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Age

Age

Postby Theophilus » 09 Jun 2009, 15:45

A physician who has made a complete examination of a person could probably make a good estimate of his age without having been told what it is because of his knowledge of how the aging process works. But what would happen if he were to travel back in time and examine Adam and Eve before the fall and was then asked to estimate their age? Because they were created to live forever they wouldn't have undergone the same aging process we do today. If he examined them just a few days after their creation he would give a high extimate of their ages because they would appear to be the same as adults he had examined in the past.

Suppose he went back to some time after their fall. Now they would be subject to the same aging process we experience today. If he was unaware of their past he would make an estimate based on the assumption that they had been born in the same was as other people and would make an age estimate based on that assumption. (I know that people lived longer then, so for the purposes of this example I am assuming that the doctor was aware of this fact and took it into consideration. I am also assuming that he didn't notice their lack of navels, since this would have warned him that there was something different about them.) His estimate of their age would probably be off, but whether it was too high or too low would depend on how much time had elapsed between their creation and their fall.

Scientist who try to figure out the age of the universe are facing the same situation as the doctor in the second example. They assume that all of the physical processes, such as entropy, have been going on since the universe began. But the Bible tells us that this is not the case. God cursed the ground because of Adam's sin. But it seems that the whole universe is under a curse, which will be lifted at the same time as the resurrection of believers. "The creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God." Romans 8:21. It is likely that the entire universe was affected by the rebellion of Satan and that is the reason for the condition it is in today. Since we don't know how much time elapsed between the creation and the fall of Satan it is impossible to discover the true age of the universe.
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Re: Age

Postby cyranorox » 09 Jun 2009, 17:46

First, that's resurrection of mankind.
2nd, you are making a mess of the issue by trying to combine the poetic character of truth in Genesis with the prosaic data of science.
The age of the creation, as a whole, is Zero, since Time is a subset of creation, and the whole exists in Eternity. The creation is no older today than at any day in our past, or the past of which we can observe the traces, such as fossils and starlight. That's not to say that our observation of the long past within time is wrong; it isn't.

you do well, though; your speculation
It is likely that the entire universe was affected by the rebellion of Satan and that is the reason for the condition it is in today
is very close to the ancient teaching, that the fall caused a dislocation and degradation of the cosmos, leading to its subjugation to entropy, competition, struggle and death; this will be healed and restored in the Second Coming, Resurrection, and Judgement, which are three aspects of the same event.
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Re: Age

Postby Bluegoat » 10 Jun 2009, 11:57

I'm of the view that the universe as we know it became as it was after the fall - Entropy, other physical processes. The time in the garden was different, perhaps rather more like what the new Earth will be like, out of time and just different.

Some people think that the Fall actually happened at the very moment of actual creation. I believe St Augustine may have shared that point of view, though I may be thinking of something else.

In any case, it is surly one of the assumptions of science that the same process apply throughout the universe, and into the past and future (which perhaps come down to the same thing anyway.) It is pretty much an assumption of philosophy too, and since my knowledge of God is based on reason, if I decide that the rules of reason in the past might well be different, it could conceivably be that there was no need for a first cause in the past - and poof, there goes God.

I'm not sure we can have it both ways.
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Re: Age

Postby friendofbill » 10 Jun 2009, 12:29

I'm of the view that the universe as we know it became as it was after the fall - Entropy, other physical processes.


I know this is the traditionally accepted Christian understanding, based on a somewhat loosely interpreted reading of Romans 8:18-25.

If that is so, however, then those of us who accept the findings of cosmology, astrophysics and/or the earth sciences become "unbelievers." The problem, for us, is that there is ample evidence that the processes of entropy were proceeding from the very moment of the Big Bang, 14.5 billion years ago; that natural disasters and disease both existed prior to the existence of any creature even remotely resembling man. How could these things have been caused by the fall of a being who did not exist? If the entire geologic timeline were represented in a finite graph small enough for us to see it all, "man" would occupy the last 2 seconds. Could this "fall" have been retroactive 14.5 billion years into the past?

