Monthly Archives: July 2007
Whew. When I started this I just figured that it would span one post, and instead I’m already up to three, and I believe that in order to truly do this justice, one more post will be required. After I finish out the remainder of his points with this post, I will finish out with a commentary of Romans 11:11-24, which is the “model” that Mike’s geocreationism platform is built on.
Old Earth Creationism is Correct that the Earth is Old
I find little to disagree with here. As noted in the previous entry, passage of time was not created until Day Four (Gen 1:14). This means that it is impossible to truly estimate the age of the earth. As a result, I find no inconsistency between Scripture and an old earth. The primary reason that organizations like Answers in Genesis or Creation Ministries International fight so hard for a 6,000 year old earth is that death and destruction, by definition, cannot exist prior to sin. To have millions, or even billions, of years of death, disease, and carnivorous activity prior to the first sin removes the Genesis foundation of the gospel message.
At least that is the position of “mainstream” creation scientists. Recently, I’ve begun diving deeper into that very issue, and I’ve begun to wonder if that is really necessary. It seems that human death is more important than animal death–why animal death is a factor at all is beyond me for they have no will and no soul.
Gap Theorists are Correct that There is a Gap in the Creation Story
Most Gap Theorists place a gap in the creation story, between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. They believe that in that time, prior to Adam, is when all of the fossils that we are discovering for which we have no corresponding living creature lived. Shortly after God created the heaven and the earth (verse 1), this would be the time of the trilobites, dinosaurs, and other creatures that, according to paleontologists, lived before man walked this earth. In this gap, they reason, were also the primitive hominids, such as Neanderthals and Homo habilis.
God then destroyed all of this in a global flood followed by a massive ice age. Hence, we now have the Spirit of God hovering above the waters (verse 2). The rest of the story follows.
It’s obvious that we have no Biblical support for such a theory. But Mike places the gap later in the creation account, at Day Four. So, what is it about Day Four that seems to have some sort of mysticism about it? Let’s examine it closely:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. [Gen 1:14-19]
This passage starts with the creation of lights in the sky, separating day from night and marking the passage of time. Then, the text has God make two great great lights, the sun and the moon. Then, He makes the stars.
The key to the mystical allure of Day Four is that it is the first place in all of this creation account where we can begin to measure time. Prior to this day, there is no way to actually do that. Now, it is here that Mike wants the gap to occur–but we encounter a serious problem.
At this point in the account, God has separated light from dark (Day One), separated heaven from earth (Day Two), created land and ocean and made vegetation grow on it (Day Three). Day Four sees the heavenly bodies–sun, moon, and stars–but we have yet to see any sort of animal life. Placing the gap here doesn’t account for millions of years of fossils–at least not of any animals. Animals see the light of day for the first time in Day Five.
Day-Age Theorists are Correct that Each Day Maps to an Age
Since I see no inherent Scriptural problems with an old earth, so long as no death occurs prior to the Fall, I see nothing wrong with this notion, either. In the creation account, Moses uses the Hebrew word yom, which typically means either a 24-hour day, sunrise to sunset (as in a Jewish holiday), or an indeterminate period of time (that is, an age). Though the young earth creationists argue that the phraseology “evening came and then morning, and so was the xth day” removes any room for interpreting yom as anything but a 24-hour day, I disagree for two reasons.
First, God does not experience duration in the same way that we do. It is said of Him that a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is but a day (2 Pet 3:8). These are days from God’s point of view, not ours. Second, I believe that the use of the phrase “evening came and then morning” is to show that overlap of these days is not possible. Otherwise, we will truly lose the significance of the Sabbath day.
While I generally find that a young earth is more consistent with what Scripture teaches, I find no problems with an old earth model. Definitive proof an old earth model would not shake my belief in the inerrancy of Scripture, and more importantly, would not affect my belief in God.
Theistic Evolutionists are Correct that God Caused Mutations and Allowed Natural Selection to Occur
And now we have the largest problem with Mike’s theory of geocreationism: theistic evolution, marrying God–a sovereign deity with an unsearchable purpose in creating mankind–with the purposeless entity of evolution and its counterpart, natural selection. That is a major contradiction in terms. Doing this does not explain anything; it only attempts to add an ultimate purpose to a process that doesn’t have one.
I see from both my stats page and my comments page that my previous post on this topic is getting quite a bit of attention. Let me assure everyone, especially Mike, that I will cover all every aspect of that post, and I will get to Romans 11. Right now, I am going through the post in a logical order. After I covered my initial reaction to the list, I can now move into looking at each item on the list and cover it in some more detail, which is the subject of this post.
Science is Accurate
I don’t know that anyone is necessarily arguing to the contrary, except for some attacks on the underlying assumptions of some of the science that is used in regard to aging the earth.
I would only wonder if some conclusions of scientists could be challenged. Mainstream science doesn’t like it when people argue with their conclusions, but that is precisely what a peer review period is for.
However, one of my arguments against the Christ-myth group is that it always the same modern people (Acharya S, Richard Carrier, drawing on a theory proposed 1800 years after the time of Christ, an opinion only shared by a minority of discredited scholars (such as Kersey Graves). This group never seems to make anything breakthrough; they always “bastardize” their works using the same sources and never anything up to date. Creation scientists seem to be the same way: always the same names appearing on every single publication, and always from either CMI or AiG.
Maybe the only real challenge that can be offered to science is that the earth is, in fact, older than mainstream science estimates, or the actual age is incalculable.
The very creation account that we are talking about here would provide some evidence to that effect. God doesn’t create the flow of time, or at least any way to measure the passage of it, until day 4 (Gen 1:14). This means that, prior to day 4, we had no way to mark the passage of time, and thus, no way to measure how much “duration” preceded this moment.
