L’Shana Tova! It’s the year 5783, according to the Hebrew Calendar. A day to wish those you love have their names inscribed in the Book of Life. G’mar hatima tova!
For Jews, today is the birthday of creation.
Recently I heard people discussing the age of the earth and how there is no way scientifically there can be a young earth. It has to be older than 6,000 years old. This is the thread that sometimes causes people’s interpretation of the Old Testament to unravel, because if they can’t take the book of Genesis literally, what about Exodus? And then what about the rest of the Pentateuch and the prophets? Does the whole thing fall apart?
Here is why no one will ask me to teach theology; here is my oversimplified answer to this complicated question:
They are both true.
The earth can be both 4.5 billion years old and less than 6,000. The earth, scientifically can have evolved over a process of time and also it was created in 6 days by an act of the love of God. I can hold both things together and feel zero contradiction or crisis of faith.
And it is because of the Wedding Feast at Cana.
Now hear me out. You know the story. (John 2) Jesus and his friends were invited to a wedding. At the feast the host runs out of wine. The Blessed Mother goes to Jesus and says, “They are out of wine.” He says that his time has not come. She tells the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” So, he instructs the servants to fill the water jugs and take it to the host. The host tastes it and declares that it is the best wine ever.
What is one thing we all know about wine? It takes a while to make, to ferment, to bottle, and then to rest and age. Truly special bottles of wine need to age 10-15 years. Jesus made old wine in an instant. He made something in a single second that was aged, complex, full-bodied, nuanced, beautifully old.
If I can believe that Jesus turned water into 15 year old wine in a single act of love for his Mother, why cannot I also believe that in a single act of creative love he made mountains that showed all the complexity and age of a 4.5 billion year old earth. Canyons, water rings, fault lines, fossils, pressure, dead volcanos, deep caves of the ocean.
It is the glory of God to conceal things,Proverbs 25:2
but the glory of kings is to search things out.
The God who makes all things new, can also make new things that are old.
There is no contradiction.
This is why I am a mystic and not a theologian.