Thursday, July 30, 2020

Logical Fallacies

Abbreviated Fallacies of Reason

Logical Fallacies

B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, July 30, 2020

Introduction

Ever come up against a worldview, religion, belief, or an argument that you didn’t know how to deal with? Sometimes you know there is something wrong (i.e., illogical) but you are just not sure why?  It’s frustrating isn’t it?

Believe it or not, this happens all the time with people. We are in a sin-cursed world but even so, I’m actually shocked to see how illogical people often are. I don’t say this lightly. I look back to my own past and sigh, because there were times I was illogical too!

The sad part is that most people espousing something illogical don’t realize they are illogical. Even when people are refuted in today’s day and age, they have no idea they were proved wrong and continue as though they were never falsified regarding a particular belief system. 

Many of you are probably tracking with me at this point because you could name dozens of people off the top of your head who are illogical and accordingly, drive you nuts! But I’m going to ask a simple and profound question…why are so many people illogical? 

Did you ever stop to think about that? The answer is rather easy…by and large, people today were never taught logic. I was never taught it at schools for instance. And yet, logic is the basis for proper logical thinking and reasoning. I had to go out and read books on logic and study it on my own for my personal benefit. Nevertheless, you can go from kindergarten to a PhD without a single logic course. How strange. 

Some people were taught critical thinking skills, but most of these courses do not teach formal and informal logic and associated fallacies, whereas logic is required to have good critical thinking. Logic used to be an everyday course in schools. So why was it removed? With caveats about the article itself, the Huffington Post writes:

“The essence of an education - the ability to think critically and protect oneself from falsehood and lies - may once have been taught in American schools, but, with few exceptions, is today a lost art.”[1]

The article goes on to say:

“Governments have always tried to brainwash children not only by what was taught, but also, and more subtly, by what was omitted.”[2]

Of course, I think the article misses the point of why logic courses were removed (they want to blame standardized testing). The logical answer is that it conflicted with other government-run school goals and something had to give. What other goals? If you look at education from an overview perspective, it’s tough to miss.  

The History of Why Logic Was Removed From Schools

Modern education was largely a Christian endeavor going back to English Christian Robert Raikes in the 1700s and his Sunday School movement that expanded in to weekly schools by churches. Over time, the English government, which were largely Christianized, help subsidize these church schools which were radically helping literacy and England in general.

Before you knew it, many of these schools were essentially taken over by the government (which was becoming more secularized) because they were funding them. In England, this began in the 1800s. In the US Colonies, common education was actually earlier but still under Christian and Biblical teachings though it varied from town to town. 

The Bible was used in schools for nearly every subject, including logic, as God is a logical God, we are made in His image, and He created and sustains all things in a logical fashion. Due to sin, people mess up logic and reasoning and hence, they need training on this subject to correct their thinking.

The Bible subtly came under attack in schools. In the 1800s, the secular notion of long ages in geological rock layers was an attack on the global Flood which accounts for the majority of those same rock layers. Then in the later 1800s, biological evolutionary ideas began being inserted into government-funded schools under the guise of science, although no one had ever observed or repeated the changing of a single-celled organism like an amoeba into a dog. 

Finally in the 1920’s, human evolution began being taught in US schools. This led to the famous Scopes Trial in 1925, where creationists won, but it set the stage to remove the Bible, creation, prayer, and other subjects like logic that were reliant upon Scripture and switch them to the religion of man (i.e., naturalism, secular humanism, and atheism), which now dominates our school systems.  

By the 1950s, kids would go into a class on biology, earth science, and history which were now dominated by evolution and then go to a class on logic and see the fallacies of an evolutionary worldview. This conflict meant something had to go. Without question, logic was then weeded out and finally omitted with rare exceptions and if by providence, it was at your school it was usually an elective but not required.[3]

We now have whole generations who are largely ignorant of logic. In other words, instead of generations being taught “how to think”, they were told “what to think”. So much for freedom when people are raised up and trained to be pawns in a larger spiritual war. 

For instance, we have whole generations who do not realize that opinions do not equal truth. Yet our entire court system of judgments are based on “opinions”.  We have a magazine called “Reason” run by people whose atheistic and materialistic worldview cannot account for the existence of reason since it isn’t material. And yet, they fail to realize how inconsistent that is.

When a person calls someone a derogatory name, the someone in question get offended instead of seeing that it is merely an emotive language fallacy (specifically epithet fallacies) and has no bearing on truth. But this is the state of culture we now live in in the Western World. Logical thought is largely absent. When God gives a nation over to be judged in Romans 1:18-22, they became futile in their thinking (illogical):

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools…(Romans 1:12-22 Emphasis Added, ESV)      

What is logic?

Logic is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as,

Logic, used strictly in the singular, is a science that deals with the formal principles of reason.”[4]

Simply put, logic is the study of correct and incorrect reasoning. It is a tool, but not a tool made of material things (like atoms) but an immaterial construct. Logic doesn’t have mass; you can’t trip on it in the middle of the night. Yet all of creation obeys logic, which gives us a taste of how God uphold His creation in a reasonable way.  

