The church fathers believed the world was only thousands of years old.
For example, Origen (b.354 A.D.) said Genesis taught “the world is not yet ten thousand years old, but very much under that.”
Augustine (354–430 A.D.) wrote, “Reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6,000 years have yet passed.”
Theophilus, bishop of Syrian Antioch (169-181 A.D.), apologist, and founder of the science of Biblical chronology, wrote, “The total number of years from the creation of the world is 5,695.”
Although believing himself that earth is billions of years old, Calvin College geology professor Davis Young admitted, “The church fathers suggested that the world was less than six thousand years old at the time of Christ because of the chronology of the genealogical accounts of Genesis 5 and 11 and other chronological information in Scripture. … In general, the church fathers regarded the days of creation as ordinary days corresponding to our existing sun-measured, solar days.”
(Davis A. Young, Christianity and the Age of the Earth, Zondervan, 1982, pp. 19-20.)
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the 22st 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
21. Age of the Earth—History’s View
Read the sequel:
23. Age of the Earth—Josephus, Luther, Calvin
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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)
Thursday August 28, 2008 A.D.
And Reu lived thirty-two years, and became the father of Serug; and Reu lived two hundred and seven years after he became the father of Serug, and he had other sons and daughters. (Genesis 11:20-21 NASB)