Category Archives: bible

Weird Worldview Warriors take on 350 years of geology.

In August 2018 I was asked to write of blog entitled

10 questions to ask a young earth creationist

It was fairly basic focussing on creationist flaws and then to my amusement an Amercian Steven Risner devoted several blogs on it in I presume he meant keyboard warriors. I just luv werldvew warriers!! It’s so pretentious!  He came about with the usual young earth stufff,


but more recently focussed on who geologists have got their geology wrong for 350 years. I suppose most geologists are plain thick to do this. According to Risner there have a succession of thicko geologists teaching at all the universities of the world, from Oxford to the University of Lower Piddle in Dorset and are blissfully unaware that all their teaching is based on false assumptions. How thick can the Goulds, Lord Oxburghs, Arthur Holmes , Tuzo Wilsons and the rest be? They should have more perception.

So let’s consider Steven Risner’s gems of critical thinking.

He posted this on 11th April and he may wonder why I spent so long in replying. My first delay was due to Holy Week and the business for a priest in that week and I’m sure he’d approve of that. (Maybe I am an imposter!) And then a bit of time off!!

Why do you claim that so many geologists in the last 350 years got their geology wrong?

As is my custom, I try to answer short and sweet if possible. This has more than one answer that’s fairly obvious, at least to me.The first one is that the last 350 years of geological study disagrees with the Bible’s clear teaching on earth’s history. It doesn’t get any more obvious. However, the second answer is a little more detailed.

Over the last 350 years, geologists frequently have started their observations of the evidence with the wrong assumptions. These assumptions force geologists to interpret the evidence a particular way. Those assumptions are that of deep time and that there was no global Flood as described by the Bible. If we reject the clear teachings of the Word of God, how can we even suggest we are following the God of the Bible? Sure, many of these old earth creationists and theistic evolutionists will say they accept Christ’s teachings and the apostles’ teachings, but why? If we reject some of it, what standard do we use to know if we should accept what the Bible says in one place and reject other parts? I’m seriously asking. If the answer is “science,” then we’re lost already.

The bottom line is this: if your worldview places the authority of science (or in this case what you mistakenly believe is science) over that of Scripture and you use that so-called science to determine how the Bible is to be interpreted, you’ve placed something before the authority God has over you. This is especially true if those portions of Scripture you’re choosing to reinterpret based on your view of nature are major foundational points of the Christian faith.

Now there is a lot here but our warrior makes three points

  1. He assumes the Bible has a clear view of earth history
  2. Geologists start with wrong assumptions that there is Deep time and no global Flood
  3. Geologists place the authority over that of scripture

If he is right then the whole of geology must be rejected as intellectual codswollop. If even one is partly true then all geology is nullified

Now to consider his main points in turn

  1. He assumes the Bible has a clear view of earth history

The first one is that the last 350 years of geological study disagrees with the Bible’s clear teaching on earth’s history.

This is a standard appeal from Young Earthers that the Bible is absolutely clear on the earth’s history. Yet apart from the claims that  Genesis 1 and a few psalms (poetry) speak of earth history, the Bible says nothing that could even considered as earth history, and even that is questionable, as all have either a poetic or stylistic form There is simply nothing of the earth’s history in the Bible, and those who claim there is do not read the Bible for what it is. It is like going to Genesis to find the Periodic Table. On early Genesis there is no consensus down the two millennia on what it means beyond God as creator, with some taking Genesis one as something other than a historical account. Augustine simply regarded the whole of Creation as instantaneous and not spread over six days. Further there was no consideration over the time of earth history until proto-geologists started to consider the order of strata. A little thinking would show that there couldn’t have been.

It was only in the 1680s that questions were raised about time. Before that there was much vagueness but a tendency to a shortish chronology. Even Calvin who assumes a young earth gives us no earth history. Seventy years later the Roman Catholic Fr Mersenne is his literally mammoth commentary gives no earth history either. It was memorable reading Mersenne in Latin as the volume was so large – about 24 in x 15 ins x 5ins.

So none of these learned clerics give us earth history, and the the Theories of the Earth at the end of the 17th century give no coherent account because they are so variable.

Oh for a clear view of Biblical Earth History!!

2.Geologists start with wrong assumptions that there is Deep time and no global Flood

Over the last 350 years, geologists frequently have started their observations of the evidence with the wrong assumptions. These assumptions force geologists to interpret the evidence a particular way. Those assumptions are that of deep time and that there was no global Flood as described by the Bible.


Now that is a bold statement! As these putative assumptions have gone back 350 years we should be able to identify who put them forward. And so someone or a group of savants decided sometime after 1660 to argue  WITHOUT EVIDENCE, as it was an assumption, for Deep Time and the absence of a Global Flood. If it were so pervasive, then historians could identify the culprits. I claim to have read a vast number of writers from 1660 onwards on geology (and its relationship to Christianity), yet I have failed to find one possible suspect. Better historians of geology, like Rudwick and Ellenberger have been equally unsuccessful.  If Risner’s claim were true, then all of us would have found several examples where a writer made a garatuitous assumption of Deep Time. At best this is arguing from lack of evidence, or is it simply codswollop?

The period 1660 to 1710 is pivotal in the study of earth history from Nils Steno through John Ray to the Theories of the Earth and the known and unknown William Hobbs. Before 1660 virtually none had any inkling of Deep Time. Here James Ussher was reflecting the views of most with an age for the earth of about 6000 years. Yes, he argued for 4004BC and others went for some date within a thousand years of so of his date – including Sir Walter Raleigh, who wrote a history of the world while waiting execution. There was not much geological research in the 1610s!!

Having read many works from this period, I found no example of an assumption of Deep time , but rather the opposite. In fact, all savants in the late 17th century made the tentative assumption that the earth was young and Ussher’s figure of 4004BC was in the right order and that the global Flood had laid down the strata. They went into the field with that in mind and initially interpreted the strata according to their assumptions and gradually many found that the evidence went against their assumption of a young earth, so corrected them!


The earliest example of question the young earth and global assumption I have found is the Oxford scholar Edward Lhwyd, who was a good friend of Rev John Ray.


See this for detail where referring to Lhwyd’s letter to Ray

The Royal Society of London, founded in 1660, epitomised the flowering of science both in Britain and the continent. The work of Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton and others in physics and chemistry needs no introduction. Less well-known is the natural history of John Ray (1627-1705), Edward Lhwyd (1660-1709) and others. The period also saw the beginnings of a scientific study of the earth and their findings were published in turgid volumes known as “Theories of the Earth”. On a first reading these seem to be a literal reading of Genesis stories with a few semi-scientific glosses. A closer read shows them to be more profound as they meld together the Bible, the classics, almost mediaeval “book” learning with the citing of endless authorities and scientific insight in a Chaos-Restitution interpretation of Genesis One. Here they shared the outlook of most theologians (except Ussher!) and literary writers such as Thomas Traherne and Alexander Pope. Instead of taking the Creation story to teach creation in six short days, writers, following an interpretation going back to the early Church Fathers, claimed from Genesis (Chapter one verse one) that God first created Chaos (without form and void) and after an interval recreated it in six days. The duration of Chaos was undefined. With Ussher it was twelve hours, but for most it was a long and unspecified duration.  Some, notably Thomas Burnet (1635?-1715), Edmond Halley (1656-1742) and William Whiston (1667-1752), reckoned the days to be more than twenty-four hours. Halley attempted a calculation of the age of the earth from the sea’s salinity, but came to no firm conclusions other than it was tens of thousands of years old. Likewise theological writers of the day; Bishop Simon Patrick (1626-1707) reckoned that God first created Chaos and then later re-ordered it in Six Days. He said of the duration of Chaos, ‘It might be … a great while;…’ Few accepted Ussher’s date of 4004 BC for the initial Creation, though most accepted that humanity first appeared in about the year 4000 BC, hence the general acceptance of the rest of Ussher’s chronology. The extension of time by the “Theorists” and contemporary theologians was minute compared to the billions of years of geological time, but was, as Stephen Gould wrote of Whiston’s argument that the day of Genesis one was a year long was, “a big step in the right direction.” In Britain the way was open for a longer time-scale.

