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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Article XII and The Age of the Earth

In this post over at AOMIN, Jamin Hubner attempts to clarify the doctrine of inerrancy with some liberal oriented Hebrew scholar guy.

One section from Jamin’s corrective caught my attention:

So, what does the Chicago statement on Inerrancy have to do with being a young-earth creationist? As I've pointed out numerous times before (via blog/podcast), this is a common error of association where critics of inerrancy either conflate the Chicago statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978) with the Chicago statement on Biblical Hermeneutics (1978-1982) and assume that article XXII in the latter somehow requires YECism, or, it is simply assumed that all Chicago-inerrantists are YECists. Both assumptions are false . Nothing in the Inerrancy document requires being a young-earther, nor requires a person to agree with everything Gleason Archer has to say. The Chicago statement on inerrancy also doesn't require "sweating bullets thinking about the high number of those said to have left Egypt with Moses." [emphasis mine]

I have previously tussled with Jamin over the disconnect that exists between his defense of inerrancy and his disdain for young earth creationism.

It’s weird, really.

I find it perplexing how groups of evangelicals who claim to have a strong commitment to presuppositional apologetics, confessional, Reformed theology, and historic Christianity, would be so out-of-touch with their inconsistency on this matter.

Usually the main response by these old earth enablers is to say, “Well, B.B. Warfield (or theologian “X”) didn’t believe an old earth conflicted with inerrancy. Are you telling me this theological giant was inconsistent?”

Yes, I am.

I'll state it again: YES, I AM.

Let me go back and point out some things from Jamin’s comment and show you why I say that.

He asks,

So, what does the Chicago statement on Inerrancy have to do with being a young-earth creationist?

He’s certainly correct to imply that the framers of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy [CSBI] didn’t intend to defend YEC or OEC with their comment. That much is true. But their use of language is such when defining their understanding of the Bible’s historical accuracy and truth claims about origins, that to be an affirmer of inerrancy as outlined and defended by the CSBI, as well as adhering to OEC or theistic evolution, is woefully inconsistent, as I will explain in a moment.

continuing along,

As I've pointed out numerous times before (via blog/podcast), this is a common error of association where critics of inerrancy either conflate the Chicago statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978) with the Chicago statement on Biblical Hermeneutics (1978-1982) and assume that article XXII in the latter somehow requires YECism, or, it is simply assumed that all Chicago-inerrantists are YECists. Both assumptions are false .

The CSBI can be read HERE and the CSBH can be read HERE (with commentary by old earth creationist, Norman Geisler).

Perhaps there are people who "conflate" the two documents. What I have done, however, is to direct folks to the CSBI, article 12, that reads,

WE AFFIRM that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.

WE DENY that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

Article 22 under the CSBH is something of a supplement to this point. It reads,

WE AFFIRM that Genesis 1-11 is factual, as is the rest of the book.

WE DENY that the teachings of Genesis 1-11 are mythical and that scientific hypotheses about earth history or the origin of humanity may be invoked to overthrow what Scripture teaches about creation.

I believe both of those statements are clear and concise. How anyone can claim they leave open the possibility of a deep time view of Genesis is bizarre. Unless our interpretation of language has so succumbed to postmodern dribble our words no longer have any real meaning.

Moving along to Jamin’s concluding comment,

Nothing in the inerrancy document requires being a young-earther...

Maybe he means to say it doesn't require adhering to YEC because the framers didn't come out and say "Believing in inerrancy requires you to be an young-earther." But the principles of inerrancy they defend certainly demand a commitment to YEC if one is to affirm the CSBI and remain consistent.

The reason is quite simple: While I heartily agree that Genesis isn't a "science text book," it most certainly is a "history text book." Genesis 1 and 2 records the real, factual history of God Almighty creating the heavens and the earth.

According to the language of Genesis 1, God did His creating in the space of 6 days. Furthermore, if we take the genealogies of Genesis 4, 5, 10 and 11 seriously as a historical, chronological record (and there is no exegetical reason why we shouldn't), God's historical act of creation took place around 6,000 years ago.

So, as a Christian convinced of, and committed to, the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture, I understand Genesis 1 to be revealing factually accurate history. It is, as article 12 affirms, free from falsehood, fraud and deceit.

This means God isn't accommodating a "non-scientific" minded people by giving them "theological" stories that have no meaning in reality. Moreover, Jesus and Paul didn't deceive Christians when they affirmed the history of Genesis in the NT. And, our understanding of creation (and how to read Genesis) didn't come to full flower UNTIL the 1800s when "science" broke through primitive, religious dogma.

On the contrary, modern-day scientism presents an alternate view of history that undeniably contradicts everything recorded in the first chapter of Genesis. The proponents of this alternate view insist the Scripture is, in the record of creation, filled with falsehoods, fraud, and deceit.

How then can one affirm an inerrant Bible, yet attempt to harmonize two entirely different views of creation history? It's impossible; and it is inconsistent to what article 12 of the CSBI affirms.

