Young Earth vs. Old Earth Debate
Tonight I attended a debate between Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe and Minoru Usami of Creation Research Japan. It was called a “debate,” but it was more of a presentation of views for each side to listen to the other. It was stressed that both Hugh Ross and Minoru Usami are evangelical Christians and that both Young Earth Creationists (YECs) and Old Earth Creationists (OECs) believe that the Bible is God’s word. It’s an important point, because we’re all on the same side. We tend to let disagreements divide us, but the age of the earth/universe is irrelevant when it comes to salvation.
I have never read any of Hugh Ross’ books all the way through, so it was an interesting presentation. It did drive home how different one’s interpretation of the Bible really is depending on whether they take Genesis literally or “literally.” By “literally” in quotes, I mean that Hugh Ross claims that since the Hebrew word “yom” can mean a long period of time, the OEC position is a literal interpretation. Someone needs to study up a little bit on the meaning of literal, because otherwise we are not going to be able to have a meaningful discussion. Yes, “yom” can be used in a figurative sense, but that does not mean when it is used that way you can call it a literal interpretation.
I was especially happy that I attended, because during the question and answer session Dr. Ross answered two of my questions. I was sincerely interested in the answers, since I have not delved that deeply into what OECs believe.
My first question was “If God is perfect, then how can he call anything that is less than perfect “very good” as he did with the original creation? If death was called “very good” by a perfect God, then what is heaven going to be like?” Dr. Ross answered that the Bible calls the original creation “very good” but does not say that it was perfect. He then gave some Bible verses from Revelation declaring that heaven would be a perfect place. Of course, I agree with him about heaven, but he kind of dodged the intent of my question. I do not believe that a perfect God is capable of creating anything that is not perfect. I also do not think that if God calls something good (or in this case “very good”) that it can be anything less than perfect. Since Dr. Ross admits that animal death is not a perfect condition he must admit that God called a less than perfect creation “very good.” I don’t understand how that is possible.
My second question was “If the flood was only a local event, then why did Noah gather animals, and why did he not just move to another area?” Dr. Ross’ answer was that Noah was God’s messenger and that he was to preach repentence right up until the actual judgement. As for the animals, Dr. Ross said that Noah took only the “soulish” animals and noted that 7 pairs were required for “clean” animals. The animals were taken, he said, because God wanted to repopulate the area with animals quickly after the flood and that the clean animals were taken for economical reasons. The first point makes sense and is a logical argument. The second point, however, does not make sense in the context. It was God that brought the animals to Noah. This was a miraculous event. If God could bring the animals to Noah before the flood, then he certainly could have brought them to him after the flood. There is simply no logical reason why God would have commanded Noah to take animals with him if it was only a local flood.
Anyway, it was a great opportunity to learn, and the MC said that he believed it was the first time such an event had been held in Japan. May God bless the work of both Minoru Usami and Hugh Ross. May he also open Dr. Ross’ eyes.
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