IT probably doesn’t matter if someone seeking the office of municipal sewer commissioner is a creationist, but it’s essential to know the mental condition of someone who wants to be a state legislator or governor — and it’s even more important with candidates for Congress or for President.
Such people don’t need to know much, if anything, about astronomy, geology, or biology, but — to put it bluntly — it’s vital to know whether a candidate for high office can think rationally. Perhaps the quickest way to smoke out the worst of the hard-core creationists is to ask: “How old is the earth?”
We’ve written about this issue before. The first time was a year ago, in How Old Is The Creationists’ Universe? That discusses a supernova which provides some clear, undeniable astronomical evidence that the universe is at least 168,000 years old, and that the speed of light hasn’t changed from then to now. It’s not proof of the actual age of the universe, but it’s enough to disprove the claim that everything began only 6,000 years ago, with variable lightspeed to explain away inconvenient observations to the contrary.
Later we wrote How Old Is the Earth and the Universe? That discusses many other lines of evidence supporting current scientific opinions. Most recently we wrote Creationism: How Old Is the Earth? There, we discussed the creationist opinion from Answers in Genesis.
Today, dear reader, we present How old is the Earth?, which appears in the Religion Section of the Times-Herald of Newnan, Georgia. That newspaper was foundeded “in the days after the Civil War ended,” and “has become an institution in the intervening 143 years.” It has a paid circulation of about 12,700.
As you read this, note that the author seems to assume that everyone is a creationist, but they disagree about the age of the earth. Here are a few excerpts. The bold font was added by us:
There are young-earth and old-earth creationists. Young-earth creationists believe the earth is 6,000 years old. Old-earth creationists believe the earth is 4.6 billion years old. Both young-earth and old-earth creationists add the genealogies from Adam to Abraham in Genesis 5 and Genesis 11 and get 2,000 years and then add Abraham until today and get 4,000 years — giving us 6,000 years from Adam to today.
If you want to really dig into the varieties of creationists, see: Creationism Past and Present at the National Center for Science Education. Let’s read on in the Times-Herald:
How you interpret the “days” in Genesis 1 will determine how old you believe the earth is. Young-earth creationists interpret the days as a consecutive 24-hour period. There are three reasons why they believe this.
Three reasons? Okay, let’s see what they are:
First, the days in Genesis 1 are consecutively numbered and have an “evening” and “morning.” Second, Exodus 20:8-11 commands a literal week of six days of work and one day of rest based on God’s original creation/rest week. Third, Romans 5:12 says, “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin.” Old-earth creationism would have animal death entering the world before the sin of Adam and Eve.
Sounds good. Now let’s see what the old-earth creationists have to say for themselves:
Old-earth creationists do not believe the creation days in Genesis 1 were consecutive 24-hour periods. There are three reasons why they believe in an old-earth.
They also have three reasons? This is so confusing!
First, the Hebrew word for “day,” yom is used in different ways in the creation account. Genesis 1:5 refers yom only to daytime, not nighttime. Genesis 2:4 literally says, “the yom that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.” Second, God’s rest on the seventh “day” has no evening and morning (Genesis 2:2-3). Hebrews 4:3-11 portrays this same Sabbath as continuing to the present time. Third, Adam could not have named all the birds and animals in 24 hours according to Genesis 2:19-20.
Where does all this leave us? We’ll skip a discussions of dinosaurs, and pick it up after that:
What about fossils? Young-earth believers understand fossils as depositions from Noah’s flood. Old-earth believers view them as artifacts of supernatural creative acts separated by long time spans — all happening on day six.
Wow! They don’t agree on much, do they? Here’s more:
Young-earth creationists believe that old-earth interpretations make the Bible subservient to science. Old-earth believers claim that young-earth believers make a clash between science and scripture — forcing everything within 6,000 years.
Things look rather messy in the world of creationism. This is how the article ends:
I was raised old-earth, but have noticed how many Christians are turning to young-earth creationism. Whether you believe the earth is 4.6 billion or 6,000 years old, this is a topic worth studying — making you realize how little you know and how incredible God’s creation is.
So there you are. Will they ever resolve things? Probably not. Your Curmudgeon will stick to science — it’s much less discordant. And we’ll also avoid Newnan, Georgia. Somehow, we don’t think we’d fit in.
As for what we recommended at the start of this post — asking political candidates about the age of the earth — it’s obvious that even if they say 4.6 billion years, you still won’t know whether they’re scientific in their outlook, or merely old-earth creationists. But the way things are going out there, at least it’s a better answer than 6,000 years. (Hey, check out the birth certificate of presidential candidates too.)
Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.