It makes me sad that you have fabricated these ideas about the history of the earth. It makes me even sadder that children are taught these ideas. There is no problem with Christian religion and good science living side by side. The earth I know is profoundly interesting and enough research has been done that it’s irrefutable that it is far older than 6,000 years. I prefer the scientific method but have no problem declaring that the Lord created this beautiful planet millions of years ago and has let his creation blossom into an amazing world full of diversity and startling ideas. My best conversations with God occur when I’m solo backpacking because I admire the creation all around me, it creates joy in my heart and lights up my prayers. I am, however, still sad that you present invalid information, confusing adults and ruining the ability for children to understand this magnificent world all around them. Let the earth be millions of years old, as has been proven, and celebrate.
Hello, D.A., thank you for writing to Answers in Genesis. Let me respond to your claims in order.
History of the Earth
It makes me sad that you have fabricated these ideas about the history of the earth.
We did not fabricate these ideas about the universe and earth being approximately 6,000 years old. This figure is derived from a plain-sense, historical-grammatical reading of Scripture.
Actually, when one strictly follows the biblical chronologies from Genesis 5 and 11, as well as Ruth 4:18–22, 1 Kings 6:1, 1 Chronicles 1–8, Ezra 1:1–2, and Luke 3:23–38, we can get a pretty tight historical timeline stretching from Jesus back to Adam. Many dates can be inferred or deduced by counting generations and the dates given in Scripture, while other dates are fixed both by Scripture and by historical corroboration (e.g., 722 BC fall of Samaria, 586 BC fall of Jerusalem). Therefore we believe that the chronologies by Ussher, Newton, and Nolen-Jones, which place Creation at 4004 BC and the Flood at 2348 BC, are close to the mark.
Most “known history” is usually arrived at by accepting carte blanche things like the Mesopotamian (Assyrian and Babylonian) King’s lists or the Egyptian Sothic cycle. All of these are fraught with contradictions and uncertainties, yet they are treated as gospel (we might say treated with more respect than the true gospel). And of course radiocarbon dating methods also play a large role, but these are based on numerous unprovable assumptions.
Teaching Biblical Truth, Not Man’s Ideas
It makes me even sadder that children are taught these ideas.
Why would teaching children what Scripture plainly states make you sad? You say later in your letter that you believe in God, so it would seem that you should be pleased when we stand on His Word as our ultimate authority. Even if you disagree with our conclusions, you surely must be aware that we are an evangelistic ministry, seeking to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Following the model of Paul expressed in Philippians 1:18, you should rejoice that Christ is preached. We have numerous examples on our website of testimonies telling how the Holy Spirit has used “creation evangelism” to transform people’s lives by helping them understand the historical basis for the gospel in Genesis.
The reason we teach children the inerrancy, truth, trustworthiness, and authority of Scripture is so they can understand that they need a Savior, and that Christ has provided a perfect sacrifice for sin. If death, disease, and bloodshed existed before sin, then why do they require a savior? Death would be natural and sin would be of no consequence. If the universe is billions of years old, and death has existed since life first “evolved” on this earth, then Christ’s death, burial, and Resurrection make little sense because it was not for sin and death that He died. But what does Scripture say? Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3), He bore our sins in His own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24), and God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). We are also told in Genesis 3—and it is reiterated in the New Testament—that death came about as a result of man’s sin (Romans 5:12–21). Paul makes it clear in Corinthians 15:21–26 and 54–56 that Christ has conquered death and will one day destroy it.
What makes me even sadder is how children are often taught that they are nothing more than evolved animals, that death has always been around, and that death is the end of existence.
What makes me even sadder is how children are often taught that they are nothing more than evolved animals, that death has always been around, and that death is the end of existence. Then they go to a church where people tell them they can (or even should) believe in death and suffering for billions of years in addition to believing in Jesus. Some begin to reason that if you accept the worldview of death and suffering before sin, then believing in Jesus does not make any difference. They often proceed to ask, “If death and disease are part of the way God made things, then how can Jesus save me, and what is He supposedly saving me from”?
