Ask Andrew #2: Harry’s Question about Creation
I’m always happy when one of the children of Knox asks a question for my Ask Andrew series. Normally I would share the answer during the “Children’s Time” on Sunday, but the Pandemic has changed the way we do things, so we created a special podcast, just for this question, and now this KnoxTalks version. If any other children have Ask Andrew questions, please e-mail them to the church, or leave them on the church answering machine, and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Harry’s question is: How many years did it take God to create the earth?
Well, Harry, you’ve asked me a simple question. The answer may be a bit complicated, though.
The Bible gives us two stories about God creating the earth, in the first chapters of Genesis.
Chapter 1 talks about God creating everything in six days, and then resting on the seventh. Something different was created on each day, in a specific order. So that would be one week! Really fast.
Starting in Chapter 2, the other story changes the order, and even though it doesn’t say exactly how long things took, it is obvious it took a lot longer than a week.
So why are these stories different? Because they are teaching us different things about God and about our world. The first story gives us a sense of order. The second story is really different, and shows God giving us humans a job as part of creating the world. The first person was given the job of creating names for all the animals God was making. God wanted people to help create the world.
Neither story is supposed to be a science book. So what does science say?
The best calculation is that the creation of the universe started more than 13 billion years ago. That’s such a big number that my head can’t hold it. It would be like trying to count every grain of sand on the beach, and when you ran out, you still wouldn’t have enough for all the years.
But you didn’t ask about the universe, you asked about the earth. What does science say about that?
The best calculation is that the earth is 4.54 billion years old. That’s another huge number! But it only tells us when God started to make the earth. How long did the job take? When did God finish?
That’s the cool part: God isn’t finished yet. The earth is still being created. Continents are moving around, new volcanoes show up from time to time, and everything is changing. We’re still doing our job too: we keep finding new plants and animals, and we are still creating new names for them.
So here’s my final answer: God is still creating the earth, with us on it. We have the job of helping God, which means we have to discover things, create names for them, and take good care of this planet and all the animals and plants we discover.
Thank you, Harry, for asking this question.