Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My comment on Longman's shrug about the historicity of Adam

Justin Taylor, who (A) has a new site and (B) continues to display his maddening ability to find some of the most noteworthy, newsworthy items all over The Interwebs, yesterday linked to a vid where Tremper Longman (the third!) basically says "Adam-schmadam! Nice story, though." (Later, Justin also linked to a fine article detailing twelve reasons for treating Adam as an historical person.)

The former article engendered a lively discussion in which yr obdt svt took part. After a couple of dismissive comments, I added the following which, to prevent it being completely buried, I share with you (slightly edited):
The presumption of many folks like Longman (here) and his defenders is that we can shave off some select unpopular Biblical teachings here, without a negative impact on other equally-unpopular Biblical teachings there.

A secondary presumption is that any reading that today's flock of intelligentsia do not consider sufficiently "sophisticated" or "nuanced" should eo ipso be left at the roadside.

Unfortunately for both of those assumptions, there is a steady core of us Evangelicals who do remember history that stretches back more than ten years, and thus remember how the exact same line of argument in the late 1800s led to the apostasy and liberalism that vitiated the professing church through the 1900s, no matter how loudly and forcefully we are urged that "this time, it's different!"

We also remember that some of the first defectors maintained some core Christian beliefs that they liked, without the other equally-Biblical beliefs that they didn't — for awhile. But then their disciples applied their own premises more considerably, with an inevitable jettisoning of more and more core belief, until the core was pretty much gone.

So we decline the invitation to hop on the latest float in the parade, knowing (remembering!) that the ephemeral roses which make floats so pretty today won’t smell so sweet tomorrow.
Much as I agree with myself, my favorite comment still is the first, from a commenter named pcduggie:
Yep, I have a sin nature because of something some guy did in a story.
UPDATE: Oh, dear. I should have predicted this. Don't miss the "Doubt as heroic" meme in the first meta linked, above.

84 comments:

VcdeChagn said...

My five year old knows better than to argue with Jesus.

Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female

Fred Butler said...

He mentions evolution twice in his minute and a half talk. I have seen this reasoning before among Genesis compromisers.

Regrettably, many seminary profs think there is something viable to the philosophical constructs of Darwinian evolution and thus they feel obligated to rescue God from irrelevance by synchronizing the creation account with so-called modern day views of scientism with regards to origins. Its the reason why we have all of the various creation models like the day age view, framework theory, gap theory, etc.

As much as adherence to those various positions like Ross (day age) and Kline (frame work) grouse about how it is erroneous to criticize them as being theologically inconsistent, Longman just represents the conclusion where all of this leads.

Stan McCullars said...

Dan, Lest my response to your comment be buried as well...

Regarding shav(ing) off some select unpopular Biblical teachings, it would seem that Longman et al. are coming out with a revision of the Jefferson Bible, complete with Old Testament.

The Genesis Account, AKA God’s Account of Creation, is sure to be missing as will any mention of Jonah, Elijah, Noah, Daniel and several other characters and events.

DJP said...

Absolutely.

The "12 reasons" post I link to is really pretty excellent and pretty devastating.

For all the blather about genres and literalism and blah-blah-blah, this would be my exegetical question:

Where is the marker that we are leaving myth and entering historical narrative?

The Pentateuch weaves a story that starts east of Eden, goes to Ur, back down to Palestine, then to Egypt, then back to Palestine. We meet Adam, Noah, Abram and his sons, Moses, Aaron, Joshua....

So, where's the breaker? Where does the picture go from BW to color, signaling that we're in Oz?

So far, I haven't seen it, in any language.

Kaffinator said...

OK this is going to hurt me but here goes.

I have looked at the evidence, to the extent that time allows, and my feeble mind can grasp.

Honestly, and truly, believe me, I would dearly love to take those words at "face value" "plain reading" "literally" or whatever we are calling it. That God created in actual real measure-it-with-a-stopwatch 24-hour spans. Dirt to dude, a chattering legged snake and so forth. I can see how it would iron things out so smoothly and I love things ironed out smoothly.

The fly in my ointment is that the evidence that the earth is old, and that life developed over time, is, on the whole, really, really good. Good in the sense of "logical", "compelling", "self-consistent", "predictive" and so forth. (By comparison, the well-intentioned anti-scientific folk at AiG on the other hand seem to produce, and then abandon, one bizzaro theory after the next.)

I have a really hard time believing that God would speak so clearly in one way (the Bible) but so confusedly and illogically in another (the Creation).

So, like the OT prof in the video, I'm stuck seeing the early Genesis chapters as supplying a normative, explanatory creation myth in an expressive and poetic form. I suppose that makes me a "Genesis compromiser". But, I'm so sorry!, I just don't see a better way to put it all together.

If you were in my church and knew me personally, what would you say to me?

Kaffinator said...

Where is the marker that we are leaving myth and entering historical narrative?

Let me just say that this question is my worst nightmare.

Gary Benfold said...

I'm only surprised that anybody's surprised about this.

We've got a 12-year old girl in our church who was told by a teacher yesterday that evolution must be true because we share more than 90% of our DNA with monkeys. The girl replied 'yes, and more than 60% with bananas!' Dumbfounded teacher who, somehow, had missed that titbit in her extensive education.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Love the monkeys and bananas :0)

Dan, thanks for standing firm. Once one starts throwing things out, where does it end? If one doesn't believe the creation account, because it's scientifically implausible (or whatever other objections), then what about Noah's flood? What about Jonah in the belly of the fish? What about Jesus being raised from the dead?

None of that is very scientifically plausible. But I believe it.

BaseDad said...

Is there any proof for AiG being inconsistent?

Fred Butler said...

