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The Age of the Universe--and Days of Creation

Discussion in 'Creation & Evolution' started by Sinai, Apr 4, 2002.

  1. Sinai

    Sinai Well-Known Member

    +15
    Protestant
    The Age of the Universe--and Days of Creation


    [color=dark gold]”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless, void and empty, and darkness was over the face of the deep, and the Spirit or Wind of God hovered over the face of the waters.” [/color]Genesis 1:1-2 gives an overview of the beginning of God’s creation of the universe. Verses 3-31 complete the story of creation, which the Bible sets out as occurring on six days. Did God create the universe in a total of 144 hours of our time, or are other interpretations more likely? Judging from the discussions of this and related questions on various threads on both the CF and other Christian message boards I have seen thus far, there seem to be at least five major theories that have been advanced:


    1. There are those who ignore what the Bible says, or who disbelieve it or discount it. They point out that scientific measurements place the age of the universe as being between 10-20 billion years of age, with the most likely time being about 14-17 billion years of our time. They say that there is no way to reconcile the Bible to the factual evidence, and therefore they choose to ignore at least this portion of the Bible, dismissing it as a fable or a story Moses merely inserted to answer questions from an unenlightened people wandering in the wilderness. Since they tend not to be Christians or Jews and generally do not recognize the Bible as being the word of God, any biblical evidence to the contrary is generally brushed aside and discounted, or is used to support their claim that the Bible cannot really be trusted as being true.


    2. At the other extreme are those who believe the Bible means six consecutive 24-hour periods of time (i.e., 144 hours total), and they choose to ignore, disbelieve or discount the scientific evidence to the contrary, often stating that the appearance of a universe billions of light years across is merely an illusion (much as the fossils and rock strata that appear to be millions or billions of years old were merely “aged” by God to give them the appearance of being ancient), and that God is deceiving us in order to test our faith. Under this theory, the important thing is to not let one’s faith waiver in the face of contrary scientific evidence but rather to stand true to God’s word and one’s faith.

    2A. [color=dark red]One offshoot of this theory is interpreting the scriptures [Psalms 90:4 and 2Peter 3:8] that tell us that “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” as meaning that each day of Genesis should be treated as a thousand years. Under this variation, creation took 6,000 years instead of six days.[/color]

    2B. Another variation off this theory is the Gap theory (also known as the Interval and Restitution theory, the Divine Judgment theory, and the Recreation theory) which was more popular about 50-80 years ago than it is now. The Gap theory is usually largely based upon the fact that Hebrew tends to be more general and less specific than English or Greek. Thus, Hebrew words can often have a wider range of meanings. In the first part of Genesis 1:2 ["and the earth it was formless, void and empty"], the verb hayethah (which is generally translated "it was") can also be translated as "it became." Proponents of the Gap Theory therefore generally claim that Genesis 1:2 should be translated to read "and the earth became formless, void and empty" rather than using the more common translation of the phrase. This theory uses passages (primarily in Isaiah and Ezekiel) regarding the fall of Satan or Lucifer to bolster the theory that the world was created in Gen. 1:1 but became formless and void because of Satan's fall, and then creation continued in verse two. There are, however, some proponents of the Gap theory who go about it slightly differently. Instead of translating hayethah as "it became" they use verse one of Genesis to emphasize that God had created the Earth "in the beginning" of creation, but by verse two, the Earth was formless, void and empty. These persons tend to ignore the fact that Hebrew had no single word for universe and that the Hebrew phrase "the heavens and the earth" is the Hebrew equivalent of the English word universe.


    Then there are those who attempt to reconcile scientific evidence with biblical evidence. Persons who adhere to one of these theories tend to believe that since God is responsible for both the biblical revelation and the natural world, the words of the Bible are true and at the same time are consistent with the facts of nature. In other words, they tend to think that God’s character and attributes are expressed through both channels, and neither negates nor contradicts the other. Theories 3-5 are the primary explanations I have found thus far that attempt to reconcile science and the Bible:

    3. Since the Bible does not specifically say that the six days are consecutive, there are those who assert that each “day” is the time God spoke the next period of creation into existence—but there is an undetermined period of time (possibly lasting billions of years) between each day. In other words, adherents of this theory say there were six days of creation (each of which could be 24 hours—or 1,000 years—or some other period of time) separated by other periods of time. Some who follow this theory also point to the staccato pattern revealed in the fossil record, which indicates that there were periods of time when new forms of life suddenly burst onto the scene.

    4. There are those who point out that the Hebrew word for “day” is yom, which can mean either a 24-hour period of time or an indefinite period of time. Thus, those who follow this theory say that each “day” was of an indefinite period of time (even millions or billions of years) and Christians shouldn’t get caught up in insisting that the Bible means something here that it probably does not mean.