The most basic law of logic is the Law of Non-Contradiction which states that something cannot be “A” and “Not A” in the same relationship and at the same time. In other words, you cannot have a drink in your hand and not have a drink in your hand at the same time and in the same relationship. 

A fallacy is when an argument violates sounds logic or sound reasoning. Sometimes an argument can violate more than one fallacy at once. There are informal and formal fallacies. I’ll give listing of these in a moment.  

The tool of logic become essential when dealing with arguments (not yelling matches but exchanges and dialogues on differing views). An argument can have premises (certain accepted information), propositions (chain of statements and premises), and conclusions (using propositions and premises to lead to another truth claim). Sometimes a premise or conclusion is unstated and these are called enthymemes.

Arguments can be deductive (the conclusion definitely follows) or inductive (the conclusion is likely or probably the case, but not definitely—i.e., leans in the direction of where the argument is pointing). With an inductive argument the conclusion can be strong or weak. In a deductive argument, it can be valid (the conclusion follows the premises) or invalid (the conclusion does not follow the premises).

There is also propaganda too (where something is “propped” up to convince you about something but it isn’t necessarily true through any logical means, yet in some cases commits fallacies as well. Okay I get it—this sounds like a lot of terminology but you do this and deal with logic all the time whether you realize it or not. Using concision, let’s look at some Informal Fallacies, Formal Fallacies, and Propaganda Types. Keep in mind these concise listings are often the content of entire books, curricula, and lectures on logic. 

Listing of Some Informal Fallacies

1. Linguistic (Language) Fallacies

 

a. Emotive Language Fallacy (Words lacking defined language – Usually biased to upset someone) Question Begging Epithet; Epithet Fallacies
b. Ambiguity Fallacy (Vague general words)

c. Equivocation Fallacy (Using more than one sense of the word, tone, paraphrasing, multiple interpretations of a word, or incorrect assumption about a word) –Bait-And-Switch Fallacy
d. Misinterpretation of a Statement Fallacy (Not just a word – violations of context) –Contextual Fallacy
e. Figure of Speech Fallacy (Misusing idioms)
f. Composition Fallacy (Using a statement to judge the whole, using some small thing to illustrate the whole thing) –Part-to-Whole
g. Fallacy of Division (Dividing things that are not divisible or using the whole to judge one statement [opposite of Composition] ) –Whole-to-Part
h. Vicious Abstraction Fallacy (Changing the argument to something else to try to prove the other point)

i. Either-Or Fallacy (Making someone choose between two things when there are other possible options) False Dilemma; Bifurcation; False Dichotomy; Trifurcation (Like bifurcation but with limiting to three possibilities when more exist)

j. Double Standard Fallacy (Say one thing and do another or applying something unequally depending on who is making the case) –Special Pleading

k. No True Scotsman Fallacy (When one defines a word or argument in such a biased way to protect the argument from rebuttal)


2. Irrelevant Evidence Fallacies

 

a. Irrelevance Fallacy (Introducing and/or jumping to disproving the wrong point) –Red Herring; Irrelevant Thesis
b. Ignorance Fallacy (Assuming something is true because one is ignorant to the subject)
c. Pity Fallacy (Pity or looking for sympathy)
d. Respect Fallacy (Giving heirs to truth due to prestige, respect, etc)

e. Disrespect Fallacy (Condemning an argument because of where/how/who began it) – Genetic Fallacy
f. By Force Fallacy (Making everyone think it is the truth by force and power)
g. Attack the Person Fallacy (Attacking the person not the point) –Ad Hominem
h. Prejudice/Masses Fallacy (Appeal to the masses, prejudice of groups) –Appeal to the People

i. Strawman fallacy (When someone attacks or refutes a distorted view of what their opponent believes instead of their actual position)

j. Slippery Slope Fallacy (Absurdly extrapolating)

k. Guilt By Association Fallacy (falsely trying to link one group or set of ideas to another known group or known set of ideas that is false)


3. Material Fallacies

 

a. Fallacy of Accident (Apply a general rule because of an obscure event)
b. Converse Fallacy of Accident (Come up with science rules and laws based on accidents)
c. False Cause Fallacy (Because something randomly happened by accident doesn’t mean it always will or just because something happened before something else doesn’t mean it caused the other) –Post Hoc/Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc
d. Failed Step Fallacy (Conclusions do not follow the logic)  –Non Sequitur
e. Compound Questions Fallacy (Using one or more questions to try to trick the opponent) –Compound Question Fallacy; Loaded Question Fallacy, Complex Question Fallacy, Fallacy of the False Question, Fallacy of Many Questions, Trick Question Fallacy
f. Begging the Question Fallacy (Using itself to prove itself in an arbitrary sense) –Circular Reasoning, Petito Principii
g. Agreeable Fallacy (Agree because you do it yourself) –Tu Quoque
h. Misplaced Authority Fallacy (Asking an expert to give an opinion about something he is not an expert in) –Faulty Appeal to Authority/False Authority Fallacy
i. Genetic Error Fallacy (Determining if it is true by who is saying it now)
j. False Analogy Fallacy (Using a similar argument to argue the point regardless of different circumstances) –Weak Analogy
k. Insufficient Evidence Fallacy (Inadequate evidence and then jump to a conclusion) –Lack of Evidence
l. Contrary to Fact Conditional Error Fallacy (Alters historical facts and draws conclusions from them)
m. Contrary to Premise Fallacy (Self-contradicting right from the start)
n. Hasty Generalizations (Generalizing about a class or group based on a small sample)

