Young Earth Creation vs. Old Earth Creation

I got a provocative blog comment from Young Earth Creationist B. A. Christian:Fish Fossil

Question: Do we need “Special Knowledge” in this case brought in from something called science to rightly interpret the passages? Or does it mean what it says? Is death the hero of the plot or the last enemy? Does consensus of geologists, biologists and astronomers determine truth?

Answer: It IS necessary

to incorporate what we know about nature to properly interpret Genesis.

It is not possible to understand the Bible – not even Jesus’ parables about seeds – without accurate knowledge of the physical world.

I need to point out the presumptuousness of the statement “Does consensus of geologists, biologists and astronomers determine truth?”

Well, strictly speaking, the consensus of scientists does not itself determine truth.

Any honest philosopher of science will freely admit that.

However in science we do have many things that any person can reasonably verify as fact. Like the phenomenon that gravity operates very consistently.

Any reasonably educated person can follow the logic and confirm the process that is used to determine that a star is 100 million light years away.

Any reasonable application of logic and knowledge of the speed of light (which you can measure and which in measurements is not changing) verifies that yes, that star is in fact more than 100 million years old.

It was not clear 1,000 years ago that the earth is old. But it is very clear now, except to a very small pocket of people who follow Answers In Genesis and Institute for Creation Research.

Nobody else believes the earth is young on empirical grounds – at all – unless they are married to a very particular and peculiar Biblical exegesis.

Contrast this with old-school Neo-Darwinism. It is the most troubled theory in the history of science. Why? Because it is challenged on empirical grounds by people in MANY MANY fields, many times having no religious dog in the fight whatsoever.

See my article about the “Salem hypothesis” for example

Now I certainly can respect people for holding to unpopular views because of their faith convictions. I can observe Mormons believing, in faith, that the American Indians are actually a lost tribe of Jews; and to an extent I can respect them for enduring ridicule for that.

But this belief is not supported by genetics. We have tools for proving or disproving this that Joseph Smith never had, and science proves the book of Mormon wrong.

And I believe we should incorporate such knowledge. I believe an honest Mormon should question his or her confidence in the Book of Mormon by the use of empirical evidence.

Young Earth Creation is equally without support from empirical science.

The same Christian who argues against the Mormon position on American Indians with modern science – or defends Biblical history with archaeology – is being hypocritical when he insists modern science is wrong about the age of the earth.

That is especially sad since 1) The Bible generally is a very reliable historical document and every Christian ought to know that, and 2) an Old Earth concordist interpretation of scripture works quite well.

What YEC commonly defends itself with is a pharisaical attitude that says, “We have the truth, we are the righteous ones, and those ignorant secularists are walking in darkness.”

It smacks of religiosity and it reminds me of the pharisees we read about in scripture. They hold to the letter of the law but miss the spirit.

In this case it is the religious people who are walking in darkness – because they cannot even see something that is right in front of their face – evidence from a dozen scientific disciplines that the earth is very old.

You will see the speed of light coming up again and again in comments on my site. Nowhere has any YEC person adequately addressed this problem. Not in any book or blog or website or anywhere.

Speed of light all by itself invalidates YEC. The universe is old, plain and simple.

Does that make death the hero? No it does not, and if you study my model of evolution, even death itself cannot exist without life being here first. Life is the prevailing driving force.

But make no mistake. This one fact – earth is old and not young – does force the YEC to re-evaluate LOTS of components of their theology.

This is not an indication that science is wrong. This is an indication that portions of YEC theology may also be wrong.

So yes, that means the YEC person may have to re-think a lot of things. That is scary and painful. It is inconvenient. It alters your theodicy. It challenges large assumptions about God and how He made the world.

If you have a significant Biblical education, you will have to relax your grip on any number of assumptions and re-evaluate them.

I never said this was going to be easy. I grew up YEC and it wasn’t easy for me.

But the process is necessary. And frankly for the thinking Christian it never really ends. Theology is always a work in progress.

Some folks are simply unwilling to do this.

But if you’re not willing, your faith is old wineskins. And it is being held in place by religious pride which is actually sin.

So I respectfully submit to you that none of us can afford to cling to provably false beliefs.

