I occasionally visit Quora.com to find out what kind of questions people are asking about God, the Bible and Religion.
One of the questions I answered seemed to have some traffic. I thought it might be something my readers would like to see. Here is the question:
“My Bible teacher said that God accelerated the formation of the Earth to make it look like 4.5 billion years old. How can I refute him?”
My thinking in answering the question was that while you want to show respect for the teacher, you might also want to challenge his thinking. Critical thinking skills are so lacking in this generation. We need to use those skills as much as possible or we will end up with a society that is astonishingly portrayed in the Movie “Idiocrasy”.
This is how I answered the question.
“Ask him the three Socratic Questions that usually get to the root of the idea. First question, “What do you mean by that?” He will have to be specific. Second Question: “How did you come to that conclusion”? It will tell you WHERE he got his information, for example, I had a vision and God told me directly (smile). Then you know what you are dealing with. Third Question: “Have you ever considered……”? This is where you insert the idea that this is just a hypothesis with NO evidence. You want him to have evidence to back up his hypothesis. If he is just guessing, as he would have to be, then you can just shrug it off. If you want to be more graceful, you can use the word theory instead of the word hypothesis to give the teacher the benefit of the doubt that he may have had something behind his assumption. Christians are supposed to be graceful in speech.”
The answer got quite a few views and upvotes. Two persons kindly suggested that I say “hypothesis” instead of theory. Apparently my nuance was not caught. I amended the answer to include ‘hypothesis’ to be accurate, however, I explained the nuance below the amendment.
Grace should be the hallmark of a Christian, not just ‘being right’.
Relationships are what God is after, not a bunch of Smarty Pants!
Cheryl Durham, Ph.D.
Cheryl is the Executive Director at Living Truth. She is also currently Dean of Students and Professor of New Testament Culture and History at Master's International University of Divinity. She holds a Bachelor and Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling, a Doctor of Biblical Studies in Worldview and a Ph.D. in New Testament History and Culture.