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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Where the Conflict Really Lies, Part 1

Posted by jlwile on February 20, 2012

I have written about Dr. Alvin Plantinga before (here, here, and here). He is arguably the most important Christian philosopher alive today and is largely responsible for the revitalization of Christian philosophy that took place in the mid-to-late 1900s. As my previous posts indicate, I don’t always agree with Dr. Plantinga. However, each time I have read one of his books or listened to one of his lectures, I have learned a great deal. As a result, I was thrilled to receive a copy of his newest book, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism for Christmas.

Like any serious book on science or philosophy, this is not an easy book to read. It’s not that Plantiga is hard to understand – quite the opposite. It’s just that he thinks very, very deeply. As a result, when you read his books, you also have to think deeply. Of course, the hard work is rewarded if you stick with it, but make no mistake about it – reading this book in its entirety is hard work. Now Dr. Plantinga has made it a bit easier for you if you don’t want to work quite so hard. The book is written in two fonts: a large one and a small one. If you read just the large font, you can understand the message of the book, but you won’t get bogged down by certain details. If you read the small font as well, you get the message of the book in all its philosophical depth. While that is challenging, it is well worth it.

Dr. Plantinga encapsulates the message of his book in an elegant phrase. He says that his overall claim can be summed up as follows:

There is a superficial conflict but deep concord between science and theistic religion, but superficial concord and deep conflict between science and naturalism. (p. ix)

Needless to say, I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. Interestingly enough, however, I agree with it for slightly different reasons from those that are given in the book.

In the first part of the book, Plantinga deals with the alleged conflicts that exist between science and theistic religion. At first, he deals with evolution. He discusses the arguments of people like Dr. Richard Dawkins and Dr. Daniel Dennett, and he shows just how poor those arguments are. This alone is worth the price of the book. At one point, he discusses how Dennett says that anyone who doubts evolution is inexcusably ignorant, while Dawkins says that such people are either ignorant, stupid, insane, or evil. He then makes this very noteworthy observation:

Here Dennett and Dawkins remind one of a certain kind of religious personality with which we are all too familiar: if you disagree with them, you are not only wrong, but wicked, and should be punished… (p. 33)

That is so true. Time and time again, atheists like Dawkins and Dennett behave like the Inquisition – they declare who is reasonable and who is not, and they allow no one to question their pronouncements.

In the end, Plantinga shows that evolution is not in conflict with Christianity, and I completely agree. I think evolution is in conflict with the data, but not with any theistic religion. In the end, God could have created by evolution if He wanted. I just think the evidence clearly says that He didn’t. The only thing that conflicts with theistic religion is nontheistic evolution, but as Dr. Plantinga explains, the nontheist is actually shackled by his own beliefs:

For the nontheist, undirected evolution is the only game in town…the only way it could have happened is by way of unguided Darwinian evolution; hence it must have happened that way; hence, there must be a Darwinian series for each current life form. The theist, on the other hand, has a little more freedom here: maybe there is such a series and maybe there isn’t; God has created the living world and could have done it in any number of different ways; there doesn’t have to be any such series. In this way the theist is freer to follow the evidence where it leads. (p. 24, emphasis his)

I actually believe this is the deep conflict that exists between atheism and science. If you are committed to believing there is no God, you cannot follow the evidence wherever it leads. Instead, if it leads to something that is supernatural, you have to ignore the evidence. As a result, atheism automatically hampers a person’s scientific investigations.

In the next part of the book, Plantinga talks about divine action in the natural world. Some claim that if you believe in a supernatural being who is involved in the world, you can’t be a scientist. However, that’s nonsense, and Plantinga shows just how nonsensical such an idea is. His arguments follow the lecture I wrote about previously, so you can read about that lecture if you want to learn the details.

In the end, the two things that most people see as problems between theistic religion and science (evolution and divine action) don’t really produce a conflict at all, at least according to Plantinga. Where does he see the “superficial conflict” between science and theistic religion? Let me use his own words:

Obviously, then, there is a conflict between Christian belief and some of the theories or “results” from [historical Biblical criticism] as well as from evolutionary psychology. And the next question is this: suppose you are a classical Christian, accepting, for example, the whole of the Apostle’s Creed. Suppose you are also, as I believe Christians should be, wholly enthusiastic about science…suppose further that you see both evolutionary psychology and [historical Biblical criticism] as proper science…do they give you a good reason to reject [Christian] beliefs, or at any rate hold them less firmly? (p. 161)

He goes on to show that the answer to that is definitely, “No.” Even if historical Biblical criticism and evolutionary psychology are legitimate science (and there are many who would say otherwise), they are only in superficial conflict with Christianity.

With the superficial conflict between science and Christianity out of the way, Dr. Plantinga then goes on to discuss the deep concord that exists between science and Christianity. I will discuss that in the next part of my review.

Comments

50 Responses to “Where the Conflict Really Lies, Part 1”
  1. gracekalman says:

    This one is actually at my library! By the way, would say it is harder to read than Ben-Hur? Because that’s one of my favorite books, and probably the hardest I’ve ever read. I burned out halfway through Mere Christianity, but that was more because I found a lot that I didn’t agree with.

  2. Eric H. says:

    I’ll have to pick up this book. I’ve wanted for a little while to understand exactly why Theistic Evolution does not conflict with the Bible. When I look at Theistic Evolution, I do not necessarily see an extreme conflict, as if it is completely incompatible, as much as I see it as an unnecessary add on to the Bible and a minor conflict. In a way, it seems to be an awkward position, and perhaps brings into question the power of God. For example, assuming theistic evolution is Gods form of creation, it was over the course of millions and millions of years that God made the life forms we see today. This would call into question, when God goes to raise up the dead, billions upon billions of them, will it be a slow and steady process once more, or will it be in a single day? If God only seems to be able to create through a slow and steady process, or if that is his preferred method, is God able? When God prophesies through Ezekiel about the raising of the dead in Ezekiel 37, the creation process is literally happening right before Ezekiel’s eyes, in a single moment, which is how I have always pictured the creation account. I picture God painting a giant beautiful picture as easily as a human would paint a giant beautiful picture. If the person were to dedicate themselves to the drawing of the picture and paint day and night, even being human, it may take them a week at most, to paint the most beautiful wonderful picture. How much more easily could God do it? The call of power is, if God decided to use the process of evolution to create life, is he powerful enough to bring the israelites back to life instantly as described in Ezekiel 37 and eventually all of us at the resurrection? The resurrection would have to be fairly quick before the one thousand year reign of Christ. I do want to note that this in no way would interfere with the length of creation, during the initial creation week. Considering that in the first day of creation, there was no light, is it reasonable to assume that there was a set standard of time for a day? It was only during the second day that God seperated the light from the darkness. It should be noted that God only called the light good, but not the darkness, just an interesting thought. The second day most likely would have been the first time that any type of set standard of time for a day would have been available, once again in my opinion. During the fourth day, in my opinion, time would have been going crazy in the solar system, at least according to the theory of relativity, as all the planets and the stars of heaven would have been created, BUT I do not think that time would have been crazy on the earth, I think time would have been stable upon the surface of the earth but not in the heavens. The reasoning behind this is that plants operate on day/night cycles, upon time based systems, so in my very humble opinion, time would have stayed the same on the earth, how exactly God did this would be the question. The fifth day would have been quite the same, it is interesting to note that God created both the Birds and the Fish out of water. If Gods method was evolution, how could he have created the Birds out of water? Wouldn’t they need to be on land first? God also created the whales out of the water, but this is contrary to evolution, as, at least from the current perspective, whales evolved from the land. Like I had noted above, perhaps I have the wrong perspective on exactly what Theistic Evolutionists think, and maybe they are getting something completely different out of the Bible then what I am getting, which is why I need to read more books about their position.

  3. jlwile says:

    Grace, I have actually never read Ben-Hur, so I can’t say. It is a tougher read than Mere Christianity.

  4. jlwile says:

    Eric, the first thing I would say is that evolution would not be the only way God could create. If He did create by evolution, it is simply the way He chose to create. The second thing I would say is that your question about billions of years applies equally well to six 24-hour days. If God took six 24-hour days to create, you could say that it will take at least a few days to raise the dead. I don’t think that line of reasoning is valid, however. The way God chose to create does not imply a limit to His power. It merely indicates something about His preferences.

    I do agree with you that it is very hard to track time during the creation week. Now that we know space and time are intimately linked, it is hard to say how time behaved while the creation process was going on. Interestingly enough, this was pointed out by Clement of Alexandria back in AD 205. He said, “And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist?” (The Stromata, Book 6, Chapter 16)

    Could you explain to me what you mean by God creating birds out of water? I don’t understand what you mean by that.

  5. Eric H. says:

    Dr. Wile, I do agree that evolution would not be the only way that God could create, there may be several more that we are not aware of yet.
    Some reasons why I don’t think that the question applies equally is because God has given the guarantee that he is going to raise us all up, and we can configure that it would be rather quickly, whether it takes a day or even three days, we know for certain that it will not take billions of years. I will try to restate the question, why should we TRUST that God can raise us up instantly or even in an extended period of time, when his preferred method of creation, which is action, is millions upon millions of years? I think that raising us up would be a form of creation, renewing our body parts, perhaps even our very bones. If he could have done it instantly, then why didn’t he do it instantly? Doesn’t he have the power to? There comes a certain aspect of power when you know what God can do anything he wants and he is not limited by a slow long step by step creation process. I agree that he did it in seven days for our sakes, so we would have a model work week that was compatible. Coming from a christian perspective, if God did take millions upon millions of years to create, I would still trust that he could raise me up instantly since he has never failed me yet and because of the promises he made through his son, his promises have never failed. My doubts come when I think of it from a non believers perspective, who may say something along these lines, “If Gods preferred method of creation takes millions and millions of years, and it would seem like that is his preferred way of doing things, why would he be able to raise us up, another creation process, in an instant? I don’t think he has enough power to, he seems like a sort of weak God to me.” I am not saying that everyone would respond this way, but this would be my personal line of reasoning.
    Genesis 1: 19-21 from the kjv reads: “And God said, Let the WATERS bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales and every living creature that moveth, which the WATERS BROUGHT FORTH abundantly, after his kind: And God saw that it was good.” I take this to the understanding that God was creating the birds and the whales out of the water, just as when God said that he created the Man out of the dust of the earth, but perhaps I am misunderstanding it. What do you think?

  6. Mia says:

    How does evidence, which is empirical and natural, lead to the supernatural?

    I’m interested in the basics of the “no” too.

  7. Eric H. says:

    That is really interesting that people were already thinking about how time related to creation even back in 205 AD. If at least one person of fame wrote about it, it is reasonable that other bible readers have thought about it over time.

  8. Eric H. says:

    I would add that the huge difference is between our understanding of time. We don’t comprehend seven days as being that long of a time. It goes by pretty quickly. The thought of God creating in six days, of the way we understand time, makes him incredibly powerful and unstoppable. But billions of years in stellar evolution and 100s of millions of years in biological evolution in my opinion, could make God look weak, but it’s according to the way we perceive time. This all centers around are perspective of time, according to the standard of time that God has created for us. We should be able to trust our thoughts about the concept of time. Perhaps people see things differently then I do though.

  9. jlwile says:

    Eric, I think the statements do apply equally. You say that God created in seven days for our sake, so we would have a model work week that was compatible. Why couldn’t He have created in millions of years for our sake? After all, scientists love to model things, and modeling things is much easier when they happen slowly and more in accord with natural processes. In addition, He could be making a statement about just how powerful He really is. While creating specific kinds of creatures over six days is impressive, you could say that it is even more impressive for him to set everything up in advance and then let it run on “auto pilot” to make what we see today. After all, what is more impressive, a man who can make a robot, or a man who can lay out a series of parts that essentially assemble themselves into a robot? I would say the second is more impressive.

    The answer to your question is that we can trust God to do what He says because Scripture says that we can. God has said He will do it, and God does not lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2)

    I would say that you are not reading Genesis 1:19-21 correctly. The phrase “the waters brought forth” doesn’t mean God created things out of water. It means that the water was full of living creatures. For example, the KJV uses the same phrase in Genesis 14:18, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” The bread and wine were not created by Melchizedek or from Melchizedek. The phrase just means that Melchizedek had a lot of it. You can see the same wording in Genesis 24:53, ‘And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.” The jewels were not created by or of the servant. He simply had a lot of them.

  10. jlwile says:

    Mia, evidence led me to the supernatural. I was an atheist, but as I started learning science, I realized that the universe was designed, and as I started looking for a designer, I was impressed by the evidence for the validity of the Christian faith. In addition, models can be constructed assuming supernatural events happened, and if the predictions of those models prove accurate, that’s evidence for the supernatural events happening. For example, the only model of planetary magnetic fields that works even reasonably well is a model that depends on planets starting as balls of water whose molecules are partly aligned and then being instantaneously transmuted into the planets we see today. The fact that it has made several successful predictions about the data (before those data were collected) gives evidence that this was how planets were formed.

