Friday, August 18th, 2017

Bang! (VIII) – Creation week

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The stunning Hubble image below has little to do with Creation Week, but it looks back in time millions of years and is representative of how modern astronomy can see how the universe looked thousands of millions of years ago. In the foreground is a young (5 million years) star cluster, and the small eliptical wisps in the background near the edges of the image are galaxies hundreds of millions of light years or more away. This should put you in the right frame of mind for pondering the Big Bang and Creation.

NGC602 image

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage team.

Gerald Schroeder (The Science of God) used 15.75 billion years as the age of the universe. Since he wrote, it has been more accurately calculated as 13.7 billion years, but no matter. I won’t attempt to recap the mathematical basis for what follows, partly because my engineering-grade math and physics is not up to the task. Here is Schroeder’s proposal about how the six days of creation shaped up.

Time during each of the six days are measured from a fixed frame of reference “off to the side” as the universe comes into being. God’s clock ticked off 24 hours, but the expanding universe caused clocks on earth to register as beginning 15.8 billion years ago and ending 7.8 billion years ago. The universe was created and light separated from the dark (Gen. 1:1-5). Science tells us that during that period of time light literally breaks free as electrons bond to atomic nuclei; galaxies start to form.

Day two ended 3.8 billion years ago by our clock. The heavenly firmament forms (Gen. 1:6-8). Science: The disk of our home galaxie, the Milky Way forms, and our star, the Sun, forms.

Day three started 3.8 billion years ago and ended 1.8 billion years ago. This was a busy day. Oceans and dry land appear, as well as the first primitive plant life. (Gen. 1:9-13). Science: The earth has cooled and liquid water appears 3.8 billion years ago, followed almost immediately by bacteria and photosynthetic algae.

Day four ends 750 million years ago. The Sun, Moon, and stars become visible in the heavens (Gen 1:14-19). Science: Earth’s atmosphere becomes transparent, and photosynthesis produces an oxygen-rich atmosphere.

Day five started 750 million and ended 250 million years ago. The first animal life swarms abundantly in the waters, followed by reptiles (dinosaurs?) and winged animals (Gen. 1:20-23). Science: The first multicellular animals appear. The waters are full of animal life having the basic body plans of all future animals. Winged insects appear.

Day six: 250 million to about 6,000 years ago. Land animals, mammals, and humans appear (Gen. 1:24-31). Science: Massive extinction destroys over 90% of life. The land is repopulated, first with hominids and then humans.

So there you have one way of reconciling Genesis 1 with the scientific record. As far as I can tell, forgetting for a moment the issue of time, science has no quarrel with the Bible about what the sequence of events that ended with this marvelous earth that we call home.

More later.

Dave, moved to wonder and praise.

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