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Why would Christians be hostile to biblical creation?

Published: 13 July 2014 (GMT+10) 9441-shout-angry

Sadly, it is often the case that the people most hostile to biblical creation are not non-Christians but professed Christians who believe in deep time and/or evolution. Young-age creation is not exactly a new view in church history (it was the practically unanimous belief of the church until the 19th century!), and it’s easy to see how it can be deduced from the Bible. And yet deep-time Christians often treat young-age creationists as if they cannot read the Bible or a science textbook. Why is this? CMI’s Shaun Doyle explores some possible reasons why.

M.A. from Australia writes:

I ask a question, why is it that fellow Old-Earth Christians seems to have some kind of a hostile behaviour towards us Biblical creationists? I read one comment and I saw a complete nonsense. This, a Christian commenter, accuses us of offending hard-working scientists in the lab (we also do research for our own), quote mining (Yes, it happens, but let us not do it further), a somewhat unsubstantiated claim that scientific papers show that DNA information arose from experiment and so on. Such a serious accusation. I believe he is from [a long-age Christian] website. Sigh, why can’t old-earth Christians see us a brother in Christ? We’re not your enemy. Plus, do creationists really quote-mine?

CMI’s Shaun Doyle responds:

Dear Mr A.,

It’s really a tough question to answer, because we don’t have access to the psychology of every old-age Christian. For some thoughts on the matter, please see Loving the Bible too much?

I suspect that there are other reasons as well. For instance, like the rest of academia, many would consider the young-age position not simply to be false, but irrational in the light of ‘modern science’. People will often tolerate a ‘wrong’ opponent, but rarely will they tolerate an ‘irrational’ one. For instance, consider what we might feel about Holocaust deniers or flat-earthers. In fact, that is why biblical creationists are often lumped with both groups—belief in biblical creation is thought to be as irrational as belief in a flat earth or a denial of the Holocaust.

However, the problem is compounded for the old-age Christian because a ‘face value’ reading of Old Testament history (especially, but not limited to, Genesis 1–11) gives the unmistakeable impression that it contradicts the deep time story in countless ways—e.g. that the universe is only c. 6,000 years old, that death and suffering were not always a part of creation, and that most of the rock record is the result of a global Flood c. 4,500 years ago. In other words, there appears to be strong warrant for the ‘obviously irrational’ young-age position from what should be their own most cherished source (the Bible), which cannot be anything but an embarrassment for them since the position is ‘obviously irrational’. And when such people come across groups who promote this impression as exegetical and historical reality, embarrassment (that such a position can be plausibly justified from Scripture) and contempt (that someone would hold such a position) can mix to create a hostile reaction. (See William Lane Craig’s intellectually dishonest attack on biblical creationists and ‘Billions of years’ makes Christians dumb (and atheists loud)).

For some, there could also be an element of the ‘convert syndrome’, where one develops a special animosity for a position they once held but have now rejected that makes one liable to ignore or dismiss inconvenient facts. This can happen with any position, even correct ones (it also happens among biblical creationists, and can be a source for bad arguments for good positions: Arguments we think creationists should NOT use). There are plenty of converts to old-earth Christianity who promulgate the same facile strawman arguments that pervade the deep-time Christian literature (of which they could be easily disabused with a quick search of the creationist literature—see e.g. No keeper’s brother). Converts from biblical creation have less excuse for this than those that have never believed in biblical creation, and yet they are often the worst culprits.

Another factor that often raises the ire of old-earth Christians is that biblical creationists often insist (correctly, in our view) that this issue directly impacts the integrity of the Gospel. That’s a serious accusation about their doctrinal stance that could potentially affect their eternal destiny (it doesn’t have to, but it can)! Even if we say that as tactfully and gently as possible and argue our case cogently, many (if not most) old-age Christians are still not going to like hearing it. What Christian would like hearing that their doctrine destroys the integrity of the Gospel?

Put all of this together, and it is almost bound to produce a volatile situation at the best of times. The stakes are high in this debate, and that is reinforced by both sides of the debate—one position or the other is woefully misguided in practically every field imaginable (science, history, philosophy, theology, exegesis), and to top it off is a blight on church integrity. I wonder if it is even possible not to feel the heat of this debate once you appreciate it.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that there are some (even high-profile) old-earth Christians who have been respectful in their dealings with biblical creationists (see ID theorist blunders on Bible). We disagree, and the disagreements are not minor, but the debate has typically been civil.

