Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Strange Omission

A major evangelical seminary is holding a conference on Science and Faith.

And yet they are apparently excluding one of the major evangelical views of science and faith, namely young earth creationism.

Whether one agrees with young earth creationism or not, it is undeniable that it is a major contender in the realm of biblical worldviews, and that it has solid answers for pressing questions both of the text of Scripture and of origins.

So why does an evangelical seminary exclude this view in  a conference on the topic? Someone please tell me.

Now, I know at the beginning that this post will draw two responses. Some will like it and agree, and others will find me hopelessly out of touch with reality. Almost no one will be in the middle.

But here I go anyway …

The distaste for the biblical teaching on origins is distressing to me. It is completely needless and quite frankly, ridiculous.

Personally, I think it shows the seduction of academic respectability. It is not respectable to be a young earth creationist. So people abandon it, not because the text demands it (it doesn’t), and not because the physical world demands it (it doesn’t either), but because the academy does.

I think “science” as traditionally conceived is the enemy of faith because it tells us that the history of the Bible cannot be trusted. And if the history of the Bible cannot be trusted, why should its religion be trusted?

It boggles my mind that people who believe in the resurrection for which there is absolutely no scientific evidence or proof (only revelation) refuse to believe in the biblical record of creation (for which there is not only revelation, but scientific correlation, meaning that what we see in the world around us through science is completely consistent with the biblical account of six day creationism). At least the liberals of old recognize the problem and abandoned the resurrection through various means. People today apparently do not have the sense to see the contradiction.

There is nothing inherent in science for Bible believers to be afraid of. But those with the bully pulpit were allowed to speak unaddressed, for the most part. As a result, faith no longer rules exegesis; naturalism does.

The Christian faith is not more compelling from an old earth creation viewpoint (in its many incarnations). To borrow from our Savior himself, “If they won’t believe Moses and the prophets, they won’t believe even if one rose form the dead” (Luke 16:31).

People are fond of saying, “Well the Bible doesn’t address scientific issues.” Well, quite frankly, that seems like a silly thing to say. The Bible clearly addresses these issues.

Now, it is true that the Bible is not a scientific textbook. But the next time someone brings that up, ask them for the name of someone, anyone, who believes that the Bible is a scientific textbook. I imagine they won’t be able to come up with one name.

Then ask them why they object to something that no one believes anyway.

Of course the Bible is not a scientific textbook. But where it addresses issues of science, it is accurate.

And while I am here, appealing to genre issues in Genesis 1-3 is inadequate. There is nothing in the text of Genesis 1-3 that would lead one to believe it is any genre other than historical narrative. It is just like the rest of Genesis. So let’s treat it that way.

Simply put, Christianity gains absolutely nothing from abandoning young earth creationism. \

However, they lose the very foundation of the Christian faith—a Creator God to whom we must answer, sin that corrupted the world and brought death, marriage and family, the unity of the human race under the first Adam and second Adam, the reason for the brokenness in the world around us, and the atonement itself just to name a few.

If we don’t trust God to tell us the beginning of the story, then why would we trust him to tell us the end of the story.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Larry,

Ditto to what you've said.

I remember taking an OT Introduction graduate class at Maranatha back in the mid 90s, and the textbook we used was Gleason L. Archer's "A Survey of Old Testament Introduction."

In discussing the creative days and the age of the earth, Archer considered every possibility but young-earth, six-day creationism. To him, it wasn't even worthy of mention, much less discussion.

tjp

Anonymous said...

Larry,

As a Young Earth Creationist studying at WTS, I share your frustration with the lack of basic consideration of the YEC position among even conservative evangelicals such as those found at WTS. To clarify the purpose of the conference, however, I don't think it is intended to be a multiple views conference. Westminster linked up with the Discovery Institute primarily (I believe) because it is the most visible Christian organization dealing with the origins of the universe (especially in wake of Ben Stein's "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" documentary).

