Summary: some scientists claim to have discovered fossils of simple life that are 3,465 million years old. In sharp contrast, the Bible indicates that God created the various forms of life just a few thousand years ago during Creation week! Which is it?

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Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the kings of the dinosaurs, is said to have lived 66 million years ago, and some scientists claim to have discovered fossils of simple life that are 3,465 million years old. In sharp contrast, the Bible indicates that God created the various forms of life just a few thousand years ago during Creation week! Following this came the great Genesis Flood, which biblical creationists understand to be responsible for much of the fossil record.

So which model of origins is correct, science or the Bible?

With our average life spans of 60 to 80 years, obviously no living human being has been around long enough to observe what happened even 6,000 years ago—the approximate biblical time span for life on the earth—to say nothing of the millions of years proposed by current scientific thinking. So we are left with examining rocks, fossils, and other pieces of evidence to calculate the age of the earth and life upon it. Some data, emphasized by most scientists, tends to support the longer time span. However, other data supports a shorter age for the earth. It’s this latter evidence that we will examine in this article.

Radiometric and carbon 14 dating

In support of the long ages of earth’s history, scientists rely heavily on radiometric dating of minerals and carbon 14 dating of fossils. However, these two methods sometimes disagree. Some mineral samples that are assumed to be millions of years old by radiometric dating give carbon 14 dates of 30,000 to 80,000 years.

Of course, even the maximum 80,000-year carbon 14 dates are still much older than the few thousand years since Creation as indicated in the Bible. One possible explanation for these older carbon 14 dates is that there was a lower concentration of carbon 14 before the great Genesis Flood. The less carbon 14 a fossil had to begin with, the older it will appear to be today.

Challenging data

There’s significant evidence that’s hard to explain for those who believe in many millions of years. Especially noteworthy are the current rates of geologic changes, which are occurring much too rapidly to have operated over such long geologic ages.

Erosion of the continents. One example is the rainwater that keeps slowly eroding away the surface of our continents, carrying sediment into streams and rivers, which then carry it to the oceans. Numerous studies have been conducted on the amount of sediment that all the rivers of the world are carrying into the oceans. These studies indicate that the continents are being eroded at an average rate of about 200 feet per million years. That seems slow to us humans, who live 60 to 80 years, or to 100 if we’re lucky. However, the average height of our continents is only 2,044 feet, which means that they should have washed entirely into the oceans in about 10 million years.

A complication is that humanity’s modern agricultural practices speed up erosion, so it would have been slower in the past. Taking that into account, one can very conservatively calculate that erosion should have leveled our continents at least 100 times during the proposed long geologic eons—yet they are still here!

Geologists suggest that the reason the continents are still here is that they are slowly being renewed by uplift from below. However, this conclusion fails to take into account that the geologic layers from very old to much more recent are still very well represented on all the continents, and we do not seem to have gone through even one complete cycle of erosion and renewal. It looks more like the great waters of the Genesis Flood rapidly laid down most of the sedimentary layers. As these waters receded, they eroded chasms like the Colorado River’s Grand Canyon, and there has not been much time for extended slower erosion since then.

Erosion filling the oceans. Another consideration is that the sediments that the rivers carry to the oceans should eventually fill them up. But the volume of sediments found in the oceans is only a fraction of 1 percent of what would be expected from the world’s rivers during the 2,000 to 4,000 million years proposed for the ages of the continents.

Some geologists have suggested that the reason there is so little sediment in the oceans is that as the earth’s huge tectonic plates have sunk under other ones (subduction), they have transported the ocean sediments deeper into the earth. The problem with this argument is that the amount of sediment that’s being subducted is estimated to be only 10 to 20 percent of the sediment that the world’s rivers carry to the oceans.

Flat lands. Also, there are some very flat surfaces of the earth that are assumed to be very old yet do not show the ravages of erosion. Are these flat surfaces as old as they are said to be? An example of this phenomenon is Kangaroo Island in Australia, which is some 90 miles long and has a very flat surface except at one end. According to radiometric dating and fossil correlation, the surface of Kangaroo Island is supposed to be 160 million years old. This age would suggest that at least three miles of erosion should have occurred, yet the surface is flat, suggesting that little erosion has occurred. It looks very much like Kangaroo Island is not that old!

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