Does the Age of the Earth Matter, or is it a Secondary Doctrine?

May 5, 2017 | Apologetics, Article, Creation

All of my life, I have been in Independent Baptist Churches, Amen! One of the things we have always taken very seriously and very literally is the Genesis creation account. Growing up, I really didn’t believe this to be a point of contention at all! Sure, I was just going by what I was told. But, what I was being told very much so lined up with the Word of God. It all made sense!

As you grow in your Christian walk and begin to study more, you will no doubt be introduced to a variety of “new” and differing viewpoints on a certain subject matter. You can imagine my surprise when I found people who called themselves Christians who actually believed in the “Big Bang,” and some who even believe that God used evolution!

Let me state up front: I firmly and fiercely reject both of those teachings.

However, I say that with the most humble of attitudes, because it was truly shocking to me that there were Believers who thought and even taught otherwise. Honestly, I am only able to say that I reject it firmly and fiercely now because I have examined the evidence, and found it to confirm God’s Word to be true!

Don’t misunderstand me–I never doubted God’s Word. But some “old earther’s” make a pretty compelling case, and since they are not trying to lead anyone astray from Christ, I gave them a listening ear.

Interestingly enough, those who rest on the side of a young earth believe this teaching to be of utmost importance, while most (albeit, not all) who rest on the old earth side are very nonchalant about it.

So, what is the deal? Does this doctrine actually matter? Many would say, “no.” I disagree.

Now let me be clear: This, I do not believe, is a salvation issue of any kind. You CAN believe in the God of the Bible and believe and in an old earth. I think it is inaccurate and potentially dangerous to believe that–but you can.

This core issue seems to lie in one thing: presuppositions.

If you start outside of the Bible with the “general consensus” of modern science and reason your way to God, you are more likely to wind up at the old earth view. However, I believe if you read the Bible without any prior notion to believe what some modern scientists teach, and then examine the evidence in light of God’s Word, you will end up at the young earth view.

Why? Honestly–it’s just what the Bible teaches! There have been many throughout the years who disagree with that statement, but nevertheless, I truly believe that a careful examination of God’s Word will lead to the young earth conclusion.

The good news is that science and the Bible are complementary, not contradictory. Imagine the joy when I found that if you just simply approach science with the prior knowledge that God created in six literal days, a whole new world opens up!

Things that we “lay scientists” (and also some very influential “actual” scientists!) see and observe about the world make perfect sense if the earth and universe are young! You won’t hear that on the Discovery channel, folks, but it’s true!

I believe that there are least three reasons why we as Christians should place a lot more stake in this issue:

Reason #1: Biblical Authority is at Stake


It is concerning to me when Christians place what they have heard and believed from other fallible human beings above what can be plainly read in the Scriptures.

In science, everyone has an opinion. Science does not speak for itself; rather, it needs scientists to look at the data that has been uncovered and make sense of it.

There is no doubt that many scientists are bent towards taking God at His Word, but sheer common sense tells us that more still are unapologetically biased against the things of God.

To the person who starts with science and then winds up at God (with a belief in an old earth), I ask you this question: How did you decide which scientist to trust?

I contend that unless you have a pretty significant background knowledge about the person(s) you are getting your data from, there is at least a chance that their data is being built on the wrong foundation.

I mean, how can you possibly know who to trust? Now, there are obviously some wonderful Christian scientists that hold to an old earth view. Hugh Ross is one that comes to mind.

I believe he passionately serves God, but I also believe that his scientific presuppositions are leading him astray. I’m sure you are wondering how I can say that with any degree of confidence, seeing as how Hugh holds multiple doctorate degrees and is considered a first-class astronomer.

It’s simple: There are plenty of names (Danny Faulkner and Jason Lisle to name a couple) who are just as educated and yet strongly believe (for scientific AND biblical) reasons in a literal, 6-day creation.

Furthermore, they not only believe it but are able to provide sound scientific evidence in the affirmative to the claim. At the very least, this should tell us that is not at all unreasonable to hold to this view.

If this was all based on our opinions and there were no scientific evidence whatsoever of a young earth, there would be two implications:

  1. Possibly, we would all hold to an old earth understanding; Or,
  2. We would believe the Bible was in error, and thus, worth nothing more than children’s fairytale.

I thank God neither of these is the case!

In Genesis, when you find a number next to the Hebrew word “Yom” which means, of course, “day”, the context always suggests a literal, 24-hr (by the rotation of the sun) day. God even confirms this when he says, “the evening and the morning.”