I don't believe that the exclusion of YEC's is as much the decision of WTS as it is of the Discovery Institute. As helpful as DI can be, they have made the decision to NEVER talk about WHO the designer of the universe is, or HOW OLD the universe is. My guess is that that was a condition laid upon WTS if they wanted to partner for DI for the conference (although admittedly, WTS is not known as a YEC institution).

The most disturbing thing in my mind is that WTS takes the apologetic stance that evidential apologetics, which tries to convert non-believers to bare theism, is insufficient, and ultimately not truly Christian apologetics. My question is, why then host a conference that seeks to promote the idea of a nameless designer, rather than the named Creator who has told us quite clearly in Scripture how he created the world?

Thanks for asking the question!

Anonymous said...

Larry:

I'm not sure why YEC has been left out of the conference although it may be that it is difficult to defend since the Bible doesn't teach it. Your statements seem to indicate that YEC is "the" biblical view. "The distaste for the biblical teaching on origins is distressing to me." I don't see "distaste for origins" among those who don't hold to YEC. Like it or not it is a question of interpretation. You also mention those who "refuse to believe in the biblical record of creation." Do you mean by that they refuse to believe in YEC as the biblical record? There may be good arguments for YEC but there are not conclusive arguments. What you claim is lost by those who "abandon" YEC is simply not true. YEC is a view but it should not be offered as "the" biblical view.

Larry said...

To anonymous #1, Do you have any idea what the breakdown among professors is at WTS concerning views of origins?

To anonymous #2, You obviously saw through my subtlety :) ... Yes, I think the Bible does teach six successive 24 hour days of creation, and no one to my knowledge has ever used the biblical text to disprove that apart from seeing a scientific necessity. Even Waltke said as much a number of years ago in Crux. The text itself is read otherwise only with great effort and distortion of basic Hebrew grammar and syntax. So I think I stand on pretty solid ground that it is the biblical record.

With respect to what is lost, the relationship between sin and death is certainly lost, and if sin isn't the result of death, then Christ's death doesn't really address the issue of sin. If Gen 2's story about marriage and family isn't true, then the foundation of the biblical teaching on the family is lost. It becomes merely cultural. The connection between the first Adam and second Adam is lost to a large degree. Many at this point simply make a sort of fideistic jump to God's more direct involvement, at some point interjecting the the image of God into the process. BTW, it is interesting that more and more secularists are coming to the conclusion that there was a single man and woman from whom the human race descended.

To be sure, many evangelical non-YECs affirm death as the result of sin, but they have lost the biblical nexus. They affirm biblical marriage and families, but they don't have the biblical foundation of it. In other words, they are inconsistent.

To be more direct, why, in your thinking, would one abandon YEC? I can't find an answer to that that doesn't stem from the authority of science. Can you help me understand?

Have you read Coming to Grips with Genesis?

And thanks to you both for reading.

Anonymous said...

Larry:

You believe "the Bible does teach six successive 24 hour days of creation." However that does not neccesarily entail a YEC.You might consult John Walton's "The Lost World of Genesis One" with an alternate view that sees the 6 days as the giving of revelation for the inauguration of the cosmic temple in keeping with ANE background. Whatever view one adopts I think YEC goes too far in arguing for a recent creation. It may be recent but the Bible neither teaches that or proves that. For one thing it is not clear how long a period of time may've intervened between the brute creation of Gen.1:1 and the forming and filling of that which was withour form and void. In the end I think YEC are arguing for something indefensble and fighting the wrong battle. You should attend the conference at WTS. I intend to.

Mark Ward said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Larry said...

Thanks for responding. I think there are two different issues:

1. The length of the days -- grammatically, textually, and lexically, the "YOM" in Gen 1 is 24 hours. Any other understanding ignores the grammatical, syntactical, and lexical data for that context.

2. The length of time -- I don't think the world is 6000 years old. I think probably 8-12,000 years old. The genealogies may not be "back to back" so to speak, so there are probably some gaps. But not millions of years of gaps. In an old earth idea, the genealogies mean nothing. The earth itself, the physical sciences, won't support the age of the earth that is being suggested by the evolutionists or OECs. Again, it is simply unnecessary, and it does great violence both to theology and to science.

