Friday, May 7, 2010

Genesis 5:1-6:4's 3rd Creation Account

Genesis 5 starts the 3rd (creation) account—an oft-overlooked account that is not usually seen as a creation account. As Kass notes: “Little attention is paid to the events that led up to the Flood or to the reasons why God might have caused it…The only intervening material between the gentle genealogy of Genesis 5 and…the Flood are a few enigmatic verses (6:1-4)…” So, Kass encourages us to read carefully!

The 1st account was cosmological; the 2nd depicted prototypical humans interacting with God. Here, God plays almost no role; it mostly describes how the human race grew and hints at what leads to the Flood. As before, at first, things seem quite promising. Early-on, there are references to Gen 1:26-27; it retains Seth in the genealogy; verse 3 repeats the reference to likeness/image, and 3ff’s fulfills “be fruitful and multiply” (1:28). Cain and Eve don’t show up; nor is there any mention of Gen 3’s punishments/curses. They have long (and presumably prosperous) lives, although the passage does underline man’s mortality.

An overview of the list: 10 generations from Adam to Noah—from Fall to Flood. This illustrates the importance of individuals to God, esp. on Seth’s relatively-godly side. (See: the details of ch. 5 vs. the list in ch. 4). And from Kass: “The line of Adam and Seth, simpler and gentler, contains no inventors or warriors; and [later] its most distinguished members are…closer to God”—Seth’s Enoch (5:22) and Seth’s Lamech (5:29).

In Genesis 5:21-24, Enoch (through Seth) is the representative of ultimate good—and counters Lamech (Cain) who is also the 7th generation from Adam. Enoch "walked with God" vs. merely "lived" (8x throughout Ch. 5). Then "he was no more, because God took him away" vs. "then he died" (8x). Enoch escapes the curse of death and is brought home relatively early. (This reminds me of the sentimental/powerful Michael W. Smith song-- Kentucky Rose. I tear up every time I hear this mini-biography-- something to aspire to!)

I like what Patrick Henry Reardon said about Enoch: “Living before both Noah and Moses, Enoch was participant in neither of the covenants associated with these men. Not a single line of Holy Scripture was yet written for him to read. Much less did Enoch ever hear the message of salvation preached by the apostles. Yet, he was so pleasing to God by his faith as to be snatched away before his time...What exactly did Enoch believe, then, that he should be such a champion of faith for the Church until the end of time? The Epistle to the Hebrews explains: ‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him.’ This was the sum total of all that Enoch’s faith told him-- God’s existence and his own duty to seek God to obtain the singular blessing that Scripture ascribes to Him.”

In Genesis 5:25-27, we read about the famous Methuselah and his 969 years—a Biblical record. He died in the (year of the) flood (5:25 + 5:28 + 7:6)—taken out by it (or just beforehand). As a bit of trivia, it’s interesting that Methuselah (along with Jeroboam, Rehoboam, Mordecai, Nebuchadnezzar, Solomon and Melchizedek) are oversized wine bottle.

In Gen 5:28-32, we read about Lamech (on Seth’s side) and are introduced to Noah and Sons. Interestingly, both Lamechs are the only ones to speak out of their lineages, but moaning under vs. taunting the curse—here, 29’s to name Noah in light of God’s provision.

Are these genealogies selective? Sometimes, but probably not here. In any case, many of the years are at least symbolic in parts—whether literary device &/or Providence at work—in particular, Enoch's 365, Lamech (Seth)’s 777; and the 7/10 generations out from Adam.

OK, aside from a few nice observations, can we do anything else with this? Kass argues: “To discover the worm in the family tree, we must read with a magnifying glass—and with a timeline and a calculator.” He notes that for more than a half-century, between 874 (when Lamech is born) and 930 (when Adam dies), all nine generations of humans (at least Seth’s line) are alive at the same time! Then, Adam dies the first natural death. Kass: “the prophecy of human mortality is, at long last, fatally—and fatefully—fulfilled…how [will] human beings—especially the men—react to the discovery of their unavoidable finitude.”

