Introducing Chad from Middle Ground

Hi everyone, this is Chad, the author of the article under consideration. I just wanted to say that I’m honored you are interacting with it. Blessings!


Welcome, @chad! I very much enjoyed your article. Glad you’ve joined us.


Thank you so much. Sorry it was long.

Glad you are able to join us @chad. I found your two articles at your blog:

I hope you stick around, as there is a lot of commonality in our intention and goals. Perhaps we can help each other.


Chad, your series of articles with the word “friendly” in the titles immediately caught my attention, especially “An Arminian Friendly Calvinism, (or Calvinist friendly Arminianism?)” I’m a die-hard Molinist (largely due to D.A. Carson and Bill Craig, long story from long ago) and I’m always looking for ideas on how to communicate the Arminian-Calvinist spectrum to the average Christian in the classes I teach. So I’ve added several of your URLs to my reading list.


Thank you for looping me in! I do believe we have similar intentions, and I’m excited to see what God has in store.

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Allen, thank you for doing that. Over the last twenty years, I’ve had more than a few sleepless nights with soteriological conundrums swirling through my head. Lol!


Welcome! I enjoyed your article and I will be sharing it with my students.

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@chad, I wish you well in your theological progression, but the bridge did not get built for me.

  • The universe and earth are very old

  • Animal life on earth is very old

  • Humans were created and fell into sin recently (six thousand to tens of thousands of years ago, depending on the presence of genealogy gaps)

  • Land-dwelling animals were not predatory until after the fall. However, they could have died before then due to other natural and/or divinely initiated causes

  • Aquatic animals (and perhaps some associated reptilian life) may have been predatory before the fall. They could have could have died before then as well.

When I looked deeper in your thoughts regarding #2 “Animal life on earth is very old” I found you to be unsurprisingly an evolutionist and was disappointed.

Continue to research and seek God. I hope you find a way to eliminate evolution some day in your thoughts. If you do not, you will not be successfully “bridge-building” with millions in the body of Christ.

@r_speir, he is doing a great job. His positions need some refinement, but perhaps you were never in the market for a way to make sense of evolutionary science alongside Scripture. I’m not so worried about this. I’m sure you children and grand children will be very interested.

So @chad I have a question for you. Doesn’t it strike you as supremely frustrating that you (or I) can successfully build bridges between young earth and old earth views but never successfully build a bridge between evolution and the Scripture’s account of the creation of animal kinds? Why is that?

Where in the fossil record do you propose the Fall to have happened? Prior to almost all of it? If so, we know of no land animal fossils before the Fall, and your idea is apparently safe from refutation. Then again, if the Fall happened recently but fossils are old, you have a big problem. There are many fossils with wounds, tooth marks, and even broken teeth embedded in them. Did T. rex mistake a Triceratops for a head of cabbage, or what?

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Again, I am not in the business of reconciling naturalistic macroevolution with Genesis 1.

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@r_speir, thanks for the welcome and encouragement!

Perhaps you are bringing the presupposition “old animals=evolution” to your reading of my article. I never state anything about animals evolving. An ancient fossil record could be showing progressively created animals. If you read my section about the non-predatory nature of many animals pre-fall, you will quickly see that my view does not align well with traditional macroevolution.


I presume you are asking @chad this question. We will let him reply since it is his claim.

Perhaps you missed my discussion of sea creatures and the link of serpent to Tannyn. The predatory nature of such creatures is permissible in the text. The challenge is defining the land animal types for which a predatory nature was not permissible prefall. But I think it’s so worthy notion to pursue.

Here is some interaction with some of the points of @deuteroKJ

Regarding #5:
The Analogical view takes Genesis 1 as a wholesale parable because it realizes that the narrative describes a realistic, temporal series of events, not a mixture of symbols with real events (as the Day Age view espouses). If we were to substitute God, land, sea, and planets with candy maker, skittles, taffy, and lemonheads (I love those!), the narrative would sound like a very realistic work week of a candy maker. In other words, the framework is literal, similar to Jesus’ parables. But the problem people have with literality is the nouns being used (God, sea, planets, etc). For some reason when these nouns are there, they want it to be poetry, either due to perceived conflicts with science or supposed authorial intent. But if we force it to be an analogy, where does the analogy end? Genesis 2? 3? 4? Exodus? Matthew? Revelation? Maybe it’s all a myth? The historical consensus (prior to modern science) was that Genesis 1 was describing a historical event. There is no need to change that now.

