By Paul Miles
I haven't always been a Christian. I used to have a deistic worldview. Deism could be simplified (perhaps overly simplified) as the belief that a creator set everything in motion, then let it go without intervention.I believed that a god (maybe gods?) created everything billions of years ago and gave us reason to take care of ourselves from there. The moment god created us, we ceased to be his. So, we are to live for ourselves and not for this being who doesn't give a hoot about us. Or, so I thought anyway, until some Christians showed me a young earth apologist who provided evidence that everything was created only a few thousand years ago. This guy was really convincing! He showed some problems with old earth 'science' and how a young earth would fit perfectly within the evidence that's available. I became convinced of a young earth and so my thought changed. Instead of believing that a creator started everything billions of years ago before forsaking us, I thought that he created us thousands of years ago and then forsook us.
For me, young earth apologetics were nontransformative; it did nothing to change my life. There was nothing about my ethical standard that needed modification in light of a young earth deism. Whether the earth is young or old, it was created by someone who is irrelevant to his creation.
Some old-earth Christians are under attack by young-earthers for altering the Word of God to fit into secular philosophy. Perhaps much of old-earth creationism is the result of atheistic evolutionist writings, but it's worth remembering that the Gap Theory outdates Darwin by centuries. But, assuming my young earth view is correct, is it really going to be a reason to change someone's life? Aren't our beliefs about things like God's love for us, Jesus Christ and His death for our sins and His resurrection from the dead are more important and relevant? Compare my earlier young-earth idea to a Christian old-earth idea:
1. The universe was created 8,000 years ago. Our creator hasn't given a hoot about us since.
2. The universe was created 13.8 billion years ago. 2,000 years ago, the Creator sent His Son to die for my sins.
Of the two statements above, which is more likely to live for Christ? Now, do I still believe in a young earth? Absolutely. Young earth creationism seems to me to be the theory that's most consistent with what we can observe today, and the most natural way to understand Scripture. But, there are better Christians than I who disagree. When people ask me why I'm a Christian, the answer is not, "Because the world looks young," because that wasn't enough to bring me to Christianity when I was a deist. If people want me to describe Christianity, I talk about Christ. I talk about the Creator, not the creation. I suggest doing the same, but that's just a suggestion.
Let's get our priorities straight with apologetics. The world is watching us.