Friday, April 11, 2014

What is an Old-Earth Creationist?

Wikipedia defines a young earth creationist as someone who believes the earth is between 5,700 and 10,000 years old. They believe that the Lord created the world from nothing in six, 24 hour days. They do not believe in evolution. This is all very clear.

But when it comes to the old earth creationist, clarity is lacking.Wikipedia gives no time frame for the old earth creationists. Some believe in evolution and some do not. What is an old-earth creationist? I am not being snarky here. I really want to know. I feel like this term is thrown around with only a very fuzzy definition. So here are some questions for Christians who would describe themselves as old-earthers or those who who have interacted with them.

Do you believe the world is millions of years old or tens of thousands? (Are there even Christians arguing that the earth is 25,000 years old? 50,000 years old? 100,000 years old? I have not heard this. This is not what secular old earthers argue for. My understanding is that old-earth creationists believe the earth is millions/billions of years old, not tens of thousands.)

If you believe the earth is only thousands of years old, why? (Again I have not heard this theory said or implied in any of the study I have done of old earth creationists.)

For those who believe the earth is millions of years old:

Do you believe that only land +water has been around for millions of years (Creation days 1-2)? Or do you also believe that plants, fish, birds, and animals have been around for millions of years (Creation days 3-6)? (I have not heard anyone argue that only the first two days are millions of years, but I guess this is possible.)

Do you believe man has been around for millions of years? If you believe men lived prior to Adam, when did Adam come into existence and did those men who lived prior to Adam die ? If you don't believe men lived prior to Adam and you do believe there are millions of years between us and Adam where do you find the millions of years in the Biblical chronology?

Do you believe evolution is part of the process by which God populated the globe? Do you believe man evolved from a lower species?

There are two reasons I would like to see these questions answered. First, old earth creationists need to be clear about what they are and are not saying. Saying, "I believe in the Framework Theory" or "Yom can mean great ages of time" is insufficient. It allows one to slide out the back door without really stating his opinion on what is really the point: the age of the earth and evolution. Old-earth Christians need to clearly explain their position on these two things. If they say they do not know how old the earth is, then I will ask, "Could it be less than 10,000 years?" If they answer, "No" then I will know they are not age of the earth agnostics. They do know how old they think the earth is, they just won't say.

The other point is that in secular science the age of the earth and evolution are two sides of the same coin. The reason the earth needs to be millions/billions of years old is to support the theory of evolution. Without evolution, why posit an earth that is millions of years old? I think old earthers want to say the earth is old without saying they believe in evolution. It is possible to say this. I know many evangelical men do. But can one logically separate an old earth from evolution?

I know there is variety among the old-earthers, but clarity on the age of the earth, evolution, and the link or non-link they see between the two would be very helpful.

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8