Questions for a Biblical Case for an Old Earth


Noticing the title, A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, of one of the Related Posts that WordPress linked to my Were Adam & Eve Real? post, I noticed something curious, nowhere did he actually USE THE BIBLE to make his “Biblical Case” for Old Earth. I’ve noted that the Clergy Letter Project approvingly links the United Church of Christ’s pastoral letter on the subject, Not Mutually Exclusive, which uses the same tactic of saying that evolution [which requires long ages] and the Bible are not, well, mutually exclusive, BUT NEVER USES THE BIBLE TO MAKE IT’S CASE.

Why?

Because Old Earth Compromise Creationists CAN’T logically do so without making shipwreck of the Bible. This is why they quote science as their true and ultimate authority and then selectively try to magisterially demonstrate how science “sheds light on” the inerrant REVEALED Word of God!

So I commented on this fellow’s post, asking him these questions: 

May I suggest that when you suggest that Answers in Genesis believes that dinosaurs are a fabrication when they in fact utilize them as “missionary lizards” that you make yourself look like a world-class idiot?

May I also note that in suggesting that the global Noachim Flood was only local that you have called God a liar, since He promised Noah afterward by an “everlasting covenant” that “the waters no more become a flood to destroy ALL FLESH,” [Gen. 9:15] yet if this did not refer to a worldwide flood we see that local floods abound and God is found faithless concerning His promise? Might I also note that you judge the apostle Peter as being in error when he validates a world-wide flood [2 Pet. 3:6]

Might I further note that the 4th Commandment [Exodus 20:11] has as it’s basis a literal 6-day interpretation of the Genesis Creation week, despite your assertions to the contrary?

Am I not correct to call you wholly inconsistent with regards to your approach to the Bible when you swallow the camel of the Resurrection and like New Testament miracles, though they are disputed by the same natualism-based science that gave us evolution, yet compromise the Bible’s plain meaning concerning a young Earth, especially in light of it’s clear definition of the Creation days and its intent as history as demonstrated by Genesis’ incorporation of geneaologies? [Note, C.S. Lewis used an objection to this effect, so I thought you might appreciate the irony, since you quoted him in reference to Aslan to support the notion that God is allegedly so incomprehensible that His REVEALED Word will never make sense to us, though we’ve been instructed to study to show ourselves approved, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.]

Am I not correct that Romans 5:12’s claim that “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” contradicts the notion that man was formed by a cycling process of animal death and mutation, unless we shall say that the evolution of mortal, soul-less animals somehow resulted creation of immortal souled men, who lost their physical mortality at the Fall?

Might I not also charge that your compromise contradicts Christ’s authority, since He affirmed that God created Adam and Eve “from/at the beginning” [Matt 19:4; Mark 10:6] which is true if man was created on the 6th day of an approx. 6,000 +/- 850 years old, but it utter nonsense if man has occupied but the tiniest tail-end of billion[s] year old Earth history, much less can it be said that man was “from the beginning” if we take into account naturalism’s erroneously postulated age of the universe!

May I not at last note that your post is not informative, unless it is to inform us of the opinions of folks who believe their Bibles on some points but not on others and so to inform us of the dangers of this sort of compromise upon the faculty of reason?

Think about it. If you must ask the Serpent’s Question [“Did God really say?”], then Choose a side. As for me, I will answer, “Let God be true and every man a liar!”

After further consideration, I then challenged him:

Oh yes, and shouldn’t your “Biblical Case” for an Old Earth actually have some reference to the Bible, other than to trivialize the parts you disagree with as allegory and to speculate about how the plain meaning of the text might be altered to suit vast ages?

You do realize that the plain meaning of the text does not support your claim of an Old Earth. Allow me to cite the following quote from Jonathan Sarfati’s book Refuting Compromise [page 55 – I just like the way he words this argument]:

“If an old earth were really the teaching of Scripture, then one claim is glaringly conspicuous by its absence, that is, any claim in commentaries that the Bible unambiguously teaches long ages. Rather, usual claim is that the biblical text appears on the surface to teach a young earth but may allow for an old earth. We never hear something like, ‘Yes, the decay of the earth’s magnetic field and rapid reversals seem to provide irrefutable proof of a young earth. But we mustn’t allow even the strongest science to overrule the clear teaching of the Word of God that the earth is billions of years old.’” [In the original text, the words “unambiguously teaches” and “may allow for” were emphasized.]

