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#241 of 269 Old 06-14-2009, 08:30 PM
 
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Christians were basically an offshoot of Judaism. But I don't see many Christians following a lot of Orthodox Jewish beliefs, yes? And I think we can agree to disagree with the origins of myths in the New Testament.
Correct. The first Christians were Jewish (although Jesus also preached to Gentiles as well as did some of the disciples following his death). Jesus was also born Jewish. Christians do not follow Mosaic law because we see Jesus as the fulfillment of that law (he followed it perfectly) and paid the ultimate sacrifice for us so that we no longer have to live under the law, but can live by grace.

I'm quite certain we view the New Testament differently if you are referring to it as myth.

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#242 of 269 Old 06-14-2009, 09:47 PM
 
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Explain to me how occasionalism doesn't solve the problem of post hoc ergo propter hoc - leaving aside for the moment the fact that you on't believe it.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc means drawing a correlation of cause and effect when that correlation can't in fact be proven, right? Well, you certainly can't prove that God causes anything. You just assert it, based on certain philosophical assumptions. In the same way, science asserts a cause and effect correlation based on the philosophical assumptions that when certain conditions have been met, such as rigorous testing, duplication in other laboratories, and attempts at falsifying it have failed, then the cause did indeed create effect. The only difference between the two approaches that I can see is that the scientific assertion can at least be verified empirically to some extent (although certainly not 100%), whereas your assertion cannot be verified at all because it lies outside the natural realm.

If you were talking about the idea that matter cannot be a causal agent, I believe that is different from post hoc ergo propter hoc.
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#243 of 269 Old 06-15-2009, 12:54 AM
 
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So if a working scientist hypothesised that any action caused any result, the peer reviewer would ask him to philosophically justify his position?
Not philosophically, but statistically, experimentally, yes. It's a big call to say that an action caused a result.
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No, no, no! Bad analogy. The philosophy of science comes logically prior to science itself. How science is conducted, and whether or not its truth claims can be justified, depend on the philosophy of science. You can't abdicate intellectual responsibility for justifying your beliefs because it's "not your field"!
No, it's an excellent analogy. The scientific method cannot approach a hypothesis which is not falsifiable. It simply can't. It's not possible. It's a fantastic tool, but it is a tool, and it has limitations. If a hypothesis is not falsifiable, how could you be proven wrong?
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#244 of 269 Old 06-15-2009, 08:40 AM
 
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Not philosophically, but statistically, experimentally, yes.
But my point is that it needs to be philosophically justified in order to be a valid truth-claim.
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No, it's an excellent analogy. The scientific method cannot approach a hypothesis which is not falsifiable. It simply can't. It's not possible. It's a fantastic tool, but it is a tool, and it has limitations. If a hypothesis is not falsifiable, how could you be proven wrong?
You're not understanding my argument. I know empiricism can't make a comment on non-empirical matters. But science is based on philosophical assumptions; therefore philosophical assumptions come logically prior to scientific determinations. It is not intellectually acceptable for a scientist to say "Well, that's not my field", as if the philosophy was a discrete subject that had no impact on his work. People in every field ought to have justification for their truth-claims.

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Post hoc ergo propter hoc means drawing a correlation of cause and effect when that correlation can't in fact be proven, right? Well, you certainly can't prove that God causes anything. You just assert it, based on certain philosophical assumptions. In the same way, science asserts a cause and effect correlation based on the philosophical assumptions that when certain conditions have been met, such as rigorous testing, duplication in other laboratories, and attempts at falsifying it have failed, then the cause did indeed create effect. The only difference between the two approaches that I can see is that the scientific assertion can at least be verified empirically to some extent (although certainly not 100%), whereas your assertion cannot be verified at all because it lies outside the natural realm.
But on what do those assumptions rest? Why do scientists believe in, say, the uniformity of nature (which allows for repeated testing)? Or the basic reliability of sense experience? As I said before, not all philosophical assumptions are created equal. And saying that the scientific approach can be verified empirically is kinda begging the question, don't you think?

