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January 31, 2015

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"We think Christians can take different positions on the age of the earth and still be orthodox—that the difference is often one of biblical interpretation rather than one of biblical rejection, and that the real fight on our hands when it comes to creation is not with our fellow believers, but with the naturalists."

But that's only good insofar as your ability to compartmentalize this issue apart from the overwhelming theology of the creation account. Except that it's actually wrong to divorce the two; the Biblical theology of the creation account is not a "real fight...with the naturalists" over some attempt to fit science and the Bible together, but it's a matter of the Gospel itself!

Why? Because the history of creation shows God as the only being that is capable of creating something from nothing. When we puny humans "create", we're not really creating: we simply take what already exists and rearrange it in different ways.

Not so with God. He truly creates, and that ex nihilo. And He's the only being able to do that. So in the creation account, we see God creating "the heavens and the earth", all with the express purpose of reaching the culmination of His creation, which was fellowship with Adam and Eve in the Garden. And the way He accomplished that was miraculous, it was orderly, it was with intent. In fact, we even have a miniature creation account in the creation of Adam: until God sovereignly breathed life into a sculpture of dust where none existed before, the shell that became Adam was simply a pile of formed dirt. But, God breathed life from Himself into Adam's body, signifying God's regenerative work work of salvation in totally dead sinners.

Now, I'm sure people would say "Yeah, but none of this negates either a young earth or an old earth view." But, when we understand that the purpose of the creation account was to illustrate salvation, i.e., salvation from beginning to end, then we also have to take into account things such as the Doctrine of Original Sin, which leads to the Doctrine of Total Depravity, which leads to the Doctrine of Justification by Faith.

However, once a person adopts an old earth view, then it is a slippery slope from there to denying Original Sin, which denies Total Depravity, which denies Justification by Faith, which ultimately makes salvation a work of Man rather than a miraculous gift of God to His People.

Thus, this issue is more than just "agree to disagree". The stakes are ultimately either "The Gospel is true and is the message of eternal life," or "There's no such thing as God"! It may take awhile to get there, but that's eventually where this issue leads. So, "grace for fellow Christians on the age of the earth"? Well, if by that you mean patience and gentleness while I instruct in "a more perfect way", then absolutely. But if you mean simply that this is some secondary issue to sweep under the rug, then I wholeheartedly reject that!

A few links of (possible) interest here:


On origins and metaphysical means and ends the causal shape of reality within the paradigm of philosophical naturalism verses the A-T metaphysical / Theistic paradigm finds the latter with far more to offer than the former. “Now, that much shows at most only that if you allow immanent final causes at all, you are to that extent committed also to formal causes. But someone could admit this and still deny formal causes at the level of biology. He could say, for example, that there is immanent final causality at the level of fundamental physics -- that basic particles, say, have causal powers and dispositions by virtue of which they are “directed at” or “point to” certain effects and manifestations -- but that there is no such finality at any higher level of physical reality…… But such a position would be plausible only if there were no causal powers at higher levels of physical reality that are irreducible to those described by physics. And that is simply not the case….” as noted by E. Feser here.. Intellectually speaking, the sloppy assumptions of some of today’s thinkers are further touched on here. As philosophical naturalism attempts to retain both it’s justification of evolution and its own self-contained materialism as the whole-show several intellectual problems arise.. On genetics and Genesis, the Flynn-Kemp proposal, while not something many of us necessarily agree with, is congruent with the observation that genetic footprints actually can easily accommodate an original pair of humans. The old / young Earth steps both equally satisfy Christianity’s metaphysical regressions in terms of the causal shape of reality, final and formal causes, and abstraction’s (mathematical and otherwise) inability to exhaustively account for either material or “reality’s qualia shape”. Some interesting reading on various regressions dealing with biology and original sin can be found in part one and then in part two.

