Monday, July 11, 2011

On Mature Creation

1. If the universe is young, how can we see light from galaxies seemingly billions of light years away? One simple possibility is that of mature creation: if the stars and galaxies were created full-blown, along with their light, then the astronomical light we observe did not necessarily originate from actual celestial objects.

The notion of mature creation is associated particularly with Philip Gosse (1857). Recently it has been considered by Vern Poythress (Redeeming Science, 2006, pp.116-130), P.G. Nelson (Another Look at Mature Creation), and Joshua Klose & Martin Dawson (The Appearance of Age in Recent Creation).

Mature creation is supported by the fact that Adam & Eve, as well as plants and animals were created in a mature state, as fully functioning organisms (Gen.1-2). Why, then, should it not apply to stars? Moreover, the notion of mature creation also fulfills the function of stars ("lights for signs and seasons" Gen.1:14-16), which required them to be visible from the earth.

A standard objection to this is that the details of starlight seemingly relate details of specific historical events. Consider, for example the observation in 1987 of an exploding star--supernova SN1987a. Since this object was thought to be 170,000 light-years away, this suggests that it exploded 170,000 years ago. If this event never really happened--if the light was created en route--was this not just an elaborate fiction, a hoax created by God? Does this not make God deceptive? Even many creationists consider such alleged deception a fatal flaw to mature creation.

How valid is this objection?

Poythress argues it is plausible that God created the universe not just mature, so that it appears old, but coherently mature, so that various age estimates give consistent results. Adam, for example, would not be created with an apparent 20-year old heart but with wrinkles that made him look 100 years old. Application of the laws of nature operating after creation to the newly created body of Adam would yield consistent ages estimates. Similarly, the wine Jesus made from water (John 2) would have tasted like it was made from grapes, would likely have contained grape cells with a particular DNA, from which a scientist might have inferred various past events--picking grapes, fermentation, etc--none of which actually occurred.

Adam would presumably have been created with hair and teeth. But these would bear in them evidence of past accretions of growth. Poythress notes that, for virtually any mature structure "we infer both earlier stages of the structure and earlier specific events."

Poythress concludes that God has deceived no one. Indeed, apparent history is inherent in the very nature of creation. Rather, people have deceived themselves by ignoring Genesis, by ignorance of their knowledge of God's methods, and by assuming that mature creation is false. The notion of divine deception has already been discussed in an earlier posting.

A star created as a unit would be causally coherent: it would have its various parts in appropriate gravitational, thermal, and radiative relationships, else it could not remain stable. Light at the surface of a star would have been created in place, although seemingly originating from the stellar interior. Similarly, an entire galaxy created as a unit would be complete with all its constituent parts: stars and gas, their gravitational fields, and light radiation (photons). Both the light photons and gravitational effects would have been created in place, although seemingly originating from stars. Indeed, the whole astronomical cosmos have been created as a full-blown unit, complete with moving stars and galaxies, their gravitational interactions, and light photons travelling throughout the universe.

P.G. Nelson notes that God could not create an entity that did not have an appearance of past history. Science assumes that the cosmos is characterized by a continuum of physical cause and effect operating through time. Suppose that the state of the cosmos can be expressed by a continuous function F(t), where t=0 is the time of creation. Then, applying physical laws, we can calculate any future state t>0 but also any apparent past state t<0. Thus, when the universe is created at t=0 it inevitably appears to have had a previous history. Moreover, since the same physical laws are assumed, the actual future states will appear to be of a very similar nature to the apparent past states. Created stars and galaxies would look as if they had actually formed in space.

In particular, if future states include supernovae, so should past states.

These arguments present a strong case that mature creation is a plausible concept regarding the astronomical cosmos.

2. How well does mature creation apply to the history of the earth? Biologically and geologically, the newly created earth would look as if it had had a long history. For example, created trees would have rings; created soil would look like normal soil, with decaying organic material such as leaves.

