Former YEC's, what made you change your mind?

I was just interested in hearing from former YEC’s on this site, as I know there are many. How did you end up changing your mind? What was it like explaining to friends and family members that you changed?

I wasn’t exposed to the YEC teachings until I was an adult, and was amazed at how much it had infiltrated a lot of churches. I heard that those that leave YEC end up losing their faith.

I would just be encouraged to hear from those who haven’t lost their christian beliefs, and what your story is.

During my senior year of high school at a conservative Christian school started by a PCA church (whose senior pastor is now the headmaster), I took a Christian Philosophy and Apologetics class. The teacher was (to my mind at the time) rather liberal; he did not believe in strict inerrancy, he accepted the evidence for an old earth and evolution, and he was Anglican (those baby-baptizers - lol). Anyway, about midway through the year he began presenting his arguments in favor of a non-literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and the evidence for an old earth (specifically, the many independent dating methods which demonstrate the 6,000-year-old earth hypothesis drastically untenable). This put a burr in my saddle and made me curious; so I began researching for myself and came across BioLogos. I can confidently say that I never made YEC the foundation of my faith, and when it was shown to me rather clearly that Genesis is not intended to be a scientific record of the earth’s beginnings, but rather a counter-story (polemic) against the other ancient Near Eastern cultures, I had no problem then accepting the evidence for an old earth and evolution. It made no sense to put Genesis in opposition to something that it wasn’t in opposition to. Crisis of faith averted.

I know many others have had it rougher than me, but when Christ is the foundation, then a change of mind on creation should have no ill effects.

If you want to read more of my story, I wrote a blog post about it, but what I’ve written should give you a general idea:


The tipping point for me was Scripture and Jesus. Seeing these two things clear gave me confidence to see the obvious genetic evidence for evolution and change my mind. Without Jesus, I would still be a YEC, or maybe an atheist.

1 Like

Two things pushed me over the edge:

(1) My study of the Hebrew text of Genesis was quite jolting. I saw that ERETZ usually means “land”, “country”, “nation”, and sometimes the KJV Bible even translated it as “wilderness of _____” To translate ERETZ as “earth” in the sense of “planet earth” was a jarring anachronism. Even today, ERETZ YISRAEL refers to the “Land of Israel” or “Nation of Israel”, not “planet Israel”. And when I started reading new Bible translations in the 1960’s and 1970’s, sure enough, the translation footnotes at the bottom of each page of Genesis 1-10 kept making that clarification about ERETZ.

(2) My study of KJV English led me to realize that in 1611 even the English word “earth” had a meaning much closer to ERETZ. That is, at the time of the KJV translation, a mention of “earth” was not so much about “planet earth” as “the opposite of sky” and “the ground”, the soil one tilled to plant a crop. I realized that “the heavens and the earth” was not so much cosmological as a simple reference to “everything above and everything here below.” I realized that the ancient Hebrews weren’t thinking in terms of “planet earth”. Their cosmology was a very simple one. They lived on a soil ground, the land, and they saw the heavens above. We must resist reading modern notions of “planet earth” into the text.

(3) As a Young Earth Creationist, I was increasingly troubled by the deceptive quote-mining of my “heroes”, people like Drs. Morris, Whitcomb, and Gish. I watched them mislead audiences and promise to correct errors that they never corrected—and would actually repeat a few weeks later at another Bible conference. They were resistant to giving up discredited arguments. My blind trust in people who happened to agree with my Bible doctrines was shattered. I began to realize that their agreeing with my interpretations of the Bible and praying fervently was not a guarantee of honesty or reliability.

Frankly, it was not until some years later that I finally had time to really investigate the scientific evidence more thoroughly. But it became obvious early on that there was zero evidence for a global flood—neither in God’s creation nor in the Hebrew text of Genesis. I couldn’t shake the enormity of that discovery. And I became increasingly aware of the many silly blunders of “pop exegesis”, such as the false claim that “the circle of the earth” refers to a spherical planet earth. (In Hebrew it clearly refers to the horizon which encircles every observer looking around at a 360degree view of one’s surroundings.)

Realizing that there was a lot of scripture ignorance and scientific ignorance within my “creation science” community was hard enough—but coming to grips with the deception and dishonesty was truly crushing.


So I was only really a YEC during elementary school, when my mom (who homeschooled us) gave me YEC materials because she didn’t know any better (in homeschool catalogs, it’s usually the only origins-related material available). The game-changer for me was encountering the books of Hugh Ross, an old-earth creationist. My aunt, who was (and is) a biology teacher, gave me the books and told my mother that YEC is craziness and she should stop giving me their materials. My memory of those times is not crystal clear, but I remember the “distant starlight” problem being a big factor that helped convince me. I just couldn’t fathom why God would create the universe in such a patently deceptive way.

