Yes, I appreciate the limitations of the day-age concordism. Note, also,
that I would not advocate the "apparent age approach" either. However, one
might argue (tongue in cheek!) that God created the world "as we have to
today" to give geologists etc. something to do. Sort of like a jigsaw
puzzle or a "problem" to solve. That would not necessarily be misleading on
God's part, would it? The "misleading" aspect would then be our assumption.
Sort of along the lines of an Easter egg hunt: a participant can rejoice in
the detective work to find the eggs and marvel at the clever design in
hiding the eggs, or (s)he can be annoyed of all the unnecessary work (s)he
has to go through to get the goodies, because the supplier of the eggs could
just as well have put the eggs in a basket.
Just a few thoughts.
From: george murphy [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday February 13, 2002 2:01 PM
To: Vandergraaf, Chuck
Cc: email@example.com; Freeman, Louise Margaret
Subject: Re: Children of YEC's in Sunday School (WAS: How to discuss
evolution with friends
"Vandergraaf, Chuck" wrote:
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.
Please note the very limited way in which I said that day-age
concordism could be useful:
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.)
It may be helpful temporarily for children or for adults who are
just coming to realize that a young earth isn't the article by which the
church stands and falls. "Close examination" however, will reveal problems
like the plants existing millions of years without the sun. & then you have
"I don't know" or (probably for adults) "that's one of the limits of the
model." & pretty soon people will see enough limitations of the model to
realize that it really isn't helpful.
OTOH I think that the apparent age argument you suggest would sow
the seeds of disaster. It still allows one to maintain a YEC view, it
really explains nothing, & says that God created a world which was
misleading about its own character.
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
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