Tag Archives: old earth

‘Death’ Before the Fall?

Dearest hijas,

Have you ever considered one of the arguments that some Christians give for believing in death before the Fall of Adam, and its related corollary of an old earth? It goes something like this: “Well, I don’t believe that death as an entity only came about because of Adam’s sin. That was death for humans only, for surely plants died before the Fall, and animals don’t experience pain in death like we humans do, so animals were peacefully dying long before Adam’s sin, much like the good ole’ family pet, Fido, curled up by the fireplace who simply dies peacefully and naturally”.

It seems like a logical argument – doesn’t it? It seems so logical that many of your Christian friends and leaders stumble over it. A case in point, is the below article and link by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati about R.C. Sproul Jr., who teaches at Reformation Bible College in Sanford, Florida. An otherwise stalwart man of faith and of the Reformed tradition, Sproul Jr. is a young-earth creationist, but seems to be confused about the implications of his position, as Dr. Sarfati points out.

I encourage you to click on the link below and read the article carefully. Within the article are other links to other articles that you can click on and get more information. You may have to read a portion, think about it, read more, and/or come back to it several times as you have time to read through the whole article completely.

R.C. Sproul Jr Blunders on Plant Death

Pay particular attention to the description of plant ‘death’ from a Biblical perspective and to Scripture’s definition of what constitutes a ‘living creature’ or in Hebrew nephesh chayyah.

Pay attention also to the way animals ‘died’ as shown in the fossil record. Did they die peacefully and naturally like our example of the family pet, or were there other things evidenced in the fossil record that indicate this was not so?

Keep asking questions, mis hijas. Don’t be afraid to challenge respected leaders who have compromised on Biblical truth.

TheoJello

With love I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

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Jesus Devastates the Old Earth View

Dearest hijas,

In taking a break from the review of Dr. John K. Reed’s book Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geological Timescale may I direct your attention to this article by Bodie Hodge of Answers in Genesis:

Jesus Devastates An Old Earth

Mr. Hodge draws from Jesus’ own statements about marriage from the “beginning” of creation in Mark 10:6 and Matthew 19:4, and not 13 billion years later as an old earth advocate must believe to hold to her old-earth view. There are interesting parallels with other Jesus AGE verses in Mark 13: 19-20 and Luke 11: 50-51 which you might want to consider and ponder. Jesus, as Creator (Col.1:18) (John 1:3) obviously knows when He created the universe and as God is aware of time and age and how old His creation is, so these are powerful verses which indicate that Jesus Himself taught and expected us to believe a relatively recent creation about 6000 years ago.

There’s an interesting account of Hodge’s discussion and dialog with an old-earth advocate at a Christian conference that Hodge was attending. I won’t spoil the story, so read it yourself and enjoy!

With love and blessings,

Dear ol’ Dad

Vaya con Dios mis hijas!

Philosophical Foundations of the Geologic Timescale: Uniformitarianism

Dear hijas,
rocks-arent-clocks
From our last post in reviewing Dr. John Reed’s book “Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geologic Timescale”, we saw that evolution is one of the foundations of the timescale. It is not the only one however. The concept of uniformitarianism that was promoted primarily by Charles Lyell in the 1830’s is also essential to the concept of deep time and the resulting timescale. Uniformitarianism used in its fullest sense means: a philosophy and method that allows science to become the arbiter of history. For Lyell, it was a mix of the methodological principle of uniformity (a principle which all scientists accept) with the gradualistic theory of history. This well-regulated past of imaginary vast eons, paved the way for Darwin and his evolutionary ideas, quite different from Biblical history, and contrary to the concepts of God creating and then overseeing the cosmos.

Reed says that “All three ideas–evolution, uniformitarianism, and deep time–are closely connected. Although many people today reject Lyell’s gradualism and are increasingly skeptical of evolution, the timescale and geologic history remain unscathed. But if all three are intertwined, the selective rejection of evolution and uniformitarianism, with no consequences for the timescale, seems schizophrenic.”

