Young Earth Creationism and Evidence Denial

ice_core_algae_bandOldest ice core: Finding a 1.5 million-year record of Earth’s climate

How far into the past can ice-core records go? Scientists have now identified regions in Antarctica they say could store information about Earth’s climate and greenhouse gases extending as far back as 1.5 million years, almost twice as old as the oldest ice core drilled to date.  (source)

There is very compelling evidence from ice core samples that discredits young earth interpretations of the Bible. However, it isn’t a problem for believers because the Bible never dates creation. That came much later when men like Bishop Ussher added the genealogies and calculated a date. However, there are very good reasons to think these genealogies are not chronological.  Francis Schaeffer observed:

Prior to the time of Abraham, there is no possible way to date the history of what we find in Scripture. After Abraham, we can date the biblical history and correlate it with secular history. When the Bible itself reaches back and picks up events and genealogies in the time before Abraham, it never uses these early genealogies as a chronology. It never adds up these numbers for dating. (Genesis in Space and Time 123-124).

This is laid bear when one examines the text in its original language. The term often translated “father” does not necessarily imply linear descent but can also mean “ancestor” or “forefather.”

      אָב ab (3a); from an unused word; father:—ancestors(1), family*(1), father(571), Father(8), father’s(137), fathers(333), fathers’(120), fathers’ households(1), forefather(1), forefathers(27), grandfather(1), grandfathers(1), households(5), Huram-abi*(2), sons(1).

New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition (Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998).

Accordingly, the young earth date setting project was never the biblical authors’ intent but a later extrapolation. With such a dubious starting place it is rather astounding the level of vitriol and science denial in which young earthers engage.

Ones interpretation of scripture needs to be tempered by natural revelation as in the case of the ice core samples. History has shown us that to refuse do so discredits the church. Consider when Copernicus proposed that the earth revolved around the sun, he and Galileo were branded heretics because of the churches interpretation of these passages:

Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. (Ps. 93:1)

And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. (Josh. 10:13)

[The sun’s] rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Ps. 19:6)

The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. (Eccl. 1:5)

If young earthers maintained a consistent hermeneutic to what they demand concerning Genesis and the genealogies, it seems like they should also be geocentrists. However, today it is understood that the Bible uses the language of appearance and was not making scientific claims about the sun moving.  Indeed, even young earthers compromise their literal interpretation of scripture in order to keep step with Copernican theory.  How long will it take until they face the overwhelming evidence for the true age of the earth?



About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

Comments

  1. David Lowe says:

    bare

  2. David Lowe says:

    Cris, what’s with the attack on YECs in your last 2 posts?

    The dating methods of modern scientists don’t take into effect the flood event. Don’t you understand that assumptions are made regarding everything being the same as you look back into time? The problem everything wasn’t the same.

    Or do you not even believe in a worldwide flood now?

    Read II Peter 3. He tells us there was a flood that completely destroyed “the world that then was.” Do understand what that means? We cannot make assumptions about dating and the the geologic formations that seem to be old or contain minerals with a certain half-life.

  3. Vincent S Artale Jr says:

    Nice article Chris, thoroughly enjoyed it.

  4. Robert says:

    Ice core dating does not prove the Earth is Billions of years old. Ice core rings represent warm cold warm cold
    not summer winter summer winter.

  5. Charles says:

    In my opinion, there are many area’s of scientific findings that tell us information that contradicts the Bible. Modern science, again in my opinion is not concerning themselves with Biblical Truth. Gods revelation of creation was not subject to wait for man and modern science to tell Him how things are. But man and modern science is subject to Gods revelation to determine what they will tell us. God Bless…

  6. Greg Outlaw says:

    This is a sad day when you start putting up straw-man arguments? I have followed and appreciated your work since day one and have greatly appreciated your scholarship. What’s up with this and your previous YEC bashing post? You are better than this my brother. Respectfully yours, Greg Outlaw, President & CEO, AllAboutGOD Ministries, Inc.

  7. Bill Kinney says:

    Since the events surrounding creation cannot be replicated in a lab as a controlled experiment, estimating the age of the earth (as young or old) is pure scientific theory. No one knows the extent of the original forces that acted upon the earth; forces that may have been modified or curtailed after the original formation took place on the very first day. For example, a better rendering of Gen 1:3 (Yahiy owr) is “Exist Energy.” Since that command is in the present consecutive, the idea being expressed (grammatically) is that it remained an ongoing action until the action itself was modified by introducing the definite article or another verb (which occurs Gen 1:4).

    “Exist energy and there was energy.”

