Harry Rimmer not a YEC; Rimmer and Morris

From: Ted Davis (tdavis@messiah.edu)
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 16:34:22 EST

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    It is understandable why Glenn interprets Harry Rimmer as a YEC, but it is
    incorrect. At least Rimmer never unambiguously advocated that the earth is
    just five days older than the human race. He *did* defend a literal
    creation week, and did so quite often--most famously in a debate he had with
    William Bell Riley, in which Rimmer defended the gap view (which has literal
    days, of course, that's its main attraction for fundamentalists) as vs the
    day-age view that Riley preferred.

    But Rimmer was clear about his support for the gap view, as vs a "young"
    universe. In *exactly* the same year in which he argued so strongly for
    literal days vs Riley (1929), he published "Modern Science and the First Day
    of Creation," later incorporated into Modern Science and the Genesis Record.
     There he gives the same arguments for the literal day that he gave vs
    Riley, but much less dogmatically, explicitly stating that "we cannot know"
    whether the days were literal--I suspect that the context of the debate,
    which he always relished, led him to state things more forcefully to gain a

    Right after going through all this--right after endorsing literal days, but
    not dogmatically--Rimmer then lays out the gap view as his own. Speaking of
    the first verse in Genesis, he writes, "This is a simple statement of the
    primal creation, and ascribes to God the original creation, the primary
    construction of every physical thing. The clear meaning is that things
    began when God made them out of nothing that was or ever had been! [his
    italics now:] This verse, and this work of ORIGINATION [end italics] are not
    to be confused with the work of the [italics] First Week, [end italics] as
    we shall be careful to point out as we advance with this study. We are
    dealing in the first chapter of Genesis with two stupendous events, and we
    must not confuse them, or chaos will result in our thinking."


    Much later, after giving the usual fall of Lucifer scenario to explain why
    God ruined the original creation, he explicitly states: "Only God knows how
    many ages rolled by before the ruin wrought by Lucifer fell upon the earth,
    but it may have been an incalculable span of time.... It has been suggested
    [EBD: in the Scofield Bible, among other places, but Scofield was Rimmer's
    source] that the mainfold fossils the rocks contain may be a relic of that
    pre-Adamic age: but of this no man can know definitely." [Note the
    unambiguous reference to a pre-Adamic age, despite his ambiguity about the
    fossils. Rimmer was ambiguous about lots of things, but not this.]

    Whatever one may say about Rimmer, he was *not* an advocate of a "young"
    earth. He *did* constantly badger scientists to "prove" claims for the ages
    of fossils, particularly hominid fossils, but he didn't doubt the great
    antquity of the earth and the universe. He tried inconsistently to
    amalgamate Price with Scofield, just as he tried inconsistently to do
    numerous other things--inconsistency being one of Rimmer's hallmarks.

    As for Rimmer and Morris, the latter speaks directly about his debt to the
    former, in A History of Modern Creationism (1984). Morris invited Rimmer to
    speak at Rice, admired him, and says that he modeled his own career on
    Rimmer's. I also think (though can't back it up as I can for Morris) that
    Gish modeled his debating style on Rimmer's. For Rimmer's part, I think if
    he were alive today, he'd be a YEC at least for the fellowship, if not for
    the truth of it. But he wasn't, and thus (ironically) the CRS can't give
    him posthumous membership, though he more than anyone else showed them how
    to be a "Scientific" creationist.

    Ted Davis

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