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Time uniformitarianism

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  • VictorM
    Uniformitarianism assumes that the same natural processes we see today operated at the same gradual rates in the past. James Hutton, 1726 - 1797, discussed his
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 27, 2012
      Uniformitarianism assumes that the same natural processes we see today operated at the same gradual rates in the past. James Hutton, 1726 - 1797, discussed his philosophy, not just in terms of geological formations, but of the uniformity of time. This should not be surprising since the western concept of clock time is fundamental to how modern people think and measure reality. All earth histories begin with philosophy: a predisposition to look at the world a certain way, ask particular kinds of questions and answer with particular kinds of answers. Modern scientific philosophies are predispositions to think of reality with a concept of time that is diametrically opposite to that of the biblical authors.

      To the ancients, time was merely an event marker, a way of counting celestial events. Solomon, wrote that long time is in our minds (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The ancients used the cycles of the heavens as markers for the days, season and years - as prescribed in Genesis One. The first Roman calendar had only 10 named lunar months. The last lunations were numbered in Latin: September (7), October (8), November (9) and December (10). Two Roman historians recorded that in the early roman society, some months had 20 days and some 35. Evidently, if the weather prevented you from seeing the lunar event, that month would have more days than the next. The months of Januarius and Februarius were not named until the days of king Numa. Winter months, originally had no named existence, since time had no meaning apart from events.

      Moses is quite emphatic about the non linearity of the heavenly cycles. In the Hebrew grammar, God continues to command lights in the plural heavens; He continues to form the Sun, Moon and stars to serve as markers for days and years; He continues to place them in the spreading place (Hebrew raqiya). Orbits that continue to spread out cannot be linear. We confirm Moses' account as billions of galaxies developed into growth spirals as the stars continue to accelerate outwards.

      Moses recorded Jacob's words to Pharaoh, that the days and years of the son are shorter and worse that the days and years of the fathers (Genesis 47:9). Ancient people looked back with longing on the patriarchal age, when their ancestors lived for eons. The Bible agrees, since it repeatedly calls the Old Testament era the eons, while 1 Corinthians 7:29 says our "time is short" - [kairos sustello - the pre-ordained era that is contracted, drawn together, shortened, abridged].

      A scientifically minded Christian, might question the idea that geological ages could pass in only 6,000 years. Job, who lived after the flood during the dinosaur age, claimed that man who is born of woman is of few days. Yet he lists the geological ages that passed during those few days (Job 14). Two of his geological markers are the sea (Hebrew west) dries and water wears away rocks and washes away the dust of the earth. The Jordan river, near Job's town, cuts through hundreds of meters of limestone with steep canyon walls. Even the wadis, that today only carry water during the winter, are sharply incised. To the south-east of Job's home, the Nile river cut a narrow gorge deeper than the grand canyon through granite. Around the Mediterranean, submarine canyons containing rounded pebbles extend down to the ancient sea floor that was thousands of meters lower than it is at present. Cores from the Mediterranean floor contain oceanic oozes, the rain of dead plankton that gradually builds as microscopic creatures die and fall to the sea bed. The drill cores also find thick layers of gypsum, stromatolites and salt deposits. According to the ratio of radioactive daughter products in basalt crystals, the Eastern Mediterranean is the oldest ocean on our planet, existing before the Pacific or the Atlantic. Indeed, the continents only fit together on a tiny globe without major seas. The drill cores from the Eastern Mediterranean also have the thickest layers of marine oozes and the thickest layers of salt-march products. Job ended his poem about the brevity of life by claiming their faces changed (doubled) before they died. Indeed, we find the skulls of our ancestors with huge thick brows. The human skull keeps microscopically growing as we age. If we lived for geological ages, we would become Neanderthals, but our grandchildren would have skulls more like ours, as the fossils show.

      Neither the Bible, the visible history of the universe, Job's geological evidence, the records of the earliest people or the way the Pioneer spacecraft clocks kept accelerating relative to distance support the western notion of an actual, linear time.

      In the next article, I will explore the causal reason why days and years, orbits and rotations, continually accelerate.


      This is a photo of the drill ship Glomar Challenger that brought up drill cores from the Mediterranean in 1970. The photo is the public domain as long as it is attributed to the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.
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