How old is the earth? 6 – 10 thousand years old? Older? How precisely can a creation date be calculated? This week on Creation Magazine LIVE! Welcome to Creation Magazine LIVE! My name is Calvin Smith and I’m Richard Fangrad our topic this week is the extremely controversial issue of the age of the Earth. Questions we’ll discuss include: – Does the Bible teach a 6000 year old Earth? – How precisely can a creation date be determined? – Why do most scientists believe the earth is old? This issue is very controversial inside the church, and most people outside the church think if you believe that God created the universe only thousands of years ago… well basically, you’re just an anti-science, ignorant loser with no education.
And that’s saying it nicely. Some of the comments we get on past shows can’t even be repeated here. Comments on YouTube and so on that are online. There’s a huge amount of abuse heaped on anyone who believes God created recently. For most people today it is shocking to hear anyone suggest that the Earth is young. I remember the first time I heard that… I thought: yeah, right… whatever. And you grew up in a Christian home! Yes, And that may be what many of you are thinking right now. But a recent creation provides a much better fit with scientific observations and it’s what Scripture clearly implies, and we’re going to talk about more details later in the show Because that’s actually the more important thing.
This week we are going to wade through these controversial waters to try to clarify and refine what science and the Bible suggest about the age of the Earth. We’re not going to focus on debunking the millions and billions of years ideas. We already did that in past shows that you can watch on creation.com and there are hundreds of articles showing that scientific observations in astronomy, botany, geology, fossils, and many other fields fit with a recent creation far better than they fit with millions of years. That might surprise some people but its true. The best place to find this information is on the topics page at creation.com. Just click the “TOPICS” tab and scroll down to “Geology and age of the earth” section and have a looks at some of those articles.
So how old is the earth? To answer that question we can examine a wide variety of age dating methods. There are hundreds of physical processes that can be used to age date the earth, oceans, atmosphere, rocks, etc. About 90% of all those dating methods give ages that are too young for evolution. Not very popular to hear that. However, all dating methods involve making assumptions. So what’s the best dating method if they all involve assumptions? One of the best is, if you have a historical record.
Coins for example, if you find coins at a dig site, they will have the date on them and so on, written records, maybe on clay tablets years ago describing certain events, etc. This king became king at this time and then there was an eclipse etc etc. And, of course for Christians, the Bible, it’s a historical record, it is not only that, it is God’s Word, a revelation from God to his creation describing what He is like, so that we can know Him. So does the Bible teach 6000 years? Yes, and no. Nowhere in Scripture do we read that God created the universe around 4000 BC. However, that timeframe can be logically deduced from Scripture. It’s the same thing with the Trinity. That word doesn’t appear in the Bible but that is what the Bible describes God to be like. Trinitarian… Some say that the word Trinity shouldn’t be used because it’s not in the Bible.
But by that reasoning we shouldn’t use the word Bible because the word Bible doesn’t appear in the Bible. So, some bad reasoning there. But we can arrive at a creation date by examining the time statements that the Bible does make. Right, for example, the chronogenealogies, genealogies where the age of the father at the time of the son’s birth is given in an unbroken chain from Adam to Abraham.
Simply adding up the years gives us 2008 years from the creation of Adam to the birth of Abraham. Abraham was born around 2000 BC so that gives us a creation date of around 4000 BC. And we’ll get into those details, those fine details when we come back. Have you ever wondered how Noah would have fitted dinosaurs on the ark? For example, how would a large sauropod like brachiosaurus even get in the door? This question is often used to challenge the validity of the Bible, but new research has provided a stunning answer. By studying the growth rings in dinosaur bones, scientists have discovered that dinosaurs underwent a tremendous adolescent growth spurt. Take, for example, the huge Apatosaurus.
Scientists have hypothesized that their growth spurt started at about five years of age, when they weighed one ton. During the spurt however, they put on about five tons per year, until they reached about twenty-five tons. The Bible tells us that God brought the animals to Noah for the ark voyage, therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that God would have chosen young dinosaurs that hadn’t yet undergone their growth spurt. So yes, there was plenty of room for brachiosaurus. To find out more from Creation Ministries International, visit our website creation.com If you’ve just tuned in, this week we are talking about calculating a date for creation. Yes how precisely can we get to that date? A creation date of around 4000 BC can be calculated from the chronogenealogies in Genesis 5 and Genesis 11. The precision of that date, or the timing of any other historical event is constrained by the precision of the data we’re given obviously.
