When does it become anti-Semitic to treat Genesis 1 as a Western-style history?

The Creation stained glass window at St. Matth...
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I love the way that Young Earth Creationists add things to Scripture. Granted, this is an ‘old post’ (from December, totally last year) but I noticed it because Ham mentioned it on Facebook recently. Anyway… first, read Dr. McGrath’s post here (and his editorial here)…. Ham then writes, in part,

Second, the above chart is inconsistent with the text of Genesis 1:1–2:3. Water was not created on the second day, but the first. Genesis 1:2 states, “The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” This occurred prior to the creation of light on the first day. So perhaps days 1 and 5 should be viewed as parallel. Another problem with this chart is that the “heavenly light-bearers” of day 4 were placed in the “heavens” of day 2 (Genesis 1:14). This is problematic for the Framework advocate who believes days one and four are the same event viewed from different perspectives, because this must have occurred prior to the event described in days 2 and 5. How could the stars be placed in something that did not exist yet?

First… note the sly way which they deflect. The chart that they mention actually says seas… something that Genesis does say was named in the so-called Creation week. But, oddly enough, they allow that Genesis 1 doesn’t tell the full story, and yet, they’ll insist that Genesis 1 tells the, um, whole story. So now, water was created on the first day, and yet, we don’t have a record of this… As a matter of fact, the waters pre-existed God’s movement upon them. We know what those waters are, but I doubt that Ham and others like the actual explanation. Also, we don’t have the record of angels or a whole host of other things which existed before Genesis 1, but I guess that doesn’t matter either…

Their other argument is a rather ethnocentric one. I don’t think Genesis 1 is pure Hebrew poetry, but even if it was pure historical narrative ANE historical narrative is not the same idea of history as we have developed in the last few centuries in the West. Instead, Historical Narrative is more often legend, myth, and hyperbolic twistings than ‘facts’ which can be footnoted. Our modern idea of history was not taken from the Hebrews, or from Christian tradition as a matter of fact. If anything, our current notion of History is contrary to Christian Tradition in that it leaves no room for God’s hand, myth, or interpretation. Taking Genesis 1 as a modern, Western, Historical narrative, is to use the Enlightenment further to promote deism. I worry for Ken Ham and others who would seek to abuse Scripture in such a way as to continue to place God into our box. Further, I would say that it is almost anti-Semitic to suggest that unless the Hebrews wrote like David McCullough then it is absurd or somehow false. Yup, Ken Ham is a radical liberal anti-Semite.

Oh, and it’s a bit hypocritical to pick and choose what scholars you give credit too… But, then again, this is considered somehow the thing to do… to pick only those scholars which support your thesis. No challenges. No examinations. Just defense.

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When you start off with the presupposition that nothing will convince you, then…

Jason has taken issue with mine and Dr. McGrath‘s posts on the discovery of ongoing evolution as pictured by the skink.

While Jason should feel free to comment on these things, I would really like to see his biology degree or his credentials in order to be able to state what exactly evolution is. Further, while he gives links to actual scientific entries, he only gives his opinion. Not the opinions of scientists or supported by actual facts, but only his opinion which he must hold on to in order for his views of Scripture and Theology to be correct. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that everyone must have a degree in order to comment on stories or the such, but just as I would like a medical doctor to comment on actual medicine or medical breakthroughs, I would like to see some actual evidence in what Jason suggests. Further, I note that Jason doesn’t actually deal with the science, but ridicules the results. For instance, his notion that scientists manipulated the results (red herring) is a little false. Read it again. What happened with yeast being flooded with water is similar to oh, you know, rain.

Jason also throws out a straw man in saying that a lizard is still a lizard. No one is saying otherwise, but given enough time, that lizard may indeed become a mammal or who knows, a bigger lizard. Or maybe it will be the next platypus. I am unsure his beef with the new organism… After all, the relationship is not one sided, but the animal serves to protect the plant as it produces sugars. Again, not sure his point… Now, where does this come into play at? Ahh…. yes… mitochondrial DNA.

The problem with Creationists is that Creationists feel free to dispute anything that they want by simply saying “nope, not true.” This is the pseuodo-science we have from Ken Ham… ignore, deflect, and houses of straw.

I hope that Jason takes into consideration that he is still approaching this issue very, very subjectively. Perhaps he would take the time to examine the evidence, not as something that ‘contradicts’ the ‘bible’ but as evidence apart from himself. Perhaps then he will see that God is still creating.

