I was perusing the comment stream on a post by Gary DeMaar on his site americanvision.org when I came across a comment by Michael Riemer, author of “It Was At Hand: A Biblical Response to Dispensationalist” (2002 Xulon press). What struck me about Michaels comment was how it represented the psychology that I find rampant among the most ardent supports of young earth creationism. Michael is clearly in the reformed Christian camp and by the title of his book you can see he by no means favorably disposed to dispensationalism but he has swallowed, hook, line and sinker, the YEC scientific worldview. His entire comment can be found HERE but I have copied the most relevant portion below:
Henry M. Morris wrote a hydraulics text book used in “secular” collages. He knew, very well, all about sedimentation and flood geology. One real expert, is worth a thousand modern so-called experts in geology. Do you know that studies in sedimentation have shown that many times the things we think were laid down first, the rocks at the bottom, were not, but were laid down at the same time as those on top. And as Morris and other experts believe, and have shown, the whole geologic column was laid down at one time, during a one time event, the flood in the days of Noah, about 4,500 years ago.
The overwhelming evidence for a world-wide flood helped my faith in the Word of God. The so-called science of modern geology can’t hold a candle to the real experts of the rocks. People like Morris. AIG has strengthened the faith of countless thousands. It has opened the eyes of many to the piffle that so many times passes for science.
There is a reason why many young people leave the church, and yes, proponents of theistic evolution, of which people like John Walton may have something to do with it.
What Michael has written captures the essence of where I think Christians who have been told the Bible teaches the earth must be young are putting their confidence. Their confidence is placed in the belief that experts in scientific fields have provided them with not only enough evidence but overwhelming evidence that earth is young. Michael is putting his faith in experts which, he admits, have bolstered his faith in the Word of God. Having not the desire to study the evidence himself he has relied upon what he believes are experts that are “worth a thousand modern so-called experts” to give him the confidence to ridicule (not in the quote above but in many other places) other Christians for raising questions about the age of the earth. I have no doubt that Michael is convinced of a young earth and that he would claim that his confidence comes not from science but first from Scripture but he clearly feels that science has aided in his faith. At this point if he were to come to believe that Morris were not the expert he believes him to be then his faith would be shaken. But Morris is clearly an expert among experts in his eyes and he isn’t likely to even listen to any other so-called expert so his confidence in the truth is firmly established.
He says that “AIG has strengthened the faith of countless thousands.” I am sure it has though I think for many it is the source of their faith and they have but a weak understanding of the Bible. While Michael will not likely ever challenge his own blind faith in Morris, many other Christians have found Morris hardly worth of being called an expert. I am no expert in hydraulics but even I can easily pick out many misconceptions that Morris and other such as Ham have about science and where they are just outright wrong in their interpretations and reporting of the evidence. Even Morris’s ideas about sedimentation are fanciful and not based on sound evidence making his supposed status as an expert highly doubtful.
Michael wants to believe that YEC provides support for faith and thus say that young people are leaving the faith because they are being weakened by other views. But what happens when young people are led to believe, by people like Michael, that they have strong foundation for their beliefs in the works of people like Ken Ham and Henry Morris and then discover that this foundation is an utter fabrication. “The so-called modern science of geology can’t hold a candle to the real experts of the rocks” – I have to say that this is a ridiculous statement. How does Michael know what an expert on rocks is? This is all to common among supports of YEC who have very little science background. This is not the time or place to show why I make this assertion, rather I would just point to many of my other posts and my book list as demonstrating that well-respected, thoughtful Christians have found plenty of reasons to not only question but call the claims of creation scientists down-right deceptive. Christians that are not-well grounded in their faith will find, if they put themselves to a serious examination of the evidence, that the discovery of the vacuous explanations that creation science provides may shake their faith in the Bible. By their adamant and dogmatic insistence that creation science provides proof of a young earth, zealous advocates, who are themselves frequently no experts in science and thus unable to critically assess those that they are following, are demanding Christians not only believe in a young earth based on an interpretations of the Bible but also accept right along with that belief the necessity that the creation science view is the only way to understand general revelation.
One of the ironies I find all to often with comments such as these is that the authors of these comments are almost certainly serious about testing the word of pastors and elders with the Scriptures. They would say that we should always be testing what we hear at church with the Word of God. To understand the Bible we need to meditate upon it, study it day and night and learn from other Biblical experts. But when it comes to understanding science the same people are perfectly willing to fawn over whoever tells them what they want to hear without testing them to see if they know what they are talking about.