    The “no” part, in brief, is based on evidence bases. Some evidence bases are truncated, and as a result, you cannot make complete conclusions from them. Plantinga likens this to physics before relativity and quantum mechanics. At that time, physics was truncated and, as a result, a complete picture of the universe was not possible. While evolutionary psychology attempts to make statements about why people believe what they do, the statements are rather tentative, since we know still know little about such matters. In the same way, while some forms of Biblical criticism try to make statements about how the Bible came to be, the statements are rather tentative. Until we have a more complete picture, then, we should treat such pursuits as having truncated evidence bases. As such, we should not ignore the other evidences we use to support the Christian faith, even if we think evolutionary psychology and Biblical criticism are valid scientific pursuits.

  11. mark c says:

    “In the end, Plantinga shows that evolution is not in conflict with Christianity, and I completely agree. I think evolution is in conflict with the data, but not with any theistic religion. In the end, God could have created by evolution if He wanted. I just think the evidence clearly says that He didn’t.” Dr. Wile did you get this from AIG’s website? I don’t think so. I 100% agree also. Let’s have a conversation about the evidence, not a finger pointing, accusations of compromise, riddled debate. I recently listened to a forum at Bryan College on Reading Genesis one and two with OT scholars from different viewpoints and that is what it was a amicable conversation. Thanks for this review, I first heard Dr. Plantiga at Fordham university in 1985 give a talk on “properly Basic Beliefs”. It introduced me to the study of epistemology and how it relates to “knowledge claims” of all kinds. I will definitely put it on my to read list and look forward to the rest of your review.

  12. jlwile says:

    I definitely didn’t get that from the AiG website, Mark! It would be wonderful to have a conversation about the evidence without all the insults, accusations, and finger-pointing. Unfortunately, while one side is calling those with whom they disagree “compromisers,” another side is calling those with whom they disagree “science haters,” and yet another side is calling those with whom they disagree “ignorant, stupid, insane, or evil.”

    I saw the forum you mentioned discussed on Todd Wood’s blog. I wish I could have been there.

  13. Eric H. says:

    Thanks for the reply Dr. Wile. Again, I think that the statements do not apply equally. “You say that God created in seven days for our sake, so we would have a model work week that was compatible.” I agree. “Why couldn’t He have created in millions of years for our sake?”
    Because this may not show his power, his mighty ability, and would you think that a model work time would be to work for 100′s of millions of years and then rest? According to our current scheme, this would seem illogical. We have seven days of time set up for our week, not 7 million years of time. If there were millions of years set up for our work week, then I might agree, that is the way that God created. “After all, scientists love to model things, and modeling things is much easier when they happen slowly and more in accord with natural processes.” Jeremiah 32: 17-29 shows the very reason why he very likely would not have created it slow, and it would be directly for our sakes, to show that nothing is to hard for the Lord. If he would have modeled it in 100′s of millions of years it would most certainly seem like there are at least somethings to hard for the Lord, like he has to take the easy way of doing things. To show that he is God and we are man, according to our standard of time, “As far as the heavens are above the earth, so my ways are above yours.” If it was God’s will to show how he wanted to be treated as an equal to us, he would have done things in the long manner. The thing is, Do we want a God that has to go through step by step processes over millions of years or do we want a God who can create in six days of time from Earth, the way we understand time? Do we want to serve a God who is just as powerful as us, maybe less? My ideology is “Big deal, God seems even dumber than I am, I mean, for goodness sakes, if I had billions of years, I could probably create about anything, and come up with about anything I wanted with according to the way I understand time, I could probably end up being infinitely powerful, it seems like God is about as smart as we are, ha!, that is not a very impressive God, big deal, he says that there is nothing to hard for him, but he uses slow steady processes and thinks out each and every last part and take vast amounts of time to do it, I bet I could do better than God given enough time!” Can you see where this could lead? Some points that could make this more apparent is in the Psalms. God never takes the easy way, he goes all out. “After all, what is more impressive, a man who can make a robot, or a man who can lay out a series of parts that essentially assemble themselves into a robot?”
    I think the general reasoning may go somewhat like this, “What would be impressive is to make a robot that assembles itself in a single day or even a hour!! Not a couple million years, that is not that impressive, it seems like sort of a weak God if it has to take millions of years for the robot to assemble itself, man, he must be a lot dumber than we are, I think we could do better eventually, I mean we’ve been on this earth as humans for not to long and we’re going to pass God in intelligence and power soon, yes!!” This could be the end result of this line of thinking.
    I most certainly agree that we should be able to trust God because he said he would, according to the passages you showed me, but this line of reasoning will not even come close to cutting it for a non-believer.
    “It means that the water was full of living creatures.” Dr. Wile, when was the last time you saw the waters teeming with all types of birds? The birds were flying in the expanse of the sky, according to the passage. It would seem to me like the birds came from the water, I am not sure how else you can read the passage. Your example in Genesis 14:18 does not apply in this case, and you would still have the problem that it was in the waters that the whales were brought forth even if the waters were not the materials used for the creation of the animals. Melkizedeck was a man, not God. If we saw that Solomon created a great temple, we would assume that he was not creating it through supernatural processes, would we not? If a passage said that a man had planted a garden and out of the dust of the earth came for the fruit, we would not assume that the man is creating some new form of life, because men can not create new things out of the dust of the earth. Again, we know that this passage is talking about the Jewelry being brought forth, that they are not being created but our already existent, these are two completely different usages of the words, and they do not apply the same way.

  14. Enoch H. says:

    Dr. Wile,

    You said:

    “I actually believe this is the deep conflict that exists between atheism and science. If you are committed to believing there is no God, you cannot follow the evidence wherever it leads. Instead, if it leads to something that is supernatural, you have to ignore the evidence. As a result, atheism automatically hampers a person’s scientific investigations.”

    While this is true, it is only true because Atheism is false. If the Atheist presupposition were true, its believers would actually be at advantage in the pursuit of science. In light of that, I don’t think this is a good argument to use with an atheist, because if you don’t assume either Theism or Atheism is true, this argument can be equally used against both sides.

  15. gracekalman says:

    Out of curiosity, have you ever read Simply Put by David Bousquet? It is very doctrinal, not scientific, but you seem to read a wide variety of genres, so I thought you might have.

  16. Josiah says:

    I may be wrong, but I think Eric’s “bringing things forth out of the water” point is more to do with the order of creation than anything else. According to typical Evolutionary theory it’s (roughly) fish > reptiles > birds >mammals > wales.

    If reptiles (land animals) weren’t until day 6, how do you get birds in the sky or wales in the sea on day 5?

  17. Eric H. says:

    Dr. Wile, please answer these questions and do not side step them, which shows more POWER(not wisdom), that God created all the stars of heaven, trillions upon trillions of them, in one day of time according to our perspective on earth, or that God created all the stars in billions of billions of years from our perspective of time on earth and pre planned it so he could just sit back and do nothing?(this question is not about wisdom, it is about power, if God did create through a process that happens without him being there, then this could give us the thought that he will not be active in our lives and will not help us) Which shows more power(not wisdom), that God created each and every type of bird and sea creature in a single day of 24 hours according to our understanding of time on earth, or that God created over many many million years of time, according to our perspective of sunrise and sunsets, and rotations around the earth? Which one shows more power?
    If you got the other message that I sent, you can erase it and just post this one so too many issues are not floating around and we can just concentrate on these questions.

  18. Eric H. says:

    My question would be, why would we want to fit God making things in millions of years when the Bible is already so awesome with him creating everything in six literal days? In the end, it comes down to a trust issue, we either believe what God says or we don’t. This issue is similar to when God tells us that he has the free gift of salvation for us. God says, “Here is the way to heaven, just ask and you shall receive, knock, and the door will be opened.” But instead of listening to the awesome news and saying, “Yes!! God has given us a free gift of eternal life and we don’t have to earn it, how awesome is that??!!!” We say, “I don’t know about that God, I think I am going to have to have faith and work really hard to get into heaven, I don’t think that what you said means quite what you said, I need to work my way to heaven, I have to keep on doing good deeds.” God replies, “No! NO! NOO!! Really, it is completly free!! You don’t have to do anything! I am giving you this gift completely free! Just believe in me and you’re saved, that’s it!!”

  19. jlwile says:

    Eric, I really do think the statements apply equally. If you use your reasoning, the fact that God took six days to create everything and then had to rest for one day shows that He is not powerful enough to create it all instantly. The six days took everything He had, and that’s why He rested on the seventh. If you claim he took six days and rested for our benefit, then he could have taken millions of years for our benefit. Obviously, the millions of years would not be to illustrate the work week. Perhaps it would be to illustrate the wise saying, “slow and steady wins the race.” You misunderstood what I said about modeling. I said another reason he could have taken millions of years for our sake is so that scientists could model the process better. The fact is that there are many, many ways God could have created, and none of them reduce His power.

    You can’t use Jeremiah 32:17-29 to support your position. If you think the time involved in the creation event is a measure of God’s power, then the fact that God took six days to create and then had to rest on the seventh shows that there are things too difficult for God. Using your reasoning, creating instantaneously would have been too difficult for God. The fact is that the time it took God to create has nothing to do with whether or not something is too difficult for God. Since there is nothing too difficult for Him, He can create in any way He chooses.

    When it comes to Genesis 1:20-21, you are missing a very important point of punctuation. If the fowl came from the water, there would be no comma before the “and.” The comma before the “and” means we are starting the equivalent of a new sentence. The water belonged to the previous sentence, not the one dealing with fowl. It might be helpful to see how a modern translation says it: “Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.” Even if you think the KJV is the only proper version of the Bible, you can at least use this rendering to help you understand the way the KJV uses the language here.

    You ask, “If we saw that Solomon created a great temple, we would assume that he was not creating it through supernatural processes, would we not?” Of course. I am just pointing out that “brought forth” doesn’t mean what you think it means here. It doesn’t mean the creatures like whales were made out of water. It means the water was full of them. That’s all.

  20. jlwile says:

    Enoch, I don’t think you are right. If the atheist position were correct, that means naturalistic explanations would be found for everything. However, that’s not a problem for a theist. There are a lot of theists (like Dr. Francis Collins, for example) who think that there are naturalistic explanations for everything in nature. God set it up that way. So a theist could follow the evidence to a naturalistic explanation. An atheist cannot follow the evidence to a supernatural explanation. This is why the theist is in a better position to follow the evidence.

  21. jlwile says:

    Grace, I haven’t read Simply Put. You are correct that my reading list is diverse, and it does include doctrinal books. Just not that one.

  22. jlwile says:

    Josiah, I don’t think that’s it. It seems Eric is reading Genesis 1:20-21 to indicate that God formed birds out of water.

  23. jlwile says:

    Eric, why would you think I would side step your questions? Have I ever side stepped anyone’s questions? If God created all the stars in billions of years, one day, or instantaneously, His power would be the same. Time has nothing to do with power. In fact, God created time. As I mentioned before, it’s not even clear what time means until creation is complete. There is no reason to think that God would not be active in our lives if He set everything up and let it play out without His involvement. He takes more interest in each of us than He does in the biological world! If God created each and every type of bird and sea creature in a million years, a day, or an instant, His power would be the same. The time it takes Him to create has nothing to do with His power. Once again, it is not even clear what time means until creation is complete, since time itself was created.

    Also, it’s not a question of “fitting” it in so that God created in millions of years. It’s also not question of trust. It’s a question of figuring out what the Bible means in the creation account. If the creation account is historical narrative, and if the proper translation of “yom” is a 24-hour day, then clearly God didn’t create in millions of years. However, if the proper definition of “yom” is “an undetermined length of time,” then He could have taken a lot longer to create. If Genesis is not historical narrative, then we have very little knowledge of the details of creation.

    This has nothing to do with how we interpret the gospel. The gospels are clearly historical narrative, and the epistles clearly state how one is saved. The interpretation of Genesis is not nearly as clear cut. Thus, we should be willing to keep our minds open on the matter.

  24. Eric H. says:

    Thank you for your courteous reply Dr. Wile. It seems like I got a little frustrated, but you are correct that you never side step questions. I have never once seen you side step a question and I have looked at most of your comment threads, which is really the main reason why you are my favorite creation blogger on the internet, because of the threads!
    “If you use your reasoning, the fact that God took six days to create everything and then had to rest for one day shows that He is not powerful enough to create it all instantly.” I am thinking that this is going in the opposite direction of where I am going, this would be more on the affirmative of a traditional creationists account and away from an evolutionary perspective. Evolution is completely incompatible with short amounts of time. While my beliefs of a six literal day creation week are set, this would just affirm my beliefs even more if the creation times were shorter, it does not work vice versa, evolution is stuck on a time scale of 10-15 Billion years. The shorter amount of time we use the farther we go from Evolutionary origins. “The six days took everything He had, and that’s why He rested on the seventh.” I do not claim that he had to rest on the seventh and I do not claim that he would have been tired, there is nothing to hard for God.
    You say “If you claim he took six days and rested for our benefit, then he could have taken millions of years for our benefit.” Can we comprehend millions of years? What does that even mean? If God created in millions of years, what does that even mean to us, we die at seventy-eighty years old if we’re lucky. “Perhaps it would be to illustrate the wise saying, “slow and steady wins the race.””
    I may be wrong, I don’t know, but isn’t God swift to justice? When the Israelites had to cross the waters when being pursued by Pharoah and his armies, God did not part the waters slowly, I am certain that he did it swiftly. All of Gods actions are swift in the Bible when he does decide to act, why should I believe that God would demonstrate millions of years to show us that? Would it not make more sense for him to demonstrate it in a seventy year creation? If he wanted to display patience in a race, he would model it after the lengths of our lives, not upon vast epochs of time that we can not comprehend. Now if we lived for 100,000,000 years, then that would really make sense, otherwise I do not think that it would make sense.