Which brings up the question, Can a coherent Biblical Case be made for an Old Earth that does not make shipwreck of the Bible in the process?

–Sirius Knott

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Eric Kemp says:

    Sirius

    It’s ironic that you are having the same problem that I am. It seems that these OEC’s don’t want argue rationally and don’t actually want to answer questions. I have two right now who ignore questions and one who robotically repeats “firmament”. It’s a wonder they find their positions to be rational.

    I honestly believe that their desire to appease academia overrides their desire to read the Word of God for what it says.

  2. Darryl Householder says:

    Sirus,

    Hebrew word “yom” … period of time.

    It is true that most often the Hebrew word yom (“day”) means “twenty-four hours.” However, this is not definitive for its meaning in Genesis 1 for several reasons.

    First, the meaning of a term is not determined by majority vote, but by the context in which it is used. It is not important how many times it is used elsewhere, but how it is used here.

    Second, even in the creation story in Genesis 1–2, “day” (yom) is used of more than a twenty-four-hour period. Speaking of the whole six “days” of creation, Genesis 2:4 refers to it as “the day” (yom) when all things were created.

    Third, and finally, yom is elsewhere used of long periods of time, as in Psalm 90:4, which is cited in 2 Peter 3:8: “A day is like a thousand years.”

    Also, Hebrew days, if considered explicit 24-hour periods of time, would then contradict the account of the death of Jesus Christ on Friday and his resurrection on Sunday.

    Matthew 12:40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

    But the discrepancy is explained in the footnotes from Pastor John MacArthur’s study Bible, which sums it up quite well, and his explanation is in line with the majority of trusted, conservative commentators:

    “Three days and three nights” – Quoted from Jonah 1:17. This sort of expression was a common way of underscoring the prophetic significance of a period of time. An expression like “forty days and forty nights”, may in some cases simply refer to a period of time longer than a month. “Three days and three nights” was an emphatic way of saying “three days”, and by Jewish reckoning this would be an apt way of expressing a period of time that includes parts of 3 days. Thus, if Christ was crucified on Friday, and His resurrection occurred on the first day of the week, by Hebrew reckoning this would qualify as 3 days and 3 nights (MacArthur Study Bible, footnotes, pg. 1415).

    Simply put, “three days and three nights” was an expression that Jesus quoted from Jonah 1:17, and He used it to describe his death and burial. Clearly, Jesus died at 3:00 in the afternoon on Friday, and by early Sunday morning, the stone was rolled away from the tomb and Jesus was resurrected. Therefore, for this gentleman to focus on the exact time period is missing the entire point of what Jesus was saying. He was simply using a Jewish way of expressing a time period, and the real point was that Jonah was in the great fish for 3 days/3 nights, he resurfaced (a picture of resurrection), preached a message of repentance to Nineveh (gospel), and the people of Nineveh repented. Therefore, Jesus was saying, He too would rise up in 3 days, and if the people refused to repent at His preaching, the people of Nineveh would rise up in judgment and condemn those Scribes and Pharisees, who were refusing to repent at ONE who was greater than Jonah!

    We need to keep “time” in context with God’s time and to be sure, we don’t really know how long creation took, whether it was literal six days or periods of time … the essence of the creation account does not change … that God created everything!

    Some day (not a 24-hour period 🙂 ) … we will be with God and it will become clear to us all then.

    So, to state unequivocally one way or another, how the scripture should be interpreted, puts us in a place where we should not be … where we put our intellect equal in omniscience with God’s. Some times, we just have to have faith and the honesty, to state that we just really don’t know.

    Jesus is coming soon … in God’s time is in the blink of an eye … in our time … it’s been way to long!

    1. Sirius says:

      Darryl,

      You are certainly correct in noting that it is the context in which it is used that determines the emaning of a word. It is also true that it is the context intended by the speaker or author alone that determines its meaning, not the interpretation of the audience. The problem is that you’ve rejected the intended context to try to accomodate the current position of 21st century science. In doing so, you’re imposing a different meaning on Scripture than was intended.

