his creation.
          Don’t just read Genesis 1. Read Proverbs 8, Psalm 104 and Job 38-9 as well. The Bible is inerrant, so in order to correctly interpret the word of God, you must take it literally and consistently, unless context proves otherwise.
          And learn some Hebrew!

          1. OK, now I have to caution you about your tone. And maybe I should caution myself. Remember, there are plenty of YECs who are not like Ham and Lisle who are making quality contributions within the ID movement, and we don’t want to lose that by lumping them all in together.

          2. I apologise for my tone, but I am confronted by YECs every week at church who misrepresent my views (which are very similar to RTBs) and they ALWAYS quote Ken Ham verbatim. His influence cannot be understated. I have been called a heretic by some, and our church’s Youth and Children’s Coordinator/Pastor has threatened to pull me out of my role as a Youth Leader in one of the ministries because I am a Day Age Creationist. She said that my views are going to cause young kids to leave the church! I was so shocked by this.
            Fortunately for me, we had an Interim Senior Pastor who was a student of Hebrew, and once this situation came to his attention promptly informed her (the Y&C Pastor) that he was an Old Earth Creationist also. She never apologised to me, but she did back off.
            I love studying the Bible and Science, and the more I do, the more I love Jesus!
            I should share my testimony with you of the time when I spent 7 hours sharing the gospel with 10 atheists at a Buck’s Party, by answering their scientific questions with scientific answers and Biblical quotes to back it up. To say they were stunned, impressed, and persuaded would be an understatement.
            If you ever want to hear it, let me know. Thanks for letting me post on your blog.

          3. Thanks, WK, for issuing the yellow card to Flanders. Frankly, Flanders, I am not as worried as you are about what the secular world thinks of me. I am more concerned with what God thinks of me. He doesn’t seem to be as concerned as you are with my scientific backwardness. Why, I’ll bet He even likes Paul, who knew nothing of modern science. :-)

            It has been my experience on the street that just by mentioning the Name of the Lord Jesus or the facts of abortion, the secular world has a VERY low opinion of me. Frankly, I am dismissed and put in “chains” (or at least left without an audience) long before I ever get to Kalam, teleology, moral argument, ontology – much less to retrieving my poster shouting “The Earth is Only 6000 Years Old! Take That, You Heathens!” :-)

            As for the use of the term “idiots,” I shall go dig up my 4 (secular) diplomas in engineering and mathematics to see if the term applies. :-) God’s abundant blessings to you, Flanders – I LOVE your passion! Keep up the good work in fighting for the truth and the One Who is Truth.

          4. I have met Dr. Jason Lisle and have talked with him at length and in person. He is not even remotely arrogant. Some folks may get that impression by watching a video, but it is not an accurate impression (based on my on personal interactions with him).
            BTW, I cannot help but notice the disparity in some of the comments above. Jason Lisle is referred to as simply “Jason Lisle,” but Hugh Ross is always referred to as “Dr. Hugh Ross.” I think a more intelligent and rational approach is to recognize the accomplishments of both. Either include the “Dr.” with both or with neither.

          5. Sorry Doug. In my post I do refer to his credentials. He has great credentials and publications. I did see him poisoning the well against Ross in his SES debate.

  6. Just one more human interest story on this delicious debate – I hope everyone finds it relevant:

    After I became a Christian, I started attending a very strong fundamentalist Bible church (and proud of it!) with a pretty strong anti-apologetic (but not anti-Biblical apologetic) tendency. It was not anti-intellectual, however, as the pews were filled with former rocket scientists (and at least one Yale educated ornithologist whom you can find on the internet – YEC, btw) carrying around their Greek NT’s and Hebrew OT’s.

    Having been a rocket scientist myself, I made it a habit instead of sitting next to two elderly widows in their 80’s – as I find that women of a certain age have a beautiful wisdom about them – and I learn a LOT from them. One of them, whose husband HAD been a rocket / missile scientist, starting handing me Acts & Facts (ICR) every Sunday. She would always whisper to me “Just a reminder, I’m Old Earth, but my husband loved these.” It was kind of a clever play on her age, but also on her beliefs. :-)

    So, here we have a rocket scientist who went to meet the Lord as a YEC, and a faithful widow, who had done “nothing” other than be the backbone of her family, clean house, and bake cookies (which is everything, in my book!) who was going to meet the Lord as a committed OEC. Go figure. But, what a joyful, loving, and laugh-filled reunion that will be!

