Old Earth Vs. Young Earth

Matt Walsh seeks to defend old earth creationism in his November 16, A.D. 2018 Soundcloud audio blog, Ep. 145 – Responding To Ken Ham’s Distortions And Misinformation *

As the title informs us, Walsh there delves into interaction between himself and Ken Ham of the organization Answers in Genesis, a well known advocate for young earth creationism. Although occasioned by listening to Walsh’s audio blog episode, this text blog episode will criticize old earth creationism in a more general way, using Walsh’s as a source of focal points.

Early on in his monologue, Walsh introduces a subject with which Christians of good will on all sides of the ongoing old earth/young earth discussion are familiar. That would be how to understand the duration of creation days one through three in light of (take the pun as you will) the creation of the sun on the fourth day, according to Genesis chapter one.

According to Walsh days of ordinary length exist solely because of the relationship of the sun and the earth. Therefore he claims that we cannot know what the nature or duration of a “day” would be, if that day occurred before the existence of the sun.

Hold that thought while we jump ahead in Walsh’s discourse to where he struggles with a theological difficulty, namely the divine toleration of death for eons before the Fall of man. He admits that he cannot conceive how God would allow “millions of years” of death, including extinction, to exist before Adam’s sin. (Apparently Walsh also embraces evolution.)

Walsh’s argument indicates that he considers plants as well animals to be capable of death. This young earth creationist as well as others do not regard plants, and possibly other organisms such as bacteria, as living beings in the way that humans and animals are. We classify plants as organic; capable of both growth and decay but not alive. We note that God gave vegetation to our first parents and to animals for food before the fall, but eating flesh was not divinely sanctioned for mankind until centuries later after the Noahic flood.

Upon its completion God pronounced His creation very good. So we infer that the first occurrence of death was when God Himself used the skins of animals to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve, replacing the tawdry fig leaf gear they had cobbled together. Herein we have the Bible’s earliest foreshadowing of the necessity of the shedding of blood for the covering of sin and a graphic display of a foundational reality echoing throughout holy writ: donning garments weaved from foliage and all other man-made religion is useless superstition!

Let us get back to Walsh’s theological struggle. He wonders how the God of the Bible could permit millions of years of death, predation, and extinction in a universe into which sin had not yet entered. What is his resolution?

“Just because I can’t wrap my head around that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”

What! Is that an appeal to our limited powers of conceptualization? OK, consider this. After God created the heavens and the formless earth, He called light into existence and divided it from the darkness, establishing day and night. What problem is there in believing that almighty God, the Creator of time itself, determined that a day would be a certain length before the sun existed?

Or why murmur if the record reveals that He later created the sun and the other luminaries to make them for signs and seasons, and for days and years…and to be for lights in the firmament to give light on the earth? Why stumble if Scripture states that He ordained the sun and moon to “rule over” an already existing period of time called day and night, evening and morning? Why doubt that the light spoken into existence on day one, whatever it might have been, was the sun’s predecessor?

In other words Mr. Walsh, you are correct. At present we can’t conceive how the cycle of evening and morning, the day of ordinary length (i.e. twenty-four hours; the hour is a man made unit of time) could obtain without the sun. But our inability does not require that the first three evenings and mornings were of a duration differing from all subsequent evening and mornings!

“Just because I can’t wrap my head around that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”

Why, when we are dealing with that extraordinary, never to be repeated first week of the universe’s existence…why, when almighty power is working prodigiously, must the ordinary duration of the first three days be denied because an astronomical relationship did not exist until day four?

Why is it that scientifically minded, Bible believing Christians do not impugn the virgin birth which defies biological rationality? Answer: “Just because we can’t wrap our heads around that cornerstone Gospel truth doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”

Without providing textual warrant, Mr. Walsh also declares the teaching of Romans 5 to be that death came into the world only for human beings as the result of sin’s entry. To shoot down this canard we need but move ahead in this Holy Spirit inspired letter to chapter 8. There, Paul teaches that the whole creation was subjected to futility as a result of human sin. He writes that the creation is now in the bondage of corruption awaiting the revelation of the sons of God, when it will be delivered.

Thus the apostle gives us an enlarged, new covenant understanding of what was revealed with adumbration in the old covenant per Genesis 3: a curse on man and on woman, on that member of the animal kingdom behind which was our malevolent adversary, the father of lies for whom the lake of fire has been prepared, and on the ground itself, now doomed to bring forth not only fruit and crops but thorns and thistles.

