Essential Elements of Young Earth Creationism and Their Importance to Christian Theology (Part 8)

From DBSJ. Read the series.

Are the Essentials Really Essential?

Up to this point in this essay, I have argued for the importance of each of the nine elements to young earth theology. The collection of these elements and their cohesion together define young earth theology. If any of these are taken away, the view ceases to be a young-earth view.

From this young earther’s perspective, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of leeway in the matter. I cannot imagine a young earth creationist view that doesn’t rest on literal hermeneutics, that doesn’t include supernaturalism, that leaves God out of the creation of some parts of the universe, that takes longer than six days, that dates creation to billions of years ago, that doesn’t posit a literal Adam, that chalks up death to something other than sin, that doesn’t have a global deluge, or even worse that suggests Scripture is insufficient as our rule of faith and practice.

Some of these characteristics can be affirmed by non-YET views of creation. The fact that they are not then “distinguishing characteristics” does not mean that they cannot be “essential characteristics” for the YET view. For instance, someone could affirm belief in comprehensive creation, or in the method of supernatural direct acts of God without affirming belief in full-orbed young earth creationism.

Young Earth Theology Essential to Christian Doctrine

I have examined essential elements of young earth theology. But is young earth theology itself essential to Christian theology as a whole? The essay thus far as given away my view on that question, but I would like to look at the question more specifically, and then critique an approach to theological study that can diminish the importance of whole portions of Christian theology, including YET.

Is Young Earth Theology Really Essential to Christian Theology?

I have called the subject under discussion young earth theology because it interconnects with the full body of Christian doctrine in a way that touches on far more than just creation in the opening days or even years of the universe. It affects many other crucial areas including the gospel proper, hermeneutical method, the trustworthiness of God, and one’s theology of God relative to the creation. If we were to fully develop this “essentiality” it would be necessary to consider all the references and allusions to creation in the New Testament. A full treatment is beyond the scope of this article, but a few thoughts are in order.29

The many Isaiah texts affirm God’s creatorship as an explanation of his lordship. Romans 5:12–21 relies upon the literal Adam and the sin described in the creation account to explain the marvel of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. The apostle Paul began his gospel message in Athens with a reference to the comprehensive creation (Acts 17:24) in which God made “from one man” all mankind (17:26). Jesus referred to the first man and woman in his proclamation of the sanctity of marriage. The great time of tribulation that will come upon the world will be unparalleled from the time God created (Mark 13:19). Creation texts like John 1:1–3 and Colossians 1:16 proclaim the deity of Christ, in part based on his role in the creation. The Colossians text serves another purpose, namely, to highlight the headship and preeminence of Christ over everything in his creation. According to Romans 1:20, the visible creation declares two key invisible attributes of God: his eternal power and deity. This could not be true if the creation sprang into existence by itself or through mostly natural means. Furthermore, Romans 1:20 declares that the unbeliever is without excuse and therefore under the wrath of God revealed in the creation (1:18–20). Ephesians 3:9 indicates that the overarching plan of God for the ages includes his creative work as part of a coherent package from beginning to end. The miracle nature of regeneration is likened to God’s creation of light on the first day of the creation week (2 Cor 4:6). Timothy is told that false teachers would forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created as good things to be received with thanks (1 Tim 4:3–4). Peter emphasizes the truth that God’s supernatural activity in creation makes it certain that he can and will intervene again in a supernatural way at the final judgment. The doxological focus of the Christian message is highlighted in Revelation 4:11 when the heavenly worshipers announce God’s worthiness of worship because he created everything.

I hope that these few references to the New Testament persuade the reader that there are at least substantial connections between creation and what any conservative Christian would agree are absolutely essential doctrines. More than that, I hope the texts remind the reader that if creation did not happen as we have described in this essay, the meaning of the key texts above is eviscerated. If a view of creation eliminates one or more of the essentials we have described in the previous section, they do serious damage to the New Testament texts that rest upon those essentials. Creation is not ancillary; it is foundational to the gospel, to all other Christian doctrines, and to the right functioning of society. This is not a conclusion that rests on tenuous evidence. It is solidly founded in the Bible.

