21 December 2000
On the John Ankerberg Show, the leading progressive creationist Dr Hugh Ross debated a young-Earth, six-literal-day creationist, Dr Kent Hovind. This was aired early October.
Before reading this article, readers might be interested to know that Ken Ham and I did a webcast (9 Nov. 2000) about this debate and the problems with Progressive Creationism in general. Hugh Ross responded with radio broadcasts of his own (11, 18, 25 Nov.) My article Hugh Ross lays down the gauntlet! (21 Nov. 2000) refuted several major errors in astronomy and Hebrew that Ross made in this debate and broadcast, so this should be read before this article. Since this has already generated some responses, it would also be helpful to read my counter-response Answering some Hugh Ross supporters.
Ross doesn’t seem to like being called a ‘progressive creationist’ although that is the commonly accepted term. Here we agree with Ross—there is nothing progressive about this! But we will continue using it as a shorthand for belief in six long days of creation, billions of years, successive acts of creation during those eons, a local flood, pre-Adamic non-human human-like creatures.
Before I present the key points of the debate with my comments, it would be worth seeing the spin- doctoring about this debate by Hugh Ross.
From the Reasons to Believe newsletter, October 9, 2000
In fact, Ross is being totally disingenuous—Ankerberg had been a Ross supporter for years before—as Ross couldn’t possibly NOT know! See Dr David Menton’s letter to Ankerberg (1992) outlining the disrespectful way Ankerberg treated high-profile young-earth creationist Ph.D. scientists who had given up much time to record programs for him, and instead substitute Ross’s errors.
And while Hovind was probably an unfortunate choice as the representative of YEC (I suspect that this was exactly Ankerberg’s intention), he was by no means as abusive as Ross claims.
In Ross’s radio broadcast (11 Nov.), the following dialog occurred:
Announcer (Krista Bontrager): And I want to add that John Ankerberg does an outstanding job of moderating this discussion …
HR: That’s right.
Announcer:… clarifying Hugh’s points in a very fair and balanced manner.
‘Clarifying’ is hardly the word—Ankerberg repeatedly went out of his way to make points for Ross gratuitously. And I thought a ‘fair and balanced’ moderator would have equally tried to clarify Hovind’s points, but even Ross can’t bring himself to make such a claim, so Ross is inadvertently revealing Ankerberg’s obvious partiality.
Note: I haven’t presented the whole debate, first because copyright provisions permit only ‘fair use’ for the purposes of criticism, and second because parts of it are superfluous or repeated. I have used ellipsis (…) to indicate an omission.
It is also a very long file, and debates by their nature don’t always lend themselves to systematic order of topics, so I’ve provided internal hyperlinks to headings and key topics discussed in this article in the table of contents (right):
Today on the John Ankerberg show, we invite you to listen to a debate on science and the Bible. Our topic—are the universe and the Earth billions of years old or just thousands of years old? Does the information in Genesis chapter one and two agree with contemporary scientific evidence? My guests are astronomer Dr Hugh Ross, and educator Dr Kent Hovind. We invite you to join us for this special debate, on the John Ankerberg show.
Moderator (Ankerberg): We’re talking tonight with two special guests about the topic, is the universe and the Earth, are they billions of years old, or just thousand of years old? And are Genesis one and two compatible with contemporary scientific evidence today? My guests are Dr Hugh Ross, who received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Toronto, his post-doctoral research on quasars at Cal Tech; also Dr Kent Hovind, who received his Ph.D. in education, writing his doctoral dissertation on the subject of creation and evolution. Guys, we’re glad that you’re here tonight, and we’re gonna start right off with an important question to Dr Ross, I’d like to start with you. The Bible says, in the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth. Now you believe the scientific evidence for the Big Bang proves that this statement is true, but you also believe that the Big Bang theory shows that the age of universe and the Earth is billions of years old, and the scientific evidence astronomers have discovered about the Big Bang, it perfectly fits the Biblical creation account in Genesis one and two. Why? Talk to us.
Ross: Sure. Well, I’d like to give credit where it’s due. You know, a lot of people think Albert Einstein and George Gamow were the ones that discovered the Big Bang, but in truth they were upstaged by two thousand years by Moses and David and Zechariah, Jeremiah, Isaiah.
These were a lot more than 2000 years ago—David more like 3000, and Moses 3500.
Ross: ’Cause what you see is eight times the Bible states that the universe was transcendently created, a transcendent beginning of matter, energy, space, and time, which is identical to the Big Bang concept of a singular beginning. And likewise in eleven different places in the Bible it tells us that the universe is continually experiencing ongoing expansion, you know, the stretching out of the heavens. It’s in the qal-active participle form, this continual stretching out.
Ross is correct to claim that the verb ‘stretch’ is a participle, but his claims show that he doesn’t understand Hebrew grammar. A more detailed explanation can be found in this section of ‘Hugh Ross lays down the gauntlet!’
Ross: And the third point is that you have in Romans chapter eight that the entire creation is subject to the law of decay, and that implies that the universe was much hotter in the past than it is now, otherwise you’re not gonna get this progress towards decay.
This is pure eisegesis. Proper exegesis involves working out what the original author intended to teach his intended initial readers. Would the Roman readers have gained the impression that the universe was much hotter in the past? And the science is wrong too—the reason the universe is decaying is that it was once far more organised than it is now, but because of the Curse, God has withdrawn some of His upholding power, and things are becoming less organised. Also, a uniform hot temperature means nothing, but temperature differences mean there is an ability to decay into a state of more uniform temperature (the ‘heat death’).
Ross: And those are the three fundamental principles of the Big Bang theory, and so the question is not whether or not it’s a Big Bang, but really the thing that divides us is how long has the universe been expanding. And I can suggest seven easy tests—there are a dozen more that are more complicated—but I think the two that are the most compelling is that stars and planets are impossible unless the universe has been expanding for billions of years. If it’s only thousands all you get is hydrogen gas, if it’s trillions, all you get are black holes. Moreover, you can only get stable orbits of planets about stars and stars about the centers of galaxies if the universe has been expanding continually for billions of years.
What nonsense. One must wonder what sort of God Ross worships if He was unable to make planets in stable orbits just by the power of His word. As usual, Ross presupposes that stars and planets formed in the big bang billions of years ago, then uses this to ‘prove’ billions of years.
Moderator: Before Kent answers here, the fact is, where is the scientific community? Do they, are they admitting that the universe had a start?
Moderator: Give me an example.
Ross: Well, you’ve got Stephen Hawking for example, who produced the space-time theorem of general relativity. And that theorem is based on only two conditions—if the universe contains mass, and a bathroom scale is usually enough to convince most skeptics; and number two, if the dynamics of the universe is governed by the equations of general relativity, then there must exist a cause that brings the universe into existence independent of matter, energy, and ten space-time dimensions.
As Ph.D. astronomy professor Dr Danny Faulkner points out, the big bang is an essentially atheistic theory—see The dubious apologetics of Hugh Ross.
Hovind: There’s no difference between what you’re saying and what Carl Sagan says. That’s what I see. I see what you say as being totally foreign to God’s Word, and I get real nervous when somebody teaches something—
Ross: Hold it—
Hovind: When somebody teaches something where we have to have a guru to explain it. Now you have a cult.
It was comments like that that prompted Ross’s complaint that Hovind was continually calling him a cult leader. As can be seen, it didn’t happen that often, although Hovind should have said that it is an almost universal cultic practice effectively to deny the key Reformation and Biblical doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture, so requiring a cult leader to tell the followers what it means. Reasons to Believe doesn’t have other cultic characteristics like a definite organisational structure for its followers, adding works to salvation (e.g. baptism, speaking in tongues), denial of the Trinity and Christ as fully God and fully man (although William Lane Craig, a self-confessed Ross supporter, says: ‘I find his [Ross’s] attempt to construe God as existing in hyperdimensions of time and space and to interpret Christian doctrines in that light to be both philosophically and theologically unacceptable’).1
Ross: Well, let me underline the principal point, though—the very existence of stars and planets means it’s been expanding for billions of years. To support thousand of years, you’ve got to get rid of all the stars, planets, galaxies, and moons. And as an astronomer I can tell you there really are stars out there, there really are planets and moons. It’s not a mirage. We live on a planet. There’s a star that supplies us with heat. That’s all you need, it’s very simple, you don’t have to have a Ph.D. to figure this out. If the universe expands too fast, none of the protons and neutrons will ever—
Once again Ross is blind to the blatantly tautological reasoning here.
Moderator: How do we know how far away they are and how long it’s been expanding?
Ross: Well, because of the new paper published just in the June 1st issue of Astrophysical Journal, I’ve got the paper here with me,
Another Ross tactic—argument from authority. But there is no need to be intimidated by him. Not only is science limited when dealing with the past, so can never be a threat to the Bible, but also Ross doesn’t understand the science involved (or at least was extremely sloppy and misleading in his explanation), as was shown in this section of ‘Hugh Ross lays down the gauntlet!’
Hovind: And thirdly, the God that I worship is able to make a full-grown man in a full-grown garden and full-grown universe. He doesn’t need seventeen billion years to get it put together so we can live here. He can make it right in six days. And He’s capable of writing a book that the average person can understand.
Ross: He’s capable of doing all of that, but He’s also capable of doing it in two nano-seconds—
Ross: The question would be is, what did He do?
The answer to the question is simple: what He said He did in His written Word!
Moderator: [re-introduces debate and debaters, and reads from Genesis 1:1–5] Now it seems to me you got a couple things here—God created the universe, God created the Earth, it was formless and empty, God creates light—what kind of light, was He talking about the sun or something else? God separates light from darkness. Does scientific evidence agree with this order? What else do you see that’s going on? Kent, you want to start us off?
Hovind: Well, sure, I think anybody with average intelligence can read that and say, well on the first day God created the material, He created the heaven and the Earth, and then He made light. And He chose six days to do this and then a day of rest to establish a seven-day week for us. It’s just six normal days, just like we have today, there’s no difference at all. And Exodus 20:11, the only thing God ever wrote with His own finger, He wrote on a rock for Moses, the Ten Commandments, everything else He had somebody write for Him, He wrote on a rock with His own finger and He doesn’t stutter—He said I made everything in six days. To me that means He made everything in six days.
Moderator: Okay. Hugh, what happened there? What’s happening in day one?
Ross: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth, that’s matter, energy, space, and time as you can easily establish by going to seven other Bible passages. Which means there’s light in the beginning, but it’s dark on the surface of the waters of planet Earth, because the light of the heavens could not get through the Earth’s atmosphere to the surface of the Earth. As it says in the first creation day, let there be light. He uses the verb hayah, distinct from the verb bara in Genesis 1:1.
Of course He does: hayah is the verb to be, and bara means ‘to create’. God said ‘let there be light’, and there was light, just by the power of His word. Did Ross expect God to say ‘Let light be created?’ Who else was around to create? Just more obfuscation, with Ross trying to give the impression that he’s knowledgeable in Hebrew, when his published books get singular and plural back to front, which I explain in this section of ‘Hugh Ross lays down the gauntlet!’ and when challenged he was unable to say even ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in Hebrew (see this section of my Exposé of The Genesis Question).
Ross: God creates the light in the beginning, it shows up on the surface of the Earth on creation day one. So creation day one is not the creation of light, it’s the appearance of light on the surface of the waters of planet Earth, and now photosynthesis is possible on planet Earth. So Genesis 1:2, in my opinion, is simply the statement of four initial conditions—the Earth began dark, water over the whole face of the Earth, unfit for life and empty of life, and now the Spirit of God begins to work and transform.
Moderator: All right, what about this word—and there was evening, and there was morning, the first day?
Ross: Sure. You’re reading out of the King James?
Moderator: No, I’m reading this one off NIV, and—but it is a distinct phrase that is used there, the first day.
Ross: It should say, and there is evening and there is morning, right?
Paul Elbert is not a Hebrew scholar, he is a physicist and an adjunct prof (i.e. part-time lecturer) of New Testament at a small college, and not even a New Testament scholar.
Ross: … has written a piece on this very theme, and his point is that if it was gonna be twenty-four hours, it would have to be an evening and an evening, or a morning and a morning, the fact that it’s evening and morning establishes that the text is not speaking of twenty-four days, but one of the other two literal definitions of the word day, there being three. It could be twelve hours, twenty-four hours, or a long time period. All three are literal. Paul Elbert’s point is the structure of the evening and the morning establishes that it is referring to something other than a twenty-four day.
This would be news to just about every Hebrew scholar who has written on this topic. Luther and Calvin certainly didn’t think this way, and neither do commentaries by many evangelical and liberal scholars including Archer, Waltke, Sailhamer, Hamilton, Barr, Leupold, Wenham, Kidner, Arnold, Speiser, Young and Davis. These are all outstanding Hebraists, yet none argue in this way. In fact most (even those who believe in billions of years) admit that the presence of the evening and morning clauses is strong evidence for taking the days as literal.
Moderator: Okay, let’s just stay right here for a little bit, because both of you are Christians, both of you believe that the Bible’s the inerrant word of God, so that it’s not making a mistake here. Kent, do you agree that we have three options?
Hovind: List them for me and I’ll tell you if I agree.
Moderator: Well, you’ve got the—how the word yôm is used all through Scripture. You’ve got the day of the Lord, which has got to be more than a twenty-four hour period of time.
It doesn’t have an evening/morning and a number, so it’s totally irrelevant to the specific context of Genesis 1. This wonderfully impartial moderator is committing the exegetical fallacy of unwarranted expansion of the semantic field (see this section of my Exposé of The Genesis Question).
Moderator: Okay. You’ve got the fact of a twenty-four day, and then also it’s used for just a twelve-hour period of time, like the daytime.
But the context is totally different once again, without evening/morning and number.
Hovind: I think if you gave this book to five thousand people and said, read this, tell me what it says, all five thousand would come back and say, this is saying He made it in six days. When you have to have a guru to tell you what it says, you now have a cult. That’s what makes me very nervous. I think—let me read what James Barr says, he’s a professor of Hebrew, or was, at Vanderbilt University, former Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford University, he said,
Ross: That’s simply not true, it wasn’t true when James Barr stated it, and it’s certainly not true today. Now I speak on seminary campuses all the time, and the majority uphold the idea that the text, the plain reading of the text indeed implies long periods of time, not twenty-four hours. I mean, I’m testimony to that. I didn’t meet Christians till I was 27. When I read the Bible for the first time, it was obvious to me it’s speaking about six long time periods. There’s no closure on the seventh day, you’ve only got an evening and morning for the first six days.
Previously, the systematic theologian, Dr Douglas Kelly, had responded to the same argument from Ross as follows:2
DK: To say the least, this places a great deal of theological weight on a very narrow and thin exegetical bridge! Is it not more concordant with the patent sense of the context of Genesis 2 (and Exodus 20) to infer that because the Sabbath differed in quality (though not—from anything we can learn out of the text itself—in quantity), a slightly different concluding formula was appended to indicate a qualitative difference (six days involved work; one day involved rest)? The formula employed to show the termination of that first sabbath: ‘And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made’ (Gen. 2:2) seems just as definite as that of ‘and the evening and the morning were the first day’.
See also Is the seventh day an eternal day?
Ross: You read Genesis chapter two, and look at everything that happens on the sixth day. There are ten creation accounts in the Bible. In order to develop a correct interpretation of creation, one must faithfully integrate all ten, not just focus on a couple of verses out of Genesis chapter one.
