Re: Age of Star Light
by Gman on Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:18 pm
No one here is calling God a liar nor his word... What it basically boils down to is a skewed interpretation of God's word. The young earthers go to a skewed interpretation of Genesis then try to "fit" science into it. It is not possible... In other words, they are getting worked up over nothing. A problem that does not exist.. Then non-believers, who are up on their science, think that the Bible is a laughing joke. The effect turns millions away from the Bible as being a reliable source of information. And for what? Nothing.... Well pride maybe...
I would explain more, but we get this question so often I think this link explains it best..
Gman, I will not make a practice of writing such long responses as this one, I hope. However, your reply opened the door for me to express some views on a wide array of topics I felt needed addressing.
The Points you Made:
1. No one is calling God a liar.
General Response: Actually, in “Appearance of Age - A Young Earth Problem,” http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/appearance.html
, Mr. Deem rhetorically presented the false dilemma,
Either God created the universe at least 13 billion years ago or He deceived us by making it seem to be 13 billion years old..
The logical fallacy of a false dilemma is evident here, in that there are other possibilities beyond those two, but that is a digression. Mr. Deem is emphatically saying that he is right, and those who disagree with him are as wrong as someone who would call God a liar:
Not only does the Bible say that God never lies, but it declares that God's creation does not lie. The appearance of age doctrine is directly refuted by the Bible itself. … Appearance of age claims that God created a world with a false history. Such a claim is directly refuted by the Bible, which claims that God's creation declares His glory and righteousness. Nowhere does any biblical author make the claim that God's word contradicts any historical facts. Ultimately, the claim that the God of creation would lie to us with a false history of the universe, is a direct attack on the righteous character of God and cannot be tolerated within the Church! The God who would deceive His creatures with lies is not the God of the Bible.
Thus, it is not true that folks like Mr. Deem would agree that “No one is calling God a liar.” Mr. Deem is explicitly saying young earth creationists are calling God a liar. His position assumes or asserts the following general propositions:
I. Science has demonstrated that the universe is billions of years old, and Christians need to accept that conclusion as a metaphysical or ontological fact.
II. The universe is God's creation, so Christians need to accept the fact that God created the universe billions of years ago (and progressively since that time).
III. “The God of the Bible does not (and even cannot) lie.” As Jon Greene puts it in the article you referred me to, “The Days of Creation: A Closer Look at Scripture,”
Both young-earth (calendar-day) creationists and old-earth (day-age) creationists consider the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. Both believe the Genesis creation account is an historical narrative—not an allegory, myth, legend, or poetic expression. And both support an ex nihilo creation and reject Darwinian evolution. Thus, both views come from believers who are merely seeking truth and trying to understand God's message in Genesis 1. http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth ... ation.html
IV. The desire to get the truth and to understand God's message in the Genesis 1 account of God's creative acts requires the scripture to be read in a manner that is consistent with the known scientific and metaphysical/ontological facts (I & II).
v. If Ge 1 is not read as consistent with facts (I&II), that makes God out to be a liar.
vi. Saying that the features of the created universe were created instantaneously with the “appearance of age” is a contradiction of the facts (I & II). Therefore, the appearance of age view calls God a liar.
vii. Young earth creationists hold the appearance of age view. Therefore, the Young earth creationists call God a liar.
(1) Not all young earth creationists adhere to the appearance of age view. Some simply choose to deny alleged fact I, i.e., that the universe is known to be billions of years old. Some say science has its facts wrong or assumes too much, etc. Those who deny the billions of years of age are not calling God a liar, because they are not interpreting Ge 1 to contradict something they take as true. They interpret Ge 1 to contradict what they view as inaccurate conclusions. That, of course, is the weakness of the old earth view: It claims the contemporary scientific views of the day express metaphysical/ontological facts. But as Mr. Greene points out in his article, quoting Charles Hodge:
The Church has been forced more than once to alter her interpretation of the Bible to accommodate the discoveries of science. Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981), I:570-571, cited in C. John Collins, Science & Faith: Friends or Foes? (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 81.
No doubt this need to keep reinterpreting scripture by those who put their faith in science will occur again and again, because “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” 1 Cor 13:12 (NASB). But those who read the scripture plainly do not have to accommodate science. They know that science will progressively show, if it is honest, that the plain sense of the Bible is accurate. (The issue of what the original words in Hebrew or Greek meant will be dealt with below).
