Young Earth Theology

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:

A structure of theological triage does not imply that Christians may take any biblical truth with less than full seriousness. We are charged to embrace and to teach the comprehensive truthfulness of the Christian faith as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. There are no insignificant doctrines revealed in the Bible, but there is an essential foundation of truth that undergirds the entire system of biblical truth.31

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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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