Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time Bigot

And other remarks by an ignorant minded, anti-old earth creationist

Jamin Hubner has been busting my chops. In a couple of posts from last week, he basically likens my understanding of Genesis to poorly argued bigotry. Bigotry is a rather strong accusation. And here I thought I was just trying to be all about the Bible.


Jamin seems to be nonplussed by my reaction against some of his theological heroes. Such stalwarts like B.B. Warfield, D.A. Carson, and Meredith Kline. I mean, these guys wrote books and journal articles, so how can I so confidently criticize their old earth position as compromise?

Jamin writes,

It’s one thing for all kinds of people to disagree about one issue during various times in history, it’s another for people in a small circle (i.e. Christian and Presbyterian, Christian and Reformed, etc.) to disagree about one issue in one period in church history (today).

Forgive me if I sound like a theological tyro, but the disagreement on how we understand Genesis does not fall into the category of whether or not King Saul interacted with Samuel’s ghost or a demon impersonating Samuel. It’s not some issue we can “debate vigorously but should never divide over” to borrow a slogan from one of my least favorite compromising evidentialist apologists.

It’s quite simple for me: I have a prior commitment to the faithful exegesis of the text of Genesis. But I totally dismiss that phony exegesis often advocated by deep time theologian derived from some hermeneutical witchcraft that allows a person to conjure an alternative reading of the creation account that accommodates an old earth and evolutionary constructs.  Moreover, the historical interpretation of Genesis was never a disagreeing issue among Christians before the mid-18th century when Christians were told they had to reinterpret Genesis to save God from being embarrassed by the “evidence.” By the way, I have a sneaking suspicion, knowing Jamin’s propensity towards all things covenantal and Reformed, that he wouldn’t be as defensive if the disagreement was with a dispensational, pre-trib rapture interpretation of Revelation. Something tells me he would be firm and pointed in his convictions and not so accommodating of those “scholars” and their views of prophecy. Just sayin’.

But Jamin is so flummoxed he offers this withering consistency in logic:

I nowhere suggested that Genesis 1 is “irrelevant for establishing the history of the earth.” I believe quite the opposite: it is central for the history of the world.

Then down toward the end,

I also never suggested that Genesis 1 is “unimportant”! Nothing could be further from the truth: Genesis 1, 2, 3, and the creation accounts as a whole (in Genesis, John 1, etc.) are the foundation for the Christian worldview. Creation is foundational, I’ve always believed that. And the age of the earth, in and of itself, couldn’t be more irrelevant in that regard for the reasons given in this blog series. [emphasis mine].

Again, maybe this is my sophistry showing, but If I am not mistaken, the “age of the earth” has everything to do with the “history of the earth.” How can it be relevant in one instance, but then it is irrelevant in the next? Either the Bible anchors the creation in a moment of time from which we can mark the unfolding of history as it is recorded for us in Scripture, or it’s mistaken, vague, or unclear and can be molded to accommodate the millions of years demanded by the old earth view.

Nonetheless, without having to rehash the entirety of Jamin’s two articles, he helpfully boils down the core of our disagreement. He writes,

In conclusion, there simply is no basis upon which Fred can assert that old-earth creationism or agnostic-age creationism is at odds with the authority, inspiration, or inerrancy of Scripture.

I find that concluding remark amazing in light of what the doctrine of inerrancy affirms. The doctrine of inerrancy means the words of Scripture are without error in all that they affirm. The primary reason is that Scripture is God’s revelation, and that revelation is directly tied to God’s character of truthfulness. Thus, if there are fundamental errors regarding earth’s history in the pages of Scripture, then the character of God is at stake. The infallibility of Scripture becomes lost and thus the Bible is no longer trustworthy as a document of Divine revelation.

