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Is a Young Earth View the Only One?

Is a Young Earth View the Only One?
Apr 01 Tags: creation | 6 Responses Print Save as PDF

Sadly over the past few decades a divide has taken place in evangelical circles around the subject of when the universe was created. What’s even more unfortunate is the type of language used to defend either view.  There’s a kind of mud slinging that goes on and as Christians we should rise above that type of attitude.

For example, according to Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis, “Believing in a relatively ‘young earth’ (i.e., only a few thousands of years old, which we accept) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator.” [1]

In other words if you don’t believe in a young earth then you must believe that the Word of God is fallible.  This would be passionately denied by many old earth creationists. 

Seven days that divide the world

One proponent of a possible old earth view is John Lennox, a professor of mathematics and a fellow in the philosophy of science at Oxford University.  Lennox is well known to many assembly believers having spoken at various assembly conferences.  His book Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science deals with his views on the topic.

First impressions

Reading through this book it’s easy to see that Lennox is a very smart guy. His arguments are well thought through, and he uses Scripture to back many of his claims.  I have seen many videos of Lennox debating atheists and talking about the defense of the faith and a striking quality is his humility and grace. This also comes through in the book. He’s not out to attack other views, but he humbly shares his own.

The danger of scientific theology

He starts his book by expressing his concern about tying theology to science. He makes a strong case that it’s better to get our theology right first before trying to state how science fits in.  Science changes and so does our understanding of the universe. Our beliefs should not fall just because we understand science differently.

He states, “The major thrust of my argument so far, then, is that there is a way of understanding Genesis 1 that does not compromise the authority and primacy of Scripture and that, at the same time, takes into account our increased knowledge of the universe, as Scripture itself suggests we should (Rom. 1:19-20).” [page 64]

Sin before the fall?

One of the main views of young earth creationists is that it’s impossible for there to be any death before the fall of Adam.  Quoting Ken Ham again, “I’m a revelationist, no-death-before-Adam redemptionist!”   Lennox offers a different view, and I found this section one of the most fascinating in the book.

He gives various arguments as to why death did occur before sin. He makes it clear that death of humans did not happen until Adam sinned but describes how other forms of death were taking place.  He also spends some time talking about the effect of Satan in the garden, a creature who had already sinned.

Conclusion

Am I a young earth creationist or an old earth creationist?  At this point I’m still searching.  Lennox offers credible views and from a brilliant man it’s not hard to sit back and give it attention. I highly recommend this book, for at the very least it will stimulate your thinking and sharpen your thoughts.

1. https://answersingenesis.org/why-does-creation-matter/a-young-earth-its-not-the-issue/

Crawford Paul

Crawford is an elder at Thorold South Gospel Chapel in Ontario and has a passion for the assemblies. He and his wife Beth serve in various ways within the assembly to build up and encourage the believers. He is president of Believers Stewardship Services Canada, an organization focused on helping individual Christians, local churches and Christian organizations with financial, legal and governance matters. Check it out at bsscanada.org

6 Responses to Is a Young Earth View the Only One?

  1. Thanks for sharing Crawford. This is a tough but unavoidable issue, and one that we need a lot of humility when addressing, which you have expressed. It’s very dangerous when we make theological battlegrounds over issues that are never said to be essential to salvation. Of course it’s essential to believe that God alone created all things (Romans 1, Colossians 1 etc.), but the Bible never says how old the earth is, or the universe for that matter. I would encourage anyone who might have their feathers ruffled by this post to go back and read Genesis 1 and 2 and look carefully at each use of the word “day.” I would also encourage you to check out the Believers Bible Commentary on Genesis 1:2, and watch John Lennox’s talk on this subject at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FmO2XKMe6g

  2. Leonard VandenBerg

    Ken Ham makes it very clear that the age-of-the-earth-debate is not a salvation issue, but an authority issue. I do agree that we should show Christian grace to one another, but this doesn’t mean that we cannot be emphatic as to what we believe on this issue. Is it not a bit unkind for John Lennox to indirectly compare young-earth creationists to people that believed in a fixed earth in bygone days?
    As far as I can see it, all the other views beside a young-earth-explanation somehow try to accommodate millions of years and/or evolution of some sort.
    Romans 8:19-22 says that the state of our present creation is “bondage of corruption” from which it will be delivered in the coming day. Also, passages like Isaiah 11:6-9 & 65:25 indicate that the Millennial reign of Christ will greatly impact the animal world. It’s interesting to compare the similarities/contrasts between the beginning of Genesis and the end of Revelation. What is lost in Genesis is regained in Revelation. Here is a review of the book John Lennox wrote by Simon Turpin, obviously “a very smart guy” as well…
    https://answersingenesis.org/reviews/books/review-of-seven-days-that-divide-the-world-john-lennox/
    Here is another article by the same writer:
    https://answersingenesis.org/death-before-sin/did-death-of-any-kind-exist-before-the-fall/

  3. Jaby Jacob

    I’ve always associated the “death before sin ” argument as one against human evolution, as it flies in the face of original sin. Never thought of it as an argument for “young earth”.

