Appearance of Age

( Part 2 )

Three "Appearance of Age" Views

— by Phillip Gosse (Omphalos), Henry Morris, and Ken Ham —

about false old-earth history in a recent young-earth creation.

by Craig Rusbult, Ph.D.

      When we ask questions about creation, what is the best way to learn from the two great books of God — the Word of God (in scripture) and the Works of God (in nature) — and find harmony in what we learn?  { quoted from Searching for Truth in the Two Books of God }
      In this page you'll see three stories, about three Christians searching for truth about creation, trying to achieve harmony between their interpretations of scripture and nature.  One story is from 1857, the other two are about modern young-earth creationists, Henry Morris (who recently died, but his influence continues) and Ken Ham (still very active).  Their stories — summarized in the ideas that resulted from their searches for harmony and truth — begin after the following introduction:

      This page is Part 2, so first you should read Part 1 which distinguishes between essential apparent age (that would be necessary for immediate functionality in a young creation) and nonessential apparent age, and says:

      Different theories propose an "apparent history" with appearance of age that is minimal, total, or partial.
      Minimal Apparent Age:  In this theory, a false appearance of old age is limited to features that would be necessary for immediate functionality.  But this would include starlight that was created "in transit to us" instead of being released from a shining star.  ...
      Total Apparent Age:  According to this theory,... God created a universe with an apparent history that was complete, with accurate data (including nonessential apparent age) about "what would have happened since the beginning" even though it never happened.  { If current theories of astronomy... are correct, God created a universe that looks exactly the same as if it had been created with a Big Bang billions of years ago. }
      Partial Apparent Age:  In an in-between view,... [there is] some nonessential apparent age but not a total apparent history.

      Among young-earth creationists, views about Apparent Age vary across the entire range, as illustrated by three views: 
      Phillip Gosse (1857) is at one end of the spectrum, Total Appearance of Old Age;  he thought God created the universe with a "perfect antiquing" that includes many nonessential details.
      Ken Ham (current) is near the other end, Minimal Appearance of Old Age;  he thinks the antiquing was limited to essentials that would be necessary for life in Eden.
      Henry Morris (current) is somewhere between, with Partial Appearance of Old Age.

The sections in this page are:
Phillip Gosse — TOTAL Appearance of Age 
Ken Ham — MINIMAL Appearance of Age 
Henry Morris — PARTIAL Appearance of Age 
Comparisons of Gosse, Morris, and Ham
APPENDIX:  Questions about Apparent History, Causes for Creationist Confusion, Old-Universe Creation is Impossible, John agrees with Henry, References (for books by Henry Morris)

