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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Debate Rages On…At Many Levels

Posted by jlwile on December 12, 2011

I spend a lot of time discussing the creation/evolution debate. It is a popular topic on this blog, I have an entire series of young-earth creationist textbooks that discuss the debate, and I even discuss it among my own friends, many of whom are either atheists or theistic evolutionists. Every now and again, I even get the chance to publicly debate an evolutionist. This is a rare occurrence, however, as it is incredibly difficult to find an evolutionist willing to actually defend his or her view in a public debate. My last opportunity was in 2009, when I debated Dr. Robert A. Martin, vertebrate paleontologist and author of Missing Links: Evolutionary Concepts and Transitions Through Time. The debate was held at West Kentucky Community and Technical college. The audience was huge, and their response was enthusiastic. After the debate, I talked with many students, some of whom disagreed with me. Nevertheless, they all said that they appreciated the debate and were very happy that they attended.

Of course, the bigger question is whether or not such debates make any difference at all. Do any minds actually get changed as a result of a debate? I can tell you that mine did. I was an atheist at one time, and what led me down the road to accepting the truth of Christianity was an “Atheism versus Christianity” debate that I attended. The debate made me actually investigate the evidence for the existence of God, and when I did so, I found the evidence to be overwhelming. As a result, I ended up believing in God and, eventually, I came to realize that He is the God of the Old and New Testaments. However, I often wonder if a debate has changed anyone’s mind on the creation/evolution issue.

Well, I received an E-MAIL from a homeschool graduate who is now a biology major pursuing an MD/PhD. He says:

I was home educated from preschool all the way through high school and thoroughly enjoyed all of your science textbooks throughout high school…In fact your biology textbook was what got me interested in science in the first place.

It’s nice to know that contrary to what Dr. Jerry Coyne claims, good young-earth creationist textbooks do encourage students to study the sciences.

The reason I am blogging about his E-MAIL, however, is that he tells me from his own experience that a good debate about evolution can change people’s minds.

He says that his humanities class at university required the students to do a formal debate, and the professor asked for possible topics. When he suggested evolution:

…the professor’s response was “That’s a good topic… but… who would argue against it?” She (as well as the rest of the class) seemed surprised at the idea that anyone would even think to question the theory.

This is a typical response for those who have not investigated the issue. Most people who know little about evolution seem to think it is a scientific fact, probably because they have been told as much by irresponsible educators and scientists. However, a little education goes a long way. The student wrote:

But after we had a class discussion on it, (which was basically the rest of the class vs. me, and thankfully due to your blog I was able to answer everything that the class brought up which they thought supported Evolution), and after the professor read my essay on the problems with evolution (which we had to write before the debate), she began to realize that I had some strong arguments and presented my case with plenty of evidence.

So in the end, the debate happened. What was the result?

After the debate, the class voted unanimously that my team won the debate against Evolution.

Now please don’t get me wrong here. I am not saying that because the class voted the anti-evolution side the winner, they are now all creationists. I have no idea whether even one student became a creationist (or even an anti-evolutionist) after listening to the debate. However, I can say this – their minds were clearly changed when it comes to the certitude of evolution.

When this student brought up the idea of a debate, everyone else in the class (including the professor) thought no one could possibly argue against evolution. By the end of the debate, however, the class agreed that the anti-evolution side won. If nothing else, then, you can see that the class learned that there are real scientific issues that speak against evolution. As a result, regardless of whether or not they changed their minds about the reality of evolution, at least they learned that the case is not as clear-cut as many irresponsible educators and scientists want you to believe.

In my mind, that is a big victory for science, at least for one university-level humanities class.

Comments

102 Responses to “The Debate Rages On…At Many Levels”
  1. Steve B says:

    Jay … You are right that a reference I made to Mark at one point was intended for you. Unfortunately, my request that you stop patronizing me went unheeded once again. You just can’t seem to resist the temptation to imply that I must not have read the arguments of old-earth theologians: “You shouldn’t reiterate what they have already answered, because that’s what makes it sound as if you haven’t read them.” In a debate, arguments from the opposing side are always referenced. They must be, in order to demonstrate why they are wrong. So, one more time, I HAVE read the arguments of old-earth theologians, and believers in a local flood, and find them utterly unconvincing.

    Before using the phrase “Good Lord” I carefully considered whether you might criticize this choice of words. I decided that you would understand that my intentions were completely pure. Obviously, I misjudged you. Your criticism was petty and disappointing – and, once again, patronizing.

    The paragraph that begins, “You ask …” and ends, “… this argument has been answered by many local flood adherents,” attempts to rationalize God’s command for Noah to build a 450 foot long ark – and Noah’s subsequent fulfillment of this command – to save him from a 22 foot flood by suggesting that this apparently absurd situation is a mystery that we cannot answer, because we cannot know the mind of God (In your words, “God’s ways are not our ways, Steve, and I don’t ever want to come close to assuming that I know much of anything about the mind of God”). As clearly as anything you have said, your position on this convoluted argument of local flood adherents indicates that you have gone way overboard in your effort to be tolerant. The draft of the ark may very well have been greater than 22 feet (it was 45 feet high and loaded with a very significant cargo), which means that it probably wouldn’t have even been able to float in a 22 foot high flood. This fact results in the preposterous situation of Noah spending 120 years building an ark that he would never be able to use for its intended purpose. The God that I am familiar with would never make such a useless command. Of course, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that the ark was used – for about a year, in fact (Gen. 8:14 teaches that the total length of time that Noah and his family were in the ark was 371 days).

    Genesis 7:23 & 24 declares, “Thus He [God] blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. And the water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.” I must ask you, Jay: do you honestly believe that the notion that this massive destruction could have resulted from a 22 foot high flood in one little corner of the Middle East is reasonable? If your answer to this question is “yes,” I can guarantee you that you are the only young-earth creationist in the world who would do so. No YEC that I have ever come across would consider such a notion reasonable; they would call it absolutely bizarre.

  2. Steve B says:

    Obviously, there was a problem in my attempt to enter my comments on this blog last night! It was probably my fault. Sorry!!

  3. jlwile says:

    Steve, I am sorry you had problems entering your comment. I don’t know what the problem is, but I will reply to the comment that I do see.

    I am still sorry that you see my replies to you as patronizing. They are most certainly not intended to be. Once again, if you make arguments that have all been clearly answered by local Flood advocates, it sounds like you don’t know that they have been answered. All I was doing was pointing out that they have been, by several different theologians. I understand that you have to present opposing arguments, but you could easily amend those already-answered arguments with, “I know that local Flood advocates answer that with X, but here is why I find that unconvincing.” You have not done that, however. This makes me compelled to point out that such answers are readily available.

    I am really sorry that you find my desire to respect the Lord’s name “petty and disappointing – and, once again, patronizing.” I personally think we should honor the Lord by using his name properly. I don’t see how that’s petty or patronizing. I personally find someone using the Lord’s name as an exclamation to be disappointing.

    Once again, you accuse me of going overboard in an attempt to be tolerant, but I assure you, that’s not what I am doing. I honestly don’t think we can know the reasons why God does most of the things He does. Can you explain why He created the world in six 24-hour days rather than just all at once or rather than along some other timeline? Can you explain why He tested Abraham, even though He knew what was in Abraham’s heart? The fact is that God does work in mysterious ways, and there could be all sorts of reasons that He told Noah to make a big ark, even if the Flood was local. Once again, local flood advocates have posited such things in many of their writings. Some say that it was part of Noah’s journey of faith, just as being willing to sacrifice his son was a part of Abraham’s journey of faith. Some say that Noah was to be a symbol for future generations. Others say that there were some specific flora and fauna that existed only in the region, and that in order for the quick recovery of ecosystems to support those local flora and fauna, representatives from all basic kinds of animals needed to be saved. I personally have no idea, and I don’t try to understand why God does things. I just try to honestly see what Scripture says He did.

    You might be right that the ark’s draft could have been deeper than 22 feet. However, I am not sure that’s true. At minimum, I would like to see some actual calculations to indicate this. Even if that is the case, however, it doesn’t destroy the local Flood view. It just means that the proper translation (in the view of local Flood advocates) is that the water was 15 cubits above the highest hill in the area.

    You quote Genesis 7:23 & 24 and ask, “I must ask you, Jay: do you honestly believe that the notion that this massive destruction could have resulted from a 22 foot high flood in one little corner of the Middle East is reasonable?” The problem is, if I use perfectly acceptable translation techniques, the passages could read, “Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the land; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. And the water prevailed upon the land one hundred and fifty days.” If so, then yes, a 22-foot Flood could devastate the land, if “land” refers to a local region. I am not sure whether or not you are familiar with flood dynamics, but I have studied them a bit. Floods of significantly less depth do, indeed, devastate local areas, because there is an enormous amount of power in just a small amount of water. Now…if you are asking me whether or not that’s what I believe happened, the answer is a clear, “No!” However, it is at least a possibility, and it is 100% consistent with the physics of fluids with which I am familiar.

    You end your comment with, “I can guarantee you that you are the only young-earth creationist in the world who would do so. No YEC that I have ever come across would consider such a notion reasonable; they would call it absolutely bizarre.” This is the third sweeping statement you have made in our conversation. Since the other two (that all OECs reject a worldwide Flood and that all YECs say that science supports their view) were wrong, there is no reason to think that this one is correct. I seriously doubt that I am the only YEC who has studied this topic honestly enough to admit that the local Flood is at least a possibility.

    However, let’s suppose you are correct. Let’s suppose I am the only YEC on the planet to think that way. So what? If I were worried about what everyone else thought, I wouldn’t be a Christian. If, as a Christian, I were worried about what everyone else thought, I would be a theistic evolutionist, as that’s what most Christians believe. If, as a Christian and anti-evolutionist, I was worried about what everyone else thought, I would be an old-earth creationist, as that’s what most Christian anti-evolutionists believe. In fact, I am a Christian YEC specifically because I don’t care what others think. I care what Scripture and science say. In my view, Scripture can be interpreted reasonably in such a way as to allow for a local Flood. I don’t believe that’s the correct interpretation of Scripture, but it is a possible one. If I am the only YEC who is willing to admit that, then so be it. Until someone can actually show me reasons why a local Flood is not a possible interpretation of Genesis 6-8, then I must honor Scripture enough to admit that it is a possibility. You most certainly have not done so.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I have a question:

    Does Steve need to acknowledge that the local flood view is reasonable or just that it is completely unreasonable or not heretical?

    Secondly, is there a point at which – if a person doesn’t think 6-day creation and local flood and parting of Red Sea and sun standing ‘still’ and Jonah swallowed by a whale, is correct interpretation (favoring naturalism) – it would be reasonable to wonder about their view of Scripture as a whole –> Do they really consider it ‘infallible’ as the essentials doctrine would says they should?

  5. jlwile says:

    Elizabeth, I don’t think Steve has to do anything. I personally think that the local flood view is reasonable but highly unlikely to be true. I think that’s the correct way to approach the issue, and I would love for all Christians to see it that way. However, as I have said before, I am not concerned about what people believe on such an issue, since it is not a essential part of the Christian faith.

    In terms of a person’s belief in the Bible, you need to distinguish between “inerrant” and “infallible.” Someone who thinks the Bible is inerrant thinks there is not a single mistake in the Bible. It is wholly accurate, as long as it is translated accurately and understood properly. A person who believes the Bible is inerrant automatically believes it is infallible. That’s what I believe. A person who believes the Bible is only infallible believes there might be mistakes in the Bible, because humans penned the words and humans make mistakes. However, the essential teachings of the Bible (salvation, morality, etc.) are all absolutely correct. I don’t believe that, but I know conservative, devout Christians who do.

    The other thing you have to remember is that there are parts of the Bible that are clearly not meant to be taken literally (Jesus’ command to cut out your eye if it causes you to sin, for example) and other parts that are clearly meant to be taken literally (the accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection, for example). However, whether or not some parts of the Bible are meant to be taken literally is a bit less clear. As a result, I think Bible-believing Christians can disagree about whether or not parts of the Bible are historical narrative, metaphorical, poetic, etc. They can also disagree on how certain parts should be translated, because sometimes that isn’t very clear.

    Now obviously, if someone doesn’t agree with the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, that person is not a Christian and does not have a proper view of the Bible. If the person does believe all the essentials but has a reasonable interpretation that differs from mine on some non-essential issue, I will not say that he or she has an improper view of Scripture.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I meant to say above — “that it is not completely unreasonable”

    In any case, yes, Infallibility (not necessarily in inerrancy) is essential to the faith.

