Modernism in Bible Class Literature (II)

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

Last week we began a review of some of the theistic evolutionary teaching in the Sweet Company Bible class book GENESIS AND MY LIFE. In the front of this book which is designed for High School students is the following statement: "This series of Bible school material is published for all ages, Beginner through Adult, by R. B. Sweet Co., Inc. Box 4055, Austin, Texas. Executive Editor: Albert Sweet. Associate Editors: Mrs. R. B. Sweet and Jerry Tindel. Departmental Editors: Margie Sweet, Janelie Baisden, Billie Sweet, and David Stewart. Copyright 1963 by R. B. Sweet Co. Inc."

With this many editors and the lapse of six years since original publication, the Sweet Company should have had ample time to make any corrections they felt needed to be made in the literature.

No Method of Creation Given

In the article published last week I quoted some statements from this book being reviewed in which the publishers tried to patch up some loose comments about the "how" of creation. In the first lesson (on Genesis Chapter 1), the author said on Gen. 1: 1: "God created. The verse states this fact only. It does not say 'how' God created. There is no specific scientific data here."

Now keep in mind that the earlier statement for which they were severely criticized and which they said they would correct said, "Evolutionists are concerned with the 'how'. Genesis tells about the 'who'. The Bible does not tell us how God created the world." But in their patch-up version, they repeat, "It does not say 'how' God created." Would somebody from the Sweet Company tell me how this corrected version is supposed to be an improvement over the earlier criticized version? Perhaps Ralph Sweet (Owner and Publisher) or David Stewart (General Publications Editor) will favor us with some explanation.

Further GENESIS AND MY LIFE says: "Genesis 1:1,2 does not give a clear statement of God's method of creation. It is interesting to speculate but it is pointless. No man really knows all that took place. The important thing to remember is that it is a matter of inspired record that God did create." The Sweet Publication Company could not find a theistic evolutionist in America who would differ with that statement! In fact, this is precisely what they say. They say that God did create, but it took Him many, many thousands of years to do it.

Geological Ages

The Sweet Company publication says, "To those who believe this to be true, the 'gap theory' accounts for the geological ages." Like most evolutionists, the Sweet publication somehow attempts to find great periods of time with which God could work.

A strong effort has for years been made by theistic evolutionists to try to prove the earth to be of fantastic age in order to allow sufficient time for the occurrence of evolution by natural selection and accidental (or random) mutations. Dr. Henry M. Morris (Professor and Head of the Department of Civil Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Virginia) said, "the greatest single stumbling block has undoubtedly been the supposed great age of the earth and the system of geological ages developed by Lyell and others many years ago" (CREATION RESEARCH QUARTERLY, September, 1968, p. 64).

These supposed great ages were the handmaids of evolution. They were essential elements in the evolutionary structure, and evolutionists have desperately sought to establish their historicity.

GENESIS AND MY LIFE makes its contribution to the supposition of the "great age of the earth." This High School Bible class book says: "Have you ever spent any time thinking about the beginning of our universe? How long ago was that? Scientists tell us they can now determine the age of objects dating back 100,000 years---thanks to new methods. Previously they could only date back about 35,000 to 45,000 years. It seems they now have a new method of separating unusual forms of carbon atoms, 'carbon 14 isotopes,' from the material they are studying Scripture does not give us the age of the universe. Some scientists believe the earth (not mankind) may be as much as four billion years old!"

"This may startle you at first. But if you will stop for a minute and think about it, it will seem very logical."

The Carbon-14 Test

The inference is left in the statement quoted above that the Carbon-14 test is a "new method." This is not so, for it has been in wide use since 1947. Furthermore, in this paragraph about the "new" carbon-14 test, it is asserted that scientists "can now determine the age of objects dating back 100,000 years." The Sweet Company has some academically respectable people on its staff, several of whom are listed on the copyright them.

