Is Old Earth Creationism A Heresy? Is It Scientifically Credible?

Hi I’m Andrew Corbett. In 2014 I invited Doctor
Hugh Ross from the organisation, Reasons To Believe to come to Australia. Two years later,
I invited Doctor Jeff Zweerink also of Reasons To Believe. And, again prior to him arriving
he was accused of being a part of an organisation that not actually Christian seeking to undermine
the Christian faith and seeking to impose science into the Bible. So, in addressing
these issues, I wanted to raise them directly with Doctor Jeff Zweerink. Because, initially
when I invited Doctor Ross in 2014 I was also linked in with the accusations – being called
a ‘heretic’, someone who is undermining the Gospel and actually bringing division to the
Church as a result. I found these accusations at the time to be hurtful and in this video
I’m talking with Doctor Jeff Zweerink. I’ve really appreciated your being here with
us over these last few days Jeff, it’s been wonderful just to hear the feedback we’ve
been getting and I’ve personally enjoyed spending time with you and know that many others have
made positive comment as well. So, thank you again.
Well thanks for having me. I’ve tremendously enjoyed my time here and to be a part of what
you’re doing and what God is doing down here. You’ve got a Ph. D. in Astrophysics which
means you’re really kind of concerned that the stuff that’s out there in space.
“Yeah, I would say that it’s using a telescope to figure out how the world works.” “O.K.,
so your Ph.D. from Iowa State University?” “Correct.” “You took up a research position
with U.C. Riverside? Is that correct?” “That’s correct.” “So the University of California-
Riverside – similar to the University of Tasmania has different campuses and the two most well-known
campuses are University of California would be Berkely and Los Angeles. And after your
position at UC-Riverside you were then offered a position at UC-LA?” “That’s Correct.” “You’re
still there as a research scholar. You also were essentially raised in a home where you
saw your parents become Christians and you saw the impact of Christ in their lives – particularly
in your Dad who was a chemistry professor.” “Right.” “If we can sort of cut to the chase
here, you see no problem with what science tells us about the how the world began and
how it works with what the Bible says. Is that correct?” “That is exactly correct.”
“Why is that?” “I would say that if God is the One who created
the universe and the One who is the inspiration for Scripture, when we study Scripture when
we study creation we’ve got to then get the same thing. And that’s what I see every place
where I’ve looked they either agree or in the what we don’t know there’s a way to still
have them agree. So, I find that great evidence that God is who He says He is.”
“O.K. Here’s the first thing: -Are you aware that Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr.
Jeff Zweerink, from Reasons To Believe, teach that Creation was not created in a literal
7 days as the Bible teaches? How do you respond?” “I would say that if those days, if you demand
that those days are 7 twenty-four hour days then I would agree with that charge. But I
would disagree that we’re arguing that the Bible doesn’t accurately describe how God
created.” “O.K.”
“So, if I were to go and investigate all of the Scripture, all of the hermeneutics, all
of the people who hold Scripture in high regard, and they say that this is only seven twenty-four
hour days, it’s got to be 6 to 10 thousands years old, then I would be right in that camp!
If that’s what Scripture says, then I’m right there.”
“O.K. If the weight of science and if what you’re saying is that if the weight of Biblical
scholarship-” “Independent of the science!” “Independent of the science, if the bulk of
Biblical scholars, the bulk of Hebrew Scholars said – this in Genesis chapter one can only
mean twenty-four-hour consecutive literal days, you would take that over the science?
Is that correct?” “Yes! And you will find if you go back to
talk to people when I was in College I was defending exactly that view because I thought
that’s what Scripture taught.” “What the Scripture taught. O.K. That word
“day” in the Hebrew is what word?” “Yom.”
“Yom. And it can mean what?” “It can mean the daylight portion of the day.
So we’re in the ‘yom’ portion of the day.” “So, ‘today’ we went to church?”
“Right. It can mean a twenty-four hour time.” “Ah ah.”
“It can mean a ‘long but definite period of time’. So if we would say, like-”
“Back in Abraham’s ‘day'” “Back in Abraham’s day”
“Abraham longed to see my ‘day. John chapter 8.'”
“So what’s interesting is that you find the term ‘day’ used to refer to a ‘long period
of time’ in Genesis one. You use ‘day’ to refer to the daylight portion of time, you
know, “God created the light and He called the light ‘day’ and the darkness ‘night’.
And in Genesis 1:4 it’s referred to as a twenty-four day. “For days for signs and seasons” -Genesis
one uses all those definitions. The question is what does it mean when it talks about the
‘first day’ or ‘day one’ or the ‘second day’ or the ‘third day’ And-?
“Before Day 4 where it seems like the cycle of 24 hour periods are definitely there?”
“Or at leat until the observer was aware of what the sun, moon, and stars were.”
“O.K. And then Genesis 2:4 ‘yom’ is used that word ‘day’ is used to speak of the whole six
‘days’ of creation, it’s called a ‘yom’.” “Right.”
“So we’ve got the four Biblical literal Biblical uses of that word ‘day’ in Genesis 1 and 2?”
“Right.” “So to be accused of not taking it literally
is not fair?” “Ah ah.”
“Because we do believe in a ‘literal six day creation’ and God rested on the seventh ‘day’.
The issue is, which of those four literal interpretations makes the most sense?”
“Right.” “Biblically, so we’re not using science to
interpret the Bible in that sense. O.K. The next thing was – that the Garden of Eden had
not ever experienced or seen death and that physical death in our world is not the result
of Adam’s sin but has been in existence for billions of years before Adam was even created.
