Saturday, April 6, 2013

With the Appearance of Roundness

Tim: As Christians who believe in the total inerrancy and authority of the Bible, what should we believe about the age of the earth?

Andy: I'm certainly a convinced young-earther. That seems to me to be the only reasonable way to read Scripture.

Tim: Fair enough. So how do you think we should respond to the scientific evidence that suggests the earth is very old?

Andy: Personally, the evidence for an old earth has never bothered me too much. I just don't see any problem with believing that God created a universe that appears to be older than it actually is.

Tim: Hmm. That's an interesting line of reason.

Andy: Indeed! And unfortunately, most of my fellow young-earthers don't realize that it's actually quite a multi-purpose tool to have in our apologetic toolbox.

Tim: What do you mean?

Andy: Well, it helps us resolve just about any possible Bible difficulty that skeptics might raise.

Tim: Such as?

Andy: For example, take Jesus's statement about the mustard seed being the smallest seed (Matthew 13:31-32). Skeptics often object that this is a demonstrably false statement, since the orchid seed is actually smaller. I, on the other hand, can confidently affirm that the mustard seed is indeed the smallest of all seeds, and it only appears that the orchid seed is smaller.

Tim: I see.

Andy: Or take for instance the places in Scripture that speak of the four corners of the earth (Ezekiel 7:2; Isa. 11:12). If the Bible tells me that the earth has corners, then that's what I believe. The claims of science are not a judge on God's word. So I hold with full conviction that the earth is squarish, and simply appears to be round.

Tim: I can see what you meant by multi-purpose. But doesn't that sort of reasoning effectively do away with any possibility for us to know things empirically, through our five senses?

Andy: I suppose it does. But why should that trouble us? After all, doesn't Paul say "we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen" (2 Cor. 4:18)?

Tim: He appears to say that.