Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Natural Revelation and God's Creation' started by Parmenas, Feb 20, 2018.
Please define your position further in a reply, if possible.
I voted "young earth." By "young earth," I understand the view that the earth was created relatively recently in history, as determined by more or less straightforward Biblical geneaologies and 6 approximately 24 hour days of creation (which ends up being around 6000 years). However, I hold that everything was created in a mature state. Perhaps it was even rapidly matured, but everything was mature by day 6. So I would hold that the heavens and earth and all that is therein would be "old" in that sense.
I voted "old-earth" and by that I mean I hold a framework polemic view of the Gen. 1 creation account. The earth is probably around 4.5 Billion yrs old. Adam was a historical human being and was placed in the historical Garden of Eden.
I voted for the Young earth, as that fits into a literal view regarding Genesis, as in the 24 hour days of Creation, and also for Mankind as a special creation of God.
The main reasons it seems that many Christians have adopted the extreme age theory are that they have accepted a more limited view on Biblical inspiration, and also have accepted as being true the theory of Evolution.
I think young earth is more likely, given what I read in the Bible. But my choice is "undecided," because I think it's wise not to get too insistent where the Bible seems unconcerned with an issue. The Bible never bothers to do the math for us, and it doesn't give us a date or use the founding of the earth as a reference point for later dates. This leaves the question somewhat open—at least open enough that being true to the Bible leads me to vote "undecided."
The fact that many people who contend for an old earth reject the Bible's authority does not mean I too ought to dismiss the Bible by being over-assertive in the opposite direction.
I have vacillated on this. The geologic 'old earth' science is strong enough to not dismiss out of hand. But I don't feel compelled to go along with it because I do not believe that evolution (in the normal understanding) is going to hold up much longer. Old Earth won't be replaced with Young Earth since Young Earth, like evolution is not falsifiable.
I picked 'young earth' since it cleanly supports my inerrancy views, and does not violate any operable engineering principles. Otherwise I don't see any other reason to pick sides, unless you are chair of evolutionary biology at a university. If that is you, then you are probably Episcopalian so it won't matter to you either.
I have yet to see a valid argument to support why there would be death in the creation before the Fall if the old earth is the right way to see this issue.
many, but not all, who hold towards the much older view seem to be trying to accommodate evolution and dating facts that science seems to be supporting. The problem with that is that there are really good arguments against both evolution and how they are dating objects.
" 15 With the best things of the ancient mountains, With the precious things of the everlasting hills,..."
I'm not saying how old, but God calls the times after creation, "old."
Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
Lest I be misinterpreted, I'm not saying the creation is x billion years old or whatever--just that it is "old."
This is what I believe, what I've sworn to uphold by vows, and cannot fathom how I could be swayed to believe otherwise based upon the plain teaching of Scripture.
Here are some of the more interesting reading materials I've found as I try to figure this out.
OPC report on creation – does a good job laying out several different views: http://www.opc.org/GA/creation.html
PCA report is good as well: http://www.pcahistory.org/creation/report.html
The Creationists by Ronald Numbers – This is an academic work on the origins of modern young earth creationism and an analysis of how it came to be a pervasive view in American (and elsewhere) Evangelicalism. It's a long work, but easy to follow and very insightful: http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674023390&content=reviews
Calvin's Doctrine of the Creation by B.B. Warfield – Interesting thoughts, also relates Calvin's views to modern scientific views: https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/warfield/warfield_calvincreation.html
Debate on the Age of the Earth, hosted by John Ankerberg – This is the best debate I've seen on the topic. It includes 4 participants: Jason Lisle, Ken Ham, Hugh Ross, and Walter Kaiser. This is a young earth astrophysicist, a young earth apologist, an old earth astrophysicist and apologist, and an old earth Bible scholar. It was well done, respectful, and brings up many important issues:
What did the Westminster Assembly mean by the phrase "in the space of six days" by Ligon Duncan – Disucssion of the WCF statement on creation and several different interpretations. Repetitive of some things brought up in the OPC and PCA study reports above, but more succinct: https://www.theaquilareport.com/wha...-mean-by-the-phrase-in-the-space-of-six-days/
Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople by Tim Keller – A more tangentially related article, but still worth recommending as it often comes up in this conversation. This article, even if you disagree with some of the exegetical remarks on the early chapters of Genesis, does a great job of laying out why evolution in particular is a difficult problem, how to address it pastorally, and also is helpful in defining and distinguishing terms: https://biologos.org/uploads/projects/Keller_white_paper.pdf
I've flopped around over the years but now I'm similar to Vic and Jack though I won't pick either 'old' or 'new.' I lean toward the young these days but more like 100k - 1M rather than 6K. I don't think each creation day is necessarily 24 hours. 10 years ago I was theistic evolutionist and until 5 years ago I thought YEC was just silly. I've opened my mind to it. Overall, I've found Jason Lisle's work most helpful in challenging my thought. Who's know where I'll be in a year?