    5. The fifth theory is a more recent one that has been advanced by physicist and Hebrew Bible scholar Dr. Gerald L. Schroeder. He has proposed that the six “days” are in fact six consecutive 24-hour periods of time measured at the speed of outward thrust using Einstein's theory (or law) of relativity and a universal time-clock based on cosmic background radiation and the wavelength of light beginning about the time God initiated creation (what science now calls the Big Bang). Because of time dilation, 144 hours measured at a speed calculated by using such a universal time-clock would be equal to about 15.75 billion Earth-years looking back toward the time of creation.

    What do you think? Do any of these five theories make sense to you? Why or why not? Or do you have a different belief or theory? If so, share it and your reasons here. Thank you.
     
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  2. Corey

    Corey Veteran

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    Sinai, you need to stick with one color. Some of them are glaring to vision and therefore difficult to read.

    Also, from a logical and entirely utilitarian perspective, it is entirely sound to assume that the way we find things is because that is the way they are.

    To demonstrate, is there any difference between a 15 billion year old universe and a universe created last Tuesday that looks exactly like what we would see if it was a 15 billion year old universe. The answer is no. Therefore, we are logically justified in assuming things are the way they appear because that is way there are because Last Tuesdayism is not testable.
     
  3. elephanticity

    elephanticity This appears beneath your name.

    449
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    with the whole day = 1000 years theory is that then you have plants and eon before there is sunlight.

    I have a big problem with theory number one as there a many christians that do accept the physical evidence for the age of the Earth. They can reconcile their faith in God and Christ with physical facts. As i recall they TEND to discount any idea that God would lie to us, so they take the science as they understand it on face value.

    You can cruise the archives of the Talk Origins forum for their actual discussion:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-god.html
    about how evolution and theism are not mutually exclusive.
     
  4. Sinai

    Sinai Well-Known Member

    +15
    Protestant
    Sorry the use of colors made it more difficult to read. I had used them in an (apparently unsuccessful) attempt to make it easier to read, since I feared that a long post outlining various theories would be more confusing if it were all the same color.

    Would it make any difference whether the universe were 15 billion years old or only 15 hours old but looked the same? It might--if you were a person who was interested in history or were curious about how something is or was done. Or if you were a Creator who had a reason or purpose for the creation.

    Could God have chosen to create the universe ready-made and totally complete? I'm sure He could--but both science and the Bible indicate that it was not done that way.
     
  5. Corey

    Corey Veteran

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    Stick with numbered or bulleted points and you won't go wrong. :)

    Here's the point of the argument. I should have made it clearer. There are two principles which I think you do not know. The first is Occam's Razor: all things being equal, the hypothesis with the least number of assumptions is usually the correct. The second is testability; that is, all theories must be testable in some way in order to qualify as science. The universe appears to be 15 Bil yrs old. All the evidence points to this. If it were really 15 hours old and created to appear 15 BYO, then logically we cannot tell the difference between the two. It is not testable. If it is not testable, then it falls to Occam's Razor. The natural original versus the created has more evidence to its favor and thus has less assumptions. Therefore, the logical conclusion is to reject 15-hoursago-ism or any other -ism like it.


    See above for this is wrong.
     
  6. unworthyone

    unworthyone Yes this is me! Like my glasses?

    +1
    Who said God isn't Nature?
     
  7. Corey

    Corey Veteran

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    ...and this relates how to the thread?
     
  8. Sinai

    Sinai Well-Known Member

    +15
    Protestant
    Goseyn has started a thread that sets out seven creation models that are more related to the theory of evolution than they are to the age of the universe, though there appears to be some overlapping. If you are interested in that topic, you may get there faster by clicking here.
     
  9. Catchup

    Catchup Active Member

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    I understand you Unworthyone. What ever the people of this Earth find... and what ever deduction that their discoveries conclude within their minds...They are wrong... if God is not the main part of the equation.

    LOVE
     
  10. Sinai

    Sinai Well-Known Member

    +15
    Protestant

    I'm not sure I understand your comment, Corey. Are you saying that your original question ("Could God have chosen to create the universe ready-made and totally complete?") is wrong? Or are you saying that my assertion that "both science and the Bible indicate that it was not done this way" is wrong?
     
  11. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

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    I'm not Corey, but I'll point out that science can't show us that the universe wasn't created five minutes ago, it can only point out that everything we can observe is consistent with it being much older. If I can borrow from Descartes, it sure seems to me that God wouldn't be likely to give me all these false memories of a past if there weren't one, but...
     
  12. messenjah

    messenjah Veteran

    949
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    That's me

    First off, you can't measure light years past 50 years, second of all the only way the measure the distance of planet is based on their light and size. About the fossils, you said they APPEAR to be millions of year old. Fist, I don't believe that God made them look old, I believe that the flood can do that by itself.

