Dear Mr. Ham,
We talked after your presentation in Denver on a Thurs. evening in October. My most important point was that we should not add to the scriptures and say they say things that they donít actually say but only imply if interpreted certain ways. The same goes for the scientists who would do well to qualify what is based on clear evidence and what is conjecture or filling in the blanks. When we say the Bible says something that it really doesnít and later what we claimed it said is shown to be in error it causes people to throw the Bible out instead of looking more closely or from a different angle. People assume we as Christians know the Bible so they take our word when we say the Bible says something. You said that the Bible says the earth is not millions of years old - it does not say that. You said that the Bible says that thorns and did not exist before Adam sinned. It does not say that. It says that the ground will produce thorns and thistles for you. There may have been special protection from these plants in the special Garden of Eden God made (which may have had some different rules or conditions than the rest of the earth - the whole earth was not the Garden of Eden) but more likely thorns and thistles appeared as pioneer plants when Adam tilled the ground. Besides if genes and the plants they produce are creations of God then you are saying God didnít finish creating the plants until after the fall. In fact the incredible transformation you claim all meat eaters went through implies that you believe in some natural process that is much more evolutionary that the most ardent evolutionists - that all the characteristics of plants and animals that are related to catching prey or escaping predators (from camouflage to speed and teeth and fangs and claws and horns and antlers etc etc) developed in just a short time. If they were latent genes in the creation then you are saying God still created the food chain and itís death. I am impressed with the mathematical adds against even a small piece of DNA forming by chance - never mind millions and even billions of bits of DNA code. As a result I donít believe tooth and claw could evolve - I donít think this is Satanís creation - it is Godís. In contrast you imply that little of todayís creation is really from God according to you - most of it is fallen and changed - not what Psalm 19 and Ro 1:20 imply. I ask you to not add to scripture and violate Deut. 4:2, 12:32, and Rev. 22:18-19.
We got side tracked on the 24 hour day issue. The interpretation I like best at this point has the commands of creation given in 6 literal 24 hour (or so) days that were either separated by or followed by long periods of fulfillment. (The nation of Israel took time for God to form - even the Red sea parting included a wind all night - not instantaneous) The fulfilling or completion of those creative events ďand it was soĒ may have been much later. Eternity Magazine published over a dozen14 different interpretations of Gen 1 back in the 80ís. We cannot always have closure on every question we have - I think the jury is still out on exactly how Gen. 1 and Geology fit but I believe someday we will see how.
On a more important issue. I was concerned that you negated the truth from Godís creation (General revelation) by saying it is fallen. We humans are fallen so we may have less that perfect reasoning and perception but if we deny all our thinking ability then how do we know we can even understand the Bible? Just because the creation is groaning doesnít mean it canít be understood. Even if it was totally reworked - lions not eating meat and later able to eat - or as some even go so far as to say the 2nd law of thermodynamics wasnít working (the sun shining is evidence of the 2nd law working - even the fact that Adam and Eve ate implies that they got energy and burned energy from food and radiated away heat etc.) it does not mean that what evidence it does have is not true and understandable as scripture implies in Ps. 19 and Ro. 1:20. In fact the message given before your talk was on Rom. 1. In verse 20 it says that Godís invisible qualities have been CLEARLY seen, being understood from what has been made (I assume that means the creation = nature). Psalm 19: 1-4 (referred to in Rom. 10: 18) says that people can learn about God from the heavens. They pour forth speech and knowledge. Your view that truth cannot be gained from Godís creation is clearly unbiblical and has set you on a path of thinking that distorts the scriptures. For example you misused I Cor 15: 3-4. You claimed that the only way we know about the resurrection is from the scriptures - not from some scientific observations. Yet the way the disciples knew Christ was alive was through direct observation with their fallen eyes. Scripture is a record of human observations of reality. ďAccording to the scripturesĒ is better understood to mean that Christ died and rose as predicted by or required by the scriptures. The disciples were then eye witnesses of those events and recorded them in scripture. Early in your talk you said something to the effect that non - Christians and Christians are both working with the same facts or evidence but our biases prevent us from seeing the truth. You discount creation altogether so you are not allowing God to speak through His general revelation. You are not working with the same facts. Concerning bias, you have so connected certain interpretations of scripture with your salvation and morality that you feel obligated not only to reinterpret all of creation in light of no death before the fall etc. but to actually throw out creation as fallen and untruthful. It seems that one who believes God could use whatever method he wanted to create would be less biased in interpreting creation evidence. The phrase ďthe earth brought forthĒ for some leaves room for some evolution before human times. If God sends rain using His natural processes of condensation and the water cycle and if God created me through His natural processes then creation is not necessarily contradictory to the use of long processes. The laws of nature are Godís laws - he made them. It is dangerous to tie morality to a particular creation method - but not to the Creator. Gen. 1 is NOT the same form or style or clarity of scripture concerning the method of creation as the Gospels are in accurately and with great detail describing the resurrection. To put the resurrection in the same category as a young earth interpretation is really stretching it and creating a dangerous rigidity by linking them so that for either to be true both must be true.
