"Appearance of Age", or a necessary attribute?

As a Young Earth Creationist, I’ve often found my views rejected by Old Earth believers, often on the basis that the “appearance of age” – a young Earth that looks old – would demonstrate, at best, that God intentionally misled man, while some go so far as to say the “appearance of age” would make out God to be a liar.

My question is, could a reasonable alternative to an “appearance of age” be that a young creation would necessarily have to be created mature – with “appearance” being irrelevant to function – in order to be self-sustaining?

The basis of my argument actually stems not from the whole of creation, but from Adam. Genesis describes him as being created as an adult, and in my opinion, this makes perfect sense from a purely functional standpoint. If I were to create a self-sustaining being from scratch, it wouldn’t create him as an embryo or a fetus – those require a life support system (their mother), and so they would not be self-sustaining. Similarly, I wouldn’t create them as an infant or a pre-adolescent – those require teachers, nurturers, providers (their parents or guardians), and so they would not be self-sustaining. Logically, if I were to create a self-sustaining being – the first of his kind – it would be necessary to create him as a fully grown, fully developed being with education enough to at least perform basic problem solving and survival.

In other words, he would necessarily look just like what we find in Genesis 2’s description of Adam.

This has dramatic implications on creation, I think, because just like Adam needed to be created mature – as a life “already in progress” as it were – in order to be created self-sustaining, I submit that a living, self-sustaining world would need to be created “already in progress”, and for the same reasons. After all, predators require prey to sustain them, which would require adults prey to repopulate after the herd is culled. Herbivores require plantlife to sustain them, which require plantlife mature enough to put out seed and grow to maturity in time to feed the next generation. Plants require organic matter in various stages of decomposition in order to sustain them.

Every aspect of life – of creation as a whole – shares this sort of inertia, such that whether God created the universe five billion years ago or five MINUTES ago, the self-sustaining nature of the world would require a certain level (and thus, a certain appearance) of maturity. I would argue that, if this dynamic is true, it would be a way to perfectly reconcile both scientific evidence of an old creation and a literal interpretation of Genesis, without having to compromise either.



hi! @nashdude Could you elaborate on

“appearance of age” – a young Earth that looks old – would demonstrate, at best, that God intentionally misled man

a little more?

@TempusFugit absolutely.

In the YEC model, the Genesis account of creation is taken literally. The Earth is roughly 6000 years old (if we’re holding strictly to the lineages in Genesis, as I typically do) or as much as 10,000 years old (as often is employed by those looking to give a little buffer to the dynamics of science that seemingly demand a much older Earth).

Conversely, the OEC model takes the Genesis account of creation far more figuratively, describing the Earth as being millions or billions of years old, based on standard scientific measurements – carbon dating, ice/rock cores, sedimentary strata, evidence for evolution, etc. Under this model, the purpose of Genesis is merely to affirm God’s active hand in creating the universe, NOT to give an accurate account of HOW He created the universe.

Now, whether the Earth is ACTUALLY millions or billions of years old, the Earth certainly APPEARS (by way of the scientific measurements I mentioned) to be that old. This is usually a sticking point for people who reject the YEC model – either atheists, or OECists who consider Genesis to be an allegory or other type of non-scientific, non-historic literature.

Those who object to the YEC model often say that a 6000 year old Earth should LOOK 6000 years old (although, as I explained, I’m not sure how that would be possible in any case). Thus, for God to create the Earth to look millions of years older than it actually is, it would suggest to them that God intentionally misled those who would follow the (false) evidence to an old-Earth conclusion.


Here’s something to consider:
Some dating methods require you to already believe in millions of years before collecting data since the the smallest number achievable with those methods is in the millions of years. Anything below that won’t register. It’s a classic let my “beliefs shape reality scenario.” Although most people don’t know about the inner workings of the system, so it’s not quite them trying to bend reality. They’re merely accepting the information given to them.

