HOW OLD IS THE EARTH?
Evolutionary science proposes the earth is around 4.5 billion years old (or more). And that's appropriate. Evolutionary theory requires lots of time for life to evolve. It's even more difficult given the fossil record's evidence of catastrophe that has wiped out up to 96% of all life at least a half dozen times in that ancient history.
But the biblical record proposes something far different.
If the days of creation were indeed literal solar days, then Adam was only a day old on the final day of creation (day seven, when God rested). That's an important fact because the Genesis record later documents (with preciseness) the years of the birth and death dates from Adam to Abraham. It also includes how old the patriarch was when the lineage son was born. It's the most precise and unique genealogical record in the history of mankind.
In general, if the days of creation are truly seven solar days, followed by these precise Genesis genealogies, we can calculate roughly 2000 years from Adam to Abraham. The historical existence of Abraham (or Abram) is documented in other external, non-biblical historical and archaeological evidence to around 2100 BC or the time of Jesus. There's been 2020 years since Jesus. Consequently, the biblical record proposes a vastly different idea of a YOUNG earth (between six to eight thousand years old).
And that produces new questions:
- Is there evidence for a young earth (scientifically)?
- What about current methods (carbon-14, uranium-lead, potassium-argon) that deliver ancient dates for fossils, rocks and other stuff? Are they reliable?
So what does the BIBLE say about the earth's age?
If we trust the record of a literal seven-day creation, our first stop is Genesis 5 and the recorded genealogy between Adam and Abram (or Abraham). Let's review it now and include age of the earth as we go:
ADAM lived 130 years and SETH was born. Altogether Adam lived 930 years. When Seth was born, the earth was 130 years old.
SETH lived 105 years and ENOSH was born. Altogether Seth lived 807 years. When Enosh was born, the earth was 235 years old.
ENOSH lived 90 years and KENAN was born. Altogether Enosh lived 815 years. When Kenan was born, the earth was 325 years old.
KENAN lived 70 years and MAHALALEL was born. Altogether Kenan lived 910 years. When Mahalalel was born, the earth was 395 years old.
MAHALALEL lived 65 years and JARED was born. Altogether Mahalalel lived 895 years. When Jared was born, the earth was 460 years old.
JARED lived 162 years and ENOCH was born. Altogether Jared lived 962 years. When Enosh was born, the earth was 622 years old.
ENOCH lived 65 years and METHUSELAH was born. Altogether Enoch lived 365 years. When Methuselah was born, the earth was 687 years old.
METHUSELAH lived 187 years and LAMECH was born. Altogether Methuselah lived 969 years. When Lamech was born, the earth was 874 years old.
LAMECH lived 182 years and NOAH was born. Altogether Lamech lived 777 years. When Noah was born, the earth was 1,056 years old.
NOAH lived 500 years and SHEM was born. Altogether Noah lived 950 years (Genesis 9:28). When Shem was born, the earth was 1,556 years old.
At this point we skip ahead to another genealogy recorded for the post-Flood generations in Genesis 11:10-32):
SHEM lived 100 years and ARPHAXAD was born. Altogether Shem lived 500 years. When Arphaxad was born, the earth was 1,656 years old.
ARPHAXAD lived 35 years and SHELAH was born. Altogether Arphaxad lived 403 years. When Shelah was born, the earth was 1,691 years old.
SHELAH lived 30 years and EBER was born. Altogether Shelah lived 403 years. When Eber was born, the earth was 1,721 years old.
EBER lived 34 years and PELEG was born. Altogether Eber lived 430 years. When Peleg was born, the earth was 1,755 years old.
PELEG lived 30 years and REU was born. Altogether Peleg lived 209 years. When Reu was born, the earth was 1,785 years old.
REU lived 32 years and SERUG was born. Altogether Reu lived 207 years. When Serug was born, the earth was 1,817 years old.
SERUG lived 30 years and NAHOR was born. Altogether Serug lived 200 years. When Nahor was born, the earth was 1,847 years old.
NAHOR lived 29 years and TERAH was born. Altogether Nahor lived 119 years. When Terah was born, the earth was 1,876 years old.
TERAH lived 70 years and ABRAM was born. Altogether Terah lived 205 years. When Abram was born, the earth was 1,946 years old.
It's the PRECISENESS of this genealogy that aids not only biblical students, but anyone interested in history and the antiquity of planet earth. Even if we allow some "breathing room" for partial years--give or take--we're still talking around 2000 years between Adam and Abram. And, once again, there is little dispute that Abram lived approximately 2100 B.C. Consequently, there's approximately 4000 years of earth's (recorded) history prior to the time of Jesus.
This is how a YOUNG EARTH thesis was originally proposed through the writings of James Ussher (the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland) and John Lightfoot. Both scholars used these Old Testament genealogies to propose an earth's age of only a few thousand years, although Ussher was remarkably precise in stating the actual date for the Creation of the world was October 23, 4004 BC. Lightfoot put that event in 3929 BC.
In the 19th century, Ussher's calculations came under severe criticism, particularly from those who viewed the earth as more ancient. As evolutionary theory gained adherents, the necessity of an ancient earth was critical to that narrative and proponents consistently grooved an earth of millions and billions of years. The irony was nobody found fault with Ussher's calculations of these Genesis genealogies, but rather his conclusion that the earth was thousands of years old.
Today, most people just accept the earth is very old. The evidence, we're told, is unanimously and roundly accepted as fact. Even the evolution of species is now stated as "scientific fact" and that's the problem. Evolutionism certainly has its evidences, but no serious scholar of these evidences would conclude the theoretical assumptions (or its conclusions) are factual.
Over the course of the past 150 years, the biblical record has also been challenged over and over again. And while biblical archaeology has consistently proven many of these challenges wrong, the early chapters of Genesis remain highly contentious. Even biblical scholars argue over its truthfulness. Are the six days of Creation literal or figurative? Are they solar days or ages of millions of years?
What gets lost in this conversation is the original theoretical assumption of a young earth. Is there scientific (observable, testable, repeatable) evidences to support a earth of only thousands of years old? And how do we deal with the contemporary dating methods that produce ancient (millions and billions of years) ages?
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