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The Genesis Flood Question, Part 2 – What About the Geologic Column?

By James C. Rakestraw, PE, CFM

Introduction:

In Part 1 of this series we examined the pre-plate tectonic view of uniformitarian geology. In this post, we will look at what is termed the geologic column. The geologic column is an important to geologists and any geologic study of an area will list the geologic column for that area.  A geologic column starts with oldest observed rocks in a study area and goes upward to the most recent.  The best-known geologic column is that of the Grand Canyon.

The Journey of a Skeptic, Step 2, Gilman, Colorado and the Eagle Mine:

Gilman was a company town that was constructed by the New Jersey Zinc Co., the owner of the Eagle Mine.  The town is a situated on a cliff about 600 feet above the Eagle River. Interest in Gilman continues; it is the subject of ghost town Facebook pages and YouTube videos. Wikipedia has an article on Gilman which gives a good overview of the place.

My job at the Eagle Mine was to go underground and record the geology that was exposed as mining was taking place.  Then I updated the mine maps at the mine office.  The mine was a consolidation of earlier mines by the New Jersey Zinc Co.  It was a fabulous property that produced over 250 million dollars’ worth of, copper, silver, gold, and lead over its productive life which ended in 1984.

Gilman, Colorado (elevation 8,900): The Eagel Mine is located in the left center of bpyond the last line of buildings).

Before going further, I need to emphasize two very important things:

  1. Gilman is posted:  NO TRESPASSING!
  2. Never enter a mine unless it is a tourist attraction: KEEP OUT – STAY ALIVE!

The geology of the Eagle Mine was simple but fascinating.  It is fully described in a chapter in the book “Ore Deposits of the United States, 1933-1967” (published by the American Association of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers in1968).  The geologic column at Gilman is exposed in a deep canyon of the Eagle River.  At the base column (elevation about 8900) is Precambrian basement rock, which consists of schist (a metamorphic rock).  The schist was intruded by granite (an igneous rock).  The basement rock was overlain by 200 approximately feet of the Cambrian Sawatch Quartzite.  The basement rocks and the Sawatch Quartzite are separated by the Great Unconformity.  Above the Sawatch Quartzite are layers of shale, sandstone, limestone, and dolomite.  The most significant sedimentary layer is the Leadville Limestone which is the host rock for most of the ore deposits.  Above the Leadville Limestone was the Belden Shale and the Gilman Sill.  Above the Gilman Sill are great thickness of later sedimentary rocks.  All the rock layers of the geologic column dip to the east at an angle of about 10 degrees. 

The Geologic Column at Gilman, Colorado

The Great Unconformity is observed only in a few places in the world; the most notable is at the Grand Canyon in Arizona.  At Gilman, it is possible to walk up to the Great Unconformaity and place your right hand on the Precambrian basement rocks (3.0 billion years old) and your left hand on the Sawach Quartzite (0.5 billion years old).  There is nothing between these totally different rocks that differ in age by 2.5 million years. 

Although the Great Unconformity may be viewed in only a few places.  It is listed frequently in mining geology literature – mining geologists are able to see what is underground as well as what is on the surface.  In mining literature, the most commonly listed rock above the Great Unconformity is quartzite, a metamorphic rock with the chemical composition as sandstone (SiO2).  The difference between sandstone and quartzite is that sandstone breaks around quartz grains while quartzite breaks across them.

The geologic column at Gilman contains layers of sedimentary rocks of different geologic periods all separated by “flat gaps.”  The term “flat gap” is used describe how two different types of rock rest on top of each other with no erosion surface between them.  At Gilman, the first flat gap is between the Precambrian basement rocks and the overlying Cambrian Sawatch Quartzite.  There are flat gaps between layers of sandstone, limestone, dolomite and shale all the way up to the rocks of the Pennsylvania period at the top of the geologic column.  In contrast to the “flat gaps” the Eagle River carved a canyon about 2,000 feet deep from rocks of the Pennsylvania Period into the Precambrian basement rocks.  

The ore deposits of Gilman are found in four situations:

  1. Fissure veins are found in the basement rocks.  These veins end at the Great Unconformity.  The oxidized portions of the veins produced high-grade gold and silver; several small mines recorded some production.
  2. A zone of high-grade gold ore was found in the Rocky Point horizon of the Sawatch Quartzite.  Several small mines recorded some production.
The Author in the Rock Point Horizon of the Sawach Quartzite.
  1. “Chimney deposits”, of which there are several, extend from above the Precambrian to the Belden Shale, which overlays the Leadville Limestone.  The mineralization of the center of chimney deposits consisted on pyrite (FeS2), chalcopyrite (FeCuS2), silver, and gold. Sphalerite (ZnS) is found at the edges of the chimneys.  The chimneys may have ascended higher in the geologic column, but the Belden Shale blocked the rising mineralized solutions.  As a result, the mineral deposits spread out laterally under the Belden Shale to form “Manto” deposits.”
  2. Manto deposits were found at the upper portions of the Leadville Limestone and under the Belden Shale.  They extend laterally from the chimney deposits. Nearest the chimneys the manto deposits consisted sphalerite, and further from the chimneys galena (PbS). 

The mineralogy of the Gilman ore deposit displays a zonal pattern based on temperature.  Zonal patterns of ore depositions are developed to one degree or another in several mining districts – most notably Butte, Montana.  The central (highest temperature) portion of the Butte ore deposit contained molybdenum rich mineralization surrounded by rings that were rich in copper, then zinc, lead, then silver, and finally, manganese.

I was thankful for my firsthand encounter with the Great Unconformity and a geologic column that extended from the Precambrian into the Pennsylvanian eras.   However, I started to formulate questions:

  • Why was there are Great Unconformity? How can uniform processes create a single Great Unconformity?
  • Why is there a “flat gap” representing 2.5 billion years between the Precambrian basement rocks and the Cambrian Sawatch Quartzite?  Wouldn’t over two billion years of rainfall produce some topography?
  • Why are gaps between sedimentary rocks of different geologic periods flat?
  • How could the Eagle River, a relatively small stream with a relatively small drainage area produce such a wide and deep canyon at Gilman? 

My time in Gilman was cut short by my “Call of Duty” to the US Army Engineer School at Fort Belvior, Virginia.  I looked forward to returning to Gilman, after my time in the Army, but God had other plans. 

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The Genesis Flood Question, Part 1 – Is There Evidence for a World-Wide Flood?

By James C. Rakestraw, PE, CFM

Introduction:

The purpose of this series is to explore what is termed “Flood Geology” in the creation discussion.  Critics of the literal view of creation often claim that “There is no evidence for a world-wide flood.” Interestingly, those who make this claim never define what they would consider to be evidence for a worldwide flood.

This series is highly personal.  I have seen a lot of geology over the years and my degree is in geological engineering.  My professional registration is in civil engineering.  My work is focused on hydrology and hydraulics.

Definitions: A good discussions starts with definitions; here are two:

Flood Geology:  This is the position that most of the geologic and physiographic features of the earth were the result of a single global flood.  For Christians, this flood event would be the Flood described in Genesis 6-9.  (In this series, the word “Flood” will refer to the global flood described in Genesis 6-9).

