For the sake of argument, accept for the moment that God did supernaturally create the universe (and all that is in it) in six literal days, about six thousand years ago. Certainly, even Old-Earth Creationists would agree that God was able to do it this way. If that is how (and when) He did create the world, then what would be the Christian’s proper approach to Scripture and response to secular science? What I hope you will see is that the approach used by Old-Earth Creationists is only legitimate if God did not in fact create the earth in this recent, supernatural way—and such a biased approach is incapable of arriving at a knowledge of the truth if God did in fact create supernaturally and recently.
The nature of the question of origins is determined by what actually happened. The nature of the question is not determined by one’s chosen approach to the question. If what actually happened was in some way a natural process, then the nature of the question is scientific and scientific evidence carries due weight. However, if what actually happened was a supernatural event (immediate creation out of nothing), then science has no place in the matter and scientific evidence carries no weight, as the nature of the question is religious.
Whether or not they admit it, secular science operates with a philosophical basis, that of materialistic naturalism, which assumes that the origin and state of the world as it is can be explained according to natural laws and processes alone (which are assumed to be constant throughout time). This philosophy on which their whole scientific authority stands or falls, is unproven and unscriptural (as it allows for no significant role for any supernatural causes). Because their philosophical basis is biased in this way, they are left with no scientific authority whatsoever when speaking on origins theory—their theories carry no more weight than any other philosophical or theological paradigms.
Some will object that science is objective and not biased. After all, doesn’t science produce many valid breakthroughs in understanding and many new useful technologies? Let’s be real, here. What science should be and what it is are two different things, in most cases. The ultimate, most pervasive human bias is the bias against the truths of God and His Word. Invariably, all unbelievers labor under this bias, which skews all their thinking. Therefore, when an unbelieving scientist deals with an area that does not particularly have to do with a divine truth like origins, such as developing microchips or cures for diseases, then his science can be reliable and objective. But when the unbelieving scientist deals with an issue that does have to do with a divine truth like origins, then the aversion toward divine truth that comes from the sinful core of his being clouds his judgment and skews his results from the start. He rules out the supernatural from the start. The supernatural is not testable or observable. The very practice of scientific inquiry into this matter is itself a presumption that nothing supernatural happened else scientific inquiry would be futile. Where God acts, science has reached the end of all possible inquiry.
Even if the earth could be “scientifically proven” to be a billion years old, it would only be true according to the naturalistic presupposition that the earth was not supernaturally created more recently. Some object that it would be dishonest for God to create a world that looked older than it is. But this is not the case. Consider what is meant by the idea of looking old. For those who would say that it looks old, how are they determining what old is or how old the world is? Do they begin with the possibility that the historical account of creation in Genesis might be incorrect? Do they use a method of calculation that assumes that natural processes, as they are found today, are reliable as a constant by which to measure age back beyond what the straightforward, “common sense” reading of Genesis 1 would indicate as the point in time when God supernaturally created the world? If they do, then it is not God who is deceiving them, but they who are deceiving themselves. Rather then deceiving, God openly admitted to creating the world, and told us plainly when and how long He took.
This is not deception, but decision—a matter of chosen presuppositions and philosophies. The worldwide flood of Noah’s day is a fitting explanation for the fossil layers and many other geological “proofs.” The remainder of such proofs simply point to the mature state of the earth at creation. Would God have been deceptive to supernaturally create in one day an adult man, Adam? By all appearances, he would have looked much older that one day to any who might be open to the possibility that God didn’t really create him the day before as He said He did. When Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples, even telling them to feel his hands and arms and see that He has flesh and bone and is not a mere spirit, wasn’t that just as deceptive—after all, He appeared as if He had never died. The supernatural acts of God are always deceptive to those who refuse to believe them. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, some might have been deceived into thinking that he had never died. When Jesus fed the five thousand, some might have been deceived into thinking He had brought enough food. When He turned the water into wine, the guests were deceived into thinking that the host had saved the best wine for last.
Although it is objected that the Bible is not a science text book, it is a book of factual history (among other things). It tells us God created light, but doesn’t get into the quantum physics of the light He created. It simply states it as the simple fact it is. God created it, and He did so on the first day. It is an historical account of facts that actually happened. The truth comes to those who are willing to believe; but those who prefer lies bring deception on themselves.
It comes down to the question of whether the reader gives God’s Word the benefit of the doubt, by interpreting Scripture according to Scripture alone and letting the text speak for itself, or whether the reader allows the so-called evidences and arguments from outside of Scripture (formed by those who do not give God’s Word the benefit of the doubt) to carry more weight than the text itself. Those of the latter method must abandon the normal standards of exegesis (a straightforward, common sense hermeneutic) and adopt a method that seeks any plausible way to insert time-lapses, gaps, or ambiguities, in order to read into the text the presuppositions and evidences of secular science.
Consider again what it would mean if God actually did recently create the world in six literal days. Can you see that if this really is what happened, then any weight given to the evidences of secular science would be a compromise of the truth, and would only result in erroneous conclusions? Now, if you will, consider on what basis we decide whether or not the plain, direct, straightforward sense of the passage is what we ought to accept? If the thing that weighs against our accepting of a plain, direct, straightforward reading is the very thing that—if the straightforward reading is indeed fact—only compromises the truth if accepted, then to admit such evidence and acknowledge any weight to it is to give up the argument from the start. To give any weight to the claims of secular science is to beg the question of whether or not the straightforward reading of Genesis 1 is correct. To the degree that Christians are willing to give weight to the claims of secular science, in contradiction to the plain, direct, straightforward reading of Scripture, they will compromise the truth. The biggest enemy to that truth is never those outside the Church, but rather, those within who embrace the error.
Ken Hamrick, 2012