Question on old earth creationism...

by logansrun 8 Replies latest jw friends

  • logansrun

    Is it just me, or are all old earth creationists (besides JWs) also of the opinion that the Noachian flood was local? My reason for saying this is that the JWs pat themselves on the back for being old earthers (oh yeah, their not creaionists! LOL) but then use patently young earth creationist flood models. All the old-earth creationists I've heard of believe in a local or non-literal flood.


  • Sargon

    I'm not sure about the others but the frisbeterians still subscribe to the flat-earth doctrine.

  • AlanF

    JWs have long been essentially young-earth creationists with a twist: they allowed that a "day" could be 7,000 years, and that the earth itself could have been created billions of years ago. Of course, this means that the creative days began only some 41,000 years ago, and life is not more than 20,000 years old. They accepted stock-standard YEC notions of geology (such as with respect to Noah's Flood) from the mid-1960s, which was a change from the equally nutty notions of Isaac Newton Vail which the Society adopted in the 1880s. These older teachings included the idea that Noah's Flood was global.

    In the early 1980s there appears to have been a major change in viewpoint in the Writing Department, not enough to instigate a wholesale change in teaching -- that would have been catastrophic -- but enough to begin a gradual process of jettisoning many long-held ideas.

    Around 1965 the Society adopted the teachings of Henry Morris and John Whitcomb as expounded in the 1961 book The Genesis Flood. Morris and Whitcomb borrowed heavily from the earlier writings of George McCready Price, a Seventh-Day Adventist young-earth creationist who wrote at least 15 books and numerous pamphlets decrying modern geology and advancing his ideas about "flood geology" and six-literal-day creationism. About the only thing the Society did not adopt was the time scale promoted by these YECs. Part of the Society's teaching, therefore, was that there were no ice ages, that the Flood was global and produced all of the evidence that scientists claimed was evidence for ice ages, and that virtually all sedimentary rocks, along with their fossils, were laid down 4,300 years ago in Noah's Flood.

    So in the early 1980s much of this teaching began to be quietly dropped. Articles appeared in Awake! specifically condemning YEC ideas, the claim that ice ages were imaginary was no longer made, no more was said about fossils being laid down in the Flood, and in the 1985 Creation book the notion of 7,000 years per creative day was changed to an unspecified "millennia".

    Today JWs don't know what they believe about the traditional 7,000 year creative days, since the Society has given them no specific direction, but thinking JWs (an oxymoron, I know) seem to realize that something has changed out from under them. People who joined the JWs since the mid-1980s have little or no idea about the older teachings and seem surprised to learn that the Society once taught that dinosaurs died in Noah's Flood.

    I've noticed that since about 1990, the Society's writings defending the Flood and so forth have avoided dealing with any kind of material that can be empirically checked. They tend to keep to the Bible alone -- and of course, never present the pros and cons of the global versus local flood claims -- and to notoriously unempirical notions like the plethora of Flood legends. Such waffling indicates two things: that the Writers know the true score, and that they're afraid to print their ideas for fear of offending older, tradition-bound JWs, especially the GB members.


  • logansrun


    As usual, your insights are right on the money. It's funny, about a year and a half ago, in the midst of my doubts, I talked to an elder in my hall who had graduated from Gilead a few years previously (him and his wife left their assignments for health reasons). When I mentioned some of my doubts about the science of the Watchtower the dinosaurs came up. We didn't talk long about them, but he emphatically did say (and another elder whom I talked to said similar) that all the dinosaurs died in the flood. I knew this was absolute bullsh!t. That was the next to last straw in my faith collapsing. If a recent Gilead graduate, what should be one of the most educated JWs on the planet, could spout such crap I knew that the entire superstructure of the organization's science was flawed to the core.

    The JWs insistance that they are far more scientific than young-earther's is very frustrating. Theirs is a strange mixture of young and old earth creationist arguments. Does anyone in the organization know this? Sometimes, I doubt it.