Uniformitarian Geology:  This is the position that most of the geologic and physiographic features of the earth were the result of a multiple near global floods and interspaced with periods of mountain building.  Uniformitarian geology is the position of the scientific consensus.  Uniformitarian geology could well be described as “floods (plural) geology”

The Journey of a Skeptic, Step 1, From Montana to Michigan:

My dad was a college history professor and my mom was a homemaker.  I was blessed by having a good exposure to geology through places that we lived and traveled.  When we lived in northern Montana, my parents took the family on trips to explore the bad lands where dinosaur bones could be found.  Travels from Montana to the Pacific North West took us though the Rocky Mountains, the Silver Valley of Idaho and the Channeled Scablands of eastern Washington.  On the west coast we were able travel to Mt. Hood and other volcanic peaks of the Cascade Range.  When I was older, the family moved to Houghton, Michigan.  While there, I was able to see operating copper and iron mines of Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

 I developed an interest in geology and mining.  This interest led me to obtain a B.S. degree in geological engineering from Michigan Technological University.  I enjoyed my course in historical geology where we learned about the various geologic periods and the new species of life that evolved during each geologic period.  My textbook “Historical Geology” (Copyright 1954 by Ginn and Company) was published before plate tectonics became accepted. According to my textbook, there were mountain ranges (“Appalachia / Arcadia, Cascadia, and Llanoria”) just off the east coast, west coast and gulf coast of North America.  When these ranges were raised up, they eroded and produced sediments that were deposited in inland seas within the interior of North America. As the offshore mountain ranges wore down, the interior of the North America raised up and sediment flowed to the ocean.  Then new mountain ranges were formed off the coast and the cycle repeated itself.  My textbook had illustrations of the North American continent and adjacent areas during various geologic periods.  All the illustrations had common features – the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the North American continent.  In various geologic periods, portions of the North American continent were flooded to one degree or another.  Multiple near global floods were a major consideration in the pre-plate tectonic geology of the scientific consensus!

The Ordovician Period from my Historical Geology text. Note the existing oceans and wide spread flooding of the interior of the North American continent.

By the time I graduated, I was well grounded in evolution and uniformitarian geology.  I was also convinced from my historical geology text that the North American Continent was subject to flooding in at least 10 different geologic periods (Cambrian, Silurian, Ordovician, Devonian, Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, Permian, Jurassic, Triassic, Cretaceous).  These geologic periods of flooding produced the layers sedimentary rock that we see today.  Evolution and long geologic periods were not a problem for me.  I attended a “mainline” church, but I was not yet a Christian. 

However, I started to formulate questions:

  • How could mountain ranges off the coasts of North America could rise and lower themselves for 10 cycles?
  • Where are the mountain ranges off the coasts of North America today?
  • What was the source for the sedimentary rocks that are found on other continents?

With my degree in hand, I was ready for the next my next step in my journey – Gilman, Colorado where I worked as a junior geologist at the New Jersey Zinc Co.’s Eagle Mine! 

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Young Earth Creation (YEC) / Old Earth Creation (OEC) – What are the Differences? – Summary of the Series

Introduction

This series has covered eight significant differences between YEC and OEC beliefs:

  1. The YEC and OEC views of Bible interpretation
  2. The YEC and OEC views of revelation
  3. The YEC and OEC views of evidence
  4. The YEC and OEC views and church history
  5. The YEC and OEC views of science
  6. The YEC and OEC views of the world
  7. The YEC and OEC views of Adam
  8. The YEC and OEC views of Ancient Near East (ANE) texts.

These eight differences are interrelated.  Perhaps the best way to tie them together is through Church history.  The Westminster Confession of Faith, Article 25, states that “The purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error…” This is certainly the Biblical record of the church in both the Old Testament and early New Testament times.  It is also the historical record of the church since the end of the apostolic age. 

Error recorded in both the Old Testament and New Testament was introduced when the believers started to mix Scripture with worldly ideas.  In Old Testament church worldliness was represented by idol worship.  In the early New Testament church, worldliness was represented by Greek and Roman philosophy. 

By the 1800’s science became the dominant world view in the west.  The root of Old Earth Creationism (OEC) is a desire of some Christians to accommodate Scripture to the scientific consensus.

Understanding Science and the Scientific Consensus

The OEC community appears to have never understood the difference between science and the scientific consensus.  The scientific consensus is based on a presupposition of naturalism – there is no need for a god and certainly no need for the God of the Bible. No Christian view the of science, including theistic evolution (Evolutionary Creation) will ever be acceptable to the scientific consensus.  However, the scientific consensus is not science; it is simply the current majority opinion of the scientific community and is subject to change. 

The scientific community is much larger than the scientific consensus.   It is composed of qualified scientists who have a wide range of religious views as well as a wide range of professional views. The ways of God are far greater than either the scientific consensus or the scientific community (see the illustration in Difference #5, Science, of this series).

Public disagreement with the scientific consensus was rare until relatively recently. The best challenges are made by qualified scientists from the scientific community.  In contrast to the OEC community, the YEC community is unafraid to challenge the scientific consensus. 

OEC Bible Reinterpretations to Fit the Scientific Consensus

Since the 1830’s the OEC community has sought to be acceptable to the scientific consensus.  The quest for acceptance has led the church through a whole series of different ways to reinterpret the plain reading of the creation account. All OEC Bible interpretation is based on a new understanding of the relationship between general revelation and special revelation. The reformed understanding of revelation was replaced by a new presupposition: “natural revelation (the position of the scientific consensus) is truth” and “God’s word is truth.”  Therefore, God’s word can never conflict with the scientific consensus.  This is the guiding presupposition of all the OEC views of Scripture.

Application of this new guiding presupposition began with the Day-Age and Ruin-Restoration interpretations in the 1830’s.  These views accommodated long ages but not evolution.  They are now fading into obscurity.

Later OEC efforts to reinterpret the Bible to fit the scientific consensus resulted in the Analogical Day (1890’s) and Framework (1920’s) views.  These views could accommodate evolution.  However, both views are highly complex and difficult to understand for most Christians. The Framework view flourished from the late 1950’s until early in the new century.  The Framework view is still referred to, however, the OEC community appears to have moved on.  The Analogical Day view is not well known or widely held. 

The most recent addition to OEC Bible reinterpretation tools has been a new hermeneutic based Ancient Near East (ANE) texts; this hermeneutic is termed (ANEH). The popularity of ANEH is due to its simplicity, flexibility and power.  Any conflict between the Bible and science can be easily dismissed.  This is the exemplified by the new OEC position on the historicity of Adam. 

The Road to Recovery

Below are first steps that the Christian Church do on the road from recovery from the devastation of OEC views of science and Bible reinterpretation:

  • Recognize that there will always be a conflict between the scientific consensus and Christianity.  There can be no agreement between a God being the first cause and naturalism being the first cause.
  • Recognize that even theistic evolution (Evolutionary Creation) will never be considered scientific by the scientific consensus.
  • Recognize that the scientific community is much larger than the scientific consensus.
  • Recognize that the scientific consensus can change but it changes slowly.  Therefore, be patient and wait in faith for answers.
  • Recognize that God operates far beyond the realm of science and human reasoning.  God is under no obligation to make His thoughts and ways understandable to humankind.  His ways cannot be limited by science or human reason.
  • Reestablish the proper understanding of general revelation and special revelation.
  • Become conversant in science. Understand the positions of the scientific consensus and the positions of the scientific community.

Summary

The current creation discussion has been going on now for nearly 200 years. In this time frame the positions of the participants has become clearly established. 

On the Old Earth Creation (OEC) position is that the Bible must be constantly reinterpreted to accommodate the scientific consensus. Most in the OEC community now supports theistic evolution.

In contrast, the Young Earth Creation (YEC) position is that of the historic church and particularly that of the reformation.  This position is unchanging.  Science is appreciated and efforts are made to answer questions posed by the world.  The YEC community understands that the scientific community is simply the majority opinion of the scientific community and is not necessarily truth.

