Old-Earth Creationists Embrace the Bias of Secular Science

For the sake of argument, accept for the moment that God did supernaturally create the universe (and all that is in it) in six literal days, about six thousand years ago. Certainly, even Old-Earth Creationists would agree that God was able to do it this way. If that is how (and when) He did create the world, then what would be the Christian’s proper approach to Scripture and response to secular science? What I hope you will see is that the approach used by Old-Earth Creationists is only legitimate if God did not in fact create the earth in this recent, supernatural way—and such a biased approach is incapable of arriving at a knowledge of the truth if God did in fact create supernaturally and recently.

The nature of the question of origins is determined by what actually happened. The nature of the question is not determined by one’s chosen approach to the question. If what actually happened was in some way a natural process, then the nature of the question is scientific and scientific evidence carries due weight. However, if what actually happened was a supernatural event (immediate creation out of nothing), then science has no place in the matter and scientific evidence carries no weight, as the nature of the question is religious.

Whether or not they admit it, secular science operates with a philosophical basis, that of materialistic naturalism, which assumes that the origin and state of the world as it is can be explained according to natural laws and processes alone (which are assumed to be constant throughout time). This philosophy on which their whole scientific authority stands or falls, is unproven and unscriptural (as it allows for no significant role for any supernatural causes). Because their philosophical basis is biased in this way, they are left with no scientific authority whatsoever when speaking on origins theory—their theories carry no more weight than any other philosophical or theological paradigms.

Some will object that science is objective and not biased. After all, doesn’t science produce many valid breakthroughs in understanding and many new useful technologies? Let’s be real, here. What science should be and what it is are two different things, in most cases. The ultimate, most pervasive human bias is the bias against the truths of God and His Word. Invariably, all unbelievers labor under this bias, which skews all their thinking. Therefore, when an unbelieving scientist deals with an area that does not particularly have to do with a divine truth like origins, such as developing microchips or cures for diseases, then his science can be reliable and objective. But when the unbelieving scientist deals with an issue that does have to do with a divine truth like origins, then the aversion toward divine truth that comes from the sinful core of his being clouds his judgment and skews his results from the start. He rules out the supernatural from the start. The supernatural is not testable or observable. The very practice of scientific inquiry into this matter is itself a presumption that nothing supernatural happened else scientific inquiry would be futile. Where God acts, science has reached the end of all possible inquiry.

Even if the earth could be “scientifically proven” to be a billion years old, it would only be true according to the naturalistic presupposition that the earth was not supernaturally created more recently. Some object that it would be dishonest for God to create a world that looked older than it is. But this is not the case. Consider what is meant by the idea of looking old. For those who would say that it looks old, how are they determining what old is or how old the world is? Do they begin with the possibility that the historical account of creation in Genesis might be incorrect? Do they use a method of calculation that assumes that natural processes, as they are found today, are reliable as a constant by which to measure age back beyond what the straightforward, “common sense” reading of Genesis 1 would indicate as the point in time when God supernaturally created the world? If they do, then it is not God who is deceiving them, but they who are deceiving themselves. Rather then deceiving, God openly admitted to creating the world, and told us plainly when and how long He took.

This is not deception, but decision—a matter of chosen presuppositions and philosophies. The worldwide flood of Noah’s day is a fitting explanation for the fossil layers and many other geological “proofs.” The remainder of such proofs simply point to the mature state of the earth at creation. Would God have been deceptive to supernaturally create in one day an adult man, Adam? By all appearances, he would have looked much older that one day to any who might be open to the possibility that God didn’t really create him the day before as He said He did. When Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples, even telling them to feel his hands and arms and see that He has flesh and bone and is not a mere spirit, wasn’t that just as deceptive—after all, He appeared as if He had never died. The supernatural acts of God are always deceptive to those who refuse to believe them. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, some might have been deceived into thinking that he had never died. When Jesus fed the five thousand, some might have been deceived into thinking He had brought enough food. When He turned the water into wine, the guests were deceived into thinking that the host had saved the best wine for last.

