Bible-believing (and also Bible-doubting) scientists who lived before Charles Darwin is the fascinating theme of a just-released book by AiG–USA researcher and speaker, Dr. Terry Mortenson.
Dr. Mortenson’s eye-opening text The Great Turning Point dispels the widely promoted myth that belief in “young earth” creation is a recent phenomenon, popularized by Bible-believing Christians only in the past few decades. Based on his Ph.D. research in England, Dr. Mortenson shows that even before Darwin, there were a number of Christian writers who collectively became known as the “scriptural geologists.” For biblical and geological reasons they did not accept millions of years of earth history (an idea which was already becoming popular a few decades before Darwin published his famous book in 1859).
The sad history, as recounted in this book, is that many church leaders about 200 years ago ignored or rejected the young-earth arguments of the “scriptural geologists” and were being waylaid by the fallible opinions of secular scientists who were promoting an old age for the earth.
This “long-ages” approach of reinterpreting Scripture because “science must be right” helped pave the way for the enormous impact of Darwin’s theory of biological evolution. This compromise had—and continues to have—a devastating effect on the idea of biblical authority because people saw (and still see) Christian leaders rejecting the foundational book of the Bible, Genesis. As a consequence the church’s witness and impact on a lost world has been rendered ineffective.
Consider this book as a gift to share with your pastor, other Christian leader or scientist to help them see the importance of accepting a literal Genesis.
Editor’s note: Also, read Dr. Mortenson’s fascinating article in The Master’s Seminary Journal (Spring 2004 volume) on philosophical naturalism and its influence on the church (posted with permission of the journal).
Dr. Mortenson demonstrates that the tactics of “playing the man instead of the ball” was the same then as it is now. In other words, rather than debate the “science,” many seek to discredit Christians because of their own ideological ideas. The attitude toward these early Bible-believers was one of outright ridicule. In this extract from his new book, Dr. Mortenson writes that these nineteenth-century “scriptural geologists” (opponents of old-earth geology) have been
“[G]enerally misunderstood and often mischaracterized, both by their contemporaries and by later historians. Typical is Charles Lyell, the leading uniformitarian geologist of their day, who described them in 1827 as ‘wholly destitute of geological knowledge’ and unacquainted ‘with the elements of any one branch of natural history which bears on the science.’”
“He said that they were ‘incapable of appreciating the force of objections, or of discerning the weight of inductions from numerous physical facts.’ Instead he complained that ‘they endeavour to point out the accordance of the Mosaic history with phenomena which they have never studied’ and ‘every page of their writings proves their consummate incompetence.’”
As The Great Turning Point shows, nothing could be farther from the truth regarding these early Christian opponents of old-earth geology.