    My question is this though: If say a theologian were to explain as naturalism the things we recognize as miraculous as a *general approach* to understanding the Bible, we would all rightly be a little suspect. Does that theologian really consider the Scriptures as 100% truthful and supremely morally excellent?

    For example, it is not necessarily bothersome that Norm Geisler or the early church fathers regard(ed) the Creation as allegory or metaphor and adhere to an OE view, but let’s say this was their general approach to interpreting the Creation, Flood, 10 Plagues, parting of the Red Sea, Sun at Gibeon, resurrection of the Zarepheth widow’s son, etc, etc — naturalistic as opposed to miraculous. There will probably be suspicion of their regard for the Scriptures as ‘infallible’ and I don’t think we would consider them great theologians.

    See what I mean, Dr Wile? What do you think?

    Liberal theology flirts with the line here and honestly I don’t know where it is exactly, but at some point it would be crossed.

  7. jlwile says:

    Elizabeth, I strongly agree that if a person tries to explain a large number of Biblical miracles as naturalistic, then his or her theology is quite suspect. I can’t imagine how someone like that could claim the Bible is infallible, since many of its teachings are based on the miraculous nature of God’s work.

    However, I do think you have to make a distinction between theistic evolution or a local Flood and naturalism. I don’t know many theistic evolutionists who are naturalists. There are some, of course, but most see God as “pushing” evolution along. In their minds, evolution can’t happen naturalistically (or at least the origin of life can’t). That’s most certainly what the data indicate. To them, then, the fact that it happened is a miracle – a miracle done by God. In the same way, while a local Flood is easier to understand than a global Flood, the fact that it happened right when God wanted it to happen indicates that at least the initiation of it was miraculous. Also, even if it was local, it was still the most devastating Flood ever recorded by a long, long shot. Thus, that implies something other than nature was behind it.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Yes, I agree with that distinction. ‘Naturalism’ implies a sort of religion — giving glory/credit to a Process instead of a Creator which most OEers, theistic evolutionists, local flood people would not be on board with.

    The Creation was ‘of’ God and that is an essential of the faith.

    It’s all about the Source of Authority.

    For Catholic theology/some forms of Protestantism, it’s Church Tradition + the Bible

    Evangelical theology = the Bible

    Liberal theology = the Bible + Human Reason

    When does human reason weigh too heavily in a person’s interpretation or understanding of God and the Bible — it’s a question to be considered.

  9. jlwile says:

    I like your distinctions between groups of Christians, Elizabeth. It is a good way to look at it. Your question is a good one. I guess one place to start is to say that human reason can help us understand the authority of Scripture. However, it should not be considered equal (or even close) to it.

  10. Vivielle says:

    Thanks for your response Dr. Wile. I found it interesting that you said that there are biologists who say “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution” as all of my biology professors have said that multiple times. I really want sometime to ask them why evolution is so necessary, because the more I study chemistry (and biology) the more convinced I am that evolution is ridiculous.

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  11. jlwile says:

    Thanks, Vivielle. Have a wonderful Christmas, too!

  12. gracekalman says:

    Dr. Wile, I have to thank you again for that debate. I had an argumentative essay assignment that I was agonizing over. I couldn’t even deside on a topic. Now I have one, thanks to you. Here’s what I came up with:

    One of the great theological debates today revolves around Noah’s flood. One side proclaims that the Bible clearly shows that the flood as being world wide. The other side says that the Bible can be translated just as reasonably to mean a local flood. Other issues also complicate the matter, especially that of Bible versions. I believe that the King James Bible presents the flood as world wide, providing at least three problems for proponents of a local flood.

    The first glitch in the local flood system can be found in Genesis chapter seven verse eleven. It reads, “…the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up…”. It seems rather ridiculous to imagine that God would break up “the fountains of the great deep” to produce a local flood. But what exactly are “the fountains of the great deep”? On the surface, it seems obvious (at least to me), but the proponents of a local flood have their own translation for it. “Fountains” can mean “springs”, and someone even suggested irrigation canals as “the great deep”. In such cases, a concordance definition is indispensible. According to Strong’s, Tehowm, the word translated “deep” means “an abyss (as a surging mass of water), espec. the deep (the main sea or the subterranean water-supply):–deep (place), depth” (Strong, 192). The great deep then must almost certainly refer to the ocean, or the combined subterranean water supply. So here we see springs breaking up and releasing a huge amount of water, much more than the amount needed for a local flood. Remember, this is just the first problem!

    The second problem revolves around the word “earth”. The two different translations of “earth” necessarily present the biggest translation difference in the debate. The word appears many times in Genesis chapters six through eight. Proponents for a local flood point out that the word for “earth” can also be translated “land”, meaning a nation, and therefore a local flood. Let’s head back to Strong’s for two words this time, as there are two different Hebrew words translated “earth” in these chapters. First, `erets, meaning “…the earth (at large, or partitively a land)” (Strong, 20). It would seem that they have a point with this one, as it can be translated either way. However `erets is not the only word used. In Genesis 7:4, God says, “and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” Here we have an apparent contradiction. He can’t mean everything on the face of the earth, because He is saving Noah and all the animals on the ark. Strong’s Concordance solves the problem for us: “adamah . . . soil . . . ground” (Strong, 9). This matches up with God’s definition of earth, found in Genesis 1:10 “And God called the dry land Earth…” Not only that, but the Hebrew word used there is not adamah but erets! In conclusion, it would appear that God meant all the dry land when he said earth, and therefore could not be referring to a specific land. The entire earth, all the dry land, was covered by water. After water and earth, it only makes sense to move onto the sky.

    The last problem with the local flood argument can be found in Genesis 7:19 “And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.” Two words in this passage completely obliterate the local flood argument, namely, the words “whole heaven”. According to Strong’s, heaven means exactly what it appears to mean: sky. All the high hills under the whole sky were under water. All of God’s creation, water, earth, and sky, have shown the local flood theory to be obsolete.

    These three points definitely puncture the armor of local flood proponents. The King James Bible spells destruction for it. Even a cursory reading of the three flood chapters shows the theory ridiculous. The local flood theory may have it advocates, but it has formidable opponents: not only water, earth, and sky, but the also the awesome God who created them.

    I still admit that I can see where they are coming from if they use modern translations, but my King James Authorized Version, 1611 doesn’t give it much room. Thank you so much!

  13. gracekalman says:

    And my amazing father just dropped another bombshell.
    1 Pet. 3:5-7 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

    I have such an awesome God!

  14. jlwile says:

    Grace, I am glad you got inspiration for your essay from this thread. I do think you gave the local Flood argument the short end of the stick, however. You say that the “deep” released too much water for a local Flood, but that same word is used in Deuteronomy 8:7, and it clearly doesn’t mean too much water then. It means gentle streams that water a fertile land. In addition, the KJV translates “adamah” this way in Isaiah 1:7: “Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your LAND, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.” Thus, it doesn’t just mean soil or ground. It can mean “land,” just as local Flood advocates claim. This is why it’s important to read experts in Hebrew on these issues.

    Finally, the words “whole heaven” need not refer to the entire sky surrounding the entire earth. In fact, the Bible uses language like that quite often when it doesn’t mean everything. In Genesis 13:9, for example, we read, “Is not the whole land before thee?” However, it means only the land of Canaan. In 1 Chronicles 14:17, we read, “And the fame of David went out into all lands; and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all nations.” However, it is unlikely that the nations in North and South America learned of David. Clearly, it means all the nations of the KNOWN worlds. This is why it is important to read theologians on these issues.

    Rio already brought up 2 Peter 3:6 in an earlier comment, and as I said to him, local Flood advocates say that this can be interpreted to mean the world as it was known back then. Thus, this refers to the governments, structures, etc., in the region where the Flood occurred. They argue that it can’t mean the whole world perished, because it didn’t. The world still existed after the Flood, even if you believe in a worldwide Flood. So both the use of the word “perished” and the use of the word “world” are not universal.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    Yes, we mortals definitely have God-given capabilities in the reasoning/intelligence department that he intends us to use to understand Him! The Scripture is our primary and ultimate Authority. Of course, there will also be things we can’t or explain thus the purpose/meaning of Faith.

    I changed my view on Revelation regarding the nature of the ‘Beast’ and the ‘worldwide’ worship of Him that will take to take placed based on similar reasoning as that of local flood advocates. I was very surprised that I did this!!

    Here are the Scriptures involved:

    Daniel Ch.3:7

    ‘Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.’

    …We know from history that all people of every language did not worship the image of gold — only those under Neb’s influence.

    Revelation 13:3
    The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them…7 And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.[b]

    So– It could mean that worship of the Beast extends only as far as the major influence of the Beast which may not be ‘worldwide’, as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar and the Daniel Scriptures.

    I don’t know it says in Greek!

    But I have long strongly adhered to the global flood view though I can’t remember exactly why.

    Dr. Wile, can you tell us the main reason(s) you think the flood was worldwide?

  16. Steve B says:

    Jay … As our recent dialogue on your blog has progressed, I became increasingly uncomfortable, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I think I now know what was troubling me. You say that you believe in young earth creation. If this is true, it seems reasonable that you would wholeheartedly support the work of the three great creationist organizations in the world, AIG (Answers in Genesis), ICR (Institute for Creation Research) and CMI (Creation Ministries International). Those involved in these organizations share some uncompromising beliefs, including the following:
    a. The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the earth and the universe.
    b. The various original life forms (kinds), including mankind, were made by direct creative acts of God. The living descendants of any of the original kinds (apart from man) may represent more than one species today, reflecting the genetic potential within the original kind. Only limited biological changes (including mutational deterioration) have occurred naturally within each kind since creation.
    c. The great Flood of Genesis was an actual historic event, worldwide (global) in its extent and effect.
    d. The special creation of Adam (the first man) and Eve (the first woman), and their subsequent fall into sin, is the basis for the necessity of salvation for mankind.
    e. Death (both physical and spiritual) and bloodshed entered into this world subsequent to and as a direct consequence of man’s sin.
    f. Scripture teaches a recent origin for man and the whole creation, spanning approximately 4,000 years from creation to Christ.
    g. The days in Genesis do not correspond to geologic ages, but are six [6] consecutive twenty-four [24] hour days of creation.
    h. The Noachian Flood was a significant geological event and much (but not all) fossiliferous sediment originated at that time.
    i. The gap theory has no basis in Scripture.
    j. The view, commonly used to evade the implications or the authority of biblical teaching, that knowledge and/or truth may be divided into secular and religious, is rejected.
    k. By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.

    As you can see, belief that the theory of evolution is a complete lie, that the Genesis flood was WORLDWIDE in scope, that Adam was created directly by God as the first man on the 6th day of creation (each of which was 24 hours in length) and that the world is “recent” (CMI)/ approximately 6,000 years old (AIG) are fundamental tenets of these statements.

    Very significantly, these beliefs are foundational for these organizations; everyone who works for them must subscribe to them. As some like to say about the laws that God inscribed on the stone tablets for Moses: they are Commandments, not suggestions! The beliefs encoded in these organizations statement of beliefs serves to illuminate the difference in our world views. I subscribe wholeheartedly to these beliefs. I believe, in other words, that they ARE true – every one of them. You, on the other hand, do not endorse these beliefs unreservedly. From everything I have read both from and about you, to you, they are PROBABLY true, or they MIGHT be true. That is, you grant that alternative views – such as the theory of evolution and a local flood – are reasonable and you have no problem with those who hold them. On the other hand, supporters of these creationist organizations, which includes me, emphatically oppose such notions, believing them to be completely wrong. A perfect example of this tolerance is your embrace of Peter Enns, a Senior Fellow at BioLogos (I am aware that he may no longer be associated with this organization). The central purpose of BioLogos is to encourage Christians to accept the theory of evolution. Belief in a local flood is another of their central tenets. I don’t know whether BioLogos endorses it or not, but Peter Enns believes that the story of Adam and Eve is a metaphor for the nation of Israel, not a literal account of the world’s first human beings. On this issue, also, I believe that he is entirely mistaken (although I understand that in addition to the literal meaning of the account, it may very well have a symbolic purpose also).

    In my opinion, Peter Enns is a false teacher who stands condemned by the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4: 3 & 4: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” I do not question Enns’ Christianity, for in the end such a question is between God and each individual. In my opinion, though, Enns introduces “destructive heresies” (!! Peter 2:1) into the world, and “because of them, the way of the truth is maligned” (verse 2). In my opinion, your embrace of him (I read about it on the Internet) speaks volumes about your own views.