Reed then goes on to talk about James Hutton’s role in the idea of uniformitarianism. James Hutton, you remember, a Scottish natural philosopher and early geologist in the 1700’s, was called by some ‘The man who found time’. Reed says, “Hutton knew Genesis had to be discredited to make way for his deistic view of history. So he went straight for the jugular–there is nothing more basic to orthodox Christianity than ex nihilo creation and the end of the world at the final judgment; for the Bible begins with the famous words, ‘In the beginning’ and then moves immediately outside the ‘system of nature’ in the next words, ‘God created.'”
uniformitarianism
Remember mis hijas, uniformitarianism is not the same as uniformity, but the secularists like to equivocate here and make them say the same thing. They are not the same thing, however, and you shouldn’t confuse the two. ‘Uniformity’ is an essential axiom of science and is the idea that patterns in nature, or more frequently called ‘natural laws’ operate in the same predictable manner over space, time, and for the most part, scale. Because it is a statement about the nature of reality, it is a metaphysical assertion, justified only by Christian theology. ‘Uniformitarianism’, however, assumes that past causes will be natural ones like those observed in the present. This is not a scientific assertion, but a ‘philosophical’ one. Do you see the difference?

I pray that you do see the difference and that you will be able to share that difference with your friends and colleagues. Uniformity is at the heart of science, uniformitarianism is not.

With Love,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

The Philosophy Underlying Secular GeoHistory’s Timescale

Dear hijas,
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and I still hope you’re reading when you have time. I want to pick up in Chapter 4 of Dr. John K. Reed’s book “Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geological Timescale.”
rocks-arent-clocks

What I think we must understand in all this is that we are talking about two opposing worldviews: the Christian worldview versus the secularist worldview (naturalism). God sees men and women in either one of two camps: 1) in Adam, or 2) in Christ. We are either in Adam, unregenerate and dead in our sin and trespass, or under grace in Christ and regenerate to a new life in Him. The Christian worships and serves the Creator, the non-Christian worships and serves herself as the creature (Rom. 1:25). Those are the only two options, and you can’t be half in one and half in the other. It’s an either/or proposition.

When it comes then, to secular geohistory and its billion and millions of year timescale, we must seek to understand from a philosophical viewpoint what the foundations are upon which this timescale was built. If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll remember that I’ve said that things started to change in this regard in the late 18th century with the Age of Enlightenment. The late 1700’s and early 1800’s are considered to be the start of this new field of geology and the development of its timescale. To our point then, Reed says,

…the timescale possesses a burden of bias stemming from hidden philosophical foundations…stratigraphers use science as a fa├žade to mask philosophical commitments of the naturalistic worldview.

We must remember that naturalism presents itself, to those who can see through its scientific facade, as a religion. As a religion, there are philosophical underpinnings. So, what are the underpinnings or foundations of naturalism’s geologic timescale? Reed says “there at least three ideas closely tied to naturalism that form the foundation of the timescale”:

1) Evolution
2) Uniformitarianism
3) Deep Time

So, let’s take the first one in our list above: evolution. How is evolution an underpinning of the timescale? Reed explains,

The timescale is all about the sequential ordering of a chronology of the past. Arranging any group of objects in a specific order requires a key. This key must contain something in common with all the pieces to be able to unite them into a common group…What is the ‘key’ that allows sequential ordering of different rock layers? It’s not the kind of rock because most rock types are present in most eras. Limestone can be Proterzoic or Paleozoic. Its not the thickness of the formation or the thickness of the beds that make up the formation. In fact, it’s not any physical property. Instead, it is their age–an intangible span of time. What then is the key to assigning discrete time spans to particular formations? Consult any stratigraphic text, and you will see that it is evolution.

geologic timescale 1
It is the changes in fossils, from a progression of simple to complex inherent in evolution, that date strata. “In other words”, Reed says, “the key that allows geologists to assign one layer to one age and another layer to another age is the evolutionary stage of their respective fossil contents…Evolution is the clock by which the rocks are calibrated and arranged in the timescale”.

Reed concludes,

Thus, evolution is crucial to the timescale. How we understand the nature of evolution then affects how we see the timescale… Evolution and the timescale are thus linked by their mutual symbiotic dependence on naturalism. Evolution needs enough time for gradual transformative progress on the biological side, and the timescale is the key to its chronology. That symbiosis is cemented by a mutual antipathy to biblical history. A past without God must explain existence and diversity of life in both present and past. Evolution claims to do so, within the deep time provided by geologic history.

We’ll look at the other foundations in my next post.

With love I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Are Rocks Clocks? Support for millions and billions of years? Installment V

Dear hijas,

To get to the heart of where the idea of millions and billions came from and how secular elites “found” time, we must continue in our discussions of what transpired during the Enlightenment. It was during the 1700’s and early to mid 1800’s that our world in terms of Earth science and Natural History was shaped, molded, and transformed by the views of these early naturalists. Western culture began to drift away from its Christian roots. The science of geology was beginning in earnest, but it was only part of this cultural trend; the triumph of secular philosophy over theology was seen as well.

