From time to time, I read online that I’m a young-earth creationist. This is helpful to me, because, had I been left to my own resources on that topic, I would have assumed that I’ve never been one. I can’t recall a time when I thought that the Earth was only a few thousand years old or denied the existence of dinosaurs. In fact, one of my childhood dreams was to become a paleontologist. (Plainly, all of this just goes to show the limitations of memory.)
More than once, I’ve been confronted (rather oddly) by some critic or other who has demanded to know how old I think the Earth is, and I’ve responded “About 4.5 billion years.” On one memorable occasion, my questioner fired back that I was lying. I don’t, he said, believe that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. And do you know what? He was probably right, though I do think that he could have left at least a bit of room for the possibility that I might be sincerely self-deceived. After all, who would know my thinking better than a hostile stranger? Certainly I wouldn’t know it.
Anyway, two of my favorite places in Utah Valley are these:
I recommend both of them.
Few American theologies are more complex than that of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but its flagship Brigham Young University teaches off-the-shelf, industry-standard evolution. That has been the case since 1931, when the church officially said: “Leave biology, archaeology, and anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research.” . . . What the church requires is only belief “that Adam was the first man of what we would call the human race,” says Gordon Hinckley, the church’s living prophet. Scientists can speculate on the rest, he says, recalling his own study of anthropology and geology: “Studied all about it. Didn’t worry me then. Doesn’t worry me now.”
Larry A. Witham, Where Darwin Meets the Bible (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 176-177.
Available at no charge on the website of the Interpreter Foundation, is a roughly thirty-minute presentation by Professor Steven Peck that is relevant to this topic and that may well draw some spirited response: