QUESTION
How old is the Earth, and what are the evidences for the Earth being that age?

ANSWER by Joseph

To start, let me say that I am what is known as a “Young Earth Creationist”. This means that not only do I believe that God created the entire universe in six days, like described in the Bible, I also believe that, compared to the secular dates of around 4.5 billion years, the earth is young, only around 6,000 years old.* In this answer, I will give the reasons and evidences for this age.  In order to do that, I will use two methods, one theological and one scientific. Let’s start with the theological

When dealing with the age of the earth and the Bible, it is always the Bible that should be our defining point. This is because as Christians, we believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired (literally ‘breathed’) by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” All of our understanding of the world should come through the Bible. It should be the basis of our thinking in every area. Therefore it is here that we shall start.

It is important to recognise that nowhere in the Bible is it stated, “The Earth is 6,000 years old”. And a good job too, as it would be out of date the following year! This shouldn’t surprise us, as we wouldn’t expect God to make such a mistake. Instead, what He gave us was instead, as birth certificate. Just as you can work out your age from your birth certificate, we can do the same with the earth. Genesis says that the Earth was created on the first day of creation week (Genesis 1:1-5). From there we can begin to work out the age of the Earth. Let me show you how.

Genesis tells us that Adam, the first man, was created on day six of creation week, five days after the Earth. We know these were literal days, as Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:4 “He who made them at the beginning made them male and female”. Note, man was made at the beginning, not many thousands or millions of years after the beginning. Now, if we add up the dates from Adam to Abraham, using the genealogies in the Masoretic Hebrew text of Genesis 5 and 11, we get about 2,000 years (Hodge, B; 2009). Whether Christian or secular, most scholars would agree that Abraham lived about 2,000 B.C. (4,000 years ago). So, a simple calculation is:

5 days

+ ~ 2,000 years
+ ~ 4,000 years
= ~ 6,000 years


At this point the first five days is negligible. Quite a few people have done this calculation using the Masoretic text (which is what most English translations are based on), and they have arrived at this date of about 4,000 B.C. Two of the best known are the recent work by Dr. Floyd Jones, and a much earlier book by Archbishop James Ussher.

Name Age Calculated Reference and Date
Archbishop James Ussher 4004 B.C. The Annals of the World, A.D. 1658
Dr. Floyd Nolan Jones 4004 B.C. The Chronology of the Old Testament, A.D. 1993


The misconception exists that Ussher and Jones are the only ones to arrive at a date of around 4000 B.C.  However, this is not the case at all. Jones lists over 32 chronologists who have undertaken the task of calculating the age of the earth based on the Bible, and their calculations range from 5501 to 3836 B.C. (Jones, F; 1993)

There are other Biblical reasons to believe in a young earth. One of the main reasons is that the only other reason to believe in a very old earth is to allow time for evolution to occur. Often, biblical scholars admit that although Genesis is clear that the earth is young, they disagree on the basis that Science has “proven” that the earth is millions of years old. The following quote from the late Dr. Gleason Archer, is typical of this: “From a superficial reading of Genesis 1, the impression would seem to be that the entire creative process took place in six twenty-four-hour days. If this was the true intent of the Hebrew author … this seems to run counter to modern scientific research, which indicates that the planet Earth was created several billion years ago” (Archer, G; 1985).

Accepting millions of years of the geological ages (as the evolutionists interpret the fossil record) destroys the Bible’s teaching on death, which clearly indicates that there was no animal death or human death before the Fall. In addition, there could not have been thorns and thistles and cancer (e.g., in dinosaur bones) in God’s “very good” creation, so the rock layers that contain these things can’t be millions of years old, but must have been deposited after Adam sinned (during the Flood).

Closely related to this is the character of God. The God revealed in the Bible could not possibly have created over millions of years involving death and disease and five mass-extinction events (when 70–90% of the creatures at the time were destroyed), as the evolutionists and old-earth creationists believe. Why not? Because the God of Scripture reveals that in the post-Fall world He cares for His creation (even though it is under His curse: Romans 8: 19-20.) He also commands the Israelites to care for their animals with compassion (e.g., they are to receive a Sabbath rest – Exodus 20:10; and Proverbs 12:10 says “A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, but even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.”)

Righteous sinners would be more righteous than God Almighty, if God really created and destroyed billions of animals for no moral reason over millions of years before Adam, the way old-earth creationists imagine. The God of the Bible is not the god of an old earth.

Destroying the Bible’s teaching on death and undermining the character of God results in undermining the doctrine of redemption. Christ’s work will ultimately restore all things (Acts 3:21) and redeem all things (Colossians 15:1-20) and liberate all things by bringing an end to the curse (Revelation 21:3-5). As His righteousness finally fills the new earth, carnivores and animals dangerous to man will be changed to harmless vegetarians (Isaiah 11: 9-6). Those of us going to heaven do not have to look forward to millions of years (really an eternity) of death, disease, catastrophes, etc. So belief in millions of years is a subtle attack on the gospel.

So those are the Biblical reasons that the Earth is around 6,000 years old.

