Are young earth creationism and dispensationalist eschatology to blame for our conspiracy theory problem?

"Caught between the (semi) proverbial rock of Ham and the hard place of LaHaye, many Christians–especially American fundamentalists and evangelicals–have been progressively conditioned to resort to conspiracy as an explanatory heuristic" - Conciliar Post

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dgszweda's picture

T Howard wrote:

That's not how Hebrew (or Greek) works.

The other challenge we would be faced with is that we would be challenged on whether God preserved His Word.  Because taking the alternative reading, which is a relatively new idea, we would be forced to try to understand how God would have left His church for 2,000 years + with an incorrect understanding of Genesis 1:1 solely based on a poor translation error, that was repeated across hundreds of years with independent copies by independent translators and that suddenly in @2010 liberal scholars were now actually able to extract the correct meaning by developing a challenging grammatical structure to the Hebrew in order to match this new rendering.

This is the problem that I have with these suddenly new ideas or new understanding of Scripture which incredibly allows us to reinterpret the passage in light of new findings or research (i.e. Bible never really condemns homosexuality it is a misunderstanding of Scripture, woman can magically become pastors......)  which essentially leads us to the fact that the church has never really had the right understanding of much of Scripture until liberal Bible scholars were able to unlock it in recent modern times.  And this recent unlocking can now help the church reorient itself to modern times.

Joeb's picture

I disagree with Mark and I believe it's what the Bible says it is.  God did it all in 6 days and rested the 7th.  I'm not a Qanon Guy and I see the Christian Right and MAGA followers as enemies of Democracy and quite literally as White Supremacist Terrorists in the TRUMP CULT with Liberty University being the birth place of the American ISIS. Not the students just the SBC Conservative Baptist Network Pastors running the place like that GODLY MAN JERRY VINES ON THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AT LIBERTY.  

Add in the Temp President of Liberty doubling down and saying we as Christians must support Donald Trump no matter what the cost.  It's called SIN and voting for a MAGA Person running for Office is to.  So I have one thing in common with them then that our God is all powerful and any detraction that God didn't do it in 6 days makes our God less than omnipotent. Something greatly lacking in White Evangelicals not being able to tell simple right from wrong. The same thing applies hear with the Young Earth position.  So I disagree with Mark in this area but MARK is still a real intelligent guy and I greatly respect him and he has good points. 
 

Just for the sake of Arguments you can go to the Chesapeake to this day and go to the SOD bank at low tide and see the layer of a gray ash and I believe they date it to be 10,000 years old.  They suspect it reflects a hit by a big heavenly object.  Even in South Jersey they used to literally mine huge Cypress Logs in quantity from the mud down by the Delaware bay to make shingles I believe.  
 

Just for point of proof the most northern stand of cypress trees are in Southern Delaware and in a State park.   Plus Bellplain NJ State Forest has records indicating people found huge stumps of cypress trees in Colonial times that were like Red Wood Trees in size in the park area.  The speculation is these trees were mowed down by a tidal or shock wave from the alleged strike.  Seems to me that ties in with the Dinosaurs  disappearing yes.  Additionally they now have proof that humans were in the United States a lot longer then originally thought.  Part of that proof is in a Rock Shelter in Western PA and were part of quite sophisticated societies later   So God did it all just like the Bible said he did period.  

Larry's picture

Moderator

The Hebrew claims here are suspect at best. There is a reason that they do not show up in many places. But even if that were true, it doesn't help because the timing of creation isn't in Gen 1:1. It is the rest of the chapter which defines the creation week as six consecutive, 24 hours days. That is the basis of the fourth commandment in Exod 20:6. 

The Framework hypothesis was raised. I commend to you the journal articles of Bob McCabe where he chewed that up beyond what most will read. 

Part 1: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1K_Kqgun8KBF5iU0E-DfhR_zzNNcockjq

Part 2: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1T8-ei0JwXAs9Tns7koG3qa7TsvuwHjTu

 

Mark_Smith's picture

T Howard wrote:

 

Mark_Smith wrote:
exactly... no definite article!

 

Hence the phrase is more akin to "while beginning to make the universe..." rather than "In the beginning..." No specific start time is mentioned.

 

That's not how Hebrew (or Greek) works. There are other ways of communicating definiteness other than using the definite article. Hebrew has two other ways of expressing definiteness. Greek has other ways as well. JW's go to town on John 1:1 because the Geek doesn't have an article before theos. They believe that proves that Jesus is A God but not THE God. They don't understand Colwell's Rule.

