A Turning Point for Evangelicalism? Pat Robertson Speaks Out Against Young-Earth Creationism

A Turning Point for Evangelicalism? Pat Robertson Speaks Out Against Young-Earth Creationism November 28, 2012

Look how Pat Robertson responds to a question submitted to him by a concerned parent related to the Bible and dinosaurs.

HT Hemant Mehta

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  • brianleport

    “If you fight revealed science you’re going to lose your children and I believe in telling them the way it was.” Wow, Pat Robertson said that?! It’s a Christmas miracle!

  • Dex

    I knew he would see sense. Eventually.

  • LorenHaas

    I am worried now. Who is this man and what have they done with Pat Robertson? Has he been replaced by a “Pod Person”.

  • Joe Shmoe

    Who is Pat Robertson?

    • Pseudonym

      He’s the American version of Fred Nile. Hope this helps!

  • Tim

    Stunning. Y’know those things you thought you’d never live to see the day they actually happened? I have one less of those now.

  • LorenHaas

    Thinking about this some more, maybe this is not so surprising. Remember Pat Robertson goes way back, back to before young earth creationism became an unquestioned belief among conservative Evangelicals. An old earth was probably the most common belief in the early-mid 20th century. Billy Graham stated evolution could be true and C.S. Lewis said as much in his writings. This is conveniently forgotten today.

    • Pseudonym

      You’re right. Young-Earth Creationism as a movement really only dates back to the 1950s, and Pat Robertson is much older than that. That’s also the era when the same groups believed that abortion was a necessary evil if a woman’s health is at risk, and that evangelical Christians shouldn’t vote because that was grubby and worldly.

      Of course, it was also the era of segregation. You can’t have everything.

    • arcseconds

      Do the sorts of Americans who believe in YEC pay much attention to C. S. Lewis?

      I wouldn’d have expected them to pay much attention to the scribblings of a member of the Church of England and an Oxbridge medieval literature professor with marked neoplatonic tendencies who clearly doesn’t take a literal interpretation of the Bible.

      Except maybe for the narnia books, but isn’t there too much magic in them?

      • LorenHaas

        Funny you should mention that. A posting on the Biologos website today about CS Lewis being hijacked by Intelligent Design proponents at the Discovery Institute: http://biologos.org/blog/surprised-by-jack-cs-lewis-part-1

        • arcseconds

          Yes, indeed, how convenient!

          I just came on to reply to myself to point this out.

          Seems like American evangelicals do indeed like Lewis. I’m surprised. However, i take some heart that the article itself says it’s a bit odd, so at least my instincts aren’t too far off.

  • skinman

    Robertson does have his reasonable moments. Not all that long ago he argued for legalization and regulation of marijuana. But the nonsense he spouts far outweighs his occasional moments of lucidity.

    • Interesting that that response appears to be dated from 2003. I hadn’t realized that Robertson has made similar comments in the past. Its a bit disappointing that they obviously haven’t’ had much of an effect on his following in the past. Ham is right that his answers are not all that consistent but I give Robertson credit for at least being bold enough to tell people that its not about an exact date and that worrying about how dinosaurs fit into 6000 years. Ham has become far more caustic since 2003 so it will be interesting to see what sort of response he makes this time.

  • Actually, the bible does say the earth was created around 2582 years before the death of Moses. You can calculate that from the numbers in the Pentateuch about the patriarchs age of death and when they begat their heir. According to the bible, in the time of Moses (even well before that, in the time covered by Genesis), there were cities and Pharaohs. Moses’ times cannot be millions of years in the past!

    So, Robertson, don’t blame the young earth on bishop Ussher!

    • But no one is suggesting that Moses was millions of years in the past. And Ussher’s approach of adding up Biblical generations and assuming that gives the length of human history and therefore of the age of the Earth still seems to be central to the problematic construct that is young-earth creationism.

      • My posting reappeared.

        The millions years was not my main point. I did not say others suggested it. Sorry for the confusion. I meant to say that the bible is also misleading on that subject, not only Ussher.

        My line of thought was as follows: In order to reconcile the bible timing with the age of dinosaurs, biblical Moses would have to live many millions years ago. Since he did not, the bible is at fault also, not only Ussher.

        • Charles Miller, BA,MA

          I must say that you are wrong. The Holy Bible does not say how old the earth is. Ussher was the one who came up with the date October 22, 4004 BC. The Bible gives absolutely no dates for the creation.

