A Commentary by James A Graves, Jr.
I have recently encountered several examples of an odd occurrence – people referring to the Bible as a scientific document, trying to prove that the Earth is no more than ten thousand years old. They’re doing this in order to disprove scientific theories that the Earth is millions, perhaps billions, of years old.
I am unable to understand the necessity for this.
Apparently, the object is to disprove radiocarbon dating. Supposedly, the estimated age of certain ancient plant and animal remains, discovered by geologists and archeologists and approximated by radiocarbon dating, conflicts with the age of the Earth, determined to be approximately 10,000 years old, based on information contained in the Bible.
However, radiocarbon dating has been verified by comparing the data to tree ring counts, such as the still-living 8,200 year-old bristlecone pines, and further verified by core samples of sediment from the bed of Lake Suigetsu near Tokyo. Two distinct layers of sediment have formed in the lake every summer and winter for tens of thousands of years. The researchers collected core samples from the lake and painstakingly counted the layers to come up with a direct record stretching back 52,000 years.
Using tree ring and sediment core data for comparison, radiocarbon dating shows the age of samples to be 1,000 to 4,000 years younger than the calendar date. So, while radiocarbon dating is not precise, it is not as inaccurate as the critics claim. And the research shows that the Earth is certainly older than 10,000 years.
Unfortunately, in their zeal to determine chronological history from the Bible, people are ignoring the fact that the Bible is not a scientific book; the Bible is a historical record of the Hebrews, Jesus Christ, and God’s Living Word. The Bible was written by men of God, not men of science. And, unlike modern historical documents, events in the Bible aren’t recorded with a precise chronological timeline, primarily because the writers did not have the convenience of modern Julian or Gregorian calendars.
In the First Book of Moses, in Genesis 1, the Holy Bible tells us, “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.”
Further reading reveals what God created, but doesn’t explain how He created it. In fact, in Genesis, the term “earth” refers only to a portion of land, not the planet that orbits the sun – the one we know today as our home in the solar system. Moses, and the people of his day, had no concept of what the Earth is, or that it is looks like a big blue marble from space, or that it is one of eight planets orbiting the Sun. To them “earth” was simply soil – a piece of land.
Also, during the era that Moses lived, the span of time was perceived just as simply; time was marked by the passage of each day, each full moon, each new moon, and the passage of the seasons that marked the years. However, each of the six days that Moses refers to in Genesis – the span of time that it took God to create the universe - is a day in the life of God, not a day in the life of a human being. God simply asks that we accept this on faith alone.
In Isaiah 55:8-9, God compares Himself to humans very succinctly: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
In other words, humans are not smart enough to understand the thoughts or ways of God. We weren’t smart enough when God first spoke to Moses, and we’re still not smart enough today. However, God gave humans a large brain and the insatiable desire to discover and learn. Consequently, we are slowly getting smarter, albeit very slowly. But just like every discovery mankind has made since God placed us on Earth, the mysteries of how old our world is, how old the universe is, and how it all works, is a puzzle that God has laid before us – as if to say, ‘Yes, I created this; if you wish to know the answers, figure it out for yourselves.’
So I must ask, why would anyone, especially Christians, wish to prevent, or even hinder, discovery and learning?
Galileo was imprisoned by the Church in Rome to prevent his scientific research.
Da Vinci was forced to hide his scientific research from the church to avoid being executed.
Hopefully, no Christian today desires the death penalty for scientists doing geological and archeological research, but, while seeking to hinder that scientific research, it appears that some Christians are still living in the Dark Ages.
In my humble opinion, this is a catastrophic waste of time. As Christians, we have much greater challenges than trying to disprove the accuracy of radiocarbon dating. Christians have far more serious problems, problems that will test our faith and, in the very near future (relatively speaking), require every ounce of courage and effort to overcome.
The problems of which I speak are the persecution of Christians in the US and around the world, and the Islamic war on Christianity.