What happens to many of these children is they soon begin to think that if death is natural and that if we evolved from the primordial soup over billions of years then God does not exist—or if He does exist then He is cruel, inept, and untruthful. Consequently, they view the Bible as a myth and believe it is foolishness to connect salvation with a foreign concept like sin. This is how the Greeks responded to the preaching of the gospel (Acts 17:31–32; 1 Corinthians 1:23). After all, if Adam’s sin did not bring sin and physical death into this world, then why did the “
last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45) need to become a man, physically die, and physically rise from the dead?
If one has an improper worldview and wrong view of sin, that person might question why someone would need to die for his or her sins. And if one believes that death has always been around, then resurrection from the dead can seem like wishful thinking. If resurrection is not real, then Christianity is hopeless (1 Corinthians 15:13–19). If we deny that sin brought death, then why would we accept that Christ’s death atoned for sin? One of the major reasons children, teens, and young adults are leaving the church in droves is that they see the inconsistency in believing in billions of years and the gospel.
We Use True Science to Corroborate Scripture
There is no problem with Christian religion and good science living side by side.
We agree! However you need to recognize the differences between operational and historical sciences. Also, it is sometimes unhelpful to classify Christianity as a “religion,” since this often gives the impression that Christianity is about the rules and rites a person practices to please their deity of choice. Yet Christianity is different in that it is about what God has already done for us through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The earth I know is profoundly interesting and enough research has been done that it’s irrefutable that it is far older than 6,000 years.
We agree that the earth is probably older than 6,000 years, but maybe just by a decade or two. We’ve written hundreds of articles on this subject, as have other creation scientists for the last 50 years; so your “irrefutable” statement has been rebutted over and over. We have an excellent gateway article with internal links for the ten best evidences for a young earth. I encourage you to examine those articles.
I prefer the scientific method but have no problem declaring that the Lord created this beautiful planet millions of years ago and has let his creation blossom into an amazing world full of diversity and startling ideas.
Excellent! We rather like the scientific method, too. Did you know that it was formulated by Sir Francis Bacon, who was both a creationist and scientist? As mentioned above, Scripture gives us a clear idea of approximately how old the earth is, and Exodus 20:11 makes plain that the days of creation were 24-hour days. Unlike you, we do have a problem declaring that the Lord created this planet millions (or according to the current hypothesis, billions) of years ago. First, the idea is foreign to Scripture. Second, it impugns God’s character by making Him the author of death and disease. And third, it is contradicted by a plain-sense reading of Scripture, and by real observational scientific methods. We also agree that the world is full of amazing diversity, which clearly indicates the God-given variety in DNA and refutes molecules-to-man evolution.
Admiring God’s Creation
My best conversations with God occur when I’m solo backpacking because I admire the creation all around me, it creates joy in my heart and lights up my prayers.
Again, we can find agreement here. We can (and should) indeed admire this beautiful (though fallen) world and marvel at the creativity of our Lord. The psalmist did this frequently:
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork (Psalms 19:1)
The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them. (Psalms 111:2)
I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. (Psalms 145:5)
God’s Word Is Truth
I am, however, still sad that you present invalid information, confusing adults and ruining the ability for children to understand this magnificent world all around them.
And I am equally if not more saddened that you can look at all the beauty and diversity of life, and of the planet earth, and believe that God built an originally “very good” creation on top of billions of years of death. Worse still is that you either import this man-made ideology into Scripture and force it upon the text, or you explain away the text of Genesis 1–11 (and numerous other passages) as allegory, poetry, or parable.
It is truly sad that you believe we are ruining children’s ability to understand the world around them. You want us to teach children that they are evolved animals that ascended through a struggle and bloodshed over billions of years, and that God is really responsible for the sad state of the world? Scripture plainly teaches that mankind (Adam in particular) is responsible for sin entering the world and that death came because of sin. The Bible also shows that Adam and Eve hid from God, but God sought them out and offered a sacrifice to cover their sin (Genesis 3:8, 21), pointing to the ultimate sacrifice of the Savior on the Cross (Hebrews 7:26–27; 10:12).
Children understand all right, and adults are not confused: if you teach them that the Bible is just a “good book” but not historically or scientifically accurate, then guess what? They often can’t leave the church fast enough.
Let the earth be millions of years old, as has been proven, and celebrate.
Let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). If you really want to celebrate, get rid of the old-earth baggage, and look at God’s Word and world anew.
Troy Lacey, AiG–U.S.