My “Top Five” Reasons for Believing in a Young Earth (Part 1 of 6)

Having told you why I am skeptical of the idea of an ancient (millions or billions of years old) earth, I would like to give you some of the data that lead me to believe in a young earth. I am certainly open to changing my view on this, as I see no inherent reason to believe in any specific age for the earth. However, based on what I know about science right now, it seems to me most reasonable to believe that the earth is on the order of thousands of years old, and it seems to me incredibly unscientific to believe that the earth is on the order of billions of years old. So over the course of the next few weeks, dear reader, I hope to present to you my “top five” reasons for thinking that the earth is young.

Before I do that, however, I need to provide bit of scientific philosophy on this issue. I don’t think most scientists are equipped to evaluate this question, at least not in any scientifically meaningful way. In fact, I personally think that creationists are the only people who can address the age of the earth scientifically. I don’t think that all creationists are qualified to address this issue (as will become apparent in a moment), but I don’t think a single committed evolutionist is qualified to weigh in on the age of the earth, at least not in a scientific manner.
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This Explains a Lot!

I think I might know why Answers in Genesis has such a hard time interpreting Hebrew. It seems they cannot read English very well! In their “Around the World with Ken Ham” blog, Answer in Genesis quotes one of my entries:

This is why I say that organizations like Answers in Genesis promote poor theology. There is simply no good theological reason to insist that the word yom means a 24-hour day when it is used in Genesis 1. As a result, it is simply poor theology to insist that the Bible teaches a young earth. While I agree that this is a possible meaning of Genesis 1 (indeed, it is the meaning I take from the passage) . . .

and then says:

So, it’s poor theology to insist the days of creation are ordinary days, and there is “no good theological reason” to insist this—but he takes that meaning himself anyway! Now, that means he must now be using “poor theology” himself, and he must have a “good theological reason” to believe in ordinary days, though he says there is no such “good theological reason.” I am truly perplexed.

The writer is perplexed because, of course, he doesn’t understand plain English. I say that it is poor theology to INSIST that the days of Genesis are 24-hour days. I did not say it is poor theology to believe that they are 24-hour days. It is GOOD theology to agree that a possible interpretation of yom in Genesis 1 is a 24-hour day. However, it is GOOD theology to pay attention to the experts and understand that there are many other possible interpretations of the word yom in Genesis 1. It is POOR theology to INSIST that the ONLY POSSIBLE interpretation is that of a 24-hour day.

Once again, the science from Answers in Genesis is quite good. However, when they have this much trouble reading plain modern English, I would certainly not take their word on ancient Hebrew!

Time and Creation

In my previous post, I quoted Clement of Alexandria. He said that the days of Genesis 1 were not 24-hour days. Instead, they were simply used to indicate priority. In the end, he said:

And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist. 1

I find this statement intriguing, because even though it was written in the early third century, it indicates a modern understanding of time.
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Clement of Alexandria on the Days of Genesis

As I said in my previous post, young-earth creationists (I am one, by the way) often distort church history. They try to make you think that the early church was unanimous in its interpretation of Genesis 1. For example, Answers in Genesis claims:

What did the early church believe about creation? In its first 16 centuries the church held to a young earth. Earth was several thousand years old, was created quickly in six 24-hour days, and was later submerged under a worldwide flood.1

Of course, the same article from which I just quoted immediately contradicts itself by then admitting that three very influential church fathers (Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Augustine) did not see the Genesis days as 24-hour days. In fact, they were not the only ones. There were many very influential people in the early church who did not believe that the Genesis days were 24-hour days. Of course, this view was probably a minority view, but nevertheless, it was not something held to by just a handful of early church leaders. It was a view that has existed from the earliest writings of Christianity.

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One Reason I Am Skeptical of Young-Earth Materials

Even though I am a young-earth creationist, I get weary of reading a lot of young-earth creationist literature. Why? Because such literature often promotes poor theology as well as a distorted view of church history. The young-earth organization Answers in Genesis, for example, is one of the most reliable sources of information when it comes to the scientific data that relate to the creation/evolution debate and the age of the earth. One reason they are so reliable is that they have a team of scientists reviewing their materials, which helps to ensure a reasonable level of scientific accuracy. Unfortunately, when it comes to theology and early church history, they don’t seem to have much of a clue.

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One Reason I Am Skeptical of an Ancient Earth

I hope to write a lot on this topic, as I find it fascinating. For my first entry, I thought I would outline one of the main reasons I have a hard time believing the earth is billions of years old. Essentially, my scientific training makes it very hard for me to take the idea of a billions-of-years-old earth seriously.

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