The AG paper on Creation and Ken Ham

According Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, it’s a sad day in the Assemblies of God in America.   Ham writes on his blog:

The general presbytery of the Assemblies of God (AOG) denomination, in session August 9–11, 2010, adopted a revised statement on “The Doctrine of Creation.”  Here is an excerpt from the official AOG position paper, that opens the door to evolution and millions of years, and the various compromise positions on Genesis held by some in the church (such as gap theory, day age, progressive creation, theistic evolution, etc):

The advance of scientific research, particularly in the last few centuries, has raised many questions about the interpretation of the Genesis accounts of creation. In attempting to reconcile the Bible and the theories and conclusions of contemporary scientists, it should be remembered that the creation accounts do not give precise details as to how God went about His creative activity. Nor do these accounts provide us with complete chronologies that enable us to date with precision the time of the various stages of creation. Similarly, the findings of science are constantly expanding; the accepted theories of one generation are often revised in the next.

As a result, equally devout Christian believers have formed very different opinions about the age of the earth, the age of humankind, and the ways in which God went about the creative processes. Given the limited information available in Scripture, it does not seem wise to be overly dogmatic about any particular creation theory.

Whatever creation theory we individually may prefer, we must affirm that the entire creation has been brought into being by the design and activity of the Triune God.  Moreover, we also affirm that the New Testament treats the creation and fall of Adam and Eve as historical events in which the Creator is especially involved. We urge all sincere and conscientious believers to adhere to what the Bible plainly teaches and to avoid divisiveness over debatable theories of creation. (“The Doctrine of Creation,” 2010, http://ag.org/top/beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_downloads/PP_The_Doctrine_of_Creation.pdf)

I have no problem with the AG not taking a literal stand (or declaring any position) on creation in the Genesis creation narratives.  Unfortunately, some cannot handle this and see it as compromise, when it is no such thing.   Ham goes on to compare this with the position paper that was written in 1977 where at that time the AG did take a more literal stand on the Genesis narrative (insisting on a literal 6 day creation only, all other views or possibilities are man made, etc).   He continues:

…..the difference between the 1977 AOG statement on creation and the revised 2010 statement reflects the battle that has been raging ever since events from Genesis 3 took place. In Genesis 3, Satan tempted Eve by getting her to doubt God’s Word.  Eve was asked, “Did God Really Say?”  The apostle Paul warns us in 2 Corinthians 11:3 that Satan will use the same method on us as he did on Eve—to get us to a position of unbelief regarding God’s Word.  What Satan was doing was getting Adam and Eve to question God’s Word, and to act as “gods.”  In essence, Adam and Eve decided to make fallible man the authority over God’s Word, instead of judging everything against the absolute authority of God’s Word.

Not taking some strong stand on a specific view of creation is to take a position of unbelief?  Hardly.  Besides, the position paper doesn’t say science (so-called man made opinions) trumps Scripture (God’s Word).  Rather, merely that the rise of different (viable) viewpoints should lead to less dogmatism and more unity.  Kind of hard to argue with that.  Though for some it is compromise and not a step towards unity.

So, according to Ham, moving from a literal interpretation of the creation narrative is a big reason young people, especially college students are leaving the church – without being armed with effective apologetics in creation science the kids get mowed down by their professors and other students and the leave the faith.  Well, if you ask me, if they leave the faith over such an issue, I wonder if they really had much of a faith or a real weak faith in God.

Ham goes on to say the AG has:

now succumbed to the view—prevalent in the church todaythat is undermining the authority of God’s Word, and ultimately is significantly contributing to the collapse of Christianity in our Western world.  The AOG with its August statement is now saying we have to take the fallible ideas of fallible humans and use these in authority over the Word of God.

He goes on and on and on.  You can read it for yourself if you want – but far as I am concerned its a GREAT day in the AG and a GREAT day to be a member of the Assemblies of God.

comments are now closed. thanks for the interaction.

143 responses to “The AG paper on Creation and Ken Ham

  1. Ham insists that every biblical doctrine is found in the creation narrative. It’s his hobbyhorse and he has to relate everything to it in some way, shape, or form. It’s really frustrating to hear/see/read—not because he’s necessarily wrong—but the arguments he employs to get to his conclusions are faulty at almost every turn.

  2. This group wrote to hundreds of Australians telling them that the seminary I attended had become heretical because they taught other views alongside creationism and wouldn’t let aig (not aog) teach the course they wanted to teach. I could be wrong but it took legal action I believe to stop the lies and defamation. The seminary I attended was pretty conserve too!

    I agree with Nick’s view that the guys arguments are faulty at every turn but would also argue that to base science on that text is un-biblical. I like the AG stand. It sounds about right and would take Waltke’s approach personally.

    • I have recently been awarded (or punished with) his book by a good friend. Reading it, I have to wonder how so many have devoided themselves of the responsibility to have integrity about the things that they say. He is simply unchallenged and proves himself to be nothing more than a profit-seeker

  3. The tone of this post is most unfortunate.

    Our view of creation is an issue of authority. Do we believe God’s Word or not? Do we prefer the flavor-of-the-week views of men? I submit that most of the innovations in the Christian view of creation have little (if any) to do with biblical exegesis and a lot to do with the fear of men.

  4. Brian,

    I’m definitely with you on this one. Orthodox Christianity has a fairly loose center when it comes to Genesis: one need only affirm God’s sovereign creative activity “ex nihilo” to be within the bounds. Anything else is extra. It sounds like some are holding their secondary and tertiary beliefs of the matter a little too closely.

  5. Hi Tim, Thanks for taking the time to comment, I really do appreciate it. If you wouldn’t mind, could you help me understand how the current AG position paper on creation undermines the authority of the Word and goes with a flavor of the week approach to the creation narrative? At the moment I an having trouble seeing that.

  6. I can remember when these kind of things began in the Anglican Communion. At first it seems okay, after all were all Creationists (ex nihilo) right? then before you know it.. it goes into other areas, and then even the political. BTW, this already seems political in/for the AOG. Creation now, Christ and the Atonement later? A slippery slope.

  7. I have quoted this before, and it is an older R. Catholic source: “For (Theology) does not receive her first principles from any other science, but immediately from God by revelation.” I am myself, an old earth creationist, but I am still open toward the Young Earth position also. We really simply don’t know? But always the Text first and alone! Personally, I like Augustine’s Creation view..ex nihilo, out of nothing, and in an instant – but the within, or to the theology of the Genesis “framework”.

  8. I am a member of AOG and this is certainly a sad event to me. I don’t understand how people can say ‘in light of science (i.e.man) we must interpret the Genesis account’ yet many do not interpret the rest of the Bible in such a way. If we were to it would render the entire Bible to nothing more than mythology. As it is that is exactly what many have turned the Genesis account into.

    How does anyone draw the conclusion that the Genesis account is only conveying certain truths about God and that the rest of it is allegory? That would properly be could a myth! It is not written as poetry, not by any stretch of the imagination, but as a very straight forward account. If the creation account can be called poetry, or anything to that affect, then any other part of the Bible could be called the same.

    This issue has very little to do with science, it has to do with how we treat the Holy Bible. Many don’t realize the inconsistencies that appear when evolution or billions of years are crammed into Genesis. It is also a terrible testimony to the world when Christians willingly admit that they believe that at least part of the Bible is myth. Even if it’s not directly called that many outside the faith can see that it effectively becomes that, which leaves them to conclude that the rest of the Bible must also be myth.

    • ‘In the light’ of science, we know that it is not merely the woman who is barren or that the man is the only ‘fertilizer’ of the field, or that God is ‘knitting’ together the fetus. Science informs interpretation, but if you make that interpretation as inspired and inerrant as people claim the text to be, then you make it God and thus, and idol. Ken Ham is an example of this.

      • How do you define science? A useful tool for understanding the world around us? Yes. An infallible source of truth? No. A good way to determine what happened in the past? No, that is history and witnesses are how one establishes what happens in the past. Scripture repeats that concept a lot. So where does science tell us the age of the earth? It does not and cannot. Those comments are opinions of scientists based on the estimates they prefer to accept. If one takes Scripture in a straight forward fashion, letting it tell us what it is saying, it is not idolizing the text. It is honoring God since it is His Word.

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  11. I am just glad that they allow for some variations on creation theories, since I am a proponent of a variation on the gap theory.

  12. The most devastating comments to my faith while I was in college were not the comments by evolutionary professors, but the ones by respected leaders that told me I didn’t have to believe that God created the earth the way it is described in Genesis (e.g. 6 days). I read my Bible regularly; I knew what it said. Using the logic that tries to re-explain Genesis into more socially acceptable forms I could rationalize anything. Thankfully there were good creationist materials around by scientists who understood both science and the Bible. By the grace of God my faith remained intact and even got stronger.

    I have a problem with one or two sentences in the A/G statement. It says “Nor do these accounts provide us with complete chronologies that enable us to date with
    precision the time of the various stages of creation.” This is true if you mean the exact day or year, but the Bible gives enough information to know that the age of the earth is orders of magnitude different than what secular scientists tell us. The second problem with this statement is it can leave the impression that maybe science can accurately determine the age of the earth. It cannot! To believe that science can give these types of definitive answers in historical matters is scientism, an idolization of science that is inappropriate for Christians. Sure we can make estimates, but they always rely on assumptions. Different methods often don’t agree, even when assumptions seem quite reasonable. Why do scientists seem to so consistently tell us a particular age of the earth? Because they got that answer once when dating a meteorite and it fit with their (atheistic) worldview. Why do they ignore the many other dates given by various methods? Because the answers don’t fit their naturalistic worldview, so they assume they must be wrong. Theories may change, but their is no indication that mainstream scientists are going to question the assumption that the earth is very old.

    The Bible will always be confrontational to beliefs in a culture. Why should it be any different when it comes to the views of scientists who are trying to explain that the world was not created by God? (Not all scientists try to do this, but they generally accept the conclusions of those who do.)

      • My Christian faith is entirely tied to the Bible being inspired, authoritative and completely true. So yes; Genesis 1 is written as history, so if it is not accurate, then why should I trust anything else? It has been my experience that when I do my own research and get past the trite comments of those who don’t believe Scripture, I find over and over again that God’s Word is true. There is no scientific justification for doubting that Genesis 1 is literal. I am a scientist with advanced degrees, so I don’t check my brains at the door when I say this.

  13. Jean :
    How do you define science? …. If one takes Scripture in a straight forward fashion, letting it tell us what it is saying, it is not idolizing the text. It is honoring God since it is His Word.

