Reader testimony: ‘I was in a cult. I was a creationist.’

"Destruction of Leviathan" by Gustave Doré.

Today’s testimony comes from a seminary student who asked to be credited only by his first name, Corey.

To preface, I am a Christian, I’ve been a Christian my entire life and in addition to this, I’m about to enter my third and final year in seminary (or as I lovingly refer to it, Hogwarts).

Growing up, I never had much of a problem with the duality of the biblical account of creation and the scientific account of evolution. I was fascinated with science and dinosaurs and space and discovery. I wanted to be a marine biologist. My understanding of Genesis was that we didn’t know how long the days were, we didn’t know when dinosaurs took place in the biblical account, and for all intents and purposes, it didn’t matter to me.

However, somewhere around the end of my high school career, my pastor became very passionate about so-called biblical inerrancy. He started bringing in young-earth programming and showing us the supposed clash between science and religion. The first film we watched that related to this was “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” After this it was program after program, most of it coming from the AiG crowd.

I remember most seeing Ken Ham giving lectures. The reasoning behind my acceptance was simple: I was a bit of an anglophile and here was this cool Australian guy defending the Bible. I didn’t have a chance. It wasn’t long before the hook was set. I was in a cult. I was a creationist. I spent 5 years or so alternating between hard and light acceptance of YE creationism. I read their material, I visited the museum, I did it all.

And then I went to seminary and began to learn things, new things, scary things about the context of books like Genesis. I was conflicted. This alternate view wasn’t easy, it wasn’t tight and in all honesty, it was scary. However, with time, a lot of conversations, and a lot of prayer, I came to the conclusion that I could no longer accept YE creationism.

And suddenly, I felt free.

I realized that I’d spent so much time and energy convincing myself that Genesis was true, that I was missing out on the actual truth of the gospel. I realized that God was so much bigger than the young-earthers would have me believe.

My two biggest points of realization came in my first year. The first was in that I didn’t have a clear understanding of what God’s grace was. I could offer a thousand and one explanations and an entire thesis on the ins and outs of Noah’s Ark, but I couldn’t explain God’s grace.

The second point had to do with the leviathan.

The young-earthers would have you believe the leviathan is a dinosaur or a mosasaur because it fits their narrative. It gives their followers something to cling on to, something concrete. But when I learned the background of the leviathan my view of God suddenly became so much bigger. The leviathan, rather than being a dinosaur or a monosaur is simply, the leviathan, the beast from Babylonian/Cannanite mythology that represented the power and terror of the ocean.

I realized something about God through this. This isn’t just a god who catches and fights dinosaurs for fun, this is a God who took hold of the very waters of chaos, the tohu wabohu and ordered it into place. I became enamored with this idea, this God who is actually bigger than the YECs can claim.

And here I am. I still find myself thinking YE thoughts from time to time. I still have an instilled knee-jerk reaction when someone refers to millions or billions of years, I’m still able to recite the YE ideology (and in all honesty I could have argued Ken Ham’s points better than he did in the Bill Nye debate), and I still have a mother and sister that ascribe to this ideology.

I’m home for the summer and coming home has been difficult. The YE ideology isn’t even discussed at seminary, and yet here at home, it’s almost taken for granted. I constantly have to fight back a sharp tongue and the animosity towards those who keep bringing up YE ideas like their simple truth. I have to avoid looking down on my sister who’s working toward being a biologist while telling me about how Hawaii was formed (during the flood, of course). And I have to realize that I cannot just argue the point at every opportunity because sooner or later they’ll just tune me out.

I have a few final thoughts on YE creationism I’d like to share. The first is that, while I am frustrated in this view that so often doubts my salvation because I don’t subscribe to it, I’ve realized a better reaction (for the general crowd at least) is pity. I get it. Young-earth creationism is easy. It doesn’t require one to have to struggle with the existentialism that comes with considering the vast stretches of time the universe has been around. It doesn’t require one to have to consider what it means to be human.

All things considered, it’s an easy ideology. But it limits one’s trust in God. Because they reject the age of the universe spanning into the billions of years, because they reject the evolution of life on earth they are actually limiting their trust in a God that is still personal even in the vast stretch of infinity. They’re limiting God and placing him in a box and they’re forgetting that the Bible is not the Word of God — Jesus is.

And finally, this is in regards to Ken Ham. I do have an ounce of pity for the man, but at the same time I wash my hands in the realization that he’s dug himself into his own pit. Ham can’t apologize for his words. He can’t step back and say he might be wrong on something because his entire organization is centered on his own viewpoint.

If he were to step back and say something that opposed it (even something as simple as saying it isn’t a salvation issue), his entire narrative falls apart and he even risks — gasp — excommunication and denouncement from his own group that has bought into his ideology completely.

I imagine Ham as C3P0 as he’s carried around by the Ewoks. If he tells them he isn’t a god, he risks being killed by the very people that put him there. Because of the completely unbreakable way YECs view the world, if Ham admitted he was mistaken on any one point, they would label him as a compromised Christian too, and I don’t think his pride could take that.

Read more GOE testimonies here.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    All things considered, it’s an easy ideology. But it limits one’s trust in God. Because they reject the age of the universe spanning into the billions of years, because they reject the evolution of life on earth they are actually limiting their trust in a God that is still personal even in the vast stretch of infinity.

    They have exchanged the Universe for a Punyverse.

    A 6018-year-old, It’s All Gonna Burn (any minute now), Earth and Some Lights In The Sky Punyverse. With a Puny god they can figure out completely. Like they’re hiding under their beds afraid of Deep Space and Deep Time.

    Never mind that of the three Abrahamic monotheisms, Christianity is the best equipped to deal with Deep Space and Deep Time through its Doctrine of The Incarnation. No matter how big or old the Universe gets, no matter how Big God has to be, God remains on a one-to-one human scale through Christ.

    • That is quite an interesting perspective, and refreshing. Thanks for sharing.

  • There’d better be a Ham as C3PO carried around by Ewoks meme on Friday.

    • Haha! I do have a Ken Ham meme in the hopper, but not as a droid. In other words, not the meme you’re looking for (*does Jedi mind trick).

  • JG

    Interesting thoughts on AiG.

  • Corey

    Thanks for giving me a place to share my thoughts and my story.

  • Larry Bunce

    Corey: congratulations on rejecting YEC without rejecting Christianity also. Each denomination within Christianity has some belief that is not shared by all Christians, but few Presbyterians call Catholics non-Christians for having different beliefs, as YEC’s seem so fond of doing to anyone who disagrees with them.
    The simplistic worldview of YEC appeals to people who can’t tolerate any sort of ambiguity in their lives. The Bible was written in King James English– anything else is not true– case closed. They are trying to return to the original form of religion, where everyone was raised to accept religious teachings without question, and feared that lightning would strike them down if they did ask questions or disobeyed a commandment.

  • Chris Mason

    “I still find myself thinking YE thoughts from time to time.”

    I know the feeling. Old habits die hard. I still think the words “evolutionist” from time to time (I tend to refer to myself as one, although I’ve managed to refrain from saying it in internet posts so far).

    • Alan Christensen

      I tried to be a YEC as a teenager (I’m in my 50s now) and it took me until fairly recently not to involuntarily flinch when I’d hear/read/use the word “evolution.”

      • Chris Mason

        I have that problem too, sometimes.

  • summers-lad

    “I realized that God was so much bigger than the young-earthers would have me believe.”

    I totally agree – with this statement and the general thrust of your post. If I could ever be convinced that YEC is true, I expect I would be disappointed that God was not nearly so great a creator as I thought he was.

    I love the way you describe the significance of the leviathan. This echoes much of the theme of the creation narratives – God’s power in creation, and separation of order and chaos, ultimately fulfilled in the new creation of Rev 21-22. God bless Hogwarts!

    For a related thought, see http://livingwittily.typepad.com/my_weblog/2013/03/the-defeat-of-dogma-by-understatement-and-the-fruitful-companionship-of-dictionaries.html – read through to the end for the bit that comes closest to your theme.

  • Brian Forbes

    Have you read Josephus’ Antiquities, book 1, chapter 6, where it takes the table of nations (Gen. 10) and associates them with the nations at the time of Jesus? Have you seen the genealogies from Noah to the kings of Europe in After the Flood by Bill Cooper? The history of humanity is a well established fact. The release you described is also described by atheists in their conversion stories. I suggest you bow your knee to God and take him at his word. Faith is required for salvation. Amen.

    http://FromNoahtoHercules.com/

    • Brian, I think this author described his faith in God through Christ quite beautifully. What you call “faith” is agreeing with your opinion on a non-essential doctrinal matter, and assenting to a highly questionable and deeply flawed cosmological model that is ultimately an invention of man.

      Romans 10:9, Acts 16:31, and many other passages say quite clearly and succinctly in whom we are to put our faith to receive salvation: Jesus. You appear to be attempting to add something onto that, which is pretty darn heretical.

      • Brian Forbes

        Tyler, there’s a lot more to it. For instance, can I put a wig on a ball, call it Jesus and say, “I believe in you.” Then I kick it into the goal at the end of the field? The person of Jesus matters. The nature of the faith matters, and the practice matters. I’m not going to judge anyone who has been taken in by the modern scientific rhetoric, because God is their judge, but I will point out things like what you didn’t bother to look up before you answered. Seriously, Josephus in one small section of his work disproves the ToE. And if you believe Jesus is descended from a monkey, that is a problem. Luke 3 says who He was descended from. Faith without deeds is dead. Why do you call Jesus Lord and don’t do what he says? Jesus said in his defense against Satan, “It is written…” Salvation isn’t as simple as you make it out to be. (James 2:14)

        • Corey

          Tyler I’m sorry you’re understanding of God is so small.
          Those who wrote the books of the Bible, those who wrote Genesis weren’t writing a history as we would today, they were writing stories that united their people and they were writing essential truths about God.

          Going with the literalist understanding of scripture is like trying to pull in leviathan with a fishhook, it’s trying to place God in a Bible shaped box.

          Additionally Josephus wasn’t an actual historian and he isn’t scripture.

          • Brian Forbes

            I think you meant to say Brian and not Tyler. I am not limiting God. God limits himself through his prophets and his son. Or I should say, God could do anything, but He chooses not to be a tyrant, because it’s not consistent with his nature. Just as He could have created the world in any way, but he chose to do it the way it’s written (or compiled) by the prophet Moses in Genesis. I’m not limiting God. On the contrary. Others are twisting what God says. “Did God really say…?” (Gen. 3:1)

          • Corey

            Brian, what is the Word of God?

          • Obviously, Moses wrote the whole Pentateuch including the record of his own death. The Pentateuch was one, very long death reflex.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            FIRST QUESTION: WHAT IS THE WORD OF GOD?

            The Sacred Scriptures are The Word of God. Several passages confirm this.

            Romans 9:17 in the KJV says that The Scripture spoke unto Pharaoh and the YLT clarifies what the Greek means: The Writing spoke to Pharaoh. How then do we know that these were not mere writings in Exodus 9:16 but spoken words from Yahweh to Moses and passed on to Pharaoh? Cleary The Scripture is God’s Word.

            Similarly, in Romans 16:26 we see that God commanded what should be written in The Scriptures. In fact, Galatians 3:8 says that The Scripture foresaw The Gospel from before Abraham and that because of it all the earth would be blessed! Clearly The Scripture is not merely writings, but are alive, able to see the future. Only God could allow it to have that ability.

            Again in Romans 1:1-2, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, having been separated to The Good News [Gospel] of God—which He announced before through His prophets in Holy Writings [The Scriptures]—” (YLT). The Old Testament said The New Testament would arrive!

            Of course, you must be aware of 2nd Timothy 3:16, “every Writing [all Scripture] is God-breathed [inspired], and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for setting aright, for instruction that is in righteousness,” (YLT). Nothing more needs to be said, does it?

            Then we have 2nd Peter 1:19-21, “We have also a more sure Word of prophecy; … Knowing this first, that no prophecy of The Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not at any time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by The Holy Ghost.” (KJV footnote reading) So, does more need saying?

            The Red Letters in Luke 8:11, “Now the parable is this: The seed is The Word of God.” (KJV) Clearly The Gospel is God’s Word, and we today get The Gospel from The Holy Bible. Plus, John 10:35 equates Scripture with God’s Word and says they are both unbreakable.

            The following verse has a pretty unanimous interpretation, Ephesians 6:17, “And take The Helmet of Salvation, and The Sword of The Spirit, which is The Word of God:” (KJV) The Holy Bible is The Sword of The Holy Spirit, and is therefore God’s Word!

            Furthermore, 2nd Samuel 22:31 and Psalms 18:30, “As for God, His way is perfect; The Word of The LORD is refined: He is a buckler to all them that trust in Him.” And Proverbs 30:5, “Every Word of God is purified: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.” (All KJV footnote readings) Clearly Scripture is pure, because it is God’s Word!

            Isaiah 40:7-8, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because The [Holy] Spirit of The LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but The Word of our God shall stand for ever.” God’s Pure Word lasts forever, longer than the nation of Israel even!

            The Red Letters in Mark 7:13, “setting aside The Word of God for your tradition that ye delivered; and many such like things ye do.’” (YLT) Bad idea to do this, which Evolution does.

            Revelation 1:2 makes the interesting distinction that Jesus’ Testimony is a special subdivision of God’s Word, “Who bare record of The Word of God, and of The Testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” (KJV) This distinction is repeated in verse 9. Clearly, while Jesus is The Living Word in John 1:1-5, He is not The Written Word of God in The Scriptures.

            And all that is not to mention that Jesus did and said many things in order to fulfill Scripture: Mt 21:42; Mt 22:29; Mt 26:54,56; Mr 12:10,24; Mr 14:49; Mr 15:28; Lu 4:21; Lu 24:27,32,45; Joh 2:22; Joh 5:39; Joh 7:38,42; Joh 10:35; Joh 13:18; Joh 17:12; Joh 19:24,28,36-37; Joh 20:9; Ac 1:16; Ac 8:32,35. The Gospel depends on The Holy Scriptures too: Ac 17:2,11; Ac 18:24,28; Ro 1:2; Ro 4:3; Ro 9:17; Ro 10:11; Ro 11:2; Ro 15:4; Ro 16:26; 1Co 15:3-4; Ga 3:8,22; Ga 4:30; 1Ti 5:18; 2Ti 3:16; Jas 2:8,23; Jas 4:5; 1Pe 2:6; 2Pe 1:20; 2Pe 3:16.

            SECOND QUESTION: WHERE IN THE BIBLE DO WE FIND EVIDENCE THAT MOSES WROTE GENESIS?

            What about Matthew 19:3-9 and Mark 10:2-12?

          • You realize there was no Bible during the times of the passages you quoted, right?

            Further, many of those New Testament passages you used for support are completely anachronistic. The “Word of God” in those passages can’t mean the Bible. There wasn’t one.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            Not true, Phil.

            “But there is more. Almost the entire New Testament could be reproduced by quotes from the ancient church fathers. “So extensive are these citations that if all other sources for our knowledge of the text of the New Testament were destroyed, they would be sufficient alone for the reconstruction of practically the entire New Testament” (Metzger & Ehrman, 2005).” http://www.bible.ca/ef/topical-the-earliest-new-testament-manuscripts.htm

            Also, 2nd Peter 3:15 makes it clear that Peter thought Paul’s writings were God inspired, even though they had disagreements with each other. So, from this we know that the New Testament canon was accepted long before it was made official.

            Extendedly, we know from the Dead Sea Scrolls that the Old Testament canon was already in existence. The Septuagint confirms this with clear additions but the additions are the Apocrypha, which most Jews and Christians reject, both today and pre-Septuagint.

            Consequently, these are not anachronistic because The Holy Bible did already exist (Romans 1:2 & 2nd Timothy 3:15)!

          • You realize “ancient church fathers” means after the first century, right?

            You also realize that the ancient church fathers also quoted extensively from books that are not in the New Testament canon, right?

            You also realize that some New Testament books quote from books that are not in the canon, right?

            You understand that the canon was a hotly debated subject both before -and after- it was closed in the fourth century, right?

          • AmbassadorHerald

            Okay Phil, do you want to know the underlying message of your 4 questions here? Doubt. You are instilling doubt about The Holy Bible.

            1. “These Church Fathers were all after 100 AD, so they were too far removed to know what was really Scripture!”

            2. “These Church Fathers quoted extra-Biblical books, so who is to say they did not see them as Scripture too?”

            3. “Accepted Biblical books quoted from unaccepted books, so maybe those are to be included in the canon as well!”

            4. “And not everyone has been satisfied with the canon at any point in history, so we cannot be sure that we have it right today!”

            Doubt, doubt, and more doubt, with an extra doubt for good measure. It is clear to me now that you do not have the same level of faith as I do. I trust that God made 100% certain that the accepted Bible matched the God-given Bible. I trust that God could write history as history starting from the very first verse and flawed anti-Christ scientists are just plain wrong. My faith and trust in Jesus has grown beyond yours BECAUSE of my literal stand on Scripture and your non-literal stance has HINDERED yours.

            A) The Church Fathers were far closer to the events and had access to numerous more documents than we do today. Their word carries more weight than yours or any other moderner who thinks they know better than those who lived the events.

            B) So what? Christians today quote non-Biblical books too, but don’t (or shouldn’t) see them as on the same level as The Sacred Scriptures. You need to demonstrate the way in which the extra-Biblical quotes are used versus the Biblical ones.

            C) Yes, an example is Acts 17:28 where Paul quotes some of Athens’ poets, but he did not say it was Scripture. Jude 1:17, however, did not quote the Book of Enoch, as many claim. Jude did not indicate as Paul did, or Joshua 10:13 for the Book of the Upright (Jasher), or Esther 10:2 for the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia, that he was quoting a pre-existing book. The Book of Enoch is a total forgery, written after Jude.

            D) There will always be contention among flawed people. We want our way over God’s, as you are evidence of. But we can trust the canon to be authentic because there were very specific qualifications for their usage before and during the official proclamation. https://www.biblicaltraining.org/blog/curious-christian/7-10-2012/what-criteria-were-used-determine-canon-scripture

            Therefore, I highly advise you stop accusing YECs at not being able to grow in faith when we have greater faith than non-literalists. We trust in an all-powerful God, literally!

          • Your contention was that, in the New Testament, the phrase “word of God” refers to the Bible as we know it. My contention was that the Bible as we know it did not exist when that phrase was used.

            You acknowledged the truth of all my points (thank you), but somehow morphed the argument into whether or not the canon is legit. That was never my point. I’m fine with the canon we have and don’t particularly see a need to change it (unlike, say, Martin Luther). My point was that the canon didn’t exist in the first century, so whatever an NT author means by “the word of God,” there’s no good reason to assume the primary referent for that phrase is “the canonical New Testament as accepted by Protestants in the West.”

            I think you’re arguing just to be argumentative. You couldn’t argue with my actual point, so you instead argued against a critique of canonization I never made. I’m not sure what you intend to accomplish by that.

