Response to 8 Myths About Reasons To Believe (circulated among Christians)


These eight supposed myths regarding RTB are posted on the RTB website at http://www.reasons.org/about/8_myths_about_rtb.shtml
This is a Young Earth response to these eight myths, in which only one is found to have merit.


1. Reasons To Believe (RTB) teaches theistic evolution (supernaturally directed Darwinism).

FALSE

In fact, RTB's founder, Hugh Ross, has been on the frontiers of making biblical and scientific the case against Darwinism for almost 2 decades. RTB believes that God has miraculously intervened throughout the history of the universe in various ways millions, possibly even billions, of times to create each and every new species of life on Earth.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
This is the only one of these eight supposed myths that I would agree is a valid point.  A review of some of the literature on the RTB web site shows that RTB does not teach theistic evolution.  Theistic evolution is the belief that God basically got the ball rolling, by creating the first simple life, which I must assume means the first single cell, and then just walked away and let evolutionary processes take whatever path they might.  Theistic evolution has a serious problem with the fact that in the 150 years since Darwin, not one undisputed transitional fossil has been found, and only a handful have been proposed, where there should be billions of them.  Progressive creationism solves this problem by proposing that God created each specie at exactly the time where it appears in the fossil record.  RTB's choice of progressive creationism is mandated by their decision to believe in the billions of years evolutionists insist on.  Unfortunately, RTB is not able to solve the many other problems faced by evolutionists, such as the many locations on earth where the geologic column is out of order, and the many evidences that the earth is young, such as soft tissue in dinosaur bones.   See my own list of young earth evidences at http://www.avcsa.org/Evidences_Links.htm

2. RTB's acceptance of the data supporting the "big bang" denies God's miraculous creation of the universe and its celestial bodies.

FALSE

In fact, Hugh Ross has been active for more than two decades in researching and communicating the most compelling evidences for God's supernatural fingerprint in creation. Instead of being an example of atheistic philosophy, big bang cosmology is one of the most potent evidences for the existence of God, pointing directly to the necessity of a Transcendent beginning of the universe. Many Christian apologists have affirmed that big bang cosmology is consistent with Scripture, including J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, and Hank Hannegraff.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
String Theory, which Ross advocates, teaches that the Big Bang and the creation of this universe came about as a random process: the collision of space-times in higher dimensions.  Perhaps in the past the Big Bang pointed to a creator, but that is being eroded away too.  We are now just one of a potentially infinite number of universes.  Belief in the Big Bang requires one to allegorize the events of the creation week.  No longer can you just read your Bible and believe what it says.  You must allow whatever current theory of Science that is in vogue to tell you how to understand what you are reading.  There is a YEC origin of the universe theory that accounts for the appearance of the universe without contradicting the order of events in Genesis.

RTB has climbed on the Big Bang Bandwagon.  The Bandwagon fallacy says you'd better go with the Big Bang or get left behind.  This is what  started the Church down its slippery path to error in the first place.  A need to stay relevant to the world required that it embrace the scientific theory of the day. 
The other fallacy here is "Authority":  Relying on authority to the exclusion of logic and evidence.  Just because some experts agree with the Big Bang doesn't make it true.

3. RTB teaches that God made Adam by taking a pre-existing creature (hominid) and breathing "spirit" into him.

FALSE

RTB does believe that the fossil record is a reasonably accurate history of life on earth, including the existence of hominids before modern humans. But RTB also firmly believes that God supernaturally and miraculously created Adam from the "dust of the earth" (not a pre-existing being) just as described in Genesis 1 and 2. Adam and Eve were the first humans, and from them came the entire human race. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------
It is true that RTB teaches that Adam was created Ex Nihilo, out of nothing, but this is only half the story.  First of all, the fossil record is not a "history of life on earth".  It is a collection of rocks and bones.  The interpretation of this collection becomes the "history", and the interpretation is based on one's worldview.  It is no surprise then that scientists starting with the old earth religion of evolution create a just-so-story from the fossil record that shows that the earth is old.

The other half the story is that RTB's acceptance old ages forces them to believe that any humanlike beings being excavated and dated by evolutionists as older than at most 60,000 years, cannot have come from Adam.  And although they are undoubtedly humanlike, they must have been spiritless creatures, not possessing the "image of God", i.e. animals.  The serious problem here is that scientists show that these supposed soulless hominids behaved in very human ways.  But Ross must claim that these were not human, in spite of their human tools, human musical instruments, human clothing, human burial practices, even crossbreeding with more "modern" versions of man. 