Evidence has to be interpreted. The particular authorities we assume correctly inform our existence usually shape how we interpret said evidence.

That stated, coffee man stated:

By comparison, the well-intentioned anti-scientific folk at AiG on the other hand seem to produce, and then abandon, one bizzaro theory after the next.

Some questions:
Can you provide examples of how the well intentioned folks are "anti-scientific?"

How exactly is their view "anti-science" when you have, say, Richard Attenborough making the absurd claims on his various animal documentaries about how the ancestors of one modern day animal "willing itself" to live on land instead of water?

Can you provide an example of when AiG (aka biblical creationists) abandoned one bizarro theory for another?

How exactly is that any different as when the intellectual elite of the so called scientific community abandon one bizarro theory for another one? Happens all the time in cosmology, but regular folks are blissfully unaware of it.

Frank Turk said...

When we all get the Heaven, There is going to be a line of guys up there (Jesus being at the head of the line, with the biggest boots) who are going to place the imprint of the bottom of their shoe on the bottoms of those who said, "eh -- he doesn't have to be real," about them.

As to Dan's question about the genre-swapping flag in the text, there isn't one -- which is why they can go all the way through to Revelation and call it all "Literature" (big "L", in a british [small 'b'] accent), and then only read it as some kind of entertainment, some kind of way to kill time without being required to change in any way.

It's very tidy.

BTW: this is a kind of apologetics, this Genesis denying -- part of the kind which, frankly, needs to get tossed out of the Christian life.

DJP said...

Frank's right, as usual.

The motto here could be:

Putting the "apologetic" back in apologetics!

Kaffinator said...

Hi Fred,

> Can you provide examples of how the well intentioned folks are "anti-scientific?"

They regularly propose hypotheses that rattle the very assumptions allowing science to even take place. Take for example the Carbon-14 decay rate. It's constant. But because this makes a train wreck of a 6k young earth, AiG suggests that the "cosmic radiation" might somehow change it. There's no real evidence for this, but because this oddball theory could support the conclusion, it goes into the bag of tricks and gets promoted. That's not science.

> ... Richard Attenborough ...

Who is an actor. He does, um, voiceovers. What does he have to do with this?

> Can you provide an example of when AiG (aka biblical creationists) abandoned one bizarro theory for another?

Look up Hubert Humphrey's continually evolving theories about changes to c, the speed of light.

> How exactly is that any different as when the intellectual elite of the so called scientific community abandon one bizarro theory for another one?

In the hard sciences, new theories are proposed to explain phenomena that are observed but lack good explanation. Theories are abandoned when discredited or superceded by better explanations. In "creation science", theories are only rejected when they are sufficiently embarrassing, and then they are replaced with even wilder and less supportable ones.

I admit this is a subjective judgment on my part, but that’s what it looks like to me.

It wasn’t my intent just to to rant on creation scientists—I’m trying to explain my thinking in the hopes of getting some reasonable, pastoral advice on a genuinely better way to resolve this conflict. If you really think the fix is “hey look, creation science, isn’t so bad,” well, OK. Show me any substantive, useful discovery or theory advanced by “creation scientists” that has led to an improvement in human knowledge or technological ability. Something like germ theory, or atomic theory, or general relativity; something that is useful and profitable. Show me the money. If you can’t, then please forgive me for viewing the whole enterprise with considerable skepticism.

Christian said...

Indeed, when we start picking and choosing what parts of the Bible we're going to believe, where does it stop? If the early chapters of Genesis are myths typical of other ANE writings, then why isn't the NT also simply a myth? Essentially Longman et. al. make Jesus and the apostles out to be liars, just as liberals who wish to hold onto some semblance of the faith always have.

Most if not all of the defenders of Longman in that thread are men who attended WTS, studied under Longman and/or Enns and also fought tooth and nail against the condemnation of the Federal Vision, New Perspective, etc. by the PCA and other Reformed bodies. To borrow a phrase from one of them, these men will "go to the stake" to defend N.T. Wright & company's teachings on justification but won't do it on things like the historicity of Adam.

Kaffinator said...

Sorry, Dr. RUSSEL Humphreys not Hubert. Duh.

DJP said...

> ... Richard Attenborough ...

Who is an actor. He does, um, voiceovers. What does he have to do with this?


> snip <

Sorry, Dr. RUSSEL Humphreys not Hubert. Duh.

Irony alert.

(c;

Kaffinator said...

Heh. Well you'll get no claims to infallibility from ME!

By the way, Dan, let me join with you in disgust on the "Update" above. Whoever came up with the idea of "doubt as a badge of honor" needs to be drawn and quartered. Sadly we're probably centuries late for that corrective.

But don't get too sad. It's not too late to draw and quarter -me-!

DJP said...

Well, if you want, I'll loan you a quarter, but that's about all I've got.

(ba-dum bum)

Kaffinator said...

Well if Frank can pitch in a drawing (I hear he has a few lying about) then we're set.

(ching!)

Rachael Starke said...

Kaffinator,

I'm not a brilliant scientist like all those dudes, or a genius debator like Frank, or a gifted eclectic exegete like Dan. I'm just a lady who's been spending all week studying the glory of God in creation for her ladies' Bible study. So, for what that's worth, I can only wonder aloud if this whole argument around the age of the earth and the preceivd connection of that age to the veracity of theistic evolution isn't a giant strawman.

It seems to me that God, through Paul, in Romans 5 (especially verse 16), keeps the argument squarely in the right arena - which is "Who is Jesus and what has He done?" One man brought sin and death; another, better Man brings the free gift of eternal life." (And this is where the guys who know Greek will have to help me out to verify that the word "man" is the same in both cases.") If Adam is a concept or a story, then Jesus can be too. And whaddaya know, that's exactly who He is to a lot of seemingly wise people.

