Why I’m Finally a Young Earth Creationist | Magazine Features
I grew up going to church regularly in a “traditional” denomination. I learned all the usual fascinating Bible stories – the creation, the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, the serpent, the flood, etc. However, in retrospect, I never heard the gospel message. So when I graduated from high school, at that time it was a tradition to “join the church”, “the church” seemed like just a social club. As I was about to go to university in another city, I refused.
Evolution allowed atheism
I left (in 1960 at the age of 17) to study engineering physics. In first year, we had a geology course. Here I learned, with certainty, that the geologic column had been deposited over hundreds of millions of years by slow, gradual processes operating at the same rate as that observed today. I hadn’t been told that in Sunday school, but since the teacher was the authority, I accepted whatever he said without question.
There were no courses in biology, paleontology, evolution, or cosmology for us first-year engineering students. However, I had been subscribed to American scientist and there were many such articles. All of this was fascinating but contradictory to these biblical stories. Again, out of respect for the authors’ presumed authority, I just assumed they were right.
By the middle of the year, I had made the conscious decision that all of these Bible stories, while fascinating, were completely untrue. Therefore, the rest of the Bible must also be false, which means that God did not exist. Moreover, being absolutely certain of being right, I did not hesitate to declare my position as an atheist.
And so I stayed for over a decade, completing both that BSc in Engineering Physics and a PhD in Experimental Nuclear Physics.
Jesus: the only God-man
Then, in response to one of life’s curve balls, I was confronted with CS Lewis’ question, “Was Jesus a madman, a trickster, or the God-man?” Being a practicing engineer at the time, I decided that this question needed to be answered based on evidence. Eventually, I concluded that, contrary to my expectations, the evidence overwhelmingly showed that Jesus has been the God-man.
Another decade passed with regular church attendance. But again, I’ve never heard the gospel presented convincingly. In fact, I clearly remember wondering why the sermons were mostly based on books other than the Bible.
Eventually, after accepting an invitation from some friends to attend their Bible-believing church, I finally heard the gospel message. After several weeks of wrestling with the Holy Spirit, I committed myself to Christ and was born again.
I can trust the Word of God to say what it means and mean what it says
Now I understood the gospel, so succinctly expressed in Romans 5:12, John 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 15:22: “Sin came into the world by one man, and death by sin, and so death spread to all men because all have sinned. However, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”. “For as all die in Adam, so also shall all live in Christ.” (ESV)
At this point, although saved, I was “double-minded” (James 1:8). In other words, I accepted God’s gift of eternal life with its implications that the Bible is true, but I continued to accept evolution (in its broadest sense) and the big bang cosmology, even if they both contradict a simple reading of the Bible. Various schemes had already been concocted to “interpret” the Bible as meaning something other than what it plainly says, to “resolve” these discrepancies. I didn’t know them at the time so can’t say which one I used, although I suspect it was a mix of them all. However, I knew there were important questions about this gap to which I had no reasonable answers. Therefore, I have never been so outspoken about my Christian faith as I had been about my atheism.
A second conversion
Another decade passed. Then, on a whim, I attended a seminar led by two young earth creationists, Dr. John Morris and Dr. Duane Gish. It was something of a “road to Damascus” experience for me. I went in with a “let’s see what these weird people have to say” attitude. But I left with the realization that these people weren’t the least bit weird. On the contrary, what they said made a lot of sense. I needed to know more.
And so I did…and the more I found out, the more amazed I was at the consistency between the empirical evidence and just reading the Bible as history. But more importantly, I learned things about science that I had not been taught in school and which have a profound influence on the perception of science – in particular, the alleged incompatibility of science and a simple bible reading.
Limits of science
Science does not prove hypotheses/theories to be true, only that they are false. The best it can do is provide evidence consistent with a theory, but that doesn’t prove the theory to be true. The same evidence could be compatible with another theory. Evidence that is consistent with two (or more) theories does not provide a basis for choosing between those theories. However, evidence that is inconsistent with a theory demonstrates that it is false.