How nice of this epitome of impartiality to help Ross out here. How on Earth can Ross claim that Ankerberg was originally a Hovind supporter?
A man, indeed a defender of Biblical inerrancy, who allowed himself to be intimidated by ‘science’ so didn’t believe what he admitted was the most obvious interpretation—24-hour days. Archer writes:3
GA: From a superficial reading, the impression received is that the entire creative process took place in six twenty-four hour days. If this is was the true intent of the Hebrew author (a questionable deduction, as will be presently shown), this seems to run counter to modern scientific research, which indicates that the planet Earth was created several billion years ago.
The rest of this is a rationalization to explain away the clear Biblical teaching of six 24-hour days, to fit in with uniformitarian ‘science’.
Moderator: and if we go to the next chapter, there’s a tip-off I think in terms of what it is, Genesis 2:4, referring back to the seven days, says, this is the account of the heavens and the Earth when they were created, referring back to those seven days. And then it says, in the day that the Lord God made heaven and Earth. So you have one day referring to all seven, so you have it as a period of time. Now Gleason Archer writes about this, all Biblical scholars admit that yôm, day, may be used in a figurative or symbolic manner as well as in a literal sense, and he says this is very evident in Genesis 2:4—this is the account of the heavens and the Earth when they were created.
Here, yôm is prefixed by be— beyôm—so it is an idiomatic expression for ‘when’ as the NIV has it. The context is totally different from Genesis 1, where there are no prepositions with yôm.
Moderator: Henry Morris, of all folks, says the King James version translates the word yômas a period of time 65 times.
Yes, of course—Ankerberg makes it sound like this is Earth-shattering news to creationists. Why give the impression that creationists have ever said that yôm only means a 24-hour day? We just claim that it means a 24-hour day (or a part of this cycle) when it has an evening/morning or a number.
Moderator: So the door is open, and it’s very interesting that even Moses himself is quoted in 2 Peter 3:10 this way—but the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. Actually, it’s uh—but do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and he’s quoting that from, I think it’s Psalm chapter 90 verse 4, which is a Psalm of Moses, and that’s how Moses, who wrote this passage, used it. I’m simply saying that there’s exegetical grounds for opening the door for a stage or a period of time among the scholars.
Not at all.2 Peter 3:8 says that one day is as a thousand years, so it’s a figure of speech called a simile to teach that God is outside of time, because He is the Creator of time. It is not defining a day because it doesn’t say ‘a day is a thousand years’. In fact, the figure of speech is so effective in its intended aim precisely because the day is literal and contrasts so vividly with 1000 years—to the Creator of time, a short period of time and a long period of time may as well be the same. So we humans should be patient with God as He will fulfil His promises in His time.
Also, Ankerberg didn’t quote Psalm 90:4 in full, because it clinches what I say about the contrast between a short and long time period: For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. This is synonymous parallelism, so to be consistent, Ankerberg would have to say that a watch in the night can sometimes mean 1000 years. It’s a little difficult to imagine that a Psalm writer (Ps 63:7) was thinking on his bed for thousands of years or that his eyes stay open for thousands of years (Ps 119:148).
Ross: Yeah, Gleason Archer also made the point that on the sixth day you’ve got Adam and Eve both created, Genesis chapter one, when you go to Genesis chapter two, Adam hangs around a long time before Eve gets created. He’s got to work the Garden of Eden, he’s got to name all the animals, he goes through an operation, he recovers, and frankly I think what’s going on is God’s dealing with him because men have a hard time integrating the physical creation, the emotional creation, the spiritual. He says Eve doesn’t need this college class, but Adam does. I think it took him at least a semester to get through it.
Pseudo-psychology is no substitute for sound exegesis. There is no need to deny the plain meaning—that the 6th day was an ordinary day—see Naming the Animals: All in a day’s work for Adam.
Moderator: Well, the fact is, is uh—for folks who don’t know Gleason Archer, Gleason Archer has taught most of your Hebrew scholars, he graduated from Harvard with his Ph.D. I think he knows like 22 different languages, he used to take notes in Hittite when he was in class. I used to quote from the lexicon and he said that’s wrong, he would correct the lexicon. I never knew anybody that corrected the dictionary, he’d write a letter and they would correct it. He got my attention, and so if he’s open to the idea, I’m open to the idea, but the fact is, is regardless, let’s go on here in terms of the order. What happened on day two?
No-one is disputing Archer’s expertise in Hebrew, but Ankerberg overlooks the reason Archer felt compelled to interpret Genesis the way he did. Archer was trying to defend Biblical inerrancy against charges that it contradicted uniformitarian ‘dates’, but he should have questioned the inerrancy of the ‘dates’ rather than re-interpreted Scripture.
Hovind: I didn’t get to respond to that one.
Moderator: Oh, please, go ahead.
Hovind: I would disagree very strongly with what Dr Ross has said.
Hovind: I think the days have to be six normal days because there’s so many other references in Scripture. For instance, Exodus 20:11, in the Ten Commandments. God said, I want you to rest on the Sabbath because I made everything in six days. He wasn’t telling them to work six million years and then finally take a break, and the only two references you referred to about 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90 verse 4, both of them say a day is like a thousand years, they don’t say a million or a billion.
As shown above, Hovind is missing the point here.
Hovind: Plus I think if you just read the first chapter, you’ll see God made the plants, the grass, and the trees on day 3, He made the sun on day 4, and the Bible says clearly He created the sun. He didn’t just make the light visible. I don’t know where Dr Ross gets this idea that the smoke cleared and all of a sudden they could—the sun was already there. That’s just simply not true. He created the sun—
Ross: Hold on, you’re wrong—
Hovind: Let me finish now. The Hebrew word is very clear there. The six days of—I mean, how long can the plants live without the sun? Plus the insects are made on day five, and they pollinate the plants. Plus animals breathe in oxygen and breathe off carbon dioxide, and plants do the opposite. The idea of these days being long periods of time is just ridiculous.
Moderator: Well, let me just say this—the sun wasn’t created on day one?
Hovind: The light was made, it doesn’t say the sun was made.
Moderator: Okay, I just wanted to make sure you were saying that.
Hovind: Oh, yeah. God is light.
Moderator: Do you think the sun was created then?
Ross: Definitely. The fourth day does not say the sun was created. It uses the verb again hayah, let there be the great lights.
Another smoke screen with hayah.
Ross: In the sixteenth verse where it says so God made the sun, moon, and stars, it’s in the qal-perfect form, it simply states the sun and stars were made at some unspecified time in the past. Moreover, not—
No, it’s a waw-consecutive qalimperfect (aka, a preterite)! This is explained in this section of ‘Hugh Ross lays down the gauntlet!’
Hovind: In your interpretation.
Ross: —can the plants survive twenty-four hours. They’re not gonna make it even a nanosecond without the heat and light of the sun. So obviously there’s something wrong with your interpretation.
They could survive in the light God created on the first day (it’s reasonable to assume that other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum were created then too, e.g. infrared (heat) rays. But surviving for billions of years in a dense haze where sunlight was blocked out, that’s another matter.
Hovind: What I’ve seen from reading your work, and I’ve probably got—I’ve got an awful lot of letters from people who said, boy I wish I could be there to debate Hugh Ross, you know. I got a lot of people who would like—there’s a, many websites devoted to this topic, you know, of your appearance of knowing Hebrew, when you don’t know any Hebrew.
Ross: I know a whole stable of Hebrew scholars that volunteer for Reasons to Believe, okay?
They obviously didn’t bother to tell Ross the difference between singular and plural, perfect and imperfect, or how to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’!
Hovind: Well, so do I, and I can read too, sure, and I can talk to people who read Hebrew also, but I don’t want you to, you know, mislead the audience into thinking you know Hebrew when you don’t, and neither do I. All I can do—but I don’t think God writes a book where we have to know Hebrew. The God that I worship is able to write a book and then preserve and give it to us in a form that I can read and understand, and I’m telling you, nobody—if you went to a mission field where there were no Christian, and no concept of Christianity, and just gave this book to them and said, what does it say? All of them would come back and say, it says six days just like we have today.
Ross: Kent, I’ve been on the mission field, that’s not simply true. I mean, I’ve met all kinds of people who’ve drawn the conclusion these are long periods of time.
Hovind: Please name one.
Ross: Okay—I mean, there’s some ladies that work with us in our office, raised in Arkansas, read the Bible on their own, came to that conclusion, high school education. These are plain folk.
Hovind: Well, there you had the key right there. If they’ve got a high school education in the public school, they would have been taught evolution, and then they would have read the Bible with—
Ross: I’m talking eleven years of age, this is before they hit the high school years.
Ross is ignoring that modern civilisation indoctrinates children from very young ages with literary and media references to evolution and that children in government schools are taught evolution progressively from the earliest grades.
Hovind: Well, and when I read your testimony also in your book about how you came to the Bible, you’d already decided the Big Bang theory’s true. That was already a given in your mind.
Ross: Of course, the Bible teaches it.
Ross skirts around the issue. First, if the Bible really did teach this, it’s amazing that God’s people were in the dark about his important fact till the 20th century. Second, he claims that before he came to the Bible, he was already convinced that the big bang as true. So how can he say that he regarded the big bang as a given because the Bible teaches it, before reading the Bible?!
Hovind: No, it doesn’t. But you’d already decided the Earth is, the universe is billions of years old, and now you come to the Bible and try to force that interpretation on God’s Word. That’s the wrong way to come to it.
Hovind is right. Ross had already decided that the big bang was correct.
Yes let’s. Why did Ankerberg even bother asking Ross and Hovind, since he may as well have pushed his compromise position all by himself!
This is just a rationalisation. Yes, this was a symbolic representation of one time period by a different one. But the Fourth Commandment compares like with like. There is no point even trying to understand the Bible if a word in the same passage and same grammatical context can switch meanings, without any hint in the text itself. Also, the Fourth Commandment is unique in that both Ex 20:11 and 31:17 have the causal explanation ‘For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the Earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day’. The word ‘for’ (Hebrew ki, also having the sense ‘because’) at the beginning of this expression shows that the creation week is the very basis of the working week.
Moderator: And I just point this out that, how do we, the very question you guys are grappling here, for our people that are at home, how are they supposed to approach this? You’ve got the verse in Genesis chapter two where it does seem to say that a day refers to the whole spectrum of whatever time period those six days, seven days occurred in the first chapter. You have the day of the Lord which everybody seems to agree can go on into eternity. You’ve got other suggestions of periods of time.
Of course, but they are in completely different contexts, without evening/morning or a number—something we have to point out repeatedly because guys like Ankerberg persist in abetting Ross’s caricaturing our position with juvenile word games.
Ross: Well, let’s pick that theme up, I mean, Exodus twenty. That whole idea of the fourth commandment’s repeated five times in the Levitical law. Only two of the five times does it give you the divine analogy, for in six days.
I’m not sure what Ross means, but how many times does God have to say something before he will believe it?
Ross: And we also note in both cases the preposition is not in the original. It simply says for six days—
Hovind: Here you’re going off in your imagined Hebrew again. Now listen—
Ross: It’s not imagined Hebrew.
Hovind: You don’t speak Hebrew and neither do I.
Ross: No, I’ve checked it out, I’ve checked it out with Hebrew scholars, …
Are these the same Hebrew scholars who got singular and plural, and perfect and imperfect, back-to-front?!
Ross: … they assure me that the preposition’s not there. I’ve read the original text, it’s not there in the original.
So? No explicit word is there in the Hebrew, but the grammar requires it when translating into English. It’s nonsensical to require word-for-word translation. Also, how does this help his case if there is no preposition? It’s just another smokescreen. What Ross needs to do is to get rid of the causal word ki, which he cannot do. So the link stands between six days of creation and six days of work, with a seventh day of rest after both.
Hovind: And have you read the long critique of what you just said on [Creation Ministries International] website on this very topic you’re talking about?
Ross: Sure have.
Hovind: And what’s your response?
Ross: My response is, it doesn’t withstand the scrutiny of Hebrew scholarship.
Oh really? This is the expert opinion of a man who gets singulars and plurals back to front, can’t understand lexicons, or tell the difference between perfect and imperfect verbs!
Ross: It also ignores the problem of Leviticus chapter 25. There you’ve got the case of God setting up a work period and a rest period for the agricultural land. It was to be worked six years and rested on the seventh year.
Ross: So I go along with Gleason Archer. What you’ve got in Exodus 20 is an analogy, not an exact equation.
Hovind: I disagree.
And rightly so, because the other examples are clearly analogies because they compare oranges with apples (40 years and 8 days), but Ex. 20 is indeed an equation because it compares apples with apples (6 days + 1 day of rest in both).
Moderator: …. We hit day one last time, we’re now going to talk about day two, [reads Genesis 1:6–8]. Hugh, what happened on day two?
Ross: Well, hopefully, we agree here. I see that as a reference to God establishing a stable, abundant water cycle. In fact one of our colleagues, Dr Robert Newman, is both an astronomer and a theologian, wrote his masters’ thesis in theology on that very point. Careful exegesis of the words revealed, that it’s speaking about God setting up an abundance of water in the atmosphere, in the troposphere more correctly, water in the ocean, and you’ve got a cycling which is gonna make possible sufficient water and the future continental land masses.
Moderator: All right. Kent?
Hovind: All right, if God set up the water cycle then, why did it say later it had not rained upon the Earth? What you’re saying is, this—had it rained upon the Earth for millions of years, was there a normal water cycle before? Is this in day two?
Hovind: Well but the Bible says very clearly it had not rained upon the Earth.
Ross: No, it doesn’t. No, you’re quoting from Genesis chapter two.
Hovind: It says mist went forth and watered the face of the ground because it had not rained upon the Earth.
But it is saying that there had been no rain up to the time man was created, which would not be possible if the days were long ages. NB: the text does not say there was no rain at any time before the Flood.
Ross: Yeah, but it’s in the same context that there is no man, no plant, I mean it’s simply a re-statement of the initial conditions you’ve got there in Genesis one. I mean, what you have in Genesis two is a second account of creation, with a focus on human beings.
Hovind: A second account of creation focusing on day six.
I wouldn’t call it a ‘second creation account’. Ross is right to point out that it’s focusing on humans—it would be better to refer to Genesis 1 as a summary outline of the whole creation, and Genesis 2 as zeroing on the creation of mankind, preparing for Genesis 3 which explains the origin of sin, suffering and death. See Q&A: Genesis under ‘Do Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other?’ Both sides would answer ‘no’, and I doubt that either would disagree with the explanations on this page.
Hovind: How much later did He create Eve? Was it the same day?
Ross: Uh, the same sixth day, correct, which was a long period of time.
Hovind: Which was a long period time.
Wrong! This is not a deduction from the text, but from the big bang.
Hovind: Okay, this is where you gotta make sure I understand what you really mean by what you say, because I’ve read enough of your stuff to know to check that out. The—so you think Adam was there a long time by himself. You say he had to recover from surgery, and had to go to college for a semester and learn—
Ross: Had to name all the animals.
Hovind: Name all the animals, and that took a long time.
No, not all the animals! Only ‘the beasts of the field’ and ‘birds of the air’. Also the ‘kinds’ were broader than today’s species. This is covered later in the discussion on ‘kinds’.
Ross: He had to work the garden of Eden.
The text doesn’t say that he had started working by then, only that this was the purpose for placing him there (Gen. 2:15).
Moderator: Well, let’s go back to day three, we’re gonna get to that, all right, what happened with Adam and Eve. But let’s keep in context because our folks out here are trying to follow. So the fact is basically day two, we have what happen?