From another angle, Noah (born in 1056), is the first [recorded] man to be born after Adam dies. He has no (indirect) contact with Eden and its prospect of immortality; Kass: “Noah is the first man who enters a world in which death is already present, the first man who grows up knowing about death…For Noah unlike his predecessors, mortality is a received part of the human condition: thus, Noah (not Adam or Cain) is the prototype of self-consciously mortal man.”

Kass: “In the meantime, the rest of mankind goes boldly and heroically wild…offended and angry…[the] death-defying warrior…[a] desire for glory and immortal fame…” Thus, the best explanation I’ve heard of the difficult passage in 6:1-4.

Who are Gen 6:2a's "sons of God" and "daughters of men". There is no fully compelling answer. Kass provides evidence for both views, but concludes: “In the end, it may make little difference…the result is mixed marriage, with an illicit mixing of the god-like and the human, leading to the corruption of one by the other.”

Who were Gen 6:4's Nephilim? The term is often translated giants—and this is perhaps ok, but the root words are “to (cause to) fall”. Here, they are aptly defined as 4b’s "heroes of old, men of renown". This may explain the reference to “and also afterwards”—that this is a type of man, rather than a race of men.

What about Gen 6:3b's upper age-limit of 120 years? Again, two possibilities, but the larger issue?

Hugh Ross: “Many seem to think ‘life’s too short’…The human condition in the days just before the flood suggests the opposite….God allows people to live on Earth long enough to recognize and choose (or reject) Him, long enough to fulfill their destiny, and long enough to receive the training they will need for the new creation.” (See also: Gen 6:3a’s “my Spirit will not contend…”)

Similarly, Kass: “Later…God will elect the path of external law. But for the time being…a different tactic: to shorten the human life span to 120 years. Presumably very great longevity invited [mostly] very great mischief and danger.”

As Kass notes, this could have gone either way: “Because death was for so long so far out of sight, these men were able to forget their mortality and pretend to immortal godliness. Yet when the inevitable happened, they behaved worse than all the animals…Perhaps if men learned from observing the deaths of others that they too had limited time, they would use it better. Perhaps if they could not pretend to immortality, they would be more open to the truly eternal. But the strategy of a shortened life span is to no avail, at least in the short run, as the sequel makes plain.”

And that leads to the Flood…


At May 8, 2010 at 2:00 PM , Blogger said...

The inherent problems with Hugh Ross's assessment:

• He presume sthat EVERYONE lived extended lives where death would have occurred at any age.

• The flood would have taken the lives of both young and old.

Ross, btw, doesn't believe in universal flood.

At May 8, 2010 at 2:15 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

I don't understand either of your two comments-- or at least how they are problematic.

At May 9, 2010 at 7:16 AM , Blogger said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At May 9, 2010 at 7:20 AM , Blogger said...

Ross: "God allows people to live on Earth long enough to recognize and choose (or reject) Him."

This suggests that the extended lives of prediluvians were to give them ample time (and, consequently, accountability) to accept God.

If my understanding of Dr. Ross is correct:

That fact that life terms vary would suggest that God is unjust.

Methuselah had 969 years to get his act together, whereas one who died at age 97 was alloted a lesser chance by 90 percent. One who died at age 9 years and six months had 1/100 the opportunity as did Methuselah.

Now superimpose that observation over those who died in the flood - all ages were uneven meaning those who were older at the time of the flood had greater opportunities "to recognize and choose (or reject) Him" compared to those who were younger.

If my understanding of Dr. Ross is not correct, the argument still stands; (it just doesn't pertain to the post.)

That argument holds for any point and time in human history, not just the prediluvian era. What's more it is compounded by other factors, such as access to the gospel message.

Entire civiliations spanning thousands of years and hundreds of generations lived and died without awareness of the Judeo-Christian concept of God. Are these people at this very moment in hell.

At May 9, 2010 at 3:30 PM , Blogger PianoMom said...

