JCTS Volume 2 Preview

JCTS‘s Executive Editor, Dr. Steve Boyd, has released an article as a preview to the Volume 2 (2023) issue. He has made it available as a free download from our website’s Journal page. Steve also plans to post a second preview article in the near future. These previews will allow our CTS members and website visitors a taste of what is in store for members and journal subscribers when Volume 2 finally comes off the press.

Meanwhile, all of the CTS Board extends their New Year’s greetings to all our readers. Happy New Year 2024!

Origins Conference 2023

Please register. For what? For the annual Origins Conference meeting at Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH, Saturday, July 15. Registration is available at this Eventbrite link. Please register so you can join either in person or via livestream (TBA).

As with previous Origins Conference meetings, papers will be presented by members of all three societies (Creation Biology Society, Creation Geology Society, and Creation Theology Society). An Interdisciplinary Session will be led by the Creation Theology Society on the topic of Created Kinds. The Interdisciplinary Session presentations will be published as papers in the third issue of the Journal of the Creation Theology Society (2024/2025).

Following the Saturday sessions, the Creation Theology Society will hold its Annual Members Business Meeting. Please be certain your CTS membership is up to date so you can vote.

From July 16–19 Cedarville University will also host the 9th International Conference on Creationism (follow the link for information).

Creation Days and Created Kinds

A recent discussion of the pros and cons for feathered dinosaurs noted that birds and dinosaurs were created on different days.[1] Birds were assigned to Day 5 (Gen 1:20), but the dinosaurs to Day 6 (“beasts of the earth” Gen 1:24 esv). Such a distinction ignores the fact that our modern, scientific taxonomic groups do not necessarily reflect the biblical descriptions given for the creatures made on each day.[2] For instance, if we consider what day reptiles were made, we immediately realize it is a complicated question because there are terrestrial, aquatic, and flying reptiles. The great number of aquatic reptiles could be included in “the great sea creatures[3] and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm” (Gen 1:21 esv). The following marine reptiles would be candidates for Day 5 creations: plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, and mosasaurs. These three groups include many species and may themselves consist of multiple created kinds.[4]

As noted above, there are also flying reptiles that would likely be made on Day 5 (the “flying things” of Gen 1:20)[5] like the pterosaurs which have around 130 genera.[6] These include the bat-sized anurognathids all the way up to giant azhdarchids, which had wingspans reaching over 30 feet.

As can be seen, these two major groups of marine and flying creatures include many reptiles. That means that God created reptilian creatures on Days 5 and 6, since lizards and snakes fall among “the creeping things and beasts of the earth” of Day 6 (Gen 1:24 esv). Spreading animal classes across different creation days occurs also with mammals: flying mammals (like the bat) on Day 5, but land mammals on Day 6. Various organs, skeletal structures, and functions display repetition across class boundaries:

  • Egg-laying is found among Day 5 birds and reptiles,[7] but it is also present among some Day 6 reptiles and mammals
  • Lungs are found in birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians,[8] and some fish[9] made on Day 5, but also among Day 6 reptiles, amphibians, and mammals
  • Two-legged animals are found among birds on Day 5 and mammals and reptiles on Day 6
  • Four-legged animals on Day 6 includes amphibians, reptiles, and mammals
  • Warm-bloodedness is found in both birds (Day 5) and mammals (Days 5 and 6)
  • Flying (winged) birds, reptiles, and mammals would have all been made on Day 5

The penguin provides a good example of potential ambiguity in its creation day appearance. Although it is classified as a bird, it is not a “flying creature” and is only semi-aquatic, perhaps moving it out of Day 5 into the Day 6 creatures. We violate sound exegetical principles by any dogmatism in attempts to disambiguate the penguin’s creation day entrance. Since we must be careful with a living animal like a penguin, we must be even more cautious in making dogmatic statements about which day God created an animal we only know from fossils.

