Over the years I have had many conversations with other Christians on the topic of Creation, and most prominently the age of the earth. It’s funny to me, as well as disturbing, that this one point, the age of the earth, is such a hurdle for so many in the church to deal with. The reasons I am given can usually be summed up in one thought: “modern science has proven the earth to be billions of years old“. I have had several wonderful conversations with fellow believers on this topic, and I am often flabbergasted at how far some in the church will go to defend a position that they usually know very little, or nothing at all, about.
Today modern evolutionary theory states that the geologic age of the earth is in the neighborhood of 4.55 billion years old and that the universe is 15 – 18 billion depending on who you talk to, or what textbook you read. For many Christians this poses a problem because the Biblical timeline states very clearly the earth is around 6000 years old. How on earth are we supposed to reconcile this, very serious, issue. If the Bible is the word of God than it should not contain any errors. Yet if the earth is billions of years old than the Bible would be wrong, literally from word one. For many young people today this is a very serious issue. After all “If the first book in the Bible is wrong about so many things, why believe the rest?”
Over the last 150-ish years the church has struggled to keep up with science. Not to mention that many in the scientific field wanted nothing to do with the church. I guess after a few hundred years of persecution from the church during the dark ages, the scientific community may have been holding a bit of a grudge. It should come as no surprise that ideas for the origin of life that exclude Gods involvement began to abound in the early days of scientific awakening, and shortly after the reformation. What could the church do in the wake of these kinds of scientific discoveries.
Many early scientists were devout Christians, and many of them tried to fight off this attack on the authority of the scriptures. Others took a slightly different approach. Some within the church began to try and eek out a way to “harmonize” the modern discoveries of science with scripture by modifying their interpretation of the book of Genesis. What some of these modification were we will begin discussing in the next post.