On March 8, 2018, a debate was held in Lacombe, Alberta (Canada) regarding the Biblical book of Genesis. The stated topic was: "Teaching Kids that Genesis is Literally True: Divine Mandate, or Child Abuse?" Taking part in the debate were Scott Lewis (atheistic evolutionist) and Richard Peachey (Christian creationist).
This post includes the text of Richard Peachey's speeches, plus an appendix, as follows:
1. Introductory Speech (5 minutes)
2. Main Speech (20 minutes)
3. First Rebuttal Speech (5 minutes)
4. Second Rebuttal Speech (5 minutes)
5. Appendix: Brief statement on the age of the Earth and universe
1. Introductory Speech (5 minutes)
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us tonight as we deal with a topic that is crucial, both for this life and for eternity.
During this introductory speech, I will deconstruct the secular, evolutionary worldview. Then later, in my main speech, I will make my positive case for the biblical book of Genesis.
The late Will Provine was an atheist and a professor of the history of biology at Cornell University. He described the evolutionary worldview in these chilling terms:
"No gods, no life after death, no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no human free will—are all deeply connected to an evolutionary perspective. You're here today and you're gone tomorrow, and that's all there is to it." [from the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed ]
Similarly, leading atheist and evolutionist Richard Dawkins put it like this:
"The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference." [River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York: Basic Books, 1995), p. 133]
When I was young, I called myself an atheist. I accepted evolutionary thinking. And I felt the stark bleakness of that worldview. My life had no meaning or purpose. I had no firm basis for ethical thinking, and in fact my morals were slipping over time.
It makes good sense that if biology—and in fact the whole history of the universe—is under the sway of mindless, undirected, naturalistic processes, that there will be no ultimate meaning or purpose for our lives.
Now, Jean-Paul Sartre and other atheist existentialists have exhorted us that we need to come up with our own reasons for "authentic" living. But of course any such arbitrarily invented "purpose" will at the end of the day be firmly anchored in . . . nothing.
What a sad worldview to teach to children! How utterly—abusive! How can telling kids about Noah's ark do more damage to them than such nihilistic atheism?
Richard Dawkins tells this story:
"A foreign publisher of my first book confessed that he could not sleep for three nights after reading it, so troubled was he by what he saw as its cold, bleak message. Others have asked me how I can bear to get up in the mornings. A teacher from a distant country wrote to me reproachfully that a pupil had come to him in tears after reading the same book, because it had persuaded her that life was empty and purposeless. He advised her not to show the book to any of her friends, for fear of contaminating them with the same nihilistic pessimism." [Unweaving the Rainbow (London: Allen Lane / The Penguin Press, 1998), p. ix]
What Dawkins had written in his first book, The Selfish Gene, was that "we are survival machines—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes." [The Selfish Gene, preface to the first (1976) edition, first paragraph]
But if that's actually true, why should I care about anybody or anything or even my own life? I have no free will, I'm just a zombie puppet jerked about by these insidious chemical parasites inside me! Bleak nihilism indeed!
But believing in evolution is by no means necessary for kids to be able to do good science. Many of the scientists who founded or significantly advanced scientific disciplines were Bible-believers, including Faraday, Kelvin, Maxwell, Linnaeus, Boyle, Pascal, Kepler, and Newton.
The Scientific Revolution took place in Christianized Europe, not anywhere else. Oxford scholar Peter Harrison has written a book titled The Bible, Protestantism, and the rise of natural science, in which Harrison describes how a literal understanding of Genesis, as favoured by the Protestant Reformers, actually promoted science rather than hindered its rise!
The truth is, evolutionary thinking has contributed very little to our technological advancement. Leading evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne wrote in the journal Nature:
". . . if truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. . . . In the end, the true value of evolutionary biology is not practical but explanatory." ["Selling Darwin: Does it matter whether evolution has any commercial applications?" Nature, Vol. 442, pp. 983f., Aug 31, 2006.]
But . . . is evolution even worthwhile as an explanation?
And I have to leave it there. Thank you!
2. Main Speech (20 minutes)
All right, ladies and gentlemen, I have already deconstructed (to a point) the bleak and meaningless worldview of atheism and evolutionism. I must now make a positive case in favour of the book of Genesis.
