Thursday, March 19, 2009

Perspectives on an Evolving Creation, 4b - God's Two Books, Part II

#7 in an ongoing series on Perspectives on an Evolving Creation edited by Keith B. Miller. Previous post in this series: Perspectives on an Evolving Creation, 4a - God's Two Books, Part I. First post in the series: Perspectives on an Evolving Creation, 1 - Introduction.

In my last post in this series, I attempted to summarize the thoughts of a number of leading Christian thinkers down through the centuries in reference to the idea of "God's two books." All of these thinkers seemed to believe that scientific inquiry and biblical study should inform one another. I closed my post with representative quotes from three leading modern young-earth creationist spokespersons. All of them seem to disagree with their spiritual forebears, and to disagree with them sharply.

My purpose, here, is to summarize why I believe their objections to the two-books idea are illegitimate.

I reject their objections for at least the following reasons:
  1. Because their primary claims against the two-books doctrine are simply false.
  2. Because, it is my observation, these young-earthers themselves (I am happy to report!) permit data external to the Bible to help them interpret the Bible. But that means they are behaving in a hypocritical manner when they raise these kinds of charges against their two-books brethren.
  3. Because the fears I expressed in my Young- and Old-Earth Creationists: Can We Even Talk Together? essay seven or eight years ago are coming true more and more. Their anti-two-books teaching is producing the evil fruit of unnecessary division within the body of Christ. More and more people are being cut off from fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ . . . for reasons as inappropriate as these.

    And, finally,
  4. Because these men's claims cut them off from many of their own--and their audiences'--leading spiritual forebears. In seeking to be so "pure," they deny their own spiritual heritage and history.
Let me remind you again of what the young-earth creationist leaders have said about "God's Two Books."

John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research:
Can man, with a brain and reasoning powers distorted by the curse . . . accurately reconstruct the history of the universe? Should his historical reconstructions be put on a higher plane than Scripture? Or is man and his mind locked in the effects of the curse--a poor reflection of the once glorious "image of God"--now blinded by sin and the god of this world, seeing things through a glass darkly?"

Dr. Danny Faulkner:
Scripture teaches that the creation is cursed (Gen. 3:17—19, Rom. 8:20—22), but Scripture itself is ‘God-breathed’ (2 Tim. 3:15—17). So how can a cursed creation interpreted by a fallible methodology of sinful humans determine how we interpret the perfect, unfallen Word of God?
And, then, finally--and preeminently--Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis:
AiG’s main thrust is NOT ‘young Earth’ as such; our emphasis is on Biblical authority. Believing in a relatively ‘young Earth’ (i.e., only a few thousands of years old, which we accept) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator. . . .

Let’s be honest. Take out your Bible and look through it. You can’t find any hint at all for millions or billions of years. . . .

[T]he reason [many well-known and respected Christian leaders] don’t believe God created in six literal days is because they are convinced from so-called ‘science’ that the world is billions of years old. In other words, they are admitting that they start outside the Bible to (re)interpret the Words of Scripture. . . .

[By contrast,] I understand that the Bible is a revelation from our infinite Creator, and it is self-authenticating and self-attesting. I must interpret Scripture with Scripture, not impose ideas from the outside! . . .

[A]s a ‘revelationist,’ I let God’s Word speak to me, with the words having meaning according to the context of the language they were written in. . . . I accept the plain words of Scripture in context. . . .

And the fact is, every single dating method (outside of Scripture) is based on fallible assumptions. There are literally hundreds of dating tools. However, whatever dating method one uses, assumptions must be made about the past. Not one dating method man devises is absolute! Even though 90% of all dating methods give dates far younger than evolutionists require, none of these can be used in an absolute sense either. . . .

Question: Why would any Christian want to take man’s fallible dating methods and use them to impose an idea on the infallible Word of God? Christians who accept billions of years are in essence saying that man’s word is infallible, but God’s Word is fallible!

This is the crux of the issue. When Christians have agreed with the world that they can accept man’s fallible dating methods to interpret God’s Word, they have agreed with the world that the Bible can’t be trusted. They have essentially sent out the message that man, by himself, independent of revelation, can determine truth and impose this on God’s Word. Once this ‘door’ has been opened regarding Genesis, ultimately it can happen with the rest of the Bible.