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19 Comments:

Blogger Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Hi Fred,

I thought both OEC's and YEC's signed both the CSBI and CSBH without recrimination towards the other side, yes?

Treating the matter of the age of the earth in an analogous matter as Calvinism vs. Arminianism, or Credo-Baptism vs. Paedo-Baptism, or Premillenial vs. Amillenial, all of them being able to sign the CSBI and CSBH in good and clear conscience.

11:42 AM, July 27, 2011  
Blogger Steve Drake said...

Fred,
I am so glad you are keeping this issue in the forefront. The age of the earth is one of the most crucial attacks on Christendom seen today. The theological implications are enormous. When one understands the history of geology and where the idea of an old earth came from along with its idea of deep time, one will see the capitulation by the scholars in the Church to accommodate Scripture to fit this 'deep time' notion. This transition from belief in a young to old earth beginning in the mid-1700's (I'm referring to the 'savants' in the salons of Paris like Desmarest, Jean Andre de Luc, Francois-Dominique de Montlosier, and others) marked a fundamental change in Western culture from orthodoxy to the rise of secularism. A period marked by Terry Mortenson as 'the great turning point'.

11:45 AM, July 27, 2011  
Blogger Steve Drake said...

Hi TUAD,
Quite appropo in light of our recent discussions, no? Blessings brother.

11:46 AM, July 27, 2011  
Blogger Steve Drake said...

On the contrary, modern-day scientism presents an alternate view of history that undeniably contradicts everything recorded in the first chapter of Genesis. The proponents of this alternate view insist the Scripture is, in the record of creation, filled with falsehoods, fraud, and deceit.

So true. Death before sin, Adam and Eve not the first humans, suffering, death, pain, and disease in the animal kingdom for billions of years, God's character impugned, to name a few.

1:52 PM, July 27, 2011  
Blogger mike said...

There may be a few old--earthers out there who still take the six-day creation, the account of Adam and Eve, the garden of Eden, the flood narrative, the genealogies, etc literally, but not many. Most who hold to an old--earth view also inject allegory or ambiguity into the history of the book of Genesis and thus obscure the entire redemption story.

8:45 PM, July 27, 2011  
Blogger thomas4881 said...

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ.

10:21 PM, July 27, 2011  
Blogger Peter said...

There were two events that really added fire to my spiritual life. The first was a long, careful reading of Van Til's Apologetic compiled by Greg Bahnsen and the second was last year's series on creation at GTY.org. For the latter, whenever Fred came on scene to comment, all arguments were pretty much over. Gabriel Powell was excellent there, too, and I am glad to see he was picked up by a church right away. The series at GTY forced me on to my own careful reading of Genesis One and work my way through the formerly troubling Day 4. Anyway, it is owing to Fred's comments on that series that I come around to his blog.

Thanks, Fred!

11:35 PM, July 27, 2011  
Blogger Steve Gentry said...

Just because something is stated in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, doesn’t make it so. Pete Enns has a series of articles on this subject over at Biologos.

Don’t make the mistake of forgetting that this was written by imperfect men who brought their own individual presuppositions, prejudices and hidden agendas with them. The CSBI doesn’t end all discussion on the matter and isn’t a litmus test of one’s orthodoxy.

7:01 AM, July 28, 2011  
Blogger Peter said...

Wasn't Peter Enns rightly fired from WTS for drifting from the faith? Why would we here want to read a website written by proud men hostile to humble faith?

12:10 PM, July 28, 2011  
Blogger Steve Gentry said...

Peter,

I'm not convinced that Peter Enns was "rightly fired". I think that there was probably a lot of political, behind the scenes activity that we don't know about.

Secondly, I don't see a lot of proud men writing at Biologos. I see men who are looking for the truth no matter where it leads...as opposed to those who want to maintain the status quo even if it means twisting the truth.

6:37 PM, July 28, 2011  
Blogger Sir Aaron said...

Remove Genesis via allegory or outright rejection, and there is no gospel. Furthermore, the rest of the Bible becomes one of many books of wisdom rather than the instruction manual from the almighty creator.

I honestly cannot understand how anybody can be a Christian and believe in an old earth. YE is as clear as day. I just don't get it.

7:31 PM, July 28, 2011  
Blogger Peter said...

Sir Aaron,

Well said!

I think things were pretty well settled last year and 2009 at GTY.org. The almost-believers tried to rob us of the beginning of the universe &mdash even worse are the really dark, evil men who try to rob us of its ending. They say it happened already! Imagine that, an Almighty God who can't even compose his universe well enough to have a rudimentary Intro. and Conclusion — just a floating Body.

The idea is dark, dismal, and evil that I can't even name it. I'll just call it P'ism. Evil. Evil.

Then there is R.C. Sproul, bless his heart. I love the man, he is often brilliant even, but the poor fellow cannot define presupposition. He thinks it the same as "premise" or "assumption" or some such nonsense. He didn't do his homework. At all. Well, I guess Van Till makes a hefty tome for a busy man to read and digest. Sigh.

I'm glad I'm not busy.

