An Open Letter to Dr. Hugh Ross
February 18, 1989
Hugh Ross, PhD
Reasons to Believe
P.O. Box 5978
Pasadena, California 91107
During the past month I have been reviewing all your tapes, printed essays,
and booklets. It is been a valuable and edifying process for me. Your scientific
knowledge is impeccable---I feel like I have taken a refresher course in
astronomy and physics. I have truly been refreshed and stimulated in my
thinking as a result of going through all your material. You have provoked
me to look at science and the Bible afresh and to spend more time on my
own Christian world view concerning creation. Since you have sharpened my
view of Genesis through your effective lectures and keen insight, I am writing
in hopes I can sharpen your views in return, "As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another." I am not exactly a Bible-and-science
concordist as you are, but I am eager to support your ministry and to see
your life have even deeper and continued impact on our present-day pagan
culture. I agree that our observations of nature and our scientific models
if they are correct must be in accord with the Bible. Our Christian faith
is grounded in history and a detailed revelation from God who tells us a
great deal about many subjects. I support your position against the irrationalists
of our day who would throw out everything science has to say about creation.
Your insights and experience have strengthened my own view of the creation
which is different in some respects from yours. When I was a new Christian
I held a world view more similar to yours based more strongly on modern
astronomy and physics, but as I have come to know the Bible better I have
moved gradually away from a belief that modern science was all that insightful.
Please accept my comments and critique as encouragements and challenges,
not as a fault-finding attack on your ministry or your personal beliefs.
I took notes and wrote out comments as I listened to your tapes and these
are not in any special order in what follows.
Astronomy and Biology: Your treatment of the consequences of a finite
universe (as seen by the astronomer) as it relates to the impossibility
of evolution is outstanding and needs to be given a much wider hearing in
my opinion. Your personal testimony is thrilling to me and I rejoice at
God's calling for your life.
Biblical Truth and Scientific Truth: Science gives us limited models
and theories based on observables from the physical universe. These models
are based on the uniformity of natural laws. They are also extrapolations
based on available evidence. Scientific truth is relative and limited, Biblical
truth is absolute and eternal. In presenting truth to non-scientific audiences
I believe it is important to show that scientific theories are not absolute,
and scientific truth is in a different category than Biblical truth. We
should always qualify our remarks by saying something like: "According
to the best and most careful scientific data (which I subscribe to), such
and such appears to be true." Or, "The Bible says thus and so,
but that leaves room for us to hold to several different possible views
based on scientific evidence. I personally hold to the hypothesis that..."
Without these kinds of qualifying remarks the lay person can get the idea
that science is absolutely certain of what it talks about. The untrained
listener has no way of knowing the underlying assumptions of a scientific
theory, the presuppositions of the scientist, the history of science, alternate
explanations and the often arbitrary ways science moves ahead by trial and
error. Physics is fortunate to have had a number of Christians in its ranks,
especially in the past but we need to make clear that sinful, fallen man
can not hope to figure things out correctly if he ignores revelation. In
your taped talks I get the impression that you hold scientific truth to
be on equal footing with the Bible. I am sure this is not what you really
believe but I am concerned that you could be misunderstood. Modern day rationalism
starts with man, not God, and attempts to build a whole view of the universe
that fits together into a cohesive whole without God being needed or necessary
The History of Science is revealing as to man's being deceived in
the past. We must guard against the possibility that modern science could
also be deceived. Living in an age of advanced systems of knowledge is not
necessarily the same as being closer to the truth or to Biblical wisdom.
There is an increase in knowledge in our age, but regarding a clear perception
of reality I Cor. 1 says "none of the rulers of this age knew it, otherwise
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." Ian Taylor (In the
Minds of Men: Darwin and the New World Order) has helped me to appreciate
that much of modern science was founded by men who wanted an alternate way
of viewing the universe that denied Biblical creation. All science is built
on an underlying philosophy. All scientific theories begin with assumptions
and limitations. Usually we oversimplify things beyond what they really
are to make the amount of work we have to do reasonable. Today's science
is mostly naturalistic and far removed from a Biblical point of view.
Francis Schaeffer and "modern, modern science": A major
change in western society has occurred in the past half century especially.
Earlier, men believed in a spiritual world and the existence of a supreme
being (there was a general consensus), though not many were necessarily
Christians. Biblical assumptions about reality prevailed in all aspects
of culture. (Western science could only come into existence in a society
with underlying Biblical presuppositions---as you note). Belief in the existence
of God and even of the spiritual world itself have eroded away gradually
until modern man has reached a point of existential despair. Truth is seen
as entirely relative. Secular humanism and naturalism prevail. Only the
material aspects of creation are seen as real, the realm of the spiritual
has turned into a vacuum. We must be very careful because modern science
operates with the "upper story" empty, whereas in the Bible the
upper store is the real, enduring, and permanent. The notion of human "progress"
or social evolution is an illusion. Solomon says there is nothing new under
the sun, so we must not suppose that we really know more about the universe
than the ancients. Man is open to deception. Satan is always working to
conceal truth that reflects to the glory of God or the liberation of man.
"The whole world lies in the lap of the evil one." Any new truth
from science which reflects on a truly biblical position will be vigorously
resisted by the powers of evil and darkness. When man ignores God, God gives
us up to believe the lie. Evolutionary theory a good example. Failure to
accept light, understanding, wisdom and insight from God causes God to give
man over the believe something false: "The coming of the lawless one
by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs
and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish,
because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends
upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, (lit: "the
lie") so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but
had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thessalonians 2:10-13) The nature
of "the lie" is described for us in Romans 1 and consists in the
delusion that man is master of his own fate, captain of his own soul, and
capable of being his own God. In First Corinthians 1 and 2 Paul addresses
the unbelief which especially characterizes the intellectual and scientific
leaders in any age. He notes that whole systems of human thought can be
wrong and that "God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the
wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, and chose
what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring
to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence
"Dual Revelation: Science and the Bible": You claim a dual
revelation from God is available to us, in science and in the Bible. I believe
such a claim needs careful qualification. Finding beauty, harmony, design
and patterns in nature is not the same thing as finding beauty in a scientific
theory or model. God does not deceive by falsifying nature, but scientists
are easily deceived in the ways they interpret nature. "The Gospel
According to Science". To my way of thinking this statement of yours
on one of your tapes could be very misleading. I suggest you consult some
Bible scholars or read further on the subjects of Special vs. General Revelation.
Science is a human endeavor, part of the world system which is under the
dominion of Satan---the god of this world. Science is based on the efforts
of fallible human beings who are easily deceived. It is quite one thing
to collect data---facts and measurements about the world---and quite another
matter to fit these observations into coherent theories. Nature gives some
evidence but only shadows that point to the existence of God. It is going
much too far to say that nature "contains the full gospel" as
you suggest in one of your tapes. Nature reveals that there is a Creator,
a Designer, an awesome Intelligence behind things. Nature however does not
tell us abut redemption, the incarnation, eschatology, or the nature of
evil. Romans 2 merely says that if a man follows what little moral light
he has and responds to it, God will give him more light until he is saved.
