Thursday, December 21, 2006

Old Earth Arguments: a final response to David pt. 5

This concludes the series of responses i've made to David's blog. I hope that everyone reading this has benefitted in some way. But even more, I hope that you didn't see this as merely a debate on the age of the earth. Instead, I hope that you see this issue for what it really is; the authority of the Word of God. Is "science" your ultimate authority or are the Scriptures? Even if I didn't aid in changing your views on this issue, I do hope that I provoked some thought that will lead you to look into these issues further. With that said, here's the final installment of my response to David:


It is so amazing to think that God's word was written in such a way that it made sense to an ancient person -- written in a way that neither catapulted nor inhibited our social development... and yet it is equally relevant and true for us.

Between starlight and radiometric dating, I believe we have sufficient evidence to prove Premise (2) in the syllogism contained at the beginning of this blog. I have not even addressed other lines of evidence, i.e. the ways in which platetectonics and crusts in Earth's layer showcase an old Earth. Because the Bible itself teaches us that studying nature is a way of learning about God, we should embrace this research and allow it to enhance our understanding of His word in the modern world.

Is this what David really believes? If all believers were in the dark for the past 3,000 years on what Genesis taught, then how can we say that it made sense to an ancient person? The only ones who Genesis would be relevant for are those who have studied evolutionary cosmology. But what happens when secular astronomers abandon the Big Bang in favor of a newer model? Are we to twist the Scriptures to fit the new model? I think the honest reader can see through David's reasoning here. Obviously there has to be a point when we can say that the Scriptures no longer fit with the scientific mainstream.

Furthermore, even if we considered the Bible in a vacuum, without allowing any outside science into it, the proposition that we live on an old Earth and in an old universe would be comfortably supported.

Comfortably supported by what? Certainly not the Scriptures, for we have seen that there is absolutely no room for millions of years in Genesis 1! This statement, along with many others, has led me to believe that David does not believe in the reformed doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Instead, he has been honest with the fact that it doesn't matter what the text says. If evolutionary scientists believe it, then it must be so. Such conclusions are dissapointing, but they are the consistent outcome of the Old Earth position.

Thus, Premise (2) of my syllogism is true. And if Premise (2) of the syllogism is true, then YEC's must rescind their position. After all, YEC's have already accepted Premise (1), and if both premises are true, it is logically necessary that Conclusion (3) is true as well.

Wrong. Even if the evolutionary interpretation of the evidence were the best, then the problem would not be with the Scriptures, but with us! The Bible is infallible and we are not. Science is always changing whereas the Bible is not. So it is David who needs to rescind his position because, whether he likes it or not, he stands under the authority of the Word of God. Young Earth creationists have been consistent in their approach of the text. It is we who allow the text to determine its own meaning. So even if we are wrong, atleast we honored God by allowing His Word to speak rather than to bring out own ideas into the text.

I continue to respect my Christian brothers and sisters who cling to the YEC view despite good Scriptural evidence and very good scientific evidence to the contrary. I do not take the radical step of calling their views un-Christian.

There is no good Scriptural evidence to the contrary, as I have shown. But what about the evidence? It seems that David forgets that no one is arguing about the evidence. Its as if David thinks that the Old Earthers "have all the best evidence," while the young earthers have none. But the truth is, we all have the same evidence! We all have the same rocks and fossils. But its not the evidence that young earthers dispute, but the interpretations of the evidence. And our interpretations are completely dependent upon the framework that we take to the evidence. If you are a Bible believer, then you have allowed Genesis to establish your framework before you examine the scientific evidence. But if you hold Old Earth views, then you allow naturalistic and uniformitarian thinking to establish your framework. So David's assertion that there is "good scientific evidence to the contrary" is simply misleading and false.

But for the record, I am thankful that David respects us and doesn't label us as heretics. Although my arguments are forceful, I have the upmost respect for David and would consider him my brother in the Lord. And I hope that while we disagree strongly on this issue, that this won't disunify our fellowship as Christian brothers.

I am very concerned, however, by YEC's who have slammed the door of faith in the faces of seekers by declaring that YEC is the only reasonable interpretation of Scripture supported by mainstream Christians. That claim is outright false. If you want to believe YEC, fine -- but please don't make it a stumbling block for seekers.

I would suggest that it is David's view that is causing a stumbling block. For he declares that even though Scripture might clearly teach a young earth, we can't believe that because "science" says so. Yet, David expects us to believe that Genesis is somehow compatible with an Old Earth. Is David not well aware of the objections raised against His position by non-believers? They see the inconsistency in his position! They realize, just like we do, that the Old Earth position is a compromise. They know what the text says. And they know that millions of years cannot be squeezed into Genesis 1.

But I make no apology for proclaiming the truth of Genesis. God is glorified when His truth is proclaimed. So why would I want to bring Him less glory? Am I suggesting that we should tell everyone that they must believe in a young earth to be a Christian? No, but what I am saying is that we should boldly tell everyone what Genesis clearly teaches! So which side do you, the reader, stand on this issue? Are you going to stand on the side that holds "science" as an authority above the Bible? Or are you going to trust, along with Christians for the past 2,000 years, that God's Word can communicate in such a way that we can understand it? I'll leave that for you to decide.

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