White Hole Cosmology

AfterD. Russell Humphreys months of friendly pressure from the loaner, I finally spent a Sunday afternoon reading Starlight and Time, and found it quite interesting. The author, D. Russell Humphreys, attempts to demonstrate how it can be that a thousands-of-years-old earth can see astronomical objects which are billions of light-years away (which by definition means the light had to have billions of years to travel to us).

So you are probably familiar with the concept of time dilation due to velocity. Orson Scott CardIn the classic science fiction novel Ender’s Game (or rather in the sequels — spoiler: Ender doesn’t die!), Ender travels around the universe at near-light speed, so that hundreds, perhaps thousands of years pass on Earth, while he merely grows from a boy to a man. That effect is part of the special relativity that Einstein is so famous for (not necessarily related to Einstein’s most famous result: e=mc2).

However, there is a less-popularly-understood dilation of time due to gravity (as described by general relativity). The more gravity there is, the slower time goes. Not just clocks or watch hands, but time itself. So consider the extreme case of gravity: a black hole. A black hole is so dense and massive that nothing can escape its gravity, not even light — hence it’s black, because without any light coming out, we can’t see what’s in it.

Now there’s a boundary that separates the inside of the black hole from the outside; outside is stuff we can see (because the light has not yet gotten trapped), but past this boundary, matter and light are on the inside of the black hole, and can never return. That boundary is called the event horizon. (By the way, don’t see the movie — a perfectly good SciFi premise takes a right turn into Hell and becomes a demonic horror flick).

So if an astronaut were to go sailing into a black hole, time would slow down as he approached the event horizon, because of the increase in gravity. The astronaut wouldn’t notice it himself, because however fast time is going for you, a second still feels like a second; your brain activity and perception are still running at one second per second — it’s just that seconds themselves are locally “slower”. But an astronomer on earth, if he were able to read the astronaut’s watch with a telescope, would see the hands spinning slower and slower, the closer the astronaut got to the event horizon of the black hole. And he would sit there and wait, and die and turn to dust while time continued to slow down for the astronaut.

ConverselyH.G. Wells,Steve McLean,Patrick Parrinder,Marina Warner, if the astronaut had binoculars and was able to watch the clock on the wall of the astronomer’s office, he would see the clock continually speeding up until Earth moved in fast-forward (like in Wells’ Time Machine).

So you can probably see where I’m (Humphreys is) going: maybe God used some kind of massive gravity, like a Black Hole, to keep Earth young while the rest of the distant universe expanded.

But wait (you say), Black Holes are all about contraction, and our universe is expanding! Exactly. So Humphreys pulls out the Deus ex machina of a “White Hole“, a less-famous non-evil twin of the Black Hole, which is basically the same except that it runs in reverse. (Another significant difference is that nobody knows whether any White Holes do or even can exist). Matter and energy flow out, not in, so you can only see into it, not out of it, and the event horizon shrinks to nothingness until all of its matter is spewed out and then poof, it’s gone! The nice part is that, even though the Hole is running in reverse, gravitational time dilation at the event horizon still works the same, because it relies only on the amount of matter in the Hole.

So Humphreys’ hypothesis is that God’s mechanism for effecting a Big Bang was a White Hole, and on the fourth 24-hour day (local Earth-time inside the White Hole), God populated the universe (outside the White Hole) with stars. Although Earth only took a day to pass through the event horizon, from the perspective of the rest of the universe, it took virtually forever, and during all that time, space was busy expanding and stars were busy sending light beams.

Voila! A neat little package. Interesting to think about, but probably impossible to verify, since if there was a White Hole, it is long gone now.

If you are into all this Creation/Evolution/Intelligent Design stuff, I recommend this book to you. The lay-content of the book itself is merely 30 pages, with nice big pictures — quite easy to understand. The material is repeated in Appendices B and C at an academic depth, but Appendix A is also worth reading, in which Humphreys very concisely dismisses a number of other common Creationist theories for the paradox of large distances in a young universe, as well as the canopy theory (the waters that were above the expanse being held in reserve for the Flood). It’s refreshing to see some self-criticism from within the Creationist camp.

Speaking of which, apparently my main Old-Earth-Creationist hero, Hugh Ross, is not a fan of this White Hole theory. What do you think?


40 Responses

  1. Deus ex machina, indeed. I’m continually amazed at the lengths young earth creationists will go to force science to fit their interpretation of Scripture. Maybe things look old because they really are. If it is old, you don’t need to invent white holes or exotic canopy theories. Stuff like this makes Christians in general look like anti-intellectual morons.

  2. Closed minds and immediate criticism without actually considering the theories is what makes anti-Christions look like anti-intellectual morons. ;)

    Rube, you didn’t mention the calculations that he talked about. I believe he talks about assumptions that old universe people and young universe people have and that you can take the same measurements that we get from astronomy and put them into the same formulas (from Einstein was it?) and get answers that explain the measurements. It’s been a while since I read it, but it was something like that. Correct me where I get it wrong.

