RE: statement on creationism?

Dr. John Stahl (jwstahl@geneva.edu)
Mon, 29 Nov 1999 12:11:47 -0500

The recent exchange between Dick Fischer and George Murphy prompts me out
of lurking.

Dick originally wrote:

YEC's have no scientific integrity - period! Furthermore, they have "no
fidelity to the Word of God" they purport to defend. Here are some
examples.

Job 15:1. Eliphaz asked Job, "Wast thou made before the hills?" Would
Eliphaz have used this question of digging sarcasm had he thought the age
of the hills and the age of man were virtually the same, varying by a scant
five days?

Habakkuk 3:6. The mountains are described as "everlasting," the hills are
"perpetual." The Hebrew words 'ad and 'owlam mean "long duration,"
"ancient," "forever," and "continuous existence." Nevertheless, YEC's
proclaim the mountains and hills are young! Maybe minor prophets don't
count.

Ecclesiastes 1:10: "Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is
new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us." Could "any
thing" include an earth, for example?

Psalm 90:4, Moses said, "For a thousand years in Thy sight are like
yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night [three to four
hours]." God's timing and man's timing are not the same declares Moses,
yet YEC's equate them.

2 Peter 3:3-8. The apostle warns of "scoffers," and affirms the "heavens
were of old," and "that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years."
Ignoring the words of the apostle, young-earth creationists scoff at the
overwhelming evidence of earth antiquity, insist the earth and heavens are
young, and assert that one day is with the Lord as 24 hours!

In short, YEC's ignore the Bible, distort science, and are ignorant of the
historical underpinnings of Genesis.
---------------------
and in a later post Dick related at interpretation of "evening and morning"
from an understanding of grass in Psalm 90.
---------------------

As many on this list, I am also concerned about the increasing tendency to
use YEC as a litmus test of orthodoxy among conservative and evangelical
Christians. This is a live issue in many churches and also at some
Christian colleges. Many dear brothers and sisters in Christ hold a YEC
conviction, and the present discussion makes me wonder about the best way
to proceed in discussion with them that is helpful, humble, and
truth-seeking versus merely debate-winning.

Presentation of scientific evidence is essential, and many old-earth
publications by ASA members, as well as posts on this list speak to this.
However, your typical layperson has some mistrust of science in the first
place - so this may not be the ideal starting place. Discussions of
literary genre in Genesis are also appropriate, but likewise can readily
inspire mistrust if that is the starting place (i.e. you are a "liberal" if
you read Genesis in a non-historical way).

I am wondering about the utility of a general line of discussion that
starts with scripture, and attempts to disconnect the false interpretation
that YEC MUST BE the only correct way to read the Bible's statements about
creation. (Even as I type, I seem to recall that Galileo tried this to no
avail regarding geocentrism - in fact maybe he made things worse).

Dick's list of verse's include some I had never thought of in this context
before, which is what prompts this question. However, looking at some of
these, I am concerned that a YEC sympathizer would not be impressed,
because the statements about mountains being vastly older than man could
just as well be interpreted as mountains being vastly older than the life
of any individual person. Obviously I need to do some of my own study on
this, but are there other scriptures you folks have found which can help to
"open up" the interpretation of the age of the earth and life.

John Stahl
Department of Chemistry
Geneva College
Beaver Falls, PA
jwstahl@geneva.edu