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Sermon No: 40101-Genesis E - The age of the earth



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SERMON TOPIC: Genesis E - The age of the earth

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 19 August 2018

Topic Groups: GENESIS, CREATIONISM, BOOK STUDY

Sermon synopsis: The question of the age of the earth has produced heated discussions on Internet debate boards, TV, radio, in classrooms, and in many churches, Christian colleges, and seminaries.

The primary sides are:
- Young-earth proponents (biblical age of the earth and universe of about 6,000 years)
- Old-earth proponents (secular age of the earth of about 4.5 billion years and a universe about 14 billion years old)

The difference is immense! Let’s give a little history of where these two basic calculations came from and which worldview is more reasonable.
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The age of the Earth.

The question of the age of the earth has produced heated discussions on Internet debate boards, TV, radio, in classrooms, and in many churches, Christian colleges, and seminaries.

The primary sides are

Young-earth proponents (biblical age of the earth and universe of about 6,000 years)

Old-earth proponents (secular age of the earth of about 4.5 billion years and a universe about 14 billion years old)

The difference is immense!

Let’s give a little history of where these two basic calculations came from and which worldview is more reasonable.

Young-earth Worldview.

Where Did a Young-earth Worldview Come From?

Simply put, it came from the Bible. Of course, the Bible doesn’t say explicitly anywhere, “The earth is 6,000 years old.” Good thing it doesn’t; otherwise it would be out of date the following year. But Genesis 1 says that the earth was created on the first day of creation (Genesis 1:1–5). Adam was created on day 6, so there were five days before him, so working from Adam we get a pretty accurate date. Adding the dates from Adam to Abraham, we get about 2,000 years, using the Masoretic Hebrew text of Genesis 5 and 11.

Most scholars Christian or secular would agree that Abraham lived about 2,000 B.C. (4,000 years ago).

So a simple calculation is: 2000 +2000 +2000 + 6000

The Origin of the Old-earth Worldview.

Prior to the 1700s, few believed in an old earth. The approximate 6,000-year age for the earth was challenged only rather recently, beginning in the late 18th century. These opponents of the biblical chronology essentially left God out of the picture. Three of the old- earth advocates included Comte de Buffon, who thought the earth was at least 75,000 years old. Pièrre LaPlace imagined an indefinite but very long history. And Jean Lamarck also proposed long ages.

The Origin of the Old-earth Worldview.

However, the idea of millions of years really took hold in geology when men like Abraham Werner, James Hutton, William Smith, Georges Cuvier, and Charles Lyell used their interpretations of geology as the standard, rather than the Bible.

The Origin of the Old-earth Worldview.

The Origin of the Old-earth Worldview.

Werner estimated the age of the earth at about one million years.

Smith and Cuvier believed untold ages were needed for the formation of rock layers.

Hutton said he could see no geological evidence of a beginning of the earth; building on Hutton’s thinking,

Lyell advocated “millions of years.”

From these men and others came the consensus view that the geologic layers were laid down slowly over long periods of time based on the rate we see them accumulating today.. This viewpoint is called naturalistic uniformitarianism, and it excludes any major catastrophes such as Noah’s flood.

The age of the Earth.

The age of the earth debate ultimately comes down to this foundational question:

Are we trusting man’s imperfect and changing ideas and assumptions about the past?

Or are we trusting God’s perfectly accurate eyewitness account of the past, including the creation of the world, Noah’s global flood, and the age of the earth?

The Origin of the Old-earth Worldview.

Thinking biblically, we can see that the global flood in Genesis 6–8 would wipe away the concept of millions of years, for this Flood would explain massive amounts of fossil layers.

Most Christians fail to realize that a global flood could rip up many of the previous rock layers and redeposit them elsewhere. This would destroy any evidence of alleged millions of years anyway.

So the rock layers can theoretically represent the evidence of either millions of years or a global flood, but not both. Sadly, by about 1840, even most of the Church had accepted the dogmatic claims of the secular geologists and rejected the global flood and the biblical age of the earth.

Uniformitarianism.

In the modern era, the argument for uniformitarianism was popularized by Charles Lyell in his book The Principles of Geology.

This idea assumes that the processes we observe in our present world are the way they have always been.

This is a common assumption among old-earth creationists (who borrow this from the naturalistic religion).

However, if conditions have not always been the same as we observe today or at the same rate, then this philosophy fails, as does the idea of an old earth and universe.

