We Need Not Fear the Dinosaur

Is the earth 6,000 years old or 4.54 billion years old? The honest and humble answer is that we don’t know.

There has been much controversy on the Internet, in the news media and even in the Letters section of The Banner on how Christians should respond to some recent scientific discoveries. In just the last few months, we’ve seen the discovery of a 68 million-year-old dinosaur in Alberta, new evidence from the South Pole of primordial gravitational waves from 13.8 billion years ago, and a planet about the size of Earth found by the Kepler spacecraft in the habitable zone of a red dwarf star 490 light years away.

As Reformed Christians, should we welcome these scientific discoveries, or do they attack the basic tenets of our faith?

Article 2 of the Belgic Confession beautifully describes God’s general revelation (the universe) and special revelation (the Bible) as two books written by the same author. As Reformed Christians, we confess that God is infallible in both revelations and that God does not contradict himself.

We also believe that God does not try to deceive us by creating starlight in transit or fossilized remains in the earth. Nor does God hide deposits of pre-processed coal, oil, and natural gas in the proper geologic strata. God is the Lord of heaven and earth. He is the creator of the natural and the supernatural, and he is both immanent—that is, in the universe—and transcendent—surpassing both space and time.

When there appears to be a conflict between these two revelations it must be in our interpretation. Even careful, conservative, and sincere theologians and scientists make mistakes. When pride and politics enter the mix, from Galileo to global warming, an honest debate can quickly become more about doctrine and ideology than about the actual facts.

The Bible is God’s holy and divine Word, but it’s not a book of science. It can’t be. The Bible is full of miracles and supernatural events. Science, on the other hand, is the study of natural laws with the goal of predicting what should happen in an experiment and then empirically testing those hypotheses. The realm of science is limited to the natural laws of the universe and therefore it excludes miracles. By definition, a miracle is a violation of the universe’s natural laws that produces an unexpected result. As such, scientists are not allowed to insert miracles into their solutions. Similarly, if a patient dies on the operating table, surgeons will not expect that patient to be resurrected a few days later with all of his wounds healed.

In the Christian life, science and religion are not separated—but we need to make a clear distinction between them.

Ninety-nine years ago, Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicted gravity waves. Recently a team of scientists in Antarctica found evidence that these waves occurred less than a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Even though they’ve studied their evidence for years, they know that different teams of scientists, with different equipment and with a different hypothesis, will try to prove or disprove their discovery. Science has to explain the age of the universe without resorting to miracles. But as Reformed Christians, we know that God lives in and above space-time, and that he used both natural and supernatural means to create the universe.

Reformed Christians believe that Christ has both a human nature and a divine nature. We certainly distinguish between these two natures, but we cannot separate them. The same is true for science and theology. Astronomers have already found an earth-size planet in a habitable zone around a distant star. Next we’re likely to find an earth-like planet with liquid water. What will the discovery of a twin earth mean to our Reformed faith? What have we learned from Galileo? We’ve learned that science does not correct the Bible, it corrects a misinterpretation of the Bible.

Is the Earth 6,000 years old or 4.54 billion years old? The honest and humble answer is that we don’t know. The Bible clearly tells us the age of Adam when he died, but it does not clearly tell us the age of the Earth. The dominant scientific theory is that the Earth is very old, but some Christians believe that the Earth just appears to be old and that it’s actually much younger.

Archbishop James Ussher confidently calculated that the world began on October 23, 4004 bc. Similarly, Harold Camping confidently predicted the world would end on ad May 21, 2011. Both men used the Bible as fodder for their speculations. Adding something to Scripture to support a personal position denies the authority of the Bible just as much as subtracting something from Scripture that you’d like to ignore.

What is 13.8 billion years to God? For an immanent God existing in space time who experiences a thousand years as a 3-hour watch in the night (Ps. 90:4), 13.8 billion universe years is about 4,723 God years. For a transcendent God (existing outside of space time), 13.8 billion years is still less than a trillionth of a second. The dimensions of time and space are much larger than we can imagine—just like God.

How can Reformed Christians develop a viewpoint that is scientific and also biblical? The Reformation has given us insights that allow us to discriminate between good theology and bad theology. Many of those insights also work to distinguish good science from bad science.

Many institutions of higher learning have observatories that are open to the public. Go to an observatory and look at the Whirlpool Galaxy cataloged as M51a. When you put your eye to the eyepiece, the scientific explanation is clear. The very same photons that were emitted from this galaxy have travelled unimpeded for 24 million years across 100 trillion miles of space and have at last ended their perilous journey; their final resting place is your retina.

It’s a humbling and praise-worthy experience!

Science can provide incredible experiences for you and your children. You can visit a fossil site and hold a 30 million-year-old fossil with amazing physical detail in your own hands. Or hike into a meteor crater that is 50 thousand years old, or marvel at the craftsmanship of sculpted mammoth teeth or cave paintings that are over 30 thousand years old. Visit a science and engineering expo where you can see, touch, and use the latest technology.

Our parents and grandparents lived in a world where science was “on the fringes” and local, close-knit groups were the social norm. Our children live in a world where science is mainstream, and they must engage the world with knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Young Christians today need a strong and positive engagement of science within a context of faith. So let’s leave behind the subjective dogmas of yesterday and any lingering irrational fear of new discoveries.

Related:

The Christian Reformed Church’s position on Creation and Science

 

We Need Not Fear the Dinosaur

  1. Buurma suggests that the Bible is God’s Word, but it is not a book of science. As Christians, how do we draw the lines between science and faith?
  2. “Is the Earth 6,000 years old or 4.54 billion years old? The honest and humble answer is that we don’t know,” says Buurma. How much does it matter?
  3. Do you agree with the author that we need not fear for our faith in the face of, for instance, the recent dinosaur discovery in Alberta dated by scientists as 68 million years old? Why or why not?
  4. “Young Christians today need a strong and positive engagement of science within a context of faith.” Why is the topic of origins of such importance, especially for young people?

About the Author

Jake Buurma is vice president of operations for a nonprofit standards organization. He is a member of San Jose (Calif.) Christian Reformed Church.

See comments (50)

Comments

1. I agree whole-heartedly that the Bible is God's Word and not a book of science. What book of science contains the message of God's plan for our salvation? What book of science, whether published yesterday, 40 years ago or in Gallileo's time does not contain a new interrpretation of "facts"? How do we draw the lines between science and faith? Science is fallible. Faith in science is ephemeral. Faith in the God who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow is eternal.

2. It's a shame that Buurma realises we can't be absolutely sure of the age of the earth but then claims that a fossil is 30 million years old, a crater is 50 thousand years old and cave paintings are 30 thousand years old. How can we be sure of this? All of these dates deny the global flood of Noah's day...a global flood that Jesus affirms(Matt 24:37-39). Does it matter if we believe something that is so opposed to what Jesus knows is the truth?