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#245 of 269 Old 06-15-2009, 02:42 PM
 
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But on what do those assumptions rest? Why do scientists believe in, say, the uniformity of nature (which allows for repeated testing)? Or the basic reliability of sense experience? As I said before, not all philosophical assumptions are created equal. And saying that the scientific approach can be verified empirically is kinda begging the question, don't you think?
I'm not understanding your point. Scientific assumptions rest on axioms, just as religious assumptions do. That the physical world is real, and not just a figment of our imaginations, that we can accurately perceive it, yadda yadda. I'm not denying that science rests on unproven axioms, if that is what you are implying. Or are you saying that science rests on invalid axioms? If so, why?

I'm saying that occasionalism doesn't solve the cause and effect conundrum, because it can't prove that God causes things any more than science can prove actions cause things. Deductively, they are equally plausible as far as I can see, one doesn't solve the issue any better than the other. However for me science has the edge because it can be further verified by inductive reasoning as well, which occasionalism cannot. That's what I meant by saying it can be empirically verified. But yeah, you are right that metaphysics by definition lies outside the realm of empirical investigation. I guess that is why I prefer the scientific approach to pure philosophy.
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#246 of 269 Old 06-15-2009, 06:56 PM
 
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The issue is wider than just the conflict between occasionalism and cause-effect axiom. At heart the two worldviews are fundamentally at odds. To really discuss why I believe occasionalism is more warranted than the cause-effect axiom would mean discussing a whole heap of territory we've covered before - arguments for the existence of God from reason, morality etc; the justification of prior assumptions about the uniformity of nature, and on what they are based if not revelation; first principles. Occasionalism itself is further justified ultimately by the Christian first principle; whether or not the scientific axioms are justified by anything else depends on the personal worldview of the individual scientist (or philosopher of science, as most scientists don't seem to engage with the philosophy). So within the Christian worldview, cause and effect has more philosophical justification than within the scientific "worldview" (or sub-worldview, as it were, given that it makes no metaphysical claims). For scientists to justify the cause-effect axiom as well as Christians, they need to make a philosophical case for it; otherwise "it just is" is not as strong as "here's a reason".

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#247 of 269 Old 06-15-2009, 07:09 PM
 
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if you can think of what to call that thread we could start a new one on the subject so that people who just want to talk about dinosaurs and creationism don't have to wade through all of this. apparently not everyone finds it as interesting as i do
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#248 of 269 Old 06-15-2009, 10:45 PM
 
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The issue is wider than just the conflict between occasionalism and cause-effect axiom. At heart the two worldviews are fundamentally at odds. To really discuss why I believe occasionalism is more warranted than the cause-effect axiom would mean discussing a whole heap of territory we've covered before - arguments for the existence of God from reason, morality etc; the justification of prior assumptions about the uniformity of nature, and on what they are based if not revelation; first principles. Occasionalism itself is further justified ultimately by the Christian first principle; whether or not the scientific axioms are justified by anything else depends on the personal worldview of the individual scientist (or philosopher of science, as most scientists don't seem to engage with the philosophy). So within the Christian worldview, cause and effect has more philosophical justification than within the scientific "worldview" (or sub-worldview, as it were, given that it makes no metaphysical claims). For scientists to justify the cause-effect axiom as well as Christians, they need to make a philosophical case for it; otherwise "it just is" is not as strong as "here's a reason".
OK, so it sounds like you are saying that occasionalism in and of itself does not solve the conundrum, but is part of a larger worldview that does. And yeah, that is really another topic. I'd start another thread about it, but I'm getting ready to go overseas in a week and am swamped... I just don't think I could be relied on to check in on my own thread . However, if you or 1littlebit started another thread about The Problem With Science, I'd love to lurk! :
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#249 of 269 Old 06-15-2009, 10:48 PM
 
