Marco Rubio, the U.S. Senator from Florida, who is such a success story, (his father having immigrated from Cuba. I can still remember Rubio speaking at the Republican Convention saying "these United States" OK I didn't think he was talking about any other United States, but go on.) Anyway Rubio was recently asked "How old is the earth?" And because he did not immediately say 4 billion years the combined weight of 25 years of television science journalism immediately came down upon him and he was flattened like a pancake. And I am sure the interviewer smiled in his heart of hearts and said "Gotcha".
So I tell my kids, more important than the timeline is the evidence for intelligent design, because I know I can win that argument.
And I have my own "Gotcha" question, "How old is humanity?" Even the most liberal archeologist puts us as here no more than 100,000 years ago, and even Jarred Diamond would have us appear, with our incredible language skills, no more than 25,000 years ago. And as far as a written record left by humanity for us to read, that only goes back no more than 10,000 years. (If you make humanity older than that, then where are the tens of thousands of years of culture, stories, popular love songs, etc. (Sometimes, absence of evidence is evidence of absence.) I won't say gotcha, because that would be rude, but I will say "How old is humanity?" is a good question.
And you don't even have to dig to see the Pyramids of Egypt and get the idea of the premise: If God had not intervened, there would be no nation of Israel or 10 commandments or Handel's Messiah. And the more I study history, the more I find history corroborates the Bible as true.
The other "Gotcha" question is "What about Noah's Flood?" What am I going to say about that?
But first the science. Normally fossils do not occur because the normal decomposition of a dead animal, bones and all, takes place. Only where an animal is quickly buried in muddy pressurized conditions, do the bones absorb enough minerals to become like rock and fossilized.
We have, throughout the world, a layer of fossils evidencing a world wide flood. Perhaps marine animals were buried first and then mammals on top. The question, many good scientists consider then, although yes they are in the minority, is perhaps the fossil record or geologic column, represents not the order of evolution, but rather the order of burial in a world wide flood. One of these scientists, an Alberta treasure, Paleontologist Margaret Helder ( the dearest, kindest woman you will ever meet and one of my heroes, who has selflessly presented the evidence for the above here in Edmonton for years.) And I hope Alberta Primetime will ask her on to debate these issues. One of the most important evidences, supporting these scientists, is the discovery of "stretchy" soft tissue inside dinosaur bones. And I can understand the reluctance of evolutionary paleontologists to carbon 14 date this stuff because if carbon 14 is found it would prove the dinosaurs died out about 50,000 years ago and not 65,000,000 years ago. Here is a link to a great article on this topic by Margaret Helder.
But more important than the science of Noah's Flood, is the morality of Noah's Flood.
First, we should let great heroes of the faith, such as Pope John Paul II, Martin Luther King Jr., Spurgeon, Wesley, etc. help us define the faith and although they acknowledged God's right to judge his creation, they always taught the intention of the faith is always to rescue. It was John Wesley who said "Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can."
We believe God can bring to a better place those who have never hurt anyone, and suffered through Noah's Flood, and the holocaust and throughout the world. We believe, "Will not the God of the universe do right." And we trust the accounts in the Bible that we will see our loved ones in heaven again, although we miss them now terribly.
Gotcha questions? No. It's about how humanity's knowledge of good and evil, combined with selfishness and cruelty, is a recipe for disaster. People need to be rescued from themselves.
Here is a quote from the great Christian scholar and author Philip Yancey, from his 2010 book, "What good is God? In Search of a Faith that Matters" (p. 285):
"In my interviews with addicts and prostitutes I heard several dozen wrenching accounts of the power of evil to control and destroy lives - and the power of God to overcome that evil. I wish skeptics like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins had the same chance to hear stories of transformation from social outcasts who hit the very bottom and now credit God for the strong grace that saved them in the most literal sense."