Note: This is a web reprint of a pamphlet originally published in 1993. Dr. Davidhieser gave a presentation to the Creation Study Group on this topic in April of 1998. In the interest of making this important resource available, it is reprinted here.
by Bolton Davidhieser, Ph.D.
Originally published as a pamphlet, September, 1993
When writing or speaking in defense of the Bible, several things should be kept in mind. Honesty is imperative, and gives us the advantage, for as John the disciple said, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). False information or inaccurate statements may impress the naive, but sooner or later someone will recognize them for what they are. The main damage in this is that it will further antagonize knowledgeable unbelievers and it becomes more difficult to reach them. Presentations should be well researched to eliminate error, but all of us are fallible, and when we make a mistake we should be ready to admit it.
Dr. Hugh Ross has a worldwide ministry. His mission is to affirm the scientific accuracy of the Bible. He has a large following of enthusiastic believers who are impressed with his personal testimony and his scientific information.
He is a “Big Bang” enthusiast. In fact, he is so strongly attached to this theory that if it is ever replaced by another, such as the plasma theory presently accepted by a minority of scientists, it will be embarrassing to his ministry.
To those who do not know what the Big Bang is, it is the theory that at some time in the past, now generally believed to have been about fifteen to twenty billion years ago, all the matter in the universe was concentrated into a single mass, which exploded with a “big bang.”
The idea began with a Belgian astronomer, Georges Edward Lemaitre. According to Isaac Asimov, Lemaitre conceived this mass to be “no more than a few light-years in diameter.” At the very least, that would be two light-years or about twelve trillion miles. By 1965 that figure was reduced to 275 million miles, by 1972 to 71 million miles, by 1974 to 54 thousand miles, by 1983 to “a trillionth the diameter of a proton,” and now, to nothing at all! A singularity! It exploded, producing hydrogen and helium and perhaps some lithium. Time became the hero and multiple billions of years later it had produced everything in the universe, including Lewis Carroll’s famous “shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings.”
Two aspects of this theory have made it attractive to some religious leaders and their followers. First, it resembles the Bible in having matter come into existence at a certain definite time instead of existing eternally in the past. Second, it proposes matter coming into existence from nothing. However, the multiple billions of years involved are not in accord with Biblical chronology and the manner of development of galaxies, stars, planets, etc., is through natural forces instead of by divine fiat.
YOUNG EARTH VERSUS OLD EARTH
Dr. Ross published a statement which sounds very good, “We affirm that Genesis [chapters] 1-11 is factual, as is the rest of the book. We deny that the teachings of Genesis 1-11 are mythical and that scientific hypotheses about earth history or the origin of humanity may be invoked to overthrow what Scripture teaches about creation.” But there is an inconsistency between a multiple billion year old earth and a Biblically recorded time of only 1656 years from the creation of Adam, the first man, to the flood. Anyone can figure out this interval of time in a few minutes from Genesis 5 and 7:6. The record is presented as a straightforward father-to- son genealogy with no gaps, but even if there were gaps the calculation would remain valid because time is given from the birth of one person to the birth of the next one mentioned.
Dr. Ross told me the solution is that some scholars interpret Hebrew cardinal numbers differently than other scholars do. I asked what Hebrew scholar I might consult for confirmation of this. He named one, a Hebrew scholar whom he quotes in his book The Fingerprint of God to uphold the idea that the days of creation were longer than twenty-four hours. I wrote to him about the matter, enclosing return postage, but received no reply. However, a difference of opinion about the interpretation of these numbers should not be so great as to make a significant difference between Biblical chronology and the much greater scientific time.
As a Big Bang enthusiast, Dr. Ross needs lots of time for the formation of the world and its contents. Naturally, he considers the days of creation to be long ages. As is to be expected, and as is common practice among those who espouse long ages of cosmic and geologic time, he brings up the matter of the Hebrew word yom, used for “day” in the creation account of the opening chapter of Genesis. As in our language, this word can refer to a day of twenty-four hours or it may represent a long period of time, as “In the day of Charles Darwin.” The question is: What does it mean in the account of creation? A common procedure in such cases is to refer to authorities for an answer.
Dr. John R. Howitt, a personal friend of mine, now deceased, wrote a pocket-sized booklet of nearly a hundred pages with 230 references to works of science, which he titled Evolution, “Science Falsely So-Called” He wrote anonymously because he believed he would lose his job if it became known that he was the author. Dr. Howitt wrote to appropriate professors in nine leading universities, asking, “Do you consider that the Hebrew word yom (day), as used in Genesis 1, accompanied by a numeral should properly be translated as (a) a day as commonly understood, ((b)) an age, (c) either a day or an age without preference?” Oxford and Cambridge did not reply but the professors at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Toronto, London, McGill, and Manitoba replied unanimously that it should be translated as a day as commonly understood. Professor Robert H. Pfeiffer of Harvard added, “of twenty-four hours” to his reply. 4
Dr. Ross also supplies a list and his list of authorities interpret the creation days as long periods of time. In his book he writes, “Many of the early church fathers and other biblical scholars interpret the creation days of Genesis 1 as long periods of time. The list includes the Jewish historian Josephus (1st century); Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, apologist and martyr (2nd century); Origen, who rebutted heathen attacks on Christian doctrine (3rd century); Basil (4th century); Augustine (5th century); and, later, Aquinas (13th century), to name a few. The significance of this list lies not only in the prominence of these individuals as biblical scholars, defenders of the faith, and pillars of the early church (except Josephus), but also in that their scriptural views cannot be said to have been shaped to accommodate secular opinion. Astronomical, paleontological, and geological evidences for the antiquity of the universe, of the earth, and of life did not come forth until the nineteenth century.”
However, Flavius Josephus, famous Jewish historian of the first century, wrote about creation in the first chapter of Book One of his Antiquities of the Jews, “..God commanded that there should be light: and when that was made, he considered the whole mass, and separated the light and the darkness; and the name he gave to one was Night, and the other he called Day; and he made the beginning of light and the time of rest the Evening and the Morning; and this was the first day….” There seems to be nothing comparable to the length of a geological age here or for the other days of creation as he described them.