There is one way to God, but there are many ways to Christ. But, no one
seeks for God, and God must come and rescue the elect, otherwise they would
never turn to seek Him on their own (Romans 3). All men are born with light
from God in conscience and in the spirit, (as you note), and rejection of
that light and the evidence of God's power and glory in nature is cause
for God's abiding and future wrath on mankind. Hebrews 1:1-4 further indicates
that even the knowledge and information given in the OT by the prophets
was incomplete, but now God's last and final word has come to us when God
spoke through His Son who is the heir of all things. Without the Bible we
would be animists or polytheists, totally confused and in great darkness
about ourselves and the nature of the one, true God.
The Danger of Reductionalism---There remains Great Mystery in Creation:
God's dialogs with Job show that Job hasn't figured out how God created
things, and can't! Job does has a good amount of knowledge about God derived
from nature. He also has a personal relationship with God and some years'
experience in matters of faith. Yet when God finally speaks to Job, the
LORD's response shows that man is unable to probe the mysteries of creation
to any depth! This is confirmed by Solomon who says: "He has made everything
beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man's mind, yet so
that he (man) cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the
end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Isaiah records: "For my thoughts are
not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as
the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts". (Isaiah 55:7-9) The passage in
Ecclesiastes seems to indicate that the mystery of time can not be unraveled
by man because God has hidden it. This may mean that we can not establish
once and for all whether or not the universe is old or young. I believe
that as history moves forward science and the Bible must come into closer
agreement, otherwise we are drawing incorrect conclusions from our observations
of nature. However we must not insist that God did things in a certain way
unless we are given that information in Scripture. This is the difference
between naturalism and supernaturalism. A supernatural view of the universe
is not the same as a magical or mythical view, however.
Theistic evolution comes in two varieties: the first says that God is the
First Cause who built all the necessary things into the original very low
entropy of the universe and allowed all the details to unfold naturally
after t=0. The second view is that the universe runs mostly by natural processes,
but that God intervenes occasionally to bring about exceedingly improbable
events such as the origin of life and transitions between species (punctuated
equilibrium, for example). Biblical creation takes neither of these views.
You claim not to believe in theistic evolution, but you don't appear to
me to depart too far from the premises of the second type of theistic evolution.
"Since the fall, however, man has sought to act independently of his
Creator. As one writer observes, 'Since the fall the human mind has been
wholly pagan.' The pagan mind resists submitting results of its reason against
Scripture as a check. It even desires to stand as a judge of Scripture.
There are just two ways to approach issues. Either we view everything through
the Bible, or we view the Bible through man's autonomous ideas." (Donald
E. Chittick, The Controversy Roots of the Creation-Evolution Conflict,
Multnomah Press, Portland, 1984---this is an excellent book and the author
has a very fine reputation. He has a PhD in Chemistry).
The Physical World a World of Shadows: The spiritual is not far from
the earth and outside of space and time beyond the stars. It surrounds us
within and without. In fact we are immersed in spirit, and God Himself is
a Spirit. When Paul the Apostle visited Athens he noted: "Men of Athens,
I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along,
and observed the objects of your worship, I found an altar with this inscription,
'To an unknown God.' What you therefore worship as unknown, this I proclaim
to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven
and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human
hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life
and breath and everything. And he made from one (man, Adam) every nation
of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted
periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God,
in the hopes that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not
far from each one of us, for 'In him we live and move and have our being;'
as even one of your poets have said, 'For we are indeed his offspring.'
Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like
gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of
man. The times of ignorance God over-looked, but now he commands all men
everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge
the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed (Jesus), and of
this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead."
The spiritual realm, which lies behind the smallest atomic particles,
within the innermost part of man, and beyond the galaxies is commonly referred
to as heaven, the heavenly places in the Bible. It is the source of all
things, the dimension of the permanent, the eternal, the enduring: "Now
faith is the assurance (hupostasis = "to stand under", i.e., support,
foundation) of things not seen. For by faith the men of old gained divine
approval. By faith we understand that the world (aionos = ages, or world)
was created (katartizo = to fit, or render complete) by the word (rhemati
= the oracles, sayings, or spoken utterances) of God, so that what is seen
came into being out of that which is unseen." (Hebrews 11:3) The physical
world, the material realm, is perfectly real and solid (not maya, or illusion,
as Hinduism supposes), but it is the world of the fading, the transitory,
the impermanent, and the perishable. Evil has disturbed our universe, interfered
with both the realm of the spirit and I think also with some of the laws
of physics (I agree with you that the Second Law of Thermodynamics has probably
not changed since creation). But I suspect that evil (in both the angelic
and human realms) has destroyed the original close and harmonious coupling
between the spiritual and material dimensions of existence. What we now
see and observe and experience is not the creation as it was finished at
the end of the sixth day, but an aging, decaying old creation. If we choose
to know God through faith in Jesus His Son, we perceive also that we are
being made part of a new race, and prepared to live in a new creation which
is now under construction: "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer
nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For
this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of
glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are
seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are
transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (II Corinthians
Consider a group of scientists who set up to study a redwood tree. They
measure the shadow of the tree cast by the sun. The watch the shadow change
as the day progresses. But they never bother to touch or measure the tree
itself. How much better it is in attempting to scientifically understand
trees to measure real trees than merely their shadows. Thus we can not fully
understand the things of our physical world without some perception of the
enduring, permanent world of the spiritual. In C.S. Lewis' Great Divorce,
we have a good picture of heaven. The grass there is so solid it hurts the
feet of newcomers from earth who have not walked around enough yet so as
to toughen themselves, and to "grow more solid" (they arrive as
wisps of gray smoke from earth). The spray of a waterfall is painful, attempts
to wade in a rushing stream are disastrous. Folks who have been in heaven
awhile have grown more solid from climbing into the mountains in the direction
of the light. The real universe includes the spiritual and the eternal.
They are not isolated and independent but are closely coupled systems. These
things modern science ignores.
A number of references in scripture tell us that things built by God in
the spiritual world are more solid, permanent, and durable than their "shadowy"
and temporary counterparts in the physical world. For example, while on
Mt. Sinai, God told Moses to erect a Tabernacle and equip it with an elaborate
set of furnishings: an altar, a laver, a great lampstand, a table of incense,
a table for the shewbread, the Ark of the Covenant. The ark had to be built
exactly as prescribed in every detail, "...And see that you (Moses)
make them (all these things) after the pattern for them which is being shown
to you on the mountain." (Exodus 25:40) The writer of the letter to
the Hebrews in the New Testament mentions the heavenly tabernacle when referring
to Jesus as our Great High Priest: "Now the point in what we are saying
is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand
of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the sanctuary and
the true tabernacle which is set up, not by man, but by the Lord."
(Hebrews 8:1-2) The writer continues: "But when Christ appeared as
a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater
and more perfect tent, (not made with hands, that, is not of this creation)
he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats
and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption...under
the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding
of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Thus it was necessary for the
copies of the heavenly things to be purified by these rites, but the heavenly
things with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into
a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself,
now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf." (Hebrews 9:11-12,
22-24). Yet another reference to this heavenly tabernacle or temple is given
in Revelation 15:5-8. One cannot hope to learn much about reality by looking
at the shadows of things instead of their real form and substance! We cannot
hope to understand ourselves or the universe (the heavens and the earth)
if we ignore the information God has given us about the whole package. From
a Biblical standpoint we can not hope to understand the physical world if
we ignore the spiritual.