The Christian enjoys the peculiar fact that everything about the causal shape of reality and parts-in-common and parts-in-contrast, from the highest to the lowest reams of actuality – wherever the eye may focus – all reduce to ultimate foundational propositions (a phrase I acquired from Brad B at STR) as physicality alone fails to rise to the level of what can be called proof. Far from it in fact, and while many naturalists and skeptics don’t want to give more than a wave of the hand at the (troubling) question of temporal becoming as it relates to reality itself, and at how that (necessarily) ties into our interpretation of the causal shape of reality, and at how that ties into (necessarily) the apparent improbable course which our predictable rate of mutation seems indebted to, and at how that ties into (necessarily) the variety of life we find today, and at all of that mixed together in PN’s disjointed and hopeless reach for anything remotely analogous to seamlessness, there remains all sorts of assumptions, presuppositions, a priori commitments, and troubling metaphysical missteps which go unaccounted for if no-god. Of course, all these vectors, and more, accommodate A-T metaphysical intellectualism far easier as on all these fronts and more the Theist finds far, far less of that pesky need for uncomfortably shoe-horning-in-the-data whenever we speak these things, or of time, or of timelessness, or of physicality, or of a robust intellectual coherence amid ultimate foundations.

A useful quote from a letter to the Christian Apologist:


You need to take a strong dose of analytic philosophy. The kind of philosophy that predominates in the Anglophone world is known as analytic philosophy. This style of philosophizing contrasts sharply with that of Continental philosophy. Whereas Continental philosophy tends to be obscure, imprecise, and emotive, analytic philosophy lays great worth and emphasis on clarity of definitions, careful delineation of premisses, and logical rigor of argumentation. Unfortunately, theology has tended to follow the lead of Continental philosophy, which only results in darkness being piled upon darkness. The experience of the last 40 years of the renaissance of Anglo-American Philosophy of Religion has revealed that important apologetical issues can be brilliantly illuminated through the light of philosophical analysis. Richard Swinburne, the Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion at Oxford University has written,


It is one of the intellectual tragedies of our age that when philosophy in English-speaking countries has developed high standards of argument and clear thinking, the style of theological writing has been largely influenced by the continental philosophy of Existentialism, which, despite its considerable other merits, has been distinguished by a very loose and sloppy style of argument. If argument has a place in theology, large-scale theology needs clear and rigorous argument. That point was very well grasped by Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus, by Berkeley, Butler, and Paley. It is high time for theology to return to their standards.


The rest of this letter to the Christian Apologist can be read here.


Disclaimer: On the existential side of reality – it cannot be wholly “discounted” as such vectors are of true import. Only, what the letter linked to above aims at is to add something that may have been of late neglected – those affairs of analytic philosophy.

The best argument I've heard for YEC is this. Mark 10:6 states:

"But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female."

Now if the time of Adam was 13.6 Billion after creation, then in what sense do you read "from the beginning of creation"? To argue that all 13.6 billion years to the point of Adam is creation and everything after Adam is post-creation is twisting words.

Amy, does STR take a position on how long ago the historical Adam and Eve lived? Also, does STR take a position on whether the historical Adam and Eve are actually the ancestors of all humans living today?

In response to d's comment, specifically this bit:

"However, once a person adopts an old earth view, then it is a slippery slope from there to denying Original Sin, which denies Total Depravity, which denies Justification by Faith, which ultimately makes salvation a work of Man rather than a miraculous gift of God to His People."

But if a person holding an old earth view does not, in fact, deny total depravity and justification by faith, surely it doesn't make sense to judge them as if they did? A slippery slope which may or may not exist and which they don't seem to have fallen down in any case is not excuse to hold people responsible for views they don't actually hold.

The issue is physics, not biology.

If the person who adopts the old earth view does so in order to accept everything that physics has to say about the development of the universe, then he's saying that God created a world that was already under the sentence of death from its creation.

Argument:

  1. If there is sufficient mass in the universe to halt its expansion, then in the long run, the universe will collapse back in on itself to a single point.
  2. If there is not sufficient mass in the universe to halt its expansion, then in the long run, everything ends up spreading out forever growing thinner and thinner and colder and colder approaching vacuum pressures and absolute zero temperatures as a limit.
  3. No biological life is possible in a universe collapsed back in on itself to a single point.
  4. No biological life is possible in a universe where everything is spreading out forever growing thinner and thinner and colder and colder approaching vacuum pressures and absolute zero temperatures as a limit.
  5. So on the one hand, if there is sufficient mass in the universe to halt its expansion, then in the long run, life is impossible.
  6. But on the other hand, if there is not sufficient mass in the universe to halt its expansion, then in the long run, life is impossible.
  7. But either there is sufficient mass in the universe to halt its expansion, or there is not sufficient mass to halt its expansion.
  8. And Either way, in the long run, life is impossible.The universe is under a death sentence. And this simply is not compatible with what we are told about the Edenic world.