3. I do agree with the author that we need not fear for our faith in the face of recent scientific discoveries.  Not because science corrects misinterpretations of the Bible but because the "science of origins", the science that claims it can put definitive dates to fossils and layers of rock, is completely speculative and entirely fallible. Even the author's claim that "photons...have travelled for 24 million years" is a human interpretation of the facts. How can we accurately measure time for something that is not rotating around the sun? Is that not what we base our concept of time? Can we repeat the journey in a lab and time it with a stop watch?

4. I'd like to address the second sentence in the last paragraph: the implication that Reformed Christians are saddled with "the subjective dogmas of yesterday" and have an "irrational fear of new discoveries". The author has stated that he believes the Bible to be "God's holy and divine Word". Is this subjective dogma?---his personal opinion that is somehow authoritative and incontrovertibly true? No, it is Christian dogma, based on the authority of Jesus(John 5:46, for example). Who has this "irrational fear of new discoveries" and how is it stopping young people from having "a strong and positive engagement in science within a context of faith"? I would argue that it is this determination to make young people separate their faith from their scientific studies that is so damaging. Certainly we can have faith in scientific discoveries...that improve our health or help us take better care of our world. But science will never give us eternal life; even if it could, would anyone care to live forever in this broken place? Scientific discovery is empty if we don't see the creator through it; the discovery of a dinosaur dated by scientists as 68 million years old is empty. It implies that God had to use death and mutation to create. That is not the God of love that we discover in the Bible. The discovery of another dinosaur in Alberta speaks to me of a Creator God, who made many varied creatures; of a Just God, who, because of human violence and corruption, destroyed this creature along with so many others in the Flood; of a Loving God, who preserved a remnant to fulfill his plan of salvation; and a patient God, who has given us more time to spread the good news.

Dating a dinosaur at 68 million years old... wow!  Amazing that the best before date on the dinosaur label was still so well preserved.  Some other rocks were also dated at millions of years old, by a scientific K-Ar method.  The RB-Sr method said they were 133 million years, and Pb/Pb method said they were billions of years old.  Except that the rocks were from volcanic eruptions in 1954, 1949, 1975(Mt. Nagauruhoe), and 1984 (Mt. St. Helen's),  Only 60 or 30 years old.  Maybe evolution only makes them look old, when in fact, they are much younger.  

Some dinosaur fossils have actual stretchable organic tissue still in the bones.  Millions of years old?  

"We know God does not try to deceive us by..." says the author.  But we know that nature can be deceiving.  It looks like the sun rises and sets, even though it is the world rotating.  We can see a natural mirage that looks like water on the highway, when it is not.  If God created starlight along with the stars, we would only think that is deceiving like some people think miracles are deception.  God himself said in the beginning he created light.   Before heavenly bodies.  That does not sound like deception to me;  he made it quite plain.  

If the space is expanding, which I understand it is, then the heavenly bodies have left their light behind.  What we are seeing is what the stars looked like many years ago, since they are no longer where they were when their light began travelling to earth.  So nature is deceiving us, not God. 

The author said God does not hide pre-processed oil and gas in certain strata.  Which is true, but deceptive.  My son mentioned yesterday that oil can form in less than a day from algae, given certain temperatures and pressures.  So God indeed did put this there, using natural processes, not hiding it, but knowing we would find it.  The fact that it is there is not proof of when it was put there, nor how long it took before it formed. 

How long does it take for oil to form?
"Less than 5,000 years, possibly only hundreds of years. In a laboratory it can be formed in hours or days. The only thing necessary is the proper temperature and pressure to be created with suitable organic material present. Most oil forms from a material known as kerogen, which is a "solid bituminous mineraloid substance" (as defined by the American Geological Institute). Kerogen is the remains of dead organisms such as phytoplankton (microscopic marine plants that live floating in water) and zooplankton (microscopic marine animals) along with some remains from land plants and larger algae. 


Here is a documented case of oil forming in nature in less than 5,000 years: 
http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articl... 

The only reason most people throw around ideas that oil takes millions of years to form is that it can take that long before it forms. That is because until the organic material is buried to a depth and pressure where catagenesis (the formation of oil) takes place it does not form. Once it reaches the proper temperature and pressure it forms quite rapidly. Various components in the organic material may change to oil more quickly (at lower temp and pressure) while other convert later. In a typical petroleum system such as the Mississippi River delta, it may take 10 million years to bury the material deep enough for it to reach temperatures of catagenesis. Add in some volcanic activity that makes a high geothermal gradient and that timing may be quite short and no longer in millions of years. "

Here is a brief explanation of catagenesis: 
http://www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com/Dis...  

The alternative to millions of years old oil is not that God simply magically placed it there.  Many creationists believe the flood and concomitant geological upheaval influenced the formation and placement of carbon in the form of oil, gas, and coal.  

 

 

 

And very sorry to put in a third post here, but don't you think it is an insult to suggest, even tongue in cheek, that those who see difficulties with evolution somehow fear the dinosaur?   Maybe its the other way around, that theistic evolutionists fear the dinosaur because they think somehow that it changes their perception of paleohistory, and thus also how God created.  So they bow down to the dinosaur.   They are afraid to confront the fact that several dinosaur fossils have had actual organic stretchable tissue in them, still attached to the bones.  Dino DNA is being examined.  Evolutionists should fear the dino, methinks.  

"Is the earth 6000 years old or 4.54 billion years old. The honest and humble answer is the we (I) don't know."

"Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son of Joseph, the son of Heli...the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:23-37) 

"All flesh is not the same: Human beings have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another." (1 Corthians 15:39)

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him. neither can he know them, because they are spiritully discerned." (!Corithians 2:14)

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved. A worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightfully handleing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)

"Therefore God has exalted above all things his name and his word." (Psalm 139:2)

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

'By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth." (Psalm 33:6)

Thank you Mr. Buurma for this excellent call to a truly Reformed engagement with the scientific enterprise. As a young person, I'm particularly grateful for you and so many others like you who have encouraged me not to check my faith at the door of the lab, or my brain at the door of the sanctuary, but to engage both wholeheartedly in all aspects of life.

The more we study God's general revelation, the more evidence we find of the work of God that scoffers have to disbelieve. When we look at the basement rocks of Michigan, for example, the igneous and metamorphic rocks that are the foundation on which the sedimentary rocks with recognizable fossil were deposited, we find evidence that this foundation was assembled by the sequential collision of several tectonic plates. There were several episodes of mountain building, involving volcanic activity and followed by removal of the all but the mountain roots by erosion, and eventually a continental rift like the one in East Africa and the one that made the Atlantic Ocean, except that ours "failed" (but the rocks in it gave us copper). The sandstone of the Pictured Rocks, with trilobite fossils, was deposited on those old rocks. When I see this, I say, "Holy God! How great you are!" I don't say, "God, don't show me any more. I'm already having trouble fitting all of your works into 6,000 years!"