The Creator is the Observer in Genesis One: It is quite true that
the observer is on earth starting with Genesis 1:2 and that the narrative
concentrates on the earth, but perhaps it is reading something into the
Scripture to say that the earth was covered with a thick cloud layer shutting
out of the sun. (Job 38 does suggest clouds around the early earth). Genesis
1:1,2 may apply to the raw material of the entire universe being brought
into being in darkness, not just the conditions prevailing on the earth
itself. The origin of the sun before the earth is surmised by science but
nowhere stated in Scripture. I believe that as responsible Christians we
must always be careful not to force our current theories to fit the Bible.
The Bible must sit in judgment over all of our frail and tentative ideas
derived from science.
Just who is the observer in Genesis 1? It is not an angel, not Moses, not
Adam. The Observer is the Creator Himself, who after creating studies His
own work and pronounces it good. This is clear I think from Proverbs 8 (we
know from the NT that Christ is the Wisdom of God): "The LORD possessed
me (Wisdom) at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old.
Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs
abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills,
I was brought forth; before he had made the earth with its fields, or the
first of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there,
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies
above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to
the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him,
like a master workman; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him
always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the sons of men.
And now, my sons, listen to me: happy are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction
and be wise, and do not neglect it. Happy is the man who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For he who finds me
finds life and obtains favor from the LORD; but he who misses me injures
himself; all who hate me love death."
God's creation of the universe was like the work of a master craftsman.
First He brought the raw material into existence. Then He formed the raw
material, fashioning it like a potter at the wheel or like an artist working
from a pallet. The elements seem to have all been created first, but the
building, forming, and fashioning of the creation extended over six days.
I do not think the six days must necessarily be exactly 24 hour days, but
to suggest long geologic ages is forcing the text in my opinion. God is
imminently involved in the work of creation. Evidently, the entropy of the
early universe was lowered in stages, as order and design were built into
the universe by the activity of the Spirit of God.
"Literal" Interpretation of Genesis: If one sets aside
for the moment all one thinks is true about creation, based on science,
then Genesis says that God first created space, including the spiritual
world, water and earth. Then He brought light into existence by divine fiat.
All this on the first day. Now "God is light and in Him there is no
darkness at all." Physical light is, however, something God created.
The universe seems to have been dark up until light was created. This makes
the Big Bang model highly suspect! God proceeded to mold and shape his new
universe bringing the sun, moon and stars into existence on the fourth day,
and so forth. If I were to develop a science of astronomy where none previously
existed I would begin with Genesis as a revelation from God, then pray,
then look at the evidence. This would be the only way I could hope to sort
out the available data in the correct way. This is not the process that
modern astronomy followed in coming to its presently-held models. No matter
how elegant they are I must hold theories such as the Big Bang as highly
tentative and quite possibly wrong. It is not that the facts or basic observations
are all wrong, or that God has deceived me. The fault lies with the interpretation
of the suite of available data. As men of God we must not give listeners
the impression that we are adding to the Bible or that our own particular
interpretation is superior than another point of view which other godly
men subscribe to. "You shall not add to the word which I command you,
nor take from it; that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God
which I command you." (Deuteronomy 4:2)
The Big Bang Model means a "hands off universe": The whole
idea of the big bang is that the history of the universe is totally determined
once the initial conditions have been fixed. No real room for subsequent
intervention by God. You yourself note this eloquently in your talks. Any
divine interventions would upset the delicate balance rendering the present
cosmology incorrect. This contrasts with a universe formed and fashioned
in every detail by a loving Craftsman. The Big Bang theory is an extrapolation
into the remote past---a theory based on present observables and a set of
assumptions. The non-involvement of God after t=0 is presupposed by this
theory. This can not be established from Scripture as the way things really
happened. "Let There Be Light" is a powerful command of God, calling
light into existence. For the Son of God to merely roll back the cloud layer
covering the earth so as to let the light from space shine onto the earth
would be a trivial command. Likewise for most of the creative work of God
to be condensed into "the creation event", i.e. the hypothetical
big bang explosion, leaves God very little work to do during the ensuing
six days. The Christian church has always understood God as having spoken
the universe into existence by a series of commands. This is brought out
in John Chapter One. If most of the important work of creating the universe
is all over and done with by the end of Genesis 1:2, the commands that follow
on the remaining five days are minuscule in comparison, except for the emergence
of life. However the commands that bring life into being are weighted equally
with the rest of the spoken words of God calling everything into being.
The Role of the angels in nature. The observed precision of the laws
of physics could well be due to the precision work of angels regulating
all natural process during our present epoch. We must be careful to avoid
naturalism as an explanation for what we observe in the world by the limited
tools of science. For example in the calming of the sea of Galilee, Jesus
spoke to an angel: "On that day, when evening had come, he said to
them, 'Let us go across to the other side.' And leaving the crowd, they
took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with
him. And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat,
so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on
the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, 'Teacher, do you not care
if we perish?' And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace!
Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said
to them, 'Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?' And they were filled with
awe, and said to one another, 'Who then is this, that even wind and sea
obey him?'" (Mark 4:35-41) Does God bring about the events of the Book
of Revelation by stepping in and changing the laws of physics, or does He
merely command the angels who control all the forces of nature and they
begin to move in different ways? I think the latter is probably closer to
the way things work. The difference between naturalism and Biblical supernaturalism
is very great, especially in our time. I must allow for the possibility
that science could be seriously wrong on some issues because of deliberate
exclusion of God from scientific thoughts and processes in the past 150
years. (There is a trend back towards supernaturalism in some sectors, but
often it is a reversion to eastern mysticism, not a return to a Biblical
Astrology as you note in your printed essay is based on Nimrod's
false religion from Babylon. I would agree with you as a physicist that
there are no known physical mechanisms that could explain how the position
of the planets at the time of one's birth could possibly influence personality.
And as you state, astrology is forbidden to us by the Bible because it brings
us under the influence of demonic powers in the occult realm. But if there
are angels associated with the stars and planets that the influence of these
angels on the quality of human life is not unreasonable from a Biblical
view point. (C.S. Lewis develops this idea in the first book of his science
fiction trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet). In any case we do not have a
pure Hebrew astrology today but only the pagan, thoroughly corrupted version
from the Babylonian mystery religion. For secular scientists to be concerned
about negating astrology is understandable when the basis of modern science
is naturalism and rationalism and when supernaturalism is excluded from
the discussion. (See enclosure on recent research paper concerning The Mars
Effect). In a sense astrology is difficult to study by the scientific method
because the data tends to be mostly subjective among the community of believers
in this "art."
Your day-age arguments: The narrative in Genesis One draws on the
imagery of the calendar week known to us until today. There are seven days
in our weeks, by the term evening and morning we always mean 24 hour days.
When the Bible means "age" it is usually so stated. The term "Day
of the LORD" is obviously an extended period from the context in which
it is used. For instance each of the Genesis creation days is an evening
and a morning. The use of the term "evening and morning" to refer
to a long period of time is not known in Scripture. In English we do say,
"this is the dawning of a new age" but we mean an historical epoch
or era not a geologic period. If you decide to hold to the day-age theory
you should acknowledge that godly Bible scholars have many arguments for
these days being 24 hour days from internal Biblical evidence. The case
can not be decided on the basis of science. It may be that we have to live
with considerable tension between the modern scientific view and the Biblical
picture of things. Have you seen the excellent discussion featuring both
sides (the day-age and the 24 hour day) featured in The Genesis Debate,
Ronald Youngblood, Ed., (Thos. Nelson Publishers, 1986)?
