Worldviews, Logic, and Earth’s Age: Part 1

Worldview - artwork

Christianity and naturalism are fundamentally at odds

by John K. Reed and Shaun Doyle

Despite claims of contemporary Christian scholars, logic demonstrates that an old earth is inextricably intertwined with the Enlightenment worldview of naturalism. Since Christianity and naturalism are fundamentally at odds, the contrary is also true; belief in an old earth is inconsistent with Christianity—a point reinforced by its own logic. Any proposed rationale for integrating the old-earth paradigm with Christianity must overcome this relationship between the old-earth paradigm and the two worldviews.

Since the late 18th century, many Christian academics and theologians have embraced an old earth,1 claiming that it is compatible with Christianity.2 Even conservative Christian scholars have been swept along.3 They think deep time and Christianity are like Romeo and Juliet—lovers fated to be together. The process has become predictable; scientists advance the latest iteration of the old-earth paradigm using ‘scientific evidence’4,5,6 and theologians follow meekly, generating new interpretations of Genesis to accommodate it.7,8,9These theologians and academics argue that: 1) Christianity is perfectly compatible with an old earth,10,11 and 2) biblical creationists are a danger to the church, since they make Christians the enemies of science and rationality.4,12 Their actual arguments for an old earth are typically rehashed secularism, empirical, and heavy on scientific authoritarianism.

We believe that the old-earth paradigm is wrong, and that a new line of argument is warranted for the sake of Christians who feel trapped by ‘scientific evidence’. Science, the child of Christianity, is a valuable source of knowledge. But when it is distorted in the service of naturalism,13,14 we must undo the distortions to restore its intrinsic value.

But in this specific argument, logic offers greater certainty than science. When we examine the issue using logic from the perspective of competing worldviews, the Christian case for an old earth is severely weakened by virtue of its compatibility with naturalism and its incompatibility with Christianity. If logic links the old earth to naturalism, fundamental loyalties require all Christians to abandon it.

Argument from logic

Logic demonstrates that naturalism is the home of the old-earth paradigm. This conclusion rests on: (1) the internal logic of both worldviews and (2) their incompatibility. This logic is reinforced by Christian old-earth proponents arguing for a mere compatibility with their worldview rather than its natural consistency, their inability to place science and history in a proper context, and surrender to the false idea of a presuppositional unity between science and naturalism.15

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image credit: Original artwork from unknown source material