John A. Widtsoe in Improvement Era 1909 on the age of the earth

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John A. Widtsoe in Improvement Era 1909 on the age of the earth

The scientific doctrine of the great age of the earth, rests largely upon the evidence of the orderly arrangement of plant and animal fossils in the rocks constituting the upper portion of the earth’s crust. Those who hold to the six day theory of creation, claim that in accordance with the above quotation from the Prophet Joseph, these stratilied rocks, containing fossils, are fragments of other worlds, and do not represent processes that have taken place on this earth. Why fossils may have been formed on other worlds, but not on the earth, is nearly as difficult to understand as the doctrine that living, intelligent beings are found only on the earth. Modern science has developed a doctrine like that of Joseph Smith, which teaches that heavenly bodies may be made up of fragments of destroyed worlds, but the parts of destroyed worlds which go to build new heavenly bodies are minute, even microscopic in size. There are numerous strong evidences against the view that large sections of other worlds were brought together to form this earth (see an article by Dr. J. E. Talmage, Improvement Era vol 7, p 481). Primarily, it would not be the way of nature, as we know it. God, who is nature's master, does his work in a natural manner.... The more the matter is carefully examined, the firmer grows the belief that the creation of the earth occupied immense time periods, the exact length of which is not yet given to man to know. This view does not in any way discredit the book of books, the Holy Bible. The Bible must be read with understanding minds; as :1 hook, it must no more be held to a word. than a man desires so to be held. By verse and chapter and book, the Bible will be found an accurate, inspired record of the most wonderful and valuable events and doctrines of the world. However, it must not be forgotten that the Apostle Paul has reminded us that “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” God reveals himself in nature; and when nature is read understandingly God may thereby in part be comprehended. There is no conflict between the story of the rocks and the Bible, except as man has made it. Finally, it must be said that so far as living a correct gospel life is concerned, it matters little whether or not we know the time God consumed in making the earth a fit habitation for man.[1]


Notes

  1. John A. Widstoe, "The Length Time of Creation," Improvement Era 12 no. 6 (April 1909), 491-94.