Thursday, April 20, 2017

Answering Less Than Half of WLC's Diatribe Against YEC

Answering Less Than Half of WLC's Diatribe Against YEC · ... on "Pope Francis" quote, Quora

Young Earth Creationism is Not Supported in the Bible | William Lane Craig, PhD
Theology, Philosophy and Science


Theology, Philosophy and Science
Yup, I can tell that every single young-earth creationist who has commented here thus far today (August 12, 2015 at 11:45 AM) hasn't even bothered watching this video. (All they're doing is looking up what YEC websites have to say about William Lane Craig). Kind of reminds me of the atheists who make cowardly drive-by comments without watching the video that challenges their views. Figures.

My answers

4:19 - seeing subtitles, not hearing. Is William Lane Craig referring to Gerhard von Rad? At least as per preview, Genesis 1 is featured on p. 148 according to "index of Biblical passages". OK.

Resuming passage of WLC as per subtitles. The scientific ideas of the time (and no doubt there were some) were - at least those cited here - found to be an ideal vehicle for the theology of the author of the priestly document ...

  • 1) would WLC admit that this author is Moses?
  • 2) would WLC admit that not just the theology was infallible and inerrant, but its very interwoven scientific according to the time ideas were so too, insofar as expressed in Genesis 1?

If yes, how can WLC conclude that Young Earth Creationism is not supported? If no, how can we consider him a Christian, rather than a modernist heretic?

5:06 If we are not committed to the science expressed in Genesis 1, if we think it is outmoded and overtaken by modern science, we are not treating Genesis 1 as integrally a mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit.

Let me give a parallel. Catholic doctrine considers papacy as infallible on certain occasions of Pope expressing and using his office. We do not mean that Popes are deprived of free will, that they are automata of God like the Sibyl of Cumae and her colleague in I think Ephesus were automata of Apollon - a Pythonic spirit which St Paul threw out of the latter one. Read Aeneid VI for a view of what both were suffering.

We mean that a Pope acting as Pope normally freely wills the good of the Church, and God providentially preserves his will from stumbling on personal errors so as to destroy it by doctrinal error, which is a great evil of the Church - or rather of those outside it, since those caught in doctrinal errors do not remain in it.

So, we also do not believe Moses was an automaton or a robot, even if verbal inspiration is there in the fact of dictation several times over through Exodus and Leviticus. But we believe that whatever error Moses may have been under in scientific terms could not have become operative in the formulation of the texts which are authoritatively considered the word of God through Moses. Because providence.

If you believe that science errors crept in into the text taken in its literal sense, you are not seeing God as providentially making sure every detail on every legitimate level (and the literal is one, you just conceded that) is free from any and every kind of error. I e, you are treating the words of Genesis 1 as I would treat an essay by C. S. Lewis (Fernseed and Elephants is a great one, I believe his phrase about "we are not Fundamentalists" reflects a very bad error in his outlook - but the essay is nevertheless good, since he is in the rest attacking the enemies of Fundamentalists, he is attacking Bultmann, as to the Gospels). Moses and Joshua were not just 1510 - 1470 BC colleagues of C. S. Lewis, as theologians worthy to imitate, but nevertheless sometimes failing. Moses and Joshua, on the occasions of writing this corpus of text, were in the same sense as Popes, but extending beyond theological infallibility even into factual inerrancy, mouthpieces of God.

6:01 God created Earth in six consecutive days 10,000 - 20,000 years ago?

WLC should do some upgrading about where YEC are. Most of us now actually do agree with the genealogies, which means we take Creation as having taken place 5777 (or less for Samaritans) to 7525 years ago (or a bit more for one divergent Medieval calculation). All definitely less than 10,000 years ago. At least this is so for the ones I "hang around with" mentally, Kent Hovind, Creation Ministries International, presumably, though I go there less often, Answers in Genesis and Institute of Creation Research too.

Back when I was twelve, YEC was, by Edgar H. Andrews in From Nothing to Nature considered to be a camp divided on whether Sun and Moon were created on day four or became visible on day four on Earth.

Now it is more like, everyone agrees that Sun and Moon and Stars were created on day IV, but we disagree on how to reconcile this with Distant Starlight Problem. AND disagree with the hypothesis presented by Edgar H. Andrews, namely starlight created in transit.

Mainstream would be like "light from Andromeda galaxy may have taken 2.55 million years to reach us by the time standard of Andromeda galaxy, but it is still within the 6000 years according to Earth's time standard".

Kent Hovind would have argued that the parallax for Andromeda galaxy - even that for alpha Centauri at 4 light years, approx - involves triangulation of "a very skinny triangle".

Not sure how he deals with fact that Andromeda galaxy is distance measured by other means than triangulation, and that these means are founded on triangulation at very much shorter ranges, like alpha Centauri triangulated as closest etc.