    “You misunderstood what I said about modeling. I said another reason he could have taken millions of years is for our sake is so that scientists could model the process better.” So you are saying that we can live for millions of years and therefore our scientific processes should be based upon millions of years of observations and testing? I can’t live millions of years. :) Again, six days is almost on the polar opposite of 10 billion. “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?” Isiah 40:12, according to my understanding of this verse, God wants to make himself seem REEEAAALLLLLYYY big. Now imagine that you are God, and that the entire universe is literally in the palms of your hands, kind of like one of those globes where you shake it up and see a picture. Now I sit down, and say, I am going to build a world and am going to inhabit it. Now I tell my creatures after I have built them that it only took me six days according to the standard of time I have set up for them. They say, wow!! How great is our God, but imagine if I tell my creatures that I took 10,000,000,000,000 years according to the time that I have set up for them and that I can hold the massive universe in my hands. Do you think that my creatures would be more amazed that this huge amazing God built their place and was personally was involved in every last detail, and was not absent, or do you think that they would be amazed that I sat back for 10 Billion years and let the work do itself. “In the beginning, God CREATED the heavens and the earth.” Notice, God is actively creating the heavens and the earth, if he wanted to actively tell us that he was letting the heavens and the earth create themselves, he would have said, “At one set of infinite beginnings, the heavens and the earth formed themselves at the command of God.” After all, if that was his intention, he certainly did not do that good of a job showing it. Why is the earth already there at the beginning, that is supposed to be at the tail end, at least if chronological order is followed anyway. But Which one do you think my creations would be more amazed at, that I created the earth in six days and tenderly created the whole process and was intimately involved or that I took 10 billion years and let it do itself? Let me use another analogy, let’s say that a painter sat down and painted a beautiful picture. It took that painter six days to complete that painting, he uses beautiful paint, he created his masterpieces out of beautiful colors of life. Another painter completes a beautiful painting in 10 Billion years, he slowly forms the painting, but he does it through the blood of animals, he does it through the fighting of animals killing each other and uses their blood, the painting is still beautiful in the end, but did the ends justify the means? Now I will use a human painter, he tells you it took him an entire life time to create a beautiful master piece, you did not see the process, but he tells you he can do it in one minute but just says that this is his preferred method. Do you believe him? How do you know that his past preference will apply to the future. “I the Lord do not change.” Malachi 3:15, Which of these painters appeals the most to the way humans think, to the way that God has set up time for us on the fourth day?

    “You can’t use Jeremiah 32:17-29 to support your position.” I believe that I can, first of all, I don’t believe that God had to rest, he did it for us, he created in six days because it makes sense to us, if you can think of a better length of time that makes logical sense, then tell me, but you are not allowed to use anything in between billions of years. If he wanted to create it in an instant, this would be intensifying his power, it would make him even stronger according to human definitions of time. In fact, I believe that one day, in the blinking of an eye, he will raise us all up from the dead, but he will have no reason to institute a work week, because he will be our light as the sun is the light and there will be no more darkness, therefore no more need of time. Time has been created for us to gauge the greatness of God and to operate our lives around. If there was no such thing as time, how could we be able to configure how great God was? “Using your reasoning, creating instantaneously would have been too difficult for God.” I am not the one with the time problem here, the theistic evolution position is, they are going in the opposite direction of what they need to support their view. “Since there is nothing too difficult for Him, He can create in any way He chooses.” Exactly. This is why he would create in six days, so it would make sense to us. Millions of years means next to nothing to us, it is just some huge incomprehensible number. Why should we care about a God who creates in billions of years, he is weak, we could do better if we were eternal in nature, infinitely powerful, incredibly huge, if I was as big as God, I would most likely take about a day or two to create the world in which my humans live in according to their standard of time. “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” Isiah 40:22, doesn’t it make you feel good to know that God is that big, but he takes that long to complete such a small work in his terms? and he can’t even understand us, he is on an entirely different time scale. He can’t even put things into clear terms for us, using vast numbers, when he could have just meant seven days. That makes sense to us. We understand seven days, we understand that passage of time.

    Thank you for clarifying the Genesis 1:20 passage for me. I don’t really have a particular preference for a certain bible, but I have been reading largely out of the king James so I just took it to mean that the waters were bringing forth the animals in the ocean and the birds of the air. I stand corrected. I thought you were just ignoring it but apparently that is not the case. I have looked a nice bit and there is overwhelming evidence that this is not the way it is supposed to be read, but how you explained it makes perfect sense as well. It is most likely how it was read a while ago and they would have understood the grammatical rules back when the King James was being refined. Thank you!

    Josiah and Dr. Wile, that is actually the point that I was trying to get across in the end, my main point anyway, the water was secondary, it seems like the evolutionary process is backwards if that is what is claimed through the Bible. If the account is followed in order that is. I was more just rattling things off that I noticed about the creation account then anything, at least if the creation account is to be taken in a literal sense, at least according to modern common translations of the Bible. I am not sure how this could be remediated unless Genesis was taken as purely metaphorical, but where there is a will, there is a way I always say. ;)

  25. jlwile says:

    Eric, I wholeheartedly agree that evolution is incompatible with short time scales. However, that’s not what I thought we were discussing. I thought we were discussing God’s power as revealed through the method He used to create. My point is that if time is indicative of His power, then even a six-day creation shows a lack of power. I don’t think it does, of course, because I don’t think the time over which He created says anything about His power.

    God’s actions do not always come quickly. Habakkuk 1:2 says, “How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save.” Obviously, this prophet doesn’t think God acted swiftly. In addition, 2Peter 3:8-9 says, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” Thus, He doesn’t always act swiftly according to men. He acts in His time.

    You still seem to be misunderstanding my comment about modeling. It has nothing to do with how long people can live. Scientists like to model processes. They like to show how things worked. Slow processes are much easier to model than fast processes. Thus, if I wanted to develop a computer model that shows how the creation process worked, it would be easier for me to do if the process took billions of years rather than six days. God obviously loves for us to discover things (Prov. 25:2), so it might be that He wants us to discover exactly how He created, and that would be most reasonable if the process took a long time. Thus, He might have slowed things down so that we could figure them out better.

    I don’t think God’s creatures would be less amazed if God tells them that He took billions of years to make the universe. I am not less amazed because He made it in six days rather than instantly. Thus, I would not be less amazed if He made it in billions of years. As I have said before, God does things in His time, and that has no effect on His power. I would say the same thing about a painter. Whether he spends six days or a lifetime on the painting, it wouldn’t affect his talent as an artist at all. The means He used would not impact his talent as an artist, either. It might impact what I think of him as a person, but not as an artist. The talent of an artist is measured by the quality, not the quantity, of his art. It is also not measured by how long he takes to complete it or what materials he uses.

    Now…would I believe a person who told me that he could do the painting in a minute but preferred to take a lifetime? Probably not, because people are prone to lying. God is not. Thus, the analogy doesn’t apply at all.

    You seem to agree with me that because there is nothing impossible for God, that He could create any way he wants. That’s good. Why, then, would He restrain His power just so it will make sense to us? He could have told us to have a seven-day week. He didn’t have to limit His power to do that. Now remember, I don’t think that by creating in six days and resting on the seventh He limited his power in any way. However, you do. You say that the time over which He created reflects His power. Thus, an instantaneous creation would have shown more power than a six-day creation. Therefore, God limited His power just so things could make sense to us? That makes no sense. The time over which He creates has nothing to do with His power. He did not limit Himself by creating in six days, and He would not have limited Himself by creating over billions of years.

    It does feel good to know that God is big, but He is the same size regardless of how long He took to create the universe.

  26. Eric H. says:

    Dr. Wile, “If God created all the stars in billions of years, one day, or instantaneously, His power would be the same.” Again, not according to our standard of time, which God has created for us, if we can not understand what time means, it was awfully deceptive of God to create time in such a way. if God named them all in 12-24 hours according the way that we understand time, it would be absolutely mind boggling to understand how he did it. Again, this could be to proclaim that, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so our my thoughts then your thoughts.” “Time has nothing to do with power.” I believe that it most certainly does for us. If a train is able to arrive at its destination in 10 minutes, but another train arrives at its destination in 1 billion minutes and they travel the exact same distance, which train is more powerful? “It’s not even clear what time means until creation is complete.” The time stays the same, according to our perspective on earth. Maybe it was going crazy in the solar system, but if we were to observe the entire creation process from earth, it would all appear to be happening in 24 hour days.
    “He takes more interest in each of us than He does in the biological world!” I do agree that he cares more for us than for the biological world, but to me it raises questions like, Does God does not care for his creation then? Is he a negligent God? Caring for whatever he wants to and throwing out the rest, as if they are worthless, is the whole biological realm some type of experimental craft for God, does he need vast amounts of time to perform slow steady experiments as a man would? He most certainly looked like he cared as he was crafting the dolphins and the giraffes. Not according to the process of Theistic evolution he would not, he just sits back and lets the process create itself, there was a reason that Jesus was a carpenter, he was hands on! Smile, He is the master builder, a master builder gets his hands dirty and gets right into the action. “The time it takes Him to create has nothing to do with His power.” Not according to the way we understand time, if we had no understanding of time, and if there were not seven days weather Theistic Evolutionists think they are long periods of time or Creationists think they are literal 24 hour days, there is a difference. Yes, at the BEGINNING, time was created, a beginning is a time. Jesus also shows us the end, but if it is as Theistic Evolutionists have thought, it is going to be a lot different than in the beginning.

    If Genesis is not historical narrative, then we have very little knowledge of taking the gospels for their word.

    “This has nothing to do with how we interpret the gospel. The gospels are clearly historical narrative” Then why is not obvious that Genesis is literal history? The writers in Genesis took Genesis as literal history, if we put all our trust in the Gospel, then we should be able to put just as much trust into the historicity of Genesis.

  27. jlwile says:

    Eric, time has nothing to do with God’s power, even given our interpretation of time. It is just as mind-boggling to believe He did it in billions of years as it is to believe He did it in 12-24 hours as it is to believe He did it instantaneously. God created time. He is not bound by it, so how long He takes is irrelevant to His power. God is not a train. A train is bound by time. God is not.

    Time is a part of creation. Since God created time, it could very well be that time didn’t have any meaning until God completed creation. There is simply no way you can say that 24 hours passed on earth in every creation day. Our very understanding of time is based on a completed creation, not one that is in process.

    Theistic evolution has no effect on how God cares for His creation. He is not a negligent God if He used evolution to create. Some would say he was more caring, as He allowed nature some freedom in the process of creation.

    It is not obvious that Genesis is literal history because the creation account has poetic elements. The days form a triad of parallels (day 1 and day 4 have parallel elements, as do day 2 and day 5, as do day 3 and day 6). In addition, it has a lot of repetition of “evening and morning.” Those are poetic elements. Also, it discusses days long before the sun is created, which is how we determine a day. That indicates it might not be discussing literal days. No such poetic and nonliteral elements appear in the gospels or epistles, unless they are declared (such as in the parables). In the end, there has been a lot of arguing throughout the history of Christendom about how the creation account is to be understood. There has not been such arguing about the gospels and epistles. This is because while the literary genre of the gospels and epistles is clear, the genre of the creation account is not.

    Thus, the literary genre of the creation account has no effect on our understanding of the New Testament.

  28. Eric H. says:

    “My point is that if time is indicative of His power, then even a six-day creation shows a lack of power.” Time is related to power, as humans we understand that. That is how we comprehend things, we comprehend everything in terms of time. As a creative exercise, give me a list of things that do not depend on time and you will see just how much we depend on time to understand everything. God is not deceptive, but he sure is fooling around with us, making our lives and our understanding of everything so dependent on time.

    God’s actions do not always come quickly. Habakkuk 1:2 says, “How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save.” Obviously, this prophet doesn’t think God acted swiftly. In addition, 2Peter 3:8-9 says, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” Yes, this would be the thought part, not the action part, when God does carry out actions, he does it swiftly. When he took the lives of the children of Israel, he did it quickly, when Elijah called upon God, when God finally did act, he did it swiftly. Gods justice is swift, when he burns the world in fire, his justice will be swift, when he flooded the world, if we can take Noahs account as history, he was longsuffering to the people of the earth, sure, but when he took action, he was swift, and he was powerful.

