Why are some Christians Young Earth Creationists?

I was alerted by Primates Progress  to the article linked below. It is written by a British Christian and geologist who notes, “When I first heard about [Young Earth] Creationism when I read a review of The Genesis Flood while working as an exploration geologist in the Namib desert, I simply burst out laughing and wondered how anyone could even suggest it.” However, he came to realize that YE creationism offers, for some Christians, an apparently scientific backing for a supposedly-biblical worldview, which “provides an all-embracing outlook on life and integrates every aspect of their lives.”

In this article, the author first defines the basic content of today’s YE creationism, which is at odds with the physical evidence. Illustrative graphics are included, such as the Noah cartoon shown below, and an information-rich “Creationist Bingo” card. He then lists various deeply–felt reasons for why people believe in YE creationism. The most important factor is a belief that the Atonement requires an absence of death before the Fall.

At the end of his article the author references the recent book, The Grand Canyon: Monument to an Ancient Earth, which refutes YEC assertions about the order of fossils in the rock layers, dinosaurs co-existing with humans, etc.

Comment on Adam, death, and the Fall, since this is such a hot-button topic: I have dealt with this issue here , including key passages in Romans 5 and I Cor. 15.  It is worth noting that Paul develops the universality of sin in Romans 1-3 with no mention of original sin. He moves from, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness… although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him” (1:18-21) to “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23) quite apart from Adam. In all the gospel proclamations to both Jews and Gentiles recorded in the Book of Acts, there is not a single reference to Adam’s sin. The Fall is never explicitly mentioned in the sayings of Jesus. On the contrary, Jesus directed people away from religious speculations or blaming others, and towards a consciousness of their own shortcomings and their personal need for mercy.  Thus, a Fall from a death-free original creation cannot be an essential part of the Christian gospel.

Some common YE creationist evidences for a young earth, e.g. folded rock layers, are debunked in Evidences for a Young Earth. The order of fossils in the rock layers is discussed in   Exposing the Roots of Young Earth Creationism , which describes how the modern YE creationist movement began around 1961 with the publication of The Genesis Flood. Prior to that, very few twentieth-century  Christians, even among American fundamentalists, held to a recent (6000 years ago) creation.

And here is the start of the article, and a link to the rest of it:

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Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin

It baffles many people whether Christian or not why some Christians are Young Earth Creationist, with a belief in a 10,000 year old earth and rejection of evolution. It cannot be denied that Young Earth Creationism has caused bad relationships among Christians, influenced education and results in much mockery from some. A major reason for the friction is that YEC’s claim explicitly or implicitly that the majority of Christians who accept modern science with the vast age of the earth and evolution are at best naughty or heretical Christians.

With YEC making inroads into churches (including the Church of England) and trying to call the shots over education in all parts of the world, it is best to know what they believe and why they do as they go against all scientific teaching and what most churches actually believe.


As YEC attracted so much more heat than light, it is best to start with a general summary of YEC beliefs, though YEC is not monolithic.

  • The earth and universe are no more than 10,000 years old and this is supported by the best modern science.
  • Most of the fossiliferous strata from the Cambrian (550m.y.) to the Pleistocene (10,000yrs) were laid down in the Noachian Deluge. (There is some variation on this.) Below is flippant mocking of this

Noah bury corpses for Reblog

  • Dinosaurs lived alongside humans. The first [picture below] is an exhibit at Ken Ham’s Creation Museum and the other two from…

View whole article  





About ScottBuchanan

Ph D chemical engineer, interested in intersection of science with my evangelical Christian faith. This intersection includes creation(ism) and miracles. I also write on random topics of interest, such as economics, folding scooters, and composting toilets. Background: B.A. in Near Eastern Studies, a year at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a year working as a plumber and a lab technician. Then a B.S.E. and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. Since then, conducted research in an industrial laboratory. Published a number of papers on heterogeneous catalysis, and an inventor on over 80 U.S. patents in diverse technical areas.
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7 Responses to Why are some Christians Young Earth Creationists?

  1. Comments Policy: There is a quick registration for leaving comments (just asks for a username and e-mail address). Comments are expected to relate to the post topic and to reflect the commenter’s own thoughts or questions (no links to other sites or videos). Abusive tirades will be disallowed.

  2. D Helland MD says:

    Spectroscopic Studies on Organic Matter from Triassic Reptile Bones, Upper Silesia, Poland, Surmik, et al.

    Interesting article.

    Soft tissue found in dinosaur bones 247 million years old.

    • Don,
      You posted nearly the same comment two weeks ago on the “Dinosaur Soft Tissue” article on this blog. There I treated it like a sincere inquiry. I went and read the actual journal article, and also found the YE creationist article which you apparently used as your source. I took further time to look up what studies have been done on the rates of amino acid decomposition. I wrote all this up in a response to your post, noting that no soft tissue had been found in these 247 million year old fossilized bones, just some amino acid and peptide fragments. Also, amino acids last billions of years, so it is not surprising to find them sealed inside a big fossil dino bone.

