Does science contradict the creation story? I recently addressed this question by sharing some principles that have helped me as I have considered it both before and after becoming a christian My conclusions about how the way God’s world works could fit with what God’s word says have changed over the years but these principles have remained pretty constant.
The world cannot be both 5.45 billions years old and 6000 years old. One or both of those statements must be wrong.
2) We will need to check our thinking.
Before pronouncing either the bible or science as wrong, we need to make sure our understanding of both the bible and science is correct. It may be that it is me that is wrong!
God’s word will not contradict God’s world. I come to this question already knowing that, rightly understood, there will be no contradiction since the same all powerful, all knowing, truthful mind is behind the words of the bible and the world in which I live.
If we hold the bible to be the word God, we will want to determine what God actually meant to communicate to us through it. We are aided in that task by knowledge about linguistics, textual criticism, history, and science; Thanks to Galileo we now know that Psalm 93:1 does not mean the sun goes around the earth.
People have suggested that genesis 1 could be talking about: i) six consecutive 24 hour days, http://www.answersingenesis.org ii) 6 long periods of time (or intermittent days or days having overlapping consequences…) http://www.reasons.org/ Hugh Ross, John Lennox “seven says that divide the world”. iii) some literary framework, like a song of some sort because of all the regular patterns in it. iv) the inauguration of the earth as a cosmic temple. John Walton “the lost world of genesis one”
The bible talks about creation elsewhere ie Psalm 104, Heb 11:3, Job 37-39, Prov 8, 2 Peter 3 and Exodus 20:11. The Exodus passage seems to ground the Sabbath in something more concrete than a literary device.
If [someone who is not a Christian] find[s] a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions [based on the bible], how are they going to believe [the bible] in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think [its] pages are full of falsehoods…on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Augustine p157
Genesis 1 is about a lot more than timescales and mechanisms. The universe is spoken into being by God for a reason; That you and me should come into an eternal loving relationship with him through the sacrificial death of his incarnate son.
PS. I’m still not entirely happy with the icons yet. I used this site to render them but when I went back there to make some improvements it was down. 😦