WE could spend the rest of the month writing about today’s amazing article from Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of young-earth creationist wisdom. It’s the same plot as The Controversy between evolution and creationism, but this time the science under attack is geology.
The article is Summary of a Response to “PCA Geologists on the Antiquity of the Earth”, and it’s really a classic. The “PCA” in the title refers to the Presbyterian Church in America. We’ve often before pointed out the National Center for Science Education’s list of Statements from Religious Organizations supporting evolution, and the Presbyterians are there. That pretty much makes them a pack of pagans as far as the creationists are concerned.
The creation scientists at AIG are particularly infuriated at the Presbyterians. Not only do they accept evolution, but now they argue for an old earth. This is an outrage! Here are some excerpts from AIG’s article, with bold added by us:
Eight geologists, writing in Modern Reformation (magazine of Dr. Michael Horton’s White Horse Inn ministry), argue specifically that the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and by inference committed Christians in all other denominations, should reject Noah’s Flood as geologically significant and adopt an old-earth view of Genesis. That is, they claim, because science, acting as “general revelation,” has demonstrated Earth’s antiquity (4.6 billion years) beyond any reasonable doubt.
AIG rarely links to rational sources, and this is no exception; but we found the offending article: PCA Geologists on the Antiquity of the Earth. This is from the end of the geologists’ article:
[D]oes it ultimately make a difference which side [of the age of the earth debate] you fall on? We suggest it does matter for two important reasons.
The first is a greater appreciation of God’s handiwork. If creation conforms to God’s trustworthiness and looks old because it is old, we are free to marvel at each new discovery that further reveals the incredible complexity and grandeur of his creativity. If the earth is old and we insist it is young, every new discovery can be met only with distrust and disdain — disdain of his creation!
The second reason is of perhaps greater importance. If the earth is old and Christians insist it is young, we risk becoming a tragic obstacle to faith for those both inside and outside the church. …
Their second point is an old one, but a very good one. We’ve previously given you the source. See: St. Augustine on Creationism.
Now that you know what has enraged AIG, let’s dig into their rant against the geologists:
There is nothing new within this article — any well-read creationist will recognize the same tired arguments that have been answered many times. However, truth is always worth defending, and since these points reflect an apparent ignorance of creationist literature, we will reiterate the answers with links to more detailed discussions.
Yes, the creation scientists have to keep dealing with “the same tired arguments” all the time. We won’t go into detail, leaving that for you when you click over to AIG’s screed, but here are some of the geologists’ points with a hint of AIG’s responses. The numbered points are bolded in the original:
1. Prominent theologians accept an old-earth interpretation of Genesis.
[AIG says:] Truth is not determined by majority vote, and many theologians have been wrong in their interpretation of Scripture. Additionally, there is a serious theological error; Christians have a standard of truth: the Bible. …
There have been times when AIG is comfortable claiming that their peculiar views are supported by a majority (of laymen, not scientists), but we won’t get into that. Let’s continue with the AIG article:
2. The Copernican Revolution is an appropriate analogy to the old-earth/young-earth debate.
[AIG says:] Creationists have repeatedly refuted the propaganda, dating from the Enlightenment, that the Copernican controversy was (1) an embarrassment to the Church, and (2) analogous as such to the origins debate [link to an AIG article]. Typically, this canard is used by atheists and agnostics to attack Christianity, focusing on Galileo’s supposed persecution by intolerant religious bigots.
That one is easily our favorite. The Galileo affair never happened! And besides, it doesn’t matter anyway — so don’t think about it. Here’s more:
3. Geologists have proven that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, and virtually all geologists, including many devout Christians, accept that conclusion.
[AIG says:] Again, truth is not determined by majority vote, and the majority of scientists have been wrong many times in the history of science and geology. … [O]nly God is infallible. Thus, His Word trumps the opinions of every expert (or even a majority of experts) that asserts otherwise.
Can’t argue with that! We’ll skip the discussion of naturalism, and another one about some irrefutable geological evidence in Japan, and another about the evidence of long-term sea-floor spreading. You can read those for yourself. Moving along:
7. The apparently proven scientific evidence of millions of years creates a serious theological problem: God’s honesty. The young-earth view makes God a “deceiver.”
[AIG says:] Incredibly, theologians for thousands of years never detected this “serious” theological conundrum found by these eight geologists. Even in the early church when battles were fought with Greek philosophy that advocated a cosmos much older than the Bible or even an eternal universe, theologians recognized that ex nihilo creation logically included an appearance of age. Thus, this issue is a red herring, not a real problem.
Isn’t this great? It’s the Omphalos hypothesis. Here’s the last one
8. The young-earth view is a practical obstacle to belief because it is so obviously wrong, and it particularly undermines the faith of children.
[AIG says:] Recent research [link to an AIG article] has shown the opposite; that it is the indoctrination into secular natural history and evolution that has led Christian youth away from the church. Compromise leads to compromise; standing on God’s truth instead, as Christ taught, sets us free.
So there you are, dear reader. Don’t waste your time presenting “the same tired arguments” to creation scientists. They’ve got all the answers; they always have. You have nothing — except the prospect of an eternity in the Lake of Fire.
Afterthought: You may find no merit in AIG’s approach to things, other than listing the symptoms of end-stage brain death, but that’s not quite correct. It’s a valuable tool for AIG. If someone can accept their arguments and embrace creationism, then AIG knows they have a faithful zombie servant who will offer them life-long support.
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