    As for the moron comment, I find it interesting how people so easily dismiss others when they don’t agree with them. In the creationist/intellectual design arena there are a great number of well pedigreed people. Quite a few of them started out on the anti-creationist side. Even more, many of them are not even Christians. But as they learned more about their field they became more and more convinced that the traditional evolutionist DOGMA/BELIEF is flawed.

    If the only people who were creationists were uneducated proponents, maybe there would be an argument, but since that isn’t the case, an ‘open-mindend’ person has to admit that there are valid arguments in the young earth camp and that it isn’t really filled only with ‘morons.’


  3. Correction, in the first sentence of my reply it should say ‘anti-creationists’ not ‘anti-Christions’ or correctly spelled ‘anti-Christians.’

    Also, I just want to point out to Steve that this very brief summary of Dr. Humphrey’s theory is just that: brief. However, the doctor wrote some very complex appendices with all sorts of math formulas using Einstein’s theory’s, etc. It was very obvious from the writing that the author had a significant command of Einstein’s theories. Now, with that being said, do you really think that a scientist that can demonstrate a clear command of Einstein’s theories is still a moron? Please.

    Just my two extra cents! :)


  4. Kaz,
    For the record, I am a creationist and I have carefully considered the theories proposed by the YEC crowd. The best and strongest argument I’ve heard from that side is simply ‘God said it. I may not understand how it happened, but I believe it.’ If they would leave off at that point, all would be well. Unfortunately, though, they end up getting creative, and that does a great disservice to themselves, to Scripture and to the Creator.

    You equate anything other than YEC with evolutionism, and that’s a faulty assumption. Progressive Creationism and Framework Theory are both Scriptural approaches to Creation that don’t require evolution.

    This points up the problem with giving creation theories primnacy over the Gospel. You end up with two or more camps sniping with each other over peripheral matters and not focusing the true purpose of Christianity, which is share the gospel with a lost world.

  5. Steve,

    WRT your first paragraph, you are making the logical error of a ‘hasty generalization,’ aren’t you? Seems like you’re asserting that all YEC’s are ‘creative’ and ‘morons.’ So I would say to you that you have some apologizing to do. I certainly don’t like being called a moron, yet I hold to the YEC theories. Have you actually carefully considered the theory that Rube introduces here in this post before? If not, then how could you call this guy a moron with just Rube’s summary alone? My point is that it’s okay to disagree, but watch the generalizations. You become part of the problem you mention in your paragraph number 3.

    I will admit that there are unfortunately some whackos out there that don’t do the YEC camp justice, including Dr. Dino. Also the fraud that brought back pictures of the Egyptian chariot in the ‘real’ Red Sea. But not all YEC’s fall into this embarrassing crowd.

    WRT paragraph #2, I think it is more accurate to characterize my writings above as equating creationists with YEC’s, instead of non-YEC’s as evolutionist. Be that as it may, this is a more accurate account of my attitude, though I know that there are those, like Rube and yourself that don’t believe in a young universe yet hold that God created. It’s an in-house debate as to weather PC & FT are valid. They may be scriptural approaches, but one could just as easily say that those that propound to be PC or FT unfortunately end up getting creative, and that does a great disservice to themselves, to Scripture and to the Creator. ;)

    WRT #3, I must say I really get tired of this argument. You hear it in almost any discussion about two differing ideas in Christendom. So unless we’re preaching the Gospel to somebody, we can’t discuss disagreements? It’s a silly argument. I as a Christian can live my life in an evangelistic way and STILL participate on this blog about non-gospel related issues. Plus, isn’t it interesting who posted a reply first? :)

    Now, I’ve asked you questions in my posts but I haven’t really seen any direct answers, so how about giving it a try. Better hurry up though, because I don’t frequent here that often any more. Got too much more to do in life than blog (like discipling my kids).


  6. K,
    Yes, guilty as charged, mostly. Implying that all YECs are anti-intellectual is definitely a generalization. Some, I will even say many, are definitely anti-science, but there are many notable exceptions. Some, like Dr Humphreys, even present a logical case for their position.

    Why can’t ‘creationist’ include YECs and OECs by definition? I think there is a ‘C’ in both. One of my gripes is that YECs tend to see OECs as tainted Christians. I have a multi-column chart from AiG (or ICR, I forget which) that compares “Biblical Creation” with Old Earth Creation (including PC and FT) and Evolution. The conclusion, then, is that OEC is not Biblical Creation. What arrogance.

    As for getting tired of the argument, that’s where I’m at. I see a lot of argumentation in the OEC-YEC ‘debate,’ but little communication. I was asked not teach at, and finally to leave, our church home of eight years because the pastor didn’t think OEC was compatible with Christianity. I’m interested in learning, though, and I appreciate logical, well-reasoned arguments, such as Humphreys presents, even if I don’t agree with his starting assumptions.

