Confessions Of A Disappointed Young-Earther -- By: Kenneth Keathley

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 10:2 (Fall 2013)
Article: Confessions Of A Disappointed Young-Earther
Author: Kenneth Keathley


Confessions Of A Disappointed Young-Earther

Kenneth Keathley, Ph.D.

Kenneth Keathley is Professor of Theology and Director of the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

I sometimes describe myself as a “disappointed young-earther.” By that I mean I started out holding to the young-earth position, but the shortcomings of most of the young-earth creationism (YEC) arguments and the shenanigans of certain YEC proponents forced me to the old-earth position.

During the late 1970s, I attended college at Tennessee Temple University (TTU) in Chattanooga, TN. At that time the fundamentalist movement was at a high-water mark among Baptists, and TTU enjoyed a record number of students. It was there that I was introduced to Whitcomb and Morris’ The Genesis Flood. In those days their project was called “scientific creationism.”

John Whitcomb and Henry Morris published The Genesis Flood in 1961. They intended the work to be a response to Bernard Ramm, who in 1954 had published a work arguing that Noah’s Deluge was a local catastrophe. Borrowing heavily from George McCready Price (1870–1963), a Seventh-Day Adventist author, Whitcomb and Morris contended that the flood of Noah’s day accounts for practically all the geological record. By any standard, the book was a publishing success with over 300,000 copies sold. The Genesis Flood launched the modern young-earth creationism movement. Let us remember that prior to 1961, the majority of fundamentalist and evangelical leaders held to some version of old-earth creationism (OEC).1 It would be difficult to exaggerate the influence Whitcomb and Morris’ book had on me. My original copy was dog-eared and underlined. They were dedicated to upholding the authority of Scripture and the integrity of the Gospel. That resonated with me then and I affirm those commitments today.

The Main Arguments Of The Genesis Flood

So when Whitcomb and Morris used the term “scientific creationism,” what did they mean?

They meant that an assessment of the scientific evidence which was not biased by anti-theistic presuppositions would objectively conclude that the earth is only a few thousand years old. We will look further at the nature and role of presuppositions later in the paper. Whitcomb and Morris’ argument can be broken down into six parts.

Opposition to Uniformitarianism: Uniformitarianism is the principle that the processes of today should be used to interpret the past. Applied to ge...

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