Global Missiology English, Vol 3, No 13 (2016)

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COMPARISON REVIEWS AND ESSAY

 

 Seven Days that Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science

John C. Lennox 

Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011

And

Vital Questions.

Philip Stott.

Fellsmere, FL: Reformation Media and Press

Reviewed by Mark R. Kreitzer, PhD[1]

 

Published in Global Missiology, April, 2016 www.globalmissiology.org

 

This present comparison between volumes by Oxford Mathematics Professor, John Lennox and Civil Engineer, Philip Stott is the last of this series of articles on evangelicalisms syncretism with modernitys epistemology. It will be the most controversial. Modernitys foundational presupposition begins with autonomous human observations. Humanity, it then postulates, can correctly make all the right connections and relationships between the various data points humans observe. Out of these observations, modern humans believe that they then can correctly discern aspects of history, cosmogony, and cosmology that can overturn centuries old readings of Scripture based on classic hermeneutical principles. Based on these autonomously discerned connections and relationships, modernity-bound humans and modernity-bound evangelicals who adopt its empiricist epistemology believe they can now give the true story of the universe. They assume that they can also provide the accurate meaning of the pinpoints of light we see in our telescopes and their distance from the earth, that we can know that we on earth exist in a spiral shaped galaxy called the Milky Way, and so forth. Therefore, based on these interpretations of data points (which they call facts), modernity-bound evangelical Christians can contradict a clear, historical consensus concerning what the Scripture teaches about the creation and age of the universe, how it interacts within itself, and where it all came from.

My thesis in all of these book reviews is that whole-hearted or even half-hearted adoption of modernitys empiricist epistemology is devastating to discipling the scientific elite in the academy. In other words, no one can start his or her investigation of nature using the following two steps and come out of those two steps anywhere near to a correct interpretation and understanding of the actual state of affairs that exist in Gods created universe. Modernitys two basic steps are 1) begin investigation with brute human sense perceptions with no reference to Scripture and then 2) attempt to create out of those perceptions a macro-theoretical interpretative framework[2] that makes working sense of the perceived data with no reference to Scripture and the God of Scripture. This is termed methodological atheism.

According to Gods real universe, as it is normatively described in Scripture, this two-fold process is nonsensical. After all, he both created and presently upholds every sense perception that is accurate[3] and he alone knows each percepts true meaning and how each sense percept connects to each other. In other words, he alone is the true interpreter of every every item of sense data in the universe. The created universe exists outside of human minds, but totally dependent upon Gods present providence. Consequently, a classic Reformational view of Scripture is what John Frame terms In Defense of Something Close to Biblicism.[4] This view of sola Scriptura describes the process of cosmogony and the subsequent history of creation, fall, and redemption.[5] It alone without concession to modernitys foundational presuppositions is the only way forward out of the morass of modernity and its cousin postmodernity, in my opinion. In other words, we should always hold tightly to clear Scripture especially that which has been the consensual reading across the centuries of Christian history free from modernitys influence, but hold human and especially modernitys interpretative scientific theories lightly. They have often changed and are still changing as many historians of science have demonstrated. New theories are often adopted not because they are better explanations of the data of perception, but instead because of the perceived aesthetic or even philosophical coherence to newly adopted beliefs.

All human observations of data points, therefore, can be and indeed are interpreted (that is, found meaningful) only within two kinds of interpretative frameworks: Either a divinely revealed creational framework or one of several, competing human-created interpretative frameworks. It is further clear from Scripture that our problem as humans is that so often our fallen, human-created interpretative frameworks are syncretized with the divinely revealed biblical framework. This results in an often chaotic, interpretative pluralism in many arenas of the evangelical academy. It is for this reason, therefore, that we evangelicals cannot speak Good News with a unified voice to the anti-theistic scientific academy.

This is certainly true because no one who is absolutely consistent with methodological atheism and philosophical materialism can function in Gods universe. Such atheism means the end of truth, rationality, reason, meaning, purpose, and reflective moral thought. If there is no God, anything is permissible, one of Dostoevskys characters is supposed to have claimed accurately, I must add. Only a clear, unified, antithetical Word can speak to naturalisms competing word. We must show that there is no neutrality or balance or compromise (i.e., syncretism) between the two worldviews. True, as C.A. Van Til pointed out, the anti-theistic academy must surreptitiously steal something of the Trinitarian, creationist worldview to be able to function in, let alone make some limited sense of, the external, God-created universe. Yet this does not imply neutrality but instead it mandates that scientific naturalism is self-contradictory.

Consequently, to be true to itself as Christian and biblical, the evangelical movement must make a complete break with modernitys epistemology and its self-invented worldview that has no reference to Scripture. (This is certain even though ironically it must use many aspects of the biblical worldview to even attempt a refutation of a Trinitarian creationist perspective on the universe). Truth, consistent order over time, rationality, and logic cannot come out of billions of years of swirling, non-coordinated energy-chaos with no laws of probability, no telos, no purpose, and no meaning. They flow only from a rational, faithful, purposeful Triune Creator.

Syncretism, then, is the reason for so many theories of the relationship of Bible to science. Syncretism destroys a unified Gospel outreach to scientists bound by the methodological atheism of modern and post-modern science, as I wrote earlier. Each of the books that I have been reviewing over the last several months attempt to break out of . . . [the] blinders [of modernity] and to think outside of the Zeitgeist of Western culture with the goal of really reaching the scientific community with truth. The only way we can reach them, I still believe, is to think Gods revealed thoughts after Him and to follow our King in . . . thoroughly-thought-out trust in every area of life. [6] In place of syncretism, I would suggest that classic hermeneutical principles derived from Scripture itself when used consistently over time and across cultures would help build consensus and hone consensual insights into Scripture: As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Prv 27:17). These historically consistent, cross-culturally developed consensual insights as taught by the one Spirit of truth will allow us again to speak with a unified voice to the anti-theistic academy.

That brings us to the two volumes I am reviewing. Why are these two so important that I leave them for last? It is certainly not because of their size or for the profundity of their new insights. Both are slim volumes written by learned Evangelical laymen and both are not saying anything that has not been said before. However, they are extremely important, I believe, because they take opposite viewpoints on what I have grown to believe is the actual virus that has the destroyed the heart of the once majestic, towering oak which was Western culture. One last major storm could topple it perhaps soon.

Am I overstating my case? Perhaps or perhaps not, but let us first hear two scholars who discuss the virus and the debilitating cultural disease that it has created. (Ironically neither author recognizes the socio-cultural dysfunction the virus has caused as a result of an evil disease. Instead they celebrate the dysfunction as providing human liberation and progress). First hear Oxford educated A. N. Wilsons Gods Funeral: The Decline of Faith in Western Civilization. Wilson traces the literary sources of atheistic modernity in Anglo-American culture[7] especially in the 19th century. His interpretation of science is, of course, deeply flawed because he held to the myth of a religiously neutral and objective investigative science, in other words, he had drunk deep of modernitys liqueur.[8] Wilson writes:

A fervent religious believer must, if honest, confront problems in relation to faith which were not necessarily present for those of earlier generations. The Renaissance popes reacted furiously to the notion that the earth was not the centre of the universe, nor man the most important being on earth.[9] There was logic in torturing Galileo,[10] who first began to make this known, since these beginnings of what we call a scientific viewpoint shook the foundations of an old religion which believed that God had put Adam in charge of all His earthly creation, and made Man in His own image and likeness; even, when Man had disobeyed Him, this self-same God had Himself become Man, and come down to earth to redeem Him of His sins. You could not have a more anthropocentric view of things than this, and any factual discovery which began to weaken this belief had to be resisted.

The truth cant be resisted, of course. Eighteenth-century skeptical philosophers could ask what possible reason there was for supposing there to be a mind behind the Universe, but few read their words, and those who did could fall back on the argument that a Universe of which intricacy and order must have had a designer. What kind of a designer? Geologists in the opening decades of the nineteenth century began to realize, not only that the world had taken aeons to evolve, and that it was not all created in the six days of Genesis: but, much more disturbingly, that it was a pitiless universe. Whole species had been evolved, and then allowed to become extinct: that was the message of the fossils. If such a thing could happen in one generation to the brontosaurus, what was to stop it happening to a much later generation to humankind? A belief in God as a loving, benevolent and omnipotent Creator came to be seen as in fact depending upon a man-centred view of Nature which was increasingly hard to sustain.

Hence the disturbingness, for many minds in the middle decades of the nineteenth century, of discovering that Nature, with it evolving species, has no discernible purpose, certainly not a loving purpose, or an anthropocentric purpose. In other words, if you pressed the argument from Design too far you might infer a God who was curious about a multiplicity of life-forms, entirely unconcerned about the bloodiness and painfulness with which so many of these forms sustained life which on this planet, a God who was no more demonstrably interested in human race than He was in, say, beetles, of which He created an inordinately large variety.