    Now, I agree with the OP that, from an interpretive standpoint, the age of the earth is not implied by the text of Scripture.

    But don't think that adopting old-earth creationism helps in the least in resolving the tension of science and Scripture.

Uh Oh.

Unclosed tag. (I bet I closed an ordered list with a UL-tag)

Didn't notice in preview. Sorry.

Hopefully fixed.

I don’t have a problem with God building sin and death into the created universe, including the death of the universe. Everything that happens, including the Fall, already happened in eternity, only to unfold in time. So God created death based on sin, sharks and carnivores right along with vegetarians.

Was it good? Yes, if it serves God’s purpose.

It is not a sin for God to do so since His nature is a law unto itself and he cannot violate it. There is no other law giver he must answer to.

Also, creation is a miracle and part of a miracle is that it seems impossible to the viewer. This is what makes it a miracle.

WisdomLover conflates a universe capable of support life forever with on capable of supporting life for as long as God needs it to.

Since scripture clearly indicates that the universe has both a divinely orchestrated beginning as well as an end the entire argument fails because it was never God's intent to support life in *this* universe forever. Rather, the goal was *always* God's eternal kingdom, since before the beginning of (this) creation.

Unless you postulate a fundamental change in physics at the fall, it's clear from creation that this universe was designed to be temporary.

(oops; I meant ... capable of supporting life forever with one capable of ...)

Since scripture clearly indicates that the universe has both a divinely orchestrated beginning as well as an end the entire argument fails because it was never God's intent to support life in *this* universe forever.
No. It was God's intent to have a world without death and without sin. That's why death was a punishment that entered the world when sin entered the world you see. That's what Scripture clearly indicates. Death entered this universe because of sin, not because of God's original intent.

Scripture also clearly indicates that the end of the world is the result of sin. The fact that this universe ultimately has to be replaced with a new one is that Adam broke it.

There is no end to the sinless new heaven and new earth. There will be no possibility of it collapsing into a point or expanding out forever.

The physics our world 'enjoys' came to be as a result of sin.

"But if a person holding an old earth view does not, in fact, deny total depravity and justification by faith, surely it doesn't make sense to judge them as if they did? A slippery slope which may or may not exist and which they don't seem to have fallen down in any case is not excuse to hold people responsible for views they don't actually hold.

I don't know what you mean by "judging", but the point is that to hold a position such as you described is inconsistent at best, in which the prescribed solution is better instruction, or it's intellectually and spiritually dishonest at worst, in which the prescribed solution is repentance and belief in the truth.

i.e., There's a reason it's a "slippery slope", and it's not okay to linger on a slippery slope just to gratify our self at the expense of submitting ourselves to God's clear Word in Scripture.

It's interesting that you call for grace and post only the case for OEC that Justin Taylor recently produced. There are cogent answers to his arguments.

What irks me is that many OECists treat YECists as though they are all ignorant dolts. It's be like YECists treating OECists as though they all have a low view of the Bible. While you may have linked only to JT's recent article because it has apparently generated much response, I wonder if it's not because you think that YECists are really all ignorant of the arguments of OECists. That makes me wonder if you are ignorant of the better arguments of YECists. I wouldn't want to think that you would intentionally misrepresent them.

Jim Pemberton,

First, Amy does not identify where in the fight she stands. One could assume she only posts defense for OE because she is OE and wants it supported. on the flip side, one could assume she only posts defense for OE because she is YE and the point is grace. (Something that appears to have been missed by the majority of the comments section.) Of course both links were bout people who were showing grace, so the focus on one being a defense and the other not misses the point. (It would be like someone complaining about racism in a video that used a white woman and a white man to discuss sexual discrimination in the work place.)

Second, Amy specifically references "angry letters" STR has received from YE regarding their opinion of the OE opinion of Scripture. One could assume she's being disingenuous and only listing the attacks from YE and not those from OE. Or, one could assume that YE are more vocal in their opposition and do so by attacking the person (see d's final paragraph in the first comment). (She did, after all, reference "angry" which rarely is simultaneous with "reasoned and hermeneutically sound".)