Josephus also said, “On the fourth day he adorned the heaven with the sun, moon, and other stars ” Rather dearly he put the creation of the sun on the fourth day and did not have it formed at the start of creation, as does Dr. Ross and also Dr. Scofield in his famous Bible notes, to become visible on the fourth day due to the removal of a cloud. Furthermore, Dr. Ross says the seventh day, the day of rest, following the six days of creation, “is not closed out,” and continues to the present time. Thus he says that all the time of recorded history, including our own time, is included in the seventh day of rest. Contrary to this, Josephus wrote about acts of God going on in time “after the seventh day was over.” Furthermore, the Bible tells that God did work after the seventh day of rest. Referring to miracles, Jesus said, “My Father worketh hitherto and I work” John 5:17). Also it is to be noted that there were special acts of creation after the completion of the six days. During a famine, a widow at Zarepath had left only a handful of meal in a barrel and a little oil in a cruse. But because she befriended the prophet Elijah, the meal and the oil were replenished as used and the barrel and cruse did not become empty during the remainder of the famine (I Kings 17:8-16). There were two occasions when the Lord fed multitudes by multiplying a few loaves and fishes (Matthew 16:8-10, etc.). At a wedding in Cana He turned water into wine instantly John 2:1-10). After referring to Josephus, Dr. Ross cites examples of heroic “early church fathers” who believed in long periods of time for the days of creation.
Origen held so many erroneous views that what he thought of the length of the days of creation may be dismissed as of little if any value. He spiritualized Biblical statements, seeking hidden meanings instead of accepting literally what the Bible says, including the resurrection of Christ from the tomb. He contended that the literal sense is not that for which the Holy Spirit gave the Scriptures to Christians and said, “The Scriptures are of little use to those who understand them as they are written.” He believed the task of commentators is to penetrate alleged allegories of Scripture in order to find the true meaning. This method opens the way for private erroneous interpretations, as is characteristic of the cults.
Origen believed that rational beings were created as spirits and as they became negligent in their adoration of God they fell varying amounts into different categories, some becoming angels, some human beings, and some demons. Jesus Christ, the Logos, was the exception. He did not fall at all. But still this makes Him subordinate to the Father, being at first on the same level as created beings. For this Jerome, among others, considered Origen to be the precursor to the Arian heresy, which in our day is expressed in the theology of the Unitarians and the Jehovah’s Witness cult.
Denying hell, Origen reasoned that humans, demons, and even Satan can, and in the end will, be reconciled to God, anticipating the Universalist heresy. He said there is to be “a purging baptism of fire,” and thus he anticipated the idea of purgatory, which became a doctrine of the Catholic Church at the First Council of Lyons in 838 A.D. and affirmed at subsequent councils.
Then there was Augustine. Professor Paul Amos Moody of the University of Vermont, in his college textbook, introduction to Evolution, third edition, wrote, “Wise churchmen like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas [another on the list of Dr. Ross] early recognized that these chapters [Genesis 1 and 2], while expressing important religious truths concerning the Creator, should not be considered as literal history.”
In another college textbook, Principles of Organic Evolution, Arthur Ward Lindsey of Dennison University, wrote, “…several of the church fathers expressed ideas of organic evolution even though the trend of ecclesiastical thought led more readily into other lines of reasoning.” He said that Gregory of Nyssa, Basil, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas (all on Dr. Ross’ list), “expressed belief in the symbolic nature of the Biblical story of creation and in their comments made statements dearly related to the concept of evolution.” This being the case, it is only natural that they would have to accept long periods of time for evolution to proceed.
The famous evolutionist Henry Fairfield Osborn of Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History wrote that Augustine “sought a naturalistic interpretation of the Mosaic record… and taught that in the institution of nature we should not look for miracles but for the laws of nature.”
Eldon J. Gardner of Utah State University wrote, “St. Augustine… favored an allegorical interpretation of the book of Genesis in the Bible and openly promoted an evolutionary concept as opposed to special creation.” 9
W. R. Thompson, Ph.D., Catholic creationist, professor and director of the Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control at Ottawa, Canada, is probably most well known for his challenging fourteen-page introduction to a 1955 edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species. He wrote a paper (date not known) in which he said, “As early as 1921, Canon H. de Dolodot in La Darwinisme, issued under the auspices of the University of Louvain, cites St. Augustine as holding as certain the theory of absolute natural evolution of living beings to the human body itself.” He is saying that Augustine accepted the evolution of living things up to and including the bodies of human beings.
The point of all this is that liberals and evolutionists are expected to advocate long periods of time for the origin of the world and its contents. They have to. Large amounts of time are necessary in evolutionary theory.
Irenaeus is left among the people listed by Dr. Ross as advocates of long periods of time for origins. How his name got on the list is not dear, for in the writings of Irenaeus I have not been able to find anything indicating that he believed in long intervals of time for creation. It seems he was an outright creationist. Here are some quotations from his writings:
“God is supreme ruler over all things, for they are His own creation; with His Word (the Son) and His Wisdom (the Holy Spirit) He made all things.” “His own Word is both suitable and sufficient for the formation of all things, even as John, the disciple of the Lord, declares regarding Him: ‘All things were made by Him and without Him was nothing made’ John 1:3). Now among ‘all things’ our world must be embraced. It too, therefore, was made by His Word, as Scripture tells us in the book of Genesis that He made all things connected with our world by His Word. David also expresses the same truth [when he said], ‘For He spoke, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created’ (Psalms 33:9, 148:5).” “God is a Spirit, and so fashioned everything by His Spirit.” “But man He fashioned in His own hands.” “But God Himself brought a trance upon Adam and put him to sleep…. And God took one of Adam’s ribs, and filled up the flesh for it, and built up the rib which He took into a woman, and brought her in this wise to Adam.”
THE ORDER OF EVENTS IN CREATION
The first chapter of Genesis records the chronological order of events as they occurred during the creation week. Dr. Ross lists thirteen creation events and says the probability that Moses could have put all of them in the correct order, if he arranged them by chance and not by inspiration, is only one chance in six trillion (13 factorial = 6,227,020,800, or about six billion). But he says Moses did arrange them in the correct order. Except by faith, how is there any way of knowing whether Moses recorded the events in the right order or not? The only other basis for standardizing seems to be by comparing them with the order offered by “science,” that is, using as a standard the order give by evolutionary scientists in their textbooks. Actually, this is putting the authority of the evolutionary scientists above the authority of the Bible.
