First Things
A Common Sense Approach to Origins

Bible Dating

A Little History: When the scientific community revealed that radiation tests proved the earth is older than the Bible indicates, the Christians insisted the tests were flawed. While well intentioned, that was a mistake. Beyond a reasonable doubt, there is evidence of great age in our world and in our universe. That means one of two things is true:

  1. Either the Bible is wrong, or
  2. Our world and our universe were created to look much older than than they actually are for some reason or reasons.

To some extent, an appearance of great age is an inescapable aspect of creating a universe that is estimated to be ninety-two billion light years in diameter. If God was sufficiently capable and detail oriented, that would include creating the light waves traveling through the universe which appear to have been created on stars and planets billions of years ago.

If the Bible is true, roughly six thousand years ago God created the heavens and the earth in six days. That means the universe was basically the size that it is today when it was created. Common sense tells us that it is impossible to create a universe ninety-two billion light years in diameter and have it look six thousand years old. An important point to keep in mind is that when the Bible was written (roughly twenty-five hundred years after creation according to Bible dating), no one living at the time would look at what existed and accept all of that came into existence in twenty-five hundred years.

No one would easily believe the Genesis account of creation at that time for several reasons. For one thing, no one living at that time would easily believe that everything in the world and in the universe could be created in six twenty-four hour days. For another, no one living at that time would easily believe that light was created on the first day, but the sun, the moon, and the stars were not created until the fourth day.

Those who have suggested the Bible in general and the Genesis account of creation in particular were written to mislead people would have to believe that Moses (or whoever wrote the book of Genesis) was inept because he wrote a story so hard to believe. It is reasonable to believe Moses might have had a problem with writing the Genesis account of creation as God revealed it to him if he had not recently seen the ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea.

There are two issues involved here:

  1. Could he? Does God have the ability to create our world and our universe in six twenty-four hour days and make it look billions of years old?
  1. Why would he? Why would God create our world and our universe in six twenty-four hour days and make it look billions of years old?

Could He? Two things are true about God’s ability to create our world and our universe so that they would look billions of years old:

  1. We do not know enough to limit God’s ability.
  1. Nothing exists that could not, at least in theory, have been created that way.

Mechanization Illustration: Suppose we could find a native living in a jungle who had never experienced modern mechanization. Suppose we took him to the tallest building in the world and asked him to estimate how long it took to build that building. No doubt he would be in awe and would estimate that it would have taken many lifetimes to construct something that amazing. We are also in awe, but being aware of how tall buildings are built today, we would be much more willing to believe it was built in two or three years. The difference is that we understand the capabilities of modern mechanization. We do not understand the limits of God’s capabilities.

Creation With Appearance of Age: The Genesis account of creation indicates that everything that was created looked older than it was at the moment of creation. That was true for the world. That was true for the universe and every star and planet and galaxy in the universe. That was true for trees. That was true for fish. That was true for birds. That was true for lions and tigers and elephants. That was true for Adam and for Eve. That was true for every very life form because every life form was, according to the Genesis account, created fully grown and fully capable of reproduction.

For us who live on planet earth at a given moment in time and are accustomed to seeing things grow and develop at a certain pace, it is understandable that we feel everything developed at a similar pace over time. We have no comprehension of what it would take or what would be involved in the creation of a universe that is estimated to be ninety-two billion light years in diameter. Any conclusions we draw must be viewed as limited in that we were not there at the beginning and we cannot judge what a creator capable of creation our universe is capable of as far as addressing all of the details to create a universe that looks “fully grown.”