googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: November 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Radiometric Dating: Epic Failure

Mt. St. Helen's erupted in 1980. As far as volcanoes go, it was a rather tame eruption but it was one of the larger ones to happen in this generation. Because of its size and occurrence in our lifetimes, it's been the subject of much scientific inquiry. Dr. Steven Austin, a creationist and PhD geologist, collected rock samples formed in the eruption and had them tested using the potassium/argon dating method. The results on different samples gave ages between .35 (+/- .05) and 2.8 (+/- .6) million years. The known age of the rocks was 10 years old.

The fact that accepted, “scientific” dating methods failed to assign the correct age to the rocks should cast doubt on the ages assigned to rocks of unknown age. However, evolutionists cried foul. Mark Isaak, on the website, Talk Origins, said:

Briefly, Steve Austin collected a sample from the Mount St. Helens lava dome, known to be ten years old then, and sent it to a geochronology lab which tells people very clearly that the methods they use cannot give accurate dates on samples expected to be less than two million years old. In other words, Austin deliberately arranged for the dating to be invalid and then pretended it was someone else's fault.

I thought Mr. Isaak's response was a little vague. He did not spell out exactly why the lab cannot give accurate dates on recent examples. He did provide a link to a site that explained young samples should not have enough 40Ar present to be detected. The fact of the matter was, though, that Austin's samples did have detectable amounts of argon and thus yielded ages much older than the actual ages of the samples. I wrote to TO and expressed my disagreement. Here's a quote from my letter:

Mark Isaak's response to Harold in September's feedback was grossly misleading. Mr. Isaak stated that evolutionists' dating methods "cannot give accurate dates on samples expected to be less than two million years old." He does not explain that the reason is that there SHOULD NOT BE enough of the daughter element present to be detected. In the link provided in the response, Dr. Henke states, "A few thousand years are not enough time for 40Ar to accumulate in a sample at high enough concentrations to be detected and quantified. Furthermore, many geochronology laboratories do not have the expensive state-of-the-art equipment to accurately measure argon in samples that are only a few million years old." This is a real problem for evolutionists. 1) If a rock of unknown date tests to be 3 million years old, how can we be sure it's not only 50,000 years old? By your own admission, accurate dates cannot be given for samples under 2 million years old. 2) If the world truly was created only 6,000 years ago, you must acknowledge your dating methods would be WORTHLESS in trying to establish that.

In reply, Chris Stassen of TO quickly moved the goal post, saying, “'Not able to give accurate dates' generally means that the range of uncertainty swamps the measured age. It does not mean that any arbitrarily old age will result. For example, an age of 0.5 ± 1 million years is not considered either accurate or terribly useful, even though it is correct. I was tempted to point out that the range of uncertainty swamping the measured age didn't happen in the case in question but I let it go.

My exchange with Talk Origins happened in October, 2006. So why am I bringing this all up now? I guess there are a couple of reasons. First, it's still relevant to the debate because secular scientists still resort to these same arguments whenever their tests fail to accurately date rocks of known ages. But more than that, I recently came across a funny video that uses a perfect analogy to drive home these very points.

Ian Juby hosts a periodic show on YouTube called, “Genesis Week.” His humor is a little campy but, overall, I find his videos interesting. The full video (self titled, Rant #100), can be viewed here but I've edited it down to the relevant section below.

video

Isn't that a hoot? He echos the very points I've made before but his glass of water analogy really nails it. Secular dating methods don't give “no date” for rocks of known origin – they give erroneous dates which are much older than the actual date. How then can we have any confidence in the dates assigned to rocks of unknown age?

There are at least a dozen assumptions that must be made when radiometric dating is being used to determine a rock's age – none of which are testable. One assumption, for example, is that none of the daughter element is present in the sample at its origin (or at least that the exact parent/daughter ratio can be known). In science, nothing is really ever proven “true” but some things can be proven false. I believe this particular assumption has been proven false. What then of the other assumptions? Why should I believe any are valid?


