R. C. Sproul answers wisely:

You can watch the full discussion here, with Michael Horton, Stephen Meyer, R.C. Sproul Jr., and Del Tackett  joining R.C. Sproul to answer questions about the Christian mind, science, old and new earth, and more.

After this conference, Ligonier asked Keith Mathison to deal with Dr. Sproul’s answer in greater depth, and the result is now published digitally as a free downloadable eBook. Dr. Sproul writes, “I am grateful for Keith Mathison’s treatment of these matters in this book—not only for his kind defense of my position (which is not original with me) but for his lucid exposition of the issues faced today in apparent conflicts between religion and science. Keith provides the necessary foundation for resolving these issues.”

Here is the table of contents for A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture:

Foreword by R.C. Sproul
Introduction
1. All Truth Is God’s Truth
2. General and Special Revelation
3. Interpreting General and Special Revelation
4. Luther, Calvin, and Copernicus
5. Earthly Things and Heavenly Things
6. When Science and Scripture Conflict
7. The Age Of The Universe and Genesis 1

For those interested in these questions, especially from a Reformed perspective, I would recommend reading the PCA Study Committee Report on Creation (2000), where a number of PCA elders from various persuasions on these issues studied and debated these issues in order to produce this report. It is worth reading simply for the definitions, and also for the way in which they seek to describe the strengths of, and objections to, the various orthodox positions.

Here is a flavor regarding how they are able to agree on the essentials despite significant differences:

We have found a profound unity among ourselves on the issues of vital importance to our Reformed testimony. We believe that the Scriptures, and hence Genesis 1-3, are the inerrant word of God. We affirm that Genesis 1-3 is a coherent account from the hand of Moses. We believe that history, not myth, is the proper category for describing these chapters; and furthermore that their history is true. In these chapters we find the record of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth ex nihilo; of the special creation of Adam and Eve as actual human beings, the parents of all humanity (hence they are not the products of evolution from lower forms of life). We further find the account of an historical fall, that brought all humanity into an estate of sin and misery, and of God’s sure promise of a Redeemer. Because the Bible is the word of the Creator and Governor of all there is, it is right for us to find it speaking authoritatively to matters studied by historical and scientific research. We also believe that acceptance of, say, non-geocentric astronomy is consistent with full submission to Biblical authority. We recognize that a naturalistic worldview and true Christian faith are impossible to reconcile, and gladly take our stand with Biblical supernaturalism.

The Committee has been unable to come to unanimity over the nature and duration of the creation days. Nevertheless, our goal has been to enhance the unity, integrity, faithfulness and proclamation of the Church. Therefore we are presenting a unanimous report with the understanding that the members hold to different exegetical viewpoints. As to the rest we are at one. It is our hope and prayer that the Church at large can join us in a principled, Biblical recognition of both the unity and diversity we have regarding this doctrine, and that all are seeking properly to understand biblical revelation. It is our earnest desire not to see our beloved church divide over this issue.

Here are a couple of other videos that treat the issues from a wider perspective:

John Lennox is professor of mathematics and a fellow in the philosophy of science at Oxford University. In the lecture below, delivered at Socrates in the City (at the Union Club in New York City on January 31, 2013), he provides an accessible overview of his Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science (Zondervan, 2011).

Eric Metaxas of Socrates in the City interviews Stephen Meyer on Darwin, the scientific method, and the book Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design. Filmed at the Union League Club in New York City on September 12, 2013.

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46 thoughts on “How Old Is the Universe?”

  1. Jesse Light says:

    There is no record of Calvin ever calling Copernicus a heretic. His writings never mention Copernicus at all. http://www3.nd.edu/~mdowd1/postings/CalvinAstroRev.html That doesn’t alter the substance of what R. C. is saying, but it is still a false accusation and an apocryphal claim, much akin to the old “Calvin bowled on Sunday” legend.

  2. Samuel Yates says:

    Why do you suppose people who claim to accept the creation of man and woman (I.e humans with the appearance of age far greater than their actual age) find it so hard to believe God would create a universe, earth, etc wth the appearance of great age? An 1 day old adult male is at least several orders of magnitude more developed then a 1 day old male developing by natural processes. Is there any purely logical argument why the same wouldn’t be true at larger scale for the universe?

  3. Ron U says:

    he Committee has been unable to come to unanimity over the nature and duration of the creation days. Nevertheless, our goal has been to enhance the unity, integrity, faithfulness and proclamation of the Church. Therefore we are presenting a unanimous report with the understanding that the members hold to different exegetical viewpoints.

    Why won’t the PCA interpret WCF4.1 like it does WCF1.1 against continuationism. Because saying:

    It is worth reading simply for the definitions, and also for the way in which they seek to describe the strengths of, and objections to, the various orthodox positions.

    does not seem like an orthodox thing to say. i.e. As if there is more than one right view.

  4. chris says:

    With all the theological consequences of interpreting a day other than 24 hours. It’s a wonder anyone still tries. Is death really good? If it’s old and things don’t die, then does the earth just get crowded from things being fruitful and multiplying?

    The science scientific models for an old age have more contradictions than can be numbered almost. I’m not sure why they still embarrass Christians into not taking Genesis at face value.

  5. I can’t expand much on the wealth of material linked here. I certainly appreciate the effort my fellow Christians have made here in the earnest and faithful investigation of the theological implications and philosophical import. There are only two observations I can add:

    1) The fact that creation is miraculous cannot be understressed. As such, there is a point at which naturalistic discovery will invariably yield inaccurate observations. That’s simply the nature of the miraculous.

