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How Not to Build an Argument Against Young-Age Creation

Wooded mountain in the sun with misty valleys, photo credit: Pat Mingarelli

[Originally published as the closing part of Defending a Young Earth: A Response to Tyler Vela (Part 2). You can read the rest of the series by starting HERE]

In recent days, a talented, skillful, and gracious Christian apologist named Tyler Vela has been advocating in defense of a particular brand of “framework hypothesis.” Although he claims to have “no dog” in the “age of the earth debate,” that has not stopped him from releasing materials attempting to refute common young-age creationist arguments. Each main point will be the argument as stated in Tyler’s article. Below, I will post a direct quote (or quotes) that captures the thrust of his objection and my response below. I will make note of any time I quote Tyler directly within my response.

8. Creationist claim: We see the use of the waw-consecutive construction in the Hebrew which is how Hebrew marks out historical narrative and thus we should take Genesis 1 as literal history.

Tyler Vela’s rebuttal: Like the “rule” listed above, this is simply not a real rule. While the waw-consecutive (also called the vav-consecutive) construction is a well-known feature of Hebrew narrative (or rather Hebrew narration), it is simply not the case that it denotes historical narrative.

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Yet again, I have no idea who to fault. Is it misinformed young-age creationists making bad arguments? Is it Tyler’s failure to carefully research? Is it Tyler’s peers/role models feeding him bad information? Some combination of the three?

Whatever it is, this is not a good argument.

Notice how he worded this objection: “We see the use of the waw-consecutive construction in the Hebrew which is how Hebrew marks out historical narrative…” (emphasis mine.)

This is just not the argument. In fact, recent creationists often make Tyler’s point! We would enthusiastically agree with Tyler’s response. I would modify it to say that the waw-consecutive does not necessarily denote historical narrative, but in principle, Tyler, myself, and the young age creationist community are in full agreement with respect to this “objection.”

Last week, responding to objection three, I referenced the work of Dr. Steve Boyd with respect to the historicity of Genesis. In his paper, Dr. Boyd carefully points out,

…characteristic features of poetry are also found in narrative. The converse is also true: characteristic features of narrative are also present in poetry. We conclude that qualitative descriptions of poetry and prose—although helpful in identifying their genre—do not rigorously distinguish them.

As to the relevance of preterites in Hebrew to his study, Dr. Boyd states the following:

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Preterites with prefixed waw-consecutives must come first in a sentence. If another syntactic element is fronted (it comes first in the sentence instead of the verb to indicate a contrast), the verb cannot be a preterite, but will usually be a perfect. The perfect is normally a nonsequential past tense, although word order constraints demand that it be used in a sequential sense if an explicit subject precedes what would otherwise be a preterite.

Essentially, he is arguing that for the waw-consecutive to even have anything at all to say about a sequential order of past events, it will have to be at the beginning of a sentence. While the quantitative use of preterites is important to the outcome of his statistical analysis, Dr. Boyd has carefully accounted for the distinction that such constructions do not necessarily represent a particular literary genre.

Once again, because this final objection is ultimately based on a strawman fallacy, it too fails.


My objective has two-fold, and I will now take a few final words to reflect on those objectives and hopefully make a lasting impact on you, as a reader of material between young age creationists and those with other persuasions.

First of all, I hope that you have found my response to be both graceful and seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6). I am a part of many Facebook groups in which discussion on this topic is actually banned because of how heated it can be.

I really appreciated the tone of Tyler’s initial article, and I tried to respond in a similar manner. I stand firmly on my view and will not pretend to be tolerant when such simple-to-correct yet egregious errors in reasoning are committed. I hope I accomplished my objective that this article be a grace-filled response while also standing my ground.

In that regard, I hope to be at the forefront of reshaping the conversation between young-age creationists and those with other views.

Secondly, and unfortunately, I hope that my responses have served to demonstrate how grossly misinformed most are about what young-age creationists teach. Yes–it must be admitted that creationists have advanced some very bad arguments over the years. I’ve dealt with many of these myself here.

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Nevertheless, creationist research is rapidly growing and expanding today, and the evidence is clear that evolutionists and old-age-affirming Christians are, writ large, ignorant and unaware of it. Even as I write this article, yet another piece has been written about what Genesis supposedly “actually teaches.” Sadly, many of the same tired arguments have been used.

Last of all, I want to thank Tyler for his heart and passion for Christ and for defending the faith. He and I share some mutual acquaintances, both of whom share different views than both he and myself! To that end, I appreciate how well communication has been fostered.

I can only hope that this response has accomplished my goals — to foster more productive conversation with my brothers and sisters who disagree and to ignite a zeal for learning about what young-age creationists actually teach and what the latest scientific research is showing.

“Science” itself does not demand that we accept what mainstream science teaches, neither do the Scriptures suggest that we go along with what mainstream science teaches. I am not against science — I am against the philosophical undergirding that ultimately drives those views that aim to exalt themselves “against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Against those views, we must firmly stand together.

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Written by Steve Schramm

Steve is an author, speaker, and Bible teacher with a heart for exploring God’s Word and God’s world. He trains Christians to become confident, passionate servants of Jesus, so they can grow in their walk with God and share their faith more persuasively. Enroll in Steve's FREE email course, The Battle for the Beginning, by going to

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