    I suspect that, as usual, you will probably claim that my judgments here, about both you and Peter Enns, are wrong. Such denunciation would be unfounded, however, because the judgments are my OPINIONS. You may not agree with them, but you cannot call them wrong. They may be wrong from your perspective, but that is not the perspective from which they were formed. They arose from the entries you entered in your blog and the information I gleaned about you from a number of sites on the Internet.

    So, do I consider you to be a brother in Christ? Based upon some of your earlier comments, I doubt if you care. In any event, as I said earlier, I cannot judge one’s relationship with Christ. From everything I have learned about you, I would have to answer this question in the affirmative, though. It just baffles me that one who claims to be a believer in young-earth creation could be so accepting of views that are completely at odds with such a worldview.

  17. jlwile says:

    Elizabeth, I think the Flood was worldwide because it is the most reasonable view of the text. While I agree that the Bible often uses phrases like “the whole world” to mean something other than every part of the world, I do think that the Flood account as a whole talks about amazing devastation, and it is easiest to understand that devastation as being the result of a worldwide Flood. While I understand the local-Flood advocates’ position, I don’t think their interpretation keeps to the overall tone and message of the text, which is a worldwide Flood. Also the concept of a worldwide Flood is not unique to the Bible or to the Middle-Eastern culture. It is in many cultures that couldn’t have possibly been in communication when the event was recorded. That lends a lot of evidence to the idea that there was a global Flood. Finally, a global Flood fits very nicely in the narrative of a young earth.

  18. jlwile says:

    Steve, I am not sure why you think that any young-earth creationist would wholeheartedly support AiG, CMI, and ICR. I am on an AiG video (the one on global warming), but I don’t wholeheartedly support them. I have worked closely with one of ICR’s scientists (Frank Sherwin) and have shared the stage with their current director (Dr. John Morris), but I don’t wholeheartedly support them, either. I have no collaboration experience with CMI, but I could easily collaborate with them as well, but that doesn’t mean I wholeheartedly support them. There are aspects of each ministry with which I disagree. I am not sure how that means I am not a young-earth creationist. Correct me if I am wrong, but being a young-earth creationist means believing in creation and a young earth. I believe both of those things. Thus, it seems to me that it would be obvious that I am a young-earth creationist.

    For the record, I believe in (a)-(d) and (f)-(k), but I disagree that the idea of dividing knowledge into secular and religious is “commonly used to evade the implications or the authority of biblical teaching.” Of course, as you stated, I don’t endorse the beliefs unreservedly. Unlike you, I don’t see them as equivalent to the Commandments as recorded by Moses. The reason is simple: the beliefs you laid out are the result of fallible man’s interpretation of God’s infallible word. I think they are the most reasonable interpretation, but I don’t put the same level of faith in an interpretation of Scripture as I do in Scripture itself. As for (e), the concept is, at best, extraBiblical. It certainly can’t be supported by Scripture. There might have been bloodshed before the Fall, or there might not have been. There is just no way to know, since Scripture doesn’t say. The only thing we know for sure is that people didn’t die before the Fall.

    I am not sure why you think I “embrace” Dr. Peter Enns. I simply defended him from an untrue attack by Ken Ham, and I noted some of his reasonable teachings (here and here). As I made clear in those posts, I disagree with a lot of what Dr. Enns says. However, as a Christian, I felt it necessary to defend him against an untrue attack, even though it came from a fellow young-earth creationist. I strongly disagree with you that Dr. Enns is a “false teacher.” He is wrong in much of what he says, but he is not introducing “destructive heresies.” Just because he and I disagree doesn’t automatically mean that he is teaching heresy and I am teaching Truth!

    You say, “It just baffles me that one who claims to be a believer in young-earth creation could be so accepting of views that are completely at odds with such a worldview.” Once again, I don’t accept the idea of a local Flood. I disagree with it. I don’t accept a lot of what Dr. Enns says. I disagree with it. However, I am willing to listen to what proponents of such ideas have to say, and I am willing to admit when they have a point. Rather than simply saying that because I disagree with them they must be enemies of Christ, I actually listen to them. When I do, I find that many of them are not enemies of Christ at all. Instead, they are serious, devout Christians who are interpreting the Scriptures in a reasonable, self-consistent way. I am sorry that this causes you so much distress.

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Does Dr. Enns adhere to the 9 Essentials? Probably, yes.
    He is a Christian and not a ‘false teacher’

    Is Dr Enns’ ‘general approach’ to discuss or expound on Scripture in such a way that some level of doubt is communicated/perceived regarding its truthfulness and supreme moral excellence? Does he lean a little too much on human reason to interpret the Scriptures and understand God?Some would say yes and that is where the controversy lies, not necessarily in his Creation or flood views.

    I heard him at the Convention last year discussing the theology of the Flood. Lots and lots of reflection on the horror of the Flood and how God changed his mind and undid his Creation, but zero questioning about how bad these people may have gotten. What were they doing to deserve such a terrible judgment?

    This is what ‘liberal theology’ does. Of course it’s ok to question God’s intent in discussing the Scripture, but frequently in the case of liberalism, it is out of balance and done in such a way that some would say it casts doubt.
    Do they really believe in Infallibility?

    Think of the difference between Mary questioning the angel about the Virgin birth and Zechariah questioning the angel about John the Baptist’s birth. One question expresses a legitimate desire for understanding and the other is evidently expressing doubt although, interestingly, I don’t know you can get that flavor just from the words of the text. We know it expressed doubt b/c of the discipline he incurred.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    What type of doubt is acceptable and how much of it? When do teachers, professors, preachers cross ‘the line’, as Zechariah did? How do we hold them accountable?

  21. Steve B says:

    Jay … First of all, I am very impressed by, and thankful for, the expeditiousness of your replies. In checking my email after coming home from church this morning, I was completely surprised to find your reply. I also want to let you know that this dialogue has been very helpful in sharpening the presentation of my views about this subject. For example, after you pointed it out, I realized that I should never have claimed that “all OEC’s reject a worldwide flood.” The OEC’s I had in mind here were (what I call) TRUE evolutionists – those who believe that the world evolved entirely as a result of random, natural events, without any intervention whatsoever by any supernatural Being (which includes, of course, (for the most part) the authors of the biology textbooks that are so ubiquitous in our nations’ public schools), as well as virtually all theistic evolutionists and progressive creationists (like followers of Reasons to Believe, whose leader, Hugh Ross, believes that the Flood was restricted to Mesopotamia). Unfortunately, in making this sweeping generalization, I failed to consider those who believe in such theories as the Gap Theory. It was a foolish mistake, and you were right to criticize it. I will certainly be more careful in the future!

    Regarding my comment about the beliefs of the creationist organizations’ Statement of Faith, or Beliefs (“As some like to say about the laws that God inscribed on the stone tablets for Moses: they are Commandments, not suggestions!”), for those who subscribe to them, in regards to their authority, I believe that they are virtually equivalent to the Ten Commandments. About them, you said, “Unlike you, I don’t see them as equivalent to the Commandments as recorded by Moses. The reason is simple: the beliefs you laid out are the result of fallible man’s interpretation of God’s infallible Word.” There is a problem with this claim: every doctrine is the result of fallible man’s interpretation of God’s infallible Word. For example, I’m sure that you would agree that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is an absolutely fundamental tenet of the Christian faith. That is, if someone denies the Resurrection, they cannot be a born-again Christian. As Paul states in I Cor. 15: 17, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and you are still in your sins.” Born-again Christians, including me and, I’m sure, you, believe that Paul was referring to the physical Resurrection of Christ. There are some people who call themselves Christians, however – including an increasing number of Christian leaders and pastors – who believe that the Resurrection was only spiritual, not physical. Exactly the same applies to belief in the virgin birth of Christ. According to a poll from The Ontario consultants on Religious Tolerance, a 1998 poll of 7,441 Protestant clergy in the U.S. showed that 19% of American Lutherans, 34% of American Baptists, 44% of Episcopalians, 49% of Presbyterians, and 60% of Methodists do not believe in the Virgin Birth of Christ. Furthermore, a poll of 103 Roman Catholic priests, Anglican priests, and Protestant ministers/pastors in the UK found that about 25% did not believe in the virgin birth. Yet, 97% of the same group do not believe the world was created in six days, and 80% do not believe in the literal existence of Adam and Eve.

    The point here, I assume, is rather obvious: as stated previously, every doctrine is the result of fallible man’s interpretation of God’s infallible Word. Ultimately, therefore, deciding about which doctrines, or words of Scripture, are infallible is up to the individual. And here is where your decision about what biblical teachings are infallible differs from mine, and followers of the 3 creationist organizations. For us, God’s teaching about a worldwide flood and a six literal day creation are just as certain as His teaching about the Resurrection and the Virgin birth. As far as I can tell, to you these teachings are not on the same level of infallibility. Thus, although I assume you would strongly take issue with one who argues that the Resurrection was not physical, or that Jesus was not born from a virgin, you are more tolerant of one who believes in a local flood and much-longer-than-24-hour days of creation. Your judgment concerning absolute truth is not exactly the same as mine. Due to my belief that these teachings are certain, naturally I oppose contrary interpretations.

    In regards to your comment about Peter Enns, that “He is wrong in much of what he says, but he is not introducing “destructive heresies,” I completely disagree. As I said earlier, I believe that he certainly is guilty of introducing such heresies, many of them, in fact. In the 19th century, the Duke of Argyle made a profound statement: “To accept as a truth that which is not a truth, or to fail in distinguishing the sense in which it is not true, is an evil having consequences that are indeed incalculable. There are some subjects in which one mistake of this kind will poison all the wells of truth and affect with fatal error the whole circle of our thoughts.” As far as I’m concerned Peter Enns, as well as all the others at BioLogos, are guilty of introducing lies that can have the precise affect specified by the Duke of Argyle.

    Here is an example of why I believe that these destructive heresies are so dangerous. I believe that belief in a local flood lends credence to an ancient earth … belief in an ancient earth provides support for the theory of evolution, which demands such ages … belief in the theory of evolution provides evidence for an atheistic world view. Pretty straightforward. I want to make it very clear that I believe that the central tenets of young earth creationism are ALL strongly supported not only by Scripture but by the scientific evidence as well.

    An obvious question that arises here is whether I believe that heresies such as belief in the local flood and the theory of evolution prohibit salvation. I definitely do not. As wrong as these beliefs are, I believe that there are many saved Christians who, unfortunately, hold them. We are all sinners and thus susceptible to sinful beliefs. I believe also, however, that those who promote these lies (yes, I believe that both the local flood theory and the theory of evoluton are lies)– such as Peter Enns – will one day be held accountable for it. “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” James 3:1

  22. jlwile says:

    Elizabeth, the answer to your question about Dr. Enns adhering to the 9 essentials is, “Yes.” He has specifically stated:

    My Christian faith is expressed in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the historic expressions of Christian orthodoxy. I believe in the universal and humanly unalterable grip of both death and sin and the work of the Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in redeeming humanity from them by the deep love and mercy of the Father. The teachings of Scripture as a whole and Jesus in particular direct my life as a follower of Christ—as a husband, father, church-goer, scholar, and human being.

    I love your distinction between Mary’s questioning and Zechariah’s questioning. It is a good one. I am not really sure how much doubt is acceptable, however. I know that doubt can aid faith, especially being able to express that doubt. This is one of the reasons I get impatient with many of my fellow YECs. They often offer absurdly simple answers to serious questions that their fellow Christians raise and then castigate their brothers and sisters for doubting them or their interpretation of Scripture. I am not sure how much doubt is too much. Like most serious questions in Christendom, I don’t think this has a simple answer.

  23. jlwile says:

    Steve, I think discussion is very beneficial to my readers. That’s why I am diligent in answering your posts and all posts that come to my blog, except for the profane ones or the ones that are too far afield. There are, unfortunately, a lot of blogs that don’t allow any discussion at all. They seem to treat their words as gospel truth, allowing no one to object in any way. That is unfortunate, because many of these same blogs (some that are Christian) distort the truth significantly, and there is no way to correct them or even start a discussion with them. That is too bad, but it seems to be the way many people handle dissent – they simply do not allow it, period. I, on the other hand, have no problem with dissent. I don’t think that my words are gospel truth, so I am happy to have a discussion about them.

