Young Earth Creationism (YEC)

(Dean Schmucker) #1

I was looking for a discussion on origins, but did not find one. I know many well intended folks are on both sides of the young earth / old earth debate. But I’d like to make a few observations.

  1. No matter how old the Universe is, there are no living eyewitnesses, save the Creator Himself.
  2. Apart from accepting the Bible as literally true, the best we can do is select the most probable cause for the Universe.
  3. I have no idea how the old earth crowd ages the universe, but I have a good idea they are not including in their calculations the effect of a worldwide flood.

(SeanO) #2

@manbooks Below I have provided some threads on Connect that should help you grapple with how to interpret Genesis 1 and why there are different views of the age of the earth among Bible believing Christians. Personally, I have read the books produced by ICR that suggest that decay rates may not have been constant in the past and that we therefore cannot extrapolate beyond a few thousand years because catastrophic events like the flood may have altered decay rates (or God may have altered them). Personally, however, I do not think this argument would convince a skeptic who has a naturalistic worldview and the Bible says nothing about decay rates being changed - so it seems like the whole argument is circular. If the earth is young the decay rates must have changed - we believe the earth is young, so we posit that the decay rates were not constant. I do believe that this branch of science is particularly prone to bias both ways because the implications are believed to directly impact foundational assumptions of peoples’ worldviews. The issue of the age of the earth should not divide Christians, so I believe there is room for disagreement here.

This first link from Paul Copan gives a brief summary of different approaches to the science / faith dialogue and should help you get your footing.

May the Lord Jesus grant you wisdom as you study. Feel free to ask further questions.

Here also is a book you may consider reading:

Genesis 1

Concordist views hold that the creation actually occurs in the same order listed in Genesis 1. Non-concordist views do not require that the actual creation of the world occurred in the same order. Here is a table giving a brief summary of some of the major concordist and non-concordist interpretations.


Forensic analysis of the preflood earth
(Dean Schmucker) #3

When I clicked the link, it says I don’t have access to that topic.
Can you send via PDF?

(SeanO) #4

@manbooks Here is @Paul_Copan’s response to a question by @CarsonWeitnauer regarding faith and science:

Paul Copan’s Response

Here is my response to Carson’s excellent question on important questions for the faith-science discussion.

I would say that one question that seems to be fading from view is the old-earth/young-earth issue, which has been an intramural discussion for Christians. However, while young earth creationists press their case, every indication from a scientific point of view suggests that this view is a non-starter. The scientific evidence is overwhelming that the earth/universe is ancient-billions, not thousands, of years. Even some young-earthers like John Mark Reynolds will acknowledge that the evidence for a young earth just isn’t there. Even if one is persuaded by the young earth view, this emphasis shouldn’t be pressed when engaging the scientific community. Keep the main thing the main thing; let the gospel be the stumbling block, not the age of the earth.

Some of the new(er) questions that are being discussed are:

  • The genre of the early chapters of Genesis: many Christians have tried to force-fit modern science into a text with an ancient Near Eastern cosmological representation of the world, which also happens to be full of symbolism (e.g., a walking/talking snake was a symbol of evil in the ancient Near East). Should we view God’s creation and design of the universe as the two facts with scientific implications without trying to press the point much further? To say that the Bible itself speaks of the “expanding universe” is, I believe, an example of such a mistake.
  • The historical Adam: was Adam the progenitor of all human beings, a representative or “federal head” of a group of human beings who rebelled against their Maker, an archetypal figure (“Man”)?
  • The relationship of the Christian faith to science and vice versa: should we look for concord/harmony? Should we view the relationship as a dialogue that acknowledges possible tensions and sticking-points, noting the broad and powerful agreement between them without necessarily trying to resolve the details? Should science or Scripture take the leading role in guiding the discussion?
  • The question of methodological naturalism: Should we do science as a theologically neutral endeavor-whether a scientist is a Christian or not? Or does this methodology ultimately lead to a philosophical/metaphysical naturalism that takes for granted no divine activity at all?
  • The flood of Noah: while many have viewed the flood as global, are there reasons for seeing it as regional? Many geologists have concluded that a global flood just a few thousand years ago cannot account for much of what we see in the geological table (e.g., salt deposits thousands of feet thick; varves (annual layerings-like tree rings) taken from core samples numbering over 120,000, indicating that the earth is older than 10,000 years; for cave laminations (seasonal layers that build up in certain caves), the number of layers is over 200,000; mountain-building and tectonic-plate shifting that also take tens of millions of years; etc.).
  • The nature of divine providence: what is the nature of divine action in the world? God brought the universe into existence out of nothing, but what is the extent of his involvement in certain processes? While not denying miracles, some would argue that more can be attributed to “secondary” or indirect causes put in place by God (e.g., the language of Adam being formed from the dust of the ground is the same language used by Job [Job 10:8-9], who claimed to be fashioned by God from the dust of the ground-even though he was born by natural processes [Job 3:3]).
  • The nature of divine design: should we view every specific organism and organ as the product of intentional divine design, or is there a broader teleology at work which has as its goal the relationship of God with humanity?