So at the foundation of the uniformitarian view are assumptions .

Bible believing Christians say that God’s revelation, and not the present, is the key to understanding the past.

Uniformitarianism.

Uniformitarianism has nothing to do with observation or the evidence, but scoffers believe it to avoid interpreting catastrophic processes such as Noah’s Flood.

Accepting that the world has not always operated under uniformitarian assumptions also informs our understanding of the age of the earth.

The reason that different dating methods sometimes give long ages is that they start with the same assumptions: NOT FACTS

The decay rate has stayed constant.

The initial conditions are known.

The amount of parent and daughter element is known to have not been altered by other processes in the past.

What about carbon 14 and other dating methods.

There is growing scientific evidence that radiometric dating methods are completely unreliable.

Christians who have felt compelled to accept the millions of years as fact and try to fit them into the Bible need to become aware of this evidence.

Wood embedded in "110 million year old limestone" Radio carbon dated at 890 years old!

Mt. St. Helens.

The new lava dome (dacite) from the at Mount St. Helens was formed in 1986. In 1997 five specimens were taken from this dome at five different locations and subjected to conventional Potassium-Argon dating. The results indicated ages of less than one half to almost three million years old, all from eleven year old rock

The age of the Earth.

2 Peter 3:3-4.

Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, . . and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”

What is the motivation of the scoffers? Immorality. Peter uses the Greek word epithumia to encapsulate the scoffers’ ungodly sexual desires.

The age of the Earth.

Peter points out that the scoffers come ridiculing the idea of the future coming of Jesus Christ in judgment and salvation. They deny the second coming of Christ not because of their intellect, but because it fits their immorality since they do not want to be held accountable for their sin.

The scoffers are wilfully ignorant of Creation and the flood.

2 Peter 3:5–6.

For this they wilfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.

The Biblical Age of the Earth. truthingenesis.com

The idea of the earth being billions of years old is a relatively new idea. This idea has only become popular within the last 200 years or so. Prior to the early 1800’s and late 1700’s most people believed the biblical age of the earth, about 6,000 years old, as recorded in the Bible. They took God’s word as truth.

Then the scientists gave this idea of ‘millions of years’ to the theologians. Knowing that millions of years are not in the bible, they had to find some way to add it to the bible.

They began to take man’s word as truth instead of taking God’s word as truth.

They began adding to the bible with ideas such as the gap theory, the day-age theory, and theistic evolution.

The age of the Earth. truthingenesis.com

What happened?

Well, in 1795 a book was published titled Theory of the Earth by James Hutton. This book made people doubt that the earth was 6,000 years old.

Thomas Chalmers invented the gap theory in 1814 and Christians began to accept this “millions of years” idea.

Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species, was published in 1859 and there was not much resistance to his evolution theory because the Christians had already accepted an old age of the earth.

It is an important topic. Either God’s word is truth, or man’s word is truth. Today’s modern idea of uniformitarianism says that the present is the key to the past. This is absolutely wrong. The Bible is the only perfect key to the past.

The age of the Earth. truthingenesis.com

If you take the bible for what it is and add nothing to it you will get only thousands of years for the history of the earth and death after sin.

Adam’s sin is what brought death into the world.

If you take the bible and add man’s fallible dating methods you get millions of years and death before Adam’s sin.

This is heresy. You cannot have death before sin.

The age of the Earth. truthingenesis.com

Satan has used this ‘millions of years’ idea to lead many away from the authority of the Word of God, in the very same way that he did with Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan wants you to doubt God’s Word to believe a lie, and that lie is millions of years.

If I told you that if you kissed a frog, it would magically turn into a handsome prince; you would know that this is a fairy tale. Did you know that this same fairy tale is being promoted as science today? However, the magical ingredient is no longer a kiss. The new magical ingredient is millions of years. They say we started off as bacteria and slowly, over millions of years, the bacteria turned into a frog. Then slowly over millions and millions of years, the frog turned into the prince (modern man).

Trying to fit millions of years into Genesis 1.

Decades before Darwin, Christians started developing attempts to harmonize Genesis with millions of years. They all have serious flaws.

Gap Theory (Gavin will cover this Theory in more detail)

This theory was invented to insert millions of years after the first verse of the Bible, proposing that God created a world full of creatures and then destroyed it with a flood prior to verse two (all before Adam’s sin). Following that verse, God recreated the world we now know in six days. Historical Creation

A modified version of the gap theory, confusingly called historical creation, teaches that God created the heavens and earth over an indefinite period, but he then prepared the land for mankind in six days.