In the first place, the general reader of the Bible would conclude that the original light upon the earth did not come from the sun because the sun was not created until the fourth day. But the science textbooks say the sun was formed before the earth, and thus light upon the earth first came from the sun. Therefore the general reader would conclude, based upon modern science, that this was the first mistake of Moses in recording the order of events in creation. To accommodate Genesis with science, Dr. Ross, and before him Dr. Scofield in his famous Bible notes, teach that the sun really was created at the start but did not appear until a dense cloud was removed on the fourth day. But without this explanation, the general reader, following the scientific view, would believe that Moses had erred.
On the first day, when God said, “Let there be light,” it was not necessary that the light be sunlight. In fact, if it had been sunlight there would have been no occasion for God to separate the light from the darkness, as the opacity of the earth would have done it. In the New Jerusalem, in the future eternity, there will be no need for the sun, for the glory of the Lord will illuminate it (Revelation 21:23. See also Isaiah 60:19, 20). As there will be no need for the sun then, there was no need for the sun in the beginning, before the fourth day. Eventually the sun will burn out if the Lord does not intervene, as the Bible says He will.
Green plants were created on the third day. For the general Bible reader, not influenced by Dr. Ross or Dr. Scofield, this would be before the creation of the sun on the fourth day. If the days were long periods of time, plants could not survive without light for photosynthesis. As an explanation, Dr. Ross postulates two clarifications of the atmosphere, a partial clarification before the third day to make the cloud translucent so photosynthesis could function and a complete clarification on the fourth day, when the sun, moon, and stars became visible. The general Bible reader would not know about these explanations and if accepting long “days” in the creation account, would consider this the second mistake made by Moses.
Created on day five were fish, birds, and whales, followed on the next day by “creeping things” and mammals, including man. The Hebrew word here translated “whale” is not specific and can refer to an indefinite large sea creature. But the general reader would understand the reference to mean whales. As to the “creeping things” created on the sixth day, the authoritative Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament says for Genesis 1:25, “Remes masculine] a reptile, collectively] reptiles.” According to science, “creeping things,” meaning reptiles, and even if thought also to include insects, came before birds and whales and not after. This would be considered Moses’ third mistake.
EARTH’S EARLY ATMOSPHERE
On a tape Dr. Ross says, “Science and the Bible totally agree concerning the initial condition of planet earth, that the earth began with an atmosphere dominated by ammonia and methane.” Where does the Bible say that?
He also says that the darkness which was “upon the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:27) was caused by the ammonia and methane in the atmosphere. Actually, since the early 1980s the Oparin-Haldane-Urey-Miller concept of an early atmosphere dominated by ammonia and methane is being replaced by a theory that the earth’s early atmosphere was dominated by nitrogen and carbon dioxide, formed by out gassing from the earth’s interior through volcanic action. Dr. Joel Levine, of NASA, found by computer analysis that an ammonia-methane atmosphere at the earth’s distance from the sun would be chemically unstable and last only a very short time. For a popular presentation of this, see Science Digest 91:5:42, May, 1983. Oxidized iron in what are considered ancient rocks leads some to think the early atmosphere had considerable oxygen.
The very latest on this may be seen in the August, 1993, issue of Scientific American. It is reported that Dr. William Schopf of the University of California at Los Angeles found supporting evidence for the formation of the modern atmosphere about three and a half billion years ago.
Scientists can change their minds but Dr. Ross said the Bible agrees that the earth’s early atmosphere was dominated by ammonia and methane.
Dr. Ross further said the difficult problem was to remove the ammonia and methane from the atmosphere and into space so light could get through to the earth and still retain the water vapor in the atmosphere. to accomplish this was a delicate operation, he said, requiring considerable precision because the molecular weights of methane, ammonia, and water are so close, being respectively 16, 17, and 18.
Concerning the possibility of gases being lost into space from the atmosphere, he mentions-five factors. 1. The greater the mass of a planet, the stronger the gravitational attraction, and thus the greater the difficulty for gases to escape the atmosphere. 2. The smaller the size of a planet (for the same mass), the more difficult the loss would be. 3. The temperature of each layer of the atmosphere. 4. The temperature of the sun. 5. The kinds and amounts of materials between the earth and the sun. Furthermore, he says that all of these five factors would need to be held within a variation of not more than one or two percent for billions of years, and that the probability of this, putting it conservatively, would be something like one chance in a billion.
What phenomenon, under these highly improbable conditions, could have brought about the separation of ammonia and methane from the atmosphere, with the retention of water vapor? He says it was the separation of the moon from the earth in the early days of their formation! “When the moon was cast off [from the earth] its mass was sufficient to bring about some changes. The sun became gradually a little warmer because of the advancement of its position along its evolutionary track. The changed parameters caused the atoms [of the atmosphere] to lose enough temperature and pressure to allow it [the atmosphere] to become transparent.” (As already mentioned, he says that for the sake of plants needing sunlight to carry on photosynthesis, the atmosphere already had become translucent previous to this.)
CONCERNING THE MOON
George Darwin, son of the famous Charles Darwin, was the first to consider mathematically the relationship between the moon and the tides. He believed that at one time the moon was a part of the earth. Presently the moon is slowly receding from the earth, and knowing the rate at which it is doing this, it might seem to be an easy matter to calculate backward in time to find when the moon was here as a part of the earth. But it is not that simple. For example, knowing the rate at which people are leaving California because of taxes and earthquakes, one can figure when no one will be left in the state, but that won’t happen. Although the moon at present is slowly receding from the earth, it does not necessarily follow that at one time it was here as a part of the earth.
Of current astronomical books consulted, six favored the theory that the moon developed at the same time as the earth from similar nebular material, six mentioned a separation-from-the-earth theory and said it had to be abandoned, and one said Darwin’s theory “cannot be excluded.” The general opinion is that at this time there is no satisfactory theory for the origin of the moon. How then can Dr. Ross dogmatically say to his audience, “We know for certain that the moon came from the earth”?