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Young Earth Creation (YEC) / Old Earth Creation (OEC) – What are the Differences? Element 8. Ancient Near East (ANE) Texts

Introduction

An emphasis of Ancient Near East (ANE) texts is a recent addition to the creation discussion. This emphasis comes primarily from the OEC community and particularly from the theistic evolution (Evolutionary Creation) community.  Examples of ANE texts include the Babylonian flood story. 

Evangelicals are interested in outside sources of history.  For example, the works of Roman historian Josephus are of interest to Christians.  Tablets form the Babylonian archives list events around the fall of Jerusalem. The traditional view of ANE texts is that these are the writings of other nations that do not know the Lord. 

The OEC community has recently placed a heavy emphasis on the study and interpretation ANE texts.  OEC advocates have used ANE texts to undermine plain reading of Scripture.   References to ANE texts appear in the PCA Report (2002).    “… the proponents of the newer non-Calendar Day views of the creation days (Kline, Futato, Irons, Collins and others) believe that they have significant hermeneutical insights into Genesis 1 that have not been sufficiently addressed by those who hold to a Calendar Day view…”     (excerpted from the PCA Report, II., Background to the Current Discussion of Creation Days).

The YEC view of Ancient Near East Texts

The traditional view of the church concerning ANE texts is that non-Biblical records are not scripture and not inspired by God.  ANE texts are the records of nations who do not know God. 

For example, many nations have a flood narrative.  These narratives were based on real events of the Bible which were later corrupted by these nations.  Other flood narratives include some common elements of the Biblical flood narrative to one degree or another.  These common elements include:

  • God’s anger at sin
  • A flood
  • A boat
  • Destruction of most people and animals
  • God’s mercy on a few

The OEC view of Ancient Near East Texts

Hermeneutics is defined the science and methodology of interpretation, especially Bible interpretation.  The OEC community has developed a new system of hermeneutics based on ANE texts.  This new ANE text-based system of hermeneutics has been abbreviated ANEH.

The ANEH system is somewhat amorphous and represents the work of a number of authors.  The study of ANEH would be complex.  However, the conclusions of ANEH can be simply stated:

  • The Bible is just another ANE text and the human authors were limited by their culture and understanding.  For example, the Apostle Paul “thought” that Adam was a real person even though he was not. 
  • ANE texts are not historically accurate. Therefore, the Bible is not historically accurate.
  • Jesus’ humanity restricted His ability to communicate accurately concerning creation.
  • The Bible was written “for us but not to us.”  Therefore, Christians are not able understand the real meaning of the creation account.
  • Only ANE scholars of the OEC community can correctly understand and teach the Bible. 
  • The special revelation must always agree with the “natural revelation” of the scientific consensus. 
  • The Bible is a mixture of inerrant truth, “stories” that are full of errors, and statements by human authors that are full of errors.
  • The Bible should not be understood in terms of plain meaning.

Many books generated by the OEC creation community use elements of ANEH.  “The Lost World Series” series authored by John H. Walton is probably is the most obvious example of ANEH. 

A good example of an ANEH based interpretation of the Bible is found in the writing of Denis Lamoureux in an article “Was Adam a Real Person?” (1) In the article, Lamoureux introduces the “Message – Incident Principal.”  The basic idea is that Scripture has a double meaning consisting of the “Message” and the “Incident”.  The “message” – considered inerrant truth is the that humankind has sinned.  The “incident“ is the “Story” of creation and the fall.  See the following illustration:

The trust of ANEH is an effort to turn “objectionable” portions of the Bible into “stories” intended for ancient peoples.  At the same time, ANEH attempts to find inerrant truths within these “stories.”  Obvious targets ANEH are the creation narrative, the historicity of Adam, and the flood narrative.  However, ANEH can be used to attack any Bible teaching.

Westminster Confession of Faith statements on Scripture contested with ANEH

The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 1, “Of the Holy Scripture” is based on traditional reformed hermeneutics which include God’s sovereignty, the work of the Holy Spirit the perspicuity of scripture, and a plain reading of scripture.    Below are some major points from the headings listed under Chapter 1.  These are contrasted with an ANEH view of Scripture:

  1.  Per the WCF, general revelation makes humankind know that there is a God.  However, general revelation does not lead people to salvation.  God’s special revelation, His written word, tells people how to be saved.  – In contrast, the ANEH view considers “natural revelation” (the scientific consensus) to be equally important to special revelation.  Therefore, the Bible, must always agree with the “truth” of the scientific consensus.
  2. Per the WCF, Scripture is God’s written word to us and for us.  It is given by the inspiration of the God. Scripture is God breathed and the words of Scripture are the exact words that God intended to use. The Bible is to be humankind’s rule for faith and life.  – In contrast, the ANEH view considers the human authors of Scripture to be limited in their knowledge.  As a result, the Bible demonstrates a limited understanding of reality.
  3. Per the WCF, the Apocrypha has no authority in the church of God.  – In contrast, the ANEH view of scripture ANE texts are required to find the “true” message of the Bible.
  4. Per the WCF, the authority of scripture is not dependent on humankind or the church, but upon God. –  In contrast, the ANEH view of view of the authority of Scripture must be determined by OEC academics.
  5. Per the WCF, the character of scripture is evidence of God’s authorship.  The Holy Spirit works in human hearts to persuade us that whole counsel of God is expressed in Scripture.  –  In contrast, in the ANEH view of persuasion comes from OEC academics. 
  6. Per the WCF, the entire counsel of God is contained in Scripture or may be deduced from Scripture.  Nothing is to be added to Scripture.  –  In contrast, with ANEH view of Scripture, important doctrines are only now being understood – by OEC academics.
  7. Per the WCF all things of Scripture are not equally clear.  However, both learned and unlearned have, by ordinary means, sufficient understanding of Scripture.  – In contrast, the ANEH view of scripture nothing is clear.
  8. Per the WCF, translation from the original languages of Scripture into the common language of the nations has allows many come to faith. – In contrast, in the ANEH view of Scripture only the OEC knows the “intended meaning “of scripture.
  9. Per the WCF, the interpretation of Scripture is worked through by comparing Scripture with Scripture. – In contrast, the ANEH compares Scripture with ANE texts.
  10. Per the WCF, God is the supreme judge of all things.  The Holy Spirit speaks through Scripture.  – In contrast, the ANEH considers OEC academics to be the supreme judge since they are the only people who understand Scripture.

Conclusions

Ancient Near East text-based hermeneutics (ANEH) is a very disturbing aspect of Old Earth Creationist teaching.  Disturbing implication concerning:

  • God – It is stated that God is unable to communicate to clearly to humankind. 
  • The Holy Spirit – The work of the Holy Spirit is limited by the perspectives of ancient people.
  • Jesus Christ – Jesus is limited by His humanity from proclaiming truth. 
  • The Covenant – The Covenant is only understood by a few OEC/ANEH academics who are able to teach the true message of the Bible.
  • The Priesthood of be Believer – The priesthood of believers is diminished since only a few Christians know what the Bible “really” says.
  • Historic Cristian Confessions of Faith – ANEH is contrary to the hermeneutic used to develop historical statements of faith.
  • Moral teachings of the Bible – Any Bible teaching may be dismantled by using the “Message-Incident” principle or some other ANEH technique.

Christians need to understand what ANEH is and how it is contrary to historic Christianity.  ANEH exists because the OEC community is finding it impossible to make concordant views of creation such as the Day-Age view fit into theistic evolution.  ANEH is simply the latest discordant view of scripture.  ANEH is a very dangerous system of Bible interpretation which is being used by the OEC community to destroy the plain meaning of the Bible.

Christians need to be able to distinguish between ANE texts and ANEH.   And ANE texts which are simply the records of nations that do not know the Lord.  They be interesting and as historic records they can confirm the chronology of the Bible. 