False Charges

I want to call your attention to some of the more "damaging" things these men have to say about their elder brothers in Christ. And I want you to consider whether their (at least implicit) charges are valid. Are the charges they level against people who seek to balance science and Scripture legitimate? Are the behaviors these young-earth creationists say people who try to use science to inform their interpretations of Scripture: are these the behaviors in which Calvin and Galileo and Kepler and Hodge . . . and so many others . . . engaged in?

Ken Ham:
  • They "agreed with the world that the Bible can’t be trusted."
--Is that what these men did?
  • They "sent out the message that man, by himself, independent of revelation, can determine truth and impose this on God’s Word."
--Again: Is that what any of these men did?
  • They said that "man’s word is infallible, but God’s Word is fallible."
  • They "start outside the Bible to (re)interpret the Words of Scripture."
--Really? Those were Calvin's and Hodge's hermeneutical principles?
  • They refused to accept "the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator."
--Calvin? Hodge?

John Morris:
  • They put their "historical reconstructions . . . on a higher plane than Scripture."
--Is this an honest evaluation of where these men were coming from? Their attitudes and behaviors with respect to Scripture?

I dare say the correct answer to each one of my questions is No. Neither Calvin, nor Galileo, nor Kepler, nor Hodge--nor many, many others down through the centuries who have said that we must interpret the Bible not only "by itself" but also by science: NONE of these people--these faithful Bible-believers-- . . . NONE of these people ever suggested that the Bible can’t be trusted.

Oh, yes; no doubt: they did suggest--no; in fact, they taught--that some interpretations of Scripture can't be trusted. And they taught that certain evidence from the natural world ought to change our interpretations of Scripture. But I know of no sayings of any of these men that would lead me to suspect that they believed the Bible itself was untrustworthy . . . as Mr. Ham suggests they must.

I have seen no evidence that any of these men "sent out the message that man, by himself, independent of revelation, can determine truth and impose this on God’s Word." No. I have only seen them advocate a careful interplay between interpretations of Scripture and interpretations of natural phenomena: let the one impact the other . . . and vice versa.

"Man’s word is infallible, but God’s Word is fallible"? --Preposterous!

"Start outside the Bible to (re)interpret the Words of Scripture"? --I don't think so! . . . Oh, yes, there is evidence, external to the Scripture, that may make it very clear to us if or when certain words of Scripture ought, perhaps, to be interpreted differently than the "plain reading" seems to indicate. (More on that in a few moments.) But that any of these men held it as an axiom of Scriptural interpretation that they should start outside the Bible to (re)interpret Scripture? --Again: I don't think so.

They refused to accept "the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator"? --I don't think Ham could provide a shard of proof.

So I object to the young-earthers' charges, first, because they are simply false.

But I object to them on other grounds as well.


Ham and friends make this big deal about being so "above it all" in their manner of handling the Bible.

Yet, as I discovered those many years ago when I wrote my paper about young- and old-earth creationists being able to talk together, they themselves don't live up to their bold proclamations. They themselves have adopted a post-Copernican view of the structure of the universe, permitting modern science to help instruct them about the meaning of passages like Joshua 10:12-13 (where Joshua commands the Sun to stand still) and Hebrew words like raqiya‘ (translated as "firmament" in most older versions of the Bible, and "expanse" in most modern translations; see Is the raqiya‘ (‘firmament’) a solid dome?).

As I write in my Young- and Old-Earth Creationists: Can We Even Talk Together? essay:
Russell Grigg . . . notes in his essay, "Joshua's Long Day" (found on 9 September 2002 at the AIG website: [available now--in 2009--at their former partners' site:]), that Joshua 10:12-13 "uses the language of appearance and observation"--i.e., describes the apparent movement of the Sun from the perspective of an Earth-bound observer rather than from the beyond-this-world perspective of God.

Or as Dr. Danny Faulkner writes in the introduction to his essay "Geocentrism and Creation" (accessed 8 March 2005 at, "[T]he Bible is neither geocentric nor heliocentric."