    I don't believe this because I believe that God gave us enough information to come to our own conclusion. It's just that the communists are trying to keep it out of schools.


    Unforunately it says that a thousand years is like a day. This isn't saying that a day is truly a thousand years, it's just saying that time doesn't matter to God. IF it truly said that a day is like a thousand years, then you might be able to come to the conclusion that a day is truly equal to a thousand years. But it says right after that, that a thousand years is like a day so we're back to where we started.

    unfortunately when it says that world was void, it meant that it was unformed and unfilled. Not destroyed. Second of all if Satan fell then why would God look out onto the world on the six day and say it was good? Third of all, when God gave Adam dominion over the earth, was Satan controlling it?

    Where does the fall come into place. With the last two theories the main question is. If God spent a long time to create the world, then when did man fall into sin. If God put us into sin then I don't want to worship Him. You got a real theological problem.

    Again, where does the fall come into play.

    This one I don't even get so I'll not answer on this.

    Finally we agree on something. It can not be possible to take out Genesis and disregard it and still be a believer.

    Just thought I'd say something.

    God bless,
    Jonathan
     
  13. messenjah

    messenjah Veteran

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    Why not? Why is it impossible for God to speak the universe into existance? Is it beyond Him?
     
  14. Psalm6

    Psalm6 New Member

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    I agree with Messenjah...it says somewhere in the Bible(i'll try to find the verse) that everything in the Bible is completely true. God can do anything, and it's not our place to try to understand it all. The most important thing to understand is that God created us all, and we need to get along and not fight about unimportant facts. It doesn't matter who's right or wrong, but who's saved and lost. go to this site, and maybe it will help to open your eyes www.creationevidence.org It opened mine. Maybe you won't believe anything in it, but read EVERYTHING the site has to offer with an open mind, and maybe it will open yours too.

    God Bless
     
  15. Joe Nobody

    Joe Nobody New Member

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    Flaws with 1. Those skeptics and liberal Christians tend to treat the bible with excessive literalism as do fundamentalists. The account was never inteded to relay factual details of creation. Its a reworked creation myth aimed at teaching theological truths. Final Verdict: Misunderstanding the literary genre of the creation story.

    Flaws with two: This view is based upon excessive literalism like the first view. Instead of denying the account as do proponents of the first view above, proponents of view 2 accept the factual details of the creation stry as true scientific descriptions of the earth and universe. This flies in the face of virtually all scientific data. Final Verdict: Misunderstanding the literary genre of the creation story. Contradicts virtually all established facts of science.

    Flaws with two a: Same problems as up above but it takes the view less literally. It interprets the days figuratively but literally as "God's days".

    Flaws with two b: Creates biblical contradictions and is not at harminy with the findings of modern science.

    Flaws with 3: Has not established an exact concordance with modern science by any means.

    Flaws with four: This is virtually the same as number 3 with the exception that the days are actually long as opposed toi the duration of time between them. An exact concordance between the interpretation and modern science has not been estabblished.

    Flaws with 5: Shroeder has problems accounting for the age of the earth in light of Genesis 1:2 with his time dilation view.

    Joe Nobody
     
  16. Psalm6

    Psalm6 New Member

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    Joe, I'm asking an honest question...do you not see any flaws in any of your views?
     
  17. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

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    I'm not sure I agree with this. If I am trying to decide whether I want to use a Roth IRA, or a traditional IRA, the things to take into account are fairly mundane; interest rates, future inflation, and so on. God is not "the main part of the equation" in this picture.

    When I approach scientific matters, I try to do so in a scientific way, trusting in God's judgement; He made me a thinking being, and think I shall.

    Given the choice between believing that the Bible is all, every word of it, literally true, and believing that much of it is metaphor or allegory, I'll take the latter; too much of what happens doesn't fit with the rest of the way God does things now, and I'm inclined to believe that He is very consistent.
     
  18. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

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    Hmm. Even 1 Kings 7:23?

    And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.

    Now, I'm gonan bet you that, if you make a round thing ten cubits across, you'll find that it's 31.415 cubits around, or very close to that. Not 30 exactly.

    In other words, God expects us to think, and understand, and accept that the words written down are not always literal or precise.
     
  19. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

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    No. On the other hand, it's unlike Him to give us false evidence of things that never happened, so I tend to trust the evidence I see before me.

    It's also not impossible that God created the world yesterday, but I'm going to assume that my memories are of things that really happened.
     
  20. Oliver

    Oliver Senior Member

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    :confused: I'm curious here: do you have a reference, or can you explain me (briefly) the alledged reason for this?
     
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