Events on the Sixth Day: Creation of the higher animals and man.
The text does not say that Adam studied, analyzed and named the animals
on the sixth day. The creation of man as male/female occurred on the sixth
day, but the separation of Adam/Eve into Adam and Eve evidently came later.
The best explanation is that Eve was taken out of Adam months or years after
the creation of Adam. Before Eve was presented to him, Adam had ample time
to study and name the animals. Likewise we do not know how many months or
years elapsed before the fall. Adam died at age 930 so we can set some limits
on when he was created. Adam was created as an adult, evidently, so his
body would carry an appearance of initial age, perhaps 30 years or so.
"The Seventh Day is still open": Scripture does not say
this. Please note that the Scripture says "God rested on the seventh
day", not "God is resting". All this means is that God's
creative activity ceased at a certain point of time. God did not rest from
other activities such as the daily sustenance of the old creation, nor the
building of the new creation through the Last Adam. The absence of an evening
on the seventh day is not a proof for the day-age theory, but would tend
to deny continuous creation models. The rest we are all to enter into by
faith is described in Hebrews 4. It may be compared to God's rest on the
seventh day, rest from wilderness wanderings under Joshua, rest from warfare
under King David,etc. The pattern of the seven days of creation is a repeated
pattern remembered in the Jewish calendar week.
The Eighth Day: The millennium is nowhere called the "eighth
day" in Scripture. In a literal sense there is no eighth day in the
Bible. In a symbolic sense the eight day, the day of new beginnings, began
with the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Whenever the Bible talks about
the eighth day it is always the first day of the week after the Sabbath.
I do not feel that the symbolism of the 8th day fits the millennium very
well. The 1000 year reign of Christ on earth is more of a fulfillment of
the Feast of Tabernacles I think.
A Local or Universal Flood? Either there is no evidence for a world-wide
flood, as you claim, or the evidence is so overwhelming it is everywhere.
The topography of the earth before the flood was probably radically different
from now. I believe that there was one land mass (continent) before the
flood. If the present continents were flattened with a bulldozer one could
cover everything to considerable depth with presently existing water. A
drastic change in land mass distribution, mountains, valleys, topography
at the time of the flood seems most reasonable to me. To give just one example,
the isostatic loading and unloading of a great amount of water over the
land would be a major impact in subsequent mountain building. The present
Mt. Ararat (16,900 feet) is a volcano and may be of recent origin. The ark
may have landed on relatively low hills. Mt. Everest may have been elevated
subsequent to the flood, for example during the Days of Peleg when accelerated
continental drift may have occurred. A different land-mass distribution
in and of itself would soon change the climate and weather patterns world
wide. I seem to be less of a uniformitarian than you. The Bible uses
vivid language to describe the destruction of all of mankind and a great
natural disaster at the time of the flood. This inclines me strongly to
believe the flood was a great and terrible world-wide catastrophe which
changed our present earth drastically.
Satan's domain and power: Evil in the universe is not confined to
man. Satan may have been the greatest of all the angels, his revolt with
one third of the angelic host, may have disrupted things radically throughout
the universe since his fall. There is good reason to suppose that Satan
and his angels have wreaked havoc in creation, marring and scarring it in
attempts to destroy what God made.
Miracles are a Complex Subject. Are these outside energy inputs from
the spiritual world, or are they mere arrangements of things within our
space-time domain? Did the resurrection of Jesus affect the natural order?
Science does not ordinarily investigate one-of-a-kind events. The daily
sustenance of the universe by God's power may be one continuous miracle
which we see as a set of immutable laws of nature.
Frequency of earthquakes increasing? I have never seen any data on
this frequent claim by TV evangelists. Is it only that earthquakes are now
recorded and studied more diligently and carefully? I assume the increase
of natural disturbances in the tribulation period is a result of God's intervening
judgments? If earthquakes are now more frequent, what is the causal mechanism?
Especially in a universe 1010 years old why would earthquakes soar in the
last 100 years (only one part in 108 years of history)? My reading of the
Olivet Discourse suggests to me that escalating earthquakes and natural
disasters characterize the Great Tribulation period (3.5 years), not the
"last days", i.e. not the last 2000 years. I would be most grateful
for any references you might have on earthquake frequency.
"Universe A can Never Interact with Universe B": This is
surely true only for material universes. Our universe is surrounded by an
unseen spiritual realm which is the source of all things. God sustains the
universe from the realm of the spirit, interacting with the physical world
in ways not known to us. "How unsearchable are his judgments and his
ways past finding out."
Jesus' role in sustaining the universe by His mighty word of power: To
assume that God wound up the universe at the start of the Big Bang and made
a few creative additions afterwards (in the six days of creation) leans
towards naturalism or theistic evolution. God is more than a First Cause.
The Bible says a lot about His day by day involvement in the world. He did
not create the universe and then depart to play the role of a spectator
observer. Note for example Colossians 1:16-17 "For by him all things
were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether
thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him
and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
Also, Hebrews 1:1-4: "In many separate revelations - each of which
set forth a portion of the Truth - and in different ways God spoke of old
to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets, [But] in the last of these
days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir
and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the
worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time - (that is) He made,
produced, built, operated and arranged them in order. He is the sole expression
of the glory of God - the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the
divine - and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God's] nature,
upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His
mighty word of power..."
Jesus governs all things: C.S. Lewis says that all science can really
say is that Humpty Dumpty is falling down, (Miracles, 1947,
Macmillan Publishers---this book has an excellent discussion of the difference
between a naturalistic and a supernaturalistic view of the universe). The
Bible knows nothing of natural law. Instead God regulates everything in
perfect harmony. He rules over every facet of nature through His angels.
All His workings are in perfect balance and harmony. He rules from the spiritual
world into the physical. Some angels may well be "unstable governors"
producing unusual events in the heavens such as novas and supernovas. Again
we must be careful to avoid reductionism and naturalism! The angels are
more than observers.
Vapor Canopy Model: Translating "mist" as normal rainfall
seems very strained. How can rain come up out of the ground to water the
earth? A lot of scientific work has been done on a vapor canopy model and
much of what I have seen is quite reasonable science. Genesis 2:6 does seem
to describe a period before which there was no rain on the earth. The Ice
Canopy Model. Donald Patten in general is far out, like Velikovsky was.
I agree with you that there seems to be no real substance to Patten's models.
I have his books but keep them in my pseudoscience collection.
A Geocentric Universe? Science does not know where the center of
the universe is. The fact that earth as inhabitable is so incredibly unlikely
in all the known universe is suspicious. Earth is the moral center of the
universe. We can't prove the earth is not the center of the universe! The
Son of God appears to have created the universe from the earth as a vantage
point. Presumably the center of the universe is located where the throne
room of God is located, but that is in the heavenlies. As far as the physical
universe is concerned earth emerges as mighty important and completely unique
according to your own very fine analysis of the improbability of another
planet like ours in the known universe.
