Re: Gosse

Jonathan Clarke (
Thu, 08 Apr 1999 20:38:12 +1000

Evening Bill

Bill Payne wrote (in part):

> "Your clothes did not wear out, nor did your feet swell during these
> forty years." (Deu. 8:4) "In the beginning you laid the foundations of
> the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish,
> but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you
> will change them and they will be discarded." (Ps 102:25-26)

I am not sure how relevant the Deuteronomy reference is to the case. To me
it is once again a special instance. We should not draw to much from it
about other things. Off the point, but this surely this must be the longest
miracle in the Bible?

Thank you for the Psalm reference. In the heat of discussion we must never
lose sight of the fact that we should work to build things of eternal value.

> So we see that in spite of "the scientific problems raised by not having
> wear," the Israelites' clothes _did not_ wear out for forty years. The
> present earth and heavens are under the curse, and consequently "they
> will all wear out like a garment," but God will replace them with the new
> heavens and new earth which will be restored to the perfection of the
> pre-curse cosmos - which will be eternal, i.e., never wear out.

I suspect we must be careful about reading statements about the new creation
back into the pre-lapsarian world. It is a new creation after all and all
things will be made new. Not to mention the many differences between the new
creation and the old, and (dare I mention it) the use of symbol in all
passages about the new heavens and earth.

> My goodness, you have a great grasp of the history of these things!
> "Dominant paradigm" and "generally falsified" are the opinions of men.
> As you know, I don't accept those opinions just because (most) everybody
> else does.

I confess to a great interest in history, partly because it is interesting in
itself (my love of earth history is just an extension of this), and partly
because there is so much to be learned. Things like "Those who do not learn
from history are doomed to repeat it".

Paradigms and falsification tests are indeed but the thoughts of men. But
through them we come to understand something of God's creation, do we not?
We are not bound by them, but it is foolish to ignore the collective insights
of the last 350 years of geological research. It is no different in
theology. We all read the Bible and are not bound by what people have
thought previously, but we still take past interpretations into account.

> I'm a little wary of your either-or choice. I think God is quite able to
> intervene as He will in the natural flow of events, and it may be
> impossible for us to unravel which is which. If you were to examine the
> 40-year old clothes of the Israelites and find that they had no wear,
> given your either-or choice, you would have to conclude that they were
> new. Well, nearly new, they might be a little smelly! :-)

Regarding smell, maybe that is why the walls of Jericho collapsed.....

I am cautious about using the word "intervene" with respect to God's action.
It implies that God doesn't quite belong here, or is somehow absent between
the times when He does intervene. I see God as continuously active in the
world, sometimes working by what we call natural law, sometimes by what we
would call divine miracle. I would see this theistic perspective as being
the Biblical picture, in contrast to the interventionist one, which is

I am not trying to say this is an either or choice with respect to divine
action. As I said above, I believe God is always at work. The either or
choice is whether we believe that the rocks record the past or that they were
created with the appearance of age. Flood and old earth geologists are on
the same side of this issue. Both see rocks as containing a true history, if
correctly interpreted, of the planet's past. Both are against those who say
(with Gosse) the earth was created with a geological history embedded in the

> Sorry. I apologized for some display of arrogance on my high horse, and
> I thought it was you who said maybe we should all stick to low ponies.

Very witty and good, I apologise for being so slow on the uptake!

> So? The architectural drawings usually come before the building. We
> need a blueprint to enable us to fit the details into the overall
> structure. I don't think any of us finish school with a blank slate, and
> if we receive a public education it will be almost certainly within the
> "old earth" paradigm.

Of course we all have a mental blueprint. This changes all the time as we
assimilate new data, or it should. We are not bound within the original form
of that framework, otherwise all discussion would be fruitless and none of us
would change our minds about anything. Unless of course we are strong

For me, it is no skin off my nose if it turns out that the earth is only a
few thousand years old and most of the rocks were formed in the flood. I
would be quite prepared to accept that if I thought the evidence pointed to
it. I don't think it does, however. The trouble is most flood geologists
would say, along with Allen Roy, that the flood (meaning I think, the flood
as an explanation fore the rock record) is not negoiatble. I suspect this is
because their faith rests in part on the young earth premise and having the
flood as an explanation for the geological record allows them to keep their
faith. Hence the non-negotiable nature of their position on the flood. Our
faith should not be based on the age of the earth but on Jesus. That is why
a keep getting back to the point that the issue is not really about
geological evidence, but about our theology and the way we read and interpret

> Have a blessed day,

It was night when I finally read it, but it was a good one, thanks.

God Bless