Fossils and Geology

Not until the late 17th Century were “formed stones” or fossils recognised as imprints of dead creatures rather than formed as “sports of nature” in place. Only then could “fossils” be used to demonstrate former life and it took a century before the succession of fossils was used to put strata into historical order. Possibly the first person who used the succession of fossils to demonstrate evolution was Charles Darwin in a notebook in 1838, shortly before he “discovered” Natural Selection. In the 1690s there were insufficient grounds to suggest “Deep Time” or the continual reworking of the earth’s crust as understandings of erosion were rudimentary. Ray, Whiston and others cannot be expected to have done otherwise.

Most of the writers had some “scientific” understanding and often spent as much time refuting each other as suggesting new ideas. Some were mostly speculative, as was Thomas Burnet’s The Theory of the Earth. Despite his devotion to the Deluge, he sought to explain phenomena naturalistically and somewhat extended the duration of Genesis One. John Ray’s Miscellaneous Discourses concerning the dissolution of the worldshows the beginning of careful observation on earth processes and questions over geological time. After reading the first edition of Ray’s Miscellaneous Discourses, Lhwyd wrote to Ray on 30 February 1691, ‘Upon the reading on your discourse of the rains continually washing away and carrying down earth from the mountains, it puts me in mind…which I observed’, and then described what he had observed in Snowdonia. He described innumerable boulders which had “fallen” into the Llanberis valleys. (Most of these are glacial erratics.) As ‘but two or three that have fallen in the memory of any man…, in the ordinary course of nature we shall be compelled to allow the rest many thousands of years more than the age of the world.’ Ray commented on Lhwyd’s findings and seemed deliberately to avoid facing the logic of Lhwyd’s comments. He nailed his colours firmly to the fence, and did not explicitly reject an Ussher chronology. However from his discussion of Chaos and other comments, it is fair to conclude that he accepted that the earth was considerably more than five-and-a-half thousand years old, but left the reader to decide.

DSCF9511 (1)

An erratic block in Nant Peris, Snowdonia, near where Lhwyd had his ideas. They are scattered both along the floor and sides of the valley. Occasionally a higher one may roll dwon, but I can think of no example recently.

And so some thought time might be less shallow. They had no assumption of deep or shallow time, but carried out geological investigations, starting with a tentative young earth.

Towards the end of the seventeenth century a large number of theories of the Earth were  published, mostly in Britain by writers such as Burnet, Whiston, Woodward, Ray and Hobbes (Roberts 2002, pp. 144–150). These were an attempt to rationalize the early history of the earth into six days to uphold the text of Genesis. The authors allowed an indefinite time for chaos and combined Genesis, classical writings, scientific observation and speculation into a fascinating melange of ideas. Burnet wrote of the indefinite
chaos, ‘so it is understood by the general consent of commentators’ (Burnet 1681, chap IV, p. 30) and the commentator Bishop Patrick wrote of the duration of chaos that ‘(I)t might be a great while’ (Patrick 1854, Vol. 1, pp. 1–3). Exactly how long chaos lasted was never made explicit. Most accepted that the ‘days’ of Genesis 1 were of  twenty-four hours duration, but Burnett and Whiston argued that each day of creation could have been a year in duration and the obscure William Hobbs suggested an even longer time basing his ideas on 2 Peter 3:8; ‘one day is as a thousand years’ and ‘I say, why may not one such day, be equall to many years’ (Hobbs 1979, p. 110). Writing about Whiston (Whiston 1696), who extended each day to a year, Stephen Gould said that this ‘was a big step in the right direction’ (Gould 1991, p. 372).

These remarks lifted from two of my published chapters show there was no dogmatic assumption of either Deep Time or a young earth in the late 17th century, but rather savants trying to make sense of the rocks they saw and beginning to stumble towards Deep Time as a result of their research. They started with an initial assumption of a young earth, as that was the culture they lived in. Slowly they changed their minds . They were gradually wading out to deeper water from the shallows.

What we have is that early geologists/savants took their working assumptions form the prevalent culture, hence they initially started with a young earth and found that what they observed in rocks did not fit. Lhwyd is an example – even though the many boulders in Nant Peris had not rolled down the hillsides but were transported by glaciers. He gives an excellent example on how geologists were thinking things through

Because of this I never mock Ussher or anyone else from that period who tended to accept a young earth. They were excellent scholars for their day and slowly worked out details of geological time.

As we move into the 18th century more and more “geologists” became convinced of a deeper time, though there was still considerable variance of conclusions. Thus Hutton, of unconformity fame

Angular Unconformity at Siccar Point, Scotland. Siccar Point, Scotland (Photo: Wikipedia “Hutton’s Unconformity”)

accepted a vast amount of time of many millions, whereas J. A. de Luc seemed to accept only hundreds of thousands. A minority like Kirwan still held to thousands. Among the geologically literate few held to a young earth by 1800 and those who did were changing their minds. One was William Smith who worked out how to relatively date rocks by fossils in the 1790s, he produced a succession of strata in historical order and the fist geological map ever of a country (England and Wales) in 1815, which was remarkably accurate by todays’ standards..



Yet in the 1790s he was young earth not for dogmatic reasons. In ten years he realised the earth was old – probably due to his mentors the Revs Samuel Richardson and Joshua Townsend, who as Christian clergy accepted an old earth! Then James Parkinson d1824 – the first to diagnose Parkinson’s disease – wrote the first volume of Organic remains of a former world in 1804. There he described the earth as some 6000 years old. But four years later in volume ii , he explicitly avowed an ancient earth.

Did they change their assumptions or were they following the evidence? I’d say they modified their working assumptions as they went along, and had the nouse to do so.

Smith and Parkinson show the gradual shift over geological time, and  with only one or two exceptions all competent in geology accepted Deep Time well before 1820. It is instructive to see how Christian writers changed their views over time. Thus Dean Close of Carlisle was young earth in the 1820s and fully accepted Deep Time by 1850. Thre are many other examples.

This shows a slow gathering awareness of Deep Time from 1680. By 1800 Shallow Time was a thing of the past.

As usual Answers in Genesis in the incarnation of Mortenson argue that the church compromised.

As for a Global Flood, most savants in the 17th century simply assumed a Global Flood, as did most theologians. However William Poole in his Commentary argued for a local flood and our unknown William Hobbs refused to grant geological efficacy to the Deluge. This continued right into the 19th century.