o. Reification Fallacy (Treating abstract concepts, objects, and events of nature as real things with human characteristics) –Anthropomorphic Fallacy; Anthropomorphism

p. Personification Fallacy (A type of reification fallacy that treats animals as though they have human characteristics)

q. Pathetic Fallacy (A type of reification fallacy reflecting human feelings, actions, or emotions through inanimate objects)

r. The Fallacy Fallacy (Just because there is a fallacy, doesn’t mean the conclusion must be wrong—sometimes a conclusion can still be right even when falsely-argued)

s. The Offense Fallacy (Something is wrong merely because someone is offended by it)

 

Formal Fallacies

 

Formal fallacies can be stated in forms and improper forms lead to fallacies. There are two main type of formal fallacies—Affirming the Consequent and Denying the Antecedent. They are improper forms of good logical flow called Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens. 

 

(1) If p, then q. (2) p. (3) therefore, q.                               Valid; Modus Ponens

(1) if p, then q. (2) q. (3) Therefore, p.                             Invalid; Affirming the Consequent Fallacy

 

 

(1) If p, then q. (2) Not q. (3) therefore, not p.                 Valid; Modus Tollens

(1) If p, then q. (2) Not p. (3) therefore, not q.                 Invalid; Denying the Consequent Fallacy

 

An excellent example of an Affirming the Consequent Fallacy is:

 

If millions of years is true (p), then we should find fossils (q)

We find fossils (q), therefore millions of years is true (p)

 

This is one of the most common fallacies I’ve seen in a secular worldview and it is espoused over and over again. This could just as easily be reversed for creation (just switch the words “millions of years” with “creation”)  which shows the arbitrariness of the fallacy.  

 

Propaganda Types

 

Propaganda is used to get people to act on something or believe something by simply appealing to something or someone. Advertisements are mastery at this:

 

“Get it while it lasts, supplies are limited!”—Exigency Propaganda

“Everyone else is doing it, come and join in”—Bandwagon Propaganda

“Get the latest gadget” —Appeal to Technology Propaganda

“Stop being old-fashioned and join our movement because we are progressive”—Appeal to Progression Propaganda

 

Specific propaganda types:

 

a.  Appeal to Fear (Trying to get people to do something or else there may be consequences that you don’t want to happen)

b.  Appeal to Pity (Trying to get you to do something out of pity)

c.  Bandwagon (Pressuring because many others are doing it)

d.  Exigency (Giving time limits to influence you)

e.  Repetition (Repeating something so many times that people begin to believe it regardless of the facts)

f.  Transfer (Trying to transfer a thought of one thing/person to another thing/person)

g.  Snob Appeal (Trying to get people to think they are better than everyone else)

h.  Appeal to Tradition (Trying to influence due to tradition or age)

i.   Appeal to Technology (Trying to influence via the latest thing)

j.   Appeal to Progression (Trying to influence through the construct of progress)

 

Conclusion

Logic is a powerful means of understating truth claims and false claims. It helps us take the “emotion” out of an argument and see the truth for what it is. Logic is predicated on a logical God existing and upholding the world in a logical state. God knows all things and is never wrong on any matter and is the very standard for logic and truth.

We, as beings made in the image of a logical God, are poised to understand and use logic in this sin-cursed world, where people are often illogical, to make sense of things. I want to encourage you to learn proper logic and train yourself to do better at reasoning and not get caught up in “futile thinking”.   



[1] Frank Breslin, Why Public Schools Don’t Teach Critical Thinking — Part 1, Huffington Post, August 7, 2016,  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-public-schools-dont-t_b_7956518.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Textbooks for logic became a thing of the past like McCall’s Basic Logic from 1947, Ambrose and Lazerowitz’s 1948 Fundamentals of Symbolic Logic, and Burtt’s 1938 Principles and Problems of Right Thinking soon only gathered dust in libraries.

[4] Merriam-Webster Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/logic, accessed July 29, 2020.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Is the Bible True?

How do we know the Bible is true?

B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, July 28, 2020


This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. (Psalms 18:30, ESV)

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (Proverbs 30:5, ESV)

The Bible is true because any alternative would make knowledge, logic, and truth impossible. The [66 books of the] Bible is the only book that has the preconditions for knowledge/logic/truth [i.e., intelligibility]. God (and subsequently His Word) is the supreme standard that makes provability possible. There is no greater standard.  

All other worldviews must borrow from the Bible for the world to make sense. Science, morality, and logic all stem from the Bible being true. If the Bible were not true, then knowledge would be impossible. In other words, if the Bible were not true, nothing would make sense—good or bad…everything would be meaningless and pointless.

This doesn’t mean someone has to believe the Bible to be true, but that it has to be. Consider someone who says he doesn’t believe air exists. He makes convincing verbal arguments and openly says he doesn’t believe in air…all the while using air to breath and speak his argument. 