  • AlanF

    Hi Bradley,

    I'm sure that the Gilead grad and the other elder have been JWs for a long time, at least as far back as the mid-1970s. Those are the ones who the Society would devastate by explicitly abandoning the traditions. But this is extremely cynical on the Society's part, since the core group of Writers knows the truth but for 'political' reasons won't tell it. Young JWs are especially ignorant of Watchtower traditions.

    The typical JW who grew up "in the truth" (somebody slap me!) in the 50s to 70s learned that the dinosaurs existed to eat up the lush vegetation that grew in the hothouse conditions existing under the worldwide vapor canopy. The fact that young JWs know nothing of this nonsense was brought home to me when my daughter, who was raised by my ex-wife as a good little JW, moved in with me at age 14 and wanted nothing more to do with the JWs. She had absolutely no idea that the JWs taught such nonsense. When I showed her some excerpts from WTS publications, she was floored. So it's pretty obvious that JW kids are not being taught the old traditions, nor are they being indoctrinated against modern ideas of geology. Evolution, sure, but not geology. In discussions with various JWs over the past few years it's become clear that a good number of them -- at least, of the ones with it enough to be able to understand the issues -- don't hold to the old ideas, and even allow that life has been on the earth for hundreds of millions of years, which means they don't hold to the old 7,000 year nonsense. Yet it doesn't bother them that older JWs still hold to it, and the Society doesn't see fit to clear the air. But this is par for the course in cult, right?


  • onacruse


    Young JWs are especially ignorant of Watchtower traditions.

    This is the truest definition of "the generation." The WTS screws up, lays low for a few years, waits for the old-timers that know these things to either die or leave...then restarts the old Model A and trudges along the same road...or acts like they never went down that road to begin with. Pigs.

    The typical JW who grew up "in the truth" (somebody slap me!)

    Will a 4x4 do?

    sphere: Hi! Was real good to meet you last month. Next MeetUp, Katie and I will have to sit at your end of the table, eh?


    Edited by - onacruse on 13 February 2003 0:56:5

  • TheOldHippie

    Further blurring the picture are the articles in Awake! which tell about geological formations, water basins, hot spots, tribal migrations, old stone relics and monuments, all of them "things" that go contrary to what other artciles tell about the Flood, creations, Abraham etc. When asked about this, their only reply is that they only write or quote what scientists or historians who are not Bible-based, write or say.

    In so doing, they create the very same confusing situation as we had in school, when in lesson one we learned that life and Adam and Eve etc. were all created by God, and then we went on to the next lesson which was biology, where we learned about evolution. The Society make fun at and critisize how such a school system produces uncertainty and ignorance in the students, but then procede to do exactly the same thing in their own magazines.

  • AlanF

    I received an email tonight and responded as follows, hoping that it would shed a bit more light on the topic of discussion.

    >> The typical JW who grew up "in the truth" (somebody slap me!) in the 50s to 70s learned that the dinosaurs existed to eat up the lush vegetation that grew in the hothouse conditions existing under the worldwide vapor canopy. The fact that young JWs know nothing of this nonsense

    > Forgive me for dropping in on your conversation I read there from time to time, could you prove that the jws taught that?

    Well, I know that I was taught such things from the time I was little, in the 1950s, so I know it from personal experience. A couple of months ago an elder called at my door. We got into a discussion about what the JWs believe about creation (he didn't know that I was once a JW), and touched on the dinosaurs. He repeated almost verbatim what I posted about the dinosaurs' existing to eat up the lush vegetation. Over the years I've heard many JWs say the same thing. It wasn't something that we, as JWs, discussed much. It was just something that was part of the culture and so didn't need much discussion. Everyone knew these things, perhaps partly by absorbing the culture informally. If you have contact with JWs of long standing, you can verify this.

