Gish/Ross Creation Timescale Debate
Focus on the family discussion with Hugh
Ross and Duane Gish
Transcribed by William
August 12, 1992
Jim Dobson, the host opened the program.
- [addressing Mike Trout, the announcer] Well Mike,
we're going to do something almost dangerous today.
Dangerous in the sense that the topic we're gonna discuss
today is a controversial one that could divide some
members of the Christian community. We certainly don't
want to do that. I've been urged to devote a program to
the topic we're going to talk about today ... by many
people including a board member of FOF. And that's what
really brings us to this moment. The topic is the origin
of the universe and the age of the earth, which may not
on the face of it seem like a topic related to the
family, but it certainly is relevant to our faith and to
scripture and to our understanding of who we are and how
we got here, and that's all of us, certainly, within the
Christian community. And that's how it came to be that we
did two previous topics on this subject and that kind of
led to what we're going to do today. Let me explain.
Astrophysics is a hobby with me - it's not something I
consider myself terribly knowledgeable of, although I've
been interested in the subject since I was in elementary
school - been reading about it all that time. So we have
done several programs on the vastness of the universe -
what God has put out there and the beauty of His
creation. The heavens declare the glory of God and it
really strengthens my faith to take a look at what we
know about the universe. So we have done several programs
about that subject. On Dec 12 and 13, 1985 we did a
program with Dr. Duane Gish and Dr. Richard Bliss, both
from the ICR on the subject of creation and how it should
be taught in the schools and we got into this broader
subject in that program. In that program the guests
expressed their firm conviction that the earth is no more
than about 10,000 years old and that the Genesis account
of creation refers to six 24 hour days, specifically
meaning that the earth is very young and that after that
God rested and there was no further creative activity.
Then on April 17, 1991 Dr. Hugh Ross was our guest and he
discussed his book, "The Fingerprint of God". Dr. Ross
provided scientific evidence for the Biblical account of
creation, but Dr. Ross believes that the earth is
billions of years old and the Genesis account refers not
to 6 24 hour days but to eons. That program was one of
the most popular programs of the year 1991. We just got
an overwhelming amount of mail - almost 10000 requests
for the tape of that interview and the mail was
overwhelmingly positive, I might say. On the other hand
there was a small - I think about 40 or 50 letters - but
a very vociferous, angry response to that program from
people who considered Dr. Ross' view of the earth as very
very old as being unbiblical and even heretical, and
there were some very emotional reactions to it - one
Christian radio station threatened to take our broadcast
off the air ... It was as though Dr. Ross was saying, "I
don't believe the Bible," to those people, and so there
are these different perspectives. And so I had a certain
amount of mail from people asking me to deal with this
issue further and to allow a discussion of the two sides.
I tried to express in my reactions to that mail that the
issue is one of Biblical interpretation, not deliberate
contradiction of basic truths, and I neither challenged
Dr. Ross when he was here or Dr. Gish when he and Dr.
Bliss were here, because first of all I don't feel
qualified in that area. I'm not a theologian, I'm not a
physicist, I'm not a biochemist, I don't have expertise
in these areas and furthermore, I don't know what's
right. Some people feel like they absolutely know - I'm
not one of them. And so I thought the best thing we could
do was to bring the guests here again and allow them to
discuss the subject...
- There is an aspect to this topic that just causes
people to think and to study. That in and of itself is a
- Yeah, we can call it brain food. You know, if we just
get people reading the Scriptures, we've accomplished
what we wanted to do or part of it. I do believe that the
Bible is the inspired Word and when all truth is known
there will be no contradiction within it. That fact is
not on the table today - we're not debating that. I also
believe that Dr. Ross, Dr. Gish and Dr. Bliss are equally
committed to the truth and to Jesus Christ and they
simply come down on different sides of A very thorny
issue, with differing perspectives on how important it
is. So we have invited Dr. Gish and Dr. Ross here today
to debate, or at least to discuss this matter of the age
of the universe as it relates to our faith. I just ask
for charity among those who are listening, because we are
trying to do what is right here. Let me introduce the
guests and then we will get on with the topic. Dr. Hugh
Ross holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of
Toronto, he's the president and director of Reasons to
Believe, located in LA. Dr. Ross, welcome back.
- Thank you, it's good to be here.
- Dr. Gish holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the
University of California at Berkeley and he's Vice
President of ICR, also located in Southern California...
Well gentlemen, let's get to it. Duane, I'm going to
give you the first shot. You strongly believe in the
young earth theory, you don't believe in the big bang.
You believe that creation occurred in six 24 hour days.
Explain why and why this issue is so important to you.
- Well yes, Dr. Dobson. My concern is not so much with
the age of things. We keep contrasting say the young age
to the vastly old age that Hugh believes in and of course
there is a difference there, but I'm more concerned about
how the universe came into existence. I accept the
Biblical account that we find in the Bible: God did
create the heavens and the earth and we read in the Bible
that on the fourth day God created the sun and the moon
and the starts and that when that period of creation was
over - six days creation was finished - it has not been
continued for billions of years of time. It was not a
natural process it had to be something that was
supernaturally done by God. God said, "Let there be
light," and there was light. Now Hugh in his view - in
his big bang cosmology, big bang cosmology is a natural
process that begins with this big bang, and following the
big bang then as this hydrogen and helium distributed
itself throughout the universe and as stars evolved and
galaxies evolved and our solar system created itself and
so on.. That's been going on for, say, 15, 16, 17, 18
billion years. Well in a process like that, you see, I
don't see any difference between that view and that of
any atheist cosmologist or any unbelieving cosmologist
who believes in the big bang, I can't see the difference
and I don't see the agreement between this natural
evolutionary origin of the universe and the universe that
God created in the book of Genesis. In other words
certainly if creation is not finished - Hugh believes
that stars are still forming today you see, so we still -
evolutionary creation has been going on for 18 billion
- Hugh, why is it necessary to remove God from the
process of the big bang if you merely describe how He may
have done what He did?
