Re: Gosse

Jonathan Clarke (
Wed, 07 Apr 1999 08:22:09 +1000

Hi Bill

Thanks for your working comments

Bill Payne wrote:

> On Sun, 04 Apr 1999 17:48:07 +1000 Jonathan Clarke
> <> writes:
> >Which form of Gosse do you accept? The strong form (Gosse's original)
> which
> >holds to a complete appearance of apparent age (down to in situ tree
> roots,
> >healed scars on fossils, and trails complete with where the trilobite
> tripped
> >over its own feet)? Or the weak form (a la John Whitcomb) where the
> apparent
> >age is only superficial?
> Ah, now you're stretching me into areas I've not gone before. Maybe you
> could help me here. Do you think the fish Jesus created would have had
> frayed fins (from working in the water) if we could examine them? Or do
> you think the wine Jesus created would have the attributes of aged wine -
> we are told that it was the best of the wines served that evening at the
> wedding feast in Cana. If we grant this, then following would be created
> star-light trails, created fossils, and other evidence of things that
> never happened. This runs against our intuitive grain, but I'm not
> convinced that it is that far-fetched. Hugh Ross gets around this by
> saying that God created Adam as an adult, but a brand spanking new adult
> - with no worn teeth, no sun spots on his skin, no evidence of age or
> wear. OTOH, in the pre-fall world I would not expect to see evidence of
> wear or decay; I would expect God to sustain then as He did the
> Israelites in the desert when their shoes did not wear out for forty
> years.
> Is that clear? Did I answer your question, Jonathan? :-)

By Jesus creating fish I assume you refer to the feeding of the multitudes.
I can see your argument here, and have read it many times in many versions,
some of them yours. I think we tend to read to much into these miracles. We
aren't told enough about them to see the exact nature of the wine or the
bread and fish. Of course, if we could go back in a time machine and taken
samples we could have learned at lot from them about the nature of miracles.
However, in the process we would probably miss the point of the miracles.
They are not to show to us how God creates, but to show us who Jesus is. The
water into wine is a celebration of the beginning of the Messiah's ministry,
the feeding of the multitudes in John illustrates Jesus' teaching that he is
the bread of life.

Even if (for the sake of argument) the multiplication of the loaves and
fishes and the water into wine did involve creation of apparent age, they are
special cases. That is why we consider them miracles. They say nothing
about the common way God goes about turning water into wine (see your nearest
vineyard) multiplying grain (try your local farmer) and fish (take up scuba
diving). Nor to they necessarily say anything about the process of
creation. Everything is God's creation, the issue is what methods He used.
God does create using what we might call natural processes. We see this all
around us. So the question is which methods God used in the past, and how do
we determine them. That comes to basic hermeneutics again, epistemology, and
how we relate extra-Biblical information to the Bible.

I presume you were only joking about no wear before the fall!

> >How do you relate and balance flood geology with Gosse? As I see it,
> the
> >persistence of flood geology is a tacit acknowledgement that Gosse is
> >unsatisfying. Conversely, if we seriously hold with Gosse, then who
> needs
> >flood geology?
> I believe there is a seamless connection between natural processes the
> supernatural work of God. To try to explain everything naturally, as is
> usually done by those who conclude that there was no worldwide flood, is,
> IMHO, to limit the power of God. I mean no offense by that statement,
> that's just the way I tend to look at things. And I guess this is the
> crux of the divide between OEC and YEC.

I notice you have not answered my question that if Gosse is right, who needs
flood geology? Gosse himself rejected the flood as an explanation for strata
because the geological record did not support it. His prochronism (so he
thought) eliminated the need for both flood and uniformitarian geology.
Perhaps there is an apologetic reason here. Flood geologists may hope that
by pointing to the geological record as the result of the flood, they are
offering a proof of Scripture.

I too see the created order as the seamless work of God. To me everything is
miraculous, in the sense that it is both a wonder and a sign. I see this as
consistent with a wide range of possible ways of God operating, ranging from
creating everything "supernaturally" through to creating everything by
"creaturely process" (to use Howard's phrase), and anything in between. I
don't see either end of the spectrum as limiting God, and creation by
creaturely process is just as much creation as if it occurs supernaturally.
I assume that those flood geologists who seek "natural" explanations for a
global flood do not see it any less an act of God because of that.

> >How do these factors work out as you approach an outcrop?
> I look for evidence supporting the YEC model.

The is interesting. I go about things the other way round, and don't
approach an outcrop looking for any YEC or OEC model. I start by identifying
the rock type and trying to discover its relationship with other rock units.
I then look for the key features that will give me the information I am
after, depositional environment, weathering history, hydrothermal alteration,
etc. It is only then that I compare the ensemble of features against a range
of possible process models which you would call "OEC".

> >In the reports you
> >write for work?
> I look for the naturalistic explanations. :-) You knew that didn't you?

You have said that you lean towards YEC and flood geology. Does this then
mean you see the flood as a naturalistic event?God bless