Willaim Smith accepted a global flood which laid down the most recent strata as did many others until the 1830s. Most interesting is William Buckland who wrote Reliquiae Diluvianae in 1823. There he limited flood deposits to the uppermost strata, which today are seen as pleistocene. The volume was dedicated to his mentor Bishop Shute Barrington of Durham, who was then a crusty and conservative reactionary octagenarian bishop! (I think he holds the record for the time he was a bishop.) On theology he looked to evangelical scholars like John Bird Sumner. Buckland held on to diluvialism right up to the 1840s and at Oxford are some of his almost illegible musings of the flood in relation to glaciation written in the 1840s.

To sum up, Risner fails to identify who made these assumptions of Deep Time, which would guide all geological thinking. He produces no evidence for his claims.


I could say more but you could read Davis Young’s The Biblical Flood. or the Bible, Rocks and Time


3. Geologists place the authority over that of scripture

The bottom line is this: if your worldview places the authority of science (or in this case what you mistakenly believe is science) over that of Scripture and you use that so-called science to determine how the Bible is to be interpreted, you’ve placed something before the authority God has over you. This is especially true if those portions of Scripture you’re choosing to reinterpret based on your view of nature are major foundational points of the Christian faith

This needs to be reworded;

The bottom line is this; if your worldview places the authority of science…………. under your inconsistent interpretation of Scripture……

This many Creationists cannot see. They force their literal view of scripture onto Scripture. This was challenged 500 years ago by Calvin and his view of accommodation.

The period of the Reformation resulted in a more rigorous biblical interpretation with an emphasis on the literal, or plain, rather than allegorical, meaning of scripture. This  inclined most theologians and savants to understand the ‘day’ of Genesis Chapter 1 as of twenty-four hours and thus the earth to have been created in about 4000 BC, be they Luther, Calvin, Mercator, Raleigh or Columbus. Despite the emphasis of both Roman Catholic and Protestant exegetes on the ‘literal’ meaning of Scripture, this ‘literalism’ never went to the extreme of insisting on a flat earth, which is demanded by a literal reading of Genesis 1:6–8, and Exodus 20:4. In fact, very few Christian theologians had ever considered the earth to be flat, a myth demolished by Russell (Russell 1991).  Literalism was tempered by ‘accommodation’. This refusal to adopt a slavish literalism can be seen clearly in Calvin’s understanding of the accommodation of Scripture. In 1554, eleven years after Copernicus published De revolutionibus, Calvin published his commentary on Genesis in Latin. Calvin


made no reference here, nor probably anywhere else, to the Copernican theory, but he stressed that Genesis was not written to teach astronomy. As he dealt with the Mosaic description of the firmament of Genesis 1 he wrote, ‘He, who  would learn astronomy and other recondite arts, let him go elsewhere’ (Calvin 1847, p. 79). He considered the firmament of Genesis 1:6–8, not to be the solid crystalline dome, which is implied by Egyptian astronomy, but a representation of rain clouds, because ‘nothing is here treated of but the visible form of the world’ (Calvin 1847, pp. 69–88). Calvin was wrong at this point as most ancients considered the firmament to be a solid dome. But he considered that Moses accommodated himself to the limitations of human thought and as Calvin commented on Genesis 1:15, ‘For as it became a theologian, he had respect to us rather than the stars’. Calvin approached his task with Ptolemean assumptions of a spherical rather than a flat earth. He also did not question a 6000- year-old earth nor a universal flood. Calvin’s  accommodating interpretation eased the path for many Calvinists to accept  Copernicanism, with  the result that some Roman Catholics referred to the ‘Calvino–Copernican’ theory. In the following centuries Calvin’s doctrine of  accommodation allowed devout Protestants to accept the findings of science, whether astronomy or geology, without the rejection of the authority or the teaching of scripture (Hooykaas 1972, pp. 114–130).

Calvin’s idea of ACCOMMODATION shows there is no theological objection to an ancient earth as the Bible is not written to give that information, but rather is ACCOMMODATED to the thought forms of the time it was written.

The most apt quote is that of Calvin

He, who  would learn astronomy and other recondite arts, let him go elsewhere’

We go elsewhere on most things. Trivially I do not go to the bible to find out how to fix my bicycle, nor when I should plant certain seeds or prune plants. Calvin was clear, the bible is not a source for astronomy – and we can add, any other science.

Behind Calvin’s comment is that we need to know where biblical authority lies and what for. There are so many things which the bible does not mention and thus we do not go to it to see whether we should use oak or balsawood for the framework of a house. !! Nor will it tell us whether coal or gas is a better fuel. It goes on.

To most Christians the Bible is the ultimate authority, but for moral and theological principles and not details on science, mechanics or gardening. However on ethical issues we are not given blanket rules but ideas to give as Middle Axioms as William Temple called them. This is clear in his Christianity and Social Order. Thus a National Health Service as in Britain is not prescribed by biblical authority, but the principles of love of neighbour and even some OT teaching we can see it as an outworking of biblical teaching and authority. Hey I’m going to be called an extreme socialist for this!!

By claiming this Risner actually destroys the authority of scripture as it then is seen to be risibile.

I look to the authority of the Bible on what is revealed about Jesus Christ and why I should love my neighbour, not tell lies or steal etc, but not whether Lyell, Buckland or Steno gives me the better basis for geology, or which month I should plant my runner bean seeds.

For all normal Christians the Bible is the authority for doctrine and ethics, but not whether fish preceeded dinosaurs on this planet.

Risner has a perfect way of undermining the authority of the Bible


Why does a good God allow disasters?

Why does a good God allow disasters?

Whenever there is a major disaster the question arises for both believers and unbelievers, “Why would a good God allow this?” Some will ask it after the Cyclone Idai in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. And so it is raised after every earthquake and will be in the future after any similar event. However suffering is not limited to such big events as there is always death by disease, especially early death, lesser catastrophes which kill or maim a few people. (I think of a smaller earthquake in Uganda decades ago which killed a friend’s child.)

Image result for Cyclone Idai

In all of this is the cry “Why did God allow this?” or a dismissal is that there can be no God if this happens. Too often believers come out with trite answers which don’t help and at times are so hurtful as to be evil.  The worst case I know of is a vicar who (decades ago), told a family who had just lost a child through cancer, this was god’s punishment for sin. Words fail me.

Suffering is the hardest problem of all if you believe in God, as it is difficult to reconcile suffering with a loving God. Some extreme evangelicals claim that suffering came in as a result of the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden some 6000 years ago as after that God cursed the world with suffering, disease and death and introduced earthquakes and volcanoes. I am not jesting, but wish I were. This makes God an ogre. To put this rather flippantly Richard Dawkins says that it seems an unjust punishment for scrumping. He was right. Daft beliefs encourage atheism.