Homework & Preparation

In our next post, we will summarize the YEC and OEC views of creation 

 Your homework is as follows:

  • Obtain a copy of the Westminster Confession of Faith, study it and write out your own summary of what the Bible says concerning itself.

Notes

(1) A good example of an ANEH is found in the writing of Denis Lamoureux in an article (titled “Was Adam a Real Person?” In the article, Lamoureux introduces the “Message – Incident Principal.”  Viewed on the BioLogos website on 4/17/19)

(2) Bible quotations are from the King James Version.

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YEC / OEC – what are the Differences? Element 7 – YEC and OEC Views of Adam

Introduction

The doctrine of Adam is the most recent (post 2006) controversy in the evangelical creation discussion.  The source of controversy is the new scientific consensus that humankind did not emerge as a single human couple but as a large group.  Consider the following quotes from an article by Todd Wilson in the January 4, 2019 issue of Christianity Today Magazine:

“This is likely to be a sticking point for some. An increasing number of evangelical evolutionary creationists are giving up belief in Adam and Eve as real persons in a real past. The genetic evidence, at least as we now understand it, makes belief in an original human pair doubtful if not impossible.

I suspect in 20 years’ time, support for Adam and Eve as real persons in a real past will be a minority view even within evangelicalism. Should this come to pass, I remain confident that the Christian faith will survive, even though this will require some reconfiguration of our deepest convictions.” (1)

The OEC community is attempting to redefine the traditional Christian understanding of Adam.   Mr. Wilson’s words reveal the magnitude of the impact that redefining Adam will have on the evangelical community. 

Adam in the Bible

Biblically, Adam is the first created human.  Adam and Eve were created by God and in the image of God.  They were charged by God to be fruitful, multiply and to have dominion.  Adam sinned by disobeying God’s command when he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Adam was the husband of Eve, and the father of all humankind.  In Adam, all humankind has sinned.  Some Bible verses on Adam, the fall and redemption include:

  • “And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness: and let them have dominion … So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female he created he them.” (Genesis 1:26 & 27)
  • “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it: for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)
  • “…she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Genesis 3:6)
  • “…Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8)
  • And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9)
  •  “This is the book of the generations of Adam.  In the day God created man, in the likeness of God made he him.  Male and female he created he them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. And Adam lives one hundred and thirty years, and begat a son…Seth… the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years ….And all the days of Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died … Seth … Enos … Cainan … Enos … Mahaleleel … Jared … Enoch … Mathusselah …Lamech … Noah … Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” (Genesis 5:1 – 32)
  •  “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being, (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli … David … Jesse … Judah … Jacob …Isaac …Abraham … Sem … Seth … Adam, which was the son of God.” (Luke 3:23 – 38)
  • “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12)
  • “…For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” (Romans 5:15)
  • “For by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which received abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offense of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:17-19)
  • “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” (I Corinthians 15:21)
  • “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Corinthians 15:22)
  • “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit … The first man is of the earth, earthly: the second man is the Lord from heaven… And as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall bear the image of the heavenly.” (I Corinthians 15:45-49)

Biblically, the fact that Adam is a historical person is witnessed by the records of both the Old and New Testaments.  Adam spoke to God and God spoke to Adam.  Through Adam’s sin all humankind has sinned.  The doctrine of original sin and the doctrine of redemption through Christ are both linked to Adam.  Christ is called the second Adam. 

The YEC View of Adam

The YEC view of Adam is that of the historical view of the Christian church.  This view is easily obtained from a plain reading of Scripture.  This view is clearly summarized in various confessions of faith including Chapter 6 of the Westminster Confession of Faith, titled “Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of Punishment Thereof.” The historicity of Adam is not an issue in the YEC community.   

The OEC Views of Adam

Early OEC views of creation (from the 1830’s), the Day-Age view and the Ruin-Restoration (Gap Theory) view considered Adam to be a real historical person.  These views originated before the theory of evolution.

From the 1800’s to 2006, evangelicals who believed in theistic evolution also considered Adam to be a real historic person.  However, they believed that Adam evolved from a primate. The following was excerpted from the PCA Report:

“Woodrow/Warfield theistic evolution:  Adam’s body was the product of evolutionary development (second causes working alone), and his special creation involved the imparting of a rational soul to a highly-developed hominid.” (2)

Since 2006 the BioLogos ministry has promotes theistic evolution (which they term Evolutionary Creation).  BioLogos is leading the campaign to redefine Adam.  Their position is spelled out in a January 2019 post titled “Were Adam and Eve Historical Figures?” (3)

Efforts to redefine Adam have caused concern even within the OEC community that is supportive of theistic evolution.  An example of this concern is shown in the writings by PCA ruling elder Dr. Charles Irons on his website, www.upperregister.com . In a 2014 article titled “Adam and Evolution.”  Dr. Irons lists seven possible views of Adam and states that there could be more.  Dr. Irons expresses concern that several of his listed evolutionary views of Adam conflict with the church’s traditional understanding of Adam. 

The OEC views of Adam are continually changing.  The latest change is being promoted by BioLogos and consists in the word of Todd Wilson,” … giving up belief in Adam and Eve as real persons with a real past.” (1)  

 Summary

The YEC view of Adam has been the historic view of the church.  This view is well summarized in Chapter 6 of the Westminster Confess of Faith, “Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of Punishment Thereof.”  There has been no need to change this view because this view is based on a plain reading of the Bible.

In contrast the OEC views of Adam is in a state of revision and continuing controversy.  The trust of theistic evolution is to adapt some sort of figurative view of Adam. Since Adam is linked to the fall and the doctrine of original sin.  It can be anticipated that these doctrines will become future targets of OEC redefinition efforts. 

Homework & Preparation

In our next post, we will examine the consequences of YEC and OEC views of creation 

 Your homework is as follows:

  • Briefly, summarize your understanding of Adam in your own words.

Notes

  • This quotation was taken from an article titled Ten Theses on Creation and Evolution That (Most) Evangelicals Can Support.”  The, author, Tod Wilson, a former pastor, writes from the theistic evolution perspective. Point 5. the doctrine of Adam.  Portions excerpted in entirety from the Christianity Today website on 2/26/19.) Interestingly, this article is also posted on the BioLogos website on 10/22/18.
  • The PCA Report sections on brief definitions
  • The post Where Adam and Eve historical Figures? was downloaded from the BioLogos.org website on 3/12/19.
  • Bible quotations are from the King James Version.

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YEC / OEC – what are the Differences? Element 6 – YEC and OEC Views of the World

Introduction

The Bible has much to say about the believer’s relationship to the world.  This relationship was established in the Old Testament and is further described in the New Testament.  God’s relationship with His people is covenantal: “And I will walk among you, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people (Leviticus 26:12).”

Old Testament

God’s covenant with humankind began at creation.  It is developed further with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David.  God’s people are to be a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6 & I Peter 2:5).  Through Abraham all the nations of the world shall be blessed (Genesis 18:18).  God commanded His people not to learn the ways of other nations or to intermarry with them.  Some Scripture that provides insight include:

  • “I am the LORD thy God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:2 & 3).”
  • “And thou shall take no gift: for a gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous (Exodus 23:8).”
  • “Thou shall make no covenant with them, or their gods. (Exodus 23 :32).”
  • “Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel: Then they came to Zerubabel, and the chiefs of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you …. But Zerubabel and Jeshua and the rest of the chief fathers said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God: but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel… (Ezra 4:1-3).”

