In the realm of Creation Science, there are a few concepts which have taken on the status of virtual orthodoxy – the measuring rod by which new proposals are evaluated. These concepts include such ideas as the Flood being an event accompanied by massive horizontal earth movements and magma-outpouring activity all over the world, and that the Ice Age directly traces its origins to the Flood. Because these concepts are usually backed by well-known Christian organizations, there is an unspoken assumption that they know best and we should take them at their word.
The Problem of Assumptions
In addition, some influential Christian groups have even created lists of “arguments creationists should not use.” In most cases they offer sound advice, because certain apologetic arguments not required by Scripture, though perhaps superficially consistent with it, have been shown over time to rest on such shaky foundations that using them exposes Bible believers to unnecessary ridicule. But on the other hand, they may also blacklist certain ideas that conflict with assumptions tied to individual interpretations of scientific data or doctrinal norms embraced by the organization. Indeed, sometimes these assumptions create an actual conflict with sound biblical exegesis. If solid exegetical reasons can be put forth from the Word of God for an idea that is either new or disparaged due to current (always imperfect) scientific understandings of events from the remote past, or perhaps from overlooked scriptural teaching that has a bearing on a topic, we do well to not quickly eliminate it from consideration. The full Word must take priority in guiding our understanding of controversial topics, not science alone, nor a limited sampling of Scriptures which may allow false conclusions to be drawn. Regardless of their source, we must take care to recognize undemonstrated assumptions for what they really are. Respected Christian scientists and the organizations they belong to are not immune from error, and it is neither improper nor disrespectful to point them out when they occur.
The problem of assumptions is seen in the oft-observed tendency to understand a Scripture passage in a narrow way that fails to connect its meaning to both its immediate surrounding context on the one hand, and to the teaching of related Scriptures on the other – as “a pretext for a proof text,” as Dr. Don Carson of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School has put it. Underlying assumptions are sometimes used to apply a questionable, though perhaps plausible, interpretation to a passage so the assumptions – and everything built on them – need not be discarded. Still another problematic approach is to argue that because only one or two otherwise clear Scriptures appear to teach something that conflicts with an accepted model, or they address an issue on which the rest of Scripture is silent (the apparent literal division of the earth in the “days of Peleg,” Gen. 10:25, comes to mind), it somehow makes it permissible to ignore the plain sense of the “minority report” and reinterpret those verses in a way that conflicts with their straightforward meaning. But taking this approach is to become one’s own arbiter of what is and what is not biblical truth. This is NOT an option for one who is really convinced that the Bible in its entirety is the Word of God – which should be the attitude of all who claim salvation through Christ….
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