Although it is objected that the Bible is not a science text book, it is a book of factual history (among other things). It tells us God created light, but doesn’t get into the quantum physics of the light He created. It simply states it as the simple fact it is. God created it, and He did so on the first day. It is an historical account of facts that actually happened.  The truth comes to those who are willing to believe; but those who prefer lies bring deception on themselves.

It comes down to the question of whether the reader gives God’s Word the benefit of the doubt, by interpreting Scripture according to Scripture alone and letting the text speak for itself, or whether the reader allows the so-called evidences and arguments from outside of Scripture (formed by those who do not give God’s Word the benefit of the doubt) to carry more weight than the text itself. Those of the latter method must abandon the normal standards of exegesis (a straightforward, common sense hermeneutic) and adopt a method that seeks any plausible way to insert time-lapses, gaps, or ambiguities, in order to read into the text the presuppositions and evidences of secular science.

Consider again what it would mean if God actually did recently create the world in six literal days. Can you see that if this really is what happened, then any weight given to the evidences of secular science would be a compromise of the truth, and would only result in erroneous conclusions? Now, if you will, consider on what basis we decide whether or not the plain, direct, straightforward sense of the passage is what we ought to accept? If the thing that weighs against our accepting of a plain, direct, straightforward reading is the very thing that—if the straightforward reading is indeed fact—only compromises the truth if accepted, then to admit such evidence and acknowledge any weight to it is to give up the argument from the start. To give any weight to the claims of secular science is to beg the question of whether or not the straightforward reading of Genesis 1 is correct. To the degree that Christians are willing to give weight to the claims of secular science, in contradiction to the plain, direct, straightforward reading of Scripture, they will compromise the truth. The biggest enemy to that truth is never those outside the Church, but rather, those within who embrace the error.

Ken Hamrick, 2012

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15 comments

  1. gpicone

    So who wrote the bible and in what language? Can you tell me what the first words in the first bible actually were? Are we all descendants of Noah? 7 billion people from 6 people in less than a few thousand years? Is everyone in the world my relative? And what happened to the Unicorn?

  2. Prayson Daniel

    Thank you Ken for an awesome article.

    I am moved towards Old earth because, I believe as R. C. Sproul put it, all truth is God’s truth. It seems from radioactive dating methods(extinct radionuclidies, dating of rocks and meteorites) and counting methods(tree rings, waves, ice cores, speleothems, corals, cosmic ray exposure, thermoluminscence, electrone spin resonance), old earth have supports of their approach. Most persuasive case, I believe, is from astrology.

    Moreover I think one can believe in six days creations but hold to be a gap between Genesis 1:1-2 and the rest of creation. Science, as the study of nature, as Scripture, gives us information about the world, but how we interpret that information depends on our metaphysical biases(it been materialistic or theistic).

    I believe if the evidences are correctly observed and gives us truth, then that would be God’s truth. I do not embrace the bias of secular science,as I am reformed baptist biased, but I am continually convinced, as Wayne Grudem, that old earth understanding is more correct.

    Let me hear your thoughts Ken.

    Yours in Christ,
    Prayson

  3. Ken Hamrick

    gpicone,

    What is important is that God is the ultimate Author of the Bible, which was divinely inspired and preserved through the ages. Yes, we are all descendants of Noah, and Adam before him. How ever many there are today all came from the 8 people who were on the ark during the worldwide flood. Don’t confuse the imaginary depictions of unicorns for the actual animal referred to in the Old Testament as “unicorn.” The animal was unknown to the English translators, who applied the name without knowing to what it really applied. It may have merely been a buffalo, or a rhino, or who knows what (even an extinct animal). It is not important. Rather than being concerned for strange animal references in the Bible, give some real thought to this question: What will you do with the Christ of the Bible?

  4. Ken Hamrick

    Prayson,

    What I am trying to get you to see is that a supernatural act trumps all scientific evidence. All of the evidences you mention can only lead to the conclusion of an old earth IF it is assumed that the world was not supernaturally created in a mature state (created in such a state as to already be “old” if age is measured in such ways). Take Adam for example. On his first day of existence, you could have brought him to any scientific examination facility and they all would have concluded with absolute certainty that his age was much greater than one day. The scientists, with all the weight of their expert credibility, would have ridiculed such an idea that Adam was no older than a single day! Yet, they would have been wrong.

