Re: Full disclosure (was Grand Canyon Tears America Apart )

From: Ted Davis <TDavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Mon Jan 26 2004 - 12:05:39 EST

William Hamilton writes:
..It seems to me that if we're really serious about educating Christians we
have to reach the pastors and the students. I happen to know that Wheaton
College and Calvin College are both doing a pretty good job of reaching the
students -- at least insofar as making the case for an old earth is
concerned. My sons, one a Calvin grad, the other a Wheaton grad, are not
outspoken about their views, but both accept an old earth and evolution, and
both are solid Christians. Progress is and will continue to be slow, but I
think we are making progress -- at least in some quarters.

Ted comments:

This weekend I spent 36 hours at Pascock Bible Church in northeast New
Jersey, doing exactly what Bill calls for. With roughly 100 people in
attendance, I went through "four perspectives" on origins--YEC, OEC, TE
(taking a conservative variety as the example), and ID. The conversation
was intense, open, and very interesting; I learned (for example) that YECs
no longer claim that the dinosaurs died shortly after leaving the ark,
unable to tolerate the new, post-flood atmosphere; rather they lived up into
early modern times, being responsible for dragon legends etc. At least
that's my impression, from what I was told. I invite correction (with
source, please) from anyone who knows better.

My instinct, often voiced on this forum, that death before the fall is the
fundamental *theological* force behind YEC, was confirmed once again. This
was the most significant objection offered to the "old" earth positions I
presented, and it came up immediately at just the appropriate points.

The pastors of this very conservative, almost fundamentalist, church were
courageous for issuing the invitation for me to speak there. Clearly the
church has been dealing with this as a potentially divisive issue. It
helped *immensely* (that is the correct word) to have in the audience a
distinguished paleoclimatologist, Pierre Biscaye of the Lamont -Doherty
Earth Observatory at Columbia. Anytime I wanted to check or support
something I said, relative to geology and dating methods, Pierre was not
only there, he was entirely with me. Without him there, I suspect, several
in the audience would have raised the level of their challenges. I'd have
said the same things (and fortunately would have been correct), but there
would likely have been less credibility for my statements since I'm not
myself a geologist.

Pierre also gave me a tour of his lab, where he uses x-ray diffraction to
figure out the composition of the various minerals he finds in dust he
gathers in Greenland. Fascinating work. I told him about the article in
the latest issue of PSCF on the ice cores, and I'll be sending it to him.

My sense is, that this went extremely well, considering all the mines I
stepped on. Both my legs still work. I'd very much like to do this again.
If your church is in a similar situation--or if your community is, and your
church is willing to enter the fray--I am available to visit.

A strong theme I left the folks with yesterday: YEC can actually be
dangerous, if it is presented as the only acceptable option. (I simply
won't argue in such venues that it shouldn't be presented at all, they'd
simply dismiss my message entirely.) When youth later learn that not all
the evidence fits into that box (to put it mildly), their faith might fall
out when the box breaks. That is how I put it.

Ted
Received on Mon Jan 26 12:07:02 2004

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