How I think about the Creationist debate

In between the raging debate on Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality, faith Twitter and perhaps other social media, took to debating the merits of Young Earth Creationism over the weekend. I have no idea how it started but there were some casualties in this debate.

Coley got absolutely wrecked here. And this is a good way to summarize how I think about the creationism debate. A Catholic who believes in transubstantiation struggles to believe in a six day creation. This is a backwards hermeneutic.

Now I do side with the literal six day creation (Young Earth), but I do not believe that people who believe in Old Earth Creationism are heretics. Provided the reason for believing an OE Creation is a reason that gives glory to God rather than stemming from doubt, this position is not outside the realm of acceptable theology. Whereas trying to hitch Darwinian Evolution and Christianity is both scientifically and theologically untenable. However the theological debate as to whether the Hebrew in the text means day or era is a debate to be had. I just conclude that the rest of the Bible affirms Young Earth. Therefore I believe Scriptures’ interpretation of Scripture supports a literal six day period.

While the sentence “This is the day of the Lord” has some ambiguity as to whether it would refer to one literal day, this can not really be said of the sentence “These are the six days of the Lord.” Certainly the reference to Genesis 1 in Exodus 20:11 makes the creation account far less ambiguous.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who [e]stays with you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

Exodus 20:8:11 NASB 1995

It’s hermeneutically difficult to argue that “six days” in verse 9 refers to six literal days but six eras in verse 11. But I had the headache of seeing someone try a different approach.

In case anyone is confused on genre, Genesis is a narrative, not a poem. Psalms is poetry. And if you argue that all of Genesis is poetry rather than a narrative of history, then would not Christianity as a whole be a lie? If Genesis is a poetic polemic against Ancient Near East creation accounts, would that not also call into question the entire Fall of Man and therefore the need for salvation. This account boasts that Young Earth pushes young people away from the church. In reality a child can see that if the Bible is neither infallible nor understandable, then church is only a tradition that we hold on to.

It is also worth noting that Russell Fuller blew the whistle on a professor at SBTS who wrote a heretical dissertation with the same view of Scripture as seen above.

It’s one thing to believe in Old Earth, but you have to engage the text to articulate this argument. Arguing fallacies that undermine the rest of Christianity or holding an audaciously inconsistent hermeneutic is a terrible witness if not an outward display of apostasy.

3 comments

  1. You can agree the earth is as old as ‘science’ postulates and still blow holes in darwinian evolution all day long. I can see its not the best place to start introducing the youth to God. I wouldn’t say though that it drives them away. It’s a tough argument. The key is to introduce newcomers with the New Testament Christ because once someone accepts Jesus into their life and KNOWS He’s real because you have a relationship with him, then whether the OT creation account is literal or figurative won’t effect your faith. It shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Kind of an ugly sentence I put together there but I think my point comes through….

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    • I think YE must recognize a distinction between OE and Theistic Evolution. Darwinian Evolution has certainly lost much of its momentum, considering the lack of fossil evidence. I understand the point that you are making, a point that my wife and I talk about with regards to essential beliefs. Though I would liken Creation with any miracle in the Bible. What makes parting the Red Sea more believable?

      From experience, I can say growing up in the church, there was more coverage of Genesis 1-3 for youth than any other passage. This was when I was 17-18 when the church wanted to adopt the Gospel Project for Sunday school.

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