    2) While the early church fathers are not infallible, it’s interesting that many of them seem to hold a Jewish eschatological view of creation. That is to say that the days of creation were understood as having a prophetic nature. While this may or may not be the case, it could explain the foundation for Revelation 20. That’s not to say that the creation week should be viewed as exclusively figurative or literal, but that there may be some meaning that has not been fully investigated in our day. The issue is still open for faithful study.

  6. Keith Mathison says:

    Hi Jesse,

    I addressed that issue in the original blog series that was turned into the e-book. Here’s what I wrote there:

    “John Calvin’s precise view of Copernicus is more difficult to determine and has long been debated. Part of the difficulty involved with discerning his view is due to a quotation that has been wrongly attributed to him by scholars, ranging from Bertrand Russell to Thomas Kuhn. Numerous scholars, including Russell and Kuhn, assert that Calvin condemned Copernicus with the words: “Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?” The problem is that those words are found nowhere in Calvin’s writings. Unfortunately, the statement has been repeated so often that it is accepted as a matter of historical fact.

    However, even though Calvin did not make the oft-quoted statement about Copernicus cited above, there is a statement he made in a sermon on 1 Corinthians that is relevant. There, Calvin warns against those who say, “that the sun does not move and that it is the earth that moves.” He describes those who hold this view as “stark raving mad” and as “possessed” by the devil. It is not clear that he is basing this warning on his interpretation of any particular passage of Scripture, and there is ongoing debate about how this statement coincides with Calvin’s other statements regarding general and special revelation, but the statement does at the very least indicate that geocentricity was firmly established in Calvin’s mind as the true explanation of the nature of God’s creation.”

    1. dean davis says:

      Here is Calvin on Psalm 19:

      “The other planets (i.e., moving astronomical bodies), it is true, have also their motions, and as it were the pointed places within which they rune their race; and the firmament, by its own revolution, draws all the fixed stars with it . . . ”

      Commenting on Psalm 93, he writes: “The heavens revolve daily, immense as is their fabric and inconceivable the rapidity of their revolutions.”

      A geocentrist all the way.

    2. Charles Bernd says:

      It is pointless trying to quote Calvin or even trying to figure out his views. To me, it is a total waste of time. Sure he was a helpful bible teacher. That’s it. I agree with some of his teachings, not because he said it but because the bible(!) says so.
      Please Christians, the Bible should be our final authority! I am writing this post with tears in my eyes, seeing how much of the church has abandoned God’s word and is more focused on the views of some fallible humans. All this believe about old earth is all because of humans imposing ideas on God’s word. Please, let’s repent.
      I have seen how Justin Taylor has re-tweeted and blogged about people who mock Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis. They call him stupid, anti-science etc. Quoting all these professors and scientist who are twisting God’s word in Genesis to fit fallible human thought is out-right absurd. Mocking Ken Ham because he doesn’t have a PhD even though he stands firm on the authority of the word of God, goes to explain why the atheists are winning over America and the western world. It’s because much of the church has compromised in Genesis and are believing man rather than God.
      On Judgement day, you all will face Christ and give and account on how you handled His word. This is not a simple issue. You all, seminary professors and Bible teachers need to think carefully. God bless the shrinking church of Christ because it’s members are ruining the bride of Jesus Christ

  7. dean davis says:

    If there was wisdom in RC’s answer, it was heard in his closing caveat, when he said that in the end someone is wrong (either the scientists or the theologians), but that the Word of God is never wrong.

    As for the rest, I found it troubling. RC is all too prepared to let secular science “correct” our understanding of Scripture, even when, by his own admission, the natural, prima facia sense of Scripture favors recent correction.

    As Ken Ham correctly pointed out last nite, sinful man will ALWAYS misinterpret natural revelation, unless guided by special revelation. Therefore, we Christians, anchored to the plain teaching of the Bible, should be forcefully challenging the secular cosmogonies that are overthrowing the faith of multitudes. Yet far from challenging them, RC, and too many other Christian leaders, are inviting us to sit at their feet.

    In going down this road, RC seems to be taking his cues from the the Copernican controversy. He assumes that Calvin, Luther, and all the other fathers of Reformed theology were in error when they affirmed the (self-evident) geocentrism of the Bible. From this he deduces that Christians should let secular scientists “correct” our understanding of Scripture.

    The truth, however, is that evidence is now pouring in from many quarters to the effect that the Earth is indeed at the center of the universe. This is seen, for example, in the uniformity of the cosmic microwave background, and in its subtle “anisotropies” (slight irregularities). It is also seen in the way galaxies, quasars, and other astronomical bodies are situated on shells that have the Earth at their center. These phenomena are deeply troubling to secular cosmologists, since they so obviously challenge the a-centric universe promoted by Relativity Theory and Big Bang cosmology.

    Moreover, there is indeed a growing number of Christian geocentrists who, far from caving in to modern a-centric cosmologies (which are legion), are openly challenging them. They include Philip Stott, John Byl, Gerry Bouw, Martin Selbrede, and Robert Sungenis, among others. You don’t need to read far in their writings before realizing that these guys are not lightweights, either scientifically or theologically.

    Bottom line: Let us be faithful to the Bible’s clear revelation of a good, recent, geocentric creation, runnier by Adam’s sin, but rescued and restored by Christ’s righteous life and atoning death. And let us also be grateful for our creationist brothers who help us to do so. They are not perfect, nor is their work perfect. But both are great blessings to the Body of Christ, teaching us that, unlike naturalistic evolutionism, biblical cosmogony does indeed find much confirmation in real world observations and good science.