So getting back to the question, does the Earth really look millions of years old? Let’s take Geology:
a standard belief is that the Earth’s history can be seen in geology, and the layers represent millions of years each. (Earth’s age being determined by it’s layers is a key part of old Earth belief)
Which would be fine…if we didn’t have certain items going through multiple layers. There are trees poking (roots upward) through multiple layers.
This gives us the impression that some catastrophic flood came tearing up flora and fauna and depositing them in prime spots to become fossils. But what if it was really put there over millions of years? Well as you know, organic material decays quite rapidly. That tree wouldn’t last more than a year or two, let alone a full blown million years.

And that’s for plants, for animals it’s even worse. When a corpse is dead, it’s only a matter of minutes to hours before scavengers come for it. If that happens, the bones are scattered through the same layer as it’s eaten. But we find dinosaur fossils poking through numerous layers. A flood would give ample possibility for an animal to die and be buried under multiple layers of sediment. Creating the layers that many scientists say occured over millions of years. When in reality, it happened in hours, if not, minutes. So clearly something is up with the belief that every layer represents a million years or something similar.

To summarize, it’s not that the Earth is lying to you giving the impression of being millions of years old, people are interpreting the data wrong.

This is just a small glimpse into the data. I would suggest checking out Creation.com and Answersingenesis.org for more information.


LOL that’s my take as well. I’m just hesitant to claim that MY interpretation of the data is any more right than theirs, which is why I frame the question the way that I do.

I’ve checked out Creation.com and AnswersInGenesis.org numerous times over the years, and while I enjoy their willingness to look outside of conventional explanations, the explanations they provide are often just as presumptuous. Where the scientific community discards scriptural explanations because they don’t line up with science, AIG and the like often discard scientific evidence because what it suggests doesn’t line up with their interpretation of scripture. Advocates for both positions treat their positions as if they’re unassailable, and in so doing MISS, I think, potential explanations that can satisfy BOTH positions reasonably.

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really interesting discussion. (I’m still in the YEC camp as well at this stage)

@Clint, do you have any thoughts about this? I remember you were in the process of writing a paper about this… :slight_smile: (I don’t mean to put you on the spot if you’re still in the middle of writing…! :grin:)

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Hey Matt! Yes, I am in the process of writing it. Its due Oct. 15th. I will make sure to pass my thoughts along :blush:

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Hi, @TempusFugit

Some dating methods require you to already believe in millions of years before collecting data since the the smallest number achievable with those methods is in the millions of years. Anything below that won’t register. It’s a classic let my “beliefs shape reality scenario.” Although most people don’t know about the inner workings of the system, so it’s not quite them trying to bend reality. They’re merely accepting the information given to them.

Would you mind if I ask you some questions about this paragraph? I am trying to understand what you are saying:

When you say “The smallest number achievable with those methods is in the millions of years”, what methods are you referring to?

What do you mean by the inner workings of the system? What system are you referring to?

What do you mean by “it’s not quite them trying to bend reality”?

Thank you!

Hi @Francisco_Delgado! So this is what I learned during an Answers in Genesis conference:
The system I’m referring to is carbon dating. As you know, humans (and many other creatures) are Carbon Based Lifeforms. We have a specific type of carbon in our bodies. When we die, the carbon molecules change in a different form. Some say that by recording the number of carbon-12 or carbon-14 atoms, we can get the precise age.
But here’s where thing’s head south: the smallest number of years achievable with carbon dating are high numbers.

So if you use this dating method, you must already be looking for a number in the millions of years. There are many other methods that give much smaller numbers when examining the same remains.
As for the people accepting these facts, they don’t quite understand that there are other dating systems (dozens in fact) that give much smaller numbers. And those systems usually agree with each other.

Hi, @TempusFugit

I don’t want to get too technical in these conversations so most people can follow. Science can scare many people away and I would like for all of us Christians to have no fear when tackling questions of science. I also find it easier to chew small pieces than trying to swallow the whole elephant. That’s why I am asking more specific questions. Thank you for your reply.

what do you mean when you say that the smallest number of years achievable with carbon dating are high numbers?

