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Young Earth Creationism: Creationists Who Believe that the Earth is Young


What is Young Earth Creationism?:

Young Earth Creationists (YEC), the largest and most vocal group of creationists active in America, rely upon the most literal interpretation of the Bible in comparison to other forms of special creationism. At its heart, the Young Earth Creationist movement is a movement of conservative Christians. It is rare to find a Young Earth Creationist making a case either for creationism or against evolution without doing so from a deliberately religious and, usually, fundamentalist Christian position.

How Young is the Earth?:

The key characteristic of Young Earth Creationism is the insistence on a “young” earth, on the order of 6,000 - 10,000 years old, rather than the commonly accepted age of approximately 4.5 billion years old. This figure is arrived at using complicated dating procedures based upon biblical records, much like those used by Bishop John Ussher when he dated the point of creation at 4004 BCE.

Young Earth Creationism & the Big Bang:

Creationism is opposed not only to evolution, but also to the modern scientific explanations for the origins of anything. Thus most forms of creationism, but especially Young Earth Creationism, are opposed to the Big Bang Theory of the universe originated. Of course, there is a strong parallel with the opposition to evolution because the support for the Big Bang in physics is at least as strong as the support for evolution in biology.

Young Earth Creationism and The Bible:

Young Earth Creationists insist that their position is based upon a self-evident and common-sensical reading of the Bible. It simply isn’t possible to understand the position of Young Earth Creationism without also understanding the role the Bible plays in the lives of creationists. For them, the Bible is the central organizing text of their lives. It is the source of how they understand the world, their place in the world, and their purpose for life.

However, it isn’t clear that they operate from a “self-evident and common-sensical” reading of the Bible. Their method of interpretation requires a lot more in the way of assumptions and inferences than they are accustomed to acknowledging. There is nothing in the Bible which specifies any particular age of the Earth, for example — that conclusion must be inferred through fallible calculations based upon possibly incomplete data from the text. Moreover, there is nothing in the Bible which requires the hyper-literalist reading of the Young Earth Creationists. Why must the passages in Genesis be treated as literal descriptions rather than metaphors or allegories?

Such questions make no impact upon Young Earth Creationists because they have a firm and necessary religious commitment to the literal inerrancy of the Bible. As Henry Morris, a leading creationist, explains it, Christians who flirt with less-than-literal readings of biblical texts are also flirting with theological disaster. Allegorical readings of Creation, the Fall, the Flood and the Tower of Babel undermine core Christian doctrines like the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to Morris, Christians must “either...believe God’s Word all the way, or not at all.”

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