examinescience

A personal journey into the world of Science and Human History

Month: February, 2016

Resources for your Research (Part One)

This is a general post on places to conduct your own research. I will create these posts periodically as I use websites, books, and other materials to write these blog posts and my book.

Part One of this post series is Young Earth and Old Earth Creation sources.

Young Earth Creation (Preferred term is Biblical Creationism)

Answers in Genesis is probably the best YEC website available, in my opinion. It is a self-professed apologetics site “dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.” When I want an overview of the current model of defense in the traditional, Fundamentalist view of Biblical creation, I go here.

Institute for Creation Research. I remember receiving, through my paternal grandma, newsletters from ICR when I was in the early years of my Navy career. She would write notes on the pages and send them to me. Sometimes they came with cookies, sometimes not. I probably have some stashed in books in my personal library still. They present their work with a thoroughly Biblical framework, which means they are also an apologetics website.

Old Earth Creation

Reasons to Believe is the best source I’ve found for OEC, though it simply states that it wants only to educate Christians on the integration of faith and science. I have come to love this site. Should I ever join a group someday, this would probably be the group, and I have enjoyed getting to know the local Jacksonville, FL chapter.

OldEarth.org The Old Earth website is full of information which seeks, in many ways, to do the same thing that I do in the ExamineScience Project. At the heart of what I believe is this old earth creationism, just as the authors of this site do. Whether you agree with them or not (and I’m still investigating it myself), it doesn’t make them less Christian to believe outside of the traditional six day creation of fundamental Christianity.

Evidence for God has a great post on what old earth creationists believe. If you’re interested in a fairly comprehensive position paper on OEC, this site has a great one to begin your study.

Got Questions has a great article on OEC that presents the information in an unbiased manner, though the author recognizes his presuppositions. Sadly, the author’s name isn’t mentioned, so I don’t have a way to thank him/her for the very good article.

As mentioned in the intro to this post, I will be creating more posts as I continue my research. My goal will always be to provide you with the best data available so you can arm your children with a better understanding of God’s creation and so you can see how you became you!

Of course I would always recommend that you go to your local library and conduct research of your own the old fashioned way…offline! I’ve enjoyed it very much myself. But, to get you started, here are some places to go. Enjoy your journey!

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The Gap Theory (Part Two)

I actually love the idea of the gap theory. It perfectly explains the cretaceous extinction and the time gap in the creation record. And it’s just plain fascinating. In part one I explained what the gap theory was. That post is available for your reference should you need it.

So while I think it perfectly explains the geological record, at least insofar as the cretaceous extinction is concerned (it doesn’t directly talk about the other four extinctions in the geological record), I have some issues with the doctrine.

Most importantly, believing the doctrine of Ruin Restoration (gap theory) is made difficult because it’s not actually in the Bible. There is indeed a seemingly large gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, but it has to be read into the scripture, it’s just not there in black and white. And that is the crux of the matter. Here’s what I mean:

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

The earth was destroyed by a great impact. It’s pain was more than any living thing could bear.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

But we all know that’s not how it’s written. I don’t believe that God is a “read between the lines” author. The reason I believe the rapture is plausible is because I find evidence of it in scripture. The reason I have trouble accepting the gap theory is because I don’t. I want it to be there, but it isn’t. At least not outright.

Scofield, in presenting his case in his notes on Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, says, “Earth made waste and empty by judgment (Jer 4:23-26)

Walton believes that Genesis 1:1 is a summary statement. He believes this based on two factors. First, the writer of Genesis often wrote in this manner. Secondly, the creative act concludes in 2:1 with, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.[1]

This is certainly a good explanation based on a scholarly review of the scripture. Philosophically, I don’t think that the God of Jacob, of Isaac, of David, of Peter and Paul, would make things as subjective and difficult as a gap theory. I realize that prophecy is difficult to understand and that it takes a certain amount of interpretation, but it’s at least there. The gap theory isn’t. Also, and this is most important when comparing prophesy and history, the former is going to be vague because it must be interpreted. History can be written down word for word because it already happened. Sadly, I don’t know that the gap theory is.

I’m going to review the Jeremiah passage and write about it. Perhaps it will shed some light on the subject. We will continue to review the material together too, and process it as it comes. Feel free to add your comments about the gap theory and any evidence you find for and against it.

Stay tuned to future updates by clicking HERE.

Notes:

[1] Walton, John H. The NIV Application Commentary (Genesis). Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, 2001. Pg70.

