Unintended Disservice of Young Earth Science
Presented by a Christian Attorney
We recommend a book by Andrew Balian, a Christian attorney, which questions whether it is detrimental to evangelism to try to convince non-Christians that the earth is young. Whether you believe in a young earth or not, Mr. Balian argues that young earth disputes needlessly cause non-Christians to refuse to take seriously the words of our Lord Jesus and the Bible as a whole.
In this 2011 book -- Unintended Disservice of Young Earth Science, Christian Attorney Andrew S. Balian, Esq., reveals young earth science as it is presented and practiced today "has no hope to salvage the authenticity of the Bible if it continues to insist upon the young earth view" among non-Christians. In a loving, brotherly appeal to all young earth Christians, Mr. Balian argues that it is time to abandon the effort to prove the earth is young. Even if the earth were young, the detriment of arguing the point is harming evangelism on issues that matter -- like the much more important issue of salvation.
We will explain his points below, and if you are interested, you may read it at books.google.com or purchase it at this link. A Kindle version is also available at Amazon.com.
Balian explains in Unintended Disservice that we as Christians can accept the view of all early church commentators that there is a long-lag between the "beginning" in verse 1 and day one in Genesis 1:5. Prior to "day" in 1:5 is an "evening" of unspecified length. Hence a potentially long lag exists between "the creation of the heavens and the earth" and day one. Then what happens on days 1-6 are progressive miraculous improvements upon a creation that already existed prior to day one. These Genesis days could be 12 hours each, in fact, which is Mr. Balian's view. (More on this claim below.)
Thus, Balian contends the long-lag prior to day one in Gen. 1:5 can fully explain the age of the Earth and Universe.
Or we can adopt the view of Augustine in the 400s, Origen in the 200s and others in the early church who believed the yoms of Genesis One were indefinite periods. Or we can adopt the predominant view of the early church -- six commentators to just four who held to the 24 hour view -- that the days of Genesis were God's days. And God's days were defined by Moses in Psalm 90:4 (yes Moses wrote a Psalm) and 2d Peter 3:5 as similar to 1000 years of our time--a very long time.
Specifically, Mr. Balian discusses the Hebrew word yom as it relates to Lightfoot's and Ussher's hurried and unstudied claim that it refers to a 24-hour period. In this context, Mr. Balian also makes a novel argument to break the log-jam on the 24 hour debate. Well, it is not entirely novel. Hippolytus saw it first near 236 AD.
Mr. Balian says that yom in Genesis 1:5 is called "day" and this is distinctly the light, but it is different than "evening" or "night." Before the first "day" of Genesis 1:5 was an "evening" of undetermined length as even the Sun was not yet created. Hence, a very long period preceded the first "day" and it did not mean to incorporate a possible night that preceded it. And this principle is true of each succeeding day -- yom is the daylight. So the six creative days are simply 12 hours each, with indeterminate evenings, not nights, identical to the broad meaning of evening which was the indeterminate label for the interval which preceded the 24 hour cycle of the sun between 1:1-1:5 of Genesis. Hippolytus mentions this about Genesis 1:5 too:
GEN. 1. 5. And it was evening, and it was morning, one day.
HIPPOLYTUS. He did not say "night and day," but "one day," with reference to the name of the light. He did not say the "first day;" for if he had said the "first" day, he would also have had to say that the "second" day was made. But it was right to speak not of the "first day," but of "one day," in order that by saying "one," he might show that it returns on its orbit and, while it remains one, makes up the week. (Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus.)
In other words, "one day" did not mean to incorporate a "night," but simply referenced the light. It still counts up to the "week" of days -- periods of light. But the intervening periods are not described definitely as a specific period of time, for darkness after the day was called "night" but evening was a name God used prior to creating the Sun whereupon light and dark first cycled on earth. An interesting observation by Mr. Balian.
Mr. Balian points out that the contemporary 24 hour view of each day of Genesis has given rise to the following dangerous syllogism (i.e., logical argument):
- The Bible says the Earth and universe are about 7,000 years old
- Science Proves the Earth and universe are about 7,000 years old
- Therefore, the Bible is credible as the Word of God.
However, what do we do as Christians in evangelism if this syllogism does not hold up within Science? What if Science among non-Christians proves the earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 15 billion years old? Our insistence upon the above syllogism as valid would require non-Christians to reject the Bible when they plug the evidence into our syllogism. As a result, the only choice young earth proponents give serious minded non-Christians leads them to reject Christianity.