I would for my part argue that we don't have a triangulation situation if we don't have Earth orbitting the Sun (also, if Earth is created before day four and Sun on day four it doesn't make sense to have Earth orbitting Sun before day 4 when it had no Sun to orbit about, and doesn't make much sense either to say it was stationary up to day 4 and then started orbitting on day 4.) The Andromeda spiral nebula is a complex and rather tiny object on a sphere of "fix stars" (keeping conventional name) which is probably just 1 light day above us. So, WLC is pointing out an inconsistency which is no longer there in the YEC camp.

The YECs I mentally "hang out with" are saying there was no problem at all for plants to live one day before God created the Sun, since there is no problem for chlorophyll to synthesise on other light than Sunlight, if comparably strong. Which the primal visible light was. Again, WLC is pointing out an inconsistency which may have been there 20 years ago, which may still be there in the YEC private conversations he has occasion to hear, but which is no longer there in the major mouthpieces of the YEC position. So, 6:37 is arguing about a position I don't share as a YEC.

7:17 von Rad hardly needs to argue that the text is meant to be taken literally in a scientific way, pose the question like that and it is the obvious answer.

Precisely as, if you pose the notion of positive and negative numbers, it is in the end an obvious answer that -3*-4=+12. Not -12 and not 12i, for instance.*

However, the question is ill posed, since rather than "science", the correct category is rather "history". And CMI doesn't fall into a trap which opens up to questions like "oh, and what experiment verifies plants existed before sun", CMI and I take it as history - a scientifically accurate as opposed to inaccurate history, but nevertheless history, as in eyewitness account of a past event ultimately by the eyewitness(es) present : God and angels.

Either of these then transmitted this knowledge either to Adam or to Moses or to both. Precisely as Nicodemus needs to have transmitted his conversation with Jesus to some disciples, ultimately to St John - unless Jesus did so Himself.

* However, it is preferrable to say that "-3" and "-4" do not exist as "numbers lower than 0", since this is where certain Atheist take a cue from to argue that "regress in infinity IS possible, Aristotle and St Thomas Aquinas WERE wrong". They can exist as "relative numbers", as "three lower than x" or as "four lower than y", though.

9:15 Yes, I definitely agree Adam and Eve and God and even the serpent are intended as literal persons. This is a good concession to our side, thank you, much appreciated. Btw, Adam and Eve are not just connected to Abraham but also to Nimrod, not just to Moses but also to the Pharao, genealogically speaking. Unless you would argue they lost their birthright by doing evil and not repenting and by doing their evil against men.

9:43 God named Adam. Men descend from him. God also basically told him "you are the first man".

It is fairly logical that he should have the name of his entire collective posterity, like Heber after that became ancestor of a people named Hebrews, for instance.

It is more like Adam is a metonymy than a metaphor for men. Look up metonymy. It is defined as "pars pro toto" and as "totum pro parte". In the case of "pars pro toto", the part should be a prominent one. When sword fighters are said to "hold a strong blade" why is blade mentioned rather than hilt (which they are actually holding) or rather than "sword" (which is both what they are immediately holding and what contains a strong blade)? Is the blade a symbol for the sword or a prominent part of it?

10:14 Adam and Eve represented man before God. Sure. So did Jesus and Mary on Calvary. "not just historical" must never be used like a mythicist would use the phrase about Jesus. I hope WLC is no great fan of Richard Carrier's favourite mode of conclusion?

10:41 God walking is in a sense anthropomorphic, but this does not need to be a metaphor, it can have been a habitual theophany granted to Adam and Eve.

10:45 God calls out "where are you". On a later occasion He said of a woman "who touched me". No need to take any of this non-historically.

10:51 Can't resist. "He's looking for them in a garden". On a certain later occasion - He is truly risen - a woman was looking for Him in a garden.

11:00 And when God healed a blind, he took dust from the earth, spat on it and made a kind of clay. Why would God not have been present in a way which would have made this mode of creation visible to an observer?

11:08 "this is not intended to convey that God literally bent down and performed CPR" Why exactly not? If God is going to talk to Adam as soon as he is alive and can be talked to, why would He not be present in a form talkable to?

11:18 Rather, this is using literary and metaphorical devices to describe God's creation of humanity. If this came from a Jew who discards Baruch chapter 3 from his Tanakh canon and denies God came in the flesh, it would be a comprehensible quandary. But on the literary level, this is not very comprehensible as literature or literary criticism or exposition. You could say "God created humanity. Author borrowed story type and description method from narratives about false gods, who were themselves material, like Marduk literally pushing a weapon through Tiamat. Hence, story as it stands is not literal history". But then you contradict yourself, because you just said Genesis 1, 2, 3 is literal history. But in the frame of narrative as a whole being literal history, you can hardly single out the verses about God performing CPR through Adam's nose as a literary device. There is no such thing in literature.