  7. You pull this out while I’m on vacation? Sheesh. No possibility for me to craft a meaningful response. The timing is interesting, though … as I’ve finally drafted my own thoughts on the starlight issue. As usual, I believe the confusion derives from both a semantic confusion and a misreading of Scripture. The literal intent makes more sense than we typically think.

    My own post will have to wait, however, until I return from helping the Gibsons drive out to St. Louis …

  8. Shucks — I was especially hoping to see what you think! Well I guess I will eventually, but maybe I won’t hold back on some of my further observations, which might influence your “own thoughts on the starlight issue”.

    Steve, I don’t know who you are, but you’re welcome in these parts, and I’m glad you made nice with my buddy Jeff. I completely agree with you, though, that “YECs tend to see OECs as tainted Christians“.

    I believe he talks about assumptions that old universe people and young universe people have and that you can take the same measurements that we get from astronomy and put them into the same formulas (from Einstein was it?) and get answers that explain the measurements.

    Yes, that stuff was certainly in the book, but in this post I merely intended to get across the main point in broad strokes. The biggest thing I recall in particular about changed assumptions is that, unlike the common “surface of a balloon” analogy (illustrating the common assumption about the curvature of space), space-“curvature” is flat, and bounded, and we are (or at least our galaxy is) at the center. We look around and observe uniform space in all directions, as far as we can see. That is exactly what we would expect to see if space is unbounded and uniform everywhere (in which case that’s what observers would see from anywhere in the universe). But it is also exactly what we would expect to see if we were in the center of a finite universe (as opposed to off-center observers, who would observe more matter in the direction towards the center, and less elsewhere).

    So Humphreys says that all the rest of his stuff follows from plugging this different assumption about the curvature and extent of space into the same general relativity equations, and lo and behold: he finds that (if the universe was all emitted from a White Hole) then the center of the universe would be radically younger than the outside of the universe, because of gravitational time dilation caused by the White Hole.

  9. Steve, I think that is big of you in #6. Thank you. And I apologize for any and all of my offences, too.

    Regarding the point that you think YEC’s look at OEC’s as tainted, I think it is true the other way around and we should expect that. I’ll explain.

    Person one believes ay. Person two believes non-ay. If person one thought that person two’s belief was superiorer (opposed to inferior), then you would expect person one to then believe non-ay. So it is inherent in all disagreements that EACH party thinks that the other party’s disagreeing belief is inferior. You just can’t get away with that.

    That said, I’ll bring it into reality. I disagree with Rube here about the age of the earth. I have reasons for disagreeing. The reasons that Rube has given me obviously become reasons that I reject or feel are ‘inferior.’ Now, at the same time, he is my brother in Christ and a wonderful person that is dear to me. But, there is always that tension when there are disagreements. I value his differing views less than my own NECESSARILY, otherwise I would end up holding his views.

    Regarding being asked to leave a fellowship over this idea, I think that is criminal, and just absolutely horrible! I can’t believe that. Since when did creation theory become one of the essentials of the Christian faith? You have my condolences.

    Regarding the reasons that I think many YEC’s hold the OEC’s views in disdain, I want to offer my thoughts. I don’t know how true these are, so consider these as hypotheses. It seems to me that an OEC will look at ‘scientific data’ and then allow themselves to second guess ‘the Bible.’ And then it seems to me that the YEC’s will look at ‘the Bible’ and then second guess the ‘scientific data’ instead. On the surface one seems more pious than the other, no? However, I’ll admit that what really is being second guessed is the YEC’s or OEC’s ‘interpretation’ of either one, and so in reality neither one is more or less pious. But because of the ‘on the surface’ issue, we have the YEC’s at least falling into the trap.

    My two cents.


  10. How can you second guess the Bible if it nowhere addresses the ‘age of the universe’ issue? IOW, the Bible is a ‘theological’ book.

  11. So it is inherent in all disagreements that EACH party thinks that the other party’s disagreeing belief is inferior.

    That tautology is not the point. YEC view OEC as sinfully, unorthodox-ally inferior, like the way we orthodox view Episcopalians who ordain gays. Not that I feel persecuted, but my perception is that I would take less heat in our circles for being a credobaptist than an OEC.

    Since when did creation theory become one of the essentials of the Christian faith?

    Dr. Tom once mentioned one of the members of the OPC Presbytery we used to belong to who held 6/24 as a litmus-test for orthodoxy and biblical inerrancy/sufficiency. Just two weeks ago, elder ME asserted that long creation days were a threat to the gospel, because of the theological implications of death before the fall. He did back off a little on that last week though.

  12. How can you second guess the Bible if it nowhere addresses the ‘age of the universe’ issue?

    I’m sure YECs would say that the Bible does “address the ‘age of the universe’ issue”

  13. Dr. Tom once mentioned one of the members of the OPC Presbytery we used to belong to who held 6/24 as a litmus-test for orthodoxy and biblical inerrancy/sufficiency.

