When dealing with issues about the age of the earth, many people defend the young-earth position by claiming that even though the world is young, God created it to “look old.” In other words, they say, God created the universe with the “appearance of age.”
Scripture states the directive that Adam and Eve be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28), which means they were formed as adults and not as infants. However, since they were able to have children, these well-intentioned defenders say they must have been “created old.” Some even go so far as to ask the question, “How old do you think Adam was when he was created?”
With this issue, a distinction must be made between an “old” creation and a “mature” creation.
First of all, God obviously created things that were fully functional from the beginning. After all, plants had to be bearing fruit in order to provide sustenance for Adam, Eve, and the animals. He did not just create seeds and wait for them to grow. The created “kinds” had to be capable of reproduction, so they were not created immature. As mentioned, Adam and Eve would have to be able to reproduce in order to fulfill the mandate to be fruitful. This does not imply that these creatures were “created old.” It merely indicates that they were created functional.
The concept of “appearance of age” brings our human experience to bear as we try to determine “how old” something or someone might be. For instance, how would you know what a 35-year-old man looked like if you had no experience watching people grow from birth to age 35?
For example, imagine you were in the Garden of Eden when Adam was created from dust. He appeared there—fully functional. After two hours, if you were asked how old he was, you would say two hours old because you would have no frame of reference watching people grow from infancy to adulthood. So without human experience, it would be impossible to understand the concept of “age.”
Furthermore, when someone makes the claim that the earth or the universe “looks old,” it is often because they have been indoctrinated to think it looks old. They have accepted man’s ideas about fallible dating methods and approach this issue on that basis. However, the real issue here is to ask what would a “young earth” or a “young universe” look like? After all, if one is sure something looks old, what would it look like before it aged?
God is not a deceiver. He cannot lie. Numbers 23:19 states, “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” So why would God try and deceive us by creating things with the appearance of “age.” Why would He make the universe look “old” when it is not?
God has told us the truth in His Word. He originally created many things mature and fully functional. He did not create with the appearance of “age.” This is an argument Christians should not use.