A chapter a day to counter theistic evolution

Books | Demonstrating why Christians cannot worship both God and current scientific dogma
by Stephen C. Meyer
Posted 3/24/18, 12:13 pm

Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique is a 962-page destruction of the well-funded BioLogos campaign to sell macroevolution to Christians. Thoughtful chapters by scholars and scientists show that neo-Darwinism fails scientifically, with neither the fossil record nor genetics undermining the first two chapters of Genesis. Transitional ape-to-human fossils remain conspicuous by their absence, and humans and chimpanzees are not similar at the genetic level. We cannot worship both God and current science dogma.

It was hard to pick out just one element from this comprehensive work, which made WORLD’s short list for 2017 Book of the Year in the Origins category, so here’s the introduction by Stephen C. Meyer, courtesy of Crossway, which reveals many of the book’s components. While pastors and others are unlikely to read this book all in one sitting, a chapter a day will provide the basic understanding needed to refute the demands of Christians who have been taken in by the claim that we don’t have to choose between what the Bible teaches and current academic respectability. —Marvin Olasky

We start our scientific critique of theistic evolution discussing the alleged creative power of the main mechanisms of evolutionary change because theistic evolutionists want to argue that God has worked undetectably through these various evolutionary mechanisms and processes to produce all the forms of life on our planet today. They equate and identify evolutionary processes such as natural selection and random mutation with the creative work of God. Yet, we will argue in the opening section of this book, chapters 1–9, that the main mechanisms postulated in both biological and chemical evolutionary theory lack the creative power necessary to produce genuine biological innovation and morphological novelty.

In chapter 1, Douglas Axe argues that people do not need specialized scientific training to recognize the implausibility of Darwinian (or other materialistic) explanations for the origin of living forms—though he also argues that rigorous scientific analysis reinforces our intuitive conviction that the integrated complexity of living systems could not have arisen by accidental or undirected processes. Consequently, he suggests that people of faith who yield core convictions about the intelligent design of life—out of deference to the supposed scientific authority of spokesmen for Darwinism—do so unnecessarily and with a substantial apologetic cost to their faith.

In chapter 2, I (Stephen Meyer) follow up on Axe’s argument by showing that a rigorous scientific and mathematical analysis of the neo-Darwinian process does, indeed, reinforce the pervasive intuition to which Axe appeals. I show, based in part on some of Axe’s own experimental work, that the random mutation and natural selection mechanism lacks the creative power to generate the new genetic information necessary to produce new proteins and forms of life.

In chapter 3, Matti Leisola extends our critique of the sufficiency of the neo-Darwinian mechanism. He shows, citing some of his own experimental work on DNA and proteins, that random mutational processes produce only extremely limited changes, even with the help of natural selection.

In chapter 4, we briefly shift our focus from biological evolution to chemical evolution, the branch of evolutionary theory that attempts to explain the origin of the first life from simpler nonliving chemicals. In this chapter, organic chemist James Tour shows that undirected chemical evolutionary processes and mechanisms have not demonstrated the creative power to generate the first living cell from simpler molecules. Basing his argument on his extensive knowledge of what it takes to synthesize organic compounds, Tour shows why known chemical processes do not provide plausible mechanisms for the synthesis of the complex bio-macromolecules and molecular machines necessary for life. We should make clear, in introducing his chapter, that Tour does not regard himself as a partisan to the debate over theistic evolution, one way or another. He has, nevertheless, kindly given us permission to publish an abridged version of a previously published essay in order to make more widely known the scientific problems associated with chemical evolutionary theory—in particular, its lack of any demonstrated mechanism for generating the molecular machinery necessary to the first life.

In chapter 5, Winston Ewert shows that attempts to solve the problem of the origin of biological information by simulating the evolutionary process in a computer environment have also failed. Instead, he shows that, to the extent that well-known evolutionary algorithms (computer programs) simulate the production of new genetic information, they do so as a consequence of information already provided to the program by the intelligent programmer who wrote the code—thus simulating, if anything, the need for intelligent design, not the sufficiency of an undirected evolutionary processes.

