Where are the Brakes for Old Earth Christians?

I am a young earth, six day, 24 hour day man. I believe this is consistent with the Biblical text and think science backs this up. I have friends who are old earth guys. One of the key questions I think OEC men need to answer is where are the brakes? What is not allowed in their system? What I have found with many OEC is there are no brakes. Anything is allowed as long as God shows up somewhere. Full scale human evolution with a view of God that verges on Deism. Death of all kinds before Adam’s sin. A fall that drifts towards the mythical. An Adam and Eve that doesn’t really exist. I know not all OEC men hold these positions. That is not my point. My question is if you are a Christian who is old earth what are the lines that cannot be crossed? What interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis would they condemn?

I do not believe every OECer is a heretic or is going down the slippery slope to apostasy, though of course some are. But if a system allows for any and all approaches to Genesis 1-3 then it seems to me it is a system with problems. So what is and what is not allowed by old earth Christians? When will an OEC man say to another OEC man you are out of line? Is the only criteria that God got the ball rolling? As long as God hit the first domino everything else is allowed? Is there any teaching on Genesis 1-3 that they would label a “false teaching and dangerous?” In my experience, while there is disagreement among OEC men on the specifics of Genesis 1-3, there are few brakes if any in the OEC system. This allows for false teaching to take up residence among OECers that has little do with the age of the earth.

3 thoughts on “Where are the Brakes for Old Earth Christians?

  1. I think this is a legitimate question and observation within the theological community on the age of the Earth/Universe. It does seem like some OEC positions don’t distance themselves from positions like theistic evolutions. I think the framework hypothesis has a tendency to give legitimacy to theistic evolution.

    Nost OEC proponents I’ve read do draw lines in the sand on theological positions like ex nihilo, historical Adam, unique creation of Adam, the historicity of the fall, and a few other doctrines. I think one key indicator of how far out an OEC proponent will go is their view of Scripture. It seems that OEC proponents that hold to Inerrancy and Inspiration as well as Sola Scriptura, tend not to hold to theistic evolution.

    I find that it’s the YEC proponents that lump the heterodox positions in with the OEC because of where they have determined to draw the line which is 6 literal day interpretation.

    It seems to me a larger problem is the lack of charity offered by many of the leading YEC proponents towards OEC. For example, Ken Hamm regularly lumps day-age theory in with theistic evolution. He doesn’t allow for any OEC to make distinctions.


    • Lee, thanks for the comment. I am sure there are YEC guys (Ham is usually the target) that are not gracious. But in my interaction it is usually the OEC guys that treat us with disdain. On a recent FB post YEC were called apostates and idolaters by an OEC man.

      I believe there is a systemic reason why OEC don’t distance themselves from theistic evolution.


      • Ken Ham is the most vocal, but I find ad hominem criticism as the norm in all of the ministries that are centered around YEC apologetics (not necessarily in the robust theological community). OEC is conflated to mean evolution or that Science is the lens by which OEC interpret the scriptures. I’ve been to the creation museum/ark encounter and that is the presentation there when OEC is discussed (granted most of the museum is targeted toward secular understandings). I found the same from the recent Is Genesis History? documentary.

        I don’t think I’ve seen that type of apostasy accusation from the OEC side though I’m sure it exists, I do see it from the YEC more often or at least compromisers and that their theology will lead to apostacy. I tend to see the OEC side criticize the YEC as unscientific, fundamentalist, and flat earthers. However, I don’t follow the theistic evolutionary perspective very closely, and that is because I think there is a more fundamental issue of worldview and authority with those that adhere to that type of thought.

        What is the systemic reason?

        Full disclosure, I haven’t resolved this for myself. I find some arguments on both sides compelling as well as some of the common arguments/criticisms from both sides weak.


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