Endnotes

* Photos: Komodo Dragon, by Jessica McLain with permission; Penguins, licensed through Adobe Stock 

[1] Haynes, “The debate over the classification of Archaeopteryx as a bird,” Answers Research Journal (2022).

[2] See McLain, et al. “Feathered dinosaurs reconsidered: New insights from baraminology and ethnotaxonomy,” Proceedings of the ICC (2018), pp. 506–8 for more discussion of this topic.

[3] Leupold, Exposition of Genesis (Baker, 1942), p. 80 includes “amphibians like the saurian of every class and description.”

[4] None of these groups have yet been investigated with statistical baraminology, although non-plesiosaur sauropterygians have by LePore and McLain, “Which came first, the flipper or the leg? Evaluating the sauropterygian fossil record from a creationist perspective,” Journal of Creation Theology and Science, Series B (2021).

[5] Sarfati, The Genesis Account, 2nd ed. (Creation Book Publishers, 2015), p. 224 suggests the Hebrews classified creatures according to their mode of locomotion.

[6] There is good evidence for multiple created kinds of pterosaurs. See, for example, McLain, “New baraminological analysis of ‘basal’ pterosaurs confirms multiple holobaramins,” Journal of Creation Theology and Science, Series B (2022).

[7] The Greek Septuagint translates both “swarms” and “creepers” in Gen 1:20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30 with herpeton (“reptile”), perhaps because the translator recognized reptiles to be both aquatic and terrestrial.

[8] Some extinct amphibians were likely totally aquatic (e.g., Acanthostega, Crassigyrinus, etc.) as are some living amphibians (e.g., sirens).

[9] Lungfish, for examples, possess both gills and lungs.

An Irenic Society in a Polemical World

The small arboreal eyelash viper (Bothriechis schlegelii) coiled in a tree or bush might appear relatively harmless. Its venom, though rarely fatal, can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Our words, though sometimes flowery and eloquent, also can generate a lot of pain. When we use labels to identify others with unbiblical positions or beliefs, the damage we create can cause more than personal pain—a label can spur some people to ostracize the person thus labeled. The best sounding labels might actually be inaccurate, unfair, and maligning. Labels and classifications may be unavoidable, especially in theological circles (consider the labels “Calvinist” and “Arminian,” for example), but the creator or user of a label must make certain the label is not a serious misrepresentation due to a lack of adequate and honest research.

When we think we have accurately and fairly identified someone with regard to their ideas, their interpretations, or their models, the best way to confirm our conclusions involves talking with them personally or engaging in one-on-one email conversations. We might find out that we just plain misunderstood the other person. Or, we might discover that an editor failed to catch a problematic sentence or word that the author had not intended to use. Just consider how often our “smart phones” and our “smart computer programs” alter words that produce ridiculous statements. A word processing program automatically changes “pericope” to “periscope.” A publishing program inverts the Hebrew text so that even a solo word reads backward. A researcher fails to read the context of an excerpt from a book before passing the selection on to someone else out of context and misrepresenting the author’s viewpoint. These things happen. It is one reason professors insist on firsthand sources.

In the Creation Theology Society’s (CTS’s) “Principles and Values” we focus on being a community characterized by Christian ethics and activity. CTS, therefore, purposes to promote “agreement and unity” and to provide “opportunities for irenic discussion in areas of disagreement.” Our “Goals” include:

  • To set a standard for interdisciplinary research, in which collaboration models how the body of Christ operates.
  • To exhibit Christian character by irenic interaction should disagreement arise due to different research findings.

