Today’s testimony comes from a seminary student who asked to be credited only by his first name, Corey.
To preface, I am a Christian, I’ve been a Christian my entire life and in addition to this, I’m about to enter my third and final year in seminary (or as I lovingly refer to it, Hogwarts).
Growing up, I never had much of a problem with the duality of the biblical account of creation and the scientific account of evolution. I was fascinated with science and dinosaurs and space and discovery. I wanted to be a marine biologist. My understanding of Genesis was that we didn’t know how long the days were, we didn’t know when dinosaurs took place in the biblical account, and for all intents and purposes, it didn’t matter to me.
However, somewhere around the end of my high school career, my pastor became very passionate about so-called biblical inerrancy. He started bringing in young-earth programming and showing us the supposed clash between science and religion. The first film we watched that related to this was “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” After this it was program after program, most of it coming from the AiG crowd.
I remember most seeing Ken Ham giving lectures. The reasoning behind my acceptance was simple: I was a bit of an anglophile and here was this cool Australian guy defending the Bible. I didn’t have a chance. It wasn’t long before the hook was set. I was in a cult. I was a creationist. I spent 5 years or so alternating between hard and light acceptance of YE creationism. I read their material, I visited the museum, I did it all.
And then I went to seminary and began to learn things, new things, scary things about the context of books like Genesis. I was conflicted. This alternate view wasn’t easy, it wasn’t tight and in all honesty, it was scary. However, with time, a lot of conversations, and a lot of prayer, I came to the conclusion that I could no longer accept YE creationism.
And suddenly, I felt free.
I realized that I’d spent so much time and energy convincing myself that Genesis was true, that I was missing out on the actual truth of the gospel. I realized that God was so much bigger than the young-earthers would have me believe.
My two biggest points of realization came in my first year. The first was in that I didn’t have a clear understanding of what God’s grace was. I could offer a thousand and one explanations and an entire thesis on the ins and outs of Noah’s Ark, but I couldn’t explain God’s grace.
The second point had to do with the leviathan.
The young-earthers would have you believe the leviathan is a dinosaur or a mosasaur because it fits their narrative. It gives their followers something to cling on to, something concrete. But when I learned the background of the leviathan my view of God suddenly became so much bigger. The leviathan, rather than being a dinosaur or a monosaur is simply, the leviathan, the beast from Babylonian/Cannanite mythology that represented the power and terror of the ocean.
I realized something about God through this. This isn’t just a god who catches and fights dinosaurs for fun, this is a God who took hold of the very waters of chaos, the tohu wabohu and ordered it into place. I became enamored with this idea, this God who is actually bigger than the YECs can claim.
And here I am. I still find myself thinking YE thoughts from time to time. I still have an instilled knee-jerk reaction when someone refers to millions or billions of years, I’m still able to recite the YE ideology (and in all honesty I could have argued Ken Ham’s points better than he did in the Bill Nye debate), and I still have a mother and sister that ascribe to this ideology.
I’m home for the summer and coming home has been difficult. The YE ideology isn’t even discussed at seminary, and yet here at home, it’s almost taken for granted. I constantly have to fight back a sharp tongue and the animosity towards those who keep bringing up YE ideas like their simple truth. I have to avoid looking down on my sister who’s working toward being a biologist while telling me about how Hawaii was formed (during the flood, of course). And I have to realize that I cannot just argue the point at every opportunity because sooner or later they’ll just tune me out.
I have a few final thoughts on YE creationism I’d like to share. The first is that, while I am frustrated in this view that so often doubts my salvation because I don’t subscribe to it, I’ve realized a better reaction (for the general crowd at least) is pity. I get it. Young-earth creationism is easy. It doesn’t require one to have to struggle with the existentialism that comes with considering the vast stretches of time the universe has been around. It doesn’t require one to have to consider what it means to be human.
All things considered, it’s an easy ideology. But it limits one’s trust in God. Because they reject the age of the universe spanning into the billions of years, because they reject the evolution of life on earth they are actually limiting their trust in a God that is still personal even in the vast stretch of infinity. They’re limiting God and placing him in a box and they’re forgetting that the Bible is not the Word of God — Jesus is.
And finally, this is in regards to Ken Ham. I do have an ounce of pity for the man, but at the same time I wash my hands in the realization that he’s dug himself into his own pit. Ham can’t apologize for his words. He can’t step back and say he might be wrong on something because his entire organization is centered on his own viewpoint.
If he were to step back and say something that opposed it (even something as simple as saying it isn’t a salvation issue), his entire narrative falls apart and he even risks — gasp — excommunication and denouncement from his own group that has bought into his ideology completely.
I imagine Ham as C3P0 as he’s carried around by the Ewoks. If he tells them he isn’t a god, he risks being killed by the very people that put him there. Because of the completely unbreakable way YECs view the world, if Ham admitted he was mistaken on any one point, they would label him as a compromised Christian too, and I don’t think his pride could take that.
Read more GOE testimonies here.