            I said what I said about Brian’s faith because he said, if Genesis 1 were not literal, he would jettison his faith and embrace atheism, which is very consistent with the YEC Atheist-Creating Credo: “If Genesis 1 isn’t literal then the whole Bible is a lie.” Well, I don’t believe Genesis 1 is literal, and I have faith, and I don’t believe any of the Bible is a lie. So you do the math.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            Perhaps you need more detail on why I said you are a doubter. There are 3 distinct times that we see satan speaking.

            The first was referred to by Brian repeatedly, Genesis 3:1 (YLT), “Is it true that God hath said?” The devil was trying to get Eve to doubt what God had said. Jesus had a very clear response to this, “Sanctify them in Thy truth, Thy Word is truth;” John 17:17 (YLT). And yes, while it is true the canon was not all accepted yet, in fact not even all written yet, God is not bound by time. Jesus also said, “And The Comforter, The Holy Spirit, whom The Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all things that I said to you.” John 14:26 (YLT). Here Jesus testified that He knew what would be written, and that it would be exactly as God intended. So, all verses are usable for all of The Sacred Scriptures, regardless of when in history they were written, because God is in control. Stop doubting the truth Phil.

            The second is with Jesus directly. “If Thou be The Son of God…” Matthew 4:3,6; Luke 4:3,9 (KJV). The devil was trying to get Jesus to doubt His calling, His purpose, His identity. Jesus had a very clear response to this, Matthew 16:16-17 (KJV), “And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art The Christ, The Son of The Living God.” And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.” Jesus said that the knowledge of His Messiah-ship was given from God The Father, therefore confirming that He was indeed The Son of God. John 14:6 makes it even more clear, though, “I Am The Way, and The Truth, and The Life, no one doth come unto The Father, if not through Me;” (YLT).

            The third is before Almighty God. “Doth Job fear God for nought?” Job 1:9, “Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.” Job 2:4 (KJV). The devil was trying to get God to doubt Job’s faith and trust in Him. Why is it that all satan ever wants, and ever does as his first weapon, is get you to question God? It is because of James 1:5-8 (YLT), “And if any of you do lack wisdom, let him ask from God, who is giving to all liberally, and not reproaching, and it shall be given to him; and let him ask in faith, NOTHING DOUBTING, for he who is doubting hath been like a wave of the sea, driven by wind and tossed, for let not that man suppose that he shall receive anything from The Lord—a two-souled man is unstable in all his ways.” [Emphasis mine]

            Do you know what doubters, who are tossed to and fro like waves, are called? Ephesians 4:14, “That we may no more be babes, tossed and borne about by every wind of the teaching [doctrine], in the sleight of men, in craftiness, unto the artifice of leading astray [deceive],” (YLT). Babies! Doubters are immature in faith. They are not grounded on God’s Word. This is why you have no faith in Genesis, you have allowed evolution and the ways of mankind to keep you at square one, in fact back-step you to square one. Like in Monopoly, “Head back to Go!” You have been reset from mature to babe-ness.

            Now that I have explained my position, you have still added no detail to your position. What exactly did you think my interpretation of your 4 questions was going to be? You referenced the length of time between the Early Church Fathers and Jesus Christ’s life. You referenced that the Early Church Fathers did not only quote from God’s Word. You referenced that God’s Word doesn’t merely quote from God’s Word. And you referenced that the canon is greatly debated before and after it was officially decided.

            To me, they certainly seem to say as I interpreted, but I am pleased I am incorrect. So now, instead of vague questions with no details as to their intended meanings, tell me what you do want to get across. Hopefully it’ll be better than my original assumption. Although, the fact that you merely denied my statements without providing your real view, it seems like you are just stalling for time, as if I really did nail it on the nose.

            As for Brian’s faith, it is still stronger than your doubts. Your denial of my interpretations of your questions does not disqualify your doubting God. God wrote us a book, and you just want to find ways to make it say what it doesn’t. 90% of Brian’s requests went unanswered by you and all the rest here.

          • I do not need more detail on why you think I am a doubter. You think I am a doubter because you believe your interpretations are the only valid one, and anyone critical of them is, de facto, doubting Scripture.

            If I cared at all about your estimation of my faith, that might bother me. If anything you said led me to believe you were a serious Bible scholar, I might be more concerned. But you’re not. I will continue to disagree with your interpretations of the Bible because they are ahistorical, ascholarly, make God look deceptive, are the product of Modernist philosophy, and are generally incoherent.

            If that makes me not a true Christian in your eyes, I just don’t care. My judge is Jesus Christ, and if you think you can talk him into condemning me for not taking a view of Genesis popularized in the 1800s, have at it. I’m going to guess his rabbis taught him differently, but I guess we’ll find out.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            I can see nothing but unsubstantiated assertions in here and I can see nothing new on what you intended for your 4 questions. If you do not want to tell me, that is your prerogative. But it seems like you do not wish to continue discussing and simply call names.

            If you choose to continue this discussion, tell me what you really meant so I can respond. Otherwise, all responses will be ignored, since you have not furthered the discussion.

          • Corey

            You have fallen into the same trap Brian did. Reread John 1 and then tell me what the Word of God is.

            Also that second part of your argument only references Moses giving the law, not Genesis. Yes Genesis is considered to be a part of the law, but he’s arguing Moses made that point because people were being hard -hearted.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            Excuse me Corey, but there are some little problems here.

            A) I did mention John 1:1-5 in my notations about Revelation 1:2—do you really think I did not see where you were going with this?

            B) You have merely told me (and Brian for that matter) that I am wrong but have not even attempted to look into explaining the meaning of the verses I put forth, many of which provide an issue for your limitation of The Word of God.

            C) How do you explain Jesus Christ being the only Word of God when the phrase literally means “Said of God”, which implies something more than Jesus must exist also?

            D) Seeing as you agree that Jesus is God’s Living Word, then you must also agree with everything Jesus said and did, and Jesus said that Adam and Eve (Mark 10:6-9 & Matthew 19:4-6), the Prophet Abel (Luke 11:50-51 & Matt. 23:34-35), and the Ark Builder Noah (Matt. 24:37-39 & Luke 17:26-27) were real.

            Based on your reply, I do not know if you ever got passed my opening sentence. Next time, do better. Answer the evidence or don’t respond at all.

          • Brian Forbes

            1. The word of God is any word, given by a prophet or by the scribe of a prophet (i.e. Matthew, Luke, Paul, etc.) that came from God. The mark of a false prophet is described in Deut. 13 & 18. John 1 also describes Jesus as being God’s Word made flesh. So anything that Jesus did or said is God’s word.
            2. Gen-Deut. were the books of Moses, which is attested to by countless sources. It’s obvious as you read it too. The books themselves say so. Jesus ascribed the writings to Moses.
            https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?qs_version=NIV&quicksearch=moses&begin=47&end=73

            And the major point here is that we dont’ have to prove that the writings are of Moses. That’s ultimately a matter of faith. If you choose not to accept the writings as from Moses, then you are not a proper Jew, and you are not a proper Christian. It’s your business. If you want to accept some things Jesus said and some things that Moses said and leave the rest for the gullible folks like me to follow, that’s between you and God.

          • Did Moses write about his own death after he died? Just curious where that part came from.

          • Brian Forbes

            It is generally accepted by scholars that Joshua wrote that at the end of Moses’ book.

          • Um, no, it is generally accepted by scholars that Moses didn’t write Genesis.

          • Brian Forbes

            I was referring to scholars who actually believe the Bible is God’s message to us, not the atheists and such, who read the Bible to provide doubt for those who don’t currently have any – i.e. to negate faith.

          • So, your contention is that it is generally accepted by scholars that you agree with that your view is correct?

          • Brian Forbes

            This is a tangent. I’ll answer you on your other message – the one with the link.

          • Corey

            Wait. I thought the entire point earlier was that Moses wrote the whole thing?

          • Brian Forbes

            You are starting to make me feel like this is a waste of my time. Don’t be dense, please.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            The part you missed in Brian’s initial response was this, “Just as He [God] could have created the world in any way, but he chose to do it the way it’s written (or compiled) by the prophet Moses in Genesis.” Brian parenthetically mentioned compilation, which is what my father taught me, “Genesis was compiled and edited by Moses.” Naturally Moses couldn’t record his own death in Deuteronomy 34 so another had to, likely Joshua.

            The statement of attributing Moses with the authorship of Genesis and Deuteronomy is more than fair. After all, Genesis was 11 documents before Moses made them into Genesis, and all of Deuteronomy is Moses except but a single chapter. To know more about the 11 documents that were before Moses, look up the Tablet Theory by P. J. Wiseman. No, it is not the Wellhausen Documentary Hypothesis.

          • “If you choose not to accept the writings as from Moses, then you are not a proper Jew, and you are not a proper Christian.”

            This is hilarious. I guess you’re thinking of where Paul quotes Habakkuk and says, “The righteous shall live by properly attributing authorship to Old Testament writings.”

            BTW: Here’s a great article from Bible-believing Christian Pete Enns that not only outlines the issues pertinent to determining authorship of the Pentateuch, but also cites perfectly serviceable Christian scholars who contest a Mosaic authorship.

            http://biologos.org/uploads/resources/enns_scholarly_essay3.pdf

          • Brian Forbes

            God is the one who chose to use prophets. If you doubt his prophets, you doubt God. You can’t have faith in God when you contradict everything he says. That’s just not what faith looks like.

          • I don’t doubt His prophets at all. This goes back to your false dichotomy. Either someone has to agree with you, or they think the Bible is false.

            Unfortunately for you but fortunately for Christian scholarship and logic in general, this dichotomy is not real. I think you’ve firmly established your point that you believe that people who don’t have the same views as you are not real Christians. None of us care, because you don’t have that authority and clearly have no interest in understanding the Bible, but you made that point.

            Just none of us think your point is valid, so…?

          • Brian Forbes

            There are certainly compromise positions. (Rev. 3:16)

          • Brian Forbes

            I thought this article was going to give good reasons why we should take the text in the way you do, but instead we should rename it to, “The History of the Heresy.” It was filled with unconvincing arguments, and it is completely overturned by the fact that Jesus attested to the then modern copies of what was written about Moses. Jesus used Deut. to fend off the Devil. Of course the Devil wants to negate the power of that history. What’s more, if you’re going to say that every fulfilled prophesy is post-hoc, it negates passages like Zech. 14 and Isaiah 66, as well as any prophesy given in the NT, thereby nullifying it completely. There’s no good reason to believe that the document hypothesis is true. If you want to believe it, you are not a proper Christian. There’s something lacking in your faith. If you don’t trust God’s prophets, you are in danger.
            “With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”” (Num. 12:8)

          • Hilarious. I think this is the first time I’ve heard Christian historical scholarship as a product of Satanic work. I’ll give you points for originality.

            None of what you said is argumentation, though. Enns gave great, scholarly arguments for his position and cited other Christian scholars who, contra to your claims, support them.

            Your response?

            This is unconvincing heresy and these guys don’t believe the Bible.

            You’ll excuse me if I don’t accept you as an authoritative source on that.

          • Brian Forbes

            You misunderstand the purpose of my reply. You think I aimed to convince you. I was just informing you that your arguments weren’t convincing because of x, y, and z. I’m not likely to convince you. His sheep hear his voice, and they follow him. If it’s not good enough for you that Jesus quoted Deut. to fend off the Devil, so be it. It’s good enough for me.

          • But you didn’t give any arguments as to why they weren’t convincing. You just said they weren’t.

          • Brian Forbes

            Man, I gave you many arguments why I found them to be unconvincing, but you didn’t see them. That’s why I’m doing you the courtesy of telling you that I’m simply not convinced. I’m not a miracle worker, and I cannot open the eyes of the blind. I just pray that God would soften both of our hearts. Amen.

          • Corey

            Brian before you go accusing me of heresy maybe you should remove the plank from your own eye and realize that you have uttered the biggest heresy of anyone here.

            Jesus is the Word of God, it’s not what he said, it’s not what he did, he was and is the living Word of God made flesh. The scriptures are an impression of God’s Word but they are not God’s Word in the same way as Jesus. If Jesus was not the Word, or if the Word is primarily the Bible as you suggest than Jesus can have no bearing in our lives, Jesus actually becomes subservient to the Bible in the view you’ve set forth.

            For my second point, mainline Judaism doesn’t believe the Pentateuch is written by Moses, no serious theologian or academic really does anymore, you’re asking for people to have faith in something that is not backed by scripture because you say it’s essential. If you’re going to say what Jews believe you should actually do some study into what Jews believe.

            Believing Moses didn’t write those books does not invalidate those books. It just reveals that the revelation God offers is bigger than just one delivered to Moses.

          • Brian Forbes

            Man, I don’t care if we call it heresy. I just know it’s wrong.
            http://biblehub.com/text/psalms/119-160.htm

            There’s a lot more where that came from.

            I have been studying Judaism for a long time. I actually am a member of a congregation that practices the feasts and such, investigating the Jewish tradition, etc. We have Bar Mitzvahs. Part of what we do at our congregation is not just make claims such as you’ve made, but back it up with actual evidence. Quit saying that mainline anything says anything. Show it! Give me chapter and verse, because it’s going to have to be a higher authority than the source I gave – which was Jesus.

            I am seriously feeling like I’m wasting my time here. It’s been a pleasure, all, but unless there’s something useful to say, some kind of evidence presented, or some kind of answer against the evidence I’ve brought, I’ll go ahead and spend my life on more fruitful discussions. May God bless you with truth and the humility to accept it. Amen.

          • Corey

            Genesis is important because it lays out a groundwork for understanding God andandunderstanding how God relates with humanity. It’s important because it speaks to essential truths about God’s nature, God is a creator, God places things in order, God shows mercy, etc whether Genesis is historically true or not that doesn’t affect that, it is true because it reveals something about God.

            All you’re doing is rejecting key aspects of Christian Creed and tradition that has been in place since the beginning. The second person of the Trinity is the Word of God, which is synonymous with the Son. Stephen Harris, NT Wright, Psalm 33:6, Luke 1:2, 1 John 1:1,

          • Brian Forbes

            Nobody is denying that Jesus is the Word of God. I’m just saying that the title is also applied to any word that comes out of the mouth of God, as we see in Ps. 119.

            I’m still at a loss for how we are supposed to use Genesis if it isn’t history. Why should I accept that God is Creator if the account of Creation is made up by folks who lived and died long after Moses did, IF Moses did? They made it up! That statement, God is Creator, is made in 3 words. Why the 50 chapters of Genesis? Why should we accept that God shows mercy, when the order of nature shows that God just allows whatever – a mouse eating its offspring, a step parent lion killing its step cubs, dogs raping each other… the list goes on and on. If God isn’t actually historically in charge, it’s just a parable. A story about what it would be like IF God were in charge. And even that is open to interpretation. But not the interpretation of the NT authors, I suppose. I’m at a loss…

          • Corey

            Then I can’t help you.

          • Brian Forbes

            Agreed.

        • Evolution does not have humans descending from monkeys, and God is very clear through the genealogies that they are not complete and in the structure of Genesis 1 that it is not historiography. Your view makes God extremely deceptive, just as you are being deceptive about the theory of evolution. I think you are aware whose father deceivers are.

          My preference is to try to understand what God is actually communicating in Scriptures and not fabricate something He has to conform to. My recommendation is to actually study the Bible instead of reading it like the newspaper. Learn its world, its audience, and its forms. Unfortunately, it will also mean your view is unsustainable, so I understand if you aren’t willing to do that.

          • Brian Forbes

            Phil, I know that “Evolution” (some guy who was named after the theory, probably) doesn’t say that Jesus was descended from a monkey. I can split hairs too. The way I stated it wasn’t supposed to be accurate, but condescending. Would you prefer that I say that the theory teaches that Jesus was descended from a bug? Ape-like ancestor takes longer to say, and it’s essentially the same thing. The point was completely unnecessary. The genealogy is absolutely important. Simply because there are some names written out, etc. doesn’t negate the fact that there is a line back to Adam – through Joseph and Mary. It doesn’t go back beyond Adam, because there were no ancestors before that. Adam came out of the dirt, and Eve from his rib. Reading the prophets gives us great understanding that the cultural context was that the nation of Israel was sinful from its start. I’d rather read the passages for what they say, because that’s the way the NT authors interpret them. That’s the way early church fathers read them (i.e. Justin Martyr, etc.). If you want to risk twisting what it says due to some vague notion of cultural context, that’s between you and God. That’s now how Jesus quoted scripture.

          • The genealogy is absolutely important. Simply because there are some names written out, etc. doesn’t negate the fact that there is a line back to Adam – through Joseph and Mary. It doesn’t go back beyond Adam, because there were no ancestors before that.

            Does the genealogy in Matthew not go back beyond David because there were no ancestors before that? Or are you maybe being a little too simplistic in how you interpret the genealogies?

          • Brian Forbes

            The point of the Matthew genealogy was to show the connection from Jesus to the promise to David. The one in Luke was a (mostly) complete line to the beginning. Whatever man. If you want to read it differently, it’s your business. You don’t have any Biblical reason for doing so.

            Edit:
            I haven’t really said it yet, but it bears stating. The differences between the two genealogies are historically interpreted as being the line of Mary vs. Joseph.

          • Laura Hamm

            Matt 1:15b-16 “…Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ”

            Luke 3:23b-24a “He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melki…”

            The best explanation that I have seen for the difference is the Luke version’s “son of Heli” also has the ability to be translated “son in law of Heli” implying it is Mary’s line (taking it back through “Nathan son of David” compared to Matthew’s “David was the father of Solomon”).

            Problem is, as any literalist will point out, that is just changing what the scriptures actually say, to make it fit with your preconceived notions, rather than actually reading what it says.

          • Right about Matthew’s genealogy, but wrong about Luke’s.

            Matthew, a Jew, wrote his gospel for a Jewish audience, to convince fellow Jews that Jesus was the promised Messiah. A core component of that was that his lineage could be traced to David, and not only did he do this, but he did it in a way that was strongly symbolic of his Messiahship: three sets of 14 generations.

            Luke, who was likely a Gentile, was concerned with showing Jesus’ connection to a much broader connection, to all of humanity. And not just that, but to the many average, ordinary people God used to further his purposes. Average, ordinary people, like the ones Luke repeatedly depicts Christ talking with, healing, hanging out with, etc. People like … Luke’s intended audience.

            Luke could have simply said something like, “Jesus was a man, descended from man. He was a person, just like you and me,” but he wanted to say it in a way that would resonate much more deeply to the people of his day.

            So, no, “a (mostly) complete line to the beginning” was not Luke’s goal. Humanity was. But whatever man. If you want to read it differently, it’s your business. You don’t have any biblical reason for doing so.

          • Brian Forbes

            Was it a deception?

          • Um, no, it was what I just said it was. Do you need me to copy and paste?

          • Brian Forbes

            If it was something I already read, it was wholly inadequate to answer the question. Maybe it was something I missed. This blog app doesn’t exactly make it easy to read every comment from my end.

