What is "Biblical"?

I certainly affirm biblical creation @r_speir. My disagreement with you on origins is probably better understood as a biblical disagreement than scientific. I do not think your view is consistent with Scripture or with Church tradition.

That’s my view though, and my reasons for backing away from your position. I could be wrong , but not because I’m unbiblical.

I still think you are wrong about your label. However, if I am wrong and you are indeed a biblical creationist, then - please take no offense - but I must change my label.

I wonder what others here would say about your claim to be a biblical creationist.

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This is disingenuous, or perhaps merely naive, since you both mean very different things by “biblical creation”.

Neither. There is substantial overlap in our meanings.

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I’d say less than 10%. He thinks all life was created in a few days around 6000 years ago and almost all rocks were laid down during the worldwide Flood. You may agree on the age of the universe and of earth, and you may agree that God had something to do with all that stuff. Is that substantial agreement? I suppose it serves your purpose to minimize the differences and emphasize points of agreement, but really there’s slim pickings to be had in that regard.

That isn’t the dimension over which I’m measuring overlap. That isn’t the most important dimension.


I would echo what Josh said, in the sense of the following: a proper Christian view of creation should focus not on the scientific details, but on the theological truths, such as that God created everything, He is sovereign over all of it, and God has a plan for humanity which has ceaselessly unfolded since the beginning of creation to the present day. All of these truths have been affirmed by Christians throughout the ages before the age of the Earth became an issue. Whether one believes the Earth is young or old or even whether God used evolution or not should be inconsequential to the reality of sin, the Incarnation, the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the universal call of the gospel. This is the overlap dimension that matters. There is something wrong about our view of creation if these differences create a gulf (whether intellectual or personal) that our shared commitment to Jesus and the gospel cannot bridge.


OK, that makes sense. You’re not talking about earth history or the history of life at all.


Definetely agree and would add there are more dimensions too of relevance. For example “biblical” is a statement about epistimological ordering, emphasizing the ministerial use of science. I’m in @r_speir’s camp here.

It is also a statement about affinity to a particular conservative Evangelical tradition. I also am in @r_speir’s camp here.

It also a statement about values in community. I value his commitment to Scripture and would not want to undermine that commitment.

It has been interesting to see the scientific debates play out with him, as if he was a “scientific” creationist. In important ways, he is not scientific, and wrangling about zirons, I predict, is not likely to change his mind.

At the root of it for him, and for me, is understanding what Scripture tells us. I want to know the process by which he examines and corrects his interpretation of Scripture. I want to know the hermeneutics rules he has and why he using these rules versus another. From that starting point, I think we could make far more progress together, in a way that respects his understanding of Scripture.

Of course, I’m not pushing to change his mind. There would be a real loss if he did, because we want honest YECs to find a home here.Though he has right to Change if he wants, and I wouldn’t hold it against him.

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Don’t you want YECs to adopt GAE? But that makes no sense, i.e. there’s no need for it at all, in a YEC framework. Are you not trying to convince them that they can abandon YEC because GAE makes YEC unnecessary as a biblical interpretation?

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If they adopted the GAE they wouldn’t be YEC’s any more, which would make this a very self limiting effort.

I want them to accept GAE as a faithful option for their children. I want them to make a YEC version of the GAE to immunize the GAE from critique from over-zealous and misguided YECs. I don’t care what they personally believe about origins, but I want them to agree that much less is at stake then they once thought.

If that happens, there will be a major cultural shift in YEC for the good. Maybe many, or even most, their children might move to a GAE. It would not matter though to their YEC parents, because the GAE would be already established as a faithful way of holding a YEC reading of Scripture alongside mainstream science.

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Which would make what a self-limiting effort?

I don’t think that’s possible. A YEC version of GAE would be incoherent and would throw away all its advantages, i.e. that it doesn’t contradict the data. Embed it in a worldview that massively contradicts the data and all that goes away. And of course all human history before 4004 BC disappears or has to be rearranged.

If much less is at stake there’s nothing to hold them to YEC, and they would stop being YEC.

It is possible but it would have all the problems you’ve pointed out, except 1. To be clear, a YEC-GAE would be:

  1. A young earth or old earth with young life.
  2. God creates people outside the garden, perhaps the Nephilim.
  3. God creates Adam and Eve, who interbreed with them outside.
  4. Flood is regional, targeted on Adam and Eve’s descendents in the Middle East.