      Phillip Gosse — TOTAL Appearance of Age

      In 1857, Phillip Gosse wrote OMPHALOS: An Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot.  John Burgeson, in his review of this book, summarizes the main ideas: "Gosse's argument is simple.  If you had been present in Eden twenty minutes after Adam's creation, you would have observed his navel [omphalos], a scar left from a birth that never happened.  In his digestive tract would have been the remains of a meal he had not eaten two hours before.  His feet would have had calluses from walks he had never taken.  A nearby tree, cut down, would have shown real rings of unreal years of growth.  Gosse goes on and on with this argument, separating all time into historic time... and un-historic time, unreal time, virtual time. ...  Any act of creation must involve the creation of a being with a history that never took place."
      Gosse described the way in which a recent creation would "break into" the time-line of history.  He proposed that God recently created nature with an appearance of old age, with details about EVERYTHING that "would have happened" during the entire time-line, with an apparent history that was totally complete and accurate.
      In his book, Gosse says: "We cannot avoid the conclusion that each organism was from the first marked with the records of a previous being.  But since creation and previous history are inconsistent with each other — as the very idea of the creation of an organism excludes the idea of pre-existence of that organism, or any part of it — it follows, that such records are false, so far as they testify to time, that the developments and processes thus recorded have been produced without time. (p. 336)"
      The goal of Gosse was to harmonize old-earth geological science — which by 1857, before Darwin's influential book about biological evolution, had concluded the earth was old — with his own young-earth literal interpretation of Genesis.  Gosse says, "The acceptance of the principles presented in this volume, even in their fullest extent, would not, in the least degree, affect the study of scientific geology.  The character and order of the strata, their disruptions and displacements and injections, the successive floras and faunas, and all the other phenomena, would he facts still.  They would still be, as now, legitimate subjects of examination and inquiry.  I do not know that a single conclusion [of science], now accepted, would need to be given up [to be consistent with the recent creation of a young earth], except that of actual chronology.  And even in respect of this, it would be rather a modification than a relinquishment of what is at present held;  we might still speak of the inconceivably long duration of the processes in question, provided we understand ideal instead of actual time;  that the duration was projected in the mind of God, and not really existent. (p. 369)"
      Martin Gardner, in Facts & Fallacies (1957), agrees that Gosse "presented a theory so logically perfect, and so in accordance with geological facts that no amount of scientific evidence will ever be able to refute it."  Burgeson also agrees: "Gosse argues well that any fiat creation, even by God, must necessarily include unreal history.  His arguments need to be taken seriously."
      Burgeson goes on to explain that "Gosse's thesis is not, of course, 'scientific.'  While it may be true, it is not testable, nor does it suggest future research projects.  It is a dead end.  Gosse recognized this.  Nevertheless, he urged his fellow scientists to continue as if unreal history were real and to construct their theories independent of his thesis."
      Joshua Klose has written a coherent paper about Total Apparent Age — describing the views of Gosse, updating his arguments, and explaining why "the supposed conflict between a young universe and an old appearance is, most amusingly, merely apparent" — in A New Creation: Creation Ex Nihilo and Apparent Age.
      Part 1 explains that "with Total Apparent Age, a young-universe creationist is free to... follow the evidence wherever it leads,... and accept all old-universe conclusions of conventional science, or reject any of these conclusions if this seems to be more scientifically justifiable."


      Ken Ham — MINIMAL Appearance of Age

      The view of Ken Ham is illustrated in his approach to a challenging problem:  How do advocates of a recent creation, who claim the earth is only thousands of years old, explain how we can see starlight that — because the light has to travel a very long distance from the star — would require billions of years to reach us?  An especially challenging problem is the fact that scientists occasionally observe light whose characteristics are changing in a way which corresponds to the sequence of events that occur during the supernova explosion of a star.
      In their attempts to explain these observations, young-earth creationists can claim that:
      1) although the earth is young (thousands of years), the universe is old (billions of years);
      2a) the estimates of distance are wrong, and the star is much closer than scientists think;
      2b) in the past, the speed of light was much faster than now, so light could travel a long distance in a short time;
      2c) in the past, time was much "slower" than it is now, so light could travel a long distance in a short time;
      { note: in 2a, 2b, and 2c, one value in the formula "distance/speed = time" is challenged, but in each case the value must be wrong by a factor of a million, to produce the difference between thousands of years and billions of years }
      3) the starlight was created "in transit to us" with apparent age.

      In a previous edition of The Answers Book, published by Answers in Genesis (AIG), the authors — Ken Ham, Jonathan Sarfati, and Carl Wieland — quickly dismiss #1 (old universe) and 2a (short distances), examine and dismiss 2b (high speed) and 3 (apparent age), and instead support 2c (in the "white hole" cosmology proposed by Russell Humphreys).  When discussing apparent age, they don't use the terms I've invented, but they do use the concepts to distinguish between apparent age that is essential (in the first paragraph below) and nonessential (in the second paragraph):
      Consider an exploding star (supernova) at, say, an accurately measured 100,000 light-years away. ... As the astronomer on earth watches this exploding star, he is not just receiving a beam of light.  If that were all, then it would be no problem at all to say that God could have created a whole chain of photons (light particles/waves) already on their way.
      However, what the astronomer receives is also a particular, very specific pattern of variation within the light, showing him/her the changes that one would expect to accompany such an explosion — a predictable sequence of events involving neutrinos, visible light, X-rays and gamma-rays.  The light carries information recording an apparently real event.  The astronomer is perfectly justified in interpreting this 'message' as representing an actual reality — that there really was such an object, which exploded according to the laws of physics, brightened, emitted X-rays, dimmed, and so on, all in accord with those same physical laws.  Everything he sees is consistent with this, including the spectral patterns in the light from the star giving us a 'chemical signature' of the elements contained in it. ...
      To create such a detailed series of signals in light beams reaching earth, signals which seem to have come from a series of real events but in fact did not, has no conceivable purpose.  Worse, it is like saying that God created fossils in rocks to fool us, or even test our faith, and that they don't represent anything real (a real animal or plant that lived and died in the past).  This would be a strange deception.

