“I think there is an infinity of possible ways in which to create the world, according to the different designs which God could form, and that each possible world depends on certain principal designs or purposes of God which are distinctive of it, that is, certain primary free decrees (conceived sub ratione possibilitatis) or certain laws of the general order of this possible universe with which they are in accord and whose concept they determine, as they do also the concepts of all the individual substances which must enter into this same universe. -Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
This post deals less with the philosophical side of theology, I will post more on that later. I’ve been having thinking about this specific issue for a while now, and decided to finally put it to “paper”, so to speak.
As a philosopher, my need for making clear distinctions on topics and issues is at the top of my concerns when discussing difficult subject matters. The creation/evolution, young earth/old earth discussions are always heated and end up turning into a charade of logical fallacies such as ad hominems, appeals to authority, question begging and so on. Personally, I tend to lean more towards an old earth, with analogous days view of Genesis 1, but I am not completely sold out to these positions. I want to have humility in these sorts of topics, allowing myself room to change a grow. I have watched numerous videos, read some of Ken Ham’s articles and have some thoughts on his approach towards Scripture.
Ham in a video discussing science, the Bible and their relation, he attempts to make distinctions between the “sciences” and claims you can’t combine historical and observational science, that man is a fallible creature and we can’t know more than what God’s word says. He of course is speaking about secular scientists and the evidence they present.
I think he makes a grave mistake of claiming we should not trust in modern scientific evidences because man is fallible. He does his own argument in when making this claim. The Bible was written by men, who were themselves fallible. I believe the Bible is true just as much as Ham does, but we may come at it from very different points. How one can arrive at this claim of the “Bible is true” is a whole other discussion on epistemological theories of knowledge, but for the sake of this article, I assume the Bible is true in all that it claims. It is a complex book filled with history, propositions, commands etc. We cannot make the sweeping claim of taking the entire Bible literally, lest we miss the opportunity of something being communicated to us and we miss it, do to the interpretation and presuppositions we hold as we read through the Scriptures.
One point is the foundation of Scripture I vehemently disagree with him on. His claim is always “if you can’t trust what is written in Genesis 1:1-11, you can’t trust the rest of Scripture.” I think this view is narrow minded and flawed. I would argue that to put the foundation of Scripture on Genesis is a dangerous task, especially when you argue that it should be taken as a chronological, historical and scientific account of how God created the universe. Rather than argue against this view, I am going to argue that the foundation of Scripture is to be found in Christ alone. His death and resurrection prove the truth of His claims, and that can assure us we can trust what is written, whether or not we interpret it 100% correctly.
Rather than arguing this out through my own words, I want to let the Scriptures hash out what the foundation for the Christian faith and the Bible are:
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. -Matthew 7:24
For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. -1 Corinthians 3:11-13
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. -1 Corinthians 15:14
He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. -Luke 6:48
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. -John 1:1-5
The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me. -Luke 10:16
Christ is our foundation. Not the creation narrative being properly interpreted.