Dating Techniques

Just how far off are the commonly accepted dating methods? Dr. Andrew Snelling explains.

You say the Universe is 6000 years old and that current scientific dating techniques are incorrect. How incorrect are they? Are they off by 10%, 90%? Because even if they are off by an incredible 90% the universe is still roughly 1.4 billion years old..So your position is that all techniques used in Geology, cosmology and Physics are wrong..And not just off but a little, but by an incredibly large error..How do you reconcile that position?

– Jeffrey Packard, U.S.

Dear Mr. Packard,

Your web enquiry has been passed on to me for comment.

In a nutshell, yes, we are saying that almost all current scientific dating techniques are incorrect, because God as the almighty Creator has told us the age of the universe by direct revelation in His Word. He has told us the universe is only about 6,000 years old, and we accept that on His authority.

So our position is that all the dating techniques used in geology, cosmology, and physics are wrong when they claim that the universe is 13–15 billion years old and the earth about 4.5 billion years old. All the dating techniques are based on assumptions, and the main assumption is the constancy of the process rates used to calculate those ages. Since that assumption is used in all the dating techniques of geology, cosmology, and physics, then if that assumption is wrong, then so are all the dates.

According to God’s Word that assumption of constancy of process rates is wrong. Not only has He told us in the book of Genesis of His creation of the universe and everything in it in six normal-length days (emphasized again in Exodus 20:11), but geologic and other processes were accelerated during the catastrophic global Flood in the days of Noah (Genesis 6–9).

There is also a specific statement about this issue in 2 Peter 3. The Apostle Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, warned that there would be scoffers who deny that God created the world by His supernatural activity and then intervened catastrophically at the time of the Flood to judge the earth by engulfing it in a watery cataclysm. The basis of their deliberate rejection of God’s Word is their declaration that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4). In other words, they would declare that natural process rates as we measure them today have always occurred at the same rates. This is exactly the assumption behind all the dating techniques used in geology, cosmology, and physics to arrive at the secular estimate of the ages for the earth and the universe. But the Apostle Peter reminds us that the scoffers are wrong due to their willful ignorance and deliberate rejection of God’s testimony as the Creator in His Word.

Therefore, we reject this assumption of constancy of natural process rates based on the authority of God’s Word, and that automatically rules out the accuracy of all the dating techniques. What God says He did by fiat creation over a period of only six days, men who weren’t there and don’t know everything have instead declared that it took millions and billions of years. How is it that finite and fallible men know better than the almighty Creator of the universe who knows everything and has all power?

Besides, we are told that Jesus Christ Himself was and is the Creator (John 1:3), and while here on earth in front of eyewitnesses, He demonstrated His power many times. He turned water into wine instantly and created more bread and fish instantly to feed thousands of people, both of these miracles testify to His power to create instantly. He instantly stilled a raging storm on the Sea of Galilee, demonstrating that as the Creator He wasn’t bound by natural process rates but instead could command the wind and the waves to cease instantly because He created them. Thus, Jesus, by His actions here on earth, authenticated the power He displayed in creation and at the Flood, as recorded in the book of Genesis.

That’s how we reconcile our position that the secular scientists are wrong in making the assumption of constancy of process rates. Yes, the age estimates made by the scientists using the assumption of naturalism are off by almost 100%! We were not there to witness God creating the world, but God was, and He has given us His account of exactly what happened. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).

Whom then do we trust, and where do we put our faith? In God or man? Our position is that we trust God and believe His Word as our authority. Man’s interpretation of the evidence is wrong because it is based on the wrong assumption. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

I hope these few brief comments help you understand our position. Thanks for your enquiry.

Yours sincerely in Christ,
(Dr.) Andrew Snelling


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