But the divine second Adam has nullified all curses. At the consummation, every trace of the consequences of sin in the entire cosmos will have vanished. Bible believing Christians cherish the hope which comes from the declaration that He will make all things new. According to His promise, Bible believing Christians are looking for that new heavens and new earth in which righteousness dwells – when death, sorrow, and pain will be no more forever. Thanks be to God!

Yet in this present time both “old earthers” and “young earthers” face the grim reality of death, corruption, savagery, and diverse sorrows even in the lower creation. The old earther scratches his head and wonders why God permitted that state of affairs to go on for millions of years even before sin came into the world. The young earther is given the reason (so dreadful and sobering) why it has existed for a relatively short few thousand years. Which position has the greater theological difficulty?

Walsh places a great deal of emphasis on the authority of what in our age is virtually personified, set upon a pedestal, and named Science. He puts great trust in the sheepskin credentials of those professionally involved with it; persons revered essentially as priests by the masses of today’s secular western culture. Are they and Walsh exalting human wisdom above the authority of Scripture? Whose science is to be trusted, and by what standard do we measure its trustworthiness?

Consciously or not, scientists worthy of the vocation according to its original sense fallibly follow God’s infallible and orderly mind, displayed in His faithful, perpetual care for His entire creation (a.k.a. providence). They observe, hypothesize, and theorize. If they also are faithful and sincere, they ever aim at objectivity over funding, tenure, and recognition. Their work is ever subject to correction by more rigorous observations, more creative hypotheses, and superior theories.

At one point in his blog, Walsh alludes to Ham’s assertion that there are mountains of evidence for young earth creationism, but dismisses the assertion with “Where is that evidence?…let’s move on.” The evidence is there, and many credentialed, faithful, objective scientists worthy of the vocation have marshaled it.

The Achilles’ heel of old earth creationism is its lack of any positive exegetical footing. Where in Scripture do we go to find even a hint of these pre-Adamic millions of years? How does a Christian parent or a pastor or a teacher explain to one of Christ’s tender lambs that Genesis 1 is really not saying what it seems to be saying so clearly? What chapter and verse mentions or even alludes to the existence of “deep time?” Can old earth creationists who deny Darwinism do so consistently?

Can you hear the mantras? Science says…most scientists believe…studies have shown…all reputable experts agree…trust me, I’m wearing a lab coat with a pocket protector.

A verse in a non-metaphorical, plain narrative, genealogical passage (Genesis 5:5) tells us that Adam lived 930 years. Was the sixth creation day on which Adam was formed from the dust a day of ordinary length? If not, exactly when did Adam’s first year of a life lasting 339,450 days begin? When was the first 24 hour day? Why was the duration of the eighth day of the world dramatically briefer? Where does God tell us that He made that change in the duration of days? He was careful to tell us about one day in history that was not of ordinary length:

“And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the LORD heeded the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.” (Joshua 10:14)

Like others who have studied the word of God, Walsh correctly observes that the word day in Scripture does not always mean a twenty four hour period. In Genesis 1 itself the word refers both to the illuminated portion of a twenty four period, as well as to an entire twenty four hour period!

Context is king when it comes to rightly dividing the word of truth. And that brings us to a portion of Scripture written under the Spirit’s inspiration by the same human author (Moses) at the same time and to the same immediate audience, the Israelites who had made their exodus from Egypt.

The fourth commandment, recorded originally with finger of God and preserved for us at Exodus 20:11, appeals to the Genesis record to give it force with hearts that love His law. The Old Testament Hebrew word for day is transliterated YOM. The plural form of that word is transliterated YAMMIM, and that form is used in this verse where we read that in six days God created the world and all it contains. Again, context is king. Let the old earther search as he will, no context in all of the Old Testament can be found in which that plural form YAMMIM refers to anything but literal days of ordinary length. The gauntlet is thrown down…

But it is intended as a charitable gauntlet. Granted, true Christians can hold erroneous positions on creation and on other doctrines. Unless one who claims to be a Christian consciously and deliberately denies cardinal truths such as the deity of Christ, or the Trinity, or that justification before God is only by His grace in Christ, we dare not judge that person as outside the fellowship of the redeemed. We do maintain that they are in error. Why is that?

Many of those aforementioned tender lambs belonging to the Good Shepherd have been poorly taught! Let all under shepherds beware and consider the holy Bible’s diverse warnings to those responsible under Him for feeding His sheep!

Just as Christ’s kingdom inexorably advances despite setbacks and temporary defeats, so it is with the church’s growing body of theology. Her ecumenical confessions reflect an increase of depth, clarity, and purity from Nicea to Westminster et. al.