Image result for adam in garden fall

So we what are we left with?  We live on a planet which has supported life for four billion years and all that time there has been life, suffering and death, with earthquakes, volcanoes and floods. It is a world which has suffering and death written into it and it is impossible to deny that this has been the case on planet earth for 4 billion years. Ultimately we can either say there is no God or believe in the love of God despite suffering. That is in fact the traditional Christian position. There are problems in believing in God, but then there are a lot of problems in being an atheistJ

I find I get help from appreciating the wonder of the creation but cannot begin to explain suffering. When considering suffering we need to think of Jesus’ death on the cross and his cry of dereliction, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I also gain strength form the book of Job, which is a poem exploring suffering. Job was suffering without reason but all his advisors told him that God was punishing for wrong-doing. Job knew he hadn’t and finally we get to Job 38 where God speaks to Job out of the whirlwind and asks Job if he was there at creation. In other words, we do not know God’s ways but we do know God’s son Jesus Christ.


Image result for my god my god why hast thou forsaken me

As we approach Good Friday and Easter we need to focus on Jesus himself. We will never have a full understanding about why Jesus died and rose again – if anyone thinks they have, then they clearly haven’t!

As we consider Good Friday we need to focus on our Lord’s suffering and death and that he both died for our forgiveness and entered into human suffering. In the words of the hymn Abide with me , “Hold thou thy cross before my closing /open eyes”. We then move to Easter Day when we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead, conquering death and inaugurating the New Creation and so we will sing “Thine be the glory, risen Conquering Son.”.

I hope that this reflection is helpful to all readers as they go through Lent and come to Easter.

Was the Last Supper held in a pub?

Was the Last Supper held in a pub?

Image result for last supper

Where did Jesus celebrate the last Supper?  The convention is in the Upper Room and one can visit a site in Jerusalem today. I will not comment on whether it is authentic, Though I have visited it and it felt right. At times talk of the Upper Room gets a bit detached from reality and reeks of sentimental spirituality, rather than the harsh concerns of the disciples and the shadow of the executioner hanging over the meal..

In recent years some have suggested that the church should meet in a pub as that is where the people are. However, I often find pubs empty in the evening, but that is not the point. People differ whether a church should meet in a pub, but what about Jesus celebrating the Last Supper in a pub?

I can imagine many responses from the offended to the flippant.

Why should I even suggest this? Well both Mark and Luke use the same word to describe the location of the Last Supper as in Luke 2 for the place where there was no room for the Holy Family. There is an inverse relationship about this. There was no room at our Lord’s Birth but there was room for his last meal before his execution. But were both local pubs?

So we need to look again at the accounts of the location of the Last Supper in the four gospels and also the pub of Luke chapter 2.

John gives no clue as to the location apart from being in Jerusalem by implication. Nor does he mention the taking of bread and wine. Matthew says more, but only that they found a place for the Passover in Jerusalem (Matt26 vs17ff). v brief

Mark and Luke are very similar right down to almost verbal equivalence.

Mark 14   12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 13 So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16 So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

And Luke 22

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.” 9 They asked him, “Where do you want us to make preparations for it?” 10 “Listen,” he said to them, “when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters 11 and say to the owner of the house, “The teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” ‘ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.” 13 So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

Now lots of Greek, but transliterated!

In Mark 14 vs 11  and Luke 22 vs11the word translated as “guest room” is kataluma. Then the disciples were shown “a large room upstairs”- anagaion , which gives us the appellation  The Upper Room”. Both of these words hardly appear in the New Testament

    kataluma guest room is only in Mk 14.14, Luke 2; 7, Lk 22;11

and anagaion – upstairs room in Mk 14;15, Lk 22;12

now did they go into a pub and then upstairs, or is anagaion = kataluma (both words almost hapaxlegoumena), so it is hard to find other usages.

The word kataluma is used in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) to mean a guest room in I Sam 1:18, and I Sam 9 :22 – in other words NOT  a pub, and a lodging in Sirach 14 vs25. My shorter Liddel and Scott lexicon briefly says a lodging or inn.

So far, this is inconclusive but a fine scholar on the Near East background of the New Testament is Kenneth Bailey

After mentioning Luke and the “inn” he moves to the good Samaritan as the poorly traveller was left at an inn. Bailey wrote;

In the story of the Good Samaritan, the wounded man is clearly taken to a commercial establishment that provides shelter for strangers. However, Luke has the men arrive at a pandokheion (10:34), not a katalumaPandokheion is the common Greek word for an inn. Luke knows this word and uses it.

Hence pandokheion  is in contrast to kataluma.  In the examples in I Sam it is the main house, possibly Samuel’s. The Arndt-Gringrich lexicon points out that the word has survived in Arabic as an inn “where a traveller may find a night’s lodging”.

In the parable we have the inn-keeper pandochews in vs 35 adding to the contrast with kataluma.

So, if for Luke pandokheion means a commercial inn, what does he intend by the word kataluma? So why didn’t Luke use pandokheion rather than kataluma? This applies both to the Bethlehem story and the last supper.


If kataluma is INN in Luke 2 , then Jesus celebrated the Passover in a pub. But surely Luke should have used pandokheion both for the Last Supper and in Bethlehem. As he did not we can conclude that the good Samaritan was taken to a pub/inn to recuperate and it is reasonable to conclude Jesus did not celebrate the Passover in a pub but in a large upstairs room, which was the guestroom and there was also no inn or innkeeper but as the guestroom was occupied Jesus was born in the main part of the house.

The main downside of this conclusion is that there was no inn-keeper and his wife and so much of popular Christmas legend has been undermined. It also undermines woke understandings of Jesus’ birth, which rely on Mary and Joseph not finding lodging. As Joseph was “from Bethlehem” he’d had relatives in Bethlehem so it is more probable that he went to one of them and not an inn. It seems most likely that there was no room in the guest-room so they had to going in the main living space, where there was likely to be a manger.


But more importantly, it takes the text of the Bible more seriously and avoids any distractions from the Saviour Jesus Christ in the form of an unbiblical inn-keeper.

So Jesus was neither born in a pub or outhouse, nor did he celebrate the Last Supper in a pub.

I think this study and similar ones, make the whole story of Jesus more grounded in history than romance and I prefer a robust historical faith before a cosy romantic one.

22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 
23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 
24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 
25 Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 
26 When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 
Image result for holy communion

Christ has died

Christ is risen

Christi will come again

How racist is Creationism?

How racist is creationism? They deny it like mad but here Paul Braterman exposes some of Henry Morris’ awful racist statements. And others too .

Paul highlights several examples but despite screationists denying it, racism is a common theme.

It’s a good article.

Had I written it I’d have made more on Apartheid and the Sons of Ham , but then i lived in apartheid South Africa – and broke many laws daily………….

Creationism, Noah’s Flood, And Race

by Paul Braterman                                                                                    

20th-century creationism and racism

Henry M. Morris photo.jpg
Henry Morris, CRI publicity photo

Henry Morris, founding father of modern Young Earth creationism, wrote in 1977 that the Hamitic races (including red, yellow, and black) were destined by their nature to be servants to the descendants of Shem and Japheth. Noah was inspired when he prophesied this (Genesis 9:25-27) [1]. The descendants of Shem are characterised by an inherited religious zeal, those of Japheth by mental acumen, while those of Ham are limited by the “peculiarly concrete and materialistic thought-structure inherent in Hamitic peoples,” which even affects their language structures. These innate differences explain the success of the European and Middle Eastern empires, as well as African servitude.

All this is spelt out in Morris’s 1977 book, The Beginning of the World, most recently reprinted in 2005 (in Morris’s lifetime, and presumably with his approval), and available from Amazon as a paperback or on Kindle.