- Well that's my very point, that God's not at all
removed. When you solve the equations of general
relativity - and we can prove that those equations govern
the universe - you discover that you are face to face
with an ultimate origin for all matter and energy and
even the dimensions of length width height and time that
encompass the cosmos. There's only one holy book that
teaches a doctrine that's consistent with that and that's
the Bible. We believe in a God that's transcendent in
bringing the universe into existence. As Hebrews 11:3
puts it, the universe that we can detect was made from
that which we cannot detect. And that's why atheists in
astronomy and physics have reacted so strongly to the big
bang: because it establishes this ultimate creation
- For those who have not read on this subject - they
may be lost already - explain what the big bang theory
- Well the big bang theory is the theory that there's a
beginning - a creation event, and that moreover this
creation event was caused by a being that transcends
matter energy length, width, height and time - that's
what I mean by transcendent. If you go into Hinduism or
Buddhism they say that time is eternal that the cosmos is
eternal, that the cosmos oscillates. And what the big
bang does for us is prove that these religions are false
and that only the Christian interpretation of the cosmos
- Which is that there was a definite point of beginning
and that beginning was that all matter was together in an
infinitely small space and it exploded throughout...
- The matter, energy, space and time were literally
created out of nothing by this divine being.
- Well Duane, why must God be removed from that theory?
Why do you necessarily see that as a process a natural
process without divine intervention?
- Well I'd reply in this way: That practically all
unbelieving astronomers accept the big bang cosmology -
not all of them - there are some very important
astronomers who do not believe it. Now they don't see God
there at all I mean it's a natural process. You have this
cosmic egg, they don't know where it came from or how it
got there, they don't know why it exploded...
- But you don't believe Hugh believes that...
- Hugh believes that, yeah...
- Believes that the cosmic egg got there and we don't
know how it got there...
- Well that's the world of what we would call science,
these, these astronomers...
- But that's not what he...
- Well, you see, if Hugh could explain to me what is
the difference between what he believes - what his theory
it - and if I go talk to an atheist I can't if I talk to
an atheist astronomer and tell him, "Would you explain to
me the big bang cosmology and what took place" and ask
Hugh the same thing, I don't detect any difference. You
have the cosmic egg and it explodes and out of this gas
somehow stars create themselves and galaxies create
themselves and all that. And that's exactly what this
- Wasn't the difference God versus no God?
- The difference is, Hugh says God's back there
somewhere. But what did God do in this process? What did
He do? How can Hugh say, "God did it, you see? How do we
know that God did it? The atheist astronomer sitting
right by him will say exactly what he did as far as this
big bang cosmology is concerned.
- Well, let me complete the picture. What I'm saying is
that God brought into existence miraculously all the
energy, matter and all the dimensions of space and time
that encompass the universe. He also very carefully
designed the characteristics and the parameters of the
universe so that it could sustain life. 19
characteristics of the universe had to be very highly
fine-tuned in order for life to exist. More than that God
must create the solar system. There are 40
characteristics of the solar system that must be very
highly fine tuned for life to exist on the earth. So
we're seeing the miracle of the big bang that brought all
of matter, space and time into existence. There's another
19 miracles in terms of the design characteristics of the
universe that we' discovered so far, and the list gets
bigger every year and now there's 40 characteristic of
the solar system that show the creator designing that. So
it's not just God involved at the beginning of the cosmos
- He's involved thereafter - regularly intervening into
the system to create and shape. Now at the same time you
have formation going on. Duane's right - I do believe
that stars are forming today. But I also believe that
raindrops form today. In fact raindrop formation is a
whole lot easier naturally than star formation...
- So that's the moving around of created matter...
- Well let me say this: Hugh, if what you say is true -
all these very special things had to be, and you say God
created all these very special things - well that's just
what I'm saying: God created the universe. It didn't come
about by some natural evolutionary process beginning with
the big bang. You had to have all these very special
conditions about the solar systems and about the universe
and Hugh says that proves God made it. And I say, I agree
100 percent. I don't believe that you just start with
some big bang and things just unroll and evolve. You
can't hold to the big bang cosmology and believe what you
just said, you see. If you say all these very special
things just couldn't happen naturally...
- Duane, that's not how the astronomers interpret it.
The astronomers reacted to it because of its theistic
- Now wait a minute. They say, "All these things
happened naturally - just some evolutionary process...
- The stars, the galaxies...
- God's not necessary, it was just a natural process.
And you say stars are still forming today. Listen Hugh,
forming a star is a vastly different thing than a
raindrop forming. The raindrop forming had to have a
little nucleus and moisture, and the raindrop will form.
But a star! I have articles with me, Hugh, where these
astronomers say, they do not have an adequate theory on
stellar formation. They do not even have a satisfactory
theory. And I think every physicist will agree how a
raindrop forms - it's just a very simple thing. You
cannot equate the formation of a raindrop to a star. Oh,
- Well, as I sent you in the mail, the equations that
describe star formation are far simpler than those that
describe raindrop formation. You're dealing with a gas.
Moreover, we see star formation in real time. You can
take your pair of binoculars out tonight and watch it.
It's actually happening.