    My point is that there may be more to this debate than just that we YECers are scientific nihilists and those OECers are clinging to their Darwinist youths. :-)

      1. Thanks, WK! Love all your comments and all the OEC dedication to uncovering the science and the Biblical theology and original language interpretation. I would not have been in the Bible without you guys – so THANK YOU and God Bless you! Now, give it up. Just kidding! :-)

        I think Doug’s comment above (about the title and tone disparity) is a pretty good turn-the tables apologetic too. I will have to remember that one – touché, Doug. (Doug seems to have Roadrunner down better than anyone.) Perhaps I should also pull rank and demand that I be addressed as Dr. WGC from now on – what with my Ph.D. and all?!? :-)

  7. Just came across this from VERY conservative Biblical scholar Norm Geisler confirming a number of points Flanders has made in this thread (including his poor treatment by YECs): http://www.normgeisler.com/articles/Bible/Inspiration-Inerrancy/DoesInerrancyRequireBelieveInYoungEarth.htm

    This also includes some alternative explanations not discussed in this WK thread (like Relative Time view – something I have actually considered, different from Apparent Age view), as well as a pretty fair case that YEC has not only not been a significant issue in the historical church, but has arguably been out of the fundamental-evangelical mainstream going back throughout much of church history.

    Flanders, I certainly think this information should get you better treatment in conservative fundamental-evangelical churches. When you pop out your article with the words “Geisler concludes otherwise,” they cannot complain that it was put together by a liberal-theological Darwinist. (For those who don’t know it, Geisler takes EVERYONE to task who even remotely steps near the inerrancy line, especially conservative Biblical scholars.) Hope this is helpful to all – God’s blessings!

    1. WGC that’s a very interesting find you made there in reference to Geisler.

      Some of what he says,though, amounts to an argument from silence. Simply because the creation time frame was not an issue for the early church does not mean it is not important. Based on the testimony of the early church fathers, it was simply not an issue because it was assumed to be 6 literal days by most if not every one. The same type of ill-founded logic is used by those who claim that since Jesus didn’t really address homosexuality, it must mean he didn’t think it was that important.

      Geisler amazingly does not seem to grasp the fact that the whole issue isn’t just one of are there gaps or are there not gaps in the creation week. Does he really believe that animal death in creation before the fall is not really a big deal? Its hard for me to think that he could seriously hold a position like that, but alas we don’t know because (at least as far as I saw on my quick skim of the article) Geisler never addresses that issue.

      While I do respect Geisler and hold him in high regard for his good work over the years in apologetics, etc., I really think Norm is showing some age here or at least some sloppiness.

      1. Hi JMG. I agree with everything you are saying, except perhaps that Geisler is showing his age. (BTW, how old is he? Get it? :-))
        I don’t think that Geisler is making a case for OEC at all. I’m not at all certain he even leans that way. I think that, instead, he is making a case for de-coupling inerrancy from YEC, in the sense that we YECs should not accuse OECs of apostasy. (as has happened to Flanders) I think this posting should be taken seriously, because Geisler is a HUGE force in inerrancy and does not take any slight deviation from same lightly. I don’t think his Biblical theology could be much more conservative than it is. But, yes, like you, I care more about what God says than what Geisler says.
        I agree that animal death is a big deal – at least on my reading. I have Whorton’s book “Peril in Paradise” on my shelf – heavily highlighted, and I find it interesting but not overly convincing. But, I respect his arguments for sure. I still think there is something bigger going on here than OEC versus YEC, and perhaps your way of expressing it (are there gaps or not?) is the best focal point. Thanks, JMG! God Bless you – love your posts!
        Oh, and can you provide any sources on the early church fathers and how we can be fairly certain that they were YEC? This is actually more important to me than you might think, because I made the claim above that Paul knew nothing of modern science, yet God still loved him. I was implicitly claiming that Paul was YEC, yet not backing it up. Thanks!

