What might be the spiritual origins of YEC?

Good observation, John. I think pride is a big part, but also tribalism and the desire to be accepted by one’s peers. If you are in a YEC church, the pressure to agree with those around you exceeds the desire to be correct most often.

It seems we have the tendency to add to what the Bible says. The Pharisees did it, the Catholic Church did it to the point of needing a Reformation, and we do it. Perhaps the evangelical church is worse than either of those, because we should know better. Thus we see dinosaurs on the ark, and the various end-times prophesies derived from texts that say no such thing, as we have to put those things in to make the scripture say what we want it to say, not what the Spirit leads us to understand.


Why invoke the supernatural. Surely this can be explained as a fundamentally emotional position, just like adhering to conspiracy theories?


Not sure this is germaine to the topic any longer but I’ll take the chance and say I agree with you completely regarding a devil being essentially a powerful God. While I can make sense of and value what it is that gives rise to God belief I have no use or respect for Satan belief. The best I can do is equate it to Jung’s concept of “our shadow” but that seems plenty different to me.


The Bible, and the Lord Jesus in particular, teach that Satan exists.

Yeah, that’s right. Good insights.

For me, I was confronted, as a pastor, with a couple that were adamant about YECism, making it a test of believing the Bible. They were divisive about it and wouldn’t listen to reason. I started looking for Biblical scholarship to prove the YEC interpretation wrong and found little. So I decided to write an article myself, have it approved by a peer-reviewed academic journal and published. It took about five years but just this week it is out.

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That may be so but I personally don’t find any use for the idea. While I get why God is compelling I find no case for Satan - as a non Christian.


In the Bible, Satan is a rather minor character, basically the prosecuting attorney in God’s courtroom. As in the story of Job, he can’t do anything without God’s permission. He’s not a rival god. Many religious people today have a more Zoroastrian (dualistic) view of Satan, as if he were nearly equal to God and the fate of souls and the world is still to be determined in a competition between the two warring deities. That’s thoroughly unChristian.


That doesn’t make it so even if He was the real deal. The Devil is easily seen as a metaphor for the human dark side, especially in Jesus’ starving vision from the mid 70s Quelle source (redundant phraseology I know) used in the synoptics. Jesus was FULLY human, whatever else He was.

As a narrative device it kind of makes sense I suppose. I’m probably most used to hearing it spoken of in my own family as a kind of malevolent force. Thanks.

Since the Bible is the Word of God and Jesus is God, what the Bible (and thus Jesus) says is the absolute truth. So, yes, when the Bible and Jesus say something (like Satan) exists, that does make it so.
Jesus’ temptation narratives are not presented as visions. Besides, there are numerous other accounts in the gospels of Jesus interacting with demons.
Also, since the synoptics were likely written before AD 70, Q existed prior to the mid-70s. I’m not sure where you get the assumption otherwise.

Not addressed to me but, if I may, I don’t think of the truth the Bible contains as consisting of propositional facts. I think with Jesus much attributed to him is in the form of teaching stories as opposed to detailed historical claims. Would you agree?

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So it’s absolute truth that the sole cosmos is 6025 years old for you? And all of Jesus’ parables and allegories are absolute truth? Jesus’ temptation (there’s only one) is rationally of a starvation hallucination. Even if the Devil is real. Jesus didn’t stand on the pinnacle of the temple or a mountain from which you can see all civilizations. Unless of course for you He did. Fine. None of the synoptics are rationally dated before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 (like the synthetic ‘Book of Daniel’ was written before its prophecy of the kings of the north and south failed and after everything it got right). And sorry, yes, Mark and Quelle are co-sources.

Stories are historical claims. Truth is propositional or it’s nothing.

Stories are not just historical accounts. We see Jesus using several narratives from literal to non literal to explain stuff. People have been budding fictional tales, hyperbolic examples and symbolism to tell truths for a long time.

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Read the article: "The Beginning of Days”, JBTS (beginning on slide 71, p. 153): https://jbtsonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/JBTS-6.1Part-2.pdf.

