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Old Earth Aesthetics: The Duck Test

Prompted by something I heard in a Kent Hovind seminar, I recently asked a colleague what he thought was more absurd: to say I don’t believe in evolution, or to say I think the earth isn’t billions of years old. Now, I asked this particular colleague partly because I knew he was smart enough to give me the answer I was looking for - the correct answer - which is that it’s more absurd to claim the earth is you and not billions of years old. Suffice to say he didn’t let me down and explained why. He thought about the question for a little moment and said that the reason it’s more absurd to say the earth is old is because evolution is automatically untrue (to his mind) if the age of the earth is young. So if you kill the old age idea, you necessarily kill the evolution idea. If you disprove evolution you don’t automatically disprove the old age theory, but if you dismiss with billions of years, you at the same time disprove evolution. Therefore the claim that the age of the earth is only
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Old Earth Aesthetics: Wrinkles in my Birthday Suit

I'm 32 years old. I don't have any wrinkles. Except when I smile or pull funny faces at the kids. So I'm 32 years old and I have wrinkles. I have a teeny flash of grey hair in my right-hand sideburn. You can see every vein that meanders through my hands, and I'm allergic to the rain. I'm allergic to gluten, pollen, mold, and furry animals. I've had a small piece of my lung removed and the left-hand side of my rib cage is still sensitive to the effects of that operation 14 years ago! I'm 32 years old and I'm well aware that my body is in decline. I'm dying. Like everyone else on the planet, sure. I'm wearing out. Entropy. Daily proving true the second law of thermodynamics. I will expire. You will expire. In short? I'm young, but I'm looking older by the day (despite being asked for i.d. recently). I'm not going to make 96 years old, that's for sure. My age will not triple. Even though the age of my greatest grandfather was triple

Old Earth Aesthetics: Why Wait So Long?

I usually get a bit of flack from people when I post on social media about the age of the earth. It really does seem to rub Christians up the wrong way. So I'll air my opinions in the more acceptable context of a private blog post. And I'm no scientist of course. I am, however, a lover of beauty and, being a graphic designer, I understand better than most how aesthetics work and feel qualified to offer a non-scientific, yet entirely legitimate perspective on how we could help determine something like the age of the earth or evolution. To my mind, the aesthetics of an old earth (and evolution for that matter) are all wrong. I mean, why would God want to create a process for creation that took billions of years? The heavens declare the glory of God means he always does things for a reason. Nothing that has happened has happened by accident, therefore the created order is somewhat revelatory. Less reliable than the special revelation of scripture, but nevertheless revelatory. Ther

A Working Definition of Beauty

How would you define beauty? It's actually really hard when you start thinking about it. I'm reading a book at the moment called The Beauty of the Infinite The Aesthetics of Christian truth. It's written by a man with a bigger brain than I'll ever have. It's the kind of book which, when you read it you can tell that he has so much to say he almost doesn't know where to start - or when to stop - and eventually ends up telling you more than perhaps he intended to. Not a criticism, just an observation. He won't go down as one of the great writers of our time, but he's absolutely one of the deepest thinkers. Anyway, he says this of beauty: "the modern disenchantment with the beautiful as a concept reflects in part a sense that while beauty is something whose event can be remarked upon, and in a way that seems to convey meaning, the word "beauty" indicates nothing: neither exactly a quality, nor a property, nor a function, not even really a su

The Importance of Plastic

What I like about philosophy is that you have an idea which you express in a certain way, according to the language you use, the words you know, the analogies you can think of, the categories you have defined, the context you exist in etc... But then you spot something, another idea, expressed rather differently and related to a different situation, yet somehow it seems eerily familiar. I love it when I see a conceptual crossover of ideas. I love Francis Schaeffer's 'line of despair' idea, I love Elaine Scarry's 'beauty makes copies of itself' idea and I love Piet Mondrian's 'plastic art' idea, to name but a few off the top of my head. It's quite reassuring and encouraging to find resonance in your own thinking with the ideas of great minds. But not necessarily surprising. God made the world to work a certain way, so why shouldn't people come up with similar ideas about how to interpret the material and spiritual universe? Anyway, I want to b

The Only Problem in Art

I've always been enamored by abstract art. For as long as I can remember, the modernist painter's way of interpreting the world has been a constant fascination for me. From the time I learned about Juan Miro as a 5 or 6-year old in primary school, I've been drawn to the fanciful simplicity and stark minimalism of the abstract. This fascination with, or, you could say, affinity for, the abstract aesthetic, doesn't just dictate my appreciation of fine art. Being deeply philosophical, abstract art influences my approach to and colours my perceptions of life. Yet there has been one 'plasticist' in particular, who is far more significant to me than any other, one whose art and philosophy have had a genuine influence on my life. Piet Mondrian is someone whose often nameless 'compositions' held me so utterly captivated that it was no surprise to discover the ideas behind them to be equally enthralling. As I've said many times in the blog previously, aesthet

Jesus IS Ruling Well

Jesus IS Ruling Well As I was reflecting on 2020 and pondering the year ahead, a verse from Psalm 118 came to mind. As it turns out the whole Psalm is full of the type of wisdom that will help us all to reflect on a year we didn’t expect and will help us prepare for a year we can’t really predict. Psalm 118 offers us three things to remember about God, and then an appropriate response at the end. This little transcript is in no way an in-depth exegesis of the whole psalm - so full of glory as it is - but touches on the key points which are of most use to use for helping us get to grips with how God operates in the world. Point one: Remember that God is good The first thing we need to remember according to the psalm is that God is good . Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. That's how the psalm begins. Right from the off, the psalmist is establishing the innate goodness of God. It’s the premise of the rest of the psalm and good practice for us, to recognise that God is a good God