BioLogos: House of Heresy & False Teaching (AiG says the nicest things about us)

If you think that is true then you don’t understand what a worldview is. Some examples – there have been cultures where:

  • a tribe that didn’t have monogamous gay couples was regarded as inferior
  • soldiers not raping defeated enemy soldiers were considered perverted and unmanly
  • children were not regarded as people until they could talk
  • the reign of every king was recorded as starting at the spring equinox regardless of the actual day
  • the only way to experience God was through sexual intercourse
  • the sky is actually a goddess
  • when a woman gives birth to twins, one is a demon (this was sometimes applied to animals as well)
  • everything is actually made of water
  • women are just animals that can talk
  • the planets are living beings
  • nothing is true unless expressed in poetry

That last points to the most critical aspect of any worldview – its definition of truth. That is where YEC fails: it tries to force a modern definition of truth onto ancient literature whose writers would not see science as anything but foolishness.

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Of the stories I have heard from those who left the church because of YEC, it has been a mixture of being lied to and having the foundation of their faith taken away.


There is another kind of migration away from YECism. I was brought up in extremely conservative Lutheran environment, where the earth was absolutely known to be around 6000 years old, based on the absolute inerrancy of the bible, and YEC interpretation. Over time, in part from my study of physics, and after quite a few years of limited involvement with church, I came to appreciate that a major underlying rationale for the claim of biblical inerrancy, and the extension to claim absolute historical correctness to a modern interpretation of translated text, was an overwhelming desire for absolute certainty, in a world that God created in such a manner that there is no absolute certainty possible. The very act of measuring anything disturbs the item being measured. Yet we can measure accurately enough to do a lot of technology, and can even calculate the uncertainties, and develop methods to handle those uncertainties in a very predictable manner.
What does this mean for the present discussion? I am quite sure that God exists, that God did understand what He was doing when He created this universe. And, if so, understanding some basic facts about the universe can perhaps shed a bit of light on why God created this universe for us to live in, in the way it actually does exist.
I have a question for anyone who is attempting to derive a theological point from any source: Do you believe that God knew what He was doing, or did God’s intent for this universe get subverted? Now, here is a real conundrum: If God knew what He was doing, how could He possibly have allowed something to interfere in His universe in a manner that led to something other than what He wanted? And as we consider that question, let’s remember that this universe consists of the space and time that we experience. That is, time is a dimension of the created universe, so God, the creator, of necessity exists outside of the space and time of the created universe.
So God sees this universe from the outside, from above, below, right, left, front, back, and also from before, during, and after!

Since that is the case, God must know from His perspective everything that has happened, or will happen. And this means that this universe, the way it is working, is what God knew it would do. And I believe that God put us here, in this universe (including in detail each one of us reading this particular thread), intentionally. The world that God created includes having such uncertainty that people can believe in things that seem totally incompatible, such as YEC and TE. And my understanding of God’s universe includes the belief that God intentionally put us here for a finite period of time, and allows a lot of things to happen that are not good, in that He allows us to act according to how we want to act, and allows our actions to have real consequences in this world. I also believe that God has promised that e will ensure His intent is fulfilled, that “All things work together for good.” This doesn’t mean that every thing is good, but I believe that it does mean that what happens to me here on this earth is only things that God knew would happen, and that the interactions of even the bad things with the good things will turn out to be beneficial to me. Note, however, that the scope of consequences of our acts is limited. We as individuals can impact other things and people near us, but have more limited influence on things and people far away. Also, the scope of influence of the entire human race does not at present extend even to the nearest star, and will never extend in any significant way even to the center of our own galaxy. So God has placed us into a universe where we do have free will, our actions do have consequences, both intended and unintended (unintended because we cannot have perfect knowledge of our total environment, including everything that will happen as a result of our choices).
This is why I believe that God knew YECism would attract many followers, at least some of whom are just trying to find absolute certainty where there is no certainty possible. While I have personally come to believe that the universe is old, my understanding of God as Creator also makes it very clear: If I am willing to concede that God knew what He was doing, and that God has His reasons for putting us humans into this world, then there is no way to prove that God didn’t create the world 6000 years ago, with every single subatomic particle, including all the photons and gravitons that appear to be coming from places hundreds of millions of light years away, in exactly the same state (position, motion, and every other aspect) as if the universe had been created some 13 or 14 billion years ago in a Big Bang. Now, I really think that God did create a vast universe, with a whole lot of other places for intelligent beings to live, with whom we will never interact intimately, due to the physical reality of the universe God created. But if I concede that God is the only One who really knows what God did, then I cannot know for sure, and cannot prove by observations of the universe, when God created this universe in this manner, without knowing why He did what He did.

