Flavius Josephus, Jewish historian of the first century AD, gives a strict no-gap chronology based on the Genesis genealogies in his Antiquities of the Jews.
Josephus and the Jews of his time understood Genesis to teach that Creation happened only thousands of years earlier. This reflects the common understanding of Jesus’ day that the earth was only thousands of years old. Josephus calculated the creation date at 5555 BC, because he used mainly the inflated figures of the Greek Septuagint translation of Genesis instead of the Hebrew Masoretic text.
Martin Luther (1483–1546) dated Creation at 3961 BC. He wrote, “We know from Moses that the world was not in existence before 6,000 years ago.”
(Luther, Lectures on Genesis, Concordia Publishing House, Vol. 1, p. 3.)
Reformation theologian John Calvin (1509–1564) believed that Genesis means what it says. He wrote that “little more than five thousand years have passed since the creation of the universe.”
(John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 2, p. 925, edited by John T. McNeill, Westminster Press, 1960.)
Thus Martin Luther and John Calvin, both renowned scholars and leading giants of the Reformation, each believed the earth is only a few thousand years old. Their opinion deserves careful consideration.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the 23rd 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
22. Age of the Earth—Church Fathers’ Opinion
Read the sequel:
24. Age of the Earth—Archbishop Ussher
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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 September 1, 2008 A.D.
And Serug lived thirty years, and became the father of Nahor; and Serug lived two hundred years after he became the father of Nahor, and he had other sons and daughters. (Genesis 11:22,23 NASB)