Search This Blog

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Is there anything wrong with “biting at the heels of men far greater in the Kingdom” than we?

Like Heidegger, who regarded it as “the fundamental question of metaphysics”, the philosopher Robert Nozick concluded that it impossible to answer why there is ‘something rather than nothing’. Both men’s voluminous writings were complex, distanced from the concrete and actual that this “something” primarily referred and, in their own peculiar way, became increasingly attracted to an abstruse mysticism.

Christianity, in its orthodox version, is eminently up to the task of answering this question. Its centerpiece discourse with the world is an historical event in which God, as man, allows himself to be murdered and by this sacrifice of love is able to effect reconciliation of the whole cosmos to himself. Far from being “foolishness” in which rationality departs, the Christian argument is that this act of God freely exposes itself in order to be understood. Unfortunately, one scion of Christianity has been recently performing public sleight-of-hand artifice and replaced comprehension with nonsense. Almost Marcion-like in its approach to Old Testament history, the Sydney Anglicans have deracinated the apotheosis of God’s appearance in the world from its historical backdrop. Now robbed of meaning and significance, these men try to convince their followers that their mystical theology is Christianity’s genuine article while ignoring the voluminous weight of historical testimony and rational argument that stands in opposition to their claims.

I’ve previously referred to Bishop Rob Forsyth’s address to ISCAST on the putative dangers of looking to science to prove God. The problem, Rob says, “is that this attempt to directly derive strong grounds for the existence of God from the existing state of science, usually by postulating a point at which ‘then a miracle occurs’, has some very significant dangers for the Christian faith.” The main “danger” is the god-of-the-gaps-argument which, as knowledge about our physical world increases, leaves less room for God as Creator. Traditionally, so Rob believes, God was regarded as principally transcendent, though of course immanent in that he somehow held everything together. As science developed and causes of the phenomena were given physico-chemical explanation, and naturalism began to be synonymous with the scientific method, Christians in their apologetics had to place God somewhere at the beginning of a line of cause and effect situations. With this increase in knowledge God was pushed farther and farther away as more material causal factors were discovered. Thus, the ‘then there was a miracle’ moment of invoking God became more and more irrelevant. Eventually, as can be appreciated from the scientific enterprise to develop a Grand Unified Theory for everything, God has become but a reminder of our society’s primitive past, a mere invocatory lucky charm for those who are superstitiously religiously inclined.

Rob’s address, it may be demurred, is a doleful harbinger of Christian bad times ahead. On the contrary: he actually hints at a solution. Rob wants us to return to the good old days when God knew his place in the scheme of things and respectfully allowed man to get on with his business of making scientific discovery. It’s horses for courses with Rob: No more God talk in the lab because science is science, and theology, theology. Science has limits and in order to understand God the religious person must down the tools of his trade, take a running jump across some mythical epistemological divide, and only then experience the transcendent. Rob believes that the universe, the world of scientific investigation, is just a “brute fact” and that it does not fall under science’s terms of reference to evince evidence for the things around us being ultimately explicable by God. Fair enough if you’re into a form of mysticism. By stating this, however, Rob’s church sits astride a pagan epistemology and cannot help but tether itself to an equally pagan worldview.

In his paper to the pagans at ISCAST, Rob favourably cites William Placher’s ‘The Domestication of Transcendence’. Placher’s argument is that if Europe had followed Calvin’s and Luther’s respect for God’s sheer otherness and left science to its own business rather than finding a place for God in the creation, atheism wouldn’t have the hold on the Western mind as it now enjoys. Although I may quite speedily be accused of “biting at the heels of men far greater in the kingdom” than I (surely to go down as one of Sydney Anglicans’ humblest self-assessments!), I want to suggest that Placher, Rob, Calvin and Luther are really part of the problem of why there is far too much atheism in the West.

These men’s two-tiered epistemology is a thorough-going Greek view of knowledge and is not the one presented in the Bible. The compartmentalization of reality into separate realms of transcendence and immanence reflects the Aristotelian and Platonic belief structure in which, notwithstanding their idiosyncratic differences, God was irreconcilably distinct from the creation, if creation is indeed even the appropriate descriptor. Both Greek philosophers could never manage to somehow bring everything together. Aristotle, arranging everything in concentric spheres according to the degree of materiality, had “God” outside and omitted any worthwhile explanation how the things of this world began. This world, our world, may have been “created” by God, but Aristotle’s philosophy could not provide true causality because of God’s being ultimately transcendent and other. Plato, on the surface, appears to be saying something far different to Aristotle. However, world of Ideas and Demiurge notwithstanding, the argument and effect were intending nothing different from his pupil: God and the source for creaturely blueprint were taken as a matter of faith to lie across a metaphysical and epistemological divide.

