Allan A Lang (Industrial
2 Carl Wieland (Creation Science Foundation)
3 B M
4 Barry Price (Science teacher at St Augustus High School, Sydney)
5 Transcribed comments of Stephen J Gould
Theology, Geology &
The Age of The Earth
A A Lang
(Investigator No. 1,
In the pre-scientific era, it was common to assume that the age of the earth could be determined by adding the "begats" in Genesis, the times of the Judges and the King lists in Chronicles and Kings.
Many such calculations were made by Michael de Nostradame, Archbishop Ussher, Bishop Lightfoot and others. The various additions gave dates between 3900 and 5600 BC, although the best known is Ussher's 4004 BC.
When the science of geology began to be developed after 1750, it soon became obvious that the time required to form the various rock formations was much more than a few thousand years. Because many of the early geologists were also theologians, they developed a number of theories of Biblical interpretation to provide a theologically acceptable means of reconciling belief in a Creator with the geological evidence for a earth history with millions of years of past life.
Most theologian/scientists followed the Dual Revelation principle advanced by Sir Francis Bacon. This was that correct Spiritual truth was found by studying the Scriptures and correct truth about the natural world was found by studying the "Book of Nature". By itself, the evidence from the natural world is that earth is much older than 6000-10000 years. This was accepted by early 19th century geologists as being as true as the fact that the earth was round.
A small group in the 19th century denied the geological evidence and based their belief about geology on their interpretation of Scripture.
Hugh Miller (1802-1856), lay preacher, writer and geologist, commented about this group:
"No true geologist ever professes to deduce his geology from Scripture." (1876 p.342)Recently what Miller called "the anti-geologists" have re-emerged. It goes by various names:
The variety of labels conceals just one basic type of creationism – that which insists on creation taking six 24-hour days only 6000 years ago, and denying all the observations of geology over the last 200 years.
Henry M Morris who resuscitated this approach, encountered "Young Earth Geology" as a young engineer forty years ago and has since originated several Creationist organizations.
The number of Creationist organisations (almost all insisting on a young earth) now runs into three figures. With pressure for teaching "Creation science" (with an assumption of a young earth, as was the case in the notorious Arkansas Act 590) in schools continuing, it is inevitable the word "creationist" will in future come to imply a believer in a young earth.
So from now on I will call this variety of creationism, "Creationism". This may not be acceptable to creationists who are not (Young earth) Creationists but they are going to have to get used to it, as (Young earth) Creationists presume themselves to be the only creationists.
William Allen White said of William Jennings Bryan (early 20th Century Populist politician and attorney at the 1925 "monkey trial") that he was never wrong in political diagnosis and never right in prescription. Bryan's own beliefs were not "pure" enough to have gained him admittance to any of the major Creationist organisations. Nevertheless, he is so admired by present-day Creationists that they seem to take him as a role model.
Creationists correctly analyse belief in an old earth as the common factor in other creation viewpoints. Such other viewpoints include Gap theory creation, Pre-Adamic creation, Day-age creation, successive creation, progressive creation, theistic evolution. These theories are Biblically based in that they seek to interpret the Bible so as not to conflict with what we know about the natural world.
Creationists, however, view such attempts to "harmonize science with scripture" as surrender. Their prescription is to brand all of them "varieties of evolution" and nail their own flag to the mast of a young earth:
"The Bible believing Christian must realise that if he accepts the ages system, he is implicitly accepting the whole evolutionary package which is synonymous with it." (Morris 1975 p. 77)This statement would come as a surprise to the creationists, a large number of them clergymen, who devised the age system. Dr William Buckland DD (1784-1856), used the same names for the geologic strata which we use today and also noted:
"The truth is, that all observers…who are now agreed in admitting the lapse of very long periods of time to have been an essential condition..."Was Buckland a creationist? He was. Even according to Morris (1982 p. 64) he was a "strong creationist" and "Bible believing Christian". In a later work Morris (1985) does not mention Buckland previously called a "key British geologist". The reason is unclear, but it could be because Buckley also understood the scientific method:
That's exactly the Creationist argument – that "nothing certain is known". Morris stated:
"The only way we can determine the true age of the earth is for God to tell us what it is. And since he has told us, very plainly, in the Holy Scriptures that it is several thousand years and no more, that ought to settle all basic questions of terrestrial chronology." (1972 p. 94)There is actually no statement like this in the Bible. So, Morris is claiming inerrancy, not for the Bible, but for his personal interpretation of it.
