Introduction: Blindsided into Debate
I was attending a Christian conference and staffing an Answers in Genesis booth. As I walked around to look at the other booths at the beginning of this conference, a man quickly came up to me (from his booth), even though there was a crowd waiting to speak with him. He evidently felt the need to confront me (in front of the crowd at his booth) because he saw that I was wearing an Answer in Genesis conference badge.
In a hostile tone, the first thing out of his mouth was something akin to, “Is Answers in Genesis here at the conference? Well, I guess I am going to have to find your booth and set you straight about the age of the earth!”
Perhaps you are thinking, “I’m glad I wasn’t in that situation.” Well, I don’t like those situations either! But for some reason, I tend to be in the middle of debates way too often. What ran through my head was, “How did I get myself into this situation? I was only walking through the conference halls!” But I realized there was crowd of people staring as this man began his diatribe, so there I was, blindsided and thrust into a debate.
Needless to say, 2 Timothy 2:24–25 and 1 Peter 3:15 say to always be prepared to give an answer and be ready in season and out of season to rebuke and correct with gentleness and patience. I realized this “out of season” debate was going to occur, but I still need to do it with gentleness, while being bold.
I asked this man, “In the context of the first marriage between Adam and Eve, do you think Jesus was wrong in Mark 10:6 when He said that God made them male and female at the beginning of creation? Or do you believe that the creation has been around for 13 billion years and marriage first came about at the end of creation a few thousand years ago with Adam and Eve?”1
For the reader, allow me to explain why I asked the question this way. If you start with the Bible, Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day of creation. So Adam and Eve were created about five days after the initial creation event on Day One. Then if you add up the genealogies from Adam to Jesus you get a few thousand years (about 4,000 years). Most chronologists agree on this point.
But all Christians who have bought into an old earth have much more than 4,000 years between creation and Christ. They insert about 13.7 billion years between the creation event that they call the big bang and the marriage between the first human male and female. They further state that Adam and Eve only showed up a matter of thousands of years ago. So all old earth scenarios have marriage (between a human male and female, which first began with Adam and Eve) about 13 billion years after creation, which is the end of creation, nowhere near the beginning of creation.
Returning to questioner, it was apparent that he was not ready for that question. What I did was contrast his stated position against what Christ had said. And this man knew it right off the bat. So did the crowd watching. They wanted to hear his answer, and so did I.
Realizing he was trapped in a “catch-22,” this man immediately changed the subject to talk about what secular scientists believe about the age of the earth. I wasn’t going to let him do that. He needed to address what Jesus said.
So I again kindly asked, “Was Jesus wrong in your view?” This man, who was so confident and aggressive, began to squirm right where he stood. And he responded, “I don’t want to deal with that.”
At this point, I concluded our conversation by saying, “That is the crux of the issue: either you trust God’s Word, or you don’t.” Hopefully, it was apparent to the crowd that this man was not standing on what Christ said in His Word but was clinging to outside influences and did not want to address what Christ had said. Frankly, I was nervous, but I was being bold and seeking to be kind and gracious.