There are several views among religionists concerning the age of the universe and the earth.
Theistic evolutionists and their theological kin contend that the universe is perhaps 15 billion years old, while the earth is some 4.5 billion years of age.
There are two main interpretative manipulations commonly used to twist the biblical account into harmony with modern “science.” There is the “gap theory” that proposes there are billions of years are silently tucked away between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2).
The other popular idea among theistic evolutionists is that so-called “day-age view.” This theory asserts that the “days” of the creation week are not literal days. Rather, they are poetic or figurative representations of eons of time.
By one or both of these ideas, the Bible is made to accommodate these vast ages of time required for the evolutionary scheme.
Is the Earth’s Age an Important Issue?
Many feel that the question of the earth’s age is simply not that important. They contend that the Bible is silent regarding such matters, hence, the universe may be “old” or “young” — the issue is really irrelevant.
Others (including this writer) affirm that the Bible does talk about this subject. There is chronological data in the Scriptures that suggest a relatively “young” earth, and that such being the case, this theme, as with any biblical subject, can never be irrelevant.
Why Would Someone Care Whether or Not the Bible Talks About the Age of the Earth?
If the Bible did not address this topic, creationists really could care less about “when” the material universe began. An all-powerful God might have accomplished his creation billions of years ago or thousands of years ago.
The true creationist simply wants to know this. Does the divine narrative speak regarding this matter? An honest persion will humbly let the testimony of the Bible settle the issue.
On the other hand, those who feel that the earth’s present order is the result of evolutionary processes are forced to debate the issue, because evolution could not have happened if the earth’s lifespan is measured in the thousands of years.
In other words, an ancient earth is required because long periods of time is an essential element of evolution. All evolutionists acknowledge that without enough time the process could never have occurred.
Dr. George Wald, an evolutionist, said: “time itself performs the miracles” (48).
Making Assumptions and Looking at Evidence
In view of the foregoing, every sincere student of the Holy Scriptures should consider the following facts.
Over the past 150 years of scientific investigation, there is absolutely no scientific proof that the earth is billions of years old. That’s a bold statement, but it will stand to a close examination of the evidence.
The average layman thinks that the geologists have infallibly established the antiquity of the earth. They have not, and their candid writers admit this.
Dr. Stephan Moorbath of the University of Oxford wrote:
“No terrestrial rocks closely approaching an age of 4.6 billion years have yet been discovered. The evidence for the age of the earth is circumstantial, being based upon ... indirect reasoning” (92).
Dr. John Eddy of the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado declared: “There is no evidence based solely on solar observations that the Sun is 4.5 to 5 billion years old.” He went on to say:
“I suspect that the Sun is 4.5 billion years old. However, given some new and unexpected results to the contrary, and some time for frantic recalculation and theoretical readjustment, I suspect that we could live with Bishop Ussher’s value for the age of the Earth and Sun. I don’t think we have much in the way of observational evidence in astronomy to conflict with that” (Geotimes, September, 1978, p. 18).
Though Ussher’s precise calculations are not now considered to be precise, it is interesting to observe that an increasing number of scholars are gravitating back in that direction.
Dating methods designed to win
The techniques for “dating” the earth are based upon uniformitarian (evolutionary) asumptions.
Radiometric methods for dating the earth’s rocks are based on the decay sequences of certain elements.
For example, uranium-238 (called a “parent” element) will, through a series of decomposition processes, ultimately produce lead-206 (called a “daughter” element).
Scientists believe they know the present rate of decay. So if a sample rock is found to contain both uranium-238 and lead-206, the ratio of the two is used to determine the age of the sample.
However, scientists admit that in order for this technique to be valid, certain assumptions must be granted:
It is assumed that there was no lead-206 in the rock when it was formed. But what if lead·206 was a part of the original creation? That invalidates the entire system!
It must be assumed that neither the parent uranium nor the daughter lead has either decreased or increased since the rock was formed. However, there is an increasing body of evidence which indicates that both parent and daughter elements, under the proper conditions, can migrate in and out of the rocks.
The assumption is made that decay rates have remained constant since the rock was formed. Again, however, recent research has shown that while these decay rates appear constant within narrow limits, under special circumstances they may be altered considerably.
Evolutionist Frederic B. Jueneman wrote:
“The age of our globe is presently thought to be some 4.6 billion years, based on radio-decay rates of uranium and thorium. Such ‘confirmation’ may be short-lived, as nature is not to be dis· covered quite so easily. There has been in recent years tha horible realization that radio-decay rates are not as constant as previously thought, nor are they immune to environmental influences.
And this could mean that the atomic clocks are reset during some global disaster, and events which brought the Mesozoic to a close may not be 66 million years ago but, rather, within the age and memory of man. 21.1
Dating techniques are inconsistent.
Numerous evidences reveal that evolutionary dating methods are not reliable. The following examples demonstrate the folly of giving unqualified endorsement to the different “clocks” that are reputed to require an aged earth.
Studies on submarine basaltic rocks from Hawaii, known to have formed less than two hundred years ago, when dated by the potassium-argon method, revealed “ages” from 160 million to almost 3 billion years (Funkhouser and Naughton, Journal of Geophysi· cal Research, July 15, 1968, p. 4601).
