Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Deceptive to whom?

Rob Bowman  I mentioned one problem above -- supernova have occurred that were visible from earth and that the distance would indicate exploded 20,000 years ago, long before the stars were created according to the YEC position. I cannot think of an explanation that is not ad hoc for why God would make it look like a star exploded before he made it.

One of the things I find striking about these objections is how reversible they are. Modern critics use modern assumptions as their frame of reference for what's deceptive. But what about an ancient observer? 

To an earthbound observer, the sun looks much smaller than the earth. Actually, our sun is far larger. But it looks smaller because it's 93 million miles away. 

I assume ancient stargazers thought the sun, moon, and stars were far closer to the earth than we do. They didn't measure the universe in lightyears. They didn't know the speed of light was 186,000 miles per second,

Wouldn't our modern understanding of the cosmos be "deceptive" to them

The moon looks larger on the horizon. That's illusory. Is God deceiving us? 

To some extent, deception is culturebound. If absence of deceptive appearance is the standard of comparison, whose standard should we use? What would be deceptive to a modern audience? Or the original audience? 

If you told an ancient Israelite that the circumference of the sun was really a hundred times larger than the earth, suppose he objected because that would implicate God in a web of deception?  


  1. A possible objection would be that in God's providence and His cultural mandate of dominion, our knowledge of the world and eventual development of science should lead us to a greater understanding of the world God created such that our latter understanding(s) should be the frame of reference and not the more primitive understandings of earlier generations.

    Of course, since science is ever developing, the frame of reference would always be developing too. In which case, all of our observations would always end up being "deceptive". Maybe that's why it really is best for Christians to hold to some form of scientific anti-realism (e.g. Clarkian operationalism, or some other scientific anti-realism that's compatible with Christianity).

  2. It occurs to me that all miracles appear deceptive from a natural standpoint. That's why they are miracles and not natural events. So do old-unversers (the age of the universe and the age of the earth are two different things) think that God didn't create the universe miraculously so as to provide light on the spot?

    Now there are a couple of ways God could have done this:

    a) He could have created the history of the universe along with the universe and intersected it with the history of the earth. The history exists as it appears, but it didn't happen in the history of the earth up to that point.

    b) He could have aged the universe much faster than he aged the earth. Time isn't uniform. While we experience a relatively uniform time macroscopically, it's really a homogenous tapestry of countless dilated temporal frames of reference on a subatomic level. We really don't know that the act of creation didn't have an extreme effect on the external universe. And God could have easily controlled that outside of natural processes.