Questions to Ask an Old Earth Christian

Not only would I like to hear their answers to these questions, I’d like to hear their best dozen or so questions fired back at our side.

  1. Do you believe the earth is millions or billions of years old?
  2. Do you believe the Genesis Flood was a localized or earth-wide catastrophe?
  3. Do you believe God used evolution in any way during His creative process?
  4. If God had wanted to communicate that He did not use evolution in any way, what kinds of language could He have used that would have fit with the context and genre of Genesis 1-2?
  5. If there were no theory of evolution would there be any reason for believing the earth is millions or billions of years old?
  6. When Paul says, “the whole creation groans and travails together” waiting for redemption and freedom, isn’t that speaking about freedom from sin’s effect on creation? But if sin brought creation into a terrible condition, then how could there have been animal death, destruction, and disease in Genesis 1 before sin in Genesis 3?
  7. How could God create a world that is designed from the beginning to be carnivorous, dangerous, and riddled with disease and yet call it “very good” in Gen. 1:31?
  8. Why would God create a world with animals evolving over time, but then not use that same mechanism for men?
  9. Were Calvin, Luther, and Wesley exegetically foolish, inconsistent, or lazy when they interpreted Genesis 1 as literal days?
  10. When the Westminster and Baptist Confessions say “in the space of six days, and all very good” did those original authors mean 24 hour days? Is there any evidence to think they would interpret the days as geologic ages? Assuming they actually were young earthers, were they Biblically inept?
  11. How do you know that you are not holding to an old earth position because it is academically and culturally popular today?

 

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About Seth

Planting churches with the Baptist Confession in one hand and Tolkien in the other.
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2 Responses to Questions to Ask an Old Earth Christian

  1. Keith Call says:

    So how would you answer those who say that this matter is a “non-essential”? What matters is that we love Jesus. Old or young Earth, dispensational or covenant, Baptist or Methodist — the goal is Jesus. To insist on these issues is divisive and simply exhibits to non-believers that Christians do nothing but fight, fight, fight. Do these assertions stop you dead in your tracks?

    • Seth says:

      Two arguments make me think this is a serious issue. One is inerrancy and the other is the doctrine of death.

      For inerrancy I would argue something like:
      1. The Scriptural record leaves no place for macro-evolution as a means whereby God created the world. Gen. 1; Ex. 20:10-11; Matt. 19:4; et. al.
      2. An old earth position is based on some form of evolution.
      3. Therefore, an old earth position denies the record of Scripture.

      Inerrancy is called into question, and evangelicals should care very deeply about that.

      For the doctrine of death I would argue:
      1. One of the purposes of the cross is to destroy death. When Christ returns He will end all death. Death in any form will not continue into the eternal state. Death is not ultimately a good thing (though of course God may use it for good ends).
      2. An old earth position requires death before sin as part of a “very good” creation. It is, therefore, a good, proper, and right part of life quite apart from sin.
      3. Therefore, an old earth position weakens and contradicts one of the vital elements of the crosswork of Christ. Namely, that He sees death as an evil robbed of its power and condemned on the cross. That death has no intrinsic beauty such that it could deserve to be preserved in Heaven.

      Now, I don’t think that Old Earthers would actively admit these two, nor that they maliciously hate inerrancy or the cross of Christ. However, we often hold contradictory positions without realizing it. Any time a Christian sins he is living a lie, a walking contradiction.

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