Can we trust the history written in the Bible? Recently, I was drawn to watch several videos on the “Old Earth” vs. “New Earth” controversy. I found two excellent videos on YouTube, one by an Astrophysicist/Cosmologist by the name of Dr. Hugh Ross and the other by an Applied Scientist/Biologist named Ken Ham. These two scientists believe in God and that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. They both also believe there is no conflict between God’s inspired Word and science. However, Ken Ham believes we can accept biblical history as fact.
I am not going to discuss the scientific aspects of the proofs they outline to support their belief in the Bible, because their scientific knowledge makes them eminently more qualified to do that. Those interested in their scientific explanations can search for these talks on YouTube. But I will spend some time on reconciling the only real difference between these two scientists’ approach to the Bible, the age of the earth.
The age of the earth separates the teachings of many of today’s Christian leaders. Dr. Ross uses stars to verify the truth of the Bible, while Mr. Ham uses scripture alone to point us to the truth of God’s Word. If we could somehow reconcile their disagreement on the age of the earth, we could use their combined teachings to bring the truth of the Bible to the light of day and help us better reconcile the perceived difference between science and the Bible.
Dr. Ross says that the light coming to us from distant stars proves the old earth concept because it takes millions or billions of years for light to travel that far. Mr. Ham says that God makes it very clear that it only took Him six days to create everything, Gen 1:31, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
For believers, there is no better source than the Word of the one who created everything, Job 38:4, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.” But the skeptics among us need to reconcile everything we see in this world to what the Bible claims to be true. We owe it to our creator and ourselves to reason with the Bible to see if we can reconcile this controversy. If God created everything, we should be able to reason with what we know to be true in this world and apply it to the problem at hand.
One way to look at the time problem is to consider how long it takes to make something. How many dress shirts can a person make in a day? It seems like a funny question, however, a skilled worker could make two dress shirts in one day. But an unskilled worker might need a week to finally complete one acceptable dress shirt. So, the answer to the question is, it depends on who is making the shirt. It will still be a shirt, whether it took four hours or seven days to make. The same principle can be applied to all that God has created. He is capable of creating everything in the blink of an eye, but He tells us He stretched out the process to six days. It is the same finished product, so why did He decide to take six days? He did it to establish a seven-day cycle for us. A cycle that brings us rest every seventh day, a cycle that brings us back to Him and the reasoning with Him that we need. He knows we would drift away without it, Heb 4:1-4, 8, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works…For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.” Jesus did not come to change anything God asked Him to create, including the Sabbath day; He came to confirm what God has planned, Matt 5:17, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Science is finally catching up with God on this one. Susan Perry and Jim Dawson report in their book, The Secrets Our Body Clock Reveal, that we humans have an internal bodily rhythm of seven days. This cycle does not follow the lunar or solar cycles. This is just one more opportunity for us to understand that the Bible is from God and that science will eventually agree with the Bible on all subjects.
Another way to look at the time problem is to think of the last television show we recorded. When we played it back, we fast-forwarded through the commercials. Those commercials were still there; we just shortened the time it took to get through them. I believe this is what God did. He created everything in the order He told us He did, and it took Him six days to complete it, however, to us it appears to have taken billions of years. Sort of like, someone coming in behind us and watching that same recorded television show without fast-forwarding through the commercials, that person would say it was an hour-long show when we only spend forty-five minutes watching the fast-forwarded version. Remember, God told us we did not create the universe, and it did not create itself. God created it, therefore what we are now watching is the fast-forwarded version, which appears to us to have taken billions of years because God fast-forwarded through those billions of years in just six days.
The idea being proposed to resolve the conflict between an “old earth” and a “new earth” is that it looks old because God made it that way. He could have slowed the whole creation process down to the billions of years it would have taken, or He could have created it in a way that confirmed the six-day creation story. However, He decided to use time as a teaching lesson, a purveyor of the importance of faith. Understanding that a God big enough to create all that we see is also a God big enough to do it in six days resolves the apparent conflict. Once we leave room for the possibility that God did create everything in six days, as He told us He did, we can begin to honestly evaluate all of the truths of the Bible, and it is faith that allows us to believe. After all, most of those truths have already been proven right, like the seven-day human cycle.
The main point Ken Ham is making is that when God tells us He did it in six days, we can believe it! If we do not believe it, how can we believe the rest of the Bible? It is the devil who keeps asking us to doubt God; Gen 3:4-5, “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Once we believe God does not lie, we able to learn the rest of His great lessons. Ken Ham uses Bible verses to back up his claim, Prov 30:5-6, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” I would follow that one up with, Matt 5:18, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” and Rev 22:19, “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” The Bible is not some book written by fallible humans with an ever-changing truth. The Bible is the infallible Word of God, given to us so that we might find our way to Him, even when the devil tries to lead us away. If we do not reason with God, we will not obtain the faith we need to understand the Truths He has been telling us for thousands of years. Heb 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
This is why a true Christian can suffer and still be of good spirits and continue to have a positive, forward-looking attitude without despair. True Christians know that the devil is working hard to bring suffering into our lives, to create doubt about the existence of God. The devil wants us to believe that a good God would not allow evil. But the devil is selfish and does not understand someone sacrificing for others, as Jesus did on the cross, or as Paul and Silas did when they were in prison, Act 16:25, “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” Paul and Silas knew that God was with them and that others would benefit from their suffering! Matt 28:20, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” God is not creating the suffering in this world; the collective we have created it by our continuing to deny His existence and our ignoring of His advice. He uses the suffering initiated by the devil to turn our disbelief into something good, Gen 50:20, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” It is comforting to know we are not alone and that the time we spend on this earth will seem infinitesimal when compared to eternity, Rom. 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Our eternal joy will overwhelm the pain and suffering of this present life.
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