Morris is no fringe figure. On the contrary, he, more than any other individual, was responsible for the 20th-century invention of Young Earth “creation science”. He was co-author of The Genesis Flood, which regards Noah’s flood as responsible for sediments worldwide, and founded the Institute of Creation Research (of which Answers in Genesis is a later offshoot) in 1972, serving as its President, and then President Emeritus, until his death in 2006.

Nor was this a personal aberration. As we shall see, he was heir to a strong tradition of creationist racism, of which he never managed to rid himself.

Strong accusations require strong evidence. I have therefore included as an Appendix some relevant passages from The Beginning of the World, quoting at length to avoid any risk of misrepresentation.

Very similar views to those of Morris were expressed by the esteemed physiologist Arthur Custance (Noah’s Three Sons, 1975, published by the mainstream Christian publisher Zondervan, now part of Harper Collins). Custance and Morris certainly knew about each other as intellectual opponents, Morris favouring simple six-day creationism, while Custance championed the “Gap Theory”, according to which geological time is concealed within the opening three verses of Genesis. However, Morris clearly got there first, since he had published similar material in 1972 (The Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth), while The Beginning of the Earth was an update of a work first published in 1965.

Creationism, Adventism, and institutional racism

Note: Morris and other authors whom I cite used the word “Negro”, as I do for consistency when referring to their work. This word, unlike its toxic cousin, was not historically regarded as offensive, although it now sometimes is. For instance, the University of Chicago’s estimable Journal of African-American History called itself the Journal of Negro History until 2002.

While Morris was the most effective 20th-century exponent of biblical creationism, his theories derived largely from those of the Seventh-day Adventist George McCready Price, whose ideas derived in turn from those of Ellen G. White, founder-prophetess of Adventism. White had spoken of the evils of crossbreeding. Price ascribed the variety of human races to the dispersal after Babel, the deleterious effects of interbreeding, and environmental effects, which had given the Negro his dark skin, while, Price said, “his mind became a blank.”[2]

Apartheid beach sign (Natal, 1989) in English, Afrikaans, and Zulu, Guinogg via Wikipedia

Biblical literalism and creationism were used to support racial discrimination and bans on interracial marriage until quite recently. In South Africa, biblical literalism was used to justify apartheid, on the grounds that when God dispersed the various nations at Babel, He intended them to remain separate. The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa supported apartheid until 1986. The Southern Baptist Convention, now the largest Protestant denomination in the United States with 15 million members, was formed, in 1845, specifically in defence of slavery, and did not apologise for this until 1995, when it adopted a resolution on racial reconciliation, and committed itself to the removal of racism. Bob Jones University, rigidly creationist and biblical literalist, and the publisher of numerous texts for creationist homeschooling, refused admission to black students until 1971, and denied admission to applicants engaged in an interracial marriage or known to advocateinterracial marriage or dating until 2000.

What about Darwin?

How often have we heard the accusation that evolutionary thinking is responsible for racism, as if Darwin had invented the concept. See for example this quotation from Henry Morris himself, on the Institute for Creation Research website, in 1993:

But what about the origin of races? One searches the Bible in vain for this information, for neither the word nor the concept of “race” appears in the Bible at all! There is no such thing as a race—except the human race! … “Race” is strictly an evolutionary concept, used by Darwin, Huxley, Haeckel, and the other 19th-century evolutionists to rationalize their white racism.

That’s a lie. Morris is denying his own earlier blatant racism, which I described my opening paragraph (the word “race” occurs, without apology, in the chapter title I cited and repeatedly throughout the text). Moreover, I can hardly believe that Morris was completely ignorant of the strength of racism among strongly anti-Darwin churches and colleges, or of the long history of racism and the ways in which pre-evolutionary science had been used to justify it.

Early studies of race

It is, I hope, common knowledge by now that the traditional classification of races corresponds only poorly to genetic reality, that the boundaries between races are fuzzy, arbitrary, and based on minor and quite recent differences, that the variation within a race (however defined) is far greater than the differences between races, and that sub-Saharan Africans, traditionally classified as a single race, are in reality more genetically diverse than the rest of humanity put together. Conversation about the concept of race is made enormously difficult by the damage done its name, but I hope this can be set aside in the present discussion.
Carfl Lnnaeus, Nationalmuseum. Public domain via Wikipedia

The idea of racial stereotypes goes back at least as far as Linnaeus’ Systema naturae (1735 – 1768), in which he contrasts Europaeus, active and smart, with Afer, crafty, slow, and foolish. Such views were widespread. David Hume, in 1742, wrote that he was “apt to suspect” on the basis of history that Negroes were inferior to whites. Scientific study can be traced to Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, who in the 1790s classified humans on the basis of skull shape as Caucasian (Blumenbach popularised this term, still in common use), Mongolian,  Malayan including Southeast Asian and Pacific Islanders, Ethiopian or sub-Saharan African, and American. Very presciently, he noted that variation among Africans was as great as in the rest of humankind, and wrote that Africans had shown themselves capable of the highest levels of attainment. Georges Cuvier, the outstanding naturalist of the early 19th-century, also compared skulls, and distinguished between Caucasian, Mongolian, and Ethiopian, all descended eventually from Adam and Eve. Cuvier made enormous advances in comparative anatomy, based on his understanding of the relationship between form and function, and argued against the then new-fangled idea of evolution on the grounds that since each species was well-adapted to its niche, with parts that worked well together, change would be impossible. I’m reminded here of current arguments against evolution, on grounds of irreducible complexity.

Stereotyping of non-Whites sharpened throughout the nineteenth century. One obvious reason, in the US, was the need to justify slavery. Another, operating more strongly in England, was, according to the historian of ideas Kenan Malik, the emerging class structure of capitalism, and the obvious desirability for the upper classes of thinking that their position was the result of intrinsic merit.

The biblical literalist’s dilemma

Faced with the variety of humankind, and the Genesis account of the Flood, the biblical literalist has two options. The more usual one, and as we have seen the one adopted by Morris, is to regard the different branches of humanity as descended from the three sons of Noah. Since Semitic and Japhethic branches are generally identified as Middle Eastern and European, the rest of humanity is then presumed (as in Morris’s discussion) to descend from Ham. This despite the fact that in Genesis the listed descendants of Ham, just as much as those of Shem, are all Middle Eastern or North African. So here, as in other matters, self-proclaimed biblical literalists are recklessly projecting their own imaginings on the Bible.

Middle East map showing plausible locations for nations named in Genesis 10, from Readers Digest KJV

Separate origin theories and 19th-century Flood Geology

The other, even more objectionable, option is to deny that the coloured races (to use an old-fashioned expression) were descended from Adam in the first place. In this version of events, Negroes were a separate creation, and therefore not fully human. This kind of belief regards racial segregation as natural, and mixed marriages as perversion. In some versions, Negroes were created before Adam in order to serve his descendants, while in others, inferior races (Negroes, Chinese, and, some more recently say, Jews) are the offspring of Eve and the Serpent.