According to Darwin’s theory, the earth was spinning at a terrific rate and was still soft at the time the moon separated from it, and so there was no problem as it passed through the Roche limit, which would break up a solid body the size of the moon because of the differences in gravitational attractions on the side toward the earth and the side away from the earth. But Dr. Ross does have this problem, because he assumes that the moon was split from the earth as a solid and so would be shattered as it passed through the Roche limit. He gives evidence, altogether unnecessary, that gravitation was working at that time and so he concludes the only way out of the dilemma, that the moon did not shatter, is to believe its passage through the Roche limit must have been a miracle!
Furthermore, if the moon had been expelled from the earth as a solid entity and if somehow it had gotten through the Roche limit intact, either it would have fallen back to earth again or would have gone off into space. It would not have gone into orbit around the earth. In order to get artificial satellites to orbit the earth, the rockets that carry them must be directed to change course after liftoff. If the moon somehow could have come from the earth, in accordance with Darwin’s theory and gone into orbit, it would be expected to follow the earth’s equator, which it does not. However, it is reported that an attempt is being made to revive the Darwinian explanation. 15
Dr. Ross says that the bed of the Pacific Ocean is the scar left upon the earth that shows where the moon was removed. (The volume of the moon is more than thirty times the present volume of the Pacific Ocean.) However, he also explains it another way. He says, “The Bible tells us that God somehow allowed or created an indentation in the earth…” Where does the Bible say that? He continues, “and since water flows downhill, all the ocean water flowed into that hole and dry land appeared on the other side, and that’s how come we have both oceans and continents.” He tells that this landmass broke into continents and “the continents are moving to fill in the Pacific Ocean …. We know there is a hole in the Pacific Ocean and the continents are moving to fill it in. The Atlantic Ocean is getting bigger and the Pacific Ocean is getting smaller.”
The most picturesque evidence of the separation of continents by continental drift is the jigsaw pattern of the South America-Africa complex. These continents appear as though they fitted together. Geophysicists say South America is moving toward the Pacific Ocean at the rate of about four-fifths of an inch per year because of the rising and spreading of matter at the mid-Atlantic ridge and not because of a Pacific Ocean sink that is drawing these continents apart. The evolutionary authors of an article in Scientific American, April, 1992, say the Atlantic Ocean is nearing its maximum width, in contrast to the continued Westward Ho! of South America envisioned by Dr. Ross. They consider it a repeat performance, with a single super continent forming and breaking up every five hundred million years or so.
In all the books I have seen which discuss continental drift, India is pictured as an island near Antarctica, but instead of drifting toward the Pacific Ocean, it went north and bumped into Asia, raising up the Himalayan Mountains.
ORIGIN OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM
Dr. Ross says astounding predictions can be made from the time future planets still circulated as nebulous rings around a central mass which became the sun. He said, “As a matter of fact, this not only predicts the distance of each planet from the sun, it predicts the size of that planet, also predicts the constitution of each planet, what atmosphere it begins with, the initial condition of that planet, how many moons that planet will have, how big those moons will be, how far away they will be, and precise all the way down the line….” An astronomer assures me this is equivalent to hogwash. Dr. Ross continues this sentence, “not only for our solar system but for the six solar systems we can see besides our own.” There is no other solar system that we can see, much less six!
Dr. Ross says the prediction for the earth’s moon was that it would be about ten miles in diameter, and he says it was! But during the catastrophic splitting off of our current moon from the earth and its miraculous passing through the Roche limit, our original ten-mile moon was destroyed.
Then he tells about a planet between Mars and Jupiter. (Remember Bode’s Law?) He says that as our moon was being pulled out of the earth, leaving the bed of the Pacific Ocean as a witnessing scar to confirm the event, the planet between Mars and Jupiter got too dose to Jupiter- within its Roche limit and was broken up, and that is the source of the asteroids. For emphasis he repeats this several times, not as a theory but as a fact. Checking astronomical books in libraries, I found the following: Seven authors hold that the asteroids came about because the gravitational field of Jupiter prevented hunks of matter in the original nebula from coalescing into a planet. Three say it was unlikely that a planet broke up. Two say that maybe a planet broke up, admitting the possibility of what Dr. Ross says. One agrees with Dr. Ross and one says the idea that the asteroids resulted from a broken up planet must be abandoned. How, then, can Dr. Ross speak so dogmatically as though he is stating a fact, when this idea is outvoted by modern astronomers?
He tells that the chance of the law of gravity not working is one chance in 10 power of 200 Newton’s law of gravitation, no doubt, is the most inclusive generalization ever made: Every object in the universe attracts every other object in the universe with a force proportional to its mass and inversely to the square of the distance between them. What would cause this not to work? However, gravity may appear not to work when a magnet lifts a paper clip from the top of a desk, but it is working. Gravity might even appear not to be working when a ball is thrown upward, but of course it is. Also gravity might appear not to work if a predominance of the randomly moving molecules in an object happened by chance to be moving upward in synchrony and the object levitates for a brief moment. But gravity still would be working. Furthermore, the probability of this happening would not be a definite number but would depend upon the size and weight of the object. It would not be the same for a grain of dust as for a freight locomotive.
