Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
The 28 January 2006 feature of the day for the Answers in Genesis website featured a sneak preview of the new book War of the Worldviews. This is the seventh part of this series, and the summary is written by staff writer Pam Sheppard. 1 This chapter in the book deals with progressive creationism.
Naturally, Answers in Genesis labels progressive creationism as a position of compromise. However, is this true? Both progressive creationists and young earth creationists believe in an inerrant, infallible Word of God, thus there is no compromise with the Word. And, both progressive creationists and young earth creationists believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis...therefore, there is no compromise here either. What is compromised?
Progressive creationists compromise the position of young earth creationism...not the position of the Bible. We don't question the Bible...we question the young earth interpretation of the Bible.
Before I move too far ahead, let's get back to the claims by this book.
Answers in Genesis says this
about all of the old earth positions: "Ultimately, they all try to fit
millions of years and man’s fallible ideas into the Bible." True, our
"fallible ideas" are inserted into our interpretation of the Bible.
However, Answers in Genesis fails to recognize an important point. The
"young earth" interpretation is also an idea from "fallible man." Men
interpret the Bible, and whether old or young earth, we all are fallible.
The young earth interpretation comes just as much from fallible men as does
the old earth interpretation. The real problem arises when young earth
creationists dogmatically insist that theirs is the only correct
Sheppard summarizes the views of progressive creationists in a short bulleted list. Only two minor issues stand out in this list. The first is that general revelation (nature) is placed on the same level as special revelation (the Bible). This is a fine line that we walk. Yes, we do examine geology, astronomy, and other sciences to determine ages, and then use these to interpret the Bible. However, old earth creationists disagree on calling this the equivalent of “the 67th book of the Bible.” Clearly, God is the creator of nature, and we must study it. It testifies to its creation. Because it testifies to billions of years, it is not accepted by young earth creationists as true revelation (if Creation clearly gave evidence of a young earth, young earth creationists would accept it completely). Instead, they must twist the scientific data, and ignore it if it contradicts their position. But that is a topic for other articles.
The other minor issue concerns the flood. Sheppard states that progressive creationists believe the flood was localized in the Mesopotamian Valley. Not so. Many do believe the flood was here, but many other progressive creationists point to other possible locations. There is no consensus on the location of this local flood.
When you cannot attack the science, attack the man. This is the usual position taken by young earth creationists with regards to Hugh Ross (check out the review of the book Refuting Compromise for proof). Mortenson continues that assault in this book. He is accused of "smuggling assumptions (from the naturalistic, atheistic worldview) into his interpretations of creation and of Scripture." Let me interpret this young earth talk for you...Ross is guilty of using real, accepted principles from science. Since these scientific principles are contrary to Mortenson's beliefs, they are "atheistic." A scientific principle is a fact, devoid of any moral value by itself. It can be used for atheistic purposes, or for Godly purposes. Ross uses these scientific principles for Godly purposes, and for this he is being attacked.
Next, Sheppard claims that Answers in Genesis has challenged Ross's views in the book Refuting Compromise (more of a personal attack on Ross than an attack on his views). They have also challenged Ross in several debates, and even mention the debate from the John Ankerberg show, which was clearly won in favor of Ross (AiG did not even advertise it on their home page, hoping people would miss it). It is interesting that when you click on the link for this debate (the one that says "Lisle/Ham vs. Kaiser/Ross DVD), it says it is not available in this country (United States). Rather odd, since the debate occurred here. What is Answers in Genesis hiding? I even tried browsing to the DVD in their store, but it is not listed. You can get this DVD from www.ankerberg.com.
Mortenson says (according to Sheppard) that "Acceptance of old-earth and old-universe theories creates big problems for our understanding of God, death and the redemptive work of Christ." As an old earth believer, I don't see any problems. I believe in the same redemptive work of Christ as Mortenson. I believe in an inerrant, infallible Word, just as they do. The only difference is one of the length of creation. There is no difference in doctrine from my position (and Ross') and the young earth position. Mortenson's real problem is that we don't agree with his position.
Sheppard says that this chapter shows that compromising God's Word is never a good thing. I agree, but they have failed to show any compromise within progressive creationism...other than the fact that we compromise the "young earth interpretation" of the Bible. So go ahead...you can be a Bible-believing, fundamentalist Christian, and believe in an old earth.
Sheppard says in one of the closing paragraphs...
While not believing in six literal days does not ultimately affect a person’s salvation (if one is truly born again), it does lead down a destructive path that impacts entire generations.
What is this destructive path? I've received many emails of thanks for this website. I've also received many angry emails from young earth creationists, as I've taken young earth creationism down a path that will lead to its destruction. Since young earth creationism has led to the secularization of our society (by driving millions away from the church), join me and millions of others as we reclaim Christianity, and reach the world for Christ.2
1 Progressive Creation: A Matter of Time, A Matter of Compromise, published at answersingenesis.org/home/area/wow/preview/part7.asp
2 For those new to this website, I'm referring to the teaching of young earth creationism to our youth. It is presented in such a manner as to be absolute truth, with no possible alternatives. Therefore, when our youth grow up, they encounter opposing views, such as evolution, and the vast body of scientific evidence which shows that the universe is old. They are faced with a choice, an either/or choice. Either the Bible is true (a young earth), or science is true (old earth). When given this either/or choice, most choose science (cold hard facts) over faith (Bible).
If, on the other hand, you can harmonize science and the Bible, you eliminate this either/or choice, and people see that they can be Christians, and believe in an old earth.
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.