What Keeps YEC, EC, TE, etc. Up at Night?

You are the peacemaker, right? Ok, then, let me engage in a little peace of my own here. I wonder - and this is an open challenge - if I publicly list the private struggles I have with the data, can your regulars here do the same? Open challenge to all. Let’s make some real peace here, want to? I will tell you what I cannot prove and what keeps me up at night so long as everyone else here does the same.

[By the way I wasn’t trying to answer your question, although my part of the bargain above actually would begin to answer your question.]


@r_speir, sure, I can answer first.

The way our “enemies” are treated in origins keeps me up at night, especially when I get view into how some people talk about me in private. It can be disturbing, dehumanizing, and dark. I have lost a lot of sleep on this.

As for the “data”? I’m not sure I care much enough about the details of how God created us to lose sleep over anything here. If evolution required God’s direct involvement, great. If not? That is okay too. Did God create the first cell, maybe? I’m not convinced it matters either way. Adam and Eve? Well, there isn’t any conflict between evolution and them, so I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. Have I made mistaken statements about science and the evidence? Almost certainly, and soon as I see where, I am quick to correct them. Certainly nothing here that even begins to keep me awake at night.

Perhaps you forgot, but I find my confidence elsewhere, not in Creation, but in Jesus, the one who rose from the dead. http://peacefulscience.org/swamidass-confident-faith.pdf

Still, people treat one another horribly here. Not all the time, but often enough, and I’m the target more than I ever expected. That certainly keeps me awake at night, even now, even last night.

So, that’s my answer. What is yours?


My beginning list.

Radio-dating, I can’t explain what I see many times - is the planet possibly very old?
Varves - why so many? Again, is this planet possibly really old - and how old would that make life?
Distant starlight - no good YEC solution is present, and privately I do not think a good one is forthcoming - that would make God’s creation profoundly old …!
Then my last on the list is - How does all of this impact the Genesis text? I am a literalist, after all. What did he mean if evening and morning were signifying orbital days, yet the universe is billions of years old – that keeps me up.

[I would be remiss if I did not add my concerns about human/ape similarities in the genetic code. Why God? Why would he do that? He knows I and millions cannot possibly believe in a common ancestor for both …! Why would he then allow them to be so similar? That keeps me up.]


@r_speir, that is an excellent list, I can really resonant with those.

Here’s my (partial) list:

  • If life on earth evolved over millions and billions of year, why was there so much death before getting to the “good part”?
  • What does original sin mean if it’s not genetic? What are the consequences to the Fall? Was there a real “Fall” in the traditional sense?
  • If humans and apes are related, what makes us different?
  • How does Creation speak to God’s existence and power (Romans 1:19) if there isn’t any obvious signs of his handiwork?

Not so much now, but when I was younger pondering an infinite existence in bed at night, be it the afterlife or none, would induce a panic attack (and the younger I was, the worse it would be—i was in elementary school when it first happened) I would picture watching the universe from a 3rd person view: the Sun growing old and baking the Earth, the Milky Way merging with Andromeda, all the other galaxies receding into the distance, stars slowly fading out, eventually even all the atoms decaying.

Perhaps this would be the end like the lingering sound of the last key played on a piano, or perhaps the Universe rebounds and the process repeats — cycle after cycle. And this is just the beginning because the infinite never, ever, ever ends.

My heart would race faster and faster as I considered an endless existence until a crescendo of fear was reached, peak, and subside. Nothing in particular helped except aging, and with it, acceptance.


Despite being raised in a very literalist, fundamentalist church, I always took the age of the earth to be as ancient as mainstream science maintained. Maybe surprisingly in today’s context, in my experience that was acceptably orthodox in the churches of the 60’s and 70’s. What little thought was given to it, consigned the dinosaurs to a prior era, or at least denied them boarding passes to Noah’s ark. Things have changed.

I went through Bible college with a keen interest in apologetics, reading Francis Schaeffer, Lewis, and McDowell. A few years later, I started asking not just what I believed, but why I believed it. Not just externals like evidence, but internals like how was I raised, how narrow was my world? In particular, I struggled with the flood, which seemed a much more historic narrative that the literary cadence of Genesis one. I actually descended into a mental state unlike I’ve experienced before or since. For six weeks, I did not sleep more than an hour or two in a night, in the grip of cognitive dissonance overdrive, and I came out the other side knowing I could not continue my chosen path. I could not stand before a congregation and be the answer guy. If I was to wrestle with the nature of scriptural inspiration, I would do it alone, and so I did.

So what keeps me up? I am a christian. I believe I have seen God at work in people’s lives. After all these years, however, I cannot square the circle. I cannot unknow what I know, there is no path back to a strictly literal interpretation of the opening of Genesis. The price to be paid is collateral damage to the rest of scripture. I somewhat agree with YEC that it is hard to fence in a non-literal view of Genesis with a high view of the rest of scripture. The difficulty of integrating natural and special revelation is what keeps me up.


Nothing about evolutionary theory keeps me up at night. Having the leader of the country be a scientifically illiterate dolt who has done his best to roll back and gut environmental protection laws for the benefit of his wealthy cronies makes my blood boil. :angry:


Commenting because of this request.

