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Monday, April 20, 2015

Light Before the Sun?

How Could There Be Light Before the Sun?

Q:

Genesis 1:3-5 indicates that God created light on day one of the Creation week. It was not until day four, however, that He made the Sun, Moon, and stars. How could there have been light in the beginning, before the Sun was even created? What was that light?

A:

The first thing to note is that whatever the light was, God divided it from darkness and then defined “Day” and “Night” based on the distinction (vss. 4-5). Moses highlights that “the evening and the morning” were in effect at the end of that first day, even though the Sun had not yet been created. Apparently, the light was directional and fixed, like the light from the Sun, allowing a light period for day and a dark period for night as the Earth turned on its axis as it does today, also allowing for an evening and a morning. Wayne Jackson noted that “[t]he ‘light’ of Genesis 1:3 obviously radiated from a ‘fixed’ source, in its relationship to the earth, inasmuch as it facilitated the dark-to-light arrangement, as the primitive orb rotated upon its axis” (2014). Henry M. Morris concurred, stating, “Such a cyclical light-dark arrangement clearly means that the earth was now rotating on its axis and that there was a source of light on one side of the earth corresponding to the sun, even though the sun was not yet made (Genesis 1:16)” (1977, p. 55). Biblical scholars Spence and Exell explain, “On the fourth day the light [that was—JM] developed on the first is concentrated and permanently fixed in the celestial luminaries” (2007, Genesis 1:3-5).
Can we surmise anything else about that light? Spence and Exell point out that Augustine argued that the light was spiritual in nature (2007). However, such a postulation does not harmonize well with the rest of the chapter. How could spiritual light be divided into the days and nights that are described throughout the rest of Genesis one to denote God’s activity on each of the days of the Creation week?
Though “light” was once thought to be inherently a substance or element, we now understand it to be merely a result of matter being in a certain condition. Spence and Exell point out that it would not conflict with the text to argue that the light of Genesis one referred to the “mode or condition of matter,” with luminosity, for example, being merely the result of incandescence (Genesis 1:3-5). This hints that some physical source could have been present to emit the light, unless, of course, the light was purely supernatural and temporary. Adam Clarke and Spence and Exell note that the Genesis one word for “light” is used elsewhere in the Bible to denote fire (Isaiah 31:9; Ezekiel 5:2), the Sun (Job 31:26), lightning (Job 37:3), and even heat (Isaiah 44:16). Clarke concluded “that it is caloric or latent heat which is principally intended by the original word” (2013, Genesis 1:3).
There is no doubt that when the Earth was created on day one, likely with its mantle intact, light (and heat) was immediately in existence due to the nature of the magma therein. Keep in mind also that “light” occurs in a wide spectrum—a range which far exceeds what humans can visibly detect. Henry Morris noted, “[I]t is obvious that visible light is primarily meant [in Genesis 1:3—JM], since it was set in contrast to darkness. At the same time, the presence of visible light waves necessarily involves the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Beyond the visible light waves are, on the one hand, ultraviolet light and all the other shortwavelength radiations and, on the other hand, infrared light and the other longwave phenomena” (p. 56). John D. Morris observed:
Actually there are many sources of light, not just the sun. There are also many types of light, not just visible light. Short-wave light includes ultraviolet light, X-rays, and others. Long-wave light includes infrared light, radio waves, etc. Light is produced by friction, by fire, by numerous chemical reactions, as well as the nuclear reactions of atomic fission and fusion, which is what we think is occurring in the sun. God had at His fingertips many options to accomplish His purposes. Light does not automatically require the sun (2008, p. 14).
Bottom line: while we know the light spectrum and heat (entropy) were created on day one, there is simply not enough information in the text to understand the nature of the fixed, directional light source that allowed for a division of night and day during the first three days of Creation. Whatever it was, no sustained contradiction can be levied against the Bible due to its commentary on the events of the Creation week. [NOTE: Consider that such charges, if sustainable, would have likely caused the Bible millennia ago to be patently rejected by all rational people, fading into obscurity along with the mythological stories of old. Humanity has simply understood that there is an explanation to the enigma, even if the details are not known, and that a legitimate absurdity cannot be levied against the biblical text.] Interestingly, Jackson points out that the ancient, mythological Babylonian account of creation, Enuma Elish, dating back as far as 1800 B.C., also claimed that light was in existence before the lightbearers themselves (2014). For thousands of years, humanity has had such texts, and while not understanding the full implications of such accounts, people have understood that such a concept is not inherently inaccurate. Interestingly, if the Bible were written by humans conning the masses, one might imagine a re-write of the events of day one would be the first edit to be made to give us some more insight.

REFERENCES

Clarke, Adam (2013), Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Electronic Database: WORDSearch).
Jackson, Wayne (2014), “What Was that ‘Light’ Before the Sun (Genesis 1:3)?” Christian Courier, https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/882-what-was-that-light-before-the-sun-genesis-1-3.
Morris, Henry M. (1977), The Genesis Record (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Morris, John D. (2008), “Sunlight Before the Sun,” Acts & Facts, 37[1]:14, http://www.icr.org/article/sunlight-before-sun/.
Spence, H.D.M. and Joseph S. Exell (2007), The Pulpit Commentary (Electronic Database: WORDSearch).



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Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Islam!



"Islamophobia"?