We naturally assume that the creation was made for us, but what then was the purpose of the first 14.5 billion years when we did not exist? In Revelatiion we are told (KJV translation here) that God created all things "for His pleasure," not for us or our pleasure; in that case, we are an incident in the timeline, not the pinnacle of it or the goal of it. Revelation seems to be inviting us to a theocentric rather than a homocentric view of the universe, which would in turn invite us to believe that the state of the universe at any time is determined by the will of God and not by the doings of man. The "fall" (i.e., the Parable of Adam and Eve) tells us a lot about ourselves, but I can't see that it tells us anyting about the universe in which we live. Like Dylan Thomas, I find that "the legend of Adam and Eve is never for a moment silent in my service." But it speaks to me of the pitiable condition of the human spirit, not of the unvierse.

I cannot see that Romans 8:18-25 supports the idea that the creation fell when "Adam" fell. It states rather that the creation is waiting for the redemption of man: that it will be made into a perfect universe, perhaps, but this passage does not asign the state of the universe to the fall of man. We are simply conditioned to see that in this passage, so we see it there. To read the passage without those preconceptions resuklts in a different understanding of what Paul is saying.

Or so it seems to me.

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Re: Age

Postby Bluegoat » 10 Jun 2009, 13:35

friendofbill wrote:
I'm of the view that the universe as we know it became as it was after the fall - Entropy, other physical processes.


I know this is the traditionally accepted Christian understanding, based on a somewhat loosely interpreted reading of Romans 8:18-25.

If that is so, however, then those of us who accept the findings of cosmology, astrophysics and/or the earth sciences become "unbelievers." The problem, for us, is that there is ample evidence that the processes of entropy were proceeding from the very moment of the Big Bang, 14.5 billion years ago; that natural disasters and disease both existed prior to the existence of any creature even remotely resembling man. How could these things have been caused by the fall of a being who did not exist? If the entire geologic timeline were represented in a finite graph small enough for us to see it all, "man" would occupy the last 2 seconds. Could this "fall" have been retroactive 14.5 billion years into the past?

We naturally assume that the creation was made for us, but what then was the purpose of the first 14.5 billion years when we did not exist? In Revelatiion we are told (KJV translation here) that God created all things "for His pleasure," not for us or our pleasure; in that case, we are an incident in the timeline, not the pinnacle of it or the goal of it. Revelation seems to be inviting us to a theocentric rather than a homocentric view of the universe, which would in turn invite us to believe that the state of the universe at any time is determined by the will of God and not by the doings of man. The "fall" (i.e., the Parable of Adam and Eve) tells us a lot about ourselves, but I can't see that it tells us anyting about the universe in which we live. Like Dylan Thomas, I find that "the legend of Adam and Eve is never for a moment silent in my service." But it speaks to me of the pitiable condition of the human spirit, not of the unvierse.

I cannot see that Romans 8:18-25 supports the idea that the creation fell when "Adam" fell. It states rather that the creation is waiting for the redemption of man: that it will be made into a perfect universe, perhaps, but this passage does not asign the state of the universe to the fall of man. We are simply conditioned to see that in this passage, so we see it there. To read the passage without those preconceptions resuklts in a different understanding of what Paul is saying.

Or so it seems to me.

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No, I don't think so (obviously, since I tend to accept the findings of cosmology.) I'm not convinced that the Fall, as described in Genesis, was a historical even, in the sense that we tend to think of historical. I suspect that at the very instant of creation, they were fallen, and then the universe played out in something like the way we see it now. So in a way, Adam and Eve fell before the first homo erectus ever existed. But of course before time started, all things existed in the mind of God, they still had a kind of logical reality.

I think you are quite right that the universe does not exist for mankind alone; however, the Fall, I think, does affect the whole universe. (I wonder if fallen angels affect the whole universe? If not, perhaps because they are immaterial? On the other hand, the Fall story does perhaps suggest a connection?) I think, for example, that entropy is probably in some way a result of the fall. I am pretty sure that in the New Earth, there won't be entropy, so I tend to think there was none before the Fall either.