I really have no clue what you all are talking about, but I can say this with relative certainty:

The following assertion--

Entire civiliations spanning thousands of years and hundreds of generations lived and died without awareness of the Judeo-Christian concept of God. Are these people at this very moment in hell.

-- relies on the assumption that God did not make himself known to ancient civilizations or prepare their hearts to know Him.

Actually much ancient cultural evidence/testimony exists to the contrary. A fantastic book on this topic is Eternity in Their Hearts by Don Richardson. It discusses the Incas, Athenians, ancient Bantu tribes, Chinese, and others, in this light - very fascinating

At May 9, 2010 at 9:40 PM , Blogger said...


Thanks for your input.

We tend to see what we believe rather than believe what we see.

There are "archeologists" who see extraterrestrials in ancient cultures — because that's what they're looking for.

Imagine a 17-year-old Mohican girl who dying in child birth 1,000 years ago. Did she immediately find herself in hell? Is she there right this moment as you read these words? Will she be burning in anguish for the next 1,000 years? Billion years?

(Apologies to Eric for using your blog to vent.)

At May 9, 2010 at 10:15 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...


It might be more precise for Ross to say that "an individual lives long enough..." But I suspect that your concerns go beyond average lifespans or even the length of any given person's lifespan.

There are a variety of views on hell-- and, more importantly, degrees of "inclusivism" in salvation-- that can get around these difficulties.

The Bible says that we're saved by grace (rather than our own merit). And we know that OT heroes of the faith were "saved" by their faith in God and His grace, rather than their knowledge about the Bearded Man from Galilee. Presumably, the same option (and others) are available from a just and loving God to a 17-year old Mohican.

At May 9, 2010 at 10:40 PM , Blogger PianoMom said...

Right, Mr DailyKenn,
You are correct in that we tend to see what we want to see.

I wonder what is making you want to see God as a being who throw a seventeen year old girl into hell to burn alive forever and ever without giving her the chance to know him. That's actually not the God of the Bible.

Of course, we cannot know for sure and can only speculate on how God may have revealed himself in ancient cultures but it is certainly possible, if not probable.

Possibly, that young girl you described is with God right now. She knew Him and responded to Him.

If she did got to hell, perhaps she was "annhilated" thousands of years ago and is no longer suffering. Annhilationism is a biblical interpretation of the nature of hell, not commonly accepted, but legitimate.

In the end, I do trust that God and that he does the right thing. I have 2 young sons and I am not planning on sending them to die in anyone's place, ever. This is what God did for me and because of this, I can never doubt Him.

At May 10, 2010 at 3:29 AM , Blogger said...

Eric and PianoMom,

Dr. William Lane Craig supposes that God's foreknowledge (or middle knowledge from Molinism) somehow allows him to arrange for those who would get "saved" to live in a time and place where they would have access to the gospels. The Mohican girl and countless millions like her would have rejected the gospel had they heard it, according to Craig. That leaves them in hell wondering how they got there and lets God off the hook.

Still the conflict between determinism and indeterminism persists.

After 50+ years immersed in the Christian fundamentalist paradigm, the observation that there is nothing supernatural, never has been and never will be emerges as sole rational conclusion.

At May 10, 2010 at 7:27 AM , Blogger PianoMom said...

As Eric pointed out, many people in the Old Testament, including the patriarchs and even "aliens" from pagan cultures (Ruth and Rahab) gained the assurance of salvation by their trust in God, without ever having any direct knowledge of the person of Jesus Christ.

Kenn, I'm sure that if you have spent 50+ years immersed in Christian fundamentalism, you are aware of the books written discussing these debates. (Case for Faith by Lee Strobel for example)

Here is a pertinent passage from Acts:

22Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

These verses are a biblical example of exactly what Richardson discusses -- that God prepares people to receive Him and has been reaching to them throughout history.

Next -- 24"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'

The apostle Paul says the opposite of Dr. Craig here.
He says God, in his foreknowledge, DID determine the times set for men and the exact places where they should live.


"God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."

He wants all people, from all times and places, to know and love Him and he does everything He can to make that happen.

