The Gospel in Hollywood – Part 2

Previously, we have discussed some of the Gospel elements that appear frequently in Hollywood fiction. Movies often portray a Christ-figure who fights for truth and saves people. Often the Christ-figure experiences a (usually symbolic) death and resurrection, and defeats an imposing enemy against incredible odds. We have seen how the Christ-figure is generally the main character in superhero movies. We now examine the movie genres of science fiction and fantasy.

Unfortunately, most books, movies, and television shows of the science fiction genre are steeped in evolutionary mythology. Such films portray extra-terrestrial lifeforms as having evolved on other worlds over billions of years. Many science fiction franchises seem to promote secular humanism quite heavily. And yet, despite all these anti-Christian themes, science fiction often portrays the Gospel in symbolic form. So, you can usually find both Christian and anti-Christian themes in science fiction.

Why such inconsistency? I suggest this reflects the worldview schizophrenia of the unregenerate mind. Unbelievers know God in their heart of hearts, but inconsistently suppress that truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-20). Consequently, their creative efforts inevitably mix Christian and anti-Christian themes. But the Gospel is subtly there in the form of allegory. Let’s examine a few sci-fi / fantasy movies in light of their similarity to the Gospel.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

If you want to enjoy a delightful sci-fi classic, watch the 1951 movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. In contrast to the disappointing 2008 remake, this old black-and-white gem featured a fascinating story with likeable characters. Needless to say, there will be spoilers below. So if you have not yet seen this movie, go watch it now and come back to the article. I’ll wait.

The movie begins with a saucer-shaped spaceship of alien origin landing at a park in Washington, D.C. Military vehicles and personnel quickly surround the ship, and tension is quite high. A crowd gathers as curiosity rises. Finally, a door opens and the ship’s occupant, Klaatu, steps out. His helmet obscures his face, but his form appears basically like a human being. Klaatu announces that he is on a mission of goodwill, and begins to present a gift to one of the people, but is shot by a nervous soldier.

This action triggers a robot (named Gort) on board the ship to shoot a beam from his visor that instantly destroys all weapons in the vicinity while miraculously leaving the soldiers unharmed. Klaatu orders Gort to cease and is then taken to the hospital. The doctors find Klaatu to be human in appearance, but are astonished at how quickly he heals.

Already we see many Gospel elements. Klaatu is the central Christ-figure who has come down from heaven with a message of peace and goodwill toward men (Luke 2:14). Rather than welcoming him in peace, his arrival generates anxiety, just as Christ’s did (Matthew 2:3). This is followed by an (unsuccessful) murder attempt, just as Herod tried to assassinate Christ (Matthew 2:16).

As Klaatu appears human, so Christ was fully human. Both had the power to heal. Both had great power available to them, but did not use it in vengeance against their oppressors. Indeed, Christ did not retaliate even when His critics crucified Him (Luke 23:34). Likewise, Klaatu orders Gort to stand down, even after being shot.

In the movie, Klaatu escapes from the hospital and dresses as an ordinary human, using the alias “Mr. Carpenter.” No doubt, this is an allusion to Christ’s human nature as the son of a carpenter. So again we have the dual-identity: one appearing as an ordinary man (Mr. Carpenter / Jesus), the other as a heavenly being of tremendous power (Klaatu / the Lord). Klaatu befriends a boy named Bobby. The dialog between these two characters is delightful. Michael Rennie (the actor playing Klaatu / Mr. Carpenter) is very believable as a gentle, wise, highly intelligent man from another world. Like Christ, Klaatu is full of compassion for the people of earth, and deeply disturbed by mankind’s violent ways.

Klaatu meets professor Barnhardt, a highly respected scientist, to whom he reveals his identity as the alien visitor. He asks for advice on how to get the world to listen to his important message. The stakes are high, for if Klaatu’s message is unheeded, “Planet Earth will be eliminated.” Barnhardt suggests that Klaatu should demonstrate his great power, but in a way that does not harm anyone. Klaatu’s solution to this puzzle is ingenious. He programs his ship to disable all electricity on Earth for precisely thirty minutes. No vehicle, light bulb, phone, or television will operate. Klaatu compassionately made exceptions for life-critical equipment, such as hospitals and planes in flight.

Again we see many biblical parallels. As Klaatu makes the Earth stand still metaphorically by disabling electricity, so God literally made the earth stand still on one occasion (Joshua 10:12-14). Likewise, when God’s message of repentance is unheeded, He is able to destroy the earth on behalf of human wickedness (Genesis 6:5-7).

Later, Klaatu is again shot, this time fatally. Anticipating this end, Klaatu had previously told a woman to get a message to Gort, lest Gort retaliate for Klaatu’s murder by destroying the world. The woman relays this message: “Klaatu barada nikto.” No translation is given in the movie. However, based on Gort’s response, the words must mean something like “Do not retaliate.” This reminds me of Christ’s attitude at the crucifixion: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

True to the Gospel, Klaatu’s death is followed by a resurrection. Gort rescues the body of Klaatu, and is able to resuscitate him using technology in the spaceship. People again gather to the spaceship, and Klaatu delivers his message. Essentially, the message is that humanity must give up its violent, wicked ways or be destroyed. Repent or perish. This is remarkably similar to Christ’s warnings during His earthly ministry (Luke 13:3,5). Klaatu goes back inside the ship, which then returns to the sky while the people below stare up in wonder. This is similar to Christ’s ascension at the end of His earthly ministry (Acts 1:9).

The Lord of the Rings

J.R.R. Tolkien’s engaging trilogy “The Lord of the Rings” is full of Christian symbolism and allegory. We see this both in the books and in Peter Jackson’s masterful movie adaptation. The story is complex and intended to be part of a rich mythology. It focuses on the adventure of Frodo Baggins, a “hobbit” of the Shire, who is given a magic ring that bestows great power on its keeper. But the ring is inherently evil, eventually enslaving and corrupting its keeper and strengthening its creator – the evil Sauron. The ring can be destroyed only by returning it to its place of origin in a volcanic mountain in enemy territory. The task of destroying the ring has fallen to the innocent Frodo and his companions.

The ring seems to represent sin. It answers only to Sauron, a nonphysical enemy representing Satan. Like sin, the ring is superficially attractive, desirable, and gives its wearer great power. But it inevitably destroys its wearer and enslaves him to the evil Sauron. Those who have been in possession of the ring find it nearly impossible to give up, even though it slowly destroys them. By way of backstory, we learn that many otherwise good men have been corrupted by the ring; they attempt to use it for good but it works its evil through them instead. Perhaps because of his innocent and selfless nature, Frodo is resistant to the corrupting effects of the ring, making him the ideal choice to carry it to its destruction.

At least three people typify Christ in the Lord of the Rings. First, Frodo is innocent and yet must bear the ring, just as Christ bore the sins of the world. Like Christ, Frodo willingly suffers great misery in his journey to undo the evil caused by others. Frodo ultimately defeats Sauron – the Satan figure. The analogy falls short because Frodo does eventually (though briefly) succumb to the ring’s power before it is destroyed.

Gandalf the Grey, who aids Frodo in his quest, also parallels Christ in some ways. Gandalf has a dual identity. He is humble and seems like an ordinary old man. Yet, he has existed from the beginning of creation and has tremendous seemingly supernatural power. Most significantly, Gandalf is killed early in the story, but is resurrected as Gandalf the White – as if to represent his glorified, eternal body.

From a creation perspective, the most interesting Christ-figure in this trilogy is Aragorn. Like Christ, Aragorn has a duel identity – one ordinary, one extraordinary. He goes by the name “Strider” – an unassuming ranger from the North, of humble apparel and few possessions. But secretly, he is also the rightful king of Gondor. Aragorn is a warrior who fights for good against incredible odds. He is able to “heal” people using herbs. In the movie, Aragorn falls in battle, and his comrades think he is dead. But he returns to them later, as if resurrected.

The First-Adam / Last-Adam connection here is remarkable. Aragorn’s distant ancestor was King Isildur. Isildur had the opportunity to destroy the ring, but he instead succumbed to temptation and kept the ring for himself. This led to his death, and plunged the world into an age of darkness, much as Adam’s sin brought death and suffering into the world. But Aragorn succeeds where his forefather failed. Aragorn does not succumb to temptation. He is not tempted by the glory and power the ring promises (see Matthew 4:8-10), but wants only to save the world from the evil bestowed upon it by his ancestor. After conquering evil, Aragorn is officially installed as the king. Likewise, Christ came into the world to save people from sin; Christ succeeded where Adam failed. Christ defeats evil and is installed as King (Psalm 2:6-9).

Conclusions

Many sci-fi and fantasy films contain such Gospel elements. These are not always intentional, nor are they always obvious. They are sometimes mixed with anti-biblical elements as well. The blending of Christian and anti-Christian themes may reflect the unbelievers’ mindset: having knowledge of God but suppressing that truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). So the next time you watch a movie, see if you can pick out biblical and anti-biblical themes. Cinema may be entertaining. But why not let it serve to practice discernment as well?

57 Responses to The Gospel in Hollywood – Part 2

  1. A movie that had many Christ elements had me wondering at first if it was a parable was the 1982 version of Tron. Programs were in awe of Users, and a User became one of them to combat evil, and had great powers. As you said, science fiction and fantasy stories have weak spots in their analogies, but Tron had quite a few before the similarities fell apart.

  2. Nina Ruth says:

    To shorten my original reaction & subsequent nerdy epistle of joy…I mean…comment on this post:

    Great post – very enjoyable and thought-provoking.

    God bless.
    Antonina

  3. Nina Ruth says:

    Been thinking about…ok, obsessing over, the last part of your post for the past four days. Double imputation. Re-reading Romans along with one of my fave books (Newell’s Romans Verse by Verse), and was just praying from Ephesians 6 this morning. Got to the armor piece dealing with righteousness, and have tears in my eyes. No wonder the point you made regarding Dark Knight is so touching – grace is just astonishing. A double imputation! There are other spec fic examples of this, but the Real story of this blessedly unfair exchange has me overflowing in gratitude this morning.

    Thank you! I’d love to hear more about this theme…Good News never gets old!

  4. Nina Ruth says:

    Interesting observations about comic book heroes and current culture by Al Mohler:

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/04/12/briefing-04-12-17/?segment=3

  5. Val says:

    Hey Doc,

    Quick question (that has nothing to do with this post. I just didnt know how else to contact you.) I’m new to the Astronomy world and in my Astro Class my prof talks about new stars being born. Biblically speaking… does that make sense? Are there new stars being born or were they all created at Creation? Merci!

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      The original stars were all created on day 4. Although the Bible does not preclude the possibility of new stars forming, I haven’t seen any evidence that they do. Under the normal conditions that exist in interstellar space, gas will not spontaneously contract. So I very much doubt that new stars have formed since the original creation.

