The Age of the Earth

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  May 3, 2014

            According to the prevailing theories, Creation is either about 6,500 years old or it is somewhere around 4 billion years old. Which is it?
            Some argue for the 6,500 year old creation on the basis of a carefully calculated dating of the generations in scripture and the accounts of creation as detailed in God’s Word. Assuming that the scriptural accounts of Creation and all the history of the Old Testament are accurate, their unquestioned reassurance in trusting the sacred words of our scripture—the undisputable foundation of our faith—and dating the age of this world accordingly.
            Others look at the scientific evidence that surrounds us and interpret the relevant theories of evolution, natural selection, and physical universe around us to mean the earth must be at least 4 billion years old. Going further back in time, the age of the known universe must be substantially older dating to perhaps 40 billion or more years into history. The Christians who hold these beliefs look at the sacred nature of God’s Word in scripture—the undisputable foundation of our faith—and see vivid allegory and symbolic reference to the creation of the earth. Consequently, these believers see no compromise between scientific theories and faith statements rooted in scripture.
            Some who believe in the literal six-day creation and the 6,500 year-old universe look to those who believe otherwise and find their faith to be tainted or corrupted by secularism and the ungodly realm of atheistic thought in scientific theory. Some who believe in the 4 billion year old age of the earth look to those who believe otherwise and find them to be superstitious, naive, and ignorant to the truths of modern science.
            Throughout much of modern history, the two vastly different perspectives have battled in an ideological war determined to force their own authentic and defensively accurate belief on the true origins of Creation on everyone else. After all, it is genuinely believed, it is essential that each side proves it is right—our very human and faith identities rest on this essential proof. Yet, perhaps, both sides have missed the whole point completely.
As Christians, we simply cannot disregard the relevance and authority of scripture. Genesis clearly calls for a six-day creation and the most sophisticated biblical dating averages out to around 6,500 years from the first moment when God said, “Let there be light.”
Modern science and astrophysical research has demonstrated rather convincing evidence for the age of the earth and, as rational beings—Christian or otherwise—we simply cannot disregard the overwhelming evidence to support the prevailing scientific theories that call for a 4 billion year old earth.
         For all the convincing evidence facing people of Christian faith on this matter, there is another powerful reality. Ultimately, we do not really know the true age of the earth. Perhaps even more relevant, none of us could change a single thing about the age of the earth, or everything that has happened in our history to bring us to this point even if we could convincingly and indisputably prove the earth’s true age.
        What is truly relevant is not so much the age of our planet, how life came into being, or the time it took for everything to happen. The common thread in our Biblical Creation story bears no relevance to such unchangeable realities. What is vital, however, is what we have the power to change once inspired by the story. God created humanity so that we could be in relationship with God. This is where our true focus should be!