Biased, Bad, or Breakthrough: Minority Reports in Science

Evolution, akin to religion, involves making certain a priori or metaphysical assumptions, which at some level cannot be proven empirically… I think the best way to deal with creationism, but the way to deal with evolution also, is not to deny these facts, but to recognize them.” Dr. Michael Ruse

A couple of science stories came across my desktop this week that highlighted a perennial issue in scientific research: what constitutes “good science”?  Is it research that supports the prevailing wisdom?  What then if the prevailing paradigm is wrong?  Is it research that can be shown to be “unbiased”?  Who then is the final arbiter of what is biased and what is not?  In a culture where “science” is a recognized authority in a way that “religion” is not, anyone who can claim that their views are the “scientific” ones wins.  Is it any wonder, then, that everyone wants science in their corner?

Take, for example, the proponents of a more liberal view of sex and gender identity.  So long as homosexuality was a “lifestyle choice,” it could be debated whether it was an appropriate or inappropriate choice.  But if people are “born that way,” gender identity and sexual proclivity are no longer moral questions but “biologically determined.”  Gay marriage follows naturally from “the science,” and the question is therefore settled.  Who wants to be found arguing against clear science?

Dr. Mark Regnerus, a researcher at the University of Texas in Austin, showed recently that “science” is as much subject to interpretation as people claim the Bible is.  Regnerus recently completed a study that showed children of gay or lesbian parents have statistically higher incidents of depression than children of heterosexual couples.

The study asked thousands of adult children of straight, lesbian and homosexual parents dozens of questions and compared the results. While many questions did not produce statistically-significant differences, the study found major differences in a few categories. Adult children of gay couples were two to four times as likely to be on public assistance, more than twice as likely to be unemployed and more than twice as likely to have contemplated suicide.

What do you do if the clear science does not support a long-held position?   Accuse the researcher of bias, “possible falsification” and deviation from “ethical standards.”  That’s what blogger Scott Rose did in two letters to the University of Texas.  The University investigated Regnerus but cleared him of all charges.  Regnerus’ real crime was being a Roman Catholic whose research was funded by a conservative think tank.  Clearly Regnerus was biased.  Yet by that same argument Rose, an outspoken proponent of GLBTQ rights, could be held guilty of bias as well.  Finding a privileged place to stand and call the science “settled” in favor of your own view is more difficult than many believe.

The question of whether neodarwinian processes can account for the origin of life in the universe is also considered by some to be “settled science.”  Bill Nye, “the science guy,”  recently accused those who do not unquestioningly accept the evolutionary models for life’s origin of teaching a “flat earth.”  Yet the set of suppositions and models that make up the neodarwinian mechanism are founded on axiomatic a priori suppositions, as Michael Ruse admitted.  The arguments about neodarwinian evolutionary theory have less to do with science and much more to do with worldview.  But everyone, creationist, intelligent designer, theistic and atheistic evolutionist, would like the science to be “on their side.”  So much so that they are willing to disregard the research of “the other side” for fear that they might lose the scientific “high ground.”

That brings me to the second bit of science news that crossed by screen.  The American Scientific Affiliation, a group of self-identified Christian scientists, recently held their 2012 annual meeting.  In the past these meetings were not exactly a model of Christian conduct.  Yet this year the affiliation, which includes everyone from theistic evolutionists to some proponents of intelligent design, attempted to recognize how a majority whose bias happens to be in ascendancy can squelch the voices of an out-of-favor minority.  Carolyn Crocker, president of the AITSE, noted that…

…the purpose of ASA is for Christians to be able to discuss diverging opinions on science without fear of censure. The conference participants were encouraged to be gentle, kind, humble and generally helpful to one another... With regard to demonstrating a friendly, open atmosphere, the parallel sessions were equally impressive. They reflected the range of scientific opinions, and at least in my hearing, there were no comments about scientists with viewpoints differing from the speakers being “scientifically or theologically illiterate.” In fact, I was told that scientists from a range of viewpoints regarding evolution were specifically invited to attend and give presentations. They did and those interactions I witnessed were warm and friendly.

It is true that there is “bad science” out there; research based on bad data or poor methodology.  If you have questions about something science you’ve read, please ask!  But just because something goes against a long-cherished bias doesn’t make it “bad science.”  It may well be a breakthrough.  Only time, repeated experimentation, and ongoing research will tell.  The “biased” minority report can become the “obvious” majority view.  For Christians, we find solid ground in God’s Word, not on the rolling seas of science.