  6. Nina Ruth says:

    Praying for you this morning, Dr. Lisle.
    Happy (Young!) Earth Day! 😉

    Galatians 4:5-6
    Romans 8:15-16

  7. Tim Griffin says:

    seriously…dinosaurs are only 7000 years old. You embarrass people who are thoughtful and have faith. Your Youtube video in dinosaurs and the bible is just backward, lacks apprehension of simple genetics, aging, and scripture.

    You may be trying in earnest but I believe it is not in inspired.. Making arguments based on wrong assumptions and facts is misleading. You should be apologizing for misleading people.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Tim,

      > seriously…dinosaurs are only 7000 years old.

      No, of course dinosaurs are not 7000 years old. That would make them 1000 years older than the universe – which would be absurd! Most dinosaur fossils are found in layers associated with the global flood described in Genesis 6-8, which puts their age around 4400 years ago. That is much younger than the age evolutionists believe for dinosaurs. But it explains why we find c-14 and soft-tissue in many dinosaur remains, which wouldn’t make sense if these creatures lived millions of years ago.

      > You embarrass people who are thoughtful and have faith.

      Faith in what? Not the Bible apparently. The Bible teaches that God created the universe in six days. That embarrasses some people because they have been brainwashed into thinking that the universe is billions of years old. The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted (Proverbs 29:25).

      > Your Youtube video in dinosaurs and the bible is just backward, lacks apprehension of simple genetics, aging, and scripture.

      Can you provide a specific example, and back it up with actual evidence?

      > You may be trying in earnest but I believe it is not in inspired..

      Do you mean that you don’t believe that the Bible is inspired by God? If so, what evidence do you have for that belief?

      > Making arguments based on wrong assumptions and facts is misleading.

      Yes. Many people have embraced evolution and deep time because they have been misled by bad arguments based on wrong assumptions. We attempt to correct this as much as possible.

      > You should be apologizing for misleading people.

      Can you back up your claim (that I am misleading people) with actual evidence, and not just your opinion? Hypothetically, if the Bible were not true, and people are just chemical accidents of evolution, why would it matter if one chemical accident “misleads” another chemical accident? If creation were not true, then what rational basis would you have for being upset with a chemical accident about anything whatsoever?

      • Josef says:

        “But it explains why we find c-14 and soft-tissue in many dinosaur remains, which wouldn’t make sense if these creatures lived millions of years ago.”

        It’s hard enough to believe soft-tissue could be found if a dinosaur had been dead for 4400 years. I bet if an animal the size of an elephant were dead and buried, none of its flesh would survive after 1 year. So imagine how much more faith it takes to believe it survived 65 million years!

        And I’m glad to see new content, Dr Lisle. Hope all is well.

        • J says:

          What do you think of the argument that evolutionists/old-earth believers use that the reason the soft tissue has been preserved is iron? Supposedly some ostrich blood vessels were preserved in a laboratory at room temperature for 2 years after being put into contact with iron.

          • Josef says:

            >”What do you think of the argument that evolutionists/old-earth believers use that the reason the soft tissue has been preserved is iron? Supposedly some ostrich blood vessels were preserved in a laboratory at room temperature for 2 years after being put into contact with iron.”

            The first thing that comes to my mind is I am reminded of what Dr. Lisle wrote regarding rescuing devices in “The Ultimate Proof of Creation” (if you haven’t read this book, I would recommend it as I actually feel it is a must-read for all Christians who want to defend their faith).

            But also, this is highly desperate. The study you’re referring to was a case where the ostrich blood vessels were soaked in an iron-rich liquid. But this seems pretty unrealistic, and doesn’t represent actual conditions in which the dinosaur blood vessels were found.

            Preserving blood vessels in a controlled environment like this for 2 years is one thing, but it’s a huge leap to say that because they were preserved for 2 years, this could account for 65 million years! Though ironically, this might explain thousands of years (as I said in my comment earlier, even 4400 years is hard to grasp).

            So unless evolutionists come up with a mechanism that demonstrates how the blood vessels could survive over 65 million years in a way that simulates actual/realistic conditions, then I don’t see how this can refute the obvious: the dinosaur bones simply aren’t millions of years old.

            Furthermore, I can’t help but think of the consistency of the evidence between the dinosaur soft-tissue and that we find C-14 in dinosaur bones (and actually virtually anything that has carbon). Since C-14 has a half life of approximately 5730 years, it simply cannot last for millions of years. Even if a dinosaur was made of 100% C-14, all of it would decayed well before 65 million years.

  8. Brayden says:

    Hello Dr. Lisle,
    I would like to ask a quick question: I recently read an article by Dr. Faulkner on Answers in Genesis in which he stated the raqia (expanse) which was named samayim (heavens) was made on Day 2; the astronomical bodies were place in samayim on Day 4. I read an article by you that stated the universe is expanding. But how can this be? Would the ‘waters above’ be above the universe? If so, how could the universe continue to expand. Dr. Faulkner believes the expansion was a past event. What do you think? What are the waters above mentioned on Day 2 of Creation Wekk?
    Thanks for much,
    Brayden

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Brayden,

      The shamayim (heaven) basically means the sky – the visible hemisphere above Earth’s horizon. It can refer to the atmosphere, outer space, or both. When God separated the waters, that expanse (raqia) marked the separation of those below (ocean) and those above. God then called the expanse (raqia) heaven/sky (shamayim). So raqia also apparently refers to the visible sky. My suspicion is that the waters above are clouds – which are collections of liquid water droplets in suspension above much of the visible arch of the sky. Faulkner might disagree with me on this.

      The expansion of the heavens is alluded to in passages such as Isaiah 40:22. God apparently is stretching or has stretched out the universe – the starry realm – such that galaxies are farther away from each other than when the universe was first created. Is the expansion entirely in the past, or does it continue today? It’s impossible to know for sure. My guess is that it still continues.

  9. J says:

    I’ve been discussing the myth of neutrality with a journalist friend of mine. I suggested to him that neutrality and objectivity were impossible positions to take in regards to origins. He reluctantly agreed after some persuasion. He wanted to make the case that objectivity is at least possible in other matters. For instance, he said an unbiased reporter can objectively report the details of a crime scene. Do we has creationists say that objectivity is NEVER possible? Even at a surface level? I know I’m not wording this as well as I could, but perhaps some of Dr. Lisle’s readers can help here.

    • Josef says:

      >”He wanted to make the case that objectivity is at least possible in other matters. For instance, he said an unbiased reporter can objectively report the details of a crime scene. Do we has creationists say that objectivity is NEVER possible? Even at a surface level?”

      The myth of neutrality applies to all levels of reasoning, even in matters that one would consider trivial or surface level.

      First note that ironically he showed partiality in his example when he said, “An unbiased reporter…”. His example is begging the question as he’s already taken for granted that the reporter is unbiased.

      But even with this aside, we need to ask why a reporter should report things in an unbiased way? When we make claims of how people “ought” to behave, we’re really saying there is a moral standard that they should abide by. But does such a moral standard make sense apart from the Christian worldview? I think it’s been well demonstrated that an objective moral standard only makes sense in the the Christian/biblical worldview.

    • Perhaps this statement from this link, https://rebuildbiblicalworldview.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/the-myth-of-neutrality/, will help:

      > Part 1 of Dr. Greg Bahnsen’s video lecture series, Basic Training For Defending the Faith, is titled “The Myth of Neutrality.” The title sums up the lesson succintly: neutrality is a myth. In this lecture, Dr. Bahnsen teaches that the idea of neutrality — be it intellectual, philosophical, emotional, scientific, or in any other area — is a myth. You see and read several passages of Scripture that prove this. Jesus spoke definitively about this (Matthew 6:24, Matthew 12:30).

  10. Cambridge Hathaway says:

    Hello Dr. Lisle!

    (BTW this comment is unrelated to the post…sorry!)

    I cannot express how eye-opening and refreshing your book Ultimate Proof is!! It has helped me understand the Bible and the origins debate in a way that I could not have come to on my own. (I just have to say that the fact of the uniformity of nature is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE way of questioning any worldview. Truly brilliant!! 🙂

    Anyway, I have been wanting to contact you for some time now and I didn’t know how else to do that. This one question has bugged me and I’m sure you will have a simple answer, but I just can’t get around it in my own head for some reason. It is this: Suppose Mr. Jeff Random grew up on a deserted island (maybe shipwrecked parents?) and had no access to the Scriptures. Now, we know the Bible is true, but Jeff can’t even read it. Yet he still trusts his senses, memory and the laws of logic. In fact, Jeff is blessed with impeccable logic, and realizes that he needs an ultimate standard to justify his senses and his logic, but he has none. Is Jeff then irrational for trusting his senses, memory, and logic? And an additional question: With such impeccable logic, would Jeff be able to discover all the attributes the Ultimate Standard would need in order to justify the things he has heretofore assumed? And one more (the last one I promise!): If he is able to discover the attributes of the Ultimate Standard through logic, wouldn’t his logic supersede the Ultimate Standard he has created/discovered?

    Sorry this is so long, but these are questions I have not been able to conclusively put to rest. But I know you will have a good answer!

    Thank you and God Bless You!!

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Thanks for the encouraging feedback. I appreciate it! With your hypothetical scenario, I would say that Jeff does indeed have an ultimate standard for trusting his senses, memory, and laws of logic. And it is the same as ours: the biblical God. Romans 1:18 indicates that God has revealed Himself to everyone. God has “hardwired” knowledge of Himself, including some of His attributes (Romans 1:20) into all human beings, such that when we observe the world we recognize it as the creation of God. Jeff even knows about God’s moral standards which have been written on his heart (Romans 2:14-15), and he further knows that he doesn’t live up to God’s standard. So Jeff does have justification for trusting his senses, memory, laws of logic, morality, and uniformity in nature. However, he would have a more difficult time defending his presuppositions than someone who has read the Bible, because the Bible gives an objective and propositional description of the biblical God and His attributes.

      RE: “If he is able to discover the attributes of the Ultimate Standard through logic, wouldn’t his logic supersede the Ultimate Standard he has created/discovered?” No. What you use to discover something is not necessarily more ultimate than what is discovered. Astronomers use telescopes to observe the universe and to discover how laws of physics work; but that doesn’t make the telescope more foundational than the laws of physics that hold it together. We might see the roof and walls of a house, and conclude that it must have a foundation. But the roof and walls are not more ultimate than the foundation.

      I hope this helps. God bless.

  11. Levi says:

    Hi Dr. Lisle,

    Thank you for the ministry that the Lord has prepared for you.

    I recently started reading regarding the evolution/creation debate, as I continually get confronted regaring this subject.
    Though, I was not prepared for what was coming, as I never looked into this subject, the overwhelmingly support for the evolutionairy worldview from the secular society is shocking.

