Tagged: epistemology

Admonitions to a Disappointed Young-Earther

This article was also published at SBC Voices

by Ken Hamrick

Recently, I came across a paper in the Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry, written by Dr. Kenneth Keathley in 2013, entitled, “Confessions of a Disappointed Young-Earther.”[1] The piece is well done and gives an informative summary of the various arguments and supposed problems of the Young-Earth Creationism movement. After reading it, I must say that I’m just as disappointed as Dr. Keathley, but for different reasons. I’m disappointed that the enemy, who is delegitimizing the truth-claims of Christianity by undermining the authority of Scripture, is often met with so little resistance and so much well-meant, reasonable-sounding cooperation. I’m disappointed that not even the best among us are immune from a skeptical evidentialism. And I’m disappointed that one so capable of competent reason would falter in thinking that evidence has bearing on the question of a recent miraculous creation.

I’m no scientist, and I do not claim to be able to present all the scientific intricacies of the various arguments. To be fair, there do seem to be some valid points brought against Young-Earth “creation science” and even a few points in support of it. Nevertheless, I do not argue for a “young” earth, but for an old earth recently created—what Dr. Keathley presents as Philip Henry Gosse’s “Omphalos argument” or the mature earth view. The Bible clearly and explicitly reveals a recent creation by divine fiat. Miracles being what they are, we should not expect to find proof in physical evidences for this recent miraculous act. But, neither should we expect the secular scientific view to be free from error, overconfidence, and overreaching. Ultimately, though, the scientific argument is irrelevant to the vital question at hand—and that fact is sadly missed by Young-Earthers and Old-Earthers alike. Continue reading

Are You Willing to Doubt Your Doubts? | J.D. GREEAR

J. D. GreearDoubt can be a tricking thing. Our society, for instance, has elevated doubt to an unquestioned virtue. Those who follow tradition or submit to any kind of standard—especially an ancient one—are viewed with smug condescension. “Well,” we think, “they may not be clever enough to question authority, but I won’t be fooled.” We’ve trained ourselves to see through everything, looking for the gimmick. But as C.S. Lewis said, “You can’t go on ‘seeing through’ things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is see something through it. To ‘see through’ all things is the same as not to see.”

Many Christians respond by asserting that doubt is a vice. It has no place in a life of faith. Questions are often discouraged, as religious leaders tell their flocks to simply believe. But this is hardly a better option. Continue reading →

Of Science and Faith: Revelation, The Certainty of Faith

by Jim Pemberton

So what of the foundation for knowledge between the non-theist and the theist, particularly the Christian? (I acknowledge a difference between other theists and Christians because Christianity has a particularly compelling apologetic for revelation. I won’t discuss that here, however.) So I’ll start this article with a recap of some of the earlier material and use it to jump off into a comparison between Christian and non-theistic epistemology, or to say, “how we each know what we claim to know.”

Of Science and Faith Continue reading

“Thank God You Can’t Sink This Ship” | Answers in Genesis

Thank God You Can't Sink This ShipThere are modern-day Ark legends being spread far and wide by secularists who are seeking to hinder the Ark Encounter project of Answers in Genesis, a full-size Noah’s Ark to open in Northern Kentucky in 2016. This Noah’s Ark theme park will present the historicity of the biblical account of the massive ship of Noah’s time, which is rejected today by Bible scoffers in various anti-Christian groups. Many of these secular groups, as they relegate Noah’s Ark to a myth, are passing around their own Ark myths. These agitators outside the state are trying to affect the project by spreading misinformation and putting pressure on the state of Kentucky to undermine the project.

To counter this intense misinformation campaign by secularists and many in the media, a billboard campaign (and other initiatives) has been launched to get people to discover the truth about the Ark project, and to direct people to our Answers in Genesis website. This new campaign follows after last year’s hugely successful “Thank God You’re Wrong” billboard campaign that directed thousands of people to AnswersInGenesis.org and a special banner article and video. This new campaign is expected to have a similar effect and will help to counter the myths floating around about the Bible-upholding Ark Encounter. Continue reading →

Resurrection—No Doubt About It | Answers in Genesis

answers-in-genesis-logoby Tim Chaffey […]

Christ’s Resurrection is the most mocked and vilified miracle in the annals of human history. “Impossible, a fake,” modern scholars say. Yet a closer examination confirms the Bible’s historical integrity.