12:03 Genesis 1 is highly stylised. Well, so is - at least to a Catholic familiar with the scenes - the account of the Passion. Not quite as stylised, God has more style than certain human actors like Pilate or Kaiaphas. But nevertheless stylised. So, would you draw the conclusions of a Richard Carrier about Gospel accounts? I would most definitely not.

12:12 God said, God made, it was so. Passion account has similar running through figures, like God repeatedly doing nothing to defend Himself. God was caught, and He did nothing. God was judged, and He answered only some of what He was asked. God was condemned and He did nothing. Etc. VERY stylised. As Crucifixion is on "day 6", the parallel is very appropriate. So, does this stylised account in the Gospels hide a real narrative not given in which God tried to run away or punch back or talk Himself out of it? Or can a highly stylised account even so be literal historic truth and fact?

12:18 You find this structure repeated over and over again through the chapter. As the relevant ones in the four Gospels.

12:51 Get a Hebrew version of Matthew and look at number of Hebrew letters in Passion account. Or use the Greek letters of the Nestlé Ahland text. I presume you will find similar patterns there. Could it be that God is capable in His providence to make such extremely remarcable coincidences happen even without sacrificing one iota to non-factuality?

When you have tested the number of Greek letters in Nestlé Ahland, you will probably be telling me, taking it as "Gospel truth" in the usual sense of it being history about the crucifixion is to have a very naive view of the kind of literature St Matthew or St John or whoever were writing.

Or, if not, why not? After all, in one fish net there were 153 fish. Square root of 3 has 265/153 as an approximation. Clearly it is a reference to the typical 265 work days a year and praying the rosary (153 Hail Marys) being "the root of" the Blessed Trinity (or living with the Blessed Trinity) and so it is a very naive view of the type of text to imagine that some actual literal fish were caught in a literal fishing net. (h/t to tektontv for example).

It does not occur to the fictitious objector (a clear spoof on WLC, of course) that God is capable of making hints to mathematically literate persons, knowing that approximation of Square root of three, who are historically sufficiently literate to know work days per year in Middle Ages were roughly 265 out of 365 and who are sufficiently liturgically literate to know the Rosary has 153 Hail Marys if prayed all through, while doing this by counting on a fisherman actually counting how many literal fish he got in the literal net. Oh, no. Coincidences like that are always literary figures, like whoever wrote down :

but therefore never anything in the real world, whose author being God does not share the taste in Serendipity. What if He actually does?

13:36 You have just said that most Evangelical Exegetes today are apostates.

13:56 Genesis 1, 2, 3 is not the genre of Silmarillion, Sir, and if the genre of Silmarillion exists, that is partly due to people talking horseshit about the genre of Genesis 1, 2, 3.

14:27 It is not the use of the word day, it is the events described, which preclude us from taking yom as other than literal 24 hour days. Long time periods don't begin after a morning, then end through an evening and a night up to next morning.

The one alternative to 24 hour days is the one moment creation envisaged by St Augustine : here evening and morning refers to how angels saw these aspects of creation and sixfold of days refers to how the one act of God was subdivided into six more convenient and less bewildering (even for angels) overviews of that one moment.

Even that is a stretch, since sixth day would be the day which Adam experienced as including many hours, both before and after creation of Eve. So it is no wonder this view was minoritarian among Church Fathers. Even so, it is clearly a YEC one. Elsewhere St Augustine goes out of his way to polemise against Egyptians and similar giving a historic timeline of 40,000 years. Because this contradicts the Biblical timeline.

Zacharia 14:6-7 And it shall come to pass in that day, that there shall be no light, but cold and frost.And there shall be one day, which is known to the Lord, not day nor night: and in the time of the evening there shall be light.

Acc to comment by Bishop Challoner:

[6] "No light": Viz., in that dismal time of persecution of Antiochus, when it was neither day nor night: (ver. 7) because they neither had the comfortable light of the day, nor the repose of the night. [7] "In the time of the evening there shall be light": An unexpected light shall arise by the means of the Machabees, when things shall seem to be at the worst.

Zacharia was speaking about a literal 24 hour period, at the beginning of which all seemed like Antiochus had the definite upper hand, and at the end of the which Greek had learned the word "MAKKABAIOC" in a manner somewhat dolourous to some of its worse speakers.

Such swings of fortune are sudden, they are not gradual, as if Zachariah had referred to a longer period. He is rather speaking of one 24 hour period which forms the limit between two periods. Like October 19, 202 BC, at Zama, showed Hannibal was not Ba'al's almighty and invincible revenge on Rome.

