Authors’ Response to Replies to Nature Confirms a Recent Creation
Apologies: For late response. We suffer from aging (90+) and some ills that seem to go with it. Being Winter here and a rather cold one at that chest infections have and are still taking their toll. In addition to some more serious complaints which infections haven’t helped. This has left Stuart to write the responses alone without our normal discussion of each.
2.Introduction to the Greatest Climate Change: Thanks are due to Spectrum for publishing the last two articles: (1) Nature identifies events during the ‘Gap’ period in Creation; (2) Nature confirms a recent Creation Week. The first appeared to be generally well received, while the ice-core data of the second seemed to be accepted, our interpretation in relation to Creation Week was not. One sensed that some doubted that Creation Week ever occurred.
However, the concept of a recent Creation Week on an ancient planet is not new. It was promoted by our pioneers, Uriah Smith, M.C. Wilcox, and our early geologist McCready Price, in the late 1800s and early 20th century, before YEC became more dominant. Indeed, our (the present authors) views could well be expressed by these brethren today speaking with the enlightenment of modern science.
Ice core science is now an established field that appears to have provided insight into the climate change that very probably preceded Creation Week. We wish to explain this event. A great climate change was initiated at 11,700 years BP to transform the climate of the earth. It was the climate change, after 2 million years of glaciation, that terminated the ice age climate. Mild climate followed until today. This enabled man and all life to flourish. The climate change greatly modified a number of aspects of climate. However, two respondents have mentioned that similar or slightly greater increases in temperature occurred at other times, notably at 125 thousand years (ky) BP (the Eemian record) and at about 50 million years BP (Eocene Optimum). They suggest that these two warmings cast doubt on the significance of the recent (11,700 year) climate change we have described. However, temperature is only one aspect of climate and this suggestion is misleading. The latter warming (the Eocene) required a long period to develop (tens of thousands of years) but then cooled slowly to initiate the ice ages. For discussion of the former see under patfromzuric response.
In contrast, the recent climate change that terminated the ice age climate arose suddenly, and after only a few years, changes in climate parameters and induction of warming were detected. The rapid and coordinated changes suggest response to a regulatory signal or signals. In terms of the diverse effects and biological significance, the 11.7 ky climate change that appears to have preceded Creation Week can be termed “the greatest climate change recorded on Earth.” and the record has much precision, unlike most of the pre-ice age events (e.g. the Eocene Warming).
3.Beliefs: We wish also to explain as briefly as possible our theological stance - since many have asked and some have assumed, and mostly assumed incorrectly. For reasons we cannot understand, one respondent stated that we believe life developed over millions of years before Creation Week. Also that the significance of Creation Week was the creation of man’s spiritual nature. We have never held these views.
We have always intended to provide the modern science point of view as Nature might impact Scripture (Bible) and where we see any impact on Ellen White’ writings and what she has said we have no qualms in saying so. We believe in Scriptures account of Genesis in Creation as explained more clearly in the ESV than most other versions, which means essentially Creation Week occurred on an old planet Earth created millions of years ago.
We acknowledge life prior to Creation Week but have avoided discussion of this issue as far as possible - due mainly to some older church members having difficulty accepting this view at this time.
We recognise the following:
(1) The presence of plants before CW (see comment in our response to Graeme Sharock, Spectrum, 23 June 2017; also Spectrum, 4 March, 2016).
(2) The existence of hominids/Neanderthals prior to CW. (See the present authors in Spectrum, 4 March 2016).
(3) Note that the evidence for both (1) and (2) above is very strong. Three comments worth noting:
(a) the plants and cyanobacteria had a function, to serve as a source of oxygen;
(b) the Neanderthals became extinct about 30,000 years ago (probably long before CW);
© the pre-CW life does not reduce the significance of CE. Most hominids had probably died out and were not created in God’s image. New Plant species were required to suit the great climate change that preceded CW. All this pre-CW life was created. - Stuart & Col (31July2017)
AUTHORS RESPONSES TO:
@niteguy2 in his/her reply 14 July asked: "How do we know that at Creation, the Total earth was tropical the year round?
Our response: We don’t! We never stated that it was. Ice cores from Greenland contain annual layers back to over 90,000 years ago. Hence glaciation occurred in the Northern Hemisphere throughout this time. The world climate during Creation Week could have resembled the climate of the world today.
We are trying to establish when Creation Week occurred. We accept the Genesis account. However, it was not our intention to become involved with specific living organisms.
Ice core data seems to be particularly relevant to our discussion, but not the fossil record, which often reveals life that arose before Creation Week. The Bible is silent on this subject and we thought to leave it at that.
For reasons already presented elsewhere, the significance of Creation Week is not lessened by pre-Creation Week life. For example, after the great climate change, new plant species would be required. These would be able to function in the new climate, and Creation Week could have produced at least 400,000.
Then there is the inevitable Dinosaur question. During the ice age, areas where these creatures could survive would always be present. For example, around the Mediterranean, in the tropics (temperatures only 5o below present values).
Several people who read the article had no trouble differentiating between observed facts and interpretation, but perhaps we should have taken greater care.
Thank you for your discussion about the cause of ice ages and warming periods. The last warming was very rapid as you have noted. Tremendous changes; the removal of dust from the atmosphere was almost immediate. It was not gradual; it occurred in perhaps 20 years, a mere geological moment, and the initial indicator of warming required perhaps only 3 years (Walker, ref. 40). All this precision was not an accident. Surely it was designed, and designed for a purpose as suggested.
In our view (i.e. Stuart & Col, the writers of the original story: Nature Confirms a Recent Creation) Biblical Creation has no scientific credibility problems. Below Patrik’s comment (15 July) is discussed under the five heads he gives after, saying: “Let me pick out two or three elements to comment.”
Our response, using Patrik’s numbering system:
(1) Patrik claims that the elevated temperatures of the past 11,000 years, probably associated with Creation Week, are not special, because one other similar ice core period has been recorded. (Note: only one in numerous cores). It is a warm period of nearly 10,000 years in the Eemian record (Greenland) with the potential to yield and maintain an “Eden” - like climate. However, the corresponding period in the Vostok core is a normal transient sharp peak (in fact shown in Fig. 1 at 130,000 years BP) with no potential as a continuing source of “Edenic” - like climate. Probable reason: the Eemian interglacial was a reconstruction from folded ice and not a natural core region. [Ref. Dahl-Jensen, et. al., Nature, 493, 489-494 (2013)].
Marked rises in temperature are often recorded in ice cores (interglacials) but are normally sharp and transient and unable to generated Edenic-like conditions. In contrast, the climate change (initiated at 11,700 years BP) that terminated the ice age climate after 2 million years, also elevated temperatures (Fig. 2), and produced a warm climate for 11,000 years. The absence of storms and dust and drought have also been recorded. The last 11,000 years are a special period that allowed mankind to flourish (see Fig.4). To designate it as “nothing special” is misleading.
Robert Johnston (see later) went in search of periods with temperatures greater than the last 10,000 years. He travelled back to about 50 million years, then 2.5 billion years and beyond. See our comments.
(2) & (3) The marine sediment and lake varve cores do show the presence of shells and plants respectively long before Creation Week. This does not contradict Scripture, which has nothing to say on this issue.
Genesis 1, as you say, “leaves a door open for the existence of the earth before creation week.” Numerous Hebrew scholars affirm a gap in creation allowing geological modification of the planet earth.
You state: "Genesis 1 leaves a door open for the existence of the earth before the creation week, but nevertheless establishes from day 1-4 events of such universal dimensions that it is unthinkable to not find traces of them that would go far beyond what can be found in ice-core layers from 6-10,000 years ago. Example: the ‘separation of light and darkness’ or the installation of the “greater and lesser light and the stars”. The challenge for you is to find them?