Right. So the timing we’re given in the chronogenealogies is accurate to within one year of the event. For example, we know that Adam was 130 years old when he fathered Seth, but we don’t know if he was 130 and 3 months, or just shy of 131. To demonstrate let’s think of the event of the Flood. When you add up the chronogenealogies, we know that the Flood happened around 1656 AM, that’s Anno Mundi in Latin, the ‘year of the world’, plus up to less than 10 years. Right. That’s because we have 10 numbers, the ages of 10 people are listed there, that have less than a year of uncertainty. So if all of the numbers recorded were just shy of the next birthday, for instance, if Adam was 130 and 11 months when he fathered Seth, Seth was 105 and 11 months when he fathered Enosh, and so on, the Flood could have been as late as 1665 AM because almost another full year could be added to each of the 10 numbers. So you can have almost 10 years added onto that.
So, in trying to calculate a creation date the same sorts of uncertainties apply. Since Abraham is the 19th generation after Adam it means that the range of years between the two would be 2008 to 2026 years. That’s 2008 plus up to less than 19 years. So given the Biblical data creation took place between 2008 and 2026 years before Abraham was born. You just have to figure out when Abraham lived. Clearly this small uncertainty in the precision for the date God created is not going to give any comfort to people who want to add thousands of years to human history, its just not going to work… And the millions of years are just impossible to reconcile with the Bible here anyway as we’ve mentioned many many times here on this program and at creation.com.
Many people have come up with dates for creation. Look at this chart here. Note that people, and cultures, from all over the world have used a variety of sources, not just the Bible, to arrive at creation dates around 4000 BC. Even famous scientists are listed here. Johannes Kepler arrived at a creation date of 3992 BC. Also, Sir Isaac Newton, he’s not listed here, but he’s widely regarded as the greatest scientist of all time, but he wrote more on biblical history and doctrine than he ever wrote on science, incredible, and he vigorously defended a creation date of around 4000 BC. There are various chronologies competing with each other today, though all with the same ballpark outcome as the chart shows. By just taking the words of Scripture in the manner that they are written, without twisting their meaning, it gives a straightforward chronology that results in a world that is around 6,000 years old. Just take it as its written and that’s what you get. The Bible is not just a book about spiritual matters.
It’s important to note that what we believe about God is based on historical claims. So if the history that the Bible records is inaccurate, then the theology must be as well! The death and resurrection of Christ is a good example. If the details about Christ really dying and really coming back from the dead are not historically accurate, then the central theology of Christianity falls apart. It’s clear that from the very first verse of Genesis, the Bible is concerned with giving a factual account of how God has interacted with the earth since the beginning of time. In the beginning (that’s when) God, that’s who, created, that’s an action, the Earth, that’s what. Who, what, when and the action that connects them all. It’s interesting that I’ve seen over and over again that long earth creationists and theistic evolutionists, they always try to say that Genesis isn’t about how God created or when He created it’ s about why He created.
You know the only thing I don’t read in Genesis? Is why God created! It’s not in Genesis it’s all about who did it, when He did it, how…It’s all the facts, the sequence that things happen. Exactly. The specific creatures on specific days, it’s so detailed, it doesn’t tell you why God created, we can find out things like that later on. One of the ways the biblical authors communicated that they were giving actual history is by recording lifespans, and measuring the amount of time between certain events. Historical events were recorded, and the theology of Christianity is based on historical events. Interesting with other religions that you see out there, history and facts in science and history and stuff like that, they don’t really relate.
Take the eastern religions for example for the most part… I mean if all of reality right now is just an illusion…if all is one, just all is God, then what does history have to do with anything, do facts have to do with anything? It’s kind of unusual because who’s asking the question if everything is 1? If everything is God, you couldn’t even be an individual asking that question, but anyway… and you look at the things like the quasi-Christian cults like Mormonism, when you go to look at the actual dates and events and places and stuff like that you can’t find them, that’s one of the problems, but it’s one of the defining factors of the Christian faith. Awesome, and we’ll be back… Creation Ministries International focuses on the Bible’s first book, Genesis and the creation/evolution issue.
