Timeline of the Bible

This project attempts to date history of the Biblical world.

It begins from Adam and use only Biblical verses as guide to mark time.

I am not yet fully convinced by the Young Earth Creationists that "a day" is a 24-hour day as they claim. They claim that to be the Hebrew definition of a day. I am more convinced of a more literal definition of that: that it is an evening and morning - a day. So it could be 24.1 hour, 25 hour, etc. which I do not believe is the same as the 24-hour view point. Not even for 0.1 hour difference. So if it is a 25 hour day, it could be a much longer period day...even a week, year. But also, I am not talking about a figurative day, that a single day represents multiple days. If the "day" means contemporary thousands of years time frame, that it is only because there is only one daylight and one night in all these thousands of years. This is the more convincing argument for myself.

Therefore, I am not marking the creation of the Universe as a starting point.

Thus far it has been fun and very educational. Particularly on Shem's and Abraham's birthright. Jacob's age of birthright blessing, etc.

Though Judah is in Christ's genealogy, it appears that I need to use Joseph as a marker in the timeline because there is no due for Judah's life, except in external Jewish text.

A good resource is answersingenesis.org. They even have a detail chart.

The link to my project is here.

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27 Responses to Timeline of the Bible

  1. Pingback: Sunday Service 2022-08-07 | My Journal

  2. timlyg says:

    This Day Age Question comes up again. Someone quoted John Macarthur's statement on FB:
    If you deny the literal interpretation of the Genesis account of creation, you've undermined every major doctrine of the Bible, including the sovereignty of God, the inerrancy of Scripture, the depravity of man, and the gospel itself. Although I failed to find the source of this quote. The closest on the GTY.ORG website, is one that would not really make MacArthur the originator of the above statement.

    David Tong responded to it as well, pretty good, but I may not have used it as it's a short cut by pulling heavy weights from famous reformed men:
    well the fact that Augustine was against the ancient theory of earth is not the matter. Augustine did not hold to the literal interpretation and according to him Augustine "had undermined every major doctrine of the Bible, including the sovereignty of God, the inerrancy of a Scripture, the depravity of man, and the gospel itself."
    He will say the same about Wardield [Warfield] (the defender of the authority and inspiration of the Bible), Kuyper, and Bavinck. They all ubdermined [undermined] every major doctrine of the Bible? I bet MacArthur has very high regard and learned his doctrine from these men. The article you quoted say nothing about these men as being all those that he claimed the non-literalist to be.
    An error on his part or anybody's part for using Gen 1 as the litmus test for orthodoxy. This is why Westminster Theological Seminary's statement in this regard is very refreshing.
    Westminster Theological Seminary and he Days of Creation This links to a pdf download titled: Westminster Theological Seminary and the Days of Creation
    I admire MacArthur but he has gone to far in this and he is wrong.

    After the Sunday Service on 08-08-2022, I tried this on Phil, who turned out to be the literal 24 hour / day type. But when I challenged him, he appeared to go left and right, talking about the virgin birth and all other supernatural things of God, as if by rejecting the 24 hour day system in Genesis 1, I would have to be one who doesn't believe in God's power, the virgin birth, etc. Then it appeared that he was trying to imply indirectly that I would be arrogant if I reject his "biblical" view. That the 24 hour day was clear in the Hebrew grammar, whatever that is about. Perhaps I've hit a limitation, but he's a smart guy, I've known him on other occasion to be smart enough not to think so narrowly, shallowly. I therefore pointed out to him that my position is more literal - Day/Yom, Darkness/night and the the evening/morning were obviously transitions between light and day. Nothing is said about 24 hours.

  3. timlyg says:

    After Arguing with someone (Phil) from church, I looked up some terms, did further research. And agree pretty much with David Tong's position, he is possibly leaning towards OE:
    1. Biblical Creationism
    - Young Earth Creationism (24-hour view)
    - Old Earth Creationism (day-age view, framework theory)
    2. Scientific Creationism
    - Umur bumi muda
    - Answer in Genesis
    3. Intelligent Design
    - Umur bumi tua
    - Discovery Institute
    4. Theistic Evolution
    - Umur bumi tua
    - BioLogos
    5. Darwinism (materialism, naturalism, atheism)
    - Umur bumi tua

    I am also leaning closer to Kuyper and Bavinck:
    ...while the first three days may have been of somewhat different length, the last three were certainly ordinary days. They naturally do not regard even the first three days as geological periods... by LOUIS BERKHOF

    Proponent of Young Earth (6000 - 10000 years): Dr. Joseph R. Nally (Mature Universe Theory), Vos, John Frame, Luther (on Genesis 1:14b), and apparently ALL fundamentalists.

    Proponent of Old Earth: David Tong, Nathaniel Gray Sutanto, I'm am leaning close but not with certainty as well.

    Augustine, Anselm: Instantaneous creation, Framework Interpretation.

    John Colet: Day-age and framework interpretation.

  4. timlyg says:

    And here is the Summary of the Westminster Theological Seminary and the Days of Creation

    WTS in 1999 affirmed that their position on the days of creation as the continuity between present and historic Reformed teaching.

    WTS here recognizes that some have recently claimed that any deviation from the literal/ordinary/normal day interpretation of the Genesis creation account to be departing from orthodoxy.

    WST never regarded the precise chronological duration o the six days of creation as a matter on which the Scriptures themselves speak with decisive clarity and therefore cannot be used as a test for Christian orthodoxy. But some have made it so in modern period, and these have disenfranchise from Augustinian and Reformed orthodoxy.

    Augustine: What kind of days these were it is extremely difficult, or perhaps impossible for us to conceive. (The City of God, Book 11, chap. 7, emphasis added)
    Anselm: the days of Moses account are not to be equated with the days in which we live. (Cur Deus Homo, 18)

    In the Westminster Standards: "with/in the space of six days"
    Confession of Faith - 4:1
    Larger Catechism - 15
    Shorter Catechism - 9
    One side insist this "space" must be only = 24 hours x 6; While others simply paraphrased the language of Scripture without addressing the length of the days.

    The Space of: Affirms that the work of creation involved duration, excluding Augustine's instantaneous view.

    Calvin on Genesis 1:5 refuted Augustine's view. William Ames proposed similar stand as Calvin (Medulla Theologiae Proposition 28)
    These reformers though many held to the 24 hour day view, have never talked about opposing longer days, jut opposing the instantaneous view that denies any length.

    Therefore this is still an open question, to be settled, if possible, by what Scripture teachers.

    Those who do not regard six 24 hour day view of creation: Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, B. B. Warfield.
    The Princeton tradition refrained from dogmatic insistence on a single necessary meaning for "day" (yom) in Genesis 1.

    J. Gersham Machen (founder of WTS): It is certainly not necessary to think that the six days spoken of in that first chapter of the Bible are intended to be six days of twenty four hours each. We may think of them rather as very long periods of time. - The Christian View of Man (1937; Eerdmans reprint; Grand Rapids, 1947, p. 131.

    Edward J. Young: Chronological sequence should not be equated with or confused with chronological duration. Indications are not lacking that the days could have been longer. - Encyclopedia of Christianity, Vol. 3 (ed. P. E. Hughes; Wilmington, DE, 1972), p. 242

    Calvin, principle in general regardless of this subject:
    ...But to assume that Scripture yields more clearly-defined information with respect to creation than its exegesis may allow, or worse, to demand that it does, is to mold Scripture to our own concerns and fears rather than to come to it as our "guide and teacher"... - Institutes 1:6
    ...Where God makes an end of teaching, we should make an end of trying to be wise - Institutes 3:21:3

    To insist that it must be a specific length of the days of Genesis 1 while God has never intended it to be answered in dogmatic terms, comes dangerously close to demanding from God revelation which he has not been pleased to bestow upon us, and responding to a threat to the biblical world view with weapons that are not crafted from the words which have proceeded out of the mouth of God.

  5. timlyg says:

    Recently, came across the name John (Jack) Collins, OT professor at Covenant Seminary, when his name was brought up by Stephen Meyer in Frank Turek's podcast. @29:00. I bought a couple of Collins' books on Amazon Kindle.

