The Recent Sectarian Origins of Young-Earth Creationism

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  • Jakeithus

    Thanks for this. I found it absolutely fascinating how a theory with no scientific or historical Christian basis came to assert itself within mainstream Evangelical Christianity so strongly and so quickly.

    I wonder what could have been had the modern church spent the last 60 years promoting the historic Christian position of God and creation instead of what we see today.

    • jwalker_cht

      it’s all about control and fear. somebody somewhere suddenly realized that a new, secular, scientific age was about to dawn where Christianity would be authoritative only on matters of faith and they set out to shut that thing down.

      • Jakeithus

        I’m not sure I totally agree with your explanation of control and fear, but I’m not sure I have a more informative alternative explanation at this time. The start of the “secular, scientific age”, had its start long before 1960. If what you were saying was true, then I would assume that the Fundamentalists of the early 1900s would have included young earth creationism as a key aspect of their rejection of modernity, but like this video explains they didn’t have a problem with it.

        Somehow this idea must have spread, if it was not widely held prior to the middle of the 20th Century. This spread is what interests me, and I’ll have to dig into it further. As a current Evangelical and former young earth creationist myself, understanding how the idea spread in the first place might provide insight into how the Evangelical church can move away from this harmful position

  • Ian

    Fascinating – didn’t realise it was all the SDA’s doing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lance.ruffel Lance Ruffel

    your site is new to me. I am a Geologist by profession, however I still consider it my “hobby”. I love seeing the earth around us. I do find it very difficult to understand young earth creationists.One of the first papers dealing with cycles of sedimentation was by a Dr Wanless in 1930. It dealt with Pennsylvian age cycles, showing repeated series from coarse sediments to fine and then coal. This same type of repeated change can be observed all over the world and even in current sediments ( no coal of coarse). Today people are concerned with rising sea levels. Lets say 100 cm(1 m) per 100 years. This becomes 10m per 1,000 years ,100m in 10,000 years,1,000 m( 1 km) in 100,000 years and 10 km in 1 million years. Thus great changes only require time.
    These slow changes become a conflict with a need to see the Earth as rapidly made, based on a literal interpretation of often translated words, based on prior oral traditions.It seems to me that people who take that position want to test God. In doing so I think they miss the message about how to be “godly” ie, treat others as you would have yourself be treated. They also make their God look ridiculous because they force an interpretation of what God did even though this interpretation is against the evidence around us.If God is all around us and God is in us, then how is God letting us “see” all that the study of geology shows?To me they are denying God because they deny what their minds and eyes can see.I see the beauty of the world as it is now, I see the beauty of the changes of the past, I see beauty in the multitude of changes that life has gone through in the 100′s of millions of years that life has been on this planet.I can not prove a God or disprove a God. God could as easly be the “energy” of the universe, of which we are all part or God could be something else. However we have eyes to see and a mind to think, using both does not have to be in conflict with BELIEF in God. I just don’t understand young earth creationists.

    • LorenHaas

      Lance, no secular scientist came up with the hypothesis of YEC. It arose from a need to defend a “literal” interpretation of scripture that supported their theology. No scientific understanding was or is required.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lance.ruffel Lance Ruffel

        Yes and the problem is they want everyone else subjected to their lack of scientific understanding. Very sad.

  • Nick

    The video won’t load for me. Can someone tell me if it is the same as the video on youtube of the same title by Voice of Light Productions?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Yes, it is that video – sorry to hear that you could not get it to load!

      • Nick

        It’s alright. Thanks.

  • TomS

    It is curious that Young Earth Creationism arose just as such developments as radiological dating were becoming well known. In the late 19th-early 20th century, it was difficult to give numbers to “deep time”. By the 1960s, everybody had heard about radiocarbon dating. It is almost perverse that the denial of deep time became popular then.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      It is perverse but also has a perverse logic to it. The few who preferred to stay true to the church’s assumptions rather than the church’s principles were deliberately seeking to deny and contradict the accumulating evidence. That is the whole point of the young-earth creationist enterprise – to counteract advances in our understanding.

  • arcseconds

    Ellen White saw it, I believe it, that settles it!


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