    You mention tree rings. What about the trees in the garden of Eden? Adam didn’t have to stay hungry for five years, waiting for the trees to grow up and bear fruit. The fruit was already on the trees when God presented them to him. Do you think that God could not have created these trees with rings already in them? And if God did create the stars in the same 6-day period, would God be forced to wait for millions of years before the light from those stars could reach earth? No, God does not need to wait. He created the stars to be seen from the earth, and so He created the light between the stars and the earth at the same time that he created the stars.

    If you start with the assumption that the scientific evidence must be accepted as true, and must be “accommodated” in how one understands Scripture, then looking for a gap or other such things will seem reasonable. But if you start with the conviction that the straightforward reading of Scripture should be accepted as true unless Scripture itself gives appropriate indication otherwise, and refuse to accept the assumption that a recent supernatural creation did not happen, then such compromises as the gap theory do not seem reasonable.

    The truth that scientific dating methods give us is not the truth of an old earth, but the truth that the world God created was mature when it was supernaturally created.

    Thanks for your comments,
    Ken Hamrick

  5. Prayson Daniel

    Hej Ken,

    Thank you for your reply. Ken, truth is truth no matter how one got to know about it. It being scientific or revelation.

    What arguments could be given for the assumption that God supernaturally created the universe in a mature state?

    Yours in Christ,
    Prayson

  6. Ken Hamrick

    Prayson,

    Truth is indeed truth—but be careful: conclusions derived from truth are not necessarily true. If the scientist finds that there is a certain level (n) of carbon-14 in a rock today and therefore a certain lesser level (n-t) 6000 years ago, the only truth found is the differing levels of carbon-14. It is not truth but theory that supposes, based on a uniform decrease in levels, an existence for the rock earlier than 6000 years ago. So if you are going to say “Truth is truth” then make sure you are applying that to real truth and not to mere theory and conclusions based on evidence.

    What Scripture reveals is not mere assumption but the revelation of truth. I need no argument to convince me that Jesus physically rose from the dead. Scripture, in a plain and straightforward way, tells me that He did, and I believe. In just as plain and straightforward of a manner, Scripture tells me of six 24-hour days in which God created the world and all that is in it. In an informative article at ICR.org, Dr. Al Mohler advocates a common sense, “straightforward” hermeneutic, “The pattern of evening and morning, the literary structure, the testimony of the rest of Scripture—all point to 24-hour days when studied in a common sense fashion,” and, “The straightforward and direct reading of Genesis 1:1–2:3 describes seven 24-hour days—six days of creative activity and a final day of divine rest.” The meaning of Scripture should be determined by the text itself, with due consideration of the context, the book, the genre, and the whole of Scripture. We should approach the text with the expectation that the text itself can give sufficient evidence of the writer’s intended meaning. And while the Bible does contain a variety of literary genre, and does have parts that are poetic, parts that are cryptic and apocalyptic, and much that is figurative and symbolic, it is—if the whole is considered—largely a book of historical, factual accounts. That is why we go by the axiom, “If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense.” In other words, we should not approach any passage assuming that the plain, direct, straightforward sense might not be the intended meaning—unless that plain sense itself does not make sense.

    It comes down to the question of whether the reader gives God’s Word the benefit of the doubt, by interpreting Scripture according to Scripture alone and letting the text speak for itself, or whether the reader allows the so-called evidences and arguments from outside of Scripture (formed by those who do not give God’s Word the benefit of the doubt) to carry more weight than the text itself. Those of the latter method must abandon the normal standards of exegesis (a straightforward, common sense hermeneutic) and adopt a method that seeks any plausible way to insert time-lapses, gaps, or ambiguities, in order to read into the text the presuppositions and evidences of secular science.

  7. Prayson Daniel

    Ken, I think we ought to be careful and not mistake the Bible truth with our understanding of that truth.

    Looking at how Genesis 1 is understood throughout the church history would give one reason to carefully examine and not rise our interpretations of the text above what ought not be.