Many of our speakers are scientists with PhDs who, before joining CMI were employed in various scientific fields. Creation Ministries speakers go to churches equipping and encouraging people with the message of the truth and authority of the Bible, and its relevance to the real world. To locate upcoming CMI events or inquire about booking a speaker into your church visit creation.com. So on this week’s episode we are talking about how accurately we can discern from the data when God created the universe. For more details there’s actually a great article about this topic on on the website, just go to creation.com/6000-years, great information there…
We’ve explained a little about where there could be small uncertainties in calculating a creation date but the article that you just mentioned goes into much more detail than we have time to discuss this week. There are people like Hugh Ross, for example, who heads up an organization promoting the idea that human history could be many thousands of years old, contrary to what the Bible says. So, how does he get around Scripture? He’s a professing Christian, how does he get around scripture? Well, he’s got an apologetic ministry too, so what he claims is that the Genesis 5 and 11, the genealogies there are largely incomplete. There could be a big bunch of gaps so he claims, quote, “The words translated into English say this: ‘When X had lived Y years, he became the father of Z.’ Someone reading the same passage in Hebrew would see a second possibility: ‘When X had lived Y years, he became the father of a family line that included or culminated in Z”.
But, none of his examples of gaps in genealogies, he points to differences between Matt. 1:8–9 and 1 Chr. 3:10–12, mention the age of the father at the birth of the next name in the line, so they are irrelevant to the issue of the Genesis genealogies, which do. That’s why they are called chronogeneologies… Also, Matthew’s genealogy was clearly intended to be incomplete.
It’s stated that way in Matthew 1:17, to be three groups of 14 names. That’s not actually…there’s more people there. This is likely because the Hebrew letters for the name David, David is obviously a key figure in the narrative, they add up to 14. In Genesis 5 and 11, there’s no intention to do any of that. Ross also points out that the Hebrew word ’ab’, father, can mean grandfather or ancestor, while ben, son, can mean grandson or descendant. This argument is irrelevant to the Genesis genealogies since the year is given to the nest person in the line regardless whether that person is a son, grandson or some other distant descendant.
So its just fodder, its just chaff to try to confuse the issue. And it’s one things to assert that there could be gaps, but quite another to suggest exactly where the gaps could even be plausibly be inserted. There are a number of places where a gap is explicitly ruled out. For example, have a look at this: Seth is definitely a direct son of Adam and Eve.
He is seen as a replacement for Abel, killed by Cain. Enosh must be a son of Seth, because Seth named him. Jude 14 says that Enoch was seventh from Adam, which indicates straightforward father-son relationships from Adam to Enoch. Lamech named Noah, so Lamech must be his father, not just an ancestor. Shem, Ham and Japheth were definitely ordinary sons of Noah, since they accompanied him on the Ark. Arphaxad was plainly a son of Shem, because he was born only two years after the Flood. Abram, Haran and Nahor were Terah’s ordinary sons, since they journeyed together from Ur. Think of Methuselah for example, now this is interesting, Enoch, a pre-Flood prophet, according to Jude 14, gave his son a name meaning ‘when he dies it shall be sent’, or something like that, and the Masoretic chronology without any gaps would place his death in the year of the Flood. So where can you insert gaps? Where do you insert the gaps? Also, if there were gaps, the number of missing generations would need to be huge! Ross ‘dates’ the Flood to “…between twenty thousand and thirty thousand years ago”.
But since the Genesis 11 people had sons at age 35 or less, to add even 10,000 years would take over 250 missing generations…where do you fit those in? So the chronogeneologies would be just a waste of time…Why would you even mention them?…so many missing people… For many more details regarding the biblical chronogenealogies read the article at: creation.com/chronogeneologies There’s a great article there featuring many, many more details than we have time to go into… Here’s a very detailed timeline that you can download for free at creation.com/timeline you can see the ages of the people in the Genesis chronogenealogies. Methuselah dies the year of the flood, you can see that there. Along the bottom in blue you can see the amount of time, the history that each book of the Bible covers. Look at Genesis! Genesis covers a huge span of history. This is a very information-rich timeline.
