The Debate Rages On…At Many Levels

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.

102 Comments

  1. Steve B December 22, 2011 2:42 pm

    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!

    • jlwile December 22, 2011 3:39 pm

      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.

      http://www.drwile.com

  2. Steve B December 22, 2011 9:52 pm

    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!

    • jlwile December 23, 2011 7:10 am

      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!

      http://www.drwile.com

  3. Steve B December 22, 2011 9:59 pm

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

  4. Josiah December 24, 2011 12:12 pm

    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.

  5. Rio January 8, 2012 10:01 pm

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

    • jlwile January 9, 2012 8:31 am

      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.

      http://www.drwile.com

  6. Rio January 10, 2012 12:18 am

    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?

    • jlwile January 10, 2012 7:54 am

      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.

      http://www.drwile.com

  7. Rio January 10, 2012 4:09 pm

    Thanks