Thursday, May 17, 2012 | By: Zachary Bartels

How Old Is the Earth? (Sproul)

“I have a high view of natural revelation.” -R.C. Sproul

HT: Greg Koukl at Stand to Reason.

10 reader comments:

Jen said...

Why even ask this question? Ken Ham says it's 6,000 years old, and he's the same as God (and James Dobson).

Joey White said...

This is very shaky ground Sproul is walking on. Though he says rightly that God is revealed to us through nature, that revelation is only enough in itself to be damning. Listening to science about the age of the earth can easily push one down the road of embracing the full evolutionary process. If that is accecpted then death most certainly did not first enter with Adams sin, and the whole foundation starts to crumble. He has certainly gone further than I would be willing to if asked.

Josh M said...

Natural revelation "works" only if you correctly interpret what you are seeing. Is that a cool vertical cloud or a deadly tornado? Well, yes. Depending on how well you perform your science, and the set of assumptions you bring with you, you can arrive at very different conclusions.

Otternam said...

Joey, you are presupposing that entropy and death entirety comes from the fall.

Pastor Zach said...

This is getting good. [popcorn_munch.gif]

Joey White said...

Otternam, I presuppose many things, often to my detriment but I don't think this is one of them. The Apostle Paul and the Spirit of God speaking through him seem to agree with me; Rom.5:12(ESV) Therefore just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. I'm no expert in biblical languages, not even a novice so I may be missing something here, but it sure looks like sin entered through Adam. Death entered through sin, so death essentially entered through Adam. There was no death before Adams trespass. This is why Christ in his subustutinary death not only obtains forgiveness of our sins and restores communion with God, but he also defeats death and grants us eternal life. Undoing everything Adam brought in with his sin.

Joey White said...

PZ, are you going to weigh in or just hang out until everyone gets wound up and forgets you never expressed your view?

Pastor Zach said...

I was leaning toward the second one...although I have tipped my hand before on this matter.

But I will say a couple things.

To Josh: 1. I get the distinct feeling that you're intending to sort of push back against Dr. Sproul, but everything you say agrees with him. Maybe my distinct feeling is way off-base. 2. It's true that “Natural revelation 'works' only if you correctly interpret what you are seeing,” but the same is true of special revelation.

To Joey: I have no argument with your assessment of sin entering the world through a literal Adam. However, your statement, “Though he says rightly that God is revealed to us through nature, that revelation is only enough in itself to be damning,” in my opinion, misses the mark. Romans 1 presents natural revelation as sufficient to condemn us (although we need specific content for our faith—namely Christ’s death for our sins and resurrection for our justification—to be saved). But that has nothing to do with how old the earth is, as the age of the earth is not a factor in salvation. You try to tie them together by casting Sproul’s position as the first step down a slippery slope to losing a historical Adam, but they said the same thing about Copernicus and his whacky heliocentric view of things. I think you're committing the informal fallacy of the Camel’s Nose here. I can make any position untenable in this way, simply by establishing a more extreme position than yours for myself, which makes your view then appear to be a move toward the opposite extreme...

Joey White said...

Let me apoligise for speaking as a fool, I had no intentions of misrepresenting anyone. I would also like to clarify that I'm not a nut job who only sits around and thinks about questions such as the age of the earth. While I will gladly talk about most anything if the occasion arises, this sort of topic is normally not in my focus. With that said let me try to cut the nose off a camel.

Concerning the age of the earth I see two possible scriptural answers, with one seeming to me much more likely. Both have ex-nihilo creation as their basis, as God spoke and material came into existance. The first is that the six days of creation in Genisis is a literary device to express how God most certainly created the heavens and the earth but it took much longer and was much more involved than could be expressed in just a few lines of text; thus allowing us to understand creation as taking much time as science can prove. The second and I think more plausible option is that it literally took six days to create the heavens and earth and everything that fills them. The main reason this works better in my mind is that Adam does not seem to have been created a baby. He was a walking talking man, given dominion over the creatures of the earth. It doesn't make sense to me that God would allow the earth to age for eons, but then create a man with the apperance of age.

Pastor Zach said...

There are at least three ways of understanding Gen 1-2 that allow for a much longer time period than six days and still involve Adam being created as a grown man. In face, many Roman Catholic theistic evolutionists who know their stuff will even hold to this (i.e. everything evolved up to, but not including those creatures made in God's image, then God created man in his image; they usually make a big deal about the when the Hebrew word "barah" is and isn't used in the narrative). I don't see this as a very tenable position, but it's out there.

Anyway, I wasn't trying to start a debate about that issue specifically, but rather to spur conversation about having "a high view of natural revelation."