The nineteenth century, in other words, began to confront the human consciousness, not simply with new ideas, but with demonstrable new facts which challenged religious belief. Once the cold eye of modern scholarship had been cast on the Bible itself, even that looked a less solid bulwark than had once been supposed.

In some parts of the our world, particularly in the United States, the battles which raged more than one and a half centuries ago have not gone away. Against patient scholars with no axe to grind who would like to point out this fact or that about the Bible (the high improbability, for instance, that the Gospels contain the actual words of the historical Jesus) the believers can always reply with their unshakeable knowledge that the Bible is the inspired word of Truth, the voice of Almighty God Himself. The Darwinian who points to the mid twentiethcentury discovery of DNA as a confirmation, beyond the reasonable doubt, that the theory of natural selection was correct, can do nothing to alter the beliefs of the Creationists. (Wilson 1999, ix-xi)[11]

Few philosophers of science today, I would think, would disagree that the philosophical presuppositions behind the Copernican revolution did indeed lead inexorably to immense culture change in the West. Ideas do have consequences. Bertolt Brecht, Marxist East German playwright, also captures the cultural impact of the new perspective in his play Galileo. Mankind is no longer the center of a Creators interest but merely an accidental speck on an incidental planet in an endless and meaningless universe with no center. He puts the following sardonic words in Cardinal Bellarmines mouth as he addresses Galileo:

So you have degraded the earth despite the fact that you live by her and receive everything from her. I wont have it! I wont have it! I wont be a nobody on an inconsequential star briefly twirling hither and thither. I tread the earth, and the earth is firm beneath my feet, and there is no motion to the earth, and the earth is the center of all things, and I am the center of the earth, and the eye of the Creator is upon me. Above me revolve . . . the lesser lights of the stars and the great light of the sun, created to give light upon me that God might see me Man, Gods greatest effort, the center of creation. In the image of God created He him.[12]

A. N. Wilson correctly claims, using Galileo as a precedent, that the Christian movement in the West proceeded to accommodate Scripture to a new consensus on the age of the earth and then accommodated Scripture to the scientific consensus on the nature of the Flood of Noah. If the earth was ancient, and that explained the sedimentation, fossils, and other phenomena of geology, then a universal Flood of Noah was not necessary to explain these data. Terry Mortensons British PhD thesis has documented the attempted harmonization between science and Scripture after Galileo. He has popularized his thesis in The Great Turning Point: The Churchs Catastrophic Mistake on GeologyBefore Darwin.[13]

In my perspective, these previous readjustments of biblical exegesis may not have come out of a true dialogue between science and biblical religion or from any real integration between the two, or even from a contextualization of Scripture. These adjustments seem to be a hermeneutical accommodation to the worldview-level paradigm shift in Western culture reflected by Copernicus and Galileo.[14]

Let us now examine the commonalities and difference between the two volumes I am reviewing. First, both are strong evangelicals with worldwide speaking ministries on creation, science, and Scripture. Both hold to varying forms of what they call inspiration. Both are from the British Isles: Ironically, Lennox was born in 1945 and lived for his first eighteen years in Archbishop Usshers hometown of Armagh, Northern Ireland (Lennox 2011, 12). Stott was born in 1943 in England. Lennox is a PhD mathematician at Oxford, whereas Stott is a civil engineer with an MSc degree from the University of Manchester and has lectured at universities in the UK and Africa. Stott has been a long term student and lecturer on the evolution-creation issue ever since his conversion from atheism to evangelical Christianity in 1976.[15] The same with Professor Lennox. Hence both do not have formal training in biology, history, or paleontology but both are scholars, who know how to do research and hence are both credible witnesses.

They both differ, however, on the one crucial point of epistemology, which leads them to differing methods and conclusions when dealing with the creation-evolution issue. What is interesting first is that both see that science and religion are indeed ultimately reconcilable.[16] Both to their great credit reject Stephen Goulds NOMA (Non-Overlapping MAgisteria) dualist principle that science and faith have nothing in common and hence do not clash.[17]

However, each sees the relationship of religion to science with a different priority. Stott seeks to put the clear teaching of Scripture consistently above the theories of the scientific consensus and hence he seeks to consistently re-interpret the data of observational science within the clear interpretative framework that Scripture gives in every area. Lennox does not do this, yet to his credit, tries to develop a very carefully nuanced perspective balancing an inspired Scripture with scientific theories. But again the problem is at the basic presuppositional level of epistemology. How do we know? Are facts brute un-interpreted data points that the consensus of unregenerate, philosophical naturalists using the methodologically atheistic presupposition can correctly discover the true meaning of? Is this not rather a succumbing to the temptation of the Serpent: You shall be wise in your own eyes. You dont need to listen to the pre-interpretation of the tree by its Creator.

Lennox begins his discussion of the seven days of creation with the conflict between what he calls the fixed-earthers and the moving earthers (Lennox 2011, 27). He will use this conflict as a paradigm for dealing with the present conflict between ancient and recent earthers.[18] First, Lennox states that among both parties was agreement on the core elements of the gospel but disagreement on what Scripture taught about the motion of the earth (Lennox 2011, 27). Eventually over many years, if not centuries, he also accurately claims, the moving earthers grew so that now they have totally won the day. He then asks two questions that portray his underlying presuppositions:

Were these difference simply driven by a desire on the part of the moving-earth faction to fit in with advances in science; or were they the result of intransigence and antiscientific attitudes on the part of the fixed-earth faction? Did the moving-earthers necessarily compromise the integrity and authority of Scripture? (Lennox 2011, 27)

Second, it seems he wants the reader to begin to believe albeit stated in a gentle, indirect manner that young earth and fixed-earth proponents are cut out of the same mold; both exhibiting intransigence and antiscientific attitudes. Unfortunately, this is the logical fallacy colloquially termed poisoning the well[19] a variant of the argumentum ad hominem error. It is similar though used more gently to calling creationists flat-earthers. Third, by doing this he subtly desires his readers to reconsider their support for those who hold to a more robust form of inerrancy, especially those who hold to Thousands not Billions[20] of years for the age of the earth. Lennox does this by suggesting that former moving earthers, and by extension now, the ancient-earthers, are not actually compromising the integrity and authority of Scripture.

He supports this assertion by complicating several key issues, for example the meaning of metaphorical language (e.g., the pillars of the earth), the meaning of day in Genesis 1-2, and attempting, like C. John Collins,[21] to make a subtle gap between the initial creation of Genesis 1:1-2 and the rest of the pericope that could allow billions of years. As to metaphorical language, most all RUCs (Recent Universe Creationists) accept that Genesis 1-2 and other passages have some metaphorical language.[22] This is not the issue. The real issue is what the pericope actually teaches about the timing and structures of the creation. The passage is narrative prose as many have pointed out and not poetry.[23] Prose can use metaphors to teach, all recognize this. In this case prose metaphors can teach a perspicuous creation week of 24 hour days and a creation focused upon man. For example, God says without equivocation that He created the sun, moon, and stars as signs for the benefit of humanity (Gen 1:14).

Second, Lennox tries to obscure the issue concerning the word day in the Bibles first two chapters. However, context and comparing with other similar passages makes it certain that the days are solar days.[24] Therefore, only Scripture can interpret Scripture. Moses interprets himself in Exodus 31:17: [The rest day] . . . will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested. Third, by putting a subtle gap between Genesis 1:1-2 and 1:3ff, Professor Lennox states: This implies that the beginning of Genesis 1:1 did not necessarily take place on day 1 as is frequently assumed (Lennox 2011, 53). In other words, he adds that it would therefore be logically possible to believe that the days of Genesis are twenty-four-hour days (of one earth week) and to believe that the universe is very ancient (Lennox 2011, 53). In doing so, however, he violates classic exegetical hermeneutics: 1) Clear Scripture interprets less clear (cf., Moses clear words: Ex 20:11 and 31:17 along with Christs clear words: Mt 19:4; Mk 10:6; Lk 11:50; etc.); and 2) no tradition of man (i.e., external human authority including a scientific consensus) can overturn the clear teaching of Scripture (see e.g., Mt 15:1ff).

I am grateful, however, that Professor Lennox is crystal clear in his intention: The situation then is beginning to look similar to that of the fixed-earth controversy (Lennox 2011, 53). He had written earlier: We know now that the earth does not rest on literal foundations of pillars made of stone, concrete, or steel. [These] . . . are used in a metaphorical sense [which stands for] . . . very real stabilities into the planetary system that will guarantee its existence so long as is necessary to fulfil his purpose (Lennox 2011, 33).[25] We also know now, he implies, that the earth moves. Professor Lennox then continues again laying bare his foundational presupposition on the authority of Scripture:

We accept the metaphorical interpretation because we can see that it is a perfectly sensible and informed understanding the biblical text. The earth does not have to be at the centre of the physical universe in order to be a centre of Gods attention. Even though our interpretation relies on scientific knowledge, it does not compromise the authority of Scripture. . . . Scripture has the primary authority. Experience and science have helped decide between the possible interpretations that Scripture allows. (Lennox 2011, 33)

Notice what he is doing here. First, while claiming Scripture has final authority, he seems to deny this by stating that science that is an external consensus of ever-changing human tradition has a major influence in the interpretation of a perspicuous passage. As noted above, the interpretation of creation passages is authenticated by clear cross references in other passages of Scripture.

