Grey Thoughts
Eigesis of Old Earth Creationists
When interpreting the bible, the correct method is to let the bible inform you of what it means (Exegesis), as opposed to imposing your own outside ideas and beliefs on the meaning of the text (Eigesis). Answers in Genesis has an incredible list of Old Earth Creationists who have admitted they use eigesis in reinterpreting the obvious meaning of Genesis 1-11 and the age of the earth.

Consider what this eigesis really means? It means that thousands of years of biblical believers would be unable to 'correctly' interpret genesis 1-11, as the meaning of the text is not contained within it's words, but can only be properly known when you consider recent 'scientific' theories about the age of the earth. This alone is a massive issue (ignoring all the other theological issues of an old earth), but it is worse than that. Scientific theories change. If we take this approach to biblical interpretation, we can have no assurance of believing anything in the bible, whether it agrees with science or not. This is the inescapable conclusion of trying to attach ultimate authority in science, not the bible.

Here are the comments of people who are leaders in Christian apologetics and theology. AIG has references for each of them.
Dr. Gleason Archer (Old Testament professor):

From a superficial reading of Genesis 1, the impression would seem to be that the entire creative process took place in six twenty-four-hour days. If this was the true intent of the Hebrew author … this seems to run counter to modern scientific research, which indicates that the planet Earth was created several billion years ago.1

Dr. James Montgomery Boice (pastor and Bible scholar):

We have to admit here that the exegetical basis of the creationists is strong. … In spite of the careful biblical and scientific research that has accumulated in support of the creationists’ view, there are problems that make the theory wrong to most (including many evangelical) scientists … Data from various disciplines point to a very old earth and an even older universe.2

Dr. C. John Collins (Old Testament professor):

First, it is true that modern geology does not depend on Scripture (it isn’t true that it ignores it, though: many works cite James Ussher’s chronology for the world). But this is a far cry from saying that it sets itself in opposition to the Bible. In fact, most of the pioneering geologists in early nineteenth-century England were pious Anglicans—some were clergy.3 It would only be right to say that geology opposes Scripture if we were sure that Scripture requires us to believe that the world is young—and the early geologists thought the Bible gave room for other possible interpretations.4


There are plenty of technical details on both sides [of radiometric dating and the question of the age of the earth], and I don’t pretend to know how to assess them. However, I am confident in saying that Dalrymple5 has played fair with people he disagrees deeply with … I conclude, then that I have no reason to disbelieve the standard theories of the geologists, including their estimate for the age of the earth. They may be wrong, for all I know; but if they are wrong, it’s not because they have improperly smuggled philosophical assumptions into their work.6

Dr. Norman Geisler (philosopher and seminary president):

The problem is deepened by the fact that there is prima facie evidence to indicate that the days of Genesis are indeed twenty-four-hour periods. … Most scientific evidence sets the age of the world at billions of years. The age of the universe is based on the speed of light and the distance of the stars as well as the rate of expansion of the universe. Early rocks have been dated in terms of radioactivity and set at billions of years old. Simply given the rate that salt runs into the sea and the amount of salt there would suggest multimillions of years.7

Dr. Meredith Kline (Old Testament professor):

In this article I have advocated an interpretation of biblical cosmogony according to which Scripture is open to the current scientific view of a very old universe and, in that respect, does not discountenance the theory of the evolutionary origin of man. But while I regard the widespread insistence on a young earth to be a deplorable disservice to the cause of biblical truth, I at the same time deem commitment to the authority of scriptural teaching to involve the acceptance of Adam as an historical individual, the covenantal head and ancestral fount of the rest of mankind, and the recognition that it was the one and same divine act that constituted him the first man, Adam the son of God (Luke 3:38), that also imparted to him life (Gen. 2:7).8

Dr. Gordon Lewis (theology professor) and Dr. Mark Demarest (theology professor)
Gordon Lewis and Bruce Demarest argue for the day-age view, concluding that “ultimately, responsible geology must determine the length of the Genesis days.”9

Dr. Pattle Pun (biology professor at a Christian college):

