The Bible, Rocks, and Time: Christians and an Old Earth (Part 2)


(system) #1
Young-Earth creationist organizations, including Answers In Genesis, are making claims that should be unacceptable within the church—because they have been shown to be false.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/ted-davis-reading-the-book-of-nature/the-bible-rocks-and-time-christians-and-an-old-earth-part-2

(Mark Twombly) #2

Thank you for posting this and the previous article, which were very informative.

While I continue to challenge my thinking as a Christian on these matters, e.g. by reading resources both from sources like Biologos.org and Creation.com, I am concerned about the selectivity with which arguments are made, and with potential straw man arguments.

Of the many YEC proponents you cited, I found some conspicuously absent. CMI, Creation Ministries International (see Creation.com) and some of its key contributors, e.g. Jonathan Sarfati, are not even mentioned, and it seems to me their resources are quite robust and worthy of consideration, above some of the cartoonish resources you mentioned.

I would also refer readers to the book ‘Coming to Grips with Genesis’, particularly chapter 4 on Deep Time by Terry Mortenson. There you will see some very interesting history regarding modern geology and the uniformitarian assumptions behind it that impact the scientific community today. One of the quotes from that chapter is quite insightful: ‘Many of the most innocently “factual” observations can be seen from their context to have been sought, selected, and recorded in order to reinforce the observer’s interpretation and to undermine the plausibility of that of his opponents.’ -(2013-10-09). Coming to Grips with Genesis (Kindle Locations 2301-2302). Master Books. Kindle Edition.

I want to encourage all readers to challenge their thinking and seek the truth rather than to become closed to any contrary evidence that does not fit their preconceived narrative or assumptions.

Thank you for your kind consideration.

“Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.” (Psalm 33:8-11, NASB)


(Charles Alexandre Roy) #3

Oh my word, that “Chick tract” has to be one of the most painful things I’ve ever read. It’s astounding to me that anyone thinks that that sort of thing has any evangelistic success whatsoever. My grandparents used to get those sorts of tracts every now and again and they always made me wonder what on earth was going on in the mind of the author…


(Mark Twombly) #4

I hear you. The article kind of lost some credibility with me when the Chick tract was mentioned…


(Charles Alexandre Roy) #5

The mention of the Chick Tract in no way affected the quality of the article in my opinion. It seems very well researched, well put, and illustrative of many of the sorts of things one sees in the YEC movement. I just found the chick tract to be both humorous and appaling as a method of evangelism.

That Jonathan Sarfati wasn’t mentioned shouldn’t be a big deal considering that he isn’t one of the biggest names in Young Earth Creationism. They didn’t mention Ray Comfort, Albert Mohler, and others either but it’s clearly not meant to be some sort of exhaustive list. If it makes you feel any better, the excellent book, “The Creationists” by Ronald Numbers from which this article borrows a lot, does mention Jonathan Sarfati.

Having come from the YEC movement myself, I can honestly say that there is just overwhelming evidence in favor of evolution. It took me a long time to process but in the end, after an honest evaluation, the conclusion is essentially inescapable. Some good books you can read to walk you through this and give you good scientific and Biblical reasons for rejecting literalism are, “Coming to Peace with Science” by Darel Falk, “Paradigms on Pilgrimage” by Smith and Godfrey, “Where the Conflict Really Lies” by Alvin Plantinga, “The Meaning of Creation” by Conrad Hyers, and “Relics of Eden” by Daniel Fairbanks.


(Mark Twombly) #6

Very helpful, thank you for your recommendations!


(Dr. Ted Davis) #7

I’ll accept responsibility for the photo of the tracts and the caption, neither of which are in the original book. (This is indicated when I put “Ted notes” at the start of the caption.) This goes beyond the book, but I thought it would be an appropriate supplement b/c (a) the authors mention the ICR publication “Acts & Facts,” which for decades was distributed as a tract (notice that an issue of the related publication “Facts” is part of the visual spread) and (b) the authors point out that some current creationists “have a much more irenic and moderate tone that provides a welcome contrast to the sarcastic, sometimes disrespectful tone and unwarrantedly dogmatic pronouncements of earlier creationists.” The latter part of that sentence ties in directly with a lot of the creationist tract literature, including (obviously) the Chick tract, but the numerous antievolution pamphlets by Harry Rimmer (the top American creationist of his generation) mapped perfectly onto that description. Indeed, I wrote an article about that aspect of Rimmer many years ago, a version of which I blogged for BL: http://biologos.org/blogs/ted-davis-reading-the-book-of-nature/series/fundamentalists-modernists-and-evolution


(Dr. Ted Davis) #8

@Charles_Alexandre and @marktwombly

You’re right, Mark, Sarfati is a big name and the authors don’t mention him. In their defense, they weren’t attempting to write a full-blown history of creationism; as Charles points out, Ron Numbers already did that enormous job–and he did it so well that Whitcomb and Morris both praised the fairness and accuracy of his account.

I’ve already said something about the photo and caption about tracts, but let’s be honest: tracts are published for a reason, b/c they can reach people with sound bites that influence their thinking. Not all tracts are guilty of promoting factual errors and illogical conclusions, but IMO a high percentage of creationist tracts do exactly that, whether or not their authors think that’s what they are doing. They tend to appeal to the hot buttons of scientifically uninformed readers, thus raising the temperature without releasing more light.

So, the authors don’t mention Sarfati and they only pass over tracts with a brief mention. You’re right that a more detailed conversation about creationism should include Sarfati, but I’m right that a more detailed conversation should also include the tone and style of popular creationist literature.


(Mark Twombly) #9

I appreciate that, Dr. Ted.

Piltdown man, Haeckel’s embryology, etc… - I mean, how far do you want to go with this? I don’t believe any credible evolutionist would draw on these for support any more than some of the sources you cite would be relied on by many credible YEC’s.

The problem I see here is that you and many others in Biologos don’t seem to think there is such a thing as a credible YEC. These to me seem to just be variations of the same view presented in ‘Inherit the Wind’ (which is quite inaccurate historically), namely, that anyone who is a YEC is ignorant or worse.

Dare I say it - in my view the lack of openness to the possibility of YEC is utterly closed minded and unscientific.


(Casper Hesp) #10

One credible YEC I’ve heard of is Todd Wood… Someone who actually engages himself with the most recent findings in anthropology et cetera and, more importantly, engages himself with scientists in the field. He actually acknowledges that creation appears to be ancient and appears to indicate common descent. Then, by faith, he sticks with the tenets of young-earth creationism with the humble concession that things currently don’t appear to fit together.


(Mark Twombly) #11

Casper, that is incredibly helpful, thank you.

I think both sides need to humbly concede that there are significant unresolved issues in both views, and that we need to be honest and straightforward with one another about our beliefs and assumptions. We have to come to grips with what the Bible says and with what we observe in nature, the issue being how we handle an apparent conflict between the two.

I believe that these tensions will continue to exist until glory, and that God’s view and understanding is infinitely more developed than ours!