It is like this with the critics of the Bible, they argue the Bible is not true and that they have knowledge to say so; all the while borrowing from the Bible, which accounts for truth and knowledge.   

Think of it this way: Unless the Bible is true, which accounts for (1) knowledge and (2) truth existing and (3) that we are made in the image of an all-knowing, logical, God of truth [so we can seek to understand the answer] then no one and no worldview can even proceed to even answer the question, “How do we know the Bible is true?” unless they use these attributes from God’s Word. 

So it is the impossibility of the contrary that proves the Bible to be true (called the presuppositional or transcendental argument). The Bible must be true for provability to be possible.

For more, I suggest you read chapter 1 by Dr. Jason Lisle in How do we know the Bible is true? Volume 1. The chapter itself can be found online here. Also Dr. Greg Bahnsen’s article on the transcendental or presupposition procedure is here. See also the DVD: Is the Bible True: How Do We Know? 

 

 


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Date Translator

Date Translator

Generalized  Secular Dates Translated into Archbishop James Ussher Dates

B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, July 22, 2020

We are often inundated with secular humanistic dating schemes. Most news items, textbooks, programs, journals, etc. just state the date without comment. Many Christians struggle understanding how to convert these dates to the biblical timescale, where God created all things in 6 normal-length days, then rested on the seventh; then about 1650 years later there was a global Flood, and then there was a post-Flood Ice Age and with people migrating about the globe.

How do we translate the dates from one false system (the secular system) to a biblically based system? Here is a some overview guidelines. There may be exceptions to this in certain instances of course since this is merely a general overview. 

13.8 billion years ago (BYA) in the astronomical heavens is a farce. Outside of the earth (Day 1), water (Day 1), the expanse of space (Day 2), and light (Day 1), which were made on the first two days, all things in the heavens  were created on Day 4 about 6,000 years ago and the countdown begins (4004 BC).       

Now we shift to the earth and events occurring there.

4.6 BYA to 600 million years ago (MYA) TRANSLATES to:  Creation which is 4004 BC to 2348 BC

600 MYA to 5 MYA TRANSLATES to:  Flood Sediment  ~4350 years ago, 2348 BC[1]

5 MYA to 2000 BC TRANSLATES to:  Post-Flood Sediment/Times no older than 2348 BC—if it involves people away from Babel, then this is also post-Babel (no earlier than 2242 BC—the first recorded death of an old man in Scripture post-Flood was Peleg at 1996 BC; Noah didn’t die until 2006 BC, Shem didn’t die until 2158 BC). Some of which is Ice Age sediment.

Dates from 2000 BC to Present may only require minor adjusting due to archaeological errors like the errant Egyptian Dating, errant Mesopotamian Dating methods, or the more questionable radiocarbon dating—so be discerning

This should get you dates far closer than the constant errant preaching from the secular religious adherents.

 



[1] Some sediment in the Tertiary is debated as Flood or Post-Flood but since the Mountains of Ararat are made from Eocene and Miocene sediment, thus they had to be formed by the 150th Day of the Flood (Genesis 8:3-4). For a couple of references see: Y. Yilmaz, “Alochthonous Terranes in the Tethyan Middle East: Anatolia and the Surrounding Regions,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, A 331, 611–624 (1990); G.C. Schmidt, “A Review of Permian and Mesozoic Formations Exposed Near the Turkey/Iraq Border at Harbol,” Mobil Exploration Mediterranean, Inc. Ankara, MTA Bulletin of the Mineral Research and Exploration Institute, no. 62, 1964, p. 103–119.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Grappling

Grappling with the Chronology of the Genesis Flood: A Biblical Issue

B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, July 15, 2020

Introduction

As many may already be familiar, there is a debate over the chronology of the Flood of Noah’s Day in Genesis 6-8. There shouldn’t be. It’s quite straightforward.

In the past, a number of people have set forth to write out the chronology of the Flood based on the text of Scripture (a few modern examples are E.F. Kevan in The New Bible Commentary in 1953, Dr. William Barrick in Coming to Grips with Genesis in 2008, and even I was able to put one together for Answers in Genesis in 2010).  

The process is rather simple—open the Bible to the Flood account in Genesis 6-8 and get started. Most people who have done this arrive at numbers very similar to each other. There are a couple of places people seemed to get confused but are in general agreement. Some of these points of disagreement are simple things like: was the initial 40 days of the Flood part of the 150 days of the prevailing Flood or was it 190 days total? Most agree that the 40 days are part of the 150 days due to the calendar date that constrains it (150 days = the exact 5 month period when the Ark is lifted up and so the ancient 360-day calendar is being used).

Another instance was whether the first dove was sent at the same time as the raven or 7 days later. Most agree it was 7 days later due to the next time the dove was sent out that says “another” seven days (Genesis 8:6-12). And the last major point of confusion seems to be 370 days versus 371 total duration of the Flood.  But this is merely due to rounding. In other words, do you include the first day of the Flood as a full day and the last day of the Flood as a full day or do you keep them both as half days. 