Before the YECs in this discussion jump onto my comment as “proof” that the biblical interpretation of a young earth is correct, I would ask you to note that to believe in the young earth, in contradiction with all the evidence that exists that indicates a much older universe, you must provide a reasonable explanation for why God would create a universe that seems to show something much different from what you think the bible means, when the bible says things that are subject to interpretation, as this discussion demonstrates. And you might do well to ask yourself why you are struggling so hard to hold onto a strange, unprovable claim that you have a source of absolute truth, truth in every possible interpretation of the term, when God created a universe of uncertainty.


True, but then God created an old universe.

Let’s suppose God created a man five minutes ago. He is grey. He is wrinkled. He is stooped. His movements are labored and his hands are not steady. Is he a young man, or an old man?

If the universe is by every observation and measurement old, and we are contained therein, it is strained to construe it as young. If God purposed to create an old universe in a state consistent with causation going all the way back, which really is synonymous with the physical reality of time anyways, who are we to argue?


This is an interesting statement it has me wondering how it relates to the self-evident work of the Spirit… something which is put alongside the testimony of eyewitnesses and Scripture for Peter to conclude with “therefore know for certain” in Acts 2:36.

And this is why I have come to reject the claim that the bible is absolute truth, in every sense that truth can mean, with the justification given by a seminary professor: “If it is not all absolutely true, how will I know what to believe?” This justification is a direct confirmation that one real reason for believing in an absolutely true bible is the human desire to have a source of 100% accurate truth in a world that God created with uncertainty as the fundamental truth. So whatever reason God had for putting us here, I am sure that His reason includes the fact that we can make our own choices in the face of uncertainty, and that our choices will have consequences. And He did not try to tell us exactly what choices to make. He just gives very general guidance as to the primary reason He wants us to use for any choice we make: LOVE!!!


What do we know for certain? Which fork in the road to take? Whether to believe this supposed expert, or that one, when they disagree on fundamental theological philosophy?

The Uncertainty Principle is a very well established fact of the way that this universe operates. We cannot make any measurement in this universe without the very act of measuring disturbing, on some level, the thing being measured.

How well established? :slightly_smiling_face:

Notice how the statement is nearly identical to the statement that there is no such thing as absolute truth

I can think of a few things I know for certain. Is that what you meant?

As well established as any of the other principles undergirding the computers and other electronic devices on which we are having this discussion.

Whrn it boils down to it, electronics is basically applied quantum mechanics.

I get that… but the point was that if the principle is established, then it violates the principle that this is a universe where no absolute certainty is possible. In other words, the principle is self-defeating.

Straining the metaphor further, suppose this old man created five minutes ago had a scar from a smallpox vaccination, an artificial hip, a calcification on his ulna consistent with a bone break, and three crowns for three of his molars.

What we see in the universe is a record of historical events.


This site is full of people who were raised YEC, but came to accept an old Earth and evolution without losing their beliefs. It is certainly possible, and many have been able to separate human fallibility and failings from the faith itself. I was able to do the same in my teen years when I realized that my Sunday school teacher being wrong did not mean the Bible was wrong. At the same time, YEC was never a large part of what I was taught, nor was it considered an important question of salvation. I can’t remember a single VBS program that mentioned YEC, and it was only mentioned once in my many years of church camp.

If I had been taught that YEC was an integral part of the Christian faith, and that the faith stood or fell according to this belief, then separating the two would have been much more difficult. If YEC is taught as being as important as the Resurrection, that seems problematic. At best, YEC is an unnecessary stumbling block.

However, you have a great point about needing certainty. In hearing other peoples’ accounts of leaving the church and in experiencing my own departure, the problem of uncertainty is one of the major themes. For myself, uncertainty wasn’t a problem, but I have found that I am probably in the minority. For others, not having firm and concrete answers for things like purpose and meaning was difficult. I’m also not saying that only non-believers are capable of coping with uncertainty as I have found that same quality in many believers here.

How people approach uncertainty can also be seen here in discussions of science. Some people say they are skeptical of science because science changes while others see the ability of science to change as one of its strengths (I’m in that camp). I can see why people would latch onto something that is unchanging and shared with other people within a tight knit community. From a human point of view, it makes sense.