(4) Interesting comment. “Trees were created pleasant to the sight.” you state. Only God could do this, He is a God of beauty. The bizarre forms natural selection would yield cannot be imagined!
(5) Finally you conclude that: “Genesis is not about geography nor biology nor any other natural science but about literature, poetry, symmetry (compare the role of water in the first to water in the second creation account) to teach us about the authority of God over our lives.”
We can accept that view as yours, while we have a somewhat different view. We consider Genesis 1 is all about origins, which we think is only natural. Our origins and also those of our environment.
Comparison with the literature of the day (e.g. Gilgamesh) shows it to be an entirely different nature. Scripture reveals the origin of the planet in eons past - it is inspired.
It (The Bible) is the first book to say that the universe has a beginning and that the universe is expanding (“stretched out”).
Robert said: “But seriously…what you are proclaiming is not the Adventist message at any time in its history! If you are advocating for a revision of the Adventist message, you should come right out and say so.”
Our response: We thought we were presenting a Recent Creation Week on an Old Earth. What we presented accords with many of our pioneers, as discussed previously and repeated below. Our views in principle are not new. Early in the history of the church, the present view we propose was probably the Adventist message at that time.
"Why the 2015 GC adopted this stance [i.e. YEC] and apparently rejected two-stage creation is not clarified. These opposing views were being discussed by Protestants just prior to the emergence of Adventism and were merely copied into the early Advent Church.32 Elder J. N. Andrews wrote in support of YEC in 1861, a view he emphasised in 1874. Andrews was objecting to the two-stage view published in the Review & Herald 1860 by Elder Uriah Smith.32 Gerhard Pfandl provides details in a scholarly article: “Ellen G. White and Earth Science."33 Pfandl says our early pioneers were discussing actively this very issue. However, Andrews view did not prevail so that Milton C. Wilcox writing an editorial in Signs of the Times in 1898 could say: “’In the beginning.’ When this beginning was, how long a period it covered, it is idle to conjecture; for it is not revealed. That it was a period which antedated the six days’ work [of Creation] is evident.” George McCready Price in 1902 adopted this same view as have modern theologians, both Adventist (e.g. Richard M. Davidson34) and non-Adventist. Most significantly, this is the view established today by modern science. Now in 2016 it appears that this view is no longer valid officially. That is in spite of Pfandl stating that “Many Adventist theologians and scientists today  hold to the two-stage-creation theory.”
Source: Spectrum, Perspective: Ice Ages Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism, 10 February 2016 | D. Stuart Letham and Col J. Gibson
Robert continues by saying:
(1) “That you believe life developed over millions of years before Creation Week,” and
(2) "… significance of Creation Week was the creation of man’s spiritual natures,"
(3) “… by not explicitly stating your beliefs … it is hard to know exactly what they are.”
Let’s now consider each of these statements in turn, below:
(1) We have addressed briefly this before (Oct., 2015, Response to Robert):
"1. Origin of pre-Edenic species.
They did not evolve. God created them - for a purpose. People do not realise what would be involved in evolution of pre-Edenic life. Evolution of the first cell would require over 300 complex interacting and working genes produced from simple chemicals like methane, ammonia and water. The water would inhibit macromolecule formation, which eliminates water. It requires a Creator.
“There is evidence that cyanobacteria and some plants were present on earth prior to Creation Week. Cyanobacteria are among the earliest microfossils. It would follow that they were created and put there for a purpose, to oxygenate the atmosphere in preparation for subsequent acts of creation. Even the bacteria are biochemically very complex with a unique enzyme system for converting water into oxygen. The active centre has four spaced manganese atoms but its exact mechanism of action remains partially obscure to modern science. This system is coupled to related biochemistry comprising photosynthesis system II with over 20 proteins. On top of all this, the cyanobacteria also convert nitrogen in the atmosphere into forms (e.g. nitrate) that plants can use. All by evolution with natural selection? Our view: Impossible!”
Source: Ice Age Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism: Authors’ Second Response, 23 March 2016, D. Stuart Letham and Col J. Gibson.
