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What If The Earth Were Old?


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#1 Xanifred

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:50 PM

This is just a hypothetical question for the Young Earthers here.

If, by some incredible, unimagined chance, it were to be shown undeniably that the Earth really is 4.5 billion years old, how would that change Christianity? Would it necessarily mean anything at all in terms of believing in Jesus and the Bible?

Just as a matter of comparison, it was once believed beyond question by all Christians that the Earth was the center of the Solar System - indeed, the entire Universe - and that the Bible said so. When Copernicus, and later Galileo, demonstrated that the Earth and the planets actually orbit the Sun, the initial response from Christians was anger at their "blasphemy," followed by a slow acceptance. But it didn't change anything about the Christian religion. Christians decided that they had misunderstood a minor part of the Bible, and went right on believing in Jesus and the Bible.

So if the Earth were shown to be 4.5 billion years old, do you think the same thing might happen? After all, the Bible doesn't come right out and say how old the Earth is - you have to make some fairly strong assumptions, and do a lot of math to come up with an answer. For example, if in the beginning the Earth was formless and void, who's to say how long that state lasted? Or how long a period god called a "day," since it's clear that it wasn't "one revolution of the Earth relative to the Sun" (there were days before god made the sun, according to genesis).

So, just as a pure hypothetical, how would you react to such news? Would you see it as a threat to Christianity? As a lie? Or as a minor, interesting-but-irrelevant bit of information? Or something else entirely?

I guess what I'm really asking is, why is the idea of a young earth so very crucially important to some Christians?

#2 Kristof

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:34 AM

Seems like you brought up the Galileo Myth.
http://thomas2026.wo...e-galileo-myth/
The Bible does not teach that the earth is in the center of the universe.
-------------

A young earth is important to Christians IMO because according to old earth dating methods, humans have been around for at least 200,000 years.
But the genealogy recorded in the Bible from Adam to Jesus clearly indicates that humans have only been around for 6000+ years.

As a YEC, I recognize that before the sun was created, the days might as well have been longer than 24 hrs.
But a non-biblical flood interpretation of fossils and layers of dirt would be inconsistent with what the Bible reveals to us.
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#3 Calypsis4

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:21 AM

Seems like you brought up the Galileo Myth. http://thomas2026.wo...e-galileo-myth/ The Bible does not teach that the earth is in the center of the universe. ------------- A young earth is important to Christians IMO because according to old earth dating methods, humans have been around for at least 200,000 years. But the genealogy recorded in the Bible from Adam to Jesus clearly indicates that humans have only been around for 6000+ years. As a YEC, I recognize that before the sun was created, the days might as well have been longer than 24 hrs. But a non-biblical flood interpretation of fossils and layers of dirt would be inconsistent with what the Bible reveals to us.


I agree completely with your position on the limit of approx. 6,000 yr age of the earth.

Welcome aboard, kristof. Happy posting.Posted Image

#4 Fred Williams

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:28 AM

As Kristof pointed out, you are part of the duped culture that has fallen for the pervasive Galileo myth - there is far more to the story, so here is your chance to do some research on it. Just be sure to also find out about the mythylogical revisionist history on the flat earth before you bring that one up here too. :)

Millions of years clearly contradicts the order of creation in Genesis. If you then try to revert to the gap theory, then both strong theological arguments and the scientific evidence comes in and tosses that one on its head. For a more thorough response to your question, I invite you to the pinned thread 'Old Earth Theology Is Incompatible With The Bible'.

Finally, you seem to imply that your hypothetical is a likely reality based on the science. There is little fear that your hypothetical could occur given the powerful evidence that has been uncovered against an old earth. The handful of clocks that show an old earth are easily explained by very plausible and evidence-based mechanisms, such as accelerated radiometric decay in the past.

Fred

#5 Xanifred

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 09:02 AM

Seems like you brought up the Galileo Myth. http://thomas2026.wo...e-galileo-myth/ The Bible does not teach that the earth is in the center of the universe.


It seems that you misunderstood my post. I did not claim that the Bible teaches the Earth is the center of the Universe. I pointed out that, prior to science proving heliocentrism, mainstream Christianity believed (and taught) that the Bible says the Earth is the center of the Universe.

I am well aware that the Bible teaches no such thing - at least, not directly. One can extrapolate broadly from what is actually written in the Bible to reach that conclusion, but it is not explicitly stated, or even strongly implied.

A young earth is important to Christians IMO because according to old earth dating methods, humans have been around for at least 200,000 years.

This is completely false. The dating methods used to determine the age of the Earth are useless in such short time frames. It would be like applying archaeological dating methods to 20th-century celluloid film - it's absurd, impossible, and useless.

But the genealogy recorded in the Bible from Adam to Jesus clearly indicates that humans have only been around for 6000+ years.

Are you certain? Do you read Hebrew? Is yours the only possible interpretation of the Biblical genealogies?

Remember, Christians were once absolutely certain that "the Bible clearly teaches that the Earth is the center of the Universe." Is it possible that, just as their interpretation was wrong, that of the YECs might also be wrong?

