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HomeSpiritual GrowthThe Old Young Earth Creationist… 

The Old Young Earth Creationist… 

Do you think Satan would prefer two believers in Christ to spend 5 hours on the internet debating the age of the universe or those two believers spending five hours working together to spread the gospel to unbelievers?

“Good morning class, I am your wood shop teacher Emmanuel, and I will be guiding you through this semester!”

You had heard about the eccentricity of Emmanuel but nothing could have prepared you for this level of cheer, especially so early in the morning. Next to you, your friend John let out a huge sigh, a sentiment that you felt the entire class surely had to agree with.

“It’s too early for this, ” John said under his breath before looking over at you. “I need at least two cups of coffee for this level of cheer so early in the morning. Doesn’t this guy know a cheerful welcome this early in the morning would be taken as a curse!”

Emmanuel looks over at you and John with a warm smile. “Ah! You two over there, my first happy victims of the semester! What are your names?”

Reluctantly, you and John share your names but become quite perplexed at the request the two of you are given.

“You there, John. Please tell me how many rotations the saw blade runs in the next 15 seconds. Just follow the red tape as it circles around and count the number of times it goes through a cycle.”

You watch as Emmanuel starts the machine and the timer and John begins to count.

“30 sir. 30 rotations in 15 seconds.” You could feel the confusion in John’s voice pulsating throughout the room, but the shop teacher’s next request left everyone wondering where all of this was going. 

“Good good, now please go stand outside for a moment until we call you back.” 

“Whatever.” John says sarcastically.

“Maybe I can go get that coffee in the meantime!” John’s reply put a smile on Emmanuel’s face. “Ah, you shall certainly be my beloved student! See you soon.”

Emmanuel looks over to you as John shuts the door, and calls you over to the saw blade and gives you the same instructions as he did to John. However, this time you notice he changes a setting.

“Okay,” Emmanuel tells you excitedly. “Please count how many rotations the saw blade makes in the next 60 seconds.”

You watch and though it was a little harder to count, you manage to get the number. 

“240 rotations in 60 seconds.” 

Emmanuel could sense your growing interest and that your curiosity was rising. 

“John!” Emmanuel exclaimed towards the door. “ You may come back in now friend!” 

John walks in with a cup of coffee as which the whole class begins to laugh. 

“Ah, I see that someone visited the cafeteria! You’re fast! Please come to the front of the class with me, I have a few questions for you.”

John walks up to the front and Emmanuel begins to ask his question. 

“While you were gone we ran the saw blade for one minute. How many rotations do you believe it made? If you are right, I will personally bring you a cup of coffee tomorrow morning, but if you are wrong you have to bring me one tomorrow. Deal?” 

“Deal.” John said with a confident smile. “Since it was 30 rotations every 15 seconds I am going to say 120 rotations.” 

Emanuel smiled, “Are you sure?” 

“Yes!” You felt John seemed a little too confident. 

Emmanuel laughs as he looks around the room. “Well class, who wants to be the one to tell John that I like one creamer and two sugars in my coffee?” 

The class laughs, but John doesn’t seem to accept he was wrong or showing any signs of wanting to give up. “No, I know I am correct, this doesn’t make any sense!” 

“Well, you are obviously wrong!” Everyone looks over at the female voice that seemingly came out of nowhere. “You weren’t here to see what we did.”

The debate rages on for a bit but John would not give any ground and was confident in his belief, still confused, as Emmanuel began to explain to the class what he was doing. 

“While you were gone, John, I switched the setting on the saw blade and made it go twice the speed it was originally set on. You assumed that the conditions of the blades speed were the same as when you were first here, an understandable assumption though it was obviously a wrong one. Everyone here is a witness to the fact, your friend counted out the correct number of 240 rotations for the minute, but only because he was here to observe the fact, and you were not. Your present knowledge of the blades rotation was the key to understanding the past, without considering the possibility of different conditions. Now, the point of this demonstration was not to humiliate you but to put a few things into perspective. I want us to have fun in this class, which we certainly did, wouldn’t you say?” The class nods in agreement as Emmanuel continues and John’s face lights up. “More importantly” Emmanuel continues, “I want everyone to be safe in this class. Your first lesson, never assume the saw blade is on the default setting, always check the machine and make sure it is on the correct setting before you start it, and never start your work assuming it is correct before feeding any wood through. After all, I would like John to have all of his fingers when he grabs me a coffee!” 

The class laughs with John as Emmanuel wraps up his speech. “Now John may be my newly beloved student, but I want you all to understand all of us are going to make mistakes. I just ask that you learn from them and remember one important thing. Even though John was incorrect in his assumption of the saw blade, we all understood why he made the assumptions he did and were able to put ourselves in his shoes, knowing that if we were outside the room, we too could have just as easily fallen into the same error. But the most important thing I want us to remember, my priority is class safety, let’s never lose ourselves in the unimportant details like the mistakes of our fellow classmates, and make sure we all help each other to be the best we can be in the class, and to always remember we are on the same team.”

The bell rings as soon as Emmanuel finishes his speech. “Well, class, looks like our time is up. John, remember, one creamer and two sugars!” 

John looks over at you and smiles before looking back towards Emmanuel. “You got it sir. I had fun today. I will see you tomorrow.” 

You smile as you leave Emmanuel’s class.

“This will be a fun year.”

