Posted tagged ‘young earth’

A Profound Theological Statement

December 30, 2013

In his new book, Rocks Aren’t Clocks, PhD geologist John K. Reed writes:

“Today’s geology assumes the truth of secular naturalism as a matter of course. That emphasizes the need to examine the philosophical and theological issues. For example, people ask if the Bible is a reliable historical source. That’s not a question of science, but it is a question that has profound implications for geology. If we answer in the negative, we have made a profound theological statement; if we answer in the affirmative, then prehistory is precluded and the atheistic geological history that most of us learned in school is false.”

So here is one man who says that we are making a profound theological statement when we ask if the Bible is a reliable historical source.  But then other Christians answer the question in a more agnostic, “I don’t know” fashion.  And still other Christians agree with the atheists, thinking that answering in the affirmative is “embarrassing.”  But, do the agnostic or “embarrassed” believers, as well as the unbelievers realize what a profound theological statement they are making? And do they realize, as Dr. Reed points out, that the earth age question is not primarily a question of science, but of history?

Should any Christian be agnostic or embarrassed about whether the Bible is a reliable historical source? Well, no. Think about the detailed genealogical records in Scripture. Those are in the Bible to remind us of God’s unbroken covenant of grace with mankind throughout history.  Beginning with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15, God’s covenant of grace unfolds through history, going from Adam to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, to David, and finally to Christ.

Also, looking at Scriptures like Romans 1:20, or Matthew 19:4, or Mark 10:6, there is no good reason to interpret those any other way except that mankind was present from Day 6 on.  Personally, I don’t know exactly how old the earth is, but it is reasonable to conclude from Scripture that it is around 6,000 years old, and mankind has been there since the beginning.

If you are a Christian who is currently “agnostic” or “embarrassed” about the earth age question, I encourage you to read Rocks Aren’t Clocks. You will quickly understand that there isn’t a science vs. Scripture battle, but there is most definitely a battle between the worldviews of Christianity and naturalism. The battle is over how to interpret history, not whether Christians are debating the existence of gravity, DNA, etc. If, on the other hand, you are an unbeliever who thinks Christianity is foolishness, then I pray that God will change your heart, because all the evidence in the world won’t save you. Jesus saves.

The Revolution of Creationism

November 9, 2012

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A recent article in GSA Today, titled “The Evolution of Creationism“, is just one more of a multitude of biased and deceptive articles mocking and misinterpreting what God’s word and His works say about Earth history. Claiming to be the lead “Science Article” for the November 2012 issue, this should be your first clue that author David R. Montgomery and GSA’s editors are unwisely mingling scientific things with historic things. You see, researching Earth history, including Noah’s Flood, is not a scientific endeavor, but a historic one. The study of the unobservable past is called “history”, not “science”.

Natural history research is not the same thing as scientific research

Anyone, creationist or otherwise, who attempts to interpret unobserved past events is doing history research. Montgomery’s article is no “Science Article”, as the GSA Today publication proclaims, it is a history article, and a dogmatic one at that. It is pointless to write a “science article” against creationism, which is an interpretation of the past, and then bash creationism as “unscientific”. Creationists, but even moreso university professors like Dr. Montgomery, need to better discern between natural history endeavors and scientific ones.

The abstract to Dr. Montgomery’s article claims 21st Century creationists have “abandoned faith in reason and cast off a long-standing theological tradition that rocks don’t lie.” Words cannot describe the amazing untruth of this statement. The truth however, is that the author includes a paltry list of references, and the most recent one by a creationist author is from 1961! So Dr. Montgomery is either deliberately ignoring, or is honestly ignorant of, the revolution of creationism since Whitcomb and Morris’ 1961 book, The Genesis Flood.

God’s word calls Christians to “reason together” (Isaiah 1:18), so our goal is to consider both faith and reason. What many Christians have not “abandoned faith in” is Scripture as both a true and reasonable historical account, and this is evident in Christian churches, private schools, and home schools across America and around the world. Neither have we abandoned faith in man’s ability to unlock mysteries of past events. And we haven’t abandoned faith in even the most dogmatic suppressors of Truth, that they might repent and be baptized, for the promise of salvation is for as many as the Lord our God will call (Acts 2:38-39).

