{3}         STUDY: Antiquity of the Earth


Most scientists believe the universe was originated 15 billion years ago and the Earth (and the Solar System) was formed 4.5 billion years ago. What is the real age of the universe and the Earth?


How do Christians solve the problem of apparent conflict between science and the Bible?

In response to this problem, there are 4 schools of thought: [1] No need to harmonize. [2] Accept scientific data. [3] Accept Biblical data. [4] Harmonize: When all the facts are rightly understood, there is no real conflict between science and the Bible. This course holds the 4th position.

Can the Big Bang Theory explain the origin of the universe?

[1] The Big Bang Theory describes the origin of the universe from a big explosion from some primordial nucleus of infinite density. Based on existing evidences, it is quite certain that the universe came into being with a Big Bang.

[2] Evidences: [a] Hubble observed the expanding universe in 1931. There is a red-shift in the spectrum of light from distant galaxies in all directions. [b] Cosmic background microwave radiation was discovered in 1965 by Penzias and Wilson. It is the remnants of Big Bang. [c] The extension of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity by Penrose and Hawking in 1970 proved that the origin of space-time is a singular point of infinite density.

Does the Big Bang theory conflict with the Bible?

The Bible did not describe the mode of how the universe was formed. The Big Bang theory supports a definite beginning of the universe and contradicts the belief that the universe was always there. Observations of cosmic background radiation in 1992 show that the evenness of the radiation is within 0.00003ºK in all directions. Some describes this phenomenon as “no less than the handwriting of God” because the phenomenon demonstrates the amazing precision in the rate of the explosion. Thus the Big Bang theory actually helps in proving the existence of God.

What are the evidences used to prove that the Earth is billions of years old?

[1] Geology: [a] geologic column of sedimentary rocks and fossils, [b] slow mountain building process, [c] continental drift 60 million years ago, [d] ice ages identified in past history of the Earth.

[2] Physics: Based on radiometric method of dating, the age of the Earth is estimated to be 2 to 6 billion years. However, if other methods of dating are used, the answers are different.

[3] Astronomy: The universe is expanding in all directions. Astronomers can observe objects that are 15-17 billions light-years away.

In Genesis 1, is one day equivalent to our present 24 hours?

[1] Geological “era”: Different meaning of yom: Hebrew yom can mean a “time” (a time with sunlight, Gen 29:7), 24 hours (Gen 7:4), a year (Gen 41:1), or an undefined period of time (Gen 35:3; Ps 50:15; Zec 4:10). However, this cannot explain “there was evening, and there was morning.”

[2] 24 hours: Most Hebrew scholars believe that “day” means 24 hours. “Evening and morning” imply 24 hours. However, there are too many things occurring in the 6th day in Gen 2 to fit into 24 hours.

[3] Day means 24 hours of revelation: God reveals the creation of the 1st day in 24 hours of the author’s time, the creation of the 2nd in the next 24 hours, and so on.

[4] Literary framwork: The word “day” is only a literary style.

When was the universe created?

There are 3 theories of creation, each widely accepted by a group of theologians and Christian scientists.


Creation with age theory

Gap theory

Day-age theory

24-hour days, creation 6,000 to 10,000 years ago; Great Flood as a major factor (flood geology – use the Flood to explain geological facts)

24-hour days, original world corrupted by sin from Satan; a large gap between Gen 1:1 and 1:2; Gen 1:22:4 describes re-creation

days equivalent to epochs of very long periods, creation billion years ago; Gen 1:1 creation of universe included sun and moon; 1:2 view from perspective of the Earth




·  Adam was created already as a young man

·   evidence for the coexistence of man & dinosaurs (though apparently disproved)

·   lack of accuracy of dating (dating methods not trusted)

·   evidences of catastrophism (not uniformitarianism) in the past, geologic changes could happen in a short time

·   Sabbath day (Ex 20:9-11) imitates 7th day in creation.

·   repeated mention of “evening and morning”

·   Gen 1:2; 2:7 the word “was” (Heb. haya) should be translated as “became”

·   Is 45:18 “empty” same word as “empty” in Gen 1:2 (Heb. tohu, bohu); Is 34:11; Jer 4:23 words “chaos”, “desolation”, “formless”, “empty” all relate to judgment; possibly the result of corruption of the original world

·   1:21,27 word “created” (bara) only for animals & man, others words mean “made” (asa, indicating renewal)

·   1:28 “replenish”= fill over again

·   prima facie (Latin, at first sight) view: 1:12:4 only describe chronological order

·   Ps 90:4, 2Pe 3:8 — 1000 years=1 day, God’s time scale

·   yom” can mean a period of time

·   “evening” (not night) and morning can mean: This epoch had its gradual beginning and gradually merged into the epoch which followed

·   Buswell: presently still in the 7th day (Ps 95:11, “my rest”; Heb 4:9, God’s Sabbath is still coming)

·   can accommodate theistic evolution




·  cannot explain fossils (due to flood? otherwise, God’s deception?)

·   no evidence of worldwide flood

·   deny all dating methods

·   no 24-hour days before the sun was created

·   Were there humans in the first creation (none of pre-Adam fossils are human)? If not, why was man not part of the first universe?

·   too much emphasis was put on the word “made”

·   Is long time needed? Was man created separately?

·   What about Adam, did he live a long time in the 6th day?

·   The plants were created on the 3rd day and the sun on the 4th day. If the 3rd day is long, all plants would die.



        There are many reasonable and acceptable answers to the questions about the antiquity of the Earth. We need to humbly admit that there may not be any definitive answers.

        While evangelical Christians may hold different views on the antiquity of the Earth, this is not a question of essential belief. After examining all the arguments, we can tentatively subscribe to any of the 3 views but at the same times allow the possibility that the other 2 views may be the correct explanation. Furthermore, we should encourage evangelical scientists and theologians to work together despite disagreements.