Why I Believe Young Earth Creationism is Simply Dead Wrong

by Max Andrews

I know this issue is a very large issue for some Christians.  I understand that many people disagree with me pertaining to the issue, but I do not believe the Bible advocates a young earth, nor do I believe science supports young earth creationism.  I am a progressive creationist (old earth).  Young earth cosmology just doesn’t cut it.  The scientific account is simply horrible.  I’m a proponent of the level two multiverse.  (See “Living in the Multiverse–Is it Science?” and “The Theological Attraction of the Multiverse” and “Divine Simplicity and the Multiverse–Thomas Aquinas Approved”).

I believe that Genesis is a historical narrative.   It’s not allegorical.  I reject JEDP theory (framework hypothesis).  The days in Genesis are long periods of finite time (one of the four literal definitions of YOM, grammatically permissible).  The universe was created 13.73 GYA (giga, billion years ago), earth formed 4.5 GYA and after the late-heavy bombardment of the earth 3.9 GYA early life arrived 3.8 GYA.  All life was created by act of special creation (I reject theistic evolution, I’m a proponent of intelligent design) that would not have been created by natural means.  Adam was a literal man created by God approx. 60,000 years ago and Eve was created after Adam had named the animals and tended to the garden for some time, both by special creation.   The genealogies in Genesis are grammatically consistent with gaps (when I say gaps I mean it wasn’t father-son relationship, the same word for father[ed] is the same word used to denote grandfather, great grandfather, great-great grandfather, etc.  The names in the genealogies are the prominent, or important, persons.  I don’t allegorize Genesis; I think that would be hermeneutically outstanding and unwarranted (though everyone must concede parts of speech used such as metaphors, similes, etc.).  With respects to the flood at the time of Noah, I believe it was most likely a localized flood of the Middle Eastern region approximately 20,000 years ago.  I do not believe that a progressive creationist is committed to a local flood for a global flood is possible as well.

I don’t believe young earth creationism, old earth creationism, and theistic evolution should be treated as heresies (as some would like to claim), nor do I think it is necessarily unorthodox (although theistic Darwinism, I believe, is unorthodox–See “God and Darwinism” and “Theistic Evolution and Purposive Permission”).  I’m open to common descent evolution but I don’t know how to treat the Cambrian explosion where several phyla seemed to have come out of no where.  I do believe there was physical death before the fall (See “Was There Death Before the Fall? Of Course There Was…”).  I’m not sure why so many people commit to saying there couldn’t or wasn’t.  It contributes nothing to either position.  I think the issue of origins is definitely open to debate and are peripheral for healthy Christian living.  The issues do not undermine the Gospel message (though I have heard some prominent young earth creationists advocate that).

For the sake of reason and rationality, I am certainly open to different ideas.  I follow the evidence, and the evidence that I have studied most certainly supports progressive creationism.  I have spent four years at Liberty University and have studied the issues in a Genesis course offered by the School of Religion and I have yet to be convinced of YEC.  To be honest, I did not advocate YEC or OEC until about a year ago after 5 years of inquiry.  I know I may get questions and/or objections and I am most certainly open to that and willing to discuss and provide my sources.  The encouragement I leave for others is to [in the words of St. Augustine] hear the other side.  Don’t just study one side of the argument and when you do listen to the other side, listen to it from them because it will not be a straw man.  Understand that God has two revelatory books, the Bible, and the book of nature.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor is it necessarily a refutation.  This is merely an outline of my position, which is to suggest that young earth creationism is simply unscientific, exegetically weak, and untenable.

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14 Responses to “Why I Believe Young Earth Creationism is Simply Dead Wrong”

  1. This is impressive.

  2. Just about every time I find what appears to be safe ground to stand on, a post like this shakes me a bit (for which I’m glad).

    I couldn’t agree more with your last sentence and my excursions into BioLogos (a reformed type of Theistic Evolution, I think) sometimes mean more questions than answers. Not that that is inherently wrong though. I think from what I’ve studied and read about cosmology, it really drops the house of YEC cards.

    Thanks for priming my mind.

  3. Max –

    I think you are confusing the framework hypothesis with the documentary hypothesis. I agree with rejecting Wellhausen, but there is much conservative scholarship to commend the framework view. The framework view basically claims that the point of Genesis 1 is not chronology as much as it is the drama of God’s creative work. We in the 21st century are too attached to our iPhone clocks and precise schedules. Considering the culture of the original audience and the difficulties of constructing an anomaly-free chronology, this seems to be a point well taken. Anyway, it is probably true that EVERYONE uses some allegory in interpreting Genesis.

  4. I smell a bit of Hugh Ross in here 😉 Don’t worry: he’s a wonderful man! And yes I am pretty unsure about YEC; OEC seems more logical.

  5. Sounds reasonable. Just curious, do you think that the genealogies were tracked for nearly 60,000 years? If so, was this process superintended by God in the interests of biblical inspiration, or instead an extraordinary feat of ancient record-keeping?

    • Thanks for the comment Peter. I tend to lean more towards the ability of ancient peoples to keep records, whether it be verbally or written. Of course, the intent, weakly actualized by God, was for biblical purposes.

  6. Max Andrews,

    You believe that “the days in Genesis are long periods of finite time,” and indicate the fact that this is “one of the four [grammatically permissible] literal definitions of yom.” Can you explain the rationale for applying this particular definition in the Genesis creation account? Thanks in advance.

    • Well there are a lot of problems with choosing any of the twenty four hour or less than twenty four hour uses. The creation week becomes backwards with the sixth day being quite jam packed and Gen two uses that particular usage in a clearer way as well. Not to mention the scientific evidence.

      • Max Andrews,

        What are the problems that arise when defining ‘yom’ as a 24-hour solar day? I am not sure what you mean by “creation week becomes backwards,” for example. Could you identify the problems that arise? (Incidentally, “the scientific evidence” is not directly relevant, for I am asking a textual question vis-a-vis exegesis.)

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