Ross: Water cycle.
Moderator: Water cycle.
Hovind: I disagree. I think on day two we had a firmament established, which is clearly later spelled out in Genesis 1:20 as being the place where the birds fly. Genesis 1:20 says the birds fly in the firmament of heaven. So that’s the atmosphere. It says there was water above this atmosphere. That’s what it says very clearly. And then also in Psalm 148 verse 4 it says, there are still waters above the heavens. I suspect God made three heavens. The first heaven is the atmosphere where the birds fly. The second heaven is where the stars are, we call it outer space, sun moon and stars. The third heaven is where God lives, 2 Corinthians chapter 12, the apostle Paul tells about being caught up to the third heaven. And apparently there was a water barrier between each of those. The first one is probably now gone, that’s what fell down at the Flood. I don’t know if it was ice or water or moisture or what, but—
CMI doesn’t accept the Canopy Theory (which is what Hovind is referring to here) as a direct teaching of Scripture—see CMI’s explanation for the Flood waters from Q&A: Flood under ‘Were the flood waters solely caused by rain, or something more? …’, as well as Hanging Loose: What should we defend? for good advice on dealing with extra-Biblical explanations of Biblical teachings.
Moderator: All right, let me move you on, because you’re gonna get into it in the day three here as well. Let’s just roll over into it. This is what happened on day three. [reads Genesis 1:9–13]. We have the receding waters of the ocean, seas and lakes taking place, we have the emergence of land above the seas taking place, plants and trees come forth at that point. What else do you guys see taking place and how long was this going on?
Hovind: It took one day, 24 hours.
Ross: Oh, I would see it as taking a much longer period of time.
Hovind: Like how long?
Hovind: How long?
Ross: Oh, probably in the order of a few hundred million years. I mean, you’re gonna get these continents forming, right?
Hovind: The continents we have today?
Hovind: No. The continents today are a result of Noah’s flood, the shapes are—
Ross: That’s—Kent, that’s six thousand miles of plate tectonics in just a few months of time.
Hovind: That is assuming, of course, that today’s continents are like they were in the days of Adam and Eve. See, what you’ve done is you’ve taken some Scriptures that clearly apply to the flood, the worldwide flood in the days of Noah, and—
Ross: Do you believe that tectonics is operable on the Earth?
Hovind: I was just on the San Andreas fault last week, yeah, it’s moving.
Hovind: Sure. That’s a result of the Flood 4,400 years ago. The plates are still moving. "The fountains of the deep broke open," the water came to the surface. They’re still settling and shifting. I’ve climbed 40 volcanoes and taught earth science for years. Yes, sir.
Ross: But if you squish that much tectonics in that brief of a period of time—
Hovind: Well, how much tectonics? What are you trying to do? Are you trying to put Africa and South America together, is that what you’re judging this by?
Ross: Either that, or just produce the mountains that are necessary for your flood interpretation.
Hovind: No. In order to make Africa and South America fit for the Pangea theory they put in the textbooks, they shrank Africa 35-40%. The Pangea theory is just pure baloney. Plus, if you look—
Hovind: I don’t know, the Bible says the fountains of the deep were broken open. There was probably some incredible continental movement during that flood. And how you can teach it was a local flood, I—I don’t understand that. I mean, why would God tell Noah to build a boat, fill it full of animals, stay in there for a year—tell Noah to move. I mean, I can figure that out, it was a worldwide flood.
Ross: He could have told him to move. But the main purpose here is that God set up Noah to be a prophet. He says, build this gigantic boat in the desert and preach to this wicked generation. If he had moved, he would have lost his opportunity to preach.
But if the people had moved just to get away from Noah’s preaching, the Flood wouldn’t have reached them. And what sort of credibility would Noah have had with the antediluvians, building an ocean liner sized vessel to escape a local Flood? And if the Flood was really local, did Noah realise this? If so, did he merely warn the people against a coming local Flood, from which they could have easily escaped by migrating? Such are the problems with denying the clear teaching of a global Flood. Note that Ross’s and Ankerberg’s authority, Dr Gleason Archer, also firmly rejects a local flood and affirms that the language teaches a global one.4 See also Q&A: Flood under ‘Does the Bible really claim that Noah’s Flood was global?’
Hovind: Do you really believe that?
Ross: Yes, it says so in Hebrews and Peter.
Hovind: (laughs) So the purpose of this ark was just to get attention, it was a ‘Hamburger Sunday’ to bring all the kids in?
Ross: God always gives his prophets a pulpit.
Where does Ross find this in Scripture? No other prophet had to make an ocean-liner-sized pulpit! The Bible explains the reason for the Ark—to save Noah’s family and representative land animals, without any hint of Ross’s ‘explanation’.
Moderator: All right, we’re gonna, we got to get to that too, but we’ve got to get through these seven days here. Can I move down to day four, because this gets us into the light again [reads Genesis 1:14–19]. Question: Did God make the sun, did God make the stars on day four? Hugh?
Ross: I’d say no, it’s in the qal-perfect form, …
Here again Ross says that the verb in Gen. 1:16 translated ‘made’ is qal-perfect, when it’s actually qal-imperfect. As I said, this is explained in this section of ‘Hugh Ross lays down the gauntlet!’
Ross: … which means that they were formed either on the fourth day, the third day, the second day, the first day, or in the beginning. Go back to Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning, God created" the Shamayim wa’eres. That includes all the matter, energy, space and time, stars and galaxies. So that’s when the light was. That’s when the stars existed. And what you see there in the text is, these are to serve for signs for the animals that are going to be created in the fifth and sixth days. You’ll note that all the animals mentioned in the fifth and sixth days are sufficiently complex they need at least the occasional visibility of the sun, moon and stars to regulate their biological clocks.
Moderator: This is one I actually looked it up and the Hebrew verb is wayya’as in verse 16 and according to Archer again, "God had made the two great luminaries. This would be, Hebrew had no special form for the pluperfect tense but uses the perfect tense, or the conversive imperfect here to express either the English past or the English perfect. So what he’s saying is God had made two great lights. So that seems to open the door that sun and so on were already there, but it does say, He also made the stars. Did He make stars on day four or did he make them at the beginning?
There is no basis for using the pluperfect from the Biblical text here (as opposed to outside ‘scientific’ influences), because the reader reading the waw consecutive would connect the making (NB not appearing) of the lights with ‘Let there be lights’ of the previous verse. This is different from Gen. 2:19 where the pluperfect makes sense, because the reader would think of the prior creation of animals in Gen. 1. For further explanation of the pluperfect in Gen. 2:19, see Creation Account, Times Two.
Note that the Ankerberg/Archer explanation ‘had made’ contradicts Ross’s explanation that the sun, moon and stars really ‘appeared’, which is not possible from the text. See The Sun: our special star, note 1.
Ross: Well, it’s in the same qal-perfect form, which means it could have been made any time in the past.
Actually it’s the same verb covering the stars as well, and it’s imperfect as I’ve said.
Hovind: Why not do it in six days like He said?
Ross: He did do it in six days like He said. Six literal long periods of time.
As I pointed out in my Exposé of The Genesis Question, Ross has a very non-literal use of the word ‘literal’ if he thinks that this is a literal meaning of ‘six days’. Nowhere in the Bible does ‘x days’ mean anything but ordinary days (or parts of days). The same is true of all other languages that I’m aware of.
Hovind: Six literal long periods of time. So here you have day three, the plants living for millions of years without a visible, clearly visible sun.
Ross: I’m saying the sun was always there. What was going on is the atmosphere from day one to day four was translucent. Light was coming though, but the observer on the surface of the Earth—the Spirit of God is brooding over the surface of the waters—from that perspective, He couldn’t make out the distinction of the sun, moon, and stars, only the light. It’s like where I was raised in British Columbia. We got to see the sun maybe two days out of the year, cause the rest of the time it’s overcast, which you’ve got going on before the fourth day, as where it’s overcast all the time. Fourth day, we have the atmosphere becoming transparent for the first time, and now we can have God creating creatures that need these things for signs to regulate their clocks.
Hovind: Okay, I disagree. You’re saying that the sun and moon were created. The word created and made are used interchangeably all through the Scripture, I’ve got a list of about I don’t know fifty or sixty places where they’re used interchangeably, means the same the same thing. He created and made. It means Genesis—
Both bara and asah are used interchangeably in Genesis 1:26–27: ‘Let us make ( asah) man in our image, … So God created ( bara) man in his own image …’ Both are used of making man in God’s image so it’s Hebrew parallelism.
The distinction between these words is highly overdrawn. Just as in English, there is considerable semantic overlap. Sometimes asah is used to mean ‘create ex nihilo’, e.g. Nehemiah 9:6:
You alone are the LORD. You made ( asah) the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the Earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.
everyone who is called by my name, whom I created ( bara) for my glory, whom I formed ( yatsar) and made ( asah).
Moderator: [Rehashes for the audience …] Our topic is—are the universe and the Earth billions of years old or just six thousand years old, also are Genesis one and two compatible with contemporary scientific evidence? And this is a dynamite program right here because we’re gonna talk about what aspect, what part did evolution play in the origin of life, if any. We’re gonna talk about when, how did God create Adam and Eve, and we’re gonna talk about light and a few other things. And we’re doing it in the—just going down the list here of Genesis chapter one. And I’m gonna combine two days here, guys, because it’s taking us a little longer than usual to get through these days. What happened on day five and day six? [Reads from Genesis 1:20–28] So it seems in these two days, you got let the water teem with living creatures, the birds fly across the Earth across the sky, above the Earth across the sky, He made the great creatures in the sea, then the livestock, creatures that move along the ground, wild animals, and finally, man. All right. First of all, start me off, does evolution have any place in any of this?
Ross: I would say no.
And CMI would agree, despite Ross’s claims to the contrary. That’s provided that evolution is defined properly in the molecules-to-man sense, requiring an increase in genetic information without intelligence.
Ross: Well, just by scientific modeling, we can determine that there is no possibility for a species changing into a distinctly different species unless it exceeds one quadrillion individuals with a body size less than one centimetre and a generation time less than three months. Which means it’s gonna work for viruses and bacteria, but it’s gonna have no capacity to explain the existence of new species of birds, mammals, or any of the creatures we see from the Cambrian explosion onward.
I know of no biologist who says the things Ross says, and Ross is not qualified in the subject. What has body size to do with anything? A chromosomal rearrangement can result in mutual infertility, as can polyploidy. Of course, no new information arises, so it is not evolution. But it is definitely speciation by definition. There are proven examples of new species arising that don’t meet Ross’s criteria—see Brisk Biters—Fast changes in mosquitoes astonish evolutionists, delight creationists and other articles on Q&A: Speciation.
In answer to such points in Ken’s and my webcast, Ross in his 25 Nov broadcast proclaimed:
Ross: Well, we have the research papers right here, and all these papers are claiming as evidence for reproductive isolation. That’s not the same as speciation.
Here we go again—Ross’s attempt to intimidate intellectually by saying ‘we have the research papers here’. And again what he says is nonsensical—reproductive isolation is the very definition of biological speciation!
Moderator: So folks on PBS are doing specials on chaos theory saying that that’s the way it came about. What do you think?
Ross: Chaos theory in my opinion doesn’t work. Yes, you can get departure from thermodynamic equilibrium, if you got a complicated enough system and pick a small enough volume element in that system. But there’s an important corollary. The farther you depart a system from thermodynamic equilibrium, the faster it must snap back. As something as complex as a virus, the snap back time is less than ten in the minus 120 seconds, so the fact that we’re all older than that means that’s not how we got here.
Although Ross is here not saying anything that undermines Scripture and is attempting to answer an atheistic theory, his apologetics is dubious and Christians who try it might be burnt. Ross clearly doesn’t understand physical chemistry (my speciality field) any more than he understands most of the other subjects on which he pontificates. Ross is confusing what chemists usually refer to as thermodynamics v. kinetics. The thermodynamic equilibrium depends only on the free energy differences between starting and end materials (reactants and products), while kinetics (reaction speed) depends on the free energy differences between starting material and the transitional state or reaction intermediate. E.g. a diamond exposed to the air at room temperature is very far from equilibrium (which would be to form CO2), but the reaction is too slow to measure because it requires a very high activation energy [diamond in isolation is not at equilibrium either, but again conversion to graphite is too slow to notice].
Furthermore, Ross’s comment about ‘the snap back time is less than ten in the minus 120 seconds’ is just absurd. Since the smallest viruses have a radius of about 10 nm, it would mean a speed (distance/time) of over 10103 times the speed of light!
Moderator: So you’re saying all the plants, all the animals, and man, none of that evolved.
Ross: No evolution beyond, you know, not the species level, the genus level, order, family, none of that. Unless the species happens to have more than a quadrillion individuals, which is only a few.
As will be shown later, Ross treats these man-made categories far too respectfully. There has definitely been change across what has been called the genus level, as shown by large numbers of fertile hybrids between so-called genera. This is discussed in detail later.
Moderator: Kent, you’ve offered 250,000 dollars to anybody that could prove that theory, give me some illustration of why you think they never will.
CMI would prefer that creationists refrained from gimmicks like this.
Hovind: Well, all we’ve ever observed is dogs produce dogs. Nobody’s ever seen a dog come from a non-dog. They might want to believe that a dog and a banana have a common ancestor. I don’t care what they believe, but that’s not science. And I certainly resent my tax dollars going to support that.
I certainly sympathize, but the Bible does command us to pay taxes even to unjust governments (as the Roman Imperial system certainly was)— Romans 13:6–7.
Hovind: … Do you—do you believe Adam was literally made from dust and God breathed into his nostrils?
Ross: Definitely. Definitely.
Ross: Uh, no a side of Adam. It doesn’t say rib in the text. It says a portion of Adam’s side. So we don’t really know what kind of biopsy God took out of Adam.
The Hebrew word tsela can mean either rib or side, depending on the context. However, ‘rib’ is the right meaning in context, as all Bible translations show, despite Ross’s dogmatism to the contrary, because v.21 says that God took ‘one of the tselot (the plural form)’, meaning that Adam had more than one of them—‘one of his “sides”’ doesn’t make sense. The next verse says that God made Eve out of the tsela He had taken out of the man — if Adam had a whole side rather than a whole rib taken out, he would have been in a bad way. Modern medical science has shown that the rib was the optimal bone for God to use—see Regenerating ribs: Adam and that ‘missing’ rib. So once again Ross can’t resist trying to score points off Hovind even in an issue where they are in broad agreement, and once again it backfires.
Hovind: But you believe this literally took place.
Hovind: Well, we finally agree on something. There’s one.
Moderator: Okay. So we believe that God made Adam. Now let’s—what are the tip-offs of when? We also have bipedal hominids going around, it seems, from anthropologists, that go back past what the Bible says in terms of the genealogies that are given.
Moderator: Okay, let’s talk about that. How far back do you think the genealogies take us in Genesis? Ussher said it was 4000 years BC.
Ross: Well, the Hebrew scholars I’ve talked to said there’s obvious gaps in the genealogies, you can’t fix a precise date like Archbishop Ussher did, who assumed no gaps.
Where are these ‘obvious gaps’? I can’t see them in the text. I discussed the Genesis genealogies at length in this section of my Exposé of The Genesis Question, and I have yet to see any response from Hugh Ross.
Moderator: But there’s also a—a parameter. There’s a limit.
Ross: Yeah, I would be hard-pressed to push it any earlier than fifty, sixty thousand years. I’ve got friends who try to push it back as far as a hundred thousand. Anything beyond that, I think, is illegitimate.