New Testament

Christ is the fulfillment of the God’s covenant with humankind.  Christ is a king, but His kingdom is not of this world. Jesus told His disciples that the world would hate them because the word first hated Him (John 15:18).  Christians were to be in the world but not to be part of the world.  Christians are sent out into the world with the gospel message. The New Testament deals extensively with the relationship between the Christian and the World.  Some Scripture that provides insight include:

  • “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Teaching them to observe all whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matt 28:19 & 20).”
  • “I have given them thy word: and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world (John 17:14).”
  • “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can know them, because they spiritually discerned (I Corinthians 2:14).”
  • “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness: but unto us which are saved it: is the power of God (I Corinthians 2:18).”
  • “Let not a man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let hi become a fool, that he may be wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.  For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.  And again, the Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise that they are vain.  Therefore let no man glory in men for all things are yours (I Corinthians 3:18-21).”
  • “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14).”
  • “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world … (2Timothy 4:10).”
  • “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world. The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (I John 2:15 &16).”
  • “Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness (2 Peter 2:15).”

The early church grew in a hostile world.  Today the church is also in a hostile world.  The basis of the worlds’ hostility toward Christians is that the world does not know God.

In Summary

Some principals gained from a study of the believer’s relationship to the world include:

  • God’s elect are joined to Him in a covenantal relationship.  He is our God and we are His people.
  • God’s people do not seek the help of non-believers to build.
  • God’s people are not to accept gifts because gifts can affect the believer’s judgement.
  • God’s people do not make covenants with unbelievers are intermarry with them.
  • God’s people can be deceived and made to sin by greedy men like Balaam.
  • Christians are not of this world even though they live in this world.
  • Christians are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
  • Christians are not to love this world or the things of this world; the lust of the eye; the lust of the flesh; and the boastful pride of life.
  • Some Christians who were once in the ministry leave because they love the world.

The YEC View of the World

The YEC view of the world is Biblical and consistent with the historic view of the church.  Christians are in the world but not of the world. Christians are to build the church through their own funds.  The YEC community recognizes that they are not loved by the world and are to be separated from the world.

There are many qualified scientists within the YEC community.  However, most who speak publicly come from the business community rather than the academic community.  In the United States, support of creation or even intelligent design in the academic community can result in loss of tenure or discipline.  This is well illustrated in the 2008 Ben Stein film “Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed.”  Scientists with YEC views are often not welcome in Christian colleges and universities.  

YEC funding of comes from within the Christian community.  YEC funding does not come from secular based foundations.

The OEC View of the World

The OEC view of the world changed dramatically in recent times.  One element of this change is the engagement of Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries with the scientific consensus.  The American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) is a place of fellowship for Christians in science and education.  The ASA was established in1941 as a group for evangelicals in science.  The group soon became dominated by those who believed in theistic evolution. 

OEC funding of comes from within the Christian community until the coming of the BioLogos in 2006.  BioLogos is an aggressive promoter of promote theistic evolution (termed “Evolutionary Creation” on their website) within the Christian community.  Biologos promotes theistic evolution using grants to scholars who write on topics specified by BioLogos.  In turn, BioLogos is supported by grants from the Templeton Foundation, a secular organization.  Here are two examples of the Biologos and Templeton efforts:

The Evolution and Christian Faith Granting Program: 

“In 2012 BioLogos established a new competitive granting program called Evolution and Christian Faith. With funding from the John Templeton Foundation, more than $3.6 million in grants was awarded to over three dozen individuals and teams from sixteen states and six different countries. Their projects aim to address theological and philosophical concerns commonly voiced by Christians about evolutionary creation in a way that is relevant to the church. Over three years, they plan to generate hundreds of resources, including videos, websites, articles, teaching materials, books, and seminars….”  (The above is a quote from the BioLogos website (About / Our History); it was excerpted on June 15, 2016.)

“The Creation Project”:

In 2015, the Templeton Religion Trust awards a $3.4 million grant to the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding (Henry Center) at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2015 for a project called Evangelical Theology and the Doctrine of Creation (known in short as the “Creation Project”).  The Creation Project is described as:

“…. a three-year, six-program initiative intended to bring greater clarity, openness, and understanding about the doctrine of creation within the evangelical theological community in light of modern scientific discovery. In addition to providing wider guidance to the evangelical public, the project is also intended to stimulate interdisciplinary scholarship and engagement on the controversial issues at the intersection of Scripture, theology, and scientific discovery.” (Information and quotation were excerpted on 5/4/16 from: www.covenantseminary.edu/the-thistle/Collins-research-fellowship.)  

The activities of BioLogos and the Templeton Foundation demonstrate that much of the push for theistic evolution comes from outside the Christian community.  The Templeton Foundation and BioLogos have established OEC discussion topics, agendas, and timetables.  This has been accomplished through a system of bestowing grants and honors to leaders who will develop materials and programs which meet Templeton Foundation and BioLogos approval. 

In Conclusion

The YEC view of the world is consistent the historic view of saints in both the Old and New Testament. Believers are in the world but not of the world. 

The OEC view of the world is that Christians should minimize conflicts with the with the secular scientific consensus.  This results in continuing efforts to reinterpret the Bible.  Leaders in the OEC community have the impossible task of presenting theistic evolution as scientific to secularists.  They also have the challenging task of presenting theistic evolution as Biblical to Christians.  Apologists for the OEC view seek gifts and honors from secular sources.  Those who provide these set the agenda, topics, and timetable for OEC apologetic efforts.

Homework & Preparation

In our next post, we will examine the YEC and OEC views of Adam. Your homework is as follows:

  • Briefly, summarize the YEC and OEC views of world in your own words.
  • In preparation, read Genesis 3, I Corinthians 15, and Romans 5.

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YEC / OEC – what are the Differences? Element 5 – YEC and OEC Views of Science

Introduction

Within the creation discussion we often hear accusations like this: “YEC’s are afraid of science and hate science!”  Are YEC’s really afraid of science?  Do YEC’s really hate science? We hope to answer these questions in this post. 

Before addressing these accusations, it is necessary to establish a good definition of science.  The PCA Report definition of science should be acceptable to all Christians since it recognizes the supernatural:

The sciences are disciplines that study features of the world around us, looking for regularities as well as attempting to account for causal relations.  In the causal chains we allow all relevant factors (including supernatural ones) to be considered.” 

Science deals with knowledge and the following graphic provides a visual overview of knowledge available to both Christians and non-Christians.  The illustration shows the relationship between the natural and supernatural.  It also shows the limits of knowledge available to the natural man (I Corinthians 2:14) and a much greater body of knowledge available to the Christian.  

The Overview of Knowledge Illustration

Human knowledge is limited.

Both YEC and OEC views of creation are outside the scientific consensus.  This is do to the fact that both YEC and OEC views have a presupposition of God rather than naturalism.  Secularists do not consider theistic evolution to be scientific.  This is well illustrated in the Wikipedia definition below: 

“Theistic evolution, theistic evolutionism, evolutionary creationism or God-guided evolution are views that regard religious teachings about God as compatible with modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. Theistic evolution is not in itself a scientific theory, but a range of views about how the science of general evolution relates to religious beliefs in contrast to special creation views.”  (The above was excerpted from Wikipedia on 1/13/19.  Hyperlinks and footnotes have been removed.  Bold face and italic fonts have been modified.)

The YEC View of Science

Significant aspects of the YEC view of science are summarized below:

  • Conflicts with the scientific consensus are expected and not feared.  Conflicts is rooted in different presuppositions of reality (God versus naturalism). 
  • The scientific consensus is respected and there may be agreement with some of its positions.  However, it is recognized to be the consensus of the natural man (I Corinthians 2:14). 
  • The scientific consensus is a limited view of reality since it does not recognize the God of the Bible. 
  • The positions of the scientific consensus are notconsidered to be “Natural Revelation” or “General Revelation.”
  • Science is to be studied and appreciated.  The scientific creationism draws materials from the scientific community and common grace found in non-believers.  YEC’s are not afraid of science.  YEC’s do not hate science.