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hehe thanks for the title .... i'll start it. you guys need to come post too... otherwise people will just think i'm nuts.
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#250 of 269 Old 06-16-2009, 09:32 AM
 
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So if a working scientist hypothesized that any action caused any result, the peer reviewer would ask him to philosophically justify his position?
No, because the underpinnings are assumed, you don't need to rehash it every time you have a new hypothisis or theory. Just as if I wrote an article on the Book of Job for a Christian journal, I wouldn't need to justify belief in God or the accuracy of the Bible. Science assumes certain philosophical facts, and it goes without needing to be repeated among actual scientists that every theory is just that - a theory that cannot be proven. That is a basic part of the scientific method. So the scientist would be expected to show that he has accounted for interpreting the data in an appropriate way. But he wouldn't be expected to explain the whole endeavor and limits of science. Every journal article would be a whole book, and a repetitive one too.

Very often a theory will finish by outlining what further work needs to be done to narrow down the possibilities, or better explain the data. Saying more than the data will support is a big no-no.





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No, no, no! Bad analogy. The philosophy of science comes logically prior to science itself. How science is conducted, and whether or not its truth claims can be justified, depend on the philosophy of science. You can't abdicate intellectual responsibility for justifying your beliefs because it's "not your field"!
But again, one does not have to do this every time a person makes a scientific statement. It would be nice if every person thought about this for him or herself at some point. It is especially important for scientists to think about this. But in so doing, they are not acting as scientists doing science. It IS NOT possible, within science, to make these justifications. Science only addresses a very specific set of problems, ones that can be measured and observed empirically. It does not possess the tools itself to address problems of philosophy, and experts in science, most of the time, are not experts in philosophy. Would you expect those who study ethics to spend all their time doing metaphysics because ethics depend on metaphysics? They would need a strong understanding of metaphysics, but they will likely spend most of their time doing ethics.

The discipline of science has a well discussed place within philosophy, it's strengths and limits are actually pretty well understood, there is a lot of literature, going back to the medieval period, about their relationship. But day to day, a scientist is not going to begin every thought with, well, I'll start with the assumption that the world we see is actually real...

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#251 of 269 Old 06-16-2009, 09:43 AM
 
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are there Jewish Creationist and if so is this a common jewish belief and i just missed it? all the creationists i know personally are christians and most of the ones that are referred to in the media and legal issues are christians.
You know, it's an aside, but I think the term creationism is really misleading, when used to distinguish simply those people who believe in the literal interpretation of Genesis. It rather implies that others don't believe in creation from nothing, which is patently false.

As far as Jews go, among the Orthodox there are those who believe in a fairly literal interpretation of Genesis, and those that do not. Both POV have been represented historically, even before the evolution debate, just as among Christians.

What you don't tend to see among Jewish groups is an assertion that you see among some Christian groups, "the Bible alone tells us what to believe." It is taken for granted that it is also important to look at commentaries and supporting literature, the tradition of interpretation. In this it is much closer to a Roman Catholic or Orthodox Christian approach than a Protestant one.

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#252 of 269 Old 06-16-2009, 10:11 AM
 
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Lots of things happen in the universe that seem to have nothing to do with humanity. There are planets far away we will never see, or orchids growing in the tops of mountain rain forests. Animals die out, or are born, time passes, the Roman Empire falls, Mother Teresa dies....

I'm not sure why people seem to think we are the whole point of all of this. God created things because they were good, not in relation to humans, but good in themselves. I am sure that is true of dinosaurs as well as dogs.