Of course Jesus’ teaches are “absolute truth” (as if there is any other kind).
Jesus didn’t have just one temptation.
All of the synoptics are commonly dated before or shortly after AD 70 by some scholars, including from the earliest church history. Irenaeus (AD 180) stated that Matthew wrote his Gospel “while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome” ( Against Heresies 3.1.1; cf. Church History 5.8.2). This would place the writing of his gospel around the mid-sixties AD (AD 61-68?). Papias (AD 130) states that “Mark became Peter’s interpreter, [and] he wrote down accurately, although not in order, all that he remembered of what was said or done by the Lord” ( Church History 3.39.15). If Nero executed Peter in AD 67, then Mark’s gospel would pre-date this time. While Irenaeus (AD 180) states that Mark “handed down” his gospel after the martyrdom of Peter ( Against Heresies , 3.1.2; cf. Church History 5.8.3), this could simply mean that Mark widely disseminated his gospel after their deaths. Several sources state that Luke wrote under Paul’s supervision (Muratorian Fragment, Irenaeus Against Heresies 3.1.1; Origen Church History 6.25.4). Thus also prior to AD 70.

The following scholars date Matthew as follows:

  • Lea & Black (2003): pre-70 AD
  • DeSilva (2004): post-70 AD
  • Elwell & Yarbrough (2013): pre-70 AD
  • Carson (1984): 60s AD
  • Harrington (1991): 70s AD
  • Morris (1992): 50s-60s AD
  • Blomberg (1992): 58-69 AD
  • Gundry (1994): 65-67 AD
  • Hagner (1998): pre-70 AD
  • Nolland (2005): pre-70 AD
  • France (2007): pre-70 AD
  • Evans (2012): 66-69 AD.
    Since most scholars accept Markan priority and the Q hypothesis, that means that both Mark and Q had to exist prior to Matthew.

I know this is a rabbit trail, but one reason YEC has allure is that Christians are taught there’s only one way Genesis can be true, because…

That writes off too much of what the Bible calls truth as nothing. When a builder judges whether a wall is true, they’re not talking about whether it exists but how well it aligns with the floor and other walls. Likewise, the Bible often speaks of truth in a moral sense:

  • “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, for all his works are truth, and his ways are justice; and he is able to bring low those who walk in pride.” (Daniel 4:37)

  • “But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” (John 3:21)

  • “If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true.” (1 John 1:6)

Real actions can themselves be judged as either true or false (see also Judges 9:16; Ezekiel 18:8; Daniel 4:37). Their truth isn’t based on whether they happened, but whether they are good and godly. Laws can be true (Nehemiah 9:13; Psalm 119:150–151). That doesn’t mean they correspond with what actually happens, but that they are good.

Truth is portrayed as an object that may be searched for or possessed (Jeremiah 5:1; Psalm 119:43; 1 John 1:8), or a path that one follows (Psalm 86:11; 2 Peter 2:2; 3 John 1:3–4). Even if a man who enjoys torturing others is known for making honest statements (“This will hurt quite a bit”; “I’m a very bad man”), he’s not true in the biblical sense because he’s not following the way of truth. Jesus’ claim to be truth (John 14:6) isn’t merely saying that Jesus made accurate statements about reality. After all, Jesus’ preferred way of speaking truth was fiction. Biblically, truth is so much more than – and often other than – propositional statements.


I think you may be overestimating the power of prose. Not all stories are historical claims, some convey information more in the manner of a symbol. If one only reads as deeply as the explicit phrases a lot can be missed. But your approach is up to you of course and it wouldn’t be reasonable to ask you to modify it on the basis of an agnostic’s sensibilities.

You used propositions, thus contradicting yourself.
If an action didn’t really happen, it’s not good or godly.
Parables aren’t “fiction.”

10 posts were split to a new topic: John and Klax exchange

Oh I could and I might if I didn’t think your intentions were honest and for the best as you see it. But as a grateful outsider enjoying the company of some folks who see some things differently than I do, I prefer not to be so blunt. I’m not sure about you yet but you could prove to be another good one so I’ll leave it there. Marshall is the one you should focus on since you start with so much more in common. That he and you don’t see eye to eye on this should be more interesting to you than what I think.


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

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