I have no intention of embarrassing anyone I know if they ever come across this. I hope to portray people's beliefs and opinions as accurately as possible. So I guess I'm leaving the door open to possible edits when I write posts like this.
I grew up in an Evangelical missionary home. My parents were (and still are, as far as I know) Young Earth Creationists - taking Genesis 1-3 very literally. I was taught to do the same. Adam and Eve were always regarded as real history in our house, as was the historicity of the creation account, the conniving serpent, the fall of humanity, the world wide flood, the Tower of Babel, and so on down through Genesis.
This is what we believed.
But I remember having questions as a kid about these stories. Seeds of skepticism, perhaps?
At some point I learned about the Andromeda Galaxy in school, and that it was 2.5 million light years away, give or take a few thousand.
I remember asking Dad how the Earth could be a few thousand years old if the light from Andromeda was a few hundred times older than that. The fact that Andromeda is (barely) visible in our night sky means that we are seeing it as it was a couple million years ago!
I don't remember how long it took Dad to respond. But I'm pretty sure his response was something like, "Mark, God can do anything. If he can create Adam as a fully formed adult human, he can just as easily create the light of a galaxy on its way to Earth." (Let me know if you remember it differently, Dad.)
That answer satisfied me at first. Of course God can do that.
After a while, though, I began to wonder what kind of God would create things that only seemed ancient, but in reality were very young. And even worse, it wasn't just that these things only seemed ancient, but they tested to be ancient.
Assume, for a moment, that the Adam and Eve story is factual, and that we somehow got into a time machine and flew back to moments after Adam's whole breathe-into-his-nostrils-the-breath-of-life experience. Here is Adam, a few minutes old. He certainly appears to be a full grown man. But let's take a swab of his saliva, and run some tests.
How old would the tests reveal Adam to be? What was the shape of his methylation? I imagine that, since all of Adam's organic material was completely new, his age would have been revealed to be quite a lot younger than he looked.
The problem with modern examples like light from Andromeda and the geological strata is that these things don't just appear to be old. Scientific tests reveal that they are old.
If God created light en route to Earth so that scientists - people using the brains God gave them - would come to the conclusion that the universe had to be at least as old as the farthest galaxy was lightyears away, then Science is an illusion. Nothing more than a hoax. A forgery. Evidence deliberately planted to make us believe a lie. Like the Piltdown man.
If the world is indeed only ten thousand or so years old, God invented modern Cosmology. Biology. Geology.
So my question eventually was this: