Whether a person believes in a young earth or an old earth, the matter of salvation is not at stake.
The debate about young earth or old earth is a topic that continues through the centuries. There are proponents on both sides of the camp. As a young earth proponent, I view the earth as being a young earth, as shown by biblical accounts and research done by scientists who are Christians, including the notable Dr. Ken Ham. However, the other side of the debate is old earth proponents who believe the earth is much older, possibly billions of years old.
Does the Bible support one over the other? Let's take a look:
Young Earth and Old Earth
As a young earth proponent, I believe the age of the earth to be 6,000 years old. However, old earth proponents believe the world to be 4.5 billion years old. As we can see, these are two radically different numbers that have billions of years separating them. With these numbers, how can we know which one is correct? The best way to see which one is correct is based on biblical evidence.
Old earth proponents normally get their research from secular, evolutionary models. If they take an evolutionary approach to the biblical text, then they will view that mankind, animals, and everything else in creation evolved into what it is today. From the viewpoint of an old earth proponent, they would believe that the earth was created 4.5 billion years ago, and we are the evolved state of what was created 4.5 billion years ago. In other words, old earth proponents are utilizing the secular world and incorrect dating to come up with the final outcome to be 4.5 billion years old.
On the other hand, young earth proponents utilize the Bible to get the date of 6,000 years. They utilize the Bible in the sense that we can see Adam was alive 2,000 years before Abraham. From ancient texts, we have found that Abraham lived in B.C. 2,000, which would be 4,000 years ago. If we add both of these dates together, we can see that the earth was created 6,000 years ago, give or take a few days since Adam was created on day five of creation.
By utilizing the Bible alone, we can ascertain the appropriate dating standard for the earth. While 6,000 years old is quite old, it is nothing compared to the 4.5 billion years old model that old earth proponents want to employ. Old earth proponents have to employ such a long time period because they have to include evolution. Since evolution takes thousands of years, they had to create a model that would match and adhere to the theory of evolution. Evolution is the main factor that has caused the old earth theory to be popular within secular society.
Does This Affect Salvation?
There are Christians who are evolutionists, believing God started creation but let it take its own evolutionary course, and there are Christians who believe in the old earth theory. Many Christians try to separate each other because of this controversy, yet there is no reason to do this. Whether a person believes in a young earth or an old earth, the matter of salvation is not at stake. It might change some of your views of the Bible, regarding timelines and archaeology; however, it will not affect your salvation.
A person is only saved by believing in Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Your salvation is not affected by what you believe concerning how old the earth is. It is a tragedy that many Christians look down on other Christians because they believe differently than them in matters, such as the age of the earth or other aspects, like eschatology. So long as believers believe Christ is the only way to God the Father, and that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the three-in-one Trinity, that is what should concern us. Does it make the person an unbeliever for not being in the young earth theory? Absolutely not–just as it is incorrect to say a person isn't a believer for believing in an old-age earth.
As Christians, we have to be aware that other believers will have different views than our own and we must not condemn them for it. On matters outside of salvation, people should research and discover things for themselves. Nobody should be forced to believe anything if they don't actually believe it. During college, we had many times when we had to defend the opposite side or unbiblical side of an argument–just to see things from the other person's perspective. In doing this, we were able to see both sides of the argument and better know how to relate to the person on a different side than ourselves.
It is good to educate ourselves in all theories to make our own conclusions. Similar to the professors at my college, I challenge you to do research on both sides of the young earth theory and the old earth theory to see what conclusion you come to at the end of the day. As I mentioned, the young earth theory comes from the Bible and ancient texts, giving dates concerning the Bible; whereas, the old earth theory comes from secular dating and an evolutionary lens. It is ultimately up to you to decide which theory you believe; however, it won't affect your salvation, nor will it affect anyone else's salvation if they believe the opposite theory from you.
It is also important to mention our worldview's gravitas on our belief concerning the young earth and old earth theories. If we view the world with a biblical worldview, then we are most likely going to side with the young earth view. However, if we are looking at the world from an evolutionary lens, we are going to side with the old earth theory. As we can see, our worldview impacts us in direct and in indirect ways. Much of our childhood and teenage years, as well as educational higher learning, can impact how we see the world.
It is erroneous to believe that we can approach any situation or theory unbiased. Since we are human beings, we are naturally biased, and we will take the side of what matches our worldview. As challenging as it can be, when we approach theories, we need to try to be as unbiased as possible to examine things for ourselves. Our worldview will always continue to impact us, yet we can try to see things from the other person's point of view. This can be in connection with evolution, the dating of the earth, and eschatology. None of these are matters of salvation, which means you will come across various views among believers.
Therefore, my conclusion is that the earth is a young earth, most likely datable at 6,000 years old. Through the Bible, ancient texts, and studies of scientists, we can acknowledge the biblical proof of this view. Even though I believe in a young earth doesn't mean you have to believe the same way. If you believe in an old earth, that is perfectly fine too. It is not a matter of salvation; believers must stop treating it like it is. Salvation is only based on placing faith in Jesus. It is not about whether a person believes the earth is young or old.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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