    This led to an interesting at first but rather boring debate between Albert Mohler (24 hour day in Creation) vs. Jack Collins, because they, especially Jack, did not bother to attack Al's view at all in the Q&A exchange. But perhaps still worth a watch, I just skipped through the 2 hour debate. Derek Kidner was mentioned, somewhat same camp of Collins.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGETfOQgNI4

  6. timlyg says:

    Because of the long debate with Chris Byrd, who insisted that the "ordinary" day (24 hour) in creation is orthodoxy, I had to look up more, to confirm his bluff:

    I won't say those who support old Earth theory, since that is not the point of such debate with these fundamentalists. I fact, I think it's wise to simply say, in dealing with these fundamentalists who consider themselves reformed, by saying: Both these Young and Old Earthers are wrong in one common factor: They use human conventions and not God's definition in the first chapter.
    In fact, I think Byrd's take on Augustine's framework reason is weak: "Augustine thought so because it's beneath God to not be instantaneous", he said. I do not believe that's Augustine's reasoning, because I believe he did not really get Augustine's framework interpretation and also Augustine's commentary on Genesis 1:16, where he distinguished the first 3 days from the rest, like Bavinck and Kuyper. Then Byrd went on to fail as predicted as the fundamentalists would: To fear the alternative to their "ordinary" day model would be a submission to the evolutionists, to secular career pressure. Their prima facie view fail them, because they've merged what God said with their human convention.

    And here are the well-known Reformers who are more on my side than theirs:
    Meredith Klein: Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony https://meredithkline.com/klines-works/articles-and-essays/space-and-time-in-the-genesis-cosmogony/
    Gersham Machen: The Christian View of Man https://geochristian.com/2009/07/13/j-gresham-machen-on-the-age-of-the-earth/
    Cornelius Van Til: Audio recording of Christian Critique of Evolution (I have it in my Logos library): In the last 10-15% of the recording, alluded to Byron Nelson's book "Before Abraham" which was banned by the Fundamentalist publisher at the time.
    Van Til commented: "...if we're going to fight evolution we will have to hit it where we can hit it hard and not hit it where the issue itself is debatable like this. I'm not sure how long ago man existed on this earth and I'm not sure this makes that much difference."

    The quote from Machen's:
    The meaning of “day” in Gen 1 has been debated in the church at least since the days of Augustine. The literary form of the passage in its relation to other scriptures is important for its interpretation. Responsible Reformed theologians have differed as to whether Gen 1 teaches a young earth or allows for an old earth. While one of these interpretations must be mistaken, we believe that either position can be held by faithful Reformed people.

    After much discussions with Fundamentalists, my conclusion is this: That those who insist orthodoxy or even test of orthodoxy with the 24 hour ordinary day view, are doing so because they are actually afraid and in denial of being afraid of the theistic evolutionists and the secular view of this in science. They are afraid that if they do not insist so, they would be influenced by or betraying God to these evolutionists/Darwinians. Such fear does not exist for the true reformers, for we do not buy either side's story.

  7. timlyg says:

    The PCA also had an assembly report on this in 1999. They listed all views but carefully not to make any an orthodoxy.
    Interestingly, the Calendar Day view cited Bavinck on creator creature distinction yet perhaps because in 1999, they did not have Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics translated into English (2003) yet, I wonder how they feel about Bavinck now, who did not support they Calendar Day view, as shown in his Reformed Dogmatics Volume 2.
    https://pcahistory.org/pca/digest/studies/creation/report.html

  8. timlyg says:

    If Pastor Chris in his Sunday School on creationism next year make it difficult for those who do not hold to 24 hour calendar/ordinary creation day view, I shall ask these two questions:
    1. Were Bavinck, Kuyper, Machen, Augustine, etc. straying from Biblical interpretation in their non-24-hour day view?
    2. Will you make this a test of orthodoxy for things such as qualifying position as an elder, etc.?

  9. timlyg says:

    For those who would rebut with "That's how the Serpent asked Eve!" when I ask: Did God really say 24 hours a day?
    I answer nay. But if you must allude to that, then it is more apt to ask Eve: Did God really say thou shalt not TOUCH it? Not even TOUCH?
    Those insisting on ordinary day as orthodoxy are simply insisting that it implies THOU shalt not TOUCH, when God said THOU shalt not EAT of it.

    But I would not argue further if God commanded abstinence from TOUCHING or not, whether outside Scripture or not, or if it is right to TOUCH or not. This I believe, is a more accurate literal Biblical interpretation. That what God said was just THOU shalt not EAT, rather than THOU shalt not TOUCH. Once we know exactly what's in the Bible, then we can speculate and that is just it, speculation. The ordinary day view is just speculation.

  10. timlyg says:

    On Young vs. Old Earth Debate, the shortest comment I could make, as a quick retaliation to a lot of overconfident minds:

    Emphasis on the words "arguments" and "absolute".

    "I reject the Old Earth arguments as absolutely accurate scientific approach (because they admitted themselves that the science could change - i.e. the 13.8 Bil. years of the age of the Universe due to the unknown dark energy, etc.);
    I also reject the Young Earth arguments as absolutely infallible biblical interpretation (because they add on human convention - i.e. go with what the Hebrew/etc. scholars think)"

  11. timlyg says:

    Summary of Stephen Tong's Creation vs. Evolution:
    5 video series on Youtube. I've downloaded them.

    I shall focus on what's wrong with evolution:
    - video #1: @47:28 God = Subjectivity of the truth in person, 有位格之真理本身是本体的生命。
    - video #1: @49:00 Epistemology of logic (seekers of truth) not in relationship of life. Kierkegaard: God is not a subject to be discussed in philosophy; God is the object of our living worship.
    - video #1: @51:00 God is the subjectivity of the truth in Louis Pasteur's work shows that life must begin from life.
    - video #1: @57:00 Alfred Russel Wallace (younger than Darwin): Men cannot join these 3 categories: 1. existence & non-existence, 2. Existence become life, 3. life become man.

  12. timlyg says:

    Today speaking to Phil after the last couple of Sunday School sessions series on Creation: after we watched the documentary: First half of "Genesis in History", and when Phil apparently tried to confront me "you need this, God's authority over science", as if I put science above God, for such is the habitual errors of the fundamentalists: Misrepresenting their opponents' views, I immediately replied: I am neither hard young Earth nor hard old Earth, I'm just calling out their theories as theories, on both sides. I think Phil get some idea ("Oh so you are not willing choose a side") of what I'm saying, but then he went on the fundamentalist mindset again with "We will never be God". He later added that he bet Isaac Newton's a young Earth. So I had to look him up. (1), (2), (3).

    It seems that either Newton or Johanne Kepler's popular Young Earth claims, though popularly known, weren't well sourced.
    With Kepler, I found his German work "Chronologia", which is part of his Astronomi Opera Omnia work that I downloaded, untranslated. Its cover does state:
    Im Jahr von Erschaffung der Welt 5612
    (In the year of the creation of the world 5612), so that meant that he calculated the beginning of creation to 3992 B.C. because this was written in 1620.
    Chronologia by Kepler
    There are some papers online comparing various young Earth views of Kepler's time, such as James Ussher, whom Pak Tong famously quoted as believing creation to begin in 4004 B.C. in order to fit the Millennial Day Theory paradigm (6 days = 6000 years, and after than the Lord shall return to rule for 1000 years, making that 1000 years the Sabbath millennium). An erroneous view prominent among the Premil. dispensationalists of the time. No longer a popular view now because the 6000 years are kind of up and passed and nothing's happening.

    As for Newton, it is clear in his correspondence with Thomas Burnet that he is no Young Earth creationist. I copied the entire correspondence in new comment below in case the link breaks.

    The article by Martin Duboisée de Ricquebourg summarizes from the Burnet correspondence that:
    But this stance does not preclude him from asserting that sun, moon, and stars were not created on “the fourth day nor in any one day of the creation”; that Moses might not mention their creation at all; that the duration of the first and second days might be “as long as you please”; or that Burnet’s theory could allow “a year for each days work” without misinterpreting the text.

    In Newton's Treatise on Revelation, he went further away from Young Earth Creationism by calling the Genesis Creation account as parables and mystical. And though I may find his take on the period of the six days interesting, I would still stick to the Neo-Calvinists on this, despite some similarities. But interesting nonetheless, especially the last part, a true scientist's inquiry on this is where should one be on the supposedly globe at the time to mark Evening and Morning?
    And so the six days of the Creation may signify not only six years but even six thousand years … or any other six long times...may be as much figurative descriptions of something we now understand not as the tree of life is in the Paradise to come...figuratively as well as other things are especially since there was no light till the end of the first day nor sun till the fourth—to make natural days. The evenings & mornings of Moses respect all parts of the Earth alike so that it was evening all over the Earth in the beginning of each day of Moses & morning all over it in the end of each day & therefore his evenings & mornings were not natural ones. For had they been natural ones it would have been morning in one part of the Earth when it was evening in another.

    In Newton's Of the Chronology of the first ages of the Greeks & Latines:
    It is not quite clear if he held to Young Earth theory because he started with Noah instead of Adam. Although he did criticized Egyptian, Persian and Syrian's accounts of their thousands of years old kingdoms as ridiculous, that only the Greeks and the Hebrews were more honest in their chronologies. However, some noted that he's not being too serious in this work.

