Genesis, the Bible, and the Age of the Universe
Looking at the Earth From Space
The Age of the Universe - Some Things to Consider- Especially Christians
There are a lot of people out there from many different worldviews, that assume quite a bit about the age of the universe. Many term it the age of the earth, but really they are often meaning the entire universe when they say it. To be clear as possible I am referring to it as the age of the universe.
It is hard to know where to begin exactly. The heart of what I want to talk about is that there are some very different camps, even amongst Christians in regards to the age of the Universe. I think this isn't necessary, and I myself have changed in this regard over the last several years.
Here are some basic things that people need to keep in mind regarding the age of the Universe or Earth.
1. There is no biblical account of the age of the earth or universe, not Genesis or elsewhere. People have assumed this. They assume about the days given in the beginning of Genesis and then go to genealogies. Others in turn automatically adopt this same idea, and often do so because it is often taught as "gospel." It is not, if you look very closely.
2. Not all Christians believe the earth is 6,000 to 10,000 years old, like the young earth creationists. In fact, many do not.
3. Neither Jesus, any apostle, nor any prophet in the bible has even suggested that a Christian must follow some idea about the age of the earth. This seems to make sense in light of the first point made here. It isn't discussed in any of the books covering the whole bible. Believing in young earth creationism is not a requirement to be a true follower of Christ.
4. Please be gentle and patient when discussing this with people, as it is often a foreign thought, though it shouldn't be. It can be surprisingly upsetting and divisive in some groups. Again, this need not be.
5. It is better to ask questions than assume, and better to research all you can before assuming.
6. Being a believer in an older earth or universe, is not incompatible with the Christian worldview.
7. Considering the earth and universe to be older, like multiple billions of years old even, does not mean you need to throw out the book of Genesis, and far from it. It definitely touches on origins, and is in keeping with modern day science.
To anyone that says you have to subscribe to a 6-10 thousand year old earth, ask them why that is? Likely, they have been taught that is what the bible teaches, but it simply isn't true. It is an assumption based on some ideas. One is not having to give up their belief in God by giving up on the idea of a 6-10 thousand year old earth or universe.
One of the reasons I got to thinking about all of this is the upcoming debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye. If I am not mistaken, the debate is about creationism vs. evolution. I know of many Christians that esteem Ken Ham, and many Christians that disagree with his view of a younger earth. It seems fitting that it might be a good time to be considering these different topics and ideas, perhaps more than ever. If for no other reason than there can be some pretty serious tension between the camps, and how a whole group of people can be painted.
Perhaps, you have never considered there are so many Christians that disagree on what seems to be a foundational topic. I think it really isn't such a big deal, and will always be a proponent of freedom for all to choose to think and believe as they wish. It is part of what makes the United States great. We are in an era where there are growing numbers of people that think it is a problem to teach their kids as they see fit. Bill Nye has touched on this topic, and many have probably seen the video of him talking about it. In fact, I may post it here for all to see. I don't agree with Bill Nye in the sense that he doesn't seem to consider that many Christians do indeed believe in evolution. They believe in the small changes we do observe over time, for example.
As you see in the video, which I share below, Bill Nye starts out saying "Denial of Evolution is unique to the United States." If evolution is small changes observed over time, then who is denying that? Who is then teaching that there are no small changes over time to be observed? Do you begin to see one of the same problems I am? What I am referring to, is that some are being labeled as denying something I don't think they really are denying. The whole rest of the videos runs with this idea, and who wouldn't agree with him if he was right on the first thing he said? Really, the part of the debate that begins to get a bit intense is about origins, or Darwinism, etc.
Being more clear and precise about these particulars will help in this discussion that ought to be had. I know I welcome the ideas to be tossed around fairly. I hope all would feel the same way and be careful to not lump everyone into the same group that isn't even necessarily portrayed properly sometimes.
Thanks to those willing to think about these and other weighty matters that matter to us all. I wish the upcoming debate between Ham and Nye is one I could watch. Hopefully it will be recorded. I also wonder if Nye would be willing to debate other Christians that believe in an older earth like he does, as that would be interesting to watch as well.
My goal is truth, and discovering it, and being fair and reasonable to the facts and people everywhere. Your thoughts are welcomed below.
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