At May 10, 2010 at 8:45 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Kenn, I don't find Dr. Craig's explanation compelling, but there are certainly other options.

At May 10, 2010 at 8:56 AM , Blogger PianoMom said...

Kenn, I checked out your links briefly. I do not know where the lines are drawn between man's free will and God's sovereignty (predestination). It is admittedly a mystery which no one can fully comprehend or explain and I somewhat distrust people who attempt to do so.

At May 10, 2010 at 10:42 AM , Blogger said...


If you care to seriously study Christian apologetics, I would recommend Alvin Plantinga and William Craig rather than Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell. Strobel and McDowell are generally regarded as religious pop icons whose primary mission is to sell books to gullible church folk. Plantinga and Craig are extremely bright Christians who form valid arguments.

Concerning the verses quoted, they reflect Paul's observation that "We walk by faith not by sight." And that accounts for the divergence that exists and evolves among orthodoxy.

If you care to read it, here are two of my responses to Lee Stroebel's book:






I agree that Dr. Craig's view is a sretch; but would question that there are valid alternatives. Rather, the only options are: 1) It's nonsense or 2) We'll understand it by and by.

I think of Raymond Babbitt trying to unravel Lou and Costello's "Who's On First?" There is no solution; now or hereafter.

At May 10, 2010 at 11:36 AM , Blogger PianoMom said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At May 10, 2010 at 11:38 AM , Blogger PianoMom said...

Wish I had the time to study your responses, as well as Plantiga and Craig in detail.
I did skim the links you provided and there seems to be an unwillingness to acknowledge the existence of the supernatural. If that's the case, then there is no doubt, you will find the Bible utter foolishness. There is not even a place to begin a sincere discussion.

For instance, you refer to the angel's appearance to Zachariah as "fanciful". Because Luke quotes it as an historical event, any thinking person should immediately dismiss his historical claim to accuracy.

Kenn, have you ever considered our origins? How did we get here? Math and Science cannot come close to adequately explaining it. This should lead a rational, thinking person to the conclusion that the will and intelligence of an "outside" force/being was involved - something supernatural.

Paul's words can be understood in a plain-sense meaning and the context is perfect for what we are discussing. They clearly point out the fact that Craig is way off base in his conclusions. You seem to be somehow blowing this off for some reason.

I think Strobel and McDowell are fantastic. I also accept the Bible as Truth and Authority. I guess that makes me the epitome of "gullible church folk" :-)

At May 10, 2010 at 12:23 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

I agree that Plantinga and Craig are more serious in terms of scholarship. Strobel and McDowell are "popularizers"-- bringing scholarship to the masses-- which is a valuable service, and not to be denigrated, per se. Moreover, there's no guarantee that Plantinga or Craig are correct on any given issue, especially which are necessarily thornier.

Kenn, what's wrong with annihilationism or more directly, various forms of inclusivism?

At May 10, 2010 at 8:39 PM , Blogger said...


We evoke religion to fill gaps in understanding.

Although we were cognitive of the fact the we must have had a beginning, we recoginzed no natural evidence that provided an answer. That gap in understanding was filled with supernatural suppositions.

How did I get here? I originated in the early 1950s through a natural process. My parents and their parents were also of natural origins. In fact, all biological origins that can be observed are natural; not supernatural.

Do you see the hand of God in the natural environment? I see only naturalism. Again, do we believe what we see or see what we believe?

If you care to engage in intelligent discussion regarding intelligent design, you will need to advance beyond Strobel and McDowell. Craig and Plantiga are competent to challenge anyone in academia as peers. Consider, also, the resources of Dr. Hugh Ross.

If you will take time to read my reponses to Strobel, you will undersand how inadequate his argements are.

Here is a link to Craig's debate with Richard Carrier and others regarding a spectrum of topics including the Resurrection of Jesus:, the web site of Dr. Hugh Ross:

At May 10, 2010 at 8:53 PM , Blogger said...


While annihilationism and "forms of inclusivism" may be intrinsically flawed, a greater question asks why they even exist.