Comments

Biased, Bad, or Breakthrough: Minority Reports in Science — 78 Comments

  1. This is all just a matter of faith and reason. If we begin to assert that reason must trump faith then everything in the Bible goes up for grabs. Which part of the Lazarus or Jesus’ own resurrection is “reasonable” as far as science goes? What about the flood or Jonah? Reason must be subject to faith and where reason and faith appear at odds it must be faith that controls, not reason. To place reason above faith is what began the long slide that started with Seminex and continues to this day in the ELCA. Look at the papers and the inquiries from the seminary. One of the first things to go among the professors was the literal 6 day creation view. Once reason was agreed upon as trumping faith it was only a matter of time before the whole Bible was up for re-interpretation, justification included. The serpents words continue to be repeated to this day to get us to fall away from the faith. And it always starts with, “Did God actually say…?”

  2. Correction: In my last paragraph, I should have stated that the Bible doesn’t teach Macro Evolution, not Micro evolution. Important stuff!

  3. @Rev. McCall #1 With all due respect, I believe in the Jonah and the flood account. Please don’t compare my views with ELCA. I am 100% “sola Scriptura.”

    On that bases the dispensationalist can call you a heretic because you don’t believe that Jesus comes three times (the incarnation, rapture before their 7 year tribulation period, and after the 7 year period, before their 1000 reign of Christ).

    Please, lets not hop around the Bible and try to apply passages that don’t have anything to do with the creation account and try to apply them to the issue at hand.

    THX.

  4. @Lloyd I. Cadle #3
    They are part of the broader point. You clearly place reason above faith. So why stop at creation? If it is not reasonable that God could somehow create plants before light (your own words) or it is not reasonable that God could create in 6 days, why not allow other things to be up for grabs? You claim nothing is impossible with God yet you clearly don’t believe that. God must fit into your reason driven framework and then and only then can He be “God”.

  5. @Rev. McCall #4 Where do I put reason above faith? On my post #50, I stay strictly in the Gen. creation account, there is no science at all in my statement.

    You use more reason in your argument in defending the literalist viewpoint than I do in “Framework.”

    I never said that God “couldn’t create plants before sunlight.” Please listen to me here: God, if He chose to could have made plants 5 billion years before sunlight. But, with basic hermaneutics in testing Scripture with Scripture in Gen. 2:5, God makes a case for the natural order of creation; that being sunlight before vegetation, hence ruling out the chronology that you seek to establish in your “reason” above faith concept.

    Your “reason” does not jive with the Scriptures. Your “reason” above faith chooses to ignore the fact that the word “day” has seven different uses in just the Gen. 1:1 – 2:4 account alone.

    Also, please note: I never said that God could not create the universe in 6 days. God spoke the universe into existance. God really doesn’t even need 6 days to create the universe. He could create it in less than a second, if He chose to.

  6. @Lloyd I. Cadle #5
    Genesis specifically uses both morning and evening language, coupled with the use of the cardinal number in 1:5, coupled with the use and syntax of “YOM” to all clearly imply a 24 hour period. The Hebrew concept of a week and resting on the Sabbath all points to a literal understanding of Genesis and creation. In fact in all its uses “yom” is far and away in Hebrew used to designate a 24 hour day. There are much clearer words in Hebrew to communicate “years, eons, ages” and other longer periods of time. Yet they are not used. Taking exceptions to a word and trying to make them the rule doesn’t fly. It’s like the Jehovah’s Witness argument about John 1 and claiming it is the 13% minority rule being used rather than the 87% rule being used when it comes to using an article with the word God.

    I don’t see why Gen 2:5 is such a problem. Even the footnote in the Lutheran Study Bible provides a more than adequate explanation.

    I am not using any reason apart from God’s Word. That’s the difference between your argument and mine. You seem to be insisting that you are simply objectively looking at Genesis apart from science and coming to these objective conclusions. Any honest person admits this is completely impossible. If you were completely objective you would have no problem with a literal 6 day creation account, yet by your own admission it bothers you. Why? Because for you, faith must be conformed to reason. Listen, we all bring pre-conceived notions into our treatment of anything. You start with the presupposition that Genesis is not literal and build your case based off of that assumption. I start with the presupposition that the Bible is God’s Word and what was intended to be written was written. Therefore when He said “day” He meant “day”. Faith demands the latter be our presupposition, not the former.