It is apparent that the most straightforward understanding of the Genesis record, without regard to all of the hermeneutical considerations suggested by science, is that God created heaven and earth in six solar days, that man was created in the sixth day, that death and chaos entered the world after the Fall of Adam and Eve, that all of the fossils were the result of the catastrophic universal deluge which spared only Noah’s family and the animals therewith.10

Dr. Bruce Waltke (Old Testament professor):

The days of creation may also pose difficulties for a strict historical account. Contemporary scientists almost unanimously discount the possibility of creation in one week, and we cannot summarily discount the evidence of the earth sciences.11

Dr. John Sailhamer (Old Testament professor):

I’m convinced that the arguments I cite in Part Two not only point the way to a proper understanding of the first two chapters of Genesis, but they also enable us to live in peace with the findings of modern science.12

Dr. Wayne Grudem (Theology professor):

Although our conclusions are tentative, at this point in our understanding, Scripture seems to be more easily understood to suggest (but not to require) a young earth view, while the observable facts of creation seem increasingly to favor an old earth view.13

Dr. J.P. Moreland (Philosophy professor):

The date of creation is a difficult question, but on exegetical grounds alone, the literal twenty-four-hour-day view is better. However, since the different progressive creationist views are plausible exegetical options on hermeneutical grounds alone, then if science seems to point to a universe of several billions of years, it seems allowable to read Genesis in this light.14

Dr. Millard Erickson (Theology professor):

At present, the view which I find most satisfactory is a variation of the age-day theory. There are too many exegetical difficulties attached to the gap theory, while the flood theory involves too great a strain upon the geological evidence.15

It is shocking that such intelligent people are willing to throw out biblical authority because they are cowed by the fallible theories of man.

Update: Dr Collins has pointed out in comments that the quotes provided by AIG do not show him to be using eisegesis, and I agree. Although I may still disagree with what he says in the quotes, the are not the same as the clear cut admissions of the others. I extend my apologies to Dr Collins for my inclusion of him in my remarks. I have left his quotes in the list for completeness sake.
Have you read any of Dr. Sailhamer's works on Gen 1-2? I believe that you would find that his interpretation is stictly based exegetically on the Hebrew text.

I would implore you to be careful about making a comment about this man "throwing out biblical authority." I can't speak to the others, but Dr. Sailhamer's view sees the text as its only authority.

Along with yourself and Dr. Sailhamer, it is my desire to see evangelicals not merely hold to the inerrancy of the Bible, but also its sufficiency.
See here for AIG's review of Dr Sailhamer's work.

Another review is here
Hey Alan, and Josh,

I just want to commend both of you guys, even with differing perspectives, on recognising that this issue is important, and not giving pat-answers for it. I'm tired of seeing it posed as a fight, when it should be instead Christian brothers and sisters seeking the truth. It clearly does matter (something often not acknowledged), as doctrines such as the Atonement are under threat (re: old-age interpretations almost unavoidably imply death before sin, seemingly rendering Christ's sacrifice irrelevant). I'll continue to look into both positions.

God bless,
Dear Sir,

I am one of those quoted in the Answers posting. As a matter of fact, the quotations are taken out of context: I really do have exegetical, Hebrew-based reasons for the position I have taken, and I offer them in chapter 5 of the book (the quotations are from chapter 15). I do not say you will like what I say, only that it is not as simple as they try to make it.

I have notified AiG and asked them to fix what they say to be a more fair representation of what people think.

I would urge you not simply to take their word for it when it comes to what other folk think. Ou r responsibility as Christians is to speak the truth, not just to one another, but about one another.

With every best wish,

C. John Collins
Professor of Old Testament
Covenant Theological Seminary
St Louis, Missouri (USA)
Dr Collins, Thank you for taking time to post. In reading the quotes provided, I believe that your quotes are the least indicative of the eisegesis that AIG were talking about.

I included the whole list for completeness (and perhaps laziness) sake. That you were still included, even though there was no solid quotes was wrong of me, in light of my final paragraph. I will update my post to reflect this.

You have my apologies.
God Bless
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