Now, it is a lot less black and white than that and we will dive more into the scientific and hermeneutical nuances at a later date, but a plain reading of Scripture certainly seems to indicate a 6-day creation, and modern science, believe it or not, seems to indicate the same thing.

If we’re going to ask our culture to take the Bible seriously, I believe we ought to be taking it seriously as well! That means interpreting science through the lens of Scripture; not the other way around.

In the near future, I will be writing about how the Bible seemed to have knowledge of modern science before any modern scientists did. Looking forward to that!

Reason #2: Real Scientific Discoveries must be Explained Away


One of the things that really excites me about the “age” debate is the actual science involved. I have long been a fan of those who would be brave enough to swim against the current of Godlessness in modern science (which is basically Scientism) and tell us the truth.

This stuff is not being made up.

There are serious scientific difficulties with both the old earth/universe view and the evolution view.

Now, I am not saying there are not some difficulties with the young earth view–but we are not pushing for biblical creation to be taught in public schools and with our tax dollars. If you want to teach evolution in school, fine–but do it with its warts and all!

The problem today is that textbooks and many of our teachers and professors are starting with the assumption that evolution is the only valid viewpoint, and therefore, anything we don’t know or can’t explain just has not been discovered yet. They say that Christians employ a “god of the gaps argument” (the assertion that we place simply place God in the “gaps” in our knowledge) and therefore any view of science that we support cannot be trusted.

I don’t understand that. If all we are is the combination of random molecules and atoms formed by random chance over millions of years, why should anyone’s opinion be trusted? Sounds like we would be pretty irrational beings if that were the case.

I don’t believe for one second that we are placing God in places where we have knowledge gaps–rather, we are making an affirmative case for Christianity based on what we observe in science. That is all atheistic scientists are doing, but there is something very dangerous about claiming scientific discoveries that support Scripture.

Not all scientists are “blood-sucking naturalists,” to be sure; but only a few are going out their way to demonstrate that the Bible got it right.

To make my case, and at the very least, show you that I am not just blowing smoke, let’s look at just three affirmative scientific discoveries that support a young earth:


The Grand Canyon


The Grand Canyon is perhaps one of the marvelous geologic wonders of the world. For many years, scientists believed that it was carved out by the Colorado river over a period of 5-6 million years. Many still believe this today, although some scientists have admitted that catastrophe was indeed necessary to its formation.

There are quite a few problems with this. For one thing, rivers don’t flow uphill. Also, we know from science that we have actually observed that a large, rapid movement of water would be necessary for such erosion to occur.

When we look at something like the Grand Canyon, it seems completely illogical to choose a “millions of years” formation when we know that one option could be a worldwide, global flood. In light of what we know about science, a catastrophic event like that would and could cause such a chasm, especially if we take the Bible literally in its description of how the waters came (fountains of the deep, etc.).


Dust on the Moon


Another interesting discovery was made when the Apollo team first landed on the moon. Based on assumptions about the age of the universe at that time (we “know it is much older” now), scientists expected them to find about 2-3 feet of “moon dust.”

In fact, the equipment they carried with them was designed specifically for that.

When they arrived, what they found was much different. There was barely any. It was not even thick enough to notice, hardly.

Explanations have been offered for this. And you are free to consider them! But, wouldn’t it make sense that we would not find much moon dust if their assumption that it accumulates at a rate of about .04 in. per 1000 years is correct, and the universe is only about 6000-10,000 years old?

I think so.

Editorial note (2017): This piece of evidence has been discarded and is no longer relevant to the “age” debate (whether for or against). Therefore, we have not reused this argument in any literature or content and strongly advise that no one else does either. While there are numerous more astronomical evidences for a young earth that are legitimate (such as the existence of short-period comets and blue stars), it only hurts our cause to support those that aren’t.

Dinosaur Tissue


This one could quite possibly be my favorite. Answers in Genesis has a wonderfully detailed article about this.

It is not my aim to make an in-depth scientific case, rather, I just want to mention the implications this has if the science here is true!

For one thing, this is a discovery that has been made by secular scientists, and it is a real problem. Simply put, it is just not possible to explain live tissue and red blood cells inside of a fossil that is millions of years old.

This is the kind of science that is pretty black and white. It either can be millions of years old, or it can’t. In this case, it certainly appears that it can’t.

