The earth was slowing down.
|Terry Hancock (CC)|
This wasn’t a new revelation by any means. Newton’s 1st Law of Motion states plainly that an object in motion will stay in motion with the same speed and direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.1
That force just happened to be ocean tides.2 But by the scientists' measurements, the earth’s rotation only slows about 2 milliseconds per revolution around the sun,3 not exactly a stunning figure. So what was the problem?
You see, these scientists that gathered in France weren’t just any scientists. These were members of the Thirteenth General Conference on Weights and Measures. And if the earth’s rotation wasn’t constant, they couldn’t use it to accurately measure time. In fact, the conference had already attempted to address the problem back in 1956 when it used the year to calculate 1 second rather than relying on the day. Although this measurement proved more accurate, the year length also fluctuates, making the second at best a guessing game.
Enter the atomic clock.
The Conference agreed that using the radioactive fluctuations of the isotope cesium 133 would prove to be the most accurate approximation of what we know as one second. And the best part: that measurement would remain constant. So they voted to define the second as:
The duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom.4
Clear as mud?
My Crackpot Theory
You know the earth age argument well. People debate it both within and without the Christian community, and it was most recently brought to a fever pitch by the Bill Nye, Ken Ham debate some weeks ago.
Some take a literal interpretation of the scriptures and using genealogies and other dates mentioned in the Bible, they conclude that the earth is about 10,000 years old (or younger).
Others, using the Big Bang Theory as a foundation, date the earth at about 4.5 billion years old.
So here’s my crackpot theory:
Maybe Genesis is literal, but the earth is still older than you might think. How so?
What if God, after giving the earth a form, slowly set it in motion rather than starting it out at top speed (24-hour rotations)? Therefore the first “day” could have taken thousands or millions of “years" by the atomic count. And as the earth began to speed up, the days got shorter and shorter.
Remember, although God created light on the first day, He didn’t create the sun and the moon until the fourth day (Genesis 1:16). So if there was no sun during the first three days, how did God measure them? Remember also that time itself is one of God’s creations. God is timeless, eternal, so before the creation of the finite there was no such thing as time. I would argue that God created time on the fourth day:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years. (Gen. 1:14)
So God created the sun to mark the days and years, but He did so after three days had already passed? Do you see where I’m going with this? Those first three days could have been any amount of time at all. They could have lasted 4.5 billion cesium-133 years. Or they could have lasted 72 hours.
Knowing that astronomical measures are inconsistent, you must be very careful when using the terms “year” and “day”. By “day" do you mean one full rotation of the earth on its axis or a certain number of periods of isotopic radiation?
(I told you this was a crackpot theory didn’t I?)
I don’t really care who’s right in the age of the earth debate, I just care about the truth.
And honestly, I don’t think it really matters whether the earth is 10,000 years old or 4.5 billion. Genesis isn’t a science book. It’s a book about God’s magnificence, about the fall of man, and the coming redemption. But the bottom line is this: God is timeless. And before creation there was no “time”. He created it.
We too are timeless in that our souls will live on in perpetuity. Why not spend it with the Father in heaven?
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