The fact of the matter is that I don't. I don't see why any reasonable person would. But then again, we are talking about evolutionists.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Some Comments on the Creation Week: Conclusion


Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
(Gen 2:1-4)

The six days of creation having been accomplished, God ends His creation with a Sabbath. Of course, God wasn't “tired” and in need of rest. Instead, He “rested” in the sense that He ceased His labor. We might compare it to a “rest” in a piece of music where the music pauses deliberately and not because the performer is tired.

While the 7th day is marked by no work, there is still a lot we can glean from this passage. As I've done in previous posts, I'm going to break this passage down verse by verse.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

The clause, “and all the host of them,” is significant. Everything that exists in heaven and earth was created in the six preceding days. The “host” - meaning the stars, the sun, the earth, the seas, the plants, the animals, man, and every other created thing – came to be in the span of those six ordinary days. There is no room for millions or billions of years.

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made;

This verse says God ended His work. This wasn't just a pause (as in my musical analogy); God “ended” His work. The universe He intended to create had been accomplished and God is no longer creating. This conforms nicely with the 1st Law of Thermodynamics that roughly says no new matter/energy is being created. It's a sort of prediction being made by the Bible. God created natural processes and the universe continues largely under their divinely appointed rules. Of course, Jesus performed creative acts, such as the multiplication of the loaves and fish or the turning of water to wine. It is precisely because we know new things don't naturally appear that we can be certain these acts were supernatural.

Conversely, the fact that God ended His work contradicts the theory of Theistic Evolution. According to TE, God continuously created from the moment of the Big Bang to the creation of man billions of years later. According to evolutionists, stars are still being created (even though we've never seen it happen) and they say animals continue to evolve (evolution by definition) so God's creative work has never really ceased.

and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

God could have created the universe in as short or as long a period of time that He wanted. He could have created it instantly. He could have created it over the course of billions of years. It's not a question of what He could have done but rather what He has done. He deliberately chose seven days.

Perhaps one reason He chose the seven day week was to set a precedence for us to follow. In Exodus 20:8-11, we read the following:

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

God has purposefully established our seven day week to mirror the seven day creation week. This would make sense only if these were seven, ordinary days. The passage is unambiguous. Everything in heaven and earth was created in only six days and the LORD rested on the seventh. Again, there is no room for millions or billions of years.

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

Before I conclude, let me highlight an amusing aside. Note the use of the word “day” in this passage: “in the day that he LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” In this context, the word covers the entire week of creation and not just a 24 hour period. Theistic evolutionists often argue that since “day” has several meanings, it could mean millions or billions of years in Genesis 1. We see here an example of such a use where the word day clearly means more than 24 hours. However, young-earth creationists never argue that “day” can only mean 24 hours. Instead, we interpret the Bible according to a plain reading of the text. The context here clearly shows the meaning of the word. In Genesis 1, it clearly means a single evening and morning (i.e. – a single rotation of the earth). I've wondered before why it is that seemingly bright people can understand the meaning of the word “day” every other time it is used in the Bible except for Genesis? //RKBentley scratches his head//

Moving on....

The narrative of the creation ends with the labeling, “these are the generations of the heaven and earth.” The inclusion of the title at the end of the chronology rather than the beginning like we might expect had stymied scholars for centuries. The “book of the generations of Adam,” for example, which details Adam's creation, the Fall, the Curse, the murder of Abel, and the birth of Seth, begins in Genesis 2:5 and ends in Genesis 5:2. Perhaps this is what led to the confusion that Genesis 2 was a second creation account; that is, people believed it was introducing a chronology rather than concluding one.


So there they are. The generations of the heavens and earth as clearly told to us in Genesis 1. Time, space, matter, sea, air, land, plants, animals, and man – all created in six ordinary days with God resting on the seventh. One week. No mystery. No ambiguity. And no billions of years.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Some Comments on the Creation Week: Day 6b - The Creation of Man


And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
(Gen 1:26-31)

Day 6 of creation climaxed with the creation of man. Genesis 1 gives us an overview of the creation of Adam but Genesis 2 gives additional details. In this post I will be referring to both chapters. I already know this is going to be a long post so I apologize in advance.