Regardiing the young volcanic rocks that yielded old dates cited above, the young-Earth geologists who published these dates (in young-Earth creation publications) knew the data were no good, but evidently thought they should publish them to defend their interpretation of the Bible. I talked with the manager of the lab that did the dating, and he told me that he told the Christian geologist X that his samples would give erroneous results with K-Ar dating because of excess argon, something that was known since the mid-1950s and X should have known it, and X insisted that they do the dating anyway, and he published the results. What would you call that behavior? (It's an embarrassment to most Christian geologists that I know.) Now people who don't understand the science are distributing the misinformation. Yes, scientists can make mistakes. Scientists can also have an agenda, although in professional publications they will be challenged by other scientists. (X is well known, and his name is on his publications, but I have chosen not to include it here because I do not wish to make this personal. However, the facts remain.)

I invite you all to watch this:

http://www.evolutionvsgod.com/index.php

You may be right, Ken.  Who knows.  But the question I have is how do they know that older samples of rock did not also have excess argon at time of formation in a similar way?  Why was the process for older rocks so much different?  Or, conversely, knowing that volcanic rock has excess argon, would they make a similar adjustment for excess argon for older rocks?  I would say its not misinformation, nor is it a mistake by the lab, but rather it might possibly be misinterpretation... but for me, who is doing the misinterpretation and how do we know? 

  Yet, 50,000 year old coal in millions of years old sedimentary rock?  Diamonds dating at 50,000 years?   organic stretachable tissue in dinosaur fossils?  polystrate fossils?  hmm.   

"...which refutes the nonsensical YEC claims that radiometric and fossil dating is based on 'circular reasoning').  To be exact, even without any radiometric dates, stratigraphic, fossil, and/or paleomagnetic data usually give geologists at least a rough idea of the ages of their samples."

 

"...That is, as the volcanics age, the excess argon would be diluted into insignificance by the developing radiogenic 40Ar.   Furthermore, if abundant excess argon is present in older rocks, Ar-Ar dating and K-Ar isochron dating can detect and eliminate its effects (as examples, McDougall and Harrison, 1999, p. 123-130; Maluski et al., 1990)." 

 

Above are two quotes from someone (Dr. Kevin Henke) who criticizes YEC Dr. Steve Austin's use of K-AR method on young volcanic rock.  He gives lots of detailed information, and says, like Ken Van Dellan above, that the K-Ar method should not be used on rock which is less than 2 million years old, either because of lab contamination, or because of excess Ar in the rock as it forms.  

 

What gives me indigestion, or makes me chuckle, is in the first quote where Henke says there is no circular reasoning, and then uses it himeslf in his second sentence, "...even without radiometric dates, ... fossil data usually give geologists a rough idea of the age of the sample..."  Doesn't it make you roar with laughter?  We don't use circular reasoning he says, and then in the next sentence he uses it.  Wow!  

 

Then in the second quote he says that excess argon would be diluted into insignificance by new Ar.  Kind of makes sense, doesn't it?  But, if excess Ar (original Ar) it is present in larger quantities, he says it can be detected and eliminated by Ar-Ar or by K-Ar isochron dating.  But that begs the question.  How do they objectively know if there was or was not excess Ar?  How do they decide that?  Based on fossils?  Based on a pre-determined age before finding out what the age is?  It doesn't give the age they want, so the Ar must be excess?  

 

The book "Evolutions Achilles Heels"  explains how isochron dating for one method, Pb/Pb found a sample to be a half billion years older than the Rb/Sr isochron method.  This does not seem like one method corroborates another method.  

 

Ken Van Dellan's example above did not mention Steve Austin, but showed all parts of the rock dated at 2.8 million years or less (instead of 30 years old, as it actually was).  He argues that this is acceptable for the K-Ar method because it is only accurate to about 2 million years, although the lab says accuracy is to 200,000 years, not 2 million.  But, the Mt. Ngauruhoe rock was also measured with three other methods.  These methods did not corroborate each other at all.  The K-Ar method gave ages of 3.5 million years or less (for 50 year old rock), while the Rb-Sr isochron method gave 133 million yrs for the same rock, Sm-Nd isochron method gave 197 million yrs, and Pb-Pb isochron method gave 3.9 billion yrs.  So which is correct, or is any correct? 

 

Some evolutionists make the analogy of dating rocks and fossils with forensic science.  We accept forensic science, so why not paleontological dating methods is their argument.   Although understandable as an analogy, we know that analogies are not proof of anything.  Forensic science uses methods that can be corroborated by present observable methods.  Paleontological speculations cannot be corroborated, and as shown above, often give wildly differing results, which would fail in a court of law.  Furthermore, whatever does not fit into the evolutionary worldview just gets adjusted.  For example, the organic tissue on dinosaur fossils that are supposedly 65 million years old.  For example, polystrate tree or reed fossils that penetrate sediment which is supposed to be millions of years different in age.  For example, what would clearly be human footprints imbedded in dinosaur footprints, but this is presumed to be impossible.  Even the use of circular reasoning is neither preceived nor understood by the evolutionists themselves as the above example showed. 

 

I remain a skeptic.  Nature as God's general revelation does not appear to be revealing anything about evolution so far, other than the sheer unlikelihood of it. 

Some time ago I got involved in one of these blogs because I thought that, as a geologist and someone who has actually gotten out and studied geology in the field, I might be able to answer some of the questions other Christians raise. I prefer to converse in a civil and professional manner, but after encountering folks who give out a shotgun blast of rambling ridicule full of buzz words, I decided I would be a better steward of my retirement years and my mental health to opt out.

Jake Buurma's article voiced many of my sentiments, and I let myself be lured into commenting. I now regret my mistake.

It is a common practice of some to write something such as a letter to the editor, article, or blog post, and include factoids about plate tectonics, radiometric dating, the fossil record, evolution, etc. It is then impossible for someone familiar with these things to respond in the time or space available, and the individual concludes that the opposition has no response.

Since others have posted websites, I would like to post a couple. The American Scientific Affiliation is the largest organization of Christians in science in the United States and possibly the world (www.asa3.org). On this website you will find an article, Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective (www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html). The Affiliation of Christian Geologists is an affiliate of the ASA (www.wheaton.edu/acg).

We all are beneficiaries of certain blessings that God gives us as a result of the application of geological principles. Let us be thankful some have been given the insights to discover resources that make our lives more comfortable.

It strikes me as odd that, while most of us would not be comfortable with benefiting from money obtained by immoral occupations, we have no scruples about benefitting from mineral and energy resources obtained by the work of men and women obviously are tools of the Devil. Isn't that inconsistent? If you believe that the way they ply their trade is ungodly, you should have nothing to do with them.

