I was amused reading the phillipmartin thread below that humans can live to be nearly a thousand years old whereas the universe and all that's in in is less than 7,000 years old, according to the Rabis that wrote the Torah, which is in the first few books of the Old Testament of the Christian bible.
Astronomy, the subject of this forum, on the other hand, tells a story of a universe older than 10 billion years, and our common experience is that very few humans live longer than 100 years.
It's somewhat amusing that the rabis inflated human life by nearly a factor of ten while deflating the life of the universe by over a factor of one million. However, that was the state of scientific understanding at the time that the Rabis wrote the Torah.
Anyway I recommend a book I am reading now as the best picture of what astronomers currently think about the universe. It is by the Harverd Professor, Bob Kirshner (I can use the familiar name Bob as I have sat in on his astronomy courses and have spoken to him at meetings about my theory of dark matter and dark energy, which he found amusing) and is entitled, "the extravagant universe, exploding stars, dark energy and the accelerating cosmos".
Regarding biblical considerations, early in his book Bob mentions that the solar system is 5 billion years old and lies 20,000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way. So if the bible is correct and the universe is less than 7,000 years old, then we could not possibly even see the center of the Milky Way, let alone any other galaxy, or the creation light of the universe which is about 14 billion years old, plus or minus 2 billion. We do detect the light of creation and we can estimate its age from its redshift. Read all about it in Kirshner's book.
In fact, a 7,000 year old universe would mean THAT ALMOST ALL OF ATOMIC PHYSICS AND NUCLEAR PHYSICS MUST BE INCORRECT, for all that physics is used to understand and predict the evolution of stars and their production of all the elements in the universe beyond hydrogen and hellium.
So the claims of the creationists are opposed by the entirety of modern physics, all of relativity and quantum mechanics, and the nuclear and atomic physics derived in the last 100 years.
It is very unfortunate that a scroll written by Rabis in Hebrew in Babylonia from an oral tradition handed down many years earlier from Moses, and then first translated into Latin by Roman scholars, and then translated into English first by scholars appointed by King James of England, should be considered the undistorted word of God. God must be amused.
But then the creationists could not believe that they could go to heaven if the bible were not entirely correct. So they are loath to abandon completely unscientific beliefs. So they hang on to their unfounded beliefs in the face of all science.
Fortunately, science will soon provide evidence of the processes by which they can go to heaven. So then all of us can look forward to life beyond death without having unscientific beliefs. The location of heaven is described in Kirshner's book. He does not call it heaven. That requires some physics that is now speculative and astronomy is not speculative.
It's called Dark Matter. It's the subject of a paper I am presenting at the Quantum Mind 2003 conference in March. If there is any interest I can provide you with the currently available evidence that Dark Matter is the location of heaven. It's all on the internet, not Dark Matter, but the evidence.