    Actually, not only does it become an idol at times, but it does damage to the text. We should try to remember, that we nor anyone in our culture wrote the text and that our world is radically different in many ways than the culture did. In many areas, it is damaging to taking the text straight forward. If we did, we would lose the foundation of Christ in the OT.

  14. Jean :
    My Christian faith is entirely tied to the Bible being inspired, authoritative and completely true.

    Wow. So the bible is your god? My faith is tied to Christ. Sorry to hear that yours isn’t.

    • Joel are you forgetting that throughout Scripture Jesus is called “The Word of God”? (John 1:1, Rev 19:13, just to name a couple) If we don’t accept God’s Word as infallible, then how can we witness to anyone? We use scripture to show why we are unable to earn our way to salvation and our need for Christ, how His blood is needed for the forgiveness of sin and how His Mercy saves us.

      • That is so theologically bad to connect the Logos of God which is Christ to the word of God which is the Gospel, prophecies, commands, preaching, etc…

        Then, you badly connect ‘the word of God’ to Scripture.

        Paul said that people believed when they heard the preacher who told about Christ. The Spirit Calls us. This is Scripture. The Spirit testifies through Scripture and we measure things by the Scripture, but no, it is the call, heard through the preaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ which pleads with the heart of a sinner.

  15. Jean,

    I agree we don’t gather “science” as we read Genesis, but hear the revelation that God “created the heavens and the earth.” After Gen. 1:1&2, we have God’s own “framework” theologically. It is the biblical text itself, that to my mind at least (historical Adam & Eve)..Creation, Fall, Redemption, that really does not allow for evolution! Note, Christ as the Last Adam here (Rom. 5 / 1 Cor. 15). But the question that “science” does impose, ‘Is the Creation Young or Old’? I say we just don’t know? Though we can favor one or the other. I am an old earth creationist, at least right now. But I am open to change, but only “creational”. Speaking for myself, I just don’t see evolution. Note Heb.11:3, “So that what is seen was not made out of the things which are visible.”

    • Age of the earth is a worldview question, not really a science question. When a someone asks “what is the age of the earth?” you can almost answer “what age would you like it to be?” AiG has articles that describe different ways to estimate the age and there are very different results, much too young for the secular community. They also have articles which seriously challenge the assumptions of the currently favored dating methods. Thus science has no definitive answer. As far as the text of the Bible, the genealogies are tightly linked down to around Abraham, if I remember correctly. It gives the age of the father when he begat a particular son. Even if it was really a grandson or something, the time period is very definite. This gives a limit as to how old the earth can be. Clearly in the thousand of years though. How do you see this?

      • Jean,

        Thanks to share. I am not a scientist, but my father was (RIP). Since my father was a physicist, we talked mostly about theory, since I have philosophy & theology degrees. It was a lovely life growing-up, with all the eggheads in our home off and on! lol This was in both Ireland and England.

        But I agree science has no definitive answer! I am one of the pastor-priests that really loves the simplicity but also definitive power of the Holy Scripture, when it speaks! I am yes a fossil, as a conservative! lol Thanks again to remind me of those days of my youth.

  16. What Christ would that be? Obviously not the one who said that people were created at the beginning (Mt 19:4-6). Did Jesus also do violence to the text when he spoke as if Scripture is true?

  17. Jean, you can try to put words in my mouth, but everyone can see the dishonest tactic.

    Oh, and what beginning? When God made the heavens? Or the earth, or 7 days later? Or the Word and the beginning there? The ‘beginning’ the Christ is talking about could mean several things – the beginning of Scripture, the beginning of separation of genders…

    By your standard, there is only ‘one’ beginning which defeats your attempt and justifying yourself.

    @Fr. Robert, I find that evolution interesting, and fine for ‘creation’ to some extent, but you are correct. Adam is the item which, for me, ends the debate on evolution. But, then again, I think that evolution is mathematically unattainable.

  18. Hey Joel, we agree! My father the scienist knows now in glory! 🙂 We used to go round and round about creation. He thankfully followed Einstein. I used to argue for the Old School Catholic creation position. I still like it!

    • I tend to like it as well. For me, Fr. Robert, the goal of Genesis 1, the theology and statement, is that God has ordered and ordained things on purpose for the pinnacle of His creation – humanity. That God for that sovereignty!

  19. I actually tend to think one of the best examples of the flood in action is Mt St Helens – when the Mt was done blowing it’s top, it left a canyon like mess in it’s wake – finally geologist were able to make sense of various geological formations they had not really known the source of or how they got there. If you went there now, and did not know the history or when the Mt blew, you’d think it’d been there thousands of years of not longer, when in actuality if was made in a matter of hours. For the Grand Canyon it might have been a matter of days or weeks as the waters receded that it was formed.

    • In addition to your comments, Brian, some geologists took samples of the lava flow about 10 years after the explosion. According to theory, the clock should begin at zero when the rock hardens (all the Argon gas should have escaped while it was lava). The results should have shown that the rock was too young to date. Instead it came back with dates that ranged from 340,000 to 2.8 million years. This is a common problem as other lava flows that were observed in history were dated with ridiculously old ages. Clearly radiometric dating gives results that conflict with modern eye-witnesses in addition to ones that conflict with a straightforward biblical reading.

  20. Jean, I really appreciate you taking time to comment. Glad you stopped by. We’ve needed a scientist’ perspective.

  21. I read your post. I cannot make sense of your posts. Jesus was talking about people being created male and female. He is quoting from Genesis. I do not read into the text a separate creation for the heavens and the earth when it describes their creation during the six days. Why should I? What beginning after day 7? It clearly states God had finished creating by then. I had been under the impression there was one beginning because that is all I ever read about in Genesis. Anyhow, you don’t need to respond. If I had been exposed to only your type of comments as a young person, it is likely I would have lost my faith. I didn’t care for the tone of Ken’s comment in his blog, but you certainly make his point. I think I’m done.

  22. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert :
    Jean,
    I agree we don’t gather “science” as we read Genesis, but hear the revelation that God “created the heavens and the earth.” After Gen. 1:1&2, we have God’s own “framework” theologically. It is the biblical text itself, that to my mind at least (historical Adam & Eve)..Creation, Fall, Redemption, that really does not allow for evolution! Note, Christ as the Last Adam here (Rom. 5 / 1 Cor. 15). But the question that “science” does impose, ‘Is the Creation Young or Old’? I say we just don’t know? Though we can favor one or the other. I am an old earth creationist, at least right now. But I am open to change, but only “creational”. Speaking for myself, I just don’t see evolution. Note Heb.11:3, “So that what is seen was not made out of the things which are visible.”

    Funny to think that when God Himself revealed His word in the form of evening, morning, day over and over that it was somehow relative or a figure of speech. Is God almighty? Does He have awesome power? Is He creator? Why is it so hard to believe in 6 literal days? By not believing 6 literal days you take God’s almightly and awesome power and degrade it, diminish, down play, lessen, etc. What you are really saying is “Has God indeed said”!

    Btw, when do the days before ‘real’ days then? Before day 6 or after day 7? Somewhere in between? Did the plants become x years old before darkness came again? When did God create time then if not on day 1?

    Paul certainly sums it up ‘Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?’!
    Btw, science doens’t impose anything. Its our interpretation that imposes, our starting point, our worldview that imposes.

  23. Science teaches that serpents don’t speak and the virgin birth impossible and resurrection is out of the question. Which doctrine is next to fall?

  24. Briguy,

    Good point! That’s why I still hold always to the Text itself. Creation is really very important, for we live in a “fallen” world/age.. creation! God has yet to redeem this “creation” itself, (Rom.8:19-22, etc.)

  25. I am an Assembly of God pastor and was reading recently regarding the latest change to the Doctrine of Creation Position paper that was changed during the Aug. 9-11 session of the General Presbytery session. I must say that I am quite alarmed by the latest revision. The problem I find in this newly revised Creation position is that it doesn’t hold firmly to what the Bible clearly teaches, that of a “young earth”. It allows for millions of years, Theistic Evolution, Gap Theory, Day-Age, and more – none of which are either found nor founded in the Word of God.

    The change and wording speaks very strongly of compromise because of man’s opinions, and basically says to God’s people: “Believe what you want, it doesn’t really matter.”

    The truth is that is DOES matter. How can I tell my students and church body to just believe whatever they want, or worse what a group of atheistic scientists and teachers tell them about the world around them? If you can’t believe the plain writings of the first few chapters of Genesis, then what can you believe? Genesis is foundational and should not be swayed by man’s opinions or scientific theories which are yet unproven.

    I don’t believe that God is the author of confusion. He would not give us the clear writings of Genesis, only to deceive us or to hide the truth from us. To believe in anything other than a recent creation and young earth means that you would have to believe the rest of Genesis 1-11 to be only stories and even worse, fairytales.

    What kind of answer can I give my students about creation, corruption, or the catastrophe of Noah’s Flood? For anyone to believe in an old age of the earth means that they also would have to believe that Noah’s Flood was not global and total in scale as scriptures teach. Where would the compromise end?

    The way I see it, to create such a blanket statement about creation really opens up a “Pandora’s Box” for all kinds of problems with the validity and authority of Scripture. We all know the statistic that 70%-80% of our students never return to church once they graduate High School. In another recent poll that was done with these same 70%-80% it was found that the majority of them left the church and the faith due to questions that were never answered about the Bible, and mostly of creation and origins.

    If we as pastor’s cannot provide people with answers then we are just adding to the statistic. I know that there are strong ministries full of highly intelligent scientists and PhD’s like those of Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research that have made incredible advances in backing up the clear, plain writings of Genesis 1-11 with true scientific data and research. I find it sad that so many within our own fellowship have been blinded by secular “reasoning” so as to disregard the authority of God’s Word from the very first verse.

  26. A ‘young earth pastor’! And I say good for him! But, there is also a conservative ‘old earth’ position. I can see that many pastors have never seen Augustine’s position: ex nihilo – out of nothing= instantly! And Gen.1, is the theological “framework”.

    • Fr Robert, I think that is my basic position, that I see the Genesis narrative as theological and not so much historical or a theological interpretation/presentation of historical events. Thus my hesitancy for want to bring science into the interpretation of the text – I feel as if Gen 1-11 is trying to communicate something altogether different than what many a creationist wants it to say (other than that it was YHWH and YHWH alone who created the heavens and the earth). I have not worked through all these issues but that is where I am at at this point. I hope that helps.

      I do admit I tend to lean to a younger earth than we might suppose, especially given the situation Jean explained with Mt St Helens.

