:: Wednesday, November 23, 2005 ::
Should've Done This Sooner
::This post is part of the Evolution/Young Earth Creationism Correspondence Series::
Eric responded to my email a while ago, but I was too busy enjoying having nothing to do to post it yet. I've only skimmed it, and it's quite long (the former likely following from the latter). So, without further ado, here it is. I'll deal with it...sometime.
Hi [TheSquire],Yes, yes, he did quotemine, I saw it, and I'll call on him to place those in context. Beyond that, I'll have to actually look at all those links before I reply. Fun stuff.
I'm glad you want to hear my position, because I'd like to start (or rather continue) from what we agree on. I'll probably ask you for clarification on points of your position.
First, I believe in the inerrancy of the original Scriptures (what Yahweh said). I believe that Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is the Creator. His Name means "I am," the essence of being and implies that He is eternal, without beginning or end, since He created and is independent of time. Getting back to the Scriptures, I believe that Yahweh said what He meant and meant what He said. I try to take the Scriptures literally where it's meant to be taken literally, and figuratively where it's meant to be taken figuratively. Sometimes both interpretations need to be taken into account. I know that you take many sections of Scripture, in particular the creation account of Genesis 1 and 2 as allegorical. However, the genre of the creation account is not allegorical, but a historical narrative. That is how any Hebrew reading Genesis would see it.
So I take the 6 days of creation as 6 24 hour days. The Hebrew word translated "day" is "yom," which can mean part of a day, a day, or a finite length of time. However, the last meaning only applies in certain grammatical contructs and contexts which are absent here. Further, modifying day with "evening and morning" and ordinal numbers always gives the context of a 24-hour day. See Dr. Michael Heiser's analysis here:
This brings up a couple situations which I will get to.
Some disagree with 6 24-hour days, but if so, then we would have plants existing for eons before the sun, thus killing them, and we would have death of animals before the fall of creation. True, light did appear before the stars, so there was another source of light, possibly God's glory, possibly other light-emitting nuclear reactions within the deep, as Dr. Russell Humpreys suggests in _Starlight and Time_. There is also the argument that Genesis presents conflicting creation accounts. Rather, Genesis 1:1-2:3 presents the creation week, then there is a demarkation in the Hebrew text indicating another section. At this point, we focus on what happened from day six on. The plants in Genesis 2:5 referred not to the plants created on the third day, but to plants that needed rain and cultivation, specifically grains for making bread. God had made the seeds, but not the plants. Verse 19 also seems to imply (in some versions) that Yahweh made man, then beasts, but the verb is in the pluperfect in the Hebrew, meaning God had made the beasts. So that's a quick overview explaining the common misconception of conflicting creation stories.
Back to the creation week. I believe that the earth is young (~6000 years old), but that the Universe is old ~13 or 14 billion years or something. That's obvious from the fact that you can see stars that far away. The comment I made about a young Milky Way could be explained in how I reconcile this young/old difference. (After reading the rebuttal, then maybe I can concede that the Milky Way is old. The model still holds; it depends on where the event horizon is when.) What we observe is the earth near the center of the universe and the Universe expanding around us. If we reverse this process, then at some point we would have an event horizon around the earth. At this point, while six days of creation are elapsing on Earth, billions of years are elapsing in the rest of the Universe. Dr. Russell Humpreys, who first considered this "white hole cosmology" says it falls out naturally from observation and General Relativity. He's had numerous critics, but he's been able to answer them all. A documentation of the debate is here:
There is another cosmological model which is vastly different. Craig Winn has proposed that the 6 days of creation are from the reference of the Spirit of God, who "moved upon the face of the waters." He sees no problem with the Big Bang (He points out that one Hebrew word mentioned in the creation account comes from a root word roughly meaning "big bang."), an old Universe, and a 4-ish billion year old Earth by applying special relativity. He may be on to something there, but I don't think many people have heard of him. His theory is here:
I haven't read it all yet, though.
So that pretty much sums up my position. I could be convinced that the Earth is old and that current Big Bang model is sound. Dr. Hugh Ross (http://www.reasons.org) holds this view and shows how it points to Yahweh as the Creator. So I think we can agree that the creation of the Universe was begun by Yahweh, and that He guided the creation to be supportive of life, and in particular guided the formation of the sun, the solar system, and Earth to be supportive of life. Correct me if this is not your view. I think we can also agree that God created life, that life did not arise from non-life. The late Dr. George Wald admitted,
"There are only two possible explanations as to how life arose: Spontaneous generation arising to evolution or a supernatural creative act of God...there is no other possibility. Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others, but that just leaves us with only one other possibility...that life came as a supernatural act of creation by God, but I can't accept that philosophy because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore I choose to believe that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation leading to evolution." Dr George Wald, Harvard biology
professor and Nobel Prize winner.
So do you believe that God guided evolution to develop humans, and then entered into a covenant relationship with them when they were sufficiently developed?
I'd like you to elaborate on your position as well so I know what would be most fruitful to focus our discussion on. In my opinion, we can focus on a few things.
First, if the Earth is 6000 years old, then the time to allow for evolution is nonexistant, hence disproving evolution, so we can examine the evidence for and against that.
Second, we can look at the evidence for and against evolution directly.
Third, we can look at the philosophical ramifications of evolution.
Fourth, we can argue whether or not the Scriptures should be taken literally or not. (I'm curious to know which books of Scripture you take literally and which you take allegorically not nonliterally.)
In light of question three, I want you to ask yourself, if you were God, how would you do it? How would you write your creation story and why? Would you create the Universe? You don't have to answer me, but it's just something to think about.
Anyway, if I can go to the talk on Saturday (my wife and I are going to a wedding in Kansas City on Sunday and may leave Saturday), I'll ask Dr. Menton that question. If I can't go, I'll ask a creation scientist online somewhere and get back to you. While I don't completely understand the question, my answer is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." If God designed something that works, why not use the same design for a number of species?
As for the TalkOrigins site, I skimmed through it. It's quite extensive. Many of their arguments are valid and they do properly debunk many arguments that creationists have used. We know the universe is old, and Darwin did not recant on his deathbed, for example. But, hey, we're always refining our model as we gather more evidence. However, I did notice an error in one of their arguments. They claim that the "behemoth" in Job 40:15 is not a dinosaur because they say that in verse 17 the phrase "He moveth his tail like a cedar." is better translated "His penis stiffens like a cedar." There is nothing in the Hebrew to suggest that translation. The KJV accurately translates that phrase to show that Yahweh is pointing out a brontosaurus or something similar to Job. Maybe it wasn't a dinosaur, but it was certainly something more impressive than anything alive today that we can at least say that Job saw and wrote about. Here's the link to see yourself:
Enter in Job 40:17 and go from there.
Maybe you don't agree with everything they say either, but it gets me wondering what else they just made up. There is a rebuttal site to TalkOrigins called TrueOrigin.
But in response to your request that I argue neither from Scripture or from things that TalkOrigins says they have debunked, I offer these quotes:
"I fully agree with your comments about the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them … . I will lay it on the line—there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument."
- Dr Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History, in reply to a questioner who asked why he had not included any pictures of transitional forms in his book _Evolution_.
"The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution."
"I regard the failure to find a clear ‘vector of progress’ in life’s history as the most puzzling fact of the fossil record."
- Dr. Stephen Jay Gould
Once again, I'll be sure to ask Dr. Menton your question and others from the TalkOrigins site if I get the chance. I'll let you know what he says.
UPDATE: I've responded. Go take a gander.
:: The Squire 8:23 PM :: email this post :: ::