11:04 PM, July 28, 2011  
Blogger Steve Drake said...

BioLogos and guys like Peter Enns who deny an historical Adam are no different than some of our theological forefathers in the 1800's. Striving to accommodate long ages and evolution to Scripture, these ardent Bible-believing Christians proposed various ways to incorporate them, and these concepts still plague Christianity today. First came the gap theory (placing long ages between the first two verses of Genesis), then theistic evolution since science had 'proved' evolution so now just add God to the mix, then the day-age concept (the days of the creation week became equivalent to the geologic ages during which God occasionally created some new thing), and then finally the Framework or Analogical concept (Genesis is a literary device never meant to describe real history). Note that in all these accommodationist views Scripture is the only thing that got compromised---never was the evolution/long age/uniformitarian view altered at all. Note also that all these views disregard a cardinal doctrine of Christianity: "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). "Since by man came death..." (1 Cor. 15:21). If physical death was here before sin, then it could not really be the 'wages of sin', since death is integral in the evolutionary worldview and integral to man's evolution. In this way all compromise views negate non-negotiable doctrines, calling death good, and by extension Christ's death on the cross paid no such penalty.

5:30 AM, July 29, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Steve writes,
The CSBI doesn’t end all discussion on the matter and isn’t a litmus test of one’s orthodoxy.

If memory serves me, I believe there were similar sentiments after the Council of Nicaea.

Continuing,
I'm not convinced that Peter Enns was "rightly fired". I think that there was probably a lot of political, behind the scenes activity that we don't know about.

Of course there was lots of political activity going on behind the scenes. The school has a reputation to uphold and alumni supporters to please. They are not going to suffer a heretic no matter how radical sheik his views may appear to be.

Continuing,
I don't see a lot of proud men writing at Biologos. I see men who are looking for the truth no matter where it leads...as opposed to those who want to maintain the status quo even if it means twisting the truth.

So you're saying the folks who object to the atheism promoted by Biologos are proud and lack any humility? Really?

5:48 AM, July 29, 2011  
Blogger David said...

Radical sheik? Do you mean "radical chic"? I think you've got Muslims on the brain.

7:13 AM, July 29, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Ah, Yes. Thanks. My southern enunciation over rode my spelling.

7:34 AM, July 29, 2011  
Blogger Steve Gentry said...

Fred states:

So you're saying the folks who object to the atheism promoted by Biologos are proud and lack any humility? Really?

That's not even close to what I said. My statement dealt with handling the truth, not pride and humility. I think YEC'ers deliberately twist and misrepresent scientific truth to prop up their cherished interpretation of Genesis.

You misinterpreted a rather straightforward comment of mine, yet I'm supposed to believe that your interpretation of Genesis is "spot on". Yeah, right.

9:59 AM, July 29, 2011  
Blogger Peter said...

Much better! Steve G. says: Y'all "deliberately twist and misrepresent scientific truth to prop up (your) cherished interpretation of Genesis." Where now is the Pride in that?

It was I who spoke of pride here, of them who doubt the clear import of God's word, particularly the clear meaning of the refrain in Moses's prose: And the evening and the morning were the (first) day. And Moses has already defined what day and night are.

By "proud men" I did not mean men who boast of their deeds on the field, or men who speak too loudly at the dinner table, but men who hold in the back of their heads that they, by their reason, can be the ultimate arbiters of truth. This is the great sin of Pride. This is that whereby Adam fell from Paradise.

This false presupposition leads to the false supposition that secular Scientism (Steve G's fundamental supposition and which he names "Scientific Truth," ie., Scientism), unaided by the light of God's word, is to be consulted and trusted as Truth before the Bible. This then leads to the hunting down of daring, dissident Galileos — 'YECs'.

I like what John Ponet, one of the Calvinist Reformers at Strassburg, wrote in 1556:

"As oxen, sheep, goats, and other such unreasonable creatures cannot, for lack of reason, rule themselves but must be ruled by a more excellent creature, that is, man; so man, albeit he have reason, yet because through the fall of the first man his reason is wonderfully corrupt and sensuality hath gotten the over hand, is not able by himself to rule himself, but must have a more excellent Governor.

"The worldlings thought this Governor was their own reason. They thought they might by their own reason do the things they lusted for, not only in private matters, but also in public. Reason thought they to be the only cause that men first assembled together in companies, that commonwealths were made, that policies were well governed and long continued. But men see that such as were utterly blinded and deceived in their imaginations, their doings, and inventions, seemed they never so wise, were so easily and so soon, contrary to their expectations, overthrown."

2:46 PM, July 29, 2011  
Blogger Steve Drake said...

Steve Gentry said:
" I think YEC'ers deliberately twist and misrepresent scientific truth to prop up their cherished interpretation of Genesis."

Let's turn this around a bit shall we:
"I think OEC's deliberately twist and misrepresent God's revealed Scripture to prop up their cherished interpretation of billions of years of earth history."

Ah, yes, now the debate is clear.

6:19 AM, July 31, 2011  

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