The Backlash from Matt Walsh (The Backwalsh)

A few weeks before the writing of this article, conservative author, speaker and toaster strudel enthusiast Matt Walsh decided that the excitement over the mid-term elections has been simply too much for him, and he chose to lighten the mood for his followers on social media by spending time explaining how stupid Biblical Creationists like me are, in case they had somehow not heard directly from Bill Nye about the matter.

It seems that various Christian bloggers and podcasters were inspired by Walsh’s attempt to take Ken Ham down a peg and joined in the social media attack against not only Ken Ham personally, but all of the rest of us Young Earth Creationists by proxy.

I know you are waiting on the edge of your seat to hear what arguments they used to show the weakness of our position, but it seems that the best they could offer was ascribing to us a collection of mental and emotional deficiencies as well as an apparently weak faith which is incapable of sustaining the simplest of questions leveled at the Bible.

I guess they are saving up all of their logic, reason, evidence, and rational arguments to use against…

Mormons? Agnostic Lesbians? I don’t know. But whatever they are saving it up for must be important because they did not waste a DROP on this discussion.

Two of my favorite Christian bloggers/Podcasters spent a combined three hours in recent podcasts following Matt Walsh’s social media offerings in order to assert rather confidently- over and over- that the REASON why people like Ken Ham think they understand what the Bible says and means is because of FEAR, Paranoia, and a deep rooted desire to slap other people in the head.

But far be it from me to “pull a Walsh” and tell you what someone thinks with no evidence from their own words. This blogger said:

I’m tired of you guys trying to find authority so you can slap someone else upside the head with it…

They don’t have answers either but they’re going to come at you like they do, just like the Pope, just like Ken Ham with his Genesis account. Just like anyone who says “Oh, I’ve got it all figured out… Ken Ham is sure that the Bible is clear that the earth was created in six days.”

While it is a task like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall, nailing down this person’s ultimate position on Christianity (Which she professes as her own faith) and the Bible (which traditionally has been the source of much good information about Christianity) it seems to be summed up when she says:

“It’s been relieving to know that there are other Christians who have the FAITH to say “I don’t have all the answers,” they have the faith necessary to speak to people’s hearts with or without that Trump card we can throw down on the table…”

And to clarify, by ‘Trump card,’ she is not referencing our President, but rather the confidence to say “Here’s what the Bible teaches.” Because, for reasons she did not explain, claiming that the Bible says something with clarity is arrogant and mean spirited (apparently). Or maybe it’s just claiming to know something which is arrogant and mean spirited. Unless it’s knowing that Ken Ham DOESN’T have all of the answers.

That’s still ok.

In a following blog post which is even more pointedly aimed at telling YEC’s like me how stupid we are, she concludes:

If you are letting non-believers think that they can destroy all of Christianity by removing a single chapter in the Bible, your faith is too small and flimsy.

Invite questions and search for Truth.

That single chapter she refers to is- obviously- Genesis 1.

Near the start of this same post, she quotes a lengthy paragraph she found on FaceBook which explains how changing the YEC model for the OEC model effects your worldview on the nature of not just creation’s timeline but also what it means to be human, what God is like, what sin and death are and where they came from, what Jesus is saving us from (if anything), and a host of other necessary, logical results of changing the beginning of the story.

True to every other attack against the Biblical Creation model and Young Earth Creationists I’ve ever seen, she answered these charges by mocking it slightly and then pretending it wasn’t there. She quotes it to mock it and then moves on with NO rebuttal. No explanation of how you can replace every teaching in Genesis (and all of the other places in the Bible which refer back to it) with a VERY contradictory model and still somehow have the same worldview is offered.

Nope.

Just the insinuation that our FAITH is too small and flimsy, where as SHE has the bold and confident faith it takes to say, “I don’t know, AND NEITHER DO YOU!”

This reminded me of a conversation I once had with an old high school chum who had since become a church youth pastor. In hearing that Ken Ham was going to debate Bill Nye, this person who I shall call “Larry” (because he is a large, talking vegetable) took to social media to explain how stupid Biblical Creationists are and how people like us are keeping people from the church with our stupid antics- a sentiment echoed by the blogger above and dear old Matt Walsh. So, I offered to take Larry to dinner and spend half an hour explaining the Biblical Creation position which he clearly knew nothing about.

He refused.