Political correctness is running amok in American civilization. This irrational, self-contradictory ideology is virtually ensconced in culture. Millions have been victimized by this propaganda and intimidated into silence when confronted by ideas and behaviors that are immoral or destructive. This sinister ideology began to assert itself with a vengeance during the turbulent 1960s. In seemingly conspiratorial fashion, socialistic forces strategized means by which to bully mainstream Americans into silent passivity. As Cuban producer, director, and author Agustin Blazquez explains: “Change their speech and thought patterns by spreading the idea that vocalizing your beliefs is disrespectful to others and must be avoided to make up for past inequities and injustices” (2002). While accusing the status quo of censorship, attempting to stifle free speech, and oppress the left, ironically, the left now uses the very tactics they mistakenly imagined in their opponents. Hence, the social liberals in politics, education, and beyond launched “a sophisticated and dangerous form of censorship and oppression, imposed upon the citizenry with the ultimate goal of manipulating, brainwashing and destroying our society” (Blazquez). They have worked their agenda with a shrewd precision that would be the envy of the most sinister dictators of human history—from Nero to Hitler to Stalin.
Strangely, the effort to silence the traditional Christian values that have characterized America from the beginning has been accompanied by inconsistent and self-contradictory accommodation of Islam. Immediately after 9-11, the forces of political correctness sought to minimize the obvious connection between Islam and the attack by insisting that Islam is a peaceful religion, and by promoting Islam in public schools and encouraging the construction of Mosques throughout the country. Even as Christmas cards, Christian prayer, and allusions to Christianity in American history were being challenged across the country, an elementary school in Texas permitted a girl to present an overview and show a video about her Muslim religion to her classmates; a public middle school in San Luis Obispo, California had its students pretend to be warriors fighting for Islam; and a school near Oakland, California encouraged 125 seventh-grade students to dress up in Muslim robes for a three-week course on Islam. Consider the attack by Islamic gunmen that killed 12 people at the offices of a French satirical newspaper in Paris. The event evoked reactions that sought to lay blame on “disrespect for religion on the part of irresponsible cartoonists” and “violent extremists unrelated to Islam,” rather than placing blame on Sharia law, Islam, and the Quran (McCarthy, 2015; Packer, 2015; Kristof, 2015; “All in With…,” 2015; Tuttle, 2015).
The open promotion of Islam across the country has become widespread as footbaths are being installed in universities and other public facilities, traffic in New York City is disrupted by Muslims performing prayer rituals in the streets, public school classrooms and extracurricular activities are altered to accommodate Ramadan and daily prayer rituals, and the capitol lawn is given over to a Muslim prayer service involving hundreds. Any who dare even to question these proceedings are instantly pummeled and castigated as intolerant and “Islamophobic.”
As an example, consider the nationwide brouhaha that surrounded the construction of a mosque near ground zero. Despite what the left alleged, participating in a public rally to voice opposition to the construction of a mosque was not “bashing Islam” or being intolerant and “Islamophobic.” In 1941, the World War 2 generation was not being “Japophobic” when they went to war with Japan because Japanese aircraft bombed Pearl Harbor, killing some 2,400 of our young men, and wounding a 1,000 more. Nor were they “Naziphobic” when they sought to deter Germany from its attempted conquest of Europe and eventually America. Even to suggest such is ludicrous. They were merely facing reality—an ability today’s social liberals seem to lack, coupled with their complete naiveté regarding the sinister threat posed by Islam. What if Japanese living in America had sought to erect a Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine over the wreckage of the USS Arizona?
Make no mistake, true Christians do not hate Muslims, nor harbor prejudice or ill will against them. Rather, informed Christians and Americans simply recognize the fundamental threat that Islam poses to the freedom to practice one’s Christian beliefs without fear of reprisal. Indeed, taking steps to minimize the spread of Islam is itself the exercise of First Amendment rights. It is a sincere attempt to discourage the spread of religious views that are antithetical to liberty and the Christian principles on which America was founded—and on which her perpetuation depends. The American Founders recognized this fact.

