Friday, May 04, 2007

Message from YEC HQ

The author of the YEC Headquarters site (see the previous post) was kind enough to leave a lengthy response in the comments. I'll use this post to respond.
Have you read Ross's prayer of salvation on his website? It's new age. And he changes it about every month.
I don't know why you wrote this—it's sort of apropos nothing. Hugh Ross is not my pastor, priest, or spiritual advisor. I learned, especially in the beginning, a great deal of interesting cosmology from Ross, and I enjoy his "Daily Reasons to Believe," but at the same time I have argued that his creation model really isn't testable and I have criticized his use of probability chains. On the other hand, I will forever admire Ross for his honesty—he makes it quite clear that the designer is God and his approach is that the science glorifies and points to God. Amen. This is so much better that the duplicitous approach taken by Dembski and Wells and the bio-ID movement. But I have never, ever referred or deferred to Ross on the basis of theology—in fact I don't know what his theology is beyond the fact that he is an OEC.
I'm the owner of YecHeadquarters, the site you list in your blog. The reason it makes you sad is because to dedicate yourself to God at the level that YEC is based on. Means you would have to give up all that contridicts the word. The sadness comes from you having to give up the one thing you love more than God, and will always be used to correct God.
No, I'm sad because your site is liberal, and liberal theology makes me sad.
And it is your only evidence that makes Genesis 1 untrue. So how will you answer to God when he ask you about Genesis 1 that would not be calling Him a liar? Will you give all your scientific information? And God says: I already know that, but why do you still not believe in Genesis 1? What will your answer be? What one word could you use that would not imply that God lied? Allagory, myth, etc?
Actually I do believe in Genesis 1, and in fact I more or less take it literally. What I do not affirm is that the English translators were infallible. Although to be fair, in their position, and in their time, I would have made the same translation of yom to day.

However, suppose I am wrong. I'm not worried about that. Justification is by Faith Alone. It is not via a theology test. It is not by faith in any particular doctrine—not even by faith in the doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone. So I fully expect that I have many interpretations and doctrines wrong, but that won't be held against me. You have a lot on your site indicating a dispensational pre-mil view of the end times. Are you absolutely sure that view is correct? Are you worried that God will ask you why you called him a liar if you are wrong? Or do you expect God to say: "Welcome my good and faithful servant" regardless of the fact that you didn't get everything exactly right? Is your faith in salvation based on your knowledge? Or is the reason you pursue knowledge not to cram for God's exam but to glorify God?

Since we're playing that game, what will you say if God says to you: I told you in Romans 1 that creation leaves all men without excuse. I gave you brains to study creation. Do you think my intent was to test your faith through deceptive data or to bring glory to myself through the beauty that the study of creation (science) reveals?
Faith is required of things not understood or seen. if the faith you have requires you to obtain your truth in only what you see, then what is your faith based on? Things seen do not require faith.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Sorry that is just wrong. Taking that verse out of context to prove that saving faith is blind faith (things unseen) is bad exegesis and it leads to bad theology. Let's look at a little more of Hebrews 11, just including the very next sentence: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

Hebrews 11 is the faith "hall of fame" chapter. The "unseen things" for which the inductees' faith is being honored is the finished work of Christ--which would have been impossible for them to see, given that the writer is referring, throughout the chapter, to Old Testament saints. Among those being honored for their faith include Moses, Abraham, Jacob and Gideon--four of the most famous saints for whom God, upon request and without admonishment, provided direct physical evidence of himself on multiple occasions.

The message of this chapter is: Abraham (for example) was saved (as any Christian) by his faith in Christ, even though he could only look forward to a messiah rather than back. He did, however, speak directly to God, and he is one of those about whom the faith in Hebrews 11:1 is being credited, so, in context, it obviously is not referring to "blind faith in God". Unless Abraham's memory was wiped clean, "blind faith in God" was impossible for him.

That which was unseen for the Old Testament saints is not unseen for us—quite the opposite—it has now, through the work of Christ and the advent of the New Testament canon, been made crystal clear.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Does science explain the things not seen?

