Old Earth vs. Young Earth
In our last chapter we discussed Genesis 1:1 and reviewed the idea that the Bible describes, in this first verse, the creation of the time-space-matter continuum that is our universe.
The two main points about this verse were:
- Scientists and philosophers have described our universe as a "thing" which is comprised, in its essence, of three elements, time, space and matter (which includes energy). No one disputes this, neither does the Bible. As a matter of fact, the book of Genesis establishes this idea by describing these very elements as the first raw materials God created from which He formed the universe as we now know it. The amazing thing is that Genesis was written long before these concepts were described or analyzed by man and yet in perfect harmony with what humans have discovered about the universe thousands of years later.
- In the first verse of the bible God provides the information to refute major ideological errors that crept up thousands of years after the events and writing of Genesis.
Genesis 1:1 is not only the foundation of Genesis and the Bible, it is the foundation for our thinking and perception of God, the universe, as well as mankind.
Now we will review some ideas as to the time of creation and the beginning of the formation of the universe as we know it.
The Age of the Earth
There are two positions you can take when trying to determine the age of the earth:
- OLD - millions to billions of years
- YOUNG - 5,000 to 10,000 years
1. The very old view of the earth is held mainly by evolutionists because they believe that matter is eternal, that matter was affected in some way ("big bang", etc.) and through time (lots of time, millions of years) and chance, the earth evolved to become what it is. It is important to note that they begin with this theory and then line up evidence to prove it. Usually in science you develop theory based on the evidence gathered.
The basis of their proof is expressed in the geological chart created to represent the development of the earth throughout the ages. (This is an artist's rendition of the evolutionary model, not how the earth really is).
They say that life began with simple creatures who died and left fossil (bone or imprint records in rocks) records, and as life grew more complex, more complex fossils were found in succeeding layers of rock. For example, bottom layer of rock (900M years) has very simple creatures (Archeozoic Period) and top layer of rock (10M years) has very complex creatures, like man (Cenozoic Period).
Time scale by Ray Troll, "Cruisin' the Fossil Free-way."
The diagram shown here is not based on what has actually been found anywhere on earth. No clear record that reflects this picture has ever been found by geologists anywhere on earth.
The problem is that this picture, used in schools, is the image used to describe the evolutionary model but has not been proven by actual evidence in the earth itself.
What happens is that when fossils are found they are dated according to the theory that the bottom layer is 900M+ years old and the top layer is 10M+ years old.
There is no way to accurately date a fossil beyond 60,000 years! No clock, no record. If scientists find a bone, fragment or fossil record, they can, through the carbon dating process, tell if it is 100, 500, 1000 years old up to 60,000 years but cannot accurately tell beyond this. So what they do is put anything beyond 60,000 years old into the category artificially created by the evolutionary model and arbitrarily give it an old date. Something could just as well be 7,000 years old as 7 million years old, there is no accurate way to tell beyond 60,000 years old (in theory). Carbon dating is not an exact measurement.
The problem with the "old age" theory of the earth is that there are several inconsistencies both theoretically and observationally:
A. For the earth to be one billion years old or more and for evolution to be the system by which everything came to be what it is, we have to accept as true several theories:
- Something comes from nothing. This is a problem because, as I have said before, nothing comes from nothing. Scientists universally agree on this and so do philosophers and most people as well. If this is so why would we accept this idea as the basis for the origin of our existence?
- Matter is eternal. If it did not create itself, then it was always there! Simple observation demonstrates that matter is not eternal. Fire does use up energy. We are becoming less than we were. Stars burn up. If things have an end, they must also have a beginning so matter is not eternal in nature, it came from somewhere.
- Unlimited time and random selection is the method by which simple things (1 cell creatures) became complex things like human beings. Scientists tell us that there is a point in mathematical probability (like 1 chance in X millions) that constitutes the impossible. In other words when it is one chance in a billion, then that is the same thing as being impossible. The odds that this universe was created by time and chance are so great that they cannot be expressed in numbers, which means impossible.
B. For the earth to be one billion years old and for the evolutionary system to be the way it happened also presents some observational problems.
- The geological record does not match the facts. Geologists are continually finding complex creatures at the rock levels where only simple creatures should be located according to their chart.
- Every form of complex creature has been found in the lowest layers. The best example is with dinosaurs who were supposed to have lived 300 M years before man according to the diagram. But the most famous contradiction of this were the tracks found in the Paluxy River in Texas where in 1908 dinosaur tracks were found right next to human footprints. These were authenticated in 1938 by Dr. Roland T. Bird of the American Museum of Natural History.
- In addition to these, there have been "human" footprints, carvings, tools and pottery found in rock layers supposedly 200 to 500 M years before man was evolved.
- If evolution is true then there should be a fossil record showing how simple creatures transformed from one species to more complex species. These "links" have never been found. People talk about "the" missing link but there are millions of "links" that need to be there in order for the chain from one species to the other to be complete. They have not found any of these links.
- For example, creatures in a pond evolved from one to another. You can have a pond with snails and worms at the bottom… and fish in the water, ducks above water, frogs on the shore and dogs and cats nearby. A sudden dump of mud freezes everything in place (i.e. Noah's flood). 1,000 years later you examine the fossils and you can assume that the simple creatures "evolved" into the more complex creatures OR they coexisted in different environments.
- All creatures existed simultaneously in common environment.
Evolution and the old earth theory is good on paper but the evidence in the earth itself (geological findings) and logical thinking do not support it. It is the alternative answer for the origins of the universe for many people who refuse to believe in God.
2. The young earth theory has many less obstacles and more proofs to support it.
A. There are no philosophical problems with a young created earth. That an all-powerful and wise being created the universe which reflects His complexity and wisdom is logical and possible. As a matter of fact, the existence of an eternal God creating the earth can logically be demonstrated in a variety of ways (i.e. Moral argument, First Cause argument).
B. The earth itself presents no observational contradictions to this model.
- Complex forms of life appear simultaneously at the earliest parts and all throughout the geological evidence in the earth according to the creation model.
- There are no links from one form of life to another just like creation describes, only the same type of man from the beginning until now. Man is the same from the beginning until now, monkeys are the same and there are no links that go from one to the other. (There is a sort of evolution within a species, type of monkey to another, but not from a species to a different species – i.e. monkey to man).
- There are over 70 ways to "date" the earth using various disciplines: chemical, anthropological, archaeological, etc. and all these methods suggest a young vs. an old earth. Even carbon dating used by evolutionists can only date as far back as 60,000 years, beyond this is a guess.
- The Bible itself contains genealogical records that lists patriarchs from the first man until Moses until Christ that contain no more than 8,000 years of history (taking into account different gaps and calendar discrepancies). Therefore, a young earth model of about 10,000 years is supported by logic, by observation and by revelation.
The problem with accepting the young earth model (10,000 years) which was the model supported by both science and religion until the 20th century, is that the theory of evolution has seriously influenced the world in the last 100 years.
This theory has found its way into schools and government and has undermined the belief in the Bible. In the last 10 years it has begun to crumble as evidence has built up to contradict and destroy it but the damage to faith has been great and will take time to undo. Libraries are full of books about evolution.
Next time, we will see how some have tried to reconcile Genesis 1 with evolution.
- Describe the "old earth view" and summarize the threats to the validity of this view.
- Describe the "young earth view" and summarize why this is a valid view.
- How can you use this lesson to grow spiritually and help others come into a relationship with Jesus?