You speak of not knowing how long a period of time may have intervened between Gen 1:1 and the filling of that without form and void, but why would there be a period of time at all? I know of know textual reason for one, and there is certainly no scientific reason to demand a gap.

I have not read Walton's book though I have read some reviews and recently read his rejoinder to Poythress. I will reserve full judgment for later, but it sounds like the same basic idea of Enns' book, and that was atrocious. The idea that these ANE things unlock unknown meaning has no basis at all.

Why do we need to see Gen 1 as an inauguration of a cosmic temple? That's completely unnecessary. It has no textual basis. There are just so many problems with that.

Listen, the text makes great sense as it stands. There is no reason to abandon it or recharacterize it in favor of something else.

Larry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry said...

Mark (and others),

Having made my last post, I am going to delete both of the previous posts so as to keep this discussion on topic.

Mark is a friend of mine and I appreciate his reading and commenting.

I simply want to keep this on topic.

Mark Ward said...

Larry,

I'm glad you're my friend. Cause, if you were not, I'd be mad as a hornet for your deletion of my comment.

I still think you need to go to the heart of the subject - liberal seminaries will produce non-biblical conclusions regarding major doctrinal issues in the Bible.

I agree with you 100%. I believe the earth is young. I believe you can look at the Hebrew and examine the scriptures and prove a young earth teaching.

Yes, you're still my friend!

Larry said...

Mark,

I would welcome those comments on a thread about that topic (thought I would express my profound disagreement).

I would also contend that WTS is not liberal ... yet, in the historic sense of "liberal." They are headed in a disturbing direction in many ways. They are still evangelical in terms of the gospel (which is not enough, but it isn't "liberal").

But even conservative seminaries can teach bad viewpoints (which I could demonstrate fairly easily ... but again, that would be off topic here).

Stay warm, friend.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness . . .

"The distaste for the biblical teaching on origins is distressing to me." This is called "begging the question."

"no one to my knowledge has ever used the biblical text to disprove that apart from seeing a scientific necessity." Then you need to expand your knowledge. I'm sure you've heard of the framework view and the analogical day view. Neither are driven by any scientific necessity. My previous pastor had a Ph.D. in Hebrew and he held -- based on the text istelf -- something like the framework view.

"and if sin isn't the result of death . . ." I think you mean, if death isn't the result of sin. Of course, every position maintains that death is the result of sin -- the second death. That and the curse upon the rest of creation -- which is not synonymous with physical death.

"If Gen 2's story about marriage and family isn't true," YEC's aren't the only ones who hold that Gen 2/s story about marriage and the family is true. You reeeeally need to meet more people.

"The length of the days -- grammatically, textually, and lexically, the "YOM" in Gen 1 is 24 hours. Any other understanding ignores the grammatical, syntactical, and lexical data for that context." This is question begging again. On what basis can you make that claim? Extremely learned Hebrew experts don't agree with you. Even Isaiah doesn't agree with you here.

"Listen, the text makes great sense as it stands." Yes and plenty of non-YEC's agree. The question is how does it stand?

"I would also contend that WTS is not liberal ... yet," This is hysterical. WTS has NEVER, since its founding, held to YEC. They aren't just lately allowing other perspectives. They aren't heading in any new direction. If non-YEC is necessarily a part of "liberalism" then they've been headed toward liberalism since day one. If it isn't (which it isn't) then this topic has nothing whatsoever to do with "liberalism".

Keith

Larry said...

This is called "begging the question."

This was not intended to be a defense of a view. I assumed a position for the sake of my comments here. I have a 25 page paper on this topic of YOM in Genesis 1, and there are others who have similar material that show the issues very well. Have you read *Coming to Grips with Genesis?*? t would be worth your time, and would further illustrate the curiosity of WTS not including this very well defended view for consideration.

Then you need to expand your knowledge. I'm sure you've heard of the framework view and the analogical day view. Neither are driven by any scientific necessity. My previous pastor had a Ph.D. in Hebrew and he held -- based on the text istelf -- something like the framework view.

