In my last post, I ended with the thought that I may settle into a small Baptist church nearby.
Well, last weekend I attended the evening service and the pastor used the message to express his belief that the earth was created between 6 and 10,000 years ago.
Now, I’ve never looked into the young earth view of creationism, so I sat there trying to keep an open mind. As a believer, I cannot rule out miraculous acts of God.
The thing is, I’m not sure exactly what to believe on the topic of creation. There are portions of Genesis that I don’t understand, so I’m willing to listen.
However, as the pastor proceeded, the attitude he expressed about the position bothered me. There was a mere 1 area of scripture he cited, in Genesis 1:6–8 when God was proceeding with creation on the 2nd day:
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Whenever I’ve read that passage, I have trouble understanding what exactly this “firmament” is. And what did the waters look like? So, there was much water, and this thing called “Heaven” separated water above from water below. Is this even something on the earth? Is this some part of Christian cosmology that I don’t understand? How does this act sit in the whole series of creation? I only have questions.
The pastor referred to a theory that the firmament is 11 miles up in the atmosphere and refers to a thin shell around the earth of supercooled hydrogen, creating something like a greenhouse of the earth, with pink light as the sunlight came through that firmament. (What’s this, the tropopause?)
This theory can then extend to explaining dinosaurs who need to eat the huge vegetation, the soothing pink light explains lion laying down with lamb, and the fracturing of that shell releasing the waters above explains the great flood.
It’s a weird idea, and a fascinating concept to entertain.
So, the attitude. The pastor was referring to a few scientists who posited these ideas and claiming them as “scientific fact.” Further, he also cited the a news account from the Illustrated London News in the 1800s about some construction workers coming across a living pterodactyl while blasting a tunnel.
The problem I have is the inconsistency in using these two sources as a reliable argument for the young earth creationist perspective. If you choose to claim “scientific fact” how can you ignore all the other “scientific facts” that point to alternate explanations? Personally, my view of “scientific fact” is that only a very elementary view of science would claim such theories as “fact.” Science history is riddled with facts that have been found lacking, so any claim to scientific fact, to me, sounds naive.
And I probably don’t have to explain why citing a news article from the 1800s should not prove anything. I don’t believe everything I read in newsprint now, so why should I trust something written in a newspaper in the 1800s? That’s just silly. Especially when the goal is to substantiate something so important as a question about how the heaven and the earth came into existence.
I expect pastors to be clearheaded about what they believe, but in his message he seemed desperate to find evidence to support his view of creation, which is surely a stretch by what is shown in scripture.
How much of an issue is this to me? Well, what a person believes about salvation is far more important than what that person believes about creation. This pastor has the important stuff figured out.