I have no issue with evolution because Scripture doesn’t actually speak about origins. Further, I believe that God doesn’t have to tell us anything about how or what he has done, is doing, or will do.

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10 – 12 February 2012 — Evolution Weekend

I’ve never really been a supporter of this – and I’m not a pastor to make these decision – but maybe there is a way that Church could participate in a Graceful way.

Evolution Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science. An ongoing goal has been to elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic, and to show that religion and science are not adversaries. Rather, they look at the natural world from quite different perspectives and ask, and answer, different questions.


Indeed, the world’s various faith traditions routinely find themselves in harmony with the tenets of modern science, including evolution. Many participants in Evolution Weekend 2012 have opted to discuss the ways in which these various faith traditions have similarly embraced evolution. One important facet of Evolution Weekend 2012, therefore, is to explore how science in general and evolution in particular can help draw diverse religions together. Finding a shared purpose while respecting difference will help promote broader understanding among religions.

The Clergy Letter Project.

Who knows…

But, what about discussing ways in which the Adam narrative may be Scripturally interpreted that is different from the usual “plain sense” reading? You know, discuss what Creation and Covenant actually means in Scripture by looking into context of Scripture… And putting to rest the flat-out lie that Scripture and Science cannot co-exist.


Zimmerman disputes the rise of YEC among clergy

A biologist with scientific interest in the evolution-creation debate attributed a recent LifeWay Research poll reporting that three-fourths of Protestant pastors reject evolution, and nearly half believe the earth is about 6,000 years old, to a commonly held but false idea that science and faith cannot be reconciled.

Michael Zimmerman, academic vice president and provost at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., said he doubts that the 73 percent of pastors who told the Southern Baptist Convention research department that they disagreed with the statement “I believe God used evolution to create people” are a representative sample. Either way, Zimmerman said, “It is a shame that the respondents find that their religion demands that they turn away from the facts of the natural world.”

Associated Baptist Press – Clergy say evolution, faith can co-exist.

You know, I’m not so sure. I think that YEC is on the rise. I mean, look at the receipts of the Ark Park and the such. I’ve noticed that they are the very least, more vocal around here.

A Significant (?) Blow Against Creationism in Britain

Richard Dawkins’s theological/philosophical dilettantism aside, I would gladly hoist a pint in celebration with him over this news:

Leading scientists and naturalists, including Professor Richard Dawkinsand Sir David Attenborough , are claiming a victory over the creationist movement after the government ratified measures that will bar anti-evolution groups from teachingcreationism in science classes.

(Richard Dawkins celebrates a victory over creationists via The Guardian)

To my mind, the biggest question anti-creationists should be exploring is “How do we stop this thing?” Contrary to expectations, creation ‘science’ has spread out of the United States and broken through geographical, political and religious lines. The burgeoning British creationist movement is an example, although things are certainly still worse in the States: some 46% of the American population doesn’t accept evolution, and among clergy the percent is an astounding 70%.

Decades of science education hasn’t affected these percentages significantly, and when you control for religious background and beliefs the effect of education is actually a non-significant predictor of an individual’s acceptance of evolution. The implication here is that education may not be the best way to combat creationist propaganda: the real place where this debate is being affected is through religious authority, which makes the statistic I mentioned earlier about clergy acceptance of evolution all the more troubling. It also implies that the news from Britain, while certainly good news, may make very little practical difference in the growth or decline of creation ‘science’ influence.

Still, we can consider measures that governmental bodies can take to press back against creationist nonsense, and even though education in and of itself doesn’t do anything the levying of social sanctions related to education may very well be the most effective thing a non-religious presence can do. Britain has decided to keep creation ‘science’ nonsense out of government-funded schools, which I applaud. Here in the States the University of California school system doesn’t allow creation-based ‘science’ education in religious high-schools to count as a science credit for potential admittents, another course of action I heartily endorse. The latter measure is closer to a potentially effective move against creationism, as it actually raises the cost of disseminating creation literature in an educational setting.

There are a few other ways to raise social sanctions against creationism. Removing accreditation of Universities that teach it is an example. Spreading the UC policy to other states would be terrific. The point is to make sure that creationist education incurs some kind of social cost, and the loss of potential educational opportunity is the best way I can come up with to do so. It simply isn’t enough to keep it out of public schools; so long as there is no social penalty attached to creationist belief it will continue to thrive.