    Not only that, but the riddicule, mocking, and the charges against Creationist for being unscientific can shake the faith of anyone when getting into this subject unprepared.

    What’s worse, is the increasingly support of old earth Creationists, and Theistic evolution.
    Someone like myself, can go through some doubt when one discovers how many Christians choose this side.

    Where it basically comes down to, it’s a matter of willing to be mocked for Jesus sake, as our Lord Himself states.

    But I thank the Lord for AiG, ICR and many others for faithfully defending God’s Truth.

    Sorry for the reply that has nothing to do with the post.

    Kind regards from (tiny) Belgium.
    Levi

  12. Anuj Agarwal says:

    Hi Jason,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your Jason Lisle’s Blog – theology has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 100 Theology Blogs on the web.

    http://blog.feedspot.com/theology_blogs/

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 100 Theology Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.

    Best,
    Anuj

  13. Bret says:

    I wanted to make a comment to you about your public teaching. The speed of light has been scientifically measured and the formula accepted my most academics.

    > Dr. Lisle: Correction – the round-trip speed of light in vacuum has been scientifically measured. The one-way speed is conventional.

    Using that formula we know that it takes more than 5000 years for star light to reach the centre of the Galaxy.

    > Dr. Lisle: No. That is a one-way trip, and so the duration depends on the one-way speed of light which is conventional. All we can say objectively is that it would take light 50,000 years to go to the galactic center and return. But the time for one leg of the journey can be as little as zero.

    We know this since we can measure the distance using parallax trig.

    > Dr. Lisle: No. The parallax method doesn’t work on stars nearly that far out for any ground based telescope. Such distances are theoretically attainable by the Gaia spacecraft but are not yet published. There are other methods to estimate such distances, but not stellar parallax.

    There is nothing in the Bible that insists that the earth is 6000 years old but it is your theological construction that precludes this as being necessary.

    > Dr. Lisle: Incorrect. The Bible states that God created in six days (Exodus 20:11), that Adam was made on the sixth day (Genesis 1:26-31), and that Christ was born around 4000 years after Adam (e.g. Genesis 5:1-32, 11:10-26, 12:4, 15:13, 1 Kings 6:1, 11:42, 14:21, … Daniel 9:24-26). That doesn’t require any “theological construction.” It only requires the ability to read and to add numbers.

    You assume that the Bible is linear and straight forward but it is a complex document that we are only beginning to understand.

    > Dr. Lisle: First, the Bible says it is straightforward (Proverbs 8:8-9) and understandable (Ephesians 3:4) and that we should not be led astray from its simplicity (2 Corinthians 11:3). God is not the author of confusion as you seem to think (1 Corinthians 14:33). Second, if you are only “beginning to understand” the Bible, then how can you be so sure that my understanding of it is faulty?

    for example why do you feel Genesis is less complex than Revelation and we still do not understand all that is written there.

    > Dr. Lisle: Less complex? Not necessarily. But Genesis requires less knowledge of the Bible to understand for reasons that should be obvious. (1) Genesis comes first, and therefore cannot require any prerequisite reading to grasp its meaning; conversely Revelation comes last and is based on the previous 65 books. Over 2/3 of the verses in Revelation are quotes or references to previous verses in Scripture; you cannot understand Revelation without a very good knowledge of the Bible. (2) Genre: Genesis is written in historical narrative form which is very easy and straightforward, whereas prophecy is almost always written in synonymous or antithetical parallelism indicative of Hebrew poetic form. And while Hebrew poetic form isn’t hard to interpret, English-speaking students unfamiliar with Hebrew often have some difficulty at first. Revelation is based on Old Testament prophecy and requires knowledge of such to interpret most of its symbolism (e.g. Revelation 17:7, Daniel 7:7). (3) Revelation isn’t particularly hard to interpret, if you have a thorough knowledge of the other 65 books – but most people don’t. Genesis is far easier for the uneducated.

    Your assumption is binary about Genesis. If Y is true than X must follow but science show’s it is not binary and you must take this into accord.

    > Dr. Lisle: “If X then Y” is not binary. Rather, it is a form of reasoning called “logic.” Logic is very helpful if you want to believe things that are true. As for science, first of all, science is predicated upon the literal history of Genesis. God created the universe with order and patterns to be discovered; God created the human mind with the capacity to reason logically; God upholds creation in a consistent way (Genesis 8:22). If these biblical claims were not true, there would be no rational reason to suspect that the methods of science are reliable. Second, science involves things that are testable and repeatable in the present. It is well-suited for answering certain truth claims, such as the normal way that God upholds His creation. But it cannot effectively analyze historical events or miraculous ones (yet, creation was both). Third, it is completely inappropriate (and logically absurd) to attempt to use science to tell you how to interpret Scripture. As shown previously, science is predicated on the literal history in Genesis. But also it would lead to absurdity; you would have to reinterpret the virgin birth, the water-into-wine, and the resurrection of Christ (to name a few) because these cannot be repeated scientifically.

    Hugh Ross and other Christian astronomers are very smart people but for some reason you dismiss them as fools when you refuse to consider their counsel and weigh it accordingly.

    > Dr. Lisle: Just the opposite. I have not dismissed Ross; in fact I have thoroughly examined his claims found them to be erroneous. You can watch my public debates against Ross on youtube. And for a very thorough analysis, see my book “Understanding Genesis” which dedicates three chapters to refuting Ross’s blunders. Further, my book has been peer-reviewed approvingly by Bible Scholars including Dr. Jim Johnson and Dr. Ken Gentry. Indeed, it is Ross that simply dismisses what I have written and fails to seek wise counsel.

    • Bret says:

      Dr. Lisle I see that in your reply you asserted that the Bible and especially Genesis is straightforward and easy to understand,…

      Dr. Lisle: Again, the Bible itself says it is straightforward (Proverbs 8:8-9) and understandable (Ephesians 3:4) and that we should not be led astray from its simplicity (2 Corinthians 11:3). God is not the author of confusion as you seem to think (1 Corinthians 14:33).

      …but as evidence that it is not, there are many books on Genesis in the libraries and I believe that many certainly differ from one another in interpretation, …

      Dr. Lisle: This is not evidence that the text is unclear; rather, it is evidence that men really do not want to believe the text. It is our sin nature to think that we know better than God, and therefore we think in our arrogance, “God can’t really mean what He says because we know that isn’t true.” But, believe it or not, God really does know how to write a book. And since God is not the author of confusion, it stands to reason that His writings to us will be understandable, not convoluted.

      ….this means it is complex unless you assume these men are all stupid…

      Dr. Lisle: That’s a bifurcation fallacy. No, it simply means that men are strongly motivated to not believe the text as written. Men are well-practiced in the mental gymnastics it takes to twist Scripture into interpretations that are contrary to its clear meaning so that they can continue in their unbiblical beliefs. This is not new. The Pharisees did it. They had their traditions just as we have ours, and they were masterful at re-interpreting the text to match their beliefs. Take a look at how Jesus responds to them in Matthew 15:1-9. Note that He did not say “Well, I can certainly see how you would draw that conclusion since the text is so unclear.”

      Sir, I have taken many courses on the Bible books and Genesis and I am still learning, (Have you taken any, and have you learned anything or do you know it all?)..you seem to think there is nothing to complex about Genesis, …

      Dr. Lisle: I didn’t say that. You need to read my previous response more carefully. Rather, the main-and-plain teachings are so clear that even a child can understand them. Creation in 6-days is not hard to understand. The problem is people do not want to believe it.

      All I can rely reply is that if I were to follow your logic we should throw out all the commentaries.

      Dr. Lisle: That is not logical; it is a pendulum swing. There is some value in (some) commentaries. But they must not be used to override the clear teaching of the biblical text. Many modern commentaries attempt to interpret the text contrary to the author’s intention in order to accommodate modern (secular) opinions and traditions, such as evolution or deep time. Those are not helpful except as examples of what not to do. But older commentaries written by godly men who actually understood hermeneutics can be very helpful. Note, however, that even these can be wrong at points. The book you really should be studying most is the Bible.

      Dr. Lisle you used rhetoric, theology and logic intermixed with astronomy in your attempt to rebuff my position and defend a 6000 year old earth, Okay, so your entrenched and are using everything you’ve got, …

      Dr. Lisle: Actually, it sounds to me like you are pretty entrenched. In any case, since biblical theology, logic, and astronomy all confirm the biblical timescale, I am curious why you so strongly desire to deviate from the clear text of Scripture? Many people get intimidated and think that the secular scientists must be right about origins, and so we must adjust our interpretation of the text. That is the reason for the different “interpretations” you mentioned above. They are not due to textual or exegetic considerations. Be honest: no one reading Genesis objectively would come away thinking, “Wow! This book clearly teaches that God progressively evolved the universe over the span of 13.8 billion years!” There is no hint of that. And the Scriptures specifically and explicitly teach the contrary. Why not consider that God actually just means what He says? Would that be so bad?

      But what it shows me most is that you are dogmatic and will never concede any point, …

      Dr. Lisle: I’m not going to put a question mark where God has put a period, if that’s what you mean. That would not be faithful to my Lord. In any case, it is the Bible that is so dogmatic on the issue; I’m just a messenger. It is the Scriptures that explicitly and dogmatically state, “In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11). If you don’t like the dogmatism with which God describes the creation of His universe, take it up with Him.

      as you say Hugh Ross’s claims are erroneous, Why not instead say…

      Dr. Lisle: because Ross’s claims are erroneous. They are utterly ridiculous and unbiblical. (See my book Understanding Genesis). It would be unfaithful to God for me to call Ross’s teachings anything less. The Bible calls us to cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5) – not to simply say, “Well, that’s not my personal opinion, but let’s all just get along.”

      “The Wonders of God like Creation are more amazing than you can understand, that although you personally believe in a 6000 year old earth, that if you are wrong then God is still God.”

      Dr. Lisle: There are two reasons why that response would be unbiblical for a mature Christian. First, the Bible does infallibly provide sufficient information for us to know (approximately) how long ago God created. The Bible does explicitly give the timescale of creation, so it would be arrogant for me to think that God only might be right about this. Think about it: would it be biblical to answer other clear biblical issues that way? Would it be appropriate to say, “I personally believe that Christ literally rose from the dead, but I could be wrong, and that’s okay because God is still God”?

      Second, if God lacks the ability to clearly communicate in His Word, then how do I really know anything about Him? If a text as clear as “in six days” really means “over billions of years” then how do I know “by this gospel you are saved” doesn’t really mean “by works of the flesh you are saved”?

      Dr. Lisle: However, I will grant that your hypothetical answer might be appropriate for a new believer who has not yet studied the issue. But as we grow in Christ, our knowledge of such basic and clear teachings of Scripture should not be so unsettled.