    Conclusion, Newton not only was no Young Earth Creationist, he may very well be the progenitor of the day-age hypothesis. If there's any indication of him being Young Earth, it's probably the works of Young Earth Extremists upon Newton's inconsistency on the subject, though much leaning towards the day-age hypothesis. And being contemporaries of James Ussher, there's already a great number of folks denying the 6 24-hour day creation hypothesis: Newton, Thomas Burnet, William Whiston (A new theory of the Earth (1696)), Edmund Halley, Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle, Comte de Buffon (most influential in vast period creation time theory), Immanuel Kant, etc.

  13. timlyg says:

    In case of the link in previous comment breaks, here is the entire copied version: Correspondence with Thomas Burnet
    Author: Isaac Newton

    Source: Keynes Ms. 106, King's College, Cambridge, UK

    Published online: January 2008

    Additional Information
    [Diplomatic Text] [Catalogue Entry]


    For

    Mr Isaac Newton

    Mathematick Professor and
    Fellow of Trinity Coll.

    Cambridge

    <1>
    London Ian. 13. 801
    Sir

    I received your letter of Dec. 24th. & the favour of those exceptions you haue made to some passages of my booke; which I cannot but take very kindly; seing you haue had, it seems, both the Patience to read it over & to make reflection upon seueral parts of it. The argument you note p. 118. seems to me conclusiue for soe far as it goes; I doe there in a manner distinguish the Earth into 3 parts terram planam et humilem, montes mediocres, et montes maximos, And show upon the suppositions there mentioned, that all the Earth should bee covered maximis or mediocribus montibus, and consequently, that there should bee noe regiones planæ or humiles, if soe much Earth as is capable to fill the chanel of the sea was thrown upon a surface of equal height with the sea, as the opinion there mentioned supposeth. And seing wee find that there are a great many regions & countrys of the Earth that are planæ et humiles, some lower then the surface of the sea, some equal to it, some little higher, & a great many that haue neither montes magnos, nor mediocres, I conclude that the mountains wee find upon the Earth, greater or less, would not altogether fill the cavity of the Ocean by many degrees. Neither doe I mention how the subterraneous Ocean & the subterraneous cavities, which some thinke may bee a third or 4th part as much as the cavity of the external Ocean; And their bowels or what was dug out of them must bee thrown upon the Earth too, and the mountaines & higher parts of the Earth should bee capable of filling them alsoe; which how far they must come short of I leaue you to imagine.//

    Tis true if those dimentions were known more exactly, the depth of the sea, the height of the mountaines, the quantity of the whole Earth higher then the surface of the sea, their proportions might bee stated more demonstratively, but soe far as wee know them the mountaines or higher parts of the Earth doe not answer by many degrees to the cavity of the sea & all subterraneous cavitys.//

    And this calculus is confirmed by that which immediately follows to the same effect (p. 119.) & is in a manner the same under another forme & more simple; Tis in this tenour, that the mountaines upon supposition that they were taken out of the chanel of the sea, should bee equal to the first Abyss, represented there in the scheme; wheras if you suppose that Abyss but halfe as deep as our deepest Ocean, that calculus I thinke doth demonstrate that the aggregate of the mountaines of the Earth, or of all the Earth higher then the surface of the sea, doth not equal by many degrees the bulk of the Abyss, nor consequently the cavity of the Ocean which now containes it.//

    <2>
    Then the 3d argument which follows immediately p. 120. confirmes these reasonings, by disproueing the same opinion from other considerations. And indeed your supposition which men that hold this opinion must goe upon, or the idea they must forme of the Exteriour Earth is altogether groundless & Chymerical; for they must suppose that there is some general or common surface of the Earth, of an equal height with the sea, & which runs round the Earth uninterruptedly in an uniforme convexity, upon which surface as upon a foundation or pauement the mountaines were set & all the Earth that was dugg out of the sea. which is a meer idle notion that doth not answer to any thing in nature, nor to any observation, as I haue shown there p. 120. 121. & as is confirmd by all that haue to doe or know what belongs to the interiour structure of the Earth. These argumentations confirme one another, besides those general heads mentiond p. 117. which show the inconveniences or impossibility of this Theological opinion, or of the vulgar account how the mountaines, the cavity of the sea, & all other cavitys & inæqualities in the forme of the Earth came at first.//

    But you seem rather to incline to the philosphical accountofthese inequalities & of the irregular forme of the Earth; namely, that the heat of the sun rarefying the side of the Chaos that lay next it, or by the pressure of the vortext or of the moon upon the waters, some inequalities might bee made in the Earth, & then the waters flowing to those lower parts or cavities would make the seas there, & the upper parts of the Earth towards the poles which they flowd from, would bee dry land. And all this might the rather bee, because at first wee may suppose the diurnal revolutions of the Earth to haue been very slow, soe that the first 6 revolutions or days might containe time enough for the whole Creation, & the sun in that time might convert & shrinke the parts of the Earth about the Æquator more then towards the poles, & make them holower.//

    But methinkes you forget Moses (whom in another place you will not suffer us to recede from) in this account of the formation of the Earth; for hee makes the seas & dry land to bee diuided & the Earth wholly formd before the Sun or Moon existed. These were made the fourth day according to Moses, & the Earth was finisht the 3dday, as to the inanimate part of it, sea & land, & euen the plants alsoe; you must then according to Moses bring the Earth into this irregular forme it hath by other causes & independently upon the Sun or Moon. Besides the Earth at first was cover'd with an Abyss of Water as both Moses & philosophy assure us, what great influence or effect then could the sun haue upon the Earth which ley at the bottome of this Abyss, any more then it hath now upon the bottome of the sea? Thirdly, if the chanel of the sea had been formd this way, it would haue been regular according to the course of the sun or the pressure of the Moon, but there is nothing of regularity in the figure of the <3> Sea; & it lies towards the poles as much as towards the Æquator, & in all degrees of latitude. And soe for the mountaines too; & these mountaines are sometimes neerer the sea, sometimes further off, as throughout Asia & Africa. And then when al's done, these causes or their effects would by noe meanes answer the vast mountaines & precipices of the Earth, & the prodigious vorago of the sea. Nor doth it giue any account of the subterraneous cavities, whose bowels neither the Sun could suck out nor the pressure of the Moon squeeze from within the Earth.//

    Some of the Ancient philosophers I remember, especially the Epicureans as wee see in Gassendus, attempted such a like explication of the Origin of the Earth, and of the formation of the sea & mountaines & all other inequalities. But when one considers on the one hand how inadequate those causes are to the effects, how indistinct, how unsatisfactory when presst & examind; and on the other hand how congruously, how easily, how naturally, the Dissolution of the Exterior Earth (As wee haue explaind it p. 58. 59. 60.) doth at once answer all those inequalities wee now find in it, both the great chanel of the Ocean, the heapes & huge juga of Mountaines, the Origine of Islands & the causes of subterraneous cavitys: how easily tis applicable to them all, how distinctly & fittly it answers them & all their uncouth properties, wee cannot rationally imagine that they proceeded from any other causes. Especially this giuing an account alsoe of the universal Deluge which upon noe other hypothesis is intelligible.//

    As for Moses his description of the formation of the Earth in the first chap. of Genesis, I thinke I haue given a true account of it p. 253. that this a description of the present forme of the Earth, which was its forme alsoe then when Moses writ, and not of the primæval Earth which was gone out of being long before. And soe when the Sea is mentiond there, or Seasons or any such thing it onely shows what I say; that that description respects the present Earth & not the primæval; wherof if Moses had giuen the Theory it would haue ben a thing altogether inaccommo to the people & an useless dstracting amusement and therefore instead of it hee giues a short ideal draught of a Terraqueous Earth rising from a Chaos, not according to the order of Nature & natural causes, but in the order which was most conceiuable to the people, & wherin they could easily imagine an Omnipotent power might forme it, with respect to the conveniency of men & animals: Beginning first with what was most necessary, & proceeding/ by steps in the same order to prepare an habitable world, furnisht with euery thing proper first for animals, & then for Man the Master of all, & whoseuer considers the whole impartially as tis represented li. 2. c. 8. I thinke will haue the same thoughts of it.//

