There is an interesting post on the Creation controversy regarding the age of the earth on the Omnipotent Grace Blog. Although I'm a presuppositionalist, I am sympathetic toward Old Earth Creationism, due to the enormous body of evidence provided by God’s own handiwork. It is a view that is obviously controversial to the vast majority of those who hold to the inerrancy of Scripture. Consider the words of John MacArthur:
"...clearly from the words of Scripture, God created the universe in six literal days. And Christian leaders can't deny that that's what it says cause that's what it says. You can translate it any way you want, it all comes out...the word yom means day and you have six of them.
But they believe somehow that scientists have proved that the age of the earth must be billions and billions and billions of years old. So they believe you've got to go back to Genesis and fix it. And in so doing they have allowed the authority of the Bible to be undermined, right? It's serious stuff." ("Creation: Believe it or Not--Part 2")
Young-earthers like MacArthur are to be commended for their high view of Scripture. At the same time, however, the scientific evidence for an old earth and an old universe are overwhelming. (The 1992 Cosmic Background Explorer pretty much sealed the deal). Should science, as flawed as it may be, ever to be considered when interpreting Scripture?
There are many who adamantly declare "no". MacArthur writes, "I'm never going to get caught in the trap of trying to prove to you that Genesis is true by science. I'm just going to proclaim to you what Genesis says and let science bow its knee to that explanation." ("Creation: Believe it or Not--Part 2")
Fair enough. Science certainly has no place to rest outside of a theistic worldview, and Scripture itself is the only ultimate truth. But Scripture itself declares, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1). Theologians have historically agreed that there exists a "natural revelation" of God's existence in addition to Scripture, though such a knowledge merely renders us to be "without excuse" (Romans 1:20).
I would have to ask MacArthur and others who share his view if they believe in geocentricism. If not, on what basis would it be rejected, since a straightforward interpretation of Scripture would certainly support it? MacArthur gives us a clue to his answer when he quotes Edward Young on the "more poetical accounts of creation, such as Psalm 104":
"Genesis is not poetry. There are more poetical accounts of creation in the Bible, such as Psalm 104, certain chapters of Job, and they differ completely from the first chapter of Genesis. Hebrew poetry has certain characteristics and they are not found in the first chapter of Genesis." ("God: Creator and Redeemer")
To clarify, we "old-earthers" do not necessarily treat Genesis 1 as poetry; we just aren’t convinced that the days of creation were 24 hours days. In any case, while I fully agree that Psalm 104 is poetic, I must ask again how MacArthur and Young arrived at this conclusion. Are they not, in fact, using science to interpret Psalm 104:5?
To put their view into historical perspective, consider the following statement, written by Wilhelmus a'Brakel in 1700.
"The truth is that God states in many places in His Word that the sun is in motion, her circuit resulting in both day and night, and that the world remains both motionless and stationary. Nowhere does God speak to the contrary, ... Since God states it to be so, it is truth and we are to embrace it as truth. Is not God the Creator, maintainer, and governor of all things, who is much better acquainted with His own work than is man with his limited and darkened understanding? Should men not subject their judgment to the very sayings of God? Or should one attempt to bend and twist the clear declarations of God in such a way that they agree with our erroneous thinking? Whatever God declares, also concerning things in the realm of nature, is true. God says that the world is motionless and stationary, being circled by the sun, and thus it is a certain and incontrovertible truth." (Wilhelmus a'Brakel, The Christian's Reasonable Service. pp. 64-66)
a'Brakel was certainly a learned man for his day, and like today’s young earth creationists, sought to be faithful to the Scriptures. However, those who would actually hold to a'Brakel's geocentrism today are very few in number. Certainly, modern astronomy has affected our interpretation of Psalm 104:5. Should it not affect Genesis 1 as well? Free polls from Pollhost.com