the founders on islam

Father of American Jurisprudence and New York State Supreme Court Chief Justice James Kent noted that “we are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply ingrafted [sic] upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those imposters”—referring to “Mahomet and the Grand Lama” (The People…, 1811, emp. added). Did you catch that? The moral fabric of America is “deeply engrafted” on Christianity—not the false religion of Islam. Labeling founders of false religions “imposters” is not “hate speech;” it is simply describing reality.
James Iredell, appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by George Washington, felt sure that Americans would never elect Muslims, pagans, or atheists to political office when he demurred, “But it is never to be supposed that the people of America will trust their dearest rights to persons who have no religion at all, or a religion materially different from their own” (1836, 4:194, emp. added). Father of American Geography, Jedediah Morse, explained the intimate connection between America’s freedom and the Christian religion:
The foundations which support the interests of Christianity, are also necessary to support a free and equal government like our own. In all those countries where there is little or no religion, or a very gross and corrupt one, as in Mahometan and Pagan countries, there you will find, with scarcely a single exception, arbitrary and tyrannical governments, gross ignorance and wickedness, and deplorable wretchedness among the people. To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoy (1799, p. 14, emp. added).
Here is an extremely wise, insightful, and sobering admonition—if we will listen and learn. The portrait that Morse painted has not changed in the intervening 200+ years. Muslim nations across the world are still “very gross and corrupt,” with “tyrannical governments” and “deplorable wretchedness among the people.” Is that what Americans desire for their own lifestyle? Does even the politically correct crowd wish to live in such a country? They do not. Yet, they foolishly hasten the deleterious transformation of our country.
In his masterful refutation of Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason, Elias Boudinot, who served as one of the Presidents of the Continental Congress, offered a blistering assessment of Islam in its contradistinction to Christianity:
Did not Moses and Christ show their divine mission, not only by the nature and effects of their doctrines and precepts,...but also by doing good, in the presence of all the people, works, that no other men ever did…? But Mahomet aimed to establishhis pretensions to divine authority, by the power of the sword and the terrors of his government; while he carefully avoided any attempts at miracles in the presence of his followers, and all pretences [sic] to foretell things to come…. [The laws] of Mahomet and other impostors have generally been compiled by degrees, according to the exigencies of the states, the prevalence of particular factions, or the authority who governed the people at his own will. Mahomet made his laws, not to curb, but humor the genius of the people; they were therefore altered and repealed from the same causes…. [W]here is the comparison between the supposed prophet of Mecca, and the Son of God; or with what propriety ought they to be named together? The difference between these characters is so great, that the facts need not be further applied (1801, pp. 36-39, emp. added).
Ethan Allen exposed a fallacy of Islam in his discussion of the fact that the providence of the God of the Bible “does not interfere with the agency of man,” whereas
Mahomet taught his army that the “term of every man’s life was fixed by God, and that none could shorten it, by any hazard that he might seem to be exposed to in battle or otherwise,” but that it should be introduced into peaceable and civil life, and be patronized by any teachers of religion, is quite strange, as it subverts religion in general, and renders the teaching of it unnecessary… (1854, p. 21, emp. added).  
He also warned against being “imposed upon by imposters, or by ignorant and insidious teachers, whose interest it may be to obtrude their own systems on the world for infallible truth, as in the instance of Mahomet” (p. 55, emp. added).
When Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were appointed and authorized by Congress to negotiate a treaty with the Muslim terrorists who continually raided American ships off the coast of North Africa, they met in London in 1786 with the Ambassador from Tripoli. On March 28, they penned the following words to John Jay, then serving as Secretary for Foreign Affairs, reporting their conversation with the ambassador:
We took the liberty to make some inquiries concerning the grounds of their pretentions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our Friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation. The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise. That it was a law that the first who boards an enemy’s vessel should have one slave more than his share with the rest, which operated as an incentive to the most desperate valour and enterprize [sic], that it was the practice of their corsairs to bear down upon a ship, for each sailor to take a dagger, in each hand, and another in his mouth, and leap on board, which so terrified their enemies that very few ever stood against them, that he verily believed that the Devil assisted his countrymen, for they were almost always successful (“Letter from the…,” emp. added).
While the Founders were supportive of “freedom of religion,” they were not for encouraging false religions (i.e., all non-Christian religions) to spread in America, or to be given “equal time” with Christianity, or allowed to infiltrate civil institutions (see Miller, 2013). Consider U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story who was appointed to the Court by President James Madison in 1811, and is considered the founder of Harvard Law School and one of two men who have been considered the Fathers of American Jurisprudence. In his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Story clarified the meaning of the First Amendment as it relates to religious toleration and Islam:
The real object of the [First—DM] [A]mendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy [of one denomination—DM] the exclusive patronage of the national government (1833, 3:728.1871, emp. added).
Samuel Johnston, Governor of North Carolina and Member of the Constitution ratifying convention in 1788, attempted to allay fears that anti-Christian ideologies may infiltrate our elected officials:
It is apprehended that Jews, Mahometans, pagans, &c., may be elected to high offices under the government of the United States. Those who are Mahometans, or any others who are not professors of the Christian religion, can never be elected to the office of President or other high office, but in one of two cases. First, if the people of America lay aside the Christian religion altogether, it may happen. Should this unfortunately take place, the people will choose such men as think as they do themselves (as quoted in Elliot, 1836, 4:198, emp. added).
John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams and distinguished for his significant contributions to the Founding era and thereafter, summarized the attitude of most Americans and Founders toward Islam in his brilliant “Essays on the Russo-Turkish War” written in 1827. In these essays, we see a cogent, informed portrait of the threat that Islam has posed throughout world history:
In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar, the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle. Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust, by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE. Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. That war is yet flagrant; nor can it cease but by the extinction of that imposture, which has been permitted by Providence to prolong the degeneracy of man. While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men. The hand of Ishmael will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him [Genesis 16:12—DM]. It is, indeed, amongst the mysterious dealings of God, that this delusion should have been suffered for so many ages, and during so many generations of human kind, to prevail over the doctrines of the meek and peaceful and benevolent Jesus (1830, 29:269, capitals in orig., emp. added).
Observe that Adams not only documents the violent nature of Islam, in contrast with the peaceful and benevolent thrust of Christianity, he further exposes the mistreatment of women inherent in Islamic doctrine, including the degrading practice of polygamy. A few pages later, Adams again spotlights the coercive, violent nature of Islam, as well as the Muslim’s right to lie and deceive to advance Islam:
The precept of the koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force (29:274).
No Christian would deny that many Christians in history have violated the precepts of Christ by mistreating others and even committing atrocities in the name of Christ. However, Adams rightly observes that one must go against Christian doctrine to do so. Not so with Islam—since violence is sanctioned:
The fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion, is the extirpation of hatred from the human heart. It forbids the exercise of it, even towards enemies. There is no denomination of Christians, which denies or misunderstands this doctrine. All understand it alike—all acknowledge its obligations; and however imperfectly, in the purposes of Divine Providence, its efficacy has been shown in the practice of Christians, it has not been wholly inoperative upon them. Its effect has been upon the manners of nations. It has mitigated the horrors of war—it has softened the features of slavery—it has humanized the intercourse of social life. The unqualified acknowledgement of a duty does not, indeed, suffice to insure its performance. Hatred is yet a passion, but too powerful upon the hearts of Christians. Yet they cannot indulge it, except by the sacrifice of their principles, and the conscious violation of their duties. No state paper from a Christian hand, could, without trampling the precepts of its Lord and Master, have commenced by an open proclamation of hatred to any portion of the human race. The Ottoman lays it down as the foundation of his discourse (29:300, emp. added; see Miller, 2005).
These observations by a cross-section of the Founders of the American Republic represent the prevailing viewpoint in America for nearly 200 years. Only with the onslaught of “political correctness” have so many Americans blinded themselves to the sinister threat posed to their freedom and way of life.
When General George S. Patton was waging war against the Nazis in North Africa during World War 2, he had the opportunity to observe what Islam does for a nation, particularly the female population. In his monumental volume War As I Knew It, writing from Casablanca on June 9, 1943, Patton mused:
One cannot but ponder the question: What if the Arabs had been Christians? To me it seems certain that the fatalistic teachings of Mohammed and the utter degradation of women is the outstanding cause for the arrested development of the Arab. He is exactly as he was around the year 700, while we have kept on developing. Here, I think, is a text for some eloquent sermon on the virtues of Christianity (1947, p. 49, emp. added).
The Founders of the American republic were hardly “Islamophobic.” Rather, they wisely recognized the fundamental threat posed by the teachings of the Quran to the American way of life. As pursuers of truth, they believed Islam to be a false religion that should no more be encouraged to thrive in society than belief in Peter Pan’s Neverland. They viewed Christianity as the one true religion (see Miller, 2010). Indeed, mark it down, if Islam is given free course to alter the laws and public institutions of America, it logically follows that America will become just like the Islamic nations of the world. It is naïve and foolish to think that Islam can eventually become widespread in America and America remain the same country she has been. It is only logical and obvious to conclude that when America’s institutions are altered to accommodate Muslims, Islamic influence will, in time, dominate the nation. Then how will Christians be treated? The answer is self-evident. Look at how Christians are treated even now in Muslim countries around the world. Ask yourself this question: “Is there any Muslim country on Earth where I would choose to live?”
When clear thinking Americans examine Islam’s doctrines, and assess the behavior of its adherents over the centuries, they are merely doing what any rational person does every day with respect to a host of ideas. The honest heart naturally desires truth. Truth has nothing to fear. The God of the Bible wants truth contrasted with error so that all sincere persons can discern the truth and distinguish truth from falsehood (1 Kings 18:21; Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). Christianity is inherently a religion of truth, reason, and logic (John 8:32; cf. Miller, 2011).