Third, even if your accusations are correct, OEs only insult YEs intelligence. YEs insult OEs spiritual discernment. Frankly, I find "You have a low view of Scripture" to be a more severe insult than "You're ignorant of the facts." But that's me. Going from "don't call me stupid" to "but maybe you're stupid" in the same paragraph doesn't help your case.

Amy's post fails to do a number of things. It fails to identify her position on the debate. It fails to express any opinion (unless it's an opinion of what is lacking in either side based on the beginning of the last paragraph) regarding the intellectual or spiritual status of anyone on either side. The reason it does neither of these things is because the first is irrelevant and the second is counter to the point of the post.

The grace she is promoting appears to be lacking in your choice to read far more into what she posted than can be appropriately derived.

d

A 'slippery slope' means that something must follow from something else. So your argument as stated means that to hold an OEC view means that one will inevitably deny original sin, total depravity, and justification by faith. I know this to be untrue because I am an OEC and hold to these tenants.

If you mean that it is easier for one holding to an OEC perspective to deny these doctrines, that may or may not be true. I would be inclined to argue, and hold up as examples many of my fundamentalist friends, that those holding to an YEC view are more likely to hold to a 'justified by works and faith' rather than a 'saved by faith alone' doctrine. Does one necessitate the other, I don't think so. Do they coincide often? Perhaps.

I think the string of comments is telling regarding this issue. Rather than discussing how YECists and OECists can extend grace to one another, the comments seem to revolve around arguing for or against one view or the other.

I am an OEC. My department chair is a YEC. This issue comes up 2 or 3 times each year. We have pointed yet gracious discussions because we know this is not a salvation issue. When God speaks through the apostle Paul, regarding being saved by faith alone, that no one should boast, I don't think He is speaking about faith in a certain view of creation. So, my chair and I, while on opposite sides of this issue, abide in God's grace and faith in His saving work on the cross.

Brian-

The point of the arguments is to underscore what is at stake.

It's not just a question of whether biology or physics or whatever is compatible with Genesis.

It's not just a question of whether the chronological interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 is correct.

The issue is whether what OECs (or YECs or theistic evolutionists for that matter) is compatible with what all of Scripture says about how Sin came into the world and how it is ultimately remedied.

I have found many YEC have a "my way or the highway" attitude.

I have, after stating that I was not YEC, been told by another that they would not sit in a church that would allow me to be a member.

I have been told that it is not a test for salvation. I can be saved and not be YEC.

However..... Because I was not, there are so many things that I MUST deny that there is very little possibility I could be because denying all the other things ( which I stated I didn't, but that was immediately dismissed because that was not possible) made me reprobate. Therefore, they could be very certain that there was no way not to enjoy a fiery afterlife that they could see, but there wasn't anything that actually stated so to back them up.

And for some reason, it is nearly impossible to get it through many heads that not being a strict YEC does not mean that I am endorsing evolution. No matter how often or emphatically it is stated, it still seem to cycle back that I must be an evolutionist and trying to deceive them.

I actually had one tell me that he didn't care if I hated him (which I don't) because the fact that I hated him proved he was right because Jesus said his followers would be hated by the world.


Amy,

I've only read through Justin's article once so far and find it a "brute strength" approach to the issue... not so much taking hammer and chisel to clear old varnish off a master to restore it, but along the lines of scientists who use large particle accelerators to collide protons to break them into tinier bits to see what they're made of.

While the machinery and science are fascinating, the process is still brute force and raises the question: "How much is lost in the explosive force of collision?" (not to mention whether the sensors are delicate enough to detect the tiniest, most fragile elements).

I appreciate you injecting grace into the dialog, kind of like a mother intervening in a sibling dispute. But honestly, it pretty much boils down to an 'agree to disagree' approach that fails to resolve, simply modeling "the more civil way to fight".

It wasn't the approach Paul took in nipping the divided church in the bud, was it? (you know: I'm of Paul, I'm of Apollos...) Resolution through grace was what he modeled.

Unfortunately, for some it is Young Earth or burn.

You cannot have a conversation to come to an agreement with someone who thinks if he admits it possible that he is wrong he is throwing away his eternal salvation.

