He quotes scientists who point out that different radioactive clocks …

Comment on Common Arguments Against a 7-Day Creation Week by Sean Pitman.

He quotes scientists who point out that different radioactive clocks depend on one another FOR ABSOLUTE DATES, but not one denies that the clocks tick at a fixed and invariable rate of radioactive decay. So I hope I can assume that he agrees that although the absolute date of the rocks may be not certain, THE AGE OF THE ROCKS ARE IN BILLIONS of years, not thousands?

While there is some recent evidence of the variability of radioactive decay rates being influenced by solar flares (Link), it seems like this variability is rather small. So, yes, the overall rate of radioactive decay for radioactive materials does indeed appear to be fairly constant and predictable. However, this isn’t the problem with using radioactive elements as a clock. The main problems include determining the original ratio of parent to daughter isotopes within a given specimen and the leaching in or out of parent or daughter isotopes over time. This is the reason why the radiometric dating of igneous rocks simply isn’t a reliable clock.

So perhaps he believes in a Billions of years old earth and universe, upon which a 6 day recent creation 6,000 years ago happened? That would be a good start to having a discussion. But then does his Biblical Literalism insist that earth predated the Sun and Moon by 4 days?

While I do refer to myself as a “young life” creationist rather than a “young Earth” creationist, I do not do so because of any radiometric dating technique. The Bible itself claims (along with Ellen White) that the universe and other intelligent beings on other planets pre-existed the creation week of our particular planet. Also, Genesis itself suggests that the basic material of our planet was also already present prior to its manipulation during our creation week. This is consistent with various other features of our visible universe which seem to require vast periods of time to produce – such as the arrival of light from stars and galaxies that are billions of light years away from our planet.

As far as the appearance of the Sun and moon on “Day 4” of creation week, I’ve always seen this being as a result of an Earth-bound perspective of the observer – so that the Sun, moon, and stars only became visible from an Earth-bound perspective on Day 4. Here’s a short commentary on this option from Richard Davidson:

A second option suggests that the sun was created before the fourth day, but became visible on that day as the cloud cover was removed. This would explain the evening/morning cycle before day 4. The Hebrew syntax of Genesis 1:14 is different than the pattern of the other days of Creation. Verse 14 literally reads, “Let lights in the firmament of the heavens divide the day from the night” (not “Let there be lights…to divide…” as in most translations), perhaps implying that the lights were already in existence before the fourth day. The “greater” and “lesser” lights as well the stars could have been created “in the beginning” (before Creation week, v. 1; cf. John 1:1-3) and not on the fourth day. On the fourth day they were given a purpose,“to separate the day from the night” and “to mark seasons and days and years.” A variant of this view is that the sun and moon were created before Creation week, but in their tohu-bohu (“unformed-unfilled”) state like the earth (see v. 2), and on the fourth day were further formed into their fully-functional state (v. 16). – Link

This view is the one that makes the most sense to me personally…

I maintain that there are no serious scientific questions about the age of the earth in general terms, while the details are still subject to further revision and recalibration. But nothing in the past present or future can be imagined that will give us a 6,000 year old planet.
If we can all agree with an old earth, it is very hard not to agree with the shorter clocks that all agree on a much longer than, 6,000 year old life story. So I maintain again that there are no serious scientific issues for Adventists, only theological issues. And Dr. Pittman has suggested several times that I should leave his version of the church.

The problem, you see, is that your belief in an old Earth is based on the validity of radiometric dating techniques while mine is not. The problems with your position, as I’ve explained in my essay above, are numerous and fundamental. Not only are radiometric dating methods not independently useful, but there are some key inconsistencies that very strongly suggest a recent arrival of life, in particular, on this planet. For instance, it seems to be extremely difficult to explain away the problem the high detrimental mutation rate for all slowly reproducing creatures on this planet and their eventual genetic meltdown and extinction. It also seems to me very hard to explain the high levels of carbon 14 being found in the soft tissues of dinosaurs and other specimens thought to be many tens or even hundreds of millions of years old – not to mention the very existence of intact dinosaur soft tissues to begin with. These aren’t just trivial problems for your position – they are fundamental problems.

Sir I love God and Truth too much to walk away from this wonderful church, just because you don’t get it yet.

I have no doubt regarding your love for God or your sincere search for truth as you see it. I’m sure that you’re quite a sincere and honest man. My question only deals with why anyone who is so sincere and honest, as you obviously are, would wish to carry the title of an organization that so fundamentally disagrees with your own fundamental doctrinal positions? It just doesn’t seem like a good fit nor does the SDA title seem like an appropriate representation of what you actual represent.

It is not the science that is your problem, it is your 18th century theology that needs to be revisited.

Well, you see, the Bible itself hasn’t changed and it still clearly says what it always said for ages past. Your problem is that you simply disagree with what the authors of the Bible clearly intended to say. So, either you accept the claims of the Bible or you don’t. It has nothing to do with having a modern or 18th century mindset – aside from the fact that many modern theologians have become heavily influenced by modern Neo-Darwinian philosophies.

Ellen White led me to Christ, and she has assured me she is fallible. We have enough proof to accept that as a fact. (See my tribute to our wonderful fallible prophetess, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.) So I accept her teaching that church councils have often erred in the past, like our recent one did in the present. I understand but don’t accept her account of how volcano’s form or the age of the earth. She was born before germs were discovered, and thought malaria came from bad air and that Orion was a few miles across. Not her fault, mine if I don’t contextualize her ministry, and reinterpret her messages to fit more up to date information suitable for faith in the 21st century. To let Ellen White keep our church in the 18th century is simply idolatry.

We all agree that prophets, even biblical prophets, were human and fallible. However, what a prophet says in the name of God (as in what a prophet was specifically shown in vision or in other direct communications with God) is not fallible because God himself is not fallible. The Bible lists this as a specific test of a true prophet – if what they say they were shown, by God, actually pans out as true. If it is shown that what the prophet claimed he/she was shown by God is actually false, that prophet is to be viewed as a false prophet. In other words, you have be to able to separate the prophet’s own personal human opinions from what they were shown by God as privileged information beyond what is available to those of us who do not have access to such direct communications with God. You simply cannot pick and choose what you like about what someone who claims to be a prophet is saying. Either they are or they are not in privileged communication with God.

And, in this particular case, Mrs. White says that she was directly shown by God, in vision, that the creation week as a literal week. It seems to me that either you accept this as privileged information, coming directly from God, or you are forced to conclude that Mrs. White was entirely deluded – not the prophet she claimed to be. I fail to see how you can have it both ways? I also fail to see how this particular claim of hers has anything to do with 18th century theology? It’s a direct claim that she was shown, directly by God, the literal nature of the creation week – take it or leave it.

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Common Arguments Against a 7-Day Creation Week
Jesus talked about Genesis in literal terms – to include the literal 7-day creation week and the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood. Clearly then, the credibility of the Scriptures mattered to Him since He often cited Scripture, and the accuracy of its historical claims, as the basis of authority for many of His arguments against His opponents.

So, while it is possible to be saved in ignorance of the Scriptures and their credibility (by living according to the Royal Law that is written on the hearts of all mankind), it is the Bible that is the means by which God offers us meaningful hope in and understanding of the reality of the “good news” of the Gospel Message in this life – a message of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection in order to bring us a solid hope and rational understanding of a new and better life beyond this current evil world. It is this hope that gives the Christian who has such knowledge an edge, a serious advantage, in this life. This gospel message of hope, based on historical knowledge of real events, helps to make this life more bearable. And, it is this hope that we are told to spread to those around us who are living in darkness without a conscious hope of a bright future to come while living in this evil world.

So, when someone undermines the credibility of the claims of the Biblical authors they are also, at the same time, undermining the rational basis of the Christian hope. After all, even Paul said, “For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:16-19). Notice here how Paul ties in the basis of hope and rational meaningful faith with a real historical event – the resurrection of Jesus.

