Biblical inerrancy and the age of the earth
Published: 16 March 2019 (GMT+10)
Today’s feedback is from Mauritz V., South Africa, who featured in a previous feedback article in 2014 when he wrote:
There is something that all atheists and creationists miss. It is the simple fact that we confuse our interpretation of scientific fact and the Word of God with what God actually wants us to understand. I believe evolution is the way God created all life on this planet. That is what science tells me. I accept it as such. …
Dr Carl Wieland, CEO of CMI-Australia at the time, answered Mauritz. They continued to exchange emails for a period afterwards.
Recently, Mauritz wrote to Carl to say that he has changed his mind.
Dear Dr Carl Wieland
I do not know if you can remember me, but we had a discussion a few years ago (2014). I unfortunately lost the email string, but I remember that I said, “I will let you know if I change my mind on the age of the earth.”
I just want to let you know you were right. Something you said about the Bible stuck with me and now I have to admit I was wrong. Maybe it could help someone if I could tell you what it was that convinced me.
You told me that the Bible is inerrant.
I thought I believed it at the time, but I see now that I didn’t understand it at all.
When I read this in Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible,” the penny dropped for me. If I do not want to believe Genesis word-for-word why on earth would I believe Romans 5:11 (sin entered through one man, and death through sin) or the really difficult parts in Ephesians 5 (living a Spirit filled life) or any other book or doctrine of the Bible?
Not only the inerrancy of God’s Word but also the sufficiency of the Word of God is what made the difference for me. It is through faith that we know that God created everything out of nothing in six days. God said so in His Word, Jesus said so, Paul said it, Mark, John etc. so that settles it for me.
I believe it now. I know it is true. And I apologize for my obtuseness and unwillingness to listen to you. I feel ashamed reading that letter again, but I’m also grateful to think how much has changed for me since I took God’s Word seriously.
I thank God for His patience with me and I thank you for the continued effort at CMI. It really does make a big difference.
Kind regards and blessings.
It’s a joy to receive a message like this, and to see the change that happens in a person when they believe the Word of God: “I’m also grateful to think how much has changed for me since I took God’s Word seriously.”
It is also insightful to read the comment, “I thought I believed it at the time …” He sees now that, at that time, he did not believe the Bible was inerrant, but he didn’t realise he did not believe it. His comment reminds us that everyone is on a journey (compare Can Christians believe evolution?). As we are open, with time we change in our relationship with our Creator and Saviour, in our experience of life, in our confidence in God’s Word, and in our understanding of His world. This is one important reason that CMI publishes Creation magazine, Journal of Creation, books, videos, and other resources. And it is for the same reason we make material freely available on the web, spend time talking with people, and aim to show courtesy and respect.
Mauritz gave permission to share this letter for your encouragement. He said, “You may use the letter. I hope it could be to the glory of God and maybe it could benefit somebody who is in the same position I was.”