That's what these Young-Earth creationists say. But how do they know these things? On the basis of Scripture? Or on the basis of science (i.e., "man's fallen wisdom") being brought to bear upon Scripture?

As you read his article, Dr. Faulkner's arguments sound reasonable and convincing. Indeed, I think he is "right on."

But try using these arguments with members and supporters of The Biblical Astronomer (TBA; also known as the Association for Biblical Astronomy)! Listen to what those brothers and sisters have to say. Their arguments against Copernicanism and against "compromisers" and "Biblioskeptics" like Dr. Faulkner sound remarkably like the arguments I have heard many [non-geocentric] Young-Earth creationists use against their Old-Earth brethren.5

Anyone who suggests the Earth is not at rest in the center of the universe, say TBA supporters, has abandoned the clear teaching of God's Word. Indeed, they say,
[T]he Bible's authority is weakened by [any other view]; . . . the Bible teaches geocentricity. Geocentric verses range from those with only a positional import, such as references to "up" and "down"; through the question of just what the earth was "orbiting" the first three days while it awaited the creation of the sun; to overt references such as Ecclesiastes 1, verse 5:
The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
Perhaps the strongest geocentric verse in the Bible is Joshua 10:13:
And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
Here the Moderator of Scripture, the Holy Ghost Himself, endorses the daily movement of the sun and moon. After all, God could just as well have written: "And the earth stopped turning, so that the sun appeared to stand still, and the moon seemed to stay. . . ."6
To suggest that the Bible does not teach geocentrism is tantamount to saying that human science is superior to God's Word, say the TBAers. While "everyone since Adam can understand that Isaiah 55:12 is a literary device [Isaiah 55:12 speaks of the trees "clapping their hands"], . . . there is not a clue to tell those before Copernicus that Joshua 10:13 is not to be taken literally."

Indeed, the Church's entire modern slide away from faith is directly traceable to the seed sown by faithless (or, at least, misdirected!) men like Copernicus:
[E]ither God writes what he means and means what he writes, or else he passes off mere appearances as truths and ends up the liar. The ultimate issue is one of final authority: is the final say God's or man's? This is brought home again and again by humanists, such as the twentieth-century philosopher Bertrand Russell and astronomer Ivan King, who point to the church's abandonment of geocentricity as having "freed" man from the ancient God-centered outlook on life to the modern man-centered outlook. . .

The Copernican Revolution, as this change of view is called, was not just a revolution in astronomy, but it also spread into politics and theology. In particular, it set the stage for the development of Bible criticism. After all, if God cannot be taken literally when He writes of the "rising of the sun," then how can He be taken literally in writing of the "rising of the Son"?
To summarize the geocentrists' position in the most succinct manner possible:
[T]he reason why we deem a return to a geocentric astronomy a first apologetic necessity is that its rejection at the beginning of our Modern Age constitutes one very important, if not the most important, cause of the historical development of Bible criticism, now resulting in an increasingly anti-Christian world in which atheistic existentialism is preaching a life that is really meaningless.

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. -- Isaiah 8:20

[Accessed 10 January 2006 at]
If you are familiar with the kinds of arguments that our brothers and sisters at Answers in Genesis use, you will recognize some powerful parallels here.7 Indeed, internally, I find the TBA presentation quite a bit more attractive, on its surface, than I do those who would suggest, as Dr. Faulkner does, that the Bible is "neither geocentric nor heliocentric."

To reference the TBA author once more: how could any ordinary Christian have interpreted the Bible in the manner Dr. Faulkner suggests . . . unless and until s/he had been influenced by Copernican doctrines? Who would have even imagined thinking in non-geocentric terms prior to the Copernican Revolution? So, in a sense, isn't it true that Dr. Faulkner is "setting science above Scripture"?8

5 See, for example, "Creation Compromises," found on 12 January 2006 at [closest equivalent available on 15 March 2009:], and "Geology and the young earth: Answering those 'Bible-believing' bibliosceptics," found on 12 January 2006 at[, but available as of 15 March 2009 at]. Return to text.

