Young Earth or Old Earth?

Earth and stars

How old?

I will admit straight away that the answer to the age of the earth will not be solved today, certainly not by this blog post.  This issue is a bit troublesome for a number of reasons.  Scientists have made an idol of their research and therefore assume that an old earth is necessary in order for their holy grail (evolution) to be necessary.  I’m being simplistic but it seems to this  observer that anything that seems to question evolution is questionable to say the least if not completely ridiculous.

Creationists tend to be just as bad.  Anything that seems to question seven, twenty-four hour days of creation is utter heresy and anti-Biblical. Once again, I’m being simplistic but not by much in this case either.

The fact is that no where in the Bible does it state that the earth is a mere 5,000 years old.  What young earthers rely upon for their dates are the genealogies of Genesis.  If one adds up the ages of the men mentioned, one gets roughly 5,000 years.

I’ve got two words for this kind of thinking: fossil fuels. Explain them to me.  God created fossil fuels just so we could drive cars?  Really?

I know that God could have created the earth with all the fossils and ground layers so that we have a useful earth.  And God could also have created everything this morning at 6:42 as well.  He’s God.  He can do that. He could create all of us with our collective and personal memories and place us in a world that reflects those memories.  That doesn’t mean that He did.  I doubt this is true.

evolution diagram

I’m bothered by both camps.  I think they’ve both buried their heads in the proverbial sands and refuse to see what is plainly before their eyes.  The scientific community is so religiously attached to evolution that it will not examine its self or its findings outside of this box.  For instance it has been posited that the Sphinx‘ erosion is primarily due to water and that this suggests that it was constructed tens of thousands of years ago.  This flies in the face of the currently accepted archeological timeline and is therefore rejected out of hand despite the apparent evidence that points to its veracity.  There are other interesting tidbits that have surfaced that suggest advanced cultures in the distant past.  Is any of it true?  I don’t know but it seems to me that they are worth examining scientifically.  Isn’t the ancient civilization theory more plausible than the ancient alien theory?  Dismissing the possibility of ancient civilizations out of hand just isn’t an intelligent path to take.  Examining the evidence and letting science be science and then dealing with the conclusions is the intelligent and rational approach.

Use the mind God gave you

If  any proponent of a young earth is still reading ( I hope so) let me ask what evidence beyond the circumstantial evidence of the genealogies makes you hang on to this theory as the only Biblical approach?  I’ve written about this before.  A purely literal reading of the Holy Bible does not demand a young earth.  As I’ve said before, it is possible that the world was created in the first seven days and that an undetermined time existed before “The Fall.”  Simple.  Just as the scientific community ought to examine all the evidence before clinging tightly to its relatively new ideas, the theological community needs to consider feasible options in light of all evidences including science.

And that leads me to my basic thesis in all of this.  I’ve been saying for twenty-some years that there is no dichotomy between science and theology.  They are two separate methodologies, two separate schools of thought for examining God’s creation.  In most ways they are actually, complementary.  It’s when they are combined that trouble runs amok.  Like I said, evolutionists cling religiously to evolution in almost cult-like fashion.  That in itself ought to be a red flag for a rational observer.  Then we have the opposite extreme with “Creation Science“.   Claiming that God created the world in seven days is not a scientific conclusion.  It’s not even a decent scientific hypothesis.  I can say that I believe it because the Bible says it’s so.  I might even say that I trust the Bible much more than Any Science textbook or journal.  But that doesn’t make this a decision based upon scientific enquiry.  I’m not saying that this is not a rational conclusion, because I think that given all the evidence from both schools of thought, the most rational decision is actually that a supreme being created everything.  Given that, seven days is purely plausible.

In the beginning of this post, I said that the purpose of this entry was not to convince anyone of the age of the earth one way or the other. Regular readers of this blog know that I am fond of questions.  It is a good thing to ask questions.  Just because your teacher said something, that doesn’t mean it’s true.  Chances are it is, but, then, do you understand why it’s true?  There is one thing I’ve learned over the years, however; there isn’t anything that anyone Has always believed. I’m not for looking for conspiracies or anything like that, so I won’t say to question everything.  But I do believe that anything that is true will stand up to rigorous and thoughtful scrutiny so I say in the spirit of Socrates question anything.

Socrates

of course Socrates was tried in the Athenian court for teaching his students to question anything.

Here are some links to sites on these topics.  These are links and not endorsements.

