I’ve noticed an unsettling trend among my Christians brothers and sisters who adhere to a young earth view of creationism. It’s no secret that this is, without a doubt, the most toxic debate in the church today. I cannot argue for Evolutionary Creationist views without the other side blasting me with the usual slander. “You’re elevating man’s fallible word over God’s infallible word”, “You don’t take God’s Word seriously.”, “If you don’t believe God created everything in 6 literal days 6,000 years ago, you’re calling Him a liar because it says so clearly here in Genesis 1”, “Compromiser”, “You’re a man pleaser”. I’ve even been accused of preaching a different gospel and of being an atheist!
You would think that with charges as serious as these, one wouldn’t consider me a Christian and would have no desire whatsoever to have fellowship with me. Unfortunately, after verbally abusing for daring to challenge the coloring book interpretation of Genesis 1, preferring to interpret it in its Ancient Near Eastern context (i.e the way the original audience would have understood it), when I ask if they consider me a Christian, they will say that I am, and we can be wrong on this issue without our salvation being called into question. What?
A Recent Facebook Conversation
Take this recent Facebook conversation as an example. I’ve changed the name to protect the privacy of the individual. I’m going to underline certain portions of the conversation to illuminate this person’s hypocrisy.
John Lamb: Absolute garbage. Anyone who believes in theistic evolution has an extremely limited knowledge of the full picture of the redemptive work of Christ. For through one man sin and death entered the world, so also does righteousness and eternal life through one man, the incarnation of God himself. Wake up and ditch your idolatrous understandings and believe God’s word over the liberal scientists who know next to nothing along side of God. We don’t need to become like the world to seem intellectually capable of defending God. This is not apologetics…this is foolishness and a denial of the clear word of God.
Evan Minton: *Facepalm Reaction GIF*
John Lamb: that’s exactly what I think every time some one posts this garbage you always post. That’s the problem with people like WLC that you follow. They really are clueless but they have so many followers who think they are geniuses.
John Lamb: Romans 5.
Evan Minton: Look, if you want to be like every other toxic young earth creationist out there and slander me with vitriol about me not believing God’s word, not understanding the gospel, undermining the gospel, compromising with science, and all the garbage I’ve heard blasted at me ad nauseum, then I’m not interested in having a serious conversation with you. You’re clearly way too emotional about this subject to have a rational conversation.
And I’ve heard the Romans 5 argument before. I’ve written on it. So have countless other Evolutionary and Old Earth Creationists. Do you ever read any of our writings or do you just stay in your AIG echo chamber?
John Lamb: All YEC are toxic eh? lol. Get out of here with your ad hominem attacks. AIG, yadda yadda yadda. I don’t follow any AIG or YEC’s. I follow biblical scholars who have much more training and understanding than a bubblegum scholar like WLC.
Evan Minton: Never said all YECs are toxic, but many of them are. You’re being toxic right now. Just look at your comments. Do you honestly believe that this kind of behavior facilitates fruitful dialogue?
Evan Minton: Why do you keep singling out William Lane Craig? I read plenty of other scholars like John Walton, Michael Heiser, Tremper Longman III, R.C Sproul, Gary Habermas, etc.
John Lamb: Because I know your affinity for WLC. I really don’t make time for online discussions anymore because they are completely unfruitful. I’d rather sit you down in person, teach you the difference between good and bad hermeneutical methodologies and nothing less would really make much of a difference. But, if you can post these ridiculous memes that mislead the sheep, I can post quick responses to counter your erroneous interpretations of scripture as a whole.
Evan Minton: Truth be told, you don’t seem like the kind of person I’d ever want to meet in real life.
After saying “Anyone who believes in theistic evolution has an extremely limited knowledge of the full picture of the redemptive work of Christ.” and that I have an “Idolatrous understanding” (whatever the heck that’s supposed to mean), and saying I’m denying “the clear word of God”, after this barrage of vitriol this person has the audacity to call me “brother” and to go onto say he’s praying for me.
John Lamb: Yikes. That’s cool brother.
[a few comments later…….]
John Lamb: Well, ok. Take it easy Evan. I’ll be praying you as I have many times in the past. I know I come across harsh sometimes. I take God’s word very seriously and I get upset when I see others misleading God’s people by completely destroying the redemptive message in scripture.
Evan Minton: So I’m your brother in Christ even though I’m “destroying the redemptive message of scripture”? Oh how you YECs always talk out of both sides of your mouth.
Several of my friends came to my defense which led this person to claim he was the one being attacked. He ended up blocking me. This guy was totally two-faced.