If religion were a concoction of human ideas we would expect it to consist of a muddled mix of conflicting notions and occasional dead-in logic that can only be unravelled "when we all get to heaven."

And so it is. Consequently we have everything from Quakers to Four Square, Trinitarians vs Jesus Only, determinism vs indeterminism; Darby's dispensations vs Church of God, Anderson.

Naturalism, on the other hand, consist exclusively of absolutes. One plus one always equals two. There is no conflict between the Church of Gravity and the Church of Anti-Gravity. Disputes exist in the human mind (where religion exists), not in nature.

As I noted on my blog, "The nature of God and the theism it entails is consistent with muddled mental human concoctions. We conclude that God didn't create the human mind but the human mind devised God."

The nature of nature, being a nounomenally observed phenomenon, is comprised of absolutes. We conclude that the human mind didn't create nature but nature devised the human mind."

At May 10, 2010 at 9:22 PM , Blogger Dave said...

Most laws such as the law of gravity, the law of heredity, and the law of chemistry are laws that we cannot choose to disobey. The law of nature can be disobeyed. There is a standard of behavior that all people appeal to. Even Hitler knew what he was doing was wrong...otherwise, how could we blame him. That standard of behavior doesn't come from instinct or social convention (i.e. something that can be taught). Why should I act decently? Because it's good for society? That's not much incentive for me. There's got to be more than that. The Universe God created proves he is a great artist. Creation shows God's existence, but more powerful than that is the Moral Law which He has put into our minds.

At May 10, 2010 at 9:56 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

We invoke *faith* to fill gaps in understanding-- and do so in a wide array of areas, from the natural to the supernatural. Hopefully, reason and evidence fill the gap as much as is reasonably possible. (That said, the pursuit of reason and evidence is costly, so good people will disagree on the extent to which they will pursue both.)

You can trace your own origins, those of your parents, and perhaps a number of generations before that. But the key question at hand is whether natural processes can explain all of this. To note, can natural processes describe the appearance of life and its "evolution" to what we see now? To your first point, this conjecture requires considerable faith-- albeit in a natural vs. supernatural process. But since you can't see either one in this case, why bias the answer in favor of the natural, especially when the natural seems so inadequate to the task?

Putting it another way: Whether nature is comprised of absolutes or not, the question is whether we can infer those absolutes with solely reason and evidence. The answer there, clearly, is (absolutely) no.

Finally, I don't have "reasons to believe" that annihilationism and inclusivism are intrinsically flawed.

At May 10, 2010 at 10:45 PM , Blogger PianoMom said...


Do you have any idea the mathematical probability that the simplest biologically functional protein in "nature" could form by random processes?

There is a definite probability -- see if you can find it in your
C & P notes and get back with me. Then we can have an academic discussion on the topic of "naturalism"; until then your thoughts are, well... just that -- your thoughts.

Regarding the idea that we ign'rant church sheeple need a PhD to get anything from the Bible, I'd like to throw this out for consumption:

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong"

Remember that one from your Baptist minister days?

At May 10, 2010 at 11:50 PM , Blogger said...


The purpose of the theist application of of mathematical probabilities is to minimize natural explanation to a point of absurdity allowing supernatural to be interjected by default. However it is nothing more than a gap in understanding.

For example, the probablity that a 57-year-old with four letters in his middle name (Paul) would be typing on a computer with a serial number that ends in 7 at precisely 11:19 pm at this particluar junction of latitude and longitude is so remote as to be mathematically impossible. Shall we conclude this is divine design?

The observation that no living thing has come into existence by a supernatural process but all have come into existence by natural processes is not a mere random firing of one's synoptic nerves. It is a fact. (And the probabilies are innumerable.)

Note that I Cor 1:17 references foolish things "of the world" as opposed things that are supernatural or spiritual.

The phrase "foolish things" comes from the Greek word "mōros" (yes, as in "moron") but flows from the root μυστήριον meaning "mysteries."

And so the writer's observation stands: Natural mysteries are confounding, even to the wise -- a fact that is true with or without God.