An Aesthetic Argument. The universe has existed for 1010 years but
man for only 104 years? To me this does not seem reasonable for a universe
created by the Logos of God. To have an empty universe before man for great
periods of time seems strange: "For thus says the LORD, who created
the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established
it; he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!): 'I am
the LORD, and there is no other.'" (Isaiah 45:18). The Anthropic Principle
is not quite right, however the Creator made man most like Himself and made
the universe as a home for man, and man given the charge to have dominion.
Beauty and harmony in nature are evidence of God's handiwork, but beauty
and elegance in science may not be! Since Jesus, the Logos of God created
the universe, it is not unreasonable that the creation should have some
features which remind man of himself. Also, Satanic counterfeits are as
close to the truth as possible, so we need to be especially cautious about
new theories that appear to give all the right answers at first.. Intuitively
I would expect the creation events to follow one another in rapid order.
God is a God of beauty and harmony. He is the Supreme Architect and the
Absolute Time. We must be careful not to claim our clocks run on
the same standard as God's clocks! The writer of Genesis can only make a
record when someone tells him how to keep time. Modern science assumes time
is an absolute, and that man has that clock in his hands. The clock we are
given for keeping time by in Genesis is the motion of sun, moon and stars
for an observer on earth.
Constancy of Atomic Constants: At least four careful statistical
analyses by competent statisticians in the last two years claim that the
available data on measurements of the velocity of light give confidence
levels of 90-95% that c is not a fixed constant. These findings can not
be now dismissed so lightly. Quite independent of this statistical information,
it is perfectly possible to hypothesize that c is not a constant and examine
the consequences in various equations and phenomena of physics. Barry Setterfield
claims the results of doing this very thing are quite realistic and that
the resulting model is better than the existing one and more consistent
with the Bible. There is no a priori reason why c should be a fixed constant,
either in physics or in theology. It is very easy for science to overlook
things, and to oversimplify according to Occam's Razor. The new science
of chaos is a good example. Lo and behold even in chaos there is often order
emerging from the noise if one looks for it in the right way. God's actions
in controlling the universe and regulating its every detail could be entirely
in the noise level---"O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge
of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
'For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?'
'Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?' For from him and
through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen."
Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin: A strong view of man's total depravity
leads one to conclude that the effects of human evil have a big effect on
nature. I believe human evil has had such a big effect on nature.
"Death" in the Bible: Normally the word "death"
in the Bible carries with it extremely negative connotations. Primarily
there are three kinds of death (1) physical death, (2) spiritual death,
and (3) the Second Death. Metaphors as such as being "dead to sin"
or "dead to the law" do not carry the same weight as death which
"enters the world through Adam's sin." Genesis 2:17 is very emphatic
in Hebrew, "dying you shall die." Death is our great enemy, "the
last enemy to be destroyed is death..." "Since therefore the children
share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature,
that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that
is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject
to lifelong bondage." (Hebrews 2). I agree that there might have been
a form of animal death in the world before the fall. But death is viewed
as man's great and final enemy: "Therefore as sin came into the world
through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because
all men sinned--sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but
sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to
Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam,
who was a type of the one who was to come." (Romans 5:12-14). It is
reasonable to suppose that the animals multiplied and died before the fall---I
don't know of any Scripture that specifically states this however. Possibly
natural birth control prevailed among animals and men in the early days
so that conception was much rarer or the sexual urge more easily controlled.
Even if the animals died before the fall, they evidently were not subject
to disease and violent destruction (not as we have now, "nature red
in tooth and claw"). Isaiah speaks of the wolf lying down with the
lamb and nature being subdued. I take this to mean a return to conditions
that prevailed before the fall. Even so, death entered the human race as
a result of sin and is not natural for our race. I think it is misleading
to claim that death is "beneficial." I believe the battle between
good and evil is fiercely pitched and that very powerful forces are at work
to keep man ignorant of who God really is, or to throw us onto tangents
once we do come to know Him. The devil would overthrow God Himself if he
could, and destroy all life in the universe at the same time. The devil
is not only a liar, he is a murderer from the beginning.
"Species go extinct naturally all the time". It is pure
speculation on your part to suppose this is the way things always have been
in the past. This is what we now observe, but we have no way of knowing
that this is the way things always have been. Adam was given dominion over
creation. It was his job to tend the garden and subdue the earth. In yielding
himself to the enemy Adam lost the power and the title deed to the earth,
plunging the created order into disarray. It is entirely possible that species
die-offs are a result of the fall and the bondage all creation has been
subject to as a result of the fall: "The creation waits in eager expectation
for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration
(douleia=bondage), not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who
subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its
bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of
God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of
childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves,
who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly
for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." (Romans 8)
"Our Bodies Are Made from Ashes of Dead Stars". This is
also speculation---you are relying on the "authority" of a scientific
model, and science has no real authority from God. We do not know where
the dust of the earth was actually brought into existence through stellar
nuclear reactions, or whether the present distribution of the elements appeared
abruptly by fiat creation. We must be careful to avoid causality---suggesting
that God was constrained or is constrained to act only in certain ways.
It seems to me from Genesis that God directly created the earth. No mechanism
or intermediate stages for the formation of the earth are given in the Bible
and we must be careful not add to Scripture, or to read into the Bible thinks
that aren't there. On matters where Scripture is silent, we must be silent,
or state clearly that we are speculating!
Pre-Adamic hominids. There is no hint of such in the Bible. You should
state this clearly as a matter of your own personal belief based on science
but not supported by the Bible. This reminds one of the Gap Theory which
is now widely discredited, as you yourself believe. We must be careful in
our desires to harmonize science and the Bible not to be dogmatic about
scientific truth or even the set of facts available for our interpretation.
"Let God be true though every man be false, as it is written..."
Longevity of the Patriarchs. The mechanism for reduced human longevity
after the flood is not known, however a number of scientists have commented
that increased flux of harmful cosmic rays probably would not account for
the full amount of the decrease. Perhaps we need a biologist to tell us
more about the aging processes, genetic damage, and possible causal mechanisms.
Missing Gaps in the Genealogies of the Bible. As far as I am able
to determine the gaps in some of the genealogies in the Bible are almost
all filled in elsewhere. The gaps are all minor in any case and the actual
history of the gap-periods is usually known from elsewhere in the Biblical
text. It is thus very difficult (I believe) to move Adam earlier than 5000
to 6000 B.C. Henry Morris concedes 10,000 years maximum. We must always
be careful not to try and force the Scriptures to fit a contemporary science
model of the fossil record. Chronologies are given for the line which leads
from the First Adam to the Last Adam, so the Holy Spirit seems to have gone
to extra trouble to give as an unbroken record of the blood line to Messiah.
Your analysis of the apparent gaps would be helpful to see how you reach
10,000 to 25,000 years B.P. for Adam.
The Thomas Gold model for origin of petroleum and coal deposits is probably
much better than the old model. Far too much gas, oil and coal has been
found already to be attributed to a biogenic origin. These resources usually
found along crustal found zones. Gold's deep earth methane model is consistent
with a cold, accretionary formation of the earth. The old model of petroleum
genesis is well over 100 years old and sadly outdated. For example the old
model holds to a hot-molten-glob formation of the earth and all oil resources
a result of biogenesis. (See T. Gold, Power from the Earth,
1987, $24.95). Regarding the formation of the earth note that Peter says
the earth was "formed (compacted) out of water and by means of water."
The Hebrew root word of erets means "to compact together."
