The Origins of Young Earth Creationism

Here is a video explaining the origins of Young Earth Creationists, and it may come as a surprise to many YECs. As I’ve explained before, modern young earth creationism came from the visions of Ellen G. White, the prophet of Seventh Day Adventists. In one of her visions she saw the earth being created in 6 days. But she also says there were other inhabited planets at the time. The video is very well done.
The Origins of Young Earth Creationism


Christian fundamentalism and belief in a young Earth

The rise of fundamentalist Christianity at the start of the 20th century brought rejection of evolution. Its leaders explained an ancient Earth through belief in the gap or in the day-age interpretation of Genesis.[38] In 1923, George McCready Price, a Seventh-day Adventist, wrote The New Geology , a book partly inspired by the book Patriarchs and Prophets [1890] in which Seventh-day Adventist prophet Ellen G. White described the impact of the Great Flood on the shape of the Earth. Although not an accredited geologist, Price’s writings, which were based on reading geological texts and documents rather than field or laboratory work,[39] provide an explicitly fundamentalist perspective on geology. The book attracted a small following, with its advocates almost all being Lutheran pastors and Seventh-day Adventists in North America.[40] Price became popular with fundamentalists for his opposition to evolution, though they continued to believe in an ancient Earth.[38]

All of these British - like Lyell, Darwin - publications by YECs precede White’s by at least half a century.

1 Like

She made prophecies of the Lord’s return just like Charles Taze Russell.

It seems to be a part of human nature that you just need enough social momentum with a large body of believers and it will roll right over the failure of such prophecies to come to pass.

If not for these false visions in opposition to science, I would give them the benefit of the doubt for their religious sincerity. But leading so many in opposition to science has done incalculable harm and I cannot be so understanding.

1 Like

Probably there are many YECs who don’t realize that their beliefs originated with this prophetess. In the period before Ellen White came along, few believed in a young earth.

Apart from all the British intelligentsia I linked to.

I said “Few”

Thinking it over.

You’re right @beaglelady.

I apologize.

Regardless of the fact that a significant proportion of the early C19th British intelligentsia opposed the emerging facts of geology, American folk culture would not have been aware of that at the time, less so by White’s time, 1890, and even less so by her disciple Price’s, 1923.

It’s a function of cultural loss.

To be fair, a belief in a young earth, fixity of species, and a recent global flood existed before White and SDA starting pushing the idea. What was specific to White was a movement to try and scientifically justify their beliefs. I think it would be more accurate to say that White founded scientific creationism, which is the form of YEC that we so often see. White inspired George McCready Price to form the foundation of scientific creationism, and that torch was passed on to Morris who introduced the concepts to the larger Protestant population in the 1950’s. Organizations like AiG can trace their heritage straight back to White, Price, and SDA.

What is most interesting to me is that the arguments Price came up with are still common today, even though they have been thoroughly debunked for quite some time now. Much of scientific creationism is repeating the same falsified arguments, but with more cowbell.


All an inevitable part of civilization being stretched past its elastic limit.

Would it be correct to say the belief in a young earth was waning before White came on the scene?

Out of curiosity I looked up Price’s The New Geology and was surprised to read this in the Preface.

Why would a geology text be concerned with evolution? I read an article by White (which I can’t find now) where she expressed her concern that belief in evolution would lead to a belief in an old Earth and not a literal six day creation. Which would lead to throwing out the Sabbath (certainly a problem for a SDA). I have seen YEC argue that belief in evolution, which requires large amounts of time, is what drives geology to propose an ancient age of the earth. And here we have Price making the same argument in 1923.

1 Like

Not true. In the early 19th century, before she had her visions and her beliefs found traction, few believed in a young earth. and nobody used the phrase “Young Earth Creationist.” Watch the video. It’s very good.

That’s the impression I got from my very limited reading. For example, antievolutionist William Jennings Bryan of Scopes Trial fame was an old Earther.

“Evolution” is just a stand-in for modern science.

Adam Sedgwick was a quite famous geologist, and he at least held onto a literal Noah’s flood in the early 19th century before admitting that the evidence just didn’t support it.

There was also a long history of young Earth beliefs in Christianity:

However, I would agree that YEC is a modern term.