In fact, I would suggest that perhaps part of our purpose as humans is to see, appreciate, and attempt to understand all of these good things. To see them as real and good in themselves, as showing forth an aspect of being. We exist to bear witness for them, as much as they exist for us.

the Bible is clearly human-centric - well, no one else is reading it, so that shouldn't be a surprise. The roses don't need directions to be beautiful. That doesn't mean the Bible contains all truth, only the truth we need. There are surely other parts of the story we are meant to discover through examining creation itself, or by looking inward to our own soul, or talking to other people. And there are secret things which will remain obscure to us - God knows, but they are not part of the story we have been given.
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#253 of 269 Old 06-16-2009, 10:22 AM
 
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Correct. The first Christians were Jewish (although Jesus also preached to Gentiles as well as did some of the disciples following his death). Jesus was also born Jewish. Christians do not follow Mosaic law because we see Jesus as the fulfillment of that law (he followed it perfectly) and paid the ultimate sacrifice for us so that we no longer have to live under the law, but can live by grace.
This may take us off-thread a bit, but hey, we're far, far from dinos anyway.

I know that we don't have to follow Mosaic law because of Jesus, which is why, for example, we don't have the dietary restrictions that Jews have. What I've given a lot of thought to lately after some questions from my son is why we don't also celebrate Jewish holidays.

I actually like the concept of Yom Kippur and an annual forgiveness ritual. I know it's present in other religions (some journeys within paganism, for example), and our church had a very powerful service in which we all wrote down what we needed to ask others to forgive us for and forgive them for when I was in high school. I've been thinking of adopting such a ritual for myself because I believe it's cleansing.

That aside, shouldn't we as Christians celebrate Jewish holidays? I mean, Passover is important to us as well. I know the basic story of Hannukah, but I'm not sure on the timing. Was it after Jesus? It just seems that though we don't follow the laws of Judaism because of Jesus, we should be more connected with Judaism because our roots are the same. I don't know that any Protestant denomination has close ties to Judaism. I've been to quite a few mainline churches and haven't seen it.

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#254 of 269 Old 06-16-2009, 11:24 AM
 
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That aside, shouldn't we as Christians celebrate Jewish holidays?
We certainly can. Jewish believers (what Jews who have technically become Christians often prefer to be called) will often times still participate in Jewish holidays for cultural reasons. I personally have participated in a Seder and was amazed at all the rituals that point to Christ. I think the reason most of us don't is because we aren't from Jewish heritage.

Hanukkah is not celebrated by Christians because it's not a Jewish holiday that is mentioned in the Old Testament and is a "newer" Jewish holiday.

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#255 of 269 Old 06-16-2009, 12:53 PM
 
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BR~ There are Christians who still celebrate the Jewish holidays. There are even Christians who hold the Sabbath on Saturday.

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#256 of 269 Old 06-16-2009, 02:28 PM
 
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This may take us off-thread a bit, but hey, we're far, far from dinos anyway.

I know that we don't have to follow Mosaic law because of Jesus, which is why, for example, we don't have the dietary restrictions that Jews have. What I've given a lot of thought to lately after some questions from my son is why we don't also celebrate Jewish holidays.

I actually like the concept of Yom Kippur and an annual forgiveness ritual. I know it's present in other religions (some journeys within paganism, for example), and our church had a very powerful service in which we all wrote down what we needed to ask others to forgive us for and forgive them for when I was in high school. I've been thinking of adopting such a ritual for myself because I believe it's cleansing.

That aside, shouldn't we as Christians celebrate Jewish holidays? I mean, Passover is important to us as well. I know the basic story of Hannukah, but I'm not sure on the timing. Was it after Jesus? It just seems that though we don't follow the laws of Judaism because of Jesus, we should be more connected with Judaism because our roots are the same. I don't know that any Protestant denomination has close ties to Judaism. I've been to quite a few mainline churches and haven't seen it.
In soe cases, the Jewish holidays have become something different within Christianity - you can see the relationships but they now include other aspects.

Yom Kippur is a good example. As Christians, in many denominations, we have a part of every liturgy set aside for dealing with forgiveness of sins. As well, there is a special focus on those things in Lent, and especially Holy Week and Easter, including extra fasting and prayers.