      This is a more humble position…

      Dr. Lisle: On the contrary, true humility would be to accept what God has said in His Word, even when it is not popular. As Martin Luther put it, “But, if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are.”

      …but you picked this hill to battle on but many are wondering why?

      Dr. Lisle: It is the clear teaching of Scripture. How could I as a Christ-follower deny or minimize what my Lord has explicitly stated?

      • Bret says:

        PS-That was a cheap shot that the 6000 year stance was merely based on the ability to read and count numbers, …

        Dr. Lisle: No, because the 6000 years is indeed based on the ability to read and add positive integers. I know because I have done it myself. It does not require any advanced “theological construction” as you had suggested. On the contrary, it takes a very convoluted and non-exegetical theological construction to attempt to read billions of years into the Bible.

        you know very well that the “six days” in Genesis has been subject to an intense scholastic debate among christian and other academics including Hugh Ross.

        Dr. Lisle: I am well aware that many Christians do not want to believe that God created in six days, and have sought out many devices in an attempt to rationalize a non-exegetic reading of the text in order to accommodate the secular belief in billions of years. But you seem to be unaware that all these have been shown to be hermeneutically fallacious. The context of Genesis 1 does not permit the poetic, non-literal use of “yom” because God defines “yom” as when it is “light” out in verse 5, and as being bounded by evening and morning. This constrains the meaning to an ordinary (earth-rotation) day. Furthermore, the plural form of “days” (yamim) used in Exodus 20:11 is never used to mean anything other than ordinary days. From a scholarly perspective, there is no doubt that the author of Genesis meant to indicate that God created in six literal days.

        It makes little difference wether you ignore the whole debate or not.

        Dr. Lisle: With all respect, it seems like you are the one who has ignored the whole debate. I have debated the topic of the age of the earth on multiple occasions, and have written two books on the issue. My latest one, Understanding Genesis, is a very thorough analysis of the issue; it carefully examines and debunks Ross’s claims, and demonstrates beyond any rational doubt that the text of Genesis really does mean what it says. Have you read this book?

        Perhaps Hugh can not read or count? Give me a break?

        Dr. Lisle: Ross can count and therefore knows that a straightforward reading of Scripture gives an age of 6000 years. But he rejects this – not for exegetical reasons – but because he believes in the big bang and billions of years. No one believes in billions of years for biblical, exegetical reasons.

        • Bret says:

          Dr. Lisle, how can you tell that a day is 24 hours before the sun was created? Was the sun not created on the fourth day? So the days before the fourth day are not defined in the same manner as days afterwards for their was no sun which is how we define a 24 hour day.

          Isn’t it ‘gymnastics’ as you put it to get out of this simple observation?

          • Dr. Lisle says:

            Bret, the sun has very little to do with the length of the days. It is the rotation of earth that causes day and night. As long as we have a light source and a rotating earth, we can have 24-hour days. Did we have a light source for the first three days? Yes – Genesis 1:3. Did we have a rotating planet for the first three days? Yes, because there was evening and morning (Genesis 1:5,8,13). God replaced the temporary light source used for the first three days with the sun on day 4 (Genesis 1:14-19). So days have always been 24-hour earth rotations.

            • Bret says:

              Okay, lets reason together for a moment.

              What do you mean when you say a temporary light source? Are you assuming that this passage means some source of light was stationary or affixed in space and substituted for the sun enabling 1/2 the earth hemisphere to be lit up during a 12 hour period? The definition of a day as you argue in your latter comment.

              Dr. Lisle: Yes, that’s what the Bible teaches. Genesis 1:3-5 states, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” On the fourth day, God created the sun (the greater light) for the purpose of providing light on the earth and dividing the day from the night (Genesis 1:14-19), something that God was doing for the first three days by this original created light.

              It sounds like you are theorizing a pre-sun, sun and this inferring God did not create our first sun on the fourth day as you are conjecturing, but he only created a replacement sun, not sure why he would do that, do you?

              Dr. Lisle: There may or may not have been a physical source for the light for the first three days. It’s possible there was. Poole speculates that the original light source was like the fire that led the Israelites through the wilderness, and that this light was collected and condensed into the sun on day 4. Possible. On the other hand, God may have created the light itself (with no physical source) streaming in from space, illuminating half the earth, for the first three days. I prefer the latter option to a physical pre-sun, but since the text doesn’t give us any more information, we cannot know.

              Why was it a three day sun? Why not just empower and keep the first one going? Have you added to the plain reading of Scripture here and changed the fourth days meaning?

              Dr. Lisle: Be careful. Adding to the text would be to say, “I don’t understand why God would do it the way the text says. So I’m going to interpret the text the way I think God should have done it.” But that approach is unbiblical. If the text says that God made light before the sun (and it does say this), then God made light before the sun. Period. The Bible teaches that there was light for three days before the sun, and that God created the sun for the purpose of giving light upon the earth and to divide the day from the night: things that God had been doing for the first three days, perhaps by supernaturally created light.

              You are certainly free to ask why God didn’t continue to use the original light from days 1-3, but God is under no obligation to answer your question. God does not answer to you and need not explain His reasons for what He does (Romans 9:20). If He says He made light before the sun, then that settles the matter. You are not free to reinterpret those sections of Scripture that fail to match your intuition about what you think God should have done.

              That being said, it does make sense that God did it this way. Many ancient cultures worshiped the sun as the primary source of life. Perhaps to show that it isn’t, God didn’t create it first. He Himself provided light and heat for the first three days; He brought about plants on day three before the sun. God thereby shows that He is the primary source of life. The sun is merely a created object that serves God’s purpose. Moreover, God knew of course that people would develop counterfeit creation stories, from the Greek myths to our modern big bang. He may have deliberately created in a way contrary to these ideas so that His people would not be misled by such myths if they know the Scriptures.

              I want to know how your construction of this ‘pre-sun’ sun fits with the natural reading of Scripture? What authorities or commentators are you basing this work on, or is this your own thought?

              Dr. Lisle: That light existed before the sun is what the text says; light was made on day 1 (Genesis 1:3), but the sun was made on day 4 (Genesis 1:16,19). Therefore, the day side of earth was illuminated for the first three days – earth rotations as bound by evening and morning – but not by the sun. Yes, the main conservative commentaries agree (Gill, Calvin, Clarke, Poole, Trapp), but frankly the text itself is very clear. You are free to speculate about what that temporary light was, but the Bible doesn’t give us any more information.

              • Bret says:

                I now have a fuller picture of your model. In summary you admit that before the fourth day there were no stars or moon, or sun and argue that the type of light written about in Genesis was a pre sun light in one area.

                Dr. Lisle: It’s not a model. It’s just what the text says.

                You further argue that this the text maintains night and day flow every 24 hours on earth like our current set up.

                Dr. Lisle: That’s what a day is – a rotation of earth as bound by evening and morning; that is how God defines it in Genesis 1:5. On average, a day consists of about 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness. Jesus certainly thought so (John 1:9).

                Now, I maintain first off that your 24 hour day claim for the first three days is certainly not based on science but this assertion could only be forwarded for the other days.

                Dr. Lisle: It’s based on Scripture, and the definition of an “hour.” An hour is one 24th of an earth rotation. And the earth was rotating from the start because there was evening and morning for the first day (Genesis 1:5) and every day thereafter (e.g. Genesis 1:8,13,19,23,31). And again, the sun has virtually nothing to do with the length of the day. The 24-hours are based on the rotation rate of earth. So it is illogical to think that the days were different before the sun, when the sun is not responsible for setting the length of the days. Hence, no one taking the text as written would conclude anything other than that God intended to communicate that He created the universe and everything within it in six literal days (Exodus 20:11).

                I maintain that you cannot tell impartially at what speed the earth revolved during the first three days as the gravitational forces are not the same without a sun, moon etc. affecting it. If we are looking at it scientifically.

                Dr. Lisle: Scientifically, the gravitational forces of the sun and moon have nothing to do with the rotation rate of earth. The rotation rate is due to the conservation of angular momentum. It cannot be changed without applying an enormous external torque. And there is absolutely no biblical or scientific support for such a torque. So scientifically, it is impossible for the earth’s rotation rate to be substantially different 6000 years ago.

                Since there is no science to establish your theory you cannot assume that modern rules apply to this ancient condition. Not logically.

                Dr. Lisle: You are committing the superfluous distinction fallacy. This is a hermeneutical error whereby the reader assumes a distinction that is textually unwarranted. For example, by your reasoning you could conclude that Adam had six arms and six legs. “After all,” you might say, “Adam did not come about by natural processes like people today – being born and growing to adulthood. He was supernaturally created. Therefore, we cannot assume he had two arms and two legs like people today. He may well have had six arms and six legs.” Wouldn’t that be absurd? Likewise, since the Bible uses the same word “day” for the first three days as for the next three, it is textually unwarranted to assume that the meaning suddenly changes. That would be eisegetical and anti-context. In fact, if words meant something different in Genesis 1 than they did in the rest of Scripture, then we would not be able to know anything whatsoever about creation, and God would have accomplished nothing in writing about it. Consider: if the words of Genesis mean something different than words elsewhere then the phrase “And God said, ‘let there be light’” might really mean “Giant moles began knitting sweaters.” Furthermore, in Exodus 20:11, God uses the plural form of “days” (yamim) for the creation week which never means anything other than ordinary, 24-hour, earth-rotation days.

                You have no reason to assume this is a literal passage…

                Dr. Lisle: On the contrary, we have every reason to take the text as literal, and you have absolutely no reason whatsoever to take it as non-literal. None. The text is written in the standard Hebrew historical narrative format with frequent use of the waw-consecutive (occurs in every verse 3-31 in chapter 1). Long repeated use of the waw-consecutive never occurs in Hebrew poetic literature. Furthermore, there is absolutely no indication of synonymous or antithetical parallelism in Genesis 1 – none. And these are the key distinctive markers of Hebrew poetry, occurring throughout the Psalms and Proverbs, for example. Furthermore, whenever Jesus and the apostles referenced Genesis, they always referred to it as literal history, as if they really believed it. Jesus quoted Genesis 1 and 2 as the historical foundation for marriage (Matthew 19:3-9). Indeed, there is not so much as a hint anywhere in Scripture that Genesis is anything but the true historical origin of the universe.

                …using a post fourth day meaning of ‘day’.

                Dr. Lisle: The meaning of a word doesn’t change without notice in the middle of a passage, otherwise understanding any text would be impossible. For example, suppose we applied your reasoning to other words in Genesis 1. You might say, “you have no reason to assume that the trees mentioned in verse 11 are the same literal trees mentioned in verse 29. The ‘trees’ of verse 11 might actually be motorcycles, or snow monsters, or icosahedrons.” Wouldn’t that be absurd? God does know how to say what He means. It’s just that you don’t want to believe what He has said. Be honest.

