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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 1

A Personal Journey

In the last couple of centuries or so there has been an unprecedented attack against the Bible and Christian truth. In our day this assault is often very frontal and bold but in the beginning it was a much more subtle attack, focused on Genesis, the book of beginnings. Satan is well aware that if the foundation of truth is destroyed the rest will crumble in time. After all, if Genesis isn’t true, then what else in the Bible isn’t true? In fact, why believe any of the Bible?

And so unbelieving scientists began to contend that the earth was not a few thousand years old as a straightforward reading of the Bible would lead you to believe but was rather much older. At first the claims were on the order of many thousands, but thousands grew into hundreds of thousands and hundreds of thousands grew into millions, and so forth. But few Christians saw any real problems with this growing belief. “A side issue,” they said. “Let’s just preach the gospel.” And so, most compromised, trying in various ways to fit these new-found millions of years into God’s Word.

My Own Background

The religious environment in which I grew up was a product of that compromise. My father was a minister, a man of simple and genuine faith who faithfully preached God’s Word as he was enabled to understand it. However, given the prevailing compromises regarding the creation account, I don’t remember my father, or anyone else for that matter, raising any serious objections to “millions of years.” I will say, however, that it was my father who years later pushed me to take another look at the issue so it is likely that he had privately questioned the compromises all along.

Still, I have vivid memories of my fascination with dinosaurs as a boy, a fascination that is, no doubt, shared by most boys! Picture books, stories, and miniature dinosaur figures fed my active imagination with images of wonderful and mysterious ages gone by.

Of course, everything I heard in school helped to reinforce the now-standard “old-earth” view of things. I certainly knew enough to see through and resist the doctrine of evolution but I did not have the means nor did I even see the need to question the age of the earth as it was everywhere taught. And so I believed that God had created everything, that the Garden of Eden was a real place, and that dinosaurs had become extinct 65 million years ago. Conflict? What conflict?

College

Then I went to college. Had I gone to a typical secular college there is no question as to what I would have been taught. But I didn’t. I attended a major Christian college, a very conservative institution with a strong view of biblical inspiration. How did they deal with this issue?

It didn’t take long to find out. One of my first courses was Old Testament Survey. The Old Testament begins, of course, with Genesis so on the very first day of classes we were launched into a discussion of the creation account! Along with an acknowledgment of what the text actually said we were presented with a sort of “menu” of various ways to harmonize the Genesis creation account with the (seemingly) well-established scientific facts regarding the age of the earth. All of these options were presented as legitimate scriptural views and it was sort of up to us to pick the one we liked the best!

I’m sure that somewhere during my college days it was acknowledged that there were those who took the Genesis account literally and believed that the earth was about 6000 years old but I don’t remember ever encountering someone who actually believed that and I even heard the idea ridiculed. Surely no one could reasonably cling to such a view in the modern world! And what a needless hindrance it would be to evangelism if converts were expected to commit intellectual suicide and embrace such a ridiculous and outmoded idea!

I seem to remember three main views being presented (at least those are the ones that stand out as I think back). One of them was called the “Age-Day” theory. The days weren’t really 24-hour days but rather long ages. Of course it was noted that order of what happened on the six days has little correspondence with the apparent order in which things happened from a scientific point of view. However, that difficulty was dismissed by the oft-repeated saying that the Bible was not written as a scientific textbook and that the creation account could be understood as a logical—or perhaps theological—account of things. In other words, it was designed to convey spiritual truth and it wasn’t, therefore, a problem that the days were seemingly out of order.

As I look at the subject today it seems to me that what is currently called the “Progressive Creation” view is either the same as, or at least overlaps the Age-Day view as it was presented to us then. This view counters Evolution by contending that God—over long ages—gradually introduced the various “kinds” of animals into the world as special acts of creation.

Another view was the “Gap Theory.” This view, popularized by the Scofield Bible, contends that there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. In this view there was another world that was created and then ruined during that “gap” and that the creation we now know is more a re-creation than a creation. This allows those who hold this theory to account for millions of years and ancient fossils and the like while still holding that the creation of Genesis took place about 6000 years ago.

Yet another view was “Theistic Evolution.” How such opposite views can reasonably be integrated into one theory is a mystery to me! It’s like saying, “Up Down,” or “Black White.” In any case Theistic Evolution contends that God used evolution to create and never intended the Genesis account to be taken literally.

I suppose I came nearer to an “Age-Day” view than the others but mostly I sort of filed the whole issue away as “secondary” and “not that important” and went on. All of this took place in the 1960s and many years went by before I began to really examine the question again. If you had asked me, say, 15 years ago how I understood and reconciled the Genesis account of creation with science I would have answered—with some condescension, I’m afraid—that it wasn’t important. “I know God created everything and I don’t care how He did it. It’s a secondary issue. We need to concentrate on preaching the gospel and getting people ready for the Lord’s coming.”

In other words, I still believed that God had created everything, that the Garden of Eden was a real place, and that dinosaurs had become extinct 65 million years ago. Why was that a problem? You see, in the providence of God, my faith was strong enough that I didn’t need such questions answered. Unfortunately these issues are a real stumbling block to many people and there is no reason to duck them.

Another Look at the Issue

Then sometime in the 1990s my Dad introduced me to a series of audio tapes that presented a different view. For the first time that I recall I heard actual highly qualified scientists who not only believed—as I did—that evolution was wrong, but who also believed that the earth was a few thousand years old and that Genesis should be taken as literal history. And they did not seem to see any conflict in science. In fact they actually presented the idea that science is much more friendly to the biblical view than it is to the evolutionary one! And, more than that, some had actually begun their science careers as evolutionists!

Now this was interesting—and intriguing! I thoroughly enjoyed the various presentations that showed how preposterous atheistic evolution is but the evidence for a young earth kind of set my wheels in motion. I began to consider the heretofore unthinkable idea that maybe, just maybe, the earth really was young after all. I didn’t jump on the “band wagon” about it but it did stir up my curiosity and I began occasionally to visit various websites that presented that viewpoint to see what they had to say. Mostly, however, I just filed it away as “interesting” but not exactly all that important.

One website I visited was that of the Institute for Creation Research. About three years ago or so as I write this several brethren and I were at a convention where who should one of the exhibitors be but ICR! My interest had been piqued to the point that I devoured everything they would let me have and as I read, suddenly I “got it.” I realized that this was not merely an intellectual debate about some secondary issue but that it really mattered and that Christians could and should confront it with confidence in God’s Word.

The following year the convention was held in Anaheim, California so I suggested to the brethren that we go a day early and take a side trip down to the San Diego area to visit ICR. This we did and were graciously received and shown virtually everything down to the broom closets by none other than the president, Dr. John Morris. We had the privilege of spending around 15 minutes sitting down with his father, Dr. Henry Morris, who passed away sometime the following year. What a privilege! It was his book, “The Genesis Flood,” written together with Dr. John Whitcomb and published in 1961, that had laid the foundation for a return to a more biblical view of creation and the flood. Would that I had known of it in college.

We also met geologist, Dr. Steve Austin, who stepped out of his lab for a few minutes to visit with us. Dr. Austin, once an evolutionist, was one of the speakers on the audio tapes I had heard years before. His research has actually affected the entire field of geology and even secular geologists have had to acknowledge his findings in several areas of study.

Since then my interest has steadily grown and I have read many things, listened to videos, attended seminars, visited websites, and met others whose ministry focuses on this area of truth—men such as Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis. These men have a unique and important calling. It is not my calling but, as I said earlier, Genesis 1-11 is not only a part of God’s Word but it is also foundational to the rest.

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