In chapter 6, I critique the idea that God carefully arranged matter at the beginning of the universe so as to ensure that life would inevitably evolve without any additional intelligent input or activity. In this chapter, I show why this version of theistic evolution, though attractive as a potential synthesis of the ideas of creation and evolution, fails for demonstrable scientific reasons to account for the origin of the information in the DNA molecule—and, thus, the information needed to produce the first life.

Next, in chapter 7, Jonathan Wells shows that, in addition to new genetic information, building new organisms requires information not stored in DNA—what is called “epigenetic” (or “ontogenetic”) information. He argues that this fact alone demonstrates the inadequacy of the neo-Darwinian mechanism. Whereas neo-Darwinism asserts that all the new information necessary to build new forms of life arises as the result of random mutational changes in DNA, developmental biology has shown instead that building new forms of life also depends on information not stored in the DNA molecule. For this reason, the “gene-centric” mutation and natural selection mechanism simply cannot explain the origin of anatomical novelty.

In chapter 8, I team up with Ann Gauger and Paul Nelson to show that many mainstream evolutionary biologists have now rejected orthodox neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory precisely because they recognize that the mutation/natural selection mechanism lacks the creative power to generate novel biological form. In support of this claim, we describe some of the new theories of evolution (and evolutionary mechanisms) that mainstream evolutionary biologists are now proposing as alternatives to textbook neo-Darwinism. Yet we also show that none of these new evolutionary theories invoke mechanisms with the power to produce either the genetic or the epigenetic information necessary to generate novel forms of life.

In chapter 9, Sheena Tyler describes the exquisite orchestration necessary for the development of animals from embryo to adult form. She argues that nothing about these carefully choreographed processes suggests that they might have originated as the result of random mutational tinkering or other undirected processes. Instead, she argues that they exhibit hallmarks of design.

If the evidence doesn’t support the creative power of evolutionary mechanisms, why claim that these mechanisms represent the means by which God created?

For advocates of theistic evolution (where evolution is understood to affirm the third meaning of evolution), the growing scientific skepticism about the adequacy of the neo-Darwinian and other evolutionary mechanisms presents an acute problem, quite apart from the logical and theological considerations outlined above. If many evolutionary biologists themselves no longer agree that the mutation/selection mechanism has the creative power to explain novel biological forms, and if no alternative evolutionary mechanism has yet demonstrated that power either, then the claim that apparently unguided evolutionary processes are God’s way of creating new forms of life is, increasingly, a relic of an obsolete scientific viewpoint. But that raises a question: if the evidence doesn’t support the creative power of evolutionary mechanisms, why claim that these mechanisms represent the means by which God created? Why attempt to synthesize mainstream evolutionary theory with a theistic understanding of creation?

After critiquing versions of theistic evolution that affirm the sufficiency of various naturalistic evolutionary mechanisms, the second part of the science section of the book (chapters 10–17) critiques versions of theistic evolution that assume the truth of universal common descent, the second meaning of evolution discussed above. These chapters also take a critical look at the claims of evolutionary anthropologists who assert that human beings and chimpanzees have evolved from a common ancestor.

In chapter 10, paleontologist Günter Bechley and I examine the logical structure of argument for universal common descent, with a particular focus on what the fossil record can tell us about whether all forms of life do, or do not, share a common ancestor. Though theistic evolutionists often portray this part of evolutionary theory as a fact, even as they may acknowledge doubts about the creative power of the neo-Darwinian mechanism, we have become skeptical about universal common descent. In this chapter we explain why, and use the fossil evidence to illustrate how a scientifically informed person might reasonably come to doubt the arguments for universal common ancestry.

Then in chapter 11, Casey Luskin shows that a wealth of evidence from several different subdisciplines of biology, not just paleontology, now challenges this universal common descent and the “monophyletic” picture of the history of life it presents.

In chapter 12, Paul Nelson argues that the theory of universal common descent rests less upon supporting evidence than upon a number of questionable scientific and philosophical assumptions. He argues that the theory of universal common descent has been insulated from critical testing largely because these assumptions have rarely been questioned.