  7. @Rev. McCall #6 First of all, how can you take “morning and evening” language literally when there isn’t even sunlight and starlight until day 4? That alone should lead one to look for other Scriptures such as Gen. 2:5 to shed light on that interpretation. That alone should lead one to see that “morning and evening” language is a framework and not a chronology.

    You state that “Yom” should be used for a 24 hour day in Genesis, but you choose to use it for a 7,000 year context on day 7. And what about Gen. 2:4, where the word “day” stands for the whole period of the created activity of God?

    Here are three different uses of the word “day” that you would even agree with. So what does that do to your argument that day is “far and away in Hebrew used to designate a 24 hour day,” your language, not mine.

    So, when you state that by “day” He meant “day” you would have to, according to your understanding of the word “day” interpret that on the 7th day He rested for 24 hours, not 7,000 years (the correct view), and in Gen. 2:4, the whole period of the created activity of God was only 24 hours.

    Your presupposition leads to all kinds of problems within the creation account itself (based on the Word of God) and does not even allow for science to determine the age of the universe which God has granted us the right to do in Romans 1:20.

  8. @Lloyd I. Cadle #7
    “The world is God’s doing. He designed and created it- He is above the world and in the world. Scripture does not give us a picture of a creator who is limited or constrained by certain aspects of creation. Nothing is outside His control. He does not create according to pre-existing natural laws- He created the laws as well as the matter that obeys those laws.”
    -“Darwin’s Proof” pg. 100

    “They (evolutionists) openly proclaim what God would and would not do in His acts of creation. They speak of what they think is reasonable and sensible for God to do, apparently unaware that, aside from personal religious beliefs, there is no justification for their claims.”
    -“Darwin’s Proof” pg. 94

  9. @Norm Fisher #8 According to the Book of Hebrews, 4:3-5, God is still in His sabbath rest from creation. It has been at least 6-7 thousand years long based on the chronologies since Adam. Man enters into this “sabbath” rest based on faith in Jesus Christ.

    No, that does not mean that God is a Deistic God, where He creates the universe, stands back, and lets it run its course. God is a God of providence where He cares for His creation.

    But, the 7th day sabbath rest has been for at least 7,000 years. Again, we have to test Scripture with Scripture and that is why we look to Hebrews 4:3-5 as the anti-type, with the Genesis creation account of the day 7 rest as the type. (The type always looks ahead to the anti-type. The type always heightens the anti-type. And, the anti-type (usually the N.T.) always refers back to the type.)

    To miss the Genesis day 7 account and not to connect it to Hebrews 4:3-5, is to miss a key piece of the picture in God’s great plan of redemptive history!

  10. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” (Hebrews 4:3-5)

    The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:26-28)

  11. Last add 7th day rest:

    My literalist (24 hour, 6 day) creation friends use the argument that the creation days must be 24 hours because of the language “evening and morning” even though we don’t have sunlight and daylight until day 4 (a big reason that that language is a framework), and the word for day (YOM) is used seven different ways in Gen. 1:1-2:4 alone.

    We need to take note that the 7th day of creation is described differently from the other days in that evening and morning are not mentioned. At this point in time, God had completed His creation work. There is nothing in the text which indicates that the 7th day is 24 hours.

    Gen. 2:3 says, “And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” The language “rested” here means “sabbath”, we are now in the 7th day sabbath rest.

    This sabbath day rest for believers starts in Gen: 3:15, with God’s promise to send a Savior and runs through redemptive history until His second coming (the covenant of Grace). Thus far, it is about 7,000 years old. The 7th day is not 24 hours long.

  12. @Lloyd I. Cadle #12

    Mr. Cadle,

    I think you are arguing past many of the guys on this blog. Most of Hanegraaff’s arguements which you espouse are aimed at a straw-man type of fundamentalists and anti-intellectualists. That boot doesn’t fit here even though a great many confessional Lutherans hold to a young earth without setting a specific age of the universe (myself included). Your regurgitation of Hanegraaff’s words are obvious in your comparison of young-earth Lutherans with dispensationalists.

