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Creation Vs. Evolution: Geology

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Apparent Age

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

How old is the Earth? No one knows the exact number of times this globe has orbited the Sun. However, using biblical chronology a person can calculate the age of the Earth to be in the neighborhood of 6,000 years old.

“But the Earth looks millions of years old,” some people will protest. There are at least two responses to such a statement. First, one might ask: “Compared to what; what does a young Earth look like?” We do not have another Earth that we know is younger than this one, so how would we know what a young Earth looks like. Second, it should not surprise us if science occasionally calculates older dates for the Earth, due to a concept known as the “doctrine of apparent age.”

This idea suggests that the things God made during the Creation week were formed complete and fully functional. For instance, how old were Adam and Eve two seconds after God created them? They were two seconds old! Yet they walked, talked, and looked like adult human beings, and even had the ability to reproduce (which was one of the commands God gave them—Genesis 1:28). If a tree were cut down in the Garden of Eden one day after the Creation week, how many rings would it have had? Possibly hundreds, yet it would have been only five days old (trees and other plants, remember, were created on day three of the Creation week). So, the real age of the tree and the apparent age of the tree would have been quite different. Just because this Earth may appear older than 6,000 years, that does not mean it is older than that.

However, we must be careful not to “read into” the Bible things that are not there. For example, some people have asked if the doctrine of apparent age means that God placed plants and animals in the fossil record to “trick” man or “test his faith”? No, God never would do that. Why? When we find a fossil, we naturally (and correctly) believe that the organism that made the fossil once lived on Earth. If God just “inserted” it into the fossil record, then He has misled us or lied to us. Yet the Bible plainly teaches us that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). How, then, did the vast numbers of plants and animals (and, occasionally, humans) become entombed in the fossil record? Likely, many (though not all) of the fossils we see are the result of the Flood of Noah.

Other people have suggested that if God made the Earth appear older than it actually is, then He has deceived us because things aren’t really as old as they look. This criticism would be true—except for one thing: God told us what He did! He did not leave us in the dark or try to “trick us” or “test our faith” by hiding from us important information that we would need. Rather, He was very straightforward and honest with us. Considering the material found in the first eleven chapters of Genesis (and elsewhere through the Bible), no one can justifiably accuse God of deception. If we ignore His Word regarding what He said He did, is it God’s fault? Hardly!




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