What about fossils? Nelson believes that God created the earth with some fossils in it, and incorporated others after the Fall. If the earth is to conform to a particular design, all features of that design will be present at creation. Thus, he contends, if the original design was such that, had the earth been in existence for many years, fossils would have formed, then the newly created earth would have fossils in it.

This might account for fossils of plants and, perhaps, insects. However, if there was no animal death before the fall then we would expect to find no animal fossils in the newly created earth. Therefore, Nelson suggests that, at the fall, with the curse, God changed the created order. To make the earth conform to this new design, God remodeled not only the living animals but also the rocks by incorporating fossils of animals. Else the biosphere and lithosphere would have reflected contradictory designs. At the time of the Fall, then, the state of the universe F(t) is replaced with a new function G(t).

Poythress, on the other hand, is not convinced that the original created precluded animal death. Hence he has no problem with fossils of animals in the original creation. Nevertheless, he suggests God may have restructured the earth--and its apparent history--after the Flood. The new state function then becomes H(t). Poythress notes that the flood is a major redemptive event, a type of the final judgment (Luke 17:26, 2 Peter 3:6). On the renewed earth, cleansed of sin, there will no longer be any sign of death or suffering. Presumably, that includes the absence of animal fossils. Thus, if the present world can be restructured to exclude fossils, why could the original world not be restructured to incorporate them?

Poythress also comments that the promise of regularity in nature (Gen.8:22), which offers a basis for science, is given after the Flood.

3. Nevertheless, the biblical facts do imply some constraints to the notion of mature creation. For example, we would not expect Adam and Eve to have memories of non-existent childhoods. Nor would we expect human fossils and artifacts to pre-date Adam. Also, whatever changes might have occurred at the Fall or Flood, we still expect much continuity, such as the memories of Adam and Noah, the number of people and animals alive at that time, etc. For example, if we could extrapolate back in time, we would expect to be able to trace all animals and humans back to the original small group that exited the ark a few thousand years BC.

Thus, even allowing for mature creation, a biblical view of history will still differ notably from that of mainstream science. It is not the case, as is often claimed, that the concept of mature creation simply recasts mainstream history as apparent history. At issue is not just the age of the universe, but also the question of what happened after creation. Those who uphold the notion of mature creation therefore general supplement it with additional creationist theories aimed to accommodate biblical history.

In sum, then, the problem we face in reconstructing the past that we know very little about the initial state of the universe and its laws, or how these were affected by the Fall or Flood. Nor do we know the extent to which miraculous events occurred. Mature creation, however great a role it may have played, provides only a partial solution.
*****

 

58 comments:

  1. "Recently it has been defended by Vern Poythress...

    In fact, it Mature Creation was rejected by Poythress:

    The mature creation view remains a theoretically possible position. But it derives almost all its attractiveness from the prior conviction that the days are 24 hours in length. If indeed the Bible clearly teaches 24-hour days, God is directly telling us that we ought not to be deceived by apparent age in the universe any more than we should be deceived by apparent age in Adam and Eve when they were first created. But in fact, careful attention to Genesis 1–2 shows that God does not indicate the length of the days by some instrumental standard; instead, some features of Genesis 1–2, like the unending seventh day of God’s rest, actually caution us not to make quick inferences. Thus, God nowhere tells us that, if we look backward in time, we are looking at an “ideal time” or unreal past projection. Without this premise, the mature creation view ceases to be attractive. On the basis of the general faithfulness of God, and on the basis of his invitation to explore the world he has created, we have good reason to believe that the apparent ages found in astronomy are also real ages. That is, they are real from the point of view of the technical, calculational concerns of astronomy and modern science.

    Redeeming Science, p. 146-7 (emphasis mine)

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  2. I like to stress that the question is not one of apparent age, but of apparent history. When you discuss causal coherence ("various parts in appropriate gravitational, thermal, and radiative relationships") you make it sound so static. But the alleged light created in place is less like a rope of photons from there to here, and more like thousands of years of streaming video cued up to play out astronomical history at our vantage point (and presumably light created in place going from every star in all other directions as well, even though man will never see it).