CTS believes A Call to Unity further advances those principles, values, and goals. The statement clarifies what we mean by “irenic interaction.” CTS is not the first to observe the need for the biblical creationist community to renew our commitment to unity, civility, and respect. Dr. Randy Guliuzza, President of the Institute for Creation Research, called all of us to these values in three different issues of Acts & Facts over the past three years. In “The Power of the Next Idea,” Acts & Facts 49, no. 11 (Nov 2020): 5–7, he wrote, “Unfortunately, in our August issue we were harsh in our criticism of several fellow creation scientists and called them some names. I regret that we did that and am truly sorry for the hurt it inflicted. We will endeavor to not engage in those behaviors in the future. Please forgive us” (ibid., 6). Then he published “Unity Worthy of Our Creationist Heritage” in Acts & Facts 50, no. 1 (Jan 2021): 5–7, in which he identified the practice of demeaning someone with whom we have a disagreement:

Academic leaders’ playbook for dispensing professional sorrow includes several effective means. A few actions they regularly attempt are suppressing opposing views by simply ignoring contrary research or killing it through an abusive peer review process; ruining another scientist’s credibility or assassinating their character by public humiliation either in person, in blogs, or in so-called “peer reviewed” papers; and bringing on professional exile by shunning rogue scientists at conferences or in employment. (p. 6)

CTS recommends Dr. Guliuzza’s most recent article, “The ICC and a Covenant for Civility and Respect,” Acts & Facts 52, no. 3 (May-June 2023). The humility and integrity exhibited in these three separate articles over a three-year period stands out particularly in regard to apologizing three times for the publication of an article ICR admits violated the principles of unity, civility, and respect. That remarkable action exemplifies for all of us the way we should be interacting with one another. No other biblical creationist organization or publication has made such an apology in recent memory. It is time for more of us to live up to the biblical instructions God gave us in His Word for our obedience to His standards of unity, civility, and respect.

If you agree with our commitment to unity, civility, and respect, please follow the instructions below the heading Signatories at the end of “A Call to Unity” to become a signatory.

Also, please consider becoming a member of CTS to help us continue

  • To publish the Journal of the Creation Theology Society
  • To organize the annual Origins Conference Interdisciplinary Sessions
  • To provide opportunities for member interaction through occasional online symposiums
  • To encourage interdisciplinary research cooperation

Signatory Alert!

Urgent Message regarding Signatories for “A Call to Unity”: Due to a website glitch, all messages through the Signatory link were going to a two-year old page link that is not viable. If you do not see your name in the list of signatories, it is most likely due to not receiving your request because of that issue.

Please accept our apology and go back to our Contact page to resubmit your request. On the current Contact page you should see  cts@creationtheologysociety.org as our email address. If you see a gmail address, you know it is the non-viable Contact page from two years ago. In that case, please refresh your page to see the correct address and you will know that your request will be received.

Please note: We will respond to every request within 48 hours. If you do not hear from us in 48 hours, please let us know at cts@creationtheologysociety.org.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation in getting this situation corrected.

A Call to Unity

Today (April 30, 2023) the board of the Creation Theology Society finalized a statement calling for unity and civility in our interactions with one another as fellow young age creationists.[1] We ask that you read the statement and consider becoming a signatory by requesting that we add your name to the list of signatories at the end of the document. You can access the statement here, or by means of the link in the banner at the top of the website page, or by going to the statement by means of the drop-down menu under About at the top of the home page.

Our founding documents call for us to be a society committed to biblically based theology and irenic engagement with fellow members and all other persons pursuing the study of the events recorded in Genesis 1–11. It is our hope that many individuals will commit themselves to the principles enunciated in “A Call to Unity.” Our prayer is that it will encourage us to model a Christlike behavior in all of our interactions formally and informally, personally and publicly.

Endnotes:

[1] We are using “age” in place of “earth” because we believe the universe is also young, not just the earth.

Dr. John D. Morris (1946–2023)

Former president of the Institute for Creation Research (1996–2020) John David Morris entered his Savior’s presence on January 29, 2023 at the age of 76. Dr. Morris championed biblical young-earth creation and followed ably in the footsteps of his father, Henry M. Morris, in his love for the Lord, His inerrant Word, biblical creationism, and the Institute for Creation Research.

Dr. Morris earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech University in 1969, then his M.S. in 1977 and Ph.D. in 1980 from the University of Oklahoma. His doctoral studies were in the field of Geological Engineering. He joined ICR in 1984.