This is not to say that a conscious or fully-formed belief in young earth theology is required in order to be saved. To say so would be to add a condition to salvation, other than repentant faith, and that is not permitted by Scripture. But it is to say that the believer today who would be fully faithful to God and his revelation will acknowledge that God is the literal, miraculous creator, and that his word is the sole authority in faith and practice, including in the area of creation.

Young earth theology is part of a conservative biblical systematic theology. A theology may be otherwise conservative, but to the extent that it embraces cosmologies other than young earth creation, it is to that extent liberal in its stance.

Notes

29 For a helpful discussion of the theological ramifications of creation, see the chapter by Morton H. Smith, “The Theological Significance of the Doctrine of Creation,” in Did God Create in Six Days? ed. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. and David W. Hall (Taylors, SC: Southern Presbyterian Press, 1999): 243–65. Smith writes about creation’s impact on epistemology, revelation, theology proper, anthropology, hamartiology, redemption, and eschatology.

Matthew Postiff bio


Dr. Postiff has served as Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church since 2006. He holds a PhD in computer engineering from University of Michigan and ran an engineering consulting firm specializing in design and simulation of computer microprocessors. He earned his ThM from Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary in 2010.

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dgszweda's picture

I would argue that while it is not essential to salvation, someone who is saved and does not hold to a YEC, has a serious challenge with key doctrines around salvation.  The ability of God to resurrect his son, is tied into his direct ability to create.  Creation was the initial hope and the proof that God could resurrect.  To diminish His ability to create, touches on his very ability to resurrect, and it points to the very challenge of whether God can make all things new.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

Excerpt from the OP article: "Young earth theology is part of a conservative biblical systematic theology. A theology may be otherwise conservative, but to the extent that it embraces cosmologies other than young earth creation, it is to that extent liberal in its stance."

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Charles Spurgeon, on the age of the Earth: "In the 2d verse of the first chapter of Genesis, we read, "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." We know not how remote the period of the creation of this globe may be—certainly many millions of years before the time of Adam." - https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/the-power-of-the-holy-ghost#flipbook/

Interestingly, Answers in Genesis has this complete sermon on their website, but Spurgeon's statement above (and a bit more) is placed in brackets: https://answersingenesis.org/education/spurgeon-sermons/30-the-power-of-the-holy-ghost/ .   In a footnote, AiG explains: "Bracketed text indicates that as brilliant as Spurgeon was, even he did not understand the age of the earth issue."   (Is that an example of a back-handed compliment??)

So per the OP article, I gather that Spurgeon was a liberal in his theology, as far as his view of the age of the Earth was concerned.

But then so were these individuals or institutions:

Bob Jones, Sr. (Gap Theory)

Bob Jones College/University (espoused & taught the Gap Theory from its founding in 1927 to at least sometime in the 1960's)

W.B. Riley (Day/Age proponent)

Plus countless others.

The Gap Theory was once so prominent within fundamentalism that, even as late as 1954, Bernard Ramm (in his inflammatory book The Christian View of Science and Scripture) wrote this: "The gap theory has become the standard interpretation throughout hyper-orthodoxy [Ed: Ramm's go-to term for Fundamentalism], appearing in an endless stream of books, booklets, Bible studies, and periodical articles. In fact, it has become so sacrosanct with some that to question it is equivalent to tampering with Sacred Scripture or to manifest modernistic leanings".

----------------------------------

It just seems to me that if we accept at complete face value the final assertion of the OP article, then we must concede that virtually all of fundamentalism/orthodox Christianity prior to the publication of The Genesis Flood (1961) held a theologically liberal view of the age of the Earth.

I'm just sayin............

JohnBrian's picture

... because that is what they were taught. I just spoke with my mother (who celebrated her 96th on Feb 7), and she said that she recalled it from the Scofield Bible. She understood it to explain the earth being "without form and void."

