Why I Believe Young Earth Creationism is Simply Dead Wrong

by Max Andrews

I know this issue is a very large issue for some Christians.  I understand that many people disagree with me pertaining to the issue, but I do not believe the Bible advocates a young earth, nor do I believe science supports young earth creationism.  I am a progressive creationist (old earth).  Young earth cosmology just doesn’t cut it.  The scientific account is simply horrible.  I’m a proponent of the level two multiverse.  (See “Living in the Multiverse–Is it Science?” and “The Theological Attraction of the Multiverse” and “Divine Simplicity and the Multiverse–Thomas Aquinas Approved”).

I believe that Genesis is a historical narrative.   It’s not allegorical.  I reject JEDP theory (framework hypothesis).  The days in Genesis are long periods of finite time (one of the four literal definitions of YOM, grammatically permissible).  The universe was created 13.73 GYA (giga, billion years ago), earth formed 4.5 GYA and after the late-heavy bombardment of the earth 3.9 GYA early life arrived 3.8 GYA.  All life was created by act of special creation (I reject theistic evolution, I’m a proponent of intelligent design) that would not have been created by natural means.  Adam was a literal man created by God approx. 60,000 years ago and Eve was created after Adam had named the animals and tended to the garden for some time, both by special creation.   The genealogies in Genesis are grammatically consistent with gaps (when I say gaps I mean it wasn’t father-son relationship, the same word for father[ed] is the same word used to denote grandfather, great grandfather, great-great grandfather, etc.  The names in the genealogies are the prominent, or important, persons.  I don’t allegorize Genesis; I think that would be hermeneutically outstanding and unwarranted (though everyone must concede parts of speech used such as metaphors, similes, etc.).  With respects to the flood at the time of Noah, I believe it was most likely a localized flood of the Middle Eastern region approximately 20,000 years ago.  I do not believe that a progressive creationist is committed to a local flood for a global flood is possible as well.

I don’t believe young earth creationism, old earth creationism, and theistic evolution should be treated as heresies (as some would like to claim), nor do I think it is necessarily unorthodox (although theistic Darwinism, I believe, is unorthodox–See “God and Darwinism” and “Theistic Evolution and Purposive Permission”).  I’m open to common descent evolution but I don’t know how to treat the Cambrian explosion where several phyla seemed to have come out of no where.  I do believe there was physical death before the fall (See “Was There Death Before the Fall? Of Course There Was…”).  I’m not sure why so many people commit to saying there couldn’t or wasn’t.  It contributes nothing to either position.  I think the issue of origins is definitely open to debate and are peripheral for healthy Christian living.  The issues do not undermine the Gospel message (though I have heard some prominent young earth creationists advocate that).

For the sake of reason and rationality, I am certainly open to different ideas.  I follow the evidence, and the evidence that I have studied most certainly supports progressive creationism.  I have spent four years at Liberty University and have studied the issues in a Genesis course offered by the School of Religion and I have yet to be convinced of YEC.  To be honest, I did not advocate YEC or OEC until about a year ago after 5 years of inquiry.  I know I may get questions and/or objections and I am most certainly open to that and willing to discuss and provide my sources.  The encouragement I leave for others is to [in the words of St. Augustine] hear the other side.  Don’t just study one side of the argument and when you do listen to the other side, listen to it from them because it will not be a straw man.  Understand that God has two revelatory books, the Bible, and the book of nature.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor is it necessarily a refutation.  This is merely an outline of my position, which is to suggest that young earth creationism is simply unscientific, exegetically weak, and untenable.

24 Responses to “Why I Believe Young Earth Creationism is Simply Dead Wrong”

  1. This is impressive.

  2. Just about every time I find what appears to be safe ground to stand on, a post like this shakes me a bit (for which I’m glad).

    I couldn’t agree more with your last sentence and my excursions into BioLogos (a reformed type of Theistic Evolution, I think) sometimes mean more questions than answers. Not that that is inherently wrong though. I think from what I’ve studied and read about cosmology, it really drops the house of YEC cards.

    Thanks for priming my mind.

  3. Max –

    I think you are confusing the framework hypothesis with the documentary hypothesis. I agree with rejecting Wellhausen, but there is much conservative scholarship to commend the framework view. The framework view basically claims that the point of Genesis 1 is not chronology as much as it is the drama of God’s creative work. We in the 21st century are too attached to our iPhone clocks and precise schedules. Considering the culture of the original audience and the difficulties of constructing an anomaly-free chronology, this seems to be a point well taken. Anyway, it is probably true that EVERYONE uses some allegory in interpreting Genesis.