conclusion

"Islamophobia” is an irrelevant, concocted notion. It is a prejudicial, “red flag” word created by the left to stifle any hint of an inherent threat posed by Islam to the American way of life. In the words, again, of Agustin Blasquez: “It’s one thing to be educated, considerate, polite and have good manners, and another to be forced to self-censor and say things that are totally incorrect in order to comply with the arbitrary dictums of a deceiving and fanatical far-left agenda” (2002). As the deterioration and complete breakdown of traditional American (Christian) values climax, the destructive perpetrator—the left—is strangely eager to enable Islam to trample underfoot any Christian vestiges that remain. [NOTE: Ironically, if Islam were to take over America, many of the pluralistic ideologies championed by the left would be the first to be eliminated—from feminism to homosexuality.] To borrow the title of James Burnham’s book (1964), the suicide of the west is nearly complete. Or as D.T. Devareaux’s disturbing political cartoon depicts, Islam is happy to serve as the hammer finger on the weapon of Liberalism used by Uncle Sam (who upholds Western Civilization) to terminate his own existence (“The Art of…,” n.d.).

REFERENCES

Adams, John Quincy (1830), “Essays on Russo-Turkish War,” in The American Annual Register, ed. Joseph Blunt (New York: E. & G.W. Blunt), 29:267-402, http://www.archive.org/stream/p1americanannual29blunuoft.
Allen, Ethan (1854), Reason, the Only Oracle of Man (Boston, MA: J.P. Mendum).
“All In With Chris Hayes” (2015), “Terror Attack in Paris,” MSNBC, January 7, http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/terror-attack-in-paris-381379651841.
“The Art of D.T. Devareaux” (no date), http://plancksconstant.org/es/blog1/2009/06/the_art_of_dt_devareaux.html. See “The Study of Revenge: The Polemical Artwork of D. T. Devareaux,” http://plancksconstant.org/es/blog1/2008/02/devareax.html.
Blazquez, Agustin (2002), “Political Correctness: The Scourge of Our Times,” NewsMax.com, April 8, http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2002/4/4/121115.shtml/.
Boudinot, Elias (1801), The Age of Revelation (Philadelphia, PA: Asbury Dickens).
Burnham, James (1964), Suicide of the West (New York: John Day Company).
Elliot, Jonathan, ed. (1836), Debates in the Convention of the State of North Carolina, On the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Washington, D.C.: Taylor & Maury), second edition, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwed.html.
Iredell, James (1836), The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, ed. Jonathan Elliot (Washington, D.C.: Jonathan Elliot).
Kristof, Nicholas (2015), “Is Islam to Blame for the Shooting at Charlie Hebdo in Paris?” The New York Times, January 7, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/08/opinion/nicholas-kristof-lessons-from-the-charlie-hebdo-shooting-in-paris.html?_r=0.
“Letter from the American Peace Commissioners (Thomas Jefferson & John Adams) to John Jay March 28, 1786” (1786), The Thomas Jefferson Papers Series 1. General Correspondence. 1651-1827, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mtj.mtjbib001849.
McCarthy, Andrew (2015), “Don’t Blame the Charlie Hebdo Mass Murder on ‘Extremism,’” National Review, January 7, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/395876/dont-blame-charlie-hebdo-mass-murder-extremism-andrew-c-mccarthy.
Miller, Dave (2005), “Violence and the Quran,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=8&article=1491&topic=44.
Miller, Dave (2010), Christ and the Continental Congress (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Miller, Dave (2011), “Is Christianity Logical?” Reason & Revelation, 31[6]:50-59, June, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=977.
Miller, Dave (2013), “Were the Founding Fathers ‘Tolerant’ of Islam?” Reason & Revelation, 33[3]:26-28,32-35, http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1116&article=2128.
Morse, Jedidiah (1799), A Sermon, Exhibiting the Present Dangers and Consequent Duties of the Citizens of the United States of America (Hartford, CT: Hudson and Goodwin), http://www.archive.org/details/sermonexhibiting00morsrich.
Packer, George (2015), “The Blame for the Charlie Hebdo Murders,” The New Yorker, January 7, http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/blame-for-charlie-hebdo-murders.
Patton, George (1947), War As I Knew It (New York: Houghton Mifflin).
The People v. Ruggles (1811), 8 Johns 290 (Sup. Ct. NY.), N.Y. Lexis 124.
Story, Joseph (1833), Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston, MA: Hilliard, Gray, & Co.).
Tuttle, Ian (2015), “The Rush to Blame the Victims in the Charlie Hebdo Massacre,” National Review Online, January 7, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/395912/rush-blame-victims-charlie-hebdo-massacre-ian-tuttle.