Although in ancient Christianity we might find an occasional speculation about instantaneous creation (i.e. that it took place in far less than six days of ordinary length!), the position articulated in the Westminster Confession (“in the space of six days”) has been normative from antiquity.

On the other hand, the old earth view is quite innovative within the church catholic. Again, the old earth position does not originate with exegesis, but appears to exist only to accommodate ideas derived from fallible human reasoning.

The Lord Jesus in His sermon on the mount (Matthew 5 – 7), affirming that He did not come to abolish the law, declared that whoever would break the least of God’s commandments would be called least in the kingdom of heaven. Surely then we rightly infer that teaching incorrectly about “the least of God’s doctrines” also would make one least in the kingdom of heaven. Are any of God’s commandments less than holy, righteous, and wise? Is any of God’s testimony about His creation trivial…secondary…of little importance? May it never be!

“I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation.” (Psalm 119:99)

“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. … If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:11; 14,15)

* https://soundcloud.com/mattwalshshow/ep145

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An Unworthy Question

The question “does God exist?” is not worthy of God. We might say a bush exists. We might say a rock exists. Does the almighty, living, eternal Majesty merely occupy some obscure, distant place where our puny eyes don’t see Him? How foolish to play philosophical ping pong about Him, as though Job’s “Watcher of men” (Job 7:20) was not omnipresent and omniscient, kindly forbearing us in our frailty!

Even non-miraculous bushes burn with a perpetual declaration of the creative and sustaining wisdom of the God of Moses (cf. Exodus 3:2ff). Every rocky cliff declares His everlasting faithfulness, not just the one that gushed forth water when that prophet struck it with a rod, foreshadowing the water of life that would flow from Christ the Rock of ages (cf. Exodus 17:5,6; 1 Corinthians 10:4).

So why do some question God’s existence? Why are others, driven to at least acknowledge Him by the universal and pervasive witness of all creation, unable to connect with God? The problem is with human hearts and the sinful hatred of God that darkens them. “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1,2)

I would see, delight in, and treasure God so much were it not for the sin that clings so easily to me. What eternal thankfulness is due to Him Who has provided a way not only for forgiveness and reconciliation, but for us sinners to become His children! By nature, we are blind, spiritually dead, children of wrath, under His righteous judgment, oppressing the knowledge our Creator Whom we cannot ultimately escape in this earthly life nor in eternity.

But because of Jesus Who bore the penalty of His people’s guilt and gave them His perfect righteousness, we can now see the truth in newness of life as children of the heavenly Father knowing His unfailing love and joyfully growing in the knowledge of Him in Whose house we will dwell forever!

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Socialist Jeopardy

As usual, we begin with player introductions by the announcer:

“Today’s contestants are…Comrade Moe, a bureaucrat who knows nothing about medical practice but makes decisions about your health care! And Comrade Larry, an inventor hoping to find motivation to actually invent something! And our current champion, Comrade Curly, whose five day total winnings have been redistributed to the losing contestants of the last five games!”

And now…here is the hostess of Socialist Jeopardy…Alexandria Utopio-Marxist!” (There being no “commercials,” she immediately goes into her daily chat with the contes…er, participants.)

“Moe, what’s it like working at your clinic?”

“Well Alexandria, my first challenge every day is to get past the long line of patients waiting at the entrance. It can be difficult because the ones who have been waiting several days to fill out form HC 10001 often are curled up in fetal position, crying.” (Studio audience politely titters) “On a good day, I have so many papers to push around on my wobbly desk that I can dodge actually dealing with any people. Hey, I get my stipend no matter what.”

Moe grins. The gaps between his remaining teeth can be seen even though only about half of the light bulbs in the room are on. The audience which had been compelled to enter the studio is also cowed into suppressing its natural human reaction to thievery. Alexandria takes a few steps to her left.

“Larry, I see here that you abandoned your research project which held great promise for the use of recycled plastic, why?”

“Well Alexandria, I couldn’t get out of my mind what one of our previous Glorious Leaders said.”

“What’s that?”

“You didn’t build that!”

“Larry, you should be motivated to do it for the people!” (Audience claps vigorously as the announcer hoists the dog-eared APPLAUSE sign off stage.)

“Yes, of course, Comrade Utopio-Marxist!” (Thinking to himself, “They probably forced me to come here so they could denounce me as an enemy of the state. Moe and Curly might be informants!)

Alexandria addresses the third player.

“Curly, you seem gloomy for a reigning champion on Socialist Jeopardy! Why the grim look?”

