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Welcome to my first blog post!

This is the post excerpt.

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Established primarily in response to an assignment in a master’s writing and communication class, this blog at the first will present reasons why all people, but Bible-believing Christians in particular, should embrace the fact of a recent creation, despite a consensus “scientific” belief in an ancient universe.

I look forward to, and welcome, comments for or against from any and all readers,  particularly those who didn’t come here because it was part of an assignment from the very same writing and communication class! However, if a commenter (commentator?) engages in ad hominem attacks against me or other commenters, and/or uses crude or obscene language in his/her posts, I will ignore that post and do what I can to delete or hide it–let’s keep it clean and polite, people!

And, away we go. . . .post

(This photo courtesy of wordpress.com; it was here when I opened my account, and I liked it so much I kept it! If this were a photo from Creation Week, the Sun in the sky means we are at least on Day 4, when God created the Sun, Moon, and all the other celestial objects. If it’s only Day 4, then there is also dry land and all the flora; all the sea and land fauna are yet to come.)

Old-Earth Christians: The Scriptural Implications

My previous 2 blog posts demonstrated the Bible unequivocally teaches a recent, or young, creation. Many Bible-believing, old-earth Christians think so, too:

Gleason Archer: “From a superficial reading of Genesis 1, the impression would seem to be that the entire creative process took place in six twenty-four-hour days.”[1]

William Dembski: “For those who regard the Scriptures as authoritative and accurate (as I do), a young-earth interpretation of Genesis seems natural and fitting.”[2]

Theologian R. C. Sproul is right when he states that “one must do a great deal of hermeneutical gymnastics to escape the plain meaning of Genesis 1-2.”[3]

To be clear, the age of the earth is neither a barometer for orthodoxy,[4] nor a salvation issue, but it does present problems regarding biblical authority and interpretation. One particular point of contention involves Genesis 7:17-21:

17 Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. (NKJV)

Because of their belief in millions and billions of years for the age of the earth, most old-earth Christians reject the idea of a global flood as revealed in Genesis. One commonly proposed “hermeneutical gymnastic” to get around the idea of a universal flood is demonstrated by Gleason Archer:

In explanation of this assertion, it needs to be pointed out that the Hebrew ʾereṣ, translated consistently as “earth” in our English Bibles, is also the word used for “land” (e.g., the land of Israel, the land of Egypt). There is another term, tēbēl, which means the whole expanse of the earth, or the world as a whole. Nowhere does tēbēl occur in this account, but only ʾereṣ, in all the statements which sound quite universal in the English Bible (e.g., [Genesis] 7:4, 10, 17, 18, 19). Thus, Gen. 6:17c can be rendered: “Everything that is in the land shall die”—that is, in whatever geographical region is involved in the context and situation. If this interpretation be allowed, then the mountains whose summits were submerged by the flood would have been the relatively lower mountains of the region surrounding Mesopotamia.[5]

Hank Hanegraaff, radio’s Bible Answer Man, likewise proposes that

the biblical text is not designed to communicate whether the Flood was global with respect to the earth or universal with respect to humanity. That debate is ultimately settled by a proper “reading” of the book of nature (Psalm 19:1–4). Finally, since civilization was largely confined to the Fertile Crescent, we need not automatically presume that the floodwaters covered the globe.[6]

Even were we to grant that the word translated “earth” in the Genesis Flood account could also mean “land,” “under the whole heaven” in Gen. 7:19 clearly implies a world-wide flood[7], and if the Flood was indeed limited in extent, that raises several other objections:

1. If the flood covered an area even the size of the Fertile Crescent, or bigger, why would not the men and animals in the path of the flood simply move away from the flood waters, particularly since it took several weeks for the waters to cover the mountains?

2. If the flood was local, how could it have possibly covered the local mountains for a period of at least 150 days (see Gen. 7:24, 8:3)? Since water finds its own level, the flood waters would surely quickly flow down and away from the flooded areas once the rain stopped and the “fountains of the deep” (where were those, anyway?) were closed.

3. Why would a local flood, even one lasting over a year, require an ark that was 450-500 feet long, 75-80 feet wide, and 45-50 feet high—a capacity equal to hundreds of railroad cars—to protect a family of 8 and mating pairs of every kind of local animals?