As to the accusation of ‘quote mining’, please see Responses to our 15 Questions: part 1 (objection 5). Some quotes commonly used among biblical creationists have indeed been taken out of context (please see Arguments we think creationists should NOT use for the example of Darwin’s quote about the absurdity of eye evolution from Origin of Species). However, most are legitimate quotes of hostile witnesses—everybody knows that despite the specific concession about a weakness in evolution or deep time which a quote might provide, the person still believes in evolution and deep time. In fact, that is precisely the point—even someone committed to the deep time paradigm acknowledges the quoted problem.

Kind regards,

Shaun Doyle
Creation Ministries International

Helpful Resources

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Readers’ comments

Rick C.
"Quote-mining" can be used in a derogatory way, as an insult to the person trying to point out the errors of the other side. I remember years ago attending a creation talk by the late Dr. Dwane Gish at the University of Rochester. After his talk, professors in the audience tried to deride him for the quotes he cited against evolution. Dr. Gish replied that every single quote that he cited that questioned evolutionism was taken directly from scientific papers written by staunch evolutionists - not one of his quotes was taken from a creationist. This settled the argument rather quickly.
Shaun Doyle
That's interesting, since most of the allegations I have faced of 'quote mining' assume we are quoting from non-creationist sources. That would seem to be the point; i.e. we are misquoting our opponents to support our views. Only rarely do we actually see any real attempt to argue the case, but when we do, then the best response is demonstrate that our quotes are appropriately used.
Phil H.
Tragically, the deceived are not aware of their deception, by definition. The Bible clearly says "by their fruit you shall know them". If young Earth creationists walk and post in love, their fruit is good. The ancient-Earth/evolutionists resort habitually to trying to denigrate those that have the truth, which is not love, nor is cherry picking irrelevant quotations.

I hope it's not as serious as "the wheat growing up with the tares", but this is possible. I was trained as a geologist and had to swallow all the guesswork leading to a house of cards that ancient-Earthers do, so I understand that highly trained people have a problem admitting that their years of training were based on invalid assumptions.

Better to be wrong about the details than about the big picture, which is your eternity. I for one would never call Lord Jesus a liar.
john R.
1 Cor 15:51-52 states that in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye we shall be changed (KJV). If God can re-create in a moment, surely he can create in a moment.
Shaun Doyle
No doubt. God could have done it in an instant or over a trillion years. Of course, we believe God didn't create all things in a moment, but over a period of six days, just as He said in Genesis 1.
Bradley H.
Thanks so much for this interesting, thought-provoking article!

I'm one of those Christians who's an old-earther and a proponent of en evolutionary perspective. No longer do I join in the harangue that goes back and forth, with unfortunate accusations on both sides. I'm frankly saddened by the tones of resentment, sarcasm, innuendo, and sometimes outright vicious ad hominem commentary that emits from both sides, but I'm especially dismayed when that tone originates from fellow Christians. Whom, I wonder, are we attracting to the fold with that?

Christianity, as it appears in contemporary popular modes, carries tone, and often arguments, quite repellent to well-educated people who haven't yet acquired theistic or specifically Christian faith. Intellectuals collectively are a population largely neglected and sometimes extremely poorly served by the North American Christian community.

There's a population--and not a tiny one--awaiting ministry. Among popular creationist writers on the 'evolution-creation controversy,' I'm still waiting to see the commentators who seem up to the task.

Thanks for listening...
Shaun Doyle
I'm glad that you found my article thought-provoking; that was my main aim. But this article is not an argument for our position, and so I would encourage you to move beyond it and investigate our website for such arguments, which can be easily found via our Q and A pages and our search function. We are always happy to engage in evidential discussion, and to help everyone understand our position and the issues better.

If you search our website, you will find articles that denounce deep time and evolution as incompatible with Scripture and the dire consequences that we believe can follow from such an incompatibility. I trust that you will follow the example of the correspondent in my article Common ground with old-earth creationists? and listen carefully to what we have to say rather than simply dismissing it as the ignorant warnings of fundamentalists. We believe our view is the only view that correctly interprets the Bible, but we argue extensively for that view throughout this website.

Nor are we ignorant of why people believe in evolution and deep time—we know they appeal to such things as patterns of similarity in genomes and fossils, extrapolations of well known and experimentally verified isotopic decay rates, and other things. We also understand that these reasons can be very convincing, especially when certain assumptions are granted. Evolutionists and deep time believers are not idiots, and they're not irrational, and there's no reason to think they're trying to hide anything. We do, of course, believe they are wrong, and we put forward evidence and argument to show why. Let the reader judge, but let them judge on the merits of the arguments, and not ignore us by fiat declaring us irrational.