This model would, unlike Nathaniel Jeanson or Ken Ham’s proposal, finally be consistent with the genetic evidence. It would also require a regional flood, rather than a global flood. This evades several other major problems with their model.

Would it have problems with the evidence? Absolutely. However, it would have far less problems with the evidence than any other YEC model, and it would be more consistent with a literal reading of Scripture. Imagine if John Sanford, @stcordova or @r_speir put this forward as a viable option for YECs, even if it was not their personal view. That would be a game changer.

That isn’t how people make decisions. @John_Harshman. That is not how change happens.

The effort to become a trusted voice, engaged with their concerns and respecting their beliefs, even as we explain why we disagree on the science and about Scripture.

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One important issue at stake is how some American Protestants have used Sola Scriptura, and how vested they have become in maintaining this usage. At some point in time they jettisoned so much theological history and thinking that they came to understand that one could properly interpret the Bible without knowing anything else. But Martin Luther himself, “recognized other subsidiary and contingent authorities, not alongside but under the rule of Scripture, which remained his final authority. These other authorities included not only the church fathers but also a number of significant medieval theologians.” I don’t know how you or anyone else is going to penetrate that barrier when simply presenting an alternative view is akin to apostasy.

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Well, I have been penetrating that barrier. It is not as impossible as you fear. :slight_smile:

See here: Jeremy Smith: I Disagree with Dr. Swamidass

No it wouldn’t, since all the people outside the Garden would have been created (apparently en masse) only 6000 years ago. No time for the patterns of genetic diversity we observe, unless it was all created that way, and there’s more of that unnecessary appearance of age that sinks an omphalos scenario.

Not true. It would dispose of a bottleneck of 2 in favor of massive created variation in a large created population unrelated to other hominids.

I don’t see that it would be.

Yes they would certainly have that problem, that that isn’t any thing new for YEC.

yes, which could actually fit the evidence.

I know, but we are working from different theories of change. I also know, understand, and love this community. This is the world in which I grew up. Maybe I am wrong, but I think I understand how this world works.

But it would fit the evidence in a way that’s irrelevant to GAE. It’s not a benefit of GAE. It’s a benefit of omphalos, and it’s no better than supposing, as some creationists do, that Adam and Eve were created with vast amount of genetic variation in their gametes.

Time will tell. How much time, do you think?

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Back in my teen years, when I was a Christian, I would have said that I was a biblical creationist. I would have been considered an OEC (old earth creationist).

I do not have any problem accepting that @swamidass is a biblical creationist.

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I agree. Scientifically, we should keep a strong distinction between the GAE and any YEC-GAE variant that pops up. I’m not advocating for this scientifically, to be clear.

Thanks @nwrickert, though I do cringe at the term “creationist”, because I ground myself in places other than creation (or evolution). I am “biblical”, but I would say I am a Christian that “affirms the biblical doctrine of creation.” I’m probably splitting hairs here, but it is what it is.

I’m pretty sure @AJRoberts would say the same about herself too.

There are a lot of unknowns here. It could be fast, or it could be slow. I think we will have some publicly clarity on this, perhaps, in the next 5 years. There is already private evidence we are making a lot of headway among YECs, which we haven’t made public. When that becomes public, and if it grows, it will be a game changer.

We can already see this happening among OECs and the GAE. Look over the endorsements and count up the OEC’s that endorsed the book, and note what they say. They are adopting the GAE as a theologically legitimate position, even if they aren’t ready personally to adopt it. In the coming year or so, I know for a fact that some leading OECs will go public with the GAE as their personal view. They won’t consider themselves TE or EC (because of Scriptural reasons, not scientific reasons), but they will likely affirm evolutionary science.

The GAE (with evolution outside the garden) may just be absorbed as just another version of OEC. It will be considered OEC, because it enables an OEC reading of Scripture, not because it denies evolution. That is, from my point of view, the definition of success. This, it seems, is very likely to happen over the next couple years.

The question, then, is about YEC. Could the same thing happen in YEC? It is possible, but far from certain. Let us see what happens.