If we deny that Genesis, plainly read and understood, teaches a recent creation and a global Flood, why would we expect non-Christians and other Bible doubters to accept what God’s word also teaches about the virgin birth of Jesus? His death and resurrection? The miracles Jesus performed, and how they demonstrated His claim to be the Son of God? Rejecting the young-earth chronology found in Genesis, while not a salvation issue, seriously undermines the authority and historicity of the Bible. Rather than use fallible, sinful Man’s ideas about the past to reinterpret the Bible, why don’t we instead trust in God, a perfect “eyewitness to His creative acts [Who] has given us an eyewitness account in His Word, the Bible.”[8] Sola Scriptura!

[1] Gleason Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 196. Logos Bible Software.

[2] William Dembski, The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2009), 51-52.

[3] R. C. Sproul, Truths We Confess: A Layman’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith, Volume 1: The Triune God (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2006), 127-28, as quoted by Dembski, 54.

[4] Norman Geisler, “Genesis, Days Of,” Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 273. Logos Bible Software.

[5] Archer, 216.

[6] Hank Hanegraaf, “Does Genesis Confirm the Reality of a Global Flood?,” in The Creation Answer Book (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012), last modified February 10, 2014, accessed October 9, 2017. http://www.equip.org/bible_answers/genesis-confirm-reality-global-flood/.

[7] Archer, 216.

[8] David Wright, “How Can You Claim the Bible is God’s Eyewitness Account of History?,” modified June 23, 2006, accessed October 9, 2017. https://answersingenesis.org/bible-history/bible-is-gods-eyewitness-account-of-history/.

Young Creation: Biblical Genealogies

In my last post, we observed that the Bible plainly teaches that God created all things in just 6, 24-hour days; but how long ago did this event take place? Well, as hinted at by Hebrew professor Dr. Barr in his quote posted previously, Genesis not only tells us how God brought the creation forth, it also takes pains to let us know when He accomplished it.

Genesis 5 gives us a precise genealogy of Adam down through Noah, and then Genesis 11 does the same for Shem, Noah’s son, down to Abram. Here is an example from Genesis 5, and then Genesis 11:

And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters. So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.

Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begot Enosh. After he begot Enosh, Seth lived eight hundred and seven years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died.

Enosh lived ninety years, and begot Cainan. 10 After he begot Cainan, Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years, and had sons and daughters. 11 So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years; and he died. (Genesis 5:3-11, NKJV)

Genesis 5 continues through to the birth of Noah’s sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, though it doesn’t provide a specific age for Noah at the birth of any of his sons. Genesis 6-8 take us through the Great Deluge, commonly referred to as Noah’s Flood (though he had nothing to do with the Flood, except to live through it). Genesis 7:11 tells us that Noah was 600-years-old when the Flood began, and he, his family, and the surviving creatures left the ark about one year later, when Noah was 601 (Gen. 8:13-19). Genesis 9 & 10 concern events after the Flood, including the dispersion of humanity around the earth from the Tower of Babel after God confused their language. Genesis 11 picks back up with the genealogy of Noah’s son, Shem.

10 This is the genealogy of Shem: Shem was one hundred years old, and begot Arphaxad two years after the flood. 11 After he begot Arphaxad, Shem lived five hundred years, and begot sons and daughters.

12 Arphaxad lived thirty-five years, and begot Salah. 13 After he begot Salah, Arphaxad lived four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters.

14 Salah lived thirty years, and begot Eber. 15 After he begot Eber, Salah lived four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters. (Genesis 11:10-15, NKJV)

Since Shem was 100-years-old when Arphaxad was born, and this happened 2 years after the Flood, when Noah was 603-years-old, then we can work backwards and see that Noah was 503 when Shem was born. The following table adds it up for us:

genealogy table from Word

Note: Genesis doesn’t tell us Terah’s age at Abram’s birth directly, but we learn from reading Gen. 11:32 that Terah died at age 205, and then Gen. 12:4 informs us that Abram is 75-years-old when God tells him to leave Haran after the death of Terah. Hence Terah was 130-years-old when Abram was born. It is widely accepted that Abram/Abraham lived roughly two millennia before Christ. For instance, Archbishop Ussher, in his Annals of the World, calculated that Abram was born in 1996 B.C.[1]; Justin Taylor, who worked on the ESV Study Bible, lists Abram’s birth year as 2166 B.C.[2]; and the Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology indicates that Abram was born before 1900 B.C. [3]

All this leads us here: Abram was born 2009 years after God created the heavens and the earth; though the exact years B.C. Abram/Abraham was born and died are up for discussion, still it is clear from the genealogies provided to us by God through His word that the earth and universe are only about 6,000-years-old.