Gap Theory (Part One)

Periodically, we’ll visit the gap theory, which is one method of trying to understand why the earth could be billions of years old and not violate the principles of the traditional, fundamentalist’s reading of God’s creation.

I first learned about the gap theory sometime in my early teenage years in Kansas. I know my grandfather thought the idea was plausible, if not probable. A lot of this came from my family’s use of the Scofield Reference Bible, which suggests the gap in its reference notes. I believed that the idea warranted my attention back then, and I continue to wrestle with it in adulthood.

In short, the gap theory proposes that a “gap” exists between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. The length of the gap is undetermined. This theory is also called the Ruin-Reconstruction Interpretation. Scottish natural theologian Thomas Chalmers first championed the theory in the early 1800s.[1]

Whatever and whoever the first champion of the gap theory was, Answers in Genesis claims the theory is simply a compromise by Christians. Truthfully speaking, it more or less was a compromise. Mr. Chalmers didn’t develop the theory through theological study, though he was a Presbyterian minister, but through research in geology.

On the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) website, the case is made against the gap theory on two fronts. First, geologically, as they suggest that a ruin of this magnitude would require the End Life Event (ELE) to be so drastic that nothing would survive. Evolutionary scientist and geologists who believe that dinosaurs went extinct due to an ELE won’t accept the gap theory because it requires more destruction than their ELE theory does!

My friends, scientists and geologists who believe in evolution don’t care that the gap theory requires a ruin that is greater than the ELE. They don’t believe in the gap theory because it’s IN THE BIBLE! Out of hand they will reject the gap theory because it doesn’t first find its evidence in the fossil record.

The ICR then suggests that the gap theory can’t be real theologically because it requires acts of an unmerciful God. However, I might suggest that it was a merciful God who produced the gap. A merciful God that had to recreate everything, say with an asteroid hitting the Yucatan peninsula in the times of the dinosaurs, would have led to a fairly quick death for those involved. In fact, while some of the creation would have taken longer to die off, especially as the atmosphere would take a while to deteriorate around the world, it wouldn’t have required any more suffering than we already believe happened at the flood.

This article isn’t meant to discredit the ICR or AiG. All I’m suggesting is that the gap theory shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. It does have merit, which we will research over time and develop. I believe that it is certainly possible that God used an ELE to restart creation.

Instead of suggesting that the Bible cannot support a gap theory, let me show you how it can. In Romans 1:20, Paul writes, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

Therefore, the creation should suggest for us something of God’s power. Unfortunately for YECs, nature suggests a God who created things a very, very long time ago, long before humans walked the face of the earth. These two things seem very implausible…except for one option, which is to accept a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

The Lord knows my heart and knows that I believe in him for salvation and eternal security. Those who know me personally also know this fact and the fact that I’m fairly conservative in my theology. However, I cannot reconcile a young earth with the dinosaur bones or light from the stars.

This will certainly not be the only time we discuss the gap theory. Click HERE to receive updates on future posts regarding the study of evolution and creation.

Notes:

[1] Larson, Edward J. Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory. Modern Library Edition, 2004. pg 25.

Young Earth Creation and Faith

I am not a YEC man myself, but I’m not out to change you if that’s how you believe. This is not paramount to our faith. You and I both believe that God created the world and all that it contains, so whether he did it 6-10 thousand years ago or millions is largely irrelevant. People who tell you otherwise are simply pushing an agenda.

There are those who, in order to defend their understanding of the Bible, will claim that believing in anything other than YEC means you don’t believe in the authority of the Bible and that God created the world. I believe that people say this because they are afraid that accepting the possibility of an old earth means that they agree with evolution. Evolutionary scientists believe in an earth that is billions of years old…so if I believe the earth is old, I must believe in evolution!

This is not necessarily true. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

What I believe is that the Hebrew authors of the Bible wrote what God told them to write, and what God told them to write was what our spiritual forefathers needed to know. To my point, God needed them to know that he created everything and that life comes from him. That’s the same message we need to know today. It is a message I acknowledge and defend.

Yet I believe that the generations listed in the Old Testament (or Jewish scriptures) don’t necessarily constitute all of the generations that have existed. Why should they? God needed our forefathers to have a basic understanding of the spiritual timeline. It isn’t important if every generation is listed.

That’s just one example. We’ll go through more of them as time passes. We’re in no hurry to close the impasse between modern science and Genesis.

Those who are interested in keeping up with this research project may do so by clicking THIS link.