Both Calvin and Luther held a disparaging attitude to any attempt to understand God. For Calvin, God did not speak clearly about himself and what knowledge he did divulge was merely an accommodation to our “slight capacity”. Despite his acceptance of a young world, Calvin held, like the Sydney Anglicans, that the ancient Jews were primitive and did not have a sophisticated mind for understanding higher order truths. As a result, he believed that God did not speak “according to how things are” but lisped for the ordinary people. Faith for Calvin did not involve knowledge and understanding but a mystical tautology of the “mind ha[ving] to go beyond and rise above itself in order to attain [faith]. Even where the mind has attained, it does not comprehend what it feels. But while it is persuaded of what it does not grasp, by the very certainty of its persuasion it understands more than if it perceived anything human by its own capacity.” (Institutes 3.2.14)

Luther, a chap occasionally and favourably quoted on various Anglo-blogs, was less abstruse and cut to the chase by declaring reason a whore. Speculation about God was dangerous because Luther’s was a “hidden God” and “must therefore be left to himself in his own majesty”. (There is a line in Rob’s address to the ISCAST heathen which reflects this Gnostic elitism. Rob primarily lays the blame for the rise of atheism in Europe on “a desire to make all the reasons for the belief in God publicly accessible”. Once more Rob’s sacerdotal mien wants to shut the door, lock it with the key of knowledge, stand guard and keep the unworthy out.)

As is well known, Rob and his followers’ first and only response to atheist attacks on the orthodox understanding of Genesis 1 is to capitulate. The modern (as well as ancient) creationist, in contradistinction, does not fear contemporary views on origins and does not compromise the Bible’s historical accuracy by performing tendentious and unwarranted linguistic gymnastics, as is demonstrated by the Sydney Anglicans’ cowardly retreat of recategorising narrative as poetry or some other figurative form. Rather, creation apologetics encourage the thinking Christian to meet the challenge head-on and speak out with confidence about the plethora of scientific data that support a young, created earth.

In further support for his attack on contemporary creation apologetics the bishop’s address also pusillanimously relied on Michael Buckley’s ‘At the Rise of Modern Atheism’. Rob attempted to demonstrate that when early modern creationists, like Newtown, proposed a natural theology from their scientific discoveries this inevitably led to a viable and convincing atheist backlash. The atheists countered that there was increasingly less role for God to be God in his role as Creator and sustainer because the data could, with equal rationality, be understood through a materialist model. However, the good bishop shortchanged his listeners by overlooking the finer details of what this atheist “backlash” consisted. Two incidents mentioned in the book, and the reaction to them, are significant.

It was reported in 1741 to the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris that a Swiss zoologist, Abraham Trembley, had split a hydra in half and watched as both halves grew their missing pieces. Creationists, in opposition to the chance-filled universe of the then Epicurean influenced materialist world-view, had been arguing that life can only arise from seeds which contain the design for their final form. The materialists unwisely and unscientifically viewed Trembley’s work as evincing the wholesale pagan idea that matter had some sort of internal vital force that produced life. By doing this they ignored the much earlier evidence of Francesco Redi and Antoni van Leeuwenhoek who had overturned and replaced the deductive proclamation of Aristotle that life arose from decaying matter with their experimental work that correctly demonstrated life cannot arise from non-life. These two creationists were resolute that science supported the biblical assertion that life can only come from life, God being the ultimate giver of all life. Equally importantly, they challenged, rather than ceding to, the then widespread pseudo-scientific pagan worldview of life having ontological independence. (As an aside, it is clear, too, “from “[Leeuwenhoek’s] stand against non-Christian superstitions such as the doctrine of spontaneous generation, that he held to a Biblical doctrine of creation. He believed it foolish to think his little “animalcules” could have formed by chance, and he worked diligently to prove that all things reproduce after their kind, as the book of Genesis teaches. For example, after working for weeks observing the propagation of insects, Leeuwenhoek stated confidently, “. . . This must appear wonderful, and be a confirmation of the principle, that all living creatures deduce their origin from those which were formed at the Beginning.”” Schierbeek, A., the Editor-in-Chief of the collected letters of Leeuwenhoek, p. 137.)

The other incident centered upon the blind genius Nicholas Saunderson, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge. Saunderson vociferously argued for an atheist worldview which substantially centred its attack upon his predecessor Newton and his idea that the mathematical arrangement of the cosmos clearly demonstrated design. Like most atheists who make it a life’s pursuit to loudly deny the existence of a Creator, there frequently lie personal reasons for this career choice. Saunderson, as a baby, had been attacked by the smallpox virus which not only took away his sight but had actually removed his eyes. Saunderson, brilliant as he was, used his deformity and misfortune to bolster his belief that the universe was nothing but the result of eons of blind chance tossing up endless possibilities and permutations of matter that eventually formed life. The key for Saunderson was his own disability. He argued that if a creationist is going to argue design from nature’s exquisite beauty and remarkable intricateness, then he has to find a place for monsters like himself: if God exists, he must have permitted the horror of Saunderson. Saunderson’s argument was but a more pointed version of why there was something rather than nothing. His atheism quite reasonably argued that an evolving universe has to churn out beauties and beasts for no other reason than the interplay of chance, time and matter. Now here is something entirely ironic.