  27. Brian,

    I have nothing but respect for a good ‘young earth’ position. As I mentioned, we really don’t know? And I have always had a great respect for the Irishman James Ussher full works. If it is as you say honors God as the Creator (Elohim). Note, Gen.21:33 for “Jehovah” (YHWH) our covenant God. You are correct to keep together Genesis with chapter 11 also, the genealogy’s.

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  29. Excellant Nate! Wonderful points! It is sad to see God’s Holy Word compromised and made to look fallible, devious, mistrusting. The Devil used the same tactic on Eve and thus still today, doubt God’s Word, it doesn’t really mean what it says, “Has God indeed said”!
    In the ‘old earth’ position I only see the awesome power of God minimized, lessened, degraded. Could it really be possible for God to create all of ‘that’ in only 1 day, in 6 days? Its just not feasible! But by who’s standards is it not possible, feasible? Man’s, yours and mine! What would be the purpose in God ‘misleading’ us be believe ‘old earth’, thousands/millions of years? When do the days become 24 hours in the ‘old earth’ position? Somewhere in the 6th day or does the Bible have an error on the age of Adam? By that time, did plants, sea creatures, birds, etc, live hundreds/thousands of years? Did they die?
    Would God mislead, misguide us right from the start? Why would one even bother trusting the rest? God does not lie nor deceive. Satan does, he is the master and father of!

  30. Let me begin by saying that I am a 6-day creation guy. I just can’t get around the, “And there was evening and there was morning… day” texts. If I don’t take that as historically accurate, where do I start? At some arbitrary point where science doesn’t tell me it couldn’t have happened that way?

    In any case, there are a good many theologians that I love who held to an ‘Old Earth’ view. I have to ask myself, “Would I have wanted them to be excluded from the ministry in my denomination because they don’t agree with me on this point?” No, I would not. I would want them to be able to minister in the denomination, despite our disagreement, because it is not a deal-breaking doctrine. It may have serious theological implications, if a person is consistent in his beliefs, but I doubt there is anyone who is fully consistent in everything he believes.

    As Tim said, it is an authority issue. Are we going to believe what the Bible says, or are we going to make up wild theories in order to believe something other than what it says? The inerrancy of scripture is at stake here. Do we really think that when the Bible says God created the world in six days, we should interpret it as, “God created the world, but he didn’t do it in six days. It has to be figurative language, even though the garden isn’t figurative, Adam isn’t figurative, the tree isn’t figurative, the serpent isn’t figurative… In fact the rest of the book of Genesis isn’t figurative; just the creation account. Why? Well, because it MUST be.”?

    • If you live on earth, you find the sun does make a circuit around the earth daily. Hence the terms sunrise and sunset. You will find these terms used by scientists, often in conjunction with weather reports. Now, if one wants to discuss things in terms of the solar system, then discussions of the earth revolving become relevant. It is also relevant in discussions of why we have seasons or why certain constellations or planets are visible at certain times. Given that, Joel, I do not see how your comment has any bearing on the current subject.

      • Jean, you may actually want to answer the question. The bible says that the earth doesn’t move. It says that the sun and everything else, revolves around the earth. So, tell me, do you believe what the bible says, that the world doesn’t move, but that everything moves around it?

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  32. Joel, presumably you are referring to Psalm 93:1 (also 96:10; c.f. 104:5) which speaks of the earth being firmly established; it cannot be moved. The Hebrew word, depending on its form, can mean totter, be shaken, dislodge. You propose it means that the earth is stationary in space? I doubt this as David uses the same term in Psalm 16:8; “I will not be shaken (or moved).” I don’t believe David meant to imply that he would remain stationary throughout his life. Does it mean there are never any earthquakes? No, the Bible mentions that earthquakes occur and will continue to do so? If you look at the context the meaning is clear; something that is firmly established is dependable and can be relied on. The fact they we are here, alive on the earth today tells me this verse is true. The earth has not veered from the place (actually path) God set for it just as David walked in the path God set for him. Joel, take a look at the stars in the sky sometime; like the sun and moon, they do travel around the earth. It is enjoyable to watch if you have a clear night and some time on your hands.

    • Jean, thanks for proving my point. By examining the culture, context, and words of the passages (which are more than you enumerated which matches other ANE cosmology of the time), we can understand that traditional interpretations aren’t always the right ones, especially when scientific discoveries demand otherwise, such as Galileo who labored against the traditional and infallible and straight forward interpretation that the Sun revolved around the earth, just as Scripture said. Of course, Galileo had to overcome opposition that somehow he was saying that Scripture was wrong or that science was the new god, or that if the interpretation was proven wrong, then the Gospel would lost…. So, again, thanks for proving the point that interpretations can change when new evidence is added.

      • You don’t know your history. The belief that the earth was at the center of the solar system was based on Greek thought (Aristotle and Ptolemy). That was the popular science of Galileo’s day. Perhaps some, wanting to push that view on Scripture, distorted those verses. Can you document that? Still, the church never derived such a teaching by reading the Bible in a straight forward fashion. So why do you do the same thing as those who went after Galileo using the church? You seem to push a number of foreign views into Genesis.

  33. Has anyone read any books on Old Testament parallels? You all know that other cultures even cultures right in and around the middle east had similar stores to what we see in Genesis, I presume? Is it possible any of these stories (given it was an oral culture then

    Also, can we agree that while God is the author of the overall message of Scripture there was some level of human involvement in the writing of the sacred text? (to show this just compare the Kings and Chronicles or compare the synoptic gospels).

    • John Walton’s book goes into this, Brian.

      Personally, I think that Genesis 1 is written to counter ANE literature showing that God Alone brought Creation out of nothing. (Hebrews 11.3).

      I believe that every passage of Scripture is inspired by God, but that is where inspiration stops. It doesn’t carry on through to interpretations.

  34. This is the path that Peter Enns has gone in his book: Inspiration and Incarnation. The major problem with Enns is both the authority and inerrancy of Scripture. I don’t think Enns believes in inerrancy? While I like his idea of the wideness of the Incarnation, we cannot replace the Text with that idea alone. Though Incarnation is very broad theologically.

  35. Jean :
    You don’t know your history. The belief that the earth was at the center of the solar system was based on Greek thought (Aristotle and Ptolemy). That was the popular science of Galileo’s day.

    Um, Jean, really? Yes, it was based, just as some Christian doctrine, on the ancient Greek Philosophers, but it was more than just a in Galileo’s day, but before him even a millennium or more before him with Ambrose and others such as Athenagoras, Athanasius, and yes, even after him among the Protestants. A ‘straight forward’ reading, when you read that the world doesn’t move and that God stopped the Sun does lead the reader to believe, and many did, in geocentricism. But, again, you prove the points. Thanks for playing.

  36. The Creation Narrative stands above the ANE statements, and shows by revelation itself, that God (Elohim) has alone created – out of nothing (ex nihilo)..Heb 11:3, this entire Universe! The Creation itself is simply another one of God’s many mysteries. We can but say “Amen”!

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  38. This discussion certainly proves Pauls point ‘Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?’! Humans, with our corrupt, carnal minds, limited logical reasoning, fallible conclusions and so forth, are really corrupted by Satan’s questioning of God’s Word, ‘Has God indeed said?’! We try to take other culture ideas, believes and even existance and try to justify what God has indeed said. Of course that is the point! Trying to fit man’s ideas, viewpoints, thoughts, fallible logical thinking, etc into the Bible. Then we even try to somehow justify our conclusions with scientific research/advancement not realizing that it is once again man’s viewpoint.
    Why not start with the Bible instead? No, cant do that because ‘Has God indeed said’? We first have to ‘prove’ God and if he is really ‘trustworthy’. He can’t really mean it, its interpretation, it figurative, theological, etc, etc, etc. Funny though that it is so clear, ‘God said’ then it happened, and God saw ‘that it was good’, ‘so the evening and the morning were the ‘x’ day’! Must be theological or interpretation! Oh how our minds have become so foolish yet we think we are so wise!

    Joel :
    You know what is awesome, Brian, is when you tell cultures and civilizations older than 6,000 years that they didn’t exist.

    First of all, you can tell they anything you want but it doesn’t change history. Secondly, who says there older than 6000 years anyways? Scientists! Hmmmmm…….the same ones that say bones are millions of years, the earth is billions of years and out of nothing comes life. Wow! The same goes for scientific discoveries, man’s interpretation of what happened in the past. By the way, please do quote scripture Joel regarding that the universe revolves around the earth as I thought Jean did a wonderful job on that.
    Regarding books and interpretations of the Bible, once again one has to evaluate whether its man trying to fit his ideas/logic into the Bible or starting with the Bible! Huge difference.
    Why is it that difficult to take Genesis 1:11 literal?

  39. I forgot to add that if civs and cultures were older than 6000 years, that would be a contradiction to the Bible’s genealogies thus indicating the Bible can not be true! Of course, that is not the case. God’s Word is true and we humans are continually trying to prove or disprove it under the influence of ‘Has God indeed said’!

    • Ron, um, buddy, it is not evolutionary scientists who are saying that these civs are more than 6k… but you know, history itself.

      And, I find it absolutely amazing that your arguments are the same ones against those who challenged the prevailing understanding of passages relating that everything revolves a fixed position earth. Geocentricism was a belief of the Church for a very, very, very long time based on a straight forward reading of several passages in Scripture, you know, where God is said to ‘stop the Sun’ or ‘moved the Sun back’.

      • History doesn’t speak. It is not a person. Since you do not have an eyewitness that civilizations existed more than 6K years ago, you are going on other evidence and conjecture. Generally the Egyptian chronologies are used to support these types of comments, but they are tied into history based on conjecture (Sothic theory). There are problems with it since it doesn’t fit well with what is known about other civilizations.

        About your bold claim that geocentrism was a teaching of the church based on Scripture: I asked for documentation and you have given none. I am not finding quotes from church fathers, etc. clearly showing they believed this and had derived it from Scripture. Please provide the evidence.

  40. Joel :

    Jean :
    You don’t know your history. The belief that the earth was at the center of the solar system was based on Greek thought (Aristotle and Ptolemy). That was the popular science of Galileo’s day.

    Um, Jean, really? Yes, it was based, just as some Christian doctrine, on the ancient Greek Philosophers, but it was more than just a in Galileo’s day, but before him even a millennium or more before him with Ambrose and others such as Athenagoras, Athanasius, and yes, even after him among the Protestants. A ‘straight forward’ reading, when you read that the world doesn’t move and that God stopped the Sun does lead the reader to believe, and many did, in geocentricism. But, again, you prove the points. Thanks for playing.

