Comment on Why I Believe In A Young Earth by Wiseman.
Big Bang Bill: Thanks for the link to your blog entry. As always, it was great, and a big “amen” to everything.
As for the FT discussion, I’ve been a reader/subscriber since 1995 and have followed the ID movement pretty closely. It has value, but as I mentioned, is flawed in important respects.
You keep saying that I am presenting mere “beliefs”, “leaps of faith”, as if this were a Bad Thing. Of course they are beliefs, and of course they require faith. Discussion about origins, from an empirical and scientific point of view, can only involve probabilities. I find it amazing that old earth promoters, who claim to have come to their conclusions strictly on the basis of empirical science, claim a certitude greater than those whose conclusions are drawn from both empirical science and the inerrant biblical record!
Their absolute certitude is a tremendous strike against them considering their unwillingness to consider the truth about nature. And what is the truth about nature?
First, the laws of nature are still little understood: even evolutionists in their more candid moments admit this much. And second, nature is itself a *created thing* and is not the highest law in the universe.
More than a little humility is in order: hence my very deliberate language of “maybe”, “perhaps”, “likely”, “probable”, and so forth.
A final point: many argue against nature having an appearance of age by saying that God does not deceive, He is not a trickster, etc. Of course I agree, but I would apply this first to revelation. Would God have made His Scriptures unintelligible by hiding billions of years between the lines?
Would He have tricked the Fathers and the Doctors and the Popes of the Catholic Church for 1900 years into believing and teaching something that is untrue?
I am not sure whether the age of the earth is something that can be considered “doctrine”, but insofar as it touches on Catholic doctrine (e.g., biblical inerrancy, original sin, polygenism) it is not unimportant. The reason that Christians have always believed in a young earth is because that is the clear implication of Holy Writ and the clear understanding of the Fathers.
When I was received into the Catholic Church, I made a profession of faith, before a priest in union with Rome, in which I vowed never to interpret the Sacred Scriptures “except according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers”. That is a vow I intend to keep.