The Sydney Anglicans, represented by men like the bishop Rob Forsyth and his boss Peter Jensen, have declared that God has purposed the principle of evolution as the guiding hand in nature. God is now responsible for Saunderson’s misery and unbelief because, according to their Christian version of evolution, God from the start wanted the mutations and deformity caused by evolution to be a part of his “very good” world. Rather than tackle the validity of evolution being a genuine scientific description of the world, the Anglicans have been seduced by it, accepted it, and then stated that it is “a fatal mistake amongst Christians…to try to attempt to make the Christian faith believable or defensible within the limits imposed by science.” By artificially opening a divide between theology and science, one area of knowledge cannot converse with another. One can talk scientifically, but to talk on matters of God, one has to take off the lab coat, take a running jump across a chasm and land in the theology box, then, and only then, begin a separate discourse. What would have been our good bishop’s best response to Saunderson’s argument if the two had been contemporaries? Not much that would have made a whole lot of sense, I’d imagine.

On other entries I’ve contended that the Anglo-heretics present a quasi-Gnostic view of Scripture and the world. One latest version of this departure from orthodoxy is found over at our old mate Mark Baddeley’s site. Mark writes that, “[t]he point from this is that Creation Science is a natural theology par excellence….Creation Science tries to move to God’s glory by reading it off those things that we find glorious, and explain away those things that offend our notions of good and the like (like suffering).”

One distinguishing outworking of Gnostic thought is a disdain for the creation and Mark’s proposition is nothing more than a veiled version of this. (A less oblique attack on God’s creation, the reader may recall, comes from the Anglican minister Gordon Cheng who found in the koala clear evidence of God’s incompetence. Gordon’s armchair observations discovered that baby koalas have a tendency to fall out of their mommas’ pouches when climbing through the trees because evolution made the koala’s pouch the wrong way around.) Creationists on the other hand, involve themselves in the creation in order to discover the wisdom of the Creator, believing that there will be a plausible direct link between the creation and the Creator (after all, He made it!). Furthermore, creationists have no need to explain the evil in the world away – we actually search for reasons why, knowing that God is not responsible and that there will be indirect scientific argument for evil’s being non-natural (e.g. Haldane’s Dilemma or the clear scientific data which demonstrate the truth of a young world.). It’s actually the theistic evolution heretics who explain it away either falsely and indirectly attribute it to God, or, as is so often the case, present an insipid theodicy by shrugging their shoulders and claiming it’s all one big mystery.

As is the case in their compromising commitment to long ages and evolutionary mechanism, the Anglo-heretics have also joined with the atheists in other matters. One such noteworthy aspect is seen in Baddeley’s subtle distinction in his italicising the ‘we’ in “those [created] things that we find glorious”. What this obscures is the Anglo-heretics’ widespread criticism of the validity of analogous reasoning, part of the logical machinery that drives so much of the philosophy within the creationist and intelligent design. Analogous reasoning is a perfectly reasonable way for the mind to rationally secure a bridge from creature to Creator. Of course, the heretics inevitably end up dismissing this example of rationality as salvation based on our own efforts. Nothing could be further from the truth. Taking our lead from Genesis 1’s “made in the image of God”, creationists hold that logos is one of the components of this “image”. As a result man can rationally adduce from the things that are made, which are obviously not eternal, to the eternity of the Maker of these things. (Analogous reasoning allows us to establish that just as we utilise our wisdom, knowledge and understanding to plan our houses, construct our machines and to, “out of nothing”, bring forth our inventions, God also creates by using the same attributes. When we apply our intellect to our constructive tasks in effect we are following God’s own method of applying his intellect in a three-fold way. The pagan searches for wisdom; the Christian has been given this jewel; yet the Sydney Anglican heretics bury it when they replace God’s creative method with a pagan worldview.)

This raises the other reason why Baddeley stresses the ‘we’. Generated and sustained by his non-biblical belief system is his acceptance that the creation, from the beginning, had the good, the bad and the ugly. As a consequence of routinely ignoring or sophistically reworking the wisdom and knowledge of Genesis 1, Baddeley accuses creationists of only seeing God in the beautiful aspects of the world while explaining away the not-so nice through fanciful aetiologies resulting from the Fall. As someone profoundly influenced by evolutionary thinking this is to be expected; for why else would Baddeley hold that carnivorous animals were what God originally created.

But at this point there is an even more reckless outworking of his pagan theology, his downplaying of the intrinsic evil of suffering. Sure, he does commit to a pain-free world in eternity; but the concern I have is his acceptance of it in the present. He writes, “I still want to claim that our obsession with pain is wrongheaded. We elevate it way too high in the ‘evils’ that exist in our world (and I say that as someone who has an embarrassingly low pain threshold). When Romans 8 looks at the ‘good’ for God’s people, suffering is actually an instrument in accomplishing the good…Pain is not the great evil we make it out to be, even though it is part of the glory of the new creation that there will be no suffering. It’s part of the parochial patheticness of our day and age that our existence is getting increasingly defined by the attempt to avoid deprivation at all costs.”

Well, here we have it on his expert testimony that suffering is jolly well good. Note his astute theological underpinning, as well as the objective disinterest, almost stoic in its acceptance of pain being good for the soul. Do tell us Mark, ol’ chap: Just how many visits to the children’s oncology ward have you recently made? Watched anybody die a lonely, painful death this weekend? Been on the receiving end of any beatings lately for giving a testimony for Christ? Been in jail for Christ? Death threats? Spied on? Had your house burned down lately? Or what about your family executed in front of you? I guess not, eh? (Let me help you out. How about you bend over son and I’ll give 6 of the best, you take it like a man, and then I’ll consider you better equipped to write further theologically profound comments on your blog.)