The second law of thermodynamics is one of the basic laws of science. It states that in a dosed system, that is, without an outside source of energy, randomness tends to increase. (Actually, in nature there is no dosed system available for observation except the universe as a whole.) A hurricane going through a lumberyard and a hardware store can randomize things but it will never construct a house. When liquids of different temperatures are mixed, randomization may not seem as obvious but the molecules will become randomized and the mixture will be warmer than the cooler component and cooler than the warmer one. Equilibrium will be established when the temperature equals that of the environment.Here is what Dr. Ross tells his audience about the second law of thermodynamics. “Let me tell you about the second law of thermodynamics. If it doesn’t work, then the water that you’re drinking could cause your blood to boil or freeze. The second law describes how heat flows and we depend upon that heat flow with our lives. If I was concerned about the second law of thermodynamics, I’d be very much afraid of my blood boiling or freezing. But I’ll tell you something. I don’t lose any sleep over it.” He says that the probability of the second law not working is one chance in 10 power of 80. He does not say how he arrived at this but it would not be a fixed number. It would not be the same for water at room temperature rising one degree above room temperature as it would be for the same water causing blood to boil when ingested. But both would violate the second law.In the taped talk Dr. Ross tells the audience that the probability of thirteen Biblical prophecies, selected out of thirty-five hundred, coming true strictly by chance, is one chance in 10 power of 138. He does not explain on the tape how he arrived at this number, but it is by attributing very large odds against each one of these prophecies coming true, and the total number of prophecies from which the sample was selected is irrelevant. If the probability for each one of these thirteen prophecies coming true is taken as one chance in a million, the chance that all of them will happen is one chance in 1078. If the probability for each happening is reduced to one chance in a billion, the probability for all of them coming to pass is one chance in 10^7. This is still short of his 10 power of 138 figure by a factor of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. With his figure of 10 power of 58 he concludes that this “means that the Bible, based on these thirteen predictions alone, is proved to be 10 times more reliable than the second law of thermodynamics”(10 power of 138/10 power of 80 = 1058). Flaunting figures like this impresses the naive, especially when the figures are used to uphold the Bible.DNA AND RNA to an audience Dr. Ross said, “Now by protein molecules I mean those twisted double helices called DNA and RNA…. Without these protein molecules, DNA and RNA, life would be impossible.” DNA and RNA are not proteins. They have a quite different chemical composition and structure. In fact, some of the evolutionary scientists who discuss the origin of life argue over the question which came first, protein or nucleic acid. According to Sidney Fox, prominent origin of-life scientist, the protein-firsters have won because, he says, amino acids contain their own instructions for their own sequences,” in forming proteinoids. ” It is through particular proteins that the genes of heredity- portions of the DNA molecules- are able to carry on their functions. DNA and proteins depend upon each other. How could either have come first?
This brings us to the matter of “Apparent age at creation.” Dr. Ross considers this under the heading “Gosse’s ‘appearance of age’ theory.” 18 In a nineteenth century book, Philip Gosse proposed such extreme views as: The earth’s strata were created with the fossils already embedded and the first trees were created with deceptive rings of annual growth. Although Gosse always seems to be brought into discussions of apparent age at creation, no present spokesman for creation considers his views as significant. But Dr. Ross says, “Of late, however, Gosse’s ‘appearance of age’ idea has seen a revival.” 19 He refers to the Institute for Creation Research and to the book The Early Earth, by Dr. John C. Whitcomb Jr. 20 Dr. Whitcomb, of course, repudiates Gosse and mentions that if “appearance of age” be denied, New Testament miracles also must be denied. For example, when Jesus turned water into wine at Cana, the people assumed it had been produced from grapes that had grown slowly on vines which in turn had matured during growing seasons in a vineyard. It had just been produced miraculously from water but it had the appearance of age.
In his leaflet ##P8906, Glossary of Science and Theology Terms, Dr. Ross has for the entry Appearance of Age, “The hypothesis that God created the universe, the earth, and life with (false) indicators of a nonexistent past. If this hypothesis were true, scientific measurements of great age conceivably could be reconciled with a recent creation interpretation of certain Biblical passages.” Instead of accusing God of giving false indicators of a nonexistent past, creationists question certain assumptions evolutionists make in their measurements of time.
Actually, how could anything be created without appearance of age? Even if trees had been created as seeds, the seeds would have the appearance of age. If the first birds were created as eggs, the eggs would have the appearance of age. It would seem impossible for anything to be created without the appearance of age. The appearance of age is irrelevant to concepts of the time of creation.
In the same glossary he describes Ussher’s chronology as a “hypothesized calendar of Biblical events based on the assumption that no generations were omitted from the genealogies and that the numbered days of the Genesis creation account were consecutive 24-hour periods.” Suppose fifty or a hundred generations were omitted from the Biblical chronologies (and it is not so), there still would be no significant change in the difference between Biblical chronology and the vast expanse of time required by the Big Bang scientists.
THE TEACHING OF EVOLUTION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Dr. Ross says he knows evolution is still being taught in the schools. This may be the understatement of the decade. He says this is so ” in spite of the fact that biochemists, physical scientists, and astrophysicists have long abandoned this theory as totally unworkable.” (Now it seems that creationists have support from an unexpected source!) He shows the audience a high school textbook which he says pushes Darwinian evolution, but says he does not wish to criticize the book too strongly. He says that Darwinian natural selection and evolution are not the same, and indeed they are not. For nearly a century evolutionists have been saying the same thing, but also they have been saying just the opposite, whichever suits their purpose at the moment. A number of times and for various reasons evolutionists have been saying they might give up Darwinian natural selection as the mechanism of evolution, but nothing better can be found than neo-Darwinism- natural selection plus mutations and a few other things.
However, when the evolutionists spoke of giving up their faith in Darwinian natural selection as the mechanism of evolution they did not wish the public to think they were giving up their belief in evolution itself, so they tried to make dear the difference between natural selection as a theory and evolution as a fact.
According to Stephen J. Gould, natural selection triumphed in the 1940s as the important mechanism of evolution. 21 But now evolutionists are engaged in a highly emotional conflict, even with name-calling, in reference to Darwinian natural selection versus the “neutral” theory, in the finer details of evolution at the molecular level.
To show that natural selection is not evolution, Dr. Ross (correctly) uses the very same example that evolutionists use (incorrectly) to tell the public that natural selection is evolution. This is the highly tauted case of the light and dark peppered moths (Biston betularia) in England.
Before the industrial revolution the moths were all essentially the light variety. As they rested on the trunks of trees in the daytime, they blended with the background and predatory birds had difficulty seeing them. The dark variety contrasted with the background and thus these moths were easily seen and captured by birds. Hence the population consisted almost entirely of light moths. However, with the industrial revolution, contaminants darkened the trunks of trees and the situation with the moths reversed. Now the light moths were more easily seen and captured by birds. As would be expected, it did not take long until the population of moths in the industrialized areas consisted almost entirely of the dark variety.
