Biblical Inerrancy

Why a Commitment to Inerrancy Does Not Demand a Strictly 6000-Year-Old Earth: One Young Earther's Plea for Realism (Part 3)

Originally published in Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal (DBSJ) 2013. Used by permission. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

The 6,000-year-earth position may be questioned on the grounds of logical, hermeneutical, text-critical, and intertextual tensions. Anomalies in the biblical story line and extrabiblical historical records provide additional evidence.

Anomalies in the Biblical Story Line

The life story of Noah seems oddly truncated and his death out of place if there are no gaps in Genesis 11. When we come to the end of the ninth chapter of Genesis, we find the standard epitaph, “then Noah died.” But if the chronogenealogist is correct, Noah did not die until Abraham was 58 years old.1 Of course, it is possible to suggest that Noah had moved away and was quite forgotten by the time Abraham was on the scene, but the finality of Genesis 9:29 seems quite out of sequence if Noah didn’t die until the end of chapter 11. A natural reading of the early chapters of Genesis strongly suggests that the Noah story ended a long time before the Abraham story began.

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Why a Commitment to Inerrancy Does Not Demand a Strictly 6,000-Year-Old Earth: One Young Earther's Plea for Realism (Part 2)

From 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.

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Why a Commitment to Inerrancy Does Not Demand a Strictly 6,000-Year-Old Earth: One Young Earther's Plea for Realism (Part 1)

From Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal (DBSJ) 2013. Used by permission (first appearance at SharperIron in 2014).

The young-earth creationist community is in the midst of an identity crisis relative to the age of the earth. Some within the community aggressively defend a strict 6,000-year-old creation and chafe even at minimal deviation on this point. For these, a rigid terminus a quo for the age of the universe is the simplest and best arbiter for establishing one’s young-earth creationist credentials. Conceding even a slightly older universe is for this group equal to (1) discarding or at the very least compromising biblical inerrancy1 and (2) granting philosophical independence to the sciences, whether astronomy, geology, biology, or archeology.2

This rigidity has not always existed in the young-earth community. John Whitcomb, patriarch of young-earth creationism and co-author of the groundbreaking work The Genesis Flood, defended a span of 3,000 to 5,000 years between the Flood and Abraham, offering a probable date for the original creation of between 6,700 B.C. and 8,700 B.C.3

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J. I. Packer: Don’t Like the Term Biblical “Inerrancy”? Fine. But What about the Concepts?

"If we speak of Holy Scripture as altogether true and trustworthy, or as wholly reliable in its own terms, making no false assertions, claims or promises on its own account (however many lies told by good men, bad men, and devils it records), we shall be expressing in formula terms exactly what these words mean." - Packer

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Inerrancy and Biblical Authority: How and Why Old-Earth Inerrantists Are Unintentionally Undermining Inerrancy

"This paper will carefully examine the relevant affirmations and denials in those documents [1978-99 Council on Biblical Inerrancy] to expose the ambiguous wording that opened the door for these old-earth views. I will then document a number of examples to show how leading inerrantists unknowingly and unintentionally have violated the principles that they endorsed in those two documents." - AiG

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Theology Thursday: Union Theological Seminary On Inerrancy

On September 11, 2018, Union Theological Seminary released a clarification statement (of sorts) in response to criticism it received for its initial response to the Statement on Social Justice. This clarification is very useful, because it shows the Bible-believing Christian why Machen was right – liberalism is another religion entirely.

Union Theological Seminary is not a Christian institution. Its an incubator of leftist ideology and rank unbelief. This clarification, below, speaks for itself. It could only have been written in an echo-chamber of “elitism,” borne out of a worldview entirely disconnected from Scriptural revelation.1 And, remember, the great church historian Phillip Schaff once taught at Union, when it was a very different place!

1. A word about biblical infallibility: This weekend, we received much damnation from fundamentalists over our denial of scriptural inerrancy. It’s understandable, because once you relinquish conviction that the Bible is *literally* God’s word, faith becomes a messier affair.

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A Theological Case for Inerrancy (Part 2)

Read Part 1.

Let us consider the full import of Christ’s words in John 17:17:

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Jesus is praying to the Father regarding the sanctifying of His disciples. He tells the Father “Your word is truth.” This “word” is the same “word” which will sanctify them. They have kept it (v.6) as it was given them (v.14), but where is this word? I maintain it is Scripture (v.12), and this text associates the word with God’s own holy and truthful character. There is no room for human frailty.

This text also separates Jesus from the Scripture. Jesus is going away, but the word of the Father must now keep His disciples. Thus, it is a mistake to too closely equate Jesus the Word with the Scriptures. There does exist a close connection between the two, but we cannot push the association too far. Indeed, we cannot push it even as far a personification. The Scriptures are the written product of the Divine revelation, but they are a product all the same.

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