My first point is that the book of Genesis has to be understood literally rather than figuratively. Genesis is properly characterized as straightforward historical narrative. It is not poetry; it is not a parable or an allegory or a mere artistic framework.
Genesis is not poetry, despite repeated assertions that that's what it is. By the way, that is very different from all other Ancient Near Eastern stories of creation or the flood: they are all written as poetry, but Genesis is not. The overall genre, or literature type, of Genesis is narrative prose.
Genesis lacks the signs of Hebrew poetry. It does not exhibit the typical parallel structure seen, for example, in the Psalms. Also, Genesis features an abundance of typical prose indicators such as the direct object marker—which is seen only rarely in Hebrew poetry—and there's a verb form called the waw-consecutive, which is regularly used when narrating a sequence of events.
So Genesis is not poetry; it is prose; it is written as straightforward historical narrative. That's the genre indicated by an examination of the document itself. Whenever we consider any piece of literature, we don't get to subjectively decide for ourselves what we happen to prefer; we have to argue based on internal evidence. So what's the evidence in this case?
Please note first of all that the early chapters display an intense concern for chronology, especially throughout the flood account in chapters 7 and 8, as well as in the genealogies of chapters 5 and 11, and of course in the numbered sequence of days in chapter 1. One writer has said, the first chapter of Genesis "is saturated with chronological terminology." [David A. Sterchi, "Does Genesis 1 Provide a Chronological Sequence?" The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 39(4):529, Dec. 1996]
Secondly, Genesis has a literary framework that encompasses the entire book: it's the recurring phrase, "These are the generations of . . . ." That phrase first occurs in chapter 2; we find it a total of six times within chapters 1 to 11; and there are five more occurrences in the rest of Genesis. The repeated use of that phrase ties together the whole book into a unity; and it shows that the early chapters are intended to be understood as historical, as are the later chapters on the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Thirdly, consider that the genealogy in chapter five connects Adam to Noah, and the genealogy in chapter eleven connects Noah to Abram, or Abraham. So there exists a tight genealogical continuity all the way from Adam to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There is no evident dividing line that would separate alleged mythical stuff in chapters 1 to 11 from historical material in later chapters. Genesis is a literary unity.
The clinching argument for this is that all the New Testament writers, and especially the Lord Jesus Christ himself, accepted Genesis as true and historical, indeed as the authoritative Word of God. None of them took Genesis metaphorically or figuratively or as "myth" or "legend." For Bible-believing Christians, this is persuasive. The history in Genesis is true; it is God's Word—no matter what today's secular scientists might say.
By the way, this is not merely my isolated opinion. Here's a section from the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics, formulated in 1982 by a conference of about a hundred evangelical leaders:
[Article XXII ]
"We affirm that Genesis 1-11 is factual, as is the rest of the book.
"We deny that the teachings of Genesis 1-11 are mythical and that scientific hypotheses about earth history or the origin of humanity may be invoked to overthrow what Scripture teaches about creation."
Now of course one is free to disagree with the history recorded in Genesis, but please do not come with condescending nonsense about Genesis being profoundly true even though it's historically false. Genesis presents as straightforward historical narrative, not as any other genre. It is either true history, or it is false history. But it is not reasonable to claim that Genesis is a parable or an allegory or a mere metaphor or symbol.
In support of my position, I quote from one of the greatest scientists of the Scientific Revolution, Robert Boyle, known as the "father of modern chemistry." He said:
"I see no just reason to embrace their opinion, that would so turn the two first chapters of Genesis, into an allegory, as to overthrow the literal and historical sense of them." ["The excellency of theology compared with natural philosophy." In The Words of the Honourable Robert Boyle. London: W. Johnston et al., 1772. Vol. 4, p. 11]
I will call one further witness, a man from my opponent's side of this debate, Thomas Henry Huxley, known as "Darwin's bulldog." Huxley wrote this:
"I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how any one, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures. . . . If . . . the Story of the Deluge [the Flood] [is] a fiction; that of the Fall a legend; and that of the Creation the dream of a seer; if all these definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events have no more value as history than have the stories of the regal period of Rome—. . . what about the authority of the writers of the books of the New Testament, who, on this theory, have not merely accepted flimsy fictions for solid truths, but have built the very foundations of Christian dogma upon legendary quicksands?" [Science and Hebrew Tradition. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1897, p. 207]
All right, I have argued that Genesis is intended to be read as straightforward historical narrative. Now it's time to make the case that the Genesis history is true history, as Boyle believed, not false history—as Huxley viewed it. But before continuing, I think we should review, just what does the Bible teach regarding the history of the early Earth? What is the actual subject matter that's under debate tonight? We'll go through this quickly:
• The Lord created all things; by his will they came into existence.