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Steve Davis's picture

dgszweda wrote:

I would argue that while it is not essential to salvation, someone who is saved and does not hold to a YEC, has a serious challenge with key doctrines around salvation.  The ability of God to resurrect his son, is tied into his direct ability to create.  Creation was the initial hope and the proof that God could resurrect.  To diminish His ability to create, touches on his very ability to resurrect, and it points to the very challenge of whether God can make all things new.

You might argue that but it is not true. Non YEC believe in God's power both at creation and in the resurrection. But as comments below show, not necessarily according to YEC theory. 

Paul Henebury's picture

Larry wrote, "It just seems to me that if we accept at complete face value the final assertion of the OP article, then we must concede that virtually all of fundamentalism/orthodox Christianity prior to the publication of The Genesis Flood (1961) held a theologically liberal view of the age of the Earth.

I'm just sayin............"

My response is - Yup, that's right.  I fully agree with Postiff's last paragraph.

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

dgszweda's picture

Steve Davis wrote:

 

dgszweda wrote:

 

I would argue that while it is not essential to salvation, someone who is saved and does not hold to a YEC, has a serious challenge with key doctrines around salvation.  The ability of God to resurrect his son, is tied into his direct ability to create.  Creation was the initial hope and the proof that God could resurrect.  To diminish His ability to create, touches on his very ability to resurrect, and it points to the very challenge of whether God can make all things new.

 

 

You might argue that but it is not true. Non YEC believe in God's power both at creation and in the resurrection. But as comments below show, not necessarily according to YEC theory.  

Never said they didn't believe, just that it is a challenge.  You may not think it is a challenge, but the fact that non-YEC point to texts outside of Scripture to challenge the clear reading of Scripture points to the challenge.  Creation is not something science can prove, and God has specifically created it in that way, thus why Scripture says in Hebrews 11:3 that it is not by General Revelation or science that we understand these, but through faith in Special Revelation.  Creation can not be understood through the light of science, yet non-YEC use that as the primary basis to view and interpret the account in Genesis 1, thus inserting things into the account that are not clearly read in the account or that the authors in both the OT and NT as well as Christ understood it to be.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

......when BJU made the transition from teaching the Gap Theory to teaching YEC?

  • Did the transition occur as rapidly as from one school year to the next? 
  • Did the same instructors go from teaching one to the other?  If so, did any have any theological qualms about it?
  • Did already-enrolled students and/or their parents who believed the Gap Theory accept the change?  Was there any controversy? 

It just makes me wonder.....

Steve Davis's picture

dgszweda wrote:

 

Steve Davis wrote:

 

 

dgszweda wrote:

 

I would argue that while it is not essential to salvation, someone who is saved and does not hold to a YEC, has a serious challenge with key doctrines around salvation.  The ability of God to resurrect his son, is tied into his direct ability to create.  Creation was the initial hope and the proof that God could resurrect.  To diminish His ability to create, touches on his very ability to resurrect, and it points to the very challenge of whether God can make all things new.

 

 

You might argue that but it is not true. Non YEC believe in God's power both at creation and in the resurrection. But as comments below show, not necessarily according to YEC theory.  

 

 

Never said they didn't believe, just that it is a challenge.  You may not think it is a challenge, but the fact that non-YEC point to texts outside of Scripture to challenge the clear reading of Scripture points to the challenge.  Creation is not something science can prove, and God has specifically created it in that way, thus why Scripture says in Hebrews 11:3 that it is not by General Revelation or science that we understand these, but through faith in Special Revelation.  Creation can not be understood through the light of science, yet non-YEC use that as the primary basis to view and interpret the account in Genesis 1, thus inserting things into the account that are not clearly read in the account or that the authors in both the OT and NT as well as Christ understood it to be.

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I am not committed to YEC. It doesn't present any challenges for me, serious or otherwise, with key doctrines around salvation. I suspect that's true for many others as well. 