Everybody has an interpretive framework about the past

Earth history is always interpreted within a framework. In Dr. Montgomery’s article, he claims that it is only creationists who “evaluate facts by how well they fit their theories”. This statement does nothing to improve discernment between scientific and historic endeavors, and adds confusion regarding the word “theory”. Plate tectonics, for example, is a theory that can be tested. Is there evidence that crustal plates exist and that they are moving at observable rates? Yes. Is it reasonable to assume the present rates are about the same as rates in the past? Yes. But is it also reasonable to assume that present rates are not anywhere near the same as they were in the past? Yes! Could we also reasonably assume that something entirely different, like vertical tectonics, occurred in the past, and that the current plate movements are just a “settling in” of past movements? Yes, we can do that, too! So now we have one scientific theory, plate tectonics, but multiple interpretations regarding how it may or may not have worked in the past.

Dr. Montgomery’s article mentioned plate tectonics, but he only described one use of it (present is key to past) for interpreting the past. Why didn’t he discuss the other two, the creationist models of Catastrophic Plate Tectonics and Vertical Tectonics? Well, because these don’t fit his interpretive framework, so he ignores them and in so doing suppresses the truth about them.

The truth is, all natural historians evaluate facts by how well they fit their interpretive framework. A young-earth creationist sees a new paper on radiometric age dates proclaiming millions of years, and assumes some sort of error has been made. Likewise, someone who believes the earth is older will reject a radiometric age if it doesn’t fit well in their framework.

Creationist research journals are more open-minded

In the 21st Century, there are many creationist organizations, as well as peer-reviewed research publications, including the Creation Research Society Quarterly, Answers Research Journal, Acts and Facts, and Journal of Creation. A quick look at the references of just about any research paper in these journals will reveal a diverse mix of both creationist and non-creationist writings.

If Dr. Montgomery had bothered to practice the diversity that the GSA claims to preach, he would have known immediately the modern revolution of creationism also believes “the rocks don’t lie”. The truth is that nobody, creationist or otherwise, believes the rocks are lying. That’s absurd. Every rock has a story, but knowing with 100% certainty what the true story is is impossible. So we end up with different interpretations, because there are different frameworks with which we interpret the past.

Another false claim made by Dr. Montgomery’s article is his belief that creationists see “geology as a threat to their faith.” Of course, geology should not be a threat to anyone’s faith. The only threat is dogmatic scientists and educators like Dr. Montgomery, who ignore the evidence presented by creationists, and then act like creationists have “abandoned reason”. This is bad medicine for impressionable young Christians who go off to universities where men and women like Dr. Montgomery teach, trusting their professors’ words over God’s word and abandoning faith in Christ as savior. And that should be a warning to Christian parents to pick your children’s college carefully, and train them to be prepared to always give an answer for the hope that is in them (I Peter 3:15).

The gospel offends and threatens

Dr. Montgomery and other like-minded individuals see creationism, and more importantly, Christianity, as a threat to their own beliefs, so they suppress and ignore the truth (Romans 1:18). For them, it is not about having an open mind regarding interpreting past events. It is more about power, and having the power to control information and then deliver it to a large amount of people who trust their authority. Unfortunately, in Dr. Montgomery’s article at least, it seems GSA is abusing their power by controlling information, while stifling diversity of thought and religion.

Interestingly, dogmatic control of information reared its ugly head in the 1900’s when J. Harlan Bretz, a man who never claimed to be a creationist, published research on the Channeled Scablands of Eastern Washington. He believed the scablands formed by catastrophic, post-glacial floods, yet it took 40 years for his ideas to gain wide acceptance. Why did it take so long? Well, mainly because geologists at the time feared that a catastrophic interpretation just might provide evidence for another catastrophic event, Noah’s Flood.

Today, most geologists are slightly more accepting of catastrophism than their 20th century counterparts, so the differences between creationists and others regarding Earth’s features really boils down to this: Are today’s crustal features a result of mostly high-energy, short-term events, or mostly low-energy, long-term events? There is evidence for both, but the former interpretation fits better within a biblical framework of earth history.