This is a sampling, but hopefully this will give you some idea of the discussion taking place. Check out the dictionary for more details and even debate on these issues!

Blessings to you all!


(Dean Schmucker) #5

Certainly, we ought not hear more from Genesis than what the author, and the audience he wrote to, would have understood. If we can put ourselves in their shoes, we might well hear something different than our modern ears can hear. For us in the YEC view, much is driven by understanding that the Word is without error, and perfect in every way. If God got it wrong in the first chapter, how can we trust the rest of the Bible? So much angst is caused when well meaning believers try to reconcile what the Word says to what the materialist (those who believe the ultimate reality is the material world) views about origins. But if we just take a step back, away from Genesis one, there is plenty of evidence for a Creator apart from the Bible. Though one can count the age of Creation (bishop Usher) from the Bible, I don’t believe that is the most salient message. Rather, the world was created perfect, we messed it up, God sent his Son to redeem it, and He’s coming back to set things straight.

(SeanO) #6

@manbooks I agree that the central message of Scripture is about salvation history - how God has intervened to rescue us from sin and death and welcomed us as sons and daughters of the King of Kings. And one day He will make all things new and there will be no more tears and no more death and no more sin. Come swiftly Lord Jesus!

(Michael Shepard) #7

Don’t forget RZIM’s own John Lennox and his book:

VERY helpful in my opinion.

(Tim Ramey) #8

Also keep in mind Hugh Ross and Reasons to Believe. I sat under a conference led by him along with other scientist and it was most compelling!

(Santiago Echeandía) #9

Hello everyone. I personally believe in the Old Earth Creationism (OEC). I agree with @SeanO when he says that the central message of Scripture is about salvation, therefore debating over how God created the earth is irrelevant for our own salvation. Nonetheless, it is a very interesting topic to discuss. I came to believe in OEC thinking about how the light from the stars came to us. If stars are millions of light years away, then we can expect the universe to be very old, incluiding the Earth. Either the Earth appears to be old, or the Earth is very old. Thinking about this should not scare us Christians. If the universe is old then we can percieve God as an even more powerful being, making 14 billion years a glimpse when compared to eternity.

There are many interpretations of Genesis 1, which includes topics from astronomy like star formation, the Earth’s atmosphere when created, dust clouds, etc. I will leave a couple of links below. Lastly, this should not cause division between christians. Both interpretations are unnecesary for salvation.

“But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.” Titus 3:9

This is my first post, so let me know if I gave you some insight! God bless!

(SeanO) #10

@sanechev Thank you for contributing! I appreciate your recognition that this issue is not central to our salvation. I find it interesting that the rate at which starlight travels was a key factor for you in deciding between OEC and YEC. Did any other factors play a major role? Blessings!

(Santiago Echeandía) #11

@SeanO Yes! Besides the travel of starlight is the wording of Genesis 1. Verse 1 says that God created the Heavens and the Earth, so the already existed when God said let there be light. If Earth already existed when light was created, then it would appear that God made the sun after the Earth. The sun is created on day 4 aacording to OEC, but astronomy tells us that the sun existed long before the Earth. If we also think about how plants appeared before the sun on day 3, then photosynthesis existed before the sun. God is light, but if God said let there be light, and we argue that this light (God himself) was able to do photosynthesis, we are saying that God created himself or that he decided to start shining, which doesn’t make much sense. If we use the hebrew word for day “yom” and translate it as an era (which is one of its definitions) much more makes sense. Genesis 1:1 states that the Earth was without form and void after God created it, it already existed when God said let there be light. Now, in astronomy, stars form when dust clouds begin to fuse as atoms collide due to their own gravity. So, God created the Earth, and there was still a large dust cloud (also, hydrogen cloud) so thick that light could not pass. In time, it would dissipate and let sunshine pass through. That is the light. Then we eliminate the problem of photosynthesis.

Regarding creation day 4, the Earth had lots of CO2, and after plants were created they cleaned the atmosphere, allowing the view of the sun, moon, and stars.

This theory is a longshot, but it does eliminate many problems with science. What we can only know for sure is that God created everything. How he did it is just brainstorming for ideas, as we may never find out how he did it exactly.


(SeanO) #12

@sanechev Thanks for sharing! I really enjoy hearing how people have thought through Gen 1 and what you described reminds me of Hugh Ross’s explanation a bit. It sounds like you would be interested in Hugh Ross’s ‘creation model approach’ if you are not already familiar.

(Dean Schmucker) #13

I suspect answer is in verse one
In the beginning
There was a beginning. No scientific theory denies this. Big Bang…
God created
precise order of universe strongly suggests a Creator
The heavens and the earth
Sheer size and complexity proves whoever Creator is, is beyond anything in creation itself

For me, verse one makes age of universe much less important

(SeanO) #14

@manbooks Yes, the reality that there is a Creator is fundamental to our faith, while the age of the universe is something we can disagree upon while maintaining unity in the Body.

What is essential?