          • Yeah, I’m pretty sure the problem exists somewhere quite a bit closer to your person than the blog app.

          • If you want to risk twisting what it says due to some vague notion of cultural context, that’s between you and God. That’s now how Jesus quoted scripture.

            Jesus only quoted from the Genesis creation accounts once, and it was in a theological context.

          • Brian Forbes

            That’s why I’m focused on the genealogy. You can also read Genesis in comparison to the 1 Chron. genealogies. Give me another way to interpret these things, and I may entertain something like what you believe.

          • It doesn’t go back before Adam because that’s the figure the authors had as the first man. They had no idea that there was anything before Adam, just like they had no idea that the sky was not a solid dome.

            You are not reading the passages for what they say. You are reading them for how you understand them as a 21st century fundamentalist reader, which is completely wrong.

          • Brian Forbes

            Thanks, Phil, for your opinion. Now give me either evidence or reasons. Assertions don’t help.

          • You want evidence that ancient near eastern authors didn’t know biology the way we understand it today? Wow. Might have to get back to you on that. I assumed it was a given.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            Seeing as this is the ONLY time you’ve mentioned the genealogies, and you did not respond to Brian Forbes’ 7th response to you where he asked you to deal with them, I will push again in the interest of curiosity. Why would anyone make a genealogy that proclaims to be true when it includes fictitious people? Genealogies are a tedious amount of work even when accurate but even harder if made-up. Plus, you said that God made it clear there are gaps, point me to where God said that.

          • Yes, I haven’t responded to every single thing Brian has said, just as he has not responded to every single thing I have said. I assumed we were in a conversation, not a contest.

            The simplest answer to your question is that the genealogies reflect tradition. I don’t think anyone is “making them up,” but whether the genealogies play out in actual history exactly as written is another story.

            Egyptian genealogies of some pharaohs trace their ancestry all the way back to the sun god Ra. That seems unlikely. But they do because the purpose of ancient Near East genealogies is to establish certain truths about the people they describe.

            For instance, the Septuagint gives very different ages for some of the people in the genealogies than the Masoretic text. This is why AiG has to hedge their bets with the age of the Earth. It used to be definitely 6000 years old, but now it’s 6-10k because of the Septuagint.

            God does not say, “I left gaps in the genealogies” the same way He did not say, “I didn’t put in everything in Israel’s history” or “Genesis 1 is supposed to be literal.” But when you look at the genealogies, they are, in fact, selective. Some include certain people that others exclude and vice-versa. That’s because the genealogies serve a theological purpose in the context of the writings that include them. They aren’t meant to serve as an objective, comprehensive family tree.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            First, a genealogy that merely follows a made-up tradition is, guess what? Made-up! False! Not true! Brian repeatedly tried to get across that if the traditions were not real history, the attempts at making genealogies for those traditions was worthless and would only serve at making the traditions look like history. So, why do we have genealogies for untrue history unless it is actually true history?

            By the way, we’re back to doubt again. As I detailed in my previous comment. http://www.godofevolution.com/reader-testimony-i-was-in-a-cult-i-was-a-creationist/#comment-2204008661

            Second, as for Egypt and other nations’ genealogies going back to a deity, I do believe Brian Forbes’ website largely deals with this and related issues. Perhaps you should consult the knowledge of one who has read these ancient records. Here’s the link: http://www.fromnoahtohercules.com/

            Extendedly, Evolution is the only religion in history to assume one cannot trace back to the original people. Every single religion and culture, both present and past, all believed you could trace a lineage back to the very beginning of time, at which point there were people supernaturally created as people. Modern man is who has educated themselves into stupidity. Romans 1:22 (KJV), “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”

            Third, AiG doesn’t need to “hedge” their dates because of the Septuagint, both Jerome and Augustine discredited the Septuagint’s dates as credible. Why? Because in the Septuagint Methuselah lives 14 years after the Noachian Deluge without being on Noah’s Ark. That is impossible! Here is what St. Augustine said on the issue: http://biblehub.com/library/augustine/city_of_god/chapter_11_of_methuselahs_age_which.htm

            Alternatively, the Masoretic Text works 100% flawlessly. Jude 1:14 says Enoch was the 7th from Adam, which we can count in Genesis 5. Doing the math shows Methuselah died in the 600th year of Noah’s life, the very year of The Flood. This is a fact that would be missed unless you really work the numbers. Clearly, the Septuagint authors failed to keep everything accurate as they messed with the dates. This demonstrates the early Church was very meticulous at studying, having uncovered this error so quickly.

            Fourth, God did say, and more specifically Jesus, that Genesis 1 is supposed to be literal! I dealt with that at this comment to Corey: http://www.godofevolution.com/reader-testimony-i-was-in-a-cult-i-was-a-creationist/#comment-2200658973 Additionally, Exodus 20:11!

            Fifth, seeing as there are numerous genealogical lists in The Holy Bible, pick one and give me an example. We’ll go on from there.

          • Yeah, Brian’s website is pretty much ridiculous. My favorite part is where he says that all mutations are harmful. He is neither a biblical scholar nor a scientist, but your faith in him to be authoritative in those categories is pretty much consistent with your idea of faith – belief in spite of evidence.

            If AiG doesn’t hedge their bets, then why do they do it. AiG says the Earth is 6-10k years old. Where does the 4k margin for error come from?

            The Septuagint has access to better texts than the Masoretic. As we dig up older fragments (like the Dead Sea Scroll fragments), they tend to confirm the Septuagint’s translation over conflicts with the Masoretic. Our oldest copy of the Masoretic is roughly the 11th century. You might enjoy the book “When God Spoke Greek” by Timothy Michael Law if you want to follow up on that subject.

            But that’s neither here nor there – the real issue is what the purpose of the genealogies are and whether or not they constitute a valid way to calculate the age of the Earth.

            Because of your vast familiarity with scholarship on the issue, you are aware that Ussher had to do a lot of guessing. Roughly a third of his calculations, for instance, came from using the reigns of different kings as an approxmation for people’s ages found in the genealogies. You definitely wouldn’t want to launch the Space Shuttle using Ussher’s math.

            But that aside, that probably wouldn’t produce too too much variance from his 6000 yearish figure. So, are the genealogies a valid way to make this calculation?

            There is the obvious point that, even if this figure were correct, at best it gives us the age of humanity from Adam, not the age of the Earth.

            But the funny thing here is that AiG themselves freely admit there are gaps and contradictions in the genealogies. Further, they explicitly point out Matthew’s editing of his genealogy to have groups of 14:

            https://answersingenesis.org/bible-timeline/genealogy/are-there-gaps-in-the-genesis-genealogies/

            Their defense of all this? “Just because it happened in SOME genealogies doesn’t mean it happened in the Genesis ones.”

            Unfortunately, it happens in virtually all genealogies, so the burden of proof really falls on proving that Genesis does -not- employ the same techniques (like telescoping) used in other areas of Scripture. Further, the Genesis genealogies do have some issues, like Noah and Abraham being contemporaries (cf http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/genesis_genealogies.html)

            But the main point is that genealogies in the ancient Near East were not composed not used the way we use genealogies today. They are not meant to be literal family trees, and you can see this clearly in the BIble as some people are included, some are left out, some have different familial relationships in one geneaology than another, and so on.

            What they are meant to do is communicate something about the person the genealogy is about through the inclusion (or exclusion) of figures in that history. It’s more like a pedigree.

            For instance, since Matthew is primarily written with Jewish interests in mind, it makes sense that he would start with Abraham and go forward, showing Jesus’ continuity with both the patriarchs and Israel’s great royal dynasties.

            Luke, by contrast, is writing more generally. You can see the culture at work, though, by his identification of Adam as the son of God. Luke’s intent is probably to give a more traditional genealogy but to sidestep some unsavory characters like Jeconiah who is cursed by God and could not sit on the throne of Israel.

            In your comment and in Exodus 20:11, you cite verses, none of which say “Genesis 1 should be interpreted literally.” This decision is act of interpretation on your part, both of Genesis 1 and the texts that refer to items in Genesis 1.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            —–“Yeah, Brian’s website is pretty much ridiculous. My favorite part is where he says that all mutations are harmful.”

            Oh good, let me hear of 5 mutations which are 100% beneficial and 0% detrimental. Also, include the statistical amount of known beneficial versus detrimental mutations.

            —–“If AiG doesn’t hedge their bets, then why do they do it? AiG says the Earth is 6-10k years old. Where does the 4k margin for error come from?”

            How about the max age of the Electromagnetic Field of the Earth—8,700 years? How about because it is possible to stretch the Masoretic dates to about 10,000 years (but it is stretching it to be sure)? Besides, when you say AiG, do you mean specific AiG writers? Or AiG as an organization? Because there are criteria which AiG expects all of its workers to uphold, but within those you are free to believe as you want. If some authors do not know the Septuagint is false, then sure they will hedge the dates accordingly, but that doesn’t mean AiG does.

            —–“The Septuagint has access to better texts than the Masoretic.”

            Okay, so the Septuagint must be correct, even though it has provable errors that even literalists acknowledge, and the Masoretic must be false, even though its chronology matches up perfectly? If this is the case, then why do you likely have a Bible translation which uses the Masoretic dates rather than the Septuagint? This isn’t even counting the Apocrypha, and you say you like our canon. God doesn’t make those types of errors, so stop doubting!

            —–“As we dig up older fragments (like the Dead Sea Scroll fragments), they tend to confirm the Septuagint’s translation over conflicts with the Masoretic.”

            This is a complete and utter lie in regards to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Yes, older fragments are found that disagree with the Masoretic, but they all come from Egypt, unlike the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls are proof that the Masoretic Text is older than the 11th Century AD, and are in fact ancient in their origins.

            —–“Because of your vast familiarity with scholarship on the issue, you are aware that Ussher had to do a lot of guessing. … You definitely wouldn’t want to launch the Space Shuttle using Ussher’s math.”

            I am aware that Ussher had to guess at places (not nearly 1/3rd of the time), but you only reject him based on the opinion of people who just do not want The Holy Bible to be literally true. Ussher solved numerous “problems” which had been and still are used as reasons not to believe The Sacred Scriptures. He did not satisfactorily solve all alleged problems, but only a couple were left without a satisfactory answer and his guess is still logical in those locations, even by today’s knowledge. We must give Ussher a break here, he was trailblazing, because no one had done what he had before. No single person, or group of people, can be expected to be perfect outside of God’s inspiration, which Ussher did not have in the Scriptural sense.

            And, for the record, if I was going to launch a Space Shuttle and every computer and calculator on the planet were fried, and the only person available to do the math was Ussher, I would totally put my life in his hands. People repeatedly try to refute him but they have not yet reasonably done so. Ivan Panin got nearly the same dates as Ussher did, and Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones got the EXACT same dates without ever looking at Ussher once. As a matter of fact, Dr. Jones wasn’t made aware of his confirmation of Ussher until after his first publication, when a reader informed him of such. For the record, Dr. Jones has found better answers where Ussher failed to do so satisfactorily.

            —–“There is the obvious point that, even if this [ca. 6000] figure were correct, at best it gives us the age of humanity from Adam, not the age of the Earth.”

            You forget Exodus 20:11, Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:6-9, and, of course, Genesis 1. You have not discredited the finger of God in stone or the testimony of Jesus in red letters.

            —–“But the funny thing here is that AiG themselves freely admit there are gaps and contradictions in the genealogies. Further, they explicitly point out Matthew’s editing of his genealogy to have groups of 14:”

            Okay, it took a while, but you have made your genealogical selection. The only other prominent genealogy you feature, as a result of your “God and Science” article, is Moses’ parents. I can deal with that one too if you like, because I have a 3,000 word article giving 5 reasons to believe Amram is Moses’ father—I named it a “Penta-Check”. Based on my findings, it would also likely apply to the contemporaries of Moses, and fix the genealogies of B) Korah, C) Dathan and Abiram, and D) Zelophehad’s daughters.

            In any case, Matthew’s blotted out names. The following answer is based upon Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones’ book “The Chronology of the Old Testament: A Return to the Basics”, but the Companion Bible Notes confirm his findings.

            MATTHEW 1:8

            The 99th Appendix of the Companion Bible Notes, “The Two Genealogies of Mt 1 and Lu 3”, summarizes the primary reason the names are erased from history: “(*2) Ahaziah was slain by Jehu (2Ki 9:27). Joash was slain by his servants (2Ki 12:20). Amaziah was slain by the people of Jerusalem (2Ki 14:19). Thus GOD’s “visiting” for idolatry was fulfilled literally “to the THIRD and FOURTH generation” (Ex 20:4,5). Their names were therefore “blotted out” according to Law (De 29:20).” [Emphasis original]

            The secondary reason is that Ahaziah is 50% a son of Omri, Ahab’s father, which makes him only half a son of David. Extendedly, Joash was 75% of Omri’s bloodline, and only 25% genetically from David. However, Amaziah was roughly 38% a son of Omri, and Uzziah roughly only 18%, thus correcting the genetics of Jesus being only from David! Verses cited by Jones to draw the above summarized conclusion on pages 38-39—2Ki 12:1; 2Ki 8:27; 2Ch 25:1; and 2Ch 26:3.

            MATTHEW 1:17

            Matthew 1:17 (KJV)—“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.”

            Here many find an error by counting 14 + 14 + 14 = 42, yet only 41 names are given in the genealogy. However, the verse is very clear, the first set begins with Abraham and ends with David, but the second set begins with David and so he needs to be counted twice. This error accusation is therefore unwarranted. See page 39 of Dr. Jones and Acts 2:29 where David is considered a Patriarch and not a King.

            —–“In your comment and in Exodus 20:11, you cite verses, none of which say “Genesis 1 should be interpreted literally.” This decision is an act of interpretation on your part, both of Genesis 1 and the texts that refer to items in Genesis 1.”

            Unsubstantiated assertion. And doubt.

          • First of all, you are about 300 years behind Septuagint scholarship. The oldest fragments we have do occasionally support the Masoretic over the Septuagint, but it almost always goes the other way. But you don’t seem to be a big fan of scholarship, so I’m sure you’ll come up with some way the Septuagint was written by the devil or something.

            As for the rest, I just kept cracking up, because all your responses boiled down to, “Yes, your point is true, but it’s not that bad! Look, I can explain this!” I have never seen such a stalwart dedication to trying to preserve something so self-evidently false. And -I’m- the one you say is like the serpent. Yeesh.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            If ever there was a copout response, this is it. It doesn’t deal with any of the evidence and merely jumps to a conclusion. I told you not to waste my time.

            Don’t bother responding to this post, I only want a real response to this one: http://www.godofevolution.com/reader-testimony-i-was-in-a-cult-i-was-a-creationist/#comment-2215998860

            Any response here will be ignored, because it will not be dealing with the evidence. You admit defeat by commenting here.

          • Oh, I did see I forgot to address your mutation point. Check out Lenski’s experiments. A species of e coli evolved the ability to digest citrate anaerobically – something that used to kill it.

            Honestly, I’m beginning to think that that you’re a sock puppet for Brian Forbes. You sound like him and “know” everything he “knows.”

            I have given you several pieces of evidence and argumentation. Your responses have consistently been: A) Forget I said it and drop it completely, but still proceed to yell at me for not responding to every little detail of everyone you ever linked to, B) Acknowledge my argument as true but explain why it isn’t fatal and equate that with victory (“Ok, yeah, Irenaeus was non literal on Genesis and disagreed with major YEC arguments – but he still took some of Genesis as history, so I pretty much win.”), C) Figure out some way to label my arguments or evidence as being non-Christian and therefore inherently false, or D) Continue to assert a literal understanding of the text (despite that being what is debated) and thus ruling anything else out by default.

            So, yes, I’m having trouble responding to you in a way that you will accept. You are not interested in anything but reinforcing what you already think, and the fact that you decided to reinforce your opinion on a blog about Christianity and Evolution speaks volumes about the intelligence behind your decisions.

            I doubt you will ignore this because of your iron-clad commitment to falsehood, but I think you would be a lot happier surrounding yourself with people who will confirm your incredible sources and affirm arguments that wouldn’t satisfy a child. The AiG website comes to mind, and probably just about any other website that has “creation” or “Genesis” along with “science” or “research” in the title.

            There is just nothing anyone can say to you that you will entertain as valid if you don’t already agree with it. And nobody here agrees with you. This is just dumb.

        • For instance, can I put a wig on a ball, call it Jesus and say, “I believe in you.” Then I kick it into the goal at the end of the field?

          Pretty sure that’s not what anyone here was advocating.

          The person of Jesus matters. The nature of the faith matters, and the practice matters.

          That’s true, but you’re conflating very different things here. Having one particular view of Genesis is not part-and-parcel with having a particular type of faith.
          C.S. Lewis and Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived incredibly faithful, effective Christian lives and continue to make positive impacts for the kingdom today, but neither one interpreted the Genesis creation accounts literally.

          On the other hand, Kent Hovind is a young-earth creationist and was a well-documented habitual liar, as well as a tax cheat who was in prison for 10 years.

          I’m not going to judge anyone who has been taken in by the modern scientific rhetoric, because God is their judge

          Fair enough. Then I won’t judge you for being taken in by the modern, young-earth, anti-science rhetoric.

          but I will point out things like what you didn’t bother to look up before you answered. Seriously, Josephus in one small section of his work disproves the ToE.

          Why in the world am I supposed to be convinced by one fallible ancient historian in the face of (literally and figuratively) mountains of contradictory evidence?

          And if you believe Jesus is descended from a monkey, that is a problem. Luke 3 says who He was descended from.

          In a genealogy that does not agree with the genealogy of Matthew 1 (if you read them wrong).

          Salvation isn’t as simple as you make it out to be.

          And it’s not as difficult as you attempt to make it out to be, by placing unnecessary obstacles in front of the precious good news.

          • Brian Forbes

            I think you completely ignored the point. You could say anything you want by selectively reinterpreting words, etc., and call it proper interpretation, but calling a pig with lipstick your wife doesn’t make it so. We need to try to understand the intended message of the author and not try to get the text to say what we want it to say. And how we live after we’ve properly interpreted God’s Word is very important too.

            I’m not going to judge Lewis or Bonhoeffer for their faulty interpretation. It’s between them and God. But any time we misinterpret scripture, it is dangerous and leads to more error. As to Hovind, I believe you’ll find that you’re lying now. His specific “crime” was in taking out just under 10k from his bank account several times. It was a stupid law. He wasn’t convicted of anything tax related (to my knowledge).

            You are under no obligation to believe any historian for any reason. But I imagine if I talked to you long enough, I could point out your double standard. You talk of cultural context. Why do you believe the historians that give you this context? I’ll tell you, it’s a double standard. I just take people at their word and let the contradictions go unanswered until I have time to figure it out. Even liars tell the truth > 90% of the time. Otherwise the lie loses its effect.

          • We need to try to understand the intended message of the author and not try to get the text to say what we want it to say. And how we live after we’ve properly interpreted God’s Word is very important too.

            That’s true. Your problem is that you have presupposed what the correct interpretation is, and preemptively declared that anyone who has come to a different conclusion is wrong and a worse Christian than you.