    Doesnt say earth is the center of the universe. God did stop the sun from moving relative to the persons position, hence the sun stop moving in the earth’s sky! Isn’t hard to comprehend!
    Joshua 10:13
    ‘So the sun stood still,And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the “midst of heaven”(not universe), and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.’ And that is a straight forwarding reading.
    Back to Genesis topic perhaps?

    • Um, Ron, when it says that the Earth is fixed and gives the notion that the Sun and the Moon revolve around it…

      But you know what is funny, is that you and Jean are arguing an interpretation which would have gotten both of you burned at the stake and scoffed at as taking the bible as less than authoritative.

      Jean, as for ‘quotes’ you obviously aren’t looking hard enough or simply, purposely, dismiss what you are reading. I’ll on it tomorrow.

      Yes, History does speak, as does evidence.

      The amount of anti-intellectualism needed combat history is outstanding. I think I’ll take someone’s advice about not fixing certain deficit traits. Brain, I’ll post on geocentricism tomorrow and link here.

    • What is interesting, though, is that presuppositions as to what that means differ. For example, I stated my faith was based on the Bible being authoritative and true. Joel scoffed at this as he carries contradicting presuppositions. I argued consistent with my presuppositions and Joel argued consistent with his. It really doesn’t matter what the evidence is, people don’t change their minds unless you can get them to change their presuppositions. This is why compromise by respected Christian leaders is so devastating to young people who were taught the Bible is authoritative and true and have read it enough to know what it says. When I read through Genesis 1 (I did this often as I read though the Bible each year in college) it was obvious that the days are tied to dark/light cycles, plants cannot survive a figurative days worth of dark, all creation takes place in the beginning, which Christ affirms, etc. It came across clearly to me as a young person that people who came up with wild stories to make the days non-literal were really reading into the text. This basically implied that God’s Word was not true because we had to modify our understanding of large passages to accommodate the secular view. When a respected Christian leader seems to imply the Bible is not really true, it is really easy for a young person to change to the world’s presuppositions. Several things helped me through: 1) I stuck to obeying God even when I felt stupid because the Bible was mocked and I felt doubts, 2) I investigated the claims of the skeptics and found there really wasn’t the substance to their claims that they implied, 3) I sat in an evolutionary biology class that clarified to me the importance of presuppositions

      The graduate level class discussed differing views held by evolutionists. For example, paleontologists complained that the fossil record was inconsistent with the gradual neo-Darwinian view. So they proposed that evolution occurred in jumps. There was a hopeful monster theory (named by its critics) that suggested, essentially, one day two lizards got together and out hatched a parakeet. Naturally, the biologists didn’t care for this, so they were concocting other stories to try to explain the fact that the fossil record was inconsistent with evolution (i.e. things show up suddenly, fully formed). The professor proceeded to tell us, with a straight face, that some scientists had proposed that life was sky-rocketed to earth after is evolved elsewhere. I wanted to roll on the floor with laughter. (I didn’t; I was polite). I never thought I’d hear a science fiction answer in a graduate level science class at a state university, but I did. It was at that point that I realized it had never been about the evidence. It did not matter what the evidence was, these people were committed evolution because they presupposed it.

      The primary strength of AiG is that they show in their basic talks and papers the role of presuppositions. Evidence exists; it is the same for everyone. How one interprets it is dependent on their presuppositions. It is also interesting to note how people respond when they are given information which contradicts their presuppositions. Skeptics seem to just write it off; I tend to investigate. That is how you find out things like the fact that Galileo really got in trouble with those in academia, which held to the Greek ideas of Aristotle and Ptolemy prevalent at the time. He was also a bit abrasive in personality, which didn’t help him much. Anyhow, I have found this type of thing (distortions in skeptics arguments) so commonly that it has certainly increased my faith in the truth and authority of Scripture.

  41. Here is a response I gave to a friend in this discussion on my facebook page:

    Well, I think we have verged more into now talking about the theological aspects of the text and getting at the literary elements (literal?) more than the aspect of Science per se (though I think one might want to read Hugh Ross’s book The Question of Genesis in how science can in some ways inform or validate faith, even if you don’t agree with any or most or all of his conclusions).

    But I think for some they do feel it is fair to let science …inform their understanding of the creation account and really Gen 1-11 and can do so still functioning under the authority of the Word and deep commitment to our Triune God and to the gospel. They believe their faith is not attached to a particular interpretation of the creation accounts but is rather attached to the God whom the Bible points to and speaks of. Others disagree with this notion and feel letting science say anything somehow undermines the authority of the Bible, when I am not certain that is always the case, necessarily.

    And sadly, I do think there are some whose faith in God is tied to a particular interpretation of the creation accounts and when presented with alternative view points somehow that shakes them and makes things too ambiguous for them to be comfortable with so either they supposedly lose faith (stop believing in God) or they may hunker down and hold on to a particular interpretation as though that is what their faith depends on when really it should depend on our Triune God.

    I have to admit that I am not completely supportive of the all or nothing approach to understanding and interpreting the Bible (also the “God said, I believe it, that settles it” view).

    Why? Mainly because of the human element. While God inspired men to write the Scriptures it was not a dictation, it was inspiration. There is a difference and this is important because as we both know, there are plenty of differences between the four gospel accounts of Jesus and yet they compile one true gospel. People easily get tripped over the resurrection accounts all the time (we know there is resolution to those accounts, I am just citing an example).

    There are very significant differences between the two “historical” books of Kings and Chronicles – in one we see story of the most wicked King Menassah, and in the other we see the repentant King Menassah. Well, which is true? They can’t both be true. So this gets back to that theological narrative hermeneutic you are too fond of – perhaps there are reasons for the differences. The both interpreted the life and situation of historical wicked King Menassah differently for different purposes. One pre exile, and one post exile. Even the accounts of King David are different as are the accounts of Hezekiah. Is it all true or not true?

    I hope that makes some sense and I don’t mean to lecture or over explain things or cause you to be frustrated and throw up your arms in exasperation rolling your eyes at me, or even laughing incredulously, lol!

    I just hope to share that people can have differing understandings of the creation accounts and still be ardent believers (which I know you said differing views aren’t necessarily indicative of lack of belief but I worry that some, though not you, may actually feel that way – that somehow less than a literal 6 day view is in some sense less than Christian).

    All that so say, I think the direction the AG took with their position paper on the Doctrine of Creation is a good move mainly because it allows for differing interpretations that can encourage unity in the larger body instead of taking a strong stand the draws divisive lines in the sand when it is completely unnecessary to do so.

    • I believe in a literal six day creation and I’m not willing to change that, but that doesn’t mean my faith is tied to that interpretation in anyway. It seems to me that the purpose of that assertion is to somehow prove one’s position and not to make an observation. Either way it’s not true, not of everyone at least. The same could be said about your view. Perhaps if you didn’t allow for multiple interpretations to be potentially true you’d have the “burden” of having to pick one and make a firm stand on it, maybe a burden that’s too heavy. It seems easy to just go with the flow and not really take a strong stand one way or the other, if you picked one you might lose your faith or “hunker down” on the notion that nobody really knows what the Genesis account says when presented with alternative view points.

      I couldn’t care less about what interpretation anyone has about Genesis if the wrong interpretations didn’t have consequences(like turning the Bible into a book of inconsistency). I don’t have a “only my view is right!” mentality or a fear that if my view is wrong that I’d somehow lose my faith. I like many others read the Bible literally, as it is written, whether it’s poetry or an account of an event. There are discrepancies about what is or isn’t historical accounts in the Bible and I do take a firm stand and what I believe. However, my interpretations are tied to my faith, not the other way around.

      • “…if you picked one you might lose your faith or “hunker down” on the notion that nobody really knows what the Genesis account says when presented with alternative view points.”

        Oops, that made sense in my head (or so I thought) but after reading it just now I see that is doesn’t at all. What I was trying to say is that one might lose their faith or “hunker down” on the notion that nobody really knows what the Genesis account says when presented with evidence of one certain interpretation being true. That is if your faith is tied to being open about reinterpreting scripture when presented with contrary evidence, that way one never appears to be wrong. Not that I’m attempting to describe your belief, I’m just showing you what it looks like to some from the other side.

  42. The Young Earth science position goes something like this; Our earth has the oppearance of great age because it was created fully mature, and then experienced a devastating full flood. Therefore, the history of our world cannot be correctly interpretated from or by physical evidence without recognizing it has experienced acts of supernatural intervention. What do ya think Jean?

    • First, I think 6 thousand years is really old, and second, I’m not sure what on earth makes it look any older. To be sure God created things mature in the sense that chickens were created and not eggs; adults not infants; trees not just sprouts.

      The philosophy that the earth was much older was introduced well before Darwin. In the West it can be traced back to Hutton who observed erosion occurring gradually and insisted this was always how things happen. Thus, things must be really, really old because it would take a really, really long time for things to form this way. Here is a quote from 1785:

      ‘the past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now … No powers are to be employed that are not natural to the globe, no action to be admitted except those of which we know the principle’

      Notice the presuppositions and the dogma. Dogma coming from an omniscient God is one thing, but from a finite human is another. (He eliminated the possibility of a global Flood because he had not experienced it!) This was the birth of uniformitarianism, long used in the claim that the Bible is at odds with science. (The philosophy is at odds with the Bible, but it is no longer held as strongly since Bretz theory on the catastrophic formation of Channeled Scablands gained popularity).

      The difference between YECs and secularists is their explanation for the many rock layers with billions of dead things (e.g. fossils). YECs recognize it as catastrophic and point to the fact that the Flood would have dramatic effects like this. We accept biblical historical narratives as history, simply because that is how they were written. Since it is real history it will have a real effect on the real world. What would you expect to see if there was a global Flood? Billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth. (That is actually a line from a song.) Well, we have the rock layers and the fossils. The physical evidence fits very well in the YEC model!

      The secularists reject the Bible’s history without serious consideration. Thus they are left trying to explain things without God and need billions of years. They gravitate towards evidence that appears to support this position. However, in recent years it has been increasingly common for evolutionary geologists to appeal to catastrophe to explain what is seen in the rocks. This is one of many places where the anti-God conjecture that was used to attack the Bible hasn’t stood the test of time very well.

      It is never science or the evidence that contradict the Bible, but the opinions of those who chose to reject the truth of Scripture. Physical evidence alone cannot give you history; you must have a framework through which to interpret it. This is why it is so critical to understand the role of presuppositions, and be able to identify them.