A few verses later the same writer makes another observation regarding wisdom: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

Note the syllogism:

1. Natural men cannot receive or understand that which is spiritual.

2. Understanding that which is spiritual is necessary for salvation.

3. Therefore, no one can be "saved."

At May 11, 2010 at 12:00 AM , Blogger PianoMom said...

What? Can't get the number, Kenny? C & P can't bail you out?

You really should have been paying more attention in your sophomore Algebra II class.

At May 11, 2010 at 12:00 AM , Blogger said...


The bias toward the natural is admittendly so because it is based on exclusive observation. Granted, observation can be wrong (that's why duck decoys are effective), but naturalism is always observed, supernaturial is never observed.

Example: We oberve God healing cancer, but never healing an amputee. The conclusion is that the healing of cancer was not supernatural.

So where is God? He is always just beyond the horizon where he cannot be defined by observation, but only by implication.

See my essay here:

You note, "But the key question at hand is whether natural processes can explain all of this." It can and does and to consign it to God, one has to go beyond the horizon.

At May 11, 2010 at 12:13 AM , Blogger said...


You seem to be touching on C.S. Lewis' principle of oughtness. (I call it "oughtism.")

It is another gap argument. We don't understand how we came to have a sense of moral direction, therefore we default to a supernatural explanation.

However, the God of the Mormons, who are among the most moral of religious folk, is quite different from the God of evangelical Christians. Oughtism, then, could be used to vindicate Mormonism.

Early human tribes that incorporated moral behavior into their lives would have competed more efficiently with those tribes that did not. By natural process oughtism was reinforced over subsequent generations.

At May 11, 2010 at 1:21 AM , Blogger PianoMom said...


Since your mentors, Craig and Plantigua, have failed you, let's see if I can help.

Maybe we can take this step by step; pure science, observable and testable fact, one step at a time. No mumbo jumbo, ancient tribal, God beyond the horizon stuff - just the facts of biological science for a moment. Can you let go of all your presuppositions and Kennish notions and allow yourself go there -- just for a few minutes?

I think we can give it a try

Fact #1 Protein molecules perform the cellular processes necessary for life. Thousands of different types of proteins are required. Their shape is highly specific to their function.

Fact #2 Protein molecules are composed of amino acid chains. The specific sequence of the amino acid chain determines cellular function. In addition, peptide bonds between amino acids must form in such a way as to maintain a particular three-dimensional structure if the protein is to be active biologically.

Fact #3:
Assuming that simplest cell needs 250 proteins of 150 amino acids, the probability of producing one such protein is
1 in 10 to 164th power.
That number multiplied by 250
is 1 in 10 to 41,000.

Consider the number 10 to 80th power. This is the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in the observable universe. Quoting Stephen C. Meyer -- "If The odds of finding a functional protein by chance on the first attempt had been 1 in 10 to 80th power, we could have said that's like finding a marked particle - proton, neutron or electron - among all the particles in the known universe."

In order to form ONE cell, we need to overcome not 80 orders of magnitude, but 41,000 orders of magnitude.

Kenny, this number allows you MUCH leeway to quibble without changing the conclusion one Iota. I don't want your little brain to explode now that your reality has just been shattered, but
There is NO WAY!!!

Much of this particular research came from Signature in the Cell. My undergraduate studies were in this area and I recognized this problem for natural theory. Douglas Axe busted it wide open.

At May 11, 2010 at 1:50 AM , Blogger PianoMom said...

[For example, the probablity that a 57-year-old with four letters in his middle name (Paul) would be typing on a computer with a serial number that ends in 7 at precisely 11:19 pm at this particluar junction of latitude and longitude is so remote as to be mathematically impossible. Shall we conclude this is divine design?]

You are correct in that probability alone is not sufficient to wholly reject chance. It is highly specific improbable events manifesting as a pattern that lead to conclusions outside the realm of chance.

Your purported analysis is one often given by atheists when faced with extreme unlikelihood (actually impossibilty) that they are here by accident.

At May 11, 2010 at 2:39 AM , Blogger PianoMom said...

