Bishop Usher and the Dinosaurs

  1. The Christian and World History
  2. The Bible vs. The World?
        Genesis 1:1 says
            In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
        But the world says
            There is no God. Everything happens by chance
        this certainly seems to place the Bible and the World in conflict
            and it is true that they are
                but where does this conflict lie?
    Christian fear of World accuracy
        why are Christians afraid of accuracy from the World
            we do not want to accept its dating of events
            we do not want to accept the age it gives to everything
        we want everything to be newer than the World says
            we want to interpret the Bible "literally"
        so we are "afraid" of anything that adds to the age of the earth
            being somehow convinced that it cannot be correct
                but not knowing how to refute it
    Is there a correct approach?
        is this attitude either correct or good?
                we should never be so afraid of God's inaccuracy
                    if we fear the World's accuracy
                        then we really do fear God's inaccuracy
        God cannot make a mistake
            we must have faith in him
                not fear of his failure
        but we can make mistakes
            and our interpretation of what God says are not always right
        can the planet lie?
            can the earth itself "say" anything untrue?
                no, but we can misinterpret it

  3. Taking Things Literally
  4. Bishop Usher's Date
        Bishop James Usher (1581-1656)
            Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland
        by counting backwards from known dates
            using the lengths of lives given in the Bible
        Usher calculated that creation happened in 4004 BC
            some people have extended his count
                and actually given it a date
        this date was very quickly accepted as "truth"
            someone would place it in the King James Bible
                in the margin of the reference version
                    where it was given legitimacy and authority
                        simply by being there
    The Geological Record
        Scientists tell us that the planet is some 5 billion years old
            and that Man has been roaming it for 100,000 years
                in some form or the other
    Running away from compromise
        Christians don't want this to be true
            so they have a tendency to simply ignore these findings
        We want to take the Bible literally
            but do we really know what this means?
                Psalm 91:4
                    is God really a bird?
                Matthew 19:24
                    so there are no rich men in heaven?
            so we also want to understand it figuratively
               but have a hard time knowing when to do which
    Literally Wrong?
        Can Bishop Usher's date be wrong?
            most definitely
                it assumes much about genealogies
            Biblical genealogies are not just lists of people
                they were also used to show perfection and intent
                    so they can be stylized
                        showing perfection through number
                count the generations from Adam to Noah
                count the generations from Noah to Abraham
        We have a tendency to apply our standards to others
            if we were building a genealogy, it would list everyone
                so everyone who writes a genealogy must do it this way
                    but how accurate is this?
            we misunderstand much in the ancient world
                because we assume too much

  5. Give and Take
  6. Where does truth lie?
        who is right, Usher or Science?
            or are neither correct?
        how can one tell?
            is there a test to apply or a fact to uncover?
        or do we have to rely on faith?
            in God or in Science
        why do we believe that dates are proof?
            why does giving something a date make it "true"?
                or do they just let us believe more firmly?
        good Scientists know their numbers are open to doubt
            they put forward theories
                and then try to prove them correct
            sometimes they get it wrong
                quite often
                    and then a new theory must be found
                        one which better fits the facts
            sometimes it can be hard to give up a cherished theory
                especially when the "public" has taken hold of it
                    and assigned it "truth" status
            so Science is not infallible
                and has never claimed to be
                    although some have claimed infallibility for it
    Where does interpretation end?
        an new breed of literalists has sprung up during the past years
            they reject anything but literal interpretation of the Bible
                and thus force Usher's date back on us
            perforce, they must reject the world's dates
                since their interpretation of the Bible does not allow them
            but they have not provided much to refute the world
                they would have us simply ignore it
        but how can they tell?
            Genesis 1:26-31
                God creates man (male and female) on the 6th day
                    as the ultimate creation of that day
            Genesis 2:19-22
                much happens after Adam is created and before Eve is
                    Adam names all the animals
                do you think this all happened in 2 or 3 hours?
                    as would be needed if "the 6th day" was 24 hours long?
        what then is "a day"?
            and how long were they?
                or are they something else?
    What do we reject?
        we must reject those things which stand in opposition to the Bible
            but first we need to be sure they actually do
                and too often only our interpretation is wrong
    What do we dare not reject?
        we must NOT reject God
        we must not reject the truth
            even if it doesn't fit into our own theory of history
    What does the Bible not say?
        the Bible is not interested in providing accurate dates
            for creation or for judgement
                beginning or end
        instead it provides an accurate view of God's involvement
            and what he did
                not a treatise on how he did it
        and yet we seem intent on making it this
            this is not the battle that needs to be fought
                instead we need to understand the real battle
                    not a battle between Science and God
                        but a battle about God

  7. The Need to Deny
  8. Denying Originality
        the World must deny originality to the Bible
            or be forced to accept its God
        so it says that the Bible is cobbled together from other sources
            stolen from the Babylonians and other sources
    Denying Accuracy
        the World must deny accuracy to the Bible
            or be forced to accept its God
        so it tends to look for other explanations for things
            preferring them over whatever the Bible says
    Denying God
        and the World refuses to accept God
            so must find other ways to explain everything

  9. The Need to Defend
  10. Christians running away
        too much of our time is spent running away from the World
            in fear that they might just be right
                and our faith might just be wrong
    Christians standing firm
        but this is not and cannot be the case
            our God is real
                and never mistaken
        we need to stand firm
            even when it appears that the World has found Biblical mistakes
                because they will NOT be borne out
                    they are NOT there
    Time to turn around
        it is time to get comfortable with History
            because God wrote it