6 Unless otherwise noted, the above and future quotations from TBA sources are from "Why Geocentricity," an essay found at {accessed [15 March 2009]). Return to text.

7 For example, Russell Grigg charges that anyone who disagrees with his interpretation of Genesis 1 is "using humanistic evolutionary scientific opinions to determine the meaning of the Bible, rather than vice versa." —Russell Grigg, "Morning has broken . . . but when?" Found at [ 15 March 2009]. Return to text.

8 It turns out that Dr. Gerardus D. Bouw, the head of the Biblical Astronomer, has now written a scathing response to Dr. Faulkner's attack that takes this very tack:
In examining Faulkner's case against geocentricity we found that his insistence that the Scriptures do not present a geocentric universe is not founded on any reason other than his opinion. In effect, his view is founded on the assumption that the proper interpretation of the Bible in the realm of science may await future discoveries by science. . . . Given that the geocentric model is pure physics, mathematically tractable, and realistic, and consistent with Scripture, we conclude that the creationist's desire to reject it can only be for the sole purpose of appearing intellectual and acceptable to the world, which desire is enmity with God (James 4:4).
As of [March 15, 2009], you can find Dr. Bouw's article at Return to text.
But besides this (what appears to me to be) patent hypocrisy (the young-earthers themselves obviously do turn to science to help them understand their world and how to interpret Scripture . . . not only here, when it comes to geocentricity, but also (as I have noted), as the Haarsmas point out, in terms of their meteorology, embryology, and, I'm sure, many other areas of scientific investigation. [Indeed, when it comes to meteorology and embryology, I can't imagine they would "even" speak of "the language of appearance and observation." I may be wrong; I have not read anything from a young-earth creationist concerning meteorology or embryology. But in reference to the Scriptures that speak of the storehouses and floodgates of heaven where the rain and snow and winds are held and released (Genesis 7:11; 8:2; Deuteronomy 28:12; Job 38:22; Psalm 135:7; Jeremiah 10:13), or in reference to a passage like Psalm 139:13 where David speaks of having been "knit together" in his mothers' womb, I expect young-earthers would say that the Bible is speaking metaphorically or figuratively. --But, again, the only way anyone could come up with any such interpretation of such passages is "with a brain and reasoning powers distorted by the curse" (Morris), "by a fallible methodology of sinful humans" (Faulkner) "impos[ing] ideas from the outside" on the Word of God (Ham).]

As the Haarsmas point out, God's Word, the Bible, doesn't tell us about "how water evaporates from the ground level, rises to where the air is cooler, and condenses into water droplets that form clouds." Nor does it teach us about "how cold fronts and warm fronts and low pressure systems bring rain" (Origins, p. 8).

They are definitely not merely "interpret[ing] Scripture with Scripture." Indeed, that's one of the points that the Haarsmas and Glover make in their books: the issues we are dealing with here--with respect to cosmology, the age of the earth and the mechanisms by which God created all the things we see--are really little different from the issues we have to confront every time we think about the verbal inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture:

If they want to teach us how we ought to limit the use of science in our interpretation of Scripture, fine. Let them do that. But for them to make these kinds of blanket, condemnatory statements about others . . . and then to engage in that very behavior themselves! . . . It's not right.

Illegitimately Cutting Others Off From Fellowship

Despite whatever finer points may be placed upon the base of these kinds of charges, the fact is, Christians are "buying" this kind of hypocritical falsehood, and, as a result, scorning and ostracizing faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. For merely questioning the young-earth interpretation of Genesis 1ff, I have, myself, received rather shocking statements of repulsion from brothers and sisters who, until that moment, had been kindly disposed toward me.

And I have received testimonies of many people who claim that they have to hide their old-earth convictions for fear of being thrown out of the fellowship groups of which they are a part. "We just hold our peace so as to not rock the boat. If I were to say anything, I know we would never hear the end of it. It wouldn't be worth the price. So I keep my mouth shut, even though the leader of our group makes the most outrageous remarks [in favor of young-earth creationism]."

