My Thoughts on a Young Earth
KEEPING OUR PERSPECTIVE
If we believe the Bible’s greatest claim—the Incarnation, why be shy about believing in a literal Genesis? During an in-depth study of science and the Bible in 2005-2006 I decided that, if asked, I would publicly state my religious convictions that I was a creationist—even a young earth creationist (YEC). Three years later that opportunity came when a New York Times reporter asked both questions. I told her I knew my answer to the age question was an incredible claim for most people, but that I believed a lot of incredible things: “The most incredible thing I believe is the Christmas story. That little baby born in the manger was the god that created the universe.” I asked her to put it in the story and she did. That exact quote is still circulating around the internet—over 7000 hits on atheist websites! Not a bad message for their readers.
Also, teachers of a local Chinese church maintained that once the Chinese students trusted in Jesus and accepted his Incarnation that these bright students never balked at a literal Genesis account. For them it was completely coherent with the other amazing claims of Christianity. They maintained that to waffle on Genesis would have undermined those students’ new faith.
Therefore, why is it so hard for intelligent, educated American Christians to accept YEC? Why not simply accept the testimony of someone who was there instead of accommodating the “experts” who were not there and hail from one of the most pagan, irreligious institutions in our society—the University?
An old earth view (OEC) raises serious theological problems. For God to allow eons of suffering and death to prepare the world for humans impugns his character, and then for God to call it “very good” impugns his veracity. The theological arguments that place death before Adam’s sin are incredibly weak. The denial of the judgment of all men in a global flood undermines the doctrine of a future Great White Throne Judgment of all unbelievers.
A YEC view is clearly the most coherent. The three “bara”s (translated as “created”—out of nothing—in the English versions of Genesis 1:1, 1:21, and 1:27) favor YEC. God creates out of nothing the “Cosmos” on Day 1, creates out of nothing the “breath of life” on Day 5 and creates out of nothing the “Image of God” on Day 6. You cannot have any creature life till Day 5 (fish and birds). Try fitting that into most OEC views. YEC also makes a clear distinction between us and all the other creatures; OEC views are fuzzy on this distinction. And, most progressive creation views have God waving a “magic wand” over billions of years—creating one species after another and then letting them die out—this is not very compelling picture of a wise God.
From my study of OEC views, I am convinced that the foundation for OEC’s beliefs is science and not the Bible—even though the track record of science pales when compared to the scriptures. Are we to trust in our own understanding or God’s plain testimony in the scripture? God seems to go out of his way to avoid confusion by defining and repeating that a day consists of an “evening and morning.”
Sound doctrine should bear good fruit. The greatest fruit of YEC is modern science itself. God’s philosophers of the Middle Ages made the crucial distinctions about God and secondary causes to affect his will, which encouraged the study of nature. Without such distinctions, theology becomes fatalistic and no science ensues. These men were YEC’s. Had they been OEC’s, would their more worldly accommodating and materialistic convictions have led to modern science? I think not. Again, YEC is more than scientific; it gave birth to science.
Since the world and the liberal church already mock and ridicule fundamentalist Christians,–whether we are YEC or OEC—we gain nothing by trying to please them. We do, however, gain everything by taking a stand on the plain reading of God’s Word. It was six YEC’s on the State Board of Education that led the efforts that, according to AAAS’ Science magazine, “struck a major blow to the teaching of evolution.”