- You .. I have articles right here with me , Hugh,
that documents the fact that these astronomers say
they've never seen a star form and there may be areas
where they think stars are forming, but the matter is not
infalling, it's moving away from the nucleus, and I have
articles here which document the fact - they've never
seen stars form. No one even claims they've seen stars
form. There may be areas of the sky where they say, "Well
that's where stars are forming," but they never... well I
know one article said, "well, it'll be 100,000 years from
now there'll be a star there"...
- Well to correct the matter, we've been observing star
formation at the longer wavelengths - at the infrared and
radio, and just this week, published in the Astrophysical
Journal, was the first time ever observation of star
formation at optical wavelengths...
- I'm sure...
- we've just about lost everybody...
- That issue will certainly bless the homemaker out
- Duane, tell me why you feel our understanding of
Biblical accuracy rises or falls on this issue. Tell me
why this is so central to ...
- Well for example, James Barr, who's professor at
Oxford University, not a believer, not a Christian. He
said this: He said he did not know of one Hebrew scholar
at one world class university who did not believe that
the Bible says everything was created in six ordinary
days some thousands of years ago, and the Flood was a
global flood. He didn't know of any scholar at any world
class university who did not believe that's what the
Bible says. Now there's no question that's what the Bible
says. Now, in order to believe what Hugh believes we have
to have some very questionable and absolutely erroneous
interpretation of certain words in the Bible. And there's
a number of examples that we could cite from Hugh's
writings themselves where he has misinterpreted certain
words to make them fit his cosmology, you see...
- Focusing on the word for "day" I suppose...
- Well, that's just one, where the word "yom" used
where it's modified by evening and morning, when those
two modifiers are used it always without exception means
a twenty four hour day, and when you say the third day or
first day that always when used with a numeral refers to
a twenty four hour day...
- How could there be a twenty four hour day before the
earth was revolving around the sun?
- Well, I just believe, Jim, that God had the ability,
the power, to cause the earth to rotate at just the right
speed to coincide with the first, second and third day. I
don't think we have too hard a job for God to take care
of. Uh, and He said a day and He put it that way. Someone
has said that God could not have been more precise in His
language if He wanted to denote a twenty four hour day...
- Now, before we leave that issue, Hugh, let's hear the
other side. I know from your writings I know you believe
that word is used in other ways in scripture.
- Right, and the quote from James Barr is an ancient
quote. I mean I've defended my view of long creation days
in front of the faculty of Trinity Evangelical Divinity
School, and not one of them was willing to dispute the
conclusions. In fact they were enthusiastically endorsing
the conclusions. This issue was also debated by the
International Council of Biblical Inerrancy and again
they refused to say that the Bible requires six
consecutive twenty four hour days.
- And so you see that word used in other places.
Explain the documentation.
- Well, the thing I'd like to emphasize is that it's
not enough to just take the Bible literally. We must take
it literally and consistently, so all 66 books are
agreeing with one another, not contradicting one another.
And my problem with the six consecutive twenty-four hour
day interpretation is that I can't remove the
inconsistencies, but I can if I interpret them to be long
periods of time.
- You're referring to the scriptures that refer to the
- Well, the ancient earth, the fact that we're still in
the seventh day of God's rest - I believe as Duane does
that God's at rest now - He's not creating, but Hebrews
and Psalms tell us that we're still in that sate of rest.
God's not going to create again until the new creation
that we see in Revelation 21, so that means the seventh
day must be a long time period, and that's consistent
with the first chapter where we see that there's no
closure on the seventh day...
- It never says there was a morning and an evening...
- Well, that wasn't necessary, because there was no
particular act of creation on that day. Now the future
day of rest, that's a future day. It has no reference to
the past seventh day. There is a day of rest, but that
does not have to do with the seventh day. I don't think
you can influence interpretation of those six days by any
reference to the day of rest...
- Well, it's called God's seventh day of rest...
- Well, if you can produce one example, Hugh, in the
Bible, where the evening and the morning was a certain
day or where it refers to the first day or the second day
and it's more than twenty four hours, I don't think you
can do that...
- But that doesn't mean it's a Hebrew rule of grammar.
I mean the lexicons will bear that out...
- An example. No, lexicons do not, Hugh. Now, and then
there's other problems. You say the word Nethan which
says that God caused to appear the sun on the fourth day.
That word nethan nowhere in any lexicon is described or
defined as "to make or to appear". It means to set, to
establish, or to place...
- It has 36 definitions...
- Not, n..., not in ....
- 36 definitions...
- I'm lost now sure enough...
- You see, nethan... the command, concerning the sun,
is the creative command, just the same ways as when God
said, "Let there be light" and there was light.. Now on
the fourth day God said "let there be the sun. Let there
be the stars." It's the same command, it's a creative
command Hugh. It's not saying "just made to appear"...
- Well no, I would dispute that. It's the verb hayah,
let there be. As you're well aware, there are three verbs
in the Hebrew that would connote God directly creating .
Those verbs are not used for the first and fourth
creation days. Rather the verb that was used was hayah,
let there be.
- Duane, do you draw any significance from II Peter 3:8
which says, "But do not ignore this one fact beloved,
that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a
thousand years is as one day"
- Well Jim, it's often said that a text without context
is a pretext. And you see here, what the context is, Jim,
it's referring to prophecy the apostle Peter says, "Ah
but dear friends, these certain prophecies have not been
fulfilled, but be patient because with God a thousand
years is as a day or a day is as a thousand years". It
has no reference to the days of creation. That is not
intended to refer to those days of creation you see. The
days of creation there in the book of Genesis as the text
indicates were just ordinary days. I know it's difficult
for some people to accept that and you see that's the
problem, because it's some of these difficulties. Now
Hugh wants billions of years. He's got to have billions
of years. He can't evolve a universe in say less than 13,
14, 15 billion years...