Trying to fit millions of years into Genesis 1.

Day-Age Theory

Another idea, known as the day-age theory, suggests that each of the six days was a long period and not a 24 hour period.

To span the supposed 4.6 billion years of earth history, each “day” would need to be approximately 750 million years, and roughly three times that long to account for the supposed 13.8-billion-year age of the universe.

Multiple Gap View

Some have offered an alternative view that essentially blends the gap and day-age theories.

The multiple gap view states that the six days were normal-length days separated by gaps of long ages.

Trying to fit millions of years into Genesis 1.

Framework Hypothesis

In the past century, several other new positions have reduced Genesis 1 to little more than poetry. They imply that it is okay to ignore most of the details as long as one acknowledges that God created this world and made man in his image. For example, an idea known as the framework hypothesis argues that Genesis 1 is semi-poetic, overstressing an artificial parallelism of the creation days and groping for other elements that would make room for a non-literal interpretation of the text.

Theistic Evolution

Proponents of other positions, such as theistic evolution, ignore the text altogether. Essentially, they allegorize or spiritualize Genesis chapter 1–11 and reject many details.

The age of the Earth.

According to the theory of evolution, man is a newcomer to planet Earth, far removed from the origin of the Universe.

If the Universe was born 14 billion years ago, as many evolutionists, theistic evolutionists, and progressive creationists believe, man did not “come along” until about 13.996 billion years later. If such time were represented by one 24-hour day, and the alleged Big Bang occurred at 12:00 a.m., then man did not arrive on the scene until 23:59:58 p.m. Man’s allotted time during one 24-hour day would represent a measly two seconds.

Trying to fit millions of years into Genesis 1.

Hypothetical argument.

Old-earth advocate:

The scientific evidence is clear. To be intellectually honest, we must admit that the earth is billions of years old.

The physical evidence supports this conclusion, and besides, the Bible is noncommittal on the age of the earth. Response from young-earth advocate.

Not being a scientist myself, I will take your word for it that there is some physical evidence out there which indicates an old age for the earth.

However, consider the following:

The age of the Earth.

Think about when Jesus changed the water into wine.

If you tasted that wine, and had not witnessed the miracle, you would have every reason to believe that the wine had a very different history than what it actually had. The physical evidence of the taste and appearance of the wine would yield no clue that it had been transformed from water only moments before. Even Adam and Eve moments after been created would have appeared to anyone as full grown adults with the appearance of age.

The billions of years theories are from sources, both religious and secular, that do not take catastrophes into account and are based on the uniformitarian approach to interpreting the causes and time span for the present landscape and topography of the earth.

The age of the Earth.

The claim that the Bible is noncommittal on this question is false.

It is true that there is no verse which flatly states, The earth was created four thousand years before the birth of Christ.

But the Bible says this, and it is Jesus himself speaking. Mark 10:6.

From the beginning of creation, He made them male and female.

The age of the Earth.

Mark 10:2-8. Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife? What did Moses command you? he replied.They said, Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.

It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law, Jesus replied. But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.

The age of the Earth.

Mark 10:2-8. It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law, Jesus replied.

But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

In this passage we see that Jesus reinforces Moses authorship of the Pentateuch.

He states that God created male and female. There is a difference between the two and the choice is not yours.

He further refers to marriage as been between a man and a woman (Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve)

The age of the Earth.

Mark 10:6.

From the beginning of creation, He made them male and female.

The fourth thing that I want to draw your attention to is that Jesus says..

“From the Beginning He made them male and female”.

If the earth is billions of years old, then mankind has only come upon the scene rather recently, relatively speaking.

But Jesus tells us that mankind has been on the earth "from the beginning of creation."

This idea is completely incompatible with an old earth.

Another passage to consider.

Matthew 13:34-35.

Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.

So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

If mankind has not been here for most of the history of the earth, what would be the point of hiding things from the foundation of the world?

If man has only been around for 2 seconds of the 24 hour clock representing the history of the universe, who were these things hidden from?

Another passage to consider.

Luke 11:50,51.

Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all. The murder of Abel is associated with "the beginning of the world."