        1. WGC, thank you very much for your kind words.
          Yes, I can give you some source material regarding the virtually universal six-literal-twenty-four-hour-day understanding of Genesis 1 by the early church fathers.
          The following few sources provide a very thorough listing of quotes from those early church leaders that underline their view of Genesis 1 as not being symbolic of long ages:
          http://bradkelly.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/did-early-church-fathers-believe-in-a-literal-six-day-creation/
          http://edinburghcreationgroup.org/home/article/43
          Further, here is a good run-down on the Jewish understanding of Genesis 1 with a number of Targum quotes, the Rabbinic commentary on those quotes, and a further excursion into an examination of the words of Jewish historian, Josephus, on the subject:
          http://www.douglashamp.com/creation-days-according-to-ancient-jewish-commentators/
          Unfortunately, probably the most exhaustive article on the topic that I have come across is by a catholic theologian named Robert Sungenis on a site called Faithful Answers. The article is called “The Fathers of the Church on Genesis 1-11″. I say unfortunately because I refrain from including the actual link because I am not sure WK would be comfortable with a link to a Catholic website here on his blog, so you will have to hunt for it on your own if you are interested.
          One thing I would like to point out about what you will see when you read the quotes from the early church about the six days of Genesis 1 is that you will very frequently see the six days of Genesis 1 tied to the statement in II Peter 3:8 that to God, a day is a thousand years, and a thousand years is a day.
          OECs are quick to jump on this linkage and claim that it is proof positive that the early church considered the days of Genesis to possibly be something other than 24 hour days and that they were therefore quite open to the idea that the language of Genesis 1 was actually metaphorical.
          However, this is based on an overly hasty rush to find justification for OEC views among the early church fathers rather than from a careful consideration of exactly what these men were saying in their writings.
          A sober and careful reading of the words of the early church leaders reveals something quite different. The linkage between Genesis 1 and II Peter 3 that they make is not that the days of Genesis 1 are themselves possibly thousands of years long, but that they are literal days into which God divided his creative act for the purpose of laying down a forecast / blueprint of the time between the creation itself and the final redemption of creation as described in the later chapters of the book of Revelation.
          The point is that many of the church fathers largely considered 6 literal 24 hour days to be TOO LONG (!) and unnecessary for God’s act of creation. They understood that an all-powerful God could easily create everything in the blink of an eye. They were trying to rationalize why he decided to take 6 days to do something that he could quite easily do in a mere moment. Their solution was to point to II Peter 3:8 that equates a day with a thousand years (note, not millions or billions) and claim that the reason creation was spread over six literal 24 hour days was because God wished, in the act of creation itself, to forecast the history of the earth from creation to final redemption with each of the six, literal twenty-four hour days of creation forecasting a period of one thousand years of earth’s history to be culminated at the conclusion of the sixth period (or seventh, which many took to represent the sabbath rest the earth was to enjoy during the millennial / 1 thousand year reign of Christ upon the earth immediately preceding redemption and the eternal state as described in the later chapters of Revelation).
          In no case whatsoever (at least that I am aware of) did writers of the early church ever say anything that wold indicate that they considered the days of Genesis 1 themselves to be anything more than 24 hour days.
          I hope you find the sources helpful and can see what I am getting at in my comments above.
          Blessing to you.
          JMG

        2. Hello again WGC.
          Just came across a very interesting article on the topic of the church fathers and their views on the days of Genesis one and the creation narrative.
          It contains numerous quotations from the likes of Basil the Great, Augustine and a few others that would put them squarely in the YEC camp. Also, the article does a nice job of pointing out what I had said previously: That the fathers tended to see the genesis creation days a six literal 24 hour days over which God chose to spread His creative work (instead of doing the whole thing in the wink of an eye) in order to forecast or project a 6000 year history of mankind that would unfold, leading to the 7th one thousand year period (the millennium) at end in which the world would be at rest, just as God rested during the 7th day of Genesis 1.
          Here is the link:
          http://creation.com/creation-millennium-church-fathers
          Since you had specifically asked about this topic, I thought you might find it an insightful read. Hope you enjoy it.
          Best regards,
          JMG

          1. Yes, you are correct, JMG: The early church fathers, at least many of them, were concerned that there were “heretics” – who were Really Young Earth Creationists – who were advocating for a past history that was really short. That’s pretty funny. Augustine was concerned about these RYECs he was an OEC by comparison. :-) Thanks again and blessings to you!

  8. WGC,thank you for the update on Geisler’s second response.

    It does pain me to read it, though. When I see Geisler make a statement like the following, I can only shake my head and wonder how well he is versed on this subject:

    [First, AIG’s response stressed my alleged “motivation” and “ultimate motivation” for holding to an Old Earth position as being the desire to accommodate the evolutionary view of long time periods. But why should I want to do that when I don’t believe in Evolution and would be happy if the Young Earth view was true. Indeed, one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time (St. Augustine), who lived a millennium and a half before Darwin, did not hold to a young earth.]