We have never stated that life developed over millions of years before Creation Week. We have stated in our present response to “eyethink2” that pre-creation week animal life was also created (see also Spectrum, 4 March, 2016); we said the creatures concerned including hominids “certainly did not evolve.”
(2) At no stage have we ever discussed man’s spiritual nature. We believe man was created in God’s image, according to Scripture.
(3) We stated our beliefs for you in our response to your comment on “Events during the Gap Period.” We would appreciate some idea of your beliefs.
EGWhite Comment. EGW frequently states that CW occurred 6,000 years ago. But according to Pfandl she never makes an unequivocal statement as to the age of the earth. If this is so, we would appear to be in accord with EGW. However, R. Hannon (in a recent Spectrum) considers EGW to be YEC without doubt.
A Question of Climate Changes. Robert has compared temperatures during the 11.7 ky climate change to those considered to have occurred when the planet was molten lava and later about 2.5 billion years ago when high temperatures occurred followed by cooling. These were considered examples of “climate” change greater than that found at 11.7 ky. However, this is a ridiculous comparison. At these very early times, climate (i.e. changes in weather patterns) had no meaning; the planet and its atmosphere were still forming. Also the estimates of temperature were gross approximations relative to the much greater precision of the ice age temperatures determinations. Hence the course of temperature (“climate”) change was not really recorded at all, but this was part of our statement - “… the greatest climate change recorded on earth.” Temperature, wind strength, dust level and drought were all recorded chronologically.
At 55 million years ago, during the Eocene period, the early earth again showed high temperatures, as noted by Robert, with rises comparable to that seen about 11.7 ky ago. Cooling then occurred and the ice ages began about 2 million years ago. The real significance of the climate change that occurred at 11.7 ky ago was the termination of the ice age climate. This termination allowed life, as we know it today, to flourish. It was the greatest and most significant climate change recorded. See also comments in the Introduction to this Authors Responses.
@Think4Yourself says, “We write opinion pieces with selected facts.” NOT TRUE.
We start with facts (e.g. in current paper: Summary/brief introduction, ice cores, their validation, ice age climate, climate change). Then we suggest a link to Creation Week. The first personal opinion is on p. 6.
You claim: we say our work is proof that life didn’t exist here before 8,000 - 12,000 years ago. NOT TRUE.
We have recognised that plants, cyanobacteria, animals, and hominids were present long before creation week. (See below; Ice Age Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism: Reader Feedback & Authors’ Response, 4 March 2016.)
"We accept that the evidence for some plant life before 10,000 years ago appears strong and cyanobacteria were probably present also at that time. The earth needed a source of oxygen to provide a continuous supply for life and God designed plants and cyanobacteria with the ingenious enzyme system to convert water into oxygen, a system still imperfectly understood by science. In this way, the atmosphere was enriched in oxygen in preparation for humans on earth, the only planet known to have such an atmosphere.
A respondent now asks: If plants were already present, why would a “second creation” be necessary? The pre-Creation Week (pCW) plants would be those that could survive adverse climate (including ice age conditions) – low light, low temperature, drought and wind. But after 10,000 years ago, following cessation of the ice age, with mild temperatures and, the increase in solar radiation in Creation Week, different plant types would be needed for the altered environment. Plants are very sensitive to environmental change. Indeed, a multitude of species would be required to provide vegetation and food in diverse climates. As a reflection of this, it is noteworthy that today there are 400,000 plant species and often numerous varieties within a species. Furthermore, the purpose of plants before and after Creation Week appears to be very different: pCW, oxygenation of atmosphere: after, food for man and animals (Genesis 1:29,31). Ideally this would involve very different plant species. In summation, based on plants, the Creation Week 6 to 10,000 years ago would indeed be necessary.
