Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Billions and Billions of Years Ago (Conclusion)

What is God Like?
If there is a God, and if He created the world and the universe, then what kind of a God is He? Science tells us the universe is 14 billion plus years old and the earth 4.67 billion. If it was “created” by God then why did He take so long? From the initial “big bang” until today is 14 billion years. That’s a 14 followed by nine zeroes. What was He doing all that time? Famed physicist Stephen Hawking suggests, “Science seems to have uncovered a set of laws… These laws may have been originally decreed by God, but it appears that He has since left the universe to evolve according to them and does not now intervene in it.”[1] This seems an apathetic God. Still others who favor this “deep time” timeline basically don’t care what He was doing. God is of no interest and they don’t believe in Him anyway. But for those who do believe in a Creator God this loooooonnnnnng, loooooonnnnnng time span from creation until man appeared on the scene presents an enigma. Why would he wait 14 billion years? Why would he wait 10 billion years to even begin the earth? That’s ten BILLION years! The Bible says, “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” [2]Still at that accelerated rate of experiencing time 14 billion years from Big Bang until man came on the scene would still be 14 million “God days” which is over 38,000 “God years.”

You see, the “god” of evolutionary process, the god of 14 billion years, is so slow that it almost appears He is doing nothing. He started the ball rolling with a bang, and then allowed thousands of millions of years to pass with change taking place at a glacial pace. In fact a glacier is like Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt (right) compared to the speed at which the 14 billion year god “worked.” Can it even be called working?

The God Who Cares?
This is in dramatic contrast to the God spoken of in the Bible. In our unfathomably long scenario, where is this God whose priority was to have relationship with man? Where is the God who sent His Son into the world on a specific date to save man from sin? Why did the God in Scripture suddenly part the Red Sea when his processes in nature took billions of years? Thousands of millions of years? Countless millennia? Endless centuries? Multiplied millions of human lifetimes? Someone said billions of years are a measurable fact while eternity is a philosophical idea. But I am not so sure. I can’t really wrap my head around 4.67 billion years. A giant Sequoia tree can live 2000 or 3000 years or even longer. The scientific guesstimate of the earth’s age is over 155,000 generations of 3000-year-old Sequoias. Just one and a half Sequoia lifetimes would take us back to the dawn of recorded history. We’re not talking ten generations of these behemoth trees, not 1000, not even 5000, for that would be just a small amount of the earth’s history.

The “god” who “creates” through evolutionary process is indeed quite different from the God in the Bible. The Bible God acts suddenly. We do see Him work out processes over decades or even several hundred years (as in his dealings with the Israelites in Egypt), but never millions, let alone billions of years! It looks like we’re talking about two different gods.

Can Science be Wrong?
Can the modern guesstimate be wrong? Science has been wrong before. Prolific writer Richard Harter summarizes, “In 1640 Ussher produced his famous calculation that the Earth was created in 4004 BC … Ussher accepted the Biblical account at face value… In the 1700's … Attempts to calculate the age of the Earth from physical considerations yielded estimates that ranged from 75,000 years (Buffon, 1774) to several billion years (de Maillet, Buffon)…By the early 1800's it was generally accepted that the Earth had a long history… There were various attempts to estimate the Earth's age…The attempts produced estimates from about 100 million years up to several billion years…In 1862 Lord Kelvin (left) estimated the age of the Earth to be 98 million years, based on a model of the rate of cooling. …Later in 1897 he revised his estimate downwards to 20-40 million years… his estimates were completely wrong ... The first radiometric dating was done in 1905; it and subsequent measurements confirmed that the Earth was several billion years old. Currently the best estimate of the age of the Earth is 4.55 billion years.”[3] Each generation of scientists has been pretty sure they have the right answer.

So how old is the earth, really? I don’t know. But I suspect it’s not as old as our pat scientific answers tell us. After all, the age of the earth is the foundation of the evolutionary, modern scientific worldview. It’s not just some random figure open for discussion by the establishment. Moreover, if God took 14 billion years to slowly evolve the universe, then what kind of a god is he? What kind of a creation is that?

So the next time someone rolls his arms outward on both sides and says, “billions and billions of years ago…” we might be justified in saying, “oh really?”

[1] Stephen Hawking, “A Brief History of Time,” (Great Britain, Bantam Press, 1988) p. 129
[2] 2 Peter 3:8 (NASB)
[3] Changing Views of the History of the Earth, by Richard Harter, Copyright © 1998-2005
(See entire article at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/geohist.html)

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Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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