Albert Mohler Insists on Young Earth Creationism

We’ve previously reported about disputes among theologians concerning the acceptance of evolution, and we have long believed that The Controversy over evolution belongs entirely within the field of theology. Some sects accept science (see the National Center for Science Education’s list of Statements from Religious Organizations supporting evolution) and others reject it; but their doctrinal disputes are their problem — they aren’t science issues. That’s primarily why we have always advised against debates with creationists.

Some of our earlier posts about theological quarrels are Battling Baptists: Young or Old Earth? (about William Dembski’s old-earth creationism), and then Creationism: A House Divided Against Itself (Ken Ham against everyone who isn’t a young-earther) and then Creationism Controversy Enters a New Phase? (Albert Mohler against BioLogos — a theistic, pro-evolution group of scientists), and then More Denominational Discord Over Evolution (ICR takes Mohler’s side against BioLogos), and then Discovery Institute Battles BioLogos (their gripe is about evolution, not theism), and then Ken Ham Denounces the Pope (a rant about science and scripture).

Our point is that the various sects should be left to contend among themselves about how much science they can accept. The more of such theological disputation there is, the more apparent it becomes that such issues are not scientific issues at all. What’s actually at stake is how much reality-denial a sect will demand, and whether it can flourish in that manner.

We see such things as points on a continuum. So do others; see, e.g., two such continua discussed in Discovery Institute and BioLogos, but our continuum is much simpler. It’s a straight line, at one end of which we place the hard-core, young-earth creationists who accept nothing — regardless of evidence — that contradicts their reading of scripture. At that end are clustered creationists such as Jack Chick, Ken Ham, and the creation “scientists” at the Institute for Creation Research. At the other end are theistic scientists such as those at BioLogos. It appears that they accept all of reality, plus some spiritual elements for which there is no evidence one way or another. The old-earth creationists who accept some science can be found in the middle of our spectrum.

We see no reason for scientific debates with anyone at any point along this continuum. The “Genesis uber alles” types are incapable of scientific debate because they reject all of reality that doesn’t fit into the Garden of Eden, the Flood, etc. Their creation “science” is shameless nonsense, and rational debate with them is impossible. The old-earth creationists are still creationists, and there’s no way to engage with them either. Theistic scientists are genuine scientists with whom we have no scientific disputes, so there’s nothing to debate with them.

Where on our continuum do we place the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists)?

The Discoveroids don’t deserve a place on our continuum. Their “science” is incomprehensible except in the context of creationism, yet they claim that their beliefs aren’t religious and they’ll never admit otherwise. We could lump them somewhere in the middle with the old-earth creationists, but the Discoveroids would reject that placement. It’s fine with us to give them no place at all. Why would anyone debate with people who refuse to acknowledge the true nature of their doctrines?

Although we think scientists should refrain from debates with anyone on our continuum, we do like to see debates conducted within the religious community. It’s our hope that in time, like so many denominations, all of them will accept — or at least tolerate — the hard-won knowledge provided by science.

With that long introduction out of the way, we present some excerpts from Mohler takes on ‘theistic evolution’, which appears at the website of the Associated Baptist Press, where the “About Us” page says that it’s “the first and only independent news service created by and for Baptists,”

Mohler is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and we’ve posted about his views before. For example, see Are Evolution and Christianity Incompatible? (he says they are), and also Albert Mohler and the Age of the Universe (he says it’s only 6,000 years old, having been created in six literal days).

Let’s get into Mohler’s latest. Bear in mind that what he says is entirely theological in nature, and does not in any way constitute his side of a scientific debate. To his credit, he doesn’t claim otherwise. (He may be an advocate of creation science, but we haven’t seen that side of him.) We shall merely observe what Mohler says and not intrude on what is purely a family quarrel. Here we go, with bold font added by us:

Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote an article in the Winter 2011 issue of the seminary magazine labeling attempts by Christians to accommodate Darwinism “a biblical and theological disaster.”

