What is the real motivation behind Christian leaders today when they attempt to justify rejecting a young earth and six literal days of creation? Are they really arguing from Scripture using a grammatical-historical interpretive method? Or are they actually influenced by ideas outside of Scripture concerning the supposed old age of the universe/earth and the nature of what is deemed to be “science”? I suggest the latter is the case.
In a recent blog post on the Gospel Coalition’s website, Justin Taylor (Senior Vice President and Publisher for Books at Crossway) wrote on “Biblical Reasons to Doubt the Creation Days Were 24-Hour Periods.” But every argument he attempts to use has already been answered by others, and I suggest that his real motivation is that outside influences have already lead him to postulate whatever reasons he can try to muster not to be adamant about six literal days of creation in Genesis 1. For instance, he begins the article by quoting fallible humans such as, Augustine, J. Gresham Machen, Edward J. Young, Carl F. H. Henry, and Gleason Archer. Now except for Augustine (who postulated around 6,000 years for the age of the earth), all of the others accept an old age for the earth/universe. That is really the motivation behind why these people try in some way to allow for long ages to be added into the Scriptures. Augustine was somewhat confused in regard to what to believe about the creation days of Genesis 1 and his views changed over time.
As I have collected material from many Christian academics since the late 18th century (when the idea of millions of years was developed by geologists), I have found over and over again that because of the outside influence from the secular world in regard to an old earth/universe, so many of these Christians will try to reinterpret the days of creation, or somehow allow for long ages somewhere in Genesis 1 in their attempts to justify meshing Genesis with what is claimed to be “science.” Of course, when the word science is used in relation to the age of the earth/universe, we are dealing with historical science (beliefs based on fallible assumptions) not observational science (the kind of science that builds technology).
I am prepared to go out on a limb, on the basis of my experience in the biblical creation apologetics ministry and of all I’ve read over the past 40+ years, to say this. When Christian leaders today are rejecting a dogmatic stand on six literal, 24-hour days of creation and a young earth, if you search their writings or question them, you will find that ultimately their thinking is being controlled by the belief in an old earth/universe (billions of years). Even though some try to claim that is not so but that they are just looking at what the Bible says, if you ask the right questions, I assert, you will find this strong influence is there. You simply do not get the idea of millions or billions of years from Scripture—it comes from outside of Scripture. The belief in millions and billions of years has so permeated the world, and has permeated the church, especially Christian academia.
And thus I am saying the age of the earth/universe comes down to an authority issue. For a more in-depth understanding on the six days of creation, the age of the earth, and compromise in the church, I encourage you to read my book Six Days, which details an understanding of the meaning of the word for “day” in the Old Testament and also illustrates with much documentation the influence of millions of years on the thinking of many Christian leaders.
Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5–6)
Here are three articles that deal with every point Justin Taylor brings up in his latest blog on the gospel coalition site.
If you reject the six literal days of creation, try to step back and ask what your real motivation is.
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