    You claim to hold to Sola Scriptura. The major result of Sola Scriptura is that scripture is the sole source and norm of all theology. You claim in earlier posts that Martin Luther wouldn’t have been satisfied with being told what to believe by a pastor. That is only true if the pastor was proclaiming something above or beyond the Word. Sola Scriptura requires that anyone who wants to truely learn theology must submit themselves to the truth revealed in scripture, not attempt to try and fit scripture into their own logical system or pit scripture against scripture. We are not sit in judgement of scripture or be critical of what is revealled therein, but rather defend it and give a reason for the hope that lies within us to any who may ask.

    Views of creation and the hermanuetical methods employed there have consequences other places – as you eagerly point out. You mentioned earlier that creation has nothing to do with the sacraments – yet Eve was created by God having taken a rib from Adam’s side. Eve is made alive by God through consumption of flesh taken from the side of her corporate head. Christians have recognized for millenia that this is a type or picture of Christ – we are made alive by consumption of His body and blood shed for us on the cross. His side was pierced for us. Can the institution of the Lord’s Supper be known or the doctrine of the sacraments firmly established from the account of Adams rib being removed? No – the Lord’s supper had not been instituted yet. Still though, God foreshadows and pictures Christ in the type of Adam. In fact, all scriptures testify of Christ. You mentioned that creation is not justification and therefore should not be held dogmatically, yet here in the creation account is a picture of justification, and there are others. Is this just a “framework” also? Is the rib only figuratively removed from Adam’s side, but in reality men and women developed in parallel through completely different processes? No – the scriptures be true though every man be false.

    What need is there to expand the 6 days of the creation account to be millions and billions of years? Why do this violence to the scriptures that God has revealed? The need is to avoid confrontation with athiest scientists who claim the world is billions of years old. Compromise on the part of the church will never convert or convince critics of Christianity, but it will cause Christians to twist the allowable “interpretations” of scripture to allow everything and mean nothing at the same time. This is evidenced by your encouragement that people “lean old earth” or “lean new earth” but not hold either with conviction. As a result, no one can claim confidence or certainty in anything – Christian epistemology is degraded and wavers in the face of unbelieving scientists. So much for having the courage and confidence of lions. Faith gives way to doubt and the critics laugh either way.

    By the way, I have an engineering degree and work with dozens of engineers and other technical folks who have no problem allowing God the omnipotence to create everything from nothing in less than a week – including starlight.

  13. @Joe #13 How interesting for you to say that “your regurgitation of Hanegraaf’s words are obvious in your comparison of young earth Lutherans with dispensationalists.”

    I seldom listen to Hanegraaff, and only recently read in an article on creation that he too, leans to a “Framework Hypothesis.” I only noted him among many apologists, be it “sola Scriptura” Baptists, Reformed and yes, even some Lutherans that now lean “old earth.”

    My comments on dispensationalists have nothing to do with what you claim that I get from Hanegraaff. If he ever made the comparison of dispensationalism to the creation account of the literalists, I sure was not aware of it.

    My comments in comparing dispensationalism with the literalists in creation only has to do with the attempts of the literalists to force a literal interpretation on the creation account at all costs, even if basic hermaneutics dictate that the interpretation is not tenable.

    My comments with a person leaning young earth or old earth is a no brainer. When I give my interpretation of the creation account, I am sticking solely within the text of the Bible. I am testing scripture with scripture, so that I don’t force science into the text.

    Again, the Bible does not give us the answer to the question of the age of the universe. We have to look at the “Book of Nature” (Rom. 1:20) for the answer. That is why I say I lean old earth. Because none of us really knows for certain (at least at this point in time) if the universe is young or old. The evidence leans old earth.

    You state, “we are not to be in judgment of Scripture or be critical of what is revealed therein.” That is true. But, we are all called to be Bareans and to test what we hear about God in light of the Scriptures. Context means everything. False teachers regularaly quote scripture, and we should test what they say in light of the Scriptures.

    Friend, you use logic in defending what you think that the Scriptures teach. You use a whole bunch of presuppositions in defending a literalist viewpoint of creation and in defending a young earth. Hold yourself to the same standard that you hold others to in the way that you use logic and reason in order to defend your position.