But still, 50–60 ka is younger than many evolutionists claim the Australian aborigines are. This would mean that according to secular dating methods, most of which Ross accepts uncritically, and Ross’s chronology, the Aboriginals were not descendants of Adam. Ken Ham and I pointed this out on our webcast.
On his 11 Nov broadcast in reply, Ross claims that some of the Aboriginal dates are widely disputed, because they are due to the dubious thermoluminescent dating method. Ross is certainly right that thermoluminescence is a dubious method, but it’s a shame he is not as sceptical about other dating methods—see Q&A: Radiometric Dating. And 40,000 years is widely accepted using methods that Ross accepts are right (although CMI does not, obviously). For example, 14C with accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is widely accepted, and the oldest 14C ‘date’ for human occupation is 41,000 years ago for the Carpenter’s Gap site in the Kimberly.5 Ross failed to deal with my point about this widely accepted date, but sidetracked on the thermoluminescence dates of the 60+ thousand year dates, which are not necessary for our argument.
Even Ross in his book The Genesis Question says: ‘Australian Aborigines, who date back to 25,000 B.C.’ (p. 108). However, Ross’s own date for Noah’s Flood, which he believes was local but wiped out all mankind, is ‘between twenty thousand and thirty thousand years ago’ (TGQ p. 173). So Ross’s own dates call into question whether he thinks the Aborigines descended from Noah and his three sons and their wives, the only survivors among Adam’s descendants. Certainly the generally accepted ‘dates’ for Aboriginal occupation place them well before Ross’s date for the Flood. There seems little basis for Ross’s selectivity here.
Moderator: Right. So the fact is, is that both you and Kent are in trouble as far as the anthropologists who want to take some of these other bipedal primates, or hominids, back to oh, what a million years?
Ross: If you interpret the bipedals as human, then you’ve got a problem.
Moderator: All right, so what do you guys do with them?
Ross: They’re not human.
Moderator: Why aren’t they human?
Ross: They’re just like the primates. They’re like the chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas …
Ross: They’re in that category, too.
Hovind: I disagree.
Hovind: Neanderthals were deformed humans, probably post-Flood, they were still—they were burying people after they died. If a person lives past a hundred years, there’s a disease called acromegaly where the pituitary gland keeps secreting growth hormones, your ears get longer, your nose gets bigger, and your bones in your forehead get thicker. The Neanderthals were simply post-Flood humans were deformed from diseases, arthritis, rickets—
This is correct. However, Ross in his 11 Nov. Broadcast says:
I’m also surprised given the date for Neanderthals dating back 150,000 years that these young-Earth creationists would want to make them part of the descent of Adam and Eve.
Should be obvious—we don’t accept the date!
Ross: Kent, are you aware that they have enormous nasal capacities, and that their DNA is radically different from human DNA?
Hovind: Well, now that’s deceitful to say it’s radically different. It’s about 4% different, and it’s within the range of humans today.
Ross: That’s huge.
Not at all. In fact, the DNA difference between the first Neandertal measured and modern humans was not exceptional, and one sample showed modern humans more similar to apes than Neandertals are—see Recovery of Neandertal mtDNA: an Evaluation, an article ignored by Ross’s publications. And the differences between the Neandertal and modern humans are less than those between the common chimpanzee Pan troglodytes and the pygmy chimp Pan paniscus, which hybridize so are the same Biblical kind (sometimes they are classified as subspecies Pan troglodytes troglodytes and P. t. paniscus respectively within the same species). Finally, the recent Scientific American article Paleolithic Pit Stop: A French site suggests Neandertals and early modern humans behaved similarly makes one wonder how real humans with souls and soul-less hominids could behave so similarly.
Hovind: You could go downtown, downtown Los Angeles, and line up people and make an exact same chart like they’ve got in your textbook, with the skulls sloping, different diseases, and bone—noses larger, nasal capacities larger—
Ross: No—no, no.
Hovind: They’re still human.
Ross: Okay, you can read a paper, I’ve got the paper here, it’s by Ian Tattersall and Jeffrey Schwartz, and they examine thirteen Neanderthal skulls, complete skulls. And discover that the nasal capacity was so enormous …
Considering Ross’s demonstrated errors in understanding other issues outside of his field, one is dubious about the level of his understanding of a paleoanthropological paper. Anyway, paleoanthropology involves a lot of art rather than science, so it’s unwise to be dogmatic.
Hovind: They could smell fine.
Ross: … it eliminated the possibly that Neanderthal was biologically linked to any other land mammal species, not just primates. They said, we got a problem here. We’ve got this Neanderthal that we can’t link with anything.
Ken Ham and I on our webcast pointed out that a skeleton of a hybrid between Neandertals and more ‘modern’ Homo sapiens sapiens was found in Portugal. Ross tried to dismiss this on his 11 Nov. broadcast. But a leading Neandertal expert, Erik Trinkaus of Washington University, St Louis, is convinced that this skeleton’s mixture of features was evidence of extensive genetic exchange between Neandertals and modern-looking humans. This would mean that they are really the same species by definition, so it follows from the Biblical account that Neandertals were descended from Adam and Eve.6
Hovind: You’re saying just because their nose is bigger, they’re not linked to anything.
Ross: Not the nose, it’s the entire nasal capacity.
Ross: They have a nasal capacity that’s so huge, there’s really no—and these guys are atheists—they’re saying how can we possibly evolve this gigantic nasal capacity from any other species we see in the fossil record or any other species we see on Earth? And they said we can’t, we can’t come up with it.
This argument is outdated. There happens to be a wide variety of sizes within humans. There are limits to the amount of information we can glean from bones alone, without soft tissues available. The same applies to vocal tracts, and so it’s wrong to conclude that Neandertals couldn’t speak.7
In fact, even Homo erectus was likely a variety of post-Babel true human, since among many other indicators, its ‘cranial vault thickness significantly overlaps that of Homo sapiens’.8 An earlier article by the same author (John Woodmorappe),Non-transitions in human fossils, shows that the so-called species of Homo ( H. ergaster, H., erectus, H. heidelbergensis and H. neanderthalensis) are just racial variants of modern man, based on a wide range of physical characteristics. But the Australopithicinae subfamily (including the genera Australopithecinae, Paranthropus, Praeanthropus, Ardipithecus, as well as the questionable taxa Homo habilis and H. Rudolfensis) are distinct from Homo in a lot of areas. There are no transitional or even mosaic forms.
In this section of my Exposé of the Genesis Question, I expressed concern that Ross’s ignorance of genetics and underestimation of the capacity for variation means that he believes that God had to program racial differences at Babel (CMI says that the racial differences are the result, not the cause, of the separation). In reply, Fuz Rana stated:
Rana: Now one thing I want to point out that it, and this is not meant to be mean-spirited, but there is an error in the book One Blood with respect to what’s the cause of skin color. Ken Ham and Carl Wieland and Don Batten improperly attribute differences in skin color to the quantity of melanin or the quantity of skin pigment found in the skin. That’s really not what causes differences in skin color. What causes differences in skin color is primarily the distribution of the melanin. Melanin is a pigment produced by cells called melanocytes that encapsulate the melanin in a membrane bound structure, and people with light skin have very small melanosomes that aggregate and people who have dark skin color have larger melanosomes that’s widely distributed throughout the skin.
Not meant to be mean-spirited? The explanation in the book One Blood is perfectly correct. It stated the fact that dark skin was dark because it contained more melanin; it just didn’t explain how. Note that a simplified explanation is not necessarily an incorrect explanation, and there is a limit to how much can be explained in a chapter of a book. If one person has larger and more melanin-containing bodies in his skin, then he has more melanin. What was in the book was sufficient to make the point that the difference between races is tiny—much smaller than the difference within a race.
But to reinforce that Rana’s charge is just an attempt at point-scoring, while the CMI authors know what they’re talking about, the 1996 Creation magazine article by Jerry P. Moore says: 9
‘There are the same number of melanocytes [pigment-forming cells] to be found in both Negroid and Caucasian skin.’ Other experts agree; the differences in colouration arise from the way in which melanin (the dark pigment found in the skin of all people) is packaged. The melanosomes (tiny melanin-packaging units) are slightly larger and more numerous per cell in dark-skinned than light-skinned people.
Since all three of the One Blood authors were (and are) on the Editorial Committee of Creation magazine at the time of publication, it is absurd to hint that they were ignorant of the finer points of skin pigmentation as Rana implies. Rather, they just saw no need for sidetracking on more technical details. This is shown further in the DVD Only One Race, showing cross sections of ‘black’ and ‘white’ skin from this article to make this very point that even the number of melanocytes is the same in all races, reinforcing the point that inter-racial differences are biologically insignificant.
Here is an analogy: suppose I state in an CMI article that a billion carbon atoms is three times more massive than a billion helium atoms [a correct statement when referring either to the most common isotopes 4He and 12C, or the usual atomic masses, taking the nearest whole number]. If Rana used the same tactic, he might say (presuming that he knows enough about the subject): ‘Without wishing to be mean-spirited, this is an error. It’s not so much the atoms themselves that are heavier. Nearly all the mass of the atom is concentrated in the nucleus, only about 100,000th the diameter of the whole atom. What really matters is that the carbon nucleus has three times as many nucleons as the helium nucleus.’ While this is correct, the first statement was correct too, because if the nuclei are three times heavier, the atoms will be too. And it would be reasonable to expect that with my qualifications in chemistry and nuclear physics, I would be perfectly aware of the explanation, but had a reason for simplifying the matter.
Hovind: I would agree, nothing evolves beyond, I wouldn’t use the word species, that’s kind of a nebulous term because a dog and wolf and a coyote are different species. But they’re still inter-fertile, they’re the same kind. I’d stick with what the Bible says, the animals bring forth after their kind. The horse and a zebra—
Ross: How do you interpret kind? Do you think horses and zebras evolved from one another?
Hovind: I think horses and zebras are the same kind. I interpret kind like the Bible says, they’re able to bring forth. The ones that were originally able to reproduce are the created kinds. Now there’s been variations from there.
I agree with Hovind.
Ross: So how far up do you put the kinds? I mean, I just don’t know what your position is.
If so, this is yet one more proof that Ross never bothers to read what creationists actually teach. In this section of Who’s really pushing ‘bad science’?, I address an atheistic critic who makes the same objection.
Hovind: I don’t think anybody knows that, and that would be a good field of research for science to get into.
Ross: Would you be willing to take past genera?
Hovind: I think with some areas. Now see, what we have here, is we’re trying to take a modern 20th century classification system—you know, that started with Carolus Linnaeus and has been refined many times—and we’re trying to force that onto the Bible Now that’s the mistake. Just—the Bible says they bring forth after their kind. A horse and a zebra probably are the original created kind. One of the zoos in—I believe it was one in Hawaii, they had a wholphin, they crossed a killer whale and a dolphin. They have, many zoos have had a tigon or liger, cross a tiger and lion; they probably are the original created kind.
This was covered in Ligers and wholphins? What next?
Ross: Yes, but they can’t reproduce that kind.
Not true, as shown below, and it doesn’t necessarily matter anyway. As long as hybridisation occurs, they are of the same created kind. But if Ross can’t identify the kind with modern species, he won’t be able to parrot bibliosceptical attacks on Noah’s Ark, by overloading it with everything that man’s fallible wisdom has called a different species. Even on his 25 Nov. broadcast, he claims that ‘4 million land species’ would need to be on board, displaying his willing ignorance that CMI, following the Biblical Hebrew, teaches that insects need not have been passengers on the Ark—see How did all the animals fit on Noah’s Ark?
Hovind: Well, the wholphin, the wholphin did, after ten years it produced a baby.
Ross: But not the liger.
Actually, female ligers, ‘on occasions, may be able to produce young.’10 But don’t let Ross put a smokescreen around the fact that the wholphin is an example of a fertile cross between so-called genera, yet Ross wants to tie down the ‘kind’ to so-called species by man’s definitions. Ross relies more on skeptics’ attacks than actual creationist claims—see again this section of Who’s really pushing ‘bad science’?
Hovind: I don’t know about the liger. See, but even if they get to where they can’t reproduce—
Ross: Or a mule.
[Although rare, mules have been known to produce young. One example is referenced in a 1932 Time Magazine (archive) article. Also see Mule gives birth, Creation 25(2):9, for a more recent example.]
On the 25 Nov. broadcast, Rana claimed:
Rana: I mean in the case of the wholphin, what you’re looking at is evolution happening at the family level, which is two levels in the biological classification hierarchy above speciation, so this is no longer speciation. This is evolution happening at the family level, which is quite extensive evolutionary type of transformations.
Like his master, he has an amazing ability to miss the point completely. I.e. the so-called ‘family’ is just an arbitrary man-made classification, which in this case is really a single species.
Rana: Is that I’m sitting here listening to young Earth creationists attacking us for taking an anti-evolutionary stance, and that’s highly ironic because we’re accused, at least Hugh’s accused, of being a theistic evolutionist, and of being a compromiser, yet who’s the camp that’s siding with the evolutionists? It’s not us, and we’re being attacked for taking a supernatural stance with respect to the creation of life. I mean in the case of the wholphin, what you’re looking at is evolution happening at the family level, which is two levels in the biological classification hierarchy above speciation, so this is no longer speciation. This is evolution happening at the family level, which is quite extensive evolutionary type of transformations.
The key issue is not how much ‘change’ we are willing to accept—we are not interested in playing ‘more-anti-transformist-than-thou’ to their untenable extent of denying speciation. Rather, the issue is the authority of Scripture—including recent Creation, global Flood, and animals reproducing ‘after their kind’.
Moderator: But you guys, you’re arguing intramurally, and the big argument is from the outside. Does the fossil record support the evolutionists or not?
Hovind: I don’t—
Moderator: Plants, animals, man.
Hovind: Yeah, I never got a chance to respond to the cave man, I don’t think, but uh—
Moderator: Well, let’s stick with the outside world here for a moment, and the fact is, those folks out there are simply saying, both you guys are wrong, the fact is, evolution did take place. But I think most of our students recognize that even people like Gould at Harvard are making a shift here, uh, punctuated equilibrium is really going against what they originally started out with, all of a sudden it just appears on the record. What—comment on this, please.
Ross: Well, it’s an excellent point, because what Gould and Niles Eldredge are trying to do is make evolution work where mathematics tells us it is the lowest possible probability. I mean, when the species population drops down to a few thousand you get a zero probability of evolutionary advance. I mean, when you look at the fossil record, where do you see the evidence for the so-called transitional forms? It’s creatures like whales and horses. And these are creatures of population levels so small, generation times so long, body sizes so huge, they have a zero probably for evolutionary advance, they’re even lower for our probability for evolutionary advance. Yet we see these, all these transitions. My explanation for that, God loves horses and whales. He knows because of their huge size and small populations, they’re gonna go extinct rapidly. When they do, He makes new ones.
Yeah, right, God loves horses and whales so much that He lets them become extinct, even before Adam’s sin which was the real originator of death. Actually, the horses and whales are very different cases. As I point out in The Non-evolution of the horse, the horse ‘series’ is constructed from a rock badger on the bottom, while the rest comprises nothing but different varieties of horses, little different in many respects from the range of sizes, toe number, etc. seen in horses living today. However, as shown in Refuting Evolution, ch. 5, the alleged transitional series of whales is nothing of the kind. Some of the creatures are known from a few fragments of bones, and others like Basilosaurus were totally aquatic and also totally unrelated to modern whales.