There is evidence that animal life (as mentioned by one respondent) and hominids (human-like creatures) existed long ago on the Earth. The Neanderthals and the Mega fauna lived and died out, apparently long before 10,000 years ago: this is beyond dispute. All this is difficult to rationalize: perhaps there was an earlier creation because the creatures concerned certainly did not evolve. However, the above does not negate the Creation Week revealed to us in Genesis 1 and 2. It is relevant to recall that, according to Genesis 1:2 and Psalm 104:6, the Earth was covered in water prior to Creation Week and any animal life that existed then would have been extinguished.
Thus, Creation Week may represent a new beginning when God created the human race in His image to reveal His glory. …
Source: Ice Age Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism: Reader Feedback & Authors’ Response, 4 March 2016, D. Stuart Letham and Col J. Gibson
However, we do claim that ice age climate would render some areas unsuitable for human habitation while in other areas life would be difficult. We have inferred life in tropical areas was always possible where temperatures fell only 5oC.
eyethink2 claims: we say life is just 11,000 years old and do not explain botanical evidence to the contrary. NOT TRUE. We say creation week occurred after about 11,000 years ago and have recognised several times in Spectrum that plants occurred prior to this, e.g. on June 23, 2017, see quote below:
“We have discussed this already in detail in relation to plants (Spectrum, March 4, 2016). Conclusion: Some plants were present prior to CW, but CW was essential to give the 400,000 species suitable for post-CW conditions.”
eyethink2 claims (final point 1): We take facts about ice cores and extrapolate to a world wide situation that is not warranted. NOT TRUE.
Temperature changes revealed by ice cores often explain and accurately date the occurrence of world-wide biological events. For one example, initiation of the great climate change revealed by ice core temperature occurred at 11,700 years BP (annual layer counting). This accounted for the pollen record of lake sediment cores in Germany, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Poland and Norway that showed a marked change in plant type at 11,500 - 11,900 years BP. Changes in plant growth rate world-wide often correlate with changes in temperature revealed by ice cores. The temperature during the last glaciation (the Younger Dryas) has been related to plant growth around lakes in the New East and Southern Alaska (Spectrum, 28 Sept, 2015).
Ice cores record the composition of the atmosphere of the past and are the only source of this information. The atmosphere affects the whole earth. Changes in ice core gas composition are of global significance. In modern times, ice cores have accurately recorded radioactive and other forms of polution.
eyethink2 says (final point 2): You tie your conclusions to Bible and EGW passages. NOT TRUE.
We relate them to these sources, so what? It does not prove either source and we don’t claim it does.
eyethink2 says (3rd point): One must take all our assertions to be true or their theology is in doubt. NOT TRUE.
We did not state that, and assigned to Creation Week only the significance given it in Scripture. However, it is clear that this is a sensitive area for you. Since you brought it up, please accept our comment for what it is worth. If you accept TE or PC, there is no 7-day creation week and the primary basis for Sabbath observance is gone. That’s obvious.
However, the following is just our opinion. If man was not created from dust on day 6, but evolved or formed gradually, can you expect recreation from the dust at the Second Advent? Creation and Recreation (after salvation) come together in Christ. We are commanded to celebrate both jointly on Sabbath on earth and Sabbath continues in Eden restored.
eyethink2 talks of (final points): “Unsubstantiated and unsupported conclusions … even if foundation of them is correct.” We should send to peer reviewed journals. NOT TRUE.
eyethink2 is concerned regarding our conclusions. All conclusions we presented regarding the ice core ages and the great climate change were specified in the literature cited. These conclusions are accepted by earth scientists world wide. We only made one main conclusion, viz. Creation Week occurred after the great climate change which was compatible with Creation Week. We said: “it is reasonable to conclude that Creation Week occurred after the great climate change.” That is after 11,700 years BP and for additional reasons after 10,000 years BP. That is, Creation Week was recent.
There is in fact, one other possibility, but it does not concern the timing of Creation Week and perhaps eyethink2 had this in mind - Creation Week never occurred. But this would be in opposition to Scripture and would contradict the words of Christ (Mark 10:6; Matt. 19:4).