Saturday, January 21, 2012

Question of the Week: Was Augustine an old-earth creationist?

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January 21, 2012

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Q: Was Augustine an old-earth creationist?

A: Many old-earth proponents in the church today try to use the Christian theologian Augustine (AD 354–430) as a support for their belief in millions of years. However, there are several problems with this view.
To begin with, during the years AD 389-417, Augustine wrote three commentaries on Genesis and discussed the early chapters of Genesis in The City of God. His thinking changed in some ways in the process, and his writings are confusing, even somewhat contradictory, at points. Over the years he fluctuated between allegorical interpretations and literal views. But there is plenty of evidence that Augustine wasn't an old-earther. Rather, he believed that God created everything in an instant and that He described it for us as being completed in six normal days for the sake of our understanding.
Furthermore, Augustine believed the genealogies given in Genesis to be literal chronologies and that the pre-Flood patriarchs lived to be around 900 years. He also stated, "Unbelievers are also deceived by false documents which ascribe to history many thousand years, although we can calculate from Sacred Scripture that not 6,000 years have passed since the creation of man."

Continue reading to see from his own writings what Augustine really did—and did not—believe about creation.

News to Note Quick Look

Green dragon's new advocate: Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), is expanding NCSE's "mandate" to include the way "global warming" is taught in the classroom. Read more.

"Tatooines" and three little planets: The mission of NASA's Kepler space telescope is to "find terrestrial [nearly Earth-sized] planets . . . especially those in the habitable zone of their stars where liquid water and possibly life might exist." Read more.


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