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Texas Age of the Universe Battle

on April 11, 2009

In the ongoing war over Texas school science standards, the age of the universe is the next battleground.

In an opinion piece, Miranda Marquit points out that most of the debate over school science standards centers on intelligent design and evolution—not the age of the universe. However, according to Marquit, the newest Texas school standards omit any mention of the age of the universe, with “[l]ong-standing ideas of cosmology . . . challenged as well.”

Specifically, she reports that the phrase “concept of an expanding universe that originated about 14 billion years ago” has been replaced with “current theories of the evolution of the universe including estimates for the age of the universe.” According to Marquit, however, there is “very little debate” about the age of the universe. She asks, “Couldn’t God have created the universe well before putting humans on Earth?” and continues:

But it appears that by working from Earth outward, some are becoming concerned. If God created humans on Earth just a few millennia ago, then Earth can’t be 4.5 billion years old. And if Earth isn’t as old as all that, surely the universe isn’t, either. It’s an interesting train of logic. And one that could result in all we know about space science being brought under attack.

Apparently Marquit isn’t very familiar with Genesis 1. Young-earth creationists do not reason that because man was created a few thousand years ago, the earth (and universe) cannot be older; in fact, if the Bible said nothing about the creation of the universe or about Earth history, we wouldn’t be dogmatic on those points.

And if Earth isn’t as old as all that, surely the universe isn’t, either.

But the Bible does articulate quite clearly that the earth was formed (and the remainder of the universe created) in the days preceding the creation of humans. Furthermore, the order of events—with Earth formed before other planets and stars—does not match secular suppositions, thus ruling out a “metaphorically true” account. We reject old ages because of Scripture’s clear teaching on not only human history, but also on Earth and astronomical history. Furthermore, we strongly disagree that secular astronomers “know” the age of the universe apart from their own presuppositions (viz., uniformitarianism and the Copernican principle).

Besides, since when does the phrase “current theories of the evolution of the universe including estimates for the age of the universe” sound like something a young-earth creationist would say?

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