That said, even if the Hebrew word rʾšyt is not definite, you have to consider the bet preposition and use the context to determine the meaning. In temporal phrases, such a construction specifies the beginning of a particular period (e.g. Deut 11:12, Jer. 26:1), and the context of Genesis 1 suggests it refers to the beginning of time itself.

Exactly, the beginning of a period of time, that is, "creation" or the "beginning", but it need not be the way you and historically YEC believers take it to be like a stopwatch starting. I am not arguing for or against. I am saying you don't know either! You guys claim science is so indefinite... There are several reasonable interpretations to Genesis 1 beyond the YEC interpretation.

Mark_Smith's picture

Joeb wrote:

I disagree with Mark and I believe it's what the Bible says it is.  God did it all in 6 days and rested the 7th.  I'm not a Qanon Guy and I see the Christian Right and MAGA followers as enemies of Democracy and quite literally as White Supremacist Terrorists in the TRUMP CULT with Liberty University being the birth place of the American ISIS. Not the students just the SBC Conservative Baptist Network Pastors running the place like that GODLY MAN JERRY VINES ON THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AT LIBERTY.  

Add in the Temp President of Liberty doubling down and saying we as Christians must support Donald Trump no matter what the cost.  It's called SIN and voting for a MAGA Person running for Office is to.  So I have one thing in common with them then that our God is all powerful and any detraction that God didn't do it in 6 days makes our God less than omnipotent. Something greatly lacking in White Evangelicals not being able to tell simple right from wrong. The same thing applies hear with the Young Earth position.  So I disagree with Mark in this area but MARK is still a real intelligent guy and I greatly respect him and he has good points. 
 

Just for the sake of Arguments you can go to the Chesapeake to this day and go to the SOD bank at low tide and see the layer of a gray ash and I believe they date it to be 10,000 years old.  They suspect it reflects a hit by a big heavenly object.  Even in South Jersey they used to literally mine huge Cypress Logs in quantity from the mud down by the Delaware bay to make shingles I believe.  
 

Just for point of proof the most northern stand of cypress trees are in Southern Delaware and in a State park.   Plus Bellplain NJ State Forest has records indicating people found huge stumps of cypress trees in Colonial times that were like Red Wood Trees in size in the park area.  The speculation is these trees were mowed down by a tidal or shock wave from the alleged strike.  Seems to me that ties in with the Dinosaurs  disappearing yes.  Additionally they now have proof that humans were in the United States a lot longer then originally thought.  Part of that proof is in a Rock Shelter in Western PA and were part of quite sophisticated societies later   So God did it all just like the Bible said he did period.  

I don't BELIEVE that the Earth is millions of years old either. It has been MEASURED to be that. No belief required. It's a fact. See my earlier posts.

Mark_Smith's picture

That is why when I measure the age of the universe, and other scientists have done it as well using dozens of different techniques, and we keep getting around the same value, I realize that is the age of the universe.

I then look at the Bible, and while Genesis could be telling me the exact progression of the age of the universe, and precisely how it was created, when I look at the universe, I see a different story. So I have to adapt my interpretation to the realities I see.

This has been done before. Pre-Galileo likely all interpreters had the earth stationary and the Sun moving, just as that perspective is recorded in Joshua 10:13. But post Galileo we have to arrive at a different interpretation for the realities we know. Same thing here.

God is no less the Creator, and the Bible is no less true.

dgszweda's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

God is no less the Creator, and the Bible is no less true.

Sorry, but a naturalistic view that is formed by scientific observation, facts as you define it, has not room for a god.  In fact, its very essence is antithesis to God.  There is no naturalistic view or scientific "fact" that has God as a creator of anything.  You could argue that before the Planck Constant there would be room in science today to say that God started the explosion.  After that, injecting God in any creative act after that flies in the face of science.  He did not create the fish.  There is no evidence anywhere that God created fish.  Fish evolved.  The very essence places God as a figment of the imagination of some deluded inviduals.

Joeb's picture

[quote=dgszweda]

 

Mark_Smith wrote:

 

God is no less the Creator, and the Bible is no less true.

 

 

Sorry, but a naturalistic view that is formed by scientific observation, facts as you define it, has not room for a god.  In fact, its very essence is antithesis to God.  There is no naturalistic view or scientific "fact" that has God as a creator of anything.  You could argue that before the Planck Constant there would be room in science today to say that God started the explosion.  After that, injecting God in any creative act after that flies in the face of science.  He did not create the fish.  There is no evidence anywhere that God created fish.  Fish evolved.  The very essence places God as a figment of the imagination of some deluded inviduals.

