[In response to] Clark – You are correct that few could have said it better, in that Doug Wilson is a fantastic writer. Fantastic writing has a way of making anything sound correct and biblically defensible, be it southern slavery or young-Earth creationism.
I would love to write a longer critique, but I’ll just point out one thing and then head to work. Wilson is correct to say that Christians need to believe whatsoever is revealed in the Word, and that the doctrine of creation is foundational for Christian doctrine. Amen. He errs, however when he thinks that as old-Earth Christians we “read Genesis and find millions of years in there.” I would be the first to say that I do not find millions of years in Genesis. They simply are not there. I know a few people who say they read Genesis and see that the text requires an old Earth, and I tell them that they are flat out wrong.
So is there a contradiction between me saying that I believe in the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of the Bible, including Genesis 1-11, and that I believe in an old Earth? Not at all. Because even though Genesis does not teach millions of years, neither does it require a young Earth. Perhaps the genealogies get us back to Adam (and I believe in a real Adam), but that does not get us back to the creation itself. I have absolutely no problem with seeing the days of creation as God’s days, which are similar to, but not identical to, days as we experience them today. I could give you a list of biblical reasons why I believe that this is a possibility.
Likewise with Wilson’s concern about finding “crickets into condors” in Genesis. I agree that the Bible does not teach biological evolution. But neither does it teach Mendelian genetics, thermodynamics, chemical bonding theory, or electrical engineering. The two main young-Earth arguments against biological evolution are that it requires death before Adam’s sin, and that God created kinds to reproduce after themselves. Neither of these arguments, however, have a strong biblical basis. First of all, the Bible nowhere ties animal death to Adam’s sin. Take a look again at the relevant passages (in Gen 3, Rom 5, Rom 8, 1 Cor 15) and you will not see any mention of animal death being the result of human sin. Second, it is a stretch of biblical interpretation to get from “reproduce after their kinds” in Genesis to “evolution cannot happen.” At a minimum, all this is teaching is that camels beget camels and daffodils beget daffodils.
Wilson is concerned that old-Earth interpretations are like Supreme Court justices who find things in the Constitution that simply are not there. I would say that young-Earth creationism is a rigid over-reading of the text that ends up doing the same thing: finding things that are not there and then holding them forth as requirements for biblical orthodoxy. Some of these things include no animal death before the fall, the creation of the features of Earth’s crust by Noah’s flood, accelerated nuclear decay, catastrophic plate tectonics, a super-short ice age just before Abraham, and super-fast evolution after the flood to go from a few thousand species to millions of species in a few hundred years. None of these things are taught in the Bible, but are presented by young-Earth creationists as biblically-based truths. I say a lot of it is extra-biblical nonsense that turns people away from Christ.