Re: Jude 14 and the age of the world

Massie (
Sat, 17 Apr 1999 16:04:52 -0700 wrote:

> << Hall further cites Origen as doubting that the "days" before the creation
> of the sun could be 24 hour (from the same original reference). Hall does
> not citre any evidence as to how long Origen did think they were.
> Whatever the general opinion was (as most folks probably did not think much
> about it) as to the age of the earth, these examples do show that
> questioning the 6 24 hour day model plus approximately the length of the
> genealogies is not purely an attempt to yield to modern scientific
> evidence. Of course, modern scientific evidence has provided a much
> greater impetus for closely examining the text, whereas earlier readers
> were going largely on speculation.
> >>
> I think if you investigate the speculations of those in the 17th century you
> will find they were motivated by a consideration of scientific data, not
> biblical data. As for Origen and Augustine, they doubted that Gen 1 needed
> to be understood as literal history; and that is an important point. But,
> there is no evidence that they or any other early Church father doubted that
> the universe was older than 6000 years. Taken in a straight forward way the
> biblical genealogies infer a very young universe; and that is the way the
> Church as a whole understood them until scientific data demanded a
> reinterpretation.
> Even if Origen doubted that the days of Genesis before day four were literal
> 24-hour days (and I would like to see the reference in his works before I
> admitted even that), he could just as well have been thinking they were
> shorter than 24 hours as longer. Augustine (and I believe a few other
> fathers) questioned the literality of the creation week because Gen 2:4 spoke
> of the heavens and earth "in the day in which they were made." He reasoned
> from this that the creation could have been done in one day or perhaps less.
> Unless there is concrete evidence to the contrary, the probability is that
> Origen agreed with the rest of the Church that the universe was not older
> than 6000 years.
> The idea of a universe older than c. six or ten thousand years does not arise
> naturally from Scripture. It has to be read in from science.
> Paul

I don't let dead monks or any expert tell me what to think so it in the end is of
curiosity what Augustine and others thought but not a compulsory factor nor a
deciding one as to ending up with a world view on the age of things. This camp
and that camp wants to find ancient historical citations to butress their claim
of objectiveness. and. in the end, so what.

What I do take exception to is the grand assertian that "The idea of a universer
older than c. six or ten thousand years doen not arise naturally from Scripture.
It has to be read in from the science." Perhaps I should refraise the ascertain
for you: "The idea of a young universe does not from from the science. It has to
be read in from the Scripture."

There are quite qualified experts in the Hebrew who will see the meaning of the
Hebrew word yaum as 24 hour day, daylight, or period of time and they will be
happy to give you their iron clad reason. Clearly, in the later scripture you
refer to (Gen. 2:4) the reference is to a period of time called day. Leaders in
understanding the ancient Hebrew disagree I am certain that they can provide us a
litany of the standard arguements.

I am the most concerned about the belief that one can translate the scripture in
a vacuum of world views. Such is not possible. If you had a conception in
advance based on your personal natural history beliefs tha the earth was young
and that 6,000 years was a very long time, then you will see the translation of
this scripture in that light. Such referencing of the translation to ones world
view is a required feature of the human endeavor and cannot be avoided even if in
the greatest of obective minds it is mitigated.

I then wonder how Genesis would be phrased if it were for the first time
translated today?

Bert Massie