“”Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said”” (Matthew 28:5–6).

Unlike many world religions, Christianity’s origins are not shrouded in an unwitnessed, mythical past.

Unlike many world religions, Christianity’s origins are not shrouded in an unwitnessed, mythical past. The Christian faith centers on the person and work of Jesus Christ. His life and miracles were witnessed by thousands, and His sacrificial death on the Cross was also a public spectacle. Three days later, God raised His Son from the dead, and over the next forty days, Jesus appeared to hundreds of individuals.

Overstating the importance of the Resurrection is impossible. It conclusively demonstrated Christ’s power over the grave, secured our hope of eternal life, and proved that He truly was and is the Son of God. Because He rose, Christ also proved that every non-Christian belief system is false, and that He will eventually return to judge this world (Acts 17:30–31).

So it’s no surprise that people have tried to deny the historic reality of the Resurrection. The attacks began the day of the miracle (Matthew 28:11–15) and have continued until the present day, from the Jesus Seminar to the recent “Jesus myther” fad. The ongoing assaults demonstrate that nobody has found a workable alternative. The biblical and historical evidence is just too overwhelming.1 Continue reading →

Of Science and Faith: The Scientific Method, A Positive Look

by Jim Pemberton

We often hear about how science is based in reason, but we aren’t often taught precisely how this works. We know something of the scientific method, but we don’t know how it relates to logic. We only have some sense that it does. We have come to the part of this series on Science and Faith where I will discuss how the scientific method is based on deductive logic in general.

Of Science and Faith

There’s no need in this series to handle all the various forms that the scientific method takes, so this will only be a general discussion. It will involve the common steps and how each works together to produce a reasonable conclusion. Continue reading

A Discussion with J.W. Wartick on Recent Creation and Apparent Age

by Ken Hamrick

Apologist J. W. Wartick recently posted an article on his blog, entitled, “Do Young Earth Creationists Advocate Appearance of Age?” He is an Old-Earth Creationist who argues that appearance of age would be deception on God’s part. I disagree, and have been engaging him in discussion in the comment section. You might find it interesting, and you’re welcome to join the conversion.

Let Scripture Speak for Itself

by Ken Hamrick

When it comes to understanding the Bible, the intended meaning of the author ought to be held in such importance that the text is bible-open-to-psalm-118allowed to speak for itself—with every effort made to not read into the text ideas that were not intended—and to get our clues as to what was intended only from the text itself, rather than permitting ideas, claims, evidences and authorities from outside of the text to tell us what the text means. This is why we go by the axiom, If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense. When it tells us that Christ physically rose from the dead and left the tomb, we don’t allow science to weigh in and tell us that He must not have actually died, but only “swooned,” since dead bodies do not reanimate (CPR might work for a few minutes, but not three days after death). Certainly, science has a legitimate stake in the matter, since what is claimed is above and beyond all natural laws and a physical impossibility. Nevertheless, science must be ignored in this, since it is a supernatural matter outside of their ability to explain, detect, or prove. For us today, it is a matter of pure revelation—the eyewitnesses are dead and unavailable for examination. Continue reading

Can We Prove the Bible Is True? | Answers in Genesis

answers-in-genesis-logoThe Ultimate Proof

by Mike Matthews […]

Jesus Christ and His followers were fearless when it came to proclaiming God’s Word. What gave them such boldness and self-assuredness? They knew without a shadow of doubt the eternal power and absolute trustworthiness of each word in scripture. They also knew that the Holy Spirit went before them, impressing hearers with the truth of His Word.

You’re sharing the gospel and out of the blue you’re asked, “How do you know the Bible is true?” How would you answer?

If you’ve read much on the subject, you’ve probably come across long lists of “proofs”—amazing prophecies, archaeological discoveries, and the like. Yet this emphasis can get some important points backward, if the Bible is to be our guide. Continue reading →

Of Science and Faith: Revelation

In the first article, I talked about the idea that we need to ask how we know something that we claim to know. In the last article, I talked about how Christians believe that there is more than one kind of substance. So to combine the two, we as Christians need to answer the question how we know that this is true. I also observed that monists, particularly the naturalists today, need to be able to answer the question how they know that there is no other substance than that which we experience.