The framework view is connected to scientific issues, I believe, such as issues like light on Day 1 but the sun not until day 4, meaning there was no source for light on day 1. That is a scientific issue. The text itself may be read as a framework, but what drives people to a framework position, I think, is concordism. It is not the text that leads one to that position apart from other considerations. Dr. McCabe has dealt with this fairly extensively and would be worth your consideration.

Of course, every position maintains that death is the result of sin -- the second death. That and the curse upon the rest of creation -- which is not synonymous with physical death.

The Bible teaches that physical death is the result of sin, not just the second death. Again, this is a matter of exegesis, and not every position maintains that death is the result of sin. They have death and destruction prior to sin. The Bible connects physical death to sin, and that is why Jesus died a physical death.

YEC's aren't the only ones who hold that Gen 2/s story about marriage and the family is true. You reeeeally need to meet more people.

No, you need to read closer. I never said that YECs are the only ones that hold the Gen 2/marriage story to be true. If you are going to comment, I welcome it, but please comment on what I say. Don’t make stuff up.

My point with both death and marriage was not that other people deny it, but that they have no consistent basis to affirm it. They have denied the historicity of Gen 1-2 by denying that the text reveals actual history, and therefore have lost the historical basis of the nexus between death and sin and the issue of marriage.

I realize there are a lot of nuances that I can’t deal with in a short response to you here, but generally speaking, I think you will find this to be true.


On what basis can you make that claim [concerning YOM in Gen 1? Extremely learned Hebrew experts don't agree with you. Even Isaiah doesn't agree with you here.

On the basis of the grammar, syntax, and lexicon. Every OT use of YOM such as if found in Gen 1 always and only means a 24 hour day. BDB even says that, as did Bruce Waltke (noted Hebrew scholar). Isaiah has no usage to the contrary that I know of (and I doubt he added any since the last time I checked, but if you know of one, let me know and I will look it up).

Yes and plenty of non-YEC's agree. The question is how does it stand?

It stands as 24 hour days, composed of evenings and mornings. Exod 20:11 confirms this for us.

WTS has NEVER, since its founding, held to YEC.

Did anyone say differently? I didn’t.

I don’t think non-YEC is a necessary part of liberalism. You are making stuff up that I didn’t say. You likely missed the comment to which that was addressed since I edited it. I was defending WTS against the charge of liberalism. I deleted the comment because it was off topic. As I said there, this has nothing to do with that.

So Keith, as always I appreciate your reading and welcome your comments. But please take more care to comment on what I do say.

Mark Ward said...

It just so happened that I wrote my weekly newspaper article in our local newspaper (which is viewed by thousands) on the subject of the Hebrew word "YOM." I also talked about creation, etc. I purposed to do this article before I read everything on this blog.

Needless to say, I agree with Larry - let's get back to the basics and just believe the biblical account, as well as the Hebrew account - that, well - a day is a 24-hour period of time. PERIOD.

The lost world will argue all the day long. And, a seminary that doesn't believe in a young earth and a 6-day creation is liberal in my view. And, that's just my view.

Anonymous said...

Larry,

I mean no offense, but I think that I read carefully. It only seems to you that I didn't because of your precomittments.

You say, "The text itself may be read as a framework, but what drives people to a framework position, I think, is concordism." However, that is just an a priori assertion on your part. I am telling you that I know people who hold this position that were driven to it from the text itself. They have no concern about modern "science" or concordism.

You say, "The Bible connects physical death to sin, and that is why Jesus died a physical death." No argument that Jesus died a physical death. But, did he die a physical death only? If he had, would that have paid the price? Or, did he have to be forsaken by the Father? Where does the Bible clearly and unambiguously require one to believe that nothing could die prior to the fall?

Larry, you said, "If Gen 2's story about marriage and family isn't true, then the foundation of the biblical teaching on the family is lost." In doing it seems to me that you are implying that the other positions do not maintain that Gen 2's story about marriage and family is true -- if not, then what are you saying?