  14. Let not anyones heart be troubled. Mr. Cadle is not arguing past anyone here, he is just cleverly distorting the Bible in order to confuse. Mr. Cadle’s conclusions and interpretations of Scripture are just the smoke from the fire. His very premise is what is flawed and wrong. Hence, any interpretations and conclusions he reaches are and will be wrong. We can settle it all very easily with hermanuetics (as Joe points out). The first hermanuetical premise for interpreting the Bible is this: Scripture interprets Scripture. Period. Where Scripture does not reveal or clarify itself we simply accept what it says in faith and look no where else for answers. We do not insert our own reason, our own observations, or anything else to help “clarify” God’s Word. God’s Word alone interprets God’s Word. What Mr. Cadle has cleverly tried to change is this very fundamental premise. Using a single verse pulled out of context from Romans he now wants you to believe that Scripture alone does not interpret Scripture, but that Nature also interprets Scripture. Now when we have passages of Scripture that seem hard to understand he argues that we do not have to look to Scripture alone to understand God’s Word, but are free to look to nature and mans observations of nature. This is just a back door to allowing man to use his own reason to interpret Scripture. Nothing more and nothing less. Using this flawed hermanuetical understanding Mr. Cadle is now free to insert his own understandings and observations about nature to draw conclusions about how the Bible should be interpreted (length of days, how long God rested, etc.) From this flawed hermanuetic he then takes his flawed conclusions about the Bible and cherry picks other Scripture verses to bolster his claims. So to review, False hermanuetical premise + poor science = wrong conclusions.

  15. @Lloyd I. Cadle #14

    “Friend, you use logic in defending what you think that the Scriptures teach. You use a whole bunch of presuppositions in defending a literalist viewpoint of creation and in defending a young earth. Hold yourself to the same standard that you hold others to in the way that you use logic and reason in order to defend your position.”

    What have I posted that is contrary to logic and reason? The presuppositions that I start with are Sola Scriptura and the verbal plenary inspiration of the Word – but I reached those conclusions after diligent study through which I concluded that both of these are demanded by the scriptures. How am I ignoring the log in my own eye whie picking the spec out of others?

    I apologize for erroneously casting you in lot with Hank Hanegraaff. I listen to his show fairly often and have for several years. Some of your previous statements seem to echo his arguements – perhaps this similarity is due to shared influence of another teacher.

    Regarding “sola scriptura” baptists and reformed that you mentioned in your second paragraph – please answer me this: How can someone claim to uphold “sola scriptura” yet also teach “perseverance of the saints” or “once saved always saved?” How can they uphold “sola scriptura” yet believe in double predestination or believe in decision theology as do arminian baptists? Scripture doesn’t support these conclusions – but their logic and reason do. Since they already have a track record of using their reason to add to scripture or stop short of what scripture clearly states – why should we be surprised if such people similarly use reason to expand the creation account?

    They don’t let scripture interpret scripture – they pick and choose which passages of scripture are most important and interpret the others in light of these. Martin Luther was right – this isn’t sola scriptura – this is the magestarial use of reason. It is a logical necessity then that the conclusions each individual may reach depend entirely on which scripture passages they pick to be most important. Under their system, logically then it is impossible to argue for one faith delivered once and for all to the saints, but rather the church fractures into different political camps who share the same preference in proof texts. Sola Scriptura requires that all scripture is “God breathed” and therefore all scripture is important. Logically then sola scriptura requires that we do exactly like Rev. McCall states and not attempt to resolve or remove logical gaps in scripture, but leave them stand as they are.

    If you are not doing this, but upholding sola scriptura, as you claim – then how is a “framework theory” a better conclusion or rendering of the “nuda scriptura” as Dr. Luther supported? It seems to me that the clear and straight forward rendering of day, or “yom” is what everyone would normally understand as being a day – which would be a 24 hour period of dark and light or even something slightly less. Please correct me if this is not following clearly established rules of logic and reason.

  16. While on the subject of hermeneutics, i.e. applying proper principles of biblical interpretation to the Genesis creation account, this whole “framework” approach could not be much more of affront to one of the foremost principles: “unus simplex sensus”, that is, that we need to consider every passage of Scripture according to its “one simple sense”.

