What Is the Age of the Earth: Does it Matter? An Open Letter to GC Delegates

Dear Delegate,

You will be asked to make modifications to Fundamental Belief # 6 that state that "In a recent six-day creation the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them and rested on the seventh day." The addition of the word "recent" would identify Adventists as believers in a young earth creation, one that most advocates of this position would indicate a creation occurring between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. The ideas behind a young earth creation are not supported by the Bible nor by the tests and measurements of geological science.

Genesis 1:1 says "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." In neither passage does the Bible identify when that beginning was and it would be totally inappropriate to say of John 1:1, "In a recent beginning was the Word." Genesis 1:1 establishes God's majesty and sovereignty of the universe and introduces Him as God, just as John identifies Christ as everlasting and in the beginning with God, whenever that was. Why would we seek to limit God, whose goings forth have been of old, of everlasting?

The most prominent, historical estimate of the age of the earth was summarized by Bishop Ussher in 1650, who accumulated the ages specified in Genesis 5 and concluded that the age of the earth was equal to that accumulation. He calculated the date of 4,004 B.C as the date for creation of the earth. That date, while it has been universally discarded, forms the basis for a recent creation. In addition to possible gaps in the chronology of Genesis 5, the age of the Earth is a geological function, not related to issues of evolutionary development of biological species. Belief in an old earth does not mean belief in a biological, evolutionary process.

The geologic column which displays a fossil record and a stratification system that are well known, well established by science and accepted by Christians and non-Christians alike, shows strata formed over long ages. To support a young earth creation, some would indicate that events like the Grand Canyon of Arizona, with its easily viewed strata and fossil collections; outcroppings and numerous other Utah geological phenomena; the vast collection of dinosaur bones found in places like Argentina; and the many fields of fossil fuels acknowledged to be the result of millions of fossilized animals, result from one year of Noah's flood and the aftermath of that flood. They would also argue that mankind and dinosaurs existed at the same time between a recent creation and Noah's flood - a space of about 2,500 years. There is no evidence that the extensive stratifications of faun and fossil, based on the geologic table could have occurred in such a short time. There has not been one accepted article in any serious, referred journal, nor any geological or archeological digs that suggest that man and dinosaur walked the earth at the same time. Yet, this is what a vote YES would imply.

The discovery of radiation in the early 1900's permitted radiometric or geochronology dating, based not on Carbon 14, with a half-life of 5,700 years, but isotope dating using the chemicals uranium, thorium, rubidium, strontium and potassium, with half-lives measuring into the billions of years. In the 21st century, geologists are able to compute stable decay rates for measuring the age of the earth and these techniques of geochronology are being used in laboratories throughout the world. These measurements consistently suggest that rocks taken from the earth have been around for over 4 billion years. Advocates for a young earth creation have no measures that would dispute these conclusions. Instead, they resort to questioning techniques of geochronology testing.

A vote for a recent creation of earth means that Adventists do not believe any aspect of contemporary geology and that any measure of the age of the earth is false that does not show a young earth. Such a vote says that Noah's flood and its aftermath are solely responsible for the major geological features of a dynamic Earth. This vote would allow for all the universe being created in the recent past with all the issues that raises regarding light, the billions of galaxies discovered by the Hubble telescope and how light from distant stars travels over millions of light years to reach Earth. Fundamental Belief # 6, as currently stated, maintains the ambiguity that the Bible portrays towards the age of the Earth. The Adventist Church should not go where the Bible and science do not. Vote NO on this change.

Henry E. Felder, PhD, is a retired economist living in Durham, NC, with his wife of 50 years. He is a member of the Board of Spectrum / Adventist Forum.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6768
3 Likes

with all the discussion on wo we’ve seen, heading into san antonio, discussion on a vote to change fb6 has been relatively light…this will be a very interesting vote to watch, in addition to the wo vote…

i think one aspect of old earth theory that will likely be of interest to delegates is the fact that a world-wide, cataclysmic flood that fundamentally changed life on earth - and possibly how time measures - is generally not acknowledged, even though it is important reality in both testaments of the bible, and in egw…in addition, it is quite difficult to locate those who advance old earth theory, even if they consider themselves creationists, who don’t also advance evolutionary biological development through darwinian natural selection over very large spans of time…therefore the assertion in this article that “[b]elief in an old earth does not mean belief in a biological, evolutionary process” may seem disingenuous to some…

meanwhile, the field of creation science is growing by leaps and bounds, despite continuing non-acceptance by evolutionists, who determine what articles are accepted in “serious, referred journal[s]”…the assumption that in order to square with science, one must accept aspects of evolutionary theory is simply not tenable…an interesting take on the weaknesses behind an old earth is the following:

http://creation.com/age-of-the-earth

A yes vote will mean the Church has abandoned its commitment to “truth.” Even if the Church’s view of a young earth chronology were to eventually be validated scientifically (extremely remote), it is not possible to champion “truth” and at the same time stake out positions that require the denial of the senses.

12 Likes

The idea that a flood altered scientific time measurement is not acknowledged because science has tested radiometric decay under a wide variety of potential circumstances and has found the decay rate to be stable.

8 Likes

Well written and great points. Thanks.

We need more thoughtful and informed analysis and less of this: https://sdaquotes.wordpress.com/2015/

2 Likes

“Creation science” is nothing but a quest to validate an ancient description of creation through some means of proof. To be completely honest, to accept Genesis as a detailed description of how God created everything, we would have to afford other statements about the natural world, found in the Bible, the same legitimacy - the heavens having three layers; there being a dome above the earth (along with a flat earth); Jesus going to preach to the dead before his resurrection; angels procreating with women on earth; etc. In all these other instances we look for ways to explain away the unbelievable. Either we take the whole thing on faith; or we interpret it based on scientific knowledge (staying true to the Bible declaration the "knowledge will increase), and 21st century common sense.

