Posted by: dhkrause | August 22, 2012

Reconciling the Bible and Science – Comments on “The Age of the Universe: What are the Biblical Limits?”

A long standing problem for those who believe in a straightforward and literal reading of Genesis chapter 1 is explaining how we are able to see light from stars billions of light years away, or the evidence of long radioactive processes in rocks. Gorman Gray’s book, “The Age of the Universe: What are the Biblical Limits?” provides a key to resolving this issue, well worth consideration by all who are interested in this subject. See http://www.ageoftheuniverse.com for a sample of this book. The following is a synopsis of this significant contribution toward resolving this perennial issue.

The biosphere, everything relating to life on earth, was created during the six days beginning with the onset of light on the dark surface of the ocean inaugurating day one. By a literal and straightforward reading of the Bible, we indeed determine that these events beginning in Genesis 1:3 took place about 6,000 years ago. However, what is often overlooked is that based on a literal and straightforward reading of verse 1, the stars, planets, moons and other stellar bodies were created prior to the events of the biosphere creation week. The Hebrew word translated “heaven” or “heavens” in verse 1 consistently includes the stellar bodies that populate the universe, and not just empty space, and the word translated “earth” simply means this planet earth. The words translated “empty and void” in verse 2 can also be rendered desolate and uninhabitable. Verse 2 also speaks of a hovering or brooding of the Spirit over the dark surface of the “deep” (consistently translated “ocean” elsewhere) with no light getting through. Verses 1 and 2 do not specify the length of time during which these events occurred; therefore from the text we cannot know the age of the universe or of the mineral earth. All we can definitely say is that from the onset of light on the surface of the ocean inaugurating earth’s first day in verse 3 until the present time is about 6,000 years.

The main sticking point in this straightforward and literal interpretation is regarding verse 16, “Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.” The verb translated “made” is frequently translated “did” and sometimes as “brought forth” or “established”. In the context of the text, Gorman Gray observes, “Just as God made light on the ocean surface (day one) by thinning the cloud of thick darkness, so He “made” the stars on day four for signs, seasons, days and years by necessarily clearing the skies to transparency.” ( “The Age of the Universe: What are the Biblical Limits?”, page 27) Gorman has strong backing from Hebrew experts in this interpretation, and has dealt honestly and convincingly with all the arguments that have been raised against it.

The upshot of this view (if scripturally correct as I believe it is), is that whether or not the young universe models proposed by Russell Humphreys, John Hartnett, Barry Setterfield and others hold up over time, the Bible has no issue with whatever time scientists choose to assign for the age of the universe or of the mineral earth. There is no longer any problem explaining how we are able to see light from stars billions of light years away, or the evidence of long radioactive processes in rocks. Even without the aid of the complex models constructed by the aforementioned physicists, it is evident that the period of time between the creation of those distant stars, the creation of the earth, and the clearing of the skies to transparency on day four of the biosphere creation week could easily have been the exact time needed for light to arrive from the most distant stars, and for any radioactive processes to transpire in the oldest rocks.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 12/23/2011


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