Our critic this week is David, who is so adamantly against biblical creation that he recommended protesting one of my speaking engagements. Interestingly, David professes to be a Christian and yet strongly opposes our defense of biblical creation. I found his comments to be highly ironic as he is basically criticizing Christians for teaching what the Bible says. Several other Christians challenged David to back up his claims, but he was either unwilling or unable to do so. I will only post his claims here, along with my comments.
|David: As a Christian I must say shame on [this church] for bringing [Dr. Lisle] to speak. Our churches should not be known for a blatant disrespect for truth and for God’s creation.
Dr. Lisle: We at the Biblical Science Institute defend the truth of God’s creation. That is the main focus of this ministry. So David’s response is rather ironic.
David: We need respect for the Bible and for science, not human young-earthist interpretations. [We] Christians should organize to protest this event.
Dr. Lisle: The “young-earth” interpretation is the Bible’s interpretation. Namely, God created in six days (Exodus 20:11), Adam was made on the sixth day (Genesis 1:26-31), and the timespan between Adam and Abraham is around 2000 years (Genesis 5, 11). We at the Biblical Science Institute also embrace science as a useful, though fallible tool which confirms biblical creation.
David: As a true Bible believing born again Christian, I find the dishonesty, disrespect for the Bible and denial of parts of creation of young-earth and anti-evolutionary ideas to be very disturbing. You should also. Those do not belong in church.
Dr. Lisle: This is so ironic because is it not the old-earth and Darwinian evolution ideas that deny biblical creation and are disrespectful to the Bible? It is these secular concepts that a Christian should find disturbing, not 6-day creation.
David: The problem comes when you try to force scripture and science (the evidence God provides in creation) into ones [sic] non-biblical world view, such as …
Dr. Lisle: If David had completed this sentence with “millions of years”, then I would agree wholeheartedly. When people interpret scientific evidence under the secular philosophical constraints of naturalism and uniformitarianism, they tend to infer a vastly inflated age for the Earth and the universe. When they then attempt to force these unbiblical beliefs into Scripture, it introduces tremendous problems, such as death occurring before sin in contrast to the biblical teaching that Adam brought death into the world through his sin. But, this is not how David ends the sentence. Ironically, he ends it with the opposite:
David: …young-earthism. If you read the scriptures in a straight forward and traditional manner, it is not possible to conclude that the six days are literal.
Dr. Lisle: Genesis 1:3-5 states, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Yes, God knew that people would try to distort the meaning of the word “day”, so He specifically defined the word in Genesis 1:3-5 to refer to the period of time when it is light out – daytime, and as that which consists of one evening and one morning – one day. Could Genesis 1:3-5 be any clearer? The reality is the exact opposite of what David has stated.
David: One has to really mess with scripture to try to fit it into a…
Dr. Lisle: If David had finished this sentence with “multi-billion-year-old earth”, then I would agree wholeheartedly. After all, to insert billions of years into the creation week of Genesis, we would have to completely ignore the fact that God defined the “day” in Genesis 1:3-5 as corresponding to the Earth’s normal light and dark cycle bounded by evening and morning. To accommodate the secular belief in deep time, we would have to ignore the context of Exodus 20:11, which is the explanation for why we have a seven-day week; namely, God created in six days and rested for one day as a pattern for us to follow. But ironically, David infers the exact opposite:
David: …young-earth calendar (or any literal calendar).
Dr. Lisle: Just think about this. David is saying that one really has to “mess with Scripture” to think that “in six days” actually means “in six days”! How dare we try to interpret God’s Word to actually mean what it says!
David: One has to deny the evidence found in creation to hold a young-earthist or anti-evolutionary world view.
Dr. Lisle: Evidence such as? David’s comment here reveals his problem. Old-earth thinking does not come from the Bible, but from a desire to fit secular conclusions about scientific evidence into the Scripture. People have been taught from childhood that there is all this evidence for millions of years and for Darwinian evolution that we would be a fool not to believe such things. And many people get intimidated and feel that they have to add these beliefs to the Bible. This is the motivation for thinking that the Bible cannot possibly mean what it says. No one could honestly claim that the idea of millions of years comes from the Bible.
Dr. Lisle: Note also that David did not produce any evidence found in creation for his belief in deep-time. He, like so many others, has been told that such evidence exists and has blindly accepted it without judging such thinking by the standard of God’s Word. He then feels he must reinterpret the Bible in a non-exegetical fashion to accommodate such supposed evidence. This is not proper interpretation.
David: Churches should not be known for promoting an interpretation based on dishonesty, such as…
Dr. Lisle: Again, if David were to finish the sentence with “deep time” or “particles to people evolution”, I would agree completely. Even though the majority of secular scientists disagree with biblical creation, “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Romans 3:4). But ironically, David states:
Dr. Lisle: Yet, deep time is a secular construction. It is not even hinted at anywhere in the Bible. Wouldn’t it be rather dishonest to claim that the Bible teaches a concept that is not found within it? According to the secular view which David seems to embrace, human beings arose billions of years after the beginning of time. So, by David’s thinking, Jesus was wrong in stating that God instituted marriage at the beginning of creation (Mark 10:6).