    That, I think, is the path of true wisdom.

    1. Andrew says:

      I do appreciate your concern over RC’s comments. However, I would point out that RC’s comments were a bit more nuanced than you acknowledge. His point was that God has revealed himself specifically in Scripture and generally in natural revelation and that both special revelation and natural revelation are infallible. The point was that our understanding of general and special revelation are not infallible and therefore must be interpreted in the light of our own fallen nature.

      I am not a young earth creationist but I did appreciate you putting up some of those geocentric scientists to study; namely because I think that it would be neat to find out that the earth actually is more important than just a “speck of dust” as Richard Dawkins has called it.

      1. Dean Davis says:

        I certainly concur, Andrew, that our sin creates problems for the proper interpretation of both natural and special revelation.

        However, in this debate we need to think clearly about what it means to say that natural revelation is “infallible.” Certainly, God does not fail to reveal his existence, power, intelligence, goodness, etc., in nature, though sinful man does indeed fail clearly to see them and honestly acknowledge them.

        But what God DOES fail to do in natural revelation, because he doesn’t even try to do it, is to tell us how the universe came to be; or what went wrong; or why there are fossilized strata all over the world; or why people speak different languages, or what he is doing to roll back the disasters, etc.

        Moroever, not only does God fail to explain these things by natural revelation, but science CANNOT explain them, seeing that the scientists were not there to observe them when they occurred.

        Here, then, is the great boon of special revelation, and the reason why we Christians have a leg up on the natural scientists: We have another KIND of “scientia”; another kind of knowledge (i.e., revealed truth) that, ideally, natural scientists will eagerly use to inform their judgments, rule in or rule out their hypotheses, etc.

        The problem, of course, is that in these last days,many scientists are far from eager to turn to God in their quest for truth; indeed, they are eager to turn away from him and promote naturalistic evolution as the religion of choice for all “real scientists.”

        So then, RC is heading down the wrong road when he tells us that God reveals cosmogenic truth in natural revelation, and that natural science has the ability to dig it up and correct us with it. This subordinates the Word of God to the ever-changing and untrustworthy words of sinful scientific men.

        Knowing him as I do, I know that in his heart RC does not mean to do this, and that the Lord will be faithful to get him back on track.

        1. Aaron Ginn says:

          Moroever, not only does God fail to explain these things by natural revelation, but science CANNOT explain them, seeing that the scientists were not there to observe them when they occurred.

          Kind of like how you weren’t there to see god create the universe. And yet, you assert that as if it’s a fact as plain as day. You have zero evidence for it, and yet you accept it as self-evident. At least scientists have working models that describe the origin of the universe and the matter that makes up everything we see. And science is never wedded to a particular theory as is religion with its dogma. If a theory is discovered that better explains the natural world, the old one if discarded. That is the way of progress.

          1. Scott C says:

            I think you’ve misunderstood Dean’s point. The Bible as special revelation provides us with a much surer guide than natural revelation or science does. Natural revelation is both general and limited in what it communicates. It speaks of a Creator with certain attributes that make it impossible to deny His existence, but it provides nothing by way of specific knowledge about how the universe originated. Unless God told us how it originated we could never know – period.

            This leads us to the question of the perspicuity of Scripture. Because the modern scientific consensus on things we can’t observe (i.e. origins) has been elevated to the status of infallibility (notice this is not natural revelation which infallibly points us to God not truth about origins), suddenly Christians have been given reason to abandon what all previous to the 19th century regarded as clear – God made the universe in 6 literal days.

            When Sproul says Copernicus taught us that geocentricity was wrong we can say two things about this. First, Copernicus was making an observation about what can be presently verified, what Ham called observational science. R. C. is erroneously using this fact to suggest we have reason to accept what scientists say about the past (i.e. origins) which is impossible to observe. It is absolutely impossible for science yesterday, today or tomorrow to ever have the capacity to tell us how the origins of the universe came about – period. IT CAN NEVER happen. They may discover some pieces of the puzzle, but can’t know what the whole puzzle looks like or where those pieces might fit in. Secondly, Calvin (if he taught this) was mistaken about geocentricity, but that is okay. There is nothing explicit in the text of Scripture that God put the earth at the center of the solar system. It is an inference made from ‘implicit’ and ‘unclear’ Scriptural data that is debatable in terms of interpretation and therefore fair game. However, the Scripture is ‘explicit’ and ‘clear’ that God supernaturally created the universe in 6 literal days only very recently (but how long ago we don;t know with precision). Thus, R C’s appeal to the Copernicus affair fails to persuade concerning his point.

            1. Aaron Ginn says:

              I think you’ve misunderstood Dean’s point. The Bible as special revelation provides us with a much surer guide than natural revelation or science does.

              Prove it. You can’t. You simply presuppose this and go from there. Science has a proven track record of self-correction and progress. Religion has nothing like that. In fact, religion has a track record of getting it wrong. Science is usually the means of correcting the mistakes of religion.

              1. Scott C says:

                You have no idea what you are talking about. First of all, you don’t seem to understand the distinctions that have been made in theological orthodoxy in the Protestant and Biblio-centric tradition of which R C Sproul and this blog represents.

                Furthermore, Biblical orthodoxy has been refined and developed over millennia and is forged in the midst of controversy and debate in which often corrections have been made. You must have no knowledge of historical theology.