Totally agree. The point I was making was that extending time and using evolution to explain how God made his creation takes away from how Great are God is.  God created man in his image in an instant not through a whole bunch of monkeys evolving and becoming man or with other animals. That doesn't mean disasters didn't happen that drove certain animals into extinction and that Earth didn't shift on its axis. Whatever.  It was all created in an instant   The stars the sun the moon the animals man women over the 6 days.  Noah's flood could have been when all the land moved apart. When the so-called ending of human's long life spans over each generation. All eroded due to sin.  

Mark_Smith's picture

Months ago I had a thread where I argued that the YEC position ultimately led to the position that there is no science of astronomy or astrophysics. This thread confirms what I wrote. Dgszweda said that anything too naturalistic removes the need for God, and he rejected it. Well, that's the flip side of what I claimed. Joeb then doubled down and said stars and such (I stick to astronomy not biology, being a cosmologist by profession) were all created and completely formed after 6 days.

If the claims of those 2 are the standard YEC view, and I believe they are, then there is no science as astrophysics. Nuclear fusion is meaningless. Light travel time is meaningless. The inverse square law of luminosity versus apparent brightness is meaningless. The cause of Cepheid Variables changing brightness is meaningless.... because it was all measured and inferred from assuming scientific processes take time to occur. The YEC model has all of creation being a miracle, and hence not subject to scientific scrutiny or inquiry. 

Joel Shaffer's picture

It was Light Travel Time that first got me questioning whether my YEC interpretation had holes in it.  For example, there was a star located in the NGC 5731 galaxy about 120 million light-years away from Earth that recently exploded earlier this year.  One day it was there and the next day it was gone, having taken 120 million years to light travel to earth. The star died 120 million years ago and we weren't able to see it die until earlier this year.  I've never commented on the debates between Mark and the die-hard YEC's on Sharper Iron because my expertise is theology intersecting with intercultural studies and the social sciences not astronomy, physics, biology, and etc.. I will defer to Mark and others who have extensively studied this issue at hand.   But I am much more open to a Old Earth perspective (with Adam and Eve as the first humans) than I was when I first entered seminary 30 years ago.   

dgszweda's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

The YEC model has all of creation being a miracle, and hence not subject to scientific scrutiny or inquiry. 

Bingo!

Those who hold to a YEC model would view that creation was a supernatural event, and one which exhibited ex nihilo.  It was started and sustained by an omnipotent God who is not held by the bounds of this natural world, and in fact created, controls and moves outside and through them at His will.  A miracle cannot be subject by scientific scrutiny and inquiry, because it exists outside of science and naturalistic activities.  We know this, because Hebrews 11:3, says that belief in creation is an act of faith, and that it took place outside of the scientific realm.  The activities and attributes of God cannot be discovered by man.  There is a veil.  It can only be understood by man, through those areas God chooses to reveal in Special Revelation.  At the best that man can do, it can only reveal that there must be a higher power.

And yes, cosmologically there are big discrepancies between what man sees and discovers and what God actually did.  But that shouldn't surprise us, because that is the very essence of salvation and grace.  There is a huge discrepancy between man's view of righteouseness and justice and God's view of righteouseness and justice.  God's grace is viewed as unfair by man.  I can still practice science holding to the naturalistic and cosmological elements that we see, and still hold to faith in what God did regardless of the differences.

KD Merrill's picture

Clearly, if we apply Mark's standard regarding science and Scripture, we can't actually believe that the Earth's rotation slowed to a point that the sun and moon remained visible in the sky when Joshua commanded them to stand still.  That would have required a violation of the laws of physics and as Mark has reminded us on numerous occasions, we can't "do" science if scientific laws were broken at some time in the past.  Obviously, then, Joshua 10 is a metaphorical passage that describes how Israel fought so valiantly and long that it just seemed like the sun stood still.

Furthermore, when God punished Adam and Eve with death and cursed the earth, these apparently didn't apply to the animal kingdom because the dinosaurs had been already living and dying for millions of years.