Sonlight Curriculum itself first faced the prospect of being banned from CHEC due, first, to the "warnings" it received from Mr. Ham and those who listened to him--"warnings" of my supposed championing of the idea that man and his fallen wisdom should be placed on a higher plane than Scripture. Having been "warned" in this manner, they then saw some "evidence": Sonlight carries books that include pages (for example, 2 or 4 pages out of a 160-page book) that are obviously based on an evolutionary perspective.

Was Sonlight promoting evolutionism by carrying such books?

Absolutely not!
  1. The company never scheduled those pages for reading.
  2. The Instructors Guides always included commentary on those pages written from a young-earth perspective.
  3. While any one Sonlight course might include a total of four to six pages that could be said to be "pro-evolutionary" (in a curriculum composed of well over a thousand pages), that same program would also include full books written very explicitly and specifically from a young-earth perspective.
But none of these things was good enough. Sonlight was "pro-evolution" and/or "pro-old-earth" and, therefore, worthy of being discriminated against by the self-appointed "keepers of the [young-earth] faith."

Cutting Themselves and Their Followers Off From Their Spiritual Forebears

I think this last issue is what motivated me, in January, to begin this recent foray into looking at evolutionists' [and, more particularly, Christian evolutionists'] arguments in favor of the theory.

Honestly--frankly--I have never really studied evolution prior to a few months ago.

I heard something (though I have no idea what) about the theory back in high school.

I have read all kinds of young-earth/creationist books that have told me what evolutionists believe (and, most importantly, why they are wrong). But--to my shame--I have never read any sustained "arguments" or presentations of data by thoroughgoing evolutionists themselves.

And then I heard about Francis Collins, former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who led the successful effort to complete Human Genome Project (HGP) which mapped and sequenced the entire human genome. I heard that he is a committed, Bible-believing, evangelical Christian . . . who is also fully convinced of the truth of evolution.

"Why is he not held out as a Christian whom our children might want to emulate? Why do we never hear of him?" I asked myself. "If we homeschoolers want our kids to pursue culture-leading careers in science, why would we not hold him up as an example?"

And, of course, I knew why: Because the Christian homeschool community in America is largely in thrall to the young-earth creationists. And they will not permit non-young-earth creationists to speak publicly as paragons of Christian virtue or achievement and also as what they are--people who believe in an old earth and/or evolution.

"So why not? Indeed, What does Collins actually say?" I honestly don't know, though I can hazard a guess, based on some very limited reading I have done on a couple of threads in the Sonlight Lifelong Learners forum and in Daniel J. Fairbanks' Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA.

[Before I got to Collins' The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, someone told me about these other books I've been commenting on: the Haarsmas' Origins, Glover's Beyond the Firmament, and Miller's Perspectives on an Evolving Creation.]

Meanwhile, however, I have been deeply disturbed by other discoveries I have made concerning other faithful Christians--many of them spiritual forebears to the modern Bible-believing fundamentalists and evangelicals . . . modern Bible-believing fundamentalists and evangelicals who, if they were consistent in their ostracism of people who disagree with their young-earth views and were aware of these forebears' (old-earth and/or evolutionary) views, would need to shun any association with them . . . just as they shun their modern old-earth and/or evolutionary brethren.

My view: Such an outcome would be grievous in the extreme.

[You wonder about these spiritual forebears? To whom might I be referring?

How about J. Vernon McGee, former chair of the Bible department at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (currently Biola University), a visiting lecturer at Dallas Theological Seminary, and, most famously, as founder and primary teacher of the Thru the Bible Radio Network?

Of course, some are convinced he was an apostate. (But then, according to these same people, just about every Christian leader you might admire is similarly going to hell.1)

But if you think someone who taught--without censure--at both BIOLA and Dallas Theological Seminary just might be worthy of some respect, consider McGee's teaching as quoted by Tim Martin and Jeff Vaughn in their disturbing book Beyond Creation Science (BCS):
The first eleven chapters [of Genesis] cover a minimum time spans of two thousand years - actually, two thousand years plus. I feel that it is safe to say that they may cover several hundred thousand years. I believe this first section of Genesis can cover any time in the past that you may need to fit into your particular theory, and the chances are that you would come short of it even then.