(2) Those who do adhere to the appearance of age view admit that the science is correct that the universe is billions of years old in terms of maturity, but they assert it was created mature to begin with, which means it is mature but not really so ancient. They would say that by the end of the fourth 24 hour day, many of the stars were already millions or billions of years old. Whether this was an accelerated aging process or just an instantaneous age ex nihilo is unknowable, though one can hypothesize that the stars, like the plants of Day Three and living creatures of Days Five and Six, experienced accelerated growth. The key from this view is that by the end of each respective day, the created features of the universe on that day were completely as mature as necessary to play the role they were created to play. — As an aside, the point of my first post was that any good faith attempt to interpret scripture cannot use as its guiding principle that it would be impossible for God to do as much as the plain reading of scripture implies he did on a given day. Of course it would be impossible. Creation of anything ex nihilo is impossible. If God can do that, why can't he break the laws of nature and defy time and space to accomplish his works? My overall point in writing to begin with is that this “impossibility” line of reasoning is absurd and fallacious. You can argue that God did it a different way, but don't give as a reason for that view that God could not have done it this way or that. He can do what he wants. As Deem says,
So, if the earth appears old, because it was created just 6,000 years ago as an old thing, and the Appearance of Age advocate (AAA) thinks God is saying in his Word he created it matured and functional 6,000 years ago, how is an AAA saying God is a liar? No, the AAA is saying God has roughly explained why we should not be surprised if the earth appears to be older than 6,000 years. Rather than saying God is a liar, the AAA argues God has explained the phenomena scientists claim they have discovered. Thus, the Appearance of Age Advocate is a friend to science, and certainly does not make out God to be lying to scientists, because they say God says plainly in his Word what he did. But because God's method is not naturalistic, but supernaturalistic, old earth advocates feel they have to reinterpret the scriptures. That's why they are so vulnerable to my cheap shot attacks in my original post. They contradict themselves on their belief in miracles, and think it is up to them to pick and choose which miracles God is capable of and which he claims he did.
(3) Finally, as I pointed out in my first post, if an old earth creationist wants to argue in support of his position, he first has to stop denying God has the supernatural (miraculous) ability to do anything which he plainly appears to have done.
A plain read of Genesis 1 leaves the impression that by the end of each day, each successively new component of Nature was functionally mature:
1. Earth, Water, Darkness (“night”), Light (“day”), Evening, Morning
2. Sky (1st Heaven) as an expanse between the waters below and above
3. Land (called “earth”) and vegetation upon it
4. Sun, Moon, Stars placed in the expanse of the heavens (1st and 2nd heavens are sky and universe)
5. Creatures of the Water and Birds
6. Land Creatures and Mankind (with the spirit of life (spiritual life) within him)
, I don't think people like Greene deny the plain reading of the modern Bible in its various translations asserts these features of the creation came into being in this order and on their respective 24 hour days. He writes:
… For Christians who hold the young-earth view, being true to God's word necessitates believing the universe, Earth, and life were all created in six 24-hour days, six to ten thousand years ago. This is based on the contention that the “simplest explanation of the [Genesis 1] text... is that Moses intended the days to be thought of in the most common sense of that term.”1 Thus, any interpretation that goes beyond a clear plain meaning of the text is considered to compromise Biblical authority and capitulate to evolutionary theories.
… Both young-earth and old-earth creationists believe the Bible is inspired and defend their interpretations as being literal. The issue is the interpretation of the text of Genesis 1.28 According to Bruce Waltke, the young-earth exegesis is hindered by an adherence to a “woodenly literal” reading of Genesis.29 Gordon Wenham concurs, stating the problem is “six days has been seized on and interpreted over-literalistically, with the result that science and Scripture have been pitted against each other instead of being seen as complementary.”30
In other words, they concede the literal
reading is as plain reading proponents suggest.
… Well before Big Bang cosmology proved a creation billions of years old, Charles Hodge (1797-1878), a very conservative theologian, wrote the following: “It is of course admitted that, taking the [Genesis creation] account by itself, it would be most natural to understand the word [“day”] in its ordinary sense; but if that sense brings the Mosaic account into conflict with facts, and another sense avoids such conflict, then it is obligatory on us to adopt that other [view]….”
