The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

My way or the highway — adultery edition

The age of the Earth is and should be a secondary doctrinal issue within Christianity. It is not up there with central Biblical teachings such as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, or justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Nor is it up there with doctrines such as baptism, the Lord’s supper, election, and the work of the Holy Spirit, all of which Christians have differences on.

Some young-Earth creationists will say that the reason the age of the Earth is a primary issue is because if one does not interpret Genesis the way they do, one denies the authority of the Scriptures on which all other doctrines are based. This allegation is demonstrably false. Like many other old-Earth Christians, I believe the Bible from the very first verse, and my old-Earth beliefs do not compromise a single core doctrine of the faith.

One example of a young-Earth creationist who looks at the age of the Earth as a primary doctrinal issue is Henry Morris III, CEO of the Institute for Creation Research, and son of ICR founder Henry Morris. According to the ICR article Geologist Claims Creationists Abandoned Faith (an article which brings up another topic I really need to write about), Morris was asked, “Do you believe that you can be a committed biblicist and come up with an old age view as [old-Earth Christian Glen Morton] has done?” Henry Morris’s reply was,

“It’s kind of like asking: Can you be a Christian and an adulterer.”

I’m wondering if Dr. Morris replies in a similar way to Christians who disagree with him on other doctrinal matters:

Christian: Can I be a Christian and differ with you on baptism?

Morris: “It’s kind of like asking: ‘Can you be a Christian and an adulterer?’”

Christian: Can I be a Christian and differ with you on the timing of events in the end times?

Morris: “It’s kind of like asking: ‘Can you be a Christian and an adulterer?’”

Christian: Can I be a Christian and differ with you on the Holy Spirit?

Morris: “It’s kind of like asking: ‘Can you be a Christian and an adulterer?’”

Grace and Peace

January 29, 2013 - Posted by | Age of the Earth, Apologetics, Christianity, Creation in the Bible, Geology, Old-Earth creationism, Origins, Young-Earth creationism | , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. The age of the earth is not a doctrinal issue at all. The Bible gives no information on it. It is only an extreme eisegesis that can invent such. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/in-the-beginning/
    I once shared a similar article with Dr. John Morris of ICR. He kindly said that he could understand how one could interpret the text that way.

    Comment by Michael Snow | January 30, 2013

  2. “It’s kind of like asking: Can you be a Christian and an adulterer.”

    I don’t think that question has the automatic answer he thinks it has. I’m pretty sure that a person can actually be a Christian and an adulterer since a person is not saved by the works he does or condemned by his sins, thankfully. Bad logic.

    Comment by RenéeD | January 30, 2013

  3. ReneeD, I’m pretty sure Morris wasn’t assuming a “no” answer per se. Obviously a Christian can commit adultery. However, to do so is sinful and violates doctrinal teachings. THAT’s what he was getting at.

    So yeah, Morris is still WAY off. Accepting the scientific understanding of the age of the Earth and the universal common ancestry of life is not sinful, nor is it contrary to doctrine (though it does contradict YEC *interpretations* of doctrine).

    In fact, I lay the error at Morris’s feet (to no more extent than is within my limited authority, of course): he needs to reread Romans 14 and think long and hard about “Accepting the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.” Obviously we might disagree about who has “the weak faith,” but anyone with eyes can see that this IS a “disputable matter”. I think we’re still free to discuss it, but Morris’s “judging” rhetoric shows that he is quarreling about it.

    Comment by matterhorn731 | January 30, 2013

  4. how do you account for the complete lack of fossil records showing evolution of sludge to man?

    Comment by jffryz | February 1, 2013

  5. jffryz,

    The age of the Earth is a separate issue from molecules-to-man evolution, and one that I do not deal with as much here at The GeoChristian. But I also recognize that the Bible does not say much, if anything, about biological evolution. Those who read “reproduce after their kinds” as “populations of organisms cannot undergo significant change over time” are reading a whole lot into one phrase. There may be limits to biological change, but that is more of a scientific issue than a Biblical one.

    I do think young-Earth creationists have a problem of their own when it comes to the fossil record (see my The stratigraphic column–not a figment of geologists’ imaginations). There are patterns in the fossil record that are extremely difficult to explain with one global flood. But we must remember that the Bible does not say that the fossil record was formed by Noah’s flood.

    Comment by geochristian | February 1, 2013

  6. That is why it was so hard for me to go to a church that believes in YEC. While some believers might be tolerant, there are others who insist this is a central doctrine like the Trinity and if you disagree you are essentially a heretic. YEC dominates everything. I mean, what if I talked to someone at church about astronomy, or said the wrong thing about my trip to the Grand Canyon. I could have been reported to the pastor and I probably would not have been kicked out of the church, but I probably would not have been allowed to volunteer as a church worker or serve on any board. And I knew that sooner or later they would bring in some YEC speaker and I would have to pretend to agree or be “outed” so I had to leave that church before it became a moral crisis. Churches that turn secondary issues into primary ones have no idea how they are driving away people – from the seeker to the mature Christian.

    Comment by Jacob | February 5, 2013


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