Tag Archives: the Enlightenment

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.”

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 façade 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

Secular GeoHistory’s Hidden Fallacies: Part 1

Dear hijas,

“If Christians are to understand Earth history, we must first understand how it was taken by secular thinkers.” So says John K. Reed in Chapter 3 of “Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geologic Timescale”, Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, GA 2013.
Dr. Reed details the hidden fallacies underlying the secular view of Earth history, and he says there are four of them. They originate within a naturalistic and secularistic worldview, but Christians have fallen prey to believing them as well:

1) An ignoring of the worldview conflict between Christianity and Naturalism.
2) An assumption of the reality of ‘prehistory’ and its pre-human billions and millions of years.
3) An assumption that natural history is science, and not history.
4) Seeing more ‘history’ in the rocks than is really there.

Let’s take them one at a time. Within Western culture there are two broad worldviews squaring off against each other: Naturalism and Christianity. Naturalism came out of the Enlightenment (generally mid 17th century to late 18th century) and is the worldview of the secularist. “It is built on the assumption that if there is a god, he is too remote from human affairs to be known or to have had any physical effect in the world. Truth comes not from revelation, but from man’s knowledge, and the zenith of human knowledge is science,” says Reed. “Naturalism began as a minority view, but one strongly held by Enlightenment intellectuals. Its proponents offered conciliatory lip service to ‘religion’, took advantage of Christian tolerance, and talked up compromise at every turn,” he continues. It was the so-called “Age of Reason”, and as it grew in strength it influenced (sadly) the Church. Yet the winds of change are blowing, and Christians are waking up to the masquerade. They are beginning to realize that the science that gave us millions and billions of years of pre-human Earth history was a façade for a philosophical worldview, according to Reed. You see, mis hijas, more of us need to wake up and understand the worldview conflict here. Naturalism’s strength has always been hiding behind ‘science’, and it’s time we understood the philosophical assumptions behind the science.

Fallacy #2 is the assumption of the reality of “prehistory”. That prehistory is long before humans, and involves billions and millions of years of earth development along with its ensuing biological development way before humans ever showed up on the scene.
Geologic timeline
But is this prehistory really true? Not according to the Scriptures it isn’t. But that’s the point, Reed says. The Enlightenment invention of prehistory was an attempt to make Genesis irrelevant. It was an end run around the Biblical narratives of Adam and Eve and the creation of the universe and everything in it in six days, and an “insertion” of this long prehistory before Adam and Eve and a ‘wink, wink’ that the six days weren’t really six days. The stratagem worked. Theologians of the day compromised and became part of the “smart” crowd and we are where we are today: theologians still compromising, conjuring up new ways to interpret Genesis 1 to accommodate the billions and millions of years of prehistory.

“Christians cannot continue to waffle,” Reed says. He continues,

“There is either one unified history, taught by the Bible, or there are two distinct histories: human history and prehistory. Prehistory is not a given. Either it existed or it did not.”

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

Are Rocks Clocks: Support for Millions and Billions of Years? Installement IV

Dear hijas,

Many professing Christians today, erroneously take a view of the early chapters of Genesis as untrue history. They mistakenly view these early chapters as akin to believing in a fairy tale. Not realizing that Christ and His apostles affirmed the true account of creation and human history in a 6×24 manner, they choose instead to embrace the secular history beloved by atheists and God-haters. This to an undermining of the gospel and to their shame.

Forgetting Christ’s warning to beware of following the crowd (Matt.7:13), they choose instead to sacrifice the Word of God on the altar of man’s ‘scientific knowledge’. Their justification for holding this demonstrably anti-biblical view is that science has supposedly shown the millions and billions of years of secular history to be true as played out in the rocks. Now granted, many of them just don’t know any better, haven’t studied the Scriptures in depth, or haven’t understood and studied the relationships between and upon which the Church and Christendom have stood for millennia. They haven’t understood the philosophical assumptions of the secularists, nor have they investigated the contrary evidence.

You see, the great doctrines of Scripture all tie in together. The doctrine of Creation ties in to the doctrine of Christ and His work. Our doctrine of sin ties back to our doctrine of Adam as an historical man in an historical setting as described in Genesis. There’s a consistency and coherence where if you remove or change one doctrine, the others start to unravel. So how did we get to where we are today?

As Dr. John K. Reed in Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geologic Timescale explains ‘Western history emphasizes chronology. It’s the way we think about the past…If our chronology is wrong, then history is little more than mythology.’ ‘Why is chronology so important, he asks? Reed says that our history in the West is the result of our Christian roots and are truths of God’s works in the past as important reminders of His power and glory. ‘In short’, he says, the Bible presents a view of time–important, intelligible, and linear–that is crucial to a view of history as a vital and comprehensive part of reality.’ So if Biblical chronology and the account of a 6×24 Creation and its timeline of history was believed for the most part by a majority of the Church up until the last few centuries, what changed?

The change, Reed says, was how geologic history came to play an important role in Western culture and our view of history. The change in how we viewed the rocks of the earth’s crust as a result of philosophical and intellectual trends during the Enlightenment in the 18th and 19th centuries is where we must go to see what happened.

He continues,

Historians have shown that science was the child of Christianity, not Enlightenment secularism. In fact, science grew out of the medieval Scholastic tradition…Geologic history, with its millions and billions of years, is closely linked to Englightenment secularism…For many years, secularism hid behind a façade of science. An overly-optimistic assessment of science’s ability to determine truth deflected questions about the underlying worldview. But times have changed. It has become clear that secular faith (emphasis mine) was part of the equation all along. That is a reason to take a long, hard look at how geologic history came to play such a powerful role in society.

Did you catch that? There is a ‘faith’ element involved here. There’s also a ‘worldview’ element involved. Worldviews require philosophical assumptions. Philosophical assumptions are based on one’s metaphysic (theory of being and existence), one’s epistemology (method of knowing), one’s ethics and morality. Now we’re getting somewhere mis hijas. If only our professing Christian friends described above could see and understand this. Secular geologic history with its millions and billions of years originated during the Enlightenment as a ‘faith’ project. It wasn’t science, it was a worldview, and an anti-God and anti-Biblical worldview at that.

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