Now as a missional theologian, on the other hand, I am very sensitive to his argument. We must certainly not be nave realists as the late Paul Hiebert warned us. We should continually test our theories about doctrine with how the doctrinal model works in real life. For example, Merrill Unger changed his theory that no believers could be inhabited by demons after hearing about and experiencing many confessing believers who had inhabiting demons that needed to be driven out. However, the doctrine of the creation is not such an inferential teaching like demonization but is a perspicuous core doctrine, contrary to what Lennox states. The God of billions of years of nature red in tooth and claw, with endless waste and dead ends, extinction, suffering and death is not the good Creator of Scripture. The core issue is the nature of our good God and this affects the nature of the Gospel. Does redemption restore created nature or is redemption totally cut off from creation and its design norms, bringing in something absolutely new? Clearly the first option is correct. Therefore, the Fall of Adam deformed a completely good creation and first introduced death, natural catastrophes, sickness, and suffering among animals and humans. Redemption re-forms and restores that which was broken, twisted, and deformed, as Albert Wolters, Creation Regained makes so plain.

Furthermore, it seems clear what Lennox is doing. He is writing like a defense attorney, who is openly attempting to poke sufficient doubt and uncertainty into the argument of the prosecution to confuse the jury enough to let the accused off without penalty or parole. Unfortunately, his arguments have all been adequately answered by the so-called young-earthers as this series of reviews has shown.[26]

What has intrigued me his comparison, however, is his logic. This is then the crux of the issue at hand. Since evangelicals, he claims, were once wrong about what moves, then we most likely are wrong in holding to the ancient biblical reading concerning the relatively young age of the earth. This logic has prompted my curiosity over the years and challenged me to reopen the exegesis of the many passages that the ancient church, including Protestant scholars (including Luther and Calvin as Lennox documents) have taken to teach the immobility of the earth. What would happen if their exegesis was correct and our modern exegesis is wrong? What would happen if the passages on the stability of the earth and the movement of sun, moon, and stars are describing actual states of affairs in the created universe?

This leads us into Philip Stotts short work. It is one of several recent studies and websites on the subject of creationism that accepts a geostatic, cosmo-dynamic perspective.[27] This for many, including, I might add, many YEC/RUCs, is an emotional issue because to explore this subject with an open mind often brings down upon oneself major ridicule. However, what if Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, John Calvin, Gilbert Voet, Abraham Calovius, John Owen, Francis Turretin, Matthew Henry, and many other Reformed and Lutheran theologians up till about 1750 were actually correct?[28] After the Reformation, most orthodox theologians abandoned Ptolemys outdated Aristotelian model but adopted Tycho Brahes geo-static, cosmo-dynamic model for a couple of centuries until the paradigm shift was complete, as Lennox correctly noted. Historian Thomas Kuhn has documented this carefully in The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought (Kuhn 1957, 201).[29]

Kuhn points out that Brahes original system had some problems (something which some today are attempting to rectify)[30] and in his opinion is not as mathematically symmetric as was the Copernican system nor did it convert even his own disciple Johannes Kepler. Kepler was drawn philosophically to the Neoplatonic symmetry of the Copernican system. Yet it did, Thomas Kuhn states, convert most technically proficient non-Copernican astronomers of the day . . . [because] it retained the mathematical advantages of Copernicus system without the physical, cosmological, and theological drawbacks. That last phrase was crucial. However, mathematical symmetry and philosophical harmony do not determine truth. Only the Creator does because he alone made the universe, presently upholds it, and recorded an inerrant description of how it actually operates if indeed He does. Some would deny that, of course. Yet, if Scripture can be unmistakably demonstrated to either support a spinning earth or a spinning universe or for that matter be shown to be entirely neutral and speaking of metaphorical or phenomenological language we are obligated to hold one of these three alternatives. If neutral phenomenal language can be ruled out exegetically, we are obligated to hold one of the two remaining explanations if we hold to inerrancy, in my opinion. This is what Philip Stott (and several others) attempt to do both biblically and by reviewing the literature on experiments purported to prove a moving earth.[31]

Philip Stott begins the second edition of his book with a broadside concerning epistemology that is seemingly opposite of that of Professor Lennox:

In spite of repeated demonstration that the proud claims of many scientists can be very wrong, the world at large continues to regard their pronouncements with awe. If a scientist says so, it must be true. . . .

Real science produces knowledge which stands the test of time. . . . [Not so] with Evolution and Cosmology. Many of the statements, speculations and conclusions from texts from only fifty year ago are replaced in modern texts with a significantly different and often contradictory set. (Stott 2002, 2)

Chapter 1, Do We Know Anything At All? (Stott 2002, 5) continues this theme. The problem with the empiricist version[32] of the scientific method, he writes, is that

one can only be reasonably sure of the conclusions if every item of data relevant to the problem is available for consideration. This, unfortunately for science, is not usually the case. Huge gaps in available data may have to be filled in by presupposition and assumption. Such assumptions are totally dependent of the world-view, the underlying belief system, of the seeker after knowledge. (Stott 2002, 5)

He goes on to demonstrate several firmly established ideas in the consensus of science that had to later be abandoned when more evidence came in. For example until about the beginning of the 18th century the scientific establishment believed that when something burned up a material called phlogiston left the object being burnt. Many advocates proposed ad hoc theories for years to explain the contrary evidence until the paradigm finally switched to the present oxidation theory (Stott 2002, 6).[33] The same thing has happened countless times in paleoanthropology as he shows with a couple of older examples. (I wish he gave many more recent examples, which he could have done). His point, however, is certain: It is not the evidence provided by observation and experiment which is the cause of these tremendous errors it is the mind-set of the scientists interpreting the evidence in terms of their beliefs and theories.

In other words, the vast consensus of paleoanthropologists presuppose evolution: It has become so deeply ingrained in the[ir] world-view . . . that the existence of intermediate ape-men was not doubted. . . . It [hence] became easy to fall victim to the delusion that such remains had, at last, been found (Stott 2002, 8). So much of contemporary scientific consensus is faith-based.

This evolutionary materialist worldview has not always been the consensus. He states that until the middle of the 19th century most Western scientists were broadly creationist. In other words, their interpretation of the observations of the earth, the universe and life were completely different even though the earth, the universe and the creatures were the same (Stott 2002, 9). Science is based on consensus of the views of scientists themselves so the alternative many suggest is self-evident truths. However, self-evident truths are not immune to philosophical dissection. Think for example of the self-evident truth that a watch needs a designer. A sceptic can challenge every scrap of evidence for the truth of the fact that a watch needs a designer as indeed he shows they have. Darwin, for example, stated that an eye could not have formed by chance yet he believed he had a theory that demonstrated that it could have.[34] Stott concludes: We cannot rely on self-evident truths (Stott 2002, 10-11).

Stott then further discusses epistemology by mentioning mystical intuition theory such as found in the New Age Movement. It seeks certainty through the wisdom of the enlightened who have reached spiritual unity with the cosmos (Stott 2002, 10) or have heard the pronouncement of spirits through mediums or meditation until one comes into contact with a spirit guide, who is able to impart knowledge. Or fourth, a mystic seeks within him or herself certainty about that which he or she believes is true. None of these forms of intuition work, he asserts, by merely asserting that the majority of humans are not convinced (Stott 2002, 11). (A weak, though accurate argument, I admit).

His main point revolves around faith: In all the methods we have seen, knowledge is, in the final analysis, strongly influenced by faith. Both New Age mystical-intuitionism and scientific inductivism (he doesnt use the terms) are a matter of faith; it depends on how his world view allows him to interpret his data. (Stott 2002, 11). Hence, if induction and mystical deduction dont work to come to certainty, he suggests divine revelation as the alternative. Yet even here secular humanists, and in fact . . . all atheists reject revelation as a source of epistemē (certainty, knowledge). There is no chance of consensus among the non-atheists either.

Yet even though many refuse biblical faith, they still have faith. It would appear that the most important question is then:- Which faith is it wisest to put ones trust in? (Stott 2002, 12). Clearly this fits with Reformational epistemology, which recognizes that all worldviews, ideologies, and religions are founded on faith. Even the postmodernist who claims to be an anti-foundationalist must still have faith that his ironic and truly foundational truth statement (There are no foundations for truth) is accurate and describes the actual state of affairs in the universe. This foundational truth statement is self-contradictory, demonstrating that there is indeed truth, which is irresistible and inescapable. The opposite is impossible. I only wish that Stott continued on with his argument along these Vantillian lines. He doesnt and hence doesnt show the way forward out of the morass of fideism as clearly as he could. Only a complete biblical world and life view in Scripture, the opposite of which is impossible, provides the transcendent foundation of true knowledge and the certain framework within which further certain knowledge can be discovered.