As for things existing for God - I am pretty sure God created knowing that the Fall would occur and would show forth his Glory - that it was, in a way, part of his plan. So the Fall and it's affects were certainly assented to by God. I wouldn't make the leap that that makes the only purpose of the universe how it relates to humankind. But things are connected, I don't think there is any way to escape that.
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Re: Age

Postby Stanley Anderson » 10 Jun 2009, 15:10

friendofbill wrote:The problem, for us, is that there is ample evidence that the processes of entropy were proceeding from the very moment of the Big Bang, 14.5 billion years ago; that natural disasters and disease both existed prior to the existence of any creature even remotely resembling man. How could these things have been caused by the fall of a being who did not exist?


Tough questions and I certainly don't have adequate answers. But don't be too confident about the "logic" you apply above to cause and effect, and time-oriented orders. It is a pretty tough subject to get through and fully "understand", but if you can bear it, try reading about some quantum physics effects referred to as "Wheeler's delayed choice experiment" and the "quantum eraser effect" (and even a cross between the two called the "delayed choice quantum eraser". Pretty strange stuff, but the crux of it is that "observation" made AFTER the fact can, in effect, "change the past". The experiments that have been performed deal with man-and-room-sized apparatus, and thus deal with "past times" of only picoseconds and such. But in theory (and in proposed actual and potentially ongoing experiments) the idea could be applied to light from distant astronomical objects being bent around other galaxies or black holes so that the "delayed choice" effect allows the observer here on earth to "change the past", as it were, for light that started on its way perhaps millions of years before life on earth even existed.

So. What if the Fall was some kind of "collapse" of a universal quantum wave function that rippled out instantly throughout not only the universe spatially, but even reached out into the distant past "instantly" to "set down" a particular integrated past that established a definitive "time line" and physical reality that did not "exist" "before" that event? (I have to use so many quotation marks here because everything in these ideas is so hard to even conceive of). Note that Genesis talks of the the disobedience of the Fall as eating of the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil. In quantum quandaries, it is apparently precisely "knowledge" that effects the strange behavior of these utterly non-intuitive experimental results. So perhaps the Fall is somehow related to this "past changing" delayed choice quantum effect in some kind of theological way?

Of course I can hardly even talk about such ideas when (or "if", I should say, given the conjectural nature of the idea) we are currently in that limited "fallen" and "collapsed" state of the universe. Trying to talk, from this fallen point of view, about what unfallen life was like in an unfallen world would be as difficult (what am I saying? -- far, far more difficult if not impossible, actually) as trying to derive examples of odd numbers if one only has even numbers and the operations of addition and multiplication to work with. Add or multiply any number of even numbers together and you always get another even number, never an odd number. In other words, it's a "you can't get there from here" sort of thing. So in that "even number" world or in this fallen world, conceptualizations of odd numbers or unfallen states are "beyond our reach", though we might just barely be able to imagine the vague possibility of such things.

And that is my point -- not to say "this is what definitely is", but only to suggest that "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy". I don't know what could be, but I would also hate to say that something "cannot be" too, especially given the utter strangeness and confusion and unintuitive conclusions of modern physics.

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…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: Age

Postby Theophilus » 10 Jun 2009, 15:30

There are some points I need to clarify about my original post. I said that the condition of the universe was probably caused by the rebellion of Satan, not the sin of Adam and Eve. In my post "A New Earth" I pointed out that the six days apparently involved a restoration of the earth from a state of chaos. I believe that this chaotic condition was the result of Satan's fall, not that of Adam.

I agree that everything was created for God's pleasure, so it is possible that the universe might have existed for billions of years. I merely pointed out that scientists cannot accurately measure its age if they start out by incorrectly assuming that everything has always gone on as it does now and God has never intervened in his creation.

