Hi everyone, How old is the earth?. Thanks.
It would be nice if there were an answer as concise as the question, but you’ll find legitimate theologians, preachers, and Christian philosophers in disagreement with each other on this topic.
The most prominent voice for “young earth” today is probably Ken Ham, and so if you are interested in what he has to say, it’s a quick Google search away.
A recognizable figure on the other side of the debate is Norman Geisler who has co-authored and co-edited books with Ravi Zacharias. Linked is one of Geisler’s responses to some of Ken Ham’s work. He links to some of his previous work on the subject, but this article is mostly just defending his position more than establishing it.
This article by Rodney Whitefield is an argument for an “old earth” reading of Genesis 1.
I don’t know which is the predominant theory in Christian communities through history(Geisler mentions in the linked article that St. Augustine adhered to an old earth view, and I know that Charles Spurgeon did as well), but I do know that young earth is default today. Part of the reason may be due to the prevalence of the theory of evolution as an explanation for origin, and churches or Christians adopting a view of origin which they feel closes the door on that theory. Something that I feel is massively important to mention here is that the door remains firmly shut even if you were to hold an old earth view. My education as a mathematician and statistician has made this glaringly apparent, and men like Dr. David Berlinksi, Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe, and Sir Frederick Hoyle have produced some calculations and results that demonstrate my point.
I know I am getting a bit off topic here, but I have spent a decent amount of time on this subject, and have found my own view on the matter shifting over the last several years. In the end I agree wholeheartedly with Norman Geisler when he says, " I am convinced of one thing—the age of the earth is not a test of orthodoxy." I do believe that when you analyze Biblical and physical evidence, it suggests an answer. I find myself convinced of an answer which you may be able to guess at this point, but whether or not other Christians agree or disagree with me isn’t a prerequisite for a genuine relationship with Christ.
I hope you enjoy studying some of the work that has been done to answer this question, as well as any other contributions to this thread.
I agree with @Mitchell_Paukner it would be nice to have a one line answer. Not to beat a dead horse I added a link from a Q&A on connect with Hugh Ross. At the bottom of the thread are several links to some very good threads. You can always add a comment to any thread on connect if you feel that you have more questions or your want to add some good points.
It’s Neil here…made a vow to God 45 yrs ago that
“ I will read the Bible every day for the rest of my life for …”. I had to fill in the time
I figured I might have a chance of keeping that vow if I put in “ 1 minute”
That was a miracle I experienced…not in my strength…it was the Holy Spirit that continually reminded me. “ Did you do your reading today?” And many times I got out of bed to keep my vow…at HIS encouraging
Anyway, many Q ‘s,…one of which is the one you raised…I was given a Bible when I was 7 yrs old that I never read for 37 yrs…I became a believer at 37…and …started reading, and to my surprise, on page 1, Gen 1 , at the top of the page it read. 4004 BC…and Gen 7…the flood at 2348 BC…( that was 1656 yrs from Creation Week)
How did Archbishop Ussher use the Bible to figure that out?..look up Ussher on the ‘net, and you’ll see how he used the genealogies of the Bible to calculate that…Sir Isaac Newton did the same search, and came up with basically the same result
I’m a retired High School Math teacher , and so am wired that way…lots of Q ‘s… lots of answers
Enough for now
Hope this helps!
IN HIM, THE BEST PLACE TO BE
THE SECRET PLACE OF PS 91?
Not to add too much to an already well discussed topic, but this is a subject that I am always thinking about and that I love to discuss with others. I know many Christians who are young-earth believers, and many others who are old-earth believers. In my own personal perspective, I am a young-earth believer. I have done a lot of research on this subject and have found little evidence, or convincing argument, for an old-earth view. Any of the ways that we come up with to explain the earth being old just seem to be cloudy at best, and many times, more speculation than actual fact. If we follow the genealogies of the Bible, the largest agreement seems to be that we get somewhere in the realm of 6000 years. This is of course not an exact number but it gives a general idea. To those of us in this day and age of evolutionary ideology, this seems like a small amount of time, but I think that is more attributed to the fact that we have heard all of our lives that the earth is billions of years old and so in comparison, 6000 years sounds ridiculous. But lets think for a minute if its plausible. 6000 years is not any small amount of time, I do not think that there is anyone on this earth who can process such an amount of time any easier than they can billions of years. So when we really get down to the idea, it is not so crazy at all to think that the earth could be this young.
That being said, I have come to agree that this subject is not a salvation issue, but I stand firm on it as an authority issue. Most people that I have come across who believe in an old-earth view usually come at it from a couple of angles, one: that the days in Genesis are not literal 24-hour days, or two: that there is a significant period of time between the creation of the heavens and the earth and the rest of the creation days (gap theory). Either way I look at these ideas I have serious issues with giving them credibility. It is not possible to factually posit a large gap of time in the first 2 verses of Genesis, and so, this involves speculating, which I am just simply not willing to bet such a thing on. My issue with the days is that there are three qualifiers that make them out to be 24-hour days. Each day in Genesis is qualified as follows: "the evening and morning were the 1st day, the evening and morning were the 2nd day, etc… It is because of these issues that I simply cannot personally find any credible way to believe that the earth is that old. Others may disagree with me and I am fine with that, we should all investigate this issue personally so that we can concentrate on the most important fact, the ultimate and undeniable authority of God’s word.
I hope that these thoughts have helped to give more clarity on this issue and hope that God will grant us all wisdom and discernment in our search for answers. God bless you all and I look forward to more great discussions like this one. Thank you
Hi, @mmingus36! Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us, and I just wanted to clarify something…
By saying this, are you implying that those who would take an old-earth view do not take seriously the authority of Scripture? And that in order to take the authority of Scripture seriously, one has to come to newer-earth conclusions about the age of the earth? Or are you just expanding on how this issue plays out in your own mind and reasoning?
Hello Kathleen it is great to hear from you. What I mean in that statement is not that those who take an old-earth view are not taking the authority of the scriptures seriously, but rather that if we are going to reach a conclusion on such matters that it should be able to line up with scripture both on a personal level for us, and on an empirically verifiable level as well. Simply adding our own speculations and ideas to scripture, however, can lead to contradiction and a breakdown of the authority of scripture, especially to those we may be trying to explain such things to. Therefore, what I mean by that is we should always respect the authority of what God’s word says first and extrapolate from that with His word remaining as both the foundation and the filter through which we investigate such issues. Thank you and I hope that answers your question.
Hi Jaume, hope you are having a blessed day! How old is the earth?
For one interesting perspective, one that John Piper has taken a stand on, is the book, “Genesis Unbound” by Dr. John Sailhammer. I trust it shall elucidate your understanding and worldview.
Peace and grace my friend,