In the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is constantly at war with Christianity, siding with Atheists, Socialists, Progressives, Liberals, and every other group that opposes the rights of Christians to freely worship Jesus Christ. Citing the invalid claim** of the Constitutional separation of church and state, legal battles financed and waged by the ACLU are taking religion out of public schools, seeking to stop the celebration of Christmas and Easter, and constantly trying to remove any reference to religion, especially Christianity, in public schools, governmental procedures, documents, and government-owned public buildings and places. At the same time, the ACLU is taking no action against Muslims praying and honoring Islamic holy days in public schools and on government-owned public property.
**Basing the argument against Christianity on the alleged Constitutional separation of church and state is invalid because the US Constitution and Bill of Rights does not contain any such language or prohibition.
Amendment 1 to the US Bill of Rights states in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”
Congress has obeyed that law - you’ll notice that, unlike the Church of England, there is no ‘Church of the United States’. However, the US congress and Supreme Court have failed to carry out their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution, thus allowing the misinterpretation of the First Amendment to prevail. Christians are being persecuted in America today primarily because of that failure.
But the persecution of Christians is tragically worse elsewhere in the world. According to John L. Allen, Jr., in his book, The Global War on Christians, “From Iraq and Egypt to Sudan and Nigeria, from Indonesia to the Indian subcontinent, Christians in the early 21st century are the world’s most persecuted religious group. According to the secular International Society for Human Rights, 80 percent of violations of religious freedom in the world today are directed against Christians.”
According to OpenDoorsUSA.org, a group that monitors religious freedom world-wide, “North Korea is ranked as the most oppressive place in the world for Christians, #1 on the World Watch List. In this totalitarian communist state, Christians are forced to hide their faith completely from government authorities, neighbors and often, even their own spouses and children. Due to ever-present surveillance, many pray with eyes open, and gathering for praise or fellowship is practically impossible. Worship of the ruling Kim family is mandated for all citizens, and those who don’t comply (including Christians) are arrested, imprisoned, raped, tortured, or killed. Entire Christian families are imprisoned in hard labor camps, where unknown numbers die each year from torture, beatings, overexertion and starvation. Those who attempt to flee to South Korea through China risk execution or life imprisonment, and those who stay behind often fare no better.”
OpenDoorsUSA reports over 70,000 were imprisoned for their faith in North Korea in 2016 alone.
Rounding out the top 10 worst violators on OpenDoors’ World Watch List is Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Eritrea, and Nigeria. In 2014 Open Doors reported that, “… 4,344 Christians were killed for their faith --double the number in 2013. These aren't Christians who are collateral damage in a larger war; these are people who are targeted because they chose to worship Jesus and because they want to read a Bible…”
In an interview with Christian Broadcast Network News, Dr. David Curry, president of Open Doors, said, "Islamic extremism is really the driving force in 40 of the top 50 countries on the World Watch List.” “…we need to make the persecuted Church an issue of prayer and of support because there is a genocide happening," Curry warned.
The Jewish publication, The Algemeiner, reports, (in 2013) “There are an estimated 100 million persecuted Christians.” In its August 21, 2013 edition, Noah Beck wrote, “As you read this, Christians around the world are being murdered, raped, plundered, abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, or otherwise oppressed by Muslims. Christians in Muslim-majority areas are some of the most vulnerable and horribly oppressed people on Earth; they live at the mercy of the mob and receive little or no protection from the police or other government institutions.”
In 2013, radical Muslim jihadists attacked and severely damaged the St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt. Raymond Ibrahim stated in his April 16, 2013 article in FrontPageMag.com, “(This attack) is not simply “just another” Coptic church to be attacked and/or set aflame by a Muslim mob.”
St. Mark Cathedral is an apostolic see – the actual seat of Mark, an apostle of Christ.
