One of the basic questions: How old is the Earth?
|Archbishop Ussher (1581-1656)|
|James Hutton (1726-1797)|
Later, while exploring the coast of Scotland, he found numerous examples of two rock formations at ninety degrees to each other. This could only have happened if one layer had formed and then over a long period was pushed up by the other layer. He had to dramatically revise his earlier estimate. The process had to have taken millions of years.
Church leaders vehemently objected to his reports, but in the end Hutton's rock-based analysis prevailed, and the science of geology was born.
|William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)|
In 1911, a clever young British geologist named Arthur Holmes developed a technique called radiometric dating, which used measurements of the radioactivity of rock samples along with half-life decay data to calculate the time for the decay. After applying the measurements on samples taken from many locations, it became clear that the Earth was actually 4.5 billion years old. Scientists have reconfirmed and validated this fact countless times since.
Religion has provided answers to questions like this for thousands of years. Science has been at it for only few hundred. So concerning the age of our planet, who do you believe? Religion? or Science? Is the Earth 6,000 years old? Or is it 4.5 billion years old?
I think it's important to affirm that if you believe science on this one, you don't have to abandon your religious faith. Ussher was just a man. He had lots of ideas and opinions, which he formed based on what was known at the time. He could have been wrong.
But for many, the issue concerning which answer to accept is filled with conflict.
Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength . (Images from Wikimedia Commons are in the public domain.)