How Old is the Universe According to the Bible?
by Dr. Andrew Corbett
Around the turn of the Twentieth Century there was a popular push to respond to Scientific Naturalism (Darwinian Evolution) and Theological Liberalism (which regards the Biblical accounts of miracles as myths). It became a series of books known as The Fundamentals. Thus, Fundamentalism was birthed. Embedded into this Fundamentalism was the idea of “Young Earth Creationism”. The ‘Fundamentals’ became prominent during the famous Scopes Trial, and soon became the adopted standard for orthodoxy within mainstream Evangelicalism. It proposed that the 6 days of creation, were literal 24-hour consecutive days which began (based on calculations drawn from the Biblical geneaologies) around 4000BC. As the scientific evidence mounted for a universe billions of years old – not thousands – two things seemed to have happened: (i) Young people acquainted with the reasonableness of the science dismissed the Bible because of the poor science of Young Earth Creationism (popularly referred to as “Creationism”); (ii) YEC (Young Earth Creationists) developed a theory of conspiracy among mainstream scientists – claiming that the scientific community was misinterpretting the data and too spiritually blind to see the data correctly. How credible is Young Earth Creationism?
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. – AUGUSTINE
It was the seventeenth century Irish Bishop, James Ussher, who pioneered the calculations of the Biblical geneaologies to arrive at a Creation date of 4004BC. But Ussher made several glaring errors in his calculations. Apart from omitting thousands of years worth of geneaologies by failing to recognise intentional gaps in the Biblical records, he made the fundamental error of assuming that the genealogies were for the purpose of chronological calculations. We now know that the Biblical genealogies primarily served the purpose of the redemptive narrative. That is, they intentionally list those characters who warranted a mention in God’s unfolding plan of redemption…
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