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I am a 72 year old retired preacher who will be 73 in a couple of months. For twenty-two years, I buried myself in a ministry at Madison Christian Church in Madison, GA. I recognized that things were changing with new forms of media on the Internet, but I didn’t have the time or the energy to keep up. Now I accept that I need to get in step with some of the new methods of communicating.
I do believe it is helpful to make important points as succinctly as possible and “blogs” appear to be the way to do that today, so I will be sharing blogs about origins here. As always, suggestions of how I can do it better are welcomed. My first blog below goes straight to the heart of the debate about origins focusing on the issue of time.
If you have been troubled by evidence of great age in the universe, relax. It turns out . . .
Time, more than any other issue, has intimidated the Christian community. How can we explain that Bible dating has approximately six thousand years of history from creation to the present when scientists have discovered evidence of age indicating the universe is billions of years old? Before addressing that question, it is vital to understand that the Big Bang view of the origin of the universe has time issues as great as or even greater than the time issues critics have leveled at the Bible. In order to establish that time is, in fact, on the side of believers, we will first examine time issues for the Big Bang theory and then we will look more closely at time issues for the Bible.
Time and the Big Bang Theory: Within a few million years, Big Bang advocates agree that the universe got its start roughly fourteen billion years ago. Fourteen billion is a key number.
Beginning with Edwin Hubble, astronomers have established that the radius of the universe (based on what they can observe) is roughly forty-six billion light years. Forty-six billion is another key number.
If, as scientists have argued, nothing travels faster than the speed of light, how is it possible that the universe has a radius (the distance from its center to its outer edge) of forty-six billion light years if the Big Bang explosion occurred just fourteen billion years ago? The math won’t work.
For the universe to expand to a radius of forty-six billion light years in fourteen billion years, the subatomic particles that, in theory, rocketed out from the initial Big Bang explosion would have to have traveled at over three times the speed of light just to reach the outer edge of the universe as subatomic particles. Of course, if they were still subatomic particles, no telescope existing would be able to detect them.
Astronomers’ theories for the development of stars and planets in the universe add an additional time issue for the Big Bang theory. They describe how planets, including our earth, and stars, like our sun, took billions of years to develop as infinitesimal space particles drifted together under the influence of gravity. Space particles drifting cannot, at the same time, be rocketing out into space at three times the speed of light.
Time is not a minor issue for the Big Bang theory. Time is a clear revelation that the Big Bang theory is wrong. It is not the only issue that makes this point, but it is a sufficient issue to make the point clear to anyone with an open mind who studies the math.
Time and the Bible: The first chapter of the first book of the Bible makes the audacious claim that the God of the Bible created all that exists in just six days. While efforts have been made to expand that time line to accommodate the fourteen billion years Big Bang supporters have set for the age of the universe, those efforts have always felt contrived and they have not impressed anyone outside the Christian community.
There is no doubt that the reinterpretations of the Genesis account of creation were well intended. Unfortunately, recent surveys suggest they have done more harm than good. The efforts to reinterpret the Genesis account of creation are viewed by most people as evidence that Christians would rather reinterpret scripture than to admit that the Bible is wrong. This commonly held view, combined with the scientific community’s insistence that they only deal with facts that can be backed up with evidence, has created an environment where virtually every aspect of Christianity is being questioned – especially by young people growing up in an age of skepticism.
So what is the answer? The answer is that it is time to get back to taking the Genesis account of creation seriously. The God of the Bible is certainly capable of creating with evidence of great age. When that solution has been suggested, it has routinely been met with the objection that creation with evidence of age greater than the actual age of the universe would be dishonest. That reaction ignores the fact that it is impossible to create a universe with a forty-six billion light year radius and have it look like it is just six thousand years old. It had to look older than it is. It is time to set that objection aside.
Without question there will still be many “What about this?” arguments aimed at the Christian community. It is a mistake to try to answer all of these arguments. As Sherlock Holmes pointed out in The Sign of the Four, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” The best response to these arguments is two-fold: 1) Point out the time issues that undermine the Big Bang theory, and then 2) tell those who challenge the Genesis account of creation that they will need to check with the creator for explanations of things that are beyond our understanding.
There is much more to be said about why God might have wanted the universe to look older than its actual age, but that is a discussion for another time. The point of this study is to reassure Christians that the Genesis account of creation is not outdated. It has not been proven wrong.
The natural causes community has had the upper hand for many years largely because members of the Christian community have allowed the natural causes community to shake their faith. It is time for Christians to once again take a firm stand for the book that has weathered one attack after another through the ages and that still stands as the only book that gives us credible insight into who God is and what God wants from us.