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Happy Birthday to Youniverse!!!
October 23, 2005 2:15 AM   Subscribe

James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, calculated that on this day in 4004 BC the Universe was created by God. His magnum opus, Annals of the World, has recently been republished. An overview of Ussher's methodology and an account of the man by Larry Pierce, who prepared the new edition with his wife Marion. Bishop Ussher also figured in the Scopes Monkey Trial. Some people dispute Ussher's adherence to what the Bible says.

But let's not listen to the partypoopers and instead wish the Universe a Happy Birthday!
posted by Kattullus (25 comments total)

 
It’s too bad this new version has been ‘translated into modern English:’ 17th Century English prose is (usually, although I don’t know about Ussher’s) such a pleasure to read, even when it is completely wrong-headed, as here. It’s cool that Oct. 23rd 4004BC was also apparently a Sunday.
posted by misteraitch at 3:03 AM on October 23, 2005


Amen.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:20 AM on October 23, 2005


Which makes the Universe a Libra and almost on the cusp with Scorpio.
posted by Grangousier at 3:33 AM on October 23, 2005


Hold on, I thought God took 6 days to make the universe, then had a wee rest on the seventh, and thus Sunday is the day of rest. But if the Oct 23rd 4004BC is a Sunday then the day of rest is really Saturday...
posted by iain at 4:41 AM on October 23, 2005


I work for a children's publisher, and we have a history series that tells history, chronologically, in a narrative format. Volume 1 is early nomads to the fall of Rome. I was explaining this to a woman once, about how the series started around 5000 BC. She replied "5000 BC? Don't you know the universe was created in 4000 BC?"

The mind reels.
posted by Alt F4 at 4:43 AM on October 23, 2005


if the Oct 23rd 4004BC is a Sunday then the day of rest is really Saturday...


So they Jews get it right then?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 5:01 AM on October 23, 2005


the Jews, damnit
posted by [expletive deleted] at 5:02 AM on October 23, 2005


The start of the universe clearly means that to God, creating the Universe is more of a hobby than something he spends most of his time on. I guess that's why Christians go to Mass on Sundays, on the hope that God might be taking a look at us today.

Jews have it right, God comes home from a long week at work, and on Saturday has a day off to lie around, and then on Sunday get's a bit bored (maybe it was raining) and decides to create the Universe. Like a model train set I suppose.
posted by alexst at 5:30 AM on October 23, 2005


Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett address this very issue in Good Omens, including the conclusion that the Earth is a Libra.

MetaFilter: the Jews, damnit
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:46 AM on October 23, 2005


Happy 6000th birthday, universe!!!!
posted by gubo at 8:12 AM on October 23, 2005


Happy 6009th Birthday, Universe! Have a good one!
posted by cleardawn at 8:16 AM on October 23, 2005


goes out to buy coffee, then back to elementary school
posted by gubo at 8:18 AM on October 23, 2005


gubo: that was weird. I didn't see your post - Guess I should have used the preview button.
posted by cleardawn at 8:21 AM on October 23, 2005


Odds against two MeFi users deciding almost simultaneously to type an almost identical message: Very, very low. This implies that something akin to Jungian synchronicity could be at work here.

Perhaps the Universe is trying to say something to us, like, OK guys, go ahead, wish Me a Happy Birthday, but please, try to get the age right.

So: Happy 13,700,000,000th (plus or minus 200,000,000) birthday, Universe... Have a good one!
posted by cleardawn at 8:45 AM on October 23, 2005


I'm surprised that some enthusiast hasn't re-done Ussher, kind of an updated version. You have to wonder how many individuals who just can't buy into the whole 4004 BC thing might bite if the new estimate was, say 250,000 years ago?

While still utter hooey, it might be entertaining.
posted by kablam at 9:40 AM on October 23, 2005


I think the universe is starting to show its age. Misplaced car keys, forgetfulness, random bowel problems. Time to put it out of its misery and get a new one.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:06 AM on October 23, 2005


From Answers in Genesis:

Nowhere in your Bible does it say that the day was October 23. Because the Jews and many other ancient peoples started their year in the autumn, Ussher assumed there must be a good reason for it. He therefore concluded that God created the world in the autumn. After consulting astronomical tables he picked the first Sunday after the autumnal equinox.

You know, I was skeptical at first, but how could you possibly disagree with logic like that?
posted by iron chef morimoto at 10:11 AM on October 23, 2005


And let us not forget those missing 11 days.
posted by edgeways at 11:14 AM on October 23, 2005


I work for a children's publisher, and we have a history series that tells history, chronologically, in a narrative format. Volume 1 is early nomads to the fall of Rome. I was explaining this to a woman once, about how the series started around 5000 BC. She replied "5000 BC? Don't you know the universe was created in 4000 BC?"

What's the contradiction? Didn't G-d create R-man ruins to go along with the din-saur b-nes?
posted by Aknaton at 11:36 AM on October 23, 2005


2 Peter 3:8 makes this whole discussion moot anyway: But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Jehovah does not work with your piddly little human time scales. Booyah!
posted by jonp72 at 8:02 PM on October 23, 2005


Bishop Usher employed the most accurate dating method known to man.

Evolutionism is the tinfoil hat atheists wear to keep God out of their brainwaves.
posted by bevets at 8:20 PM on October 23, 2005


bevets makes me giggle.

the internet has truly succeeded at allowing us to bring the street corner into our living rooms.
posted by flaterik at 8:41 PM on October 23, 2005


I have the same birthday as the universe! Surely that gets me some sort of discount somewhere... free slice of cake maybe?

(I also recall making this comment before... is this a double post?)
posted by krunk at 8:58 PM on October 23, 2005


You have a good memory, krunk, you have mentioned this before. Googling for "Ussher" on Metafilter I also discovered that Metafilter: Going to the Dogs Since Day 1. But he hasn't been graced with his own post before.

If you ever find yourself in Providence, RI I'll happily buy you a slice of cake :)
posted by Kattullus at 9:24 PM on October 23, 2005


I'm inclined towards Geocentrism myself.





[ but only when feeling egotistical ]
posted by troutfishing at 9:34 PM on October 23, 2005


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