In past posts, I’ve developed some key elements of worldviews – their importance and the role of truth and logic in formulating them. Now we look at the origin of our surroundings and their consistency with a worldview that must incorporate those surroundings.
From Dr. Martin’s perspective, there are only two choices: 1) Either our universe is eternal, that is it’s always existed and always will, or 2) its non-eternal, having a beginning, and presumably an end. The second law of thermodynamics, that entropy (disorder) of the physical world (we’ll deal with the “entropy” of the social world in a future post) is increasing all around us, is consistent with the latter view – that the universe is finite and running down . You can follow Dr. Martin’s detailed, logical arguments in his treatise on “The Existence of God”.
The beginning/origin/creation of our universe is more than semantics – it requires a logical, rational explanation consistent with one’s worldview. Those whose worldview incorporates the “big bang” theory, or some version of it, ascribe to an event in the (distant) past, an explosion of cosmic proportions occurring that was the beginning of our universe. I hope our readers can see, immediately, two questions with the “big bang”.
First, what was the origin of the “stuff” that exploded, and, secondly, who or what set it off! Even more clearly, I hope, is the irrationality of a theistic big bang, i.e., that an entity, the “intelligent designer” if you will, powerful enough to assemble the elements of the big bang and then set them off, would “sit on the sidelines” for “billions” of years, doing nothing with His creation! Though, one could rebut, that He is the unknown dark matter and/or energy that has apparently kept and/or slowed our universe from flying apart (Col 1:16-17), all of those billions of years.
A Biblical worldview of the origin of our universe does not answer all of one’s questions. For instance, is ours the only one or are many theoretical physicists on the right track with the “multiple universes” necessity for a “theory of everything” – the Bible is silent in this regard, and therefore, does not preclude them. Logically speaking, the elements of many worldviews need not be proven, in some absolute sense, they just need to be consistent with observation, i.e., “the data”. Thus, a Biblical worldview will neither contradict its content or any other facts. So we are left with differing worldviews, while looking at some of the same data – how is this possible? I believe it’s a result of the differing assumptions, hypotheses, postulates, etc., associated with any worldview.
When people ask me whether the earth is young or old, my answer is, “Yes”! Either is possible, even within the perspective of a Biblical worldview. Biblically, a fundamental question is how did the Creator create. We have a being, existing outside of time, creating both time and space. When His actions are described as “speaking (whatever) into existence,” what might have actually happened – we do not know, but can hypothesize a variety of explanations consistent with both observation and the Bible.
One possibility can shed some light on a young and old earth, simultaneously, based on assumptions. One can suppose that the Creator formed the material to create the earth, and the other celestial bodies in our universe, in a black hole, or holes. As He took this high (infinite) density matter to form those celestial bodies, in the process of it expanding to normal densities, it could take on an “apparent age” consistent with the uniformitarian hypotheses associated with the radiometric dating of materials of normal densities. A key assumption is that these radioactive decay processes have remained unchanged from our current understanding, before and during all passage of time.
With regard to an age of the universe of billions of years, one can legitimately ask about distant stars and galaxies, and based on the speed of light, the incredible distances, and thus time, that must have passed for that light to reach the earth. How can this be consistent with a Biblical worldview? The understanding is found in Genesis 1:16b-17, i.e., that God created the stars for a purpose, that being for their light to shine on the earth, at that moment. In other words, there was no lag time for starlight to appear on the earth – it was there at creation. This interpretation does not obviate such findings as the Doppler-like wavelength (red) shifts associated with moving light sources (distant stars) in an expanding, but “young” universe. As with any model (worldview) and that includes that for the age of our universe, it’s all about the assumptions.
What is described by a person (Moses – under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which is just as great a mystery as how did the Creator create, i.e., did He give Biblical writers every word, or just the “executive summary”, etc.), both existing inside of and bound by time, as six literal days becomes plausible, considering how the Creator might have worked. So, is the “young earth” tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands (not billions) of years old? Though I believe that the individual Patriarchs lived as long as a literal 969 years, part of the answer to the magnitude of the young earth’s age depends on the meaning, in the original language, of what we translate into English, as “became the father of” – there is not agreement as to whether this is literal or means ” became the ancestor of” (see Genesis 5:6-32).
We could go on for chapters or volumes with this discussion, so look around herein and stay tuned – I welcome your commentary. I hope all of the readers of this post will come away with at least the openness to consider the possibility that there is another explanation (worldview), that could be consistent with the same data that we all observe.