I’m not sure what you mean about the principle being self-defeating. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle says that we cannot determine with absolute precision by measurement within the universe the exact state of the universe.

This means that we inhabitants of this universe, the way this universe functions, cannot know everything for certain about our environment. It does not say anything about what God can know from looking at our universe from outside the universe, not using the physical means for observing that we residents must use.

I am thinking that this is a very clear demonstration of an important distinction between religion and science. Science is based on observing what happens in this universe, by inhabitants of the universe. If we accept the hypothesis that the laws of physics don’t change with time, we can use many observations to attempt to deduce what those laws of physics are. And we end up with a very good explanation for a very large amount of the things that we have seen happening in our universe. However, because of the fact that we need something to interact with any object in order for us to observe that object, the Uncertainty Principle holds. For us. Not for God.

I am quite certain that God put us into a universe where we cannot know all the possible consequences of our actions, and that He did this intentionally. The assumption I am making, that God knew, and knows, what He was, and is, doing is a religious assumption, not a scientific assumption. As a scientist and engineer, this realization does let me reconcile my faith and my scientific knowledge.


If has to do with being certain of the uncertainty principle.

It seems like you are (now) nuancing what can be certainly known and what cannot… I’m fine with that, even if we disagree about where to draw the line

Funny, then, that not a single biology professor I had mad that claim; in fact most of them denied it right up front. The word “evolution” embodies the idea that life comes from life.

If that is true, where are all the scientific papers arguing that case? If it was even remotely true the journals would be flooded with such papers! When information arises that negates any significant part of a theory, scientists in every related field would be looking at ways to get in on the new knowledge; for that matter, when something like that happens there will be PhD students who will drop the dissertation they’re working on and switch to something that relates to the new findings.

The answer is “yes” because we know what kinds of literature the opening chapters of Genesis are, and none of them provides any way to assign an age to the Earth.

It’s also “yes” because ancient scholars centuries before Copernicus, scholars proficient in Hebrew, concluded from the text of Genesis 1:

  • that the universe is ancient beyond human comprehension and the Earth is old beyond counting

And others concluded from the Old Testament writings:

  • that the universe is a trillion years old
  • that the Earth is a billion years old
  • that the Earth’s age can’t be discovered because up until the creation of humans the days were “divine days” of unfathomable duration

No, because you never showed in scripture where your definition of truth comes from, and because you didn’t bother to ask what kind of literature the Creation stories are and how those literature kinds define truth.

No, the lies com from those who try to impose a modern worldview onto the very ancient scriptures. They claim that truth can only be found where every detail is scientifically and historically accurate – yet cannot show where the scriptures assert that.

We point out quite often where YECists are lying and all they do is double down on their lies, even when it is shown that the YEC lies are the top cause of young people abandoning the faith.


AiG was founded on lies! Ken Ham took it and built it into what it is by libel, slander, deceit, deception, misrepresentation, and manipulation.

with ancient scholars whose study of the Hebrew text led to them giving a very good layman’s description of the Big Bang a millennium before anyone even knew that we live in a galaxy.

Everyone advocating for YEC needs to repent of the sin of being part of the biggest cause – for at least thirty years – of young people abandoning the faith and others rejecting it.


I’ve yet to encounter a YCer who even addresses the data that tells us what kind of literature the first Creation story is. They’re thus dishonest (though most don’t understand that, they’ve been deceived) before they even get to the science!

This is a great point, on I can appreciate thanks to a university course in oceanography and another in coastal geology.

I’m not sure I see the connection here.

That said, I’m surprised I missed Sam’s assertion earlier. Given that a fair number of people in our informal “intelligent design” club at university ended up as Christians due to concluding there must be a Designer behind evolution, I got a chuckle from the idea of blaming God for it. These were students who arrived at the university as atheists or agnostics and saw in evolution the glory of God.

Especially since in a good number of those passages the Word is something that is visible and even (arguably) touched.

I think perhaps that’s an inborn tendency to assume that what a piece of writing looks like on the surface to the reader is what it really is.

Had to look George Price up. Just another poorly educated self-appointed authority.

Wow – pointed, but it fits.

I still get a kick out of the guy who decided that the universe, in order to match God’s dignity, had to be a thousand times a thousand times a thousand times a thousand years old – a million millions.

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I second this.

The only thing that counts as “straight from the Bible” is the original-language text read as the literary genre it fits within the worldview of the writer – because those are what the Holy Spirit chose to use for His message.

