Or I Feel Like I’m Taking Crazy Pills!
So, last time, I mentioned that a friend of mine posted my Part II of this series on a Facebook page called Evidence for Creation. At first, I watched the discussion unfold without commenting but against my better judgement I jumped into the fray. As with most internet exchanges, it did not end well. It barely started well. And I am certainly not innocent, here. I get a little frustrated after being on the defensive and arguing in circles for about 400 posts. My patience wears a little thin especially when someone suggests that I need still more education and really means that I need to read a particular scholar that agrees with them. Meanwhile, the majority of YEC contributors demonstrate a pervasive anti-intellectualism but I’m the one who needs yet another MA. We’ll get to this double-standard.
What would be apparent to anyone (except the YEC contributors) to this thread would be that at almost every turn of the argument and with every new contributor they confirm the main thesis of my post. My argument is: Many YECists, in their endeavour to defend their commitments to their particular version of “biblical inerrancy”, their peculiar interpretation of Genesis 1, and their belief that the earth is less than 7,000 years old will frequently employ statements and make assertions and recapitulate arguments that were deemed heretical and unorthodox by the Church. Moreover, the traditionally orthodox position that I set forth is greeted as heretical. Additionally, I am frequently rebuked, my faith in and commitment to Christ is questioned, and, so, the question of my salvation is up for grabs (Christ’s grace is apparently not sufficient to cover my supposed doctrinal errors).
Now, as they were responding to my post about Apollinarianism, it was not surprising that the main focus was what Jesus knew, how and when did he know it. Yet, time and again and in predictable circular fashion and as new people joined the thread (having read my post or not), the orthodox position that during the incarnation there were things Jesus did not know was rebuked as unbiblical and heretical and tantamount to denying Jesus’s divinity.
Now, a few of the contributors did throw in the occasional theological term like Trinity, person, etc and one individual even mentioned the hypostatic union as though that doctrine somehow supported Jesus’s omniscience during the incarnation. Yet, here is one of those places where my friend and I saw the YEC double-standard at work. For, when I appealed to the Church Fathers or to the decisions of Church Councils, then these men and their decisions were dismissed as extrabiblical and of no consequence and the character of these men was impugned i.e. they were mostly a bunch of crackpots and Nicaea was totally decided by the Emperor Constantine and participants were mostly pretenders. Hmmm? Really?
Yet, these same people who derided, maligned, and dismissed the Church Fathers and the Councils constantly appeal to the doctrines that these men helped to develop and articulate and often suffered in defense of these doctrines but only when it seems to support their position. One can see this at work in the arguments made by Answers in Genesis. While they regularly dismiss the Church Fathers, they are quick to point out when a Church Father believes the earth to be less than 7,000 years old or reads Genesis literally. As I have argued in another series, they overstate their case and gloss over the disagreements among the Church Fathers and almost completely ignore that the default was to read Genesis 1-3 metaphorically not literally.
I have already alluded to another double-standard. For the most part, YEC seems to attract and promote the anti-intellectualism which I am sad to say seems to come from a certain stream of evangelicalism. As with the Church Fathers, YECists disparage and deride modern scholarship especially in the sciences and in biblical studies. Any biblical scholar who comes to read the early chapters of Genesis in a way other than the way it is read by YECists is dismissed as a compromised Christian. The narrative they use to dismiss them is almost always the same and it was assumed to be my own narrative and my friend’s narrative on this post. Yet, it was completely backward.
The assumption is that it is the biblical scholars’s prior commitments to evolutionary theory and belief in an old earth that causes them to come up with or adopt a reading of the early chapters of Genesis to conform with their scientific biases. YECists cannot fathom that careful study of the Scriptures in its original historical contexts and seeking to discover the authors intent could lead a Christian scholar to an alternate interpretation of Genesis 1-3 than that literalist interpretation of YECism. They cannot fathom that these are two separate questions for many of us. We do not conclude that the Bible supports or teaches evolutionary theory or deep time rather that Genesis when understood in its historical context has nothing to say for or against scientific conclusions about the age of the cosmos or the origin of species — it just is not that genre of literature. As for my own narrative, you can read it by tapping <here>.
While I am quite comfortable using the term heresy to describe a doctrine that has been traditionally described as heresy and condemned by a council, I refrain from making any judgements about an individual’s commitment to Christ or about their salvation as that seems to be up to Christ not me.
Yet, as I have already stated, the same is not true from the other side of the debate. After I left the discussion and, indeed, unjoined the fb page so that I would no longer receive notifications, my friend informed me that it was stated that I was “no followers of the King of Kings.” One of the last statements I saw about me was, if I might paraphrase, I must consider myself to be something like a god since I am capable of judging who and who is not omniscient. So, by saying that if someone does not know something (ie Matthew 24:36), they are not omniscient I must consider myself akin to God. What does that make someone who pronounces judgement on the someone’s eternal soul?
Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept It
If you are on FB, then visit this group. Look at the discussion and unless I am blinded by my own bias, I suspect you will see ample examples of what I’m talking about. Whether you contribute to the discussion is up to you. I don’t recommend it because as I said I joined the discussion against my better judgement.
Further Reading: Knowlege of Jesus Christ on New Advent This concise article may be helpful. I cannot use this article in discussions with YECists because there is a strong anti-Catholic bias that feeds into their suspicions of Church Fathers and Councils.