David: [Take] another look at the Bible. It does not say that there was no physical death before the fall. In fact, it says quite the opposite.
Dr. Lisle: ??? Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned — “ 1 Corinthians 15:21, “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.” So, the Bible explicitly states the opposite of David’s claim.
David: Adding that new doctrine into the Bible causes some pretty huge theological problems.
Dr. Lisle: The doctrine that death is an enemy that was introduced when Adam sinned is found throughout Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:26,21, Romans 6:23, Genesis 2:17, 3:19). It doesn’t need to be “added.” On the contrary, if this important theological truth is removed from Scripture, then all Christian theology collapses. If death is not the penalty for man’s sin, then why did Jesus die on the cross (Hebrews 9:15, 22, Romans 6:23, 5:12, 8:20-22, Isaiah 53:5)? The Gospel is predicated on the fact that death is the penalty for man’s sin.
David: You’ll note that if you read Genesis in a strictly literalistic manner, by your interpretation, Adam and Eve would have to have died on the day they ate the fruit.
Dr. Lisle: This common error occurs when people do not read the text carefully. No, the Bible does not say that Adam would die on the day he ate the forbidden fruit, rather that his death would be sure/certain on that day. A very literal translation from the Hebrew would be “In the day of your eating it, dying you shall die.” The double use of the word ‘die’ indicates the certainty of it; that Adam’s death would go from a hypothetical conception to an inescapable reality, that Adam would become mortal and that this would happen on that very day – which of course it did. The dying process began on the day Adam sinned, but by God’s grace it did not culminate until much later. As the King James translation puts it, “thou shalt surely die.” What happens on that day is not the “die”, but the “surely.”
Dr. Lisle: This is confirmed in Genesis 3:17-19. Here God explains that because Adam sinned, his future death is certain. Adam will return to the dust of the Earth from which he was taken. There is no avoiding it. Death is an inescapable result of sin and is guaranteed on the day that the person sins. So, there is no need to re-interpret the word ‘day’ when the text is read carefully and in context.
David: You should also note that the death of animals is Gods [sic] work.
Dr. Lisle: God instituted animal death as part of the punishment for Adam’s sin. Recall, God provided skins of clothing for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). These would be animal skins, indicating that God sacrificed an animal(s) to provide for Adam and Eve. Furthermore, God used animal death in the Old Testament to teach the Hebrews about the concept of substitutionary atonement, in anticipation of the Messiah to come (e.g. Exodus 29:36, Leviticus 4:20). There would have been no death of the living creatures before Adam’s sin. Originally, everything God created was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Death is an enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26) that was introduced when Adam sinned (1 Corinthians 15:21). Would the enemy have been part of God’s original “very good” creation?
David: Humans cannot create physical death.
Dr. Lisle: “And Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” (Genesis 4:8). Sadly, humans are all too practiced at causing the physical death of other humans.
David: You can’t, as you say, cherry pick the Bible to try to make it fit with young-earthism.
Dr. Lisle: We don’t need to. “Young earth” (~4000 years between Creation and the incarnation) is what the Bible teaches. God’s Word explicitly states, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:11). And the Bible gives sufficient information to compute the timespan between Adam and Christ’s incarnation (e.g. Genesis 5) at about 4000 years.
David: How can we be lights to the world if we cherry pick the Bible and are dishonest about creation in order to try to support…
Dr. Lisle: If David were to finish the sentence with “old-earth and particles-to-people evolution”, then I would again agree wholeheartedly, since such notions are so contrary to the straightforward, exegetical reading of the Bible. But alas, he says:
David: …young-earth, anti-evolutionary doctrines.
Dr. Lisle: How can we be lights to the world if we teach the opposite of what the Bible says? If we say, “The Bible doesn’t really mean what it says about creation; it actually means millions of years of evolution”, how can we expect people to trust what the Bible says about the Gospel? If the Bible doesn’t mean what it explicitly states in Genesis, and Exodus 20:11, then how can we trust what it explicitly states in John 3:16? If death existed for millions of years before Adam sinned, how can we tell people that death is actually the penalty for sin which is why Jesus died on the cross? If we claim that the Bible’s explicitly stated timescale for creation is wrong, then how can we expect people to believe the literal truth of salvation in Christ?
David: I also am a science major, biology, and thee [sic] is no evidence that species do not change.
Dr. Lisle: This is a common straw-man argument that misrepresents what biblical creationists believe. The Bible does not teach that “species do not change”, nor does it even use the word “species” in the original text. Rather, the Bible teaches that God created various kinds of animals and plants. In many cases, the “kind” seems to correspond to the “family” level of our taxonomic system – not “species.” The kind seems to be the reproductive limit of an organism since God brought two of each kind of animal aboard the ark to preserve life (Genesis 6:19-20). Those kinds have diversified into many breeds since the flood, some of which no longer normally interbred and are classified as separate species. But they remain the same kind.
David: In fact, we know that they do. Science, including biology, including evolution, does not predict that species jump between species, rather they change, as the Bible says, within their kind, leading to new species.
