The sermon at my friend's church this morning was about Genesis 1. They are starting a 40-week series surveying the Old Testament. Anyways, during the sermon, the pastor made a statement that I hear a lot.
"It doesn't really matter what you believe about the age of the earth -- young-earth or old-earth."
I beg to differ. Here are three reasons why I think it most certainly does matter:
1. When Christians say that the Bible teaches the earth is 6,000 years old to a non-Christian, if the non-Christian has even a rudimentary understanding of science (or has ever visited the Grand Canyon), they will immediate think that the Bible teaches complete and utter scientific nonsense. Why? Because whether they know it or not, most non-Christians intuitively know that if the Bible is true then it should be consistent with what learn from nature. So when Christians tell non-Christians that the earth is 6,000 years old, how can the conversation ever get to the Gospel when it totally shuts down in Genesis 1?
2. When Christians teach their children (e.g. homeschoolers) that the earth is 6,000 years old, they are setting them up for a crisis of faith later in life. What will happen once they leave the home only to discover the pack of misinformation they have been sold in the name of Jesus? The next question in their minds is going to be, "I wonder what else I can't trust about the Bible?"
3. God has revealed information about Himself and His character through the creation. How much do we miss out on learning about our Creator when we fail to learn about His creation with depth and sophistication? I am generally suspicious that whenever people say debates about the age of the earth "don't matter" that it is actually a front for laziness.