    In fact, how do we even know that stars exist? Maybe God just created enough photons in the 10K-light-year neighborhood of the earth to provide sufficient starlight for man to see until, say, Rev 8:12?

    If God created the world mature, with apparent history, then what's the point of "Creation Science" which attempts to demonstrate scientifically that Earth and the Universe are young? What kind of blasphemy assumes that God would have made mistakes in his creation of apparent age/history that we could unmask?

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  3. 1. You are quite right in that, after defending mature creation against numerous objections for 15 pages (pp. 116-130), Poythress does indeed end up rejecting it in favour of non-literal days. So, to be precise, let me modify "defend" to "consider".

    2. "How do we know stars exist?" We don't. Note that in standard astronomy what we see is only an "apparent present"; the universe is older than it appears since the stars from which the light came may long since have ceased to exist.

    3. The object of creation science is not to "demonstrate scientifically that the Earth and universe are young". Its aim ,rather, is to promote the Biblical worldview by (1)defending it from naturalist attacks by uncovering deficiencies in naturalist science and (2) interpreting the data via models consistent with Scripture. Various creationist models are possible. One problem is that we do not know the initial state of the universe at creation, nor whether the same processes and rates were in effect throughout history.

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  4. "the stars from which the light came may long since have ceased to exist."

    That's true, but it would be more useful to note that (absent miraculous intervention like the end of the world), we would expect that only a certain small fraction of visible stars have actually ceased to exist, and that fraction would be consistent with what we observe about star birth/life/death from the very many stars we can observe at a wide range of distances (times ago).

    In the young earth/apparent history scenario, Adam never actually saw a real star, but only artificial star history. Most humans so far have only seen a few actual stars. And (assuming the Last Day is the same order of magnitude in the future as creation was in the past), the vast majority of visible stars will never be actually seen, but only their manufactured histories will ever be seen. Almost everything any man would ever see in the night sky, never really happened.

    The object of creation science is not to "demonstrate scientifically that the Earth and universe are young".

    Somebody should tell those ICR dudes here in my neck of the woods.

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  5. “Adam never actually saw a real star”.

    Not true. The nearest star is about 3 light-years away; there are more than 1000 stars within 100 ly. Adam would have seen thousands of “real” stars during his 930 years. Even if it were true, so what? As argued above, any instantaneous creation necessarily entails an apparent history. In astronomy, the larger the created object, the longer the apparent history.

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  6. OK, I guessed wrong on the distribution of close stars, which is pretty dumb for a veteran of the Guide Star Catalog. But still, thousands of stars is very few stars, relatively speaking, so "vast majority" and "almost everything" still stand.

    The point is that the universe is large enough to push the concept of mature creation to its absurd logical extreme. The limited amount of actual history is overwhelmed by the merely apparent -- so what's the point of even studying astronomy, if there's virtually no physical reality behind the observation? Might as well go to film school to learn to study the streaming video we've been given.

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  7. Your concern is discussed by Poythress under Objection 3 (pp.122-124). He notes that since God's work in the creation week used methods different from those in effect now, we cannot reconstruct the actual detailed course of events, beyond that revealed in Genesis. But with mature creation that limitation does not concern the scientist, who studies only the completed product. Because this product is coherently mature, studying apparent events in ideal time does give us insight as to how the universe operates according to current natural laws.

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  8. Dr. Byl,

    Have you interacted with Hodge's view of Genesis 1-11 (Revisiting the Days of Genesis)? It does seem that the mature argument is predicated upon the idea of literal 24 hour days, and Hodge's argument is quite unique. I can't find anyone in the creationist camp who has written a rebuttal to it. Everyone seems to rebut the Framework view, but his argument is unique and I would like to see someone who is critical of these sorts of works interact with it.