    I am very, very sorry to hear that you hold the ideas of men to be “virtually equivalent to the Ten Commandments.” This is not healthy for any Christian. Scripture should be your guide, not the words of fallible men! I also strongly disagree with your statement that “every doctrine is the result of fallible man’s interpretation of God’s infallible Word.” That is clearly false. You mention the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, for example. That has nothing to do with interpretation. No matter how you try to translate the original languages, the Bible clearly says that Christ’s resurrection was physical. I know there are people who deny this, but that’s not the point. The point is, “What does the Bible say?” The Bible is quite clear that the body was gone, that Jesus ate, that Thomas was able to touch His wounds, etc., etc. Thus, there is no interpretation needed. If you ask most people who deny the resurrection as being physical, for example, they don’t try to “interpret their way” out of it. Instead, they try to say that this passage was added later, or this word was changed, or something like that.

    However, there is a lot of interpretation needed to come to the tenants of most YEC organizations. Nowhere does the Bible actually say that the days were 24-hour days, for example, and there is at least some indication that they were not 24-hour days. YECs must rely on things like ordinals accompanying “yom” and the phrase “evening and morning” to infer that the Genesis days were 24-hour days. That’s interpretation, and it is critically important that you understand the distinction. In addition, as I have shown, the idea that there is was no bloodshed before the Fall isn’t even found in Scripture! It is based on a misinterpretation of Greek. Interpretation should never, ever be regarded as equal to Scripture itself. This is one reason Christianity has creeds. The creeds contain the essentials of the faith – those that are not open to interpretation. Other issues are secondary and are open to interpretation. The history of Christendom is full of amazing servants of God who have incredibly different ideas about most of the secondary issues.

    I understand that for you, “God’s teaching about a worldwide flood and a six literal day creation are just as certain as His teaching about the Resurrection and the Virgin birth.” However, throughout most of the history of Christendom, the church (both the Roman Catholic church and the Protestant reformers) thought that God’s teaching about the earth not moving was just as certain as His teaching about the Resurrection and the Virgin birth. That’s because they thought that fallible man’s interpretation was equal to Scripture itself. They were wrong about that, and it harmed the cause of Christ. That’s the same problem that many YECs have today. Like the Roman Catholic church and the Protestant reformers, they see fallible man’s interpretation of Scripture as infallible. That’s a dangerous path to tread!

    You are absolutely correct that I would “strongly take issue with one who argues that the Resurrection was not physical, or that Jesus was not born from a virgin,” but I am “more tolerant of one who believes in a local flood and much-longer-than-24-hour days of creation.” That’s because I recognize that while the first two are clearly defined in Scripture, the last two are not. You are also correct to say that my “judgment concerning absolute truth is not exactly the same as” yours. If you put fallible man’s interpretation of Scripture on virtually the same level as Scripture itself, then your view of absolute truth is simply incorrect.

    You say, ” I believe that belief in a local flood lends credence to an ancient earth … belief in an ancient earth provides support for the theory of evolution, which demands such ages … belief in the theory of evolution provides evidence for an atheistic world view. Pretty straightforward.” However, it is not straightforward at all. There is absolutely nothing in the concept of an ancient earth that supports evolution. An ancient earth is simply an assumption that evolution must make. It provides no evidence whatsoever for evolution. This is, of course, why there are many, many people who believe in an ancient earth but not in evolution. In addition, evolution provides no evidence for atheism. It is just an excuse that atheists use. There were many, many atheists before evolution, and there will be many, many atheists after evolution has been thrown away for some other hypothesis. Evolution is a convenient excuse for atheists, but it provides no evidence for atheism. In fact, the details of evolution show that it is impossible naturalistically. This, of course, is why there are many, many people who are evolutionists and not atheists. In fact, many of them are dynamic Christians who are doing wonderful things for the cause of Christ!

    I agree that we are all sinners and susceptible to sinful beliefs. In fact, that is specifically why I do not take the tenants of AiG, CMI, and ICR as equivalent to Scripture. Those organizations, as wonderful as they are, are made up of sinners who are susceptible to sinful beliefs, just as are other ministries, such as Reasons to Believe and Biologos. Thus, you should not follow any of them. You should follow the Scriptures. That is a very, very important distinction to make!

    I also agree with you that false teachers will be held accountable. However, many of the people you claim are false teachers clearly are not.

  24. Steve B says:

    Jay … Once again, I am pleasantly surprised at the promptness of your reply! Thank you so much. You said that “I [i.e., you] am very, very sorry to hear that you hold the ideas of men to be ‘virtually equivalent to the Ten Commandments.’ This is not healthy for any Christian. Scripture should be your guide, not the words of fallible men! I also strongly disagree with your statement that ‘every doctrine is the result of fallible man’s interpretation of God’s infallible Word.’ That is clearly false.” Once again, your remarks are self-righteous and patronizing (implying that, unlike you, I do not let Scripture be my guide). You then proceed to defend your claim by stating that the physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ “has nothing to do with interpretation.” As the statistics regarding the percentage of Christian leaders who deny the physical Resurrection – including pastors and priests – dramatically indicate, belief in the physical Resurrection obviously does depend upon interpretation of the text. A lot of people apparently conclude from THEIR INTERPRETATION OF THE BIBLICAL TEXT that the Resurrection was not physical. Of course, you believe their INTERPRETATION is wrong – but this doesn’t change the fact that it is nevertheless INTERPRETATION. Inexplicably, you fail to recognize this. From your perspective, there is absolutely no question that the Bible teaches the physical Resurrection (“No matter how you try to translate the original languages, the Bible clearly says that Christ’s resurrection was physical.”) Needless to say, all of these Christian leaders who do not believe in the physical Resurrection would disagree with you. Plainly put, there is no question that the Resurrection was physical – according to your interpretation of the scriptures. Of course, I completely agree with you about this. Many others do not.

    What you apparently do not recognize is that there is an exact parallel between interpreting the text about both the Resurrection and the Genesis Flood. You believe that the Scriptures leave absolutely no doubt that the Resurrection was physical. At the same time, you do not believe that there is equivalent certainty regarding the scope of the flood. Others disagree with you about the certainty of the physical Resurrection … and still others – including me and those connected to the creationist organizations – disagree with you regarding the certainty of the flood being worldwide.

    What you are doing here is placing yourself as the ultimate authority in determining which Scripture is subject to interpretation and which is not. As I referenced earlier, you said, “I [i.e., you] am very, very sorry to hear that you hold the ideas of men to be “virtually equivalent to the Ten Commandments.” The text you are referring to here is what I stated about the tenets of the Statements of Faith (or Beliefs) of the 3 major creationist organizations. A correction is required here: I did not say that I considered every tenet of these statements to be virtually equivalent to the Ten Commandments. The people I was referring to were “those who subscribe to them.” Although I really don’t have an issue with any of the tenets, the only two that I singled out were the ones that dealt with the Genesis flood and the days of creation: “For us, God’s teaching about a worldwide flood and a six literal day creation are just as certain as His teaching about the Resurrection and the Virgin birth.” According to your remark quoted above (“I am very, very sorry to hear that you hold the ideas of men to be “virtually equivalent to the Ten Commandments.”) you consider that the beliefs that the Genesis Flood was worldwide and that the days of creation were definitely 24 hours long are “the ideas of men” and should never be elevated to the same level of authority as the Resurrection and the Virgin Birth. Right here is where we differ. Along with followers of the creationist organizations, I believe that the certainty of the biblical teaching about the scope of Genesis Flood and the length of the days of creation are just as certain as the teaching about the Resurrection and the Virgin Birth – that is, there is no room for interpretation. I must very carefully add here that although I believe that one’s salvation is dependent upon a proper understanding of the Resurrection and the Virgin Birth, I do not believe this to be so in regards to these other two teachings. That is, one does not need to believe in a worldwide flood and 24 hour creation days in order to be saved. In regards to TRUTH, however, I believe that the beliefs stated about these subjects in the creationist organization’s statements are equivalent (in addition to remarks regarding the Genesis Flood and the days of creation, these Statements include convictions regarding the Resurrection and the Virgin Birth).

    The bottom line here, Jay, is that I do not think that belief that the Genesis Flood was worldwide and that the days of creation were 24 hours long are “ideas of men,” as you do. I believe that they are the clear and certain teachings of Scripture. You said in your blog, “The point is, “What does the Bible say?” Well, I, along with many, many others, believe that THE BIBLE DECLARES that the Genesis Flood was worldwide and that the days of creation were 24 hours long. I am sure that I believe in the authority of God’s Word at least as much as you do. To imply that I don’t is both arrogant and self-righteous. The difference between me and you here is not whether I trust in the teaching of Scripture, but what teachings I consider to be authoritative – that is, not subject to interpretation. The truth is that I can easily argue that my reliance in the authority of Scripture is actually greater than yours, for although we agree that there is no room for interpretation in regards to subjects like the Resurrection and the Virgin Birth, I consider the biblical teaching about the Genesis Flood and the length of the creation days to have equivalent authority.

    The difference between us, what is at the root of our disagreement on these matters, is that you believe that the text regarding, at least, the Genesis Flood and the days of creation leave room for alternative interpretations. I don’t. You said in your last email, “If you put fallible man’s interpretation of Scripture on virtually the same level as Scripture itself, then your view of absolute truth is simply incorrect.” I have tried to point out here that the premise of your statement here is incorrect, because, as proven by the increasing number of supposed Christian leaders who deny the physical Resurrection and the Virgin Birth – not to mention all of the “Christians” who deny the supernatural elements in the Bible – ALL Scripture is subject to interpretation. I suspect that you will reply and, based upon your great insight and understanding, explain to me exactly why I am wrong. I am weary of your self-righteous lecturing, Jay. As I mentioned to you in my last email, as a result of our exchange, I am going to be more careful in my choice of words in certain areas, and I thank you for playing a role in this learning experience. Overall, however, there is a large gap in our understanding of what God teaches us about His creation. I’m going to stick with what I believe the Bible says. You can stick to your own interpretation.

  25. jlwile says:

    Steve, once again I am sorry if you found my remarks patronizing. They were not intended to be that way. They came from very real concern. Christians must use Scripture as their guide, not the teachings of fallible men. Your remarks indicated to me that you put the teachings of fallible men on virtually the same level as Scripture. That caused me great concern. I did not mean to imply that you don’t let Scripture be your guide. I just think you are not making the proper distinction between what Scriptures actually say and what fallible people interpret them to say.

    Once again, your statistics about how many Christians do not believe in a physical Resurrection do not, in any way, show that belief in a physical Resurrection is about interpretation. Instead, it just shows that some Christians pick and choose as to which passages to believe and which to ignore. If someone denies the physical Resurrection, it is because that person denies some specific words in Scripture. As I said before, most of those who deny the physical Resurrection do no try to interpret their way around it. They actually say that you have to ignore certain passages or certain words. That’s not interpretation – that’s editing.

    What you don’t seem to recognize is the difference between the physical Resurrection and the Genesis Flood. Local-Flood advocates do not deny any word in the Genesis account. They simply point out how perfectly acceptable translational rules can produce an account that is consistent with a local Flood. There are no perfectly acceptable translational rules that can produce a New Testament account consistent with a non-physical Resurrection. That’s the point. While you can choose legitimate translations to come up with a self-consistent old-earth theology, you cannot do that to come up with a nonphysical Resurrection. That’s why the physical Resurrection is an essential belief in the Christian faith, but a young earth and a global Flood are not.

    You are absolutely correct that I do not think that the doctrine of a worldwide Flood or 24-hour creation days should be elevated to the same level of authority as the Resurrection and the Virgin Birth. That’s because while the former two are dependent on interpretation, the latter two are not. Once again, you should never, ever put fallible man’s interpretation of Scripture on the same level as Scripture itself. As the early church’s issue with geocentrism shows, that’s a road that leads to harming the cause of Christ.

    You say, “The truth is that I can easily argue that my reliance in the authority of Scripture is actually greater than yours..” That is quite false. In my view, if someone accepts the authority of Scripture, he should make sure he knows exactly what Scripture is saying, and if he doesn’t, he should not claim that Scripture definitely says something that it does not definitely say. That’s taking authority out of Scripture and giving it to some fallible man’s interpretation of Scripture. Scripture does not definitely say the Genesis days were 24 hours long, and it does not definitely say that the Flood was worldwide. The most reasonable interpretation of Scripture says these things, but that’s different from saying that Scripture says these things. This is an important distinction that you need to understand in order to truly appreciate the authority of Scripture. Perhaps this article will help you.

    You say that you are weary of my self-righteous lecturing. I am sorry to hear that. However, I am simply trying to educate you. I personally think you don’t understand a great many things about Scripture and its interpretation, and I am simply trying to help you see what most theologians understand – that there is a huge difference between the direct teachings of Scripture and the fallible interpretations of man. This is a very important distinction, and every Christian should understand it. If you are weary of me trying to teach you this, then perhaps it is because you are fighting against the truth.

