Series - YEC

Essential Elements of Young Earth Creationism and Their Importance to Christian Theology (Part 9)

From DBSJ. Read the series.

A Critique of Theological Triage

Having given reasons why young earth theology is essential to Christian doctrine as a whole, I now turn to a very popular argument that has been used against raising creationism to such a level. In 2004, Al Mohler wrote an influential article calling for theological triage.30 In that article, Mohler likens the sorting of doctrines according to priority with triage of variously ill patients in a medical emergency room. More serious injuries or illnesses are prioritized for faster response, whereas minor injuries are pushed toward the back of the line. Similarly, a doctrinal prioritization is visible in the historical development of doctrine in church history. Mohler calls for such sorting in today’s debates over doctrine and in the arrangement of churches and fellowships.

As a corrective to overreaction, Mohler wrote this in his article:

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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.

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Essential Elements of Young Earth Creationism and Their Importance to Christian Theology (Part 7)

From DBSJ. This installment discusses the seventh, eighth, and ninth of nine essentials of YEC. Read the series.

(7) Sin as the Cause of Death

Somewhat paradoxically, the evolutionary model makes death an important ingredient for life even though it cannot really explain why death came about or why it was necessary to begin with. Without continued death of the unfit and repeated “experiments” that result in death, life cannot arise or continue. Biblical theology teaches an entirely different idea. The creation was initially perfect, but then sin intruded.

Sin caused the Fall of mankind and death came as a consequence of sin. Thus death came about only after the Fall. We have to believe this if we are to take Romans 5:12 seriously: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death [came into the world] through sin.”25

One of the purposes of the Genesis text is to explain where death comes from. God through Moses is giving to later generations the precise cause of death. Everyone experiences death of loved ones, but apart from the Genesis history of creation, they may wonder why death happens. The plain explanation of Scripture is that death occurs because of sin.

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Essential Elements of Young Earth Creationism and Their Importance to Christian Theology (Part 6)

From DBSJ. This installment discusses the fifth and sixth of nine essentials of YEC. Read the series.

(5) Young Age

Creation was, in a word, recent. The universe is young relative to the standard scientific model. The earth, and all of creation, is on the order of 6,000 to 10,000 years old. We don’t have detailed information to provide more significant digits to those numbers. But we can provide a couple of important details.

First, the young age of the universe is a distinguishing and essential characteristic of YET. No other views hold to a young earth, as the comparison chart in the opening section of this essay showed.

Second, when we correlate the creation of humanity on the sixth day of the earth’s existence with the key scriptural data on the age of the earth—the genealogical records—we can arrive at a close estimate of the age of the earth. Travis Freeman’s article21 suggests that there are two types of genealogies, which he calls “regular” genealogies and “chronogenealogies.” The latter are important witnesses to the age of the earth because they can be stitched together with relative ease to show the distance of time from Adam to the flood. The numbers in the genealogies, Freeman argues, must be there for some reason and must, because of the doctrine of inerrancy, be accurate.22

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Essential Elements of Young Earth Creationism and Their Importance to Christian Theology, Part 5

From DBSJ. This installment discusses the fourth of nine essentials of YEC. Read the series.

(4) Six-Day Duration

One of the most repeated and universal experiences of human existence is the passing of a day. It is natural that God would define what a day is in the portion of his self-disclosure that describes his creation; there would be no better place to do so, in fact.

McCabe’s Case for Literal Days

Robert McCabe’s afore-mentioned “Defense of Literal Days” is an important read on this subject. He develops his defense of six 24-hour days in two sections.

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Essential Elements of Young Earth Creationism and Their Importance to Christian Theology, Part 4

From DBSJ. This installment continues consideration of the first of 9 Essentials of YEC: the literal hermeneutic, then takes up Essential 2 and Essenetial 3. Read the series.

Literal Approach to Genesis

Beyond reasonable dispute, Genesis 1–2 should be understood as narrative in form. McCabe’s lengthy treatment of the framework theory emphasizes that the alleged figurative nature of the creation account cannot square with the data that proves the text is a narrative text.17 Boyd’s statistical analysis buttresses this conclusion.18 Since the text is narrative, there are no clues given to the reader that there is any other sense that is plainer than the literal, narrative sense.

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Essential Elements of Young Earth Creationism and Their Importance to Christian Theology, Part 3

"Earthrise." NASA photo, Apollo 8.

By Matthew A. Postiff, from DBSJ. Read the series.

Non-Essentials of Young Earth Theology

Although various authors over the past decades have expressed strong beliefs in one or the other details of young earth theology, many such details are extraneous to the system, mainly because of limited biblical revelation. In this section, I briefly list a few such details that are not essential to young earth creationism.

For instance, it is not necessary to believe in an exact age of the earth, such as 6,000 years, or to adhere to Ussher’s Chronology. Dogmatism on the precise age is not necessary as long as the age is “young.”13 It is not required that one be dogmatic on an absolute absence of gaps or missing names in the Genesis genealogies.

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Essential Elements of Young Earth Creationism and Their Importance to Christian Theology (Part 2)

"Earthrise." NASA photo, Apollo 8.

From DBSJ. Read the series. Part 2 continues the Spectrum of Views on Creation begun in Part 1.

Scientific Creationism

Compared to biblical creation views, scientific creationist views expand the role of science in the understanding of creation. The views that fall under this heading are normally connected with a uniformitarian view of earth history that extends billions of years, punctuated by occasional catastrophic events.9 These are old-earth understandings of creation. The scientific views are different in another way from biblical creation: most do not posit a completed creation. The processes of creation (evolution) are ongoing today in most of the following views and therefore there is no “completion” or “cessation” of creation as there is in the biblical creation views.

The day-age view is an old-earth explanation that teaches that the six days of creation were not regular days but rather were a sequence of geological ages, giving time for the several-billion year age of the earth taught by secular science.

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