One of our readers asks a question about the age of the earth: "I'd be interested to hear your opinion on the age of the earth. Scientists believe it is millions of years old, but the Bible says God made it in six days. If we count up the generations mentioned in the Bible, we can conclude that Adam was created about six thousand years ago. This fits in nicely with the theological belief that the earth is now "six days" old (a day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day), and we are ready to enter into the seventh (Satan will be bound for a thousand years). The parable of the good Samaritan also fits in nicely with this theology. Both of these views make a lot of sense on their own, but they don't fit together. They seem to be mutually exclusive. Any comments?"
As usual, we do indeed have some comments, first on the age of the earth, and then (in the next article) on the thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20 in relation to the beginning of a new millennium. Both matters are of importance.
While we do not think that one can actually date the creation as accurately as Bishop Ussher did, we do believe that the age of the earth can be reckoned with some accuracy from Scripture. We agree, therefore, that it is about 6000 years old, and consider the notion that the earth is millions or billions of years old a denial of Scripture.
We must begin from a belief in the inspiration, infallibility and authority of Scripture as the Word of God. On this basis there can be no doubt that the generations and genealogies, given by Scripture, show that the earth was created about 6,000 years ago (this is, we believe, one of the purposes of these genealogies).
Bishop Ussher is often ridiculed for his suggestion that the earth was created in 4004 B.C., but it must be remembered: (1) that he only suggested the date as a possibility, and (2) that he proceeded from the conviction that Scripture's testimony is true and accurate. On that same basis, every Bible-believing Christian must reject the foolish theories of evolutionism and hold to Creationism and a belief in a young earth.
There may be some difference. Perhaps, for example, the OT genealogies are not complete (compare Gen. 11:36 with Luke 3:35, 36; and note the genealogy in Matt. 1 is not complete). Nevertheless, even if there are gaps in the genealogies, earth cannot be much older than 6,000 years, and certainly no older than the 10,000 years suggested by some Christian scholars. There is no room in Scripture for the billions of years, however.
There is much at stake in this debate about the age of the earth and about creation versus evolution. The inspiration and authority of Scripture are at stake, first of all. And, contrary to many, Christ's truthfulness is at stake, as well as our belief in His saving work.
Christ believed the historicity and truthfulness of the account of creation and the fall. He believed in a real Adam and Eve, a real paradise with its two special trees, a real speaking serpent, and accepted the genealogies of the OT (Matt. 19:4-6; Lk. 3:23-38; Jn. 8:44; Rev. 2:7). Was He mistaken?
So, too, by His own testimony He came to save us from Adam's sin of eating the forbidden fruit in the garden at the instigation of Satan (Jn. 8:44). Belief in an old earth and in evolutionary development must deny a real Adam and a real fall through the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. This calls into question the very purpose of Christ's coming into the world. We must believe (Heb. 11:3) a young earth.
- Volume: 7
- Issue: 23
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
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