Potentially one of the biggest discussions about faith is currently about how the universe came to be. Scientists state that the universe started with the Big Bang and complex life evolved from simpler life. Conversely many Christians hold to a six-day week of creation.

However, as so often the two groups actually talk past each other. Scientists are much more interested in the “how” the universe came into existence whereas the bible is much more interested in the “why”. The text of Genesis talks much more about other details than about the specific details of time.

As scientists we often adjust our papers to the journal we’re submitting our paper. For me, if I write for a general ecology journal I will use much less equations in the main text than if I write for a technical journal. Similarly, Genesis was not directly written to us to answer how old the universe is, rather it was written 1400 BC to answer who God is. Or rather, who is not a god.

The text was written to a people surrounded by polytheistic religion claiming that e.g. the sun or the moon are gods. Specifically the Egyptians believed in many animal deities. Into this environment God speaks: “No, I’m the only God and I have created all these other objects. I am the first and the last. There is no other God besides me”.

Given this, the automatic question is: If a perfect God created the universe and there is no war between gods (as was in many polytheistic religions), why do we see evil? To this God answers with his second story of creation about Adam and Eve. The world was perfect, but you humans sinned by choosing to trust your desires (and eat from the tree) more than you trusted me (and obey my commands).

So instead of misusing this ancient text to discuss the age of the universe, let’s take it for what it is. There is only one God. And the world is not perfect, initially, because Adam and Eve were not righteous, but today, because we, you and me, continue in their path and commit our own sins.