Genesis 1:26, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:

The use of plural pronouns in this verse has been the point of much debate. Some have proposed this is an example of the plural of majesty. Per Wiki, some monarchs believed their authority was divinely given so “us” meant “God and I.” In another sense, the plural could be a monarch speaking with the voice of his subjects such as when Queen Victoria famously said, “We are not amused.” But neither would apply here.

Certainly God was not consulting with the animals so they would not be included in the “us.” The Bible never says exactly when the angels were created but we might assume it was during the creation week. In that case, “us” might include the angels.

Of course, given what we know from the rest of Scripture, the “us” very likely means the three Persons of the Trinity. The angels had no part in the creation but we know that John 1 acknowledges Jesus as the Creator. So God's conversation here may be the Father in dialogue with the Son and the Spirit.

It's interesting to note the change in the pace of the action. In every other instance, God spoke and the created thing appeared. In this case, God pauses and deliberates before He acts.

Genesis 1:27-28, So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

There are a couple of significant points we can discern from this passage. First, we are different than the animals in that we alone are created in the image of God. One of the first tasks given to Adam at his creation was to name the animals of the garden. Among those beasts, Adam would find none like him. When God created Eve, Adam saw immediately that she was like him and remarked, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). According to evolution, we are simply another evolved animal – one possessing higher intelligence. The Bible tells us that we aren't animals.

The second point we can see is that God created the earth to be of service to us. The plants were meant to be our food and we had dominion over every living thing in the sea, in the air, and on the earth. We should be good stewards of what has given us but the biblical description of the relationship between us and nature seems in stark contrast to the attitudes of radical environmentalists. They would have us believe there is something noble in unspoiled nature and it's our duty to serve the earth.

GENESIS CHAPTER 2 – A Second Creation Account?

Many critics have argued that Genesis 1 and 2 have contradictory creation accounts. I'm surprised this criticism has endured because even a cursory reading seems to dispel that notion. I suspect it has been successful through the use of quote mining where a critic will compare select verses from chapters 1 and 2 and the reader never bothers to read the context.

The chronology of the seven days of the creation week ends at Genesis 2:4. Beginning in verse 5 through the rest of chapter 2, the Bible expounds on the creation of Adam on day 6. Roughly, the events are as follows:
  1. God creates Adam from the dust of the earth (v. 7)
  2. God creates the Garden of Eden, which includes the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (v. 8-9)
  3. God puts Adam in the Garden (v. 8, 15)
  4. God creates animals in the Garden and brings them to Adam to be named (v. 19-20)
  5. God creates Eve (v. 22)
Since chapter 2 has some animals created after Adam while chapter 1 has animals created before Adam, critics tout this as a contradiction between the accounts. We can see in the text, though, that the animals created in v. 19 are not the same animals that were created on previous days.

Still another criticism of the creation account is the straw claim that Adam had to name all the animals in the world. Since there are millions of species, naming them all would take more than a single day. However, a clear reading of the text shows that the task was limited only to cattle, birds, and “the beasts of the field.”

Genesis 1:31, And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

At the end of the 6th day, God surveyed His entire creation. At the end of each creative act before now, God proclaimed the thing He had created as good. Now, He says everything He had made was very good. It was a world without sin. It was a world without death. The perfect creation He intended before time began had now been accomplished... in six days!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Some Comments on the Creation Week: Day 6a

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
(Gen 1:24-25)

Day 6 is divided into two events: the creation of terrestrial animals and the creation of man. In this post, I will deal with the creation of terrestrial animals and will discuss the creation of man in my next post.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

The first clause, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind,” seems broad enough to include all types of land animals. The next passage, though, roughly divides terrestrial animals into three groups: cattle, creeping things, and beasts of the earth. This may not be meant as an exhaustive list of the types of animals but it seems sufficiently broad enough to include most types of animals.

