Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says he's not certain whether the planet was created by God in seven days or in "seven actual eras" — telling GQ magazine it's up to parents to teach their children either a faith-based history of Earth or a scientific one.
"I'm not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States," Rubio told GQ when asked how old he thinks the Earth is.
"I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I'm not a scientist. I don't think I'm qualified to answer a question like that."
Rubio said there are multiple theories about the planet's age.
"At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all," Rubio said.
"I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries."
In October, Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) said that he believed the planet is "about 9,000 years old" and was "created in six days."
Broun also said that evolution and the Big Bang theory were "lies straight from the pit of hell."
Broun's comments sparked strong criticism and a petition was started to remove him from the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
Rubio's interview with GQ is likely to fuel talk that Rubio is positioning himself for a presidential run in 2016. Many expect him to take a lead role as Republicans try to work toward a deal on immigration reform and win back Hispanic voters who went overwhelmingly for President Obama in this year's election.