Originally published in Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal (DBSJ) 2013. Used by permission. Read Part 1.
The 6000-year-earth position may be questioned on several grounds, some more substantial than others. I would like to suggest, though, that while all of the arguments developed below are load-bearing, the intertextual-exegetical arguments take pride of place in the ensuing material.
The 6000-year-old-earth model rests, at least in part, on a slippery slope argument: “Conceding a few extra centuries today means that the camel’s nose is in the tent, resulting inevitably in the acceptance of billions of years tomorrow.” Before proceeding, I cordially concede that slippery slope arguments are sometimes dismissed too readily for their logical fallacy. While in their most unqualified form slippery slope arguments are fallacious, it does not follow that it is wrong to sound the alarm about slippery slopes—some slopes, after all, are a bit precarious. But apart from demonstration and quantification, slippery slope arguments tend to degenerate quickly into arguments ad hysteria. The hypothesis that modest departure from a 6000-year-old earth position points necessarily to uniformitarianism and theological compromise may be true. But without some sort of evidence (e.g., syllogistic, historical, or statistical demonstration), the hypothesis is nothing more than pure speculation, or worse, slander. In point of fact, there are a great many exceptions to this slippery slope argument.
Proponents of 6000-year-earthism uniformly argue that the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 represent a unique sub-genre of genealogy not observable in the balance of Scripture.1 While all are forced to admit that some of the biblical genealogies feature (1) demonstrable gaps, (2) a flexible use of the term begat, and (3) abridgement for the purpose of symmetry, such features are argued to be absent in the chronogenealogies of Genesis 5 and 11. In these two genealogies (and these genealogies only) the fastidious use of numbers leaves no room for gaps; instead, Moses’s attention to these numbers prove that he intended to inform his readers of the exact age of the earth. Note, however, several tensions with this conclusion: Read more about Why a Commitment to Inerrancy Does Not Demand a Strictly 6,000-Year-Old Earth: One Young Earther's Plea for Realism (Part 2)