I will now say goodbye, and turn the discussion back to someone with all the answers. I'm currently busy writing a book about the interesting geological history of Michigan.

John has always been civil in the comments sections.  I also fail to see the 'buzz words' referred to.

Scientists who believe in evolution/old earth also have an agenda.  If those who review their work/publications share the same agenda then it is hardly surprisely that they don't detect the agenda. They seem to parrot similar 65/68/75 millions years of age for dinosaurs.  They don't seem to want to entertain the idea that they might be wrong. 

Everyone has a bias.  So the question is actually which bias is the correct bias.  Obviously the best/correct bias matches what Almighty God told us in His Word.  

Regarding soft tissue found in dinosaur bones, the Discover article went on to document the unwillingness of many in the scientific community to believe the findings. Even to the point that Dr Schweitzer ‘was having a hard time’ trying to get her work published in scientific journals.

‘I had one reviewer tell me that he didn’t care what the data said, he knew that what I was finding wasn’t possible,’ says Schweitzer. ‘I wrote back and said, “Well, what data would convince you?” And he said, “None.”’

This reviewer is an example of those who believe in evolution/old earth that have a agenda to disregard anything/any data that doesn't fit in with what they already believe.

 

 

 

Thanks Ken for the post, I'm with you all the way

Ken, I appreciate your effort to get involved in what sometimes seems like a frustrating exercise.  I'm sure your book will be an interesting contribution to the diversity of perspectives on the geology of Michigan.  Evolution makes for an interesting story, much more elaborate than many of the other genesis stories. 

When you imply we shouldn't benefit from energy resources discovered by non-christians or by those who deny the biblical creation story, it seems to me it falls into the same camp as buying an antique vehicle that was built specifically during the prohibition to aid rum-runners to evade the police, or converting an old movie theatre into a church or youth center.  I don't think that is the issue at all. 

Those who use geological tools to discover resources are not promoting an atheistic world view, are they?  But maybe the incorrect presumption is that the only way to use geological tools is from an evolutionary perspective. 

Through sampling and drilling, layers deep beneath the earth have been mapped and identified around the globe.  The similarities and differences between these layers in various parts of the earth are well understood.  The composition of layers or amorphic features, whether igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary are known.  Where in the mix of these layers one can find coal, oil, or natural gas is also well understood.  It's also a discovery process.  But I do not see how it is necessary to believe that bacteria evolved into dinosaurs or reeds evolved into redwoods in order to understand or locate these resources. 

Geological principles are really applied science from the basic principles of physics.  But in a way it is theoretical applied science, since we cannot duplicate these geological principles in a lab.  When we see oil form, it is in a lab which did not take millions or billions of years.  Yet the theory is that in nature it took hundreds of millions of years --- this is the theoretical part.  This is worth examining.

It doesn't change the locations of the resources, nor the placement, but might change how we perceive that these resources actually got there.  It is my perception that the evolutionary theory cannot tell you where these resources are found.  It is an add-on explanation after the resources are found.  It becomes part of the lingo to say it is found in this paleohistoric layer or that one. 

There is some logic to it because the influence of sedimentary layers and the location of igneous rock help determine where to look for these resources and where not to look.  Yet, geologists are today looking in areas that they did not look in before, because the original assumptions were mistaken.  (and possibly costs and returns for deeper drilling).  But knowing where things are is not dependant on one particular theory of how they got there.   Experience and experimentation play a much bigger role. 

Ken you mentioned the website which was authored by Roger Wiens.  He mentions many things, and I appreciate his underlying attitude.  Following is a quote from him: 

" the carbon-14 fraction in the air has decreased over the last 40,000 years by about a factor of two. This is attributed to a strengthening of the Earth's magnetic field during this time. A stronger magnetic field shields the upper atmosphere better from charged cosmic rays, resulting in less carbon-14 "   

Interesting how this is different compared to the wikipedia site and others which indicate that the magnetic field is actually decreasing.  It has decreased about 35% in the last 2000 years.  This site also indicates that the long term ..."... several measurements of it across the span of decades or centuries, are not sufficient to extrapolate an overall trend in the field strength." 

This would indicate the opposite, that there was less C-14 in the past.  Or that a change could not be extrapolated.   This, combined with the opposite evolutionist  thinking that there was twice as much C-14, and making age adjustments for it, means that they would overestimate the age of carbon compounds significantly. 

It is also significant that other than C-14 which measures organic materials, most other radiometric methods measure decay products in igneous rock, not in sedimentary rock.  Yet it is sedimentary rock where fossils, coal, oil, etc., are found.  And if I am not mistaken,  sedimentary rock is given an age of where it is found, not how it is dated by radiometric methods.

Rosemarie, I have held a 30 Million year fossil in my hands, I looked at Galaxies 24 Million Years away with my own eyes and I have seen pictures of cave paintings more than 6,000 years old.  In each case, this was a the estimated or projected age of the majority of experts in that domain.  Yes, I am still skeptical of experts. My point is that the scientifc method welcomes skeptics. 

Yes, I do belive in the flood of Noah as described by Jesus in Matt 24:37-39.  However, Jesus did not give the date of the flood nor did he describe it as a 'global' flood.  Other people have added that.  My point was that adding something to scripture is just as dangerous as taking something away. I believe exactly what Jesus said is true.

I never said that young people should separate their scientific studies from their  faith. I actually said quite the opposite. I have no determination to have young people separate their faith from since.  We do not separate Christ's human nature and his divine nature but we do distinguish between the two.

 As for the dogmas of yesterdays, history is replete with long lists of scientists who were killed, imprison, or persecuted by the Church only to find out that they were ultimately proved correct.

These verses clearly show that it was a global flood.  How can all the high hills be covered in water without it being a global flood?

Genesis 7:19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.

but the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.

Ken, first of all let me thank you for your reply. I too have been wary of replying to Banner Articles and I often decided to opt out.  However, I don't think you made a mistake in your reply.  I'm also an engineer and scientist that is close to retirement and I want a young, Christian engineer and scientist to take my place.

Joy, I think we can both agree that the dove did not fly across the 'whole earth'

Almighty God told us that 'the waters were on the face of the whole earth'.  

This is stated as a fact, i.e. not merely based on how far the dove would be able to fly.   Even a humble dove wouldn't be so daft as to continue flying until it dropped into the water and drowned.   Once it had flown far enough and couldn't see any glimpse of land as far as it could see it would do the logical thing and fly back where it was safe in the ark.

Joy, not every Bible translates this verse the same way. Here is the new international version, a very respected translation.

" But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark."

So a perfectly reasonable interpetation is that the Dove flew as far as it could and the surface of the earth was covered with water.   'Earth" may not be same exactly thing as 'earth'. 'Earth' is the name of our planent and 'earth' is also the name of the ground.  I don't have a problem with a dove flying over the earth and finding no place to land.  I do have a problem with a Dove flying over the entire planet Earth.