• The universe was created by the word of God.
• The heavens came into existence by the word of God.
• The water-covered earth was formed by the word of God.
• In the darkness God created light by speaking.
• The first man was from the earth, a man of dust.
• "The first man, Adam, became a living soul."
• All human ethnic groups have their origin in this one man God made.
• Man was made in God's image and likeness.
• God made them "male and female."
• Adam was formed first, then Eve.
• Woman was made from man, and for man.
• "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
• God created everything "good".
• "God rested on the seventh day from all his works.
• The serpent deceived Eve by his cunning.
• Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
• By a man came death.
• Sin came into the world through one man, Adam, and death through sin.
• Judgment following one trespass brought condemnation.
• The whole creation was subjected to futility, and ever since then the creation has been groaning in pain.
• Abel, who was righteous, offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain.
• God commended Abel.
• Cain murdered his brother.
• Adam had a son named Seth.
• Seth's descendants were Enosh, then Kenan, then Mahalalel, then Jared, then Enoch.
• Enoch was the seventh descendant in line from Adam.
• Enoch was commended as having pleased God, and he was "taken up" so that he should not see death.
• Enoch had a son named Methuselah, who had a son named Lamech, who had a son named Noah.
• Noah was warned by God concerning what was to come.
• Noah constructed an ark for the saving of his household.
• Noah entered the ark.
• The flood came and swept them all away (destroyed them all).
• The world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.
• The Lord did not spare the ancient world, but he preserved Noah with seven others when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly.
• A few, that is eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
So there's the Biblical view of early Earth history. Now the question is, everything I've just showed you, where is that taught? Where exactly does that material come from? . . .
Perhaps you're thinking, "Well, of course, it comes from Genesis." Or maybe you were more specific: "It all comes from the early chapters of Genesis, Genesis 1 through 11." Either way, you would have been incorrect!
Because everything I just showed you was in fact taken from the New Testament! Here are all the references [see list at right].
[For a full listing of Genesis concepts and their associated New Testament references, see http://creationbc.org/index.php/what-the-new-testament-teaches-about-creation-fall-and-the-flood/]
Now of course the New Testament writers learned these things from Genesis. But the point here is that the history and concepts in Genesis are woven into the warp and woof of the New Testament. Every New Testament writer quotes or alludes to those early chapters of Genesis. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, the author of Hebrews, James, Peter, Jude—every one of them refers to the material in Genesis 1 through 11.
The truths of Genesis are integral to full-blooded Christianity. So an attack upon Genesis is nothing less than an attack upon Christianity itself.
The Lord Jesus Christ himself quoted from and alluded to Genesis. He quoted from Genesis one about the Creator making our first parents "male and female." And Jesus quoted from Genesis two: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." And Jesus cited Genesis four, speaking of the murder of Abel as the very first murder. And Jesus alluded to Genesis seven, regarding the flood and Noah and the ark, and the death of everyone who was not on that ark.
The book of Genesis is foundational to, and essential to, the Christian faith. For Bible-believing Christians—those who follow Jesus and accept that his teaching is from God, as he claimed—the credibility of Genesis is not some dispensable side issue.
Genesis tells us who we are, how we got here, and what we're here for. Genesis tells us how things went wrong, how our first parents sinned and brought a curse upon the whole Earth. In Genesis three God already gives us the first intimation that a Saviour will come to defeat the work of that old serpent, Satan. The creation account teaches us about a powerful and benevolent God who created us in his image and made us responsible rulers of this Earth. The flood account depicts humanity as sinful, lost, facing divine judgment, and in desperate need of deliverance, which God mercifully provided to some through the ark at that time.
Dispose of Genesis, and the good news about Jesus Christ and his death on the cross to rescue sinners, loses its logical and historical foundation. So I repeat, an attack upon Genesis is nothing less than an attack upon Christianity itself.