Even if you come away from all that still disagreeing with us, I trust that you can at least respect us as reasonable ideological opponents who have understandable reasons for the beliefs we profess.
M. M.
Yes, it puzzles me why Christians could accept the long age theory....why?
On the grounds of that we are supposed to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who is there to take what belongs to Christ and reveal it to us........remember Jesus said I am the way and THE TRUTH......if the Spirit of Truth dwells within us how is it that such lies and ignorance exists in those who profess the Christian faith.....?
David B.
GOD has told us how HE created everything in 6 days and rested on the seventh day. GOD has given us an account of his actions. I believe HIM. If you don't believe HIM, then stop calling yourself a Christian. The word of GOD tells us that we must believe "in" GOD. Simply believing that GOD exist is not enough. Satan knows beyond any doubt that GOD exist, but he is still heading for that lake of fire.
Believing "in" GOD means accepting what GOD has told us. To all Christians - Remember the falling away from GOD is going to take place inside the church. It is in full swing and GOD has already told us MARK 13:13,"And you shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Standing firm in the word of GOD has always been wrong according to the world. GOD does not make mistakes. Man does make mistakes, a lot of them. When GOD tells us HE did something a certain way and we say that we can't believe it, well; that's a huge mistake. And saying that you are a Christian while saying that you don't what GOD has said, well; that's another huge mistake.
Ian F.
Why would Christians be hostile to biblical creation? They do not accept a literal interpretation for a variety of reasons. Young Earth creationism does not stand up to scrutiny, despite the protestations of CMI. This is not compatible with the gift God gave us of intelligence and an insatiable curiosity to discern deeper meaning and truths. In fact it is an insult to the precious gift of consciousness and intellect. Young Earth creationism whether inadvertently, or deliberately, promotes scientific illiteracy. This also is not compatible with humanity's role of being good stewards of our only home this side of eternity. Promoting scientific illiteracy could prevent some, particularly children, from reaching their potential. This is unkind. These are very sound reasons for not being supportive of biblical creation. The views of CMI have absolutely no support from mainstream faiths like the Churches of England, Scotland or Wales. In fact the government here in the UK has now totally banned the teaching of any creationism at schools, because it promotes scientific illiteracy, and thwarts potential. CMI probably does not like what I have just said, and probably will not publish it, but it is true, and it is not just me saying this kind of stuff.
Shaun Doyle
It's vacuous diatribes like this that prove the point of the article. I suggest that if you want to be taken seriously, that you please stop vacuously pontificating about our 'scientific illiteracy' and supposed moral turpitude for daring to actually believe our views and address our arguments. Feel free to avail yourself of our Q and A pages and search function—they will point you in the right direction to do so.
manuel T.
Is not the real issue sin? Is not the fundamental reason why God's Word is rejected and not taken as self-attesting nothing other than plain ol' sin?

"Did God really say....?"

WE want to be able to determine what is true and correct APART from God's revelation. After all, who would know more, Bronze Age men or scholarly intellectuals?

To be sure, the fact that the Biblical writers were plenary inspired is not accepted. After all, why should the text be believed? Are not WE in a higher position of authority than God Himself, and therefore able to question what He reveals?

