Charles Spurgeon was one of the great preachers of the nineteenth century, and like many leading Evangelicals of that time, he had no problem with the idea of an old Earth.
Today’s Pyromaniac’s blog has an excerpt from Spurgeon’s book The Greatest Fight in the World. In this short section, Spurgeon attacks the scientists who think they have somehow disproved God or the Bible. I think of the “new atheists” here, such as Dawkins. Spurgeon also criticizes Christians who twist science to try to make it fit Scriptures. Here I think of the modern “scientific creationism” movement. In Spurgeon’s mind, both the “irreligious scientist” and the “unscientific Christian” are wrong.
Here are the final two paragraph’s of the Pyromaniacs excerpt from Spurgeon’s writing:
Two sorts of people have wrought great mischief, and yet they are neither of them worth being considered as judges in the matter: they are both of them disqualified. It is essential than an umpire should know both sides of a question, and neither of these is thus instructed. The first is the irreligious scientist. What does he know about religion? What can he know? He is out of court when the question is—Does science agree with religion? Obviously he who would answer this query must know both of the two things in the question.
The second is a better man, but capable of still more mischief. I mean the unscientific Christian, who will trouble his head about reconciling the Bible with science. He had better leave it alone, and not begin his tinkering trade. The mistake made by such men has been that in trying to solve a difficulty, they have either twisted the Bible, or contorted science. The solution has soon been seen to be erroneous, and then we hear the cry that Scripture has been defeated. Not at all; not at all. It is only a vain gloss upon it which has been removed.
As I said, Spurgeon had no problem with the Earth being millions of years old. This is from a sermon by Spurgeon delivered in 1855, which was before the publication of The Origin of Species, but after geologists had established that the Earth must be much older than 6000-10,000 years:
In the 2d verse of the first chapter of Genesis, we read, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” We know not how remote the period of the creation of this globe may be—certainly many millions of years before the time of Adam. Our planet has passed through various stages of existence, and different kinds of creatures have lived on its surface, all of which have been fashioned by God. But before that era came, wherein man should be its principal tenant and monarch, the Creator gave up the world to confusion. He allowed the inward fires to burst up from beneath, and melt all the solid matter, so that all kinds of substances were commingled in one vast mass of disorder.
Grace and Peace