Young Earth Creationism

Creation Science Today

Answers In Genesis

Evolution As Fact And Theory

Evolution is a Fact and a Theory

Out of Place Artifacts

I bit of a ramble but I hope this got you thinking.

God Bless,

Christopher

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12 thoughts on “Young Earth or Old Earth?

  1. I like your philosophy of trying to find a middle ground and I admit that evolution doesn’t have all the answers yet. Also when evolutionists get drawn into arguments with creationists, the style and structure of their argument sometimes gets very strident and tries to brush aside some of the gaps in the theory of evolution. There are some.
    However, trying to take a middle ground in this argument is like trying to take a middle ground in the argument between those who believe 2+2=4 and those who believe that 2+2=5. Sometimes there is only one right answer and in this case it is evolution. There maybe gaps in the theory and some questions still remaining (such is the nature of science) but evolution is a fact. The idea that a big Sky Daddy made the world in 7 days is no more true than Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs; it is a fairy tale. Personally I find it criminal that children’s education could be damaged by passing fairy tales off as truth.

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    • Cassie,

      Your comment mentions a number of different issues. I’ll reply to your last and, in my opinion, most important. I think that evolution ought to be taught in school. It is the latest theory that science has to offer. I love science and if I were to teach evolution, I would teach how the theory came to be. Scientific method all that. It then boils down to critical thinking and making up one’s own mind in an intelligent fashion. When we let the discussion become emotional it becomes personal and we sound like the rubes we have become.

      Christopher

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  2. Christopher, you said “I’ve got two words for this kind of thinking: fossil fuels. Explain them to me. God created fossil fuels just so we could drive cars? Really?”
    Whether He created them specifically for use for cars or for use for other things as well, am I reading your statement wrong? Are you saying that God didn’t know that it would be used for this?
    As for the time of actual creation, He states that our time is not His time, so whatever the answer is, it will not be the time that we think most likely. But since He is the creator of time itself our perception of time is limited where His is unlimited.

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    • Loopy,

      I apologize for that bit of sarcasm that leaked into the post. I don’t believe that anything surprises God. Personally, I totally believe in intelligent design. That’s what the evidence points to. The evidence also points to a very old (compared to us) earth. There is no credible evidence that necessarily proves the contrary. Of course, everything could have been created at 6:42 am.

      Christopher

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  3. Hi Christopher,

    Just a few thoughts on this topic from a posting I wrote on my own blog last year. Hope you will find it of interest

    I read an article recently that claimed that the Bible reveals that the earth was covered over with water at the Creation.

    Is that true? – Is that what the Bible actually tells us, or is it what many have been taught (by others) to accept?

    Let us see what the Bible does say:

    Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    v.2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

    The word ‘WAS’ in verse 2 would appear to be an incorrect translation?

    ‘Was’ – Strong’s H1961 – hayah – to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out.

    Also the singular word ‘heaven’ in verse 1 should have been heavens (plural)

    ‘Heaven’– Strong’s H 8064 – ‘shamayim’ – visible heavens, sky, as abode of the stars, as the visible universe, the sky, atmosphere, etc.

    There are three distinct heavens mentioned in the Scriptures, one of which is not visible to we mortals.

    In other words, it would appear that the earth and the physical universe were originally created, in the beginning, by God (v.1) through the Word (who became known to us as Jesus Christ in the NT period- John. 1:1) using the power of the Holy Spirit

    Vers 2 appears to be actually revealing to us the re-creation of the surface of the earth. How much time elapsed between the original creation and the state of the earth as depicted in verse 2 is an unknown – it could be many millions of years?

    Note: Modern science has generally concluded (not all agree on an exact figure) that the age of the known Universe is ca.12 to 14 billion years old. The 1st century Jewish scholar Nechunya ben HaKanah, who lived in Judea just after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, stated that a proper understanding of ‘times and seasons’ reveals that the Universe was 15.3 billion years old.

    Where could he have obtained this information from in the 1st century?

    Thus, Nechunya claimed that if you properly understand how to use the 42-lettered name, Genesis provides for a period of time between the origin of the universe and the creation of man, namely 42,000 “Divine Years.” But a “Divine Year” isn’t 365.25 of our days; it’s 365,250 of our years (Scriptural year for a day principle). So, between the origin of the universe and the creation of man there transpired 42,000 X 365,250 years. In other words, says Nechunya, Genesis tells us that the universe came into existence 15.3 billion years ago.