The same is true for the rational basis of the Christian Hope today. It’s all based on the credibility of the claims of the Bible.

Common Arguments Against a 7-Day Creation Week
Thanks Wes. You’re most kind 😉

Common Arguments Against a 7-Day Creation Week
@Art Chadwick: Thank you Art.

Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Again, most people, including most non-Christians, consider late-term abortions (abortions within the third trimester of otherwise healthy viable babies) to be murder. There is relatively little argument about this. One doesn’t have to know the “precise point” to know that, after a certain point, abortion is clearly murder. The argument that a baby isn’t alive or really human until the moment that it is born is nonsense in my opinion.

Of course, before the third trimester, things start to get a bit more grey and unclear. Some define the beginnings of human life with the full activity of the brain’s cortex. Others define it with the earliest activity of the brain stem. Others define it as the beginnings of fetal movement or the fetal heartbeat. I might have my own opinions here, but the question I ask myself is at what point would I be willing to convict someone else of murder? – and be willing to put them in prison for it? For me, I wouldn’t be willing to do this until things are overwhelmingly clear that the baby is functioning as a full human being and is viable (which would include full brain activity).

As far as rape or incest is concerned, the resulting pregnancy should be terminated as soon as possible within the first trimester. Waiting for the third trimester is simply not an option because, at this point, it would still be murder to kill a fully-formed baby regardless of its origin…

Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
I agree with you up until your last sentence. It seems very very clear to me that a baby becomes human before it takes its first breath. A baby born at 40 weeks gestation is not somehow inherently “more human” than a baby that is still inside its mother at 39 weeks gestation. At 39 weeks, such a baby is indistinguishable from a baby that has already been born. The location inside or outside of the mother makes absolutely no difference at this point in time and development.

I think, therefore, that we as Christians should avoid both obvious extremes here in this discussion. There are two very clear ditches on both sides of the road here. We should avoid claiming that a baby is not really human until it is actually born at full term, and, at the same time, we should also avoid claiming that full humanity and moral worth is instantly realized at the moment of conception…

Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Most would agree with you that the baby John the Baptist, before he was born, was, at some point, a real human being who could “leap for joy” (Luke 1:44). Even most non-Christians would agree that a third-trimester abortion is murder. However, this isn’t the real problem here. We are talking about if a single cell or a simple ball of cells is fully “human” and if ending a pregnancy at such an early stage of development is truly a “murder” of a real human being. After all, when conception first takes place a single cell cannot “leap for joy” – or for any other reason. It’s just a single fertilized cell that cannot think or feel or move and has no brain or mind or intelligence of any kind. The same is true of an embryo that consists of no more than an unformed ball of cells for quite some time. Upon what basis, then, is it “murder” to end a pregnancy at this early point in embryological development?

Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Then you have several different questions to explain. 1) How can a 6 month developed (but dead?), non-human being (from a human mother and father?) , being carried in it’s human mother’s womb, leap for joy because he (it?) recognized the mother of the World’s Savior? ”The dead know nothing, neither have they any more knowledge under the sun.” 2) How can anything dead even move? The opposite of alive is dead. Everything alive has life from God. Dead things don’t grow and they don’t move. Every SDA should know this. The Laws of God are not altered in order to justify killing unborn human beings that He has given life to.

Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
That’s just it. You say that, “The unborn think and feel”. However, an embryo in the earliest stages of development is just a single cell or an unformed ball of cells – with no apparent functional difference than a cluster of cells in my appendix. Such an embryo cannot think or feel or understand anything. There is no mind or intelligence at this point. If it isn’t murder to take out someone’s appendix, how then call it be truly “murder” to end a pregnancy at this point in time? How can you be so sure of yourself here? Based on what moral principle?

Also, people who are clearly “brain dead” need not be maintained indefinitely on life support. They’re just a shell of a body at this point and it is not “murder” to simply take them off the mechanical support of the empty shell of their body. This happens all the time in hospitals – and it is not considered to be “murder” at all… by most medical professionals (even most Christian ones).