      Now, as to the Flood being a supernatural event, I do not really think of it as such. God said he was bringing the Flood, and He did. But God also says He feeds the ravens and cares for us, which he does. Since I accept that God is always involved in our world, it gets hard to know what to call supernatural. The Flood does not strike me as supernatural in the same way as raising the dead or turning water into wine. Noah had to build a real Ark and care for real animals. They were on the Ark about a year. Sounds more like a grueling period in life, but God was there and cared for him in a way that appeared rather natural.

      I think that may have been kinda what you were getting at, but us scientist types can find details very important. (I’m sure you’d never guess from my posts.)

  43. Joel :
    Um, Ron, when it says that the Earth is fixed and gives the notion that the Sun and the Moon revolve around it…
    But you know what is funny, is that you and Jean are arguing an interpretation which would have gotten both of you burned at the stake and scoffed at as taking the bible as less than authoritative.
    Jean, as for ‘quotes’ you obviously aren’t looking hard enough or simply, purposely, dismiss what you are reading. I’ll on it tomorrow.
    Yes, History does speak, as does evidence.
    The amount of anti-intellectualism needed combat history is outstanding. I think I’ll take someone’s advice about not fixing certain deficit traits. Brain, I’ll post on geocentricism tomorrow and link here.

    Scripture please? I believe Jean and I pointed out straight forwarding reading of scripture rather than notions of or what was previously believed, not believed. It really doesnt matter what was previously believed or not believed but that you and I believe the truth. Regarding burning at the stake, well, again by man’s standards.
    Didnt know history or evidence speaks! Ive been to museums and its pretty quiet. Bones dont really say much but perhaps if they did, not sure english would be their first language. Once you come to the realization that its our interpretation of history or evidence and how conclusions are based, one can ‘discuss’ items in a logical manner. As Jean states, you were not there so you have to take someone’s interpretation of it.
    “I think I’ll take someone’s advice about not fixing certain deficit traits.” Exactly! Why start with the Bible? It cant be trusted hence Ken Ham’s article regarding undermining the Bible’s authority!
    2 Corinthians 11:3
    But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

  44. Is there 1 truth or many? Are there many ways to obtain salvation or 1? How many ways to Heaven? How we personally decide what is truth is our presuppositions as Jean nicely spelled it out. Either we are looking thru man’s perseptive/glasses or the Biblical one. There can only be one truth despite all the different believes, theories, etc and the most important decision in our life will be whether we choose the truth or reject it. For God nothing is impossible because He is God! Our feeble minds can not grasp it nor understand it.

  45. Ron,

    I am myself a creationist, but I lean to the old earth. But I am certainly open to the Young Earth position. For me truth is always a unity, but not necessarily a uniformity. And there is always mystery involved in the Holy Scripture. And this is a lost perspective with many biblicist Christians today. BTW, I would consider myself a strong conservative and also something of a bibliclist too. I am also a Reformed Christian as to the doctrine of salvation, which places me within the Reformational and Reformed place. So both Luther and Calvin have been my mentors, biblically & theologically. But, I am historic Pre-Mill., but Post-trib. And today, there are few Anglican pastors and theolog’s that are Pre-Mill. Though in the 19th and early 20th century there were many who were. But the Church is under siege and certain apostasy today for certain. And I am also one that believes that the signs of the Second Coming of Christ are here and abound, and I am certainly pro-Israel also. So there are many issues before the Church, besides creation. But creation is certainly very important! Can we note, 2 Cor.4:6, how St. Paul uses both a spiritual reality and typology in this verse. The creation is matched with the new creation that comes into the believers heart at regeneration. But all is in the “face” of Christ! And here we see God’s sovereign initiative in grace to enable us to embrace the gospel message. It is really the same in all aspects of the biblical truth, we never come by reason alone, but by faith, that perhaps can reason. But always faith first. But faith in God in Christ!

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  47. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert :
    Jean,
    Indeed that “Creation” (bara, heb.) is “absolutely” done!

    Amen to your two follow up posts to my looong detailed discussion. I wanted to mention that I have appreciated a number of your other comments too. You made one regarding unity I liked. Within our congregations will will always find people who disagree on matters that we consider important doctrinal beliefs. The creation account is one of many places this occurs. I agree that we deal with each other in love, giving each other the benefit of the doubt as much as possible. I agree that revelation actually comes God, and while clear presentation of viewpoint which is solidly based on Scripture is important, ultimately it is God who changes the heart. We have an obligation to speak the truth clearly and in love. Only the Holy Spirit can guide us into all truth.

    When I see others show what I perceive as a serious disregard fro Scripture, I have a number of reactions. One is to remember that I too am fallible and must cling to Christ through the discussion. It causes me to spend some extra time asking God for help to keep me on track and never abandon me to my own human opinions. It causes me to ask Him to grant us, his church as a whole, repentance for the way we have shown disregard for him and what he says. If I do not respond this way, I run the terrible risk of opening myself up to serious error as well.

    May we all grow in learning and continuing to truly cling to Christ and trust His Word!

  48. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert :
    The Young Earth science position goes something like this; Our earth has the oppearance of great age because it was created fully mature, and then experienced a devastating full flood. Therefore, the history of our world cannot be correctly interpretated from or by physical evidence without recognizing it has experienced acts of supernatural intervention. What do ya think Jean?

    Robert,
    Jean did a great job! Thank you Jean. If I may, Id like to add as well. By taking Genesis literal (strictly speaking taking Genesis 1:11, not indicating that we now need to take the entire Bible literal as some have indicated, all or nothing reasoning), it makes sense of the world we see today. If we do not, we are denying God His Godly traits such as omnipotent and omniscience. By not taking 6 24 hour days literal, we are saying that God is inconsistent with His traits, attributes, qualities, characteristics, etc which cast doubt on His word and His message which again are inconsistent as God can never lie nor deceive. Therefore, is it not possible for God to create from nothing a ‘mature’ world? By saying otherwise, we doubt God’s power and cast doubt on God’s word. By saying otherwise, there are more questions than answers (death, suffering, disease in the fossil record before sin) and give the belief/theory of evolution room to manifest. What evidence do we have that says otherwise, that God did not create the world ‘mature’? Its only our presuppositions, our world view that wants to doubt that it can not be possible for the earth to be created in 6 24 hour days. Starting from a literal viewpoint makes the most sense of the world, evidence, history, etc. Not only that but it really does glorify God that nothing is impossible for He makes the impossible possible, it does not contradict His traits! What a comfort, what hope, what encouragement, what a message for man, for us Christians, that because God is omnipotent, ‘that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.’ (Romans 10:9)

  49. just wanted to chime in for clarity’s sake, I am a creationist. I believe the God of the Christian Bible created the heavens and the earth by the word of his power. Indeed, the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it!

  50. Jean,

    I too enjoyed the majority of this thread. And especially listening to your posts, the blessing of a biblical believing scientist!

    I also enjoyed the fact of the faith of others that are so-called Young Earth. It is always best to simply believe God’s Word “faithfully”. I must confess I need to read and work on the Young Earth positions. My generation (the mid baby boomers), have been Old Earth Creationists for the most part as Christians, and even some Jewish. Especially us so-called theolog’s. I have several Jewish conservative friends, since I taught and lived in Israel in the late 90’s. I also fought in Gulf War 1, as a Royal Marine Commando, Recon officer. We even had special op’s missions (combined forces) – deep penetration aspects. Anyway, enough of that.

    The verse that is used often for the Old-Earth creationists, is Gen.1:2, the so-called “primordial earth”, the Primeval History, etc. Thoughts?

    • Actually, I do understand why the Old Earth position is fairly common, as I know some of the factors that made it popular popular. Your question is a good one and deserves a good answer. I think the best discussion of it can be found at http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/gap-ruin-reconstruction-theories. It gives a good background, discusses some variations on the theory, and explains why these views run into trouble with Scripture and science. It deals with the Genesis 1:1 and 2 issue. Let me know if it answers your questions. Blessings!

  51. Jean,

    Thanks for the link. My position however of the Genesis Creation would be more open to the position of an historical framework, a “framework” that is not so much chronological but theological and literary. This position helps to see God’s purpose in creation and the Sabbath commandment. And it would be exegetical also. Genesis portrays the one true God (Elohim), as the supreme transcendent sovereign over His creation. And the Sabbath is as old as creation, in the spiritual sense and reality. (Heb.4:9-11) There is much more here, but it simply must be seen and interpretated in the spiritual and the depth of the primordial, (1:2 the earth…the deep). From here the earth was a “dreadful chaos”. This is not a gap theory, but both God’s creative ordering, and His later redemptive work. I believe the writer is stating that God’s Creation Narrative stands above that of the ANE statements. Darkness and evil are nothing before the Creator God!
    But, as you note, the smallest detail has its meaning when one examines the creation. And it is here that the great work and ministry of the Irishman James Ussher still stands! So I am always humbled by God (Elohim) the Creator. But also to my mind the “person” of the Trinity is also seen in Gen. 1:26, “Let us” both the plurality within the divine unity – also the plural of majesty: is God Elohim!

    Also Jean, I was looking a Gen.1:2, as yet and unordered and unfilled creation statement, only overcome by God’s creative power & majesty. This “seems” to be part of the spiritual and theological sense of God’s “spiritual-framework”. Though as I said, I believe the creation narrative expresses the full doctrine of creation ex nihilo. But afterward is God’s progressive order from a formless and empty world.

    • Amen to the trinity in Genesis! I teach this (Sunday school) I start with verse 1 and point out the plural subject used with a verb that takes a singular subject. Very strange. Then I go to verse 26 and point out the three first person plural pronouns (us, our, our). Then I ask the class: who God is talking to? Himself? Someone else? Then we read the next verse and get the answer. 🙂

      There are certainly other points you mention that I agree with, especially in regard to the awesomeness of God and His power over creation. I found a link to a rather technical two part creationist take on the framework hypothesis at http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v2/n1/framework-interpretation-critique-part-one. The link to the second article is at the top of the page.

      • the only issue I have with Trinity in Genesis is the same people feel with the Gap theory – it might be a bit anochronistic (or bringing something foreign to the text) since trinity wasn’t taked about or understood til well into the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. The Jews cited and still cite the Shema daily (Dt 6:4) and would not see Trinity in Gen 1:26-28 – and this is coming from someone who is an ardent Trinitarian.

      • Jean,

        Thanks, I have both of those “framework” articles. And I have read both the American Meredith Kline and the European Henri Blocher. And both good men in my opinion. But certainly, we should all want to follow the Holy Scripture, at least those of us that believe in classic revelation.

        BTW, I am old enough to have read, and liked very much the American theologian Bernard Ramm. I remember his book: The Christian View of Science and the Bible. A firestorm book! And what theolog has not read his classic: Protestant Biblical Interpretation. He called for “a full-fledged, intelligent Biblicism”.