Science is about doing repeatable experiments and not anything presented as science qualifies. Dr. James Gunn is quoted in an article by Science as saying, “Cosmology may look like a science, but it is not. A basic tenet of science is that you can do repeatable experiments, and you can’t do that in cosmology. In the same article, Dr. Michael Turner, theoretical cosmologist, states: “The goal of physics is to understand the basic dynamics of the universe. The cosmology is a bit different. The goal is to reconstruct the history of the universe.
Truth is not determined by how many people believe something is true
Data does not speak for itself but must be interpreted within a framework or paradigm – a set of assumptions about the nature of reality. Disciplines tend to be captured by a ‘dominant’ paradigm that forms the undisputed framework for interpreting data. Inconsistent data is usually ignored using various rationalizations or taken into account by ad hoc “adjustments”. Aristotle’s geocentric paradigm for the solar system has ‘ruled’ cosmology for centuries, despite the need for countless ad hoc ‘adjustments’. It was eventually superseded by Newton’s center-of-mass paradigm, but not before Galileo was distorted by contemporary peer review.
Peer review, while touted as ensuring the veracity of published materials, does not actually do so. Numerous frauds have been documented. Rather, it serves to reinforce the orthodoxy of the dominant paradigm. This is well illustrated by the experience of Dr. Mary Schweitzer, who was the first to discover soft tissue in dinosaur bones: “I had a reviewer who told me he didn’t care what people said. data, he knew what I was finding was not possible. says Schweitzer. “I responded and said, ‘Well, what data would convince you? And he said, ‘None.’
Truth is not determined by how many people believe something is true. Nor is this proven by their political or academic stances, or by the amount of money spent on their views.
Cosmology, geology, and paleontology/evolution are all attempts to reconstruct the history of the universe, Earth, and life on Earth, respectively. They have all been captured by dominant paradigms – respectively the big bang, uniformitarianism and neo-Darwinism – which cannot be directly tested by reproducible experiments. These paradigms are all based on the philosophical assumption of naturalism – that nature is all that exists – that, a priori, decrees that God does not exist (or at least, made no practical difference with natural history). The peer review and publication process ensures that no other perspectives are allowed.
All three disciplines are replete with evidence that is inconsistent with the paradigm. For example, genetic evidence clearly shows that mutations, rather than creating new and increasingly complex DNA as evolution requires, cause continuous DNA degradation. Geneticist Dr. John Sanford calls this genetic entropy and it eventually causes extinction. This is happening so quickly that humans simply cannot have existed for as long as evolutionists claim. The presence of radioactive carbon in samples from virtually all layers of the geologic column clearly indicates that these layers are not hundreds of millions of years old, because after 90,000 years (at most) radiocarbon would be undetectable. The soft tissues of dinosaur bones clearly indicate that these bones cannot be millions of years old, as biological tissues decay rapidly. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said: “The frightening thing is that if none of us knew in advance that stars existed, frontline research would offer many compelling reasons why stars couldn’t never form.”
The Bible contains an alternate account of the history of the universe, Earth, and life on Earth provided by a reliable witness (God) and recorded by a reliable scribe (Moses). This is fully consistent with this evidence – and consistent with the preponderance of other evidence. Are there any inconsistencies? Sure. But these are not inherently contradictory in nature as those just mentioned are for the hypothetical reconstructed histories.
Intellectually Filled Christian
The rational and most consistent conclusion from this evidence seemed to be that the Bible, as clearly read and understood, provided an accurate history of the Earth. Such a perspective has no effect on the study of those sciences, such as physics, which aim to understand the dynamics of the universe. After all, these and the Bible are from God and therefore can be expected to be consistent. This changes the paradigm for interpreting data in the disciplines that reconstruct history – cosmology, geology, paleontology and evolution. But the current paradigms are restrictive, arbitrary and unnecessary. However, this perspective means that I can trust the Word of God to say what it means and mean what it says everywhere, including the promises of the gospel. I don’t need secret man-made decoder rings to tell me what God really meant, if only he had been smart enough.
So I finally became a young earth creationist. Here I remain, no longer “tossed about by the waves and carried away by all the winds of doctrine, by human cunning, by cunning in deceitful plans”. (Ephesians 4:14 ESV)