    And if all Diuines were as rational & judicious as your selfe, I should not feare that this would retard the reception of the Theory, as you suggest it may. For I would aske them in the first place whether Moses his Hexameron or 6 days description of the creation, doth respect the whole universe or onely the sublunary world, all the heavens & the heaven of heavens, <4> & all the host of them stars or Angels; Or our Earth onely & the Orb or heaven that belongs to it: And I would not stir one step further till that was determind betwixt us. Now it being demonstrable I thinke that the whole univers was not made out of the Mosaical Chaos, I would in the next place aske them whether the Sun Moon & stars mentioned the 4th day, were made out of the Chaos, & then first brought into being when the Earth was formed? If they grant that this Chaos did not extend to the whole universe, then they must grant that the sun Moon & stars were not made out of it; but are mentiond as things necessary to make this Earth an habitable world. From which concession I would inferr 2 things, first that the distinction of 6 days in the Mosaical formation of the world is noe physical reality, seing one of the 6 you see is taken up with a non-reality, the creation of those things that existed before. 2dly I inferr from this, that as the distinction of 6 dayes is noe physical reality soe neither is this draught of the creation physical but Ideal, or if you will, morall. Seing it is not physically true that the Sun Moon & stars were made at that time, viz. 5 or 6000 yeares since when the Earth was form'd. And if it bee Ideal in one part, it may in some proportion bee ideal in euery part. For confirmation of this I'le instance in another thing, Moses his Firmament, which was the 2d dayes work; by the proportion wherof you may easily understand that it is noe physical reality, as it is there set down; unless it bee lookt upon as a memorandum onely or a memorial of the firmamentum interaquæum that was in the primæval Earth. You see the first property of the firmament as it is set down is to diuide betwixt the celestial waters & the terrestriall, and the 2d is to bee the seat of the Sun Moon & stars. Now I appeale to any man whether those 2 local proportions bee not utterly inconsistent? to diuide betwixt the Cælestial & terrestrial waters it must bee far below the Moon, & the cælestial waters must bee supposd betwixt it & the moon; and to bee the seat of the Sun Moon & stars it must bee not onely as high as the Moon but as the Sun, nay as the fixt stars which are at an immense distance aboue the Sun. Therfore the Firmament with these proportions can bee noe physical reality. and soe you see how is another day of the 6 imployd upon noe physical reality.//

    If you make the firmament to bee the Atmospheare as you seem to doe, & the vapours aboue it to bee the celestial waters, which upon the disruption of the Abyss were suddenly & excessiuely condenst; with all my heart: but then how are the Sun Moon & Stars pact in the firmament? and which is as bad how are these vapours extracted & settled aboue the firmament before there is a Sun to extract them? Neither indeed are those vapours or clouds or any space betwixt us & them soe considerable a thing methinkes, as to take up a 6th part of the creation; these things are rather a necessary consequent of the Earth formd & the Sun acting upon it, then the first & most material thing in the formation of it; and if this had been wholly omitted by Moses, his cosmopœia would haue appeard as compleat, & wee should haue misst noe parts of our world. Thus for the 4th & 2d day.

    Then for the first day & the Light made then, what was that pray? what physical reality, where made <5> or how? was it made out of the Chaos as other things, in what manner pray? if not out of the Chaos, it doth not seem to belong to Moses his world, nor to haue any right to take up one of his 6 dayes: neither doe I know what Light was then first made that was not before, or how upon the formation of a planet any new Light would bee product. Upon the whole I confess I see noe other account of these things then what I haue giuen in the 8th ch. li. 2. & that the Hexameron or hypothesis of 6 dayes is onely Ideal, accomodated to the present Terraqueous forme of the Earth; but the Cosmopœia, if one may soe cal it, in the 2d chapter of that Garden which God planted מהרם a principio, that is real & physical, & the productions of man & other creatures there: Neither doe I see why that 2d makeing of man animals & plants should haue been instituted if the first had been a physical reality.//

    Your supposition that the first revolutions of the Earth were much slower & the dayes much longer then they are now, & consequently a day might then bee a competent time for some great change or transformation of the Chaos, lookes pretty well at the first; but unless you make the first 6 dayes as long as 6 yeares or rather much longer, I cannot imagine that they should bee sufficient for the work. for instance the 3d day when the waters were gathered into one place & the dry land made to appeare, & consequently the chanel of the sea made then & the mountaines, could these grand changes bee wrought in the body of the Earth in less then a yeares time? I thinke not in a much longer time. then the Sun Moon & Stars which were made the 4th day, was not that a good days work, though the day was as long as a yeare. then if the day was thus long what a dolefull night would there bee? I am affraid that would undoe all that was done on the day time, & doe as much hurt in the state & progress of nature as the day did good. But if the revolutions of the Earth were thus slow at first, how came they to bee swifter? from natural causes or Supernatural? & did they come subitaneously or by degrees to that swiftness they haue now? if they came to it by degrees, what prodigious long life did Adam & his children liue? Adams 900 & 30 yeares would make 9000 of ours at least; & soe proportionably of the rest.//

    These things, Sir & some others of this nature I would suggest to those Diuines that insist upon the hypothesis of 6 dayes as a physical reality, which euen many of the Fathers as I remember haue allowd to bee onely an artificial scheame of narration, they supposing the creation to haue been momentaneous. And I would further desire these persons to explaine to me the forme of St Peters κόσμος ἀρχαιος or ante-diluvian Earth & heavens; wherein it was different from ours & different in such a manner that it was thereby peculiarly subject to perish by a Deluge, asI haue noted p. 25. & in many other places. They must alsoe tell me what is or can bee understood by Moses's disruption of the Abyss at the Deluge, if the Earth was then in the same forme it is in now. And what that Gyrus or Orbis which both in Iob & Salomons Cosmopœia is <6> plac't round the Abyss or face of the first waters; which I haue taken notice of p. 426. &c & li. 2. c. 8. When they haue considerd these places & especially that of St Peter and joynd all the other reasons both a priori & a posteriori which I haue brought to show that the Earth was at first in a different forme from what it is in now, I thinke they will judge my supposition very reasonable that Moses his hypothesis of 6 dayes work is but the Idea of a creation accommodate to the people & to the present forme of the Earth.//

    Concerning Pardise you seem to bee of opinion that it might bee under the Æquator: but I doe not see how this alone would answer its phænomena. I distinguish the phænomena of paradise (in the 2d book) into those that were general & common to it with all that Earth, and into those that respect its particuler region & situation. Its general phænomena were a perpetual serenity & temperature of air without any vicissitude of seasons; longævity of animals, & their production out of the Earth: And wee must first find an Earth capable of these things, before wee enquire what region of the Earth was most paradisiacal. Now these things I say our primæval Earth was very capable of, considering the eaveness & equality of its surface, the temper of its soyle, & its right situation to the Sun, which gaue it a perpetual equinox. which situation of the primæval Earth I thinke I haue shown both from reason p. 182. &c. & from Antiquity p. 291. 292 &c. and I should be willing to know your opinion of that hypothesis.

    Then as for the particuler situation of paradise, whether hemispheare twas in, I doe not undertake to determine that by the Theory onely, but depend cheifely upon the testimony of the Ancients, who excepting one or two that place it under the æquator as you doe, did generally place it in the other hemispheare; either explicitly or by necessary consequence.//

    Sir, persueing those things that were of greatest extent in your letter, as what you had offerd concerning the possibility of formeing the Earth, as it now is, out of a Chaos; Or what related to Moses's Hexameron, Or to paradise; I haue omitted to speake to your exception about the Oval figure of the Earth or rather the cause of it. I suppose (p. 198. lin. 21. 22) as you doe, that the equinoctial parts would first endeavour to rise & fly off but could not, because of the greater strength & resistency of the air ouer those parts of the Earth, then the other; for you must consider that the Earth was then involved in a kind of Chaos or Spiss atmosphear, as tis represented p. 36. and this was soe thick & <7> strong, that it may bee considerd as a kind of membrane or bag about the Abyss, and the parts of this Chaotical orb being far more agitated & in a far stronger motion about the equator then towards the poles, & the space there being alsoe narrower, it would bee far more difficult to make these parts yeeld then those towards the poles; as if you conceiue this bag or membrane more stretcht or to haue a stronger tone in one part then another, it would yeeld there sooner where twas less stretcht or its tone was weaker. Soe that the waters attempting first to rise & fly off at the equator, & finding there a strong resistance which they could not overcome,they must necessarily by this repercussion & their own continual tendency from the center in one way or other, fall off towards the poles; and soe conforme themselfes into an Elliptical or oblong figure answerable to that of their Orb or particuler vortex.//

    I should bee glad to know what you thinke of the opinion of the oblong figure of the Earth whatsoeuer the cause of it was; & whether you know any argument or observation that either proves the contrary or demonstrates that. what I mention p. 197. of degrees of latitude from the poles to the equator being unequal or the spaces upon the Earth that answer to them, is taken out of Dechales a French Iesuite, who hath writ a large cursus Mathematicus, & in a little tract about the general principles of Geography, hee hath observed that Ricciolus, the Mathematicians of Paris, & Snellius, who haue all measurd the circuit of the Earth, & to that purpose tooke the proportion of a degree, differ each of them in their measure of a degree, according as they tooke it more or less North-wards; & finds they differ much what in such a proportion as the paralels where they tooke the degrees were more or less distant from the equator. If this observation was pursued it would come the nearest to a demonstration of any thing I know that the Earth is still oblong North & South.//