But I digress. Let me conclude with the following.

Of course, such a god of the Sydney Anglicans was completely unknown to the Apostle Paul. In opposition to the Bishop of South Sydney and his supporters, Paul declared that from a deep knowledge of the creation and its components one can reason to some fairly dependable and accurate information about the Creator. Indeed, Paul argues that our minds are sufficiently perspicacious to comprehend something about the dunamis, or miraculous element, in creation and God’s deity and nature. (Paul quite astutely had also observed that some men attempt to foolishly argue away these facts but the truth is inescapable because it is the truth and God’s creation makes it quite plain to them.) The Sydney Anglicans have long ago swapped their inheritance of gold and pearls for atheistic dross and in the process emptied the scientific world of God. They have accomplished this by bringing into the Church a belief that the world is ancient and that God used an unscientific and ungodly method of creating called evolution.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

ABANDON SHIP!!! ... Episcopalians First, The Rest Can Make Their Own Arrangements!

In the comments section of a recent blog I asked a person named Geoff to indicate where in the Bible he got support for a long age view of the world. His short reply was "Nowhere."

This blog attempts to outline how the Church in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries came to overthrow the Scriptural chronologies which support an earth commencement date measuring something in the thousands of years. Space prevents all players being mentioned but sufficient are included to fairly represent the course of events. Remember, I take up events from the late eighteenth century because prior to that contrary views to a young earth (under 10,000 years) were not influential.

William Whiston (1667-1752) was Isaac Newton's successor in Mathematics at Cambridge University. He argued for a global Flood but added 6 years to Archbishop Ussher's earth commencement date of 4004BC because he held that each day of creation week was of one year's duration. His interpretation of Creation week was later used by those who supported a day-age theory for Genesis 1.

Alexander Catcott (1725-79) used geological arguments to defend the Genesis account of a recent creation and global Flood which produced the geological record. However, John Whitehurst (1713-88) argued that the earth was much older than humans and that, although the Noachian flood was a global event it was not responsible for most of the geological record. Certain geologists on the continent denied the global Flood and argued for a much older earth. Comte de Buffon (1708-88), Pierre Laplace (1749-1827) and Jean Lamarck (1744-1829) developed philosophically naturalistic explanations for earth history, each accommodating a long age for the earth.

The faith of Christians in a straight-forward reading of the biblical narratives concerning Creation and the Flood was under attack. Deists worked with atheists to shake the confidence of Christians in the Genesis cosmology.

In the years 1790-1820 geology became a separate field of scientific study. Also at this time the Neptunist-Vulcanist debate emerged . Neptunists believed water was the principal cause for geological change whereas Vulcanists held to internal heat of the earth being the major factor. Abraham Werner (1749-1817) of Germany and James Hutton (1726-97) of Scotland were the respective founders of the two positions. Each mostly studied the rocks in their own locality and developed their 'world view' of geology from this. Hutton's work remains most influential because of its uniformitarian proposition ie everything in the rock record can be explained by present day processes such as erosion, sedimentation, volcanoes and earthquakes. Hutton was a deist. His work allowed for a very long, virtually limitless, age of the earth.

In 1807 the Geological Society of London was established. The 13 founding members were wealthy, cultured gentlemen, who lacked geological knowledge but made up for it by their enthusiasm to learn. From the outset the Society was dominated by men who held to a long-age view of the earth. This then introduced the stage when dismantling of Christian faith in the Scriptural chronology of earth history really accelerated.

In the early 1800s George Cuvier (1768-1832), working from the study of fossils in the Paris basin, developed a theory which sought to reconcile science with religion but only from a post Flood history. He regarded the fossils to be the remains of creatures created then subsequently destroyed by catastrophic events prior to the Flood. By necessity he believed the earth had a long antiquity prior to the Flood. William Buckland (1784-1856) was a clergyman of the Church of England. He was also a leading geologist as well as lecturer in mineralogy and geology at Oxford University. He spread the catastrophist message initiated by Cuvier. Two of his students, Charles Lyell and Roderick Murchison went on to be leading geologists and destroyers of faith in the Genesis record.

Initially, Rev Buckland held that geology was consistent with Genesis and that there was a global Flood. However, his position was weakened by accommodation of 'day-age' but preference for the 'gap theory' of origins. Later, after criticism, he abandoned his initial weak attempt to reconcile Scripture and his observation of the world. His position now became that of relying on geological 'evidence' over textual evidence (Biblical) because, as he disclosed in personal correspondence, the latter was susceptible to deception or error.

Rev Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) was Buckland's counterpart at Cambridge University. He too was a strong advocate for old-earth catastrophism. They were supported by Rev William Conybeare but catastrophists were 'knocked for six' in the period 1830 to 1833 when Charles Lyell published his three volume Principles of Geology which was strongly uniformitarian in its approach to geology. Lyell had a supporter in Presbyterian Minister Rev John Fleming. It is Lyell's (and Hutton's) uniformitarian view which prevails in most circles although the Church still has those we would call catastrophists, particularly those who are gap theorists.

