No cherry picking allowed!

Monday Musings for December 14, 2020

Good morning, Musers,

Let me give you the conclusion to today’s discussion right up front: you can’t have it both ways. You cannot insist upon using a wooden (literalistic) method of interpreting the words in the Bible… but then insist on convoluting nature itself to get you out of the pickles that such a hermeneutical choice cannot help but cause.

That being said, sticking with the God who uses wooden prose is still a viable option. It’s just one that I do not choose... and it’s one that will have you stopping your ears every time science offers up something that supports theism. That’s because, those things that have become a joy to me — like the Big Bang cosmological model — will threaten your stand on the age of the earth.

In addition to my work here at Mainsail, I also serve alongside about 250 other people as a writer (a question-responder) for Got Questions Ministries, and I’ve been doing that work for 11 years. But you know what’s funny? As an organization, they hold a young-earth position.

This means that when I answer and resolve a conflict under the old-earth paradigm — which happens quite often — I must say that this is my personal position and not the position of the ministry... and the ministry is all right with my responding this way. But I’m not all right with having to explain it because it embarrasses me that the ministry takes such a position.

Two or three times now I’ve “officially,” asked the leaders at Got Questions Ministries to revisit this stand — and I’ve mentioned the embarrassment factor! There’s been no movement so far… but I was a young-earther forty years ago… so there’s hope. But there’s a lesson here, too.

It is unreasonable to expect perfect doctrinal alignment in the Body of Christ. The model should be to have unity in the essentials, but grace in everything else. This does not mean, however, that we are free from the responsibility of trying to shift believers into a less problematic stand on secondary issues — particularly if you are convinced that this is the best way to represent Christ.

A young-earth believer today is like the churchmen of old who refused to release their geocentric view of the earth’s orbit — in spite of overwhelming evidence from the sky and from the minds of astute observers that we orbited the Sun. They had a philosophical commitment that God could do nothing less than have the jewel of his creation in the center of the universe. The thing they didn’t have was biblical warrant or the testimony from creation.

Everyone eventually capitulated. No credible observer has put the earth at the center of the solar system for centuries. But this means there was a transition… and as these things go, it too was too long in coming. It would have cost them nothing to jump earlier… but pride, perhaps — and that jolt that comes with breaking inertia — and they had to. Their position was unsustainable.

In like manner, the data is in about the age of the earth — and it will cost you nothing to change… nothing that you shouldn’t lose anyway. But if you stay, don’t you dare “enjoy” the solutions I offer that rely on natural or philosophical reasoning! In apologetics, that type of cherry-picking is called “borrowing capital” — and I’m watching!

So, keep out of my orchard… unless you want to move in. (Lots are available — reasonably priced!)

(Click here to read the article referenced above. For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at mainsailep@gmail.com. To submit a question about God, the Bible or the Christian culture, click here.)