- Can't evolve it in billions of years either...
- No, that's right...
- Flat out, Hugh, you reject evolution, biological
- Absolutely. It's not going to happen in billions of
- But you do not reject astronomical evolution. Anybody
who accepts big bang cosmology - that's evolution.
There's no question about it.
- The big bang as a creation event at the origin. When
you get back to those billions of years you're confronted
with this transcendent creation event ...
- Well Hugh, I'm talking about the process, origin of
stars, origin of galaxies, the origin of our solar
- Well when you get into the solar system it must be
designed, it must be crafted ...
- Absolutely. The solar system gives every proof of
being a created article - gives every evidence of design,
not just coming out of some..
- Well I agree with that, I'm not disputing that...
- Well then we agree then the solar system did not
evolve. Is that right,? It was created. God created the
planets and the sun...
- He would have had to have designed the sun, the earth
and the moon in order for life to be possible on this
planet. He would have had to design the universe - ah the
number of stars has to be precise. The age of the
universe must be just right. If the universe it too young
you can't have life, if it's too old you can't have life.
In fact everything must be middle aged...
- You know, what you're saying it that the universe was
created, I mean when you get through with all these
statements what you're saying, Hugh, there's tremendous
evidence for creation...
- It was created, it was designed, and created and
that's what I'm saying, but here in your material you say
in order to get this universe we have today from the big
bang we have to even invent something that's totally
imaginary and that's cold dark matter. Now that's just
exactly like believing in Santa Clause or believing in
the tooth fairy, because you and I both know no one have
ever seen or detected this cold dark matter...
- That's not true...
- That you must have . It is not seen. No one has ever
seen it. No one has ever detected it. You can't detect
- Well, you need to read our next issue of "Facts and
Faith" - we'll be describing five discovery made in the
last eight weeks...
- Gentlemen, we're out of time, but we're just getting
going, we're really beginning to cook this issue. So I'm
just going to ask you to stay right where you are and
Mike will end the program today and tomorrow we'll hear
what's about to occur.... You know, I uh just from my own
perspective, I said at the top of the program, that I'm
confused as to the truth within this issue and the two
sides of it, and I don't know who's right. I haven't
expressed my views, but I see problems in both
perspectives, and I'd like to get into that a little bit
next time. It reminds me in some ways of the first year
that Shirley and I were married and we needed some life
insurance, so I invited in about 7 or 8 life insurance
salesmen and I figured I'd listen to all of them and then
I'd know life insurance and make a decision... I got so
confused that I wound up just saying, "You, tell me what
to buy." And in some ways as we get into the original
languages and the scientific theories it may not be
possible for us ordinary folks to track you guys, but
we're gonna try and we'll discuss it some more next time.
August 13, 1992
- Well, gentlemen as we discussed last time apparently
the existence of the big bang - the explosion of matter
that some people think - I think Hugh identifies with
this perspective - that began in an infinitely small
space and sphere of time is at the heart of the
controversy. Did God create the universe that way? Did He
start it with a big bang or did He do it some other way?
And, uh, let me share a couple of scriptures with you
that sound to me like He did - that sound like the big
bang was the mechanism by which He created it, and then
you comment on it. Uh, the first is in Psalms 102
beginning with verse 25 says "Of old did thou lay the
foundations of the earth and the heavens are the work of
thy hands. They will perish, but thou dost endure. They
will all wear out like a garment. Thou changest them like
raiment and they pass away." So we have a specific
beginning point that he laid them out. Now let me go to
Isaiah 42:5: Thus says God the Lord who created the
heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the
earth and what comes from it. That sounds like it is
moving. He stretched them out, and then there is that
scripture that says the heavens will wax old like a
garment and be rolled up like a scroll and there will be
a new heavens and a new earth, which sounds to me like He
exploded it outward and He plans to pull it all in to
another beginning point and to explode it again. Does
that not sound like the context of those scriptures?
- Well, God in His creation may in some way have
stretched out things. We don't know just whether He ...
where the stars are now. I've always assumed where the
stars are and the galaxies are that's where God placed
- That they're not moving apart from each other...
- Well, they may be. I don't know. Even there's a
disagreement among astronomers on that point...
- So you don't believe the universe is expanding?
- I ... don't believe necessarily it is. Of course
there are other astronomers, equally, quite well known
who would disagree that the red shift is necessarily an
indication that galaxies are moving away from us...
- [unintelligible] [probably asking him to name the
astronomers who "would disagree that the red shift is
necessarily an indication that galaxies are moving away
- Anomalies. There's Geoffrey [sp?] Burbage and Hannes
Althein and Halton Arp and many people like that...
- Good old Halton Arp. Very good friend of mine...
- He is a friend of mine...
- Is that right?
- Certainly not atheists, but they don't accept the
current big bang cosmology. But I want to say that the
Bible tells us that on the first day God created light.
Now you take this big bang. And certainly a big flash.
But when these gases expand out into the vast stretches
of the universe I mean it's dark, I mean black, no light
anywhere in the universe at that time, or very little of
it, because it expands to where the temperature is about
100 degrees Kelvin about 100 degrees above absolute zero
and these gases are tremendously expanded and I don't see
that in the scriptures you see. What Hugh believes and
what the big bang cosmologists believe that things
started at one point. The thing exploded, these gases
expanded out into the vast stretches of the universe.