"Pattern Recognition leads us to eliminate Chance"

Proteins are very much like words in that, in order to function, amino acids (like letters) must be in proper sequence.

When I was teaching my son to read, I employed the use of little plastic letters which we used to sound out words. Sometimes I would leave the letters out on the table after we had practiced. Some days, I would leave the room and come back in later to find the letters still lying on the table.

Let's use this little anectdote to illustrate the above concept
in the common sense vernacular

I walk in the room and see the letters in the following arrangement:

asjdhjy uimnv kfzclgiuc
(quite analagous to the prebiotic soup, actually)

What do I conclude?

Either he has not learned his spelling very well or they have been left scattered. No Intelligence

The next week, I walk in to find the letters like this:

I love you Mommy. You are the best Mommy in the world.

What a great little guy! Out of all the possible combinations that could have occurred with those letters, he put together the correct ones to make some nice words.
I do not wonder for a moment whether or not this happened by chance - how Ridiculous!

The Recognition of a Pattern is the key (the letters laid in a specified order) is what leads us to logically reject chance.

(vs Probability of an Event in time - Mr. Gividen's apologetics)

At May 11, 2010 at 6:46 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...


Naturalism is always observed, but very many things-- particularly in history-- are not observed. Thus, the faith issue/problem in this realm.

We've only *seen* naturalism explain exceedingly modest changes in species-- infinitely infinitesimal compared to what we need to see to avoid an extraordinary level of faith about naturalism's ability to explain all. To use your analogy, Evolution (of this sort) is the equivalent of the miraculous healing.

A key misunderstanding is the difference between narrative and explanation. Neither Creation nor Evolution (of the comprehensive sort) provides an explanation; they both do a lot of hand-waving and tell us a story with a lot of "well, X did it". That's fine, especially given our inability to see what X supposedly did-- but that requires faith either way.

Finally, are we done with this: I don't have "reasons to believe" that annihilationism and inclusivism are intrinsically flawed.

At May 11, 2010 at 7:04 AM , Blogger PianoMom said...

The "invoking of faith to fill the gaps" is biblical and actually pleases God.

Hebrews Ch 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for."

Belief in God is not "blind faith"; evidence of Him is all around. But, in the present, we do not know with absolute certainty that He exists.

At May 11, 2010 at 7:33 AM , Blogger said...


What you describe argues in favor of naturalism as complexity and supposed probability scenarios are always observed to emerge from natural phenomena. You may want to take note of Kant's discussion of noumenon vs phenomenon is discerning the difference between human observation and conclusion and reality.

Although you may find the horizon argument difficult to circumvent, it holds as an observable constant when arguing for theism: God simply does not exist where He can be observed but emerges only when human understanding is exhausted leaving theists with no alternative but to declare God to be transcendant. And that is consistent with non-existence.

Also, please refrain from ad hominem attacks such as "I don't want your little brain to explode." Personal insults and disrespecting one another add nothing to the discussion.

Nothing argues more convincingly against theism than bad-behaving church folk. My experience in discussing apologetics with Christians is that, unable to form valid arguments, they resort to volume and digress to personal insults. As always, I insist that our tone remain civil and sans the personal slurs.

At May 11, 2010 at 7:55 AM , Blogger PianoMom said...

Don't feel good, does it?

I agree with you, Kenn, and I apologize.

You baited me though --("Pianomoma", "gullible church folk", derisive tone -- "If you care to seriously study..., If you care to advance in intelligent discussion") etc. There's four from you right there, before I threw out any!!
I did feel ridiculed and gave in to the temptation to return the compliments - definitely not the Christian thing to do. I have asked God to forgive me; I hope you will forgive me.

It would be great to be able to go back and forth without ad hominems on either side. However, in spite of my use of them, the position I have outlined is credible. It stands on hard core science.

At May 11, 2010 at 8:36 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...


Have you read anything from an ID'er about ID? If not (or even if so), I'd recommend Dembski's "Design Revolution". To PM's point, ID requires much more than chance.