    Both OEC and YEC are interpretations of Genesis one. Both camps claim to be faithful to the text. OEC have evidences outside the Bible to backup their understand of Genesis, while YEC assume that the universe appear old but not. I think not producing evidence for that assumption make this position weak.

    I totally agree that the Bible interpret itself, but I do not think it does in every places and Genesis 1 is one of the place.

    Prayson

  8. Ken Hamrick

    Prayson,

    I have no real evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. And the same scientists who tell you they have evidence of an old earth will also tell you with scientific certainty that no man can rise from the dead after being dead for three days. Why would you not also reinterpret the gospel texts of the resurrection of Christ to agree with this indisputable scientific evidence? If you believe that Christ physically rose from the dead, then you believe it in spite of whatever evidence from outside of Scripture that science might present. Why is that? What is it about His resurrection that makes it acceptable to you to assume that a supernatural and immediate event occurred, but yet you are more inclined to accept the scientific view when it comes to a supernatural and immediate creation?

    Whenever the straightforward reading of Scripture plainly indicates that a supernatural event occurred, the believer needs no other justification for believing what God has revealed. It is only when that straightforward meaning is exchanged for some less-than-straightforward meaning that one needs to justify such an interpretation with argument, evidence, etc. And if that evidence comes from outside of Scripture, then you are giving more weight and authority to what is outside of Scripture than to Scripture itself.

  9. Prayson Daniel

    Hej Ken,

    I would again sweetly disagree Ken. We do have good historical data(empty tomb, early Christmas movement, conversion of skeptic James and enemy Saul of Tarus et cetera) that stands as evidence to which the best explanation is that Jesus rose from the dead. Scientific evidence would indeed say that it is possible for Christ to physically rose from the dead naturally and they would be correct. But that is not what we believe, we believe Christ physically rose supernaturally. So one can have evidences to show that a supernatural act occurred.

    YEC hold a metaphysical position when they thinking that Genesis ought to be straightforward read, which may be correct, but I wish YEC would have arguments or evidences to support this metaphysical position. Scripture does not claim to be straightforward read, but YEC. It is here were I have a problem.

    If evidence comes from outside of Scripture, we are not giving it more weight and authority, but use it to helps us understand Scripture. Because all truth is God’s truth. When the church join Aristotelian understanding that our planet is at the center, it was evidence from outside that help the church reconsider their understanding of Scripture.

    Ken, we ought mix our understanding of Scripture, with Scripture itself. I am not questions the Scripture itself, but I am questing YEC’s understanding of Scripture.

    Prayson

  10. Ken Hamrick

    Prayson,

    Do you realize that there is no evidence whatsoever to show that there was no immediate supernatural creative act? The evidences of science all take this logical form:

    IF THERE WAS NO RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION, THEN the earth is very old.

    As it stands, I AGREE WITH THAT. If there was no recent supernatural creation, then I would have to agree that the earth is millions of years old. But I must ask you a question:

    WHY HAVE YOU CHOSEN TO BELIEVE THAT THERE HAS BEEN NO RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION, WHEN SCIENCE HAS OFFERED NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER THAT SPEAKS TO THIS POSSIBILITY?

    It is a logical error to conflate evidence for an old earth with evidence that no recent supernatural creation occured. It is a logical error because it is an error to think that if God supernaturally created then He could not have created a world that was aged and mature at the moment of creation. Any scientific evidence related to age merely establishes a time-age scale, and does not in any way preclude a supernatural creation AT ANY POINT ON THAT TIME-AGE SCALE. THEREFORE, you have valid reason for assigning an age to the earth IF YOU DENY A RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION, BUT YOU DO NOT HAVE BASIS (other than “faith”) FOR DENYING A RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION.

    BOTH the plain, direct, straightforward reading of Gen. 1 and the old-earth claims of secular science require the benefit of the doubt (or, conversely, an affirmation of faith). The real question is, to WHICH will you give the benefit of the doubt? Either the benefit of the doubt is given to the straightforward reading of Scripture (in which case the claims of secular science are deemed invalid), or, the benefit of the doubt is given to the claims of secular science (in which case the straightforward reading of Scripture is deemed invalid). Both are presuppositions and the choice must be made between them. Both require a certain degree of a priori faith in their validity, and they are mutually exclusive. The choice is ours, but the truth is God’s; and choosing wrongly is the gateway to organizational apostasy.