            You have, in fact, done exactly what your comment here accuses us of doing, which makes you a hypocrite in addition to being severely mistaken.

            I’m not going to judge Lewis or Bonhoeffer for their faulty interpretation. It’s between them and God.

            He said, before proceeding to judge them for their interpretation.

            As to Hovind, I believe you’ll find that you’re lying now. His specific “crime” was in taking out just under 10k from his bank account several times. It was a stupid law. He wasn’t convicted of anything tax related (to my knowledge).

            Your knowledge of the situation leaves a lot to be desired. From Wikipedia: “On July 11, 2006, Hovind was indicted on 58 counts in the District Court in Northern Florida in Pensacola. The first 12 counts were willful failure to collect, account for, and pay over federal income taxes and FICA taxes, totaling $473,818 for the 12 fiscal quarters of 2001–2003. The next 45 counts were knowingly structuring transactions by making multiple cash withdrawals totaling $430,500 in amounts just under the $10,000 which requires reporting (a technique known as “smurfing”), for which his wife was also charged. The last count was corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the administration of the internal revenue laws by falsely listing the IRS as his only creditor when filing for bankruptcy, filing a false and frivolous lawsuit against the IRS in which he demanded damages for criminal trespass, making threats of harm to those investigating him and to those who might consider cooperating with the investigation, filing a false complaint against IRS agents investigating him, filing a false criminal complaint against IRS special agents (criminal investigators), and destroying records.”

            He was later found guilty by a jury of all 58 counts. The illegal activity you describe occurred not “several times,” but at least 45 times, and was done solely in an effort to avoid reporting the vast wealth he had fleeced from his gullible supporters. This was in addition to failing to pay almost half a million dollars in income and FICA taxes (which I would say probably qualifies as “tax related”).

            You are under no obligation to believe any historian for any reason. But I imagine if I talked to you long enough, I could point out your double standard.

            Sounds like a real blast, but just so you know, I’m going on vacation in a couple days.

            You talk of cultural context.

            I don’t believe any of my comments here have said anything about “cultural context,” other than one time in which I was quoting from your comment.

            So, not off to the greatest start in demonstrating my “double standard”…

          • Brian Forbes

            Hovind is a red herring. Forbes said that it wasn’t specifically for tax protesting. Maybe they were lying. Nobody believes Wikipedia is an absolutely true source. It’s an opinion piece by the Wikipedia editors. Believe what you want about it.
            http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreilly/2013/01/30/not-income-tax-evasion-structuring-thats-how-they-got-kent-hovind/

            But as I said, it’s nothing more than a red herring. It really doesn’t matter how Hovind interprets scripture. This is between us.

            I’m not going to go back and find it, but someone who was arguing me was talking about cultural context. Sorry if I misplaced the blame.

    • AmbassadorHerald

      Thank you so much Brian Forbes for posting the link to your website! I’ve been curious of what you are showing for a while, what was ancient man’s ideas on things? Knowing that they would scoff at evolution, same as small tribes in Africa do today, is a welcome revelation. We know ancient man was intelligent, so their word counts a lot.

      Plus, you’re right, Mr. Francke did not deal with the evidences you provided. Honestly, I doubt he has ever dealt with them in the past, because no one ever brought them forward. This is why he merely attacked you, as a desperate effort for a comeback. Not a professional move, frankly.

      I have bookmarked your website for future digging through, God bless!

      • Well, I’m certainly not going to apologize for criticizing a heretical statement. You can characterize it as a personal attack all you like, but the only reason you guys take it personally is because you have placed your human interpretations of Genesis at the core of your faith, before everything else, including the confession, the gospel and what scripture actually teaches.

        • Brian Forbes

          Could you restate your assertion of heresy, again? From here, it just looked like you said that a person can be saved and believe in evolution at the same time. I agreed with you.

          • In your original comment, you equated assent to your particular, modernist brand of young-earth creationism with the “faith that is required for salvation.” Asserting that a particular interpretation of the creation accounts is a necessary component of saving faith in Christ is absurdly unbiblical and heretical.

          • Brian Forbes

            Because I am the author of that particular comment, I can enlighten you of my intended meaning. But this is a very valuable example of what I’m talking about. It’s far more important to know the original intent of the author than it is to know what the words can possibly mean to you.

            Faith is, among other things, taking God’s words as written. Don’t believe the serpent who asks, “Did God really say…” Rather, believe God at his word. Do what you think he might have meant. And in the case of Genesis, there may be a little wiggle room on honest interpretation, but that’s not what I see you doing. You are, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, saying that the whole account is not an account at all, but a bogus history, created out of the minds of some middle east bronze age goat herders as a moral lesson for the children about obeying authority, etc. And you can tell me, if this is your interpretation, why the heck anyone would make a genealogy back to Noah, let alone back to Adam. Was it to give the story a more powerful punch? If so, seems like a whole lot of deception to me. I’d rather believe it as written. Jesus pointed to it and said that in the beginning, God made them male and female. God wrote with his finger in Ex. 20 that he made the earth in 6 days. How else can you interpret this stuff? I’ve read a lot of articles about alternate interpretations, but they all amounted to, “Genesis isn’t true.”

          • The problem is that you are making a strict dichotomy that doesn’t apply to the ancient Near East.

            In your mind, there are only two options – either it is literal, blow by blow history like a newspaper article, or it is a complete fabrication.

            Unfortunately, ancient Near Eastern literature defies such modernist categorizations. For example, would you say Exodus 15 is “bogus history” because God doesn’t have nostrils? Would you say Joshua 10 is “bogus history” because the sun doesn’t actually stand still in the sky – it would have to be the Earth’s rotation that stopped?

            -Or- would you say that Israel had no problem using figurative language and structures to talk about their past?

          • Brian Forbes

            Tell me how you interpret the Pentateuch. Is it mostly false with some truth? Mostly true with some false things? Mostly false, but true in certain ways? Explain how we should interpret the text and how we can know what is mushy vs. what is historical. And keep in mind that if it doesn’t have a practical application to my own life, then you’re reading it wrongly. The NT authors taught me that much.

          • Um, no, sorry, the Bible was not written for the purpose of telling 21st century Westerners what to do with their lives. It’s pretty much the height of arrogance to tell me that I’m “reading it wrongly” if I don’t make the main point of a passage YOUR life. This story isn’t about you. You’re a minor character in a much larger drama. An extra, really. You’re Gentile #792,643,332 in the closing credits. Maybe you should stop dictating what the Bible -has- to be about and understand it on its own terms.

            The Pentateuch is the beginnings of the story of Israel and YHVH, written largely to set the stage for Israel’s exile. The exile makes no sense without the covenant. Even the creation narrative information is in there to make sense of Israel’s story – God’s son (Adam) is given a law, he does not keep it, and he is exiled. To give meaning to the consequences of the sin of Israel, there has to be an explanation. The Pentateuch is that explanation, or at least a prologue to it.

            The Pentateuch is written much like other Near Eastern documents at the time – collections of history, poetry, myth, treaty, dynastic record, law, prophecy – all wrapped up together with very little hard differentiation. Thus it falls to us, with our knowledge of the ancient Near East and helpful related sources, to try to understand what these Scriptures are trying to tell us.

            For example, Kline and others’ work on the resemblance of the Sinai covenant to Hittite treaty covenants shows us that the Sinai picture of the relationship of YHVH to his people is a king to his vassal state – a picture that becomes disrupted when Israel asks for a human king. If we just pick up the Old Testament and read it at face value as 21st century Westerners, we will read it wrong, because it wasn’t written by 21st century Westerners to an audience of 21st century Westerners.

            It was written by people hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years before Jesus in the Near East by Israelites to Israelites. We have to understand it on its terms, and in the ANE, they often wrote history as theological commentary, and nobody had a problem with it whatsoever. It’s only after the advent of modernism that we get folks like you insisting that the Old Testament fit modernist historiography.

          • Brian Forbes

            Give me source documents that show that people of the past were writing their own history, not as a history, but as a commentary for their own personal culture, never to be used, “for all generations forever.” How many times does it repeat that phrase? What’s more, the text itself interprets itself. I have collected summary chapters for a while now – as often as I find them, I consult my list. For instance, Ps. 105 has a command to “Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced…” How do you do that if it’s a post-hoc parable? Verses 8-9 says that his covenant with Abraham was for a thousand generations. What does that even mean if the covenant never really happened as written? And Nehemiah – the purpose of the book was to remind the people of God’s Law. They read it and cried, because they weren’t keeping it. He summarizes the history, not as an allegory, but a call to remember what happened. Hebrews 11 does the same, calling all that follow Christ to live according to the faith of these men, and he mentions the characters of Genesis as though they were real. “Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.” What does that mean?! If he was never alive, what does that even mean?! To me as a Christian, it means nothing if Abel never existed.

            Look them up, and tell me how I should interpret them:
            1 Sam. 12:6-11

            Ezekiel 20

            Ps. 78

            Ps. 105

            Ps. 106

            Nehemiah 9

            Joshua 24

            Deut 1-4

            2 Kings 17

            Seriously, don’t pass this post by without a detailed answer. How does a person who reads the text interpret these passages? And why does it state these things as though they were history?!

          • Well, that’s an awful lot of exegetical work you’re asking me to do for the privilege of you telling me that I’m wrong and not a proper Christian because you disagree with me, but I like exegesis and it’ll probably be good for me, anyway, so let me get home first and I’ll go through them at least at a one-paragraph level. I think you’ll agree it’s a little unfair to ask me to lay out a detailed exegesis of each one of 9 different passages, one of them spanning 4 chapters.

          • Brian Forbes

            Correction: I’m not asking you agree with me. I’m asking you to either agree with the scriptures or tell me how I’m supposed to.
            Clarification: All those chapters are summary chapters, explaining what has happened in the past. They treat the books as histories, not as moral stories… unless you can show me otherwise.

          • I’m going to start with Ezekiel 20 because I feel that it, and the book of Ezekiel in general, illustrates a lot of our points of contention and will give me the chance to explain myself more clearly.

            The book of Ezekiel was written in the early 6th century BC. Scholars are virtually united that the work is actually Ezekiel’s and not pseudigraphal, although some scholars believe another prophetic tradition contributed material. Personally, I don’t see any particular reason why Ezekiel can’t all be Ezekiel.

            At this time, Judah (the South) was a vassal of Babylon. After a failed rebellion, many Judeans were exiled from Judah and dispersed throughout the empire, including Ezekiel. Babylon’s destruction of the Temple occurs in 586, roughly 6 years after Ezekiel begins receiving his visions.

            Ezekiel is a great example because it combines a lot of different kinds of biblical literature. There is history, prophecy, parables, and apocalypse, just to name a few. This book is by far the most used by John in the book of Revelation, and studying Ezekiel can give us strong hermeneutical cues as to how to read Revelation.

            One example I like to use to illustrate this is Ezekiel 9. In it, Ezekiel has a vision of the destruction of Jerusalem. God tells an angel to go through Jerusalem and place a mark on the foreheads of the righteous. Then, he has six executioners go through Jerusalem and kill everyone who doesn’t have a mark on their forehead.

            Well, this did not literally happen when Jerusalem was sacked. Nobody got marked on their forehead, and the “six executioners” were the vast armies of Nebuchadnezzar. So, what are our options, here?

            If we’re trying to discredit the value of the Bible, we might read this passage literally and use it as an example of prophecies that didn’t come true, thus showing that the Bible is not credible. If we’re fundamentalist, we might read this passage -in the exact same way- but try to make it work. Maybe we’d say that we don’t know “for sure” there were no marks and no six executioners. Or maybe we’d take Ezekiel 9 out of his prophetic context and put it in the distant future with maybe a rebuilt Babylon and the geopolitical state of Israel, so there’s still a chance it’ll be literal -someday-.

            Or, we could say, “The genre here is apocalypse. God is using powerful, prophetic images to describe a future in which he will put Israel to the sword but save a faithful remnant. He wants it to be vivid and terrible, even if the actual events are not going to work out exactly like these images.” This would be 100% consistent with the rest of the OT as well as the many intertestamental and post-testamental examples we have of Jewish apocalyptic.

            Notice, also, that my choices are more diverse than your binary “it’s literally exactly the case” or “it’s a fabricated fable.” There are a lot of ways the Old Testament gets a point across, and often, those different types of literature are interwoven. There is no history in the OT that is not also a theological commentary.

            In Ezekiel 20, the audience is clearly Israel. The Israelite elders ask Ezekiel for a prophetic word, and God gives him a word where He rehearses His history with Israel, highlighting at first His forgiveness and mercy, but ultimately resorting to punishment due to Israel’s persistent idolatry and allegiance with pagan nations.

            While this is a historical rehearsal, it’s also done in a style that is more dramatic and theologically pointed in order to make a point. For instance, in verses 5-6, YHVH says that the deliverance from Egypt was the day that He chose Israel. But God chose Jacob over Esau much earlier. And he chose Abraham even earlier than that.

            What are our options, here?

            Well, one option is to use this as an example of the Bible being wrong. Another option is to try to do some weird trick to make it all work out. But a third option is just to say, “The deliverance from Egypt was a powerful declaration of God’s commitment and election to the entire nation, so God is pointing it out as a singular event that marks the beginning of their relationship as Israel knows it – and this point will be very meaningful to them as He talks about their current relationship.” Historical, but not literal, and with a theological emphasis.

            Note that Ezekiel 20:7-10 also has the Israelites committing idolatry in Egypt and God contemplating destroying them while they are in Egypt, but He decides not to for the sake of His name among the nations and leads them out of Egypt, instead. Yet, Exodus portrays this very differently as God hearing the cries of His people (Ex. 3:7), delivering them for the sake of the promises to their forefathers (Ex. 6:3-5), and making a firm distinction between Israel and Egypt (Ex. 9:6, 11:7). There is no mention of idolatry or God’s contemplation of destroying them, no prohibition against idolatry, and the only story we get about idolatry is after God leads them out of Egypt and -then- gives them the Ten Commandments.

            So, which is it? Does God hear the cries of His people and move to deliver them so He could fulfill the promise He gave to the Patriarchs? Or is Israel an idolatrous nation whom God is about to destroy in the midst of Egypt but reconsiders and decides to liberate them, instead

            OR, since this recitation is a basic summary of God’s relationship with Israel, do some themes just get rolled together in Ezekiel that were discrete events in Exodus? There’s no contest that Israel was an idolatrous nation almost right out of the gates. The details of when exactly this started are irrelevant to God’s purpose in Ezekiel 20, which is to lay a charge at the feet of the Israel of Ezekiel’s day that, despite God’s graciousness, Israel has been constantly unfaithful and have earned the covenant curse.

            In v. 13, God says He considered wiping them out in the wilderness this time. This is recorded in Exodus. In fact, several different events could qualify. Here, as in v. 10, God decides not to do it for the sake of His name. No mention of Moses or his intercession. Once again, we are looking at an overview for the purpose of building a case, not a detailed account of exactly how everything happened.

            Verse 25 is VERY interesting, because God says, as a punishment, he gave Israel laws “that were not good” and “by which they could not have life.” Whoa. Where did this come from? Some of God’s laws were given to Israel that weren’t good and wouldn’t enable them to live? Wonder which ones those were.

            Verse 26 is even more interesting because God claims responsibility for Israel’s sacrifice of their children to Molech, saying this was a way He intended to destroy them. Note, also, that He says “all your children.” The ESV translates this as “firstborn,” but that’s not what the Hebrew says. They probably chose “firstborn” because if Israel had literally offered all their children to Molech, they’d go extinct. Obviously the statement they offered all their children to Molech is meant to be hyperbolic. True, but hyperbolic. They offered LOTS of children to Molech.

            God goes on to say Israel’s forefathers worshipped idols on “every high hill” and “under every green tree.” Obviously, He doesn’t mean they literally set up an idol under every single tree they came across. Once again, there is a historical seed here (Israel was very idolatrous), but God is communicating it in a form that isn’t literally factual. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true; it just means you have to read it the way God meant it – as a figure of speech showing how comprehensively idolatrous Israel was.

            All this serves an important, theological purpose. Israel is God’s elect people, but they have been conquered and dispersed. How can God be keeping His end of the covenant? How did God’s elect end up like this – like some common nation that Babylon just rolled over? That’s why this recitation is necessary – to illustrate that Israel has been unfaithful to covenant right out of Egypt to this day, and thus deserve the punishment (exile from the land) that the covenant stipulates.

            But then, God offers some hope. God will gather his dispersed elect, purge out the rebels, and recommit His people to the covenant, even though He still will not allow them back in the land. But when God has manifested His holiness in this renewed people, then He will bring them back to the land and turn from their evil deeds, even though right now they are in the throes of idolatry.

            The last bit (45-49) is also interesting for our discussion, because God says he will start a fire in Judah that will burn up every single tree and not be quenched, and this flame will burn both the northern and southern kingdoms. I hope it’s apparent that no such literal fire occurred that consumed all the vegetation in the Negeb and covered the entirety of Judah and Israel. Once again, this is an apocalyptic image that God’s judgement is going to start in Judah and sweep over the entirety of Israel – no one will escape no matter which kingdom they’re in or who occupies them.

            Ezekiel’s last comment is great. He is so aghast at what God has told him that he thinks people will consider it a parable (i.e. a fictional story with a moral or a point). But it isn’t a parable. It’s apocalypse. This stuff is actually going to happen in the sense that God intends to communicate, which is not literal. You see how varied and rich the literature can be? And this is just one chapter.

            Is this good, or do you want me to do the others?

          • Brian Forbes

            First, thank you for taking the time to look at the chapter. The literal vs. apocalyptic distinction is very good, and most people I’ve even discussed scripture with will also agree that idols were under every single tree, but it was used as a description of prevalence. But here’s the problem. I don’t have a problem with the way you interpreted those things. My problem was that you can see that Ezekiel was reaching into history. This particular passage only takes us to the Exodus, but it treats it as history, not as parable or hyperbole. There are other passages I’ve mentioned that treat even earlier events as historical. The usage of “your fathers” implies (or stronger – proves) that the recollection was of an actual history – actual events. My problem is not with a less than literal reading of a passage of scripture. My problem is in recounting a history that never actually happened as a foundation for a punishment against them. It’s not fair to have someone make up a story about my life and then punish me for it. If that’s what God does, He’s mean. I can’t accept that is what God does.

            Most of the chapters I cite start with Abraham – which is Genesis. Genesis has genealogies interjected with stories. 1 Chron. 1 takes the genealogies to Adam. If Abraham is true, why wouldn’t those other men be? They are all a part of the same genealogies. Where does it actually start to be history? Heb. 11 takes it back to Abel. I am still at a loss for how you would interpret these chapters without accepting that they are pointing to something historical.

          • I don’t think anyone here anyway is advocating that nothing in Genesis ever actually happened in any way, shape, or form. What I am advocating is that the way you did history in the ancient Near East was painted over a much broader spectrum than just “this is exactly what happened and how it happened” and “none of this ever happened at all in any sense.”