      These quotations are from an earlier version of How can we see distant stars in a young universe? in The Answer Book, with co-authors that included Ken Ham.  But now an article with the same title is in The New Answers Book but now it's written only by Jason Lisle.  AIG evidently recognized what other scientists had been saying from the beginning — that white hole cosmology is scientifically inadequate — so AIG abandoned it even though, as explained above, they previously had claimed it was the answer for explaining distant starlight.  Currently, Lisle adopts different criticisms in his attempt to defend a young-universe view.}

      In the first two paragraphs of another page from AIG, Edmond Holroyd clearly explains the concept of apparent age and the problem (for a young-universe view) of light from distant stars, and in the next paragraph he proposes a solution that is rejected by AIG:  Holroyd says, "Over a decade ago, there was a supernova in the Magellanic Clouds, small satellite galaxies to our own at an apparent distance of about 150,000 light years.  Did that star actually explode that many years ago?  Or did God, only a few thousand years ago, make a self-consistent field of electromagnetic waves (including light) that has only recently given us the appearance of an exploding star?  Here is another example in which there is an appearance of age.  Scientifically it appears that the star was that old when it exploded, just as Adam looked as if he were many years old on the seventh day.  To be biblical, we have to be in awe of our God, who can orchestrate the entire heavens in such great detail!  ( Ed. note: AiG rejects the light-created-in-transit idea — see How can we see distant stars in a young universe? )"  { The editors-note is written by AIG, affirming their belief in minimal appearance of age. }

      In his page about a decrease in the speed of light Carl Wieland, a co-author of "How can we see...?", criticizes a proposal that "God created the starlight on its way" because "this suffers grievously from the fact that starlight also carries information about distant cosmic events.  The created-in-transit theory means that the information would be ‘phony’, recording events which never happened, hence deceptive."
      AIG's review of Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation (2002 edition) is introduced with a summary: "With heavy heart, AiG must give strong ‘thumbs down’ to beautifully-presented new creationist book."  Here is one reason for their negative review: "The ‘appearance of age’ model for how distant starlight arrived [page 25] is only one of many models now available.  The author does not discuss shortcomings of that model, such as the fact that it requires God to have placed unnecessary indicators of age (like galaxies in the process of colliding) in the cosmos."   /   Old-earth creationists ask similar theological questions about a recent creation that includes nonessential details from history that never happened.


      Henry Morris — PARTIAL Appearance of Age

      Compared with Phillip Gosse (total apparent age) and Ken Ham (minimal apparent age), the views of Morris are more complex.  To show the complexity, this section will be longer than the previous two sections.

      What does Morris think about starlight?
      He says, "The light from the sun, moon, and stars was shining upon the earth as soon as they were created. ...  It is possible that these light-waves were energized even before the heavenly bodies themselves in order to provide the light for the first three days.  It was certainly no more difficult for God to form the light-waves than the 'light-bearers' which would be established to serve as future generators of those waves." (1974, p 210; all book-references are below)
      Morris recognizes the theological problem posed by detailed apparent history — "the light rays... must have been created carrying information descriptive of historical physical events (such as super novae) which never actually occurred, because we would now be observing light rays which were created in transit and never were radiated from the stars which they seem to image (1973, p 26)" and he says "God could have created the light from the stars simultaneously with the stars themselves, so that Adam could have seen the stars as soon as they were created [but] a major difficulty with this assumption is how to deal with post-creation stellar events such as supernovas" (2003) — but he offers no solution.
      In contrast with Ham, Morris seems to accept apparent age as a possible explanation for why we see distant starlight, including supernovas.

