Young Earth Creationism and the Plain Meaning of the Bible

One of the arguments of young earth creationists, in defence of young earth creationism vs old earth creationism, is that YEC stays faithful to the “plain meaning of scripture”. They say, any other variety of creationism is a compromise that leads inevitably to loss of faith. I admire the desire to stay faithful to God’s pure word. For that reason, I was once attracted to Young Earth in the first place. However, now I think that the “plain meaning of scripture” is actually something other than what YEC thinks.

How can I speculate that the “plain meaning” of Genesis 1 isn’t what we might think? For one thing, a careful reading of the 6-day creation account reveals this curious fact: the earth itself is excluded from the 6 days of creation. Rather, it is presented as “without form and void” prior to the 6 days. So, when was the earth created, and why was it without form and void?

Historically, I wonder what the Christian stance about geocentricism was like at that time. Now, we can look back with a perspective that was not available at the time. Perhaps geocentricists saw science as threatening the plain meaning of the Bible then? Whereas now, we’d perhaps say that geocentricism was a misreading of the Bible, and we Christians can believe that the earth goes around the sun without considering it a compromise to challenges from science and atheism.

Historically, the “plain meaning” of the Bible has often not been plain at all, until God revealed it. For the early New Testament church, the calling of the Gentiles, which in hindsight was plain in scripture, was a real shock to them (Acts 10:45). For the Jews, the identity of Jesus Christ as the Messiah was an insult to their expectations of what the Messiah should be, although in hindsight Jesus’ role as Passover lamb for our salvation was manifestly important and prophesied through the Law, the Prophets and the Writings right from the beginning (Luke 24:44).

Today, I wonder just what God really means by Genesis 1. One day, the Bible being true, God will be shown to be right all along, and the Bible true. As for humans... we aren’t always granted to know the full truth. Even the faithful man Daniel had the task of recording a message in the Bible which he himself didn’t understand (Daniel 12:8-9).

Comments

Old earth

There are a few websites advocating and old earth. See http://www.bibleandscience.com/science/ageofearth.htm for example.

- Craig

YEC

How do these YEC arrive at 6000 years? But tracing the OT/NT genealogies. The Bible no where explicitly states the earth is 6k years old. If you compare the 2 genealogies of the NT gospels (matthew & luke) you see they do not align. Matthew was keen on making the count of the generations be even. From King David to Jesus they don't jive at all. The point. The genealogies are obviously not intended to be accurate, so it is wrong to determine the earth's age from such an inaccurate source. They were making a literary statement, not a scientific one. That is where the literalist go astray and justify people's doubt in the Bible.

Church fathers reading of Genesis

Centuries before Darwin, the Church Fathers had their questions about the "plain meaning" of the early chapters of Genesis. The idea that the days of Genesis 1 might not be 24-hour days is ancient. See, for example, Hugh Ross' book "A Matter of Days."

There is always seen

There is always seen controversial between religious and scientific idealism. According to Bibilical point of view, the earth is the center and every planet in the galaxy surrounds the earth. In the meantime, science has proven that sun is the center and all the planets along with the earth round the sun. It is all about controversy between the concept of geocentric and heliocentric. If we keep aside the controversy, then we could find the Bible really amazing in term of bible lessons and its powerful hidden truth.

geocentirc view

OK, where does the Bible say that the earth is the centre of anything. Certainly, the earth is a focal point because that is where god put the pinacle of his creation, mankind. But to hold the view that the world is the centre of the universe is not biblical.

Robin Smith

My point

My point was that while we generally don't believe now that the Bible teaches geocentrism, yet historically it was considered a Biblical teaching that came into conflict with scientific discoveries of that day.

Having pointed out that historical misinterpretation of the Bible on a scientific matter, I propose that we should take care not to make the same mistake on the scientific/Christian debates of this day.

The Bible's purpose is not to provide scientific revelation, but revelation of God and His righteousness. But the creation account of Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 is probably the most significant part of the Bible that seems to be making some definitive scientific statements, as well as the more general revelation that God is the Creator of the world and the entire universe. As for definitive scientific statements, I wonder whether we are reading it right, and specifically believe that the young-earth interpretation isn't reading it right.

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