ScienceDaily (Nov. 2, 2012) — Throughout history, people have sought to understand how the world came to be and how it has changed over time. This curiosity has produced a rich legacy of science and philosophy and impacted and influenced religion and theology. In the November 2012 issue of GSA Today, David Montgomery of the University of Washington examines both the history of geology and of biblical views regarding Earth's origins.
Montgomery's main premise is that throughout most of the past several hundred years, scientists and theologians engaged in extensive collaboration regarding issues like Earth's age and origin. The common bond that sustained this rich exchange of ideas was a respect for reason and a trust in the scientific process.
As modern science evolved, so did many shared questions and struggles regarding how to best understand Earth's age as well as how new scientific findings harmonized with or conflicted with theological understanding as conveyed in works such as the Bible. These questions and struggles persist into the present, most notably in geology, where vast differences in the answers to such fundamental questions as "how old is this planet?" both correlate and contrast with some religious beliefs.
In terms of Christian theology, the main problems that Montgomery discusses are Earth's age and the role of a global flood ("Noah's flood") in geological history. While these issues -- that Earth is not over four billion years old, but is actually only a few thousand years old, and that most of the geological history recorded by rocks was formed as a result of Noah's flood -- are commonly raised by modern-day creationists, they have also been vigorously studied by both scientists and theologians over the past several hundred years.