A short primer on old earth creationism

 

Before I blog any further, I feel that it’s necessary to highlight some things about old earth creationism (OEC), especially for those who are new to the subject, whether it’s the first time they’ve heard of something else besides young-earth creationist doctrine, or for those who have recently switched to OEC. Those of us in the old earth creationist camp recognize that science and Scripture should be complementary to each other; therefore, science (done correctly) is not an enemy to Christianity. Some Christians view modern science as antagonistic to Christianity. This need not be. So let us begin with five points (there are others to consider as well, but won’t be covered here, at least for now):

 

1) The perspective of creation in Genesis 1 is given from the vantage point of someone who is on the earth. One must also keep in mind the context in which Genesis was written. Professor David Snoke writes: “I conclude that in Genesis 1:2, the point of view is that of a person on the earth, in the land of the Hebrews. What other point of view could they [the Hebrews] imagine? While Hebrews at the time would have been familiar with maps, and therefore could understand the concept of a bird’s-eye view, there are no cues for such a viewpoint, such as ‘Standing on a high mountain, I saw,’ or ‘The Lord looked down from heaven.'” Later, Snoke writes: “The observer is standing…in one place–the land of the Hebrews–not moving variously about, hanging in space, looking down with a bird’s-eye view, etc. Such perspectives would have been far from the mind of an ancient Hebrew.” (A Biblical Case For An Old Earth by David Snoke, 2006, pages 135 and 138)

2) The word for ‘day’ in Genesis 1 allows for it to be interpreted as long periods/epochs of time.  Dr. Hugh Ross writes: “The Hebrew word yôm, translated “day,” is used in biblical Hebrew (as in modern English) to indicate any of four time periods: (a) some portion of the daylight (hours); (b) sunrise to sunset; (c) sunset to sunset; or (d) a segment of time without any reference to solar days (from weeks to a year to several years to an age or epoch). Yôm cannot, however, be interpreted as indefinite (such as anytime or someday) or as infinite time. William Wilson, in his Old Testament Word Studies, explains that yôm is ‘frequently put for time in general, or for a long time; a whole period under consideration…Day [yôm] is also put for a particular season or time when any extraordinary event happens.'” (from Chapter 7 of A Matter of Days by Hugh Ross)

3) Some say the universe is young, but has the intentional appearance of age. As OEC’s, we believe that the universe–and earth–look old because, through scientific measurements, we’ve discovered that they are old. The theory of general relativity has been proven through many scientific tests, and radiometric dating of rocks has also been confirmed over and over to be a valid method of determining the age of rock layers all over the world.

4) We are not to be confused with evolutionists–or theistic evolutionists. We didn’t descend from apes, nor do we believe that we are offspring of hominids, but rather that the Lord made man separately from the rest of creation, “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27) This is very important. I’m also astounded at how many young-earth creationists conflate OEC with the doctrine of Darwinian evolutionism. This is a terrible mistake and misunderstanding of the OEC position.   One link I would like to present to the reader is by C. John Collins called Adam and Eve in the Old Testament:  http://equip.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/SBJT-V15-N1_Collins.pdf

5) Animal death existed before the Fall. Creation has been subject to futility from the beginning before the Fall (Romans 8:19-22), and this includes animals and animal death. This may seem unusually cruel to some, but we have to ask ourselves: did lions and grizzly bears really only become ferocious after the Fall? Did vipers and other venomous snakes only become venomous after Adam and Eve’s transgression? We would say no, that God initially created some creatures to be predators, and some to be the prey of others, in order to maintain balance in the natural world, and also to ultimately glorify God in the process. God would not punish animals, who are not made in the image of God (and thus are not capable of breaking God’s law), because of Adam’s sin. David Snoke’s essay, Why Were Dangerous Animals Created?, does a thorough job of explaining these things, and more, from a Scriptural perspective:
http://www.christianscientific.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/animals.pdf

This is what I have for now.  So, what are your thoughts?

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