I, therefore, submit that it is impossible to know the true age of the earth, and by extension the universe itself. This explains why some measures of the age of the universe calculate 9 billion years, while others estimate 15 billion years or older. I’m not doubting the measurements, mind you, just our ability to accurately determine something that Scripture hints we are not able to accurately determine.
Scripture is Accurate
Nothing to argue here. I am a firm believer in biblical inerrancy.
Young Earth Creationism is Correct that Genesis 1 is Literal and Historical
This is a logical extension of point #2, that Scripture is accurate. Genesis 1 lacks the mythological elements of most creation stories. There aren’t deities fighting for supremacy, there are no divinely mandated missions, no prophecies to fulfill. In fact, an atheist friend of mind once said that if he were inventing a religion, this is the last sort of creation account that he would use, since it is so boring!
In fact, Josh McDowell argues in Evidence for Christianity that is precisely this blandness that proves the literalness and the historicity of the Genesis creation account. This account is written in the humdrum style of someone who is simply recording history, with none of the language of a person trying to construct a grand epic adventure story.
Greek creation, with Zeus having to journey below the Underworld to Tartarus to free the Titans, the Cyclopes manufacturing the weapons (Zeus’s thunderbolt, Poseidon’s trident, Hades’s helmet of invisibility, Athena’s bow and sword, etc.), the epic battle between Zeus and his father Cronus for the rule of the entire universe; these elements make a great movie. Something tells me that God speaking everything into existence isn’t going to be the next project that New Line Cinemas options in wake of the ironic combination of Lord of the Rings followed by His Dark Materials.
In Part III, I will finish the remaining items on the list. These items require some additional research and I will hop to it. Hopefully later today or tomorrow I can get these on the blog.
Mike from Geocreationism.com, in his post on February 13, 2007, has given the following seven points as the founding principles of his viewpoint of creation vs. evolution:
- Science is accurate.
- Scripture is accurate.
- Young Earth Creationism is correct that Genesis 1 is literal and historical.
- Old Earth Creationism is correct that the earth is old.
- Gap Theorists are correct that there is a gap in the creation story (it’s Day 4 though, not Genesis 1:1)
- Day-age Theorists are correct that each day maps to an age.
- Theistic Evolutionists are correct that God caused mutations and allowed Natural Selection to occur. [source]
This seems to me as though Mike is starting with the assumption that everyone is correct and working on the premise that some sort of middle ground exists between the various viewpoints. That middle ground, which he calls Geocreationism, is the subject of his blog.
The crux of the matter, really, comes to how the reader answers the following question: For all of the competing theories, must someone necessarily be wrong? Obviously, Mike has decided to ride a seven-way fence by deciding that no one has to be wrong. But let’s take a closer look at Mike’s list and see if he is actually on to something.
First, as a student of human nature, I recognize that the order in which someone lists items is extremely important and reveals something about the nature of his underlying premise. For example, when receiving Christmas gifts from my wife’s family, I very well expect that such gifts will be To Jody and Cory. However, Christmas gifts from my side of the family are addressed To Cory and Jody. The reason for this should be obvious. When my side of the family sends a gift addressed first to my wife, I know that it is a gift that, while useful for both of us, is actually intended for her–such as a pastel colored set of towels. And when my name is listed first from her side of the family, likewise–the gift is usually something intended for spiritual development, which the husband ideally is in charge of.
So it is therefore significant to me that Mike lists science first, and Scripture second. The implication, from my perspective, is when science and Scripture meet in a place that has no reconciliation, I expect Mike will side with science. This is borne out by even a casual perusal of the Geocreationism blog, which is heavily pro-evolution. In fact, the site never doubts that humans evolved, however, it teaches that God used evolution as one means of creating the kinds of things He wanted.
This site does not teach Darwinian Evolution, but a variation where God introduces what he [sic] will, and then alternately lets the species tree grow wildly for a time, and then prune [sic] and graft [sic] until it looks like what He wants. He then lets the entire cycle go again, letting it grow, and pruning it back again. Evolution on the other hand is a continuous a process, where Natural Selection goes unchecked; I do not believe God lets nature go unchecked. He reigns it in. Regularly. Forcefully. Actively. Lovingly. In a similar fashion to how He maintains the Olive Tree of faith in Romans 11. That is the model for creation advocated here. [source]
Notice the inherent contradiction of this position already within only one paragraph: “. . . God introduces what he [sic] will, and then alternately lets the species tree grow wildly for a time, and then prune [sic] and graft [sic] until it looks like what He wants.” This is almost immediately followed by “I do not believe God lets nature go unchecked. He reigns it in. Regularly. Forcefully. Actively. Lovingly.”
Science 1, Scripture 0. See, mainstream science believes in natural selection as a process, and in order for Mike to make Scripture fit the science, he has to create a contradictory position where God lets nature take its course, but exercises meticulous sovereignty over it.
God cannot create a rock so big He couldn’t move it, because He can’t create something greater than Himself. He can’t make a square circle, simply because that is impossible to do within the geometric system He created. By allowing for free will, He necessarily allows for rebellion against His cause. Stark contrasts and opposites must exist within an orderly world, and God cannot create something that is defined by its opposite (such as a square circle, a triangle with five sides, or a greater deity than God Himself). This is the significance of separating Light from Darkness on Day One of Creation. The point here is that God cannot, by definition, allow something to propagate wildly by natural selection while also exercising meticulous sovereignty over it. This is logically, scientifically, theologically, and (most importantly) physically impossible.
Tomorrow, in part II of this series, I will take a closer look at each of the seven points.