Why can’t I just believe the Bible?
I’ve had a number of young-Earth creationists ask me, “Why can’t you just believe the Bible?”
My answer is, “I do believe the Bible. I just don’t believe Answers in Genesis.”
Their assumption is because I don’t believe the Earth is only 6000 years old, or that Noah’s flood created most of Earth’s geological features, and a long list of additional young-Earth shibboleths, I don’t really believe the Bible.
Here are some dogmas of young-Earth creationism that are not in the Bible:
- The Earth is only 6000 years old — There are several ways that conservative, Evangelical scholars look at the meaning of Genesis 1 in terms of how it relates to the age of the Earth. The young-Earth creationist interpretation only one of several reasonable interpretations that are consistent with what the text actually says.
- No animals died before Adam fell into sin — Look at the relevant passages (Gen 3, Rom 5, Rom 8, 1 Cor 15). None of them say anything about whether or not animals died before sin entered the world. I wrote more about this topic here: Death before the fall — an old-Earth perspective.
- The Flood was global — The text itself does not require a global flood. I wrote about this here: The YEC “Did God really say…?” tactic.
- The Flood caused most of Earth’s geological features — Show me that in the Bible! I refuted Answers in Genesis’s best geological arguments for a global flood in my Six Bad Arguments From Answers in Genesis series.
In each of these cases, young-Earth creationists either read something into the text that isn’t there, or draw dogmatic conclusions where dogmatism isn’t merited.
Answers in Genesis has claimed that they believe the Bible from the very first verse, with the implication that conservative, Bible-loving Christians who differ from them don’t believe the Bible from the very first verse.
The truth is that
- Those who hold to the day-age interpretation really believe the Bible.
- Those who hold to the analogical days interpretation really believe the Bible.
- Those who hold to the gap theory really believe the Bible.
- Those who hold to the revelatory day interpretation really believe the Bible.
- Those who hold to the framework hypothesis really believe the Bible.
Like me, they just don’t necessarily believe everything Answers in Genesis has to say about Genesis.
Not everyone who holds to these positions is a conservative Christian who holds to Biblical inerrancy, but then not everyone who holds to young-Earth creationism is even a Christian (young-Earth Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.), so that is rather irrelevant.
I’ll close with my Creation Creed, a short statement of what I do believe about creation. This isn’t everything I believe about creation, but is a good summary.
As an old-Earth creationist
I believe that the universe was created by the triune God of the Bible
I believe that the Bible does not dictate when this creation took place
I believe in a real Adam
in a real garden
in a real fall into sin
in real consequences for that sin
and in Jesus Christ as the only solution for sin
Grace and Peace