    That energy filled the fullness of God’s creation, possible in a single moment. We don’t know if the light produced by that energy moved at the current speed of light or a thousand times faster, and then was slowed down to 186,282/sec. when God saw, “the light” (haOwr) that it was good. People have written to me (who believe in an old earth) using the current speed of light as a way of determining the earth’s age. In my opinion, that method is just as flawed as trying to determine the age of the earth by a sample of ice. We don’t know the exact level (or concentration) of gases and fluids that interacted with one another; or the extent of the forces (especially pressure) they experienced, in the first moments of creation).

    I believe in a young earth as a matter of my own understanding, and cannot offer conclusive scientific proof that it is true. Paul wrote:

    “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved. For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
    Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.” Rom 9:27-28 NKJV

    I further believe, the short work being referred to will be accomplished in a matter of thousands of years, rather than millions.

  8. Michael Cham says:

    Cris, of all the Christians providing alternative viewpoints on Nephilim etc., I give you the most benefit of the doubt because of your rigorous approach, consistency, and tone. FYI, I don’t have a position on YEC, I’m trying to learn.

    What I hear you saying is that the “Holy Spirit” argument is not persuasive, no matter who is making the claim. I also think you are saying that YEC are ignoring evidence that strongly tends to disprove their position. I agree with you on those points but it only leaves me persuaded on what type of supporting evidence is useful in apologetics, as opposed to what I should hold as my personal belief.

    It would help me to understand your opinion on the age of the earth in relation to Adam and Eve, dinosaurs and the biblical flood (perhaps you are like me and not sure). I think there is a suite of issues that are interrelated (as mentioned in a previous comment) and I tend to be cautious with evidence against YEC because it seems to have implications on the other bible issues as well.

  9. Ser Hagopian says:

    Why would the Bible go to such unbelievably boring lengths to recount detailed genealogies if not to make the point that biblical chronology is to be taken as accurate and indisputable.

    Another point to consider is that if the Bible cannot be taken at face value as regards chronology and time spans, why should the myriad other statements and promises be taken seriously? Why not discard the Bible entirely and rely on our spiritual “senses” to lead us into God’s will and covenant? And perhaps the latter will be different for different people? Can we do a better job of hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit than the Bible writers?

    But if there is a God, he has spoken. He had to take the first step to communicate with us. It behooves us to accept all scripture as inspired by God (and therefore inerrant) because Jesus and his followers accepted them without question.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      The question is misguided. You are not accounting for the massive historical-cultural gap of over 3000 years between you and the text. The problem is that you re not familiar with Ancient Near Eastern genealogies. They are not like modern family trees nor were they intended to be.

      Genealogies represent continuity and relationship. Often in the ancient Near East they are used for purposes of power and prestige. Linear genealogies start at point A (the creation of Adam and Eve, for example) and end at point B (Noah and the flood). Their intention is to bridge a gap between major events. Alternatively they can be vertical, tracing the descendants of a single family (Esau in Gen 36:1–5, 9–43). In the case of linear genealogies, the actual amount of time represented by these successive generations does not seem to be as important as the sense of completion or adherence to a purpose (such as the charge to be fertile and fill the earth). Vertical genealogies focus on establishing legitimacy for membership in the family or tribe (as in the case of the Levitical genealogies in Ezra 2). Mesopotamian sources do not offer many genealogies, but most of those that are known are linear in nature. Most of these are either of royal or scribal families, and most are only three generations, with none more than twelve. Egyptian genealogies are mostly of priestly families and are likewise linear. They extend to as many as seventeen generations but are not common until the first millennium B.C. Genealogies are often formatted to suit a literary purpose. So, for instance, the genealogies between Adam and Noah, and Noah and Abraham, are each set up to contain ten members, with the last having three sons. Comparing biblical genealogies to one another shows that there are often several generations skipped in any particular presentation. This type of telescoping also occurs in Assyrian genealogical records. Thus we need not think that the genealogy’s purpose is to represent every generation, as our modern family trees attempt to do.

      Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), Ge 5:32.

  10. Hilda Hardcastle says:

    Greg Outlaw is right: “You are better than this, my brother.” You might do us the favor of reading this superb chronology of “the Dating Game” and getting back to us.

    An Old Age For The Earth Is The Heart Of Evolution[ism]
    http://www.trueorigin.org/old_earth_evo_heart.asp

    “I suspect that the Sun is 4.5-billion years old. However, given some new and unexpected results to the contrary, and some time for frantic recalculation and theoretical readjustment, I suspect that we could live with Bishop Ussher’s value for the age of the Earth and the Sun. I don’t think we have much in the way of observational evidence in astronomy to contradict that. Solar physics now looks to paleontology for data on solar chronology.”
    (John.A. Eddy. Look him up in Wikipedia.)

    (By “paleontology” is of course meant the mythical “Fossil Record” & “Geologic Column” contained in earth’s thin sedimentary surface that, if modern EMPIRICAL science is to be believed, would have eroded away to sea level at least 3000 times in 4.5 billion years. )

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