--BCS, p. 95, referencing J. Vernon McGee, Genesis Chapters 1-15, "Thru the Bible Commentary Series," Volume 1 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991), pp. xliii-xliv.

Who created the universe? God did. He created it out of nothing. When? I don't know, and nobody else knows. Some men say one billion years ago, some say two billion, and now some say five billion. I personally suspect they are all pikers. I think God created it long before that.

--Ibid., referencing McGee, op. cit., p. 59.

Martin and Vaughn comment:
McGee . . . held to the common old-earth view for decades during his early radio career.2 He even openly mocked the suggestion that the date of creation was around 4000 BC:
In our day there is so much misinformation in the minds of intelligent human beings. For example, before me is a clipping from a secular magazine from several years ago. It posed a question, then answered it. First, the question: "What, according to biblical records, is the date of the creation of the world?" Now listen to the answer that was given: "4004 B.C." How utterly ridiculous can one be?

--Ibid., pp. 104-105, referencing McGee, op. cit., p. 58.

For full disclosure, let me note that at some point later in his career (and Martin and Vaughn note this as well--see op. cit., p. 105), McGee came to appreciate Whitcomb and Morris' The Genesis Flood, the book, more than any other, I believe, that launched the modern young-earth creationist movement. Moreover, despite the pro-old-earth rhetoric I've just quoted, as far as I can tell, at no point was McGee an evolutionist. Indeed, he proclaimed:
This idea that man has come up from some protoplasm out of a garbage can or seaweed is utterly preposterous. It is the belief of some scientists that evolution will be repudiated, and some folk are going to look ridiculous at that time.

Evolution is nothing in the world but a theory as far as science is concerned. Nothing has been conclusive about it. It is a philosophy like any other philosophy, and it can be accepted or rejected. When it is accepted, it certainly leads to some very crazy solutions to the problems of the world, and it has gotten my country into trouble throughout the world.

--Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Genesis 6:4 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 2000, c1981.

So please don't take me to be suggesting more than I have. I am not attempting to make McGee into an evolutionist. I am not attempting to make him into an anti-young-earth-creationist. I am merely attempting to point out that he was most definitely not a hard-core young-earth-creationist and, at points, he was rather outspoken in his old-earth beliefs.

And I want to ask the question: Should we banish him from consideration as a full-faith-and-credit, Bible-believing, God-honoring, fellowship-deserving brother in Christ?

McGee was just one well-respected spiritual forebear whose old-earth/non-young-earth-creationist views I came to find out about in the last few months.

What about Spurgeon--to whose views I was only introduced about a month ago . . . and whose views, I believe, are being hidden and distorted by our brothers at Answers in Genesis?

And Warfield, that champion of biblical inerrancy recognized "even" by young-earth creationists,3 whose teaching on the subject of evolution is summarized by Noll and Livingstone as follows:
Warfield's strongest assertion of evolution was theological and came in a lengthy paper on Calvin's view of creation from 1915. Warfield ascribed to Calvin what was doubtless his own view as well: "[A]ll that has come into being since [the original creation of the world stuff]--except the souls of men alone--has arisen as a modification of this original world-stuff by means of the interaction of its intrinsic forces. . . . [These modifications] find their account proximately in 'secondary causes'; and, this is not only evolutionism but pure evolutionism." . . .

[Warfield adhered] to a broad Calvinistic conception of the natural world--of a world that . . . reflected the wisdom and glory of God. . . . [W]hile Warfield consistently rejected materialist or ateological explanations for natural phenomena (explanations that he usually associated with "Darwinism"), Warfield just as consistently entertained the possibility that other kinds of evolutionary explanations, which avoided Darwin's rejection of design, could satisfactorily explain the physical world.

In several of his writings, Warfield worked carefully to distinguish three ways in which God worked in and through the physical world. . . . "Evolution" meant developments arising out of forces that God had placed inside matter at the original creation of the world stuff, but that God also directed to predetermined ends by his providential superintendence of the world.