Surely we are autonomous, are we not?
John D.
CMI: Please talk to us when you can explain how to compress over 160 asteroid/comet impact craters into a 6-10 thousand-year earth history when any ONE of the largest 40 would have released more energy than the world's entire nuclear arsenal combined. And why aren't THESE events cited in Scripture? Because they all happened LONG before the Bible was written!
Shaun Doyle
It's an area of ongoing creationist research and disagreement. Please see A biblically-based cratering theory and Response to Faulkner’s ‘biblically-based cratering theory’. Nonetheless, please see Comets—portents of doom or indicators of youth? for why the extant impactors is an intractable problem for deep time.
Andre A.
Reading thru the article and then all the comments above seems to indicate that every one seems to have a closed mind on his or her believes. It appears that whether the truth about it all be illustrated it won't resolve anything. So just humble yourself to The Lord our God and let Him teach you. "... for one is your teacher, The Christ..." Mathew 23:8. There are many passages in the scripture, both old and new that should be considered and prayer fully brought before The Lord.
God bless.
Andre A.
Shaun Doyle
I would also add that a closed mind is not necessarily a bad thing, as there is such a problem as having a mind so open that your brain falls out. But having our minds open to what God teaches in Scripture is in large part what this debate is all about. Deep time Christians typically insist on the hermeneutical priority of things that are of limited value (such as the Ancient Near Eastern cosmogonies) or utterly irrelevant (such as deep time geology, biology, and cosmology) for exegeting Genesis 1–11, rather than attending primarily to the genre, grammar, and close inner-biblical literary contexts of the passage. As such, they allow factors that don't directly influence authorial intent to determine for them what the author supposedly intended to convey; they don't allow Scripture to speak for itself.
Interesting article! Perhaps one reason the author left out is "pride". We are ALL guilty of it, Jesus spoke at length on the issue and it was the cause of Lucifer's fall. It is difficult for most of us to gracefully accept correction and move from one position to another - an example that comes to mind is a rather famous pastor (who will remain nameless as this response is not about him or his doctrine) that holds to an unbiblical doctrine and has for well over 30 years, yet when questioned as to why he believes what he believes he responded by saying, "I honestly don't completely understand it", however if this pastor was ever to except correction (offered by many) then he would in essence be saying he has been teaching people an unbiblical doctrine for over 30 years! I think pride is a powerful stumbling block for us in many areas of our lives.
john P.
Thanks, Shaun, for a great article and great responses-God bless.
Where I work-at a local poultry farm-my boss is also a Christian-as biblical revelationists we take Genesis literally. Earth is only young to distinguish it from the mythology and devil's scam of billions of years and evolution- in reality 60 centuries is old.
We have a witness stand at work and various tract-from CMI and other Christian ministries-which we put in our bags of chook food for sale, and my boss often witnesses to his customers. Interestingly when some Jehovah Witnesses came recently he offered a brochure swap-he'd take their pamphlet if they'd take our witnessing tracts- they did not take anything-nor did he-obviously they don't like being confronted with truth= which happens with cults like that. We need to do our job, though, of sowing the seed and the Holy Spirit does the rest, It's His job to get into people's hearts to convert them and we'll only see the fruit of our efforts at the Rapture or when we're called home, whichever comes first.
A. W.
I understand the debate, and the last thing we should do is to argue amongst Christians. I understand where the YEC get their belief from, a study of the bible and of ages of men of the Bible, it is possible to come up with a number. The Long Ages group refuse to believe that 'science' of their study of 'ages' could be wrong because it is so ingrained in our society......... Of course you cannot scientifically test the implications of a world wide flood. We can't scientifically prove how some men lived for 900 years. Our understanding does not get the 'science' of how a man could walk on water........... I believe that when all sides refuse to stop debating and get into namecalling and putdowns it causes division. I also find it amusing that they 'know' the world is 15 billion years old........ That cannot be scientifically 'proven' it can only be assumed or guessed at best........ What I do know is that human kind is gullible and will fall for most new scientific discoveries..... We also have a desire to be like 'God' and we like to have all the answers for everything. I love that 'Creationists' are fighting back against all the 'so called' science and I hope you keep pushing against the grain, to get your message out......... God Bless you all.
Eugene L.
We as Christian believers are shooting ourselves in the foot. Not only are some of us hostile to Biblical Creation, we cannot even agree on simple biblical doctrine.

We all claim to have the Truth, and yet, we belong to different denominations who all shout; "WE HAVE THE TRUTH!"

Many of us are guilty of "quote mining" Bible verses to substantiate our beliefs.

I firmly believe that the Bible should interpret itself:

2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

I also believe that all Scripture (from Genesis to Revelation) is the complete package for our salvation:

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

We also tend to forget the following:

Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

I believe in a literal six day creation because the Bible is very CLEAR in this regard.

Linda M.
This has come up thru son's CS class, with the teacher claiming evolution, as we can't claim how long a day is (not mentioned in the Bible). Thankfully, my 14y old debated with the knowledge he has (from this ministry/bible reading...) and had the class of mostly nonbelievers listening and helped the couple of other christian friends find their voice. Even a Christian school can hire teachers of different 'beliefs'. Instead of getting upset with teachers any more (although we have great debates with the Principal), we use this to spend time talking with our son (& his friends) about creation... and explain to them why the teachers get upset when they bring up Genesis and creation. It actually helps them to understand others beliefs and helps them to express their beliefs.
Larry L.
The answer to your question is straightforward.