Here he has fallen into the error of theologians 1500 ago, who declared, on the supposed authority of the Bible, that the earth was flat, and of those theologians 500 years ago who declared, on the supposed authority of the Bible, that the sun rotated around the earth.
Hugh Miller stated:
"In every instance in which they have sought to deduce from (the Bible) what it was not intended to teach - the truth of the physical sciences - they have fallen into extravagant error." (p. 264)And:
"Geology is as thoroughly a physical science as either geography or astronomy … It seems...unlikely that it should have been made a special subject of revelation in its character as a science."Today the majority of Creationists believe that the earth is not flat, and a substantial number even accept that it rotates around the sun. Nevertheless, a key element in their belief is that the age of the earth is only the 6000 years allowed by the "begats".
Young-Earth Creationism remains "Science" falsely so called. It is a textbook case of facts and observations selectively distorted to "prove" the Creationists' view of Genesis.
Hugh Miller, 130 years ago, wrote:
"There is a cycle in nonsense...which ever and anon brings back the delusions and errors of an earlier time. The follies of the present day are transients, unwittingly produced, and with of course a few variations, of follies which existed centuries ago."
Buckland, W. 1837.
Geology and Mineralogy
Considered with Reference to Natural Theology. Pickering. London.
Miller, H. 1876. The Testimony of the Rocks. Nimmo. London.
Morris, H. M. 1975. The Remarkable Birth of the Planet Earth. CLP. San Diego.
Morris, H.M. 1982. Men of Science, Men of God. CLP. San Diego.
Morris, H. M. 1985. History of Modern Creationism. Master Books. San Diego.
Reply to A. Lang's
"THELOGY, GEOLOGY AND THE AGE OP THE EARTH"
Dr. Carl Wieland (Managing Director Creation Science Foundation)
(Investigator 3, 1988 November)
The existing "skeptics" organizations, although they do a good job in exposing frauds, charlatans and the like, seem to be incapable of skepticism towards evolutionary materialism, to which they appear to be heavily philosophically committed. Actually, total "skepticism" or "neutrality" is a myth – as in all scientific investigation, some form of presupposition is necessary.
There is an essential difference between the sorts of issues normally addressed by "skeptics" (telekinesis, astrology, water divining) and the issue of creation science. The former phenomena all relate to the operation of things in the present, and are IN PRINCIPLE capable of falsification. No one can reasonably expect to repeat or observe either fiat creation or, say, the alleged transformation of a fish population into amphibia in the prehistoric past.
If I claim that I can make a fork lift up from the table just by concentrating on it, such a claim is subject to repeatable testing. Both the Christian and the so-called rationalist share the presupposition that natural law is uniform; it is a logical consequence of a post-Reformation view of Scripture.
The Biblical Christian view of cosmology, however, insists upon the right of its Lawgiver to purposively suspend/transcend natural Law on occasion for His special purposes (e.g. the resurrection). But this does not undermine scientific endeavour, since Biblical miracles, viewed in the light of the span of time covered by Scripture, are very uncommon punctuations of the normal order. Furthermore, they are decidedly non-arbitrary, and are usually "one-off" events, thus quite different from an individual's claims to possess an ongoing spoon-bending power, for instance.
A keystone of most "scientific" opposition to creationism is the belief that since natural processes are all we have to study, these must have been responsible for the self-assembly of all complexity. Yet such belief is not itself derived from observation. A simple parable will help to illustrate this:
Assume two scientifically minded microbes, living in a car, the only world they have ever known. Having discovered the principles of natural law prevailing in processes operating in the car, they begin to question the origin of their world. One of them concludes that the only logical inference from the data is that the car was made by processes other than those presently operating, by an unobservable maker. The other insists that since science can only deal with observable "natural" processes, these must have built the car. He has locked himself into a worldview which in this case makes it impossible to arrive at the correct conclusion.
At a recent ANZAAS conference on this issue which I attended, one of the official (anti-creationist) handouts said something like the following. It was stated that even if the truth of the matter were that the reason that cows, pigs and horses had certain features in common was because they were designed by a Creator according to a common plan, no scientist could come to this conclusion, for [the] same reason as our microbe friend.
Science used to be a search for truth. But the rules appear to have changed insofar as origins is concerned. No matter how much evidence for creation may be apparent in the present world, no matter that it may be the best inference from the data, no matter whether it really happened that way. The rules forbid any other conclusion than self-transformism. There certainly is much discussion and argument as to HOW evolution (cosmic, biological or prebiotic) happened. But the non-negotiable "bottom line" would appear to be that some form of evolution (naturalistic origin of things) DID happen, which then becomes a foundational metaphysic.
