The debate in the Presbyterian Church in America between young- and old-earth creationists, which began in May of this year in the pages of the journal Modern Reformation, continued today (August 18, 2010) when a geologist and PCA elder wrote a lengthy and pointed rebuttal of the old-earth arguments and defense of the young-earth and global flood models.
Dr. John K. Reed, a geologist and a Ruling Elder in the PCA, published this response on the website of Reasonable Hope Ministry, in response to an article by eight old-earth adherents arguing that the PCA should explicitly reject the literal interpretation of Genesis and instead accept the secular view of an earth that is 4.5 billion years old (Campbell D, Campbel LD, Cates C, et al., “PCA Geologists on the Antiquity of the Earth,” Modern Reformation, 19(3), May/June 2010). Answers in Genesis today reprinted the article and also published this summary by Reed.
Old-earth creationism accepts the view that the earth is billions of years old, but states that even this amount of time did not suffice to produce the variety of life in evidence today without Divine guidance. Hugh Ross (Reasons to Believe) is one of the foremost proponents of this view. Campbell and his colleagues obviously agree with it, and set forth eight arguments, in this order, to defend that position:
• Prominent theologians interpret Genesis as consistent with an old earth.
• The church, by adhering to young-earth creationism, will embarrass itself as severely as it did when it adhered to geocentrism, despite evidence to the contrary developed by Galileo and others.
• The great age of the earth is a proved fact that enjoys universal acceptance in the community of scientists, including many Christians.
• Old-earth creationism does not necessarily lead to a naturalistic worldview.
• Certain geological formations, among them Japan’s Lake Suigetsu, attest inescapably to an old earth.
• The movement of tectonic plates requires an old earth to make sense.
• If the earth is not as old as observation suggests, then God becomes a Liar.
• Insistence on the young-earth view will necessarily alienate young people by requiring them to choose faith over fact.
In the days to come, this Examiner will discuss each of those eight points in some depth, in the order that Reed addresses them. In summary, Reed castigates his opponents for ignoring Scripture (after professing to believe in its inerrancy) and accepting what turns out to be only the latest guess about the ancient history of the earth, a subject about which the scientific community seems unable to make up its collective mind.
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