In some cases people argued over when the water peaked: the 40th day, the 150th day or somewhere in between. Of course, the Bible simply doesn’t say but the text of Scripture makes this statement between the 40th and 150th day so at least there is a limited range where the waters peaked over everything at least 15 cubits (Genesis 7:20). So in retrospect it doesn’t seem like a big deal since everyone is getting numbers very similar to each other and rightly so, we are all starting with Scripture. This brings us to the issue of the huge technical treatise of Drs. Boyd and Snelling. 

Grappling with the Chronology of the Genesis Flood (GCGF)

Drs. Boyd and Snelling [S. Boyd and A. Snelling, Grappling with the Chronology of the Genesis Flood, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2014] have an entirely different take on the chronology of the Flood. Let us first distinguish these models by name.  The previous chronologies, I am going to call the Straightforward Chronologies of the Flood. The one coming from Drs. Boyd and Snelling will be called the Temporal Reasoning Chronology of the Flood. The reason for this name will be apparent in a moment.

The Temporal Reasoning Flood Chronology essentially takes the calendar dates as firm, but the rest of the information within the Flood account is taken in a more fluid fashion to be able to shift around so their temporal segments can be rearranged.  In other words, the information within the account can be seen as segmented or like “pockets of information” that are independent from the immediate context and may actually be part of a different day in the Flood.

Essentially, these researchers and their colleagues claim the Hebrew verb used (wayyaqtol form) in the account allows for the information to be shuffled about. Typically, when this verb form is used, things follow chronologically unless the context determines otherwise. 

In other words, since the Flood account utilizes this verb form, it would typically be taken as chronologically for the most part—like I said, unless context warrants it differently (i.e., you would get a Straightforward Chronology of the Flood). But these scholars are challenging this by asserting that there are segments that are temporal and can be rearranged.

Just so you know, this new understanding of this verb form (called “Temporal Sequentially” of the wayyaqtol) goes against 2,000 years of Hebrew scholarship and was the brainchild of Jewish professor Stephen A. Kaufman at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Furthermore, the idea of temporal reasoning, which also permeates this entire study came from secular linguist Alice ter Meulen from the University of Geneva, Switzerland

Why did I give you these tidbits of information? They are actually quite important. I want readers to realize that Scripture is being reinterpreted and one the reasons for the justification by these researchers to reinterpret it, is due to ideas from people who oppose the Bible as the truth. In basic form, man’s ideas are being utilized to reinterpret God’s Word. Should this be the case? Why seek the ungodly to understand spiritual things in light of John 12:40Romans 1:18-28Romans 11:7-252 Corinthians 3:7-162 Corinthians 4:4Ephesians 4:17-19Titus 1:15-162 Timothy 2:23-26.

Getting to the Root Cause

I wanted to find out why the Boyd/Snelling project was necessary to reinterpret the commonly held understanding of the verb form (wayyaqtol) that we typically find in Hebrew Lexicons. This is a big deal of course and has bearing on Genesis 1 that utilizes the same verb form. If it is not generally sequential (unless context determines otherwise), then this causes a potentially insurmountable problem for the six-day creationist because there is no calendrical dates in Genesis 1:1-2:3 (i.e., Creation Week).

So why was it so important to change the meaning of verb form that has been in place for millennia?  Why was it devised in the first place—what triggered it? Dr. Boyd answered that question in the preface of the book, Grappling with the Chronology of the Flood.  And this is what I want to discuss—the heart of the issue. There are actually some places throughout the research presented in the book that can be quite helpful but much is built on this one reason.

Pulling the Trigger for the Research Project

Dr. Boyd et al’s problem with the Flood chronology arose when the researchers could not reconcile that several things happened on the same day of the Flood (day 150 of the Flood).[1] Let us review the 150th day of the Flood: 

Genesis 7:24-8:4

 And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days. Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.(NKJV)

Discussing this, Dr. Boyd wrote in the preface (p. xiv) regarding Day 150 (Genesis 7:24-Genesis 8:4): 

“How would there be time between these virtually identical instants of time for all the events represented by these verbs?”

First, they are not identical instances, but over the course of one day (day 150). You might ask, what are these events that couldn’t have happened on the same day? Let’s list them: 

1.      God remembered the animals and Noah on the Ark (Genesis 8:1). [Not that God forgot them, but this is directly standing against the animals and people that died during the course of the Flood (Genesis 7:21-24).]

2.      God made a wind to pass over the earth.

3.      The waters subsided.

4.      Fountains of the great deep were stopped.

5.      Rain from heaven was restrained.

6.      Water started to receded continually from the earth on the 150th day.

7.      Ark rested on the mountains of Ararat.

 

These 7 things are the events represented by the wayyaqtol verb form in question between Genesis 7:24 and Genesis 8:4 that Dr. Boyd et al cannot see as happening on the same day. This is an arbitrary opinion and should be noted. When looking at these 7 things, they could easily have occurred on the 150th day.  For example: 

1.     God remembering Noah and the animals: a moment in time—that is predicated on assuming God who is not bound by time, is to be counted within the time markers here.