  52. I found this statement from the ink proveded a bit silly as I am not convinced it is true:

    All versions of the gap theory impose outside ideas on Scripture and thus open the door for further compromise.

    compromise? how?

    • I think the logic goes like this. If you adjust how you read the Bible because the secularists insist something is true (e.g. millions of years), which is how the gap theory came about, then you have one place where you are reading things in from outside the text. Since the secularists are always bashing the Bible, later you follow the same tactic and read something else in to adjust to what they are saying. Eventually it becomes habit.

      I would like to see this pattern stopped early by people understanding the secularists are just spouting opinion based on their presuppositions. They have no market on truth; God is the source of all truth. This helps people see that the Bible is a perfectly legitimate starting point. There is less temptation to drag foreign stuff into the text.

      One important point here. In the life of any one individual there is not always the slippery slope into unbelief. Many people adjust for one secular idea, most commonly age of the earth, and in their lives it stops there. For many people the topic is outside their normal conversation and thinking anyhow. The idea that there is a gap is stuffed in some corner of their minds and they spend their time and energy loving and serving God. For them personally, there is no further slide. The problem comes when others see the accommodation and follow the precedent. Does that make sense?

      • Jean, while I can see what you are saying, I’d hardly call someone like Hugh Ross (who AIG seems to not like) a PhD and astrophysicist and born again Christian and one time minister of evangelism in his Congregational Church – a secularist.

        Not sure if he is a Gap theory guy but I know he sees the value of science affirming the accuracy of Scripture not tearing it down. I guess it depends on one’s perspective. Not sure if I buy into his idea that Gen 1 set precedent for the scientific method, but I am not going to say he is somehow an inconsistent Christian or wonder if he is even one at all (as I know some are prone to do).

        I know some people can’t handle things like the Gap theory (which depends a not on how you understand the void or emptiness) and so if they can’t do that that is fine, but the problem I have been having this whole thread and not sure if it was being picked up on is the attitude that if one isn’t a literalist with regard to a literal 144 hour/6 day creation event (i.e., the entire physical universe in 144 hours or less) then somehow you are caving into the secularist God haters and care nothing for the inspiration or authority of Scripture.

        Does that make sense?

  53. Yes, compromise to what? It is a theological construct, but then so is much of theological ideas, right or wrong. My Irish great-gram was an old Scofield dispensationalist, and yeah the gap, but she was a biblical women of God for certain.

  54. brianfulthorp :
    Jean, while I can see what you are saying, I’d hardly call someone like Hugh Ross (who AIG seems to not like) a PhD and astrophysicist and born again Christian and one time minister of evangelism in his Congregational Church – a secularist.

    Agreed. Hugh Ross is not himself a secularist. From what I know he is a very friendly person with a very enthusiastic presentation. I think he believes he is accepting God’s Word as authoritative; naturally I don’t agree that he is. There is an interview with him and others of RTB on the A/G website. I have a good friend who is also a PhD astronomer and a YEC, Danny Faulkner. He gets along with Hugh and has debated him on several occasions. The problem YECs have with Hugh is his teaching: he assumes the Big Bang is true and everything else proceeds from there. Hugh accepts the conclusions of scientists (in astronomy and earth science) without examining the presuppositions. This is a big problem since the conclusions from the same evidence can change depending on the starting assumptions and secularists start with anti-biblical assumptions.

    Hugh doesn’t accept the beliefs of secular scientists on biology. Biology is actually my area. In fact, in many ways RTB throws out the baby with the bath water. I’d be humiliated to present his stuff to a biologist. It would just convince them all the more that creationists (though I don’t use that term for Hugh myself) are all crazy. (If you ever want to see something I’ve written in biology, search Lightner on the AiG or CMI websites. Look for a lay article since a lot of my stuff gets very technical.)

    Hugh can get very vocal against YECs. He was very outspoken against the RATE project, a major YEC research effort that seriously challenges a major assumption of radiometric dating (i.e. it shows radioactive decay has not been constant). The problem was that Hugh didn’t really understand what was going on. That was Danny’s comment about Hugh in astronomy too. Hugh is not a deep thinker and doesn’t seem to understand the details, which is understandable since there are a lot of details . Hugh assumes secular scientists must be right on that topic and bases his comment on that. Outgoing people are often less detail oriented, but it is disturbing that he relies on secularist and discounts YEC scientists when forming conclusions. The problem is that us boring detail oriented people have important information that needs to be considered.

    BTW, I am a board member with the Creation Research Society (CRS) and we have a number of other PhD astronomers as members. We are very involved in Creation Research (which is probably why no one knows us; we are good at research but lousy at marketing/PR). AiG and CMI are the major “in between” organizations that help make our research more public and understandable to a lay audience. CRS is a YEC professional society with hundred of members with advanced degrees in science. We also have additional non-voting members who lack such degrees. We do publish our own stuff, both a technical journal and a bi-monthly lay publication.

    Sorry I’m really unhelpful in the framework discussion. I looked at the article I linked early and have a vague idea, but it is out of my league. Also, in regard to the trinity in Genesis, much of it comes from the Hebrew grammar (an English speaker won’t see the plural subject hooked with a verb taking a singular subject). Echad, which is used in the Shma is also used of plural unity in Genesis 2:24. Since this doctrine is expounded later in Scripture, I think this is a legitimate inference which makes sense of this odd grammar situation.

  55. Pingback: Church Fathers on Geocentrism – Part 1 | The Church of Jesus Christ

  56. Robert and Brian, thank you for your patience and input.
    Pardon me for my ignorance! I was raised in the literal Genesis from small and have not had much exposure to the gap theories therefore have a hard time understanding how it all fits together (given my worldview from literal a Genesis, I have a hard time with the ‘theology’ aspect). The problem is that one doesn’t get a ‘gap’ by reading the text. One needs to take material outside the Bible to support/unhold the gap theory.
    If we look up the word compromise, it means 1) a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc 3) something intermediate between different things 4) an endangering, esp. of reputation; exposure to danger, suspicion, etc. (dictionary.com)
    The 2 differences are the worldviews, evolution and creation (no god and God). When the first notions of evolution cropped up, the church had to somehow answer otherwise it would of been devastating for believers therefore the church compromised between the 2 differences to somehow include millions of years into the Bible. Thats the problem, adjusting, finding a ‘middle road’ because they didn’t have answers thus definition #4, endangering the reputation, causing suspicion on the Bible whether it is really what God said, perhaps it means something else, can we really take it as the truth as written, and causing doubt. One has to remember that doubt ultimately can lead to unbelief. Certainly as Jean mentioned that we cannot be judgemental on someone else’s spiritual well being and that just because he believes in God’s creation not literally, who are we to say his spiritual life is lesser because of it. As well, salvation doesn’t hinge on our view of how God created rather that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.’ (Romans 10:9) The point is how others may perceive the Word of God, the next generation, other religious believers, etc. They may and today we do see that many people disregard the Bible as mere stories, fables, ‘good’ book, etc etc because of a compromise. Now that may not be the only reason that people do not believe but one very important aspect, the authority of God’s Word and our presuppositions. We must realize that we all have been sin cursed thus fallible in our reasoning, logic, conclusions even the greatest, smartest most intellectual minds. It comes down to what is affecting our presuppositions, our worldview.
    Genesis 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.(NKJ)
    I mentioned that I don’t grasp the gap theory because what happened in the gap in v2 and v3? There are a number of theories but where do they come from, based on what? When does the ‘theological’ become actual, literal creation? I guess I have a hard time with the interpretation of a theological (based upon the nature and will of god as revealed to humans) Genesis’s! Given the definition of theological, heaven and earth were only revealed to us and not actually created in v1 because it was God’s nature and will? Where did the ‘real’ heavens and earth come from? If this is only a ‘framework’ why will there be a new heavens and earth (2 Peter 3:13)? Sorry for the many questions!

  57. I think we must admit, that many of the Church Fathers taught a form of geocentric ideas about the earth. As Joel has shown. Also the Ancient Hebrew Cosmology, does not have the scientific view world that we have. The ancient picture of the universe portrays a world in which the Earth is a disc surrounded by water not only on the sides, but underneath and above as well. Deep below the Earth is Sheol, the abode of the dead, which can be entered only thru the grave.

    Indeed the biblical cosmos consisted of three basic regions: the heavens, the land, and the underworld. Note, Phil. 2:10. The Bible is not really a book of science. It was written in a pre-scientific era and age. Its greatest messages are both spiritual & moral truths and lessions. Herein we have the study of theology and the doctrine of God. It appears that the Church Fathers understood some of this. And placed the Earth and Israel, and the Church as God’s revelational centre. Sometimes this has great truth, but sometimes it is pressed beyond the scripture texts.

    The question now is, can we really escape modern scientific thought when we approach Holy Scripture? And does not the Bible itself give a progressive revelation, which of course ended in the first-century. See, Gal.4:4-7, etc. And we must note that St. Paul was a Greco-Roman man, and wrote in and somewhat from that culture. Note his Roman language in his Greek thought, and thus theology. Romans chapters 3 thru 8, etc. We simply cannot escape the historical reality of the whole NT itself. Which came from the Jewish and also Jewish-Hellenistic reality. Note the early use of the Septuagint. It is here that we also place both the reality and theology of the Incarnation of Christ Himself! (Rom.9:4-5 ; 15:8, etc.)

  58. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert :
    I think we must admit, that many of the Church Fathers taught a form of geocentric ideas about the earth. As Joel has shown.

    If Joel showed that, I missed it. I think you can argue that living on earth makes one naturally think like a geocentrist. Modern scientists, who accept a heliocentric solar system, commonly use the same type of language as the Bible when discussing sunrise, sunset, and the motion of planets and stars in the night sky. It is logically inconsistent to claim the Bible promotes a geocentric worldview and be OK with this aspect of everyday language which is used even by PhD astronomers. Further, I have been reading my Bible for decades and have never perceived the phrase about the earth not moving as discussing a lack of motion through space. The context does not support this. Basically, the Bible says nothing about the structure of the solar system one way or another. However, I do see how geocentric ideas can easily be read into it.

    • Jean,

      I am not really advocating a full geocentric system in the Bible, just agreeing that many of the Church Father’s saw it somewhat. The reality of the Bible is the spiritual sense and truth for the so-called Father’s. (Jean, did you see Joel’s ping?) There he lists many Church Father’s).Indeed the worldview of the Bible is foremost Judeo, and thus Christian itself. But this has its own history also (Judeo-Christian).

