Young Earth vs. Old Earth: Does it even matter?

Creation science v/s secular science. There was a battle, but we’re all too young to remember it. Does the age of the earth even matter? To some people it really doesn’t. For a long time I was one of those people. I mean, nobody’s eternal salvation hangs on whether or not they believe the earth is billions of years old or somewhere in the neighborhood of 6000ish. Personally, I’ve always loved science. It was my favorite subject in school and I believed everything that was presented to me as the ONLY correct interpretation of evidence and beyond reproach. Did that erode my faith in the Bible? Um…no- because I always believed that God created everything. He could have done so through the Big Bang and evolution as far as I was concerned. Viola’- no contradiction. If this describes how you feel about the issue, I totally get it. My goal here is not to necessarily change your mind, but to expand your understanding of the issues so that when you hear someone say they believe in a young earth your first response isn’t a massive eye roll followed by an immediate nosedive in your estimation of said person’s intelligence. As I have come to understand, the evidence for a young earth is extremely compelling- not just from a Biblical standpoint, but from a scientific standpoint as well.

So what caused my views to make an about face? Well, it wasn’t MY inquiring scientific mind. I didn’t change my mind until I was pushed into research by someone much more intelligent and much more “sciency” than I will ever be- my oldest son Kane. It all started with dinosaurs. From the time Kane was 18 months old he could identify, and clearly and correctly pronounce an astonishing number of dinosaurs. We’re not talking T-rex and Triceratops here…more like: Parasauralophus, Ornitholestes, Lambeosaurus, Giganotosaurus…As he got older, he could tell you anything you wanted to know about any dinosaur- what it ate, its size, what period it lived in (Cretaceous, Jurassic, etc.), even its scientific name. By the time he was in the first grade Kane was sure that he was going to be a Paleontologist and was asking me to research what colleges he could attend to follow that career path. Seriously. Here is an example of a “free time doodle” he made in the 3rd grade when he finished a test and was allowed to draw on the back. 

Don’t know what “arthroplura” is? Neither did I. When I asked, he responded with a sigh that it was “an extinct genus of millipede that lived in the Carboniferous period, but I think I misspelled it- I think it should have an “e” in there.” I looked it up. He was right. Right about everything- even the “e”. It should be spelled arthropleura.

By now you’re thinking, “I get it- your kid is really smart. What does this have to do with the Bible, science, and young earth?” Questions. Constant questions. That is what it has to do with the Bible, science, and young earth. Questions that I could not answer without creating new questions in his little mind. Questions about Genesis, the creation story, Adam and Eve, sin, Noah’s Ark and how these events correspond to the geologic time scale, origin of species, fossils, on and on andonandonandonandon… Let me tell you, my worn out response of “God could have done it that way if He wanted” was NOT cutting it! In his amazing little mind, he wanted (needed) to believe in both the Bible and science. Science is verifiable fact, right? The Bible is the inspired Word of our all sovereign Creator, God, right? They SHOULD corroborate each other! That didn’t seem to be happening. Even though he never said it out loud, I could see it all over his little face- he could see the “proof” science displayed, so Genesis must not be historically accurate. Well, what logically follows that assumption? If Genesis isn’t historically accurate, how can anyone claim that the rest of the Bible is? Here is the ultimate question that should give you pause and prompt you to look into the validity of the evidence for a young earth:

If sin entered the earth through Adam, and death through sin (Romans 5:12), where in the world does this scientifically documented prehistoric era in which death runs rampant fit in?

The point I am making is that you (like the old me) may not need to connect these particular dots, but for so many others out there this is literally the difference between believing and not believing. Needless to say I embarked on my mission of leaving no stone unturned to provide Kane’s answers. That’s when I stumbled upon the Answers in Genesis site and books by Ken Ham. Ken Ham and his team of scientists do a fabulous job of presenting the shockingly compelling case for a young earth. The evidence is compelling on its own merit and shocking because we are literally never made aware that such evidence exists! I feel like I should clarify before I go on, that all creation scientists do not agree on all issues across the board (of course!) For example, Ham uses a chronological Biblical timeline introduced by Archbishop James Ussher circa the year 1650. While it was cutting edge in its day, we are now privy to information that allows us to make some much needed changes in this chronology that result in a much more logical alignment with secular history. But, that’s a whole separate blog post- stay tuned.

Getting down to the brass tacks of this young earth vs old earth argument we come to a central truth: we must consider and weigh our sources. Secular scientists would have us discount some interpretations derived by scientists who believe in God on the basis of an inherent “Bible bias”. These same scientists would claim to operate under no bias, when in fact the opposite is true. Atheism creates at minimum the same amount of bias in interpretation on the opposite swing of the pendulum. These scientists can and have thrown out sound theory simply because it would corroborate the Bible. Zero bias doesn’t care what the religious implications of a sound theory may be, and this is NOT what secular scientists practice. A fabulous argument can be made that atheism in itself IS its own religion.

So where has that left us? The fact of the matter is that scientists who are atheist or agnostic outnumber scientists who do believe in God. Another fact is that our society sees science with a Biblical bias to be unacceptable, while secular or atheistic scientific findings are revered- even when they are logically deficient in their explanations. For example, secular science makes no disclosure of the horrific inadequacies of the relied upon dating systems that are foundational to the old earth narrative. (Another future post)These factors have had catastrophic effects on our education system. Prior to the Scopes Trial in 1925, students were given both sides of the scientific argument. (The Scopes Trial, that centered primarily around evolution, is an incredible story-by the way-and a whole separate forthcoming post) Post Scopes decision education looks entirely different. Secular science was declared the winner (by means of now debunked evidence and people not qualified to make the declaration) and creation science was relegated to quackery status. The brilliant scientists in the field of creation science and the scientists in all fields who are led by their belief in God and who ascribe to the Biblical account of creation are definitely not quacks. Check out the credentials of this list of current scientists who cast their lot in for a young earth: http://creation.com/creation-scientists. If you are a young earth creationist, rest assured you are in good company. SO, back to my original question- young earth vs old earth, does it even matter? That can be answered in a couple of ways. As it relates to your individual eternal salvation- no. But if you are are a scientifically oriented individual or have an opportunity to discuss creation science with a scientifically minded atheist or agnostic- it may be the difference between belief and unbelief.

In closing, I would like to encourage anyone who has an interest to investigate the amazing findings of creation scientists and the more than possibility,but probability, of a young earth. Prior to delving into this arena for the sake of my son, I had absolutely no idea of the excitement and awe that the findings of these brilliant scientists would incite. As so often happens with our children, I have found that Kane has taught me a more important lesson than I taught him. Kane has been the instigator for my discovery of an entirely new level of faith in , appreciation for, and sheer amazement of the God we serve.

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