Argument against Apparent Age

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nwink

Puritan Board Sophomore
What is the best way to respond to the argument often made against young-earth creationists that goes something to the effect of: "You're contradicting yourself to say that the universe has the appearance of old age, and then yet pointing to various evidences in the universe to support a specific young age (place a date on the universe." How can the young-earth person affirm both that evidences point to a young age...and yet be consistent in saying creation was made with the appearance of age?

For example, would dating methods be irrelevant to a young-earth creationist? If God created a fully-formed rock 6000 years ago, would it not be impossible to date the "birth" of the rock as an "infant rock", since it was created as a mature rock? So wouldn't dating be irrelevant and impossible to determine? Should the young-earth creationist not attempt to date anything that appears could be older than 6000 years?

Update: I would appreciate it if people in this thread would stick to answering my original post (answering this argument from a young-earth perspective) instead of arguing about the validity of different positions on Creation.
 
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Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
That argument seems sound to me. It's something that has bothered me a lot, and one of the reasons I don't put much weight on young-earth creation science.

I reject macroevolution on theological grounds, but the young/old earth debate is a different question, especially given some of the "time dilation" theories that have been propounded. There is so much fudge on both sides of the fence that I'd rather just sit on the fence and eat cake.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
What is the best way to respond to the argument often made against young-earth creationists that goes something to the effect of: "You're contradicting yourself to say that the universe has the appearance of old age, and then yet pointing to various evidences in the universe to support a specific young age (place a date on the universe." How can the young-earth person affirm both that evidences point to a young age...and yet be consistent in saying creation was made with the appearance of age?

Good point. I suppose it would be best to ask the Answers in Genesis folks, as they'll have thought of this, although maybe a YEC at the PB can.

Would the wine at Cana, on closer analysis, show signs of its youth? Would Adam, on closer analysis, show signs of his youth?

Another Q is, Why is it important for the universe to have an appearance of age? What does a young earth or young universe look like, since we have nothing to compare them to?

I'm sceptical of attempts to define the Days of Creation as long ages, but am more open to there being a gap at the beginning before the Heavens and Earth were formed and filled.
 

Scottish Lass

Puritan Board Doctor
Adam was created fully formed, was he not? I believe the universe could show apparent age just as he would have.
 

ChariotsofFire

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't think the proper term is "apparent age", but rather something like "fully formed" or "mature"... I don't see any dilemma for those who uphold 6 day creation and a young earth.

As far as empirical testing goes, we should be testing with the assumption that a young earth was created mature.
 

LawrenceU

Puritan Board Doctor
The 'contradiction' contains a false premise. The apparent old age of creation is based upon scientific theories that assume long processes of time are required for the visible condition. This includes everything from fossil development, nuclear degradation, erosion, light speed, and so on. The 'necessity' of viewing the universe as old is completely circular.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
Adam was created fully formed, was he not? I believe the universe could show apparent age just as he would have.

Right... but then why say, on the one hand, that the universe shows "apparent age," and then try to prove that it doesn't?
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
You can find no scriptural grounds for the age of the earth. Indeed, I've heard about theistic evolutionists trying to use the "apparent" language to get around some problems shown on the genetic level with evolution. God has given us general and special revelation -- and both are just that, revelation.On that basis, why not let geologist do their thing? There is repeatability and observability in erosion, rock weathering, faults etc.
 

uberkermit

Puritan Board Freshman
You can find no scriptural grounds for the age of the earth.

Really? There is a long history of Christians who have used the Scriptures to get an approximate time for the creation. In any case, they were not coming up with numbers anywhere close to what the scientists are telling us today.

why not let geologist do their thing?

Because they are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.

There is repeatability and observability in erosion, rock weathering, faults etc.

Yes, but they are starting with the wrong assumptions. For them, they need an incredibly old earth. It is the only thing that allows for the ridiculous notion of evolution. Since they believe that mantra, "From goo to you", and since that is their presuppositional starting point, then they are not setting out to find the truth, but to solidify their own ungodly position. That ungodly position includes undermining the truth of the scriptures regarding the creation of this earth.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
There is repeatability and observability in erosion

Someone traded me some plants for this aquatic reptile yesterday and even though it's supposed to be a zillion years old I uncovered one of the teeth in about 5 minutes scratching with a nail. It's compacted sand, not even close to sandstone yet. I just can't buy those bizarre number most geologists use, and I don't feel that makes me the kind of crackpot that, say, claims vaccines cause autism by the kind of personal observation doctors are too dumb to make or claim by personal intuition the government brought down the two towers. In the case of vaccines and 9/11 there is data that can be verified. In the case of geology as has been pointed out earlier on the thread you can't prove something takes 1,000,000,000 to happen when you don't have records farther back than 3,000 years or so.