Pleochroic halos. This topic needs more study and comment. The work
of Robert Gentry is too thorough and too careful than to be lightly dismissed.
Either the earth was formed suddenly, or radioactive decay did not start
up until after the earth was formed. I can not see any way around the basic
evidence from these halos at the present time. I assume you have Gentry's
The Gospel and Modern Man. I believe that apologetics generally has
its greatest value among those who are already believers. The Gospel makes
its appeal to conscience. Man's obstacle is pride and unbelief. The fact
that the usual Genesis 1-11 interpretations impede modern man from coming
to Christ does not mean these men will not be saved. Men will be saved by
God if they are elected to salvation and have been chosen in Christ from
the foundation of the world. Moral issues are more dominant. We must let
the Bible govern our thinking whether or not the Bible is in accord with
modern scientific views. Over long periods of time the scientific view should
be more consistent with the Bible, but not necessarily in a short time frame,
say 100 years. Entire civilizations have been misled in the past. Satan
comes as an angel of light. Ancient Egypt had a very advanced science and
effective, convincing magic arts and sorcery during the times of Joseph
and Moses. Antichrist will evidently have a credible, convincing cosmology
to support his view about the naturalistic origin of the universe. If, as
you say, most modern astronomers are now deists I would still not expect
dozens of them to flood into the church and be saved because of the impediment
of intellectual pride, "For consider your call, brethren; not many
of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world
to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong,
God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not,
to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast
in the presence of God."
Creation and the Supreme Court: You claim the real issue causing
opposition to the teaching of creation in schools is really over the age
of the universe. I disagree! I think that opposition to God and to the gospel
is what is happening on such front-line engagements as the Supreme Court
disputes about origins. I feel certain that the real tension these days
is between naturalism and supernaturalism. As Frances Schaeffer has noted,
modern man with his insistence on the materialistic universe being all there
is, is threatened when He gets any hint that God might not be dead after
all. Spiritual warfare is what's going on, and that struggle is not much
dependent on the details of the belief system of the two sides. You'll find
the same heated disputes in the abortion issue. The Christian side rightly
values every individual life as a creation of God. The pro-abortionists
insist they have a right to do as they please with their own bodies, not
only with regard to abortion, but also including freedom to engage in casual
sex without benefit of marriage. The first group believes man must be subject
to God to be free and whole, the second group subscribes to the notion than
man can be autonomous.
The Earth's Magnetic Field. No dynamo mechanism has ever been found
to explain the postulated energy inputs needed to sustain the field. The
measured field appears to be decreasing exponentially with a half life of
only a few thousand years. The reversals before the current epoch certainly
seem to be real---see Russ Humphreys' article in latest CRSQ for recent
discussion of field reversals in the past. The early work of Thomas Barnes
on the decay of the earth's field is perfectly credible even if his current
work concerning relativity seems less so.
Psalm 104:30 and the "recreation" of life: "When you
send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth."
This whole Psalm is concerned with the worship of the God of creation. It
does not suggest to me that God "recreated" anything after the
close of creation week. The idea that God "recreates" anything
does not correspond to anything I know about from Scripture.
Your UFO treatment is excellent, careful and thorough, except that
Richard Haines (former NASA scientist and fellow member of Peninsula Bible
Church in Palo Alto) says UFO sightings seem to fall into two classes: positive
and malevolent. I sent Dick your UFO tapes as he is keenly interested in
getting to know you.
The Universe is a Home for Man. Jesus said, "Let not your hearts
be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are
many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare
a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come
again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."
(John 14:1-3) Here "the Father's house" is clearly the universe
we live in, the whole universe, which is made up of both the visible and
the invisible. The universe, Jesus implied, is to be compared to a house
having many rooms, all made to live in. Like the homes we live in, the various
rooms serve various purposes. We have living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms
and perhaps a library-study. The first helpful thing about this passage
is that it teaches us that heaven is a better and more pleasant home than
the best we know here. This is not fiction or myth; Jesus was describing
the way things really are. Further clues about the universe as a "house"
designed to be lived in can be found elsewhere in the Bible. For example
Yahweh says in Isaiah: "For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens
(he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it); he did
not create it a chaos, he formed it (to be inhabited!): I am the LORD, and
there is no other." (Isaiah 45:18) "Heaven is my throne and the
earth is my footstool; what is the house which you would build for me, and
what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so
all these things are mine, says the LORD. But this is the man to whom I
will look, he that is humble and contrite in spirit and who trembles at
my word." (Isaiah 66:1,2) If we know now only that God's house contains
a living room chair and its accompanying footstool, we nevertheless can
infer the existence of kitchens, closets, banquet halls and libraries. For
example, God's library must surely contain books in four-dimensional living
color that contain in minute detail the history of the world as it really
happened. Surely we shall find video tapes there containing the lives of
all who have ever lived with thoughts, motives, and actual facts in open-books
before us. After visiting the library, we might like to move outdoors and
investigate the gardens in heaven after which Eden was patterned. In contrast
with these statements the universe as seen by the astronomer's limited eyesight
seems to me to be cold, sterile, impersonal and limited. The astronomer
is looking at shadows that pale in comparison with the real. Reality is
perceived accurately only through the eyes of faith.
Uniformitarianism is Specifically Denied in Scripture. In spite of
a renewal of interest in catastrophism in recent years, man's belief in
some form of uniformitarianism has characterized society since the beginning.
Modern science is still quite uniformitarian in its ideas. Surely this deeply
embedded notion in our minds that things never really have changed since
creation is the reason the Apostle Peter left us such a clear word in his
second epistle: "First of all you must understand this, that skeptics
will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and
saying, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers
fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of
creation.' They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens
existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water,
through which the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.
But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored
up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly
men. But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day
is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not
slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward
you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will
pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire,
and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all
these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to
be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming
of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved,
and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait
for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore,
beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without
spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the forbearance of our Lord as
salvation. (2 Peter 3)
Truth is a Person. "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life,
no man comes to the Father except by me." Paul says, "In Christ
are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Solomon writes
in Proverbs, "It is the glory of God to conceal things; it is the glory
of kings to seek them out." The person who does know Christ or is ignorant
on how to search out hidden truth be unlikely to discover an accurate cosmological
model. "The natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit
of God, indeed they are foolishness to him, and he can not know them because
they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man understands all things..."
Though your Christian faith and theology seems orthodox, my world view is
a bit different from yours based on your presentations to date. Your dual-revelation
ideas trouble me. I do not believe modern astronomers have arrived at absolute
knowledge concerning the age of the universe or the methodology of God's
creative hand, for instance through the Big Bang hypothesis. In general
I like to put more emphasis on the importance of the spiritual realm in
understanding creation than you do. I am concerned that you err in the direction
of naturalism, progressive creationism, and scientism. I have less confidence
in modern scientific models and am willing to live with considerable tension
between science and the Bible. I believe the most important creative activity
of God took place on the Six Days rather than being limited to Genesis 1:1,2.