I understand your argument about the foundations of Secular Humanism and Christianity being key but you have confused a particular process with the real foundation which is God. It is creation no matter what process God uses. There are instant creationists who are atheists - they believe an extra terrestrial race designed us and seeded us on earth. This extreme view just illustrates that it is not how fast or slow God created or whether he used His laws of nature or not but that HE created. By the way there is no evidence against a special creation of Adam and Eve in a garden even if there were other human - like creatures around before. God could still make a sinless Adam directly from dust. There is good evidence in scripture for this. However the ďimage of GodĒ is not physical for God is a spirit and Jesus took on human physical form for the first time when he was born in a body.
In our conversation you said that if there werenít the Bible you too would conclude that the earth is old - yet earlier in your talk you claimed something to the effect that the majority of the evidence pointed to a young earth. You canít have it both ways. You also canít use any evidence from creation if you feel we canít understand it or that it is distorted - such as scientific evidence or mathematical probability that questions evolution. Bible does not seem to indicate that we can no longer trust our eyes or brains if used correctly. In fact it counts on us being able to reason and look and observe. It assumes we are using our brain and senses. Your view taken to the extreme could imply that we canít trust our eyes when we look at the written symbols of fallen ink on the fallen paper pages that the Word of God was written on.
Flood geology is not consistent with many passages of scripture. The Bible refers to pre and post flood geography as if they were the same - Land of Havilla where there is gold and the Tigress and Euphrates rivers etc. Gen. 1-6 were all revealed and written down after the flood. Flood geology says that about a mile or more of sediment in the Mid-east was laid down during the flood and that the continents drifted apart in a year or less - but scripture does not support this. It would use different names if the rivers and places were not the same. Even the fact that the birds could fly after the flood implies that the air pressure was the same and that there was no loss of some thick canopy of water that would have increased the air pressure by 2 fold or more. Your illustration of the back of the eye created to reduce damage by UV light seems to imply that you donít think there was a canopy filtering out UV radiation before the flood.
For years I puzzled over why good Christians could have so many differences on the subject of creation. I know we are fallen and can misinterpret scripture and creation - or else weíd agree on major issues like the morality of war, the time of the rapture, predestination and free will or eternal security. As I listened to speakers and read books it hit me that one of the sources of disagreement came from people adding to scripture - reading between the lines - over interpreting and then attributing all the implied ideas directly to scripture as if they were in the scriptural text. We must not ignore verses either, but we should always clearly qualify what is interpreting between the lines and what is actually written in scripture.
As far as Galileo and the Geocentric universe; there are many verses that imply that the earth was stationary and the sun was moving - in non poetic books such as Joshua 10:12-14, Hezikiaís sign of the sun reversing. See Dr. Gerardus D. Bouwís book A Geocentric Primer published in 1999by the Biblical Astronomer for numerous other examples. The only way we know such verses are figurative or from a human perspective is because we have accepted the scientific study of Godís creation that gives us truth that helps us better understand the scriptures - as studies of archaeology and linguistics and history and geography also help us better understand scripture. It may be that the perception of time being short in some scriptures is also from a human point of view since all that really matters to our race happened in that last few thousand years. Animals reproduce after their kind in human history - from a human time perspective as any scientist would agree. From a human perspective the earth is the center of our universe - and our time is the center of what is important.