    We addressed this issue (ordination requirements for the OPC WRT creation days) at WSCAL and I believe the bottom line was that you had to be able to defend or cogently present a reasonable view – not that you had to hold to a specific view.

  14. I guess it’s a matter of what the meaning of the word “address” addresses.

  15. Not to complicate things, but comment 14 was addressed to comment 12.

  16. ordination requirements for the OPC WRT creation days

    From the OPC Report on Creation:

    A. Does the candidate affirm the following and can he articulate what he understands by them:
    1. creation ex nihilo
    2. the federal headship of Adam
    3. the covenant of works
    4. the doctrine of the Sabbath
    5. the sufficiency and perspicuity of Scripture
    6. the historicity of the creation account
    B. Does the candidate understand and affirm the priority of Scripture in the relationship between special and general revelation?
    C. Does the candidate understand and affirm the hermeneutical principles that are expressed in Scripture and in the subordinate standards?
    D. Is the candidate able to address and refute the errors of the theory of evolution both exegetically and theologically?
    E. Can the candidate articulate and affirm the covenantal structure of the plan of redemption as found in Genesis 1-3?

  17. I think one of the things that irritate many Christians who don’t buy the theory of evolution, is that evolutionists fall back on “billions and billions of years” as kind of a magic wand to explain how whole species can evolve into other whole species. So when Christians begin to suggest that they believe the creation of the universe in Genesis took millions or billions of years, it just causes us to sigh and think that maybe they have been influenced, sometimes maybe without even realizing it, by the evolutionist’s model.

  18. Well that’s the problem of the one making that assumption, just as much as one who sees a Christian drinking and rushes to the judgment “Alcoholic sinner!”

    Anyways, “billions and billions” may sound like a lot, but as a magic wand, it’s not nearly magic enough.

  19. Bruce, wrt #10, that’s why I was saying in reality they’re second guessing “their interpretation” of the bible, and not really the bible itself.



  20. Jeff re:19 Good. I gotcha’. I guess this is why I don’t lose any sleep over the age of the universe battles. I am only slightly more interested in the age of Adam and Eve question.

  21. I should have been more gentle with some of my comments, Rube. I’m sorry. My main point was that OECs approach the Scriptures in an effort to maintain the reasonableness of faith in light of the “facts” of science. YECs approach science in an effort to maintain the reasonableness of science in light of God’s revealed truth. Both camps should remain humble and admit that the other side has some thoughtful points that should be heard.

    Us YECs have to admit there are things we can’t understand, which appear to attest to a very old universe.

    I would say more, but I have other stuff to do now. Thanks for turning me on to that book, Rube. I really enjoyed it!

  22. “Deus ex machina, indeed. I’m continually amazed at the lengths young earth creationists will go to force science to fit their interpretation of Scripture. Maybe things look old because they really are. If it is old, you don’t need to invent white holes or exotic canopy theories. Stuff like this makes Christians in general look like anti-intellectual morons.”

    How about young earth creationist Kurt Wise? He obtained a Ph.D. from Harvard under the late Steven J. Gould. He too is an “anti-intellectual moron?” When someone calls those who obtain Ph.D.’s in paleontology (Ph.D. Invertebrate Paleontology, Harvard University; M.A. Geology, Harvard University; B.A. Geology, University of Chicago) under top-notch evolutionists like Gould, “anti-intellectual,” you can safely assume that the person has a emotional attachment to a position resulting in making him more vulnerable to logical soft spots.


  23. Wack,
    What’s your point? As I said in the comments above, it was a generalization. Generalizations are handy because they are based on observation. This is what I’ve seen in the OEC-YEC debate: OECs tend to view YECs as inflexible and anti-intellectual, while YECs tend to view OECs as tainted Christians who ‘don’t get it’ or are in league with the evolutionist crowd. There are exceptions on either side, but it’s a generalization that has held up over over time.

  24. Steve,

    You said,

    “Stuff like this makes Christians in general look like anti-intellectual morons.”

    See that? “Stuff like that.” So, when someone says “stuff like that” then they make “Christioans in general” look like morons.

    What you meant was that when one or two people say “stuff like that” then “Christians,” *as a whole,* look like morons.

    So, I cite Wise. Wise says, “stuff like that.”

    So, does *Wise* make “Christians in general” look like morons?

    If so, then what’s up with your above back-peddeling saying that you were making a “generalization?” And, if so, then perhaps you’d like to tell guys that have Ph.D.s from HJarvard under Gould a thing or two about science and reasoning?

    If not, then how is what you said a “generalization?” Wise made a *propositional claim.* The *claim* does not become less moronic if Wise says it as opposed to Aunt Sally, the neophyte.

    So, your above rejoinder to me is simply shifting the goal post of your original claim. Your original claim was about “stuff like that” which are “propositions.” Propositions don’t make “Christians in general” look like morons if Mr. A says it as opposed to Mr. B.