2.      Causing a wind to begin on the earth, would take virtually no time for an all-powerful God.

3.      An all-powerful God could easily stop the foundations of the great deep at a moment’s notice (e.g., Mark 4:39).

4.      An all-powerful God could also restrain the rain in an instant as well (again, see Mark 4:39). Take note that so far we have only used about 1 second of a 24-hour day. 

5.      The waters immediately beginning to subside/abate (becoming less intense) would be a natural outcome with regards to the wind, rain restraining, and fountains ceasing. 

6.      Water began receding continually from the earth is clearly reasonable as a direct result of the springs and rain being stopped and restrained. Yes this could easily occur over the course of the rest of the day as the mountains rose and the valleys sank down (Psalm 104:8-9, NASB) catastrophically (the Flood event was a catastrophe).

7.      The Ark strikes the mountains of Ararat nearing the end of the 150th day when the waters had receded a little.  The depth, for all we know, could merely have been 15 cubits below the Ark when waters began to recede (maximum depth of the highest submerged land at the peak of the Flood per Genesis 7:20). This small amount of water recession isn’t much at all.  The Ark’s height was only thirty cubits! Having less than 15 cubits of water decrease in a day is not a problem in the least.

These events could easily occur over the course of one day or even far less! It is an arbitrary opinion to say otherwise. Yet, this was the thinking that triggered an entirely different belief system about Hebrew grammar and a new rearranged Temporal Reasoning Flood Chronology. 

Dr. Boyd’s Solution

The impossibility [of those 7 things occurring on the same day] that Dr. Boyd et al set up had essentially been “written in stone” and apparently cannot be relinquished. And this now caused a problem that Dr. Boyd et al needed to solve. Dr. Boyd stated in the Preface of the book: 

“Since the text cannot be compromised, our understanding of the grammar must be mistaken….But there is no other alternative.”

Though I heartily agree with Dr. Boyd that the text cannot be compromised, I disagree that there is no other alternative but to question the long understood use of the grammar. Dr. Boyd set this argument up as an “either-or” possibility (either the text of Scripture is wrong or the grammar must be changed). But this is a bifurcation fallacy (either-or fallacy). The easy answer is a third possibility…that the perception [that these 7 events couldn’t happen on the same day] was…wrong. 

So because of this, they have proposed a neo-interpretation of the Flood that include: 

A.      A huge volume on why 2000 years of grammar must be changed

B.      Rearranging the text in the Genesis 6-8 after arbitrarily dividing them into segments

C.      150 days does not necessarily equate the time between 2nd month 17th day (Flood begins) to 7th month, 17th day (Ark strikes Ararat mountains)

D.     Events that occurred on the 150th day can now be equated with the events that occurred on the 40th day or elsewhere

E.      A poetic chiastic structure (that mimics Cassuto, a Jew who viewed Genesis as poetic), is used to draw new conclusions regarding the Flood…

A Simple Conclusion

And this is just the start.  If you ask me what my take is, then it is simple: 

“I have no problem with the events listed in the Bible for the 150th day of the Flood to have occurred on the 150th day of the Flood.  Therefore, the rest of the book trying to reinterpret the Flood account is a moot point.”

Is it that simple? Yes, it is that simple. And this is a reminder to all of us. We can get caught up doing years of fruitless research because we have the wrong foundational points—and I’m no exception as I’ve done this before too!  

We need to pay closer attention to the text of the Bible and the authority of that text logically before we develop scientific, theological, chronological, historical, or (what have you) models. This is a case of taking scientific models and theological models to supersede the plain meaning of the text of Scripture, to mean something else.     

What can this Research Lead to for Genesis 1?

Consider for Boyd et al that the only time referents that is seen as accurate in the Flood account are the calendar dates. But if something is listed as occurring on a “day” like 150th day, the details may not be in association with the 150th day but instead can be assigned to a different day such as the 40th day. 

Boyd et al have made the case that some of these things on the 150th day actually belong to the 40th day. For example, they claim the springs of the great deep and windows of heaven were closed on the 40th day, not the 150th day. This was presented in Answers magazine by a co-author of the book L. Anderson [April-June, 2014 page 63]. This has since been reiterated in Answers magazine [January-March, 2015 answer 7 on page 67] by the Ark team member T. Chaffey.

Furthermore, Answers magazine has now added a famous poetic chiastic structure to the Flood account that is virtually identical to Jewish commentator Cassuto, who held staunchly that the Flood was poetic [Lee Anderson April-June, 2014 page 66-68]. Nevertheless, this Temporal Reasoning Chronology of the Flood is not the agreed upon the position within Answers in Genesis

What does this reinterpretation lead to in Genesis 1 since the same verbs form is used there as well?  Furthermore there are no calendric dates in Genesis 1. So if Boyd and company are correct, then events on any day in Genesis 1 can be moved to any other day and seen as poetic if they wanted to push that angle too. Is this Temporal Reasoning Flood Chronology the road we want to continue travelling on? I suggest we stick with the plain reading of the Scriptures.