Mr. Balian's book exhorts young earth advocates to see their scientific project has never succeeded; has only weak or invalidated claims (e.g., the Moon Dust and Helium Clock claims), and that to avoid further embarassment to evangelism, the project must be abandoned. The author hopes that young earth proponents will reconsider their view of yom in Genesis and restore the historically acceptable beliefs from the early church that are compatible with an earth far older than 6000 years, e.g., the universal view of a lag between the "beginning" and day one; or the view each yom in Genesis One meant an age, era, or period of indefinite length, or God's day measured as 1000 years each. Thereby we can preserve evangelism to the lost on a sound footing -- a Bible they can believe in.
In the May 2016 Issue of Facts & Faith from the Institute of Creation Research, it finally has somewhat responded to these points, although using a Straw Man argument. In an article by Henry M. Morris III, entitled "How Important is a Recent Creation?" he notes
"frequent accusations we receive from some who insist they are evangelicals is that ICR is actually hindering evangelism by maintaining a position that has supposedly been proven by “all of science” to be false."
Then Mr. Morris knocks down this straw man, insisting that its scientists have proven the earth is young. But that straw man is not the point of persons like Mr. Balian. He never endorses the view that the earth has been conclusively proven to be old. He respects Christians who wish to believe in a young earth; he only shows scientific papers from young earth orgs have never caused a budge by any respected non-Christian scientist on the question of an old earth. Mr. Balian's entire book is premised on making no conclusion on whether the earth is young or old. It is a book directed to suggest prudence dictates shelving the young-earth project, including its rhetoric, until it has some sound success outside its four-walls.
For Mr. Balian contends that regardless of whether a young earth or old earth is true, it is more prudent to withdraw young earth claims from public pronouncement until a respected non-Christian scientist who believed in an old earth switches to a young earth. Until that time, Mr. Balian's view is whether you believe in a young earth or not, our priority must be evangelism, and this young earth project is harming evangelism to NON-BELIEVERS.
ICR is not left without an agenda. Mr. Balian urges ICR to focus on its excellent work that continues even now to prove we are the product of a Creator. This has a lot of acknowledgment by scientists outside of the Christian camp, where Anthony Flew and Frank Tipler are perfect examples. The Young Earth project, by contrast, has never gained over even one notable convert from an avowed atheist old-earther.
Flaws of Young Earth Science
The next book by Mr. Balian is freely available below in PDF links, and is not otherwise available in print form. Mr. Balian has put this book in the public domain as long as not sold to the public (see link to his site), and thus anyone is free to post it on their site, as I am doing here.
Mr. Balian in Flaws of Young Earth Science reviews the proofs of a Young Earth, and whether they satisfy scientific legitimacy in its major claims. While many have challenged young earth science who are non-Christians, Mr. Balian is a Christian sensitive to his fellow Christians sincere desire to defend the Bible. Yet, he finds that various arguments have backfired or do not garner Christians respect for defensible claims. So far, Mr. Balian concludes, there is no single argument that has proven a young earth. So here is the free book entitled Flaws of Young Earth Science: It omits chapters 1-3 which Mr. Balian at his website explains are superceded by chapters in his published book Unintended Disservice of YES.
Chapter 4: Thermodynamics
Chapter 5: Moon Dust
Chapter 6: No Meteorites!
Chapter 7: Cosmic Dust
Chapter 8: Io, Rings & Saturn
Chapter 9: Lunar Craters
Chapter10: Shrinking Sun
Chapter 11:The Big Bang
Chapter 12: The Speed of Light
Chapter 13: Radiometric Dating
Chapter 14: Halo Dating
Chapter 15: Ancient DNA
Chapter 16: Fresh Dinosaur Blood
Chapter 17:Helium: An Argument Backfires!
Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Claims
You may reach Andrew Balian at
Mr. Balian's website with more materials on his studies is at this link.
When the church makes science claims at odds with accepted science which the church advances solely because of a Bible text, this needlessly leads to the discredit not only of the church but also of the Bible. We instead should engage in re-examination of the Bible texts, and until resolution, exercise discreetness, not continuing to make brazen claims that make God's truth look foolish.
Ferdinand Magellan once said sarcastically -- which is a sarcasm evangelism can ill afford when based on truth we hardly can contest: "The Church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church." See Hillary Rodriguez, Introduction to the Study of Religion (2008) at 133.
Science use to say the universe was eternal, ridiculing faith claims it had a sudden beginning as the Bible claimed. If we bided our time, and did not seek to expel such a common worldly claim, look what happened in time! Now science says the entire universe suddenly came into existence out of nothing in what it calls the Big Bang. Science eventually vindicated the Bible's claim of a sudden creation event. So we don't always need to confront science. It eventually will self-destruct when it is at odds with the truth of God.