Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Do 6 literal day creationists really believe the account is literal?

The answer to that question is no they don’t. What is so hard to pin down with these people is what they really believe. They constantly revise their statements. They will say how literal they take the story of creation and the flood and then as you discuss with them you see that they take only certain parts literally. All the while claiming they are the ones who accept the Bible just as it reads. Here I will examine with the aid of a review of David’s Read’s comments why he does not do what he claims. Adventist Today has an interview with Read about his new book Dinosaurs: An Adventist View ($34.95 you can see why I am not going to buy it and review it).

Notice this quote from the Adventist Today interview:

Q. Do Ellen White's writings figure into the content of your book?

A. Absolutely. The book's central thesis revolves around a cryptic statement by Ellen White concerning "amalgamation." She stated that the worst sin of the people who lived before the Genesis Flood was the sin of amalgamation, which produced species that God did not create, and that one of the most urgent reasons for the Flood was to destroy the amalgamated species. For many years, the most knowledgeable, doctrinally well-grounded Adventists have seen a connection between extinct pre-historic animals, such as dinosaurs, and Ellen White's "amalgamation" statements. My book explores the thesis that dinosaurs were the products of amalgamation-now understood as genetic engineering-by people who lived before the Genesis Flood. While this theory, like any theory about origins, has its problems, it turns out to be a very defensible thesis. Moreover, it explains much about the fossil record that cannot otherwise be explained within the "young earth creationist" paradigm. This theory has been discussed by and among Seventh-day Adventists for more than three decades, but there has never been a book-length exploration of it. An appellate court justice I worked for back in Texarkana, Texas, once told me, in the context of legal appeals, "You don't really know what you've got until you write the opinion." In other words, you do not know how strong your position is until you write it down on paper, and explain and argue it in a logical, step-by-step manner. That's what I've tried to do in this book. I hope everyone who reads it will find it interesting, and receive a blessing from it.

So here we see the fantasy position that the antediluvians were technically so savvy and scientifically so advanced that they created dinosaurs. Judging by the number of different dinosaur species they were an industrious bunch as there are hundreds of species. As the USGS says:

Approximately 700 species have been named. However, a recent scientific review suggests that only about half of these are based on fairly complete specimens that can be shown to be unique and separate species. These species are placed in about 300 valid dinosaur genera (Stegosaurus, Diplodocus, etc.), although about 540 have been named. Recent estimates suggest that about 700 to 900 more dinosaur genera may remain to be discovered.

But how does this conflict with a literal view of Creation? Let’s look at the Bible verse that begins the Genesis account of animals created:

(Gen 1:21 NIV) So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

(Gen 1:25 NIV) God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Now does the story contain anything about new creatures created by amalgamation by man and beast? Now of course not it is not found in the story that they claim to take literally, no it is found in a nineteenth century writer…that is roughly 1700 years after the books of the Bible were combined into what we call the canon of scripture. No, what these people mean is that when they believe in the literal 6 days of creation they believe in their traditional interpretation of what happened. Of course then if you don’t believe like they do then you simply don’t believe the “word of God” or the word of Moses because they think that Moses really did write all the Pentateuch because that is what tradition has held.

But David Read even goes farther as a recent comment on my article on Adam’s Busy Day shows. The article shows the huge number of animals that he would have to name in a 24 hour period. David Read puts forth this argument on 02 June 2009 at 4:17 on the Spectrum Blog under the thread The Creation Wars:

No creationist argues that every one of the modern "species" was originally created by God in its present form and brought aboard Noah’s ark. There was a period of rapid speciation immediately following the Flood….

Some creationists believe that as few as 1,000 pairs of animals were brought on board the ark and that all modern land animals and birds descended from these….

Now what does the book of Genesis literally say. I mean that is what these people claim to believe isn’t it?

(Gen 6:19 NIV) You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.(Gen 6:20 NIV) Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.

(Gen 7:2 NIV) Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate,

(Gen 7:3 NIV) and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.

So here is a guy right in the fight with David Asscherick to decry evolution, who claims that man created dinosaurs and that only a limited number of animals were taken on the ark and that: “There was a period of rapid speciation immediately following the Flood.

He in his book is not only speculating about the creation of dinosaurs but it is a book against evolution.

Q. I assume that you are writing from the creationist perspective?

  1. Absolutely. Darwinism has plenty of defenders; it is the dominant point of view in academia, media, the museums, foundations, government, entertainment, business, etc. Darwinism has no need of additional advocates.