Scientists can only add zero's to the age of the (you enter a name). I only add faith. Zero's appear to be added all the time, faith is more stable.

Kyle, my target audience was exactly people like you.  We need young people to engage with both science and with the church. I have spent most of my life in the lab and in the church and I've never had to question my faith. However, many times I did have to question my lab instructor or my Sunday school teacher.  The key point is that reasonable people can agree on the facts but then disagree on the interpretation.

 It might be differences in interpreting the Bible or the intepreting results of scientific experiment. Earlier in this diaglog, we discussed two different interpretations of Genesis 8:9 based on the words 'earth' and 'Earth'.  Both are reasonable interpretations and both are put forth by reasonable people.  As a engineer and scientist, you will need to welcome skeptics, different interpretations, and maybe even a 'reformation' of thought. 

All the best to you as a Christian engaged in Science. 

Harry, science can do more than add zeros.  Today, I knew that the comet Sidings - Spring was near Mars even though it was cloudy in California. Yes, science does change. Newtons laws of motion only lasted 325 years.  Einsteins special theory of relativity has only lasted 110 years. So yes, science  does change.  I'm sure that the CRC does not change, especially with fundametal sacraments as who can take the Lord's Supper.  My whole point is that we need to accept change. If you are against all change, you are not Reformed.

How far the dove flew is not really the issue.  How do you explain a local flood if all the high hills were covered?


It is clear from Word of God that we need to be careful of what 'change' we accept, e.g. not to be confirmed to the world.  Romans 12:2Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We shouldn't be conforming to secular science that since Charles Lyell has a clear agenda, i.e. to “free the science from Moses”. That is what Lyell wrote on 14th June 1830 in a letter to George Poulett Scrope:

 

I am sure you may get into Q.R. [Quarterly Review] what will free the science from Moses,...

Regarding dinosaurs, i.e. the title of this article:

The Chinese symbol for the dragon includes pictorially a ribbed body, a crested head, long snout and a beautiful spiked tail! It is pronounced “long” and is also used to describe dinosaurs. So the early Chinese knew what they looked like.

Joy,

You are doing a very good job of proving my point.  Because I interpet a verse of the Bible differently than you do, you then say "Almighty God' says it's true so it must be true.  The whole point is that reasonable people can disagree on different interpretations of general  revlation and special revelation without employing the "Almighty told us" card when in fact it's very possible that you have misinterpreted the Bible but you then say that it came from the Bible that it must be ture.  

That's a double mistake which has plaged the Church for thousands of years.  I am very willing to have a discussion with you, but please don't put yourself in the place of 'Almight God' when I have a different viewpoint.

 

Jake

As you mentioned scientists make mistakes.  In your article you asked:

“As Reformed Christians, should we welcome these scientific discoveries, or do they attack the basic tenets of our faith?”

Surely it doesn’t make sense to re-interpret the Word of God based on fallible scientists, who make mistakes.

Too often Christians today come to the Bible with their own pre-conceived ideas. When they do that, they try to make the Scriptures say what they want them to say instead of drawing out from them what the author—and God—intended. The technical word for this error is eisegesis—reading into the text. What we want to do is the opposite, called exegesis, which means drawing out from the text what the author intended to communicate.

It’s interesting that John Calvin believed that:

•The earth is ‘young’: ‘They will not refrain from guffaws when they are informed that but little more than five thousand years have passed since the creation of the universe.’ Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion 2:925, ed. John T. McNeill, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, PA, USA, 1960. 

•God created in six consecutive normal days: ‘Here the error of those is manifestly refuted, who maintain that the world was made in a moment. For it is too violent a cavil to contend that Moses distributes the work which God perfected at once into six days, for the mere purpose of conveying instruction. Let us rather conclude that God himself took the space of six days, for the purpose of accommodating his works to the capacity of men.’ Calvin, J., Genesis, 1554; Banner of Truth, Edinburgh, UK, 1984, p. 78
‘I have said above that six days were employed in the formation of the world; not that God, to whom one moment is as a thousand years, had need of this succession of time, but that he might engage us in the contemplation of his works.’ Calvin, Genesis, p. 105.

The Flood was global: ‘Moses copiously insists on this fact, in order to show that the whole world was immersed in the waters.’ Calvin, Genesis, p. 272.

Joy,

At least you are describing what John Calvin said instead what of 'Almight God' said.  Yes, I do believe that  great Scientists can be wrong and I also believe that  great Theologians can be wrong. 

Maybe you need to reread the article. By the way, I am very familiar with the Chinese Symbol for dragon. I speak Japanese and they use the same Kanji character for Dragon as the traditional (not simplified) Chinese character.  It has absolutey nothing to do with the early Chinese seeing dinosaurs. The Chinese, Persians, and Egyptians all knew about crocodiles and alligators and that Chinese symbol is also used to describe them.

Saint Augustine (A.D. 354-430) in his work The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim) provided excellent advice for all Christians who are faced with the task of interpreting Scripture in the light of scientific knowledge. This translation is by J. H. Taylor in Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, volume 41.

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]

Llyod, I'm familiar with the above quote of St. Augustine. I agree completely with your reply.

Thank you

Jake

Jake, thank you for responding to my comments. I apologize for my comments being somewhat combative. I was expressing my frustration that The Banner was publishing another article supporting "Old Earth creationism", not realising that the article "Speaking of Jurassic Park" was also being published.

You now say that you are skeptical of experts but there isn't anything in your original article that supports this. You say that we believe God doesn't try to decieve by making things look older than they are or "hiding pre-processed  coal, oil and natural gas in the proper geologic strata".  You appear to accept "the dominant scientific theory...that the earth is very old". You also completely believe what Jesus said about the flood but does that mean because Jesus didn't mention the word "global", you don't believe what Moses wrote about the flood?

It seems to me that your answer to "Do we need to fear the dinosaur?" is "No, as long as we take those things from the Bible that seems to conflict with dominant scientific theory as man's misinterpretation of God's Word". It may work for you and for most Christians working in the field of science. But some will see no need to even recognize God because dominant scientific theory doesn't require Him. All we needed to get here was time and a drop of water from a passing comet.

My point is: how much more positive will our engagement of science be when we recognize the powerful forces that God unleashed on the earth through the Flood; when we understand that in our role as stewards, we are responsible for the well-being of all the creatures on earth! It doesn't make any difference what date we put on the things we see and touch in this world. If I believed the fossil in my hand was 68 million years old or 4000 years old, it wouldn't change anything about its physical appearance or the place it was found. The "fossil fuels" I use everyday don't become less useful because I believe they exist as a result of the Flood. It does mean I am benefitting from a long line of scientists who used their God-given talents(acknowledged or not) to improve our lives. Science and technology are incredible gifts. Let's just remember the lessons of the Tower of Babel.