    I tried to find explicit statements in WTS literature about this, but could not. My search was not exhaustive, and I probably missed something from pre-1970 literature. The closest I could come was this, from the "Watchtower Library" on CDROM:

    -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
    *** g90 2/8 p. 11 What Happened to the Dinosaurs? *** The vast array of dinosaurs with their huge appetites would have been appropriate considering the abundant vegetation that evidently existed in their time.
    -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

    However, I looked for similar themes and found the following, which may be of interest:

    -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
    *** g70 12/8 p. 18 Uncovering Coal from the Prairie Landscape ***
    As we survey the scene and examine the coarse lumps of coal we are intrigued with how such vast deposits were formed. Our host is both technically versed on the subject and also a mature Christian minister who appreciates the creative activity of earths Maker, Jehovah God.

    "Portions of trees can often be recognized in seams of lignite coal," he explains. "Evidently the coal resulted from such decaying vegetation."

    Our discussion turns to the length of time required for transformation of such organic material into coal, since commonly accepted theories involving millions of years conflict with the Bibles accurate chronology. Our host reminds us that before the global flood of Noahs day the earths entire climate was that of a humid hothouse. This condition existed for thousands of years after the creation of plant life on the third "day" of creation. It was very suitable for growth of huge forests and heavy vegetation and also the preliminary decomposition of the trees and plants when they died off.

    It is noteworthy that chemical and physical changes to form coal result from tremendous pressure and heat generated by such pressure. Time is not all-important. During the one year that the Flood waters covered the earth, tremendous pressures must have been exerted on these decomposed organic materials. It may well be that these abnormal conditions played a major part in a more rapid formation of coal.

    *** w63 12/15 p. 768 Questions from Readers ***
    The statement at Genesis 8:22 must, of course, be taken in conjunction with other promises concerning the perfect conditions due to obtain under Gods kingdom. What Jehovah meant at Genesis 8:22 was that the condition of equable climate that prevailed over all the earth before the Flood would no longer exist. Why? Because the great water canopy responsible for such a condition had fallen, resulting in the seasons described at Genesis 8:22. However, as God produced sudden revolutionary changes in earths living conditions by the deluge of Noahs day, with extremes now of heat and cold, so at Armageddon and with the inauguration of his Messianic kingdom he can produce rapid changes that will ameliorate any hard conditions of winter or disagreeable features of other seasons.

    Will this be accomplished by a restoration of the water canopy? Will the Creator again suspend it in space so as to produce a hothouse condition on this earth in order that a uniform temperature may again prevail around the globe? The Bible does not say so, whereas the formation of the antediluvian water canopy was part of Gods creative work on one of his workdays before he began his seventh day by ceasing from such creative works for the earth. His rest day has yet a thousand or more years to go. It is sufficient to say that Jehovah God, who already knows what he will do, will handle matters perfectly. He will bring about the most desirable and enjoyable conditions through his King Jesus Christ. This change, which will do away with unpleasant seasonal conditions, will harmonize with Gods restoration of paradise and his removal of death, pain, sorrow, sickness and crying.-Rev. 21:4; Deut. 32:4.

    *** w68 7/15 pp. 419-421 Was There an Earthwide Flood? ***
    Is there reliable evidence that a deluge of such tremendous magnitude actually occurred? From where could so much water have come? Where did it go? Does the earth itself bear evidence that it was inundated with waters that overwhelmed all land areas?


    Obviously the source of the floodwaters was not the moisture that is ordinarily found in the atmosphere today. For it has been estimated that if all the atmospheric water were suddenly released as rain, it would cover the earths surface only to an average depth of less than two inches. There must be another explanation, then, for all this water, and the Bible gives it.

    In its brief account of creation the Bible says regarding the forming of earths atmosphere: "And God went on to say: Let an expanse come to be in between the waters and let a dividing occur between the waters and the waters. Then God proceeded to make the expanse and to make a division between the waters that should be beneath the expanse and the waters that should be above the expanse."-Gen. 1:6, 7.

    The waters "beneath" the atmospheric "expanse" were the waters on the surface of the earth. Whereas, "the waters . . . above the expanse" were vast quantities of moisture suspended high above the earth, evidently in the form of a heavy vapor. These waters surrounded our earth in its earlier history.

