Is Belief in the Young Earth Necessary to Be a Christian? | The Institute for Creation Research

Is Belief in the Young Earth Necessary to Be a Christian?

At our seminars and in our books, we at the Institute for Creation Research take a strong stand on the young earth. We certainly don't do this to win a popularity contest, for this position is ridiculed by the secularists and many Christians alike. Nevertheless, we teach this without compromise and without apology.

The main reason for believing in the young earth is that the earth is young! The Bible tells us so, and the weight of the scientific evidence points to a young earth. While the Bible may not specify a precise date for creation, it does indicate that the earth is only a few thousand years old. Similarly, while the geologic and physical evidence cannot give a precise age, all the evidence is compatible with the young earth doctrine, with far greater evidence supporting a young earth than an old earth. There is much evidence incompatible with the old earth idea.

Furthermore, many Biblical doctrines are based on the recency of creation and the corollary doctrine, the global flood. One cannot hold the old earth position and believe that the flood was global, for if the flood was global, then the entire earth's surface was altered. The flood would leave in its wake the rock and fossil record which now is misinterpreted by geologists as evidence for an old earth. All Christians who knowledgeably advocate an old earth believe that the flood was only local. (A few still hold the bizarre notion that the flood was tranquil and did little geologic work. Imagine—a tranquil, world-wide flood!)

The doctrinal absurdities which result from a local flood and old earth are well documented in creationist literature. The most serious fallacy involves the death of the vast majority of earth's inhabitants before man appeared, and before he sinned and incurred the wages of sin. Astronomer Hugh Ross even proposes human-like animals, who buried their dead, practiced religious ceremonies, painted pictures on cave walls, etc., but did not yet possess an eternal spirit. Death before sin implies that death is natural, not the penalty for sin. But if so, what good did the death of Jesus Christ accomplish? And what was the world like before the fall? Old earth advocates believe it was no different from our world—with death, bloodshed, carnivorous activity, fossils.

Because of ICR's stand on this all-important issue, some have suggested that ICR teaches that belief in the young earth is necessary for salvation. This is not the case! Salvation does not imply perfect understanding of doctrine, for then no one could be saved. God grants salvation when one repents of his sin and asks for forgiveness based on Christ's death for his sin. A sinner doesn't have to know anything about the age of the earth.

Nor does one have to believe in the young earth to be a Christian leader. Many Christian leaders believe and do a lot of things they shouldn't. But belief in the old earth, with the implied concepts of death before sin, the world before Adam not really "very good," an inconsequential fall and curse, a local flood, etc., destroys the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some Christians do believe in both Christianity and the old earth, but this is inconsistent with their professed belief in the Bible.

*Dr. John Morris is the President of ICR.

Cite this article: John D. Morris, Ph.D. 1995. Is Belief in the Young Earth Necessary to Be a Christian?. Acts & Facts. 24 (3).

The Latest
NEWS
Inside June 2021 Acts & Facts
How do the Everglades illustrate Bible-affirming biology? Why do marine sponges inspire engineers? What can we learn about God’s providence from...

NEWS
Two Excuses for Human Evolution Confusion
Public school textbooks assert that apes and humans emerged from an ape-like animal, whereas Genesis 1 says that God created humans and the different animal...

DAYS OF PRAISE DEVOTIONALS
Summer 2021
...

ACTS & FACTS
Coral Reef
Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
The Legacy and Faith of a Godly Father
Good fathers serve an essential role in the family, and it’s surely fitting that we express our love and gratitude on Father’s Day. After...

APOLOGETICS
Even Seaweed Is Proof of God's Providence
Tidewater-tossed seaweeds display God’s providence.1,2 Hidden in plain view, tidewater seaweeds are spectacular exhibits of Christ’s...

ACTS & FACTS
What It Takes to Make a Cell: A Review of The Stairway to Life
Rare is the science book that can hold even an average reader’s attention. But The Stairway to Life does just that. Coauthored by biochemist Laura...

ACTS & FACTS
Does Radioisotope Dating Prove an Old Earth?
Tim Clarey, Ph.D., and Vernon R. Cupps, Ph.D.* When most people think about radioisotope dating, they think of carbon-14 (C-14), or radiocarbon...

ACTS & FACTS
The Everglades: Two Biology Basics the Bible Got Right
Brian Thomas, Ph.D., and Gary Parker, Ed.D.* Imagine a river 50 miles wide and 100 miles long but only inches deep. Its slow flow is hidden...

ACTS & FACTS
Marine Sponges Inspire
The oceans are alive with God’s diverse and amazing creatures. Scripture tells us “God created great whales, and every living creature that...