If billions of years passed from the creation of the earth until the death of Abel, then this passage makes no sense. The age of the earth is not a salvation issue, but why adopt a position which makes many Bible passages nonsensical?

One more passage to consider.

Romans 1:20. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. "perceived . . . ever since the creation of the world."

If mankind has only been on the earth rather recently, relatively speaking, then who has been doing the perceiving? The focus of the passage is human beings who are without excuse. Human beings are the ones who have perceived God's attributes.

If humans have not been around for most of the history of the earth, then why does Paul speak as if humans actually have been here since the beginning of creation?

A Day is a day. truthingenesis.com

Many people now believe that maybe the word ‘day’ in Genesis isn’t a literal 24 hour day.

Why are they only questioning the use of the word day in Genesis?

Why not question its use anywhere else in the bible?

They often quote:

2 Peter 3:8.

“that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years…”

But they don’t even bother to read the rest of the verse! “that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.”

This is a simile that is simply saying that time doesn’t mean anything to God.

A Day is a day.

A Day is a day.

The Testimony of the Sabbath.

The Fourth of the Ten Commandments instructed Moses and the Israelites to work for six days and rest for one.

God explained the rationale:

Exodus 20:11.

“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day”

If Creation Week lasted millions or billions of years, how could it possibly serve as the model for the work week described in the Ten Commandments?

This would make no sense and not serve as a pattern.

A Day is a day.

The Testimony of the Sabbath.

Exodus 31:14-17.

Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death. The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.

It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.

Are the days in Genesis 1 periods of 24 hours ?

Nearly two thousand times the word yom is in the Old Testament, rarely is it used to refer to a time period longer than twenty-four hours, it is mostly used for a specific day.

This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. Genesis 2:4.

It should be obvious that the word day in this manner is a summation of a period of time and not a 24 hour period. The Day of the Lord is used to signify the tribulation period.

However, when a numerical adjective is attached to the word ‘day’ it mean exactly what the number states, eg:1st day.. the context demands it to be interpreted in this manner for it to be consistent with the rest of the Scripture..

Evening, Morning, and the Days of Creation.

Many evolutionary sympathizers contend that the days of Creation were (or at least could have been) long periods of evolutionary geologic time (where each “day” was millions or billions of years long).

One of the main problems with this bizarre interpretation, however, is that each day of the Creation was said to have one evening and one morning.

“So the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5).

“So the evening and the morning were the second day” (Genesis 1:8).

“So the evening and the morning were the third day” (Genesis 1:13).

“So the evening and the morning were the fourth day” (Genesis 1:19).

“So the evening and the morning were the fifth day” (Genesis 1:23).

“So the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31).

Eric Lyons, M.Min. (Apologetics Press)

Evening, Morning, and the Days of Creation.

Just as God spoke of limited, defined periods of days using the terms “evening” and “morning” hundreds of times throughout the Old Testament, He did so six times in the Creation account.

If everywhere else in the literal, non-prophetic language of the Old Testament these words are used to refer to regular 24-hour days, why is it that some contend the days of the literal, non-prophetic Genesis account of Creation were undefined, vast periods of evolutionary time?

Because their loyalty to the assumption-based, unproven theory of evolution means more to them than a serious, consistent, logical interpretation of the Bible.

Eric Lyons, M.Min.

(Apologetics Press)

A day is a day. creationtoday.org by Eric Hovind

The Hebrew yom occurs 2,282 times outside Genesis 1. It occurs 359 times with a number outside Genesis 1.

Some of these occurrences use cardinal numbers (one, two, three, etc.) and some use ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.).

However, in all 359 cases, the context clearly shows that a 24-hour day is being referenced.

Yom occurs 19 times outside Genesis 1, together with either the word “morning” or “evening.” In all 19 cases, a 24-hour day is clearly intended.

The words “morning” and “evening” occur together, without “day” 38 times outside Genesis 1. Each of these occurrences refers to a literal 24-hour day.

A day is a day. creationtoday.org by Eric Hovind

Finally, the Hebrew yom occurs with the word “night” 53 times outside Genesis 1.

Guess what!

Each of these occurrences refers to a 24-hour day.

Given this immense contextual evidence, one is tempted to ask somewhat flippantly:

“What could God have done to emphasize that the days of Genesis 1 are literal 24-hour days?

Might I suggest that He could have used the Hebrew yom together with numbers, morning, evening or night?

And that is exactly what He did!

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http://www.lockman.org)




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