    TJ

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  9. "that limitation does not concern the scientist"

    Well maybe you are able to restrict your concern, but I submit that there are very few scientists, Christian or pagan, whose enthusiasm for science could continue undiminished in the face of non-actuality.

    Where are the Creation Scientists that are able to engage with secular astronomy/geology as-is, merely keeping an internal definition of time as "ideal time"? Why are there so many desperate attempts to scientifically disprove an old earth/universe?

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  10. Hi TJ

    I have not read Hodge's recent book, so I can't comment on it.

    At any rate, mature creation is not predicated on the notion of literal creation days. It applies to any object that is formed--or modified--using miraculous events or special processes no longer operative today. A scientist examining such an object (e.g., the wine created by Jesus) in terms of present natural laws will necessarily infer a false apparent history.

    Thus, ruling out mature creation on account of deception, or whatever, in fact prohibits God from performing miracles or modifying natural laws.

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  11. Dr. Byl,
    What do you make of the passages that say God "stretched out the heavens" (Isa. 42:5; 45:12; 51:13; Jer. 10:12; 51:15) in terms of the distant starlight and time question? Each of these passages connects the "stretching out" while speaking of creation.

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  12. Some creationists consider this to refer to cosmic expansion. Hugh Ross connects it to big bang cosmology. However, it should be noted that these texts all occur in rather poetic passages in the prophets, illustrating God’s greatness. The stretching of the heavens is said to be like a “curtain” or “tent” (Is.40:22; Ps 104:2), suggesting the stretching is perpendicular to our line of sight—the entire sky being like a tent surrounding the earth—rather than an expansion of space. There may well been some expansion of space on day 2 (Gen.1:6-8), but it is not clear to me that these passages refer to that or, even less plausible, big bang expansion.

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  13. Ruberad
    'Why are there so many desperate attempts to scientifically disprove an old earth/universe?'

    Could it be that there are severe theological consequences associated with an old earth?

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  14. You missed my point entirely. Maybe there are severe theological consequences, but if Mature Creation/Apparent History is really what's going on, then why not just save everybody a lot of time, and instead of trying to disprove old earth evidence with science, simply wave it away with "God made it appear that way"? Theological/scientific conundrum solved. Christians can have an entirely dualistic worldview; when they're scientists, they go with how the world appears, and when they're in church, they go with how the Bible dictates the world is, and never the twain need to meet.

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  15. RubeRad,
    Sorry, it's been a while since I've been back to this exact thread, not checking to see if you had responded. Do you dismiss that there are theological issues associated with the old earth position? If Christian, we must deal with the text of Scripture, to see it's intent, should we not?

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  16. I grant, for the sake of argument, that an old earth position is inadmissible. In that case, why bother to desperately disprove old earth with science (ICR-style), when it's so much easier to dismiss it as "apparent history"? If God created the universe to appear ancient, who are we to think we can outsmart God and use science to peek behind the curtain?

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  17. Ruberad,
    'If God created the universe to appear ancient, who are we to think we can outsmart God and use science to peek behind the curtain?'

    Could it be that God has given us the command and privelege to "have dominion" (Gen.1:28) over his creation? Do you think dominion might also include the 'sciences'?

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  18. I'm not questioning whether we have authority to use science; I'm asking why a "Mature Creation" advocate would expect science to reveal anything other than a perfectly (indeed miraculously) consistent Old Universe? Such a "Mature Creationist" would see no need to throw rocks at, for instance, Big Bang Cosmology.

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  19. Ruberad,
    I'm asking why a "Mature Creation" advocate would expect science to reveal anything other than a perfectly (indeed miraculously) consistent Old Universe? Such a "Mature Creationist" would see no need to throw rocks at, for instance, Big Bang Cosmology.

