Why Not Believe in Old Earth Creationism? (Part 2)

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, July 25, 2012 7 comments

Old Earth Creationism is not Biblical. I said it and I am not taking it back. Sure there have been great theologians that have believed in an old earth and even some ancient Jewish rabbis. But is that justification for saying that the Bible teaches that the earth is billions of years old?

Pushing aside ancient claims, where does OEC find its justification in a modern context? If we are honest with ourselves, we know that it is not from the Bible; it is from so-called science. Today we justify the belief in an old earth from our belief that the Geologic Column represents billions of years of planetary evolution. For those who are unfamiliar with the geologic column, you might recall your elementary school days when you were taught about dinosaurs. “How did dinosaurs become fossilized? They were covered by dirt and preserved for millions of years while more and more layers of dirt gathered on top of them. So much time has passed since then, that the layers of dirt have become stratified throughout the earth.” You remember that? Its taught as fact in school, but it is really just a statement of faith. Unfortunately, the geologic column is taught as a proponent of evolution. In essence, by accepting the modern interpretation of the geologic column, a person might become susceptible to atheism because it removes God’s hand from creation.

Another piece of evidence commonly used to prove an old earth is radio carbon dating. When radio carbon dating is looked at critically, however, it is clearly seen that it is a terribly inconsistent method to date rocks and other objects. That is not to say that it is always wrong, but one would have to believe that NOTHING in the earth’s atmosphere has ever changed in order for it to be reliable. Not even evolutionists believe that. On the other hand, Young Earth Creationists recognize the discrepancies in the geologic column and in radio carbon dating. YEC’s see the geologic column as a result of the aftermath of the global flood that happened in Noah’s day. In fact, when you consider the evidence, it is actually more consistent with the worldwide flood than with the Theory of Evolution.

Yet, most OEC’s do not believe in evolution despite their acceptance of the geologic column and carbon dating. Why? They claim it is because of faith. But this sort of faith disregards evidence instead of dealing with it. Do we believe the testimony of Jesus despite the evidence of his claims or because of the evidence he provided? If he provided no evidence, would you still believe? This might seem like a rather harsh challenge, but I am going to leave you with a Scripture that proves that Christians should not ignore evidence, nor should they disregard the scientific method:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you…”
-1 John 1:1-5


Mike Margarit said...

I totally agree. I have never been a proponent of "blind faith" God in His creation could have made a tree with hundreds of rings within... if that's what He wanted. Just as easily as he could have made a brand new car with rust.

Bernie said...

When we study nature (God's creation) and the Bible, the two "books" must agree. When they appear to be in conflict, our data or our interpretation of one or the other must be in error.

Bill Seng said...

I have heard this argument before and it was actually used by Hugh Ross. Bernie, what you are doing is interpreting what you read in the Bible off of what you are told by naturalistic sources. Now, those who argue this claim that they are basing their observations off of the "book of nature" (or off of evidence in nature). This is not true. There is no such thing as the book of nature.
Nature does testify toward the glory of God but it does not tell us how old the world is. Secular scientists have devised a method through natural observations to calculate their supposed age of the earth, but they don't make it too public, in most cases, about how flawed their method is. That is why the Bible must be trusted over these sources. The Bible tells us how to interpret nature. Therefore, we should not allow nature to intepret the bible. Remember, nature is sin cursed and is therefore an unreliable source of information in this regard.

Bill Seng said...

On this post I also want to point out that I am very much in agreement with Mike. I must caution certain readers, however that it is possible to take that argument too far. We must interpret nature based off of what the Bible says. But we should not disregard elements of the past just because the Bible might be seemingly silent concerning them. For instance, dinosaurs are sometimes a point of contention between YEC's because dinosaurs have been used as an argument for an old earth. What certain YEC's do is they ignore the fossil evidence of dinosaurs all together and claim that they never existed. Regardless of whether one believes dinos are mentioned in the Bible or not, there are clearly dinosaurs in the fossil record.
Mike's remark, however, deals with how old the earth appears. Without getting too in depth about that point, he's correct. If God wanted to create a brand new car that is already rusty, he could do that. Everything in God's original creation was created in a mature state and, therefore, had an appearance of age.