                How has science corrected religion, specifically Christianity? It has addressed a narrow section of the Biblical worldview but largely leaves the rest of the Bible alone. It sounds to me that you are a scientist. Science provides a perspective upon a small slice of the world. How does it makes sense of metaphysical issues like good and evil, life and death, beauty and ugliness, order and disorder, love and hate, happiness and sorrow? How does science justify the laws of nature and logic or order and design? It has no apparatus to do anything of the sort, that is why it must fit into a broader worldview that makes sense of the full panorama of reality. Of course some have tried to make it do so and have miserably failed. We need to dispense with the all-powerful omniscient priest-craft of scientism and acknowledge science’s humble limitations as an explanatory force in the world. I humbly suggest you broaden your horizons.

              2. Scott C says:

                I meant to say “you must be an advocate of scientism” NOT that “you are scientist.” My bad.

              3. Aaron Ginn says:

                You have no idea what you are talking about. First of all, you don’t seem to understand the distinctions that have been made in theological orthodoxy in the Protestant and Biblio-centric tradition of which R C Sproul and this blog represents.

                On the contrary, Scott. I was an evangelical Christian for over 30 years. I know the language and the worldview espoused by Sproul and TGC. I live it myself.

                Furthermore, Biblical orthodoxy has been refined and developed over millennia and is forged in the midst of controversy and debate in which often corrections have been made. You must have no knowledge of historical theology.

                On the contrary. I’m well aware of the arguments and the schisms that have resulted from them. The fact that Christianity has fractured into thousands of denominations is solid evidence that no one knows what orthodox christianity actually is. Catholics tell Protestants they’re going to hell and vice verse. Everyone thinks they know the truth, yet all lack evidence for their ideologies. Just an ancient text so obtuse that all of you can twist it to fit your own interpretation.

                How has science corrected religion, specifically Christianity? It has addressed a narrow section of the Biblical worldview but largely leaves the rest of the Bible alone. It sounds to me that you are a scientist. Science provides a perspective upon a small slice of the world.

                How about by providing explanations for natural disasters, schizophrenia, biological diversity, the composition of matter and energy, et. al. Science has provided real evidence-based answers to questions that perplexed biblical writers (demon possession, for example).

                How does it makes sense of metaphysical issues like good and evil, life and death, beauty and ugliness, order and disorder, love and hate, happiness and sorrow?

                Those are all subjective topics largely defined by natural selection and cultural pressures. Every religion has a different answer. Your answers are just as subjective as a Buddhist’s or an atheist’s.

                How does science justify the laws of nature and logic or order and design? It has no apparatus to do anything of the sort, that is why it must fit into a broader worldview that makes sense of the full panorama of reality. Of course some have tried to make it do so and have miserably failed. We need to dispense with the all-powerful omniscient priest-craft of scientism and acknowledge science’s humble limitations as an explanatory force in the world. I humbly suggest you broaden your horizons.

                I don’t think I ever claimed that science has the power to explain everything. It’s just that religion has the power to explain nothing.

              4. Scott C says:

                Sadly you don’t understand historical theology. Questions of orthodoxy come down to authority. Early Christianity was rooted in Biblical authority. The Reformation resulted because Protestants and Catholics disagreed on the question of Biblical authority. Everything else flows form that. Catholics must demonstrate that the early church didn’t rely solely upon Biblical authority.

                Schisms in the Church resulted in a strengthening of orthodoxy and heretical groups splintering off or they resulted in secondary matters in which core essentials have been affirmed by dissenting opinions. You act as if dissent invalidates claims to truth. If that were the case then science would fail and it obviously hasn’t – that is, when it has self-consciously operated within an understanding of its own limitations.

                Your scientific explanations of metaphysical issues not only trivialize them but are rather weak, probably because the modern scientific consensus has adopted a naturalistic-materialist worldview.

                You haven’t demonstrated where science has proven Christianity wrong.

                All other systems of thought other than the orthodox Christian position have no way to justify their claims to truth or they have internal contradictions that invalidate their claims.

                You’ve haven’t shown how science justifies the laws of nature, logic, order or design. It is unable to do so because it must fit within a broader worldview framework. Your naturalist-materialist worldview has no ability to justify the claims it wishes to make.

              5. Aaron Ginn says:

                Last reply from me because we obviously aren’t going to make headway.

                Sadly you don’t understand historical theology. Questions of orthodoxy come down to authority. Early Christianity was rooted in Biblical authority. The Reformation resulted because Protestants and Catholics disagreed on the question of Biblical authority. Everything else flows form that. Catholics must demonstrate that the early church didn’t rely solely upon Biblical authority.

                Which bible Scott? The canon has changed so many times throughout history that there’s no reason to believe we have the correct one that god supposedly wanted us to. The winners always write the histories.

                Schisms in the Church resulted in a strengthening of orthodoxy and heretical groups splintering off or they resulted in secondary matters in which core essentials have been affirmed by dissenting opinions. You act as if dissent invalidates claims to truth. If that were the case then science would fail and it obviously hasn’t – that is, when it has self-consciously operated within an understanding of its own limitations.

                Dissent in science is a good thing because it forces the dissenting parties to examine the evidence for their claims. Evidence is completely lacking with regard to supernatural claims; therefore, there is no way to determine who is correct and who is incorrect. That is not a truth claim despite your desire to label it as such. Arguments about theology may be interesting from a philosophical perspective, but because there is objective method to discern the correctness of those arguments, there is no way to invalidate a claim.

                Your scientific explanations of metaphysical issues not only trivialize them but are rather weak, probably because the modern scientific consensus has adopted a naturalistic-materialist worldview.

