Professor of Astronomy and Physics, Dr Danny R. Faulkner
In Six Days: Astronomy
Why I Choose to Believe in Creation
Dr Faulkner is professor of astronomy and physics at the University of South Carolina, Lancaster. He holds a B.S. in mathematics from Bob Jones University, an M.S. in physics from Clemson University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. both in astronomy from Indiana University. Dr Faulkner’s primary research interest is stellar astronomy and, in particular, binary stars. He has published 38 technical papers in the area of astronomy research.
Most people have the impression that scientists are methodically logical people who harbor no preconceptions and thus reach rational conclusions unencumbered by preconceptions. As with most stereotypes, this is almost entirely incorrect. Scientists are people, complete with all the foibles and lapses in judgment that are common to man. Probably the least appreciated biasing factor among scientists is the starting assumptions that we make. We all make assumptions, whether we realize it or not. Contrary to popular opinion, presuppositions are not necessarily bad. In fact, it is impossible to have no presuppositions. Self-recognition of our starting assumptions allows us to acknowledge our biases and in some cases adjust for them. A tremendous problem arises when we are not aware of our assumptions, because then we think that we have no bias.
Much of science today is based upon the assumption that the physical world is the only reality, though this has escaped the notice of most people. This has not always been the case. When science as we know it began to develop more than three centuries ago, scientists came to realize that the world follows certain rules. Sir Isaac Newton and many of his contemporaries believed that these rules were God-ordained, and that the rules were divinely imposed at the time of creation. Today most scientists assume that physical laws merely exist and that they can be extrapolated into the past to tell us how creation happened. In other words, God is irrelevant to the question of origins. This does not mean that most scientists are atheists, for I have found that most are not. Unfortunately, this does mean that for all practical purposes much of science has become an atheistic enterprise. Sadly, the god of most scientists is at best the one of the deists and at worst entirely ad hoc.
So what kinds of assumptions do I make? I assume that there is a Creator (I cannot fathom the world otherwise). I assume that He is interested and involved in the world. I assume that He has revealed himself to mankind through the Bible. Interestingly, the Bible never attempts to prove God’s existence or that the Bible is God’s unique revelation—it merely assumes these propositions to be true. Given these assumptions, the biblical account of creation must be true. Genesis tells us that creation was accomplished in six days. The six days is just one of the many aspects of the biblical account of creation that is at variance with what much of modern science says about the origin of the world. Note that my quarrel is not with all of science, but merely the assumption that science alone can give us ultimate answers to question of origins.
Were the six days of creation literal days? How old is the world? The answers to these two questions are related. The best exegesis of the creation account of Genesis 1 is that the days were literal (roughly 24-hour) days. Many Christians attempt to find ways to read these days as long periods of time, but I am convinced that these attempts start with the assumption (from science) that the world is very old. This is eisegesis, not exegesis. The chronologies of the Old Testament give us a pretty complete history of mankind, and allow us to roughly date the period of time since the creation week at about 6,000 years…
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image credit: NASA