A disaster! Let’s read on:

Mohler said acceptance of evolutionary theory requires reading the first two chapters of Genesis as a literary rendering and not historical fact, but it doesn’t end there. It also requires rethinking the claim that sin and death entered the human race through the Fall of Adam. That in turn, Mohler contended, raises questions about New Testament passages like First Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”

Mohler’s uncompromising position is understandable, but it’s inconsistent. We assume that he and his denomination accept the solar system and the spherical shape of the earth, yet those scientific facts are contrary to scripture. We’ve discussed biblical passages about the flat earth here: Insincere Reality Denial?, and about the earth-centered universe that caused so much trouble for Galileo here: Creationists and Cosmology, Part 5. And there’s also The Scriptural Value Of Pi. We continue:

Mohler said that after trying to reconcile their reading of Genesis with science, proponents of theistic evolution are now publicly rejecting biblical inerrancy, the doctrine that the Bible is totally free from error.

“We now face the undeniable truth that the most basic and fundamental questions of biblical authority and Gospel integrity are at stake,” Mohler concluded. “Are you ready for this debate?”

We’re definitely ready for creationists to have that debate, but your Curmudgeon will stay out of it. Reality won’t change and science won’t quit. The creationists will have to find their own way. Bless ’em all.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Albert Mohler Insists on Young Earth Creationism

  1. ” …the most basic and fundamental questions of biblical authority and Gospel integrity are at stake,” Mohler concluded.

    Yes, like whether or not Christians are going deal honestly and consistently with the world, or if prior mistakes like Bible inerrancy will trump the truth that is told by the evidence.

    And, to be sure, that is up to the Baptists to decide. But if their answer to dealing honestly with the evidence is “no,” they have no right to demand that we agree that they are dealing honestly with the evidence, or in line with Biblical admonitions favoring respect for the truth.

  2. Here is BioLogos, or as I call it, BioBogus in a nutty shell:

    We affirm historic Christianity as articulated in the classic ecumenical creeds. Beyond the original creation, God continues to act in the natural world by sustaining it and by providentially guiding it toward the goal of a restored and consummated creation. In contrast to Deism, Biologos affirms God’s direct involvement in human history, including singular acts such as the incarnation and resurrection of Christ, as well as ongoing acts such as answers to prayer and acts of salvation and personal transformation.

    In contrast to scientism, we deny that the material world constitutes the whole of reality and that science is our only path to truth. For all its fruitfulness, science is not an all-inclusive source of knowledge; scientism fails to recognize its limitations in fully understanding reality, including such matters as beauty, history, love, justice, friendship, and indeed science itself.

    The first part is a positive, nay, dogmatic belief in Oogity Boogity including answers to prayers. Awwwww, how cute.

    The second part is an attack on reason using their made-up word “scientism” which is bad, bad, bad. Bad, science! Yeah, BioBogus you tell that bad old science that it doesn’t know it’s limitations, because, you know, science is alive or something.

    Spectrum, schemectrum, these BioBogus knuckleheads belong in exactly the same pew as Mohler. No difference what so ever.

  3. People are free to believe what ever stupid thing they want. They need to realize, likewise, that I am free to believe what I like and any laws to the contrary are unconstitutional. If they don’t like the facts that are presented in public schools, then they have the freedom to put their kids in private school. What this religious baloney boils down to is that they want their freedom, but they want to deprive me of mine.

  4. Doc Bill says:

    Spectrum, schemectrum, these BioBogus knuckleheads belong in exactly the same pew as Mohler. No difference what so ever.

    The difference is that they don’t reject science. The rest is their own affair. I can live with that.

  5. These disputes serve only to highlight the lack of any means available to differentiate between a correct religious view and an incorrect one. There will never be a resolution to these “debates”.

    In contrast with science, with its naturalistic methodology and epistemological basis, and it’s ability to resolve conflicting hypotheses.

    I would classify ID as a type of old earth creationism, although they carefully avoid advocating any specific set of beliefs, in order to keep the big tent as large as possible.