                Therefore you may certainly not exclude a figurative framework or hyperbolic meaning to this first thee days in the six day formula in text as you do with the other day’s and this is your unconfessed problem.

                Dr. Lisle: Grammatical historical context disallows a figurative or hyperbolic meaning for the first three days. So, if we are going to be exegetical, then we must take the text as written: that God created in six days, each defined as an earth-rotation consisting of a period of light and a period of darkness, bounded by evening and morning (Genesis 1:5). That’s what the text teaches. Exodus 20:11 confirms this, and is the explanation for why we have a seven-day week (Exodus 20:8-11). Notice that Exodus 20:11 does not say, “For God created heaven and earth in three long periods of time, followed by three days, and rested on the fourth. Therefore, you should work for three long periods of time and then three days, and rest on the fourth.” Rather it says that God created “in six days” followed by a day of rest, using the same word for “days” (yamim) that He uses in verse 8 for our work week.

                Honestly, does your motivation for wanting to read long periods of time into the creation week come from a natural reading of the text of Scripture, or from a desire to make the Bible line up with what you already believe about the age of the universe? Reading into the text based on our preconceptions is a characteristic of our sinful, fallen, human nature. It’s easy to fall into that kind of trap, and this is a temptation for all Christians. But that’s not exegesis.

                Yes the text speaks for itself but not in the literal manner you claim. To be clear did Jesus say he was the Bread of life that you must eat? Did he mean he was a loaf of Bread? No, just as Jesus is not literally a door made of wood that we must walk though. He is a type of door to salvation. It is figurative language to impart meaning but not literal. For this reason you are in error. Or am I looking at this all wrong?

                Dr. Lisle: That’s the “genre fallacy.” The Bible does use figures of speech at times. But that doesn’t give you license to interpret every section of Scripture as non-literal. To be exegetical (to read the text the way the author intended), we must look at the grammatical-historical context of the passage in question. When Jesus spoke in parables, context tells us that we are to interpret his teachings as such: parables are symbolic. They use a common, well-known, everyday experience or object (seeds, vineyards, a door, wheat, farming) to explain a spiritual principle. And it is generally obvious what the symbols mean. This is not the case with Genesis 1; the creation of the universe is not a common, everyday experience or object. Naturally, when Jesus explains one of His parables, we take that explanation as literal (e.g. Mark 4:13-20).

                Historical narrative is literal. When the Israelites left Egypt, we don’t take that as merely a fictional, symbolic representation of some spiritual truth. That would be unfaithful to the text. No, they literally, historically left Egypt. If you would like to see the difference between literal historical narrative and non-literal poetic verse, compare Exodus 14 with Exodus 15. Chapter 14 is the historical account of the crossing of the Red Sea, whereas Exodus 15 records a poetic song that the Israelites sang to commemorate the event. Genesis 1-11 is written in the same style as Exodus 14.

                • Bret says:

                  PS Please rescind or prove your main point in light of what I just stated: you wrote “The context of Genesis 1 does not permit the poetic, non-literal use of “yom” because God defines “yom” as when it is “light” out in verse 5, and as being bounded by evening and morning. This constrains the meaning to an ordinary (earth-rotation) day.

                  • Bret says:

                    One final comment…I find it novel that you mention you do not use science to interpret scripture but actually you are using the science of hermeneutics, logic, history etc, …

                    Dr. Lisle: This is a rather obvious equivocation fallacy on the word “science” which I have been consistently using in the traditional sense of the study of the natural world obtained by observation and experimentation (using the scientific method), and the body of knowledge obtained by this process. But here, you have switched to a different definition, namely a “skill, especially reflecting a precise application of facts or principles”, e.g. the science of cooking. Hermeneutics is a skill reflecting a precise application of facts or principles, and is a “science” in that sense, but is not science in the sense we have been discussing: the knowledge of the natural world obtained by the scientific method. Likewise, with logic. This should be obvious.

                    …even astronomy when it suits you.

                    Dr. Lisle: No. I have not used astronomy to interpret the Scriptures; rather, I have used the Scriptures to interpret the Scriptures. You have been attempting to use your incorrect understanding of astronomy to interpret the Scriptures contrary to their meaning. I have used astronomy to correct your misunderstanding of astronomy. (From your previous messages, it seems like you think that the sun goes around the earth, and that’s what causes 24 hours, when in fact it is the earth that rotates. Otherwise, it makes no sense to think that the days were of different length before the creation of the sun.)

                    I think you are not really being introspective about your own process.

                    Dr. Lisle: Actually, I have written a book on the topic of hermeneutics called Understanding Genesis. So clearly, I have spent some time cogitating on the topic. Have you read this book?

                    This would not be so bad but then you stamp it as “the literal reading” implying if not stating that people like Hugh Ross are stupid.

                    Dr. Lisle: First, I never said or implied that Hugh Ross is stupid. He is very badly mistaken. But that doesn’t imply a lack of intelligence or even lack of knowledge. For example, Steven Hawking professes to be an atheist. He is very badly mistaken about this. Yet, he is still a brilliant physicist.

                    Dr. Lisle: Second, “the literal reading” is necessarily the literal reading. “Literal” means that the words actually mean what they say – their ordinary usage as opposed to a figurative or metaphorical meaning. So, to interpret “day” literally means to take it as a day, just as to interpret “tree” literally is to take it to mean a tree. That’s what literal means. Not all of the Bible is strictly literal. But I maintain that Genesis is literal history, and therefore should be interpreted as such. And I have provided the hermeneutical reasons for this.

                    That’s the part that’s offensive, if you reflect on what I mean..

                  • Dr. Lisle says:

                    Already proved. In summary: Genesis 1 does not permit the poetic, non-literal use of “yom” because Genesis 1 is not poetry as indicated by (1) the long sequence of waw-consecutive, (2) lacks the essential indicators of poetic usage; namely, there is no synonymous or antithetical parallelism. Proof that God defines day as when it is light out, as in an ordinary earth rotation bounded by evening and morning is found in Genesis 1:5: “And God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness He called ‘night’. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”

                    • Bret says:

                      You stated that “Scientifically, the gravitational forces of the sun and moon have nothing to do with the rotation rate of earth. The rotation rate is due to the conservation of angular momentum.”

                      Did you make this up or are you quoting a physicist?

                      Dr. Lisle: I am a physicist. Did you not read the “About Dr. Lisle” page?

                      Conservation of angular momentum is a well-established principle of physics. The sun and moon do not cause the earth to rotate. When an object in space is set in rotational motion, it will continue to have that motion unless acted upon by an external torque. This is the rotational equivalent of Newton’s first law. So the sun and moon are not necessary to cause the earth to rotate as you had supposed. It would have rotated perfectly well before the creation of the sun and moon.

                    • Bret says:

                      I learned from NASA that the moon does have an effect on the conservation of angular momentum and the earth’s spin.

                      Dr. Lisle: Respectfully, Bret, you are very confused. The sun and moon do not cause the earth to rotate at its constant speed of ~24 hours per day as you had supposed. Rather, conservation of angular momentum causes the earth to rotate at this speed. I’m guessing you read something about tidal interaction, and got confused. But tidal interaction isn’t going to help you in your desired to make the first three days of creation longer than the next three. I will elaborate.

                      If there are no external torques on a spinning sphere of constant size, it will spin indefinitely at the same speed without slowing or speeding up. Now, the moon does produce a slight torque on the earth by inducing tides. But the effect is infinitesimal: far too small to be noticeable to human beings over the course of history. It is also in the wrong direction to support your conjecture; namely the moon only serves to slow the earth (infinitesimally); it does not speed it up.

                      Apparently, you were wanting the first three days to be longer than normal days, so you can hold onto your (unbiblical) belief in deep time. So you want the creation of the moon to radically speed up earth’s rotation. But in fact, the moon can only slow earth’s rotation. And again, the effect is tiny. The earth’s rotation rate has been affected by tidal interaction with the moon by less than one second since its creation! I did a quick calculation of the effect, and found that the total cumulative effect of the moon’s torque on the earth over the course of time since creation amounts to a difference in rotation rate of only six tenths of a second! So, as I stated previously, the sun and moon really have no significant effect on the length of the days. Do you understand this now?

                      If the moon disappeared they mention there would not be a 24 hour day,…

                      Dr. Lisle: No, that is not correct. If the moon disappeared right now, the day would continue to be exactly 24-hours. You seem to think that the moon is what keeps the earth rotating. It is not. An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. This is Newton’s first law of motion. God created the earth rotating from the beginning because there was evening and morning right from the first day.

                      …in addition if the earth was “tidal locked” with the “Sun Like” body you mentioned this would have affected the rotation once again, …

                      Dr. Lisle: No. “Tidally locked” means that an object rotates at the same rate it revolves, thereby keeping the same face pointed toward the object it orbits. The earth is not tidally locked with the sun (or the pre-sun light that God created) and never has been. We know this because if it were tidally locked, it would be day permanently (by definition) and there could be no evening and morning. But the Bible says there was evening and morning the first day (Genesis 1:5), and every day thereafter. Thus, the earth was never tidally locked with its light source.

                      ….please comment on why you feel NASA is wrong or are you simply arguing about the conservation of angular momentum as if it occurs in a vacuum?

                      Dr. Lisle: Neither. I don’t know what NASA source you have read, but I strongly suspect the error in understanding is on your part, not theirs. They know very well from the conservation of angular momentum that if the moon could be made to vanish right now, it would have no effect on earth’s rotation rate. None. The earth and moon are in a vacuum, by the way. And as I showed, the moon’s torque on the earth over history is negligible. So astronomy again confirms what the Bible teaches. God really does know what a day is and how to communicate this in writing. Why not let God be God and take the text as written?

                    • Bret says:

                      PS- I am wondering why you are cheapening your arguments? You used cheap rhetoric again (even though I called you on this already) when you stated “leading into the text based on our preconceptions is a characteristic of our sinful, fallen, human nature. It’s easy to fall into that kind of trap, and this is a temptation for all Christians. But that’s not exegesis.”

                      Dr. Lisle: Why did you think my statement is “cheap rhetoric?” Is it not a fundamental truth of Scripture that human beings are sinful from conception (Psalm 51:5, 58:3, Genesis 8:21, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Isaiah 53:6, Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 15:19)? Is it not a biblical teaching that human beings tend to neglect or distort God’s Word in favor of their own preferences (Mark 7:8-9, 7:13, Jeremiah 8:9, 2 Peter 3:16)? Is it not the case that Christ-followers continue to struggle with sin and lack of faith in this area (1 John 1:8, 1 Timothy 1:15, Luke 24:25)? As far as I can tell, what I stated was straight from Scripture. If so, how can you call it “cheap rhetoric?” Furthermore, I showed how the meaning of Genesis 1 can be known by analyzing the text contextually – noting the genre of Genesis, noting that Jesus and the Apostles interpreted it as literal history, noting how God defines ‘day’ as the period of light as bound by evening and morning in Genesis 1:5. Remember? Do you have any logical argument against my conclusion? If not, then doesn’t your claim constitute… well… cheap rhetoric?