As well, I'm not sure what your tradition is, but some Christian traditions have a lot more special days than others. In some of those you can see a relation to Jewish practice. I've never seen, for example, the Feats of Christ's circumcision celebrated in a Protestant church, or even really his baptism. But both have an important place in the Orthodox year (both the rememberance and the theological meaning) and it used to be in the RC church, though less these days.

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#257 of 269 Old 06-16-2009, 07:16 PM
 
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But again, one does not have to do this every time a person makes a scientific statement.
No, indeed; that would be as cumbersome for science as any other discipline (plumbing, for instance!). What I disagree with is your assertion that scientists in general recognise the logical issues with the philosophy of science; I've scarcely met any who do. Now, to be fair, most of the scientists I know were students - but still, isn't it a worry when a Masters student heards the words "problem of induction" and says "Huh?", or dismisses the philosophy of science as "not my major"? Even on creation-evolution debates online, in which you would expect to see at least a basic understanding of philosophy... nothing. Utter blankness. From those, among others, who claim to hold scientific degrees... even those who have written books.

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#258 of 269 Old 06-17-2009, 01:46 PM
 
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No, indeed; that would be as cumbersome for science as any other discipline (plumbing, for instance!). What I disagree with is your assertion that scientists in general recognize the logical issues with the philosophy of science; I've scarcely met any who do. Now, to be fair, most of the scientists I know were students - but still, isn't it a worry when a Masters student heards the words "problem of induction" and says "Huh?", or dismisses the philosophy of science as "not my major"? Even on creation-evolution debates online, in which you would expect to see at least a basic understanding of philosophy... nothing. Utter blankness. From those, among others, who claim to hold scientific degrees... even those who have written books.
Yes, I have seen this a lot with undergraduate students especially. Less with doctoral level people.

I think that all undergraduate science students should get a course in the basic philosophy of science - even just things like what can the scientific method really tell us and not tell us. This may happen somewhere, but not in any undergraduate program I have seen. They assume they learned it in public school. (As an aside, I remember being taught this in junior high, and I didn't really believe it - it sounded like manipulating language to me. So I tend to think that relying on what kids learned at that age is likely a bad idea.)

But they do, normally, recognize the problems related to the interpretation of data, though they might not see the larger connection to say, the nature of inductive reasoning. A lot of the rules related to the proper use of inductive reasoning are built into the rules for the proper interpretation of data, and those are actually widely understood by proffesional scientists, or those above an undergraduate leel - I;m not sure about undergrad students.

So, even without seeing the larger meaning and issues, generally their actual scientific conclusions are sound, because they follow the rules.

I've also found that you need to be careful in how you present this proble to scientists, and especially science students. Most don't have a background in philosophy, and many aren't terribly language sensitive people, so talking about inductive reasoning will indeed give a blank stare. And when I say proof, I mean it in a fairly technical way, when that student says it, he may well mean it in a much broader sense.

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#260 of 269 Old 06-23-2009, 02:40 AM
 
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This may happen somewhere, but not in any undergraduate program I have seen.
My uni had it. The class was a first-year class. For me it was mostly a rehash of issues we'd discussed in chemistry and biology in high school, but for some students it seemed like new info. I actually thought it was becoming a fairly common course requirement.

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#261 of 269 Old 06-23-2009, 09:24 AM
 
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My uni had it. The class was a first-year class. For me it was mostly a rehash of issues we'd discussed in chemistry and biology in high school, but for some students it seemed like new info. I actually thought it was becoming a fairly common course requirement.
That is a very good thing - I could never understand relying on what kids did in public school. In my school it was grade 8 that we covered the scientific method, and how many people remember what they did in grade 8? Too many horomones get in the way, I think.

But like Smokering, I've met grad level science students who talk about scientific theories being "proven". By that level, it seems to me, a basic understanding of the scientific method would be expected.