When you further clarify and say, "They have denied the historicity of Gen 1-2 by denying that the text reveals actual history," You reveal that you do not know enough non-YECs.
There are plenty who maintain the historicity of Gen 1-2. Disagreeing about the length or meaning of the "days" does not necessitate one to deny the historicity of the account.

Re Isaiah. See Isaiah 11:10-11.

About WTS you said, "They are headed in a disturbing direction in many ways." My point is that this is not a new direction. It consistent with their position since the founding.

You ought to read the PCA's paper on creation views.

Peace.

Keith

Larry said...

I mean no offense, but I think that I read carefully. It only seems to you that I didn't because of your precomittments.

Actually, it was because you attribute to me the idea that people who disagree with me don't the Gen 2 about marriage and family is true, which is not something I said. It further stemmed from your comments about liberalism, which I never made nor insinuated. But fine. I am not offended. We all need to make sure we really carefully.

However, that is just an a priori assertion on your part. I am telling you that I know people who hold this position that were driven to it from the text itself. They have no concern about modern "science" or concordism.

I don't think it's really a priori when people say that there can't be light without a source of light such as the sun, and that therefore, the sun had to be created before Day 4 because there was light on Days 1-3. That is a scientific argument, it seems to me. Perhaps there are those who believe the framework who believe that there was light before there was sun. If so, then fine. My impression is that there are not many.

But, did he die a physical death only?

Of course not, but it wasn't less than that, and that physical death was because of sin.

Where does the Bible clearly and unambiguously require one to believe that nothing could die prior to the fall?

The curse in Gen 3:19 says that part of the curse change was returning to the ground, meaning death. Rom 5:12 is also explicit on this.

Larry, you said, "If Gen 2's story about marriage and family isn't true, then the foundation of the biblical teaching on the family is lost." In doing it seems to me that you are implying that the other positions do not maintain that Gen 2's story about marriage and family is true -- if not, then what are you saying?

I am saying that people who give up the historicity of Gen 1-3 have no foundation for the Bible's teaching on marriage. There are many people who deny the historicity of Adam and Eve because it is in Genesis 1-3. They take it as a metaphor for the human race, etc.

Disagreeing about the length or meaning of the "days" does not necessitate one to deny the historicity of the account.

Actually it does. Gne 1 says there were six days of morning and evening. That is history. Other views deny that those six days were 24 hours, and therefore they deny the historicity. Enns and Waltke, Ross and others are explicit about this.

Re Isaiah. See Isaiah 11:10-11.

Those uses are the same as Gen 1. That is a construct use with a definite article and a preposition (bayom hahue). That is a different construct then Gen 1.

My point is that this is not a new direction. It consistent with their position since the founding.

I think some of the recent stuff such as Enns is a new direction, at least one that Machen and others would not have held.

Thanks again Keith.

Anonymous said...

One can maintain that Adam and Eve were historical beings and that the events recorded in Gen are historical without holding that the days were 24 hours. You are confusing categories here. I don't have time to go into it though, so we can just disagree. Disagreement is ok sometimes.

You mention "Enns and Waltke, Ross" as representatives of non-YEC. However, there are more things in heaven and earth Larry than are dreamt of in your philosophy. These guys don't represent everyone who is non-YEC.

Also, if I am not mistaken, Enns is no longer at WTS.

Thank you.

Keith

Anonymous said...

Mark,

"let's get back to the basics and just believe the biblical account, as well as the Hebrew account"

Amen. The biblical Hebrew account is true. Proponents of several non-YEC believe just that. If you disagree with their position, you have to explain why not just say, "I believe the Bible." They do too.

Keith

Mark Ward said...

Forgive the simple answer, but, there are some things we should just believe by faith, too. There is the faith principle. I don't know if I want to explain everything on this blog (Larry does a great job!). But, I think it's a fair argument to say that I believe the Genesis account - basically - by faith.

Perhaps this is an 'uneducated' view. But, I think faith should play an important roll in our belief in the Genesis account.

I currently are earning a M.A. in Biblical exposition from a well-known seminary here in the states. I remember a professor, last fall, taking several hours one morning explaining the importance of faith in our belief system. The lecture was mind-boggling, yet simple and profound. I think some are throwing out faith for reason and intellect.