  4. I smell a bit of Hugh Ross in here 😉 Don’t worry: he’s a wonderful man! And yes I am pretty unsure about YEC; OEC seems more logical.

  5. Sounds reasonable. Just curious, do you think that the genealogies were tracked for nearly 60,000 years? If so, was this process superintended by God in the interests of biblical inspiration, or instead an extraordinary feat of ancient record-keeping?

    • Thanks for the comment Peter. I tend to lean more towards the ability of ancient peoples to keep records, whether it be verbally or written. Of course, the intent, weakly actualized by God, was for biblical purposes.

  6. Max Andrews,

    You believe that “the days in Genesis are long periods of finite time,” and indicate the fact that this is “one of the four [grammatically permissible] literal definitions of yom.” Can you explain the rationale for applying this particular definition in the Genesis creation account? Thanks in advance.

    • Well there are a lot of problems with choosing any of the twenty four hour or less than twenty four hour uses. The creation week becomes backwards with the sixth day being quite jam packed and Gen two uses that particular usage in a clearer way as well. Not to mention the scientific evidence.

      • Max Andrews,

        What are the problems that arise when defining ‘yom’ as a 24-hour solar day? I am not sure what you mean by “creation week becomes backwards,” for example. Could you identify the problems that arise? (Incidentally, “the scientific evidence” is not directly relevant, for I am asking a textual question vis-a-vis exegesis.)

  7. Let’s assume that this universe should be formed through Big Bang theory. Questions have to be raised. Why is it that Big Bang theory could create perfect galaxies that a planet would revolve around another instead of the danger that anyone of the planets would crash with another easily and that would cause the earth not to be in secure position? For instance, the moon always revolves around the earth and it would not crash it and the distance between them remains constant. The same is for the earth to the sun. How could Big Bang theory be able to create these perfect galaxies unless there is one behind that controls all the planets that causes perfect galaxies to be formed. For religious people, i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Muslims, call it as God.
    For instance, if this world would be formed in random order through the Big bang theory, the following events would appear: The earth might be formed too near the sun and to cause many inhabitants to be hurt; or the earth might be flying everywhere in the universe without guidance due to these be formed in random order through Big Bang theory; or the sun might well be formed stagnant in one place and leaving the earth to fly everywhere among the galaxies so much so that all the inhabitants might not be able to enable sunlight; or the earth might fly everywhere or even worse, the danger to hit against the sun; or etc. What if the earth would be formed too far from the sun, all the inhabitants would be in the darkness for 24 hours. Currently, all the galaxies in this world seem to revolve around the sun instead of the other way round. It seems to be that there must be some kind of supernatural being controls it. Religious people call it, God.
    If the universe would be created from Big Bang theory, the above is the likeliness of the world since nothing is controlling it and everything is formed in random or messy order. The whole universe would be disorganized and one could find hard to determine which planet was rotating against which.
    From the above, it would come to the conclusion that Big Bang theory is unrealistic.