That is the reason we teach our kids that Genesis is literally and historically true. We have a divine mandate to give our children the truth of God's Word as a whole, for their everlasting benefit. If we were to withhold it from them, we would be guilty of impairing their spiritual growth, perhaps even jeopardizing their place in eternity, and that would be, in our view, a most dreadful form of child abuse.
But my opponent does not accept that Genesis is true history. He prefers instead to put his trust in something called "science."
But what does this mean? What is "science" in the sense of something that we should put our trust in? Is it simply the pronouncements of leading scientists? So whenever a leading scientist speaks or writes, we should simply accept what he or she says?
That could be very problematic, as seen in this quote from Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin:
"As to assertion without adequate evidence, the literature of science is filled with them. Carl Sagan's list of the 'best contemporary science-popularizers' includes E. O. Wilson, Lewis Thomas, and Richard Dawkins, each of whom has put unsubstantiated assertions or counterfactual claims at the very center of the stories they have retailed in the market." [The New York Review of Books 44(1):30, Jan. 9, 1997]
By the way, that quote is not from a creationist. Lewontin is a leading evolutionist, and an atheist—and he's a Marxist as well. But it seems he wouldn't be trusting something just because Dawkins said it!
Well, what about a consensus of scientists? Could we trust that? Is there such a thing as established, "settled science" that we can put our faith in? Turns out the majority of scientists isn't all that reliable either. There's a revealing Wikipedia article you might want to check out, called "Superseded scientific theories" — all about ideas once widely held in the scientific community but now discarded. Lots of them!
In the last couple of decades a slew of articles have appeared highlighting a variety of problems related to scientific research, including non-replicability of results, rampant mathematical errors, issues with peer review, contaminated cell lines, data massaging, and just plain fraud. John Ioannidis of Stanford University has even published a piece in which he shows that the majority of research publications cannot be trusted. So, if this is the case with actual experimental research being done right now in highly controlled lab situations, how much less should we be putting our faith in the shifting, speculative historical reconstructions done by finite, fallible, biased "scientists" in the name of historical geology and evolutionary biology!
[Note: A few days after the Lacombe debate, the Financial Post published an article by Warren Kindzierski of the University of Alberta's School of Public Health, referencing Ioannidis's work and commenting on the sad state of medical research. For a sampling of the "slew of articles" mentioned above, see here.]
Certainly, Bible-believing Christians should not feel under any compulsion to toss out the inspired Word of God due to claims made in the name of such questionable "science."
In my last little bit of time, I want to address some matters my opponent raised in a letter to the local newspaper, The Lacombe Globe [see letter at right]. In his letter Mr. Lewis wrote: "Remember what Noah's Ark is supposed to have done – transport literally millions of species in a wooden boat for 40 days until the flood subsided."
Well, first of all, he's wrong about the "40 days." He needs to actually read Genesis and see what it says. Noah and the animals were on board the ark for over a year.
Furthermore, Mr. Lewis is wrong about the number of animals required to be on the ark. No marine organisms were included. The only animals on the ark were land-based animals who breathed through nostrils. Again, Mr. Lewis should read Genesis and see what it actually says.
The number of types of different animals wasn't in the millions, not even close. Noah had to take representatives of every "kind," which is not the same as our "species." What are called "species" today can often interbreed with other so-called "species." For example, each of the various equid or horse species today can interbreed with other so-called "species" from within the same taxonomic family, the Equidae. So it may be that Noah had to take only two representatives of the horse "kind", and then after the flood that pair could diversify using the inbuilt genetic resources provided to them by the Creator. This kind of logic also applies to dogs, cats, bears, and many other types of mammals, and various birds as well. [E.g., storks, cranes, pelicans, and members of the duck/goose/swan family. See Sheena Tyler in J. P. Moreland et al., Theistic Evolution. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017, pp. 310-312.]
By the way, evolutionists understand this concept, and they even have a word for it: "syngameon"—defined in my fourth year Evolution textbook as "the sum total of species or semispecies linked by frequent or occasional hybridization in nature; hence, a hybridizing group of species". [Peter W. Price. 1995. Biological Evolution. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace & Company (Saunders College Publishing), p. 64]
A good source for dealing with a whole range of objections to Noah's ark is John Woodmorappe's excellent book Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study.
