Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
First Published 9 August 2005
Morris opens this chapter with a quote from Martin Luther. It says "ON no account must you look at the great mob, but only at the Word of God." I agree with Luther, the Word is all we need. This is meant to imply that old earth creationism adds millions of years, and death before sin, to the Bible.
If Morris truly believed these words of Luther, then he would not have written this book. The Word of God brings us to salvation in Christ, and that is all we need. To this, the young earth creation science advocates add their doctrine of creation...despite the fact the Bible does not claim how long creation took. If we could all focus on Christ, and not on the length of creation, the old earth/young earth debate would be a thing of the past. As long as young earth creationists insist that their view is right, they will need to be met head on with the truth.
The opening pages are devoted to Charles Templeton, a former worker for Christ who turned aside to believe in atheistic evolution. It tells how Templeton and Billy Graham discussed matters of belief in a God, and how Templeton fell away from the faith. Next, this leads into a discussion that there are two gates...Jesus is the narrow gate. The wide gate, it is claimed, is impossible to see without the aid of Scripture. He tells the story of a lesbian, who comes to realize that conservative values are essential to prevent the disintegration of our society.
The Choice of Gates Seems to Hinge on How We View the Creation (Page 22)
He makes the claim in the heading to this section, that a man's choice of life or death (the narrow gate (Jesus) or the wide gate (the world) depends on how we view creation. He throws in another example of a Christian who became an atheist (Dan Barker). He then ties it together, with both Templeton and Barker expressing doubt about the Genesis account of creation.
Creation - Literal Reading or Interpretation? (Page 25)
Morris again reinforces the falling of these two men because of creation. He again uses Billy Graham, who said "I believe the Genesis account of creation because it's in the Bible." Let's examine Billy Graham closer. Look at the homepage for this website, and you will see a quote by Billy Graham. It reads,
I don't think that there's any conflict at all between science today and the Scriptures. I think that we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we've tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren't meant to say, I think that we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course I accept the Creation story. I believe that God did create the universe. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man. ... whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man's relationship to God..
Billy Graham has remained faithful to God all these years. However, he does not view creation the same way that Morris and the young earth community does. He rightly sees that the "how" of creation is not nearly as important as the "why." What then is the difference between Graham and Templeton?
Templeton saw the teaching of evolutionary theory, backed by science, and concluded that the Bible and science was incompatible. It was an either/or issue for him, probably due to the influence of young earth ideas. Graham, on the other hand, realized that the "how" of creation was not important. You could accept God if you believed in evolution or not, if you believed in long ages or not. For him, creation/evolution was not an either/or issue.
Yes, young earth creationists can give examples like this, of people who choose evolution and become atheists, and there would be no end to their words. However, if you dig deeper, you find this either/or choice that young earth creationists propose...either you believe the Bible (their "young earth interpretation" of the Bible) or you don't. This either/or choice is in most of these atheists' decisions to turn from God. For this reason, young earth creationists, through their "take it or leave it" attitude, have probably contributed more to causing atheism during the twentieth century than all other factors combined. They could learn a valuable lesson from Billy Graham in the above quote.
At the top of page 26, Morris starts to play with semantics. He says, "Those who seek to fit long ages of death and struggle into the biblical narrative must use the word interpretation to mean something quite different from the understanding and application of God's words taken clearly and simply (literally) in God's context." What he is inferring here is that his young earth literal view is not an "interpretation," but is instead the simple truth. However, just in reading a simple sentence, like "See Jane run," one must interpret it to understand it. Yes, the fact that Jane is running is simple truth...but how fast she is running, and how long she runs, it does not say.
The same is true of the creation account. God created the heavens and the earth, that much we can agree on, but it does not say how fast, or how long, this creation event lasted. The Hebrew word "yom" is used, which can represent anywhere from 12 hours to eternity. God uses six of these "yom" divisions of time/events. We must interpret, both young and old earth creationists, how long "yom" is. Yes, the young earth view is just as much an interpretation as the old earth view.
Next, Morris lists four options for viewing the creation account. However, these options are so mixed up in his mind that he does not present them clearly, which demonstrates his young earth bias.
1-Accept creation as literal. This is meant to be the young earth creationists. However, you can accept the creation account as literal, and believe in an old earth, with or without evolution!
2-Reject creation and God. This is his only clear point.