The arrogance of YEC and its contempt for scientists… as well as its presumption that they believe what they believe because they’re all sinful and depraved and lying to us etc etc… is giving Christianity a black eye.

This is no minor problem. This is a major issue. Many Christians are on the wrong side of this one.

It’s one of the many reasons why young people leave the church. It’s a major reason why my brother went from being a missionary to almost an atheist.

YEC and its champion ministries are unwittingly and systematically turning a percentage of Christians into agnostics and atheists because they’re forcing people to choose between science and the Bible.

Which is totally unnecessary, because there is no conflict between the Bible and science.


22 Responses

  1. That’s part of the problem. The stars aren’t very far away and neither the sun and moon. But science, and their lies would have you believe so. The true science is not what we learn in school. Unfortunately it’s so wide spread the counter to it is not excepted due to majority of sheep. I guess we should all open the new real window, that the earth is actually flat. It’s the largest overtaking of the liars and it’s winning big time. As long as the other isn’t considered your only option!!!

  2. Steve Wood says:

    You hang your hat on the speed of light. There’s much evidence that it’s slowing down and may have been much higher in the past. Many many other things also point to a young earth, including the words of Jesus himself. Soft tissue inside a “68 million year old” dinosaur bone, trees growing up through 10s of millions of years of strata, the predictable number of mitochondrial mutations and extrapolating that back, etc. etc.

  3. Bob Hayford says:

    Evolutionist offer unaided dead matter producing life, the cosmos out of chaos, design without a Designer, creation without a Creator, effect without Cause. It’s the riddle of science without God. I’m sorry I don’t have enough faith to accept “science” without God.

  4. Brian says:

    I believe in Intelligent Design and feel there is room inside the I.D. umbrella to house both Young and Old Earth Creationist. I personally believe in a young earth creation and feel there is ample proof in nature to provide a convincing argument for that belief. I also an willing to hear arguments against it. Neither evolution or creation can be proven scientifically since neither can be recreated in a laboratory. The scientific method requires empirical data to be tested and retested before it becomes fact or law. Ultimately there are two theories and we are asked to place our faith in one or the other. I place my faith in a young earth theory because I feel the evidence for this is stronger and the bible seems to support this. Many disagree and I can live with their position. The central question we all must answer is not the age of the earth but to you who is Jesus? Either He is your Lord and Savior or not. That is the question that matters most.

    • Evolution is experimental, empirical and verifiable in real time. You can do specific things to create new species. See and

      • Brian says:

        It would appear that confusion exist between evolution and adaptation. God has created species with amazing abilities to adapt to stimuli in their surroundings. No one would argue that. Evolution, as taught in modern science, basically says one organism morphs into new organism. For example, simple aquatic life evolve into fish which evolve into reptiles which evolve into mammals of which eventually humans came. To my knowledge no fish has been recreated into a reptile, or any other animal, in a laboratory. My dog’s body adapts to temperature changes every year. I witness the growth and loss of fur at predictable times related to the temperature. This doesn’t mean my dog ceases to be a dog.

      • Jim Herald says:

        I am an YEC. Materialistic evolutionists cite the observed adaptations within the kinds, then infer common ancestry of all living things. What observable evidence do you cite for common ancestry? If you go to the fossil”record”, what is your evidence of old age? Radiometric dating methods are inaccurate for dating the known age of objects, are they trustworthy for the dating of unknown ages of objects? Do you agree with geologists who date the fossils by the rocks they are found in, but date the rocks more accurately by the fossils that are in them? What of poly-striate fossils? What of the time clocks which limit the age of the earth, such as decreasing electromagnetism, the moon moving away from the earth, measurable amounts of carbon 14 in coal, diamonds and dinosaur bones, and let’s not forget soft tissue, red blood cells, and DNA found in Dino bones.
        Also interesting is the recent study of zircon radioactive halos captured in granite. The existence of granite is a strong indicator that the earth was made suddenly and cool. The remaining daughter element, helium, has not dissipated, and indicates an age of thousands of years old, not millions or billions of years old.