Separate origin theory (polygenism) has a long history and was at one time considered intellectually respectable. The eminent naturalist Louis Agassiz, who discovered the Ice Ages, thought that Whites and Blacks were separate creations, although he believed they should be equal under the law. He commissioned photographs of slaves (see on right) for his anthropological studies, and last week these became the subject of an ownership lawsuit between Harvard University and one of the slaves’ descendants. The creationist Alexander Winchell, Professor in turn at Vanderbilt, the University of Michigan, and the University of Syracuse, argued as late as 1878, in Adamites and Preadamites, that humans existed before Adam, and maintained that this belief was consistent with Scripture.

However, separate origin theory was soon used, especially in the run-up to the American Civil War, to justify racism, slavery, and segregation. In the 1840s, Samuel George Morton, for a while Professor of Anatomy at Pennsylvania Medical College, and his collaborator George Gliddon (for a while US Vice-Consul in Alexandria), argued for separate creation on biblical grounds. From examining mummies, they had correctly concluded that African and Middle Eastern peoples were in existence three thousand years ago much as they are today. But this was only a thousand years after the date that the Bible gives for Noah’s flood. It followed that such diversity could not have arisen in so little time, forcing them to conclude that the black race had a separate origin. Measuring their skulls, they concluded (are you surprised?) that blacks had lower cranial capacity and hence lower mental capacity than whites, among other defects. John Van Evrie in a series of publications between 1848 and 1868 (note the dates), argued that the Negro was a separate creation for whom slavery was the natural state, accused abolitionists of promoting the evil of miscegenation, appealed to discontented and underprivileged whites in the North where he lived, and during the Civil War campaigned for an immediate peace on the Confederacy’s terms. Van Evrie thought that the success of democracy (which was of course for Whites only) depended on Negro subjugation, and his populist writings, as we would now describe them, may have contributed to the 1863 New York Conscription Riots.

The clergyman and publisher, Buckner H. Payne  (Ariel: or the Ethnological Origin of the Negro, 1867, Reply to the Scientific Geologist and Other Learned Men, in Their Attacks on the Credibility of  Account of the Mosaic Account of the Creation and of the Flood, 1876) regarded the Curse of Ham as irrelevant to the issue of slavery, since the Negro was a Preadamite creation without a soul. Miscegenation was the sin that led to the Flood, and (here Payne anticipates modern Young Earth creationism) the mountains were raised to their present height by the convulsions associated with Noah’s Flood, when (Genesis 7:11) the Fountains of the Deep were broken up. Here Payne’s geology anticipates that of Whitcomb and Morris’s The Genesis Flood, already mentioned as the foundational document of 20th-Century Young Earth creationism. Payne earned a brief and rather dismissive obituary in the New York Times on his death in 1883, but other obituaries to Payne described him as the South’s leading logician. Charles Carroll (The Negro as Beast; or, In the Image of God, 1900) cited Winchell (see above), and described Negroes as Preadamite, one of the Genesis “beasts”, but equipped with hands and the power of speech, the better to serve his master, the white man. Carroll acts as a bridge between 19th-century separate origin creationism, and the present-day extremist groups discussed in the next section.

Separate origin creationism and the American Far Right

Separate origin theory persists among White extremist groups in America. According to Alexander Schiffner’s The Origin of the Races; and Pre-Adamic Man (Prophetic Herald, 1968), the yellow races as well as Negroes are beasts created before Adam. Carroll’s ideas also re-emerged in Destiny Publishers’ 1967 In the Image of God, which regards miscegenation as a wicked perversion, the real sin of Cain, and the sin that provoked the Flood. Ham was of part-Negro descent, and the demands of the Civil Rights Movement for racial integration were inspired by Satan.

At this point separate origins theory merges with anti-Semitism and anti-Communism. W. Clyde Odeneal, in Segregation: Sin or Sensible? (Destiny Publishers, 1958), argued that “Segregation is an Anglo-Saxon principle because… The Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and related races are predominantly the Bible-reading, Bible-disseminating peoples of the world”, and condemned racial equality as a Communist notion, promoted by non-Christians. I understand this as a clear reference to Jewish Civil Rights activists. Charles Magne, The Negro and the World Crisis (Kingdom Identity Ministries, 1980), also considered Negroes as apes, created before Adam, and wrote that they were being used by Jews to destroy the White Nordic race. The Christian Identity movement, which has strong historical links to the KKK, is closely related to the British Israelites. Both Identity and the British Israelites regard the Anglo-Celtic race as God’s favoured people, the true descendants of Israel, and maintain that the inferior (i.e. non-White) races were created before Adam. Similar separate origin beliefs are also held by other fringe groups, such as Aryan Nations, which shares a website with the Church of Jesus Christ Christian, and maintains that “The Canaanite Jews [i.e. Jews] are a literal descendent of Satan and the natural enemy of our white Christian race.” Aryan Nations is affiliated with the Aryan Brotherhood, the most powerful White gang in US prisons.

There are a few self-styled ministries (whom I do not intend to publicise) who reprint obscure 19th Century separate origins pamphlets. Destiny Publishers is still in existence, linked to the British Israelite movement, and describing itself on its front page as “devoted to revealing the Book of the People to the People of the Book.” Kingdom Identity Ministries continues to distribute books and cassettes from its website and from its “American Institute of Theology”, and to broadcast. Its homepage shows a serpent with the head of a caricature Jew and, just in case you don’t get the message, a bright yellow body covered in six-pointed stars.

Creationism and Nazism

We can now place Nazi racism in its context. Despite creationist claims, it has nothing to do with evolution science or any other kind of science, but is an extreme form of separate origin mythology. It places great emphasis on the distinct origins of races, together with a mystic belief in race, blood, and soil. Thus Alfred Rosenberg, official Nazi philosopher, taught that God had created Man as separate races, with of course the Aryan race superior to all others, and destined to rule over them. It followed that it was the duty of Aryans to purify their lands by eliminating non-Aryans as cancer is cut from diseased body. Rosenberg powerfully influenced Hitler, who in Mein Kampfwrote that God and nature had created the races as separate, so that miscegenation was a sin against nature and God’s will. Hitler did believe in evolution within a race (microevolution), but regarded the races as separate creations and explicitly rejected the evolution of humans from non-human ancestors. (I could not bring myself to read Rosenberg’s or Hitler’s actual writings, but have relied here and in much of my discussion of creationist racism on Tom McIver’s compilations of creationist writings,Anti-Evolution, and his article “The Protocols of Creationism”, Sceptic Magazine2(4), 1994, p. 76. For more on Hitler’s views, see e.g. this from the Evolution Institute, of which I am a supporter, and references therein)

Mainstream creationism today

To return to mainstream creationism, I looked up the word “race” on the website of leading creationist organisations. Answers in Genesis, historically an offshoot of the Institute for Creation Research, and probably the leading biblical literalist organisation today, goes out of its way to downplay racial differences. It advances a fantastical family tree for humankind (with the peoples of Japan and Java related to the Ionian Greeks), but does say that Noah’s prophecy referred specifically to the interaction between the ancient Israelites and their Canaanite neighbours. Creation Ministries International says little about Noah’s curse (or prophesy), heavily emphasizes the biological unity of humankind, and explicitly condemns Christian Identity

What, then, of Morris’s own Institute for Creation Research? That, you may remember, is where Morris had written that “race” was an unbiblical concept introduced by evolutionists in order to maintain their belief in white superiority. Did that mean that he had transcended, as well as disavowing, his earlier racism? I doubt it. A search for “Canaan” on the Institute for Creation Research website leads to the study notes for his New Defenders Bible (2006, the last year of his life), which refer to “Ham, with his physical and materialistic bent,” and speak of “Noah’s own insight into the developing characters of his sons and grandsons and, therefore, of their descendants.” [Emphasis added]

As Malik very recently (18 March 2019) put it, “The idea of abstract, essential differences between specially-defined populations is what lies at the heart of racial thinking”. Morris, by this standard, was a racial thinker to the end. He had sanitised his vocabulary, and his self-image, but not his thinking. And if his followers still think, as he did, that Noah’s words refer to anything beyond the ancient Near East, they have cause for soul-searching.