I need to stop there.
3. First Rebuttal Speech (5 minutes)
OK, I appreciate that Mr. Lewis has presented a vast array of arguments and objections to the creation account and to the Bible in general. And obviously I'm not going to be able to respond to each and every one of those. I will be selective. But I appreciate that he's done some homework and shown all these potential objections. And now, each one of us who takes a different view—and in fact those who take the same view—may want to wrestle with some of those and look at all of them from different points of view.
I can think of immediate responses to some of them. Others, I'd have to go out and do some research. But there are answers to many of them. Maybe not all, but then every worldview has its problems and issues that are unresolved so far.
I do appreciate that he's expressed agreement that Genesis is not intended to be taken as symbolic. So at least we're united on one or more points of that nature. It's not metaphorical. It is intended to be taken as literal and historical, so those who wish to compromise it by trying to inject millions of years into it are going against the positions of both of us, it seems. [On the issue of the age of the Earth and the universe, see further discussion in the Appendix, below.]
Now, toward the end there, Mr. Lewis talked about evolution being trustworthy, and evolution does "hold water." So I'm going to have a look at that, and I'm going to be referring again to his letter from the Lacombe Globe.
Mr. Lewis asserted in that letter that "Evolution is an established scientific fact" and that we "accurately understand the origin and development of all life."
That would be news to John Horgan, former senior science editor of Scientific American. Just a few years ago, Horgan wrote an item titled "Pssst! Don't tell the creationists, but scientists don't have a clue how life began". [https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/pssst-dont-tell-the-creationists-but-scientists-dont-have-a-clue-how-life-began/, 2011.]
So actually, we don't really understand it. Similarly, biologist Massimo Pigliucci, writing in Skeptical Inquirer magazine, recounted Stanley Miller’s classic origin-of-life chemistry experiments, then he commented:
“Unfortunately, such experiments have not progressed much further than their original prototype, leaving us with a sour aftertaste from the primordial soup.” [“Where Do We Come From? A Humbling Look at the Biology of Life’s Origin.” Skeptical Inquirer 23(5):24, 1999 (Sep/Oct).]
What about my opponent's claim that we "accurately understand the . . . development of all life"? Well, that would be news to Cambridge paleontologist Simon Conway Morris, who wrote in the prestigious journal Cell :
"When discussing organic evolution, the only point of agreement seems to be: 'It happened.' Thereafter, there is little consensus. . . .
"Constructing phylogenies [or evolutionary histories] is central to the evolutionary enterprise, yet rival schemes are often strongly contradictory. Can we really recover the true history of life?" ["Evolution: Bringing Molecules into the Fold." Cell 100:1 (Jan. 7, 2000)]
In his letter, Mr. Lewis made reference to "science-based emergency room[s]"—as if somehow Darwin should get the credit for such facilities!
But in 2008, biology professor Peter Armbruster noted:
“Evolution receives scant attention on the U.S. Medical College Admission Test (the MCAT) and almost no coverage in medical school curricula. . . . one of the central arguments of [those who promote] evolutionary medicine has always been that evolutionary concepts should be emphasized in the education of clinicians. Unfortunately, this proposition has not been well received by medical schools thus far, probably in part because evolutionary insights have led to relatively few clinical applications" [2008 (Aug.). “The sun rises [slowly] on Darwinian medicine.” Trends in Ecology and Evolution 23(8):422]
Mr. Lewis concluded his letter to the editor with this: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." You may recall, that's a slogan used by atheists in an advertising campaign some time ago.
But the Bible teaches, there is a God. We are accountable to him. We actually should start worrying. And we should repent, and come to the Saviour foretold in Genesis chapter 3.
Having done that, we can truly start enjoying life! Jesus said, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
4. Second Rebuttal Speech (5 minutes)
Mr. Lewis has described Genesis as myth. I want to think about the myth, and absurdity, inherent in the secular/evolutionist worldview.
First of all, one has to accept that Something magically appears from Nothing, all by itself!
For no good reason, a tiny patch in space arises, with a size about 10 to the power of –26 meters: that's a hundred billion times smaller than a proton.
For no good reason, this particle or region inflates; very briefly it expands many times faster than the speed of light—if you please! So there's a "speed of light" issue for that view as well as for the creation view.