As you will find when reading the article, many publications have decided to completely dismiss the issue rather than challenge it. I wonder if it is because any challenge presented would simply not measure up?

Ultimately, and as we should expect, there is simply no problem with this discovery if we indeed live on an earth that is just thousands of years old, not millions.

Reason #3: Jesus Seemed to Have an Opinion


Accepting a view of the age of the earth/universe that begins with man’s interpretation of science also has incredible theological implications concerning Christ Himself.

Jesus made a few statements that carry quite a bit of evidential weight concerning the events as recorded “in the beginning.”

If we discount these statements or take them to mean anything other than what a plain reading of Scripture dictates, we run into serious issues with being able to trust anything that Jesus has said!

This is why I strongly disagree with those who make light of the creation account.

It’s not so much the facts of how science lines up with the Bible–rather, it is the inherent implication that Scripture (and in this case, Jesus!) cannot be trusted. If THAT is not a concern of yours, I highly suggest you take Paul’s advice and “examine yourself” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Let’s look at a few scenarios concerning Jesus:

  1. In Luke 13, Jesus references a passage in Exodus 20 that explains our propensity to work six days and rest on the seventh. This is a framework that was established at the beginning. It corresponds perfectly with a 6-day creation account.
  2. Jesus had no problem with a literal Adam and Eve. Many proponents (though not all) of the old earth view believe that many Old Testament accounts were merely allegorical in nature. Jesus did not believe that (Matt. 19:4). Since these events were literal, why should creation not be taken literally?
  3. Since Christ is the second person of the Trinity, anything stated in the entire Bible can, theologically speaking, be attributed to Him as God. This means that any time a claim in the Bible is made indicating a young creation, it is not merely the writer’s assertion, rather it is The Writer’s assertion!
  4. It is also worth noting that any time Jesus performed a miracle in the Bible, there was no length of time required–it was instantaneous! The creation account is the greatest miracle–does that mean it had to take millions of years? No! It was instantaneous!

To my last point–what would be the point of God creating over millions of years? Even old earth creationists (and secular scientists!) believe that time, space, and matter all had a beginning. What would be the purpose of God creating time, space, and matter and sitting on them for millions and billions of years before taking any action?

We were created to give glory to God (Isaiah 43:7)–what would be God’s purpose for creating anything before He created the beings that could give Him glory?

Furthermore, this has gigantic theological implications for what we understand about the doctrine of sin. The Bible says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12).

If God created Earth millions of years ago (which carries with it the idea that Dinosaurs lived in a different Age), that means death and destruction were on the Earth before Adam, and therefore, before sin. I have yet to hear an old earth explanation that satisfies this objection.

The Bible claims in Genesis 3:20, “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” Eve was the mother of all living. This just could not be more clear. If something, anything sentient, was alive before Eve, the Bible is not true. Period.



In light of the evidence, I think it would be a mistake to view these matters as “secondary.” Let me reiterate–I fully believe that you can believe in an old earth and still be saved and headed for glory! Doctrinal inaccuracy on just about anything outside of “whosoever believes” will not necessarily land you in hell–but it could keep you from experiencing the joy of a life spent trusting fully in God’s Word.

That, may I say, is a tragedy.

It’s time we get back to the Bible as our source for information. The Bible is literally true and scientifically accurate. I think that means we ought to accept what it has to say about science!

An argument I hear often is that the old earth view allows us more flexibility in the college and university setting. In some cases, that is true. People tend to associate the 6-day view of creation only with religious bias.

But, is that a good enough reason to compromise?

I think the approach on how we “sell” the idea should change–not the idea itself! If we can prove that we have real science to put forward and offer, I believe we can make some headway. This is one reason I applaud the folks at organizations like AiG and ICR–they are really doing some great academic work on this subject.

Don’t give in because “smart people” have something to say that contradicts what you know to be true. Remember–we do not believe blindly! As the great philosopher of science and mathematician John Lennox once said, “Nonsense remains nonsense, even when talked by world-famous scientists.” We may “see through a glass darkly” now, but God has given us plenty of natural and scientific evidence to support what He has already told us in His Word.

It’s just waiting out there for us to discover it. You’re up! What are you waiting for?

Questions? Feel free to comment below and start the discussion, or click the blue button on the right (desktop only) to ask a question with a voicemail. We will do our best to answer in an upcoming post. Thanks!

Meet Steve

Meet Steve

Hi, I’m Steve, an author, speaker, and Bible teacher with a heart for exploring God’s Word and God’s world.

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