            It also resists applying over wide swaths of texts like a blanket. It’s not all or nothing. Every text is multifaceted and has to be examined and chewed on based on its own merits. I believe God created the heavens and the earth. I believe He did this via largely natural processes in the same way that he causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall (Matt. 5:45). I believe the six days are a framework of literature to A) show YHVH’s superiority to the other Canaanite gods, B) use the realm-ruler parallelisms to show Himself as sovereign and mankind as His chosen ruler on the Earth, C) establish Israel’s God as THE God who created the heavens and the earth, and D) tie Israel’s origins to an act of God’s creation and superintendence.

            God makes these points by using statements that fit together literarily to get those points across, but the statements themselves are not literal. They describe actual events in a non-literal manner. This is also how rabbis have interpreted Genesis 1 as well as Origen, Augustine, Irenaeus, and plenty of prominent and godly learned people throughout church history, and it is only within the last couple of centuries that we have seen a hard-core literal interpretation assert itself.

            That doesn’t make it wrong, and if someone is earnestly convinced that God created the world in six, 24 hour days, I don’t agree, but that’s fine with me. What I -do- disagree with is the idea that Genesis 1 is -best- interpreted 100% literal and that anyone who doesn’t is calling God a liar or doesn’t believe the Bible. That’s just not true. It is -because- I take the Bible so seriously, love it, and believe it that I have studied those rabbis, theologians, Hebrew, Greek, and early history. I want to know it; not just what I get off a surface read.

          • Brian Forbes

            That was the closest thing I’ve gotten to an answer so far. Took a long time to get there. But it’s still missing a lot of stuff.

            I would like to correct something, though. I’ve seen people say that the church fathers have interpreted Genesis in the way you described, but I can say with certainty, having read Augustine in context on the topic, that the claims about him are greatly exaggerated. I can look up Origen and Irenaeus too, and I imagine that they will not say that Genesis isn’t to be interpreted as history. If I’m wrong, please give me chapter and verse. How could they when Heb. 11 says that it should be?

            Ex. 20:11 doesn’t say that because God created with a 6-day framework, we should take a framework-style day off every week. It says 6 days and 1 rest. If the history is to be believed, there were serious consequences for not obeying that literally. It was always taken to mean literal days, as is evidenced by the fact that we still keep the Shabbat to this day. I’m not in the least saying that there can’t be meanings on top of the literal, as I believe there are, but I don’t see God writing something so carelessly.

            Ps. 103:14 “…for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust [in a figuative sense, of course!]”

            So to recap, your last message was meaningful in that it gave interpretations that might be useful beyond the historical reading, but it didn’t demonstrate that the historical reading should not be used. On the contrary, all the ancient Biblical authors who touched on the recounting of history did not first recount the deeper meaning, but the surface history. The genealogies and Heb. 11, etc. show that we are to look at those accounts as historical. If we do not, we might just as easily make Jesus a figurative superhero, who didn’t really rise from the dead, to be seen by hundreds of eye-witnesses, but just like Spiderman, a useful tool for teaching moral truths. And the reasons you gave could as easily be adapted to that interpretation. We can call it the Jesus is Spiderman interpretation. And then the Bible does not remain useful for teaching and instruction, but instead becomes whatever I want it to say – a book that I can mold into my own image, to bow down and worship it.

          • Augustine believed in instantaneous creation, primarily to get around the rather tricky issue of how there could be time “before” the universe when time did not exist. I did a pretty thorough paper and defense on Augustine my sophomore year. It doesn’t make me infallible by any stretch, but there is no way he was a literal 6 day person.

            I agree with you, however, that the early church fathers would not say that Genesis as a whole should not be considered history. I would not say that, either. I had hoped to illustrate via Ezekiel, though, that even the category of “history” is more rich and multi-faceted than “it literally happened or it didn’t.” Genesis was not written in the same way you or I might write a newspaper article on a car wreck.

            Exodus 20:11. Well, first of all, I don’t keep Shabbat and I don’t know of any Christians who do except the Seventh Day Adventists. Most Christians I’m aware of worship on yom reshone (Sunday), not yom shabbat (Saturday).

            But that aside, does Exodus 20:11 depend on a literal six days?

            The teachers of Israel certainly didn’t think so, for a few reasons. First of all, because Genesis 2 said that God finished all His work on the seventh day. How could this happen if he rested on the seventh day? Also, the absence of the evening and morning phraseology indicates that God’s sabbath is eternal, not 24 hours. It is in fact this reading that the author of Hebrews employs when he says that -today- is the day you -enter- into God’s sabbath.

            Shabbat for God is the day He achieves shalom – the uncontested enthronement over His kingdom. This is why the Hebrew word “shabbat” is also used to describe Israelite victory in battle, and also why the author of Hebrews can point out that David did not ultimately bring “shabbat” to Israel.

            We see in Exodus 20 (and earlier in Exodus) that the one day of Israel’s Sabbath is a sacrament. It’s a covenant seal to distinguish them from the nations and identify them as YHVH’s people. YHVH is enthroned over all creation, so they rest.

            Man, the rabbis are full of this stuff, and if anyone took the Sabbath seriously, it’s Jews. The -theological- meaning of the Sabbath is the basis of the commandment, not the 24 hour period. God’s sabbath isn’t 24 hours. He doesn’t go back to creating on Sunday.

          • Brian Forbes

            When you’re wishy washy about the wording, you can say these things, but when you look at what it actually says, I don’t see how it’s possible to believe it. I have read Augustine on this topic, and I agree with you that he left it open for interpretation to some degree, but it is by no means the twisting that would be required for molecule to man evolution. It says six days + rest. Adding the 2nd level of interpretation, sure, you can see more there, but it doesn’t negate the 6+1 days in the least.

            As to when Christians rest, I’m sure you know, having read many of these historical documents, that the origin of that was probably from the anti-semite Constantine, who screwed up Easter to keep it from coinciding with Passover. Jesus taught us to keep the Law (Mt. 5:17-19), and even uses the lawlessness as grounds for keeping people out of heaven.
            http://biblehub.com/text/matthew/7-23.htm

            p.s. – be sure to read my two edits on my last post.

          • It doesn’t -negate- 6 24 hour days (and one eternal one), but it doesn’t -require- them, either. That’s the point.

            You don’t want to accuse these rabbis of being wishy washy. The Maccabees put their relatives to the sword with tears in their eyes for breaking the Sabbath. The Sabbath was no less “real” to them just because it was analogical and not a literal 24 hours.

            This is the main thing I am trying to get across to you. I don’t care if you leave behind a literal interpretation or not. We all have to go with what is convincing to us. I used to have a very literal view of Genesis 1 as well, so I get it. But you have got to let this idea go that anything besides a literal interpretation of the words on the page is somehow “wishy washy” or not real or twisting the words or something.

            I’m sure there are people who do that, no doubt. But I have the position that I do because I am committed to trying to read the text the way God wants me to read the text. If you believe I am failing in doing that, that’s fine – I’m a sinner just like everyone else and there’s nothing particularly special about my brain that allows me to interpret texts at some metahuman level. But you can see what an obstacle it is to any kind of honest dialogue when you are tacitly accusing me of twisting God’s words for my own purposes.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            So, just because the literal reading is not “required”, but still not “negated”, it cannot be literal?

          • Sure, it can be literal. Just like, if I say, “It’s raining cats and dogs outside,” I could be taken literally. I might be saying cats and dogs are literally falling from the sky.

            The question is: is that the best or most likely reading?

          • AmbassadorHerald

            Fair question, so, now take me through Genesis 1 and show me in detail the grammatical reasons the days are not literal.

          • I think the days are best understood as a framework device because:

            1) The repeated “evening and morning” stanzas indicate a non-prosaic literature, especially since the phrase is absent from the seventh day, which sets it apart from the rest.

            2) The pattern of what goes in what days is a parallelism where God creates a realm, then the ruler of that realm. Light & Dark in day 1, Sun and Moon in day 4. Sky and Sea in day 2, birds and fish in day 5. Dry land in day 3, land animals in day 6 culminating in man after God’s own image. Day 7, God obtains shabbat, designating him as king over all creation. The pattern is clearly theological and unlikely to be sequential, as God creates light in day 1, but He doesn’t create a source for the light until day 4.

            3) Genesis 1 strongly reflects the structure of other near-Eastern creation stories such as the Enuma Elish. The primary difference is that, where other ANE stories have a deity battling with primordial chaos before building the universe out of it, YHVH does not battle, but commands and it obeys, thus elevating YHVH above the other gods in the area. This suggests that the account has the purpose of “overthrowing” the other accounts and is following their structure for that purpose.

            4) Genesis 2 gives an alternate sequence of events.

            5) The use of non-literal language to describe events is well attested to in Scripture. One example is Exodus 15 which occurs immediately after the Red Sea event. It is obviously a non-literal telling of the event since an account that is “literally” contradictory occurs immediately before it. It is a common feature of ANE history to weave in and out of literary genre and combine commentary with account.

            6) The vast majority of natural data suggests the Earth is the product of a long, incremental process. Since God reveals Himself through natural revelation as well as special revelation, this has to be taken into our account of special revelation. For instance, we know the Earth is a sphere because of natural revelation even though the Bible says it has four corners. We understand these do not conflict because the “four corners” is figurative. We do this all the time with other Scriptures, and there is no particular reason why it shouldn’t also apply to Genesis 1.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            POINT #1

            Amazing, I have never heard anyone try to turn the phrase “evening and morning” around to say it means symbolism. Everyone just denies the evidence, usually. It was bound to happen sooner or later, non-literalists couldn’t let it be put in their face forever before deciding it had to be dealt with.

            First, how then do you explain the fact that all other 20 occurrences of these two words together signify a literal 24-hour day? Ex 16:8; Ex 18:13; Ex 27:21; Le 24:3; 1Sa 17:16; 1Ki 17:6; 2Ki 16:15; 1Ch 16:40; 2Ch 2:4; 2Ch 13:11; 2Ch 31:3; Ezr 3:3; Job 4:20; Ps 55:17; Ps 65:8; Ps 90:6; Ec 11:6; Eze 33:22; Da 8:26; & Ac 28:23.

            Second, have you missed what the 7th-Day literally says?

            Genesis 2:1-4, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that The LORD God made the earth and the heavens,” (KJV)

            Genesis 2:1-4, “And the heavens and the earth are completed, and all their host; and God completeth by the seventh day His work which He hath made, and ceaseth by the seventh day from all His work which He hath made. And God blesseth the seventh day, and sanctifieth it, for in it He hath ceased from all His work which God had prepared for making. These are births of the heavens and of the earth in their being prepared, in the day of Jehovah God’s making earth and heavens;”

            God was resting from the work He had pre-prepared for doing, and no more creating was needed. The end of God’s creative work, in the sense of universal creation, still continues today. Obviously on Day 7 exactly, God likely rested from all work as an example for us in Exodus 20:11, but began other work besides creating on Day 8. The inclusion of “evening and morning” would mean God could continue creating later, but all He does now is make Christians into new creatures (2Co 5:17 & Ga 6:15).

            POINT #2

            Your main contention here seems to be twofold: A) the framework you mentioned above, and B) that light appeared without a source.

            First, the framework argument is the exact same Scientific Creationists use. When you are working on a puzzle, a building, a vehicle, or any other construction project, you begin with the frame and then fill it in. This is a completely logical method at executing plans. Why do you find fault in God for using it? If He was wrong, then I guess we should stop using it ourselves.

            Second, you have continually bashed Brian for “limiting God” and yet here you are doing it yourself. Do you not think God can just have light come from nowhere? You speak of wanting faith beyond your understanding, well, there is faith beyond understanding. But honestly, there was a light source, or do you deny that God is light? In the future we see the same exact setup—God, light, and no sun (Re 21:11,23 & Re 22:5)!

            POINT #3

            Has the thought even ever crossed your mind that other creation stories may be copies from the original one in Genesis? This would explain their similarities and allow God to be the original and supreme God.

            POINT #4

            Please see these comments for my response:
            http://www.godofevolution.com/10-theological-questions-no-young-earth-creationist-can-answer/#comment-2131185813
            http://www.godofevolution.com/10-theological-questions-no-young-earth-creationist-can-answer/#comment-2131187584

            POINT #5

            The clear differences between Exodus 15 and Genesis 1 are that A) Exodus 15 has the true account recorded previously, while Genesis 1 is the first account, and B) Exodus 15 is a song, and songs are often poetic in favor of being a song, while Genesis 1 is prose through-n-through.

            However, what has you saying this song is not literal? Is it that God “threw” the Egyptian armies into the sea? Well, this Hebrew word also means: delude, deceive, betray, and beguile. That God literally did, didn’t He?

            POINT #6

            Ah, so we finally each 100% outside of The Holy Bible, and reveal the topmost reason. This is the foundation for all the ones above. Well, consider the dating methods below.

            The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is on the order of 3,700 years old, using the known average rate of coral growth: 15 mm per year. The Electromagnetic Field of the Earth is a maximum of 8,700 years old, using the known rate of decay: 50% every 1,400 years. The Mayans are recognized as the foremost mathematicians of ancient history, and they calculated the beginning of our current universe to be August 11, 3114 BC, about 5,100 years ago. We find radiohalos, spherical areas of solid rock effected by an imbedded radioactive substance at the time it was formed, which have a half-life of 164 micro-seconds, such as Polonium214 in granite.

            The list could go on, but these all match The Bible’s Genealogical Chronology. Archbishop James Ussher calculated the Noachian Deluge at 2348 BC, a bit longer than 4,300 years ago, which leaves a 600-year-gap before the Great Barrier Reef began growing. Ussher calculated the Creation of the universe to be 4004 BC, putting the Electromagnetic Field at 2,700 years younger than its max, with the Mayans only 900 years short. And modern science has calculated that the earth’s bedrock had to be created instantly, just as expected in Genesis 1.

            As for the four corners of the earth, you must not have looked into this issue before you typed this comment. Please take a look at the following two articles:

            Science News Letter, 87:390 June 19, 1965. http://www.tpot.org/BibleGuys/feb99/ScienceandtheBible.html

            Milwaukee Sentinel; Page 7, Part 1; Wednesday, June 9, 1965. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1368&dat=19650609&id=32pQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3hAEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7380,1218930

            POINT #7

            Brian Forbes has already dealt with Jewish Rabbis sufficiently. Especially here: http://www.godofevolution.com/reader-testimony-i-was-in-a-cult-i-was-a-creationist/#comment-2199278760

          • That’s funny. I don’t remember saying, “Please tell me your thoughts on this.” You asked what indicators are in the text that indicate it isn’t literal, and I told you. I didn’t need seven points of your very specious argumentation, most of which came from other people.

            Still, because I can’t resist:

            1. What you did not offer is a passage where “evening and morning” is a refrain. That was my point – not that the phrase “evening and morning” is used, but that it is used six times as a refrain to divide up the text. That’s something you do in a song or a story.

            And that phrase is not literal everywhere it appears. For instance, Psalm 90:6 says that grass flourishes in the morning and fades and withers in the evening – obviously not referring to a single 24 hour period. In Psalm 65:8, YHVH makes the going forth of the “morning and evening” shout for joy. A literal norning and evening cannot shout. In Isaiah 17:14, he prophesies the destruction of Damascus and says “At evening time, behold, terror! At morning they will be no more,” which, if literal, would mean the siege of Damascus lasted one night.

            And then, of course, there’s Day 7, which is obviously not a literal 24 period. It is somehow both the day that God finished his work (what was He doing?) and rested from it, and it is an eternal state the author of Hebrews encourages us to enter.

            Anyway, find me a passage where “evening and morning” are a repeated refrain to divide up the narrative and the narrative is clearly literal, and I might concede this point.

            2. Um, how is light a “frame” for the sun? Your response is highly speculative and, not surprisingly, does not come from the text at all.

            Light needs a light source. It is not a substance that can just float around. It has to travel from an emitter. Saying God could create light without a light emitter is like saying He could create water without hydrogen atoms. It’s not about God’s power – it’s that by definition it can’t exist. It would be like saying He created vision on Day 1, then created eyeballs on Day 3.

            I do deny that God is literally made out of photons, yes. Also, Genesis 1 LITERALLY says God created the light. Are you saying God created Himself? If God is light and counts as a light source, how could there only be darkness? It would make way more sense for God to create darkness in that scenario.

            3. Since other ANE creation accounts are much older than Genesis, no, it has not crossed my mind that Genesis was the original and every other culture copied it and made their gods look inferior to YHVH. That makes no sense.

            4. This refutation is interesting for two reasons. One, for someone who claims to accept the text at face value, you wrote a ton of material explaining why the text doesn’t mean what it looks like at face value. Two, it’s totally false. The Masoretic text does not allow for the artificial nuances you bring by using the English translations. Ancient Israel did not write the KJV. You can’t take shades of meaning (and arbitrary ones at that) of English words and use those to try to make this work. Rabbis don’t; why should you?

            Siah means shrubs and bushes, and eseb is grass, plants, herbs, and vegetation. Yismah means to spring up, either as new growth or growth on an existing item such as tree branches. It’s very simple. There could be no plants because there was no water and no people to cultivate them, so God solves the water problem and the people problem. They aren’t some special kind of plants or plants after the plants or any weird thing like that. For someone who claims to read Genesis literally, you sure do twist the text a lot to make your scheme work out.

            5. Are you honestly arguing that, since Exodus 14 comes before Exodus 15, that Genesis 1 must be the literal account because it comes before Genesis 2? And… would that make Genesis 2 less literal?

            You are correct that Exodus 15 is a song. How do we know it is a song? Because of its structure. I’m sorry, but prosaic historical accounts do not use symmetrical parallelisms and repeated stanzas to make their news report. It would definitely make history books more interesting, but that’s not how you write literal historical accounts. Can you imagine if someone wrote a biography of Abraham Lincoln and every few paragraphs had exactly the same sentence structure and ended with, “And thus Abraham Lincoln acted. And thus, he began to act?” Wouldn’t you think the author was doing something besides just a straight up literal account?

            And, no Exodus 15 is not literal unless you believe God has nostrils and blew the sea apart with them.

            6. It’s interesting that you called this my main reason since it is #6 out of #7. It is actually not an important reason to me at all. It is by studying the Bible that I came to my views.

            I don’t have time to address every point you raised, here, except to point out that every last one of them is a total myth. Totally. You did not give one shred of scientifically accurate information. If you’re going to falsely malign my motives, at least you could try to be right about something.

            7. Brian did not say anything about Jewish rabbis. He just said that he attends a congregation that observes Jewish customs, which shows that they misunderstand the New Testament just as badly as the Old Testament.

            Rabbinical literature – the people who have had to exegete Genesis and all of its difficulties WAY before you or Darwin or any of that stuff – know that Genesis 1 is a symbolic framework. It is a given for them. It is not even a source of debate. It is so clear to these people who formed the Hebrew canon what they had been given. The very people who received it from the very source.

            But you know Genesis way better than they do, right?

