Why An Old-Looking Earth? Five Possible Answers

In a comment box at Triablogue, Alex B. wrote:

Care to actually answer the question as to why your god would create a universe that looked old if he know that it would lead people from him?

I answer:

Alex didn’t explain why he wants this question answered.  First, however, let’s consider a few possible answers:

1) God did so, because he wanted it to lead people from him.
2) God did so, despite the fact that it would lead people from him because of a greater good.
3) God did so, despite the fact that it would lead people from him because of an equal good.
4) God did not do so, the premise that it leads people from him is wrong.
5) God did not do so, the premise that the universe looked old when God created it is wrong.

Second, let’s place an important caveat on this discussion.  Alex’s question may not be directly answered by Scripture.  Not every question has an answer in Scripture, even if it is a question that vexes the mind of a person who does not want to believe that his Creator exists.

Third, let’s consider the options.

First, possibly God specifically made the world to look old so that many people would not believe in God.  This contradicts the unspoken premise that God’s main purpose in life is to win over as many people as possible.  Nevertheless, surely it is obvious that God isn’t trying to do that.  So, the contradiction of that unspoken premise is hardly of much significance.

Second, possibly God specifically made the world to look old for some greater good.  Perhaps an old-looking universe is more comfortable to live in than a new-looking universe.  After all, a new-looking universe would be extremely hot, using contemporary scientific models for what constitutes appearance of youth in universes.

Third, possibly God specifically made the world to look old for some equal good.  After all, God could have made people more heat resistant and still made the universe look younger.  But then again, perhaps in this scenario, the heat resistance would have led an equal number of people from God.  This is all just speculation, of course – but since the question calls for speculation, why not speculate?

Fourth, there isn’t really any evidence that what leads people away from God is the appearance of age of the universe.  After all, people turned away from God even before modern cosmologies began claiming that the world was 13 billion years old.  So, the apparent age of the Earth may simply be an excuse of contemporary atheists and agnostics rather than the actual reason.

Fifth, the idea that the world “looks” old is largely subjective.  It depends on the presuppositions that one brings to the table.  21st century naturalistic assumptions lead one to conclude 13 billion years or so as the age of the universe.  Yet God has not left us to make assumptions.  Genesis provides a cosmology.  Using that cosmology as one’s starting point, the world doesn’t “look” 13 billion years old.


By the way, Fred Butler has provided his own thoughts relevant to the question.

67 Responses to “Why An Old-Looking Earth? Five Possible Answers”

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