While the universe was not made for man, God evidently did create the present world for us because he gave Adam dominion over it and one of the effects of Adam's sin was that the ground was cursed.
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Re: Age

Postby Bluegoat » 10 Jun 2009, 17:13

Theophilus wrote:There are some points I need to clarify about my original post. I said that the condition of the universe was probably caused by the rebellion of Satan, not the sin of Adam and Eve. In my post "A New Earth" I pointed out that the six days apparently involved a restoration of the earth from a state of chaos. I believe that this chaotic condition was the result of Satan's fall, not that of Adam.

I agree that everything was created for God's pleasure, so it is possible that the universe might have existed for billions of years. I merely pointed out that scientists cannot accurately measure its age if they start out by incorrectly assuming that everything has always gone on as it does now and God has never intervened in his creation.

While the universe was not made for man, God evidently did create the present world for us because he gave Adam dominion over it and one of the effects of Adam's sin was that the ground was cursed.


This is true of all kinds of scientific measurements and assumptions - there could be a change or intervention at any time. All those calculations that are made to allow airplanes to fly, for example. And yet, I have rarely heard of this given as a reason not to fly in airplanes - those few who do say it are seen as quite odd.
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Re: Age

Postby Bluegoat » 10 Jun 2009, 17:16

Stanley Anderson wrote:Tough questions and I certainly don't have adequate answers. But don't be too confident about the "logic" you apply above to cause and effect, and time-oriented orders. It is a pretty tough subject to get through and fully "understand", but if you can bear it, try reading about some quantum physics effects referred to as "Wheeler's delayed choice experiment" and the "quantum eraser effect" (and even a cross between the two called the "delayed choice quantum eraser". Pretty strange stuff, but the crux of it is that "observation" made AFTER the fact can, in effect, "change the past". The experiments that have been performed deal with man-and-room-sized apparatus, and thus deal with "past times" of only picoseconds and such. But in theory (and in proposed actual and potentially ongoing experiments) the idea could be applied to light from distant astronomical objects being bent around other galaxies or black holes so that the "delayed choice" effect allows the observer here on earth to "change the past", as it were, for light that started on its way perhaps millions of years before life on earth even existed.

--Stanley


Was it Commander Data who said something like "In temporal mechanics effects can precede causes"?
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Re: Age

Postby friendofbill » 10 Jun 2009, 20:27

Indeed, if there was a "fall of creation," it must have happened at the very beginning. Paul speaks of creation having been "subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be liberqted from its bondage..." What could "the will of the one who subjected it" mean other than (a) the will of God or (b) the will of Satan? It certaily could not mean the will of Adam. And I am one who rejects the idea that Satan, if he exists at all, could frustrate the will of God in any way.

Science tells us that at the immediate instant of the big bang (like, just befor it went "bang"), the four major physicak forces were one unified force, and that in the nanosecond after it went "bang" they separated into the four forces we know now. Was that a "fall?" Was that in fact the beginning of the "frustration" of the creation, the origin of entropy and its consequences, disaster and disease? That would make sense, IMO, of Paul's assertions in Romans 8. It would mean that in the instant that God said "shazam" and made the singularity that went "bang," it was foreordained that the consequences of "bang" would prevail -- so that, in a sense, He Himself subjeected the entire future of the univere to frustration. Perhaps so we'll appreciate it better when we see Him fix it at the other end of the timeline? Or perhaps because it was the game He wanted to play "for His pleasure."

I do not presume to be either an expert on quantum physics nor an expert on Pauline theology, though i had to study the one in college and the other in seminary. And I know that logic can carry one just so far, especially in the metaphysical realm., and then it drops one like a brick and says "go figure." So whatever I'm posting here is IMO; essentially, the conviction with which I am comfortable right now. I just don't want to come across as pontificating the "right answer" for anyone.
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Re: Age

Postby Theophilus » 11 Jun 2009, 15:09

Bluegoat wrote:This is true of all kinds of scientific measurements and assumptions - there could be a change or intervention at any time. All those calculations that are made to allow airplanes to fly, for example. And yet, I have rarely heard of this given as a reason not to fly in airplanes - those few who do say it are seen as quite odd.


