Several points here are very important…in my opinion.
The theory of Darwinian macroevolution has been a huge benefit toward exposing and highlighting the truth about God’s creation of the universe, the earth, and the vast diversity of life.
Over the last 160 years…this has come at a cost in making our modern cultures more secular…and has challenged the Christian faith of many believers over this time-span.
But people who have a personal, supernatural relationship with Jesus Christ…do not need science to confirm what they know without a doubt is real in their Christian discipleships and callings.
That being said…the beauty of the theory of Darwinian macroevolution is that it is slowly but surely being refuted by science itself…without involving theology at all.
The complexity, specificity, and integrated coherence of DNA…to name only one thing amongst thousands of examples being investigated by science in the natural world…is way beyond any plausible origin coming from the theoretical mechanism of naturalistic materialism…of unguided, mindless, indifferent, random-chance, trial-and-error processes.
Trying to use a naturalistic program to explain DNA, RNA, and the folding of amino acids to form functional proteins…is like building a 20-foot long bridge attached to the top of one side of the Grand Canyon…as a way to get to the other side.
Darwinian macroevolution may have appeared plausible in the past to many people…but it is totally inadequate today to explain the coordination of the incredibly large quantities of complex information systems in the living and non-living natural world.
Origin-of-life studies using the evolution paradigm…stalled-out a few decades ago…because of the truly unimaginable jump from non-living materials to the “simplest” single-cell bacteria having essentially the same DNA requirements…along with the same complex cellular micro-machinery…needed for both survival and reproduction…to start and sustain life.
This gap in the origin-of-life studies is simply too large to fill-in…even using our creative imagination.
If science reaches the point in the near future of abandoning the random-chance, accidental nature of Darwinian macroevolution as being unworkable…the only remaining explanation for the existence of the universe…is an intelligent designer God.
There are only two choices.
If science in this area runs its course and ends-up exactly where God knew it would end-up…pointing to God as the only plausible choice…as the explanation for the origin of the universe, the earth, and the living natural world…this massive discovery will have come about through human scientific investigation alone…without any assistance from theology…the best possible outcome in this skeptical and unbelieving world.
This would…again in my opinion…be a huge discovery coming at the start of the end-times…the end-times that will see the Spirit of God poured out upon the entire earth (Joel 2:28-32)…empirically establishing for positive evangelical purposes one of the central claims of the Bible…that God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1).
One major problem with the young earth interpretation is that it has zero apologetic value.
The natural world has two critical pillars that enable human scientific investigation…which are the orderliness and intelligibility of the natural world…from the microscopic world of atoms to the vastness of the galactic universe.
Certainly God could create the universe and the earth together at the same time at 8,000 years ago…inserting false signs and evidences of being much older…but why would He do that?
Why would God be disingenuous in the creation of the earth and the universe…building-in the appearance of oldness…when in fact everything is young?
Why would God create humans with the intellectual capacity for scientific investigation of the natural world…a natural world having orderliness and intelligibility that enables such investigation and discovery…yet do so with the confusing element of designing planet earth and a universe with the appearance of being old…yet in actuality coming into existence only a few thousand years ago?
Why would God create a universe that is expanding outward with great speed…discovered by Edwin Hubble in 1929 looking through the then massive new telescope at the Griffith Park Observatory…evidenced by the red-shift of the light coming from receding distant galaxies…creating the opportunity to mathematically calculate a beginning point in time of the universe at roughly 13.7-billion years ago…if in fact the universe was created only recently?
It is not valid to say that the Bible does not specify 13.7-billion years for the beginning of the universe…or 4.5-billion years for the age of the earth…and then use this as an argument in favor of a young earth.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1)…does not tell us when this was.
God is under no obligation to tell us everything about the natural world…in the Bible.
God does not have to tell us in the Bible about dinosaurs, or the creatures of the Cambrian Explosion, or about plate tectonics, or mountain building, or solar eclipses…that allowed astrophysicists in the late 1800’s to discover the existence of the element helium…and to figure-out the composition of the sun…and therefore the origin of stars.
When God gives us His explanation for the method of how He created…He limited this to: “And God said”…and goes no farther into the absolute mathematics, physics, and chemistry involved…in the Bible.
The idea that Genesis should tell us specifically that the earth is 4.5-billion years old…and that because it does not…therefore this is an argument for a young earth…is not well-thought out.
Conservative scholars date the writing of Genesis to be around 1,450 B.C. No one at that time used the number billion for anything.