Copyright © 2015 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

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Age of the Earth

Assumptions and the Age of the Earth

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by A.P. staff scientist Dr. Houts who holds a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from MIT and serves as the Nuclear Research Manager for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.]
Scientific advances continue to confirm the Bible in all areas where science can be applied. Advances in life science have shown that even the simplest life is vastly more complicated than anything humans have ever made, and believing life could somehow “make itself” is more absurd than believing a space shuttle could do the same (Miller, 2013). Research related to the human genome has uncovered the incredible complexity of DNA, and the idea that random mutations followed by natural selection could somehow turn a single cell into all of the different forms of life we see around us is being further discredited each day (Sanford, 2008). In these areas (and others) it is obvious that true science is the Christian’s friend, and the enemy of religions that use evolution as their foundation.
Because true science continues to discredit the Theory of Evolution, atheists have been forced to focus discussion on topics where conclusions are drawn primarily based on the assumptions that are made, and not on actual science. If an unsuspecting individual can be convinced to accept atheistic assumptions, they can then often be convinced that atheism may be true or, at least, that portions of the Bible may be false.
One example is the subject of “age.” When one examines the subject, it becomes clear that all dating methods rely on assumptions that may or may not be correct. Because all dating methods ultimately rely on assumptions that cannot be empirically proven, the battle is no longer a scientific one (where the atheist or agnostic would lose), but a battle to convince individuals (and society) to accept atheistic assumptions without question. Within groups already dedicated to finding an atheistic explanation for the Universe and everything in it, the atheist has the upper hand.

Assumptions Related to Carbon Dating

An excellent example of the importance of assumptions is Carbon-14 dating. In a nutshell, if a person assumes the Bible is false, Carbon-14 dating can be used to “show” the Bible is false. If a person assumes the Bible is true, then Carbon-14 dating is shown to be consistent with the biblical account.
More specifically, an atheist will usually assume that the Earth is billions of years old, and that uniformitarianism has generally prevailed. Although minor adjustments are allowed, an atheist would also typically assume that there have been no large scale changes in the atmospheric ratio of Carbon-14 to carbon (14C/C; currently about one part per trillion) for at least the past several hundred thousand years.
From a Christian perspective, the Bible makes it clear that the Earth was created a few thousand years ago. In addition, a global flood occurred within the past 5,000 years. Uncertainties in the distribution and concentration of Carbon-14 at the end of Creation week, coupled with the potential for significant (two orders of magnitude) changes in Carbon-14 concentration caused by removal of carbon from the biosphere during the Flood, make it impossible to estimate Carbon-14 concentrations in the atmosphere much before a few centuries after the Flood. Additional uncertainties are added due to changes in the Earth’s magnetic field, the Sun’s magnetic field, the cosmic ray flux reaching the Earth’s atmosphere, and other factors which can dramatically affect Carbon-14 production rates.
To estimate the age of a carbon containing sample, the standard equation C = Co (e-λt) is used, where C is the currently measured Carbon-14 (14C) concentration; Co is the 14C concentration at the time of an organism’s death (assumed); e is the base of natural logarithms (2.71828); λ is 0.6931 divided by the half-life of 14C; and t is time. Solving the equation for time (given the current 14C half-life of 5,730 years), one obtains t = ln(C/Co)/-0.000121, where “t” is the time in years since the source of the carbon in the sample died.
The importance of the assumptions that are used to date a specimen can be demonstrated as follows. Suppose a carbon containing sample is found with a Carbon-14 concentration 2% that of today. Using the typical atheistic assumptions stated above, the age would be calculated as t = ln(0.02)/-.000121 = 32,330 years. However, if biblically consistent assumptions are made, a significantly different age would be estimated. For example, if a reasonable assumption was made concerning potential effects of the Flood (for instance, that near the time of the Flood Co was 1/30th that of today), then the same measured data would yield an age of t = ln(0.02/0.0333)/-.000121 = 4,210 years.
From the same measured 14C/C ratio, one could either make atheistic assumptions and obtain a biblically inconsistent date, or make biblically consistent assumptions and obtain a biblically consistent date. The same measured data yields a non-biblical date (32,330 years) if the Bible is presupposed to be wrong (i.e., no Flood and no recent Creation) and a biblically consistent date (4,210 years) if potential effects from even a single biblical event are taken into account.
In addition to the Flood, there are numerous other factors that could affect Co in artifacts created near the time of the Flood. For example, the total energy in the Earth’s magnetic field has been measured to be decreasing with time (Humphreys, 1984). The Earth’s magnetic field shields the Earth from cosmic rays that form Carbon-14 in the Earth’s atmosphere. The stronger the magnetic field, the fewer cosmic rays enter the Earth’s atmosphere, and the lower the amount of Carbon-14 produced. The stronger magnetic field of the past could thus cause carbon-dated objects (using atheistic assumptions) to have a calculated age older than reality. It is also impossible to determine how much (if any) Carbon-14 was present in the original Creation, and if Carbon-14 was present, how it was initially distributed.
From a biblical perspective, the Flood was the most recent physical event that would have had a significant effect on the ratio of 14C/C. Consequently, the effect of assumptions on samples created more than a few centuries after the Flood are greatly reduced. Once the 14C/C ratio had time to stabilize following the Flood, both biblical models and atheistic models would use the same assumption for the initial condition, i.e., that the 14C/C ratio was about the same when the sample was formed as it is today.
Biblical and secular written records generally agree, and when there are disagreements, an assumption is made as to which source to believe. For very old objects, some archeological dating methods (including pottery styles, burial layer, etc.) give biblically inconsistent dates. However, most of these methods are ultimately calibrated to Carbon-14 dating. If the Carbon-14 dates are wrong (due to incorrect assumptions applied to the initial 14C/C ratio), then the dating methods calibrated to those dates will also be wrong. Attempts have also been made to use tree ring patterns for calibration, but those are also influenced by assumptions, especially if the potential for sub-annual tree ring growth following the Flood is taken into account (Miller, 2014).