    Thus perhaps you should make sure that your own reasoning is cogent before pointing out the proverbial log in your brothers eye.

    That was my point.

  25. Wack,
    You missed the point of both threads. I’ll try again: GENERALLY SPEAKING, OECs tend to view YECs as inflexible and anti-intellectual, while YECs tend to view OECs as tainted Christians. That was GENERALLY SPEAKING. I think Kurt Wise and Kent Hovind and Ken Hamm are wonderful fellows who happen to use bad science to – intentionally or unintentionally – ridicule science as being inherently anti-God. They create a false division within the Christian community.

    Yes, some of those guys have been to college. (Look up Kent Hovind’s ‘doctoral dissertation,’ by the way. It’s a hoot.) To answer your specific question, yes, I think Wise can make Christians IN GENERAL look like morons, but probably less actively that Hamm or Hovind or others. Of the three, though, (Hamm, Hovind, Wise), Ken Hamm probably presents the most polished, logical arguments, but Russell Humphreys does an even better job. Guess what? I think they are all wrong, because they automatically discard the possibility of an old creation view.

    Here’s my bottom line: I don’t care about the arguments for or against old/young earth Creationism. They’re interesting and I have my own stinky opinion, but the relevant point is that God created the heavens and the earth. Focusing on the OEC/YEC argument detracts from the Gospel.

    I will stand by my statements. I’m sorry if they offend you.

  26. Stve,

    I’m not offended. Sorry you’re getting so emotional.

    My argument sailed right over your head, didn’t it?

    You said that when people say “that kind of stuff” then *that* is what makes Christians in general look moronic.

    Since “that kind of stuff” entails “propositions” and since “propositions” don’t become more or less credible depending upon who utters them, then your claim is that “all times S says P are times S makes ‘Christians in general’ look moronic.”

    S = any subject

    P = the propositions entailed by “stuff.”

    Now, if your rejoinder is that there can be times that S says P where S’s saying P doesn’t make ‘Christians in general’ look moronic, then I’d say you’re making non-YECs in general look moronic (sarcasm intended). The reason is because the content of a proposition isn’t affected by who utters it. I grant that there may be an emotional desire to assent to P when Dr. X says P, but to ridicule P is Sophie the washwoman said P. But we’re not talking about that.

    So, I stand by my statement.

  27. Yeah, that did kind of go over my head. It must be the whole logic thing that was missing. The point is that if you start with flawed assumptions or bad arguments, you’re going to come to the wrong conclusion, no matter who is speaking, or how polished or shabby the presentation.

    Euangelion has a great piece on the dangers of dogmatism. He puts it in the context of creation and origins, but it applies to any discussion of non-essential ‘doctrine.’ The Christian community does itself damage when it gets its knickers in a bunch over topics that divert us from sharing the Gospel with a dying world.

  28. I just found this thread today. I haven’t read all of it, but I have a question. If it has already been answered, forgive me.

    I don’t get it. It seems, Rube, from your write up that this would explain a young earth, but not a young universe. Yet I understand that this is supposed to explain a young universe, so thus I don’t get it. Seems to me that time on earth was going slow while time in the rest of the universe was going fast. That means the earth is young, but the universe is old.

    Of course, this is sure an elaborate attempt to explain the distance from earth to stars billions of light years away, but I’m not sure how helpful it is, considering that there still remains the extensive and well documented evidence for an old earth in the earth itself, and I don’t think the flood explains it all.

    And anyway, once you accept the framework view as true, then this stuff just seems like a lot of wasted energy.

    Oh how I wish Christians would not be so easily distracted from the furtherance of the gospel!

  29. It seems, Rube, from your write up that this would explain a young earth, but not a young universe.

    That’s it. Humphries was convinced of young earth (i.e. secular geologists are wrong), but couldn’t rationalize away the astronomical evidence for an old universe. This theory filled the gap for him. That’s why Appendix A is so interesting, in which a very convicted short-earth Creationist explains in very concise terms why the standard rationalizations for old-universe evidence are un-credible.

    I was kind of waiting for feedback from Forester before I spill the beans, but I’ll just go ahead and say that I don’t give too much credence to the theory. From what I could read at Hugh Ross’ “Reasons to Believe” website, Humphries refuses to defend his theories in a public venue with PhD Astronomers. All of the links presenting Humphries’ side of the story are dead links, so I don’t know what the flip side of the coin is like. But the book I reviewed here is an early version; apparently later work just gets more and more twisted, trying to avoid inevitable math/physics problems.

  30. I was kind of waiting for feedback from Forester before I spill the beans

    Sorry … busy as usual …

    Oh how I wish Christians would not be so easily distracted from the furtherance of the gospel!

    You might enjoy Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity.

  31. Rube,

    So is he saying then that this offers a way to say that while the universe APPEARS old, it really isn’t, and that while the earth APPEARS old, it too really isn’t?