So I offered a few more times. I’d buy dinner and take a few minutes talking science and scripture so he could understand why people like me and Ken Ham are not big idiots as he asserted. He continued to refuse. Eventually he tried to justify his refusal to learn about the position he felt free to attack on public forums by saying he “preferred to embrace the mystery.”  After all- he seemed to feel- people who claim to have answers are arrogant jerks with small and flimsy faith. Strong and BOLD faith is based on NOT knowing the answers, apparently.

And then attacking Ken Ham in public forums.

I’m sure that’s what the New Testament writers meant when they used the word FAITH. In fact, if you look into the Greek used by Paul, you can see what he really meant in Ephesians 2:8-9 was this:

“For it is by willing ignorance and avoidance of learning you have been saved, through embracing the mystery and hating on Ken Ham—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast- ESPECIALLY Ken Ham. What does he know anyway?”

I offered to buy Larry dinner for the chance to teach him about my position- a position he was attacking on public forums. He refused.

I wrote a lengthy reply to the blogger above- the one who said “Invite questions and search for Truth” with many quotations from their podcast so they could understand what I was replying to with accuracy, and even recorded it as an audio letter to make it easier and less time consuming for them. I was told she was tired of talking about it, and that she had said everything as clearly as she was capable. Besides, I was told, she was busy writing posts to explain why Ken Ham is an idiot and why I too am an idiot. I have no reason to think she even read what I had to say, let alone did she answer any of it.

Apparently “inviting questions” doesn’t necessarily mean answering any of those questions. I suppose it means “embracing the mystery.”

Personally, I would rather have a small and flimsy faith in something which is actually true than a bold and confident faith in something which is not. But that requires one to not only INVITE questions, but find the answers to them. I would respectfully argue that, finding answers to questions that matter is not as arrogant and paranoid as some would have you believe. I think you may find that it may replace the mystery with something true to believe IN.

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31 Responses to The Backlash from Matt Walsh (The Backwalsh)

  1. John Branyan says:

    Genesis 2:17 – “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

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      • John Branyan says:

        Literally, within 24 hours of eating from the tree, Adam and Eve died?

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      • The Hebrew word for “Day”, which is YOM, can mean something other than a literal 24 hour day, depending on the context. What does the context of that verse tell you about how we should understand the use of the word YOM/Day?

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      • John Branyan says:

        I understand YOM to mean something other than a literal 24 hour day in Genesis 2:17. Just like I understand it could mean something other than a literal 24 hour day in the rest of Genesis.

        What’s the problem?

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      • I didn’t ask you for YOUR understanding. I asked about the context. What does the context of that verse tell you about how we should understand the use of the word YOM/Day?
        And – since you brought it up- what does the context in Genesis 1 tell you about it there?

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      • John Branyan says:

        Asking me about the context is asking for my understanding. I can’t give you anything other than my understanding.

        If we’re agreed that the Hebrew word for “day” has a meaning other than literal 24 hours, I honestly don’t understand what you’re arguing. What do you want me to say?

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      • I don’t want to get semantic right in the middle of me being semantic, but asking you about the context is asking about the usage of the word in the passage in which it is found and the language in which it is written to determine how the word’s usage in the passage informs us as to the author’s intended meaning, where as your (or anyone else’s) understanding can be colored by any number of things other than the word usage in context or in the original language, including your having no understanding of the context of the word’s usage. YOUR understanding doesn’t tell ME what the author intended by the use of a particular word, but the CONTEXT can tell both of us what the author wanted us to understand by the words he chose.
        I may have confused even me with that. Let me simplify for both of us:

        In Hebrew as in English, the definition of many words is determined by how it is used. When country superstar Luke Bryan sings, “She broke my heart” we do not assume he is discussing physical damage to the organ responsible for pumping blood and thus sustaining life. Despite the possible meanings of BROKE and HEART we know he means “She made me sad” because there is no normative usage of the phrase “She broke my heart” which ever means “Myocardial infarction.” It means he is sad because that is the ONLY way in which it is used in American English.
        When I say, “Back in MY day we didn’t have a touch screen phone in our pockets” I am intending to convey that I am very old and don’t understand kids these days. But also, I do not mean a particular single 24 hour calendar day. Obviously here by DAY I mean “Back when I was young enough to understand the things being sold at Best Buy” Or probably- in all likelihood, Radio Shack.
        I would not ever say, “In my 3rd day, we didn’t have a touch screen phone in our pockets,” nor would I say “In the evening of my day we didn’t have a touch screen phone in our pockets,” because that wouldn’t make any sense. There is no normative English word usage which makes sense of that construction. Now, if I say, “On the 3rd day, I had a touchscreen phone in my pocket but it fell in the toilet when I bent over to tie my shoelaces” I am clearly intending to say there was a series of 3 normal calendar days, the last of which ended badly, resulting in my purchase of a Motorola G5 a few days later.
        Now, in Genesis 1, there is ordinal numbers- 1st, 2nd, 3rd… etc. There is reference to evening and morning. These are used for all six days of creation. Similarly, YOM is used literally HUNDREDS of times in the Old Testament with evening and morning and ordinal numbers and NEVER does it mean anything other than an ordinary day. When YOM does mean indeterminate amounts of time, it is NOT used with those contextual devices. Thus, if you simply let the Hebrew in the Old Testament inform you, then saying the DAYS of Genesis 1 can be long periods of time- billions of years and what not- it is like saying “When Luke Bryan sings “She Broke my Heart’ he intends to convey cardio-pulmonary damage caused by violent trauma.” That may be your understanding, but it is not supported by the actual context in the song, nor in the language the song is written in.

        Now, when we reach Genesis 2:4 it says “in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” But there is no reference to evening or morning and it is not numbered. In this case, the context gives us no cause to insist that it must have been a normal, 24 hour day. So, because of the greater context, we know it is not, even though it says DAY.
        The same is true of Genesis 2:17. The phrase “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” can be translated- with other indications in the Hebrew word usage- to mean “DYING, you will die” meaning that the DAY (normal 24 hour day) they eat of it, they will begin to die (something which they had not done before, because they were designed to live forever). The death is not COMPLETED on that day, but it is on that day it begins. So, in this case, the context gives two possible meanings of the word DAY, neither of which (as far as I know) would change the actual intent of the passage, even if it is said in different ways. So once again, it is the context which provides insight into the author’s intent.

        Now, to your question- what I want you to say, in order to support your understanding that the DAYS of Genesis 1 can be something other than an actual 24 hour day, is that there is some usage of YOM with ordinal numbers and reference to either evening and/or morning which is intended to convey an indefinite amount of time and NOT an actual day, or that there is some method of conveying an actual 24 hour day in Hebrew which the author of Genesis 1 chose NOT to use, thus indicating that he wanted it to be possible to understand YOM in Genesis 1 to mean something else. In short, I want you to show me FROM THE TEXT that the words in the text of Genesis 1 can legitimately be understood to mean NOT actual days based on the text. I want you to say “If the author of Genesis 1 REALLY wanted his readers to think these days were literal days, he WOULD have said…”
        And then I’d like you to explain why God says “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.” in the middle of the ten commandments if this was not in fact true. Because, contrary to popular beliefs, this matter is not merely about the word usage of a single word in a single chapter of the Bible. What you decide about Genesis does have an effect on other matters of your worldview whether you intend them to or not.

        I hope this helps clear up what I was saying, JB. And as always, thanks for stopping by.

        Liked by 1 person

      • John Branyan says:

        Yikes.

        I think God made everything in the Universe in six days. I’m using 2 Peter 3:8 for context.

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      • 2 Peter 3:8? You’re using a New Testament passage about Jesus’ return which was written in Greek…
        as the context to determine the proper way to define a word used in the first chapter of the Old Testament which was about Creation and was written in Hebrew?
        Yup, that sounds about right.
        Yikes indeed.

        But in all seriousness I have no idea what this reply is supposed to mean. If I had to guess, it sounds like, “I’m sorry I asked. Never mind.”
        Did you read what I said? Because this sounds like the sarcastic exasperated reply to the LENGTH of the reply, and none of the content.
        But I won’t know if you don’t tell me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • John Branyan says:

        The sentiment from 2 Peter 3:8 is repeated in Psalm 90:4. Of course, the context in Psalms is different from the context in Genesis so I’ll defer to you for the infallible interpretation.

        Sarcastic and exasperated are appropriate descriptors for my reply. I mentioned on the podcast that I lean towards a young Earth. I have no doubt that God created the universe. I sincerely do not care whether it took him 6 seconds, 6 days, or 6 eons.

        Genesis talks about the Earth as ‘formless’. How can anything physical be ‘formless’? And then teach me how the ancient Hebrews understood “a thousand years is a day” to God.

        That was the point that Matt Walsh was trying to make. When you demand that atheists (and fellow Christians) accept your literal 24 hour interpretation of creation, you are making an idol of your personal orthodoxy.