    But aren't you equating 'old universe' with billions and billions of years? Why do I have to accept your assumption of billions and billions of years as 'old', when I think 6000 years is 'old'? And how is it that we know 'age'? What are the 'evidences' for this billions and billions of year 'old' universe?

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  20. Ruberad,
    If God created the universe to appear ancient,

    Let's break this phrase down a bit. You're equating 'ancient' with billions and billions of years. Isn't this begging the question? You're assuming the very thing you haven't proved yet?

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  21. Why are you getting all defensive about billions vs. thousands? Although I personally believe the universe is billions of years old, in this thread I am not trying to prove that it is, I am asking why you care. Again I will try to ask the same question in different words: if "Mature Creation" is an allowable answer in your toolkit, then why are you so quick jump into Super Atheist Debunker mode at the mention of "billion"?

    I understand why you object to an assertion that the universe is old, but why do you object to an assertion that the universe appears old? If "Mature Creation" is the answer, then there doesn't need to be any link between "appears" and "is", so you can have your young-earth cake and eat old-earth science too.

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  22. Ruberad,
    I think you need to answer the questions about your assumptions and question begging first.

    Your question about 'appears old' begs the question about what old is defined as. I'm sure you see this, right?

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  23. No I don't. I'm trying to get inside the head of a "Mature Creationist", and figure out why "appears billions of years old" could be an problem.

    To lay things out relatively, I think we would agree that Adam was created adult, not infant, so he appeared maybe 20 years old, which was about 20 years older than he actually was.

    So if the universe is 6000 years old, then if you are a Mature Creationist, you are granting that it may (or even will) appear more than 6000 years old. So then why do you question me when I see billions of years old? Do you have some kind of apriori limit on just how Mature God could have created Creation? What are your assumptions? Why are you begging the question of age by allowing only 4 digits?

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  24. Ruberad,
    Rephrase your question about Mature Creation without the hidden assumption of billions and billions of years and maybe we can move this discussion forward.

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  25. OK, help me understand what exactly you think "Mature Creation" means. It's already established that I think it means that creation was created with billions of years of apparent history.

    What's the maximum apparent age of the universe your assumptions are willing to tolerate? (And what are your assumptions?)

    You've said you believe the universe is about 6000 years old. How old does the universe appear to you? How old do you believe the universe appeared to Adam (or would have appeared to Adam, given sufficient technology and true presuppositions)?

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  26. Ruberad,
    It's already established that I think it means that creation was created with billions of years of apparent history.

    And this is the exact question under consideration, your 'assumption' of billions of years of apparent history, that you assume but haven't yet proven.

    What's the maximum apparent age of the universe your assumptions are willing to tolerate? (And what are your assumptions?)

    My 'assumption' or presupposition if you will, is that for any Christian who claims the name of Christ as his/her Savior, will recognize that the Scriptures have preeminence of knowledge in any discussion about origins. That is, as a Christian, I presuppose the truthful word of God as my standard of truth and direction. That His Word is self-attesting, and self-authenticating. This calls for renouncing intellectual self-sufficiency--the attitude that I am autonomous, and by extension that any man is autonomous, and able to attain unto genuine knowledge independent of God's direction and standard. Our knowledge is a reflection, a receptive reconstruction, of the primary, absolute, creative knowledge of God's mind.

    You've said you believe the universe is about 6000 years old. How old does the universe appear to you?

    My perceptions can be misled. I don't base my knowledge on perceptions, but rather on the self-attesting, self-authenticating Word of God in Scripture. The question: 'What does God say?' is preeminent in my quest for knowledge, especially as it concerns origins.

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  27. And this is the exact question under consideration
    No, if you will direct your attention to the title of this post about a mile up yonder, you will see that the topic under discussion is "On Mature Creation".

    Thanks for the stock quotes on inerrancy. What does the Bible tell us about how old a Maturely Created universe should appear?

