Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Grudem on Young Earth vs Old Earth

How old is the earth then? Where does this discussion leave us? [Davis] Young’s arguments for an old earth based on many kinds of scientific data from different disciplines seem (to the present writer at least) to be very strong.

Although our conclusions are tentative, at this point in our understanding, Scripture seems to be more easily understood to suggest (but not to require) a young earth view, while the observable facts of creation seem increasingly to favor an old earth view. Both view are possible, but neither one is certain.

Given this situation, it would seem best (1) to admit that God may not allow us to find a clear solution to this question before Christ returns, and (2) to encourage evangelical scientists and theologians who fall in both the young earth and old earth camps to begin to work together with much less arrogance, much more humility, and a much greater sense of cooperation in a common purpose.

Progress will certainly be made if old earth and young earth scientists who are Christians will be more willing to talk to each other without hostility, ad hominem attacks, or highly emotional accusations, on the one hand, and without a spirit of condescension or academic pride on the other, for these attitudes are not becoming to the body of Christ, nor are the characteristic of the way of wisdom, which is ‘first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity,’ and full of the recognition that ‘the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace’ (James 3:17-18).
- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 307, 308

5 comments:

Jessica said...

I love point #2. I'm not sure where I fall in the old earth/young earth debate, and I find the in-fighting to be very unhelpful. The Bible doesn't clearly state one or the other, so we should be able to have friendly discussion of this topic.

J. Gary Ellison said...

"...at this point in our understanding, Scripture seems to be more easily understood to suggest (but not to require) a young earth view, while the observable facts of creation seem increasingly to favor an old earth view. Both view are possible, but neither one is certain.

"Given this situation, it would seem best (1) to admit that God may not allow us to find a clear solution..."


Generally, I love Grudem's Systematic Theology, and while I agree with the rest of his statement that you quoted, it puts "the observable facts of creation" on the same level of authority as Scripture.

The "observable facts of creation" are all subject to interpretation and it seems to me, if we are to hold Scripture as the final authority, we must allow Scripture to interpret the observable facts of creation. 2 Peter 3:6 speaks of those who willfully ignore the universal Flood. That Flood explains why we keep finding "living fossils" like the coelacanthe which according to the so-called fossil record had been extinct for 80 to 160 million years. Clearly, the fossil record has been misinterpreted. I won't go on, but there is much material available at answersingenesis.org.

Mark and Maki said...

Mr. Ellison,
You've nailed the point exactly. I love Grudem, but let Scripture be Scripture and let us leave conjecture and theories to historical "science" - a field of science that does not even deserve the title.

Real operational science- the kind of science that has brought us all the technological advances we enjoy today- is completely confirmed by testable, observable, repeatable data. However, historical events, by very definition cannot be observed, tested or repeated by science. They are at best a psuedo-scientific endeavor.

Unfortunately the scientific voices we hear today are sifted very finely for us to hear just what people itch to hear. (See "Expelled" for example.)

Mark and Maki said...

Let me just add...
All dating methods have major issues and rely on major assumptions once past a few thousand years.

Anonymous said...

If Genesis 1 are long periods of time and not 24 hour days, then how can God truthfully say to us in Genesis 5:5 that all the days of Adam were 930 years and he died?

Just wondering...