That's all there was, there's just hydrogen and helium
there, vastly expanded. There were no stars, no galaxies,
nothing like that. And then somehow from this vastly
expanded gas at low temperatures stars created
themselves, and then galaxies created themselves. Finally
our solar system created itself. And then if you go along
with biological evolution then life evolved and went from
the first form...
- But that's a big step that you wouldn't support, or
even the phrase that they created themselves, Hugh, you
wouldn't accept that...
- No, I'm not accepting that
- Well, okay. I just have to know: what is the
difference, what is the difference that Hugh believes. I
heard Hugh discuss this subject with Eric Lerner. Now
Eric Lerner does not believe in the big bang. He is an
evolutionist - totally - unbeliever and I heard the
discussion and Dr. Dobson, I couldn't tell who was the
Christian and who was the unbeliever, because they were
just discussing two naturalistic theories, evolutionary
theories of the origin of the universe and Hugh was
defending the bib bang cosmology, Eric Lerner was
defending the plasma theory and so forth and so on, back
and forth and I couldn't - I wouldn't have known who...
- Well maybe you missed something, Duane. Eric Lerner
supports the idea of an infinitely old universe cause he
believes that with infinite time he doesn't need a
creator, and he says so in his book. He's driven by his
atheistic beliefs, and he's threatened by the big bang
because it only gives him billions of years. Now let me
throw out something that I think would be helpful for the
layman. The universe is big, very big, and when you look
at the amount of time it takes light to come from those
distant sources to us, it's consistent not with infinite
time - not with thousands of years, but billions of
years. And that's very simple - just the very vastness of
the cosmos. And this is why astronomers say it's easier
for them to believe in a flat earth than a universe only
thousands of years old - because they measure it to be so
- Duane, you would say that God created the light
between us and those bodies, right?
- Well, the Bible does tell us this: That God created
the sun and the stars and He created them to be for signs
and seasons on the earth. Obviously we had to see them
immediately - we couldn't wait - we couldn't wait for
billions of years for the light to get here...
- Well, if we weren't here we wouldn't be waiting.
- Well, that's right, if we weren't here. But I believe
we were here, and God created those stars to be for signs
and seasons on the earth. Now if I were God, I don't know
how I would do it otherwise to make those things visible,
you'd have to create the light in between. No atheist or
unbeliever is going to accept that explanation obviously
- he doesn't believe in God. But we have a God who is the
Creator and if God wanted to create that stream of
photons in place and so forth He could have done it...
- He could have done it, Duane, but we have
measurements to prove that He didn't do it that way...
- No, I don't think you have measurements to prove
- Well, let me...
- If you follow your cosmological theories, then...
- As a beam of light travels through space it changes
as it travels through space. The spectral lines are
broadened consistent with the amount of space it's
- Is that the Doppler effect?
- No, it's not the Doppler effect...
- I'm showing my ignorance...
- Well, the lines from these objects are sharp, but
because of intervening material that jostles back and
forth in the line of sight, the lines get broadened out.
Also the continuum radiation, which is the radiation
between the spectral lines, becomes progressively redder
and redder because of the intervening dust.
[everyone tries to talk at once. Laughter]
- If you see a forest fire and the smoke from that fire
will make the sun look red, it's the same effect, so if a
beam of light traverses space, the continuum radiation
gets redder and redder and the spectral lines get broader
and broader, and as astronomers make these measurements
on the stars and the galaxies, they establish that the
light actually came from the source, not from some
- Now Hugh, from my reading as a layman, and before you
get sassy with me, tell me how to discipline a toddler,
you know? Come over into my area! From my recent
readings, especially the spring, of 1992, uh, there's a
great deal of excitement in the scientific community,
especially among astronomers, about the discoveries by
COBE as related to the big bang. Put that into the
simplest terms you can, and then Duane, I'd like you to
give your reaction to it.
- Well, we're featuring a four page article on it in
our next "Facts and Faith" newsletter, it's at the
printer right now, and we're describing not just that
discovery, but four others - five discoveries in the last
two months, and these five discoveries are all consistent
with a particular subclass of big bang models. Before
these discoveries we knew it had to be a big bang because
of this tremendous dissipation of heat that we observe in
the universe, but we didn't know exactly what kind of big
bang. Now we do, and because of that exact definition -
more exact than we've ever had before, astronomers and
physicists are coming out of the closet and saying we're
looking at God - that the belief in God today is more
credible than it's ever been in the past 100 years.
- Dr. Steven Hawking, that I've talked about here on
the program before, whom some people consider to be the
brightest man on the face of the earth said, and this
isn't a direct quote, but it's very close, that this may
not only be the most important discovery of the century,
but of all time...
- Right, that is the exact quote. You got it right.
- You obviously don't agree, Duane.
- I certainly challenge the statement by Dr. Ross that
there have been all these observations the last few weeks
that's confirmed the existence of cold dark matter...
- Exotic matter, Duane...
- ...no radiation, and gives off no heat, you can't see
it, no light, no radiation, no way to detect it. I have
an article right here in front of me, "The Race to Detect
Dark Matter" and it says how tremendously difficult -
these are particles - if it exists - not ordinary
- Well let me give you ...
- How do you detect matter that is totally exotic, you
don't even know what it is, you've never seen it, it
gives off no radiation, it doesn't give off any light,
it's just been postulated to exist because as you say in
your article in one of your publications, "without cold
dark matter we cannot get the universe we have today with
the big bang cosmology". So what you have done is invent
another theory to support your previous theory. It's like
saying this: Santa Clause could not possibly reach all
the points on earth in 24 hours. Now we believe in Santa
Clause, we know he must have done it. Well then we invent
another theory: that his reindeer can move at the speed
of light. Therefore it's possible that Santa Clause
reached all points in 24 hours. Now this cold dark matter
is a reindeer that moved at the speed of light, it's
something that is totally imaginary. No one has seen it,
no one can detect it. It's just postulated you say it
must be there....
