Creation Thought vs Non-Theistic Thought · Earth History · Philosophy & Concepts

Assumptions – 1

So, in the 1980’s, I was studying earth history in university. As i was raised in a literalist Christian setting, it became quickly obvious to me, how there were two positions on the age of the earth.

My upbringing said “the Bible says the earth is 6000 to 7000 years old, because the bible says so.” (which i knew was circular logic, but had become convinced of its truth by my upbringing)
Modern science says “The earth is billions of years old.” Supposedly science does not use circular assumptions in its statements, but rather uses its facts to build its case.

Both have their proofs, but each is STARTING WITH AN ASSUMPTION and then BUILDING ON THAT ASSUMPTION.

The literalist bible folks use the “Bible” as their assumption… “the Bible is true”. The words written on those pages are 100% true in a literal meaning. So they calculate the number of years told of in Genesis, and calculate the earths age to date. Accordingly, that earth age is immutable, as there is no further new writings adding new information on that calculation.

The scientists use physical evidence, and do their calculations based on that evidence. As new evidence comes to light, their calculations will always be updated and tuned in.

But building a concept always has to begin with assumptions.
In the case of “Creationist” folks, there is no safety net of testing whether or not what they are assuming (the Bible is immutable truth) is true.
The safety net built into science though, is that it must prove out its theories with testing.

So, it got me thinking…. (oh oh… trouble) if both sides are beginning with assumptions, then are they not simply building a group of facts, which will then set out to prove their assumptions?

If that is the case, then how can either side, believe that their argument is nothing more than a twisting of facts to prove their position?

As science finds new facts in its study of the age of the Earth, the Creationists reinterpret those facts based on their assumptions, and those new facts are again proof that the earth is young.

There is a saying “Faith is the ultimate veto”.

I find that to be true. IF a person has already assumed that the story written in Genesis is TRUTH, then there is NO PERSUADING that person otherwise.

What this leads me to see, is that WATCHING facts, to the best of our ability, and letting them “land” where they land, is the best “position” to take…. not taking sides.

As i have taken this position, i have been able to listen consistently to both sides, and take what was useful from both sides.

i have also learned, that some things can be “literal” and other things be “metaphorical”.

In fact, it is this question which causes more difficulty than the truth or untruth of statements.

The concept that the Bible contains literal facts, as well as metaphorical information, is the dangerous slippery slope of Literalists of the North American Conservative Evangelical thought.
As soon as a literalist says “well perhaps this is bible passage is a metaphorical meaning”, this opens up the possibility of someone saying “well perhaps THAT bible passage is ALSO a metaphorical meaning”. This throws “the fear of God” into most of these evangelicals.

Give an example, you say…..

“Perhaps the meaning of the “days” in the creation story of Genesis is metaphorical, and those “days” could be translated with the metaphor “a day is ten thousand years”….. but, as soon as this one step is taken, it opens up the question of “metaphor” in many other areas of the bible. Therefore it is a slippery slope of “where does this metaphorical interpretation end??? “No, no, no, we cant have that.”

It was only after i was willing to see biblical truth from a metaphorical perspective, where it was warranted, that the full depth of wisdom found in the scriptures was able to open itself to my mind.

This perspective has allowed me to free myself from the fear of the slippery slope, and not feel that i needed to grasp at assumptions from either side.

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