    Sir your kindness hath brought upon you the trouble of this long letter; which I could not avoyd seing you had insisted upon 2 such material points, the possibility (as you suppose) of forming the Earth as it now is, immediately from the Chaos or without a dissolution; & the possibility of adhering to Moses his Hexameron as a physical description to show the contrary to these 2 hath swold my letter too much, which will howeuer giue you noe further trouble then the reading, unless your humour lead you sometime to reflect againe upon that Theory. Sir wee are all here busy in gazeing upon the Comet, & what doe you say at Cambridge can bee the cause of such a prodigious coma as it had. I am

    Sir

    your affectionate freind & servant

    T. Burnet.

    <8>
    Sir

    Your argument p 118 I acknowledg good against those who suppose only hills & mountains taken out of the sea, & it may be good against those who suppose all the earth higher then the sea taken out thence but one who would have mountains & the sea made by removing earth from one place to another might suppose (if it were necessary) all the earth a quarter of a mile or half a mile lower then the top of the seas or then the lowest valleys, or even lower then that, was thrown out of the deep. But the opinion being to me absurd, I say no more of it. I could wish I was as well satisfied with your argument about the oval figure of the earth. ffor it seems hard to me that a constant force applied to stretch a membrane (as you figuratively term the atmosphere) should make it shrink, unless you suppose it at first overstretcht by a tumultuary force & so to return by way of undulation, & that the limus of the earth hardened while it was in the ebb. But what ever may be the reason of the earths figure you desire my opinion what that figure is. I am most inclined to beleive it spherical or not much oval. And my chief reason for that opinion is the analogy of the Planets. They all appear round so far as we can discern by Telescopes, & I take the earth to be like the rest. If it's diurnal motion would make it oval that of Iupiter would much more make Iupiter oval the vis centrifuga at his equator caused by his diurnal motion being 20 or 30 times greater then the vis centrifuga at our equator caused by the diurnal motion of our earth, as may be collected from the largeness of his body & swiftness of his revolutions. The sun also has a motion about his axis & yet is round. What may be argued from the dimensions of the earth's shaddow collected by Lunar Eclipses I cannot tell, nor what from the measures on the earth answering to a degreee in several latitude's, not knowing how exactly those measures were made or the Latitudes of places taken.

    You seem to apprehend that I would have the present face of the earth formed in the first creation. A sea I beleive was then formed as moses expresses, but not like our sea, but with an eaven bottom, without any precipices or steep descents as I think I exprest in my letter. Of our present sea, rocks, mountains &c I think you have given the most plausible account. And yet if one would go about to explain it otherwise Philosophically, he might say that as saltpeter dissolved in water, though the solution be uniform crystallises not all over the vessel alike but here & there in long barrs of salt: so the limus of the Chaos or some substances in it might coagulate at first, not all over the earth alike, but here & there in veins or beds of divers sorts of stones & minerals. That in other places which remained yet soft, the air which in some measure subsided out of the superior regions of the chaos together with the earth or limus, by degrees extricating it self, gave liberty to the limus to shrink & subside & have the first coagulated places standing up like hills: which subsiding would be encreased by the draining & drying of the limus. That the veins & tracts of limus in the bowels of the {mountains} <9> also drying & consequently shrinking, crack't & left many cavities some dry others filled with water. That after the upper crust of the earth by the heat of the sun together with that caused by action of minerals, was hardened & set; the earth in the lower regions still going closer together left large caverns between it & the upper crust filled with the water which upon subsiding by its weight it spewed out by degrees till it had done shrinking, which caverns, or subterraneal seas might be the great deep of Moses And if you will, it may be supposed one great orb of water between the upper crust or gyrus & the lower earth, though perhaps not a very regular one. That in process of time many exhalations were gathered in those caverns which would have expanded themselves into 40 or 50 times the room they lay in, or more, had they been at liberty. ffor if air in a glass may be crouded into 18 or 20 times less room then it takes at liberty & yet not burst the glass, much more may subterranean exhalations by the vast weight of the incumbent earth be keept crouded into a less room before they can in any place lift up & burst that crust of earth. That at length somewhere forcing a breach, they by expanding themselves forced out vast quantities of water before they could all get out themselves, which commotion caused tempests in the air & thereby great falls of rain in spouts & all together made the flood & after the vapors were out the waters retired into their former place. That the air which in the beginning subsided with the earth, by degrees extricating it self mght ly pent up in one or more great caverns in the lower earth under the abyss & at the time of the flood breaking out into the abyss & consequently expanding it self might also force out the waters of the abyss before it. That the upper crust or gyrus of earth might be upon the stretch before the breaking out of the abyss & then by its weight shrinking to its natural posture might help much to force out the waters. That the subterraneal vapors which then first brake out & have ever since continued frequently to do so, being found by experience noxious to mans health infect the air & cause that shortness of life which has been ever since the flood. And that several pieces of earth either at the flood or since falling, some perhaps into the great deep, others into less & shallower cavities, have caused may of those Phænomena we see on the earth besides the original hills & cavities.

    But you will ask how could an uniform chaos coagulate at first irregularly in heterogenous veins or masses to cause hills. Tell me then how an uniform solution of saltpeter coagulates irregularly into long barrs; or to give you another instance, if Tinn, (such as the Pewterers buy from the mines in Cornwel to make Pewter of) be melted & then let stand to cool till it begin to congeal & when it begins to congeale at the edges, if it be inclined on one side for the more fluid part of the Tin to run from those parts which congeale first, you will see a good part of the Tin congealed in lumps which after the fluider part of the Tin which congeales not so soon is run from between them appear like so many hills with as much irregularity as any hills on the earth do. Tell me the cause of this & the answer will perhaps serve also for the Chaos.

    All this I write not to oppose you, for I think the main part <10> of your Hypothesis as probable as what I have here written, if not in some respects more probable. And though the pressure of the Moon or Vortex &c may promote the irregularity of the causes of hills, yet I did not in my former letter design to explain the generation of hills thereby, but only to insinuate how a Sea might be made above ground in your own hypothesis before the flood besides the subterranean great deep, & thereby all difficulty of explaining rivers & the main point in which some may think you & Moses disagree might be avoyded. But this sea I do not suppose round the equator but rather to be two seas in two opposite parts of it where the cause of the flux & reflux of our present sea deprest the soft mass of the earth at that time when the upper crust of it hardened.

    As to Moses I do not think his description of the creation either Philosophical or feigned, but that he described realities in a language artificially adapted to the sense of the vulgar. Thus where he speaks of two great lights I suppose he means their apparent not real greatness. So when he tells us God placed those lights in the firmament, he speaks I suppose of their apparent not of their real place, his business being not to correct the vulgar notions in matters philosophical but to adapt a description of the creation as handsomly as he could to the sense & capacity of the vulgar. So when he tells us of two great lights & the starrs made the 4th day, I do not think their creation from beginning to end was done the fourth day nor in any one day of the creation nor that Moses mentions their creation as they were physicall bodies in themselves some of them greater then this earth & perhaps habitable worlds, but only as they were lights to this earth, & therefore though their creation could not physically {be} assigned to any one day, yet being a part of the sensible creation which it was Moses's design to describe & it being his design to describe things in order according to the succession of days allotting no more then one day to one thing, they were to be referred to some day or other & rather to the 4th day then any other if the air then first became clear enough for them to shine through it & so put on the appearance of lights in the firmament to enlighten the earth. ffor till then they could not properly be described under the notion of such lights, nor was their description under that notion to be deferred after they had that appearance though it may be the creation of some of them was not yet completed. Thus far perhaps one might be allowed to go in the explaining the creation of the 4th day, but in the third day for Moses to describe the creation of seas when there was no such thing done neither in reality nor in appearance me thinks is something hard, & that the rather becaus if before the flood there was no water but that of rivers that is none but fresh water above ground there could be no fish but such as live in fresh water & so one half of the fift days work will be a non entity & God must be put upon a new creation after the flood to replenish one half of this terraqueous globe with Whales & all those other kinds of sea fish we now have.