I believe the Six Days were relatively short periods of time, not long geologic
ages. I believe in a universal, not local, flood. I place time of Adam and
the time of the flood more recently than you, and I therefore suspect radio-dating
methods may be in error. I suspect the present interpretation of the fossil
record is in error on some key points. I believe the topography of the earth
and the climate changed radically at the time of the flood. I think there
is every likelihood the universe has been seriously disrupted since it was
created. This is a result of the cosmic rebellion among the angels under
Lucifer, and the fall of man. I believe death came into the human race through
the sin of Adam and that death is our great enemy. I do not believe there
were any hominids on earth before Adam, and that the higher animals and
Adam all came into being in the same time frame on the Sixth Day. I believe
so-called "cave men" are degenerate branches of the race descended
from Adam. Thus conventional dating schemes are suspect. I am convinced
that scientific theories developed by sinful man (under the control of Satan,
a deceiver and a murderer from the beginning) are frequently incomplete
and tentative and need to be treated that way. "For our knowledge is
imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the
imperfect will pass away...For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face
to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have
been fully understood."
Your presentations as they now stand seem to me like a half-way station
between the world of the modern secular scientist and Biblical Christianity.
I am sure you can continue to have a major impact in academic environments
where science dominates thinking and discussions. My greatest concern is
that you seem to me to be taking your own secular scientific world-view
and attempting to force-fit it to the Scripture. I suppose this is partly
what a good harmonist seeks to do in any generation. But if you are too
dogmatic and opinionated about matters of science now, you may find yourself
"obsolete" in a few years time. I think you would improve your
presentations greatly if you made a clearer distinction concerning matters
of scientific opinion and statements of belief based on the Bible. Perhaps
you might want to mention that many godly men, Bible scholars and scientists
who are Christians differ in their view of creation from your position yet
that may not mean they are wrong and you are right. These issues seem to
me to resemble the story of three blind Indians who discover their first
elephant. One says elephants are like thin ropes, another says they are
like walls, a third says they resemble tree trunks. Yet all are correct
though each is complete by itself. In matters of science and the Bible it
is not always a question of "either/or" but of "both/and"---holding
what appear to be irreconcilable forms of information in tension until a
way of resolution is found later on. My caution to you as your brother in
Christ is that we all need to approach the Bible with open, uncluttered
minds and let the Word of God enlighten us and constantly judge our understanding
of things. In that process I think it is important to set aside temporarily
what we think to be true from science and human experience. Being a good
apologist you will I'm sure you want to revise your scientific material
every year as so to keep current with our changing scientific understanding
of things. And I am sure you and I will continue to grow in Christ so that
we gain further light on the marvelous creation and our place in it. As
scientists I do not think we really have a head start on truth, in fact
we may be more easily impeded in our search for truth because of the danger
of being puffed up by our own worldly accomplishments. "If any thinks
himself wise in this world let him become a fool, that he might be truly
wise." May our God bless you richly, beyond all your hopes and expectations.
Sincerely, your brother in Christ,
Explanatory notes added 3/20/99
- The Days Do Matter, by Henry M. Morris, Book Review (10/04)
- Critique of the introductory chapter of Hugh Ross' new book
A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy, by Dr Jonathan Sarfati (6/7/04).
- Hugh Ross Expos by Ken Ham and Dr. Terry Mortensen (8/23/02)
- Additional critiques of Hugh Ross's position may be obtained by contacting
The Institute of Creation Research (ICR),
PO Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021. See especially, Hugh
Ross, ICR, and the Bible and Hugh
Ross, ICR, and the Facts of Science, both by James Stambaugh. ICR Impact
Issues #217, 218, available online.
- Films for Christ, 2628 W. Birchwood Circle, Mesa, AZ 85202-1070, phone
(602) 894 1300, published in 1994 the book, Creation
and Time: A Report on the Book by Hugh Ross, by Van Bebber and Taylor.
The above URL provides a helpful fact sheet on Dr. Ross.
- Book Review on above book by Bill Donohue
- Creation Science Association. FAQ on Dr. Hugh Ross by Kent Hovind and Associates
- Hugh Ross, Apologist or Heretic? by Bill Donohue
- What is Progressive
- Robert I. Bradshaw, "Creationism and the Early Church" (UK)
(well-documented refutation of the claims of Dr. Ross)
- What's Wrong with Progressive Creationism, by Ken
- A Response to Dr. Hugh Ross by Masami Usami
- Statement and Challenge by Dr. Russ Humphreys, 1/10/99.
- A Statement Concerning the Ministry of Dr. Hugh
Ross, by Bolton Davidheiser, PhD, Zoology
- Comments on the Ministry of Hugh Ross, PhD by Prof. Robert A. Herrmann, PhD, USNA
- Hugh Ross' Extra-Dimensional Deity: A Review Article by William Lane Craig, JETS 42/2 (June 1999) 293-304.
- Expose of Hugh Ross' New Book "The Genesis Question," by Jonathan Sarfati
From Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 13(2):22-30, 1999.
- Geologist Glen R. Morton's. review of "The Genesis Connection."
- The dubious apologetics of Hugh Ross,
by Astronomer Danny Faulkner, CEN Technical Journal 13 (2) 1999
- A Leading Educator writes to the Supporters of Hugh Ross
- Hugh Ross Throws Down the Gauntley, by Jonathan Sarfati, PhD. (11/00)
- Debate: Michael Shermer and Hugh Ross, Boise, Idaho, 3/19/02
Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2001 Saturday, California; Part 2; Page 14
Religion: Seeing Faith Through Science
Scientist on a Quest for Proof of His Faith: Hugh Ross, an astronomer and
evangelical minister, looks to science to prove the Bible's truth. Almost
nobody agrees with him.
An astronomer and minister looks to biology, physics and other fields in an
effort to prove the Bible's truth. He draws fire from scientists and
BYLINE: WILLIAM LOBDELL, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Almost nobody agrees with Hugh Ross.
During his university talks, Ross--both astronomer and evangelical
minister--often comes under friendly fire from Christian fundamentalist
students. They want to shoot down his scientific approach to faith.
Ross, president of Reasons to Believe, a Christian think tank in Glendora,
believes that creationism should never be taught in public schools.
"There's no science or Scripture to back it up," he says. He argues that the
universe was created in six consecutive long, unspecified periods of time.
"The problem with some Christians is they don't get far enough away from the
Armed with the latest discoveries in astronomy, physics and biology and
backed by a small army of scholars, Ross is on a quest to scientifically prove
that the Scriptures are true and that the God of the Bible is the designer of
In doing so he has alienated both ends of the evolutionary debate, from
fundamentalists to scientific advocates of Charles Darwin's theory of
Scientists affiliated with Reasons to Believe will unveil their latest
findings at a four-day conference beginning Thursday at Grace Church in
Cypress. Last year's event drew more than 750 scientists, theologians, doctors,
engineers, pastors and laity.
The nonprofit organization is the radical cousin of the more widely known
"intelligent design" movement, which seeks to detect intelligence behind the
universe's formation but doesn't speculate on the nature of that force.
Though both movements try to dispel Darwin, Ross rejects the intelligent
design strategy as too "pessimistic and defeatist."
"The intelligent design theory uses a big-tent approach," Ross said. "It
says, 'Let's first get in this thin wedge of truth' [that there's a legitimate
alternative to Darwinism]. I really worry that we will win the battle of
proving an intelligent designer but lose the war of convincing society that
designer is Christ."
Ross, 55, founded Reasons to Believe 16 years ago after working as a research
fellow at Caltech and as a minister. He resembles actor John Malkovich and
looks the part of a college professor, especially on casual Fridays when he
comes to work in blue jeans, a button-down shirt and running shoes.