Perhaps few in the Church who support Lyell's uniformitarian view are aware of his disclosure in correspondence 11 Aug 1829 to his ally Roderick Murchison "I trust I shall make my sketch of the progress of geology popular. Old [Rev John] Fleming is frightened and thinks the age will not stand my anti-Mosaical conclusions and at least the subject will for a time become unpopular and awkward for the clergy, but I am not afraid. I shall out with the whole but in as conciliatory a manner as possible."¹ and to fellow uniformitarian George Scrope on 14 June 1830 he said "... If we don't irritate, which I fear we may (though mere history), we shall carry all with us. If you don't triumph over them, but compliment the liberality and candour of the present age, the bishops and enlightened saints will join us in despising both the ancient and modern physico-theologians. It is just the time to strike, so rejoice that, sinner as you are, the Q[uarterly] R[eview] is open to you."²

The Church was not without clergy and laymen who defended the Scriptural chronology of earth history. Some were both theologically as well as geological trained and experienced. However, they lacked support and the 'day' was carried by the long agers. The 'ship of faith' in the word of God had been dealt a serious blow. Significantly, it was clergy of the Church of England (call it Anglican, call it Episcopalian) such as Rev William Buckland, Rev Adam Sedgwick, Rev William Conybeare, Rev George Stanley Faber, Bishop John Bird Sumner and E.B. Pusey who aided and abetted, who abandoned ship. The sorry state continues today with Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia churning out old earth believers. They are aided and abetted by an Archbishop and Bishops who think likewise. As occurred in the past, they are quick to run with deists and atheists to reject theologians and scientists who point to Scripture and geology demonstrating an earth only thousands of years old.

I close this blog with some insightful words of Rev Granville Penn (1761-1844), grandson of William Penn of Pennsylvania fame. Rev Penn was an upholder of the Scriptural chronology. For those who profess to have a reasonable theology of God and yet propose an old earth chronology he said "The vast length of time, which this sinistrous choice is necessarily obliged to call in for its own defense, could only be requisite to the Creator for overcoming difficulties obstructing the perfecting process; it therefore chooses to suppose, that He created obstructions in matter, to resist and retard the perfecting of the work which He designed; whilst at the same time he might have perfected it without any resistance at all, by his own Creative act ... To suppose then, a priori, and without the slightest motive prompted by reason, that His wisdom willed, at the same time, both the formation of a perfect work, and a series of resistances to obstruct and delay that perfect work, argues a gross defect of intelligence somewhere, either in the Creator or in the supposer; and I leave it to this science, to determine the alternative.³"


1. The Geologic Column - John K. Reed and Michael J. Oard, Creation Society Books, 2006, p17
2. Ibid, p18.
3. Comparative Estimate - Granville Penn (1825) Vol. 1, p124-127

Sam Drucker

Friday, December 21, 2007

Purpose is what purpose does.

Another interesting quote from a management book (well, interests me . . .).

Now, why I'm doing this is to show examples of how thinkers outside our particular debate appreciate, understand, refer to and use the idea of 'evolution'. I also note that their implication of evolution never (so far in my reading) leads to the awe of God.

From Ansoff again (op cit p. 127), talking about adaptation in organisational development:

"The concept of adaptation used here is much richer than the one used in association with the theory of evolution. In that theory, adaptation refers to only involuntary responses to external changes, and the responses consist of internal changes. This restricted connotation of the concept derives from the fact that the theory of evoution is preoccupied with nonpurposeful systems, and when it deals with purposeful systems it is not concerned with their purposfulness . . ."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Who's A Hypocrite Then?

In his blog of 10 December 2007 at reflectionsinexile.blogspot./ the author, Mark Baddeley, offers another disclosure of his view on position of Biblical Creationists.

As with his earlier posts he misrepresents Scripture and Biblical Creationists. He really should leave the subject alone.

His exposition of the words of our Lord (as recorded in Matthew 19:23-24) concerning a camel passing through the eye of a needle is fundamentally flawed. That his sycophantic supporters at his blogspot have not picked him up on this shows they are similarly theologically lame.

Mr Baddeley's suggested interpretation that our Lord might have been referring to a (hitherto undiscovered) real "Needle Gate" is inconsistent with the wording applied to the text by most bible translators. If there was in the mind of our Lord a real "Needle Gate" then 'the' would replace 'a' preceding the word 'needle' in verse 24.

The context of our Lord's words here is the need to address the misconception in the then Jewish culture that wealth is a demonstration of God's blessing and thus being right with God.

Calvinists such as Mr Baddeley (albeit he is part-time) have traditionally accepted that neither rich or poor can enter the Kingdom of God without intervention from God and Calvinists have believed that this is what our Lord is teaching in this incident.

Discard Mr Baddeley's argument on this point and therefore take no notice of his supposition of how Biblical Creationists might apply the reading of our Lord's teaching here.