                      Once again you implied Hugh Ross is a sinner.

                      Dr. Lisle: He is a sinner! So are you and I and everyone else who has ever lived – with the exception of Jesus Himself (Romans 3:23, Hebrews 4:15). When Jesus saves you, you don’t immediately become perfect and stop sinning. Christians continue to struggle with sin until glory, and that includes the sin of eisegesis. Let’s help each other to read God’s Word rightly and exegetically, rather than seeing how far we can distort God’s Word to accommodate modern secular opinions such as deep time or evolution.

                      This is the same fallacious manner in which you attempted to correct me about the speed of light…

                      Dr. Lisle: What specific fallacy do you think I committed in my statements about the speed of light? Do you think I am factually mistaken in my statements about the speed of light? If so, which statement specifically do you find to be in error? And, do you have any actual evidence that I am in error, or is your claim here merely empty rhetoric?

                      …when you (For some reason) ignored published data on parallax geometry…

                      Dr. Lisle: Bret, do you know what parallax is? Did you think that it is relevant to the speed of light somehow? Hint: it isn’t. I am very familiar with parallax, and would be happy to answer any question you might have about it. But so far you haven’t made a coherent point.

                      (As Hugh Ross pointe out also)…

                      Dr. Lisle: Hugh Ross has made some embarrassingly wrong statements about parallax, thinking that the method has been used to measure distances to quasars! (http://creation.com/hugh-ross-lays-down-the-gauntlet) (It hasn’t.) So if you are learning from him, that may explain your confusion. In any case, parallax refers to the apparent shift in position of nearby objects relative to background objects as the point of view of the observer changes. This method can be used to geometrically measure the distances to nearby stars. It does not determine or measure the speed of light. Did you think it did?

                      …and further you also use evasive and convoluted language about the speed of light..as you said..”All we can say objectively is that it would take light 50,000 years to go to the galactic center and return. But the time for one leg of the journey can be as little as zero.”

                      Dr. Lisle: How is that evasive since it directly responds to your claim? Recall that you had asserted without evidence that “we know that it takes more than 5000 years for star light to reach the centre of the Galaxy.” That of course is not true, (1) because no one has performed such an experiment, and (2) there is no way to objectively synchronize distant clocks by which to measure the one-way speed of light. I also provided you with a paper explaining this in great detail. Did you read the paper?

                      Moreover, how is it supposedly “convoluted?” My statement is a succinct summary of the conventionality thesis of special relativity. Einstein discussed on page 22 of his primer book on relativity the fact that the one-way speed of light is not a hypothesis about nature but a humanly stipulated convention. This is why we know that your claim cannot be correct. It may be a shame that the universe isn’t as simple as you would like it to be. But how is that my fault?

                      Perhaps then all science is useless?

                      Dr. Lisle: That doesn’t even remotely follow logically. Some things in science can be measured, others cannot. That doesn’t make science impossible. It just means it has limitations.

                    • Bret says:

                      Dr. Lisle

                      Let me challenge you then! Let me recap the claim first and I will lay a challenge to you after.

                      I asserted it takes more than 5000 years for star light to reach the centre of the Galaxy.”

                      > Dr. Lisle: To be precise, you asserted that “Using that formula we know that it takes more than 5000 years for starlight to reach the center of the galaxy.” My main objection is to the “we know” part, rather than the specific number, because in fact physics does not allow us to objectively measure or know the travel duration of a light beam on a one-way trip, such as from earth to the galactic core. This is due to two physics principles called the relativity of simultaneity and the conventionality thesis. I’ll explain more below.

                      …and when you state that this is not true you are talking about the fact that it has never been actually measured. True, obvious, but it is a calculation, it is a calculation that you have heard similar and grandeur claims.

                      > Dr. Lisle: I have heard many grandiose claims, but that doesn’t make them true. The core of our galaxy lies at a distance of 26,000 light-years or 2.459×10^17 kilometers. Perhaps the claim you are repeating is that light would supposedly take 26,000 years (not 5000) to reach the core since the distance is 26,000 light-years. If so, then the claim (that this must be the case) is false because travel-times in relativity are (1) reference frame dependent (meaning they depend on the state of motion of the observer), and (2) depend on the chosen synchrony convention, which I will explain below.

                      > Albert Einstein discovered that space and time are far more interesting and counterintuitive than anyone expected, and that the passage of time is not universal. For example, an astronaut traveling at a high percentage of the speed of light could travel a distance of 100 light years from earth’s perspective, while he himself only experienced 2 years. At the speed of light, the flow of time halts completely. Therefore, from the light’s point of view, every trip is exactly instantaneous. So it takes no time at all for light to travel from here to the galactic core from light’s point of view.

                      > From earth’s point of view, the light travel time will depend upon the observer’s state of motion, and chosen synchrony convention. This latter is the method by which we choose to call two clocks “synchronized” when they are separated by a distance. One of the most common synchrony conventions is to assume that the one-way speed of light is the same in all directions, and then use this to adjust the time of distant clocks. Under that convention (and only under that convention) will it take the light 26,000 years to reach the galactic core. On the other hand, we are free to choose an anisotropic synchrony convention, in which the speed of inward-directed light is different from outward-directed light. This is permitted by relativity, and cannot be refuted by observation or experiment. It will be tempting to think that one convention is right and other wrong, but the physics discovered by Einstein places both conventions as equally legitimate. Under an anisotropic convention, the travel time to the galactic center can be anything from zero to 52,000 years. And there is no way to objectively know which is “right”, because synchrony conventions are stipulated, not measured.

                      So then, if you think it is fair game to ask (Since you challenge the authorities),…

                      > Dr. Lisle: To be clear, you are the one challenging the physics textbooks, not me. Einstein himself pointed out that the duration of a one-way journey of light “is in reality neither a supposition nor a hypothesis about the physical nature of light, but a stipulation which I can make of my own freewill in order to arrive at a definition of simultaneity.” [Relavitiy,15th edition, p. 22. Emphasis in the original]. In other words, the time it takes light to get from earth to the galactic core (as measured by earth clocks) is not objectively knowable, but is simply stipulated. The only thing that can be known from the mathematics is that a trip to the galactic core and back would take 52,000 years by earth’s clocks. Physics does not allow you to presume that the one-way duration must be half of this value.

                      >And yes, I think it is perfectly fair for you to ask the physics experts to justify their position. Of course, Einstein does this in his book, which I highly encourage you to read. It is written for laymen and requires no previous knowledge of physics.

                      …please give me your estimate? Sir, How long does it take for light to travel to the centre of the universe?

                      > Dr. Lisle: It depends on the chosen synchrony convention – and that’s my point. Physics allows the light travel time to the center of the galaxy (not the universe) to be anything between zero and 52,000 years. And of course, we have no way of knowing if light has ever traveled from nearby stars to the galactic core.

                      What formula do you use?

                      > Dr. Lisle: Equation 1-2 in John Winnie’s 1977 paper “Special Relativity without One-Way Velocity Assumptions: Part I.” Namely, t_2 = t_1 + ε(t_3 – t_1), where (0 < ε < 1). Here, t_1 is the time light is emitted from earth, t_2 is the time it arrives at the galactic core, t_3 is the time the light beam arrives back at earth if it were reflected from a mirror at the galactic core. Most people arbitrarily assume that epsilon = ½, but in reality, the physics of Einstein allows it to be anywhere between 0 and 1. That is why you cannot objectively know the travel time of a light beam on a one-way journey.

                      And Sir, why do you [think] God made it appear this way?

                      > Dr. Lisle: Do you mean, “why did God make the galaxy appear big?” If so, it is because the galaxy really is big. There is no doubt about that. But just becomes something is big doesn’t mean that it is old.

                    • Bret says:

                      PS (Sorry Typo, I did not call you God, I meant to ask why did God make it appear to be so far away.)

                      > Dr. Lisle: No problem. Fixed. The galaxy appears big because it is big. But that doesn’t require it to be old.

                      Also, Please defend why you accept assertions like “the Moon” has no effect on the earth’s spin when this has not been measured. Therefore How can you accept this notion Since you think calculations like the speed of light are not valid science having not been measured and should not be counted on?

                      > Dr. Lisle: Actually, we can indeed measure the force of the moon on the earth by measuring the heights of the tides. And we can measure the small torque that the moon induces on the earth’s rotation by measuring the distance that the moon recedes: currently about an inch and a half a year. To be clear, I don’t claim that all things knowable are measurable. Rather, I claim that we should have some logical reason behind our beliefs. So if there has been no measurement (of the one-way speed of light) and if there is also no theoretical basis for it (which there isn’t), then we shouldn’t claim that we know it.

                      PPS-wonderfull usage of argumentation like when when you infer other views from yours are fallen, sinful views”…

                      > Dr. Lisle: Nice bait-and-switch fallacy. It is when people deviate from Scripture that their views are sinful. When the Bible says, “X”, but people say “not-X”, that’s a problem. See how Jesus responded in Matthew 15 to the Pharisees and scribes who had substituted their opinions for the clear teaching of God’s Word. Don’t you think He is just as upset by people who do the same thing today?

                      …and you do this repeatedly in your weblogs, then change the argumen here with me by saying we are all fallen..really? Thanks, for the Sunday School Answer.

                      > Dr. Lisle: What “change” in argument? My claim has consistently been that God’s Word is clear and understandable in its main teachings, that creation in six days is one of those clear teachings (Exodus 20:11), and therefore no one rejects six days for exegetical reasons. Our fallen nature is my answer to your question about why Christians disagree on texts that are clear and explicit – such as the six days of creation. You implied that the fault is in the text – that the text is unclear. I claim that the fault is in people – people are sinners. I further claim that the Bible itself refutes your claim (that it is unclear) explicitly and implicitly (Proverbs 8:8-9, Ephesians 3:4, 1 Corinthians 14:8, Deuteronomy 30:11), and confirms my claim that all people are sinners (Romans 3:23), and inclined to reject or distort God’s Word (Matthew 15:7-9). (And yes, you should have learned this in Sunday School. 😉 )

                      YOU instead should know exactly what I am talking about, ego, …

                      > Dr. Lisle: Doesn’t it take quite an ego to think that we know better than God? That even though God said He made everything in six days, our knowledge of the universe is just so far superior to God’s that we know that cannot be true, and are therefore in a position to correct His Word? Is our knowledge of the cosmos so perfect that it exceeds God’s ability to write what He means?

                      John Akenberg said clearly that the age of the universe argument is one that occurs inside the church by believers.