Can there be intelligent questions asked and left unanswered about the exact age of rocks in deserts in Arizona? Sure. But letting intelligent unanswered questions lead to doubts about what God has said is true about Jesus is, as my husband would say, " a hokey pokey no-no." Far better to let the intelligent questions continue to be asked, while expressing confidence in what we do know, that through the Second Adam we have eternal life.

But then again, I only have an English degree. From the Masters' College. So I'm probably just a Westmont Hater. :)

Paula said...

Wow! Where was I yesterday?

DJP said, "there is a steady core of us Evangelicals who do remember history that stretches back more than ten years, and thus remember how the exact same line of argument in the late 1800s..."

Your Facebook pic makes you look a lot younger...

From the meta yesterday...

"Longman recently endorsed John Walton’s new book “The Lost World of Genesis 1,”

Moody Radio did a week long interview with this author recently. Sadly, they are quickly becoming the Christianity Today of the Christian radio world. It seems that almost weekly Prime Time is pushing some old-earther or emergent author.

Paul said, "If you feel embarrassed to consider the prima facie reading of Genesis as factual then at least realize that the naturalist fantasy will do more than embarrass you before the throne of God...Orthodoxy, to you perhaps, seems like a moving target that is conditioned by contextual norms. But for those of us who wish to be found faithful to the divine witness of the scriptures it is an eternal issue that transcends popular ’science’ or religious pressures. You make it sound as if Longman is right to flex his beliefs to fit his religious milieu as well as be accepted by the intelligentsia? I fault you and him for this sentiment."

This was the best response of the day (sorry Dan)!!!! I copied the whole thing and will make use of it at some later date. Brilliant!

Someone also mentioned Tim Keller. While we're all glad that FINALLY, we have someone that the intelligentsia in New York City will listen to and the Gospel there is FINALLY unhampered by the antiquated notion of a literal 6-day creation so those heathens can now get saved because of Tim Keller....

....what's up with his association with the Gospel Coalition? Piper, Carson, Maheney, et al don't see this as a critical issue? Is it just an academic discussion?

DJP said...

Somehow, I missed Paul's comment. pcduggie's excels for brief, memorable pointedness. But that really is a terrific comment; thanks for pointing me back to itg.

DJP said...

BTW, that thing over there just gets better and better.

One of Longman's defenders actually resurrects the Kenotic Theory (though not by name). Says Jesus probably believed Adam was historical, then literally says "So what?"

Paula said...

Rachael said, "But then again, I only have an English degree. From the Masters' College. So I'm probably just a Westmont Hater. :)"

Off topic: DS went to a Christian college fair last week and TMC was the ONLY school that piqued his interest! He wants to pursue political science and they were the ONLY school that stressed that ALL the classes are taught from a Christian worldview and emphasized how important that would be if he intends to pursue a career in politics.

On topic (I hope):

Answers in Genesis has an article on Surviving Secular College:

"For a student wanting to major in a field of science at a university that has biblical (6-day) creation as part of its statement of faith, the options are very limited indeed! For a biology major there are only a handful of such schools; for a physics or geology major, only one or two; and for an astronomy major, there are currently none. So, students wanting to major in one of these topics may not have many (or any) options.

Unfortunately, many colleges that are classified as “Christian” do not teach a truly biblical worldview. Even those that profess to hold to the inerrancy of Scripture are often compromised—teaching that God created using evolution. Most do not teach that God created in six days—something the Bible directly states (Exodus 20:11)!

I would never recommend a compromised Christian college. These are much worse than secular colleges, in my opinion. Secular colleges are honest about their rejection of the biblical worldview. Compromised positions can be far more seductive and dangerous than an outright rejection of God’s Word (2 Corinthians 11:3).


Sad commentary on the state of "Christian" education. The squirmy, wormy Longman's are indeed dangerous (and his views are rampant)if this article is any indication.

Fred Butler said...

Take for example the Carbon-14 decay rate. It's constant. But because this makes a train wreck of a 6k young earth, AiG suggests that the "cosmic radiation" might somehow change it.

Ummm... Are you familiar with the literature on this? It makes a train wreck of long ages as well, seeing that it goes only to 80,000 years. C-14 that has been verified (by secular universities like the University of California at Irvine) as being in diamonds and coal is extremely problematic for old ages, seeing that both substances are suppose to be in the 100s of millions of years.

... Richard Attenborough ...

Who is an actor. He does, um, voiceovers. What does he have to do with this?


Sorry. Let's try David Attenborough, who is a naturalist and has a long string of award winning documentaries on insects, mammals, oceans, etc... He's reading a script, by they way prepared by the researchers for the films, correct?

Look up Hubert Humphrey's continually evolving theories about changes to c, the speed of light.

Are you familiar with Humphrey's theories on relativity as it impacts deep space? He has never proposed changes to the speed of light. You're thinking of someone else. With that in mind, what about Halton Arp (not a creationist) and his view of qasers and galaxy and the explanation of red shifts?

In the hard sciences, new theories are proposed to explain phenomena that are observed but lack good explanation. Theories are abandoned when discredited or superceded by better explanations. In "creation science", theories are only rejected when they are sufficiently embarrassing, and then they are replaced with even wilder and less supportable ones.

