Thursday, February 12, 2015

Those low life pond scum Old earth creationists

To listen to the Young Earth Creationist crowd, especially those who drive the movement, we Old Earth Creationists are low life pond scum - slimy, unevolved paramecium and other low lifes. OK, so my YEC brethren stop short of putting it like that but they don't stop short on much else. And feel free to sue me for making a broad generalization of the YEC crowd.

Twenty years ago I enjoyed some informative and enlightening online dialogue with YEC folks. It's only my anecdotal read on the thing, but I don't see much of that any more. The main reason, I will opine, is that YEC folks are steeped in polemics, in breathless, chicken little pronouncements about how accepting an old earth will lead to the death of conservative, evangelical Christianity. I see this all the time. Unfortunately, there are only a handful people and organizations who drive the YEC movement and I see their brusque treatment of OEC folks parroted incessantly, down to the same arguments, even vocabulary.

This is why I particularly appreciate Baptist Press for reporting like yesterday's piece, Length of creation days debated.

What? There is an actual debate to be had on the subject?

Non-24-hour-day people can actually have legitimate arguments?

OEC folks aren't a short step from apostasy and perdition?

There are intelligent, articulate Southern Baptists, including seminary professors who are OEC?

Seminary leaders allow differing views on the matter by their employees?

OEC/YEC belief is a secondary doctrinal issue?

Belief in old earth creationism falls within the Baptist Faith and Message?

All true.

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary theology professor Ken Keathley, who has been on my radar for several years, says flatly that, "Many of the strongest proponents of the old-earth interpretation are Old Testament scholars." He believes that OEC is gaining more adherents among pastors and leaders. It's about time.

Maybe we can get back to having reasonable, respectful discussions of the matter.

But then, reasonable, respectful discussions don't stir the masses to give to the YEC organizations, nor do they generate those hearty "AMENs" from the pulpit.

Try it. Respectful dialogue might be less profitable for the YEC fundraisers but more profitable for the Kingdom. I think the latter is our goal, anyway.


Ed T. said...

I haven't delved deep into this debate in a few decades. I pretty much lean towards the YEC view, but I'm not willing to be adamant about it. I don't believe in theistic evolution, although some prominent Christians like Mark Noll consider YEC and non-belief in theistic evolution to be part of the "Scandal of the Evangelical Mind", from what I understand.

My biggest issue with OEC would probably fall into how it's arranged on the time line of creation. I think a straight reading of Genesis, particularly the genealogies there and in the NT, indicates Adam and Eve lived in the range of 6-10k years ago. I think serious theological implications arise if we try to make Adam and Eve into mythological (in the literary sense) representations of humankind or argue that death was a part of creation before the Fall.

I'd be interested, at a minimum, in how you would lay out a timeline of OEC. Millions or billions of years of existence of creation before Adam and Eve appeared or between days? Theistic evolution involved?

A comment thread may not be the most efficient way to engage in what could be a complex and lengthy discussion, so feel free to either PM me at the message board we both frequent and we can discuss it there via PM or swap emails.

I pretty much grew up in a YEC surrounding, so creation was taught in general terms with subtle implications of YEC and lengthy debates of OEC vs YEC were never substantially discussed. Some acknowledgement was usually given from various teachers that ideas like OEC existed or that YEC was not dogma, but the general idea was YEC.

Christiane said...

when you think about it, 'low life scum' really doesn't exist as such for a person of faith, as no life form, however humble, can be taken 'for granted' by those who honor the Creator and conservor of all life

"In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind." Job 12:10

Unknown said...

Christiane I'm going with some sophisticated humor with the "low life pond scum".

My YE friends sometimes lack both sophistication and humor.