Excrementum. I’ve seen the “evolutionary viewpoint” lead people to the Bible and then to Christ.

That would fall in the category “humility” – as opposed to thinking that you can understand ancient literature without having to study at all, which falls in the category “arrogance”.

It’s the opposite – it’s what drove hundreds of university students to abandon their faith and chased hundreds of others away when I was in my university days.

Heck, that’s how Ken Ham got his position! They’re just returning to their roots.

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What do you believe about God as Creator of the universe? Did God have to work within some previously existing space and time environment, or did God create both the space and time dimensions of the universe, along with all the other matter and energy within the universe?

If God did create this entire universe, including all of the space and time dimensions of this universe, then God must exist outside the space and time of this universe. So God IS before the Big Bang, some 14 billion years ago, or God IS before creating the universe and its time at any point after that point in time to which we can extrapolate from observations. And, God IS after the entire universe winds down and time ends, whenever and however that will happen.

From God’s perspective, claiming that He created the universe at any point in time as we see time passing in this created universe is directly subject to His comment to Job (King James version from my youth): “Where wast thou when I laid the foundation of the earth?”

The bible does not say when God created the earth, and for sure does not say when He created the universe. And a true understanding of the relationship between God and this universe, including the fact that the time we experience is an integral part of the creation, makes the whole discussion something not at all meaningful.

For you to claim that your interpretation of what you think God said to people long ago in a different language, and totally different cultural environment, is so true that if I don’t believe what you think it means then I am damned, then you need to carefully consider who is deceived, and who is pushing a doctrine that has no place in Christianity.

And if you think that God didn’t put the evidence into the universe that is just as definitive as scripture, and must be absolutely true because God put it there, that the universe is indeed vast beyond your imagination, hundreds of millions of light years across, and also very old - many different aspects of cosmology and geology pointing to the same ancient things, then it is incumbent on all of us Christians who can see the truth to call your lie a sin, and hope to save you from eternal damnation. The lie you are stating and repeating that is a sin is a very well known false logic. Just because one person who is atheist believes that the universe is ancient, that does not mean all who believe that the universe is ancient are atheists. You lie, and you directly cause divisiveness in Jesus’ Church when you attack fellow believers who believe something different from what you believe, something that does not matter at all with respect to our salvation. THERE IS NO TRUE CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY THAT DEMANDS ANY PARTICULAR INTERPRETATION OF WHAT IS GOD’S WORD, AND WHAT IS NOT, AND ALSO DEMANDS THAT THE PARTICULAR SET OF ACCEPTED SCRIPTURE BE INTERPRETED IN JUST THE WAY THAT SOME HUMAN (OR GROUP OF HUMANS) INTERPRET IT.

Jesus stated how He will judge. He didn’t say He would send people to hell because they ddn’t believe that the world was created 6000 years ago. And He for sure didn’t say that He was accepting people into heaven because they did believe the world was created 6000 years ago. He didn’t say anything about believing in the bible, or not believing in the bible, either.

And to close, I am also compelled to say, to myself and to those of us who believe as I do that the universe is indeed very old, that we should not insist that those who believe something different from what we believe on a subject that cannot be proven definitively by observation, that is, we can observe clues, but we cannot prove that God did not have a reason for creating those clues. All we can say is that we can’t see any reason why God would put those clues into His creation if the clues were not true. But, just as the false logic too many YECs use to call all who believe in the ancient universe atheists, we cannot claim a failure to identify a reason is proof that no reason exists.

Once again, all we humans must listen when God asks, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” And we all must acknowledge that God did create THIS universe, for God’s reasons, and put us into THIS universe. And we must acknowledge that we do not have the means to judge God, or tell God what He “must” have done, or tell God what He did or did not do, or tell God why He did or did not do something. And then maybe we can deal with each other the way we really do know He wants us to deal with our neighbors, expecially with our fellow believers: With love, rather than with anger and disrespect.

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In my experience, good science always included both observations, and a clear understanding of the limitations of the observations (including the degree of accuracy of any measurements included in the observations). The uncertainty principle says that there are no measurements possible with 100% accuracy, with no error at all. It is a statement of fact, based only the truth that physical observation requires a physical mechanism, and the assumption that all physical mechanisms obey the laws of physics. So, yes, the uncertainty principle does apply, to everything in the domain to which it claims to apply, that is, to all physical measurements.