There is a nice summary of this point at http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2005/0218redating.asp

4. RTB exalts science over the Bible.

FALSE

RTB believes that God has revealed Himself to humanity in at least two ways—the words of the Bible and the record of nature. Reasons To Believe's mission is to work rigorously to integrate both of God's revelations into one harmonious picture revealing the identity and character of the Creator. When properly understood, God's Word (Scripture) and God's world (nature)—as two revelations (one verbal, one physical) from the same God—will never contradict each other.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
The fundamental difference between RTB and YECs is not the age of the earth, it is the authority of scripture.  Each person's views on the age of the earth is simply a result of their willingness to put scripture in authority over any other source, "Science" included.  (I am using "Science" in quotes to denote naturalism, the belief that there is no existence beyond the physical world).  Jesus said "You shall know them by their fruits".  If we look at what RTB actually does, instead of what they claim, as in the above statement, we find that except in the area of biological evolution, which RTB replaces with the very similar Progressive Creationism, RTB has consistently demonstrated a willingness to put "Science" over scripture.  RTB has not demonstrated that its mission is to "integrate both of God's revelations".  Its mission has been to reinterpret the Bible to match the worldview of old age evolutionists.

The key phrase to understanding the above statement is "When properly understood".  This ought to mean that we strive to understand what the author (God) meant when he wrote the scripture.  What RTB has done in practice is change this to "When properly interpreted", i.e. when the scripture is "properly interpreted" according to RTB's predetermined agenda of old age, there is no contradiction between scripture and "Science".  "Science" and the reinterpreted Bible will never contradict each other.

The direct reading of the scriptures is an easy task that for centuries was done without controversy.  Only when the Old Earth teaching was introduced to the world by non-Christians (about the year 1800) did the church feel a need to jump through numerous hoops to go along with the new teaching.  It is easy to read the Ten Commandments and realize that we must honor the Sabbath because "in six days God created the heavens and the earth".  It is such a chore to have to have to take scriptures that are so clear and explain why they aren't really saying what they are saying,  why such scriptures are just allegories, and why we can't just read our Bible as simple children of God.

5. RTB's acceptance of a billions-of-years-old universe contradicts a literal interpretation of the Bible.

FALSE

Actually, the Hebrew word for "day" has three literal definitions: 12 hours, 24 hours, or a long time period. Reasons To Believe affirms the accuracy of the biblical writings and frequently engages in scholarly discussions concerning the best, and most faithful, way to interpret Genesis 1. As a "God-breathed" revelation, the Bible is completely without error (historically, scientifically, morally, and spiritually). God's written word is our supreme and final authority in all matters that it addresses. Many Christian leaders have affirmed that an old-earth creation interpretation does not compromise Scripture, including Norman Geisler, the late Gleason Archer, Chuck Colson, Jack Hayford, and the late Dr. Walter Martin.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
This statement is really no different from Number 4 above.   The same arguments apply.  The Day/Age argument has been well discussed, and in the end, since no one can prove anything about what God meant when he said "day", you can simply ignore the fact that it was intended to mean 24 hour day, and choose the definition that fits your preconceived worldview.  If you redefine a "literal" day as being not a literal day, but any length of time that you want, then Presto, no longer does an age-long day contradict a "literal" reading of the Bible.  As YECs and most of church theologians through the ages have understood, when Yom is used with a number (the First day) and with the words "Evening and Morning" it simply means a 24 hour day.  This is also the most obvious reading of the text, and would be the way you would read it even if you didn't have the rest of the Bible to show you the meaning of Yom.  Anyone who has to translate Yom as anything but a 24 hour day is doing so because they have another agenda, such as the Big Bang, that forces them to depart from the obvious. 
For a good article outlining the debate, read http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0717seven-reasons.asp 

Here is also another example of appeal to "Authority" used so often by RTB: bringing up famous people who have bought in to the RTB doctrine.  This doesn't make it right.  "Fifty million Frenchmen can't be wrong!"   Or could they?  The reason God gave us the Bible in the first place was to tell us the true story of where we came from, so that we would not be mislead.

6. RTB's assertion that Noah's flood was geographically limited is a contradiction of Scripture.

FALSE

Reasons To Believe scholars make a solid case from the Bible that Noah's flood was "universal," impacting the entire human race and all animals associated with humanity, without necessarily being global. Given RTB's belief that early humans' failed to spread out over the planet, the flood need not have extended beyond the Mesopotamian area. RTB clearly affirms belief that Noah's flood wiped out all of humanity in existence at the time, with the lone exception of Noah and his family.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
RTB's assertion that Noah's flood was geographically limited is not a contradiction of Scripture if you simply change what the Bible says.  Did God really say "all animals"?  Or did he really say all animals "associated with humanity"?  Well, let's see what He said:

Gen 7:21  All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind;
Gen 7:22  of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died.
Gen 7:23  Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark.
I don't know how you could convey the concept of "all" any more clearly than God does here.  I count eight words that convey "all" in just three verses.  The direct reading of the text leaves no question as to how "universal" the flood was.  There is no mention of only animals "associated with humanity".  Only if you approach the text with an agenda will you need to read it any differently than the author intended.  The RTB statement above selectively agrees with parts of the scripture in an effort to appear that they agree with what the Bible teaches.  But even a quick look at the Bible shows they don't.