In this same section of the book, we also offer several chapters challenging the idea that chimpanzees and humans, in particular, share a common ancestor. Chapter 13, by Ann Gauger, explains what is at stake in the debate about human origins. Chapter 14, by Casey Luskin, shows that the fossil record does not support the evolutionary story about the origin of human beings. Chapter 15, by Ann Gauger, Ola Hössjer, and Colin Reeves, shows that the genetic uniqueness of human beings contradicts that story as well. Chapter 16, also by Gauger, Hössjer, and Reeves, challenges theistic evolutionists who claim that evolutionary theory and its subdiscipline of population genetics have rendered untenable any belief in an original male and female pair as the parents of the entire human race.

Finally, in chapter 17 Christopher Shaw, one of the science editors of this volume, concludes this section of the book with an interesting article on the role of bias in science that helps shed light on why so many scientists have found neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory persuasive despite its evident empirical difficulties.

Our critique of theistic evolution does not stop with scientific concerns, however. In the second section of the book, we address philosophical problems with the versions of theistic evolution critiqued in our science section. Given the known scientific inadequacy of the neo-Darwinian mutation/natural selection mechanism, and the absence of any alternative evolutionary mechanism with sufficient creative power to explain the origin of major innovations in biological form and information, we argue that theistic evolution devolves into little more than an a priori commitment to methodological naturalism—the idea that scientists must limit themselves to strictly materialistic explanations and that scientists may not offer explanations making reference to intelligent design or divine action, or make any reference to theology in scientific discourse.

In chapter 18, J. P. Moreland notes that, for good or ill, philosophical assumptions necessarily influence the practice of science. He argues that science and scientists, therefore, need philosophy, but also need to be more self-critical about the philosophical assumptions that they accept, lest they adopt assumptions that impede scientists in their search for the truth about the natural world.

In chapter 19, Paul Nelson and I critique the principle of methodological naturalism and also critique how theistic evolutionists invoke this methodological convention to justify their commitment to contemporary evolutionary theory despite its evident empirical shortcomings. Methodological naturalism asserts that, to qualify as scientific, a theory must explain all phenomena by reference to purely physical or material—that is, non-intelligent or non-purposive—causes or processes. We show that, though many scientists adhere to this rule, attempts to justify methodological naturalism as a rule for how science should function have failed within the philosophy of science. In this chapter we also critique the way theistic evolutionists invoke the God-of-the-gaps objection to reject all nonmaterialistic explanations for the origin of new forms or features of life—that is, we critique the use of this objection as a way of justifying methodological naturalism. Most importantly, we show how methodological naturalism impedes the truth-seeking function of scientific investigations of biological origins, and should, for that reason alone, be jettisoned.

In chapter 20, Stephen Dilley argues that a logically consistent theistic evolutionist should reject methodological naturalism. Dilley notes that methodological naturalism prohibits the use of theology-laden claims and that it denies that non-naturalistic theories (such as intelligent design or creationism) are “scientific.” Yet, he argues, key scientific arguments for evolutionary theory—from the Origin to the present—either rely on theology-laden claims or attempt to provide evidence-based refutations of non-naturalistic theories—thereby, inadvertently implying that such theories do make scientific claims.

In chapter 21, J. P. Moreland argues that adopting theistic evolution undermines the rational plausibility of Christianity. By assuming that only scientific methods and evidence produce knowledge, and that theological and biblical teaching do not, theistic evolutionists propagate a form of scientism that forces theists to constantly revise biblical truth claims in light of the latest scientific findings or theories—however unsubstantiated, provisional, or speculative they may be. In so doing, theistic evolutionists undermine Christian confidence in the teachings of Scripture and contribute to disdain or contempt for Christian truth claims among nonbelievers.

Content taken from Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique, edited by J.P. Moreland, Stephen C. Meyer, Christopher Shaw, Ann K. Gauger, and Wayne Grudem, ©2017. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org.

Stephen C. Meyer

Stephen is director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He holds a doctorate from the University of Cambridge, is a former professor at Whitworth College, and was WORLD’s Daniel of the Year for 2009.