I want to know what reputable scientist has ever claimed that the Carbon-14 test would date items 100,000 years old. Dr. Melvin A. Cook (Professor of Metallurgy at the University of Utah; a Physical Chemist with a Ph.D. from Yale; author of a book on radio-chronometry, PREHISTORY AND EARTH MODELS) said: "The claim that radiocarbon is useful in dating specimens as old as 70,000 years is absurd" (CREATION RESEARCH QUARTERLY, September, 1968, p. 69; more information can be gotten on all the so-called time-clocks from his book, PREHISTORY AND EARTH MODELS).

But the Sweet Company is going to teach your child in the name of science that which more recent science says is "absurd": namely that carbon-14 can now date items 100,000 years old. In fact, Melvin Cook says further, "The usual, still greatly exaggerated claim is that the upper limit of radiocarbon dating is about 40,000 years." W. F. Libbey, University of Chicago Professor who discovered carbon-14 dating in 1947, thought the procedure would reliably date up to 70,000 years. However, in a score of years, scientists have chopped that 70,000 years in half, and even the 40,000 year figure now most frequently given is said to be "greatly exaggerated." But the Sweet Company still says it can date up to about 100,000 years.

In fact, Melvin Cook says that the latest evidence on carbon-14 dating is that the "upper limit" for reliable carbon-14 testing is "in the range between 7500 and 23,000 years." Cook also said after examining radiocarbon, six uranium-thorium-lead dating methods, and the potassium-argon and rubidium-thorium rock dating methods: "The conclusions are summarized below, along with more recent findings and interesting applications of radiocarbon dating. They may be further summarized by the simple statement that there are really NO RELIABLE long-time radiological 'clocks,' and even the short-time radiocarbon 'clock' is in serious need of repair." (CREATION RESEARCH QUARTERLY, September, 1968, p. 69).

In radiological chronometry, "The most serious difficulty is the impossibility of defining initial conditions and isotope concentrations needed to all calculations of time with the radioactive time clocks. One can never know these necessary concentrations, SO THE SCIENCE OF RADIOLOGICAL DATING HAS BECOME MERELY A SCIENCE OF GUESSING." (Ibid., p. 72).

In his book, PREHISTORY AND EARTH MODELS, Dr. Cook compares more than twenty different "scientific" methods by which the age of the earth is determined. Interestingly, these twenty different methods and radiological time-clocks all give a different age for the earth. If twenty clocks were reliable, they all would tell the same time!

The Pity

Isn't it a pity that many thousands of children of Christians will be taught, through Sweet's new literature, that which not only is contrary to the Bible, but also contrary to modern science. It appears inexcusable that men so proficiently trained in the scientific and philosophical realm (not even to mention their Bible training) should permit such palpable falsehood to pass.

Robert L. Whitelaw (Nuclear Consultant and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute) recently wrote an article entitled "Radiocarbon and Potassium-Argon Dating in the Light of New carbon-14 dating has shown "reasonable accuracy" up to about 45,000 years, though Cook says this figure is "still greatly exaggerated" (while that "noted" scientific firm named after R. B. Sweet down in Austin, Texas is still saying 100,000 years, which is a greater figure than any scientist that I ever heard of give).

Whitelaw says that there is an annual journal published named RADIOCARBON, in which are published "exhaustive listings of almost 10,000 dates 7 7 7" (CREATION RESEARCH SOCIETY, 1969 Annual, June, 1969, p 71). He says that, though they have used the carbon-14 test on fossil, bone, cultural deposit, buried log, vegetation, gyttja, peat, and even much coal and petroleum, "all appear to lie within the measurable 45,000 year figure!"


All kinds of scientists are running around over the country claiming to have found items hundreds of thousands of years old; hundreds of millions of years old; even a few billion years old. Yet Whitelaw says, if I understand him correctly, that all 10,000 items tested have been dateable by the carbon-14 test, and no item was dated beyond 45,000 years old by those who believe the upper limits of carbon-14 testing to be 45,000. Even 45,000 years would fall a long way short of the alleged 4,500,000,000 years (4500 million years! j usually given by "scientists" as the age of the universe.

Our brethren at the Sweet Company not only are publishing data controverted by more recent scientific findings, but they are now making the same arguments as the theistic evolutionists. More from GENESIS AND MY LIFE will be discussed next week.


January 29, 1970