One of the most apparent conflicts between a traditional reading of the Bible and the scientific consensus is in the area of estimating the age of the earth. If we take literally the Bible’s account of creation, Adam was created 6 days later. There is an unbroken genealogy from Adam to Jesus, and there is information on the age of each Patriarch when their son was born. Adding up the figures gives approxmately 4000 years up to the time of Christ, hence the age of the earth is now just over 6000 years.
In contrast with this estimate, the scientific consensus is that the earth is approximately 4.54 Billion years old. This is calculated with radiometric dating and checked against calculations of the age of meteorites and the Sun. Before this consensus, many attempts were made to date the age of the earth – from observation of the geological stratas and from calculation of the cooling of the earths crust. All of these estimates came up with ages in the many millions of years.
Even allowing for some error in estimates on both sides, there is a huge discrepancy between the two estimates. How do we account for this?
Margot posted this article by Dr Albert Mohler “Why does the Universe Look so Old?”
In this article, Mohler claims there is a theological cost in interpreting the creation account loosely in order to seek compatibility with the scientific view. His answer is to use the 6000 year dating and to say that the earth was created looking old, and also looks old due to the fall.
What are you thoughts? Is it important to seek some kind of agreement between the two accounts, eg. by interpreting the original creation days as ages? Do you believe that the scientists are much more uncertain about the age of the earth than they let on, and further investigation will show that the earth is comparatively very young?
Or, is the Bible meant to be used as a source of scientific information at all when it comes to events before history? Do the stories have allegorical meaning, but not necessarily scientific precision?
How do you approach this issue?