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Book relates earth’s age to Bible, sciencecomment (0)

August 31, 2006

By Sondra Washington

The age of the earth has become a major source of debate between “young-earth” and “old-earth” creationists. The former group believes the Bible says the earth is only about 10,000 years old, and the latter thinks scientific evidence proves the earth is billions of years old. 
After siding with “young” believers most of his life, NASA aerospace engineer and co-founder of Rocket Science Ministries Mark Whorton changed his position after years of research and published “Peril in Paradise: Science, Theology and the Age of the Earth.”
“In the opening chapter (of my book), I tell a story about how the women’s ministry at my church was asked to pray for one of the teachers in the church who did not believe the Bible and even denied the gospel,” he said. “That heretic was me and all of that was because I was willing to consider the possibility that God might have taken longer to create the earth than six normal days.” 
Whorton wrote the book to show that there is more than one way to faithfully interpret the days of Genesis without sacrificing biblical authority or inerrancy.
He believes the age of the earth is controversial because it unearths deeper feelings on other “very important” issues in Christianity. An ancient earth would mean that there were millions of years of animal death before Adam was created and that physical death was part of the world that God called “very good.”
“That is not consistent with how many people view the world before Adam’s fall, as well as what the impact of sin was on the physical world,” Whorton said. “My basic thesis is that an ancient earth does not insult the character of God or destroy the gospel, and the book lays out a case for why an ancient creation best fits with the revelation in Scripture and science.”
The idea of suffering before the fall of man led Whorton to ask what kind of world God would call “very good.”
“I could not escape the impression that the entire Bible speaks of God’s eternal purpose … ,” he noted. “My … paradigm is built on a theological foundation that says God was up to something much bigger than man’s comfort and convenience.”
Ricky Byrn, an aerospace industry consultant who works with Whorton in Rocket Science Ministries, believes the church’s rejection of an “old earth” causes it to “turn people away from the gospel” when scientific evidences like radio dating of rocks and fossils point to an older earth. “[God] doesn’t always say (things) in the Scriptures in scientific terms,” he said. “Day can also mean an eon of time. … ‘Very good’ does not have to be perfect.” 
Whorton agreed. “The creation was very good because it was perfectly suited to accomplish His perfect plan.”
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