“Well Alexandria, each day my take home…er, take commune percentage goes down because it is being shared equally with all the losing participants. Yes, I’ve won five games to date but will only take commune 20% of that, which will be taxed at 85% anyway since it exceeds the Income Equality Act maximum. If I win five more games, I will only take commune 10% of my total winnings, and I might have moved up into the next tax bracket.”

“So you should be happy, comrade! You are providing for the participants who were wrong on every response, or who never even bothered to ring in, knowing they would benefit from your laborious study of re-written history and other state approved subjects. Understand? Now get with our enlightened program! Go ahead and pick a category!”

“OK Alexandria. I’ll take ‘Evils of Free Market Capitalism‘ for $2.47″

Ding! Ding! Ding! “That’s a daily double, Curly, which means you can wager up to $6.99!”

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Heel Spur

The Achilles heel of the wicked is their PRIDE. This their arrogance will ever result in the ultimate, spectacular frustration of their schemes, though they might prevail for a season. This is primarily because in the stench of their conceit they dare to scoff at and marginalize almighty God, as if He were not perpetually and intimately involved in all human affairs.

That heavenly involvement in our earthly arena accords with infinite understanding and is directed by an eternal purpose. It soars far above the finite understanding of the godly and the godless alike. As high as the Heavens are above the Earth, so are God’s ways and thoughts higher than our ways and thoughts.

On the part of the godly (who know Ephesians 6:11 and following) there is confident trust in a loving heavenly Father when circumstances appear grim and the wicked have the upper hand. On the part of the wicked, there is the foolish assumption that they will never be brought down, let alone be called to account by their righteous and holy Judge, as they revel in their unrighteous deceit and work to realize their unholy agendas.

“He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.” (Psalm 2:4) They will fall into the pits they dug and be caught in their own snares. Their bullets will ricochet into their own hearts and their bombs explode in their own faces.

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Damn, as in “Frankly My Dear, I don’t Give A.”

Audiences gasped in astonished disbelief when that once taboo word was uttered for the first time in American cinema. (Gone With the Wind, directed by Victor Fleming, which debuted in the 1,939th year of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, was the daring flick.)

The word damn refers to divine judgment. Damnation is the dreadful, eternal punishment which our Creator, to Whom we all must give account, will mete out to the wicked on His coming Judgment Day. In a more God fearing era, gasping at any inappropriate use of this solemn word was a good thing and quite understandable.

Per a surreptitiously recorded telephone conversation, President Trump recently gave an example of the advance of the spirit of irreverence when he prefixed the name of God (previously understood but not vocalized) to his damn.

Our chief executive is not alone. Previous presidents and other public figures have polluted and do pollute their speech with plenty of GDs. Millions of others from all walks of life hurl the imprecation. Children of tender years are repeating what they hear. Gray headed ones who should have sober thoughts of eternity continue to harden their once tender consciences, casually dishing out damns to their neighbors. THE glib and flippant invocation of THE power and certainty of almighty wrath is about as common as THE use of THE English language’s definite article.

So is the ubiquitous OMG. In another recent recording, a man is heard crying out “O my God, O my God” in Italian upon witnessing the deadly collapse of a bridge in Genoa. That was quite an appropriate calling upon the Lord of mercy, to be sure. How does that short, sincere cry to God for help compare with OMG as we hear it in American vernacular?

“OMG, I see a small gray cloud, there might be rain shower coming.” Or “OMG, I dropped a nickel!” Or “OMG I can’t think of anything else to say in response to this moment’s trivial occurrence or non-occurrence.” Or, in rare moment of candor, “I just say OMG on general principle after every couple of phrases I utter.” Why is this?

And today’s all purpose expletive is the name of the aforementioned Lord of all. That would be Jesus the loving Savior Who offers eternal escape from damnation to whosoever will, a gift He died gruesomely to provide. And what’s with the placing of the letter H in between Jesus and Christ as if it were a middle initial? Why does His name come forth vociferously when someone wants to express not only rage, but something as relatively minor as slight frustration? “J___ C____ , my favorite TV show about zombies got preempted!”

So eighty years after the silver screen depiction of Rhett Butler’s and Scarlet O’Hara’s shenanigans, all sorts of potty mouthing, obscenities, mighty oaths, and blasphemies don’t raise the public eyebrow or create the slightest stir among Hollywood’s consenting entertained. And today you can with impunity curse God or use His name as a curse. You can drop “F bombs” to your heart’s content. You can coarsely jest with just as many raunchy references to sexual activity, private body parts, and bodily functions as you want.