Well, we can’t argue with Wikipedia, which seems to be the gold standard around here. But I’m talking only about young earth beliefs, not the flood, and the period In the early 19th century, before White had her visions

wow…that is an incredible statement! I am an SDA and that one is a new version of “being blindsided”… i havent ever had it come from a perspective such as this one before. SDA’s get blamed for a lot of things (and quite rightly so), but this one???

Now let me forward some enlightenment here:

Since the mid-20th century, young Earth creationists—starting with Henry Morris (1918–2006)—have developed and promoted a pseudoscientific[10] explanation called creation science as a basis for a religious belief in a supernatural, geologically recent creation, in response to the scientific acceptance of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, which was developed in the previous century. Contemporary YEC movements arose in protest to the scientific consensus,

and this

A 2017 Gallup creationism survey found that 38 percent of adults in the United States held the view that “God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years” when asked for their views on the origin and development of human beings

and this

Among the biggest YEC organizations are Answers in Genesis, Institute for Creation Research, and Creation Ministries International.

and this

Young Earth creationists have claimed that their view has its earliest roots in ancient Judaism, citing, for example, the commentary on Genesis by Ibn Ezra (c. 1089–1164).

and this

The chronology dating the creation to 4004 BC became the most accepted and popular because this specific date appears in the Ussher chronology that was included in many Bibles from 1701 onwards, including the authorised King James Version .

and this

The youngest ever recorded date of creation within the historic Jewish or Christian traditions is 3616 BC, by Yom-Tov Lipmann Heller in the 17th century,[21] while the oldest proposed date was 6984 BC by Alfonso X of Castile.

and this

The Protestant reformation hermeneutic inclined some of the Reformers, including John Calvin[25][26] and Martin Luther,[27] and later Protestants toward a literal reading of the Bible as translated, believing in an ordinary day, and maintaining this younger-Earth view.

and this

An Earth that was thousands of years old remained the dominant view during the Early Modern Period (1500–1800) and is found typically referenced in the works of famous poets and playwrights of the era, including William Shakespeare:

…The poor world is almost 6,000 years old.

A word of advice, please at least do some personal research from reliable sources before coming up with conspiracies…its right there at your fingertips and you would have found all of the above information with a google search of credible publishers.

Now since you raised EG White, you have now provided an opening for me to add in some information about her that i would imagine few bother to learn or appreciate…

EG White published 80 books, and around 5000 articles during her lifetime. She is now credited with about 130 published books (about 50 attributed to her writings and published since her death).
She is one of the most prolific writers in history…at the time of her passing, she had amassed 100,000 pages of written material.
Her most popular book is “Steps To Christ” it has sold tens of millions of copies around the world.

Now before anyone goes down the pathway of her being an uneducated delusional witch, i would suggest you note the amount of published material and ask yourself the question…if she essentially couldnt read or write, how did such a massive quota of written material come from her? Yes she did copy other peoples works, there is no doubt about her use of outside resources and not correctly referencing them, however, what is always completely ignored is that someone who had no formal education is “hammered mercilessly” because they failed to use academic standards in referencing! That is a gross misrepresentation of who she was.

Whitcomb and Morris repackaged Price’s work and presented it to the larger Protestant church. Modern YEC can be directly tied to White, Price, and the SDA church.

1 Like

Did I say she couldn’t read or write? (And so what if she wrote a lot?) The fact remains that she and her religious visions kickstarted the modern Young Earth Creationist movement.

I fully agree that a young Earth had fallen out of favor by the early 18th century because of the findings of modern science. My only point is that young Earth beliefs had existed prior to the emergence of modern science, so it wasn’t as if White invented the idea of a young Earth from whole cloth.

1 Like

Im sorry but in all honesty, sometimes i think my intelligence is insulted by the conspiracy theorists…it gets to the point where i wonder whether or not answering is a waste of both my intelligence and good air?

You are simply playing games with new words…politicians have been doing this for centuries. They win government, seek to leave a legacy, and come up with a new name for an age old institution!

I am a former high school teacher, the number of teenagers who use the “play on words excuse” when they have been caught out…

But hey, you know what, if you want to give the Seventh Day Adventist Church credit for this (considering in the early 1900’s its membership was tiny (about 75,000))…then go right ahead. Clearly for such a small group they had a wonderful marketing campaign and influence around the world!

There are plenty of sources saying the same thing:


“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.