R. C. Sproul: Young-Earth Creationist?

R. C. Sproul, Sr., who was extremely influential in my break from futurist eschatology, appears to have finally taken a stance on creationism. Ironically, in interpreting the early chapters of Genesis, he abandons the historico-grammatical method that he utilized so well in examining portions of Scripture that deal with the Second Coming of Christ (see Sproul’s The Last Days according to Jesus, as well as James Stuart Russell’s The Parousia).
Read about it at Parchment and Pen and participate in the discussion!

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10 Responses to R. C. Sproul: Young-Earth Creationist?

  1. Sproul seems to forget that any literary document should be understood within the historical background during which it is written. When the creation myths of ancient Israel’s neighbors are considered it becomes apparent that Genesis was written as a response to them. For those interested in exploring these issues further, I highly recommend The excellent Old Testament course available from the Teaching Company (www.teachco.com).

  2. Freethinker,

    I was eyeing that particular Teaching Company course! Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll be sure to purchase it ASAP.

  3. HAS SPROUL interacted with fellow preterist, Timothy P. Martin?

    There’s a debate going on whether or not Preterists ought to accept a local or global flood. The global flood is of course more creationistic. The local flood can even be theistic evolutionary.

    According to Timothy P. Martin, Preterism CONFLICTS with the idea of a “global flood,” and preterists should accept a local flood instead. Martin also disagrees with “creation science” in other ways: See his article “The Dangers of Creation Science”
    http://planetpreterist.com/news-2796.html
    and his website with the latest updates
    http://www.beyondcreationscience.com/

    Walt Hibbard appears to be defending Tim in this piece:
    Thoughts and Selections from Tim Martin’s “Beyond Creation Science: How Preterism Refutes a Global Flood and Impacts the Biblical Origins Debate”
    http://www.preteristviewpoint.com/id61.html

    Of course some Preterists are still trying to hold on to the global flood, taking Genesis’s primeval history chapters more literally than they do the N.T. chapters about the world’s end.

  4. Sproul is treating the age of the earth as an exegetical problem. But there is this nagging thing called “evidence” — of which there is absolutely none that the cosmos was created in only 6 days. It’s one thing to say that the text plainly describes the heavens and the earth as being organized in 6 days (I agree with this), but it is quite another to believe it actually happened like that.

  5. Ed,

    I’m not aware of any interaction between Sproul and Martin’s book. But having edited a major portion of Tim’s book, I am intimately familiar with his arguments. 😉

    Of course some Preterists are still trying to hold on to the global flood, taking Genesis’s primeval history chapters more literally than they do the N.T. chapters about the world’s end.

    Exactly! And that’s why I find my full preterist eschatology so compatible with evolutionary creationism. It’s an amazing fit.

  6. Here’s an interesting article on Sproul’s reasons for converting to YEC.

    And this quote is quite revealing:

    For most of my teaching career, I considered the framework hypothesis to be a possibility. But I have now changed my mind. I now hold to a literal six-day creation, the fourth alternative and the traditional one. Genesis says that God created the universe and everything in it in six twenty-four–hour periods. According to the Reformation hermeneutic, the first option is to follow the plain sense of the text. One must do a great deal of hermeneutical gymnastics to escape the plain meaning of Genesis 1–2. The confession makes it a point of faith that God created the world in the space of six days. [bold emphasis in the original, indicating a quotation from the Westminster Confession of Faith]

    (pp. 127–128 of his three-volume layman’s guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith titled Truths We Confess.)

  7. Anonymous

    “Of course some Preterists are still trying to hold on to the global flood, taking Genesis’s primeval history chapters more literally than they do the N.T. chapters about the world’s end.

    Exactly! And that’s why I find my full preterist eschatology so compatible with evolutionary creationism. It’s an amazing fit.”

    Hi Mike,
    I was originally reading the Sproul article and noticed your comment above. It struck me as very interesting and intriguing because I’ve never considered a link before between full preterism and evolutionary creationism (theistic evolution?) and I’ve never heard anyone else say it this way before. Though I can understand this in a cursory sense as I am familiar with the eschatology debates and the genesis debates, I am actually quite interested to know from your perspective how you see the two fit together and how you explain it?

    arcan_(then an ‘at’ sign)hotmail.com

  8. I encourage you to look at this page, where I talk a bit about the coordination of full preterism and evolutionary creation: http://undeception.com/first-things-and-last-things/

    Let us know what you think!

  9. Arcan,

    Thanks for your question. Stephen does have an excellent article on this subject, so I hope you’ve been able to read it and think on it.

    But, still, I felt odd not responding directly, so here goes:

    I’ve never considered a link before between full preterism and evolutionary creationism (theistic evolution?) and I’ve never heard anyone else say it this way before. … I am actually quite interested to know from your perspective how you see the two fit together and how you explain it?Let’s see if I can scrounge up a simple explanation.

    Evolutionary Creationism, like typical old-earth creationism, does not recognize the Adamic curse as having affected the physical cosmos, only the spiritual state of mankind. If this is so, what reason is there to recreate the cosmos? It is not tainted by Adam’s sin. (Oddly enough, old-earth creationists like Hugh Ross still look forward to a recreation of the cosmos.)

    Full preterism posits that the “old heavens and earth” is not the present-day physical cosmos, but rather a metaphor for the Mosaic economy (i.e., the Old Covenant symbolized by the temple cultus; cf. Isa 41:16; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book III, Chapter 6, Section 4). Likewise, the “new heavens and earth” are not a recreated physical cosmos for which we still hope, but rather the New Covenant in which we currently reside if we are “in Christ” (Gal 4:16; Rev 21:12). If this is so, and we are not to view the cosmos-collapsing language of various OT passages, Matt 24, and Revelation as literal, then there is no looking forward to a physical re-creation of the cosmos, nor does there need to be.

    In both views, the physical cosmos was created “good” (Gen 1), has been “good,” and will remain “good.”

    That’s why EC and FP are so compatible, in a nutshell. (Why does Austin Powers explaining theology on a hotel room bed while in a semi-fetal position suddenly come to mind?)

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