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Biblical Basis for an Old Earth
  • MrDunsapy December 2011

    Simon

    This is what the bible says , about knowing  the word of God.

    Psalm 1:1-2

    New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

    Psalm 1

    Psalm 1
    1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

    2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.


    Joshua 1:8

    New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

    8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful


    So it really needs to be studied. It is not just a superficial look at it.

  • Michael December 2011

    None of us are saying that we should not study the bible. A christian must and we do.


    However we should seek for what the Bible DOES say and not what it does not. It does not tell us about science  and that has been known for millenia

  • GavinM December 2011
    MrDunsapy, regarding your earlier interest in the creation order being backed up by science I do have to ask which account you are meaning? The early chapters of Genesis present us with two chronologically contradictory accounts. This plus the fact that modern discoveries in both history and science do not agree with either account in terms of blow-by-blow events lead me to think that to read Genesis is such a way is to be missing the point of what it is really trying to say.

    This motivates me to study the texts further and to find ways to interpret them in their proper context. As others have suggested here this includes the wider context in which they were initially written and presented in and what are the important theological truths they are speaking to us all today.

    The 'science' in the creation accounts in Genesis are very much products of the understanding of their times which we are under no obligation to uphold today. We do not spend endless hours attempting to uphold the ancient Hebrew version of the universe (flat earth, canopy, waters above and below) so why should we be attempting to uphold the corresponding cosmological origins views presented as part of that?

    If we think of the story of creation as a grand play if we hold on too tightly to the incidental details like the ancient cosmologies utilised by Genesis (the stage as it were) we will end up ignoring or diminishing the purposes of God and His creation (the actors) and miss out on the important points of the story.

    Taking scripture seriously does not require us to read into it and twist in every piece of modern discovery in order to preserve its accuracy. Instead we look for its deeper truths and  this needs us to step back and 1) acknowledge its ancient source and understand why people wrote it in the way they did and 2) consider what is it that we are really meant to be learning from the Scriptures. God did not 'feed in' future knowledge into the Bible so that here in the 21st century we might go "Aha! Of course!" but He gifted us the Scriptures to learn more of the character, heart, mind and purposes of the Creator. He spoke through and using the people and cultures of their times. To try to enforce current knowledge (that will itself be different in 100 or 1000 years time) onto an ancient text does a great dishonour not just to God's intentions in speaking to us through the Bible but also to all the many writers, prophets and scribes that He choose to do so through.
  • MrDunsapy December 2011

    Hi Micheal

    "None of us are saying that we should not study the bible. A christian must and we do.


    However we should seek for what the Bible DOES say and not what it does not. It does not tell us about science  and that has been known for millenia"

    I am not singling anyone  out saying they don't study the bible enough. What I really mean to say is that the bible says more about science then many realize. And what it says, is correct even under heavy scrutiny of the scientists today. Though the bible was written thousands of years ago, it is up to todays understanding of the science. and actually is beyond many scientists today. Many think 'evolution' for example is something real. But in reality, there are no facts that support that. The bible says there are 'kinds' of life. The scientists use species.  That was written down thousands of years ago. There are no transitional animals found in the fossil record. You would not expect to find any in creation. So fossils support creation. We use the term mankind, showing that there are no almost humans and no ex-humans. 

    The facts all of us know about is that:

    1 life comes from life

    2 a human comes from humans 

    3 there is design in life.

    The bible supports all 3 of these facts. 

    The mainstream scientists go against all 3 facts.

    So here again the bible supports the science. Its just that you have to watch out for the scientists.

  • Michael December 2011
    Yup, we need to watch out for scientists in Christians in Science and the Faraday Institute then? Do we?
  • SimonSimon December 2011

    Thanks Gavin, it's nice to hear someone
    else's explanation of the same idea!



    MrD - two things you wrote struck me as
    interesting:



    But to have a real faith,  you have to have a confidence in the
    bible based on accuracy,and truthfulness in the writings.



    I think this sentence might represent the
    centre of our disagreement. I have confidence in the bible being both accurate
    & true when it comes to theological matters. When it comes to science there
    are certainly bits of text that correspond with the natural world, but since
    the purpose of the bible is not to be a textbook I am not troubled by the huge
    amount in the bible that does not correspond to the natural world. You, on the
    other hand, seem to be saying that you need total correspondence for "real
    faith". I think this is an enormous error, and indeed if it were the case
    I would have quit being a Christian many years ago.



    If science did contradict creation, you
    would have to wonder how God got it wrong. That would diminish what the bible
    said. Also there are ones that need those proofs to be there. Other wise , it
    could be a blind faith.



