Most people know there is a large, secret subculture in America who reject Darwinian Evolution. Christians and Jews look at the Bible and say, “There’s not a lot of room for Evolution in there.” Intelligent design proponents look at DNA and molecular machines in living cells and say, “There is no way in the name of science that these things came about without a brilliant designer guiding the process.” And some people just look at the mechanisms of evolution and realize that they would fail to cause anything but extinctions.
There is, however, some disagreement within the “evolution deniers” as to the age of the earth. People like me say the earth is about 6,000 years old, but many people who would call themselves “Old Earth Creationists” (OEC) would claim the earth/universe to be anywhere from tens of thousands of years old to billions of years old. It depends on who you ask. I have heard some who refer to themselves as “Middle Age Earthers” and I am not making that up.
Before I continue, let me assure you all that you would have to look far and wide to find a Creationist on either side who feels the persons on the other side are all damned. No one believes that when we get to Heaven St. Peter will greet us with a quiz about the age of the earth. I will even admit that it is possible for people who believe in Evolution to get into heaven, as eternal life is a free gift through the atoning work of Jesus Christ, and not dependent on our understanding of science. Everyone breathe easy, entrance into heaven is not a written science exam. If you needed a reason to praise God today, I think I just gave you several.
So why, you may be asking, did I choose to align myself with the YOUNG Earth creationists (YEC)? After all, Evolution is a shoddy business, but certainly science has proven the Big Bang and Deep Time, right? Don’t we KNOW that the universe is BILLIONS of years old? Don’t we know that there is NO WAY that the creation in Genesis could have happened within normal calendar days? Don’t we believe in millions of years because science DISCOVERED that to be the case?
Lots of people think so, and until a few years back, I was one of those people.
I was raised in a Christian home, so I had come to be taught Creation early on, and was introduced to the flaws on Darwinian Evolution well before I got to high school. However, the age of the earth was never a focus on mine, and I didn’t know much about it. I knew what I had been told about the Big Bang, the age of dinosaurs, etc. I watched the original COSMOS series staring the muppety Carl “Billion Billion Billion” Sagan and I loved it. But I didn’t really think about how that fit into the Creation model. Like a lot of people I was content to say, “The important thing is, GOD DID IT. The rest doesn’t matter.” If I can get political for just a second, I want the church to learn one thing. If your position on any topic is, “The truth doesn’t matter,” you’re doing it WRONG.
About a decade ago I got to see Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe (OEC) speak at a megachurch, and I found his talk to be very well done and fairly well convincing. Around the same time I had been introduced to books which attempted to line up the Creation in Genesis with the Big bang model, and from what I knew they had succeeded. While I never took a hard line stance on it, I probably would have called myself an Old Earth Creationist. A very apathetic and poorly informed one, but an OEC nonetheless.
Somewhere along the line, I started to get more familiar with the work of Answers in Genesis, and many other Young Earth Creationist groups, speakers, and conferences. I also finished taking classes toward a science teaching endorsement. What happened was, I started to learn the arguments FOR the YEC model, and Against the OEC model, and I heard the rebuttals offered by OEC models for the arguments made by YEC models and vice versa. It’s funny how a little education can effect one’s thinking.
There was a video of a debate between Answers in Genesis’ Ken Ham (YEC) and Hugh Ross (OEC) on youtube which I stumbled across, and the thing which is remarkable about this debate is the way in which it convinced me. First of all, the audience was clearly siding with Hugh Ross, so this was no YEC propaganda piece.
Ken Ham presented evidence and arguments for YEC, Hugh Ross offered Evidence and arguments for OEC. Ken Ham offered evidence and arguments against OEC, which was very convincing, and it would have been enough. What struck me even more than that was the rebuttals offered by Hugh Ross. As Dr. Ross tried to defend his position against the criticisms of Ken Ham, not only were his defenses terrible, but I started to think that Dr Ross didn’t actually believe his own position, SO BAD were his defenses. They were far fetched, weak, and evasive. It was like watching a politician being asked about the most recent scandal. I hadn’t seen a performance that weak and shameful since Al Gore was Vice President. Seeing his defense of OEC actually convinced me most of all that his position had to be wrong. If OEC was true, I realized, then it would be possible to defend it against the criticisms of someone like Ken Ham. He would at least have been able to provide a defense which sounded like he believed it. When you don’t sound persuaded by your own arguments, your position may be in trouble.
On the other hand, I have seen LOTS of attacks against YEC and there are always valid defenses which do not strain credulity. Admittedly, we sometimes do not know the answer. I liken this to a murder scene- we have a body which shows signs of strangulation, has six bullets in the chest and a knife in the back. We can’t say for sure which was the cause of death, or if it was a combination of all three, but we can say with absolute confidence that it was not death by natural causes. Form where I sit, Hugh Ross comes in and says, “It’s actually more likely that he died of old age, and then someone came in and strangled, shot, and stabbed him after he was already dead.” If you want to know why Hugh Ross CSI was canceled half way into its first season, I suspect this was it.
Since then, I have learned a lot of science and Biblical criticism which supports the YEC model and which does not fit within a OEC model. In short, the Bible is clear- God created within a single calendar week about 6,000 years ago. Science is in full agreement- a recent six day creation with a global flood fits within ALL of observable science. Big Bang cosmology, deep time and gradualism does not fit the observed facts. Deep time is NOT a result of scientific investigation, but rather has become a starting assumption which forces scientists to bury a lot of facts and invent a lot of weak explanations not based on observation. My goal is to give you enough of an education to join those of us who stand on the fringes of society, shunned by atheistic science and wishy-washy American church alike, and yet, holding firm to the Bible, we remain Young at heart. I shall explain the nature of some of these evidences and arguments in the near future. In the mean time, check out Answers in Genesis, Creation Week with Ian Juby on YouTube, and thanks for letting me be your Rent-A-Friend.