Monday, March 16, 2009

Old-Earth Creationism: It Denies God's Clear Word

Excerpts from the article "Old-Earth Creationism" by Dr. Morris of ICR

Many evangelical leaders today, unfortunately, have capitulated to the evolutionary timescale of modern unbelieving geologists and astronomers. They feel that they must somehow reinterpret the Genesis record of creation to allow for billions of prehistoric years, which the evolutionists must have in order to make cosmic evolution and biological evolution seem feasible. This compromise is necessary, they say, in order to win scientists and other intellectuals to the Lord.

We strongly believe that it is a serious mistake when Bible-believing Christians compromise with the great ages demanded by the evolutionists. Various interpretive devices have been suggested by Bible expositors as they try to convert the six-day creation record of Genesis into billions of years. Some will frankly advocate "theistic evolution," but others will call it "process creation," "progressive creation," "multiple creation," or some other term, implying that they still believe in some sort of “creation.”

Every such group must turn to either the "local flood theory" or the "tranquil flood theory" if they are going to hold to the geologic ages, since a global cataclysm such as the Bible describes would have destroyed all evidence for the geologic ages.

Then they go on to patronizingly deplore the supposed anti-intellectualism of what they call "young-earth creationism" (this is their term; we prefer "biblical creationism" or "literal creationism"). They think this position is an embarrassment (one has even called it a "scandal") to evangelicalism.

Indeed, there are now thousands of scientists who believe in recent six-day creation. There are also organizations of scientists who are young-earth creationists in many different countries, as well as in many states in this country.

The difference is this: we believe the Bible must take priority over scientific theories, while they believe scientific theories must determine our biblical interpretations.

It all seems to us to hinge on one overriding question. Do we really believe the Bible to be God's inerrant Word or not? If the Bible is really the Word of our Creator God, then--by definition--it must be inerrant and authoritative on every subject with which it deals. This assumption leads clearly to the conviction that the creation took place in six literal days several thousand years ago. We believe this simply because God said so and said it quite plainly! And then we find also that this revealed fact will fit all the facts of science much better than the long-age evolutionary scenario does.

It is no good to say, as one evangelical leader said recently: "Well, I believe that God could create in six days or six billion years--it makes no difference." Yes it does, because it has to do with God's truthfulness! It is not a matter of what God could do. The question is what God says that He did! And what He said in writing was this, recorded with His own finger on a table of stone: "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day" (Exodus 20:11; see also Exodus 31:15-18).**

Others have said: "But God could have created by a long evolutionary process if He wanted to." No, He couldn't! God can do everything except contradict Himself and His own nature. Evolution is the most wasteful and most cruel process that one could ever devise by which to "create" men and women. Christians should not accuse God of being responsible for the evolutionary process.

To us literal creationists, on the other hand, it seems unthinkable that the God of the Bible--the God who is omniscient and omnipotent, merciful and loving--would do anything like that. Surely He could devise and implement a better plan than this. It is true, of course, that in this present age "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8:22), but God did not create it as a groaning, dying world. At the end of the creation week, "God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31).
The problem is sin. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12). It will not do, of course, to argue that death affected only Adam and his human descendants, for "death reigned--even over them that had not sinned" (Romans 5:14). God’s curse was on Adam's whole dominion, even the very elements. "Cursed is the ground for thy sake," God told Adam (Genesis 3:17).

Nor will it do to say that the curse applied only to "spiritual" death, on the premise that Adam would eventually have died physically anyway. If that were the case, the bitterly cruel physical suffering and death of Christ on the cross for our sins becomes a travesty.

Unbelievers seem to have a better understanding of this obvious truth than old-earth creationists do. By accepting the geological ages, such creationists are accepting billions of years of suffering and death in God's creation even before sin entered the world--not only man's sin, but even Satan's sin. Thus God would be directly responsible for creating a world which is not good!

Thus the wonderful saving gospel of Christ is essentially subverted and destroyed if we must accept the vast ages of the evolutionary cosmologists and geologists, with their eons-long spectacle of suffering and death as recorded in the global fossil graveyard. Sound theology must say no to any such concession! Fossils speak of death, and death results only from sin and judgment. "Sin...bringeth forth death" (James 1:15). Death is only a temporary intruder into God's very good creation, of course, and in the new earth which is to come, "there shall be no more death" (Revelation 21:4).