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      • Welcome back JB!
        I’m sorry you are feeling exasperated. I’m not trying to vex you or anyone else. However, you are being a little vexing yourself.

        See, from where I sit over here in the land of science-hating Creationists, I’ve done what AiG has done for decades and offered a detailed explanation as to why my position is in line with scripture, and even tried my best to explain why my understanding of the text of Genesis (and thus the amount of time Creation took) is entirely directed by the text of the Bible itself.

        But having written a long detailed response about why I take the position I do, you answer with exasperated sarcasm and don’t address the substance of what I have said at all. Isn’t this what Ark does to you? Ignore the substance of your answers and then change the subject with name calling insinuations of emotional and moral flaws?

        You say “When you demand that atheists (and fellow Christians) accept your literal 24 hour interpretation of creation, you are making an idol of your personal orthodoxy.” And this is not only an indefensible accusation of idolatry, but it absolutely ignores the substance of everything I have already explained as to why the text of Genesis- and then the very words of God in Exodus (among other verses) – HAVE to be interpreted if the text is going to determine what the text means. I’ve told you how you can show me that my interpretation of the text is wrong- show me how the Hebrew SHOULD read if it really intended to mean a literal 24 hour day, and show me how that differs from what is said in Genesis 1. Or you can show me that the word usage in Genesis 1 is used to mean long periods of time or indiscriminate amounts of time in the Hebrew- in the Old Testament or in other Hebrew writings. And then you need to makes sense of what God himself says in Exodus. You’ve chosen to do NONE of these. Instead I am told I am making an idol of my personal orthodoxy.

        As I have explained, the text itself is VERY clear and I have never heard any OEC actually use the text of Genesis to show that the text of Genesis can mean something other than an actual day. If you know something I don’t which calls my position into question, then educate me. If there is nothing which can be said against my position, then it would only be logical that you ought to admit that this is not MY position or MY interpretation, but merely the truth. The Bible says what it says, and I think we can be confident that it means what it says when we understand the context.

        Otherwise that ex-girlfriend of Luke Bryan’s ought to be going to jail for attempted murder, should she not?

        Your reply here ignores all of my reasons for my position, responds to NONE of the substance of my argument and pretends that I am merely picking a model I prefer for sentimental reasons and am FORCING that on atheists and Christians alike because I am an idolatrous fool. Don’t be like Ark, JB.

        But, even though you ignored all of my substance in the explanation I already gave you, you do raise valid questions which should be answered.

        The question over Genesis 1 is, first and foremost a question about what the text actually SAYS. The question over 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4 can’t in any way tell us how the author of Genesis 1 intended us to understand his use of the word YOM/Day. So we are having a completely different conversation here. This question is about God’s understanding of time, and it is one which always makes me wonder if people have thought this out. In short, it is arguing that when God was asked how long Creation took, he didn’t understand time well enough to distinguish between 13.7 billion years and a week. And these verses are offered as a vague apology.
        “When God SAID it took six days, he MEANT 13.7 billion years. You know how He can be. To him, a thousand years is as a day, or a watch in the night… bless his heart.”

        But once again the context of those verses makes their meaning clear. Psalm 90 starts with this: “from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
        This Psalm is in NO way about God’s understanding of time. It’s about his timeless nature. He is eternal, and so our long lives are, to him, like nothing. A thousand years is, to God’s eternal nature, like a dull commercial about a brand name antacid. It’s not a big thing to him. NOTHING in this passage tells us how God understands time, or how long creation took. But also, using this passage to call into question the days of genesis 1 is a double edged sword. It says
        “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by,” But are you not forced to interpret the word DAY here to mean an actual DAY? Because if you do here as some want to do to the word DAY in genesis, this would say
        “A thousand years in your sight are like a period of billions of years that has just gone by.”
        And that does the exact opposite of what you are hoping it will.

        Speaking of which, in 2 Peter 3:8 it says,
        “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”
        So if you try to use the first half of the verse to mean God SAYS day when he means a thousand years, then the second half of that verse immediately cancels that out. Or again, “With the Lord a period of billions of years is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a period f billions of years.” So once again, you are forced to define DAY to mean DAY to even make this argument.
        Furthermore, the rest of the chapter tells you that this is NOT about the days of creation or about how God views time. It’s about the second coming of Jesus. So why the discussion about how God views time? Because he is being accused of being late in returning by scoffers. It sums up the point in this verse:
        “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient..”