Because of evolution, many people are predisposed to embrace religion and superstition through intuitive reasoning. We also form beliefs through "traditional" reasoning. Traditional reasoning can serve as an acid test for beliefs that are embraced by the intuitive process.

Religious people are simply hardwired to give more weight to the intuitive thinking process that is highly laced with emotions such as gratification. Yet not all religious people are wired to give the same importance to the intuitive process and they will seek a brand of religion that fulfills their emotional needs on the intuitive yet allow the religious belief to pass the acid test of traditional reasoning.

When compared to an "young earth christen" an "old earth christian" is simply a person with a weaker intuitive reasoning process yet not so weak that he or she forsakes religion. An atheist is a person that as a bit more mastery of intuitive reasoning on the emotional front.

Lastly, a person who is strongly emotionally pulled to an intuitive based belief yet does not embrace the belief because of logical reasoning (traditional reasoning) is an amazing person....very rare.
Shaun Doyle
If atheists have a comparative rational mastery over their emotions when compared to religious people, then why is atheism so irrational? Atheism denies objective moral values while raging against the evils of e.g. pedophile priests. But if evil exists, then objective moral values exist, which cannot be on atheism, from which it follows that atheism is false. Atheism is committed to one of either two absurd propositions about the physical world: that it always existed, or that it just popped into being without cause or reason. The first flies in the face of the laws of thermodynamics and posits an infinite regress, and the second is worse than magic! Atheists think we are nothing more than random or deterministic matter in motion—and don't see the incoherence of that notion.

Or are you one of those 'lack a belief in gods' atheists? If so, it doesn't matter; a skeptic's epistemic condition does not affect the truth value of the statement 'God exists'. Besides, there is plenty of reason to think God exists—that the universe exists (cosmological argument from contingency), that the universe had a beginning (Kalam cosmological argument), that objective moral values exist (moral argument), that intentional beings like us exist (argument from consciousness), that the universe is fine tuned for life (fine-tuning teleological argument), that natural laws are comprehensible with mathematics (another species of teleological argument), that life is amazingly designed (biotic teleological argument), and even that the very notion of a greatest conceivable being is coherent (ontological argument). And in all that I haven't even mentioned the Bible or Jesus, but it does show the Bible is right about a very important truth; nobody has a rational excuse for not worshipping God (Romans 1:19–20).

It is not the wise who says in his heart 'there is no God'; it's the fool (Psalm 14:1). Please see Christianity for Skeptics
Sas E.
Well not everyone who claims to be a Christian will enter the kingdom of heaven as Jesus said. Only God knows the heart and we may deceive ourselves but not God!
Shaun Doyle
True, but that's not our judgment to make. We should be as charitable as possible (which is not to say all-inclusive; I do believe e.g. saying that Jesus taught error from the Bible during his messianic campaign is contradictory to saving faith), but never play down the significance of the issues.
Susan P.
I love to read Genesis and be blessed by dwelling on God's love for us and the unfolding of his ultimate plan of salvation.

I believe that Genesis gives us the background for understanding God's authority, our need for salvation, and God's plans for our redemption.

We need to remember though, that we are saved by Jesus' death and resurrection not because we have the correct understanding of Genesis. We are all of us sinners and I am sure not one of us has a complete and faultless understanding of all of scripture. Just as well we are saved by Grace not by passing a biblical knowledge exam!

With this in mind, we need to exercise humility when we talk to and about Christians with different views about any biblical topic, including Genesis. There can be rudeness, insensitivity and pride on both the Young Earth and Old Earth sides of this topic. I think we should bear this in mind when we are discouraged or offended by individuals with differing beliefs from ours.

This difference in beliefs is not between 'us' YECs with all the moral high ground, and 'them' Old Earth believers who are all always on the defensive and attack. It is between us fallen but saved sinners, and some other fallen but saved sinners.
My point is that while we ponder the behaviour of some who attack and offend us we shouldn't collectively condemn the behaviour of every one who disagrees with us. We must also constantly monitor our own words and actions, speaking only in a loving manner and forgiving those who offend us, just as we have been forgiven.
Shaun Doyle
We have consistently maintained that belief in six-day creation and a historical Genesis is not necessary or sufficient for salvation (see e.g. Do I have to believe in a historical Genesis to be saved?). Nor does having the correct view excuse us for having a petulant attitude towards those who disagree, especially Christians. But notice what I said:

Another factor that often raises the ire of old-earth Christians is that biblical creationists often insist (correctly, in our view) that this issue directly impacts the integrity of the Gospel. That’s a serious accusation about their doctrinal stance that could potentially affect their eternal destiny (it doesn’t have to, but it can)! Even if we say that as tactfully and gently as possible and argue our case cogently, many (if not most) old-age Christians are still not going to like hearing it. What Christian would like hearing that their doctrine destroys the integrity of the Gospel? [bold emphasis added]

In other words, the offense is often not in the way we state the implications of deep time belief, but in the implications themselves. In such cases, the only way we can avoid giving offense is to avoid being honest; clearly not an option for Christians (Ephesians 4:25).
Justin D.
I am a theistic evolutionist now I might get a lot of hate for believing in evolution but I am not gonna make this a debate about evolution in fact no debate at all. I would first like to say that in the article you ask why can't OECs respect YECs as brothers and sisters in Christ well most of the YECs that I have seen are very disrespectful to OECs and Theistic evolutionists such as Ken Ham with all due respect. Most of the YECs such as Ken Ham or Ray Comfort will boldly say that if you believe in an old earth or evolution you are an atheist and against God. Well I am not an atheist and I am not against God I love God and I go by his word. Now you also say in the article that the bible does teach a young earth but I would like to know exactly where the bible says that the earth is exactly 6000 years old? Because I have read the bible and the bible does not say how old the earth is exactly I am not saying it says the universe is billions of years old either. But I let God interpret it for me not man and you guys are letting man tell you what the bible says and not God and I am guilty of that to. I am not trying to be mean or militant or anything I am just saying, because I used to be one of you but I see no conflict between believeing in an old earth or evolution. My belief in evolution does not take away any belief in an historical Adam or historical Eve I still believe they existed like I believe Jesus existed which he did and I still believe Jesus rose from the dead. So if any of you are willing to have a normal calm logical and reasonable discussion I will be happy to have one.
God bless you all and may The Lord keep his hand of protection over you and may many blessings and peace come upon you in these troublesome times.

P.S. get ready for the return of Jesus he's coming quickly and we see all the signs happening. (Just saying LOL!!!)!
Shaun Doyle
Even if YECs were uniformly disrespectful, it does not follow that OECs and theistic evolutionists (TEs) should be. However, I wonder if OECs and TEs often mistake what is really a dire warning for disrespect. Sometimes it is not the delivery that gives offence, but the very position being asserted that gives offense. We believe deep time destroys the integrity of the gospel and the Bible. I think it's hard for any old-age Christian to accept graciously such a statement because it does question the integrity of their Christian faith.

Now, you believe in a historical Adam and Eve. That's good. However, there are TEs that don't, such as Francis Collins and many at BioLogos. And I would challenge you that your belief in a historical Adam and Eve contradicts your belief in evolution. In fact, it would contradict any belief that there are 50,000 year old anatomically modern human fossils, and in a very serious way: if humans were dying before Adam sinned, it breaks the causal link between sin and death, and thus undermines the salvific meaning of Jesus' death and resurrection. See Pre-Adamites, sin, death and the human fossils and The good news without the bad news is no news at all! for more information.
Phil K.
@ Rich W.: I don't disagree with your comment, but I feel the need to illustrate an exception. I have a good friend who is an ER physician and was thoroughly convinced of Evolution and an Old Earth from medical school. He became a Christian after becoming a physician. I believe this is a growth process for him and his conversion is true. He exhibits many Christlike qualities. I believe it is only a matter of time before he accepts the literal Biblical account. But he has a lot of indoctrination to overcome and perhaps I and CMI are here for him. This is one personal account, I'm sure there are many more old earth creationists traveling the same road.
R. D.
Anyone who's spent 5 minutes in the creation-evolution thing knows this one only too well. Myself, I've seen anticreationists use the "quote-mining" ruse when they make it clear in the same sentence that they've never even read the piece which is being quoted from in the first place! Much of the time it's just a standard reaction any time a creationist produces a quote from an evolutionist - they don't even stop to think. The best way to deal with this is to challenge the person to quote the text either side of what you've quoted. If they can't do that, they're shown-up as the bluffers they mostly are. If they can and do, in the vast majority of the cases they'll just undermine the point they're attempting to make because the surrounding text only further emphasises what the creationist is saying.

And of course, often enough it's just an ipse dixit statement with no examples even offered. The best way to deal with that is always simply to ask them to produce an example. 90% (maybe more) of the time you do that I'd suspect the above can then be applied as the next step! (And sometimes they can't even do that.)