At least in writings toward the end of his life, Warfield held that evolution in this sense was fully compatible with biblical understandings of the production of the human body. "Mediate creation" meant the action of God upon matter to bring something new into existence that could not have been produced by forces or energy latent in matter itself. . . . The last means of God's action was "creation ex nihilo," which Warfield consistently maintained was the way that God made the original stuff of the world. It also seems that . . . Warfield held that God created each soul directly ex nihilo. . . .

The key for Warfield was a doctrine of providence that saw God working in and with, instead of as a replacement for, the processes of nature. . . .[Thus, for example,] in his eyes, physical healing through medicine and the agency of physicians was as much a result of God's action (if through secondary causes) as the cures claimed as a direct result of divine intervention.

--Perspectives on an Evolving Creation, pp. 68-70

What are we to make of Warfield? Again I ask: Should we banish this man from consideration as a full-faith-and-credit, Bible-believing, God-honoring, fellowship-deserving brother in Christ, indeed, even, a man whom we should gladly honor as a worthy teacher in the church?

If not, then on what grounds can we acquiesce--with respect to other people today--to John Morris' pronouncement that,
I . . . am uncertain about young-earth creationism being a requirement for church membership; perhaps it would be proper to give new members time to grow and mature under good teaching.

But I do know one thing: Creationism [what he clearly defines as "beliefs in creation and a young earth"--JAH] should be a requirement for Christian leadership! No church should sanction a pastor, Sunday school teacher, deacon, elder, or Bible-study leader who knowledgeably and purposefully errs on this crucial doctrine. [Most emphases added--JAH]
If we are to ban people like Warfield from leadership in the church, then what are we to say of our spiritual heritage and what are we to make of the self-anointed "keepers of the faith" who, on the one hand, will condemn such a man, but, on the other, reference him with approval when it serves their purposes?

Sorry. I think we do have Trouble in River City . . . and it doesn't start with "T" nor rhyme with "P" nor stand for "Pool." It's something very much deeper. And, sad to say, I'm afraid a lot of it stems from what I am unable to discern as anything other than false and hypocritical claims emanating from brothers (and, I expect, sisters!) in the anti-old-earth/pro-young-earth, anti-evolutionist/pro-spoken-into-instant-full-blown-creation camp against brothers and sisters who are unable to affirm that "God created the heavens and the earth" in quite the same way that these brothers and sisters do. Oh, they affirm, without hesitation, that God created the heavens and the earth. "I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth." They simply believe--on the basis of a thoughtful review of the evidence from both of God's books, that when He spoke the world--and all that is within it--into existence, it didn't happen to appear in quite the way that their young-earth creationist brethren imagine it did.

It happened. God did it. But "just" not in the way that their brothers and sisters in the young-earth camp think He did.

And for that, apparently, false and hypocritical as the charges against them may be, they are to be condemned and shunned, and/or their real teachings rewritten or blotted from memory.

How sad!

Late addition (3/19/09 at 8:35 AM): For a positive exposition of how to approach the "two books," I would like to recommend How should we interpret the Two Books of God, in Scripture & Nature? by Craig Rusbult, Ph.D.

1 The list includes, among many others, Billy Graham, James Dobson, John MacArthur, Tony Evans, Chuck Smith, Chuck Swindoll, Harold Camping (Family Radio), John Piper, Charles Spurgeon, Jack Hayford, Ray Comfort, Chuck Colson, C. S. Lewis, Hank Hanegraaff, "or any of the like." Go the the "A True Church" website for the complete list. Return to Text.

2 Martin and Vaughn comment in an endnote at this spot:
McGee believed in the gap theory. He rejected evolution and yet had no problem with a millions-of-years-old earth. For example, he writes: "When Adam was told to replenish the earth, we assume that there had been living creatures - I don't know what to call them - before Adam. They apparently were living creatures of God's creation; anything I could say beyond that would be pure speculation." McGee, Genesis Chapters 1-15, p. 144. McGee's book is filled with statements like this. The most obvious can be found on pp. xliii, 55-60, 113, and 117.
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3 See Whitcomb & Morris, The Genesis Flood, p. xx. Return to Text.
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