Those of us who still believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and that God intended it to be understood by ordinary people—not just by scholarly specialists in science or theology—have been labeled “young-earth creationists.”
We didn’t choose that name for ourselves, but it’s true that since we believe God is capable of saying what He means and means what He says, we believe that the whole creation is far younger than evolutionists accept.
It would be much more comfortable for us not to believe in a young earth, of course. Not only are the scientific and educational establishments committed to old-earth evolutionism, but so also are the supposedly more intellectual segments of the religious world. The seminaries and colleges of the mainline denominations have almost all capitulated to theistic evolutionism, and most evangelical colleges and seminaries espouse old-earth creationism, or what many call progressive creationism.
So, young-earth creationism isn’t a comfortable position to hold, especially for scientists or ambitious students, and it would be tempting either to give it up (as many have, under the persuasive influence of speakers such as Hugh Ross and other popular evangelicals), or else to just say it really doesn’t matter how or when God created (as do most modern churches and parachurch organizations) as long as we believe He is our Creator.
I want to emphasize why it’s vitally important to continue to believe, as our Christian forefathers did, that “in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus:20:11).
It’s obvious that belief in a 4.6 billion-year-old earth and a 15 billion-year-old universe didn’t come from the Bible, for there is not a hint of evolution or long geological ages anywhere in it. My book Biblical Creationism examines every relevant verse in every book of the Bible, and there is no suggestion anywhere of the geological or astronomical ages that are widely assumed today. The concepts of evolution and an infinitely old cosmos are often found in the ancient pagan religions, but never in the original Judeo-Christian literature.
Therefore, Christians who want to harmonize the standard geological/astronomical age system with Scripture must use eisegesis, not exegesis, to do so. That is, they have to try to interpret Scripture in such a way as to make it fit modern scientism. We believe, on the other hand, that the only way we can really honor the Bible as God’s inspired Word is to assume it as being authoritative on all subjects with which it deals. That means we use the Bible to interpret scientific data rather than using naturalistic presuppositions to direct our Bible interpretations.
Those who choose the latter course embark on a slippery slope that ends in a precipice. If the long geological ages really took place, that means there were at least a billion years of suffering and death in the animal kingdom before the arrival of men and women in the world.
Therefore, no matter how much more convenient it would be to adopt the old-earth approach or the “it doesn’t really matter” approach, we can’t do it. We could have more speaking engagements, more book sales, larger crowds, and better acceptance even by the evangelical Christian world if we would just take the broad road, but we can’t do it.
[TBC: More importantly, rather than convenience, it’s a matter of God’s truth.]