> I told my adult Sunday School class a little science this week,....
> The reactions were predictable - bemusement at the large numbers,
> puzzlement about how then one should think of Genesis, and strong claims
> that this is just the way God made things appear even though He created
> them recently.
Very similar to my experience teaching a science/theology class last month.
It's interesting that handwaving, qualitative arguments for a young earth
tend to be taken at face value by many people while reliable, tested,
workhorse analytical methods like radioisotope dating are received with
much skepticism. I flatly told my class that I knew of *no* credible
argument from "science" for a young earth. This brought incredulity, but no
counterexamples, from the class.
On the "appearance of age" question, I allow that God most definitely
*could* have created the earth with fossils already buried, light on its
way here from distant galaxies and radiodecay products already in place.
However, as the list of things gets longer and longer and the reason for
doing such trickery gets harder and harder to discern, the probability of
this having occurred vanishes. For one thing, I pointed out that our being
able to observe various stages of stellar evolution is a curious thing.
This point of view also implies, at least to me, that God has no intention
of us trying to understand natural processes at all.
> I passed out Loren Haarsma's posting on "a glossary of
> positions" on creation(ism) from back in February (thanks, Loren!), and
> several people expressed relief that there were "more options than they
I did this also, with much the same reaction. However, since I was
stressing God's providential role in creation (hence, the various flavors
in Loren's taxonomy of progressive creation or theistic evolution are not
very meaningful to me) I did not spend any time on it beyond just passing
it out to show that there's more than 2 ways to look at the subject.
> At least they now all understand that there is a 50% probability that the
> person sitting next to them in the pew (or at the breakfast table...) holds
> a different view from them of origins or interpreting Genesis. Trying to
> ensure that this issue does not become a test of fellowship, I concluded
> with Calvin DeWitt's line that when we meet God face to face, He will not
> quiz us on how He made the earth, but on what we did with it...
I stressed that since God is the source of both the Bible and nature, that
while we may disagree about this and that now, when we do understand both
perfectly (not before heaven, no doubt) there will be no contradiction.
> My thanks to all of you who have contributed much in the past few months
> to my thinking about how to present these issues.
Let me ditto this. The asa-list was very helpful to me in preparing for my
class, not to mention helping to clarify my thinking on several things.
Scatterer at Large