        Once again, neither passage is about the days of Creation, and neither at all addressed the point I made about the chosen word usage in Genesis chapter 1.

        Finally you ask, “Genesis talks about the Earth as ‘formless’. How can anything physical be ‘formless’?” Which is a good question, but once again has nothing to do with the topic of how long those days are. I feel that is worth noting.
        Ad something physical can be formless because the description in the Hebrew does not carry the definition of FORM you are thinking of. In modern English we tend to use FORM and MATTER or SUBSTANCE all interchangeably. This is not THAT usage. It means form in the sense of having BEEN FORMED, or shaped, or given function and purpose. Similar language is used to describe cities which were destroyed in later parts of the Old Testament- they had become FORMLESS. Not lacking in MATTER or SUBSTANCE, but being reduced to disorder.

        I hope that clears it up. Once again, I think I have laid out a logical case for my position using the text of the Bible, colored by my understanding of the context of the passages in question, and I have in no way argued that you need to accept MY interpretation because I am the most smartest, neener neener. At this point, Ark would explain why my position is a dangerous, arrogant thing based on my insecurities and he would completely ignore everything I have said here. Don’t be Ark, JB. You be you.
        And if you need to be sarcastic, just make it funny. That’s all I ask.
        God bless you, and Merry Christmas.

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      • John Branyan says:

        I think Bible translators should translate YOM as “24 hours”. That would help people like me.

        And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “24 hours” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first 24 hours.

        nd God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second 24 hours.

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      • And I think you should try responding to the substance of what I have said.
        Did you even read anything I have said thus far? Because you have given me no reason to think so, and I’m wondering what my motivation is to keep replying to you if you are going to pretend I haven’t said anything.

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      • John Branyan says:

        I’ve read everything you’ve written. I’ve tried several times to summarize my position. Dismissing me for “not reading your replies” isn’t giving me much motivation to keep replying to you.

        My last comment was in earnest. Why shouldn’t Bible translators put “24 hours” in the places where context dictates that meaning?

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      • Let’s recap this conversation:
        1. You quote a bible verse with no question or comment. It has nothing to do with my article, under which you are replying, and so having been given nothing to go on, I say “Yup.” Because you did copy and paste it accurately, but I wasn’t about to invent your end of the conversation.

        2. Unsatisfied with “Yup,” You ask if Adam and Eve Literally died within 24 hours of eating the fruit. I replied by asking what the context of the verse would inform us. You tell me that you understand that YOM can mean something other than a 24 hour day- a fact I acknowledged in my previous comment.

        3. I ask again about how the context tells us we should understand the use of the word YOM in any place in Genesis. You tell me “I honestly don’t understand what you’re arguing.”

        4. I explain at length about the context– the use of the word YOM in Hebrew- and the ways in which the use can tell us if the author intended it to mean a normal day or not.

        5. You reply, “Yikes” and then offer a New testament Greek verse for context, which I can only take for sarcasm, because otherwise I have to assume that you don’t know what “context” means. You reply to NONE of my arguments for defining Yom according to the context- not even enough to acknowledge that you read them. Unless you intended “Yikes” to convey a lot more than I took it to mean. This is why I said “in all seriousness I have no idea what this reply is supposed to mean… Did you read what I said? Because this sounds like the sarcastic exasperated reply to the LENGTH of the reply, and none of the content. But I won’t know if you don’t tell me.”

        6. You do not tell me.

        7. You then switch the topic entirely to God’s understanding of time- having said NOTHING about the use of the word YOM/day or how to understand it, and conclude by telling me that “you are making an idol of your personal orthodoxy.” Which tells me you either didn’t read my explanation or you dismissed it all to be a sarcastic way of saying, “I’m right because I’m so smarter than you, neener neener.”

        8. I explain the fact that neither of the verses you mentioned have to do with interpreting what Genesis 1 actually SAYS, and explain how each of those in context is clear as to its intended meaning. I also explained that completely unrelated bit about the word FORMLESS, and just in case, I explained my position is not based on that whole “neener, neener” argument but rather what I think is logic and reasonable based on the actual text and the rules of the original language and its normative use.

        9. You reply with what I must assume is sarcasm, again responding to NOTHING I have said, and offering no acknowledgement, rebuttal, nor acceptance of any of the answers I have offered to your questions or comments.

        10. I make note of the fact that I have no reason to think you have read what I’ve said, since you have replied to NONE of the substance in order to agree, refute, or even acknowledge.