Next Mr Baddeley asserts Apostle Paul's advice to Timothy (1Timothy 5:23) to "... use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses" is a prescription for Biblical Creationists to "hold that regularly taking a little wine is an important aspect of dealing with frequent ailments." I won't spend much time on this foolishness. The text does not disclose the nature of Timothy's health problems. We must accept that Paul knew more than we know about the complaint. I'll just respond by suggesting that if we found a doctor's script for Joe Bloggs to take aspirin for his throat complaint we wouldn't assume that all throat complaints are to be treated by aspirin. Perhaps Mr Baddeley, the fount of all wisdom, would! It begs belief as to what level of thinking Moore Theological College lets loose on unsuspecting students.

Then Mr Baddeley raises that old chestnut - 'the sun standing still' (Joshua 10:12-14), deemed to be 'a nail in the coffin' of Biblical Creationists. It draws from the geocentric/heliocentric controversy in Galileo Galilei's (1564-1642) time. Skeptics run this argument and compromisers in the church do as well. What these people fail to mention is that, initially, Roman Catholic authorities accepted Galileo's assertions as compatible with the teachings of the Church. However, Jesuit university professors later mounted opposition to Galileo and the momentum went with them.

What doesn't appear to be known by such poorly read people as Mr Baddeley is that Galileo interpreted the account of the miracle of the long day of Joshua 10:12-15 as literal history, though he explained the stationary position in terms of Copernican theory and the language of appearance ie to the eyewitnesses and recorder of the event it appeared as if the sun stood still in the sky. Much has been written about the Galileo affair. I draw from "The Great Turning Point" pages 20 and 21 written by Terry Mortenson, published by Master Books. In the book Terry Mortenson cites several references.

Next Mr Baddeley dangerously uses words of Deborah's song found at Judges 5 to set it against an elsewhere historical record. He forgets that caution needs to be used in the use of poetry to thoroughly understand history. Many compromisers have sought to regard Genesis 1 as poetry so that they can justify not accepting this testimony as describing a historical event. Funny that to dilute the Genesis 1 testimony of its historical worth Mr Baddeley sets poetry up as having equal historical worth.

In closing I would like to comment on the tendency of the world and those in the Church who love the world, to selectively use the writings of influential people of the past. Flimsy citing of a writer presents a flimsy argument. I allude to this concerning abuse of Galileo Galilei. It has been said by me and others elsewhere concerning Martin Luther and John Calvin. I mention it now concerning Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626).

Those within and outside the Church who oppose Biblical Creationists draw from Bacon's work "Novum Organum" (1620) to argue for the separation of the two books - Scripture and Nature. Bacon's earlier work "Advancement of Learning" (1605) is also much drawn upon - indeed the term "the two books" derives from this. Mr Baddeley comes to mind here.

But little attention is given to a section of "Advancement of Learning" p43-44 (Book 1, part VI.9-11) wherein Bacon affirms the merit of Scripture in expounding on issues of health, natural philosophy and history. Earlier in the book (p. 40-42 Book 1, points VI. 2-8) he seems to express his belief a literal six-day creation, after which the creation was complete. He also believed that the Flood and the confusion of the languages at Babel were judgements of God. Some of these beliefs were expressed in more detail in his "Confessions of Faith", first published posthumously in his "Remains" (1648), but written some unknown time before the summer of 1603. This eight page confession reads like a detailed, orthodox creed. Again I draw from "The Great Turning Point" (pages 21-23) for help in addressing this.

I urge those who purport to represent God to trust God. Greats of philosophy, science and theology such as Bacon, Galileo, Luther and Calvin made statements in the past which today are applied against their faith in the Word of God and on interpreting (thus believing) Genesis 1 teaching God created the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that is in them in six days around 4,000 years BC. Mark Baddeley is a serial offender here. He abuses the mind of those of the past.

We have a principle applying in life. It was affirmed by our Lord Jesus Christ and it is this - If a person says something but acts in a different way then that person is a hypocrite.

God is the author of Scripture. God is the author of Nature. If you like - two books. Whatever God says in Scripture must be consistent with what God has done in Nature and vice versa. Christians do not believe God is a hypocrite. The hypocrite must then be the person who applies the two books differently.

Neil Moore

Monday, December 17, 2007

Machine-Age God

This was written in Ackoff, R, Creating the Corporate Future (John Wiley 1981:19)

[following a discussion of the use of ‘systems’ as means of thinking about relationships, and mention of Heisenberg as destroying confidence in being able to comprehensively explain anything]

“This means that we are free to believe or not in an all-containing whole. Since our understanding will never embrace such a whole, even if it exits, it makes no practical difference if we assume it to exist. Nevertheless, many individuals find comfort in assuming existence of such a unifying whole .Not surprisingly, they call it God. This God however, is very different from the Machine-Age God who was conceptualized as an individual who had created the universe. God-as-the-whole cannot be individualised or personified, and cannot be thought of as the creator. To do so would make no more sense than to speak of a man as creator of his organs. In this holistic view of things man is taken as a part of God just as his heart is taken as a part of man".

Just thought it interesting; as it always is to see how people use the ideas of 'God', 'creation' and (sometimes) evolution as springboards for discussion.

Monday, December 10, 2007

More Bad News For Moore Theological College

In recent blogs at his site (in exile,) Mark Baddeley continues his muddying of the waters on Scriptural interpretation to enable lovers of the world to keep a foot in both camps viz the Kingdom of God and the world. The Moore Theological College of today might be proud of him but those true to the Word of God past and present would rebuke him.

