Inconsistent Christians Don’t Need a Young Earth

If you don’t really understand it, you can still go to heaven.  But if you are logical, you can’t.

That’s the message about creationism and salvation recently from the young-earth creationist Institute for Creation Research’s Jason Lisle.

Lisle debated “old-earth” creationist Hugh Ross at the National Conference on Christian ApologeticsBoth men spoke with The Christian Post after their debate.

It’s possible to still go to heaven if you don’t embrace a young earth, Lisle said.  But that is only true if you are willing to embrace illogic and ambivalence.  In order for the Bible to make sense, Lisle argued, Christians need to insist on its obvious meaning.

One problem, Lisle noted, was that children tend to reject illogic.  “Some people,” Lisle told the CP,

will say they can live with the inconsistencies. They’ll tell me: ‘Well, it’s just Genesis that I allow the scientists to tell me what it meant.’  But, what we’ve found is that children will see that inconsistency, and they will be more consistent, they will reject all of the Bible. They’ll say, ‘Well, mom and dad don’t really believe in the Bible because they don’t believe in the first few chapters. Why should I believe in the Gospel?’ We’ve seen that happen. The statistics are just alarming. We see the students walking away from church in droves.

Christians CAN be saved if they don’t accept a young earth, Lisle concluded. However, it doesn’t make any logical sense for them to do so.  As he explained,

If you believe in millions of years, if you believe the fossils are millions of years old, you have death before Adam sinned, in which case death cannot be the result of Adam’s sin if it was already there for millions of years. If death is not the penalty for sin then why did Jesus die on the cross?

As astute observers from both sides have noted, this is one idea on which atheists and young-earth creationists agree.  Jason Rosenhouse, for instance, an atheist mathematician and student of American creationism, agrees with young-earth creationists that evolutionary science is a fundamental challenge to traditional Christian faith.

Those who hope to maintain faith—especially a faith built around a belief that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word—while embracing evolutionary science or the idea of a very old universe have a tougher case to make.  As Hugh Ross, the old-earth creationist, explains, “God’s revelations in Scripture and nature do not, will not, and cannot contradict.”

Bridging the worlds of creation and evolution may make intuitive sense to Ross and many more Bible-believing Christians out there.  But the logical case for a rigid choice between either atheism or young-earth creationism remains compelling.  For those who believe in an inerrant Bible, the choice can seem all-or-nothing.


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  1. “Irreducable complexity” is pretty logical. Complex organisms that would die if any one part was not present cannot evolve to be that way. Things cannot change or evolve that cannot live in lesser stages.

  2. The first sentence, if I’m interpreting it correctly, is insinuating that the logical person cannot go to heaven because young earth / creation is illogical. Any logical person cannot accept creation and as a result (the logical person) must also reject the existence of a God / creator.

    This differs from the point that was being made by Lisle. Lisle’s point was simply that only the illogical person who accepts evolution can believe in God and go to heaven.

    So I’m responding to the insinuation of the first sentence with something I consider to be logical disproof of evolution. Creation, to me, is the logical explanation of the origin of matter and life.

    • OSL, The first sentence was meant to present Lisle’s view in a provocative way. As I understood him, Lisle was saying that one does not need to embrace young-earth theology in order to be saved. But if one is logically consistent, and one believes the Bible to be inerrant, one will choose between the two logical alternatives: either the Bible’s creation story is true, or the Bible as a whole is not trustworthy. Given a belief in Bible inerrancy, the latter alternative would lead people to reject faith. The former will lead to young-earth creationism.

  3. I believe Lisle’s point is that…
    To believe the Bible is the inerrant word of a perfect God, is to perceive it’s content as wholly truthful without exception. If one claims to believe, yet accepts contrary doctrines as truth, the only logical possible explanation is that either they don’t believe or they have no real concept of the discrepancy. In such a case, someone could have a genuine belief in the saving blood of a sinless Christ and go to heaven, while unknowingly professing a belief in a doctrine that contradicts the Bible’s creation account.

    I believe you want to construe Lisle’s statement to mean…
    If you are logical, you cannot possibly go to heaven, because no logical person would believe in the Bible and the creation account.

    That is indeed what you say in your opening sentence. “If you don’t really understand it, you can still go to heaven. But if you are logical, you can’t.”

    This is not the point Lisle is making. Not even close.

    “Lisle was saying that one does not need to embrace young-earth theology in order to be saved”
    –True, but only if one is unaware of the contradiction of old-cosmos/evolution views and the Biblical account of creation. To be aware of such contradictions and still hold onto them as truth can only occur if you knowingly consider portions of the word of God to be false.

    “If one believes the Bible to be inerrant, one will choose between the two logical alternatives”
    –False, There is only 1 logical choice for someone who truly believes the Bible to be truth – the Bible’s creation story is true. If the Bible is true then it must be true that the earth was created by God in 6 days. An honest belief in the truth of the word of God cannot lead one to determine, as you say, that the “Bible as a whole is not trustworthy”.

    One who rejects the Bible and the Christian faith does so out of a disbelief in the Bible as the inerrant word of God. For them there is only one logical choice as well – evolution. They can logically only accept explanations that are arrived at by first excluding the possibility of a Creator. To do otherwise would not be logically consistent when starting from that premise.

    • “One who rejects the Googliad and the BingMS faith does so out of a disbelief in the Googliad as the inerrant ifthenelsemacro of GreatOffice95version.”
      ps. BTW who the hell is GreatOffice95version? (Argument from ignorance)


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