Re: Tne NTSE & "Competition"

David J. Tyler (
Wed, 26 Mar 1997 14:01:22 GMT

On 25 Mar 97 at 10:39, John W. Burgeson wrote:

> In the issue I observe that Henry Morris prefers the term "literal
> creationism" to "young earth creationism." I don't see any reason why "LC"
> is not an acceptable substitute for "YEC," particularly as it does
> establish a definitional point where we can agree on something...

This is an interesting shift in emphasis. The reason cannot be that
YEC is a term invented by opponents - as most do not perceive it as a
term of abuse. I think the Morris suggestion may be divisive for
YECs: because some will not be too comfortable with LC. There is a
debate about biblical interpretation here: is "literalism" a
principle that applies to the Genesis account? Some feel that the
word "literal" has too many polemic overtones to be useful - with all
sorts of associations with millenialism and dispensationalism (which
also claim the word "literal" in order to justify certain distinctive
beliefs). Morris's own millenialism creeps into his creationism on
occasions - which makes me wary of the proposed new emphasis.

> Morris also offers the term "Biblical Creationism," which, I think, is not
> so good, as it defines, by implication, all other positions as
> "unbiblical," thus claiming the high ground in a debate over where the
> high ground lies.

I come at this from quite a different perspective. I have always
perceived the term "Biblical creationism" as a means of
distinguishing ones beliefs from "Scientific creationism". For
reasons I cannot really understand, US YECs have sought to develop
"scientific creationism" which can be taught, researched and debated
without reference to the Bible. The Biblical creationist emphasises
the importance of basing all human knowledge, including science, on a
foundation of biblical revelation.

> Morris has some things to say both about the ASA and about the REASONS TO
> BELIEVE ministry of Hugh Ross. He sees them as making a "serious mistake."
> The key point of the debate centers in the following paragraph, quoted in
> its entirety from the article:
> "The difference is this: we believe the Bible must take priority over
> scientific theories, while they believe scientific theories must determine
> our Biblical interpretations."

A biblical creationist will regard all truth as God's truth, and will
seek a harmony of all relevant evidences. This will mean that there
will be an openness to reexamining hermeneutic principles as well as
an openness to questioning the findings of "science". The LC has
already concluded that literalism is the only acceptable
hermeneutical principle, and this leads to a more rigid position in
its advocates.

In the quotation from Morris above, Morris is not comparing like with
like: the Bible is God's revelation to man, and it must take priority
over autonomous reason. Scientific theories are built on all sorts
of foundations and should not be spoken of as though they form a
monolithic edifice.

What unites all YECs is that they all believe that the book of
Genesis provides a HISTORICAL RECORD of origins. History is the
key word. Some are more influenced by theological principles than by
the exegesis of the text of Genesis 1-2. It is not necessary to be a
literalist to hold these views. Consequently, Morris appears to be
driving a wedge into the YEC community which may lead to division.
(Incidentaly, he is already doing this by taking a specific stand on
the non-existence of the geologic column). He could go down in
history as a "father" figure to the modern YEC movement, but it seems
more likely now that he will be known as the leader of a faction
within this movement.

Best wishes,
David J. Tyler.