The next chapters each attempt to demonstrate evidentially within a biblical worldview that the Big Bang theory of origins and the subsequent billions of years of evolution are not tenable.[35] Stott does this by sharing such a large amount of real anomalies and contradictions in these theories both on the evidential and presuppositional levels that the honest reader would strongly doubt their validity. For example, he devastates the uniformitarian principle introduced by Hutton and Lyell (sadly again without citing sources) that the present is the key to the past. Stott writes: Although called a principle, it is actually speculation it claims to look back to a time before the earliest available written records. Although unverified it rapidly gained acceptance and became generally considered a self evident truth on which the whole of historical geology has been built (Stott 2002, 25).

Second, he shows many anomalies in the radiometric dating methods and in circularity with dating methodologies of using index fossils to date the ages of rocks. Uniformitarianism and long ages are first presupposed in faith, then the rocks are assumed to be a record of billions of years. Each layer then has key fossils that date the age of the rock. It is only when the geological record has been interpreted in the terms of the theory of evolution in the first place that it then supports evolution (Stott 2002, 35). Third, he points out the illogic of claiming certain factuality for so many things in evolutionary biology, astronomy, and paleontology. Stott writes[36]: Mendeleev pointed out that measurement is the starting point of science. Albert Einstein said that what can be measured is science, everything else is speculation (Stott 2002, 65). As we shall see, this is very important.

Fourth, along with many other anomalies, Stott proceeds to devastate the use of the magical quality of huge numbers to justify evolution through finding the chance that monkeys could type the complete works of Shakespeare and the chance that a single cells complete cellular machinery could have happened by chance. The odds, he shows as a mathematically trained Engineer are effectively zero.

These huge numbers usually seem to have some sort of magical quality; about them. This magical attribute of large numbers can be seen in a statement made by professor George Wald, one of the most famous evolutionary professors of the 20th century. He said:- The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the impossible becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One only has to wait, time itself performs the miracles. (Stott 2002, 66)

So I am not denying that he uses a good evidential methodology effectively by showing potent anomalies. He is surely correct to punch as many gaping holes in the balloon of certitude, which those who cling to the evolutionary-Big Bang faith possess. His purpose is to move them out of their blind-faith as Proverbs 26:4-5 states: Answer a fool as his folly deserves, That he not be wise in his own eyes (NASB). However, I wish that the book would have used a presuppositional analysis more. Perhaps he will in a third edition. On the other hand, what he does demonstrate using a presuppositional perspective, he does well. In other words, if the key foundational premises of uniformitarianism, the circular logic of index fossils, the nonsensical nature of claiming that theoretical interpretation of data points are certain facts, and the folly of claiming a magical quality for billions of years are unreasonable and unverifiable, then the whole edifice of evolutionary science is on quicksand.

This brings me to the most important reason I chose this book to compare with that by John Lennox. Philip Stott directly addresses the Copernicus-Galileo issue. Lennox lays down the gauntlet by quoting with approval a leading young earth creationist [37] on the moving-earth controversy (Lennox 2011, 62) I cite it more completely that he does:

A case in point is the historic controversy over the movement of the earth. The majority of the evidence of the Bible seems to support a still earth on the most natural reading of the text. Such a reading would be the result of natural exegesis, a probable reading. For some time the Aristotelian theory of the cosmos was a probable scientific theory. No conflict existed between science and Scripture: both divine revelation and scientific theories were in the best position. Following the introduction of evidence by late Medieval natural philosophers, the Aristotelian theory moved from being the most probable theory to being a plausible one. However, we believe the Church was right in maintaining the classic unmoved earth position at that stage of the dialogue.

Only when such a [science in relation to faith] position became mathematically and observationally hopeless, should the church have abandoned it. This is in fact what the church did. Young earth creationism, therefore, need not embrace a dogmatic or static biblical hermeneutic. It must be willing to change and admit error. Presently, we can admit that as recent creationists we are defending a very natural biblical account, as the cost of abandoning a very plausible scientific picture of an old cosmos. But over the long term this is not a tenable position. In our opinion, old earth creationism combines a less natural textual reading with a much more plausible scientific vision. They have many fewer problems of science. At the moment, this would seem the more rational position to adopt. (Reynolds and Nelson 1999, 73)[38]

Lennox seems to agree with this more or less modernity-bound, empiricist epistemology, founded upon a probability based science. Lennox, Reynolds, and Nelson would agree, it seems, that there is a way of understanding Genesis 1 that does not compromise the authority and primacy of Scripture and that . . . takes into account our increased knowledge of the universe (Lennox 2011, 62). In other words, this manner of reading science as neutral, forward moving and authoritative allows it to have virtual equal controlling influence over our hermeneutic, exegesis, and hence theology. This ought not to be, as I see it, because it violates classic, Bible-based hermeneutics. Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar (Rom 3:4) is the most certain epistemological foundation flowing from the transcendent God of truth.

Furthermore, in my opinion, Lennoxs path does not seem to be the way forward and the reason why I am studying and listening to an alternative position that Stott and others are advocating. Stotts most controversial chapter is thus Where In The Universe Are We? (Stott 2002, 109).

The currently accepted view among almost all scientists is that we inhabit a second class planet called the Earth, which moves round a second class star called the Sun, which circles round a second class galaxy called the Milky Way, which circle round a second class luster of galaxies called the Local Cluster which is lost in the vastness of space, like a grain of sand in the Sahara Desert. This is called the Mediocrity Principle or the Copernican Principle. (Stott 2002, 109)

What Stott does in this chapter is to poke huge holes in the certitude of this Copernican Principle.[39] This principle is the staple of the modernity-bound scientific worldview, which most evangelicals have adopted for the last 200 years or more. What Stott further accomplishes is to cast severe doubt upon Modernitys certitude that a geo-static, cosmo-dynamic model is mathematically and observationally hopeless, and this led the church to abandon it. What Lennox, Reynolds and Nelson (along with a slew of other evangelical and humanist scholars) fail to do, Stott claims, is to actually look at the evidence.

As A.N. Wilson and Bertolt Brecht pointed out, the Bible does indeed teach the doctrine of the special nature of the earth as the center of the universe and of humanity as the central focus of Gods recent creation. Stott points this out from Genesis 1:14-15 by stating that the sun, moon, and stars apparently . . . were made solely for the benefit of the earth. Furthermore, he shows that Isaiah 45:18[40] teaches that God created the earth specifically for life with humanity, the sons of Adam, as the apex. Both Lennox and Stott then quote such passages as Psalm 19:4b-6,[41] Ecclesiastes 1:5,[42] and Joshua 10:12-14,[43] and Judges 5:20 as the seemingly clearest passages teaching that the earth did not move.[44] These are the passages that biblio-skeptics use to attack the Scripture as hopelessly outdated.

Last, Lennox quotes John Calvin and also Martins Luthers famous remark in his Table Talk[45] (but curiously neglects the last sentence see below). Both Reformers clearly believed in a geo-static, spinning universe as many have documented.

Stott and Lennox part company at this point. Lennox believes that the scientific evidence has disproved these statements of Scripture. Therefore, we must look for an alternative explanation. Thus, he believes it is not necessary to take them as direct statements of fact, but as a potentially metaphorical statements or phenomenological language. In other words, the sun only appears to be moving. Indeed this is a possible conclusion if all we have are bare eyesight observations. Whether the earth rotated or the sun revolved around the earth, the sun would still phenomenologically appear to rise out of the sea in the east and set into the sea in the west. However, what troubles Stott is what troubled Luther: Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth. What if, Stott reasons, Luther and the ancient church were correct and these passages do not use phenomenological language but factual narrative language?

With this challenge, Philip Stott began researching the topic. The summary of his conclusions are found in chapter six: Where In The Universe Are We? First, he surveys the history of the topic. Interestingly enough, this is something Professor Lennox does not seem to have done completely, or at least he did not mention this fact in his book. Lennox mentions only the Aristotelian based Ptolemaic system but Stott probes deeper.

After examining Copernicus and Galileo, Stott discusses the Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe, who made the most accurate visual recording of planetary and stellar phenomena to that point. He abandoned Ptolemys system and replaced it with one, which with one small alteration accounts for exactly the same phenomena that Galileo and later, Johannes Kepler did with their heliocentric systems. In fact, Brahes cosmo-dynamic model with its later modification is vastly superior to Copernicus. Most people dont realize that Galileo and Kepler abandoned all of Copernicus system except the idea that the sun was the center of the solar system.[46] But Copernicus and his disciples were convinced and have now convinced the vast majority of the scientific elite that they have discovered the actual state of affairs in the universe.