In fact, Greene does not argue that our modern translations do not imply six 24 hour days to the initial creation. Instead, he argues that the modern translations most people rely upon are wrong:
One difficulty with this view is most young-earth creationists interpret the Genesis creation account through the lens of the modern English Bible. While English translations can make it sound as though the creation days were 24-hour periods, textual and grammatical elements of the original Hebrew narrative suggest otherwise. Indeed, a literal reading of the Hebrew text provides compelling exegetical clues pointing to prolonged creation days. To understand why this is the case, one only needs to consider the chain of translation. From original Hebrew, the text was translated to the Greek Septuagint, to Latin Vulgate, to English Wycliffe, to English Tyndale, to the King James Version, and finally to the NIV, NASB, ESV and other modern translations. Because every language is unique, nuances of the original text have been lost in the translations leading to the modern English Bible.
Greene is saying the OT we know in English today is a translation of a translation of a translation, and the same errors from earlier versions have been carried over to what we have today. As support for this he relies on some exegetical views of C. John Collins, a “Professor of Old Testament, and department chair at Covenant Theological Seminary. He served as chairman of the Old Testament Committee for the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible and holds a PhD in Hebrew linguistics.”
The verbs used in Genesis 1:1-2 (i.e., God “created” and earth “was”) are in the perfect tense32 and distinct from the wayyiqtol verb form used in the remainder of Genesis 1. As Hebrew linguist C. John Collins33 notes, the wayyiqtol verb functions as “the backbone or storyline tense of Biblical Hebrew narrative discourse,”34 while the perfect verb “denotes an event that took place before the main storyline got underway.”35 Thus, the verb forms indicate the creation of “the heavens and the Earth” was separate from, and preceded, the events of the first creation day.
Greene is saying you can't say the heavens and earth were created over the 6 days listed in Ge 1, because they are already created before 1:3. That means that when light is called into being on Day One, and the sun, moon and starts are “placed” on Day Four, the text is really telling us that the light from the stars was allowed to show through the atmosphere of the earth, which up to then was opaque. (The atmosphere creation of Day Two really happened prior to Day One, don't you know.) In other words, Greene takes the plain reading of the scripture we find in any modern translation, including the NIV, NASB and ESV, and says it is translated wrong. A smart guy, Dr. Collins, has said so, and we should believe him. Why? Because he presided over the translation of the ESV OT. That is quite a qualification. Let's look at the difference between the NASB, the NIV and the ESV in Ge 1-19 (Days One to Four (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/
New International Version (NIV)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
3Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
4God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
5God called the light day, and the darkness He called night And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
6Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."
7God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
8God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
9Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so.
10God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
11Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so.
12The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
13There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
14Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
15and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.
16God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
17God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
18and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
19There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Creation of the World
1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
6And God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." 7And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
9And God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth." And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
14And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth." And it was so. 16And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
For a guy who had a position of great influence on the translation of the ESV, as the OT chair, he does not seem to have been very effective in convincing his committee to adopt his view of how to translate the scripture. In fact, it is nearly identical to the NIV and NASB. Why were his great insights not incorporated? Why does the ESV saddle us with this absurd translation that makes the weak minded read it as errantly as we are forced to read the NIV and NASB? Could it be that Dr. Collins' views are in the minority and not well accepted? He is not without his critics. See “THE ANTHROPOMORPHIC DAYS OF C. JOHN COLLINS Parts I and II” by James B. Jordan http://reformed-theology.org/ice/newsle ... .97.08.htm
and http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/biblica ... ns-part-2/
One thing is for sure, Collins blew his chance to set us all straight with a truer translation of the Hebrew. We are stuck with another text that plainly reads the way new earth creationists say it reads.
, since Greene and everyone else has to agree that the plain reading of the modern translations is an accurate interpretation of the English as written, it does the old earth creationist (OEC) no good to claim it would be impossible for God to miraculously do what the English translations say he did: Create each feature of the creation functionally mature in 6 single, respective days. He has the power, so OEC's really need to quit saying it is impossible for God to do the impossible.
, it is a better argument to say other parts of the Bible, say Ge 2, contradict a 6 day creation as the plain read of the English translations would show. At least the impossibility is based on alleged contradictory interpretations rather than on God's lack of miraculous power. While I think this argument is still weak, and I can explain why, that is not the thrust of my point here. I just want to show that old earth creationists can do a better job of arguing than they have, and they need to quit making a straw man out of the plain read view.