  26. Steve B says:

    You say, Jay: “However, I am simply trying to educate you.”
    Your self-righteosuness (the belief that you have the inside track to true knowledge) knows no bounds.

    You close with the (once again patronizing) remark,”If you are weary of me trying to teach you this, then perhaps it is because you are fighting against the truth.” In my mind, it is you, not I, who is fighting against the truth.”

    Have a very merry Christmas!

  27. Rio says:

    http://www.sfttwebhosting.com/f/Video_146_The_Red_Record_600x400.html this is one of the best non biblical evidndences in my eyes for Genesis and really just proves God’s words

  28. Kevin N says:

    Steve B:

    What is the relationship between Genesis 1:1 and the rest of Genesis 1?

    What is the genre of Genesis 1? In what ways is it different from typical Hebrew historical narrative?

    What is a “day” to God?

    What is a “day” without the sun and moon?

    What does “day” mean in Genesis 2:4?

    What is the relationship between Genesis 1 and 2?

    Are both Genesis 1 and 2 chronological? If not, which one is chronological, and which one isn’t?

    Are there any symbolic elements in the opening chapters of Genesis?

    What did Moses, the author of Genesis, mean when he wrote, “a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by?” (Ps 90, NIV84)

    Does Genesis 3 say that animals did not die before Adam’s sin?

    Does Romans 5 say that animals did not die before Adam’s sin?

    Does Romans 8 say that animals did not die before Adam’s sin?

    Does 1 Cor 15 say that animals did not die before Adam’s sin?

    Is God glorified by predation? (Ps 104:21; Job 38:29)

    Does reproduction “each according to its kind” place limits on biological change? If so, at what level? Species? Genus? Family? Order? Class? Phylum?

    Did people from all nations come to Joseph to buy grain? Zulus? Eskimos?

    Did Ahab look for Elijah in every nation on Earth? England? New Zealand?

    Did all kings of Earth seek Solomon’s wisdom?

    Are you sure you know the answers to all of these questions and that old-Earthers have the wrong answers to all of them?

    You should read Genesis 6-8 with the following in mind:
    One can replace “earth” with “land”
    One can replace “heavens” with “sky”
    One can replace “mountains” with “hills”
    The passage takes on a very different feel when read with these legitimate substitutions. Go ahead and take a few minutes to read the flood account again.

    I accept an old Earth and local flood because I see the young-Earth creationist alternative as Biblically unnecessary and scientifically unworkable. I hope my questions will help you to see that the interpretation of the opening chapters of Genesis is not as straight-forward as the young-Earth organizations would have you believe.

  29. jlwile says:

    Steve, with apologies to The Princess Bride I must say, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, “self-righteous” means:

    convinced of one’s own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others : narrow-mindedly moralistic

    According to the same source, the definition of righteous is:

    1: acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin
    2 a : morally right or justifiable
    b : arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality (righteous indignation)
    3 slang : genuine, excellent

    I have never once implied that I am more moral, free from sin, justifiable, genuine, or excellent than you. Since I don’t even know you, there is no way I could possibly compare my righteousness with yours, even if I wanted to, which I don’t. I am simply trying to educate you a bit in theology. This has nothing to do with righteousness.

    Also, I find it odd that someone who claims to know the only correct interpretation of the Genesis account is telling me that I claim to have the “inside track to true knowledge.” In fact, I am saying precisely the opposite. Since it is clear that the Genesis account can be interpreted in different ways, I am specifically saying that I do not have the inside track to true knowledge. You are the one saying that you do, since you are saying that incredibly well-respected, conservative Evangelical theologians like Dr. Norman Geisler, Dr. Gleason Archer, William Jennings Bryan, Dr. Walter Kaiser, Dr. Paul Little, C. I. Scofield, B. B. Warfield, etc., etc. are obviously wrong in their theology and should learn from you on the matter!

    You might think I am the one who is fighting against the truth, but I am not the one who is growing weary. Educating people has always energized me, which is why I spend so much time doing it. Typically, it’s the one who is fighting a losing battle who ends up growing weary.

    If you really want to learn about this issue, I suggest you carry on a discussion with Kevin N, who posted after you. Unlike me, he actually believes in an old earth and a local flood. As a result, he will be able to defend the view much better than I can.

    Thanks for the Christmas wishes. I pray that you and your family have a Merry Christmas as well!

  30. jlwile says:

    Thanks for the link, Rio. I know Bruce Malone personally, and I enjoy his work. You might be interested in this book, which he authored. I agree with you that science speaks strongly for a young-earth viewpoint. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it “proves” Genesis, as science cannot prove anything. However, it does provide a lot of evidence for the young-earth position!

  31. jlwile says:

    Thanks for your input, Kevin. I wondered if you would jump in on the conversation. I do hope that Steve replies to you, because I think you can educate him about the local-Flood and old-earth positions better than I can, since you actually believe them.

  32. gracekalman says:

    Dr. Wile, your answer to Elizabeth on Dec. 18 at 7:13 AM is exactly what I was trying to say, although I think their stand becomes rather more ridiculous when you read the KJV. Thanks for organizing what was floating around in my brain.
    It just seems like anyone who doesn’t believe in a local flood would never even consider the idea that the passage could refer to one. It requires a careful analysis of words and too many claims that God didn’t mean exactly what he said to conform it to local flood thinking. When God uses a metaphor, it is almost always obvious that it is a metaphor.

  33. jlwile says:

    Grace, I agree that the most straightforward reading of Genesis leads to a worldwide Flood. However, you have to admit that we don’t always take the most straightforward reading, even of the KJV. For example, the KJV regularly talks about the sun moving and the earth not being moved, even though we know that the sun does not move in the solar system, but the earth does. In addition, in Matthew 24:34, the KJV quotes Jesus as saying, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” What He was talking about really sounds like the end times. Thus, the most straightforward reading of the KJV indicates the end times have already happened. Do you believe that? I expect not.

    Likewise, consider some of the questions that Kevin N raised in a previous comment. The KJV says in 1 Kings 10:24, “And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.” Do you really think that all the earth sought to Solomon? Does that include Australia, South America, and North America? What about Genesis 41:57, where the KJV says, “And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.” Does that mean that people from Australia, South America, and North America came to Joseph to buy corn? Please note that “corn” is not even the correct word, as corn did not grow in Egypt during those times. The correct word is “grain.”

    Thus, when you say that local Flood advocates make “too many claims that God didn’t mean exactly what he said,” I think you are overstating your case. Unless you believe that people from Australia, South America, and North America sought after Solomon and bought corn from Joseph, you have to admit that God often uses hyperbolic language to make His point. After all, the KJV says, “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:29) I expect your right eye has caused you to sin. My right eye certainly has caused me to sin. However, I did not cut it out, and I doubt that you did either. If you aren’t willing to take that passage literally, why are you so absolutely certain that similar passages in Genesis 6-8 must be taken literally?

  34. gracekalman says:

    In reference to your last question, I would say because of the nature of the book of Genesis (and the rest of the Pentateuch). These books contain a combination of history and law, and neither of these topics lends itself to hyperbole. If you believe the Genesis account of Creation, why wouldn’t you believe its account of a world-wide flood? What about the plagues? The crossing of the Red Sea? Was God joking when He called homosexuality an abomination? What about when He slew Aaron’s sons for offering strange incense? It’s quite possible that all the existing nations did come to Joseph for corn. Would you describe a tribe of Native Americans as a country? A country implies a system of government. Also, in 1611 corn was grain. Wheat is an Americanism. That’s why.

  35. jlwile says:

    Grace, it’s not a question of not believing the Bible’s account of a worldwide Flood or the other things you mention. It’s a question of determining what the Bible is saying. In the case of the Flood, it is whether or not the Flood was, indeed, worldwide. It is certainly not possible that all the existing nations came to Joseph to buy corn. According to YEC chronologists, Joseph was born about 1560 BC and died about 1450 BC. However, in South America, there was a huge civilization (the Caral Supe civilization) that archaeologists say was there since 2700 BC. That date might not be exactly right, but it was clearly around during the time of Joseph. Its main city had a population of 3,000, and it covered 60 hectares. That civilization was clearly a country. Do you really think that it came and bought corn from Joseph? Clearly not. I do understand that the meaning of “corn” has changed over the years, which is exactly my point. Even with the KJV, you must take translation into account.

    I note that you didn’t mention the 1 Kings 10:24 reference. That book is historical narrative, and yet it is clear that “all the earth” could not have sought Solomon. Thus, even in historical narrative, you have to understand that the Bible contains some hyperbole. How do you know that this is not the case with Genesis 6-8? Once again, it is not a question of whether or not a local Flood advocate believes the Genesis account. I don’t know a single local Flood proponent who doesn’t believe Genesis 6-8. They just think that it does not mean what you think it means.

  36. Steve B says:

    Jay et al. … It appears that this blog has become primarily focused on consideration of the scope of the Genesis Flood – a most interesting and critical issue. For Jay, I have a few comments … First, I have opined that you tend to be “self-righteous.” I loosely defined the word to mean, “the belief that you have the inside track to knowledge.” The meaning that I was attempting to convey was that you so often believe that you are “right” and that my belilefs are wrong. Suggesting that this word does not mean what I think it does, you offered the meaning provided in Webster’s Dictionary: “convinced of one’s own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions AND BELIEFS of others: narrow-mindedly moralistic.” This definition doesn’t prove my definition to be wrong; it corroborates it! So often it seemed to me that you thought that what you BELIEVED was correct in contrast to my BELIEFS – very close to the definition provided by Webster. This having been said, I will agree that this may not have been the absolutely best adjective I could have chosen – although it was pretty close.

    Next, Jay, you stated in one of your entries that “Scripture should be your guide, not the words of fallible men!” In another place you said that you “don’t put the same level of faith in an interpretation of Scripture as I do in Scripture itself.” Then, in your latest entry you accuse me of “saying that incredibly well-respected, conservative Evangelical theologians like Dr. Norman Geisler, Dr. Gleason Archer, William Jennings Bryan, Dr. Walter Kaiser, Dr. Paul Little, C. I. Scofield, B. B. Warfield, etc., etc. are obviously wrong in their theology and should learn from you on the matter!” First of all, I never specifically accused these men of such a thing – in fact, I haven’t mentioned a single one of their names in any of my comments – and second, I most certainly never claimed that these men “should learn from me!” Four of them are dead! My belief regarding the scope of the Genesis Flood is most certainly based on “Scripture itself.” (and please don’t come back and claim that I am wrong about this, that my beliefs are based upon my INTERPRETATION of Scripture, for so are yours – and so are everyone else’s participating in this blog. My beliefs about this event are based upon what I believe to be the most natural, straightforward meaning of the words. If you want to cling to the idea that this is still my interpretation of the words, be my guest. I can’t make my approach any clearer.)

    You and Kevin have pointed out certain word uses in the Bible which clearly are hyperbole, such as 1 Kings 10:24, “And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.” Do you really think that all the earth sought to [sic] Solomon?” You were attempting to point out to Grace that “it’s not a question of not believing the Bible’s account of a worldwide Flood or the other things you mention. It’s a question of determining what the Bible is saying. In the case of the Flood, it is whether or not the Flood was, indeed, worldwide.” Your point, of course, was just as the words “all the earth” in 1 Kings 10:24 are most likely not referring to every single person in the earth, words from the Bible’s description of the flood may be similar hyperboles. According to this reasoning, the words capitalized in Genesis 6:12 –“Then God said to Noah, ‘the end of ALL flesh has come before me; for THE EARTH is filled with violence because of them; and I am about to destroy them WITH THE EARTH.” – might not be referring to all the earth and all flesh. In my opinion, such a conclusion is utterly indefensible. To me, when all of the passages that describe the Genesis Flood are taken as a whole, there is no doubt –ZERO – that the event described is worldwide. To me, employing verses such as 1 Kings 10:24 to defend the idea that the Genesis Flood was local is ridiculous. Hyperbole has always been a common feature of our language, and it is perfectly understandable that it would have been occasionally used by the biblical writers. In our current language, phrases like “sunrise, and sunset” are used every day. Although they don’t mean what they literally state, everyone understands their intention. In my opinion, the idea that “all the earth” in 1 Kings – when in all likelihood it does not mean every single person, or even people group – raises the possibility that the all-inclusive references in the Flood passages should also not be taken literally is completely without merit. Where does this absurd logic end? Kevin pointed out that the word “earth” in the early chapters of Genesis could be referring to only the land (and according to local flood advocates, only a particular section of the land), not all of the earth. Exodus 9:29 declares that “the earth is the Lord’s.” So, could this mean that only the dry land belongs to God, not the seas and the atmosphere? Similarly, Numbers 14:21 declares, “but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.” Psalm 97:1 declares, “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice.” Are we to believe that the earth in these verses is referring only to the dry land – and perhaps not even all of it? I trust that the answer to these questions is rather obvious.

