When did people start believing in a billion-year-old earth?
Overwhelmingly, scholars of the past supported an age for the earth of only thousands of years, not billions. This was also the historic teaching of the church until the ascendancy of the theory of evolution in the 19th century.
The push in the last two centuries to increase the age of the earth was motivated, not by evidence, but by evolution’s requirement for long eons of time.
|“For an educated man in the seventeenth or even eighteenth century, any suggestion that the human past extended back further than 6,000 years was a vain and foolish speculation.”
—Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727 AD)
What have scholars through the ages taught about the Age of the Earth? The subsequent blog posts in this series on the Age of the Earth will look at what a variety of churchmen, scholars, and scientists from the past have thought about the age of the earth.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the 21st in a series of blog posts on the Age of the Earth. I began with the Biblical testimony that the earth is 6,000 years old, because the evidence from nature should be interpreted and understood in the light of clear Biblical truth. The prequels have considered the issue’s importance, what Jesus thought, and the Genesis genealogies. Current posts are surveying the historic teaching of the church. Future articles will discuss scientific evidence on the age of the earth, explaining fallacies of radiometric dating methods and giving examples of scientific methods which yield short ages.
Read the prequels:
1. How Old Is the Earth?
2. Why Is the Age of the Earth Important?
3. Earth: Young or Old?
4. Age of the Earth—Jesus’ View
5. Age of the Earth—Jesus Interpreted OT Literally
6. Age of the Earth—What Did Jesus Say?
7. Age of the Earth—What Did Jesus’ Contemporaries Think?
8. Age of the Earth—Genealogies
9. Age of the Earth—What Does Begat Mean?
10. Age of the Earth—Interlocking Genealogies
11. Age of the Earth—Any Gaps in Genealogies?
12. Age of the Earth—No Gaps in Genealogies
13. Age of the Earth—Any Missing Generations?
14. Age of the Earth—Scriptural Confirmation (Adam to Noah)
15. Age of the Earth—Scriptural Confirmation (Noah to Abraham)
16. Age of the Earth—Luke’s Testimony
17. Age of the Earth—Luke & Cainan Puzzle
18. Age of the Earth—Luke & Cainan Explanation
19. Age of the Earth—Add It Up
20. Age of the Earth—6,000 Years Old
Read the sequel:
22. Age of the Earth—Church Fathers’ Opinion
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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 August 25, 2008 A.D.
And Peleg lived thirty years, and became the father of Reu; and Peleg lived two hundred and nine years after he became the father of Reu, and he had other sons and daughters. (Genesis 11:18-19 NASB)