Stott retorts: This is quite a common position in science. Hutton and Lyell believed they have found a long-age uniformitarian answer to biblical Flood catastrophism though it did not account for many of the observations as convincingly as the former interpretation (creation and catastrophe). This was the same with Darwins theory. When Darwin put forward his evolutionary hypothesis, it did not account for many of the facts as convincingly as the former idea of creation. But again, scientists largely took the position that at the real truth had been found (Stott 2002, 112-113). In other words, it was a matter much deeper than evidence that allowed the scientific culture to change so rapidly. Instead there was a deep underlying religious change that motivated the scientific paradigm shift.

Tycho Brahe, instead, was convinced that both the Scripture and his careful scientific observations showed that the earth was indeed the center of the universe. His model put the earth at the center with the moon and sun revolving daily around the earth. The inner planets, Mercury and Venus orbited the sun and the outer planets and the stars orbited the sun. Further, he described the universe as being like a giant top. It rotates once a day taking all the stars and planets with it. It also wobbles up and down in a yearlong wobble to cause the sun to move between the tropic of Capricorn and the tropic of Cancer. Last it has the motion of making an additional yearlong rotation around the earth to create the year cycle of sun and stars. Even the biblio-skeptic Robert Schadewald writing in Routledges magisterial, The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia, agrees that the neo-Tychonian system advocated by evangelical PhD astronomers G. Bouw and J. Hanson[47] are equivalent to the contemporary consensual system: The variant of the Tychonian system advocated by The Association of Biblical Astronomy can predict exactly the same relative motions between celestial bodies as the conventional system (Schadewald 2000, 409).

Brahes disciple J. Kepler, however, published the results of Brahes observations, described the Tychonian system accurately but instead eventually opted for a heliocentric model with elliptical orbits for all the planets around the sun. Its equations were simpler, if you ignored the rest of the universe. So his model works just as well as the Tychonian system. Yet he did not yet win the day, as many others have observed. Brahes system was still the majority system for many decades. It was Isaac Newton, Stott claims that brought a huge boost to the heliocentric model. Newton and his followers were primary boosters of a helio-static position.

Newton showed that if one ignores the rest of the universe and considers just two bodies, the easiest equations describing their relative motion are obtained if one is thought of as fixed and the other is considered to move around it. It does not matter which of the two is considered stationary, the same equations result. They show that the trajectory of the moving body to be an ellipse. . . . He realized that although this gives the easiest equations it does not necessarily describe the true situation. (Stott 2002, 115)

Again, I must share my frustration. I have no way of checking this out because there are no citations. However, I am going to assume that it is true because it makes sense. What Stott is saying is that the real situation most likely is that any two astronomical bodies are actually rotating around their common centre of gravity. To describe that situation results in much more difficult equations. But the simplest equations work exactly the same if the rest of the universe is ignored. The problem is that reality is not always described by the simplest equations. The simplest equations do not necessarily describe reality (Stott 2002, 116). This is accurate as far as I can tell. [48]

The situation becomes ever more complicated as one expands the horizon of the mathematical exercise to include the whole universe, Stott continues. Each expansion of the horizon must find the stable center of gravity of the motion of all the bodies being studied. Once the end of the universe is reached, then would it be unreasonable to ask whether there is some point, perhaps in some way the real the [sic] centre of gravity of the entire universe, which is truly stationary? (Stott 2002, 117). He then quotes the famous scientists Ernst Mach (19th and early 20th century) and Fred Hoyle (contemporary) who state that this center could be the earth or something else.[49] Mach wrote in 1883: Obviously it matters little if we think of the earth as turning about on its axis, or if we view it at rest while the fixed stars revolve around it. Geometrically these are exactly the same case of a relative rotation of the earth and the fixed stars with respect to one another (cited in Stott 2002, 118). The astronomically astute can still find no contradiction as Prof. Fred Hoyle demonstrates: We know that the difference between a heliocentric and a geocentric theory is one of relative motion only, and that such a difference has no physical significance (cited in Stott 2002, 118).[50] If one thinks carefully, it certainly must be accurate. Therefore only an outside observer can witness the actual state of affairs concerning which actually rotates, the sun and stars or the earth. So, it seems to me that the phenomenological-metaphorical reasons for rejecting a geo-static perspective is an option but not the only viable option as Professor Lennox believes it to be.

Last, Stott surveys the scientific literature from Newton to the present to see if there are any major experiments that prove with certainty that the earth moves. He discusses the aberration of starlight phenomenon (Stott 2002, 118) thought by Astronomer Royal James Bradley (1693 1762) to be a proof of a moving earth. This means that pointing a telescope at a star over a whole year will trace a tiny ellipse on a photographic sheet. The problem was that it merely showed that something moved. Brahes theory could explain the phenomena equally well because the stars of the universe were also moving in a slow yearly cycle, making the exact same ellipse, along with its daily cycle as explained above.

Further tests by George Bidel Airy with a water filled telescope sought to check that hypothesis. Water slows the speed of light by one and one half times so if the earth had been moving, then the ellipse would have been one and one half times larger. However, Airys experiments, now known as Airys Failure, showed exactly the same tiny ellipse. According to Stott Airy had just shown that the earth does not go round the sun (Stott 2002, 120) this is indeed a logical conclusion (if substantiated by other [i.e., 2 or 3] witnesses according to Scripture). However, according to Stott, a suitable ad hoc saved the [heliocentric] theory from the evidence. This is called Fresnel drag. First Augustin-Jean Fresnel presupposed two things: 1) space is filled with a medium, called aether for short, through which light was propagated similar to how sound is transmitted through air. Second, he presupposed a moving earth. Thus as the earth moves through space, it partially drags along the aether . . . at just the right rate . . . [so that] the ellipse in Airys [water filled] telescope could end up just the right size (Stott 2002, 120-121). The new theory works if the two undemonstrated presuppositions were correct.[51]

The situation held, according to Stott, for years while no experiment without Fresnels ad hoc actually proved what moved. Then James Clark Maxwell facilitated crucial experimental insight. Light is an electromagnetic phenomenon that has a constant speed in the aether, which he also presupposed. He discovered means to discern absolute rest and motion of these phenomena. It came to Albert Abraham Michelson and E.W. Morley to devise a machine called an interferometer to measure the absolute motion of the earth through space (Stott 2002, 122) using Maxwells insights and means.

However, in the first experiment, they discovered no evidence at all that the earth was moving: They had once again established that the earth does not move, according to Stotts interpretation (Stott 2002, 123). So to attempt to solve the further problem this caused, they hypothesized that the movement of the sun and earth exactly cancelled themselves out, a reasonable idea. To test this, they tried the experiment exactly six months later when the earth was on the opposite side of the sun and going the opposite direction, according to the heliocentric theory. Yet again the experiment proved negative. They repeated the experiments with more accuracy and in various places and altitudes in the world, but all gave negative results. Stott quotes from Physics textbooks dated 1960, 1970, 1980, and 1983 to show that Physicists still realize that without further explanatory hypotheses, the only implication is that the earth is at rest.[52] Physicist Bernard Jaffe even said this: The data were almost unbelievable. There was only one other possible conclusion to draw, that the earth was at rest. This, of course, was preposterous (cited in Stott 2002, 124).[53]

So, according to Stott, Irish physicist George Francis Fitzgerald proposed another ad hoc explanation. Fitzgerald postulated first, the shortening of objects in physical space when moving at high speeds, and second that the shortening occurred by the exact amount needed to explain the lack of results demonstrating movement for the earth. However, in order to prove this shortening, some means would have to be devised to do so. A means to discover the shortening that employed anything similar to the measuring rods on which the theory depends has not yet been successfully devised. Yet the conclusion of the heliocentric community was that there could be no such thing as aether. This again is another ad hoc explanation propounded instead of the simplest alternative by the principle of Occams Razor that the earth did not move. Could it be that the subtle conclusion based on blind credence not evidence that Brahes alternative was preposterous as Joffe several decades later verbalized? However, contrary to this further ad hoc explanation, several of the previous experiments did seem to substantiate the idea that there was an aether. The work of Maxwell and notably his famous equations for electromagnetic phenomena were built on the existence of aether through which light processed (Stott 2002, 120-121).[54]

Hendrick Antoon Lorentz then came up with the theory of relativity and that of the Lorentz Transformations to rectify this situation. He postulated that high speed motion through the aether led not only to length contraction but also to increased resistance to acceleration (which is equivalent to increase in mass), and the slowing down of clocks (Stott 2002, 126). This concept has now been completely adopted into modern physics via Albert Einstein, who initially completely dispensed with the concept of aether as unnecessary. His theory was based on three presuppositions: 1) The earth moves around the sun. 2) No matter how an observer is (uniformly) moving he will come to the same conclusions about the universe. In other words, all frames of reference are absolutely equivalent (Stott 2002, 127). 3) No matter how fast an observer is (uniformly) moving, he will always measure the speed at which light reaches him as being the same (Stott 2002, 127).

