Albert Mohler: Gravity Waves Are Caused by Sin

We haven’t written about Albert Mohler for a long time — this old post is typical: Albert Mohler Insists on Young Earth Creationism. Mohler is president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Although Mohler is a young-Earth creationist, we’ve always been impressed by his entirely theological approach to the matter. He insists that the literal truth of Genesis is the essential foundation for his concept of Christianity, but he never disgraces himself with the nonsense of creation science — he simply rejects the conclusions of science. We think he’s wrong to do so, but he keeps his views within his faith, and — unlike a certain Seattle think tank — his life’s mission isn’t to crush science and establish a theocracy.

The website Baptist News Global, which describes itself as “an autonomous, nonprofit news organization that offers news, features and commentary every business day for a global audience of Baptists and other Christians,” has this article: Mohler applauds discovery of gravitational waves but says it doesn’t prove anything. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A Southern Baptist theologian says astronomers study the universe not only through telescopes, but also a worldview lens that causes them to interpret their observations in ways contrary to biblical truth. Albert Mohler … said in a Feb. 12 podcast that new reports about the discovery of gravitational waves generated by the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion years ago aren’t intended to deceive Bible-believing Christians. Rather, he said, it’s the effect of sin on both the universe and cognitive ability.

That’s an interesting perspective. Then we’re told:

Mohler said part of being created in God’s image is an innate desire to understand and know the cosmos around us. At the same time, he warned, much of what is presented as scientific proof is at odds with the Bible, including the historical account of creation recorded in the opening chapters of the book of Genesis.

“Now to be candid, I don’t believe that the world is 1.3 billion years old, certainly not billions of years old,” Mohler said. “I don’t even believe that is actually millions of years old. But one of the interesting things we need to note here is that the scientists who believe that believe it because they are looking at certain patterns that, to their observation, tell them that. And what we need to note is this, if we ourselves were operating from a simply materialistic and naturalistic worldview, we would probably come to the very same conclusions.

He’s saying that the science, by itself, is persuasive. But then, of course, there’s the bible, which tells a different story. Let’s read on:

Mohler said Bible-believing Christians can share a sense of wonder at Thursday’s announcement even if they disagree with the secular interpretation of the discovery. “We step back and look at the situation and understand that something marvelous is being observed here,” he said. “Something was heard. Those instruments detected something.”

Yes, but what? Mohler explains:

“Christians don’t believe that what was heard is fitting a pattern that these scientists believe explains the universe, because we don’t believe the universe explains itself,” Mohler continued. “When we look at what was announced yesterday, we come to it with the full affirmation of all that is revealed in Scripture and of everything Scripture tells us about creation. And we come to understand that a world that is corrupted and affected by sin will actually give us — even through the scientific method — false data that can lead people to false conclusions.

Aha — we can’t rely on our astronomical instruments because what they tell us has been corrupted by sin. The article ends with a final quote from Mohler:

“And we also understand that we are fallen, fragile, fallible thinkers and so as we look at this, if we’re operating from a basically secular worldview, if we believe the universe is going to have to tell us the story all on its own, then there’s no way we’re going to come up with the right story.”

Okay, dear reader. With that, and our earlier post today, your Curmudgeon has given you both sides of the story. The rest is up to you.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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36 responses to “Albert Mohler: Gravity Waves Are Caused by Sin

  1. Saint Albert the Pious is a pure moron with little influence among breathing entities with brains. At least, as you intimate, he’s up front about the imbecility that he pumps out to his drooling audience.

  2. waldteufel says: “Saint Albert the Pious is a pure moron with little influence among breathing entities with brains.”

    Aw, come on — he’s a gentleman creationist. Give him credit for that.

  3. “At the same time, he warned, much of what is presented as scientific proof is at odds with the Bible, including the historical account of creation recorded in the opening chapters of the book of Genesis.”
    Well, duh! Sounds like he just woke up from a deep coma, or maybe he’s still in one.

  4. “fallen, fragile, fallible thinkers”. Good selfie, Albert. Somehow I can’t wrap my head around the idea that two naked people eating fruit caused gravity waves. Truly the heavens declare the glory … oh sorry, wrong reverend.

