“There are always alternative answers”

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar by Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). His talk, “Not Enough Time,” is designed to answer challenges from evolutionary science on the age and origins of the earth. He laid out a three-part framework that he believes should be used whenever evaluating evidence in the origins debate. He pointed out that in the origins debate the question really is one of forensics. Since we can’t repeat events of the past and science is limited to the study of the present, then what we have in the question of origins is a forensic question: What does the evidence say happened? The evidence we have is the same no matter which side you are on in this debate. Each side is attempting to piece together what happened using the evidence at hand. Because forensics uses both evidence and eyewitness accounts, we should remember that the Bible, and Genesis in particular, should be considered eyewitness evidence. In considering the evidence, we should remember that there are always alternative answers to the ones given by evolutionary science.

Here are the three parts to Dr. Jeanson’s framework:

  1. Bible first
  2. Big effects
  3. Bounds of science

The first thing we should consider is what does the Bible say? Second, what physical effects do we expect to find based on what the Bible says? Third, what are the bounds of science, i.e. what assumptions are made on the part of evolutionary science in explaining the evidence?

Having laid out his framework, Dr. Jeanson then uses it to address three questions from the origins debate: what is the origin of the earth, what is the origin of the earth’s surface, and what is the origin of the fossil record.

First, what is origin of the earth? Evolutionary science, and Old Earth Creationists, believe that the earth is billions of years old. According to Dr. Jeanson, in considering what the Bible says first, the Bible teaches that the earth was created in 6 days 6,000- 10,000 years ago. The Big Bang theory, one of the most commonly accepted evolutionary origins for the earth, disagrees with the Biblical account of creation in the amount of time it took (thousands vs. billions of years), in the order of creation (earth before sun and stars vs. sun and stars before earth), and in the mechanism of creation (God spoke vs. evolution).
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