(b) The shells ofliu· ing mollusks have been dated at up to 2,300 years old! (Kieth and Anderson, Science, August 16, 1963, p. 634). Talk about a Methuselah mollusk! (c) Freshly-killed seals have been dated at 1,300 years, and mummified seals, dead only some thirty years, have yielded dates as high as 4,600 years (Dort, Antarctic Journal of the U.S., 6, 1971, p. 210). (d) According to the evolutionary dating scale, stalactites (mineral deposits formed by dripping water) build at the rate of about one inch per century. Huge stalactites are used as “proof” of an ancient earth. However, in an unused wing of the Milwaukee Public Museum, which is underground, there are stalactites some six feet long. This would suggest, according to uniformitarian assumptions, that the museum was built 7,200 years ago, or some 5,700 years before Columbus sailed to the new world! (Bible-Science Newsletter, June, 1983, p. 10). Many other examples, equally devastating, could be cited.
(4,) There are biblical affirmations that suggest an earth that is relatively young. If it can be biblically established that humanity and the earth are approximately the same age, and if it can be shown that man’s existence is to be measured in terms of thousands, not millions or billions, of years, such would demonstrate the relative youthfulness of our earth. Accordingly, please consider the following clear, literal declarations of Scripture. (a) Moses declared that all created things had their genesis in the same week (Gen. 1:31). This in· cluded both earth and man, and that “week” consisted of literal days such as Israel observed in keeping the Sabbath (Ex. 20:11). (b) The prophets affirmed that Jehovah’s sovereignty had been evident to man “from the beginning,” even from “the foundations of the earth” (cf. Isa. 40:21). (c) Christ stated that “male and female” (i.e., Adam and Eve) had been made “from the beginning of the creation” (Mark 10:6), and Christ should know for he was there (John l:lff)! That statement can never be harmonized with the notion that the earth existed billions of years before the creation of mankind. (d) Paul argued that evidences of the invisible God have been perceived (obviously by man) “since the creation of the world” (Rom. 1:21). Anyone who takes the plain testimony of the Scriptures seriously cannot but see the import of such passages.
Additionally, the Bible indicates that man’s years upon the earth have been relatively few. In Luke, chapter 3, the historian lists the genealogy of Jesus all the
way back to Adam, who was the “first man” (1 Cor. 15:451. Now from Christ back to Abraham, there are some fifty-five generations. Archaeology has demonstrated that these fifty-five generations span approx· imately two thousand years at the most (cf. Kitchen and Mitchell, The New Bible Dictionary, p. 213). Further, from Abraham on back to Adam there are but twenty additional generations (a number of which were renowned for longevity). Even if one granted a few possible omissions in the genealogy (as with some of the O.T. genealogies-cf. Ezra 7:3,4; 1 Chr. 6:6-10), there is no reason to assume that those earlier generations of the Lord’s family tree are treated in a different manner than the later generations. Hence, they span only a few thousand years, certainly not millions! If that is not the case, then the genealogical records of the Bible are a meaningless waste of space!
The Scriptures are thus not silent concerning the rel· ative ages of earth and man-indeed, their “youthful· ness.”
(51 There Is scientific evidence lor a “young” earth.
The Bible is the final word on any subject which it ad· dresses. And any time that “science” is at odds with the clear testimony of the Word of God, then “science” is in error. In spite of evolutionary claims to the contrary, it is refreshing to know that there are genuine scientific evidences which point to a “young” earth in harmony with the indications of Scripture. Of the many tests that might be discussed, only a few can be mentioned here.
(al Dr. Thomas Barnes, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Texas, has done extensive research into the decay of the earth’s magnetic field. His findings indicate that the magnetic field was created only a few thousand years ago and is decaying toward extinction (Barnes. Origin and Destiny of the Earth’s Magnetic Field, 1973, 64 pp.l.
(b) Deep under the crust of the earth lie huge reservoirs of oil and water. Many of these reservoirs are characterized by extremely high fluid pressures. It is this high pressure that produces the “gushers” with which well-drillers are so familiar. Now scientists are aware of the fact that these underground pressures are gradually diminishing (much like air seeping from the tire of an automobile). What intrigues them is this: if this seepage has been going on for millions of years (evolutionists assume these reservoirs are millions of years old), why hasn’t the pressure been completely diminished? It is an acknowledged fact that the rock above these pressure pools is, even under the strictest conditions, porous enough to allow the pressure to es· cape in a matter of a few thousand years! (Cf. Melvin Cook, Prehistory and Earth Models, 1966, pp. 254·262.)
(c) Supposedly, meteorites have been falling from outer space to earth for billions of years. If the various strata of the earth required billions of years to build, meteorites should be found all the way down in each in· dividual stratum. But the fact is, meteorites have not been found in the so·called “older” strata. It would thus appear that the sedimentary strata (water laid) were laid
down in a relatively short period of time, thus explain· ing why the meteorites are found near the top. This fits well with the Biblical narrative about the Flood (cf. Kofahl, Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter, 1980, p. 123).
(d) According to recognized population growth stati sties, if man had been multiplying on earth for one mil· lion years, there would be more people than could be jammed into the entire known universe! And remember, evolutionists claim that man has been around two to three million years!
(e) Astronomers claim that the sun is shrinking at the rate of 0.1 % per century (approximately 5 feet per hour). If this shrinkage has remained constant (as evolutionists would predict), 100,000 years ago the sun would
have been twice as large as it now is. Moreover, at 20 milJion B.C., the earth and sun would actually have been touching! [For an excellent tract discussing these and other evidences for a young earth, see: Bert Thompson, The Young Earth, Apologetics Press.]
Is the earth therefore “young” or “old”? All of the evidence indicates that it is young. Does it matter? Yes, for a young earth is consistent with the testimony of the Bible; further, it is a valid argument against the “time” ingredient essential for the alleged process of evolution.