That said, this all-too-common accusation does emphasise the importance for us that we go and look quotes up ourselves - even when we've heard them from a fellow creationist. Often times when I've done that I've found that to quote more of the passage, further than is typically done, actually strengthens the point further still. A couple of examples are Richard Lewontin and Scott Todd's famous quotes on how any theistic scenario is simply ruled-out a priori in academic study of the physical realm - I often think we under-use their words!
Robert T.
Does any YEC find, as I do, that many otherwise sound Christians, are hostile to any questioning of their acceptance of evolution, because they have reconciled the world view with the literal position of Genesis after much agonising. To reopen the subject, to them, is like re-opening an old wound. I realised this when leading a home group in our evangelical church when I was angrily told never to bring up the subject again. The retort was hastily added 'I suppose you also believe that people in the old testament lived for hundreds of years!' Thankfully, I have nevertheless, been able to arrange CMI presentations at our church, but sadly the long age folks just stay away and don't even want to hear or confront anything that would disturb their views. My own son, a Phd in seismology, bristles when the subject arises and dismisses it as 'bad science'. Before university, he was never hostile and we had many a debate about Genesis, but that was before I had the benefit of CMI's evidence based approach. I now pray he meets other scientists who are YEC's as he might just, please God, hear them out. The testimonies in your magazines and on the website prove that the Holy Spirit does break through to many, by God's good grace. Keep doing what you are doing! And keep praying what you are praying.
Doug L.
I have to say that this article is very timely for me since I just finished a week long exchange of posts with an Old Earther. All I could say at the end was "WOW"!

He would make statements like "CMI and AIG teach that being YEC is necessary for salvation" and "every position that you'll find on their websites is demonstrably wrong."

He actually tried to sell the idea that believing in a young Earth was damaging to the cause of Christ! And he seemed to actually believe that. This person continually made erroneous statements and mischaracterizations of the Young Earth position and those who defend it. When I corrected him, and showed him he was wrong do you know what his response was? He ignored what I said, didn't respond, and shifted ground to something else!!! It was exactly the same kind of tactic used by secularists.

This person was an excellent spin-meister and his ability to twist things to sell his position was almost breath-taking (in a negative way.) He even actually said I either don't understand science or else I was a liar!!!

The breadth and depth of his superciliousness, his haughty arrogance was amazing. My initial reaction to him was one of utter contempt. I reigned that in and tried to talk reasonably. I wonder if I should have stuck with contempt instead?

At any rate, this article hits the nail on the head. It's appalling that we have to face this kind of opposition from people who claim to belong to the body of Christ. I guess I'm in a state of shell shock. No wonder this seems like such an uphill battle.
Shaun Doyle
Dr Mark Harwood offers a really helpful perspective on dialoguing with skeptics in his article Anyone for tennis?
Phillip L.
I am not a scientist nor a theologian in any way or form, but it seems to a lay person like myself that: we only use approx. 3% of our brains (something like that) and yet all sides profess to have the only answers that make sense, and that when we get to Heaven we will be able to use 100% of our brain and we will have all the answers. So, that leaves me to do the one thing that Jesus told me to do: HAVE FAITH. I don't care how long it did or didn't take to get the job done or who can prove or disprove this or that. All I care is that God sent Jesus to give us a way to join them in Heaven and that is my bottom line.
Shaun Doyle
The same Jesus who said "have faith" also said "from the beginning of creation he made them male and female" (Mark 10:6). In other words, Jesus said God made humans male and female right at the beginning of the world (and he quoted Genesis 1:27 to prove it). Since you trust Jesus for eternal salvation, it should not be too much of an issue to trust him on basic history. See Jesus and the age of the earth.

Regarding our brain usage, the notion that we only use a small portion of our brains is false. We use all of our brains, though different parts are used more intensely in certain kinds of activities.