  32. No, because time itself progresses at different speeds depending on the presence of gravity, he is offering a possible way that time could have progressed relatively slowly in the vicinity of earth, and relatively quickly for the rest of the universe. So in the same “time” (if you somehow set a standard of time which is not affected by gravity), the outer universe experienced the actual passage of 14 billion years, and the locality of the earth experienced the passage of only thousands of years.

  33. Well then technically, it’s still not a young earth.

  34. Why not? It would have undergone only thousands of years of time.

  35. No, because there would have to be an old universe. And if you judge the age of the earth according to the time of the universe, it would be an old earth, but only appear to be young. And anyway, it’s silly because the earth doesn’t after all appear to be young.

    And furthermore, if you’re trying to prove that creation took place only so many years ago, you have to restrict that creation account to the earth only, and not the whole universe, because clearly the rest of the universe, being old, was created much farther in the distant past, and so the one act of creation took place a long time ago.

    Now, if you did want to restrict the creation narrative in Genesis to ONLY a creation of the earth, not the whole universe, then, ok, but that doesn’t seem to be a good idea.

    To posit a young earth is actually quite useless in upholding the Genesis narrative. It’s only useful in prolonging and encouraging ignorance about the text. Because if you were to add up all the years in the Genesis geneologies, Noah would have lived for over 30 years of Abraham’s life, and that’s clearly not what the text supports. So the time from Adam to Noah to Abraham is not calculated in any precise way by the Biblical text. So Adam could have lived 100,000 years ago, and it does no malice to the text. None. So the young earth theory doesn’t even definitively support the 6-24 creation theory. They don’t need it. It only supports a hyper-literalistic view of the geneologies, which is silly, because nothing is gained by such a view. After all, Hebrew doesn’t have a word for grandson, but only the one word “son” which has been shown to have a wide range of meaning, unlike today. It can mean nephew in the biblical text, it can mean grandson, and it can mean descendant. All the Jews were sons of Abraham. But Abraham had only two sons, Isaac and Ishmael that are of relevance here. (Because if I remember correctly, he had other children.) So son doesn’t have the precise definition people want it to have. They are, after all, exegeting in English, not comprehending the original intent, but reading it like they would a newspaper.

    So when it says that so and so lived 500 years or whatever, and then begat so and so, it doesn’t mean what we think it means. It can’t, unless Noah and Abraham are contemporaries, but the text would contradict that, explaining Noah to be quite ancient by the time Abraham comes along. So it can’t mean what we typically think it means. The geneologies are highlights. So and so lived 500 years, and then the text is silent, and then some undetermined amount of time later, that person had a descendant named such and such, who lived so long, and then some other undetermined…you get the idea. That is the one correct way to view the text, just letting it interpret itself, no old earth or young earth about it.

    So we don’t know how old mankind is. Maybe 100,000 years old, maybe a million. The text doesn’t say. Could it be only a few thousand? No, if by that you mean that the geneologies can be added up like a newspaper story. Not only is that not likely to be true, the text makes it clear that that is not true. Moses would probably be dumbfounded to discover that there is such a debate. And he’d probably burst out laughing if he heard that there were people who held to the 6-24 view. He’d probably say that he deliberately said certain things to help us understand that that’s not what he was doing. He’d probably think modern people were very dim and wonder what he had to do to make it clearer.

    Oh well.

  36. No, because there would have to be an old universe. And if you judge the age of the earth according to the time of the universe, it would be an old earth, but only appear to be young.

    You don’t seem to be getting it (I’m tempted to throw the term “Thick Skull” into the arena…) The whole point is that the theory is based on the agreed-upon scientific truth that gravity makes time — not just clocks, but actually time itself — run slower. So it could somehow be possible for the universe to be actually old, and the earth actually (not apparently) young. You seem to want to measure the age of the earth in this hypothetical scenario using the time of the external universe, rather than the “local time” that the Earth itself underwent. But to borrow a point from Hugh Ross, the Bible places the perspective of the creation account on the surface of the earth (“the spirit was hovering over the waters”), not at some distant vantage-point in space. So an observer in the distant external universe might well say “I’ve been watching that Earth-planet for billions of years, so it must be really old!”, but if the observer had been able to plant synchronized atomic clocks, one on earth, and one on his person, and was able to observe the earth clock, he would say “According to my atomic wristwatch, I’ve been watching that Earth-planet for billions of years, but according to the atomic clock I can see on Earth, only thousands of years have expired over there”.

    And anyway, it’s silly because the earth doesn’t after all appear to be young.

    Well that’s a good point, and Humphreys is up-front that he set to work on this theory because he was personally convinced that the earth actually is geologically young, but he could not escape the evidence of astronomical age. I am much less-informed about geologic arguments, but my understanding is that creationists usually pooh-pooh radiometric dating, and explain all the apparent age of the earth on the catastrophic effects of the Flood.

    the time from Adam to Noah to Abraham is not calculated in any precise way by the Biblical text. So Adam could have lived 100,000 years ago, and it does no malice to the text.

