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Old Earth Aesthetics: Wrinkles in my Birthday Suit



I'm 32 years old. I don't have any wrinkles. Except when I smile or pull funny faces at the kids. So I'm 32 years old and I have wrinkles. I have a teeny flash of grey hair in my right-hand sideburn. You can see every vein that meanders through my hands, and I'm allergic to the rain. I'm allergic to gluten, pollen, mold, and furry animals. I've had a small piece of my lung removed and the left-hand side of my rib cage is still sensitive to the effects of that operation 14 years ago! I'm 32 years old and I'm well aware that my body is in decline. I'm dying. Like everyone else on the planet, sure. I'm wearing out. Entropy. Daily proving true the second law of thermodynamics. I will expire. You will expire. In short? I'm young, but I'm looking older by the day (despite being asked for i.d. recently). I'm not going to make 96 years old, that's for sure. My age will not triple. Even though the age of my greatest grandfather was triple times ten, I'm not going to make that. In fact, anything over 70 is borrowed time for me, I reckon (which is miserable mostly for the fact that my mortgage runs out when I'm 64). I'm not trying to be deliberately morbid. That's just life. It is but a breath. A short span of time. So what? There are already wrinkles in my birthday suit, is what. And I rather enjoy having a body.

Now, whilst I agree that the following suggestion is not an iron-clad argument to make, I think there is weight to it; the aesthetic perspective is not an obvious perspective to look from, though it undoubtedly adds value to the big picture of truth we're all trying to fit together.

The wrinkles in my skin then, as I've hinted at, just shouldn't be there. Not at 32 years of age. The reason they are there, however, is because of sin. Man sins, God curses, and the second law is sped way, way up! The curse does not just involve being handed over, somewhat, to evil, it also involves the decay of creation. Natural laws come undone as a symbol of moral failure. And thus our bodies decay as our moral standards decline. The perfection that we began with is a distant memory and the quality of our lives and environment is better representing the totalness of our depravity, day by day. This is clearly demonstrated by the recorded ages of the earliest members of the human race compared to now. It's quite clear by how long he lived that Adam (as you'd expect really) was a far superior genetic specimen that I am. Even he didn't last forever. 

The problem I see here is that this decay, this obvious decline in quality of health and length of life (the aesthetics of sin) does not match and old earth from a Biblical point of view. Sin and the curse put creation on a downward trajectory. Days become numbered. And not just from a personal point of view. The whole earth and everything in it now has a time limit. Sin's curse puts the brakes on the indefinitely sustained perfection of a sinless universe, and like with the halting crunch of a blunt force trauma, the whole of creation suffers a devastating blow. The effect is a universe that now looks injured and old. Everything in it now dies. We know this to be true theologically. The Bible tells us in Romans 8 that creation is now in bondage to decay and is groaning. The point is this: that if the earth is old, I expect this wouldn't be the case. Adam and Eve and everyone else in history would still be alive, in peak physical and moral condition and nature would be in the height of its glory. People were designed to continue living if they continued not sinning. If the earth is old, it's because sin will not have entered and there will be nothing wrong with it or the people in it.

Granted this is a bit of a weird argument because my reasoning is: the aesthetics of an old earth - no sin, prolonged life, sustained perfection of the whole created order - don't actually exist, therefore it must be young. God didn't design me to wear out so quickly. But wear out I do.

Thankfully he has sent Christ to die for me. To take the punishment of my sin on the cross and satisfy the wrath of God so completely that Jesus is able to put a stop to this decay and make things into how they should have been. He'll come again and beginning with a new heaven and a new earth, his faithful sons and daughters will enjoy their new, perfect bodies into eternity. And Christian, what I do know is that one billion years on from that point, the world will and the sinless people in it will be absolutely glorious. The sun which our earth rotates around currently does plenty of damage as well as plenty of good. Just imagine being exposed to the son in perfection for one billion years, and how magnificent we would all be then?

Old earth? Mmm... Not yet. I can easily conceive of an old earth. But to my mind, it must be pre-fall or post-Christ's return. It is the privilege of the righteous. You'll know when it's old because my wrinkles will be gone.

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