Sunday, 5 July 2015

Alan Hayward reminds Christadelphians of our old earth creationist heritage

Thirty years ago, the late Alan Hayward, a Christadelphian old earth creationist published Creation and Evolution: The Facts and the Fallacies which sought to combat both young earth creationism and evolution. While his arguments against evolution have not withstood the test of time, his incisive critique of young earth creationism and flood geology remains one of the best refutations of both of these aberrant viewpoints. His preface to Christadelphian readers (not found in books aimed at a general audience) deserves as wide an audience as possible to show how YEC  owes nothing to the Bible, to the scientific facts, and to our original heritage.

Hayward wrote:

There is much misunderstanding in the brotherhood as to what constitutes ‘Christadelphian orthodoxy’ on the subject of creation. To set the record straight, here is a brief summary of our community’s witness about geology and the age of the earth. 

Brother John Thomas taught that the days of Creation were 24-hour periods, but he argued that they did not refer to the original creation of the earth. He considered that geology proved an immense age for the earth, and that geological strata belonged to an earlier creation, long before Adam. He said explicitly that the sun, moon and stars were ‘pre-existent for millions of ages before the Adamic era.’ (Elpis Israel, chapter 2.) 

Brother Robert Roberts wrote that ‘The Bible and geology are sufficiently in agreement to make the acceptance of both possible.’ (The Visible Hand of God, chapter 2.) He went on to write at length in chapter 5 of the same book about geology in relation to the Flood. He concluded that the geological evidence, which he repeatedly referred to as ‘facts’, compelled (his word) the conclusion that the Flood was local, and not worldwide — ‘co-extensive only with the Adamically-inhabited portion of the globe’, as he put it. 

Brother C. C. Walker, like his predecessors, accepted the facts of geology. But he rejected Brother Thomas’s method of harmonising Genesis with geology, because, he said, ‘there does not appear to be any evidence at all that some six thousand years ago an existing cosmos was reduced to such a chaos as is described in Genesis 1:2.’ (The Word of God, chapter 3.) Instead, he advocated the view that the days of creation were symbolic days, covering vast periods of time. 

Brother A. D. Norris, when he wrote the book Believing the Bible more than thirty years ago, invited his readers to choose between the various views of Creation then current in the Brotherhood. These included the views of both Brethren Thomas and Walker, but there was no mention of ‘Flood Geology’, or the ‘Young-earth’ theory. Such notions only began to circulate within the brotherhood about twenty years ago. 

This book opposes those modern ideas, and urges a return to the view that the earth is very old — not merely because our pioneers taught this, but because the facts point that way.