Of Science and Faith

For both of us, in order to answer the question, we need to have information from other kinds of substance. This poses a problem for naturalists since they don’t believe that there is another substance. This assumption requires two things: Continue reading

Can Evolutionary Clues Cure Cancer? | Answers in Genesis

answers-in-genesis-logoA physicist and an astrobiologist team up to explain to medical doctors how knowledge of evolution holds the key to curing cancer.

Scientific American: Did Cancer Evolve to Protect Us?

Curing cancer is high on everyone’s wish list for the 21st century. Could the key be billions of year’s old? A National Cancer Institute project to “rethink cancer from the bottom up” has spawned a study asserting that oncologists need to seek the cancer cures for the present in clues from the evolutionary past.

Reverse Evolution

Physicist Paul Davies and astrobiologist Charles Lineweaver believe that cancer cells are simply cells that have reverted to their evolutionary ancestral state to cope with the challenges they face. This is called an “atavistic” model. (Atavism means reversion to an ancient, primitive, or ancestral state. Continue reading →

Of Science and Faith: Substance

In this series I am discussing a few key philosophical categories. Last time, I discussed epistemology. At the end of that discussion I brought up the idea that God is of a different stuff than the created world.

Of Science and Faith

The philosophical idea of different stuff is often called substance. Substance is that of which things are made. I’m not talking about the periodic table elements… per se. All of the elements that we are familiar with are of the same substance: matter. Inasmuch as matter can be converted to energy, energy is of the same substance as matter. But we have to ask ourselves if this is the only kind of substance that exists.

Continue reading

Of Science and Faith: How Do We Know?

Introduction

It was said by theologians in the Middle Ages that philosophy is the handmaiden of theology. It is recognized that philosophy generated religious movements and Christian theology, in particular, was forged on the anvil of clashing philosophical movement. While we are admonished by Paul not to be swayed by the philosophies of men (Col 2:8), it is precisely in observing where people have been led astray with philosophy that we have learned what the scriptures do not mean.

In this light, it is helpful to understand philosophy so as not to be held captive by it. And it is in the study of philosophy that we learn that there are helpful categories for helping us understand the Bible correctly. In this series, I will talk about the central categories that help give us a foundation for understanding. Then I will discuss at least one of the philosophical systems that are leading people astray today.

Of Science and Faith

How Do We Know?

Perhaps the most foundational area of philosophical thought is epistemology. The word epistemology literally means the “study of knowledge” and it deals with theories of how we know things. Epistemology is the answer to the question, “How do you know?” Continue reading

Is the Ebola Epidemic Evolution in Action? | Answers in Genesis

answers-in-genesis-logoby Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, Dr. Georgia Purdom, and Dr. Tommy Mitchell on October 20, 2014

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has already claimed over 4,000 lives—more than all previous Ebola epidemics combined—and it is showing no sign of slowing. The first (and we hope the only) Ebola death on American soil occurred in Dallas, Texas, on October 8, 2014. Two nurses who cared for that patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, soon developed Ebola. In Spain a nurse exposed in Madrid to a priest who contracted Ebola in Africa recently developed Ebola.1 These incidents represent the first time Ebola has been transmitted outside of Africa.

In the past, outbreaks have remained geographically confined to the regions where the organism that harbors them lives.2 Why is this one different? Is Ebola wielding the power of Darwinian evolution over medical science? Continue reading →

“Creationism Is About … ” Well, the Bible! | Around the World with Ken Ham

answers-in-genesis-logoAccording to a science and religion blogger with the not-so-reliable Huffington Post, the evolution/creation debate is not about science or even the Bible—it’s about gay marriage! Well, that’s certainly news to me!