    “It has nothing to do with how long people Scientists like to model processes. They like to show how things worked. Slow processes are much easier to model than fast processes. Thus, if I wanted to develop a computer model that shows how the creation process worked, it would be easier for me to do if the process took billions of years rather than six days. God obviously loves for us to discover things (Prov. 25:2), so it might be that He wants us to discover exactly how He created, and that would be most reasonable if the process took a long time.”
    Again, he could just do it in six days, according to the way we understand time, this actually doesn’t remove the time issue at all!! He could lay it out in six days for us and show us just how quickly he could make it perfectly understandable for us in a step by step process, all while doing it very swiftly, not taking vast epochs of time to lay it down for us, it makes God impersonal, distant, he is not in our time zone, he is in a completely different world, and why would he want us to discover exactly how he did it? That would make us Gods then! We would be the Gods of our world. Yes, we would be like Gods. This is one reason why I think God would not do it this way, so we would not get the concept that we could become Gods and we are better than him, as many materialistic evolutionists have. Who needs God in a step by step process that happens over billions of years, there is enough time to completely blot out God, this is the whole reason why secularists are using this method!! God did not create in billions of years for exactly this reason. So people would not get a prideful heart. You put in vast amounts of time, God is no longer needed, he is just an add on to the equation, necessary only when it is needed to push the process forward. On the opposite sprectrum God is an absolute necessity, there is no other option but, “In the beginning God,”

    It is my personal perspective that I would be less amazed at God. He would be so impersonal to me, how could I comprehend a God like that? He is vast and distant, not even in my time zone, but when he is centered in a week he is right in my time zone. I understand him better. I can relate to him better, he is walking right there with me week after week. I know he will be there with me when the week ends because he created the week. When monday comes, he created on the first day of the week, he is there, and on to the rest of the days of the week. I guess this is where we will have to agree to disagree. “As I have said before, God does things in His time,” So he doesn’t care about us and the way we perceive time, he just does whatever he wants to!! “I would say the same thing about a painter. Whether he spends six days or a lifetime on the painting, it wouldn’t affect his talent as an artist at all.” But it most certainly would effect the way you perceived his skill, would it not? If he could paint a billion different pictures during his life time with equal skill as another artist painted a single picture, you would be impressed, would you not? “It might impact what I think of him as a person, but not as an artist.” But our measure of God is 100% based upon who he is as a person. “The talent of an artist is measured by the quality, not the quantity, of his art.” Sure, but not the skill of the artist. “It is also not measured by how long he takes to complete it or what materials he uses.” So you are saying that it is okay if God used the killing of animals, nature red tooth and claw to create the world we see today? The wolf will live with the lamb,
    the leopard will lie down with the goat,
    the calf and the lion and the youngling together;
    and a little child will lead them.
    7The cow will feed with the bear,
    their young will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
    8The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
    and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.
    9They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
    for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.
    So you are saying that it is okay for God to break his word? “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” God is unchanging, as is Jesus, the same Yesterday, today, and forever. If God uses natural process and blood shed to create the world as it is, he is directly going against his word. He is now a liar, but God does not lie, thus he broke his promise. “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” If there were carnivores in the beginning of creation and that is the way God operates, then he should stay consistent to his word and not change over time. If this is not the case he is a liar because he broke his word that he is unchanging.

    “Now…would I believe a person who told me that he could do the painting in a minute but preferred to take a lifetime?” I believe that this is the way the naturalist would look at this puzzle, he would see God as unable to act in a short amount of time. Me personally, I would believe that God could do anything he wanted to, but I would not base it upon the information he gave me in his creation process, I would base it upon his Son Jesus Christ and his warm loving compassion for me.

    You seem to agree with me that because there is nothing impossible for God, that He could create any way he wants. That’s good. “Why, then, would He restrain His power just so it will make sense to us?” So he would stay true to his word and show us that he is an ordered and structured God who is on the same wavelength as us. According to our understanding of time, it does make him more powerful as time gets shorter and shorter, he is eternally powerful, meaning there is absolutely no range to his power so he could create in an instant as he would in a week and it would not contradict his will, his power is perfectly able to up according to the way we understand time. If you saw things popping up out of the earth, being created in millions of different seperate forms right in front of your eyes, you would be in absolute awe at how he can create millions of different types of life forms right in front of your eyes if you could witness that, you can not tell me that you would not be incredibly impressed as he would do this right before your eyes, but again you could relate to it, because you are experiencing it in real time, understanding it in your every day life.

    “It does feel good to know that God is big” Amen. “But He is the same size regardless of how long He took to create the universe.” I disagree, if you were the creator of a small tiny world, and it took you a day to create it, and your creations were actually able to witness it, they would be incredibly impressed, but in the end it will have to be a seperate thought process between you and I.

  29. Eric H. says:

    Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,
    the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat,
    the son of Levi, the son of Melki,
    the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
    25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos,
    the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,
    the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath,
    the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,
    the son of Josek, the son of Joda,
    27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa,
    the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,
    the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki,
    the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,
    the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,
    29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,
    the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,
    the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon,
    the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,
    the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,
    31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna,
    the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,
    the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse,
    the son of Obed, the son of Boaz,
    the son of Salmon,[d] the son of Nahshon,
    33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,[e]
    the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,
    the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob,
    the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,
    the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
    35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu,
    the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
    the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan,
    the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
    the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
    37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,
    the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,
    the son of Kenan, 38 the son of Enosh,
    the son of Seth, the son of Adam,
    the son of God.
    You and Luke must have a very different opinion on the literal history of Genesis. I am not sure how it could possibly be any clearer that the gospel writers thought that Genesis was literal history.

  30. matt says:

    I had the honor of seeing Plantinga give a lecture on this very topic at Biola about a year and a half ago. The video is now on YouTube, for anyone who is interested.
    I agree that Plantinga can be hard to read, but it is always worth it. I would submit that every Christian should read “God, Freedom and Evil”, at least. I also love his two font approach, one he also uses in Warranted Christian Belief. Do you know if he came up with this idea?

  31. jlwile says:

    Eric, I appreciate your enthusiasm on this issue, but you are very incorrect. Let me ask you a question. Do you believe God created time? If so, then how could time possibly be a measure of His power? He created time to begin with. How He chooses to use that which He has created is His business. It is not a measure of His power.

    I agree that we comprehend things in terms of time, but that’s because we are bound by it. Our comprehension of God is not what defines Him or His power. His nature defines Him and His power. God is, indeed, not deceptive. This is one of the many reasons time cannot be a gauge of His power. If you say that our comprehension determines God’s power, then God isn’t very powerful at all. A powerful God does not depend on His creation’s comprehension!

    “Yes, this would be the thought part, not the action part, when God does carry out actions, he does it swiftly.” That’s just not true. God had already planned the redemption of Israel when Habakkuk wrote his words. However, He had not acted yet. He prophesied the coming Christ for thousands of years before sending Him. Thus, He had it all worked out. Yet he waited thousands of years before He acted. In addition, He has already planned the Second Coming, but He has not acted yet. God works in His own time, because time is not a measure of His power.

    I agree that God is not in “our time zone.” That is, once again, why time is not a measure of His power. We are bound by time. He is not. He could have shown us how He created everything, but he didn’t, because Prov. 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” Thus, as I said, he might have created slowly so that we could more thoroughly search out the matter.

    You claim that if you put billions of years in, God is not needed. However, that is absurdly false. Please explain to me how the universe could be created in billions of years without God. It is not possible. Even theistic evolutionists understand that!

    No, the time an artist takes to create would not affect how I perceive the artist’s skill. Once again, an artist’s skill is determined by what he creates, not how long it takes him to create it.

    You ask, “So you are saying that it is okay if God used the killing of animals, nature red tooth and claw to create the world we see today?” The answer is yes, of course. God created the animals. He can use them any way He wishes. In fact, God says it is okay for us to kill animals to sustain our own lives. If it is okay for us to kill animals, it is certainly okay for God to. Of course this doesn’t indicate that God broke His word. The passage you quote from Isaiah 11 is about the world that is to come. It is not necessarily about the world that was created. The James 1:17 passage is about gifts that come from God to His children. It has nothing to do with how the world was created.

    You say you believe “God could do anything he wanted to,” but you are then turning around and claiming that He couldn’t create in billions of years. That’s a contradiction. If God can do anything He wants, He can create in billions of years, if He wants to. Creating in six 24-hour days is not staying true to His word if the word “yom” in Genesis means “an unspecified amount of time.” God stays true to His word, but you have to know what that word is. I can’t definitively say what that is when it comes to the word “yom” in the creation account.

    We will never see “things popping up out of the earth, being created in millions of different separate forms right in front of” our eyes. Thus, that has no bearing on His power. I contend that if we could see how a creation process worked over billions of years, we would be in just as much awe as if we saw “things popping up out of the earth, being created in millions of different separate forms right in front of” our eyes. The fact is that we can see neither, so there is absolutely no way to judge this. Once again, even if it made a difference, that’s just our perception. It has nothing to do with the truth of God or His nature.

    Of course God is the same size regardless of how long He took to create the universe. His power is evident in what he created, not the time it took Him to create. Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” It says nothing about the time over which God created. It says that His eternal power is known through what has been made. The length of time over which it was made has nothing to do with it. Are you saying Romans 1:20 is incorrect?

    In regards to Jesus’ lineage as given in Luke, you are confusing two issues. The genealogy as given in Luke indicates that Luke thought Adam was a literal person. It has no bearing on the literary genre of Genesis 1 and 2. Most theistic evolutionists believe that Adam was a real person. They just believe that Genesis 1 and 2 are figurative poems about how he came to be. We write figurative poems about real people all the time. Thus, the best you can learn from the gospels is that the gospel writers thought Adam was a real person. We have no idea what the gospel writers thought about the book of Genesis.

    Also, what does it matter what the gospel writers thought about Genesis? The gospel writers were not perfect. They wrote the gospels perfectly because God inspired them to do that. He didn’t inspire them to interpret the entire Old Testament correctly. I only care what God wants us to learn from Genesis, and as the words themselves show, it is not clear cut. There are elements of historical narrative in Genesis 1 and 2 as well as elements of poetry. Also, there are a few literary cues to indicate that the creation days were not like the ones we experience today. In the end, I believe that creation was quick. However, I can’t say that for sure. As a result, I am willing to listen to what others have to say about it.

  32. jlwile says:

    Thanks for your recommendation, Matt. I don’t know if Plantinga came up with the idea of using two different fonts. However, it has appeared in more than one of his books. I suppose it’s possible.

  33. gracekalman says:

    Do theistic evolutionists believe that Adam evolved as well? Were his parents almost human, but not quite? What do they think that him being “the son of God” means? Also, do they have any theories on what God meant by the evening and the morning?

  34. jlwile says:

    Grace, most theistic evolutionists believe that God used evolution to create the physical form of man. When that physical form of man finally evolved, God breathed into him the image of God, which made him Adam. Here is how C.S. Lewis puts it in The Problem of Pain (p. 57):

    What exactly happened when Man fell, we do not know; but if it is legitimate to guess, I offer the following picture — a “myth” in the Socratic sense, a not unlikely tale…For long centuries God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself. He gave it hands whose thumb could be applied to each of the fingers, and jaws and teeth and throat capable of articulation, and a brain sufficiently complex to execute all the material motions whereby rational thought is incarnated. The creature may have existed for ages in this state before it became man: it may even have been clever enough to make things which a modern archaeologist would accept as proof of its humanity. But it was only an animal because all its physical and psychical processes were directed to purely material and natural ends. Then, in the fullness of time, God caused to descend upon this organism, both on its psychology and physiology, a new kind of consciousness which could say “I” and “me”, which could look upon itself as an object, which knew God, which could make judgements of truth, beauty, and goodness, and which was so far above time that it could perceive time flowing past.

    At that point, you have the actual Adam, who is the son of God because he received the image of God.

    Theistic evolutionists typically believe that the repetition of “evening and morning” is put there specifically so show that this is poetry, especially since it is difficult to understand what evening and morning are without a sun.

  35. Eric H. says:

    Dr. Wile, I appreciate your enthusiasm on this issue as well, I will now address where I agree with you and where disagreement is. Some more of the points you made did make sense to me, they just didn’t break through to me until now, but there are still some that I think you are incorrect about, or at the least can not in any way be dogmatic about. “Do you believe God created time?” Yes. Now I have a question for you, “Do you think time behaves in a rational, steady manner? Do you think time behaves in a standard that does not change upon the earth? You do not look down at your stop watch and say, “Wow, look at that, time is behaving quite differently today. It is so unconstant, I can never really make any sense out of time at all, if only this world were a little more timely. Time displays Gods eternal attributes, his unchanging characteristics. It behaves in a steady rational manner, and you expect that it will be the same day after day and year after year, it will never change until time passes away and the new comes. Time is, not maybe, it is a direct reflection of our creators character, of who he is. “If so, then how could time possibly be a measure of His power?” Simple, because all things were made by him and for him, and without him was nothing that was made. We are created in his image. If time was not created for us, please explain who it was created for? Who did Jesus Christ come to die on the cross for? I believe it was us, but I could be wrong. For the same reason that God created trees with pleasant fruit and sweet smelling flowers, he created time, he created them for us. “How He chooses to use that which He has created is His business.” I disagree, WE are his entire business, name something else that God is centered on, you would agree that all of his attention is centered right on us, would you not? He created us to have dominion over the face of the earth. If we can not trust Gods definition of time that he has given us, in reality, what can we trust? “Like I said, God is deceptive in his usage of time.” I believe the direct reason he created time was for stability in life, for seasons, who are the only creatures on this earth who notice seasons, times, and record them in books? It is us. I believe that it was specifically created as a measurure of his power, kind of like a measuring tape if you will of his attributes, even though they are eternal, at least we get something, instead of absolutely no input at all. If we have no set standard of time, we can’t understand God. If we had no set of time, eternal and non eternal would be meaningless terms. No one would be able to tell the difference between 3 days and 100 days and 100 Billion days, time gives meaning to these numbers, and without time, numbers have no meaning.

