The wine from Cana (& other NT miracles) has been appealed to
as an attempt to justify the notion of apparent age in creation. It
Permit me to bury it with appropriate
honors. For simplicity I stick with Cana & the 1st Genesis creation account.
1. There is ample evidence that the 4th Gospel is set in the early 1st
century in Palestine, & thus that the wedding at Cana took place
around A.D. 30. (I
waive for the time being any questions about the historicity of
Jn.2.) I.e., we know
the age of the wine which was made from water. We know no such thing
for the things
created in Gen.1. In fact the whole debate is about how to date the
heavens & the
earth, plants & animals of the past, &c, questions that involve the
the Genesis text and of later parts of the Bible which might link it with known
historical events. Thus the two situations are not analogous.
2. We don't have any of the wine from Cana & aren't likely
to find any.
When a certain amount of H20 (with a little D20) was converted in
C2H5OH, what were
the isotopic proportions of C14 and C12 in the ethanol? What age
would carbon dating
have given for this wine. We don't know. It begs the question to say that the
C14/C12 ratio would have been the same as for any other wine made in
3. The assumption that Vernon seems to make below & that is
tacitly made by
others who use this argument is that the change of water to wine involved a
conversion of water to wine in a way that simply violates the laws
processes. We don't know this to be the case. If, as I have
suggested before (& for
which there is considerable support in the Jewish & Christian
are better thought of as extremely rare natural processes whose
possibility God had
put into creation then the very lack of understanding of these
processes whiich makes
us label them "miracle" makes it impossible to know what the apparent
age of the
miraculous wine would have been.
4. Creation in the beginning is described by Vernon as a
"miracle" but some
care is needed with this. Certainly the existence of the universe -
other than God - is not something that the laws describing the inner
workings of the
universe itself can account for. In that sense the fundamental act
of creation is a
"miracle". But there is no reaon to hold that all the creative
events spoken of in
Genesis 1 are to be understood as "miraculous". In fact, Genesis 1
origin of plants & animals as being from the waters & the earth, in
accord with God's
command - i.e., mediated creation. (I have pointed this out
repeatedly on this list
& hate to belabor the point but obviously there are some who just
don't get it.)
There is absolutely nothing in Genesis 1 or anywhere else in the
Bible to make us say
that life is a miracle.
5. The event at Cana is called a "sign". It points to the
presence of the
creator in Jesus - i.e., the one who gives wine all the time by
does it here in some more dramatic fashion.
(Cf. point 3.) Creation itself clearly is not a "sign" in the same way.
6. I wonder if anytone really believes the apparent age
argument. It always
seems to be used as a final fallback position when all the other arguments -
questions about radioactive debating, constancy of the speed of
light, &c &c - have
failed. If people really believed the apparent age argument they'd
that radioactive dating, supernovas, the expansion of ther universe
&c all really do
seem to give old ages for the earth & the universe & would say up
front that that
doesn't matter because all these ages are only apparent. Instead
coming up with arguments to try to show that there's scientific
evidence for a young
earth & universe, a procedure that would make no sense if the ages were only
apparent. It's only when these scientific arguments fail that they
fall back on
apparent age - which is why I called it a counsel of desperation.
7. As for apparent age being "a thorn in the flesh of the Christian
evolutionist" - the only pain it inflicts is that of having to waste
out what's wrong with it.
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
Vernon Jenkins wrote:
> You wrote in part:
> > The fundamental objection to apparent age, whether in its philosophical or
> > religious guise, is theological - it makes God the creator of an
> > more pointedly, a hoax.
> In drawing attention to the 'water into wine' miracle, I believe Walt has
> refuted this charge. Indeed, it is clear that the outcome of many
>of the Lord's
> miracles involved an element of 'apparent age' - as, for example,
> bread gathered up following the feeding of the 5000, the healed
>limbs and their
> accompanying muscle tissue and tendons, the eyes of the once blind
> and so on.
> Were these miracles performed with deception in mind? Surely not
>(though we would
> have to admit that a pedantic analyst might be misled by them!). Would you
> not agree that, once one accepts the principle of miracle, then the
> of 'apparent age'
> surely follows?
> What then of the miracle of creation? God has provided an account of the
> unfolding of this event along with a timescale. Thus He can hardly
>be accused of
> a deliberate deception if current observation and deduction (based
> assumptions) lead men to conclude otherwise. Surely it has then
>become a matter
> of _self-deception_ fuelled by unbelief on their part.
> You continue:
> > The apparent age idea cannot be refuted scientifically. Neither
>can the idea
> > that any physical phenomenon we don't understand is brought about
> > demons. But apparent age in a religious context is a counsel
> > of desperation and should be rejected by anyone who takes the doctrine of
> > creation seriously.
> George, I have argued that 'apparent age' is a necessary outcome of certain
> types of miracle - which include the miracle of creation. It is
> a 'counsel of desperation' for those of my persuasion, but rather a truth
> which is clearly demonstrated in the Scriptures and one that is - and
> ever will be - a thorn in the flesh for the Christian evolutionist.
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