[asa] Re: How to approach YECs was Empiricism, Faith and Science

From: Paul Seely <PHSeely@msn.com>
Date: Sun Sep 24 2006 - 22:56:54 EDT

Iain wrote,

   <<PS: If you want to change Vernon, you need to argue from Scripture.

  IS: Well, here at least is where something productive could come
out of =
the discussion. Are you saying that this is just the case for Vernon, =
or for any YEC. I'm trying to have a dialogue with someone from the =
Christian group at work who has recently become a YEC. He has
swallowed =
absolutely everything he's read on the AiG website and now believes
he's =
scientifically prepared to defend his faith. Are you saying that I'm =
wasting my time trying to point out the scientific fallacies? If so
can =
you point me to some suitable passage of scripture that would be more =
persuasive? My own inclination in this respect is to concentrate on =
John Ch 1, which does not place the same emphasis on times and
duration =
that is in the Genesis account but on the continuing role of the Word
in =
creation (Without Him was not anything made that has been made). =
Furthermore, as it shows Christ at the centre of creation, it would =
appear to be a more complete revelation of the nature of things that
Gen =
Ch 1, written before Christ.=20

Anyway, I'd be interested to know your thoughts. For example, is
there =
any point in getting any YEC to read Collins's book? Is there a way
to =
argue against YEC purely from scripture?>>

Some on the list have recently gone forth to convert YECs, apparently =
with good scientific data. I am interested in hearing about their =
experiences as they overcome or are overcome. We can all learn from =
these experiences. Some YECs will listen to the scientific data. The =
question is, Which data is the most convincing? How is it best =
presented? What is the level of education of the person who is
persuaded =
that YEC is wrong? In other words, I would like to know from those who =
have gone forth to battle, What works, and with whom?=20

Yes, I believe, one can argue with YECs purely from Scripture, But =
exactly how to do it, is a problem I am still working on. My strategy =
thus far has been to address biblical scholars with the hope that my =
writings will be picked up and passed on to seminary and college =
students and put in commentaries (as some of them now have been).
Thus a =
more enlightened approach will filter down.=20

The only more direct win I have heard of is that someone wrote me that =
he had never won an argument with a YEC until he gave them my paper, =
"How Creation Science Takes Psalm 104:6-9 out of context." =
/aSA/PSCF/1999/PSCF9-99Seely.html>) This is ostensibly a small win,
but =
without Psalm 104 to build on, YECs have no basis for saying the =
mountains were lower before the Flood, and that leaves them
uncovered, =
and that contradicts the global Flood idea.

Now that I think of it I did win a moment of silence from two YECs
when =
I said the firmament in Gen 1 (and elsewhere) is solid and then said
the =
Hebrew word is used only 14 times in the OT and only one passage tells =
us the nature of a firmament, namely Ezek 1:22,23 where it is a
divider =
with a throne above it and cherubim below it and it is said to look
like =
crystal. I asked, is it solid? They fell silent. Solidity is obvious, =
and if a person begins "fixing" the passage, you can accuse them of
not =
following the straight-forward method of interpretation which they
claim =
is their way of interpreting the Bible. If necessary, one can add that =
having checked 33 commentaries on Ezekiel, all which speak of the
matter =
(c. 1/3) agree that it is solid--and this includes conservative =
commentaries. If they try to say Ezek's firmament is different, you
can =
say they are refusing to interpret the Bible by the Bible.

I am now attempting to write a booklet (or book?) addressed to =
creationists. After an introduction where I agree with them that the =
proffered concordist answers are not what the Bible is really saying,
I =
point out that Whitcomb and Morris did not agree with Scripture when =
they created the "vapor canopy." between the sun and the earth and
that =
the Bible is describing (as one can see even in translation) a sea
above =
the firmament--and because ABOVE the firmament, above the sun, moon
and =
stars which are IN the firmament. It is this water which Evangelical
OT =
scholars agree (and agree with Whitcomb and Morris) fell to earth
during =
the Flood--although W&M dumped out all of the water whereas OT
scholars =
see Scripture as leaving some of it in place. And this difference =
between W&M and the Bible is confirmed by the findings of creation =
science (led at the time by Glenn Morton) that a "vapor canopy" could =
not provide more than c. 20 feet of flood water without causing a =
Greenhouse effect so strong that the heat would suffocate everyone on =
the ark. And even YECs know that if there was a sea above the sun,
moon =
and stars (as at least one YEC leader has agreed --David Fouts of Wm J =
Bryan College), it could not fall from there as rain to earth. So, why =
does the Bible say this? The answer to Why will undermine the =
rationalistic idea that God reveals all the science and history in the =
Bible. =20

Another approach is going with a biblical theology rather than the =
philosophical idealism that underlies creationism (and concordism).
The =
Bible does not reject the authority of empirical evidence. Deut 18:22 =
even makes the human interpretation of empirical evidence a canon for =
testing alleged divine revelations. God is thereby giving great =
authority to such evidence. Secondly, Jesus recognized that even =
unbelievers could correctly interpret empirical evidence (Matt 16:3). =
And Paul bases the case for the resurrection of Jesus on the empirical =
evidence of witnesses (ICor 15). The NT says, Test all things (IThes =
5:21). This command, in the light of the above, is assuming that =
empirical matters will be tested empirically. Setting aside the
findings =
of empirical science is not biblical. Making up one's own imaginary =
science is not biblical either as it violates the command to adhere
to a =
"sound" mind (2Tim 1:7), which in Scripture is the opposite of =
insanity(Mk 5:15).

Much work obviously remains to be done, but the point is, YECs do not =
always agree with Scripture, and where they do not =3D an entrance
point =
to bring them to a more biblical position.=20


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Received on Thu Sep 28 19:08:20 2006

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