Dr. Lisle: David is partially correct here, though he has departed from what most secular scientists believe. Namely, the secular view is that all animals (and plants) share a common ancestor; that the changes in organisms are unlimited and can result in totally different kinds. This is what they normally refer to as “evolution.”
David: [You], like Dr. Lisle are aware that young-earthism cannot be reconciled with physics, with what we have been shown about the universe.
Dr. Lisle: For example? I am not aware of any physics that cannot be reconciled with a “young earth” or “young universe” for that matter. On the contrary, it is the deep time view that is so inconsistent with physics. The physics of lunar recession places an upper limit on the Earth-moon system that is far younger than the standard secular belief. The physics of magnetic field decay limits the age of the Earth to a few thousand years. Nuclear physics demonstrates that the hottest blue stars cannot last nearly as long enough to still be present in an old universe; and the physics of thermodynamics suggests that stars do not form spontaneously.
David: The Bible does not say that everything was created perfect. That is a human doctrine.
Dr. Lisle: “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4). “And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31). It is interesting how many of David’s claims can be refuted by directly quoting the Bible.
Dr. Lisle: Furthermore, consider the horrible theology that stems from David’s thinking. He apparently believes that God did not create perfect world. If that were so, then God would have created an imperfect world. Now, if God created something that is imperfect, then He is mistaken; the imperfection is His fault. It would mean that God is imperfect. If death and suffering are God’s fault rather than Adam’s fault, then we could legitimately blame God for such atrocities. But that would be horribly anti-Scriptural. All God’s work is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4), which means the original creation was perfect (and it will be again in the future). God created man with the capacity to either obey God or to rebel against God; but there is no imperfection there. It was Adam who brought imperfection / sin / death into the world, not God.
David: I submit that it is hubris before God to claim that human young-earthist interpretation, which conflicts with the evidence God provides in creation and which requires a human interpretation, which treats the Bible disrespectfully and ignores inconvenient parts, should trump Gods work and word.
Dr. Lisle: Substitute “young-earthist” with “old-earth” and I would agree completely with David. Indeed, it is the millions-of-years notion that requires a human interpretation utterly contrary to the text of Scripture. It is deep time that so disrespectfully ignores inconvenient parts of the Bible, such as Exodus 20:11, Genesis 1:1-31, Mark 10:6, and so on. And it is the height of arrogance to tell God that He didn’t actually create the universe the way He says He did.
David: To claim that young-earthism should be added to the Bible is to say that you are greater than God.
Dr. Lisle: Creation “in six days” is already in the Bible – no need to add it. On the contrary, to claim that billions of years should be added to the biblical timeline is to say that you know better than God. To believe that God created in six days is to take God at His Word (Exodus 20:11).
David: Young-earthism leads folks from Christ and makes a mockery of the Bible and Gods works.
Dr. Lisle: How can teaching what the Bible explicitly says be a mockery of the Bible?
David: It’s not enough to simply ignore it. We Christians are called to point out such dangerous errors and to protest dishonesty within church.
Dr. Lisle: That is why we must defend even the unpopular verses of Scripture, such as Exodus 20:11 (“In six days”). To teach billions of years would be dishonest and requires that death is not the penalty for sin. And if death is not the penalty for sin, then who would be led to follow Christ?
David: We have a duty to speak the truth and point out that which is wrong.
Dr. Lisle: This is why I have responded to David’s unbiblical comments.
David: Also, you asked what I support. As a Christian I support truth.
Dr. Lisle: …except when that truth conflicts with the secular god: deep-time, apparently.
David: I support the idea that all that exists is Gods [sic] creation, as the basic creed of traditional Christianity states.
Dr. Lisle: All that exists is upheld by God and is derived from that which God originally created. But the universe has changed since it was first created. God created a world that was “very good.” While there are still aspects of the world that are very good, there is much evil in the world today as well. This is the result of man’s sin. God allows us to sin. But our sin is not God’s fault. We sin of our own will and desires.
David: A very ancient and growing, changing creation exist.
Dr. Lisle: The universe is very ancient – over 6000 years old! And it has changed significantly. Originally, everything God made was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). But by man’s sin, death – that old enemy – entered the world (1 Corinthians 1:21, 26). Not to worry, the world will be “very good” again in the future when God destroys death and restores all things (Revelation 20:14, Acts 3:21).
David: God has provided the evidence. Hence, they are Gods creation.
Dr. Lisle: God has provided His written Word so that we might better understand the world in which we live, including scientific evidence.
Dr. Lisle: I note in closing that David really didn’t provide any kind of rational argument to support his beliefs. He merely made a list of unbiblical assertions. I have noticed that this is becoming increasingly common in the anti-creation camp. It was once the case that evolutionists and supporters of deep time would at least attempt to back up their opinions with some kind of reasoning. But since such reasoning is inevitably shown to be fallacious, it seems they often no longer even attempt it. I predict that this trend will continue – rational argumentation will diminish to make way for arbitrary rhetoric. But a string of assertions has no rational merit, and it is our obligation to graciously cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).