The OEC View of Science

Significant aspects of the OEC view of science are summarized below:

  • Conflicts with the scientific consensus are avoided; per Wikipedia: 

“Supporters of theistic evolution generally harmonize evolutionary thought with belief in God, rejecting the conflict thesis regarding the relationship between religion and science – they hold that religious teachings about creation and scientific theories of evolution need not contradict each other.“ (The above was excerpted from Wikipedia on 1/13/19.  Hyperlinks and footnotes have been removed.  Bold face and italic fonts have been modified.)

  • The positions of the scientific consensus are considered as “natural revelation” and that there can never be a conflict between “natural revelation” and “special revelation.”  As a result, OEC’s must continually reinterpret the Bible to make it conform with the scientific consensus.  These efforts started in the 1830’s when the Day-Age and Ruin-Restorations view were formulated to accommodate uniformitarian geology.  These efforts continued in order to accommodate evolution and the “Big Bang.”  The current OEC focus is to reinterpret the historicity of Adam. 
  • The positions of the scientific consensus are promoted as science while those outside the scientific consensus are marginalized, attacked, and ridiculed.
  • Theistic evolution is call scientific even though neither secularist nor the YEC community consider it so.

In Summary

  • Both the YEC and OEC views of science are outside the scientific consensus.
  • Supporters of the YEC view acknowledge that there is a conflict between the Bible and the scientific consensus.  Supporters of the YEC view use scientific information from the scientific community to support their view.
  • Supporters of the OEC view have difficulty acknowledging that there is a conflict between their interpretation of the Bible and the scientific consensus. 
  • Supporters of OEC continually reinterpret passages of the Bible in order to align it with the scientific consensus. 

Homework

In our next post, we will examine the YEC and OEC views of the world. Your homework is as follows:

  • Briefly, summarize the YEC and OEC views of science in your own words.
  • Read John 17, and 1 John 2:15 &16.

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YEC / OEC – what are the Differences? Element 4 – YEC and OEC Views and Church History

Introduction

Church history is the narrative of God’s dealing with his covenantal people in both the Old Testament and New Testament.  Many passages of scripture are narratives of actual historic events; these narratives begin with Genesis 1:1. The Calendar-Day view of creation has been the majority view of God’s covenantal people since creation.  There have been other views expressed within the church.  However, other views of creation did not begin to obtain significant acceptance until around 1830. 

The Significance of History in the Bible

The format of the Bible is basically that of a historical narrative.  The books of the Bible are generally arranged in a linear sequence.

The Bible demonstrates that God’s people take history seriously.  They are to remember events and to learn from them (I Corinthians 10:11&12).  Within the Bible there are numerous references to historical events previously described, examples include:

  • Ps 78:  The author references Gods dealing with His people from Jacob through the exodus.
  • Acts 7: Stephen’s references Hebrew history from Abraham to Christ.

The Bible also contains information in a manner of an archive.  Examples of Scripture as a achieve include:

  • “…These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. (Genesis 1:1 – 2:4).”
  • “This is the book of the generations of Adam.  In the day that god created man, in the likeness of God made he him; (Genesis 5:3)”
  • “These are the generations of Noah: … (Genesis 6:9.”
  • “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were born after the flood.  (Genesis 10:1)”
  • “Now these are the generations of Terah: … (Genesis 11:27).”
  •  “And these are the generations of Isaac, … (Genesis 25:19).”
  • I Chronicles Chapter 1 through 9 is listing of people beginning with Adam through Noah, the sons of Noah, and continuing through the sons of each head of the tribes.
  • “The book of the generations of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  Abraham begat Isaac… (Matthew 1:1 & 2).”
  • “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being, (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli…son of David…son of Juda…son of Jacob…son of Isaac…son of Abraham…son of Shem…son of Noe…son of Adam…son of God (Luke 3:23-38).

In summary, God presents His dealing with humankind in a linear way.  In addition, God provides archives of important records such as genealogies. God’s people are instructed to remember their history and to learn from their mistakes.

Develop a Personal Biblical Timeline of the Creation Discussion

Students of creation are encouraged to develop their own timeline of the creation discussion.  Timelines are a basic element of research.  After a timeline is developed, it may be used again and again. 

Timelines represent an orderly sequence of events.  God is a God of order and this  attribute is evidenced throughout the Bible.  Start a timeline of the creation discussion with creation and go from there. The student should then add significant events to the timeline until it extends to the present. 

Timelines should be developed from reliable sources.  The Bible is the most reliable source for timeline information.  The PCA Report is a very good source for timeline information in in the church age. The history of the creation discussion contained in the PCA Report was arrived at by a consensus of those who represent different views of creation.  Wikipedia is a good source of dates and events; however, the interpretation of events is secular.  Materials from advocacy groups within the creation discussion can be helpful.  However, there can be misrepresentations.

Through Church history, scholars have used the Bible to establish a date of creation.  Important elements in this task include the genealogies from Genesis through Chronicles, references to the 400 years in Egypt, references to the 400 years of the judges, and ties to secular history.  The scholars produced creation dates in the range of 4,000 B.C. to 10,000 B.C.  This range of dates does not accommodate evolution (one million plus years), uniformitarian geology (4 billion years), or the Big Bang (14 billion years).

Significant Periods in the Creation Discussion Timeline

The creation discussion timeline may be broken into several periods as follows:

  • From creation to the closure of cannon: This is God’s record of creation. No alternate view to the literal view of creation is presented by the authors of the Bible.
  • From the close of cannon to the reformation: Most of the church fathers support the literal view of creation.  A notable exception was Augustine who believed in creation period of one day.  The reformers supported the literal vies of creation and one of the signers of the Westminster Confession of Faith, Lightfoot, developed his own time line of history and date of creation – 3960 BC.  The Roman Catholic church held to a literal view of creation until the mid-1950’s.
  • After the reformation: In the protestant church, the Day-Age, and the Ruin-Restoration Interpretation (Gap-Theory) started to develop a following in the 1830’s.
  • After Darwin: Evolution began became established in the mainline protestant churches in the later 1800’s. Evolution became established in evangelical churches and colleges through the efforts of the American Scientific Affiliation by the 1950’s.  The Roman Catholic church accepted evolution in the mid-1950’s.
  •  In the late 1950’s, the Framework interpretation began to become popular in evangelical circles due to the influence of Meredith Kline, an OPC ordained seminary professor.  The Framework Interpretation was the first interpretation of Genesis to accept evolution (1).

Summary of the YEC View of Church History:

 The YEC view of church history is well documented.  It is based on Biblical timelines, reliable denominational studies, and reliable secular materials. The YEC view of church history is easily understood.

OEC View of Church History:

 The OEC view of church history is based on an attempts to: 1) discredit the timeline input found in the Bible; 2) discredit the traditional view of church history and; 3) efforts to transform historic minority positions into majority positions.  For years OEC representatives have insisted that there are gaps in the biblical genealogies.  However, gaps (if any) appear to be meaningless when 14 billion years needs to be inserted.  The traditional events of church history and historic positions of the church are hard to discredit; since they are well documented.

In Conclusion:

  • The YEC view of church history is based on timelines that understandable to the average person. 
  • In contrast, the OEC view of church history is very challenging.  The narrative of the Bible must either be totally dismissed or reinterpreted to accommodate timeframes demanded by uniformitarian geology, evolution and the Big Bang.