    “Our comprehension of God is not what defines Him or His power.” How would you be able to make any sort of decisions about God at all if this were true? if the concept of time didn’t matter, then concepts such as eternal or immediate, or day would mean nothing. I agree, it is Gods time that he has given to us which gives us a standard to separate between times and the speciality of each. “His nature defines Him and His power.” I agree, and time shows one of his natures of being unchanging, Time is unchanging on this earth. It is a steady gauge by which to measure things, mainly his attributes. “God is, indeed, not deceptive.” Amen for that. “If you say that our comprehension determines God’s power” Hey, I didn’t set up the rules, God did, I did not create time, it was God who created time. “A powerful God does not depend on His creation’s comprehension!” We finally agree on something. God most certainly doesn’t need us at all, but he reveals certain things through time because he wants to, I believe this is his direct way of interacting with us and showing us certain of his attributes. Like I said, power is directly linked to time according to the standard of time that God has created for us. I trust that God gave us a steady standard of time so we can understand him much better, understand his eternal power and attributes, to at least be able to get a grasp of just how powerful he is, even if we will never be able to grasp his eternal power, at least we get a taste of what it is like. I am going to add that God could create in a trillionth of a second, but again, what does that mean to us? by the time you read this 5 trillion trillionths of second has gone by. We comprehend that that is incredibly quick, but it does not really mean much to us, it does not work according to our time frame. If God used a 24 hour day to create, we could understand God a little better. We operate in that time zone, but if God operated in Six uniform neat days, and “rested” the seventh day to constantly remind us of the work he did for us, that would be ideal, I believe, and seven happens to be Gods favorite number according to the scripture. For example, I believe that there are seven colors in the rainbow, there are seven separate notes in a scale. God likes the number seven, so he decided to create us in seven days, it works for him and it works for us too and I like it. Which could bring us to, why God decided to give us such high mathematical abilities, I, like most people, have a very keen sense of mathematics in-built. These numbers do reveal something about God, did God have to give us these mathematical abilities? Probably not, but it certainly does let us understand him better while functioning in this world that he has created for us much more efficiently.

    I stand corrected. God does do things slowly some times, but he still does them in terms of time that we can understand. He takes 2000 years. That is still comprehensible. We have written records going back that far, and geneaologies going back to the beginning. We can understand that. Can you imagine if he told you he was going to act on behalf of his people in 20,000,000 years? You may seriously doubt that he is going to keep his promises. That is a VERY long time. God set up the time. I did not. But I trust God that he set up time a specific way so we could understand him better and function in this world efficiently and understand the plans that he has for us. When God raised up Jesus from the dead, he was not slack on his definition of time, he knew exactly how many days three days was, and it had to be three days, he did not wait 300 days or 3000 days, he would have been slack on his promise and shown a clear misunderstanding of the time he has created for us. After all, God raised up Jesus in three days, but again, we can understand three days. God made time so we could understand him, it is a direct extension, an in part of who he is.

    Like I said, this time zone he has created for us is a measuring stick, we can know in part, but we can not know in full till the perfect has come. “We are bound by time.” Yes, the time he has created especially for us. “He is not.” Just because God is not bound by time, that does not mean that he could not reveal traits of his character through time, for example, without time, we could have no idea that he was not bound by time. It would be impossible. Time has many more uses in which we can gauge Gods power according to the perspective of time God has created for us. God can not lie, but he most certainly understands when we do, God cannot murder, but he knows when we do, God can be unbound by time, but still uses the same processes he created to give us a glimpse of his power, even if it is not in full. God understands time, even if he is not bound by it, God would have designed time in the correct way so we could get the fullest comprehension of his power, that is something my God would have done. God is perfect and all his works are perfect as well, how do we comprehend what perfect is? Well by the law he has written in our hearts! We can not be fully perfect as he is, it is impossible, but there is a set standard we can go by. After all, Jesus said, “Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect” If God is perfect, why would he use an imperfect form of creation, that uses death and suffering, nature tooth and claw? We are made in his image so we can know that this is not even good. How do we gauge Gods omnipotence? We are not omnipotent, you would say, but we can comprehend what omnipotence would be like by the awareness of our surroundings that he has built into us, we can at least get an idea but we can not know in full what that would be like.
    “He could have shown us how He created everything, but he didn’t” God clearly showed us how he created. Bring any of your standard bibles to anybody who has never read the Bible before and ask them what the Bible account is saying, it is universally understood that people instantly understand that God has created in six actual days and rested the seventh. You could do this to a thousand children using any of the standard bibles that we possess today, speak to them, they will tell you how the Lord has made. If they have no thought processes floating around in their hand from mortal men doomed to die, they will see.
    “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11, God once again is deluded, he has no idea what he is talking about, if we could just trust the Bible for what it says, we would be alot better off as a group. God created in six days so we would remember him once a week and enter into his rest. He created in six days, because six days makes sense according to the standards of time he has created for us Prov. 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” I would think that we already have quite enough to figure out about the things which are already made. We can discover exactly the way they were built and we don’t need vast epochs of time to do it. After all, if this was Gods preferred method of doing things, then why did he tell all the creatures to bring forth after their kind? This would be the very opposite of Theistic Evolution. Which method would be more likely for an unchanging, ultra-powerful incredibly-loving, ultra-just God to use? Would it be the process that is unchanging in its kinds(variations within kinds are just an extension of the endless creative capability of the creator)? Or the process where one kind changes into another kind changes into another kind, etc. etc. etc. The logical result would be the unchanging kinds that produce after their kind. That is what we see in the world today anyway. For the last six days, have you seen any animal change into a completely different animal(Butterflies do not count, they are anti-evolution, they are not a creature that is brought forth through a slow long ugly cruel process, they are beautiful and God makes beautiful things out of the dust. (smile)

    “You claim that if you put billions of years in, God is not needed.” I may or may not have said that. I don’t know. If I did, I apologize. I have no problem admitting that I am wrong if I think that I am wrong and I am probably wrong here. :), these smiley faces are really big, I feel like their jeering and I don’t want that attitude to come across. I do know that his need is drastically reduced, according to my current understanding of evolution. He is not active in his work. He is not like Jesus, the word, the carpenter, the master builder, crafting the tables with precision and care, using his hands, getting dirty, getting in there, connecting with us. Tell me, why should I believe God sent his son, when he, at least from my current understanding of evolution, would be so inactive in the process? I would be afraid that the skeptic would say, (Note, I DO NOT THINK THIS.)”He seems so inactive in his creation process, but then he supposedly sent his son to perform miracles on the earth and intimatley connect with people, and raised him up in three days, is this the same God? I don’t believe that, I think that is not true.” I am not afraid of what the Theistic Evolutionists think, I am afraid of what outsiders think. You would agree though, that there are a ton of atheists who would absolutely agree with me that billions of years make God a novelty, a past time, obsolete. Can you find me one atheist who believes that it took six literal days for things to evolve naturally? Name one.

    “No, the time an artist takes to create would not affect how I perceive the artist’s skill. Once again, an artist’s skill is determined by what he creates, not how long it takes him to create it.”
    Here, we are going to have to agree to disagree. I perceive an artists skill by the amount of different varieties of beautiful work he can create and how quickly he can create them, as long as I can understand the amount of time he created them in. If he takes billions of years, to me, he has disconnected with me, cause I only live 70 years, I don’t even understand that long amount of time, if he does it in a half a second, disconnect, I don’t connect with him, even though he did it.

    “The answer is yes, of course. God created the animals. He can use them any way He wishes.” In fact, God says it is okay for us to kill animals to sustain our own lives. The passage you quote from Isaiah 11 is about the world that is to come. It is not necessarily about the world that was created. The James 1:17 passage is about gifts that come from God to His children. It has nothing to do with how the world was created.”
    This is actually the first time that you totally missed my point. You have gotten everything perfectly up to this point but this one. I will ask the question again. God says “I AM WHAT I AM”. God cannot be anything other than what he is and he never changes. Mal.3:6 ” I the Lord do not change.” Jesus does not change, not yesterday, not today, not forever, he has always been the same and will always be the same, his word explicitly says so.Psalms 102 25 “Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
    26 They will perish, BUT YOU WILL REMAIN;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
    You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
    27 BUT YOU ARE THE SAME, and your years have no end.
    28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
    their offspring shall be established before you.”
    God never changes and he never lies, we have established this. If he changes from killing animals and it being his preferred way of doing it during the creation week and he calls it very good, and we have no reason to doubt that very good actually means very good, because the Jews understood that there was none good but God, and he CHANGES from his preferred way of doing things, animals tearing each other up to animals living in peace, he has changed. So God has broken his law of not changing and has lied as well, he has broken two laws that can never be broken with God. Let me put another argument into perspective. Is Jesus able to sin or is he able not too? If he is able to sin, then he is not God, because God cannot sin, if he is able not to than what is the purpose of tempting God? Big deal! He couldn’t even sin! He wasn’t even tempted, because God can not be tempted. The above is the exact reasoning, but much better. Furthermore “I will rejoice in Jerusalem
    and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping, and the cry of distress. 20 No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. 21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22They shall not build and another inhabit;
    they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy[c] the work of their hands. 23 They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity,[d]
    for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
    and their descendants with them. 24 Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.
    25 The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy
    in all my holy mountain,”
    says the Lord. The Lord says, “You shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain.” I thought God did not consider the animals to be hurters or destroyers, why the sudden change in heart, this is a completely different God then the one we have been witnessing before. Also, notice the length of years for the peoples lives. Does it sound familiar to the way it was in the beginning at the fall? Both the labor pain and the toil of the ground are rementioned here. Why are they all mentioned together right along with the animals being peaceful with each other? Because they were peaceful and the beginning and they are returning to the state they were once in. In this case, the theistic-evolutionists is largely arguing from silence. The evidence is far tittled on the Creationists side. The young earth creationists position does not suffer this position because there were no animals eating each other and killing each other before the fall. If God would have declared in the initial creation account, “And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground–everything that has life and each animal may eat the other.” And that is what happened. Then sure, we would have the same problem, that God changes over time into something completely different, but he was “The Beginning and the End. The Alpha and the Omega.” God was perfect in the beginning, he created through Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ declared that it was very good. We know this because God says all his works are perfect. We should believe him. And after the curse is ended he will be perfect in the end.

    You say you believe “God could do anything he wanted to,” “but you are then turning around and claiming that He couldn’t create in billions of years.” No, I may have been implying that but that is not what I mean, if I said that then I am wrong, sure, he could have, if he wanted to, but there are several good reasons why he would not want too, and I trust my assumptions are right. One, he would not have created slowly so man would not have the ability to take credit for his work and claim that it all just did it by itself. In six days is impossible without him. Second, He would have been less likely to create slow because a billion years is an incomprehensibly huge amount of time according to the standard of time he has created for us, and if he was a personal God, he would simply create in six days as his word says to connect with us every seven days. “God stays true to His word” Exactly!!! This is why any child when reading any modern version of Genesis can immediatly tell that God had created in Six days, only highly educated wise people can not understand it. If you really trust God, you would figure that he got it to us in exactly the form he wanted to get it to us, and every other form would be unacceptable, the main bibles printed all around the world, make it abundantly clear that God created in Six literal days. If you want to say this isn’t so, then you are essentially saying that God is not powerful enough to get the right things in his word, and take it all over the world with the right message, even though he already did, I am sorry, it is finished!!

    “We will never see “things popping up out of the earth, being created in millions of different separate forms right in front of us”
    Dr Wile, do not say never, we will one day very soon be in eternity in the very presence of God, but I guess by then, time wont me anything, will it? Or will it? If God knew how to create time, it must be naturally in him somewhere. And who knows what type of things he is going to perform there. I believe they will be beautiful and wonderful things, no death, no darkness, we know for certain we will see none of the things that occur according to the evolutionary processes. You are entitled to your opinion that billions of years is still compatible with the Bible.