It helped that my family and church community were not dogmatic about YEC, although they were universally anti-evolution. The evolution issue proved to be much more difficult than the age of the Earth. I didn’t become an evolutionary creationist until reading The Language of God in my first year of college.

I wrote my story out in greater detail here:


I was also homeschooled through fifth grade, and YEC/ID books were the books that were available. But we also spent lots of time at the museum and library and watched PBS, and my parents weren’t militant young earth and they didn’t censor other materials. My pastor growing up was old earth. He liked the gap theory and that is what he taught us in junior high Sunday school. In high school, my mom who was an RN, used to read my biology text book because as she said, “They didn’t even know about most of this stuff when I was studying biology and organic chemistry in nursing school.”

I went off to college and took Biology at Wheaton. The professor spent a class talking about the various Christian approaches to origins and said he personally thought God used evolution and the world was very ancient. I thought that was interesting, but I didn’t think much about it. One of my friends was a geology major and she would argue the pants off anyone who suggested the earth was young, so by that point I was pretty convinced what I had learned as a kid about the age of the earth was completely suspect, but I honestly didn’t care that much.

My brother majored in physics at Taylor and came home and told my parents young earth creationism was a bunch of hooey and he could explain why. They basically said, “Well, go ahead and use your own brain, that’s fine with us. You’re the one studying science and your professors know more than we do. We like young earth creationism though, so we’ll stick with it.”

I got married and my husband had never been taught YEC and he and his brainy family thought it was beyond ridiculous, though evolution was a different thing. But his sister went to med school and she was like, “No evolution makes lots of sense.” We didn’t argue with her, but we were still a little skeptical.

For me the “crisis” that shifted my perspective on how to approach the Bible was not instigated by science, it was secular feminism. I was in grad school. The entire department was female professors. I was studying discourse analysis and sociolinguistics and a big part of what we were learning centered around analyzing how power dynamics are established and maintained through language use and culture. I also had classes that focused on anthropology and cross-cultural communication which really opened my eyes to how differently people experience the world. The narrative that Christianity is a tool to oppress women and maintain unjust sexist systems was very salient. So, I read thousands of pages of conservative complementarian theologians and Evangelical feminist theologians trying to deal with the cognitive dissonance I felt from growing up in a complementarian denomination where women were definitely kept in their place by certain ideas of “biblical womanhood” and the new information about systemic sexism and the construction of race and gender that made lots of sense intellectually and experience-wise.

Those thousands of pages on women and the church helped me understand in a much deeper way the idea of cultural contextualization of Scripture, the exegetical process, the idea of a redemptive hermeneutic, and the concept of narrative theology. I unpacked my baggage and rebuilt my worldview for a good five years or so.

All that to say, I had done that hard work by the time I started reading BioLogos white papers when they first started the website. I was really only interested in the Bible interpretation ones. Since my approach to Scripture had already been challenged and overhauled, nothing I found there was particularly troubling, just thought-provoking and informative.

Then we moved to Mexico and I had to start teaching my kids, and all the homeschool curriculum was YEC and anti-evolution, so I decided I better figure out how I was going to approach evolution. I read Falk’s Coming to Peace with Science and so did my husband. So we kind of felt like we had been lied to by all the anti-evolution folks, but it seemed like a no-brainer when all the evidence was laid out for us. I kept reading BioLogos articles to try to become less ignorant about the science I missed growing up, but I’m still really most interested in the Bible interpretation aspects of it all.


Enjoying the stories. I can’t say I ever was a real YEC believer, but grew up in a conservative rural church and family where the Bible was taught as literal and inerrant, which drove interpretation and the presentation of Genesis into a defacto 6 day creation scheme, though I don;t recall any of the 6000 year old earth stuff being presented when growing as a child in the 1960’s.
However, if asked, I am sure every member of our church would say creation took place over 6 days, and Noah and the ark was literal. My parents were high school educated, and really never discussed science or theology other than the basic nuts and bolts, but I was blessed by their being open to education, and spending a big chunk of of change on several sets of encyclopedias, including a science encyclopedia. That really opened the door to me to another world than the farm.
As I grew to a teenager, I was aware of some of the conflicts with evolution, and was somewhat fluid in my belief as to young vs old earth, but an event that sealed the deal was when we drilled an irrigation well on the farm, and the test pumping from the Ogallala aquifer 400 feet under my feet below the seemingly endless plains, revealed sand and crustacean shells. The true geology was beyond my knowledge, and would have made me marvel more, but knowing that deep within the earth at my feet at one time in the distant past was a shoreline with seashells, even though we were 500 miles from the nearest beach, and 3000 feet above sea level, made any consideration of a young earth out of the question. My dad also marveled at those shells, expressing his amazement of creation, and gave me them to keep, where they remain in a pill bottle in my dresser drawer today.
Certainly, there are more vivid examples of ancient creation, but to see and hold those shells is still a marvel to me. I feel that sort of personal experience and physical contact is important and encourage others to get out and look at the world around them, instead of playing on their computer. Which is something I need to do now.