        11. And now you say “I’ve read everything you’ve written.” Which I have no way of knowing based on any of your replies. You must acknowledge that this is true.

        You say “I’ve tried several times to summarize my position.” And I do not think you have, unless you refer to having told me “I sincerely do not care.” I did catch that, but I didn’t think it was worth the bulk of my response. YOUR position was not in question. What is in question is why you have said nothing in response to mine when I explained it to you in detail?

        And while you STATED your position that “you are making an idol of your personal orthodoxy.” I called it indefensible and you have done nothing to defend it, nor to acknowledge that I have debunked it, which I feel I have. An unsubstantiated assertion is not summarizing your position, and pretending that I have not entirely proven your position to be groundless is not honest. Since you have not written anything to acknowledge any of this, I have no way of knowing it, do I? And are you insisting that I simply ASSUME that you have read what I said and seen the logic of my position, or shall I assume that you have a logical retort and simply chose not to offer it? Once again, look at what YOU have said to ME. Have you given me any reason to believe you have read what I wrote? I think you will see you have not.

        And you say “Dismissing me for “not reading your replies” isn’t giving me much motivation to keep replying to you.” Ah, so, you’ve decided to go with the Herman/Rubens maneuver of 1996; “I know you are, but what am I?”
        I did not see that coming. Touché.

        While your last comment may have been in earnest, it AGAIN is you doing what the atheists are constantly doing, changing the subject without interacting with any of the answers to their questions and objections, and thus I will not reply to it. Besides, it is at least 17% sarcasm and not entirely earnest if I may say so. Personally, I prefer my earnest undiluted.

        This has been, thus far, a most disappointing exchange. You are doing what you have (rightly) complained the atheist commenters constantly do to you on your own blog. If nothing else I hope you can see that and decide to give me feedback which rises to the level of my expectations for you. Otherwise, I don’t know what else there is to say, or why we would spend more time saying it. If you have more to say, say it about the many answers I have already given to your objections and questions. With a majority of earnest, I would like to know if you understood it and what you think of my answers. If my position is wrong, I would like to know why, but in order to teach me, you will have to respond to what I have actually said. I’ve said a lot. It’s your turn.
        And on a personal note, please make your sarcasm obvious and funny. I am easily confused and need my sarcasm written in large letters, in crayon when possible, and feel unfunny sarcasm is wasted, like pizza with no toppings. Just a stylistic choice, but I hope you understand.

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      • John Branyan says:

        I’m sorry to have disappointed you.

        How would you suggest I go about demonstrating that I understood your responses?

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      • Very simply, JB, I would like you to tell me if you agree, and why, or if you disagree, and why, or if you think my position doesn’t make sense and needs clarification. This is all I meant by “interact” with the substance of my arguments.

        For example, You said “If we’re agreed that the Hebrew word for “day” has a meaning other than literal 24 hours, I honestly don’t understand what you’re arguing. What do you want me to say?”

        And I replied, “Now, to your question- what I want you to say, in order to support your understanding that the DAYS of Genesis 1 can be something other than an actual 24 hour day, is that there is some usage of YOM with ordinal numbers and reference to either evening and/or morning which is intended to convey an indefinite amount of time and NOT an actual day, or that there is some method of conveying an actual 24 hour day in Hebrew which the author of Genesis 1 chose NOT to use, thus indicating that he wanted it to be possible to understand YOM in Genesis 1 to mean something else. In short, I want you to show me FROM THE TEXT that the words in the text of Genesis 1 can legitimately be understood to mean NOT actual days based on the text. I want you to say “If the author of Genesis 1 REALLY wanted his readers to think these days were literal days, he WOULD have said…”

        Since this was the primary topic you asked about, let’s begin with this.

        Thanks.

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      • John Branyan says:

        If the author of Genesis REALLY wanted his readers to think these were literal days, he WOULD have said 24 hours.

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      • What makes you think that? WE don’t reference the number of hours when we mean a literal day. That’s why we have the word DAY.
        Other places in the Old Testament don’t use the phrase “24 hours” to mean a day. They use the word YOM.
        How long was Jonah in the whale? Does it say three 24 hour periods? No, it says three days.
        How long did Joshua march around Jericho? It doesn’t say seven 24 hour periods. It says seven days.
        Etc.
        Besides, when did the day become designated as 24 hours? Did ancient peoples use hours, and did they divide the day into 24 of them? Ancient calendars used a 360 day year. I don’t know that Moses would have thought of the day as consisting of hours, let alone as 24 of them. Do you?
        This seems like an arbitrary demand made by a modern American, based on this particular debate alone.
        And perhaps you misunderstood the challenge. Let me explain further:

        The YEC claim is that the normal use of language in Hebrew demands that we understand YOM to mean a normal day when preceded with a number (1st day, 2nd day, 3rd day, etc.) and when made in reference with evening or morning or both.
        Thus, “there was evening and there was morning, the 1st day” HAS to mean a normal day because it uses a number and refers to evening (Singular) and morning (Singular).
        Remember that whole Luke Bryan broken heart thing? This is what that was all about. Maybe go read that again.