You can download it free at creation.com, and we’ll be back… Many people think that Charles Darwin first thought of the idea of natural selection. However, others prior to Darwin described the concept, although they sometimes used slightly different terminology. For instance, Carl Linnaeus, the creationist ‘father of taxonomy’ wrote of a ‘struggle for survival’ in nature. Similarly, James Hutton wrote about the concept of natural selection. Probably the most influential character was Edward Blyth, an English chemist and zoologist who wrote major articles on natural selection two decades before Darwin published the Origin of Species. Darwin differed in trying to use the concept of natural selection to promote the idea of unlimited change. However, modern studies of natural selection have revealed that it is limited. It can only select between variations that already exist—it is incapable of producing the new genetic information required for true evolutionary change to occur, such as growing feathers on a reptile.
Natural selection is not evolution. To find out more from Creation Ministries International, visit our website creation.com Our subject this week is: how old is the Earth? How precisely can we calculate a creation date based on both historical records and the Bible. That’s our topic… There’s a great article by physicist Russell Humphreys titled, “Why most scientists believe the world is old”. If you want to follow along it’s at creation.com/most-scientists In the opening paragraph he summarizes 3 fascinating ironies: 1) A majority of scientists— the evolutionists—rely on a minority of the relevant data. That’s because only about 10% of dating methods give the vast ages required for evolution to work. 2) A minority of scientists—the creationists—use the majority of the relevant data. About 90% of all dating methods support a creation date that it too young for evolution. 3) The public’s impression is that it is the other way around. If you want a sample of some of the data Dr Humphreys was alluding to, go to creation.com/age and you’ll see 101 evidences for a recent creation.
A great little article there. So the question is: If the evidence is so strongly for a young earth, why do most scientists believe otherwise? The answer is simple, and he says this in his article: “Most scientists believe the earth is old because they believe most other scientists believe the earth is old”! Then Dr Humphreys relates how he was speaking with a geochemist at Sandia National Laboratories, where he worked as a physicist. He presented him with one piece of evidence for a young world, the rapid accumulation of sodium in the ocean. This was ideal dating method to use with this geochemist, since much of geochemistry deals with chemicals in the ocean. Given today’s rates of sodium input the oceans should be much saltier if their evolutionary age is correct. Dr Humphreys wanted to see how he explained possible ways for sodium to get out of the sea fast enough to balance the rapid input of sodium. After more than an hour he finally admitted, the evolutionist said, he knew of no way to remove sodium from the sea fast enough.
That would mean the sea could not be billions of years old. Realizing that, he said, “Since we know from other sciences that the ocean is billions of years old, such a removal process must exist.” Incredible, so he is placing his trust in other scientists. Exactly. When Dr Humphreys started mentioning other young earth evidences he stopped him and said that he did not want to examine the evidence for himself, because, he said, “People I trust don’t accept creation!” He said “I trust Steven Jay Gould!” At that time Gould, a paleontologist, was still alive and considered the world’s most prominent evolutionist, so that was his authority… Wow. He trusted other authorities but ignored highly relevant data! Who do you trust? In his own field! Who do you trust? Who do you consider to be an authority on the age of the Earth? These are serious questions that you can consider…What source of information do you trust for example to know that your sins have been forgiven? Scientists? Who do you trust with your eternal destiny? Is God not worthy of your trust in all areas? If you trust that He has paid for your sins on the cross, thereby making you fit for salvation, why wouldn’t you also trust Him on the date for creation? Or, are you placing your trust in Christians who twist God’s word try to make millions of years fit in where the text won’t allow it? Christians don’t determine truth.