            Look, “Herald,” I don’t know why you’re here. This is a site about being Christian and believing in evolution. No one here agrees with you or finds you convincing. Maybe you feel like you’re doing God’s work here, but I assure you that you are not unless it’s God’s mission to make you look like a total moron. Tyler is a Christian; I am a Christian; the people interested in this blog are by and large Christians, and we aren’t going out to YEC blogs to pick fights in their comments.

            What do you honestly think you’re accomplishing besides proving how unbiblical YEC is really is?

          • AmbassadorHerald

            Intro: so you expected I would not respond… fascinating.

            Point 1: well done, you caught three little errors in my verse listing. It does not disqualify the argument, though, as the list is still 17-to-3. The statistics are highly in my favor.

            Now, to pull from #5 where you return to the issue here, your logic is very much flawed. Tell me, how would you recount a week-long vacation? Would you not repeatedly say “on the first day”, “on the second day”, “on the third day”, etc.? Without the “repeated stanza” you would end up with a recounting void of day indicators. In other words, a vacation which happened in one long 168-hour day (24 x 7)!

            I think your accusation that God lied to us here is unfounded and very much one of doubt, as always. http://www.godofevolution.com/reader-testimony-i-was-in-a-cult-i-was-a-creationist/#comment-2204008661 I mean really, do you not think God would have written Genesis 1 in such a way as to try to describe the notion of evolution, if that were the truth? Why wait till Darwin to popularize it, and in a way so as to lead people away from God and The Sacred Scriptures?

            Point 2: your opening remark is considerably not thought through. You just called yourself a liar! For example, you said, “I think the days are best understood as a framework device because: … Light & Dark in day 1, Sun and Moon in day 4.” You yourself called this a framework!

            Furthermore, seeing as we are both going literally here, God created everything from nothing, so why is light spontaneously bursting out of a void so groundbreaking? Besides, all you did here was prove my original statement correct, “You speak of wanting faith beyond your understanding, well, there is faith beyond understanding.” If you want greater faith, become a YEC!

            Plus, what God really did was create space and time in Genesis 1:1. When at first there was nothing, no physical space or time, now there was a bubble in the middle of the vast nothingness where something existed. {Sounds a bit like the “Neverending Story” huh?} If we assume God as the light source, all He needed to do was not allow His light into the universe and then allow it to burst in.

            And no, light cannot illuminate something that is not there. Before the universe, light and dark were both nonexistent, which is why both are named for the first time in v.5. So far, all you’re doing is spreading doubt.

            Point 3: see my comment to Corey: http://www.godofevolution.com/reader-testimony-i-was-in-a-cult-i-was-a-creationist/#comment-2200663893 And this is still nothing but doubt.

            Point 4: your first paragraph is mostly unsubstantiated assertions. You have not discredited the Towledah, you have not discredited my revised grammar for v.5-6, and I never said Adam wrote the KJV. Practically no literalists will handcuff themselves to the English but instead to the original languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.

            The fact that different English words, such as “on” vs. “in”, can be translated indicates the multiple uses of Hebrew connecting words. The English is not perfect, but some versions are better than others. Here the KJV, NASB, and ESV all preserve the intended meaning of the text, while the NIV creates a contradiction. Tyler Francke did this on purpose, I’d say.

            Next, the Hebrew. Your “siah” compares to Strong’s H7880 “siyach” and does indeed mean shrubs and bushes. Your “eseb” is Strong’s H6212 by the same spelling and means grass and herbs. And your “yismah” compares to Strong’s H6779 “tsamach” and means to spring up, sprout, and bud. Congrats on getting these right, however you did not go into H6213 “asah” used when God makes everything in the universe, or H5193 “nata” for planting Eden, both of which I included in my other post http://www.godofevolution.com/10-theological-questions-no-young-earth-creationist-can-answer/#comment-2131187584

            Oh, and I still see only doubt!

            Point 5: no, don’t be ridiculous. I am saying that if Genesis 1 were a non-literal retelling of something which happened previous, we should have said something recorded previous, just like in Exodus 15.

            Also, I cannot imagine how you missed the reason we know Exodus 15 is a song! How do we know? IT SAYS SO!!! “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto The LORD,” that is the first words of the chapter, in Exodus 15:1. Not a single person who trusts the text should need to analyze the structure of it to see if it is a song when it unashamedly proclaims that it is! Only a doubter would use the reason you did, so once again you use your favorite tool.

            Plus, you will notice I did not forget the fact that Exodus 15 is a song, and therefore did not neglect the fact it can use symbolic language. But the breath of God still did literally part the Red Sea, it just did not come from a physical nose. Interestingly, you should have looked deeper into the Hebrew. The YLT says for Exodus 15:8, “And by the spirit of Thine anger”. The word translated nostril in the KJV can also mean an angry huff, but that doesn’t matter to you, does it?

            Point 6: seriously? You’re pulling a “Tyler Francke” with this? Unless you do try to deal with the evidences presented here in some way, I will consider your assertions merely that, unfounded opinions based on doubt. You can find out more about the dating methods mentioned at the links below:

            “How old is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef?” by Peter Read and Dr. Andrew Snelling. Creation 8(1):6–9 November 1985. [8/5/15]

            “The Earth’s Magnetic Field and the Age of the Earth” by Dr. Andrew Snelling. Creation 13(4):44-48 September 1991. [8/5/15]

            “The Longcount and 2012 AD” Maya Exploration Center. [8/5/15]

            “Polonium Radiohalos: Still “A Very Tiny Mystery” ” by Dr. Andrew Snelling. Acts & Facts 29(8) 2000. [8/6/15]

            If evolution really isn’t that big of a deal with you, then you should be more than willing to question it on the foundational motives against God.

            Point 7: okay, you have made this claim repeatedly, including stating that it goes back to the “earliest times”. You have not done anything more than make a claim. No evidence to back it up. So, now you are being called up to the plate. Prove this claim and provide the year the statement provided is thought to have been written.

            If you can’t—and even if you do—it only comes down to more doubt. Because I know that there are numerous Jewish Hebrew scholars and historic records which confirm Genesis 1’s literalness. But, I am not required to prove it unless you give me something to refute.

            Lastly, in regards to your personal message to me: I came here in response to Mr. Francke’s “Ten Dares” to YECs. And he didn’t even have the guts to respond to it all, much less read it. As for why I entered this blogpost, I wanted to give my public appreciation to Brian Forbes and demonstrate that The Holy Scriptures are God’s Word to Corey. My top two reasons.

            I know you, Corey, Tyler, and others claim to be Christians, but I see very little evidence of that. All of you here, you only question the authenticity of the history in The Holy Bible. What kind of faith is that? James 2:26, “for as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also the faith apart from the works is dead.” (YLT) So far the works I see are destructive. Doubt has no weapons, which is why Brian has put to silence 3 of those who opposed him. We have The Biblical Facts, and the scientific facts, while evolution has none.

          • 1. I never said God lied. You are the one equating “literal” with “true” and “non-literal” as “lie,” which is absurd. If I say that it’s raining cats and dogs outside, am I lying? If I said there was a beautiful sunset last night, am I lying?

            Your vacation analogy is weird and speculative. In fact, most of your response here is, “Don’t you think God would do this? Don’t you think God would do that?”

            The fact is, I only know what God did do, and that is bring to us an account that is not scientifically accurate. Why did He do this? Because scientific accuracy is just as relevant to Genesis 1 as it is to a love letter. It has nothing to do with the theological points and truths about God and His people that are being communicated.

            2. I did call the days a framework – a literary framework like stanzas in a poem or panels in a triptych. Your contention is that they are a literal, physical framework without which creation could not proceed and, in this scheme of yours, light has to exist as a frame before God can create the sun, which makes no sense.

            Yes, I do find the creation of light without a light source inherently contradictory. Once again, light is not a substance that just sits out there. It’s not like water or rock. It is emitted and travels. It would be like saying God created roaring and then created lions three days later. Roaring doesn’t exist in open space as a thing by itself. It is emitted and travels.

            Further, God sets up the Sun and Moon as “rulers” of the day and night, which seems odd if God Himself is the light.

            3. I don’t understand what you’re getting at, here.

            4. I didn’t “discredit” the “Towledah” because it’s there. There’s nothing to discredit. If anything, it proves my point by drawing a similarity to other ANE genealogies, which are selective and organized for the purpose of making a theological point.

            Your -primary- argument, however, has nothing to do with the Hebrew, but with differences of nuances in the English words. That was my point. In order for your scheme to work, the Hebrew actually has to mean, “Plants that weren’t created, but came after the plants that were, which do not grow at all.” There is just no good reason to read the Hebrew this way, and the only way someone would superimpose such a reading is to make Genesis 1 work out literally.

            5. The prologue does say it’s a song, that’s true, and quite helpful in this instance. But does it invalidate any of the structural observations? Does it not follow the structure of a song? Can we not identify parables, songs, poems, quotations, and apolcalyptic literature without a sentence that explicitly tells you that’s what’s going on? This is how you deal with texts. This is how you deal with all texts. “Johnny Tremain” does not start with a sentence that says, “This is historical fiction.”

            The YLT says “spirit” instead of “breath” in 15:8 because they are the exact same word in the Hebrew. Ruach. It is what God is as well as what God breathes into man and the animals to give them life.

            Nostrils, however, is another story. The only other place happeka appears is in Genesis 3 to describe “the sweat of your happeka.” It does not mean “angry wind” or whatever it was you said.

            Exodus 15 also says that God is a man of war. Is God a man? It says the Israelites were “children of Israel.” But weren’t they actually many generations removed from Jacob? Moses says that God is “his song.” Is God a song?

            Obviously I could keep going like this and, if I were you, I’d stop trying to argue that Exodus 15 is a literal account of the parting of the Red Sea, because if that’s your definition of literal, then my interpretation of Genesis 1 is not only possible, but plausible.

            6. If by pulling a Tyler you mean “not reading all the articles you linked to and providing a scientific refutation of each one,” then yes, I’m pulling a Tyler. That’s very unfair. That would be like me linking to every BioLogos article and demanding you refute them. I don’t have time to do that (I actually don’t have time for THIS, truth be told) and, in many cases, I probably don’t have the expertise to do it.

            Like I said, I’m convinced of my position for exegetical reasons, not scientific ones. The fact that virtually every scientist agrees with me is just gravy.

            7. Well, I’m not going to go through every midrash when you could do the research yourself if you’re interested. For instance, the Genesis Rabbah is 4th century. Here are some selections from it (http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/mhl/mhl05.htm). Note gems like “Let there be light” referring to the writing of the book of Leviticus.

            In commenting on Genesis Midrash in his book “Judaism and the Doctrine of Creation,” Samuelson says:

            the sages agree that the creation of this earth and sky was a single divine event and not a series of distinct occurrences spread out over six or seven days.

            Philo, writing in the early first century, writes in “On the Creation”:

            He says that in six days the world was created, not that its Maker required a length of time for His work, for we must think of God as doing all things simultaneously, remembering that “all” includes with the commands which He issues the thought behind them. Six days are mentioned because for the things coming into existence there was a need of order… For it was requisite that the world, being most perfect of all things that have come into existence, should be constituted in accordance with a perfect number, namely six.

            The Pseudo-Jonathan Targum, written at the time of Ezra, explains that the Sun and Moon were actually equal in glory, but “After the moon spoke with a slanderous tongue against the sun, and it was made smaller.” And that’s when God decided to set the lesser light to rule the night.

            I could go on like this, but you get the drift. Possibly your more literal rabbinic literature comes from Ibn Ezra in the 11th century, where he does say that the “day” refers to “the rotation of the sphere,” but then he goes on to talk about how God created the sky by stretching out sunlight that was cooled by the ocean, so I’m not sure he counts as a bastion of literalism.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            #1—your trying to say that only non-literal interpretations are accurate was used by you on Brian repeatedly, but you never disqualified the literal. Just because a passage can have meanings above the literal doesn’t negate the base literalness. You ultimately backed down from him so I will consider this line of argumentation null and void.

            You would not tell people a day-break when telling a vacation which lasted a week? Suit yourself, but if you literally want people to understand a timeline, you better reconsider your position. You could have done 7 things at noon and someone might argue you contradicted yourself, because you can’t be in 7 places at once.

            And it is impossible to be “Scientifically Accurate” about a miraculous act, such as Genesis 1. Miracles do not follow natural laws because they are supernatural. What we can do is look at the science immediately after the supernatural event. Like Radiohalos which dissipate faster than you blink your eye, yet exist in rock that supposedly formed in a bit longer than a millisecond. Brian went over this with you too, so, moot point.

            #2—I never said the framework was needed or it could not proceed, but that you begin with a frame and then fill it in. My analogy used structures which must be framed or would not be complete-able, but God is not human. A miraculous act can continue no matter the state it is left in at any point. Don’t limit God, unless He gives you permission, like Genesis 1.

            God said, “Let light be!” and light is (YLT). God never said, “Let light end!” and light stopped. Everything God called into existence stayed in existence—water, land, birds, fish, etc.—because we see it all today. The light did not stop after a single ray simply because God did not keep commanding it to shine. It shined and continued to shine until the Sun was put in place.

            You said, “God sets up the Sun and Moon as “rulers” of the day and night, which seems odd if God Himself is the light.” Beep, try again. In my scenario, God WAS—past tense—the light source. Now the source is the Sun, Moon, and stars. God’s light was a place-filler until the actual physical light-emitters replaced it.

            #3—my point is that physical writing goes all the way back to Adam, demonstrated in Genesis 5:1. Since God gave Adam Genesis 1, and Adam recorded Genesis 2, 3, and 4, and so on and so forth. Then all other creation myths are copies from Genesis, not vice versa. You’re doubting the Towledah, which is in the text as you confirmed.

            #4—you are failing miserably here, so unless you can really demonstrate the Hebrew vocabulary seen in Gen. 2 does not read the way I pieced together, you will be considered as incorrect and doubting the text. You’ve struck out twice, 3x and you’re out.

            #5—sure you can study the structure of a text, but it will only take you so far. You are trying to push it too far, so as to say Genesis 1 is a song or poetry, yet you have not even dealt with the vacation analogy. Day-markers are NEEDED in a multi-day process. There is no alternative!

            As for my definitions of words, you know full well where I get them from: Strong’s. I’ve said so before. Yes, I remember you have a bit deeper access to Hebrew than Strong’s but don’t act like I am making things up. H639 ‘aph, used 276 times in 269 verses, and means “properly, the nose or nostril; hence, the face, and occasionally a person; also (from the rapid breathing in passion) ire [anger, angry, wrath]”.

            Are you trying to say Exodus 15:8 should say “blast of Thy face”? Or that Genesis 3:19 should say “sweat of thy nose”?

            #6—you would not have been indoctrinated the way you were if not for evolution. So really, you are just following the crowd. Doubting God’s Word.

            And, just to remind you, I warned you that unless you dealt with the very few dating methods I provided—just 4—which are based on observable science, you would have failed this point. So, your list of 7 is down to 6! I will not deal with #6 again because you just struck out. If you don’t have time for a proper response, then don’t waste other’s time by responding.

            #7—if Jewish scholars were honestly as against a literal reading of The Hebrew Scriptures as you claim, why is it that we are in year 5775 according to Israel’s official calendar? Fascinating it is only about 6,000 years old, working off the literal Genesis days and Biblical genealogies. Plus, Brian gave you plenty of passages within The Old Testament—9 actually—which recount a literal history of Israel. These are both Jewish commentaries and God-inspired commentaries on their history.

            Clearly, the historical view was that it was literal. The oldest example you provided is circa 537 BC. This is after the Babylon Exile. It is common knowledge that many doctrines got confused during those years. Give me proof from when Israel was still an independent nation, such as Brian has done against you.

            Seriously dude, this is not convincing, but I am also not surprised. It is not Jewish tradition AT ALL that their history did not happen as written. They stake their LIVES on it each and EVERY day!!! Muslims want them dead and it is based on God’s Word that Israeli’s fight on.

          • 1) I made it very clear that a literal interpretation was possible, but it was not the best choice for Genesis 1. Now you seem to be claiming Genesis 1 is both literal and non-literal. You’re wanting me to prove a literal reading is impossible, and I can’t prove a literal reading of Romeo and Juliet is impossible because you can’t prove a negative. I think it’s clearly an inferior reading.

            If I were describing my vacation, I might indicate what days things happened, but I sure wouldn’t apply them in a systematic, literarily predictable framework that closed with a repeated refrain. If I told you about my vacation, and I followed a strict sequence where ended it with, “And there was evening and morning, the X day,” you might well wonder what I was doing. But ultimately, this is silly because God is not describing a vacation and your insistence I deal with The Vacation Analogy is hilarious.

            2) I still don’t know what you’re getting at, here. You’ve moved the goalposts so many times. I’ll just assume you believe that God emits photons and get on with my life. I think that’s ridiculous, but you are clearly not above believing ridiculous things if it makes your scheme work (cf. Adam writing portions of Genesis).

            3) Genesis never says Adam wrote those passages. What if I told you Adam’s last name was Schmidt? Would you believe it? Why not? Is it because the Bible never says that and it’s a totally artificial and unnecessary thing to believe?

            I’m sorry, this is just the stupidest. Adam would have to know Hebrew, how to write Hebrew, and create a written record that survived long enough to canonize. Our oldest copy of the Masoretic is 1000 years old, but Adam’s writing would have to survive much longer than that, find its way from Abel to Seth, to Noah and through a worldwide flood in your view, to Abraham, into Canaan, out of Canaan, into Egypt, out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and into Canaan and, at some point in all that, Moses incorporated it into his own writings.

            This is insane.

            4) I can’t demonstrate why the word “sandwich” doesn’t mean “baseball,” either. It just doesn’t, and if you don’t see why that isn’t self evidently wrong, no amount of explaining is going to convince you. You don’t know Hebrew and your argument depends heavily on shades of meaning of the English translations. I can’t prove that you’re wrong, but I find it massively unlikely that you’re right. I choose to go with people who have studied Hebrew and translation.

            5) Well, first of all, I’d say to show me the text where it’s best translated “rapid breath,” but then I realized that I’m arguing with you over whether or not a song is the same as a literal historical account. Then I began to rethink my life choices that led me to actually having to prove this to someone.

            6) I was raised fundamentalist Baptist. I was indoctrinated into YEC. It’s only through careful Bible study and historical study that I came to believe it was a stupid way to understand the Bible. Don’t tell me what my background was or what my motives were. If you want to harbor suspicions, fine, but don’t pronounce them as fact. I don’t go around saying that you hold onto YEC because you have a lack of assurance of salvation and significant mental problems.

            7) The Hebrew calendar went through several different schemes of dating (for a long time, it was from the destruction of the Temple) until the 12 century(!!!) when Maimondes reset the calendar to one year before creation which he set at what is now 5775 years ago. Israel, btw, uses the mathematical calendar, same as you, and once the year was reset, the mathematical calendar was used for the Hebrew calendar going forward. You’ll recall I also pointed out Ibn Ezra’s writings on the subject around the same time period.

