Creation & Evolution Compatible or in Conflict
The Age of the Earth
Jay Seegert – Creation Education Center — http://www.cecwisc.org/
There really are only two feasible options regarding the age of the earth. Either the earth is as old as many scientists tell us it is (about 4.6 billion years old) or it is relatively young (in the ballpark of 6,000-7,000 years old). Most values in between just don’t cut it with either side.
Those who believe God created the universe and everything in it have options available regarding the age of the earth. Those who preclude/rule out the idea of the supernatural are stuck with one option—a very, very old earth.
Given this situation, it becomes apparent that when an atheistic scientist examines evidence regarding the age of the earth, he/she automatically rules out evidence that would indicate anything other than a very old earth (in the billions of years).
All modern evolutionists would admit that evolution wouldn’t even be thinkable if the age of the earth were not at least billions of years old.
The view that the universe is infinitely old, having always existed, is essential and convenient for anyone wishing to avoid the religious implications of a creator and an associated beginning. No beginning, no “beginner” necessary.
The Bible does address the age of the earth and what we believe about it has a very significant effect on how we interpret many other significant portions of the Bible, as well as affecting our view of the authority and inspiration of Scripture as a whole.
Science is actually incapable of determining exactly how old the earth is. There are too many assumptions involved in every conceivable method we might use. It is only useful in determining likely upper limits to the age of the earth.
The second law of thermodynamics indicates that everything (left to itself) is continually running down hill, becoming more disordered, running out of gas, so to speak. According to the second law of thermodynamics, if the universe were truly infinitely old, there would not be any energy or order remaining, yet we see high concentrations of energy and order throughout the universe.
Reason alone would tell us that if the Bible is the infallible Word of God, then it is more capable of rendering an accurate age of the earth than science, which is simply a body of conclusions drawn by imperfect humans who don’t know everything, we not present at the beginning, make mistakes, sometimes even lie, and who are observing a fallen/cursed world.
While it’s true that you will not find anywhere in the Bible a verse that states something like “God created the earth x number of years ago,” it does give us enough information to have a reasonable idea of approximately when creation took place. In particular, there are enough passages that help us quickly determine whether we’re talking about thousands or billions of years. Considering the limitations of science and the ultimate nature of God’s Word, we should give precedence to Scripture in a situation where unresolved conflict exists.
If God had meant to convey the idea that He created everything over vast periods of time, there are a number of Hebrew words He could have used. On the other hand, if He meant to convey the idea of ordinary solar days, there is only one Hebrew word He could have used: yōm; which is exactly what He chose!
James Barr (a world-renowned Old Testament scholar from Oxford University), an expert on the Hebrew language who does not believe in Genesis, had this to say about the Genesis creation account.
Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the “days” of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.
One of the biggest issues with interpreting the days of Genesis as anything other then solar days has to do with the entrance of death into our world. According to secular models of earth history, the layers we observe were laid down over multiple millions of years, long before the appearance of man. The problem occurs when we see that these layers contain literally billions of fossils. This would mean that death existed for millions of years before Adam and Eve were created. The Bible clearly states that it was Adam’s sin that brought death into God’s world (Romans 5:12). We even have evidence of cancer in dinosaur bones. God pronounced His original creation as “very good” not filled with death and disease. If death, disease, pain, and suffering occurred before Adam, Jesus wasted His time dying on the cross because these had all been here millions of years before Adam.
It is a matter of fact that Jesus lived roughly 2,000 years ago. When we study Scripture, we find that Abraham lived roughly 2,000 years before Christ. This is generally accepted, even by secular historians. So it is about 4,000 years from our time back to Abraham. How long was it from Abraham back to Adam? Taking a look at the biblical genealogies between the two, we come up with roughly another 2,000 years. This takes us back approximately 6,000 years.
The advent of radiometric dating in the early 20th century appeared to give the notion of an ancient earth much more scientific credibility. Radiometric dating involves the decay of unstable or “radioactive” elements into stable, non-radioactive elements.
In order to use radiometric dating three assumptions are necessary.
- Zero Initial Daughter Element assumes that when the system began there were only “its” in the area and no decayed “its.”
- Closed System assumes that no additional “its” entered the area and that all the decayed “its” stayed in the area.
- Constant Decay Rate assumes that “it” has always decayed at the rate we presently observe.
With radiometric dating there is no way to be confident that decay rates have always been constant. In fact, much research has been conducted providing very strong evidence that rates have not been constant.
There is solid evidence that the earth has experienced a period (or periods) of greatly accelerated decay in the past, possibly up to one billion times the rate observed today. What this research means is that a rock that most geologists believe to be a billion years old could actually have been formed in the period of only one year, most likely during the year-long Flood.
There are numerous examples of dating errors that have come from attempting to date rocks of known ages (e.g. rocks formed as the result of relatively recent, observed volcanic eruptions). One such instance is that of a lave flow in Hawaii, known to have taken place between 1800 and 1801. The rocks were dated using the potassium-argon radiometric method yielding as “age” just shy of 3 billion years old.
If “rocks” are millions or billions of years old, we should not expect to find much helium in them, because it would have escaped out into the atmosphere long ago. But we find much more helium in the rocks and not nearly as much in the atmosphere as expected. Research has shown that this limits the age of the rocks and the atmosphere to a number of thousands of years.
Not only are we aware of erroneous results regarding rocks of known ages, but the various methods used by those claiming the earth is billions of years old often are in conflict with each other. Since there exists so much discordance between the methods that are deemed to be generally reliable by evolutionists, there is sound reason to reject their accuracy and question the assumptions behind the methods.