Steve Davis's picture

Larry Nelson wrote:

 

......when BJU made the transition from teaching the Gap Theory to teaching YEC?

  • Did the transition occur as rapidly as from one school year to the next? 
  • Did the same instructors go from teaching one to the other?  If so, did any have any theological qualms about it?
  • Did already-enrolled students and/or their parents who believed the Gap Theory accept the change?  Was there any controversy? 

It just makes me wonder.....

I don't know when/if the transition was made. I had a Bible professor in the late 70s who taught the Gap theory. I don't know if the school had an official position then. I don't remember any controversy. According to some who know better, he must've have held a theologically liberal view of the earth. Which is nonsense and these kind of assertions do nothing to strengthen the YEC position. 

Larry Nelson's picture

Steve Davis wrote:

I don't know when/if the transition was made. I had a Bible professor in the late 70s who taught the Gap theory. I don't know if the school had an official position then. I don't remember any controversy. According to some who know better, he must've have held a theologically liberal view of the earth. Which is nonsense and these kind of assertions do nothing to strengthen the YEC position. 

 

BJU used to have a statement on the website (up until just a couple of years ago) that denounced the Gap Theory and yet acknowledged they had formerly taught it.  Here's the (now nonfunctional) link:

https://www.bju.edu/academics/college-and-schools/arts-and-science/natural-science/creation/gap.php

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Today, per their "Position Statements", they are (at least officially) YEC only: 

https://www.bju.edu/about/positions.php

 

ADDENDUM: In regards to the Biology faculty: "The BJU biology faculty is truly unique. Each holds a PhD in a specialized area of biology, brings a unique set of research experiences to the classroom, and is committed to a biblical philosophy of science, including a firm belief in a recent six-day creation." - https://www.bju.edu/academics/programs/biology/

So I take it no Gap theorists are currently on the payroll.

Steve Davis's picture

Larry Nelson wrote:

 

Steve Davis wrote:

 

I don't know when/if the transition was made. I had a Bible professor in the late 70s who taught the Gap theory. I don't know if the school had an official position then. I don't remember any controversy. According to some who know better, he must've have held a theologically liberal view of the earth. Which is nonsense and these kind of assertions do nothing to strengthen the YEC position. 

 

 

 

BJU used to have a statement on the website (up until just a couple of years ago) that denounced the Gap Theory and yet acknowledged they had formerly taught it.  Here's the (now nonfunctional) link:

https://www.bju.edu/academics/college-and-schools/arts-and-science/natural-science/creation/gap.php

-----------------------------------------------------

Today, per their "Position Statements", they are (at least officially) YEC only: 

https://www.bju.edu/about/positions.php

I graduated 1978 so it may've been more mid-70s. Either way, it wasn't an issue or barrier to Christian fellowship. Christians could disagree without being taxed as holding theoligically liberal position. That was then. This is now.

Paul Henebury's picture

"A theology may be otherwise conservative, but to the extent that it embraces cosmologies other than young earth creation, it is to that extent liberal in its stance."

Liberal theology is grounded in a rejection of plain revelation in favor of autonomous reason.  It creeps in to conservative thinking whenever the text is channeled through another filter, in this case the demands of old-earth geology.  Other examples include parallelisms with ANE beliefs or assumptions of socio-cultural pressures in the formulation of a genre (like apocalyptic).

Saying this does not mean that a person is liberal in their theology.  It only says that autonomous liberal thinking has been given the upper hand in a certain case.

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Larry Nelson's picture

Paul Henebury wrote:

"A theology may be otherwise conservative, but to the extent that it embraces cosmologies other than young earth creation, it is to that extent liberal in its stance."

Liberal theology is grounded in a rejection of plain revelation in favor of autonomous reason.  It creeps in to conservative thinking whenever the text is channeled through another filter, in this case the demands of old-earth geology.  Other examples include parallelisms with ANE beliefs or assumptions of socio-cultural pressures in the formulation of a genre (like apocalyptic).