    “Of course God is the same size regardless of how long He took to create the universe.” “His power is evident in what he created,” Yes, you are right, it is evident that he is a cruel malicious creator who takes billions of years of death, animals eating each other, pretty much the cruelest process imaginable, his invisible attributes of Slow action, not being able to give us any sort of lucid connection to time or him, letting the process go and being completley uninvolved with the action, only when he is really needed he dips into time and then dips back out when he is not needed anymore, Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Does this include the Genesis flood? According to this theology, the theistic evolutionists does not because he has a prior commitment to evolution instead of to God and what he said. God said he flooded the whole earth, Gods truth is one of his invisible attributes. Theistic evolutionists don’t believe it, but Jesus believed it!! Paul believed it!! Peter believed it!!! Luke believed in Noah and his sons, if Jesus believed in the Flood, we know that they all believed in the flood. Jesus is the Good shepherd, and we follow what he says, not what we want to. God(eternal source)In the Beginning(Time), we can see there is Time the first day!! If there is a beginning there is time, which would mean that the first day must follow the evening morning cycle set forth in day one. Created(action) the heavens(Space) and the earth(mass), mass cannot create itself, so we know Gods attributes are revealed through it, it cannot be created or destroyed, neither can God. Time(God creates it, it shows his characteristics, but he is not bound by it, just as he is not bound by matter. It shows his unchangingness and his great faithfulness on the earth, Action, Building upon time, God creates in six day/night cycles, without time, action is meaningless. He shows his swiftness of action, according to how he has created, “At the beginning he created them, male and female he created them.” http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2004/11/01/from-the-beginning-of-marriage, Jesus obviously thought that time was important in the equation, it anchors us to our past, if the earth was created just six thousand years ago, we have a firm anchor to the beginning, not billions of years, we are not so far lost from our beginnings as to put them out of sight and out of mind. So some of Gods invisible attributes are Time, this is built upon by swift orderly action,The passage reads, For since the creation, this passage automatically assumes that God has created in six days, since the creation, Paul thought that God created in Six literal days, we have no reason to believe he did not, everyone did at that time as far as we know. And what are God’s invisible attributes? Remember, these are not Gods attributes before the creation, they are his attributes after the creation. Logic is one of God’s invisible attributes, but the use of Logic is determined by time, and we can only understand it through time. Can you understand numbers without time? Can you use logic without time? Logic and mathematics are Gods invisible attributes. As well as absolute truth, because God has told us that he is the truth and he tells no lies, he is not likened to a man, but this still does not mean that man can not understand him. Here is the thing, we understand all of God’s attributes through the mirror of time, there is nothing that escapes this problem, It says that His eternal power is known through what has been made. But the things that are made are finite, they are not eternal, because according to God, they will pass away, just as they began, but we know this for sure, there is a beginning and an end!! There is no such thing as Gods attributes not being understood through time, try it! So how can we know something is eternal through things that are not eternal? Again, the length does have something to do with it, the only way we can comprehend eternal or three days or twelve weeks, is if we have set standard of time that does not change to go by and some sort of beginning to start with, that follows a set steady pace that does not falter. Are you saying Romans 1:20 is incorrect? No, I just think you are not understanding it correctly. If you have some other way to understand his eternal power by, please bring it forth, the thunder and lightning? The vast endless amounts of stars? That would be a good display of his vast power, the thing is, we can only read power on a scale, can you comprehend endless power? Explain it to me then. What is endless power? We can only understand God’s power through the things that are already available to us. Like I said before, we don’t see the infinite power, but we do get a taste of it according to the things he made. We can’t comprehend eternity, but I really do not think we are supposed to yet, yes, eternity is absolutely forever. There is no end. We understand his invisible attributes by things created, and you can not escape time as a measure of those attributes while time still exists!!
    “Most theistic evolutionists believe that Adam was a real person. They just believe that Genesis 1 and 2 are figurative poems about how he came to be.” Yea, they believe it because they are married to Darwin and Christ at the same time. When science and scholarship become the tools of interpretation man becomes the ultimate author. “We write figurative poems about real people all the time.” God, why are you writing figurative poems about the first man and woman? Are you trying to confuse us even more? You said you created in six day, but I can’t tell at all. God is not the author of confusion.
    “Thus, the best you can learn from the gospels is that the gospel writers thought Adam was a real person.” Adam was a son of God, they had to believe that Adam was formed from the dust of the earth at the tale end of the creation process, if he wasn’t, he could not be the son of God, not without Gods blood in him.
    “We have no idea what the gospel writers thought about the book of Genesis.” You and I must be reading very different gospels because Genesis is the most cited source in the Gospels.
    “Also, what does it matter what the gospel writers thought about Genesis?” Did God really say? Because without the Genesis account, the origins are cut off, how long would a tree grow if cut at the roots? I do not think it would grow very long. “The gospel writers were not perfect.” Yea, I don’t know what this has to do with it. None of the writers in the Bible were perfect. “They wrote the gospels perfectly because God inspired them to do that.” Yesss!!! So we should believe exactly what Jesus is saying in those gospel records AS WELL as in the Old Testament. “He didn’t inspire them to interpret the entire Old Testament correctly.” You do know that the same God who made the New Testament made the Old Testament, right? “I only care what God wants us to learn from Genesis, and as the words themselves show, it is not clear cut.” I am not sure how much more clear cut you could possibly get. There are elements of historical narrative in Genesis 1 and 2 as “well as elements of poetry.”
    Are you talking about the frame work hypothesis, I wouldn’t put so much faith in such a scampy argument, it is certainly nothing to drop a literal view of the book over. “Also, there are a few literary cues to indicate that the creation days were not like the ones we experience today.” What like, there was evening and morning, the first day, there was evening and morning the second day, there was evening and morning the third day, if we were standing on the earth during the creation process, it would take exactly six days of time to create, just like God said.
    “In the end, I believe that creation was quick. However, I can’t say that for sure. “As a result, I am willing to listen to what others have to say about it.” Who cares about what other people say about it? What does God say about it? Sure, science goes different places and science you can follow. Are you going to let man be your authority or God? You have to choose one or the other. I would rather throw out every last mans opinion and burn it in the trash and look at what the Bible actually says, what God has transmitted to us at this point, then follow what any man says. We are supposed to imitate Gods actions. God is unchanging, the same in the past, the same in the present, and the same in the future, you should trust his word, Genesis 1 and the flood account may be the easiest understood passages in the Bible, but when mans ideas are floating around our heads it turns into mans opinion vs. Gods unchanging truth, I have seen my little nephews all get the six actual day creation without having to be told what the meaning is, they already know. “No scripture is a matter of private interpretation”, remember that, if you are confused about something, you are not reading it right, God is not the author of confusion.

  36. jlwile says:

    Well, Eric, you win the award for the longest comment posted. You ask, “Do you think time behaves in a rational, steady manner? Do you think time behaves in a standard that does not change upon the earth?” Any scientist would answer “no” that question. We know that time does not behave in a steady manner. It varies based both on speed and gravitational fields. If you have an accurate enough method of measuring time, you can measure such changes directly here on earth. Even the GPS must take the way time varies into account, or it would not work. I do think you have to re-evaluate your position on time, as it is not at all in agreement with the facts or Scripture.

    Time was created for all of creation, not just us, and it has nothing to do with who Jesus died on the cross for.

    I am not sure why you would doubt God when He says anything. If He said He was going to act in 20,000,000 years, I would believe Him. I am not sure why you would not. Do you not believe what God says?

    You say, “Bring any of your standard bibles to anybody who has never read the Bible before and ask them what the Bible account is saying, it is universally understood that people instantly understand that God has created in six actual days and rested the seventh.” But that is simply not true. Throughout the history of Christendom, Christians have argued about what the creation account said. Even the early church fathers couldn’t agree on the creation account, and the modern church is no different. Even children can see that the creation account has some of the characteristics of poetry.

    I agree that Exodus 20:8-11 indicates the creation was in six 24-hour days. The problem is, Leviticus 25:3,4 makes the same parallel, but it is talking about years: “Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard.” Thus, there is at least some evidence that the 6 day model doesn’t always mean 24-hour days.

    Telling the creatures to reproduce after their kind is not the opposite of theistic evolution. Evolution also has animals reproducing after their kind. For each reproduction event that occurs, the offspring are the same kind as the parent, they just have minor variations. Those variations take many generations to produce a new kind, but in each generation, the offspring are of the same kind as the parent. I think you need to learn more about theistic evolution before you start criticizing it.

    You ask what method of creation would be indicative of a loving God. I would think ANY method of creation that God chose would be indicative of a loving God, since God is love. We should not presume to judge God. He judges us. There is also nothing about the phrase “very good” that prohibits God from using evolution. We have been over that already. The Hebrew phrase “very good” just means “this is working the way I intended it.”

    You ask, “Tell me, why should I believe God sent his son, when he, at least from my current understanding of evolution, would be so inactive in the process?” Because the method of creation has nothing to do with how involved God is with us. If God set it all up and allowed the evolutionary process to create the physical form of man, He then stepped in and gave man His image. Humans are the only recipients of the image of God, regardless of the method of creation. Thus, you can believe He is very involved with us, regardless of the method of creation.

    I guess I am still missing your point. If God used evolution to create, that would make Him less changing than if He created in six 24-hour days. After all, it is clear now that God says killing of animals is okay. If you think that at one time He didn’t think killing animals was okay, then it seems to me that means God changed. In fact, the passages that talk about God never changing have nothing to do with this kind of thing. God’s nature never changes. How God relates to us definitely changes. After all, He was present in physical form with Adam and Eve in the garden. His presence with us now is totally different. At one time, he sat on the seat of the Ark of the Covenant. He doesn’t now. God’s interaction with His creation changes, because creation changes. God’s nature never changes.

    You ask if Romans 1:20 includes the Genesis Flood. Of course it does not. Romans 1:20 is talking about people understanding the power of God by what is SEEN. The Flood happened in the past, so it is not something that is SEEN. Please note that you have not given me any reason why I should add time to Romans 1:20. In fact, Romans 1:20 says that God’s power is evident by what is made. It says nothing about by how long it was made – just what was made. You seem to be trying to add something to Scripture, and that is a very dangerous thing to do. Scripture tells us what is made is all we need to judge God’s power. That’s good enough for me. Why isn’t it good enough for you? Please note that some theistic evolutionists think that the Flood was a figurative tale, but others believe that the Flood really happened. They just believe it was local. I know at least one theistic evolutionist who believes the Flood was global, but that God protected the geology so that we could make sense of it later. Once again, then, I think you need to learn more about theistic evolution before you start criticizing it.

    When Jesus says, “At the beginning he created them,” He is not talking about the beginning of creation. He is talking about the beginning of the human race. We know that because even in the young-earth view, Adam and Eve were not created at the beginning. They were created very near the end, sometime on the sixth day. Thus, Jesus is not implying anything about the time of creation – only about the start of the human race.

    You seem to think that theistic evolutionists take a figurative view of Genesis because they are somehow attached to Darwin rather than Christ. However, that is plainly false, because a figurative view of Genesis has been around since the beginning of Christendom, long before Darwin. Throughout the history of Christendom, some theologians have taken a figurative view of Genesis specifically because of how it is written, not because of some other influences.

    When I say there are obvious poetic elements in the Genesis account, I am not talking specifically about the Framework Hypothesis. It uses those elements, but those elements exist with or without the Framework hypothesis. They are there, and this is why some interpret Genesis figuratively. This does not mean God is the author of confusion. It just means that it is hard for finite people to comprehend an infinite God.

    One of the literary cues that indicate the days of creation were not like the ones we experience does, indeed, involve the phrase “evening and morning.” After all, the way we define evening and morning is by the sun, which wasn’t created until day 4. Since evening and morning are mentioned prior to day 4, that indicates the first three days were unlike ones we have experienced, because something other than the sun was defining evening and morning.

    You ask, “What does God say about it?” My answer is that I cannot be sure. I don’t think anyone can. If you read Genesis one way, God created quickly. If you read it another, God created in billions of years. If you read it another way, God is simply giving us a figurative account of creation. Since I cannot be sure what God is saying about creation, I am willing to listen to other views. Once again, this doesn’t mean God is the author of confusion. It just means that right now, we see through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12).

    If I have missed anything, I am sorry. Your long comments are incredibly hard to follow. Please try to be more brief. This is not your blog, Eric. It is mine. I am happy to discuss things, but when you write treatises as comments, I don’t think it adds much to the discussion.

  37. Eric H. says:

    Dr. Wile, if you insist. I respect that this is your blog so I will try to be shorter in my comment, but I think the issues discussed here are just to important to ignore. I will try to keep only to the most important issues, even though I disagree with you at this point(at this beginning) in about everything, I will only address the parts where my answers are not too long.

    If you do not think that time(generally) behaves in a steady manner, than throw out your clock, forget that the sun is going to go down at a certain time. Forget that the sun is going to take so long to revolve around the earth. I think this is a very dishonest answer, you and I both know that time(generally) behaves in a very steady manner on this earth. This is why people can have races, why we can measure time in car races down to the second. Why we can predict exactly where the earth is going to be thirty years or farther down the road from now!! The way we all live suggest that time is remarkably reliable. Is time steady in our everyday experiences? Dr. Wile, in your everyday life, is time steady? How can two people talk with each other over the phone on the opposite side of the world? In every day day life, like the way Adam and Eve would have experienced in the Garden, time is remarkably stable. You are bringing up the exception, not the rule.

    You say, “Time was created for all of creation, not just us, and it has nothing to do with who Jesus died on the cross for.”

    Dr. Wile, the heavens and the earth are going to pass away in fire, everything else will be destroyed, but we will remain, along with God, because God cannot be created or destroyed. Time was not created for all of creation, it was created for us, we are the only ones who really understand it, and we are all that will remain in the end when the creation is gone.

    You say, “If He said He was going to act in 20,000,000 years, I would believe Him.”
    Dr. Wile, you are clearly in denial. Daniels prophecy would suggest that God does not act on these time scales, He is not a deceiver, He does not do things on time scales we can not understand, He never has, Satan would say something like this.

    You say, “Even children can see that the creation account has some of the characteristics of poetry.”

    Dr. Wile, I disagree, when I was a child, I did not understand it as poetry, and neither did anyone in my family. All of the Hebrew language revolves around poetry. I could say that the Old Testament is poetry because the hebrew language is poetic, but it does not make it any less literal. God made our minds to understand poetry, poetry is most likely a very extension of who he is, but he cannot include it in his literal creation account? God is pure beauty, and his creation before the fall, and even now is pure beauty, you have to be in denial not to admit this. God is once again deceptive.

