Last time, I started by noting what it would take for me to adopt an “old earth Creationist” viewpoint, or to Christianize evolution as some Christian theists attempt to do. I noted last time, in a very brief thumbnail sketch, how I move from acceptance of Christianity itself to accepting theologically the inspiration and authority of Scripture.
Clearly, some who accept the historic resurrection of Christ do not agree with my conclusions, including some men I respect greatly in other endeavors. As Christians, we all have those areas where our theology is not fully surrendered to Scripture, just as we have not received complete sanctification. I harbor no ill-will then against those who disagree with me, but I would submit, one cannot accept Christianity and evolution without compromising these very views.
To put it another way, to be Christian and deny “Young Earth Creationism,” means one leaves intellectual holes in ones foundations and worldview. Unless and until these holes are filled, I cannot consider evolution and Christianity to be compatible. There are three major areas where OEC believers must repair the holes in their arguments before I will entertain their position.
I originally was going to do this in one column, but I hit 1000 words when I completed my discussion on hurdle number two, so I will deal with these hurdles individually. The three hurdles are:
- Evolution must be demonstrated scientifically rather than philosophically.
- They must develop a viable interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 within the confines of grammatical/historical interpretation.
- They must present a viable answer to the questions raised for Biblical Theology and Systematic theology.
Hurdle 1: Young Earth Creationism must be demonstrated to be false rather than philosophically.
Many people assume Christians either dismiss science in our discussions of evolution, or assume the arguments are on the basis of scientific arguments. While the former may be true in some corners, it isn’t true in many. Similarly, both sides of the debate will martial scientifically demonstrated facts in support of their case, such as the rate project by the ICR. Yet, while this is an element of the debate between young earth Creationists and evolutionists, it is by no means the totality of that discussion.
A far more important discussion lies at the level of the philosophy and premises within evolution. Evolutionists assume natural law has always functioned as it does now; Creationists do not. Genesis 3’s discussion of the curse and its extrapolation elsewhere in the Bible would provide as a Christian premise that natural law has, in fact, been changed on at least one occasion. Similarly, Christians do not assume that the word “kinds” in the Bible correlates to the modern ideas of species. Finally, personally, as a theologian I view time and change, in general, as a degenerative force under the curse, to accept evolution, I would need instead to view these as progressive forces.
At the least, one would need to observe the development of a new family or order, by the natural development of new information in the genetic code and any other related areas. By “natural,” I mean without such techniques as genetic engineering. Someone might present something else, perhaps, but it would require actual falsification within my own set of Christian premises, or falsification of my premises elsewhere.
This is more difficult than it might seem. For example, since I do not accept the premise of naturalism, I do not assume that a particular study can prove how old a rock is. As a Christian the most that can be said is, “the rock is no older than,” since we cannot presume to know particularly what state said rock was originally created in. Similarly, a tree might be found with 8000 tree rings, but the original trees in the garden of Eden were created fully grown, and presumably had rings, despite not having more than a few days of actual age. Also, the flood seems to have changed the water cycle and likely the atmosphere as well, and we don’t necessarily know what all those changes would entail. Therefore, identifying a particular rock or tree as older than my age of the earth does not, presumably answer this question; it sets a terminal date for the earth not an actual time of creation.
Besides this, the dates seem to be in conflict; there are problems, for example with the distance between the earth and the moon, which are problematic for an old earth creationist viewpoint. Similar discussions of time dilation with star light, etc make these discussions highly complex and I will leave these discussions to the experts. This frankly makes more sense to a YEC perspective than to a secularist one.
 To a certain degree, this may reflect discussions on the philosophy of science between writers such as Kuhn, and the later writer, Karl Popper. Kuhn argued that science provide a positive basis for knowing things, Popper on the other hand, argued instead that science is limited to falsifying theories. Popper I believe is more correct than Kuhn on the basis of the logic underlying the scientific method, otherwise science itself would be guilty of the logical fallacy known as “confirming the consequent.”
Similarly discussions in Genesis 1-7 would indicate that the water cycle changed at the time of the flood. While some kind of water cycle would obviously need to be in existence for plant life to thrive, the text is clear that rain itself did not exist before the flood. What impact this might have on the fossil record is something that I will leave to those more versed in these subjects.
 The moons orbit is slowly moving away from the earth, and is too close to have been orbiting the earth for billions of years.