      Your first two objections have been addressed in another post of mine: Six Solar Days, or Why God Took His Time. And I daresay you have not taken into account the basis of the 4th Commandment is given as a literal Creation Week.

      Your 3rd objection is well-worn and oft-refuted. Yes, a thousand years is as a day, it says, but what of the rest of that verse in 2 Peter 3? Oh, that a day is as a thousand years. The verse simply means that time means nothing to God, not that the word day is meaningless. Do you suppose that Joshua marched around Jericho for 7 long ages? Or that Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for 3000 years? Of course not! Because this verse is not defining a period of time. It’s wholly inconsistent to invoke this verse to try to give the word day in the Bible a post-modern meaning to fit 21st century opinions.

      4. Your entire point about 3 days and 3 nights omits the fact that we’re talking about partial days being equated with 24 hours. If anything, by invoking this you’re saying the exact opposite of what you mean, that it could have actually taken God less than 6 24-hour days to create everything.

      5. Re: “Some day (not a 24-hour period)…” So you think Jesus will be coming back over several long ages that God is calling the “day” of the Lord then? No, of course not. You’re still talking about a calendar day when Christ comes, aren’t you?

      6. And as a preacher this is the one that just makes my skin crawl. Re: “So, to state unequivocally one way or another, how the scripture should be interpreted, puts us in a place where we should not be … where we put our intellect equal in omniscience with God’s. Some times, we just have to have faith and the honesty, to state that we just really don’t know.” What a lovely post-modern diatribe. I guess we can’t rebuke error and we can’t teach truth because we can’t really know anything, eh? I guess the Holy Spirit really doesn’t guide us into all truth. I guess we can never know the truth so it’ll never set us free. Your statement says more than you intended!

      Look, nice try, but I’ll take the more consistent, plain and homely hermeneutic, sir.

      Jesus is coming soon. All this time has only been a blink in God’s eye, but one of these actual calendar days He’s coming back. And He’ll even do that in the twinkling of an eye, which partial moment will count as a day.

      One day, you’ll stand before Christ and give an account. He’ll ask you why you added millions of years to His perfect Word to make it fit the word of men who weren’t there and largely doubt it anyway.

      You’re swallowing camels and straining gnats. The majority consensus of 21st century science also denies miracles, fulfiulled Bible prophecy, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection and God Himself. Will you impose the rest of their beliefs upon Scripture too?

      Of course not. And deep in your heart you know and likely affirm that God can do anything. Anything! Just as Da Vinci didn’t have to piant the Mona Lisa as a baby and wait for her to grow up on canvas, God can create things just as He wants them to be. He’s the Creator. 21st century science wants you to think of Him as a scientist who must start the whole process in a test tube and watch it grow, but a Creator is an artist. To restate my objection a bit differently, daVinci didn’t have to paint a Big bang, wait for it to form elements, stars and planets, then for life to form and evolve by multiple stages over long generations into man, or woman atually, to create the Mona Lisa. He just painted the Mona Lisa as he wanted her to be. But you simply cannot believe that God could have created everything in just 6 days because men who’ve rejected God and His Word and have therefore been forced to come up with a Just-So Story of how everything could have come to be without God tell you that, based on their misotheistic Just-So Story that lacks a key element [a Creator God who can circumvent the imposition sof natural law and do whatever He wants in any amount of time He cares to], it all had to have taken much, much longer. Wrong assumptions [that there is no God and “all things continue as they have from the beginning of creation”] lead to wrong conclusions!

      Think about it,
      Rev Tony Breeden
      aka Sirius KNott

  3. I don’t have that much trouble with the possible idea of the earth and stars being old, and allowing the gap theory. The bigger problem comes when all life and man is made old. Then the flood has to be localized, and the geneoligies discredited. Man’s sin may be the source of death and increased pain and cursing and degredation of all genes. With the assumption of old fossils, what is the soure of cancer shown there, before man was created? If the stars were created in Gen 1:1 with heavens and the earth, the stars may not have been made visable from earth until day 4 when the dust and debri cleared from the atmosphere as Ross asserts. Any comments?

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