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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YEC / OEC – what are the Differences? Element 1 – YEC and OEC Views of Bible Interpretation

Christians who believe in the literal view of creation are required to believe that the sun revolves around the earth because the Bible states “From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same the LORD’s name is to be praised (Psalm 113:3).”   This verse clearly shows that the Bible can be wrong on scientific issues!”

The above statement is a good example of a “Strawman argument”.  The person who presents a “strawman argument” purposely misrepresents their opponent’s view and then ridicules it.   The Calendar-Day view of creation is also called the Literal View of creation.  However, this does not mean that Christians who hold a literal view of creation take each verse of the Bible literally.  Consider the word of Jesus at the last supper: “… Take eat this is my body (Matthew 26:26)” and “…Drink ye all of it: For this is my blood of the new testament… (Matthew 26:27).”  Roman Catholics take these verses literally – the communion elements become flesh and blood; protestants do not.

A better term the way that protestants have traditionally interpreted the Bible is the “Plain Reading of Scripture.”  A plain reading of Scripture is based on the “Perspicuity of Scripture.”  The perspicuity of Scripture is rooted in God’s covenantal promise that believers are to be a kingdom of priests (I Peter 2:9, Isaiah 61:6, Exodus 19:6); a priest knows God and His word.  All believers have the privilege of knowing God from the least to the greatest (Jeremiah 31:34).

The plain reading of Scripture allows the use literary devices.  However, any literary device used must be easily understandable to an average person.  Easily understandable literary devices include metaphors, anthropomorphisms and relative motion. The wording “From the “rising of the sun to the going down of the same… (Psalm 113:3)” is not considered a conflict between science and the Bible for those hold to a plain reading of scripture.

A plain reading of scripture recognizes that some portions of scripture are poetic. It also recognizes that poetry in Hebrew has a very different structure from poetry in English.  A plain reading of Scripture recognizes that significant portions of Scripture, including Genesis Chapter 1, are highly structured.  Structured writing used to clarify, increase understanding, and preclude misunderstanding.   Structured writing is found in contracts, legal descriptions of property, and other legal documents.

Research:

Research is basic step in developing knowledge about any subject.  Two elements of research are:1) building a glossary of subject related terms, and 2) using quotations from reliable sources.

Definitions:

This discussion of Bible Interpretation uses two important definitions: 1) Perspicuity and 2) plain reading.  These are defined below:

  • Perspicuity: Perspicuity basically means that a person of average intelligence can understand the Bible.  Article 7., Chapter 1 – Of the Holy Scripture, of the Westminster Confession of faith was excerpted from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church website (www. opc.org) on 4/4/2015:

“All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.”

  • Plain Reading: Basically, with a plain reading, meanings are to be assigned the ordinary meaning of words.  The following was excerpted from Wikipedia on 3/1/15:

“The plain meaning rule dictates that statutes are to be interpreted using the ordinary meaning of the language of the statute. In other words, a statute is to be read word for word and is to be interpreted according to the ordinary meaning of the language, unless a statute explicitly defines some of its terms otherwise or unless the result would be cruel or absurd. Ordinary words are given their ordinary meaning, technical terms are given their technical meaning, and local, cultural terms are recognized as applicable

Quotations:

The PCA Report is a reliable source for quotations.  In the PCA Report, supporters of various views of creation listed what they considered the strengths and weaknesses of their view.  Supporters of the Calendar- Day Interpretation listed eight strengths of this view.  Four of these eight strengths relate to Bible interpretation.  These are listed below:

  • Language: The following was excerpted from the PCA Report:

 “The Calendar-Day view is the obvious, first-impression reading of Genesis 1-3, in which each of the words is given its most common, plain meaning.  This is the meaning that the author has gone to great lengths to convey.[38]  It is undoubtedly the meaning that the unsophisticated (by today’s standards) initial audience would have understood the account to have.  The view is neither difficult to explain nor to justify because of its simple and straightforward relationship to the text.  This fact is vitally important, for it means that the average believer today can read the Word of God and understand it without the benefit of some higher level of learning reserved only to the scholars.  Thus this view best preserves the perspicuity of Scripture (WCF I.7; Psalm 119:130).

  • Fourth Commandment: The following was excerpted from the PCA Report:

“The Calendar-Day view provides the basis for the theological logic of and is confirmed by the Fourth Commandment as recorded in Exodus 20:11, in which the seven-day cycle of work and rest is affirmed.  “The Sabbath was made for man,” said our Lord Jesus (Mark 2:27).” Many passages of Scripture are direct quotations from god. But the ten commandments are the only portion of Scripture personally transcribed by God – into stone.