I agree that scientific methods and measurements are generally accurate in discovering what is going on right now and that we can safely use those measurements in developing new technology. It is when scientist try to determine what has happened in the past or to predict the future that a problem arises. They can only base these projections into the past or the future on the way things happen now because that is the only information they have. But if God has intervened in the running of the universe in the past or will do so in the future their conclusions will be incorrect.
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Re: Age

Postby Theophilus » 11 Jun 2009, 15:17

friendofbill wrote: And I am one who rejects the idea that Satan, if he exists at all, could frustrate the will of God in any way.


I agree that ultimately God's will cannot be frustrated. But he has given some of his creatures the power to obey or disobey him, and he has decreed that disobedience will always lead to evil consequences. He cursed the ground because of Adam's sin. Isn't it possible that he cursed the universe because of Satan's sin?
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Re: Age

Postby friendofbill » 11 Jun 2009, 17:17

He cursed the ground because of Adam's sin. Isn't it possible that he cursed the universe because of Satan's sin?


Of course it is possible. Many Christian theologians would find that explanation acceptable.

To me (and I can only post my own opinion), it makes God into a petty tyrant, a sort of middle-eastern satrap who gets ticked off about something and zaps everyone and everything in sight to get even. As if, for example, I was mad at my son, and poisoned his playground and his bed and his toys and everything else to show him how mad I am. Someone would say, "Why not just punish the child for his disobedience and then move on? Why this gigantic display of petulance?"

Surely God is not a giant Sadam Hussein in the sky. At least, the God Whom Jesus called "Daddy" doesn't seem to fit that description.

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Re: Age

Postby Bluegoat » 11 Jun 2009, 18:36

Theophilus wrote:
Bluegoat wrote:This is true of all kinds of scientific measurements and assumptions - there could be a change or intervention at any time. All those calculations that are made to allow airplanes to fly, for example. And yet, I have rarely heard of this given as a reason not to fly in airplanes - those few who do say it are seen as quite odd.


I agree that scientific methods and measurements are generally accurate in discovering what is going on right now and that we can safely use those measurements in developing new technology. It is when scientist try to determine what has happened in the past or to predict the future that a problem arises. They can only base these projections into the past or the future on the way things happen now because that is the only information they have. But if God has intervened in the running of the universe in the past or will do so in the future their conclusions will be incorrect.


But scientific theories always try to predict the future. An airplane being built now will fly in the future, not when all the data on lift and so on was collected. If we talk only about the NOW, we can say only - this morning the sun came up, there were three cm of rain, light traveled at X speed. Not much use for anything if we only apply it to that very moment.

It seems to me that you are choosing to make a distinction between applying that information to the near past and future and the far past and future. On what basis? How far ahead can we expect our scientific information to be useful? A day? 10 years? A hundred or a thousand?

Certianly any scientist would agree that if at some point the laws of nature were to change, all current information and theories would be useless.
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Re: Age

Postby Theophilus » 12 Jun 2009, 15:17

Bluegoat wrote:But scientific theories always try to predict the future. An airplane being built now will fly in the future, not when all the data on lift and so on was collected. If we talk only about the NOW, we can say only - this morning the sun came up, there were three cm of rain, light traveled at X speed. Not much use for anything if we only apply it to that very moment.

It seems to me that you are choosing to make a distinction between applying that information to the near past and future and the far past and future. On what basis? How far ahead can we expect our scientific information to be useful? A day? 10 years? A hundred or a thousand?

Certianly any scientist would agree that if at some point the laws of nature were to change, all current information and theories would be useless.


I agree that science can generally tell what has happened and will happen as long as the current laws of nature are in effect. The problem is that scientists ususally ignore the possibility that these laws can change and claim the projections based on them should be accepted as facts rather than treated as theories. For example they dogmatically state that they have proved that the universe is a certain age when in fact they have merely shown that this is the age [i]if[i] their assumptions are correct. Scientific statements regarding the age of the universe cannot be proved or disproved and so should be regarded as possibilities rather than being accepted as facts.
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