On Matters of Age
Ultimately the disagreement between old earth creationists and young earth creationists boils down to the matter of authority. Evidence really has nothing to do with it.
The question truly is:
Which story of history is going to be trusted when it comes down to the origins of the universe, the world, and mankind; and I would add, which story of history is to be trusted as it explains the end of all things?
The biblical record revealed to men by our sovereign Creator tells us one version of the history of our origins. Fallen men, on the other hand, who labor under the noetic effects of Adam's sin, who also actively fight against their Creator, have concocted an alternative history that is contrary to the one recorded in Scripture as revealed to us by our Creator.
Theistic evolutionists argue that one cannot possibly read Genesis as a real, historical record because that "literalism" forces the Bible believer to accept young earth creationism. The "evidence" we see is just way too overwhelming in favor of an ancient world of deep time to hold to such a naive, childish understanding of Genesis. Instead, theistic evolutionists attempt to offer a mediating position between these two diametrically opposite authorities competing with one another so as to inform our understanding of history. They wish to recognize the sacred Word of God along with all the so-called evolutionary, deep time "evidence."
Yet, when the arguments put forth by theistic evolutionists are examined, one has to wonder how seriously they take God's revelation as being truly inspired and inerrant. While a good portion of theistic evolutionists (and by default, old earth creationists) claim to believe in an inspired Bible they tend toward elevating the authority of scientism over the authority of Scripture to speak as a divine revelation. Usually they appeal to hermeneutical alchemy so as to lend God a hand with the evidence. But that approach merely maligns the biblical text, pouring into the Genesis narrative bizarre interpretations that strip the language of any ability to communicate in a meaningful fashion.
If a person were to scan the comments of young earth detractors, they seem to be bothered by the "appearance of age" argument. In other words, they don't like it when biblical creationists say the evidence that is understood to be millions and millions of years old has "an appearance of age." Really, the position of the YE creationist is better described as believing God created a "mature, fully functional creation." Meaning, when God created the world, trees would be fully grown, animals fully grown, rivers, valleys, hills, even space, the sun, moon, and stars, all ready to be utilized by God's capstone of creation, mankind.
But the theistic evolutionists respond by saying such a view of creation presents a problem of a "false history." As one theistic evolutionary apologist notes, it would be like Jesus creating "false" bills of sale, and other such "evidence" when He changed water into wine so as to present a history about the origin of the wine that never really existed. In like manner, to ignore the so-called evidence for the "age" of the earth and claim God made it with an "appearance of age" is turning God into a deceiver, because He created this entire phony historical back story that never existed. Such things as ice cores that are 100,000 years old, star light that has traveled millions of years, sediment deposits that are suppose to be dated millions of years old, etc.
There are two problems with this argument as I see it:
First, it misrepresents the concept of a fully mature and functional creation. No one is arguing that God made things with "appearance" of age necessarily. Certainly God didn't create in a manner so as to deceive or provide a "false history." But God does make things fully functional and mature. Many things that are fully functional will be aged, or in other words, have the "appearance of age." Take the wine in John 2. Jesus turned water into wine instantaneously. It looked, and smelled, and tasted like "aged" wine, even though it was minutes old. A sommelier, without prior knowledge of what Jesus did, would certainly say it was aged so many years or whatever. A better example is Jesus feeding the five thousand. The fish and loaves were obviously created in just mere moments, but the fish never swam. They were never eggs that grew into baby fish that in turn grew over the course of a year or more to become fish ready to be netted, prepared, and consumed as a meal. The same is with the loaves. They did not come from wheat that was planted, that grew over the summer, that was harvested, threshed, turned to flour, and then made into bread to be eaten. A process which would take several months. Both the fish and the bread had "an appearance of age," or better, was fully functional to perform the purpose of what they were created to do: feed 15,000 people or more.
Secondly, and more to the point, theistic evolutionists unquestioningly assume the "age" of rocks and star light travel and all those things that specifically point, in their minds, to real, legitimate millions of years IS the real age of those things. It's the real history. But this presupposes a consistent uniformitarianism of the natural processes when in point of fact they ignore the actual miracle of God initially creating the world, the fall of man, the flood, as a major aspect to how we understand the physical characteristics and properties of these processes. Put another way, what they are thinking is old history based on the evidence is not the real history as they understand it. They discount those essential elements revealed to us by our Creator that have drastic impact on the creation.
Which means, as I noted above, the disagreement is ultimately a matter of which authority you allow to inform your perspective of the evidence as it relates to the origin of the world.
Labels: theistic evolution