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The Young Versus the Old December 24, 2010

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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I’m talking about our planet earth, and it’s age. How old is the earth anyway? According to science, our planet is approximately 4.5 billion years old. Within the scientific community, there really is no debate worth considering over this, as the facts and evidence to support this estimate are well documented and tested.

On the other hand, there are many people, especially in the United States, who believe that our planet is somewhere between six to ten thousand years old. The scale of difference between 4.5 billon and 6 thousand is not even worth writing down (.0000013). Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

So why do people believe this young and very absurd age? Because they were told that the biblical story of Genesis pinpoints the beginning of the earth, God’s creation, at about 6,000 years ago. That’s it. God did it, they believe it, end of story. Science be damned, they say. Although, to be fair, I think that most of these people just don’t want to challenge religious doctrine, or biblical stories.

But this also poses what I consider a serious problem for Christians who hold either the young earth or old earth position. Yes, there are Christians who reject the young earth idea, and adopt an old earth version of creation, which they somehow have decided matches very well with science. Go figure. The problem is that only one of these positions can be true, and Christians do not agree with each other.

So, what if Genesis is just a metaphor for how God created the earth, and science has it about right? Well, Christians still get to believe that God did all of this work, and they can rest easy knowing that science is finally catching up to the truth of God’s creation. But if they believe the rigid accounting from The Bible as accurate, then they must hold that the earth is much younger than science thinks it is. This of course creates all sorts of problems for scientists if it is true, but whatever.

One thing I would like to add to this is the fact that I personally know Christians on both sides of this issue. And when I challenged them to this obvious difference, I was astounded to hear them both agree that this difference in no way affects their salvation! What? Seriously? Apparently I am supposed to sit back in awe of Christian knowledge of scripture and science catching up to scripture, and just ignore this magnanimous, blunderingly sad excuse for an explanation?

Christianity holds that accepting Jesus is the way to eternal life and salvation after we die, as well as the horrific fiery torture and burning in hell for not believing. So when people like myself want to find out why we should accept Jesus as our savior, we are expected to suspend all critical thinking and only be concerned with salvation? Is that it, really? And if this is true, then I ask this simple question:

Why do Christians care about anything in scripture that does not speak directly to the faith-based acceptance of Jesus for one’s salvation? And please don’t try to tell me that every word in scripture matters, if you can’t agree on how old the earth is based on scripture.

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1. bradley - December 26, 2010

I don’t necessarily think Genesis is just a metaphor… or at least not intended to be. I don’t really know. It could have been the legend passed down for generations. It could have been the actual process of creation. We’ll never really know. We can’t really repeat the event in order for science to say for sure. And, I believe the last known survivor from the 10k yr old version, or the multi-billion yr version died back in March. It could have even been intended to be a metaphorical space holder until Man learned more. I don’t know. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out any one of those possibilities is the correct answer. I’ve seen some amazing things.

As your friends have said, that isn’t a crucial element of my salvation. How can this be? For some it may be. Some require the whole bible to be 100% fact in order to believe any of it. Personally, and probably foolishly I might add, I tend to accept the bible piece by piece as Truth, as I discover them to be so. People are all different and I believe God uses different ways to reach them. The NT is filled with Jesus showing individuals exactly what they needed in order to believe. People are just different… praise God for that. It’s a frightening realization to hear people in this country say things like, “Come let us make bricks… (and they had brick for stone)” Genesis 11:4 You a big Floyd fan at all?

So how can Christianity be correct if people think differently within it? You kind of have to read the whole bible, or at least the NT to understand but here are a couple of verses if you can infer (1 Corinthians 1:9-15)(Romans 1:1-12). There are better passages but these sum it up nicely for me, at least.

So then why not just pay attention to the Jesus parts? Well, a person can if he/she wants, I suppose. It is most essential that we understand what Christ did for us. If we don’t understand that, then there really is no gospel. It’s just another religion that requires another deity to worship. But if we only retained the “essentials”, we would miss out on everything else the bible has to offer. “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.(2 Timothy 3:16-17)” Every little piece of it is good for something. Some things I believe are better suited for different times during the revelation to Man, but useful none the less. That’s why I believe the way I approach the bible is foolish at times. I believe full well that I should test everything to determine if it’s from the Lord, but I think I miss out on a lot of stuff that was intended for me because of my lack of faith… or trouble could have been avoided.

I hope this sheds a little light. If it does then you could help share with the other atheists that have these question. Maybe you can clear up a little confusion for them. 😉

2. bradley - December 26, 2010

In my haste is screwed up… Romans 14:1-12 is the correct passage. 😀


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