The position of deep time and an old earth is flatly contradicted by the genealogies recorded in Genesis 5, 11, 1 Chronicles 1-9, and Luke 3. The reason being is those genealogies direct the reader to the first man created, Adam. Adam was created when? The 6th day. The 6th day of what? The creation week. Now Jamin wrote elsewhere that what really matters is Genesis 2, because it is in chapter 2 where we have details about the creation of man. And though Jamin is insistent he believes Genesis 1 is important and central for the history of the world, we still can’t be too dogmatic about how we are to interpret that first chapter, and especially how those genealogical records tie into chapter 1. He seems to want me to believe the first five days of creation are disconnected and inconsequential with the last day of creation. Of course, there is no compelling reason offered to explain to me why I must abandon the straightforward exegesis which understands the first chapter as a day by day historical record of events that is affirmed by the genealogical records of the Bible. It’s almost like I hear him saying I can believe anything BUT a normal, literal solar days that follow one another consecutively for the creation week.

Yet, Jamin believes that because he can find five interpretative views of Genesis 1 and 2 among a group of his favorite evangelical authors, authors who supposedly affirm inerrancy and a deep time history for the earth, I can’t dismiss their position as being inconsistent and a denial of inerrancy. Nope. I have to be willing to also see frameworks and tabernacle motifs.

I could care less if D.A. Carson has written a hundred books or that B.B. Warfield has become the favorite go to theologian for the theistic evolutionists. Maybe I just lack the sophistication as a hick fundamentalist, but I am not going to be taken in by these scholarly Jedi mind tricks.

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Blogger Lynda O said...

"Agnostic-age creationism"... now that's a new term for me. Well said, Fred.

I just don't "get" that OEC mindset, but the compromisers seem to be "schizo" in how they delude themselves to think they are pleasing and honoring God, by "believing" Genesis 1 (and Genesis 1 is just poetry, to justify their real problem of unbelief). Again it comes down to naturalistic thinking, the mind that values man's ideas as more important than God's clearly stated revelation.

12:13 PM, September 28, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

The unusual thing with Jamin, however, is that he is someone I would probably agree with in many other matters. He isn't "compromising" how we understand Genesis just because he is trying to fit the "long age" evidence into his creation model. From what I get from his position is that he doesn't think the age of the earth is relevant or "that big a deal" in this discussion. In which case, I believe he is seriously naive and woefully lacking in his take of Genesis 1.

12:47 PM, September 28, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Fred,

I'm looking around for something in D.A. Carson's stuff that says he's an OEC guy.

So far I only find YEC.

Where would I find his OEC stuff?


1:04 PM, September 28, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

I am not sure if he is an OEC or not. My mention of him has more to do with addressing the scholars that have been hurled my way as having a view of having a non-literal view of Genesis. I can see the confusion and will amend my last comment with I have the time.

1:17 PM, September 28, 2010  
Blogger The Apologetic Front said...

My forehead is raw from slapping it so much. I can't even pretend to read Genesis in any other way than 6 literal, around-24-hour-days, that took place thousands of years ago. I've tried and tried. I don't get it. I really don't.

8:01 PM, September 28, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think the D.A. Carson bit is about how he says (rightly I think) that Genesis 1 is "high prose". Not poetry, but not straight prose either.
Of course he also (as I understand it) says that we still must take information out of Genesis 1 as it is presented.
So I think he's YEC, but the OEC'ers jump all over his understanding of the genre issue and to use it to say something like this:

"See? High prose! That really means poetry, so we can take it to mean whatever we want. After all, our high school english teachers always asked us what WE saw in a poem.!"

And it's already been demonstrated over and over that whatever those theologians meant, it sure wasn't what Biologos wanted them to mean.

But once you chuck one obvious truth, the others become rather easier to ignore, don't they?

6:08 AM, September 29, 2010  
Blogger Sir Aaron said...


I agree with you. They take authors from the past who can no longer defend themselves and use them as prooftext. I remember one thread on creation at Pyro where people were actually arguing that if Augustine and other authors were still alive they'd be OEC.

Secondarily, the evidence for OEC is pathetic.

6:36 PM, September 29, 2010  

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