original.jpg
 

steadfast7

Puritan Board Junior
whatever our opinion of young/old earth is, we cannot deny the monopoly that old earth darwinism has on the "science market" and there is NOTHING we can do about it. The more we argue against it, the sillier we look in the eyes of the scientific community. Tim Keller is supposedly a theistic evolutionist proponent and I think he's thought through his confessional theology and his position in the intellectual arena more than most of us. I'm not saying he's right, but here's an example of one "solution" to the impasse.

One argument against apparent age is that God has been intentionally deceptive in his creation of the world and the discovery of it, and that's another hurdle Christians must face.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
One argument against apparent age is that God has been intentionally deceptive in his creation of the world and the discovery of it, and that's another hurdle Christians must face.

That's the kind of argument used to mock the opposition. Like calling people "Replacement theologians" for believing the church is Israel. They both involve the assumption that their position is the norm, when it simply isn't the case.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor

This is an excellent site by, I presume, Dr John Byl. Thanks for drawing my attention to it CT.

Dennis
The more we argue against it, the sillier we look in the eyes of the scientific community.

You could sell the whole pass on the Gospel if you decided what to believe from Scripture depending on whether some people thought you were silly!

but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.(I Cor 1:23-25, ESV)
 

steadfast7

Puritan Board Junior
I'm just saying that Tim Keller is probably smarter than me, has thought about the issues more deeply than me, has more to lose in conceding to theistic evolution, and has still become convinced of that view... I know a Christian paleontologist and he cannot but be baffled at young earth views. I happen to think that young earth proponents have some valid points, but I also see the power of the superstructure that has monopolized the market - it cannot be denied.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Adam was created fully formed, was he not? I believe the universe could show apparent age just as he would have.

Right... but then why say, on the one hand, that the universe shows "apparent age," and then try to prove that it doesn't?

Actually if you just think about it a moment, you can see what they are doing. The old age folk assume uniformitarianism (if it takes x years for the grand canyon to widen deepen etc. y inches therefore it took z millions or billions for it to form what we see today). Then if one can show that under special conditions, the time it takes to develop something that normally takes a long time is greatly shortened, then one has attacked uniformitarianism. It is then up to the uniformitarian to justify their belief that it must have taken a long time.

CT
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Dennis
I'm just saying that Tim Keller is probably smarter than me, has thought about the issues more deeply than me, has more to lose in conceding to theistic evolution, and has still become convinced of that view... I know a Christian paleontologist and he cannot but be baffled at young earth views. I happen to think that young earth proponents have some valid points, but I also see the power of the superstructure that has monopolized the market - it cannot be denied.

The pressure to compromise - and attacks of the Evil One - are often greater on these big name evangelicals.

We shouldn't let Tim Keller or anyone else come between us and God's Word. I'm not saying you're doing that.
 

rookie

Puritan Board Sophomore
You can find no scriptural grounds for the age of the earth.

Really? There is a long history of Christians who have used the Scriptures to get an approximate time for the creation. In any case, they were not coming up with numbers anywhere close to what the scientists are telling us today.

why not let geologist do their thing?

Because they are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.

There is repeatability and observability in erosion, rock weathering, faults etc.

Yes, but they are starting with the wrong assumptions. For them, they need an incredibly old earth. It is the only thing that allows for the ridiculous notion of evolution. Since they believe that mantra, "From goo to you", and since that is their presuppositional starting point, then they are not setting out to find the truth, but to solidify their own ungodly position. That ungodly position includes undermining the truth of the scriptures regarding the creation of this earth.

I agree 100%. I know Kent Hovind has ruined his testimony as a christian with some of the issues that led him to prison. However, I find him one of the most educated individuals when it comes to debating "evolution vs creationism".

Another point, is that the text of Genesis chapter 1 verses 1-5 are the same context. There is no break.

And my last point, is for the ones that believe dinosaurs (that word was only invented in 1844 meaning "big dragon" or something like that), if they died before Adam, then the bible is faulty, because Adam and Eve are the ones that brought death to the earth.

So either God lied, or humans are.....I would rather put my hope and faith in a God that doesn't lie, therefore, men lie.....
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
There is a long history of Christians who have used the Scriptures to get an approximate time for the creation.

I don't agree with the age young-earth folks derive, nor the age that geologists claim.