                Prove to me that something exists outside of the natural, material world and I will gladly change my mind. You cannot because you have no evidence to support your position. Here’s a pointed question to you: why do you think that anything beyond the material universe exists? Is it just a feeling you have? Feelings are notoriously unreliable. Muslims have the same feelings they are correct too. Why are they wrong and you are right?

                You haven’t demonstrated where science has proven Christianity wrong.

                Darwin killed Christianity. You just refuse to accept the evidence. I can’t make you accept the truth; I can only lead you to it.

                All other systems of thought other than the orthodox Christian position have no way to justify their claims to truth or they have internal contradictions that invalidate their claims.

                That’s pretty rich. All other systems of thought are wrong except the one you’ve chosen? How exactly do you justify your claims to truth? And Christianity has no internal contradictions? The Trinity? Prayer versus divine foreknowledge? Predestination versus human free agency? Faith versus works? Do I need to go on? Christianity has more than its share of internal contradictions. Christians just write them off as divine mysteries.

                You’ve haven’t shown how science justifies the laws of nature, logic, order or design. It is unable to do so because it must fit within a broader worldview framework. Your naturalist-materialist worldview has no ability to justify the claims it wishes to make.

                I seriously have no idea what you’re talking about. The universe is what it is. I’m sorry that it seems cold and meaningless to you without a god who is in control. That isn’t a good reason to just make stuff up to help yourself to feel better about it.

              6. Scott C says:

                “Which bible Scott? The canon has changed so many times throughout history that there’s no reason to believe we have the correct one that god supposedly wanted us to. The winners always write the histories.”
                Really! You should stop reading Dan Brown novels!

                “Prove to me that something exists outside of the natural, material world and I will gladly change my mind.”
                The laws of logic are not material entities. You attempt to use them yet have provided no justification for their use since you only believe in material entities. Your worldview is self-refuting.

                “Darwin killed Christianity.”
                First of all, Christianity is enjoying the greatest success in the present than in all of its history, particularly in East Asia, Africa, South America and now increasingly in the Middle East which has been exclusively dominated by Islam for centuries.

                Secondly, Darwinism is virtually devoid of evidence which is why its promoters are so afraid of debate. Here is a challenge. Give me the very best single piece of evidence that demonstrates without fail that molecules to man type Darwinian Evolution is an undeniable fact.

                “All other systems of thought are wrong except the one you’ve chosen?”
                Yes. Truth is always exclusive.

                “How exactly do you justify your claims to truth?”
                Without the God who has revealed Himself in nature and the Christian Scriptures nothing would be true.

                “And Christianity has no internal contradictions? The Trinity? Prayer versus divine foreknowledge? Predestination versus human free agency? Faith versus works? Do I need to go on?”
                None of these matters present contradictions, you obviously haven’t studied them. Show me how just one of these matters is self-contradictory.

                “I seriously have no idea what you’re talking about.”
                Well that appears obvious since you can only conceive of material entities.

            2. Aaron Ginn says:

              There is nothing explicit in the text of Scripture that God put the earth at the center of the solar system. It is an inference made from ‘implicit’ and ‘unclear’ Scriptural data that is debatable in terms of interpretation and therefore fair game.

              I actually agree with you that this interpretation is not clearly articulated in the bible, but I think you’d better tell that to Dean.

          2. anaquaduck says:

            A theory that is taught as fact & presented as self evident is just as much a statement of faith, just more disguised.

            Science track record also shifts data that doesnt fit or claims contamination. Often divorced from each other in the secular world also, arguing & disagreeing all the time.

            Intelligence that comes from God (not a pond)can be progressive as much as regressive depending on the destination. Science cannot tell us where we are going, surely science current science would tell us it is impossible for someone to rise from the dead, yet the disciples saw it as recorded in the Scriptures.

    2. Adam says:

      But sungenis is also a holocaust denier who denies sola fide. While this may not be directly relevant, if he applies a hermeneutic that would allow him to deny sola fide, then I would say I am immediately skeptical of his hermeneutic which also leads to geocentrism. For the record a robust geocentrism was not actually developed until much later than the time of the biblical authors, who also probably believed the earth was flat. Indeed some used to argue the very same using passages from Isaiah. My point is that the passages from the bible do not speak to the cosmological ordering of the universe in detail. IMO the folks who read in geocentrism did so because that was the common understanding of the universe, not because the bible clearly teaches it.

      1. dean davis says:

        Hi Adam, here are some brief responses:

        1. I question whether Sungenis denies the Holocaust.

        2. You are right that he denies sola fide, a denial we have discussed in personal exchanges.

        3. Because he wrongly interprets sola fide does not necessarily mean he wrongly interprets the cosmological statements of the Bible. More importantly, there are many old and new evangelical theologians with good hermeneutics on salvation who deduce geocentrism from Scripture. I have supplied some names above. Also, Sungenis really knows his physics, and has written the most substantive book on this subject now available. Hard to ignore him in my quest for cosmological truth.

        4. Not sure what you mean by “robust geocentrism.” Pre-Reformation theologians certainly felt they defended a theologically robust geocentrism. As for “scientifically” robust geocentrism, that had to await the development of modern science. Here, the situation is very much like the creation/evolution debate: We all have the same data, but interpret it differently. In my book on this subject, I have tried to show, from observational evidence, that geocentrism is the more convincing model.

        5. You are mistaken when you say that the biblical authors–or pre-Reformation theologians after them–believed in a flat earth. Visit Creation Ministries International and study that out a little.

