There continue to be two camps amongst Christians regarding the age of the earth, those who subscribe to the young earth view and those who accept the findings of the scientific community. Reasons to Believe, obviously holds to the latter. Do you think this dichotomy hurts our credibility as Christians, or is there a chance that the scientific findings are in error?
There continue to be two camps amongst Christians regarding the age of the earth, do you think this dichotomy hurts our credibility as Christians?
The dichotomy definitely impacts our efforts to evangelize educated adults and youth. Non-Christians outside the church are mystified as to why we Christians cannot quickly resolve the dichotomy. They also are concerned by the vitriol that young-earth creationists direct toward old-earth creationists and toward the scientific community. The lack of love and charity that Christians display toward one another on this issue makes unbelievers doubt that we really are followers of Jesus Christ. To put it another way, how can non-Christians trust us to help them make peace with God (2 Cor. 5:18-20) if we are not able to make peace with one another.
Outside the church there is no scientific debate on the age of the Earth or the age of the universe. Astronomers and physicists consider the age of the Earth and universe to be settled issues in the same manner they consider the approximately spherical shape of the Earth to be a settled issue. In two radio debates I had with young-earth creationist leaders (John Morris and Duane Gish) both admitted that they had never heard of any scientist giving any credence to a young-earth apart from a commitment to a particular interpretation of the Bible.
For a much more complete biblical and scientific response to your questions see my book, A Matter of Days, 2nd ed’n.
Can we trust carbon dating?
The Question of Universal Age