Cattle: most scholars agree that “cattle” is a term meant to include all domesticated animals. This may mean that God created certain animals with the expressed purpose of them being of service to man or simply it is simply a description of those animals which are easily domesticated. In other passages, cattle are sometimes referred to as “beasts of the field.”

We know with certainty that all living creatures were initially herbivorous (Genesis 1:29-30) so we did not need these animals to be food. However, I'm not sure if the ban on eating meat would have forbade things like drinking milk so maybe we could have still milked cows. Had man not fallen, we could have become farmers so perhaps the ox might be used to help us plow. We also might have begun building things so we could have used animals to carry heavy loads or maybe carry us (as in horses). Of course, we also keep animals for companionship.

The initial, temperate environment of the earth and the lack of things like thorns meant there was no need for clothing. Neither would we have eaten animals so many of the reasons we now have for domesticating animals would not have been necessary then – no need for wool, eggs, leather, hunting, etc. Perhaps God, in His omniscience and foreknowledge of the Fall, created these animals knowing we will someday need them.

Beasts of the earth: This is nearly unanimously understood to be wild animals. However, this begs the question: if pre-Fall animals were neither predators nor prey, then what substantial difference could there have been between “domestic” and “wild” animals?

I'm a dog lover, personally, because dogs are loyal companions with an uncanny ability to respond to non-verbal cues from their masters. Dogs seem able to understand what we're thinking or how we feel. Cats are only barely domesticated. My daughter seems to think she has trained her cat to sit but I know the cat thinks it has trained my daughter to feed it just by sitting down. We may keep small cats as pets but they still scratch and bite us. We don't keep large cats because they are dangerous and could kill us. I say all that just to say that Adam could have kept a large dog as a pet but he could also have kept a large cat. There would have been no difference between a wild or domestic cat.

The Bible says that after the Flood, God put an instinctive fear of man into the beasts of the earth (Genesis 9:2). This could be a reference to only those specific “wild” animals on the Ark who had become accustomed to Noah during their year-long sequestering together. Or it could mean that even after the Fall, animals still had a natural trust of man which God intended to end after the Flood. Therefore, the designation of “wild” did not begin until after the Fall and eventually became fully realized after the Flood. The initial distinction between wild and domestic in Genesis is a prophetic description of their post-Fall condition.

Creeping things: Stong's Exhaustive Concordance (word # 7431 remes) defines this as “a reptile or any other rapidly moving animal -- that creepeth, creeping (moving) thing.” A characteristic of reptiles is their sprawling gate which distinguishes them from mammals and dinosaurs whose gate is erect. “Creeping” seems an especially accurate description of reptiles.

Other disagree. Some have suggested “cattle” and “beasts” are both references to only larger animals while creeping things include smaller animals like rodents. People in this camp would include larger reptiles with “beasts of the earth” while maintaining that smaller reptiles like snakes and lizards would be included in “creeping things.” Still others argue that all reptiles are “beasts of the earth” while “creeping things” means insects and other, small invertebrates.

The strict classification of creatures is interesting in a scholarly way but is not of critical importance to understanding salvation. One important note is that verse 30 identifies beasts of the earth, fowls (winged creatures), and creeping things as “having life.” These creatures (whatever they may include) were created with nephesh life. There was neither hunter nor hunted prior to the Fall since all living creatures ate plants. Death came only after Adam's sin.

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind:

As was the case with plants, marine animals, and flying creatures, God created the terrestrial animals in groups of “kinds.” The beasts had kinds, the cattle had kinds, and the creeping things had kinds. This contradicts evolutionary theory which holds that all quadruped-animals are descended from a single, common ancestor.

and God saw that it was good.

Finally, we see that creation of the terrestrial animals, like every other creature, was good. It was not the end product of millions of years of death, struggle, and survival of the fittest that brought marine animals onto shore and gave them legs.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Some Comments on the Creation Week: Day Five

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
(Gen 1:20-23)

The creation of marine life and flying creatures occurred on Day 5. The verses are self explanatory for the most part but there are a few points I want to address.