        6. Does the Bible speak in detail of the ordering of the universe? Guess it depends on what you mean by “in detail.” One thing sure, though: There are LOTS of verses that, building on Genesis 1, speak of a stationary earth encircled by sun, moon, and stars in motion. Again, I have tried to plumb the biblical evidence in my book, which is available at no charge on my website.

        Blessings,

        D

    3. Kyle K says:

      The Copernican controversy wasn’t so much about the center of the universe as the center of the solar system. And surely you agree that the Sun is the center of the solar system? All of the other planets, asteroids, dwarf planets etc. rotate around the Sun, not around the Earth.

    4. Aaron Ginn says:

      The truth, however, is that evidence is now pouring in from many quarters to the effect that the Earth is indeed at the center of the universe. This is seen, for example, in the uniformity of the cosmic microwave background, and in its subtle “anisotropies” (slight irregularities). It is also seen in the way galaxies, quasars, and other astronomical bodies are situated on shells that have the Earth at their center. These phenomena are deeply troubling to secular cosmologists, since they so obviously challenge the a-centric universe promoted by Relativity Theory and Big Bang cosmology.

      This is absolutely untrue. The earth is moving about 600 km/s WRT to the CMB radiation. What source are you using to argue that the earth is the center of the universe?

    5. Aaron Ginn says:

      Moreover, there is indeed a growing number of Christian geocentrists who, far from caving in to modern a-centric cosmologies (which are legion), are openly challenging them. They include Philip Stott, John Byl, Gerry Bouw, Martin Selbrede, and Robert Sungenis, among others. You don’t need to read far in their writings before realizing that these guys are not lightweights, either scientifically or theologically.

      I looked up the C.V.s of all these guys to see their credentials in astrophysics. Byl and Bouw trained in astronomy, but the other three apparently have no formal training in physics or astronomy. Why should anyone assume they have a clue what they’re talking about?

      As for Bouw, apparently he really believes there is an actual firmament in outer space. In a way, I have to admire that he sticks to the text. Most inerrentists jettisoned a real firmament long ago.

      Haven’t dug into Byl’s background yet, but I’ll check him out on YouTube to see if anything he says has any supporting evidence or if he is just making stuff up.

      1. dean davis says:

        Hey Aaron,

        In my book In Search of the Beginning I have worked hard to document the statements you see posted here. It’s available at no cost on my website.

        But let me exhort you a little: Don’t be too impressed with academic degrees. As it’s written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise . . . Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

        What I like about the men I cited–who are indeed bright and well-trained–is that they love the Word of God, put it first in all their thinking, and have the courage to follow where it leads.

        The Lord has promised this can put us at odds with the world: temporarily. That is, however, much better than being at odds with the Lord, especially in the great Day when the truth will finally out.

        Blessings,
        d

        1. Aaron Ginn says:

          Sorry Dean. I just watched a lecture by Byl and he is completely disingenuous. He argues that the difference between Tycho Brahe’s geocentric model and the Copernican heliocentric model is philosophical. That’s not true at all. There is no physical explanation for Brahe’s model. What causes the other planets to orbit the sun and the sun/planets to orbit the earth? There is no physical explanation for such a system. The physical explanation for the Copernican model is the strong gravitational pull of the sun. Our understanding of how solar systems form explain why a star would form at the center and why smaller bodies would form in orbit around the star. Any theory that would displace the current heliocentric model would need to be able to explain every single detail that our current working models do. Nothing proposed by Byl comes close to doing so.

          1. dean davis says:

            Hey Aaron,

            If you think Byl is disingenuous, you should write him at his blog. He is very personable and will explain his reasoning gladly.

            You should understand that not all modern geocentrists embrace Tycho’s system. However, those who do argue that it is no less sound, physically, than the standard heliocentric model.

            Briefly, the idea here is that the sun is embedded in the (material) fabric of space (the ether); thus, it is the revolution of the universe around the stationary earth that moves the sun and the other stars along. As for the planets, they are simply in orbit around the sun, being held there by the sun’s gravity. In Tycho’s cosmos, the moon also revolves around the earth, being held in orbit by the earth’s gravity.

            Bouw has worked out this model in some detail, and offers a film in which he uses an orrery to demonstrate the (complex) motion of such a cosmos.

            Bottom line: No one really knows what gravity is, or how gravity might work in deep space, or how and why things move as they do. As Galileo himself realized at the end of his life, God could arrange things in any number of ways so as to arrive at a geocentric universe.

            The humble everywhere would agree; tho humble, any more, is hard to find.

            1. Adam says:

              Thanks for your kind replies dean. We may disagree about whether the bible is explicit about a cosmological ordering of the universe, bit As a brother in Christ I appreciate the dialogue.

  8. Adam says:

    A couple of questions:

    Why is geocentrism necessary for biblical inerrancy?

    Is it the point of the relevant Bibilical passages to make cosmological claims?

    Is not reading ancient scientific theories into the bible the same mistake as reading mondern ones in?

    1. Dean Davis says:

      Hi Adam,

      A couple of short replies:

      1. The only thing necessary for biblical inerrancy is an inspired, inerrant Bible. As the Lord said, “The Word of God cannot be broken.” Therefore, if the Bible teaches geocentrism, that is unbreakable–and helpful–truth.

      2. The Bible boldly makes all kinds of cosmological claims, not only in Genesis 1-11, but throughout the entire prophetic canon, in which it speaks gloriously of the final destruction and renovation of the whole universe.

