by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
One of the featured articles on the Answers in Genesis website on 28 February 2006 was a testimony by guest columnist Roger G. Sigler. Apparently he is a practicing geologist, with a degree from some unnamed secular school. 1
Normally I would not comment on a personal testimony, but this one highlights several issues we can examine. Why would someone with a degree in geology, from a secular college, be a young earth creationist? I believe the key to anyone being a young earth creationist is tied to their upbringing. If they are taught at an early age that the earth is young, then they carry this prejudice with them into adulthood. If they are taught well in the young earth system, they can resist the truth of old ages.
Sigler tells of his first day in geology class. The professor referred to Bishop Ussher, who said the earth was created in 4004 BC. Unfortunately, this professor (and Sigler) do not understand the Ussher timeline. Ussher based his timeline on the genealogies of the Bible. Adding up the years, he found out (if you believe the timeline) that Adam was created in 4004 BC. Note that Adam was created in 4004 BC. Since Ussher used the genealogies, it only dated the time back to Adam, and did not date the time prior to Adam. Thus, you could theoretically believe the timeline of Ussher, and believe that the six creative periods prior to Adam were billions of years long.
Sigler says he had never read the Bible...yet he had a church upbringing. His prior learning was from what he had heard. Typically, young earth creation science believers accept the words of their pastors, and others in authority, and do not question the age of the earth. If the pastor said it, then it must be true! In the young earth creation science culture, there is no need to verify the words of the experts.
Sigler took his first test, and said he answered that the earth was closest to 6 million years, and he got the answer right. He says, "that is the answer the professor wanted." Although Sigler apparently did believe in a old earth at this point, it does highlight an issue.
How do young earth creationists get degrees at secular universities? They do just what Sigler said...they provide the answer that the professor wanted. They willingly provide what they feel is the wrong answer, in order to pass the exams. Thus, one must question the integrity of a young earth creation scientist with a degree from a secular school. They had to be deceptive in order to graduate.
He briefly refers to an example of catastrophic burial of a fossil. This is an age-old claim...that rapidly buried fossils prove they were buried in a flood (the Flood of Noah is always implied). However, old earth geologists also recognize that there are catastrophic events, and can point to them in the fossil record. Thus, although flood is correct, the question becomes "which flood?" Catastrophically buried fossils are no proof of Noah's Flood.
Evolution and Racism
Interestingly, when he graduated from college, he says he was probably a theistic evolutionist. This led him into racism. He goes on to explain his conversion experience, and how he instantly knew that evolution was not true. I praise God for the conversion of Mr. Sigler. When he came to this decision, the seeds of young earth creationism came back to him, from when he was taught as a youth. How can I say this is true? Sigler says he instantly knew that evolution was wrong. This could only come about from some knowledge planted earlier in his mind (it could not be the Spirit's leading...see this article).
Other Christians who accept evolution had no such experience when they were saved. They continued in their belief in evolution. The difference must have been the teachings from an earlier point in his life.
The Gap Theory
Although it is apparent that he still thought the earth was old, he rejected evolution, and took up the Gap Theory. After two years of struggling with the gap theory, and after reading material from the young earth creation science organization the Institute for Creation Research, he became a young earth creationist. These materials probably brought together all the teachings from Sigler's past, and unified them. He eventually went to ICR and got a Master's Degree in Geology. Although they are accredited, the young earth slant on the science means they are learning a twisted version of true science.
He relates stories of his interactions with his co-workers...no indications of whether or not he had any success in converting them to young earth creationism. He has also been active in creationist research. (In reaching his co-workers, he could do a much better job if he were an old earth creationist.)
I praise God for this man, however his understanding of science is handicapped by the teachings of young earth creation science (which has been shown in over 1,000 articles on this website to be false).
Normally I don't discuss the personal testimony of a believer, but this testimony brings up several key points. First, young earth creationists who get degrees from secular schools must answer tests falsely in order to pass, thus their integrity is questioned (Sigler excluded). Second, if one is taught, or comes under the teachings of a skilled young earth creationist, even someone skilled in old earth geology can be duped into believing something that is not true.
Does this mean that old earth geologists should avoid young earth material? Not at all. For someone with a solid understanding of geology, it is extremely easy to see through the young earth arguments, thus they pose no threat.
1 Testimony of a professional geologist, published at answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0228sigler.asp
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