Again he selectively uses Martin Luther to mount an argument against Luther's position on the interpretation of Genesis 1. Just quickly, to dismiss some irrelevant arguments made by Mark Baddeley against a straightforward reading of Genesis 1, I cite him and respond hereunder. Mark Baddeley says:

"1. The deep waters of verse 2 existing before God says anything in verse 3.

2. The fact that in verse 2 ‘darkness’ exists before God says anything in verse 3 to create anything which could be dark. (After all, you can’t have darkness without space, and space—physical dimensions—is one of those things that is created in verses 3 and following).

3. The firmament separating the waters above from the waters below in verses 6, which is an expanse in which floodgates are opened in 7:11 to bring about the Flood.

4. The fact that all celestial objects only exist to give light and regulate human time in verses 14-18.

5. The fact that the seventh day doesn’t end. It’s quite noticeable, if you have your eyes open. Every day has the same refrain:

And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
And there was evening and there was morning, the seventh day.

No wait. My mistake. Scratch the last one. The refrain is not repeated on the seventh day, the day when God rests from his labours of creating. It is repeated six times and then missed out on the seventh day."

In response, I say:

1. So what! There is no problem here unless you are mischievously trying to invent one. If you can accept that verse 1 is a summary statement (as Bill Dumbrell, a once favoured lecturer at Moore College allows) and verse 2 identifies a stage of the creation as God begins to fill the earth then verse 3 and following is the account of God speaking to fill the earth and make it a habitation for man and creature.

2. Same again! As a sign of Mark Baddeley's inattentiveness he makes no mention that in verse 2 the earth, water and hovering of the Spirit of God suggest space as well.

Nothing in my aforesaid two points should be seen to deny (and certainly Scripture does not deny it) that verse 2 identifies a circumstance occurring on the first day of creation week. Hebrews 11:3 and 2 Peter 3:5 are certainly not against it.

3. Not an issue. Biblical Creationists have differing views as to whether verses 6-8 refer to a water canopy within or beyond earth atmosphere or whether the verses refer to cloud cover or whatever. Little is known about the physicality of the present universe let alone being precise about the universe at the end of creation week. Does much hang on this?

4. Like other issues raised, this is making a mountain out of molehill. There is no reason why the seasonal and time functions of the celestial bodies couldn't be principal functions with other intended functions not identified in verses 14-18. On the other hand we are, today, experiencing a world somewhat different to that which was first created and later altered due to the Fall and subsequently destroyed in the time of Noah. Proponents of the canopy theory might argue that the warming effect of the sun's rays would have been less demonstrable on earth prior to the Flood.

5. Another instance of majoring on the minor or making a mountain out of a molehill. As if the description of events on the seventh day deny the unity and veracity of events described on the previous SIX days? Biblical Creationists have only ever argued (from Scripture) that God created the heavens, the earth and the sea and all that is in them in six days - not seven days. Extrapolating Mark Baddeley's (and others) argument, is it contended that there was no eighth or ninth day after God commenced creating? Are we, today, in no point of time since God created the world?

Greater Hebrew scholars (both evangelical and liberal) than Mark Baddeley have no problem believing the author of Genesis intended the reader to understand God created in six days as we experience the duration of a day eg Luther, Calvin, Archer, Waltke, Sailhamer, Hamilton, Barr, Leupold, Wenham, Kidner, Arnold, Speiser, Young and Davis. The scientist Sir Isaac Newton, regarded roundly as the greatest scientist to have ever lived, had no problem believing the world was created in six days as we experience them.

People such as Mark Baddeley really tie themselves into knots when they try to reinterpret Scripture to 'run with the hounds' ie to suck up to the world. He makes the claim "First and foremost we need to grasp that the word of God is self-interpreting." However, he denies this principle time and time again. Exodus 20:8-11 and 31:15-18 give unequivocal endorsement to Genesis 1. How foolish one can make oneself out to be when they setting oneself up against God and those God has used to give life and vigour to the church such as Luther and Calvin.

He has his devotees, however, those who love this world. They go on his blogspot urging him on and in this they act like Saul of Tarsus holding the cloaks of those who would put down those holding to the truth. Their own capacity to see the truth is blinded by their hatred of us. We are not of this world as they are. They hate us for this and they hate us for speaking out strongly against them. Some of them forget that the Sydney Anglican Heretics blogspot only arose after they insulted and derided gentle Biblical Creationists on the Sydney Anglican Forum - 'Peace With Evolution'. This site then is only a product of their making. With some petulance they criticise commentators here for getting tough with their deceptive ways. Yet one of them, Gordon Cheng, said on one of their own supporter's blogspot that there must be some scope for Christians to go so far as Apostle Paul and say such strong words as "I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves." Strong words indeed. Okay for Apostle Paul, something of the like okay for Gordon Cheng but lesser words by commentators here deemed vile. Hypocrites!