  8. The reasons why the data that have been gathered for red shift and blue shift from the observation of galaxies through the use of telescope might not be served as a guide that the world would be expanding:
    a) The accuracy of the telescope that has been used to determine whether the galaxies would be in red shift and blue shift in order to conclude that the galaxies would moving away or towards the earth could be in question. In short distance of viewing an object, the telescope could identify accurately the change of the size of planet from big to small or small to big so as to give signal whether it should be in blue shift or red shift. However, if the object is placed very far away from telescope, the object that is shown in the screen on the telescope would be very small. The telescope might turn up to show one signal as a result of its inability to identify the accuracy of change of size of the object as if that all the galaxies are moving far away from the earth. Or in other words, it might have given wrong signal that the world would be expanding due to the inaccuracy of the telescope since it might be accurate in short distance with a big object and yet it might not be accurate if if would be in very small and tiny object that would appear on the screen when it would be placed many miles far away from the earth. Thus, the accuracy of the telescope might be in question since it has not been tested whether it could be accurate when objects would appear to be very tiny and small on the screen..
    b) The telescope might have been tested on earth to be accurate in short distance and yet it has not been tested from one galaxy to another so as to determine whether it is still accurate to measure the movement of object in the galaxies that is located in many miles far away from the earth.
    c) If you would blow a balloon, all the substances in the balloon would be shaken and vibrated. Even if they would be creatures inside the balloon, all the creatures would feel the strong pressure, i.e. wind, pulling them towards the corner of this balloon. Why is it that we that are on earth would not feel the pressure that the earth would be expanding? As we know if we blow the balloon, all the things in the balloon would fly away and would turn up to be in messy order. Question has to be raised. Why is that the air would still remain on earth despite the great pressure that has caused galaxies to advance as a result of expanding? No matter the pressure would externally influence as a result of the world expanding, nothing has affected the earth and it seems to be that something is controlling the earth to make it a secure place. Religious people call it, God.
    d) If you blow a balloon, all the substance would go travel towards the corner of this balloon. Let’s use blowing balloon to explain the galaxies. Let’s assume that you blow from the Mars, you would certainly see blue shift as well as red shift since some galaxies would move towards the earth from Mars. If you would blow from the sun, the same, you would still see some galaxies moving towards the earth since there are some galaxies from the sun would move towards the earth from the sun. However, if you would blow from the earth as a centre outwards, you would then see all galaxies would be moving far away from the earth. Now question has to be raised. The assumption that all galaxies would have been moving far away from the earth seems to presume that the earth would be stagnant and all galaxies would be advancing away from the earth. As the earth would turn up to be the centre of the universe, it turns up that a person would view from any side of the earth would turn up to be that all galaxies seem to moving away from earth. This seems to be weird and irrational.
    The reliability of data gathered from scientist that the world would be expanding is in question.

  9. The ultimate stage for both Steady Stage Theory and Big Bang Theory, has found problem for the query about how both system could develop into a stage of universe with orderly manner in which the earth would revolve around the sun within its galaxy instead of flying all around the universe. For instance, if the universe would allow itself to be generated itself through Steady Stage Theory or Big Bang Theory, this universe might not be developed into perfect galaxies in which planets would rotate themselves within its galaxy. Besides, the earth might well be formed many million miles far away from sun so much so that the earth would not receive sunlight and would turn up to face the consequence of having 24 hours of night so much so that many plants could not survive without sunlight. As the earth has been formed not very far away or very near from sun, it seems to be that something should have the potentiality to control it to be formed in the right position that it could receive sufficient sunlight for plants to grow or be generated. Religious people call it, God

  10. There are many galaxies in this world and yet there is orderliness among each group of galaxies in which each orbit its own centre of mass. For instance, if the universe would be generated by itself through Big Bang Theory or Steady Stage Theory, the likeliness of disorderliness would occur that each galaxy would not orbit its own centre of mass. Instead, all the planets of the galaxies would fly around everywhere aimlessly in this universe and that would cause all the inhabitants on the earth to be in danger due to the likeliness that the earth to be crashed by other galaxies. Some galaxies might be even worse, to the extent, hitting each other. This is due to nothing would force the new galaxy to be formed to move in such a way that it would orbit its own centre of mass. It seems to be that each time when a new galaxy is formed, the same pattern, i.e. each would orbit its own centre of mass, would appear. The orderliness of all the galaxies in their movements around their own centre of mass gives the impression that there should be one that is in control of the entire universe. Religious people call it, God.