    My perceptions can be misled.
    Fine, but I'm asking you, what are your perceptions? Do you even believe in Mature Creation? Do you affirm that your perception of the age of the universe is greater than the actual age of the universe?

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  28. Ruberad,
    Let's get preliminary questions out the way before we continue. Are you a Christian?

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  29. Yes, I am a Christian. I have more to say, but I had been having trouble posting a different comment, so if this gets through then I'll expand on that...

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  30. Ruberad,
    thank you. So we are both Christians, saved by grace, sons and heirs and adopted into the family of God.

    Next Question: Do you believe that the Scriptures are the inerrant, authoritative, self-attesting, and self-authenticating Word of God?

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  31. $%)*$@#()%&$()%&*@$ I just lost a 1000-word comment!

    Instead of trying to type it all in again, I'll just keep playing along.

    Yes.

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  32. RubeRad,
    We've got some preliminary questions out of way:
    1) You're a Christian
    2) You believe in the inerrant, authoritative, self-attesting and self-authenticating Word of God.

    When you read Genesis 1, Gen. 20: 8-11, Gen. 31:17 based on the above two presuppostions, what do you determine God is saying?

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  33. Cute.

    I read Gen 20 or Gen 31 as (Redemptive) History. I read Gen 1 as Prophecy.

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  34. RubeRad,
    There's really nothing cute about it. As a Christian, presupposing the inerrant, authoritative, self-attesting and self-authenticating Word of God, you must account and give justified warrant for God's Word's:
    "For in six days...'

    What does that mean?

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  35. The seven days of Moses' (or Adam's?) prophetic vision of creation are akin to seven days of sacrifices in Ezekiel's prophetic vision of the temple, or seven bowls, seven lamps, seven trumpets, seven thunderclaps, seven seals, etc in John's prophetic vision of Revelation.

    But this is soooo beside the point. You persist in not hearing my question. Let's back up to your original entry into this thread, "Could it be that there are severe theological consequences associated with an old earth?"

    How about if I respond with "If Mature Creation is what's going on, then there are NO theological consequences associated with an apparent old earth."

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  36. RubeRad,
    "How about if I respond with "If Mature Creation is what's going on, then there are NO theological consequences associated with an apparent old earth."

    Then I would respond that you are delusional. So, where do we go from there?

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  37. Then I ask you what theological consequence associated with an apparent old earth do you see, which is not resolved by Mature Creation?

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  38. Ruberad,
    Have you perused the archives here at Dr. Byl's site? He has several posts that speak to this issue.

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  39. Indeed, this would appear to be one of them. But apparently I am delusional, which led to me asking the question you persist in not answering, and here we are.

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  40. RubeRad,
    If you don't acknowledge, or can't 'see' the theological consequences already detailed by Dr. Byl in many of the posts on this site, then there's really nothing I can say that would convince you otherwise. The problem is your hidden assumption that the universe is billions and billions of years old, a fact you assume, but haven't proven.

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  41. The explicit deduction from distant starlight that the universe at least appears billions of years old, is shared by Dr. Byl, if you'll read the first paragraph of the post.

    So if you're going to use Mature Creation as a magic wand ("It seems very plausible for astronomy and geology"), why not let it really be magic ("fossils and human artifacts")?

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  42. Ruberad

    1. The notion of mature creation is not a “magic wand”. It merely asserts that any object, immediately after its creation (via any process different from those currently operating), must necessarily have the appearance of an erroneous past history if analyzed in terms of current known science.

    2. A universe apparently billions of years old is not an explicit deduction from distant starlight, but, rather, an implicit inference based on various (erroneous) assumptions about the universality of physical laws, etc. Different assumptions may lead to different apparent ages.

