Faith, Morality, and Long Creation Days
I just want to take a moment at the “halfway-point” in this book review to remind folks that I do not want to condemn the man, Hugh Ross. I believe he is a Christian is ripe for correction because of his false hermeneutical methodology. With that, let’s look at ch 12
Some young-earth creationist leaders have persuaded large segments of the Christian community to believe that a link exists between belief in an old Earth and a slide into immorality.
This is not an unfounded warning. As has been consistently shown in the previous chapters of this book review, old earthism elevates the modern academic paradigm as an authority over biblical interpretation. While the modern academic paradigm in-and-of-itself does not constitute a slide into immorality, elevating ANYTHING as an authority over biblical interpretation is dangerous. It’s the same false methodology when people elevate cultural norms or politics as authorities over the Bible. So, proper biblical interpretation is important. Scripture interprets scripture.
One other serious compromise that I have pointed out about old earthism is the constant necessity to redefine words and context within scripture to accommodate the old earth axiom. The danger here is that one can say they believe the Bible as long as they can define words however they want. With this same type of redefining words, people can say they affirm the Bible but still accept homosexual unions, abortion on demand, and feminism as holy.
Ross expressed frustration that some Christians portrayed him in a bad light on p128
He (spokesman for Bible Science Association)described me as “dangerous”, adding that I’m “not an orthodox Christian” and claiming that my views on an old earth undermine belief in Christs’s atonement.
There IS danger because when someone claims that the very specific curses of sin (death/suffering/corruption/thorns) are NOT curses for sin, one has to question the orthodox nature of that person’s Christianity. Jesus took the penalties for sin upon Himself at the cross. Dr. Ross declared plainly that the Bible does NOT say death, corruption, harm & thorns were a result of sin.
It’s almost as if he’s never read:
- Genesis 1 – Creation is “Very good”. Predation is prohibited
- Genesis 3 – Cursed is the ground because of Adam’s rebellion. It will now produce thorns. Painful toil results from sin. You will now be subject to death
- Isaiah 11 & 65 – reversal of the curse of Genesis 3. From predation to herbivore, from harm/destruction to peace. From toil & misfortune to blessings.
- Romans 5 – The rebellions of Adam brought death into the world
- Romans 8 – Creation is in bondage to corruption because of sin
- I Corinthians 15 – Death is the final enemy to be defeated
Attempts to link belief in an old earth with immorality rest on the false equating of long creation days with naturalism.
Yet, Dr. Ross’s teachings on origins share about 90% of naturalism’s origins story. It’s not a stretch to say that old earthism is a “gateway drug” to naturalism.
That cloud of condemnation casts a long shadow, even over the reputation of some of Christianity’s and the Bible’s most distinguished defenders – Charles Hodge, Benjamin Warfield, Gleason Archer, Norman Geisler, and Walter Kaiser, for example.
I’ll add another accomplished apologist who has chosen to accept old earthism – Greg Koukl. Koukl is another very smart defender of the faith, but because his old earthism leaves gigantic contradictions in his worldview, when he was asked by a child why there are mosquitoes in the world, rather than being able to say “the curse of man’s rebellion against God’s commands ruined God’s VERY GOOD creation including mosquitoes”, Koukl responded, “To employ workers making mosquito repellent.”
So, this is not to say that old earthers are not Christians, but when tough questions arise regarding death, corruption, suffering, and thorns they are all forced to reject the scriptures that specifically mention why the world is broken and awaiting redemption (Romans 8)
Belief in evolution does not necessarily identify a person as an enemy of the faith. Such belief may come from or lead to rejection of God’s truth, but many adherents to evolution simply have not yet thought through the implications of what they have been taught.
But you, Dr. Ross have thought through the implications of your old earthism, and rather than turning from the ideas of
- Death, suffering, corruption, predation, and thorns prior sin
- Re-interpreting scripture to accommodate the modern academic paradigm
…you have dug in your heels and doubled down on these unbiblical ideas.
As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.