Today I’m tackling the “age of the Earth” debate. This one is tricky for me, as I don’t want to sound like I think I’m superior to anyone. At the same time, I think that strict, semi-literal Creationism is both bad science and bad theology.
I say “semi-literal” because at this point, I don’t know anyone personally who believes that the 6 days in Genesis 1 are strictly literal 24 hour periods. I suppose there must be people who hold that view, but they are not among my friends and acquaintances. By semi-literal, I mean that the Creationists I know believe those “days” are a specific length of time (typically 1,000 years) each. That renders the Earth to be approximately 10,000 years old.
Some months ago, our pastor gave a Sunday message in which he stated that scientists no longer believe that there was an ice age but instead believe the evidence suggests a worldwide “water event” (translation: big flood). The issue here is not really whether or not there was an ice age. The problem is that Creationists are making some pretty big statements about what science has or has not found. If you want to refute science, you have to have a very clear understanding of the actual things scientists really say. That was the same problem I experienced about 15 years ago at another church. In that case, the debate was over evolution. Unfortunately, it became clear that the strict Creationists didn’t have a full understanding of what the theory of evolution does and does not postulate.
I actually don’t have a problem with people choosing to believe that scientists are wrong in their discoveries or interpretations thereof. I may disagree, but everyone has the right to his or her opinion. But if we’re going to debate it, please be prepared with both accurate knowledge of the opposing viewpoint and a better argument than “it’s incorrect because the Bible says so.” (I’ll cover that last one in my next post.)