Why do any research, including geology or even archeology, trying to prove the legitimacy of the Bible if we take it all on simple faith - “The Bible says it; I believe it”. Contrary proof is automatically discounted - in essence, “creation science” is a belief, looking for scientific proof; not a search for unadulterated truth about anything - …and the catalyst here is the Sabbath. Nothing will be validated as “truth” if it doesn’t uphold the Genesis’ basis of the seventh day Sabbath, calculated on whatever calendars.

14 Likes

Really?
http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/39158

4 Likes

And that Adventists instead believe this:

“We need to guard continually against the sophistry in regard to geology and other branches of science falsely so-called, which have not one semblance of truth. The theories of great men need to be carefully sifted of the slightest trace of infidel suggestion.” R&H, March 1, 1898.

6 Likes

But neither does the Bible support millions of years of death and decay before God’s intervention as Creator.

I suspect that when confronted with the apparent ambiguity in Genesis insofar as “dating” is concerned, 2015 delegates will vote en masse on the side of a biblical view of origins which is consistent with the whole of biblical data on the subject, one that includes God’s loving design in the creation of life, the impact of sin on creation as well as the redemption from sin and death offered by the cross of Christ as well as the final regeneration of God’s original plan in the New Earth (Rev 21).

I’m afraid the alternative presented here does not adequately deal with all of the the biblical data and that’s why the the vote will most likely be YES.

2 Likes

Really Do you ever Google these claims before you make them?

http://arxiv.org/abs/0911.1387
http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/cf/385cavitation.html
http://www.researchgate.net/publication/45882988_Measurement_of_the_thorium-228_activity_in_solutions_cavitated_by_ultrasonic_sound

Furthermore why do you think “wide variety of potential” means all possible?

Furthermore even the authors of the original paper don’t think their result means what you think it means

In particular in all of the experiments, where ultrasounds and cavitation were applied to stable nuclides like Iron [6, 7], the evidences showed neutron emission from Iron without the usual following emission of gamma radiation. In this sense the evidences reported in [1] must be read just like a transformation of Thorium, induced by cavitation, into something else 3 and not a faster Thorium decay through weak interaction due to an increase of its activity4 . This is why we focused our measurements on the concentration of Thorium and performed it both by a mass-spectrometer and by CR39 according to the procedure described in [5]. Both of these techniques agreed on the halving of Thorium concentration. In this sense and according to how piezonuclear reactions are expected to act on nuclei5 , it is wrong to expect an increase of the activity of the solution of Thorium (or of any other radionuclide) either measured by alpha or beta or gamma radiation during cavitation.

4 Likes

David, you citing this link seems a lot like confirmation bias to me. It says nothing about the wide array of other isotopic elements; it says nothing about peer reviewed conclusions shifting on the issue of decay rates or dating techniques.

In the end, nothing matters to me other than the reality, so if the peer reviewed community eventually moves in some altered direction, I have no issue.

3 Likes

It depends on how literally one interprets Genesis, and how infallible one expects later commentators on Genesis to be,

5 Likes

I think the Problem in this Vote by Delegates to SA2015 is that most Will Not know what they are voting on, as most will have little or no formal introduction to the Sciences.
Voting blindly YES!, just because someone else next to them Voted Yes!.

I Would think it Much Better if the SDA Scientific Community of the World Wide Universities were the ones who were asked to Vote YES! or NO!
Not some Preacher, Secretary, or such.

7 Likes

the Scriptures are very clear on Who and how, but not when. Certainly chronologies are of no help. Any understanding of the cosmos would make the physical,solar system as a unit of at least the galaxy of the Milky Way if not the entire universe. man is a recent resident of a very small unit of that universe, but loved by the Creator with a love that passes our understanding. we are of a common clay, under a common indictment, and redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb of God. Under these gives, a Geiger counters is of no great help in the realm of everlasting to everlasting Thou art God. Tom Z

1 Like

I think it is fully feasible to have an old earth and young creation. The language of the Bible seems to support this possibility. The other factor to consider is that God’s reckoning of time is not the same as ours. Just because things seem to be factored in as being ‘billions of years old’, doesn’t mean it took billions of our earth years to be created. I know some might think that is just a cop out or deception by God, but we don’t know the nature of what God created, we can only try to measure it by our own methods. Who’s to say that how we measure these things wasn’t intrinsically infused in that creation to begin with where we end up with the 'number’s we do.

As I’ve said before. The entirety of salvation history is embedded into the special creation of man. Without it, the language of fall, redemption and restoration is meaningless. You can’t have your cake and eat it to, theistic evolutionists. Sorry.

1 Like

The merry go round goes around again. It is important because the Bible, God’s Word, tells us that the creation took place around 6000 years ago. The question is the trustworthiness of God. If God cannot be trusted then he is no God and we may as well party until it’s all over. But if He is truly God I would rather believe Him over scientists who change their minds every few months over new “evidence”.

The Bible has been vindicated time and time again on all sorts of issues. Trust it.

As for the vote, bring it on.

2 Likes

This is simply false.

6 Likes

This is a paradoxical statement. For death and decay to happen, they would have to of been created in the first place.

3 Likes

The problem, as we saw throughout the entire ill conceived series by Jan Long for example, and with other theistic evolutionists is that they cherry pick what to interpret as literal and what is or is not infallible. There is frankly no consistent hermeneutical method. Their reading or Scripture is a deep-time, no man’s land.

No wonder they have a hard time convincing theologians that the evolutionist’s method supersedes the ancient Hebrew-Christian view of origins.

2 Likes

Do you think that one hermeneutic method can work ?