They hate better than they love.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sydney Episcopalians Fall Moore

Mark Baddeley, on staff at Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia, demonstrates a low standard of theological scholarship required these days at that institution. Episcopalians around the world should note what damage awaits if they are entertaining thoughts of their son or daughter enrolling at Moore College.

Neil Moore in a recent blog identified one characteristic of a cult as being that of taking bible texts out of context. Mark Baddeley grossly commits that offence in a blog at when quoting Romans 8:28-30 and 35-37as making the case for suffering being part of God's creation prior to the Fall.

The Apostle Paul's letter to the church in Rome is almost entirely about the i) corrupted creation after the Fall of Adam, ii) God's gracious reconciliation through Jesus Christ and iii) life thereafter for those receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Only Romans 1:20 makes any direct reference to a pre-Fall situation (note this also has application post-Fall). The suffering referred to by Paul in Romans 8 is therefore within the context of the fallen world not the pre-fallen world. As shown throughout the bible and therefore in earth history God works out his plan of salvation using consequences of the Fall eg suffering and death.

Hebrews 2:5-18 further explains well enough that consequences of the fallen state of man viz lost place, suffering and death are reversed by Jesus Christ in his office as Saviour. Pre-fallen creation was not in need of a Saviour because there was no sin, no suffering, no death. Adam, the son of God and the rest of creation were in their odered place (Hebrews 2:8a,b). Only after the Fall did the circumstance of Hebrews 2:8c arise.

A potential world-wide audience is not the place for Mark Baddeley to air his ignorance and expose Moore Theological College to criticism.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Making of a Cult

Cults are exclusive. Cults using the Bible as their authority selectively use Scripture for their end. Cults tend to almost, if not completely, deify their earthly leader.

In my view there is something cultish about on Mark Baddeley's

Only allowing certain commentators to comment on his blogs. Selective use of Scripture to the exclusion of that which undermines his point. His almost worship of the present Archbishop of Sydney.

He extends himself to protect the Diocese and its Archbishop from criticism. He will not have mention of on his blogspot. You will note I have no difficulty mentioning his blogspot. We have no fear of people going and seeing what he writes. Our case will always stand on its merits. It is not really a case we can claim of our own. It is the case of Luther and Calvin and other faithful Christians of the past.

For many years the Diocese has been cautious of anyone not trained at Moore Theological College. This can be a sign of a problem within the Diocese if it thinks that all truth resides in the Diocese.

Mark Baddeley's attempts to theologise against Creation Scientists will I suspect be dealt with here in coming weeks. Funny how he calls us Creation Scientists. I am not a scientist nor are one or two others I know who contribute to sydneyanglicanheretics blogspot. Mr Baddeley falters at the very beginning by applying an incorrect label to those he criticises.

What is more disturbing is Mr Baddeley's elevation of the man, Peter Jensen over other men. It is almost cultish!

A lesson from history is needed here to help the reader understand what is going on in the Sydney Anglican Diocese.

Some, perhaps only a few, who read this will have encountered a man in Sydney called Mark Kay. He seems to be everywhere, especially around universities in Sydney. I have seen him at the University of Sydney. I got into a conversation with him one day. He informed me of an incident once when he was in conversation with two young women who were members of Evangelical Union (an Anglican inspired outreach on campus). Mark Kay told me the topic got onto the belief of Peter Jensen in a Theistic Evolution. As is reasonable, Mark Kay was critical of Peter Jensen on this matter. The reaction of these young women to any notion of criticism of Peter Jensen was astounding. There were no raised voices but criticism of Peter Jensen reduced one young woman to tears - to tears! There is something very wrong here. It was almost as if Mark Kay was destroying her Christian faith by pointing out a doctrinal fault held by Peter Jensen. I may be wrong on the following point but, as I recall the story, I think following the incident another Evangelical Union person tried to have Mark Kay banned from the University of Sydney even though he was a registered student there.

This is worrying but it sheds light on something working itself out within the Diocese and thus the motivation driving Mark Baddeley's baseless interpretation of Scripture to defend a) the position of his Archbishop on origins and b) the (proud) name of Anglican Diocese of Sydney.

It is almost cultish.

Just a quick word about one of Mark Baddeley's blogs, the one about 'death and suffering as a good' (part ii) in his musings.

One must remind oneself that the multitude of words contained therein are the thoughts of Mark Baddeley laid over the word of God. Also, I say "The multitude of words smothers wisdom."

Let a few words of Scripture suffice as reply - "When Jesus saw their weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 'Where have you laid him?' he asked. 'Come and see, Lord.' they replied. Jesus wept." John 11:33-35.

Neil Moore

Polemic is as polemic does

One of the comments on the previous post mentioned the view that Genesis creation accounts are a polemic against other creation accounts.

This got me thinking.

Here's a polemic against the bombing of Hiroshima (apologies to any Japanese readers who may find this touches on some unwanted memories).

"In my aviary I have a bird. Its called Enola Gay. The bird has been trained to drop seeds on the cavy I also keep in the aviary. The cavy is called HIroshima.

From now on, we can be content that the story of Enola Gay dropping an atom bomb on Hiroshima is a myth, because our polemic uses a different story but features the same names."

There, its done. The polemic crafted!

Now, try telling that to a victim of the atom bomb. Think they'll thank you?