If you want Noah's flood to be local, you must also invoke a huge wall of water standing up at the south side of the Mesopotamian Valley for nearly a year to keep it from running into the ocean.  You also have to explain why Noah didn't just move away.  You must also add to the Bible the teaching that mankind did not spread out across the face of the earth, a theory completely unsupported by scripture because scripture makes no mention of where people were living.

An unbeliever or a believer without an agenda has no reason to think that the Bible is describing anything but a global flood.  But since RTB's agenda is to agree with the billions-of-years-old earth, the flood must be local, in spite of what the Bible says.  The Bible must be reinterpreted to agree with "Science".

7. RTB's view that plants and animals died before the Fall of Adam contradicts Romans 5:12.

FALSE

A careful examination of Romans 5:12 shows that Adam's sin introduced death to all humans, not to all life forms on earth. Plant and animal death in no way attributes evil or cruelty to the Creator. Furthermore, a biblical and scientific case can be made that the laws of physics as known today have been in operation since the creation of the universe.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
When we eat a cabbage, we are at peace in our spirit about eating the cabbage.  When we kill an animal, even for food, we sense in our spirit some pain and remorse, or at least an acknowledgment that death has occurred.  God built that into our nature.  When we go to the museum and see the models of great meat eating dinosaurs tearing one another, we feel inside that this is not a good thing.  RTB is suggesting that the fossil record of not only death, but also disease, bloodshed, thorns, and suffering was there since the beginning of the earth. 
If we follow that to its logical conclusion, then Adam and Eve, before the fall, looked out beyond the boundaries of the Garden of Eden, saw a world full of bloodshed and said that it was "Good" because that is what God declared it to be (Genesis 1:24).  And after the fall, when they were thrown out of the Garden into this "Good" world, did they still think that this world was "Good"?  Or did they change their minds?

In an effort to keep this leaky ship from sinking, RTB has proposed that what God really meant by "Good" was "Good enough".  Creation is "Good enough" for the rest of God's plan of Man, the Fall, and Salvation to be worked out.  If this is so, then why God called it "very good" is a mystery to me.

In Romans 5:12 Paul is discussing sin from the point of view of the Law of Moses, a human issue, and so is not specific about its affect on non humans.  So if you take this verse by itself and look at nothing else, you can make a case.  However, look at Rom 8:22:  "For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now."  The whole creation certainly does groan and suffer.  I don't think Paul had it in his mind that the creation was created groaning and suffering.  Paul believed that the redemptive work of Christ would set the world free of the curse that is on it, and it would give birth to a new creation, one created in the image of the original, perfect creation, that God called "very good".

8. RTB promotes the use of unreliable dating methods.

FALSE

Multiple dating methods have been tested and proven reliable, each one applicable within specific boundaries. Confidence in these methods is rooted in the belief that God has created the universe in such a manner as to reveal His existence and divine nature. God intended the natural realm to be studied, measured, and understood (at least to a limited extent) and thereby offer a glimpse of His power and love. All dating methods have certain limitations, but when methods are applied in their proper context they yield accurate and reliable results within specified margins of error.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
If we could know all that we need to know about the history of God's creation from measuring the natural realm,  God would not have had to give us any revelation in scripture about the age of the earth or the flood.  But since he does, perhaps it is an indication that there is more to the story than we can read in the rocks.  The recent findings by ICR of the more than just serious problem of Helium in granite is an indication that something is going on that we just can't glean from nature.  God told us the age of the earth in the genealogies.  ICR's age of granite using Helium retention gives the same age.  These ages greatly contradict the ages given by radioactive dating methods.  As Bible believers, does it occur to us that perhaps there is something going on that we could have no knowledge of unless God revealed it to us?  If we believe as RTB does, that nature is another revelation from God that we should look to along with the Bible, then the answer is "No, just look at what nature says".  But if we hold to the authority of Scripture and believe that scripture should be used to interpret what we observe in nature, then the answer is "Yes, something must have happened that we have no way of finding out unless God reveals it".  In this case, ICR's research shows that probably the Flood was started by sudden and rapid plate tectonics, continental drift, and the mechanism that started continental drift was a supernatural increase in the rate of radioactive decay of all radioactive elements in the earth.  This accounts for the existence of large amounts of decay products that make the earth appear to be old, while at the same time, accounts for rocks containing large amounts of the decay product Helium, which would have absolutely no way of still being in the rocks if they were really billions of years old.

It is a fundamental basis of the RTB belief system that radioactive dating methods give reliable dates.  Dating methods are based on many assumptions, foremost being that the rate of radioactive decay is, and has always been, constant.  The belief in constant and repeatable results of scientific experiments is a rational belief which everyone should hold to.  But the belief in miracles is a belief that God can override the laws that He has made, when He wants to.  The Flood turns out to be more miraculous than we ever suspected.