        How you must refute this claim is to offer either this usage (number, evening, morning with YOM) intended to mean something OTHER than a normal day somewhere else in the Hebrew, thus showing that our claim is false, OR you are to show that there is an understood grammatical method of conveying a literal day which the author of Genesis SHOULD have used if he intended us to understand it to be a normal day, which he DID NOT use, thus informing us that he did not intend us to think of those days as actual days.

        I’m not asking you to invent anything. I’m asking you to tell me WHY the YEC position is wrong about the correct way to understand and interpret Genesis.
        And feel free to use more then one sentence at a time.

        Like

      • John Branyan says:

        I never said the YEC position is wrong about the correct way to understand and interpret Genesis. I said the correct interpretation of Genesis isn’t foundational to my faith. I also said I lean toward a young Earth interpretation of Genesis. But I agree with Walsh that the issue isn’t worth fighting about.

        I expressed my thoughts using exactly the phraseology you requested and you’re still not satisfied with my reply. I agree with you that Ark would have a field day with this conversation. Nit-picky fundamentalism is the only theology that makes Atheism look remotely reasonable.

        Like

      • Whaaaaat? Oh… That’s obviously MY bad. Apparently I must have been playing Angry Birds while reading and replying to your comments.
        Ok, so by “you are making an idol of your personal orthodoxy” you meant “the YEC position isn’t wrong about the correct way to understand and interpret Genesis. BUT the correct interpretation of Genesis isn’t foundational to my faith.
        How did I not understand that?
        I mean, that’s as obvious as “The First DAY” was intended to mean “The first 9 billion years or so.” Apparently you shouldn’t have “deferred to me for the infallible interpretation” when clearly I don’t understand englilish.

        See, now THAT’s obvious sarcasm and humor. Did you note the call back to your sarcastic comment about you deciding to “defer to you for the infallible interpretation”?
        I’ll bet you forgot you said that. That was rude and uncalled for. And not funny. But it was memorable.
        Also- video game reference. The kids love those.

        It’s funny that you and Walsh both agree that its not worth fighting about, and yet you’ve decided to go picking fights about it. I’m that way about My Little Pony. That show sucks and Bronies are all morons.
        Later I’m going to stop by one of their dumb Bronie blogs and tell them I don’t want to talk about it.

        And yes, you expressed your thoughts using exactly the phraseology I requested and I’m still not satisfied with your reply. And why is that JB? Because your reply shows that either you didn’t read carefully enough to understand what I was asking for, or you don’t care and are playing the kind of embarrassing word games the atheists feel is witty philosophical tennis. And having shown that you can’t meet the LOWEST level of the debate YOU chose to start with me here on my blog, you stoop to the emotional victim card.
        THE BIG BAD CREATIONISTS is MEAN!
        Yes- I REFUSE TO BE SATISFIED with an answer which is neither appropriate to the conversation nor actually LOGICAL, and which can be answered with four seconds on Google. I am a stickler that way.
        But did you SERIOUSLY think your answer was a good one? Because it very much was not. For the MANY reasons I illuminated. And you want to whine that I REFUSE to be SATISFIED with your answer because… let’s see… I am a “Nit-picky fundamentalist”? Hmmm. Back to name calling and implication of character flaw in place of an actual logical rebuttal. How refreshing. I never get comments like that when I’m defending the YEC position from atheists.

        Again, obvious sarcasm is obvious. The humor comes from the DRYNESS of the delivery. But I digress.

        Now, John, which one of us sounds MORE like ARK in this discussion? The one offering logical response to objections, questions and critiques (ad nauseum), or the one offering whining, name calling and the implication of a character flaw in the person they disagree with?
        Which one does Ark do? Does he reply when you answer him- acknowledging your answers and interacting with the substance of them, or does he change the subject and say NOTHING about your answers to his objections?
        Does he offer logical critics of your position, or does he offer subtle name calling and accusations of character flaws?
        When you explain to him why his responses are not valid, does he attempt to explain himself clearly, or to ask better questions? Or does he whine like a child that YOU refuse to be satisfied with his answers?
        Or…Does he turn to name calling and the implication that you have some character flaws?