      3. We all make our best effort to read OUT of the Bible the truth that is in it. Importantly, for about 1500 years not a single biblical scholar deduced an a-centirc evolving universe that is billions of years old from the text of Scripture. To the contrary, they deduced a geocentric created universe of about 6000 years old. If, then, anyone is reading into Scripture, is it not the wavering contemporary Christian who tries to “reconcile” the plain teaching of the Bible with “the assured results of modern science”?

  9. Michael says:

    The first question to ask is not “how old is the universe” but “what does the Bible say about the age of the universe?”

  10. Charles Bernd says:

    This quote alone is enough to tell you how much the church has compromised. “…treating the issue from a WIDER perspective.” What wider perspective??? Please tell me. Christianity is very exclusive about its claims and Christ is clear about the narrow way that leads to eternal life. Our Lord and Savior is also the ONLY WAY to the Father, why in the world would Christians of all people want a wider perspective???? Is there a wider perspective about the resurrection? Is there a wider perspective about the Deity of Christ? or the days Jonah spent in the Fish that was quoted by Jesus Christ? Is there a wider perspective about marriage that was quoted by Jesus Christ from Genesis? Why then would Christians want to add millions of years of death and suffering and dirt-to-man evolution unto the Bible? They try to sugar quote it but they are borrowing from the atheist who are trying to create an anti-God religion and imposing it on the Bible.

    Sad day for Christianity. No doubt the gospel is falling on deaf ears.

  11. Charles Bernd says:

    Pretty awesome :) So my comment which had no curses or personal attacks seems to have been deleted.

    God bless the moderator.

  12. Jesse Light says:

    Thanks for clarifying things, Dr. Mathison. Please know that I have the utmost respect for R. C. and understand that one cannot fact check during a live conference Q & A! I just wanted to make sure that the record was set straight.

  13. Luma says:

    I’m a Christian, and I’m a physicist. God does not lie, neither in special revelation (the Scriptures) NOR in general revelation. The universe speaks God’s truth, it does not lie because HE does not lie. When God pours his common grace on physicists (as he has throughout history) to probe the mysteries of the universe, HE does not deceive them.

    Thanks for the links, Justin.

    1. Scott C says:

      So both Ptolemy and Copernicus were right? Both Newton and Einstein were right about gravity? Your statement is patently false. One scientific consensus can’t be right while being opposed by another. Scientists are often deceived because we do not have infallible senses and reasoning nor the exhaustive knowledge to make infallible sense of the world. God alone does and so it is better to listen to His explicit explanations when He offers them.

  14. Ontology is objective. Epistemology is subjective, except in the case of ontological revelation.

  15. Philip Stott says:

    Aaron notes that “science” claims “it is never wedded to a particular theory as is religion with its dogma. If a theory is discovered that better explains the natural world, the old one is discarded. That is the way of progress”. The claim, however is inaccurate. The truth is actually that if a theory THAT IS ACCEPTABLE TO ITS METHODOLOGICL ATHEISTIC WORLDVIEW is discovered … then the old one is discarded.
    That fact enables scientists to close their eyes to reality and claim, as Aaron points out that “Science has a proven track record of self-correction and progress.” Many errors have indeed been abandoned, but others are held steadfastly as “the best theory in the field” even when clearly disproven. Evolution is probably the best example, but relativity and the Big Bang are not far behind.
    Why has the scientific establishment failed to address Herbert Dingle’s astoundingly simple demonstration that STR is untenable? Or the many others (there must be close to a hundred in Luc van Veenhuizen’s “Relativiteit Tegen Het Light” (Relativity against the light)? Why has Einstein’s admission that GTR is “unthinkable” without an ether not led to the widespread acceptance that at least one of STR and GTR must be in error? Why did it not permit Hafele and Keating’s fraud to be exposed in any of the “accepted” journals? Why was Halton Arp given no access to the telescope he had been working on after his observations showed that red shifts do not mean what the currently accepted theories say they mean? Why was a meaningful solution to the Pioneer anomaly disallowed, leading to the inevitability of a farcical explanation? And for that matter, why has Professor Brian G Wallace been led to publish his frustrations with “The Farce of Physics”?
    The answer is because hypotheses not fitting well with the accepted worldview of the scientific establishment are not allowed.
    And to carry on supporting that world view we have to marvel at things like “dark matter” – an invisible glue holding the philosophically acceptable theories together.
    But even if one is prepared to believe in impossible things (as the red queen assured us is possible with a little practice) can we really rely on the values confidently given to us by the acceptable theories of the day? Take for example the confident claim the “the earth is moving about 600 km/s WRT the CMB.” The current theory (built on the same assumptions and hypotheses which yield that figure) have the earth whirling around the sun, which is whirling around the milky way, which is whirling around our local cluster, which is whirling around our super-cluster … . With a gain in velocity of an order of magnitude or two at each step, where does the value 600 km/s fit in with that?

    1. Aaron Ginn says:

      Are you actually implying that relativity is false? You do realize that general relativity has been tested numerous times and found to be correct in every single case. Light bends as predicted around massive bodies (like stars). The clocks on GPS satellites are constantly adjusted to account for relativistic effects just as the GTR predicts. Quantum mechanics and relativity are the two most successful scientific theories ever devised. Neither has ever given an unexpected result.

      If you cannot accept those theories as true, there is little hope for you to ever accept any scientific premise in the future.

      P.S. I won’t be replying to this thread because we have zero common ground. If you believe the entire scientific establishment is some sort of atheistic conspiracy, I genuinely feel sorry for you.