For no good reason, that inflationary period ends, and the expansion then continues at a slower rate.
What makes all of this happen? Well, they say it's caused by a particle named the "inflaton." No such particle has been described that would be compatible with the known laws of physics!
In fact, the Big Bang is called a "singularity" because it is inexplicable by known laws of physics. In the Bible there are events sometimes that occur that cannot be explained by known laws of physics. So what do we call those? Miracles! Right.
But there's more! The Big Bang supposedly forms particles of both matter and antimatter. And these entities should be in exact balance, because they start from "Nothing." But no, the claim is that somehow there was this slight excess of matter over antimatter, so that when all the particles finish annihilating each other, what we're left with is just some regular matter—from which the whole present universe has been formed!
To quote Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, "It is this early excess of matter over antimatter, estimated as one part in 1010, that survived . . . [which] determined the future development of the universe." [Scientific American 271(4):45, Oct. 1994]
In other words, if you accept the current secular origin story, the "Big Bang," you must believe that a tiny point in primordial space-time contained not just one universe but enough potential for ten billion universes! [bolded wording adapted from Gregg Easterbrook, The Globe and Mail, Oct. 24, 1998, p. D5]
Indeed, many secular cosmologists and physicists are now seriously suggesting that such an event could have occurred not just once, but repeatedly—up to 10 to the power of 500 times.
And of course, this proposed "multiverse" is currently unobserved, and will probably be forever unobservable, but never mind: keep the faith!
The next thing, if you accept atheistic naturalistic thinking, is you have to agree that Life can magically appear from Non-Life.
So: For no good reason, biomonomers such as amino acids, nucleotides, and sugars join themselves together into long, exclusive polymers, very much contrary to their natural inclination.
And for no good reason, these long polymers turn out to be homochiral: the randomly-assembled proteins contain nothing but left-handed amino acids, and the chaotically-formed nucleic acids have only right-handed sugars.
Then, for no good reason, those unlikely polymers eventually collect themselves together into even more unlikely self-replicating entities.
So somehow, a series of random chemical accidents is able to accomplish far beyond what any well-staffed, well-funded twenty-first-century laboratory can deliberately make happen, with all their purified reactants and idealized reaction conditions! [See organic chemist James M. Tour's chapter in J. P. Moreland et al., Theistic Evolution. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017, pp. 165-191.]
Next thing, if you accept evolutionary thinking, is that you believe that amphibians can turn into humans—frogs into princes, if you please!—given enough of that magical pixie dust called Time.
Increased complexity appears magically through processes that in real life are recognized as negative, destructive, and harmful—processes like Mutations (accidental errors in genetic coding) and Natural Selection (or the untimely deaths of lots of organisms).
Creationists, at least, can point to a supernatural Agent who has the ability to make supernatural events occur. But evolutionists require unthinking matter and energy to perform magic all on their own, contrary to all their observed tendencies and abilities.
I do not have enough faith to believe in that kind of magic.
5. Appendix: Brief statement on the age of the Earth and universe
[Note: During the debate there was insufficient time to include the following comments.]
My opponent objects to the relatively short time-frame in the book of Genesis: a matter of some thousands of years rather than the millions and billions he needs for evolution to happen. Some (perhaps well-meaning) folks have worked hard trying to cram those supposed millions of years into Genesis, one way or another. But of course none of those attempted compromises has satisfied the secular people. And besides, the various compromise schemes [see the sampling at right] all conflict with each other. You really can't work millions of years into the Genesis narrative.
Nor do we even need to do that. There are dozens of good scientific arguments for an Earth history much shorter than billions of years. A key source I recommend on this issue is an article titled "101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe". If you just Google "101 evidences," the article will come up. And right next to it will appear a skeptics' article that will attempt to dispute it at every point. So you can read through both articles and make up your own mind about the merits (or otherwise) of the various science-based arguments.
But the real problem with the evolutionist's millions and billions of years is not the length of time as such. It's what happens during that time. According to the evolutionist, that world was racked with pain and suffering, disease and death, predation and carnivory—all prior to any human sin. So is that a world that God could have evaluated as "very good"? The "millions of years" concept is therefore incompatible with Scripture, and is to be rejected by the Bible-believing Christian.