If the earth is old or evolution is true, why did God not reveal it, and instead allow it to be discovered by people hostile to the faith?

“Perhaps you can understand how sometimes old earth people feel young earth assertions border on blasphemy when seen in that light.”

I can see that. Though, could you equally see how Young Earth people see old earth as blasphemy? Where God made Scripture really, really seem like it’s saying one thing, and every reader before the 1700s saw it that same way, and then the true interpretation would have been found only in the Enlightenment.

That sits really badly with me, not trying to be rude, but it would make me feel like God lied.

I seem to remember reading that Thomas Jefferson was a Deist when he redacted the New Testament (and he apparently used a literal razor and glue to cut and paste the passages – at least according toWikipedia).

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I think human beings have a tendency to think about timescales in human terms, and we sometimes forget that timescales for God are probably different than they are for us.

In the Lord of the Rings, the ents take a verrrrrrry long time to say what they want to say. I think God sometimes takes a long time to answer our questions because there are so many parts to the answer – and even some vocabulary that hasn’t been “invented” yet, so God has to help us build our vocabulary first. Would you consider a long, slow, thorough, accurate, inclusive answer to be a lie?

Here in Canada, I doubt we’d have universal health care if not for the efforts of Tommy Douglas, a Baptist minister who made the shift into politics and is known in Canada as the father of Medicare. His religious faith was central to his political activism. (He was also the father-in-law of actor Donald Sutherland and grandfather of Kiefer Sutherland, but that’s another story.)

When my son needed a bone marrow transplant (sadly unsuccessful), I can’t tell you how grateful I was for the gift and the wonder of universal health care.

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@HmanTheChicken The same can be said of the cosmology in the Bible. God made Scripture really, really seem like the sun and stars rotate around the flat earth and there was a dome over head that held back water. Why was the true interpretation only found by Coopernicus during the Renaissance?

I take it that you have changed your interpretation of those Scriptures based on what science found.

I certainly understand and agree. Which is why I feel the real difference is not in the interpretation of the science, but rather the interpretation of scripture.
One good thing is that you can enjoy the insights of, say, Walton and his ANE knowledge yet still hold to a young earth if you wish.

Preterist interpretation of Revelation implies modern times correspond to the age of “Gog & Magog” (Rev 20:7-9) when the Adversary has been unchained & loosed upon humanity on earth.

If so, we must expect Deception from all sides. If the ancients had no conception of millions or billions of years, then perhaps millions or billions of years couldn’t have been part of the OT, because God in heaven communicates in words & concepts people already understand ?

And if, today, when we do understand such numbers, the Church is already under siege, and the Adversary is empowering “Gog & Magog”, then we might expect Church scientists to face an “uphill spiritual battle” and to be “swimming upstream” ?

So, modern science is plausibly one means by which the Adversary empowers “Gog & Magog” against the Church, as God foreknew and forewarned in Revelation 20.

I doubt the church is part of Gog and Magog, as a whole. Perhaps Eastern Orthodox and Russia as a nation are seemingly getting along well together, but even then trying to fit certain times frames just don’t work well with Scripture at all. That the seven churches in Revelations tended towards a certain progression throughout history may seem ok looking back in hindsight, it was not really a guidline for what to expect. It just shows the prophecy was closer to the truth than it should have been.

The point that does not make sense is that the mystery of creation should not contradict Genesis, else you have to come up with reasons why it does not. You also have to change the whole plan that God seems to have shown throughout the whole Bible. Either we evolve into perfection, or humans did not evolve at all. Any closeness in biology to the animals is only because we exist in the same biosphere, and God did not see fit to creating a being that was totally different biology wise, and existence here could never be explained because, humans had an unreasonable biology that defied all the laws of nature.

Hi everyone,

I’m shocked to see people on this thread casting doubt on the claim made by HmanTheChicken that the early Christian Fathers and Doctors of the Church, including Origen (185-254), Augustine (354-430) and St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), believed in a young Earth. I firmly believe in a 13.8-billion-year-old universe, but I have to say that HmanTheChicken is absolutely right on this one.

The arch-allegorist Origen vigorously defended “the Mosaic account of the creation, which teaches that the world is not yet ten thousand years old, but very much under that,” against the pagan skeptic, Celsus, in his book, Contra Celsus (Against Celsus) Book 1, chapter 19.

St. Augustine of Hippo criticized pagan myths of an old Earth, writing in his City of God, Book XII, Chapter 10: “They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6000 years have yet passed.” Augustine, who favored the Septuagint over the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, held that the world was created around 5,600 B.C. What’s more, he held that the six days of Genesis 1 were in fact simultaneous and instantaneous, based on his reading of the deuterocanonical book of Sirach, chapter 18, verse 1: “He who lives eternally has made everything at the same time." (As it turned out, his Old Latin translation of the book was faulty: the original Greek text actually said that that God had made all things together.)

St. Thomas Aquinas approvingly quotes the testimony of St. Jerome in his Summa Theologica vol. I, q. 61, art. 3: “Six thousand years of our time have not yet elapsed; yet how shall we measure the time, how shall we count the ages, in which the Angels, Thrones, Dominations, and the other orders served God?” The question Aquinas is addressing is whether the angels were created before the world. Jerome thinks they were; Aquinas disagrees, and argues that they were created simultaneously with the world. What Aquinas does not question, however, is the young age of the world itself.

