The Age of the Universe and Genesis 1 — A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture

by Keith Mathison

Science-and-ScriptureIn this series, we have been discussing Dr. R.C. Sproul’s answer to a question about the age of the universe during the Q&A at Ligonier’s 2012 National Conference. We have discussed a number of foundational theological issues that reflect Dr. Sproul’s distinctively Reformed approach to this issue, an approach based on the thinking of Reformed theologians from John Calvin to B. B. Warfield. In this final post, we turn to Dr. Sproul’s answer to the specific question that elicited his lengthy response:

When people ask me how old the earth is I tell them “I don’t know,” because I don’t. And I’ll tell you why I don’t. In the first place, the Bible does not give us a date of creation. Now it gives us hints and inclinations that would indicate in many cases a young earth. And at the same time you get all this expanding universe and all this astronomical dating, and triangulation and all that stuff coming from outside the church that makes me wonder.

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And then at the end of his response, he explained again:

Now having said that, that’s a long way to say I don’t know how old the earth is…

I suspect that some conference attendees were disappointed when they heard this answer. Some probably expected Dr. Sproul to proclaim dogmatically one way or the other. A large number, however, applauded. I believe they recognized the wise humility evidenced in this answer. Dr. Sproul recognizes the kind of harm Christians can do and have done to the church by hastily jumping to wrong conclusions about general revelation and science. When Christians declared to the world that geocentrism was something that is clearly and definitely taught in Scripture, all they did was convince those who had carefully studied the evidence that Scripture must therefore be in error. They created a false dilemma. This problem is not new…

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The Poached Egg ApologeticsThe Age of the Universe and Genesis 1 — A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture | Ligonier

 

RECOMMENDED APOLOGETICS RESOURCES FOR FURTHER READING:

Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science

A Biblical Case for an Old Earth

 

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