"But science has proved the earth is old," they still insist, "and we dare not alienate the academic community by insisting on a literal Genesis." No, "science" has not proved the earth is old! The oldest written records we have, apart from the Bible, are in Egypt and Sumeria, and these only go back a few thousand years. The great fossil "record," instead of displaying vast ages of evolution, really shows the remains of a worldwide hydraulic cataclysm.

In any case, the only way we can know anything about the date of creation (and remember that the word "science" means knowledge!) is for God--who was there--to tell us when He did it. And, of course, He has told us, in His inspired Word. The question is, do we really believe what He says?

****Exo 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Exo 31:15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.
Exo 31:16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever.
Exo 31:17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'"
Exo 31:18 And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

Heb 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

In another article, ICR rightly says:

Many Bible scholars today are buying into the day-age theory of origins. They seem to believe that their biblical views must conform to their mental image of how the world functions today and must be confirmed by members of the non-Christian world, whose minds are darkened (Ephesians 4:17-19).

The claim that yom is a long but finite time period is based on the assertion that yom means "age" in Genesis 2:4. However, in the Hebrew Old Testament yom normally means either a 24-hour day, or the daylight portion of a 24-hour day ("day" as distinct from "night"). It may occasionally be used for an indefinite time (e.g., "days of the judges"), but never as a definite long period of time with a specific beginning and ending.

It is not used even in this indefinite sense except when the context clearly indicates that the literal meaning is not intended. When ordinals or the phrase "evening and morning" are connected with yom, it always means a solar day. The context of the six days of creation account in Genesis 1 precludes any meaning of indefinite time.

1 comment:

Phil Perkins said...

Dear Denise,
Here's a heads-up.

I would ask you to consider something. While some well-meaning creationists claim that the Hebrew "day" (yom) can only mean a 24-hour cay, that's not at all the case. Unfortunately, some creationists have followed the deceptive lead of Dr. Dino. His real name is Kent Hovind. He claimed that "yom" can only mean "solar day" or "24-hour day". This is a lie. If he really thought this, then he was still lying because he pretended to expertise he doesn't possess. As a result of Hovind's deception many Christians are trying to defend the gospel and are making real fools of themselves. That's bad, but we represent Christ. We should do so with accuracy and integrity.

Today, Dr. Dino is in prison for tax evasion. So, he's not exactly a paragon of honesty. Perhaps, he's already out.

As early as Augustine, Christians took "yom" to mean "age" or "indefinite time period" or "a particular time of unspecified duration in the present, future, or past--a particular point in time or an era". It can also mean a time of the year. Augustine and his contemporaries weren't evolutionists. That wasn't even an issue. Similarly, it isn't right to assume that all of us who leave the possibility of an old earth or universe open in this day and age (See, we do the same thing in English, don't we?) are evolutionist. I haven't yet come to a firm conclusion on young or old earth, but I am NOT an evolutionist and I never will be. The Scripture precludes it.

"In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was formless and void."

How much time came between those two sentences? There is no clear answer that I have yet found.
I read the Hebrew Bible in the original and can tell you definitively that "yom" has more than one meaning. "All the days" can mean "forever", just like the Greek "the ages of the ages". In addition, Genesis 5:1 has what I believe is the first example of "yom" as a particular time of unspecified duration in the past.

Textually, there is evidence right in the first chapters of Genesis. For instance, solar days didn't start until the fourth day. Were the first three days 24-hour days?

Another example: "There was evening and morning, the first day." Since the son hadn't been created and since evenings and mornings had to do with the setting and rising of the sun to the Hebrews, we know that the evenings and mornings of Genesis 1 were figurative. Why can't "yom" take a similar meaning, especially since "yom" often has that sort of definition? Even worse, how can we hold stiffle to a solar day, when the evenings and mornings weren't solar in the same sentence?

Possibly. But only possibly. It's not specified. Both positions have their problem. My hat's off to Ken Hamm, but here is a place that I believe he may be wrong.

Evolution is a watershed. On one side is orthodoxy and on the other side is heresy. Ham makes that argument excellently and biblically. However, one's view of the time line isn't an essential, in my view.

God bless,
Phil Perkins.