As far as I can tell, the clock question; a.k.a. the "problem of history", has been one of the biggest reasons that young people wander from the faith. That is, they wander after they go "get educated". The "world" teaches that the cosmos is something in the neighbor hood of 15 to 20 (is it?) billion years old. Meanwhile, the Bible certainly seems to teach a "young earth", the last estimate I've heard is under 10,000 years? For most people, this appears to be a slam dunk; in favor of the worldling's view point. Bishop Ussher, whoever he was, set an absolute date of 4004 B.C. for the origin of Earth. To the unbelieving, this sort of thing blows apart any credence in scripture.
Realistically, do we guess that I am about to "solve" this problem? My estimate is that I won't solve much of anything here today. But, rather, I would like to drop a few comment-bombs on the problem of history, as I see it.
The unbelieving world, is not satisfied with merely resetting the clock to read 19,000,000,000; rather than 6018, as to the age of the universe. Their entire cosmology shifts reality from a reality of intent, design, and creation (by Divine speech), to a random accident, involving "eternal matter" which just happened. I mean; that such "matter, 'just' happened!" Here, chance-plus-time, equals "reality", but there remains no way to account for the "stuff" upon which said "chance" operates! The clock question then; is the small part of the dispute! If we believers asserted that it took mother 48 minutes, at 350 degrees to bake a pie, and the opposition "proved" that mother did not exist, and that pies (in general) "tend to form"...over millions of minutes, the quantity of minutes which we disagree over, is the lessor aspect of the feud. Where pies come from, how they are formed, and why (in the first place) they are built, form the lion's share of the dispute. The cooking time, (supposing that both agree that "cooked pie" is the topic) is the one part that they do agree upon, in that; both sides "buy" the idea that time was indeed "somehow" involved.
In the Luke version of the gospel, Jesus gets baptized by John. There is a voice from heaven, to the effect "My Son! 'the Beloved', You are He." And directly upon the heels of this episode, comes a litany, an historical recitation of the ancestors of Joseph, all the way back to Adam. And however correctly Ussher built his time line, the least significant aspect is the count! Is it 4004 B.C., or is it a thousand years forward or backward from then? It doesn't matter, because the unbelievers are not even trying to see WHY this Adam-to (the second)- Adam list even exists. In the shortest version I am capable of, it is that we "believe-unto-knowing", whereas our opponents SAY that they advocate "knowing-unto-believing", which cannot actually be the case. They lie about the structure of knowing, and (incidentally) are insane.
For instance, they have concluded that you can use a yardstick as a clock. Dig so many feet, and you (by definition!), are looking at x-million year old deposits. Or peek in a telescope, and you are looking "backward in time" x-multiple billions of years. The worldling insists that we must buy his clock before we can talk about anything else. Whereas, we are saying (in effect) that measurements of duration, ought not be confused with declarations of purpose, or of meaning. In essence, the "20 billion year old" universe doesn't "mean" one damned thing...except "weird and pointless stuff happens sometimes, or at minimum, did so once". When you drop a cup of coffee, and it splatters all over the place, it "means" that you are clumsy. But if no "you" exists, and "only-coffee-splatters" (the self-existent, and self-splattering kind), then meaning itself becomes a form of trivial pursuit amongst statisticians, at the very best. If the mother of all black holes, one day went (unaccountably) the "other direction", and began expanding rather than collapsing, who cares? All that it CAN "mean" is, that any damned thing can happen. A fluke, a bomb set by nobody, a pointless, empty accident formats the very basis of existence? So what? Anything proceeding out of such a freak occurrence, including you reading this pointless empty essay, can never "jump-start-later," or "begin-within-the-framework"...to "have" meaning. You, yourself, and all the other clutter inside your pointless head...are the erratic and random results of a mindless train wreck. You cannot begin to posit "meaning"...just because you'd like to, or because your silly ape-brain "demands" such.