, this leaves the question of whether all modern translations really are wrong. The old and new earth creationists agree that the Bible is inerrant and true in its original languages, says Mr. Greene. This brings us to Gman's second point
2. What it basically boils down to is a skewed interpretation of God's word. The young earthers go to a skewed interpretation of Genesis then try to "fit" science into it. It is not possible... In other words, they are getting worked up over nothing. A problem that does not exist.
I have already shown that the problem is not an incorrect interpretation of the English translations we work from. The problem, according to Greene, is we are all starting with a messed up translation of the Hebrew. Because so few of us are Hebrew linguists, we absolutely depend upon those who have provided useable translations to us. We hope they did a good job. In fact, we even stake our beliefs on a view that God preserves the scriptures and gives the billions who have read it in English what they need to properly believe. If that is not the case, at least in a general way, then billions have been deceived for many centuries. That does not mean fundamental error did not happen, however.
While we rely on Hebrew scholars, we can point to their credibility, i.e., their qualifications, reputation, training, publications, associations, etc. We can point to their motives: What do they try to prove via their intepretations? Are they theology driven, linguistically driven, science driven, etc. Are they biased?
I have no patience to get into a debate about whose expert is more reliable. All I can say is that science advances based on consensus, what Simon Altman calls “Scientific Mesh”. http://www.amazon.com/Nature-Supernatur ... 220&sr=1-3
I don't know what to call a situation where all the modern translations barely differ, unless that is what is meant by a consensus.
Scientific consensus is the collective judgement, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity. Scientific consensus is not by itself a scientific argument, and it is not part of the scientific method. Nevertheless, consensus may be based on both scientific arguments and the scientific method. Consensus is normally achieved through communication at conferences, the process of publication, and peer review. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_consensus
So far as this idea that the original Hebrew has been lost in translation of translation of translation, I suggest Mr. Greene the prefaces to each of these Bibles. As an example, look at the preface to the NIV http://www.hissheep.org/kjv/preface_to_ ... bible.html
PREFACE TO THE NIV BIBLE
The New International Version is a completely new translation of the Holy Bible made by over a hundred scholars working directly from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts. It had its beginning in 1965 when, after several years of exploratory study by committees from the Christian Reformed Church and the National Associations of Evangelicals, a group of scholars met at Palos Heights, Illinois, and concurred in the need for a new translation of the Bible in contemporary English. This group, though not made up of official church representatives, was transdenominational. Its conclusion was endorsed by a large number of leaders from many denominations who met in Chicago in 1966.
Responsibility for the new version was delegated by the Palos Heights group to a self-governing body of fifteen, the Committee on Bible Translation, composed for the most part of biblical scholars from colleges, universities and seminaries. In 1967 the New York Bible Society (now the International Bible Society) generously undertook the financial sponsorship for the project - sponsorship that made it possible to enlist the help of many distinguished scholars. The fact that participants from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand worked together gave the project its international scope. That they were from many denominations - including Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Brethren, Christian Reformed, Church of Christ, Evangelical Free, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Wesleyan and other churches - helped to safeguard the translation from sectarian bias.
How it was made helps to give the New International Version its distinctiveness. The translation of each book was assigned to a team of scholars. Next, one of the Intermediate Editorial Committees revised the initial translation, with constant reference to the Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. Their work then went on to one of the General Editorial committees, which checked it in detail and made another thorough version. This revision in turn was carefully reviewed by the Committee on Bible Translation, which made further changes and then released the final version for publication. In this way the entire Bible underwent three revisions, during each of which the translation was examined for its faithfulness to the original languages and for its English style.
All of this involved many thousands of hours of research and discussion regarding the meaning of the texts and the precise way of putting them into English. It may well be that no other translation has been made by a more thorough process of review and revision from committee to committee than this one.From the beginning of the project, the Committee on Bible Translation held to certain goals for the New International Version: that it would be an accurate translation and one that would have clarity and literary quality and so prove suitable for public and private reading, teaching, preaching, memorizing and liturgical use. The Committee also sought to preserve some measure of continuity with the long tradition of translating the Scriptures into English.