Saying this does not mean that a person is liberal in their theology.  It only says that autonomous liberal thinking has been given the upper hand in a certain case.

If I accept your line of reasoning above, perhaps my opinion of, say, John Shelby Spong is in error.  Perhaps he is essentially a theological conservative, basically orthodox in his beliefs, who simply has allowed "autonomous liberal thinking" to have "the upper hand" in multiple cases.

On second thought, I think I'll stick with simply deeming him a rank theological liberal. 

-----------------------------------------

BTW, I understand that this series of articles has old-Earthers such as Tim Keller in its crosshairs.  I just found it pertinent to point out that fundamentalism has its own history of old-Earth beliefs & proponents within itself.    

TylerR's picture

It's interesting to remind ourselves that the fundamentalist movement has a history of tolerating creation views other than YEC. However, I really don't care what fundamentalism has historically believed. "Fundamentalism" isn't a confessional denomination, nor should it be. This is why it is best defined as a philosophy of ministry. Any appeals to "movement consensus," unless the "movement" has historically existed in an explicitly confessional framework, are meaningless.    

If you interpret Genesis 1-3 in such a way as to see an Old Earth, complete with all the problems it entails, then you're deliberately not reading the text in the way it was intended to be understood. You can see a marvelous example of this in the four-hour discussion on the John Ankerberg Show between Ken Ham and Jason Lisle, with Hugh Ross and Walt Kaiser. It's about 10 years old now, but it encapsulates the interpretive divide pretty well. I'd encourage any interested Christians to search for it on YouTube, or buy the video from Ankerberg's website - it's worth it.

Intriguingly, the Jewish author of 2 Esdras (ca. 70 - 100 A.D.; I used an excerpt from this piece as the Theology Thursday bit this week) interpreted the Genesis account literally.

Tyler Robbins is a pastor at Sleater-Kinney Road Baptist, in Olympia, WA, and an Investigations Manager with the State of Washington. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Don Johnson's picture

First, what Tyler said above is exactly right. Fundamentalism is not a monolithic authoritarian denominational group, it is a philosophy of ministry centered around the absolute authority of the Bible.

as to this doctrine, it has to be remembered that the Young Earth interpretation staggered under the onslaught of Darwinianism in the late 1800s. The Gap theory was an attempt to deal with the challenge and retain Biblical authority. It wasn't until Whitcomb and Morris started publishing in 1961 that anyone in the church had something to use as a young earth counter to Darwinianism. It isn't surprising that fundamentalists of the past held to the Gap theory, or that it lingered past 1961.

today, however, there is no excuse for holding an old earth view. I think the young earth view can clearly be seen as orthodoxy.

BTW, I met Dr Whitcomb for the second time last week. He is 93, but still passionate about souls and the gospel.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Bert Perry's picture

Per Larry's comment, one thing I've learned--sometimes the hard way--in discussions with theological liberals is that an awful lot of them do NOT fess up to actually disbelieving God's Word.  Their analyses may be tortured in our view, but they don't admit "they simply don't believe it."  

Is it real disagreement or subterfuge?  Boy, you could get a great argument either way, though I'd think that a lot of the most vicious arguments might occur when the debater is trying to hide a bad faith look at Scripture.

Back to the topic, my take on the difficulty of old earth creation is that you have to assume a lot of death before sin.  Obviously not insuperable in the minds of those who hold it, but it's something that would trouble me.

Steve Davis's picture

I think the positions on SI have been argued and enough horses beaten into glue. However, I would like to pick and choose some comments that present implications or assertions that do not follow.

Tyler is right that that movement consensus is meaningless to establish truth. Yet perhaps a bit more humility is needed rather than writing:

"If you interpret Genesis 1-3 in such a way as to see an Old Earth, complete with all the problems it entails, then you're deliberately not reading the text in the way it was intended to be understood."

This assertion that someone who doesn't read the text in the same way as YEC, does so deliberately and that only YEC reads the text the way the it was intended is indefensible. It is serious to accuse people of deliberately misreading a text. Mistaken perhaps. Deliberate? You don't, can't know that. 

