Interesting Religion and Origins Facts

September 9, 2010 | In: History facts

Though there is much geological evidence showing the earth is ancient, and though scientists estimate the universe began billions of years ago, not everybody believes it. Some religious people prefer to believe the estimate of 16th Century Anglican Archbishop James Ussher, who thought the earth began about 6,000 years ago.

One explanation of how Earth could be so young when there is such evidence of its age is that God created a “mature universe.” In such a case, stars would shine on the night they were created, though light years away; trees would have yearly rings, though they were minutes old; there would be decomposed organic matter in the soil, though no plants had ever grown before, and so forth.

This is a philosophical explanation, not a scientific one, since it suggests the evidence does not point where it seems to point.

However, many religious scholars accept scientists’ estimates of the age of the universe. In fact, they feel the discovery that the universe had a beginning is evidence that someone — God — must have started it.

Also, the discovery that the “constants of physics” at the basis of the universe seem precisely adjusted for life seems to many to argue for a Great Designer. For example, if gravity was a bit stronger, stars would burn out too quickly for planets suitable for life to develop. If it was a bit weaker, they wouldn’t create the heavy elements necessary for life.

A recent explanation of how the biblical story of creation and science mesh belongs to astronomer and former Caltech fellow, Dr. Hugh Ross. He updates an earlier explanation, that creation “days” were actually long ages.

In outline, this is his explanation: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” (Earth‘s early atmosphere blocked the sunlight.)

Day one: “Let there be light.” (As the atmosphere changed the sun’s light began to shine through.)

Day two: God separates the waters above from the waters below. (The evaporation and rain cycle began.)

Day three: Dry land appears, then plants appear. (Land rose from the ocean, then plants appeared.)

Day four: Sun, moon and stars appear. (The changing atmosphere finally reveals the sun, moon and stars.)

Day five: Sea creatures (up to and including sea mammals), then birds, appear.

Day six: Animals (Ross says these are land mammals), then humans appear.

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