Adam OmelianchukI share your point about the culpability of "lying," because to lie is to know the truth and intentionally mislead an inquirer. But, as I've said elsewhere, the young-earth view is committed to a whimsical ontology replete with baffling supernatural acts that yield curious results. For example, gamma ray bursts that would normally travel billions of light years to reach us are thought to be created in transit, yet still providing evidence of events that never occurred. The same is true of supernovas the collisions of galaxies, and stars being sucked into black holes. When you have evidence of events that never occurred, you have something awfully strange on your hands.
Let’s consider some potential counterexamples:
i) The general principle underlying Omelianchuk’s objection seems to be the disconnect between effects and secondary causes. You have an effect which would normally be the result of a secondary cause, but in this case there is no secondary cause corresponding to the effect.
An obvious problem with his objection is that it rules out creation ex nihilo, as well as miracles that bypass second causes.
ii) For instance, since humans normally have two biological parents, the existence of Adam and Eve would be evidence of a nonevent, for they didn’t have parents.
Likewise, the existence of Jesus is evidence of a nonevent: a father impregnating a mother.
ii) Or take the multiplication of the loaves and fish. The instant bread is evidence of a nonevent: sowing grains of wheat, germination, sun and rain, ears of wheat, harvesting, threshing, baking bread with water, flower, and fire,
Likewise, the instant fish are evidence of a nonevent: insemination, laying eggs, maturation.
I don’t know if Omelianchuk subscribes to theistic evolution. If so, then instant fish are evidence of a nonevent: an age-long evolutionary process resulting in fish.
iii) Omelianchuk’s principle rules out progressive creation as well as fiat creation, for, according to progressive creationism, God introduces new natural kinds by direct intervention. Effects without secondary causes.
iv) To consider this from a different angle:
10 Then David said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. 11 Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will surrender you.” 13 Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition (1 Sam 23:10-13).
Here David is choosing what to do in light of a nonevent: if David remains in Keilah, the citizens will turn him over to Saul. So he leaves before that eventuality plays out. God gives David evidence of a nonevent: what would happen to him if he took that fork in the road, as a result of which he turns that hypothetical into a nonevent by pursing an alternate course of action.
v) What about praying for a past event? Suppose you apply to college. Suppose you receive a letter in the mail. Before you open the envelope, you pray about it.
Of course, at the time the letter was mailed, the admissions office had already decided to accept or deny your application. If God answers your prayer, your prayer may affect the past, rendering the alternative a nonevent.