Evolution or Millions of Years—Which Is the Greater Threat?
When the secular media visit the Creation Museum to interview me, they rarely
ask about biological evolution. Typically they will start by asking, “Why do
you believe dinosaurs and people lived at the same time?” or “What do you believe
about the age of the earth?” or even, “Why do you reject science and believe
God created the universe in six days only thousands of years ago?”
I believe they start this way because they know biological evolution is impossible
without billions of years of history. In fact, I find that secularists are very
emotionally committed to the millions and billions of years. They almost go
ballistic when told the earth is only thousands of years old.
In my experience, I have found that secularists don’t really care if Christians
reject evolution. Yes, they still mock. But the minute people reject billions
of years, they are labeled antiscience, anti-academic, and anti-intellectual.
The pressure to believe in an old earth is extremely great.
Problem #1: Loss of Biblical Authority
Secularists understand something few Christians seem to grasp—biological evolution
is not the heart of the issue. “Millions of years” is. If they accept a history
timeline as outlined in the Bible (around six thousand years), secularists are
forced to abandon evolution, and creation is the only viable alternative. But
by accepting an old earth, it is easy for them to justify their rejection of
God and the trustworthiness of His Word.
Most conservative, evangelical pastors recognize that the Scriptures clearly
teach Adam was made from dust and Eve was made from his side. They realize how
hard it would be to explain the gospel without referring to the origin of sin
and death in Genesis. However, many such pastors do not consider the age of
the earth an important issue (see “What Pastors Think About Millions of Years”
What Pastors Think About Millions of Years
Many Christian leaders tend to think it is very important to oppose biological
evolution but it doesn’t matter what you believe about the age of the earth.
A recent U.S. poll found that more pastors and other Christian leaders believe
in millions of years than believe in biological evolution or theistic evolution.
LifeWay reported about its December 2011 survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors:
“Pastors overwhelmingly believe that God did not use evolution to create humans
and think Adam and Eve were literal people . . . [but] ministers [were] almost
evenly split on whether the earth is thousands of years old.”1
The 2011 book Already Compromised details the view of Christian college
presidents, vice-presidents, heads of religion or Bible departments, and heads
of science departments. Overall, the majority believe the earth is billions
of years old. Almost 78% of the heads of the religion departments are old-earthers.
So it is not surprising that most pastors accept an old earth.
Let’s face it, in the majority of evangelical churches in America, pastors
won’t preach that people evolved from ape-like creatures. But many pastors
will say they are not sure if the days of creation were long periods of time
or literal days. Many will say the earth could be billions of years old. And that is a bigger problem.
All of the compromised positions on Genesis (the gap theory, framework hypothesis,
theistic evolution, day-age theory, progressive creation, etc.) have one thing
in common—they attempt to fit millions of years of history into Genesis 1. The
major reason so many pastors, Christian academics, and Christians do not believe
in six literal (24-hour) days of creation is ultimately their desire to account
for the supposed billions of years.
Such compromise places mankind’s fallible dating methods—his beliefs about
the past—in authority over God’s Word. This opens a door to undermining biblical
authority. Such compromise does not negate one’s salvation, but it does affect
how coming generations view Scripture.
Problem #2: Loss of the Next Generation
This compromise causes a generational loss of biblical authority. Loss of authority
is a major reason many young people doubt the Bible and ultimately walk away
from the church. This slide was documented in research published in the book
Already Gone, which showed clearly why and when the church is losing
about two-thirds of the next generation.
“Millions of years” flies directly in the face of the history God’s Word clearly
reveals. Ultimately, belief in millions of years attacks the character of God.
If the fossil-bearing layers were laid down slowly over millions of years,
then these layers contain the remains of dead creatures, fossil thorns, evidence
of diseases (e.g., brain tumors), and animals eating each other—all before humans
appeared on the planet.
How can a Christian fit this into God’s Word, which tells us that everything
was “very good” after God finished creating man? How can a good God call brain
tumors “very good”? How could such history fit with Scripture, which tells us
that thorns came after sin and that humans and animals were originally all vegetarian?
Problem #3: Origin in Philosophical Naturalism
The old age of the earth is a much bigger problem than biological evolution.
Not only is it a direct attack on the authority of Scripture that drives away
the next generation, but it is also the child of the pagan religion of this
age—naturalism, the atheistic philosophy that everything can be explained by
natural causes without God. Secularists must cling to long ages in order to
explain life without a Creator.
Belief in an old earth was born out of naturalism, as documented by the research
of Terry Mortenson.1 The belief in billions of years was originally postulated
by materialists, atheists, and deists in an attempt to explain the geological
record by natural processes, rather than by a global Flood as revealed in the
Naturalism is the anti-God religion of this age, and millions of years is foundational
to its false idea of biological evolution. George Wald, a biochemist and Nobel
prize winner, explains why a long period of time is so important to evolution’s
story: “Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time . . . is of the order
of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience
is meaningless here. Given so much time, the ‘impossible’ becomes possible,
the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait:
time itself performs the miracles.”2
Without the belief in millions of years, Charles Darwin could never have successfully
postulated his ideas of biological evolution. One figure who probably did more
than anyone else to popularize belief in millions of years is Charles Lyell,
who published his ideas in The Principles of Geology (1830). Darwin took
Lyell’s work with him in his five-year voyage aboard the ship HMS Beagle.
Lyell’s book convinced Darwin and gave him the foundation to propose millions
of years of small changes in biology.3
On the surface, it does seem really radical to reject millions of years. If
you visit museums, zoos, and even amusement parks like Disneyland, EPCOT, and
Universal Studios, you will hear and see the phrase “millions of years” much
more than the word evolution. You have to watch only one or two documentaries
on Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, or the History Channel to hear the
words “millions [or billions] of years” multiple times. Even the leading children’s
museum in the USA, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, has numerous signs in
its dinosaur exhibit with the words “millions of years.” But one will be hard-pressed
to find the word evolution.
Standing against biological evolution only partly closes the door to biblical compromise.
Standing against biological evolution only partly closes the door to biblical
compromise. Refusing to compromise on the timeline of God’s Word beginning in
Genesis—while standing against mankind’s fallible beliefs about millions of
years—slams the door completely shut.
As an analogy, the idea of millions of years is like a disease (although we
know sin is everyone’s ultimate disease). Biological evolution is merely the
symptom. Many Christians are treating the symptom but fail to recognize the
Time may be the hero of the secular evolutionary plot, but the hero of real
events is God. In Scripture He has given us the infallible record of the true
history of the universe, which shows how He has been working out His plan to
redeem sinners since Adam brought death into the world around six thousand years
SourceThis article originally appeared on answersingenesis.org