Young Earth Creationism and Old Earth Creationism

Hello BioLogos community. Some of you may have noticed that there has been a surge of high school students asking questions about the Bible and worldview in an effort to get their Bible class homework finished. I too, fall under this description. This is why I come to you with my question about Young Earth Creationism and Old Earth Creationism. For most of my life, I have been taught and gotten familiar with Young Earth Creationism, but I’m learning more about Old Earth Creationism and to me it seems more in line with scientific research that has been done over the years. I want to learn more about the perspective of people who went from YEC to OEC and if there were any defining attributes to YEC or OEC that made them make the switch.

Hi Casey, and thanks for stopping by! It’s been so neat to see so many new people here – even if it’s primarily for homework, you all are asking good questions and engaging in gracious dialog is a wonderful thing to practice – I’m still learning myself.

I started out very strongly YEC – I watched Kent Hovind seminar videos and my family visited the Creation Museum shortly after it opened. I was convinced that those who didn’t agree with that perspective were “compromisers” who didn’t care about the Bible and were on a slippery slope to atheism. There were probably several things that started me shifting to an old-earth perspective, but I do remember having some online conversations with people who were patient and not threatened by my position. But one of the big things was when my young son started developing an interest in dinosaurs. I just had an instinct to steer him in a different direction because I knew that liking dinosaurs would mean having to censor or explain away just about every resource we came across unless it was “young-earth approved.” That started me asking why. Why were we so free to trust science in so many other fields while treating the age of the earth as if it were so different? But my problems really weren’t scientific – they were theological. So I appreciate BioLogos and other EC groups that are showing that theology does not need to conflict with science. I feel like I’m able to answer questions and make observations more honestly now that I’m not trying to “prove” a young earth, even though I don’t feel like I have all the answers anymore.

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Thank you for your input! I also agree that censoring outside information that doesn’t support your point of view is harmful to other people as well as yourself.

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This forum was made by a scientist like myself who found value in Christianity. Thus it is all about accepting the overwhelming quantity of evidence coming from Earth and sky in every field of science which tells us not only that the Earth is billions of years old but that the species evolved from common ancestors.

It baffles most of the world including world Christianity why this sect of Christianity in the US has declared enmity against science by responding to all the evidence God sends us from the Earth and sky with calling God a liar.

One of the key things for me was coming to understand how science is done and that second thing (see later on). When I transitioned away from YEC I actually had already finished my PhD in Physics. My subfield, of nanoscale biophysics, doesn’t really deal with anything related to science/faith and the poisson nernst planck and navier stokes equations don’t have a controversial alternative interpretation to them.

One shocking thing I realized: I knew how hard it was to publish a scientific paper - from how much they are scrutinized to how careful I needed to be on my end… yet when I would read scientific papers on things like evolution or astrophysics (of which I was wholly ignorant) I gained this superpower to actually know better than the scientists themselves. I had this amazing ability to go ahead and selective choose a few parts of their paper, ignore the parts that disagreed with my perspective (YEC), and then believe I knew better than the people who spent years or decades working on a particular phenomenon.

Eventually, I came to really try to understand how it is that scientists came to the conclusions they did in different subfields than my own (i.e. through a very careful, detailed study of nature) and was sold.

The second part: It was helpful for me to have resources available that were written from a Christian perspective that were not YEC material. Because one of the lies that they often tell is that it’s either YEC or the atheist worldview. But that’s a bunch of nonsense and a false dichotomy! There are plenty of committee Christians who hold to different views on many topics and an array of such articles can be found at BioLogos or other places. Now I teach many Christians who come from a variety of backgrounds (mostly YEC) and think it’s really cool to draw attention to Christians who are doing leading science in many fields (like Francis Collins).

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Hello and welcome to our little spot in the interwebs. For me I was raised with the modern scientific understanding of evolution but when I went to a bible college I got into YEC because of the motto: '“If Genesis 1 ain’t true, then none of the Bible is true!” And as a person who wanted to take the Bible seriously (and still does but in a different and logical way) I took the idea to heart. Over the years after a graduated I started to have questions about YEC such as “If the earth is really 6,0000 years old, then why doesn’t the data show that but instead show a much older earth by millions of years?” Another one was “If the Flood was worldwide as YEC claims, then why don’t we see evidence of great flood damage such as human remains, dinosaur remains, and Cambrian era remains all mixed up with each other instead of fine divided layers as we see?” Thus these thoughts led be here to BioLogos and I was able to take back on evolution once again. I hope and pray that you find what you need for this project and you get the answers you need on this journey.
Peace and love from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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I myself am still firmly on the fence, and willing to hear evidence on all sides (as I would hope anyone would be to some extent), but the thing that makes me most sympathetic to OEC is the fact that when we look up at the night sky, and even further with our best telescopes, we see not just distant starlight, but a history of events that would have happened hundreds of thousands if not millions of years ago. a history that is not explained by God either creating light in transit nor accelerating the speed of light.

I am very sympathetic to the basic concept that anything that God ever chose to immediately create would have a certain appearance of age (e.g., the fish at the miraculous feeding, Adam’s body, etc.), and I would take no issue with that that per se, and don’t feel (as some people seem to) that by doing so, God would be being dishonest.

But seeing events in distant starlight, to me, goes way behind that. observing a supernova, or the cyclical dimming of light from distant stars caused by rotations of planets in front of them… if these things didn’t actually happen in the past, yet we’re seeing the “story” of them in the light that has eventually arrived here at earth, then there is light showing stars, and their history (supernovae, etc.) , that never existed. this seems firmly in the category of things that, if God did them, would have little other conceivable reason but to deceive us. This, and other such similar factors, is my biggest sympathy toward OEC.

someone else posted a similar observation that i thought very insightful. it would be one thing to create Adam as a man fully in every conceivable way resembling an adult human male, even if he was but a few minutes old. it would be quite another thing for Adam to have had a scar that gave every impression that he had been wounded, and then seen that wound healed and scarred over, when he had only been created minutes ago. the first seems to me the inescapable, natural, or reasonable result of something “mature” having been created immediately by God’s power… the second seems to serve no purpose but to create a false narrate and evidence of an unreal history. The first seems consistent with the the God of scripture, the second to me does not.

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