First, I find it interesting that the order of creation of living things precisely matches the order of creation of the inanimate things. God first created water, the the sky, and finally the land. He then populates these realms with marine life, flying creatures, then terrestrial animals (on Day 6). I don't want to suggest there's anything especially significant about this order but the fact that He created life in the same order He created the primitive elements suggests it was not merely coincidence.

Another thing about the order is that the revealed order of created animals differs from secular theories. Evolutionists, for example, believe dinosaurs evolved into birds. Here, we see that birds appeared before dinosaurs. Evolutionists also believe that life began in the sea and evolved onto land. However, Genesis tells us that terrestrial plants were created before marine animals. Marine mammals would be included in the creation event of Day so we also see that marine mammals were created before terrestrial dinosaurs. So the creation account in Genesis and the order of creation according to evolution differ on several points.

An important concept is also introduced on this day. We know that God has already created plants. However, in verse 20 we read, And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life. We see similar wording on in Genesis 2:7 when God creates man, And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. So Day 5 also marks the creation of the first “living” things.”

It's actually somewhat difficult to define exactly what makes something alive but most definitions include having metabolic function. According to modern biology, plants are living. However, the Bible does not recognize things like plants as living in the same sense as an animal or person lives. God intended plants to be food for man and the animals. Yet the Bible also says there was no death before sin so the plants eaten did not “die” in the Biblical sense.

Living animals are described with the Hebrew word nepheshנֶפֶש. Wikipedia actually has a reasonably accurate (not entirely accurate) article talking about the biblical concept of nephesh life. Certainly the Bible draws a clear line between plant and animal life. However, it's somewhat more difficult to classify other types of life. The Wiki article seems to suggest that fish and reptiles don't possess nephesh life but they seem to ignore the very passages they cite. Fish would be included among the marine animals created on Day 5. Many scholars believe that the “creeping things” created on Day 6 means reptiles – which are noted for having a sprawling gate. So the Bible seems to include both of these groups among living creatures.

Does the Bible regard insects as being alive? What about microbes? When we consider the role of things like bacteria in the decomposition of plants or the digestion of food, it's likely that things like bacteria, viruses, etc, are not alive in the biblical sense. Some people neither include insects with animal life since the Bible does not include them anywhere in the description of living animals on days 5 or 6.

In our modern world, I don't see a strong need to be able to rigidly draw a line between the living and non-living. Death has reigned since the Fall (Romans 5:17) and now every living creature will die. What is important to understand is that death is not the tool God used to create everything (as is suggested by theistic evolution). Also, we should understand that God will restore His creation to what it was before the Curse (Revelation 21:3-4), thus there will someday no longer be death.

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind:

Moving on now, we see again that God created “kinds” of creatures. The use of the word “abundantly” suggests that not only were there many “kinds” but also a large population of each kind. God likely didn't create only two (male/female) of the “dolphin-kind,” for example. Having a large, untainted gene pool of each kind guarantees the potential for lots of diversity among its descendants. Of course, during the Flood, each kind suffered a sort of bottle-neck so the variety we see among kinds today is likely dwarfed by the variety possible at the creation.

It should be noted that marine life would include the different classes – reptiles, fish, and mammals. The same is true of winged animals. Besides birds, winged creatures would include mammals (bats) and reptiles (pterosaurs). Again, we see the order of the appearance of these creatures differs between creation and evolutionary theories.

and God saw that it was good.

As God created these kinds of swimming and flying creatures it was “good” each step of the way. The chronic use of this phrase seems to reduce the idea of theistic evolution to absurdity. According to TE, there were millions of years of death and struggle and death and struggle of creatures evolving until man finally appeared. Such a theory contradicts the clear words of the Bible that the creation was “good” every step of the way.

And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.


Finally, we see the familiar phrase “evening and morning.” All of the sea creatures and all of the flying creatures were created in a the span of a single, ordinary day. An evening and morning can only mean a single rotation of the earth – not the millions or billions of years theorized by evolutionists.