Homework: 

  • Summarize your understanding of the creation discussion and church history.
  • Continue to develop your timeline of the creation discussion.  Use the PCA repot to bring your timeline up to the presence. 
  • In our next post, we will look at YEC and OEC views of science.  Become familiar with terms like scientific method, experimental science, forensic science, scientific community, and scientific consensus.

Notes:

  • Meredith Kline (1922-2008) authored a paper titled “Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony” it was published by the American Scientific Affiliation.  In footnote number 47, Kline includes the statement: “In this article I have advocated an interpretation of biblical Scripture is open to a very old universe and, in that respect, does not discountenance the theory of an evolutionary origin of man. “ 

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YEC / OEC – what are the Differences? Element 3 – YEC and OEC Views of Evidence

Introduction

“Evidence, Evidentialism, and Evidential Apologetics” are all common terms in the creation discussion.  Evidentailism and Evidential Apologetics are not the focus of this post; however, they are dealt with briefly in a note at the end of this post.  The focus of this post is on the use of evidence in the creation discussion.

Evidence is presented to a court in a legal dispute.    Evidence includes testimony given orally or in written form.  Evidence includes physical evidence.  The court then examines admissible evidence and uses evidence to decide a matter. 

Definitions, Secular

Evidence:  Wikipedia provides a definition of evidence.  Portions of this definition were excerpted on 12/6/18 (any hyperlinks and bold typeface have been removed;footnotes are not shown):

“The law of evidence, also known as the rules of evidence, encompasses the rules and legal principles that govern the proof of facts in a legal proceeding. These rules determine what evidence must or must not be considered by the trier of fact in reaching its decision. The trier of fact is a judge in bench trials, or the jury in any cases involving a jury. The law of evidence is also concerned with the quantum (amount), quality, and type of proof needed to prevail in litigation. The rules vary depending upon whether the venue is a criminal court, civil court, or family court, and they vary by jurisdiction.

The quantum of evidence is the amount of evidence needed; the quality of proof is how reliable such evidence should be considered. Important rules that govern admissibility concern hearsay, authentication, relevance, privilege, witnesses, opinions, expert testimony, identification and rules of physical evidence. There are various standards of evidence or standards showing how strong the evidence must be to meet the legal burden of proof in a given situation, ranging from reasonable suspicion to preponderance of the evidence, clear and convincing evidence, or beyond a reasonable doubt.

There are several types of evidence, depending on the form or source. Evidence governs the use of testimony (e.g., oral or written statements, such as an affidavit), exhibits (e.g., physical objects), documentary material, or demonstrative evidence, which are admissible (i.e., allowed to be considered by the trier of fact, such as jury) in a judicial or administrative proceeding (e.g.,a court of law)…”

Physical Evidence:  Wikipedia provides a definition of physical evidence. Portions of this definition were excerpted on 12/6/18(any hyperlinks and bold typeface have been removed; footnotes are not shown):

Physical evidence (also called real evidence or material evidence) is any material object that plays some role in the matter that gave rise to the litigation, introduced as evidence in a judicial proceeding (such as a trial) to prove a fact in issue based on the object’s physical characteristics…”

Testimony:  Wikipedia provides a definition of testimony.  Portions of this definition were excerpted on 12/9/18 (any hyperlinks and bold typeface have been removed; footnotes are not shown):

“In law and in religion, testimony is a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter…”.

Definitions, Biblical

Evidence in the Bible

The English word “evidence” is used in the Bible only once,to describe Jeremiah’s land transaction (Jeremiah Chapter 32).  The commonly used equivalent words for evidence in Hebrew and Greek are rendered “record” and “testimony” in English.

The Bible is a book of evidence – God’s own record or testimony concerning Himself, His works and His law.  This testimony includes the account of creation in the book of Genesis. 

Evidence, Incorrect Use by God’s People

The Bible is testimony given by God Himself.  However, God’s people often use God’s evidence, His word, incorrectly.  Here are some examples:

Eve in the Garden of Eden considered the evidence of God’s spoken word and then considered the evidence presented by Satan (Genesis 3:1-7)before making her decision concerning the forbidden fruit.

During the conquest of the promised land Joshua and the leaders knew God’s command not to make covenants with the people of the land.  Then, but they considered the testimony and physical evidence presented by the Gibeonits had come from a far country (Joshua 9:3-16)and then made treaty with them.

During the period of the Judges, the people knew that God was to be their king.  However, they observed the kings of surrounding nations and decided that they wanted a human king (I Samuel 8:1-9).

During the period of the Judges.  Samson was warned by his parents not marry a heathen woman.  Samson reply was based on physical evidence: “…Get her for me for she pleaseth me well” (Judges 14:1-4).

During the reign of Zedekiah, Jeremiah gave testimony to true testimony concerning God’s judgement on Jerusalem.  However, this was contradicted by the false testimony of the prophet Hananiah (Jeremiah 28:10-17).

Thomas disbelieved the reports that Christ was risen from the dead and stated that he would not believe unless he was able to touch the wounds of Christ (John 20:24-29). Jesus told Thomas “… Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed(John 20:29).”

It may be concluded that God’s people have used both testimony and physical evidence incorrectly on a number of occasions.  The consequences of this are far reaching.  Christians need to be very discerning when considering evidence.  God’s word is the only reliable evidence for believers. 

Evidence, Correct Use by God’s People

Considering evidence is Biblical.  The Bible is a book of evidence – God’s testimony concerning Himself, His works and His law. Biblical examples of the correct use of evidence include:

Giving evidence must be done truthfully per the ninth commandment (Exodus 20:16).

Evidence for capital punishment must be presented by two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6).

Jesus stated that a people are known by their fruit (Matthew 7:13-20).

We are called to examine ourselves before taking the Lord’s supper (I Corinthians 10:27-34).

In cases of church discipline, facts are established based on evidence presented by two or three witnesses (II Corinthians 13:1).

It may be concluded that correct uses of evidence include:1) self-examination; 2) evaluating the fruit in their own lives and that of others; 3) speaking truth; 4) understanding the use of evidence in civil law:and 5) the need for the careful use of evidence in the case of church discipline.

Evidence and Faith

Christens are called upon to walk by faith and not by sight.  Part of the reason for this is that we cannot see God – He is invisible (I Timothy 1:17).   Another reason is that Gods ways and thoughts are above our thoughts and His ways are above our ways (Isaiah 55: 8 &9).

Summary of the YEC View of Evidence:

 The YEC view of evidence considers Special Revelation to be God’s legal testimony concerning any matter.  God presents His testimony in the Bible using the plain meaning of words to preserve the perspicuity of Scripture.  When there is a conflict in the evidence presented by God and the evidence presented by others, God’s word is considered truth (John 17:17). 

Summary of the OEC View of Evidence:

The OEC view of evidence Special Revelation to be God’s legal testimony concerning a matter only if it is properly interpreted.  God presents His testimony in the Bible,however, that testimony must be reinterpreted so that it does not conflict with the positions of the scientific consensus. Any “apparent disagreement” between Scripture and science is the result of not understanding the “correct interpretation” of either Scripture or science.

The believer must weigh the evidence of Special Revelation versus “Natural Revelation” and then decide which is correct and which need tobe reinterpreted.  Invariably, this leads to an OEC reinterpreting of Scripture to bring it into conformity with the latest positions of the scientific consensus.

In Conclusion:

  • The YEC view of evidence is that Special Revelation is understandable to the average person.
  • In contrast, the OEC view of evidence follows that of Eve in the garden.  This view calls on Christians to weigh the testimony of the scientific consensus (termed “Natural Revelation”) against the Bible.  