However according to Stott, Special Relativity theory results in mathematical computations that are nonsensical. If the earth is moving in its orbit away from a star, then the rays of light from that star ought to logically possess an impact speed of v (velocity of the earth) minus the speed of light, c [v c = impact speed of light]. If the earth is moving toward a star, then the impact speed of light ought mathematically to be written v + c. The observation of scientists upon the earth has always been that c comes to the earth with the same speed no matter from which direction it arrives.[55] This means that the earth is stable. So then according to sound mathematics, the only solution of the equation (c + v) = c = (c v) is 0. In other words, the earth is not moving (Stott 2002, 127). Special Relativity theory solves the problem by creating a new mathematical system, divorced from observed physical data, which leads to three illogical things: time slows down, space becomes shortened, and mass increases when an object moves.

Philip Stott presents the dilemma in this way:

When a relativity teacher (or a textbook) present this to a reasonably intelligent student, it is, of course, greeted with incredulity. But the teacher says:- Assume that this is true for the moment, then we will develop the theory. We will see that it make a number of predictions. And then well look at experiments which have been done. We will see that the experimental results agree with the theory, and that will prove that this assumption was true after all. (Stott 2002, 127)

In other words, Einstein postulated Special Relativity based upon three presuppositions. First, the earth is indeed moving and Copernicus was correct, and second that all the other evidences for a stable earth were wrong. Third, Einstein claimed that light alone of all substances violates foundational mathematical law. Hence, in Stotts opinion the theory becomes unintelligible according to the manner in which God has constructed the universe to be known, explained, and explored.

Conclusion

In conclusion then, all this is fascinating and I never before have read such a cogent deconstruction of Special Relativity. Since God is truth, His truth does not contradict itself, and the universe reflects the truth and glory of God. Therefore, it seems, Stott and the other neo-Tychonians have a valid point. Relativity seems to be self-contradictory. However, I am going to leave that final decision to those more trained in the physical sciences and mathematics. I only wish Professor Lennox would hear this side of the Bible-Science debate with an open spirit. Perhaps his conclusions about the ancient age of the earth are also incorrect.

Philip Stotts book is an eye-opener. It is not perfect. It certainly is not a cutting edge book on the creation issue because it needs to be updated in a third edition in which all of his quotes and citations are completely documented. In addition, he needs a more up to date bibliography, references, and an index. I would like to see him add a chapter on information theory and the Anthropic Principle.

However, what he does do, he does well for what his purpose is. Stott points out many devastating and possibly falsifying anomalies concerning the Big Bang and other theories supporting an ancient earth and evolution. In his critiques, he paints in very broad strokes though accurate as far as I can discern as a theologian who has studied these issues for the better part of four decades but often needing more detail. Having said this, I acknowledge that his work is a popularized version of the creation-evolution issue for laymen. To his advantage, he uses few philosophical terms and scientific jargon. That is both his strength and weakness.

Last, in my opinion, when ancient earth creationism uses the paradigm of Galileo it is not the way forward in engaging scientific naturalism. Unfortunately, this is in diametric contrast to the evangelical elite represented by Oxford Mathematician John Lennox. Rather, as I see it, we can only move forward using the whole biblical world and life view as it is clearly taught in Scripture. Only then can we demonstrate to methodological materialists, using the biblical principle of antithesis, that this alone makes sense out of Gods creation. We must boldly approach the idolatrous naturalistic world-consensus with no supposed neutrality such as postulated by modernity-bound evangelical evidentialism. And certainly we must stand in Christs armor with no fear of the ad hominem ridicule of the establishment[56]. His inerrant and perspicuous Scriptural wisdom is all we need as a framework within which to build science and philosophy. And if Stotts thesis that both Darwin and Galileo were wrong is accurate, so be it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1]With suggestions for improvement by Philip Stott.

[2]I.e., for the correct understanding of those facts.

[3] As opposed to, for example, a fever induced hallucination or a skillful illusion of a circus magician.

[4] John Frame. 1997. In Defense of Something Close to Biblicism: Reflections of Sola Scriptura and History in Theological Method. Westminster Theological Journal 59/2 (Fall): 269-291. http://www.frame-poythress.org/in-defense-of-something-close-to-biblicism-reflections-on-sola-scriptura-and-history-in-theological-method/ (accessed 1/4/2014).

[5] On this topic see three important works: 1) Douglas Kelly. 2000. Creation and Change: Genesis 1.1-2.4 in the Light of Changing Scientific Paradigms. Mentor. 2) Andrew Kulikovsky. 2009. Creation, Fall, Restoration: A Biblical Theology of Creation. Mentor. 3) Albert M. Wolters. 2005. Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview. 2nd ed. With a Postscript coauthored by Michael W. Goheen. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

[6]Mark R. Kreitzer. 2014. REVIEW and PREVIEW. Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth. Terry Mortenson and Thane H. Ury, editors. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2008. Global Missiology 2/11. http://ojs.globalmissiology.org/index.php/english/article/view/1634/3624 (accessed 1/2/2014).

[7]Resulting in secular, revolutionary, and cosmic (or new age) humanism.

[8]It seems he has now returned to Christianity: A. N. Wilson (2009-04-11). Religion of hatred: Why we should no longer be cowed by the chattering classes ruling Britain who sneer at Christianity. Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 2009-07-09. See also Wilson's slightly earlier article in the New Stateman, Why I believe again 2 April 2009. (Wikipedia , s.v., A.N. Wilson, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._N._Wilson#cite_note-1 [accessed 1/3/2014])

[9] In personal correspondence, I agree with how Philip Stott responds to this point: [That is the commonly believed story but is it true? As far as I have been able to find out, the upper echelons of Catholicism were actually quite open to such investigation but were angered by Galileos response to their request for a reasoned treatise (the dialogs) and his lampooning of the pope therein]. (personal correspondence, Sun. Jan 19, 2014 at 11:22 pm). I agree.

[10] Again this is an inaccurate description of the history and has become part of the legend of Galileo. Stott responds: [was he in fact tortured? As far as I have been able to find out he was condemned to house arrest, but not tortured] (personal correspondence, Sun. Jan 19, 2014 at 11:22 pm).

[11]A.N. Wilson. 1999. Gods Funeral. New York/London: Norton.

[12] Bertolt Brecht. 1966. Galileo. Edited and with an Introduction by Eric Bentley. English version by Charles Laughton (first publication, 1952). Scene 5.

[13]Terry Mortenson, The Great Turning Point: The Churchs Catastrophic Mistake on GeologyBefore Darwin (2004).

[14]Possibly they were actually a capitulation to the spirit of the age (e.g., Eph 2:1-2). For histories of the era on the subject see e.g., 1) Thomas S. Kuhn. 1992. The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press [secular humanist]. 2) Kenneth J. Howell. 2003. Gods Two Books: Copernical Cosmology and Biblical Interpretation in Early Modern Science. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press [former RTS professor, now Roman Catholic]. 3) Robert S. Westman. 2011. The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism, and Celestial Order. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press [secular humanist but unique, late Medieval occult-astrology perspective]. 4) Charles E. Hummel. 1986. The Galileo Connection. Downers Grove, IL: IVP [more popularized evangelical perspective similar to Lennoxs].

[15] Amazon biography: Philip Stott was born in England in 1943. He gained B.Sc. and M.Sc degrees at Manchester University then lectured at universities in Nigeria and South Africa, carried out research in the analysis of geometrically non-linear structures and shared the Henry Adams award for outstanding research in 1969. While lecturing at the University of the Witwatersrand he studied Biology. After leaving Wits his ongoing interest in all aspects of science led to studies in Mathematics and Astronomy with the University of South Africa, and later to four years of part time research with the Applied Mathematics department of the University of the Orange Free State.

After many years as a firm atheist he was converted to Christianity in 1976. Following several years of studying the conflicting claims of secular science and scripture he entered the Creation/Evolution debate in 1989. He gave lectures on the science/scripture controversy throughout South Africa and Namibia. In 1992 he was invited to address a conference in Russia and since then he has lectured, addressed conferences and taken part in debates in Eastern and Western Europe, America, Canada and Southern Africa. Venues have included the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN), a UNESCO International Conference on the Teaching of Physics and the Russian Academy of Sciences. (http://www.amazon.com/Vital-Questions-Philip-Stott/dp/0972135421/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388825342&sr=1-1&keywords=Stott+Vital+Questions, accessed 1/4/2014).

[16]See e.g., Mikael Stenmark. 2010. Ways of relating science and religion. In The Cambridge Companion to Science and Religion, ed. Peter Harrison, 278-295. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Stenmark, who is the Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Uppsala University, Sweden provides a fourfold framework to analyze the religion-science relationship: 1. Religion and science are irreconcilable. 2. Religion and science are reconcilable and concordant (either by scientific theory above theology or the theology over scientific theory with the rethinking of theory by a new interpretation of the agreed upon data). 3. NOMA: Science and religion occupy independent spheres (Stephen Gould was a notable advocate for this perspective, which he called NOMA or Non-Overlapping MAgisteria). 4. Materialistic naturalism will replace religious theism as culture evolves away from religion because materialism is true to the state of affairs in the universe.