This writer says, these things change the Gospel and they are completely unbiblical,
according to Romans 5:12 which is according to this, that were was no death – any biological
death – in plant, insect, animal, or human death before Adam sinned. And this person
claims that’s a ‘central’ Bible teaching. Is it?”
“I find that position difficult to hold.” “Biblically or scientifically?”
“Biblically!” “O.K.”
“I’m an Astronomer not a biologist, so I don’t really pay attention to a lot of the – what’s
going on there.” “I’m not a biologist either.”
“I mean you, look through Scripture and a few things that really stand out to me, is
that in that passage in Romans it talks about how because Man sinned death spread to all
men.” “And that’s an important point. Romans 5:12
says that by one man’s sin death came into the world – death came to all ‘mankind’.”
“Right.” “Not plants, insects, animals.”
“Unless Christ’s salvation also applies to plants, insects, and animals, then yes it
is just to humanity. And what I see there is that my position and the position of RTB
is that God created humanity and placed them in the Garden and had they not eaten of the
Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, they would never had died.”
“Sure.” “So they would not have died. So this is not
– God created a world where man was going to die and that’s just the run of the mill
way things were. But had Adam and Eve not sinned – humanity would never have perished.”
“O.K. I really hoped people got that clear, because that is – you are accused of teaching
exactly opposite of that. One more thing, and we’ve gone a little longer than I had
hoped -” “The other thing I would say in that is that
I find it difficult to read through Scripture and see where Scripture says there was no
death -or that death is the result of God’s Plan B – ‘Oh now I’ve got to introduce death’.
God is praised for providing food to the animals – prey to the animals.”
“P-r-e-y.” “Yes, p r e y.”
“My simple response to this person was, ‘If there was no biological death before Adam
sinned, and it’s a ‘central’ teaching of the Bible, give one verse that says it.”
“Hmm.” “And I haven’t heard back from them yet. Final
question, and I’m sorry, I’ve gone longer than I wanted to, but I’m in a rant mood,
I’m sorry.” “You don’t have to apologise, I’ve seen you
the whole week here and it’s not a pattern as far as I can tell.”
[laughter] “You’re accused off teaching that there was
no literal Adam – that Adam was the result of the evolution of Neanderthals. How say
thee?” “I really don’t understand how someone can
say that of our organisation. I can point you to the webpage on our website where we
state that ‘Adam was a created being’ ‘God intervened to bring about Adam and Eve’. And
we specifically distinguish from other creatures that may look like humanity but they are not
humanity. God created Adam and Eve. I do not see how someone could characterise our position
as Adam and Eve are not literal historic figures. In fact, our discussions with a very prominent
organisation that is arguing that man is just the latest greatest evolutionary creation,
that is probably one of the key dividing points between our organisations. We hold Adam and
Eve are the literal progenitors of all humanity.” “You’re not saying that God took a Neanderthal
and breathed the image of God into that whatever it was, and made that into the person called
Adam?” “No, God intervened and created Adam and Eve.
In the same way that God intervened and created the Universe.”
“Gee I hope that’s clear. I want to thank you for allowing me this little rant. And
I want to thank you for being in the ‘lounge-room’ sipping hot-chocolate while you listen to
it.” “I’ve got to say that I really appreciate
this because people can disagree with me all they want. I mean I’ve got my positions I
can explain why, and that’s true of our organisation, but I do think that from a Christian perspective
that one thing that haunts me is that whenever I disagree with someone, I have got to make
sure that I’m characterising their position correctly.”
“Yeah, and that was my biggest concern. This is just unfair some of this.” [Sighs] “Ladies
and gentlemen, Doctor Jeff Zweerink.” And so there is nothing that undermines the
Gospel in this – in fact, it’s science that bolsters the Creation story. And we see a
compatibility between the record of nature as it says in the Belgic Confession that God
has given us two revelations, General Revelation and Special Revelation. General Revelation
is how we see God in- and His handiwork – and Special Revelation is uniquely authoritative
– that’s the Word of God. Together, according to the Belgic Confession, these two present
one picture of God and His work. And we agree. And that’s largely the position of Reasons
To Believe and it’s a position that is not heretical, it doesn’t undermine the Gospel,
it does not endorse Darwinian Evolution as the means by which God created, and it is
in complete concord with many of the ancient commentators and Fathers of the Faith as well.
Recently, there was an international conference on Biblical Inerrancy and 300 delegates – some
of the world’s leading Bible scholars. And they signed the document reinforcing and reiterating
Biblical inerrancy. Of the 300 scholars who attended this Conference, it is estimated
that 98% of them held to what’s called “Old Earth” view, that is the view promoted by
Reasons To Believe. That number could be wrong, that 98% number could be wrong, according
to Greg Koukl who recently said that number could be wrong because it could have been
99%! This is telling. The world’s leading scholars all have examined the Text and consider
the Old Earth view to be the most Biblically literal view Genesis one and Two. Added to
this there’s a concordance between the sixteen other Biblical accounts of Creation -some
18 in total. And they all have to concord to show that God created a world in which
death is the means by which life comes. Death is woven into the fabric of creation and out
of it – out of this – comes the Redemption Story that God would ultimately use death
to bring the ultimate life. The death of Christ brings eternal life to all who turn to Him
and put their faith and trust in Him. This is woven into the fabric of Creation. This
is why accusations of being ‘heretical’ of being people who are undermining the Gospel
and being people who are charlatans rather than genuine Christians is hurtful and it’s
actually – wrong! Thank you for letting me explain our position. I’m Andrew Corbett,
for more information I encourage you to visit reasons dot org.


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