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Creation and Presuppositions

By Marc Clauson
I heartily concur with him that "the heavens will indeed declare the glory of God."

PCANews - While I believe that Ray Williams' article regarding the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Discovery is fascinating and certainly we both agree that it ultimately shows God's handiwork, I must disagree once again with him on the conclusions he reaches based on the evidence

He says that the new discoveries testify to "the vast size and extreme age of the universe." The discoveries do appear to fit the theory that Mr. Williams supports, but they could also fit other theories that do not make the earth old. We must remember that scientific paradigms are just that – theories. They do not necessarily give us the way the universe actually is.

Mr. Williams goes on to assert that "mature creation" theories and "decreased light travel time" theories are "completely without merit." Now he could be right – as I have said – but he could well be wrong. His beginning presuppositions have led him to the conclusions he reached regarding earth age.

A presuppositionalist argument is most certainly not "a diversion." Why? Simply because there may be another theory not yet "thought of" that both explains the phenomenon observed and fits with a "natural" interpretation of Genesis 1. As Mr. Williams would affirm, paradigms shift from time to time as men reflect upon the current paradigm. They "discover" a theory that fits all the anomalies better than the older one. In this case one must consider the possibility that Genesis 1 may have a meaning that it had for much of the past 400 years – that the earth is relatively young and that creation was in six natural days. That is a problem that Mr. Williams' paradigm does not account for at present, but which one in the future may well account successfully for.

Mr. Williams cites John Collins' book on science in support of his theory. Collins argues for a non-natural day theory on linguistic grounds. That is fine. But once again, it "proves" nothing (no offense to Collins' efforts – it is not his effort or the quality of his work that is in question, but the very possibility of its truth in reality). Collins' book is another theory of how to interpret Genesis 1. But so is the natural day creation theory. Both have their merits. Which one in the long run will be found to be the best interpretation? Time will tell, but the answer has not yet been settled.

What is my point? It is simply that Mr. Williams is jumping to conclusions all too readily. Granted he is a scientist and scientists are "empirical creatures." Empiricism is a fine philosophical "tool" God has given to man. But it alone cannot answer the ultimate questions because it cannot (by its very nature) account for the miraculous. It reports what is seen and makes generalizations from those individual "bits" of evidence. As Mr. Williams rightly implies, the Bible is the ultimate governor of the nature of the generalizations made. But I fear Mr. Williams has possibly foreclosed the debate in his own mind. So I ask him to maintain an open mind on the matter. In the meantime, I heartily concur with him that "the heavens will indeed declare the glory of God."

Marc A. Clauson, Associate Professor of Intellectual History
Cedarville University
Cedarville, Ohio 
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    God Substituting Himself for Man

    The concept of substitution may be said to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices Himself for man and puts Himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone.

    John Stott in The Cross of Christ

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