Davis Young: Why He Abandoned the Day-Age Theory

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The long-ager compromiser Dr. Davis Young, was once a staunch advocate of the day-age theory. But he eventually abandoned this nonsense because of the eisegetical gymnastics required to harmonize the Genesis order with the order of events of long-age geology.

The Day-Age hypothesis insisted with at least a semblance of textual plausibility that the days of creation were long periods of time of indeterminate length, although the immediate context implies that the term yôm for “day” really means “day”. Having devised a means for allowing Genesis 1 to be in harmony with an ancient planet, Day-Age advocates needed to demonstrate that the sequence of creative activities of Genesis chapter 1 matched the sequence of events deciphered by the astronomers and geologists. Well, Day-Agers outdid themselves in constructing impressive correlations. Of course, these correlations . . . all differed from each other. While a fairly convincing case could be made for a general concord, . . . specifics of these correlations were a bit more murky.

There were some textual obstacles the Day-Agers developed an amazing agility in surmounting. The biblical text, for example, has vegetation appearing on the third day and animals on the fifth day. Geology, however, had long realized that invertebrate animals were swarming in the seas long before vegetation gained a foothold on the land. This obvious point of conflict, however, failed to dissuade well-intentioned Christians, my earlier self included, from nudging the text to mean something different from what it says. In my case, I suggested that the days were overlapping days. Having publicly repented of that textual mutilation a few years ago, I will move on without further embarrassing myself.

Worse yet, the text states that on the fourth day God made the heavenly bodies after the earth was already in existence. Here is a blatant confrontation with science. Astronomy insists that the sun is older than the earth. How do Day-Agers worm out of this? The usual subterfuge involves the suggestion that the light originally visible on earth was sunlight that was obscured and diffused by the thick atmosphere that began to dissipate with the separation of the waters on the second day. Not until the fourth day, however, had the mists thinned to the point where the sun became visible from the earth. . . .

Genius as all these schemes may be, one is struck by the forced nature of them all. While the exegetical gymnastic manoeuvres have displayed remarkable flexibility, I suspect that they have resulted in temporary damage to the theological musculature.

Reference

Young, Davis, The harmonization of Scripture and science, science symposium at Wheaton College, 23 March 1990.

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