Creationists have a different foundational presupposition, equally non-neutral and metaphysical, beginning with belief in reliable revelation. Secondary theories in creationism explaining the relationship of this belief to the facts of the real world may be just as much the subject of ardent discussion as the controversy between gradualists and saltationists in evolutionism. But since ANY position relating to the unobservable past is ultimately held on faith, present-day data can, at best, determine how reasonable or otherwise that faith may be. Thus, faith in a fish-amphibian transition would appear eminently more reasonable if it were supported by a fossil transitional series. But the presence or absence of such a series does not finally and ultimately disprove or prove such a transition.
We do not claim to have no difficulties or problems, but that the weight of present evidence shows Biblical Creation to be a more rational and reasonable faith than self-transformism. For instance, there is no natural tendency for programmed mechanisms (e.g. the simplest possible self-replicating organism) to arise from non-programmed matter. Instead, physics and chemistry reveal a relentless tendency to overall destructerisation of matter. Since order and information are two sides of the same coin, the downhill progression of the universe towards its heat death (maximum entropy) is also a downward spiral of the total information in the universe.
The obvious question is: Since every process decreases the total information or negentropy in the cosmos, where did the information which is now decreasing come from in the first place? In other words, since natural law cannot "wind up" the cosmos – dS (system) + dS (surroundings) = dS (universe) and is never negative for any real process, – it had to be wound up from the "outside", as it were. A transcendent agency creating a "woundup" cosmos supernaturally would appear to be demanded by the evidence. (Think of the analogy of the microbes in the car, who can observe that all the natural processes in the car are doing is wearing it out, not building it up.)
Similarly, the embarrassing absence of transitional forms which has led directly to the development of (saltationist) theories to explain such absences can be viewed as a powerful confirmation of some of the predictions of a Biblically-based model.
To turn to Allan Lang's anti-creationist polemic. Firstly, his claim that it is "obvious" that more than a few thousand years is required for various rock formations ignores the sort of fundamental points raised above.
There is no way of demonstrating such a claim scientifically in the absence of certain assumptions – e.g. the uniformity of process rates, which cannot be proven. In fact, it has been profoundly falsified by many modern observations. For example, the rapid formation of landforms after the island of Surtsey appeared, and the stunning evidence of rapid canyon formation and beginning coalification of pine trees (appearing as if they were "grown in place") following the Mt. Helens explosion and subsequent flooding/mudslides.
Such observations cannot of course prove that all formations arose rapidly. Our possession of a fully petrified orange from an orange-growing area in NSW does not show that all petrification is rapid, but it does show that it is hopelessly invalid to pontificate about process rates concerning the formation of a structure during which time no measurements were taken.
It is a profoundly unfair distortion for him to imply that creationists "deduce their geology from Scripture" and are thus "anti-geologists" opposed to the science of geology itself. Apart from the differences in these non-empirical metaphysical presuppositions which I have briefly touched upon above, every creationist geologist uses the same principles of inductive and deductive logic in the field as any other. I personally know several Ph.D. creationist geologists, all professionally competent; our own staff scientist, Dr. Andrew Snelling, has recently proven up another major orebody and is in demand within industry, as well as currently being a co-researcher with CSIRO and Atomic Energy commission personnel. To say that they deny "all the observations of geology over the last 200 years" is thus not only patently absurd, but even offensive to their personal and professional integrity.
Lang introduces the pioneer of flood geology and modern-day creationism, Dr. Henry Morris, as a "young engineer" but (conveniently?) omits the fact that his major is in hydrology and hydraulics, his minor in geology, and that he has been regarded as perhaps the world's foremost authority on the action of moving water. This makes him perhaps better qualified to comment upon the presumed rates and processes of formation of sedimentary (water-laid) rock than the average geology graduate.
Lang is wrong when he says that we brand all attempts to modify the Genesis account with Scripture as "varieties of evolution". The gap theory, progressive creation, etc, are shown by us to be exegetically unsound, to fail to deal with the scientific challenge of evolution to Christian faith (e.g. all would have widespread death and blood-shed existing before Adam, in contradiction to the New Testament emphasis) but are clearly NOT evolution.
By way of aside, I have never experienced any of our organization using Bryan as a "role model" for belief in creation, as Lang states. Naturally, our sympathies are with him in his stand at the "Scopes" trial, in which the main exhibit for the "fact" of evolution was Nebraska man, constructed from a pig's tooth. And, contrary to the impression gained from reading the article, all significant creationists of which I am aware are fully cognizant of the fact that the "long-age onion-peel" system of interpretation of the fossil-bearing strata, some of it devised by creationists, existed before Darwin. If Lang had the degree of familiarity with creationist literature which one would expect from someone purporting to write as a competent critic, he would have understood Morris' statement in the light of the way in which the geological age-system is interpreted near-universally today.