3-Reject Genesis as history and science, but keep it as allegory. To this, he claims theistic evolution belongs. Yes, some theistic evolutionists believe this, but they can also be literalists, and thus fall into number 1 above.
4-Interpret Genesis to include long ages of death and struggle. He does not say, but I'm certain he is alluding to Progressive Creationism. However, every progressive creationist is a literalist, and meet all the definitions given for number 1!
He admits that it is possible to interpret Scripture as something other than what says plainly, and this interpretation is the result of comparing Scripture to something that is outside the Bible. Hence, he is claiming that to get an interpretation other than six days, you must interpret Scripture with outside influence, namely science. Yes, we use science to help us understand Scripture, but this is permissible. Consider the Bereans, whom Paul told "Examine the Scriptures to see if these things are so" Acts 17:11. Could the Bereans examine the Gospels and see if this was so? No, the Gospels were not written yet. They used extra-biblical reference points (Paul's preaching and testimony), combined with the Old Testament, to determine the truth.
When a scientist examines the world, what is he looking at? He is looking at God's creation. Can we not use God's creation, the very work of His hands, to understand more fully God's creation account? You would be foolish not to! The creation itself is extra-biblical, but it came directly from God, thus it must be truth, and valid for proving the Bible.
Ideas Have Consequences (Page 28)
I agree that ideas have consequences. Morris uses this to argue that if you enter into evolutionary thinking, and you exclude supernatural forces from it, you are bound to come up with a naturalistic viewpoint. I can buy that. The opposite is true also. If you have been taught for many years that the earth is young, and approach science with that bias, you are bound to come up with the idea that the earth is young! Herein lies the major problem with young earth creationism. It is passed down from generation to generation. Young children are indoctrinated, and taught how to view creation. They are taught that to challenge the young earth view is to challenge the very words of God. They are taught to be close-minded and reject all evidence to the contrary. For an excellent discussion of how they do this, read Morton's Demon.
Belief Systems Control Your Life (Page 29)
No problems here. He argues that we teach people the answers, without knowing the "why." Young earth creationists do the same...they teach that theirs is the correct method, without understanding the science behind their belief (if they truly knew the science, they would not be young earthers).
At the end of one paragraph, he uses Matthew 6:24, "No man can serve two masters." This verse has nothing to do with belief systems...its all about money. This verse is taken way out of context!
He finds it strange "that only the Christian camp has attempted to merge the two opposite philosophies." Of course the Christian camp is the only one to merge them...what motivation do the atheists have to merge Scripture and science! Now that would really be strange.
Education Has Shifted Focus Over the Centuries (Page 30)
He is basically saying evolution and long ages took over by the 1900's, making the Bible a disdained book of legends. I don't see this at all! There have always been those who don't believe. Evolution is their champion now. In our age of advanced technology and scientific enlightenment, the problem is not evolution, but young earth creation science. A few creationists viewed the two accounts (evolution and creation) as either/or, and thus they have driven a stake into the heart of Christianity. When faced with either/or choices, it was difficult for many to choose, so they abandoned the church. How different would our church be, if our church fathers in the 1800s had embraced evolution and long ages? One can only wonder.
The New Open-Minded Tolerance (Page 31)
He lumps all those who are open-minded as walking through the broad gate, a reference to the narrow gate (Jesus) and the wide gate (the world). He then wields Templeton and Barker again, and goes on to relate how the church readily accepts long ages in today's biblical message. He is merely characterizing today's church as open-minded, intending the reader to recognize that this is a new pattern of church behavior today. He fails to further develop this idea, so he must just be planting this thought in the mind of the reader to reinforce it later.
Why Are Origins Issues So Important for Christians? (Page 33)
He wraps up this chapter by posing many questions one right after the other. He goes on to say the book will contrast two different groups of Christians. Note this is not a book about souls...it is about stopping the losses of young earth creationism to the gaining popularity of old earth creationism. He goes on to say he will "attempt" to show the damage that old earth belief systems do to the Gospel of Jesus. As you will see, his choice of the word "attempt" is appropriate, for he fails miserably.
If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth. Click here for more.
Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism? Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life? If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.
To learn more
about old earth creationism, see
Old Earth Belief,
or check out the article
Can You Be A
Christian and Believe in an Old Earth?
Feel free to check out more of this website. Our goal is to provide rebuttals to the bad science behind young earth creationism, and honor God by properly presenting His creation.