    “Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard.” Woah, not sensing any poetry here, oh wait, that’s because I’m reading it in English.
    Dr. Wile, this passage says nothing about God creating, this means nothing. It simply further validates God prefers six work and 1 rest cycles based on REAL time scales. The passage does not say, “For in six years, God created the Heavens and earth, and in the seventh year he rested.”

    You say, “Evolution also has animals reproducing after their kind.”
    If God blessed all these animals, what is the opposite of a blessing? Could it be a curse? What is the opposite of good? Could it be evil? I will repeat my question, which one would be more preferable? What we are currently observing today or Slow steady CHANGE over time? I am not saying that God could not have done it that way, but it makes absolutely no sense to prefer that over the plain meaning, the one that would be most likely for God.

    You say, “I would think ANY method of creation that God chose would be indicative of a loving God”
    First of all, God has made us in his image, it means we have some of his characteristics. There are a huge amount of people that would strongly disagree with you. I have witnessed a raccoon come up and grab hold of my cat and start eating the cat while it was still alive. My mom could not stop crying and to her, it was completely terrible, and I shared in her misery. Dr. Wile, if a lion came up and killed your best friend and tore out his guts right in front of you, would you still say that Gods preferred method of creation is right and God is still love? God allows these things just like in Job, but it is not the way he prefers things. If it was the result of a cursed world, ruled by Satan, you would understand it better. There are many many people who would say that a God who created that way is sadistic and wasteful, again, we can not trust the capacities to feel that God has given us. People have been so torn and grieved by animal deaths, that this would be a sole reason to never trust in God if that is just the way God created. You say “We should not presume to judge God. He judges us.” Dr. Wile, Give me one person who would say they could not trust God if animals were NOT killing each other before the fall and there was no death, no smell of rotting flesh, no primal struggle for survival, no animals ripping the guts out of other animals. Not one. If God told us that he murdered for fun, that he hated little children, and took their guts and threw them across the universe, he could still judge us, but we wouldn’t respect him. Our respect of Him is based upon His character.
    Dr. Wile, Very good means Very good, it means its really really good, you should trust that God got the right words into English. If he wanted to display IN ENGLISH that it was Just functioning, he would have displayed that, are we really to expect that things were worse in the beginning than they are now? Is God evolving right along with US? Maybe we will become Gods one day! That is not a good line of thinking. Read Deuteronomy 32, Very Good means perfect. There is no reason to think that God would not look at his creation and declare that it was awesome, beautiful, amazing, incredible, we do the same things today, and we live in a fallen world, and our standard of good is no where close to what Gods is, I think it an unreasonable assessment that very good means anything else than very beautiful, very lovely, very pleasing, very awesome.

    You say, “Because the method of creation has nothing to do with how involved God is with us.” Jesus was Gods method of creation! He is the word. Jesus is Hands on, God is hands on! It has everything to do with us! Jesus entire desire is toward us, we are his bride and he is our husband. Can you imagine if your wife married you, but then never paid attention to you or was even around. That would hurt. God starts out the creation process, but then leaves, just like the uncaring wife, but returns right at the very end, do you still love her, do you still love God?

    You say “Because the method of creation has nothing to do with how involved God is with us.” Again Jesus is the method of Gods creation, clearly Jesus is involved with us, he talks with us he walks with us, he will never leave us or forsake us. He is with us every day of the week. You can believe that God just sat back at the beginning and let things happen, but you are clearly in denial of exactly who the creator is.

    You say, “If God used evolution to create, that would make Him less changing than if He created in six 24-hour days.” Seriously? So God evolving right along with evolution would make him unchanging? You are missing the point, young earth creationists(yourself included because you are a young earth creationist) believe EVERYTHING changed because of Adam, not because of God, God acted in accordance to Adams sin because of his perfect character. The way God had to interact with creation follows. We now sin, does this mean God started sinning? The creation went from no animals eating each other to animals eating each other. Dr. Wile, are you claiming that in the new world, that Thorns and thistles are going to be okay then? Adams sin is what subjected everything to the way it is now. The changing of the animals is assumed because of Gods command to the animals to eat the green herb. You say, “After all, it is clear now that God says killing of animals is okay.” Animals eating other animals is not the way he originally wanted it. Is it the way God wants it? no, is it necessary? Yes. I know this is talking about people, but God is not willing that any should perish. He does care about us, he cares about his creation. Besides, why should I believe you? There is not a single mention of animals dying in Genesis 1 or 2, it is an argument entirely from silence, and God is a God of the living, not the dead. If evolution is his preferred method of creation, he is the God of dying to make life, it’s totally the opposite. You say, “If you think that at one time He didn’t think killing animals was okay, then it seems to me that means God changed.” Not at all, first, it’s animals eating each other, and that would have been after the fall, at one time God didn’t think that Thorns were good either or hard labor was okay, he actually called it a curse. Does this mean God now loves hard labor and thorns and poison ivy and death? In the new creation, God is going to make us slave away landscaping, lifting up heavy rocks all day in 100 degree heat. No, it was necessary that animals were killed for humans, that does not mean this is Gods preferred way of doing things. Like you said, animals killing each other would not be sin because they are not moral agents capable of committing sin, but that does not mean that they are not subjected to Gods curse. The animals are subjected to Gods curse because of Adams sin. God is so aware of everything that not even a sparrow can drop down to the ground without him noticing it. This same God used Evolution? I find that hard to believe, theistic evolutionists have more faith than me. God slaughtered Jesus on the cross for our sins just like the lambs, does this mean God always slaughtered Jesus before he came to earth? He must have loved slaughtering Jesus before sin came into the world, it must have been an eternal beatdown, father vs son, “Hey Jesus, ITS SLAUGHTERING TIME, FOR ALL ETERNITY PAST!!!”. Dr. Wile, I don’t think your ideas here are right. There is nothing before the fall that would say ANIMALS EATING OTHER ANIMALS was okay, because of the command for the animals to eat the green herb, this was his will, when animals starting eating other animals, they are going directly against his command. And he NEVER gave them a new command that they could after the fall, remember that. You say, “God’s nature never changes.” Yes, his nature that says he doesn’t lie to us. If Gods nature never changes, then why in this good world is he switching to Animals not killing each other and why then is it wrong that animals should kill when things are restored or made new, “they shall not hurt or destroy”, you would agree that hurting and destroying is against Gods original purpose, wouldn’t you? They were not that way in the beginning, but their actions are going against Gods original command, therefore, they must be re-mediated at restoration. This point alone completely destroys theistic evolution at its base. If animals could not eat each other, then evolution is impossible, because we see carnivorous activity, all through the earth that once was. God stays true to his word. Why switch now if that was always his intention from the beginning? He spent 100 million years letting the animals eat each other, but in six thousand years, or whenever Jesus comes back, he completely changes for a thousand years. Clearly there is something not right with animals killing each other if he has to switch to them not killing each other, even if it is nothing morally repugnant. BUT if they were not killing each other before the fall, this action is perfectly justifiable. God’s NATURE, not his response towards mans actions, his curse upon the earth, never changes ONLY IF his nature was the same in the beginning before the fall so it could not be subjected to the curse. His command for humans to only eat fruit and vegetables is BEFORE the fall. The fall comes and the curse makes it legal for humans to eat animals. Once everything is restored, it will be illegal for humans to eat animals, just like it will be illegal for the animals to eat each other. Jesus said that he is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, things are going to be the same in the end as they were in the beginning and that is exactly what we see in the passages in Isiah, all of the curses, neatly packed together in Isiah 65. It could not be more clear. God’s presence with Adam and Eve was before the fall, and Gods presence changes according to our actions. One day, humans will neither eat nor drink, but will drink of the spirit and feast on Gods presence.

    I will simply skip the whole part about Romans 1:20, because it seems like we’re going to have to agree to disagree, there is no point going on with this.
    On to the subject of The Flood, it is so evident the Bible is talking about a world wide flood that it really is not worth the time to convince people it is if they don’t believe it, they are in denial. While I may be confused about evolutionary theology, I have seen all of the arguments for a local flood, and while I take the days of the creation week argument seriously, I think the arguments for a local flood are a joke. If they doubt this, then what is the use in even talking with them about the scriptures? Do they believe whatever they want to believe? If they want to be ignorant and believe there is a chance that it was not a world wide flood, then so be it, but it is ignorance.

    When it comes to your friends believing that God could protect the world during the flood, your friends have LOTS of faith that God could keep the world undisturbed with that huge of a catastrophe, if they have that much faith, then good for them. If they trust God that much, they should be able to take his word for what it says. God says he was going to completely destroy the earth, they should believe him.

    “But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female” This could not be any clearer, this is day six that God is making them male and female, this is far far from the beginning if theistic evolution is true, this is the end of creation according to a reasonable interpretation of time, the creation includes ALL of the creation, not just Adam and Eve, there is no indicator to say other wise. Six days is not that long after the beginning, right at the beginning. If Jesus wanted to say at the time of the creation of Adam, he would have said, “But AFTER the creation OF ADAM, God made them male and female.” or “But after(insert Greek word for vast undetermined amounts of time here) God created them male and female.”

    Gods creation is compatible WITHOUT Darwin. Darwin created evolution, not God. Need I say more? If we were smart, we would simply explore creation as it is and leave origins to God, we have more than enough to keep us busy.

    You say, “It just means that it is hard for finite people to comprehend an infinite God.” Which is exactly why he created in six days, to put his creation in finite terms for a finite people. He could have created in a million, but we are finite, so that wouldn’t make much sense, he could have created in infinity years, but then he would never finish! He could create in 0 seconds, but then he would never start. Time is important.

    You say, “After all, the way we define evening and morning is by the sun” EXACTLY!!!!! Which is why we trust that the days happened in the same time frame as when the sun goes up and when the sun goes down!! In plain words, it is to hard for God to have the times be the same before the sun. You say “Since evening and morning are mentioned prior to day 4, that indicates” Hold up, hold up, this indicates absolutely nothing, I thought nothing was to hard with God. It was Gods light that was defining the first three days, the earth was still there. The sun was put to RULE over the day and the night, if the day and night, the evening and the morning were not there, what would it rule over? The reason the evening is first is because God created light after the evening. Didn’t think about that one, did you? The day and night were already there. Interestingly enough, at the end of Revelations, Gods light will be all there is, the first three days do not have the sun for a reason.

    You say, “My answer is that I cannot be sure.” If you are not sure, then you are in a state of confusion. It would be better if you understood the text as one or the other. God is not the author of confusion, an author is a writer. You are not having any problem understanding my intent with the words I am writing and I am nothing but a human, why would you have problems understanding Gods perfect words?
    You say “If you read it another, God created in billions of years.”
    This is simply untrue. The state of time is undefined, it is whatever you make it to be. The bible does not say billions of years. If you read it one way, it is undefined. If you read it another, it is completely defined. This is one of the only things so far that you have said that is completely untrue.

    Dr Wile, we see his eternal attributes through a glass darkly, not his word, you are getting the two mixed up. Don’t let them drag you down, stand on the solid rock, stay in the high tower.

    My comment is fairly long, but I believe all of it is important, and I tried to edit it down to an appropriate size with relevant content, so I apologize if it is over the length you prefer.

  38. Eric H. says:

    And the experiment with the literal reading of Genesis 1 as being seven actual days of creation, I am going to go to as many people as I can, who have never read the Bible, and ask them if they think it is literal or figurative, long time periods or short days. I will be sure to post the results after I am done.

  39. Eric H. says:

    Furthermore, the process of theistic evolution spent billions of years forming the correct form of man, so man finally gets here, but how did the men get there? There was no woman before Eve, she is the mother of all the living, so where were the women at the whole time? You are not going to tell me that the men had relations with each other before they got to Eve, are you? That would be an abomination. And woman is a completely new creation from the rib of Adam, formed from the dust of the ground. So God uses Billions of years to get to man, to form the perfect creation of the woman!! God, you sexist Dog you!! This means that God must have had all the soul less humanoids before Adam having relations with other men, but there is no evidence of that in the fossil record. In fact, there is no mention of Half monkey half men, in fact, apes are not even mentioned once!!! God is once again deceptive.

  40. jlwile says:

    Eric, really? Your comment has 3,384 words. My original post has 1,048 words. You think that a comment which is three times as long as the original post is being brief? You then follow it up with three more comments, one of them on an unrelated post (that one was trashed). How, exactly, is this respecting my wishes?

    Here is what you asked me in your even longer previous post:

    Do you think time behaves in a standard that does not change upon the earth? You do not look down at your stop watch and say, “Wow, look at that, time is behaving quite differently today. It is so unconstant, I can never really make any sense out of time at all, if only this world were a little more timely. Time displays Gods eternal attributes, his unchanging characteristics.

    The fact is that it does not. Time changes how it passes on this earth based on both your speed and the gravity to which you are being exposed. Thus, it does not behave in a manner that doesn’t change. This is not an exception. It is the rule. Thus, time most certainly does not display God’s eternal attributes or unchanging characteristics. Time is anything but unchanging.

    You are correct that the heavens and the earth are going to pass away in fire. However, that has nothing to do with the method of creation or the time involved.