There were no billionaires back then…no national budgets for countries in the billions…no deficit spending in the billions. There were not billions of people on the earth in BC 1,450. Nothing in human reality required the use of the number billion.
Conservative scholars date the writing of the book of Revelation to be around A.D. 90…roughly 1,500 years later than Genesis.
Yet in A.D. 90…the number used to describe a large contingency of angels “round about the throne” of God…was “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands”…Revelation 5:11…which equals 100 million…10 times short of one-billion.
People who want to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15) should include Genesis 1:5, 1:8, 2:3, and 2:4 along with Exodus 20:11 and 31:17.
I have provided five verses…four taken as a group in the Genesis creation account…and one in the gospel of John verse 11:9…that question the interpretation of the creation “days” as being 24-hour days.
The Hebrew word “yom” in the four Genesis verses translated as “day” have four different usages…Genesis 1:8 being the only usage that refers to the standard Hebrew description of a 24-hour day.
People who assert a young earth based upon a “literal” interpretation of verses like Exodus 20:11 and 31:17…do not realize that theirs is also a personal interpretation.
A natural reading of these verses suggests a 7-day week of consecutive 24-hour days…but the words themselves do not have to have this interpretation.
The four Genesis verses…along with John 11:9…allow for the usage and interpretation of the word “day” to be other than 24-hour periods of time.
I quoted John Lennox in an earlier post…that he suggests that a reasonable interpretation of the creation days…is 24-hour days for each phase of “And God said”…separated by vast periods of time in-between.
I think this is the best explanation…the best interpretation.
Entire books have been written on biblical interpretation.
In Acts 15:2…Paul and Barnabas disputing with the Judaizers who came up from Jerusalem…was over biblical interpretation.
As far as I can find…there is nothing specific in the Bible about Gentile Christians in the first-century church regarding circumcision and the keeping of Jewish religious rituals.
When Peter stands up at the Acts 15 council in Jerusalem to resolve this issue…he recounts his experience with the Gentiles receiving the Holy Ghost (Acts 10).
This event occurred around AD 49 in Jerusalem…but was not recorded in the book of Acts until around A.D. 60-62.
My point here is that this Acts 15 account of the council in Jerusalem…was not as yet inspired, recorded scripture at the time of the council.
Next Paul and Barnabas testify before the council of the works of God among the Gentiles.
Finally, James gives his Holy Spirit inspired opinion on the matter.
Stephen disputing with the members of the synagogue of the Libertines, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians (Acts 6:9)…was over interpretation of scripture (verse 11).
When Jesus answered the question posed by the Sadducees regarding the resurrection of the dead (Mt. 23-33)…Jesus referred to Moses at the burning bush…saying that “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living”…which astonished the people who heard Jesus say this (verse 33).
This is because the Old Testament is not definitive on this issue…requiring a “dividing of the word of truth” that the Jews had not previously discovered…prior to this statement by Jesus…the authority and final word on biblical interpretation…being the eternal Word of God Himself.
The Bible does not address every issue. Otherwise it would be 15 inches thick…or 15 feet thick.
In my view…it is God’s prerogative to specify or not specify using numbers…thousands, millions, billions…the age of the earth or the universe. In His timeless foresight and foreknowledge God knew that human scientific investigation would discover these facts…apparently at the right time to be useful for apologetics…in the long expanse of human redemptive history.
Darwinian macroevolution has ruined science for some people…but scientific investigation…and the facts about the natural world that it turns up…belongs just as much if not more to Christians…than it does to skeptical, atheistic unbelievers.
Jesus Christ…the Son of God…created absolutely everything…the galaxies, our solar system…our privileged planet earth…and every living creature…including ourselves (Jn. 1:1-3).
It is a mistake for Christians to allow the theory of Darwinian macroevolution to spoil their appreciation of science.
Finally, liberal theology has attempted to distort many of the orthodox doctrines in biblical interpretation.
But this does not allow us to abandon our God-given intellectual and Spirit-born capacity to study to show ourselves approved unto God…not needing to be ashamed in our understanding and interpretation of scripture…rightly dividing the word of truth (paraphrased from 2 Tim. 2:15).
Jesus spent 3-1/2 years with the disciples. As John writes: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.” (Jn. 1:14).
Yet Jesus told the disciples that it was imperative that after His departure…the Holy Spirit would come to lead them into “all truth” (Jn. 16:13)…implying that there was more for them to experience and learn through guided journeys of faith.
An old-age earth interpretation of the Genesis account of creation…is not false doctrine.
It is simply a second…and in my opinion a more correct and true interpretation…of the scriptures.