Facing the facts
First of all, I must say that I like the way Dr. Snoke is thinking, when he says:
We must face the facts: if the Bible is wrong, utterly wrong, about the history of our origins, then we should dump it. (p.120)Of course the Bible is wrong, utterly wrong, about the history of our origins (and just about everything else). But Dr. Snoke is reluctant to dump it. His challenge, then, is to try to find a way, any way, to interpret the Bible so that it does not conflict with science.
In many people's eyes, I have probably lost before I begin, because no matter what I argue from the Bible, they will say, "But you have come up with this just because you want the Bible to agree with science." I freely confess to this charge. (p.9)
Saying as little as possible
Snoke's little book is remarkable for how little it says about the history of life or the age of the earth. You'd think that a book about an old earth would say how old it is. But if the author has an opinion on the subject, he doesn't say so in his book. The closest he comes is this:
In this chapter [Chapter 2: The Scientific Case] I have argued that the world looks as though animals and plants have been living and dying for millions of years. (p.43)From which, I guess, he (sort of) thinks that life on earth is at least several million years old. It seems that Dr. Snoke, like Ann Coulter, is not particularly interested in the details.
Here are just a few questions that he doesn't address:
- How long has life existed on earth?
- How old is the earth?
- How old is the universe?
- Is the fossil record reliable and what does it say?
- How long have humans existed?
- Were all of the species created in the beginning, or did God intervene periodically by creating a bunch of new species while causing others to go extinct?
Throughout the book, Dr. Snoke makes it clear that although he accepts an old earth, he rejects evolution.
Many people seem to assume that if the earth is as old as science indicates, and animals have lived and died during that time, then evolution must have occurred. Not so! (p.44)Lord of the Fleas
An old-earth view is not synonymous with evolution. (p.193)
...evolution, which I reject... (p.164)
Dr. Snoke spends two chapters on the important scientific question of whether animals suffered and died before Adam and Eve sinned. Evangelical Christians are divided on this issue. I discussed his views in a previous post (For thy pleasure they were created), so I’ll skip over them here, except to say that he believes that God purposefully designed animals to prey on one another from the very beginning.
God … is not just the way we would like him to be. We may hate the wrath of God, but we cannot say it is illogical to believe in it. What is illogical is to believe in a God who would never harm a flea when we see lots of harmed fleas around us. (p.96)Utterly wrong non-negotiables
Dr. Snoke admits that he "wants the Bible to agree with science." But he says there are three biblical "nonnegotiables" which science cannot contradict.
Dumping the Bible
- "Adam was one, real, historical man."
(Adam was specially created by God just like it says in Genesis. And all humans are descended from him.)
- "Noah was one, real, historical man."
(Snoke thinks the flood was local, making biogeography a bit less embarrassing. But he insists "that the flood killed every other person on earth except those on the ark, so that every person today is descended from one of Noah's sons.")
- "Life in al its diversity was created by sovereign, miraculous acts of God."
(Evolution did not occur.)
"If the Bible is wrong, utterly wrong, about the history of our origins, then we should dump it.” His non-negotiables are utterly wrong about the history of our origins. I guess it’s time to dump the Bible.