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The time it took for God to create existence:

What I find unusual is that despite empirical evidence pointing out the life of the universe being over 14.6 billion years old (with Earth being an approximate 4.54 billion years), most Christian sects and groups seem to stick to the idea that the Earth's age is only a 6, 000? Apparently God created the world and heavens in only 7 days, yet how do we know that it was seven days, each with a 24 hour period, but instead seven "days" that each had an approximate 2 BILLION year period (if counting only the Earth). God, being the timeless, omnipotent, all-knowing being he is, it would make sense that he would perceive time much differently than anything us humans would understand with our limited senses and knowledge.

For example, imagine instead of a human civilization, you got a society made up of sentient gastrotrichs (for those who don't know what they are, gastrotrichs are microscopic marine invertebrates with translucent bodies and an average life span of only 3 days). In addition, this society worships a deity who happens to be a human, whose average lifespan is about 80 years. While unfathomably short compared to the human's life cycle, to the gastrolich, 3 days would probably be the longest life any invertebrate could hope to live (assuming they live in a medieval society, where the average lifespan could be around 1 or 2 days). If the human deity states the world was created in 6 days, this would go right over the heads of his gastrolich followers, who would find the idea hard to fathom. Instead, gastrolich would probably translate the world being created in 6 milliseconds rather than the 6 days said from their creator. Assuming that one replace the gastrolichs with humans, and the human deity with god, wouldn't it make sense that the perception of time would be vastly different between them?

 
 2 Deadbeatloser 22, Mon, 21st May '12 12:47:05 PM from A cat basket over there. Relationship Status: Hoping Senpai notices me
This is all Decade's fault.
Genesis is a metaphor. That's the easiest way to rationalise it.
"I copy and pasted my system 32 folder, now I have a 64bit operating system."
 3 Fighteer, Mon, 21st May '12 12:55:19 PM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
In as much as I give YEC any serious regard, which is zero, I prefer the notion that God created the Earth 6, 000 years ago with the light from distant stars already in transit, dinosaur fossils and oil already buried below the ground, rocks with radioisotopes dating back millions or billions of years, etc., precisely to perpetrate a massive hoax on mankind. A test of our faith, as it were, to see if we'd continue to buy into the 6K belief despite the overwhelming evidence that Creation is much older.

In short, God is asking us, "Which are you going to believe, My anecdotal words without a shred of physical proof, or the evidence of your senses and the intelligence and investigative ability I bestowed you with? HA! TRICK QUESTION!"

In response to the thread title, the amount of physical time-as-we-know-it that it took Him to create said universe is irrelevant except to the "angels on the head of a pin" philosophers. As you point out in the OP, we might as well ask this inscrutable, omniscient being what color His shoelaces are. The question, never mind the answer if one exists, can never be meaningful to us.

edited 21st May '12 1:13:06 PM by Fighteer

Neoclassicism, AKA the Tinkerbell school of economics.
 4 Pykrete, Mon, 21st May '12 1:12:58 PM from Viridian Forest
NOT THE BEES
most Christian sects and groups

Actually, relatively few denominations officially reject evolution — mostly evangelicals. The others are either okay with it or don't see it as their jurisdiction, and Catholics and Anglicans specifically support it. Most Young-Earth creationism support is specific to the US (as are the worst of the evangelicals).

The main reason you see creationism as a huge thing is because very recent fundamentalist revivals picked up steam in the US around the mid 1900's as a backlash to local post-WWII stuff. Being leery of science on the whole was a thing during the Cold War, and fundies jumped on the opportunity to conflate it with anti-religious sentiment in the hippie movements. Fast-forward a few decades, and this resulted in cultural bleed-over throughout American locales, even into unrelated Christian sects.

A huge portion of YEC support in the US is actually in contradiction to their denomination's official stance.

scratching at .8, just hopin'
Just a reminder: most religious people do accept evolution and the Big Bang theory, and it is entirely possible for religious believers of all faiths (and most denominations) to do so!
Carry on.
 6 Michael, Mon, 21st May '12 2:00:19 PM Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
So that's what this does
My understanding is that the word in Genesis translated as "day" translates better as "stage" - the world was created in six stages. I expect any decently experienced geologist could divide the history of the world into six.
Balance - the original sixth sense.
 7 honorius, Mon, 21st May '12 2:03:48 PM from The Netherlands
Genesis is a metaphor. That's the easiest way to rationalise it.
The easiest way to rationalise it is to say it was written by people thousands of years ago with a far more limited understanding than we have today.

OP: While it is hard for us to deal with large numbers they aren't impossible to comprehend. I doubt that if there was really a god who told his subjects in what exact time he created their world and used familiar units they would remember it incorrectly and inflate the numbers.
If any question why we died/ Tell them, because our fathers lied -Rudyard Kipling
 8 Joesolo, Mon, 21st May '12 2:22:43 PM Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
It's usually accepted as a metaphor nowadays.