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  • Yokefellow
    Posted: Sat, 03/24/2018 05:37 pm

    While it is admirable that Stephen Meyer and his co-authors defend the Bible and talk about the deficiencies of theistic evolution in a convincing fashion, there is so much more that needs to be said to fully defend the Word of God, and this is revealed through the outstanding work being done by Del Tackett (Is Genesis History) and the scientists and theologians with Creation Ministries, Answers in Genesis and The Institute for Creation Research.  It is critical that the Discovery Institute and these ministries sit down together and work to attain some common understandings regarding origins and how we are to understand Genesis 1-11.  BioLogos can have no voice in this conversation because their message is bankrupt when it comes to investing in the truth as presented by the Word of God.  The battle for the beginning is not a secondary issue for the church. We can not allow naturalism and cultural distance arguments to strip the Church of the great power available to it as long as it stands faithful.  We can see how adopting faulty arguments based on cultural distance have debilitated the Church thru the LGBT conversation.  May we find the courage to begin to correct our course now and be correctly aligned with the Word of God.

  • Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Sat, 03/24/2018 06:22 pm

    AiG et al will need to set aside their views on the theological importance of the age of the Earth in order to find common ground with the Discovery Institute.  Dr. Meyer gives some perspective here.

  • William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Sun, 03/25/2018 02:23 pm

    >>Creation Ministries, Answers in Genesis and The Institute for Creation Research. 

    - I love all of these and get their magazines. All are awesome!

  • William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Sun, 03/25/2018 02:26 pm

    Brendan, Stephen Meyer says "the age of the earth has become a strangely toxic topic". BUT only if you set aside the plain reading of Genesis 1-11 coupled with the research of AIG etc.!

  • Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Sat, 03/24/2018 06:09 pm

    Mr. Olasky's description of the book in question as a "962-page destruction" of BioLogos's claims disturbs me.  It reminds me of the constant barrage of "pwning" and "destruction" of theological opponents on YouTube.  Are we this desperate?

    Christ never sought to destroy dangerous theology. He always presented Himself as is in word and deed. Opposing ideas simply melted in His heat. His crucifixion signaled the greatest theological meltdown in history.

    Theistic evolution will collapse of its own accord as people see the truths that Dr. Meyer outlines above. We do not need to seek to destroy it; we need only to speak and live as Christ-followers.

  • usefull
    Posted: Sun, 03/25/2018 02:36 pm

    Young earth creationists don't have to "set aside" their views to enter into a discussion with others.  I think their views can stand quite well on their own when all begin a real discussion of the actual science.  It is sometimes lost in these thoughts that "Ken Ham et. al." have so many PhD scientists agreeing with them.  Perhaps even more than either the Discovery Institute or BioLogos.  And, if we wait for Theistic evolution to collapse on its own accord, I do not think we see the real danger and damages of the compromise.   Jude challenged us: "ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."

  • Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Mon, 03/26/2018 02:05 pm

    Usefull, I did not say that young earthers need to set aside their views. I said that they need to set aside their views on the theological importance of the age of the Earth.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Sun, 03/25/2018 01:25 am

    God is quite capable of having created all we see, and all that is not visible, in any way He desired. In fact, I believe when He created the earth, the placement of every atom and molecule was intentional. Every layer of sediment “laid down over millions of years,” every “fossil,” the “rate of decay” of Carbon-14:  ALL were created by God in minute detail, for a purpose. That purpose, I believe, was that we humans would be able to look around us and see “evidence” to give us a choice: believe God or don’t believe God. 

    I know folks who I am sure are firmly sold out to the Lord, yet on this one matter of God’s creation exactly as His Word says vs. “science,” they waver. When they say to me, “LOOK at the evidence, the science.  Creation just could not have happened the way Genesis records it!”  my first thought is, “Are you secretly having thoughts that the Resurrection, the Virgin Birth, the Miracles ‘could not have happened’ in the way the Word tells us?”

    If we trust the Lord for our Salvation, I think it is not too much that we also trust that He told us the exact truth about how He created the Universe. If you find that difficult, ask the Lord for the faith you need. 

  • William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Sun, 03/25/2018 02:28 pm

    Old Mike - right on!

  • West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Sun, 03/25/2018 10:34 am

    Thank you World for running this series. I pray that many pastors will read it. Blessings. 

  • William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Sun, 03/25/2018 02:05 pm

    This is a long summary ... but good.

