Comments on GAE, the Flood, and 2 Peter 3


Providential activity is planning the future, using big and small strokes of natural law to accomplish the desired end.

If God doesn’t lead his flock to wander too far abroad then it doesn’t require too big a flood to eliminate who he wants.

After the flood, God can accelerate the genealogical affect by selectively leading his flock to wander more than they used to.

How does one use “big and small strokes of natural law”? How does that sort of intervention differ from a miracle?

No, what would be required is not failure to lead but some kind of restriction. Perhaps a wall? Because people would naturally move around if not so restricted. How did God restrict the movements of Adam’s descendants? How did he prevent them from interbreeding with people in the next village or encampment over?

More required miracles. Note that @Swamidass’s model does not incorporate miracles or even “providential activity”.

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That is entirely correct.

So, while I have you, does your model take only 2000 years for full genealogical coalescence?


When my Pilgrim ancestors arrived in the New World… if a large school of fish were harvested just in time to deflect a time of famine, that would be considered Providence, or a Providential action by God.

Does this mean God produced the school of fish by miraculous means? Or does it mean that God arranged for the forces and powers of nature to produce the school of fish just in time for it to be of great use to God’s faithful?

Naturally, every Christian has his own opinion on such matters. But there is no doubt that there is a difference between God using miraculous powers, versus God simply arranging natural processes to produce what he wants to happen.

Were you not raised in a home where such matters were discussed, John? I find it so very odd that I have to answer questions that many Christian youngsters are perfectly able to answer… or a man of the world, such as yourself!

And based on @swamidass’s first reply to me, he doesn’t appear to support what @gbrooks9 is suggesting, since it doesn’t appear to be scientifically tenable. Y’all’s argument seems pointless in that case.

And I’m left still confused about the flood. :laughing: (though not looking for advice about it from people who don’t believe there even was a flood)



I think you might be confused by what @swamidass is saying and not saying.

Do you REALLY think Joshua rejects the idea of God harnessing the powers of nature ?

Doesn’t Joshua readily accept the idea that God could be using evolutionary processes to arrive at the creation he wants? Doesn’t Joshua readily accept that God can create rain storms by means other than the exquisitely miraculous >

The question there is how God would do the arranging.

Why is there no doubt? What does “arranging natural processes” even mean? And I could do with a little less condescension. If Christian youngsters are able to answer, why aren’t you?


You crack me up. How does God arrange for a rain storm? I think it is more than enough to simply recognize there ARE miraculous actions by God… and there are non-miraculous acts arranged by God.

Certainly you don’t think every rain storm God wants is because he turns it into a miraculous event, right?

I think @boscopup is right, my argument about universal genealogical ancestry does not depend on miracles or providence.

Of course, I do believe God providentially governs all things, so that is another matter.

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In the most optimistic models, MRCA is at 2000 years, but I focus the result of 4000 years for nearly IAP under less optimistic assumptions. Of course, you already know this.

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There… now you can put Joshua on the rack. Unless you intuitively understand how Joshua can present an argument that doesn’t require providence, and yet he still personally believes in providence.

It is a methodological issue. It is only a scientific argument if I’m not relying on miracles to make my case. As soon as you appeal to miracles and providence, it’s technically possible, but you’ve substantially weakened the argument. More importantly, I never rely on providence to make my case in my book.

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Please note the not in the sentence!

The GAE methodology is not trying to convince Atheists to become Christians… it is trying to convince Christians how far they can get WITHIN their faith - - to embrace science.

I’m a Christian who is already convinced of the science and is trying to make sense of this part of the Bible, but I may be having more trouble because of having been an atheist not that long ago, combined with still being in a very YEC environment. That all messes with me.

I tend to not play the providence card unless there is a real biblical reason to do so. As a homeschooler, I’ve seen history curricula that say God used Columbus to discover America. I avoid that kind of thing like the plague. I do believe God works in the world, and I have strong suspicions of providential things happening in my life, particularly in bringing me back from atheism, but I can’t say with absolute certainty that God did such and such in those instances, and when I look at the GAE and the Flood, I have a hard time accepting that God providentially kept AE descendants from leaving the region until after the flood and then providentially spread AE all over the earth afterward, when I don’t see any biblical clues that that’s the case. It’s not like in Esther, where while God is never mentioned, it is clear that He has His hand involved throughout the story.

I guess it starts to sound more like the YEC hyperevolution after the ark. Could God have done it that way? I suppose so, but is there any biblical reason to believe He did? Not really.



History curricula for a Church school or a public school?

Naturally, public schools aren’t supposed to dabble in such speculation… but I see no reason to think Columbus’ explorations were accidential or even unintended by God.

You write: is there any biblical reason to believe He did? Not really.

You don’t have to be a Calvinist to believe God arranged for most of human history.

Curricula used by homeschoolers. Some of it is originally made for private church schools, and some is specifically written for homeschoolers. Definitely not public school curricula.

As I said, I do believe God works providentially in the world, but I’m not comfortable assigning specific events to God that aren’t mentioned in the Bible as being from God. I think we have to be careful with that.

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How can you recognize it if you can’t even say what the terms mean?

I don’t think God wants any rain storms, so the question is moot. You are ignoring the question of how God arranges a rain storm.

I don’t. If I once did I had forgotten. What parameters are involved in the difference?

Don’t go hiding behind Joshua.


I’m as skeptical as it comes … U.U., old skeptical yankee denomination.

And I have no problem at all thinking that God is the master of the cosmos and of our fates.

The Chess Master Analogy drives my thinking.