Borrowing Capital

Monday Musings for November 22, 2021

Good morning, Musers,

One great advantage of being an old-earth creationist (OEC) is that I can bask in a billions-years-old universe. The way I interpret the Bible, and from what I see in the cosmos, every one of those years represents preparation for humankind. So I often say to myself, “And God did this all for me!” But there’s more. Since I take a strong stand on biblical inerrancy, I can bask congruently... and it is for congruency’s sake that I am calling out young-earth creationism (YEC).

Not all of you, though. Some of you are self-contained. But there is a contingent who “enjoys too much” the fact that some prominent scientists refused to believe in an expanding universe — even after the data was in and the case was made — for philosophical, not scientific reasons… and that is a big no-no in the science community.

The Bible teaches that the universe had a beginning. Today, science understands that this is true — and we believers have a huge victory here! For centuries — make that, for millennia — the philosophical and scientific world thought that the universe was eternal... and you can see where an atheist would find this attractive: if the universe always existed, then it is a brute fact without a cause... and no creators need apply!

But in the early 20th century, scientists discovered that the universe was expanding... and you don’t need a Ph.D. to connect the dots: a closed system that is increasing in volume used to have a smaller volume. And in a closed system that is expanding, it is getting cooler per unit volume over time. This means that there was “change over time” ... and theorists could exploit this.

With today’s equipment, we can see to the end of the universe. This is key because the deeper we look into space, the further back we are looking into time. As such, we can see the stages of the universe’s development! This is also one way we know that it is 14 billion years old. We call this the “standard model” because there is consensus that the universe works this way.

When we wind back the universe’s clock to t = 0, we find a universe that is smaller than a soccer ball and unfathomably energetic. We do not know what caused the expansion to begin, but the term “Big Bang” was first used in derision to explain it. So the term is not technically accurate. But when people talk about Big Bang cosmology, they are talking about the “standard model.”

Today’s point is that you cannot have it both ways. It is one thing to shift to an OEC perspective for the sake of argument; it’s another to live your life “resting” in the knowledge that OEC advocates have a very compelling position... but not change your interpretation of Genesis 1 because of previous commitments to a Bible version… to a wooden hermeneutic of the biblical languages — or because you fear the YEC mafia!

Friends, we all interpret the Bible imperfectly... and here... I am the chief of sinners. But I know why I believe what I believe... and I know when other people are “borrowing capital” from ideas that do not mesh with their hermeneutics. Today, I call in that loan.


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