Assumptions Related to other Radiometric Dating Methods

Assumptions dominate other radiometric dating methods as well. For example, secular radiometric dating methods assume that radioactive decay rates have always been constant. In addition, assumptions are made about the initial concentration of all of the isotopes that are involved in the dating method, and assumptions are made about the addition or removal of isotopes throughout the life of the sample. If any of these assumptions is incorrect, significant errors can be introduced into the estimated age.
Major anomalies associated with radiometric dating methods can be resolved by biblically consistent models. For example, Carbon-14 is found in diamonds and coal purported to be hundreds of millions of years old. However, Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years, meaning ½ of the atoms decay (in this case beta-decay to Nitrogen-14) every 5,730 years. It was noted by the RATE group that the detectable presence of Carbon-14 in any sample indicates that its age is less (possibly much less) than approximately 100,000 years; otherwise, the Carbon-14 would have decayed below detectable levels (DeYoung, 2005, p. 175; NOTE: RATE [Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth] refers to an eight year research project conducted by the Institute for Creation Research). The presence of Carbon-14 in coal and diamonds strongly contradicts evolutionary theory, which claims  that both coal and diamonds formed millions of years ago. The “problem” (from an evolutionist’s standpoint) of Carbon-14 in coal has also been reported by Lowe (1989, 31:117-120), Giem (2001, 51:6-30), and others. Additional information related to Carbon-14 dating and anomalies is given in Batten, 2002.
Attempts to resolve the contradiction between measured Carbon-14 concentration and assumed age include postulating potential contamination of samples, errors with the equipment used to detect Carbon-14, and in-situ production of Carbon-14 from the decay of uranium or thorium mixed with the sample. Contamination and equipment error have been ruled out, and current decay rates are orders of magnitude lower than those required to make in-situ production a viable explanation (Jull, 1985, 20:676). However, if radioactive decay rates were greatly accelerated (by a factor of a billion or more) during Creation week or the Flood, then additional investigation could be warranted to determine if in-situ production of Carbon-14 could be a potential explanation for at least some of the Carbon-14 in coal and diamonds.
Other observations made by the RATE group are also consistent with periods of greatly accelerated radioactive decay during Creation week or the Flood. One of the findings of the RATE group was excess helium retention in zircons. This finding indicates that based on measured helium diffusion rates, the observed radioactive decay in zircons must have occurred within the past several thousand years. If it had taken longer, the helium generated via alpha decay would have diffused out of the zircons. The group’s observation is that significant radioactive decay has occurred, and it has occurred recently (DeYoung, p. 176).
An additional finding of the RATE group is that ages estimated using parent isotopes that undergo beta decay tend to be significantly different (younger) than ages estimated using parent isotopes that undergo alpha decay. This could suggest that whatever mechanism God used to change decay rates during Creation week and around the time of the Flood had a different effect on alpha emitters than it did on beta emitters (DeYoung, p. 121). The RATE group has also performed research related to radiohalos, fission tracks in zircons, and potential mechanisms for alleviating issues (such as high heating rates) introduced by accelerated radioactive decay (pp. 174-183). Among other implications, the observations of the RATE group indicate that assumptions used in radiometric dating may be false, and that ages estimated through use of radiometric dating may be incorrect by several orders of magnitude.
In addition to recent research performed by both Christian and secular scientists alike, other lines of evidence have been known for years that are consistent with a relatively recent Creation (Humphreys, 2000). These include the rate at which galaxies “wind up” (too fast for long ages), the amount of mud on the seafloor (too little), the amount of sodium in the sea (too little), the rate at which the Earth’s magnetic field is decaying (too fast), the number of stone age skeletons (too few), the development of agriculture (too recent), and numerous others. Biblically based theories also exist for interpreting what we observe in the Universe, given a relatively recent Creation (e.g., Humphreys, 1994; Thompson, 2004; Faulkner, 2013). Other biblically consistent interpretations have also been proposed (Williams and Hartnett, 2005, p. 180).