  • not silent
    Posted: Sun, 03/25/2018 05:53 pm

    I like the fact that Christians are engaging in scientific debate.  My degree was in science, and it was always my favorite subject.  Also, it seems to me that, as long as we agree that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, that Jesus is God, and that he is the only way of salvation, surely we can extend grace to our brothers and sisters in Christ who may disagree about certain particulars when it comes to science.  While truth in all things is certainly important, to me sharing the gospel and advancing the kingdom of God come first.

    Others may have had different experiences; but for me, in numerous debates with atheists who claimed great scientific knowledge, I quickly learned not to use terms like "micro evolution" or "macro evolution" because they immediately caused me to lose all credibility.  To stay in the debate, I had to speak their language-and it worked much better to agree that evolution has been proven-WITHIN A GENUS.  (Most of you probably know that living organisms are divided into Kingdom, Phyla, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species. Apparently certain finches were observed evolving to a point where they could no longer mate with each other in a process called "speciation."  They were still finches, but they were considered a different species.)  Even saying that "evolution has been proven within a genus" would usually elicit numerous attempts to bully me intellectually and discredit me on the forum.  However, no matter how many intimidating scientific words they pulled out of their hats, they were stuck with the facts-and they knew it. When they found that they could not discredit me, they would sometimes withdraw; however, it was often harder to dismiss me if we discussed spiritual matters later. (This was all God's leading, of course-I would have never known how to do it on my own.)

    My main goal on those forums was to present truth and light in whatever form God led me to present it.  I used the Bible, but I also had to use logic and other means-in fact, God often showed me how to turn around whatever arguement THEY were using against them.  Unfortunately, history has been full of cases where believers resisted new scientific discoveries because they feared that those discoveries conflicted with what was written in the Bible (i.e., Gallileo); and I don't think that has done much to advance the gospel.  While I am certainly not arguing in favor of Darwinian evolution or theistic evolution-as many have said, even the science is revealing problems with that-if we claim that what we are promoting is science, we should at least be objective enough to consider all the evidence if any new discoveries are made.  

    Some wonderful teaching by various pastors and teachers has convinced me that the Bible is not intended to teach us science.  It is God's love story to humankind, intended to tell us who he is and his plan for us.  While the Bible is certainly TRUE historically and scientifically, it doesn't seem to me to explain the exact process of creation-nor does it explain germ theory or particle physics or navigation. Imagine how long Genesis would have to be to explain all that! In my opinion, we don't need to worry about anything that scientists discover because any LEGITIMATE science will always point to the one who created it.  Besides, the level of scienfic knowledge is always changing as new discoveries are made. 


  • not silent
    Posted: Sun, 03/25/2018 06:02 pm

    Perhaps I should clarify that I don't think science DISAGREES wth the account in Genesis.  I can't imagine why it would.  I just don't think Genesis teaches the SCIENCE of creation any more than the Bible teaches the science of particle physics or metallurgy or medicine.  God has left many mysteries for us to find out for ourselves.  "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings."  Proverbs 25:2 (NIV)

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Mon, 03/26/2018 03:56 am

    I think this new book sounds exciting to read!  I like the idea of using science to confront evolution, like Intelligent Design does. Both Intelligent Design and Creationism are useful tools to take down evolution.  I find the fear of Intelligent Design by some Creationists to be plain ignorant.  I am grateful to World Magazine that they have brought forward intellectuals from both Creationism and Intelligent Design to confront evolution.

  • Allen Johnson
    Posted: Mon, 03/26/2018 05:14 pm

    Do we need to put a "fence" around the Bible to protect it from modern science claims? That is, has a theology arisen that the inerrancy of The Bible must be protected against any scientific claim, or else the framework of our Christian faith will topple like a domino chain reaction? More to the point, do I believe in and follow Jesus because I a priori believe first in The Bible in its full literal sense?

    Or, do I believe and follow Jesus because of the Breath of The Holy Spirit into my spirit, using the apostolic witness of The Bible, and the testiimony of persons that I have come across, to bring me into a living, salvific faith and trust In Jesus?

    I have advanced training in both science ad theology, but my believing in the Person of Jesus is ultimately something I cannot empiracly prove, but rather live out, and in that living walk with Jesus my faith is reconfirmed over and over again.

