Sunday, January 26, 2014

T.T. 61 - How old is the earth?

T.T. 61 - How old is the earth?

The only way that anyone could know the age of the earth would be if they were present when it was being formed. As only the Creator Himself was present, He is the only one who could tell you when He made it. Although the Bible doesn't tell us exactly when the earth was created, by a careful reading of its recorded events and time spans between them, we can conclude that the earth is about 6,000 years old. It may possibly be slightly older than this, but not by much.

Contrary to what some people believe, Science cannot tell us how old the earth is This is because scientific experiments can only be performed in the present, and not the past. Therefore, as no human was present when the earth was first formed, we cannot look to any human to give us a definitive answer.

There are, however, numerous ways in which people can try to estimate the age of the earth. (For a more detailed revue, see the Creation Ministries International web site).These estimates vary from just a few thousand years (which are close to the age derived from the Biblical record) to about five billion years! However, all these methods depend upon many assumptions, mainly that the change processes that we can presently observe happening on the earth having always occurred at the same rate. No-one can know this.

The fact that different methods of estimating the earth's age, and indeed different scientific laboratories using the same method, come up with very different answers, suggest that conditions on the earth have not always been the same and demonstrate how unreliable such findings are.

Which earth age-estimation methods a person chooses to believe will depend on their world view. Biblical Christians will obviously accept the "young earth" estimates, whereas Evolutionists will choose to accept the "old earth" estimates. That is because for evolution to be even remotely possible it would require aeons of time for all the necessary changes to take place as we evolved from chemicals to a living single cell, and then into man, not to mention all the many different life forms we find today.

Most of these methods actually conclude that the earth is "young", usually giving values of between about 5,000 to 1 million years. The only earth age-estimation methods that give answers of billions of years are the radiometric dating methods in which the rate at which one type of chemical element is changed into another is measured. For example, if we know that element A in the earth is slowly changing to element B, then by measuring the present rate of change, and the amount of A and B presently in the sample, we can calculate how long the process has been occurring, and thus how long ago it was first formed. However, apart from assuming that the rate of change has always been constant, we need to assume that there was no "B" present at the beginning, and also that no "B" was leached out of the sample over the supposed billions of years that this was taking place. This no-one can possibly know!

Does it really matter whether we believe that the earth is "young" or "old"?

I believe it does because if we doubt the accuracy of the very first part of the Bible, what justification have we foe believing other parts of it, such as when it talks about the resurrection of Jesus and the means of obtaining eternal life through Him?