Ask the Preacher (Science and Faith)

Question: “What can you say about carbon dating, dinosaurs, evolution, and the creation account in Genesis?

I’ve read that carbon dating is only good for up to a few thousand years and that beyond that is not as trustworthy. When we were children, the earth was said to have been millions of years old, but now it’s said that the earth is billions of years old. I remember reading in G. K. Chesterton’s book, The Everlasting Man that evolutionists believe that just because the world was created over an extended period of time doesn’t make its creation any more or less miraculous than if God spoke all things into existence.

As for dinosaurs, there are etchings in European cathedrals and even some in a state park out west (e.g. Colorado, Wyoming), where exactly I forget that shows animals akin to what we’d likely call dinosaurs. I also read a year or more ago about a dinosaur’s bones containing soft tissue. In the article I read, it was stated that soft tissue only lasted several thousand years, which would have suggested that this dinosaur wasn’t as old as paleontologists believed it to have been.

As to evolution, whether God created the earth in six literal days or over a period of time is of no consequence to me, personally. In the Ancient Near East, creation accounts functioned to tell about humanity, so I don’t believe the Genesis creation account is to be understood as a scientific accounting of creation. That would rob it of its literary function in that time. Even early Christians (e.g., the church fathers) did not read that account literally. Whether one believes in a young or old earth isn’t as big an issue to me as for whether or not that God created all things. Could God have done it in six literal days? Yes. Could He have done it over a period of time? Yes. I don’t care either way, and those that hold this as a salvation issue only do so because they want their interpretation to be accepted.

When science and the Bible seem at odds, it’s because of how either one or both have been interpreted. Because of misinterpretation of either scientific data and the conclusions it draws, or a bad hermeneutic of a text or passage of the Bible, the two are often presented as diametrically opposed. Each has their function, and we must remember that scientists for centuries were people of profound faith in Christ.

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