Tag Archives: Old earth vs. young earth

A Biblical Case for an Old Earth by David Snoke

Previous chapters here.

Chapter 2.

One of the complaints about the book in the Amazon reviews is that the book is supposed to be about the Biblical case, yet he starts with the scientific case.

The first sentence of this chapter says,

My goal is to build a biblical case, not primarily a scientific one, but I want to first review some of the scientific facts so that we can see the stakes involved.

This seems fair to me.  How can we build a Biblical case for an old earth unless we know what "old earth" entails?

The first topic is measuring the age of the universe by the distance of the stars

  • First, one could argue that the above (read the book) measurement process is wrong, and that actually the stars are much nearer.
  • Second, one could argue that the speed of light used to be much faster
  • Third, one could argue that the light we see did not actually come from stars, but was created "en route.

The problem with the first argument is that (if the universe is no more than 10,000 years old, then all of the stars would have to be within 10,000 light years of the view point (earth).  There are billions of stars and to have them all within 20,000 light years of each other (with earth at the center) would create gravitational chaos.

The second argument (the slowing down of the speed of light) is more interesting...but...

One of the books I'm reading now is "The Singularity is Near" by Ray Kurzweil. On page 140 (a wild paraphrase) he writes that two physicists from Los Alamos Laboratory have discovered the remains on a natural nuclear reactor in West Africa that had a "melt down" 2 billion years ago.  There is a "constant particle" called an "alpha particle" that is inversely related to the speed of light and by examining isotopes connected with these particles, the slowing of the alphas implies that the speed of light has INCREASED. This is a minuscule change - 4.5 parts per 10 to the 38th power (no clue how to do exponents in wordpress).

The third argument (that light was created en route) is - according to Snoke - the most viable of the three.  But if we work under the assumption that things are as they appear, then the starts appear to be very far away.

This "apparent age" theory eliminates any possibility of a scientific discussion about the age of the world.

That's it for the "speed of light changing" and there's more in chapter 1...but I wanted to get this posted today... 

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Preface and Chapter 1

I'll link to this up as I add chapters - it's a good book that gives a different side to the "evolution vs. 6-day creation" debate.

"Biblical Case For an Old Earth" by David Snokes (if you buy through this link, I get a credit - hint, hint)

In the preface,

Snokes introduces the debate in a "orthodox vs liberalism" sort of way and describes how "old earthers" are often portrayed by  those who believe that the earth is (at most) 20,000 years old.

Snokes maintains that a person can be a theological conservative and accept a Biblical case for an old earth.

Chapter 1, "Starting Assumptions"

Snokes starts by telling readers that if he had not studied science, he would not have come to an old earth conclusion...tells us that his interpretation is a "possible" interpretation, not an "obvious" one.  He recognizes that his view may not be popular, and points out that:

It is illegitimate to change our view of the Bible because we want a more popular interpretation.

and then

He poses the question about whether or not it's okay to ever allow experience, history, or science affect or alter our understanding of the interpretation of Scripture.

Examples he used were Galileo...do we allow our understanding of science to affect our interpretation of Psalm 93:1?

Does history tell us that "king" in Daniel 5:1 refers to a viceroy, a "lesser king", and not the foremost ruler of an entire country?  Would we have that understanding, if we didn't have history?

There is a legitimacy to allowing experience to affect our interpretation...that does NOT mean that we should change our interpretation to bow to the prevailing views of culture in order to be with the "in crowd."  It also does not mean that we need to get onto the "slippery slope" and we can avoid that by clearly laying out the boundaries - what is negotiable and what is not.

we would do well to remember that science was founded by Christians who insisted that God is not a great deceiver, that the natural world is ordered by a good God, and that we must reject superstition and hearsay; moreover, that we must subject all truth claims to rigorous examination, even claims of honored church leaders from generations past...

Question: is it legitimate to allow your experience with purported miracle workers to affect the way you interpret passages like Ephesians 4:11 AND 2 Cor. 12:12 that seem to promise signs and wonders?

My answer...maybe not, but it is certainly wise to allow Scripture to judge whether or not a miracle worker is merely "purported."