[1] I believe this problem started prior to Dr. Boyd where some science models of the Flood has Rodinia break into Pangaea and Pangaea is under water until late in the Flood, hence the mountains of Ararat could not have existed on the 150th day (Genesis 8:3-4) which is post-Pangaea and signifying that most plate movement had ceased by this time. This problem has plagued some creationists for some time. I suggest the scientists holding to this model may have influenced Dr. Boyd on this issue, which is why Dr. Boyd changed his position as he stated in the preface of the book.   


Friday, July 3, 2020

Common Abortion Excuses Refuted

Common Abortion Excuses Refuted

B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, July 3, 2020

Sadly, abortion is a commonplace in the Western World. Excuses to make light of one abound.

Abortion is murder—I’m up front about that—there is no sugar coating it. Excuses for murder are when people try to justify evil behavior and actions. Murder is evil and abortion is evil. Yes, that is bold, but people need to hear the truth.

God commands in Exodus 20:13,  "You shall not murder” (NKJV). If someone tries to say otherwise, they are lying, whether knowingly or unknowingly. God also says in Leviticus 19:11,  “You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another” (NKJV). By what authority can someone object to God’s absolute authority in His absolute Word? It would only be via a lesser authority which is a faulty appeal to authority fallacy—i.e., an arbitrary authority.

Many unwanted pregnancies would not be an issue if people would have listened to another of God’s commands in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “ For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality” (NKJV). Nevertheless, Psalm 127:3-5 reminds us of the blessing of children, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate” (NKJV).

The demotion of children and their value  in our culture and the elevation of sinful actions like sexual immorality, lying, and murder have created a terrible situation in our society. The response of many Christians is to give in to sinful behavior like abortion; or if they do oppose it, it is often via shallow, feelings-based answers—there are exceptions, of course. 

I wanted to do something different with short, logical, biblical, and snappy answers that are bullet-pointed below to cut to the heart of common abortion excuses. I want to give a bold response, but at the same time I want readers to realize these are still said with sincerity and kindness—even though they are bold, direct, and to the point.

After all, it could save someone’s life and even help a parent—maybe you—to realize the need to repent of evil behavior and turn to the blood of Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for our sin on the cross through His death, burial, and resurrection.

Common Excuses and a Brief Response

·         “I already have some children and we simply can’t have more.”

o   Yes you can. Gideon had 70 sons that were his own offspring (Judges 8:30). Beat that! How will your other children feel when they find out that you murdered one of their brothers or sisters? Personally, I would never feel safe around my parent(s) if I found out they willingly killed one of my siblings.

·         “I’m not ready to have a baby right now!”

o   Too late, you already have a baby right now. Own up to the responsibility and take care of him/her—the child is already counting on you. Furthermore, it’s too late to use this excuse. If having “a baby right now” was a such a big deal, then why were you performing the act that makes babies?  

·         “I need to do other things in my life before having children!”

o   This is an either-or fallacy (bifurcation). You can do all sorts of things with your life with a child—education, travel, etc. Perhaps you’ve been misinformed to this fact. Furthermore, if these other things were your goal, then why were you attempting to have a baby. Regardless, you are already with child now so it’s too late to use this excuse. It’s time to get over that type of selfish behavior and take care of your child.

·         “I’m not ready to be a good mother right now.”

o   Then step it up and become a good mother. Keep in mind that you are already a mother at this point. Nourishing and caring for your baby is being a good mother. Be honest with yourself, killing your baby would make you a terrible, evil mother—but you’ll forever be a mother nonetheless. Perhaps you should have thought of this prior to doing the act of making a baby.

·         “I don’t want to have a child with this baby’s father.”

o   Too late—you already have a child with this baby’s father; you should have thought of that prior to doing the act that makes a baby with your baby’s father. Nevertheless, this is no excuse to kill someone else—i.e., the baby.  

·         “This child wasn’t my choice.”

o   Your parents weren’t your choice either—that doesn’t justify murdering them. But it was your choice to have sex with the father though since you engaged in the activity to make a baby.

·         “This child is the result of rape.”

o   First, these claims need to be proved in in accordance with the Law in court. According to Deuteronomy, did you cry out for help (per Deuteronomy 22:23:-27)? Were you in a city (people within screaming distance) to get witnesses and help to prevent said rape; or were you isolated in the countryside (no people within screaming distance) when this happened? Depending on your response, there were two different things that could happen. I’ll assume for the moment that it really was rape…which brings me to the second point…

o   What crime did the child do that deserved capital punishment (i.e., death)? Even if the father did something wrong, does that mean that you or the child should be held accountable for it? Should you go to jail for his rape for instance? Did the child murder someone, rape someone, have sex with an animal, etc.? No. Then why condemn your child to death for the sin of the father? God says, in Ezekiel 18:20  "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (NKJV).

·         “A pregnancy will be dangerous for my personal health.”

o   You don’t know that and this borderlines on false prophecy. With the finest healthcare today, that shouldn’t be a problem anyway. Besides, if you put yourself before the child what does say about you? God says in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (NASB). I humbly suggest that you conquer this self-conceit and put others first…namely your child. Furthermore, if pregnancy was such a dangerous thing, then why risk engaging in sex, which is how you get pregnant?  

