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How Old is the Earth?
How old is the earth?
by Les Sherlock, March 2021, originally posted 2020
For any committed Christian, one would think this is a very simple question, easily answered. However, today’s compromise with evolutionary theory has produced all sorts of mental gymnastics on the part of theologians in order to make the Bible fit the theory. The simple answer to the question is to look at the continuous line of the ages of fathers when their children were born, going from Adam right through to Abraham. To anyone who would say it is wrong to use these figures in this way, I would ask, “What did God give them to us for, if it was not to use them? Why do we have such a precise list of years if it is not to tell us when these events took place?”
Name Age Earth age Ref
Adam 130 130 Gen 5:3.
Seth 105 235 Gen 5:6
Enosh 90 325 Gen 5:9
Cainan 70 395 Gen 5:12
Mahalalel 65 460 Gen 5:15
Jared 162 622 Gen 5:18
Enoch 65 687 Gen 5:21
Methuselah 187 874 Gen 5:25
Lamech 182 1056 Gen 5:28–29
Noah * 502 1558 Gen 5:32
Shem 100 1658 Gen 11:10
Arphaxad 35 1693 Gen 11:12
Salah 30 1723 Gen 11:14
Eber 34 1757 Gen 11:16
Peleg 30 1787 Gen 11:18
Reu 32 1819 Gen 11:20
Serug 30 1849 Gen 11:22
Nahor 29 1878 Gen 11:24
Terah 130 2008 Gen 11:26
* Shem was the middle son (Gen 9:24; 10:21). Noah was 600 at the time of the flood, and Shem was 100 two years after the flood. Therefore Noah was 502 when Shem was born.
** In Acts 7:4 Stephen said Abram was 75 when he left Haran when his father had died aged 205, and was therefore born when his father was 130.
It is universally recognised that Abraham was born no earlier than 2,000 B.C., as can be seen at the following four locations:
BC 1813: chabad.org Jewish web site
BC 1852-1872: christianity.stackexchange.com
BC 1996 -1821: biography.yourdictionary.com/abraham
Early 2nd millennium BCE: ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA
Finally, since the year I am writing this, 2021, is dated approximately from the year of Christ’s birth, and the years B.C., previously mentioned, are dated before that same year, then it is quite clear that the time from Adam’s creation to today is in the region of 6,000 years.
I am aware there is an argument that because some genealogies in the Bible have missing generations, then there could be far more generations not included in this list than those that are quoted and therefore the time period would be considerably longer. This is not valid, however, because the ages of succeeding people is given from the birth of one to the birth of the next in an unbroken series, right from Adam to Abraham. So even if they are the names not of children, but grandchildren or even great-grandchildren, it makes no difference. It is impossible for anyone accepting the authority of the Bible to claim that the time from Adam to Abraham is significantly more than 2,000 years, or that the time from Abraham to the birth of Christ is significantly more than 2,000 years, or that the time from the birth of Christ to the present day is significantly more than 2,000 years.
There is an argument that people do not live to such old ages and therefore the years are to be taken figuratively rather than literally. This is based on the evolutionary belief that living things get better as time goes by, so if we do not live that length of time today, then they could not then. However, observation shows that all things, alive and inanimate, deteriorate with time: the fact that there are over 1,000 human ailments due to mutation proves this. So the human race now has over 1,000 ailments that did not exist in our early history. Therefore, older ages for the earliest humans is perfectly in line with observation.
If you believe the figures are to be understood figuratively, then what do ages like 502, 187 and 29 represent? If there are no obvious answers for every one of the ages in the table, then clearly they are not figurative.
All that remains, therefore, is to determine how long the six days of creation described in Genesis 1 & 2 were. See this page on my website for a more detailed explanation of this topic than is possible here. To those who claim these are not 24-hour days but long periods of time, I ask,
“Why do you want to make these days longer than 24-hours?”
They are defined in Genesis chapter one as one period of dark plus one period of light, and in Exodus 20:9–11 and Exodus 31:17 God said they were the same period of time that He wanted Israel to work each week before they took a day of rest. So how can they be anything else, other than 24 hours?
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.' "
There is nothing anywhere in the Bible to suggest they are not ‘normal’ days, and the only possible reason to make them longer is in order to fit in with evolutionary theory. Should anyone protest the reason for accepting an ‘old’ earth is not evolution but radiometric dating, then it must be pointed out that radiometric dating is only as good as the assumptions that surround it, and since carbon dating of dinosaur remains puts their extinction at tens of thousands of years ago at most and carbon dating of diamonds buried in rock formations supposedly millions or billions of years old has put their age at tens of thousands of years at most, it is clear that those assumptions revolve around the requirements of evolution, and observations not fitting this theory are ignored! Evidence of this can be seen by these quotations taken from here:
If a C14 date supports our theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a foot-note. And if it is completely ‘out of date’, we just drop it.
(book on Egyptian archaeology)
In general, dates in the “correct ball park” are assumed to be correct and are published, but those in disagreement with other data are seldom published nor are the discrepancies fully explained.
(an associate professor of geology)
Evolutionary theory was popularised by a man, Darwin, who had abandoned belief in God and wanted to have a universe that could create itself. It was taken on board and built on by others with similar motivation. Some people in the church, believing it to be proven science, tried to manipulate the Bible into accommodating the theory, and having done so made it a part of theology taught in colleges and seminaries.
The ‘proven’ science has since been shown to be misunderstanding, inadequate knowledge and/or deliberate fraud, as can be seen elsewhere on this web site and on others: e.g.
In other words, in the same way that the Roman Catholic church evolved from the true church into something so radically different it took the Martin Luthers of this world to stand against it, so the same has happened to many churches today. We need some more Martin Luthers to stand against this attack on the validity and authority of God’s word.
Evidence that the position I have stated here regarding the age of the earth has been orthodox Christian teaching throughout its history can be seen here, in the chapter called "6,000 year old Creation: a theory 100 years old?" where I quote many leading figures: Origen (182-251); Basil ‘the Great’ (AD 329-379); Augustine (354-430); Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274); Martin Luther (1483-1546); John Calvin (1509-1564); James Ussher (1581–1656); Matthew Henry (1662-1714); John Wesley (1701-1791).
Clearly those who do not accept the authority of the Bible will have a very different approach and conclusion. I fail to see, however, how those who believe the Bible to be revelation to us from our Creator could contradict what it so plainly teaches: the moment God said, “Let there be light” was around 6,000 years ago and certainly not significantly more.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Page picture, free image from here
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