The Ecclesial Calvinist (William B. Evans) is always worth reading, especially when he says something one has always suspected but been reticent to say aloud. Whenever the issue of creation and length of days comes up in conservative circles, one can’t swing the proverbial dead cat and not hit someone who will eventually sound like he’s more or less still fighting the early twentieth century culture wars. Evans reminds us that fundamentalism is alive and well and finds expression in the religious celebrity of Al Mohler, who by the way is also mysteriously referred to as “the most important Calvinist on the planet” (for some good reflection on that oddity, see the Curmudgeon):
Having read Mohler’s lecture carefully several times, I’m driven to the conclusion that when all is said and done this debate is really not about exegesis or theology. He simply has not engaged the theological and exegetical state of the question. Rather, it is about the sociology of knowledge, and more specifically the cultural threat of Darwinism and the need that some conservative Christians feel to exclude it a priori via LSDYEC.
Mohler is quick to accuse some evangelical scholars of capitulating to the spirit of the age in order to avoid marginalization, and that may well be a problem in some cases. Such pragmatism should have no place in believing scholarship. On the other hand, given the fact that Christians in the past have sometimes embarrassed themselves by their opposition to science, he would do well to heed these wise words of Herman Bavinck:
It is nevertheless remarkable that not a single confession made a fixed pronouncement about the six-day continuum, and that in theology as well a variety of interpretations were allowed to exist side by side. Augustine already urged believers not too quickly to consider a theory to be in conflict with Scripture, to enter the discussion of these difficult subjects only after serious study, and not to make themselves ridiculous by their ignorance in the eyes of unbelieving science. This warning has not always been faithfully taken to heart by theologians. Geology, it must be said, may render excellent service to us in the interpretation of the creation story. Just as the Copernican worldview has pressed theology to give another and better interpretation of the sun’s “standing still” in Joshua 10, as Assyriology and Egyptology form precious sources of information for the interpretation of Scripture, and as history frequently finally enables us to understand a prophecy in its true significance—so also geological and paleontological investigations help us in this century to gain a better understanding of the creation story (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 4 vols., trans. John Vriend (Baker, 2003-2008), II: 495-96).