A Plea for Harmony Between Young Earth and Old Earth Creationists
We believe that the goal is the same for most Christians, whether they are of a Young Earth Creation persuasion or an Old Earth Creation persuasion or anything in-between. That goal is to love, honor, and obey the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and their teachings as they have been recorded in the Bible. The appropriate attitude of harmony between people of different persuasions concerning creation has been expressed well by one faithful Young Earth Creationist at the Got Questions website. For your consideration, we present below some other thoughts concerning the strength, peace, and power that could come from a deep harmony between believers of these different persuasions concerning creation.
The Foundations for Our Restoration and Agreement
- The Hebrew word yom which is translated as “day” in most English translations of Genesis 1 can also be validly interpreted to have other meanings besides a 24 hour time period. One of the meanings includes a long period of time.
- The point of view for the entire Genesis chapter 1 can be seen to be given in Genesis 1:2b: “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (ESV). This is a critical insight. With this insight, we can avoid the common confusing approach of interpreting light to be created on day 1 or the sun, moon, and stars to be created on day 4. From the point of view given in Genesis 1:2b, the Spirit hovering over the earth is witnessing the visibility or appearance of light coming through an initially dark atmosphere on day 1 and the visibility of the sun, moon, and stars through an atmosphere that is finally clear on day 4. This interpretation is in harmony with most Bible translations. Verse 14 describes the beginning of day 4 concerning the greater and lesser lights (sun and moon) and the stars. Verse 14 begins with “Let there be” in the ESV, KJV, and NIV translations and with “Let lights appear” in the GNT and NLT translations. These phrases do not necessarily mean that creation is taking place. They could just as easily mean that the sun, moon, and stars are appearing where they have not appeared before. Therefore, when we understand that the descriptions in Genesis 1 can be seen from this point of view of the Spirit hovering over the earth, then the description in the Bible of the sequence of events of creation and the description from science of the sequence of events of creation harmonize very well.
Just a Coincidence? You Decide
So, there are two key points explained in the foundations above.
- That a day/yom can mean a period of time rather than a 24 hour day.
- The point of view for the writer of Genesis 1 is given in Genesis 1:2: “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”.
With these two assumptions that are totally consistent with good Biblical scholarship, then the Scriptures and science are in beautiful harmony.
This harmony between an ancient text and current science is unique in human history. No other ancient text and no other human culture can make such a claim of having harmony with current science for their origin story. Although some cultures have tried to make this claim of harmony, none of them stand up to rigorous scrutiny. But with these two very valid and Scriptural assumptions, then the Bible can make this claim of harmony with science under rigorous analysis. This website and the Genesis timeline provide an overview of this rigorous analysis and the resource websites provide further details.
Some people may want to say that this harmony is just a coincidence, that the writers of Genesis 1 were just good at guessing. Somehow they got lucky. But such luck is beyond reasonability for anyone who takes the time to ponder that possibility.
And this is where those who revere the Bible as the Word of God have special insight into why it is that the Creator might reveal this harmony between the Scriptures and science.
First of all, the Scriptures give us criteria about how we can discern truth.
- James 3:17-18 – But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (ESV)
- John 16:13 – When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (ESV)
- Zechariah 8:16 – These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; (ESV)
Does this harmony between the Bible and science help to bring peace? Is this harmony consistent with the Spirit declaring to us things that are to come? Is this harmony between the Bible and science gentle and open to reason? We would suggest that this approach does an excellent job of fulfilling these standards of Scriptural truth.
Also, the Scriptures show us attitudes and behaviors we should have concerning what we are to do when we are not in full agreement with someone.
- 2 Timothy 2:23-25 – Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. (ESV)
- Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (ESV)
- 1 Peter 3:15 – but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
Is speaking from a perspective of harmony between the Bible and science more apt to lead to agreement instead of quarrels? Is this perspective of harmony easier to teach with gentleness and respect while we make a defense of our faith?
Is it then worth considering whether this realization of harmony between the Bible and science is truly a gift from the LORD that can help us to better live out our faith in the gentleness and kindness that we are called to? We submit that this perspective of harmony between the Bible and science would be a good way for each of us as believers to present the truths of the Bible to others.
The Deep Argument for Biblical Inspiration
This beautiful gift from the LORD of harmony between the Bible and science makes it plain that the One who guided the writing of Genesis 1 is the same One who created this vast universe. How else could a text that was written over 3000 years ago be consistent with what scientists have only discovered in the last several hundred years? Only the true Creator of the universe would have been able to know the actual sequence of events as recorded in Genesis 1. This is one of the strongest arguments that could be made for the Creator of the universe being the source of inspiration for Genesis 1. This is a truth that should be pondered deeply by believers as well as non-believers. And if a non-believer deeply ponders the strong correlation between Genesis chapter 1 and the findings of science, then a clear question should likely emerge, namely “Is there truly strong evidence for scientific consistency with the Bible?”. The answer to that question could often lead to an encounter with the living and eternal Creator.
A Historical Perspective on the Gift of Harmony
To put in perspective this gift of the harmony between the Bible and science, it is important to understand the trends of thought in the Western world. Since the late 1800s, there was a growing skepticism concerning Christianity in different parts of the world. This skepticism was fueled in part by certain interpretations of Darwinism, various cultural forces, ethical and other types of failings of some Christian groups, the perennial influence of the evil one, and of humankind’s fallen nature. And as a result, many influential world views arose that led to despair, injustice, meaninglessness, wars, and tragedies of all types.
However, now that we have a growing understanding of the harmony between science and Scripture, we have the opportunity to move away from these destructive worldviews to worldviews filled with hope and meaning from a loving, gracious, and just Creator. This is indeed a great gift from the LORD.
Our Sincere Thank You to Young Earth Creationists
Young Earth Creationism was one important way that the fires of hope, meaning, and God’s purposes were kept alive in this world since the late 1800s. And for this gift from Young Earth Creationists, we want to offer a big and sincere “Thank You”. Thank you for displaying the following beautiful traits over the past decades.
- Being faithful in promoting the Bible as the Word of God in spite of other cultural forces, academic deconstructions, and defamation from hostile forces in our world. Thank you for standing firm in your faith in spite of many forces that would try to persuade you to do otherwise.
- For not only being faithful to the Bible as the Word of God, but also trying to actively promote faithful practices of learning the Bible and storing the Scriptures in our hearts. A wonderful example of this is the Great Recitation that was recently sponsored at the Institute for Creation Research.
- Continuing to examine scientific evidence and investigating it from all angles to make sure that it fits good scientific criteria. This should be the hallmark of good science – continuing to question and search out the truth of all that we can see and understand.
- Offering an alternative belief system that is filled with meaning and hope to many seekers of the truth in comparison to a godless culture that would try to say that mankind is only the result of random processes in an essentially meaningless universe.
We applaud you in these areas and want to join you in these very worthy and laudable efforts.
An Invitation to Peace and Restoration
- First of all, examine the evidence given on this website and similar websites. If you find the evidence compelling, then the following points would follow from this agreement.
- Re-examine Young Earth Creationism teaching materials to incorporate the 2 insights mentioned above and the growing correlation between science and the Bible.
- Rather than having debates, let us try to work together to achieve our common goals. – Showing the Bible to be the Word of God – Trying to persuade others to follow Jesus as the Light of the World.
- Please also contact us with any other suggestions so that we may post them here as well.