It should be noted that many Bible-believing, old-earth creationists insist the issue is not so simple. They point to the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Luke 2:36, where a vast majority of New Testament manuscripts have Luke inserting (another) Cainan in between Arphaxad and Salah. Cainan is found there in the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek version of the Old Testament (OT) produced by Jewish scribes in the 100-200 years prior to Christ’s birth. However, Cainan is not found listed between Arphaxad and Salah in any of the Hebrew OT manuscripts. You can read an exhaustive examination of this issue here: https://answersingenesis.org/bible-timeline/genealogy/gaps-in-the-genesis-genealogies/, or a really exhaustive, technical rebuttal of the claim of “fluidity” (gaps) in the OT genealogies at https://answersingenesis.org/bible-timeline/genealogy/do-the-genesis-genealogies-contain-gaps/. Regardless, you don’t need to be a scholar to understand that, whether a second Cainan is properly inserted between Arphaxad and Salah or not, the Bible clearly states that Arphaxad was 35-years-old when Salah was born, providing continuity of time all along the OT genealogies from Adam to Abram/Abraham. Sola Scriptura!

[1] James Ussher, The Annals of the World, rev. and up. Larry and Marion Pierce (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003), 22.

[2] Justin Taylor, “When Did Each of the Biblical Patriarchs Live and Die?,” last modified April 29, 2016, accessed October 9, 2017. https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2016/04/29/when-did-each-of-the-biblical-patriarchs-live-and-die/.

[3] Walter Elwell, ed., “Abraham,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996). Logos Bible Software.

Young Creation: When is a Day, a Day?

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18-20).[1]

Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:36-39).

Medical science and its practitioners, particularly those who are materialists[2] and/or atheists, tell us in no uncertain terms that true virgins cannot be pregnant, and that dead men cannot rise from the grave. Despite this, genuine Christians have steadfastly believed for the last two millennia that not only did the Virgin Mary give birth to Jesus Christ, but that He also rose from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion and burial. What is the primary reason Christians everywhere believe these things? It’s because the Bible tells them so. This follows since orthodox Christianity holds the Bible to be God’s holy word, inerrant and infallible. However, many of these same orthodox Christians readily accept the consensus scientific viewpoint that the earth and universe—all of creation—are billions of years old.

Regarding the days of creation found in Genesis 1, anyone coming to the text without a preconceived bias from “science” as to the age of the universe, rightly concludes using sound, basic interpretive principles that God created all things in six literal days just a few thousand years ago. As an example, Dr. James Barr, distinguished professor of Hebrew at Oxford University, England, himself denying that Genesis is true history, nevertheless states, regarding the language of Genesis 1:

So far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Gen. 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience, (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story.[3]

Dr. Barr sums things up pretty well.  For a deeper look at the “days” of Genesis, including textual and contextual proof that God meant them as ordinary, 24-hour solar days, check out the short video “Days of Creation” found on the Answers in Genesis website:  https://answersingenesis.org/days-of-creation/.

The Bible plainly teaches that God created all things over the course of 6, 24-hour days. Bible-believing Christians should be skeptical of any scientific claim which clearly runs counter to the Bible’s teaching. At the very least, Christians should move slowly before they abandon otherwise reliable Bible interpretation in favor of scientific theories. Noted apologist Norman Geisler, author of the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, though he himself appears to favor an old-earth creationist view, states the issue well when he says “there is no demonstrated conflict between Genesis 1–2 and scientific fact. The real conflict is not between God’s revelation in the Bible and scientific fact; it is between some Christian interpretations of the Bible and many scientists’ theories about the age of the world” (emphasis his).[4]

Next post we will examine the Genesis genealogies to discover how far back in the past the Creation event took place, hopefully convincing Christians like Norman Geisler to embrace a young-earth creationist view—sola Scriptura!

https://ref.ly/logosres/interactive:days-of-creation?pos=index.html

[1] All Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible.

[2] Materialists are those who would find themselves in complete agreement with the late astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan, who famously said “The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be.” https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/178439-the-cosmos-is-all-that-is-or-was-or-ever-will-be.

[3] As quoted from a personal letter James Barr sent to David C.C. Watson, dated April 23, 1984. From Don Batten, ed., “Did God Really Take Six Days,” in The Revised and Expanded Answers Book (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1990), 39. You can also find it online at https://answersingenesis.org/days-of-creation/could-god-really-have-created-everything-in-six-days/.

[4] Norman Geisler, “Genesis, Days Of,” Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 273. Logos Bible Software.