I have been told that if I held a gay dating service in the sanctuary using the communion table, I couldn't be more anti-Christian.


Amy, does STR take a position on how long ago the historical Adam and Eve lived? Also, does STR take a position on whether the historical Adam and Eve are actually the ancestors of all humans living today?

I haven't heard anyone give numbers, but we're all in agreement that they're the ancestors of all humans living today.

In response to Jim P. and Greg S., the purpose of pointing to Justin's article was just what I said: to promote grace. It's meant to respond only to the misunderstanding many young-earthers have about old-earthers. I'm asked over and over why old-earthers don't trust the Bible. That's a misunderstanding. Old-earthers think the Bible does not contradict an old earth, therefore they're not approaching this as people who mistrust the Bible. That's what the article is meant to demonstrate. Whether or not the things cited in the article prove the Bible teaches an old earth is a different question entirely, and not something I'm addressing here (though, as I said, I think it should be debated). And you'll note I did call old-earthers to account, as well.

Amy,

Thank you for taking time to respond. However, I think my point was more along the lines of resolving the issue instead of just promoting grace between the two camps. It's like with John 4, instead of simply promoting grace between the Jews and Samaritans as to where they contest God should be worshiped (in this mountain or in Jerusalem)... Resolving the issue by taking the Samaritans to task/account (you worship what you don't know...) but then not leaving it there but elevating the underlying issue (worship of God) to a greater truth/reality (vv 23,24)

Sounds about right.

I've been told I should stop lying to people about being a Christian if I didn't agree to six 24-hour days. That was the key to all scripture, and anyone who doubted the plain reading rejected all of it.

I've had discussions about 1st order, 2nd order, and tertiary issues. Apparently, anyone who doesn't see it as a 1st order issue is too liberal to consider a true Christian.

Despite claims otherwise, for many this is a test of orthodoxy.

I, personally, do not believe that when we stand before The Lord, we will hear "Well, that takes care of everything. You have put your faith in Jesus, and have been fully justified. Now, for the big question, Young Earth or Old Earth?"

As others, I have been bluntly told that such people should not be allowed in a church in case they had contact with children or the less educated and kept them from going to Heavan. That they are worse than atheists, because atheists are at least honest about their unbelief. I've been called a swindler, someone who knowingly spreads lies, and shown where Paul says that swindlers will not go to Heavan and should be removed from the body of the church.

I fully accept young earthers as brothers and sisters in Christ, which whom I differ in opinion, it is unforetunate that many can't reciprocate.

Love
Apparently the AntiChrist

Heb 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear ...or as Calvin translates it...,“So that they became the visibles of things not visible,”

What if the creation of time space and matter merely clothed something that was already here?


I would throw the question out there about why is it a point of contention? Why do people feel the need to argue and Why so vehemently sometimes? I think it boils down to what they believe the other Christians should do to win other people to Christianity.
When I listen to Greg I have no doubt that he is a Christian. I have no doubt that he is a very effective Christian. Even more so than I ever would be. This does bring to my mind a question though. I think it is a question for all Christians. If they(the other Christians) believed as I did about Young Earth or Old Earth how much more effective would they be? I am a YEC. I listen to Greg and I hear people call him with this question and I hear him every time come to this argument and every single time I hear him say that ultimately it doesn't matter and I cringe. I cringe because for a great many of people I think it would matter. When they decide to start looking at the bible as being true they are going to come to that question of whether to take Genesis as literal. Some won't care but I see a world that is dominated by relativism. Their truth is the only truth that matters and if they see the Bible and Christians reinforcing that then why believe what the Bible says? Why not believe in your own thing if Christians can't even come to a consensus about what they believe. So each side tries to convince the other because we all want to be of one mind so that we can present a solid argument to people.
So as I believe that Old Earth Christians are indeed Christians... this will not change the fact that I am going to try to convince them of what I think is truth. If Grace is shutting up and just letting them continue to believe what they believe then I couldn't allow that. If grace is just being nice to fellow Christians when they believe something different then I am all for that... but I won't be quiet.

The Earth is not flat, and the Earth is not 6,000-10,000 years old.

It isn't an issue of "grace." It's an issue of fact.
We know beyond any certainty that the Earth is not flat. We know beyond any certainty that the Earth is not "young." The evidence is overwhelming in both cases.

