One of the often-quoted verses about creation is Romans 1:20. This verse is presented below in three translations.
KJV – For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
NASB – For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
AMPLIFIED – For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity have been made intelligible and clearly discernable in and through the things that have been made—His handiworks. So [men] are without excuse—altogether without any defense or justification;
This verse is used to show how a loving God can hold innocent, uninformed people accountable. What does this verse have to do with the creation debate?
Henry Morris, in his book Biblical Creationism, states of verse 20, “The basic laws controlling all the processes through which they interact (that is, the laws of energy and entropy” demonstrate the necessary fact of their primeval supernatural creation by God’s “eternal power.”” Later in the same paragraph, he explains the relation of space and time to demonstrate the analogy to the triune Godhead. All this is clearly perceived in the creation. Thus, young earth creationists agree that the laws of science are clearly perceived in the creation.1 Then why do they reject these laws?
Yes, the truths of creation are crystal clear to old earth creationists, but clear as mud to young earth creationists. Why do I say this? When old earth creationists examine the universe and our world, the evidence is clearly billions of years old. However, when young earth creationists examine it, they have to twist and contort the data to make it fit their model of a 6,000 year old earth. They reject the principles of Romans 1:20.
Consider radiometric dating. The scientific principles behind radiometric dating are clearly understood. Radiometric dating is accepted by all scientists as presenting reliable dates for the age of the earth. For a scientist who accepts radiometric dating, Romans 1:20 works perfectly…it is clear that a simple reading of the evidence supports billions of years. God’s creation gives an easy to read testimony to its age.
However, young earth creationists have a huge problem with radiometric dating, so much so that they created a committee to study the problem and come up with a solution. The RATE Group, or Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, was set up in 1998 to study how the data can be interpreted to give support to their claim that the earth is only 6,000 years old.2 Why do they need a committee (that so far has lasted for six years) to interpret the data, when God said that these things are “clearly understood?”
For the RATE Group, and young earth creationists, Romans 1:20 does not work. The verse says that the testimony to his eternal power is clearly discernable through the creation, yet the RATE Group was set up to do a multi-year study of how radiometric dates can be in error. For young earth creationism, the age of the earth is not “clearly discernable” in the creation…they have to study ways to twist the scientific facts to fit their theory of a young earth. That’s not what Romans 1:20 says!
The same thing is true of many of the issues in science. Many areas of scientific facts (facts, not theories), such as the principles of Geology, which we can see operating in today’s world, should be “clearly discernable” in the creation. Again, it is clear that these geologic processes give overwhelming evidence for an old earth. However, look at the efforts expended by young earth creationists to try and offer an alternative explanation to these processes. They take these “clear” processes and twist them until they support their view of a young earth. This violates Romans 1:20…no twisting or manipulating of the data is required to support an old earth. God said these things are clearly understood. In other words “What you see is what you get.” Yes, the earth is old!
When scientists look at the world and our universe, it is obvious to them that it is billions of years old. Using Romans 1:20, the obvious, clearly perceived facts from the creation must be the truth. The fact that young earth creationists have to form a committee for six years to argue against a scientific principle, is evidence in and of itself that the earth is old.
When Christians complain and argue that the earth is young, the world, and in particular, scientists, view us as uneducated radical extremists who twist the facts of science to their own conclusions. Scientists are not evil, anti-Christians trying to bury God…they are merely reporting what they see. According to Romans 1:20…they are right! In essence, young earth creationists have rejected the truth of Romans 1:20.
1 Biblical Creationism: What Each Book of the Bible Teaches About Creation and the Flood, Henry Morris. Master Books Edition, First Printing, March 2000. Page 163