Ken Ham’s Two-Faced Nature
I wish he were the only example I could think of, but sadly, this has become a trend. Ken Ham is just as guilty. Just look at these two contrasting tweets.
The same warning the prophet gave from God to the Israelites sadly applies to so many Christian leaders/academics today: “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:1) https://t.co/hauEjjNCHG
— Ken Ham (@aigkenham) April 4, 2019
BioLogos is an organization out to infiltrate Christian colleges & churches with evolution–they’ve infiltrated colleges like Wheaton & Calvin & many others. At @AiG we not only have to battle for the truth of God’s infallible Word against secularists but much of the church too
— Ken Ham (@aigkenham) April 2, 2019
comes to the topic of origins (historical science) he has just added God to the pagan religion of evolution/millions of years. He uses the word ‘science’ for evolutionary belief, which is historical science, not observational science. He founded an organization (BioLogos) that..
— Ken Ham (@aigkenham) April 3, 2019
of God. Such compromise and undermining of biblical authority is one of the reasons so many young people have doubts about God’s Word, have left the church and why the church is not impacting the culture like it used to as now the culture has impacted & weakened the church
— Ken Ham (@aigkenham) April 3, 2019
These are some pretty damning words from Ham. Yet, consider this citation from his article “Does The Gospel Depend On A Young Earth?” He writes “Many great men of God who are now with the Lord have believed in an old earth. Some of these explained away the Bible’s clear teaching about a young earth by adopting the classic gap theory. Others accepted a day-age theory or positions such as theistic evolution, the framework hypothesis, and progressive creation. Scripture plainly teaches that salvation is conditioned upon faith in Christ, with no requirement for what one believes about the age of the earth or universe.” (emphasis mine).
In the first tweet, Ham quotes a verse from Jeremiah in which God speaks about those destroying his sheep, linking to an article on The Christian Post in which Pastor John Ortberg of Menlo Church in Menlo, Park California spoke at The 2019 BioLogos Conference, insinuating that Ortberg and others who promote The BioLogos passage are in the same boat as the Babylonians who destroyed Israel! It isn’t hard for one to read Ham’s biblical citation and the Christian Post article and think that he’s applying it to Ortberg. He also sprays honey and venom at Francis Collins; the founder of BioLogos, saying he thinks he’s a great geneticist, it’s just too bad Collins compromised God’s word because now he’s got to call him out on that. Later tweets went onto say that BioLogos “infiltrates” Christian colleges and churches. Wait a minute. Infiltrates? Since when did Christians and Christian organizations need to “infiltrate” Christian churches and Christian colleges? We’re Christians. This “Infiltrate” language makes us Theistic Evolutionists sound like theological KGB Agents. But let’s ignore that for now. BioLogos, because of the messages they present cause AiG to have to “Battle” them “for the truth of God’s infallible word”.
He goes onto say that this is one of the reasons so many young people have doubts about God’s word and have left the church. I find this ironic because I and many other Old Earth Creationists and Theistic Evolutionists think this about Young Earth Creationism! When people have it pounded into their heads that if young earth creationism is false, then the whole gospel is undermined and God’s Word isn’t true, then when they go off to college and actually study real science (not the flood geology garbage of AIG), then they find themselves faced with a choice: Reject the scientific evidence for an old earth and common ancestry, or reject their Christian faith. Many, unfortunately, do the latter. I have no problem with Christians holding a young earth view and even arguing in favor of that position, but please leave the door open and let young people know that young earth creationism and atheism aren’t their only options; there’s Old Earth Creationism and Theistic Evolution, and there are a dozen different interpretations of Genesis they can examine. I myself think The Cosmic Temple Inauguration view is what the original author of Genesis had in mind, as does Michael Jones of Inspiring Philosophy. He and I talked about this interpretation in episode 11 of The Cerebral Faith Podcast.
That was a bit of a tangent. Notice how Ham’s extremely damning words contrast with what he said in “Does The Gospel Depend On A Young Earth?” He writes “Many great men of God who are now with the Lord have believed in an old earth.” and “Scripture plainly teaches that salvation is conditioned upon faith in Christ, with no requirement for what one believes about the age of the earth or universe.” How can he say in one breath that we’re destroying peoples’ faith, undermining and compromising God’s word, that we “infiltrate” churches and colleges, that he needs to “battle” us and yet say “No, you’re my brothers in Christ”. Ken Ham is two-faced.
Talk Out Of One Side Of Your Mouth, Please!