    Finally, in response to Kevin’s list of questions, all of them are addressed, either directly or indirectly (via hyperlinks) on the Web sites of the 3 creationist organizations that I have mentioned previously. At some time or another, I have read about most, and perhaps all, of them. And none of them cause me the slightest doubt in my belief that the flood was worldwide. Kevin closed his last entry by saying, “I accept an old Earth and local flood because I see the young-Earth creationist alternative as Biblically unnecessary and scientifically unworkable. I hope my questions will help you to see that the interpretation of the opening chapters of Genesis is not as straight-forward as the young-Earth organizations would have you believe.”

    I very much appreciate the gentle, humble approach Kevin employed here, but I must tell him that I have thoroughly investigated the arguments of local flood advocates, like himself, and I find them utterly unconvincing. As I have stated a number of times in this blog, based upon MY OWN study of both the biblical text AND the scientific evidence, I am absolutely convinced that the Flood was worldwide. Not a single thing in this entire blog has created a shred of doubt about this conviction. I suspect that some of you (like Jay!) will accuse me of being narrow-minded here, and there’s nothing that I can do about that, of course. I could accuse those who disagree with me of similar flaws, but I don’t care to do that. I will stick to expressing to you all what I believe and leave it at that.

  37. jlwile says:

    Steve, the extent of the Flood is not a critical issue. It is an interesting one, but it is clearly a secondary issue.

    If you want to define “self righteous” as “the belief that you have the inside track to knowledge,” then it is you who are being self-righteous. After all, you claim that your interpretation of Genesis is the only correct one. I, on the other hand, do not make such a claim. In fact, because I have honestly read old-earth theologians, I understand that my interpretation is not the only possible one. Thus, I make no claim to having the inside track to knowledge. However, you make exactly that claim. Thus, according to your own definition, you are the one being self righteous.

    You also make the statement, “you so often believe that you are ‘right’ and that my beliefs are wrong.” When it comes to the difference between what the Scriptures say and what requires interpretation, I do think that you are terribly wrong. When it comes to your statement that there is no way the Genesis Flood could be local, I do think that you are terribly wrong. However, when it comes to my belief that a local Flood is possible, you also think that I am terribly wrong. When it comes to my belief that the issue is a secondary one, you think I am terribly wrong. Thus, we both think the other is wrong. We both think that we are right. If that weren’t the case, we would not be having this discussion. The difference between you and me is that I am not willing to say that my beliefs are the only possible orthodox Christian beliefs. On the other hand, that’s precisely what you are saying. Once again, then, if anyone is being “self righteous” (by your own definition of the phrase), it is you, not me.

    You claim that you never said my list of well-respected, Evangelical theologians were wrong, but you most certainly did. You claim that there is no possible way that the Bible could be interpreted as saying that the Flood was local, but all of those theologians say that it is at least a possible orthodox interpretation of Scripture. Most of them even believe it is the correct one. Thus, you are saying that each one of them is wrong. Not only that, you are saying that it is obvious that they are wrong. Furthermore, you give arguments that they have already answered and then claim that those arguments are conclusive. Thus, you are saying that they should learn from you.

    Your implication that I am trusting in those fallible men is quite wrong. I don’t believe most of them, because I think the best interpretation of the Flood is that it was worldwide. Most of them think the correct interpretation is that it was local. I am merely pointing out that they all know more about Biblical interpretation (and yes, it is all about interpretation when it comes to secondary issues such as the age of the earth and the extent of the Flood) than you and I will ever hope to know. While I am not willing to say that they are all obviously wrong, you are. Thus, once again, it is you (not me) who is claiming to have the inside track to knowledge.

    You say, “To me, when all of the passages that describe the Genesis Flood are taken as a whole, there is no doubt –ZERO – that the event described is worldwide.” I understand that this is your position, but it is simply indefensible. There is, most certainly, some doubt. As I have said before, we most certainly know that the phrase “all flesh” does not really mean “all flesh,” as Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark were spared. Thus, since we already know that “all flesh” doesn’t mean “all flesh,” we have to decide exactly what it means. Perhaps there were more exceptions than Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark. I don’t think there were, but if I am approaching the Scriptures with respect, I must admit that it is possible that there were. In addition, as you readily admit, the Bible sometimes does use phrases like “the earth” and “all the earth” to mean something other than all the earth. Thus, it is at least possible that the same thing is going on in Genesis 6-8.

    You ask, “Where does this absurd logic end?” First, it isn’t absurd logic. In fact, it is responsible Biblical interpretation. The very fact that the term “earth” is not always used to mean the whole earth indicates that we must be careful in understanding the context of each verse to understand how that term is used. In Exodus 9:29, the context seems to indicate that the term “earth” means the whole earth, as it sometimes does in the Bible. The same looks to be true for Numbers 14:21. Psalm 97:1 is poetic, so it is not interpreted with the same hermeneutic as Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers. The problem is that when it comes to Genesis 6-8, the context is not nearly as clear. While I think the proper interpretation is that “earth” means the “whole earth,” other serious Christians do not agree. Because you claim to have the inside track to knowledge, you say that these people are wrong, without ever really giving any serious defense of your claim. I cannot agree with that.

    You say, “Not a single thing in this entire blog has created a shred of doubt about this conviction.” That doesn’t surprise me. Local Flood advocates could say the same thing after reading what you have written, since all of your arguments have been answered adequately over and over again by local Flood theologians. That’s exactly the problem. By dismissing all local Flood arguments as “unconvincing” without going into any real detail as to why you find them that way, you will never learn. I find that unfortunate but all too common among many of my fellow YECs.

  38. Steve B says:

    Jay … For someone as bright as you, I am quite surprised at the number of specious statements that are appearing with increasing frequency in your blog entries. You say, for example, “I [Jay] make no claim to having the inside track to knowledge. However, you [Steve] make exactly that claim.” That is obviously not true. I never made such a claim. All I have ever said is that FROM MY PERSPECTIVE the local flood theory has no merit. I never said that “I have the inside track to knowledge.”

    In your next paragraph, you say, “We both think that we are right … The difference between you and me is that I am not willing to say that my beliefs are the only possible orthodox Christian beliefs. On the other hand, that’s precisely what you are saying.” Once again, you are putting words in my mouth; I never said that “my beliefs are the only possible orthodox Christian beliefs.” Your remarks here expose the central problem in your response to me, which is that the certainty of my stance on the Genesis Flood has apparently led you to conclude that I believe that my beliefs are the only possible orthodox Christian beliefs. Let me make this perfectly clear, Jay. As far as I am concerned – from MY perspective – according to MY study, etc, the Scriptures leave no doubt that the Genesis Flood was worldwide. Of course I am well aware that there are other people, including some very bright and highly respected theologians – such as the men you cited in a previous entry – that have contrary opinions and believe that the flood either was, or may have been, local. They have their opinions; I have mine. As I keep saying, I am familiar with most of their arguments and find them unconvincing – make that completely unconvincing. You are frustrated by the certainty with which I hold my belief and fervently wish that I would at least admit that these contrary opinions have merit. Sorry, Jay. As much as I may respect the people who hold them, I don’t think that their arguments have any merit. A good example of what I am saying here is your remark, “You [Steve] say, “To me, when all of the passages that describe the Genesis Flood are taken as a whole, there is no doubt –ZERO – that the event described is worldwide.” I [Jay] understand that this is your position, but it is simply indefensible. There is, most certainly, some doubt.” Maybe to you there is doubt, but there isn’t to me. Your desire to make me admit that the biblical text leaves doubt about this matter has blinded you to what I have actually said. In this particular case, you have overlooked the first two words in the sentence that you quoted: “TO ME …” I am stating what I believe; I am not judging the beliefs of others. Of course I am aware that other people have doubts about the meaning of the text. I simply stating that I do not have such doubts. Why is this so difficult for you to recognize?

    In regards to our exchange about the Magnificent Seven (Dr. Norman Geisler, et al) you have once again put words into my mouth that I never uttered. To; repeat, you wrote “You [Steve] are the one … saying that incredibly well-respected, conservative Evangelical theologians like Dr. Norman Geisler, Dr. Gleason Archer, William Jennings Bryan, Dr. Walter Kaiser, Dr. Paul Little, C. I. Scofield, B. B. Warfield, etc., etc. are obviously wrong in their theology and should learn from you on the matter!” Surely you will admit that I never said this, Jay – because I didn’t. You may believe that it was IMPLIED by things I have said, but that is not the same as actually sayin it. Thsu, your claim that I said it is patently false.

    My lack of doubt about this subject is apparently a source of endless frustration for you. You can’t let go of your claim that this lack of doubt is a result of my failure to adequately consider the arguments of local flood advocates, as opposed to being a well-considered opinion. This frustration is evidenced in the nasty comment which closed your last email: “By dismissing all local Flood arguments as “unconvincing” without going into any real detail as to why you find them that way, you will never learn. I find that unfortunate but all too common among many of my fellow YECs.” Saying that I “will never learn” was really hitting below the belt, Jay. In a civilized dialogue, which this is supposed to be, it is simply uncalled for. I can think of a few adjectives to label such a remark, but I will refrain from mentioning them. Over and over I have said that although I am very familiar with the arguments of local flood theory advocates, I find them to be thoroughly unconvincing. It is hardly possible to respond in depth to all of these arguments in a forum such as this. Books have been written about this subject. Apparently, you don’t believe that I am familiar with these contrary arguments. Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do about that. But, please, Jay, from now on try to realize that I am only expressing what I believe about the Genesis Flood and that I am not condemning the beliefs of those that disagree with me. Just because I do not believe that the arguments of local flood advocates are convincing is no reason to be vituperative toward me.

  39. jlwile says:

    Steve, you say you never made the claim of having an inside track to knowledge. Neither did I, but that didn’t keep you from accusing me of it. Once you accused me, all I did was point out that you were accusing me of something that you were doing. By claiming that anyone who disagrees with you on the extent of the Flood or the age of the earth is dead wrong, you are the one who thinks he has an inside track to knowledge. I actually read theologians from the other side and take the time to understand their arguments. Because of that, I realize that it is at least possible that I am wrong on such issues. That’s definitely not the behavior of someone who thinks he has an inside track to knowledge!

    You seem to be backpedalling from your claims about the extent of the Flood and the age of the earth. I find that refreshing. Unlike your previous comments, you now indicate that these are just your opinions. Let me ask you plainly, then. Is it possible that you are wrong when it comes to the age of the earth and the extent of the Flood? If your answer is “yes,” then you and I seem to agree with one another. Up until now, all of your discussion indicates that your answer would be “no.” I eagerly await your answer to this direct and simple question.

    You say that you are familiar with the arguments of local Flood advocates and find them unconvincing. I find them unconvincing as well. That’s why I believe in a worldwide Flood. However, I don’t find them unreasonable. Given that you called one of their arguments “absurd” in a previous comment, and given the fact that you are very concerned about what I and others believe on this issue, I assumed you found them to be unreasonable. Thus, I ask you another very simple question: Are the arguments of local Flood advocates unreasonable?

    I am not sure why you think I am frustrated by your certainty. As I have already told you, educating people energizes me. That’s why I answer your comments with alacrity and enthusiasm that you have admitted surprises you. If your certainty frustrated me, I would not be responding to you in this way. I also have no problem understanding that you have no doubt on these issues. I am simply educating you as to why you should have some doubt on them.

    If I put words in your mouth, I most certainly do apologize. Thus, let me ask you another direct question so that I am certain I understand your position. Are the theologians I mentioned absolutely wrong when they say that a local Flood is a reasonable interpretation of Genesis 6-8? If your answer to the first question is “yes,” then please allow a follow-up question: Should they learn better theology so as to correct their error?

    So let me get this straight, Steve. You are allowed to call me “self righteous,” you are allowed to say that I claim to have an “inside track to knowledge,” and you are allowed to imply that I don’t really believe in a young earth and a worldwide Flood. However, when I make the obvious comment that dismissing alternative views without seriously considering them is an impediment to learning, I am the one who is “hitting below the belt”? Please.