My parents were never YEC, but my school was (UK free school) and since my parents didn’t talk about their beliefs, I assumed they were too and that was what all non-liberal Christians believed. I was an enthusiastic reader of the giant stack of AiG magazines that school had and the multi-volume Answers book.
The change was kicked off when I got The Handbook of British Archaeology as a Christmas present and I read it from the start - the section on the Palaeolithic. When you read through the chart of glacials and interglacials and technological developments, it’s pretty clear that you can’t plausibly cram this into 500 years (the time for the Stone Age that AiG gives). And I thought the Ice Age was really cool, so that gave an emotional impetus to believe in an old earth. For a long time, though, I clung on to thinking “I’m sure the creationist scientists have an answer” - it became clear, however, that they didn’t have a good one.
What persuaded me to change was this reading this online debate and seeing how the EC had much better exegesis, and I instantly embraced evolution. I felt Palaeolithic history breathe a sigh of relief as it no longer had to cram itself into a few centuries, and I said to myself “hurrah, I get to believe in the Ice Age now!”


yec didnt infiltrate…whoever told you that is a liar.
Read 2 peter chapter 2 (carefully). You will note that peter is clearly a believer in the flood wiping out all life on earth except noah, a believer in the complete destruction of sodom amd gomorah, and claims he was an eyewitness to the ministry of christ and received his revelation from God as well as the prophets!

Secondly, People do not lose their faith because secular scientific belief conflicts with the bible. They lose their faith because of unbelief in the bible…specifically in the gospel that christ died for sin (romans 6.23 for the wages of sin is [physical] death) so that those who believe on him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Btw, physical death also results in conscious death. The bible clearly says, the dead know nothing and they have no more reward.

Third, perhaps you are not aware that evidence shows Homo Erectus, Neanderthals, and modern humans not only were contemporary, but also inbred (homo erectus skeletons found in Ngangdong beds date 27,000-50,000 years) So the apparent evolutionary timeline from ape to man through that branch is false…especially given the Java beds themselves are supposed to be 1.8 million years old!

Its a delusion to think people leave the faith because of YEC. That is complete nonsense and it is also antibiblical.

  • The bible also clearly says, in Luke 23:
    40 But the other [i.e. the second criminal] answered, rebuking him [i.e. the first criminal]: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? 41 We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he [i.e. Jesus] said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
1 Like

I was thankfully never raised up in yecism, but the cultish paradigm was never outright dismissed. So as a kid and a teen I heard both stories, from various pastors, family and people. I ended settling on an agnostic like view that “we just don’t know we are just humans and maybe evolution is true and maybe not”.

As a kid one positive influence for me was science textbooks. I have always been a very avid reading of fiction and nonfiction. Before I started listening to audiobooks and podcasts, I would read 1-2 books a week and have consistently done so since I was a kid around 30 years ago. I still read but it’s more around a book a week now but I listen to around 40-50 hours of podcasts and audiobooks a week now. Sometimes I’ve went though ten books a week.

But as a kid who liked to read and liked science already my parents use to see ads in the paper or get letters in the mail about book sets. I have one memory of my dad once spending several thousand dollars on two book sets of science related stuff. One I still have some of. The other I think they all got stolen, but was all about animals. It was like 40 books total. I was given 2-3 a month for over two years before they gave them all to me that was remaining and that was my Xmas and birthday gifts for 3 years lol. While these books did not discuss science bs faith, it was all pro science.

So what ultimately changed my mind was me considering just a handful of facts.

  1. We have a geological record of extinct animals. We have at least 40,000,000 fossil pieces. These geological layers are superimposed. Older layers ar a e under new layers. These layers contain and don’t containvarious species.

  2. Within that fossil record we have evidence, solid proof, of speciation. We can look at any species from insects, flowers, to humans. We can look at modern species and find similar creatures in this fossil record. We can trace back modern species to their basal common ancestors of their genus and family by looking at the development of divergent traits. So we don’t see humans predating the earliest primates and we don’t see primates predating the earliest mammals and we don’t see mammals predating the earliest tetrapods. So we never, not even once, have found a human or a chimpanzee in a geological layer predating the earliest mammals.