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Well, there were a few things I probably should’ve said like Carbon dating can only be used to give maximum ages of abount 50K years, but if you assume that the earth is millions of years old and you also assume that the way things work now (like the amount of radiation present) is the way thing have always been, then the smallest numbers you get are in the millions of years.

Hope this helps! this could also be of great use: https://answersingenesis.org/geology/carbon-14/

also, not so fun fact: after Pres. Truman dropped the bombs on Japan, this spread radioactive particles into the atmosphere. This is one reason we have higher radiation levels anywhere in the world then any point before WW2. The air you are breathing in right now has more radiation then it would’ve have had normally 100 years ago


Thank you!
Whenever we are discussing complex topics on messaging systems it can be difficult for some of us to write without sounding rude. So please, if I say anything that may sound aggressive, let me know. My intention here is to have a constructive message, not a destructive one. We are all one family and we should stand together in Christ, and I think we should help each other in reaching those who are not believers. This is our main commission.

One of the most difficult things to do in a discussion of two different points of view is to avoid a straw man fallacy. This is, to misrepresent the other person’s point of view and attack that distorted representation. This is why I try to ask relevant questions as much as I can before giving an opinion. I admit that I still sometimes fail at that, and I hope that I am extended grace as much as I extend it to other people. So if I have misunderstood you, please point that out to me.

I see a straw man fallacy in the paragraph I quoted above from you. The straw man is that people who believe in an old Earth are committing a “circular reasoning” fallacy. Let me explain:

A circular reasoning or begging the question fallacy would say something like this:
“Because the Earth is billions of years old, all dating methods show that it is billions of years old”.

But you could also apply the same fallacy the other way around:
“Because the Earth is 6,000 years old, all dating methods should show that it is 6,000 years old”

Dating methods do not require you to believe one way or another. Radiometric dating methods have been developed by taking into consideration the immutable laws of physics present since the creation of the universe.

I am including these videos regarding radiometric dating. I would like to hear your thoughts about all this.

In Christ,
Paco Delgado

Hi @Francisco_Delgado! Not making it easy for me, are ya?:rofl:

And no, I don’t find it rude at all, that’s just how things are lost when using computers. Tone is something very much lost when writing on a computer, so I try to perceive things in the best light possible. Much better for me to assume someone was joking when they were really being rude, then to assume the opposite when someone was being nice.

The video I had attached cleared up some other things I had mentioned. Like the fact that this specific type of dating usually only gives a max age of 50,000 years. I had mixed up which dating methods they used for what, like the fact that carbon dating is the one that gives the younger age of the earth, which is why many non-creationist scientists don’t use it for dating fossils (which would be millions of years old)
But hey, I think we can allow a few lapses of memory for a conference I was in 2 years ago. (since that was where I learned it)

As for the fallacy, we could once again flip it and say carbon dating is the one giving the wrong ages and we are already looking for an age in the thousands of years to decide it’s the right one, and there are many people (Christians) who have come to believe in an old earth.
I have merely decided based off the fact that the majority (80-94, if I can recall correctly from the Answers in Genesis class I took) of dating methods give you that age.

But there are other ways of dating the Earth outside of Geology, like the time scientists cracked open a T-Rex bone to find blood cells still somewhat alive. We have studied blood cells in the present, and we can make a guess based off our medical understanding. But that’s another story for a other time.

And I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t studied this particular area of science in awhile. So this is all from rusty memories. Back when I did, I was a much rather emotionally detached person.
But God had other plans for me, so now I probably know much more about emotions and the human. It used to be so easy for me to look so smart with all those facts, like a person who had it all put together. I’ve changed my focus since then.

Hope this helps, and if you have anymore questions, hopefully my memory works well enough to sort through them. If not, then back to the books for me!