      Morris also uses apparent age as an explanation for other scientific difficulties.
      In 1961 he was bothered by the fact that, in radioactive dating of rocks, scientists had found "a few cases where there is agreement between ages obtained by the lead method, the rubidium method, and/or the potassium method."  But even though several dating methods — based on different assumptions and measuring different chemicals — are all saying the rocks are extremely old, and all methods agree about the age, this isn't evidence for an old earth because:
This kind of agreement is exactly what is to be expected on the basis of our deductions as to the past history of the radioactive elements, as originally created. ...  The Bible quite plainly and irrefutably teaches the fact of a 'grown' Creation — one with an 'apparent age' of some sort, analogous to the 'apparent age' of a mature Adam at the first instant of his existence.  This Creation must have included all the chemical elements already organized in all the organic and inorganic chemical compounds and mixtures necessary to support the processes of the earth and of life on the earth.  These processes include the phenomena of radioactivity.  It is perhaps possible that only the parent elements of the radioactive decay chains were originally created, but it is eminently more harmonious with the whole concept of a complete Creation to say that all the elements of the chain were also created simultaneously, most likely in a state of radioactive equilibrium. ...  This means that, with each mineral containing a radioactive element, there were also at the original Creation all of the daughter elements in the decay series, including some of the final stable end-product. ...  If it had been possible to make a radioactive time-estimate from these minerals immediately after their creation by the same methods as are now in use, they would have indicated some finite age for the earth, and this age, whatever it may have been, would have been the same for each of the different radiogenic elements in the mineral association.  This is the most reasonable conclusion possible on the assumption of a genuine primeval creation as recorded in Genesis. (1961, pages 355-357, emphasis in original)
Morris also proposes initial creation of daughter elements in 1974 (on pages 139 & 143) and in 1999 when he says the daughter/parent ratios might have been "created directly during the Creation period."

      Morris claims this apparent age, due to the inclusion of daughter elements, was essential: "This creation must have included all the chemical elements already organized in all the organic and inorganic chemical compounds and mixtures necessary to support the processes of the earth and of life on the earth.  These processes include the phenomena of radioactivity."  But would the daughter elements be essential? 
      What was the goal in creation?  "The Creation Model quite reasonably implies that these initial conditions were produced in the system by the processes of creation and were of whatever nature and magnitude they needed to be for that system thenceforth to function optimally in the completed world as created. (source-CAIC)"  To achieve this goal of optimal functionality, what would be needed?
      To make an environment that was immediately functional for Adam and Eve in Eden, it would be necessary (in a 144-hour creation) to provide soil — with a suitable mixture of "organic and inorganic chemical compounds" — that usually takes years to form.  But was there any practical need to create rocks containing the daughter elements that usually are products of radioactive decay, to mix the daughter and parent isotopes in a way that leads to consistent (but false) scientific conclusions about the age of rocks?  Nutrient-rich soil could be used by Adam and Eve to grow their food, but putting daughter isotopes in rocks seems to be nonessential Apparent Age whose main function is to mislead modern scientists about the age of the earth.

      But Morris does set limits on the potential manifestations of apparent age: "This concept does not in any way suggest that fossils were created in the rocks, nor were any other evidences of death or decay so created.  This would be the creation, not of an appearance of age, but of an appearance of evil, and would be contrary to God's nature. (1974, page 210)"
      What is "partial" about the Partial Appearance of Age?  Since fossils in the apparent history would imply animal death before human sin, which he considers unacceptable, Morris tries to explain the entire fossil record by flood geology.  But old-universe phenomena that don't involve death — such as isotopes in rocks, or light from supernovas — can be explained by appeal to apparent age. 
      Or maybe (*) his view was Total Appearance of Age — so he was "free to follow the evidence wherever it leads,... and accept all old-universe conclusions of conventional science, or reject any of these conclusions if this seems to be more scientifically justifiable" — and he thinks rejection is scientifically justifiable because "what would have happened since the beginning" would not include a natural origin of life and its subsequent evolutionary development, because life would occur only when God created it (during the six-day creation week) and the fossil record was then produced by the global flood in Genesis 7-8.   /   * Morris has never explicitly defined his position this way.  And he challenged ALL "evolution" including the natural development of stars, galaxies, and solar systems, so he probably thought the only possibility was for God to create our world in fully functional form, without using any kind of evolution.

