This is a postscript to yesterday’s post. As I wrote that post, criticizing a particular argument I had heard for Young-Earth Creationism, I had Galileo in mind. For some reason, I neglected to include anything about Galileo.
The argument stated that the Genesis 1 creation account used the word day, and we ought to take God at His word and interpret that as a literal 24 hour period rather than millions of years. Not only did I find the reasoning of the argument to be flawed, but offensive, because it implied that Day-Age Creationists (like myself) do not take God at His word.
One can take Scripture at face value and not interpret the word day in Genesis 1 as a strict 24 hour period. There are several examples of the word day throughout the Bible which do not conform to a 24 hour period. One of the more obvious examples is 2 Peter 3:8 (ESV) But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
God has revealed Himself through the General Revelation of the natural world (Romans 1:18-20) and through the Special Revelation of Scripture. The Bible has the highest authority, but since the Bible is God’s written Word, and the universe was created by the word of God (Hebrews 11:3), they never contradict each other in reality.
Science is the most reliable method we have to observe the natural world, so when we use science properly it reveals the nature of God. If science seems to contradict Scripture, we are either interpreting the scientific evidence incorrectly or interpreting Scripture incorrectly.
It is not surprising that hundreds of years ago, most people that took the Bible seriously assumed God created the universe in a week. They were ignorant of geology, DNA, and the laws of physics. We are not. The evidence clearly demonstrates that the earth is older than 6,000-10,000 years old. Since we know, based on other passages of Scripture, that it is not necessary to interpret day as a strict 24 hour period, and science has demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth is billions of years old, we have no good reason to think Young-Earth Creationism is true.
Today, no stable-minded Young-Earth Creationist believes that the Earth is the stationary center of the universe, with the sun, planets and stars revolving around it. In that regard, they accept my argument that scientific evidence can help us interpret the Bible. However, in 1613, Father Lorini, a Dominican friar attacked Galileo Galilei’s Letters on the Solar Spots, on the grounds that it violated Scripture.
How did Galileo violate Scripture? Letters on the Solar Spots promoted the Copernican idea that the earth revolved around the sun.
Father Lorini argued that the sun must revolve around the earth because it stood still in Joshua 10. If we were to apply the Young-Earth argument above, that we should take God at His word and interpret Scripture in a strictly literal sense, we would have to agree with the view of the Dominican friar.
Father Lorini and his allies fought tooth and nail to smear Galileo’s reputation. Eventually in 1633 Galileo stood trial. He was bullied into admitting error, recanted his views, and submitted to the punishment of the Roman Catholic Church.
Shall we side with Galileo, or the Fundamentalists?
Despite his ill treatment by the Church, Galileo retained a strong faith in God and the Bible throughout his life. He is a heroic example of a man who found truth using both faith and reason. Even though he was defeated in his own lifetime, his view was eventually adopted and is not disputed today.
Truth is always victorious in the end.