The Age of the Earth
Once you understand that the heavens and the earth were created in six days, you will realize that there is no need for millions and billions of years.
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
- Exodus 20:11 (KJV)
There's no need to add a Big Bang (billions of years ago) just so the Evolution Theory (200 million years) works.
But if it's not millions or billions, then how old is the Earth?
Well, most Bible scholars agree it's around 6,000 years old.
According to the Hebrew/Jewish calendar for example we are in the year AM 5779 (as of March 2019). Some say there is a discrepancy of 240 years (missing years) which instead puts us to AM 6019.
AM by the way stands for "Anno Mundi" which means "Year after Creation". It's the timeline according to the Bible, e.g. Adam was born in AM 1, the Flood was in AM 1656, etc.
In 1650 Archbishop James Ussher published a book called "Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world" in which he explained that the creation date was "nightfall on 22 October 4004 BC". His book is something like 1,400 pages thick, and is probably the most accurate and precise study available today.
If you think that 4004 BC is ridiculous, then please understand that other well known people have come up with similar numbers:
|Sir Isaac Newton
At this point I strongly believe that the Earth is roughly 6,000 years old (plus or minus 500 years, etc).
The main way to work out how old the Earth is, is through genealogies. For example, Adam gave birth to Seth when was he was 130.
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth.
- Genesis 5:3 (KJV)
So Adam is AM 1, and now we know that Seth is AM 130.
Looking closely at Genesis 5, we can now make the following table.
It's not always genealogies we need to look at. For example, to work out when the Flood is, consider the following verse.
And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
- Genesis 7:6 (KJV)
So we need to take Noah's birthday, and add 600 years to that to get the Flood date, e.g. AM 1056 + 600 years = AM 1656. That's a fairly well established date actually.
Another interesting point here is that Methuselah lived 969 years old (the oldest man in history).
And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
- Genesis 5:27 (KJV)
So he died in AM 1056, e.g. AM 687 + 969 years = AM 1056.
That's interesting because his name literally means "his death shall bring [the Flood]". So he probably died just before the Flood.
Adding it All Up
Going through the entire Bible we end up with a big list of when things happened in the Biblical timeline.
Now all we need to do is calibrate the Biblical timeline with our current timeline by finding an event of which we know both dates.
We can use the building of the first temple for that, e.g. we know it happened in AM 2993, but we also know (from other sources) that it took place around 1012 BC. There are other calibration points as well such as when the Kingdom of Judah fell to Babylon in 586 BC.
Now we can calculate all the other dates in our timeline.
And that's how we know the Earth was created in 4004 BC.
Calculations and Variations
There are several versions these days, and they vary slightly. Here's a short list of them.
|God's Word Explained
|Massive list of dates
|Answers in Genesis
|Arguments for a Young Earth (but no exact date given)
|Very brief summary
|Creation Ministries International
|Good discussion (but no exact date given)
|In reverse (starting at the temple)
|Good overview of individual steps
|Ussher and Jewish calendar side by side
I think it's safe to say that most studies set the creation date around the 4000-4500 BC mark.
People don't really like the Bible anymore these days, so the 4004 BC date didn't go down too well with the Atheists and Evolution Theorists.
They will often say things like "there were Egyptian dynasties before the Flood", or "the Chinese lived before the Flood, and after the Flood, without ever mentioning anything", etc.
But to be honest, those remarks are pretty flawed by themselves. Dating other civilizations isn't an exact science. For example, some Egyptian dynasties lived in the same time period (as contemporaries). That changes everything. For an in-depth study about the Egyptian chronologies, please click here.
As far as the Chinese calendar goes, it is highly likely that they chose a starting point of some event that happened before the Flood. Maybe the birthday of Noah, or Shem, etc. The Chinese calendar is currently in the year 4716 (as of March 2019). That's pretty close to the Flood.
There are no real problems here. It all fits.
Some calculations have used the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew), and as a result have ended up with bigger numbers like 5500 BC for the creation. I don't think the Septuagint is accurate enough though. It has lots of errors in it (not just the genealogies), so we should stick with the Masoretic text for sure.
Some have suggested that the Earth is more like 10,000 years old, but please understand that the further back you go, the harder it becomes for the genealogies to still work (see Luke 3:23-38 for example).
When you look at the Biblical timeline, I'm convinced that things work out just fine (but just not in a way Atheists like).
Yes, there are different interpretations of the Biblical timeline, but even then we still mostly agree on the "same" start date.
Thousands. Not millions or billions.
Ellen White / Seventh-Day Adventists
It's interesting to see that the Seventh-Day Adventist church uses the 22 October date for their 1844 prophecy fulfillment (Daniel 2,300 years).
They must have been using Ussher's calculations. Why else pick 22 October?
Rather than saying that the Earth is so many years, months, and days old, I think it's far more important to realize that we are in fact living on a very Young Earth.
A little over 6,000 years old, with not that much more time to go.