Question of the week:If the universe and Earth are billions of years old, as you have indicated, rather than thousands or tens of thousands of years, why do you think God waited so long to give us Scripture? Many pastors teach a young-earth theory because that number of years approximates the age of Scripture. Can you add anything to help me think this through?
My answer: First, God purposely designed the universe to be governed by gravity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. One important reason why is that God intended to use these laws of physics to efficiently and rapidly eradicate evil once it was introduced to humans. These same laws of physics required a long preparation time of the universe and Earth before humans could possibly survive and thrive on Earth. For much more on how God designed the laws of physics to efficiently and rapidly eradicate evil while he enhances the free will capability of redeemed humans to experience and express love, see Why the Universe Is the Way It Is.1
Second, I believe oral Scripture much predated written Scripture. It took the onset of extreme climate stability for humans to possibly develop the technology that made written communication possible. This period of extreme climate stability did not begin until just 9,000 years ago (see my book Weathering Climate Change2). In strictly oral cultures, records are preserved through word-for-word memorization. There is much evidence, for example, that the content of the book of Job predates the advent of written Hebrew by 4–6 centuries. (I describe this evidence in my book, Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job.3) However, note that almost the entirety of Job is poetry and that the Hebrew poetry in Job is designed for relatively easy memorization. I believe the Book of Job was preserved by memorization until Hebrew became a written language. In this context, humans had Scripture long before the Scripture took written form.
- Hugh Ross, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008), https://support.reasons.org/purchase/why-the-universe-is-the-way-it-is.
- Hugh Ross, Weathering Climate Change (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2020), https://support.reasons.org/purchase/weathering-climate-change-a-fresh-approach.
- Hugh Ross, Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011), 30–32, https://support.reasons.org/purchase/hidden-treasures-in-the-book-of-job.