Those of the evolutionary persuasion adamantly teach us that this earth is old, very old. In fact, they tell us that this earth is perhaps, and in all likelihood, as old as 4.6 billion years. They teach this as fact. They teach this with great arrogance and haughtiness. Anyone, who doesn’t understand that this earth is ancient is looked down upon as being woefully ignorant. After all, “science” is upon their side. They have Carbon-14 and other radiometric dating techniques which prove these things!
On the other side are the Bible believing theists. They have studied. They know that it is impossible to cram 4.6 million years of time into the Biblical record. They believe that the Bible means what it says: God created the heavens, and the earth, the sea and all that in them is, in six literal, twenty-four hour days (Exodus 20:11). They, furthermore, recognize there to be a vast difference between any genealogical gaps that might exist in the Biblical record, and chronological gaps. To them, the earth is young, just a few thousand years old.
Why all the fuss? I believe this to be an important discussion for each side, for a few reasons. (1) This discussion is important for the evolutionary “scientist” and atheists, because: (a) Even though, macro-evolution is not observable (that by definition places it outside of the realm of science), it is thought that if they can convince you of an old earth, then they can convince you that given enough vast amounts of time, anything is possible, even evolution [Such reasoning is faulty; For example, given enough time (opportunity) would a hurricane ever blow enough scrap metal together in an organized fashion so as to form from scrap one fully functional 747 jumbo jet? Of course, such is preposterous!]. This argument is persuasive to many. (b) It is a way to attack the Bible, and reduce it, in the minds of men, to mere mythology. Who are our children going to listen to: the preacher, parents, Bible class teachers with a 2000 year old book; or modern “science” with its radiometric dating methods? Alas, many are listening to the latter. And yes, many are smart enough to understand that the two can’t be harmonized. If modern “science” and its ancient earth, and evolutionary teachings are right, then the Bible is wrong with this regard to its Genesis account. Moreover, since so much of the Bible’s teaching is based upon the Genesis record [e.g, Creation (Hebrews 11:3); Marriage (Matthew 19:1-6); Role of men and women (1 Corinthians 11:8-9; 1 Timothy 2:12-14) Origin of sin (Romans 5:12),etc.], it cannot be trusted on anything. (2) This is important for the Bible believer, because: (a) The credibility of the Bible is being called into question. (b) Our children are being taught this, and yet we know that such is contrary to the Biblical record. How are we going to answer them? (c) Many have felt compelled in the church to compromise the Genesis record of creation. If we do so, can we really trust the rest of the Bible? If the Bible does not mean what it says here, then how do we know what it means – anywhere?
The real question is this: Has science really proven an ancient earth?
The answer is: no, they have not. All radiometric dating methods are based upon certain (non-provable) assumption. First, they assume that originally this earth was entirely composed of parent elements, and no daughter elements. That is, when measuring age it is understood that certain elements, over time, will break down (or decay) into certain other daughter elements. For instance, Uranium 238 decays over time into Lead 206. When examining a rock, they look at the ratio of these two elements contained in that rock, and they assume that originally that there was no Lead 206 but that all of that Lead 206 came from Uranium 238. They then figure how long it would take for that Uranium to convert into the present amount of Lead, and from this process is deduced the age of that rock. But notice, it is based upon a very large (and unprovable) assumption that there was no original daughter elements present. How do they know this to be the case? The answer is that they do not know this to be the case. Watch the words of the Encyclopedia Britannica, “A second important assumption is that a sample began its life free of daughter atoms. If that were not so, there would be the appearance of a certain age even at the time of zero. At a later time such a ‘built-in’ age would be the error inherent in a measured age. This second assumption is never valid in the strictest sense, and there are some cases in which it is not even valid practically.”1 Consider this: Couldn’t God have originally created the earth with all elements present, from the very beginning, placed here for man’s benefit? Of course He could! And, if He did so would the earth have an appearance of age? Yes, just as Adam and Eve had an appearance of age from time zero, being made adults, and not as infants. Second, these dating methods assume an uniformitarian geological model. For example, they assume a standard erosion rate. They assume that coal, oil, and natural gas are formed at the same rate today, as always. They assume things that cannot be proven. But what if this world hasn’t been so uniformed in its geological earth history? What if there was, as the Bible indicates, a global catastrophe, a great deluge which covered deeply this entire earth? What would such do to the appearance of things? “Modern geology holds that wind and water erosion has been a rather constant process for millions of years. Therefore, all rock strata have been formed by this slow, gradual process of water exerting a few pounds of pressure each year to compress small fragments of earth into large bed rock. Think how utterly upset that theory would be by the catastrophe of a universal flood. Since Mt. Ararat is 17,000 feet high and the Water was at least this deep, and since a cubit foot of water weighs about 63 pounds, every square foot of the earth’s surface at sea level had a pressure of 1,071,000 pounds. This is equivalent to about 107 billion pounds of pressure on top of the average house. Industrial diamonds are made from carbon compounds by exerting a pressure of 800,000 pounds per square inch for a few minutes. One can readily see how such a flood, exerting great pressure for more than six months over the whole face of the earth, could have formed coal beds, sedimentary rocks, diamonds, mountains, valleys and hundreds of other phenomena. One great catastrophe could have accomplished in a few months what it would take uniformity millions of years to accomplish.”2
Much more time and space could be given to this important subject; However, these two points along should help dispel the notion that science has proven an ancient earth. Their conclusions are based upon assumptions, and assumptions. Add to this fact that numerous are the methods that point to a relatively young earth, yet our children never hear about these. Parents, arm yourselves with the facts3 and don’t back down to these “pseudo-intellectuals.”
- Encyclopedia Britannica, Articles “Dating, Relative and Absolute,” Encyclopedia Britannica, Macropaedia Vol. 5 page 504-505 (1979).
- Furman Kearley, Tract: “The Significance of the Genesis Flood: (World Mission Publishing Company, Lubbock TX, 1974). Page 11-12. Note: Nothing demands that the mountains were once so high. See Psalm 104:6-9 N.A.S.B.
- If one wants more information in this area, one should subscribe to Apologetics Press’ publication Reason and Revelation or Focus Press’ Think..