Per Don: W & M came to rescue old-time Fundamentalists from their ignorance and compromise. Mind you, I don't hold to the Gap Theory, not yet, anyway, not at this time, unless I can be persuaded from the text. The same for YEC for whom the text is now clear. Because ---

"It wasn't until Whitcomb and Morris started publishing in 1961 that anyone in the church had something to use as a young earth counter to Darwinianism [sic]. It isn't surprising that fundamentalists of the past held to the Gap theory, or that it lingered past 1961. today, however, there is no excuse for holding an old earth view. I think the young earth view can clearly be seen as orthodoxy." So those past Fundamentalists didn't understand the intention of the text and perhaps also deliberately misread the text. Today YEC with its superior scholarship and brilliant minds minds has produced orthodoxy! NO EXCUSE! That settles it!

This is more staggering than "the Young Earth interpretation (that) staggered under the onslaught of Darwinianism in the late 1800s.

 

Darrell Post's picture

If someone were to ask me what I would be if I were not a Young Earth Creationist, I would reply, 'then I would be ashamed.'

Steve Davis's picture

Darrell Post wrote:

If someone were to ask me what I would be if I were not a Young Earth Creationist, I would reply, 'then I would be ashamed.'

Another extremely helpful point in support of YEC. A conclusion born from deep reflection. Good thing you live post-Whitcomb and Morris or you may have been forced to deliberately misread the text like older Fundamentalists. What a relief to have new light and NO EXCUSE!

BTW, I think YEC has some good arguments and Postiff provides a decent defense. But this.....

TylerR's picture

I understand what you're saying. I also know that it's trendy to be ultra-charitable and nice, even if you think someone is terribly wrong. So, I don't mean to be rude and I think we could have a nice conversation if were sitting, having coffee together. But, I just can't get away from the idea that Genesis 1-3, when read in a normal way, teaches a seven-day creation. One has to read this, understand it, then make a decision that it doesn't actually mean that, in order to get to another interpretation.

I know many folks disagree. I just think they're wrong; badly wrong. I don't mean to be rude; but there it is.

Tyler Robbins is a pastor at Sleater-Kinney Road Baptist, in Olympia, WA, and an Investigations Manager with the State of Washington. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Darrell Post's picture

Tyler, that was the point in my statement above. I am responsible with the information from Scripture I have been given, and if I was knowingly irresponsible with it, I should be ashamed of myself. Besides, old-time MBU people know where I borrowed that statement.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

Roger Olson, in an essay about Fundamentalism on Patheos,  included the following as one of the criteria by which a Fundamentalist can be identified:

"4) If a person believes premillennial eschatology (and especially “pre-tribulational rapturism”) and young earth creationism are crucial Christian beliefs, “fundamentals of the faith,” she is probably a fundamentalist."

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2016/05/a-long-essay-on-christian-fundamentalism/

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In the Comments section beneath the article, Dr. Dan Olinger, Chair of the Division of Bible/School of Religion at BJU, had this to say (you'll have to scroll down from the article from the link above):

"I appreciate your well-thought-out summary. Personally I've developed a distaste for using the term *fundamentalist* simply because nobody seems to know what it means anymore. But I think you've come reasonably close, and I'm grateful that you consider the definition of the term a windmill worth tilting at.

However, I would disagree with your core statement that "normally, a fundamentalist embraces all or most of these beliefs." Here's why. Of the 7 characteristics, I think just 2 (#2 and 6) are defining views--that is, any fundamentalist would be expected to hold them.

Two more depend on how you define your terms; the key word in #1 is "questionable," and the key word in #4 is "crucial." As to #1, fundamentalists are thoroughly divided on where "secondary separation" kicks in and always have been. As to #4, if by "crucial" you mean "a fundamental of the faith," then absolutely not. Even Ken Ham doesn't believe that YEC is a fundamental of the faith, and throughout their history fundamentalists avoided making eschatological details fundamentals, even though they were heavily influenced by the premillennialist Bible conferences of the late nineteenth century."