Q. Do you bring any new insights into explaining the young earth creationist model and the critique of Darwinism?

  1. Maybe not, but I think I have presented the material in a fresh and interesting way. One example is my discussion of the theory of evolution: When our DNA copies itself, it does so flawlessly 99.99% of the time, but occasionally there is a copying error. The modern theory of evolution posits that those copying errors accumulate to create new biochemical mechanisms, new organs, and eventually change species into different, new species. That is the theory of evolution in a nutshell. But our real-world experience with DNA copying errors is that they cause all kinds of problems, including thousands of diseases. The notion that DNA copying errors are responsible for all of the diversity of plant and animal life that we see around us is an idea that I don't find at all credible, and I marvel that it has become scientific dogma. But it has, and to remind readers what the theory is, I refer to it throughout the book as "the copying error theory of evolution."

The sad thing is this book probably does represent an Adventist perspective. Poorly reasoned and largely based upon the writings of Ellen White treated as if her writings are the literal Biblical story. Because frankly the literal Biblical story is not all that likely at least not as mankind realizes the scientific method of reasoning. The story still teaches some important lessons and that is what is really important, that the Bible story can inspire ideas from the primitive to the modern mind is encouraging that God is able to communicate to us on any level of knowledge that man has. The problem comes when we try to remain stuck in a previous more primitive mindset and claim that that is simply the right thing to do and the right way to interpret the Bible.


Anonymous said...

How do you know it is "poorly reasoned" if you didn't read it? Also, I addressed the apparent conflict between Ellen White's statement the amalgamated creatures were left off the ark and destroyed in the Flood and biblical passage that all the land animals were taken on board the ark. If you weren't such a tightwad, and would shell out $34.95, you'd see how I address it.

David C. Read

Ron Corson said...

Yes I am a tightwad, that does not pay for silly books. The point is that while saying saying that you take these things literally you really don't. While claiming evolution is not possible you state that it is possible with the explosion of speciation after the flood. That is poorly reasoned.

Anonymous said...

Ron: Where did I ever claim that "evolution is not possible"? Where did I ever argue for the fixity of species? When has any creationist ever made such an argument subsenquent to the 19th Century?

You're determined to bash creationists, yet seemingly without any curiosity as to the details of what creationists say and beleive.

David C. Read

Shawn Brace said...

Ron, when Genesis 6:19 says, "You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures," could it possibly mean that they were to bring into the ark two of every creature that was living then? It seems pretty simple to me.

If the Genesis account said that "every living human being" was on the ark, I wouldn't cry foul and say it was false because I, personally (who is living 6000 years later), wasn't on the ark!

Ron Corson said...

David I did give your quote from the Adventist Today interview on evolution. I was also a creationist who for most of my life believed in a six literal day creation.

If you were on those threads on spectrum defending the teaching of evolution at La Sierra then possibly I would have thought you saw some merit in evolution. I was surprised to learn you actually thought that there were only a few species and that there was more speciation after the flood. Which means that evolution should be taught in our schools. Not as something that David Asscherick says should be taught as inimical.

Pickle said...

So Ron, what specifically got you to throw out your belief in the Bible's account of a 6-day creation?

Regarding "poorly reasoned," I'd say that your suggestion that the idea of antediluvian amalgamation contradicts Gen. 1 qualifies. There is nothing contradictory at all between the two.

Perhaps you can comment on Gen. 6:12 ("for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth"). In what way had animals become corrupted, necessitating their destruction by the Flood? People, yes, but animals? What sort of things other than amalgamation can you propose that would have corrupted the animals, a corruption remedied by worldwide destruction of animal life?

The idea that the Flood was sent because of some sort of amalgamation is at least 2000 years old.

Anonymous said...

So when Jesus came to make things clear to us He forgot to retell the Genesis story as it really was, hum.
You believe God created life, yes or no, but He lacked the power or desire to do it in the way He later inspired people to record the event, hum.
If we change the Genesis story will we not change the theological implications?
How about this: I’m an evolutionist, I know everything, hey – that means I am a god too!

Ron Corson said...

No Jesus did not forget to tell people information they were not ready for. Nor did He tell them about bacteria and viral diseases.He never told them what stars are or planets or even confirm that the world was really round.

But clearly your smugness prevents you from thinking clearly.

Matt said...

The fact that you accuse someone of smugness reveals your own. And actually The LORD did talk about viral diseases and bacteria, at least the preventing of them.(What we needed to know)

Matt said...

Read The Book of Leviticus.

Ron Corson said...

That is really a sad statement Matt, what is the number one thing you can do to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses? Answer wash your hands with soap and water. Is that spelled out in Leviticus?

You can see why the Adventist church is in trouble, with people. Read Pickle's response about the need for the flood because all flesh was corrupted. Well what does he think continued the species after the flood. The same corrupted flesh that went into the boat! It is pure foolishness and they can't even see how foolish their own arguments are.