      • I did some research and the data I gave is in error.
        The bible (Genesis to be exact) indicates only the number of years between the creation and Joseph’s birth (lived 110 years), that is about 2107 years.

        The bible does not indicate the number of years between Joseph and Moses and during the Judges era.

        So the (problematic) dating of the biblical creation cannot be done through the bible alone.

        I should rephrase my earlier posting as such:
        Actually, the bible does say the earth was created around 2107 years before the birth of Joseph (who allegedly lived 110 years). You can calculate that from the numbers in Genesis about the patriarchs age of death and when they begat their heir (Joseph’s birth year is more tricky). According to the bible, in the time of Joseph, there were cities and Pharaohs. The time of Joseph could not have been so long ago, so the bible is also guilty (not only bishop Ussher) about giving ammunition to the young-earth creationists.

        Finally, I noticed the following in
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ussher_chronology :
        “Early times (Creation to Solomon). Ostensibly the easiest period, as the Bible provides an unbroken male lineage from Adam through to Solomon complete with the ages of the individuals involved.”
        This is not true from Joseph to Solomon.

  • Why my comment does not show?
    It says 10 comments should show, but only 8 does.
    Furthermore, in “Recent Comments”, my comment is registered, but still no show.

    • Which comment of yours does not show? Can you see one immediately below this?

  • GakuseiDon

    Pat Robertson has been saying similar things for years. This is from his 2002 book, “Bring it on”, page 135 (page viewable on Amazon):

    “The current theory which I accept points to a big bang theory as the beginning of creation, when about 15 billion years ago an extraordinarily dense mass exploded, and out of that came an expanding universe. Part of the reason scientists believe this theory stems from the movement of the planets. Study of the cosmos indicates that the planets are still moving away from each other. Imagine that we took a big balloon that had not been expanded, put little dots all around it, and then began to blow up the balloon. As we blew up the balloon, the dots would get farther and farther apart. That is similar to what astronomers observe has been happening to our universe during these 15 billion years.”

    He writes that “the Bible was not written as a science book”, though goes on to call evolution a “pseudo-science”. I agree with LorenHaas: Robertson is a product of his time. Old Earth Creationism was more fashionable 50 years ago. YEC has increased in popularity in recent decades.

    • It seems Robertson confused planets with galaxies.

      Yes, there was an era when Christianity was a lot more liberal and Christian leaders were a lot more candid. But that got muffled out in the last 2 to 4 decades.
      GakuseiDon, can you provide me with your private email? My email address is indicated on my website.

    • Ian

      Wow even when he’s backing the right horse, he’s talking rubbish!

  • Psiloiordinary

    Isn’t it true that the large majority of evangelical protestants on the planet have no problem with either evolution or the age of the earth?

    Is Pat an old earth creationist or does he now accept biological science too?

  • Charles

    Charles E. Miller, Jr. BA in German, MA in Theology
    I believe Pat Robertson is completely right. God created the world no matter which view is correct. I believe in Theistic Evolution. Theistic comes from the Greek noun Theos, which means God. Theistic Evolution was the method he used to create our world. I am a Christian, a member of the United Methodist Church. I am also a former Southern Baptist.

  • Charles

    I wish to add something else in relation to Rev. Robertson. He is a Southern Baptist and a good man of God. I have no doubt that I will see him in heaven one day. Evolution is not against God as long as well accept Jesus. If you have not come to Christ, I pray that you do. Yes, it is true. C.S. Lewis, a great man of the Church, was a Theistic Evolutionist. Do let that stop you from going to church. Jesus will come back one day, and I want to live in the millennial kingdom and afterwards in heaven.

  • Charles

    Do not let that stop you from going to church!

  • I wish Pat Robertson said something speaking up for the science of evolution in 1994 as I quietly acknowledged a much older earth while some mainline denominations such as Assemblies of God in the 1990s didn’t know enough about it and preached Biblical literalism. When you’re a theistic evolutionist you’re seem as a pariah in some congregations as they call this a heresy. Ken Ham, Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort, Paul Taylor (justsixdays.com), Kent Hovind and his son Eric are making fucking jokes out of Christians by pushing this cartoon theology as they claim dinosaurs co-existed with humans — I illustrated the reality of this when I pulled out the horror film Carnosaur as I darkly mocked Creation Science Evangelism. Old Earth Ministries pointed out their rebuttal to a Creation Science ministry about a “Chickensaurus” see here. The Ark Encounter, The Creation Museum and like places are museums of nothing, a doctrine of complete utter bullshit passed off as Biblical teaching.