apparent age
Tue, 2 Apr 1996 15:44:22 -0500 (EST)

This last fall semester, I taught a course "Modern Science and Religious
Thought." One topic that generated a lot of discussion was the appearance
of age argument. I presented the argument in two ways: (1) Did the
supernova 1987a actually occur or did God create the light already on the
way to the earth, and only make it look like the supernova event actually
occurred. (2) After I walked into the classroom, I asked whether I really
did enter the room, or did they only see the light that indicated that I
had come in the room. (I know that last sentence doesn't make any sense.)
The question was, did the event actually happen, or did it only appear to
happen. It was interesting to watch the students responses during the
discussion. Appearance of age became a standard explanation; in a humorous
way. That was one of the standing jokes from then on. Even the
YECs in the class laughed about it. As far as I could tell, this topic
was a real turning point for some of the students. It forced them to
examine their religious beliefs in a new manner, one that thinks seriously
about the nature of reality. I feel that their faith is quite a bit
stronger than it was before.

I had a related discussion with several faculty. I gave the hypothetical
situation that we were looking at Adam; we had been told previously that
God had just created Adam in the past couple of hours. Adam didn't look
young, he was a mature adult. (So far no one had any problems). However,
in the story, we also have a set of X-rays of Adam, that clearly show
that Adam has a healed broken leg. The question was, did Adam actually
have a healed broken leg (thus being older than 2 or 3 hours) or did God
create Adam such that it appeared that he was older than 2 or 3 hours.
The two YECs on the faculty seemed to be stumped about how to decide, but
it was an interesting discussion.

Jim Behnke, Asbury College, Wilmore, KY 40390