- Well, let me try to bring you up to date. It has been
- Well, I, Look...
- Let him give the answer.
- Those of us at ICR follow these things just as
closely as anybody...
- Are you reading the astrophysical journals?
- Reading, astrophysical journals...[unintelligible]
- I've got papers right here with me. This stuff is
- Is there any evidence that cold dark matter exists?
- Well, we're talking about exotic matter. There's
three kinds of exotic matter: cold dark matter, warm dark
matter and hot dark matter...
- 'Scuse me, what do you mean by, let's define exotic
matter, what do you mean?
- Exotic matter is that kind of matter that does not
strongly interact with radiation. Atoms and molecules,
the protons and neutrons that we're used to - what we
call ordinary matter - has the property that it strongly
interacts with radiation. Exotic matter does not, and
there are about 36 different kinds of particles that make
up this exotic matter...
- Excuse me, is this exotic matter - is that
hypothetical or is that something you've got in the
- Let me finish, OK?
- Because it doesn't strongly interact with radiation
it's difficult to detect at electromagnetic wavelengths -
using our telescopes with light observation, you can't
detect it directly by the light. On the other hand exotic
matter uh, exerts gravity. There's a gravitational tug
that it exerts. And what the theory of general relativity
tells us is that massive objects have the capacity of
bending light that comes by them. That was the first
proof we had of general relativity when we saw starlight
being bent when it passes by the sun in a solar eclipse.
Well it turns out that galaxies and giant, massive gas
clouds will lense light the same way, and so if we look
at the light of quasars that happened to have between
them and us one of these massive objects we get a measure
by measuring that bending of the total mass that's
responsible for that bending. That includes the ordinary
plus the exotic. Now those measurements have been made
and coupled with the first accurate ever measurement of
the ordinary mass of the universe - this was published
just eight weeks ago - by the Hubble telescope, through
measuring the deuterium line at ultraviolet wavelengths
it gave us an accurate measure of the ordinary mass. So
if you have an accurate measure of the total mass, you
subtract the ordinary mass, that gives you the exotic
- Now you, you've gotten us off into very deep water...
- That's only one confirmation...
- Give me the bottom line, the bottom line is that COBE
has identified some radiation that seems to confirm...
- The bottom line is this: by five separate
discoveries, all independent of one another, they're
confirming that we're looking at a universe that has a
few times more exotic matter than ordinary matter -
somewhere between 3 to 10 times as much exotic matter as
- And that would have been necessary to have caused the
galaxies and the...
- Well, if you don't get the ripples then you don't get
the galaxy structure. Without that ratio of exotic we
don't get the boron and beryllium in the universe. So
that's why they're all so excited.
- Without that the theory crumbles in your view. Is
that right, Duane?
- Absolutely. Hugh himself has said that. He says that
in one of his articles. He says here, "It is impossible
for galaxies to clump the way they do without some kind
and amount of cold dark matter playing a significant role
in the dynamics of galaxy clustering. You gotta have cold
- I have a tough question for each of you and I would
really like, cause I don't want this to get away from me
without dealing with it. Hugh, my greatest problem with
the perspective you come from, and it's very, uh, well
it's almost arrogant for me to even debate you guys
because I have so little information. But from my
understanding of the Bible, my greatest problem is that I
understand that sickness and death and sorrow and pain
came into the world with Adam's sin. That was a perfect
world, that the Garden of Eden was perfect, without flaw
prior to Adam and Eve's sin, and at that moment sorrow
and suffering came into the world. Well that was
obviously very late in the scheme of things, and the way
you describe the earth being billions of years old, means
that that violent world of animals had to occur for eons
prior to Adam's sin - that creates problems for me - one
animal ripping apart and eating another one and all of
that process - I don't understand how that's consistent
with our understanding of the Genesis account of Adam and
- Well, I remember a Bible study at CalTech when we
were studying Revelation 21, and several of us discovered
in the text that the laws of physics radically change
with the new creation. You have this universe removed
from existence with its constants and laws of physics,
and replaced by a brand new universe with different laws
and constants of physics. And the question is, why? Well
what happens at that transformation is that God has
permanently conquered the problem of evil, suffering,
pain and death, and with the removal of these things,
there's no longer a need for this universe. Back to
Romans 8:22: The entire creation groans waiting for the
adoption of sons. Literally the whole universe is
groaning. In other words I believe that God built into
this universe those equations of physics and constants of
physics so that once man chose to introduce evil into the
system, God could very quickly, in a matter of just
thousands of years, conquer that problem of evil and then
take us into the universe He had planned for us all
along. But He wants to wait until that problem is
permanently conquered before He takes us in there.
- Duane, the concern that I expressed is...
- I don't think Hugh answered your concern. I... I....
what you expressed a concern that there was death and
pain and suffering before the sin of Adam, before man
rebelled against God, and I don't think Hugh even
attempted to answer that problem - I didn't find the
answer there. There is a problem, of course. If there's
always pain and suffering and you have these hominids,
whatever they were, subhuman and uh, dying and uh, for
billions of years or millions of years before Adam
sinned, then death did not come into the world then by
Adam's sin. It was here in abundance before that. Now,
maybe, maybe Hugh would say that human death came in at
that time, uh, I don't know whether he would say
something lower than man was dying at that time and, you
know I think...