The earth is like a giant magnet, and scientists have been measuring its strength for over 170 years. From these measurements they have determined that the earth’s magnetic field has a half-life of about 1,400 years. This simply means that every 1,400 years it loses half of its existing strength. About 1,400 years ago (according to its decay rate) the magnetic field of the earth would have been twice as strong as it is today. Going back another 1,400 years (-788 B.C.) would make the magnetic field of the earth four times as strong. A greatly increased magnetic field means a greatly heated core in the earth (due to frictional effects of electrical currents within the core). So how far back could we possibly go? According to various calculations, a plausible limit is about 10,000 years. Much beyond that the earth’s structure would not be able to withstand the heat! So could the earth actually be billions of years old? Not according to the decay of the earth’s magnetic field.
In spite of the fact that researchers say DNA cannot survive in its natural environment for more than 10,000 years, we have discovered it in places where it “ought not to be!” Scientists have even found some Tyrannosaurus rex bones with red blood cells and soft tissue! They have even discovered the protein osteocalcin in an Iguanodon that according to evolutionary stories is allegedly 120 million years old. These are indicators that these bones cannot be millions of years old.
Lastly, bacteria that is supposedly 250 million years old have been revived with completely undamaged DNA. This is a huge conundrum for evolutionists, but fits very comfortably with a young earth.
An interesting geologic anomaly is that of fossils (most often trees) that extend through multiple layers of rock that were supposedly deposited over hundred of thousands or millions of years. The issue here is that if those layers were truly laid down over such a long period of time, the trees would have rotted long before ever getting completely buried, thus, never turning into a fossil! Another critical observation is that when we find these trees we do not find the root systems intact, meaning that these trees were not growing there! They were catastrophically uprooted from their original location and rapidly re-deposited elsewhere.
A further anomaly is that we rarely see any evidence of erosion between sedimentary layers, and when we do, it appears to have occurred rapidly. If one layer sat there for a few million years before being covered by the next layer, we would expect to see a great deal of erosion and the development of soil and plant growth during these periods of millions of years. We don’t see either.
Scientists today can produce oil in a matter of minutes in the laboratory. Coal can be formed under natural conditions in a matter of weeks. Scientists have been able to create diamonds indistinguishable from natural diamonds in just 12 hours. Millions of years are not required!
Carbon-14 which is created in our atmosphere is unstable and slowly decays over time. Scientists have measured the rate of decay and determined that it would take about 5,730 years for half of any particular amount of Carbon-14 to decay back into nitrogen-14.
Carbon-14 dating can only be used on something that was once living. And because of its decay rate, there should be no detectable Carbon-14 left after about 100,000 years.
Dating plants using Carbon-14 can be misleading because plants don’t absorb Carbon-14 easily and plants absorb Carbon-14 at different rates. Because of this plants dated with this method can appear to be older than they are and two plants that died at the same time can be dated with different “ages.”
The earth’s magnetic field also affects Carbon-14 dating. This field was much stronger in the past – it is slowly decaying. A stronger magnetic field means less radiation reaching our atmosphere, which means less Carbon-14. The further back in the past you go, the less Carbon-14 there would have been to begin with, giving things the appearance of being much older than they actually are.
Things living and dying during times of volcanic eruptions and the Industrial Revolution will also give the appearance of being much older than they are because they method assumes a constant ratio and does not take into consideration the effects of either of these.
Samples taken from ten different coal layers found in different alleged eras in the geologic columns (layers in the earth) each contained traceable amounts of Carbon-14. Even though the layers supposedly represent millions and hundreds of millions of years, the presence of Carbon-14 indicates that these layers are not millions of years old.
Diamonds present another anomaly for Carbon-14 dating. They are the hardest natural-occurring mineral know to man and are extremely resistant to any type of contamination. Being anywhere from millions to billions of years old (according to the standard geological model), they should not contain any detectable Carbon-14. Interestingly enough, the RATE Group (Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society) found Carbon-14 in each of the diamonds they studied!
As anthropologist and archaeologist Robert E. Less said in his article “Radiocarbon: Ages in Error,” published in the Anthropological Journal of Canada, vol. 19(3) in 1981 Why do geologists and archaeologists still spend their scarce money on costly radiocarbon determinations? . . . . the radiocarbon method is still not capable of yielding accurate and reliable results. There are gross discrepancies, the chronology is uneven and relative, and the accepted dates are actually selected dates. This whole blessed thing is nothing but 13th century alchemy, . . . .
Even using evolutionists’ own assumptions, including the historical constancy of decay rates, the vast majority (probably 90 percent or better) of the available potential chronometers yield ages far too young for the plausibility of evolutionary scenarios.
According to evolutionists, our solar system is billions of years old. A perplexing phenomenon, however, is the observance of short-period comets. As the hypothesis goes, these objects should only last, at the most, for approximately 100,000 years being made of silicate and ice (dirty snowballs). Each time they orbit, they burn off some of their mass. This is the fascinating comet tail we often see. If these comets could only last a maximum of 100,000 years and the solar system is allegedly billions of years old, why do we still see comets?
The following is from an interchange between a columnist from The Ledger (a Lynchburg, Virginia, newspaper – 2000) and a molecular biologists discussing the incredible amount of information found in living systems.
When asked if he believed the information evolved the biologist said: Nobody I know in my profession believes it evolved. It was engineered by genius beyond genius. . . . Knowing what we know it is ridiculous to think otherwise.
When asked if he’d ever stated that in a public lecture or in any public writing the biologist said: No, I just say it evolved. To be a molecular biologist requires one to hold onto two insanities at all times. One, it would be insane to believe in evolution when you can see the truth for yourself. Two, it would be insane to say you don’t believe in evolution. All government work, research grants, papers, big college lectures – everything would stop. I’d be out of a job, or relegated to the outer fringes where I couldn’t earn a decent living.