Harmony of Science and Scripture
by James P. Needham
September 15, 2000
So-called scientists have raised questions about the harmony of the Bible and science. A prevalent idea among some scientists is that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and they say that contradicts the Bible which says that the earth is only 6,000 years old. One can prove almost anything if we allow him to assume the first premise, that being that The Bible says the earth is 6,000 years old. Let them cite the passage that says that, then they will have something to talk about.
Some Bible believers have made the mistake of saying the earth is 6,000 years old. This comes from Usher’s chronology which is printed in some Bibles, dates the creation at 4004 BC. Usher arrived at this figure by laying the lives of the Patriarchs end to end, then totaling them up which gave him the figure of 4004 as the date of creation. This does not give us an accurate figure, and here is why.
Bible scholars pretty well agree that Usher’s chronology is probably accurate from Abraham to Christ, but not accurate at all from Abraham back to Adam. The reason for this skepticism is that the chronologies don’t match, and accommodative language is used in the genealogical tables. For instance, in Matt. 1:1, it says, "Jesus Christ the Son of David Son of Abraham." Here is a clue that one must not miss. "Son of" does not mean personal begetal, or biological father, but rather a descendent, in the lineage of.It should be pointed out, however, that if we could fill in all the gaps in the geneaological tables, it would not amount to the millions of years that science assigns to the age of the earth.
In an effort to harmonize the supposed difference between the Bible and science’s belief that the earth 4.5 billion years old, some people, including some brethren, postulate two theories. Some say the creative days of Genesis one were long periods of time, perhaps millions of years. Others say the days were 24-hour days, but there was a gap of millions of years between them.
We must insist that there is nothing in the Genesis text or anywhere else in the Bible that even slightly indicates such ideas. In fact, every reference in the Bible to the creation is against such concepts.
The bottom line to this problem is simple: Since the Bible does not tell us the age of the earth, then there is no lack of harmony between it and the so-called discoveries of modern science. It matters not how old they say the earth is, the Bible says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..." That fits any figure they come up with. If it is 4.5 billion years old, which I seriously doubt, the Bible still says, "In the beginning God created..."
(Heb 11:3) "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
James P. Needham
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