Inerrancy of scripture and evolution

(Christy Hemphill) #81

I think it is more because it has become a silly game that is used to decide which teams you get to play on and which parties you get invited to. If you are on the sidelines and happy throwing your own parties, who cares? If you are someone who doesn’t need to get tenure at a certain kind of school, doesn’t have books or blogs that need positive endorsements from certain power brokers (or to at least doesn’t need to avoid negative press from said power brokers), and doesn’t want invitations to speak at certain events or teach at certain churches, well, then all the jumping through hoops defining what exactly you are or are not affirming when you claim the Bible is the inerrant word of God just seems like a frivolous exercise in semantics. At least that is my personal take on it as a someone who fits the criteria above.

(Peaceful Science) #82

It matters if evangelicals are a community with whom we wish to communicate. I’m not interested in throwing a personal party, but in serving the Church. That means reachout to speak in the language of those with whom I am communicating.

It is not. The Lausanne Covenant was written by Christians of all stripes from just about every country on earth, to find common language on these things. Though it is much more recent, it is similar to the historic creeds. There is value in adopting its language where possible, so that we can be understood across denominational divides.

Though, I do emphasize @Christy, that I am not excluding you for your view. I can see that you affirm inerrancy, even though you do not like the word.

(Christy Hemphill) #83

I don’t though. Not unless you torture the word and make it mean something it has not historically meant. The whole construct is steeped in a modernist worldview I simply don’t share.


You are reducing this to a battle of semantics. It is not that. “Inerrancy” in any meaningful sense is not broad but narrow. To say that the Bible does not affirm or “teach” (not sure the line between those two, if there is one) anything contrary to fact is a very specific and very bold thing to say. In my own opinion, it is one sorely lacking in foundation or merit.

(Christy Hemphill) #85

Additionally, it presupposes a view of Scripture that is essentially propositional. If you don’t take that approach to Scripture, if you see it as essentially God’s story, then evaluating it in terms of accuracy is a weird exercise.

(Peaceful Science) #86

This is not just semantics for me.

I do hold that the Bible does not teach errors. Scripture is given by God, and His message to us is not in error, because God does not make errors. That is what I believe, and that belief is rooted my understanding of God’s character. I trust the God I found by Jesus, and trust Scripture because that is where I found Him. The One who raised Jesus from the dead, can surely preserve His message to us.

If you do not share those affirmations, we just disagree. There are people who follow Jesus that do not see Scripture this way. That, however, is my view, and I would be too uncomfortable to deviate from Lausanne in this matter.

This is false.

I do not see Scripture as essentially propositional, though it does include some propositional truths. I see it predominantly as a narrative. Inerrancy is about God’s character more than it is about propositional truth.


I think this is a fair statement of where we disagree. I don’t think that God’s character requires that Scripture would or must turn out in the way you say. (In my eyes, Scripture and God’s character are two different things–but course not unrelated, as the one testifies to the other.)

(Peaceful Science) #88

I take what some people call a “high view” of Scripture, as I just articulated.

That’s fine, though if your purpose is to help the Church come to terms with evolutionary science, railing against inerrancy (not that you have done that here) does not serve that purpose. Returning to the original post, and my first comment here, nothing in evolutionary science conflicts with inerrancy.

That is an important point to emphasize whether or not you personally affirm inerrancy.


Here is the YEC presupposition:

“By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record.”–Answers in Genesis

I would call that a very problematic presupposition on the part of YECs. They start with the conclusion and reject any evidence that contradicts that conclusion. Scientists, on the other hand, start with the evidence and then follow it to a conclusion. Those are very different worldviews.

(Laura) #90

And yet AIG presents it as if both groups are coming to the evidence with equal presuppositions, which is ridiculous. It’d be as if we asked two groups of scientists to try to evaluate the evidence for the age of the earth, but told the YECs “Your conclusion can be any number as long as it’s 6,000.” That is not the group I would trust to come up with an accurate, objective view of the earth’s age (or anything else, for that matter).

(Evan) #91

It is my understanding that many of those records are incomplete, because they have become damaged over time. There is however, at least one name on the Bubastite Portal that may be a reference to Judah. Name 106 reads dwt, which is very close the Hebrew dwd (David). see here for a list of the names, several of which are cities mentioned in the Bible.

I have searched, but can find no reference for any deity named SHLM, other than that God is occasionally called YHWH Shalom. Could you point to a source for this?

I believe you partially quoted from the passage in scripture where the Temple Shoshenq I raided is identified as Solomon’s. 1Ki 14:26 explicit states that:

“He [Shoshenq I] took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.”