            You can’t use the OT passages to establish rabbinical tradition because the meaning of the biblical text is exactly what we’re debating. We’re trying to figure out how to interpret texts, not whether or not they exist. Find me some actual midrashim that demonstrates that rabbinical understanding of Genesis 1 was primarily literal in their roots and stop making ridiculous statements like, “Clearly, the historical view was that it was literal.” when you can’t even muster one example of “the historical view,” and your criticism of my evidence is that it comes from the fresh contemporary scholarship of the 6th century Before Christ and therefore is too recent to be admissible.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            #1—I said passages can have many layers of meaning, same as Brian did, but just because one way to take a passage is true, does not say that taking it literally is not true either. You want to disprove a literal take on a passage, show elsewhere in The Holy Bible how you know the literal is false in that area. So far I’ve only seen passages that take Genesis 1 literally. So I’m glad you see the literal as possible, because it is the only one The Holy Bible entertains.

            And if you were verbally telling of your vacation, sure you’d mix up events as they come to mind, and only tell the best events because time is limited. But history books do not have that luxury. They do need to be systematic and in a literarily predictable framework. They tell you the year upfront, or the age upfront, or even a complete date upfront, or a mix of two or more. Today we don’t close things off with the date, we open it with them. But it is the same exact thing.

            #2—I have not moved the goalposts, the topic is still light, did it come from nowhere or God Himself? If nowhere, it fits exactly with where everything else in Genesis 1 came from—nothing. If from God, you just deny that God can do whatever He wants, and if He chooses to make His light be physical photons, who is to say He can’t? Besides, you forget that Paul was blinded by Jesus’ light, which was too bright to look at in Acts 9:1-9.

            #3—so you would rather hold to the Oral Tradition hypothesis? Even with all the known evidence that verbal phrases can easily change with time, even by accident? Ever played the game “Telephone”?

            More severe than that, you’d rather give ancient man an excuse not to believe in Yahweh? God says all people are without excuse in Romans 1:20, but if God did not give the true account of how the earth was made, then all the peoples who made their own myths had an excuse. They did not have any written documents by which to know the truth. You yourself admit the Towledah structure is used by other cultures, which makes God more holy since He gave them the truth and they rejected it but copied His literary structure.

            #4—you can’t prove the meaning of the English word “sandwich” does not mean a “baseball”? Then your knowledge of English is not very comprehensive. Therefore, why should I take your word for it that the Hebrew word “tsamach” does not mean “spring up, sprout, and bud” and translate to “grew” (KJV)? Or that “nata” does not mean and translate to “planteth” (YLT) in the agricultural sense?

            For Pete’s sake, the first word you gave the correct definition for (“yismah” in your transliteration), I just copied it again. You have not demonstrated how these words should be used in this passage if NOT the way I used them. You have not shown that their usage in Chapter 2 but absence in Chapter 1 makes the chapters complimentary of each other, considering Chapter 1 mentions all the plants already having “zera” or seeds ready to be harvested, planted, and grown.

            You are the one who claims up-n-down and back-n-forth that you can read Hebrew. If so, prove that the Hebrew connecting word translated “no shrub had yet appeared -ON- the earth” in the NIV [emphasis mine] should be translated that way rather than the KJV’s “every plant of the field before it was -IN- the earth” [emphasis mine]. Demonstrate that my restructuring of Genesis 2:5b-6 does not work in the Hebrew:

            “Because The LORD God [Yahweh Elohim] had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground, so there was a mist which went up from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.”

            If you cannot establish all of these things then you have proven nothing except your ignorance of Hebrew. Which disqualifies your entire discussion about “dying thou shalt/dost die” (KJV/YLT). That phrase is hard to translate, yet the words and phrases in the limelight now are easy and clear. If you can’t disprove my evidences here, your denial there is also worthless.

            However, the above no longer matters. I gave you 3 chances to deal with the Hebrew—your supposed stronghold—and you didn’t. Even if you choose to deal with the evidence now, it is too late, you passed up your opportunities. I will not deal with #4 again. You’ve lost!

            #5—actually my point all along was that the YLT says for Exodus 15:8, “And by the spirit of Thine anger”. The word means anger, with the reason being when angry you breathe differently than when calm. The word does not translate to an “angry huff”, as its root word does, but that is where the meaning of ire, anger, angry, wrath comes from.

            But I will take your statement as a back-down on #5. If you give an answer of substance, I’ll deal with it again, but if not, #5 is done too.

            #7—Ezra goes back to about the Temple’s destruction before the Babylonian Exile, but does not match up anywhere near the 12th century. I just mentioned that many doctrines were confused in the exile years, but they have been more or less corrected for today, demonstrating Judaism at its core believes the Old Testament literally.

            And to the contrary, the Old Testament was written by Jews, for Jews, on Jewish things. The fact that God inspired them is a huge bonus and makes them all the more important on understanding history. If you have both Jews and God agreeing with each other, that says a lot for its credibility and accuracy.

            So far the inerrancy of Scripture has had no dent from you, so it is still an established fact. The only historical passage you tried to deal with is Ezekiel 20, because you thought it would be easiest to prove your point. You failed on the “easiest” one and they only get harder from there. As a result, history is history, regardless of what your personal opinion is.

            The other 8 passages, curtesy of Brian Forbes: 1st Samuel 12:6-11; Psalms 78, & 105-106; Nehemiah 9; Joshua 24; Deuteronomy 1-4, and 2nd Kings 17.

          • I knew you couldn’t ignore me! Promises, promises.

          • OK, I think this has all dragged on long enough.

            I know you, AmbassadorHerald, believe your encyclopedic comments and dogged repetitions of points already long refuted are marks of your strong faith or whatever, but in reality, they are really quite ineffectual, not to mention irritating, both to the discussion participants and certainly to the moderator.

            No good is coming from this, and I’m very tired of wading through your copious nonsense, so I’m calling this one. Phil can have the last word, if he wants it, since AH started all this, and because it’s my site and I can do that sort of thing. Any further comments from AmbassadorHerald in this thread will be deleted, and I’ll happily close the discussion if I have to.

            Also, a personal note to AH. I accidentally clicked on your Disqus profile. Almost 200 comments (almost all of them on this site) and four up-votes. That ratio has got to be some kind of Disqus record. Too bad the app doesn’t track your down-votes; I’ll bet your percentages are much better in that area.

          • I’ll try to do this quickly just for the sake of having done it. I think the usefulness of this discussion died some time ago.

            1. One example would be Jesus saying “I am the vine.” Clearly the literal interpretation is false. Or Isaiah saying that Edom would be covered with a fire that cannot be quenched and the smoke of their torment will go up forever. Or Jesus holding up a loaf of bread and saying, “This is my body.” Or John seeing a woman wearing stars for a crown and clothed with the sun being chased by a dragon. Or the sun standing still in the sky for Joshua. Should I go on, or…?

            History books do not repeat parallelistic phrases as timekeeping devices, and even if they did, that would only establish that the way 21st century people write history do that. You have to prove that ancient Near Eastern history writers did that. Find me the literary phrase that Josephus or Tacitus repeats over and over to keep time.

            2. God can turn your house into cheese, but there’s no reason to believe He ever did that or intends to do that. In order to make your light work, you have to come up with all kinds of interesting hypotheses, and all of them destroy the textual integrity of Gen. 1, because then light would be the one, single thing God did not create despite it following the exact same pattern as everything else He did create.

            3. I don’t know what you mean by “Oral Tradition hypothesis,” but anything makes more sense than Adam writing his own Scriptures, especially because there is exactly 0 reason either in text or tradition to believe that.

            I also don’t understand your other argument. How is a Bible-writing Adam the only way ancient people would believe in YHWH?

            4. Well, you’ve already declared that I’ve lost this point (that’s pretty cool – do I get to declare the points you’ve lost?) and that you refuse to respond to anything else I say on it, so I’m not real motivated to go through the work of dissecting the Hebrew for you only to have you drop this point or insist that I’m wrong anyway because Satan.

            5. How is my statement a backdown? The statement that songs are not the same thing as history books? I don’t know where you learned how to discuss things, but generally speaking, arguments have these things called “givens.” These are self-evident propositions that people are not expected to defend because it’s tedious when everyone already knows it.

            You are the one person on the planet I have ever heard insist that songs in the Bible must be literally true. I feel like I’m saying 2+2=4, and you’re saying that unless I can prove mathematics is a valid way of describing numerical operations, my point falls.

            Your tactic of creating a ton of work for me to prove something that is obvious to everyone but you (and probably obvious to you, too) and then claiming victory when I don’t feel like doing it is invalid and annoying.

            If you go back over this thread, like I did today, you will see that you have dropped a metric ton of my points and evidence without ever bringing it up ever again, and I haven’t called you on it because that’s what happens when you’re discussing a ton of things at once.

            6. Like 6 for example.

            7. Rabbi Ibn Ezra is not the biblical writer/redactor Ezra. Rabbi Ibn Ezra wrote midrash in the 11th century. Maimondes wrote in the 12th century. They would represent your more literistic inclined rabbis. The rabbis I quoted from went -back- to the Exile. Maybe that’s why you were confused.

            Do you have any evidence that everything Jews believed during the Exile was wrong other than the fact that they believed things you don’t? Can you also explain to me why your interpretation of the Old Testament is to be preferred over the actual audience who wrote and received it?

          • Sorry for the double comment. I should add that Jewish rabbis from the earliest times take a non-literal stance on Genesis 1, which is also something to consider.

          • Brian Forbes

            You want me to see that yours is a valid interpretation as well, but no matter how I think about it, that’s difficult for me. I understand that there is figurative language throughout scripture, but I also understand that everyone that points to Genesis in scripture sees those people as their “fathers” – meaning they are biologically linked. I have no idea how that works unless at least most of the story is true. It says that we’re dust. That makes less sense if the story of Adam wasn’t true. And the biggest reason for the compromise of the text is because of the popularity of the ToE. If Darwin never wrote his ideas down, and they never spread across the culture, there would be a lot more people who love God today. I have seen half a dozen questions on Yahoo! Answers asking atheists why they turned away from Christianity. You know what the number one reason is? They thought Genesis was made up. Sure, you can reconcile the contradiction, but they decided to be atheists instead, sexual promiscuity and all. And what’s more, if evolution were true, and I was convinced of it, *I* would be an atheist too… or at least an agnostic. I wouldn’t believe Jesus anymore. I would be serving my demonic masters of self-gratification. So keep that in mind as you spread your interpretations around. People are leaving the church because we’re making Swiss cheese of Genesis. I would rather preach the message of faith (i.e. trust) than the message of doubt. I’d rather be guilty of trusting Moses, Jesus, and the long line of saints who brought their accounts to me than to trust the scientists, who will admit every time that “God did it” is not allowed in science. There’s no point to believing them, even if it’s true. And it’s not true, from what I have studied. And without the ToE, nobody would interpret Genesis that way.

          • The reason the Genesis issue creates atheists is precisely because YECers have made the sharp dichotomy that either Genesis 1 is literally true or the Bible is hogwash. It’s not because of evolution.

            People get drilled that their only two options are “literalism” or “total fiction” – the same two options you have at least initially been promoting, yourself. Then, they get exposed to data that contradicts a literal view of Genesis 1, and because of organizations like AiG, they think their only recourse is to reject the Bible altogether.

            This is sad and unnecessary in my view, but the problem will only get worse as long as people are taught in their churches that their only two choices are strict literalism or total hogwash. Your camp is the atheist factory. My camp makes atheism unnecessary.

            As a side note, as to seeing the Patriarchs as “fathers,” Paul also says that Gentiles are sons of Abraham, so obviously biology is not as important as covenant. Abraham is my forefather because I am an heir of his promise.

          • Brian Forbes

            Your answer is hogwash. I didn’t believe that Genesis had to be history because YEC organizations told me so. I believe it because it’s what the text says. I believe I’ve demonstrated that time and time again. Lest I go on beating a dead horse, keep this in mind so that you will not keep saying dumb stuff like that. There are genealogies from Jesus to Adam. There are only two possible purposes for those. 1. To prove that they were descended from them. 2. To deceive people into believing that they were descended from them. And because they called those guys their “fathers”, I think we have even more reason to assume one or the other. Genesis is written like a history. It is not because Ken Ham or Kent Hovind said that the earth is young that I believe it to be so. I told you before, and I say it again, I believe in YEC because that’s how I read the text. And in all our discussion, and this isn’t the first one I’ve had with smart people, nobody has ever given me reason to accept Genesis as less than history. If Genesis isn’t history, and you convince me of it, I will no longer be a Christian. If Genesis isn’t true history, the Bible is not to be accepted as true, let alone tolerated. Do you see what they do to homosexuals in there? Two threaded clothing. Bah! And being killed for telling a prophet to go on up, you baldhead. If it’s not an all or nothing, it’s somewhere in between – which makes me God of my interpretation. I’m not accepting your partially true mantra, because if it’s only partially true, there’s no way to know that any of it is true. I get to pick and choose… whatever feels right to me. And if I’m doing that already, what’s the point of using the scripture for anything more than the advice of a simpleton?

            I would rather have people wholly devoted to a strict historical interpretation of Genesis than people making up their own religion and calling it Christianity. It really is all or nothing for me. And if you were successful in your attempts at causing me to doubt Genesis, I would fall into atheism. And it wouldn’t be Ken Ham’s fault. It would be yours.

          • You didn’t hear me.

            I didn’t say people have a literal interpretation because of the YEC camp. I said the YEC camp is responsible for people believing that’s their only choice. Any other choice is compromise, false gospel, whatever. They are responsible for this propaganda.

            I’m sorry your faith in God wouldn’t survive a non-literal Genesis 1. If I were you, I’d spend some time seriously thinking about that. You would actually reject God if you had to interpret a text differently. That sounds kind of dicey. I don’t have a literal view of Genesis 1 and my faith in God is stronger today than it’s been in my whole life.

            You just keep coming back to the dichotomy – it’s either literally true or not true at all. That is just a very ahistorical way to read the Bible and it doesn’t do justice to the Bible that God saw fit to give you. We have the Bible He gave us, not what we wish He gave us or what we assume God has to give us, and the Bible He gave us is not literally accurate everywhere. Like your comment about the genealogies. You said our only two choices are 1) to prove descent (i.e. literal history), or 2) lie about descent (i.e. total falsehood). It is this way of thinking that creates atheists, and I feel sorry for you, because you will never grow in your understanding of the Bible. It would threaten your faith.

            I’m interested in faith that is greater than my understanding.

          • Brian Forbes

            The YEC camp is not responsible for any such thing. You have been going back and forth with me for hours, and you have yet to show me how Genesis would survive if it wasn’t history. If you can’t show it to me, why should YEC organizations, who don’t believe you’re right about it? You showed me that there can be secondary meanings, which isn’t news to me, but you didn’t show how they could have genealogies that mean anything other than history or deception. You haven’t shown me how there’s anything other than all / nothing / making myself God. You’ve just insulted me and my lack of ability to interpret / grow. No evidence / arguments to support that claim – just a claim without evidence. There are plenty of ways for me to grow within my framework, and to imagine that the only way to grow in understanding is to deny the historicity of Genesis is ridiculous. Please understand that if you preach the message you are preaching, i.e. that Genesis is NOT history, you are turning people away from Jesus. If this was the only conversation I’d ever had on the topic, and I believed you, I would be turning atheist right now. If you want my advice, you would be a lot less insistent on your old earth interpretations. I am well aware that some people can hold two conflicting views at the same time, and I invite people who can’t see the truth of YEC to go to folks like Hugh Ross as an alternative, but I have little hope for them. If they can’t accept Genesis as history as written, there is a faith issue there. Or there’s a logic issue. Either way, I can’t make the blind man see.

          • Well, then I guess we’re done. If you insist that your only two choices are reading the Bible literally (i.e. differently than Jesus did) or becoming an atheist, there’s not a lot of value you’re going to get out of anything I say.

            Turns out that I know several atheists who are being drawn to the Lord through their relationship with me, and it is precisely because they don’t have to adopt a view of Scripture from the 1800s. People like you led them to believe that all Christians everywhere were like you, and they wanted nothing to do with it. They are interested, however, in a story about God and His people that finds its dominant expression in Jesus and his kingdom. We’re actually having discussion group meetings with other atheists in the area – at their request – because they want to hear the Gospel from someone who also believes in scientific evidence and isn’t forcing them to chose one against the other. Turns out the proclamation of Jesus as Lord and the reality of his kingdom is compelling all on its own when you cut away the American fundamentalist baggage from it and embrace the ancient Israelishness of it.

            How many atheists in your community are asking you to come share the Gospel with them? Just curious. I have never heard of an atheist converting because young Earth creationism won them over, but I suppose anything is possible. God can use whatever He wants.

            But, no, I meant what I said. You will not understand the Bible any better on the road you’re on. Not ever. You will only get further and further away from the mind of Christ, and you will always have faith that will collapse at the first sign that your framework won’t hold together, because your faith is based on something that isn’t God Himself. I wasn’t trying to be insulting; I do genuinely feel sorry for you. Maybe in five years, we can have this conversation again and see where you’re at. I don’t see much point in continuing to have it right now.

          • Brian Forbes

            That claim that Jesus read Genesis like you do came out of nowhere. I am the only one that presented evidence to that effect, and it showed that Jesus was physically descended from Adam, and God made the earth in 6 days and wrote about it with his finger. You presented no evidence that Jesus read it that way. You made vague claims that the early church interpreted Genesis as you do, and I showed with two quotes that they saw it as a literal history, sticking to it even as the world around them ridiculed them. Sure you can dress the Jesus ball up in a wig and kick it across the field, and people will come out of all sorts of places to entertain the idea, but it’s a Jesus of your own making. It’s just not what the text says. And sure, there are lots and lots of people who are being converted through YEC. Thomas Kindell is a famous name you can look up. And to my own personal accomplishments, I will not boast of anything, because people will never come unless the Spirit draws them. It’s not rhetoric that wins them, but the Truth. Jesus is the truth… and that isn’t subjective.

          • Sorry for the double comment; I just took note of your last sentence.

            Tons of people interpreted Genesis 1 non-literally prior to Darwin. In fact, it was Darwinism that gave rise to a popular literal interpretation. Several early church fathers and virtually every rabbi who ever existed interpreted Genesis 1 non-literally. The strict literal interpretation came to popularity because of the perceived threat of Darwinism.

