(An Introduction, Part 1 of 10)
If someone were to conduct a poll where at least 100 people were interviewed from any corner of the world concerning major issues, the universe’s age would probably never come up as a matter worth debating when considering topics that have prevailed in recent history: Should the U.S. have responded sooner to the Russia-Ukraine situation? Did Russia help Donald Trump win the 2016 election? When exactly is Shark Week and how did this ever become a popular phenomenon? Unless the location happened to be a major university campus where a science department faculty were being interviewed, most people would agree that there are matters much more relevant to our progression towards ‘world peace’ or ‘civil unity’ than whether the Earth is young or old. On the other hand, the previous week’s lesson focused on one’s worldview being directly tied to his or her social, political, and religious positions; therefore, if this is true, then would one be obligated to have his or her position on the universe’s age related to the underlying belief system that he or she has adopted?
In churches across the United States throughout its 240-year old history, the origins question is one that has perplexed Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teachers despite the direct claims many would cling to as God’s Word having all the answers to life’s major questions. On any given day one can walk into a children’s book store, watch an educational show from a local (or major) public broadcasting, visit a state park, or visit a theme park and the verdict has been decided: the Earth is billions of years old, humans have evolved from lower-formed organisms, dinosaurs went extinct over 65 million years ago, and one day aliens will probably inhabit the Earth in some form or fashion as they have visited the Earth since possibly the beginning of time. Although everyone might not endorse each view that was previously mentioned, it has been a rather unanimous opinion that the Earth’s age would be equivalent to that of somewhere around 4.54 billion years old. If this is true yet someone (particularly Christians) clings to a literal interpretation of Genesis, where does the authority lie in that person’s life? Should they believe popular opinion, ‘modern scientific theory,’ or a traditional stance that God’s Word is inspired, infallible, and inerrant?
In the age-old debate (pun completely intended), many have folded their hands when confronted at the notion that scientists could be wrong when viewing the Earth as anything less than billions of years old. Many Christians that believe God’s Word is their foundational tool for living have either ignored or surrendered when confronted with the notion that there is some conflict between science and God. For example, when did the dinosaurs become extinct? Most secular scientists would claim that dinosaurs disappeared some 65 million years ago due to a variety of potential catastrophic disasters, i.e. asteroids, climatic conditions, ice ages, etc. Many children’s books have also endorsed this notion as any Dr. Seuss or A-B-C books will imply that dinosaurs lived long ago before humans ever existed. Many popular television shows such as “Bill Nye, the Science Guy” and “Dinosaur Train” have also made these assumptions as millions of viewers watch these programs in hopes to learn about the “Terrible Lizards” of our history. Some people have avoided the subject altogether by claiming that dinosaurs never existed in the first place despite the many bones reconstructed in museums and universities across the world. Dinosaurs really did exist and there is very reliable information proving their existence; however, when did they exist and does it really mater, anyways?