Tyler Francke, founder of the YEC-bashing God of Evolution site, has written a post called 10 Theological Questions No Young-Earth Creationist Can Answer. In our first post, we addressed his opening remarks and his first 3 questions. In the next post, I addressed questions 4 through 6. I addressed the last four questions in the final post of the series.
This redux post is meant to summarize what we’ve learned. I encourage you to read the full answers to each question, but this should give you a basic idea.
After part two of the series, Tyler “responded” to my answers with a bit of hand waving, suggesting that my answers seemed “to consist primarily of put-downs, spiritual one-upmanship and liberal uses of the special pleading fallacy.” The latter comment referred to the fact that I utilize presuppositional apologetics. He at no point addressed my answers specifically. Instead he’s begged off that he doesn’t think an exchange with yours truly would be either pleasant or effective. He’s right. I find him unimpressive and I am not in a habit of giving quarter to Bible compromisers.
So let’s review Tyler Francke’s earth shaking theological questions that no young earther can answer and see how this particular young earther answered them:
1. What was the point of the Tree of Life?
A: To grant eternal life to whoever ate from it. Note here that I have answered Tyler’s question. Of course, that’s not what he was really concerned about. Tyler’s real objection is that it doesn’t seem to serve any point in a world where no one can die. I provided a possible purpose [which Tyler missed when he skimmed my article, stating instead that I had admitted that I couldn’t answer the question] and then pointed out that Ecclesiastes promises that everything has a purpose, so rather than providing a paradox that YECs can’t answer, so even an unrevealed purpose for the Tree of Life cannot be used to refute our position. It’s a Biblical answer, so I’m assuming he finds it intellectually unsatisfying.
So the answer could be the one I proposed, but even so, we know that Tyler’s objection is invalid because the Bible promises that there is a purpose for everything, even if he doesn’t understand what that could be.
2. If human sin is the reason animals die, why can’t they be saved?
A: Animal life is different from human life [1 Cor. 15:39]. Only humans were made in the image of God and have a living soul [Gen. 2:7]. The passage that Tyler quoted for his argument was irrelevant to the discussion and ignored how Romans 8:22-23 applied to his question.
3. If physical death is part of the punishment for sin, why do Christians still die?
A: Because spiritual death is remedied at salvation and physical death will be remedied at our Blessed Hope as revealed in passages such as 1 Cor 15, and 1 Thes 4:16. Tyler also used the non-literal death Paul spoke of in Romans 7:9 and tried to normalize the usage of the word death as meaning spiritual death, regardless of the context of each use. In doing so, he ignored the fact that the meaning of a text is determined by context, not merely by how any given might be used in other contexts. Those opposed to the plain-sense meaning of Genesis apply this same faulty tactic to the use of the word day in Genesis based on a single non-literal instance in Genesis 2:1.
4. Why was Eve named “mother of life”?
A: Because God promised Eve that she would bear children for Adam. Tyler used a selective presentation of Scripture [Genesis 3:17-19] to suggest that Adam had no reason to call Eve the mother of all living in light of the fact that mankind had just been cursed. He failed to take into account the promise of childbirth in the preceding verse. On purpose, no less.
5. How did Adam and Eve know what death was?
A: As evidenced from the fact that Adam is able to speak and name things from day one, we infer that God created a fully functional adult male whose mind came equipped with a bit more than a one year old typically has. Tyler’s objection was built on the unBiblical idea that Adam was a baby in a man’s body or a blank slate. Once again, he did not take into account the entire revelation of Scripture.
6. If the punishment for eating from the tree was that Adam and Eve would physically die … why didn’t they physically die?
A: The Hebrew construction of this verse implies that God meant that the death sentence would be decreed on that day, not that it would be carried out immediately. The verse should be rendered “dying you shall die” and basically means that the process of death began at the moment they sinned. Interestingly, Tyler admitted that YECs have all sorts of answers for this question; he simply rejects them with a bit of cursory hand waving [Ironic, I know]. He again attempts to use Romans 8 to say that the only reasonable interpretation is that Adam incurred spiritual death only, so I again referred him back to 1 Corinthians 15, which he has once again failed to take into account.
