The fact that God stretched the heavens does not teach an expanding universe

Monday Musings for July 12, 2021

Good morning, Musers,

Some people accuse me of concordism because I do not subscribe to young-earth creationism. Now, it is true that I am an old-earth creationist who is probably not going to get Ken Ham’s seal of approval (Ken Ham leads Answers in Genesis). But, I do not subscribe to — nor do I suborn in others — biblical concordism. Here’s why.

Biblical concordists are people who subscribe to the inerrancy of Scripture, but they insist that the Bible contains scientific truths purposefully. I too subscribe to biblical inerrancy. But I run a tight ship epistemologically. “Truth” must clear a high bar before I attach it to any biblical text.

I subscribe to — what most biblical commentators say they subscribe to — the historical-grammatical method of hermeneutics. But in my case, I mean it. I believe that — except where it is expressly understood in his word (as is true in prophecy, for example) — God is only talking to the original audience. This has implications for both mainstream interpretation and concordism.

For mainstream interpretation, the best we Bible readers can be — technically speaking — is a secondary audience — and sometimes we are tertiary! But don’t be insulted. The simple fact is that the original text was not written “to” us. We are reading over the shoulders of the original audience, so we should always strive to understand what God was saying to them.

The best way to accomplish that is to try to access the synergy between the author (which was God and a human author writing in confluence) and the person who received that “word from God”... which was eventually written down, passed around… and became “the autographa” — the original New Testament manuscripts... none of which are extant.

Now, I understand that the Bible is unlike any other book and that we are unlike any other audience. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit! This means that the Bible was indeed written “to” us! But this does not mean that we can handle its texts less critically than any other text. God used the common language of the first-century people to communicate uncommon things — and language has rules... and if God does not follow these rules, he’d be pulling a bait-and-switch!

As to biblical concordism, concordists affirm that scientific discoveries — that were unknown to the original audience — are “in” the Bible. My position is that scientific truths do not “conflict with” the Bible. That’s a huge difference! In my view, Scripture “allows” for all discoveries and true postulation through portals such as Romans 1:18-20 and 2:14-15. But the bar for “allowing” modern scientific knowledge is much lower than the bar for “teaching” it or “affirming” it.

Hugh Ross is a Ph.D. astronomer and the president of Reasons to Believe ministries. He is in charge of evangelism at his local church — so he is a serious evangelical Christian! I really love this guy and appreciate what he does for the kingdom. But — and despite having a decidedly high view of Scripture — Ross is a biblical concordist.

Now, I agree with Ross’s conclusions more than I do with Ken Ham’s. But, in my opinion, Ross oversteps biblical warrant when he points out where the Bible teaches modern science. Yet, we wind up in the same place… as will be demonstrated by today’s Question-and-answer.


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