When it comes to the origin of the universe, people hold a wide range of beliefs. Some believe the universe began with a big bang about 13.8 billion years ago, while others believe God created the heavens and the earth less than 10,000 years ago. Then there’s a whole range of beliefs in between.
Matt Walsh is a conservative writer for the Daily Wire, and he’s a passionate Christian who recently explained why he’s not a young earth creationist (YEC). One reason is that he believes it may be inadvertently harmful, counterproductive, and an obstacle to those who believe the secular theories for the origin of the universe and man. Since he believes the secular literature, any alternative is foreign and unacceptable.
I listened to Walsh’s entire 44-minute explanation, and what I found is a complete misrepresentation of what young earth creationists believe. I also think he maintains an unhealthy god-like reverence for science that cannot be questioned. But the real controversy began when he mentioned creationist Ken Ham, mocking those who think he’s a greater authority on the age of the earth than Einstein. Needless to say, Ken Ham responded with a blog post of his own, and then Walsh responded with a second video. Next, Answers in Genesis responded with a video and another article.
The exchange is quite lengthy, but I think it provides a good discourse for those wanting a better understanding of what each side really believes. For the sake of brevity I’ll only include the video response by Answers in Genesis, and link to the other sources for reference.
I’ll provide a few comments of my own: Walsh begins by defining the word ‘day’ in Genesis, and he argues that YEC only think the word day can mean one thing- a 24-hour period- and that’s it. But this is false. YEC understand the various meanings of the word, and they believe context is the key. Genesis defines a day as evening and morning, making it very difficult for it to have any other meaning than a 24-hour period. Nowhere else in the Bible is the word ‘day’ confused like this, and everywhere else in the Bible where the word ‘day’ is associated with a number, it’s always a 24-hour period.
Then Walsh engages in another popular talking point, namely that the Bible isn’t a science textbook. That’s true, and no one is claiming otherwise. YEC believe the Bible is a historical text, and Genesis provides a historical narrative of our origin. And one of the most important distinctions between a science textbook and the Bible is that science textbooks are constantly changing because the information once thought to be true has been discovered to be incorrect. The Bible doesn’t change because it’s God’s word, and that gives it more authority than any science textbook. It’s a good thing that the Bible isn’t a science textbook.
Another reason Walsh rejects YEC is because, when he looks at science, he believes certain interpretations of Genesis become “significantly less tenable”. But YEC maintain that’s the wrong way to look at the Bible. Walsh has it backwards. We don’t let secular science dictate what the Bible means; we believe what the Bible says, and then let the science follow. That’s exactly how modern science originated.
Walsh also falls for the ‘consensus’ of science. Since the consensus of scientists believe naturalistic explanations for the origin of the universe and life, then they must be right! But if God really did create the universe and life, then anyone who believes in a naturalistic explanation will, obviously, be wrong because they’re starting with the wrong premise and worldview.
Walsh claims YEC have set up science and faith as two adversarial things, but that’s not true. Creationists love science and encourage others to love of science, but what’s important is to temper one’s respect for science with a correct worldview.
The last point I’ll comment on is when Walsh pleads with us not to treat science like black magic, but rather see it as revelation. This is simply an ad hominin attack and a mischaracterization of creationists. YEC don’t treat science like black magic. Instead, they treat it with proper respect. YEC have a healthy view of science and don’t treat it like an infallible god. If anyone is treating science like black magic, it’s Walsh when he claims we should see science as revelation from God. The mistake with this kind of thinking is 1: ignoring how one’s worldview shapes our interpretation of the evidence, and 2: considering what happens when the science is wrong. If the Big Bang is ever rejected as a scientific theory, will Walsh conclude that God’s revelation is wrong? I’d also wager that most secular scientists would deny that their conclusions have anything to do with God’s revelation, but is instead a rejection of God’s involvement. Walsh is siding with those scientists who explain the universe and life as if God doesn’t exist!