As a YEC, I recognize that before the sun was created, the days might as well have been longer than 24 hrs. But a non-biblical flood interpretation of fossils and layers of dirt would be inconsistent with what the Bible reveals to us.

True, the scientific interpretation of the geological record is inconsistent with a global flood. However, the dating of the age of the Earth relies on completely different methods, which have nothing whatsoever to do with geological strata (layers) or with any methods used for dating human settlements.

The flood, however, is a separate subject. I'm simply looking at the possibility of an ancient Earth, and asking if it would destroy your faith if the Earth were ancient. The age of the Earth hardly seems like a central tenet of your faith, yet many Christians treat it like the Resurrection or the Creation.

#6 Stripe

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:04 AM

This is just a hypothetical question for the Young Earthers here. If, by some incredible, unimagined chance, it were to be shown undeniably that the Earth really is 4.5 billion years old, how would that change Christianity?

It would make nonsense of the Genesis account.

#7 Stripe

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:07 AM

prior to science proving heliocentrism, mainstream Christianity believed (and taught) that the Bible says the Earth is the center of the Universe.

And prior to science dealing with evolution, mainstream churches teach evolution from the bible. Posted Image

#8 aelyn

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:29 AM

This is completely false. The dating methods used to determine the age of the Earth are useless in such short time frames. It would be like applying archaeological dating methods to 20th-century celluloid film - it's absurd, impossible, and useless.

I think what Kristof means by "old earth dating methods" isn't "dating methods science uses to determine the age of the Earth" but "any dating method that suggests the Earth is older than 6000 -10000 years or so".

The age of the Earth hardly seems like a central tenet of your faith, yet many Christians treat it like the Resurrection or the Creation.

Reminds me of this :
http://www.patheos.c...-ask-questions/

#9 Xanifred

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:30 AM

It would make nonsense of the Genesis account.


it would make nonsense of a strict literal interpretation of the Genesis account. But Christians have only been advocating a strict literal interpretation of Genesis for the past century-and-a-half, and it has never been the standard understanding across Christendom. For most of the history of Christianity, Augustine's approach to the Bible has been the accepted view. It is only very recently (historically speaking) that a relative minority of Western Christians have been insisting on a strict literal interpretation of Genesis.

Do you honestly believe that only a small minority of Christians in the past +/- 150 years have been interpreting scripture correctly, and that all other Christians are wrong?

#10 Kristof

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:43 PM


Remember, Christians were once absolutely certain that "the Bible clearly teaches that the Earth is the center of the Universe." Is it possible that, just as their interpretation was wrong, that of the YECs might also be wrong?

If you read my Galileo Myth link, you'd know Christians were never " absolutely certain that "the Bible clearly teaches that the Earth is the center of the Universe."


This is completely false. The dating methods used to determine the age of the Earth are useless in such short time frames. It would be like applying archaeological dating methods to 20th-century celluloid film - it's absurd, impossible, and useless.


What are you talking about? Modern scientists use all kinds of radiometric dating methods to date different layers of rock. Each radio active element used in these dating methods have different half times and thus time frames of which they are supposedly accurate. Carbon dating is supposedly accurate for 58,000 to 62,000 years. There happens to be human fossils below layers of rock that have been dated to be hundreds of thousands of years. So how is it false when I say an old earth application of such dating methods contradict the Bible?

Are you certain? Do you read Hebrew? Is yours the only possible interpretation of the Biblical genealogies?


(regarding the genealogy in the Bible) I haven't been presented with any evidence to convince me other wise. I am aware of the gaps in the genealogies, but any elongated version that has been proposed still wouldn't be consistent with an oldearth/evolution view.
------------

The flood, however, is a separate subject. I'm simply looking at the possibility of an ancient Earth, and asking if it would destroy your faith if the Earth were ancient. The age of the Earth hardly seems like a central tenet of your faith, yet many Christians treat it like the Resurrection or the Creation.

Are you suggesting a situation where the earth at its core is proven to be billions of years old, but the layers of strata and fossils are not proven to be millions of years old? If that were the case, then I'm fine with it.

#11 Fred Williams

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:05 PM

I pointed out that, prior to science proving heliocentrism, mainstream Christianity believed (and taught) that the Bible says the Earth is the center of the Universe.


Interestingly, the scientific evidence strongly suggests they were right! Do a search on quantized redshifts. This has baffled secular scientists, because the evidence clearly indicates that our galaxy is indeed in the center of the universe (galaxies are lining up on concentric circles as you look away from our galaxy).

Fred

#12 Stripe

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:30 PM

it would make nonsense of a strict literal interpretation of the Genesis account.

Everything makes nonsense out of a strict, literal reading of anything. Genesis is historical narrative. Nobody believes it to be strictly literal.

Please deal with reality, not straw men.

But Christians have only been advocating a strict literal interpretation of Genesis for the past century-and-a-half, and it has never been the standard understanding across Christendom. For most of the history of Christianity, Augustine's approach to the Bible has been the accepted view. It is only very recently (historically speaking) that a relative minority of Western Christians have been insisting on a strict literal interpretation of Genesis.

