The following post is shared from my blog Grace With Salt.
Is the photo above a man standing sideways (profile), or is the man standing forwards with half the picture cut off? Two different people will come to two different conclusions. Let’s keep that in mind…
The vast majority of scientists agree that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old, and evolution via natural selection and common ancestry is the means by which humanity came into being. Obviously, as a young-earth creationist, I do not agree with either of those staples of science. But what about all the evidence, Tim?? Let me explain my position…
I believe that the scientific method requires that all evidence must be interpreted before a conclusion is drawn. My issue is not with the evidence itself, it is with the interpretation stage. I believe that scientists interpret the evidence through a worldview filter. Their worldview filter includes their personal beliefs about how the world does or does not operate. For example, if I believe there is no supernatural influence in the world and everything continues on the way and the rate at which it always has, then I am going to interpret something like radiometric decay or geology much differently than someone who believes God has intervened in this world at various points in our early history.
Let’s look at a couple examples…
If God really created Adam on the literal sixth day of creation – how old do you think he might look on day 7? Was he a full grown man? 30… maybe 40? But the truth is he is only one day old. He was created fully mature and able to sustain himself. Now apply that concept to the rest of creation. If God really created the world in six days fully mature and self-sustaining – how might that affect the apparent age of the earth? And how might that affect our research if we left out that concept? Might we come to a much different conclusion? I think so. The point is evidence like radiometric dating the age of the earth doesn’t rule out a special creation because things still might appear older than they truly are and yet that would still be in line Biblicaly.
But isn’t that a deceptive God?? I hear this all the time. No, it’s not. Perhaps God never intended us to study the age of the earth while ignoring his revelation about how He did it! Not God’s deception, human ignorance.
As for geology, we have to look at what might have happened had Noah’s flood actually covered and destroyed the whole world as the Bible seems to imply. Take the layers at the Grand Canyon. Two schools of thought: either a little bit of water (the Colorado River) over a long period of time (millions of years) OR a lot of water (the flood) over a little period of time. The same evidence, different conclusions based on different interpretations that are dependent on our worldview assumptions.
But doesn’t science work to weed out the assumptions? Yes, but it gets harder and harder when science steps outside of direct observation and repeatability. Of course we can’t observe or repeat creation or the flood or anything from that time period. We only have left over evidence that requires human interpretation.
But what about multiple lines of evidence all agreeing on the same conclusion?? Isn’t that correlation the nail in the coffin? No, not if each one of those line of evidence were all interpreted under the same starting worldview assumption of uniformitarianism – the idea that present processes are the way things have always worked. If Genesis is true and the world was created rapidly, altered following original sin, and destroyed during the flood – uniformitarainism fails, and so does all conclusions that follow from that assumption.
Keep in mind that I am NOT saying that the laws of nature change all the time and thus science is impossible. I am being specific and citing three main events from Genesis in which things would have worked differently than the way we see them working today. Science that puts computers on our desks and phones in our pockets are based on modern, observations that are repeatable and verifiable. Science such as evolution and the age of the earth are much different and require much more debatable assumptions.
The conclusions of an old earth and evolution rely on the worldview assumptions of naturalism and specifically uniformitarianism being absolutly true and unchangeable. As a Christian, I believe God does and has intervened in our world. I also believe the Bible is a historical, reliable account of the creation of the world. And since that is true, it contains information that makes me seriously doubt uniformitarianism. I replace it with the assumption of catastrophism of history – that several high impace, rapid events occurred shaping our planet’s apparent history very quickly rather than gradually.
Yes, we both use starting assumptions to interpret the evidence. It’s not evolutionists have more evidence than creationists, it’s that we interpret the same evidence differently based on a different set of starting assumptions. So, the real question is – whose starting assumptions are more reliable? The majority of scientists believe their assumptions are correct because the constant rates have never been observed to be different. That actually is a pretty logical conclusion. But that doesn’t disqualify the creationist worldview. We believe we have additional information in the revealed word of God – therefore we see our starting assumptions as more reliable than fallible human intellect because it comes straight from God who was there, observed it, and doesn’t lie. And thus, the debate rages on!