    Regarding the possibility of the existence of such suspended waters, the book The Genesis Flood (1961), by John C. Whitcomb, Jr., and Henry M. Morris, observes:

    "The region above about 80 miles is very hot, over 100 F and possibly rising to 3000 F, and is in fact called the thermosphere for this reason. High temperature, of course, is the chief requisite for retaining a large quantity of water vapor. Furthermore, it is known that water vapor is substantially lighter than air and most of the other gases making up the atmosphere. There is thus nothing physically impossible about the concept of a vast thermal vapor blanket once existing in the upper atmosphere."

    However, the exact height and the way in which the waters were held above the earth cannot be known by us with certainty. But we do know that it was to these suspended waters that the Christian apostle Peter referred when writing under Gods inspiration about the Noachian flood. He explains that there was "an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water," and that "by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water."-2 Pet. 3:5, 6.

    The earth in the pre-Flood days was "out of water" in the sense that the ground on which men lived and walked stood above the waters of the seas and rivers. Yet, it was "in the midst of water," since a vast quantity of it surrounded the earth, suspended far above its surface.

    "But," a person might observe, "such a canopy of water suspended above the earth would greatly affect earths climate."

    Indeed it would! The light and heat rays from the sun would be diffused by the vapor canopy, while this vast canopy would prevent heat from escaping. Such a "greenhouse effect" would thus produce a milder, more uniform climate earth wide. Biologist Harold K. Blum explained this effect of water vapor upon climate, saying:

    "Just as the warm glass of the greenhouse tends to raise the temperature of the interior, the water vapor tends to raise that of the earths surface below it. This surface, or any object on it, is constantly exchanging radiation with the water vapor in the atmosphere, so the temperature of the surface is closely dependent upon the amount and temperature of this vapor."

    That earths climate was uniformly warm at one time is commonly recognized. In an article concerning dinosaurs, Scientific Monthly of August 1949 observed:

    "In those days the earth had a tropical or sub-tropical climate over much of its land surface, and in the widespread tropical lands there was an abundance of lush vegetation. The land was low and there were no high mountains forming physical or climatic barriers."

    Of the now-frigid Antarctic continent the French magazine Science et Vie, in its July 1966 issue, said:

    "This inhuman land, this desert of ice, was once a green land where streams flowed among flowers, where birds sang in the trees."

    According to this source, at least sixty-one kinds of plants then grew in Antarctica. How consistent, therefore, is the Bibles explanation that there was a suspended mass of water above the earth in mans early history! This water vapor would have created the uniformly warm climate that is known to have once existed earth wide. And it was the unleashing of this tremendous reservoir of water, and not simply a severe rainfall, that caused the global deluge. Note how the Bible shows this in its description of the Flood:

    "All the springs of the vast watery deep were broken open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And the downpour upon the earth went on for forty days and forty nights."-Gen. 7:11, 12.

    *** w56 2/15 pp. 126-127 Questions from Readers ***
    At any rate, for a time the earth was lifeless, without plant life and without animal and human life. The earth was also rainless. To provide for the coming plant life, Jehovah God duly provided an irrigation system, not by rain but by a vapor for all the earth, aside from such rivers as Genesis 2:10-14 indicates there were. So when God caused vegetation to cover the dry land, that did not alter the general conditions with reference to the great water canopy revolving away out in space far above the earth.

    Rain was not necessary to cause the vegetation to grow or to keep growing, any more than man was needed to cultivate the earth and make the vegetation grow or keep growing. Genesis 2:5 does not say that the vegetation could not grow because God had not made it rain and had not created man to cultivate the ground. God started off the vegetation without rain and without man, because God produced the necessary moisture that made rain and man unnecessary. Hence the very next verse (6) starts off with the conjunction "But," and goes on to say that a vapor regularly went up from the earth and irrigated the entire surface of the ground all around the globe. This, of course, was under the great water canopy far out in space that was to fall much later on in Noahs day and be followed by rains and the rainbow. How dense the rising vapor or mist was we are not informed, but it provided more than a mere dew. It was still enough to water the surface of the ground inside and outside the garden of Eden when man was created and put there toward the close of the sixth creative day; and the vapor did not make the general atmosphere uncomfortable for man.