Christians have been advocating anything and everything for the last 2,000 years. The standard, however, is the bible (not Augustine, whoever he is). We don't like irrational arguments here. Please stick to the facts.

Do you honestly believe that only a small minority of Christians in the past +/- 150 years have been interpreting scripture correctly, and that all other Christians are wrong?

Who cares? All you can gain if I answer this is an argument from popularity. We prefer rational arguments here.

Please try harder.

#13 Xanifred

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:47 PM

Oddly enough nobody has really responded to my question. It's meant to be a hypothetical question, not a launching-pad for YEC apologist arguments.

IF the earth were billions of years old, would that destroy your faith, or even change it? Why, or why not?

#14 Calypsis4

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 09:14 PM

Xanifred

Oddly enough nobody has really responded to my question. It's meant to be a hypothetical question, not a launching-pad for YEC apologist arguments. IF the earth were billions of years old, would that destroy your faith, or even change it? Why, or why not?


The question is entirely unnecessary because the universe is not millions of years old. From our perspective we have God's Word on it and the ages found in the chronologies of Moses plus the chroniclers will not yield such a time frame. Furthermore, since we have already assessed the modern radiometric dating methods as unreliable in determining the distant past because of the discovery of accelerated decay rates of helium in almost all of the samples tested & the presence of C14 in likewise almost all samples tested... then it is really a mute point for us.

Furthermore, we can accept the fact that the universe reveals stars and galaxies that are as much as billions of light years away...as fact. But they weren't nearly that far away when Adam and Eve were alive and viewing the skies...that is, before God expanded the universe.

I think that Adam probably looked up to a night sky that looked like this:
Posted Image
The truth is that God Almighty did not fail to communicate to mankind the truth about the origins of our world, it is just that those of your persuasion have arbitrarily decided to not believe Him.

#15 Kristof

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 04:34 AM

Oddly enough nobody has really responded to my question. It's meant to be a hypothetical question, not a launching-pad for YEC apologist arguments. IF the earth were billions of years old, would that destroy your faith, or even change it? Why, or why not?

I totally did answer your question already.

Are you suggesting a situation where the earth at its core is proven to be billions of years old, but the layers of strata and fossils are not proven to be millions of years old? If that were the case, then I'm fine with it.



#16 Calypsis4

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:02 AM

it would make nonsense of a strict literal interpretation of the Genesis account. But Christians have only been advocating a strict literal interpretation of Genesis for the past century-and-a-half, and it has never been the standard understanding across Christendom. For most of the history of Christianity, Augustine's approach to the Bible has been the accepted view. It is only very recently (historically speaking) that a relative minority of Western Christians have been insisting on a strict literal interpretation of Genesis. Do you honestly believe that only a small minority of Christians in the past +/- 150 years have been interpreting scripture correctly, and that all other Christians are wrong?


No. It's more like we've been teaching it for 20 centuries...plus. Is it necessary for me to document that fact? I've got that documentation. And...THAT is the 'standard understanding' in the Christian world. The Gallup poll:
Posted Image
You and those like you have been reading and believing the wrong things...and that is no exaggeration. I am an ex-evolutionist.

#17 Jesse

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:31 AM

To answer your question, no, it wouldn't destroy my faith, it would hurt it though. But since you lack that magical proof showing the Earth is billions of years old, I have nothing to worry about.

What if you found out with 100% certainty that the Earth is less then 10,000 years old? Would you still believe in evolution? Would it destroy your faith in that belief?

#18 Xanifred

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 09:41 AM

To answer your question, no, it wouldn't destroy my faith, it would hurt it though.


How and why would it hurt your faith?

But since you lack that magical proof showing the Earth is billions of years old, I have nothing to worry about.

Well, that's the whole point of hypothetical questions, isn't it? No real skin in the game, so we can examine the 'what ifs' without fear.

What if you found out with 100% certainty that the Earth is less then 10,000 years old? Would you still believe in evolution? Would it destroy your faith in that belief?

First of all, I don't have any "faith" in evolution, at least not in the sense of believing without seeing. I accept evolution as the most likely explanation for a huge number of phenomena in the natural world.

But to answer your question, yes, that would force me to completely re-examine my worldview, including evolution and all other origins-related questions. It would be an incredibly exciting discovery.

#19 Xanifred

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 09:45 AM

I totally did answer your question already.

Sort of. Your answer caused me to do a double-take, in fact.

Wouldn't the idea that the Earth was created billions of years ago - even if the crust and fossils and whatnot are very recent - wouldn't that negate your reading of Genesis? Or are you saying that's what you'd expect if the "formless and void" period lasted billions of years, but the First Day (let there be light!) was 10,000 years ago, give or take?

#20 Stripe

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:21 AM

Oddly enough nobody has really responded to my question.

Actually, I did. But you've managed to dodge everything and blunder on ahead regardless.




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