Dear YEC Friend – #12 The Bible Tells Me So
A continuation of a series of letters I have written to a fictitious young-Earth Creationist friend. While the ‘Friend’ is fictitious, it is based on observations of and interactions with people who hold young-Earth ideas.
In response to my last letter, you said that there is no room for “maybe”. God told us how he created life, the universe and everything in it very clearly in His Word. If you opened the door to allow for even the idea that the earth could be more than 6000 years old, you could no longer be a consistent Christian.
I see that Ken Ham (and his cronies) have done their job well in convincing their followers of the Dogma of Young-Earth Creationism™ . He calls people like me “compromisers”. I guess that means people who have no integrity, who aren’t intellectually honest. The “official” stance is that it isn’t a salvation issue, but I don’t think anyone is fooled. Oh, yeah, you told me once it is a salvation issue. I’m glad you are able to be honest enough to say it.
To you, not interpreting Genesis (and passages that allude or refer to it) literally is “fracturing” God’s Word. I have already addressed this issue, so I won’t rehash it here. Many YECs have been taught that if Genesis 1-11 isn’t straight history, then Christianity isn’t true. Unfortunately, this kind of teaching is not winning any souls to Christ. In fact, it is turning people away. It is turning a lot of Christians into atheists. YECism is doing the opposite of what it intends to do!
And that is why I think YECism is a dangerous doctrine. It requires believers to accept something as an integral part of the faith which is provably false!
How Can Death and Suffering Be “Very Good”?
For you, the biggest problem of accepting an old age of the earth is that that would mean Death and Suffering existed for millions of years. This would go against the clear teaching of the Bible which states that Death and Suffering is a direct consequence of Sin. And if Death and Suffering isn’t a direct consequence of Sin, then Christ’s suffering and death on the Cross was for nothing and our faith is in vain.
I realise this is a difficult hurdle for many YECists to overcome as it is the crux of their worldview.
I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea that ALL of CREATION was CURSED because a naked man and woman ate some forbidden fruit in a garden 6000 years ago as a result of being tempted by a talking serpent. That this one act resulted in death and decay for all of creation. It doesn’t follow that Christ came to die on the Cross, but His death and resurrection can only save mankind. Animals were affected by the Fall of Adam, too, yet they can’t be saved by Christ.
As a matter of fact, why do humans still experience death?
Before the Fall, did plants die? Did insects die? Did bacteria and cells die? Are there YECs studying this issue?
You wonder how God can look at his completed creation and call it “very good” if it included death and suffering? How is death and suffering “very good”?
Well, firstly, we don’t get to dictate to God what is “good” and what isn’t. We can’t claim to understand all of God’s ways. There is a saying that is popular among Christians: God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
It is my belief that the “death” mentioned in the Bible refers to spiritual death — a separation from God. I believe that physical death has been around since the beginning and it was spiritual rebirth that Christ came to give. Christ came to reconcile us to God and to show us a better way to live, ie by faith and not by works. He came to abolish the old righteousness-by-works method by dying on the Cross. He instituted the new righteousness-by-faith by his resurrection.
You say that one of the many reasons you have difficulty accepting evolutionary theory is that it is an attempt to explain how life originated without God. In other words, it springs from ignoble motives and hence, it behooves Christians to treat it with contempt.
First of all, the Theory of Evolution is not about how life originated. That falls under abiogenesis. The Theory of Evolution deals with how that life changed after it arrived.
Now, while it is true that evolution is an attempt to explain how life evolved — not originated, evolved — without supernatural causes (God), it does not rule one out either. It is a field of scientific study and, in that sense, it is no different from other fields of study. To me, studying evolution is an attempt at understanding how something happens. Who is behind it and why (teleologically) things evolve beyond the field of science.
I understand the YECs cannot and do not accept this. In fact, the Who and the Why are completely appropriate when undertaking scientific creationism. Consider this tenet of Scientific Creationism from the Institute for Creation Research:
Teleological considerations, therefore, are appropriate in scientific studies whenever they are consistent with the actual data of observation, and it is reasonable to assume that the creation presently awaits the consummation of the Creator’s purpose.
YECs accept small observable changes in organisms, ie adaptation and speciation. These are observable and cannot be denied. Yet, they then go on to say that there is a limit to how much adaptation can happen. These mutations, they say, cannot account for all the variations we see today in the way that evolution demands.
As you know, I am not a science person. I opted for the Arts stream in secondary school where I “only” did General Science. (I got a “Distinction” for it. Go, me!) I went on to university where I studied Economics, and barely passed. I am convinced the university granted me a “Charity Pass” for at least one of my subjects, just so I could graduate. I tell you all this to let you know that when it comes to making sense of scientific thingies, I defer to those more qualified than I.
The mainstream scientific consensus is that there is strong evidence for common descent. Obviously, there is more to be learned and, in the process, ideas to be refined, but the evidence is there. Is the knowledge perfect? No. Certainly, many things still remain a mystery, and as we learn more, our knowledge will become more accurate. However, what will NOT happen is a refutation that we all descended from a common ancestor. That conclusion is indisputable based on many lines of evidence. It is beyond reasonable doubt, as they say in a court of law.
I am aware that the standard YEC argument against such ‘evidences’ is that these people have decided to rely on fallible Man’s ideas and not on God’s infallible Word. We need to study the world with the Bible as our starting point. Consider this tenet of Biblical Creationism from the Institute for Creation Research:
All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the creation week described in Genesis 1:1-2:3, and confirmed in Exodus 20:8-11. The creation record is factual, historical and perspicuous; thus all theories of origins or development which involve evolution in any form are false. All things which now exist are sustained and ordered by God’s providential care. However, a part of the spiritual creation, Satan and his angels, rebelled against God after the creation and are attempting to thwart His divine purposes in creation.
With that as a foundation — Satan and his angels attempting to thwart God’s divine purpose in creation — how can we do science? We can’t.
Blessings to you.
Posted on Saturday, October 3rd, 2015, in Creation vs Evolution, Evolution, Fundamentalism, Letters to my Young Earth Creationist Friend, Misconceptions, Religion, Science, Young Earth Creationism. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.