Personally I don't think everything's just 6, 000 years old, But I do believe God could have done it that way if he wanted. I think he set off the big bang in JUST the right way to make everything end up how it is.
I am going to shove the sunshine so far up where the sun don't shine that you will vomit nothing but warm summer days -Belkar
 9 pagad, Mon, 21st May '12 2:47:44 PM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
The problem is, the idea of humanity as "designed" in God's image doesn't really work when man came into existence through a process that was entirely randomised, and the eons of the universe's existence pre-man strikes me as essentially pointless in a theistic context.
 10 Lawyerdude, Mon, 21st May '12 7:11:37 PM from my secret moon base
Citizen
Genesis is a poem about the beginning of life, told by people with a much more limited understanding of the world than people today. Ask a Jewish person if they interpret Genesis literally (it's their book, after all), and they'll likely say that they don't.

If you need to bring God into it at all, you can say that evolution, natural selection, genetic drift and so on are just the means that God uses to perpetuate its creation.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
Not Actually Indie
The actual age of the earth according to Young Earth Creationists actually varies quite a bit. 6000 years is not a point of doctrine, just one of many attempts at calculating the age from scriptural sources.

That said, while I reject Young Earth Creationism as completely at odds with the available evidence, I have to agree with the president of Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham, on one issue. When the Bible says that the world was created in six days, there is no reason to doubt that it means six literal days. The original Hebrew word used in Genesis, "yom, " can mean a twenty four hour day, a period of light, an unspecified period of time, a particular point in time, or a year, with the meaning determined by context. However, the use of the word "yom" with a number, as in Genesis 1, occurs hundreds of times in the Bible, and in every other instance, it refers clearly to a 24 hour period, and there's no reason to suppose that Genesis 1 was supposed to be an exception, particularly when God sanctifies the clearly literal seventh day of the week as a day of rest because he rested on the seventh day after making the world in six.

It makes practically no sense to interpret the order of the days of creation as a metaphor, because there's nothing it's a useful metaphor for. It doesn't bring people closer to understanding how the actual process by which the world or the universe formed, the order isn't even close to being right (interpreting "Let there be light" as the Big Bang seems like a good start if you don't take notice of the fact that this is the only day in the sequence which doesn't list something happening out of the correct order, and that's if you ignore the fact that it attests that day and night were created on the first day, before the sun.) Plus, there's nothing in the context of Genesis to suggest that the narrative is intended metaphorically, whereas some passages in the bible are clearly indicated by context as metaphor.

And if anyone asks how there could be "days" before the sun existed, the answer is because they were twenty four hours long. Just because it's not true-to-reality doesn't mean that the text is meant to convey anything other than the most obvious interpretation.

edited 21st May '12 8:57:24 PM by Desertopa

...eventually, we will reach a maximum entropy state where nobody has their own socks or underwear, or knows who to ask to get them back.
[up][up] That's pretty much exactly what the previous pope said on the issue. Don't know what the current one's views are; I hear he's more conservative, though.
 13 Knightof Lsama, Tue, 22nd May '12 1:01:14 AM from The Sea of Chaos
I feel I should stick my own five cents worth in and point out that even if you accept Genesis as a metaphor... its a pretty crappy metaphor, mostly because it gets the order of things wrong... and pretty epically so.

For one the sun, moon and stars don't exist until they fourth day (which makes you wonder how the hell days 1-3 were defined) which is also after the appearance of plants which poses a great difficulty for the day/age interpretation. It also has the simultaneous appearance of birds and fish on the fifth day, before the appearance of land animals on the sixth day which runs counter to modern archaeological understanding which puts the approximate order of life, for the vertebrates at least, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals and birds both branching off from reptiles.

One would presume that a divinely inspired work, even as a metaphor, would at least get the basic order of things right.
Welcome to the Sea of Chaos
Euo will do!
Meh: the Genesis we get told is actually quite young. There's plenty of evidence for it being totally re-written at least twice (i.e. stitching older sources together to follow a party line). Once, when Judea won the little civil war and was busy getting rid of any ideas deemed even remotely Israelite. And, again, after getting back from Babylon became a bit of a problem.

So... the whole Creation, Garden of Eden, Flood and everything? Is a DJ remix.
"When all else failed, she tried being reasonable." ~ Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb
Is that cake frosting?
This is what Saint Augustine wrote about the literal interpretation of the Genesis and why it is a bad idea:
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of the world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.
He is a bit harsher than I'd personally be, but I think that his point stands very well.
But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

Euo will do!
I've thought it before, and I'll think it again. St Augustine was a deep thinker who knew people all too well. [lol] Oh, and didn't suffer fools gladly.

For which you can't blame him.

edited 22nd May '12 5:13:31 AM by Euodiachloris

"When all else failed, she tried being reasonable." ~ Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb
Is that cake frosting?
Personally, I find that at times (like in that quote) the fact that he used to be a Manichaean before converting to Catholicism/Orthodoxy shows up a bit too much. He seems to actively despise those who he thinks are in the wrong, which — I think — is really not the best possible approach to theological debate...

