Key Claims of Creationism
1. God created man, the literal Adam and Eve, in His own image as described in the Genesis account. Man is not descended from a common ancestor with the apes.
2. God created the heavens and the earth in six days about 6,000 years ago.
3. The earth's flora and fauna were created in the six days of “creation week”.
4. Noah's Floods was a literal worldwide event.
5. The bulk of the earth's sedimentary rock strata, and their fossils, were formed by Noah's Flood.
6. The devastated state of moon and planets of the solar system “has something to do with Noah's Flood”.
7. Carbon-14 dating is unreliable for pre-Flood samples.
8. Radiometric dating techniques are unreliable, mainly due to changes in radioactive decay rates.
9. For stars to be millions of light years away, the speed of light must have varied.
10. Micro-evolution” is a fact, as demonstrated by Darwin's finches – a process described in the Genesis account by organisms reproducing “after their kind”.
Comment & Criticism
It is interesting that creationists and evolutionists see each others' errors clearly – and so are encouraged to embrace their own misconceptions ever more firmly. i.e. 'They are clearly wrong! So we must be right!' And so it is that, despite its weaknesses, evolution is kept alive by virtue of the anti-scientific assertions of creationists who insist that the earth is only six thousand years old, and that most of its massive sedimentary rock strata, and coal and oil deposits, were formed over a period of a few months by the action of Noah's' Flood. In rejecting evolution, they appear to have also rejected science. And thus the evolution/creation debate continues . . .
It is felt by many that the anti-scientific claims of young-earth creationists have brought the Bible into disrepute once again, as in the days of Galileo when misguided Christians claimed, on the basis of convincing but specious scriptural arguments, that the sun revolved around the earth – until scientific fact proved them wrong. Now once again the earth is at the centre of the argument, but this time concerning its age not its orbit.
The great stumbling block for young-earth creationisms seems to be the simple statement in Exodus 20:11 which, referring back to creation week in Genesis, says that in six days God created heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is. And since Bible chronology puts the antiquity of man at about six thousand years, they assume that the earth must also be about six thousand years old. Creationists seem to cling to this verse in hope of denying Darwin the famous “deep time” required for evolution to have any shred of credibility.
However, there is a complication – in that the words "earth" and "heaven" are used in two ways in the Genesis account. First, in verse 1, the word earth clearly refers to the planet, the whole physical globe – yet in verse 9, the same Hebrew word is applied to the newly formed dry land that was created by removing the flood water. The word seas is then used to describe the waters that were drained off to create that earth.
In verse 8, the mysterious newly formed firmament is called heaven, the same Hebrew word as in verse 1. So the account mentions two heavens and two earths. The obvious way out of this duality is that in Exodus, Moses is referring to the earth and heaven formed in creation week – i.e. the present earth and heaven, not the original ones. Peter makes a similar distinction, when he refers to “the heavens and earth that now exist” (2 Peter 3:7).
Rev William Buckland, Oxford University's very first professor of geology had to confront this same problem decades before Darwin. Required to explain the origins of the bizarre and clearly very ancient fossil remains of extinct organisms being brought to light by the massive canal and railway construction projects of the time, he realized that although the scriptures set the age of man at about six thousand years, they do not specify the age of the globe. For some reason, Buckland's understanding has been sadly neglected, yet it is the major key to the creation of a new scriptural and scientific synthesis. The earth is old, as science shows.
The “Affiliation of Christian Geologists” and the “Society of Ordained Scientists” happily accept the evidence of an old earth, so on what basis are their professional opinions being ignored by Christian preachers?
Creationist claims the great Flood of Noah created most of the earth's sedimentary rock formations also bring them into conflict with geologists. Yet God's stated purpose in sending the Flood was to destroy the wicked, not to landscape the earth's surface – or create oil and coal deposits that mankind would otherwise have needed to live without.
The Genesis account itself seems to suggest that the impact of Noah's Flood was minimal, apparently leaving olive trees standing and rivers in their same locations.
One objection to a simple literal reading of Genesis and the old-earth concept is the apparent creation of sun and moon and stars on the fourth day of creation week (Gen 1:14-19). This has been a puzzle to commentators who realized that although the words for sun and moon existed, the writer of the account chose instead to describe them as “luminaries” or “lights”.
The reason must be that both sun and moon already existed, as physical objects, but, as the first verse shows, they had been darkened – possibly due to thick cloud cover or perhaps a slowing down on the sun's nuclear fusion reaction. Those problems were sorted out on the fourth day and sun and moon were able to resume their appointed tasks of ruling the heavens “with the stars”, which how the phrase “He made the stars also” should read.
That said, let us now try to separate creationist fact from fallacy.
Creationism Key Facts
1. Starting with the formless, empty and darkened planet of Genesis 1:1, the present earth and atmosphere were created in the six days of creation week .
2. Man was created during creation week, about six thousand years ago, as were its present flora and fauna.
3. Man was made in the image and likeness of God, and does not share a common ancestry with apes.
4. Organisms were engineered by God to reproduce and vary “after their kind”, the phenomenon now termed “micro- evolution”.
5. Noah's Flood was a worldwide event and did create some sedimentary rocks formations.
6. Carbon-14 dating is unreliable for pre-Flood samples because the cosmic radiation flux can vary and may have been different then.
SOME QUESTIONS FOR YOUNG-EARTH CREATIONISTS
1. On what basis do you reject the growing body of scientific evidence, which is accepted by the professionally qualified members of the “Affiliation of Christian Geologists”, suggesting that the earth may be very ancient indeed?
2. When in human history was the moon and every planet NASA explores devastated and reduced to their present state, or did God make them like that?
3. Was the purpose of Noah's flood to simply destroy the wicked from the face of the earth, or to landscape it, creating massive rock formation, and coal and oil deposits that did not exist at the time of Adam?
4. If Noah's flood ravaged the surface of the earth to the extent indicated by the Grand Canyon, why did rivers such as the Tigris and Euphrates still exist afterwards, and why could the dove sent out of the ark a few months later find an olive tree and return with a twig?
5. Do you fear that if the earth was millions of years old, then evolution might have happened?
6. If the paleozoic rock strata were laid down by Noah's Flood, why do we not find human artifacts and evidence of human habitation there -- such as metal and stone tools, worked stones and clay bricks, and beams, pots and pans, etc.?