The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Cretinism or Evilution? No. 2
Edited by E.T. Babinski
The Immensity of Space and Time




Geocentrism, young-earth creationism and the immensity of space and time

Young-earth creationists like Henry Morris and others at the Institute for Creation Research, are not geocentrists. They ignore or downplay the "scientific implications" of geocentric passages in the Bible. And they completely accept the Copernican theory of heliocentrism along with Newton's theory of gravity. They leave the movements and the cosmic location of the earth up to modern science to dictate. This must prove embarrassing since in the modern cosmos the earth lies merely at the periphery of one arm of the Milky Way galaxy, a spiral galaxy of stars, not unlike hundreds of millions of such galaxies. And, since young-earth creationists accept the earth as a planet circling a star in a galaxy of billions of stars, with a billion more galaxies out there, then they shouldn't recoil at the evidence of the earth's age being measured in similarly vast numbers. For if young-earth creationists can accept the immensity of space, the immensity of time should come as no surprise.

Of course, young-earth creationists try to argue that the ancient Hebrews "understood" the "height" of the stars and the immensity of space. They cite verses like the following:

1) "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?" (Job 11:7-8)

REPLY TO 1: Notice in this psalm that the height of heaven is compared with the depth of hell. Yet the Hebrews believed that hell (or sheol, the land of the dead) was in the depths of the earth beneath their feet. By modern standards, comparing the depths of the earth with the distance to even the nearest star is nonsensical. That they seemed "equal" enough to be compared by the ancient Hebrews is no argument for the Bible's "scientific accuracy."

2) "Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!" (Job 22:12)

REPLY T0 2: Well, the "heavens" certainly looked "high" to the psalmist, just as they do to modern man, but to say that the ancients had any idea of how "high" modern astronomers believe the "heavens" are is another matter.

It must be remembered that to the ancient Hebrews even the heights of the "clouds" appeared so exalted that they compared them with the "heights" of God's "truth." While today we fly above the clouds in jet aircraft." For Thy lovingkindness is great to the heavens, And Thy truth to the clouds." (Ps. 57:10)

Or compare Ps. 103:11-12, "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." How "high" are these heavens, which are mentioned right beside "how far the east is from the west?" In modern scientific terms, such distances hardly ought to be mentioned right beside each other, unless, of course, the ancient Hebrews believed they were in some way equally exalted, or the "highest heights" and "longest distances" they could imagine.

Such heavenly "heights" obviously are not as "high" as today's astronomers say they are. (Nor is the distance "from the east to the west" the wisest analogy to use to illustrate the "separation of one's sins," since we know we live on a globe where traveling "east" long enough eventually brings you back to where you started.)

Similarly, Ps. 139:8-9 draws a parallel between the distance from heaven (above) to sheol (below), and the distance from the dawn's first rays to the remotest part of the sea. It would seem that such "exalted" distances are being compared in the mind of the ancient Hebrew. However modern astronomy states that the distance from

heaven to earth is inconceivably larger than the mere distance from the dawn on the horizon to the remotest part of the sea lying on the opposite horizon. Such examples clearly illustrate that the ancient Hebrews simply had no scientific idea concerning the true "height" of the stars. They did not know what the modern cosmos was all about.

3) "[Can] the heavens above be measured?" (Jer. 31:37)

REPLY TO 3: The phrase, "cannot be measured," refers in Hebrew to any great height, or number of finite things that no one would dream of measuring or counting one by one:

"As the host of heaven cannot be counted, and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David" (Jer. 33:22) Actually, the "descendants of David" total an incredibly smaller number than the presently estimated number of stars in the cosmos, but to the Hebrews both sets of numbers appeared equally exalted, equally "immeasurable."

"Joseph stored up grain in great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure." (Gen. 41:49)

Thus, the number of stars and the height of the heavens appeared "immeasurable" to the ancient Hebrews since they obviously had no way of measuring such things. now could money know that two thousand years hence we would develop methods of measuring the "height" of clouds, the moon, the sun, and the stars. To them, they were all equally Immeasurable" and "exalted."

4) "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and one stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou are mindful of him?" (Ps. 8:3-4)

REPLY TO 4: Young-earth creationists cite this verse al; "proof" that the ancient Hebrews felt lost and small in the cosmos "just like modern man." But the point is merely relative. Of course the cosmos felt "immense" to the ancients, just as it does to modern man. The difference is that today we know relatively how much more immense it really is. And we don't make the same mistakes as the ancients, like comparing "God's truth" merely to the "height of the clouds." Neither do we believe, along with the ancients(including the ancient Hebrews), that climbing a mountain brings us literally nearer to God. (See article in this issue, "The Holy Heavens.")