I have many questions about evolution - especially the incredible information content of DNA but I canít totally rule out all evolution on scriptural grounds. Gen 1:12 says the ďland produced plantsĒ - it does not say how - some evolution could have been involved. When Darwin first published his ideas they were accepted by many Christians. Only when we hardened certain interpretations in response to the new theories and the way atheists used them did the great controversy heat up. Partly this was a response to the some scientists claiming that the new theories made God obsolete. Meteorology also makes God obsolete in explaining rain - but we donít call weathermen evil or anti God - although we do have some bad feelings towards them at times for their mistaken predictions. Evolution or more instant formation are processes. If God used either one then it is still CREATION whether it took 6 seconds or 6 billion years. It is confusing and misleading to say that the issue is creation verses evolution for evolution could ďtechnicallyĒ have been part of the way God created depending on how you interpret kinds and reproducing after your kind. Most evolutionists believe that trees will evolve after the kind of trees and never turn into frogs. The real battle is between atheism and theism. We do not further the cause of truth by adding to scripture and puching a pseudo science that has many scientists questioning the honesty of some Christians apologists who attack straw men and misrepresent scientific theories. I saw Henry Morris debate a Christian Ph.D. in geology when I was in college. Henry Morris did poorly in the debate - which was over the age of the earth (not evolution). Later his Acts and Facts presented it as a victory - and left out all the good arguments of the geologist. I, as a Christian question the honesty of some of the speakers I have heard when they tell half the theory and rebut straw men in front of lay audiences that donítí know any better. Have you seen Dr. Stonerís A New look at and Old Earth where he shows the fallacies in the typical young earth arguments. In fact contrary to what you said he knows of no solid evidence for a young earth! From what Iíve seen over the past 30 years I would say he is much closer to the truth than people who claim that the majority of evidence is for a young earth and then site a list of minerals in the ocean.
Finally, the view that there was NO DEATH before the fall of Adam and Eve does not fit the evidence of creatures eating - especially fish and many creatures that have no way to eat plants - rattle snakes etc. that are specially designed with hundreds of complex genes to make fangs and poison. I donít see how they could have evolved. In fact if you believe all the food chains and prey and predator relationships and the structures needed to catch prey or escape being caught developed after the fall then you appear to believe in the most incredible and rapid evolution of all. The Bible says death came (Ro. 5:12-14) to all MEN through Adam - it is over interpreting to assume it came to all animals as well. God killed innocent animals in the flood. He can be severe. Whether God made meat eaters or allowed them to evolve or built into them the potential to become meat eaters - He created killers - if not then you are saying God is not the creator of most of present day life or of most fossil life as well. But physical death is not a big deal to God - God knows we will all die physically - even though we are born again and forgiven. He even barred the way to the tree of life so Adam and Eve would not life forever physically AFTER they sinned indicating that sin would not have prevented them from living forever physically (even if they were dead spiritually). Once you realize that animal death is not due to Adamís sin (or that if it was it was applied retroactively to nature) then the biggest obstacle to accepting ancient fossils as being truly ancient is removed. A God of tooth and claw fits more with the wars and blood of the old testament where God took many years and much ďwastedĒ life to form a nation and give them a promised land. The God of the flood that killed almost every innocent animal fits more with a God who has allowed most species to go extinct.
You are creating division by attacking believers that have honestly come to realize that the earth is old. Starlight appears old and God is still older. You may convert a few non scientists but the rest of us will spend the rest of our lives trying to undo the damage you have done to the cause of Christ in reaching scientists and anyone else who understands enough about Godís creation to be convinced of itís great age.
Paul Mason MS MA
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