Re: Harry Rimmer not a YEC; Rimmer and Morris

From: Jonathan Clarke (
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 23:21:41 EST

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    Hi Ted

    I have never read Rimmer, so I find this interesting.

    So some ruminations on what you wrote. It fits what little I have read about
    Rimmer, that he was not consistent. I have read Price though, and although he
    was convinced that the flood was global and responsible for the geological
    record, and that life was created recently, as I remember he was prepared to
    concede an old earth and universe. Perhaps therefore it is unfair for me to
    call him a true YEC, even though Morris et al are his intellectual children and
    he doubtless would be at home in their company.

    If this is the case then there has been a real hardening of opinion on this
    matter amongst scientific creationists and their supporters. I have nearly
    finished John Mac Arthur's book and nearly wept to think that this represents
    the opinion of a leading evangelical pastor in the US. The SDAs have, I
    understand become much less doctrinaire, many now being old earth and most of
    the rest being old earth but recent creation of life, as I read them.


    Ted Davis wrote:

    > 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
    > conquest.
    > 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."
    > Etc.
    > 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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