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Mental Starting Points and Seeing the Evidence: A Critique of Dinosaur Blood and the Age of the Earth Part 8

Old printed copy of Genesis 1

Here, in this eleventh installment of our series, we continue to critique the book, “Dinosaur Blood and the Age of the Earth,” by Fazale Rana (better known as Fuz Rana), an old-earth creationist and a prominent member of the Reasons to Believe organization headed by Hugh Ross. This article critiques Rana’s “Conclusion”, pages 73-75. Rana’s “Conclusion” is not the end though. There is also an Appendix after Rana’s Conclusion, “A Biblical case for an Old Earth,” which we will critique in a future article. (Previous articles of this series can be found here: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5APart 5BPart 5CPart 6Part 6B,  Part 7.)

 

The Psychology of Old Earth Creationism

On page 74 of “Dinosaur Blood and the Age of the Earth,” Fuz Rana states:

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Bad scientific arguments for the Christian faith negatively impact evangelism.

This statement of Fuz Rana (and lots of other statements in his book) represents a salvo directed at young earth creationists. So, it is young earth creationists who are negatively impacting evangelism?  Fair enough. That’s Rana’s proposition, to which he is entitled. To which accusation, I respond: The argument for the endurance of biomaterials over millions of years, such as soft dinosaur tissue, sub-Cambrian beard worms, etc., is undoubtedly a very bad scientific argument. Therefore, applying Fuz Rana’s own proposition, he is himself negatively impacting Evangelism.

Rana’s statement is also extremely significant. Do we get a view at this juncture of the inner motivating factors of Rana in his writings? I believe we do. Rana is zealous for the Gospel. That is what motivates him.

So here is my question: Do these efforts by Fuz Rana (and many other old earth creationist apologists) to harmonize biblical theology with the opinions du jour of the secular scientific establishment betray a kind of subconscious, knee-jerk compromise of lesser biblical doctrines in order to defend more important ones such as the basic Gospel message? In my opinion, absolutely yes.

This reaction of Fuz Rana and many other old earth creationists appears to me to be all instinctive in nature, a kind of defense mechanism against the perceived authority (hah!) of the secular scientific establishment. Now, I don’t believe for one moment that Fuz Rana consciously said to himself, “I’m going to sacrifice this truth of the Word of God so that I may salvage that truth of the Word of God.” This dynamic all appears to me to operate in an emotional, reflexive, non-cognitive manner, what psychologists call the “affective” aspect of the human psyche.

This dynamic, if it is in fact what is going on (and I believe it is), is the same dynamic of psychological denial addressed in Romans 1:18-19 regarding unbelievers:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

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Unbelievers, unfortunately, do not have a monopoly on this dynamic of self-deception, of reflexively suppressing knowledge of the truth…or a truth. And it does not only occur exclusively in regard to the single issue of the awareness of the existence of our Creator. This is simply the human condition. We are all, without exception, vulnerable to it. This is something we all have to guard against in regard to innumerable truths which make us uncomfortable.

And earning a Ph.D. does not in the least bit exempt anyone from this vulnerability. We cannot educate this tendency out of ourselves. It is part of the Fall, of our fallenness, of Original Sin. It is the human condition. We are all afflicted with it. Any truth which a human being does not like or is uncomfortable with in some way may activate this inner dynamic.

Creation in Six Regular Days Unambiguous in Scripture

The biblical teaching of creation in six regular days is clear and unambiguous in Scripture:

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day.”—Exodus 20:11

God Created All Things in Six Days

The time span from the creation of the heaven and the earth on Day 1 to the creation of Man occurred over six days, days which are explicitly characterized as having “the evening and the morning” (Genesis 1:2, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31), a phrase which clearly refers to, and can only refer to, a normal 24 hour cycle. There is simply no biblical merit or justification whatsoever for claiming the six days are six ages of tens or hundreds of millions of years. There is no way to rationally make “evening and morning” metaphorical or symbolic. This recurring statement in Genesis 1 conclusively establishes the time periods of the Genesis days as regular 24 hours days in the day/night cycle.

Moreover, Christ declared in Mark 10:6-7,

But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife…”

The creation of Adam and Eve is explicitly said to have occurred “from the beginning of the creation,” not millions or billions of years after the beginning. Since there have been roughly 6,000 years from the creation of Man till now, how utterly absurd is the notion that the creation of Man millions or billions of years after the original creation of the heaven and the earth could be characterized as “from the beginning of the creation!” Those who ask us to accept this proposition ask us to accept utter nonsense.

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In Genesis 1:29-31, it is written:

And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

All living creatures originally created vegetarian—Gen 1:29-31

This is another very significant passage. It is important to highlight that these words of God were spoken to Adam and Eve after God had completed His work of creation. As of the sixth day, “every beast of the field,” and “every bird of the air,” and “everything that creeps on the earth,” are all said to have been vegetarian in diet. So I would like to ask old-earth creationists who believe in deep time preceding the sixth day:

Since these words were spoken by God to Adam and Eve on Day 6, exactly when did carnivorous activity begin among the animals?

According to Fuz Rana and other old earth creationists, carnivorous activity among the animals began possibly billions of years, certainly hundreds of millions of years, before Adam and Eve. This assertion directly contradicts what we are told in Genesis 1:29-31.

Fallen Humanity Naturally Hostile to God’s Truth

In the final analysis, there is no excuse for professed Bible believers to distort the biblical declaration of creation in six regular days. I get it, I really do, that the underlying impetus is a zeal for the Gospel. But we do not perform God’s will by distorting God’s truth. We do not promote the Gospel by the attempt to make the biblical message palatable to those who are essentially hostile to God and the Gospel by compromising other unambiguous teachings of Scripture. The unbelievers, the truth suppressors, are not hostile to the Gospel because biblical teachings are in conflict with so-called science.

Quite the reverse: they hold to beliefs which are contradictory to biblical teaching because they are first antagonistic to the truth. They are in the vice grip of original sin. They are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Like Cain, they have a natural hostility against the true God, against His people, and against His truth.

“Cain and Abel” by Pietro Novelli (1603-1647)

 

Fuz Rana’s effort to promote the Gospel by trying to harmonize biblical teachings with the pseudo-science of deep time is utterly misguided. Ultimately, the Gospel prevails only by the grace of the Holy Spirit upon the human heart.

Written by Tom Shipley

I am a former atheist and was an evolutionist during my college days, but came to faith in Christ at the age of 20. I regard my pro-creation activities as part of the work of the kingdom of God. I believe that a very tough, strident and unapologetic stance against evolution is called for though I may soften my tone if and when Mark Armitage and David Coppedge, fired for their creationist beliefs, are given their jobs back. Articles copyright Tom Shipley. All Rights Reserved.

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Photo credit: Wendy MacDonald "Perfect love doesn't condemn, it invites grace to gild each heart. For only Christ was perfect, and only He's the Morning Star."

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