    Again, like you, I do not think science can
    contradict Christian theology. However the fact is that there is so much in the
    bible that (if taken literally) contradicts what we know about science. If we
    were to follow the reasoning you seem to be arguing for we couldn't help but
    conclude that the bible is a very poor text (this is the line of reasoning
    Dawkins and the gnu atheists take). Indeed anyone who's faith is based on such
    "proofs" holds a faith based on idolatry. Faith cannot be about being
    wowed by miracles or prophecies (which is essentially what any biblical text
    corresponding with science discovered millennia later would be). Faith is trust
    in Jesus for our salvation, a concept that is entirely outside scientific
    understanding. To quote a rather well known scientist - "Scripture teaches
    us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go".

  • MrDunsapy December 2011
    Hi GavinM

    "MrDunsapy, regarding your earlier interest in the creation order being backed up by science I do have to ask which account you are meaning? The early chapters of Genesis present us with two chronologically contradictory accounts. This plus the fact that modern discoveries in both history and science do not agree with either account in terms of blow-by-blow events lead me to think that to read Genesis is such a way is to be missing the point of what it is really trying to say."

    There is only one account of the creation, there is just more information added when speaking of this again.

    On the first “day,” the expression “Let light come to be” was used. The Hebrew word there used for “light” is ʼohr, meaning light in a general sense. But on the fourth “day,” the Hebrew word changes to ma‧ʼohr′, which refers to a luminary or source of light.  So, on the first “day” diffused light penetrated the swaddling bands, but the sources of that light could not have been seen by an earthly observer. Now, on the fourth “day,” things changed.
    It is to be noted that at Genesis 1:16 the Hebrew verb ba‧raʼ′, meaning “create,” is not used. Instead, the Hebrew verb ʽa‧sah′, meaning “make,” is used. Since the sun, moon, and stars are included in “the heavens” mentioned in Genesis 1:1, they were created long before Day Four. On the fourth day God proceeded to “make” these celestial bodies occupy a new relationship toward earth’s surface and the expanse above it. When it is said, “God put them in the expanse of the heavens to shine upon the earth,” this would mean that now they now became discernible from the surface of the earth, as though they were in the expanse.
    Day Five was marked by the creation of the first nonhuman souls on earth. Not just one creature purposed by God to evolve into other forms, but literally swarms of living souls were then brought forth by divine power. It is stated: “God proceeded to create the great sea monsters and every living soul that moves about, which the waters swarmed forth according to their kinds, and every winged flying creature according to its kind.” 
    On Day Six “God proceeded to make the wild beast of the earth according to its kind and the domestic animal according to its kind and every moving animal of the ground according to its kind.”
    Toward the end of the sixth day of creative activity, God brought into existence an entirely new kind of creature, superior to the animals even though lower than the angels. This was man, created in God’s image and after his likeness. While Genesis 1:27 briefly states concerning humankind “male and female he [God] created them,” the parallel account at Genesis 2:7-9 shows that Jehovah God formed man out of the dust of the ground, blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul, for whom a paradise home and food were provided. In this case God used the elements of the earth in creative work and then, having formed man.
    The scientists today say that the precursors of life are here on the earth.  And the scientists say that they maybe able to create life one day.Is not that what God said he he did. He used the materials from earth to do it. So are not the scientists proving that what he said, is correct, and  classifying animals into species, and God saying 'kind'. For example 'mankind'
  • MrDunsapy December 2011
    GavinM

    "Taking scripture seriously does not require us to read into it and twist in every piece of modern discovery in order to preserve its accuracy. Instead we look for its deeper truths and  this needs us to step back and 1) acknowledge its ancient source and understand why people wrote it in the way they did and 2) consider what is it that we are really meant to be learning from the Scriptures.
    God did not 'feed in' future knowledge into the Bible so that here in the 21st century we might go "Aha! Of course!" but He gifted us the Scriptures to learn more of the character, heart, mind and purposes of the Creator. He spoke through and using the people and cultures of their times. To try to enforce current knowledge (that will itself be different in 100 or 1000 years time) onto an ancient text does a great dishonour not just to God's intentions in speaking to us through the Bible but also to all the many writers, prophets and scribes that He choose to do so through."


    Daniel 12:4

    New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

    4 But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.


    Daniel 12:9-10

    New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

    9 He replied, Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.

    10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.



    These scriptures tell us that God did  'feed in' future knowledge into the Bible so that here in the 21st century we might go "Aha! Of course!".