    You ask what was that light created the first day? Of what extent was the Mosaical chaos? Was the firmament if taken for the atmosphere so considerable a thing as to take up one day's work? & would not the description of the creation have been complete without mentioning it? To answer these things fully would require comment upon Moses whom I dare not pretend to understand: yet to say something by way of conjecture, one may suppose the Planets about our sun were created together, there being in no history any mention of new ones appearing or old ones ceasing. That they all & the sun had at first <11> one common Chaos. That this Chaos by the spirit of God moving upon it became separated into several parcels each parcel for a planet. That at the same time the matter of the sun also separated from the rest & upon the separation began to shine before it was formed into that compact & well defined body we now see it. And the preceding darkness & light now cast upon the chaos of every Planet from the solar Chaos was the evening & morning which Moses calls the first day even before the earth had any diurnall motion or was formed into a globular body. That it being Moses design to describe the origination of this earth only & to touch upon other things only so far as they related to it, he passes over the division of the general chaos into particular ones & does not so much as describe the fountain of that light God made that is the Chaos of the Sun, but only with repect to the Chaos of our Earth tells us that God made light upon the face of the deep where darkness was before. Further one might suppose that after our chaos was separated from the rest, by the same principle which promoted its separation (which might be gravitation towards a center) it shrunk closer together & at length a great part of it condensing subsided in the form of a muddy water or limus to compose this terraqueous globe. The rest which condensed not separated into two parts the vapors above & the air which being of a middle degree of gravity, ascended from the one descended from the other & gathered into a body stagnating between both. Thus was the Chaos at once separated into three regions the globe of muddy waters below the firmament the vapors or waters above the firmament & the air or firmament it self. Moses had before called the Chaos the deep & the waters on the face of which the spirit of God moved, & here he teaches the division of all those waters into two parts with a firmament between them: which being the main step in the generation of this earth was in no wise to be omitted by Moses. After this general division of the chaos Moses teaches a subdivision of one of its parts, that is of the miry waters under the firmament into clear water & dry land on the surface of the whole globous mass. ffor which separation nothing more was requisite then that the water should be drained from the higher parts of the limus to leave them dry land & gather together into the lower to compose seas. And some parts might be made higher then others not only by the cause of the flux & reflux but also by the figure of the Chaos if it was made by division from the Chaos's of other Planets. ffor then it could not be spherical. And now while the new planted vegetables grew to be food for Animals, the heavens becoming clear for the sun in the day & Moon & starrs in the night to shine distinctly through them on the earth & so put on the form of lights in the firmament so that had men been now living on the earth to view the process of the creation they would have judged those lights created at this time, Moses here sets down their creation as if he had then lived & were now describing what he saw. Omit them he could not without rendring his description of the creation imperfect in the judgment of the vulgar. To describe them distinctly as they were in themselves would have made the narration tedious & confused, amused the vulgar & become a Philosopher more then a Prophet. He mentions them therefore only so far as the vulgar had a notion of them, that is as they were phænomena in our firmament & describes their making only so far & at such a time as they were made such phænomena. Consider therefore whether any one who understood the process of the creation & designed to accommodate to the vulgar not an Ideal or poetical but a true description of it as succinctly & theologically as Moses has done, without omitting any thing material which the vulgar have a notion of or describing any being further then the vulgar have a notion of it, could mend that description which Moses has given us. If it be {said} that the expression of making & setting two great lights in the firmament is more poetical then natural, so also are some other expressions of Moses, as where <12> he tells us the windows or floodgates of heaven were opened Gen 7 & afterwards stopped again Gen 8 & yet the things signified by such figurative expressions are not Ideall or moral but true. ffor Moses accommodating his words to the gross conceptions of the vulgar, describes things much after the manner as one of the vulgar would have been inclined to do had he lived & seen the whole series of what Moses describes.

    Now for the number & length of the six days: by what is said above you may make the first day as long as you please, & the second day too if there was no diurnal motion till there was a terraqueous globe, that is till towards the end of that days work. And then if you will suppose the earth put in motion by an eaven force applied to it, & that the first revolution was done in one of our years, in the time of another year there would be three revolutions of a third five of a fourth seaven &c & of the 183d yeare 365 revolutions, that is as many as there are days in our year & in all this time Adams life would be increased but about 90 of our years, which is no such great business. But yet I must profess I know no sufficient naturall cause of the earths diurnal motion Where natural causes are at hand God uses them as instruments in his works, but I doe not thinck them alone sufficient for the creation & therefore may be allowed to suppose that amongst other things God gave the earth it's motion by such degrees & at such times as was most suitable to the creatures. If you would have a year for each days work you may by supposing day & night was made by the annual motion of the earth only & that the earth had no diurnal motion till towards the end of the six days. But you'l complain of long & dolefull nights. And why might not birds & fishes endure one long night as well as those & other animals endure many in Greenland, or rather why not better then the tender substances which were growing into animals might endure successions of short days & nights & consequently of heat & cold? ffor what think you would become of an egge or Embryo which should frequently grow hot and cold? Yet if you think the night too long, it's but supposing the divine operations quicker. But be it as it will, me thinks one of the tenn commandments given by God in mount Sina, prest by divers of the prophets, observed by our Saviour, his Apostles & first Christians for 300 years & with a day's alteration by all Christians to this day, should not be grounded on a fiction. At least Divines will hardly be perswaded to beleive so.

    As I am writing, another illustration of the generation of hills proposed above comes into my mind. Milk is as uniform a liquor as the chaos was. If beer be poured into it & the mixture let stand till it be dry, the surface of the curdled substance will appear as rugged & mountanous as the earth in any place. I forbear to describe other causes of mountains, as the breaking out of vapours from below before the earth was well hardned, the settling & shrinking of the whole globe after the upper regions or surface began to be hard. Nor will I urge their antiquity out of Prov. 8.25. Iob: 15.7 Psal. 90.2 but rather beg your excuse for this tedious letter which I have the more reason to do because I have not set down any thing I have well considered or will undertake to defend.

  14. timlyg says:

    With much help from Pak Tong's lectures on creation, my email to one of the church member who espoused the Fundamentalist Young Earth Creation view, after viewing the Sunday School video on creation where tissue samples were found near a fossil, allegedly proving that the tissue that's supposed to belong to the fossil or same age as the fossil to not be millions or billions of years old to still exist and thereby allegedly disproving long period evolution. Ultimately the fundamentalist argument for a young Earth has a problem, that the define the first 6 days as 6x 24 hour periods by claiming that that's the convention of the word YOM in Hebrew. My response shall be simple: You define day using Hebrew convention, but I let God defines it (Gen 1:5), not human convention. The authority of your definition comes from man, mine comes from God. After some debates with some of them in my church, I believe that for one, they somehow were "brainwashed" in evolution in high school (even for the older ones), which was a shocker to me for I thought this kind of course was only from the communist countries and the now liberal America, but not in the 50s or 60s. One recalls Piltdown Man in her class, that now being influenced by the Fundamentalist Young Earth View, they felt that it's the only way out, using religion against science, and that is why we keep hearing topics like "is science against faith" and they couldn't explain their inconsistency, because they are using special revelation against general revelation instead of general revelation against other interpretations of general revelation. So secondly, they end up with a false dichotomy: If you disagree with me, you are them, you are proud. Whereas my response should be: I am neither with you nor with them, you won't get that in unless you get out of your false dichotomy. But I do believe the pastor did well enough to present alternate theories, questions that challenge evolution theory. Though not as powerful as Pak Tong's 3, which is the challenges of Non-existence to Existence, Existence to Life, Life to Man.

    Here's my email:

    I feel like I side tracked so much when you asked me about the tissue question from this Morning Sunday School's video lesson and didn't quite get to clarify a satisfactory answer to your question. So let me try it here before I forget:

    So basically I ASSUME such tissues won't even last a thousand year, that's why I concluded that it MAYBE of some other more recent (50years?) animals that just happened to rot around the fossils, ASSUMING that the fossil is from a different timeline (5-6 thousand years ago - Young Earth position, supposedly if I missed it in the video). So it's not even about evolution or millions/billions of years question for me. But that just throws in more questions that I don't think can be covered in the video: ie. How do you determine that the fossil and the tissue are related? How much time would the tissue need to decay completely? Was the tissue under preserved condition? etc.
    But all this is good because these questions need to be answered properly to do real science, otherwise, these theories (lots of ifs, maybes, hypotheticals, assumptions) if being insisted as science, are just pseudoscience viz. superstition. I won't even grant it religious status by initial default (some Christian I discussed this with wanted to call it the religion of Scientism, I'm not fully on board with that as I think without knowing your opponents you may have accused them unfairly and superstition is a better and apt label because calling their pseudoscience a religion is giving them too much credit because they are making scientific claims, not religious one hence not allowed to step into the realm of religion). Consequently, I don't believe one needs to use the Bible to defeat evolution.

    You probably know this already: The reformed theology emphasizes on two kinds of revelations from God: 1. General revelation (i.e. science) 2. Special Revelation (the Bible)
    The evolutionists are making truth claims in the realm of general revelation, but its claim is not done by means of proper scientific method (which is probably why my home country's Muslim influenced education in my time did not have this aught in science classes, but we were aware of it from other media), hence it's already defeated without going to the Bible.