It’s not about what Christians say. Christians don’t determine truth. It’s also not about what we say or what CMI says. What does God say about the age of the Earth? That’s the issue. It is a matter of dealing with God’s Word in a way that faithfully draws the meaning from the text without distortion from outside ideas, in all areas including the date for creation. Refuting Compromise is a book that refutes all these positions that say that Genesis needs to be altered by millions of years etc. It shows how a straightforward reading of the text results in a history that includes a recent creation in 6 literal days, followed by a global flood, that’s the way you can explain all of the fossil layers and the supposed millions of years of history there…
And it shows how scientific observations support biblical history. As a viewer of Creation Magazine LIVE, you can get 30% off of the physical or digital book. Just order online at creation.com and use the coupon code CMLRC. You get 30% off that fantastic resource. We’ll be right back… Refuting Evolution is a powerful, concise summary that explains where the common ‘evidences’ used to promote evolution in textbooks are wrong, while at the same time showing how creation is better supported by scientific observations. It will stimulate much discussion and help students and teachers think more critically about the creation/evolution debate, particularly the often overlooked differences between operational and historical science and how they relate to the topic of origins. Order your copy today at creation.com.
Well welcome back, we’ve been talking about how old is the earth, and this is the feedback section and we’ve got today’s feedback, the correspondent is kind of nervous about taking a stand on the age of the earth, preferring a less dogmatic approach… And so here is the letter that was written in; “I’m a Christian and have been for some time. I enjoy both the Creation and Journal of Creation magazines that CMI produces… However I cringe sometimes when I read or hear speakers dogmatically say the Biblical stance is that the Earth is seven or so thousand years old.
I know it seems that way, but I can’t help thinking that if it is categorically proved (or the evidence strongly suggests) that the Earth is much older, say millions of years old, that a lot of people will discard the more important things the Bible talks about. My suggestion is why not take the safer less dogmatic stance and say something like ‘there is strong Biblical support that suggests the age of the Earth is seven or so thousand years, but this should not be taken as Biblical doctrine or dogma’ or something like that. I just worry that the whole thing is going to crumble into a heap with a lot of people with it when one places the credibility of Scripture on such shaky doctrine as the age of the Earth. Sincerely Marty” All right so that’s the article, there’s way more here than we can respond to, if you want to follow along it’s creation.com/reliable and you can have a look at that article there.
And one of our folks as is the normal custom responded to that kind of an interspersed fashion So the person who wrote in said; “I know it seems that way, but I can’t help thinking that if it is categorically proved, or the evidence strongly suggests, that the Earth is much older, say millions of years old…” And then the comments that we made on that was; “Your comments here reveal some common misconceptions about science, proof and age. You also seem to be unsure about the reliability of the Bible.” Scientists will never be able to categorically prove the earth is millions of years old.
It has to do with the nature of proof and stuff. Proof is a very slippery animal to get ahold of, I mean you can have evidence that powerfully supports something but proof? Proof is something that exists in the scientific realm that you can prove something with operational science but to prove a past event it can’t really be done. Facts are observable right? So if you are going to say this is proof positive that something has happened or this is the way something works well if I set up an experiment and repeat it over and over and we can look at the result we say ‘great’ , that’s a fact, that’s proof, but if you are trying to prove something that happened in the past but you can’t repeat the experiment how can you say you can ever do that? I mean, think of this, how could you ‘prove’ the resurrection of Christ’? How can you categorically… how can you prove that in the same way? We can’t do a repeatable test to prove that.
I know that Jesus rose from the grave because God has revealed that to me, and we can read that in His word but to say…for the people that are doubting the age of the earth a lot of them doubt whether Jesus came back from the dead too! Another comment that he made was that a lot of people will discard the more important things that the Bible talks about if it’s suddenly proved or something. And the response was; “In fact we find the opposite. Most people can ‘see through’ the strained rationalizations of those who deny the plain meaning of Genesis and try to make it mean millions of years. That our experience as a ministry that promotes the notion that you just take the words in Genesis as they are written and draw the meaning from that for a recent creation in 6 literal days and a global flood that people’s faith are strengthened by that that people aren’t pushed away and so on and they can see the compromise theories more clearly. Right because the Bible is very plain on the age of the earth when you think about it so people can detect when you are trying to fudge the story…And make it say something it doesn’t clearly say…
Creation.com/free-mag you can look at a free sample of Creation magazine there and we’ll be back next week with ‘Evidence for Noah’s Flood’. Evidence for a global flood is next week on Creation Magazine LIVE!.
Read More: How Many People Can Earth Support?