1887

n Koers : Bulletin for Christian Scholarship = Koers : Bulletin vir Christelike Wetenskap - Kontekstualisering : geologiese tydskaal en preservering van die fossielrekord : biodiversity

Volume 70, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0023-270X
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Abstract


Our point of departure is that the universe came into existence 13 000 million years ago as a result of a big bang. The earth formed in the known galactic system 4 600 million years ago. The concept of geological time and its measurement changed during the course of the history of man. In the 18th century, some natural scientists formed the view that the earth was very old, although it was not possible to determine the absolute age of the earth before the discovery of radioactivity (1896) and its application in the dating of rocks (1905). The principle of uniformity (the present is the key to the past) of James Hutton (1726-1797) is replaced in modern geology with the constancy of natural laws and uniform processes, while acknowledging that the rates of processes may vary considerably. It is also acknowledged that natural catastrophic occurrences, like meteorite impacts and earthquakes, can occur and that they are ordinary geological processes.
Since the 17th century geologists in Europe and Britain, and later North America found that they could determine the relative ages of rock successions and could compare the rock successions over long distances, by applying stratigraphic principles. The result of this research was the geological timescale, as well as a description of the broad history of life on earth. This geological timescale was already completed at the end of the 1830s. This completion happened more or less 55 years before the publication of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection in 1895. By using radiometric dating, it became possible to assign absolute ages to the different Periods of the geological timescale. That provided a good test for the reliability of the principles applied when the timescale was compiled. Nowhere were any contradictions found between the relative ages of Periods in the timescale and their absolute ages. The geological timescale is not invalidated by limitations in the application of radiometric dating, because the timescale is based on relative age and fossil content.
The concept of deep space is readily accepted by Christians, but not the concept of deep time. It is important to remember that deep space and deep time are scientific concepts; findings, theories and concepts that may change when new knowledge is gained. Our faith, however, is not subject to scientific theories. We steadfastly stand by what we know and believe: God is the Creator and Sustainer of everything - of the whole universe. Scientific findings serve to bring us a deeper awareness of God's omnipotence.

Ons gaan van die standpunt uit dat die heelal as gevolg van 'n oerknal, 13 000 miljoen jaar gelede, ontstaan het. Die aarde het 4 600 miljoen jaar gelede in die bekende galaktiese stelsel gevorm. Die konsep van geologiese tyd en die meting daarvan het met verloop van die geskiedenis van die mens verander. Sommige natuurwetenskaplikes het tydens die agtiende eeu onder die indruk gekom van 'n baie ou aarde, hoewel dit nie moontlik was om die absolute ouderdom van die aarde te bepaal voor die ontdekking van radioaktiwiteit (1896) en die toepassing daarvan in die datering van rotse (1905) nie. James Hutton (1726-1797) se beginsel van uniformiteit ("the present is the key to the past") word in die moderne geologie eerder vervang met die konstantheid van die natuurwette en uniforme prosesse. Daar word egter erken dat die tempo van prosesse aansienlik kan varieer en dat natuurlike katastrofiese gebeure, byvoorbeeld meteorietimpakte en aardbewings, wel voorkom en dat dit gewone geologiese prosesse is.


Sedert die sewentiende eeu het geoloë in Europa en Brittanje en later ook Noord-Amerika gevind dat hulle met behulp van stratigrafiese beginsels, die relatiewe ouderdomme van gesteente-opeenvolgings kon bepaal en gesteente-opeenvolgings oor groot afstande met mekaar kon vergelyk. Die resultaat van hierdie navorsing is die geologiese tydskaal wat reeds teen die einde van die tagtigerjare voltooi is en daarmee saam ook 'n beskrywing van die breë geskiedenis van lewe op aarde. Dit was ongeveer 55 jaar voordat Darwin se teorie van evolusie deur natuurlike seleksie in 1895 gepubliseer is. Met behulp van radiometriese datering het dit moontlik geword om absolute ouderdomme toe te ken aan die verskillende Periodes van die geologiese tydskaal. Dit was 'n goeie toets vir die betroubaarheid van die beginsels waarvolgens die tydskaal saamgestel is. Teenstrydighede tussen die relatiewe en absolute ouderdomme van Periodes in die tydskaal is nêrens gevind nie. Beperkings in die toepassings van radiometriese daterings word erken, maar dit maak nie die geologiese tydskaal ongeldig nie, want die tydskaal is gebaseer op relatiewe ouderdom en fossielinhoud.
Die konsep van "deep space" is geredelik deur Christene aanvaar, maar nie dié van "deep time" nie. Dit is belangrik om te onthou dat "deep space" en "deep time" wetenskaplike konsepte is; bevindings, teorieë en begrippe wat kan verander namate nuwe kennis ingewin word. Ons geloof is egter nie ondergeskik aan wetenskaplike teorieë nie. Ons staan vas in dit wat ons weet ons glo: God is die Skepper en Onderhouer van alles, die hele heelal. Wetenskaplike bevindings bring 'n mens dieper onder die indruk van God se almag.

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/content/koers/70/4/EJC59221
2005-01-01
2016-12-09

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