  6. The difference is that they don’t reject science. The rest is their own affair. I can live with that.

    As soon as I hit Post Comment I realized that “sitting in the same pew” is akin to being in a spectrum and thus hoist my own petard.

    However, BioBogus does reject science. They only accept the stuff they like. The BioBogons reject that which demonstrates their childish beliefs to be childish. They would accuse me of being churlish which, of course, I am manifestly not. I’m arrogant. I put away my childish toys (except for Santa Claus) years ago and am contemptuous of those who would feign to be my peers who have not. That means you, Falk and Collins.

    As for rejecting science, I’ll admit that I reject the findings that dogs are smarter than cats. That’s. Just. Wrong.

    Everything else, I’m cool with.

  7. I’m fairly sympathetic to Biologos, since I think that they are largely on the side of science. However, I do think that they’re too willing to claim the God of the gaps on “fine-tuning,” when I can see no legitimate reason to do so. Just posted today:

    I’ve already suggested that the deep intelligibility of the world suggests we should see it as a divine creation with a divine mind behind it. And so that reinforces the notion of seeing the fine-tuning of the world as an expression with a divine purpose behind it. And of course there are also well testified human experience and encounters with sacred reality, of course. So it’s more of a cumulative case for a theistic view for the world that builds up on this side.

    John Polkinghorne on Natural Theology, Part IV

    Must they be perfect for me to count them as allies on science? Certainly not. But I do have to at least note that they are not wholly content to wait for good evidence when they think that they can score some rhetorical points for theism.

  8. Gabriel Hanna

    If by scientism you mean that no question is meaningful unless it can be answered scientifically, or if you mean that science can answer all questions, then scientism is a bad thing.

    For the questions that science can’t answer we have philosophy, and I suppose I consider religion a kind of philosophy. Philosophy butts its fat snout into scientific questions all the time, sometimes with good results and sometimes with bad. I can’t get too worked up about when religion does the same; again sometimes the results are good and sometimes bad.

  9. Curmydgeon: “The Discoveroids don’t deserve a place on our continuum.”

    NCSE’s continuum takes the same approach. In the earlier version they had ID closest to evolution because its chief promoters either concede common descent or took no position on it. When it became clear that ID attempts to accommodate everything from flat-earthism to “virtual evolution,” and is especially antagonistic to theistic evolution, NCSE removed it from the neighboring position.

    In my own honesty-based continuum, ID is furthest from evolution, and Omphalos is closest. What you say of Mohler, he seems to have at least one foot firmly in Omphalos (admitting that the Bible overrules any contradictory evidence, and not necessarily an advocate of creation “science”). But he also knows that heliocentric YEC sells best to his target audience. At the same time he avoids the most easily falsifiable YEC claims, and concentrates on the “evils” of evolution, especially the theistic variety. That tactic, whether deliberate or by rote, is right from the DI play book.

    Of course these people ar politicians first, and try to win over (and fool) whatever audience they can while keeping their core base. In that light, Mohler’s strategy is understandable.

  10. oops – bad formatting again 😦

  11. It’s a simple matter people…

    If you believe that there’s God who created the earth, naturally the world is old when God created it, because God did not create the earth from single tiny organism. He created the earth as already grown up and fully matured like when He created Adam. He did not create Adam in a fetus form. When Adam appeared he was already a matured man. If the scientists were there during creation and did the autopsy and DNA testing naturally they will say he is already about 20, 25, 30 years old, etc… because God really created him as fully grown and matured man… so the scientists will say…”ohh! Adam was created 20, 25, 30 years ago, etc!!!” LOL!.. bear in mind…that’s how God created him (already grown up).

    In science, the scientists will say that the earth is already million years old or so… Yes!… because that’s how old it is when God created it from the start. He created the earth as fully matured and complete planet. When it was created, there were already old rocks, stones, dried leaves, etc. included in the creation… The scientists will show that as evidences. LOL!!! lol!!! to deceive people from believing God.