    Historically, this has been seen primarily as a positive principle that protects against the excesses and errors of allegorization, but it was pretty much the first thing that came to mind when I read the Kline essays referenced earlier. It was amazing how convoluted the arguments and assertions were that were necessary in order to come up and support with this “framework” idea! That’s not how we — especially the heirs of the Lutheran Reformation — interpret the Bible. The simple sense of the words of Genesis 1 & 2 — that what the words say is what they mean — is what believers humbly accept, because they are God’s words (and his alone) and we do not presume to tell him (or anyone else) they mean something different, just because we think something different makes better sense to us.

    We don’t accept the Genesis 1 account as written because it’s reasonable. We accept it because we believe what God has to tell us. “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what is visible.” (Hebrews 11:3) There’s nothing reasonable, scientific, or otherwise capable of being contained by and processed by our feeble human minds in “what is seen was not made out of what is visible”. And there’s no need for us to make it so, either. We have what we need from God in his Word. And that’s what we believe.

    A second important principle of proper hermeneutics is that we let the clear passages of Scripture illuminate the less clear passages. But here’s the thing: there really isn’t anything unclear about Genesis 1 and 2, so they don’t need to be illuminated by other passages. Instead, those chapters illuminate passages like Hebrews 11:3 (the “how” of God’s command), Ephesians 5 (the relationship between husband and wife as God intended it), John 1 (Christ as the Word’s involvement in creation), Exodus 20:8-11 (the seventh day of creation as model for the Sabbath), etc.

    And in anticipation of the argument that another hermeneutical principle tells us that we are not to interpret literally passages that are meant to be figurative … well, sure. That means we don’t follow the Dispensationalists in literalistically interpreting the visions of Revelation, Daniel, or Ezekiel. It means that we recognize Jesus’ parables as stories, not as actual historic happenings. We do these things because in every case the text itself makes perfectly clear that a figurative interpretation is appropriate. (Which leads to the somewhat ironic truth that we Lutherans teach a truly literal interpretation of Revelation, because we’re actually taking the words as they were meant to be understood.)

    But there is nothing in Genesis 1 or 2 that indicates the Holy Spirit intends his words there to be understood as figures, visions, or parables. There is no, “This is what creation was like,” no “God gave me a vision of how the world came to be,” no “Moses told a parable to explain to the people how the universe and man came into existence.” Just like the rest of Genesis, those chapters are presented as history: “This is what happened.” And the information comes from the only eyewitness, too.

    So do we have date for the first day of creation? No. Can we calculate the age of the universe down to the year? No. There is no need to do so, and we won’t be pinned down to such a calculation. But do we find any room in Genesis for an earth that is millions or billions of years old? No. And there is no need to do so, and we won’t be pressured or even bullied by evolutionists or others to find a “compromise” on the age of the earth that ultimately serves only to empty God’s Word of its truth and power.

  17. Folks – I just had another long post deleted. The CAPTCHA code came up as invalid, I re-entered it and even refreshed it, and it deleted it.

    Another hour wasted. I don’t have any more time at this time to respond.

  18. @Lloyd I. Cadle #10
    7th Day issue: “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the 7th day…” On the 7th (to use the anachronistic term, “24-hour” day–or to use the contextual term, “evening and morning”) YOM, God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the 7th day.

    That’s parallel to saying, “And on the seventh day (Saturday) I finished/was finished with the sermon that I was working on all week long, and I rested on Saturday (before preaching it on Sunday).” That is, to rest on the 7th day does not require that that 7th day continue for 7000 years.

    YOM can certainly mean precisely teh same thing in 2:2 and 3 as it does in ch. 1, an “evening and morning” (that is twilight and daybreak) “day”. (And, if I remember Hebrew usage correctly, it’s not even necessarily a different “sense” of YOM in 2:4.) In each case, you have not answered the *why* question–I’m assuming this 7th day–7000 years thing is an attempt to do so, but as you see, you are forcing something on us that 1. We’ve never said, and 2. we are not logically and linguistically/hermeneutically *required* to say if we consider YOM in Gen. 1 to be a “typical” “evening and morning” day.

    As to your “orthodoxy”–I do accept what you say concerning your own position on the historicity of Adam, etc. I simply don’t see any *necessity* for Gen. 1 to be *only* a theological *framework*. Frankly, *many* things God does He does both concretely and as “theological framework”. You (or Kline/Haanegraf/et al.) are forcing us into false alternatives.

