Continuing the book review of Genesis and the Big Bang by Gerald L. Schroeder, Ph.D, in The Search, chapter one.
Schroeder points out that the fossil record seems to contradict the Bible, and cites various evidences to prove his point. Then he writes,
As an affirmation of faith, the literalist can explain the paleontological finds as having been placed in rocks at creation by the Creator. They might be there to satisfy man’s need to rationalize the world, or to test man’s belief in the biblical narrative. This argument, while impossible to disprove, is the weakest of reeds (Isa. 36:6) in a world full of explosive and convincing discovery.
I suppose the same ridiculous concept could be used to explain that we see light from stars that are billions of lightyears away. For the record, note that many Biblical literalists reject this God-the-deceiver idea.
Schroeder explains their take:
Some theologians argue that the methods of paleontological dating are flawed. These methods depend on measurements of radioactive decay. They claim that the rates of decay are not the same as in prehistoric times. If this were true, the ages of fossils or rocks could not be estimated from current measurements of radioactivity.
Although I don’t necessarily agree with this idea, at least it doesn’t make a mockery of not only Biblical literalists, but believers in general, and even God Himself.
Again, it is impossible to disprove the idea that patterns of radioactive decay have changed during the past few thousands years. But the very concept of a fickleness in nature is contrary to all modern evidence. Our experience with the laws of nature, including those that govern radioactivity, is that they are unchanging. Imagine the bedlam of our lives if we were forced to test the consistency of gravity each time we put a glass on a table or the rate of passage of time in our Newtonian system each time we had an appointment to keep.
Albert Eistein said,
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.
Throughout Genesis and the Big Bang, Schroeder refers to the work of Albert Einstein, but here Schroeder seems to forget that Einstein had to think outside of the Newtonian box in order to conceive of the theory of special relativity, the theory upon which Schroeder’s entire book relies.
My point is that it is useful to explore all the possibilities when it comes to origins, and many other concepts, for that matter.
There’s nothing wrong with interpreting data based on what we perceive as the unchanging laws of nature. But it may also be beneficial to at least attempt to interpret data outside of uniformitarianism. After all, none of us were around to witness our own origins or the origin of the universe. Who’s to say things have always been exactly as they are now? We should consider all the possibilities that we can imagine.