In working toward these goals, the translators were united in their commitment to the authority and infallibility of the Bible as God's Word in written form. They believe that it contains the divine answer to the deepest needs of humanity, that it sheds unique light on our path in a dark world, and that it sets forth the way to our eternal well-being.
The first concern of the translators has been the accuracy of the translation and its fidelity to the thought of the biblical writers. They have weighed the significance of the lexical and grammatical details of the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts. At the same time, they have striven for more than a word-for-word translation. Because thought patterns and syntax differ from language to language, faithful communication of the meaning of the writers of the Bible demands frequent modifications in sentence structures and constant regard for the contextual meaning of words.
A sensitive feeling for the style does not always accompany scholarship. Accordingly, the Committee on Bible Translation submitted the developing version to a number of stylistic consultants. Two of them read every book of both Old and New Testaments twice - once before and once after the last major revision - and made invaluable suggestions. Samples of the translations were tested for clarity and ease of reading by various kinds of people - young and old, highly educated and less well educated, ministers and laymen.
Concern for clear and natural English - that the New International Version should be idiomatic but not idiosyncratic, contemporary but not dated - motivated the translators and consultants. At the same time, they tried to reflect the differing styles of the biblical writer. In view of the international use of English, the translators sought to avoid obvious Americanisms on the one hand and obvious Anglicisms on the other. A British edition reflects the comparatively few differences of significant idiom and of spelling.
As for the traditional pronouns "thou," "thee" and "thine" in references to the Deity, the translators judged that to use the archaisms (along with old verb forms such as "doest," "wouldest" and "hadst") would violate accuracy in translation. Neither Hebrew, Aramaic nor Greek uses special pronouns for the persons of the Godhead. A present-day translation is not enhanced by forms that in the time of the King James Version were used in everyday speech, whether referring to God or man.
For the Old Testament the standard Hebrew text, the Masoretic Text as published in the latest editions of Biblia Hebraica, was used throughout. The Dead Sea Scrolls contain material bearing on an earlier stage of Hebrew text. They were consulted, as were the Samaritan Pentateuch and the ancient scribal traditions relating to textual changes. Sometimes a varient Hebrew reading in the margin of the Masoretic Text was followed instead of the text itself. Such instances, being variant within the Masoretic tradition, are not specified by footnotes. In rare cases, words in the consonantal text were divided differently from the way they appear in the Masoretic Text. Footnotes indicate this. The translators also consulted the more important early versions - the Septuagint; Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion; the Vulgate; the Syriac Peshitta; the Targums; and for the Psalms the Juxta Hebraica of Jerome. Readings from these versions were occasionally followed where the Masoretic Text seemed doubtful and where accepted principles of textual criticism showed that one or more of these textual witnesses appeared to provide the correct reading. Such instances are footnoted. Sometimes vowel letters and vowel signs did not, in the judgment of the translators, represent the correct vowels for the original consonantal text. Accordingly some words were read with a different set of vowels. These instances are usually not indicated by footnotes.
The Greek text used in translating the New Testament was an eclectic one. No other piece of ancient literature has such an abundance of manuscript witnesses as does the New Testament. Where existing manuscripts differ, the translators made their choice of readings according to accepted principles of New Testaments textual criticism. Footnotes call attention to places where there was uncertainty about what the original text was. The best current printed texts of the Greek New Testaments were used.
There is a sense in which the work of translation is never wholly finished. This applies to all great literature and uniquely so to the Bible. In 1973 the New Testament in the New International Version was published. Since then, suggestions for corrections and revisions have been received from various sources. The Committee on Bible Translation carefully considered the suggestions and adopted a number of them. These are incorporated in the first printing of the entire Bible.
As in other ancient documents, the precise meaning of the biblical texts is something uncertain. This is more often the case with the Hebrew and Aramaic texts than with the Greek text. Although archaeological and linguistic discoveries in this century aid in understanding difficult passages, some uncertainties remain. The more significant of these have been called to the reader's attention in the footnotes.
Like all translations of the Bible, made as they are by imperfect man, this one undoubtedly falls short of its goals. Yet we are grateful to God for the extent to which he has enabled us to realize these goals and for the strength he has given us and our colleagues to complete our task. We offer this version of the Bible to him in whose name and for whose glory it has been made. We pray that it will lead many into a better understanding of the Holy Scriptures and fuller knowledge of Jesus Christ the incarnate Word, of whom the Scriptures so faithfully testify.