Ehhh... You need to read more non-popular journals. Scientists are routinely getting into battles with other teams of researchers over who has the better theory. They have reputations to protect as well as university grants. Hard Science? Hardly. See HERE


Show me any substantive, useful discovery or theory advanced by “creation scientists” that has led to an improvement in human knowledge or technological ability. Something like germ theory, or atomic theory, or general relativity; something that is useful and profitable. Show me the money. If you can’t, then please forgive me for viewing the whole enterprise with considerable skepticism

None of these examples have any bearing upon how we read Genesis and they certainly have no bearing on biblical creationism. By the way, the pioneering researcher for the MRI is a biblical creationist, as is the inventor of the gene gun, but that is neither here nor there.

Stefan said...

The only hope we have in this world is the Cross: the real, historical event of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins. Without that, we have nothing. No hope before a holy and righteous God.

Spend a few days wrestling over the state of your soul (apparently even Calvin—the great champion of sovereign grace—went through great bouts of anxiety over his eternal fate), and you'll find that the only thing you can cling to is the real, historical, all-sufficient atonement of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by whose blood alone we are cleansed of our sins.

The thing is, the entire Bible from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 is all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Once we start whittling away at this verse or that verse, where does it stop? If we cannot anchor the whole in the real, historical framework that the Bible itself provides, where do we draw the line between what's real and historical, and what's figurative or allegorical?

***

Years ago, after I'd begun reading the Bible but long before I was saved, I was trying to explain Genesis to my wife, from my "enlightened," "sophisticated" point of view, claiming to believe in God but taking a low view of Scripture. I got no further than trying to explain Adam and Eve as mythical archetypes, and she saw right through me.

DJP said...

Kaff - Show me any substantive, useful discovery or theory advanced by “creation scientists” that has led to an improvement in human knowledge or technological ability....

Yeah, I think that's your weakest point. Pragmatism?

These are produced by techniques and principles creation scientists also accept. They're not produced because of the theory that a fish decided to try topside-living one day, or that a reptile laid an egg and out hopped a bird.

Stefan said...

Hey, Dan! Frank commented on your blog!

DJP said...

It's a banner-day, Stefan. Extra gruel for my kids.

Stefan said...

Where's my other comment (the real comment, just before my Frank Turk tossaway)?

DJP said...

Note to self: Rough crowd. Must raise admission fee.

Kaffinator said...

Hi Rachael,

I think you’re approaching this in a very mature way. You’re absolutely right that if we were to undermine one part of scripture, viewing it as generally unreliable, it could have disastrous effects on the rest. That’s something to avoid at all costs.

And yet, I hold out hope that there is a way to reconcile genuine scientific findings of God’s world, with genuine exegesis of God’s word.

Oh Fred,

Do we really want to go there? At the risk of trashing up our generous host’s meta…

C-14: Sure, 80k may be the limits of C-14 dating. There are other dating methods for longer periods. There may or may not be an issue with diamonds; I’m no geologist. But are you saying you can square a record of events that took place 80,000 years ago with your reading of the creation account? Really?

____ Attenborough: “prepared by researchers” does not mean Attenborough is or speaks as a scientist. “Science” is published in peer-reviewed journals which are subject to review and refutation. “Science” is not, for example, published in video form in Sunday afternoon nature specials. If you want to talk about what’s on the tele, shall we bring the 700 Club into the discussion? Really?

____ Humphreys: Are you referring to his idea that the Earth is at the center of a huge “gravitational well” distorting the passage of time so that time flows slowly on earth, but quickly everywhere else? When there’s no evidence at all that we’re in any such gravity well, and even if we were it wouldn’t dilate time to that degree? Really?

Arguments in science: But “battles with other teams of researchers” is exactly how theories are tested and, when such battles are lost decisively and repeatedly, the underlying theories are eventually rejected. Are you saying that disagreements make science worthless, when I’m saying science relies on disagreements? Really?

Creationist advances or lack thereof. So you think that creation science’s complete failure to produce a useful theory of any kind has no bearing on whether I should view it with skepticism? Really?

Kaffinator said...

Yeah, I think that's your weakest point. Pragmatism?

Perhaps it is, Dan, but I’m not sure how else to evaluate a collection of human activity or thought, but by the fruit it produces.

By the way I will readily grant you that there’s some pretty rotten theological fruit that apears to be dropping from the OEC/EC tree. But I would say the same about AiG’s/YEC/ID’s scientific fruit, when it can be examined at all.

Sir Aaron said...

Kaff: I prefer ICR.ORG to AiG. I find their article to be a lot more in depth with regards to the intricate details of scientific theory. You also would do well to search ICR for carbon dating. There is wealth of information as to why and how this method is not only unreliable but also itself destroys the millions/billions of earth years theory.

Show me any substantive, useful discovery or theory advanced by “creation scientists” that has led to an improvement in human knowledge or technological ability.

Man I just mention the scientists with the assumption that you are aware of the discoveries or theories they advanced? Newton, Pasteur, Linnaeus, Faraday, Pascal, Lord Kelvin, Maxwell, or Kepler.

Sir Isaac Newton once said “I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.” Ironically, Pasteur was committed to disproving spontaneous generation, which of course, is the very underpinning of evolution.

Do you need more examples?

Sir Aaron said...

Kaff:

Two additional points:
First of all, If God created a fully grown tree it would look like it was very old, would it not? Wouldn't it make sense to create a universe that appeared and felt old? I mean Adam must have looked decades old when he was created, right? I mean he wasn't created as a 1 month old baby.

Second point. When reading Scripture, we Christians also have to be careful about what we read into a passage as well as what we take out. The creation acccount leaves out a lot of fine details.

Sir Aaron said...

Stefan:

The problem is that people read the Bible as if it is one long book rather than a unique collection of 66 different writings. So in order to get what you want from Genesis, you simply apply whatever hermeneutics fir your goal. The rationale is that because the Bible contains metaphors and figurative language, it's ok to apply those exegetical principles to the whole of Genesis.