- That's correct, I believe that that act brought about
- Well, let me tell you another reason why we're
concerned about this, and I want to bring in another
person here - a person we're concerned about, a person
whose views have evolved, I should use that word
objectively, evolved considerably, and that's a man uh,
Dr. Davis Young who's a geologist who started out
believing in the Flood - by the way we haven't mentioned
the Flood - Hugh did not mention the flood. Hugh does not
believe in a global Flood. Now there's no way you can
read that Scripture and get anything but a global flood.
Now the Flood, I mean...
- How about a universal flood?
- A global flood...
- I believe in a universal flood...
- But you don't believe in a global flood...
- Well the two terms are not necessarily synonymous...
they're only synonymous to twentieth century readers...
- Don't do it with semantics. Did the flood waters
cover the earth?
- All of mankind was destroyed and all the animals
associated with him...
- Ah, no, no, no...
[everyone tries to talk at once]
- We'll do well to settle the Young Earth theory
without getting into the ...
- You know, Davis Young, and we're really concerned
with this. Here's an article he published, entitled
"Theology and natural science" and this was in The
Reformed Journal, May of 1988, on page 15. Now here's a
man who originally believed in the Flood and so forth and
he got into geology and now he more or less believes in
evolution and so forth and so on. He says this, he says,
"Human antiquity does raise some interesting questions, "
'cause he said here that he believes that humans are
possibly hundreds of thousands of years old - that is,
they came on the earth hundreds of thousands of years
ago. He says this, "Human antiquity does raise some
interesting questions. One problem concerns the
traditional view of the transmission of the creation,
fall and Cain and Abel narratives. The older view is that
these narratives are accounts that were handed down from
early times and that the near eastern myths are corrupted
versions of the truth. The antiquity of the race
precludes written accounts dating back to the first
humans, and it strains credulity to accept the idea that
these narratives were transmitted verbally and without
corruption for thousands of years until they were written
- But you know, Duane, I don't believe any of that.
- You see what he says? Here's a man...
- I don't believe that...
- ... believe in these old ages and things like that
and he says now, "we got a problem. It really strains
credulity to believe that Cain and Abel, Garden of Eden,
the Fall, could really be true.
- I believe they are true.
- Duane, I said I was going to ask a tough question to
each of you. Let me ask you the question that troubles me
the most about the uh, position which you represent. Uh,
it, it, doesn't seem to me that the process of trying to
explain as scientifically as possible how God created the
universe necessarily removes Him from it. It seems to me
that you all ascribe positions to those who come from the
other perspective - with all kinds of things that they
deny - you know, belief in evolution and belief that
these things were natural processes I don't - Hugh's not
saying that. Uh, belief that God was removed from it. It
seems to me that that's putting them in a position that
they don't take for themselves.
- He's got God there, but his ... if you accept his big
bang cosmology, you've got hundreds of people right
around you, astronomers who don't believe in God...
- Yeah, but that doesn't matter, if they don't believe
that's their problem. He doesn't identify with all those
- When the Bible tells us that Christ raised Lazarus
from the dead, there's a body been in the grave several
days - in a state of decay. Now, there is no way to
explain that biologically...
- absolutely, or the water into wine or anything else.
Those were supernatural events.
- That's right. Now why should we go out and try to
find a natural explanation for the evolutionary
cosmology, and it is evolutionary because we start with
hydrogen gas and we get the stars and so on and so
- I disagree...
- God is the author of the natural processes, so it
doesn't exclude Him to...
- You say He programmed matter to do that...
- ...He's the King of the universe and He is breathing
- If God really had to do something, you don't believe
in evolution, because...
- [frustrated] I don't believe in evolution...
- If God had to do something repeatedly and He had to
design it, why don't you say He just created it? He
created a full fledged universe, and if He did all these
things and it had to be very special, seems to me, it ...
- I don't know how that removes him. The tides come and
go and come and go. He is the author of the tides. But He
set in motion the natural processes and the tides
function as the moon...
- Yes, that's very very different, Dr. Dobson than
trying to get a star or a galaxy or get a universe. Very
- It's a lot simpler.
- If you looked at rocks and pebbles I think you're
quite naturally conclude they form naturally. Now you see
an arrowhead lying among those rocks and pebbles. You'd
immediately conclude from the fact that there's design
and purpose there and the way it's deliberately shaped,
that was created by an intelligent being. I think that's
very logical, but now, just to start with those rocks and
pebbles and you go through millions of years of natural
processes and finally you get an arrowhead, you don't see
any act of creation in that, but you do see the
arrowhead, that was a special act, direct creation and I
think that's what we see in nature...
- It's impossible to look at any of God's creation and
not see His handiwork.
- Amen. You see, here's ... the heavens declare the
glory of God and the firmament displays [?] his
handiwork. Now the atheist looks out at this universe,
takes the same theory that Hugh believes in, the big bang
cosmology. How's he gonna see the hand of God - how's he
going to see the glory of God in this space, when he says
it just came about by some big bang natural evolutionary
- Let me read a brief quote from a non Christian
astronomer, George Greenstein. He says this in his book,
"The Symbiotic Universe",
"As we survey all the evidence the thought insistently
arises that some supernatural agency must be involved. Is
it possible that suddenly without intending to, we have
stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a
supreme being? Was it God who stepped in and so
providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?"
I know of nine books in addition to mine that write
about these new discoveries of the universe - I'm the
only one who's a Christian.
- One of them is "God and the Astronomers" by Robert
- I say if you see all of this you see that God did it
- that God created - just like I see a Chevrolet
automobile, I believe an automobile factory produced it.
It just didn't evolve.
