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Creation 34(3):28–29, July 2012

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Moon madness

Spurious billions-of-years lunar ‘ages’



How old is our moon? Actually, no-one can ‘measure’ the moon’s age. However, the usual assumption is uniformitarianism, i.e. that ‘the present is the key to the past’ (the view of the Bible skeptics in 2 Peter 3:4b). And so they claim, on that basis, that the moon’s age is of the order of four-and-a-half billion years.

However, here are four uniformitarian ‘measures’, that by any measure, expose the contradictions in the billions of years lunar ‘dating’.

Recession of the moon from the earth

Tidal friction causes the moon to recede from the earth at a rate of 4 cm per year. It would have been greater in the past when the moon and earth were closer together. The moon could never have been closer than 18,400 km (11,500 miles), known as the Roche Limit, because Earth’s tidal forces (due to gravity) would have shattered it. But even if the moon had started receding from being in contact with the earth, it would have taken only 1.37 billion years to reach its present distance—only one-quarter of the claimed evolutionary age.1 Of course if it was created near where it is now, there is no need for vast periods of time.

Ghost craters

Ghost craters on the moon’s maria (singular mare: dark ‘seas’ formed from massive lava flows) are a problem for long ages. Enormous impacts apparently caused the lava flows, but not before other, smaller, impact craters formed within the larger craters. These can be seen as ‘ghosts’ under the lava flows. But this means that the smaller impacts can’t have been very long after the huge ones, otherwise the lava would have hardened before the impacts. So it was a very short time frame for the cratering. This also implies that other cratered bodies of our solar system are also much younger than assumed.2

Recently-formed scarps

NASA’s surveys have revealed scarps (steep slopes) due to faulting, thought to be due to shrinking of the moon. These scarps are global and their freshness and lack of cratering suggest very recent origin. However, such recent tectonic movements should not be possible if the moon has been cold and ‘dead’ for at least two billion years.3

Recent volcanic activity

Evidence of recent volcanic activity on Earth’s moon is inconsistent with its supposed vast age because it should have long since cooled if it were billions of years old.4

Note that we are not saying that any of these evidences give us an actual age of the moon. All we can say from such a uniformitarian approach is that the contradictions between all such ‘measures’ show that we can’t trust any of them—that there is something seriously wrong with the assumption that ‘the present is the key to the past’!

The only reliable means of knowing the age of the moon (or anything else in the cosmos, or on Earth) is by the testimony of a reliable witness who observed its formation. Only the Bible with its Creation account from the Creator Himself can inform us as to the moon’s true age. Formed on Day 4 of Creation Week, our moon is just a few days younger than our Earth, i.e. about 6,000 years old. The real (biblical) past is the key to understanding the present!

References and notes

  1. Sarfati, J., The Moon the light that rules the night, Creation 20(4):36–39, 1998; creation.com/moon. Return to text.
  2. Walker, T. and Catchpoole, D., Lunar volcanoes rock long-age timeframe, Creation 31(3):18, 2009; creation.com/lunar-volcanoes (see box and references therein). Return to text.
  3. Watters, T.R., and 10 others, Evidence of Recent Thrust Faulting on the Moon Revealed by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, Science 329(5994):936–940, 20 August 2010. See also: Walker, T., NASA pictures support biblical origin for Moon, creation.com/nasa-shrinking-moon, 2 September 2010. Return to text.
  4. See: DeYoung, D., Transient lunar phenomena: a permanent problem for evolutionary models of Moon formation, J. Creation 17(1):5–6, 2003; also ref. 2. And see further corroboration: Kerr, R., At Long Last, Moon’s Core ‘Seen’; news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow, 6 January 2011. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

Jack M.
Mercury isn't tidally locked to the sun, it's in a 3:2 spin orbit resonance. This has been known since 1965.