      Earlier in the book (p. 346) he wondered "whether the 'apparent ages' of the minerals so created, as indicated by the relative amounts of 'parent' and 'daughter' elements contained therein, would all be diverse from each other or whether they would all exhibit some consistent value; and if the latter, what value of apparent age might be implied."  But "whatever this 'setting' was, we may call it the 'apparent age' of the earth, but the 'true age' of the earth can only be known by means of divine revelation."  Since 1961, Morris has contrasted apparent age with true age and has, like postmodern skeptics, questioned the reliability of scientific conclusions: "Something, at the instant of its creation, must have had an 'appearance of age.'  And the only way we could then determine its 'true age' would be through divine revelation.  An 'apparent age' might of course be deduced for that something on the basis of any processes of change which were observed in connection with it, but this would not be the true age. (1961, p 345)"
      In 1974 he explains why scientists cannot reach reliable conclusions in historical science by using any method, including radiometric dating or geology:

In order to obtain a prehistoric date, therefore, it is necessary to use some kind of physical process which operates slowly enough to measure and steadily enough to produce significant changes.  If certain assumptions are made about it, then it can yield a date which could be called the apparent age.  Whether or not the apparent age is really the true age depends completely on the validity of the assumptions.  Since there is no way in which the assumptions can be tested, there is no sure way (except by divine revelation) of knowing the true age of any geologic formation. ...  [As an example of an untestable assumption] some of the "daughter" component [which in conventional radiometric dating is assumed to be formed by natural process over a period of time] may have been initially created along with the "parent" component. ...  Apparent ages determined by means of any physical process are educated guesses and may well be completely unrelated to the true ages. (1974, pp 137-139)


      Comparisons of Gosse, Morris, and Ham (total, partial, and minimal)

      All three creationists have young-earth (and young-universe) views, and all accept essential apparent age.  But they disagree about nonessential apparent age (that would not be necessary for immediate functionality in Eden) and whether it produced an apparent history that was total (Phillip Gosse), partial (Henry Morris), or minimal (Ken Ham).

      What are the scientific and theological implications of their theories about apparent history?
      Theologically, total apparent history (Gosse) is most questionable if a "detailed apparent history of events that never happened" is considered theologically questionable, while minimal apparent history (Ham) is most satisfactory.
      Scientifically, total apparent history (Gosse) is easiest, because it lets a creationist agree with all conclusions of science, whether scientists are claiming a particular feature of the universe is young or old.  A minimal apparent history (Ham) is most difficult for young-universe creationists, because it requires a challenging of almost all old-universe conclusions.  In the table below, every NO is an area of science where a young-universe creationist (with the view of Gosse, Morris, or Ham) must challenge the conclusions of conventional science.

This table summarizes answers — YES or NO — when we ask "is there apparent age for a particular aspect of history?"  An answer in parentheses — (YES) or (NO) — is my guess when I have not found an explicit answer in their writing, based on what they have said.  Notice that all three agree about essential apparent age (yellow cells) but sometimes they disagree about nonessential apparent age (gray cells).

Was "apparent age in history"
total, partial, or minimal?
  ESSENTIAL apparent age?
      basic simple starlight
  NON-ESSENTIAL apparent age? 
      detailed starlight (supernovas,...)  
  ( YES )  
 ( yes ) 
      radioactive dating (ratios,...)
( YES )
  ( NO )  
      did Adam and Eve have navels?
( no )
( no )
      fossils in geological record
( NO )
      conventional geological evolution  
  ( NO ) 
( NO )
      astro-evolution after Big Bang 
( YES )
( NO )
( NO )

As you can see in the table above, and as summarized below, "theologically, total apparent history (Gosse) is most questionable if... while minimal apparent history (Ham) is most satisfactory;  scientifically, total apparent history (Gosse) is easiest... and a minimal apparent history (Ham) is most difficult."