This is an example of natural selection but it is not an example of evolution (though the evolutionists use it as an example to convince the public that it is evolution and that therefore they must believe in evolution). The light and dark moths are merely varieties of the same species and they are not evolving into anything else. Actually, color varieties among butterflies and moths of the same species is not uncommon. But a scientific journal hailed this as “The most striking evolutionary change ever witnessed by man.” 22
Evolutionists use the case of these moths and similar examples to convince the public that evolution is a fact. Having done this, they switch definitions and tell the public that since these moths prove evolution to be a fact, they now must be consistent and believe that phenomena that really would be evolution also are factual. Here is their logic: Birds catch more dark moths from a light background and more light moths from a dark background, therefore fish evolved into amphibians, amphibians evolved into reptiles, and reptiles evolved into birds and mammals, including man.
By the way, when environmentalists cleaned up the contamination and the tree trunks became light again, the population of dark moths soon was replaced once more with light moths. Is this then evolution in reverse?
In his discussion of the peppered moths, Dr. Ross tells his audience they are butterflies, which they are not. He says they originally were green, which they were not. (Apparently he thinks they were protected by blending with green leaves.) Then he says that as the green ones disappeared, both the light and dark ones were protected. How could 60th contrasting types be protected? By spending a short time in any public library he could have gotten the facts straight.
Dr. Ross says to an audience, “The average eyesight in this room is about three times more precise than it was in the time of Christ.” How could this be known? Concerning the improvement in human eyesight, he says, “That was simply brought about by natural selection. It had nothing to do with the changing of our genes or chromosomes.” Natural selection is based almost entirely on mutations of genes and chromosomes. To what else could it be attributed? Hybridization and polyploidy may have a minor role in natural selection but from an evolutionary point of view they are dead ends. The difference between the light and dark moths is due to a single mutation.
Explaining natural selection and eyesight he says, “It’s simply a fact chat those with poor eyesight had a greater chance of being killed in battle… chat’s all.” It may be pointed out chat anyone with such poor eyesight that he could not discern a man on a horse coming at him with a spear or a combatant attacking him with a sword, would be left at home and not be in the battle in the first place. Thus natural selection would be expected to preserve at least from death in battle, those in the population with very poor eyesight.
Concerning the evolution of the horse, long the showcase example of evolution through the evidence of the fossil record, he says the inaccuracy of the textbooks is that the gaps in the diagrams are attributed to missing links. He says instead that the gaps represent extinctions instead of missing fossils in a continuous series. As to the alleged extinctions he says that for years astronomers have been trying to tell biologists that about once every twenty million years or so a star explodes so dose to the earth chat it showers the earth with gamma rays, killing all advanced forms of life. (Modern evolutionists generally attribute large extinctions to catastrophic hits upon the earth by asteroids or large meteorites.)
Dr. Ross explains that in this manner our planet is regularly cleansed of advanced life. “This is true of every advanced form of life, whether it be the pig, the horse, the sheep, or whatever,” he says. According to him, what is considered the earliest horse did not evolve into a higher form. Little Eohippus, the “dawn horse,” now called Hyracotherium, “dine beast that looks like a hyrax,” the coney of the Bible (Proverbs 30:26), was wiped out and replaced by the next form. Thus he seems to be saying that Eohippus (Hyracotherium) was made extinct and after its extinction was replaced by Orohippus, which after its extinction was replaced by Mesohippus, which in turn was replaced by Merychippus and then by Pliahippus and finally by Equus, the modern horse.
This would be a lot of extinctions and replacements during a long sixth day of creation. If each genus lived about twenty million years, the time between explosions of nearby stars, and at its extinction was immediately replaced by the next genus, that would come to about one hundred twenty million years, beginning well within the age of the dinosaurs and long before the expansion of mammalian species from rodent-sized creatures.
As to man he says (Leaflet #8909), “Starting about 2 to 4 million years ago, God began to create man-like mammals or ‘hominids.’ These creatures stood on two feet, had large brains, and used tools. Some even buried their dead and painted on cave walls. However, they were very different from us. They had no spirit. They did not have a conscience like we do. They did not worship God or establish religious practices. In time, all these man-like creatures went extinct. Then about 10 or 25 thousand years ago, God replaced them with Adam and Eve.”
As to the Neanderthals (spelling commonly modernized to Neandertals), here are some excerpts from my book Evolution and Christian Faith 23 In 1956 a symposium was held in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the Neanderthals. In preparation for this symposium William J. Straus Jr., eminent anthropologist of the Johns Hopkins University, and A.J.E.. Cave of the Department of Anatomy at St. Bartholomew’s College in London, were permitted to examine the remains from which Marcellin Boule had made the original description. This was the basis for the subsequent descriptions of the Neanderthals as inferior beings with bent knees and head thrust forward, widely circulated in textbooks ever since. Straus and Cave, of course, were familiar with the literature on the subject and they knew that the specimen was pathological, but they said they “were somewhat unprepared for the fragmentary nature of the skeleton itself and for the consequent extent of restoration required.” 24 After a thorough investigation of the skeleton they concluded, “He cannot, in view of his manifest pathology, be used to provide us with a reliable picture of a normal, healthy Neanderthalian. Not withstanding, if he could be reincarnated and placed in a New York subway- provided he were bathed, shaved and dressed in modern clothing- it is doubtful whether he would attract any more attention than some of its other denizens.” 25
They conclude that “there is no valid reason for the assumption that the posture of Neanderthal man… differed significantly from that of present day men… there is nothing in the total morphological pattern to justify the common assumption that Neanderthal man was other than a fully erect biped when standing and walking.” 26
Two other anthropologists, C. Arambourg and E. Pattie, independently published their views at about the same time as Straus and Cave. They came to essentially the same conclusions, opposing the former view that Neanderthal man walked with knees bent and head thrust forward. 27
Another contributor to the symposium, Clark Howell, reported that in bones other than the skull, differences between the Neanderthals and modern populations are “much less marked than some writers in the past have been led to believe.” He concluded that the skeletons of Neanderthals are basically modern and former views to the contrary are untenable. 28
Well-known anthropologist M.F. Ashley Montague wrote, “Neanderthal man walked as erect as any modern man, he did not have a bull neck, and he was not knock-kneed. And it has long been proved by many independent scientific investigations that the form of the brow or of the head has nothing whatever to do with intelligence. As a matter of fact, we have very good reasons to believe that Neanderthal man was every bit as intelligent as we are today.” 29
Bringing the matter up to date, in a highly acclaimed book published in 1993, Erik Trinkaus, Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico and author of more than a hundred articles on the Neanderthals, states, “Anatomically, the Neandertals are quite similar to ourselves, having a skeletal arrangement identical to ours, brains as large as ours, and — to the best of our knowledge the capability to perform any act normally within the ability of a modern human.”