The Committee on Bible Translation June 1978 Revised August 1983
Mr. Greene does not mention the use of the Masoretic text, the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Samaritan Pentateuch, which have helped to refine and validate the accuracy of the translations relative to the Septuagint, etc. Does this mean I reject out of hand the exegetical theories of Collins and everyone else? Absolutely not. I am just saying I'd like to see this corrected Bible we get tiny snippets of information about from these smart guys. How about a complete translation we can read and study and assess? Anyway, for old earth theorists to say their smart guys' interpretations are better than the young earth theorists, or vice versa, is sort of futile. For one thing, it is to commit one or more logical fallacies of “appeal”:
A common form of fallacy is, rather than to present an objective argument that stands on its own legs, makes some form of appeal, pleading with the listeners to accept a point without further questioning.
• Appeal to Authority: Referencing an 'expert'.
• Appeal to Belief: see Appeal to Common Belief.
• Appeal to Common Belief: If others believe it to be true, it must be true.
• Appeal to Common Practice: If others do it, it must be ok to do it too.
• Appeal to Consequences of a Belief: see Wishful thinking
• Appeal to Fear: Gaining compliance through threat.
• Appeal to Force: see Appeal to Fear
• Appeal to Emotion: If it feels good, it must be true.
• Appeal to Ignorance: see Argument from ignorance
• Appeal to Novelty: Newer is better.
• Appeal to Pity: Going for the sympathy vote.
• Appeal to Ridicule: Mocking the other person's claim.
• Appeal to Sympathy: see Appeal to Pity
• Appeal to Tradition: It has always been done this way, so this way is right.
Many of these appeals may also appear using their Latin names that either start with 'Argumentum Ad' or just with 'Ad', as below:
• Ad Absurdum: see Appeal to Ridicule
• Ad Baculum: see Appeal to Fear
• Ad Hominem: see Attack the person
• Ad Hominem Tu Quoque: See Personal Inconsistency
• Ad Ignorantium: see Argument from Ignorance
• Ad Misericordiam: see Appeal to Pity
• Ad Nauseum: see Repetition
• Ad Novitam: see Appeal to Novelty
• Ad Numeram: see Appeal to Common Practice
• Ad Populum: see Appeal to Common Belief or Bandwagon
Ad Verecundiam: see Appeal to Authority http://changingminds.org/disciplines/ar ... appeal.htm
We see these sorts of appeal fallacies all over the writings of old and new earth creationists alike. I have pointed out a few already.
My point is that it is inappropriate to use faulty or fallacious arguments in attempts to upset the mainstream interpretation of Ge 1. So far as trying to do it by saying we all read something that is not really the words of the true Bible, that is an uphill battle, and it marginalizes your own viewpoint. If you want to argue, give good arguments. Stop this posturing and these pompous appeals to ridicule like I pointed out in Mr. Deem's article. And most of all, don't overstate what you can establish with solid argumentation and evidence.
Mr. Greene says:
This paper has attempted to provide cogent arguments for old-earth creationism based on the Hebrew text of Genesis. Reasons often cited to support the young-earth view fade in the light of newer scholarship that has superseded Lightfoot and Ussher's mid-17th century calculations. In addition, Hebrew linguists acknowledge “day” (yôm), even when accompanied by ordinals and the “evening and morning” refrain, does not necessarily refer to a 24-hour day. Yôm can most definitely refer to a long “day-age” or epoch, and creation can literally be said to have occurred long ages ago.
But if the article is “cogent”, we would not know unless we spent weeks reading his secondary sources. He makes the appeal to Novelty in the second sentence as to “newer scholarship.” He appeals to anecdote by citing opinions of 2-3 Hebrew linguists who very likely have biased old earth views compelling their interpretive decisions. Basically he is preaching to the choir and is confusing the uninformed. But apparently Gman and Mr. Greene think this article is doing a service to God, by opening up the Bible to the scientifically minded person who would otherwise reject the Bible as nonsense.
This brings us to Gman's third big point
2. Then, non-believers, who are up on their science, think that the Bible is a laughing joke. The effect turns millions away from the Bible as being a reliable source of information. And for what? Nothing.... Well pride maybe...
