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Pete Enns on Al Mohler and the “Apparent” Age of the Cosmos: Two more problems

Pete Enns continues his critque of Al Mohler’s theory that the earth only looks billions of years old.  Today Pete points out 1) that Mohler needs not only to account for why life, the universe and everything looks old, but also for why it looks like it evolved, and 2) that Mohler is arbitrary in which portions of Scripture he reads plainly.  Pete makes some particularly saucy points:

A Diagram of the Ancient Near Eastern Cosmology envisioned within the Old Testament

The biblical writers thought the earth was a flat disk. To follow Mohler’s logic, we must conclude that the world only looks round, since Scripture has the final word on the matter. Hence, God created the earth with “apparent roundness.”

Likewise, the Bible speaks of the sky overhead as a dome. Therefore, it can only appear that we have broken free of our atmosphere and orbited the earth, landed on the moon, and are moving further to the outer limits of our solar system daily. God created the cosmos with “apparent outer space.”

The Bible speaks of the earth as the stable, motionless, center of the cosmos. Therefore, it can only appear that the earth rotates on it axis, thus giving us day and night, or that the earth revolves around the sun, along with the other planets, on its yearly course. God created the solar system with “apparently heliocentricity.”

This is not to make light of Mohler’s view.  It’s just to show that his way of approaching the issue generates lots of problems and that the difficulties go well beyond deciding whether the world really is or only just looks old.

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Discussion

7 thoughts on “Pete Enns on Al Mohler and the “Apparent” Age of the Cosmos: Two more problems

  1. Indeed the ancient Hebrew cosmology is very important as we approach the biblical cosmos: the heavens, the land, and the underworld. We should note St. Paul in Phil. 2: 10, etc. But, to suggest that the Hebrews thought the world was flat, is debateable. They certainly knew the moon was round, at least during a full moon!

    Also God, in the heaven of heavens, then heavens, the gate of heaven…waters above the firmament, windows and doors of heaven; earth, sheol, and then the great deep. We must be careful how we state this dogmatically!

    Posted by irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert | October 14, 2011, 5:04 pm
    • Note this link also..

      Ancient Hebrew Cosmology

      Posted by irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert | October 14, 2011, 5:16 pm
      • Thanks again for commenting. Ancient Hebrew cosmology must certainly be borne in mind when engaging these issues.

        On the moon, to borrow an old Southern saying, “anyone with one eye and half sense” knew that the moon was round at least once a month. But, of course, discs are round, as well as spheres and it’s hard to know whether the ancients conceived of the greater and lesser lights as being like basketballs or as being like dinner plates.

        Posted by dmwilliams83 | October 15, 2011, 4:51 pm
      • Indeed we cannot press these aspects too much, but I am with you in the main towards the lack of the YE people to even grapple with these issues! The Holy Scripture simply does not touch the age of the earth or creation! This is a theological issue! So this puts me closer to the so-called “Framework” in Genesis. And as you say, we should move on! Note in general some of Alister McGrath’s thinking and work here.

        Posted by irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert | October 15, 2011, 5:07 pm
  2. Yes. I am a big Alister McGrath fan.

    Posted by dmwilliams83 | October 15, 2011, 5:11 pm
    • I am glad to call Alister a friend, and I am few years older than he is (1949..me)…(1953, McGrath). 🙂

      Posted by irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert | October 15, 2011, 7:07 pm
    • Damn, I will be 62 this month, the 24th! lol God has been very good to me! On another subject, Alister’s classic work: Iustitia Dei, etc, is grand! (Just reading parts of it again) Btw, if ya did not know this? Thomas F. Torrance is McGrath’s favorite theologian! He also wrote a bio on him, which I have too. I heard old Tom lecture in England years ago now. Since you are an Anglican, you simply must read: The Trinitarian Faith, etc., by Torrance. His best book work to my mind! I read Torrance, but I cannot follow all of his lines! I am still something of a classic Calvinist, though I enjoy some of the Federal Vision also, (note just “some”).

      Posted by irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert | October 15, 2011, 8:08 pm

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NCSU Graduate Christian Fellowship

Hi! I'm David, the campus minister for InterVarsity's graduate and faculty ministries at NC State and Meredith College. I hope you'll join me as I learn to "practice resurrection" in the City of Oaks, in her universities, and in the wider world. You can contact me at dmwilliams83@gmail.com

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