Lang is being misleading when he says that there is no statement in Scripture supporting a recent creation. To illustrate: It is a common thing for a Christian to be confronted on the door-step by cult-believers asking him to find any mention of the "Trinity" in "your own King James Bible". Failing to find such a single statement ignores the hundreds of references from which such a doctrine has been inferred by the overwhelming majority of Christian scholars, so much so as to make it a "sine qua non" of orthodoxy. Without some dubious exegetical tricks, which would be rejected by unbelieving Hebrew scholars (i.e. those who are not trying to harmonise anything) as denying the intention of the author, recent creation is clearly taught. Far from being Morris' "personal interpretation", it is not an interpretation as such at all.
One can be skeptical of a position without being offensive, as Lang becomes especially in his closing comments, in which he accuses us of facts and observations being collectively "distorted to ‘prove' the Creationists' view of Genesis." We spend a great deal of effort pointing out that we cannot PROVE anything of the sort, as pointed out above. He makes the usual snide associations with flat-earthism and geocentrism, both of which relate to HOW things operate in the present, not how they originate in the past and are thus philosophically distinct.
epithets and caricatures
between the two camps is of no value to the pages of an "investigative"
journal. A "small s" skeptic has my respect e.g. Dr.
Denton, a non-creationist, agnostic molecular biologist whose recent
book "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis" demolishes evolution more
any creationist book I have read. I have learnt, however, to be
skeptical of the Skeptics, who are so devoted to their chosen religion
that they have put forward a number of quite false arguments in their
Australian book. I hope to expose some of these arguments in
issues of our magazine "Creation".
RESPONSE TO WIELAND
Allan A. Lang
(Investigator 3, 1998 November)
My reaction on reading Carl Wieland's response to my article was alarm. How could I have been so misunderstood?
Wieland appears to want to argue about Creation versus Evolution. This is a valid topic for discussion. But it was not the subject of my article which addressed the belief held by some (but not all) creationists in a young earth less than 10,000 years old. This is separate from Creation/Evolution. Evolution is not established by proving the earth old. And disproving Evolution does not prove the earth young.
Wieland attributes to me the quotes "anti-geologists" "deduce their geology from Scripture". Actually I was quoting from the mid 19th century writing of Hugh Miller.
The denial that present Creationists deduce their geology from Scripture is at odds with the writing of Dr. Henry Morris, called by Wieland the pioneer of flood geology and modern-day Creationism. Chapter 6 of Dr. Morris's "The Genesis Flood" is: "A Scriptural Framework for Historical Geology". This appears to be the same position as that held by the 19th century "Scriptural Geologists", who also claimed that they were not opposed to the science of geology – just the deductions of geologists.
Wieland takes exception to my characterisation of Morris as a "young engineer". I was referring to the situation 40 years ago when Mr. Morris was in his mid twenties with a Bachelor degree and three years field experience as an engineer. In 1943 Morris was a "young engineer".
Although Wieland seems to claim that Scripture does not control the deductions of Creationist geologists on rock formation, he offers Scriptural exegesis to support them.
Wieland attempts to defend a Scriptural basis for recent Creation not by providing references, but by claiming that as the Trinity is not mentioned either, but only inferred by Christian scholars, this proves recent Creation too. This is such flawed logic I hesitate to comment on it. Even if Christian scholars are correct in inferring the Trinity doctrine, this does not automatically prove Recent Creation is inferred. In any case, if teaching of recent creation from Scripture has to be "inferred" then how can it be "not an interpretation as such at all"?
The view that Recent Creation is as falsely based as a belief in a Flat/Stationary Earth did not originate with me, but was commonly held in the middle of the 19th century. This was based on the observation that the clear teaching of Scripture, which could be denied only by using some dubious exegetical tricks, had been of a Flat, Stationary, Earth. Wieland might have confidence that recent creation is different and clearly taught in Scripture. Other Christians, however, may prefer to acknowledge Hugh Miller's belief that "the philology cannot be sound which would commit the Scripture to a science that cannot be true."
Whether Flat and Stationary Earths are philosophically distinct from Young Earth Creationism depends on whether you view the past as only having validity for a certain distance. If you decide that at some unobserved point the real past became an unreal one, so be it. But science operates on different principles. Creationists may wish that science could be redefined, but this is again a different bouillabaisse from the age of the Earth as estimated by geology.