    Sadly, I think YECs are tied to this number 6000 because of Ussher’s literalistic calculations from the genealogies. If you can offer links to any good exegetical discussions of genealogies, or criticisms of Ussher’s methodology, I’d be very interested to read them (and hopefully post a summary).

  37. Sadly, I think YECs are tied to this number 6000 because of Ussher’s literalistic calculations from the genealogies.

    I was in London two weeks ago and visited Westminster Abbey. As I stood looking around at the various memorials on the walls and floor (over 3300 people are buried in the Abbey), I looked down and noticed I was standing on Bishop Ussher’s gravestone. Interestingly, it’s not too far from Charles Darwin’s marker.

    Ussher may have been well-intentioned, but I think he did more lasting damage to the faith than many secularists.

  38. If you can offer links to any good exegetical discussions of genealogies, or criticisms of Ussher’s methodology, I’d be very interested to read them (and hopefully post a summary).

    Go to classnotes.wordpress.com and look up the Feb 7, Feb 8, and Feb 15 entries for my Pentateuch class lecture notes on this topic. They are a little cryptic but they are worth reading.

  39. Thanks! Will make time to check them out!

  40. Rube,

    I was of course drawing on Pentateuch lectures. Surely, though, things were cited in those lectures that could be obtained. But I’m sure your pops included said references. I think we had to read a journal article or something. It would be hard for you to obtain no doubt. Anyway, I await the results of your examination of the notes. To me it seemed so straight forward that I have done no further research on it.

    And while I may have a thick skull, and while having a thick skull makes the charge warranted, I would have it known that I did get it. I did understand that. I was questioning the explanatory value.

    Here’s what I see the guy saying. Yes, the universe is very old like the scientists say it must be. However, the earth is very young, and that’s why we can believe the creation narrative in Genesis.

    However, if the guy would just recognize that you don’t need a young earth for the Genesis narrative to be true, if he would stop reacting to evolution and start exegeting the text, then all of this would look like a collassal waste of time.

    According to the TEXT, it’s obvious that the narrative isn’t describing something that took place in 6 calendar days. It’s OBVIOUS. Furthermore, if you want science to prove the believability of the narrative, then surely you die with Copernicus, because the worldview of the narrative is that of a flat earth, and can actually be interpreted in no other way. It is on the one hand an earthly perspective, but on the other a heavenly perspective. Here are some common sense reasons why the narrative is obviously not to be taken univocally:

    1. God doesn’t get tired from a long day of creation and need to go to sleep to rest up for the next day’s work of creating. To say that these days must be taken univocally implies that God puts in a full work day and then goes home to watch TV, resting up for the long day tomorrow.

    2. The 24 hour day has no meaning until there is a sun, which is not created until day 4. Days 1-3 therefore are not days as we know them, based on sunrise to sunset, because there was no sun. Clearly on these days, something other than a 24 hour day is meant, since there is no sun for such a reference point.

    3. If the source of the light in day 1 is not the sun, then what is it? If it is not the sun, clearly that source no longer exists, and didn’t exist in Moses’ time, which would make the text puzzling at best, and downright incomprensible at worst. Surely Moses wasn’t deliberately trying to confuse people. It’s the created order he’s describing. If the source of this light is not the sun, it is not part of the created order, and therefore this light that emanates from it is also not part of the created order. It must be explained some other way, and that makes for a silly, romper room kind of result.

    4. The 7th day has no evening and morning refrain. Apparently it never ended. Clearly this day cannot be 24 hours long.

    5. Again, God doesn’t rest. He doesn’t get tired. Something other than “rest” needs to be understood here. This cannot be taken univocally.

    6. What about the different order of events in Gen 2? Which one is to be interpreted univocally, and which one is not?

    People who espouse the 24 hour day theory think that those of us who don’t have been suckered by evolution, that we are giving ground to them. We aren’t. But they think that their arguments somehow defeat evolution. It doesn’t. Their theory is supported neither by the text, nor by science.

    The exegetical problems with the 24 day interpretation cannot be overstated. I’ve named only a few that almost anyone can immediately recognize.

    The problem with those who hold the 6-24 view is that they think that somehow if the text is not interpreted univocally, then it cannot be true historically. This isn’t true. The ancients did not write history the same way we do. Consider the differences of the synoptic gospels. In one story, Jesus heals one man, in another it is a group of men. In one story, this miracle happened before this event, in another account it happens after. Ancients didn’t write histories in the same way we do. The gospels are theological. The creation narrative is theological. The narrative serves a greater goal, namely to make a theological point. Doesn’t that mean it’s not historical? No, it means it’s literature which has history in it.

    The point of the Bible is to reveal God and what God has done. It is not to tell us how old the earth is or things of that sort. People who hold this view don’t seem to understand that.