Again and again Dr. Morris returned to Mt. Ararat in search of any remaining evidence for Noah’s ark. During one of those expeditions he was struck by lightning and nearly died. In the creation community he has become our own Indiana Jones. His life and career overlapped with those of the two most highly regarded founders of the modern creation science movement, his father and John C. Whitcomb.

John D. Morris together with John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris

The ICR website lists a number of books written by John D. Morris well worth reading and recommending to others. Here is a brief listing:

  • The Global Flood
  • The Young Earth
  • The Fossil Record
  • Searching for Noah’s Ark
  • Noah’s Ark: Adventures on Ararat

Dr. Morris leaves a legacy for all of us in the young-earth creationist community of a life of Christian humility, devotion to Scripture, irenic discourse among ourselves, and a determined dedication to investigate the evidence in the Bible and the world. May we each do our part to advance that same cause with the same humble, irenic, and gracious spirit.

A video of the March 3 memorial service for Dr. Morris held at First Baptist Church, Dallas, TX is available on Vimeo. Watch it and praise God for what the Lord has accomplished through him. Keep on praying for his wife Dalta and the whole family as they continue on without him.

The Christ Child and the Creator

Amazing! Wonderful! Mind blowing! Stupendous! Marvelous! No adjective in the English language seems to do the event justice. At the heart of the Christmas message we behold the Creator of everything making His appearance as an infant in Bethlehem. He who created the earth and fashioned its layers of stone was laid within a stone manger normally used for providing food and water for livestock.

The Christ child known as Immanuel (“God with us”; Matthew 1:23 and Isaiah 7:14) created the heavens with all their glorious array. He who is beautiful (Isaiah 4:2) provides beauty in the heavens so that we are without excuse when we ignore their revelation concerning His Godhood and power (Romans 1:18–32).

These truths are part of the wonder of Christmas. For that reason we look beyond all other gifts to the greatest gift of all, Jesus the Messiah and Savior. 

Enjoy a Christ-centered and Christ-glorifying Christmas season. May we all continue to stand in absolute awe of the miracle of the First Advent of our Savior. Our Creator came to this sin-cursed earth to bring salvation to fallen human beings. He who possesses the greatest power came in the form of a servant (Philippians 2:5–11) to accomplish what He alone could bring about — a new creation: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is passed away; behold the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV). 

Fall Symposium Video

On the evening of December 8 CTS hosted its first Online Fall Symposium with twenty-one CTS members logging in. The topic for our symposium was “The Biblical Flood in the Literature of the Dead Sea Scrolls” led by our President, Dr. Jeremy Lyon. Wipf and Stock published Jeremy’s Qumran Interpretation of the Genesis Flood in 2015. If you have an interest in this topic, this book provides very helpful translations, descriptions, analyses, and discussions of four scrolls: the Genesis Apocryphon (1QapGen), a Genesis pesher (4Q252), a fragment of an admonition based on the Flood (4Q370), and a fragment of a paraphrase of Genesis and Exodus (4Q422).

The Fall 2022 Online Symposium video can be accessed via this link. In this way, those of you who were unable to join us can still hear the presentation and the subsequent Q&A.

Watch for announcements regarding future online symposia. We plan to offer at least two each year — one in the Fall and one in the Spring. The symposia provide only members the privilege of live-stream watching and participation. Every active member receives a Zoom invitation ahead of time so they can join the symposium. Post-symposium access to the videos are available to anyone through the CTS website.

Tax Exempt Status

Praise the Lord! The IRS granted tax exempt status to the Creation Theology Society under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 501(c)(3). That means that donors can deduct contributions they make to CTS. It also means that CTS is qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers, or gifts. We filed for this exemption as a non-profit organization on August 3 — and we received a positive response in less than one month! The IRS even made the CTS effective date of exemption August 4, 2020, covering our entire history as an organization.

Thank you for praying for this important process and approval. We invite you to visit our Donate page by clicking on the appropriate link in the running head at the top of all our website pages, or by going to Donate in the drop-down menu under Home. Or, just click on this link