Mark_Smith's picture

KD Merrill wrote:

Clearly, if we apply Mark's standard regarding science and Scripture, we can't actually believe that the Earth's rotation slowed to a point that the sun and moon remained visible in the sky when Joshua commanded them to stand still.  That would have required a violation of the laws of physics and as Mark has reminded us on numerous occasions, we can't "do" science if scientific laws were broken at some time in the past.  Obviously, then, Joshua 10 is a metaphorical passage that describes how Israel fought so valiantly and long that it just seemed like the sun stood still.

Furthermore, when God punished Adam and Eve with death and cursed the earth, these apparently didn't apply to the animal kingdom because the dinosaurs had been already living and dying for millions of years.

 

KD, NO, that is not my standard. Joshua 10:12-14 is an explicit miracle. The "laws of physics" (which is not the right way to say it anyway, physics is our model to predict natural behavior. Nature does not "follow" our models...) are not applicable because a miracle is performed. By definition, the normal behavior of nature was changed. How? I have no idea, nor do you. Here is the text:

12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,

Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
    and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
    until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.

Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel.

 

 

How was the "motion" of the Sun and Moon stopped? The text does not say, so that is all I stand on. The text DOES NOT SAY the Earth stopped rotating!!!!!!!!!!! It says Joshua commanded the Sun and Moon to stop. Do not add to the Bible.

KD Merrill's picture

So, Joshua 10 is, in your words, an "explicit miracle" that's unexplainable according to known scientific laws, but creation ex nihilo isn't.

And we can rely on a plain reading of the text to accept by faith what happened in Joshua 10, but definitely not Genesis 1-2 and Exodus 20.

Got it.

Mark_Smith's picture

KD Merrill wrote:

So, Joshua 10 is, in your words, an "explicit miracle" that's unexplainable according to known scientific laws, but creation ex nihilo isn't.

And we can rely on a plain reading of the text to accept by faith what happened in Joshua 10, but definitely not Genesis 1-2 and Exodus 20.

Got it.

If Gen 1 represents a miracle God performed and the universe in totality was created in 6 days, the stars completely and consistently on day 4, for example, then there is no science of astronomy and astrophysics. Stars, planets, galaxies, etc. are the direct product of miracle activity. No natural process created them. Thus, no natural procedure can be used to study them. There is no way, by extension, to measure distances (because to do so requires using naturalistic assumptions that do not apply), or to talk about stellar energy sources (ie nuclear fusion, because claiming fusion is claiming a natural process... which we cannot identify with a star that is a mere 6-7,000 years old...).

So, my claim is, if you accept YEC you have to be in for the whole intellectual consequence of YEC, which is that there is no way to study the physical universe beyond this planet.

...Of course, taking that seriously leads to all kinds of other problems...

Dave White's picture

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/science-the-bible-and-the-promised-...

Sailhamer argues that Genesis 1 and 2 recount "two great acts of God" (14). The first great act is the creation of the entire universe-our planet, the animals, the sun, moon, stars, etc. This is recounted in 1:1, which declares that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The Hebrew word translated "beginning" does not mean an instant of time, but an"indefinite period of time." Since, then, God created the entire universe in an unspecified period of time, "we cannot sayfor certain when God created the world or how long he took to create it" (14). For this reason, the scientific evidence for an old universe does not contradict Genesis one. And this is the case even if we interpret the "days" as twenty four hour periods and not ages of time.

The second great act of God is recounted in 1:2-2:24 and "deals with a much more limited scope and period of time. Beginning with Genesis 1:2, the biblical narrative recounts God's preparation of a land for the man and woman He was to create. That 'land' was the same land later promised to Abraham and his descendants...According to Genesis 1, God prepared that land within a period of a six-day work week. On the sixth day of that week, God created human beings. God then rested on the seventh day" (14). One of the stunning truths this brings to light is that "when Israel was promised a land in which to live out God's blessings (Gen 15:8), it was not the first time God had prepared a place for them. From the beginning, God had prepared that place for His chosen people" (p. 92). When we understand this, we see that the land is acentral unifying theme of God's acts of creation and redemption.

In sum, Sailhamer argues that Genesis 1:1 refers to the creation of the entire universe and that God did so over the period of an unspecified length of time that could have been one year or fifteen billion years. The text just does not say. Genesis 1:2and following, which recount God's acts during the six days, therefore do not refer to the creation of the universe. They speak of a time after the creation of the universe when God prepared a land (which is the same land later promised to Israel) for Adam and Eve whom he was to create on the sixth day. And the reason that God had to prepare the Garden for Adam and Eve was, among other things, because "the earth [promised land] was formless and void [a deserted wilderness],and darkness was over the surface of the deep" (v. 2).

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