Moderator: When you guys are on campus, what do you say to the kids who have grown up thinking that evolution is proven by the fossil record? What are the things that you use?
Ross: Give them a mathematical model. I mean, one of the things that we’re trying to do in university campuses is say, if you’re gonna work in this discipline, you have to integrate mathematics with biology. Here’s the principle. Most mutations, or many more mutations are negative than those that are beneficial. The best you get is a ratio of 10,000 to one. In other words, mutations will tend to drive a species to extinction before it has an opportunity to naturally evolve, unless it has a truly enormous population size, more than a quadrillion, a body size less than one centimeter, and a generation time briefer than three months. Now you can go to the field biologists. Where do you see speciation going on in the real world? They only see it for those species that match the mathematical limits. Those that don’t, all they see are extinctions.
Again, this is novel biology, from a man lacking qualifications or knowledge of the subject.
Ross’s minion Dr Fuz Rana, in their 25 Nov. broadcast, reinforced his master’s claim that CMI is teaching biological evolution, and showed that he also refuses to grasp the information issue, just like most atheistic evolutionary propagandists:
Rana: Okay, what they basically are trying to do is to dance around the whole idea that they don’t embrace biological evolution by somehow claiming that when changes happen in nature it’s not producing new information, that God was responsible for putting all the information in place and it doesn’t really change, no new information is added. … And to kind of point out that they are holding to an evolutionary perspective, and that they are arguing even though they are asserting that no new information is created, they do actually indirectly argue for new information being created in an evolutionary process. Here’s a paper I have from their website, it’s called Bears across the world. It’s written by Paula Weston and Carl Wieland, and this was published in Creation Magazine, and they talk about the bears on the planet today being descended from a single bear kind, and with respect to the origin of polar bears say that polar bears’ partly webbed feet may have come from a mutation which prevented the toes from dividing properly during its embryonic development, and this defect would give it an advantage in swimming, which would make it easier to survive as a hunter of seals among ice floes. Thus bears carrying this defect would be more likely to pass it on to their offspring, but only in that environment. So what they’re talking about here is that mutations, according to their model, are generating new information that allows bears to have webbed feet and survive in its environment specifically.
How plain do we have to make it? We said that the webbed feet were the result of a loss of information so that the toes didn’t divide completely, but Rana uses this to ‘prove’ that we accept information- gaining mutations. We have many examples of information-losing changes being advantageous, e.g.wingless beetles on a windswept island.
Moderator: Right. And you’ve got some great illustrations on DNA, too, Kent, in terms of people say that the DNA is similar between this and that, and therefore they call that the transitional forms. But talk to that a little bit.
Hovind: Well, he mentioned about God loves horses and whales, so when they go extinct God creates new ones. This is the type of thing that makes me so nervous about people following his teachings because there are so many things like this thrown in there that just are simply unsupported by Scripture.
This psalm is in part a hymn to God’s acts in the past—note the past tense of the verbs from Ps. 104:5–9—but it is also a hymn of praise for God’s provisions in the present, as shown by the present tenses of the verbs afterwards. So Ps. 104:21 deals with the present day, not the original creation. It is poor hermeneutics to interpret Scripture against Scripture, e.g. to use this verse to deny that the animals were originally vegetarian as Genesis 1:30 teaches. Note that Ross agrees that Genesis 1:29 teaches that humans were created vegetarian, so it is inconsistent for him to deny that animals were also created vegetarian, as taught in exactly the same words in exactly the same context.
Hovind: The Bible says God finished His creation. He was finished. I don’t think God’s creating new species all the time. I think it was done. And when He looked at it, it was very good.
Ross: By the way, I agree. God has stopped creating new species when He created Eve, that’s when He went into His period of rest.
Hovind: And how long ago was that?
Ross: I would argue that it’s probably in the neighborhood of thirty to forty thousand years ago.
Hovind: Okay, we could argue that for a long time, but I think it was six thousand years ago just like the Bible obviously teaches.
Moderator: But you’re both using genealogies to say there’s an end in terms of the parameter, so you’re both basically on the same point at that spot, that God stopped. So you’re saying that this origination of new whales, new horses and so on was before that.
Ross: It was before that, correct. Just like Psalm 104 speaks.
Moderator: But come back, please, because we’ve only got about two minutes here. And that’s this thing of the DNA. Because the kids hear this a whole lot, because of their similarity in DNA so therefore a man is similar to this that and the other, and they use that as kind of a transitional deal.
Right. The reason the DNA is similar in so many different animals is we all have the same designer. Microsoft Word and Microsoft Powerpoint have millions of similarities. That doesn’t prove they both evolved from Morse Code. The same guys are writing the programs, that’s all. And the same God designed the DNA of all the animals, and the DNA is incredibly flexible. There’s a wide range of humans, there’s a wide range of dogs, you’ve got Great Danes and Chihuahuas, and they probably had a common ancestor. It was a dog. That doesn’t prove a dog and a banana are related. So the DNA code is just so, so incredible. That must be an incredibly smart designer.
Moderator: Take a moment, can you remember some of the numbers on some things that just show the dissimilarity, there is no transitional forms going up?
Hovind: Oh, yeah, I’ve got a chart on my website, drdino.com, people can look at, you know. Penicilium only has two chromosomes, you know, so that must have evolved first. And then fruit flies have eight, so they must be the next form, you know. Now a house fly and a tomato both have twelve chromosomes, so obviously they’re identical twins. You know it’s hard to tell the difference between a house fly and a tomato, you know. A possum, a redwood tree, and a kidney bean all have 22 chromosomes. Identical triplets. You know, possum, redwood tree, kidney bean, average scientist can’t tell them apart, you know. They have—monkeys, chimpanzees, have more chromosomes than we do. Man has 46. Tobacco has 48. So if we keep evolving, we’re all gonna be a tobacco plant. I mean, the whole idea is absurd, and how they believe this I don’t know. But they just don’t like the idea that God created the world, that’s obvious.
Chromosome numbering is not a sound argument, because the important thing is the information on the chromosomes. To go back to Hovind’s analogy, Microsoft Word and Powerpoint can be seen to have similar programmers because of similarity in the programming—whether they are stored on one CD, ten 720-kb floppy diskettes or twenty 60-kb floppies is irrelevant.
Moderator: … You’re both Christians, but you interpret the word day differently in Genesis. And Kent, first of all, start us off. What is it that you are saying? What’s your position?
Hovind: My position is the very obvious literal Scriptural position that everybody would get if they just read the Bible—God created everything in six days, six 24-hour days, just like we know today. Any interpretation other than that requires a leader to tell you what it means, and you end up with a cult. I believe that’s what Dr. Ross has, is a teaching that requires him to tell us what the Bible says, and you establish a position of authority for yourself, and I get real nervous about that. The Bible says real clearly that God made everything in six days, there was no death before sin, the flood in the days of Noah was a worldwide flood that completely destroyed the world about 4400 years ago. And I see no scientific reason, and certainly no scriptural reason, to believe anything other than what the obvious, plain teaching of scripture is.
Moderator: All right, Hugh, what’s your position?
Ross: I believe that the plain, literal reading of the text is that it’s six long periods of time.…
As I’ve said before, this is a very non-literal meaning of the word ‘literal’.
Ross: …Ten creation accounts in the Bible. It’s not enough to take the Bible literally, we must take it consistently. When you try to make all ten creation accounts say the same thing, it’s quite obvious it’s impossible to interpret it as six 24-hour days, it must be six long periods of time.
This is nonsense. There isn’t the slightest hint of this in Scripture.
Ross: As I mentioned previously we’re talking about a universe that’s expanding, the Bible clearly teaches that, and stars and planets are only possible if the universe has been expanding for billions of years. If it’s just thousands, all you get is hydrogen gas.
And as I have previously replied, this is blatantly circular reasoning, and limiting God to evolutionary mechanisms like the big bang and subsequent expansion and nucleosynthesis.
Moderator: All right, before we actually hit the topic, Christians in the church have different positions. You were telling me that the Presbyterian Church on their internet has put a statement after how long researching this topic?
Ross: I’ve got the statement here, it’s 92 pages, it’s the result of a group of theologians studying the text for a two-year period, and they all agree in Biblical inerrancy, that evolution can’t take place, it’s got to be supernatural creation, they take the Bible literally unless the context indicates otherwise, and they said there were four positions that fall within the pale of Biblical orthodoxy. You’ve got the day-age interpretation, which I represent. You’ve got the calendar day view, which Kent represents. You have the analogical days, then you have the framework hypothesis, and so they’re recommending that all four views be encouraged and be taught within their churches.
Moderator: Yeah. Would you guys agree that we need to have this debate in the church?
Hovind: Oh, absolutely, yes.
Ross: Mm hm.
I would put it very differently to both of them. It is rather an absolute scandal that this debate is even occurring. The Westminster Confession, officially the standard for the Presbyterian Church of America, says (article 4:1):
It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make out of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.
The phrase ‘in the space of six days’ uses the same language as Calvin, who definitely believed in six ordinary days—see Calvin says: Genesis means what it says. The point was to specify a definite time frame and rule out any allegorisation. See also The Westminster View of Creation Days: A Choice between Non-Ambiguity or Historical Revisionism. [archive]
By whom? Ankerberg should document his claims before trying to make a heroic martyr out of Ross.
Ross: I’ve been called a lot worse than that, wolf in sheep’s clothing and all of that.
Moderator: And Kent, I’ve listened to some of your debates, where you’ve actually debated university professors on campus and it was a hot time, you did marvelously well; it’s just uh, among Christians, we want them to think about what the text is saying. Let’s uh, let me ask you both this question. What do we do with science and scripture? In other words, how as Christians do we approach it? Some people say, the Bible says it, I believe it, I don’t care what science says. There’s other people that say, well, we’ve got the Bible, it opens up the door, then science can lead us as to the interpretation. Then others would say, forget what the Bible says, science first, then, you know, everything else we’ll jam it in there. What do you guys think?
Ross: I think you have to make a distinction between the record of nature and science. And the words of the Bible and theology. Theology and science can definitely clash and contradict, cause human interpretation is involved. But God created the universe, He’s the one who inspired the words of the Bible, it’s a God that can’t lie, the record of nature can never contradict the words of the Bible. But where we do see contradiction between science and theology, we need to look for human misinterpretation. In fact I welcome these disagreements because it’s a wonderful way to ferret out the interpretations that may exist on either of those sides.
Moderator: What do you think?
Hovind: I agree. We need to look for human misinterpretation. But what Hugh does, he looks for human misinterpretation of the Bible, as opposed to looking for human misinterpretation of the scientific evidence.
Ross: I look for both.
Hovind: Well, what I’ve seen in your books that I’ve read is that you’re quick to jump on some idea that maybe the Bible didn’t really mean what it clearly teaches, and you’ve already decided—I think you’ve been crippled by your education, because you think the universe is billions of years old. I mean, that’s a given in your mind, that’s an inflexible. And that’s not, that’s not logical to come at the Bible study that way.
Moderator: But wait wait wait, the fact is, don’t we all start with some presupposition?
Hovind: Oh, sure, everybody does, yeah.
Ross: If the Bible clearly taught that it was young, I would believe that in spite of my astronomy.
The Bible does teach that the Earth is young, and it’s not ‘despite’ any astronomy, but consistent with astronomical data.
Ross: What I see is the Bible teaching it just as emphatically as the scientific record.
Hovind: Okay, that is not what—let’s go to, pick a spot where nobody’s heard of the Bible, pick out 5000 people and say read this please, zero out of 5000 are gonna come back like he believes.
Ross: No, Kent, all you’ve got to—
Hovind: Oh, that’s right, one little grandma in Arkansas, I forgot. One out of 5000.
Yes, please do, because nearly all believed in a young Earth and global flood, and most in ordinary days of creation11 — see also under Q&A: Genesis‘Church Fathers and Reformers’ or The Westminster View of Creation Days: A Choice between Non-Ambiguity or Historical Revisionism [archive]. This is because they were not trying to fit the Scripture into billions of years. Once again, it’s important to emphasize that the only supporters for the Day-Age view are those trying to fit the Bible with billions-of-years views. Liberal and neo-orthodox scholars (e.g. James Barr), who deny the inspiration of Scripture, have no reason to try to make it say something it doesn’t, so agree with the great exegetes of old that day really does mean ‘day’!
Hovind: The Hebrew calendar says this is the 5795 or something like that. The Hebrews believe the creation was about 6000 years ago.
Ross: Well, my point is, when you read the writings of the early church fathers, they wrote 2000 pages on the 6 days of creation, more than any other text in the Bible.
Hovind: You talking about Origen?
Hovind: You better read some of the other things those guys believe too.
True—both of them allegorised many parts of the Bible. Their views on Genesis were also not typical of the Church Fathers. Note also, Augustine did not believe the days were long ages or that the Earth was billions of years old so he can provide no comfort for Ross. Rather, he believed that the Earth was thousands of years old, and he made precisely the opposite mistake of believing that creation was instantaneous/simultaneous, due to the outside influence of neo-Platonic philosophy.
Hovind: I’m gonna stick with what the Bible says, I don’t care what any early church father said.
Moderator: But wait. When you say "Let’s stick with what the Bible says," take the area of eschatology. Take the area of Church government. Take the area of baptism. Take the area of predestination. Okay? There’s a lot of disagreement in the Church on that. It doesn’t mean they’re not Christians and the fact is, the Bible itself has to be the standard.
Yes, it certainly does, and yes, CMI agrees that people can be Christians despite disagreement in these areas—we have never claimed otherwise. After all, our founding chairman Prof. John Rendle-Short was a genuinely Christian theistic evolutionist for 40 years—see From (theistic) evolution to creation.
Moderator: The question is, do we—I mean, the guys with the Biblical inerrancy thing, went around the circle on this thing for days and days and days. All right? And people like Francis Shaeffer, Gleason Archer, Walter Kaiser, Norman Geisler, they all looked at this and the fact is they took this this day-age position. They recognized other people took your position. But they kept the door open. Because of the fact is that they saw that there was credible, Biblical evidence that opens that door so that the scientific evidence has a chance of getting in there.
Hovind: You’re doing the same thing he was doing though, you’re confusing science with the idea that Earth is billions of years old.
True. Again, what Ankerberg says shows that they are making ‘science’ the final authority, and are trying to widen the meanings of words beyond what is permissible in a specific context to try that. It would be better to believe the Bible, and then try to interpret the data—they would find that the data interpreted according to the Biblical framework ‘opens the door’ to correct science.
Hovind: It is true we see stars. That doesn’t prove they’re billions of years old.
Ross: Yes, it does.
It certainly does not, as shown earlier.
Hovind: See, right here’s where the problem is. What we have …
Another appeal to authority. Of course, ‘any astronomer’ includes Dr Danny Faulkner, who disagrees with this! Ross would do better to explain how seeing stars proves they are billions of years old, because the infallible Word of God takes precedence over some fallible astronomers any day. As shown before, what Ross means is the overtly tautological reasoning that stars and planets will form naturalistically only if the Universe has been expanding for billions of years, therefore the Universe must be billions of years old.
Hovind: Just a minute. We can go look at Grand Canyon. We can make three columns here. A fact. Grand Canyon exists. There are two interpretations of this. It took billions of years to form, or it formed very quickly in the flood of the days of Noah. What he’s confusing, and I think you just too, John, you confuse the interpretation with the fact. You got to be real careful there.