[17] Lennox is very resolute in his critique and rightly so: There are two very big snags [to the NOMA theory]. Firstly, the claim that science and religion are completely separate often conceals another belief: that science deals wth reality, and religion with Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and God. The impression that science deals with truth and religion deals with fantasy is very widespread. No one who is convinced of the truth, inspiration, and authority of Scripture could agree.

But there is another snag with Goulds view. We cannot keep science and Scripture completely separate, for the simple reason that the Bible talks about some of the things that science talks about. And they are the very important thingslike the origin of the universe and of life. (Lennox 2011, 28)

[18] See, e.g., Charles E. Hummel Hummel. 1986. The Galileo Connection. Downers Grove, IL: IVP.

[19] A poisoned-well argument can also be in this form: 1. Unfavorable definitions (be it true or false) which prevent disagreement (or enforce affirmative position). 2. Any claims without first agreeing with above definitions are automatically dismissed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_the_well (accessed 1/11/2014).

[20] Donald DeYoung. 2005. Thousands not Billions: Challenging the Icon of Evolution, Questioning the Age of the Earth. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.

[21] See review in this series on C. John Collins, Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary (www.ojs.globalmissiology.org/index.php/English/article/viewFile/587/1487).

[22]As discussed earlier in this series, the pillars of the earth are probably people : Rulers not literal stone supports as many higher critical scholars presuppose and now some former evangelicals such as Paul Seeley and Peter Enns (Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament). The circle of the earth is factually correct observation from any high place on earth with a 360 degree view. From this biblical data and the observational data, the spherical shape of the earth can be deduced. This is the proper means of doing science (www.ojs.globalmissiology.org/index.php/English/article/viewFile/821/1985).

[23]See e.g., 1) A Proper Reading of Genesis 1:1-2:3. Chapter 10 in Thousands not Billions: Challenging the Icon of Evolution, Questioning the Age of the Earth, Donald DeYoung, 157-172. Green Forest, AR: Master Books. 2) The original statistical research by OT scholar Stephen Boyd is found in Larry Vardiman, Andrew Snelling , and Eugene F. Chaffin, eds. 2000. Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: Creationist Research. 2 Vols. San Diego: Institute of Creation Research.

[24] In a narrative prose context with two contextual modifiers (evening and morning, day x and the xth day using an ordinal number) plus the Mosaic commentary on the six days-one day cycle of the creation in the Decalogue (Ex 20:11) and another narrative-legal context (Ex 31:17), it is certain that the meaning of the days of creation are 24 hour days. Only Scripture can interpret Scripture. Tradition or any other extra-biblical evidence are not sufficient to overturn the perspicuous teaching of exegesis.

[25] James Barr is on record ridiculing this kind of evangelical exegesis that is far from the authors intention.

[26] To this series of works, I can recommend several more recent defenses of the classic RUC (recent universe creation) position: 1) Jonathan Sarfati. 2011. Refuting Compromise: A Biblical and Scientific Refutation of Progressive Creationism (Billions of Years). With a forward by Douglas Kelly. 2nd ed. Powder Springs, GA: Creation Book. 2) Werner Gitt, Bob Compton and Jorge Fernandez. 2011. Without Excuse: Information the Key to Life; Scientific Laws and the Origin of Life; Science and Gods Message to Mankind. Powder Springs, GA: Creation Book. 3) Donald DeYoung. 2005. Thousands not Billions: Challenging the Icon of Evolution, Questioning the Age of the Earth. Green Forest, AR: Master Books. 4) Andrew Kulikovsky. 2009. Creation, Fall, Restoration: A Biblical Theology of Creation. Geanies House, Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Mentor Imprint/Christian Focus.

[27] Lennox even mentions a very eccentric, fundamentalistic website in a footnote, which he claims supports an Aristotelian worldview (it doesnt): www.fixedearth.com. See, however, also the much more scientifically informed websites by Astrophysicist Prof. G. Bouw and Mathematician Prof. James Hansen: http://geocentricity.com/ also see 2) Philip Stotts page by clicking on the right hand column of Bouws page. Next, 3) look at the Roman Catholic website: http://galileowaswrong.com/ which is very theologically, historically, and scientifically sophisticated. Also look at their blog: www.galileowaswrong.blogspot.com/ . 4) Malcomb Bowden, an interesting Englishman has the following section showing animations demonstrating the equality of the two perspectives: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/malcolmbowden/Geocexpl.htm. 5) Last, look at Philip Stotts very informative and very cogent website: Geocentricity - Geocentrism - Geostationism (http://reformation.edu/scripture-science-stott/geo/index.htm) (accessed 1/21/2014).

6) Another secular scientific group Stellar Motion LLC is releasing a documentary entitled The Principle ( http://www.facebook.com/theprinciplemovie ) on the demise of the Copernican Principle. The film, The Principle is slated for release the Spring of 2014. Many cosmologists, physicists, etc, were interviewed including Michio Kaku of City University of NY, Max Tegmark of MIT, Lawrence Krauss of ASU, George F. R. Ellis of the Univ. of Cape Town, Julian Barbour of the Univ. of Cambridge, and many more. It is narrated by Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway of Star Trek) and contains spectacular animations by BUF Compagnie of Paris (Life of Pi, etc.) and SaintsLA plus a soundtrack by Richard Robson Remix (http://beforeitsnews.com/science-and-technology/2013/12/earth-is-in-special-location-in-universe-the-principle-documentary-2659044.html) (accessed 1/15/2014).

[28] Prof. Lennox and most of the evangelical scholarly elite, it seems to me, do not take into account that the inductive scientific theories can never be absolute or certain. Theories can change and will continue to change especially as anomalies multiply and various micro-paradigm shifts occur leading up to macro-shifts as Thomas Kuhn has shown. Contrary to modernity bound Evangelical philosophers science often does not move forward into more and more accurate description of the actual states of affairs in the universe. A mathematical model may become instrumentally helpful for a while, even for many decades but that can change rapidly. So, only an external observer can know for sure which macro-theory of the universe corresponds to the actual state of affairs that God created. The Creator alone presently has always observed all its motions and relationships. (See e.g., J.P. Moreland. 1999. Christianity and the Nature of Science: A Philosophical Investigation. 2d ed. Grand Rapids: Baker and his defense of Christian empiricism, J.P. Moreland. 1985. Universals, qualities, and quality-instances: A defense of realism. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

[29] Thomas J. Kuhn. 1957. The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. See also note 14.

[30] See e.g., Gerhardus Bouws, Geocentricity: The Biblical Cosmology (1999). See also Gerhardus Bouw. 2004. A Geocentricity Primer: Introduction to Biblical Cosmology / The Geocentric Bible 7. Rev ed. The Biblical Astronomer.

Bouw is an brilliant and eccentric, evangelical astrophysicist with a recognized PhD from the well-respected Case Western University, proposes to rehabilitate Brahes theory with one modification. Bouw puts the moving sun instead of the static earth at the center of the universe and has the Sun, Venus and Mercury diurnally cycle the earth with circular orbits. This neo-Tychonian perspective replaces Keplers view, which gave each planet an elliptical orbit around the sun. Bouw claims that his modified Tychonian model can indeed save every one of the appearances and observations of earth-based astronomers. If his claim is indeed true, then it remains, thus, a matter of basic presuppositions and foundational axiomsnot observationas to which view is accepted by modern science. The reigning paradigm, dogmatically held by both evolutionary and recent universe creationist circles, is an acentric universe, along with a spinning and orbiting earth.

Robert Schadewald in Routledges magisterial, The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia, write this about Bouw: The variant of the Tychonian system advocated by The Association of Biblical Astronomy can predict exactly the same relative motions between celestial bodies as the conventional system. This makes it far more coherent than Flood geology which often is helpless to account for geological data. Nevertheless, most creationists seem embarrassed by egocentricity (Schadewald 2000, 409).

Robert J. Schadewald. 2000. Geocentricity. In The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities), edited by Gary B. Ferngren, Edward J. Larson, and Darrel W. Amundsen, 407-410. 2000. NY: Garland/Routledge.

[31] See 1) Walter van der Kamp. 1988. De Labori Solis: Airys Failure Reconsidered. Pit Meadows, BC, CAN: Np. 2) Gerhardus Bouws two books above note 29. 3) Philip Stott. 2002. Vital Questions. 2d ed. Fellsmere, FL: Reformation Media and Press 4) Robert Sungenis and Robert Bennett. 2013. Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right. 3 Vols. (CD-ROM .pdf with animations). San Bernardino, CA: CAI Publishing. Then note: Robert Sungenis. 2013. Geocentrism 101: An Introduction into the Science of Geocentric Cosmology. San Bernardino, CA: CAI Publishing. (A summary of his multi-volume work). 5) Dean Davis. 2009. In Search of the Beginning: A Seeker's Journey to the Origin of the Universe, Life, and Man. 2d ed. Np: Pleasant Word/WinePress..

