From: Robert Schneider (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Mar 28 2003 - 15:00:13 EST
Here are some scattered thoughts on your pastor's argument.
1. If the universe was created with an appearance of age when in fact it is
very young, how could one verify this? One could just as readily assert
that while the universe appears to be very old, it actually is much older
than it appears, for the same reason, because God made it that way. The
assertion that the universe is much younger than it appears is simply an ad
hoc hypothesis, designed to justify, #2, below.
2. Those who claim an appearance of age do so on the basis of a peculiar
_interpretation_ of biblical texts, and in so claim this appearance they
implicitly acknowledge the well-established claim that scientific analysis
of data from nature show that the universe is very old. It is a fact that
some YECs claim that there is scientific, natural evidence that the universe
is young, but that is a different issue from the "appearance of age"
argument. And if one brings the latter approach in, then why could one not
use the "appearance of age" argument against them?
3. The point at issue in your pastor's reasoning is the "If" clause. Since
the universe appears to be much older than those who hold to the biblical
interpretation (#2) believe it to be, but one cannot verify this belief if
one concedes that indeed it does appear to be much older, then there is no
way to turn the conditional clause into a declarative sentence, and your
pastor's reasoning is an empty exercise: it begs the question, for _it has
not be established_ that God created the universe with an appearance of age.
It also begs the question, Why would God create a universe in such a way
that it appears much older than it actually is?
4. One could just as well argue that, since God is not only good,
righteous, and holy, but is also the source of all truth, God would not
create a universe with an appearance of age that would lead human beings
(made in his image) into falsehood and error about the age of the universe,
and that would nullify a good portion of the effort to understand God's
creation. To do so would be for God to act against God's own nature as
good, righteous, holy, and the source of truth.
A final comment. The invocation of appearance of age by YECs such as Henry
Morris seems to me to be in conflict with the sort of arguments that have
been going back and forth on the ASA list presently. Bill Payne, David
Campbell, Peter Ruest, Don Winterstein, Allen Roy and others have been
either setting forth interpretations of scientific data that would argue for
a young earth, or claiming that the interpretations are wrong and thus the
arguments invalid. It appears that the YEC group are saying that they can
have their cake and eat it too: if there is solid evidence that leads to
the conclusion that the earth is old, well, when God created the young
earth, he set all of the radioactive decay rates, etc., in such a way that
they would appear to support a much greater age; or, on the other hand,
there is scientific evidence that the earth is much younger than scientists
claim, and we can prove it scientifically (though these arguments have been
regularly shot down, as several on this list have pointed out).
I think Henry Morris expressed the mentality that lies behind the YEC effort
well to Ken Miller. Miller recounts that the morning following a debate
with Morris in which Miller had laid out the evidence against Morris'
arguments and Morris had not handled the critique well (to the delight of
the science teachers there), Miller asked Morris if he could join him for
breakfast. Morris agreed, and they talked. Miller asked Morris why he
clung to his position, when it seemed to him (Miller) to be so untenable.
One thing Morris said in reply was this: "Scripture tells us what the right
conclusion is. And if science, momentarily, doesn't agree with it, then we
have to keep working till we get the right answer. But I have no doubts as
to what that answer will be" (_Finding Darwin's God_, p. 172-3). In other
words, Morris will never accept any scientific conclusion that conflicts,
not with Scripture, but with his interpretation of Scripture. I have to
say, as I have written before, that I think this reasoning does a great
disservice to Scripture as well as to science.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2003 12:57 PM
Subject: appearance of age and the goodness of God
> My name is Jason Alley, and I am posting again after a long absence. My
pastor and I were talking about the appearance of age argument recently, and
I was telling him that to believe that God created a young creation that
bore the marks of an ancient one would be deceptive, and God does not
deceive. I told him that God, on the contrary, invites us to know him and
seek him out through the natural world (Job, Romans 1, etc), and that this
invitation would not make sense if we would arrive at wrong conclusions by
so doing. My pastor then countered with an interesting comment that I had
not yet considered. I was wondering if any of you had considered the
> God is good by nature, and whatever he does, if he does it, is good. God
is incapable of evil actions. When God does something in our lives or in
the world that we might think of as wrong, evil, or bad, we are in error.
God is unable to act in this way. If we think that he has, we must remember
that he is the standard of rightness and holiness. We are flawed. Whatever
he does, it is, because of his nature, perfect and right. Therefore, if God
did create with an appearance of age, that action is not deceptive or wrong,
as it is an action of the perfectly righteous God. Even if it is deceptive,
that deception is not wrong; it is righteous.
> What are your thoughts?
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