Moderator:There’s another way of approaching it. And that is, let’s say I am all wrong in my view. And you start off with coming to the Bible. The first thing I would do is, whether I’m looking at eschatology or whether I’m looking at predestination or whether I’m looking at Jesus saying, you know, you have to be a little child to come into the Kingdom of God. The fact is, these have meanings, and the text itself has to interpret that for you. When you say, ‘Have other Christians come to this position?’ Yes, guys like Francis Schaeffer, who led the way in terms of apologetics and trying to reach non-Christians; he held this view. Guys like Gleason Archer that do know these, all these languages. They were, they were thrilled to see this. They’ve written the lexicons and so on. They’re saying these words allow them that door. They’re not saying that therefore because the door is open that this is what science is saying. Look, anybody that had a view 500 years ago and said our Bible view and our science view match up, the fact is, they’d be wrong today. Because science looks like it changes every hour around here.
So why cling dogmatically to the big bang and billions of years, and twist the Bible to fit?
Hovind: Okay. Now, twenty years from now when they pick a new number, he’s gonna be left out in the cold, because he’s put so much emphasis on this Big Bang theory and so much emphasis on this billions of years stuff, that when this changes, he’s gonna look silly. 1905, the official age of the Earth, I’ve got the textbooks, was 2 billion years. Today it’s 4.6.
Ross: That’s still a lot older than what you’re prepared to concede.
The point was that the age once dogmatically proclaimed as fact has been revised upwards by >100%!
Hovind: From two billion to 4.6 billion is a gigantic jump.
Ross: Hold it, I’ve read the paper, the guy who wrote the two billion is Edwin Hubble. If you read his paper, 1929, he cautioned people outside of the field not to look at this as anything more than a demonstration that the universe is expanding over billions of years.
Ross is confusing the age of the Earth with that of the universe. More namedropping and bluff.
Ross: Because it said his data points are really noisy. This needs to be done with greater precision. We’ve done that with greater precision, now we’ve got the number down to better than 10%. Wait a couple years we’ll get it down to five percent.
Hovind: You’re convinced the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, and that’s within 10%.
Ross: It’s better than that, it’s within a tenth of the percent.
Hovind: Oh, a tenth of a percent.
Ross: 4.57 billion, plus or minus .01.
So now Ross is an authority on geochronology too?!
Hovind: See, this kind of, this is what magicians do, they dazzle the audience with these numbers, you know, wow, watch this over here, well there’s a magic trick going on.
Ross: Well, Kent—
Moderator: The difference is that if the scientific community is using every which way to try to establish that, why would we be against the fact of at least looking at their evidence?
Hovind: Oh, I think we should. But see, the confusion comes when you tie the interpretation to the fact. Yes, Grand Canyon is there. One group says it took millions of years. I say, wait a minute now, the top of Grand Canyon is higher than the place where the river enters the canyon. Rivers don’t flow uphill. That river didn’t make that canyon.
Moderator: Yeah, let’s talk about the flood a little bit later, but the fact is, in terms of, I think you were saying let’s go back to that speed of light thing, because we missed that in the other program.
Hovind: Yeah, we do see the stars.
Moderator: The fact is is I think you’ve said now that there are quite a few ways that you’ve measured the speed of light.
Moderator: I think thirteen different tests that scientists have made in terms of speed of light, because it’s been challenged within the scientific community itself, and of course if the speed of light gets messed up, then Einstein’s relativity theory goes down the tubes, string theory goes down the tubes, all kinds of things go down the tube. But give us a little background of why now you feel so sure about the speed of light.
Ross: Okay. When astronomers measure hyperfine split lines, we’re measuring the velocity of light when the light left that star or galaxy. And astronomers have been routinely making these measurements on millions of different objects. What we see is the identical velocity of light that we measure here on Earth. We’ve been able to do this to galaxies as far away as 14 billion light years. So the velocity of light has not changed over the last 14 billion years. That’s a direct measurement. Now, we can combine that with a theoretic measurement. E=mc2. You make c different it’s gonna effect e or m. The velocity of light is a little bit higher for Adam than it is for us, he gets incinerated by the heat of the sun, or you don’t have the elements to make Adam in the first place.
If Ross is going to make this charge against Setterfield’s c-decay model (which basically parrots a claim made by a leading atheistic anti-creationist in Australia), he should at least rebut the answer Setterfield gave to this problem many years ago: mass itself is inversely proportional to c2, so that energy is still conserved. He claims that there is experimental evidence that the charge to mass ratio of an electron has been decreasing (supporting his claim that mass has increased as c2 has decreased). Whether Setterfield’s data is convincing is another matter, but Ross needs to address it. It’s hardly the first time Ross parrots the arguments of bibliosceptics against creationists, ignoring the answers creationists have presented long ago.
For CMI’s current view on the c-decay controversy, see:
Moderator: You also were talking, and I’ll let Kent get in here, the fact is apparently there’s certain lines that spread out as it gets to us.
Ross: You’re talking about the idea that maybe Duane Gish makes a proposition for example that light didn’t come from the stars and galaxies, God sent it from an intervening point only six thousand light years out.
Ross: But we can prove that’s not true to direct observation. As a beam of light travels through space, it passes through dust and gas. What the dust will do is redden the continuum. It’s kind of like we see with the moon during a forest fire, it gets redder and redder as the smoke gets denser and denser. And as it goes through gas clouds, those gas clouds have movements, and that’s gonna Doppler broaden the spectral lines. And therefore a test of whether or not the objects came from the stars and galaxies, are there more distant objects, more reddened in the continuum, and broader in their spectral lines, and it’s a direct proportion. The farther away the object is, the broader the spectral lines, and the deeper the red of the continuum.
Moderator: Which all means what?
Ross: Means the light must have come from the stars and galaxies, rather than from some intervening point.
CMI also disagrees with the ‘light created in transit’ view, as shown in How can we see distant stars in a young Universe?
Moderator: And in measuring that light, you get a time of—
Ross: If it came from those distant galaxies, then the light must have been travelling for billions of years, cause the velocity of light we can measure and prove theoretically did not change.
Moderator: Okay, we’ve got about a minute and thirty left. I’ll give you the last minute and thirty. Go for it.
Hovind: I recommend that anybody watching this call Duane Gish and say, did you really say that? Because I bet I got 25 or 30 letters and calls from people saying Hugh Ross misquoted me, he didn’t—you know, it’s not correct.
Given Ross’s proven (and well documented on this website) tendency to misrepresent creationists, I also wouldn’t trust Ross’s quotes.
Ross: He said it in my presence several times.
So we have to take Ross’s word for it?
Hovind: … I mentioned earlier, you can’t tell the distance to these stars, 14 billion light years away. They might be—they probably are. But we can’t measure that, and it’s silly for us for humans, little humans on Earth to say, we know the distance to that star, 14 billion light years away, it can’t be done.
Ross: It’s high school trig.
Once again Ross presents misleading information, backing up this section of ‘Hugh Ross lays down the gauntlet!’
Hovind: Wait wait wait. Just this blanket statement. Astronomers say. As if he’s speaking for all astronomers. I just spent the last three hours with Danny Faulkner, who is an astronomer, who would love to debate you by the way.
Hovind: Would you be willing to do that?
Hovind: Oh, please, call Danny Faulkner—
Moderator: Okay, keep going.
Hovind: He says you’re wrong, the Earth is only 6000 years old.
Ross: Yeah, based on the Bible.
Before, Ross was claiming that the Bible unambiguously teaches six long ages, so Ross’s position is totally Biblically based (he claims). Now he chides an astronomer for trusting God’s word and believing that the Earth is only 6000 years old.
Ross: He’s admitted to me that if you look at the astronomical evidence there’s no case.
I simply don’t believe Ross here. In Dr Faulkner’s interview in Creation magazine, he says:
This is hardly the words of a man who believes ‘there’s no case’, so Ross’s credibility is on the line here. Note that Dr Faulkner is also a keynote speaker at CMI’s coming Creation Supercamp in Australia.
Ross: He’s been arguing me in print for years that young Earth creationists need to pay attention to astronomy, because they’ve got a profound challenge there.
This is also a very loose paraphrase of what Dr Faulkner claims. Yes, creationists should study astronomy, and no, we don’t have all the answers, but this is true of all science and hardly the same as ‘no case’ for a young universe.
Ross: My point was this. Given that the astronomical community, and I’ll except Danny Faulkner—
Hovind: I won’t give that. Right away you’re assuming that everybody’s on your side and it’s just simply not true.
Note that the same appeal to majority view would backfire on Ross when he opposes biological evolution—the majority of biologists believe in evolution, after all!
Ross: Hang on. Given that there are so many well-known astronomers who have put in print the statement that I’ve just stated, shouldn’t you at least talk to those astronomers and determine why they view the astronomical evidence for a Young Earth to be so incredible?
Hovind: Sure, I’m willing to read anything on the topic. I’m willing to talk to anybody. But I think you’ve got some built-in assumptions.
Hovind: We don’t know that the speed of light—you’ve never been to the moon, you’ve never measured the speed of light out there. We don’t know the—the speed of light may be consistent. I don’t know. My point is, we don’t know what light is. Is it a wave, a particle, a photon? What is—give me a jar of it and paint it red. Nobody knows what it is.
Moderator: What do you think?
Ross: We know what light is.
Hovind: What is it?
Ross: It’s a photon. Which has both a wave property and a particle property. And it’s the principle of quantum mechanics.
Hovind: You’re giving it a name, but that’s not telling me what it is.
Ross: Well, a light packet is a set of photon—
Hovind: It’s a packet?
Hovind: Ziplock bag or what?
Ross: (laughs) Okay. We’re talking about—do you believe that quantum mechanics is true? I mean, not all young Earth creationists do, I don’t know what your position is.
Well, not all old Earthers or evolutionists do either, so what does this prove apart from showing that Ross is not above cheap guilt-by-association ploys? It should be clear from published articles that neither of the major creationist organisations, [Creation Ministries International] or Institute for Creation Research, have any problem with QM, as opposed to some interpretations of QM. For example, see Should creationists accept quantum mechanics?; Blowing Old-Earth Belief Away, notes 1 and 2; Olfactory Design: Smell and Spectroscopy. Therefore there was little point to Hovind’s side-tracking instead of sticking to the issue at hand. It must be said that Hovind gave Ross the perfect excuse to use that ploy, and there is nothing else in Ross’s answers about QM to which a creationist should object.
Moderator: … Our topic is, are the universe and the Earth billions of years old or just six thousand years old? Also, are Genesis one and two compatible with contemporary scientific evidence? And right now we’re talking at an interesting spot, and that is, in terms of the Bible, as well as science, when did entropy, the second law of thermodynamics, come into place? Did it come into place when God created everything at the Big Bang? Or when God created it on—Kent, you’ll have to tell me, on the first day, or when Adam sinned? Now you say, what in the world does that have to do with it? Well, the question comes up of Romans chapter 5 verse 12, what the apostle Paul talks about when he says, therefore just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men because all sinned. Did death come into the world only at the moment that Adam sinned? Well, if it did, then the fact is, that the days have to be 24-hour periods of time. Why? Because you’ve got the animals and the plants. Or, are you saying that death does not apply to the animals and the plants? The animals and plants dying, we’re talking about entropy. Do the stars burn down before Adam sinned? Is digestion taking place? Am I going the right direction here? Start me off, would you?
Ross: Okay, you’re referring to Romans chapter 8 where it says the entire creation is subject to the law of decay. That means that all of the universe throughout all of its space/time dimensions, and so I would interpret that that the second law of thermodynamics has been in effect since the creation. As you point it out, you’ve got stars before the fall of man and after the fall of man. Stars are extremely sensitive to the laws of physics including the laws of thermodynamics. Stars are impossible without the second law of thermodynamics, gravity, and electromagnetism. You’ve got Adam and Eve eating before the fall then after the fall. Again, extremely sensitive to the laws of physics including thermodynamics. What happened at the fall as we see in Genesis three is that humanity changed, not the world. The curse was that there would be more pain, not pain for the first time, there’d be more work, not work for the first time. Adam after all was commanded to work the garden of Eden before he sinned. Therefore we’ve got the continuous operation of the laws of physics, and as an astronomer I can tell you, if there was any change in the laws of physics, we would see a discontinuity as we look back in time. We see no such discontinuity.
That the laws of thermodynamics were in operation before the Fall is hardly news to CMI—Did the 2nd Law begin at the Fall? However, Ross is wrong that there is no discontinuity at all at the Fall —God removed some of His upholding power so that the 2nd Law resulted in decay and finally death.
Moderator: Define death, then.
Ross: Okay, Romans 5:12 is speaking about human death. That’s when human death came into effect for the first time. Notice the text says death through sin. Only human beings amongst all species of life can experience death through sin.
Ross: And then Paul closes it off by saying death through sin was visited upon all human beings. He’s careful to exclude the plants and the animals as he does in 1 Corinthians 15:20–22. Again he limits it to humanity.
The passage doesn’t limit it to humanity, since there is nothing saying only human death. Rather, Paul is concentrating on the human aspect because he is linking it to the resurrection from the dead, which applies only to humans. The larger context, e.g. taking the other Biblical passages into consideration, makes it clear that there was no death of any living creatures before the Fall. Here is a summary:
Ross: And so yes, there was no human death until the fall of Adam and Eve, but that does not exclude plant and animal death and hey, if Adam and Eve are eating, then obviously plants are dying.
Since when have we denied plant death before the Fall? But we point out that the Bible never calls plants ‘living creatures’ (Hebrew nephesh hayyah), so their death is different.
Hovind: You’re arguing apples and oranges here. If you have death before sin, you’re saying this is the way God made it. And when God looked at everything in Genesis 1:31 and looked at everything and said it’s very good, I don’t think it’s very good for the zebra to have the lion tear its guts out.
Ross: Okay. Maybe we disagree on eschatology. I believe the perfect creation, the new creation of Revelation 21, will replace the very good creation of Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. There’s a much superior creation that’s coming. Yes, it was good, it was very good.
Hovind: It was very good when the animals were being eaten by each other. You’re saying that was very good.
Ross: Hang on.
Hovind: Just answer the question. Yes or no.
Ross: I’m disagreeing with you. I would argue that conditions would be worse for the herbivores if you take the carnivores away, there’d have been greater suffering if there wasn’t carnivorous activity.
Hovind: So that’s a round-about way of answering the question, yes, you believe God originally designed it for the herbivores to be eaten by the carnivores.
On Ross’s broadcast of 25 Nov, he claims:
Well, see, in their [CMI’s] theology, you have carnivorous activity evolving from herbivores after the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. And so you start off with these herbivores and rather quickly wind up with a carnivore … plant eaters, sheeps and goats, then you wind up with lions and tigers.
Of course this is just dishonest, because we have never claimed anything that remotely resembles sheeps and goats changing into bears. Our explanations have involved:
Hovind: I disagree so strongly. And I think you really get into some some wild doctrines then.
Hovind is right and Ross is wrong, according to the eminent Reformed theologian Douglas Kelly who wrote:12
I would simply suggest that to interpret ‘very good’ as including pre-Fall pain, death, etc. is simply inadmissible in terms of proper Hebrew exegesis. If one can turn a word (or two words— tobh me’od) upside down on its head to mean the exact opposite of what it clearly says, the authority of Scripture is a nose of wax to be shaped by the changing culture.
