Thursday, 2 May 2013
William Lane Craig usually enters debate and does well by holding opponents accountable to strong rational arguments. But he fails to hold himself accountable in the same way when it comes to analysing what he calls the literal view of creation. What he calls the literal view, I call the plain-reading view. Nobody reads anything in an exclusively literal way. Words have meaning in context and can be used to create a picture where the meaning is obvious regardless of the range of possible meanings for individual words within the text.
I've listened to the show and made notes along the way so listening to the podcast (Part 2 of Creation and Evolution) while reading this post should work pretty well.
The major error WLC makes is to imply that because an idea can be seen as symbolic it cannot also be historical. "Adam" means "man" and "Eve" means "The mother of all living", no argument. These facts are no reason to believe that those were not two real people. "This isn't just a scientific report", agreed. It's much more than that. But that does not mean it is not an accurate historical account.
WLC's analysis that God's interactions in the garden are anthropomorphic are mere assertions. Why could God have not been in the garden in human form? We were made in His image, why could not have that image been a real, physical image?
WLC engages in the fallacy of answering a challenge as if that is reason against the opposition's idea. If I challenge an evolutionist to respect the words of the bible saying that "One day" always means a 24 hour period and the evolutionist can find an example that does not refer to one day, he has only defended his position. He has not built any case against my position - that the plain reading is justified. And WLC claims at the end of this podcast to only be making the case for why the literal view of creation is not compelling.
But even when we look at the passage used to answer the challenge it seems the use of "echad" might well be for a 24-hour day.
5 Thus the Lord my God will come,
And all the saints with You.
6 It shall come to pass in that day
That there will be no light;
The lights will diminish.
7 It shall be one day
Which is known to the Lord—
Neither day nor night.
But at evening time it shall happen
That it will be light.
8 And in that day it shall be
That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem,
Half of them toward the eastern sea
And half of them toward the western sea;
In both summer and winter it shall occur.
Seems to be talking about one particular day and a period of time following that day. There are multiple uses of the word day in this passage. The Lord will come one day. That day will be a normal 24-hour day. This "one day" is known to God. That will be a normal 24-hour day. "Neither day nor night" seems to be talking about the day-time or night-time of one normal 24-hour day. "And in that day living waters will flow" seems to be talking about the period of time following the return of the Lord.
So the answer to the challenge is rather weak. And even if the answer was strong it would add nothing to the case being presented.
Exodus 20:9-11 is not "clearly" talking only about the pattern. It's true, we have a seven day week because of the story presented in Genesis 1. But the assertion that the pattern is the only relevant item and the denial that six days is one day short of a week is to simply assert the truth of the case that's meant to be under examination. The strength of the plain reading is that the text can be read and understood for what it plainly says. Asserting that the text cannot be read for what it plainly says is not presenting a counter-argument.
Argument from silence. The seventh day does not "clearly" have no end. Day 7 has no "evening and morning" mentioned, but to say this is good reason that the first six evenings and mornings are to be ignored is terrible. It is being nice to simply point out that the reverse argument invalidates any impact from this. The first six days have evenings and mornings. Thus when a seventh day is introduced, we can assume it too has an evening and morning.
Again the fallacy of seeming to defend a challenge is not argument against the veracity of the opponent's idea. This time the challenge to the evolutionist is that ordinals with days always refer to normal 24-hour days. Showing an example of an ordinal with a day not referring to a 24-hour day does not make any rational case against the plain reading of Genesis.
A Call to Repentance
1 Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
2 After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
"Clearly" should be well reserved for another observation. This passage is clearly a foreshadowing of Jesus' time in the tomb and subsequent emergence. Yes, there is a message to the people in this and that message would not have meant 24-hour days. But with the passage so obviously being a prophecy of Christ's resurrection, one cannot deny the (at the time) hidden truth about the facts of our salvation. And that would include the almost irrelevant fact that it was within three normal 24-hour days that Jesus was buried.
An example of how one passage can be read with two non-contradictory, relevant and intended meanings. Arguing against a plain reading cannot be done by asserting that only the stylised meaning is intended.
A 24-hour day can be used as a metaphor. But that it can be used that way that does not mean that it is being used that way.
Straw man presented. YEC's do not uniformly vacillate on the facts of creation. I believe the Sun was created from nothing on day 4. WLC needs to actually engage in debate on these issues rather than teaching from and defeating an imagined opponent's views.
Dismissal of the plain reading of Genesis 1 on the arguments made in this podcast is not made necessary. One cannot use the bible interpreted according to genre and interpreted according to original audience in order to deny that the bible says and means "Six days". It remains incumbent upon the rational evolutionist to reject as true the plain meaning of the bible because it teaches creation in six days.