    It *does* concern me a bit, that everyone you cite is Reformed. I do know we owe a lot to many honest, Inspiration-believing Reformed biblical scholars–and they have forced a lot of us confessional Lutherans to stay honest and “do our homework”. But Reformed theology, as a whole, has a different starting point and, well, “framework” from our Lutheran theology.

    As to the “24-hour” thing–Dr. Marquart taught us not to use that term since it is a human construct, based on astronomy which doesn’t exist until the 4th YOM, the 4th evening and morning. Thus, I refer to “evening and morning” “days”. Simply put, a single day as we phenomenologically experience it: a period of light followed by a period of darkness.

  19. And back to the original issue–forcing science into the text of Scripture. Scientific dating methods are based on certain postulates, most notably, that radioactive decay/halflife is a constant. I remember reading an article (in a scientific journal/magazine, *not* a theological one) that suggested that, though it certainly seems to be a “constant” at this point, there are evidences to suggest that it hasn’t always been. Heck, we count the speed of light as a constant, but there are scientists always testing whether it might not be.

    Upshot, I am humble enough (what a prideful thing to say! 🙂 ) to consider revising what *I* understand the Scriptures to be saying, based on careful, humble study of the text, but as the original author of the piece put it, “For Christians, we find solid ground in God’s Word, not on the rolling seas of science.” “Science” will never be able to “prove” anything that is contrary to God’s Word. Science has a hard enough time “proving” things that *are* within its purview.

  20. @Rev. McCall #16 The only thing I can say about your comments is that they made me laugh. Surely you can come up with something better than that. Hopefully your sermons have more preparation involved than your arguments in post #16.

    @Joe #17 You’re very big on using the word logic when applying it to others, much more so than in applying it to your own reason and logic. Did it ever occur to you that we all use logic in defending, teaching and understanding the Bible?

    The pastor uses logic every time that he preaches. Otherwise we would only have the readings of the Word in church and go home. The great hymns of the faith combine the Scriptures with logic so that we can sing sound doctrine into our hearts. Great logic is used in describing our great Creeds of the faith. If I am teaching such words as justification, sanctification and propitiation to my six year old son, I am using logic along with the Word of God to teach it to him, so that he can understand it.

    You use much more logic and reason in defending the literalist viewpoint in creation than I do in using a “Framework Hypothesis.” The main problem that you have, is if someone uses the Scriptures and uses their logic in doing so, you call it logic and reason, whereas when you do the same, it is “Sola Scriptura.”

    @Rev. David Mueller #20 Just real quick, as I am going over and over again in having to explain the same stuff. Regarding hermaneutics, we are to use the plain reading of the text unless we see something in the text that would lead us to believe that it can’t be taken in a literal sense.

    A good example of that is the creation account and not trying to turn it into a chronology. When a text reads evening and morning and doesn’t have starlight and sunlight until day four, and the word day “Yom” is used seven different ways in the first two chapters of Genesis alone, that would certainly drive one to the hermaneutical drawing board for further study. In doing so, one can find the Lord making a case for the natural order of creation in Gen. 2:5.

    By the way, not all Lutherans are literalists and young earth in the creation account. I have served on councils in both the WELS and LCMS where some board members are “old earth.”

  21. @Rev. David Mueller #20 You mention that I use a lot of Reformed sources in my posts.

    The reason is that I read a lot of Reformed books because the Reformed are always coming out with great books in adding to their theology.

    A while back, someone on the WELS website asked for a referal on a Lutheran book on eschatology. The answer came back that Lutherans don’t really have a book on amillennialism, so they recommended the book, “A Case for Amillennialism” by Dr. Kim Riddlebarger, a Reformed theologian and host of the White Horse Inn. Even though Lutherans are amillennial, we don’t have a book on this key doctrine?

    The Reformed have great theological books on covenant theology (which helps folks to understand the whole Bible, all while using and enhancing the great hermaneutic of Law and Gospel). Many of our Lutheran pastors purchase the Reformed books on covenant theology and use them in the preaching and teaching.

    Since the Reformation, the Reformed have advanced their theology in such areas as systematic theology and other key doctrines, including key studies in creation.

    It seems like Lutherans are resting on the laurels of Luther and the early Lutheran Reformers, while the Reformed are always studying and further developing their theology since Calvin, all while remaining confessional.

    Since I am a student of the Word of God and love to learn more and more, I purchase a lot of Reformed books. Why? We seem very stagnant and complacent in further developing our theology.