                      > Dr. Lisle: That is actually true, though irrelevant. If a Christian argued that the Israelites actually wandered in the wilderness for 40 billion years instead of 40 years, that doesn’t mean he is not a Christian. But it does mean that he is mistaken. The fact that Christians can sometimes misinterpret Scripture does not legitimize their misinterpretation. That would be the naturalistic fallacy. If you care about your brothers in Christ who have departed from the truth of the Scriptures in one area, shouldn’t you graciously correct them?

                      But you know, if you really don’t know what I am getting at then, just watch Kent having argue with Hugh Ross on the Ankerberg show and you tell me if Kent was right in the choice of words he choose to Rip on Hugh? Was this Godly dictation or mistaken pietism?

                      > Dr. Lisle: I don’t believe I have seen that debate except perhaps for excerpts. But it seems to me that you may be confusing the truthfulness of a position with the behavior of one of its adherents, which is an ad hominem fallacy. That is fallacious because they are different issues. People with pleasant temperaments do not always have correct beliefs, and jerks don’t always have incorrect beliefs. In my career, I have met some atheists that I really like. That doesn’t prove that atheism is true, does it? All positions have their champions and their embarrassing advocates. To be logical, you need to distinguish between the content of an argument and its delivery.

                      It concerns me that the art of rhetoric can be so good that people convince others of things that are absurd…

                      > Dr. Lisle: Bingo! I agree wholeheartedly. Some people are so good at rhetoric, they have even convinced others that “For in six days the Lord created the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them” actually means “For over 13.8 billion years, the Lord gradually evolved the heavens and earth from a giant explosion.”

                      For my part, I promise I will think about what you have said here..and let you have the last word..

                      Thanks for your time!
                      Bret

                      > Dr. Lisle: You are most welcome Bret. Thank you for posting, for asking questions, interacting with me, etc. I am sure some people have many of the same questions you have, and I think this conversation will be helpful to them.

                    • Bret says:

                      One final question I have before you reply to my posts, after reviewing this exchange and also the other posts on your weblog….I would ask you directly, Sir do you sell-identify as a hyper-calvanist?

                    • Dr. Lisle says:

                      No, I am not a hyper-calvinist.

                    • Bret says:

                      Dr. Lisle

                      In regards to my last question, I find it was unanswered except in a glib manner. Perhaps because you found it the most useless part of our dialogue.. but I submit it was the most important. I am sure that our discourse is framed by this last point.

                      > Dr. Lisle: It seems to me that you asked a simple, straightforward question that required a simple, straightforward answer. You asked if I am a hyper-calvinist. The answer is no.

                      You replied you are not a “hyper-calvinist”! Okay, but I am working to determine and frame your outlook as either conservative or hyper calvinist and this is a very critical part of my own conclusion on this matter.

                      > Dr. Lisle: My understanding is that hyper-Calvinism is an unbiblical view of soteriology, which minimizes man’s responsibility, and denies that God uses means to accomplish salvation. I do not see how that ties into our previous discussion on astronomy, or the exegesis of Genesis 1. My “outlook” is that the Bible really is the inerrant Word of God, that Genesis is literal history as it claims to be, and therefore to be understood in a literal historical fashion.

                      My point is that hyper-calvanist’s have an exegetical polarity of Scripture and can often not be reasoned with. Since “Hermeneutics” is itself a scientific process I find the classification of “Literal Reading” and “Science’ a man-made distinction that may muddy the waters without clarification.

                      > Dr. Lisle: Hermeneutics is not science in the sense of biology, astronomy, etc. In other words, it is not the study of the natural world by experimentation and observation. Rather, hermeneutics is the method and set of rules by which we understand the meaning of a text – the author’s intention. A “literal reading” is simply one that takes the words in their ordinary sense, as opposed to a figurative or metaphorical sense. The Bible does distinguish between figurative (John 11:11) and literal phrasings (John 11:12-13). The distinction is quite clear.

                      What I mean is, While we know that Bible statement’s like Jesus is Lord hardly belongs to a complex system of doctrine the Bible is not always as clear.

                      > Dr. Lisle: I agree with that. The Bible has parts that are hard to understand. But only parts. On the whole, it is quite understandable, as it itself teaches. The problem is this: people don’t want to believe the parts that are understandable. As Mark Twain once put it, “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

                      So, is it clear about Genesis and the age of the universe, or is this hyper-calvinism in a certain manner?

                      > Dr. Lisle: Again, Genesis is very clear about the timescale of creation, and I have shown you why. As summed up in Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them….” I can’t imagine a clearer description of the timescale. And lest there be any confusion, God defines ‘day’ as the period of light, bounded by evening and morning, and interlaced with night (Genesis 1:5), and seven of which comprise a week (Exodus 20:8-11).

                      > Dr. Lisle: I don’t see this as having any connection to hyper-calvinism, except in the sense that correct hermeneutics confirms creation in six days and refutes hyper-calvinism.

                      I have heard your explanations now first had about your view but may I ask you a few last questions so that I may understand your outlook. Why is this issue to you a ‘Hill to die On’ publicly as they say.

                      > Dr. Lisle: I thought I had answered that already. When the Bible clearly teaches something, Christians are morally obligated to believe and defend it and not compromise with secular notions. That’s true for the timescale of creation or anything else the Bible teaches. If people started claiming that the Israelites actually wandered in the wilderness for 13.8 billion years and started explaining why 40 years doesn’t really mean 40 years, I would publicly refute that too. We are to cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought into obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

                      Do you view it as a Salvation Issue?

                      > Dr. Lisle: Not in the sense that believing what the Bible says about the timescale of creation is somehow required for salvation. It isn’t. But it is required in order for salvation to make logical sense. So people can trust the Gospel and yet reject 6 days of creation, but only by being irrational. Death being the penalty for sin is necessary for the Gospel to make sense, but cannot be true if fossils are hundreds of millions of years old as evolutionists assert. After all, Genesis teaches that Adam’s sin brought death into a world that was originally “very good.” So, if fossils are millions of years old and creatures were already dying long before Adam even existed, then obviously death is not the result of Adam’s sin. And if that were true, then why then did Jesus have to die on the cross? The Gospel is not logically compatible with deep time. Few people have considered the theological implications that would consistently follow if the earth were billions of years old.

                      Do you view it as part of Biblical Innerancy?

                      > Dr. Lisle: Yes. If the Bible is wrong about the timescale of creation, then it is not inerrant. Isn’t that obvious? I have written about this in responding to Norm Geisler’s claims here.

                      What is the most significant argument against your view and why have you not afforded that any weight?

                      > Dr. Lisle: I have yet to read or hear a cogent hermeneutical argument against a literal, historical Genesis. It seems clear to me that readers really do understand what Moses intended to convey, but do not want to believe it because they have been taught evolution and/or deep time, and desperately want the Bible to line up with those preconceptions.

                      Do you feel that by taking this stand you have in anyway tried to put God in a box?

                      > Dr. Lisle: It seems to me that those who think that God is not capable of saying what He means, those who try to reinterpret the Bible to match secular thinking, are trying to “put God in a box.” When we trust that God really does know how He created the universe, and that He really is capable of describing this to the beings made in His image, I wouldn’t call that trying “to put God in a box.” I would call that having faith in God.

                      Thanks again for your time.

                      > Dr. Lisle: You are most welcome.

                    • Bret says:

                      PS- Have you changed your view that the non-scientific view would necessarily be that of an old universe….

                      > Dr. Lisle: No. There are far too many processes in the cosmos that limit its age to something much less than billions of years for the old universe view to be scientifically feasible. The belief in billions of years is not due to scientific considerations.

                      this is what i meant when I asked you “why God” would make it appear to men that the universe was really old.

                      > Dr. Lisle: He would not and did not. Blue stars cannot last many millions of years, and yet we find them all over the universe. Planetary magnetic fields decay on a timescale of thousands of years and cannot last a million years or more. Yet we find strong magnetic fields on many of the planets in our solar system. Spiral galaxies wrap too quickly to be billions of years old. The universe certainly “looks” young. So a better question is, “if the universe is really billions of years old, then why did God go to so much trouble to make it look young?

                      Do you think God misled the scientists on purpose?

                      > Dr. Lisle: No. God made a universe that is young, that “looks” young, and He told us it is young in His Word. Where is the supposed misleading? Many scientists, such as me, see the abundant evidence of youth in the universe. Those scientists who reject the scientific evidence, reject God’s Word, and embrace a belief in deep time, have misled themselves.

                      You stated: “Although light is incredibly fast, the most distant galaxies are incredibly far away. So, under normal circumstances we would be inclined to think that it should take billions of years for their starlight to reach us. Yet, the Bible teaches that the universe is only thousands of years old. Solutions have been proposed by creationists, but we haven’t had a definitive answer . . . until now”

                      > Dr. Lisle: I have written in the standard academic style of setting up the perceived problem, and then showing how it is resolved by understand science. People unfamiliar with the physics discovered by Albert Einstein might think distant starlight is evidence of an old universe for the reasons I stated in the paragraph you cited. However, they should also see all the evidence of a young universe, such as blue stars, planetary magnetic fields, planetary internal heat, spiral galaxies, and so on, and therefore realize that the universe is young. Distant starlight is the one discrepancy for these people. And the solution is to educate them in physics so that they can see how distant starlight actually agrees with all the other lines of evidence.

                    • Bret says:

                      PPS I hope you understand I am not talking about hyper-calvanism in the classic narrow definition but the typology…

                    • Bret says:

                      PPS–Please let our debate go slightly further if you are willing (Ignore or delete whatever you want), I would also like to share with you what I believe your strongest point is and also ask you why it is not excepted….please also understand that part of my questions are hyperbolic in that I am trying to figure out things out by overstating my position…before making a more balanced conclusion….However, if I have already exhausted our time or your patience… I am thankful of your responses.

                      -Bret

                    • Bret says:

                      Hello Dr. Lisle

                      Thanks for responding!!

                      John Stachouse had a remark about your belief on the “old universe” and its related challenge to the orthodoxy of Christ’s sacrifice.

                      > Dr. Lisle: First, I need to respectfully point out that Dr. Stackhouse has stated in the same thread you quote that he has not really studied this issue. He writes, “I don’t follow those kinds of conversations, though, so I doubt I can shed any further light on those issues.” If he were to study this issue, perhaps he would come to realize the importance of a literal, historical Genesis and its stated timescale.

                      > Second, neither I nor anyone I know would claim that belief in 6-days is essential to salvation. Fortunately, God doesn’t require us to have perfect theology to save us. That being said, out of gratitude for our salvation, we ought to get our theology as right as possible by carefully studying God’s Word, and avoiding the temptation to read into God’s Word based on secular thinking. We do have a moral obligation to believe that God created in six days as the Bible teaches, but God saves us even when we don’t live up to our obligations. I don’t claim “old earth” is heretical. I do claim it is wrong and contrary to Scripture. I reserve the word ‘heresy’ for those errors that deny an aspect of Christianity essential to salvation.

