William E. Hamilton CS50 CS/50
"Focus on the family" discussion with Hugh Ross and Duane Gish
August 12, 13 1992
Jim Dobson, the host opened the program:
Dobson: (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 10,000 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
Trout: There is an aspect to this topic that just causes people
to think and to study. That in and of itself is a healthy
Dobson: 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.
Ross: Thank you, it's good to be here.
Dobson: 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.
Gish: 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 stars 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 years.
Dobson: 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
Ross: 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
Dobson: For those who have not read on this subject - they may be
lost already - explain what the big bang theory is.
Ross: 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 is
Dobson: 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...
Ross: The matter, energy, space and time were literally created
out of nothing by this divine being.
Dobson: 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?
Gish: 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
Dobson: But you don't believe Hugh believes that...
Gish: Hugh believes that, yeah...
Dobson: Believes that the cosmic egg got there and we don't know
how it got there...
Gish: Well that's the world of what we would call science, these,
Dobson: But that's not what he...
Gish: 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
Dobson: Wasn't the difference God versus no God?
Gish: 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.
Ross: 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've 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...
Dobson: So that's the moving around of created matter...
Gish: 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...
Ross: Duane, that's not how the astronomers interpret it. The
astronomers reacted to it because of its theistic implications...
Gish: Now wait a minute. They say, "All these things happened
naturally - just some evolutionary process...
Ross: The stars, the galaxies...
Gish: 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, no...
Ross: 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.
Gish: 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"...
Ross: 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
Dobson: I'm sure...
Ross: we've just about lost everybody...
Dobson: That issue will certainly bless the homemaker out there.
Dobson: 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 ...
Gish: 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
Dobson: Focusing on the word for "day" I suppose...
Gish: 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...
Dobson: How could there be a twenty four hour day before the
earth was revolving around the sun?
Gish: 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...
Dobson: 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.
Ross: 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.
Dobson: And so you see that word used in other places. Explain
Ross: 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.
Dobson: You're referring to the scriptures that refer to the
Ross: 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...
Dobson: It never says there was a morning and an evening...
Gish: 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
Ross: Well, it's called God's seventh day of rest...
Gish: 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...
Ross: But that doesn't mean it's a Hebrew rule of grammar. I
mean the lexicons will bear that out...
Gish: 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...
Ross: It has 36 definitions...
Gish: Not, n..., not in ....
Ross: 36 definitions...
Dobson: I'm lost now sure enough...
Gish: 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"...
Ross: 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.
Dobson: 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"
Gish: 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
Ross: Can't evolve it in billions of years either...
Gish: No, that's right...
Dobson: Flat out, Hugh, you reject evolution, biological
Ross: Absolutely. It's not going to happen in billions of
Gish: But you do not reject astronomical evolution. Anybody who
accepts big bang cosmology - that's evolution. There's no
question about it.
Ross: 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 ...
Gish: Well Hugh, I'm talking about the process, origin of stars,
origin of galaxies, the origin of our solar system...
Ross: Well when you get into the solar system it must be
designed, it must be crafted ...
Gish: Absolutely. The solar system gives every proof of being a
created article - gives every evidence of design, not just coming
out of some..
Ross: Well I agree with that, I'm not disputing that...
Gish: Well then we agree then the solar system did not evolve.
Is that right? It was created. God created the planets and the
Ross: 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...
Gish: 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
Gish: 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...
Ross: That's not true...
Gish: That you must have . It is not seen. No one has ever seen
it. No one has ever detected it. You can't detect it.
Ross: Well, you need to read our next issue of "Facts and Faith"
- we'll be describing five discovery made in the last eight
Dobson: 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.
Dobson: 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
Gish: 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 them...
Dobson: That they're not moving apart from each other...
Gish: Well, they may be. I don't know. Even there's a
disagreement among astronomers on that point...
Ross: So you don't believe the universe is expanding?
Gish: 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...
Ross: (unintelligible) (probably asking him to name the
astronomers who "would disagree that the red shift is necessarily
an indication that galaxies are moving away from us")
Gish: Anomalies. There's Geoffrey (sp?) Burbage and Hannes
Althein and Halton Arp and many people like that...
Dobson: Good old Halton Arp. Very good friend of mine...
Ross: He *is* a friend of mine...
Dobson: Is that right?
Gish: 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...
Dobson: But that's a big step that you wouldn't support, or even
the phrase that they created themselves, Hugh, you wouldn't
Ross: No, I'm not accepting that
Gish: 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
Ross: 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 vast...
Dobson: Duane, you would say that God created the light between
us and those bodies, right?
Gish: 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...
Dobson: Well, if we weren't here we wouldn't be waiting.
Gish: 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
Ross: He could have done it, Duane, but we have measurements to
prove that He didn't do it that way...
Gish: No, I don't think you have measurements to prove
Ross: Well, let me...
Gish: If you follow your cosmological theories, then...
Ross: 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 traveled through...
Dobson: Is that the Doppler effect?
Ross: No, it's not the Doppler effect...
Dobson: I'm showing my ignorance...
Ross: 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
(everyone tries to talk at once. Laughter)
Ross: 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 intermediate point.
Dobson: 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.
Ross: 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
Dobson: 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...
Ross: Right, that is the exact quote. You got it right.