This is perhaps the very most important issue to be dealt with here. Mr. Greene addresses it this way:
The problem lies in our external witness. Many unbelievers hold a naturalistic worldview because they cannot reconcile the Bible with science. One of the best ways to engage these skeptics is to use science apologetics to demonstrate the agreement of science and Scripture. However, the insistence on a six-to-ten thousand year old Earth undermines this effort and prevents a large segment of society from taking the Bible seriously.
“Many non-Christians are driven away from the God of the Bible by the young-earth claims which are, frankly, ridiculous to most people who love science. It is a shame that people who love science, who would like to know the One who created the universe, reject, out of hand the Christian God, because they see Christianity as so unscientific.5 College professor quoted in John Ankerberg ministry letter, April 2004.
Science is respected and holds a prominent place in our culture. That doesn't mean that science is always correct. However, where mainstream science can be used to defend biblical creation, we should take advantage of that opportunity rather than relying on pseudoscience. For example, here are several statements by mainstream scientists that clearly support the biblical worldview.
The real thrust of Gman and Greene's motivation is alleged to be concern for the poor lost sinners of the world who are stopped from knowing the only true God by their aversion to a childish or contradictory cosmology in the Bible.
I. I agree that “many unbelievers hold a naturalistic worldview,” but it is not “because they cannot reconcile the Bible with science.” It is because they are fallen sinners who are worldly. What else would we expect them to do? I preach to the choir, I hope. Until we are born again, i.e., regenerate, having the Spirit of God dwelling within us, we all fall short of the glory of God because we are sinners. In fact, our minds are darkened, and we are slaves to sin, depravity, the flesh, and the ways of the world. Romans 1, 5 & 6. They have been taken captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Col 2:8.
Wikipedia defines Naturalism well:
Philosophical naturalism is, as a position, the idea that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws. In its broadest and strongest sense, naturalism is the metaphysical position that "nature is all there is and all basic truths are truths of nature." This is generally referred to as metaphysical or ontological naturalism. Another basic form, called methodological naturalism, is the epistemology and methodological principle which forms the foundation for the scientific method. It requires that scientific hypotheses are explained and tested by reference to natural causes and events.
… Many modern philosophers of science use the terms methodological naturalism or scientific naturalism to refer to the methodological assumption that explanations of observable effects are practical and useful only when they hypothesize natural causes (i.e., specific mechanisms, not indeterminate miracles). In other words, methodological naturalism is the view that the scientific method (hypothesize, predict, test, and repeat) is the only effective way to investigate reality.
Methodological naturalism can be contrasted with metaphysical naturalism or ontological naturalism, which refers to the metaphysical belief that the natural world (i.e. the universe) is all that exists and, therefore, nothing supernatural exists. In metaphysical naturalism's paradigm observable events in nature are explainable only by natural causes.
This distinction between the two types of naturalism is made by philosophers supporting science and evolution in the creation—evolution controversy to counter the tendency of some proponents of Creationism or intelligent design to refer to 'methodological naturalism' as 'scientific materialism' or as 'methodological materialism' and conflate it with 'metaphysical naturalism'. These proponents of creationism use this assertion to support their claim that modern science is atheistic, and contrast it with their preferred approach of a revived natural philosophy which welcomes supernatural explanations for natural phenomena and supports theistic science. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalism_(philosophy)
Now, for every scientist who restricts his worldview to methodological naturalism instead of metaphysical or ontological naturalism there are a thousand who do not, and there are very few lay non-Christians who divide the two. The whole point about the Gospel is that it usurps all of mankind's methods and philosophies:
17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." 20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. 26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Cor 1 (NIV)
II. I agree that “the insistence on a six-to-ten thousand year old Earth … prevents a large segment of society from taking the Bible seriously.” Anyone with a naturalistic viewpoint will tend to believe in scientism (the view that natural science has authority over all other interpretations of life, such as philosophical, religious, mythical, spiritual, or humanistic explanations, and over other fields of inquiry, such as the social sciences. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism
However, my big point here is that attempting to bring in the naturalists and scientismists by naturalizing God or the Bible is futile. Whether they believe the Bible really says 6 ages instead of days, they are then asked to believe an omnipotent God created it all, and worst yet, he expects them to not sin against him, and to seek him, and to enter into a faith relationship with him. Don't tell me the age of the universe keeps these people from swallowing the latter propositions. A young earth is a lot easier to swallow than the idea I can't ignore a supernatural God who requires me to conform to his will, lest I go to Hell, and that I can only escape it by putting faith in his resurrected son as a substitutionary sacrifice for my sins. Again, God is miraculous and has extraordinary plans for mankind that we are invited to participate in, with a penalty if we don't. You are either convicted of that or you are not. Remember, the Pharisees and many others watched Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead, but many did not believe. Thus, the ability to believe something miraculous or less miraculous is not the test. The test is whether you have come to understand your own true spiritual condition. Faith is not a matter of reconciling empirical experience with scripture. It is a matter of seeing things God's way, and recognizing he is right about us; it is a matter of coming to know the experience of walking with the Lord. Nothing convinces us of the supernatural but an experience of it, and nothing can make us doubt it if we experience it and take hold of it in our heart. The Pharisees could not or would not take hold.