If someone tries to make the case to me that the Earth is flat, I can certainly be graceful, kind and patient. But I don't need to seriously entertain their position, because it is absurd nonsense.

And while I realize my language is strong here, the same is true for a young Earth position. It is utter nonsense, and while I believe firmly that we should be loving, graceful, patient, and kind to people who try to advance this position, the position itself is absurd nonsense, and it should be treated as such.

@William West

The difference is if you are at a church, there won't be a conversation about whether you should be hauled before the elders and a decision needs to be made on whether you can teach Sunday School because you are a heretic. I've been in conversations where Mormonism would have been more readily accepted as orthodox than a Day-Age interpretation.

I have heard more hateful vitriol against Old Earth Creationists by Young Earth Creationists than I have ever heard from Hatetheists against Christians.

When was the last time an Old Earth Creationist told you that you'd burn if you didn't accept their view, because you obviously despised God's word?

Roger,
I have never heard of a single Young Earth Creationist say that an Old Earth believer would burn. Does it happen... yes I am sure it does... just as there are people who would be so vociferous when confronted with a person who believes that you can lose your salvation. I just have never experienced it. I have talked to many people about my beliefs and not once ever called into question their faith. I have called into question their effectiveness and I will continue to do so until I am convinced that I was wrong. At that point... and I don't think it will happen.. I will then be just as vocal about the truth I have come to know. My main point is this... if someone is passionate about something to call into question someone else's faith you have to question what they are being faithful to. Are they being faithful to the truth or are they being faithful to a set of beliefs. People are passionate about defending something when they know it to be the truth or because they feel like the truth they have invested a lot of time in is crumbling. Well that is what I have seen from my experience anyway.
Brgulker... yes your language is strong and while I can't fully respond in a comments box I definitely would argue with you about your claim. I think there is compelling evidence that would suggest that the Earth is indeed 6000 or so years old. Maybe if you are ever in Dallas... a discussion over coffee would be in order.

You may not have seen it, but it happens.

You say you will hold your position until you are convinced it is wrong? That's good for you.

Others insist it can't be shown, because you are using Man's logic and Man's logic has been perverted by the fall and can't be trusted. You either follow the plain reading of Gen 1, or you deny Christ. There appears to be no middle ground in some eyes.

I take it, your answer is you have never been told you are not really a Christian for your Young Earth position?

I know a few Calvinist who will use that as a sign of election.

If you are elect, you will be justified.
If you are justified you will be sanctified.
As part of your sanctification you will reject secular science.

If you do not reject secular science, you are not sanctified, which brings into question your justification, and hence election.

Hard to argue with someone who hands you that as a starting point.

If one refuses to accept the Bible as the word of God, what logically follows?

"You either follow the plain reading of Gen 1, or you deny Christ."

The best answer to that is to ask whether they will also follow the 'plain' reading of Genesis 2?

Old earth leads to evolution.

Evolution does away with Adam.

No Adam, no fall.

No fall, no need for redemption.

No need for redemption, no need for atonement

No need for atonement, the cross has no meaning.

All combine to undermine scripture.

Old earth leads to evolution.

No it does not.

Evolution does away with Adam.

Only if you assume that humanity came about through evolution and not through Adam. What if you argue that Evolution is one process (among many) that was put in place after the fall? It couldn't very well do away with Adam then, could it?

I agree with the next 4, but for obvious reasons, I disagree with this:

All combine to undermine scripture.

They don't all combine to undermine Scripture. The first two, in particular, don't.

Kent Hovind gives a wonderful explanation of the correlations.

Roger,
Correct I have never been told I am not a Christian because of my stance that the Earth is young. I have been given interesting looks and I have had several people disagree with me but in my relationships with people, in all of the discussions, they know without a doubt that I believe what I am saying. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be prepared to give an answer for the reason for our hope but to do so with gentleness and respect. I think that last part is hard for some because of pride. You have to be willing to lay that pride down if there is a compelling argument that replaces your current understanding. To many people I know get very boisterous when their beliefs are challenged instead of using tactics like Greg teaches us. All I can do in that situation is to be the example.

Thanks for the post, Amy.