  3. This fossil record of speciation in superimposed geological strata also have many elements in them. We can look all these elements half lives from carbon which is just shy of 6,000 years to a uranium form decaying to a lead form with a roughly 700,000,000 year old one.

Then we see that all of these work together. They all support each other. Now we have genetics and it’s also supporting it. We can look at every field of science and see proof.

Additionally we can look at work by biblical scholars to show why yecist are dead wrong about their misunderstanding of science, nature and reality.

YECism is very dangerous. It deceives the most gullible at their intellectual vulnerability. When one starts to raise up out of it, they are told to repent, go to hell, disfellowshipped, and yards yards by conspiracists who thinks millions of scientists are lying or deceived.


Hi - and welcome, @OrthodoxAndLearning. You’re in the right place to discuss all these very things!

I noticed in the other thread that you are hoping to find some other Easter Orthodox participants here, and I’m pretty sure you’ll get a response or two. At least I think I know of some who hale from that tradition. And even though I’m not one myself, I do consider myself an admirer. I may not know a lot about Orthodox beliefs, but such as I’ve heard seems to resonate well with various convictions I’ve come to for myself recently. And my discernment of church fathers may have more in common with your tradition than many of our western ones. I’m an admirer of Origen, for example - not that I’ve studied or read him extensively. But everytime he comes up in the writings of others, he comes off looking pretty good to me!

So, in any case, even though I may be an outsider to the Orthodox tradition, feel free to consider me an enthusiastically curious listener to whatever you bring to the forum here!



A prehistory course at college. We had to read Guns, Germs, and Steel by Dr. Jared Diamond. Three things really convinced me:

  • Plants such as grains, fruits and vegetables were gradually domesticated. They did not suddenly exist such as in the garden of Eden.

  • The reliability of dating methods. My church told me that for objects before the flood carbon dating is useless. (Because the water layer that protected the earth against radiation was now gone.) Yet carbon dating is calibrated by means of dendrochronology.

So this sounds a bit like your story @OrthodoxAndLearning . Welcome by the way! :slight_smile:

  • It is just impossible to fit the whole archeological record in just 6000 years. (Even less when you think the flood destroyed every evidence of earlier civilisations.)

I had already read some books by Dr. John Walton, which helped me get a better understanding of how to interpret the Biblical text. But this college course really turned the switch.


That book made quite a few impressions on me too - and I learned a lot from it. Another of his books: “Collapse” was also quite enlightening.


I would suggest you purchase and read the book Bones of Contention by Lubenov.

get the kindle version…its very cheap

It will open your eyes to the very problematic issues in evolution that you really should know about before committing to listening to voices who refuse to even entertain that these issues are significant and discredit the theory.

For Christians, these problems are interesting because it just so happens that they are also in direct conflict with the biblical timeline. That in itself is enough philosophically, for a Christian to completely dismiss the entire Darwinian theory.

Now a caveat, before i get parcelled a Southern Fundamental Baptist Redneck…I believe in mutation as an evolutionary process. I believe that God design in all living things a mechanism to aid in survival when faced with a changing world (via the introduction of sin). Whether God foresaw this as a likely outcome and designed it in us just in case, or performed a miracle after the fall of Adam and Eve and modified all life to be able to cope…I am not at present theologically aware of problems with either model.

Related, but from the side door: you might be interested in becoming familiar with someone like NT Wright, an Anglican theologian, who has no worries about Christianity or evolution. He points out regularly that it just isn’t the issue in the UK that it is here in the US, or even Australia, “Surprised by Scripture” is a good book for lay people, he has many talks on youtube and articles on his own website. He writes both for the lay person and the academic.


This is a pretty good definition of evolution BTW.


Incidentally, my daughter is currently at Wheaton taking biology from the same professor. He just did a class survey of views on origins. Seven percent said evolution is definitely true. I think that might have been just my daughter. :upside_down_face: 58% are young earth creationists. She was surprised to be in such a minority. I told her the survey would probably come out different if he polled the same students in three years or ten years, but it does seem like the landscape has not changed much in a generation. Sadly.


But maybe it is encouraging that all those families are still supportive of an institution that isn’t YEC. If they were really hard-core YEC, their students probably wouldn’t be going someplace like Wheaton. Which would be consistent with many of them just defaulting to something like YEC because it’s never really been much on their radar of current issues to do battle over. […and how many of them would have known which position the professor standing in front of them personally favored? Because a lot of young students might be more interested in ‘which answer scores me the most points with this prof?’ rather than ‘what are my serious thoughts over this?’]


At a human level, I do find it discouraging that there are probably kids who were raised YEC and because of that upbringing they will never even consider a career in the sciences, a career that they may have found very rewarding if not for that upbringing.