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Take note: In the opinion of Dr. Dan Olinger, the current Chair of the Division of Bible at BJU [ https://www.bju.edu/academics/faculty/facultymember.php?id=dolinger ], he would not include YEC among the "defining views" of Fundamentalism (that is, it is not something that "any fundamentalist would be expected to hold"), and moreover it is "absolutely not" a "fundamental of the faith."

Steve Davis's picture

TylerR wrote:

I understand what you're saying. I also know that it's trendy to be ultra-charitable and nice, even if you think someone is terribly wrong. So, I don't mean to be rude and I think we could have a nice conversation if were sitting, having coffee together. But, I just can't get away from the idea that Genesis 1-3, when read in a normal way, teaches a seven-day creation. One has to read this, understand it, then make a decision that it doesn't actually mean that, in order to get to another interpretation.

I know many folks disagree. I just think they're wrong; badly wrong. I don't mean to be rude; but there it is.

Yes Tyler, that's me. Mr. Trendy. Ask my friends. And ultra-charitable and nice. Seriously, I'm sure we could have a great conversation. Look me up if you ever get to Philly. I don't have any animus toward YEC or its advocates. I just think they claim too much certainty (just as old-earth might). And it becomes not only an issue of legitimate disagreement but also a test of fellowship for many. 

TylerR's picture

Fair enough. Take care.

Tyler Robbins is a pastor at Sleater-Kinney Road Baptist, in Olympia, WA, and an Investigations Manager with the State of Washington. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Don Johnson's picture

Steve Davis wrote:

"It wasn't until Whitcomb and Morris started publishing in 1961 that anyone in the church had something to use as a young earth counter to Darwinianism [sic]. It isn't surprising that fundamentalists of the past held to the Gap theory, or that it lingered past 1961. today, however, there is no excuse for holding an old earth view. I think the young earth view can clearly be seen as orthodoxy." So those past Fundamentalists didn't understand the intention of the text and perhaps also deliberately misread the text. Today YEC with its superior scholarship and brilliant minds minds has produced orthodoxy! NO EXCUSE! That settles it!

Steve, I don't think this is a fair reading of my comment. Pretty well all conservative Christians of various stripes held to some kind of theory like the gap theory before Whitcomb and Morris. You can find this in many places, R. A. Torrey, for example, taught it in a book dealing with "hard passages" - I don't remember the exact title. To say "perhaps also deliberately misread the text" is unfair, in my view. They had, at the time, no better answer. I think if they had worked through the issues, they would have seen it was untenable on both Scriptural and scientific grounds. I think, moreover, that they would very likely abandon their "gap theory" and others like it in favor of a form of YEC views.

I don't have to tell you, I don't think, what the Scriptural issues are. They are readily accessible and have been debated ad nauseum by those who don't want to accept a plain reading of Scripture (for whatever reason).

The only reason I interject my observation in this discussion is to counter the implication of hypocrisy that some have raised by citing examples of older fundamentalists who held and taught the gap theory. The conditions were what they were, it should be no surprise to find that Christians writing on the topic before 1961 were often not teaching the young earth view.

One doesn't need to see hypocrisy and deliberate misreading at every turn, just because the writer is considered to be a fundamentalist. There is a history to the teaching that has  to be considered in any fair assessment of the men involved.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

I praise the Lord for the pioneering work done by Morris and Whitcomb, and the legacy they created for ICR and AiG. Those two organizations, in particular, have put out some outstanding material. And, although it hasn't received nearly the publicity AiG's endeavors have, ICR's "Discovery Center" is scheduled to open in 2019

Whitcomb and Morris opened the floodgates (pun intended) which has allowed two generations of Christians to realize there are good, scientific explanations for YEC. I'm reading a book put out by ICR right now, entitled Creation Basics & Beyond: An In-Depth Look at Science, Origins and EvolutionIt's a substantive survey work by credentialed Christians, and it needs to be taken seriously. There are good reasons to believe YEC, and praise God Christians are around who are gifted enough to write about it. 

