Presuppositional Response -- By: Jason Lisle

Journal: Christian Apologetics Journal
Volume: CAJ 11:2 (Fall 2013)
Article: Presuppositional Response
Author: Jason Lisle

Presuppositional Response

Jason Lisle

I very much enjoyed Dr. Scott Oliphint’s paper on “A Covenantal Apologetic.” It seems that his approach to apologetics is very biblical. It is the “presuppositional” method along the tradition of Greg Bahnsen and Cornelius Van Til. There is much to commend in Oliphint’s analysis of apologetic methodology. Until the last section, the paper is very consistent and biblical. But in the closing section, Oliphint switches hermeneutics and argues that we need not take as written the timescale given in Genesis.

In my view, Oliphint’s remarks in the final section are the only place in the paper where he departs from biblical authority. So I will focus my critique on that final section.1 I will begin with a general discussion of the age of the earth, and then move on to examine Oliphint’s specific points on the matter.

Is “Young Earth” The Issue?

I appreciate Oliphint’s defense of the presuppositional method. Of course, Oliphint does not like the name “presuppositional.” Neither do I, and for basically the same reasons. Along the same lines, I really

do not like the term “young earth creationist” (YEC) because it too entails misconceptions. First, the term draws undue attention to the timescale, as if this were the most important aspect of Genesis. In fact, it is not. The timescale is important, certainly – particularly by its implications on major Christian doctrines as I discuss below. But so are many other things in Genesis, and in the rest of the Scriptures for that matter. Second, the Earth is old—really old. It is probably a bit over six thousand years old. It is only because we have been so inundated with the evolutionary philosophy of billions of years that we have come to think of six thousand years as “young.”

Therefore, I prefer the term “biblical creationist” because this best encapsulates my position. Namely, I believe what the Bible teaches about creation. This includes the fact that God created. It includes the fact that fruit trees were created before fish. It includes the fact that Adam and Eve were the first people. It includes the fact that Adam rebelled against God, and we now live in a cursed world as a result. And it includes the fact that the earth is “young” in the sense of thousands of years. All of these facts are biblical. All of these facts are important.

But the timescale is probably the most attacked aspect of Genesis today. It is the timescale that secularists use to argue that the Bible cannot possibly be true. And therefore, if we are to be ...

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