When I stated that it was obvious that rock formations are more than a few thousand years old, I was referring to the conclusions reached by the early 19th century geologists. Geologists over the last 200 years have overwhelmingly supported this view.
Now, unlikely as it
seems, these thousands
of geologists may have been wrong. But we cannot just assume that.
geologists, however professionally competent, are still required to
the evidence that wil1 convince the geological profession to abandon
opinion held by geologists over the last 2 centuries.
GEOLOGY DETERMINES EARTH'S AGE
A. A. Lang
(Investigator 3, 1988 November)
In my previous article THEOLOGY, GEOLOGY & THE AGE OF THE EARTH I stated that after the science of geology began to be developed after 1750, it became obvious that the time required to form various rock formations was more than a few thousands years.
Until 1750 the earth was thought to be c. 6,000 years old. A century later Hugh Miller pointed out that this was no longer the case, even though the prior prejudices of the theologically trained geologists would have favoured a Young Earth. That they became convinced of a far older earth indicates that the geological evidence in its favour was compelling.
Young Earth Creationism has been a minority view for the last 200 years. The big controversy in the 18th century was not about the age of the earth but on the formation of rocks.
Abraham Werner (1749-1817) and other Neptunists attributed all rock formation to water. Rocks recognised today as igneous (granite) were considered to be chemically precipitated from the Primeval Ocean. As the Ocean level dropped, the sedimentary rocks were deposited. Finally as the land emerged alluvial regions were formed from erosion of older areas. One problem was the huge amount of water required to hold all the earth's minerals. Where did this water go? (This is a problem unexamined by Flood Geology Creationists today.)
Werner's Neptunism was an advance over previous theories of cosmology in that it was based on observations of actual rock formations. However, the mistake was to assume that the limited observations of the Freiberg deposits of Europe could be made to apply to the entire planet.
While igneous rocks were rare in the Freiberg region, they were common in Scotland. The Scot James Hutton (1726-1797) advanced the Plutonist theory that heat was a major factor in the formation of the Earth's surface. Hutton established the intrusive nature of igneous granites. That is the granite was formed by molten rock being forced between already-existing sedimentary rock. Together with his observations on sedimentary rock this meant that the formation of the crust was a slow process, and the speculations of the previous cosmologists – in their attempt to fit the formation within the Mosaic chronology of 6000years – were both incorrect and unnecessary.
Hutton also observed that sedimentary rocks could not have been laid down in one single episode – either Wernian or Noachian. In some cases sedimentary layers had been laid down, hardened into rock, folded almost vertically, eroded, and then more sedimentary rock laid horizontally on top. Creationist Flood geology, however, still requires that all the sediments be laid down in one period, which then harden to their present formations.
The recognition of strata by their distinctive fossils was made by William Smith (1769-1839). Smith was a canal engineer who observed the regularity of fossil layers over hundreds of miles. Thanks to the extensive canal building of the time he was able to produce the first geological map of England. Despite modern Creationist claims that seeing the geologic column depends on the "assumption of evolution" Smith made his observations without any speculations about the time it took for the strata to be laid down or why the shells in different layers were different.
Creationists today suggest that the fossils in the strata were arranged by "hydraulic sorting". This is nonsense. Hydraulic sorting could not produce uniformity over thousands of square miles. It would also mix the fossil species so much that no regular order could be observed. This was pointed out by Edward Hitchcock in 1840.
The conclusion that the change in fauna meant that the strata were laid down over long periods of time was made by a French-Swiss, Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), who examined the fossil contents of the rocks. He found that even the recent (Tertiary) strata was actually a series of marine and freshwater fossils which indicated a sequence of floods over long periods of time which he suggested meant a series of catastrophes.
Unlike Hutton, Cuvier is regarded favourably by modern Creationists because they wrongly think that he shared their belief in a worldwide Flood. They overlook that his view was of many regional catastrophes over a long period of time.
Hugh Miller (1802-1856) made extensive observations of the "Old Red Sandstone" – an extensive region of rock formed by solidification of desert dunes. The faith of modern Creationists is in a universally mild climate with no deserts before the Flood. So they do not expect to find any desert-formed strata. (Morris p. 14)
Creationists claim that present streams could not have cut their valleys, which must have been done by a rush of flood-waters through soft sediments during Flood year.