Homework:

  • Summarize your understanding of evidence and creation.
  • Continue to develop your glossary of creation discussion terms.  Establish definitions for these terms: Evidence,Testimony, and Faith.
  • In our next post, we will look at YEC and OEC views of church history.  Your homework is as follows:
  • Begin a time line of the creation discussion. Start with creation and end with the date of the book of Revelation.

Notes concerning Evidential Apologetics

Evidential Apologetics is not the subject of this post.  However, this approach to apologetics is frequently mentioned in Christian circles. For this reason, a definition and comments are offered.

Apologetics, evidential (Evidentialism): Wikipedia provides a definition for Evidential apologetic. The following was excerpted on 12/5/18 (any hyperlinks and bold type face have been removed; footnotes have been deleted).

“Evidential apologetics or evidentialism is an approach to Christian apologetics emphasizing the use of evidence to demonstrate that God exists. The evidence is supposed to be evidence both the believer and non-believer share, that is to say one need not presuppose God’s existence. Evidential apologetics is not necessarily evidentialism, however many associate them as the same. Evidential apologetics method looks at the New Testament’s historical documents first, then upon to the Jesus’ miracles in particular the resurrection which evidentialists believe points to Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Some of the top supporters of this method include Gary R.Habermas, John W. Montgomery, ClarkPinnock, and Wolfhart Pannenberg.“

From a reformed perspective, we can be grateful to those who stand up for the truth of the Bible and attempt to present that truth to non-believers in a clear and gracious manner. However, the presupposition of Evidential apologetics appears to be that the non-believer is able to understand and act upon the truth of the Bible without the work of Holy Spirit.  It needs to be recognized that non-believers are spiritually dead, and the things of the Spirit are foolishness to them (I Corinthians 2:14).  The Holy Spirit makes the spiritually dead alive and enables them to call upon God for salvation. 

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YEC / OEC – what are the Differences? – Element 2 – YEC and OEC Views of Revelation

“I don’t need organized religion.  Whenever I need to feel close to God, just go up to a mountain and look at the sky.”  Most of us have hear something like this from a non-believer at some point.  At first glance, our non-believing friend seems to be avoiding organized religion.   Looking further, our non-believing friend has communicated a Biblical truth.  “The heavens declare the glory of god; the firmament showeth his handiwork (Psalm19:1).”  What our non-believing is experiencing is General Revelation. God reveals himself through general revelation and Special Revelation.

An example of special revelation is found in the books Acts.  “Now when they heard this they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles and brethren, what shall we do? (Acts 2:37).” Peter preached a Scripture filled sermon at Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit brought conviction and the people.  They cried for help and about 3000 were saved.

General revelation tells humankind that there is a God and that He reveals his glory in his creation as well as in acts of mercy and providence.  Special revelation is God’s written word.  The Holy Spirit works in the lives of humankind to be open to it, and to be convicted of its truth.  This results in salvation to those in whom the holy spirit is working.

Definitions:

This discussion of Bible Interpretation uses three important definitions: 1) General Revelation 2) Special Revelation, and 3) Naturalism.  These are defined below:

General Revelation: Revelation, general – The term “General Revelation” refers to the process of viewing nature, and the works of creation and providence and this leads any person to conclude that there is a god.  General revelation is clearly described and clearly limited by Chapter 1, Article 1 of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) portions of this article are copied as follows:

Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation. “

Biblically, and per the WCF general revelation is important in showing humankind god’s glory, providence goodness.  However, general revelation is also limited.  It does not tell a person how to be saved or how to live.

Special Revelation: Refers to the Scripture. Special revelation is clearly described and clearly limited by Chapter 1, Article 1 of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) portions of this article are copied as follows:

“Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the Holy.”

Naturalism: This term was excerpted from the PCA Report, Appendix A., Fuller Definitions, 4. Philosophical terms, as follows: “Naturalism is a metaphysical position that the world exists on its own, and that God exerts no influence on any object or event in the world.”

The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) is a reliable source for quotations.  Any confession of faith is a summary of what the Bible teaches.  There are a number of very good confessions of faith.  The WCF is the considered the best confession of faith by Presbyterians.  The WCF clearing states that God reveals himself through general revelation and through special revelation.

Natural Revelation: The term “natural revelation” does not appear in either the Bible or the WCF. A good definition of natural revelation may be found in Wikipedia.  This definition, prepared by secularists, is very similar to the definition for general revelation as described in the WCF.  The following was excerpted (without bold face and hyperlinks) from Wikipedia on 11/6/18: In theology, general revelation, or natural revelation, refers to knowledge about God and spiritual matters, discovered through natural means, such as observation of nature (the physical universe), philosophy and reasoning. Christian theologians use the term to describe knowledge of God purported to be plainly available to all mankind. General revelation is usually understood to pertain to outward temporal events that are experienced within the world or the physical universe. The definition may be extended to include human conscience or providence or providential history.

Revelation and Church History: God’s people have traditionally believed in both general and special revelation which are both well-defined both in the Bible and the WCF. Attempts to change the definition of general revelation to the official position of the scientific consensus appear to concurrent with the acceptance of the Day-Age and Ruin-Reconstruction Interpretations of creation in the 1830’s.  Those who hold various OEC views seem to prefer the term “natural revelation” to “general revelation.”   The reason for this is that the term “natural revelation” can be equated the positions of the scientific consensus.  The opinion of the scientific consensus is given the same stature as Scripture.

The YEC View of Revelation:

 The YEC view of revelation has been held by God’s people since creation. It is well summarized in the WCF which itself is based on Scripture.

  • God reveals himself through both General Revelation and Special Revelation.
  • God reveals himself through General Revelation. This general revelation shows God’s glory, mercy and providence.  General revelation makes humankind inexcusable, however, general revelation is not able to save.
  • God reveals Himself through Special Revelation.  This special revelation is Scripture which when used by the Holy Spirit brings humankind to know their sin and call upon the Lord for salvation.  Based – it is independent of outside influences
  • Science is not considered revelation, but rather a God ordained human endeavor that is rooted in the Dominion Mandate. Science is recognized, and the official opinion the 1830’sns of the scientific consensus are recognized.

The OEC Views of Revelation:

The YEC views of revelation were formally introduced in the 1830’s with the Day-Age and Ruin-Restoration (Gap Theory) interpretations of scripture.  Both interpretations placed the positions of the scientific consensus (uniformitarian geology) at the same level as special revelation.  The positions of the scientific consensus began to be called “Natural Revelation.”

  • God reveals himself through both General Revelation and Special Revelation.
  • God reveals himself through General Revelation (typically termed “Natural Revelation”). “Natural Revelation” may mention God’s glory, mercy and providence.  However, “Natural Revelation is typically presented as the opinion of the scientific consensus.
  • God reveals Himself through Special Revelation. This special revelation is Scripture which when used by the Holy Spirit brings humankind to know their sin and call upon the Lord for salvation.  Based – it is independent of outside influences
  • “Natural Revelation” is placed on the same level as Special Revelation. In the event that there is a conflict between the two, the “Natural Revelation” typically wins.

In Summary:

 The YEC view of revelation recognized both general revelation and special revelation. These are based on Scripture and well described in the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF).  The study of science by humankind, the opinions of separate from the Bible.

  • In contrast, the OEC view of revelation is based on a perceived need of some make the Bible conform to the scientific consensus of the times. Those in the
    OEC community seem to prefer the term “natural revelation” to general revelation; “natural revelation is generally equated to the opinion of the scientific consensus.

 Homework:

 In our next post, we will look at YEC and OEC views in church history. Your homework is as follows:

  • Read the PCA Report on the history of the creation discussion. The write a summary of this portion of the PCA Report.
  • Add to your glossary your own definitions for: Special Revelation, General Revelation, Natural Revelation, Naturalism and Scientific Consensus.

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