The Origins of Young Earth Creationism

@Terry_Sampson thanks for the background on Ham’s family. It humanizes him, which is always a good thing, especially with those with whom we have sharp disagreements. No doubt, belief in a young earth can readily be had from a literal reading of the Scriptures. I just wonder when and how the creationism part was added to his way of thinking. (You mentioned concordism, but I’m thinking more about the specifics, like flood geology.)

Perhaps a small example would help.

Ken Ham talks about baramins in this article:

Did Ken Ham come up with baraminology all on his own? Probably not. Chances are, he got this view from other creationists, and as shown in the @KJTurner 's above, those ideas can be traced back to George McCready Price.

I also did a quick search over at AiG to see if they cite closed sea shells as evidence for a catastrophic flood. Sure enough, they do. Guess where that argument came from? George McCready Price.

We are seeing scientific arguments for a young Earth, and a massive portion of that tradition traces back to Price and the SDA’s.


Yeah, so we agree … to the comma. I haven’t gotten around to KJTurner’s post yet. I’m not as quick as I used to be.
After that comma, I say, "Yeah, … his Australian parents who may well never have heard of Price until after 1961.

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Why me, of all people? I believe that there is no need for conflict between science and religion, and that the field of science is greatly improved when we have a diversity of beliefs and philosophy amongst scientists. I also think I can better understand my own self by being challenged by others, and it affords me the opportunity to better understand people who believe differently than me.


He’d be a great Language of God podcast guest! @jstump

You keep saying this. Do you understand that EG White was the originator of these ideas which found some way into modern YEC? White did not plagiarize anyone. Price promoted White’s ideas with attribution, if not formal citation. That’s not plagiarism. Whitcomb and Morris copied some of Price’s work without attribution, and THAT is plagiarism.

I’m pretty sure that further traces to White, though I don’t have a cite for it.


Good info, @Terry_Sampson on how Ham grew into YEC. It would be an interesting story to hear how that led to moving from Australia to Kentucky to build his little empire. My cynical self says is probably the same answer Willie Sutton gave when asked why he robbed banks, but perhaps not.

Welcome back, Dan! ; - )

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As much as I believe that he esteemed his father and mother, and as much as I believe that he was a committed and studious YEC-cer, I can’t help thinking along the same line. Ken posted in his blog and in AiG:

    • February 5, 2020, upon the death of John C. Whitcomb:

    • ""Dr. Whitcomb greatly impacted my life. During my final year of university studies in 1974, I first obtained a copy of his book The Genesis Flood (co-authored with the late Dr. Henry Morris). This book, along with others I had gotten, gave me biblical and scientific answers to those who attacked the record of the flood in Genesis.

      “This was one of the first books we sold in the ministry that began in our home [T.S. note: my interpretation, “meaning: Australian AiG 1.0”] in Australia in 1977 that eventually became the Answers in Genesis organization that now impacts tens of millions of people a year around the world. It was a book I showed my father, and he was so thrilled to see answers to the objections so many people in the church raised against taking the flood account literally.” [Source: Ham’s remarks]

  • Then there’s this 02:36 Youtube video interview: in which he says he was invited to speak in the U.S. in the 1980s, and to “come over” and help, Eventually, he decided to start American AiG 2.0 [my words] and moved to the U.S. in 1987.
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The SDA origins of the modern form of YEC is something well documented by historians, not a conspiracy theory.

From BioLogos history fellow Ted Davis:

Many conservative Protestant writers also believed that Noah’s flood had been geographically localized, covering part of the ancient Near East but not the whole globe, an interpretation popularized by the English abolitionist theologian John Pye Smith. Most writers in this period believed that the flood did not have very much geological significance, whether or not it was “local.” In short, they did not believe in Flood Geology.

During this period, belief in the combination of a young earth and Flood Geology was prominent only among fringe groups such as the Seventh-day Adventists, who followed the creationist views of prophetess Ellen G. White. She claimed to have experienced trance-like “visions” in which God revealed various truths to her. Describing a vision about the creation week, she wrote about how she was “carried back to the creation and was shown that that the first week, in which God performed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day, was just like every other week.” (This connects closely with Adventist teaching about Saturday worship.)

White’s ideas were later popularized by another Adventist, the Canadian schoolteacher George McCready Price, who wrote dozens of books over six decades. Price was inspired by White’s “revealing word pictures of the Edenic beginning of the world, of the fall and the world apostasy, and of the flood.” The more he delved into White, the more he saw a need to spread her ideas and to combat what he regarded as the godless theory of evolution.


Sorry for the confusion: there were two well-known 1800s Michael Tuomeys. The one that @paleomalacologist is referring to is the South Carolina (followed by Alabama) state geologist (who died in 1857), not the New York politician (who died in 1887).

As a tangential example, not as a source.


Various people though history have arrived at some sort of young-earth position. Typically, this originates from relying on their own interpretation of Genesis 1 (usually in translation), although once an idea gets started in a particular group, it then develops a following. Ellen White is one of those who made up their own young-earth position. As she gained a following, her legacy continued to spread young-earth ideas. Price’s efforts to invent scientific-sounding arguments in support of White’s young earth position, largely by attacking legitimate geology, were heavily plagarized by Whitcomb and Morris, who popularized the young-earth position among conservative Christianity in the 1960’s. The modern young-earth movement is the product of that. As Ham’s family illustrates, young-earth views existed elsewhere, but the modern movement supporting such views with bogus science grows out of Adventism.


Read through it again, more slowly. I referred to Baugh as a particularly nutty young-earth advocate who participated in a Hare Krishna “documentary” [“Mysterious Origins of Man”, if anyone wants to look it up], not as a reliable source. It was illustrating the fact that the “old earth” approach of Hare Krishnas is actually quite different from the “old earth” position of modern geology, just as the “young earth” position of Ussher is quite different from the “young earth” position of Ham. Likewise, it should not be too hard to guess that the Michael Tuomey who wrote Geology of South Carolina (Details - Report on the geology of South Carolina - Biodiversity Heritage Library) is not the politician.

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That’s pretty much what the video says.

I have to add, that while we don’t have many Adventists in my area, I did have an Adventist co-worker once. She was a very nice, devout Christian and respectful of others. I helped her find sources for non-dairy milk, which wasn’t easy to find at the time. She said that healthy eating was part of the Adventist message. An Adventist developed processed breakfast cereal, which was considered a health food at the time. At any rate, cold cereal is certainly popular these days.


My mom was in an Adventist hospital for a couple of days when she was dying. I appreciated that the cafeteria was set up with prepackaged self-serve on Saturday. The rest of us should be so faithful to observe the Lord’s Day of rest with respect to commercial activity.


In a lot of ways, the hospitals I’ve been in contact with that are Adventist associated have been the best run and given the best patient care. Despite their sort of quirky history, the SDA folks I know are basically Baptists who meet on Saturday, and who have a healthier lifestyle.


I was a member of a church plant when we lived somewhere else, and one of the places we met on Sundays was an SDA church. We were thankful for them!

And to Dan’s comment,

YECs and SDAs can be off on some things (and militant YECs, way off), but in general we agree that Jesus is true, and in more than one sense of the word.


Is that like a phicus??? :wink:

Sorry, I wasn’t clear enough. This YEC was grateful for EG White’s prophecies about creation and the global flood.

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Ah. Yes, that is different! And obviously, I was mainly speaking to soteriology. Militant YECs (and some others) as well as some SDAs can get the hierarchy of importance skewed.

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