  11. Prayson Daniel

    Ken, the problem is with “recent” supernatural creation. Both YEC and OEC agree that the universe was supernaturally created. YEC metaphysical notion of “recent” supernatural creation is not support by evidence.

    The case that Genesis 1 ought to be read plainly, straightforwardly and directly is another metaphysical notion not support Biblically. Why should we read Genesis 1 YEC way? What reasons/evidence could be offered to support that notion?

    Ken, I do not think that getting wrong about the age of the universe is a gateway to apostasy because Christ Jesus alone keeps in Himself through the work of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God the Father those His Father gave Him. He promised to keep those and never to lose them. Nothing, including getting the age of universe wrong, can keep us away from His love.

    I also think one does not have to choose between the two reading of Genesis 1. My wife, as majority of Christians, does not even know what is YEC nor OEC. She knows God created the universe, when God created it does not matter for her.

    Yours in Christ,
    Prayson

  12. parsonsmike

    Daniel,

    “In comment 9 you said,I would again sweetly disagree Ken. We do have good historical data(empty tomb, early Christmas movement, conversion of skeptic James and enemy Saul of Tarus et cetera) that stands as evidence to which the best explanation is that Jesus rose from the dead. Scientific evidence would indeed say that it is possible for Christ to physically rose from the dead naturally and they would be correct. But that is not what we believe, we believe Christ physically rose supernaturally. So one can have evidences to show that a supernatural act occurred.”

    You can’t be serious.
    Show me the tomb. You can’t.
    Look at every religious movement, does that prove their claims? Take Islam for example.
    So James was deluded and changed his mind? Saul to Paul? Maybe they had bad hair days. Maybe they never even were alive.

    If that is what you call evidence then by extension, why should I take your argument on OEC seriously?

  13. Prayson Daniel

    Hej Mike,

    I am serious Mike. Maybe you are not familiar with the historical data on the case for resurrection of Christ Jesus. Gary Habermas, who dedicate most of his career on this field, contended that “there are at least twelve facts virtually every scholar will admit”. Skeptic, atheists and theists scholars by and large agree:

    1. The tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered empty by a group of women on the Sunday following the crucifixion.
    2. Jesus’ disciples had real experiences with one whom they believed was the risen Christ.
    3. As a result of the preaching of these disciples, which had the resurrection at its center, the Christian church was established and grew.(William Lane Craig)

    N. T. Wright’s 740’s “The Resurrection of the Son of God”, which I believe is a leading work in this field to date, also from historical data contended the same position.

    I can not show you the tomb, but I can point you to historians who have studied and focused their guns in that direction. Christianity, according to Paul, is false if resurrection did not happen, thus it is a movement that does offer prove for its claim, Mike.

    I did not offer Mike argument for OEC, and I do not wish you to take it seriously. All I contended was the OEC reading of Genesis 1, unlike YEC, is backed-up by scientific observation. Both OEC and YEC claims are metaphysical and need support/evidence for one to be warranted to hold them.

    My problem with YEC is that they neither offer compelling reasons why Genesis 1 ought to be read plainly and straightforwardly nor evidence that our universe only appear old but not.

    Mike, I hold a position similar to John Piper that Christians in the same church can hold either YEC or OEC position. I am persuaded by OEC because that is what the observation of nature reveals. Since all truth is God’s truth, if the observation of nature is true, then it is God’s truth. YEC need to offer arguments/evidence to show that the observation of nature is false. The appeal to straight forward reading of Genesis 1 does not work because this appeal need defense in first place.