 death before sin? 
  nonessential history? 
 nonessential history? 
( none )
( none )
biological evolution
 conventional geology 

biological evolution
 conventional geology 



      Questions about Apparent History
Ken Ham has theological concerns about detailed nonessential apparent age, and so do two old-earth creationists:

      Hill Roberts says, regarding an "apparent age" explanation for how — if the universe is less than 10,000 years old — in 1987 we saw the supernova explosion of a star (or at least what appeared to be a star) that was 170,000 light-years away,
      If God created stars at such a distance, and intentionally created the starlight already at the earth from the beginning, then in this case (and many others as well) He would have had to encode the starlight with the history of an event (the change from normal star to explosion) that never actually happened — it just "appears" to have happened.  If the universe is only a few thousand years old, this supernova has always been a supernova and never an ordinary star.  But up until 1987 it was seen in the starlight to have been just an ordinary star.  If God altered the history of this part of His creation to appear to be something it wasn't, who's to say what history is real and what history is fake?  And why would God tell us to go look at natural history (Romans 1:19-20) to learn about His godly nature and power if natural history doesn't record true history?  This would seem to be a problem since that same God tells us He cannot lie — Hebrews 6:18, Titus 1:2.  I will not accept that God is a liar, even if it's just a little "white lie" to astronomers.  Therefore, I don't think God faked this event in the starlight.  It must have really happened 170,000 years ago.  {source}

      Tom Couchman, in a comprehensive analysis, affirms essential apparent age and then (in the paragraph below) criticizes nonessential apparent age:
      I have asserted that miraculous generation of a functioning object of nature inescapably involves a "false appearance of age," because natural objects do not, in the ordinary course of events, attain mature functionality without the passage of time. ...  But if a miracle produces functional maturity without developmental history, a miraculously produced object must not contain unnecessary indications of developmental history.  Indications of history which are not absolutely necessary to the functionality of an object which did not have a developmental history would be deceptive.  In other words, if God's miraculous action produced a mature, functioning object more-or-less instantaneously, that object did not have a developmental history.  The object should therefore not contain indications of a developmental history which did not actually happen, because such indications would be deceptive.  { source: in HTML & PDF }

      Causes for Creationist Confusion

      In Part 1, in a section about Pseudo-History and Divine Honesty, I say "it is difficult for proponents of a young universe that 'looks old because of apparent age' to logically determine what they should believe."   An IOU:  The paragraph below was my initial attempt to describe this difficulty in more detail.  Eventually it will be fixed and expanded — to include the concepts of cognitive dissonance (and the uncomfortable tension it produces) and instrumentalist views of science — but for awhile I'll just leave it as-it-was originally:
      Henry Morris believes that God created the universe with a superb "antiquing job" that produced a false appearance of old age.  { comment: This statement is wrong because, when I wrote it, I misunderstood and oversimplified the "partial apparent history" views of Morris, which are described more accurately above. }  But almost all modern scientists think this "antiquing" provides all details of the history that would naturally occur following a Big Bang, and therefore the scientific evidence clearly indicates a history that began billions of years ago with a Big Bang.
      If young-universe creationists agree with Morris that God created a universe with a false appearance of age, and if this appearance includes details indicating a Big Bang Beginning, then why should young-universe scientific creationists challenge the scientific credibility of scientists who reach this conclusion?  But they do challenge old-universe science.  They valiantly try to construct young-universe theories that, without appealing to detailed nonessential-AA, can logically explain what we observe.  Most scientists think these theories are seriously flawed (beyond the possibility of repair) and are wrong, but should advocates of a young universe continue to work on their science and hope it will improve?  If they were successful, would they simply be embarrassing God by finding places where — oops! — He wasn't very skillful in "antiquing" the world so it looks old?  Perhaps they should just agree with the logic of old-universe science, but not its conclusions, by insisting on their assumption that although it's possible to reach valid historical conclusions for events that seem to have happened less than 6000 years ago (so they can still work on flood geology), all conclusions are automatically wrong for everything that seems to have happened more than 6000 years ago.  But why should all scientists accept this conclusion?  Because according to Henry Morris (based on his interpretation of Genesis 1, supplemented by a radical version of AA theory which includes detailed nonessential-AA), we often are observing only apparent history, not actual history.  Are you confused about what young-earth scientists (if they accept the reality of nonessential-AA) should believe and should do?  And are they confused and inconsistent?
      a reminder: As explained above, this section needs revising because when it was written "I misunderstood." }  In the final footnote (#34) of his page about Apparent Age and its Reception in the 19th Century, David Krause says:
In The Genesis Flood and Scientific Creationism... the authors confusingly oscillate between two incompatible positions.  On the one hand, the claim is made that certain evidences seem to indicate that the world is "young."  These evidences are then accepted as being the result of processes that actually occurred in real time.  Faced with other evidences that indicate that the world is "old," however, the apparent age doctrine is then invoked to explain why the implications of these evidences need not be accepted. ...  While this oscillation between mutually incompatible alternatives may indeed provide a quick, convenient answer to any possible objection, it hardly seems to be an adequate base upon which to build a satisfying scientific world view.