Seriously folks? Next we'll be debating the virgin birth, the resurrection, water into wine, healing the blind, raising the dead, healed snake bites by looking a bronze serpent, Isaac born to a 90 year old woman, a talking donkey... which miracle would you like to discuss next. No one knows how old the earth is. The creation act was a miracle. I submit everything within and around us is pure miracle. How old was the wine Jesus made? Age related factors at time-zero were set by God himself. OEs and YEs could both be right. Maybe the age markers are a delusion God gives the non-elect. Leave room for some unknowables, some mystery.

God gave us the account in Genesis to show he created it all from nothing in an orderly fashion, and to show his people that this is the pattern for our work week. Next...

The tone of our comments is a sad testimony to outsiders... we just went through some similar discussions concerning amill and premill viewpoints at our church... "Love one another."

"Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." These should temper our tongues and keyboards.

The creation act was a miracle. I submit everything within and around us is pure miracle. How old was the wine Jesus made? Age related factors at time-zero were set by God himself. OEs and YEs could both be right. Maybe the age markers are a delusion God gives the non-elect. Leave room for some unknowables, some mystery.
Hear, hear.

Interesting looks vs being called out as a heretic?

I don't hold this as a litmus test for salvation. Many, although claiming not to, find ways to slippery slope you into someone that they feel needs church discipline.


In my experience, the discussion is often not done with gentleness.

LW...

Wow, now you've gone and done it! Water into wine? Not the issue! was it white or red? The "White Whiners" (we like to call them) make their case almost entirely on the claim that white pairs better with fish... then you get your splinter groups who argue over which varietal it most likely mimicked!

Of course everyone knows that it was red... because communion has always been served with Welch's grape juice. The White Whiners' always use the argument, "What'd you use prior to 1869? Welch's didn't exist before then!"(Smug little drunkard's!) Though records are scarce, we have it on good authority they used processed port... (burn off the alcohol for the little kiddies)

Okay, seriously, love one another. Agreed, that's why resolution is needed, not just civilly debated. 2 Tim 2 comes to mind which I think pairs nicely with your comments.

Not to add to the fire, but, Science also contradicts some of the Old Testament claims about the Earth being stationary and the sun revolving around it. (see Geocentric VS Copernican model debate, a lot on YouTube). Now that, is an interesting study in itself.

If there "needs" to be consensus, is that not making it a 1st order essential doctrine of the faith? Does that not put anyone who disagrees outside orthodoxy?

I think there was an attempt to arrange a dinner to discuss this, by Biologos, between Hugh Ross and Ken Ham.

It didn't go over well, at all.

Perhaps STR should produce a list of the essentials of the faith.

People seem not to agree on the minimum standards.

According to some Mormons are in and Reformed are out.

"... a list of essentials..." There's really only one essential "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." After that comes growing in the grace and knowledge of... with the end result being fully mature in the stature of...

The problem is there's an adversary that wants to hinder that... you know, the whole, steal, kill and destroy intention, of which he's quite good at.

Ps 11:3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? And if he can get us to question God, His character and His word, it's such a small step to get us to fall into sin and be ensnared by it.

"...Science also contradicts some of the Old Testament..." I'm not familiar with OT claims of being at the center of... But, honestly, just as man has misinterpreted available data from science, it's no stretch to think man can also misinterpret passages regarding of the movement of the sun across the sky...

@Greg, you are my brother in Christ. Even if you think I've been deluded by the adversary.

Trent,

Sorry, I'm not seeing where I said you were deluded... if you'd point that out, I'd appreciate it.

What I did say, in regard to the essentials... that there's an adversary that wants to interfere, cause conflict... destroy us at every step. If you and I are opposed, there's only one actively encouraging that opposition

My cards on the table, not that it matters.

But, God sent false prophets among the Jews to weed out false believers.

He also teaches us that unless a person is regenerate, they cannot understand spiritual truth (Scripture).

At the end of the ages, in reference to the Antichrist (the papacy), God will send strong delusion so that people will believe lies.

Based on my understanding of Christ's present millennial reign on David's Throne in Heaven, Satan will be un-bound from the restraints of the Gospel before the end of the world. Our day, being what many call, the "post-christian" era, might reflect this happening now.

I always try to harmonize science with scripture, but until proven wrong, I always side with the traditional reformed view.

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