Genesis is clearly a historical narrative. And if you erode the veracity of the historical narritive by making it into a fanciful fairy tale that you tell your kids in order to communicate some underlying principle, then you erode the foundation of the entire Bible.

Sir Aaron said...

My comments are showing up in random order.

DJP said...

So you're arguing, Kaffinator, that if Group A with Barking Mad Nonsense Theory Zeta produces Good Result Aleph, completely unrelated to Barking Mad Nonsense Theory Zeta, we have a validation of Barking Mad Nonsense Theory Zeta because the group that holds to Barking Mad Nonsense Theory Zeta produced completely-unrelated Good Result Aleph?

I'm saying no.

Stan McCullars said...

What does hard science have to say about someone being dead and buried for several days and then suddenly being raised from the dead? Or walking on water? Or feeding thousands with a few fish and loaves of bread? Or turning water into wine? Or healing the blind and crippled?

James David Beebe, Jr. said...

fruit: Hitler came from Darwin, not the Bible

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"My comment on Longman's shrug about the historicity of Adam"

Curious, is a shrug or a denial about the historicity of Adam constitute theological error or theological heresy? Or neither?

What constitutes error and what constitutes heresy? How does one delineate the gravity between the two? I.e., how much worse is heresy than error?

I would venture to guess that Longman is in error, but I am open to arguments that say that being open to the non-historicity of Adam or claiming that Adam is fictional is heresy.

DJP said...

Many people would scoff at the connection James makes. But do think just one moment longer:

If evolution gets the credit for every unrelated advance produced by its adherents, shouldn't it equally get the blame for every bit of horrid and repellant fruit?

John said...

"We also remember that some of the first defectors maintained some core Christian beliefs that they liked, without the other equally-Biblical beliefs that they didn't — for awhile. But then their disciples applied their own premises more considerably, with an inevitable jettisoning of more and more core belief, until the core was pretty much gone."

This paragraph is a key to understanding all biblical error and heresies. The first proponents of an error are orthodox, but with a slightly off take on some particular doctrine. Their followers grab on to that part where their teacher is most different from everyone else, and start running with it. Then their followers get a hold of it and go even farther afield, until they are completely unorthodox. It has been happening in church history for nearly two thousand years. And, as the Preacher said, "There is nothing new under the sun." Eccl. 1:9

Kaffinator said...

Hi Aaron,

Yes the comments are coming in weirdly. Chalk it up to whatever moderation rules Dan has to follow to get blogspot to work.

Newton: It seems to me that Newton, Pasteur, et al were scientists operating under the assumption of a uniformitarian cosmos (why seek natural law if it didn’t exist?). But today’s creation scientists often argue against uniformitarian assumptions. So I’m not comfortable calling those scientific pioneers “creation scientists” in the way we use the term today.

Creation with appearance of age: It’s one thing to assert that God created something miraculously with the appearance of age. Water to wine. It’s quite another to assert that God created everything with the appearance of age. This seems more like an intent to deceive. Even the folks at AiG realize this, and eschew that argument.

Care in what we read into, or out of, scripture Unqualified agreement here.

And to Dan,

But if Zeta does in fact lead to Aleph? Would you concede in that case? For example, if the barking mad nonsense theory of quantum mechanics led to, like, the entire world modern computing?

And, let me say, be careful about the Hitler angle. Could Luther’s anti-Semitism have played a part? Just a little?

Dear Stan,

As far as I can tell, “hard” science says nothing and can say nothing about particular events in history, save for whatever footprints in the physical evidence which might be left by such events.

But I suppose you could say that hard science would tell us such things don’t normally happen. Which is why we call them “miracles”, yes? Which is why their occurrence uniquely testifies to the special activity and involvement of God?

And to everyone -- gotta do some real life stuff so I beg your forgiveness if I’m slow to respond.

Stan McCullars said...

TUAD,
I am open to arguments that say that being open to the non-historicity of Adam or claiming that Adam is fictional is heresy.

Jesus and Paul (and other Biblical writers) believed Adam was a real person.

I would suggest that calling them mistaken is equivalent to calling God a liar which is something about which the Bible has nothing good to say.

DJP said...

What does quantum physics have to do with macro-evolution? You're writing after each response I give, and addressing me, but I don't think you're hearing me.

I'll just stipulate that you have not yet responded to the specific challenge I'm raising. Otherwise, I'd just have to copy and paste until you do.

Fred Butler said...

Sure, 80k may be the limits of C-14 dating. There are other dating methods for longer periods.

There are about 4 our 5 and they are wildly inconsistent and contradictory with each other when applied to the same sample as the RATE project has demonstrated and repeated many, many times. You can choose to ignore it because it was done by what you think are loons, but facts are facts.

There may or may not be an issue with diamonds

It's a big issue with diamonds. So much so that evolutionists have been forced to attempt crackpot explanations like it was radiated under ground or something by radioactive substances.

____ Attenborough: “prepared by researchers” does not mean Attenborough is or speaks as a scientist. “Science” is published in peer-reviewed journals which are subject to review and refutation.

I believe the BBC and Attenborough would be offended by your dismissal of him as an unworthy researcher. Seeing that he made the interview circuit earlier this year in light of Charles Darwin's birthday, he is not some chump you find on the 700 Club. Or an actor for that matter. But if you insist on a "serious" scientist, Francis Crick appealing to panspermia to explain the origins of life is a good example of hocus-pocus science you claim only creationists practice. Really.

____ Humphreys: Are you referring to his idea that the Earth is at the center of a huge “gravitational well” distorting the passage of time so that time flows slowly on earth, but quickly everywhere else? When there’s no evidence at all that we’re in any such gravity well, and even if we were it wouldn’t dilate time to that degree? Really?

