Those old universe arguments continued to haunt me, even in my YEComfort Zone. During one of my overseas deployments, I engaged in some friendly email conversation with an irenic atheist, who desired to prove to me the strength of evolutionary theory, both biological and cosmological. Many of his arguments for an old universe were compelling, despite my best attempts to hide behind the Institute for Creation Research
It was about this same time that my father sent me several books written by progressive creationist Hugh Ross, one of which was Creation and Time. Although Ross’ approach to Genesis 1 was intriguing, I felt uncomfortable with his concordism, which seemed forced in many places, e.g., the “creation” of the sun and moon on Day 4 as actually a “revealing” of these two astronomical bodies as the earth’s thick cloud cover began to disperse. The real nail in the coffin, however, was Van Bebber and Taylor’s Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, which made very clear to me that progressive creationism’s requirement for animal death prior to the Fall of Adam directly contradicted Scripture (cf. Romans 5:12).
About the same time, ICR began promoting Dr. Russell Humphreys’ white hole cosmology, which attempted to reconcile an apparently old universe with a young earth using the theory of gravitational time dilation. The opportunity to accept scientific findings pointing to a universe billions of years old was freeing, especially considering it allowed me to maintain a literal reading of Genesis. However, Humphreys sometimes revealed a tendency toward forced concordism, with which I was not terribly comfortable. Still, it appeared to be the best of both worlds for many years ..
Like many young children, some of my earliest memories were of dinosaurs. Growing up in the early ’70s, the television series “Land of the Lost” and “The Flintstones” captured my imagination. My fifth birthday party featured a dinosaur cake and pin-the-tail-on-the-brontosaurus. The local library, located mere minutes from my front door, provided me with hours of learning opportunities. I devoured anything and everything that was written about those long-extinct creatures. It didn’t even matter if the material was geared toward children or adults. (I actually preferred the adult books—as long as they had neat pictures in them—because they provided me with so much more information.) The only thing I enjoyed more than correcting my Kindergarten teacher’s pronunciation of dinosaur names was reveling in the mysteries surrounding those “terrible lizards”: Were they cold-blooded or warm-blooded? Did they use their tails for balance or did they drag them on the ground behind them? Was Archaeopteryx really the missing link between birds and dinosaurs?
Oddly enough, one of those controversies didn’t faze me, despite my Evangelical upbringing. I was still too young to recognize the contradiction between what I was reading and what my Sunday school class was teaching me. It wasn’t until several years later that I began to ask my parents how to resolve what I understood to be a relatively recent creation of the heavens and earth with what those evolutionists were asking me to accept. Enter Henry Morris . . .
For Christmas, my father gifted me with Morris’ The Genesis Record. Although I was only 9 years old at the time, I devoured Morris’ young-earth creationist tome. Soon afterward, I obtained a free, trial subscription to the Creation Research Society Quarterly journal. Before long, I was a die-hard apologist for young-earth creationism (YEC). Not surprisingly, my classwork soon reflected my new-found paradigm. Although my research paper on dinosaurs provided the reader with the “fact” that dinosaurs were subjected to mass extinction 65 million years ago, I did not pass up the opportunity to footnote that statement with the following: “Of course, we know this not to be true. According to Genesis, God created the world (including dinosaurs!) approximately 6,000 years ago.” I even put a Michigan State University paleontologist on the spot during an interview, hoping to gain an admission that evolutionists were guilty of circular reasoning in their attempt to date rock layers by the fossils they contained, and date fossils by the rock layers in which they were found.
As a teenager, my family visited Utah’s Dinosaur National Monument; it was no surprise that I attempted to argue with the paleontologists conducting our tour. We also stopped by Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose, Texas, to view the alleged human footprints crossing dinosaur tracks in the limestone beds of the Paluxy River. (The woman tending the gift shop had no knowledge of these recent creation proofs, so we never got to see them first-hand.)
By the time I attended college, I had discovered the Institute for Creation Research‘s free, monthly YEC tract Acts & Facts. Morris’ The Biblical Basis for Modern Science and Scientific Creationism were added to my library. They would serve as perfect tools to convert my Catholic evolutionist roommate. I quickly discovered that converting an engineering major wasn’t so easy . . .