Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) turned heads last month when he told GQ Magazine that he didn’t know the age of the earth and sparked speculation that he is laying a foundation for a 2016 presidential run. “I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries,” he insisted.
But on Wednesday Rubio walked back his remarks, telling Politico’s Mike Allen that he could have given a “better answer, a more succinct answer.” The Florida senator said he recognized that scientists agree that the earth is at least 4.5 billion years old and explained that this belief is not inconsistent with his faith. He also claimed that his answer is similar to how then-presidential candidate Barack Obama replied to the question in 2007. Here is Rubio:
RUBIO: There is no scientific debate on the age of the earth. I mean, it’s established pretty definitively, it’s at least 4.5 billion years old. I was referring to a theological debate, which is a pretty health debate. And the theological debate is … how do you reconcile with what science has definitively established with what you may think your faith teaches. Now for me, actually, when it comes to the age of the earth, there is no conflict. I believe that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And I think that scientific advances have given us insight into when he did it and how he did it, but I still believe God did it…. I just think in America we should have the freedom to teach our children whatever it is we believe. And that means teaching them science, they have to know the science, but also parents have the right to teach them the theology and to reconcile the two things.
“My faith teaches that [the earth being 4.5 billion years old] is not inconsistant. God created the universe. In the beginning, out of nothing, God created heavens and the earth,” he said. “The more science learns, the more I’m convinced that God is real.”