In his new book, Rocks Aren’t Clocks, PhD geologist John K. Reed writes:
“Today’s geology assumes the truth of secular naturalism as a matter of course. That emphasizes the need to examine the philosophical and theological issues. For example, people ask if the Bible is a reliable historical source. That’s not a question of science, but it is a question that has profound implications for geology. If we answer in the negative, we have made a profound theological statement; if we answer in the affirmative, then prehistory is precluded and the atheistic geological history that most of us learned in school is false.”
So here is one man who says that we are making a profound theological statement when we ask if the Bible is a reliable historical source. But then other Christians answer the question in a more agnostic, “I don’t know” fashion. And still other Christians agree with the atheists, thinking that answering in the affirmative is “embarrassing.” But, do the agnostic or “embarrassed” believers, as well as the unbelievers realize what a profound theological statement they are making? And do they realize, as Dr. Reed points out, that the earth age question is not primarily a question of science, but of history?
Should any Christian be agnostic or embarrassed about whether the Bible is a reliable historical source? Well, no. Think about the detailed genealogical records in Scripture. Those are in the Bible to remind us of God’s unbroken covenant of grace with mankind throughout history. Beginning with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15, God’s covenant of grace unfolds through history, going from Adam to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, to David, and finally to Christ.
Also, looking at Scriptures like Romans 1:20, or Matthew 19:4, or Mark 10:6, there is no good reason to interpret those any other way except that mankind was present from Day 6 on. Personally, I don’t know exactly how old the earth is, but it is reasonable to conclude from Scripture that it is around 6,000 years old, and mankind has been there since the beginning.
If you are a Christian who is currently “agnostic” or “embarrassed” about the earth age question, I encourage you to read Rocks Aren’t Clocks. You will quickly understand that there isn’t a science vs. Scripture battle, but there is most definitely a battle between the worldviews of Christianity and naturalism. The battle is over how to interpret history, not whether Christians are debating the existence of gravity, DNA, etc. If, on the other hand, you are an unbeliever who thinks Christianity is foolishness, then I pray that God will change your heart, because all the evidence in the world won’t save you. Jesus saves.