The Neanderthal brain capacity on the average was larger than ours. They apparently buried their dead and left food and offerings and flowers with the bodies. Formerly classified as Homo neanderthalensis, the Neanderthals have been graduated to the same species as us, Homo sapiens.
The cave-painting Cro-Magnons, referred to by Dr. Ross, were very good Homo sapiens, that is, modern man. Has Dr. Ross authority to say that the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons did not have a conscience or that they did not establish religious practices? Even savages today have their religions, though they generally appease demons instead of worshiping the Creator until instructed by missionaries. Apparently Dr. Ross means that God replaced the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons with Adam and Eve as He allegedly replaced Eohippus (Hyracotherium) with Orohippus.
THEISTIC EVOLUTION OR PROGRESSIVE CREATIONISM?
Theistic evolutionists accept evolution with its great lengths of time but believe it came about through acts of God instead of through natural processes.
Progressive creationists claim to be creationists. They believe God created certain basic types of animals and plants which then varied naturally as much as possible and when they could vary no further, God created more and higher types. Two important questions are: How much can living things vary in nature and how much time is acceptable?
Progressive creationists accept the time of the evolutionists. Belief in the extent of possible variation among plants and animals varies with progressive creationists. It seems most commonly to be accepted within the taxonomic category called the “order.” For example, a weasel and a walrus belong to the same order. A giraffe and a hippopotamus belong to the same order. This implies that a weasel and a walrus could have been produced, in time, from the same ancestry, and this would be defended as creation. Similarly for a giraffe and a hippopotamus.
The American Scientific Affiliation was founded by a group of Christian men of science to defend the Bible against the writings of materialistic scientists, but it soon strayed. For example, a regular columnist for its journal accepted the “phylum” as the range within which natural variation can act. The phylum is the most inclusive taxonomic category under “kingdom.” The phylum Chordata includes all creatures that have bones, including man, and some that do not. According to that columnist, fish eventually could have produced men and apparently he would not have called that evolution. But, according to him, an ancestor of each of the invertebrate phyla would have been created. He said there is a problem because one would have to accept some creation! That is, one would have to accept at least as many acts of creation as there are phyla instead of accepting outright evolution!
In a public broadcast Dr. Ross appeared with an erudite evolutionist, a physical anthropologist. The tape of this broadcast is in contrast to taped sessions with naive and enthusiastic followers. Regarding a popular definition of evolution as “descent with modification,” he said, “As long as the modification is understood in very broad terms, I’d be comfortable with that.” In other words, if “descent with modification” (evolution) is understood to be broad enough to include processes which are not strictly natural but may include acts of God (theistic evolution) it is OK.
In this tape he says, “I would differ from, say, a theistic evolutionist [then he abruptly changes the subject and does not say how he would differ from a theistic evolutionist] and I don’t put all the miracles of God at the beginning of the Big Bang. I see what takes place following the Big Bang as natural processes [evolution], of course controlled by God [theistic evolution], since He’s responsible for the laws of physics. But that’s what science is all about, studying these processes.” In spite of his denial, this is an expression of theistic evolution.
Here the evolutionist interjects an approving, “Right!”
The dialog continues.
Dr. Ross. “Just because the ICR [Institute for Creation Research] says certain things about the Bible as literal doesn’t mean it [what the ICR says] has the approval of Hebrew scholars.”
Evolutionist. “Exactly, and similarly, I think that the very strict young-earth creationism, which is to my mind scientifically so unreasonable, has given conservative Christians a bad name.”
Dr. Ross. “Yes, because I would take the position that it is impossible to take the Bible literally and come to the conclusion that the days are only twenty-four hours.”
Evolutionist. “Yes. ”
Dr. Ross. “They must be long periods of time.”
Evolutionist. “Yes. “
Thus Dr. Ross accommodates himself both to enthusiastic fundamentalists and to gracious evolutionists.
BASIC CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE FROM NATURE?
Most important is the question, where does a theology which includes the Big Bang theory and long ages for the days of creation tend to lead doctrinally? Dr. Ross appears to be a theistic evolutionist or progressive creationist and espouses a theology by which a doctrine of salvation is obtainable from the observation of nature. In support of this he says that Job, “Without the aid of scriptures and in opposition to the religion of his peers, discerned all the elements of ‘tine gospel,’ the good news of how man can find eternal life in God.” 31 How could Job have done that?
Job and others who lived before the final atonement for sin was made by our Lord at Calvary, who worshiped the true God and observed His statutes, went to paradise, also referred to as “Abraham’s bosom.” An example is give in the case of a beggar named Lazarus, who when he died was carried away by angels to Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:19-31). No doubt Job was there also.
Dr. Ross cites the first chapter of Romans. The heathen are without excuse for their idolatry because the evidences of creation are so dearly revealed in nature. But freedom from idolatry through recognizing that there must be a God of creation is a different matter from understanding salvation by grace and receiving Christ as personal Savior through accepting His atonement for sin. How can anyone know this through nature?
He also cites Colossians 1:23, which speaks in the King James Version about the gospel “which was preached to every creature which is under heaven.” He says this means that “According to the Bible, everyone has the opportunity to know God,” and thus, since they do not have the Bible, the heathen must be able to discern the way of salvation through nature. In the Greek the preposition is “in” not “to.” A word for word transliteration goes like this: “…the glad tidings which were proclaimed in all the creation which [is] under heaven.” “In all creation” is not precisely the same as “to every creature.” Romans 2:14-16 may have a bearing on this.