 

Ten reasons why the Genesis Flood must have been a Global Event:

Size of the Ark — The Ark was "450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high" (Genesis 6:15). Built like a huge barge, the Ark had the same capacity as about 520 standard railroad stock cars — easily enough room to hold every kind of land-dwelling, air-breathing animal. (A much smaller vessel could have been used to save all the varieties of local animals.)

 

Depth of the Water — The water "rose and increased greatly on the earth," covering "all the high mountains under the entire heavens . . . to a depth of more than twenty feet" (Genesis 7:18-20). And later on, it wasn't until the water had already "gone down" quite a bit that the Ark landed "on the mountains of Ararat" (Genesis 8:3,4). Could this have been a "local" flood?

 

Duration of the Flood — The flood continued rising for forty days (Genesis 7:17), then took months to go down. For more than seven months no land could be seen (Genesis 8:5) — and the earth remained too wet to live on for over a year (Genesis 8:14). Could such a flood have been "local"?

 

The Lord Jesus Christ — Our Saviour affirmed that the flood was worldwide; he compared the future judgment to the one that had occurred in Noah's time. Jesus said, ". . . the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man" (Matthew 24:39).

 

The Earth — Three-quarters of the Earth's continental land is composed of fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks. There are "billions of dead things, buried in rock layers laid down by water, all over the Earth." Most of these are marine organisms; some are large animals, jumbled together in huge "fossil graveyards."

 

Causes of the Flood — Physically, the flood occurred when "all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened" (Genesis 7:11). Spiritually, the flood was God's judgment on "man's wickedness on the earth" (Genesis 6:5). These causes are not “local.”

 

The Apostle Peter — Peter repeatedly affirmed a global flood: ". . . God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water" (1 Peter 3:20). "By water also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed" (2 Peter 3:6, cf. 2:5).

 

Traditions from many nations — Hundreds of people groups around the world have stories in which a great flood leaves only a few survivors. Such tales have been found among the native peoples of North and South America, Australia, Japan, China, India, and Europe.

 

Need for the Ark — Noah was warned that the flood was coming. If it were only a local flood, he could have escaped by leaving the area. So could the animals (especially birds!). An Ark would not have been needed at all.     

 

Promise of God — After the flood, God said, ". . . never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done" (Genesis 8:21). But if Noah's flood was local, then God has often broken that promise, because many destructive local floods have occurred since Noah's time!

Rosemarie, thank you for apology and your kind reply. A key point of my article is that is very possible to get an education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and then have a long career working in geology, physics, astronomy or medicine.  You may not care if the fossil in your hands is 68M years old or 4K years old.  Unfortunately, a geologist has to care.  There are 40 different ways to date rocks and they all correlate well, and they all indicate the Earth is very old.  There are 4 different ways to estimate the age of the universe, they all correlate well, and they all indicate old universe. A Christian astronomer has to talk with other astronomers and a Christian geologist has to talk with other geologists. There is a factor of a Million (4B years vs 4K years) difference between these two views. We have many Christians with PhDs and multiple advanced  degrees in Geology, Astronomy, Physics, and Engineering who teach and work in these fields every day.  We have no problems believing in both an old earth and the inerrancy of the Bible. There are at leaset a dozen books written by Christians who support the old earth theory.   God has given us both his general revelation and special revelation. Christians in science study both, believe both and don't have problems with an old earth and an even older universe.

My God bless us all as we try to understand his revelations with humility and acceptance of people with different, but reasonable, views.

Be careful of hyperbole, there are probably not even that many scientists in total.  Anyway, the truth is never decided by numbers, i.e. mere majority opinion.  

 

Still waiting for your explanation how all the high mountains under the whole heaven can be covered by many feet of water without covering the whole earth.  

 

At Fossil Bluff on the north coast of Australia’s island state of Tasmania, many thousands of marine creatures (corals, bryozoans [lace corals], bivalves [clams], and gastropods [snails]) were buried together in a broken state, along with a toothed whale and a marsupial possum Whales and possums don’t live together, so only a watery catastrophe would have buried them together!  How could this have happened unless the ocean waters rose and swept over the continents in a global, catastrophic Flood?

 

As Reformed Christians, we welcome these scientific discoveries, as well as these (documented on Youtube videos): 

 

Age of the Earth - part 1 - Intro to R.A.T.E.

 

Age of the Earth - part 2 - Helium Diffusion Rates 

 

Age Of The Earth Part 3 - Radiohalo Studies

 

Age Of The Earth Part 4 - Carbon 14 Isotopes

Joy, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) June 2014 report found here:

http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-374

The United States, is producing about 2 Million STEM Graduates per year with 16 Million already in the workforce.  The United States is also 5th lagging behind China, India, and Japan, in the proportion of STEM graduates to all graduates.  By 2015, the majority of people working in STEM vocations will be in Asia.  

Joy, scientists are not prone to hyperbole. If anything my estimate was on the low side. The United States, in particular, needs more STEM people.  The primary purpose of my article was to encourage young Christians to go into STEM fields and not to argue over the size of Noah’s flood.  If fact, I did not even mention the flood in my article but since day one, you have tried to make the flood the center piece of the agenda but it’s not.  The real agenda is getting more young Christians to embrace their faith and make a difference in the world that needs more Christians working in STEM vocations.

We need STEM Christians who will estimate the ages of rocks, meteorites, comets, galaxies, etc. and they will quickly find that they are not 6,000 years old. Let us please go back to an honest discussion of my Banner article and not your personal agenda.

 

 

For those who might be interested to know why Ken Hamm is a complete fraud, here is a link, from a Baptist no less:

http://www.heritagebbc.com/archive3/0268.html

 

I’m sorry that I didn’t play very nice a week or two ago. It was past my bedtime, and not a good time to read postings that my ADD has trouble processing. Since we have sometimes gotten somewhat off subject, I’ll let that be my excuse to make a statement.

I have a problem distinguishing between a question that is seeking information from one that is challenging, arguing, or accusing. During my 34 years of teaching college geology I got used to answering questions from people who asked one question at a time and presumably wanted to hear my answer. They didn’t give me a lot of questions at once, and we were able to deal with one thing at a time. The way things go here is often overwhelming. During most of the time since my retirement in 1999, I have been the geologist who responds to messages posted to Ask a Geologist on the website of the Affiliation of Christian Geologists (www.wheaton.edu/acg). Some of these are strictly geology questions, but many deal with science and faith issues, and those questions usually come in one at a time, too. (My pastor has seen some of my replies, and has pleased me by commenting that I deal with my inquirers rather pastorally.)

