Since I first came to this BioLogos Forum on June 23rd, I have learned through my interactions with many of you how to better focus my questions so that I have the best chance to solve the problem I originally came here to solve. The question above is the latest result of that refining process.
If I am asking you for biblical reasons to accept a 4 billion-year-old (4BYO), you might want to first ask me, “For what biblical reasons would you reject it?”
There are essentially two biblical obstacles that currently prevent me from accepting the idea that the earth is 4.543 billion years old as determined by modern scientists.
Six Days: Three separate passages (Gen 1-2; Ex 20:11; Ex 31:17) state that creation was accomplished in six days, followed by a day of rest. Since both the earth and the first human were created during that week, and since the Bible’s genealogies trace back to him, the age of the earth would number in the thousands of years. Even if there were some gaps in the genealogies, it would only extend this time line by, at most, thousands of years - not billions.
The Day of Rest: The three passages mentioned above (especially Genesis 2:1-3) states that God rested - that is, ceased - from the work of creation because He had completed it. Yet inherent in the scientific view of a 4BYO earth is a creation that is progressive and has never ceased.
I hesitated before identifying and describing these two obstacles I face because much of this ground has already been worked in the previous questions I have asked and I see no reason to re-hash any of that. (I most certainly don’t want us to digress into the typical OEC-YEC back and forth. If AIG, ICR, CMI, and all the rest surrendered and folded up their tents tomorrow, I would still face the two obstacles I listed above. Therefore, I did not come here to defend their views.) However, if I’m asking you pointedly to tell me what biblical reasons there are to accept a 4BYO earth, I think I owe it to you to tell you pointedly why I don’t just accept it as I accept so many other things scientists tell me without first requiring biblical warrant. For example, I do not feel the need for biblical warrant to believe that we are all flying through space on a ball spinning at 1,000 mph, revolving around the sun at 66,000 mph, and flying together with it through the Milky Way at 432,000 mph without windburn or even chapped lips…and the reason is because I see no biblical obstacle to believing scientists when they tell me such things. The age of the earth is a different matter.
There is yet another reason I have specified what I see as the biblical obstacles to accepting a 4BYO earth. It is that there are two possible ways for me to get past these obstacles. One would be to receive a different understanding these biblical passages. The other would be to receive an understanding of some other biblical passages that overrides them. In either case, the new understanding must be one I can accept in good conscience, not just one that makes it convenient for me to accept a 4BYO earth.
Let me hasten to tell those of you who don’t know me, and remind those of you who do, it will be a waste of your time and mine for you to post here about the scientific evidence for a 4BYO. It will be a waste because 1) my knowledge of science is unusually weak, which limits my ability to understand anything communicated to me in those terms, and 2) I am already fully convinced that scientists have strong physical evidence for believing in a 4BYO earth. It is my allegiance to the Bible as the word of God, not my distrust of scientists, holding me back from believing in a 4BYO earth. I cannot simply disregard the Bible on this issue, I must have a different way of understanding it that I can in good conscience adopt. So far, every one I’ve been presented would require a compromise of conscience for me to accept. The proliferation of biblical interpretions crafted to accommodate a 4BYO earth indicates I’m not the only one who hasn’t found a lasting and satisfying biblical answer to this problem.
Hoping this long-winded explanation of the question has been helpful, I ask you, “What biblical reasons are there to accept the scientific view of the earth as billions of years old?”
P. S. As for comments on any of my previous questions, I plan from this point forward to only respond to those that have direct bearing on this question. Sorry if that will leave some of you hanging, but I don’t have billions of years to do this - or even thousands.