Paul Lalonde, owner of Cloud Ten Pictures recently wrote a post called: The Earth is Young, This I Know, For the Bible Tells Me So in which he wondered,
” What if the Bible didn’t mention the age of the earth, or even suggested the earth was already here for some unspecified period of time before God created Adam and Eve? Would there still be a young earth movement?
After all, the arguments that say carbon dating can’t be trusted, that men actually coexisted with dinosaurs, that the decay of the earth’s magnetic field makes an old earth impossible, well those arguments would still be exactly as strong as they are now. But would anybody even be suggesting them?”
I’ll answer his questions in order:
- If the Bible didn’t mention the age of the Earth, it wouldn’t be an issue and there would be no need for a Young Earth movement to preserve and defend the truth of the Bible concerning the true age of the Earth.
Neither would there be a Sabbath day set aside to honor God once a week. The Bible’s stated reason for the 4th Commandment is that God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days and then rested on the seventh, so we should also rest on the seventh.
Of course, the Bible DOES mention the age of the Earth, because God wanted us to know Earth’s true history.
If we had only the data from natural theology available on the subject of the age of the Earth, we could never be sure of the Earth’s actual age: radiometric dating [flaws and assumptions notwithstanding] suggests an old earth but other dating methods suggest a much younger earth. It is unclear whether we would still come to the correct conclusions about the age of the earth.The dilemma we would face is something akin to one posed by an inherent presumption of radiometric dating.
Radiometric dating presumes the amount [ratio] of parent/daughter elements which must have existed in the beginning. We can’t know what this ratio was for sure. Did lead exist at the beginning alongside uranium or did all extant lead come from degradations of original uranium? Put simply: if we observe that someone is putting blocks in a bucket at a rate of 1 per 10 minutes, and find we have 6 blocks in said bucket, we would presume the process has been going on for an hour. But this assumes the count started at zero. What if there were already 3 blocks in the bucket at the beginning. We would presume this process had been going on for an hour when it had only been going on for half that time! Why? Because we were missing some key data [that the bucket was not originally empty but contained 3 blocks already] that caused us to err in our calculations. Faulty assumptions lead to faulty conclusions! Likewise, we would be calculating the age of the earth without key data: That God created everything in 6 calendar days.
One could hope that we would ascertain the correct age of the Earth in other ways, but that seems unlikely given our faulty assumptions.
And without a Young earth, we scarcely know what to do with a worldwide Flood! We’d be forced to explain that away as local and leaving no geological imprint at all. I can safely say this because this is exactly what Old Earth Creationists do when they presume long ages are true and the Bible’s revelation of 6 days is not true.
That leads to a further dilemma: fossils. A record of death, cancer, thorns, suffering, mass extinctions… all laid down before Adam sinned and brought death, suffering and thorns into the world! By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, the Scriptures affirm. The wages [deserved earnings] of sin is death. Yet here we would have death running rampant in the history of the world well before Adam. And if death is a natural part of the state of things, it can hardly be considered the Last Enemy which shall be destroyed. More importantly, the entire reason that a literal Savior had to die a literal death upon the cross was to redeem a fallen race that literally fell in Adam.
These things make nonsense of the Gospel message of redemption. It all makes not a lick of sense without the revelation of the earth’s true Young age. Which makes it fortunate that the Bible does in fact tell us that the earth is young.
- If the Bible suggested that the earth had existed awhile before Adam & Eve, we would still have to contend with the fossil record. The horns of the dilemma are thus: it was either laid down successively as each ecosystem succumbed to a worldwide Flood as recorded in Genesis OR it was laid down over long ages.If the fossil record of death, thorns, cancer, mass extinctions and thorns [for the fossil record evidences all of these] was laid down over long ages before man, then these things, logically speaking, cannot be the result of man’s sin, punishment decreed by God for disobeying His Word, as the Bible records in Genesis 3. In other words, it all becomes nonsense.If the fossil record of death, thorns, cancer, mass extinctions and thorns were laid down after man’s sin, we must find a mechanism for such a phenomenon. We find our most likely candidate in the Noachim Flood and, upon further examination, we find it more than probable.
- Would anyone be suggesting that we can’t trust radiometric dating methods, that man co-existed with dinos or that the earth’s magnetic field shows that it must be young IF they Bible didn’t tell us to look for evidence of a Young Earth to begin with? Probably not. Mind you, the cryptozoologists would still suggest the Flintstones didn’t have it all wrong exactly. Relict dinosaurs are an intriguing possibility.Of course, to complete this mental exercise, the answer for the first and last condition is, well, no, probably not. We take many things by pure assumption every day. This is so in science as well, so we might simply presume that old earth dating methods were valid. Consquentially, our theology would be compromised. The death issue alone makes for a sticky end to the veracity of God’s revealed Word. And young age indicators like the magnetic field would be explained away as anamolies or misunderstanding of science that didn’t take into account other factors.HOWEVER
The Bible does state that the Earth is young; therefore, it is logical and natural to expect evidence of this revealed truth. Which is why we find it noteworthy that the decay of the Earth’s magnetic field alludes to a young age. Which is why we find the possibility of relict dinosaurs so intriguing.And since we wisely take the revealed Word of a perfect, infallible God who was there over the graspings of finite, error-prone men who were not – even if those men make their claims in the name of science – we note that it is not unreasonable, since the Bible does claim the Earth and everything else was created in just 6 calendat days, to question the assumptions behind old earth dating methods and to point out that faulty assumptions do lead to faulty conclusions. [I just think it’s hilarious that radiometric dating gives outrageous old ages to volcanic rocks that were formed only a century or less ago; how can we trust these methods for the ages of rocks we don’t know when we can’t even trust them to give the correct ages of rocks whose age we certainly know?]
Now, let me say this: There are lots of things we would not know were it not for the Bible. In fact, Lalonde takes his title from a well-known children’s hymn, which notes, “Jesus loves me. This I know for the Bible tell me so.” The Bible is our primary source for information on Christ Jesus. We can verify that He lived, died and was believed by his folowers to have risen again through various historical sources, but the details of his life, teachings, death, burial, ressurection, identity, ascension anf fulfillment of prophetic Scripture are gleaned from the Bible. We know these things because, well, the Bible tells us so.
So then, this has been an interesting exercise, but altogether hypothetical. The Bible does give the age of the Earth and it is only within the context of a young Earth that the Bible’s teachings on Genesis 3 make sense, given the existence of a fossil record of death, cancer, suffering, mass extinctions and thorns.
In conclusion, Lalonde is correct:
“The Earth IS Young. This I know, For the Bible Tells Me So.”