comment:  I think Krause is probably oversimplifying, but before saying more I want to examine Morris's views more carefully, to see why he chooses to "fight some battles" with scientific evidence and logic, while others are "explained away" with apparent age.  Morris has decided that any fossil evidence must be part of actual history after the creation, mainly in the global flood.  But for non-fossil features, such as starlight or radioactive rocks, apparent age may or may not be invoked as an explanation.  Maybe, as Krause claims in another part of the footnote, Morris is willing to say "apparent age makes it appear old" whenever he thinks a feature cannot be explained using his own theories.

      Is old-universe creation impossible?

      Henry Morris defends apparent history by claiming that apparent age is theologically acceptable: "There is no reason why God could not, in full conformity with His character of Truth, create a whole universe full-grown.  Obviously, if He did this, there would be no way by which any of His creatures could deduce the age or manner of Creation by study of the laws of maintenance of His creation.  This information could only be obtained, correctly, through God Himself revealing it!  And if God reveals how and when He created the universe and its inhabitants, then to charge God with falsehood in creating 'apparent age' is presumptuous in the extreme — even blasphemous. (1974, p 209; 1961, p 233)"   This defense is appropriately humble by saying "if God reveals how and when He created the universe and its inhabitants," and many Christians don't think the Bible "reveals how and when He created."
      But instead of just defending apparent history, he goes on the offensive against its critics by claiming that apparent age is theologically essential: "There could be no genuine creation of any kind, without an initial appearance of age inherent in it. ...  When one decides to reject the concept of real Creation [with apparent age], there is no scientific stopping-point short of what amounts to atheism. ...  It is essentially an affirmation of atheism, a denial of the possibility of a real Creation. (1961, pp 237-238)"   Wow.  This is quite a claim.
      Almost all scientists think the universe began billions of years ago in a "big bang" expansion.  Many devout Christians with an old-universe view of creation think this is the way God did create, in the genuine creation of a real universe with only actual history, without apparent history.  But Morris denies that this would be "genuine creation," and he seems to label all old-universe views as "atheism."  This claim is harsh, and is consistent over decades, being stated in 1961, 1974, 1987 (pages 306-307), and 2006 in his Answers to Common Questions, as you'll see below.  Maybe I'm misinterpreting him, but his strong claim seems clear from what he writes, and he continued writing it during a period of 45 years.
      According to Morris, "The [young-universe] creation was 'mature' from its birth.  It did not have to grow or develop from simple beginnings.  God formed it full-grown in every respect. (1974, p 209)"
      I agree that a young-universe creation, with apparent age, is possible.  But I disagree when Morris states that old-universe creation is not possible.  Is it possible that God created the universe billions of years ago, without apparent age, so we are observing only actual history instead of a combination of apparent history plus actual history?  Morris says "no" in his Answers to Common Questions because "to say that there can be no creation of 'functioning completeness' (or 'apparent age,' if you prefer) is the same as saying there can be no creation;  this begs the whole question, of course, and is equivalent to defining away every option except atheism."  But if a Christian claims "there can be no [young-universe] creation" so there must be an old-universe creation, this would not be "defining away every option except atheism" unless Morris is declaring that old-universe creation is impossible.
      This quotation is confusing because Morris is combining two statements:  he defends his claim that a young-universe creation with apparent age is possible (I agree that we should not say "there can be no creation of functioning completeness");  but he also claims an old-universe creation is impossible (but I disagree).  The second claim is clarified by omitting the middle phrase: "to say that there can be no [young-universe] creation... is the same as saying there can be no creation," so rejecting young-universe creation (and accepting old-universe creation) is "defining away every option except atheism."
      I would agree with Morris if his claim was stated more carefully with precision, if he claimed that "there can be no young-universe creation without apparent age."  Instead, he rejects the possibility of old-universe creation — either progressive creation with God doing occasional miracles, or evolutionary creation with God using only natural process — by declaring that the only options are young-universe creation and atheism.