    I will leave the reader to ascertain the truth or fact of the matter. Whatever is correct, the Universe has been in existence a very long time period.

    This may be a new thought to many people, but let us take a closer look at verse 2.

    Word ‘WAS’ – Strong’s H 1961 ”hayah” – a primitive root; to exist, i.e. be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).

    The earth had become – without ‘form’ and ‘void’ – Hebrew – ”Tohuw” and ”Bohuw”

    TOHUW – Strong’s H 8414 tohuw (to’-hoo) from an unused root meaning to lie waste.

    1) formlessness, confusion, unreality, emptiness
    1a) formlessness (of primeval earth)
    1a1) nothingness, empty space
    1b) that which is empty or unreal (of idols) (fig)
    1c) wasteland, wilderness (of solitary places)
    1d) place of chaos
    1e) vanity

    BOHUW – Strong’s H 922 bohuw (bo’-hoo) – from an unused root (meaning to be empty).

    1) emptiness, void, waste

    From the above it appears that the surface of the earth was a wasteland and a place of confusion and chaos, with no sign of life or of anything else as most, if not all, of it was under water.

    Now we know from Scripture that God does not create confusion, chaos, or wastelands, and indeed if we read further in the Book of Genesis we see that all God creates is good f.eks.v. 4; 10; 12; 18.

    We should not be surprised that the surface of the earth has been re-created in the past because God has revealed that He will do it again in the coming future – Isaiah 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

    There would appear to be only two types of beings, as far as it is revealed, who create confusion, chaos and lay waste the surface of this earth – Angels, at least one third of them, and human beings.

    There, perhaps, we have a clue as to why God needed to re-create the earth as related in Genesis? Further Bible study will give the seeker further revelation on this topic.

    Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

    If we take another quick look at the age of this planet and accept that it is billions of years old then we can safely say that we actually have relatively little knowledge about the events that have occurred on this planet in the past. The Bible gives us a very brief indication that it was the angels who were originally given the task of completing the task of finishing God’s creation of this planet, but one third of them rebelled and the end result was chaos, confusion and destruction on a grand scale – hence the description of the planet given in Genesis 1:2

    Anyone who has read Greek mythology will perhaps have noted that many of those who die in these stories end up in a place called ‘Hades’ eller ‘Tartaros’. I have pondered on the use of these words.

    In modern usage we tend to normally use only the one word – Hell – for four different renderings of this word in the Bible depending on the original language used and they are the following:

    Strong’s H7585 – shĕ’owl

    Strong’s G1067 – geenna

    Strong’s G86 – hadēs

    Strong’s G5020 – tartaroō – From Tartaros (the deepest abyss of Hell)

    The word TARTAROO that is translated to the word hell in the English edition of the KJV is only used one time in the whole Bible. 2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast [them] down to hell, and delivered [them] into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

    The word Tartaroo is only used once in the Bible when describing the temporary ‘residence’ of Angels who have fallen – Not humans – Read Jude 1:6; once again

    Angels are spirit beings – they cannot die.

    Perhaps the myths and legends of ancient Greece, in part at least, are dramatised stories of a time long before mankind set foot upon this world? Where the Greeks obtained their info. from is another question I do not have an answer to; except to say that many of the ancient Greek scholars spent a good deal of time in Egypt.

    Perhaps the Bible can give us another clue to solving this mystery.

    Numbers 33:4 For the Egyptians buried all [their] firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments.

    The word ‘gods’ – Strong’s H430 – ‘elohiym 1) (plural) a) rulers, judges; b) divine ones; c) angels, d) gods;

    The Egyptian ‘gods’ appear to have already been judged according to the above Biblical verse. They were at one time ‘divine ones’ ( Angels?) but clearly their nature changed and they rebelled against their Creator. Perhaps began to listen to their leader – the Adversary?

    This is speculation on my part, but perhaps there is a grain of truth here? It is clear to us today that the ancient Egyptians possessed remarkable skills and knowledge that appeared almost overnight – so to speak – much of the history of ancient Egypt, I believe, has been adulterated beyond true recognition by our so-called modern day experts.

    One thing is absolutely certain however, Egypt as a nation went steeply down hill from the day their gods (and hence their influence) were judged and to the position this nation finds itself in today.

    Something to think about for some perhaps; although no doubt most people will continue to believe that Genesis 1:2 describes the original creation of the earth.