      BTW, I grew up reading both my Catholic Douay-Rhelms, and since my great-gram was a fundamentalist Christian, I also read my KJV. I read both as a young boy quite often. I have always been a serious biblical reader. Decades also, I am 60. I count that grace & providence. I actually had my first conversion type experience as a R. Catholic. I considered it Augustinian like, but then my great-gram was a great influence on me at the same time also.

      Jean have you read Luther or Calvin much? They are hardly liberals, but certainly not modern fundamentalists. Though I would call both of them biblicists.

      • Thanks Brian. Now I have the link to quotes from the church Fathers. I got halfway through the list before I found one that sounded like it was really advocating geocentrism. The majority were just describing the motions of the planets.

        A bit of science background. Motion is always measured relative to something. If you live on earth, motion is normally described relative to earth. When you get a speeding ticket, is the motion of the earth rotating on its axis included in the calculation? If not, does that imply the authorities think the earth is fixed in space? I am really surprised that Joel’s comments were taken so seriously as I consider this one of the lamest atheistic arguments I’ve encountered in life. I have dealt with this trite argument before which is why I took the bait when he started the thread. Scientifically one cannot defend the position that the Bible teaches geocentrism. There is no other way in human language to accurately describe the motion of planets in everyday language.

        I haven’t read much of Luther or Calvin. I think one of them was opposed to geocentrism. The Catholic church had various reactions to heliocentrism, but for the most part they were ok with it being discussed as a theory. Joel repeated the atheistic nonsense that people got burned at the stake for this belief. Giordano Bruno promoted heliocentrism and was burned at the stake, but he was a heretic. Belief and promotion of heliocentrism did not fuel the flames of the Inquisition. I think helicentrism is a bit of a paradigm stretch for most living on earth who had not previously considered it. Even though we believe in a heliocentric solar system today, it really doesn’t affect us much unless we want to discuss why there are seasons or retrograde motion to planets.

      • Jean,

        I am not fully following Joel thoughts, but I think we must admit some aspect to the early Father’s seeing the earth as the spiritual and theological centre. Again, this is where Augustine goes, etc. But a full geocentric sense? No. This was/is my point.

  59. Thank you for your great thoughts Robert! Funny that you should mention science, that the Bible is not a book of science. One very important aspect of any kind of origin discussion is defining what is meant by science (I love definitions in case you have not noticed). There are a number of definitions regarding science that need consideration (I will only list the relative ones)(dictionary.com):
    1) a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws
    2) systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
    3) systematized knowledge in general.
    4) knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.
    5) a particular branch of knowledge.
    Fundamentally, science means knowledge therefore the Bible not being a book about science isn’t quite correct because by definition the Bible gives us immense knowledge, knowledge about God, about His creation, our origins, our history. Now, is the Bible a detailed science textbook as such as we find in our education system, no! But it gives an overview, an overall picture shall we call it. Interestingly enough, people believed that the world was flat but Proverbs 8:27 says otherwise. Thru observation/experimental science, using our senses, many so called church believes have been proven wrong because the church tried to adopt the so called ‘scientific’ view of the world such as Joel mentioned (geocentrism, world flat, etc). Not only is the Bible a great book of knowledge but history, astronomy, biology, etc as well and I mean this is a literal sense, not a theological history, astronomy, biology, etc. Are there components of theology in the Bible? Of course, many and Im sure we could go on for a million years where and when and how and why but rather limit this to Genesis 1-11. When speaking of the world that we see today which we perceive with our senses, it can not have ‘appeared’ in a theological sense but an actual literal sense otherwise, in other words, we, you and I being here at this moment is time, is just theoretical!
    Your question “can we really escape modern scientific thought when we approach Holy Scripture?” Of course not and forgive me if this was misleading. Observation/experimental science is a powerful tool to confirm evidence/facts. We can not deny the scientific advancement of our day and age we live in (perhaps some do which doesn’t make sense).
    By the way, I love to hear answers to my previous questions!

  60. Additionally, we know where knowledge comes from and which forms the bases of science, morality, logic, etc; (NJK)
    Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
    1 Samuel 2:3 “Talk no more so very proudly;Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the LORD is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed.
    Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
    Proverbs 2:5-6 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
    And many, many more! Hence why we must, must, must start with God first, start with the Bible then by using this ultimate standard of knowledge weigh, discern, evaluate, etc what we are presented with from ‘scientists’, philosophers, theologians, smart people, etc. This is fundemental to everyone’s presuppositions.

  61. Ron,

    Thank you also. I am really always more at home with conservative people, Bible or otherwise. I also like definitions, I am a Reformed theolog type. But we must always renew our definitions, when it is needed.

    Of course I meant so-called modern science. I am not pressing the etymology of the word.

    I have two doctorates, D. Phil.,Th.D. so as much as I love the Holy Scripture, it is always strained thru those two aspects. But certainly also always historical. We cannot do anything without proper history. But not just a critical history, but a more biblical history. I am really a conservative Christian, that sees the scripture in a form of its own presupposition. God has spoken, and His word & revelation are the final truth & authority! But, God also has chosen to use men and man for the gift of His revelational WORD! And this comes both thru the written Word, and the Word that became Incarnate. Thus in some real sense, the Church itself is some kind of incarnate reality (the Living Christ). I speak mostly from the standpoint of the NT Church. But even now, the Body-Life of Christ is a living function of the Risen Christ somehow. But the Church is always a pilgrim body in this fallen world, and its best extension and expression of Christ is always near to the Crucified Lord Himself, (2 Cor. 4:7-14 – note verse 10&11).

    AS to the Text itself. We also need to see the Bible in its own “genre”, i.e. its own method and reality of expression. Note Heb.1:1&2, etc. From the OT wisdom, to the NT “incarnation”, etc. We are not, as Christians, just people of the BOOK, though that is true, but we are “ourselves” the living place (Temple) and people of God. As Paul says: “You are our epistle written in our hearts (brotherhood), known and read by all men”. (2 Cor.3:2) Note also 1 John 1:1-3.

    Having said all this, the Church must also live by “Spirit & Truth”. And here God has chosen with His Spirit, the CHURCH itself (Eph.4:11), “for the prefecting of the saints…till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph.4:12-13)

    And it to this historic body, and the Salvation History of God I seek myself!

    To God be the glory!

    Fr. Robert

  62. Amen Brother!
    1 Corinthians 15
    14 if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
    The Last Enemy Destroyed

    20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.

  63. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert :
    Jean,
    I am not fully following Joel thoughts, but I think we must admit some aspect to the early Father’s seeing the earth as the spiritual and theological centre. Again, this is where Augustine goes, etc. But a full geocentric sense? No. This was/is my point.

    OK, I think I understand you better now. My apologies if I overreacted; I was struck by the inconsistency between the title on that link and the actual quotes.

    I do believe most church Fathers assumed the earth was the center of the universe. Most any human would unless they had studied the structure of the solar system in science class. I think it is fair to believe that the earth is the center of God’s attention, which I guess makes it the theological center. I do not not have the background to discuss the theology of the church fathers, but I do have one comment that may be of interest.

    One common argument for an old universe is that we see light from distant planets which could not have traveled here in 6000 years. Now, the Big Bang actually has the same problem (called the horizon problem; there is not enough time since the Big Bang for temperatures to have equilibrated, but they have). Both creationists and evolutionists have worked on explaining this within their respective models. One issue for the YEC model is that if the earth is relatively near the center of the universe, it is far easier to explain how light may have traveled here from those distances. Scientists have always assumed earth has no special position in the universe; this is actually an assumption of the Big Bang. However, there are a fair number of observation that suggest that the earth is in fact very near the center of the universe.

    So, the earth is not at the center of the solar system.
    Our solar system is not at the center of our galaxy.
    But, our world may be near the center of the universe as a whole.

  64. Ken Ham’s sole reason for being in ministry is to show that Genesis 1 literally (or should I say literalisticly) happened through working with the scientific data that exists. If anyone disagrees, he loses his reason to exist. This is not about fidelity to Scripture, this is about the survival of his ministry, i.e., money.

  65. Bob Caldwell :
    Ken Ham’s sole reason for being in ministry is to show that Genesis 1 literally (or should I say literalisticly) happened through working with the scientific data that exists. If anyone disagrees, he loses his reason to exist. This is not about fidelity to Scripture, this is about the survival of his ministry, i.e., money.

    Thats quite judgemental, Bob, without stating logic nor reasoning why only voicing your opinion without how you came to your conclusion! Dont get me wrong, that your not entitled to your opinion though. All Im saying that without backing up your opinion, without merit, sustance, etc well, its still only your opinion.

    • Ron, in some sense Bob is right – Ken Ham has “followed the money.” (read this article). Answers in Genesis has effectively ceased and become instead Ken Ham Ministries.

      Additionally, he has confused the doctrine of creation with the gospel itself as though to not believe in a literal six day creation is to malign the gospel and become a God hating Bible compromiser. This is not to say a six day view is inappropriate necessarily but it is inappropriate to castigate those who might for one reason or another disagree that view and act as if they are not even Christian.

      Also, I recognize Jean’s assertion that it goes both ways and that is because some on both sides of the debate have equated their views with belief in the gospel – creation is not the gospel – Jesus Christ and him crucified is the gospel – nothing else.

      Creation is indeed one part of God’s overall redemptive plan (I see Gen 1:2 as God’s first act of redemption when he overcame the void and chaos of the darkness to speak light and life into the creation) – but it is not the whole of it nor even the heart of the matter – the heart of the gospel is sinful man (and in a sense, creation because of sinful man) needing redemption through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

      I hope that helps.

      • brianfulthorp :
        Also, I recognize Jean’s assertion that it goes both ways and that is because some on both sides of the debate have equated their views with belief in the gospel – creation is not the gospel – Jesus Christ and him crucified is the gospel – nothing else.

        Bear with me Brother! I disagree though no form of offense intended, just different theology! I agree that creation is not the gospel, Jesus Christ and him crucified is the gospel however, the gospel of Jesus Christ comes from the entire Bible, not just the NT for the simple reason that sin originated in the Garden of Eden which comes back to the creation topic. Without sin, the gospel is meaningless! John 5:46-47 “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” Not to mention the prophets, Jesus himself preaching using the OT, etc. We cannot separate the two, they must go hand in hand!
        I should not of posted in regard to Bob and should ask for his forgiveness as it was not my place to try to defend someone I don’t know. I can not judge Ken Hams intentions nor take anyone else’s word for his intentions because only God knows our intentions whether they are honest or dishonest and that goes for the article you posted. It could be completely biased. How are we to determine that therefore is it right to condemn Ken Ham also?