You cannot gain more faith if what you require to believe always requires you to "see" in order to understand.

If my total commitment to Christ makes you sad, then so be it.

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
No your commitment to Christ makes me happy. As I said, it's your liberalism that makes me sad.

The Thomas passage is as close as you can come to justifying the supposed virtue of "blind faith." Even there it is very weak for two reasons. One is that Jesus did not rebuke Thomas, he provided the physical evidence Thomas requested. Secondly, I can argue that, like the writer of Hebrews, Jesus is praising those saints who, until now, believed the promise without enjoying the benefit of having lived to see Christ fulfill all.

In addition, we have the numerous cases (longtime readers, sorry, I know you've seen this list before) where God was more than happy to provide proof, and where God, though he could have, never said: I will not provide proof, blind faith is what I demand:
  1. In the book of Judges, Gideon asks for multiple physical proofs that God was God. The proofs were given. The bible doesn't add: and Gideon, after serving his military purpose, was cursed for demanding proof.

  2. When Moses asked to see God's glory, God complied with the request. The bible doesn't add: And Moses' inability to rely solely on blind faith is the real reason he wasn't allowed into the Promised Land.

  3. Psalm 19 teaches that the heavens declares God's glory. The bible doesn't add: but only as a crutch for the weak-minded.

  4. When Jesus forgave the sins of a lame man, he then healed the man. The bible doesn't add: and for those who required the latter, let them be anathema, because blind faith is what I demand, but rather Jesus said it was so we may know the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins. In other words, Jesus thought physical evidence of his deity was a good thing.

  5. When Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection, they thought they were seeing a ghost. He showed them he was flesh and blood, and that he could even eat. The bible does not add: and their rewards in heaven were diminished because they relied on physical proof.

  6. Paul writes, in the letter to the Romans, that since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made. The bible doesn't add: but pay attention to that physical evidence at your own peril. Instead, Paul adds that the reason for this (scientific data) is so that men are without excuse.

  7. Even in aforementioned case of "doubting" Thomas, where Jesus allows Thomas to examine His wounds, and even though Jesus blesses those who believe without seeing, the bible does not add: and Thomas was cast out for his reliance on proof.

I would rather be blessed in the unseen and not imply that God lied, then not blessed because I required to see in order to believe. For how many require so much more to see, and will never believe because of this? I won't believe until I see God? If site be your only guide, then this is what is required. And is why so many will miss heaven. They take their faith in site only to the extreme. Which means total denial in God.

So you go only halfway and believe in a God you cannot see, but deny a creation you cannot explain for something more explainable? and more see-able? Where is the faith in the unseen in that? And what would you say if God asks: Why could you not believe in what you could not see?

Matthew 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

Faith is easily taken away by what we would prefer to see and not have faith in.

You are all mixed up here. Nobody comes to God through science—so anyone who says they won't believe in God unless you prove it or until they see God is just a garden-variety unbeliever. For a believer, sight is never all there is, however to ignore your eyes and brain is to deny a gift, and to assume that scientific data is a trap that must be avoided is to impugn God's character. This is usually done, as you have, by declaring blind faith as the ultimate virtue, even though the bible never teaches that unless you count lifting Hebrews 11:1 completely out of context. No, the picture of the bible is quite un-Gnostic: the material realm is not all there is but it is good, not evil. Our Lord had and still has a physical body, and God has happily provided physical evidence on numerous occasions. You mention denying God—I will say to you that in my opinion stating that science and God never mix is a form of denying God. It is saying that his creation leaves men without excuse, unless they study it, in which case it condemns them. It is stating that general revelation is a trap set to lead men away from God, rather than a means to glorify God.

I should perhaps clarify the use of "liberal" which may seem inappropriate. Here I use this definition of a liberal Christian: one who modifies the bible to have it conform to his view of God. A conventional liberal tosses out things that he is sure a loving God could not possibly have intended. A fundamentalist liberal adds things and requirements that he is sure God intended but never got around to actually telling us. YEC Headquarters is liberal in that sense—in exactly the same sense that legalism is a form of liberalism—in fact the more insidious of the two forms.

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