God saw his work, and behold it was all very good; i.e. everything was perfect in its kind, so that every creature might accomplish reach the goal appointed by the Creator, and accomplish the purpose of its existence. By the application of the term ‘good’ to everything God had made, and the repetition of the word with the emphasis ‘very’ at the close of the whole creation, the existence of anything evil in the creation of God is absolutely denied, and the hypothesis entirely refuted, that the six days’ work merely subdued and fettered an ungodly, evil principle, which had already forced its way into it.
Hovind: He died spiritually. There are three kinds of death in the Bible.
Moderator: But so he didn’t die physically on that day.
Hovind: Well, if a day is like a thousand years, he—nobody made it over a thousand, so I guess yes he did in that sense.
First, once again Hovind misinterprets ‘a day is like a thousand years’ as shown above and in Q&A: 2 Peter 3:8—‘one day is like a thousand years’. Second, the correct answer to Ross’s team mate…oops—I mean impartial moderator, Ankerberg, is that Genesis 2:17 is best explained by taking the promise of death in an ingressive sense. A literal translation is ‘dying you shall die’. In other words, the focus is on the beginning of the action of dying, which results in the translation ‘ … for when you eat of it you will surely beginto die.’
Hovind: He died physically in that same—he began to die right away, that’s probably when the second law was introduced.
No it wasn’t, as explained in Did the 2nd Law begin at the Fall?
Hovind: Well let me ask you one question on this same topic.
Hovind: If Adam had not taken the fruit, would he have eventually died anyway?
Moderator: I think so. I’ve been thinking about both of what you would say, and I don’t know what you’re gonna say on this, Hugh, but I’ve been thinking about that, because it talks about the fact of, you’ve got this this tree of life. Okay? And you see you can’t eat the tree of good and evil. But the fact is, you can eat of this tree of life. It was expected that he would. Now after Adam sinned, okay, God put the cherubim at the gate so that he couldn’t go back in. Apparently he could have eaten after, even after he had sinned. Implying the fact is if he did, he would have lived forever as a sinner, so actually it was God’s grace that He kicked him out so he would die physically to be redeemed and so on. But that would imply that he had to eat in the garden of that tree to stay alive, which would imply, to me, that he could have died. Doesn’t it?
Hovind: Well, you’ve got a long, several assumptions from the fact. I mean, you get several generations—
Yes, and an elementary logical fallacy called denying the antecedent. In the inference: ‘If Adam keeps eating fruit, then Adam would have lived forever’, the antecedent is: ‘Adam keeps eating fruit’ and the consequent is ‘Adam lives forever’. Denying the antecedent is saying ‘If Adam didn’t eat the fruit, then he wouldn’t have lived forever.’ To see why this is a well-known fallacy, compare an argument with the same logical structure: ‘If I step in a puddle, my feet will get wet. So if I avoid puddles, my feet will not get wet.’ However, there are plenty of other ways to get your feet wet, so avoiding puddles is no guarantee.
Poor logic has the potential to lead people into heresy—one example is baptismal regeneration, which some support by citing the following statement of Christ, according to the Majority Text of Mark 16:16: ‘Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’
Interpreting the first part of this to claim that anyone who is not baptized will not be saved is another example of the fallacy of denying the antecedent. And it would contradict clear statements in Scripture that salvation is by grace through faith, not by works, e.g. Eph. 2:8–9 (just as Ankerberg’s faulty logic leads him into conflict with scriptural passages of no human death before sin). The second part states explicitly that unbelief results in condemnation, which is consistent with the rest of Scripture.
For more information, see my article Loving God With All Your Mind: Logic and Creation.
Moderator: Welcome. We’re talking with our guests, Dr. Kent Hovind and Dr. Hugh Ross, about science and creation, evolution. We’re talking about is the age of the Earth billions of years old or just six thousand years old. And we’re talking about how does all this square with the Genesis record. It’s been a very interesting talk, and we’re gonna do questions and answers now from the audience, and I can hardly wait to hear what these folks are gonna ask. Number one.
Guest: This question is for Dr Hovind. We know that you believe that there are several areas where the science needs to be reinterpreted to agree with the words of the Bible. But do you believe there’s any instance where the traditional interpretation of the Bible needs to be adjusted to agree with the scientific evidence?
Hovind: I guess I’d have to know what you mean by, whose traditional interpretation—
Guest: Theology. Do you believe there’s any instance where theology needs to be adjusted to agree with science?
Guest: Well, to give an example, how about the fact that a thousand years ago some Christians thought the Bible taught that the world was flat?
Hovind: I think you’d find if you studied that out, it was some heathens that were teaching the Earth was flat, and a lot of Christians today get accused of believing things in the past. The Bible clearly teaches the Earth is round, in Isaiah chapter 40 [verse 22].
Ross: I would agree with that.
So would I. See Q&A: Countering the Critics under ‘Does the Bible really teach a flat Earth?’.
Hovind: … the fact that we see so many things in entropy like the moon leaving us a couple inches a year, or the human population getting more genetic load. All of the things from entropy indicate the universe is not billions of years old. Maybe, you know—
Moderator: Let’s talk about that one, too, the fact of in the fact of the moon pulling away. You’ve got the moon in couple of examples. Number one, of the moon pulling away a couple inches every year, therefore if you take it all the way back to the beginning, the Earth ought to be young. All right. Is there something wrong with that idea?
Ross: Definitely. He’s assuming that the spiraling away of the moon from the Earth is linear. No astronomer believes it’s linear. Newton’s laws of motion prove that it cannot possibly be linear. You use those laws, you discover that it’s consistent with the moon separating close to the Earth about four and a quarter billion years ago. And so the spiraling away of the moon is consistent with an old Earth interpretation, not a young Earth interpretation.
Ross has it totally wrong. Creationists most certainly do not assume that the recession of the moon was linear. The whole point is that the recession rate is inversely proportional to the sixth power of the distance, so would have been much faster in the past. I pointed this out in my 1998 article The Moon: The light that rules the night, note 8; this was in turn based on a 1990 article by Dr Don DeYoung. So Ross has no excuse for once again mis-representing what creationists claim.
Hovind: … The Bible tells us clearly in Exodus 20:11, I want you to rest on the seventh because I made everything in six days. Everything in heaven, and Earth, the sea, and all that in them is. And if the average layman cannot understand that verse, then the Bible is incapable of being understood.
Ross: Well, I agree with that, it was done in six days.
Hovind: But see this is—
Ross: You see that in the Westminster Confession, that God created the universe in six days. Notice the Westminster Confession doesn’t say six 24-hour days. It just says six days.
As I’ve pointed out, it says ‘in the space of six days’. They didn’t say ‘six 24-hour days’ because it would be stating the obvious—no one would have had any doubt what it meant at the time of writing. In fact, the Reformers reacted strongly against the few church Fathers who allegorized the days of creation—and I repeat that they allegorized it in a diametrically opposite way to Ross by teaching that Creation Week was really an instant. It’s only modern theologians kowtowing to secular ‘science’ that try to make ‘white’ mean ‘black’ that can deny the intended meaning of the Westminster Confession.
Hovind: This is uniformitarianism. This was Charles Lyell’s problem, and several times in the previous debates, Hugh has referred to the fossil record or the geologic column. Well, I taught Earth science for years, you can only find that dumb geologic column one place in the world, and that’s in the textbooks. It doesn’t exist. Charles Lyell made up the whole thing. All those—oh, some other people helped—all those layers of rock that we see were formed during the flood in the days of Noah. I’ve got pictures on my website of petrified trees standing up running through a whole bunch of different layers.
Ross: You’re misrepresenting the field. What geophysicists and geologists believe is that it’s a combination of catastrophism and uniformitarianism.
Hovind: Here you are speaking for all geologists again. You do this consistently, and I wish you’d stop and think about what you’re doing.
Ross: Well, find a secular geologist that doesn’t endorse catastrophism. They all endorse it.
Actually, because of the uniformitarian bias, it took about 40 years before Harlen Bretz’s explanation of the Channeled Scablands eastern Washington State—the catastrophic Spokane Flood: when ancient Lake Missoula in Montana (USA) burst an ice dam in Idaho—was accepted. This is explained further in Mammoth: Riddle of the Ice Age.
Hovind: I can find lots of geologists that don’t endorse the idea that, that do believe that all those layers were deposited in a flood.
Ross: I would agree, but many floods, not just one.
But this is again because of their bias—they fit the millions of years between the layers, just where there is no evidence for any passage of time! In fact, there is often a lot of evidence against long time spans, because of features such as rain drops, ripples, tracks which would be eroded quickly if not preserved rapidly by the next layer of sediment, including mineral-rich water to cement the patterns.
Note that creationists affirm post-Flood catastrophes—for example, see again Mammoth: Riddle of the Ice Age.
Hovind: No, just one big flood formed nearly all the layers. And so, in one sense it doesn’t matter what any geologist says. What does God’s Word say? It’s real clear. Your idea of a local flood in the days of Noah, then you’re assuming that all of these layers of rock that we see all over the world were formed slowly over billions of years—
Ross: Some, not all.
Hovind: Okay, nearly all. There’s just no difference between what you teach and what the evolutionists teach. And your teaching is gonna destroy people’s faith in God’s word, and it’s gonna not lead people to the Lord, it’s gonna let—young Earth creationism is the plain, obvious interpretation.
Moderator: Well, well let’s hit that, I mean, you know we’ve just got to stop there. The fact is, why? In other words, when you have people like Francis Shaeffer, Norm Geisler, Gleason Archer, Bruce Waltke, and a whole lot of folks like that that may disagree on a 24-hour period of time, you can’t accuse them of being non-evangelistic, not standing for the inspiration and inerrancy of the word of God.
Here we go again, the Moderator bailing Ross out by taking sides. As shown, all these people are motivated by trying to rescue the Bible from a perceived conflict with ‘science’ by reinterpreting the Bible rather than questioning the ‘science’.
Hovind: Right, I understand that.
Moderator: You can say they disagree, but you can’t accuse them in terms of motive. And I think also the fact is that right along this line, there’s one verse that is an interesting one, I’ve been thinking about it. Excuse me for butting in on your time here.
No, we shouldn’t excuse him, because of his persistent partiality.
Moderator: Psalm 19:1 and 2 says, and you both quoted this in your stuff, the heavens declare the glory of God. The skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech. Night after night they display knowledge. There’s no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the Earth, their words to the ends of the world. Now my question is this, is that, is the message that’s being conveyed just that God is the creator and these guys are spectacular, or does the message that they are proclaiming in terms of distance, and years, is that also a true message? We come back to this thing, speed of light, how you measure the distance to the stars and so on. What do you think?
Ross: Well, twice the psalmist says the heavens declare the righteousness of God. So I would argue that the psalmists are trying to make the point that the heavens declare not just a god exists but the God, the God of the Bible exists. And I’ve written in my books if you look at the record of nature and universe, you see that it must be a transcendent being, transcends ten space/time dimension, matter, and energy. We can identify that this God is trillions of trillions of trillions of times etc. more powerful than we humans beings in its capacity to design and create.
I thought God was infinitely more powerful.
Ross: Likewise more intelligent, more knowledgeable, and I think the real distinctive is that we can demonstrate from that record that God is caring and loving. Now of all the gods of the religions of the world, which one transcends ten space/time dimensions?
Where does it say this in the Bible?
Ross: Which one reveals himself as trillions and trillions and trillions and trillions of times more creative, more powerful, more knowledgeable, more intelligent, more caring and loving than human beings? You’re really left with just the God of the Bible. Now my problem with a young Earth interpretation is all that evidence is erased. The heavens do not declare the glory of God.
Nonsense. Nothing in the ‘young Earth interpretation’ says that any evidence is erased. But notice that Ross is really making an appeal to pragmatism—never mind what the Bible teaches, his main objection is that his big-bang-based ‘evidence’ collapses if we deny billions of years.
Moderator: What about this appearance of age, Kent?
Hovind: Well, Adam—how old was Adam when God made him?
Ross: Brand new.
Hovind: Did he look brand new?
Ross: He looked brand new.
Hovind: Did he look like a sperm or an egg, or a fertilized embryo, or a full grown man?
Ross: Well, let me put it this way. You and I have liver spots on our skin. In fact the teenagers in this audience have liver spots on their skin. They’re not brand new when you examine them up close using medical methods. But I believe that when God created Adam, yes he was tall, fully capable, fully functional, but he was brand new, no liver spots, no chipped teeth, no gray hair, no baldness, he was brand new. Cause when God creates, that’s how he creates, he doesn’t create with the appearance of age, he never creates with the appearance of age.
Hovind: That, that is the appearance of age, look at him, I mean he’s old enough to walk, talk, get married first day.
Ross: You’re assuming he comes from a womb, the text tells us he doesn’t come from the womb of a woman.
Hovind: I know.
Yes, exactly. This illustrates that all ‘scientific’ methods for trying to work out ages depend on underlying assumptions about the past. The uniformitarians, whom Ross follows uncritically, ignore a priori the past as stated in the true history of the universe, the Bible—see this quote from Hutton, the ‘Father of uniformitarianism’.
The article The Earth: How old does it look?, shows that the Earth doesn’t ‘look old’ all by itself, but this appearance is based on uniformitarian assumptions. With Biblical assumptions, the Earth ‘looks young’ just as the Bible teaches, and there are many scientific indicators to teach this. But in another sense, the Earth really is old—about 6000 years old! It’s only the incessant indoctrination in billions of years that makes many people think that the enormous time span of many thousands of years is ‘young’.
Ross: He’s specially created by God by the dust of the Earth.
Hovind: I understand. And Eve was made from Adam’s rib, not his side like you said, it was just a rib is what the Bible says. But they were full grown, fully mature human beings in a full grown garden, they didn’t have to wait three or four years for the trees to produce fruits.
Ross: I don’t agree they were mature, I believe that both of them were brand new—
Hovind: Could they speak?
Ross: God gave them that capacity.
Hovind: So they came pre-programmed from the hand of God, fully formed, fully functional.
This is all a creationist means by ‘appearance of age’. Despite Ross’s obfuscations, if we were to go back in time and see Adam and Eve on the sixth day, for all practical purposes they would look like, say, 25-year-olds, although extraordinarily youthful-looking.
Ross: They were fully functional, as a chicken or the egg, God makes the chicken first.
Hovind: I agree, he makes the chicken, I agree. Now why can’t he do that with the stars? What is your problem there?
Ross: Well, because the text doesn’t use the word bara with respect to the stars. It does for Adam and Eve, but it doesn’t use that word for the stars.
Hovind: Well, I showed you where it does. In chapter one, it says God let us make man in our image, the next verse says God created man. It uses them interchangeably, and there’s hundreds of examples.
Ross: I’m not agreeing that it’s interchangeable. I believe it’s referring to two different characteristics of humanity. The spirit within us is—
Hovind: See, that’s only to make it fit your theory, though.
Ross: Hold it. The spirit within us is brand new, never existed before in the animal kingdom on Earth. It happened for the first time with Adam. Now, there’s parts of us that are not brand new. We have physical bodies, just like the other animals have physical bodies. Therefore the text doesn’t use bara to refer to our physical capacity. It uses the word asah. It still attributes to God the miraculous. God himself performed a miracle of taking the dust of the Earth, which wasn’t brand new, it’s been around for a while.
Where does Ross get this idea from? As explained before, while bara and asah have different nuances, they are often used interchangeably, so this invalidates Ross’s point. Genesis 1:26–27 says ‘Let us make ( asah) man in our image, … So God created ( bara) man in his own image …’ There is nothing in the text that says that bara refers to the spiritual and asahto the physical. Both are used of making man in God’s image.