Mr. Ibrahim continued, "In short, Muslim mobs—aided and abetted by the state of Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood tutelage—did not merely attack yet one more Coptic church, but rather committed an act of war against all Christianity. Such an open attack on a Christian center which holds symbolic and historic significance for all Christians—St. Mark, whose relics are in the cathedral and who authored one of the four Gospels of the Bible, belongs to all Christians not just Copts—was an open attack on a universally acknowledged Christian shrine.”
These radical Muslim jihadists, backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, would soon be referred to as the Islamic State - ISIS. This is the same Muslim Brotherhood touted, endorsed and praised, along with the “Arab Spring”, by President Barack Obama, and the same ISIS that Obama called the “junior varsity” of radical Muslim organizations.
Contrary to what the politically correct, Left-leaning national media would have you believe, ISIS is not just a threat to Europe, North Africa, Israel and the Middle East, ISIS is a threat to the US as well.
In May 2015, CBN News reported, “After two ISIS supporters attempted to storm a Mohammed cartoon drawing contest and murder everyone inside earlier this month in Garland, Texas, the Islamic State was quick to claim responsibility for what's been called the first ISIS attack on American soil. The attackers, both American citizens, were killed by a police officer before they had a chance to carry out their plan. But the incident in Texas may have been a sign of things to come.”
At that time ISIS boasted that it had "71 trained soldiers in 15 different U.S. states" and promised that the attack in Texas was only the beginning. CBN News also reported in May 2015, “ISIS in Every State - From Pennsylvania to Illinois to Ohio to Minnesota to Kansas, federal authorities have arrested close to a dozen ISIS supporters in recent weeks.”
The FBI is now conducting investigations into ISIS-related activity in all 50 U.S. states. ISIS, radical Islam, and the jihad, or Muslim holy war, are in America now, today, and are here to stay. The ultimate goal of Islam is to establish a global caliphate (a state under the leadership of an Islamic steward known as a caliph), and instill sharia law, which supersedes every other established law and becomes the law of the land, placing every Muslim and non-Muslim under Islamic rule.
As Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing editor-in-chief, wrote in October 2014, “While there are lyrical, poetic, gentle and tolerant verses in the Koran, there are also violent, oppressive, absolutist, and vehemently intolerant ones as well.
Due to the law of abrogation, those verses written later in Mohammad’s life take precedence over those written earlier, and unless we understand this we can be deceived. Like it or not, accept it or not, Islam does not call for equal co-existence with other faiths.
In its purest form, the Koran commands that people of the book, which includes Christians, will be treated with respect as long as they pay a head tax, never preach publicly about their faith or try to convert people, ask permission to build churches or repair old ones, not ride a horse for fear they will be higher than a Muslim, and generally lead a life of subservience.”
Is living in subservience to Islam the life that Christians wish to live? I think not. Jesus compels Christians to spread the news of forgiveness and eternal salvation through Him. Islam intends to prevent Christians from doing that.
The Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) wrote, “[Jihad] is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force … The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them…But Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.”
Christians have no choice but to stand and fight. This is where Christians should be focused, not trying to prove the earth is only ten thousand years old, or whether or not gay marriage should be permitted. Certainly Christians should not be forced to accept political correctness that violate the basic tenets of our faith, but those issues cannot possibly compare to Muslim jihadists killing Christians around the globe just because they choose to worship Jesus Christ.
Obviously other atrocities are being committed as well - Christians have an obligation to fight to prevent the slaughter of the unborn, but that fight, as well as all other worthy Christian endeavors, will be meaningless if Christians become extinct. To paraphrase Dr. David Curry, ‘we need to make all persecuted Christians around the globe an issue of prayer and of support because there is a genocide happening’.
On December 12, 2017 the US House of Representatives passed H. Res. 407, which condemns the persecution of Christians worldwide. Of course, this bill is just rhetoric and has no teeth. It is doubtful that anything meaningful will come of it, but at least it shows that the government recognizes the problem. However, the meaningful action must come from Christians.
Christians need to reassess our priorities, focus on survival, and fight to stop the persecution!
©2017 James A Graves, Jr.