Greene says John Ankerberg says the 24 hour day requirement of Ge 1 accounts for the apostasy attrition rate when kids go off to college. Obviously, the science professors, who are metaphysical/ontological naturalist scientismists, bash the ill-equipped youth with how stupid their Bible is. But this can and is done on every subject, not just the 24 hour day business. I have seen it first hand, and I have heard countless stories. The “Expelled” movie illustrates the environment in another way. These kids fall away, not because they can't reconcile science, but because they see a need to reconcile science, because they have not been prepared philosophically to deal with these assaults on their faith. The problem is not one of whether science can be reconciled or not. It cannot. The creation was a miracle in EVERY respect, not just at a big bang, etc. They fall because their idea of God and his ways is too small. For this reason, the efforts of people to reconcile science with scripture via lowering scripture are both futile and even damaging to the process.
III. Now that the young believer has been taught to jettison the plain reading of the Bible whenever his empirical opinions differ with it, all verses are now highly suspect, and the inerrancy and literal interpretation people like Greene claim they adhere to is itself the new “joke”. All the moral authority of the bible is now a matter of empirically testable propositions. This, coupled with policies at universities that try to get sleeping and bathroom areas coeducational, which try to say modesty and abstinence are prudery, and coupled with the media and popular culture kids have to grow up in, leads young Christians to fall away. Once they start being promiscuous and drinking and all that, they find they can't reconcile their empirically based opinions, about what is good for them, with the Bible. It becomes obvious in their minds that the Bible doesn't say or mean what they thought it did anymore, and so on. To accuse the 6 day creation of corrupting young minds is itself a “joke”. If you have a personal testimony, like Greene, of falling away or coming back in spite of a science/scripture conflict, then when you fell or had to overcome, (a) you were not philosophically prepared to meet the challenge and/or (b) you were not an authentic and mature believer who takes sin seriously to begin with. The truly regenerate may stumble, but they don't apostasize. As Paul says at 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? (NIV).
So, evangelism is a spiritual endeavour seeking to help the unbeliever recognize their true spiritual condition. If science or naturalism or any other worldly philosophy is getting in the way, the solution is not to deny what the Bible says. The solution is to demonstrate the limitations of that other view, and clear a way for the Words of the Gospel to be heard. This is not an endeavour of convincing someone by helping them develop a Biblical world view that demonstrably reconciled to a naturalistic or scientismic world view.
[Obviously, I am not saying our interpretations of the Bible cannot and should not get revised over time with better and better exigetical information. I am saying that we don't do it lightly, and we don't do it to please others. We do it because the Lord leads us to the truth and develops a consensus among those he has gifted to translate. I already said I did not think Greene's exegetical support was in the least bit convincing. It is going to take a lot more than that.]
This brings us to Gman's Fourth and Final Point
I think I agree with you, Gman, that Mr. Greene explains your viewpoint pretty well. The problem is, I am still waiting for someone to make a convincing argument, and I consider the motivations behind this viewpoint to be highly suspect. Naturalizing the Bible so naturalists will accept it is misguided and futile, both spiritually and practically. But there is a better way. Show them the ends of their own philosophy, preach the Word of the Gospel, that they can acknowledge that the God of the Bible has a message that transcends their philosophy. That message is that there is a God who draws you despite the fact you are a miserable sinner. If that message turns a person off, no amount of naturalizing the text will turn them on to that God. Cubsfan