John agrees with Henry
      John Morris, son of Henry Morris and current president of the Institute for Creation Research, says:
      Simply stated, the idea of "creation with appearance of age" means that when God created, those things which He created might superficially have looked as if they had a history.  When Adam was created, he no doubt looked like a mature adult, fully able to walk, talk, care for the garden, etc.  When God created fruit trees, they were already bearing fruit.  In each case, what He created was functionally complete right from the start — able to fulfill the purpose for which it was created.  Stars, created on Day Four, had to be seen to perform their purpose of usefulness in telling time; therefore, their light had to be visible on Earth right from the start.  God's evaluation that the completed creation was "very good" (Genesis 1:31) necessitated that it be functionally complete, operating in harmony, with each part fulfilling the purpose for which it was created.  { Did God Create with Appearance of Age? }
      This is a good description of essential-AA, but in saying that things "might superficially have looked as if they had a history" John ignores the distinction between two aspects of apparent history (due to essential-AA and nonessential-AA) and the theological problems posed by nonessential-AA.  To conclude the page, he makes a bold claim — that "if... the universe is old, then God has lied to us" — about divine honesty:
      It is claimed by old-universe advocates that Romans 1:20 reveals that truth about creation and God's character must be "clearly seen" from the study of the creation. ...  But this position... denies the very possibility of creation, for creation without the appearance of "age" is impossible.  God, in His sovereignty, knew that fallen man... might wrongly conclude the age and origin of things.  For just that reason, He gave us a clear record of what He had done and when He had done it.  Furthermore, when we look at the evidence in light of what He has told us, the universe doesn't even look old.  The real evidence is fully compatible with an origin only thousands of years ago.  On the other hand, if fallen scientists extrapolating present process are right and the universe is old, then God has lied to us, for He clearly said He created all things in six days, not too long ago.

      REFERENCES for Henry Morris
      1961The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications, by John Whitcomb & Henry Morris.
      1973 — Science and Creation, by William Boardman, Robert Koontz, & Henry Morris.
      1974Scientific Creationism, edited by Henry Morris, prepared by the technical staff and consultants of the Institute for Creation Research.
      1987 — What is Creation Science?  by Henry Morris & Gary Parker.
      On the web, Henry Morris has no pages specifically devoted to appearance of age, but he does discuss it in some pages that were cited earlier in this page:  Creation and its Critics: Answers to Common Questions and Criticisms on the Creation Movement (end of Section 1),  Biblical Uniformitarianism (in final four paragraphs) 1999,  The Uncertain Speed of Light (near beginning) in 2003.   Also cited earlier is a page by John Morris, son of Henry and current president of ICR, who asks Did God Create with Appearance of Age? and answers YES.

This website for Whole-Person Education has TWO KINDS OF LINKS:
an ITALICIZED LINK keeps you inside a page, moving you to another part of it, and
 a NON-ITALICIZED LINK opens another page.  Both keep everything inside this window, 
so your browser's BACK-button will always take you back to where you were.

Here are other related pages:

Apparent Age (Part 1)

Apparent Age (by other authors)

This page is

Copyright © 2004 by Craig Rusbult, all rights reserved

all links were checked-and-fixed on July 3, 2006