A BRIEF REVIEW OF PHILIP HENRY GOSSE’S OMPHALOS
By J. Parnell McCarter
Philip Henry Gosse’s book Omphalos is available at http://books.google.com/books?id=a5TEZ2TSfOEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=philip+henry+gosse+omphalos&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ixjvT92pAcjVqQH19_XjDQ&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=philip%20henry%20gosse%20omphalos&f=false . I would highly recommend it to anyone considering the issue of origins.
I am just going briefly to sketch my overall thoughts regarding what this book proposes:
1. Gosse proposes what I believe is one possible explanation regarding the origins of what we observe. I believe it is possible because it does not contradict what we observe in the natural data or what we can deduce from scripture. In other words, it does not contradict scripture that God created what we observe in the fossil record ex nihilo.
2. What Gosse proposes is not necessarily the case because there are other equally plausible models to explain the natural data and that do not contradict scripture, especially if one recognizes supernatural interventionism. See http://www.puritans.net/yec/interventionism.htm .
3. I believe Gosse does make the philosophical error of assuming too much about the extent to which natural processes and natural law have been in place since ex nihilo creation. Put another way, Gosse has assumed a lack of supernatural interventionism in the post Creation period which I think we cannot assume. For instance, I do not think we could preclude supernatural intervention during either the Creation week itself, its aftermath or during the Noahic Flood which would have produced much of the current geologic strata. I do not think scientists, including Gosse, have come to a full grasp of the limitations of science. I am not saying scientific modeling regarding origins should not be pursued, but just that we must be fully cognizant of its inherent limitations.
4. My suspicions are that most of the geologic data does relate back to Creation week, whether as immediately created on each day then, or as formed by processes that occurred during the week. But suspicions are not knowledge.
5. With respect to the objection of “Last Thursdayism” (ie, then if Omphalos is true, then the universe could have equally been created last Thursday), this objection fails to take into account how we ascertain that the universe was created around 6000 years ago and not last Thursday. We ascertain this based upon history (and especially the divinely authored history found in the Bible).
6. With respect to the objection that it would be deceptive for God to do this, there is nothing deceptive about it. God has laid out in His word what happened. None of the data contradicts it, unless one incorrectly makes false assumptions that are really contrary to scripture itself.