Asserting that many through the ages have held a position doesn't make it valid; what I've seen uses scriptures in a way they were not intended. Genealogies in the Bible serve as a remembrance or as a way of bringing the hearer (or reader) from God's work in the past, to His later revelation. It doesn't serve as, or claim to be, a census record.

Trying to claim "apparent age" cannot be supported either through the scriptures or through science. We know that God does not contradict Himself. So if He says there's an historical Adam who fell into sin, there is an historical Adam, period. But that is not addressing why the earth looks as it does. To argue that the earth has an apparent age or you can't believe in an historical Adam is an argument from necessity and doesn't prove anything.

I have seen for myself, canyons 2 miles deep. (The Grand Canyon is an irrigation ditch compared to the Snake River or Kings River Canyons.) I have seen the amazing folding in rock in Kings Canyon and praised the almighty God who created it. I agree that many scientists bring their assumptions into the science, and that much of the last 150+ years of science has been corrupted by the evolutionary perspective. But that doesn't mean that all human observation (general revelation!) has to be thrown out, especially when it can be repeatedly modeled.

Could God have made earth look like it has an apparent age. Certainly! But to say that he did so is where we run into problems with special and general revelation. Quite frankly, the whole "creation science" debacle has put Christians in a bad light and I believe it's fair to say that some who have taken up theistic-evolution have done so because it appears on some levels to have more academic credibility.

I am comfortable saying that I just don't know, and this side of heaven, that we may never know how the physical realm came to be the way it is. But I don't abandon the idea that God has given us an objective reality that can be explored and tested so that we can better understand some parts of it. I'm comfortable in saying that God has given us a force that draws objects toward the center of the earth and that gravity will work tomorrow the way it has worked today because it has come from the hand of a creator who in unchangeable and who is to be glorified by His own creation.
 

cih1355

Puritan Board Junior
What is the best way to respond to the argument often made against young-earth creationists that goes something to the effect of: "You're contradicting yourself to say that the universe has the appearance of old age, and then yet pointing to various evidences in the universe to support a specific young age (place a date on the universe." How can the young-earth person affirm both that evidences point to a young age...and yet be consistent in saying creation was made with the appearance of age?

The universe doesn't look old; it looks young. It looks like it is about 6000 years old.
 

rookie

Puritan Board Sophomore
Personally, the reason I think many people believe in old earth, is ever since the theory of evolution came around.

Before then, people in general agreed that the earth was only 6000 yrs old, and then scientists and evolutionist and a bunch of other "ists" started making the earth older than it was, and then some bible believers tried to adapt that theory.

Now it's the only way some people see it. Quite sad.
 

Sviata Nich

Puritan Board Freshman
Personally, the reason I think many people believe in old earth, is ever since the theory of evolution came around.

Before then, people in general agreed that the earth was only 6000 yrs old, and then scientists and evolutionist and a bunch of other "ists" started making the earth older than it was, and then some bible believers tried to adapt that theory.

Now it's the only way some people see it. Quite sad.

There was a debated between the Church fathers as to how old the earth was and whether or not Genesis 1 was to be taken literally or allegorically. Alister Mcgrath in his book The Passionate Intellect said that Saint Augustine for one, did not believe in a six day creation. So although most Christians have generally agreed that the Creation story is to be taken literally, there has always been a debate (a Christian debate), and long before the time of Darwin.

I know Calvin has a good answer to the question/argument but a simple reading through Genesis 1 can leave a reader scratching their heads. Our day is based upon the earth's rotation of the the Sun, but the Sun was not created until the fourth day. So how can three days pass before the object which is the basis for our day even exists? Questions about creation do not just come from Darwinism or naturalism but from the reading of holy scripture itself.

I don't think the sad thing is that people believe the earth is older than 6,000 years but that people don't believe in a sovereign God who created, guided and is in total control of His creation.
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior

I think this article is rather silly. It assumes that there was no aging before the Fall. I agree that there would be no deleterious effects of aging, but to deny that organisms would change over time is to assume a completely static universe. Let's take trees. Did the trees in the garden not grow? Did they not add rings? Were there not sprouts, saplings, and "old" trees, and could Adam not have understood (at least by observation over time) that by a natural process, the saplings would grow gradually toward becoming big old oaks?

As for Adam, I don't know how he would have changed over time, but I'm pretty sure that if he and Eve had a baby, it wouldn't have popped out like a full-grown Adam! Therefore, by observing the growth and development of children, Adam and Eve could infer that their own bodies were created at a stage in development that otherwise normally takes time. Hence, apparent and mature age.

