Is Young Earth Creationism Destroying the Church?

Published May 4, 2013 | By Ian Hodge, Ph.D.

There’s always someone who wants to say ‘yes.’

But is this true? Is YEC really “destroying” the church? I don’t think so, and I’ll explain as we go.

But research by the Barna Group has apparently identified the conflict between Christianity and science as one of the factors leading to young people leaving the church. The Barna article says in part,

One of the reasons young adults feel disconnected from church or from faith is the tension they feel between Christianity and science. The most common of the perceptions in this arena is “Christians are too confident they know all the answers” (35%). Three out of ten young adults with a Christian background feel that “churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in” (29%). Another one-quarter embrace the perception that “Christianity is anti-science” (25%). And nearly the same proportion (23%) said they have “been turned off by the creation-versus-evolution debate.” Furthermore, the research shows that many science-minded young Christians are struggling to find ways of staying faithful to their beliefs and to their professional calling in science-related industries.”[1]

Now I am quite certain that “science” is an issue, but not in the manner as presented here. Or as promoted by Karl Giberson in his article on the Barna study in the Huffington Post. Dr. Giberson, who presents himself as teaching “science” to evangelical Christians for 25 years, lets us know his position very early, when he says that the idea of the earth being only around 6,000 years old is “refuted by mountains of evidence.”[2] If you think Dr. Giberson is a “neutral” observer in the debate, simply remember he has written a book entitled “Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution.”

And then he has the audacity to suggest that Creationists drive young people out of the church? Really? What else are they supposed to believe considering the opening words of the Bible, “In the beginning, Elohim created. . . .”

So what are they supposed to believe? That the universe simply popped into existence of its own volition?

There are no prizes for wrong assumptions, and if there were, this would be one of the leading contenders. To say that the trouble in the church is caused by people believing the Bible is laughable.  But ever since the Copernicus-Kepler-Galileo alleged “proof” for a sun-centered universe, believers in a literal Bible became a vocal minority.  It was not until Einstein’s General Relativity rescued heliocentrism from the scientists and said science cannot prove the case either way, that the Biblical literalists could be taken seriously again.  In the meantime, Darwinianism was also paraded as the scientific “proof” that the Bible could not be trusted.[3]

Maybe, however, the opposite contention is the true one. That it is a failure to take the Bible literally and seriously (and, yes, figuratively and metaphorically when necessary) that is the root cause of the major demise of young people out of the church. Examples abound. The Scriptures declare to “keep” the Sabbath day holy, and too many turn the Sabbath day into a shopping excursion. The Bible says no usury, but Christians are happy to lend at usury as often as possible for as high a rate as they can get. Abortion is murder, but how many professing Christians are willing to take their turn at the abortion clinic, or are unwilling to object when relatives and family head for the abortion clinic in the name of “family planning.” Or is it really in the name of “getting rid of the evidence”?

One thing appears apparent: that those who have committed to the devil’s lie that the words of early Genesis should not be taken literally are part of the problem, not part of the solution. And there lies a simple test to see who’s identification of the problem might be the correct one.  A denial of a literal reading of Genesis One is nearly always accompanied by a denial of other important portions of Scripture, especially the Law of God (Torah). It follows that if the Bible is not to be read literally at Genesis One then it should not be read literally at Genesis Three or Exodus 22 either. And what should be done with Deuteronomy 15 and the tithing requirements?

You can see the pattern. First of all deny the Torah is to be taken and applied literally today. Once that problem is out of the way, then simply approach the rest of Scripture the same way. Soon you too will be able to declare, like Dr. Giberson, that it is not necessary to believe in a literal Creation as described in Genesis One to be a Christian.

It follows: no Creation, no fall, no Torah necessary, no second Adam necessary. We can instead all get in a holy huddle and just “love” Jesus.

Meanwhile, Islam continues to be a growing threat to a church that cannot figure itself out concerning creation. And when some Muslims and I were talking recently, and joined by an agnostic/atheist who denied Creation, it was the Muslims who argued against him before I could get a word in. And I’m not usually slow at getting a word in.