Here we go for another retraction. I have held the old-earth creationist view for quite some time. I held the Hugh Ross variant, which appropriately denies evolution, says that God did it all, but took a long time rather than a short time to do it. It maintains a literal interpretation of the text by assigning the meaning of "age" to the word "day". So God created the world in seven "ages".
After studying theology now for 3 years, I have concluded that there are major theological problems with the old-earth view. John MacArthur takes credit for the final blow to push me into the young earth view in his book "The Battle for the Beginning". It was a long time for me to convert however, I was aware almost a year in advance that my old-earth view no longer had any legs to stand on, but I wasn't willing to switch a major viewpoint until I researched the subject a bit.
You see, I was raised in science. In our home science was God, reason was king, and intellectual ability and achievement was to be desired above all else.
I believed the old-earth view was unassailable, and that it took very bad science to assert the earth is young. I am still skeptical of scientific attempts to prove a literal 7-day genesis account, but there are people out there dedicating their ministries to this very task.
The basic arguments for the old earth view I held go like this:
The theological arguments against go like this:
It is my firm belief that the Bible and science are in fundamental harmony. The Bible makes no provably scientifically inaccurate statements, short of Genesis and possibly the flood, which is why it is so tempting to attempt to harmonize the Genesis account with science.
Science however is limited to what it can observe, test, and replicate. Scientists however are often quick to step outside those bounds and make pronouncements about things that are neither testable nor repeatable in a laboratory.
Evolution, which is easy to disprove is a classic example. Hugh Ross, to his credit, does an able job of refuting evolution.
My dad, an atheist, and a molecular biologist (one of many degrees he has), once remarked: "I want to write a book to stimulate research into other areas than Darwinian Evolution, but I can't figure out a way to write God out of it." He admitted to me that Darwinian Evolution was a crock, but he still soundly believed in natural processes, just that science doesn't know what they are yet.
Claims about the age of the earth, and the age of the universe are similarly unprovable. Granted that it looks old, no denials there. But if God says that He did it in six days, then that is good enough for me.
I should admit that old-earth creationism was a crutch for me for a long time. I needed to believe it because I had not yet studied all the other proofs for the veracity and supernatural origins of the Bible.
Now that I am familiar with the archeological evidence, the historical evidence, and the prophetic evidence, I am much more comfortable with taking a young-earth viewpoint. I have little interest in proving it scientifically, although I understand that there are attempts to do so. I hear good things about Henry Morris. If you want to investigate the scientific evidence then check out his ministry. He does a good job of pointing out the weaknesses of modern dating methods of geological strata for instance. Other interesting things include fossils of human and dinosaur footprints in the same strata, a description of what sounds like a sauropod in Job (Leviathan), and modern day examples of huge valleys carved out in mere decades instead of millions of years.
If you must stick with an old-earth viewpoint, then Ross's is the best of them. He still interprets the Bible literally (as much as he can), but has back-pedalled on a few fronts, such as describing the flood as regional rather than world-wide, which requires a non-literal interpration of the text. That is a domino in my opinion, once you deny the text once, there is no end in sight after that, current scientific theory is effectively granted higher authority than scripture. Secular history also argues for a regional flood.
Since the purpose of this site is to edify, allow me to present the four major views of creationism found in the "evangelical" community.
You will find "good" evangelical seminaries offering courses accomodative to all four of the above views. I chose one that is more narrow, that sticks to a 7-day literal view even when I was an old-earther, since I knew that was reflective of a school that is loyal to scripture. Many of those so-called "good" seminaries are embracing other terrible fads too, such as virulent Arminianism in some cases (treating Calvinism as heresy), and emergent heresy in others.
There are many other sub-claims regarding the creation account, and they are equally unverifiable either scripturally or scientifically from what I can tell. I was once enamoured of the so-called "canopy" model, which claims a 10 ft thick wall of water hung in the upper atmosphere, and it fell as part of the flood. Apparently this is actually a stable cosmological structure, I never would have figured that out myself. I have even heard John MacArthur refer to this view positively, despite its minimal biblical support.
The canopy of water is argued to have had a variety of beneficial effects, notably by filtering out most UV rays and increasing atmospheric pressure, both of which are known to have health benefits. Combine this with a stronger geomagnetic field and it is argued that the benefits were sufficient to increase human life spans to 900 years. It also explains the pre-flood conditions where no rain had yet fallen on the earth. I heard once that Michael Jackson sleeps in a hyper-barric chamber (which increases atmospheric pressure), hoping to increase his life span.
Studies have shown that fruit flies almost double their life spans in such environments, and rattle-snake poison becomes a lot less poisonous, hinting at the paradise in Eden. So while there is some anecdotal evidence in favor of the canopy theory, the Bible is silent on the issue so we won't know for sure in this lifetime unless some more evidence shows up. Maybe MJ's experiment will be dramatically positive. If he even makes it to 120 years that would be something. Then we will all be buying those chambers.
It is possible to go too far with this however. I know some who view a literal 7-day account as a test of orthodoxy, and it simply isn't. However the fall of man most certainly is, Pelagius was condemned as a heretic for denying the fall among other things.
But it is a test of loyalty to scripture in my opinion. Do you pass the test?