I'm certainly in agreement with what Larry is saying. But nobody here has said anything about just believing the Word at face value. Yes, we have to explain our position. Yes, we have the Hebrew, etc. But, gentlemen, let's not forget faith. The just shall live by faith. Hallelujah for simple faith!

Anonymous said...

I'm not denying faith. The discussion is over what the text says and means. I want to have faith in that. I need to know what the text says and means before I can put my simple faith in it.

Keith

Larry said...

I think people can hold Adam and Eve as historical without holding that the days were 24 hours. It creates inconsistency and arbitrariness to be sure. Why start with history in Genesis 2, and not 1? Because Gen 2 is just like Gen 1 (which is just like Gen 12 or 50). It's all historical narrative. Where does the image of God get injected in the evolutionary development? And if God specially created Adam and Eve, why didn't he specially create the rest? .

However, to deny that the days in Gen 1 are 24 hours is to deny the historicity of the passage. I don't see anyway around that, and I am not aware of anyone who denies it. I don't think the framework hypothesis was. The very foundation of "framework" means it's not real history, it's a framework for understanding. Walton in the Lost World denies the historicity of it. Enns does. None of these people say that Gen 1 is actual history. It is ancient cosmogenies similar to other ANE cosmogenies.

Enns, Waltke, Ross are some of the leading proponents of these theories today. Kline is probably the leading name in the framework hypothesis. I realize there are many more (which is why I referred to "many incarnations" in my original post). But these are leading proponents, though Ross is pretty outdated i think. But Enns and Waltke are two leading proponents of the theory of ANE similarities.

Enns is no longer at WTS, but only because of the board. The faculty, as i understand it, wanted to keep him.

I am okay to disagree. I am no expert on this, but I have read a little on it. So I am not completely sucking this out of my thumb.

And again, thanks for reading and interacting.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to imply that you are sucking this out of your thumb. If I have come accross that way, then I apologize.

Nevertheless, you are repeatedly confusing categories and misrepresenting those who hold to various non-YEC views.

For example. You write: "Where does the image of God get injected in the evolutionary development? And if God specially created Adam and Eve, why didn't he specially create the rest?" Old Earth Creation and Theistic Evolution are not synonymous. It is very mainstream to hold to various Old Earth positions and reject Theistic Evolution.

You really ought to read the PCA paper. It's available for free online.

Keith

Larry said...

I took no offense. My comment about "sucking it out of my thumb" was only to say that I am familiar with these issues somewhat. I am not an expert by far ...

I don't grant that I am confusing categories or misrepresenting anyone. I think you are willing to use "historicity" to describe some views of the Bible that you would never grant anywhere else.

And I think you are conflating things in your mind since I have never pretended that everyone who is not YEC holds the same view. I think you are the one pinning that on me. But remember, from the very beginning I talked about the "many incarnations of the old earth creation viewpoint." I was not excluding theistic evolution, but neither was I saying it was all theistic evolution. But some of these people are theistic type evolutionists of various varieties.

I have read a bit of the PCA document. Right off the bat, I don't Enns would affirm that the Pentateuch was from the hand of Moses (as I recall, though not for sure). I think he takes a late date for it.

But I also it would be wrong to assuem that the PCA document is the sum total of the issue. I am sure you don't think that, in fact. But you have appealed to it several times as if my reading that would fill me in on all the missing parts. I have no doubt that the PCA is more orthodox than most on this. (Now if only we could get them stop sprinkling babies.)

But there are many views about which I have corresponded about/read about/thought about that have nothing to do with the PCA. Go to Biologos and read the Waltke/Poythress exchange, and particularly the comments. It is a good deal broader, more along the lines of what I am saying here.

Anyway, thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Larry,

I never said that you "pretended that everyone who is not YEC holds the same view." Nevertheless, your own words implied that all non YEC need to answer the question, "Where does the image of God get injected in the evolutionary development? And if God specially created Adam and Eve, why didn't he specially create the rest?" And, my point is that only the old earthers who hold to theistic evolution need to answer those questions -- not all of them (and there are many, many who do not hold to any evolution).