    The point of the Genesis narrative is not to tell us how long God took to create the earth (and oh, by the way, also the heavens, so there goes that bit about an old universe and a young earth). Remember, Augustine, who didn’t even know the earth was round, recognized that the story was full of literary devices, and held to an instantaneous creation. Now, Augustine had some real shortcomings when it came to Hebrew and exegesis. But nonetheless, here’s a guy that came to a non-univocal conclusion about the text and evolution didn’t point him in that direction. And Augustine, while not a very solid theologian by today’s standards, did much to advance the church’s understanding of Scripture. One might call him a theological giant. Can we really dismiss his opinion as irrelevant in any theological debate? I don’t think so. We don’t have to agree with him to take him seriously.

    The point of the Genesis narrative is to teach that GOD, not someone else, created all things. How? By the Word of his power. That’s the point. It’s also to teach us about the Sabbath, and to give us the concept of a week. We should celebrate the Sabbath on the 7th day because God rested on the 7th day. We are not exactly like God when we celebrate the Sabbath, because obviously God doesn’t rest. But somehow, in some mysterious way, by celebrating the Sabbath we are imitating him. We should be content with that.

    It’s also to teach us why God created, namely the covenant between him and man. He created all things to reveal himself to man. That’s crystal clear in the text. The text points us to the covenant between God and man, which Adam broke in the garden.

    What these guys don’t realize is that they very naturally, without even realizing it, take some things in the text to be analogy. They don’t even know they’re doing it. But that presents a problem. Because if you take the phrase “waters over the earth” to be analogical, you can’t take that day in which these waters were separated to be univocal.

    Think of it like this. If there are no waters above and no waters below (since the sky is blue not because there is water up there, but because of the atmosphere, and since drilling a well gives rise to water because of the water table, not because the land on the earth is a big floating island), then what DID God do on that day when the text tells us he was separating these waters?

    Gen. 1:6 (ESV)   And God said, d“Let there be an expanse* in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made* the expanse and eseparated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were fabove the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven.* And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

    Now the old King James translates “expanse” as firmament. That’s that old concept of the dome of heaven, where the stars are. Notice it’s a dome, like on a football stadium. And the stars were little lights, like in the roof of the dome. And above the dome, or the expanse, was water. Below the dome was air, and below the air was the land, and below the land was more water. Just like a floating football stadium. The expanse is the roof of the stadium. When God raised it up, it separated water from water, creating a bubble. In that bubble, he made dry land appear on day three.

    That’s how it was meant, because that was the world view at the time. This is exceedingly well documented.

    But what if you, having common sense, don’t believe in this expanse, because you know that there are no waters above it, and that stars are not little lights but gigantic balls of fire millions of light years away? What if you believe the earth is round? Does this make the narrative untrue, not historical? No. But if you take it univocally, you have to believe in a flat earth. And if you take the days univocally, you have to take the activities said to have been performed in them univocally. So if you want to take the days to be 24 hour days, you also have to believe the earth is flat, otherwise the Bible is not true.

    Since NO ONE believes the earth is flat anymore, having seen pictures taken from space, no one takes the story univocally consistently. So if he wasn’t separating the waters, and yet the day is still to be taken univocally, what WAS God doing that day, and how can you know, since it’s not in the TEXT?

    Pardon me if I get worked up, but this 24 hour view is simply exegetically untenable. I could go on for hours.

    But I have to add this one thing: some say that the Hebrew word “yom” can only mean a 24 hour day, because that’s always how it was used. Ok, says I, so here ya go:

    Gen. 2:4 (ESV)   These are the generations
    of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
    in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

    IN THE DAY that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, it says. THE DAY. One day. But I thought it was 6? I thought “yom” which translates “day” can ONLY mean 24 hours? Apparently here it means something different.

    If you don’t want to accept the framework view, fine, but it is simply IRRATIONAL to encounter these arguments and remain a 6-24 holder. It is simply NOT supported by the text. It is NOT hard to understand.

    Oh, but they say, this is clearly the traditional view of the church! Were they wrong for 2000 years? I’m the last guy to dismiss a 2000 year tradition in the church, but for crying out loud, look at the church’s traditional view of justification? The church isn’t always right! And furthermore, it’s simply not true that the 6-24 view was a clear consensus in the church all the way up until Darwin. There were certainly some at the Westminster Assembly who didn’t hold it – in the 1640’s. And again I’d mention Augustine. And Moses. And the Apostles. And Christ. None of them held it.

    The fact is, the 6-24 hour view is what occurs to you on your first reading, prior to studying the text and thinking about it a little. I suspect there is a deep tradition of laziness and a lack of meditation on the word involved in the pedigree of this view. And who would have thought that people would be lazy when reading the Bible. After all, doesn’t everyone work just as hard as they can, and doesn’t everyone view it clearly? Right.

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