Creationism – time will tell

I have to confess as a Christian that I have never felt comfortable with the creationist view that the earth is only 10,000 years old. Accepting Genesis as a literal description of events seems to me at odds with a biblical exegesis which acknowledges that the story of creation was written by men some 3,000 years before Einstein developed his general theory of relativity. The current debate which pits science against religion seems to me anomalous since I regard science as part of God’s world.

However, a number of articles and discussions have caused me to think a little more on the matter. While I am not persuaded yet by the creationist camp, I am beginning to think that there may be more to this than either the creationists or the scientists imagine. First up is an article which appeared in New Scientist magazine some time in late 2008. It referred to the problems faced by physicists in marrying Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity with the laws of quantum mechanics to provide a Grand Unified Theory (GUT). One proposal which has been put forward by respected scientists is that time should be dropped from relativity theory altogether. The context of the article was that this seemingly counterintuitive suggestion was being treated seriously among the scientific community.

A second point that is relevant is that scientists in truth don’t know what time actually is. It isn’t a particle or force in the sense that we understand other particles or forces. We can measure it, but only in the context of something else. Our entire concept of time is based on our physical world and the rotation of the earth around the sun. We don’t understand why time only flows in one direction or why we can’t capture some and re-run that portion of time again. Given our understanding of the rest of the universe, it seems to me strange that this one particular aspect of our world should be so hidden from us.

Another seemingly off-the-wall idea being proposed by a group of scientists from the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, and Spain’s University of Salamanca is that time itself may be slowing down. This, they suggest, would be an explanation for the puzzling phenomenon that stars at extreme distances seem to be moving away from us faster than those nearby. See Scientists: Time itself May Be Slowing Down.

Given that time is not something which science understands entirely, it strikes me that the idea of earth not being millions of years old might properly be classified as not proven. Let me be clear: our measurements of geological time are probably accurate within the concept of time as we understand it. What is less clear is whether that understanding is complete.Perhaps the Book of Genesis needs to be looked at in a new light.



Filed under science

2 responses to “Creationism – time will tell

  1. Think about it, though. How does time slow down? Speed is defined by time. You can’t just turn around and define time by speed. The problem with things appearing to slow down, is that the Big Bang simply doesn’t predict this. What you have here is a bunch of elite scholars rushing to cover their collective butts.

  2. The may be rushing to cover their butts, but in doing that they are at least trying to give the rest of us a consistent explanation of the universe around us. I agree, speed is a function of time (and distance). We cannot turn it the other way around. My point was that if scientists are even contemplating time itself slowing, then what are the implications for our perceptions of history?

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