All this being said, it strikes me that if I said "The theory of evolution is a very good scientific theory," and someone else pointed out that I couldn't "prove" it, I would say - So what? It really isn't an argument about taking any scientific theory seriously, though I see many people who want to argue against ideas like evolution using it that way.

The only thing it's useful for, I find, is making people who think science is the only way to knowledge understand that it actually depends on more basic reasoning and assumptions, and so to take science seriously means to take those things seriously too.

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#262 of 269 Old 06-23-2009, 11:08 AM
 
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Anything we can help with? Is it one issue or is it the whole thread?

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#263 of 269 Old 06-25-2009, 03:05 PM
 
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...I don't have time to look through the entire thread... has anyone mentioned the Gap Theory? A lot of extremely conservative, literalist Christians I know believe it's the answer to the "dinosaur question" (including most of my own family). In short (in case it wasn't already covered), it's the idea that The Creation in Genesis wasn't the first creation. Notice, "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters," ie, "the waters" were already here. So they believe that all of those being before Man lived here in a previous age, and were destroyed before the creation story of Genesis begins.

ETA: This seems to be a really wonderful discussion, and I can't wait to read it through.

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#264 of 269 Old 06-25-2009, 04:20 PM
 
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I don't recall us getting into the Gap Theory much if at all on this thread. I do know there are two different forms of the Gap Theory though. One that is as you described, and the other that would say the "gap" occurs between verses 2 and 3 of Genesis 1. This second version would mean that the Earth was here for an undetermined or unspoken length of time before God began his creation of life on it. I can see some justification for this second version (although I am not sold on it), but do not see any Biblical justification for the version you bring up. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it though.

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#265 of 269 Old 06-25-2009, 04:24 PM
 
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Here's a great link that I strongly agree with on why I don't think the gap theory (in which any life forms were on the Earth before the 7 day creation) has validity. The Gap Theory that I can maybe get behind would say that yes, the Earth was created long before the then 7 day creation took place.

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#266 of 269 Old 06-25-2009, 04:50 PM
 
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Sorry, DD woke up and wanted to nurse and I forgot to add the link.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/crea.../gaptheory.asp

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#267 of 269 Old 06-26-2009, 05:57 PM
 
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Just to be clear, since I realize my original post was vague, I myself do not necessarily endorse Gap Theory... I am currently a very curious and searching agnostic. Therefore, I'm afraid any of my actual "arguments" would be half-hearted, lol. I was really just kind of throwing it out there. Thanks, Evie's Mama, for the link you posted... it should produce some interesting discussions around here.

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#268 of 269 Old 08-05-2009, 08:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JamesMama View Post
Didn't read the whole thread, but I'm a Bible believing Christian and here is my take...

Several times in the Bible it is said that HIS time is not our time. So the whole 'earth in 6 days' is more metaphor to me. I don't think it was LITERALLY 144 hours. I believe that GOD'S day can be anywhere from 10,000 of our years to a trillion of our years. So it happened VERY slowly. So the 5th day where GOD created the beasts of the water and the air and the land, that very well could have been dinosaurs, and then some trillion of our years later on the '6th day' when GOD created man the dinosaurs had already died off along with probably a zillion other species created on the '5th day'. And then on the '6th day' there were primarily the creatures we see today....minus a bunch I'm sure as different animals have become extinct over the years.

Once Man was created I believe it became more of a 24-hour period day.
Not sure if this has already been brought up because this is a LONG thread, but where I get hung up on this idea is that death is the wages of sin and sin didn't enter until the fall. So, then death didn't enter in before that time either. If this is the case, then why would there have been death before then?

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#269 of 269 Old 08-09-2009, 09:27 PM
 
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Not sure if this has already been brought up because this is a LONG thread, but where I get hung up on this idea is that death is the wages of sin and sin didn't enter until the fall. So, then death didn't enter in before that time either. If this is the case, then why would there have been death before then?
That's the reason I don't think that Gap Theory about creation before the creation would work.

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