This brings us back to the main point. If God made a mature creation, there's no way to prove that it's young. There would be no empirical difference between a tree created 100-years "mature" and an actual 100-year old tree. So, there's no such thing as young-earth science if one accepts the cohesively mature creation view.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
There was a debated between the Church fathers as to how old the earth was and whether or not Genesis 1 was to be taken literally or allegorically. Alister Mcgrath in his book The Passionate Intellect said that Saint Augustine for one, did not believe in a six day creation. So although most Christians have generally agreed that the Creation story is to be taken literally, there has always been a debate (a Christian debate), and long before the time of Darwin.

Could you provide a list of the Early Church Fathers who thought Genesis 1 was allegory? I believe Origen did, but he's not exactly the best representative of biblical interpretation. Augustine postulated this, of course, but not an old earth -- it actually bothered him that God would take 6 days instead of an instant. That seems more like a VYEC (Very Young Earth Creationist) view.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
There has always been a debate (a Christian debate), and long before the time of Darwin.
Quite true. I believe it was the Scopes trial that resulted in Christians feeling like they had to make a stand regardless of whether or not they had the revelation to support their position. "Young earth" suddenly became the "old time religion" that people had "always" believed.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
hmmm ... first, I would state what ought to be obvious to everyone posting here. If it could be proved that the earth was of any particular age, would it say anything that would contradict my faith? No.

From a purely historic point of view, until the coming of Darwinism and atheist mechanistic evolution, a large number of opinions existed in the time of creation. Augustine thought of a creation in an instant in time long before the debate over apparent age (or mature creation) came into view. So if we are charitable toward our brothers, then we do not try to paint one view as an attempt to fit into an atheist world view, but of honest differences in how exegesis of the book of God's word and the book of God's work is carried out.

That God is truth is certain. So if the age of the universe is 21 billion years, or 8000 years is only a question of what matches God. The problem I have with some is that they presume that the Spirit will only guide Christians in truth involving the scriptures. Jesus said: "“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." That means not only special revelation, but general revelation as well. All truth ... not explicitly just the Bible. "So as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them." (WCF Chapter I, 8). The age of the earth is not a controversy of religion, but of science. Those who press the Bible to speak beyond what God intended do so against reason. While what the Bible says is true and authentic, what it does not say, it does not say. (To state the obvious.)

For those that adhere to a creation of a mature earth, fine and good. While that may be true, it is certainly worthwhile investigating the nature of that maturity even if it is only apparent maturity (to understand what God has in fact wrought). It is just as worthwhile as looking at the phenomena of light from stars that never existed (for that "mature earth" would also have to be extended to a mature universe, in which the "supernova" we see today of stars that had apparent distance of 100,000 light years would never have existed.) While it may be that the star never existed, it is certain that if God is not a God of chaos, then the universe today would operate under the same principles ... all of modern science is based on that premise that the universe is not chaotic, but ordered. So regardless, it would make sense to investigate the apparent age of the universe and the realm of the maturity of it (the apparent mechanisms by which it would have been created if it were old and not new).

For those that hold to an old universe, the "knowledge" of the apparent age being old should in no way impinge upon the message of scripture that God created the heavens and the earth. That there was a particular man Adam and particular woman Eve that were the special creative act of God and they were the first of all the human race. It must not impinge upon the knowledge that Adam was created pure and good, and that sin entered the world through Adam's sin and he fell and all his posterity through natural generation with him. Study of the mechanisms of creation should not change the knowledge that the existence of mechanism does not preclude the creator either from the origin or providential care over the creation.

Both groups should understand that only with union of all revelation will we have any chance of understanding what God has said ... for all he has said is in concert with his nature which is truth itself. God cannot lie, either in scripture or in creation. It is impossible for him to say one thing in one place and something else in another. We might not understand what he has said, but we are fallible in both our following the lead of the Spirit in his Word and his Works.
 
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Sviata Nich

Puritan Board Freshman
Could you provide a list of the Early Church Fathers who thought Genesis 1 was allegory? I believe Origen did, but he's not exactly the best representative of biblical interpretation. Augustine postulated this, of course, but not an old earth -- it actually bothered him that God would take 6 days instead of an instant. That seems more like a VYEC (Very Young Earth Creationist) view.

I'll try to talk to my Orthodox friend tomorrow, but as I remember - like you said - Origen did, Clement of Alexandria did, I think (although less sure) that Irenaeus did. Many were unsure like Jerome, Tertullian, and Gregory of Nyssa. Most did believe in a literal six day creation though, that I'm not denying.
 
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