        150 years ago Darwin lamented the complete lack of transitional fossils. To this day, we have examples of complete successful creatures both living and fossilized. Since change from one KIND to another KIND of living thing is slow, where are all of the unhappy misfits which are caught in the middle of changing from one KIND of successful being into a different KIND of living creature? Any fossilized or living evidence? Evolutionary scientists claim evolution is more like a bush than a tree. If this is so, where are the living examples of of all these bushy failing misfits of living things? Seems to me all living things seem to be in happy stasis.

        There are many evidences which indicate a young earth. He Bible says the wisdom of man is as foolishness to God. Why would you trust the wisdom of man (inwhich limits itself to NATURAL causes) to explain the age of the earth, and origins.

        • Jim,

          Change from one kind to another is not slow. it is fast. See

          This is why there are few transitional fossils. It’s because in some cases there is no intermediate form.

          In my book Evolution 2.0 I show new species in one to a handful of generations (not millions of years) and a tremendous level of real-time adaptations that atheists do NOT want Christians to know about. Click to the home page and you can get 3 free chapters.

          Every single field of science (biology, geology, paleontology, anthropology, archeology, physics, astronomy, electrical engineering) indicates an old earth is far more likely than a young one. For the most part, only people who say “there are many evidences which indicate a young earth” are people who selectively read only literature that agrees with YEC. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh but it is true.

          The list of atheists (never mind other religions) who have issues with Darwinian evolution, for example, is long indeed.

          But the list of people who have issues with an old earth is pretty much limited to a peculiar strand of American evangelical Christians.

          You really only need to know one thing to be certain the universe is old – and that’s the speed of light:

          I respectfully challenge you on your YEC views. I do not believe the Bible teaches young earth (see and I do not believe science does either.

          You are not in danger of “compromise” by exploring the evidence for an old earth. There is MUCH literature on this topic and I invite you to let your curiosity take you on an adventure of new discoveries.

          • Ralph says:

            You claim that the speed of light is the only thing needed to prove that the universe is old, but that is not true. The speed of light by itself is not enough. You also need visible stars that are far more distant than the 6,000 years prescribed by YEC. And I do not deny such stars. However, this also fails to account for the fact that time is not constant. It has been proven to slow down in relation to gravity (or speed). Also take into account that the universe is expanding. All of this suggests that the universe emerged from a black hole. But for anything to escape a black hole, it must be a white hole. Time at the surface of a black hole (or a white hole) is frozen. There is much speculation on what could possibly cause a black hole to turn into a white hole. One is if time were running backward. But that is not really a viable option, for too many reasons. But another possibility is if the fabric of space were being stretched out. This can happen far faster than the speed of light and the objects on the fabric would be unaffected by that speed. I won’t go any further on this. I’m sure that you are likely already familiar with the White Hole Theory by Dr. Russ Humphreys. It’s only a theory. But it’s a good one. All the attacks I’ve seen on his theory have shown me that the person attacking it doesn’t understand it. Bear in mind that I do not apply this observation to ALL attacks on his theory, but only to all of the ones I’ve seen so far. I really would like to see one which shows that the attacker correctly understands Dr. Humphrey’s theory, and has found a real flaw in it. But if such an attack has been made, I have yet to see it. Simply put, his theory allows for the Earth to be only a few thousand years old, the universe to be billions of years old (at least the outer reaches of it anyway), while all of it created just a few thousand years ago (Earth time), in just 6 days. I realize I will not change your OEC position. And you won’t change my YEC position. The number one reason why you cannot change my position is that I know that death cannot have preceded sin. “Sin entered into the world through one man, and death THROUGH sin.” Death is the penalty of sin, spiritually immediate but physically by way of process. A careful reading of the first few chapters of Genesis makes this clear. I have studied this closely. That alone precludes the possibility of the evolution of kinds. And without the evolution of kinds, there is simply no need whatsoever for a belief in OEC. You can cite all the opinions of fallible Man that you want, and so can I. But the bottom line is that death is the penalty of sin. Sin preceded death. On that, we have the infallible Word of God. Without the context, it has been argued that the penalty of sin was merely spiritual death, and that physical death preceded sin. But the context won’t allow that.

            • I will be happy to accept propositions that time stretches because of gravity and relativity, but at that point I can’t see why YEC is justified in insisting on 24 hour days. The following explanation is quite elegant for example:


              Regarding “context” – I’m sorry but you need to look closer. If you read Romans 5 very carefully it is quite clear that Paul is not talking about physical death he is talking about spiritual death. Substitute the word “death” for “physical death” vs “spiritual death” – as I have done here


              And see for yourself.

