Evidence for an old earth?
SB, United States, writes in:
First, I want you to know that I do know in whom I have believed, and I know that Jesus IS the only Son of God, and is part of the Trinity. And I DON’T believe in even the possibility of evolution no matter how old the earth is! HOWEVER! There is more than ample evidence that the earth is NOT 6000 years old, besides that fact, that there is over 5000 yrs of written Chinese history! Primarily though, there is the existence of the petrified bones of dinosaurs along with their stomach contents; which clearly demonstrates that a Tyrannosaur never ate a hominid of ANY SORT. I can agree that God probably did create the universe with the appearance of great age to fool the foolish. HOWEVER, if I am also to believe that God is NOT a liar, then I CANNOT believe God created evidence like the bones of animals which clearly never existed alongside man without becoming a liar in the process. There just HAS to be some other way of interpreting the Bible when it comes to the age of the earth.
Lita Sanders, CMI–US, responds:
Thanks for writing in. First, before you even read farther in this response, I would ask you to read a couple articles that we have written on creation.com:
Now, if you read those articles, you know why we argue that 1) the Bible teaches that the earth is 6,000 years old, and 2) any view that holds to millions of years of history puts death before sin and thus cannot be reconciled with the Gospel.
But let me address your arguments, and I think after we look at them you’ll see that they are rather weak, and really no reason to doubt the biblical account.
First, you argue that there are over 5,000 years of written Chinese history. But the first Chinese writing is on oracle bones dated to 1200 BC. So by definition there can be no written history of China before that. So the writing itself is well within what would be allowable in a biblical worldview, and it was common to inflate dates to make the society seem more ancient than it really was. But there is evidence that the earliest Chinese characters actually reflect a knowledge of the same history that Genesis reveals. See Chinese characters and Genesis.
Second, you note that dinosaurs have been found with stomach contents preserved. Such preservation, by the way, indicates they were buried so rapidly that they could not be affected by predation or the normal decay process. Now, there is a logical fallacy involved in your argument. We don’t know whether dinosaurs ate humans–we just have never found one that had a human as its last meal that we can tell. And even if dinosaurs didn’t eat humans, that does not mean they did not live alongside them. But we do have written records and artwork depicting dragons, which sound a lot like what we call dinosaurs. See Bishop Bell’s brass behemoths and Dragons: animals not apparitions, for example. And blood vessels, blood cells, and even DNA in dinosaur fossils makes it clear that these cannot be millions of years old. See the relevant category at Dinosaur questions and answers.
I absolutely agree with you that God is not a liar. But if He created the earth with the appearance of great age [i.e. on the order of billions of years— not the same as God creating mature plants, animals, and ecosystems on earth during Creation week], then He would be a liar. And if He tells us the earth is 6,000 years old when it isn’t, then He would be a liar as well. So what is the alternative? I believe the best explanation is just as the Bible explains. God created everything in the universe during 6 normal-length days 6,000 years ago, as Scripture tells us. The Flood, a tremendously destructive global event that lasted about a year from start to finish, reshaped the earth’s surface. It picked up tons and tons of sediments as the floodwaters rapidly eroded the surface, and then it was laid down again rapidly, preserving whatever plants and animals happened to be laid down along with it. When the water drained off the continents, it caused canyons and other geological features that we see today. See Geology questions and answers for more information.
I hope this answer is helpful.