Writer Paul Wallace claims that he could never understand why creationists reject the “tsunami of unambiguous evidence that forces us to believe in a 14-billion-year-old cosmos; in a 4.5-billion-year-old Earth; and in the long slow evolution of creatures.” Of course, he doesn’t provide any of the scientific evidence that supposedly makes up this “tsunami of unambiguous evidence,” he just merely expects his readers to accept that this evidence is there. He then goes on to say that he suddenly realized why biblical creationists reject all the supposed “evidence”—it’s because the real issue is not science, it’s gay marriage. Continue reading →

Review of Hugh Ross’s Navigating Genesis | Answers in Genesis

answers-in-genesis-logoDr. Hugh Ross’s Navigating Genesis: A Scientist’s Journey Through Genesis 1–11 is, sadly, a great tool for steering the uninformed and the gullible into a shipwreck of faith, not for removing stumbling blocks to faith as Dr. Ross misguidedly attempts. Guided by his devotion to the secular dating methods, Dr. Ross distorts the Bible’s claims about our origins and early history while misrepresenting much of the secular science from which he claims support. By Navigating Genesis with Dr. Hugh Ross, the casual reader—Christian or not—can be sure of emerging from his voyage laden with burdensome baggage: a chaotic mix of misapplied science, straw-man arguments, dubious apologetics, ignorance of what creation scientists actually claim, a creative but incorrect approach to reading the Word of God, and a bizarre re-interpretation of the Bible that bears little resemblance to what God actually says. In short, a reader seeking guidance from Dr. Ross, upon disembarking from Navigating Genesis, may well know less about secular science, less about the Bible, less about our history, and less about our Lord than before starting the ill-advised trip. Continue reading →

An Irenic & Vigorous Creationism Discussion at SBC Voices

SBC Open Forum

by Ken Hamrick

Most debates between Old-Earthers and Young-Earthers deteriorate to anger and ad hominem after about 100 comments. Recently, SBC Voices posted my article, “Helping Old-Earth Creationists Face the Supernatural Question,” which had been posted here. The discussion at Voices went to 308 comments before Dave Miller shut it down—probably for reasons of length. Throughout, it remained a great example of how such discussions can be carried on without rancor. I recommend reading down through the comments for anyone looking to understand the different views better.

Helping Old-Earth Creationists Face the Supernatural Question

SBC Open Forum

by Ken Hamrick

Instead of arguing for or against the scientific evidence, or arguing the merits of possible exegetical ways to reconcile Scripture with a billions-of-years chronology, I propose that—for the sake of argument-–we eliminate the evidence question all together. We can do this by accepting all the scientific claims at face value, and still insisting on a recent supernatural creation out of nothing. In other words, we would not posit a young earth, but an old earth that was recently created by divine fiat. When God creates out of nothing, He is not limited to creating things “new.” God created Adam and Eve as physically mature adults and not as infants. He created mature, fruit-bearing trees for immediate food. “He made the stars also”—and made a universe with mature light-trails already existing so that the stars were already visible. All of these imply a time-consuming natural process that was well under way at the first moment of creation. God chose to create not at the beginning of these natural processes, but somewhere in the middle—as if these processes had been going on long before the moment of creation.

Why would God create the world in such a way as to leave no scientific evidence whatsoever of His creating, but leave plenty of evidence that natural processes predated the recent creation found in the natural reading of the Biblical account? Quite simply, God created in such a way that He would not be found by scientific evidence, but only by faith. This is not to say that the created world does not point to God and reveal a Creator to those who are willing to believe, but only that God and His creating cannot be established by any materialistic evidence. There are no “miracle particles” that science can measure to determine that creation by fiat occurred. Any unbelievers who insist on scientific evidence for God’s existence or His creating will find only natural processes. God requires faith. Continue reading

Recent Fiat Creationism: Rendering Evolution & Old-Earth Evidence Irrelevant

This article was written to answer the questions, “What if evolution were proven to be true? How would that affect your faith?” 

by Ken Hamrick

One of the best ways to defeat an opposing argument is to render its evidence irrelevant—establish that even if their evidence is accepted for the sake of argument, your position remains intact. Of course, this is rarely possible. But when it comes to defending a recent fiat creation (RFC), rendering the evidence for evolution and an old earth irrelevant is indeed possible, as we will see below. While I do not accept the theories and conclusions of evolutionists, I think it could be instructive to show how the RFC view remains solid even if the evolutionary evidences are given as true. Continue reading

Young Earth Creationism and Presuppositionalism: A Response to J.W. Wartick

by Ken Hamrick

“Young Earth” creationism (YEC), as part of the Christian faith, stands on certain presuppositions, such as the existence of God and the divine, verbal inspiration of Scripture. The kind of apologetic argument that acknowledges that such presuppositions are assumed, and does not attempt to prove them, is presuppositional apologetics. Continue reading