  11. The word, universe, as mentioned below refers to the entire system that is made up of many galaxies instead of a galaxy by itself.
    Big Bang Theory assumes that galaxies are advancing towards the edge of the universe as a result of the expansion of universe. The following are the few possibilities that our galaxy would be in this entire universe:
    a)As the universe would be expanding continuously, it is rational to presume that all galaxies, and these include our planets, would be influenced by the expansion of the universe to advance towards the boundary of the universe. As our galaxy would be advancing towards the corner of the universe as a result of the expansion of this universe, our earth could still identify blue shift due to we are not in the centre of the universe. Instead, we would be in the midst of galaxies that facing the same direction to move forward towards the corner of the universe. As all the galaxies (these include us) would be advancing towards the corner of the universe as a result of its expansion, they would be many galaxies that would be many miles behind the earth moving (as the same direction as our galaxy) towards the corner of universe. As there would be galaxies moving behind our galaxy advancing towards the boundary of the universe as us, there would appear blue shift since we could still see some galaxies advancing to us in which its movement could be to bypass our galaxy towards the corner of universe.
    b)It is rational to assume that our galaxy is in accelerating speed in which many galaxies would be moving far away from us. As a result of it, it reflects red shift. However, as our galaxy would be travelling faster than other galaxies, there would be a likeliness that our galaxy would overtake other galaxies that are moving ahead of us towards the corner of universe and that would reflect unavoidably blue shift. As our galaxy gets closer to those galaxies that are moving ahead of us since our galaxy is accelerating, those galaxies that are behind us would show red shift and those that are ahead of us in which our galaxy would overtake them soon as a result of accelerating, would show blue shift. Thus, it is inevitable to have red shift as well as blue if our galaxy is in the midst of those galaxies to advance towards the corner of the universe.
    From the above illustrations, it would come to the conclusion that as long as our galaxy was among the galaxies to proceed towards the corner of the universe, we would still be able to identify blue shift.
    Let’s assume that our earth would be stagnant in the centre of the universe, the above events would not occur since we would only see red shift instead of blue.
    To presume that our earth would be in the centre of the universe and all other galaxies would be advancing away from us, is rather irrational and not justifiable.
    The above have caused us to question whether it is accurate to use light from the star that is run through a spectrophotometer so as to determine whether it is red shift or blue for the determination whether the universe would be expanding.

  12. Let’s presume that spectrophotometer could be a reliable source to be used to detect all galaxies would be advancing further away from the earth. It might not give any sufficient reason that this entire universe would be expanding on the condition if our universe has already been extended into infinity. If our entire universe has already been extended up to infinity in the beginning of the creation of this universe or somewhere later, the red shift that is reflected in spectrophotometer nowadays could only reflect the advancement of galaxies and it would not imply the further expansion of universe since the space of the universe has already been extended in the infinity without any end initially and needed not to been extended further currently.
    Some might have pointed out that the website below, has computed the size of the universe to prove that there could be a boundary of this universe. http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=151 The formula that they use to compute the size of the universe is by means of the basic 184K mi/sec speed of light x the estimated 15 billion years age of the universe. The above computation is based upon the assumption that the universe would be expanding. As the assumption that the space might not be extended fully and it assumes that the extension of space would progress accordingly with the age of universe as well as the speed of light, the computation of the size of the universe has been done by using the age of the entire universe to be multiplied by the speed of light that travels in space. Now a question has to be raised. If this world would have already been extended to infinity initially, it is inappropriate to use the speed of light to be multiplied by the age of this universe so as to compute the size of the universe since this universe itself would have already been developed into infinity without boundary in the very beginning.
    From the above explanation, it would not be justifiable to conclude that this universe would be expanding simply by observing red shift in the sky since this universe might have already been extended to infinity without end initially in the very beginning.

  13. Though I tend to side with the OEC, I feel that we owe a lot of the YEC a debt of gratitude. Many of them were alone in the wilderness questioning Darwinian evolution when it was considered uncool to do so. Even many within the church were afraid to speak aloud about the issues concerning the origin of life. But, I remember reading as a teenager the works by Henry Morris and feeling emboldened. I don’t agree with many of the conclusions made by Morris, but he did point out the problems with the geological record, fabrications by the Darwinian camp and other trouble spots with Darwinism. Now, with the advanced discoveries made concerning the human genome and other matters that lie at the very heart of life itself, we know that the necessity of complex, specified information is a fatal flaw in the Darwinian framework. ONLY intelligent agency can result in the creation of such information, and no amount of natural selection with mutations mixed in for good measure can be responsible for life. Henry Morris was a pioneer, and I thank God for his influence in my life at a relatively early age.

  14. This debate has heated up since the recent Ken Ham- Bill Nye televised debate.

    There are a lot of semantics being played. While this later debate was not exclusively on the topic of the age of the earth it was mentioned.
    I think both opinions can be held within a Christian framework. I tend to move in the direction of young earth but only because if I just read as is… I dont see the allegory but I will re read to see any clues to the context.

    Max, did you create the picture of the galaxy? that is super cool.
    Have a blessed day (yowm hebrew word haha joke)

  15. Reading these stupid responses it is easy to see why the belief in ‘what ever’ will continue to plague real life. Clearly these folks do not understand the basic fundamentals of the known universe.
    I believe proven facts are ‘unfriendly’ to their ‘Dog’ma as it makes them’ and their beliefs rediculas. To the extent that they can not consider proven facts making, their statments sillley.

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