Regarding #6:
It is just as much of an exegetical fallacy to assume that words with overlapping meanings are always synonymous, as to assume they are always different. Bara (b) and Asah (a) do in fact overlap in possible meanings, but have clear differences when used in certain contexts and literary structures. The b-a-a-a-a-b pattern in Genesis 1 is one such instance where a distinction is being highlighted. There are Hebrew scholars who agree with me. One I can think of off hand is John Sailhamer. Another was a Hebrew lecturer as RPTS.

Regarding #8:
The conclusions in this section are based on literary structure and can be held regardless of whether it is “concordist” or not. Hypothetically it could be a parable about six days of work fulfilled immediatelyor a parable about six days of initiated work fulfilled over time. Either interpretation could still be a parable. But can you not at least acknowledge the patterns:
Day 2: D – C – F – E
Day 4: D – F – C – E
As well as the different sequence of fulfillment in Genesis 2?

Regarding #9:
I don’t deny all pre-fall predators, but rather the ones that Genesis 1 text disallows – land animals and birds (though I don’t deny God could ordain their deaths through other natural means). Sea creatures and tannyn (who I show to have a relationship to the serpent, and perhaps other reptilian creatures) are free game.

Regarding #10: To call such suggested reconciliations “nuts” is to convey an anti-supernatural bias. Anyone who believes in a real devil who inhabited a real serpent in real paradise, should have no problem with the notion of such a being wreaking havoc on our world before Adam and Eve were even created. John Lennox is a notable advocate. As for Dembski’s retroactive view, I only offered it as as potential solution, not as Gospel. When we consider God’s providence (eg setting answers to prayer in motion before we pray, or offering of salvation to BC folks on the basis of Christ’s future work), is Dembski’s view really far-fetched? Can we not at least agree that God knew that dead dinosaurs would provide fossil fuel in the future? Nearly everything God does has a providential purpose, whether positive or negative.


@chad, have you read the GAE yet?

So you are an OEC? And you think T-Rex was a vegetarian?

I don’t advocate for the Analogical Day view (or day-age or myth or…). But whatever one does with it, it clearly stops at Gen 2:3, and then one must deal with the next text on its own terms;

Of course, creation is an event that happened in the past. But there’s never been a consensus on how to read the details.

Agreed. My problem here (and I just finished reviewing Sailhamer’s view this past month) is that the two are used together in Gen 1:26-27 and the allusions back to Gen 1:1 in Gen 2:2; Exod 20:11; and esp Exod 31:17. Sailhamer’s attempt at explaining these seems weak to me (not to mention his limitation of the earth to land in Gen 1:2ff).

I get it, I just don’t see these disallowed myself. (I think there the terms for the land animals might assume predators. The need to “subdue” at least suggests resistance, and predators would fit the bill.)

This is even more nuts (if you check around here, I’m the guy who advocates for all sorts of strange supernatural things in Genesis). It’s not about what the devil could do, but what the textual indicators are. I still think Dembski’s view is nuts (so I’ll take it back on the devil part!). It’s like spanking my kids when they wake up, knowing they’ll deserve it at some point in the day.

But thanks for the back-and-forth. This is a nice distraction from grading papers :slight_smile:


I thought it was yours. You’re not quoting properly if it isn’t.

Wouldn’t that be all land animal types? The fossil record of land animals shows predation almost from the beginning of land animals, based on their anatomy and, for a fair number, on tooth marks, occasional stomach contents, and coprolites. This does include both mammals and birds. Of course birds are reptilian creatures, or perhaps dinosaurs aren’t, depending on how you chop up the phylogeny.

If the Fall occurred recently, that would postdate the entire fossil record.

Incidentally, this is a myth. Oil doesn’t come from dinosaurs, despite the old Sinclair Oil sign.