    I haven’t read Lennox’ book. What does he say dies? and, how does that tie into age of the earth?

    I might need to pick up this book just to read this section… 🙂

  4. William Kelly wrote:

    There is a passage in Isaiah which seems to me formally to contradict the notion that God created the earth in a state of chaos. As to heaven it is not pretended; it is only a question of the earth. We shall best see the importance of this by-and-by. Now, in a well-known passage of Isaiah (45:18), the Spirit of God is explicit that God did not make the earth in the chaotic condition which is familiar to all the readers of ancient mythology. It is a statement which made a considerable impression on my own mind, because in it the Spirit of God seems distinctly to contradict the idea that the earth was created in emptiness or confusion. “For thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens, God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it; he created it not in vain: he formed it to be inhabited.” Our translators in using the expression “in vain ” evidently turned tohu aside from the literal import. The fact is, it is very much more forcible when taken in connection with the passage in Genesis 1, 2. One of the terms Moses employed in verse 2 is used by Isaiah, who declares that Jehovah did not create the earth so. What conclusion can one draw but that Moses described an after state, and not the primary result of God’s creation!

    His article on creation is worth reading: http://stempublishing.com/authors/kelly/7subjcts/creation.html

  5. Mike Klomp

    The viewpoint of Dr. lennox is not a new one and has been preached at different times in my lifetime. I have always felt uncomfortable with it on a few premises. Romans 5:12 says “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” So here we have a few points made by the apostle Paul being that sins origin for this world and effects on this world were through one man. In Colosians 1:16 States another realm with which the angels were in and had influence to the earth from as seen in Job and Daniel, the point is that sin did not enter the world, or this worlds system until it came through Adam. As to answer the idea of when sin came upon Satan who would then act upon man and Mans system there is a good article at the following website, (please read this) https://answersingenesis.org/kids/angels/kids-feedback-when-were-the-angels-created/
    From Romans 5:12 we see that death came through sin and thus affected all of mankind and we see in vs. 14 again that sin was from Adam to Moses so we see a beginning of sin entering the world and death as its result. It has been suggested that death had to be around before sin and I will have to say that this is a supposition based on what we see today and not what God called “Good” as his creation. We can all agree that we have no Idea what it was to be created in God’s image as seen in Adam and Eve because that image has since been corrupted by sin. So saying that there was bacteria affecting the food going through our bodies in the result of creating waste being death is a supposition. We don’t know that there was waste or even “stool” in the days that God championed as good. In saying this I would hate to make a definitive statement about an Old Earth based upon an assumption that no person outside of Adam and Eve have ever seen. Could God not have made bodies that were perfect and without waste and yet built into them the ability to expel waste seeing that He is an omniscient Creator knowing that man would sin? I would have to say that I would have to agree to disagree with our brother on the position of an old earth as I do not see anything negating a young earth.
    The words Null and Void have been the object of much scrutiny for a long, long time. The words are simply unformed and unfilled which makes perfect sense of the six days of creation being that the first three days were the forming of what would be filled on the next 3 days. What was formed in day 1 was filled in day 4 and day 2 to be filled in day 5 and day 3 to be filled in day 6.Unformed and unfilled are very different from null and void which is also entirely different from the idea of chaos. Could God call the earth that He created good having had chaos in its creative past? God stated that everything was good, and chaos is never seen as good. In 1 Corinthians 14:40 Paul states that everything was done decently and according to order which also goes back to 1 Corinthians 11 speaking of the order of headship which has its roots in the Garden of Eden in the order of creation. Chaos before sin simply does not make any sense in the days of creation, but God forming and filling in the 6 days of creation makes perfect sense.
    A very few thoughts for consideration.
    Mike Klomp

  6. Helmut Zimmermann

    Exodus 20:11 For in six days Jehovah made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, … Tell me what is excluded that God did not make in those six days?

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