So. How is Humphrey's view of a gravitational well any different than the various cosmologies invoking dark matter and energy to explain the many problems with big bang cosmology? Dark matter and energy has no evidence. Humphrey's views of gravitation has documented experimentational research. Really.

Are you saying that disagreements make science worthless, when I’m saying science relies on disagreements?

Nope. I am saying disagreements, especially by unyielding, close minded researchers with reputations on the line reveals a bias, and is not based upon undeniable fact, as you are want to claim.

So you think that creation science’s complete failure to produce a useful theory of any kind has no bearing on whether I should view it with skepticism?

Creationists have produced lots of theories. Or do you have some secret knowledge that Newton and Mendel were atheists?

Stan McCullars said...

Kaffinator,
...such things don’t normally happen. Which is why we call them “miracles”, yes?

God's creation of the universe is one of those things that doesn't normally happen. In fact, it's happened only once.

I would call it a miracle.

Fred Butler said...

It seems to me that Newton, Pasteur, et al were scientists operating under the assumption of a uniformitarian cosmos (why seek natural law if it didn’t exist?). But today’s creation scientists often argue against uniformitarian assumptions. So I’m not comfortable calling those scientific pioneers “creation scientists” in the way we use the term today.

You do understand the difference between "uniformitarianism" and "uniformity" right? Uniformitarianism is a philosophical construct that assumes an environment that stays the same and no outside forces act upon it (like a global flood, for example).

The law of uniformity is accepted science by everyone, even Hindus. There is nothing different in the way Newton practiced his science and the way modern day creationists practice science.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Stan McCullars: "Jesus and Paul (and other Biblical writers) believed Adam was a real person.

I would suggest that calling them mistaken is equivalent to calling God a liar which is something about which the Bible has nothing good to say.
"

Stan, just to make sure that I'm following your implication clearly, you're saying that Tremper Longman is teaching or allowing for heresy on this particular issue of Adam's historicity. Is that correct?

I'm not disputing you or anything. I just want to make sure that I've understood you properly.

Stan McCullars said...

TUAD,
What I said was: I would suggest that calling them mistaken is equivalent to calling God a liar which is something about which the Bible has nothing good to say.

Am I prepared to say cursed is anyone that teaches/defends that Adam was not an actual person?

No.

I would say that such a one has at least ventured perilously close to the tipping point on the plank of heresy.

DJP said...

You're answering questions from a no-profile person, Stan.

Heh.

Stan McCullars said...

Dan,
Oops.

I hate it when that happens.

James David Beebe, Jr. said...

Let me make my point from a positive direction: much good fruit comes from belief in the Bible as the word of God. Show me the reformed drunkard, racist, whatever that was changed because he came to believe in naturalism.

My point is, you're asking for fruit but looking only for scientific discoveries. Dan and other commenters above say it's a moot point, and they're right logistically ... but go ahead, look at the fruit.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Is one supposed to curse heretics?

I don't know. I think rebuking error and heresy is within the realm of an appropriate response, but is cursing a heretic appropriate too?

So then what Longman (and others like him) have done is commit theological error. Are we all agreed? And that denying the historicity of Adam is not heresy, but theological error.

Citizen Grim said...

If we believe that the Bible is divinely-authored, with human hands merely the means by which it was recorded, if we recognize that it's not the words of fallible man, but the Word of infallible God, it comes down to this: do we dare accuse God of misleading us?

The people who doubt a historical Adam are basically standing up at the beginning of Genesis (and in Matthew, and in Luke, and in Romans, etc) and shouting to God, "You lie!"

Cue the fear and trembling.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Citizen Grim: The people who doubt a historical Adam are basically standing up at the beginning of Genesis (and in Matthew, and in Luke, and in Romans, etc) and shouting to God, "You lie!"

They are in error, severe as it may be, and do not merit being cursed (hat tip to Stan McCullars). They are not heretics.

Sir Aaron said...

So kaff, if God creates a fully grown man who appears to be forty, but is in fact an hour old and then tells you about it then he's deceived you by making the man appear old?

David said...

If I'm not represented by a real first Adam, how can I expect to be represented by a real Second Adam?

This, by the way, is the only answer I've ever been compelled by. I was cautiously metaphorical about Adam up to about, maybe a year ago.

DJP said...

That's interesting.

Did you see this list?

Gilbert said...

DJP:

>Where is the marker that we are
>leaving myth and entering >historical narrative?

I shouted upstairs to Nellie the Neuron and she came back to me and said:

Start at Genesis 1:1, leave after the "Amen" in Revelation 22:21.

I like Nellie. She be a wise neuron. :-)

Stefan said...

Sir Aaron:

To your 12:56 p.m. comment:

Yes that Genesis is clearly a historical narrative, and yes to your implied point that the 66 books of the Bible represent different literary genres that we need to pay heed to.

Allowing, however, that the Holy Spirit has given us a single, overarching unity to Scripture: a single crimson thread running throughout the whole.

CR said...

Kaffinator: If you were in my church and knew me personally, what would you say to me?

I understand your dilemma. I would say to you to read Poythress's Redeeming Science.

Poythress is Calvinist and Van Tillian presuppositionalist. He's also a mathematician and theologian. I think he gives a fair run through of all the different views. You'll want to focus on Chapter 7 and Chapter 8. Especially read the Analogical Day theory

Having said that, the age of the earth has nothing to do with the actual historicity of Adam. The historicity of Adam can be validated by the fact in Scriptures, Adam is mentioned in the geanologies even if one wanted to mythologize (I know that's not a word) Adam in the Gen 1 account.