  22. @Lloyd I. Cadle #23
    So you are saying that there cannot be “evening and morning” in the “visible” “normal” light and darkness sense *until there is *sun*light and *star/moon*light? Who is putting a straitjacket on the Scriptures, here?

    The *very first* thing God is (self-)reported to have created is…*light*. And then it talks about evening and morning, precisely in the context of *light*. That He doesn’t create the astronomical bodies and patterns to *rule* night and day does not *necessitate* the interpretation you are claiming. Indeed, He specifically creates the separation between darkness and light, night and day, and *then* there is the *1st* evening and morning, “the 1st YOM”. I’m still amazed that you are not able to comprehend how this can be, and you keep going back to sun and moon and stars as a *key* element in your argument, all flowing from one interpretation of one verse that is hardly the *conservatively* required interpretation (2:5). I’ve explained to you how this “framework” approach to Gen. 1 does *not* *exclude* a chronological (which is the natural) understanding of Gen. 1, asking you to demonstrate how it does, and you keep coming back to the same stuff we’ve already dealt with, as though that “ices” it, even though I’ve demonstrated to you *how* it does *not* “ice” it.

  23. @Lloyd I. Cadle #24
    “Further developing our theology”–Hmm.
    1. You don’t seem to be giving folks like Gerhard, Baier, Walther, Pieper, et al., much credit for doing nitty-gritty work in applying the Deposit of the Faith to the world in which they live, and continuing to ask questions of the Text.
    2. I’m not sure I *want* the “developments” that the Reformed have. Whence Pietism and it’s twin sister Rationalism within *Lutheranism*? Frankly, a spirit of compromise with… the Reformed. I truly mean no disrespect to the much brighter and far more accomplished Reformed intellects who *have* given us much good stuff to “chew on”.

    I won’t argue that at times we have “rested on our laurels”–Dr. D. Scaer’s oft-used bit about “the days of dead orthodoxy” in Missouri certainly is an earned chastisement. As a student of history, I’ve simply always got my antenna up for what I call “chronological arrogance”–“We know so much more than those folks 500 years/2000 years (heck even …7000 years) ago! We’re so much more “developed”. I think, aside from Christ Himself, the “smartest”, most intellectually capable 2 human beings ever to walk the face of the earth were probably the *1st* two, Adam and Eve.

  24. @Rev. David Mueller #25 None of us were there at creation. We do know that “Yom” is used 7 different ways in the first two chapters of Genesis.

    That being said……I have a new one for you in one-ups-manship: You state that God created the universe in 6 literal days, in using the word “YOM” for 24 hours.

    Brother, here we go…. Are you ready? I know that you like to “chew on” stuff to think about. In Genesis 2:4, the word “YOM” is used in a figurative way. If you feel that the Gen. 6-day-24 hour creation account is good. Try this one on for size: In Genesis 2:4, perhaps God created everything in a single day!

    That 1-24 is even better than 6-24!

    I am outta here on this subject……..

    Blessings,

  25. @Rev. David Mueller #21: Scientific dating methods are based on certain postulates, most notably, that radioactive decay/halflife is a constant. I remember reading an article (in a scientific journal/magazine, *not* a theological one) that suggested that, though it certainly seems to be a “constant” at this point, there are evidences to suggest that it hasn’t always been. Heck, we count the speed of light as a constant, but there are scientists always testing whether it might not be.

    Each radioactive decay constant (and the corresponding half-life) depends on specific parameters associated with the type of decay (e.g. alpha, beta, gamma, electron capture, fission, etc.) for that specific radioisotope, its nuclear levels, and even the atomic electron states.

    Any significant change in the decay constants, or having the speed of light (in vacuum) change, would produce many other consequences in nuclear and chemical properties of the elements, such as, the sun and other stars going supernova or ceasing fusion, the destablization of the planetary orbits, the oceans boiling away, and the atmospheric oxygen, nitrogen, and water vapor combining to form nitric acid, or some other compound more stable because of the “altered constants.”

    The idea that at some point in the past (e.g., during the Flood) radioactive decay was 1,000 or 10,000 or whatever times faster is essentially impossible, unless it were miraculous. But then we would be back to the same basis as the appearance of age.

    In the meantime, when such extraordinary claims are made regarding natural phenomena, it is good to recall: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.