  66. Pingback: The Scriptural Basis for a Geocentric Cosmology? Part 1 | The Church of Jesus Christ

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  68. This is such a fascinating subject for me. I’ve spent the majority of my life being curious about the subject, but never quite engaging the subject on an intense level.

    However, the past two years it became somewhat of a “hobby horse” in my person study time. I spent a great deal of time in the Creation texts and read through some really interesting books from a variety of perspectives.

    I grew up a Young Earth Creationist. When I was in college I became an Old Earth Creationist (“conservatively” when compared to some of the OEC’s that are out there). Now, I think I’ve become pretty close to holding to a form of the Literary Framework view. I can’t say I’ve gone 100% into the position and it has nothing to do with the influence of science or evolution, despite what many YEC’s seem to suggest.

    But to be honest, every view seems to have strong points and every view has issues that arise.

    Brian, it sounds like you and I are in the same place right now!

    On a somewhat related note, I wonder if the A/G will consider it’s position on the Initial & Physical Evidence of Tongues? That would be something that would bring about some very good discussion in the blog world! 🙂

    • Luke, thanks for commenting, yes, we’re in the same place, my interests in the Genesis creation narratives have moved more towards a literary and theological direction (without any interaction with secular or Christian scientists) – and probably will now even more so since this whole YEC and OEC debate issue has left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

      At this point this is how I see things (I am borrowing the wording from a friend):

      though the literal meaning of “day” means 24 hours, it does not necessarily follow that it means so in the literary sense. I see Genesis 1-11 is a different literary cast than the rest of the book. It is mythical (not myth) and should be read differently. We know that Egyptian civilization existed continuously for 5000 years bc, so the genealogies must be doing something different than a literal reading would suggest. Literalists like Ken Ham will never accept that however. As soon as you say something like that you are a liberal, heretical compromiser of the Bible.

    • Ron,

      I am not sure I’m not “young earth” in some sense of the idea. I certainly do not believe that the world was created billions of years ago. But I am not so sure it’s under 10,000 years old.

      My reasons for leaning (and I do say “leaning”) towards a more literary/theological understanding of Genesis’ teaching on Creation is based largely on my current understanding of the text. I am scientifically ignorant and do not read “evolutionary” literature (despite what some YEC’s may insist). Truly, I am ignorant, so science is not leading my quest. I have the minimum science requirements for my undergrad and absolutely none for my M.Div.

      So, currently I’m finding myself to be “literal/literary” in that I see some literary concepts being employed in Genesis 1 and I also believe that the author intended to communicate along the lines of the 24 hour period of time. However, I hold these ideas loosely right now because I do not believe “orthodoxy” hinges on this!

      I guess I can’t say I’m “convinced” necessarily, but that I’m “leaning” 🙂

      Blessings!

  69. Heb.ll:6 states “But without faith it is impossible to please Him….” Faith is a choice, faith in God or in another belief. The evidence for the bible so far outweighs anything else out there that it defies the imagination as to why people question its reliability. And has been stated very well, accept it all or none. If God wanted to force us to believe, he could prove everything beyond any shadow of doubt, but then even the gain-sayers would have to admit the truth. God gives everyone a choice, a back door for those who choose to reject Jesus.

    • nobody is questioning the reliability of the Bible or its trustworthiness though some (not all) think unless one agrees with a particular interpretation or understanding of the Bible or a particular passage of the Bible, in this case the Genesis creation narrative, then is somehow undermining the authority of the Bible when that is not the case

      I keep making this point and it seems to keep getting missed so it is getting tiresome.

  70. Excuse me, I did not intend to imply that, however if the creation story which is the very first teaching of the Bible, is tampered with and watered down, doesn’t it encourage a continuation of doing this? `Remember, the devil didn’t waste any time in doing his lies, he used his experience and knowledge without mercy on the first couple, knowing that they were vulnerable. And he has not changed one iota, knowing that if he can distort the Bible from the beginning, it will be much easier later on also.

  71. I’m not a member of the Assemblies of God but I agree that “its a GREAT day in the AG”! And it’s even greater to see someone stand up to this demagogue. I remember a time when conservative evangelicals could discuss science/religion issues civilly among themselves. Our disagreements were often just as real then and involved many of the same issues, but we viewed one another as brothers and sisters and (usually) disagreed agreeably. Sadly, that day is long past.

  72. Daniel :
    Excuse me, I did not intend to imply that, however if the creation story which is the very first teaching of the Bible, is tampered with and watered down, doesn’t it encourage a continuation of doing this? `Remember, the devil didn’t waste any time in doing his lies, he used his experience and knowledge without mercy on the first couple, knowing that they were vulnerable. And he has not changed one iota, knowing that if he can distort the Bible from the beginning, it will be much easier later on also.

    Thank you Daniel! That is the point that is being missed even if it is getting tiresome Brian. Im not going to question your faith whether you ‘question’ God’s authority, whether you doubt Gods Word. What my concern is what ‘position’ we present unbelievers, the world! We will all agree the God’s truth is absolute, God’s Word is absolute truth however there are divisions amoung practically every denomination be it AG or not! In other words, we contradict ourselves by trying to preach absolute truth.
    Phil, thanks for your thoughts as well! You are correct and just because someone interpretes differently should not be a judgement on their personal spiritual life as we can not see the heart. Sometimes we forget that!
    Daniel,
    Another thought regarding faith. The Christian faith is not a blind faith because why have the Bible which reveals to us the will of God therefore we know what we believe in (its awesome being a Christian rather than a relative of the ape). Faith defined in Heb 11:1 as the ‘the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ We must be careful when defining/basing our faith on evidence because we all, Christians and secularist, all have the same evidence. Faith alone on evidence can become compromised/shaken when presented with new evidence if not interpreted with the correct world view, if not using the Bible as the ulimate absolute standard.
    In other words, I dont believe the Bible because evidence ‘points’ to God, etc! I believe the Bible because it is Gods Word and look at the evidence that supports the Bible. And perhaps thats what you meant!

  73. A discussion on Bible doctrine will ultimately arrive where Pilot was when he asked the apostle Paul, “What is truth?” The next question then follows as to who has the authority to interpret the truth, or God’s word, into present day terms. For example, any question of law, of a certain government, will fall back on its body considered qualified to spell it out. The U.S. has its supreme court etc.
    It is obvious that not everyone understands everything in the Bible in the same way. We are not to judge our fellow man, the Bible does this. Our responsibility is to follow the light that we have, and then God will give us more light. It is important that we are obedient to clear teachings of the Bible. If we are honest, and obey in what we do understand, I think God will accept this. If we go against better knowledge, darkness will result.

    • Daniel, thank you for your inspiritational post! Allow me to post some thoughts regarding ‘What is truth’!
      I don’t mean this as spite or trying to be contentious and forgive me if this is coming across as such. I hope Im not helping to drive ‘bad’ taste!
      What saddens me with this is what we are portraying to the world, unbelievers as well as believers! Because we are fallible, finite, sin cursed humans (which we are), we should be able to believe what we want, how we want, whether we want, etc thus really it is us that can decide what is truth and how Gods word can be interpreted as we are fallible, finite, sin cursed humans (circular reasoning). In other words, I decide what truth is and you can’t tell me what or what not to believe. This what plagues Christianity today! Do we believe in absolute truth? We have to because God is absolute and we all agree that God’s word, the Bible is absolute as well, therefore there has to be absolute truth. If not, we have already compromised God’s word right from the start.
      This is a presupposition, a world view every Christian must have. How can I say this and why?
      John 1:17 “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
      John 4:24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
      John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
      These are just a few quotes from Jesus himself! Jesus is the absolute truth! Allow me to be direct and to the point! If we decide what truth is, then we deny Jesus. (Is my reasoning flawed and if so why?)
      Next, how do we decide absolute truth?
      John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”
      John 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
      John 14:17 “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
      God has sent us, given us this Spirit of Truth as a helper (John 15:26). We know that this Spirit of Truth is the Holy Spirit. The Bible does not indicate that we will be perfected when we receive the Holy Spirit. Our reasoning, understanding, logic, etc are still fallible, finite, flawed thanks to Adam/Eve therefore doesn’t really answer the question ‘how do we determine truth’. This helps us understand what must guide us and what we require to obtain truth, do not determine it. This brings another aspect into the discussion and relative to the issue at hand, ‘I decide what truth is and you can’t tell me what or what not to believe.‘
      1 Corinthians 12:7 “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
      I love this passage! Together we can help one another (“for the profit of all”) to determine absolute truth! No 1 person alone can decide truth, we all need to work together because we all have been ‘assigned’ different gifts. This is why I am dead set against the ‘I can believe what I want and you can’t tell me otherwise’ philosophy. Reading on the 1 Corinthians 12:12 gives us such an amazing picture of the His Church and how it functions.
      Our mission is also to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) as well as “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 1:3) and “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” (1 Peter 3:15) (Btw, I still need a lot of grace and help regarding the meekness part).
      Continuing, God has given us knowledge, the capacity to reason, logic, wisdom, intelligence, understanding, etc otherwise we would be mindless robots. Using this we can also evaluate each and every interpretation of Biblical passages thus determining any inconsistencies with any particular interpretation. I think that makes sense, doesn’t it? Absolute truth will not have any inconsistancies, errors, holes, etc. It can’t otherwise it will not be absolute! By using this reasoning, logic, it is possible determine absolute truth. Can I be wrong? Sure! Is this condemning? No! Our knowledge, reasoning, logic, wisdom, intelligence, understanding can be flawed if we have a different presupposition, lets say secular man determines truth. Then no matter what the Bible says, he will reject it.
      I hope this helps!
      Please, if I missed the point or am wrong in this conclusion, I am only fallible human therefore please show me where my reasoning is flawed.

  74. Ron: I liked your comments, you have good light, nothing wrong with your reasoning. Let me correct the facts, I quoted Pilate(Pilot) asking Jesus(Paul)what truth is. Yes, truth is absolute, what is not absolute is our perception, many times. The saying,” To err is human, to forgive is divine” is certainly true. But when we find ourselves in the wrong, and we correct it, and go on to perfection, this is acceptable to God. We need to be humble enough to admit error and repent of it. The proper image we have of ourselves and others should be this: two beggars, talking, one telling the other where to find bread. Honesty, as has been mentioned, is a quality that is foreign to the carnal man. It is something we must strive for. It is not for nothing that the psalmist said in Ps. ll6:ll,” I said in my haste, all men are liars.” The grace of God gives us power over this, but I find it takes sincere effort.