There is however, one word which has taken on the mantle of Unutterable. Guard your lips with utmost diligence lest this one escapes them! Speak this word and you’ll soon get much more than a shocked audience in response. Say these two syllables and you might lose your job, be attacked in the public square, or at the very least be excoriated by every pundit and commentator on every cable channel.

You guessed it. It is the dreaded N WORD! Welcome to a world where mocking God and abusing His name is not censured, but using an ethnic epithet might as well be a capital offense. Oh, and don’t ask for more abuse and judgment from the occupants of the moral high ground by appealing to the fact that many dime a dozen entertainment acts throw around the N word willy nilly. It is perfectly acceptable for them to go way over the line you dare not even approach.

Finally, consider this sobering Biblical affirmation: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

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What’s That on Your Wrist?

WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? It is a slogan that has been engraved on bracelets and (with sincerity to be sure) glibly spoken by many who admire the Man from Galilee. Let’s think a little deeper about it. Let’s ask…

WDJD – what DID Jesus do? As the divine Son, eternally pre-existent with the Father and the Holy Spirit, He came down from heaven (became incarnate) to give His life a ransom for many. None of us have existed from all eternity, and our lives are not worth a plugged nickel towards the redemption of even one of our fellow human beings. But the life of the Son of God was of infinite value, and He accomplished redemption for an innumerable multitude. What else did Jesus do?

He worked miracles and cast out demons at will. He unilaterally chose twelve spokesmen to be foundational pillars of His Church against which He promised the gates of Hades would never prevail…two thousand years so far, and the Church universal is still going strong all over the Earth! What else?

Jesus rose from the dead, thus publicly and powerfully declaring the justification of His people. He had previously claimed that at the last day He personally would raise every other human being who has ever lived or who ever will live (John 5:28,29). One of the twelve expressed his supposition that if everything Jesus did were to be written down, the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Let’s add WIJD – What IS Jesus Doing, i.e. right now. Knowing that He died as His people’s substitute and was raised for their justification, another apostle wrote, “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also makes intercession for us.” (Romans 8:34)

To share in this activity of our great high Priest is also is beyond our capacity.

In short, in most cases WCDWJD obtains – we CAN’T do what Jesus did! He did and is doing many things we are unable to do or ever expect to be able to do. Therefore, if we want a helpful motto for our walk as His disciples (bracelet optional), why not switch to…

WDJC –what did Jesus COMMAND? He summarized what He commands under two great commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind and your neighbor as yourself. To inform our consciences about how those two great, eternal, and universal commandments are to be kept in our particular changeable and personal circumstances, we search the Old and New Testaments.

We rightly divide the whole counsel of God in Scripture. We become illumined as the Holy Spirit works understanding in us and in the rest of the Christian community (congregation) to which we are vitally united and committed.

We gain wisdom for matters like discerning between the humble poor who really need charity and the detestable scammers. We learn how to test the spirits, we come to the understanding of the Psalmist who rejoiced in his love for the breadth and perfection of God’s ever abiding statutes, judgments, and testimonies. By His word, we grow to be like Jesus Who said His very food and drink was to do what His Father had commanded Him.

And once we have ascertained from the holy Bible how to apply WDJC in this context or that relationship…in this trial or that challenge, let us go on engrave on our hearts this determination to be remembered in every context, relationship, trial, or challenge:

IWOJ – I will OBEY Jesus. As one hymnist put it, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

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Open Sesame

PROHIBITION: It was was a period in America in the early 20th century of the grace of the our Lord Jesus Christ when producing, marketing, and transporting alcoholic beverages was illegal. A clandestine cultural phenomenon called the “speakeasy” emerged. A speakeasy was a place into which, upon providing a password, you could enter to have a brew or a cocktail and keep company with other social drinkers without fear of being arrested.

PREDICTION: The neo-speakeasy is coming! It will be a place where you can converse without being politically correct. There, you won’t have to worry about being jailed because you failed to use the latest faux pronoun for some imaginary new “gender.”

Relaxing in these islands of liberty you will not be paralyzed by fear that you (ignorant, insensitive bigot that you are) inadvertently might commit the most recently minted micro-aggression, or unwittingly engage in cultural appropriation by wearing another ethnic group’s traditional style of shirt. In the neo-speakeasy, you will not be shamed by the mob because you are capable of forming your own opinions. You will be able exercise your freedom of association and fraternize with others who do the same.

The frequenter of these congenial joints will deliberately leave his cell phone, tablet, or laptop home. Video conferencing, snapchatting, and texting will have gone by the wayside and the proprietor will NOT provide WiFi. Maybe he will have one landline available for emergencies.

So…what’s the physical mouth to physical ear (i.e. vocal) password, friend?

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