    You keep saying that you are familiar with the arguments of the local Flood advocates, but you never address them in any serious way. Now you say, “Apparently, you don’t believe that I am familiar with these contrary arguments. Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do about that.” Actually, I have already told you exactly how to do something about that. All you have to do is address their arguments and tell me why you think they are wrong. Kevin N gave you a perfect opportunity to do that, and rather than engaging him, you simply once again claimed to be familiar with such arguments and found them unconvincing. If you would only spend time telling us the specifics as to why you find them unconvincing, we would easily be able to judge how familiar you are with those arguments.

    You seem to be incredibly sensitive. While being willing to make all manner of false accusations against me, when I try to calmly show you how those accusations are wrong or actually apply to you, you get very upset and accuse me of being patronizing, hitting below the belt, etc. I really apologize that I have upset you so. I would suggest, however, that if you stop making false accusations about me, I would not have to correct them. Perhaps then you might not be so quickly offended!

  40. Steve B says:

    After reading your latest blog entry, I think there is real hope that the antagonism that has occasionally been evident in both of our remarks can be terminated . In order to support this process, let me begin by offering my sincere apology for ANY AND ALL ad hominem aspersions which I have accused you of, including, but not limited to, being “self-righteous,” having “an inside track to knowledge,” being “patronizing,” etc, etc. Such accusations do nothing to advance my position. Please forgive me. I will not go down that road any more.

    You said, “You seem to be backpedalling from your claims about the extent of the Flood and the age of the earth. I find that refreshing.” And I find the positive tone of your comment also refreshing. You then go on to say, “Unlike your previous comments, you now indicate that these are just your opinions. Let me ask you plainly, then. Is it possible that you are wrong when it comes to the age of the earth and the extent of the Flood? If your answer is “yes,” then you and I seem to agree with one another. Up until now, all of your discussion indicates that your answer would be “no.” I eagerly await your answer to this direct and simple question.”

    I think that in these remarks you have put your finger directly on the root of our dispute. It is apparent that we agree that the interpretation of local flood advocates is incorrect. That is, we agree that the flood was indeed worldwide. Where you think we disagree is in regards to the reasonableness of these interpretations. You believe that they are reasonable, and you think that I don’t. I must say that I can certainly understand why you think this, because I think it is a logical conclusion based upon my remarks. So, then, in answer to your question, “Is it possible that you are wrong when it comes to the age of the earth and the extent of the Flood?” my answer would be a somewhat qualified “yes.” The qualification is due to the fact that my belief regarding these matters is approximately equal to my belief regarding such matters as the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth and all of the biblical miracles. That is, I must admit that my belief in these other events could also be wrong. So, yes, of course I could be wrong when it comes to the age of the earth and the extent of the Flood.

    Now, I think that the question of whether I think the arguments of local flood advocates are reasonable or not is a somewhat different question. The word “reasonable” is considerably more subjective than “right” and “wrong” and is therefore more difficult to evaluate with any degree of certainty. I think that it should also be noted that my opinion on the reasonableness of these arguments is pretty insignificant. Like, who really cares whether SteveB thinks the arguments supporting the local flood theory are “reasonable”? Needless to say, Jay, I still haven’t answered your question . In all honesty, I really don’t think that they are very reasonable, because TO ME the certainty of the biblical text regarding the worldwide nature of the flood simply renders any argument to the contrary unreasonable. I certainly can understand, however, why others who believe in a worldwide flood, including yourself, would consider these arguments to be reasonable. As I have tried to make clear in this blog, my faith that the flood was worldwide is very strong. Just like some Christian’s faith in the details of the Gospel (like the Resurrection, for example), or the existence of God, is stronger than that of others, I am well aware that my faith that the flood was worldwide is stronger than that of other believers in a worldwide flood. I take no credit for this faith. It is a gift from God (as is all faith).

    I hope that the above might cause you to reconsider your comment, “I am simply educating you as to why you should have some doubt on them [my beliefs about these issues].” I understand that you think a reasonable person should have doubts about these matters. As I have tried to explain, though, aside from admitting that it is indeed possible that my beliefs about them are wrong, for all practical purposes I have no doubt about them. Just as I believe that Jesus rose from the dead, I believe that the Genesis was worldwide. In a previous entry, I made it clear that although I believe these two events are equally true, I do not believe that belief in them is equally important in regards to salvation. That is, as opposed to belief in the Resurrection, I definitely do not believe that one must believe in a worldwide flood in order to be saved.

    You said, “You keep saying that you are familiar with the arguments of the local Flood advocates, but you never address them in any serious way. Now you say, “Apparently, you don’t believe that I am familiar with these contrary arguments. Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do about that.” Actually, I have already told you exactly how to do something about that. All you have to do is address their arguments and tell me why you think they are wrong. Kevin N gave you a perfect opportunity to do that, and rather than engaging him, you simply once again claimed to be familiar with such arguments and found them unconvincing. If you would only spend time telling us the specifics as to why you find them unconvincing, we would easily be able to judge how familiar you are with those arguments.”

    I explained in a previous entry that for me to properly address all of the arguments of local flood advocates in this blog would be impossible, because my entry would be far too long. Entire books are written about this subject. In response to Kevin’s question, “What is a “day” to God?” and “What is a “day” without the sun and the moon?”, for example, a good place to start night be the following article from Creation Ministries International:
    http://creation.com/how-long-were-the-days-of-genesis-1 This article is about 2,000 words long and is one of many such articles that are available on the Web sites of the creation ministries that I have referred to previously. I’m sure that you are familiar with them, Jay. My point here is that in regards simply to Kevin’s question regarding the meaning of “day” there is voluminous literature available on the Internet, much of which I have read. I cannot possibly successfully summarize it in this blog, let alone all of his other questions. I will make one comment about the question, “What is a “day” without the sun and the moon?” As you know, of course, according to Genesis 1, the sun, along with the moon and the stars, was created on the 4th day of creation. This leads to the conclusion, of course, that if the first 3 days were about 24 hours long, the light that determined their length must have come from a source other than the sun. And it did. It was simply provided by God Himself. As the following passages indicate, God does not need the sun in order to provide the earth with light:

    “19 “No longer will you have the sun for light by day, Nor for brightness will the moon give you light; But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And your God for your [a]glory. 20 “Your sun will no longer set, Nor will your moon wane; For you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And the days of your mourning will be over.” Isaiah 60: 19 & 20

    23 “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” Rev. 21:23

    5 And there will no longer be any night; and they [a]will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. Rev. 22:5

    12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12

    Thus, just as God will not require the sun to provide the earth with light in the future, He didn’t need it to do this on the first 3 days of creation, either.

    Needless to say, these few remarks here have barely scratched the surface of the answer to merely one or two of Kevin’s questions. If any of your readers are interested in finding these answers, I highly recommend the Web sites of Answers in Genesis, Creation Ministries International, and Institute for Creation Research. They have wonderful search engines which provide a wealth of information. There are, of course, a countless number of books about these subjects, also.

    This entry is already too long, but I will close with a couple of great passages from the Bible.

    6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will [a]rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6

    But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity. Micah 5:2

    I will be out of town for the next week or so and will not be able to respond to any entries. In the mean time, Jay, once again, I hope that you and anyone else who may read this has a most blessed and happy Christmas and a peaceful and successful New Year!

  41. jlwile says:

    Steve, thank you for your apology. I accept it wholeheartedly. As I have done before, let me once again apologize for any comments that offended you. That has never been my intent.

    Thank you for answering my question about whether or not you could be wrong in regards to the extent of the Flood. Interestingly enough, it is was not what I expected, and it further clarifies the real disagreement between us. You say that you could be wrong regarding the extent of the Flood, but only insomuch as you could be wrong about “the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth and all of the biblical miracles.” I would say that I could most certainly be wrong about the extent of the Flood, but I cannot be wrong about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the virgin birth. For me, Biblical miracles would have to be taken one at a time.

    I think this is the core of our dispute. Since I have no doubt that the Bible is true, I have no doubt that things it clearly says are true. Since there is no way you can translate the Bible to indicate anything but the fact that Christ physically rose from the dead, there is no doubt in my mind that the the Resurrection occurred and that it was physical. While it is possible to translate the prophecy of the virgin birth to mean something else, it is impossible to translate the New Testament account to mean anything but a virgin birth. Once again, then, there is no doubt in my mind that Jesus was born of a virgin. However, the extent of the Flood and the age of the earth are different matters entirely. It is most certainly possible to translate the Bible such that the earth is old and the Flood was local. Thus, I could be wrong in my beliefs that the Flood was worldwide and that the earth is young. In my mind, it is no accident that the Resurrection and virgin birth are in the major creeds of the church, but the extent of the Flood and the age of the earth are not. It’s because the Bible is quite clear on the first two issues, and it is not nearly as clear on the last two issues.

    I would agree with you that the term “reasonable” is more subjective than “right” or “wrong.” You ask, “who really cares whether SteveB thinks the arguments supporting the local flood theory are “reasonable”? Actually, I do. I care more about whether or not you think they are reasonable than I do about what you actually believe regarding the extent of the Flood. I am glad that while you think they are unreasonable arguments, you can at least see why other serious Christians see them as reasonable. I have to admit that I never got that from any of your previous comments.

    I really cannot reconsider my comment that you should have doubts about a worldwide Flood. The Renaissance Church (Roman Catholic and the Reformers) had no doubt about the geocentric solar system. However, they were wrong, and in my view, it harmed the cause of Christ. This is what I see as the danger of proclaiming certainty on issues where the Bible does not make certain statements.

    I appreciate you giving a link that provides what you consider to be good arguments for your view of the Genesis day. However, others have produced articles that sound just as convincing and say exactly the opposite. The point is that most of the people who post on this blog are familiar with such arguments. Thus, they and I are not interested in a summary. We are interested in specifically what leads you to believe that the arguments of the “day age” or the local Flood view are not legitimate. Not only would that be a much more illuminating discussion than re-reading articles I have already read, it would help me to see exactly where you are coming from.

    You did a good job of this by commenting on the argument advanced by “day age” advocates regarding the sun and moon not being created until Day 4. I agree that God does not need the sun to create light. Indeed, the Bible says that in numerous places, as you have indicated. However, there is a problem with that argument. In order to produce “evening and morning,” the light coming from God would have to be a spatially-defined source of light like the sun. Also, it could not be in certain places, such as hovering over one of the poles. However, this is not the kind of light that is typically described as coming from God. As the verses you quote indicate, God’s light doesn’t set (Isaiah 60:20), there will no longer be night (Rev. 22:5), and there will be no darkness (John 8:12). This is not the kind of light that produces evening and morning. I certainly believe it is possible that God’s light was a spatially-defined source of light like the sun and in the proper place for days 1-3. Indeed, I believe that’s what happened. However, you have to admit there is no real way to defend that view from Scripture. You simply have to assume that’s the way it happened. Doesn’t that make you less inclined to be so certain of your interpretation?

    I heartily agree with your view that readers who are interested in the young-earth position should investigate Answers in Genesis, Creation Ministries International, and the Institute for Creation Research. However, I also strongly recommend that they read the other side from such organization as Reasons To Believe, God and Science, and Answers in Creation. Only by reading both sides can you be accurately informed on the issue.

    Thank you for the excellent and season-appropriate closing. I wish you and yours the most blessed Christmas as well.

  42. Steve B says:

    Jay … I was quite surprised to discover that you had responded to me latest entry so quickly. Of course, by now I shouldn’t have been. You ALWAYS have! As I told you, in a few short hours I will be leaving on a rather long trip to upstate NY. Before leaving, though, I wanted to respond to a few of the things you wrote. One of these is, “I would say that I could most certainly be wrong about the extent of the Flood, but I cannot be wrong about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the virgin birth” … and, “Since there is no way you can translate the Bible to indicate anything but the fact that Christ physically rose from the dead, there is no doubt in my mind that the Resurrection occurred and that it was physical.” I think you know by now that I agree with these statements 100% . However, there are others who would disagree with you. One of these is John Shelby Spong, the well-known liberal Bishop of the Newark Diocese of the Episcopal Church (now retired). Bishop Spong wrote a book (which I read) entitled “Resurrection: Myth or Reality,” in which he argued that the Resurrection was not a physical event. Among other things, he said “If the resurrection of Jesus cannot be believed except by assenting to the fantastic descriptions included in the Gospels, then Christianity is doomed. For that view of resurrection is not believable, and if that is all there is, then Christianity, which depends upon the truth and authenticity of Jesus’ resurrection, also is not believable. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? (San Fransisco: HarperCollins, 1994), p. 238.] … and
    “The best way to lose all is to cling with desperation to that which cannot possibly be sustained literally. Literalistic Christians will learn that a God or a faith system that has to be defended daily is finally no God or faith system at all. They will learn that any god who can be killed ought to be killed. Ultimately they will discover that all their claims to represent the historical, traditional, or biblical truth of Christianity cannot stop the advance of knowledge that will render every historic claim for a literal religious system questionable at best, null and void at worst.”