I was a Christian from around age 11-12 until I gave it up. I was never a YEC. I don’t think YEC was a big thing at that time. And, growing up in Australia, there were good reasons to see the earth as old.

Genesis 1 did give me problems, though not because of the age question. There was the problem of light before there was a sun. And there was the problem of sun, moon, stars as light fixtures in a ceiling above the earth. These seemed obviously wrong.

But then it occurred to me. If God was inspiring scripture, then he surely was not dictating words. Surely, it was a matter of giving ideas that people would then write in their own words. So we should expect what was written to reflect the culture for which it was written. While Genesis 1 had problems, it was actually a pretty reasonable account for the time that it was written.

I never had a problem with A&E, or Noah or the tower of Babel. These were obviously of the genre of fables, and not intended to be taken as actual history. My biggest problem with Genesis, was Abraham being told to slay his son. But that was not a deal breaker, because it worked out in the end.

My biggest problem with the Pentateuch was with Exodus, where God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and then punished him for having a hard heart. This is where I began to wonder whether it was man that created god, instead of god creating man. That’s when my skepticism started, though it took another 10 years before I gave it all up.


As a professor, I worry about helping my students find a way to integrate science with their faith in a way that works for them. But I’m still working out these questions myself, so I worry that I’m not the person who should be doing that. My students come in with a variety of viewpoints. Some of them are relieved when they find out they don’t have to be YEC, that there are other viewpoints, because that’s been keeping them up at night. That’s what gets me up in the morning. A lot of them haven’t really thought much about why they believe what they believe. I try to get them to think about that. I also try to get them to be respectful of other viewpoints, but that means I have to model that behavior myself. I worry that I don’t always do a good job. Every semester I get at least one student who questions my salvation. That doesn’t bother me, but I do worry that I’ve made them more hostile to science than they already were. I teach the last science class these students will ever take and I want them to leave feeling good about it. I also worry about students who write “I wish I hadn’t done this assignment” on their origin of life papers. I’m not trying to destroy anyone’s faith.


YEC is so persuasive i sleep like a baby. A baby YEC
varves are not a problem. they simply reveal a welcome concept of pulses in events opf deposition. many are post flood/above the k-t line. its just deposition recording and then a mechanism from a sudden great event that segregates the actions. pulses were only realized, i understand, after watching them in recent Iceland great events in flooding or volcanic action provoking flooding.

The starlight thing should not be a problem for YEC. the bible is clear, it seems to me, that light does not move. its fixed on day one and then divided. light does not come from a source.
In other words the modern source, like the sun, is not creating light but just letting it out.
its this energy that moves through the light but not the light itself. like a pebble in a pond.
there is no evidence that light moves or has a speed that i can find. so the stars shown instantly on creation week.
It might be a good analogy like the experiments that show, spooky actions at a distance fame, the splitt experiment thing. Where it seems one thing affects another instantly.
they go about this but its probably just showing how instant light could appear.

I’m curious, how do you then explain experiments where we use the speed of light in the lab? I’m not saying cosmology, I mean in a laboratory we do things with light that only work if it has a speed, how would those experiments work?

I woul;d suggest that its not the light but the provacation within a light field. you are “making” a light. Yet this is not light. It is itself just blowing a hole in the light field. Genesis suggests its all packed in because on day one the light was divided from the drakness. or rather packed together and so disappeared only to be shown aftrer a provacation. otherwise the universe is dark. its a option on these matters.

Earth’s morning has long since passed and its day nearly spent. Its evening will be over when the bright Morning Star returns.


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Shine a flashlight on the wall in a dark room, then hold a book in front of the flashlight. Ta-da! You have successfully stopped the motion of the light from reaching the wall!

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For me the most frustrating thing about being YEC is dealing with all the hate, scorn, and derision that comes with it; being in the vast minority of academia. Why does God allow his truth to be so maligned and why do so few educated people adhere to it? For me it’s not the evidence that’s disturbing, it’s seeing how so many people can be so oblivious to it.

My only answer is:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor 12:9

Yes, think about that. If YECism is true, why is it such a vanishing minority position in academia? Maybe you should consider whether your premise really is true or not…


It is my honor to exist in the minority for the sake of the truth.

That’s not an answer.

A question that keeps bothering me is whether some of the people who advocate for ID are being honest but are just mislead somehow, or if they’re knowingly being misleading(just want to sell books or something).

I find that occasionally I meet arguments that are so creatively misleading it’s a continuing challenge to see how someone could just mistakenly stumble into arguing that way.

I find that either option is unsettling. Both that the subject has become so tainted in their minds that they have lost the ability to think rationally about it, or that they are simply frauds looking to cash in.


Oh look, another Christian with a persecution and martyr complex.

What keeps me up? That I think Christianity may be true. But so many members of it are just toxic people and participate in shameful actions and are hateful to many groups of people. And that a large population thinks dragons exist. It’s embarassing and it’s hard to want to be a part of it. I’m pretty sure 99 percent of churches in my city would not accept me because of my thoughts and ties with the LGBT community. So what do I do? Worship in private? That keeps me up at night.