I think the main reason I’m a Young Earth Creationist boils down to Scriptural authority. “Did God really say?” It seems to be the question that we (humanity) keep coming back to. 6 day, young earth creationism is the only one of the options (and I’ve studied them extensively) that is internally consistent with the whole of Scripture. Each of the other options create more problems, theologically speaking, than they answer. It’s not simply whether or not you believe in 6 literal days versus long ages or 6,000 years versus 14 billion years. The foundational doctrines of Christianity are deeply affected by how one views Genesis. For example, how do you answer the historicity of Adam and Eve? It’s not just whether or not there might have been a man and woman who might be called Adam and Eve who had a special relationship with God (or not). What about the details? Why describe Eve’s creation as from Adam’s rib? Why have Adam say, “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh?” What about the Fall? Did it happen? Was there a paradise in which Adam and Eve lived and sinned and brought death and the curse upon themselves, their descendants, and the whole of creation?
What about original sin? Are people born sinful? If so, why? Is that just part of God’s good creation? And death? Is that also part of the good creation that God made? If the death that Adam’s sin (or whoever) brought was just spiritual, then why did Christ need to assume human flesh and die physically? Why is physical death named as the last enemy that Christ will put under his feet? Why did Jesus weep over Lazarus’ death? There is every indication that Lazarus was a believer, and so his death wasn’t a spiritual one. If death is just part of how God created with evolution and natural selection, why mourn?
The New Testament has so many references to Genesis 1-11. And not just to generalities, but to details from the creation week and flood, among others. Do the genealogies of Christ go back to a mythical person? If Adam is historical, but he’s not the progenitor of the human race, then are there people today who are not descended from Adam? Do they bear the guilt of his sin? Why? If, as Dr. Alexander posits, the “image of God” means that Adam and Eve were in a relationship with God, then are only those people in relationship with God made in His image? I know that Dr. Alexander says that we have to assume that all humanity are made in the image of God, but why would we have to based on his definition?
The other problem I see is once you take the view that Genesis was written to an ancient audience and has many figurative elements that aren’t meant to be taken literally where do you draw the line. At what point is the story no longer figurative but actual history? Did the flood happen? What about Babel? Abraham? According to the text, he was married to his half-sister. Seems like that would give some people pause, especially given the concern over where Cain got his wife. What about Moses and the exodus? There aren’t good historical (extrabiblical) records to indicate that the Israelites were in Egypt or that there were plagues and a great exodus. Sodom and Gomorrah? Same problem there. And also the fall of Jericho.
Having studied history, it seems very arbitrary to say that Genesis 1-11 are proto-history with lots of figurative (non-literal, mythical) details, but from Abraham on, that’s real history. The text doesn’t lend itself to that division, and the whole of Scripture doesn’t treat it that way.
As for the science, I have read many of the theistic evolutionists. I’ve also read articles by scientists who disagree, people with good, advanced degrees from respected universities. For all that the scientific consensus believes in evolution, long ages, and common ancestry, there are many intelligent men and women with advanced degrees that believe that the evidence does not support those conclusions. (My husband is one of these.)
For my part, if I have choose which one, science or faith, is ultimately the foundation of my worldview, I will choose faith. I know that theistic evolutionists believe that there is harmony between evolution and Christianity, but ultimately, the science is absolute and the Scripture must yield or be reinterpreted in many ways.
One thought on “Why I’m a Young Earth Creationist: Each of the other options create more problems, theologically speaking, than they answer”
This is a little more cogent treatment of the issues than the last bit I just sent along which was really more of an acknowledgement of two diametrically opposed positions. An elder in our church, who knew of of my concern with Keller, (my pastor is sharing concerns with session? Hmmm?) tried to comfort/persuade me by saying that any particular “understanding of creation isn’t essential to the Gospel.” I flatly disagreed, which resulted in very high eyebrows. I clarified by saying that for individuals salvation may not ride on our acceptance of a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2, but that the practice of questioning the historicity of God’s historical Word is highly problematic for everyone, but especially destructive is the practice of a pastor encouraging the acceptance of the human doctrine of theistic evolution which is designed and promoted for the express purpose of killing God. I fear the resurrection is much less believable and much more dangerous and offensive init’s implications; Jesus is the Christ, the Savior, the Creator. God, his Father, is the Judge of all and his justice has been met. We are all condemned. What can be more offensive? That some supreme being started all this in motion or that said being demands from me my very life that I might die to myself, become his captive servant so that I might live free from sin, death, and darkness? What is more offensive than teaching that my sins caused the God of all creation to slaughter his beloved son in my place so that I, who has been in rebellion with him might be created anew and live in peace forever with God in Heaven. That’s just the most offensive thing ever.