Emmanuel in our story, represents, the Lord Jesus and John, of course, is named after the beloved apostle (John 21:20). Oftentimes, the age of the universe and our interpretation of Genesis can be an unnecessarily dividing issue amongst believers and one that I believe requires a deal of compassion for each other’s perspective on this important but not foundational issue. Too many times this issue can be a distraction and can make us forget all too easily that the person we are engaging with is a fellow brother in Christ. Imagine how silly it would be if the entire semester in our story above, the students spent time debating the rotations of a saw blade and never learned anything of practical use in the classroom, let alone produce anything for the benefit of others? Wouldn’t it be more effective if they all just worked together and accept that John is a bit hard-headed (assuming no matter how much evidence was presented he refused to believe the truth of the saw’s rotation), ceasing to argue and working with him to make chairs for a nursing home? Yet, sadly, when we allow secondary issues like this to become our primary issue, we end up cutting short our effectiveness for the kingdom of God. 

Tell me when Paul was in Athens, at what point in Acts 17:16–34 did he give a speech about the importance of the age of the earth and the importance of believing in special creation? (I reject all theistic evolution if the reader is wondering, and believe as the Bible says, God made things after their kinds. I simply am stating this for sake of argument). I don’t seem to find it anywhere and, in fact, Paul simply states that God made everything and then gets right to the heart of the gospel. 

22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship — and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[c]” 29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone — an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
Acts 17:22–31 

And this is precisely my point. Both young earth creationists and old earth creationists all agree on these essential points. 

– God created the heavens and the earth 
– The Trinity 
– the Lord Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection from the dead 
– the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way for sinners to be reconciled back to God 

Differences in how we believe God created the world or the timeline is not as important as believing that God is the one who created it. This is evident in the apostle Paul’s, (ultimate evangelist) approach. Rather than challenge Epicurean and Stoic philosophy, he worked within it. One thing I personally find fascinating is that you can make a secular case for the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead with their own science and historical methods, similar to a Pauline approach. Consider the following from a few scientists and atheist New Testament historians. 

Would you not say to yourself, in whatever language super-calculating intellects use, “Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be less than 1 part in 1040000.” Of course you would. . . . I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 Mev energy level in the nucleus of 12C to the 7.12 Mev level in 16O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix . . . A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. 

[Sir Fred Hoyle, “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections,” Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 20 (September 1982): 16] 

“God is a mathematician of a very high order and He used advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”

–Nobel Prize winning physicist Paul A. M. Dirac, who made crucial early contributions to both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics.

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” 
– Werner Heisenburg, creator of quantum mechanics

“I know in their own terms what they saw was the raised Jesus. That’s what they say, and then all the historic evidence we have afterwards attest to their conviction that that’s what they saw. I’m not saying that they really did see the raised Jesus. I wasn’t there. I don’t know what they saw. But I do know that as a historian that they must have seen something.” 
– New Testament scholar Paula Fredriksen

“Finally we know that after his death his followers experienced what they described as the ‘resurrection’: the appearance of a living but transformed person who had actually died. They believed this, they lived it, and they died for it.”

Ehrman, B. 1999. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. p. 230–231.

“Even if the historian chooses to regard the youthful apparition as extra-historical, he cannot justifiably deny the empty tomb. True, this discovery, as so often, is differently described by the various Gospels — as critical pages early pointed out. But if we apply the same sort of criteria that we apply to any other ancient literary sources, then the evidence is firm and plausible enough to necessitate the conclusion that the tomb was indeed found empty.” Michael Grant (Atheist; Classicist, Professor at Edinburgh]) [Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels (Scribner’s, 1977), 176. (cf. 200)]

If it wasn’t important to the apostle Paul to preach the age of the earth and he instead worked within the knowledge structure of the people he evangelized (appealing to the unknown God) to bring them right to what is important (the resurrection of Jesus), then I believe we too should model this approach to unbelievers even if you are a young earth creationist. You could say something similar to this. 

“I disagree with you on the age of the earth, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume you are right about the age of the universe and it really is billions of years old and the old earth interpretation of Genesis is correct and I am mistaken (though I don’t believe I am). Your Big Bang shows the universe had a beginning and that means there must have been a Beginner as nothing produces nothing, and your own scientists tell us the universe is fine-tuned for life, which makes more sense if God exists. Even atheist historians agree that Jesus died by crucifixion, that His followers saw Him alive after His death, and most accept the empty tomb, save for some with a philosophical bias that clouds their judgment which is a logical fallacy. Your own criteria shows that God exists and the facts your own scholars come to are best explained by Jesus rising from the dead. So even if you want to disagree with me that the earth is young, you are still stuck with the existence of God and the historical resurrection of Jesus either way.” 

This to me seems a far more sensible approach, especially when you keep in mind that unbelievers’ minds are clouded by sin (Romans 1:21–32) and blinded by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4).  

You’ll gain a lot more ground, in my opinion, with the approach, 

“Even if you are right, you are still wrong.” 


“You are just completely wrong.” 

Finally, think of how we are spending time. Do you think Satan would prefer two believers in Christ to spend 5 hours on the internet debating the age of the universe, or those two believers spending five hours working together to spread the gospel to unbelievers? 

I think Emmanuel, the shop teacher, would much rather have his class spend their time making awesome wood structures that bless them and their family and friends and, likewise, I think our God, Immanuel, the Lord Jesus Christ would much rather us be making disciples of the nations rather than warring with each other over non-salvation issues. I do think it’s an important issue to discuss, and one I believe we should discuss as brothers and sisters in Christ, but never to the point where it becomes our central message over the message of the gospel. 

Thank you for reading and sticking with me and as always, God Bless you friend. See you in the next one.

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AuthorTim Liebbe | BCWorldview.org 

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