    Yours in Christ,
    Prayson

  14. Ken Hamrick

    Prayson,

    There is no proof (and can never be any) for or against a supernatural act. There are many evidences that point to the physical resurrection of Christ, but they can never offer anything more than mere probabilities. We believe that Christ rose from the dead ONLY because we have embraced the truth that God has revealed in His Word and CONFIRMED WITH UTTER CERTAINTY BY THE WITNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

    You continue to ignore or fail to address the YEC argument as I have presented it. I gave you some strong points that you have no answer for yet. Here they are again:
    1) If there was no recent supernatural creation, then the age of the earth would be a scientific question. BUT BEFORE THAT QUESTION CAN BE ADDRESSED, the prior question must be answered, to wit, WAS THERE OR WAS THERE NOT A RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION. This prior question is STRICTLY A RELIGIOUS QUESTION (to be answered by Scripture alone), since neither a supernatural act nor the absence of a supernatural act can be tested or proven by science. There is no test that could have been performed on Lazarus to detect whether or not he had been raised from the dead. There is no test that would have proven that the water turned to wine was not normally produced wine. There is no test that could have established that the twelve baskets of bread crumbs were supernaturally produced from the 5 loaves. Because this question is strictly a religious question, then scientists who approach the issue of origins due so with a built-in BIAS AGAINST A RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION. Further, such a bias against God-related truth is the most pervasive and strongest bias found among unbelievers. To approach origins with the possibility of a recent supernatural creation ALREADY RULED OUT is to BEG THE QUESTION. Therefore,
    2) Your claim that you have “evidence” for OEC is invalid. You ONLY have evidence for what the age of the earth would be IN THE ABSENCE OF A RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION. YOU HAVE NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER AGAINST A RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION.

    The reason that we should read Scripture “the YEC way” is because we should approach Scripture with a common sense, straightforward hermeneutic. What this means is that we hold the truth and authority of Scripture so high that ONLY SCRIPTURE ITSELF CAN GIVE US JUSTIFICATION FOR NOT TAKING THE STRAIGHTFORWARD READING. Unless we have good indication from the text itself that it is to be understood in some other way (such as metaphorically), then WE HAVE NO LICENSE TO DO SO. WE ARE NOT THE AUTHORITY THAT DETERMINES HOW SCRIPTURE WILL BE UNDERSTOOD, ELSE THERE IS NO RELIABLE MEANING ANYWHERE IN SCRIPTURE, AS ANYONE CAN PUT ANY MEANING ON ANY TEXT ACCORDING TO HOW THEY WANT TO SEE IT.

    OEC is indeed a gateway to organizational apostasy. Individuals do not apostatize, but churches, seminaries, and denominations do. Time and again, such organizations have gone down this road. First, its old earth. Then, its evolution. Then, Adam becomes a mythical symbol of humanity. Next, Noah’s flood becomes local. Next, the Red Sea crossing becomes knee deep. Next, the books with proven fulfilled prophecies are “dated” after the fulfilling. Next the virgin birth gets redefined, since “virgin” was simply the term optimistically used of all single females. It is not long until it is denied that Jesus physically rose from the dead.

  15. Prayson Daniel

    Dear Ken,

    You are mistaken in thinking that we only believe resurrection because Scripture say so and the witness of the Holy Spirit, Ken, because John recorded the events as proof that Jesus rose again, Paul pointed to eye witnesses, some alive and some dead, to support his case that Jesus rose again. We reasonably believe because there is a good historical data supporting resurrection(in the Bible, which a history of God redeeming work, and outside the Bible).

    You assert another unsupported claim that Scripture ought be read in straightforward hermeneutic. I agree we should use common sense but ask what reason do you have to show that common sense require YEC’s way of reading?

    Remember, Ken, I did not set to address your arguments but to question the metaphysical assumption made, namely the universe is created supernatural “recently” and that Genesis 1 reading demands straightforward YEC’s hermeneutic.

    We all agree that the universe is created supernaturally, but “recently” is what I think you assumed without giving a justification for that assumption. Straightforward reading is not a justification but another assumption without warrant Ken.

    I am not ignoring your case, but I think your case is buildt on air, namely without foundations than assumptions that need defending. I am open for YEC view Ken if they can give reasons to common sensed fool and fallen sinner like me to accept these metaphysical assumption.

    Yours in Christ,
    Prayson

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