My first assignment at Liberty Seminary was to read an article that undermined the “young earth” interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2. Prior to that I had been exposed to Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, which takes a similar approach. Neither of them nor any other thing I have read on the topic has provided a convincing case to me that regardless of the literary structure of Genesis 1 and the overall intent of the passage, God was not also relating how the heavens, the earth and all that is in them came to be. Other passages, particularly Numbers 12:6-8 seems to confirm that bias:
“When there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions,
I speak to them in dreams.
7But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
8With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid
to speak against my servant Moses?”
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which does not support young earth creationism, but does explain well the nature of how scientific theories are used further helped with my thoughts on the subject. Still, I am not an expert on much that has to do with science and I was recently recommended Scot McKnight and Dennis R. Venema’s 2017 publication, Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture after Genetic Science. I began working my way through it this morning and am looking forward to being enlightened in the days to come, but already, with just the introduction, I suggest something less than a convincing refutation of young earth-ism is underway.
The Foreword was written by Tremper Longman III, the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College. He quickly establishes his intent: the questions regarding Adam and Eve “are crucial questions … They are also questions that cannot be ignored by refusing to address them or by vilifying those who hold opinions that are different from the ones we are used to” (loc. 108). It is wrong for young earth types to ignore the questions raised by science or to vilify those who are drawing different conclusions than the traditional ones. These are fair enough points and it seems a great way to begin a dialogue by agreeing to be peaceable in the discussion. They shouldn’t vilify others; we shouldn’t vilify them. But wait, just THREE sentences later, he changes tack: “Those who choose the Bible and reject evolution often do so at the cost of their intellect.” Forcing someone to make the decision between evolution and the Bible works “great harm.” The writer of the book Scot McKnight, “is passionate about Jesus, and he wants Christians to love God with their whole selves, including their brains” (loc. 119). And the stage is set: Only intellect free Christians who brainlessly love God would ever draw any conclusions about Adam and Eve that do not have some form of harmonization with Darwinian evolution.