We know there are heathen that have not heard the gospel of salvation through the atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross at Calvary and we know there are those in our own country at the present time who have not heard, even among many who go to church regularly. God is the righteous Judge. It is not for us to judge but to minister the gospel wherever we can.
In his publication Facts & Faith, Spring, 1993, there is a personal letter by Dr. Ross concerning those who criticize his ministry, in which he says, “Men with little or no formal training in the sciences or theology dogmatically contradict the science and theology of someone [himself] who has done postdoctoral research (in astronomy) at Caltech and has served for many years on the pastoral staff of a well-established evangelical church. Why do my attackers never check with people who know me personally?”
As to the implication that opposition is only from the unqualified, he must be aware of critical articles by qualified scientists at the Institute for Creation Research at El Cajon, California, 32 as well as others. As for myself, I have a Ph.D. in Zoology, taught at the college level for more than twenty years, have written extensively on the creation evolution issue including a book that went through thirteen printings, spoken in churches, schools, and conferences coast to coast in the U.S. and Canada, and been repeatedly on the radio and TV. But errors may be pointed out by anyone knowledgeable enough to defect them, whether professional scientist or housewife
He told me his blunders are a thing of the past so I tried to obtain recent tapes, hoping to be able to substantiate this. But he informed me he discussed this with his staff and it was decided I should be denied access to the tapes of his latest graduate course for Simon Greenleaf University. Their opinion was that my “reason for wanting the tapes is not to learn more about the latest discoveries proving the existence of the God of the Bible and the accuracy of the words of the Bible, but rather to discover new errors and mistakes [he] might have made while speaking.” They added that “they are ready and willing to change their decision given some evidence of change of attitude on [my] part.”
If it were merely a matter of many scientific blunders, there would be little value in writing an article to point them out. But when associated with the Bible and a theology of salvation through observing nature, as well as promoting theistic evolution or progressive creationism, these things need to be told.
An especially competent scientist who is a creationist tells me this article is too long. He says the naive followers of Dr. Ross will forgive him readily for his scientific mistakes and there is no need to mention so many of them, for “his errors are innumerable, and you could spend the rest of your life recounting them.”
Another Christian critic makes the following evaluation. “Part of his benevolent image is that he remains cool under fire, a gentleman to the death, so to speak, one who is always kind to his sharpest critics as to his closest friends. He’s magnificent at this. I’ve seen him and been totally impressed by his gracious good manners and kind concern for those who oppose him. In other words, he understands the psychology of argument, and that’s why he scores big on the logic of argument. He appears to be logical, and to many people this appearance passes for logic itself.”
In my experience with him by correspondence, on the phone, and meeting him personally, I have always found him courteous and calm and never excited or angry about anything.
Evolutionary theory is in conflict with basic Christian doctrine. If evolution is true, we are improved animals instead of fallen sinners in need of redemption. If evolution is true, we have no need of the Savior, there is no occasion for the Redeemer.
1 Asimov, Isaac. The Universe, 2nd ed. Walker. 1971. p. 211.
2 Ross, Hugh. Facts and Faith. 1:1:3. Spring/Summer, 1987. p. 3.
3 Anonymous. John R. Howitt) Evolution, “Science Falsely So-called.” 20th ed. International Christian Crusade. 1981.
4 Howitt, John R Letter to the Editor, Journal of the American scientific Affiliation, 15:2:66. June, 1962. p. 66.
5 Ross, Hugh. The Fingerprint of God. 2nd ed. Promise. 1991. p. 141.
6 Moody, Paul Amos. Introduction to Evolution, 2nd. ed. Harper & Bros. 1952. p. 21.
7 Lindsey, Arthur W. Principles of Organic Evolution. C.V. Mosby.1952. p. 21
8 Osborn, Henry Fairfield. From the Greeks to Darwin, 2nd ed. Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1929. p. 11.
9 Gardner, Eldon J. History of Life Science. Burgess. 1960. p. 93.
10 St. Irenaeus. Proof of Apostolic Preaching. Translated by Joseph P. Smith Sr. Newman Press. 1952. p. 16.
11 Ante-Nicene Christian Library. Translations of Writings of the Fathers. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, eds. T&T Clark. 1868. p. 123.
12 Ibid. p. 50.
13 Ibid. p. 54.
14 Ibid. p. 55.
15 Van Flandern, Thomas. Breakaway Moon. Science Digest, 90:4:82. April, 1982, p. 82.
16 Murphy, J. Brandon and R DamIan Nance. Mountain Building and the Super continent Cycle. Scientific American, 266:4:84, April, 1992. pp. 86,87.
17 Fox, Sidney. From Inanimate Matter to Living Systems. American Biology Teacher, 63:3:127. March, 1981. p. 133.
18 Ross, 1991. p. 142.
19 Ibid. p. 143.
20 Whitcomb, John C. Jr. The Early Earth. Baker Book House. 1972. p. 30.
21 Gould, Stephen Jay. Ever Since Darwin. W.W. Norton. 1977. p. 45.
22 Ketdewll, H.B.D., Darwin’s Missing Evidence. Scientific American, 200:3:48, March, 1959.
23 Davidheiser, Bolton. Evolution and Christian Faith. Presbyterian and Reformed. 1969. p. 331 et seq.
24 Straus, William L. Jr. and AJ.E. Cave. Paleontology and the Posture of Neanderthal Man. Quarterly Review of Biology, 32:4:348, December, 1957. p. 351
25 Ibid. p. 359.
26 Ibid. p. 358.
27 Ibid. p. 362.
28 Howell, Clark. The Evolutionary significance of variation and varieties of “Neanderthal Man.” Quarterly Review of Biology 32:4:330. pp.334, 335.
29 Ashley Montague, M. F.Man: His First Million Years, 2nd edition. Signet Science Library, 1962. p. 58.
30 Trinkaus, Erik. and Pat Shipman. The Neandertals. Alfred A. Knopf. 1993. p. 412.
31 Ross, Hugh. 1991. Loc. cit. p. 181.
32 Impact, Numbers 217, 218. Institute for Creation Research, Box 2667, El Cajon CA 92021.