- That's a given. The question only is how and how long
ago. But you don't remove God from it simply by saying,
"How did He do it?" and trying to figure it out.
- Well, if I try to figure out water changed into wine
by some natural process I'm denying that Christ had
anything to do with it - it could happen naturally. If I
really believed that water could naturally change into
wine, ahh, or that a dead body could come out of the
grave after being there for three or four days ... how
can I explain that naturally? You see? And that's what
these people say. That's what I confront all the time in
my lectures and my debates. People say, "Now, we cannot
even consider the creation. That's a supernatural
- But these people you're debating are not Hugh Ross...
- Well, I know...
- ... Not the astronomers either. The astronomers are
using forensics because they look back in time, and
they're discovering that it can't be natural, it's gotta
- Well, we're down near the end of the program - the
second program. Tell me where you guys agree. Bring us
together, for Pete's sake. What are the substantive
issues on which there is total agreement...
- Well, Hugh and I both agree that God uh, created -
and I think there's a difference on what happened then -
but God created us for a purpose, there's a relationship
between the created and the creator, God controls our
destiny, God not only created this universe, but He
created as I said for a purpose and God not only created
us, but He loved us and He provided for our salvation
through the person of Jesus Christ.
- Well, I think we agree on a lot more. We both agree
that the Bible is the error-free word of God - not just
in faith and practice, but science and history. We both
agree in a literal Adam and Eve. We agree in the same
date for Adam and Eve - that it's recent. We agree on the
Cain and Abel story. We agree that life ah must require
many millions literally of divine interventions -
miraculous hands to bring it about...
- For you, Hugh, the the age of the universe is
important scientifically, but not terribly important
- No, it's important for both, because I can't have the
Bible consistent with a thousands of year old universe.
- And for you, Duane, it is absolutely critical to the
authenticity of the Bible?
- Well, I think it's important, very definitely is very
important. You see a creationist does not need an
immensely old universe. Now the evolutionist he's got to
have an immensely old universe - or an immensely old
earth - he cannot consider any evidence for a young
- He needs infinite time, literally.
- He just can't do it, there's just no way he can
consider that possibility...
- You don't consider yourself an evolutionist, ah,
- No, the evolutionist needs near-infinite time -
billions of years are hopeless...
- No, no, no Hugh, that's not true. Because most of
your fellow astronomers who are evolutionists believe the
universe is somewhere between 7 and 13 billions years
old. They don't need hundreds of billions of years. Now I
agree with this: If a protein molecule evolved by chance,
you certainly would need about a hundred billion years or
more or 500 billion years...
- No, you need ten to the 100 billion years...
- And you don't believe that happened...
- ... the time is absurdly great...
- Well, I was bringing this into a landing and we're
off again. Gentlemen, I ah, this subject fascinates me. I
don't know if there's anybody else out there that
followed it or is interested in the issue but I rather
think they are. Both of your ministries are doing very
well. You find a lot of interest Hugh, your "Reasons to
Believe" is expanding and exciting things are happening
- That's true.
- Institute of Creation Research, what's going on
- Yes, we're having anywhere from 1000 to 4, 5 or 6
thousand people to our weekend seminars and these are
scheduled all through next year and ah, I've just
returned from touring university campuses - West Point
and places like that and there's a tremendous interest in
the subject of origins, there's not question about it,
it's very gripping subject today and very controversial
even in some Christian circles, but mainly between those
who look at things as having a naturalistic origin you
see, versus a supernatural origin. And we, I'm convinced
as a biochemist that life could never have created itself
spontaneously and certainly I'm convinced this universe
could not have created itself naturally.
- I certainly agree on both those points, do you, Hugh?
- That's right.
- Boy, we'd better quit while we're ahead. I appreciate
you all coming to Colorado Springs to be with us and talk
about this subject. We have a little over a minute left.
Explain what you say to the person out there who is more
confused than ever, and wants to do what's right. How do
we, how do we give them some kind of closure? Hugh,
- Ah, you're catching me off guard, but ah, we've
always recognized that the existence of God and
particularly the God of the Bible are questions that
people most want answered, so giving them those evidences
is a starting point for getting them into the Bible as
the error-free word of God.
- Romans 1:20 tells us that nobody has any excuse
because in the things God has made you can very clearly
and easily discern certain unseen attributes of God, and
so I would urge these people to look at this universe and
living world and see the handiwork of God - the evidences
for His existence, and then ask themselves the question:
Why did God create me, what is my relationship to my
- Duane would you find fault with me if I said to
people who are out there, ah, regardless of which side
you come down on, show a little charity to those who have
come at it from the other side and honestly believe
- Well absolutely, that's why Hugh and I have a cordial
relationship, you see, a friendly relationship,
absolutely, I think we have to be humble, I think when we
say we have the total answer, I think we have to be very
careful, and I think we have to be very kind and
thoughtful, even with those who profess to be atheists.
There were a number of them at the debate I had the other
evening at the university of Utah who showed up. And ah,
I just ...
- There's really no room for anger, especially for
those who are honestly trying to find truth...
- Well yeah, I appreciate ...
- ... a dark glass. You know we're up there with our
hands up to the window and we're trying to see and it's
sometimes kind of hard...
- You know, I appreciate Duane's perspective. I think
one thing that's concerned me about your colleagues at
the Institute for Creation Research is labeling me in
print as "an apostate who has no heart for evangelism."
And I think we need to be much more charitable...
- I don't know who would have said that. You might say
some of your views today [unintelligible] heretical ...
- No they put this in print...
- But that would be ah, a little bit unkind, I believe.
- Well I know Duane does and I appreciate that.
- Well, God bless you guys [wraps up the program]