So I'm taking an Old Testament Survey course through the external studies program at Southern Evangelical Seminary. I've started the reading (there's a ton of it) and hope to get the classes and Bible books on my IPod in the next couple days to use on my commute.
I hope to spend some time on a topic that was in the news today. Ken Ham and team opened the Creation Museum today. Looks like a really cool place, and kudos to these folks for putting together something that is top notch.
So, how old is the earth? What a huge question, and let me say right at the outset how much I have to learn about everything that goes on in this debate. Ken Ham and team have done an awesome job defending the Bible as true scientifically, but it seems like a long row to hoe when new discoveries are being made all the time. What baffles and amazes me is how many different views there are on this topic from among evangelical scholars.
They all seem to agree that the secular principle required of the Big Bang, which is "something coming from nothing and from no one" is entirely irrational and leaves all the big and important questions unanswered. After this point, evanglical scholars seem to be across the board when it comes to "how long" God took to create, and "how" He created.
It amazes me how many authors choose to sidestep the debate entirely. JI Packer, my favorite author of all time, has not published anything that I have found relating to the topic. I discovered his views on the topic by listening to his systematic theology classes on my commute. He was the first to expose me to the "Literary Hypothesis" or "Framework Hypothesis", which, boiled down, simply relates that Genesis celebrates the fact of creation by God, while not giving Moses a scientific degree as it relates to all the whens and hows.
Packer leaves all of the details to Henri Blocher, another favorite author of mine. His book, In the Beginning: The Opening Chapters of Genesis, is a masterful work that is detailed and sensitive to other points of view. I recommend it highly. Hugh Ross expounds the old earth in A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy, a lot of detail I haven't had enough time (or brainpower) to truly delve into, but he's a strong Christian and has lots and lots of good points. John MacArthur pretty much slams him around in Battle For The Beginning, but leaves a number of questions unanswered as well. And all of Ken Ham's stuff is a good read as well.
If you get through all the material in the above paragraph, you'll be in good shape to have a somewhat intelligent debate with someone about the age of the earth. But let's please, please, please remember the Gospel of Jesus Christ is foremost. All creation points to Him, and is waiting for His return. How long God took to speak its existence is secondary.