Initial Thoughts on the Age of the Earth

I have been doing some study on the age of the earth. I am just beginning to scratch the surface of the research out there. I have my assumptions about its age. These assumptions come from a straight forward reading of Genesis 1-3 and related texts. However, I know many evangelicals disagree on this point.  Here are some of my initial thoughts on this subject. These are a bit random but they put fences around my further exploration of the topic.

The three books I have used so far have been Jim Jordan’s Creation in Six Days, Douglas Kelly’s Creation and Change, and Henry Morris’ The Genesis Record. I have also read some articles that deal with this including Kline and Waltke. I read some of Philip Johnson a long time ago. I have also read various secular men who are working to refute or at least modify the prevailing views of evolution.

First, the Biblical chronology from Adam to us is a few thousand years. Even if we put gaps in the genealogies (and it must be proven they exist), we cannot get thousands (much less millions) more years. If you look at Genesis 5, 11, and other genealogies, such as Luke 3, it is clear that they are intended to be pretty straight forward accounts of who was born to whom. For example, compare Genesis 5:1-24 with I Chronicles 1:1-3, Luke 3:36-38, and Jude 1:14. All of these show that Enoch was the seventh generation after Adam. There may be gaps (and there may not be) but these gaps are not thousands of years. Thus from Adam to us will be around 6,000 years maybe a bit  more. If thousands or millions of more years are to found they must be found earlier than Adam. One cannot posit an old earth (unless by old-earth one means 10,000 years or less!) from the Biblical chronology post-Adam. In other words, from the day six creation of Adam to us is not very long.

Second, the Bible treats the creation account as history. It assumes a literal Adam and Eve with a literal fall in the garden that happened exactly as the Genesis account says it does. Christ assumes the creation account is accurate in Matthew 19:3-9. Paul assumes the creation account in I Corinthians 11:8-9 and I Timothy 2:13-14. Henry Morris has an extensive list of New Testament allusions and quotations to Genesis. Not all of these are from the first few chapters of Genesis. But the list proves that New Testament treated Genesis as real history.

Third, Adam was created from the dust of the earth. He did not evolve. Eve was created from his side. She did not evolve either. There is nothing in the Genesis text to point to the animals evolving either. Theistic evolution is compromise of highest order.

Fourth, death came with Adam’s sin. There was no death prior to Adam’s sin. This is clear in the New Testament passages which refer to Adam (Romans 5:12-21 and I Corinthians 15:21-22). The phrase, “It was good” throughout Genesis 1 could point to this as well. To say there was death prior to Adam is to undo the fabric of Scripture.

Fifth, the concept of evolution necessarily involves death. I understand this is simplistic. But evolution means organisms that do not adapt die. For evolution to be a part of the creation week there must be death. But death does not come until Genesis 3. What about plants? Did they die prior to Adam’s sin? There is no reason to assume that to be the case. It would appear there is a difference between plants and animals in this regard. Plants could be eaten prior to the fall and may be eaten in the New Heavens and Earth (Isaiah 11:6-9, 65:25). (These passages in Isaiah probably involve some type of symbolism. But even if that is the case the symbol is one of peace. Thus eating straw implies peace, not death.) Another thought is eating a plant does not require it dying. Eating an animal usually does.

Sixth, God created all things from nothing (See Jeremiah 32:1, Acts 4:24, Colossians 1:16-17, and Hebrews 11:3). Matter is not eternal (See II Timothy 1:9 and Titus 1:1). Only God is. There was a time when there was only God.

Seventh, there is no reason to pit literary form against literal chronology. The Bible often punctuates historical narratives with literary structures. For example, the entire book of Genesis is structured by the idea of generations (See Genesis 2:4, 5:1, 6:9, etc.). Does this literary device make the story non-chronological or unhistorical? Does a chiasm in I Kings make it unhistorical and non-chronological? My point here is that to argue for a literary/poetic reading of Genesis 1 does not have to lead one away from a 24-hour, six day creation. It must be proven that the literary structure denies a 24-hour, six day creation.