And finally, biblical faith is not blind. It is much like trusting a skydiving instructor when we jump out of the plane for our first ever sky dive. In both cases we are entrusting something of great value to someone else (our life (the instructor), or our eternal life (Jesus)), and we are venturing on an outcome we cannot control. But we are never doing so without reason. We don't evince our trust in the parachuting instructor by jumping out of the airplane just because we get a nice feeling about the instructor; we trust that he knows what he is doing, and will keep us safe. Trusting Christ for our eternal salvation is much like this; we trust him because we think we need salvation, we have evaluated his credentials on the matter (however summarily), and found him willing and able to save us. However, people object that deep time and evolution void Jesus' claims about himself and his mission; i.e. if deep time and evolution are true, then Jesus can't even get basic history right, so why should I trust him for eternal salvation? And we think this objection is right on target … except that we think evolution and deep time are false.
Olufemi B.
I do not like pigeon holes. I am a Born again Christian who believes that a universe billions of years old is not incompatible with a creator who is the ancient of days, and for whom 'ten thousand ages is like an evening gone'. But I also oppose Macroevolution strongly. I am about to complete work on a book titled: "Evolution: what Dawkins did not tell you". This is a direct riposte to Dawkins' book titled "The greatest show on earth". God is beyond time and space and it does not detract from the wonders of creation whether or not the days of creation are literal (He could do it in six days or even six hours if He wanted!) or figurative. Remain blessed.
Shaun Doyle
Please see Common ground with old-earth creationists? and The Greatest Hoax on Earth?, our direct riposte to Dawkins' book The Greatest Show on Earth.
Victor B.
A very thoughtful and accurate assessment of the issues and dynamics involved amongst Christians who differ in their views in this important debate. As a biblical creationist, I also get hurt by some fellow christians who like M.A. says ".... deep-time Christians often treat young-age creationists as if they cannot read the Bible or a science textbook." Nevertheless, I have to remind myself of who our real opponent is and the importance of upholding the truth of God's word in our thinking and living.
Colin M.
From some of the comments above it appears that YECs are 'feeling the heat of the debate'. Its possible to be right and still be like the Pharisees. Let's not go there.
Cowboy Bob S.
Mr. Doyle made some good points, and what he called the "convert syndrome" applies to many areas. There are "former creationists" and "former Christians but never YECs" that prowl the Web like roaring lions, seeking someone to devour. They appeal to "reason" but are also condescending, telling us how much smarter they are than "literalist fundies". (By the way, William Jennings Bryan of the Scopes trial was a Fundamentalist, but did not believe in a literal six-day creation. What is a "fundie" to these people? It is probably just a pejorative that has little or no actual meaning.) Then they change from trying to convert us into simply attacking. People with any familiarity in logical fallacies can see right through this.

It amazes me at how hostile theistic evolutionists and others can become. When they visit our ministry's Page or creation/evolution discussion groups, it is difficult to tell TEs/OECs from atheists. (Perhaps those of us who believe what the Bible says in Genesis are not real Christians in their eyes, so they do not need to use John 13.35, but I am guessing.) Atheists often cozy up to TEs and OECs because they are more "moderate" and "sensible", but I believe it is because those compromising Christians are not that far from atheism, and far much less work to convert them.
Don J.
What was once called "documentation" is now dismissed as "quote mining" when arguing against evolution.
John F. K.
I am troubled by the fact that people I have read and respected for their coherent views on important issues and various Christian topics think young earth creationists are simply wrong, and they believe that holding to the "literal" biblical perspective does much damage in today's advanced, scientific, technological, non-primitive world. To them, I am a hindrance, a detriment, to the cause of Christ, and I should just become silent and get out of the way of Christian advancement. I am in need of local support and like-minded fellowship, but I have not yet found it.
Rich W.
The article charitably assumes that Christians who challenge Creationism are truly Christians.

I propose that the greatest concentrations of deep time/evolution-believing "Christians" are among churches, or at least beliefs, that have fallen away from the Gospel and from faith that God is God.

Not all who follow both scientism and the gospel are lost, but the position does wave a warning flag. If we weigh the relative importance of Creationism and salvation, we may conclude that the greater need is the gospel rather than an argument over science.

Of course, if Genesis is a stumbling block to faith, we may need to address it in order to open a door to addressing the gospel.
Gabriël S.
It is tragic that self-acclaimed 'christians' see fit to accommodate an old-earth creation in lieu of the fact that it effectively negates the gospel and hence the dire need for salvation. the question arises if you can at all spell that 'christian' with a capital C. if you are a German citizen, very well, by all means use a capital G, but if you are not and only are able to speak the language and per chance eat Bratwurst and drink beer, you are still what you are, it does not make you a German...
J. B.
Accusing us creationists of quote mining appears to be a great sport for atheists and others, to the point that we can be nervous about using any quotes at all. But perhaps a good definition of quote mining might include: using a quote out of context. So, as long as we use our quotes within context, we should be on solid ground - especially if we can show that we are using the right context, and we might explain this about the definition of 'quote mining'. It might also be helpful to remember, and perhaps gently point out another great atheist sport - quote mining the Bible!

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