Recently, I received a few emails asking if Hope Church has a position on the age of the earth. These folks express concerns about a view that was presented recently at Hope and wondered if we, as a church, were presenting it as the official view. I want to address this issue because it tends to be an emotional topic for some.
There are two opposing views of the age of the earth. The Young Earth view teaches that the earth is between 7-10 thousand years old. This view also sees the days of Genesis 1 and 2 as literal 24 hour days. This is a commonly held within Evangelical Christianity. It also comes in direct conflict with scientific discoveries which point to the earth and the universe being millions of years old.
The Old Earth position holds that the earth is millions of years old and probably began with some type of a Big Bang. It also teaches that we live in an expanding universe. Christians who hold this view would not interpret the first chapters of Genesis as literal 24 hour days. They point out that the light of stars, which are millions of miles away, would have taken millions of years to reach the earth. Thus, they believe that the earth must be older than 10 thousand years old. The Young Earth Christians would explain that God supernaturally brought the light immediately to earth, or created the universe with “apparent age.”
I give the above, very brief, general, overview so that you can see these views are very different. But I want to emphasize that godly Christians live on BOTH sides. I also want to express that both sides can hold their position without violating the Inspiration, Inerrancy and Authority of the Bible. Within the Hope community we have people who hold both of these views, some within the same family!
That being said, this is NOT a cardinal doctrine of Hope Church or the EFCA. We don’t include a statement on the age of the universe or the earth within our doctrinal statement. We don’t dictate how Genesis 1 & 2 must be interpreted to be considered a Christian (sermon on Genesis 1 & 2). We don’t do this for a very important reason. Because it is NOT a reason to divide the body of Christ. One of the major Plumb Lines of the Free Church is that we “Major on the Majors.” This is NOT a major doctrine, even if some people want to make it one.
In fact, I would suggest that if you were to search most of the Evangelical Church websites, none of them would have a statement about the age of the earth. One of the signs of a healthy church is that we can disagree on minor issues without becoming disagreeable.
Now, to finally answer the above question. Does Hope Church have a position on the age of the universe or the earth? No, it does not.
Below are two links with a little more about this subject.
Keller, Moore, and Duncan on the Non-Negotiable Beliefs About Creation
Your Servant, Your Pastor,