Bernie said...

So, if the Bible interprets nature, what do we do with Mal 1:11, Is 45:6, Ps 113:3 etc that all say something like "from the rising of the sun to the setting of the sun?" If I applied your principle to these verses, we would have to say the sun revolves around the Earth.

Why do you think that nature doesn't tell us how old the Earth is? Is that what you mean when you talk about that God could have made the universe with the appearance of age?

Where in the Bible does it tell us how old the Earth is? I realize that the 6 creation days can be interpreted to mean 6 twenty four hours periods, but that doesn't tell us how long ago those 6 days were.

Bill Seng said...

Thanks again, Bernie, for the questions. Regarding the rising and setting of the sun, these are merely expressions that have been used throughout history. From mankind's perspective, it does appear that the sun is rising and setting. Today, we know that our planet revolves around the sun, thus it appears to be an inaccurate statement to call it "sunrise" and "Sunset." But does this mean that the Bible gets it wrong?

No. Everybody calls it "sunrise" and "sunset." They are, indeed, convenient terms that communicate events that happen daily. When I watch the weather channel, they speak of sunrise and sunset, not the earth's daily rotation around the sun in combination with its own spin. That's a mouth full and there is probably a "real" technical term for it.

You may not have read my next blog post yet, but I explain where the "Biblical" age of the earth comes from. Here's an excerpt: "If Adam was created on day six and he was 800 when Seth was born, how old was the earth? 800 years (and six days). Following that, 5:6 reads, “And Seth lived an hundred and five years and begat Enos.” So 800 + 105 = 905 years since the creation of the earth. The genealogies are extensive and that is how YECs deduce the age of the earth. Simple, right?"
I think that I did forget to mention that the age of the earth is traced all the way up to the first dateable character in the Bible (which I think is Abraham). When we take the date from when that character was alive up to today, the figure is an earth that is about 6,000 years old. This is actually a church tradition that has prevailed for quite some time.

Sorry for the long response, but let me answer why I do not believe nature tells us how old the earth is, briefly. First, understand that secular scientists (not saying all scientists are secular) have greatly contributed to the idea that the earth is billions of years old. But that belief was not founded by unbiased observation. Going all the way back to the days of the Greek philosophers, a secular theory was devised that said that atoms randomly collided and came together to form everything that exists. Other philosophers found this notion to be silly, so the secularists said, "well, it took a long time for the atoms to come together." The Grand Theory of Evolution derives from such logic. In fact, it is not radio-carbon dating that started the whole age of the earth dilemma, it was the Geologic Column. The Geologic Column's evidence is a lot more subjective than radio-carbon dating, and so a theory on a very old earth was easy to devise based off of fossils. Radio carbon dating is often mentioned in this debate, but it is really just a red-herring. Nobody knows when the elements started decaying and if their rates are constant. I could go on, but just let what I said sink in a little and investigate it yourself. I'm glad you're asking questions and being civil. Ultimately, we may not agree on our conclusions, but we may at least reach an understanding of each other :)

Bernie said...

Thank you Bill for your reply. I didn't think it was long winded at all and I wrote my post without seeing yours about the genealogies. I just read it now. I do wish to have a civil discussion and thank you for being open to it.

Too often I hear from YECs that if a person is an OEC, they must not be Bible believing Christians. What is your position on that? You quoted Ken Ham and he has made some statements in interviews and debates I have heard that border on that position. It seems to me that the age of the earth doctrine is of secondary importance. Primary doctrine such as the Trinity, Jesus was God and human, the inspiration of Scripture etc are what make a person a Christ follower or not.

So, the age is based completely on the genealogies?

Am I understanding you so far?