CR said...

TUaD: Is one supposed to curse heretics?

It was Lloyd-Jones who said false teaching can take on many forms but it has two major sections. (A)Those who call themselves Christians but have an utter denial of the truth and the major tenets of the Christian faith. They'll even deny the deity of our Lord but still call themselves Christians. (B) This one is more subtle and more dangerous than (A) because it's not a denial of the faith per se. It's a teaching that something else is required in addition to what we believe. It says "oh yes, we believe Paul's teaching and everything he says BUT... he left out something very vital and that vital thing was circumcision." If you're a Roman Catholic, Paul left out the teaching the Roman Catholic Church's teaching is at par with Scriptures. If you're a 7th day Adventist, Paul left out the observance of the law. That is the false teaching and teachers that said should be cursed.

I know nothing about Longman except what's on that biography but Longman's open question for himself on the historicity of Adam is not the type of false teaching that Paul was dealing with at Galatia. It certainly borders on heterdoxy especially if he lands on the side of Adam not being a real person but him questioning whether Adam was historical or not does not put him in the false teacher category and therefore must be cursed.

Sir Aaron said...

Stefan:

Yes, I've read "Thru the Bible" and the "Scarlet Thread." (Or was it systematic theology that talked about the Scarlet thread?)

Kaffinator said...

Hi Dan,

I’m trying to hear you – it’s noisy in here! Let me summarize the exchange: I started by claiming that scientific creationism hasn’t produced any useful fruit. You responded with the claim that evolutionary theory hasn’t produced any useful fruit either, and a fair amount of bad fruit, to boot.

Do I have you right, then?

I brought in quantum mechanics as an example whereby we could actually judge something by its results, even if the original theory appears “barking mad” at the outset. I admit it’s tangential but was hoping to establish a baseline of some kind.

As for: what good has evolution wrought? I believe a lot of advances in medical treatment point back to research which assumes the truth of evolution. I’m sure if you’re dedicated though, you can always find a way to insist that it’s really micro- vs macro-, even though none of the researchers responsible for the discoveries would draw that distinction.

Hi Fred,

Are you a geologist? I’m not. So I doubt we’re going to convince each other of anything. I quite unashamedly defer to experts in the field, who seem quite content to rely on C14 dating within appropriate limits. I even know YEC scientists who do.

I didn’t say Attenborough was a chump. I said he wasn’t a scientist, in the sense that he’s not publishing in journals. Simple as that.

On Humphreys, let us know when his grav-well-time-dilation theory appears in a legitimate astrophysics journal for critical analysis by peers.

“Creationists have produced lots of theories.” But you see, I’m referring to modern “creation science.” Most of their theories have not seemed to pan out very well. If you have counterexamples I’d love to hear about them.

Hello CR,

I appreciate the pointer. In my quick scan, it looks like Poythress’ presentation of “coherent maturity” or creation with the appearance of age is what Sir Aaron seems to be after above. And I think I reject that position for more or less the same reasons that Poythress does (“God nowhere tells us that, if we look backward in time, we are looking at an … unreal past projection”). I’ll have to spend more time studying the analogical view. Thanks.

DJP said...

No. I don't know how to say it any clearer.

Here's a guy with a dowsing rod. He sits down and adds up 2 plus 2 and gets four. Kaffinator says, "Well, dowsing has produced some really good math."

You cannot point to anything evolutionary scientists have produced directly and solely caused by the notion that (A) a reptile laid an egg and a bird hopped out, or (B) billions of gazillions of reptiles with dissolving skeletons gradually turned into birds over the course of skadillions of years.

What they've produced, they've produced thanks to common grace and mechanics affirmed also by creation scientists.

Did that one get through any better? If not, I'll just leave it to the larger audience.

CR said...

DJP: You cannot point to anything evolutionary scientists have produced directly and solely caused by the notion that (A) a reptile laid an egg and a bird hopped out, or (B) billions of gazillions of reptiles with dissolving skeletons gradually turned into birds over the course of skadillions of years.

This is absolutely true. You would expect, if we evolved from water creatures, creatures from the ocean heading to shore and dying because they're trying to evolve from water breathing to air breathing. You would expect to find not just one missing link but millions of missing links. Millions of prehistoric water breathing animals over millions of years trying to evolve or adapt into air breathing animals. Millions of them dying trying to do so until at least two make it and reproduce. You would expect to find evidence of this in the fossil record.

Evidence: Zero.

Kaffinator said...

You cannot point to anything evolutionary scientists have produced directly and solely caused by the notion [of evolution]

People far more knowledgable than me, who are actually involved in the research, repeatedly and pointedly assert otherwise. For example.

Stefan said...

Sir Aaron:

Frankly, you've lost me. I don't know if your original comment was agreeing with me and merely elaborating, or you thought I'd got something wrong and were disagreeing with me....

My point is that we have to hold up the entire Scripture as history, including Genesis. That's the way God works—in real, historical events. If we question the historicity of (say) Genesis, then we risk doing two things:

(1) Abnegate the history that led to the logical necessity of Jesus Christ as the fully human, fully divine Redeemer who is the only satisfactory propitiation for our sins;

(2) Open ourselves to the possibility of questioning the historicity of the Cross itself, without which life is a meaningless existence of misery, suffering, and sin (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19).

I know you and I agree on all those points.

As for the question of hermeneutics, our own grammatico-historical hermeneutic (which instructs us to regard the Bible as 66 distinct books) also undergirds the overarching redemptive hermeneutics (Covenantal, Dispensational, New Covenant, Chiliastic, or otherwise) that remind us that there is a singular, overarching, Divinely authored unity to Scripture: a single teleological progression from Creation and the Fall, to the Cross, to the Return of Christ in power and glory.