                      > Third, while not essential to salvation, the biblical timescale is essential to have a consistently biblical worldview. Death is the penalty for sin. Jesus died on the cross, and this paid the penalty for our sin. This is an essential doctrine and those who deny it are, by definition, heretics. Yet, to believe that fossils are millions of years old is to reject that death is the penalty for sin since death would have preceded sin by millions of years. Thus, old earth Christians must tacitly believe that death both is and is not the penalty for sin. They can avoid the charge of heresy only at the expense of rational consistency. And that is precisely what many of them do. They do accept the orthodox position that death is the penalty for sin when it comes to salvation; but they fail to realize that their view of earth history contradicts this.

                      John Stackhouse a famous Public Commentator and Theology Professor in Canada said the following (Please Comment on his remarks):

                      It’s hard for me to see that orthodoxy is at stake in this debate.

                      > Dr. Lisle: The term “orthodox” is used in a few different ways, and so it will be helpful to specify which meaning is under consideration. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines orthodox as “conforming to established doctrine especially in religion” and “conventional.” In this sense of the word, 6-days of creation is of course the orthodox position because it is what the Old Testament Jews and the New Testament Church on the whole have held to over history. It is certainly the conventional interpretation, and I doubt anyone would deny that. Under this definition, the old earth view would therefore be unorthodox (unconventional), but not heretical.

                      > On the other hand, Christians sometimes use the word “orthodox” to refer to all possible non-heretical positions. This would include even incorrect interpretations of Scripture, so long as they do not deny an essential Christian doctrine. Under this definition, to be unorthodox is to be heretical. And I have already stated that I don’t believe old-earth to be heretical. Old-earthers can be orthodox in this sense, but only by giving up rational consistency.

                      Yes, one side can accuse the other of failing to uphold the Bible’s authority, but that accusation doesn’t touch the many Christians who can demonstrate that they think the Bible authoritatively teaches something other than what their opponents say it does.

                      > Dr. Lisle: Yes. The problem for old-earthers is that they have not been able to demonstrate that the Bible authoritatively teaches something other than what it actually says.

                      And this point is suggestive in other contexts as well. Group A might accuse Group B of implicitly refusing to honour the Bible’s authority by holding a view Group A doesn’t like. Group B can respond by showing that their view is in fact consistent with the Bible’s teaching. If, however, Group B cannot show that their view is consistent with Scripture, then one does have a problem of orthodoxy by implication.

                      > Dr. Lisle: And there’s the rub. Those Christians who believe in deep time have not been able to show that their view is consistent with Scripture. Therefore, there is a problem of orthodoxy (in the first sense of the word). I agree with Stackhouse’s statement here. And it logically follows that old-earthers are therefore not orthodox in the sense of not conventional.

                      Yet Group A needs to beware “slippery slope” and “guilt by implication” insinuations, and let Group B respond to the challenge. Just because Group A can’t imagine how someone could Biblically hold the view of Group B doesn’t mean that it is impossible for someone to fairly hold the view of Group B. Group A, especially in the light of John 17, needs to strive to maintain unity and only regretfully and as a last resort relegate Group B to the category of heretics. I’d like to see more of that spirit of unity in various disputes today…”

                      Do you feel that Mr. Stackhouse was fair?

                      > Dr. Lisle: I agree with most of what he wrote. However, it sounds like he is responding to a position that I don’t hold – the position that 6-days of creation is a doctrine that is essential to salvation, and therefore that its denial is heresy. I don’t hold that. God saves us despite our unbiblical thinking in many areas.

              • Frank King says:

                God said, “Let there be light…” on day one. Possibly He is telling us just what light is. Please consider, is God telling us that Light is not a “speed”, a unit of measure, but rather that on day one He said, “Let there be…”, and, “there was”! Light, therefore, is a state. It is either on or off. Light did not travel here from distant stars for billions of years. We see what we see because God set the condition to on. Learned minds, Dr Lisle, (and yours is among the sharpest) may find interesting.

    • Bret says:

      Okay, it seems our dialogue has come to an end as you did not get to my last post…here then is my final points. My final points are this:

      -I think you have a very strong point and I share it that by the words “evening” and “morning” and the usage of six days the Bible text represents a normal week being indicated by the author…..I am not sure how you detractors escape this point or if they understand it. I think that they argue out of it and are not really feeling the weight of it overall.

      > Dr. Lisle: That’s good to hear. I agree that the critics of six days don’t seem to understand or feel the weight of the exegetical evidence. My suspicion is that most of them haven’t studied or consciously reflected on the principles of hermeneutics, and how these are applied to Genesis. Actually, I suspect that’s true of most Christians in general.

      -Think about this for a moment. You believe that the answer to why the Bible text states this is a normal week is because it was created in six normal days. You therefore admit you look at science in a certain manner. This is where you are at is it not?

      > Dr. Lisle: Yes – and not just science. I look at all reality in light of what the Bible teaches. It is in God’s light that we see light (Psalm 36:9). If the Bible really is the inerrant, infallible Word of God, shouldn’t it be our ultimate standard for truth? Our reasoning can and should go beyond those things explicitly taught in Scripture, but it should nonetheless be based on Scripture. All our thinking should be tested according to its principles. Those claims that are contrary to God’s Word cannot be true.

      > In fact, everyone has a worldview – a way of looking at science, morality, values, etc. You say I look at science in a certain manner, and that’s true. But then again, everyone does. Everyone looks at science through a particular lens, and interprets the data in light of his worldview. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of their own worldview, and have not consciously considered whether it is actually correct.

      So, what do you think is the weakness with this approach? Can you see any concerns with the overall manner in which your simplicity guides you?

      > Dr. Lisle: On the contrary, if we are to think rightly and truthfully, we must think in a way that is consistent with God’s Word because all truth is in God (Colossians 2:3, John 14:6). I have been able to make a few scientific discoveries (solar giant cell boundaries for example) because I expect that God upholds the universe in a consistent way as He has promised (Genesis 8:22), that my senses are basically reliable, having been designed by God (Proverbs 20:12), and that my mind is capable of rational thought, having been made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). Even secular scientists rely on these truths though inconsistently and ungratefully.

      > Not only is this advantageous, it is actually a command of God and therefore our moral obligation. God commands us to abandon our unbiblical thoughts and start thinking like Him (Isaiah 55:7-8). Indeed, we are to cast down every argument that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought into obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

      > There is a simplicity to truth. This is why axioms like Occam’s razor are so successful. It’s not a naïve or “easy” simplicity; we are to diligently study God’s Word so that we rightly interpret it (2 Timothy 2:15). Nonetheless, Paul warns us not to be led astray from the simplicity of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).

      Thanks for your time
      Bret

      • Bret says:

        Let me close with one final question….Have you ever read the Epistles of Barnabus? Plus be honest and if so what weight does his interpretation have on this text in Genesis?

        Thank-you again for your time!

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Yes, I have read the so-called “Epistle of Barnabus.” Of course, this early second century writing is neither an epistle, nor was it written by the biblical Barnabus (who would have been dead at the time). It is part of the Pseudepigrapha – a collection of texts of unknown authorship that are often falsely attributed to first century Biblical persons. The Pseudepigrapha are not inspired by God, and the early church recognized this.

          They might have historical value. But given that the Pseudepigrapha are not Scripture, obviously we should not give them any more weight than any other fallible commentary. Commentaries can be helpful, but we must test their claims against Scripture. So if the author of the “Epistle of Barnanus” was mistaken about Genesis, we should reject his view in favor of what the Bible actually states. That being said, I see no evidence that the author was mistaken about the timescale of Genesis: he did seem to believe in 6-days of creation.

          In the second century, there was a theological conjecture that each of the literal days of creation also symbolized one thousand years of (future) earth history. The view holds that God created in six literal days and rested one, and planned for human history to take place in six thousand years, followed by a one-thousand-year millennium of “rest.” Some believed that 2 Peter 3:8 suggested this.

          Irenaeus held this view, and apparently so did the author of the “Epistle of Barnabus.” Irenaeus says, “For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded.” Though I disagree with this position, it is based on and requires a literal six-day creation. Incidentally, I also reject the Epistle of Barnabus’s view that rabbits gain a bodily orifice for each year of life (Barnabas 10:6) and that hyenas change their sex every year (Barnabas 10:7). But there is no doubt that the author of this text was a young-earth creationist, and that this was the conventional position of the church.

          Blessings.

  14. Stella says:

    Hello Dr. Lisle,
    This is a bit off topic, but I’ve been wondering where you stand regarding global warming? I know Dr. Hugh Ross has stated it is true.
    Keep up the great work,
    Stella

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      There has been some degree of global warming, but it is non-catastrophic and its cause is not well known. This would be a good topic to bring up in our Partner’s Forum at the Biblical Science Institute (BiblicalScienceInstitute.com).

  15. Stella says:

    Thank you!
    Will try the forum. I was just wondering, you sound a bit reformed!
    Where do you stand reguarding the doctrines of grace? (Calvinism)

    • Harley Serafini says:

      I am quite sure Jason Lisle is a Calvinist. I have never heard him state implicitly that he is reformed(He is usually representing nondenominational ministries), but I have often heard him imply it.

  16. Harley Serafini says:

    Hello Dr. LIsle,
    I have been wondering recently which approach to apologetics is best. In the context of evangelizing an atheistic friend, do you, as a presuppositionalist, believe that once we have established our presuppositions, we can use some of the classical arguments?

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      I have found that the presuppositional method is best, not only from experience, but more importantly because it is Scriptural. I don’t use classical arguments, but I do think that much of the information contained within some of the classical arguments can be very useful in an apologetic encounter if used in a presuppositional way. Our new ministry (the Biblical Science Institute) will cover the details of this. Blessings.

      • Harley Serafini says:

        Thank you very much for your answer. I was rather confused about how presuppositional apologists thought about classical arguments and your answer has helped to clarify this.

  17. Deborah Barnum says:

    Don’t forget Harry Potter. I couldn’t help but notice that none of the “Bible and Harry Potter” books put out sequels after the HP series finished. Perhaps it’s because of the overarching themes of the series, which only became obvious at the end. The two biggest for me: self-sacrifice to conquer evil, and the fact that in trying to kill Harry as an infant, Voldemort sealed his own doom.
    Sadly, though there is little to no “real” witchcraft in the books, it has ignited interest in & acceptance of witchcraft in this generation with the old lie that there is “good” magic and “evil” magic. Like the “Force” in the Star Wars movies, the myth says we humans are able to wield supernatural powers, and remain “good”.

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