Look. We can argue ad nauseam about what the early Christian Fathers and Doctors of the Church would have thought, had they known what we know now. But no-one can reasonably doubt that in point of fact, they espoused young-Earth creationism. Cheers.

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Mitchell posted a link to a rather detailed discussion of this and one of Dr. Milan’s conclusions is

There is a PDF of the page here.

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Hi Bill_II,

I had a look at Dr. John Millam’s carefully researched article. He squarely acknowledges: “By my own research, none of the fathers taught an old earth.” However, he attempts to water this down, by suggesting that back in those days, “no one could hold that the creation days were long periods of time or that there might be significant gaps in the Genesis genealogies because that would not fit within this millenary construct and, thus, would be perceived as denying Christ’s return.” This is a very strong (and in my opinion, unwarranted) assertion: as Millam himself points out, the 6,000-year model of human history was taught by eight fathers - considerably fewer than the number (at least 12) who espoused a young Earth. Even for those who upheld this model, it’s going far beyond the evidence to say it was the primary motivation for their young-Earth position. (On this point, I think Mook is wrong as well.) Origen, for instance, was content to declare that the “world is not yet ten thousand years old, but very much under that” (Against Celsus 1.19). He felt no need to argue that it was less than 6,000 years old.

In any case, I should note that even within Judaism, “the vast majority of classical Rabbis hold that God created the world close to 6,000 years ago, and created Adam and Eve from clay.” (See this article: Judaism and Evolution.) You should also have a look at this article: Creation Days and the Orthodox Jewish Tradition. It answers Millam’s objections that the days of Genesis 1 cannot be literal because the Sun wasn’t created until the fourth day, and because the seventh day hasn’t ended yet. For example, Rabbi Abraham Ben Meir Ibn Ezra’s commentary on Genesis states: “One day refers to the movement of the [celestial] sphere.” Thus even without the Sun, the notion of a day would have made sense. The article also notes: “Some of the Rabbis did debate about Genesis 2:4, which says, ‘This is the account of the heavens and earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven.’ However, in this case, y ô m is prefixed by the preposition be , so bey ô m , and was just an idiom for ‘when’. The days in Genesis 1 had no preposition, and had the phrase ‘evening and morning’ and a number, which are always indicators of ordinary days everywhere else in the Old Testament.” To sum up: virtually all of the Rabbis cited in Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic sources understood the creation days to be literal days.

Dr. Millam is on much more solid ground when he notes that none of the Church Fathers read Hebrew fluently until the late fourth century (which means that they tended to read Scripture through a Greek lens), and that belief in a young Earth was never considered as binding for orthodoxy.

Regardless… what the early fathers of the church believe about the universe is not any kind of measure of the truth. They also believed what Aristotle taught about gravity which Galileo demonstrated to be utterly incorrect. All the evidence from the earth and sky demonstrate that the earth is 4-5 billion years old and the universe is 13.8 billion years old. And the so the theology and popular beliefs of antiquity and the middle ages matters no more than their belief that everything was made of the elements of fire, water, air, and earth.

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Actually it was Mook.

Helps to read the footnotes.

That would be a minority position for sure. To me the major takeaway is

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There are people at my church who do believe in geocentrism, I’m not sure what to think about it one way or the other. If it’s what Scripture teaches, we must believe it.

Thanks, I’m glad you put it this way - it’s just historically demonstrable fact.

The Jews were looking for a different type of Messiah than the one we got, based on their interpretation of scriptures. Today, many, many Jews aren’t believers in God at all (“cultural Jews”). Did God do something wrong there in not being more explicit about the spiritual kingdom so they would all see Jesus as the Messiah right away? Or is it man’s interpretation of scripture and ignoring the evidence?

The Bible does not teach science. It uses the understanding of the people to whom it was originally written to in order to convey a message. It uses a description of a flat earth in Genesis 1, but you don’t believe the earth is flat, correct? The people to whom Genesis 1 was originally written DID believe the earth was flat. God used terms they could understand. And the point wasn’t to tell them how He created but that it was HE who created. That message is loud and clear in Genesis 1 no matter what you think of the material creation of the earth.

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At what point would you say, “maybe these people are wrong about their claims of what Scripture teaches?” At what point do you let your own observations of reality inform your evaluation of good biblical exegesis? The Bible and science have to describe the same reality, even if they are describing different dimensions of it.

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Excellent point. There is always a danger in becoming so committed to one’s understanding of God’s past revelation that you become blind to God’s ongoing revelation.

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Religion provides certain knowledge, while science will necessarily be uncertain. I’d probably reconsider an interpretation if someone said the bible requires a flat earth or that Scotland doesn’t exist (seeing as I live there), but in principle, theological knowledge is more certain than my experience.

I’m not sure if it’s ever possible for experience to rule exegesis though, exegesis exists to guide our lives, even when it goes against our knowledge or understanding about the world.

Religions are many and they teach completely different contrasting views of reality with no means of reconciling them. Science is one and if there are disputes it has a means of determining which is correct. Therefore it is crazy to claim that religion provides the certain knowledge and science the knowledge which is uncertain. The opposite makes much much much more sense.

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