Letting Science 'Interpret' Scripture Is Slippery Slope, Says Young Earth/Universe Creationist

National Conference on Christian Apologetics Includes Debate on Universe's Age

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – A "young earth" creationist, who also believes the universe is much younger than many astronomers calculate, says once people begin to rely on science rather than the Bible to answer questions about our origin, even for just parts, they are asking for trouble.

"It's a very slippery slope when you decide that there are some sections of the Bible that you are going to allow the secular scientist to tell you what it really means," said Dr. Jason Lisle, during an interview with the press shortly after his debate at the National Conference on Christian Apologetics with astronomer and pastor Dr. Hugh Ross, who argued for a universe that is nearly 15 billion years old.

"You've opened a very dangerous door," Lisle continued. "Basically, you've decided to say that 'I'm going to make the secular scientist my ultimate standard by which I interpret the scriptures' and if you are consistent with that, and most people are not, thank goodness, but if you are well, hey, most scientists don't believe the resurrection of the dead is possible."

In other words, people become susceptible to their own interpretations of the Bible at other points in its books and chapters as well.

"Some people will say they can live with the inconsistencies. They'll tell me: 'Well, it's just Genesis that I allow the scientists to tell me what it meant,' Lisle explained. "But, what we've found is that children will see that inconsistency, and they will be more consistent, they will reject all of the Bible. They'll say, 'Well, mom and dad don't really believe in the Bible because they don't believe in the first few chapters. Why should I believe in the Gospel?' We've seen that happen. The statistics are just alarming. We see the students walking away from church in droves."

Lisle and Ross gave presentations for their cases during a session of the Southern Evangelical Seminary and Ravi Zachariah International Ministries hosted event at First Baptist Church Indian Trail in the Charlotte area. The debate centered on whether the science of astronomy proves the universe is billions of years old.

"The best measurement on the age of the universe is 13.79 billion years, plus or minus .05, but Jason holds the view that it's less than 10,000 years old," Ross, who calls himself a "middle-age creationist" as opposed to an "old-age" one, told The Christian Post after the debate. "We are a factor of about a million a part from one another."

Ross founded Reasons to Believe in 1986, and focuses his ministry on "harnessing the power of science for evangelism. "Science and faith are, and always will be, allies, not enemies," his bio states.

Lisle is the director of research at the Institute of Creation Research. His team of scientists investigate and demonstrate the evidence for Creation. Lisle's full-time apologetics ministry is focused on the defense of Genesis. He has authored numerous books demonstrating that "biblical creation is the only logical possibility for origins."

In answering questions posed by Dave Garrison of the Faith & Liberty radio talk show, Lisle said that science is not the end all when it comes to answering questions about the age of the universe of the earth.

"When you make an age estimate scientifically you have to make certain assumptions, and for that reason you can never really prove the age of something scientifically," Lisle said. "You need a history book and fortunately we have a history book and not just any history book. It's the history book by the one who actually did the creating, the one who never lies and the one who knows everything – that history book is the one written by God."

Lisle was asked about his thoughts on the argument by some that the origin's age is not an issue of salvation.

"In a sense it's not. You know, believing in six days [for the creation of the earth] is not a requirement for salvation … God makes it very clear in His word – we're saved by His grace received through faith in Christ and not by works. It's not requiring to have our theology exactly right, but that doesn't mean we should be sloppy in our theology. The time scale of creation does have an effect on Christian theology," he said.

"I would argue that although you can be saved apart from believing in six days, in a way, salvation does not make sense apart from creation in six days. If you believe in millions of years, if you believe the fossils are millions of years old, you have death before Adam sinned, in which case death cannot be the result of Adam's sin if it was already there for millions of years. If death is not the penalty for sin then why did Jesus die on the cross?

"The Gospel message which is predicated on death being the penalty for sin and Christ paying that for us. That itself is predicated on Creation, that goes back to a literal Genesis," Lyle concluded.

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