Paula said...

Kaff said, "Show me any substantive, useful discovery or theory advanced by “creation scientists” that has led to an improvement in human knowledge or technological ability. Something like germ theory, or atomic theory, or general relativity; something that is useful and profitable. Show me the money"

While I suspect that no amount of "evidence" is going to convince you of what you've already concluded, here are a few things you might want to consider:

From Answers in Genesis:

Do Creationists Publish in Notable Refereed Journals?

Creation Scientists and Other Biographies of Interest

And finally, Dr. Daniel Ely, a personal friend, whose research includes:

1. Hypertension- genetic, molecular and physiological mechanisms using a rat model

2. Aggression- genetic, molecular and physiological mechanisms using a rat model

3. Polymer Biocompatibility- testing novel polymer and chemical compounds for toxicity and biocompatibility

I have no idea what most of that means, but it sounds like it might fit your requirement of "useful and profitable" - if nothing else.

But if you're determined to caricature creationists as uneducated rednecks, you'll say, with Princess Bride's Vizinni,

"Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle,Socrates?...Morons!"

Mel Kizadeck said...

Kaffinator has a bigger problem than explaining the nature of C14 dating or where the genre-swapping flag is in Genesis.
The problem is one that VcdeChagn touched on in his brief comment about Jesus.
You see, within the Gospel of Matthew quotes Genesis 1:27 directly by saying, "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female?"

How is this a problem for Kaffinator? Whether he's meant to or not, Kaffinator has accused our Lord of deception or falsehood.
How is that you say? or That's not fair! I'll tell you how.
The fact that Jesus quotes Genesis without equivocation or further explanation, to a crowd which held the text to be sacred as well, screams from the rooftops that Jesus accepted the account of Creation to be FACT. Plain and simple.
To call into question our Lord's testimony and witness is tantamount to looking back after putting your hand on the plow.
Now, that's not to say that there aren't any like Kaffinator among the redeemed or to even say that all redeemed must believe in six-day literal young earth creationism. But what does need to happen is for followers of Jesus Christ to put those doubters to the test. Expose their doctrine for what it is, the seed of doubt, before it blossoms into the full blown heresy of God used evolution to create the Universe.
I know I'm preaching to the choir for the most part (thank the Lord) but this is why theology matters people!
Don't let someone accuse our Lord or deception or falsehood without giving an account!

Kaffinator said...

Hi Paula,

I'm really not as resistant to new data as you might think. And it seems my original statement has been misconstrued to mean "nobody who considers themselves to be scientific creationist has ever done anything useful". That's not true, and it's not what I mean to say.

Just like Dan wants to see how the theory of evolution actually leads to advances, I'm trying to see how scientific creationism actually leads to advances. I guess that hinges back on what scientific creationism uniquely holds, and how that could be distinguished from mainstream science. Something I'm not completely sure of, to be honest.

Kaffinator said...

Mel, I think there may be more to Jesus’ use of Genesis 1:27 than meets the eye, but you are spot on in this: our Lord is the full realization of Grace and Truth. If anything I or anyone else would say would contradict Jesus himself, then they should have their mouths stopped.

I will leave it to TUaD and John to determine whether it’s heresy or not but we can all agree it’s a Bad Thing.

trogdor said...

OK, if that's the strongest claim you can find that belief in evolution is necessary to produce beneficial results, I'm quite confident I can do without. Even the article itself can make no claim stronger than "people would likely not have" made a certain connection. Not the language of conviction, that.

What all that boils down to is this. Organism A has structure A. Organism B has a nearly identical structure A'. A technique that does something to A was found to work very similarly on A'.

The claim is, unless these people put their faith in materialistic evolution, they never would have either been able to look at A' and notice it resembled A, nor would they have thought that something which reacted with A would react similarly on A'. Unless they believed that all life arose spontaneously, and evolved into indescribably complex forms purely through force of chance mutation, they never would have looked at two things that look alike, act alike, and share all sorts of physical and chemical properties and thought "hey, maybe these nearly identical things will act nearly identically".

Riiiiiiight.

Stan McCullars said...

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8 ESV)

The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken; behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them? (Jeremiah 8:9 ESV)

DJP said...

KaffJust like Dan wants to see how the theory of evolution actually leads to advances....

See, that's the sort of statement that puts me on the side of thinking you're not really listening to responses, sharp as you undeniably are. You totally misrepresent me.

I want no such thing. You brought that up. That is pragmatism, and pragmatism is bankrupt as a way to determine truth. I called you on it, and retorted that (if that is YOUR criterion) evolution fails your test.

It is only valid if creationists are saying, "Believe us because we come up with better ways to make coffee!"

I think the Biblical ones are saying, "This is what the Bible teaches, and the evidence confirms it."

Kaffinator said...

Hi Dan,

Sorry to make it sound as if you were endorsing pragmatism. When you said, "You cannot point to anything evolutionary scientists have produced...", I took you as responding to my position on the pragmatic grounds I had earlier proposed (and which you were in the context of criticizing). That was all I was referring to in my response Paula.

Sir Aaron said...

Stefan:

I was agreeing with you.

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

Stefan said...

Sir Aaron:

Oh, the sweet, precious blood of Jesus!

Thanks for the link to that sermon, and sorry for the misunderstanding.

Sir Aaron said...

NP. It was really my fault. I should have been clearer.

DJP said...

I blame myself.

Stefan said...

And to bring it back full circle:

I blame Adam and Eve.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
...Taking parental blame to a whole new level.

threegirldad said...

I blame George W Bush -- because I'm a principled, well-informed participant in this democracy...or something like that.