            In my opinion, people who read Genesis 1 literally are allowing Darwin to control their interpretation. Genesis 1 was not written to counter a view of origins that would emerge literally millennia later.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            Brian settled Irenaeus well in his Edit 1, and because you ignored it, I will re-quote it:

            “And therefore does the Lord profess Himself to be the Son of man, comprising in Himself that original man out of whom the woman was fashioned (ex quo ea quae secundum mulierem est plasmatio facta est), in order that, as our species went down to death through a vanquished man, so we may ascend to life again through a victorious one; and as through a man death received the palm [of victory] against us, so again by a man we may receive the palm against death.”
            http://www.godofevolution.com/reader-testimony-i-was-in-a-cult-i-was-a-creationist/#comment-2199448883

            However, Origen (Edit 2) and Augustine (original) were not sufficiently covered, in my opinion. I refer you to my recent post to Tyler: http://www.godofevolution.com/why-im-mad-at-brandon-withrow-thoughts-on-deconversions/#comment-2215000671

          • Yeah, I can cherry pick quotes, too. Here’s Irenaeus asserting death and corruption before the fall in Fragment 14:

            “And if he saw her eating, it is manifest that she was partaker of a body subject to corruption. For everything going in at the mouth, is cast out into the draught. Matthew 15:17 If then corruptible, it is obvious that she was also mortal. But if mortal, then there was certainly no curse; nor was that a [condemnatory] sentence, when the voice of God spoke to the man, For earth you are, and unto earth shall you return, Genesis 3:19 as the true course of things proceeds [now and always].”

            Here he is asserting that Adam died during one of the seven days of creation, and the only way to figure out which day it was is by determining the day Jesus died:

            “Thus, then, in the day that they ate, in the same did they die, and became death’s debtors, since it was one day of the creation. For it is said, There was made in the evening, and there was made in the morning, one day. Now in this same day that they ate, in that also did they die. But according to the cycle and progress of the days, after which one is termed first, another second, and another third, if anybody seeks diligently to learn upon what day out of the seven it was that Adam died, he will find it by examining the dispensation of the Lord.”

            He also taught that the apocalypses in Daniel and Revelation foretold the destruction of the Roman Empire, which is pretty non-literal.

            The point is, early church fathers are all over the map. You can’t just find a passage that sort of sounds like your view, quote it, and go, “A ha! Despite all the other problematic passages, this one sounds a lot like my view. Therefore, they held my view.” This is also how YECers treat Scripture, incidentally.

            The one thing people like Irenaeus et al prove is that the early church’s tradition of reading Scripture and reasoning about it was way more fluid than rote literalism.

            I love the fact that you “dealt with” Origen by denouncing him as a heretic and you “dealt with” Augustine by asserting that he later developed a literal interpretation. That’s some amazing scholarship, there.

            Watch this: no true Christians hold to Young Earth Creationism. I know you hold to it, but that doesn’t matter because you’re not a true Christian.

            See how that works? Do you feel this is an acceptable defense of a position?

          • AmbassadorHerald

            You basically just showed more evidence Irenaeus believed in a literal Genesis. His interpretations may differ from YEC’s, but in both of your quotes on Genesis he was still dealing with them as real history, rather than metaphor like you and theistic evolutionists.

            As for the rest, I see no refutation to my logic on Origen being a heretic, or for using Augustine’s final and most detailed say on Genesis as his ultimate stance. I also see you could not even find a matching point for pronouncing me a heretic. Do I believe Jesus physically rose? Yes. Do I believe Jesus died for everyone? Yes. Do I believe all people go to Heaven as a result? No. I am staying true to The Good News, but you are still doubting Scripture.

          • Thanks for explaining, Brian, but I can’t say I’m too interested in exhortations about “faith” from someone who freely admits his own devotion to Jesus Christ is entirely dependent on whether a shallow, childlike and modernistic interpretation of an ancient text can be proven literally true or not.

          • Brian Forbes

            You’re back! It’s good to see you, Tyler.

            I don’t think your answer addressed anything I said in my last reply, but that’s fine. I’ll directly answer what you said anyway.

            If Jesus was supposed to be descended from Adam, and he elevated the commands and authority of Moses on several occasions, and he didn’t correct his culture for misunderstanding what they clearly believed to be a history, I can’t imagine why we should put faith in the guy, let alone the scriptures that the guy propagated. You can say that is an insufficient faith, but I don’t think it is. If creation wasn’t in 6 days, anything might be true, and there’s no longer such a thing as proper hermeneutics. Jesus might be a prophet, a good moral teacher, or even a minor god, but He wasn’t absolute if he said Moses was true when Moses wasn’t true. And I can apply anything that he taught to my life or not. It’s up to me.

          • Yeah, I know, Brian. You already said that your devotion to Jesus Christ is entirely dependent on whether a shallow, childlike and modernistic interpretation of an ancient text can be proven literally true or not. It’s wonderful for you that you’re so proud of your absurdly misguided and unbiblical “faith,” but you didn’t have to reiterate it.

          • Brian Forbes

            This is where you demonstrate my position false. Calling it childlike and absurd doesn’t make it so. But I was done with this convo a week ago, so feel free to let this one go.

          • The falseness of your position is axiomatic. There’s absolutely nothing I could do to add or detract from it. Anyone who thinks the gospel Jesus brought is D.O.A. without adhering to a doctrine Jesus never once espoused obviously doesn’t know the first thing about the Bible or the Christian faith.

          • Brian Forbes

            You know, Tyler, you are a pretty insulting guy, at least in here. The first thing? I’ve been studying Jesus every day with passion for a long time. I think I know at least something about Jesus. Do you think, maybe, that the truth is in the middle? Or maybe you have all of it and I have none of it. I think I’m right, but I hope you never feel as insulted when I talk to you.

          • Don’t get me wrong: I’m thrilled that you know and passionately pursue Jesus. But that doesn’t change the fact that your position that one can’t be a Christian without believing in a young earth is absurdly unbiblical and a dangerous misrepresentation of the precious gospel. I’m not going to sugarcoat that, and if you really feel personally insulted because I criticized an opinion that you hold, you probably need to grow up just a bit.

          • Brian Forbes

            Turns out I’m not the only one who has trouble reading through the comments on here. I saw that claim on your part and denied it more than a week ago. I believe Jesus will save many people who believe Genesis is not a literal history. I’m not the judge of anyone where it comes to salvation. It’s a dangerous position, leading many people away from God and the scriptures (look at Yahoo! Answers questions about why atheists left their Christian faith – you’ll see), but it’s (in my opinion) not a make or break position. It leads to make or break positions.

            For example. If God caused evolution, there’s no solid reason to think that song is false that says, “You and me, baby, ain’t nothin’ but mammals, so let’s do it like they do on the discovery channel.” Defeat the logic of that. It isn’t easy. And we know from scripture what happens to the sexually immoral. They aren’t condemned for their position on Genesis, but they are because of it.

          • Why would evolution being how God made us give us license to be sexually immoral?

            I’m genuinely worried about your faith. So now, a literal Genesis 1 is the only reason you aren’t sexually immoral and/or an atheist.

          • I didn’t respond to that (because it was so incredibly stupid), but the implications actually go much deeper than sexual immorality. If this is really what Brian Forbes believes, not only is his adherence to a literal Genesis the only thing keeping him from pursuing the reckless orgiastic lifestyle of a bull elephant seal during the mating season, it’s also the only reason he doesn’t kidnap, murder and eat human babies, as chimpanzees have been known to do.

          • There’s figurative language in the Bible, folks! Let the Purge begin!

          • Brian Forbes

            I told you already that if Genesis isn’t literally true, the Bible, as a whole, makes little sense. As a cultural identity and a book of moral suggestions, sure, but that’s not what it claims to be. If it’s not a trustworthy book starting in Genesis, it’s not a trustworthy book in Luke or Hebrews either. And all we know of Jesus comes from the book. So we can’t trust anything we know about Jesus either, if Genesis isn’t true. So, yes, I would become an atheist and yes, it would probably lead me to sexual immorality. Keep that one in your mind as you promote your false doctrine.

          • Brian, seriously, listen to me. I am not trying to be mean, I am speaking from the heart.

            If you honestly cannot wrap your brain around the idea that something can be true without being literal, you have absolutely no business saying anything about the Bible or the Christian faith. Period. Because when God came as a man to teach us about him, the main way he did that was through stories that conveyed theological and moral truth without being literally true.

            So, again, I’m not trying to be insulting, but I’m also not kidding: I am begging you to shut your mouth and stop talking about such incredibly important things, if you really are incapable of grasping such a central concept. Seriously, it’s for your own good.

          • Brian Forbes

            I, in turn, implore you. Next time you talk to a YEC, lean less on the ad hominem, and more on the evidence. Nobody denies that Jesus used figurative language. Come up with a better argument than that I’m a retard.

          • I have never and would never use such a reprehensible term, in reference to you or anyone else. However, I must question your reading comprehension skills if you really have not picked up by now that my argument is simply that your “you can’t be a Christian without a literal Genesis” claim is unbiblical. Period. Not that’s even really an “argument,” per se, but more of a self-evident fact.

          • If that’s the only thing holding your faith together, I’d be doing you a favor by making you give it up. Maybe you’d eventually find that you trusted the person of Jesus instead of whether or not ancient authors wrote everything down in the manner you’d prefer.

            But it doesn’t follow that the truth of the Bible depends on Genesis’ literalness. Not only is the Bible a collection of writings aggregated over time, but Genesis IS true. It just isn’t literal. Literal != true. I think the book you’re thinking of is the Koran.

          • No, I saw that. But though I do find it wonderful that you think the Lord would be magnanimous to “save many people” who disagree with you, Brian Forbes, on an issue he, Jesus, never taught on, that still doesn’t square with the fact that you admit you would abandon your Christian faith completely if you were ever convinced the Genesis creation accounts were not historically accurate. That doesn’t really square with your claim that you think it’s “not a make or break position.”

            Of course, as Phil has quite correctly expressed more than once on this thread, the idea that the age of the earth or the interpretation of Genesis could be a “make or break position” in the first place comes only as a direct consequence of the false dichotomies you, and other young-earth proponents like you, teach. It is not something anyone would gather from simply the teachings of Christ, or anywhere else in scripture, which is why it was never part of any of the early, primary or confessional creeds.

            The heresy that a literal Genesis is a necessary component of understanding the gospel and the Christian faith is, in fact, quite a recent aberration, having first begun to gain prominence in the 1960s.

          • Brian Forbes

            It is a matter of logic. Not everyone sees it as I do. But, as you just said, other YEC’s do. And I state it again, people in the atheist camp have left, and people I know in the Christian camp are having a crisis of faith because of your position. It’s not because we don’t present your view as an alternative. It’s because your view is inadequate to explain the scriptures as they are written.

            And with that, I don’t think there’s much to add. Prove me wrong or I bid you farewell.

          • Brian, you ran out of things to “add” to your position after your first couple of comments. It’s not really your fault: The young-earth creationist viewpoint is about an inch deep to begin with, whether we’re talking science or theology, so there’s only so much you can do with it given that it’s the position you adhere to.

            I mean, it was certainly an interesting revelation that you believe you would become a promiscuous atheist nymphomaniac without your belief in a literal Genesis, but that really wasn’t anything new for me, either. I’ve known for some time that YEC proponents’ grotesquely twisted idea of “faith” is grounded not in the truth or person of Christ but in the fanciful worldview they’ve constructed.

            Once again, the “crises of faith” you refer to are entirely the result of the false dichotomy your lot has come up with and perpetuates (with the gleeful aid of militant atheists whose understanding of scripture and Christianity is as shallow and misguided as yours). It is you who say you may have Jesus or reality, but not both. It is we who say you can have both, and therefore no crisis of faith is necessary.

            And for one final time, the idea that the gospel or the Christian faith depends on adherence to a doctrinal concept invented in the 1960s does not need to be “proven” wrong. Its wrongness is clear and self-evident. Perhaps someday you, and the other false teachers you are pleased to count yourself among, will realize that and repent. If not, I suspect the Lord will sort you out when he comes again to make all things right.

          • Brian Forbes

            I shouldn’t expect you not to twist my words and my position, given your position on Genesis. But everything you just said was wrong. And “everything” is only a slight exaggeration.

          • I have twisted nothing. You yourself said you would abandon the Christian faith without your belief in a literal Genesis, which speaks quite plainly to what your version of the Christian faith is based in. You also said you would feel free to indulge your basest sexual desires without your belief in a literal Genesis.

            If you don’t wish for people to call you out on such absurd and unbiblical beliefs, you should not so freely admit that you hold them.

          • Brian Forbes

            Yep. That’s not what I said.

          • OK, well, now you’re just lying. On Aug. 18, in this thread, you said the following: “If Genesis isn’t history, and you convince me of it, I will no longer be a Christian.”

            And, “It really is all or nothing for me. And if you were successful in your attempts at causing me to doubt [your interpretation of] Genesis, I would fall into atheism.”

            Now, what I claimed you said (and which you denied)? “You yourself said you would abandon the Christian faith without your belief in a literal Genesis.”

            I daresay I was pretty accurate. I freely admit that I exaggerated the nymphomaniac thing, because I thought it was funny and it was the less serious point.

            Nevertheless, what you actually said is worth quoting since it reiterates the first issue as well: “I told you already that if Genesis isn’t literally true … I would become an atheist and yes, it would probably lead me to sexual immorality.”

            Look, I think I and, especially, Phil, have been more than patient with you, but there’s a limit to my patience, and my desire to participate in a discussion with someone who can’t even be trusted to be honest about something that they said a few days ago (and repeated a few hours ago).

            So, anyway, so long, Brian.

          • Um, that’s EXACTLY what you said.

            “I told you already that if Genesis isn’t literally true, the Bible, as a whole, makes little sense. As a cultural identity and a book of moral suggestions, sure, but that’s not what it claims to be. If it’s not a trustworthy book starting in Genesis, it’s not a trustworthy book in Luke or Hebrews either. And all we know of Jesus comes from the book. So we can’t trust anything we know about Jesus either, if Genesis isn’t true. So, yes, I would become an atheist and yes, it would probably lead me to sexual immorality. Keep that one in your mind as you promote your false doctrine.”

          • Brian, this is just self-evidently wrong.

            If someone runs into evidence for evolution, they are convinced by it, and they are trying to decide what this means for their faith, they have few options.

            One option is to reflect on their interpretation of the Bible and explore ways of understanding it that do not require the adoption or rejection of scientific statements a priori. This is my position. It is a path that preserves faith.

            Another option is to decide, “Well, if evolution is true, then the whole Bible must be false. Guess I’ll go be an atheist nymphomaniac.” This is YOUR position. YOU are the one saying that you have to be an atheist if you accept evolution.

            It is you and people like you who have shipwrecked the faith of many to preserve your own sense of security. Thank God for people like Tyler who are showing people of faith that the God of the Bible is the God of nature and that there are more options available that the fundy dichotomy you and your ilk have drilled into people’s heads.

            The good news is that your version of “Christianity” is going extinct in a hurry in America, and I can’t wait. Maybe the rest of us can get back to sharing the actual gospel and calling the lost into the kingdom.

          • Brian Forbes

            There comes a point in any debate that you realize that nobody is going to budge on their positions. I believe Genesis is a true account of the origin of man. You seem to believe that it was made up by folks who wanted to control their local population. I believe Jesus taught those scriptures were from God, and you seem to believe that we can pick whichever principal we like and reject the ones we don’t like out of scripture. I would rather be guilty when I stand before God of trusting Moses than trusting those who bring about doubt in Moses. If Jesus preached anything, it was that we can take God at his word. We don’t have to twist it like Abraham did with Ishmael. We give God our complete confidence. If we die, we die. If we were wrong, it was still wrong out of trust. Being wrong out of doubt of God’s prophets is a lot more dangerous than being wrong out of trusting them. I have studied the science enough to know that it’s foolish to believe in Evolution. And I’m not going to convince you of that fact unless you have trust in me. So unless your next message is something like, “You know, you’re right about x,” I am tired, and I’m not sure I’ll have much left for this discussion. There are places out there where people will actually hear the message, and it won’t be eaten by the birds. (Mt. 13) May God open our eyes to see. May our hearts not be so calloused that we call the impossible things that God has done lies. Amen.

          • Genesis is certainly from God. The question is what God is trying to communicate.

            Your view basically makes Him a liar. You have concocted a God who not only created a world that -by all empirical accounts- appears to be much older than He claims it is, but also put parallelisms and other literary structures in Genesis that would fool ancient Near Easterners into thinking Genesis 1 is not meant to be taken literally. You’re basically creating a God who makes everything look like Genesis 1 isn’t a CNN-style news report and then sends everyone to Hell who doesn’t interpret the issues that way, but instead interprets them -precisely- as He has made them appear.

            You have basically taken John Hagee and made God in his image.

          • Brian Forbes

            I’ve looked with some detail at the science so called. It is lacking. God is not a liar. People are just bad at interpreting the record. 1. It was a miracle, so you don’t need to cite miracles. I’m not saying that God put dinosaurs in the ground to test our faith, but that impossible things can happen when God is driving. 2. The record supports the flood. You don’t have to come up with a scenario that could happen in the world today, but one that might have happened if God were doing a work.

            I have yet to see someone present a way to read Genesis that isn’t attributing the whole thing to parable status. There’s using hyperbolic language to tell of an actual event, and then there’s what you are describing – making up a fantastic story to entertain people. Sure, the mythologies were made up for effect, but not the scriptures. There are genealogies… which nobody here has dealt with. Plus, if it is a parable, what’s the point of the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? If it’s a parable, it’s lost. There’s no point in literally subjecting myself to potential death if God isn’t literally going to take me through the fire. Amen.

          • Ah, yes, the tried-and-true exit strategy beloved by all would-be createvangelists when they find themselves out of their depth: “Well, I can’t argue with anything you say, so I’ll just claim that I’m right because my faith is so much stronger. Now, allow me to close with a disingenuous prayer for ‘truth,’ which really means, ‘God, please change their opinions to make them like mine. Amen.'”

          • Brian Forbes

            It’s a good strategy. That’s what Jesus taught us to do. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs, you know.

          • If you really think it is not only a good strategy, but a mandate from the Lord, you should know you are quite terrible at following through with it.

          • Brian Forbes

            That’s what my wife tells me too.

      • Brian Forbes

        Thank you!

  • Mahatma Randy

    My third year in a state university I was having a crisis in faith. Some of this was creationism. I didn’t have the loony fanatical hatred of it that many did, but I staunchly disbelieved it and this was one of many ludicrous things that added to the psychological stress I was under at the time.

    I transferred to an accredited, real, Bible college. The first day in biology class, the professor stood up and said “Evolution is real. God is real, and Evolution is the tool He uses to do stuff. Get used to it.” I was shocked, and rejected this. I was not one of the dozen or so people that quit the class, I merely failed it. My Old Testament class started out with “Much in this is not to be taken literally.” I was shocked and rejected this, but I was not one of the dozen or so who stomped out. I passed that one.

    Basically about 30 people dropped out in the first month because the school was not literalist. It was pretty conservative in every other way. The interesting thing to me was that even though they were telling me stuff that could have helped my crisis of faith, and that I’d gone there BECAUSE of my crisis of faith, I rejected it all out of hand.

    Which says something about indoctrination, even in basically rational pro-science people like me.

    • One of my regrets in life is rejecting out of hand the things some of my “liberal” college professors were trying to teach me because of my iron-clad fundamentalist beliefs. I could have learned a lot from those guys, even if I’d ended up disagreeing.