I love this verse: “He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11b NIV. When it comes to how this world came to be, I feel that knowledge belongs to God. I could be a young earth creationist, not 7 literal days but a short amount of time (like 1000s of years) relative to what most of the scientific community agree upon because I don’t understand how carbon dating works and whether I can trust it and because I believe God is able to create in the manner described in the Bible as he’s God and he’s all powerful, but I haven’t ruled out the billions of years age of the earth that we read about in scientific work, I just don’t believe in the Darwinian theory of speciation. I was just wondering what people thought and how they reconcile worldly discourse with what it says in the Bible. This has been prompted by another BBC article about fossils and the big meteor that killed the dinosaurs and the “billions” of years ago that it happened. A day could be a billion years, a day could be like a billion years and that is not in conflict with the Bible, I guess I’m asking how many young earth creationists there are out there and really just like the long conversation a Calvinist could have with an Arminian, whether it really matters that we get into heated arguments with Christians over it because we could be here talking about it til the cows come home and it is only really useful to talk about if you are carrying out The Great Commandment at the same time and helping bring someone closer to Jesus.
Hello Caitlyn. I adore your user name! I’m going to let the more knowledgeable weigh in on this, sit back and observe. But I did want to ask, have you read John Lennox book “7 days that divide the world”? Below is a link. It helped me tremendously!
Much love, you seem like a sweetheart
Great question. So I’m a geologist, a field largely ruled by the old earth / Darwinian paradigm. Because of this, I have spent a few years now exploring the overlap with our scientific understanding of the universe, specifically in relation to geology, with what is laid out in the Bible. I was fascinated to see this overwhelming amount of evidence that does hint at a younger earth, or at least the creation of something out of nothing and that there was indeed a global flood as documented in Genesis. I great and easy source is from the Del Tackett documentary “Is Genesis History.” He spends time with PhDs in multiple fields such as geology, biology, and anthropology. I ultimately think that these are lower order questions that relate to our theology, thus we shouldn’t spend ALL of our time engaging people to believe in a young earth creation paradigm.
@graceful_deer_7 I have provided a link below for some resources on the young earth creationism issue as well as a response from @Hugh_Ross on dinosaurs and the age of the earth. But I am hearing behind your question another question - how important is the young earth vs old earth issue? If you think about it in terms of ‘levels of doctrine’ - with absolutes, convictions, opinions and questions - I believe this issue is a conviction or opinion - certainly not an absolute. In other words, it is a non-essential and we should feel free to disagree with one another on this particular issue, which I believe is what @calebeldridge was also indicating and I agree.
May the Lord Jesus guide you into all truth
In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity
Levels of Doctrine
Not all doctrine is equally important. Some beliefs are at the very center of our Christian faith and to deny them is to deny Christ. Other beliefs are important to how we practice our faith and are therefore the cause of disagreement between many denominations, but these beliefs do not place us outside of Christ. Still other doctrines, such as eschatology, are difficult even for very learned and godly people to understand clearly and are therefore a matter of opinion.
The below article offers a fuller explanation of levels of doctrine and gives a helpful summary list of 4 levels of doctrine.
- absolutes define the core beliefs of the Christian faith;
- convictions , while not core beliefs, may have significant impact on the health and effectiveness of the church;
- opinions are less-clear issues that generally are not worth dividing over; and
- questions are currently unsettled issues.
Where an issue falls within these categories should be determined by weighing the cumulative force of at least seven considerations:
- biblical clarity;
- relevance to the character of God;
- relevance to the essence of the gospel;
- biblical frequency and significance (how often in Scripture it is taught, and what weight Scripture places upon it);
- effect on other doctrines;
- consensus among Christians (past and present); and
- effect on personal and church life.
to me as an old earth creationist the bible fulfils the purpose of creating a narrative that allows even an illiterate person to get to a level of a world-view that allows them to have a meaningful interaction with reality. As such I expect the bible to use terminology that even a child can relate to to explain first principles. If it was a scientific textbook that would only make sense to those who have a doctorate from oxbridge it would be a complete fail.
As such the level of freedom we can allow the text depends on the level of abstraction we can see in the bible. Problems arise when people consider themselves having reached a certain level of intellectual capacity and then deny the bible this function but expect it to be a scientific text book, something that puts their intellectual capacity into question.
Unlike a scientific textbook that has no way of using poetic freedom the bible can use this poetry to paint pictures in our mind that can transmit not only material information but also emotional information. The creation of humans from the dust of the earth is describing us far better than any genetic description could ever do as it contains the information that we are made from the elements that constitute the elements of our earth and that was breathing life into us. 'it contains the information of the duality of our material and our spiritual existence and that the life in us is actually not derived from the material elements. Philosophically spoken life is the ability to move matter or energy at will. In its simplest form that can be coded in the DNA, so you can kill a bacterium by slicing its encoded will, but gets more complicated when it comes to the metaphysical transmission of this will.
The key message to take home is that God created the universe - and with increasing understanding we will get closer to understand how he did it. If you believe that he made mudpie humans by the riverbank that is as good as if you believe he used process engineering, .g. designing a process called evolution, e.g. the slow and ordered unrolling of a plan. To an engineer the latter sounds more plausible as that is how I would engage with such a task instead of arranging all molecules by hand. The interesting point would be to figure out if you create a complex process how you control it and what feedback mechanisms you put in place to stop the process from running away, and here I understand the ingenious way of doing that is the law that controls the process. It is called “the word of God”, the feedback rule that regulates the stability of all things in existence, the ability to love thy neighbour like thyself. And that is what survival fitness is all about, it is not about outcompeting your neighbour but about integrating with him. Evolutionists have struggled with altruism for a long time and even game theory eventually found it to be the beneficial trait leading to long term success. It just can have an awfully long time constant, but that is not a problem to an engineer that has an even longer one
So which way you interpret it does not matter as long as the model in your head (and you can see how complicated mine is ) makes sense to you and gives you a worldview that to have a meaningful interaction with reality and to live Gods love - bingo
Just rest assured that those who try to use scientific concepts as an argument against the existence of God fail to understand the philosophy of science. After all, it depends on the fundamental axiom of ultimate causality and that with the ultimate cause reality has been under the rule of laws that make it comprehensible to the human mind. Otherwise you would have no justification to do science. The might however have a problems with a concept of God that is there to fulfil our wishes for reality because he loves us, but then the bible tells us that it is “thy will be done” and not “my will be done” so they do have a point.
Biologos has a good take on that and you might enjoy James Stump about the subject
And when he comes to the problem of physical death, just remember that this is not the end as Jsus showed us, so why do we think that physical death is such a bad thing, as after all we come back to God