    3. I explained carefully why mature creation cannot be the entire answer. I discussed the problem of fossils and human artifacts. Further:
    “The Biblical facts imply some constraints to the notion of mature creation. For example, we would not expect Adam and Eve to have memories of non-existent childhoods. Also, whatever changes might have occurred at the Fall or Flood, we still expect much continuity, such as the memories of Adam and Noah, the number of people and animals alive at that time, etc. For example, if we could extrapolate back in time, we would expect to be able to trace all animals and humans back to the original small group that exited the ark a few thousand years BC. If such a scenario seems to clash with mainstream science, this suggests that mature creation, even if valid, must still be supplemented with additional creationist theories.”

    4. Since you are repeatedly asking the same questions, the answers to which are found in my original post, please don’t send any more comments on this issue. Thanks.

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  43. Wow, dr Byl. You said above-- 2. "How do we know stars exist?" We don't.

    Are you saying that so ps 147.4 is just poetic then?

    Now about the water-wine thing-- Here is a good response to that by a mr Gordon Glover;what do you think about his views.

    thx - BJ Ezel

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  44. Thanks for your comments. My response:
    1. I don't doubt that stars exist. My remark was in the context that we might be seeing light from distant stars where, for all we know, the star itself may no longer exist. At issue also, in mature creation, is whether we must necessarily infer that the photons we observe actually came from the star.

    2. Glover argues against a full-blown mature creation including such things as false memories in Adam. But who holds that? He argues that mature creation applies only to functionally necessary aspects but doesn't discuss Poythress' notion of a coherently mature creation. Glover's own solution is to embrace mainstream evolution, thereby demoting Genesis to a theological allegory.

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  45. Has anyone read Dr Russell Humphreys on this issue? Very basically, he changes only one variable in modern cosmology, asserting that the universe has a centre of gravity. This means that as one travels from the centre towards the edge, time passes more quickly. A clock at the centre would tick, while the hands of a clock at the edge would be (relatively speaking) spinning so fast as to be invisible. This would allow light from distant stars to reach earth within a few days. That's an extremely simplified summary of his theory. Check out his books.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3XSz5TEInU

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  46. I've read Starlight and Time. Time dilation due to (extreme) gravity and motion is well-established. To justify the amount of dilation that would yield an earth that experienced only 6 days while the rest of the universe developed over 14 billion years, Humphreys posits a thing he calls a "White Hole", which exerts extreme gravity like a black hole, but then conveniently disappears itself after day 6 (leaving behind as much evidence as string theory).

    Unfortunately, I'm no physicist, so I'm not qualified to technically affirm or reject Humphreys' theory (or Hugh Ross' negative critique). I'd love to hear them debate each other, but I don't think it'll happen.

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  47. RubeRad, I understand what you were trying to say. I also understand what Steve Drake was saying. The universe could appear to be billions of years old depending upon your assumptions. But the Bible only allows for it to be 6000 years old since Adam & Eve were "made male & female from the beginning" (Mark 10:6), not billions of years "from the beginning." ICR and AIG's emphasis is not on a young-earth creation (http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2012/01/11/will-pastors-miss-the-millions-of-years-point/), but rather as Dr. Byl has pointed out, that the scripture is the foundational authority for all knowledge. Ken Ham (AIG) writes:

    "I want to make it VERY clear that we don’t want to be known primarily as 'young-Earth creationists.' AiG's main thrust is NOT 'young Earth' as such; our emphasis is on Biblical authority. Believing in a relatively 'young Earth' (i.e., only a few thousands of years old, which we accept) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator."

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  48. If you say "appear" I don't think you did understand what I was trying to say (at least about Humphries' hypothesis).

    Another way to say what Humphries was aiming at in Starlight and Time. Gravity distorts time (nobody disagrees with this), so according to Humphries' theory, over billions of years that it took for the universe as a whole to expand, God used extreme gravity to make time actually (not just apparently) go slower in the locality of Earth. In this scenario, the universe appears billions of years old because it actually is billions of years old; and simultaneously the earth (having experienced a gravitationally throttled timeline) actually is only thousands of years old.