    To be truly claimed as scientific, evolutionists would need to answer 3 major dilemmas in their theory:
    1. How change can happen from non-existence to existence?
    2. How change can happen from existence to life?
    3. How change can happen from life to man (morality, etc.)?

    So far, the answers given (ifs, hypothetically, maybes) were never true scientific methods. However, these 3 are revealed to us in Special revelation. I will however be open to whatever "discoveries" they want to come up with (so bring it on, why be afraid of them), and when that happens, I will (or anyone should) handle general revelation with general revelation, and in a very strict manner as well. Because general revelation (not scripture) is what God has given to all men (Christians or not), and I won't even allow general revelation to be misinterpreted, much less Special revelation.

    As far as scripture goes, the problem is (be it minor or major), like general revelation, in INTERPRETATION: How we INTERPRET scripture. So the problem is not whether one is scriptural or not, but why the difference in interpretation. And those who don't get this will make unfair accusations against their opponents. And we've seen obvious examples of this: i.e. Most dispensationalists obviously were adamant that they have the right interpretation and on God's side and that to them, we are instead the ones who are not scriptural and not on God's side.

    So in conclusion, though I am of full conviction that there's no clash between Science and Christian faith, or that there's no contradiction between general revelation and special revelation, I am with Galileo (I think Galileo) who said something along the line:
    God gave us two books: Nature and the Bible.
    The Bible teaches us how to go to Heaven;
    Nature teaches us how heaven goes.

    I hope this is not too long. If so I apologize again...sometimes I'm quiet, sometimes I'm too talkative 🙂

  15. timlyg says:

    Thanks to Beth at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, this rare book "How Old is Man by John Urquhart" is now in my hand. This book was in such poor condition that they decided to get rid of it and by once in a life time opportunity, someone was willing to ship it to me. And I have digitized it with my scanner CZUR ULTRA SHINE last night. I should email her about it, give them back a free digital copy.

  16. timlyg says:

    Michael Horton is also allegedly an Old Earth Creationist. Or at least one statement of his can easily defeat the fundamentalist's YEC view (that it's Biblical):

    From Horton’s book Putting Amazing Back Into Grace: Embracing the Heart of the Bible:
    Modern science has promised more than it can deliver. That accounts for much of the cynicism postmoderns seem to have toward the answers to their ultimate questions. To be sure, science is better equipped to answer some questions than any other field. For instance, it is science and not theology that will tell us the age of the earth. The Bible does not provide that kind of information, nor does it care to. There are a lot of important and reasonable questions the Bible does not try to answer. If it did, there would be a lot of unemployed geologists.

    While science will lead the way toward the discovery of when we got here and will help us find the reasons for how we got here (beyond the revelation we already have in the inspired text of Genesis 1–3), there is a question to which of those other questions ultimately lead, a question, nevertheless, which science will never be able to answer any more than theology will be able to determine the age of the earth. That question is, “Why are we here?”

  17. timlyg says:

    Someone asked on FB a good creation question for YEC and OEC:
    For YEC: How would Adam know what death is before the Fall, if death was never in existence?

    For OEC: Exodus 20:8-11 says the Lord made the world in 6 days.

    My answer:
    Very thoughtful.
    I'm neither, but leaning towards Old Earth.
    Though I'm not YEC, I would say that's a good catch. I believe YEC would insist on a built-in knowledge Adam have on death. However, the definition of death, like you say, can be tricky. I do believe that our YEC brothers view death in light of anything unpleasant to them, such as end of life, from existence to non-existence. If they love this thing and it's gone, that's like death. However, I believe that way of defining that is not quite biblical. Death can probably be defined biblically in 3 ways: separation from God, separation from life and corruption of the body. I believe separation from God was the main focus of the death God spoke of to Adam, though not necessarily dismissing the other kinds of death. So I don't believe death, depending on how you define it, is always a bad thing. When a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and DIES, it will bring forth much fruit. I believe this is also a kind of death and I believe it's very likely already going on before The Fall. When fruits are eaten, I believe death is involved as well. When things rot and decompose to become compost or fertilizers, I think it's a beautiful cycle, even for pre-FALL. I wonder what fish ate before The Fall because I have no problem if they were non-vegetarian. I may try to accept how natural it is to watch a lion eats a deer, but I find blue whales eating krill beautiful. So I try to be liberal in reasoning and not to let my personal feelings or disgust affect my judgment. I also find the way YEC tries to fit their version of death post-fall in short period of time (6x24 hours) too much of a stretch. As if God only could create short life-span creatures and thanks to The Fall within about 130 of Adam's years and everything could only make sense within that presupposed short timeframe. Why couldn't God create things that live trillions of years? Surely the YEC knew better, but because their aggressive war against the evolutionists (which has no biblical nor scientific basis) pushed them to the other extreme, they forbid themselves to think of "a really really long time ago" as something easily authored by God without needing to explain Himself to us the reason for the length of it.

    As for OEC, since it's often been argued that the first 3 days were no ordinary days, because there was no Sun, I think the case is solved. People either interpret this analogically (1 day = 1000 or so years) or literally (1 day = 24 earth hour). I see no reason to treat it analogically, nor treat 1 day = 24 hours. Today, yes, 1 day = 24 hours. But we don't know what was going on in Genesis 1. All we have is God's definition of day not being 24 hours, but only in terms of light and darkness transition. So I would stick to that LITERAL sense and not some human convention of assigning 24 hours to the definition of day. Maybe it's 24 hours, maybe it's not, but you cannot say the Bible says the length of the 6 days were 24 hours x 6. The space of 6 days is just as it is said in the Bible, I won't justify them being Earth day (must an Earth day on Earth always maintain 24 Earth hours since Creation?) or Mars day or what not. Not only different planets have different length Earth hours per their own individual days (assuming we now, just for now, define day as a revolution of the planet), if you were to mark a point in time, you also need to mark a location in time. Do you mark the first day of Creation by starting with the first hour of the day from the Greenwich Meridian? Or starting at 6pm from Jerusalem or Eden? Could there be other mysterious objects or solar body that we were not aware of and hidden by God.

    So the safest way is to leave science and human reasoning in the arena of natural revelation, and the spiritual and worship in the arena of special revelation. Both are of God and should be treated so equally, distinctively without conflating them together in their uses.

  18. timlyg says:

    From my long FB comments:
    God specifically defined what day is using light and night, Morning and Evening (transitions between light and darkness). That is all. Everything beyond this is mere human speculations that do not hold water. Nothing wrong with speculations, but to make such speculations absolute truths, is to create superstition, whether you think you are doing this for God or not.

    Based on astronomy, today (and by "today" I mean sometime after creation, if not after the 4th day of creation) we go further to define day as a rotation of a planet before a star (i.e. the Sun): 24 hours on Earth, 25 hours on Mars, 11 hours on Saturn, etc. All cultures and languages defined "day" as such, not just the Hebrew. And consequently, we can then properly associate sunrise with Morning, and sunset with Evening.

    But the primary principle here is thus: What God said in Genesis 1 defines what the Hebrew term "yom" is in Genesis 1. Not the other way around: The Hebrew term "yom" does not define what God said.

  19. timlyg says:

    Both Luther and Calvin were wrong about Copernicus by rejecting him as heretic. Today, the clearer reformed minds (Horton, Sproul) call out natural revelation as natural revelation, not confusing it with special revelation and the natural can correct wrong interpretation of the special.
    Luther and Calvin held to the geocentric system rather than heliocentric solar system. It's interesting a few days ago, on FB, someone posted Luther's critic on this and even, to a few of our surprise, the poster was actually advocating for Luther's geocentric position.

  20. timlyg says:

    on FB, there's an interesting article: Were Adam and Eve Vegetarians? By Clarke Morledge (posted by Jamie Learn) that dealt with pre-fall animal death, I'll abridge it here:

    A Deep Dive into the Bible, Regarding Adam and Eve’s Vegetarian-Only Diet
    Many Christians do not take the time to carefully study these issues. I, myself, have learned a lot just in researching for this blog post! Furthermore, I have friends who love Jesus on both sides of this issue.

    Studying such issues do not necessarily disprove the notion that Adam and Eve were strictly vegetarians or that animal death only came about as a result of human sin. Rather, such issues do raise questions that are often not considered. Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., at Third Millennium Ministries, enumerates several of these issues:

    First, the discussion about animal death often ignores the issue of plant death. Jesus himself taught that there is a cycle of plant life and death:

    Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12:24 ESV).

    we find nothing positively or negatively said about eating meat in Genesis 2.

    Where Did the Skin Garments Come From?

    Were Humans Only Permitted to Eat Meat After the Flood?
    The late theologian Meredith Kline, as summarized by Charles Lee Irons, offers an even stronger argument, showing that the permission to eat meat in Genesis 9 must be read more closely in the context of Genesis 7:1-10, whereby Noah is commanded to bring onboard the ark certain quantities of unclean and clean animals. Where does this language of unclean versus clean animals come from?