[that great source of communal ignorance, edited largely by amateurs, Wikipedia, is cited]
Don Batten
According to scienceforums.net on tidal locking:
"Since Mercury completes three rotations for every two orbits, Mercury is not tidally locked to the Sun by the strictest definition of 'tidally locked'. It is however tidally locked in the sense that this 3:2 ratio is stable, thanks largely to Mercury's rather large eccentricity. If Mercury's rotation is slightly perturbed by some other planet, it will quickly regain that 3:2 rotation rate to orbital rate ratio."
In other words, Mercury cannot be any more tidally locked than it is, so it is effectively 'tidally locked'.
Joel L.
The very fact that we see only one side of the moon--its rotation perfectly in sync with its revolution around the earth!--points to intelligent planning. How would evolution explain this, apart from some cosmic coincidence. But what would probability theory allow for here?

The recession of the moon, important as it is, seems like gravy by comparison.
Don Batten
Actually, this can be due to 'tidal locking' or 'gravitational locking', rather than being designed that way. Mercury is tidally locked to the sun, for example. Indeed, some of the times estimated for tidal locking to occur in solar system bodies seem to be yet another problem for the supposed 'deep time' age of the solar system (watch out for an article on this soon, hopefully).
Mark V.
It is interesting that you do not mention the distance the moon is from the earth, some 380,000km, because with that information it would take only a minutes work with a calculator to work out that at 4cm per year it would take some 10 Billion years for the moon to move to its present distance from the earth.
Don Batten
Sure, we withheld that information to mislead people! If you had taken the care to read the linked article you would find that the rate of recession was much greater in the past; hence the timeframe is indeed a problem for the supposed evolutionary age. It's a matter of well-established physics. As with all arguments based on history, there are often ways of reconstructing the past to try to reconcile the calculations (see: The moon's recession and age, which was listed in the further reading at the end of the article). However, such reconstructions deny the principle of uniformitarianism ('the present is the key to the past'), upon which the very belief in an old age for the earth squarely rests.
Jack M.
Hi Don,

Can you just run over that last bit again? Who, precisely, is the 'reliable witness' who observed the formation of the moon?

All best,

Don Batten
The next sentence says it, Jack: "Only the Bible with its Creation account from the Creator Himself can inform us as to the moon’s true age." You can read this in Genesis 1:14-19.
K. W.
I heard on Christian television (Mr. Danilo Valla) that the diameter ratio of the moon to the sun is 1 to 400. During a solar eclipse the distance ratio of the moon to the earth and the sun is also 1 to 400. There is a letter in the Hebrew alphabet with the value 400 and the meaning of the letter is "sign" or something in that effect. I guess the point is that an eclipse would be impossible without the above mentioned ratios being exactly valid and this being impossible via cosmic evolution. Can you confirm the above and is there any sensible reason for the eclipse other than a "sign" from the Creator.
Don Batten
It is correct that the moon is precisely the right size for a full solar eclipse and this can be seen as an element of divine design; see: The moon: the light that rules the night. However, I would not use the argument from the numerology of the Hebrew word; that seems like rather a stretch. What about all the other numbers that come up that are evidence of design? One much more significant than 400 is the Fibonacci series (or ratio), or 'Golden numbers'. These numbers (or the ratio) can be found throughout creation.
George J.
You wrote,
"So it was a very short time frame for the cratering." Assuming it took a very short time for the cratering.............how does that lead to any conclusion about the age of the moon? It seems to me that the only thing one can conclude is that three events occurred in the order; big crater, small crater, lava flow. I see nothing that gives any information about the age of the moon, one way or the other, in the information that you have provided.
Don Batten
"Assuming that it took a very short time for the cratering ...". Well that is the assumption that was not made in 'deep time' astronomy, and so the cratering was seen as an indication of a vast age for the moon. According to the uniformitarian approach, Earth today only occasionally sees a meteorite impact, so therefore it was assumed that in the past this rate of impact applied to the moon, therefore the cratering is evidence for a very old moon. The article merely corrected this wrong inference. You are correct that there is no precise 'clock' here, but it is the sort of thing that is used to argue for a very old moon. Argument nullified. I'm glad you agree. :-)

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