  16. dean davis says:

    Aaron,

    I won’t expect a reply, but love of the truth compels me to urge you again: Don’t uncritically embrace the contemporary scientific consensus, especially since history proves that it can change at any moment, and that scientists, just like the rest of us, operate according to deep-seated and spiritually significant presuppositions. Stott is simply trying to point that out; and if you hope to advance in truth, it won’t hurt you to be aware of it, as well.

    For the rest, I’d encourage you, in the manner of every good scientist, to read opposing views. Sungenis’ book, Galileo Was Wrong, is loaded with all sorts of interesting quotes (many from non-christians), arguments, and scientific observations that raise grave doubts about RT and the standard Big Bang cosmology.

    In particular, he shows that observational evidence for these theories is very limited, and that the standard experiments alleged to verity RT are easily explained by non-relativistic physics. Again, I too have tried to point seekers in helpful directions in my book, In Search of the Beginning.

    Well, may the Lord bless you with the great gift upon which we can all agree: The Love of the Truth.

  17. dean davis says:

    A final thought from Dr. Einstein, taken from a letter written near the end of his life:

    “You imagine that I regard my life’s work with calm satisfaction. But a close look yields a completely different picture. I am not convinced of the certainty of a simple (i.e., single) concept, and I am uncertain as to whether I was both a heretic and a reactionary who has, so to speak, survived himself.”

  18. Philip Stott says:

    Aaron’s response to my comments on the state of modern physics is, sadly a common response for those steeped in the orthodoxy of the scientific establishment. Unfortunately such people never seem to look beyond the officially authorised journals. It was the refusal of the establishment to allow criticism of Einstein’s Relativity (there are several other Relativities, but Einstein’s is the only officially sanctioned version) which led to the establishment of the journal “Galilean Electrodynamics”. Thomas Barnes, Petr Beckman and colleagues were engaged in serious research which demonstrated beyond doubt that Einstein’s version was wrong, and the official journals refused to publish their work. This was not really surprising in the light of Herbert Dingles “Science at the Crossroads” which had detailed (several years earlier) the establishment’s complete unwillingness to face the reality their work was confirming. Beckman’s relativity, detailed in “Einstein + 2”, makes far more sense than Einstein’s, and he does a masterful job of demonstrating some of the weaknesses of the officially sanctioned version. But Barnes demonstrated in “Physics of the future” that relativity, whether, Lorenz’s version, Einstein’s, Marinov’s, Ives’s, Beckman’s or anyone else’s for that matter, is unnecessary anyway.

    Aaron assures us that GTR has been tested many times and proved correct every time. One might certainly gain that impression given the prominence given to every observation which appears to confirm it. On the rare occasions that experimental disproof is published it is given a very low profile and very apologetic tone. But occasionally discerning scientists, like Charles Lane Poor, have subjected the acclaimed proofs to scrutiny and found cause for deep concern. And we should not pass over Frederick Sody’s famous address to the fourth conference of Nobel Prize winners in which he described one of the most famous proofs of GTR as “the most disgusting spectacle perhaps ever witnessed of the lengths to which a preconceived notion can bias what was supposed to be an impartial scientific inquiry”. The situation is still exactly the same today, as evidenced by the famous, but fraudulent claims of Hafele and Keating.

    Aaron’s claim that Relativity is utterly proven beyond any doubt is a common claim. But when one questions a relativist in detail it usually turns out that what he really means is that its mathematics is impeccable. That is, indeed true, but as Herbert Dingle Pointed out, the language of mathematics can tell lies as well as truths, and it can be extremely difficult to tell its truths from its falsehoods.

  19. Philip Stott says:

    Hi Aaron,

    You said you would not respond to me, but I would like to respond to a few points you made anyway. I address the first point here.

    You seem to think I blame an atheist conspiracy in science. I do not think that is the real problem. There is, rather, an atheistic, mechanistic world view which hampers progress and severely handicaps scientists who hold that world view.

    I used to lecture quite often in Switzerland, including at the University of Lausanne. I came across an advanced and very expensive Physics research project, staffed by physicists from a wide range of countries. For a number of years the expensive apparatus yielded no worthwhile results.

    An American Christian physicist joined the project and within a year had valuable outputs and was able to publish useful papers.

    The other physicists were amazed and asked him how it was possible that he had achieved so much while they had achieved nothing.

    He answered that the results one gets from the apparatus depends on the questions one puts to it. Their research questions were based on a world view that has a universe appearing out of nothing in an enormous explosion and developing all by itself from chaos to cosmos. His questions, on the other hand, were based on the universe being the work of a skilful creator.

    The Physicist in question has asked me not to use his name, since publicity might interfere with his opportunities to witness to his atheist colleagues (he is no-longer at Lausanne), but I expect that it would not be difficult to check my story and discover his name by an internet search. I don’t think I will be going too much against his wishes by saying that his initials are F.S.

    I have heard of similar experiences by bio-engineering teams. An evolutionary approach to bio-engineering is not productive, and a far more successful strategy is to assume a skilful designer and use a reverse-engineering approach.

    James Clarke-Maxwell attributed his success to his creationist world-view. He said that he got his ideas concerning field theories by considering the way God reveals himself to work in the Bible.

    Leonard Euler noted that scientists are prone to making blunders and it is only by reference to the Bible that they can keep on the right track. An atheistic world-view leads to wandering off into unprofitable dead-ends like evolution and the Big Bang.

    I would like to address another example in response to another misconception in another post

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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