Man, I loved "Star Trek: The Next Generation", as a kid. It was fascinating. Creative life forms. Exciting adventures. Lots of unanswered questions. Kind of like our world, in a way, right?
One of the questions that has yet to be satisfactorily answered is, "How old is the earth?" So let's chat...
For a very long time, science and Christians have bickered about the age of our planet. Science has most recently measured it in terms of millions and billions of years based on carbon-dating technology and other means. Many Christians have measured the earth in terms of thousands of years (e.g., 6,000 is commonly hypothesized).
So the lingering question that leads to this tension is, in so many words, "Can we reconcile science and Scripture in this area?"
I don't know if you're aware, but in the conservative, educated, evangelical Christian world, there is actually quite a diverse opinion on the age of the earth. So how do we teach people what the "truth" is and be faithful to the biblical text and to widespread scientific findings? We have to remember that science and Scripture, properly understood, will not contradict each other. If God did indeed create the world, God created it in such a way that it remains constant, sustained by his powerful word, and able to be examined by scientific, measurable and repeatable standards. So what happens when there is not a current reconciling between what Scripture seems to say and what science has demonstrated to seemingly be true?
First, we need to remember a couple things about Scripture.
1. The Bible is always true in everything it intends to claim
2. The Bible is not meant to be a scientific textbook
Thus we are left with two possibilities:
1. Science has not developed to the point that it can positively uphold the "young earth" view
2. Scripture never meant to claim the "young earth" view at all
When I look at Scripture alone the "young earth" view seems most obvious. Yet, from a scientific point of view the "old earth' view seems most possible. So I cautiously side with the "young earth" view.
But, in case you are a "young earth" proponent who is afraid that the "old earth" proponents don't care about careful biblical exegesis, proper scholarship, or that they are trying to destroy the core of what we believe...please, lighten up. :) For most, that is simply not the case.
I eagerly await the day when this will all be cleared up. But until then, let's remember the answer to the question I posed earlier, "How do we teach people what the 'truth' is and be faithful to the biblical text and to widespread scientific findings?"
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