It has been observed that folks communicating on the Web may be somewhat less polite than they would be in person, and we lack the benefit of body language, tone of voice, and other things that we use when we speak face to face, so it is difficult to know how the other person feels and easy make mistakes about that. At least I don’t see the naughty words here that I’ve seen on some other blogs, and that’s good. However, it’s unfortunate that we are communicating pretty much with total strangers, and if we were better acquainted that would help us to appreciate where the other person is “coming from.” Sometimes I get the feeling that when certain Christians hear that I’m a geologist, they suspect that I may have horns and a tail.

During most of the time that I taught geology, I took advantage of the opportunity afforded when we got to the topic of geologic time to mention that I was a Christian (if it wasn’t already obvious) and active in my church. Noting that the students shouldn’t laugh at Ussher for concluding Earth was only about 6,000 years old, because he was working with the only information he had available at the time and it was really quite clever (actually based on dispensations rather than geochronology), I pointed out that if you are going to disagree with someone about something, such as what I was going to say about the age of the planet on which we live, you need to know what my position is and why I hold it. Just where do I get those crazy ideas, anyway. And I invited the students to stop by and chat with me after class because I didn’t think I should spend a lot of class time talking about this, and that resulted in some good personal conversations.

Last evening my wife and I attended the Appreciation and Scholarship Annual Dinner of Calvin Theological Seminary. Early in retirement, I donated some of a small inheritance to fund a geology scholarship at Calvin College in honor of my parents who introduced me to the Creator and His work. Then I decided to fund a twin scholarship at Calvin Theological Seminary, also honoring my parents, and together they support training in the study of the two books by which we know God (Belgic Confession Article 2).

Now this is longer than some of the long posts that have annoyed me, but I hope it was more focused on my goal. What was that? Maybe to point out that some of my detractors have more in common with me than they might think, and that it’s possible to be friends with someone we don’t always agree with. (I love the lady I’ve been married to for 55 years, but still don’t always agree with her.)

If the non-geologists here honestly want to know where we geologists get all of our crazy anti-biblical ideas (that’s hyperbole, folks), it would be best to go to a primary source and not limit yourself to secondary sources, i.e., what people who are often not geologists (Henry Morris, John Whitcomb, and others) say about geology and geological topics. I would recommend the following:

These books by Reformed Christians -

Haarsma, Deborah and Loren, Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design, Faith Alive Christian Resources

Young, Davis, Christianity and the Age of the Earth, Artisan Pub

Young, Davis, The Biblical Flood, Eerdmans

Young, Davis, Good News for Science: Why Scientific Minds Need God, Malius Press

Young, Davis, and Ralph Stearley, The Bible, Rocks and Time, IVP Academic

I also enjoy John Walton and John C. Collins.

And these websites:

A three-part article on geologic dating by Davis Young:

Part One: Relative Dating, Absolute Dating, and Non-radiometric Dating Methods - http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2006/PSCF12-06Young.pdf

Part Two: Radiometric Dating: Mineral, Isochron and Concordia Methods

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2007/PSCF3-07Young.pdf

Part Three: Thermochronometry, Cosmogenic Isotopes, and Theological Implications - http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2007/PSCF6-07Young.pdf

Daniel E.Wonderly, Baptist scientist (old Earth, anti-evolutionist)

Neglect of Geologic Data: Sedimentary Strata Compared with Young-Earth Creationist Writings

http://www.asa3.asa3online.org/ASA/resources/Wonderly2006.pdf

God’s Time: Evidences of Long Time Spans in Earth History

http://www.wonderlylib.ibri.org/Wonderly-TimeRecords/README.htm

I doubt that I will get involved in discussions here very much. I am busy writing a book on Michigan geology (and have finished about 10 chapters without mentioning the e-word, but it may come up eventually; one can work out a lot of geologic history without even considering fossils). I will answer questions at Ask-a-Geologist if anyone wants to ask me something privately.

 

Shalom.

Thank you Ken.  Since you are the expert, how many ways do we have in geology to estimate the age of a rock or a fossil?

Do these aging estimates cross correlate well with non-geologic aging methods used in earth science such as tree rings?

When we have meteroites or other non-geo samples (we are actually about to land on a comet and get a sample of it) how does that even correlate to earth samples?

Henry, thank you for your informative reply. I know that some people support the idea of humans and dinosaurs living together, but as you said, it’s a good thing that we didn't.

I was very surprised when an earlier reply suggested that the Chinese symbol for 'Dragon' indicated that early Chinese saw dinosaurs. The dragon symbol is often used in art and it's a popular surname because it's associated with success and protection.  The dragon symbol is used to describe more than dozen reptiles like alligators, crocodiles and sea serpents since the original Asian dragon was a water deity.

When I studied in Beijing, I visited a temple where the walls had 635 dragons which were a mixture of nine different styles. I bought home a beautiful antique of a green dragon (without the wings which were added by Europeans) that I have in my family room.

 

I am trying to encourage more young Christians to enter STEM education and vocations because we are running way behind Asia. Soon there will be more people employed in STEM vocations in Asia than anywhere else.  It is past time that we encouraged committed Christians to get into in science.

 

Thank you for the well-written and thoughtful article, Jake Buurma. I am proud to claim you as a brother in Christ and happy to be a member of the same church (full disclosure!). I hope and pray that your article, other writings, and other sympathetic people help to accomplish your goal -- of encouraging more young people of faith to enter the study of science.

We believe that there is no barrier between our faith and all of our life - every square inch and every tiny moment of it. This holds true in our study of science as well as our study of theology and any other subject. We don't need to go through all kinds of gyrations to make science fit into what we think the Bible says, or make the Bible fit into what we think science says. They are both God speaking to us, and that is a reason for praise.

As we grow in our understanding of God's word in the Bible and his creation, may we also grow in our love for him and for each other.

Thank you Mavis. As you know, I've taught Sunday School at our Church for both teenagers and adults. The USA is falling behind in STEM edducation.  By 2020, over 40% of all STEM graduates will come from China and India. Will these be Christian STEM workers?  Probably not.

I would hope that Christians from both 'Old Earth' and 'Young Earth' camps could at least agree that having committed Christians in STEM vocations is good for Christianity and the whole world.

Henry, that diatribe that you link to doesn't prove anything.  Just a diatribe by someone who disagrees with Ken Ham.  BTW, note the correct spelling of his name.

Joy, Neither does anything that I've seen posted on the Banner website prove young earth creationism.  On the question of Origins I think I'll stick to the 97% of scientists who actually do science on this issue, and not those who do theology that they want to pass as science.

"You can visit a fossil site and hold a 30 million-year-old fossil with amazing physical detail in your own hands. Or hike into a meteor crater that is 50 thousand years old, or marvel at the craftsmanship of sculpted mammoth teeth or cave paintings that are over 30 thousand years old"  says Jake Burma. 

