Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Age of Earth and Evolution
I read an article about the age of the earth on a site called "rapure ready" (don't ask) It was interesting. There are some great points I had never heard like the lake in Japan with 45,000 layers of yearly sediment. 2 things that I wish he would have addressed though. And I think these concerns touch on a certain cavalierness I have noticed among some Catholics to "swallow" whatever modern science throws at us and claim that the Bible is not to be interpreted litterally so therefore anything goes. Anything does not go, and these issues of the age of the earth and geocentrism do matter in how we view our faith. If evolution is proven beyond doubt, my faith will not be shaken, my reading of Genesis chapter 1 will need to change somewhat though. But that does not mean I will sit by and quietly nod my head at scientists like Steven J. Gould who posit simply ridiculous theories like punctuated equilibrium to prop up evolution. As christians, we have nothing to fear from science. But people like Gould filter their science through philosophical assumptions that they hold as dogma. Gould sees no transitional forms in the fosil record and makes a new theory to fit with his philosophy about the universe and its origins from chance and time. This is bad science and he should be called out by christians for it. If he turns out to be right, it is still bad science, because the philosophical assumptions behind it were bad. On to the article: 1. In the article, Todd Strandberg said: "The scriptural references to historical events are extremely brief. It would only take one unknown factor to explain that there may have been scores of millennial ages between the time of Adam and the present." To this I answer: No, there could not have been scores (a score is 25 I think) of millenia since Adam. Before him, perhaps, but not after. There is a record of geneologies in Genesis that are presented as solid historical fact and they allow for perhaps a couple dozen millenia if things are really really stretched. 6000yrs if taken at face value like Usher did. These geneologies are repeated in the New Testament, they have specific ages of the men, and there is zero reason to think they are "historical epic" (like Genesis ch. 1) style literature where time (24 hour days) is not nessesarily to be read literally. In fact, I will claim that their point is to root the salvation narrative in real human history by pointing to real men with real lifespans. These geneologies must be accepted as literal unless proven otherwise beyond any reasonable doubt. (ref: geneologies in Gen. 5 and Gen. 11) 2. Death before Adam. This is very important. If there are animals dying before Adam, this would make no sense theologically. If evolution is true, then the implication is there were humans (or an ape man who was 99.9% human) before Adam who died. Why would they die? Sin had not occured yet. This is a huge problem for theistic evolutionists. Animals and people being created with death as part of their nature is impossible. In my opinion, as Catholics, (and Christians in general) we need to have an attitude as follows: Our faith is not going to be shaken if evolution is proved or the earth is shown to be 999.67 trillon years old. But for goodness sake people, lets not jetisson our traditional beliefs on these issues at the first sign of some godless scientist with godless philosophical assumptions shows us his data and interprets that data for us. Lets have a bit of scepticism at these modern philosophers who see science as their religion, and themselves as it's interpretive magisterium.