Christians often call the earth young. What does this mean? Young relative to what? Nothing is older than the earth. It’s the oldest thing there is—older by three days than the sun, moon, and stars.
Since everything is younger than the earth, the earth should be called old. If the earth is young, then nothing is old. To say the earth is young removes all meaning from the word old.
To say the earth is young presumes the general validity of the evolutionary framework of long ages of time. It’s only the unrelenting propaganda of “billions of years” that causes people to think the enormous time span of six millennia is young and that old has to mean billions of years.
I don’t call myself a young-earth creationist. Instead I identify myself as a Biblical creationist who believes the earth is 6,000 years old based on Biblical testimony.
Calling the earth old is Biblical. But what time span does the Bible mean by old? Thousands or millions or billions of years? The Bible uses old to mean hundreds or thousands as can be demonstrated by the use of the term throughout Scripture.
Hebrew and Greek words are translated ancient or of old about 70 times. For example, genealogical records of the tribe of Judah are called ancient some 1500 years later (1 Chronicles 4:22). Joshua (24:2) referred to the time of Abraham 500 years earlier as ancient. Isaiah (63:11) called the time of Moses 750 years earlier of old. Amos (9:11) called David’s day 250 years earlier of old. Micah (7:20) called Abraham’s day 1400 years earlier of old. Nehemiah (12:46) called the days of David (500 years earlier) ancient.
In New Testament times, the days of Elijah and the prophets at most 900 years earlier were called of old (Mark 6:15; Luke 9:8,19). Peter identified Moses, Samuel, and successors as “holy prophets from ancient time” through whom God spoke at most 1500 years earlier (Acts 3:21-24). James referred to “ancient generations” reading Moses at most 1500 years earlier (Acts 15:21).
Thus for Biblical authors, ancient and of old meant hundreds or thousands of years, never millions or billions.
Moses and Peter used these same Hebrew and Greek words to call Noah’s world of old and ancient (Genesis 6:4; 2 Peter 2:5). Moses also called the mountains ancient (Deuteronomy 33:15). Job (20:4) called the creation of man of old. The Psalmist (102:25) called the creation of earth of old. Hebrews (11:2-4) identified “men of old” going all the way back to Adam’s son Abel, near the beginning.
Thus it’s reasonable to think the Biblical authors had the same time scale of only thousands of years in mind for the terms ancient and of old when they applied them to Noah’s Flood and Creation. Compared to human lifetimes, thousands of years is ancient.
“Millions of years” is nowhere in the Bible. That notion has been imposed on the Bible within the last two centuries by those who want to force-fit the Bible into scientism’s evolutionary worldview.
Thus it’s Biblical to see the earth as old or ancient, provided old means thousands, not billions, of years. Earth is actually very, very, very ancient. In fact, it’s 6,000 years old.
How Old Does Earth Look?
But someone may object, “Earth looks much older than 6,000 years.” But how could anyone know what a 6,000-year-old earth or a 4-billion-year-old earth looked like?
Children find it difficult to estimate ages because they have little experience. Adults can validly say someone looks in his 50’s based on experience. No one has experience estimating earth ages. Everyone has only been on one earth for a brief time.
How old the earth looks depends on the worldview glasses you look through. One person may think it looks billions of years old. I think it looks like a flood-damaged globe that’s thousands of years old.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Read the sequel:
4. Age of the Earth—Jesus’ View
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Monday June 9, 2008 A.D.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.