              Plus Paul is most certainly not talking about plants or animals at all.

              SPIRITUAL death is the penalty for sin.

  5. David Schultz says:

    I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus. Both sides of the argument are pointless. If God, being God, wanted a young earth process, remember he is the Creator, he could do so. If he wanted an old earth process, he could do so. The point is, he created. If we are to apply the standard that some use, a day is a thousand years, which I believe is symbolism for time being irrelevant, an expanse of time, which God lives outside of as eternal, then we must apply that same theory to every mention of time in Scripture and not be selective. In Revelation there is a king that is in power for one hour. Apply the theory and one hour translates into 42 years. If the Tribulation is seven years long, is that seven years or is it ten minutes, if you apply the theory. The point is this, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF THE EARTH IS OLD OR YOUNG! The critical questions are, Do we love God, Do we love people, Are we following the teaching of Christ, Do we love our enemies (even those that dare to disagree with our ‘I’m right and you’re wrong position), Do we love lives filled with Grace and Mercy, Do we esteem others as better than ourselves, Do we turn the other cheek, Do we bless those that use us? If we can’t answer yes to the above, why are we wasting our limited time on this earth in a meaningless debate?

    • Jeremie Lederman says:


      to the people that this discussion DOES matter to, they may find salvation through the process of discussion and learning. God meets us where we are.

  6. Joe says:

    If God is powerful enough to create that star that is 100 million light years away, isn’t He powerful enough to create it and then make sure it’s light reached earth immediately after creating it? Also, just curious…do you believe the Bible is God’s Word, therefore truthful in what it tells us?

    • God is not powerful enough to engineer 99.99999% fake history into the universe (appears old, with exquisitely detailed features of age) because God is not a liar.

      If the universe appears old but is really young, then all historical science is the study of an illusion.

      I would not expect anybody to worship that kind of god.

      Yes I believe the Bible is God’s word.

      I do not believe that Ken Ham’s interpretation is God’s interpretation.

    • Jeremie Lederman says:

      the premise of the question is:

      “Can God create a law so powerful that He has to break it?”

      Why would God create laws to govern the universe then have to break them, meanwhile overpowering the consequences in matter and timespace to do so. Then after his OWN laws that became an obsitcle to him were done being manipulated, he overpowered the consequences of returning the universe BACK to the normal control of his own laws.

      that kind of God sounds like a human creation. Only a human with limited brain power would have to dance so insanely around themselves like this.

      God would never create something that created disorder. He is not capable of disorder.

  7. David Sweet says:

    I’m not dogmatic young, medium or old earth but am creationist. Is the speed of light and the expansion of the universe the only evidence for the age of the universe? Could God not have created the universe at some other time than the singularity? Just as Adam and Eve are portrayed as created as adults, could not the universe be expanding, yet have begun in adult stage?

  8. Pat Sloan says:

    “[c, speed of light] verifies that yes, that star is in fact more than 100 million years old.”
    It does no such thing. It only verifies the star light we see was produced 100 million years ago. For all we know it was born 100.00001 million years ago and died 99 million years ago, but we’ll only see that event 1 million years from now. None of which has anything to do with the age of earth.
    For the record I’m not a YEC, but scientific “consensus” is an oxymoron. A simple example; an entomologist will tell you bees make honey using enzymes, a sciency-sounding name for magic juice. Humans have dissected millions of bees but have been unable to make synthetic honey out of pollen.

  9. David Garske says:

    Actually-go out and really look at the rocks! Many sedimentary rocks show rhythmic banding, forming different types of layers depending on the time of year they were formed. There are thousands of rocks that show millions of continuous layers, showing they formed over millions of years. We can trace evolution of a species from very primitive in older rocks to more complex in younger rocks. They can be dated by radioactivity or by looking at the fossil remains as they change from the bottom to the top of the rock. The more we learn, the more evidence exists that the age of the earth is old, and the universe is older. “Germs” are continually evolving, and new ones keep appearing, such as aids, from minor changes in earlier “germs”.

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