    Once again, in your even longer previous post, you specifically said:

    Can you imagine if he told you he was going to act on behalf of his people in 20,000,000 years? You may seriously doubt that he is going to keep his promises. That is a VERY long time.

    This has nothing to do with the prophecy in Daniel. You said I may seriously doubt that He is going to keep His promises just because the timeframe is long. Once again, I would most certainly not, and it bothers me that you would. God keeps His promises. You don’t think He is powerful enough to act in 20,000,000 years? I do. You claim that because we can’t comprehend 20,000,000 years, this would be a problem. No, it is not. God can do things on scales that we can’t comprehend. He is God. That’s one of the many reasons that the time over which He creates has nothing to do with His power. If we can’t even comprehend the time scale, that makes His power incredibly awesome! I think we can actually comprehend such time scales. Indeed, many scientists find it easier to comprehend things that happen over such time scales than things that happen over shorter time scales.

    I am not talking about the language in which Genesis is written. I am talking about the style in which the language is used. Parallel elements are part of poetic style. Repeated phrases are a part of poetic style. We find them both in Genesis 1, which leads some to believe that Genesis is a figurative account, not a historical one. This view has been in Christendom from its very, very early stages and is not dependent on evolution or any other scientific view. How many childrens’ Sunday school classes have you taught? I know several people who have taught such classes, and they have specifically said that even some of the children see the poetry elements there.

    I agree that Leviticus 25:3,4 doesn’t mention God creating. However, it uses the same parallel, and it is not in days. It is in years. This tells us that the parallel in Exodus 20:8-11 may not be exact, since this parallel isn’t exact. This is using Scripture to interpret Scripture, and it shows that you should be a little more humble in your approach to it.

    You ask, “which one would be more preferable? What we are currently observing today or Slow steady CHANGE over time?” I don’t understand your question, because what we see now is slow steady change over time. In a population of finches, you will see beaks slowly become shorter and more stout during droughts that span multiple generations. You will see them become longer and more slender during very rainy seasons that span multiple generations. That’s slow and steady change, and it is what we see now. If your question is what method of creation is preferable, that’s up to God. It is not up to me.

    You ask, “Dr. Wile, if a lion came up and killed your best friend and tore out his guts right in front of you, would you still say that Gods preferred method of creation is right and God is still love?” Of course I would. I don’t have the arrogance or audacity to question God. Your question is eerily similar to the atheist question, “How can you believe in a loving God who allowed my best friend to be murdered?” God’s ways are not our ways, and it is not our business to question how He does things. It is our business to try and understand Him as best we can and admit when there are things we don’t understand.

    Actually, I know quite a number of people who say they could not trust God if He did not use evolution to create. In their minds, they see evolution as fact, and if God used some other method to create, they say that indicates God is a deceiver. I don’t think these people are correct, but this is specifically why we should not presume to judge God. If he chose to create by evolution, it was clearly the best method by which to create.

    I agree that Jesus’ entire desire is toward us. However, this once again has nothing to do with the method of creation. If God created by evolution, he did not ever stop paying attention to us. Indeed, he intervened in the process to give us His image. Thus, He showed exactly how important we are to Him and never stopped paying attention to us. Once again, this has nothing to do with the method of creation.

    I agree that everything changed because of Adam. However, that’s not what you said. You said that a young-earth creationist view (and yes, I am a young-earth creationist) demonstrates an unchanging God. In fact, it doesn’t do that any more than if God created by evolution. In fact, if God created by evolution, His relationship to creation has changed less, since He used animal death both before and after the Fall. You say, “Animals eating other animals is not the way he originally wanted it.” I don’t pretend to know the mind of God, so I have no idea whether or not that is true. I prefer to learn about God from what is in Scripture. I don’t like adding to Scripture. I agree that there is not a single mention of animals dying in Genesis 1 and 2. There is also no mention of people smelling things in Genesis 1 and 2. Does that mean there was no sense of smell before the Fall? Once again, I prefer to learn about God from what is in Scripture. I don’t like adding to it.

    Nothing I have said even remotely suggests that God was “slaughtering Jesus before sin came into the world.” You were the one who said that God’s actions never changed. Not me. I specifically said, “How God relates to us definitely changes.” What I said (which is completely true) is that His method of creation has nothing to do with how He relates to us.

    You ask, “You would agree that hurting and destroying is against Gods original purpose, wouldn’t you?” No, I do not. I don’t see that anywhere in Scripture, and I don’t like to add things to Scripture. I absolutely agree that human death wasn’t a part of God’s original purpose. That is clear in Scripture. The idea that there was no animal death before the Fall is, at best, an extraBiblical concept.

    You want to skip Romans 1:20 because it clearly shows you to be wrong. I will not allow you to do that. I have been more than patient with you, and now it is time for you to stop sidestepping the question: If God’s power is determined by the length of time over which He created, why does Romans say that His power is evident ONLY by what is seen, not by the time over which it was created?

    I will not turn this thread into a discussion about the extent of the Flood. I did that once, and the commenter who claimed that the idea of a local Flood is nonsense couldn’t even answer some of the most basic arguments supporting a local Flood. The fact is that a local Flood is within the realm of possibility. I think it was global, but there is no “slam dunk” case to say that it was.

    My theistic evolutionist friend who thinks God protected the earth to preserve the geology of evolution does, indeed, have a lot of faith. I am glad that you agree, because previously, you claimed that a belief in evolution erodes faith in God. I hope you see now that this is not true. Also, he does believe what God says, and he strongly believes that God’s creation account is poetry. He has some plausible arguments to back up his case – arguments that you have been unable to even touch, much less refute!

    You say, “‘But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female’ This could not be any clearer, this is day six that God is making them male and female” You are right. As you admit, since God made Adam and Eve on day 6, Jesus is clearly not talking about the beginning of Creation, as that happened on day 1. Day 6 is not day 1, therefore, Jesus is not talking about the beginning of creation. He is talking about the beginning of the human race, and thus He is saying nothing about God’s method of creation.

    You are also incorrect that Darwin created evolution. He discovered evolution. Much of what he discovered is true, even young-earth creationists like myself admit that. Sir Isaac Newton didn’t create the universal law of gravitation. He discovered what God had already created. If God did create by some means of evolution, Darwin simply discovered the method.

    You seem to be confused when it comes to math as well. A few billion years is finite,not infinite. As finite people, we can understand it. Indeed, we can program a computer to simulate it. Thus, the idea that God had to create in six days so that we could understand creation is simply wrong. Indeed, most scientists would find the method of creation much easier to understand if it took billions of years. Once again, I don’t try to judge God, so I don’t think the time over which He created matters. However, most scientists would definitely understand creation better if it took billions of years.

    I agree that the Bible doesn’t say billions of years. It also doesn’t say 24-hour days. This is why I cannot be sure what Genesis says about the length of time over which God created. This is not a state of confusion. It is, once again, an admission that we now see through a glass darkly. Read 1 Corinthians 13. It is most certainly not talking about God’s attributes. It is talking about prophecy, tongues, knowledge, etc. The chapter specifically tells us that our knowledge is partial. This applies to many things, including the creation account. We cannot be sure about the creation account, because it is not spelled out for us. As a result, this is one of the things we see through a glass darkly.

    In yet another comment you ask, “Furthermore, the process of theistic evolution spent billions of years forming the correct form of man, so man finally gets here, but how did the men get there?” This shows you haven’t looked at theistic evolution at all. How in the world can you say that theistic evolution is clearly wrong when you don’t even know the basics? During the process of evolution, genders evolved, so there was no homosexuality in the vertebrate subkingdom. Eventually, the physical form of man evolved, and THEN God breathed His image into the physical form, creating Adam. Please actually learn about views before you start casting dispersions on them.

    Your comment was long, and most of it was wrong – terribly wrong. I will not approve a post of any such length again, and I will not approve a bunch of little posts. In fact, the only post I will approve from you on this thread is a SHORT one that explains exactly why you think Romans 1:20 is incorrect about how God’s power is evident to us. Once you have done that, I might allow the discussion to continue further. I have been more than patient with you, and you are simply taking advantage of that patience.

  41. "Montague" says:

    The “enlightenment” thinkers did not try to get rid of God because they suddenly saw the light of reason. They already didn’t believe in God in their actions and minds – all they did was attempt to justify their own pampered wants by saying it fulfilled natural law – things somehow suddenly discovered – by reason -also somehow never thought about before – and here we go, “science vs religion”.

  42. "Montague" says:

    Re – jlwile: “You ask, “Do you think time behaves in a rational, steady manner? Do you think time behaves in a standard that does not change upon the earth?” Any scientist would answer “no” that question. We know that time does not behave in a steady manner.”

    That last statement is a rational impossibility. We know time – then we understand that it is both rational and constant. Time flexes, bends – BY WAYS DESCRIBABLE OR FOLLOWING RATIONAL TESTABLE LAWS. By saying anything (of the “scientific” sort) about time, we understand time to be understandable, and what can be understood, is rational. There cannot be a truly irrational science – you must either say time is rational, or that it cannot be understood scientifically.

  43. "Montague" says:

    Another quibble:

    “If God’s power is determined by the length of time over which He created, why does Romans say that His power is evident ONLY by what is seen, not by the time over which it was created?”

    1 – But it’s not. It can’t be defined by a finite creation.

    2 – Furthermore (not necessarily to defend either of you – I’m a young-earth-er but an old-universe-er) nothing that is not seen cannot bear witness to everyone, so it’s not quite wise to say that the text limits it to a strict, ONLY what is seen policy. After all, Paul never saw a double helix, nor Peter the store-houses of snow (although they were privileged to see the stars, not so often seen by laymen today). Time is merely another factor of the creation, just like space and information-complexity.

    I Don’t mean to be a troller or whatever, so I hope I am being rational.

  44. jlwile says:

    Thanks for your comments, Montague. I agree with your assessment of “enlightenment” thinkers.

    I don’t think you appreciated the question I answered, however. Notice what the commenter asked:

    “Do you think time behaves in a rational, steady manner? Do you think time behaves in a standard that does not change upon the earth?” Obviously time follows rational laws, but it is not steady, and it does change. That’s the point. The commenter seemed to think that time marches steadily on, without changing. In fact, later on he claimed that time displays God’s eternal attributes and unchanging characteristics. That, of course, is false. The faster you travel, the slower time moves for you. The lower the gravitational field, the faster time moves for you. This is true everywhere, including the earth. The way it changes can be described by mathematical equations, of course, so it changes rationally. However, it does change, meaning it is not the constant the commenter thinks it is.

    I am best described as a young-earth-er but an old-universe-er myself. However, I will have to disagree with you on Romans 1:20. The commenter somehow thinks that God creating over millions of years limits His power. Romans 1:20 clearly says that is not the case, because it says that God’s power is evident by what is seen. If the time over which He created was some measure of His power, then His power would not be evident by the things that are seen. One would have to know how long it took for God to create those things in order to judge His power if the time over which they were created was a measure of His power.

  45. Dan says:

    Dr. Jay, I was just wondering, when you say “young-earth-er but an old-universe-er,” do you mean in the sense of Humphreys’s white hole cosmology or in the sense that the universe was created much earlier than the earth was?

    Also, do you see any scientific data that point to greater age in other parts of the universe, e.g., from stars, quasars, the time required for nucleosynthesis, etc.?

    Thank you again for your interesting posts and taking the time to answer all of our questions. I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say I have learned a lot from and appreciate your responses!

  46. jlwile says:

    Thanks so much for your kind words, Dan. I am a young-earth-er but an old-universe-er in the white-hole cosmology sense. I am not sure Humphreys’s view is exactly right. However, I think it is on the right track.

    As far as evidence for older ages in other parts of the universe, I am not sure I see any. If you interpret stellar ageing as stellar evolution, then you definitely see evidence for long ages. However, I don’t consider that evidence, since it depends heavily on unverified assumptions. Of course, part of the problem is that a lot of astrophysics depends heavily on unverified assumptions, so looking for real evidence in astrophysics is a challenge, to say the least.

  47. "Montague" says:

    O_O looks like someone didn’t read closely. Oops.

    Although my point was that the laws that govern time DO show God is constant. Maybe.

    As for Romans, I meant to say primarily that God’s power cannot be limited, just shown in a partaking-sort-of-way, by creation. I guess I agree with you there entirely.

  48. jlwile says:

    Montague, I would agree that the laws that govern time (and the rest of creation) do show God is constant.

  49. Eric H. says:

    Dr. Wile, I’ve been thinking for a little wile :) and I think that you are VERY PROBABLY right about Romans 1:20, though I still can not say for sure. I am sorry about posting so long, I was getting incredibly frustrated with you, but I am rather over it now and now that I look back on our conversations after a couple of weeks, I am rather surprised you stayed with me. Thanks again for putting up with my craziness, you are rather good at doing that with people though.

    The only thing I will add is that the repeated phrases may very likely be exactly what we think they are, repeated phrases for emphasis, repeating the same point over and over again so people understand that it very likely does not refer to anything else other than six days.

  50. jlwile says:

    Eric, I think you are right. The phrase “evening and morning” probably is repeated for emphasis. The problem is that we can’t know that for sure. Since such repetition is also characteristic of poetry, one has to keep one’s mind open.

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