Coleraine Probus Club welcomed Rev. Dr. Ron Elson to a recent meeting, where he gave a very interesting and equally challenging talk on the beginnings and age of our world.
The Rev. Dr. Elsdon started his talk with a ‘health warning’.
Although it is often said that there are totally opposing views between the Bible interpretation of the creation of the Earth, and the scientific account of the formation of our planet, it is not necessary for us believe that these are really in direct conflict. Ron is both a theologian (Rev.) and a retired Geology lecturer (Dr.), and believes that both viewpoints can be seen as augmenting, not contradicting one another.
Dr. Ron gave the club members a fascinating account of how the age of our planet has been calculated over the last few hundred years by various scholars and eminent scientists. Calculations have ranged from around 6,000 years to the current estimate of about 4.5 billion. All of which seemed to make a strong case for the scientific/geological ‘truth’and the impossibility of the biblical version in Genesis 1.
If this is so, then the question is really ‘what is Genesis 1 REALLY about?’
If the Book of Genesis isn’t (as translated 300 years ago) about the physical formation of the Earth, then for Rev. Ron it is about three things 1. The goodness of creation. 2. Human Relations/Relationships, not Human Biology. And 3. Polemics - it argues for a structured development and evolution, shown in stages that can be understood as progress. And that is a perspective from the Rev. Ron, on the Old Testament, that many of the club members certainly wanted to give a lot of thought!
The talk concluded on a seasonal note, and again with challenging twist. Rev. Ron talked about ‘Three Wise Men’ and ‘Matthew 2’. He then gave a history of the ‘Star’, its place in art, science and the evidence of a known comet that would have been sighted in about 2 BC. But what of the ‘Three Wise Men’ who travelled from far into the east and the ‘gifts’ they brought? Could this be a way of illustrating how knowledge was spread, from the practically advanced areas (of the East) through mankind and the importance of the search for, and propagation of wisdom?