These are just two examples out of a dozen I’ve seen. Young Earth Creationists tend to accuse Old Earth Creationists and Evolutionary Creationists like myself of heresy and then say we’re saved in another breath. They tell us we’re denying God’s word and undermining the gospel in one breath and then say that our salvation doesn’t depend on what we think of Genesis in another.
Stop contradicting yourselves. If you consider us damnable heretics, just say so. But don’t treat us as though we are and then call us brothers in Christ the next day. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
The Accusations Aren’t True Anyway
If you’re going to treat us like heretics, don’t tell us we’re your brothers in Christ. But why even think we’re heretics anyway? I don’t deny that God’s word is true. I don’t deny that Genesis is true. I just deny that the Young Earth Creationists’ interpretation of Genesis is the correct interpretation! Get that through your thick heads! There’s a world of difference between denying a statement is true and disagreeing with someone’s interpretation of that statement.
Suppose someone came to us from outside and said “It’s raining cats and dogs out there!” and you say “Oh my! I hope those little guys aren’t injured! Should we call an animal hospital?” and I say to you “I’m pretty sure he doesn’t really mean felines and canines are falling from the sky. This is a well-known metaphor for torrential rain.” It would clearly be obtuse for you to say “Are you calling this man a liar!?” We both believe that what the man said is true, we just interpret it differently. Moreover, I don’t accept the metaphorical route because I like it better. I have cultural precedent for doing so. This is indeed a well-known metaphorical saying that people use of torrential rain. In every place you find someone using this statement, that’s what it means. Likewise, there’s lots of literature in the Ancient Near East of creation stories being functionally oriented rather than concerning themselves with material origins, and there are plenty of Ancient Near Eastern documents that show that temples took 7 days to inaugurate, that temples were microcosms of the universe, and that at the end of the inauguration, the god would come into the temple and take his rest up in it. Likewise, there’s a lot of places in The Bible where “bara” (the word translated “create”) is not referring to the material origin of anything, and Genesis 1 is cluttered with statements that God created things with a particular purpose; an anthropologically aimed functional purpose. This makes me think that The Cosmic Temple view (defending in John Walton’s “The Lost World Of Genesis One”, and in episode 11 of The Cerebral Faith Podcast. ) is most likely correct. God took 7 24-hour days to inaugurate His cosmic temple. During this inauguration, He created functions for everything that exists, functions that pertain to us humans. After that, God “rested”, like gods typically do at the end of their temple’s inauguration.
Do you want to know what I believe? I believe in God The Father; Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord. I believe Jesus was conceived by the power of The Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. I believe that He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead and I believe He was resurrected on the third day, and ascended into Heaven to sit at God’s right hand. I believe Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. I believe God is one divine entity that consists of three persons. I believe that The Bible is inerrant in all that it intends to teach. I believe that only by trusting in Christ’s work of atonement on the cross can we be forgiven of our sins. We cannot be saved by our own good works. They are like filthy rags to God. I believe that Jesus is fully God and fully man. This is what I believe. This is what really matters. If we agree on these things, then you should have no problem considering me a brother in Christ and I’ll have no problem considering you one.
I wish that the above is what Ham and his followers of Hamites would really focus on rather than attacking members of the body for daring to challenge the interpretation of Genesis we got in Sunday School at 5 years old.
It’s time YECs repented of the way they’ve dealt with their brothers. That’s what this article really is; a call to repentance. I don’t mind that you disagree with my stance on creation (or any other theological topic for that matter), but you are to express your disagreement civilly, respectfully. No name calling, no calling our faith into question, no saying we undermine the gospel or deny the truth of God’s word, or any other inflammatory remarks of that sort. You are to say “I think your position is incorrect. Here are my reasons why: X, Y, Z.” This is the standard of conduct we are called to as followers of Christ. The Bible says “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” (2 Timothy 2:24), and the context of this verse reveals Paul was instructing Timothy how to deal with unbelievers. If this is how we are to treat those who oppose the gospel, how much more ought we to deal with brothers and sisters in the body of Christ we disagree with on secondary, in-house theological issues?
It’s time we talked about this issue with a demeanor fitting of those who profess the name of Christ. Satan laughs when Christians fight, especially with an unbelieving world watching (see John 13:35).
Before you go, why not click here to see why serious biblical scholars don’t take the so-called “Creation Museum” seriously. –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h33TyJkzwQ&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3gtb8zVhvD9WjhsOmcdqumZuAf6RIIJqSvez2kR-Pejw1Xl_j0Lwc-Vig