But we say otherwise. The "offensive" part of the Luke narrative, isn't the clock function directing us back to Adam, it is the Voice from above! That Voice is saying, publicly, historically and actually, that This One, it is The One, (the Only One!) which we have been waiting-for since the beginning. He is The One who makes sense of reality! He is the loyal Interpreter, and the only Meaningful interpretation. We humans are not "equal", One Son, outshines us all-combined! In this disagreement then,"mere faith" is being contrasted (unfavorably) with SCIENCE, or REASON. See? They have their own "voice from heaven", but in this case; it is just them playing at their ventriloquist act again.
The reality isn't "Science versus Religion" at all and it never was. It is Hubble versus St. Augustine, it is Faraday versus John Calvin. It is the voice of human authorities...squabbling with each other. But what did we expect anyhow? At bottom, it is the voice of Moses, Paul, and the other writers of the Bible, versus the HUMAN authors of "science-ism", or is it "progress-ism"? The real difference is that our authorities come out into the sunshine, reveal their names, credentials, and make their case. The opposition, hides. Hiding behind what "Science" has declared to be (for this week) the one, "infallible" truth. It's just that the truth keeps shifting around, and we are told not to notice, (it is forbidden). "Science" decrees that the universe "must" be x-billion years old. But the OLD "science" declared it ("infallibly"-also, at that time) to be x-million, and prior to that?...it doesn't matter! Because the "authorities" will never come out into the open, they themselves are both anonymous, and "infallible"? There is nobody, in person to talk to!
Here is an example of such stuff. At 18 billion light years distant, we observe the remotest galaxies our telescopes can view. So wait, at minus 18 B years, this thing was in two places? It was way way way "out there", and simultaneously at the center of a "hot big-bang"? How could it be at both ends of an explosion at the same time? So I fired a bullet. It's maximum range was four miles. In the same moment that it was leaving the shell casing, it was also in the target yonder...and I'm the one lecturing you, about "reason" and the need for "scientific measurements" over here?
We are the ones stating that history (and therefore our own lives), have to "mean something". We have been altogether too lax in allowing the opposition to borrow (steal) the concepts of meaning, hope and life. They have no right to use "meaning". If every fact; ever, is a stupid, pointless fluke, resulting from a mere happenstance, then we are the ones agreeing with the Bible, and saying that, "such cannot, it may-not,... be"! The infidels have no license or right to use the word "hope" either. Such a thought suggests a finale, which coheres with a fond ambition, or perhaps a return to a home (wherein you are welcomed). Unbelief has no room for such." A pointless explosion occurred", and that is ALL that can be ever said! Moreover, "life" itself, that animation of dead matter, that set of "apparently intentional" movements of plants and animals, is such; that the very LAST thing which could be stated about it, is that it has "meaning". Just like the pointless get-go of a bomb, (for no reason) going off, the first squiggles of cellular motion can have no meaning...ever. And it cannot matter how far this process proceeds. Suicide then, is entirely rational, both individual, and corporate. Life is meaningless, what are we hanging around this dump for anyhow? Let's both blow our brains out...you first. No Sir! We agree with Paul, Moses, and Jesus. His active and intentional Creation began things, and there will be an end. Justice will be done!...By Him, in Person. The difference between the two views is...mainly; Us! There didn't used to be a thing called "the bride". God made us, for His own purposes, and for friendship with Him. Us (?) joined to the brightest, strongest, best...ever...He Himself!
The problem of history, is that unless, and until, you either acknowledge your Maker, (or blatantly steal from Him), history is itself only a testament to parasites, and you are one of them, and even knowing that is pointless! These nasty bugs (you, I mean) flourished briefly (and for no apparent reason), upon a falling brick. So what? It began, and it ended. The parasites are no more. Get over it, why even bother to mention them? The problem of history is that if we do not "allow Him back in", then there is no room left for human understanding...of anything!
We are NOT in a position to negotiate over here.