    How can he make this claim about Augustine when Augustine’s own words make it quite clear that (at least at the time of its writing) Augustine held to YEC. How else can one interpret the following?:

    “Let us, then, omit the conjectures of men who know not what they say, when they speak of the nature and origin of the human race. For some hold the same opinion regarding men that they hold regarding the world itself, that they have always been … . They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents, which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6000 years have yet passed. (Augustine, The City of God, XII:10).”

    I would grudgingly agree with him that the age of the earth should not be made a test of orthodoxy, but I do think it should be held as a test of consistency.

    However, going down this road, I’d be interested in how he would make the case that the doctrine of the trinity, on the contrary, IS a test of orthodoxy. One can point to the fact that the concept of the trinity is both Biblical and necessary in order to make possible things like the incarnation of Christ, his vicarious atonement for mankind, etc. It is accepted by all that the doctrine of the trinity is not something that must be believed in order to become a Christian, but that in order to be consistent and logical in ones theology, the trinity underpins a multitude of other doctrines and truths. Without the trinity to tie things together and make them dovetail, a lot of things just would not make logical sense.

    What then of the age of the earth? Are there not a number of significant doctrines that are affected by whether we take the days of Genesis 1 as literal (including literal days over which God chose to spread his creative activity in order to symbolize some other truth) or figurative? The biggest issue being the question of when death actually entered the creation? Was there already death in the non-human animal world prior to the fall of Adam and Eve? if there was, then how does the picture of the lion and the lamb lying down together square with a “period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time” in the words of Peter (Acts 3:21)? Note that trusted sources such as Vine and Thayer both define the word “restoration” as the “restoration of the perfect state before the fall”.

    I just think that this is not as much a peripheral issue (i.e. one that is interesting to debate, but which has little bearing on anything very important) as a lot of people would like to make it out to be.

    Again, WGC, I thank you for updating me on Geisler’s continuing response to the YEC / Orthodoxy question. It seems that there are some very wise people in the church whom God has given unique insights into certain doctrinal positions (apologetics, evangelism, etc.) but who, when they stray from their area of God-given expertise, do not realize their own missteps.

    When Geisler says:

    [“Further, I hope and pray that the Young Earth view is true (because it would be a good argument against evolution). Unfortunately, however, I believe the weight of biblical and scientific evidence does not favor it.”]

    he has clearly strayed into an area (science) for which he is unqualified to render definitive judgments. He surely must realize that there are YEC SCIENTISTS who would disagree with him. At least I would hope he is..

    I’ve said enough.

    Blessings to you.

    JMG

    1. Thanks, JMG! I agree with you that Geisler appears to be mistaken on Augustine’s view. He seems to be confusing the fact that Augustine was criticizing Really Young Earth Creationists with his own view that the earth was older, but still less than 6000 years old. I do also agree with you that Geisler cannot make the claim that the weight of Biblical evidence is in support of an old earth.

      I do, however, like Geisler’s implicit claim that we should be careful not to judge the motivation of fellow believers (unbelievers are a different case altogether :-)), particularly on this issue. I agree that science is not Geisler’s strong suit, but Biblical inerrancy is, and that’s why I consider his opinions on this matter to be of interest, and even a bit surprising to me personally.

      It’s weird: I guess because the Lord has brought a fair number of atheists and pantheists into my life, yet we never talk age of earth in our discussions. I’m sure that they assume that I am old earth, just because of my degrees. I DO get attacked a lot on my opposition to Darwinism, but that is a different matter altogether – I am prepared for that. But, from an apologetic standpoint, I am trying to get these folks to mere Christianity, and I am in no hurry to introduce a potential stumbling block on age of earth. If they assume old earth and I assume young, it really does not bother me. We are nowhere near a discussion of even the Bible, much less Biblical hermeneutics, in the vast majority of these conversations.

      Thanks again for the most informative links, and for the great analysis, JMG! Blessings right back at ya!

  9. I just heard the Hugh Ross and Jason Lisle debate. To be honest, I was expecting something much more compelling from Ross in defending an Old Earth perspective. I thought his ideas of ‘other creation accounts’ was particularly dubious.

    My biggest issue with Old Earthers is that they seem to put science on the same platform as the Bible, as if the two had equal weight. I was surprised that the opening question given to them in this debate was, ‘What do you see when you look through a telescope?’ Surely as Christians the Bible needs to be our starting point. I will never give a scientist the same podium as the Bible. Why? Because, like everything else touched by sin, science is a fallible discipline. The Bible, on the other hand, is infallible. Many scientific ‘hypotheses’ change over time; the Bible never changes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s