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Why We Believe in a Young Earth
All Bible-believers take Scripture seriously and literally in matters of salvation, but is the same true when it comes to matters of historical science? Many, even among those who profess to be fundamentalists, adopt methods of interpretation that are allegorical or even mythological approaches to certain portions of Scripture rather than understanding the texts of the Bible contextually, normally, literally, historically, and grammatically. In other words, they read into texts meanings that they want to find or think must be there based upon “settled science” or the opinions of renowned scholars and academics. They assume that because some biblical statements do not fit the supposedly “known” or “observable” scientific facts, there must be some other way to understand the text of Scripture. So, they opt for faulty methods of interpretation, and thus we have explanations of Genesis 1-2 such as the “Gap Theory,” the “Day-Age Theory,” and “Framework Hypothesis.”
This issue of the age of the universe is a conflict that exists not only between believers and unbelievers but also among people who are saved, who love the Lord, and who have committed themselves and their ministries to following Him and His Word. This brief article is an attempt to explain the reason why we believe in a universe that is several thousand years old (6,000-10,000) as opposed to those who believe that the earth/universe is millions or even billions of years old.
We concede that this universe looks “mature.” Consider the fact that on the sixth day of the Creation week when Adam saw trees with fruit on them, they looked as if they were many years old, yet we know they were merely three days old (Gen. 1:26-30). While the scientific facts and arguments made to “prove” an old earth are interesting and even important, we do not believe they are determinative. Our answer to the question of the age of the earth must be decided by what Scripture teaches, and we must interpret all of life according to its light. While it is true that no one text or even a series of texts exactly dates the age of the universe, it is appropriate to make inferences, calculations, and conclusions based upon statements recorded in the Bible. Furthermore, if we carefully look at what Jesus Christ Himself believed and stated concerning the Creation, we find compelling and even irrefutable statements indicating that He held to a “young” earth. Consider three specific texts and note what they say about the age of the earth:
The first text to consider is Mark 10:6, and the context is Christ’s debate with the Pharisees about marriage and divorce and why Moses permitted the latter. Jesus reminded the Pharisees that divorce exists because of the hardheartedness of man, and He then said, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” Jesus said that God made the man and the woman at “the beginning of the creation.” God did not wait thousands or millions of years after the creation of the universe to make mankind or to have him evolve. Man has existed “from the beginning of the creation.” We know from Genesis 1:26-31 that God created Adam and Eve on the sixth day of the creation week. That these “days” were not vast expanses of time is clear from the normal, grammatical reading of Genesis chapter one (note the phrases “the first day” and “the second day,” etc., as well as “evening and morning”) and the statement in Exodus 20:11: “in six days the Lord made….” In other words, Jesus considered all seven days of the creation week “the beginning of the creation.” Animals and human beings did not come along millions of years after the formation of the heavens and the earth. Man was created when God made him on day six of the creation week.
The second text is also in Mark; this time Christ is teaching about end time events. In Mark 13:19 He said, “For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.” The wording is similar to Mark 10, but here Jesus adds, “which God created.” He makes the point that God is the Creator who made everything, including man, during that week of creation (Gen. 1:1-31). Jesus also declared that trouble has existed since the early beginning of earth’s history, which is what Genesis chapter three reveals, identifying sin as the culprit and explaining how the evils of disease, decay, hatred, murder, and death intruded into God’s “very good” creation. Man and trouble have coexisted since early in creation history, as revealed in the Genesis account.
The third text is Luke 11:50-51, in which the Lord rebukes the hypocritical lawyers, saying, “That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.” The phrase “the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world” is grammatically parallel to “the blood of Abel.” In other words, Jesus initially makes a general statement about the guilt of those in His generation and then illustrates specifically what He means by referring back to Abel. Jesus’ statement puts Abel as being one who lived near enough to the week of creation that He could refer to him as one who lived and died at “the foundation of the world.” Abel did not live thousands or millions of years after the world had been created.
In addition to the above texts, when we calculate the time covered in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 10-11, Matthew 1, and Luke 3, we find that these chapters cover a relatively brief period of a few thousands years, which would then date the Creation week back to between, at the most, 4,000 to 6,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ (and depending on whether or not one believes there were any gaps in those genealogies and how long those gaps may have been). Therefore, we conclude the universe could not possibly be more than several thousand years old, according to the Bible. We know that Christ spoke of all the Old Testament as being historically accurate and true; therefore, when He used phrases such as “the foundation of the world,” He certainly had in mind a relatively young earth, historically speaking.
Bible believers have no need to capitulate when it comes to matters such as origins or the age of the earth. For Christians to adopt the methods and beliefs of secular, naturalistic scientists, as old earth advocates have to one degree or another, has been horribly detrimental to the cause of Jesus Christ. We must simply take Scripture for what it says and embrace its teaching—just as we do regarding many other subjects, such as salvation. The unregenerate world says that, if there is “salvation,” it is something that must be earned; God’s Word reveals that salvation is a gift that is completely by His grace through personal faith in Jesus’ person and work. A vast difference exists between the Bible and the world concerning one’s eternal destiny, and a vast difference exists concering the origin of the universe. Bible belivers do not compromise on the former, so why would some do so concerning the latter? Hold fast to the Word, dear friend!
— Pastor Gary Freel