  5. Hey, I did give him credit for at least being up front (meaning honest).

  6. michaelfugate

    I think it’s the narcissism of Christianity talking – the universe is about me, and me alone. Just the other day, a creationist couldn’t understand how evolution helped understand life; common ancestry and natural selection didn’t tell him how to live his life.

  7. So how to interpret gravity waves from a creationist viewpoint?

    Perhaps God [flatulated].

  8. I share your thoughts about those who let their faith over-ride any science.

    Yet I wonder how consistent they are in that. How many people let the plain words of Scripture describe their view of the world: the Earth is motionless and the Sun makes a daily trip around the Earth.

    That was accepted as the meaning of Scripture, with no dissent, for something like two thousand years, before the rise of modern science. (Unlike the different understandings about the shape of the Earth or the days of Genesis 1. Or how no one commented on the fixity of species.)

  9. I’ve read a lot of Mohler.

    Mohler is what you get with someone committed to Ken Ham’s beliefs but who has +15 IQ points. His views are only softened as a matter of duplicity; he wants to appear sorta, kinda, almost intellectually respectable but he has to remain in the orthodox fold of YEC.

    In other words, Mohler believes all that Ham does. But he isn’t willing to put a dinosaur with a saddle out in the open for everyone to see because deep down he knows his peers realize how stupid those beliefs appear. He occludes his beliefs in these pseudo-sophisticated “worldview” wraps that to the average pew-sitter appear PHILOSOPHICAL AND SCIENTIFIC. And to the kind of “philosophers and academics” he wants to remain in the good graces of (like Craig and Licona), he can still appear sorta respectable.

    He’s a weasel.

  10. They never explain what exactly it means for the universe to be corrupted by sin. How does the nebulous concept of “sin” cause carefully designed gravity wave sensors to record false data?

    Mohler is basically taking the Chewbacca defence and applying it to science.

  11. Paul D. asks:

    How does the nebulous concept of “sin” cause carefully designed gravity wave sensors to record false data?

    How does he know whether sin has corrupted his bible?

  12. One might think that if the bible was the inspired word of some mighty sky fairy, instead of the collection of bronze age myths it appears to be, the sky fairy might have whispered to one of the sheep herders “You don’t need to understand this, but just put into your scroll ‘someday folks will discover gravity waves'”. If the bible contained one hint of something unknown to bronze age sheep herders, I might want be inclined to pay more attention to it.

  13. @abeastwood: … or “One day, man shall harness the energy of the sun to create a weapon of destruction of fearsome power, mighty enough to destroy an entire city in a single instant.”

    …or “One day, man shall walk upon the moon.”

    …or “One day, man will be able to talk to anyone in any nation of the world, and hear the reply as soon as he speaks.”

    I really like your pointing out a method that could have been used to encourage belief that was a missed opportunity. Truly surprising that the G.O.D. didn’t think of this. Well, wait a minute — maybe He did, but the sheepherder censored God, and left it out. We’ll never know. But if that’s the case, you can bet that the sheepherder is swimmin’ in the ol’ Lake o’ Fire.

  14. Gravity Waves Are Caused by Sin

    I’ll stick with Heinlein’s opinion,

    Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other sins are invented nonsense.

  15. … or, as long as one is bringing up the subject of all the kinds of life, at least making room for the majority of life, the microbes.

  16. @ abeastwood:

    Yeah; what good was the book of “Revelation?” Who thought that was important?

  17. “And the Lord sayeth, ‘In the fiftieth playing of the Super Bowl, thou shalt take the points and the under.’ And the nation of Broncos shall rejoice.”

  18. When I read the words of a radical authoritarian like Mohler, many thoughts cross my mind, but for now I’ll just touch on one. Mohler wrote:

    Christians don’t believe that what was heard is fitting a pattern that these scientists believe explains the universe…

    Note that he wrote “Christians,” not “creationists” or “fundamentalists.”Yet he surely knows that only a minority (albeit a large one) agrees with him on that. And an even smaller minority agrees with the young-earthism that he takes on faith (let’s get real: no YEC promoter seriously thinks that evidence supports YEC, though most know better than to admit that).

    To an authoritarian, baiting-and-switching definitions is as essential as breathing.