Moderator: All right, let’s try it here.
Guest: My question is about the canopy theory. You’ve been critical, Dr Hovind, of Dr. Ross, because he makes a lot of use of 20th century science, but I never hear young Earth creationists talk much about the origin of canopy theory. As best I can determine, it was developed by a man named Isaac Newton Vail, he was a Quaker, he was a self-taught geologist, I’m not sure he was a Christian. He was an evolutionist. He believed the Earth was millions of years old. And this 19th century discredited theory has been embraced by young-Earth creationists. Aren’t you doing the very same thing that you have criticized Dr. Ross for doing?
Genetic fallacy, anyone (see my article Loving God With All Your Mind: Logic and Creation)? But the derivation seems almost as tenuous as those who claim that the NT was derived from pagan mythology (see refutation). The canopy fails for other reasons.
Hovind: Well, first of all, you accuse me of being against 20th century science. That is simply not true. I love science. I’ve seen no scientific evidence to go against this book. I see a lot of 20th century interpretations of scientific facts that are contrary. But again, you’re confusing the interpretation that somebody gives to the fact. Here’s Grand Canyon. How did it get there? Some guy says billions of years, okay, now, you can’t make his interpretation part of the fact that it’s there. All we know is it’s there. So I am not against science, I love science, okay? I’ve not seen any scientific evidence to contradict the young-Earth creationist model, an instantaneous creation, six days, I’ve never seen any scientific evidence. I see evolutionary interpretations that contradict that. And there’s no question, the Bible has a lot of conflict with evolution. And I think the Bible has a lot of conflict with Hugh Ross’s teachings. But there’s no conflict between science and the Bible.
Ross: How do you explain the existence of stars in a young Earth interpretation?
Notice this is not, ‘how do you explain how stars can be seen’, but just how they exist. As shown, Ross believes that stars only arose after the big bang and stellar evolution, and rejects the idea that God made them supernaturally on Day 4.
Hovind: Well, I did, now let me finish this question here. Critical of science. As far as the canopy theory, I don’t know who invented it, I’ve never heard of this guy you mentioned.
Guest: (voice fades in): …have his book, and I’ll be happy to give it to you, this is a reprint of his book.
Hovind: Well, that’s fine. The fact is, I read the Bible and I see, and I look at science and I see several interesting things. Insects are found in the fossil record that are huge. Insects breathe through their skin. There’s a real problem as an insect gets larger, it breathes through spiracles in its skin. As you increase the size of an insect, the surface area to volume ratio changes radically, and you have a problem where it can’t get enough oxygen. And yet we find dragonflies, we found one in Italy here recently with a fifty-inch wingspan. Well, a fifty-inch dragonfly couldn’t possibly fly today. Something was different. Two-foot grasshopper fossils are found. Eighteen-inch cockroach fossils. In Germany last summer, or this summer they found an eight-and-a-half-foot centipede fossil. Something was different on this planet, because insects today cannot get that size because of the surface area to volume ratio problem. They just don’t have enough skin to absorb the oxygen they need. Plus the flight, you know, pterodactyls are found with fifty-foot wingspan, they couldn’t fly today.
I’ve heard about this alleged inability to fly today, but it’s heterodox and I advise creationists not to use this.
Moderator: Refresh our memory then, what are you saying that the text says?
Ross: Well, I believe that the text is saying that there was a fully functional water cycle from the second creation day onward. I mean as I look at Genesis two I see two Hebrew words, ed-matar, rain and mist, as you look at the lexical definitions, it’s simply a matter of degree. One’s referring to bigger liquid drops of water, one’s referring to smaller liquid drops of water, …
Despite Ross’s blurring of the meanings of rain and mist, the point of this passage is to contrast them.
Ross: … and as a geologist friend of mine point out, we have fossil evidence of falling raindrops in shale and sandstone rocks that go back before 10 million years. Rain was here.
How does he know that the ‘rocks that go back before 10 million years’? The text clearly says there was no rain before man was created.
Ross: And would also fit the whole idea of the covenant theology. When God uses something to sign one of his covenants, he always picks something familiar within the environment to sign that with, like water baptism or food and wine, and therefore there must have been rain and rainbows before the flood for God to use that as a covenant signature.
I won’t say ‘must’, but I agree that God probably did as Ross said here, and there is nothing in the text to rule it out.
Guest: Okay. This is directed to Dr Ross. But first, for Dr Hovind, I have studied Hebrew, and Dr Ross does an admirable job, he’s done his homework, …
If this guy thinks Ross ‘does an admirable job’ with Hebrew, then this guy must have obtained his Hebrew qualifications, if any, from a matzah packet.
Guest: … we’ve talked personally about some of these things, and yet this is directed because we do have some differences. And so Dr Ross, with, in relation to the word yom used in the Old Testament, 359 times it is linked with a number, numerical index. All but a few times, like Hosea 6:2, it refers to a literal 24-hour solar day.
Hosea 6:2 ‘After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence’ is no exception. This verse exhibits a particular kind of Semitic poetic parallelism of the form X / X + 1 (cf. Job 5:19; Proverbs 6:16; 30:15,18; Amos 1:3, 6, 9). So it must be interpreted according to the specific context, so that ‘two days’ and ‘three days’ mean that God’s healing of the broken Israel, promised in the previous verse, will occur in a short time. In fact, Ross’s ‘exception’ reinforces the literal day interpretation, because if these days were millions of years long, the restoration would not exactly be quick.
Guest: So, the evidence seems to support a 24-hour day. How would you deal with this?
Ross: Well, how I’d deal with it is to make the point that those 300+ references that you’ve found are in the context of human history, whereas what you’ve got in Hosea chapter 6 is a prophetic reference using the word day, what you have in Genesis one is a reference towards the natural creation. It’s a different context. The other references are referring to human history. So you have to examine the context to see which way you should take one of the three definitions.
This is just special pleading to ignore those 300+ references. God wrote the Bible to instruct us (2 Tim. 3:15–17), so those references should tell us what He meant in Genesis 1. If the days in Genesis 1 was a unique case contrary to other uses of ‘day’ in similar context, then the door is open to ‘interpret’ anything else one doesn’t like as a ‘unique case’ too. And as said, God goes out of His way to assure us that the creation week was the same duration as the working week in Exodus 20:8–11.
Guest: In doing that, there is very good evidence that it is a 24-hour period. Now you know as we’ve talked that I’m really open to looking at all the options. I want to know the truth, a lot of people listening want to know what is really the case. And you have presented some very good evidence, and we need to spend time sifting through, pulling these things together, and I think, I know for me, yom is still a problem. And I think for a lot of other people. What would you say that we need to do in seeking truth or good evidence in this area?
Ross: Well, you know I like problems, I like disagreements, cause it’s a wonderful way to learn. I mean every time God takes a doubt away from me he gives me three new ones I didn’t know I had in the first place. I think that’s how God teaches us.
Where in the Bible does it say that God gives doubt? James 1:5 says that God gives wisdom to those who ask. Ross sounds more like ‘always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth’ (2 Timothy 3:7).
Ross: What I would recommend, we have to stop using the charge of heresy or heretic, cause all that does is raise fear, and it shuts down communication. We need to open the communication up. If people will dialog without these charges of heresy or you’re not a Christian or you’re leading people astray, I think we can get this settled. All it takes is to get people to talk, in a peaceable environment, where they accept one another’s Christian testimony.
So, will Ross withdraw his nasty comparison of young-Earth creationists with some heretics that the Apostle Paul anathematized in the book of Galatians:14
Ross: ‘Much as circumcision divided the first-century church, I see the creation date issue dividing the church of this century. As circumcision distorted the Gospel and hampered evangelism, so, too, does young-Earth creationism.
Hovind: One comment I would make, in Hosea chapter 6, when it talks about the day of the Lord, that may be a literal 24-hour day. There is going to be a day when he comes and redeems this world, so take the 300 references where it’s clearly a 24-hour day, and say we have one where it’s questionable—that one still could be a 24-hour day—and then to build a whole doctrine based on that one questionable verse, I think that’s real thin ice to be skating on.
Ross: Well, if you’ve only got one passage in the Bible where numbered days refer to natural creation, that establishes an entirely different context. That would give me the basis for an exception.
Hovind provided a good rule of thumb—it makes more sense to use 300+ clear passages than one doubtful one, which actually reinforces the 300+ when interpreted properly anyway!
Moderator: No, that’s because of research, that, I mean, that would be like saying that these fellows that we’ve mentioned that are leading our evangelical seminaries that somehow they’ve been swayed by the outside world. And I’m saying those are some of the strongest Christians I know that called me into obedience to the text. So the fact is I think we can disagree, but to say that they’re not looking at all the records, I just don’t think you can do that.
Hovind: No, I don’t think you’re a heretic because you don’t think the days are six days. I think if you have death before sin, now you’ve crossed over the line where that’s a heretical doctrine. And the Bible says there’s gonna be heresies, and somebody’s obviously wrong. We can’t both be right. I think we should discuss and I’m thrilled to be here, I could go all night with this. But I think I’m gonna stick with what the scripture plainly teaches, it’s just—
Hovind: I don’t know. Never met him. I don’t care what anybody believes, I care what does the Scripture say. I can read it, and I can understand it, and I think the average person can too.
I’m pretty sure Archer’s no heretic—his book Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties15 is an outstanding defence of Biblical inerrancy. Nor do I think that Ankerberg is a heretic—he too has produced many fine apologetics resources on a number of topics. But they are inconsistent in their interpretation of Genesis, while fortunately they both correctly interpret passages about the Trinity, Biblical inerrancy, the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ. However, people will fall into outright heresy if the passages about the death and Resurrection of the Last Adam are ‘interpreted’ in the same way as those in Genesis about the sin of the First Adam that brought death into the world, which was the reason Christ came in the first place (1 Cor. 15). People like Charles Templeton slid down this very slippery slide to unbelief.
Ross: Can’t you understand how that just closes down discussion when you say, "Hey, if you believe in long creation days you’re a heretic and should be rejected from the church"?
Hovind: I didn’t say that, I said if you believe there’s death before sin, now that doctrine I would put in the category of heresy. Believing the days are long—
Ross: But you can’t disconnect that from long creation days.
No, not consistently, but some people are Christians by virtue of their inconsistency—i.e. they still believe in Christ’s atoning death, burial and Resurrection but fail to see the conflict with a non-literal Genesis.
Ross: Well, I just finished writing a book with five other scholars called the Genesis Debate, framework hypothesis, young Earth, and day-age. And what’s fascinating to me is we took very different positions on the Sabbath. The framework people view that the seventh day is eternal, the young Earth creationists said it’s 24 hours, we took the point of view that it was a long but finite period of time that ends with the beginning of the new creation.
Moderator: Why? Tell us why.
Ross: Okay, the text. And this is where we were making progress in the debate. You know the editor was quite pleased, because he says you know there’s a lot more clarity in the scripture on the length of the seventh day than …
However, note that CMI, although one of the leading organizations defending the ‘literal day’ view, was not consulted; while Ross, one of the most prominent ‘day agers’ was invited to defend his view (same of course goes for this Ankerberg Show debate). We have yet to see the book, but plan a review in the Technical Journal in 2001 [Now Journal of Creation. [The review can be found here (PDF).]
Moderator: Well, let me, you know, the argument that yôm never means anything in the Bible but a literal 24 hours is completely untenable in the light of scriptural usage elsewhere. That’s by our two leading evangelical scholars.
Hovind: I have never said—I have never said that yôm always means a 24-hour day.
Indeed he has not, and neither has any other creationist. It would be nice if the moderator would keep silently impartial rather than knock down straw men.
Hovind: When it’s put with the modifiers evening, morning, the first day, the second day, then it always means a 24-hour day. So what passage of Scripture, Hugh, do you have, where it uses evening and morning—I mean, Jesus was in the grave for three days. How long was he in the grave?
Hovind: Wait a minute, wait a minute, explain that. What’s the one in Daniel you’re talking about here?
Ross: Well, okay, I think it’s chapter ten.
I have no idea what Ross is dreaming about here. Numbered day/days are mentioned three times in Daniel 10—all of which clearly refer to 24-hr days: v. 4 : ‘On the 24th day of the first month …’, v. 12: ‘… Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding …’, v.13: ‘But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days.’
Ross: But you can check our website, we’ve got an article written by one of our scholars on what Daniel says about the evenings and mornings.
Oh, he’s talking about Daniel 8, not 10; and an article by an engineer called Dr Otto Helweg. Both this article and refutations by Drs David Shackleford and David Fouts were published in [Journal of Creation, formerly] CEN Technical Journal (TJ)11(3):299–308, 1997. Helweg’s case was built on Daniel 8:26: ‘The vision of evenings and mornings …’ supposedly not referring to literal days, because the original Hebrew words erev and boqer are in the singular yet the time frame is longer than 24 hours.
However, the OT never uses plural form ( erev does occur in the dual 11 times and in every case is rendered as ‘twilight’)! The English translators correctly render them as plurals when they are modified by a numerical adjective. The context should make this clear: What vision? Obviously the one referred to most recently, i.e.Dan. 8:1–14, which concludes with ‘It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.’ Here also, the singulars are used, but must obviously be plural in function because there are 2,300 of them—2,300 is definitely a numerical adjective! And these must be literal days, so this reinforces our point. None other than Ross and Ankerberg’s authority, Gleason Archer, says they must be either 2300 24-hr days, or the 2300 comprises 1,150 evenings and 1,150 mornings meaning only 1,150 days, but not long ages!16
In Genesis 1, the evening and morning are combined with an ordinal, so they refer to only one 24-hr day at a time.
Ross: We also have a piece on Hosea chapter six.
See above for refutation.
Guest: In comparison, I have a real easy question. Does the Bible teach that there was a time that the Earth was packed in ice or the ice age theory? And if so, did it occur in chapter one of Genesis between verses one and two?
Ross: The only passages I’m aware of are in the books of the Psalms and the Proverbs, there’s one in Job as well, which makes the point that God controls the quantity of snow, frost, and ice for the benefit of all life. And you know as a physicist I can tell you that you do need this regular cycling of water through all three states. What makes life possible on planet Earth is not just that we’ve got liquid water, but that we have a huge quantity of frozen water, liquid water, and water vapour, and you need these to be cycling in order for particularly advanced life to be possible on planet Earth. So that’s the most direct reference I could find in the Bible for an ice age, but I wouldn’t say it’s proof of an ice age. It’s simply proof that there are these large quantities of frozen water that do cycle through our environment.
Hovind: Right. I don’t think I would disagree with what he said there. That still would have nothing to do with when this happened. I think you’ll find most young Earth creationists would fall into two camps of what the ice age. Some would say—I happen to be in the camp that the ice age was probably what caused the flood. Others would say the flood caused the ice age. You know, minor difference. We’ve got a whole videotape, we call it the Hovind theory so nobody else gets blamed for it, about how the ice age probably was caused by a meteor strike.
I’m glad we won’t be blamed for it. See the more credible Oard theory, that the Ice Age is an aftermath of the Flood, explained in the booklet and Q&A pages (above right).
Moderator: All right, guys, I just want to say thank you for all that you’ve shared with us, and my hope is that those of you that are watching, that you will let this material be that which will motive you to dig into the scripture, and hopefully it’s turned on the lights in your mind as to the relationship of scripture and science and that this will increase your faith in the God of the Bible. So guys again, I want to say thank you for being here and for all that you’ve done, and for those of you that have listened.