He has a paid staff of 35, thanks to private donations, fees from speeches
and the sales of books, videos and magazines. He has also attracted scores of
scientists who volunteer their time. They comb through the latest scientific
research to find evidence of God.
For example, Ross sees the intricate, rotary motor of the flagellum of
bacteria as a mirror of engines built by human hands, and therefore a
reflection of an intelligent designer.
That, like most of Ross' ideas, is at odds with most evolutionary scholars.
"It's hard not to laugh," said UC Irvine genetics professor Francisco Ayala,
a former Catholic priest, who hadn't heard of Ross' work but dismisses
anything along the lines of intelligent design. Ayala believes God simply
lets nature take its course.
"Drawing parallels with machines is nothing new," Ayala said. The flagellum
and the engine "look like machines because they are functional." Both
humans and the natural selection process always will create the most
functional form, Ayala said, which means they will look similar.
Ross says the jump from a generic intelligent designer to Christ as the
designer is a logical one. His argument is this: Scriptures closely parallel
what science now knows. The universe had a beginning. Ross believes that
beginning had to be brought about by a transcendent being who operates beyond
matter, energy, space and time--the same as described in the Bible.
Then, the high degree of fine-tuning that scientists are discovering
throughout the universe must have been carried out by a loving and caring God,
who mostly closely matches Jesus Christ.
"He's a God who's concerned with providing optimally for all of his
creation," Ross said.
UC Berkeley professor Phillip Johnson, a leader of the intelligent design
movement and the author of "Darwin on Trial," said Ross' critique is
"intelligent and not unfriendly," but wrong.
"He thinks we don't go far enough, and we think he goes a little too far,"
Johnson said. "That's what you'd expect in a debate like this."
Mike Strauss, an associate professor of particle physics at the University of
Oklahoma, volunteers his expertise to Reasons to Believe. He said he was drawn
to the organization by its reputation for scientific and theological
"Hugh Ross is credible. He does a good job integrating science and faith,"
Strauss said. "Many people claim to integrate the two, but they don't."
Ross said he grew up in a moral but secular household. At 17, he began to
secretly study the great philosophers and religions, trying to figure out who
God was. After six months, he said, he quickly discarded other faiths
because he found them too illogical. But he kept researching the Bible.
"There's so much ridicule heaped upon serious Christians. I had strong
motivation to keep it secret--until I could figure out how to defend it."
He said he found the Bible to be scientifically and historically accurate,
and the only holy book to invite objective testing.
After two years of self-study, Ross signed his name in the back of the Gideon
Bible he had used, marking his conversion.
Ross is a Christian apologist, someone who uses evidence from sciences of all
kinds to defend Christian doctrine. "God's fingerprint can be seen through all
the disciplines," he says. He tries to distance himself from many of today's
apologists, who he says can be divided into three categories: "Top, pop and
slop--and only 10% are in the top category."
He says his most receptive audiences are scholars who attend his
presentations at major universities such as Princeton, MIT and UCLA.
"Hugh is somewhat controversial" among fundamentalists, said Gregory Koukl,
president of Stand to Reason, another apologist group. "But he's much less
controversial on the scientific side. He's careful, he's honest, and he's very
happy to put his ideas against peer review. This is the acid test of
scientific analysis of intelligent design."
Ross knows his complex interpretations are difficult for most non-scientists
to understand, and tough for most secular scholars to agree with.
"Both scientists and Christians are trying to find an easy way through this,
and that doesn't exist," Ross said. "I think it's fun. God left us with
unsolved problems so we can have the joy of discovery."
GRAPHIC: PHOTO: Hugh Ross, with Bible and telescope, looks skyward near his
San Dimas home. His Reasons to Believe think tank takes the "intelligent
design" theory a step further. PHOTOGRAPHER: DON BARTLETTI / Los Angeles Times
PHOTOGRAPHER: DON BARTLETTI / Los Angeles Times
June 25, 2001
Problems Emerging with Big Bang Cosmology
Hugh Ross defends that Big Bang theory as if it were the proven process
by which our universe was brought into existence a long time ago. Astronomer
Tom Van Flandern, who is neither a creationist nor a believer in a recent
origin for the universe, nevertheless is not afraid of challenging the prevailing
secular orthodoxy in astronomy. In his latest Meta Research Bulletin news
section (12/15/97) he lists:
Ten Problems with the Big Bang
For a recent chat discussion on MSN, we prepared a list of the leading
problems faced by the big bang in its struggle for viability as a theory:
(1) Static universe models fit the data better than expanding universe
(2) The microwave "background" makes more sense as the limiting
temperature of space heated by starlight than as the remnant of a fireball.
(3) Element abundance predictions using the big bang require too many
adjustable parameters to make them work.
(4) The universe has too much large scale structure (interspersed "walls"
and voids) to form in a time as short as 10-20 billion years.
(5) The average luminosity of quasars must decrease with time in just
the right way so that their mean apparent brightness is the same at all
redshifts, which is exceedingly unlikely.
(6) The ages of globular clusters appear older than the universe.
(7) The local streaming motions of galaxies are too high for a finite
universe that is supposed to be everywhere uniform.
(8) Invisible dark matter of an unknown but non-baryonic nature must
be the dominant ingredient of the entire universe.
(9) The most distant galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field show insufficient
evidence of evolution, with some of them apparently having higher redshifts
(z = 6-7) than the faintest quasars.
(l0) If the open universe we see today is extrapolated back near the
beginning, the ratio of the actual density of matter in the universe to
the critical density must differ from unity by just a part in 10^59. My
larger deviation would result in a universe already collapsed on itself
or already dissipated.
A Strong New Big Bang Falsification Test
Is the redshift of galaxy light due to the expansion of the universe,
or due to energy loss? If redshift were due to cosmological expansion, then
all galaxies within a cluster would have the same cosmological redshift
plus a small add-on contribution due to local motion within the cluster.
The average dispersion of velocities within clusters would be independent
of their distance from us except for possible evolutionary effects. On the
other hand, if light redshifts with distance traveled because it loses energy,
small dispersions at small redshifts would become larger dispersions at
larger redshifts. The dispersion in redshift within clusters would increase
linearly with distance. To be safe, corrections for Malmquist bias must
be applied because we see only the most massive clusters at great distances.
Of course, if velocity dispersion is shown to increase linearly with distance,
someone might propose that cluster masses increase with the square of distance
as one looks back toward the big bang, because this would give the same
effect. However, such a proposal would contradict the mass-luminosity relationship.
It therefore appears that such a test result would definitively falsify
the big bang. Preliminary results in AJ, 857-867 (1994), ApJ 423, L89-L92
(1994), ApJ 478, 39-48 (1997) and AJ 114 1293-1296 (1997) rather suggest
that this test will in fact falsify the big bang. In the last of these,
an X-ray emitting cluster at redshift z = 0.813 was reported with a velocity
dispersion of 1892 km/s. This dispersion is so great that it makes the cluster
appear to be spread into a filament shape along the line of sight. The only
alternative is that "velocity" dispersions in galaxy clusters
do increase with distance.
(More interesting news from Tom Van Flandern will be found at his web
site, at http://www.metaresearch.org/home.asp).
Recent Article: What about the 'big bang'?, by Werner Gitt, Creation Ex Nihilo 20(3):42-44, June-August 1998