  19. In other words, Mohler believes all that Ham does.

    Do we really know that? In my last comment I note that, if he does really believe a young earth, it’s “on faith in spite of evidence” (Omphalos creationism), but in fact, he has a great incentive to fake even that, and just pretend to believe because it’s what he thinks the “masses” need to believe to behave properly.

    He’s a weasel.

    That’s a little safer to assume. But there too, it’s more likely motivated by a genuine desire to save the world than a desire to make a quick buck.

  20. unfair to weazels

  21. I’m still trying to figure out what sin was committed by the gravitational detectors that caused them to generate “false data.”

  22. Hmm gravity waves caused by sin…well those black holes are sort of dancing, is that the “sin” he’s talking about?
    The scale of the universe (and the associated age based on how far away stuff is from us) is something we take for granted but it really is a cascade of great discoveries. To figure out the distance the Earth is to the sun required true heroics to glean that from rare transits of Venus watched from distant points on the globe (the size of the Earth itself also required considerable ingenuity). Once we knew the distance the Earth is to the Sun, parallax could be used to figure out the distance to the closer stars. It goes on and on, but suffice to say yes “the universe explains itself”.
    It is sad that people waste their time and talent just pooh poohing the great discoveries of science. Summary of Mohler’s essay. Did I see 1.3 billion years? Blasphemy!

  23. Holding The Line In Florida

    (Wiping yet another tear from my eye) Not did my home state Mississippi make us proud, but my native religion just did us one better!! Oh how I am proud to be a Sutheron today!! We glory in our shame and ignorance! And they wonder why I became the way I am…..

  24. Frank J,

    While Mohler may not join Ham on how to arrive at the YEC position–so my statement was probably too generalized–he joins him on all the conclusions.

    Here’s a snippet from an article
    Mohler wrote for ICR (publishing there is in itself a testimony to his actual beliefs):

    “Secondly, the universe looks old because it bears testimony to the effects of sin, and thus the judgment of God seen through the catastrophe of the Flood and catastrophes innumerable thereafter. The world looks old because, as Paul says in Romans 8, it is groaning. It gives empirical evidence of the reality of sin. […]
    “In our effort to be most faithful to the Scriptures and most accountable to the grand narrative of the Gospel, an understanding of creation in terms of 24-hour calendar days and a young earth entails far fewer complications, far fewer theological problems, and actually is the most straightforward and uncomplicated reading of the text as we come to understand God telling us how the universe came to be and why it matters.”

    In his typical weaseling (apologies to weasels) fashion, he says the universe looks old but is really young.

  25. Re “And we also understand that we are fallen, fragile, fallible thinkers and so as we look at this, if we’re operating from a basically secular worldview, if we believe the universe is going to have to tell us the story all on its own, then there’s no way we’re going to come up with the right story.”

    Why would God create a universe that was incapable of “telling the right story?” Should not the hand of God be writ large upon the heavens? What is wrong with these people? Is God effing with us for His amusement or are they just daft?

  26. Speaking of milestones this guy just broke Poe’s Law.

  27. I didn’t realize it when I posted the link to Mohler, but The Curmudgeon has tackled that very same piece here.

  28. Reflectory: “In his typical weaseling (apologies to weasels) fashion, he says the universe looks old but is really young.”

    That’s another thing that YEC peddlers can’t even get straight among themselves. Some say it (universe, earth, life) “looks” young, others say it looks old but “is” young (as in never mind the evidence, just believe). While OEC and most ID peddlers admit that is looks and is old. Some ID peddlers just play dumb to please the big tent.

    A point I have been trying to make for a decade, but which refuses to catch on, is that the “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when” part of the ID strategy began before the “don’t ask, don’t tell whodunit” part, and is much more important. That’s because it was necessitated not by any court losses (as was the funny “cdesign proponentsists” thing), but by the harsh realization of peddlers of evolution-denial that no evidence supported – even with vey “creative” cherry picking – any of the mutually-contradictory interpretations of Genesis. And thus that their differences – in belief or strategy – were forever irreconcilable.

