If you dare to entertain the possibility that Genesis does not explicitly teach a young universe and Earth, the next thing you know you'll be doubting the Resurrection of Christ.Sometimes (as by Ken Ham) it is even suggested that belief in an old Earth is at the top of a slippery slope to denying the faith altogether. I wonder, when I hear the words slippery slope, whether the person making the claim realizes that there is an informal logical fallacy that goes by this very name. When someone wrongly claims that there is a necessary logical connection between belief in Idea A and subsequent belief in Idea B, he has committed the Slippery Slope Fallacy.
Another young-earth creationist, John MacArthur, commits this fallacy as follows, both in the text and on the dust jacket of his 2000 book Battle for the Beginning...
Evangelicals who accept an old-earth interpretation of Genesis have embraced a hermeneutic that is hostile to a high view of Scripture. Those who adopt this approach have already embarked on a process that invariably overthrows faith.MacArthur is much more widely respected (than Ham), but his argument here is every bit as fallacious. This is really an emotional appeal, by which he hopes to scare young Christians away from exploring the issue (from seeking truth on the basis of reason and evidence). But MacArthur later refuted himself on this (though I'm not sure whether he ever realized it).
You see, I later heard a tape of MacArthur speaking on the subject of biblical inerrancy. And he prefaced his remarks by lamenting the passing away of James Montgomery Boice, whom he called 'the greatest defender of inerrancy of our generation.'
Can we agree that someone considered the greatest defender of biblical inerrancy of our generation would be someone with a high view of Scripture? Can I suggest to you that Boice died without ever renouncing his faith in Christ, an event that 'invariably' follows acceptance of an old earth, according to MacArthur?
And yet here's what Boice believed about the age issue, taken from his Volume 1 expository commentary on Genesis 1-11 (of which my hardback copy runs to 464 pages)...
...we have suggested that any view that makes the earth a relatively new thing (on the order of twelve thousand to twenty thousand years old) flies in the face of too much varied and independent evidence to be tenable. Some would dispute this, of course. But in my judgment the earth and universe are indeed billions of years old.Of course, there are--and have been throughout church history--many, many others who maintain an extremely high view of Scripture and who have a strong Christian faith and yet deny that Genesis teaches a universe and earth only thousands of years old. And so MacArthur's argument is shown to be a classic example of the slippery slope fallacy.