Now for some scientific evidence of a young earth.

While no one can’t get a definitive age for the earth, there are many evidences that back up the young age of the earth, as described in the Bible. I will now go through ten of these evidences.

1. Very little sediment on the sea floor.
If the earth was really billions of years old, the sediments on the sea floor should be a lot thicker. Each year, over 20 billion tons of dirt and rock get washed into the sea, and settle on the sea floor, mainly around the continents. Yet the total depth of these sediments is around 400 metres. Some have suggested that some of this sediment gets carried under the earth’s crust due to tectonic movements (Milliman, J; Syvitski, J; 1992). They suggest that around 1 billion tons gets destroyed like this every year. This means the total accumulation of sediment on the sea floor each year is 19 billion tons. At this rate, 400 metres of sediment would accumulate within 12 million years. If the earth was 4 billion years old, there should be a lot more sediment on the sea floor. Even though 12 million years is much older than the Biblical age of 6,000 years, this can easily be explained by the Biblical global flood of Noah’s day, which would have washed masses of sediment off the continents, and into the sea.

2. Bent layers in rock formations.

Throughout the world, we see examples of bent rock layers. These layers are un-fractured, meaning that they had to be bent while the sediment was still soft (Goodman, R; 1980). The problem with this comes when these bent deposits are supposed to be laid down over many millions of years. You can’t deposit sediments pre-bent, so these layers had to be bent after deposition. But if it took millions of years to lay the formation down, the layers would have solidified long before the formation was completed. This would make bent layers impossible, as they would have cracked as they were put under pressure. However in the Biblical flood, they could have been laid down quickly, before being bent while the formation was still soft. Bent layers are impossible in an old earth scenario, but make perfect sense in the Biblical worldview.

3. Soft tissue in fossils.

There is a remarkable amount of soft biological tissue in fossils. One of the most remarkable examples is the fossil squid, now in Creation Research’s Jurassic Ark museum, which not only still has its ink sac intact, but also still has ink in it! (Mackay, J; 2011). In fact, the ink was so well preserved, that John Mackay was even able to get a feather, dissolve the ink in ammonia, and write the word “ink” on a piece of paper! To even think that this ink had survived over 100 million years is completely bonkers!

Another example is the multiple examples of soft biological tissue found in dinosaur bones. This was first discovered by Mary Schweitzer in 1995. When studying some samples of dinosaur bone marrow, she made incredible discovery. Amazingly, the bone marrow contained what appeared to be flexible tissue.

Initially, some sceptical scientists suggested that bacterial biofilms (bacteria aggregated in a slime) formed what only appear to be blood vessels and bone cells. Recently Schweitzer and co-workers found biochemical evidence for intact fragments of the protein collagen, which is the building block of connective tissue. This is important because collagen is a highly distinctive protein not made by bacteria. (Schweitzer, M; 2010)

Some evolutionists have strongly criticized Schweitzer’s conclusions because they are understandably reluctant to concede the existence of blood vessels, cells with nuclei, tissue elasticity, and intact protein fragments in a dinosaur bone dated at 68 million years old. Other evolutionists, who find Schweitzer’s evidence too compelling to ignore, simply conclude that there is some previously unrecognized form of fossilization that preserves cells and protein fragments over tens of millions of years.

Needless to say, no evolutionist has publically considered the possibility that dinosaur fossils are not millions of years old, but no one has given any plausible example as to how this soft tissue could have been preserved. Since people have started looking, we have found many more examples of even better soft tissue in dinosaur bone. (Mitchell, E; 2016)
Other examples include fresh wood, supposedly millions of years old.

4. Faint young sun paradox.

Evidence now supports astronomers’ belief that the sun’s power comes from the fusion of hydrogen into helium deep in the sun’s core, but there is a huge problem. As the hydrogen fuses, it should change the composition of the sun’s core, gradually increasing the sun’s temperature. If true, this means that the earth was colder in the past. In fact, the earth would have been below freezing 3.5 billion years ago, when life supposedly evolved.

The rate of nuclear fusion depends upon the temperature. As the sun’s core temperatures increase, the sun’s energy output should also increase, causing the sun to brighten over time. Calculations show that the sun would brighten by 25% after 3.5 billion years. This means that an early sun would have been fainter, warming the earth 17°C less than it does today. That’s below freezing.

Evolutionists acknowledge that there is no evidence of this in the geologic record. They even call this problem the “faint young sun paradox”. While this isn’t a problem over many thousands of years, it is a problem if the world is billions of years old.

5. Rapidly decaying magnetic field.

The earth has a magnetic field that protects life on earth from solar radiation. Without it, life could not exist. Scientists have recently discovered that the earth’s magnetic field is rapidly decaying (MacDonald, A.L; Gunst, R.H; 1967). At the rate that it is decaying, the earth could not be older than twenty thousand years old. Note that this is a maximum age for the earth, not an actual age. It just shows that the earth could not even be one million years old, let alone billions of years old.