One additional item to add to my previous post: A core issue at hand oftentimes when considering the age of the earth is death before the fall (particularly as it relates to animal death). Joshua John Van Ee (Professor at Westminster Seminary California) wrote his doctoral dissertation on the topic and it's quite interesting. You can read it here: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/0qm3n0mt
I think, even if you reject the plain meaning of the Creation history in Genesis, Exodus 20:8-11 gives us the God inspired account of how we ought to understand days there. A comparison is made, and I don't think we are to Sabbath for an unspecified amount of time after 6 other unspecified amounts of time.
8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
If old earth were true, I can't imagine what else is an allegory in scripture. The historical account and timeline is rather straight forward.
I like how G.I. Williamson puts it:
"When I was a seminary student I became concerned to understand what well-known neo-orthodox theologians were saying. So I requested a special class for this since none was being offered at that time. Professor Addison Leitch agreed to provide this by assigning me reading in theologians such as Emil Brunner and Karl Barth. Well, I did my assigned reading faithfully, and then reported to Dr. Leitch. I told him it gave me a headache because these men didn’t make sense in what they were saying. They talked about things being supra-historical, and about people being both elect and non-elect. And then I would read the straight-forward teaching of Calvin (and other great Reformers). I could understand them. They did make sense.
So I came to the conclusion that God’s truth, while not always easy to understand, does always make sense. It is something I can grasp well enough to then teach it to others. But I am sorry to have to say that when I read some of the long church reports defending day-age, framework, or analogical views of creation, I get the same headache I used to get reading the neo-orthodox theologians. They just don’t make sense. They do not make me say ‘yes, that’s it; that’s what the inspired writer was getting at.’"
Kline, to my knowledge, offers no good alternative except one of doubting what the text seems to say. The inspired writers use the account historically. Why should we do anything less?
Conversely, we need to be careful not to use scriptures to get an exact date since there are often gaps in genealogies. Could the Earth be 10,000 years old? Quite possibly, but the biblical data and usage of the Genesis account seems to promote a much younger earth than science wants to believe, simply because scripture teaches that God created.
I would classify myself as a "young earth" person but open to hearing other opinions, as long as I am convinced that they are using sound hermeneutical principles in order to come to those opinions. One thing that is very important, that I won't back down on, is that God created Adam and Eve (so they are named, anyways), our "first parents" in their current state - that is, as humans.
"When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created" (Genesis 5:1)
With regards to age...I think that you have to start with what the Bible plainly teaches and then go from there. I don't start with an idea forced on me by unregenerate skeptics (i.e. evolution and old-earth) - these were not even in the realm of possibilities to be considered until relatively recently, as far as I know. Unregenerate skeptics are going to always find new ways to undermine what the Bible teaches - because they hate God's word and his rule over them and do not want to submit. I do not trust them as far as I can throw them.
Therefore, I start with what is plainly stated in scripture - the geneaology in Genesis 5...this lists specific people and specific periods of time that they lived. Even if something is lost in translation...i.e. our "years" is not the same as what was intended by the Hebrew words, I find it doubtful that this could make the difference between 5-10k years and 1M years.
However, if a Christian scientist with a credible profession of faith can educate me further on this subject, I would be happy to listen.
Theistic evolution with a literal Adam and fall. In terms of exegesis, I'd say Meredith Kline's Framework view fits the actual text better than any other view.
So people didn't come from rocks...but the rest of creation came from rocks?
Respectfully, as someone who is a young earther and not particularly a Klinean, I disagree with your assessment of him. Most of his ideas are elegant and simple and he had a great deal of insight in the realm of biblical theology. One of his issues is that he wasn't nearly as clear of a writer as a Vos, for example, and had a penchant for creating unnecessary technical terms that made some of his works harder to follow that need be. That being the case, he still certainly wasn't a Brunner or Barth. I even think that his framework view of Genesis has some merit as long as it is not viewed as an alternative to a straight-forward, historical reading but rather merely a presentation of the typology that God wove throughout His six day, historical act of creation--not unlike the typological richness of the Exodus account, for instance.