These years were coined “the Enlightenment”, as a result of secular man and especially the savants and naturalists in Europe, thinking they were “breaking free” of the bonds of religion that had bound them in intellectual prison for so long. They were now “enlightened thinkers”, not beholden to the restraints of some old book like the Bible, and free to discover the natural world without thought or care of its Creator. They had already rejected Biblical history, so it was no stretch to begin to “see” in the rocks and other processes of earth the vast eons of time that supposedly preceded man, and as I have mentioned previously this was well before the development of the geological timescale.

To refresh: deep time rests on the geologic timescale. The timescale rests on a belief that cannot be tested by science. In other words, the timescale is not a ‘proof’ of deep time; but rather an icon of secular history. And as an alternative secular history is in direct conflict with a Biblical history, it is important to understand and see its implications.

Dr. John Reed says it this way:

Despite secular propaganda, the most important issues tied to the myth of deep time are not questions of science. On the surface, they are questions of history. When we begin to dig deeper, we find the basic questions are those of philosophy and theology. As such, they are the legitimate concern of every human being, and are the basis for understanding the truth about history.

You see, all people are philosophers whether they realize it or not. We all ask the same big questions about the meaning of life, our origin, our standards, and our happiness. We want to know such things as what the future holds, and what happens after we die. We’re finite beings, so we don’t and can’t know everything, but we all ask the same big questions. And history is a big question. So realistically, being finite, we can’t and don’t know every detail, but we do need to understand the framework. Is that framework a secular history with millions and billions of years, life from non-life kicked up out of the pond scum by an indifferent and uncaring universe, or is it the framework of a Biblical history with God as Creator and man as created in His image with purpose and love?

The secular history developed during the Enlightenment, with its geological timescale and its millions and billions of years of vast prehistory, effectively decoupled us from God. A creator 4.5 billion years away has little to do with present-day life.

As Dr. Reed further states:

Did that prehistory really exist? Those that think so point to the geologic timescale; those who do not, point to Genesis. One is upheld by a claim to be God’s eyewitness account. The other is supported by the idea that rocks are clocks. Which side has the better case?

As always, I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Are Rocks Clocks? Secular Geological History and Deep Time: Installment Three

Dear hijas,

What are the consequences of secular geologic history as seen in the geologic timescale and deep time? ‘The key’, Reed says (Rocks Aren’t Clocks; A Critique of the Geologic Timescale), ‘is in the effect geologic history has had on popular perceptions of the Bible.’ ‘Several centuries ago’, he continues, ‘even those who were not Christians saw the Bible as generally true and reliable in its history.’ This is sadly, no longer true. ‘The Bible has been discarded, and its history replaced by the strata’ (of the geologic column), ‘which many see as the pages of nature’s history book.’

There are two competing worldviews here, aren’t there? On one hand is the traditional Judeo-Christian worldview, with a 6×24 recent and mature creation of all that exists and man as an immortal being created in God’s image. On the other is deep time, life from non-life, a God who is either absent or, at best, makes cameo appearances, and man as simply the current stage of evolution. ‘The two histories are different in content, in method, and in meaning.’

‘This cultural chasm,’ Reed says, ‘cannot be underestimated.’ You see, mis hijas, most churches are content to exist with a form of intellectual schizophrenia; teaching biblical history back to Abraham and treating everything before him as myth or poetry. This is not only concerning, but downright falsity and heterodoxy.

‘We should look at the results of each view,’ Reed continues. ‘We often hear of people complaining about Christianity, but where would we be without it? It takes little examination of the alternatives to realize what a boon for mankind this Christianity has been. Christianity provided the basis for the rule of law, objective standards of right and wrong, science and technical advancement, education, a unique way of appreciating others as image-bearers of God, strong families to protect the individual from political tyranny, and a heritage of freedom and liberty.’

‘Secularism, on the other hand,’ Reed says, ‘encourages the human tendency to tyranny, oppression, conquest, war, and mass murder. One only need think of France in 1790, Russia in 1920, or China in 1960. Even where overt totalitarianism is opposed, there is still a creeping tyranny of bureaucracy and regulation. At best, secularism provides only for people’s material needs, leaving them spiritually impoverished.’ ‘Secularism simply cannot supply meaning to life in the way that Christianity has for two thousand years.’

