I’ve been attending a seminar presented by a smaller young-Earth creationist organization. I respect the speakers for their commitment to the inerrancy of Scriptures, and their proclamation of the gospel. I share their trust in the Bible, and my heart is lifted any time I hear Christ proclaimed as God’s sacrifice to take away our sins; the only way to God.
The first seminar was a good presentation of design in the living world and how it points to God. Whether one buys into intelligent design or not (I mostly do), the marvels of creation should never fail to amaze us.
Last night, I attended the session on “Dinosaurs and the Flood.” Most of it was what I expected, having read a lot of young-Earth creationist literature. Dinosaurs, of course, are interesting to people of all ages, and there were a lot of young children in attendance; no doubt they were fascinated to be able to touch the fossils on display out in the hallway.
The promotional flyer for the weekend had a quote: “Evolution is the number one reason students give me for rejecting the Gospel” That may be true. There is a naturalistic philosophy that many attach to evolution that is in opposition to the Gospel; this is clear in the bitter arguments of the “new atheists.” I would contend that this naturalistic philosophy is not a necessary part of evolution. I would like to counter with this: “Young-Earth Creationism is the number one reason scientists give for rejecting the Gospel.” I haven’t taken a survey, but this statement might not be too far from the truth.
I’ll give an example.
I was surprised at the seminar when the speaker brought up some “evidences” for dinosaurs and humans coexisting that have been repudiated by the two major young-Earth creationist organizations. Back in the 1970s and early 1980s, one of the prominent arguments for Flood geology—the idea that Noah’s Flood was responsible for most of the geologic column—was the Paluxy River footprints. These are dinosaur footprints preserved in the Cretaceous Glen Rose formation in Texas, not too far from Fort Worth. Creationists claimed that there were fossilized human tracks in the rocks as well, and entire books and movies were made about these trace fossils. The evidence against this, however, was so overwhelming that the Institute for Creation Research backed away from the claim in the mid 1980s. All of the “human” footprints turned out to be either dinosaur footprints or frauds (or ambiguous, some would say). This is still the position of ICR, and it is also the position of the other large U.S. young-Earth creationist organization, Answers in Genesis. AiG lists the Paluxy River tracks on their “Arguments we think creationists should NOT use” page.
To use these arguments will only drive scientifically-minded people away from the Gospel, not draw them to it.
I asked the speaker about why he used the Paluxy tracks in his talk, and he said that he talked to a forensic scientist who thinks some of these really are human. If this is true, then why do ICR and AiG still reject the “evidence?” And how much does this forensic scientist know about geology? Probably not much.
I am concerned about two things:
- First, I am concerned with how this sort of presentation affects our young people: the teens in the crowd, and the little kids who were in the hallway touching the fossils. If they are taught that the Bible teaches that dinosaurs and humans coexisted, and that these tracks are proof (and therefore that the tracks are proof that the Bible is true) then what will happen when they go off to college and find out that it just isn’t so? I fear that our youth are being set up for a fall.
- Second, presentation of material like this will drive scientists away from Christ needlessly. Let it be the Gospel that is foolish (1 Cor 3:19), not our arguments.
In a future post, I’ll write about how footprints in stone—whether dinosaur, human, or any other type of terrestrial creature—don’t fit into a young-Earth creationist Flood geology scenario anyways.
Grace and Peace
Image: Paluxy River dinosaur footprints, Wikipedia: Paluxy River, photographer: Robert Nunnally