1] KJV, And he said, Cursed be Canaan, as servants of servants shall he be and to his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tens of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

2] Ronald Numbers, The Creationists p.102.

I thank Tom McIver for helpful correspondence, and for drawing my attention to his catalogue updates, and Embedded links to AiG, ICR, and CMI set at no-follow to avoid boosting.

Appendix: extracts from The Beginning of the World

With the deepest hearts of his own sons thus laid bare before him, Noah was moved to make the great prophetic declaration of Genesis 9:25 – 27. To some extent the insight thus revealed into the future was no doubt based on the insights he had into the hearts of his sons… But, more importantly, he spoke in the Spirit, prophesying as the Spirit gave utterance. [p 127]

As he knew the characters of his own sons, he could foresee that their respective descendants would be characterised chiefly by religious zeal (Shem), mental acumen (Japheth) and materialistic drives (Ham).) [p 128]

The prophecy is worldwide in scope and, since Shem and Japheth are covered, all Ham’s descendants must be also. These include all nations which are neither Semitic nor Japhetic. Thus, all of the earth’s “coloured” races, – yellow, red, brown, and black – essentially the Afro-nation group of peoples, including the American Indians – are most likely to be Hamitic in origin and included within the scope of the Canaanitic prophecy, as well as the Egyptians, Sumerians, Hittites, and Phoenicians of antiquity. [p 129]

Truly they have been ‘servants’ of mankind in a most amazing way. Yet the prophecy again has its obverse side. Somehow they have only gone so far and no farther. The Japhethites and Semites have, sooner or later, taken over their territories, and their inventions, and then developed them and utilised them for their own enlargement. Often the Hamites, especially the Negroes, have become actual personal servants or even slaves to the others. Possessed of a racial character concerned mainly with mundane matters, they have eventually been displaced by the intellectual and philosophical acumen of the Japhethites and the religious zeal of the Semites.… Neither Negroes nor any other Hamitic people are intended to be forcibly subjugated on the basis of this Noahic declaration. The prophecy would be inevitably fulfilled because of the innate nature of the three racial stocks, not by virtue of any artificial constraints imposed by man.” [p 130]

Every little Indian or African tribe seems to have developed its own language, by virtue of its own isolation and the peculiarly concrete and materialistic thought-structure inherent in Hamitic peoples. [p. 142. Morris regards all languages other than Indo-European and Semitic as Hamitic]

Like what you’re reading? Don’t keep it to yourself!

Lost World of John Walton –

Last month Creation.con decided to shred me for my blog on Premier Radio.

This month month it is the turn of Prof J Walton of Wheaton College, Chicago on his trilogy of Genesis one,


the Fall


and the Flood.

A book for sale at the Ark Encounter gift shop. You can see on the cover that the felines all came from a single common ancestor cat on the Ark.


The god folk at Creation ministries are not happy bunnies and they also don’t like Steve Moshier on geology

Enjoy the read and see how they are stuck in an inconsistent position and do nothing for the Gospel.

Better is to read Walton’s books

Source: Lost World of John Walton –

Michael Roberts gets hung, drawn and quartered by Australian Creationists!! the final fatal blows

Oh dear my Premier Christian Radio blog of last year has caused some upset down-under. Not content with shredding my first five questions, they have had me hung, drawn and quartered as well. Have I really touched a raw nerve with these Australian creationists?


Well, Creation Ministries International have now shredded my points 6 to 10 and I’m gutted

Much was predictable and they seem disappointed I have not taken heed of their books and articles, which they know I have read. Yes, I took head of them as far was sensible , which was not at all. Jonathan Sirfartie’s Refuting Evolution was a remarkably bad book.

Not being so blessed as them with unlimited time I make a few comments on some of their quotes from the blog.

It is essentially saying one must believe in a 6-day creation and not to do so you are compromised by secular thought and have rejected the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Over the last half century I have not found one argument for creationism which dust not turn to dust on inspection.

Here is my response to Part 1 of their crit

I give the url to their blog at the end of my response to their response, and here I pick up a few of their points.

Apostle Paul’s theology is contingent upon the Bible’s history, recognizing that the spread of death to all mankind resulted from the sin of Adam. Not only humanity but all creation suffered from the effects of sin, including animals. In a chapter dealing with salvation from sin, Paul describes the whole creation as “groaning” and being “subjected to futility” and suffering under the “bondage to corruption” (Romans 8:20–22).

CMI’s argument that all creation suffered the curse and that brought in death is not there in Genesis, however much you holler that it is. Clearly if animals, or even bacteria, have been biting the dust since the early Precambrian, then the curse is null and void. Or else the whole of science is.

The writer then appeals to Romans 8 vs 20-2. This passage is open to disagreement , especially if you take the word Ktisis in vs 20ff to mean creation/cosmos. Many theologians and NT scholars get in a fix over this and it is worrying that NT Wright almost seems to accept a curse as he does in Evil and the justice of God, where on p 117 he even thinks seasons are a sign of futility, which is very weird.

In fact ktisis has a variety of meanings and after much research I prefer to follow Archbishop Ussher’s contemporary and fellow chronologist John Lightfoot and translate ktisis  as humanity. It makes better sense.

In Michael Roberts’ introduction he states, “for the last 2000 years most Christians have not believed in a young earth and it is only in the last half century that it has become a big issue for some Christians”.1

This is a blatant misrepresentation of Church history. Belief in a recent creation was the default historical position of the church from the first century right up until the era of Darwin

Total facepalm.


If CMI studied what writers had written and especially from 1600 they would see that I am right. Slowly after 1660 a longer time for creation was accepted and by 1790 few educated Christians held to a young earth, and those diminished rapidly after 1800 after from the scriptural geologists (see below) . By 1859 there were hardly any young earthers in Britain , USA or the rest of Europe.


he idea that there was no “geological evidence to guide” Christians is contradicted by the fact that the scriptural geologists of the time (see next section) were men who possessed expert geological competence. However, they were ignored by the establishment (many of whom were deists), which followed the academic trend of Hutton and Lyell’s uniformitarianism.

That’s fogging it up by flipping from the 17th to 19th century without noting the difference! In the 17th and early 18th there was virtually no geological evidence as so little geological work was done. A cursory look at any history of geology will show that . It was only after 1750 that geological evidence began to accumulate. This also ignores  (deliberately?) any geologist of a different perspective to Lyell and Hutton. Just take Brogniart and Cuvier in France, deLuc and de Saussure in Switzerland , William Smith (the Father of English geology), Townsend, Buckland, Coneybeare Brothers, Sedgwick and a host of others in Britain. Their inaccuracy here beggars belief.