Dobson: You obviously don't agree, Duane.
Gish: 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...
Ross: Exotic matter, Duane...
Gish ...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 matter...
Ross: Well let me give you ...
Gish: 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....
Ross: Well, let me try to bring you up to date. It has been
Gish: Well, I, Look...
Dobson: Let him give the answer.
Gish: Those of us at ICR follow these things just as closely as
Ross: Are you reading the astrophysical journals?
Gish: Reading, astrophysical journals...[unintelligible]
Ross: I've got papers right here with me. This stuff is newly
Dobson: Is there any evidence that cold dark matter exists?
Ross: Well, we're talking about exotic matter. There's three
kinds of exotic matter: cold dark matter, warm dark matter and
hot dark matter...
Gish: 'Scuse me, what do you mean by, let's define exotic matter,
what do you mean?
Ross: 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...
Gish: Excuse me, is this exotic matter - is that hypothetical or
is that something you've got in the laboratory...
Ross: Let me finish, OK?
Ross: 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 mass...
Dobson: Now you, you've gotten us off into very deep water...
Ross: That's only one confirmation...
Dobson: Give me the bottom line, the bottom line is that COBE has
identified some radiation that seems to confirm...
Ross: 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 ordinary matter.
Dobson: And that would have been necessary to have caused the
galaxies and the...
Ross: 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
Dobson: Without that the theory crumbles in your view. Is that
Gish: 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 dark matter...
Dobson: 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 Eve.
Ross: 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.
Dobson: Duane, the concern that I expressed is...
Gish: 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...
Ross: That's correct, I believe that that act brought about human
Gish: 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...
Ross: How about a universal flood?
Gish: A global flood...
Ross: I believe in a universal flood...
Gish: But you don't believe in a global flood...
Ross: Well the two terms are not necessarily synonymous...
they're only synonymous to twentieth century readers...
Gish: Don't do it with semantics. Did the flood waters cover the
Ross: All of mankind was destroyed and all the animals associated
Gish: Ah, no, no, no...
(everyone tries to talk at once)
Dobson: We'll do well to settle the Young Earth theory without
getting into the ...
Gish: 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 down."
Ross: But you know, Duane, I don't believe any of that.
Gish: You see what he says? Here's a man...
Ross: I don't believe that...
Gish ... 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.
Ross: I believe they are true.
Gish: Well good. I'm glad for that view - I'm - praise the Lord.
Dobson: 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.
Gish: 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...
Dobson: Yeah, but that doesn't matter, if they don't believe
that's their problem. He doesn't identify with all those
Gish: 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...
Dobson: absolutely, or the water into wine or anything else.
Those were supernatural events.
Gish: 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 forth...
Ross: I disagree...
Dobson: God is the author of the natural processes, so it doesn't
exclude Him to...
Gish: You say He programmed matter to do that...
Dobson: ...He's the King of the universe and He is breathing
Gish: If God really had to do something, you don't believe in
Dobson: (frustrated) I don't believe in evolution...
Gish: 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 ...
Dobson: 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
Gish: Yes, that's very very different, Dr. Dobson than trying to
get a star or a galaxy or get a universe. Very different....
Ross: It's a lot simpler.
Gish: 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
Dobson: It's impossible to look at any of God's creation and not
see His handiwork.
Gish: 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
Ross: Let me read a brief quote from a non Christian astronomer,
George Greenstein. He says this in his book, "The Symbiotic
"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.
Dobson: One of them is "God and the Astronomers" by Robert
Gish: 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.
Dobson: 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.
Gish: 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 explanation."
Dobson: But these people you're debating are not Hugh Ross...
Gish: Well, I know...
Ross: ... 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 be supernatural...
Dobson: 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
Gish: 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.
Ross: 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...
Dobson: For you, Hugh, the the age of the universe is important
scientifically, but not terribly important theologically?
Ross: No, it's important for both, because I can't have the Bible
consistent with a thousands of year old universe.
Dobson: And for you, Duane, it is absolutely critical to the
authenticity of the Bible?
Gish: 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 earth...
Ross: He needs infinite time, literally.
Gish: He just can't do it, there's just no way he can consider
Dobson: You don't consider yourself an evolutionist, ah, Hugh?
Ross: No, the evolutionist needs near-infinite time - billions of
years are hopeless...
Gish: 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...
Ross: No, you need ten to the 100 billion years...
Dobson: And you don't believe that happened...
Ross: ... the time is absurdly great...
Dobson: 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 there.
Ross: That's true.
Dobson: Institute of Creation Research, what's going on there?
Gish: 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.
Dobson: I certainly agree on both those points, do you, Hugh?
Ross: That's right.
Dobson: 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, first.
Ross: 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.
Gish: 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 creator?
Dobson: 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 they're right?
Gish: 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
Dobson: There's really no room for anger, especially for those
who are honestly trying to find truth...
Ross: Well yeah, I appreciate ...
Dobson: ... 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
Ross: 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
Gish: I don't know who would have said that. You might say some
of your views today (unintelligible) heretical ...
Ross: No they put this in print...
Gish: But that would be ah, a little bit unkind, I believe.
Ross: Well I know Duane does and I appreciate that.
Dobson: Well, God bless you guys (wraps up the program)