        Face it JB, this conversation has been embarrassing for you. You have become the thing you hate. You have become the joke you used to tell. You have been here what Atheists have been on your comments section, and I am embarrassed for you because I have always thought better of you than this. I am disappointed in you, and you should be as well. I’ve been a big fan of your work, and now I am forced to scold you like I do the witless atheists who come here to tell me how stupid I am on a regular basis. I am forced to respond to you the way I respond to Clubby and Jim and Ark- because you have chosen to respond to me the way THEY do.

        Can you not see it? Can you not SEE IT? I think you can. Face it, and decide to do better in the future.

        But I think you already made clear your refusal to defend your own positions. If I recall you said, “..I don’t want to have to defend it. I don’t want to make every single word of the Bible part of my Theology that requires me to rationalize and justify it…I don’t want to have those conversations…”
        So let me give you a little bit of advice. If you don’t want to HAVE these conversations- if you don’t want to DEFEND your theology or politics or anything else- DON’T START THE CONVERSATION. Don’t podcast for THREE HOURS in the same week how stupid Creationists are, and how evil and mean are people who think they know that the Bible says and means. Don’t put ridiculous and heretical nonsense on public social media intended for mass consumption. Don’t BLOG about it, and don’t visit the comments section of people who write about it and demand we answer for our position when you don’t want to hear and interact with our answers. Just go turn off the lights and lie on the kitchen floor until we go away.

        I am done with this conversation. If you wish to engage in debate again, or just friendly conversation, you are always welcome here or you can drop me an email, but you better bring that Branyan reason and charm which made me love you and Peaches for so long. But if you’re just selling crazy, don’t bother. We’re all stocked up here.

        Merry Christmas.

        Like

      • According to: https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/hour/
        The Greeks, following the Babylonians, divided the day into twelve hours. The Jews, during the Captivity, learned also from the Babylonians this method of dividing time. When Judea became subject to the Romans, the Jews adopted the Roman mode of reckoning time.

        So, the Jews would not have referred to the day as 24 hours until a few generations before Jesus birth- and at least not until most of the way through the Old Testament.
        So, no, the author of Genesis would not.
        But naturally that would potentially make this debate a smidge easier if he had.

        Like

      • John Branyan says:

        So if the author of Genesis wouldn’t refer to a day as a literal 24-hour period, why am I accused of not believing God’s word when I do the same?

        Like

  2. marshunbeats says:

    Regarding your and John B’s tete-a-tete: I would understand the word YOM to mean the same 24-hour day. Except, we don’t see them die the day that they eat it. Or the day that God talks with them about it (probably the same 24 hour). Unless, we misunderstand the meaning of the word “die”?

    Like

    • Howdy hey Marshunbeats,
      As you’ll see near the bottom of my grandiose reply to JB, it could be the verb indicating that the death BEGINS on that day, as opposed to being completed- because previous to the fall they were meant to live forever and were not headed gradually toward death as we are now- or it could be that the word YOM in that verse doesn’t mean ON THE Calendar DAY they eat of it they will die, but in the time following. Something more vague. Frankly, I’m not sure on this verse and I am open to learning more.
      Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Talking with the youth tonight during our Advent lessons, we briefly discussed Creation, Christ’s return, and what “day” means in each of these contexts. Our consensus was a) Peter was saying “Stop trying to track the exact time of His return!” by showing that God does not have to work on our time; b) Adam and Eve entered the condition known as “walking in death” with separation from the source of life (spiritual) and beginning to wear down/decay (physical), as opposed to eternal life on the day they ate so that in their day (fullness of time) they would physically die; and c) God really likes trees. (If you have yet to see “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas”, the Christmas Trees section alone is worth it.)

    Like

  4. Randy Epps says:

    Man, I really, really loved this exchange. I have grown more and more “convinced” as I age, that creation and age of the earth are much easier to accept from the biblical record than from the generalizations that the text books have claimed as fact. Bryan, I really appreciate your taking the time to answer all the questions with the reasons you believe what you believe. I like JB but I think he got caught up trying to defend the Peaches…but…I could be wrong.
    My favorite thing you said, though, was that you wanted proof that dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago…
    Me, too.

    Like

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