This said, one idea that I really dislike is the "God created the world 6000 years ago, but let fake evidence around in order to test humankind" one. It goes without saying that God would have the power to do that; but to do that would make God into a liar, plain and simple. It would be a grave insult to humankind's dignity to give us minds capable of grasping some aspects of the nature of reality, planting fake evidence, and then expecting us to believe a written account as part of some sort of nonsensical Secret Test of Character.

But on the other hand, I also don't agree entirely with the connection between the act of Creation and Big Bang. I think that Creation is better understood as a perpetual, supratemporal process; it's not something that happened once and for all, it's the process through which everything that exists owes its its very being to the Something that exists beyond all that is, even beyond Existence itself. This also ties nicely with the way in which the Genesis account connects Creation with the seven days of the week — a continuous, endless process, I think.
But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

Euo will do!
Heee: that was kind of my point, Carciofus. Most of the times he starts sharpening the knives, you can see a man walking over to the wall and beating his head against it whilst asking himself why he was such an idiot when he was younger. If you keep that in mind, it's easier to withstand some of the bile he spews. Somewhat.

I love the allegory that Genesis is and many analogues and metaphors can be lifted from it in ways that make it interesting beyond the text itself. Especially if you dig into the various related myths and legends of the region that obviously had an effect on it (and visa versa). That, and it's a rip-roaring tale just taken plain.

To be honest, taking the Creation straight from it and beating it and twisting it to make your case that these are God's words and true? Is doing the whole a disservice it doesn't warrant. If God is as wonderful a being as you keep telling me, Mr/ Mrs/ Ms Creationist, at least give Him the sense to tell entertaining Lies to Children when He would know hitting people with concepts they wouldn't understand would never work.

edited 22nd May '12 5:54:11 AM by Euodiachloris

"When all else failed, she tried being reasonable." ~ Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb
Conceptually Frameworked
I've always held that the world as painted by the Bible is based on a very human perspective from times long past. Reading The Epic of Gilgamesh, it did seem rather similar in prose. I'd certainly divide the creation of the universe up somewhat differently if I had to write events for all six days.

Well, the deceptive capabilities of omnipotent beings aside, has anyone heard that theory that there was a water in the heavens surrounding the Earth (a firmament?) and this is what was unleashed when the Earth was flooded.

I thought it sounded interesting at least.

edited 22nd May '12 6:33:10 AM by UltimatelySubjective

"Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri, quo me cumque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes."
Euo will do!
Yup — been brushing up on some Talmudic legends as well. Water, water everywhere, and Leviathan to eat come the end of the world.

Although, I'd pass on Leviathan, thanks. (I have issues with eating something plainly intelligent enough to think how to get out of problems... and into them.)

Hmmm: water is weird. It acts as a boundary and a kind of mortar/ fixative to the old, flat-creation cosmology. As well as an element. And, can pretty much come and go as it pleases between the various segments via rain, dew and less explained means.

edited 22nd May '12 6:53:30 AM by Euodiachloris

"When all else failed, she tried being reasonable." ~ Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb
Is that cake frosting?
Well, they found huge amounts of water vapor in outer space. So in a way, they were right tongue

edited 22nd May '12 6:50:39 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 22 Midnight Rambler, Tue, 22nd May '12 7:56:05 AM from Germania Inferior
stout shako for 2 refined
Can we please stop with all the convoluted attempts to get Genesis to make sense? It's called a Creation Myth for a reason.
That's the way you do it: pony for nothing, and your mares for free.

Just another brick in the Wall of Text.
 23 d Roy, Tue, 22nd May '12 8:03:26 AM Relationship Status: Hounds of love are hunting
I can't believe that there still are people who believe that all Christians take the stories in The Bible literally.

Is that cake frosting?
[up][up]The fact that it is a myth does not imply that it does not make sense tongue

Yeah, I was kidding when I mentioned water vapor in space; but just because something is a mind, it does not mean that it is justified to dismiss it as irrelevant or nonsensical.

I think that the creation account of the Genesis is full of subtleties and layers upon layers upon layers upon layers upon layers of meanings. No, I don't believe that it is a factual account of the creation of the world; but that does not mean that it is not worth examining in depth.

edited 22nd May '12 8:04:50 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 25 Lawyerdude, Tue, 22nd May '12 8:04:59 AM from my secret moon base
Citizen
Something I've found particularly interesting about the Genesis creation stories vs. other ancient creation myths is that in many other cultures, life on Earth was created through the gods engaging in sexual acts with each other. Genesis on the other hand, has YHWH speaking the world into existence. Maybe it's a sort of Bad Ass Boast on the part of the ancient Hebrews. "Your Gods have physical needs. Our God just says things and they happen". Probably has something to do with the idea that words have power.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
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