7. Can you name any other piece of literature in which the existence of a talking snake and trees with magical powers would suggest to you that it was meant to be taken literally?
A: Tyler here reveals his double-mindedness where it concerns the supernatural in Genesis because science chained to pure naturalism forbids a literal interpretation of the Creation account, even though he allows for supernatural elements in history as revealed in the Bible elsewhere. Of course, all-natural science also says no to supernatural agency of any sort, so Tyler is guilty of straining gnats and swallowing camels. What Tyler’s double-minded objection fails to take into account is the question of what a history book that allows for supernatural things would look like. To back his objection, he notes two Scriptures where the Tree of Life is spoken of figuratively, failing to take into account other passages where it is mentioned as actually existing. Once again, context determines meaning, Tyler.
8. Why do Genesis 1 and 2 contradict?
A: Yes, this oft-refuted chestnut. The answer is that with a proper understanding, they complement each other rather than contradict. Rather than providing a theological question no young earth creationist can answer, he provides one that pretty much every young earether already has!
9. Why is incest wrong?
A: Extramarital incest is wrong because all sexual relationships outside marriage are a sin, going against the foundation of marriage God instituted in Genesis. Marriage between close family members is a sin because it was later forbidden by Levitical Law after the Patriarchal Era. Rather than not being able to provide an answer as to why marriage between close relatives is wrong now but wasn’t wrong until Mt. Sinai, young earthers have noted that we can infer that genetic mistakes were by that time more numerous and, in God’s wisdom, such unions were now no longer permitted. In his zeal to castigate young earthers, Tyler ignores church history on this subject, ignores the principle of ex post facto, and makes God out to be a bean-counting rulemonger. He also ignores the fact that this question has been answered ad infinitum simply because he doesn’t want to accept the answer.
10. And finally, if it is so vitally important that Christians take Genesis literally, why did Jesus never once instruct us to take Genesis literally?
A: By his example, Jesus demonstrated that we should take Genesis literally. Tyler knows this. In another post written by Tyler, he admitted that Jesus spoke of Genesis as literal history, but his theistic evolutionary bias forced him to conclude that Jesus was wrong, accommodating Himself to the historical misconceptions of his followers rather than correcting them, so that he might teach them spiritual truths. Rather than offering us a proposed argument from silence, Francke actually ends up admitting that the record is not silent but rather that Jesus was wrong for being on record as speaking of Genesis as literal history.
So what do we make of this list of theological questions no young earther could ever answer?
Well, first we note that many of them are false dilemmas, objections raised because Tyler is being selective in his consideration of Biblical revelation. This is called eisegesis. It’s a bad thing. Context determines meaning, and when the meaning is unclear it is always best to allow the revelation of other Scriptures to inform our understanding. Tyler failed to take into the context of other Scriptures in his first five objections and in #7 as well. In his final objection, Tyler prefers to be willfully ignorant of the historical context with which Jesus refers to Genesis, asking instead why the Master who spoke in parables did not speak explicitly on this subject in order to avoid misunderstanding. Again, a classic false dilemma.
We also note that his list includes questions that have been answered a ridiculous number of times by young earthers, making his inclusion of these objections little more than evidence of his unwillingness to accept those answers.
Lastly, we note that we were able to provide reasonable answers to each question despite Tyler’s hopes to the contrary.
At the conclusion of Tyler’s post, he states that “regardless of whose interpretation of Genesis is correct, it doesn’t really matter in the end,” yet the entire premise of Tyler Francke’s list of questions is an attempt to demonstrate that it does matter which view of Genesis is correct and that his favored interpretation of Genesis is necessary to true understanding of Christianity.
Rather than giving us a list of unanswerable questions, Tyler has simply demonstrated how far he’s willing to go to insulate himself from the truth. He’s willing to call our Blessed Hope a lie and to claim that Jesus allowed folks to believe a lie about their own origins in order to teach them a greater truth. [Think of the implications of that idea the next time you have your Bible study!] The problem is that Tyler Francke’s ultimate authority is found neither in Christ nor the Bible, nor even to science chained to pure naturalism. His pick and choose religion requires that he be the ultimate authority over both Scripture and science, arbitrarily deciding which authority prevails in each particular passage.