      And now…. here you are reposting essentially the same comment, and being untruthful about soft tissue being present after I told you there was none. It appears that you are not interested in the scientific facts, but only in promoting your creationist viewpoint.

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      My previous reply ( Aug 23, 2016) to your previous comment on article on 247 million year old bones:

      That article describes evidence for amino acid fragments, lipids, and amide bonds amongst iron oxide deposited where blood vessel walls used to be, deep within bones where they were protected from bacterial attack. No flexible tissue, and no claims of long, well-defined protein sequences. There is nothing especially remarkable about this observation despite its age. Certainly no other academics have risen up to challenge it, unlike the furor around Schweitzer’s 2007 paper claiming protein sequences in T Rex.

      Lipids (see: petroleum) easily survive for hundreds of millions of years, and amino acids are likewise extremely stable. Amino acids, lipids, and other organics have been found in meteorites dated over 4 billion years old. One study estimated, for instance, the half-life of glycine decomposition to be over a billion years. [Alexandrova and Jorgensen, “On the mechanism and rate of spontaneous decomposition of amino acids”, 2011]. Whatever these organic fragments are, they are only present in substantial amounts in the iron oxide film that defines where the blood vessels used to be. Schweitzer’s work has already shown a very strong effect of iron in stabilizing protein fragments, in solution chemistry. Here, the organics are further stabilized by being adsorbed within a solid iron oxide matrix, which might have helped to preserve some peptide (amide) bonds.

  3. JimV says:

    In a previous post not too long ago you made a passing reference to fine-tuning, something like, “the awkward fact that our universe seems to be fine-tuned for life.” I questioned that at the time using the results of my own, layman’s, thinking and understanding. Today there is a post at “Back Reaction” giving specific examples of the things I was only speculating about, so I would like to submit a link to it here. It might or might not cause you to change your thinking on this issue, but at least you would (I think) be better informed of what current science suggests:


    I see now that this seems to be a violation of your commenting rules, which I regret. By submitting it I am hoping that some exceptions might be allowed, which is of course up to you. Thanks for posting it if you decide to, and thanks for your blog anyway if you don’t.

    • Jim,
      Even though this is not exactly on topic of the article above, I’ll make an exception for a long-time, valued discussion partner such as yourself. But you can see from the exchange above why I normally don’t find it a good use of my time to try to engage with what people link to.

      The linked article makes an interesting point, I thought, that if we think of varying the values of more than one parameter at a time, there is probably a number of possible combinations of parameter values which could define a universe which could support complex life — not just a single combination (i.e. what we actually have in our universe). However, I’m sure that that parameter space of life-viable universes is an infinitesimal fraction of the total range of combinations, so I’m not sure that this much changes the fine-tuning observation.

      That said, I’ll just note that in my original article you are referring to [Jesus on Seeing God in Nature: No Signs, No Justice, No Fear] I was actually not trying to make a forceful argument for theism from the fine-tuning – I put that argument forth, then somewhat knocked it down. My overall point being that from what Jesus said about evidence for the gospel is that there should NOT be overwhelming “proof” of God from nature, such as a strong anthropic principle. There should not be positive evidence against God, either. So that leaves the way open for an unforced decision to love God or not. Anyway, that’s how it seems to me.

  4. Brad says:

    Hi Scott,
    Do you think it’s possible that Paul didn’t actually read Genesis as a literal history? Is it possible that he simply refers to its imagery/symbolism for illustrative purposes? I would like to think that, despite the scientific understanding of his time, that he would have had an open mind about the genre, purpose, etc. of the Genesis stories. What do you think?

    • Hi Brad,
      That is an interesting question. I agree that Paul definitely saw a lot of symbolism in the O.T. stories. But from what I can see, a Jew of his era who was brought up as a Pharisee would take it for granted that these events actually occurred. (I think there were more Hellenized strains of Judaism which would tend to be more allegorical).

      As an example of Paul’s thinking, here is I Cor 10:1-11 (NIV):
      “ For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

      6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test Christ,[b] as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

      11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. “

      Paul sees spiritual symbolism (“that rock was Christ”) in the provision of food and water, and writes “these things occurred as examples….” . So that is the illustrative function that you point out. That said, it seems to me that he believed that they actually did occur : “these things occurred “, “These things happened to them”, etc. As I have discussed in more detail elsewhere (e.g. https://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/adam-the-fall-and-evolution-christianity-today-and-world-get-it-wrong/ ), we would expect that Paul would believe what everyone else in his time and place believed , unless he received some supernatural revelation to the contrary. He did receive special revelation on some topics (e.g. that Jesus is the Son of God (Gal 1:11-16) and that Christ in you is the hope of glory (Col. 1:27)) .

      However, I see no evidence that God also supernaturally revealed to Paul that the world was not created in six 24-hour days or that there was no recent worldwide Flood which killed all terrestrial animals except those on Noah’s boat. (I know this last sentence makes YE creationists livid, but the facts are what they are). So I would expect that Paul would believe those stories to have actually happened.
      Anyway, enjoy the weekend….

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