  • Special Revelation Based: The following was excerpted from the PCA Report:

“The Calendar-Day view stands on the basis of special revelation, rather than being indebted to or dependent upon any particular ancient or modern scientific worldview, whether it be that of uniformitarian geology, Darwinian evolution, Big Bang cosmology, or even creation science.  A theology wed to the science of one age is a widow in the next.[41]

  • Use of the Word Day: The following was excerpted from the PCA Report:

 “The Genesis 1 account builds in a logical manner from the inanimate to the animate, finally climaxing with man as the focus of creation.  The use of ordinals with yôm, which is always an indication of sequence, reinforces this development.  Elsewhere in the Bible, every use of the ordinal with yôm correlates with its normal-day meaning, nor has any contrary example been found in extra-biblical writings.”

Summary of the YEC view of Bible Interpretation: YEC Bible interpretation has been held since creation. It is based on God’s covenantal promise that humankind, from the least to the greatest, have the privilege of knowing Him through His word (Jeremiah 31:34). God communicated clearly and plainly – Humankind uses the terms perspicuity and plain reading to describe this communication. The YEC view of Genesis Chapter One is illustrated by the PCA Report.  Strengths of the Calendar-Day Interpretation include:

  • Language – plain reading and perspicuity
  • The Fourth Commandment
  • Special Revelation Based – it is independent of outside influences
  • Correct use of the word “day”

Summary of the OEC views of Bible Interpretation:

The OEC views of Bible interpretation are based on responses to the conclusions of the scientific consensus.  OEC interpretations originated in the 1830’s from a perceived need to reconcile the Bible to the then new science of uniformitarian geology.  These views were the Day Age Interpretation and the Ruin-Restoration Interpretation. (Gap Theory).

The Day Age Interpretation is based on the word “day” in Genesis 1 being interpreted as a long period of time rather than a day of ordinary length.  This interpretation of the word “day” does not follow the correct usage demanded by structure and context.  The Day Age view was popular from the 1830’s into the later 20th century; but is no longer as popular as it once was.  Today this view is championed by Dr. Hugh Ross of the Reasons to Believe ministry.

The Ruin-Restoration (Gap Theory) Interpretation creates a gap of long duration between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. This view is based on a very unusual interpretation of the first two verses of Genesis.  This interpretation finds little favor today.  The Ruin Restoration view was popular from the 1830’s into the middle of the 20th century.

The Analogical Day Interpretation of creation is less well known but is held by some in the PCA.  The Analogical Day view originated in Holland in the late 1800’s and was championed in the 1990’s by Dr. C. John Collins, a PCA ordained seminary professor. The view has elements of similarities to the Day Age Interpretation and uses complex literary devices that are not easily understood by the average person.

The Framework Interpretation of creation first appeared in Holland in the 1930’s.  It became known in the U.S. in the mid-1950’s and was championed by Dr. Meredith Kline (1922-2008) an OPC ordained seminary professor. The Framework Interpretation is based on themes of creation rather than actual events and chronology. The Framework Interpretation is based on a very unusual interpretation of a single passage of Scripture – Genesis 2:5.   The interpretation and uses complex literary devices which are not easily understandable to the average person. In the PCA Report, representatives who held the Framework view emphasizes that this view “…denies all evolutionary origins and evolutionary philosophy as contradictory to the teaching of scripture.”  However, Kline states that the Framework Interpretation “…does not discountenance the theory of the evolutionary origin of man…” (footnote # 47 in a 1996 paper titled Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmology).  This made the Framework Interpretation was the first view of creation to explicitly accept evolution.

Today, evangelicals who believe in Theistic Evolution / Evolutionary Creation may reference the Analogical Day Interpretation and the Framework Interpretation, but some seem to prefer a more general approach.

In Summary:

The YEC view of Bible Interpretation has existed from creation itself.  Itis based on a plain reading of Scripture.  This plain reading is rooted in the perspicuity of scripture and God’s covenantal promise that allows all believers to know Him through His special revelation.  The YEC view of Bible interpretation does not change with the views of the scientific consensus.

In contrast, the OEC view of Bible Interpretation is based on a perceived need of some make the Bible conform to the scientific consensus of the times.  This means that new Interpretations of creation must need to be developed continually.  Since the 1830’s, OEC interpretations have departed further and further from the perspicuity and a plain reading of Scripture.

Homework:

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

  1. Begin your glossary of creation discussion terms. Establish definitions for these terms: Plain Reading, Perspicuity, Theistic Evolution / Evolutionary Creation).
  2. Read about the Day-Age, Analogical Day, and Framework Interpretations in the PCA Report.
  3. List two examples of structured writing in scripture.
  4. Start a creation notebook in a three-ring binder.