I agree that a chariot wheel at the bottom of the Red Sea isn’t proof of the Exodus. But it certainly isn’t evidence that the Exodus didn’t happen, and it is something we would expect to find.

  1. Not necessary, David was bringing the Ark to Jerusalem with the intention of building a house for it (2Sa 7), so its not that odd he would have kept it somewhere nearby where he made preparations (though the actual temple was not built until Solomon was king). Why the Tabernacle wasn’t also moved I don’t know.

  2. The text does not say that the Levites at Beth-Shemesh did not know how to handle the Ark, but it does imply that they did something with it that they shouldn’t have, which lead to God killing a large number of them. The reason that the Ark was kept at Kiriath-Jerarim was because of the Philistines, who were oppressing the Israelites at the time. They would not be subdued until Samuel became Judge 20 years later (the 20 years referred to in 1Sa 7:2).
    What do you mean by “genuine introduction”? Are you implying no Israelites had ever seen the Ark before this time?

  3. David’s third son, Absalom, also has a name based on SHLM, so perhaps he simply liked the word, maybe he named both of them after the city, I don’t know. There could a whole bunch of reasons why David gave Solomon his name.

(Evan) #92

I never said it was explicit in Scripture, but I’m using the events of one day to help interpret what happened on other days. God created Adam mature, so it makes sense if He did the same with other parts of Creation (ie. plants were fully grown, already bearing fruit, animals were created as mature adults, etc.)

In what way have I misapplied them?

Standard because its the way it is. Everyone has presuppositions. Your presuppositions are that the earth has to be billions of years old, my presuppositions say it should be a bit more than 6,000.

I also have not found a YEC explanation for the Nile River, though I doubt that is because they don’t have one.

I could say the same thing about many evolutionists. Many start with the conclusion that billions of years must be true, because they are required for evolution, and then reject any possible explanations of the evidence that don’t involve billions of years. Everyone, YEC, OEC, or atheist, starts with a “conclusion” (set of presuppositions) of some sort.

(James McKay) #93

Sorry, but once again that simply is not true.

As I’ve said, the age of the earth is determined by measuring things. It is 4.54±0.05 billion years old. Note the second part of that figure: the “±0.05” part. That’s the measured uncertainty. It indicates how accurately the age of the earth is known. It demonstrates that the figure is specific. Evolutionary presuppositions would not give any kind of figure for that at all. They would only give a vague and non-specific “billions of years.”

Seriously, this idea that the age of the earth is based on “evolutionary presuppositions” is nothing more nor less than ignorance of the fact that measurement is involved, and of the basic principles of how measurement actually works.

(Christy Hemphill) #94

Where do you get this? Nothing about my presuppositions says needs the earth to be old. I presuppose that the physical laws of the universe have remained constant throughout history, so if the calculations come up with billions of years, then so be it. Where do you get that people who accept the mountains of evidence corroborated by multiple lines of inquiry only got there because they presupposed that the earth was billions of years old. Even if that was so, why do all the calculations point to 4.54 billion? Surely all of us didn’t presuppose exactly 4.54 billion. When I started looking into the evidence for an ancient earth in college, I was convinced evolution was a terrible theory. The fact of evolution wasn’t my starting assumption that I was looking to bolster. All the scientists over at Reasons to Believe reject evolution but are still totally convinced the earth is 4.54 billion years old. How did they get there if they didn’t “need” to presuppose billions of years to defend any prior belief?

I think you are fundamentally mistaken about how the scientific method works. You ask a question based on observations, you propose an answer to the question, and then you design tests to try to disprove your answer. That is what testing a hypothesis means. A hypothesis that isn’t testable and isn’t falsifiable is no good. Proving a hypothesis absolutely doesn’t mean picking and choosing data points so you can create an imaginative guess or “what if” scenario that fits your predetermined conclusions. That may be what YEC scientists do sometimes, but you shouldn’t project that on all other scientists.

(Peaceful Science) #95

Where does it say that God created Adam mature?

(George Brooks) #96


This is why @BradKramer calls me


(George Brooks) #97


That is what the scribe wrote. And he wrote a lot more about Solomon and his temple. Don’t stop there… give me all the details… I’m sure each one you reveal will surprise me …

As for Exodus, I didn’t say it didn’t happen. I said if it happened it had to have happened after 1130 BCE. There just is no place for it at any other time during Egypt’s hegemony over Canaan.