    So this vapor aside from what rivers there were was able to keep the plants in a continually flourishing condition until the flood and to do so without rain. The issue of The Watchtower of September 15, 1954, pointed out, on page 573, paragraph 38, how even a mere dew was more potent in reviving certain plants than when the ground itself was watered and how from dew such plants were able to store up water around their roots even to the weight of the plant or more. How much more would this be true from the third creative day forward in the case of a vapor that regularly ascended over all the earth and which indicated that the earths surface held moisture. Instead of the waters coming down from clouds in the sky to irrigate the earth, Gods Word says the vapor went up, and this state of affairs continued on until after sinner Adam was driven out of the garden of Eden to cultivate the ground as a farmer, yes, even until the flood of Noahs day and the first rainbow.

    *** w73 7/15 p. 447 Questions from Readers ***
    Questions from Readers

    O When did God create dinosaurs, and when did they become extinct?-U.S.A.

    The Bible does not provide specific answers to this question. According to the Genesis account, animals were created during the fifth and sixth creative periods or days. If the Hebrew expression translated "great sea monsters" [Hebrew, tanninim] includes dinosaurs, which often inhabited swampy, watery areas, this would mean that dinosaurs were created on the fifth "day." (Gen. 1:21) We do not know whether they continued to exist until man was created (toward the close of the sixth "day"). At the very latest it seems likely that they must have disappeared off the earth at the time of the flood of Noahs day. Dinosaurs were reptiles, and some kinds of dinosaurs bear strong resemblance structurally and otherwise to lizards (sauros is, in fact, the Greek word for "lizard"; saura in Leviticus 11:29, LXX). Not all types of dinosaurs were of such gigantic size. Hence, even if they had survived till the Flood, this would not have required taking pairs of the mammoth varieties into the ark. Other smaller members of the particular family or "kind" to which these belonged would have sufficed to fulfill the divine command.-Gen. 6:19, 20; 7:14.

    Some of the older translations of the Bible at times use the word "dragons" to translate the Hebrew tanninim ("sea monsters," NW). (Ps. 74:13; 148:7; Isa. 27:1, Authorized Version) The term "dragon" (Greek, drakon) is found in the Christian Greek Scriptures. It has been suggested as possible that, rather than having a purely mythical source, this expression may originally have been applied to enormous creatures such as the dinosaurs, taking on mythical tones only after these mammoth creatures had long disappeared. Interestingly, many of the mythical depictions of the "dragon" strongly resemble certain types within the family of huge reptilian creatures that includes the dinosaur.

    -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

    The above quotations should give you a flavor for the sort of silliness taught by the JWs over the years about geology and paleontology.


    Edited by - AlanF on 13 February 2003 4:35:59

  • Room 215
    Room 215

    How typical of the WTBTS, that rather than candidly admit that they're in over their heads on a particular issue involving reconciliation of the Bible narrative with hard, scientifically verifiable evidence, they either avoid the issue entirely in the hopes that no thinking JW will raise the question, or float some patently faniciful notion and rely on the rank and file's bottomless reservoir of credulity for acceptance.

    Alan uses the expression ``quietly drop:" How contemptuous is it of the average JW's intelligence when the writers as a matter of policy, simply stop further mention of once wicely-held-but-currently-untenable or discredited notions as Phase One in a campaign to distance themselves from such beliefs?

    The perception of a ``Credibility Gap" existing among the diminishing numder of progressives in the JW writing staff also tends to validate rumors of a widening intellectual breach between Writing and the relatively reactionary, conserative and autocratic Jaracz-led Service Department.

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