Does an “old earth” make God cruel?
Yet another common argument proposed by creationists is that the theory of evolution turns God into a cruel tyrant. Some go even further and accuse “old earth creationism” of the same, even when it doesn’t include the theory of evolution. For instance, Eric Kemp recently wrote:
How can God call His creation “very good” if there was billions of years of suffering and death in the animal kingdom before humans were created? This notion also makes God into a bumbling, lying, cruel creator who lacks the power to prevent disease, natural disasters, and extinctions to mar His creative work, without any moral cause, but still calls it all “very good.”
How does this make God into a liar? He said it was “very good”; who are we to judge Him? How does this make God bumbling? One could easily make the argument that God is a bumbling fool if He created in the “creationist” manner. “Oops, this model of Archaeopteryx isn’t really working out for me…I’ll let them go extinct and then start over from scratch.”
The argument of God being “cruel” or “impotent” applies regardless of how old the earth is or whether evolution is factual. Indeed, this is one of many reasons why people choose not to believe in God. People get sick. People get injured. People die. God could stop that if He chose to, could He not? He is all-powerful, according to Christianity.
Even if one does view evolution as cruel, etc, does it really matter? We aren’t God. If He chose to create via evolution, it really doesn’t matter what we think about it. God’s character is complex. Let’s face it. The bible teaches that He has thrown plagues against the earth (and shall again), He will eventually demolish the earth in judgment, and ultimately sentence nonbelievers to eternal torment. And yet years of animal death, of all things, is what bothers us about God and His creation in light of these other biblical tidbits?