One must be very careful with trying to stretch the "day" in Gen.1 to "ages"
to accommodate an old earth. ["(For that matter, when talking with adults on
whom the light is just beginning to dawn & who say, "Maybe the days were
millions of years long", I don't try to introduce more sophisticated ideas -
right then.)"] Some years ago, when I tried this tack, the response was
something along the lines that plants need sunlight and that they would not
survive a long night (assuming, of course, that the night was also "millions
of years long"). I suppose one could argue for long days and short nights,
but that has its own problems. ;-)
Having thought about this for many years now (but not as long as some
correspondents on this ASA site), I've come to the conclusion that it is
hopeless to look for any agreement between what God shows us in His Creation
and what Genesis appears to tell us at first glance (or, for many, even
after 'n' glances). A more satisfying argument, to me, would be that God
created the Universe some 6000 or so years ago as a fully functional system,
with the stars 'way out there and the light well on its way to us, with all
the daughter products of the U and Th series in place, with the isotopic
signatures that we find, etc., etc. Note that I don't say I'd be happy with
it, but I think I'd prefer it over "shoe horning" Genesis into geology or
the other way around.
From: george murphy [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday February 13, 2002 12:39 PM
To: Freeman, Louise Margaret
Subject: Re: Children of YEC's in Sunday School (WAS: How to discuss
evolution with friends
"Freeman, Louise Margaret" wrote:
> Thank you for the thoughtful advice. A variation... how would you adapt
> advice for talking to children? I teach a Sunday School class of 1st and
> graders, and, although the pastoral leadership of the church is very
> supportive of theistic evolution, the parents of several of my children
> committed YECs. The subject hasn't come up in my class yet but I'm sure
> will... in nothing more than the typical "were dinosaurs on Noah's ark?"
> Is there a way to explain to small children that they don't have to choose
> between the Bible and science without offending the beliefs of their
With this age it's probably best to deal with questions as they
Any attempt at a systematic comparison between what science says about
Genesis is likely just to be confusing. But you might have an exchange like
"Were dinosaurs on Noah's ark?"
"Probably not. People who study dinosaurs think that they all died
time before the flood."
If the response is just, "Oh" then let it ride. But you might get,
"Why did they die?" & you could talk briefly about asteroid impact. At
point the question of whether dinosaurs & people lived at the same time may
up, & then the whole question of time scale comes in.
You could say that creation story in Genesis 1 is a story that tells
that God created the world but that it doesn't have all the details about
did it. For this age I don't object to some modest concordism as a kind of
temporary resting place. The days might be much longer than 24 hours & the
land animals were created before human beings (in the 1st account!) The
thing doesn't really work on close examination & I wouldn't "teach it", but
this context it's okay to suggest it as one way of thinking about things.
(For that matter, when talking with adults on whom the light is just
beginning to dawn & who say, "Maybe the days were millions of years long", I
try to introduce more sophisticated ideas - right then.)
Of course it's a tremendous help to have supportive pastoral
Perhaps it would be helpful to discuss with the pastor the possibility of
her addressing the issue in an adult class or in a sermon.
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
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