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The Problem With Al Mohler and His Young-Earth Creationism

Thomas Whitley

In a piece by the Associated Baptist Press Today, Darrel Falk argues against Al Mohler about the age of the earth and historical veracity of the Genesis creation narratives. Falk maintains that

Christian theology doesn't stand or fall on how we understand Genesis 1 or the question of whether Adam and Eve were the sole genetic progenitors of the human race.

Mohler, of course, rejects Falk outright.

Mohler said he agrees that the world "looks old," and that relying solely on naturalistic assumptions he would find evolutionary arguments more persuasive, but "the entire enterprise of Christianity is based on supernaturalistic, rather than merely naturalistic, assumptions."

Much of this confusion could be cleared up if people like Al Mohler and his followers would learn some simple things about the biblical text, such as genre. Understanding the ancient genre of creation narratives helps us understand that these stories are etiological (written to offer an answer to a question such as, "How did we get here?") as opposed to historical.

Falk describes Mohler as a theologian who "subscribe[s] to young-Earth creationism for doctrinaire rather than scientific reasons." Mohler has to deny what good science says about the age of the earth and listen to bunk scientists such as Kent Hovind so that he can maintain a worldview that was never meant to be taken literally.

My late mentor and friend Dan Goodman used to say that our theology had to be in response to reality. If it wasn't, then it lacked integrity, plain and simple. The problem that I have with Al Mohler, Paige Patterson, and all who are in their fray is that they must continue to deny reality so they can maintain certain doctrinal positions as opposed to having intellectual integrity. It is things like this (and their position that women are second-class citizens and their support of biblical genocide and their view that all things intellectual are evil and...ok, I'll stop for now) that led me away from my conservatism and the Southern Baptist Convention. I simply will not disregard my intellectual, moral, and ethical integrity just so I can maintain some religious belief. Doing so would signal to me that it isn't a belief worth having.