The Age of the Earth and Other Curious Queries
I often find myself pondering the massive gap that exists between what modern day science professes and what the Word of God, the Bible, says is true. If you would indulge me for a few minutes, I'd like you to come on a contemplative journey of sorts. First, I need to pose the following question:
"What exactly do we REALLY know?"
In order to answer this question, we have to examine the facts, which for our purposes we will deem as any real, tangible, measurable data that has been collected over the past several hundred years and then measure it against the "total elapsed time" that has passed since the beginning of the universe. The question is, can we really, safely, make concrete determinations about the age of the world around us if our data for any given measurement, say the speed of light, is negligible in comparison to the total amount of time elapsed? The first successful measurement of the speed of light was taken in 1676 by Danish Astronomer, Olaus Roemer. Since this time, we have been measuring the speed of light with greater accuracy. Is the current popular estimate of the age of the earth and the universe based upon the assumption that the speed of light is a constant? If so, shouldn't we ask ourselves if this is a reasonable assumption to make? I would propose that it is not. If the universe itself is estimated to be over 13 billion years old, then a collection of data taken over a 400 year time frame (even if the measurements had always been accurate) would be so negligible that we should not expect to make a determination based upon them. Now, how many other wrong assumptions are we making? Can we truly base our answers to the questions of the age of the earth and the universe on collected data for hundreds or, at best, a thousand years?
One thing we do know is this; things change, decay, and grow at surprising rates in surprising ways. A caterpillar becomes a butterfly, a human is nearly fully grown within the first 15% of his lifespan, not to mention the incredible growth rate of a cell to infancy during pregnancy. People and animals do not grow at constant rates, nor do they keep the same physical characteristics and attributes forever. Why would we expect the world around us to be so predictable based on what we know now or data collected over such a short time period?
We assume that things will continue to go on as they always have. We assume that we can predict the present by applying our data to the past. This I believe is dangerous and we are warned in 2 Peter that in the end, this is exactly what people will conclude:
"First, understand this: during the Last Days, scoffers will come, following their own desires and asking, "Where is this promised 'coming' of his? For our fathers have died, and everything goes on just as it has since the beginning of creation."" (2 Peter 3:3-4)
This statement parallels today's thinking perfectly, but then it goes on in verse 5 to not only tell why they are thinking this way, but to address that they are overlooking not only past truths, but also the future ones:
"But, wanting so much to be right about this, they overlook the fact that it was by God's Word that long ago there were heavens, and there was land which arose out of water and existed between the waters, and that by means of these things the world of that time was flooded with water and destroyed. It is by that same Word that the present heavens and earth, having been preserved, are being kept for fire until the Day of Judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed." (2 Peter 3:5-7)
That last statement is the reason why, ultimately, people will disregard God's Word, even when He is telling us how He made the world, and what will come of the world. We do not like being called ungodly people, we do not want to be destroyed and judgment does not sound pleasant. The truth of the matter is, however, that we are ungodly, every last one of us, and simply denying it will automatically make us ungodly, because we are nowhere near what is truly godly; perfection, holiness, mercy and justice. In order for a human to become more godly, he must become increasingly more aware of his own ungodliness and deprivation. Only God is and ever will be God. So, we can choose to bow down or we can choose to rebel, but, remember this:
"With the Lord, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some people think of slowness; on the contrary, he is patient with you; for it is not his purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins." (2 Peter 3:8-9)