The Philistines get into the region only some 30 years earlier… How can you have Exodus without the Philistines? And there was nothing like the Philistines on that coastline prior to 1200 BCE.

(George Brooks) #98


Yes they did… when was the last time the Levites did something that got “a large number of them” killed?

Ummm… never?

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m implying. The Philistines were sending a God out of their midst. It could have been an exorcism. Or it could have been a new “temple planting” - - the Greeks had just such a ritual… they would send a wagon out of a settlement and watch where it came to rest. And if the other omens were good, they would build a temple there.

In this case, the Hebrew grabbed their temple wagon … or their exorcism wagon … which would certainly explain how vicious that wagon could be.


First mistake is assuming they are standard, western civilization genealogies and not a simplified King’s list that does not list everyone. You assume the ages are actual, recorded ages and not symbolic.

My presupposition is that the age of the earth can be measured. The ages can be cross checked using different methods based on different assumptions. If the age is found to be in error it will be corrected using the best data available. The age will turn out to be the age that is measured.

Your presupposition is any measurement that conflicts with a modern, man-made, non-inspired, literal interpretation of Genesis is thrown out automatically. Of course this leaves you with 6,000 years but is that any surprise?

And yes I have a modern, man-made, non-inspired, non-literal interpretation of Genesis.

They don’t. This is all based on observational science which they agree is valid. They can try to fudge the Grand Canyon, but it is still above the current sea level so water might be assumed to have quickly eroded the canyon. The Nile River Canyon is 6,000 ft below current sea level so there is no way for the river to carve out the canyon.

Geologists began to question the age of the earth long before Darwin. Herodotus in the 5th century estimated it would have taken 10,000 years for the Nile River delta to be filled in by the transport of silt. Niels Stensen worked out the science of stratigraphy in the 17th century and showed that the rock strata was not laid down en-masse but one layer at a time. They were off in their estimates, millions of years instead of billions, but most agreed the earth was far older than 10,000 years. What is interesting is what lead them to these conclusions were the efforts that they were making to prove rock strata was laid down during the Global Flood. The evidence that they could see with their own eyes, no radiometric dating in those days, just didn’t agree with that age.

(Evan) #100

Adam is shown conversing with God, naming some (not all) of the animals, and meeting his wife, all within the first day of his existence (If you think that’s too much for one day, see here and here). He is also expected to understand and follow the commands God gave him, one of which was to be “fruitful and multiply”, meaning both Adam and Eve were sexually mature, despite being less than 1 day old. All this points to Adam being created as a mature creation.

Thank you.

Korah’s rebellion, in Numbers 16, comes to mind. 250 men, some of which were Levites (Nu 16:8), joined Korah, Dathan, and Abiram in a rebellion against Moses and Aaron and were sentenced to death by God for their actions. Afterward, many others rebelled and 14,700 more people were killed by God. Presumably some of those may have also been Levites, though the text does not say.

Other instances of God killing/punishing individual or small numbers of Levites for wrong-doing include God’s prophecy to Eli that his two sons would die for their wicked ways (1Sa 2:12-36). This was fulfilled when they died when the Ark was captured by Philistines (1Sa 4:1-11). Moses and Aaron were constantly doing things that upset God, which prevented them from entering the Promised Land. Levites would also have been among the Israelites that “did what was right in their own eyes” whenever there wasn’t a judge to lead them in the ways of God, and as a result fell under numerous oppressions from foreign nations along with the rest of Israel. I’m guessing many people (including many Levites) died during those oppressions.

I have encountered no convincing argument that the genealogies are anything but accurate historical records of the people who lived at that time. Even if there are missing generations, the chronology would not be disrupted. For example, whether Enosh was Seth’s son, grandson, great-grandson, or even great-great-grandson, he was still born when Seth was 105 years old. So while there may be (but almost certainly aren’t) genealogical gaps, there are no chronological gaps, meaning they still add up to an age of the earth of just over 6,000 years.

That’s one big difference between us. I do not believe age can be measured, only inferred based on our interpretation of the evidence, an interpretation that is influenced by our – you guessed it – presuppositions. For example, we can infer the age of a person by interpreting their maturity, appearance, and other physical pieces of data, but that can only get us so far. The best way to know their age would be a birth certificate or an reliable eyewitness testimony from someone who watched them grow up.

I wasn’t referring to these geologists, so my statement that many (I did not say all) evolutionists start with the conclusion of billions of years still holds water. I can speak from personal experience. Most of the evolutionists I’ve met at college have never questioned or explored the reasons for accepting billions of years, and are mildly shocked to meet someone who believes differently.