When we understand that evolution did not appear in a vacuum, but that Darwin needed an historical setting for his biological tale, and understand that this prehistory is the geologic timescale (i.e., the rocks are keepers of the time), then we will finally see the nature of this problem as it truly is. Reed concludes this section by saying, ‘If secular prehistory describes the past, then Genesis is not true. If so, it cannot be considered God’s Word. If so, how can the rest of the Bible be trusted? That is why our culture is now thoroughly secular and why many Christians simply live with this uncomfortable inconsistency. But we cannot manage such a fundamental contradiction for very long. Therefore, we must face it. And the first step is to understand how we got here'(to this point in the first place).

As always, I remain,

Dear ol’ Dad

Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Are Rocks Clocks? Support for Millions and Billions of Years? Installment Two

Dear hijas,

To continue in my review of geologist John K. Reed’s new book “Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geologic Timescale” (Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, GA, 2013).

One of Dr. Reed’s key points is that the geologic timescale has played a key evangelistic role for the worldview of naturalism, the worldview antithetical to Biblical Christianity. He defines naturalism as ‘the secular worldview opposing Christianity in favor of materialism (matter is all there is), and its logical derivatives: evolution, uniformitarian geology, and deep time.”

The contrast is between Biblical history and secular history. This secular history is believed to be contained in the history of the rocks–the geologic timescale. This geologic history can be distinguished from Biblical history by the use of the term “prehistory”. For secularists, prehistory represents almost the entire past of the planet–billions of years that predate human civilization, Reed says, and the template of prehistory is the geologic timescale.

He defines the geologic timescale (you’ve seen the pictures in my previous posts and studied them in your geology classes), as a linear chronology following a number of distinct ages, through four grand eons–the Hadean, Archean, Proterozoic, and Phanerozoic. The Phanerozoic, which is the most well-known, contains the eras of Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic. Take a look at any old geology text you may have, and you’ll see these headings clearly delineated.

So, prehistory = the geologic timescale = deep time = old earth. These terms are all somewhat synonymous, and are inextricably linked. In another article (Journal of Creation, Vol27(3) 2013), Reed and Doyle say, “Since the late 18th century, many Christian academics and theologians have embraced an old earth, claiming that it is compatible with Christianity. Even conservative Christians have been swept along. They think deep time and Christianity are like Romeo and Juliet–lovers fated to be together. The process has become predictable; scientists advance the latest iteration of the old-earth paradigm using ‘scientific evidence’ and theologians follow meekly, generating new interpretations of Genesis to accommodate it.”

What’s wrong with the word “prehistory”, you might ask? Well, it embraces the secular worldview, doesn’t it. It’s an icon of naturalism. It’s a confirmation that Biblical history is false. Christians shouldn’t use it, especially as the secularists define it. Think about what it implies, and contrast it to the Biblical worldview of a recent and mature 6×24 Creation. The two are not compatible.

Reed continues in ‘Rocks Aren’t Clocks’ that ‘one of the first issues to address is to decide which branches of knowledge are legitimate sources of truth about the past.’ He argues that ‘natural history does not belong to any one discipline, but is a mixture of science, history, philosophy, and religion. Science provides a forensic analysis, history provides a meta-narrative, and worldviews provide the necessary context for meta-theories such as creation or evolution. In other words, as we try to understand the past, we cannot avoid issues outside science.’

So then, what are the consequences of this secular view of history, this prehistory and geologic timescale, the one of which is the template for the other? ‘Whether there was a vast prehistory in Earth’s past is a question well worth asking because the answer has significant consequences’, Reed says.

Stay tuned, for we’ll pick up our discussion of the consequences of secular geologic history in my next post.

With love, I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Radiometric Dating: Support for Evolution?

rd

Dear hijas,

I’m going to do a series on radiometric dating, the supposed lynch pin of all old earth theories. What the assumptions are, how the ages are extrapolated into millions and billions of years, and what current research is finding out about this supposed icon of old earth evolution.

We’ll need to get down into the nitty gritty, so hold on to your hats, and be prepared to think back to your chemistry classes in days of yore. Atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, alpha and beta decay will need to be covered, as well as the elements uranium, lead, potassium, argon, rubidium, strontium, samarium and neodymium.

We’ll talk about the different types of rock: igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary, but don’t despair, it’ll be fun and exciting. We’ll need a handle on the geologic column and it’s eras, periods, and epochs as well.

Stay tuned,

Dear ol’ Dad

Vaya con Dios mis hijas