Do we live on a young or an old earth? That question was the subject of a recent debate on a Christian radio show in the United Kingdom, Unbelievable. For over an hour, I debated Dr. Jeff Zweerink of Reasons to Believe (an old-earth organization). I challenged listeners to start with God’s Word as their authority as I exposed the problems with old-earth beliefs.
I encourage you to watch the debate (embedded above). What stood out to me was the obvious difference in our choice of authorities. Throughout the debate, Jeff kept appealing to certain Hebrew scholars and differences throughout history on how to interpret Genesis chapter 1. While insisting he believed in biblical authority, he told the audience that, because Hebrew scholars and theologians have not always held to one common view of Genesis throughout history (although, until fairly recently, most of the church viewed Genesis as historical narrative and the earth as young), there is room for differing interpretation, and so we cannot be dogmatic that the earth is young.
But is this true? No. I often hear this argument that it’s just a difference in interpretation, so we should just agree to disagree. But Scripture is abundantly clear—God created everything in six, literal days, just thousands of years ago (e.g., Exodus 20:11). And Jesus said humans were created “at the beginning of creation” (Mark 10:6). Also, the Book of Romans teaches that there was no death and disease before sin (e.g., Romans 5:12, Romans 8:22, etc.).
It’s an issue of authority—is God’s Word truly your authority or is man your ultimate authority?
Why am I so passionate about this issue? Why did I debate another believer on an issue so many people see as a minor one? Because I’m passionate about the authority of God’s Word and the gospel. This topic isn’t a minor matter and not an issue of interpretation. It’s an issue of authority—is God’s Word truly your authority, or is man your ultimate authority?
If you start with God’s Word, and nothing else, there’s absolutely no room for millions of years in Genesis. You just won’t find it in Scripture! The only reason people like Dr. Zweerink try to add those years in Genesis is because of influences outside the Bible. Therefore, the Bible is not their ultimate authority—man is. This compromise undermines biblical authority and, ultimately, the gospel message (which is grounded in the history in Genesis).
This debate was broadcast by Premier Christian radio in the United Kingdom. The host graciously gave out information on our upcoming Answers in Genesis conference in England, October 24–26. Now, if you want to see the result of compromise in the church regarding Genesis, look at the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. These countries are almost spiritually dead from a Christian perspective! I also spoke about that phenomenon during the radio debate.
I encourage you to watch the debate and consider the following for yourself—who will your authority be? The ever-changing opinions and ideas of man? Or the rock-solid, inerrant, unchanging, eternal Word of God?
When you watch the video, please catch what Jeff’s views regarding Genesis forced him to do. He blamed God for death and suffering. He was forced to say that God called a creation full of death, suffering, cancer, animal carnivory, thorns, and more “very good.” He really admitted that he blamed God for death, disease, and suffering.
You see, if the earth is millions of years old, there is nobody else to blame in this regard! Humans weren’t around to break God’s very good creation, so it must be God’s fault. Instead of death and suffering being a consequence of human sin (as the Bible makes clear; for example, Romans 5:12, Romans 8:22), death and suffering are simply part of the design of God’s creation from the very beginning.
Once you start compromising on the clear teaching of Scripture, you’re forced to reinterpret other parts of God’s Word to make them fit with your beliefs.
Such an idea undermines the gospel (i.e., Jesus’ death on the cross in our place, taking for us the penalty of death that we deserve) and calls into question the character and goodness of God. Once you start compromising, as Jeff does, on the clear teaching of Scripture, you’re forced to reinterpret other parts of God’s Word to make them fit with your beliefs. Believing in millions of years is actually an attack on the character of our God. (And yes, I said that during the radio debate.)
Instead of adding man’s ideas into Scripture, let’s start with God’s Word—in all areas—and interpret what we see in the world through the lens of Scripture.
I will be in the UK next week for our UK Creation Mega Conference, October 24–26. This conference features equipping teaching from Dr. Georgia Purdom, Prof Stuart Burgess, Prof Andy McIntosh, Simon Turpin, Dr. Voddie Bauchum, and me (and others). Don’t miss it!
While in the UK, on October 28, I will be speaking at a pastors and church leaders’ brunch at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford. I’ll be sharing about the importance of the book of Genesis in evangelism.
If you're in the UK, I encourage you to join me!
That evening, Dr. Georgia Purdom and I will be giving a joint presentation on "Genesis, Science and the Culture War: A Battle of Foundations" at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.
This event is free, and we’re expecting both believers and unbelievers to attend. Please pray for this unique opportunity to reach out to the people of Oxford (a city immersed in evolutionary ideas) with the truth of God’s Word and the gospel of Jesus Christ. And if you’re in the UK, please bring friends and family with you.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.
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