Assumptions Related to the Origin of the Universe

Assumptions related to “age” are not limited to radiometric dating methods. Perhaps some of the most egregious assumptions are associated with the “Big Bang” theory, the current attempt to develop an atheistic explanation for the origin of the Universe.
Serious contradictions between the predictions of the Big Bang theory and actual astronomical observations have been known for decades. By the mid-1970s, the evidence against the theory had become so overwhelming that “explanations” were required. “Dark matter” and “dark energy” were contrived, and initially said to make up 50% of the Universe. That number has since grown and, at present, a total of 96% of the Universe needs to be made of dark matter and dark energy in order to preserve the Big Bang theory.
Christians and non-Christians alike readily acknowledge that dark matter and dark energy are merely hypothetical entities that, by definition, cannot be directly observed. For example, former NASA administrator Mike Griffin once asked the value of “discovering that literally 95% of the Universe consists of dark energy or dark matter, terms for things that we as yet know nothing about? But they make up 95% of our Universe” (Griffin, 2007). He went on to write that someday we may learn to harness these “new things.” When asked about dark energy, physicist Michael Turner of the University of Chicago quipped: “The only thing we know about dark energy is its name” (Griffin, 2007).
While dark matter and dark energy have been given specific properties, those properties were specifically chosen to help resolve serious problems with the Big Bang. Additionally, dark matter and dark energy can be distributed throughout the Universe in any fashion desired.  When observations are still contradicted, concepts such as “dark flow” and “dark light” can be invoked. Other contradictions are resolved by concepts such as “inflation,” which in themselves are merely conjectures aimed at resolving other serious problems with the Big Bang.
With this approach, any set of data can be claimed to support any theory desired. All that is required is the judicious use of “fudge factors.” Consider this mathematical analogy: one could predecide that 100 must  be the answer to the question, “what does X + Y equal?” Values for “X” could then be sought, and no matter what values for “X” were found, a value for “Y” could be chosen to obtain the desired answer. In the analogy, “X” is actual astronomical observations, “100” would be the desired answer (support for the Big Bang theory), and “Y” is the fudge factors (dark matter, dark energy, inflation, etc.) needed to make the equation true. The actual astronomical observations (“X”) become somewhat irrelevant, because no matter what data is taken, “Y” (the fudge factors) can be chosen to claim the observations support the Big Bang theory.
Circular reasoning is then invoked to pretend the approach is valid. For example, in the case of the Big Bang theory, maps showing the location of dark matter have been developed. In reality, all these maps show is the specific ways dark matter must be invoked to avoid contradictions between actual observations and the Big Bang theory.
Christians are not the only ones who have noticed the non-scientific nature of the Big Bang theory. For example, in the May 22, 2004 issue of New Scientist, an open letter to the scientific community appeared written primarily by secular scientists (cosmologystatement.org). The letter was subsequently signed by hundreds of other scientists and professors at various institutions. Two representative paragraphs from the letter are as follows.
The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed—inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory.
What is more, the big bang theory can boast of no quantitative predictions that have subsequently been validated by observation. The successes claimed by the theory’s supporters consist of its ability to retrospectively fit observations with a steadily increasing array of adjustable parameters, just as the old Earth-centered cosmology of Ptolemy needed layer upon layer of epicycles (Lisle, 2008, p. 103, emp. added).
Although the signers of the letter were not necessarily endorsing biblically based theories, unlike atheistic theories, biblically based theories are very consistent with astronomical observations (Faulkner, 2013; Humphreys, 1994).

