Yes, your calendar still says 2010. But you are probably going to think you’re in a time warp, though, as you read this article in the Florida Baptist Witness: HOW OLD? Age of Earth debated among SBC scholars. Why do I care about what these folks think? Because these were the folks who were supporting and pushing anti-science, anti-evolution proposals to the Florida Board of Education and state legislature a few years ago (example one, example two, example three, example four). Keeping track of statements they make about how their stance on science is hopelessly entangled with their religious beliefs can be used against them in the future. Here’s an example:
To fall within the bounds of the Baptist Faith & Message, [Southwestern Seminary president Paige] Patterson said a professor needs to believe only that there was a time when nothing but God existed, that God created the entire universe as an expression of grace and that He created it for His own purposes and plans. He said any belief in theistic evolution is not within the bounds of Southern Baptists’ confession of faith.
“We’ve had now two symposiums at Southwestern bringing together early-earthers and late-earthers specifically to try to build some bridges between them regarding what I conceive to be the common enemy and being sure that they would talk to each other and not about each other,” Patterson said, adding, “The common enemy is naturalism.”
The article is based on arguments over what’s in a new book written by William Dembski, The End of Christianity. One very interesting item in the article talks about how Dembski wrote that he thought that Noah’s flood was just a local event rather than world wide. But then when he was confronted about it, he recanted:
“In a brief section on Genesis 4–11, I weigh in on the Flood, raising questions about its universality, without adequate study or reflection on my part,” Dembski wrote. “Before I write on this topic again, I have much exegetical, historical, and theological work to do. In any case, not only Genesis 6–9 but also Jesus in Matthew 24 and Peter in Second Peter seem clearly to teach that the Flood was universal. As a biblical inerrantist, I believe that what the Bible teaches is true and bow to the text, including its teaching about the Flood and its universality.”
Which then makes this later statement a real howler:
[Paige Patterson] noted that even Southern Baptists who disagree with Dembski on the age of the earth should appreciate his contribution toward defeating naturalism.
“This is the man who has gone all over the United States debating the evolutionists successfully to the point that it’s almost impossible to get one of them to have a public debate with him now,” he said of Dembski.
Check your calendar again. Yup, it’s still 2010.