CSC #6 (7 November 2003)
Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
As old earth creationists, what should our relationship be with the young earth creationist? Can we get along together, in the same churches, without arguing?
As you can imagine, a lot of the email that Old Earth Ministries (OEM) receives is from the young earth person who takes issue with our position. They range from sincere to hostile; some “agreeing to disagree,” others flat out demanding that we delete the website. What should be the old earth response to these demands?
Despite such negative reactions from young earth creationists, it is not only possible…it is imperative that we get along. We should be able to sit right beside each other in church and worship God together. We should “agree to disagree,” and have healthy discussions about our Creator.
The First Step
Our starting point for both old and young earth creation science believers should always be one of humility and charity. The first step should always be prayer. Not only do I pray for the continued success of young earth ministries, but I urge all my fellow old earth believers to do the same. I don’t pray that people convert from young earth belief to old earth belief…that is not the purpose of Old Earth Ministries. Why? Because of my next section below (Fundamental Doctrines).
What do I pray for? When I pray, I pray that non-Christians would get the message that the young earth ministries cannot preach…that it’s OK to be a Christian and believe in an old earth, with or without evolution…with or without a “Gap” between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Fortunately these prayers are answered. In January 2006, over 10,500 people visited OEM. Over 550 of these visitors read the page describing old earth belief, explaining that it is possible to be a Christian and believe in an old earth. Over 150 people read our Salvation page. The message is getting out there to the people that have been alienated by the “young-earth only” message that many churches proclaim.
Second, as long as the fundamentals of the faith are not changed, we should be at liberty to disagree, but with an air of civility.
OEM has taken this a step further, not only claiming that it is OK to believe in an old earth, but also claiming that it is OK to believe in a young earth. Why? Because when it comes to the fundamental doctrines* (see footnote), especially salvation, there is no impact. OEM has taken this position because in the long run, we all get to heaven, so it doesn’t matter if you believe in young or old. There is no point in trying to convert a young earth believer to old earth belief (of course, there’s nothing wrong in having “healthy discussions” with people of the opposing viewpoint). Our main message is that of salvation in Jesus Christ, not salvation in the creation.
If that’s the case, then you may ask why Old Earth Ministries even exists. It exists to provide outreach to the many people who are convinced that the earth is old. For years, they have been told by young earth creationists that they are wrong, and thus have been alienated from the church. In providing this website, we are saying to them, “You are right, the earth is old…here’s the answers to the claims of young earth creationists, which directly attack your old earth belief.”
We cater to all old earth beliefs, from progressive creationism, to the gap theory, to theistic evolution. An attack upon the validity of the Big Bang theory by young earth ministries, is an attack upon progressive creationists. An attack upon the validity of evolution by young earth creation science ministries, is an attack upon old earth theistic evolutionists. The young earth claim that dinosaurs only lived 6,000 years ago, is an attack upon all old earth creationists. All these attacks against the old earth position need to be met head-on. Although OEM is mainly a progressive creationist website, we uphold the old earth believer's right to believe in any theory they choose.
We do not seek to destroy young earth belief, but rather to provide a fair and balanced look at the issues. In doing so, many have claimed that this “mud-slinging” is unnecessary and divides the body of Christ. This depends on your attitude. As a creationist, it is your choice how you respond to opposing viewpoints. If you correctly recognize that both forms of creationist belief are acceptable, and the Bible can correctly be interpreted to support either viewpoint, then this is not mud-slinging, but healthy discussion. On the other hand, if a person is close-minded, and refuses to recognize old earth belief as a viable alternative to young-earth belief, then they would view this as mud-slinging. It’s your choice, based on your attitude.
As an old earth creationist, I prefer to view the negative articles on young-earth ministries, such as Answers In Genesis, the Institute for Creation Research, and Creation Science Evangelism, as “healthy discussion”, rather than mud-slinging. I could easily call their articles mud-slinging, but choose not to. It’s all about attitude, and how you choose to view it. Make it positive…whether you are old or young earth.
We at Answers In Creation say it’s OK to be a fully-energized Christian, no matter whether you believe in an old or young earth. In the same spirit of openness that Old Earth Ministries embodies, I encourage the young earth ministries to make similar statements, saying that old earth belief is acceptable for Christians.
* Unfortunately, many fundamentalist churches have added “creation” as a doctrine. Historically speaking, when you examine doctrines before the 20th century, creation was not considered a doctrine. In fact, most church denominations today do not have creation as a doctrine (see my Denomination list). For some reason, the leaders of the young earth movement have “created” the additional Doctrine of Creation for their followers. Just like God’s creation, which was “Exhilo” or “out of nothing,” they have created this doctrine out of nothing.
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.