Adherence to Faulty Assumptions Hinders True Science

Tremendous spiritual damage is done by the promotion of atheism through the pretense of atheistic theories being scientific. Ironically, though, the strict adherence to atheistic theories (regardless of countering evidence) also does tremendous damage to the advancement of science.
For example, for a secular theory of cosmology to be considered, it must adhere to atheistic (and non-scientific) tenets such as the “Copernican Principle,” which essentially states that Earth cannot be at a special location within the Universe. That principle drives not only fundamental assumptions behind the Big Bang theory, but the means by which alternative theories can be seriously pursued.
Consider the August 2009 paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science and quoted in the popular press, including USA Today (Vergano, 2009):
Mathematicians have come up with an answer Monday for the mystery of “dark energy” tearing the universe apart at an accelerating rate. It ain’t there. Blake Temple and Joel Smoller suggest that “expanding waves” from the Big Bang “are propelling the trillions of galaxies filling the universe apart…. Dark energy is an illusion if their equations are right.” However, “the only problem is that for the equations to work, we must be ‘literally at the center of the universe’...” says physicist Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University in Tempe. I think this is plausible mathematics, but it doesn’t seem physically relevant.
Science News publicized an analogous article from Physical Review Letters in 2008, stating:
If Earth and its environs are centered in a vast, billion-light-year-long bubble, relatively free of matter, in turn surrounded by a massive, dense shell of material, then gravity’s tug would cause galaxies inside the void to hurtle toward the spherical concentration of mass, say theorists Robert Caldwell of Dartmouth College and Albert Stebbins of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill. That process would mimic the action of dark energy—a local observer would be tricked into thinking that the universe’s expansion is accelerating (Cowen, 2008).
The article further notes: “But that scenario violates the Copernican principle, a notion near and dear to the hearts of physicists and cosmologists, including Caldwell and Stebbins” (Cowen, 2008).
Both models eliminate the need for “Dark Energy,” the fudge factor that accounts for 73% of the Universe according to the traditional Big Bang theory. However, neither model has been seriously pursued because both violate the arbitrary assumption that the Earth cannot be in a special location (i.e., the “Copernican principle”). Many cosmologists feel a special location would imply the existence of God.
But what if the Earth is in a special location? The secular models described in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science and Physical Review Letters actually correspond quite well with the biblically consistent models proposed by Russ Humphreys and others, especially when the potential effects of gravitational time dilation are taken into account (Humphreys, 1994; Thompson, 2004). These models explain how stars that are billions of light years distant can be seen from an Earth that is less than 10,000 years old, all based on a straightforward reading of the Bible.
The assumption that radioactive decay rates have always been constant may also be hindering scientific progress. For example, scientists have discovered that changes in radioactive decay rates can be induced. The June 8, 2009 CERN Courier noted:
It is a common belief that radioactive decay rates are unchanged by external conditions, despite many examples of small shifts (particularly involving external pressure and K-capture decays) being well documented and understood. However, Fabio Cardone of the Institute per lo Studio dei Materiali Nanostrutturati in Rome and colleagues have shown a dramatic increase—by a factor of 10,000—in the decay rate of thorium-228 in water as a result of ultrasonic cavitation. Exactly what the physics is and whether or not this sort of effect can be scaled up into a technology for nuclear waste treatment remain open issues (Reucroft and Swain, 2009).
Recent observations also suggest that radioactive decay rates (typically assumed to be constant) can change due to causes that are not yet fully understood. For example, in August 2010, a team of scientists from Purdue and Stanford universities announced that the decay of radioactive isotopes fluctuates in sync with the rotation of the Sun’s core. The team has published a series of articles in Astroparticle Physics, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, and Space Science Reviews. Although the measured change in decay rate is small (~0.1%), the fact that change occurs at all is extremely significant. Team member Jere Jenkins noted: “[W]hat we’re suggesting is that something that can’t interact with anything is changing something that can’t be changed” (Gardner, 2010).
When considering the effects of assumptions on the estimated age of the Earth and Universe, it can also be instructive to look at the effects of assumptions in other areas related to the debate between atheism and the Bible. For example, in 2009 Richard Dawkins wrote: “What pseudogenes are useful for is embarrassing creationists. It stretches even their creative ingenuity to make up a reason why an intelligent designer should have created a pseudogene…unless he was deliberately setting out to fool us” (Dawkins, 2009, p. 332). What if scientists had believed Dawkins, and had given up researching “pseudogenes” because those scientists decided to assume pseudogenes were simply useless evolutionary leftovers? Fortunately most scientists did not, and by 2012 extensive evidence had been uncovered that pseudogenes have functions related to encoding proteins and gene expression. There is also sequence conservation in pseudogenes. In 2012, the ongoing ENCODE project (which includes 32 laboratories from around the world) simultaneously published 30 scientific papers detailing new discoveries. Among their conclusions were that “vast parts of the human genome thought to be ‘junk DNA’ are really filled with millions of cellular ‘switches’ helping choreograph the roles genes play in human life and disease,” and that nearly all DNA “has some function in cellular creation and growth” (Roop, 2012). With advancements in true science, the evolutionist’s argument for assuming “junk DNA” is rapidly fading away, much as their assumption of “vestigial organs” did in the late 20th century.
Biblically consistent assumptions have been shown superior in other areas as well. Models based on those assumptions have successfully predicted the strength and behavior of planetary magnetic fields, where secular models have failed (Humphreys, 1984). Models that take into account effects from the global Flood are not only consistent with the geologic record, but do an excellent job predicting the observed extent and effects of the ice age including the ice sheets that remain today (Oard, 2005). The biblical claim that all humans are descendants of one man and one woman, and that “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26, NASB) is fully supported by modern genetics (Purdom, 2014). The argument that “science” somehow supports racism (directly or indirectly made by Darwin, Haeckl, Hitler, et al.) has been thoroughly rebuffed (Houts, 2007).

Conclusion

It is difficult to imagine how the Bible could make it any clearer that God created the Universe in six literal days a few thousand years ago. While apparently well meaning attempts have been made to devise compromise positions, the technical and theological problems with these attempts are well documented in the literature (e.g., Lyons, 2014; Thompson, 2000; Sarfati, 2004; Miller, 2012; Mortenson, 2005).
First Peter 3:14-15 states: “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness andreverence” (NASB, emp. added). Christians must not allow themselves to be intimidated by contemporary human wisdom. While on the surface that “wisdom” can appear convincing, closer examination has always supported the Bible.
The Bible also warns us not to distort Scripture in order to accommodate contemporary human wisdom. Second Peter 3:16 states: “as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction” (NASB).
For some it can be hard to understand how the Earth can be a few thousand years old when they have been told “science” says it is a few billion years old. Individuals in that situation must resist the temptation to distort Scripture in order to pretend the Bible is consistent with that prevailing worldview. Although the distortion may be done with the best of intentions, its end can be disastrous. Proverbs 14:12 tells us: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
Throughout history, Christianity has been attacked in a variety of ways. While the attack based on “age” is currently en vogue, it is becoming easier to rebut given advances in true science. Romans 3:4 remains as true today as it was in the first century: “[L]et God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, ‘that you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged’” (NASB).

References

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Gardner, Elizabeth (2010), “Purdue-Stanford Team Finds Radioactive Decay Rates Vary With the Sun’s Rotation,” Purdue University News Service, http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100830FischbachJenkinsDec.html.
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