 

YEC / OEC – what are the Differences? Introduction – Living with a Name

 

During a discussion of Christian apologetics, my believing friend said, “So you are a Young Earth Creationist (YEC)?!”  To which I replied that I am a Christian who believes in the Calendar-Day view of creation.  The term Calendar-Day view is described in the Report of the Creation Study Committee (2000, to the 27th General Assembly) of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).  This report is termed the “PCA Report” and it is referred to frequently on this website.  In the PCA Report, the Calendar-Day view is also termed the literal view, traditional view, and twenty-four-hour view.  In the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) report on creation, it is termed the Days of Ordinary Length view.

Those who believe that creation was accomplished in six days of ordinary length are often called Young Earth Creationists, or “YEC’s.”   In contrast, those who hold other views of creation like to be called Old Earth Creationists or “OEC’s.”  The OEC positions are varied and include the Day-Age view, Ruin-Restoration view (Gap Theory), Analogical Days view, Framework view, and various views associated with Theistic Evolution / Evolutionary Creation.  All OEC positions a common element – God did not create the earth in six days of ordinary length.

The term “YEC” is not a good descriptive term for those who believe that creation was accomplished in six days of ordinary length.  The term YEC unnecessarily restricts the creation discussion to a discussion of the date of creation.  This marginalizes the significance of Biblical interpretation and church history; both of which are important elements of the creation discussion.

Many of who hold the Calendar-Day view of creation don’t particularly care for the term YEC.  However, name calling by those who disagree is a reality that all must live with.  On the positive side, being called a YEC can provide an opportunity to compare elements of the YEC and OEC views on creation.  This comparison will be the focus of this series.

Some of these elements the comparison of YEC and OEC views include:

  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 consequences of YEC and OEC views of creation

Before going into a discussion of the differences between the YEC and OEC views of creation, it needs to be emphasized that a person may hold either view and be a Christian. A person’s view of creation is not a salvation issue.  However, creation is a very important issue and all Cristian’s should study creation seriously.

Both YEC and OEC views have one common element – that the God of the Bible is the creator.  As such, neither view is considered scientific by the scientific consensus.  The scientific consensus does not need any god to explain reality – and certainly not the God of the Bible.

In summary, the term YEC is not an adequate term to describe a person who believe in the Calendar-Day view of creation.  However, being termed a YEC can offers an opportunity to compare the YEC and OEC views of creation.  We will be looking at a comparison of elements of the YEC and OEC views in coming posts.  I hope you will join us for this.

But first I would like to assign homework.  Your homework for our next post is to download the PCA Report and place it in a binder for continuing reference.  The PCA Report may be found at www.pcahistory.org .  Read the PCA Report and start your own research on YEC and OEC views of Bible Interpretation.

Why Study Creation? … Why Study Creation Now?

Why Study Creation? … Why Study Creation Now?
By James C. Rakestraw, PE, CFM

Why study the most controversial doctrine in the Christian Church? Wouldn’t it be easier and more fun to study something less controversial; something less divisive; something more relevant?

Here are a few reasons to study creation:

First, creation introduces us to God and to His attributes. God calls us to know Him and understand Him. We are not to glory in our own wisdom, strength, or riches. We are to glory in the fact that we know and understand the LORD (Jeremiah 9:23 & 24).   His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8 & 9). In the account of creation, we are first introduced to God’s omnipotence. We are introduced to a God who speaks things into existence and pronounces His creation good. We continue, to see God speaking results and reality throughout the remainder of scripture. We learn that our God is a God of order; He created in six days and rested on the seventh day. This sets our pattern of work and rest.

Second, creation and the chapter succeeding it are the root many important doctrines including: human kind created by God in His image, the dominion mandate, marriage, original sin, the headship of Adam, and the promise of a Savior.

Third, creation is the cornerstone of Christian apologetics. When Christians are able to defend the first 11 chapters of Genesis as historical fact they are able to effectively defend the entire Bible.

Forth, creation is an important element of the reformed faith. Chapter 4 – “Of Creation” is one of 33 chapters of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). This chapter was excerpted from the OPC website on 5/11/15 as follows:

  1. It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.
  2. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it: and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.

Here are a few good reasons to study creation now:

First, creation is the most controversial doctrine in the Christian Church today. Every Christian needs to be conversant in doctrine. We need to know what we believe and why we believe it. All Christians need to be equipped to participate in the Creation discussion.

Second, the creation controversy is clearly defined. Within the Cristian community there are only two basic positions: one position is the traditional view of creation; the other position is theistic evolution. Intermediate positions such as the Gap-Theory, and Day-Age view were once popular but are now losing ground.

Third, tools for studying creation are plentiful and readily available. All views of creation have their spokespersons, websites, books, DVDs and other information. In addition the reports on creation that were prepared by the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) show all accepted views of creation in a scholarly, and temperate manner.

Fourth, opting out of the creation discussion will cease to be a viable option for Christians. The groups that are promoting theistic evolution are very well organized and well financed. Theistic evolution controversy will be coming to your denomination and eventually to your particular church. This is why every Christian needs to be skilled in creation apologetics now!