·         “This child was given a terminal diagnosis or will be born disabled.”

o   Everyone has disabilities and a terminal diagnosis. Even you. You are going to die and not live to 900 years old for instance like Adam, Methuselah, Noah, and several others. We are all degenerate mutants since sin and the curse in Genesis 3, when we were given a taste of what life is like without God upholding things in a perfect state (e.g., Genesis 1:31, Deuteronomy 32:4). A lot of people say this as an excuse to abort. But it is irrelevant. The child did nothing to deserve capital punishment any more than you deserve it.

o   Keep in mind where this argument leads (reductio ad absurdum). If you got in a car wreck and lost your leg—you would be disabled.  Does this mean other people can put you to death because you are disabled? That is where this argument leads. Instead, we should take care of those who are less fortunate, not destroy them.    

·         “I can’t have a child! What will people think about me?”

o   Most people will think you are a murderer if you murder your baby—even if they don’t say it to your face, they will often think it. You may be able to hide it for a while, but it will come out on Judgment Day when you answer for it. If you are okay with murder—which it is sounds like—then why would you care about anything that respectable people will think when you keep your child? Contrary to what you’ve been led to believe, most people will think highly of you for protecting and caring for your child like a good mother.

·         “Everyone’s telling me a termination is the right choice for me.”

o   Not everyone—that is a straw man fallacy. I’m not for instance and hosts of pro-life people would join me in telling you that you should keep your child. Also, God disagrees with those pushing you to murder your child. Do you really think people supporting murder should be the role models you should listen to? There are plenty of people encouraging you to care for your baby or at the very least, put the child up for adoption—stop ignoring the people who care and stop listening to the people who are leading you down a path of evil and murder. God says in Proverbs 4:14 , “Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil” (NKJV).

·         “There’s nothing wrong with an abortion. It’s just my preference for what is right for me.”

o   God defines right and wrong, not you. Be careful of promoting this idea that a person can come up with their own concepts of right and wrong. Otherwise, you are unwittingly agreeing that a rapist can rape you, a murderer can murder you, a torturer can torture you, a thief can steal from you, a liar can lie to you, a cheater can cheat on you, etc. because these sinners are okay with saying that what they do is right in their own eyes too. God already established that it is not right to murder someone—including your own child.

·         “I’m a Christian, but I’ve been told the Bible agrees that it’s okay for me to have an abortion.”

o   This is a crackers in the pantry fallacy. It’s among the easiest fallacies to solve and get to a solution. The answer—look it up in the Bible and see. Read the passages where God supposedly supports murder, and you’ll find the opposite is true. The point is not to trust what people say is in the Bible, but look and see what God actually says. Again, God says in Exodus 20:13,  "You shall not murder” (NKJV), among other passages (e.g., Numbers 35:16-19, Deuteronomy 5:17), etc.).

·         “It’s just a bunch of tissue, so why not get an abortion”

o   By this standard, you are a clump of tissues too! Is it okay for someone apart from you to make the choice to murder you too then? The fact is that you and the baby are more than a clump of cells. The baby, like you, is a unique growing human being made in the image of God which gives him/her a value over plants, trees, rocks, and animals. And if you kill your child, it will be murder. And you will have to answer for that murder before God on judgment day. So this argument is irrelevant.

·         “It is my body—I can do what I want with it!”

o   No, it’s not your body. Your child is no more part of you than you are part of your mother’s body. If you are making this argument, then per reductio ad absurdum,  you and the baby are technically your mother’s body too (i.e., grandmother, great grandmother, etc.). This is a false premise fallacy. Your child’s DNA is unique from yours. If the child is your body, then the father should never have any responsibility of the child whatsoever either (this would reduce any liability for a father to be held for child support and a rapist would be immune from any responsibility for a child either). The facts is that your body and the baby’s body comes from God and He owns all things. The life Adam and Eve received from God has been passed down from every generation to you and your child. And you will have to give an account for how you used your body and how you cared for your child that God entrusted you with on judgment day. 

o   Secondly, when you claim “it’s my body”, this is a property argument—assuming you can do whatever you want just because  you “own” it. This is the same argument used to promote slavery or in our modern vernacular human trafficking. The people enslaved are seen as property that you can do whatever you want with them—rape them, beat them, work them to death, or murder them all in the name of ownership. No, the child is not your body but a unique individual, whom you chose to make with the help of the father by doing the act of making a child.  

 

I know these are hard-hitting responses but it was designed to make people think. Very few people are willing to state things as they are and they tend to let emotion cloud their judgment. Many times, we just sugar coat the truth. I wanted to do something different here.

I also understand that people have gone through the killing of their child and often feel very bad about it afterward—and rightly so. Jesus Christ offers forgiveness when you turn from your sin (repentance) and confess it to Christ.

Jesus took the punishment we deserve for our sin on the cross. He took the infinite punishment from the infinite Father that we should rightly receive for our sin. Jesus’s sacrifice satisfied God’s wrath upon our sin so we can be forgiven and receive the free gift of eternal life because Jesus’s righteousness is transferred to us (imputed to us). On Judgment Day, God sees us as spotless like Christ because of Christ’s perfection.

And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts 16:30-31, NKJV).

 


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