6. Recession of the moon.

The gravitational pull of the moon creates a “tidal bulge” on earth that causes the moon to spiral outwards very slowly. Because of this effect, the moon would have been closer to the earth in the past. Based on gravitational forces and the current rate of recession, we can calculate how much the moon has moved away over time. If the earth is only 6,000 years old, there’s no problem, because in that time the moon would have only moved about 250 m. But most astronomy books teach that the moon is over four billion years old, which poses a major dilemma—less than 1.5 billion years ago the moon would have been touching the earth!

7. Carbon-14 in diamonds.

Carbon-14 is very short lived, with a half-life of only 5,730 years (Whitelaw, R; 1970). This means that no trace of carbon-14 should be found in minerals more than a couple of hundred thousand years. However large amounts of carbon-14 has been found in diamonds, which are dated at over a billion years! Again, this is evidence that the secular dates are wrong, and the actual observations are completely in line with the Biblical timeframe of 6,000 years.

8. Short lived comets.

A comet spends most of its time far from the sun in the deep freeze of space. But once each orbit a comet comes very close to the sun, allowing the sun’s heat to evaporate much of the comet’s ice and dislodge dust to form a beautiful tail. Comets have little mass, so each close pass to the sun greatly reduces a comet’s size, and eventually comets fade away. They can’t survive billions of years.

9. Very little salt in the sea.

If the earth’s oceans were three billion years old, there should be vastly more salt in the sea than there is today. At today’s rates of salt input, the oceans would have reached their current salinity within 42 million years (Austin, S; Humphreys, R; 1990) This is far too young for an old earth, and easily fits with the biblical age of 6,000 years when you realise that the Biblical flood would have washed large amounts of salt into the ocean, greatly reducing the 42 million years.

10. DNA in bacteria.

In 2000, scientists claimed to have “resurrected” bacteria, named Lazarus bacteria, discovered in a salt crystal conventionally dated at 250 million years old. They were shocked that the bacteria’s DNA was very similar to modern bacterial DNA. If the modern bacteria were the result of 250 million years of evolution, its DNA should be very different from the Lazarus bacteria (based on known mutation rates). In addition, the scientists were surprised to find that the DNA was still intact after the supposed 250 million years. DNA normally breaks down quickly, even in ideal conditions.

Even evolutionists agree that DNA in bacterial spores (a dormant state) should not last more than a million years. Their quandary is quite substantial. However, the discovery of Lazarus bacteria is not shocking or surprising when we base our expectations on the Bible accounts. For instance, Noah’s Flood likely deposited the salt beds that were home to the bacteria. If the Lazarus bacteria are only about 4,500 years old (the approximate number of years that have passed since the worldwide flood), their DNA is more likely to be intact and similar to modern bacteria (Nickle, D; 2002)

Summary

Over all, the evidence is clear: the Earth cannot be billions of years old, for both scientific and Biblical reasons. The age of around 6,000 years, given by the genealogies in Genesis makes much more sense.
I hope this answers your question! I realise that this is quite a long answer, but I hope you find it helpful!
God Bless, and thanks,
Joseph.

For more on the age of the earth see the question:EARTH’S AGE: Where does the age for the earth of around 6,000 years come from? Answer by Diane Eager and Daniel Durston here.

*Not all young-earth creationists agree with this age. Some believe that there may be small gaps in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, and put the maximum age at about 10,000, to 12,000 years. However, I disagree with this, as you shall see later.

Bodie Hodge, “Ancient Patriarchs in Genesis”, Answers in Genesis, www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/01/20/ancient-patriarchs-in-genesis .

Jones, Chronology of the Old Testament, page 26.

Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, Moody Press, Chicago, p. 187, 1985

John Mackay, Fossil Ink - Should Make You Think
http://creationresearch.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=526:fossil-ink&catid=36&Itemid=1776

L. McDonald and R. H. Gunst, “An Analysis of the Earth’s Magnetic Field from 1835 to 1965,” ESSA Technical Report, IER 46-IES 1 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1967)

Robert L. Whitelaw, “Time, Life, and History in the Light of 15,000 Radiocarbon Dates,” Creation Research Society Quarterly 7, no. 1 (1970): 56–71.

Steven A. Austin and D. Russell Humphreys, “The Sea’s Missing Salt: A Dilemma for Evolutionists,” in Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, R. E. Walsh and C. L. Brooks, eds., volume 2 (Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship, 1990), pp. 17–33.

David C. Nickle, et al., “Curiously Modern DNA for a “250 million-year-old” Bacterium,” Journal of Molecular Evolution 54 (2002): 134–137, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11734907 (link to abstract).

Schweitzer, M; Blood from Stone, Scientific American [December 2010, pp. 62–69]
Mitchell, E; https://answersingenesis.org/dinosaurs/bones/proteins-blood-vessels-evolutionary-history/
John D. Milliman and James P. N. Syvitski, “Geomorphic/Tectonic Control of Sediment Discharge to the Ocean: The Importance of Small Mountainous Rivers,” The Journal of Geology 100 (1992): 525–544.

R.E. Goodman, Introduction to Rock Mechanics (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1980);

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