Actually everything came from fish. Why else would Christ call us fishers of men?, ;-)
On one hand, I sort of understand the point being made here, but I feel like this is a rather problematic way of viewing Scripture and theology. If my affirmation of orthodoxy was only subjective "Aha!" moments of understanding a concept because it "makes sense", and then shying away from those others that were so much more complicated in comparison, I'd be a babe in the faith, if I had any faith, forced to be scared of doctrines that touched the Trinity, God's Sovereignty/Providence, sacraments like the Lord's Supper, Christ's deity, and more. There are parts that are certainly simple to comprehend--the Gospel is a truth that could be grasped by all men (though the "why" and "how" is often where some may struggle!). However, there are those parts that do not come naturally to my ears, my senses, my logic...it's why we even have a discipline of "theology" and a history of creeds and councils/assemblies that try to figure these things out--and they do not always end up lining to the simplest-to-grasp. Just because something "does not make sense", or does not yet make sense, that is not a reason to discount it. It may need study, it may require maturation, it may even require the work of Christ and the Spirit in illuminating, or simply time...but we should not be scared of what we do not know. We should also be okay with acknowledging and having questions that may not be answered exactly how we would expect.
This is something that I personally feel echoes too much from growing up in an anti-intellectual religious environment that largely took this to the fundamentalist extreme--anything that doesn't make sense, or seems incomprehensible, was something to be feared and distrusted--and that even lent to doctrines that I later would come to embrace and cherish in exploring the Reformed tradition! Oh, if I had not been so afraid of that which I did not understand, perhaps I would not have meandered as much as I did. Once I was not afraid, I was able to discourse with the "opposing" sides, and carefully came to understandings--sometimes with a fight and humble acquiescence on my side because I knew something was true, but at the time perhaps did not see the full 'sense' in it all. A lot of things don't make sense; for example, it doesn't fully make sense to me God's providence, his will, how some of that works out in time and history, but I fully affirm that God is sovereign.
Couldnt agree more. Furthermore, the subjective experience of one believer isn't enough to go off of. In my estimation, the young earth creationist argument (Ken Ham and the like) has always been the most confusing thing to me, and I've never understood how it fit properly. The Framework view, to me, made the most sense than anything I've read before or since. This is only to say, if we go over, "what makes sense," then ultimately we have a lot of different definitions from a lot of different peoples because "what makes sense" changes. And like you mentioned, we have no idea if that's even helpful in the long run for our theology! Just because something makes sense to me (e.g. Framework View) doesn't necessarily mean I'm in the better position. Only that it's what makes sense to me and me alone, full stop. Is it true? I think so! But its comprehensibility means little in the way of truth.
How would you view the statement that God created all things after their own kind? That Adam was a divine/special creation of God?
The Young earth model fits much better the genesis account though, since the Hebrew term chosen to be used for the days was nearly all of the time rendered as 24 hour period in the OT, and also, have to account for how death entered into creation before there was even sin and the fall.
Genesis is divided into 10 sections seperated by geneologies as intros to each new one, with a prologue creation myth. The genre of Genesis 1-3/4 by how it is written and organized, (in my humble view) resembles wisdom literature and protohistory rather than narrative historical accounts. Moses isn't writing as an eyewitness, but as someone who is attempting to tell the truths of creation in a way that others may understand.
To specifically answer your question, I'd have to view Genesis prologue as literal historical. I don't believe that Scripture is trying to tell us how things came to be, but the proper order that God created to the universe (otherwise light gets created twice, man gets created on day 1 in Genesis 2, etc.). So I see "kinds" as a message of God's plan for agriculture and breeding and the creation of Adam as being in his image, yet apart of nature, and meant to rule over it, with the woman being from his side, and thus equal but subjected to him. This also applies to the Sabbath. God "resting" didn't mean he stopped creating new things, since new things are made every day. It means he set a pattern in creation for us to follow to worship and glory in his creation, rather than place ourselves as its true god or let it rule over us. Hope this helps!
That is certainly a popular opinion on this thread that I respect you for having!
Do you believe that there was a literal fall, that scripture in that section was real historical information, and not a metaphor/myth?
How would you handle the question of death before even the fall?