How can Christians explain the archeological evidence of early man thousands of years ago?
I suppose that depends a lot on whether we are talking about Christians who are Old-Earth Creationists or Young-Earth Creationists. I have known intelligent, honest, orthodox Christians on both sides, though in the end, I think it matters far less which side one ends up on than many people would have you believe. As Christians, the ultimate center of our faith is the Resurrection of Christ, not how we reconcile Genesis to archaeology.
A Young-Earth Creationist generally starts with the assumption that the biblical accounts of creation in Genesis should be taken literally and concludes that the assumptions and dating methods employed by (largely secular) archaeologists are flawed. Essentially, he or she believes that the material evidence from early man was produced over a couple thousand years at most rather than tens or hundreds of thousands of years. Answers in Genesis offers a prime example of this worldview.
An Old-Earth Creationist more or less takes the evidence as it appears and concludes that the biblical accounts of Genesis are not perfectly literal, at least in their timelines. Such a person seeks to understand the theological messages woven into Genesis (i.e. what kind of God we serve and where we stand in relation to Him) and reads it as an orienting cultural narrative typical of its time more than as a modern history. A good example of an organization that holds to this worldview.
Thank you Micah.
I have a certain opinion on this matter as well, but I do not take myself to be smart or educated enough on this matter (on any matter to be honest), that I just love the answer Micah put here. But I do love to tell others what my mind plays with sometimes.
I am a doubter by nature I guess and I do find these scientific proofs or arguments to be too much theory based. One could wonder how do you prove that something is older than the observable past. There is this carbon radicals based test (I think) that shows us the age of old materials. But my opinion on that is that it is only accurate if this method really does work as it is presented it should work. You can never be 100% sure, unless you travel back in time to the past and see it for yourself.
And even if these methods are reliable who can say that Creator of the whole Universe could not make those bones 200 thousand years old or just make them appear as such. C’mon, that would not be too hard for Him, right!?
Though I doubt this is the case, because He is the Lord of the Truth and not of deception. I think science would not be as successful as it is if it were not His will for us to discover his Creation and find pleasure in marveling at His amazing work. I actually find all these scientific discoveries assuring.
I do have to admit I am a bit of wishful thinker when it comes to things that I can not understand or do not correspond to my knowledge of Him or His Creation. I have full trust in the Lord and His Wisdom so I do not doubt there will be explanation for every thing I do not understand yet. If that will matter once I am eternally with Him.
Just a little on topic, I fall under the old creationist group based on the upper post. That is why I also accept the idea of evolution. Like who can tell how God planned and created the whole material world. Where in the Bible there is a passage that says about that God did not use evolution to make all the living beings? Creationists might as well argue about how the water was changed to wine at Kana. For example was it in an instant or did Jesus transformed 15% of molecules of H2O to ethanol with taste of grapes… It is not in the Bible, so I don’t think that is the issue we should be concerned about.
What I know is that Jesus said (Matthew 18:3) we should become like children and I think this refers to things we do not understand. Just be at awe at His works and trust in Him and His omnipotence.
Thank you. Appreciate your response.
A short answer.
Some Christians belief in evolution as its written in the modern biology textbooks. More accurate, they belief in theistic-evolution, it means that evolution happend as Neo-Darwinism says it happend. The only difference is, that God designed the process of evolution and then let it happen on its own. A well known representative of this view ist Francis Collins (Head of Human Genom Project).
On this view there are also very good arguments how it is reconcilable with the bible. If you are interested, go to youtube ans search for Francis Collins or theistic-evolution.