You say, "I think you are willing to use "historicity" to describe some views of the Bible that you would never grant anywhere else." But again, you are asserting that with no evidence. How do you know what I would grant as historicity anywhere else. I think that you are confusing the categories of chronological/linear/narrative with historical. A true, historical occurance can be described, historically, in many different ways -- songs, poems, linear narrative, episodic drama, etc.

You seem to be fixated on Enns, not sure why. He is not that significant in the history of old earth creation views.

You are correct that I do not assume the PCA document is the sum total of the issue. However, by saying that "the PCA is more orthodox than most" you miss the point again. The document summarizes most of the major positions of both YEC and OEC. I've suggested it because it's an example of taking care in describing other categories -- even when the author(s) don't necessarily embrace those categories. And, it is that care which I think is lacking in your analysis and discussion.

Plus the PCA's got baptism right so they're worth listening to in other areas!

Thank you again.

Keith

Larry said...

Keith,

1. As far as implications, only those who hold to evolutionary development need to explain something related to evolutionary development. You inferred that; I did not imply it.

2. I think you are missing the point on historicity. Gen 1 is historical narrative. That puts it in a particular genre with particular expectations. Furthermore, it uses particular language of history that is being denied by some. The point is that the historical narrative says these were days with evenings and mornings labeled as "first day, second day" etc. Yet most OECs deny that these days were made up of evenings and mornings. Further, Exod 20:11 says they are the same as God expects us to work. Again, that puts it in a historical reference.

3. If I wrote 61 pages (e.g., the PCA document) about the issue, I would clarify some of the various positions. That wasn't the point of this posting. I don't think I have been misleading on this. I have spoken general about YEC and OEC "in its many incarnations." I have plainly admitted that there are many different views. So apart from long writing, I don't know how to make it clearer.

Thanks

Larry said...

I was reminded of Gerhard Hasel's article "The Days of Creation in Genesis 1: Literal 'Days' or Figurative 'Periods/Epochs' of Time?"

This article still stands unrefuted.

You can find it here: http://www.grisda.org/origins/21005.htm

Bob McCabe said...

Larry,

Hasel's article is perhaps the best I have read about the issue of literal vs. figurative days.

Kudos!

Anonymous said...

"So apart from long writing, I don't know how to make it clearer."

So, what's wrong with WTS saying the same thing: "Apart from making the conference too long, we don't know how to include YEC's."

Keith

Larry said...

Have they said that? I haven't seen it.

But if they don't know how to include a YEC, it is easily rectified by asking someone who does know how, and with that I can help them: "Write or call a YEC and ask him to come."

There are many sound and soberminded YECs who could do an more than adequate job on the topic. You don't have to invite a whacko.

Generally, all you need do is ask.

Bob McCabe said...

Kurt Wise is a well-known young earth creationist who got his PhD in 1989 from Harvard University where he studied under Stephen Jay Gould. While there are other notable young-earth creationist. Wise would do a good job in representing this view.

Anonymous said...

You missed the point.

The point wasn't that they aren't bright enough to find a YEC. I'm sure there are quite a few in their own circles.

The point was that you've claimed that you can't present all the OEC positions precisely in a brief post, so maybe they need all the time they have available to cover the positions they are planning to cover. The key phrase was "Apart from making the conference too long."

I am positive that WTS isn't trying to say that "YEC just obviously isn't biblical," or "YEC has bad motives." Even though that is usually what YECers say about any position other than their own.

Why I just talked to one of their professors yesterday and he said, in public, something like: I'm not totally sure which if any of these positions is the absolute truth, even though I am totally confident that the Bible is God breathed and that God created everything. There wasn't a hint of disdain for the YEC position in that statement. In fact, his point was that we need to focus more on what we do all agree about.

Larry said...

I realize they could find one. My response was tongue-in-cheek. IT was designed to show that my comment about length/presenting viewpoints was entirely different. I can't make a phone call and succeed in cramming all the possible variations of views of origins into a short blogpost. That was the point.

