Dr. Larry Vardiman of ICR and Dr. Jason Lisle of AiG shared opinions on and evidence for the age of the earth with Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Fazale Rana of Reasons to Believe on April 29, 2006 in Fullerton, California. The First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton sponsored the one-day event entitled A Question of Age. About 800 people attended.
Dr. Lisle led off with a presentation on biblical creationism from a young-earth perspective, and Dr. Vardiman followed with experimental evidence for a young earth from the RATE project. After a short break Dr. Rana discussed the old-earth view for the origin of man, and Dr. Ross critiqued the young-earth position. A 2 ½-hour question and answer session was held in the afternoon, during which each team offered 5-minute responses to about 15 questions from the organizers and the audience.
The tone of the conference was cordial throughout the day, but it was obvious that the primary topic of discussion was to be the reliability of a literal interpretation of the Bible. Ross and Rana stated many times that they “take the Bible seriously and consistently,” but they believe it should not be read literally. Vardiman charged Ross with approaching the Bible with a preconceived scientific model and trying to fit Scripture into this model. Ross denied this allegation, but the audience had numerous opportunities to observe this approach being applied in his explanations.
One of the more disturbing misuses of Scripture by Reasons to Believe was their attempt to deny that the death of animals is a result of sin. Rana argued that animals are not really alive according to the Biblical definition of life. Therefore, there is no difficulty with the multitudes of fossils being formed over millions of years before man was created. Of course all the Biblical genealogies are also considered to be inaccurate. Ross also denied the global Flood described in Genesis and even claimed that a Creation account superior to Genesis 1:1–2:3 can be found in Psalm 104. It is a violation of conventionally accepted rules of hermeneutics to use poetic passages to interpret prior narrative passages. Lisle repeatedly appealed to Ross and Rana that God’s Word should be read in the most straightforward, literal manner possible recognizing that there are poetic and allegorical passages which need special consideration. However, the response by Ross and Rana was one of profound disregard for such a simplistic belief in God’s revelation.
It was evident to many in the audience that the old-earth position, expounded by Ross and Rana, gives little regard to God’s Word and is built primarily on the theories of man. It seems evident that Ross and Rana not only do not take the Bible literally but, although they claim to do so, they also do not take it seriously. May many come to the conclusion that God’s Word can be trusted when read in a straightforward manner.