Nicholas Desmaret (1735-1815) and later George Poulett Scrope (1797-1876) examined volcanic areas in central France. They observed that lava flows had been eroded by running water which meant that this had happened after the lava had solidified. Further, there were often alternating beds of lava and river gravels, which implied long periods between lava flows. Further, all this was above the highest marine formation. So all this meant a very long period of time since the last "Cuvier catastrophe", long enough for volcanic rock building and erosion. Loose volcanic debris on the side of the Loire valley showed that the valley had not been eroded by a rushing torrent greater than the present stream. Furthermore the entire valley had been eroded since the LAST volcanic activity.
Charles Lyell (1797-1875) was influenced by Scrope's work (published in 1825). In1828 Lyell and Roderick Murchison investigated the Massif Central region of France. Lyell found marl strata which included laminated layers of plant remains. From his previous observations of marl forming in Scottish lakes, he knew that the layers formed annually. There were 30 layers per inch and the strata was 700 feet thick. So this one rock formation needed hundreds of thousands of years to form.
By this time it was generally acknowledged that the rocks, and the fossils they contained had formed over time. The only conflict was whether this had occurred rapidly requiring catastrophes or slowly.
In Sicily Lyell found limestone containing fossils identical to living species (and therefore comparatively recent) had been laid down before Mt. Etna had formed, a process which itself would have taken of the order of a million years.
"Principles of Geology" (1830)
settled the case in favour of an earth many hundreds of millions of
Geikie, A. 1905 The
Founders of Geology MacMillan
Hallam, A. 1983 Great Geological Controversies Oxford University Press.
Hitchcock, E. 1947 Elementary Geology (cited by A. Hayward, 1985, Creation and Evolution, Triangle, London).
Morris, H. 1983 Science, Scripture & theYoung Earth ICR El Cajon.
Young, D. A. 1982 Christianity and the Age of The Earth Academie Books Grand Rapids.
SIX POINTS and SEVEN DAYS
(Investigator 3, 1988 November)
Sproul (1980) gives the text of over a hundred different creation myths. They range from the creation stories of African tribes and American Indians to the stories of the Hindus, Chinese, Pacific Islanders, Japanese, etc. Over 100 accounts!
I ask Scientific Creationists: "Why do you only pit the Bible creation story against modern science and not all other creation stories as well?"
The answer to this question should – to merit the label "science" – be such that we can test it by experiment or observation. So that's my first point – why do Scientific creationists limit themselves to just one creation story?
Scientific Creationists claim that planet earth is young, aged only 6,000 years. Many other Bible commentators, however, interpret the Bible as saying that "earth" was old even before the 7 days of Genesis. A big argument rages around the word "was" in Genesis 1:2. The claim is that the Hebrew translated "was" could be rendered "became". The text would then read: "The earth became without form and void." This would then imply a time gap between the original creation and the beginning of the 7 days. The grammatical arguments for and against "was" and "became" are complex and seem (to me) to be unresolved. (Gadsby 1985)
Anonymous (1987) presents what might be a new argument. He says that everyone who assumes "earth" in Genesis 1:1 to mean planet Earth with its land, ice caps, rivers and oceans, assumes wrongly. In the Bible "earth" never includes oceans in its meaning. In the Bible "earth" means "dry land". (Genesis 1:9) Genesis 1:1 therefore tells us that planet Earth, at that time, had "earth", ie "dry land". The next few verses then present us with the planet covered with water.
This suggests that the "earth", the original "dry land", not only "was" but also "became" "without form and void". Anonymous also suggests that that ancient "dry land" was inhabited and became "void" or "empty" of life. Job 38:8 might be a clue to the origin of the water that made that ancient earth "void". So that's my second point – that the Bible suggests that this planet was old even before the 7 days began.
The "Gap Theory" of a time gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (and possibly between 1:2 and 1:3) implies death and suffering among animal life long before Adam lived. Scientific Creationists quote Romans 5:12: "sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men." The argument is that death began with Adam and so there could have been no "gap" in Genesis 1:1–1:2 when animals on an ancient world lived and died.
I think, however, that Romans 5 is plain that "death", there referred to, means death among humans – not among insects, plants, etc.
Scientific Creationists quote Romans 8:18-25 to mean that there was no death, destruction, or decay prior to Adam's rebellion:
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of god; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.Even ants didn't die originally claim Scientific Creationists. (Ram 1987)
Romans 8 can, however, be understood differently. Spanner (1987) agrees that "creation" in Romans 8 refers to all animal life. He adds however that the "creation" was subject to death and "futility" right from its beginning before the "gap" of Genesis 1:1-1:2. Biological mechanisms were not substantially different then to what we see now.