To your point, many Christians resort to ad hominems or other-- from their inability to deal with arguments such as these. That is unfortunate. Likewise, most opponents of ID are in a similar position. It is exceedingly rare that an opponent of ID has read ID literature-- and rarer still, that they can enunciate what ID is. Maybe you're knowledgeable about it, but your opening example of probabilities is not a good sign.

At May 11, 2010 at 10:12 AM , Blogger Dave said...

You are right that oughtism is half of the story. Romans 3:20 tells us of our need for a Savior that has met the standard......the ought to dos. "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin." Do you believe in the substitutionary death of Jesus?

At May 11, 2010 at 3:39 PM , Blogger said...


"Pianomoma" was unintentional (bad memory, I suppose.) No slight intended; didn't even notice I'd done it until you mentioned it.


While evangelicals are notorious for their mean-spirited attacks, the don't begin to compare with the hateful attacks that come from militant gay activists.

I've read some ID writers. Once they make the case for ID, they must id the Designer. The book you suggest in at the local library. I'll check it out.


"Do you believe in the substitutionary death of Jesus?"

No longer. I consider the resurrection story to be nothing more than an urban legend.

If one is to assume the gospel account contains validity, we could logically conclude that the tomb was empty having never been occupied, the stone was displaced having never been in place, the burial clothes were intact, having never been used (the head napkin was reported to be still folded.)

Do you believe this statement: "And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose"?

Interesting discussion!

At May 11, 2010 at 4:28 PM , Blogger Dave said...

I do believe that and I believe the verses before and after as well. The verse immediately prior regarding the curtain of the temple being torn in two is one of my favorites. We'll just have to agree to disagree. I wasn't sure your thoughts on the Resurrection but now I know. My belief in the infallibility of the scriptures likely leaves us too far apart to positively influence each other. You are an interesting person to pick up on my C.S. Lewis reference though.

At May 11, 2010 at 5:07 PM , Blogger PianoMom said...

Great! Now we can all be friends!! :-)

...feeling a little tired of debating at this point, though

At May 11, 2010 at 7:59 PM , Blogger said...


Jerry Falwell frequently emphasized the importance of disagreeing agreeably. True, I doubt either could influence the other. Then, again, I seldom engage in debate without learning.


I seldom tire of debate; and that, no doubt, is a personal flaw. However, I usually shy away from discussing theism. A public debate at a church or university would be a welcomed challenge.

Let's keep in touch!

At May 11, 2010 at 8:37 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Kenn, there is no need to ID the ID'er-- either scientifically or logically. Curious minds might inquire, of course, but that's (further?) outside the realm of science.

At May 11, 2010 at 8:41 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Kenn, let me know about the Dembski book-- and if you're down this way, let me know and we can meet for coffee or lunch to talk about all sorts of things!

At May 11, 2010 at 8:50 PM , Blogger said...


Actually, I'm in your neighborhood every Wednesday making sales calls. Tomorrow I'm passing through enroute to Somerset. Maybe the following Wednesday we can meet up. My sales partner will be with me.

At May 11, 2010 at 8:52 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

That'd be great. Would you be down here around lunch? I know a Mexican/Caribbean place in New Albant that is addictive; I look to get there every chance I get. It's probably the one place I know where the food would be better than the company in this case! ;-)

At May 12, 2010 at 9:20 PM , Blogger said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At May 12, 2010 at 9:21 PM , Blogger said...


We'll be in New Albany area all day on Wednesday the 19th.

Just say when and where.

Looking forward to it!

At May 12, 2010 at 9:32 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

La Rosita, 1515 E. Mkt. St in New Albany-- a block from the big intersection at Spring and Vincennes.

Let's say 12:30.
See you then!

At May 12, 2010 at 11:27 PM , Blogger said...

you'll want to e-mail me your phone number in case something comes up.

At May 13, 2010 at 8:19 PM , Blogger PianoMom said...

Hey Kenn,

I was checking out your website. No place for comments?

Love the vocabulary words!
I think I'm needing a new one for "fantastic" lol!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home