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  49. Or, maybe you were referring to all my other comments, not the most recent one, in which case never mind, and Humphries' theory is described with other similar ones in the latest post.

    (Dr. Byl, maybe you should just delete both of my last two comments here).

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  50. Thank you for posting this, and I really am enjoying the thoughts/comments. It seems to me that God's word is very clear that when He created He did so in a manner that when complete was "good." I take this to be fully formed.

    So if anything is fully formed it has to be a complete working system, fully formed and functional from day one of it's existence.

    I cant really think of a case where you could have anything that is fully formed and functional and still have it read "scientifically" as a day old.

    I'm mainly thing organic material here. Such as Adam and the animals. I can't see how it would be possible on day two of Adam's life to be fully functional man and still have the ability for a scientist to observe him and come to the observational conclusion that he is indeed a day old and not 20 - 30 years old.

    Also before the fall, all things were perfect were they not? So us looking through the lenses of a fallen world and fallen thoughts, could we really get the true view of what they creation was like other than from direct revelation of the one that was there while it was created? Do the angels even have a full view of the creation? They have more knowledge than we do for sure, but there is even a history that they would not know unless revealed to them through their creator.

    About this thought of God playing tricks on us and giving us a view of space that is false due to a "movie" that is playing in the cosmos. When I view God and His creation I think of this, have you ever seen a nature documentary where they do time lapse movies of a plant growing, or an animal decaying or the clouds moving across the sky? If so you have witnessed literally hours/days worth of information in only a matter of seconds. I think if we were able to witness God in His full glory during His creation you would literally see the same thing, you would see billions of years of information pass before your eyes in a matter of seconds/hours/day. And it would all be accurate and death wouldn't need to be part of the equation for God to accomplish His goals of creation.

    I do believe that God didn't even need the 6 days of creation to accomplish what He wanted to make, I think if we even box God into some sort of "He had to do it in this time frame" we are really doing nothing more than limiting a limitless and all powerful God. I think that He lovingly created using this time scale for our benefit, to show us a model for our daily lives and to teach us to rest.

    The God that I serve didn't create because He had to or that He had to follow a formula, but rather to demonstrate His unending love.

    And to think, that one day we can reign in all creation with Him for all eternity. God's imagination is HUGE, God's kingdom is huge as well, and He lovingly wants us to take part in it.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hi Mr Byl,

    As it happens I do have a copy of the original blog post that I had saved.

    I have e-mailed it to you.

    Hope this is helpful in constructing an even fuller post,

    Regards,

    Henry

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hello Henry

    Given the date of your comment, I am not sure if this is an April Fool's joke ;>). But if you have the original post then I would indeed appreciate it if you would send it to me.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  53. Hello Mr Byl,

    No it was not an April fools joke!

    I had already emailed it to you, have you not received it?

    I sent it to byl@twu.ca

    Thanks,

    Henry

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hello Henry

    The email address is correct, but I never received any email from you. Could you mind please resend it?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hi Dr Byl,

    I just remembered about this post and wanted to check you received the article on 'mature creation' you asked for?

    Please email me as I may forget to check this post,

    Many thanks,

    Henry

    ReplyDelete
  56. Perhaps it is worth checking your spam folder for emails as it may have been sent there by your server?

    Thanks,

    Henry

    ReplyDelete
  57. Hello Henry

    Yes, I have indeed received it now. Thanks very much!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Apart from philosophical questions, I think the basic empirical question which confronts any creationist who wishes to suggest that the Earth was created with fossils already present has to do with the Flood. If one takes this explanation, presumably one thinks that such fossils cannot be accounted for in terms of the Flood. If this is true, however, then there should still be Flood rocks- only that they would overlay the originally created fossils who have no origin in living organisms.

    In order for mature creation to work as an explanation for the fossil record, one would need to suggest not only that God created fossils in place, but that God removed evidence of the global flood or supernaturally prevented the flood from leaving any evidence.

    ReplyDelete

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