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Suppose X is a neutral, honest, open-minded truth seeker, and let's say Y is an apologist for Young Earth Creationism (YEC). If Y intends to persuade X of the truth of YEC, must Y first establish the validity of Biblical inerrancy?

Let's explore two approaches Y might take to convince X:

  • Approach 1:
    • Y begins by presenting arguments to persuade X of the validity of Biblical inerrancy.
    • Then, assuming X accepts Biblical inerrancy, Y proceeds to argue that YEC offers the most reasonable and parsimonious interpretation of the Bible.
    • Thus, Y concludes that YEC is true.
  • Approach 2: Y can bypass the necessity of relying on Biblical inerrancy. Instead, YEC can be supported through alternative arguments and lines of evidence.

Do proponents of YEC consider Approach 2 viable? If so, what are these separate arguments and lines of evidence supporting YEC? If not, does Approach 1 stand as the sole viable option, implying that Biblical inerrancy is indeed fundamental to YEC? In such a scenario, how might YEC advocates go about arguing for Biblical inerrancy to convince someone like X?


Some of my previous questions this question builds upon:

How do Biblical inerrantists explain disagreements about the interpretation of the Bible?

Have there been notable scientific research articles with ground-breaking results in Young Earth Creationism research?

Are there scientific research articles published in reputable journals that provide supporting evidence for Young Earth Creationism?

Do Young Earth Creationists believe the evidence for YEC is unmistakably conclusive if studied diligently, unbiasedly, sincerely, and open-mindedly?

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    What's the point of down-voting and close-voting a question that already has an accepted answer, and without leaving any feedback whatsoever in the comment section? Is the question pushing some buttons, perhaps?
    – Mark
    Commented Apr 25 at 19:58

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Must [a proponent of YEC] first establish the validity of Biblical inerrancy?

No. In fact, I would concur with Paul's Answer, and even go further to assert that a case can be made without consulting Scripture at all, or at least without granting it any more credibility than that of "tribal myth". There are various lines of evidence (example) that are inconsistent with Earth being several billion years old. (Depending on the evidence, the upper bound is anywhere from ~1gy to ~10ky.) Thus, using only science, we can conclude that Earth and the solar system probably haven't been around for more than ~10ky.

There is substantial evidence that flood activity on a massive, not-seen-today scale is responsible for many features of geology. If one allows these to be combined with the prevalence of Flood myths, it seems likely that one or more cataclysmic Floods occurred in the past, and on the order of ~5ky ago.

The field of Intelligent Design gives ample evidence that something or someone "helped out" with respect to life. Thus, we can establish the existence of a Designer, although what we can say about the Designer is limited. (Although — especially if one infers this Designer to be responsible for more than just life, which would seem quite likely given the age of Earth — what can be inferred is perhaps more than one might initially think.)

All this we can say without even knowledge of Scripture... which is why, as Paul accuses in Romans 1, the unbeliever is without excuse.

Having said that, I think it's also important to understand that everyone approaches science with presuppositions. That is, most Creation Scientists do believe in Scriptural inerrancy. This view is justified, however:

  1. Scripture itself claims to be inerrant.
  2. Jesus affirms Scripture.
  3. Jesus also claims divinity.
  4. Historical evidence attests to Jesus' Resurrection, which attests to the likelihood that (3) is a true claim.
  5. If (3) is a true claim, then (2) and (1) are also likely true claims.
  6. Science has not contradicted (1).
  7. Therefore, having both positive evidence, and a lack of negative evidence, (1) is probably true.

Thus, I would say that an evidence-based approach is feasible, starting with the basic evidence that a) (a) god exists, and b) Earth is "young", which can be established on purely scientific grounds. Following that (and especially following the establishment of the necessity of the supernatural), one would then proceed to establish the historicity of Christ. Of course, one can also skip straight to this step, as that case stands on its own, though the biological evidence for God can't hurt. From there, having established Jesus' divinity, one can make the case for Scriptural inerrancy, which leads back to Genesis as a true historical account being useful for filling in the details of the previously established "young" Earth. (Genesis looks like history, and Scripture says God is neither a liar nor a deceiver. Therefore, if Scripture is inerrant, Genesis is history.)

...Which is to say that either approach is possible. In either case, however, I would argue that it is important to thoroughly examine how science supports Scripture, especially Genesis 1-11. This is essential for maintaining belief in the face of myriad claims that "science" "proves" that Genesis is false.

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  • You might really want to address these objections, especially since they quoted the same source to arrive at the opposite conclusion.
    – Mark
    Commented Apr 22 at 19:49
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    @Mark, that user is not engaged in unbiased discussion, as is made obvious by statements such as "all the scientific evidence they give is entirely wrong, of course". Leaving aside the blatant appeal to emotion (often a sign that one's own case is actually weak), I wouldn't make such an absolutist statement about someone that believes Earth is "flat", as it's almost certainly false. Anyway, I don't have the space to give a full treatment in comments, and I don't feel the Answer is an appropriate venue.
    – Matthew
    Commented Apr 22 at 20:27
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    @Mark, I'll also note that that user didn't actually refute any of the claims, just made an emotion-laden statement devoid of substance.
    – Matthew
    Commented Apr 22 at 20:31
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    @Mark That user stated One can be a good Christian, or one can be an intellectually-honest, moral person, but you can't be both. I'd recommend the latter. And I have replied that it is the most bigoted statement I have ever seen, anywhere on Stack Exchange.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 23 at 6:58
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    @Mark, yeah, I think that says a lot. It's also a false dichotomy, especially with "moral" thrown in there, and especially as God is the only source of morality. I have yet to see a materialist rationale for "morality" that doesn't end up borrowing from another religion.
    – Matthew
    Commented Apr 23 at 15:52
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No.

Over the years, I have read thousands of posts on the Answers In Genesis and the Institute of Creation Research websites. As far as I know, most or all of the authors believe in inerrancy, but their articles often stick to the science to make their points. They bring in evidence from chemistry, physics, biology, cosmology, geology, mathematics and information science, but when appropriate to the topic, also arguments from theology, archaeology, and genealogy.

The general thrust seems to be to use science to refute science in order to bolster claims of the Bible's inerrancy. Then they use inerrancy to argue for Biblical norms in the realm of morality and ethics.

One area where they will start with inerrancy as a presupposition is to show the contradictions between inerrancy and any non-YEC views. Those arguments say that you can't believe in inerrancy and also macro-evolution over millions of years without being inconsistent. Those articles are to force a person to decide if they really believe the Bible.

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  • A few citations or references confirming/supporting the assertions made would be appreciated.
    – Mark
    Commented Apr 21 at 20:56

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