    Leviticus 11 gives us an extended treatment differentiating between unclean versus clean animals, but the last two verses of the chapter provide a nice summary:

    “This is the law about beast and bird and every living creature that moves through the waters and every creature that swarms on the ground, to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean and between the living creature that may be eaten and the living creature that may not be eaten” (Leviticus 11:46-47 ESV).

    Does it really make sense for God to require Noah to separate out unclean from clean animals, if there was no permission to eat the clean ones? Instead, this would suggest that Genesis 9:3-4 is about lifting the restriction against eating from unclean animals, which would have been known about in the days before the great Flood. Now after the Flood, all animals are eligible to be eaten. This would be like an “Acts 10” moment, where in the New Testament Peter is given permission to eat from formerly unclean animals. Presumably, the distinction between unclean and clean would be introduced once again later in Israel’s history, in the days of Moses, with the giving of the Ten Commandments, and the rest of the Law associated those commandments.

    Evidence for Animal Death Before the Fall?
    An even more challenging argument can be made that pushes back the appearance of animal death to the days of creation. Psalm 104 is a well-known psalm extolling the virtues of God revealed at Creation. Yet the psalm goes into showing how God made a world where carnivorous lions would be able to operate as God designed them:

    He made the moon to mark the seasons;
    the sun knows its time for setting.
    You make darkness, and it is night,
    when all the beasts of the forest creep about.
    The young lions roar for their prey,
    seeking their food from God.
    When the sun rises, they steal away
    and lie down in their dens (Psalm 104:19-22 ESV)

    The lions are enabled to seek their prey, which are other living animals (not plants), during the nighttime, which God instituted during the days of creation. No mention of the Fall of Adam and Eve is mentioned here with respect to this carnivorous design. Perhaps T-Rex was a carnivore after all?

    The typical counter-argument raised by Young Earth Creationists is to divide Psalm 104 into different parts. Some verses pertain to Creation, but other parts of the psalm are placed after Creation, but still long before the current day when the psalmist was writing. In the passage above, verses 19-22 are placed after the Fall. In other words, the Fall of humanity somehow transformed herbivore lions into becoming carnivorous. But are there any clues in this passage that would indicate the context is something other than Creation itself? I have trouble finding any.

    Another Young Earth Creationist counter-argument claims that because Psalm 104 is an example of poetry, and Genesis 1 is historical narrative, that Genesis takes some type of priority over Psalm 104. Really? On what basis are we to say that a psalm is any less part of authoritative Scripture than what we read in Genesis?

    At the Final Resurrection: Do We Go Back to the Garden, or Onward to the New City of Jerusalem?
    Another counter-argument raised by Young Earth Creationists suggests that God’s intended plan for the future, at the Final Resurrection, is to bring us back to the state of being in the Garden at Creation:

    “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
    and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
    and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
    and a little child shall lead them.
    The cow and the bear shall graze;
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
    The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
    and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
    They shall not hurt or destroy
    in all my holy mountain;
    for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6-9 ESV)

    The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
    the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
    and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
    They shall not hurt or destroy
    in all my holy mountain,”
    says the Lord (Isaiah 65:25 ESV)

    ...After all, the great climax of the Bible at Revelation 21 talks about going to the “New Jerusalem,” with no mention of going back to the Garden of Eden. In other words, Creation was not the ending point of God’s purposes for humanity, but rather it was the starting point
    If There is No Eating of Meat at the Final Resurrection, Why Did the Resurrected Jesus Eat Broiled Fish?
    If the resurrection is only about restoring God’s original purposes in creation, then there is a real problem with Jesus eating broiled meat from a dead fish, if we insist that there was no animal death before the Fall.

    New Testament Evidence for Animal Death Before the Fall?
    1 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV
    This would suggest that Paul believed that just as marriage was created by God for our enjoyment, the eating of meats was also created by God for our enjoyment as well, from the very beginning.
    Furthermore, if we read what Paul says in his most important letter, the Book of Romans, we learn that Adam’s sin led to death among humans:
    “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12 ESV)

  21. timlyg says:

    The YEC are so determined that the length of each creation day being 24 hours as a proof that evolution is wrong that they are blindsided by the fact that:
    1. If there's any contradiction, evolution does not contradict the Bible in length of day, but in "after its kind".
    2. Why must evolution take millenia? or a long long time? Is God not powerful enough to have evolution done in a short time, viz. six 24-hour days?

    This means that for the YEC to insist on a 24-hour day being the universal length which by itself isn't even true by today's measures (not every day has the same length of time), not only are they making the assumption of another assumption that Moses must have viewed six 24-hour creation days, thus a human convention in interpretation, they also belittle God, by ignoring the fact that God could have evolution done in just one 24-hour day.

    So this is a logical fallacy for the YEC to head this direction. Their inability to distinguish OEC and evolution apart is very disconcerting.

  22. timlyg says:

    The OPC Finally did it, or the Reformed Forum, a popular OPC Podcast/Education site for the reformed movement from the OPC standpoint, founded by Camden Bucey.

    I posted this on FB:
    It's a relief to hear these lot from the OPC debunking the 24-hour creation day definition in Genesis 1, which is bad hermeneutics, which unfortunately have been widely injected by fundamentalists into the reformed populations especially those which surround me.

  23. timlyg says:

    On FB, I like this comment I set, pointing out that my view (Reformed) is more aligned with scripture than the YEC folks, not that they are necessarily wrong on the time, but their hermeneutics is a risky one:

    Allen J Dunckley According to you. So we can distinguish our "views" this way:
    You believe those 6 days must be NATURAL/NORMAL days and you get there by HUMAN EXTRAPOLATION, that a normal day must be 24 Earth hours (due to the SUN, a FOURTH DAY creation) and not a millisecond more nor less and also that those first 6 days must be normal.
    I differ in believing those 6 days as LITERAL days and I get there from how GOD DEFINED "day" Himself in Genesis, that an Evening-and-Morning-day (due to LIGHT, a FIRST DAY creation), has nothing to do with hours so I'm not gonna add hours to it where God does not reveal in Scripture.
    Now we can agree to disagree

  24. timlyg says:

    David Tong again on creation/evolution.
    New term learned: Hexahemeron = 6 days, plural of hexahemera (greek ἑξαήμερον).

    My comment on his FB, with this diagram:
    semantik terkadang penting: Dalam hal hexahemeron, bagi saya, "literal" tidak harus = 6x24 jam, yang merupakan "ordinary" = "natural" = "normal" (konvensi manusia), bukan "literal" (firman Tuhan).

    tapi mungkin saya satu-satunya yang mengatakan begitu:
    null

    Tong also interacted with me. Where I gave brief definitions on those various views:

    ordinary => ordinary day, normal day, regular day = 24 hour (or roughly) day. Many called this "literal day", which is fine with me but I would caution that "literal day" is not "literal interpretation, though that's how it has been put out there: literal day = ordinary day = literal interpretation of those 6 days.

    Day-age to me is simply questioning those 6 days as 24 hour (or roughly) each but open to a different time length to those days. Not mutually exclusive to literal interpretation (i.e. Bavinck's first 3 days being unusual, is a literal interpretation to me), though it is not a literal interpretation when you define day-age view as: 1 day = 365 days or so.

    Framework view is just ignorant of temporal assignment. But ignorant does not necessarily mean denying. Thus, not mutually exclusive to literal interpretation.

    Of course, it comes down to if we could agree on the definitions. I think I tried my best to be universal as I could in defining ordinary, day-age and framework positions. But the more challenging definition would be in defining what "literal" means. For me, "A literal day" is just simply how God defined it: The SINGLE (not multiple = some day-age view) span of time (not just order or pattern as some framework view) of dusk and dawn (between dusks), which by definition not limited to "Sun"-set nor "Sun"-rise (the ordinary view), respectively.

  25. timlyg says:

    A year or two ago, Pastor Chris of GCC played the Young Earth Documentary film hosted by Del Tackett "Is Genesis History?". I cannot completely reject it as they want to do God the honor of creation. However, because of their conflating general and special revelations, I cannot support it 100%, maybe just 10%, because of bad hermeneutics. I'm not the only one, TGC apparently has an article criticizing it. It also noted that one of the scientists interviewed in the film dissented his own (Paul Nelson) role in the film. His article also mentioned Marcus Ross (who's also interviewed in the film) being somewhat on par with him on this. Though both Paul Nelson and Marcus Ross are allegedly Young-Earth Creationists themselves.

    Though this is a young earth bias film, I do sense there maybe a couple of of scientists being interviewed may lean to Old Earth view.

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