The question of the age of the earth is a huge point of disagreement between Creationists and Evolutionists and between Young Earth Creationists and Old Earth Creationists. The battle is easy to describe. Young earth creationists believe the earth is thousands of years old. Evolutionists and Old Earth Creationists believe the earth is billions of years old.
The differences about the age of the earth are so large no possible compromise can be reached. For example, neither side would be willing to admit the earth is 1 million years old.
The young earth creationist view believes Genesis is an accurate historical record. As a result the description of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 is a correct account of the beginning of all things. God created the earth, the universe and everything that exists in six days (also called six solar days, six 24 hour days and six literal days).
Because Genesis is a real history of the world the age of the earth can be estimated by a simple process of addition. Adam was created in year 0, lived 130 years and had a son named Seth. Seth lived 105 years and had a son named Enos. Enos had a son and so forth. The generations after Adam are recorded in Genesis 5 up to the time of Noah. By adding up the ages of the men when they had a son and then adding in the age of Noah at the time of the flood the reader discovers there was a span of 1,656 years between creation and Noah’s flood.
After the flood the same process of addition can be followed. Based upon Genesis 11 the reader discovers that Abraham was born about 390 years after the flood. A definite year for Abraham’s birth cannot be determined because the Bible does not say exactly how old Abraham’s father was when Abraham was born.
The same process of addition can be applied throughout the Old Testament. By piecing together various genealogies the length of time between creation and the birth of Jesus is determined to be approximately four thousand years. Since this is the year 2016 the age of the earth can be estimated to be a little over 6,000 years.
Some legitimate questions have been raised about the genealogies. Some of the genealogies possibly have gaps of several generations between one name and the next. Instead of them being all father-son, some maybe grandfather -grandson. If there are gaps in the genealogies then the age of the earth would be increased possibly by as much as several thousand years.
Because the Old Testament is an accurate account of the history of humanity, most young earth creationists accept the age of the earth to be between six and ten thousand years old.
Dinosaurs are a topic of great fascination. Whether it be through incredible CGI in popular movies, massive skeletal displays in museums or colorful pictures in children’s books, dinosaurs have captured the imagination of many people. For some dinosaurs are seen as a trump card disproving creation. Some ask if God created the dinosaurs then why aren’t there any still alive today. Some ask if God created dinosaurs why doesn’t it say anything about dinosaurs in the Bible. Some think that because dinosaurs are so different from anything alive today they must have lived eons ago and thus the Bible’s description of creation is wrong.
All of these assumptions and conclusions can easily be answered with a little consideration of what the Bible teaches. The Bible does talk about dinosaurs, directly and indirectly, though it doesn’t use the word dinosaur. The reason the Bible does not use the word dinosaur is very simple. The first major English translation of the Bible still being used today is the King James Version. The King James was translated in 1611. The word dinosaur was not coined until the early 1840’s by a scientist named Richard Owen. Any reference to dinosaur’s before that date would have used a different word or words. In the Biblical passages that describe great beasts reminiscent of dinosaurs the newer Bible translations often use the same words used in the King James translation. Simply put, the word dinosaur is not found in the Bible because of it’s relatively recent invention.
Though the word dinosaur is not found in the Bible, what is found are descriptions of beasts that appear to be dinosaurs. Two such descriptions stand out from the boo of Job. A creature called Behemoth is described in Job 40, and Job 41 describes a beast known as Leviathan. Neither of these are fictitious animals and they are creatures that would have lived in the region around Job at the time he was alive. About 4,000 years ago God instructed a man to remember a pair of massive animals that he would have seen and been familiar with. The description of Behemoth in Job 40:15-24 pictures a massive creature that eats grass like cattle, has bones of great strength, has colossal strength, lives in swampy regions and around streams, is confident against all foes because of it’s great strength and has a tail like a cedar tree. Some are tempted to suggest the Behemoth was just a large elephant or rhinoceros, yet no creature other than a dinosaur fits the descriptions of massive size and strength coupled with a tree-like tail. Though the Bible does not use the word dinosaur, it certainly describes dinosaur like creatures.
God created all animals on the fifth and sixth days of creation. This includes the lumbering dinosaurs like the Apatosaurus, the fast moving dinosaurs like Velociraptors, the soaring dinosaurs like Pterodactyls (yes, I know they are not technically dinosaurs) and the swimming dinosaurs like Plesiosaurs. After creation man sinned against God and brought the curse of sin on the whole world. This curse includes suffering and death. As a result of man’s sin, many species of animals have gone extinct in the past and are going extinct today. Though some of the dinosaurs were unique and awe-inspiring, their size and strength does not mean they were not created by God. Though all the dinosaurs are extinct today, their disappearance from the Earth does not mean they were not created by God. God created all animals, including the dinosaurs. Man’s sin is responsible for their extinction, not evolutionary epochs.
Tune in this Sunday at noon on WRUP 92.7 FM to hear the first half of a special roundtable discussion about creation and evolution.
In preparation for our two part radio series on Creation and Evolution, I am using March to answer some common questions about creationism. Be sure to tune in to the broadcast at noon on March 22, 2015 to hear part one in which our pastor’s round table tackles the topic of evolution.
Some of the most common objections to Biblical Creationism (the belief that God created everything out of nothing in six days less than ten thousand years ago) come from mistaken ideas about extinct animals and paleolithic people. Because evolution asserts that hominids progressively increased in vertical mobility and intellectual capacity, cavemen are often seen as a knuckle drugging, monosyllabic phenomena unexplainable by the Bible. What does the Bible say about cavemen? Can the Bible explain cavemen?
The Bible does not specifically mention cavemen (though it does talk about several men who lived in caves at some time in their lives). Cavemen as we think of them were not described until the modern model of evolution advanced the speculations of a connected chain of increasingly intelligent hominids.
Though the Bible is silent about cavemen in particular, it does describe an event which would have forced a large portion of the human population to live in very primitive conditions. This event would have driven many people away from their cities to settle difficult regions of the world. In Genesis 11 the Bible tells of a time a couple hundred years after the flood when mankind joined together in rebellion against God. God punished man’s rebellion by causing every family group to speak a language different and then by scattering the families across the world.
These people groups traveled through inhospitable regions and then settled areas still recovering from the devastation of the flood. The sudden loss of connection with the rest of humanity would have resulted in many vital skills and technology being lost to each family. Modern examples may help guide our thinking here. Were the farmers who planted Kansas and Nebraska intellectually inferior because they lived in sod huts? Were the Indians who roamed America less intelligent because they lived in tents of animal hide and only had bow and arrow weapons? We have somehow equated technological advancement with great intellect. We assume because a people were living in caves and wearing furs (though their clothing choices is a bit of an assumption as well) they must have been dumber than we are. These people were not stupid, but rather pioneers in a post-apocalyptic world.
The cavemen were not biological inferiors who had to eventually give way to more evolved homo sapiens. The reality is “cavemen” are genetically human. Typically we consider Neanderthals (or Neandertals if you’re committed to keeping up with the popular spelling) and Cro-Magnon are consider cavemen. Both groups are readily identifiable as humans. They fall well within the normal variations for a people group, and both could live in our world today without attracting any particular attention. They were men and women created by God in His image who survived in a difficult world still reeling in the aftermath of Noah’s flood.