[32] This does not deny that Evangelicals can use the scientific method with great benefit but the method must not be used with a methodological atheist presupposition nor outside the framework of the total biblical world and life view.

[34] Here again Stott does not document his source and the page number. It is an accurate quote, which I have seen elsewhere, but a key weakness of Vital Questions is its lack of specific documentation.

In personal communication, Stott adds the following: ORGANS OF EXTREME PERFECTION AND COMPLICATION.

To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.

Charles Darwin. The origin of Species by means of Natural Selection. John Murray London 1859 Chapter 6 (personal communication, Sun, Jan 19, 2014 at 11:22 PM).

[35] Instead of first arguing from the impossibility of the contrary as could a Vantillian without denying the use of the scientific methodology and falsification. See, Thom Notaro. 1980. Van Til & the Use of Evidence. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R.

[36] Here again without citing his sources. I dont doubt the accuracy of the statements, but wish I knew where to find the actual source.

[37] Actually two authors: John Mark Reynolds PhD is a philosopher at Biola University and Paul Nelson, a PhD biologist (philosophy of biology and evolutionary theory from the University of Chicago), is a fellow at the Discovery Institute. DI is an intelligent design think tank. Neither of the two are well known in RUC/YEC circles.

[38] John Mark Reynolds and Paul Nelson. 1999. Young Earth Creationism. In Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints), eds. John Mark Reynolds and J.P. Moreland, 39-75. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[39] Michael Rowan-Robinson emphasizes the Copernican principle as the threshold test for modern thought, asserting that: It is evident that in the post-Copernican era of human history, no well-informed and rational person can imagine that the Earth occupies a unique position in the universe.[3 {Rowan-Robinson, Michael (1996). Cosmology (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 6263.}] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_principle (accessed 1/16/2014)

[40] Isaiah 45:18 NAU: For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), I am the LORD, and there is none else.

[41] Psalm 19:4-6: In them He has placed a tent for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. Its rising is from one end of the heavens, And its circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

[42] Speaking about the cycles of the creation, the Preacher writes: Ecclesiastes 1:5: Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; And hastening to its place it rises there again.

[43] Joshua 10:12-14: Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, O sun, stand still at Gibeon, And O moon in the valley of Aijalon. So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.

[44] Lennox quotes 1 Chron 16:30, Ps 93:1, 104:5 (He established the earth upon its foundations [fixed place], So that it will not totter forever and ever.], and adds 1 Sam 2:8 to seemingly confuse the matter by equating foundations with pillars as do most higher critical scholars. Pillars are most likely human rulers in the context. He then cites Eccl 1:5 and Ps 19:4-6 both unequivocally indicating that the sun moves around the earth. Last he cites Luthers famous statement that the Scripture teaches that Joshua commanded the sun not the earth to stop moving. (Lennox 2011, 16-17). Lennox neglects to cite the most interesting part, the last sentence.

[45] M. Luther: There was mention of a certain astrologer who wanted to prove that the earth moves and not the sky, the sun, and the moon. This would be as if somebody were riding on a cart or in a ship and imagined that he was standing still while the earth and the trees were moving. [Luther remarked] So it goes now. Whoever wants to be clever must agree with nothing that others esteem. He must do something of his own. This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down. Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth [Jos. 10:12] (my emphais). According to Donald H. Kobe, Luthers comment was offered about four years before the publication of Copernicuss book On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres [18]. Another version of the same conversation by John Aurifaber uses the expression that fool (Der Narr) instead of that fellow [l9]. It is the expression that fool which has led to the intemperate remarks about Luther mentioned earlier. Lauterbachs version of the Table Talk is generally more reliable than Aurifabers version [20, 21]. Even if Luther had called Copernicus, who was not mentioned by name, a fool, that would have been a rather mild epithet coming from Luther. The Table Talk was based on notes taken by students of Luther. The notes were compiled and first published in 1566, twenty years after Luthers death [22]. Thus the remark cannot be construed as part of a concerted attack on Copernicus or Copernicans. The use of the word astrologer in the introductory remarks should not necessarily be interpreted as disparaging, since at that time the terms astrologer and astronomer were often used more or less synonymously.

Luther saw that Copernicuss view was indeed a revolutionary one. He could not accept it because it was contrary to his common sense and his interpretation of the Bible. That a person in a cart moving at constant velocity is at rest with respect to the cart, while trees are in motion with respect to him, is an example of what is now called Galilean relativity. By quoting Joshua [23] Luther, of course, did not refute Copernicus [24]. Johannes Kepler later applied Luthers own principle of biblical interpretation to the passage by saying that it only appeared that the sun stood still, but it would actually have been the earth [25] (Donald H. Kobe, Luther and Science, (http://www.leaderu.com/science/kobe.html#, accessed July 16, 2007). Kobe is professor of physics at the University of North Texas.). See also Donald H. Kobe, Copernicus and Martin Luther: An Encounter between Science and Religion, in American Journal of Physics Vol. 66 (March 1998), pp. 190-196

[46] See, Thomas S. Kuhn. 1992. The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

[47] Bouw and Hanson make one small change. Instead of the earth as the center of the universe, something the Bible does not mention, they make the sun as the center of the cosmo-dynamic universe with the fixed earth slightly off-center.

[48] I would encourage readers to study especially Reformed Philosopher Gordon Clarks The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God for substantiation of Stotts thesis. (Gordon H. Clark. 1996. Philosophy of Science and Belief in God. 3d ed. Unicoi, TN: The Trinity Foundation).

[49] Professors Bouw and Hanson suggest the sun could actually be the gravitational center but the earth as the actual center from the divine perspective.

[50] I have read F. Hoyles quote in context and it is accurate.

[52] He needs other more up to date quotations as well.

[53] Bernard Jaffe. 1960. Michelson and the Speed of Light. Science Study Series, Issue 13. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books/Doubleday. [books.google.com/books?id=yve4AAAAIAAJ (accessed 1/20/2014)].

[54] In personal correspondence, Stott adds as an editorial insertion: [Einstein also noted that his General Theory of Relativity was not possible without an aether. [Einstein A, Ether and the Theory of Relativity, SIDELIGHTS ON RELATIVITY, University of Leyden, 1920] ] (personal correspondence, Sun, Jan 19, 2014 at 1:45 PM).

[55] Possibly a key reason for this uniform observation is that no one has ever bothered to measure the speed of light outside of the earth in a satellite that we know is moving.

[56] An interesting website by a white-headed Englishman named Malcolm Bowden has the following to report about Stott, which would be quite interesting if genuinely accurate. The web entry is entitled: PHILIP STOTTS lecture on Geocentrism to Christian Scientists in Switzerland and its Surprising Results! (Added 19.6.04)

Philip Stott has lectured in many countries on a wide range of creation topics. In May 1992 he gave a lecture on geocentricity to a group of Christians in Switzerland. In an email he mentioned this event as follows.

After a lecture on geocentricity in Switzerland to a group of Christian scientists (many of whom work at CERN), the physicists were so upset that some were actually in tears. Their biggest source of frustration was that they could not refute my lecture. Unbeknown to me they met afterwards and decided to send an audio tape of the lecture to JeanMarie Mouseca, the physicist they considered the most competent to rebut it. He was in America at the time. On receipt of the tape he spent considerable time in the library checking my statements and looking for refutation. He found none, but found even more support for geocentricity than I had given. On my next lecture tour in Switzerland Mouesca (who had returned to his post as research physicist with the French nuclear research establishment at Grenoble) drove hundreds of kilometres to meet me and thank me for opening his eyes. He told me that he has come to the conclusion there is only one reference source that he can trust, and that is the Bible.

Many have told me that accepting geocentricity has changed their attitude to the Scriptures, changed their lives and strengthened their faith.

Yes, I agree with what you say about what the world will think. The world, and many Christians, look upon me as an utter fool (I have been devoted a whole chapter of ridicule in a South African theological textbook). Is that my criterion? God is true though all men be liars. I would rather be a fool for the gospel than keep quiet about their lies for the sake of respectability. http://homepage.ntlworld.com/malcolmbowden/Geocexpl.htm (accessed 1/4/2014)

(This letter has been confirmed to me [MRK] as accurate and valid by Mr. Stott himself in personal communication: Yes that report by Malcolm Bowden is accurate. I have never met Jean-Marie Mouseca again, but I still have three books he gave me when he came from Grenoble to see me in Switzerland. Physics books he regarded as marking the foundational errors which led physics down the wrong path (Philip Stott, Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 6:19 PM)