Another explanation of Romans 8:18-25 is that "creation" in that passage has nothing to do with animals. Both Spanner and Scientific Creationists misinterpret Romans 8. "Creation" in Romans 8 refers to humans and human society. To "wait with eager longing" is something intelligent beings, and not ants, do. And when it says creation will "obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God" it means the rest of human society in addition to the Christians who get that "liberty" first. My third point, then, is that belief in the existence of death before Adam and also before the 7 days is consistent with the Bible.
How long was each of the 7 days? Genesis 1:9 says: "Let the waters…be gathered together into one place…" For water to flow thousands of kilometers off the center off a continent into "one place" would require more than 24 hours.
Genesis 1:11 and 1:24
says "And it was so."
What "was so"? This:
Such events take more than 24 hours. My fourth point then is that Genesis allows for "long" days not limited to 24 hours.
Scientific Creationists imagine a global (Noah's) Flood that deposited in 40 days the entire geologic column with fossils that geologists teach were laid down during 3 or 4 billion years. Critics point out that if enough water fell to raise the oceans by thousands of feet the release of energy would raise the temperature of the atmosphere by 3000o centigrade.
In addition we have the problem of what the animals would eat after they left Noah's Ark. We would expect all land, after such a flood, to be covered with mud and salt.
Many serious Bible believers, therefore, regard Noah's Flood as the biggest of all local floods. Vast tropical rains, perhaps coupled with earthquakes that swayed the Indian Ocean back and forth flooded much of the Middle East. (Spanner 1987) My fifth point is that Noah's Flood was the biggest flood ever experienced by humans but it was not so big as to cover the Himalayas. In turn it follows that the fossil beds have little to do with Noah's Flood and are therefore evidence of Earth being much older than 6,000 years.
Meteorite impacts imply that Earth is old and Noah's Flood was local. 600 miIlion years ago (by scientific dating methods) a 4k-wide meteor blasted a crater over 30k wide and 3k deep at Lake Acraman in South Australia. The explosion was equal to detonating all the world's nuclear arsenals simultaneously. Thousands of boulders were thrown hundreds of kilometers and can be found in the Flinders Ranges. (Childs 1986)
If this and other meteor impacts occurred before Noah's Flood – assuming that Noah's Flood was so big as to create the entire geologic column – we would expect evidence of the impact(s) to be washed away. Alternatively if an impact like the Acraman impact occurred only 4,000 years ago and after Noah's Flood then the worldwide fires and thousand-k/h storms followed by the "nuclear winter" effect would have taken this planet thousands of years to recover from. There would be historical records. The facts, however, are that physical traces of the Acraman impact (and of others) have not been washed away as though by a worldwide flood. Nor do we have historical records describing effects of such an impact.
This state of affairs is
(1) The last of the big meteorite impacts happened before there were humans to write about it;
(2) Noah's Flood was not so big as to seriously effect Australia.
A similar argument can be made up based on the glaciers of the Ice Ages. That great continent-wide glaciers did occur is plain. (John 1979) If they occurred before Noah's Flood – and if Noah's Flood was so big as to deposit all geological formations – all evidences of Ice Ages would be washed away. Alternatively, if Noah's Flood was global and only 4,500 years ago and Ice Ages occurred afterwards then that does not allow enough time for continents of ice to form and melt, advance and retreat, four times over.
My sixth point is this: Meteor impacts and Ice Ages imply that Earth is much older than 6,000 years and that Noah's Flood (if it occurred at all) was a big local flood that occurred long after any major meteor impacts and long after the major advances of the glaciers.
If only some of my six
points were worth
making then Scientific Creationists must either broaden their outlook
stop calling themselves "scientific".
Anonymous 1987 God
Versus All Skeptics. Carol
Childs, K. 1986 The Day The Earth Shook. Advertiser July 22 p.11
Gasby, W. P. 1985 A Closer Look at Genesis 1:1-2. Ex Nihilo Vol 7 No. 4 pp. 30-31
Ham, K. 1987 Genesis And Evolution Don't Mix. Ex Nihilo Vol 9 No. 1 pp. 32-34
John, B. S. 1979 The Winters of the World. Jacaranda.
Spanner, D. 1987 Biblical Creation and the Theory of Evolution. Paternoster.
Did this scene
of GOD &
[The "scene" – Michelangelo's painting of God giving life to Adam – is here omitted]
(Investigator 3, 1988
Evolution theory unifies all branches of science and is the theory which makes the most sense of the vast evidence from the many scientific disciplines.
