Do the Ages of the Earth and Mankind Really Matter?
The impact of Charles Darwin’s theory of organic evolution has made tremendous inroads into the thinking of many people who ostensibly identify themselves as Christians. What is true of the community of “Christendom” is no less true of the churches of Christ. One area of considerable compromise is in the realm of evolutionary chronology.
Evolutionary scholars are adamant about the fact that “time is the hero of the [evolutionary] plot.” If there are not billions of years to play with, there is no evolutionary process whereby all living organisms have descended from a common ancestor. Conversely, if one destroys the Darwinian calendar, the entire system crumbles. Unfortunately, our people generally have never comprehended this truth. To many, therefore, the issue of the age of the earth really is immaterial. But is it?
Evolutionary chronology dates the commencement of the Universe at 20-30 billion years ago. Supposedly, the earth was born about 4.5 billion years ago, and modern man, a “Johnny-come-lately” arrived a mere 100,000 years ago. The disparity of these figures is enormous. Can the Bible be harmonized with these calculations? It cannot.
Isaiah forcefully argues to ancient Israel that Jehovah is all-powerful, in contrast to impotent idols (40:18ff). The prophet chides the Hebrews (who were involved with idolatry) for not knowing this reality. He asks: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?” (v. 21). If Isaiah’s statement is not true, namely that humanity has extended back to the very “foundations of the earth” (Genesis 1), how could one possibly have confidence in the argument he makes. Evolutionary chronology compromises the integrity of the prophets.
Paul chastises the ancient pagan world for its gross idolatry. He contends that the heathen exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for the corruptible images of men and animals (Romans 1:22-23). The apostle contends this cheap trade was inexcusable, and as a result “God gave them up” (vv. 20b, 24, 26, 28). The foundation for Paul’s argument is this: “For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse” (v. 20). Note: (a) The truth about God as Creator may be “clearly seen.” (b) Such is “perceived through the things that are made.” © Mankind has been accountable for drawing this conclusion “since the creation of the world.” If humanity has not existed since the world’s creation, Paul’s argument is faulty. Evolutionary chronology undermines the credibility of Christ’s apostles.
When the Pharisees sought to quibble with Christ regarding God’s original law of divorce/remarriage, Jesus pointed out that under the Mosaic regime a laxness was tolerated due to the “hardness” of their hearts, but that this was not the sacred ideal — which would be restored under his regime (Mark 10:2-5; cf. Matthew 19:3ff). The Savior’s argument was grounded in the historical commencement of marriage as designed by Jehovah in the beginning. Here is his statement: “But from the beginning of the creation, male and female made he them.” If the human family did not extend back to “the beginning of the creation,” Jesus’ argument was based upon a false premise. Evolutionary chronology assaults the trustworthiness of the Son of God.
If Christ was in error with reference to the historicity of the human race, how do we know he was correct in his teaching regarding the male and female arrangement for marriage? Is the homosexual community correct in their challenge that male/male and female/female “marriages” are valid? In fact, how do we know he told the truth on any matter?
Where is the error? Is it with the Bible, or with the evolutionary calendar? How one answers this question reveals much about his knowledge of, or regard for, truth.
About the Author
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.