This was the question I received to answer on a recent Basecamp panel. The men had been asked to write down questions on 3×5 cards and turn them in. I thought this is a good question to address here as well.
If you would have asked a scientist in the 1800s how old the earth was, they would have said between 20 and 400 million years old. This is based on famous Irish physicist and mathematician Lord Calvin’s calculation of how long a molten mass, such as the earth, would take to cool. Today, scientists agree that this estimate is wrong.
Decades later scientists measured the age of the earth using relative dating and came up with millions of years.
Today radiometric dating is used to suggest that the earth is 4.54 billion years old. Evolutionists love to hear this number because it allows time to support their theory of evolution.
Many Christians today have embraced the idea of evolution as well. They are called the old-earth creationists. Day-age creationists believe that the “days” in Genesis do not represent a 24-hour period, but could be representative of millions, even billions of years. This allows them, they believe, to reconcile the Bible with science.
Other modified old-earth creationist theories are day-age creationism, gap creationism, progressive creationism, and theistic evolution. Each has a modified version of how God was involved in creating but through the means of evolution.
Scripture, if taken literally, indicates the earth is around 6,000 years old. This number is calculated by using the time of Jesus’ birth to today equal to about 2,000 years. The time in Genesis before Abraham was about 2,000 years. And then following the genealogies in the Old Testament, you come up with about 2,000 years between Abraham and Jesus.
The issue with the days in Genesis should be addressed. The Hebrew word, “yom” for day in Genesis is always a 24-hour time period anywhere else it appears in the Bible. So why wouldn’t it represent 24 hours in Genesis 1 as well?
Also, after God created each day, he would proclaim, “there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” And so on with each day. The implication is consistency in the timing of each day. Then finally, probably the greatest argument against theories that suggest the days in Genesis were not 24 hours long is found in Exodus 20:9-11. Here we find Moses giving the law to the nation of Israel. This particular commandment is regarding rest on the Sabbath day. It reads:
“Six days you shall labor and do all your work…For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day…”
The parallel is clear that man is to work during the first 6 24-hour days and then rest on the seventh, Sabbath 24-hour day. It also clarifies that creation took place on those first 6 24-hour periods called “days.”
An additional problem our old-earth creationists have to deal with is the concept of living beings like plants, animals, and mankind existing before the Genesis account when we read the story of sin and the fall. It was in the fall that sin entered the world along with death, decay, and weeds. Now the whole gospel story of sin, the fall, and redemption fall apart.
Could man be wrong in their measurement of the age of the earth? It’s possible. For more studies on this topic and others in Genesis, check out HTTP://www.answersingenesis.com.