The wonder.  The amazement.  30 thousand years old!  Wow!  Doesn't it feel old?  Don't you feel special?  No, sorry.  30 million is pretty short if the world is 4.5 billion.  And it doesn't say 30 million on the fossil.  That is a guess.  And probably wrong, since these ages are adjusted frequently.  It is an assumption and unproved.  You held a fossil.  Someone said it was 30 million years old because it was in some rocks in a layer which was close to some other rocks, which someone measured half lives and said that it must be a certain age because of their assumptions about initial isotope quantities at time of rock formation.  But suppose they are right.    Suppose they are right about the age.  Does that prove or provide evidence for evolution?  Not at all.  NOT AT ALL.

 Evolution needs its own proof.   While a young age will disprove evolution, an old age does not demonstrate evolution.  While evidence of a global flood will be a problem for evolution, the lack of a global flood will not be evidence for evolution.  This discussion so often does not actually deal with how the evidence is interpreted, nor with the impossibility of evolution, straight to the philosophical discussion of how we must deal with it as christians.   That is putting the cart before the horse.  Why is there no discussion of what it means to be a theistic evolutionist?  What is the difference between theistic evolution and atheistic evolution?  If there is no difference, why give it a different name?   As reformed people, we have always said that there is a difference between being a teacher who is christian, and a christian teacher.  Why does that principle not apply here?  I feel sorry for Jake Burma and Ken Van Dellan who are so wrapped up in their paradigms that they have lost the power of open investigation and speculation.  Dr. Mary Scweitzer can hold a dinosaur fossil in her hands and see organic tissue, including hemoglobin and red blood cells.  Ian Juby can take pictures of fossils of giant reeds which transect layers of sediment which are millions of years different in age (an impossibility).  The amazing complexity of the simplest cell or micoplasma or eukaryote or eyeball can demonstrate the impossibility of evolution.  But that will all be ignored by the faithful evolutionists who place their faith in evolution above what can actually be seen and measured.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If theistic evolutionists would say that atheistic evolution is impossible, that it could not happen, then they might gain some credibility.  If theistic evolutionists would admit that undirected, unintelligent evolution of the solar system, earth, plants and animals is mathematically, statistically and probablistically impossible, then they might gain some credibility.  If theistic evolutionists would claim that evolution is a miracle, only possible because God took all the improbabilities and impossibilities and made it happen, then they might have some credibility.  If they acknowledge that God would have had to initiate some fantastic changes outside of blind random chance in order for evolution to happen at all, they might gain some credibility.  But it they continue to follow the blind faith of atheistic evolutionists, then they have fallen into the same trap of highlighting the irrelevance of trusting in a God who created, sustained, and redeemed all things. 

Henry, I read part of the article you cited about Ken Ham.  From a reasonable point of view, I would have to say that most of the so-called refutations of Ken Ham are invalid.  While the animal Ken Ham cites as a possibility for behomoth ( ie. brachiosaurus) may not be the actual animal, it is certainly as close to the description as a hippotomas.  The convolutions of reasoning to suppose that the tail of a hippopotamus swings like a cedar is absurd.  Most dinosaurs had tails that could swing like a cedar, including the modern dinosaur called the crocodile;  the hippo certainly does not.   Then, the reasoning used in your article to suppose that man could not bait the crocodile or pierce it is also faulty, as we know people have been hunting crocodiles and alligators for centuries, even thousands of years.  In conclusion, I would have to reasonably state that the article you cited is a complete fraud. 

John, of course, proving that the Earth is 4.5 Billion years old is more difficult than proving a fossil is 30 Million years old.  But in about two weeks, we just might get the chance.  The spacecraft Rosetta will deploy a lander on comet 67P. The comet is only the size of 12 Nimitz class aircraft carriers.  Watch for the headlines in the papers.

That lander will drill into the comet, get an original sample, and then bake it in a 1,400 degree oven to release its frozen gasses.  We can then finally look at the material that God brought into existence 4.5B years ago. For science, this comet is a time capsule that goes back 4.5 Billion years.  Every day, I can look through my trusty telescope and look back 4.5 Million years. In December, I plan to visit the Keck observatory and look back 45 Million years.  How do I know these times?  I only have to believe that the speed of light is constant and that Hubble's Law is true. These are two very reasonable assumptions that 99% of scientists believe are valid.

 

Maybe God does fool scientists.  After all, we are only human.  But, God also sent his son to die for us, so He must love the world more than we can imagine.

 

John makes some good points regarding believing in Theistic evolution.  This is what Willian Provine said: "Belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism."

Josef Ton, a Romanian Baptist pastor imprisoned for his faith under the communist regime, testified from his own experience: I came to the conclusion that there are two factors which destroyed Christianity in Western Europe. One was the theory of evolution, the other, liberal theology … .  Liberal theology is just evolution applied to the Bible and our faith. 

Prominent theologian Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary states: 'Given the stakes in this public controversy, the attractiveness of theistic evolution becomes clear. The creation of a middle ground between Christianity and evolution would resolve a great cultural and intellectual conflict. Yet, in the process of attempting to negotiate this new middle ground, it is the Bible and the entirety of Christian theology that gives way, not evolutionary theory. Theistic evolution is a biblical and theological disaster.'

Sherwood Taylor, Curator of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford observed: 'In England it was geology and the theory of evolution that changed us from a Christian to a pagan nation.'

Regarding 'distant' starlight, we read in Isaiah 42:5 "Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:"

This is a good explanation, i.e. we are seeing the light that was there before God the Lord placed (perhaps pulled) them into their positions.

Joy,  you must be getting desparate to quote William Provine. Provine has said exactly the opposite of everything that I said in my article.  If you want to discuss the points tha in my article then please do.  But don't bring up dozens of things that I did never said and please don't ever associate me with people like William Provine.  He is the bio on William Provine:

William Provine is an atheist, philosopher, and critic of intelligent design. He has engaged in prominent debates with theist philosophers and scientists about the existence of God and the viability of intelligent design. He has debated the founder of the intelligent design movement Phillip E. Johnson and the two have a friendly relationship. Provine has stated that he starts his course on evolutionary biology by having his students read Johnson's book Darwin on Trial.

 

William Provine is a determinist in biology, but not a determinist in physics or chemistry, thus rejecting the idea of free will in humans.  Provine believes that there is no evidence for God, there is no life after death, there is no absolute foundation for right and wrong, there is no ultimate meaning for life, and that humans don't have free will.   End of quote.

Joy, you must really be desparate. You've already implied that if I am ashamed of God's word that Jesus will be ashamed of me when he comes in glory. Now you associate me with a guy like Provine because I believe that God is the author of both the special revelation (Bible) and the general revelation (Nature) and that he is consistent.  

Really?  We can't have a reasonable discussion of the points in my article? You have to warn me, attack me, and then associate me with people like Provine? If you can't apologize and then treat a fellow, committed christian with a little more respect, the same respect that I've shown you, then I will contact the management of this website and report abuse.

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