    The irony is that most evolution-deniers on the street are OECs, not YECs, especially if they give 5 minutes thought to the evidence but still refuse to accept evolution or common descent. In fact some polls suggest that there are more geocentrists than YECs. Heliocentric YEC was a mid 20th century concoction by activists to try to unite evolution deniers. Despite fooling only a minority of deniers, it has fooled many critics into implying that it’s the only anti-evolution position.

  29. I remember when “Intelligent Design” showed up as the answer to Darwin. It specifically said that they were not going to offer an answer to the age of life on Earth. That was a topic to be postponed until Darwin was defeated.

  30. @TomS:

    I recall Phillip Johnson’s public statement about that from the early 90s. But I can imagine the buzz behind closed doors before that:

    YEC has zero evidence. Even high school students can see though the charade. Ironically the more details you provide, the more likely that only the ~10% already committed to it will accept it. OEC may fool a larger %, but it too has the same problem – what are the ‘kinds,’ when did they originate? The more you say, the more students will recognize it as nonsense. But we know that ~70% – a majority – has ‘some problems’ with evolution, so the more vague we are the better. Besides, Biblical YEC and OEC promoters have already realized the tactical advantage of ‘supporting’ their conclusions mainly on perceived ‘weaknesses’ in evolution. Furthermore, if ID fails in court too, we just promote the ‘weaknesses’ and omit any reference to design as well as creation. Students will fill in the blanks as they have all along, and remain unaware of where the real weaknesses really lie, and of how others in the class will likely infer an alternate ‘theory’ that contradicts theirs. The only thing we have to fear is that critics constantly bombard us with ‘what happened when?’ questions. We can only evade so much before a majority smells a rat. But that’s a small risk, because critics won’t ask us many questions. Rather they’ll give us more evidence for evolution that we can take out of context to make it look weak, And they’ll obsess over how we are ‘sneaking in God’ and how ID ‘is’ creationism. With this new approach I expect us to fool almost everyone for decades to come, even if we keep losing in court.

  31. I recall Johnson pointing out, as a way of defusing the question as to what is an alternative, that TH Huxley asked that. That was a bold move. J said (in a book in which Darwin was on trial!) that a defense attorney doesn’t have to offer an alternative.
    There never has been an alternative to common descent with modification. Unless one counts Omphalism. But YEC was getting in trouble by making absurd claims when they tried to make the first steps – I recall the “vapor canopy”. We still have “baraminology”, and the attempts to explain the “distant starlight” problem. Are people still trying to explain away the spontaneous ordering of the fossil record?

  32. Rev. Mohler tells us:

    “Now to be candid, I don’t believe that the world is 1.3 billion years old.”

    Fine. Neither do scientists, who peg its age at 13 billion years. But what’s a decimal point here or there?

  33. Eric – the world he is talking about is his world, so it’s only 56 years old!!

  34. Eric Lipps: “Fine. Neither do scientists, who peg its age at 13 billion years. But what’s a decimal point here or there?”

    You probably realized the typo by now, but it’s the universe that’s 13+ billion years old. The earth is a mere 4.55 billion, and its life “only” 3.8 billion. Where he got 1.3 from is anybody’s guess, but – and yes I admit to being the biggest cynic on the planet – it could be a deliberate and sneaky loophole to avoid lying, and put the ball back in the critic’s court. In which case the critic needs to ask more questions, ultimately “so you think that 99+% of scientists, the ones with the most to lose by being wrong, are wrong?”

    Committed deniers who are not dedicated activists will, after enough questions, admit to forming their opinions “on faith in spite of evidence.” But activists will eventually admit accusing scientists of a conspiracy – the “Expelled” thing. Unfortunately few critics keep asking questions, and just “assume” that the denier honestly believes “this or that” – usually the media’s favorite fairy tale – heliocentric YEC. And yes, I have seen that assumed for deniers who have plainly admitted billions of years.

  35. The 1.3 billion years is from the report about the gravity wave, that it was generated from the behavior of black holes 1.3 billion years ago.

  36. Apologies for being late to the game, but…
    @Ed:

    So how to interpret gravity waves from a creationist viewpoint?

    Odd – the image that came to mind immediately was the Grand Ol’ Designer making the beast with two backs with the no-longer-a-virgin Mary on the Cosmic Waterbed…