Tyler Robbins is a pastor at Sleater-Kinney Road Baptist, in Olympia, WA, and an Investigations Manager with the State of Washington. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Greg Long's picture

The Gap Theory is just fundamentally different than the various theories of old-earth creationists today. It's not an accurate parallel.

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Paul Henebury's picture

I don't think that you understood what I was saying.  A conservative Bible reader may, through entertaining certain notions, think the same way as a liberal about certain matters in Scripture.  Theistic evolution is an obvious example.  A person can be saved yet hold to that unbiblical position.  I would say dating the Exodus to the 13th century B.C., or cutting Saul's reign short by 20 years are also examples of this.  And so is the view that the prose of Genesis 1 intends any other things than a literal 6 day account.  No gap because one eye is not on the geology of the day.  E,g, Gerhard Von Rad says it means a 6 day creation.

Now if one keeps accumulating liberal-critical notions about the Bible one will become more and more liberal and less and less Christian.  Spong never did believe the Bible, but it is possible to start out believing it (at least notionally) and end up much like Spong.

.  

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Steve Davis's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

 

Steve Davis wrote:

 

"It wasn't until Whitcomb and Morris started publishing in 1961 that anyone in the church had something to use as a young earth counter to Darwinianism [sic]. It isn't surprising that fundamentalists of the past held to the Gap theory, or that it lingered past 1961. today, however, there is no excuse for holding an old earth view. I think the young earth view can clearly be seen as orthodoxy." So those past Fundamentalists didn't understand the intention of the text and perhaps also deliberately misread the text. Today YEC with its superior scholarship and brilliant minds minds has produced orthodoxy! NO EXCUSE! That settles it!

 

 

Steve, I don't think this is a fair reading of my comment. Pretty well all conservative Christians of various stripes held to some kind of theory like the gap theory before Whitcomb and Morris. You can find this in many places, R. A. Torrey, for example, taught it in a book dealing with "hard passages" - I don't remember the exact title. To say "perhaps also deliberately misread the text" is unfair, in my view. They had, at the time, no better answer. I think if they had worked through the issues, they would have seen it was untenable on both Scriptural and scientific grounds. I think, moreover, that they would very likely abandon their "gap theory" and others like it in favor of a form of YEC views.

I don't have to tell you, I don't think, what the Scriptural issues are. They are readily accessible and have been debated ad nauseum by those who don't want to accept a plain reading of Scripture (for whatever reason).

The only reason I interject my observation in this discussion is to counter the implication of hypocrisy that some have raised by citing examples of older fundamentalists who held and taught the gap theory. The conditions were what they were, it should be no surprise to find that Christians writing on the topic before 1961 were often not teaching the young earth view.

One doesn't need to see hypocrisy and deliberate misreading at every turn, just because the writer is considered to be a fundamentalist. There is a history to the teaching that has  to be considered in any fair assessment of the men involved.

Don,

I conflated yours and Tyler's comments. He was the one who mentioned deliberately misreading the text. But for your comments, more comment. Especially this:

"They had, at the time, no better answer. I think if they had worked through the issues, they would have seen it was untenable on both Scriptural and scientific grounds. I think, moreover, that they would very likely abandon their "gap theory" and others like it in favor of a form of YEC views."

They had the Bible but needed a better answer not available at the time. You think they didn't work through the issue enough for had they done so they would not have embraced the Gap. You think that if they had the light now available through YEC they would abandon the Gap for YEC. There is a plain reading of Scripture you have found which many don't want to accept today for some reason and it seems the Gapers missed as well. Where do these thoughts come from? It's a lot of would have, would now snatched from thin air. I think the plain reading is not so plain. I think the better answer might be bettered in the future. But my thinking it doesn't make it so.

Again, I think YEC has some valid points. I don't think it's that plain and the one and only now better view that anyone who accepts the plain reading of Scripture must embrace.

 

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