THE APPEAL OF YOUNG EARTH CREATIONISM
Why do so many Christians believe in Creationism when it runs counter to almost all of science and is seen to be nonsense, and even dishonest, by non-creationists, whether Christian or not?
This cannot be understood without grasping the deeply–felt reasons for believing what many scientists think nonsense. YEC provides the “scientific” capping to a “biblical Worldview”. This Worldview provides an all-embracing outlook on life and integrates every aspect of their lives. It also enables one to oppose non-Christian Worldviews and to be confident in the “Culture Wars
The most important reason for accepting YEC is not a literal Genesis, but a concern for salvation through Christ. The heart of evangelical faith is redemption through the death of Christ, expressed as Substitutionary Atonement in that Jesus’ death forgives sin and takes away the penalty of death. To some this is dependant on their being no death before the Fall
There can be no death before the Fall. I.e.physical death came in at the Fall (Gen 3) and before that no animal died or suffered. If T. Rex had actually attacked and killed herbivores 100 million years ago, then the whole Christian Faith will collapse like dominoes, hence the geological timescale MUST be false. Q.E.D.! This is at the heart of YEC arguments. This is tied into a particular view of Original Sin, whereby Jesus died on the Cross to take away the effects of Original sin. As in this interpretation of Genesis 3 it is seen that Original sin resulted in death, not only for humans but all life as life came under the curse of God and thus no animal died before that fateful fruit-eating.
Hence any claim that dinosaurs or even trilobites were predating and eating each other millions of years before humans appeared, all geological talk of millions and billions of years is thus WRONG
Or to sum up what Creationists say about geologists and biologists; “They are all dunces, and teach nonsense”.
Simple argument; if death before the Fall then Jesus cannot save. This is a powerful argument to many evangelicals, especially when put forward with fervour. Thus to a Creationist the whole Chritian gospel collapses like skittles if there was death before the Fall, including for animals.
The Bible says so,. Applied to Genesis, that means Creation in Six days and a worldwide flood. A Young Earth model supports this scientifically, so YEC is the ONLY valid interpretation
Creationists even have a zoo in Bristol to further their ideas. Prof Alice Roberts and others have slated this zoo
The Bible is totally inerrant and does not make a mistake over anything and thus to deny a world-wide flood and to affirm vast geological time is to claim the Bible is errant. And so the logic goes; if the Bible “lies” over creation it must lie about Jesus.
The Sabbath and that is dependent on a six-day creation and thus “billions” of years is wrong..Hence as these arguments are seen as essential to belief in Jesus as Saviour then a Christian must be YEC. There are no nuances.
Moral concerns In his book The Genesis Solution Ken Ham, and in many other places argues that evolution leads to a decrease in marriage, an increase of suicides, euthanasia, pornography, abortions, promiscuity, sexual abuse, homosexuality, theft, violence, racism etc. Hence evolution is contrary to family values and results in a collapse of morality. Again this is a very persuasive argument of the skittles type.
Anti-reductionism or Nothing-buttery as Donald Mackay called it. I. e. everything is nothing but physics and chemistry and there is nothing distinct about humans. Reductionism often stems from a scientific materialist philosophy. Opposition to reductionism is widespread. Arthur Peacocke, biochemist and clergyman has opposed reductionism from a liberal theological position and founded the Society of Ordained Scientists in 1986 to facilitate this. The same with John Polkinghorne and Donald Mackay, and many members of the CIS and ASA, who reject YEC. However YEC is extreme anti-reductionism, but very beguiling to those who know no science, or who need a dogmatic answer to everything.
The shared belief of family and friends in Christ This is often overlooked, but acceptance in the fullest sense in a YEC church is dependent on beleiving that YEC is correct and all this evolution caper is wrong. It is not difficult to see the pressure this puts on people to be Creationist, as to rejection will cause personal pain due to strained or broken relationahips. It easier simply to accept YEC and ignore any questions. If the church is officially YEC, it is even harder and the pressure to stay and conform is immense.
Many evangelical churches are large thriving ones, with plenty of mid-week activities. British ones are smaller than American but there is the danger of coercion to tow the line. Thus in a creationist church to question the leadership over creation is liable to lead to problems and pressure against one can build up. There are the usual challenges; “don’t you believe the Bible?”, “Why question God’s truth of creation which the pastor/vicar is teaching?”
This type of challenge is a disincentive even to air one’s questions and doubts, as you will realise that you could end up not being wanted in the church. The price of questioning is high. You can be edged out (or kicked out) and lose friends and much of your social life. It IS the unacceptable face of fundamentalism.
However it is denied vociferously.
For the last half-century many opponents of creationists have started by assuming that if you can explain scientifically why creationism is wrong, creationists will give up that belief. They are soon shown to be wrong, because the reasons for believing creationism are more than scientific.
For many to reject creationism is to give up your faith, your church, your friends and associates, your social life and, possibly, your family. No wonder creationism is so had to challenge. After all, it is the TRUTH…