  • not silent
    Posted: Wed, 03/28/2018 01:17 am

    I’m not sure I understood all you were saying, Allen; but I liked that you asked if we have developed a theology in which we have to protect the Bible from modern science. Obviously, the Bible doesn’t NEED our protection! As you implied, I think this is more about the faith of believers. On the forums where I debated atheists there was a lot of misinformation put out to discredit the Bible and Christianity-and a lot of it seemed specifically designed to make people doubt their faith. I kept running into the same distortions no matter how much I tried to present truth. 

    There is definitely a spiritual battle going on, but science is obviously not the enemy. Science is objective. While faith is of God and ultimately comes by faith, my faith has been greatly strengthened by my debates with atheists about science-in fact, I’m convinced that legitimate science always points towards God. As I said in other comments, I think the Bible speaks the truth about science, but I don’t think it is meant to TEACH science. (I.e., I try not to take a strong stand about young earth or old earth but leave room for both-because I don’t think Genesis tells us the actual science of how the earth began. Nor does it teach us how to navigate on the ocean because it’s not a navigational text-we had to figure that out another way.)  

    Perhaps in a way the Bible and science could be compared to apples and oranges-they can complement each other as fruits, and knowing about one may help you understand the other-but they aren’t the same and knowing about one doesn’t automatically give full knowledge of the other. (Not a perfect analogy, of course.)

  • Jordan Quinley
    Posted: Mon, 03/26/2018 11:46 pm

    I have now had the opportunity to hear interviews with J. P. Moreland and Stephen Meyer on Sean McDowell's podcast. While I think I will stick to shorter books on science-faith topics, I do enjoy the subject and the science, and I love how Christians are thinking deeply about all the implications of certain trains of thought. I think this book was important. I think that it is following the practice of 2 Co 10:5 by "demolishing arguments." Thinking critically about theistic evolution is just a first step, though. I love the hard work done by scientists at creation ministries like Reasons to Believe who go further and assert that as a Christian, you can and must not merely be skeptical of the evolution story, but fully rely upon the truthfulness and authority the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

  • MapleBee's picture
    Posted: Thu, 03/29/2018 07:07 am

    A good summary critique . Too bad most people don't understand evolution is a theory not a fact

    We need more Christians who can do critical thinking to dispell these theoritical methods of evolution.

  • Yokefellow
    Posted: Mon, 04/02/2018 10:04 am

    To Brendan Bossard - When I said that AIG, Creation Ministries and CRI need to sit down with the Discovery Institute to come to some common un derstandings of how we are to understand Genesis 1-11, I didn't mean they had to agree on everything.  However, clearly stating what they do agree on and what they don't agree on and why in a side by side comparison would be helpful.  To see it stated in their own words after specifically engaging one another would be beneficial.  For instance, the only way the Discovery Institute is able to allow for deep time is by disregarding Genesis 1-11 as historical narraitve, which would require a very different interpretation.  How does the Discovery Institute reject the presentation of Stephen W. Boyd (Interviewed in Is Genesis History) regarding Genesis 1-11 being historical narrative.  I would like to see a reasoned and calm discussion of this matter between the differing viewpoints.  Additionally, regarding your statement, "Mr. Olasky's description of the book in question as a "962-page destruction" of BioLogos's claims disturbs me.  It reminds me of the constant barrage of "pwning" and "destruction" of theological opponents on YouTube.  Are we this desperate? Christ never sought to destroy dangerous theology," I would refer to what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: "For though we live in the body,we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, 4 since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly,[c] but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments 5 and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ." 


    To Not Silent - Regarding your statement, "I try not to take a strong stand about young earth or old earth but leave room for both-because I don’t think Genesis tells us the actual science of how the earth began," I would encourage you to rethink that statement.  Genesis does tell us how the earth began.  While scripture doesn't tell us of the intercate details of the "how," neither can science because creation was supernatural, just as the resurrection was supernatural.  The components of "how" creation occurred ultimately are expressed very differently depending on the paradigm you use to govern your exploration.  As Christians, we must decide whether we will use proper interpretational principles of the Word of God to determine our beliefs, and ultimately, whether we will trust the Word of God and allow for the supernatural power of God to be the answer to some questions that will never be answered until we are home with our Father.