October 17, 2017

I’m Glad I’m Not a Young Earth Creationist

It’s funny when I think about it, but the reasons to not be a young earth creationist get better all the time. Take the latest creationist flap on our little campus: The Gap Theory.

Gap theory is apparently one way to let off the pressure that some folks feel from having to assume the Bible teaches science. Which is necessary to sustain a view of inspiration that says the Bible must be 100% truthful about every subject it touches, even if it were inspired and written in cultures that were scientifically illiterate and had no access to all types of knowledge.

I believe the Bible’s inspiration is that it tells us about Jesus. After that, not only am I not interested, I don’t know why I should be. Of course, Jesus turns out to be the meaning of all of scripture, so I win the pony.

In fact, the view of inspiration most conservative fundamentalists have really means that God did one of two things:

1) He preserved every culture that produced a Biblical book from all error, and any science done SINCE then by anyone else is erroneous. (So that the cosmology of the ancient Jews was perfect, and anything NASA comes up with that differs from it is automatically wrong.) Or…

2) God intervened into errant cultures and produced inerrant documents as miracles, which should, by that logic, stand out like Rudolph’s nose from the rest of the knowledge of that culture. (This doesn’t seem to be the case.)

Creationists worry about this. (Note how real creationists go after the Gap theory with all their ammo.) They worry about dinosaurs- a lot. They worry about Noah’s ark. They worry about anything that might mess with the flood as the primary reason a 6,000 year old planet appears to be really old. They worry about what awful things might happen if someone mentions e-v-o-l-u-t-i-o-n near their children. (Apparently that word is a major brain virus that can ruin a young fundamentalist. You can’t be too careful.)

I, on the other hand, have decided God inspired totally unscientific texts to tell us totally unscientific things, and where the text does impinge on science, they won’t agree. But since the Bible is using ancient language to tell us timeless things, it hardly matters.

If I thought science had to prove Genesis true, I’d really worry. I don’t…and I don’t. If all this interests you, read Conrad Hyers, who will rescue you from a lot of grief.

Comments

  1. Paul TN says:

    Interesting train of thought. It sounds like you are completely discounting the Genesis account of creation. Is that true, or are you simply picking and choosing which parts of Genesis you will believe?

    I’m curious how you reconcile the doctrine of original sin and atonement with this view. We, God’s creation, are being held accountable for Adam’s sin who God states that he created in the Genesis account. Further, we have the family records from Adam to Christ and the time of the birth of each person in between so we can tell the amount of time that has elapsed since Adam’s creation. This would make the Earth fairly young.

    If the Genesis account of Adam’s creation is not true then there is no justice in God, because we should not be held accountable for the sin of someone who we have nothing to do with and are unconnected with. In addition, this makes a farce of the atonement of Christ and the fulfillment of the covenant. The very covenant that Christ came to fulfill is void if He is not a descendant of Adam. I’m thinking specifically of Abrahamic extension of the covenant promise when God spoke and said “In you all the nations of the Earth shall be blessed” speaking of Christ.

    However, if this is true then why would we not believe the rest of God’s Word about the creation of the actual Earth? Why would we assume one part to be true and one part to be a lie? What criteria do we use to make that determination? If you begin to cast doubt on the reliability of God’s Word, then how can we be certain of any of it?

    Paul TN

  2. wqozowi ovrc.

  3. Michael, I enjoyed your very sensible posting. It is obviously absurd to imagine that the ancient Hebrew culture should have had an infallible cosmology.

    Creationism unfortunately undermines both the credibility and the integrity of Christianity and the more Christians speak out against it the better.

  4. Omg thats right! Please come see me and my friends! 😉

  5. [This is way after the fact but I like this subject]

    Paul TN:

    No, he’s simply reading Genesis as something other than a scientific treatise. I can’t put words into Mike’s mouth but I imagine he reads Genesis somewhat like I read Genesis, as a religious document that reveals primarily religious truths. This doesn’t undermine the authority or reliability of scripture but rather refocuses on the actual message rather than the secondary or other extraneous elements. What do I learn from Genesis Ch 1-3? God created a good creation, sin corrupted that good creation and God began the historic work of redeeming His fallen creation. I believe all of it, I just don’t try to make the Bible into a science textbook.

    I’m not sure where you see the disconnect between original sin and a non-scientific reading of Genesis. The generational history you allude to doesn’t necessarily lead to the earth being very young but rather to the human race being very young. The earth may or may not be as young as humanity is. But even at that there is some question as to the complete accuracy of the geneologies, there is some room to debate exactly how old humanity is, even running back to Adam, say for example how long did Adam and Eve live in the garden before sinning?

    You argue your presumption with force but your presumption is fallacious. No one said the Bible was not true or a lie, merely not a scientific work. You are imposing modern evidentialist requirements of the Bible, you are demanding that the Bible answer to your worldview rather than conforming your worldview to the Bible.

  6. Ha!

    You would think that they world have OK’d it at the beginning instead of allowing it to go so long without saying a thing and then bringing it back up when it was too late. I don’t understand it at all. ProExtender