Creationism is not going away

There is evidence the earth is old, and evidence the earth is young. Always has been, always will be. The differences arise not because “science has proven” one over the other, but because of the nature of the problem at hand, which is that we simply cannot replicate unobservable past events. The young earth/old earth, creation/evolution controversy is not going away because ultimately, this is not a scientific debate, but a debate about how to interpret both Scripture and nature’s historic accounts. Because man is imperfect, our historic interpretations are imperfect. But this Christian, scientist, and natural historian believes that both Creation and Providence proclaim the earth is thousands, not billions of years old, and that it was created, from nothing, in 6 days.

Let’s pray that those who treat history like history will increase, and those who promote dogmatic and bigoted responses to these different interpretations will decrease, being transformed by the renewing of their minds in Christ (Romans 12:2).

Spotted Dolphin

May 21, 2012

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The Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) is one of about 40 species currently classified in the family Delphinidae.

A spotted dolphin comes in for a close look at my camera.

Reaching lengths of 8 feet, spotted dolphins are usually smaller than Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, and tend to travel in bigger groups, or pods, of 20 or more. Like most dolphins, spotted dolphins are very family-oriented, which brings up an interesting question. Because they normally tend to stick together as a family, dolphin pods are by nature reproductively isolated. And most biologists consider reproductive isolation to be the most important factor in contributing to diversification over time. But why are there only about 40 classified species of dolphins? Some say dolphins have been around for tens of millions of years, which seems like plenty of time to have more than 40 species develop on our watery planet.

Besides reproductive isolation, dolphins are classified as different species based on traits that humans consider different enough to distinguish one population from another. But compare the 40 or so “species” of dolphins to the 150-plus “breeds” of dogs currently registered by the American Kennel Club. All breeds of dogs are considered to be one “species”, Canis familiaris, all developed over the last 2000+ years. However, just like a laborador retriever can successfully breed with a golden retriever, so too a spotted dolphin can successfully breed with the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Yet we classify them as different species, placing spotted dolphins in genus Stenella and bottlenose in genus Tursiops!

The truth is, a lot of confusion exists regarding how to define a species. Much confusion is remedied though, when we think of dolphins as one big family, or baramin. “Baramin” is the Hebrew word for “kind”, and is used many times in Scripture to describe God’s creative acts.  Scripture is clear that their are different kinds of things, and that “all flesh is not the same flesh” (I Corinthians 15:39). Also, as Peter Leithart explains, the “The Bible unveils a God who gives enough and more than enough”, and we see this attribute revealed in His creation, too. We see one family of dolphins, which God gave “enough and more than enough” to adapt and diversify over time.

So few dolphin species, so little time

And speaking of time, that brings me back to the question of “why only 40 dolphin species?” With their natural tendency towards reproductive isolation, one might think that if the earth were as old as some say, we wouldn’t have dozens, we would have hundreds of dolphin species. I believe the fact that we don’t see much diversity is good evidence that the best interpretation of earth age is the one that lines up with the genealogies recorded in Scripture. It is not-so-common knowledge that research reveals both the genetic and geneaological trends in humans point to thousands, not millions or billions of years of earth history. It certainly seems the dolphin baramin displays a similar trend.

Dolphins, oil and gas, and Christian stewardship

Here are some video clips from a May 2012 trip into the Gulf of Mexico, about 30 miles SE of Freeport, TX.

I want you to consider everything you see in the video, not just the dolphins. Included are video clips of a pod of about 18-20 spotted dolphins.  But you’ll also see a clip showing massive schools of fishes surrounding an oil and gas production platform. Think about it; what you are seeing is a man-made structure that also serves as an artificial reef, providing food and shelter for giant schools of snapper, blue runners, etc. And the spotted dolphins have come to reap the fishy harvest! Some conclusions I hope you will draw are 1) the dolphins are better off because of man’s activities in the Gulf, 2) the fish are better off because of man’s activities in the Gulf, and 3) Humans are better off because of man’s activities in the Gulf!

So, the next time you hear about the “evils of oil and gas”, or the “endangered marine mammals”, or “humans are destroying the planet”, remember this video! Followed properly, God’s dominion mandate for Christians in Genesis 1:26-28 will make our planet a more productive place, not just for mankind, but for all kinds. Only a fool would destroy the planet, but only a fool would overprotect it, too. God gave us an entire planet and then some to use, so let’s use it wisely!

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