    To others, probably mythological nonsense; the theory of coincidental evolution (effect without a known cause) of the many of life forms existing on this planet being much
    more palatable.

    TIME will tell.

    Regards

    John

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  4. Great post Christopher! Somewhere the answer hides to this debate between the third and fourth day. For me, God created photosynthesis from which plant life thrives. How long could plant life survive until the sun was created until that fourth day. Yet, can we or can we not define the first three “days” without a sun? Maybe half and half…. for “yoms” 1 through 3, could be millions of years while 4-6 be actual solar days. What do you think?
    Thanks for putting fossil fuels out there – great point. I too believe theology and the scientific method are different approaches to a singular question that, in the end, will become re-married as they were before. One final thought- I believe the bible maintains a historicity but it continues to prove (at least to me) to be a sloppy biography.
    His,
    Chris

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    • From a strictly Biblical point of view, a day is a day. By faith, I accept that. I don’t think the Bible tells us how long it was from the first week until the “fall”, however. It’s not at all concerned with that. Did you read my post about Adam?

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  5. The following are the various methods that are adopted by scientists to assess the age of the earth:
    a)Using sea composition to compute the age of the earth:
    Scientists used sea composition to derive the age of the earth. This method has its derivation from Edmond Halley (1656-1742). In his opinion, the rain would have dissolved all salt from the ground and would bring down to the sea with the assumption that there would be no salt in the sea initially.
    In 1910, George F. Becker found the age of the earth to be between 50 and 70 million years by means of salt clock method.
    However, the measurement by means of seawater composition does not give an accurate age of the earth on the condition if the sea might have been formed initially with much salt in the beginning. If that would be so, it is irrational to measure sea composition to determine the age of earth since much salt would have been in the sea already during its creation.
    b)Lord Kelvin in 1862 did compute the age of earth through the estimation of the coolness of the earth from its original molten state in which he concluded that the age of the earth was between 20 to 400 million years ago.
    However, its assumption that the earth would be in the molten state might not be accurate on the condition if the earth would have been formed in solid state initially instead of in molten. If that would be so, the computation of the age of this earth that is by means of the computation of the time taken for earth to be cooled down would not be reliable.
    c)Erosion method: The assessment of the age of the earth is by means of the observation with presumption that erosion would take place at about 1 ft every 5,000 years. With this method, they assess Canyon would start out flat and it would take 30,000,000 years for the Colorado river to erode 600 ft of the Grand Canyon.
    The computation above suffers a shortfall with the assumption that it would start up flat. What if the place does not start up flat or it would be that the place has already been created nearer to current condition in the beginning of its creation, the computation would not give the accurate period of erosion.
    Another query is why the erosion rate should be consistent at 1 ft every 5,000 years and not 1 ft every 4,000 years or otherwise.
    Thus, the computation of the earth by means of erosion method would be subjective and not reliable.
    d)Using radiometric dating methods to compute the age of the earth:
    The derivation of radiometric dating methods or radioactive dating methods came in the late 1940s and 1950s. These methods focus on the decay of atoms of one chemical element into another. This technique is based on a comparison between the measured amount of a naturally occurring radioactive element and its decay product, assuming a constant rate of decay – known as half-life.
    Using this technique, scientists could analyze the rock to assess the age of the earth through uranium and lead, plug those values along with the half-life into a logarithmic equation. They have arrived with the conclusion that the age of the earth should be 4.5 to 4.6 billion years.
    However, what if both the parent isotopes, i.e. Samarium-147, Rubidium-87, Rhenium-187, Lutetium-176, Thorium-232,Uranium-238, Potassium-40, Uranium-235, Beryllium-10, Chlorine-36, Carbon-14, Uranium-234 and Thorium-230, that have been commented by Scientists to be the products (daughter) of Neodymium-143, Strontium-87, Osmium-187, Hafnium-176, Lead-208, Lead-206, Argon-40, Lead-207, Boron-10, Argon-36, Nitrogen-14, Thorium-230, and Radium-226 respectively, might have co-existed in the beginning of the world during its formation, it is erroneous to comment that there would be relationship among them and to use them to assess the decay rate of half life in order to use it to compute the age of the earth or fossils since all these materials might have been created ever since the beginning of the earth. As that could be so, it is erroneous to use it to compute the age of the earth to be billion years.

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  6. Pingback: Craving Bacon After the Creation Debate | Xristophero

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