But unlike the day of the Maccabees, Zama had had a preparation from a day in 212 when Hannibal had a city but not its harbour, that being Tarentum. That day of the Maccabees, on the other hand, was really sudden, unhoped for by Hebrews and unfeared by Antiochus IV.

Unhoped for by Hebrews, unless of course one was reading Zacharia 14 and seeing what "neither day nor night" meant.

15:27 If you think Zachariah 14:7 refers to "the day of the Lord" in the sense of the Day of Judgement (which will come as unfeared to those assembling at Harmageddon as the Maccabees came to Antiochus), even so there is a single day on which Christ comes riding on horseback from Heaven and a sword from his mouth takes care of that second "Antiochus Epiphanes".

16:01 Exodus 20:9-11. Wonder if there were Sabbatarian plotters involved in 9-11, but anyway, thank you so much. This text is cited by CMI too. Now, let's hear what you try to make of it.

16:08 "the author is reflecting back on Genesis narrative" Do you agree with Moses that God spoke the words, or do you not? Is Exodus 20:1 indicative that God on a real occasion spoke real comprehensible words to a real person, like God did to Nicodemus in John 3, or is it a literary device, according to you?

20:30 Sabbath is indeed a 24 hour day in Genesis, but it starts on evening of day 6. So, unlike previous days that start on mornings and continue evening and to next morning, it starts on an evening and continues through morning and day to next evening. In each case probably already in Adam's and Eve's first Sabbath rest evening was marked by two stars being visible. The discrepancy you noted is there, but it does not involve a denial that the Sabbath is a 24 hour period.

20:45 God is still in the period of not creating new things. Sure, but no longer in the period of not making new deals. After that sabbath, some time, He had to make a new deal due to Eve listening to a serpent. Indeed, since then God has become in the eyes of the Pharisees a sabbath breaker, has been put to death on a cross, and has made a new deal with creation according to which He also remains in it as a creature, confirming the Incarnation by Resurrecting. Otherwise, how could Sunday have replaced the Sabbath?

21:25 Adam and Eve were created on day 6, to them it was a 24 hour day, and to them it ended, like God's work of creating new things, on the evening of day 6. That is one literal day which precludes considering subsequent Sabbath day or previous non-human creation days as not being 24 hour periods.

22:23 "There is no grammatical rule in Hebrew which says that Yom followed by an ordinal number has to refer to a 24 hour day." Semantic and pragmatic considerations very generally follow from logic and not from grammatical rules. Lame reply.

22:33 "even if it were the case that nowhere else in Hebrew literature that we have extant"

... WLC is not a Catholic. In other words, he is not accepting the rule : "if Church Fathers agree on the meaning of a passage, that is the meaning of the passage".

The Reformers tried to substitute with another rule: "if a word always means so elsewhere in the canonic Scriptures - we need not look outside the canon - it means so in the passage we look at too".

Here WLC has jettisoned this rule too. In other words, he has established himself as lawless in Exegetics, just to avoid 6 calendar day Creationism.

22:44 "that could just be an accident of the Hebrew literature that happens to have survived"

Right. Out goes the Philological method of interpreting Scripture, the one which Reformers thought could replace the Patristic one.

With this attitude even going back to a Patristic one wouldn't work. If I said all canonised Church Fathers except one call the six days literal ones (if speaking of Genesis 1 at all) and absolutely none calls them periods longer than literal days, that could just be an accident of the Church literature which happens to have survived from the pens held by men who happened to be canonised.

No trust in Providence giving a hint, and a very broad one, at all. God could speak to a man like WLC, he could just turn a deaf ear.

22:50 "there is no grammatical rule that would require Yom followed by an ordinal number to refer to a 24 hour period of time".

Extremely lame. As lame as "am I my brother's keeper" - when in fact keeper and killer are not the sole alternatives and when a question like "where is" can be asked of other than keepers. Here the pretence about Hebrew grammar is as lame as Cain's pretence about keeper.

My professor in Greek (in my case not NT Greek, but he was that too) used to say there is such a thing as pragmatics which is not all formulated in rules of grammar.

23:14 "it's just an accident of history"

Ask an atheist if it is just an accident of history you grew up among ... in fact not Christians, it would seem, but people of an ex-Christian culture, rather than among say freemason Muslims from whom you could convert to religious Islam. Just an accident of history right, God's providence has nothing to do with that, thinking there is such a thing is just stupid superstition, right? Well, some of us are Christians and do believe in Providence.

Here I rested,
for now, from further exposure to this worst video I have ever hear with WLC. And perhaps some exegetes more important than he are lawless too. So, while I have not watched the whole video, it would now no longer be true to claim "All they're doing is looking up what YEC websites have to say about William Lane Craig", as the bumper sticker comment says. Even so, I have only answered less than half.

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