    This is exactly what God did do.

  • MrDunsapy December 2011
    Micheal
    "Yup, we need to watch out for scientists in Christians in Science and the Faraday Institute then? Do we?"
    There is nothing wrong with being a scientists. It is what you stand for that maybe a problem.
    The mainstream scientists , who say there is no God would fall under that. 

    Psalm 14:1

    New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

    Psalm 14

    Psalm 14
    For the director of music. Of David.1 The fool says in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no-one who does good.


    Romans 1:19-20

    New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

    God's Wrath Against Mankind

    19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

    20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature— have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.


    This means by the creation itself it is plain to men that God is the creator. It even says there is no excuse. 

    So like I said you have to look out for, some scientists. Because they should know, after all they are studying, the science and and should see the creation.

     


  • MrDunsapy December 2011
    "Again, like you, I do not think science can
    contradict Christian theology. However the fact is that there is so much in the
    bible that (if taken literally) contradicts what we know about science. If we
    were to follow the reasoning you seem to be arguing for we couldn't help but
    conclude that the bible is a very poor text (this is the line of reasoning
    Dawkins and the gnu atheists take). Indeed anyone who's faith is based on such
    "proofs" holds a faith based on idolatry. Faith cannot be about being
    wowed by miracles or prophecies (which is essentially what any biblical text
    corresponding with science discovered millennia later would be). Faith is trust
    in Jesus for our salvation, a concept that is entirely outside scientific
    understanding. To quote a rather well known scientist - "Scripture teaches
    us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go"."

    I find it amazing that the bible, written thousands of years ago, before the scientific scrutiny we have today, is scientifically correct.Despite the non scientific thinking back then. These writers  knew things that were not known until many years after they were gone.Even today it is not outdated.  
    Something else you mentioned, is about going to heaven.
    Man was created for the earth. The commission God gave to Adam and Eve was to fill the earth with humans and make it all a paradise. There is no mention of going to heaven. 

    Matthew 5:5

    New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

    5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth


    Psalm 37:9

    New King James Version (NKJV)


    9 For evildoers shall be cut off;
    But those who wait on the LORD,
    They shall inherit the earth.


    Do you see where the bible says man will inherit the earth.

    That is the future of mankind. That is what he was created for, was the earth.

  • SimonSimon December 2011
    Ahh MrDunsapy you have finally nailed your colours to the mast (in your replies to Gavin & Michael).

    Thing is, the argument you are presenting for Christianity is so incredibly weak that if it were to be the case I couldn't possibly remain a Christian. To be "true" (and I am coming from a critical realist position here) something generally has to correspond to observation, be consistent with other truths, and be both coherent and pragmatic. The view of scripture and science that you have been arguing for certainly falls at the correspondency and consistency tests (regarding the accuracy of "science" in the bible), and arguably also at the pragmatic and coherency level (in your bizarre assertion that the bible is scientifically correct). I would suggest you spend some time doing some careful thinking about your natural theology as it does not sound (at least to my ears) like a particularly good Christian witness.
     
  • MrDunsapy December 2011
    Simon
    "(in your bizarre assertion that the bible is scientifically correct)."
    Creation is science.  All the scientists are trying to do is to understand how things were done.
    A creator used the very laws that he created.
    I wonder, where did you get the idea that the bible was unscientific?


  • MrDunsapy December 2011
    Simon
    If you go with what the some scientists say.
    For example
    They do not know how life start or could start. If pressed they is what they say. 
    So what you are left with is one theory 'evolution' without evidence, that needs another theory 'abiogenesis' that has to support the first theory. That is circular thinking and is not scientific.

  • SimonSimon December 2011
    I think we might have to wrap up this discussion fairly soon as I am not sure we are getting anywhere. To repeat:

    1) I agree that Christianity and science cannot disagree de facto.

    2) BUT the great number of "scientific" inaccuracies in the bible show us that it is to be read as theologically rather than scientifically authoritative.

    3) I think that trying to read modern science into the bible is grave mistake, and indeed if Christianity relied on this I would not be a Christian.

    4) - and this is perhaps the nub of the issue - speaking as someone with a PhD in biochemistry and getting on to significant education in philosophy, evolution by natural selection is by far the best theory for speciation and the creation of man. The details of abiogenesis are indeed still to be worked out, however will be one day - and I am hoping in my life time. As such I think both young earth and old earth (read ID) creationism are wrong-headed scientifically, philosophically and theologically.  
  • Michael December 2011
    As someone who gave up biochemistry and then did geology I agree with you Simon