This question borders on the fallacy of generalization, as Roberts implies that all early geologists’ views were similar and that they rejected a ‘young earth’. Terry Mortenson, in his book The Great Turning Point,3 gives detailed descriptions of seven ‘Scriptural Geologists’ who objected to ‘old earth’ (deep time) theories (see also The 19th century scriptural geologists: historical background). However, in the time of Charles Darwin, the rapidly developing field of geology became divorced from Scripture. Subsequently, many early geologists (even some Christians) pursued secular uniformitarian thinking. Sadly, then, they “deliberately overlook[ed] this fact, that … the earth was formed out of water … by the word of God, and … the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished” (2 Peter 3:5–6).

Ah Terry Mortenson! His book is based on his Ph D thesis from Coventry Univ. I had a copy of his thesis in my house for years and returned it to the the owner. It was not the best of theses. To say these anti-geologists “were men who possessed expert geological competence”  is risible when you assess their grasp of geology as measured by the standards of the early 19th century. Apart from George Young, who did some good field geology in Yorkshire, the rest did their field work sitting in an armchair. Mortenson wrote “George Fairholme was quite competent to critically analyze old-earth geological theories.” as I wrote in Geological Society, London, Special Publications 2009; v. 310; p. 155-170 Adam Sedgwick (17851873): geologist and evangelical

A frequent contributor to the
Christian Observer during the 1820s and 1830s
was George Fairholme (1789–1846), who signed
himself as ‘A Layman on Scriptural Geology’. Fairholme
was a Scot and was probably educated at
home rather than university. He wrote the General
View of the Geology of Scripture (Fairholme
1833) and the Mosaic Deluge (Fairholme 1837).
The preface of the latter discussed the theological
results and scepticism caused by geology and
especially the rejection of a universal deluge:
‘there cannot be conceived a principle more
pregnant with mischief to the simple reception of
scripture’. Fairholme emphasized the universality
of the Deluge: ‘if false . . . then has our Blessed
Saviour himself aided in promoting the belief of
that falsehood, by . . . alluding both to the fact and
the universality of its destructive consequences to
mankind’ (Fairholme 1837, p. 61).
In the General View of the Geology of Scripture
(Fairholme 1833), he gave an appearance of geological
competence by citing geological works.
However, his geology does not bear comparison
with that of major geological writers of his day.
His lack of geological competence is best seen in
his discussion of the relationship of coal to chalk.
Fairholme wrote:
the chalk formation is placed far above that of coal, apparently
from no better reason, than that chalk usually presents an elevation
on the upper surface, while coal must be looked for at various
depths below the level of the ground (Fairholme 1833, p. 243).
He had previously discussed this (Fairholme 1833,
pp. 207–210) and concluded, having misunderstood
an article in the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia,
Nothing can be clearer than this account; and it appears certain,
that, as in the case of the Paris Basin, this lime-stone formed the
bed of the antediluvian sea, on which the diluvial deposits of
coal, clay, ironstone, and free-stone, were alternately laid at the
same period (Fairholme 1833, p. 209).
It is clear that Fairholme regarded Carboniferous
Limestone and the Cretaceous chalk as the same
formation, and he wrote that coal fields,
lie among sandstones . . . but have, in no instance, been found
below chalk, which is one of the best defined secondary formations
immediately preceding the Deluge.
Thus the Cretaceous strata were pre-Flood and the
Coal Measures were deposited during the Flood.
He continued,
But during the awful event [the Deluge] we are now considering,
all animated nature ceased to exist, and consequently, the floating
bodies of the dead bodies must have been buoyed up until the bladders
burst, by the force of the increasing air contained within them
(Fairholme 1833, p. 257).
It is impossible to agree with Mortenson’s assessment
that ‘By early nineteenth century standards,
George Fairholme was quite competent to critically
analyze old-earth geological theories’ (Mortenson
2004, p. 130). Although Fairholme took it upon
himself to criticize geology, he did so from sheer
ignorance, as is evidenced by his claim that Chalk
always underlies Coal. Fairholme, like all antigeologists,
attempted from his armchair to find
fault with geology, but his ‘scientific’ objections
were simply misunderstood geology. Then, as
now, the advantage of writing such works is that
the refutation of their absurd arguments is beyond
the patience of rational people. The geological fraternity
had very little respect for the anti-geologists
and the response was frequently biting sarcasm,
often led by Lyell.

reproduced in

I just love the Coal measures lying above the Chalk 🙂 and dead mammals floating because of bloated bladders!! Imagine the yuk when the bladders burst.


No wonder the good evangelical parson Sedgwick had so much fun ridiculing the Scriptural geologists!! Sadly no leading Anglican has done the like in recent years. Bishops do’t seem to want to refute heresy  – and it is their job.



We are not sure where Michael Roberts gets his figures “250 years” (under question 2) and here, “350 years”? In the former case, we assume he is referring to the publication of James Hutton’s 1788 Theory of the Earth (230 years ago). Hutton’s publication was a philosophical imposition upon the rocks. It was not based on extensive field observation over many years but upon an unwarranted extrapolation into the past. This uniformitarian approach followed from his a priori naturalism which, after the promotion of Hutton’s work by Charles Lyell, became the ruling paradigm through which geology has been interpreted ever since. Ultimately it comes down to a matter of authority. Both Hutton and Lyell were anti-Bible deists (who were influenced by Masonic belief). They did not ‘read the rocks’, but set out to undo the Bible’s historical credibility, which was accepted at the time of Hutton. Their aim was achieved by subterfuge.

Simples. 250 takes us back to 1760 when geology really got going and 350 goes back to Steno, Ray and Lhwyd. They have no justification to say Hutton’s publication was a philosophical imposition on the rocks, nor Lyell and overlook the fact that there was a tremendous diversity of outlook among the early geologists. some were Christians eg Michell, Towsend, Sedgwick , Buckland etc and others like the canal engineer William Smith had no philosophy at all!!

The subterfuge in this paragraph is the CMI grossly misrepresenting what happened



and so the compare the two  – good ole creationism and the godlessness of Hutton and his successors, including me.


Just a wee problem, the Big Bang was put forward not by a rabid atheist but bu Fr Lemaitre, a Belgian priest. Whoops!

So just a few thoughts on CMI latest tirade against me.

Am I thick?

Maybe I’m in good company?


I am most honoured to get the response as it shows my blog has had some effect. Perhaps I have convinced some that Young Earth Creationism is twaddle

Meanwhile I remain a simple believer in God as creator and Jesus as my lord and Saviour and I delight in both the bible and geology.

Perhaps that is rather sarcastic, but groups like Creation ministries seem to delight in rubbishing the faith of Christians who do not believe the same as them. They compound that by not being rigorous in their honesty by continually misrepresenting those who accept standard views of science and rather unpleasantly calling them “compromisers”.  They seems to be a lack of both love and truthfulness.

Yet, too many Christians fall under their spell.

Now read their blog and see how I am hung, drawn and quartered.


Source: Answering the Premier Christianity article by Michael Roberts – 10 questions to ask a young earth creationist – Part 2 –