I am not sure what WTS or Discovery's motives are.

But I don't understand why you have a conference on a topic and omit one of the main contenders. It's hard to imagine a two day conference with about ten sessions or so can't include this view, particularly when it is a predominant view.

It's just strange, that's all.

Anonymous said...

Hi Larry,
They could call us and we would send someone to represent. We do it over 1200 times every year across the globe.

I agree with your point of view, and see this type of thing happening all the time.

Not sure where Keith is coming from, but I would add that the majority of views outside of the YEC position are there because of asegeisis, not exegesis. They have been influenced by something outside of the text and are trying to bring it into the text. Very dangerous indeed.

Your friend, ST

creation.com

Bob McCabe said...

Larry, in light of ST's comments from creation.com, I am convinced that Dr. Jonathan Sarfati from creation.com is a great defender of a young earth view, though creation ministries international has a number of great defenders as does Answers in Genesis.

Anonymous said...

This is all too much like Dan Phillips whining that the Bethlehem Institute didn't include a Dispensationalist Premillenialists in their conversations about eschatology.

I can see why you all would like someone that holds your view to be invited, but I can't for the life of me see why it is wrong or even "strange" that conference organizers invite whoever they want and design their conferences however they want.

Now, I have no personal attachment to WTS, and it wouldn't offend me in the least if they invited a YEC to speak. However, it could just be me, but comments like: "I would add that the majority of views outside of the YEC position are there because of asegeisis, not exegesis," might just cause folks to think, "Well, no point inviting them, all they're going to do is tell us we're not biblical before we even present our thinking."

I mean, really, does every YEC evangelist's meeting include "a sound and soberminded OEC who could do an more than adequate job on the topic?" I don't think so, even though they could, and there are plenty that are sound. "They wouldn't have to invite a whacko."

Perhaps most importantly, though, this conference is not even a conference that is specifically on "origins" or on Genesis. This is a conference on Faith and Science. YEC is not a "major evangelical view of science and faith." It is an interpretation of Genesis 1-2 and a view of origins.

There appears to be only one session that pertains to the "days of creation", and I would expect that the 24-hour day view will be presented fairly, even if none of the speakers hold that view themselves. Unlike the way that non-24-hour-day positions are often presented by YEC's


Keith

Charles Barnes said...

Larry,

Regarding your comment above in a response to a response, "no one to my knowledge has ever used the biblical text to disprove that apart from seeing a scientific necessity," please read "A Matter of Days" by Dr. Hugh Ross. Or for a six minute summary, see http://www.reasons.org/videos/how-long-are-the-creation-days

Larry said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Charles. I really appreciate it.

Here's my response: Hugh Ross hasn't been convincing to me since I read Creation and Time in the mid-90s right after it was published. Too many easy errors he makes.

I haven't read the book you mention but listened to the video. Here's a few thoughts:

He comments on YOM, but he errs when he says that it's the only word that could have been used to describe finite long period of time. That is factually incorrect. Hebrew has words for month and years, and for longer periods (such as OLAM). In addition, every time that YOM is used for a long period of time (such as Gen 2:4) it is used a different way (as a construct or by context). Simply put, YOM as it is used in Gen 1 is never used of anything other than a standard 24 hour day. When YOM means something longer, it is always used another way. Again, read Hasel on this. He put this to rest many years ago.

Second, his comments on the creation of woman involve a lot of things that aren't in the text. There's no doubt that God created man first, put him in the garden, had him name the animals, then created woman, but the "at long last" is not convincing for a long period of time, and there is no biblical reason why that could not have all taken place in one day.

He says at the end that this has no bearing on salvation doctrine. But in fact, it does. If there is sin and death before the fall (which comes after the creation of Adam AND Eve), then death is not the result of sin, and that goes straight to the heart of the gospel.

Someone who affirms something like Ross can certainly be a Christian, and saved from the death that sin brings, but they have no reason for it, theologically speaking.

So I think my objection stands (at least as of now), that the biblical text is not being used by Ross to show this. I don't think his arguments are based in the exegesis of the biblical text.