There is no legitimate competing theory to evolution nor has any evidence emerged from any branch of science to contradict the view the cosmos evolved from the simple to the complex, small to large, and that this has been irreversible. However, many still firmly believe in the age old concept of creationism.
Astronomy, physics, chemistry all put the age of the universe at between 10 and 20 billion years. The evidence is overwhelming.
The earth is 4.5 billion years old, using radiometric dating. In 1907 it was measured as greater than 2,200,000 years while in the 1860s, it was estimated at 100,000,000 years.
Amino-acid sequences in Cytochrome-C (and other proteins) is probably the most compelling evidence of how life has evolved over the past 3 billion years from simple cells to the vast variety of life forms of today. This is apart from well known evidence such as comparative anatomy and the fossil record.
None of this depends on Charles Darwin's evolutionary theories.
There is no dispute about the fact evolution occurred, there is dispute among scientists about how it occurred.
Evolution gives some answers but reveals many questions. Some of these questions may be unanswerable with present scientific knowledge.
Today's world view is of a dynamic, evolving universe of vast size and unimaginable age. Contrast this to the ancient human perception of the universe as static and unchanging, with the earth at its centre. This new world view is arguably mankind's greatest intellectual achievement.
The new world view is the "Big Bang Theory" where the universe begins with an enormous explosive flash of light and heat. This moment was the beginning of time and space. Over unimaginable aeons of time, the outrushing energy froze into matter and so the stars and galaxies were born. Ten billion years or so later, in a remote corner of a remote galaxy, the jellied energy we call matter showed an even more remarkable potential.
This was the beginning of life. Then the pace increased. Life became more complex by developing the ability to sense and respond to its surroundings.
The complexity of forms multiplied. Some were discarded. A few achieved consciousness. There was now a web of life forms intricately linked and dependent on each other and the planet. Only recently, the last page of the mystery revealed itself. A life form conscious of itself appeared. The care of this unique speck in the universe was handed over to the being with self consciousness which we call humans. A unique quality of humans is the overwhelming urge to find an answer to their origin – the search for meaning.
Creation scientists claim the account of how God created the world as described in the Bible is true and accurate. Chapters one to 11 of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, form the basis of the creationist account of the origin of the universe.
They ignore other different and contradictory accounts of creation in the Bible.
These are the basic
assumptions of creation
AGAINST ALL SCIENCE
(Investigator 3, 1988 November)
John Thomas Scopes lost at the infamous Monkey Trial of 1925. For 40 years thereafter school textbooks in the USA ignored evolution. In 1967 the ban on evolution was proclaimed unconstitutional.
Creationists therefore campaigned to have schools give equal time to evolution and creation. This was defeated in the Supreme Court in 1987 after a massive counter attack by the American scientific community. But the fight continues.
Scientific Creationists claim to have the science that backs creation. This year, for example, their representative Duane Gish visited Australia and lectured and debated. At the University of New South Wales 2,000 attended.
Stephen Jay Gould is
Professor of Evolutionary
Biology at Harvard University in Boston, USA. He has authored a dozen
sellers and is a major anti Creationist campaigner. On QUANTUM
2 Adelaide, June 1) Gould explained:
"In practise it (Creationism) ends up being a campaign against science. In America the community of professional evolutionists is only a few thousand people. If Creationism was just an attack on evolution other scientists might say: "It's a little corner of the field; I won't worry about it." But that's not how scientists feel. Scientists in America have risen almost as a body to fight this.
"The most persuasive brief submitted to the Supreme Court, on the basis of which we had the favorable decision last year, was a brief signed by 72 Nobel Laureates. That's the largest number of Nobel Prize winners who have gotten together to sign anything. Clearly, scientists of all persuasions realize this is an important issue. The reason is that Creationism…is an attack on all of science.
"If they're right, for example, then all of astronomy is wrong. Astronomy is based on the notion that those points of light out there are millions of light years away. But if the Universe is only a few thousand years old that can't be right. If Creationists are right then all of physics goes. If Atomic Theory, the basis of physics, is so fundamentally wrong that radioactive decay can give consistent dates of millions and billions of years but the Earth is only 5,000 years old then clearly atomic theory is fundamentally inaccurate.
"There is a wider issue and that is that Creationism is an anti-intellectual movement. It's a movement that would substitute for any notion of free inquiry and experimentation the invariant authority of the Bible interpreted in only one particular way.
"I think the Bible is
a great work of literature…
It's not a document of science but of literature and ethics and
Science and religion are different domains. Religion is about ethics
morality – a subject that science does not teach. Science is a subject
that deals with the factual state. I don't see why the two should come
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