The Question of Origins Is Not a Denominational Issue
Many knowledgeable, committed Christians have differing views on a wide variety of theological topics like modes of baptism, eschatology, etc.—and the issue of origins. So, when AiG talks about needing to stand on the authority of the word of God in the area of origins, some Christians lump those ideas together, and conclude that the creation issue is like any other denominational issue. They don’t see the various interpretations of creation (gap theory, progressive creation, theistic evolution, etc.) as necessarily compromising or unbiblical positions.
After all, if two Godly Christians can hold to very different theological positions in many areas and still be seen as uncompromising in their commitment to God’s word (even if deemed incorrect by other Christians), why should the origins issue be any different?
What those Christians may have failed to consider is the question of the source of their belief about the various positions they hold. For example, if two Christians are discussing their differing stances about “end times,” what would they cite as the reason for their position? What would their starting point or “source” of their belief be?
Each would undoubtedly open their Bibles and point to various texts in Scripture as to why they hold their interpretation of the topic. The same would go for baptism or any other theological stance. Their starting point would be the word of God! What other sources besides Scripture would they use to justify their position? None.
But the origins issue is different. The starting point for any other position other than the biblically derived, Young Earth Creationist (YEC) position never originates from the text of the Bible. For example, what about the topic of the age of the earth as it applies to the origins issue? Every other position on origins argues for a belief in God using millions of years to create. But where does that belief come from? Certainly not scripture. It inevitably comes from the non-biblical interpretations in various scientific disciplines that are commonly taught in the western, secularized school system and throughout public institutions and media outlets.
“Can you name the top three Bible passages that convinced you God used millions of years to create?”
A good question to ask someone that holds to a position other than YEC is this: “Can you name the top three Bible passages that convinced you God used millions of years to create?” I have found that most people’s lists are quite short!
Even though they may point to verses such as 2 Peter 3:8 (“... a day with the Lord is like a thousand years ...”) to try to justify their belief, what you will inevitably find is that if you drill down even slightly into their worldview, it is not Scripture that is the source of their belief. It is instead a commitment to consider the idea that the earth is millions of years old as fact. These ideas are derived from radiometric dating arguments from geology or distant starlight from astronomy, not Scripture. Bible verses (used out of context) are just referenced as a biblical justification afterward to create the appearance of “deep time” being a biblically acceptable concept.
Therefore, the Church Fathers, the Reformers and most Christians throughout history overwhelmingly held to the idea of a young earth until the promotion of old-earth ideas (originating from outside the church!) in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Prior to this, Bible commentaries did not reference gap theory/progressive creation/theistic evolution, etc., because they were simply not available in the theological marketplace! This is a clear indication of the fact that old-earth and evolutionary ideas are not of biblical origin. Otherwise, Christians would have clearly seen them before being popularized as a response to acceptance of secular ideas in opposition to clear biblical history.
Unifying Message for the Church
AiG is a non-denominational ministry that recognizes that as long as the believers’ starting point for their theological positions is derived from their understanding of God’s Word as plainly written (rather than from outside sources and then forced into Scripture after the fact), they are standing on the authority of the Word of God.
The origins issue is an authority issue. What is your starting point?
And even if Christians don’t hold to their brother or sister’s interpretation of certain passages, they should still see them as committed to the concept of biblical authority if they are citing Scripture as their starting point. That is why the message of biblical authority that AiG promotes is such a unifying and healing message that is received throughout the various church denominations around the world.
The origins issue is an authority issue. What is your starting point? The infallible Word of God from the Creator who was always there, or the fallible opinions of men who were not? That is what biblical authority is all about.