    Pretty rough, eh? Needless to say, I disagree with these remarks 100%. However, Mr. Spong would obviously disagree with the statements that you made about the Resurrection. According to his interpretation, the event was not physical. The point I am making here is that you have picked out and chosen the biblical teachings that you consider to be absolutely certain. One of these is the Resurrection. You recognize that the Virgin Birth is slightly more susceptible to alternative interpretations, although in your mind (and most definitely in mine, too!) you do consider this event to be virtually as certain as the Resurrection. Mr. Spong would definitely disagree with you on this issue, also. As you know, there are a growing number of Christian leaders who would, sadly, take the side of Mr. Spong on these issues. So, then, we all pick and choose which teachings we consider to be beyond doubt. You have chosen, among other things, the physical Resurrection and the Virgin Birth, as indisputable truths. You do not look upon the teaching about the Genesis Flood and the days of creation with the same degree of certainty. I, on the other hand, do. Just as I strongly disagree with Mr. Spong’s interpretation of the Resurrection, I disagree with you regarding the certainty with which the Bible teaches a worldwide flood (I’m SLIGHTLY less adamant about the length of the creation days). Now PLEASE don’t think for one second that I am charging you with the same faulty hermeneutics as Bishop Spong! All I am saying is that your hermeneutics has led you to a somewhat different conclusion regarding the certainty of the biblical teaching about the flood than mine (I realize, of course, that despite this, you do believe that the flood was worldwide). I understand why this is so (that is, I recognize the reasons that lead some people to believe that the flood was local); I just don’t agree with it.
    Regarding the Resurrection, the Virgin Birth, the Genesis Flood and the days of creation, you said, “In my mind, it is no accident that the Resurrection and virgin birth are in the major creeds of the church, but the extent of the Flood and the age of the earth are not. It’s because the Bible is quite clear on the first two issues, and it is not nearly as clear on the last two issues.” That’s a very good point, but I respectfully disagree. As I have said a number of times in this blog, I believe that the Bible is as clear on the last two issues as the first two. I’ll tell you what, though. I’ll make a concession here. Somewhat reluctantly, for your benefit, I’ll qualify “clear” with “almost as.” [smile] I might add here that the reason that the Genesis Flood and the days of creation were not mentioned in the major creeds might be because at the time the creeds were written the beliefs about these matters – in particular that the Flood was worldwide – may have been simply taken for granted. That is, there was no need to corroborate it in the creed, because there was no dispute about it. You don’t need to question this notion, because I’m hardly attached to it; it’s only a tentative suggestion.

    Regarding your comparison between the teaching of the Catholic Church in the Renaissance regarding the geocentrism of the solar system and the current beliefs of young earth creationists regarding the worldwide nature of the flood, I disagree with it. I don’t believe that the Bible teaches geocentrism with anywhere near the certainty that it teaches a worldwide flood.

    Regarding the source of the light on the first 3 days of creation, you said, “In order to produce “evening and morning,” the light coming from God would have to be a spatially-defined source of light like the sun. Also, it could not be in certain places, such as hovering over one of the poles. However, this is not the kind of light that is typically described as coming from God.” My response to these words is that I believe that God can create whatever kind of light He wants to. If He wanted to create a source of light that was exactly the same as the sun, with the same intensity and in the same location, but was not the sun, but only light – and heat – He could certainly do it. And,in fact, I think that may be exactly what He did. But don’t press me on this one, because I certainly don’t know this for sure. It’s just a guess. All I do know is that, first, God created the sun on the 4th day of creation and that He created some source of light on the 3 previous days that caused day and night (light and darkness) on the earth and, second, I have no trouble trusting that He could have come up with some way to accomplish this. Hey, He is God! He can do ANYTHING! [smile again]

    Finally, regarding the ministries you mentioned, I am quite familiar with Hugh Ross’s Reasons to Believe organization. Although I am not familiar with the other two, I definitely plan to investigate them. Regarding Reasons to Believe, I’m sure that you know that the two powerhouses in this debate, secular evolutionists and young-earth creationists – as well as theistic creationists and Intelligent Designers – all reject the Progressive Creationism theology that Reasons to Believe promotes.

    As I mentioned previously, in a few hours I will be leaving on a trip that will take me away from my computer for about a week. I will be eager to check back in when I return home. If the blog is still active, I’m sure I’ll get back involved. Over the last several days our exchange has obviously dominated the blog, Jay. It would be great to see others get back into it, eh?

    It’s been wonderful exchanging thoughts with you, Jay. Thank you so much for all the time you have committed to the process. And once again … Merry Christmas!

  43. Steve B says:

    Jay … I meant to thank you for your apology, also – wholeheartedly, too!

  44. jlwile says:

    Steve, thank you for accepting my apology.

    As I have told you before, I am very aware that there are Christians who want to deny the physical Resurrection, and as I have told you before, they do not help your case. Your quotes from Bishop Spong demonstrate that very well. Bishop Spong is not claiming that the Bible can be interpreted in a way so as to indicate a non-physical Resurrection. Instead, he is telling people to ignore what the Bible says. Note that he calls the Bible’s accounts “fantastic descriptions” and says what they say “is not believable.” Thus, he is not arguing for a different interpretation here. He is specifically arguing that we need to ignore what the Bible says and believe something entirely different. This is not at all what OECs and local Flood advocates say. They say to pay close attention to what the Bible says, and you will find that it says the creation days were not 24-hour days and that the Flood was not worldwide. To try to say that there is something similar between what Spong says and what OECs say is simply incorrect.

    This seems to be one of the problems you are having in this discussion. You say that this is Spong’s “interpretation,” but it is not. It is not an interpretation of the Bible in any way. It is an edit of the Bible. He says that the physical Resurrection cannot be believed, so we must edit it out of the Bible. This is, of course, nothing like what OECs say. They don’t suggest editing anything out of the Bible. They simply suggest looking at the original languages to see what they say about creation and the Flood.

    With regard to the creeds, you make a statement that is common among YECs. You ask me not to question it, but because it is common in YEC literature, I will point out why it is wrong. You say, “I might add here that the reason that the Genesis Flood and the days of creation were not mentioned in the major creeds might be because at the time the creeds were written the beliefs about these matters – in particular that the Flood was worldwide – may have been simply taken for granted. That is, there was no need to corroborate it in the creed, because there was no dispute about it.” Of course, that is demonstrably false. First, we know there was dispute in the early church about the days of creation. Some early church fathers thought they weren’t days at all, and at least one other (Origen) encouraged a figurative interpretation. Thus, there was dispute.

    More importantly, think what you have to believe to agree with this idea. If you believe that that 24-hour creation days and a worldwide Flood are not in the creeds because they were not in dispute in the early Church, you must believe that the creeds contained issues that were in dispute. Thus, while the worldwide Flood and 24-hour creation days were certain in the early Church, the fact that God is maker of the heaven and the earth was in dispute. In addition, the fact that Jesus Christ was God’s only Son, that He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried, arose again on the third day, etc. etc. were all in question. So while the church was utterly unified on the details of creation and the Flood, all these other issues were in dispute? No. There is a reason the issues in the creeds are there – they are primary issues of which there can be no doubt. Issues that are not in the creeds are secondary issues, many of which can be doubted.

    I understand that you don’t believe that the Bible teaches geocentrism with anywhere near the certainty that it teaches a worldwide flood. However, the Renaissance Church (Roman Catholic and the Reformers) did. They taught it with certainty, even though the Bible can be translated to allow for a heliocentric solar system. This, of course, harmed the cause of Christ. In my view, many of my fellow YECs are doing the same thing today. They are teaching with certainty something that cannot be known certainly. This has the same potential to cause harm.

    I understand that you believe God can create light in any way that he wants. I agree with you and think that’s what He did. However, even you admit that you “don’t know this for sure.” In fact, you must argue against what the Bible says bout God’s light in other places in order to make it work for YEC. The problem is that you must know this for sure if you are to be certain of YEC. That’s precisely my point. When you dig into the details of what must be true for the YEC position to be true, you find things that cannot be determined for certain. This is why it is wrong to claim that the YEC interpretation is certain. As a side note, this is exactly why I think it is important for you to try to answer OEC arguments. Only by looking at your particular answer can we get to the point where we find things that cannot be known for certain.

    I am most certainly well aware that secular evolutionists, young-earth creationists, theistic creationists, and Intelligent Designers all disagree with progressive creation. Of course, secular evolutionists, old-earth creationists, theistic creationists, and Intelligent Designers all disagree with young-earth creationism as preached by the organizations that you mention. In fact, there is at least one YEC (me) who cannot agree with the fact that these organizations teach YEC as the only possible interpretation of the Bible. Thus, there are just as many Christians (in fact, there are more Christians) opposed to YEC than to Progressive creation. As I have told you before, I am not interested in what the majority says. I am interested in what is right.

    I pray that you have a safe trip and a Merry Christmas!

  45. Josiah says:

    The other big problem with the argument that “The creeds don’t mention it, so there cannot have been dispute about it” is the following: While silence may (Dr. Wile’s above points notwithstanding) tell you how certain they were about their position, it says nothing about what that position was! From that argument alone and without additional information, the early church may have been dead certain that (and even taken the fact for granted) the flood only covered the middle east.

  46. Rio says:

    I think Genesis chapter 8 verse 17 might mean the flood was universal

  47. jlwile says:

    Rio, I would agree with you, but local Flood advocates actually use that passage as evidence that the Flood was not worldwide. The passage reads:

    Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.

    We generally think of this passage as saying that the animals should repopulate the earth. However, that’s not what it says. It just says they are supposed to breed abundantly and multiply. If they really were repopulating the earth, why wouldn’t it be more clear? Also, if you do what is done in other parts of Genesis 8 (like Genesis 8:7) and use the word “earth” to simply mean “land,” it could be saying that they are supposed to get off the ark and start multiplying on land rather than on the ark. This would make sense if Noah’s mission was simply to save the local fauna so they could repopulate the local environment.

  48. Rio says:

    In the kJV version of the Bible it says this in Genesis9 verse 11 “And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” Doesn’t that mean that the flood killed all flesh. Also in Genesis9 verse 12 to 19 says
    12And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

    13I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

    14And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

    15And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

    16And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.

    17And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.

    18And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.

    19These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.

    The token of the covenant was a rainbow and rainbows are seen though out the world. Also the token was given to Noah and family and every living creature that was with him as you can see in verse 12. Also in verse 13,15 16,and 17 it sounds universal. Also in verse 19 doesn’t mean that the whole earth spread through three sons. I really think this is pointing to a universal flood but I only “think” Im not 100 percent sure. Do you think this is pointing to a universal flood?

  49. jlwile says:

    Rio, we know that the Flood did not kill all flesh, since Noah, his family, the animals on the ark, and many aquatic animals throughout the world were spared. Thus, how far does the exception to “all flesh” go? I think that’s as far as it goes. However, the local Flood advocates think it goes farther, and I don’t see anything in the Bible (especially when you consider the original language) that absolutely prohibits that interpretation.

    I agree that rainbows are seen everywhere on earth, but that doesn’t mean they are a sign for everyone on the planet. In fact, note what verses 15 and 16 say. They say that God will look upon the rainbow and remember His covenant. Thus, it makes sense they are all over the world. That way, no matter what land the clouds form over, God will see the rainbow and not destroy that land with a Flood. Whether the flood was global or local, that makes perfect sense, given the fact that the Bible uses the same Hebrew word for both the entire earth and the land.

    I agree that the Flood story sounds global, but there are many things in the Bible that sound one way but mean something else. For example, 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalms 93:1, Psalms 96:10, Joshua 10:12-13, Psalms 19:4-6, and Ecclesiastes 1:5 all sound like the sun moves and the earth stands still. In fact, however, we know it is exactly the opposite. If you look at the original Hebrew, you see that these passages don’t necessarily mean the sun actually moves and the earth actually stands still. However, that’s not what the passages sound like in English. You have to do the same thing with the Flood account – you have to look at the original language to see what it says. Now, in my view, even once the original language is investigated, the Flood does seem to be global. However, I cannot make a definitive case for that with the original language.

    In the end, then, I am in agreement with you. I think the Flood was worldwide. However, as you say, I am not 100 percent sure.

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